2010 GMT: The Anniversary. A short video has been posted of security forces filmed by one of their own in Vali-e Asr Square in Tehran today:
1945 GMT: Currency Watch. The conservative Ayande News posts criticism of the Central Bank's 11% devaluation of the Iranian toman last week, claiming it is linked to problems with support payments for subsidy cuts but that is likely open to make imports more expensive and fuel inflation.
1935 GMT: The Battle Within. MPs have voted for an enquiry into the privatisation of the Saipa automobile company.
There have been allegations that the "deviant current" around President Ahmadinejad, including his right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, has personally profited from the sale of the shares.
1915 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The one-year sentence of journalist Mahsa Amrabadi for "propaganda against the state" has been confirmed by an appeals court.
Amrabadi, whose husband Masoud Bastani is also detained, was arrested two days after the June 2009 Presidential election. She was held for 2 1/2 months before being released on $200,000 bail.
1910 GMT: Claimed footage of police special forces and/or military units in central Tehran today:
Silent protest went on with a large number of people participating and heavy security atmosphere. Many people showed up in their cars and participated in the silent protests.
At Beheshti St (Abbas-Abbad) traffic came to a stand still & drivers got out of their cars. Then people joined in the protest by honking horns. Traffic came to a stand still at Beheshti street and around Valiasr. On Valiasr the security forces were able to use the special bus lines to move around [the traffic]. The special forces on motorbikes were riding up and down the street. People [protesters] kept on moving towards Vanak and Vali-e Asr.
A large number of people were across from Saii Park...[where] there were special unit guards and plainclothes forces… in black clothing and gray vests [who] were videotaping people. Plainclothes on motorbikes (2 on each bike) were also videotaping people.
Anti riot forces in black clothes equiped with firearms and teargas were at Vanak Square. On Vali-e Asr street, from Vanak Square to Vali-e Asr Square, forces were present, but despite the heavy presence of forces people were present also.
Almost 90% of the forces on Vali-e Asr St were plainclothes on motorbikes. The plainclothes on Valiasr were either on bikes riding up and down or on foot observing people. The dangerous plainclothes are also equipped with handguns, knives and batons.
In more sensitive areas, plain-clothed forces and uniformed forces of NAJA (police) and special forces were stationed. NAJA vans were parked at Vali-e Asr Street and Vali-e Asr Sq. NAJA black vans were also parked on the side streets and alleys of Vali-e Asr. As it got dark, Saii Park lights were turned off and anti riot-forces went inside the park. They also turned the lights off at Melat Park, but number of forces at Saii [were] much larger.
As it got dark they started arresting people. Most arrests were at Vanak and Vali-e Asr Square. On most intersections (like Fatemi, Valiasr) Sepah forces on motorbikes were stationed.
The number of people that showed up was very, very large.
1840 GMT: The Anniversary. Mardomak reports from a witness that all shops and even the Palestine and Africa cinemas were closed near the centres of protest in Tehran.
1835 GMT: The Battle Within. Meanwhile, the fight within the establishment continues....
The pro-Ahmadinejad website Soldouz News takes aim at the insistence by supporters of the Supreme Leader that he should be obeyed. It argues that Ayatollah Khamenei opposed the appointment of Mir Hossein Mousavi as Prime Minister in the late 1980s by the Supreme Leader at that time, Ayatollah Khomeini.
Hardline cleric Abbas Nabavi has warned that Ahmadinejad will break his silence within the next three months thru libel of his foes and unrest in the provinces.
1825 GMT: The Anniversary. An eyewitness claims to have seen between 6000 and 7000 people from Vanak to Vali-e Asr Squares at 7:15 p.m. Tehran time (1545 GMT).
1800 GMT: Thanks to James Miller for taking you through the last few hours as events escalated in Tehran. Here is where we are right now at 9:30 p.m. Tehran time....
There were significant gatherings in certain points in Tehran late this afternoon, notably Vali-e Asr Square in the centre of Tehran and Vanak Square in the north. Estimates vary wildly --- NBC says "tens of thousands" of protesters were present; AFP says "small" gatherings.
EA cannot venture a number; however, we know from absolutely reliable sources that the protesters were well beyond "small". In addition, it should be noted that the NBC estimate comes from a producer who were at the scene in Vali-e Asr Square.
Security forces tried to disperse people, sweeping up anyone --- an interesting challenge, given the protests were "silent" --- whom they thought might be involved in the dissent. The opposition website Kalemeh says "hundreds of people" were detained. Other estimates are more conservative, saying "scores". What we do know is that people were loaded into vans and moved to detention centres throughout the city --- EA sources say it will be 2-3 days before relatives will be able to establish where missing people are located.
Iran media who are making any mention of the protests are trying to dismiss them as a non-event. Khabar Online insists that Vanak Square and Vali-e Asr Square were "normal" --- it maintains that, despite opposition claims, there were no disruptions to business and no significant presence of demonstrators.
One other point which may be significant from our correspondents. Despite the regime's dedicated efforts to break communications and disrupt the opposition, those who turned out today appeared to follow a scripted plan set out by websites and other electronic messages. The gatherings were at points set out by the organisers --- other major squares and centres in Tehran saw no protests.
1740 GMT: Our colleague at Iran News Now has this update on Hoda Saber:
A funeral will be held for him at 7:00 a.m. at a Tehran cemetery. Kalameh reports that some doctors believe that his death occurred from negligence on the part of prison authorities to take him to the hospital for treatment.
1730 GMT: In our last update, we noted that the confirmed protests, thus far, have stuck to the plans published on major opposition websites. In light of the fact that the reformist leaders, Mousavi and Karroubi, are still under strict house arrest and communications blackout, Dave Siavashi has this analysis:
“That’s very interesting – so it looks like the Arjomand and Green Path Coordination Council are able to muster protesters to the streets. That’s a big deal."
1720 GMT: According to the source in Tehran:
In Vali-e Asr Square, “they are shepherding people into vans like sheep,” a significant number of people being arrested.
Also, “reliable reports of several of arrests in Vanak Square. People are taking refuge in restaurants and the few shops not shuttered by authorities”
“All the action is happening exactly on the web-based itinerary” — No protest in Enghelab Square, for example. According to the source, people are still relying on instructions from the main websites for organisation.
1719 GMT: More from an EA Correspondent in Tehran: ”More arrests of missing people — arrests look to be serious.”
1707 GMT: James Miller takes over while Scott is on a break. These updates from Dissected News...
1705 GMT: We have absolutely reliable information that there was a significant altercation near Vali-e Asr Square earlier this afternoon, and many were arrested. According to our source, many people arrived at the square and protested silently. We’re awaiting more details.
1658 GMT: According to the latest reliable reports, large crowds gathered near Vali Asr Square to march, silently, in protest. There are reports that security has attempted to harass the protesters, but they have no reacted to the security forces.
Though main-stream media’s access is very limited, and tightly controlled, NBC’s Ali Arouzi estimatesthat he witnessed tens of thousands of protesters, and at least 15 arrests. This report suggests that a fairly substantial crowd has indeed marches in Tehran. We have no verification, yet, from our trusted sources that these numbers are accurate.
Our sources report that shops were ordered closed at 6 PM.
1505 GMT: The Anniversary. Green Voice of Freedom reports "silent" gatherings of people at Vali-e Asr Square and College Square and crowds at Keshavarz Boulevard.
The website is also claiming that people are congregating in north Tehran at Vanak Square and around the building of the State broadcaster IRIB.
1445 GMT: The Anniversary. Activists claim Vanak Square in central Tehran is very crowded and security forces are not letting buses unload people there.
1357 GMT: The Anniversary. Tahavol-e Sabz reports a large security deployment at Vali-e Asr Square.
1355 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A crowd gathers outside Modarres Hospital, where activist and journalist Hoda Saber died this morning after he suffered an attack and complications from a hunger strike in Evin Prison.
The body of Saber has now been transferred to the coroner for investigation.
1330 GMT: Oil and Politics. A source confirms our report of division between Iran and Saudi Arabia at this week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Saudi Minister of Oil Ali Naimi "told other members that if they didn't increase output [collectively], Saudi Arabia would start boosting production", according to the delegate. Mohammad Aliabadi, the Iranian representative who was chairing the meeting --- Iran holds the rotating Presidency of OPEC --- responded, "Saudi Arabia has no right to act unilaterally. It should act as a member of the group".
The Iranian Government, which needs to keep oil prices high to support its budget, opposed any raising of output.
1320 GMT: The Battle Within. An EA correspondent reports that Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi has said that the Supreme Leader wants to avoid the outbreak of strife in the country.
Our correspondent adds, "This means that Ayatollah Khamenei doesn't want hell to break loose in the case of an Ahmadinejad dismissal."
1305 GMT: Rumour of Day. An Iranian website claims new information about last month's political conflict. The Boushehr News Agency asserts that President Ahmadinejad wanted to remove the head of the Intelligence Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Taeb, and Ayatollah Khamenei's Chief of Staff, Ashgar Hejazi, as well as the Minister of Intelligence, Heydar Moslehi. The President also sought the appointment of his right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai as Vice President.
Ahmadinejad's demand led to clashes with the Supreme Leader and the President's subsequent 11-day "boycott" of Government activity. The President reportedly threatened to resign, to which the Supreme Leader said, "Bring your resignation right now."
1255 GMT: The Anniversary. Activists are reporting that Tehran University has been closed off by security forces, with students and others preventing from gathering. Minibuses filled with plainclothes officers, as well as forces on motorcycles, have reportedly arrived at Daneshjoo Park.
Observers report, however, that shops just off Enghelab Square have not been ordered to shut down by authorities.
1120 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Authorities have yet to release the body of activist and journalist Hoda Saber, who died this morning from complications from a hunger strike and a heart attack, to his family.
Saber was reportedly fasting because of the demise of activist Haleh Sahebi, who died 11 days ago when she collapsed after a confrontation with security forces at her father's funeral.
1010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Doctors Edition). A newspaper in New York State reveals that Dr. Kamiar Alaei, an internationally-recognised AIDS specialist, has been released from prison in Iran after 2 1/2 years, including months of solitary confinement.
Alaei, who is a Ph.D. student at the University of Albany, has lived out of the public eye since his release earlier this year because his brother and fellow AIDS physician, Dr. Arash Alaei, is still being held in Tehran's Evin Prison.
0910 GMT: Economy Watch. Another sign that the regime is worrying about the movement of currency in the country --- Alef reports that restrictions have been placed on checking accounts for Government employees and other individuals.
Officials are apparently concerned about a run of withdrawals on bank accounts amidst rising prices and interest rates.
0845 GMT: The Anniversary. There are almost no headlines in the State and semi-official Iranian press about the 2009 Presidential election.
The one excpetion is an inadvertently poignant one. Fars features an interview with Abdolhossein Ruholamini, who was the campaign manager for candidate Mohsen Rezaei. Ruholamini, now the Secretary General of the Islamic Justice and Development Party, talks about the "fitna" (sedition) with its "foolish and selfish efforts" trying to implement the "overt and covert plans of foreign enemies".
At no point does Ruholamini mention that his son, Mohsen Ruholamini, was one of the post-election protesters. Nor does he note that his son died from beatings during in the abuse of detainees in the Kahrizak detention centre.
0825 GMT: Currency Watch. A Press TV report twisting and turning on the recent "official" devaluation of the Iranian toman by 11% against the US dollar. The State outlet cites the curious explanation of the Central Bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani that the shift is because of a value-added tax on gold coins, but it cannot refrain from concern, noting the "unexpected" decision and that the slide of the toman is greater than expected.
The market rate of the toman --- as compared to the official fixed rate --- has been sliding steadily in recent weeks with Iranians trying to buy up American and European currencies. The Central Bank moved the official rate from 1065 to 1175 tomans to the US dollar last week, but the market rate was already more than 1200 tomans to the dollar.
0735 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Activist and journalist Hoda Saber of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition has reportedly died from a heart attack and the complications of a hunger strike.
Saber was seized from his office and detained in July 2010, reportedly to serve a prison sentence that had been imposed a decade earlier. His wife said in January:
I wrote the Prosecutor many times, asking for furlough for my husband or in-person visitation with him. I also requested several times to meet with the Prosecutor himself, but I never received a response. Nobody is accountable. Maybe the Prosecutor has no responsibility in this case; I would like to ask the Head of the Judiciary and other authorities to release Mr. Saber soon, because he has not had any political activities during the past two years.
0730 GMT: Opposition Watch. Video of the Washington press conference of opposition advisors Ardeshir Amir Arjomand and Mojtaba Vahedi has been posted.
0540 GMT: Two years ago today millions of Iranians, many of them excited by a campaign unprecedented for its openness and debate, cast their votes in the Presidential election.
By the end of the day, excitement would be replaced for many by confusion, disappointment, and anger as the election fell into claims of manipulation to allow President Ahmadinejad to return, without the need for a run-off, with 63% of the vote. His challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, claimed that he had indications that he had vote and even been congratulated by figures such as Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, but his power to act was restricted as his campaign staff were detained (or fled to avoid that detention) and his headquarters was raided.
Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is clinging to the Presidency, although the main challenge to him now comes from within conservative/principlist ranks. Mir Hossein Mousavi is under strict house arrest, unable to communicate with anyone except his wife Zahra Rahnavard and a team of 20 guards.
After two years of regime repression of dissent and political activity, we do not expect widespread public protests today, but we will be watching carefully.
Meanwhile, we open with this poster --- "It's night, climb on the roof/With our chants friendship arises,bearing 1000s of stars in its heart/Darkness which cannot stand light will disappear." (An important hat tip and note: the poster comes from the blogger Dust and Trash, whose name was "inspired" by Ahmadinejad's victory declaration, in which he called those who challenged him "dust and trash".)