Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Hamid Maddah (1)


The Latest from Iran (14 July): Ripples on the Surface

NEW Iran: Scott Lucas on "Sea of Green Radio"
NEW Iran: Facing the Rubicon of the Supreme Leader’s Authority
NEW Beyond the Election: Talking Turkey to Iran?
The Latest from Iran (15 July): Chess not Checkers

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

IRAN MAHABAD2140 GMT: A Convenient Business Trip. Reports that President Ahmadinejad is going to Mashaad on Friday which means (coincidentally, I'm sure) that he will not be at the prayers led by Hashemi Rafsanjani.

2000 GMT: From Sea of Green to River of Blood. An unusual protest in Mahabad in Kurdistan, where activists turned the water red. A correspondent writes that the red river is in honour of Dr Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, who was assassinated in 1989. Some claim that President Ahmadinejad was involved in the murder.

1900 GMT: In addition to the meetings of opposition politicians with families of detainees, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, visited the family of the slain demonstrator Sohrab Arabi on Tuesday. (hat tip to JE re the photo)

1730 GMT: Parleman News offers an interesting overview (in Farsi) of the dynamics between Hashemi Rafsanjani's leadership of Friday prayers in Tehran and the possible attendance of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami in a march to the site.

1530 GMT: The Hunters Become the Hunted? Yesterday we reported on pro-Government newspapers, having published scathing criticism of opposition leaders, being challenged by lawsuits.

It now appears that this may be a co-ordinated strategy. Reports are coming in that Alireza Beheshti has sued Kayhan for alleging that he has had connections with "foreign" agents and Hashemi Rafsanjani's son Mehdi Hashemi has sued Iran paper, Fars news agency, and Raja News. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami have also filed lawsuits.

1400 GMT: Clerical Unease. We've just posted a separate entry on an emerging issue: do clerics dare challenge the authority of the Supreme Leader?

1100 GMT: When Culture and Politics Collide. A reader reminds us of the show of defiance by Shajarian, one of the most popular classical Iranian musicians. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, celebrating his "victory", compared protesters to "dust", Shajarian replied that the President was also dust. He then refused to allow any broadcast of his music (except for the song "Rabbanaa") by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

For an introduction to Shajarian's music, I've watched his performance in the benefit concert after the Bam earthquake in 2003.

0835 GMT: A disturbing story about Iranian surveillance. There have been rumours for days that those entering the country have been subject to detailed investigation about their contacts in Iran. Now National Public Radio in the US reports, albeit via second-hand information from a "trusted colleague":
On passing through the immigration control at the airport in Tehran, [an Iranian-American] was asked by the officers if she has a Facebook account. When she said "no", the officers pulled up a laptop and searched for her name on Facebook. They found her account and noted down the names of her Facebook friends.

0740 GMT: One to Watch --- Compromise in the Cabinet? State media is already highlighting the prospect of a Cabinet reshuffle by President Ahmadinejad. Now a still speculative but clear idea is emerging of using that reshuffle for a compromise. In an interview published today, Morteza Nabavi, a "moderate right-wing conservative" and managing director of Resalat newspaper, advocates a new Administration that will "use both factions".

0625 GMT: Josh Shahryar's "Green Brief" reports: "Mehrdad Heydari, a prominent reporter in northeastern Iran, was killed in Mashhad under suspicious circumstances today by unknown individuals. Heydari had been publishing reports that were deemed anti-government in the past few weeks....Before Heydari, Hamid Maddah, a member of Mousavi’s party, died under torture in Mashhad two weeks ago."

0605 GMT: Latest on plans for the march to Friday prayers. The newssite Sharaf says it is probable that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi will participate, but spokesmen for both men say decisions will be announced in forthcoming days through "official channels".

0600 GMT: A significant sign of Iran's post-election isolation abroad. The contract for the long-awaited Nabucco gas pipeline in Turkey was signed yesterday but Iran, one of the major producers of natural gas, was not invited.

0545 GMT: Etemade Melli claims that the number of "prohibited" speakers on a list kept by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has grown from 100 to 1200 since the election.

0500 GMT: An unusual day yesterday. While there was no single dramatic event, a series of political and religious developments gradually put together a picture of a regime in discussions and some tensions over changes. As a pro-reformist correspondent put it, "The reform movement seems to have gained momentum and it is fighting the Ahmadinejad faction back. Considering that brute-force and coercion form an integral part of the modus operandi of this faction, I hazard to guess that this lack of suppression indicates that Ahmadinjad's group is weakened enough that it can not conjure up its millitant thugs as easily as it used to."

I'm cautious about that assessment. Detentions continue, and we still have not seen what would happen if there was a sustained attempt at a mass gathering of protest. However, the political signs were definitely of pressure for some recognition of the complaints over the election and its aftermath. And what made this even more striking was that the news of that pressure came not through the "West" or Twitter chatter but through Iran's own media.

News in the Western "mainstream" was limited to the statements of Ayatollah Montazeri criticising the regime, but our updates yesterday tracked a series of complaints from other clerics and politicians over detentions, the electoral process, and the state of the Ahmadinejad Government. Those complaints brought some rather heavy-handed (and panicked?) denunciations in the pro-Ahmadinejad press, which in turn led to threats of court action against "conservative" Iranian newspapers. Even more importantly, those complaints have brought a limited response, for example, the ruling that no person can serve both in the President's Cabinet and on the Guardian Council and on the request for Parliament to consider a new electoral law.

The issue is how far the regime bends. We are waiting to see the outcome of a series of talks being held by the National Security Commission. Reports yesterday indicated that, having spoken to opposition politicians, the NSC was now speaking to President Ahmadinejad. In Parliament, there was criticism of some of Ahmadinejad's advisors, notably his chief spokesman/Justice Minister.

And, of course, there is Friday. Supporters of the Government responded to the news that former President Hashemi Rafsanjani would lead Tehran prayers with the rumours that 1) no, he wouldn't 2) if he did, it would be the last time. Rafsanjani's supporters knocked down those stories. And the former President? He was meeting with novices in the religious school at Khorosan: "The clergy must have a relevant program for addressing the needs of society and should not be out of touch with social phenomena".