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Entries in Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (7)


The Latest from Iran (23 January): Looking for Clues

2155 GMT: Kalemeh reports that the wife of the late Seyed Ahmad Khomeini, the son of Ayatollah Khomeini, has been attacked by clerical students.

1905 GMT: Economic Rumour or Reality (cont. --- see 1135 GMT)? The "bank crisis" continues to spark Internet chatter, whether accurate or mischievous --- the German-based Akhbar Rooz reports on bank closures after panicked customers tried to withdraw their money because of reports of bankruptcies. And Voice of America Persian is now broadcasting on the topic.

Iran Discussion: How Would Ahmadinejad Fall? (And What Would Come Next?)
Iran: A Response to “The Plot Against Ahmadinejad”
UPDATED Iran: The Plot Against President Ahmadinejad
The Latest from Iran (22 January): Breaking News

1900 GMT: You Couldn't Make It Up (Unless You're Iranian State Media). Earlier this week Kayhan, the "hard-line" Iranian newspaper, reported that a US "HARP" energy-shifting weapon caused the earthquake in Haiti.

We noted the item in amazement and good humour --- as a reader noted, shrewd Iranians think of Kayhan as Iran's version of The Onion, the satirical US "newspaper" --- and thought that would be that. However, Press TV, linking up with Venezuelan partners, keeps the joke going today:

An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before the weapons could be utilized against Iran.

United States Navy test of one of its 'earthquake weapons' which was to be used against Iran, went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report.

1845 GMT: Arrest at Beheshti Ceremony. Norooz reports that the son-in-law of Ali Reza Beheshti, the detained Mousavi chief of staff, was taken away by Iranian authorities today. The arrest occurred at the protest/ceremony (see 1500 GMT) at the grave of Ayatollah Beheshti, Ali Reza's father.

1635 GMT: Rafsanjani Chooses A Side or Issues a Warning? The Los Angeles Times, via Iranian Labor News Agency, reports on remarks by Hashemi Rafsanjani today: "At the present juncture, I consider the Supreme Leader to be the most competent individual to resolve the problems the Islamic Republic is currently faced with."

Rafsanjani's remarks follows Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech this week calling on "elites" to stop being ambiguous in the current conflict and to choose sides. Beyond his apparent declaration of allegiance --- note the "at the present juncture" --- Rafsanjani maintained a customary general call for unity, "I'm quite sure that moderate individual from both political camps in the country can help the Supreme Leader find solutions to the existing problems."

Then, however, Rafsanjani offered some intriguing remarks on "extremism":
I've always based my action on moderation and refrained from any extremism. Since the victory of the revolution, we have not witnessed proper conditions any time extremists were given room to maneuver....

Extremists have always cleared the way for counterrevolutionaries to damage Islam, the regime and its leadership. As far as I know (emphasis added) the Supreme Leader, he never favors illegal acts and extremisms from any political factions.

Rafsanjani followed this with an invocation which could be read either as a defense of velayat-e-faqih (clerical supremacy) or a veiled put-down that Ayatollah Khamenei has not maintained the high standards required of his position:
The Islamic Republic has managed to reach stability thanks to popular support and the leadership of Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini who won people's hearts. Today, all forces loyal to the system and the revolution should feel obliged to safeguard this valuable legacy. The world will open to us if we effectively create a free and developed country free of any superstition.

1630 GMT: Fars News has posted an article on today's trial of three detainees arrested during the Ashura protests. The three are among five defendants who are on trial; all today were accused of links to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO).

1623 GMT: Neda's Birthday Ceremony. Setareh Sabety translates the account, provided by an Iranian activist (see 1500 GMT), of today's ceremony on the birthday of Neda Agha Soltan:
Near 2 p.m. we reached plot 257, Neda’s grave was adorned with candles, rose petals and pictures of her childhood. From the first moments...plainclothesmen in cars and on motorcycles started surrounding the plot.

Neda’s mother claimed (Iranian authorities) had not allowed her to hold a 40th day memorial for her daughter so she had to commemorate her birthday instead. The previous day authorities had told Neda’s brother that holding a birthday (celebration) for her was allowed as long as no slogans were chanted.

Slowly the number of people attending the ceremony increased. Present were mourning mothers and their supporters and tens of (other) individuals who had made it to the cemetery. When Neda’s mother saw the people appearing one by one, as she was crying loudly, she addressed her martyred daughter, "Neda darling, wake up and see how many guests are here for you. Last year you were alone. Wake Up!” The distraught mother would sometimes sit by her daughter’s grave and stare at it, remembering her.... It seemed like the people surrounding this mother and her daughter’s tomb were remembering Neda’s last open-eyed look. The look that seemed to scream freedom!

Neda’s birthday cake was placed on her tomb with a ‘27’ on it, while her mother cried, “My darling Neda is twenty-seven, People’s Neda is 27 years old." As the crowd increased around 2:45 p.m., two cars from security forces stood facing plot 257. The security forces stepped out with three plainclothes men --- Neda’s aunt was taking pictures of the tomb when the forces spoke to Neda’s father and asked to see the pictures in Neda’s aunt’s mobile phone.

Ashkan Sohrabi’s mother called and (said) that on Navab St. officers stopped cars and kept them from going to Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. For as long as 15 minutes they had prevented Ashkan’s family from moving. Finally they managed to get to Behesht-e Zahra from another route.

At the end of the commemoration the Mourning Mothers stood in front of Neda’s tomb and quietly sang this poem from Parvin:

You left my heart is heavy
From the night you did not return
Blissful world turned sad
From the night you failed to return

At 3:25 p.m. an unmarked white van stopped in front of plot 257 and a few plainclothes men came out as though to make the crowd disperse.

1610 GMT: Radio Farda reports that, during today's meeting with the family of Ali Reza Beheshti after the ceremony protesting his detention (see 1500 GMT), Mehdi Karroubi declared that the road to resolve the issue of detainee abuse "had been closed".

It is unclear whether Karroubi's statement was in response to the overtures from Ali Larijani (see yesterday's updates) for opposition leaders to join a process of reconciliation.

1505 GMT: Amidst his further allegations of Government abuses and crimes over the Kahrizak Prison scandal (noted as part of the coverage of "The Plot Against Ahmadinejad"), Abdolhossein Rumolamini claimed that a fourth detainee, Ramin Aghazadeh Ghahremani, was killed at the facility last year. The incident was covered up to “avoid hurting the public's conscience”.

1500 GMT: Two Ceremonies. Family, mourning mothers, and supporters gathered at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan this afternoon. Activists report that security forces stopped some people from attending.

A ceremony was also held at the grave of the late Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti to protest the detention of his son Ali Reza, chief advisor to Mir Hossein Mousavi. Those attending were family members of the martyrs of 7-Tir, killed in an attack soon after the 1979 Revolution which took 72 lives, including Ayatollah Beheshti. The family members also Hashemi Rafsanjani, in his role as the head of the Expidency Council and the Assembly of Experts, to protest Ali Reza Behesti's imprisonment.

1300 GMT: We have posted an urgent update in "The Plot Against Ahmadinejad": a new interview with Abdolhossein Ruholamini with claims on the Kahrizak Prison deaths, printed in the newspapers linked to both Mohsen Rezaei and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

1235 GMT: Alef News has continued its pressure on the Government, opening a discussion on the problems of the Presidential election.

1225 GMT: Mohammad Hassan Haeri Shirazi, the son of Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, has continued his challenge to the Supreme Leader. Having criticised Khamenei for overseeing a deterioration of democracy and the moves to an oppressive regime, Haeri Shirazi has declared that the Supreme Leader must be accountable for the actions of his headquarters and associated institutions (IRIB, Revolutionary Guards and Basiji, Islamic Propaganda Organization, deputies in universities, Kayhan newspaper, and the Guardian Council).

1150 GMT: Health Concerns. In addition to the heart attack of Mousavi advisor Ali Reza Beheshti, Rooz Online notes the transfer to hospital of Hassan Ahmadian, head of the Mousavi campaign's public committee, because of a worsening kidney condition.

1145 GMT: The 31 Manifesto (cont. --- see 0845 GMT). Rooz Online has an English translation of an interview with Dariush Ashouri, one of the expatriate intellectuals who signed this week's declaration: "The Green movement’s strategy of nonviolence is a reflection of a new political philosophy in Iranian society. The foundations of this philosophy are the principles of tolerance and pluralism."

1135 GMT: Economic Rumour or Reality? After chatter this week that Iran's major banks are on the verge of insolvency, Peyke Iran reports that the Bank-e Mellat branch in Tehran's Bazaar was closed by security forces. And Rah-e-Sabz writes that the Government has asked Parliament for 15 billion Toman ($15.2 million) to ease the cash problems of the banks.

1125 GMT: Mediawatch (2). Britain's Channel 4 goes for human interest rather than political recommendation, featuring an interview with Caspian Makan, the fiancé of Neda Agha Soltan. Neda, who died from a Basiji gunshot on 20 June, would have been 27 today.

1010 GMT: Mediawatch. A big symbol of the changing line in the US Government and associated networks towards the Green movement comes in Richard Haass' "Enough Is Enough" for Newsweek, as he explains, "Why we can no longer remain on the sidelines in the struggle for regime change in Iran".

Haass, who was a high-level official in the State Department in the Bush Administration and now heads the Council on Foreign Relations, marks himself out as a "realist" in the artificial divide from "neo-conservative".
However, given the stalemate in the talks on Iran's nuclear programme, Haass now believes, "The United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights."

Given Haass' place in the Washington-New York corridor of power and his image as a "moderate", the column is being quickly picked up as a sanction for the US Government's backing of the Iranian opposition. Barbara Slavin of The Washington Times and Laura Rozen of Politico, both channels for and gatekeepers of the acceptable in US foreign policy, are already circulating the article.

0955 GMT: The Moving Image of Protest. More directors, including Britain's Ken Loach, have announced that they will not attend Iran's Fajr Film Festival.

0950 GMT: Launch of the "Greenlist". Sabzlist, a listing service for the Green movement, has been launched. Initial posts include requests for volunteers, offers of assistance, and a call for an MC for a fundraiser.

0940 GMT: Non-Story of the Week. Press TV's website announces, "An Iranian lawmaker says the Parliament (Majlis) has settled on limiting relations with Britain, rather than a full severance of ties as advocated in a bill last week."

The bill, if passed, would still have consequences, reducing the level of diplomatic representation between Iran and Britain from Ambassador to Chargé d'Affaires. However, it is primarily a vehicle for bluster about "foreign intervention", as in lawmaker Hossein Sobhani-Nia's declaration, "Considering the gross interference of the British government in the post-election developments, the Parliament (Majlis) has opted for lowering the level of ties between Tehran and London."

0830 GMT: Claims of the Week. Peyke Iran has two stories which raises eyebrows. The first asserts that the relatives of high-ranking officials are fleeing Iran and seeking asylum abroad.

The website also alleges that children are now being detained when their activist parents are arrested by Iranian authorities.

0825 GMT: The 31 Manifesto. This week's statement by 31 Iranian intellectuals and artists, calling for a new system in which government is separated from religion, continues to attract attention. Deutsche Welle Persian features an interview with signatory Hossein Bagherzadeh, who declares that the Green movement differs from the 1979 Revolution.

0820 GMT: Movin' On Up. President Ahmadinejad's advisor on press affairs, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, is reportedly going to become the head of the Islamic Republic News Agency.

0815 GMT: A new Green website, Neda-ye Sabz-e Azadi, has been launched and has immediately been filtered by Iranian authorities.

0800 GMT: We begin this morning by reviewing yesterday's feature on "The Plot Against President Ahmadinejad". There is an update evaluating how the story stands up 24 hours later, and Chris Emery and an EA Iran specialist consider the complications of removing the President and what comes next.

UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 3-5)

Like the first two parts of the video, translation is by our friends at The Flying Carpet Institute:


Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 1 and 2)



Part 3

*Among all those people you have put in jail, Behzad Nabavi (prominent reformist detained after the Presidential vote) told me that, four days prior to the elections, they had already issued his arrest warrant.

Let’s assume that (former US Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger was responsible for Nabavi’s political activities. Now I ask you, since when does Mr.Kissinger decide for an Iranian? You pretend to love the Imam (Khomeini), but it was he who saidm “America can’t do a damn thing”! Kissinger was decades ago the foreign minister of the United States and now you make him bigger than he is. If Kissinger had so much power to organize protests inside Iran, why couldn’t he avoid Ahmadinejad's re-election, who by your claims won the majority of the votes. So please don’t say things that might ridicule yourselves.

*You put a lot of people in jail and that is contradicting with the values of Islam. And now people are critical to you. They are critical both of your economic and political policies.

*Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shi'a Islam) said, “Keep those people close to yourselves who criticize you. Their words might even be bitter but in the end you will benefit from them.”

*You closed many newspapers. Keep in mind Ali’s words and please tell me now why you did that. Did they do anything else but express their dissatisfaction? Didn’t they just criticize you the way Ali wished?

*When I talked with students before the election, they said that they consider (Mir Hossein) Mousavi a conservative and a representative of the establishment. Mr. Mousavi, who is a conservative, is according to you now the leader of the Fitna (sedition) and a counter-revolutionary. Even Ali saidm “If you want to rule be wise and fair because nobody is free from error and even I can make mistakes.” But whatever your opponent says, you try to crush him. An opponent who even has not the opportunities you have….

Please tell us how we can express our opposition. I will be very thankful if you could help me out. We say that according to Article 27 of our Constitution it is allowed to protest publicly. We even demanded a live TV debate where at the end of it people can decide by SMS (text message) who is right and who is not.

*One of your parliamentary colleagues once said that the price of fuel must be maximum 30 Tomans. Now your colleagues say 600-700 tomans? What does that mean? My conclusion is that the government has absolutely not a clue what it is doing....You don’t have a proper plan to solve the country'ss problems and that makes the people angry.

Again, you forbid the people to have their own free media, you forbid them to hold rallies and you generally forbid people to gather. Please tell me, what are we allowed to do in this country?

Part 4

*Your faction in Parliament once said that the reformers had no economic agenda when they ruled the country, but the truth is that our policies were far more effective than yours. You said that we couldn’t people’s problems. What about you?

Let me say this: The problems of the people must be solved by democratic measures. The conservative elite turned down a lot of candidates for Parliament for whatever reasons. If you don’t let peoples true representatives enter the parliament, be sure that the problems can’t be solved.*

*It’s a fact that the more democratic the system is, the wealthier its people are. I simple comparison between Eastern Europe and the more democratic Western Europe shows that.

*It’s a shame that officially 14% of our people are living under the poverty line, and we are becoming even poorer, despite the fact that we are an oil-rich country.…

Part 5

*I’ll give you an example of Saadat Abad in Tehran. You know that Saadat Abad is in uptown Tehran (Balaye Shahr) and that the average of its inhabitants is wealthier than in most other parts of Tehran. I remember that the price for bread (Noone Sangak) was 200 tomans and every time I wanted bread I had to wait in a very long queue. Now when I want to buy bread there is no queue, because people have to pay 500 tomans nowadays. So if even the rich can’t afford bread, now imagine how the lives of those people who live under the poverty line are.

*We had written a letter to the Supreme Leader to solve the country's problems and [said] that the representatives will face serious difficulties in legitimating themselves if the problems aren’t solved. But you attacked us back then and said that we were disrespectful to the Supreme Leader.

*According to the law of the Islamic Republic, it was our right to send representatives as observers to the polling stations. That’s according to your own laws, and when we demanded that, you said that we are part of an international conspiracy.

*You pretend that every single vote is holy but 700,000 votes in Tehran, during the last parliamentary elections, were counted as invalid. We all know that the election supervisor was a staunch conservative.

*But what about the Presidential elections last summer? You even paid people to vote for you. On 25 Khordad (15 June) people showed their dissatisfaction about the way the counting of the votes was conducted.

*Imam Ali said: “If people are suspicious of you, you must convince them about your aims. You will benefit only because your people will thank you. And you have showed that you are capable to serve them."

*You are afraid that people could riot when you let them protest. But I ask you this: What are paying the security forces (Nirooye Entezaami) for?

*By what logic did the Ahmadinejad hold his “victory rally” right after the elections, when the Guardian Council hadn’t even confirmed the result yet?*

*You seriously say that the regime showed tolerance after the elections? How can you even say that when you didn’t let people gather legally, when you jailed prominent reformists? Their “crimes” were to hold speeches for Mousavi and Karoubi before the elections. Please tell me were the regime was tolerant!

*We acknowledge fair and free elections and accept our defeat but when 8 of 12 members of the Guardian Council are known as staunch supporters of Ahmadinejad, you don’t have to wonder why people don’t accept the election results.

*You say that you predicted the people’s reactions? Of course you predicted it, because you knew that you would make people angry. If you have plans to slap someone in the face, it's normal that you predict a reaction. So your prediction was no masterwork.

*The policies of this administration are an insult to people’s intellect. You build a defective railroad system from Shiraz to Tehran. The second time this railroad was used by a train it jumped the rails. You built this railroad system only for propaganda reasons to win more votes. Your policies are fatal and then you wonder why people are angry with you.

Latest Iran News (16 January): Ripples

2210 GMT: Wow, Couldn't See That Coming.

What we wrote at 0745 GMT: "Some media were looking forward to today's "5+1" (US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany) meeting on Iran's nuclear programme. Even if that gathering had significance for the internal situation in Iran, it is unlikely to produce any results: China has declined to send a high-level official, blocking any move towards further sanctions on Tehran."

What Associated Press reported an hour ago: "Top diplomats from six key powers focused on possible new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program at a meeting Saturday, but reached no agreement, Russia's deputy foreign minister said."

NEW Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Part 3)
UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Parts 1 and 2)
NEW Iran: The 15 Points of “The Secular Green Movement” (14 January)
NEW Iran Analysis: The “Opposition Within” and the Regime
Latest Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January)
Iran: Anger, Pain, & Fear — The Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
Latest Iran Video: Green Protest and the Iran-Belgium Football Match (14 January)
Iran: The Regime Censors the 1979 Revolution
Latest Iran Audio: The Last Lecture of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
The Latest from Iran (15 January): Refreshing?

2205 GMT: Writing in Exile. Nazila Fathi, The New York Times correspondent who fled her native country in June, has written an emotive account of post-election events and her departure. The article, however, also offers a powerful insight into how "new media" has re-shaped both opposition and coverage of it:

Last month, during and after the funeral of the reformist Grand Ayatollah Hossain Ali Montazeri, one of the demonstrators’ most useful tools was the Bluetooth short-range radio signal that Americans use mainly to link a cellphone to an earpiece, or a printer to a laptop. Long ago, Iranian dissidents discovered that Bluetooth can as easily link cellphones to each other in a crowd.

And that made “Bluetooth” a verb in Iran: a way to turn citizen reportage instantly viral. A protester Bluetooths a video clip to others nearby, and they do the same. Suddenly, if the authorities want to keep the image from escaping the scene, they must confiscate hundreds or thousands of phones and cameras.

The authorities have tried to fight back against such techniques and the Internet itself, but have fallen short. In November they announced that a new police unit, the “cyber-army,” would sweep the Web of dissent. It blocked Twitter feeds for a few hours in December, and an opposition Web site. But other blogs and Web sites mushroomed faster than the government could keep up.

2155 GMT: Ayande News continues to poke at the Government. It asks if Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, who warned Iranians against using e-mails or text messages to organise protests, has read the Constitution, since it forbids the monitoring of private communications.

2150 GMT: Fars News is reporting that a suicide bomber has been killed in an explosion in Mashhad.

2145 GMT: We have returned from a break to post the video and translation of the third part of Dr Javed Etaat's sustained criticism of the regime on an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting programme.

1840 GMT: On a fairly quiet day, we'll be on limited service this evening. Do keep sending in information, comments, and ideas.

1650 GMT: Mehdi Khalaji, the US-based journalist and scholar, has written an open letter to the Supreme Leader concerning the arrest of his father, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Khalaji.

1640 GMT: Atomic Diplomacy. Iran has launched a website to explain and promote its nuclear programme.

1630 GMT:Journalist Nader Karimi, who was arrested in November 2008, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

1550 GMT: A Technical Announcement. The "diversion" attack on Iran Hezbollah, and the counter-attack, are on the Persian landing page The main page is now 100% Hezbollah with no Iranian Cyber-Army/Iranian Green Army/getasexpartner messages.

1520 GMT: Battle of the Cyber-Warriors. A twist in the tale of the hacking of the Iran Hezbollah (Party of God) website (see 0750 GMT). The takeover of the site by the "Iranian Green Army", with a rather rude message and alternate domain name, has been superseded by a counter-takeover by the "Iranian Cyber Army". There is now a smiling Ayatollah Khamenei with the statement, "Site has been returned,and the Hacker(s) Has Been Traced By Iranian Cyber Army , We will catch them as soon possible."

Ahh, yes, the Iranian Cyber Army, the same outfit that claimed the diversion-of-traffic attacks on the opposition website Mowj-e-Sabz and Twitter. Given their service to a group close to the Iranian regime, should we conclude that the ICA is not just a collection of punk kids causing trouble?

(Just a tip, guys. If you are working for Hezbollah and the regime, you might want to check that domain name. The Supreme Leader now appears below the domain "".)

1510 GMT: Ali-Mohammadi's Protest. Iranian activists have posted a letter, including the signature of Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, asking for a cessation of violence against students.

1500 GMT: Iranian state media is reporting that the trial of French student Clotilde Reiss, arrested this summer, concluded today. There is no further word of verdict or sentencing.

1455 GMT: According to Rah-e-Sabz, Reza Talalei, a member of the Expediency Council, said at the Council session today that “post-election events are a result of the Government’s wrong actions”. He called for freedom of political activity, freedom of speech, and humane treatment of Iranian people, who would “answer such in kind.” A return of peace to society and an opening up of political to all groups was “paramount”.

1445 GMT: Thanks to our friends at The Flying Carpet Institute, we've posted the video and translation of the second part of Dr Javad Etaat's criticisms of the regime, which aired on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting on Thursday.

1420 GMT: Thanks to an EA reader, we've posted the translation of the 15 Points of "The Secular Green Movement" (see 0920 GMT).

1335 GMT: Judiciary Head Denounces Big Liars. Iran’s Head of Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, has warned the "minority (reformist?) faction of the Parliament" that those those who have “claimed that the elections were rigged, have broken the law....This allegation of fraud was a big lie which became the source of extensive damage.”

All very much in line with Larijani's recent finger-waggings and threats of prosecution, as he said that the lying claims have “hurt the feeling and sentiments of the public and the pious”. This reference, however, is curious, either in translation or in Larijani's intent: the post-election crisis also arose from the “silence of the elite and their lack of foresight”.

1330 GMT: Media Twist of the Day. Press TV's website starts its story, "Former Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi says Iran's enemies are behind the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Masoud Ali-Mohammadi."

And you're thinking, maybe Iran's state media has been infiltrated or corrupted and switched to the Dark Side of the opposition.

But wait....Here's the last paragraph: "Iran's Foreign Ministry has announced that it has found traces of US and Israeli involvement in the assassination of the Iranian nuclear physics scientist."

You see? One touch-up of the "facts", and Mir Hossein Mousavi believes the US and Israel killed the Professor.

Well played, gentlemen. Very well played.

0930 GMT: The Battle Inside the Regime? Again prompted by EA readers and alongside this morning's analysis, I wonder if this ripple has any significance:

Fars News, considering President Ahmadinejad, linked to a blog "Ahestan" which was not too flattering about close Ahmadinejad ally and aide Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. Iran Khabar, which noted the item, claims that, with state media now assisting, "criticism of Ahmadinejad has become cheap".

0925 GMT: Setting Up the Greens? A thought, spurred by EA readers, that has been niggling me.

We noted yesterday the statement of member of Parliament Asadollah Badamchian that the opposition was behind the "terrorism" which killed Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. Well, the satirist Ebrahim Nabavi has noted Badamchian's assertion, before the death of Ali-Mohammadi, "Soon explosions and assassinations will start."

So, that thought: did Badamchian know of a scheme to carry out violent acts and blame them on the Greens?

0920 GMT: How Big Will This Ripple Be? As some EA readers noted yesterday, the "Secular Green Movement" has emerged with a statement, signed by Iranians living in North America and Europe, of views and 15 demands for reform, rights, and justice. We are watching carefully for reactions to see if move parallels or intersects with the 10 Demands of 5 Iranian intellectuals living abroad, issued on 3 January, and the 5-point post-Ashura statement of Mir Hossein Mousavi.

0905 GMT: We've posted an analysis from of the tensions inside the Iranian establishment, "The 'Opposition Within' and the Regime".

0750 GMT: While Friday was a relatively quiet day after the open drama and tensions earlier this week, there were more than enough developments to point to the ripples of continuing conflict and manoeuvre.

Some of the ripples were far away from the central wave. For example, some media were looking forward to today's "5+1" (US, UK, Russia, China, France, Germany) meeting on Iran's nuclear programme. Even if that gathering had significance for the internal situation in Iran, it is unlikely to produce any results: China has declined to send a high-level official, blocking any move towards further sanctions on Tehran.

Some of the ripples bring a smile, such as the latest episode in the cyber-war between the regime and the opposition. Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam may have most seriously warned the Green movement(s) not to use e-mail and text messages to plan any protests, but "Iranian Green Army" got last night's last laugh with the attack on the website of Iran's Hezbollah (Party of God). The unsubtle message, "The End is F***ing Near", and the new domain name,, are still up this morning.

There are the day-in, day-out ripples from the Government. The head of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad-Ali Jafari declared, in a speech in western Iran, "The enemies of the Islamic Revolution have come to the conclusion that they can not achieve their mischievous goals; therefore they do not abandon threats against the Islamic Republic." Israel, "filled with fear and scared of going into war with Iran," got a special shout-out as the force behind economic sanctions.

The biggest ripples on Friday, however, came with yet more challenges to and within the regime. The appearance of dissent, via Dr Javad Etaat, on Iranian state media has brought heated discussion inside and outside Iran, and chatter continues this morning over the criticisms of a former top commander of the Revolutionary Guard, Sardar Safavi.

Safavi, urging respect for senior clerics and avoidance of any extreme actions, has some words for "power seekers" who ran for President but then acted outside the law when their defeat was announced. Then, however, he takes aim at current leaders for their attacks on the "old guard" --- allies of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini --- as "hypocrities". He also pointed to the Government's mismanagement of post-election politics and the economy, warning that this is bringing “unpleasant” deeds by frustrated Iranian youth.

As EA readers noted yesterday, Safavi, in his call for unity, condemned attacks against senior clerics such as Ayatollahs Dastgheib and Sane'i etc.) and the labelling of protesters as “mohareb” (enemies of God). He emphasized that Revolutionary Guard and Basiji should serve the people rather than suppressing them.

UPDATED Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat's Opposition On State Media (14 January --- Parts 1 and 2)

We have now posted Part 3 of the video, with translation:

There has been a massive buzz about the appearance by Dr Javad Etaat, a professor of political science at Shahid Behesti University, on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. Possibly in response to criticism that it has been one-sided in post-election coverage, IRIB has headlined a series of debates. It may not have bargained, however, for the intensity of Etaat's comments, made in his discussion with "conservative" MP Ali Reza Zakani.

Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January — Part 3)

Here are Parts 1 and 2 of the exchange, with extracts translated by the good people at the new website The Flying Carpet Institute.Further parts of the video are available via the same YouTube link, and a translation of Part 2 is promised tomorrow by our Flying Carpet friends.




*I was once invited to hold a speech about the attempt to topple Iran political system with a Velvet Revolution. But we all know that Velvet Revolutions always occur in dictatorships. So basically when you say that some forces are planning to make a Velvet Revolution, you have indirectly admitted that your system is not democratic.

When elections, discussions and competition take place in a free atmosphere, why should people want to make a revolution? People make revolutions maybe only every hundred years and only then when they are totally fed up with the situation. It doesn’t matter whether the revolution is a violent, velvet, coloured, white, black, red yellow. So when the Islamic Republic talks about Velvet Revolution, there is an unintended confession that Iran is not a free country and people can’t achieve their goals through the institutions the system offers. So the result is that people want to make a revolution.

*As an expert of political issues I’m disappointed by IRIB’s current policies.

*Regarding the tearing of Imam Khomeini’s portrait: Someone tore his portrait…it’s not even clear who it was. But IRIB broadcast this scene over and over again. We all know that tearing Khomeini’s portrait is an insult to him, but what about attacking his former residense (Beyte Emam) during Tasua (26 December), when former president (Mohammad) Khatami was holding a speech? Isn’t that illegal? Isn’t that an insult to the Imam?

There are not many honourable men like Khatami who love Islam, the revolution and the constitution, like the way he does. But still he was attacked by armed thugs. Why did these people do that? Why is it forbidden to express a different view? Why wasn’t he allowed to interprete the historic Ashura event the way he wanted?

It’s a fact that Khatami is critical to many aspects of the regime, but it’s an insult to this revolution that, 30 years after this system was established, people dare to attack other people with batons and knives. Unfortunately IRIB encourages this kind of behaviour.

*Regarding Ashura: Everyone loves Imam Hossein (3rd Imam of Shi'a Islam), no matter if this person is a Jew, Christian, Sunni, or Shiite. So if someone committed a misconduct during Ashura, be sure that people will punish him. If singing and clapping is a misconduct during Ashura, then beating and killing people is a much more worse act. Now look how...we are ruling!

*IRIB unfortunately had a negative role in all these [developments]. How do you want the people to express their dissatisfaction with current events if you don’t offer them a fair platform? IRIB must think about that criticism. You even admitted that certain people refused to take part in your past shows, because they don’t trust the IRIB. I was one of those people but I wanted to use the rare opportunity to express my dissatisfaction.

Part 2

*You say that we prepared the ground for riots. I believe that it’s not right to generalize. The number of opponents of the government is far higher than the number of those you see on the streets protesting. You have to consider that you haven’t even permitted one of those past street rallies. On 25th Khordad (15 June), for example, people came to the streets even though there was no official call from the opposition to demonstrate. But still two to three million Iranians took the streets. If you had permitted the marches, a guaranteed right according to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, you can be sure that the number of the protesters would be much, much higher than what you have witnessed on that day.

*You always mention law but you don’t understand that your very own acts are against the law. Our Constitution (Article 27) says, “Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.” We often asked you to allow us to hold rallies. By the way, we also asked for a permission to publicly protest against the tearing of the Imam’s portrait.

The Green movement condemns any kind of violence, and if a minority uses violence, then it’s wrong to say all the protesters are violent rioters. One of the representatives of the government once said that people who want to protest on the streets must also provide security by themselves. But I ask you: Why do we pay the police? They are paid to protect the people and offer general security in the society!

*In the past 5 years that your government ruled the country, you did things that created an atmosphere of dissatisfaction.

*Article 6 and Article 56 of the Constitution guarantee people’s sovereignty.

*I quote Article 177: The contents of the Articles of the Constitution related to the Islamic character of the political system; the basis of all the rules and regulations according to Islamic criteria; the religious footing; the objectives of the Islamic Republic of Iran; the democratic character of the government[…]are unalterable.

*I quote Article 56: Absolute sovereignty over the world and man belongs to God, and it is He who has made man master of his own social destiny. No one can deprive man of this divine right, nor subordinate it to the vested interests of a particular individual or group. The people are to exercise this divine right in the manner specified in the following articles.*

*If you had acknowledged people’s sovereignty as it is described in the Constitution in the first place, no one would criticize you today. You rejected about 2400 potential candidates for the last parliamentary elections to create your own majority, and now you wonder why people are unhappy with the system. I don’t want to talk about the elections that were held in our country in the past. The question is why the Guardian Council misinterprets the constitution.*

*I’ll quote Article 44 of the constitution: “The economy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to consist of three sectors: state, cooperative, and private, and is to be based on systematic and sound planning. The state sector is to include all large-scale and mother industries, foreign trade, major minerals, banking, insurance, power generation, dams and large-scale irrigation networks, radio and television, post, telegraph and telephone services, aviation, shipping, roads, railroads, and the like; all these will be publicly owned and administered by the State.”

But your government privatized almost all of those sectors! Then, when it comes to radio and television, you say that this sector must be controlled by the state! Why is that the case? Why does the Guardian Council say that the privatisation of the IRIB is forbidden? You see, you truly debase the people by your acts. And still you wonder why people are unhappy and want to protest.

*You close down newspapers and deny people’s right to criticize.

*Not only that….Your government is also incompetent when it comes to economic matters….The Government's wrong policies created a stunningly high inflation. In the eight years of Khatami’s government, the price for meat was about 3000 – 3700 Tomans. Are you aware that now the price for meat is 18,000 Tomans?…The same with real estate….

*Accept that people are opposing you because you failed in almost every field.

*I will now tell a story about the rule of Imam Ali to show you the gap between the quality of your rule and Ali’s: Once the “Khavaresh” who opposed Ali’s rule disrupted one of Ali’s sermons and insulted him in the mosque. But Ali said: "You are allowed to stay in the mosque and state your dissatisfaction, and as long you don’t use your sword we won’t punish you.”*

* But you closed down the mosque [in Shiraz] of Ayatollah Dastgheib, even though he is a Marja (senior cleric). You see the gap between your rule and Imam Ali’s!

The Latest from Iran (15 January): Refreshing?

2200 GMT: Your Late-Night Cyber-Treat. On Google, type "Ahmadinejad President of Iran". Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky".

2140 GMT: We started this morning (see 0715 GMT) by noting the possible significance of the "reformist" criticisms of Dr Javad Etaat making their way onto Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. We end today by posting the video of the first part of the interview and an English translation.

2030 GMT: Cyber-Warfare Strike. Hacking the website of Iran's Hezbollah (Party of God) is one thing. Doing it with the slogan "The End is F***ing Near" is another. And accomplishing it with a diversion to the domain, well... Let's just say that Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam (see 1220 GMT) may want to get a bigger Internet manual if he is serious about taking on the opposition in a Web slugfest.

NEW Latest Iran Video & Translation: Dr Etaat’s Opposition On State Media (14 January)
NEW Iran: Anger, Pain, & Fear — The Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
NEW Latest Iran Video: Green Protest and the Iran-Belgium Football Match (14 January)
NEW Iran: The Regime Censors the 1979 Revolution
NEW Latest Iran Audio: The Last Lecture of Professor Ali-Mohammadi
Latest Iran Video: Al Jazeera’s Debate Over The Death of Ali-Mohammadi (13 January)
Latest Iran Video: The Life, Death, and Funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi (14 January)
Latest Iran Video: “A Message to Armed Forces of Iran” (13 January)
Iran Analysis: Political Manoeuvring Around the Professor’s Death
The Latest from Iran (14 January): The Professor’s Funeral

1935 GMT: Quality Analysis of Day. Well done, Asadollah Badamchian, member of Parliament: “The assassination [of Professor Ali-Mohammadi] and terrorist operation was a previously planned step in the Green Velvet Revolution." The movement, Badamchian said, consists of five sub-groups, “each of which are gradually eroding”.

1825 GMT: That Supreme Leader Message of Condolence (Again). So sorry that Professor Ali-Mohammadi is dead, building up to "the criminal hand that brought this disaster has revealed the motive of the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran to deal a blow to the scientific movement of the country".

1624 GMT: A Bit of US Pressure? From an Indian news agency: "The United States has asked Pakistan to dump its plan of receiving natural gas from Iran through a pipeline. According to sources, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, during his meeting with Petroleum Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, said Islamabad would have to abandon its pipeline accord with Tehran in order to qualify for extensive American energy assistance especially for importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and electricity."

1618 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayers Summary. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani gets the nod today, and he comes up with the stunning declaration, "The enemy uses every possible means to harm the establishment and the country so we should, in a very real sense, remain vigilant."

OK, not so stunning. In fact, repetitive. But we had to say something.

Oh, yes. Emami-Kashani also "called for televised debates to clear ambiguities about the country's current political affairs".

1615 GMT: We've posted an account of yesterday's funeral of Professor Ali-Mohammadi and its effects on academics and students.

1445 GMT: Supreme Leader's Message of Condolence to Family of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. Here's a summary: Ayatollah Khamenei expresses his sorrow, to Ali-Mohammadi's mother, wife, friends, colleagues, and students, and --- by the way --- this is a terror act that "reveals enemies' motive to harm Iran's scientific movement and jihad".

1245 GMT: Divine Declaration of Day. Hossein Taeb, head of the Intelligence Bureau of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and former head of the Basiji militia sets it out: the Supreme Leader is unjust are in error, those who follow him will go to Paradise. An Iranian activist offers this translation of Taeb's words:
Even though [the Supreme Leader] was suffering under [Grand Ayatollah] Montazeri during Imam Khomeini's time and despite all insults he had to endure, he did issue a beautifuland  gentle message upon Montazeri's passing and advised that he can be buried anywhere the family wanted. Those who say the Supreme Leader has left the [path of] justice, don't understand the meaning of it. They think that Supreme Leader is chosen by the Assembly of Experts. Supreme Leader is rather discovered by Experts and that is why they can't grant capabilities. It is God who does.

1220 GMT: We Will Find You. Is this a declaration of strength or nervousness? Iran's police chief Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam has warned against Internet and text messages to spread news of demonstrations:
These people should know where they are sending the SMS and email as these systems are under control. They should not think using proxies will prevent their identification. If these people continue, their records will be examined and those who organise or issue appeals have committed a worse crime than those who come to the streets.

1145 GMT: The Resigning Diplomat. Confirmation comes in a Norwegian television interview that Mohammad Reza Heidari, an Iranian diplomat in Norway, is quitting his post. Heydari's intention to resign was initally reported days ago on radio. He claims that an Iranian official came to Oslo to assure him he would not be hurt if he retracted the resignation: "I refused to agree to that. They suggested I'd do an interview in which I denied my defection in order to return to Tehran. But I know I made the right choice and that my conscience is clean."

1140 GMT: We've posted the latest video in our running series on football and protest, opposition chants at the Iran-Belgium indoor football match.

1010 GMT: Iran "Analysis" of Day. Islamic Republic News Agency presents the findings of an "Office of Research and Studies" that there was a "deep intrigue", courtesy of the US Government, for disorder and sedition after the Presidential election.

For those of you who aren't convinced about this exposure of "soft war", there are footnotes. And it's great to see Bush Administration has-been John Bolton and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times in the same "research" paper.

0840 GMT: One Less Death Sentence. Kalemeh reports that Hamid Ruhidnejad, arrested before the elections but condemned to death this summer, will now serve 10 years in jail. Ruhidnejad's father contends that, as his son suffers from multiple sclerosis and is half-blind, he is unlikely to survive the punishment.

0735 GMT: We've posted a separate entry, courtesy of Pedestrian, on how the regime is censoring videos and images of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the run-up to its 31st anniversary on 22 Bahman (11 February)

0715 GMT: The Opposition Emerges on Iran's State Media. Dr. Javad Etaat, appearing on the Ru Be Farda programme of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, IRIB ("Ru be farda" magazine), criticised the "failed" economic plans of the Government, pointing to Iran's high rate of inflation. He also got political, denouncing the prohibition of demonstrations and the banning of newspapers. Perhaps most pointedly, he refers to Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shi'a Islam, to challenge any prohibition of dissent.

Etaat is a professor of political science at Shahad Behesti University and a former member of the Parliament's Cultural Commission. Unsurprisingly, the video of his comments is now racing around YouTube.

0705 GMT: The Scholars Protest (cont.). An EA reader writes us with a clarification, "That 300+ scholars lettter (see 0630 GMT) started a very long time ago! Deutsche Welle covered it on July 10th."

0645 GMT: The Battle With Rafsanjani. Hamid Rohani, a fervent supporter of President Ahmadinejad, has continued his attack on former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Asked about his recent claim that Imam Khomeini had warned Rafsanjani could be "deceived" (noted in our updates earlier this week), Rohani insisted --- despite the lack of this claim in Khomeini's published letters --- that the incident was in 1973, when the Friday Prayers leader of the city of Rafsanjan wrote Khomeini. What is more: Rohani claims the exchange arose from Rafsanjani's request for religious funds for the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI), which the regime now considers a "terrorist" movement.

0635 GMT: Mousavi's Reference to Government "Enemies"? We noted last night that Mir Hossein Mousavi had sent condolences to the family of the murdered physicist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi. This phrase, however, deserves attention: Ali-Mohammadi was assassinated by "enemies of the people". Who is that "enemy"?

0630 GMT: The Scholars Protest. Iranian academics working and studying abroad are circulating an open letter to the "Honourable People of Iran": "Preparing the grounds for the free exchange of information, opinions and beliefs, and most importantly the security of university students, academics, and thinkers, are the responsibilities of the government and are the most basic conditions for scientific and social growth of a nation."

More than 300 scholars have already signed the letter.

0625 GMT: It's the weekend in Iran, and we're expecting a bit of a lull after the furour over the killing of Professor Ali-Mohammadi. We have posted the full audio of the physicist's last lecture.

That said, there have been so many fissures in the "establishment" this week that there may not be a pause this Friday. And there's a sign that the Green movement has even gotten a foothold in the broadcasts of Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting --- we're working on the video and story.