Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


« Promise Delayed: Obama to Miss Guantanamo Closure Deadline? | Main | LATEST Iran Video: Cleric Tabatabai Criticises Ahmadinejad on State TV (20 July) »

The Latest from Iran (20 July): How Far Can This Go?

NEW Iran Video: Cleric Tabatabai Criticises Ahmadinejad on State TV (20 July)
NEW Iran: The Supreme Leader Responds
LATEST Iran Video: The Rafsanjani Prayer Address (17 July)
Iran: Pressure on the Supreme Leader?

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS- SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED


1945 GMT: Dr Mehdi Khazali, manager of the publication Hayan, has been released from detention. Khazali, the son of Grand Ayatollah Abulghasem Khazali, a member of the Assembly of Experts, is a strident critic of President Ahmadinejad, whom has accused of having Jewish roots.

1915 GMT: Speaking on a programme on state television, an Iranian cleric, Hojatoleslam Seyed Mehdi Tabatabai, criticised President Ahmadinejad's televised post-election speech on 13 June as "inflammatory".

1645 GMT: Following up this morning's story on possible challenges to the Supreme Leader, we've posted a summary and analysis of the Supreme Leader's address to officials and citizens this afternoon. Press TV's summary leaves no doubt about Khamenei's target: "The remarks come several days after renewed protests emerged on Friday when influential cleric and politician Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani led prayers attended by hundreds of thousands of people at Tehran University."

1535 GMT: Where is Bijan Khajehpour? At The Huffington Post, the prominent US-based analyst Trita Parsi highlights the case of the economist who was arrested on arrival at a Tehran airport on 27 June. Because Khajehpour has taught at American as well as Iranian universities and advised companies in Europe, he may prove an "exceptional" detainee for the Western media, despite the fears of his family that "they fear the world will forget about him because they never knew his face and never heard his story".

1520 GMT: Mehdi Karroubi has just posted an account of his treatment by security forces as he arrived at Tehran University for Friday prayers (pictured). The English translation from Keeping the Change:

When the crowds saw me driving past, they came towards me and followed me as I continued the drive to Tehran University. As we came closer to the University I saw that government forces, armed and seated on motocycles, had gathered and were spraying tear gas into the surrounding area. I knew that if the crowds of people following me proceeded further there would be a violent clash with the state's security forces, just as there had been at the Ghoba Mosque on the anniversary of the martydom of Ayatollah Beheshti [June 28, 2009]. For this reason, I signaled to the crowd to disperse and indicated to them that I would proceed to the Friday prayers alone. Even though I usually drive through the University to the prayer hall, on this occassion I chose to leave the car. Other than members of the government's security team, I did not see anyone else there. As soon as I got out of the car, these men began chanting "Death to the Opponents of Velayate Faghi [the Iranian system of ultimate clerical authority]", which caught me off guard. Though at this time there were no other witnesses around, as everyone has seen, the different pictures proving that the security forces attacked me and knocked the turban off my head have been published. So how do they [the government] think they can hide the things they have done to the people or that they can blame these incidents on others? All the things they have done have taken place before the eyes of the people.

1500 GMT: Overloading the System. For some time, we have been hearing of plans for a co-ordinated protest tomorrow to "black out" Tehran by overloading the electrical grid. The tactic was used with some effect to curb President Ahmadinejad's television address two weeks ago; the proposal is to make a symbolic protest at 9 p.m. tomorrow at the start of the national news. Activists have been posting details on which appliances consume the most energy.

A reader points out why this call to action goes beyond similar proposals: it has been endorsed on Mir Hossein Mousavi's Facebook site.

1230 GMT:  The Touchstone of Detentions. More evidence that, while the protest movement may not be settled on its aims, it can draw unity from the regime's refusal to free those arrested in post-election conflict. Mosharekat website reports a statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi that protests will not end while the Government detains demonstrators and opposition leaders:
Isn't it an insult to 40 million voters ... linking detainees to foreign countries? ... Our dear ones in prison have no access to lawyers and are under pressure to make confessions ... With detentions the issue (row) will not be resolved ... Let people freely express their protests and ideas.

0930 GMT: Via IranRevolution, a list of 158 "Revolution Martyrs", including 46 names.

0920 GMT: The formation of Mousavi's Political Front is entering the tug-of war phase. Legally, the formation of a political front does not require official permission from the Interior Ministry; however, the reformist site Mardomak reports that the ministry is asserting that the formation of all parties, societies and fronts must have a permit from the Interior Ministry.

Mardomak also reports that the provincial governor of Tehran as said that "releasing the detainees is against the law".

0915 GMT: Confirming news that broke on Sunday: Hossein Rasam, the last local staffer of the British Embassy held by the Iranian government, was released from custody after he posted bail.

0730 GMT: The Association of Combatant Clergy, associated with Mohammad Khatami, have amplified the call for a referendum on the post-election legimitacy of the Government: "Considering the fact that even a minimum of trust towards the election process is non-existent, .......[we] demand a free referendum so that all of Iranian society can express their opinions about  the post election events." The statement adds an unsubtle slap at the Guardian Council, insisting the referendum be supervised by "impartial observers that are trusted by the public, not bodies that are responsible for this crisis".

0545 GMT: Sunday saw more political manoeuvres, both symbolic and very real, as the opposition tried to assess how far it could press its challenge.

One symbolic and real victory came with the announcement that the father of President Ahmadinejad's daughter-in-law, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, had declined his appointment as Vice-President. (Well, possibly. Mainstream media have not caught up but, as we updated last night, Rahim-Mashai wrote on his website that he had not resigned. At a minimum, the episode points to confusion in the President's ranks.)

However, the deputy to the Supreme Leader's representative in the Revolutionary Guards tried to hold the line, claiming that many prominent politicians have been "engaged in treacherous intrigue". He included former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, former President Mohammad Khatami, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Despite the warning, Rafsanjani received headline coverage in Iranian media for his pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam Reza in Mashaad. Mousavi, following Karroubi, issued a statement expressing condolences to Armenia and to the Armenian-Iranian community over last week's air crash that killed 168 people.

At the practical level, Khatami called for a national referendum on the conduct of the 12 June election. Even more intriguing is Khatami's meeting with Minister of Intelligence Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie --- no information about this discussion is available yet.

Reader Comments (3)

The appointed first vice-president is not AN's son-in-law; his daughter is AN's son wife.

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterflorence Achard

Thanks florence (and others) for spotting this- I think Scott's corrected it.

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike Dunn

A moving phone call from a 66 Year old protester. With translation.

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAM

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>