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« Iran Document: Mousavi's "5 Stages to Resolution" Statement (1 January) | Main | Latest Iran Video: Protests Against and For the Regime (31 December) »

The Latest from Iran (1 January): Mousavi's Resolution?

IRAN GREEN2050 GMT: A First Go at Reading Mousavi. Edward Yeranian of the Voice of America writes, "Iran Opposition Leader Mousavi Not Afraid to Die for Reform" (there is also an audio report), and kindly gives us space in the article for a few thoughts:
Scott Lucas...thinks that both the opposition and the government are digging in their heels for a confrontation:

"The five-point plan is not new. [Mousavi] said something similar in around October. [This], therefore, is still a compromise within the system. [However], the other thing that's important is that the language he uses --- before he gets to that [compromise] --- about his possible martyrdom is striking: 'My blood is no redder than those of others in the [opposition] movement, but I'm ready to die.' [This is] a language of expected confrontation, as opposed to political compromise," he said.

Lucas also argues that Mousavi may be trying to re-establish himself as the clear leader of the opposition after complaints in recent months that he hadn't been showing up to lead public demonstrations. Many in the opposition, he notes, have been saying that the "opposition is leading Mr. Mousavi and not the contrary".

NEW Iran: 2009’s Year of Living Dangerously (Part 1)
Latest Iran Video: Protests Against and for the Regime (31 December)
Iran: The Rafsanjani Interview on France 24 (28 December)
Iran: The Regime’s Misfired “Big Shot” at Legitimacy
Iran: How Significant Was the Regime’s Rally?

The Latest from Iran (31 December): Is That All There Is?

2010 GMT: Explaining the Mousavi Statement (0745 GMT). We'll ponder overnight before offering an analysis tomorrow of Mir Hossein Mousavi's political move today. However, we may have gotten clues from Dr. Abolfazl Fateh, the head of Mousavi’s media committee in the Presidential campaign: "Mousavi’s statement is a significant goodwill gesture from his side and an important test for the authorities."

Fateh explained that Mousavi had offered a solution based on “goodwill and the minimum expectations of the people”, but this was now the last argument to be put:

If the authorities lose this chance the future great difficulties is their responsibility and they will be blamed for not taking advantage of this opportunity forever. Is there anyone listening among those who claim to care for the country?

So is Mousavi really calling this a "last chance" for the Government to accept a compromise within the system, based on the Constitution and changes in legal and political practices? And is he putting that message to the Supreme Leader as well as politicians and ministers?

1955 GMT: And Also Going After Ayatollah Dastgheib. It appears that, along with Ayatollah Sane'i (1005 GMT), Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib of Shiraz is the main target of the regime. Plainclothes forces again attacked Qoba Mosque, days after moving on Sane'i's offices. Claimed footage of the attack has been posted, and there is a purported audio of Dastgheib speaking to  his followers.

1845 GMT: Today's Trees-Died-For-This? Moment. William Kristol in The Washington Post, claiming to come to the assistance of "the people of Iran" but establishing that he knows little if anything of Iranian religious tradition, history, culture, or politics.

(Mr. Kristol, if you're reading this, go to "A Request to Charles Krauthammer: Go Away". Consider the message duplicated.)

1810 GMT: Punishment, 1979 Style. In a telling passage in his Tehran Friday Prayer (see 1640 GMT), Ayatollah Jannati called for a return of "justice" of the first years of the Islamic Republic:
People’s expectations of the judiciary are very high. Of course we are aware that the judiciary has certain limitations now and cannot act like the courts of the early days of the Revolution. But if they had acted like those days this affair would have been over long ago.

Some analysts contend that in those years, amidst terrorism and the war with Iraq, Iran's judicial system authorised summary execution without full trials.

1725 GMT: Tehran's Friday Prayer (see 1640 GMT). Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting has posted extracts from Ayatollah Jannati's speech, promising punishment on all those who protest in the Islamic Republic.

1715 GMT: A group of students from Amir Kabir University in Tehran have issued a statement that they will not attend classes or take exams until their detained classmates are released.

1650 GMT: And That Punishment Is.... Giving the tough words of Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani (0940 GMT), Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi (1120 GMT), Deputy Head of Judiciary Ebrahim Raeesi (0935 GMT), and Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ahmad Jannati (1640 GMT) some back-up, Iran's judiciary has announced that seven people arrested on Ashura will be put on trial next week for "desecrating the ideals of the Islamic Revolution".

1640 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Summary. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati laying it out for the masses today:

Protesters are really, really bad. And we will punish them.

Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, said, "The judiciary system should act with more speed in dealing with rioters....The Islamic establishment in Iran will not tolerate any attempt to undermine Islam."

Most of the speech was the standard foreign-powers-are-behind-all-this script; however, Jannati added an ominous improvisation: "the harshest punishment for desecrating Islamic beliefs". The reference is being read by some observers as an endorsement of the death penalty.

1635 GMT: Latest Arrests. Sadegh Javadi-Hesar, a member of the reformist Etemade Melli Party and lawyer Nemat Ahmadi.

1625 GMT: From China With Love. The buzzing story this afternoon comes from Rah-e-Sabz: "Iran has imported high-tech armored anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannons that can douse people with boiling water or teargas". An Iranian blogger gives details of the vehicles, two of which are pictured on the website:
With an alleged price of $650,000 a unit, the 25-ton trucks each hold 2,640 gallons of water, which can shoot hot or cold water at a distance of up 220 feet. They can also shoot tear gas, burning chemicals or paint stored in three 26-gallon containers.

[The truck] includes a plow, which can presumably demolish makeshift barriers placed on streets by protesters, or even the demonstrators themselves.

The Los Angeles Times features the story, which has a none-too-subtle undertone: from Tienanmen Square in 1989 to a version in Tehran 20 years later?

1445 GMT: A Renewed Attempt at Unity? At least one prominent politician has not given up on the search for political compromise. Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei has published a letter to the Supreme Leader. Rezaie asks Ayatollah Khamenei to publish a statement on unity and brotherhood, as Mir Hossein Mousavi, according to Rezaei, has retreated from his claim that that the Government is illegal.

1245 GMT: Mousavi and the Students. Today's Mir Hossein Mousavi statement (see 0745 GMT) has now climbed the ladder of the Western media, with a featured place on The Los Angeles Times site and coverage on CNN television (but not CNN's website).

Meanwhile, a student at Azad University Mashhad has given a first-hand account of the demonstrations and clashes, with more than 200 arrested and some reportedly missing, at the campus.

1120 GMT: We're Gonna Get Ya (cont. --- see 0935 GMT). Iran's Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi dealt out some more tough talk on Thursday in a TV interview: "The Intelligence Ministry has obtained good clues in respect to the elements who had a role in the recent riots. This unrest is different from that of the past and is a prearranged counter-revolutionary movement, designed by agents of sedition."

1005 GMT: Going after Sane'i? More possible evidence that the regime sees Ayatollah Yusuf Sane'i as a religious and political threat: a video and photos of claimed attacks on his residence and his office in Kerman have been posted.

0945 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz reports that 210 students of Azad University of Mashhad have been arrested after Wednesday's demonstration and clashes with security forces.

0940 GMT: However, in Mashhad.... Nothing low-key about yet another public declaration by Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani. Speaking before Friday Prayers in Mashhad, he once again brought out all the themes of the Iranian regime defending the nations by smacking down the "hypocrites", backed by foreign powers, who demonstrated on Ashura.

0935 GMT: We're Gonna Get Ya. The deputy head of Iran's judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi, has introduced Tehran Friday Prayers with yet another warning that protesters will be dealt with firmly. Hardly a surprising line, and one wonders --- given that Raeesi is not one of the most prominent players in the regime --- whether this is a relatively low-key finger-wagging despite its current first-story status for the Islamic Republic News Agency.

0855 GMT: The Changing Importance of the Story. The elevation of Iran in Western media can be measured by the quick attention given to Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement (see 0745 GMT)declaring his readiness for martyrdom and proposing a 5-stage resolution for post-election conflict. The BBC website features the story as "Breaking News", and The Washington Post, carrying the Associated Press report, highlights that Mousavi is "defiant after new threats". Reuters announces that Mousavi has declared Iran is in "serious crisis"; The New York Times quickly prints the report.

0835 GMT: We Do Information, You Do Propaganda. No comment necessary, I think, on this article from Press TV:
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has launched a satellite channel to respond to the subliminal psychological programming of western media. The international channel Sahar Universal Network 2, which was launched on Thursday, December 31, 2009, aims to show Iranian society as it really is, and effectively combat western manipulation of media which distorts events, censoring and misrepresenting them.

It aspires to confront the influence of non-Islamic culture in the Muslim world and reveal the hegemonic policies of the great powers, which wish to dominate the peoples and nations of the world. Sahar Universal Network 2 seeks to introduce the rich culture of Islam, as well as political, cultural, social and economic advances made by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

0745 GMT: A weekend Friday has started quietly in Iran, as the country continues to wind down from the drama of Moharram's last two weeks. EA's Mr Smith takes advantage of the lull to offer Part 1 of a special review, ""2009's Year of Living Dangerously".

There could be some political noise later, however. Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued his first statement after Sunday's Ashura demonstrations. Criticizing the brutal confrontation of the Government’s forces with the mourning nation of Iran, Mousavi offers a five-stage resolution.

Mousavi's stages are 1) the acceptance by the administration, the Parliament. and the judiciary of direct responsibility for recent events, 2) a transparent law for elections that can create public trust, 3) release of political prisoners restoring their dignity and honour, 4) recognition of the freedom of press and media, and 5) confirmation of the people’s right of legal demonstrations.

Without singling out the martyrdom of his nephew on Ashura, Mousavi reiterates that he has no fear of becoming a martyr in the people's quest for their legitimate religious and political demands. He declares that any order for the execution, murder, or imprisonment of Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi Mousavi, or other prominent reformists will not solve Iran's problems.

We watch to see if Tehran's Friday Prayers, led by Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, bring a significant show of support for the regime to follow Wednesday's rally. Meanwhile Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli has issued a statement on the events of Ashura, expressing his sorrow and concern over violence involving police against protesters. Javadi-Amoli said it was essential that while those who were breaking the law were dealt with, while those were demonstrating peacefully should not be treated justly.

Reader Comments (54)

Might be a Freudian slip in the last phrase of the last sentence above. ;)

Happy New Year, EA! Thanks for your excellent, reliable, insightful work.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShhh


Thanks for the best wishes and the vital correction --- maybe grab me a cup of coffee on this 1st early morning of the New Year?


January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Mousavi is effectively saying that:
1-Ahmadinejad should be removed
2-Regime should let opposition to demonstrate and to use public media

I think khamenei and sepah will never accept this solution

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteramir

Hi Scott
I agree with Amir. This is a smart move by Mir Hossain asking for minumum that will definitly be rejected by the stone age hardliners.
This will erode their legitimacy even further in the Iranian eyes, the doubtful and the international community
This reminds me of somebody trying to swallow a saw when stuck it will hurt eitherway, the more they swallow the more painful it is going to be to dislodge it.
I think this regime stupidly will be keen to swallow the Saw of its demise even further causing more pain for itself and those who try to remove it before it leads to its total demise.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Political prisoner, Ali Saremi, sentenced to death, warns about a repeat of massacre:

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarolien

Katzmann, Oskuyie and other specialists: Real leaders of the Green movement are forming up and will emerge within the next months.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Happy new year to you all!

I'm sorry if this clip has already been posted, but it's just too funny and says so much that I'll take the risk. It's from the last visit from Ahmadinejad to Tabriz and tells A LOT about 'the significance' of these pro-regime rallies.

Note for non-persians speakers, Tiraktor is a football club from Tabriz.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Very helpful, Arshama! This goes some ways toward answering questions about organization and next steps of the opposition after the putative "turning point" of Ashura that we were batting around on another section of the EA site.

I find particularly telling Nader Uskowi's remark that "the issue of leadership seems less urgent than the harder task of organizing a large organic movement." Also Tavakoli's comment that "the question is whether the people out on the street risking their own lives will accept self-styled leaders coming from Washington, Paris or even recent exiles in countries neighboring Iran." Or to quote Tina Turner, "We don't need another hero." Especially, IMHO, Reza Pahlavi.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPBE

Look At This!
Thsi video clip from Ahsura appears to show a security officer firing what appears to be a gun into a crowd of people several times

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Does anybody know anything about these news?

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry Called on People to Spy on Opposition

Yesterday something similar was reported by Ulrich Pick from Istanbul:
Oppositionelle am Pranger
... Die iranische Polizei veröffentlichte auf ihrer Webseite rund 100 Fotos von Teilnehmern der Straßenschlachten vom Sonntag. Wie es heißt, hätten sie polizeiliches Eigentum zerstört, weshalb man die Öffentlichkeit um Mithilfe zur Identifizierung aufrufe.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOutsider

From the website of DES (Dalian Eagle Sky Industries Co., Ltd), the company that is building these marvellous anti-riot vehicles:
“DES’s mission is to ensure that every transaction is safe and see to it that our customers get the quality goods and better service with competitive prices. Our vision is to be the leading provider of quality goods, related technology and services that contribute to the development of a sustainable society in all business segments DES serves.”

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOutsider

Upps, forgot to name the URL:

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOutsider

"People’s expectations of the judiciary are very high. Of course we are aware that the judiciary has certain limitations now and cannot act like the courts of the early days of the Revolution. But if they had acted like those days this affair would have been over long ago.

Some analysts contend that in those years, amidst terrorism and the war with Iraq, Iran’s judicial system authorised summary execution without full trials."

And in those years Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami were cheering the executions. I guess they've "matured" since then in more ways than one.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Katzmann, Oskuyie and other specialists: Real leaders of the Green movement are forming up and will emerge within the next months.

Ha Ha as quoted in a propaganda trash news source owned by a Korean cult. Very reliable, I'm sure.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

I have finally come to understand who is behind all the unrest in Iran

It is not the US, or the English -- not really the Zionists .


In fact, even more disturbing - Bahais LED by the Zionists. OF COURSE!!

Why didn't anybody tell me this before? How could I have missed this obvious connection?

I wonder if the Iranian Regime has fully considered the possibility of the ESKIMOS also being involved in this. Hmm - it could be possible.


January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

“Iran has imported high-tech armored anti-riot vehicles..."

ABOUT TIME AND WAY OVERDUE!!! As I've argued here and other places the Govt's main problem with the MKO/greenies is one of riot control and the solution is technical in nature. What could be simpler, the MKO/greenies decide in advance to hijack a certain significant day and they put everyone on notice. The Govt knows the date, everyone here knows the date, fishermen in Brazil know the date. For a country with advanced ballistic missiles effective, non-lethal riot control should be simplicity itself. It is beyond belief that the govt. has not done this before. Below is what I wrote after the MKO/green Ashura riots:

The govt. does have somewhat of a problem with riot control and it is mostly of a technical nature. Firearms should not really be used unless it is to defend the lives of the security forces or in a Tianamen Square type assault where the aim is to wipe out the protestors once and for all like China did 20 years ago.

I suggest that the security forces implement three steps immediately:

First it is clear that the tear gas being employed is not exactly state of the art. The green mobs are not being affected quickly enough. Either a more concentrated form must be used or one that blends tear gas with any type of military grade pepper spray.

Second it is inexplicable that the security forces are not equipped with either plastic or rubber bullets to deal with crowd control. These are very effective and minimize the need for hand to hand combat. Used correctly they would take down the rioters easily. Of course they are non-lethal.

Third, the police should consider the use of trained snipers with small caliber scoped rifles. Nothing is more effective in diffusing a tense situation than a few well placed rounds below the waist directed against riot leaders. Again non-lethal and only if the first two measures prove inadequate which is unlikely.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Please please keep ignoring Samuel pasdar as he tries to irritate and agitate the debate.
The issue is the Regime including its clown AN have lost all legitimacy and has been obvious for awhile that they have no interest in Islam,Elextion and Human rights of Iranians. The a bunch corrupt fat cats how will not budge without blood shed as Samuel if representing them well here.
The issue is to provide as much support for the Iranian oppositions of all persuation agreeing on the basics of rejection of the velayate Vaghih and a free and fair election under UN observation.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim

if this hasn't been posted already, maybe smoking gun document ?

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpessimist

Best wishes to all for an excellent 2010. May it see the end of tyranny in Iran and the institution of a free and democratic country.

Two things:

1- I recommend reading this excellent analysis

2- Re the disputed numbers at the regime rally, I want to remind all that in 1978-1979 anti-Shah rallies in Tehrand gathered 2-3M people at a time when the entire city counted fewer than 5M inhabitants. Given the current population of Tehran,a regime that has broad support should have attracted way above 5 million. Even if we accepted the regime's 1M estimate at Wednesday's rally, that's just miserable and that's another tangible sign of the poor support this regime has among the masses.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPic

Back to 1979 indeed. Don't arrest them. Kill them.
On state television. Who is Haeri Shirazi?

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarolien

I find it a very close call as to whether Mousavi's statement is one where he is seeking a political compromise, or steeling for an inevitable showdown. [Of course, it doesn't help matters that my Persian is atrocious, and so I'm pretty much forced to read translations.] Perhaps his statement is actually paving the way for either conciliation or confrontation in equal measures - but one can still read into it an *expectation* of a particular result.

Right now, I'm leaning towards the interpretation that he's trying to leave the door open for either modus operandi, but he is *expecting* that the regime will turn him down and force the showdown. However, I'm definitely reserving the right to change that opinion once I get to read Scott's and other experts' analysis as they come out in the next day or two.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Scott

Kevin, I agree with your assessment. Moussavi's leaving the door slightly open but harbor's little hope. Rezaii's letter to KH was probably coordinated with Moussavi's statement.
The Shah would have seized the open hand but I'd be surprised if these arrogant folks do.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPic

Please refer to my comment at 11:57 at the top which might help.
I think has asked for a minimum which surely wil be rejected by the Militant regime and as a result will disarm them even further leading them to the final drop of Legitimacy.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Is anyone aware of any study done analyzing the economic policies of the 1st AN government? I think that's a gold mine to show the extent of the regime's incompetence and rapaciousness.

How many billions have been spent vs. invested on the infrastructure, industry and trade? In 1979 Iran was ahead of South Korea, but in spite of the billions of dollars of oil revenue, what do we have to show? Missiles, uranium production, "Sahar 2 satellite news services (that for sure will help us correct our views about the great Khameneinejad gang), and what else? Of course, to his credit, AN is working very hard on reducing unemployment by hiring more bassijis...

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPic

"Firearms should not really be used unless it is to defend the lives of the security forces or in a Tianamen Square type assault where the aim is to wipe out the protestors once and for all like China did 20 years ago."

Hey Samuel, bodygard of Dalai Lama, convert to tibetan buddhism, does this show you have 'matured' ? I don't like tibetan buddhism, neither DL, neither chinese repression, but neither tibetan nationalists. I sympathise with those who want to get their normal human rights, be rid of religious tyranny and superstition.

unless your tibetan stuff was another so called provocation ? Maybe I missed some comments. Please enlighten me.

January 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpessimist

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