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The Latest from Iran (27 January): Battle Renewed

1715 GMT: Satellite Wars? Iran's Al-Alam television service has again been taken off-air by its Saudi-based satellite operator.

Al Alam was also briefly suspended in November. The cited reason was a contractual breach by the Saudi and Egyptian owners of the satellite service, although political tensions between Tehran, Riyadh, and Cairo may also have been involved.

1700 GMT: The German Menace. Oh, dear, it is a slow news day. Media are running with the Iran regime/media baton of the "German plot" behind the Ashura demonstrations (see 1130 GMT). Reuters put it on their newsfeed, and The Los Angeles Times' Babylon and Beyond has devoted a blog entry to the whipped-up story, which goes back to the brief detention of two German diplomats during the protest of 27 December.

At least the LA Times piece has some interesting related information, beyond the silliness of supposed German code names "Yogi" and "Ingo". For example, the Iranian intelligence official pointed to the Facebook page, from which EA often takes information and English translation, supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi: "Through his Facebook page, Mr. Mir-Hossein Mousavi had called for his supporters to turn out. Mr. Mousavi has never denied the page was run by him."

NEW Latest Iran Video: When Karroubi Met Fars (25 January)
NEW Iran & Karroubi: Why This is “Much Ado About Something”
Iran: Rafsanjani Chooses A Side?
Iran Special Analysis: What Karroubi’s Statement on “Mr Khamenei”/”Head of Government” Means
Latest Iran Audio: Hossein Karroubi on His Father’s Statement (25 January)
The Latest from Iran (26 January): Now for the Follow-Up….

(Message to our friends in the regime: in fact, Mir Hossein Mousavi has never had a connection with the page, which was set up by an Iranian in Germany who became enthused about the Mousavi Presidential campaign. That is why EA never cites information from that page as a reflection of Mousavi's views)

The Iranian official also put out the latest "directorate of exiles" supervising regime change: cleric Mohsen Kadivar, journalist Akbar Ganji, former culture minister Ataollah Mohajerani, filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and former lawmaker Fatemeh Haghighatjoo.

(Message to our friends in the regime: of those 5, exactly 0 are based in Germany --- 4 are in the US and 1 in France. If you're going to keep up this "German plot" thing, may want to find someone who actually has a resident's-eye view of the Brandenburg Gate.)

1445 GMT: Sanctions Spin. A "senior US official" has told media that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will use meetings in London this week, primarily devoted to Afghanistan and Yemen, to press other countries to accept new international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

1345 GMT: On the Economic Front. The story is throughout "Western" media that the German manufacturer Siemens is ending all interests in Iran.

1200 GMT: A Pause in Service. I'm off to Dublin for 24 hours so EA colleagues will keep an eye out for developments. Keep sending in any information --- it's a slow day so far....

1130 GMT: OK, Let's Try Blaming the Germans. Slow day today so nice of the Government and Iranian state media to raise a smile with their latest "findings":
Iran's Intelligence Ministry said Wednesday it has found evidence that German diplomats played a role in last month's "anti-revolution riots" in Tehran.

"Anti-Islamic Revolution agents, networks backed by Western intelligence services" and those who seek to promote sedition in the country had planned the Ashura riots in advance, the Iranian Students News Agency quoted a deputy intelligence minister as saying....

The intelligence official also said an advisor to the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi had also been arrested.

"Based on documents obtained from this person, he transferred confidential information to foreign countries through the ringleader of intelligence services of a European country," the official said.

1000 GMT: We've posted the video behind the fuss over the Karroubi statement on Monday --- his encounter with Fars News even includes a kiss on the head for the reporter.

0800 GMT: The Economic Front. An EA reader writes:
For what it's worth, spoke with a close family member in Iran today. It seems panic there is building about the economic situation. For one, there is fear about what is going to happen with money in the banks and more generally to the economy if the banks break down.

But that is the lesser fear. Most Iranians I know never fully trusted banks (or the rial) and so put money that they have (if they have it) into land, gold, and other assets. On the other hand, real panic building about the pulling of subsidies. Most Iranians I know live a middle middle-class lifestyle. They will not likely get any "direct payments" from the government, but will see their gas and utility bills quadruple. They don't know how they are going to afford it.

0715 GMT: For the first time in 48 hours, we're drawing breath amidst a lull in breaking news. We have posted a morning analysis, "Much Ado About Something", to go through the latest developments on the Karroubi statement and to draw out its political significance.

And, for those who missed it last night, we have also cast an eye over Hashemi Rafsanjani's latest statement to see if it has any immediate importance.

Reader Comments (27)

Mohammad Kazem Anbarlooyi (hard-liner), in an article in Resalat ( prinsipalist's paper),
has threatened the government ; that if she does not reduce and limit her relations
with Great Britain, people may just occupy the British embassy like they did invade the American embassy back in 1979 !!

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeace Maker

We did not hear people to say "Marg br Inglis" (down with Britain). We heard people saying "Marg br Rooseyeh" (down with Russia) and "Marg br Chin" (down with China).

Which people is Mohammad Kazem Anbarlooyi referring to? Is he talking about people of Iran? If so, does he understand Farsi? May be he should listen to people in this video during the infamous July 17, 2009 Friday Prayer.

Is it possible that Anbalooyi’s bank account in Britain faces winter freeze and he plans to have his Basiji thugs to thaw it for him?

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

corrected copy

We did not hear people saying “Marg br Inglis” (down with Britain). We heard people saying “Marg br Rooseyeh” (down with Russia) and “Marg br Chin” (down with China).

Which people is Mohammad Kazem Anbarlooyi referring to? Is he talking about people of Iran? If so, does he understand Farsi? May be he should listen to people in this video during the infamous July 17, 2009 Friday Prayer.

Is it possible that Anbalooyi’s bank account in Britain faces winter freeze and he plans to have his Basiji thugs to thaw it for him?

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Errror after error. It was "GREMLINS" not "Germans" I tell you my man!!!! HA HA :)


January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Regardless of the temperature of the gentleman's bank account in Britain, directing the Basij to (disguise themselves as Green supporters and) misbehave at the British embassy is probably already in the cards.

As for blaming the Germans, this was clearly to be expected as soon as Merkel got the hots for tougher sanctions against Iran following her Monday tete-a-tete with Bibbi (, and a German construction company - also on on Monday - canceled its end of a contract to renovate the Bander Abbas Port in Iran after heavy diplomatic pressures from the Israeli government:

( On a side note, I suspect Israel may have convinced the Russians to nix Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili's visit to Russia, which was to start yesterday but no has been postponed indefinitely.)

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


The city of Hamburg is the biggest shareholder of HLLA ( German construction company) . The federal state goverment of Hamburg made pressure to decline this
" little business " ....
But - normaly it`s not so easy with the german economy - a short summary written by " handelsblatt "

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni

Catherine and Gunni,

Thanks for all your additional news on German-Iranian trade relations.
As to the declined HLLA deal, its Iranian counterpart is Tidewater Shipping and Marine Services, owned by the IRGC. I gathered some informations about their companies (Anguran, Iralco, Sadra etc.) here:

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

A family member in Tehran reports that she was able to pull approx 9,000$ out of the bank, only to be followed by a group of thugs, and later jumped and robbed. Her theory is that these thugs may in fact be part of the gov. trying to 1) create an atmosphere of fear surrounding banks withdrawals and 2) separate people physically from their money and return it to the bank. One thing is for sure, rumors are swirling and chaos reigns.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJames

As soon as the west starts to stop buying iranian oil, changes will come. Till then they make money and people continue to have problems

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternews

Good news: Ban on newspaper "Farhang-e Ashti" (Culture of Reconciliation)

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Let me just say that the sort of kiss Karrubi gave to the reporter was more of an insult than a real kiss. I mean not an insult insult, but it was definitely sarcastic. I don't know if it is obvious to any one, but it certainly is to an Iranian.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhamed

It was pretty much like kissing a child on the forehead.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBosco

Re. 1700 GMT: The German Menace.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the decision of the German company Siemens to pull out of Iran:,1518,674320,00.html
and German government’s tougher stance against the Iranian regime.

Back in June the British government blocked USD 1.6 billion of IRI’s money in UK accounts, and it became a Satan worst than the Great Satan (according to SL’s 19 June Friday player speech). And now the Germans are behind everything which is bad in Iran (not to mention the usual suspects: the US and Israel and an assortment of dancers, drunk, etc).

According to IRI everyone is lining up to have a go at them. By their own admission they must be going something very wrong.

I have to add the IRI seems to have good relations with opportunists like Chavez, Thugs like Hammas and Hezbollah and a few island nations with populations of less than one million... way to go.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreeny


The German Menace is surely related to the Siemens pull out. This company is omnipresent in Iran. I remember a small signboard on the route between Kerman and Shahdad, i.e. somewhere in no-man's-land at the Western border of the huge Lut desert ;-)

Best quote from LA Times article: "Mr Mousavi has a 'German Group' team, comprised of graduates of Germany," he said. "They promote the culture and ideology of that country."

Ja, ja, we promote Sauerkraut and Habermas :-)

If the IRI continues like this, only few countries will be left over for their usual plot stories, I fear...

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

a quick correction - of those five individual cited, three live in the US (Kadivar, Ganji, Haghighatjoo), one in France (Makhmalbaf), and one in the UK (Mohajerani lives in London).

but your point still holds... none in Germany.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAn activist Green Lurker

Wasn't this the day when Iranian banks were going to crash or close their doors? There is the dire economic note from 08:00 GMT above, but nothing approximating Black Friday. That might deserve a comment...

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPBE

The "German Plot" :

Arrested Germans are no diplomats but belong to the security personnell of the German embassy in Tehran (German police). Maybe one of them had contact to Iranian civilians sympathizing with Green movement. Much Ado Nothing as so many IRI fake and pseudo news of the last weeks.

Going public after weeks with this intermezzo has more to do with Siemens' retreat and German Gov's louder calls for sanctions.

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulianus

Is there an Iranian expression for "kiss of death"? Karroubi doesn't seem like the type whose calm demeanor usually cracks. An expression of sarcastic frustration like that seems out of character for him.

To me this lends credence to my theory that he was forced to speak to Fars News and say the line they wanted him to say about Khamenei certifying Ahmadinejad. That's why he was so especially angry with the Fars reporter that he couldn't help himself and just expressed his frustration and anger, like, "What more do you want from me? You and I both know you already got what you needed so run along, fool."

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Magdalen

arshama , greeny

The background for the "german menace" is the german calling for tougher sanctions. What have to be seen also are the opportunities Merkel and Westerwelle used to make official statements about sanctions: westerwelle used his first official visits in China and Turkey, merkel was talking about sanctions during the visits of Netanyahu and Peres in Berlin . I think the latter is the most annoying point for the regime in Tehran - because chancelor merkel and prime minister netanyahu were also negotiating about submarins - manufactured and financed by germany. ( last paragraph )
p.s. arshama - your link (wordpress) regarding "tidewater" isn`t working -
it `s http://

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni


Thanks for your information about the link, I changed it already.
As to the submarines, you certainly refer to the Dolphin Class, which has a range of up to 8000 miles (2.800 according to France 24):
Strangely enough no information was available in online German newspapers, only here:
I also found a nice photo with a photoshopped Israeli flag ;-)
(Hopefully all links are still valid on this page.)

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


Today's headline of “Los Angeles Times” is
"IRAN: Intelligence officer alleges link between Germany and opposition" (January 27, 2010).

As I [a German by birth and nationality] - though very rarely - put a posting on the LATimes blog, it gradually and then with increasing speed dawned on me: The responsible – even if unvoluntary tortfeaser, unaware of his dark deeds - culprit was obviously me. I therefore did not want to put the responsibility for my – you might call them atrocious - violations of international law last. I thus immediately settled down to write and post the following confession including my deepest regrets and profoundest apologies:


I am rather taken aback and extremely dismayed - to say the least - that the commentaries I had posted here on the online-blog of LATimes might have led to these immense and gigantic repercussions in Iran. The 15th-June-post-election demonstrations had brought about 3 million protesters on to the streets of Teheran. And all this, because the Iranian masses desired to do everything in their power to rally behind and around me, a German. Although the last thing I had intended to achieve and cause was this hitherto unprecedented peaceful uprising of the Iranian people.
All the same I feel obliged to thank LATimes to have informed me that it was all my fault as a German, that I am the German mentor of the Iranian people and the German instigator of skepticism, doubts and critical questions on the part of the Iranian masses.

Never in my life so far had I thought, that the fact of me being German would make me a collective and consummate combination of Spartacus, Lenin, Trotsky, Gandhi, Mao-Tse-Tung, Lumumba, Che Guevara, Castro, Nasser, Sandino, Zapata and Pancho Villa taken together - for the people in Iran.

After some reflection and second thoughts I have arrived at the conclusion that from now on, and that means e.g. next time, I will be more circumspect with my commentaries/letters to the editor and their impact on Iranian affairs, when writing here on the LATimes-blog.

Please accept my sincere apologies for having caused an uprising of a far weightier impact than The Ten Days That Shook The World or Insurgent Mexico (both witness accounts of the Russian and the Mexican Revolution by John Reed ).

Apologies ! «

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPublicola

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security triumphs again!

You should never have thought that you could get away with it - now you realize that the Ministry is ever-present , almost omniscient in their understanding of all things.

The Thinkpol of the Ministry have always been aware of your thoughtcrime - now you will go to Room 101.


January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

The IRONY of the regimes response to Germany: One only needs to look a little further East to find another state that acts with the same pentulant child like attitude when they don't get their way. That state would be North Korea. Just like the North Koreans, when the regime in Iran does not get their way they manufacture a crisis to shift blame. It is something eerily reminiscent of all present and past totalitarian regimes ruled by the few and not the people. Iran is displaying all the characteristic attributes of a totalitarian regime:

1) Paranoia: It is everyone elses fault. One only needs to read OpressTV(aka PressTV) for a few days to see this. Literally everday over 75% of their articles focus on the ills of the other with almost no mention any problems on the home front. To the regime it is one conspiracy theory after another. This false front is very much akin to the utopia portrayed in old Soviet propoganda.

2) Self grandeur: How many times have we heard Ahmandinejad say they have all the answers and their "Islam" is the answer to all the world's ills. Again, they utter these nonsensical epithets completely oblivious, or willingly, of the ills their own system causes.

3) The "enemy": Accompanying the paranoia is the ubiquitous tag line of "the enemy." Just about every other statement out of the regime is framed in the context of the "enemy." This allows them regime to portray just about anything critical of the regime as an attack rather than constructive criticism. This adversarial approach does not help resolve any issue but in fact perpetuates it.

4) Dillusion: This is akin to grandeur but bears mentioning because it precipatates such statements that "the west is out to stop the emergence of the Hidden Imam", we are invicible and stronger than ever, and our reality is the only truth.

5) My system is more important than the people: This is best exemplified by Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi's statement: "It doesn't matter what the people think. The people are ignorant sheep." In addition, all the rights violated during the protests show many share Yazdi's beliefs.

Simply put the regime suffers from Schizophrenia "A psychiatric diagnosis that describes a neuropsychiatric and mental disorder characterized by abnormalities in the perception or expression of reality." Can we all say Marg Bar Schizonphrenia!


January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Bill - that about sums it up. But for good measure let's add 6) systematic violent repression of dissidents/opposition and their circle of friends and family, and 7) secret a/o special prisons for political prisoners.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

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