An Iranian activist today is adding that the weapon used on Fazli-Nejad was a "dessert knife".
NEW Latest Iran Video: Rafsanjani’s Daughter is Confronted
NEW Iran Special: Interpreting the Videos of the Tehran Dorm Attacks
Iran Document: Karroubi Statement on 22 Bahman & The Way Forward (22 February)
UPDATED Iran 18-Minute Video: Attack on Tehran University Dormitories (14/15 June 2009)
The Latest from Iran (23 February): Videoing the Attacks
2040 GMT: War on Terror, I Tell You. I'm sure it is entirely coincidental in light of current events --- announcement of arrest of Jundullah leader a week after it occurred, Ahmadinejad declaring that it is Iran not "the West" that is fighting terrorism (1745 GMT), declaration of 100 arrested on 22 Bahman as "terrorists" (1435 GMT) --- but this just in from the Ministry of Intelligence:
Three agents of the [Kurdish] Komala terrorist group who were planning to bomb a factory belonging to the defence ministry in Tehran were identified and arrested....Two foreign made bombs concealed in loudspeakers and three Kalashnikovs (assault rifles) were seized....Due to the occupying presence of the US forces in Iraq and their support of some terrorist groups like Komala, their training, and equipping them with military hardware is carried out by America's intelligence services.
1940 GMT: Urgent --- Assembly of Experts Statement. Fars News reports, and Zamaaneh summarises, that the statement at the end of the two-day Assembly meeting has not only declared support for the Supreme Leader (expected) but declared that the opportunity for the "repent and reform" of opposition leaders has ended (unexpected). This "sedition" against the "intelligence guidance" of Ayatollah Khamenei can no longer be tolerated.
1920 GMT: Is This the Level of Ahmadinejad's Support? Claimed video from Birjand in south Khorasan (eastern Iran) for the President's speech today:
1910 GMT: Defending Against the Video. The Los Angeles Times, drawing from Iranian state media (see 0645 GMT) has a summary of damage control from regime officials:
"Today, police are powerful, popular, courageous and reasonable," Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, the top military adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told police commanders...."Everywhere in the world, even in Europe and America, police strongly confront rioters. No government tolerates insecurity, arson and vandalizing of public properties."....
"All detention centers, interrogation rooms and reformatories have been ordered to install surveillance cameras and monitoring equipment," [Iran's police chief Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam] said. "Police inspectors will regularly visit the detention centers. Police are also setting up a committee to protect civil rights in detention centers."....
"Even when a European city hosts a summit, the city is militarized," said Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, commander of the Tehran Revolutionary Guards. "How can we turn a blind eye to people's security?"
1900 GMT: Political Prisoner News (cont.). Iranian authorities have issued temporary release orders for Ebrahim Yazdi, head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, and Hedayat Aghai, of the Kargozaran Party, today.
The case of Yazdi, who has been released for 10 days, is still being considered; however, Aghai, freed released tomorrow for a week, has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
It is also reported that Feizollah Arabsorkhi, executive member of the Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, has been sentenced to six years in prison for “activities against national security and propaganda against the regime”.
1850 GMT: Political Prisoner News. The Iranian Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of Kurdish journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who has been jailed since 2007 for mohareb (war against God). Adnanpour will now serve a 31-year prison term.
1840 GMT: The wife of Mohammad Maleki, the first post-1979 chancellor of Tehran Revolution, has spoken to Radio Farda of her husband's deteriorating health. The 76-year-old Maleki, who was detained in August and charged in September with actions against national security, suffers from prostate cancer.
Ghodsi Mirmoez said her husband sounded very ill the last time they spoke and that she had not been allowed to meet him for more than 20 days. She pleaded, "I wonder if international organizations can do anything for my husband. His physical condition is grave."
1805 GMT: Not Defeated. Writing for Tehran Bureau, Ali Chenar in Tehran reflects on the politics of 22 Bahman and its aftermath and concludes:
Certainly one of the questions about the Green Movement is why it has remained a grassroots movement and not become a political organization. One reason might be that it does not care to become identified with a specific ideology and risk alienating various segments of the society whose support it currently enjoys. In the past eight months it has instead walked a fine line, remaining a popular but amorphous phenomenon, encompassing all political factions and social groups seeking justice. It has avoided intensifying the conflict, avoided pressing for regime change. Rather than evolving, it has maintained a state of entropy. Yet over the past several months, its inclusive nature has helped it sustain its momentum and survive.
What the Green Movement has achieved already is enormous. Many would tell you that the events of the past eight months have permanently changed the social and political landscape. A new era has begun. Those groups critical of the government now map the very fabric of Iranian society. They include both traditional conservatives and secular liberals, progressive students and cautious businessmen, men and women alike. As one observer told this correspondent, "Everyone has realized that everyone else thinks the emperor is naked too."
1745 GMT: It's Our "War on Terror" Now. President Ahmadinejad neatly twinned the "terrorism" and "Iran v. the West" themes in his speech today in Khorasan in eastern Iran. "Why have you [in the US] issued a passport for Rigi if you want to arrest a terrorist?....The Iranian security forces captured Rigi without any bloodshed. It is better for these countries to adopt the Iranian model of campaigning against terrorism."
1435 GMT: The Big "Terrorist" Push. Ahh, here we go. In the same week that Iranian authorities trumpet the capture of Jundullah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, Revolutionary Guard Commander Hossein Hamadani declares that security forces arrested about 100 members of dissident groups on 11 February. He asserts that they are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and Association of Iranian Monarchists and intended to carry out “bombings and assassinations”.
1355 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. On a very slow day for news, we have noted the account by blogger and journalist Zhila Baniyaghoub, posted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, about the detention of her husband, "Bahman Amouei", and others in Evin Prison. Amouei is among the hundreds of journalists and activists arrested in the postelection crackdown:
Bahman says he, along with 40 others are imprisoned in a cell less than 20 meters square. He says their whole day is wasted in lines; queuing for the toilet, queuing for the showers, and queuing for the telephone....
Their condition is so harsh that he envies Masud and Ahmad, who got transferred to the Rajai Shahr prison. They would at least be able to spread their legs.
I asked if he read books there. He retorted with another question, "Do you think it's possible to read in such conditions?"
0925 GMT: We've posted a four-minute video, circulating widely on the Internet, and translation of an encounter between Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, and an unidentified group of men.
0910 GMT: Larijani in Japan. No surprise that the Speaker of the Parliament would make headlines in Iranian state media, as he begins his 5-day trip in the Far East, for a nuclear declaration: "Although the Islamic Republic has remained committed to its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency does not fulfill its duties about supplying fuel needed for the Tehran research reactor. Based on terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the IAEA has no right to urge Iran to suspend its nuclear activities."
0800 GMT: Full credit to CNN for highlighting the role of social media in disseminating the post-election news about events in Iran, featuring activists such as "OxfordGirl".
Shame, however, that the report closed with a soundbite reduction of the events of 22 Bahman: "while activism on-line was successful in organising the masses and keeping opposition alive, the opposition inside the country either did not plan for or now lacks the power to respond to the Government's crackdown". (No doubt that social media can soon put that right.)
0755 GMT: Firebreak. Amidst the drumbeat in parts of the US media for military action against Tehran (see our entry yesterday on The Washington Post), some Obama Administration officials are holding the line against an attack. Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, repeated yesterday, "I worry a lot about the unintended consequences of any sort of military action. For now, the diplomatic and the economic levers of international power are, and ought to be, the levers first pulled."
0745 GMT: And the (Jundullah) Beat Goes On. Press TV tries once more to drive home the right message, "Iran says it has irrefutable evidence confirming that terrorist ringleader Abdolmalek Rigi had been aided and abetted by the US government before his arrest."
On the side, however, it is interesting how state media's narrative is changing. Initially, Rigi was taken in Dubai as he was awaiting the departure of his plane. Or he was captured in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province. Or he was seized in Pakistan. Now "the leader of the Jundallah terrorist group was on a flight from the United Arab Emirates to Kyrgyzstan when he was tracked down by Iranian security forces on Tuesday".
All especially interesting, in fact, because an EA source continues to report that Rigi was actually detained last week. (Al Jazeera is also reporting this from its sources.)
0645 GMT: At one point on Tuesday it felt as if EA staff were trying to measure an earthquake that had taken place in a remote area. We all had seen and been taken aback by the 18-minute video of the 15 June attack on Tehran University's dormitories, but we did not know how many people inside Iran had viewed or knew of the footage.
We did know, from one of our correspondents with excellent contacts in Iran, that the BBC Persian broadcast which first displayed extracts from the video had been viewed and that those who had seen it had been unsettled and angered. And this morning, we have confirmation that the footage has shaken the political ground: Fars News has posted a long article trying to put the imagery in the "proper" context.
The impact of earthquakes is not necessarily that they bring a collapse, however; they can have longer-term effects by eroding and thus changing the landscape. So Tuesday was also a case of challengers chipping away at the Ahmadinejad Government, even as the regime was trying to manufacture its own earthquake with the propaganda around the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah.
While Ministers used press conference to announce that Rigi's detention proved the US-Israel-Europe campaign to terrorise the Islamic Republic into submission, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and his allies in the Assembly of Experts were staking out their limited but important call for changes to Iran's electoral system. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani was away from the main political arena, beginning his five-day trip to Japan (an event which, in itself, deserves attention; what is Larijani hoping to accomplish, not just for his country but for himself?), but his media outlets were not halting their assault on President Ahmadinejad.
And then there were the ripples from Mehdi Karroubi's statement, which made clear that the opposition --- rebuilding, re-assessing --- has not been quieted.
The significance of the Tehran University video is two-fold. On the one hand, it points to rifts within the regime; as Mr Verde has analysed in a separate entry, the vital question, "Who leaked the fotoage?", brings a variety of answers, but all of them point to battles and uncertainties in the Islamic Republic and the inability of the Supreme Leader to resolve them. And on the other hand, its existence --- even if known only to a fraction of the Iranian people at this moment --- is a catalyst for anger and thus renewed determination of those who want justice and responsibility from their Government and system.
And so another day begins. There may not be aftershocks, but there will be more shifts. And it is in the shifts, rather than the drama of earthquakes, that this crisis is playing out.