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Entries in Mohsen Aminzadeh (3)


The Latest from Iran (15 February): Withstanding Abuse

2300 GMT: Urgent Correction on the Labour Front. Earlier today (1600 GMT) Tehran Bureau reported that the Tehran Bus Workers had called for civil disobedience over the case of jailed activist Mansur Osanloo. Tonight Iran Labour Report has issued an effective retraction of the story:
On February 12, a statement appeared on various Iranian websites, including Balatarin which is one of the largest Persian-speaking community websites in the world, in the form of a poster. The poster called for solidarity with the imprisoned leader of Tehran’s bus drivers union, Mansoor Osanloo, through acts of civil disobedience beginning on March 4 around Tehran’s Valiasr square. The statement purported to be an offcial statement of the union (formally known as the Syndicate of Vahed Company Workers of Tehran and Environs). Subsequently, in an article for the popular web journal Tehran Bureau, a staff member at Iran Labor Report wrote an analysis of the union statement as it had appeared on the various websites.

It now appears that the poster-statement was not authentic and that the union’s leadership had not issued the statement. Moreover, the provenance of the statement is still not clear. The union had apparently not published an official disclaimer earlier on due to the recent disuptions with internet use in Iran. Subsequent to this, the union requested that the inauthenticity of the statement be made public and that henceforth no reference would be made of it.

NEW Latest Iran Video: US Analysis (Gary Sick) v. Overreaction (Stephens, Haass)
NEW Iran: The IHRDC Report on Violence and Suppression of Dissent
NEW Iran: Human Rights Watch Report on Post-Election Abuses (11 February)
Iran Analysis: What Now for the Green Movement?
The Latest from Iran (14 February): Step by Step

2145 GMT: Labour Rights. The joint statement of three Iranian unions --- the Syndicate of Tehran Bus Workers, the Syndicate of Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company, and The Free Union of Workers in Iran --- to the United Nations Human Rights Council has been posted:
[Workers'] most urgent and most basic demands at the present time are:

- Abolishment of executions, immediate and unconditional release of labour activists and all other social movements activists from jails;
- Rescinding all charges against labour movement arrestees;
- Immediate and unconditional freedom in formation of labour unions, without the need to have permission from managements, compliance with all labour related international conventions, eradication of all non-labour establishments from working environments, and to prosecute the suppressors and deniers of workers’ human rights;
- Unconditional rights to strike, protest, and freedom of speech;
- Complete equality between men and women at work and in all other aspects of social, economical and family lives;
- Total abolishment of child labour and providing educational and medical environment for all children.

2050 GMT: Miss-the-Point Story of the Day. A lot of trees are dying for battling news items on the Iran nuclear front: "Iran Says Studying New Nuclear Fuel Deal" v. "U.S. denies Iran given new fuel swap proposal".

Let's save the trees. Turkish Foreign Ahmet Davutoglu will be in Iran tomorrow to discuss a "swap" of 20 percent uranium, outside Iran, for Tehran's 3.5 percent stock (see 1225 GMT). "New" or "not new" makes no difference to that central discussion.

2008 GMT: On the Economic Front. Mohammad Parsa, a member of the electricity syndicate, has declared that 900,000 workers of electricity companies are on the verge of dismissal as the Government 5 billion toman ($5.06 million) to the electricity industry. Parsa says the industry is operating on an emergency basis with managers fleeing their posts.

2005 GMT: Another Ashura Death. Peyke Iran has identified Mehdi Farhadi Rad from south Tehran as the victim of an attack by police and plainclothes officers, shot in the head and chest.

2000 GMT: The Radio Farda "Spy Ring". Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has declared that, of eight people arrested as agents for the US Government-sponsored Radio Farda, only one is a journalist, who has confessed his "relationship to foreign elements". The other detainees are his relatives.

1940 GMT: Another Battle for Ahmadinejad. Back from an academic break to find a series of challenges to the President over his budget. Mostafa Kavakebian of the Democracy Party has declared that he will not accept a proposal that needs "fundamental changes": government spending is too high, but there are no funds for unemployed youth and the payment of civil servants is not considered.

Abbas Ali Noura has complained that the financial relationship between Iran's national oil company and the Government is not clear and last year's budget was not fully spent on development of oil industry (a hint at misplaced funds?). Abbas Rajayi adds that Ahmadinejad has not kept promises on funding for modernisation of water supply for agriculture. Ali Akbar Oulia has denounced "one of the weakest and most debatable budgets", with over-optimistic projections on Government income and inflation.

1600 GMT: Tehran Bureau reports that the Tehran Bus Workers Union, in a statement on 12 February, has aligned itself with the Green Movement. The Union also declared, "Starting March 6, We the Workers of Vahed Company Will Wage Acts of Civil Disobedience (or white strike) to Protest the Condition of (labour activist) Mansoor Osanloo in Prison. We Appeal to the Iranian People and to the Democratic Green Movement--of which we consider ourselves a small part--to join us by creating a deliberate traffic jam in all directions leading to Vali-e Asr Square."

1550 GMT: Iranian media is reporting that President Ahmadinejad is going to fire his Minister of Oil for reporting reducing production.

1545 GMT: The Iranian Students News Agency reports that Mohsen Aminzadeh, the reformist leader sentenced to six years in prison, has been released on $700,000 bail during his appeal.

1335 GMT: We've posted video of contrasting analyses from the US, with Gary Sick's thorough consideration of the Iranian political situation offset by generalisation and overreaction from Richard Haass and Bret Stephens.

1230 GMT: Children's rights activist Mohsen Amrolalayi, arrested on 23 January, is still in solitary confinement in Evin Prison.

1225 GMT: One to Watch. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will hold talks with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, on Tuesday over uranium enrichment issue.

What is not noted in the Agence France Presse article is that Davutoglu may have already met President Ahmadinejad's advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai: both have been in Qatar over the weekend.

1215 GMT: The UN Human Rights Meeting on Iran. A few hours of diplomatic theatre in the UN Human Rights Council this morning, as Britain, France, and the US put forward a co-ordinated attack on Iran's treatment of post-election protest. French Ambassador Jean Baptiste Mattei asserted:

The authorities are waging bloody repression against their own people, who are peacefully claiming their rights. France recommends that Iran accept the creation of a credible and independent international inquiry mechanism to shed light on these violations.

The US and British Ambassador made similar statements and called on Iran to allows visits by the United Nations investigator on torture and other human rights experts.

Supported by Cuba, Syria, and Venezuela, Iran judiciary official Mohammad Javad Larijani declared,"With the victory of the Islamic revolution, the situation of human rights has consistently been used as a political tool to apply pressure against us and to advance certain ulterior political motives by some specific Western countries."

Larijani claims steps to improve women's access to education, health, and social status, to protect children and religious minorities, and to combat the tradition of forced marriages: "The Iranian society is a successful model of brotherly and amicable coexistence."

1200 GMT: Not-So-Subtle Propaganda of the Day. Our inset photograph is a reproduction of the lead image --- an altered picture of Mehdi Karroubi --- in today's Javan, which is close to the Revolutionary Guard.

1025 GMT: Nothing to Do With Us. Tehran's Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has denied that Mehdi Karroubi's son Ali was arrested on 22 Bahman.

Which begs the follow-up question, "So did Ali Karroubi beat himself up?"

0940 GMT: Detaining the Writers: "Arshama3's Blog" updates our list of journalists held in Iran's prisons, covering 66 cases. A 67th named can be added: Na’imeh Doostdar of Jam-e-Jam and Hamshahri was arrested on 6 February.

One piece of good news: writer Alireza Saghafi was released yesterday.

0925 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that there is still no number of those detained on 22 Bahman. Some detainees have been allowed to have short phone calls with families.

0910 GMT: Who is the Foe? That is the question asked by Ebrahim Nabavi, who argues that the true opposition to the Green movement is not Ahmadinejad, the Supreme Leader, the Revolutionary Guard, the Basiji, the plainclothes men, Western imperialism, or British-directed mullahs. The enemies are ignorance, poverty, tyranny, and injustice are the Green's real foes.

Nabavi refers to Mohsen Rouholamini, who died at Kahrizak Prison last summer, in predicting that there are many more like him within the regime who long for freedom. He emphasises that the Green movement wants freedom for the soldier who opposes it as well as for people who are forced to comply with the regime for financial reasons.

0905 GMT: The German-based Akhbar-e-Rooz has taken aim at the Green Movement. Two articles are notable: an opinion piece takes aim at the Green website Rah-e-Sabz for attacking those "who did not vote for Mousavi". This follows an editorial complaining about the Green movement's indifference to trade unions, including the failure to challenge the transfer of the labour activist Mansur Osanloo to solitary confinement.

(Apologies that, in processing information this morning, I confused this with the latest from Khabar Online, mistakenly attributing the attack on the Greens to the pro-Larijani website.)

0900 GMT: The Spirit of 22 Bahman. The reformist Association of Combatant Clergy has issued a statement thanking Greens for their involvement in last Thursday's rallies and condemning Iranian authorities for "hijacking" their efforts.

0850 GMT: Well, This Will Break the Silence. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pronounced this morning in a speech to students in Qatar, "Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship. That is our view."

Really? No President with authority? No Supreme Leader? I suspect Clinton may have put this line not only as part of the tactic of united Arab countries against the Iran "threat" but to justify the sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. Still (and I haven't seen the context of the full speech, only the reports), the declaration seems a bit simplistic, even for public spin.

0720 GMT: A slowish day on the political front, as Iran moves towards the end of its holidays for the anniversary of the Revolution. The only ripple is Iranian state media's promotion of President Ahmadinejad's declaration, in an interview with a Russian magazine:
Iran can defend itself without nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are of no use anymore and have no place in current international equations. Could the Soviet Union's stockpile of nuclear weapons prevent its collapse? Have they been of any assistance to the US military in its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq? Atomic bombs couldn't secure a victory for the Zionist regime in the Lebanon and Gaza wars.

The statement might be read in the context of an Ahmadinejad reassurance to the "West" that Iran will not pursue a military nuclear programme and thus as a signal that he wants to maintain discussions on uranium enrichment.

In the meantime, however, we are focusing on human rights this morning with two reports: the Human Rights Watch findings on detentions, abuse, and torture and a study by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center of post-election suppression of dissent.

The Latest from Iran (10 February): Mousavi, Pink Floyd, & 22 Bahman

2325 GMT: That's it for today. We'll be back at 0600 GMT. Look forward to seeing you then.

2315 GMT: What's Your Punchline? Looking for a joke to end the evening. Here's the set-up line, courtesy of Press TV: "A senior Iranian commander has announced that the country has developed a new system to distract missiles."

2310 GMT: On the Labour Front. Mansour Osanloo, the leader of the Tehran bus drivers union, has been transferred to Solitary Ward Number 1 in Gohardasht Prison, also known as the “doghouse”.

NEW Iran Analysis: On the Eve of 22 Bahman
UPDATED Iran Analysis: The Rafsanjani “Ultimatum” to the Supreme Leader
Iran Feature: Human Rights Round-up (1-7 February 2010)
The Latest from Iran (9 February): 48 Hours to Go

2225 GMT: Taking Away Karroubi's Protection? In an interview with Radio Farda, Mohammad Taghi Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi’s son, says that several former Revolutionary Guards, wartime commanders, and family members of martyrs who had volunteered for protect Mehdi Karroubi on 22 Bahman have been called in for questioning and have not yet gone home. He says that they have probably been arrested.

2214 GMT: State Media Off-Line. On the eve of 22 Bahman, cyber-warriors have taken down the website of the Islamic Republic News Agency.

2200 GMT: Lots of Internet fuss tonight that Iran's telecommunications agency has declared it will shut down Google Mail as Iran prepares to roll out a national e-mail service. For some reason, I can't get hold of this as a major development rather than as possible bluster for 22 Bahman --- is the suspension technically possible? And how many Iranians would it affect?

2150 GMT: More interesting eve of 22 Bahman articles: Jason Shams, an Iranian-American who was involved with the Green Movement in Tehran up to November 2009, offers an insider's view of the protests in The Daily Beast.

And Edward Yeranian has a useful preview for the Voice of America --- Enduring America pops up to contribute to the analysis.

2145 GMT: Back from a break to post the latest on the Rafsanjani-Supreme Leader story: the former President's website has an interview in which Rafsanjani makes cursory references around Ayatollah Khamenei and a more pointed reference to the "15 Khordaad" uprising of June 1963. A subtle signal of support for tomorrow's protest?

1925 GMT: Mr Modesty. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is a master of understatement:

"After 1400 years the Islamic Revolution in Iran… by offering a new method of social governance shone in front of secularism and liberalism that are the cause of all social problems and showed man the path to salvation.”

1915 GMT: The Cutting Edge. Prominent Twitter activist oxfordgirl is profiled in The Guardian of London today.

1900 GMT: Trial and Punishment. An Iranian activist updates that, after eight months in prison, the head of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, Mohsen Mirdamadi, finally went on trial. He denied all charges.

The activist also notes that prominent human rights attorney Mohamad Oliyayifard has been sentenced to one year in prison.

1750 GMT: The US Treasury has extended sanctions against the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, freezing the foreign assets of a commander, General Rostam Qasemi, was blacklisted, and four firms --- Fater Engineering, Imensazen Consultant Engineers, Makin and Rahab Institutes --- linked to the Revolutionary Guards' construction company.

1635 GMT: So Much for "Foreign Coverage". A few weeks Iranian state media loudly proclaimed that more than 100 foreign news organisations had been licensed to cover 22 Bahman. Well, here is what they get to cover:

An official coordinating the media [said] that reporters and photographers were allowed to cover only the speech of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the historic Azadi (Freedom) Square in southwestern Tehran, and not the traditional street marches across the city.

1625 GMT: Twitter Activism. An Iranian activist sends word of a special initiative for 22 Bahman:

"We are doubling the fun on Twitter in co-operation with the Venezuelan resistance. We are planning to tweet up a storm with supporters of Iran and Venezuela both tweeting in mutual support, using a combined hashtag: #IranVzla - in addition to any other tags we might use. The tweet campaign will be starting from 12:00 noon Venezuela/20:00 Iran (1630 GMT)."

1613 GMT: The Purge of the Journalists. Reporters Sans Frontières claims 400 journalists have left the country since June 2009 and 2000 journalists are jobless.

1610 GMT: The parents of blogger Agh Bahman have been arrested. Last week Bahman's sisters were detained.

1530 GMT: Campaigners for Human Rights and Democracy in Iran claim that prisoners in Gohardasht Prison rioted this morning, taking control of a cellblock, stripping naked the warden and forcing him to flee.

1520 GMT: Rumour of Day. The Paris-based Intelligence Online claims:
Officially, the Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai [Note: Rahim Mashai is a former Vice President and current Chief of Staff to the President] was in Geneva February 1 to attract investors to the Kish Island Persian Gulf Sea Project. But according to our information, Mashai also took part in secret meetings with American officials, just days before Iran announced its intention to enrich uranium by 20% instead of the current 3.5%. Mashai's presence in Geneva coincided with the presence at the United Nations' headquarters in the city of the large delegation of American nuclear specialists who had come to finalize the new Start treaty with the Russians.

1440 GMT: Mehdi Karroubi has written an open letter to the Council supervising Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, critiquing the coverage of the state media.

1435 GMT: The Tajik Flop. Looks like the regime's attempts to use former Vice President Mohammad Reza Tajik for propaganda points (see 1130 GMT), releasing him temporarily to broadcast about "foreign intervention" and heartfelt support of the Supreme Leader, has backfired. Khabar Online goes out of its way to deny that Tajik's statement was recorded or that he was drugged before going on air.

1425 GMT: Pre-22 Bahman Reading. The Newest Deal has an excellent overview on the eve of the big day, and Persian Umpire gives a perspective from Tehran:
I don’t remember being as freaked out as I am now before any other demonstration. Caffeine and Nicotine are my best friends these days. Part of the reason is the unpredictability of 22 Bahman, in terms of turnout on both sides, the regime’s reaction, and the outcome. I have a small window for talking about this past week as internet connections are fading away, so I’ll skimp on details, but here’s how things are, a sort of “word on the street is”, from my usual sources (butchers, intellectuals, businessmen, grocers, cab drivers, artists, old, young).

1350 GMT: Mothers of Mourning Arrested. An Iranian activist, claiming the Mothers of Mourning as the source, gives the names of 19 members of the group who were detained on Monday.

1345 GMT: Confirmation. Parleman News is now carrying the story of Mohsen Aminzadeh's release.

1225 GMT: Aminzadeh Released. EA sources report that Mohsen Aminzadeh, Deputy Foreign Minister in the Khatami Government, has just been freed from Evin Prison, possibly on a short-term release.

1210 GMT: New Information on Rafsanjani-Khamenei Meeting. We will have a full update this afternoon, but an EA correspondent reports that the Rafsanjani "ultimatum" meeting with the Supreme Leader took place on Monday. Rafsanjani did raise the specific case of Alireza Beheshti; however, he also argued that Khamenei should intervene to free all political prisoners.

The correspondent also emphasises that the Rafsanjani meeting should be seen in the context of the earlier encounter between Khamenei and Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili, in which Mousavi-Ardebili declared his disappointment with the Supreme Leader's post-election leadership.

1155 GMT: Mousavi at Rally? A reliable EA source says that, at this point, Mir Hossein Mousavi is intending to participate in tomorrow's march, although the location is being protected for security reasons. These plans, however, may change.

1140 GMT: Peyke Iran reports that former political prisoners have been banned from demonstrating on 22 Bahman.

1130 GMT: The Tajik Mystery. Islamic Republic News Agency is now featuring last night's televised statement by former Vice President Mohammad Reza Tajik.

As we reported last night, Tajik was taken directly from Evin Prison to IRIB television for a 10:30 p.m. broadcast. In his statement, he declared that the protests were fostered by foreign groups from the US and Israel who tried to destroy the "unity" of Iran. He also put great emphasis on the authority of the Supreme Leader and the system of velayat-e-faqih.

That is quite a conversion for someone who was one of the senior advisors to Mir Hossein Mousavi up to his detention in early January. And here's some more food for thought: Tajik, like fellow advisor Alireza Beheshti, was released from Evin but only for a short time.

Interpretation? If Tajik does not make last night's statement, then he definitely returns to prison. Now there is a chance that he may remain free.

1050 GMT: Tajbakhsh Sentence Reduced. Fars News, quoting the lawyer for Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, says that an Iranian appeal court has reduced Tajbakhsh's prison term for espionage from 15 years to five years. Tajbakhsh was arrested in July and sentenced in October.

1015 GMT: We Won't Leave Those Kids Alone. It's Iran police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam taking the lead in issuing warnings today:
We are closely watching the activities of the sedition movement and several people who were preparing to disrupt the February 11 rallies were arrested....There will be no worries in this regard. We are fully prepared for holding a safe and glorious rally.

Ahmadi-Moghaddam declared that police, the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij Islamic militia were "ready for any possible incident on February 11 and they will let no one create insecurity".

0905 GMT: 22 Bahman MTV. Performed by Blurred Vision and directed by Babak Payami, "Hey, Ayatollah, Leave Those Kids Alone":


0855 GMT: Pressure on the Government. Ayatollah Dastgheib has criticised the "un-Islamic behaviour" of the Basij militia, and Ayatollah Ostadi has attacked the ideas of President Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

And the pro-Larijani Khabar Online will not let up: a series of "guest blogs" featured on the website call for respect of the press and warn that "self-made wars" serve only Iran's enemies and that some "will use every pretext to prevent criticism".

0845 GMT: Pressure on IRIB. The dispute between Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the Imam, continues. Following the publication ofKhomeini's letter of complaint over the "censoring" of his grandfather's speeches, a reformist MP claims that many of his colleagues want to withdraw their support from IRIB and an ally of Ali Larijani, Ahmad Pournejati, has attacked the head of the broadcaster, Ezzatollah Zarghami.

0830 GMT: The "Mohareb" Sentences. Press TV --- curiously, almost a day after the news broke --- has repeated that one detainee has been sentenced to death and eight given long prison sentences for their "mohareb" (war against God) activities on Ashura. The Iranian regime had threatened to execute all nine.

0810 GMT: The Professors Write Khamenei. Iran Green Voice publishes a signed letter from 116 academics at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, calling on the Supreme Leader to deal with the "cruelty" that has arisen within the Iranian system.

0805 GMT: Karroubi's Confirmation. Mehdi Karroubi's office has just announced that the cleric will be demonstrating tomorrow and has repeated the call for Iranian people to state their demands firmly but calmly. He is reportedly joining the march from Sadeghieh Square to Azadi Square at 10 a.m. local time (0630 GMT).

0800 GMT: Ebrahim Yazdi, former foreign minister and leader of the Freedom Movement of Iran, has been moved from prison to hospital. Yazdi, detained since Ashura, has been in poor health for months.

0745 GMT: Less than 24 hours to 22 Bahman, and the report of Rafsanjani's "ultimatum" to the Supreme Leader, including the snap analysis from our correspondent, is still provoking lots of comment and speculation. Beyond that event, we  have posted an analysis of the political situation on the eve of Thursday's demonstrations.

The Latest from Iran (8 February): Staying with the Real Story

2045 GMT: But There are Limits. One leading international media organisation is proclaiming that it has mobilised itself to cover Thursday's events in Iran. It has even set up a dedicated Twitter account for Iran, announced throughout today in a series of tweets.

Only problem is that this broadcaster/website hasn't quite got the hang of using Twitter for gathering latest news rather than for self-promotion. Total number of Twitter accounts it is following? 7, all of whom happen to be its own staff.

NEW Iran Document: Khatami Statement for 22 Bahman (8 February)
NEW Iran Special: The 57 Journalists in Iran’s Prisons
NEW Iran Advice Video: Palin to Obama “Bomb and You Get Re-Elected”
Iran Special: The Weakness of the Regime “It’s Deja Vu All Over Again”
Iran: The “Reconciliation” Proposals of Karroubi’s Etemade Melli Party
Iran: “Conservative Opposition” Offer to Mousavi “Back Khamenei, We Sack Ahmadinejad”
Iran Space Shocker: Turtle-Astronauts Defect to West
The Latest from Iran (7 February): Tremors

2020 GMT: 22 Bahman is Back! The "Western" media, which only 12 hours ago seemed to be oblivious to anything Iran-related  unless it had the word "nuclear", has re-discovered the internal events and tensions. Numerous services are carrying the report of the Associated Press on the Supreme Leader's speech (1245, 1420, & 1940 GMT), while The New York Times picks up on Reuters' summary of the statements of Mir Hossein Mousavi (1635 GMT) and Mohammad Khatami (separate entry). Even America's ABC News has taken notice, catching up with Saturday's interview of Mehdi Karroubi in a German magazine.

And CNN, declaring that it was going to cover Iran closely before and on Thursday, has launched a special section on its website.

2015 GMT: Shutting Down the News. Pedestrian follows up on the arrest of photographer Amir Sadeghi, the creator of the excellent Tehran Live, and the detentions of both sisters of blogger Agh Bahman.

1940 GMT: We Are Number One (and We Will Punch You). More on the Supreme Leader's tough talk today (see 1245 GMT), one in which he did not walk out because of an inconvenient question (see 1420 GMT):
Today, there exists no system like the Islamic establishment in the world that can stand unshakably in the face of heavy, hostile propaganda, political and economic pressures and sanctions....[Because of our] reliance on God...whenever the people fear for the Revolution and sense threats and animosity, huge crowds of people, spontaneously and without convocation, take to the streets across the country.

1935 GMT: Blocking the Airwaves. An Iranian activist has reported that Voice of America Persian can no longer be received in Tehran.

1655 GMT: This Just In. Heading off to an academic commitment, but had to note this statement by the US Government and European Union, released by the White House:
The United States and the European Union condemn the continuing human rights violations in Iran since the June 12 election. The large scale detentions and mass trials, the threatened execution of protestors, the intimidation of family members of those detained and the continuing denial to its citizens of the right to peaceful expression are contrary to human rights norms.

Our concerns are based on our commitment to universal respect for human rights. We are particularly concerned by the potential for further violence and repression during the coming days, especially around the anniversary of the Islamic Republic's founding on 11 February.

We call on the Government of Iran to live up to its international human rights obligations, to end its abuses against its own people, to hold accountable those who have committed the abuses and to release those who are exercising their rights.

1635 GMT: Summary of Mousavi's Statement. Mir Hossein Mousavi told a group of youth and student activists today:
Disgracing and insulting people and the freedom of thought has nothing to do with Islam. I believe that the nation knows what is best for it and the collective wisdom is the superior wisdom and that is why the Islamic Revolution happened. If we want to save Islam as an asset for the nation, our own interests should not endanger the interests of Islam....

The only demand of the force that has come to the scene today is to return to the main laws and values of the Islamic Revolution, but it is being falsely accused. The Green Movement of the nation of Iran is independent, rational and peaceful. We are not opposed to Basij, the Revolutionary Guards or the police; but rather we are opposed to violence, beating and killing.

1630 GMT: Claim of the Day. The Los Angeles Times, citing a source inside Tehran's police headquarters, claims up to three million opposition protesters may be on the streets on Thursday. The source compared that number to 500,000 pro-Government demonstrators who were out in Tehran on 30 December. The article also claims that about 12,000 Basiji militiamen will be moved into the capital from around the country.

1445 GMT: We've just come out of a discussion of EA's coverage for 22 Bahman to see the English translation of today's statement by former President Mohammad Khatami. We've posted in a separate entry.

1420 GMT: Challenging the Supreme Leader. Khodnevis reports that, during Ayatollah Khamenei’s recent meeting with academics, Hojatoleslam Javadi-Amoli (the son of Ayatolah Javadi-Amoli), asked a pointed question about the President. Javadi-Amoli referred to an encounter between his father and Ahmadinejad, in which the President claimed that, during a speech to the United Nations General, he was covered by a halo of light. The video of the President's account was posted on YouTube but, during the 2009 campaign, Ahmadinejad claimed the story was lies made up by the enemy.

Javadi-Amoli asked the Supreme Leader, “We see many times in religious texts that the ruler of Islamic countries, in order to protect the interests of his country’s people, is permitted to hide parts of the truth, but he cannot say that his own saying is a lie and attribute it to the ramblings of a sick mind. Can one expect justice from such a ruler?”

At that point Khamenei says that he did not have time and left the meeting.

1300 GMT: The reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front has issued its call for Iranians to accompany Green and opposition figures in the 22 Bahman rally.

Green movement activists in Ahvaz have also put out a statement.

1255 GMT: Another Media Detention. Amir Sadeghi, photographer for Farhange Ashti, has been arrested at work.

1250 GMT: We Will, We Will Rock You. The Tehran commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, General Hossein Hamadani, has declared again that the Revolutionary Guard will "deal severely" with any protesters on Thursday.

1245 GMT: We Will, We Will Punch You. That is the Supreme Leader's latest line for Thursday, as he told Air Force personnel, "The Iranian nation, with its unity and God's grace, will punch the arrogance (of Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman in a way that will leave them stunned."

Using the foreign agents gambit to rule out legitimate protest, Khamenei said that the "most important aim of the sedition after the election was to create a rift within the Iranian nation, but it was unable to do so and our nation's unity remained a thorn in its eyes".

1135 GMT: The Next 22 Bahman Move? A group of youth and student activists have met with Mir Hossein Mousavi today, declaring that they will march on Thursday with Green symbols to seek justice and freedom and announcing "to the totalitarians" that sooner or later they will free the Islamic Republic from oppression. We are awaiting a text of Mousavi's remarks.

1125 GMT: Another High-Profile Sentence. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh has reportedly been given a six-year prison term for "disturbing" national security and spreading propaganda.

1110 GMT: Targeting Mortazavi. 57 members of Parliament have written to the head of Iran's judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, and President Ahmadinejad to demand the immediate dismissal and trial of Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi for his alleged role in the Kahrizak Prison abuses.

1100 GMT: Khomeini v. The Regime. Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Republic, has replied sharply to the complaint of Seyed Hassan Khomeini about IRIB's "censorship" of the speeches of his grandfather, Ayatollah Khomeini: "If only you had written a protest letter to condemn the shameful events after the election...."

0940 GMT: Million-Dollar Defendant. After 216 days in detention, Feizollah Arab Sorkhi, a senior member of the reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, finally stood trial on Sunday. Proceedings are ongoing; Arab Sorkhi’s bail has been set at more than $1 million.

Meanwhile, journalist Emadeddin Baghi remains in solitary confinement despite the end of his interrogation.

0935 GMT: A New Voice. The Green Voice of Freedom website, from which we are pictured up some latest news items, has launched an English edition.

0930 GMT: Freed. Amidst the dominant news of arrests, a belated notice of released: last week 10 students from Elm-o-Sanat University, detained on and after Ashura, were let out of prison.

0920 GMT: And Now the Real News. Following the complaint from Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the Imam's grandson, to the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, Ahmad Montazeri --- son of the Grand Ayatollah, who died in December --- has sent a letter of protest.

The issue is an IRIB interview with former Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian, who launched a fierce criticism of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

0910 GMT: It Gets Worse. The BBC's top radio programme, Today, having done a muddled but creditable effort to get beyond the misleading headlines on Iran (see 0715 GMT), threw it all away with an appalling interview an hour ago.

The fault lay not with the interviewee, Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, but with the interviewer, Evan Davies, whose obsession was to establish that Iran might soon have The Bomb. That distortion was only corrected at the end of the discussion, when Fitzpatrick --- moving from theory and fantasy to reality --- noted that Iran does not have the technical capacity to maintain its current civilian programme, let alone establish weapons capability.

Meanwhile, the Green Movement made a fleeting appearance as the device to get a "more acceptable regime" in Iran on the nuclear issue.

Across the Atlantic, Juan Cole does an effective job taking away Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "scare" rhetoric in her interview with CNN on Sunday and then putting the Ahmadinejad declaration in appropriate context.

0820 GMT: And This is Just Silly. Reuters reports, without blinking an eye, Salehi's declaration, ""Iran will set up 10 uranium enrichment centers next year."

Hmm.... At least that's not quite as extravagant as President Ahmadinejad's snap announcement last autumn that Iran would build 20 centres (an event that EA readers recalled yesterday). Reuters might also want to note, beyond its sentence, "Analysts have expressed skepticism whether sanctions-bound Iran, which has problems obtaining materials and components abroad, would be able to equip and operate 10 new plants", that Iran cannot even keep one centre, Natanz, functioning at more than 50 percent capacity.

0745 GMT: Nuclear Kabuki. Tehran keeps up the sideshow this morning, with Iranian state media headlining the declaration of the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akhbar Salehi, "We have written a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to announce our intention to enrich uranium to 20 percent. We will send this letter to the world's atomic watchdog on Monday and then start enrichment on Tuesday in the presence of inspectors and observers from the IAEA."

Dramatic? No. This is no more than a restatement of what Iran is allowed to do under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, since the 20-percent level is for civilian rather than military uses. Indeed, that is (and has been for months) the real uranium issue: whether soon Iran runs out of fuel for its medical research reactor.

0715 GMT: The gap between image and reality has widened overnight in coverage of Iran. The "Western" press, with few exceptions, have now done their lemming jump into a simplistic portrayal of President Ahmadinejad's Sunday media stunt: his declaration that Iran would immediately start producing 20-percent enriched uranium so it can ensure self-sufficiency if there is no "swap" deal with the West.

This morning, BBC's top radio programme has one of the better stories, noting both the obvious (that Ahmadinejad's expectation is "unrealistic", given the technical issues with Iran's nuclear programme( and the important (that the move, in large part, comes from domestic pressure). Even so, the piece opens with the overall declaration that this is "yet another step" in "Iran's nuclear confrontation" with Western powers, which is a bit curious since --- less than a week ago --- the Iranian President was reviving the possibility of a "swap" of enriched uranium outside Iran.
And, beyond that, the bigger picture of the post-election challenge to the Iranian Government and possibly the Iranian system fades.

CNN, for example, is making a big noise on Twitter that it is launching in-depth coverage for the demonstrations of 22 Bahman, Thursday's anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. Yet its feature story is solely devoted to Ahmadinejad's Sunday proclamation, with the internal situation distorted into two concluding paragraphs:
Sunday's announcement of the new enriched uranium plans falls within the 10-day period marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

Celebrations commemorating the overthrow began last week and will culminate on February 11.

The immediate damage is that the important developments inside Iran escape notice. This morning, for example, we have published a list of 57 journalists who are detained, amongst hundreds of other political prisoners.

The wider significance of such blinkered and sensational visions is that it is unlikely that the complexities of the contest for power will not be understood on Thursday. Instead, 22 Bahman will suddenly leap into the media frame as a breathless and somewhat confused story of "What are the numbers?", "Where is the violence?", and "Where is the video?", with little appreciation of the real pressure on President Ahmadinejad.

That pressure is coming from inside the Iranian establishment, as well as outside it. Perhaps more importantly, Thursday could be a marker of whether that pressure builds on other parts of the regime, including the position of the Supreme Leader.

22 Bahman is three days away.