Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Guardian Council (8)


The Latest from Iran (31 July): And Now....?

The Latest from Iran (1 August): The Regime Gets Tough

Iran: How Big is the Green Wave?
Iran's "40th Day" Memorial: An Eyewitness Account
Beyond the Wave: Why the US Still Engages with Iran

The Latest from Iran (30 July): Memorial Day
Latest Iran Video: The “40th Day” Memorial (30 July)
Latest Iran Video: The “40th Day” Memorial (30 July – Part 2)

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis

IRAN 40 DAY 31650 GMT: Release the Prisoners! I am just going to re-print this from Fars News Agency and await confirmation that 25 percent of Iran's prison population will soon be freed:
17,000 prisoners were freed after amnesty and commutation of punishment term of a number of prisoners by the Supreme Leader," State Prisons Organization's Deputy Director for Management and Resource Development Mohammad Ali Zanjirehi told FNA on Friday.

"40 percent of the country's inmates, who account for around 68,000 people, were liable to the amnesty," Zanjirei said, adding that 17,000 out of the 68,000 inmates have been freed and the rest have enjoyed commutation of their terms or will be granted leaves in final months of their incarceration.

The decree, originally proposed by Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, was issued by the Leader on the occasion of the feast of Mab'ath, marking assignment of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to prophethood.

1555 GMT: Don't Forget That Foreign Threat. Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, who has been gone unnoticed since the 12 June election, popped up today to appear at Friday prayers in Tehran and then try his hand with the "foreign agents" speech:
Western and European countries, with their overt and covert capabilities, interfered in Iran's election... the worst among them being Britain. The countries who interfered through their television networks by telling how to instigate riots, build explosives and other tension creating activities are accomplices in all the committed crimes, murders and are held responsible.

1540 GMT: Some, However, Are Not Ready for Compromise. Defying calls for concilation, the Ministry of Intelligence has threatened the Freedom Movement of Iran (the party of nationalist Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in the 1950s) with dire consequences if they do not stop holding political meetings inside their headquarters. The Party has lodged an official complaint with the head of Iran's judiciary.

1535 GMT: Look Past Jannati. The trend in clerical statements in the last 24 hours, apart from Friday prayers in Tehran, has been a call for compromise and action on detainees (see 1510 and 1520 GMT). That fits a report from Salaam News that Grand Ayatollahs have been discussing vital "issues", and most except Ayatollah Noori-Hamedani (an ardent Ahmadinejad supporter) "have taken a similar stance against the attacks of fundamentalism".

1520 GMT: A Different Prayer Address. If Ayatollah Jannati played the hard-liner in Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini played the liberal in Qom. Amini stated:
The young have sensitive souls and do not tolerate injustice, and we must not label the young as being anti-revolutionaries and try to distance them from the revolution....The words of the young must be heard, and if they are correct, [what they say] must be accepted. If it is not right they must be advised correctly with gentle tones and respect. The young must be advised to value this revolution that was achieved at great cost to society....We must keep the young by our side not be words but by deeds and by showing them the real face of Islam.

Amini addressed specific issues such as detention, saying , the directive of Iran's head of  judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, clarifying the situation of the prisoners, "must be attended to... to alleviate the anxiety of their families....I wish Mr Sharoudi would have stated that the detainees and the arrested will be treated with Islamic kindness." At the same time, he supported Ayatollah Khamenei's authority, "The principle of supreme leadership is an important foundation of the establ0ishment and we all have the duty to protect this principle."

1515 GMT: Shajarian Wins! We have reported on the case of the Iranian classical singer Mohamad Reza Shajarian, who demanded that Iranian state media stop playing his music after President Ahmadinejad called his opponents "dust". The Deputy Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting has declared, "From now on, no more Shajarian will be broadcast from IRIB, even during Ramadan."

1510 GMT: Looking for Compromise. Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, addressing pilgrims at the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad yesterday, said different political factions should stop fighting and meet with each other to reach an agreement, moving away from the "literature of conflict that exists in the media". The ayatollah said the issues of the prisoners must be resolved quickly; those who are innocent or whose misdemeanors are forgivable by Islamic kindness should be freed immediately, and hthose who have broken the law significantly must have their cases resolved quickly.

1315 GMT: Ahh, There He Is. Having cleared out of Tehran before yesterday's events, President Ahmadinejad has used a speech in Mashaad today to assure everyone that, despite portrayals by his political rivals, there is no rift between him and the Supreme Leader:
This is not a political relationship ... our relationship is based on kindness. It is like a relationship between a father and his son. Your efforts will bear no fruit. This road is closed for those devils who dream about harming our relationship. Their dream will be buried along with them.

The summary from Reuters gives no indication whether Ahmadinejad referred to the dispute with Ayatollah Khamenei over the appointment of the 1st Vice President, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai. At Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Jannati, while defending Ahmadnejad against "plotters", did bring up the matter: ""Such appointments hurt your supporters ... A key position should not be given to a person who is not respected."

In light of that criticism, is Ahmadinejad's speech a gesture of apology to the Supreme Leader, ahead of his inauguration on 5 August, or will he try to restore some political authority and independence?

1300 GMT: Tehran Police Commander Azizollah Rajabzadeh has said 50 people were arrested in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery and the Grand Mosala yesterday.

1205 GMT: More on Jannati's Address (see 1130 GMT). The Ayatollah highlighted the statement of 205 Members of Parliament in support of the Supreme Leader (which, of course, does not mean that they support Ahmadinejad). He carried out the confrontation with Hashemi Rafsanjani by returning to the disputed letter from the Assembly of Experts. Even though this was signed by only 16 of 86 members, it was still valid; most of those who could not sign, because they were scattered throughout the country for the summer, supported the initiative.

1145 GMT: An intriguing comment from a participant in Lara Setrakian's summary of yesterday's memorial: "Police were sympathetic with the people [and] told us in which row we could find Neda's grave."

1130 GMT: Getting Tough. Unfortunately, the live tweet of Ayatollah Jannati's address broke down halfway through; however, Fars News has now posted a report, and it's clear that Jannati is ready for a fight.

The Ayatollah claimed that there were those who plotted four years ago to keep President Ahmadinejad out of power, despite his 7-million vote majority and that these people were now trying "to take revenge". In the face of this threat, there should be no question of legimitacy: "If the election is invalid, then all elections of the last 30 years should be declared invalid because the process has always been the same."

Nor was Jannati subtle in his religious context for this political assertion, highlighting Prophet Mohammad's facing of his enemies and his resolve to maintain unity.

It doesn't take a genius to do the rhetorical and political mathematics. In 2005 President Ahmadinejad's second-round opponent was Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man whom Jannati is trying to depose as head of the Assembly of Experts. Welcome to the next round of this heavyweight battle.

1125 GMT: We're trying to track down an English-language summary of Ayatollah Jannati's address. Press TV English's website is silent.

0900 GMT: Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a key member of the regime as Secretary of the Guardian Council, is giving the address at Friday prayers in Tehran today. (Jannati was one of the pro-Government members of the Assembly of Experts who tried to curb Hashemi Rafsanjani last week, putting out a statement signed by only 16 of the 86 representatives on the Assembly.)

So far the address is focusing on the need for unity, citing a petition from the Prophet Mohammad, the Yasrab, and calling on people to follow the regime. It is being "live tweeted" at the moment.

0700 GMT: Two items of note from The Huffington Post. First, Kevin Sullivan asserts, "Western Hubris Won't Reform Iran". While I differ from Sullivan's reading of developments inside Iran, his conclusion is valuable:
All of this is terribly exciting. It's also out of our control, and that's a good thing. History often needs the proper room to breathe, not the breathless instigation of a hubristic few.

Let these "greens" grow on their own.

Which makes it just a bit ironic that, in the same paper, Melody Moezzi is proclaiming, "Iran's Red Tulip Revolution".

Humble suggestion: don't impose a label on this movement. Not a plant like "Cedar". Not a colour like "Orange" or "Rose". And certainly not "Velvet".

0650 GMT: The Wall Street Journal, relying on a leaked document, reports:
A privately owned German company, Knauf Gips KG, warned its Iranian employees working in Iran that they would be immediately dismissed if caught in antigovernment protests....

Iran's government pressured Knauf to issue the order after a senior executive was arrested during Friday prayer demonstrations two weeks ago, according to people familiar with the case. The company, which has 22,000 employees around the world, was told that such a letter would be a condition for the executive's release.

An executive of Knauf, which makes drywall, warned in the letter:
We would like to remind all of our employees to remember that they are not only representing their private opinion when being politically active, but their actions could fall back negatively on our Knauf companies in Iran. Therefore, from now on, if anybody from our company gets caught demonstrating against the current government, he or she will be immediately dismissed.

0630 GMT: A quieter start today, so we've taken the opportunity to write a special analysis of what may be next both for the Iranian Government and for the opposition, "How Big is the Green Wave?".

0505 GMT: Press TV English's latest report is one of cautious understatement, both of the events and of numbers: "Police have dispersed hundreds of Iranians who sought to gather in a cemetery south of the capital of Tehran to commemorate those killed in the post-election unrest." The brief item, however, did refer to police use of tear gas, to the appearance of Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi (before he was turned back by security forces), and to the mourners' attempts to gather at the Grand Mosala.

While there was no reference to demonstrations elsewhere in Tehran and outside the capital, Press TV is also refraining from language criticising the protestors and their challenge to the 12 June election.

0500 GMT: News of a death that was lost amidst yesterday's memorial: "On Wednesday, the Paris-based monitoring group Reporters Without Borders urged authorities to explain the death of journalist Alireza Eftekhari on June 15. His body was handed over to relatives on July 13. A news release said Eftekhari died from a severe beating."

The Latest from Iran (26 July): Four Days to The Green Movement's Next Wave

The Latest from Iran (25 July): A President Retreats

Receive our latest updates by email or RSS SUBSCRIBE TO OUR FEED
Buy Us A Cup of Coffee? Help Enduring America Expand Its Coverage and Analysis

UNITED4IRAN2115 GMT: Meanwhile, Rafsanjani Plays It Cool. Amidst the Government chaos, the former President is playing down talk of a serious rift within the regime. According to Mehr News Agency, Rafsanjani praised the Supreme Leader, "He is a progressive and forward-looking thinker in different subjects. The propaganda by the foreign media who try to suggest that there is a power struggle in the top level of the regime is unfair injustice to the Islamic revolution."

The statement appears to be a continuation of Rafsanjani's strategy to show allegiance to Ayatollah Khamenei while manoeuvring against a weakened President: "I have hope in the supreme leader to solve the current problems based on his knowledge and experience and I still stick to the solutions I offered in the Friday prayer."

With these comments, Rafsanjani is also maintaining his position against the "hard-line" members of the Assembly of Experts, who attempted to undermine him in a statement earlier this week.

2100 GMT: Well, This is a Fine Mess. Conflicting reports all night over the state of the Ahmadinejad Cabinet. Some accounts now say that the President fired only Minister of Intelligence Ejeie and has not dismissed the other three (Culture, Health, and Labour); Ahmadinejad apparently realised he would face a vote of confidence in Parliament if all four ministers were removed from office.

Other accounts say Minister of Culture Saffar-Harandi resigned in protest. Still others say both Ejeie and Saffar-Harandi were sacked.

1700 GMT: Confusion. There are reports that President Ahmadinejad has withdrawn the dismissal of Minister of Culture Saffar-Harandi (and presumably other ministers), as he did not realise that the Cabinet could no longer meet without a vote of confidence from the Iranian Parliament.

1642 GMT: Our correspondent Mani confirms our suspicions (1325 GMT) that Press TV and Fars News misrepresented the statement of Mehdi Karroubi, which supposedly criticised other opposition politicians for supporting Hashemi Rafsanjani. The "genuine" statement of Karroubi is in Etemade Melli.

1638 GMT: Abdolhossein Roohul Amini, the father of Mohsen Ruholamini, who died in detention, has published a statement after the cancellation of his son's funeral. He has thanked all people expressing their sympathies to his family and said the memorial was cancelled to prevent any violence against the public by "oppurtunistic factions".

1635 GMT: Confirming earlier news --- President Ahmadinejad's inauguration has been scheduled for 5 August.

1630 GMT: Darius Ghanbari, a "reformist" Member of Parliament, has said, "Decisions regarding the participation of reformist MPs in the swearing-in ceremonies of Ahmadinejad, in the votes of confidence in Ahmadinejad's cabinet, and on interaction with the overnment has been postponed to the general meeting of the reformist fraction that will convene this Tuesday."

1615 GMT: Ayatollah Hashim Hashim-Zadeh Hareesi, the representative of East Azerbaijan in the Assembly of Experts, has denied that the statement signed by 16 members, which denounced Hashemi Rafsanjani, represented the opinion of the 86 representatives in the Assembly. Hareesi told journalists, "Collecting signatures by telephone, while most members of the Assembly of Experts are scattered in various cities, cannot constitute a statement."

1445 GMT: Ayatollah Yousef Sanei has declared his readiness to attend the 30 July "40th Day" ceremony for those killed by security forces on 20 June.

1430 GMT: Another Iranian official has joined the chorus against television confessions. Mohammad-Javad Larijani, Secretary of the Human Rights Headquarters of Iran's judiciary, said, “I am against the broadcasting of confessions. I think it is the judiciary officials who should explain to the people the issues and violations of election laws by the Reformists.”

The Press TV article is notable, however, for other reasons. Larijani is a possible successor to the current head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi, and his interview raises other issues about detention: "When asked why some of the detainees have not been allowed to contact their families yet, Larijani stressed that all the rights of the detainees should be respected." And it breaks the silence on suspicions over abuse of prisoners, prompted by the high profile of one death: "At least one of the detainees, named Mohsen Roholamini [son of an ally of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei], has died in prison."

Larijani is the most possible candidate to replace Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi.

1325 GMT: Meanwhile, on Press TV. The state network's website says nothing about the dramatic news of Ministers being fired. Instead, it runs an article trying to break Mehdi Karroubi away from the Green Movement.

The supposed quotes from Karroubi initially portray a leader accepting the election results and working for changes in his party: “Times have changed and there is an urgent need for far-reaching party reforms. We should review the post-election developments and plan our actions accordingly."

There is a hint of Karroubi's wider concerns in his statement, “After all, we are working in an environment that is biased and unfair. Our rivals are well-equipped and we are empty-handed, in the same way we were during the elections," but Press TV then emphasises the difference between Karroubi and other challengers to the Government: "It is most interesting how the very Reformist figures, who had criticized Hashemi-Rafsanjani and had stated that his political heyday is over, are now supporting him. This is not right.”

That attack both on Rafsanjani and other opposition leaders overshadows the final sentences of the article: "Karroubi asserted that he would continue his challenge to the legitimacy of the Ahmadinejad government: 'I will not step down from my complaints to the election results for as long as I live.'"

1305 GMT: The Government Breaks Apart. Now Tabnak reports that Minister of Intelligence Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie has been dismissed. Like Minister of Culture Saffar-Harandi, also fired by the President (see 1255 GMT), Ejeie challenged Ahmadinejad in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday over the selection of the First Vice President.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Minister of Health and the Minister of Labour have also been removed from office.

1255 GMT: Is the Ahmadinejad Government Imploding? Mehr News reports that the President has fired his Minister of Culture, Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi. Earlier this week Saffar-Harandi walked out of a Cabinet meeting amidst heated debate over the appointment of the First Vice President, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.

1245 GMT: Despite its recent setbacks, the Government seems intent on provoking a fight. It is being reported that the funeral of Mohsen Roohul Amini, the son of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei's campaign manager, has been cancelled because of pressure from the authorities. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had announced they would attend the funeral of Roohul Amini, who died in detention (see 0640 GMT).

0800 GMT: In our first update just over an hour ago, we asked our Big Question: after the successes of the last week, what will be the next steps for the opposition?

Our correspondent Mani has just given us the Big Answer. Mir Hossein Mousavi Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have sent the following request to the Minister of the Interior:
We take the oppurtunity to inform you that we intend to hold a memorial service to commemorate fellow citizens of our country who lost their lives due to to the recent horrific events. We request permission to hold this memorial service on mordad 8 1388 [30 July 2009], the 40th day after the starting of these events, at the grand prayer centre of Tehran. We would like to mention that this service will not include any speeches and will only involve listening to recitations from the Holy Koran. We will also request that the participants show their respects to the departed by maintaining silence.

Significantly, this Thursday, 30 July, is not the 40th day after the 12 June election or after the first mass demonstrations (and first deaths of protestors) on 15 June. Instead it is the 40th day after 20 June, when dozens of demonstrators, including Neda Agha Soltan, were killed by Iranian security forces.

(Agence France Press now has the story, which originally appeared in the Iranian Students News Agency.)

0750 GMT: After recent reports, including footage on BBC Persian, indicating that its members have been working with Iranian security forces, Lebanon's Hezbollah has denied any involvement: these are rumours "spreading sedition and division between the two brother nations of Lebanon and Iran".

0740 GMT: The "Power Overload" Protest. Remember the recent attempts to black out Iranian cities, at the start of the 9 p.m. national news, by turning on all applicances to overload the electrical grid?

The Revolutionary Guard certainly does. General Seyed Mohammad Hejazi has announced, "The plugging in of irons at 9 pm every night is an act of subversive sabotage."

0735 GMT: More Cabinet Difficulties. The Ministry of Industry, Ali Akbar Mehrabian, has been found guilty of fraudulently trying to register an invention of another researcher as his own. Last year, the Minister of Science was forced to resign when he falsely claimed to hold a Ph.D. from Oxford University.

0725 GMT: Larijani Breaks Ranks? The Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani, is resigning his position as Majority Whip. Officially, the reason is that he "understands that there is a conflict of interest" between the two roles. Given that the conflict is pretty obvious, it is more likely that Larijani is distancing himself from pro-Ahmadinejad MPs. Larijani has never sat comfortable alongside the President's supporters, and relations were further strained after the election when the Speaker called for investigations of security forces' raids on Tehran University and criticised the Guardian Council.

0715 GMT: Two weeks ago, we reported on the protest of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the leading Iranian classical singer, against President Ahmadinejad's portrayal of his opposition as "dust". Shajarian has refused to allow Iranian state media to broadcast any of his music.

Etemade Melli has the latest on the dispute, with Shajarian promising to use all legal means to prevent any airplay.

0705 GMT: I Didn't Give In....Really. President Ahmadinejad may have been forced to dismiss the First Vice President, but he is still trying to save some face in the showdown. He has put Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai in charge of his office staff.

0640 GMT: Another boost for the Green Movement yesterday with the impressive show of support in "United4Iran" gatherings across the world. As news came in of more than 2000 people in New York, the "green scroll" from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and other demonstrations from Amsterdam to Dubai, there was a notable lifting of spirits amongst Iran activists.

Now, however, the opposition has to think through its next steps. Today "reformists" will decide whether to attend next week's inauguration of President Ahmadinejad. In an act of great political as well as humanitarian significance, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have announced they will attend the funeral of Mohsen Roohul Amini. Roohul Amini was the son of the campaign manager of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei; he died in prison after he was detained on 9 July.

Meanwhile, the regime is trying to repair internal relations. The Kayhan newspaper, having played a significant role in the pressure on President Ahmadinejad to get rid of his First Vice President, offered a limited apology to restore the image of Ahmadinejad acting in line with the Supreme Leader (see yesterday's updates). Ayatollah Khamenei, speaking to the participants in the 26th Koran competition, said:
The meaning of unity is that we must agree on fundamentals. Although we may disagree on less important issues this must not lead to disunity....Absolute ostracizing of others over these less important issues is not good [for the establishment] everyone must help in rebuilding the country....[The issues of the last few days] must not increase divisions, and one should not defame an individual and subsequently reject all of his capabilities based on a single issue....The Islamic republic allows people [that believe in the establishment] to have different viewpoints.

There was, however, a possible rebuke to Ahmadinejad in the Supreme Leader's warning, "These differences should not be mixed with sinful personal ambitions.

The Latest from Iran (19 July): Breathing Space

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

2045 GMT: Two new videos have emerged which purport to show protests in Shiraz today:


The second video is here.

2035 GMT: The Guardian reports that 36 Iranian army officers were arrested after planning to attend Hashemi Rafsanjani's sermon in uniform in uniform, "as an act of political defiance." (via IranWire)

2030 GMT: Abbasali Kadkhodai, in an interview with FarsNews, responded to the criticisms of Rafsanjani and commented upon the Zanganeh and Akhondi letter.

Kadkhodai claimed that "the Guardian Council applied all possible legal means to ensure maximum trust in the election process". He also said that when we were investigating the election Larijani suggested  ".... that a committee compromised of  heads of the national auditory office, national prosecution office and a member of the Guardian Council be formed to investigate the complaints of the opposition candidates". Kadkhodai continued by claiming "... although this suggestion [of Larijani's] was problematic we accepted it ... but Mousavi and Karroubi rejected the proposal".

Kadkhodai claimed that contrary to the statement of Rafsanjani, "that in the given five days the Guardian Council used all opportinities to ensure trust [in the election process]." Commenting upon the fact that the Guardian council has been at the receiving end of critical statements, Kadkhodai said "unfortunately some prominent men made no effort to solve these problems. If they had done so, maybe the worries of Mr. Rafsanjani would have been addressed. Kadkhodai closed his interview by stating that "the Guardian Council has not shirked in performing its legal duties in the presidential election process and has left a good performance record".

2015 GMT: Another twist in the tale of Ahmadinejad's VP- Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has just updated his personal website with a statement that says: "rumours of my resignation have been propagated by ill-intentioned people who intend to force my resignation and thereby cause the collapse of the government.  These rumours are absolute falsehoods." The confusion over his current status within the Ahmadinejad government could indicate infighting amongst Iranian conservatives.

2000 GMT: A few hours ago (see 1700 GMT) we linked to a post by Juan Cole, which suggested that Iranian hard liners weren't happy. A reader informs us that Cole has confused Ayatollah Misbah Yazdi, an ultra-hardline cleric. with Ayatollah Yazdi, also a hardline cleric.

1930 GMT: Iranian press are reporting that former President Khatami has called for a referendum on the legitimacy of the Government.

1700 GMT: Abbas Palizdar, who exposed the corruption of many officials including Ayatollah Yazdi, has been freed. (via IranRiggedElect)

Juan Cole thinks that the hard liners aren't happy.

1630 GMT: The Government buckles. Esfandiar Rahim Mashai- whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad's son- has declined appointment as 1st Vice President after pressure from Members of Parliament.

Rumour of the Day: In a meeting last Tuesday, the Supreme Leader asked Hashemi Rafsanjani to attend Ahmadinejad's inauguration. Rafsanjani angrily refused.

1500 GMT: A significant development? Conservative site Jahan News is reporting that Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai has resigned his post as Ahmadinejad's VP pick.

1445 GMT: Parlemanews also reports that 20 pro-reformist members of Parliament are officially placing a question to the Minister of the Interior Mahsooli and Minister of Information Ejehi: "these members have asked the ministers to state under what charges these individuals- many of whom have been officials of previous governments and/or previous members of parliament- have been detained."

Another 24 reformist MPs also asked the Interior Minister: "why has a political problem been treated as a security issue?" and  have also asked for clarification about the "attack to on Tehran University Dormitories".

Mehdi Karroubi, meanwhile, has continued to visit the families of detainees, and also went to the the church of St. Sarkis in Tehran to pay his respects to the Armenian-Iranian casualties of the recent plane crash. While there he offered his condolences to the family of Dr. Leon Davidian (an Armenian member of parliament of the 6th Majlis) who was amongst the casualties. Karroubi is the highest ranking politician to have paid personal respects to the Armenian casualties- the Iranian government has come under some criticism for not demonstrating enough sympathy to the Armenian-Iranian victims.

UPDATE 1430 GMT: Parlemannews has revealed new details of Rafsanjani's pilgrimage: Rafsanjani is visiting Mashad to consult with Ayatollahs Makarem-Shirazi and Safi-Golpayegani who are also on a pilgrimage to Mashad. Parlemannews states that both Ayatollahs are strongly against Ahamdinehad's Vice Presidential pick, and also reminds its readers that Ayatollah Ezeddin Zanjani, the highest ranking cleric in Mashad is in the pro-reform fraction.

0750 GMT: The New Political Front? Rassool Montajebnia, Mehdi Karroubi's deputy in the Etemade Melli reformist party, has said that it would be very useful if former President Mohammad Khatami and Mir Hossein Mousavi established strong political parties with well-defined objectives to rally and organize their supporters. The resulting party or parties could then join forces with other parties such as Etamade Melli to advance the reformist agenda.

So, for the Karroubi camp, progress through established parties is the way forward. Montajebnia stated that the current political front of Mousavi is  currently in a rather vague state and does not have a well-defined pattern.

0745 GMT: It looks like that Russia may be growing uncomfortable with its backing of President Ahmadinejad. The "conservative" news site Khabar Online writes, "A specialist from the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies has acknowledged significant irregularities in the election results, concluding that Ahmadinejad may have won but not with such a great margin".

0730 GMT: A Trip to Watch. Hashemi Rafsanjani is in Mashaad on a pilgrimage to Imam Reza. The visit comes only 72 hours after President Ahmadinejad went to the city.

Meanwhile, the Government faces more pressure with criticism of the choice of Vice Presidents (see yesterday's updates), now being seen in some "conservative" press. The reformist Member of Parliament Darius Ghanbari is actively investigating methods to impeach Ahmadinejad and may use the VP issue as a rallying cry.

0700 GMT: Unsurprisingly a relatively quiet Saturday after all the tension of the day before. Both the Government and opposition appeared to be taking time to reposition.

However, another clear sign of the dynamic between Hashemi Rafsanjani's now-public position and the opposition challenge came in an open letter, published in both "conservative" and "reformist" outlets, from two advisors to Mir Hossein Mousavi --- Bijan Zanganeh, Minister of Petroleum in the Khatami Government and Moussavi's liason  with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, and Abbas Akhoondi, a prominent Professor of Law at Tehran University and Mousavi's liason with the Guardian Council --- addressed to Ali Larijani.

The letter was originally sent to Larijani on 20 June, the day after the Supreme Leader spoke at Friday prayers. However, "regretfully these suggestions were not attended to by people in charge", so Zanganeh and Akhoondi "hope that public knowledge of this letter may be of some use". Parleman News adds the political significance: the publication of this letter is "in direct response to the critics of Mr Rafsanjani's recent speech, especially to those that take issue with Rafsanjani's statement that the Guardian Council did not effectively use the five extra days given to them [to resolve the election's irregularities]".

The letter is a useful platform, echoing Rafsanjani's address, for political progress rather than a manifesto of changes. 1) Trust must be reestablished between the two opposing sides; .2) The right to protest the election results must be officially accepted, respecting rights guaranteed by the Iranian constitution. These rights include the right to congregate to protest peacefully, the right to have a public voice, and the right to be fairly represented in other national media. Specifically, Mir Hossein Mousavi must be given the opportunity to state his position in national television.

Significantly, Zanganeh and Akhoondi follow this, in the re-publication of the 30 June letter, with an indication that the Mousavi camp has not given up the challenge to the 12 June election. Given the Guardian Council blatant support of President Ahmadinejad during and after the election, a body "comprised of prominent Iranians that are universally considered to be trustworthy" should be formed for arbitration.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi intervened in an interview with Deutsche Welle, saying that Hashemi Rafsanjani told the truth about the regime but not all the truth.

Reports contnue of arrests on Friday, including youth group members of Mir Hossein Mousavi's party.

The Latest from Iran (18 July): A Victory Followed By.....?

IRAN GREENUPDATE 1530 GMT: From our source:

The conservatives strike back. Ayatollah Yazdi, in a news conference has blasted Rafsanjani for his recent speech. In response to Rafsanjani's call to release prisoners Yazdi countered by saying  "Who do you think you are to demand the release of the detanees?" and "these detainees are mercenaries who have been caught inciting people to revolt and must not be released". Yazdi accused Rafsanjani of "sowing the seeds of doubt amongst people".  Yazdi then asserted that in "Islamic government the legitimacy comes from God and popularity from the people" (implying that even an unpopular Islamic government is legitimate). Yazdi continued by stating that "Rafsanjani has emphasized that an important foundation of government is the people, Rafsanjani has been and is absolutely wrong in this". Yazdi described the protesters as "misguided youth under the influence of satellite TV" and concluded his talk by stating that "if he is in the Guardian Council he will not approve" Mousavi again, due to the fact that Mousavi has demonstrated contempt for any form of Law".

Ayatollah Jannati has also stated that, "The enemies must be aware that the Islamic establishment and people  will not surrender to anarchy and mayhem."

UPDATE 1215 GMT: Some more overnight news:

Parleman News reports [English translation] that IRIB has been blasted for its portrayal of yesterday's protesters- not only for playing down their protests, but for referring to supporters of Mousavi and Karroubi as "lawbreakers and outlaws". The opposition movement has long accused IRIB of taking a pro-government, anti-protest position.

From an EA source: "The choice of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai as Vice President is again causing a headache for Ahmadinejad. The choice of Rahim Mashai by Ahmadinejad has been interpreted by the reformist press and some hardliners (including Larijani) as another instance of Ahmadinejad's high handedness, stubbornness, and contempt for public opinion. Rahim Mashai, who made the headlines some time ago after being caught on video in a belly-dancing cabaret in Turkey, has caused other controversy by making statements such as "there is no boundary between Islam and infidels".

The conservative site Kabaronline, meanwhile, considers the choice of Rahim Mashai as VP to be an attempt at diverting attention from more "fundamental problems." [English translation]

UPDATE 1200 GMT: Posts are likely to be slower today as Enduring America's writers take some time offline for various personal commitments. Some overnight updates from our contacts:

Human rights activist Shadi Sadr has been arrested.

Intelligence minister Mohsen Ejehi, in a conference with various sections of the Revolutionary Guard and Basiji has voiced his support for Ahmadinejad's government:

"He implied that it is due to Ahmadinejad's policies that " in the last  year that Western and American politicians have referred to Iran as a great power" and referred to Iran as "the Islamic Republic of Iran". He then said that the American politicians are "ready to engage with Iran as equal and respectful partners". He also "claimed that the Americans have conceded the nuclear energy issue to Iran and are willing to have unconditional dialogue with Iran and are willing to work with Iran to solve regional and global problems, " and that Israel with the help of the People's Mojahedin Party plan to assassinate Ahmadinejad.
Ejehi went on to say that the opposition movement contains "dastardly elements"- ie the US, Israel and other Western countries, the Royalists, the Freedom Front and the Iranian opposition parties.  Ejehi claimed that all of these groups want Ahmadinejad gone and this removal was a high priority for Rafsanjani.  After blasting all three opposition candidates Ejehi also made the surprising claim that "after the televised debate between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad it became absolutely clear that Ahmadinejad is the winner." Ejehi accused the Mousavi camp of rigging the pre-election polls. He subsequently claimed that 3 days before the election the "Mousavi camp knew they had lost so they decided to question the whole process by bringing forth accusations of fraud". As a parting shot, he said that the opposition leaders "taxed the patience of the Supreme Leader by their rude and insulting behavior during their meeting with him" and expressed surprise that although "the Supreme Leader with saintlike humility had listened to their concerns and offered his advice" they still persisted in their "unlawful behavior."


The nervousness over Hashemi Rafsanjani's address at Friday prayers in Tehran was soon replaced by excitement, even euphoria. Immediate interpretations proclaimed the former President's call for all detainees to be released, on his criticism of the Guardian Council's supervision of elections, and on his upholding of the right --- even the duty --- to protest.

That euphoria has continued this morning. Activists are urging readers to sign an on-line letter of thanks to Rafsanjani. Others have gone beyond the speech to talk of "police officers [being with] us.. They were even secretly showing us the V for Victory sign!" Demonstrators have been re-invigorated. Already The Mothers of Mourning have asked people to join them for their Saturday gatherings at parks.

Meanwhile, the regime's discomfort is apparent in its news line this morning. Rather than rebutting Rafsanjani, state media are bringing out the spectre of Israel. Press TV is headlining on a secret US-Israel meeting to focus on Israel, while other outlets are indulging in the claim of an Israeli plan to assassinate President Rafsanjani Ahmadinejad.

So a victory to the Green Movement. But it is a victory that poses the question: "What Next?", not necessarily in plans for protest but in substantive political and legal demands.

Early in the crisis the answer was easy: reverse the declaration of victory for Ahmadinejad. That option has receded, however, by the passage of time. (Although, if I were the President, I would not be as enthusiastic today about the inauguration scheduled for between 2 and 6 August.)

Nor is this a platform for revolution. Despite some rather asinine hyperbole in the "West" (see Martin Amis, who apparently is a Very Important Writer, in The Guardian on Friday), the Green Movement has not sought the toppling of the system. The scope for action has been, and will continue to be, reform.

So, for example, a straightforward call of Release the Detainees poses the broader challenge. What changes should be sought in not only the security apparatus but also the judicial system to ensure that the regime cannot resort to mass detentions in future?

In the political sphere, the call will not be to remove the Supreme Leader (the specific demands on that position have been the assurance that the successor to Ali Khamenei cannot be a hand-picked hardliner, such as his son Mojtaba). But what limits, if any, should be placed on his authority, given the Iranian system's principle of the ultimate clerical jurist? Practically speaking, will there be an insistence that the Leader never again intervene in electoral politics, as happened on June 12?

And what of the complex machinery beyond the Supreme Leader? In the maze of institutions (at least for an outsider like me), how does one re-distribute or even abrogate the powers of Guardian Council, Expediency Council, Assembly of Experts, Parliament, etc.? And is there any possibility of putting formal oversight in place for the Revolutionary Guard, rather than the informal arrangement that leads to a lack of accountability if not a de facto sharing of political power and economic interests between the Guard and the President?

For me, the possible answer lies not in immediate proposals but new formations to "channel" demands. Almost overtaken, by the Friday prayers and the powerful figure of Rafsanjani, was the news of a possible "political front" involving Mir Hossein Mousavi. That development, if allowed by the regime, would put the Movement back into the "ordinary" day-to-day of politics. But given the expectations of the Movement, and the realities that political manoeuvre vs. a hostile President and legislative action (not to mention the Supreme Leader's endorsement) take time, is that enough?

None of this is to diminish either the specifics of yesterday's events or the general phenomenon of the Green Movement. It's just a reminder, in an Iran of "gradual revolution", of marathon not sprint.

The Latest from Iran (10 July): What Next?

NEW Iran Video: Mr Ahmadinejad and His Wonderful, Brightly-Coloured Charts
NEW Iran: Protest Through "The Rooftop Project"
NEW Iran: How Strong is the G8 Statement on the Nuclear Programme?
NEW Getting Iran (Loudly) Wrong: Posturing for Mr Ahmadinejad and Mr Hitchens
NEW Iran: How Big Were the 18 Tir Protests?
The Latest from Iran (18 Tir/9 July): Day of Reckoning?
LATEST Video: The 18 Tir Protests (9 July)

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


2155 GMT: Fancy a laugh? Spend a few minutes with President Ahmadinejad as he, and his brightly-coloured charts, propose the reform of the Iranian military back to 331 B.C.

Or, if you prefer a more serious but high-quality end to the evening, check out Al Jazeera's documentary inside the Iranian protests, filled with new footage on the early days of the post-election conflict.

1835 GMT: The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that academic Kian Tajbakhsh was arrested on Thursday night. Tajbakhsh is a specialist in local government reform, urban planning, public health, and social policy who has taught at both American and Iranian universities.

1830 GMT: A new website, "The Rooftop Project", is trying to compile a present a full record of the nightly "Allahu Akhbar" (God is Great) protests from just before the election to the present. We've posted a note and sample footage in a separate entry.

1810 GMT: A lull in developments inside Iran, so EA's Ali Yenidunya has looked at developments elsewhere, "It’s not the statement of the G8 Summit [on the Iranian nuclear programme] that poses the questions over future relations with Iran. Those are in the post-summit positions now being considered in Washington and Paris, not to mention Moscow and Beijing.

1510 GMT: And Your Latest New Media Advance. A reader alerts us to the launch of "".

1500 GMT: Foreign Intrigue Story of the Day. Fars News Agency says a BBC recording studio was discovered in one of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign offices.

1420 GMT: Here's Your Concession? Press TV summarises Ayatollah Kashani's address at Friday prayers. It does not begin with "foreign enemies", the news is Kashani's assertion that "a parliamentary revision of the presidential election law is needed to prevent post-vote unrest in the future".

Press TV implies, however, that Kashani was not giving way to "Green" critics of the Mousavi-Karroubi-Khatami hue; instead, it refers to "Tehran's mayor, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf,...the first to propose the revision of the electoral code of conduct in Iran".

1220 GMT: Friday prayers at the University of Tehran were led, as had been rumoured earlier this week, by Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani. We're still trying to get information on the content of the address.

1145 GMT: We've been mired in the reading of some very dubious analysis of Iran. To "celebrate" the occasion, I've posted a separate blog, "Getting Iran (Loudly) Wrong".

1100 GMT: Collateral Damage. Reports that the British Embassy in Tehran has not issued any visas since 28 June. Those affected include entrants into British universities this autumn.

1045 GMT: A reader offers another valuable link, Sabz Films, for videos to add to our own collection.

1000 GMT: The Ups and Downs of Iran-Watching. The excellent Juan Cole both misses and hits this morning.

The "miss" is his too-easy recitation of the Associated Press overview of the 18 Tir protests, which repeat (and may have launched) the unsupported figure of 2000-3000 protesters. (To be fair, Cole does note, "What AP does not say on is that numerous small demonstrations are reported to have taken place all over the country, including in the southwestern city of Shiraz and elsewhere.")

His big hits are a good collection of videos and this story, which I have not seen elsewhere, from the US Government's Open Source Center:
Alef and Peiknet noted on 8 July that there is no information on the whereabouts of . . .[Shahaboddin] Metaji, head of Tehran Refinery. He was arrested several days ago and taken to an unknown location.

Metaji's colleagues, according to the report, said he was arrested because his family was chanting "Allah-O-Akbar" (God is Great) on the roof of their homes as a sign of protest to last month's presidential election results. His employees reportedly said: "The officials are trying to create fear among us, but that will not help. Our chanting has not stopped and will not stop.

In one of his visits, (Iranian President Mahmud) Ahmadinezhad told one of the oil officials to use big tankers instead of barrels when exporting petroleum. The employees couldn't believe how uninformed he is. The employees of the oil industry are angry because hundreds of small and big energy projects are now suspended, and now the employees are counting the seconds to exit this crisis. The structure of the oil industry is very much against Ahmadinezhad.

0800 GMT: The information from "citizen journalists" has been compiled in a new "underground" newspaper, which is well above ground on the Internet.

0720 GMT: After a near-shutdown of video out of Iran in the last two weeks, we were overwhelmed yesterday by the claimed footage of the 18 Tir protests. We've put up a selection of the best footage, but for even more coverage, we recommend the YouTube channel of "peive17" and Fintan Dunne.

0645 GMT: #BBCFail? The BBC, the target of the Iranian Government for its foreign evil after the election, faces a new set of critics this morning. Opposition activists are questioning why BBC Persian gave so little coverage to the demonstrations yesterday.

Can't confirm that lack of content; however, the BBC's main website hasn't bothered to update its Iran story since 1700 GMT yesterday and, like CNN, offers the bland headline, "Iran police tear gas protesters".

0530 GMT: It may seem callous to say this, after the success of the 18 Tir protests on Thursday (see our final updates), but the opposition challenge already faces the challenge of "And Now?".

Unless all the reports and videos are lies, the turnout in Tehran was far bigger than the "hundreds" declared initially by news agencies like Reuters. It was a question of where you looked: if eyes stared at the centre of Enqelab (Revolution) Square (or if they worked for Iran's Press TV), they saw an effective lockdown by security forces, with only a scattering of demonstrators being prevented from assembling. If the gaze widened, however, there were protests in squares, avenues, and roads across the city.

The size of gatherings outside Tehran is unknown, however (at present, I have seen only one claimed video, a small protest in Rasht that we posted, and reports are sketchy and unconfirmed), and defenders of the regime will argue that those who showed up in the capital are not representative of Iran's majority.News outlets like CNN have missed the political significance of the challenge, focusing inside on "Iranian forces disperse protesters with batons, tear gas". So, fairly or unfairly, the challenge will now fall on the politicians and clerics: what moves do they make to sustain the momentum of yesterday?

The mirror-image question can be put to the Iranian Government. It will be hard to deny that, in Tehran at least, there is still an opposition movement of some significance. So matters have not been closed off by the Guardian Council's "recount" of the Presidential vote, the threats of tough action from ayatollahs close to the Supreme Leader and commanders of the Revolutionary Guard, and certainly not the latest speech of President Ahmadinejad.

A possible response may come at Friday prayers at Tehran University. We're still waiting for confirmation of the leader, but let's just say that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani (rumoured to have withdrawn his name) will not fill the required role of a firm speech that all has been resolved.