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Entries in Mir Hossein Mousavi (44)


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)

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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."

Iran: How Big is the Green Wave?

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

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IRAN 40 DAYIn light of yesterday's rush of events --- some tense, some moving, some confusing, all demonstrating that the issues in Iran have moved beyond a challenge over a disputed Presidential election --- how significant is the pressure for "something to be done" about the Iranian system? And what exactly is to be done?

Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim of the Los Angeles Times, who excelled in their coverage of the "40th Day" memorial, offer one dramatic answer:
Protesters swarmed Tehran's main cemetery and fanned out across a large swath of the capital Thursday, defying truncheons and tear gas to publicly mourn those killed in weeks of unrest, including a young woman whose death shocked people around the world....Thirty years ago, such commemorations helped build momentum for the Islamic Revolution that overthrew the shah. The resilience of the thousands of protesters this time set the stage for more clashes next week, when hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is to be inaugurated for a second term.

"Momentum" for "the overthrow" of the regime? Hmm....

Understandably, Daragahi and Mostaghim, who was in Tehran, were caught up in the excitement of an extended moment, both at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery and then across the capital as demonstrations continued late into the night. It's the next morning, however, and excitement gives way to reflection and a view of a murkier political situation. The assessment we offered on 18 July, the day after Hashemi Rafsanjani's Friday prayers in Tehran, still seems apt:
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 [a new political front] enough?....[These events are] a reminder, in an Iran of “gradual revolution”, of marathon not sprint.

This caution should not overshadow the symbolic and political power of yesterday's memorial. There will never be a result in the numbers game --- viewing footage and carefully reading reports, the CNN figure of 3000 at Behest-e-Zahra cemetery seems far too low while the estimate of 40,000, offered by Mardamak, Norooz, and the Los Angeles Times may be optimistic --- but the precise figure is not that important. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, responded to the call to show up in tribute to the martyrs of 20 June. They did so despite confusion over the exact plans, concern over the response of security forces, and warnings from the regime, both in rhetoric (see the statement of the chief prosecutor Mortazavi yesterday in anticipation of Saturday's first trials of demonstrators) and in further arrests.

And we will never know how many thousands, maybe tens of thousands, were scattered across Tehran and beyond in further marches and shows of support for the Green Movement. The Government's restrictions on the alternative media are crumbling, which meant that video came out at a rate which overwhelmed our attempts to post the best footage of the day. And that video, while of course only a partial view of 30 July, showed a determination and an enthusiasm to make both anger and hope heard.

The Government's efforts to limit, if not shut down, both mourning and protest yesterday were fumbling. There was, thankfully, fewer reports of violence and injuries than on previous occasions, including the cause for the memorial, the deaths of 20 June. While dramatic images emerged, such as a clash between demonstrators and police using batons in Vanak Square (see yesterday's video, Part 1), that incident apparently ended in tear gas rather than gunfire. A scattering of arrests were reported but even some of those taken were later freed, such as the filmmaker Jafar Panahi

At the same time, the security forces probably caused further difficulties for the regime with their ham-fisted efforts to keep opposition leaders away from the memorial. They were successful in turning back Mir Hossein Mousavi, but it appears that Mehdi Karroubi and the supporting crowd were defiant, not only saving Karroubi from being man-handled (as had happened on 17 July) but ensuring that he spoke to the gathering. We have footage of Karroubi's arrival at the cemetery (yesterday's video, Part 1); if any images of this show of resistance emerges, I suspect they may be a powerful symbol for the strength of the Green Wave.

Yet, on the morning after, those incidents can also be turned around to pose questions for the opposition. If one was to be crude, the more-than-symbolic question could be put, "Where is Mousavi now?" It is not just the fact that, minutes after crowds were chanting "Ya Hossein! Mir Hossein!", he was rebuffed in his attempt to pay respects; it is that he never resurfaced on the day, despite rumours that he like many of the crowd moved to the Grand Mosala.

Less crudely, dramatic protest has to be followed by less dramatic political planning and manoeuvring. And that in turn highlights that, two weeks after the 17 July moment, there is still no political front, let alone a well-developed set of proposals for what should be done with Iran's political, religious, and judicial system. We are back to the difficult, sometimes grubby, details of not only the Presidency and Iranian security forces, including the Revolutionary Guard but also of institutions like the Guardian Council and of the powers of the Supreme Leader. It is a difficult challenge beyond the spirit and success of yesterday, and seen in these terms, one which poses questions which cannot be answered at this point.

There is another twist, however. The Green Wave's persistence does not depend on those unanswered questions because of more immediate issues. Foremost among these are detention and interrogation. It is notable that the sustained pressure that has been brought by both clerical and political opposition, symbolised by the Khatami-Mousavi-Karroubi letter and the response of some Ayatollahs, has been concerned with the abuses of detainees and demands that someone take responsibility for the violation of law, humanity, and Islam.

A pragmatic move by the Government, to ease that pressure, would be to give way on the detentions, and it did so to an extent with the announced release of 140 prisoners and the promised closure of the Kahrizak facility. This, however, appears to be a concession offset by the prospect of further punishment. Tomorrow, only 48 hours after the memorial, the trials of about 20 detainees are scheduled to begin. Foreshadowed by yesterday's announcement by Mortazavi, the court proceedings will probably be marked by more strident rhetoric about foreign manipulations and even the evil direction of opposition leaders within Iran. All of this is likely to re-raise the questions of the Government's system of "crime" and punishment and, more importantly, to create new martyrs for the cause.

The second immediate issue is the diminishing but still pivotal figure of President Ahmadinejad. Yesterday, in the face of the high-profile challenge to his authority, he disappeared, going to Mashaad to meet academics and scientists. That's his second flight in two weeks; he made the same trip to Mashaad on 16 July, the day before Rafsanjani's Friday prayers.

This is a political leader without authority, yet ironically, we are only six days away from the supposed re-confirmation of his authority when Ahmadinejad is inaugurated. And that saves the Green Wave from the longer-term questions about the political system. For the opposition, which is not only "reformist" but now those "principlists" and "conservatives" whom the President has alienated, can agree that longer-term questions can be put aside for criticism of an immediate target.

Waves ebb and flow. Yesterday, after a week of confrontation within the system, the tide came dramatically in, to demonstrate that protests remains strong and defiant. Today, it goes out, to make way again for those day-to-day manoeuvres challenging the current President of Iran. And next week, it comes in once again, as 5 August brings the symbolic clash of an official inauguration and an unofficial denial of that ceremony.

Beyond that? It's not "the overthrow of the Shah". It's an Iran 30 years later --- this Wave is already in uncharted waters for the Islamic Republic, and I doubt any of us have the map to indicate where it goes.

The Latest from Iran (30 July): Memorial Day

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

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

NEW Media Mischief: The Return of #CNNFail on Iran?
NEW Iran: Ayatollah Montazeri on the Khatami-Mousavi-Karroubi Letter (29 July)
The Latest from Iran (29 July): The Memorial and the Inauguration

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IRAN NEDA MOTHER2115 GMT: Good Night. For us at EA, a thank you to all those who have joined today and a symbolic reminder: pictured at left is Neda Agha Soltan's mother, who was not able to attend the ceremony at her daughter's grave but who lit a candle in a nearby park as her memorial.

2110 GMT: Coming to the close of an eventful day, let's drop in on Press TV's coverage: "Iran's opposition supporters, gathered at a cemetery in Tehran for a memorial service for the victims of the recent post-election unrest, have been met by Iranian police."

The image of a casual "meeting", perhaps for cake and a cup of tea, is dispelled in the next sentence, however, "Police forces on Thursday used tear gas to break up supporters of defeated presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi." And the overall report is neutral, even (whisper it) somewhat favourable towards the Green Movement.

That is, except for an obligatory last sentence: "Iranian authorities say foreign agents have fueled the post-vote violence which led to the deaths."

2015 GMT: has posted a range of photographs from Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

2010 GMT: Tehran Bureau has an excellent selection of eyewitness accounts, all of which point towards the significance not of a single demonstration (although, if true, 40,000 in Behest-e-Zahra cemetery is impressive) but of numerous demonstrations across the capital. As one demonstrator caught the excitement, "It’s NUTS! I’ve never seen it like this before! It’s still going on, 9 pm now — raging! As I said, it's more like a riot, totally out of control."

1940 GMT: Radio Farda's website reports that hundreds of people demonstrated in Isfahan today.

1755 GMT: Islamic Republic News Agency, going "behind the scenes of the street riots", claims that the leadership of these riots are "political powers" and "retired elements of some security forces", implying that the recent protests are similar to those against the regime in the early 1980s.

1715 GMT: Reports that filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mahnaz Mohammadi, and Rokhsare Ghaem Maghami released after being arrested earlier at Behest-e-Zahra cemetery.

1645 GMT: State-funded Press TV in Iran apparently covered the protests at Neda's grave site, with a reporter calling in a live update.

1615 GMT: Etemade Melli has an account of Mehdi Karroubi's appearance at the memorial, including the resistance of mourners when security forces accosted him, and of his speech. The English translation, courtesy of Mani:

Karroubi walked towards Neda Agha Soltan's resting place, surrounded by a large group of people. The special forces attacked him and tried to disperse and separate the people from "the reform sheikh" [Karroubi] by beating them with clubs and pepper spray. The police encountered stiff resistance from the people, and Karroubi held his ground and stated strongly that he is staying in this place.
Karroubi sat beside Neda Agha Soltan's  grave and accompanied the people by reading the Fateheh [the prayer for the dead]  for Neda. The Prayer was read with protest intonations. Afterwards Hojjatoleslam Hadi Ghaffari joined Karroubi and spoke to the people for a few minutes. During Karroubi's speech, the security forces had a conflict with the people and arrested some individuals. These forces were confronted with slogans like "let him go, let him go" and flowers by the people [police presumably released those arrested].

Mehdi Karroubi, after spending an hour with the people, moved to the exit and his vehicle, accompanied by a large number of people chanting slogans.

1600 GMT: A reader sends in two other slogans:

"As long as the Supreme Leader isn't dead, our homeland won't be our homeland"
"We don't want crocodile's tears, we don't want the government of Mesbah" [referring to Ahmadinejad's religious mentor, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi)

1552 GMT: Ahmadinejad Flees? On 16 July, the day before Rafsanjani's Friday prayers, the President went to Mashaad. He did so again today, ostensibly to attend a gathering of scientists and faculty members.

1550 GMT: Some of the slogans from today, as reported by Mardomak's live blog:

Our Neda is not dead/the government is dead
Oh Martyred countryman! I will wrest back your vote
Fear not! fear not! we are in this together
Death to dictator
Mojtaba [Khamenei], may you die as you yearn for supreme leadership
The missiles of the basiji have no effect [Mani's Note: This echoes what was said in the 1970s, "The missiles have no effect, the Shah can only kill himself", implying what some think Ahmadinejad and maybe Khamenei must do.]

1545 GMT: Ramin Mostaghim of the Los Angeles Times (see 1345 GMT), who appears to be the best-placed "Western" correspondent in Tehran today, also says 40,000 were in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

1540 GMT: Moments after writing the previous entry, this comes in from the Green Movement website Mowj-e-Sabz: there are clashes in several major streets in Tehran, including Motahari,Vali-e Asr, Beheshti, Hafez and Fatemi, with reports of police using tear gas and batons.

1535 GMT: We are receiving numerous reports of "heavy clashes" across Tehran and now in other cities like Ahwaz and Isfahan. We are refraining from giving details at this point because there is no verification of the extent of the protests and fighting.

1520 GMT: The Iranian pro-reformist website Mardomak has been live-blogging events. It reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, was able to get into the cemetery. Although there were many anti-riot police present, there were no major clashes inside Behesht-e-Zahra.

Here, however, is the striking entry. In contrast to CNN's report, taken up by other Western media, of 3000 mourners, Mardomak claims there were 40,000 in the cemetery.

1445 GMT: Picking up on some earlier news: the "reformist" Islamic Iran Participation Front has issued a strong statement asserting that the only way out of the disgrace of detentions and killings is the fall of the "coup government". Tehran Bureau offers a useful summary.

1440 GMT: A quieter phase in today's events. It appears that some mourners/demonstrators, having been hindered in their attempts at a memorial in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, are moving towards the Grand Mosala (the original location for today's gathering). Others are in streets around Tehran: it is report that "Vali Asr from Vali Asr Square to Vanak Square is jampacked and smokefilled".

So it is wait-and-see as to whether there is a Phase II or a series of scattered encounters. Meanwhile, a question: when he was turned away from the cemetery by security forces, where did Mir Hossein Mousavi go?

1405 GMT: Reuters,via Mehr News Agency, reports that Saeed Hajjarian was transferred from prison to a "state-owned" house today. Kazem Jalali, the head of Parliamentary Security Committee, said, "The Tehran prosecutor told me that Hajjarian was transferred today to a state-owned house with proper medical facilities....His relatives can visit him at the new place."

1345 GMT: Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim have just filed this report for the Los Angeles Times, "Mourners overwhelm Iran security forces". If true, it is a significant account of a building protest movement. (Much of this information has circulated on Twitter but EA has not run some of the details because we could not verify. It is unclear how much of this article is based on the Twitter traffic and how much on first-hand reporting --- Mostaghim is apparently based in Tehran.)
Thousands and possibly tens of thousands of mourners, many of them black-clad young women carrying roses, overwhelmed security forces today at Tehran's largest cemetery to gather around the grave of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman whose videotaped shooting at a June 20 demonstration stunned the world.

"Death to the dictator," those in the long procession of mourners converging on the burial site chanted, kicking up a storm of dust as they walked. "Neda is not dead. This government is dead."

Uniformed security forces initially clashed violently today with some of the mourners, supporters and leaders of the opposition, who were trying to publicly mourn protesters who died in the recent unrest. Unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi attempted to attend the graveside ceremony marking the religiously significant 40th day since the death of Agha-Soltan and others killed in the fighting.

"Oh, Hossein! Mir-Hossein," the mourners chanted in support of him.

According one witness, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, Mousavi stepped out of his car only to be surrounded by police, who forced him back into his vehicle and out of the cemetery.

At first mourners were confronted by the security forces, who struck them with truncheons and arrested some in an attempt to bar them from gathering at Tehran's Behesht Zahra cemetery, the country's largest. The tree-lined streets leading to the graves of Agha-Soltan and others were blocked by riot police, the witness said.

The witness said the mourners also identified and violently confronted several plainclothes Basiji militiamen.

"Police, police, support us," the mourners chanted. "God is great!"

But as the numbers mourners poured out of the nearby subway station and taxis along the highway, security forces retreated. One witness said police released detainees and began cooperating with the mourners, directing them to section 257 of the cemetery, where Agha-Soltan and others were buried. Mourners have been denied a permit to hold a ceremony in the city's Grand Mossala mosque later today, but protesters have said they will try to come together near the site of the mosque anyway, and march along nearby streets if they are prevented from entering the site....

1330 GMT: EPersian Radio is claiming that Mehdi Karroubi, 20 minutes ago in Behesht-e-Zahra, told those gathered to move towards the Grand Mosala.

1325 GMT: We've just posted the first video to come out of the memorial at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

1305 GMT: BBC Persian, citing Press TV, says security forces have used tear gas to disperse mourners at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery. (hat tip to a reader)

1255 GMT: Mohammad Khatami has issued another statement on detentions and interrogations, criticising the closure of Kahrizak Prison as a token move and declaring, "Those who are responsible must be dealt with and those abused must be compensated."

1245 GMT: Revolutionary Road is live-blogging on the memorial with details such as, "Mourners chant: 'Death to Dictator!' Basijis now chanting 'God is Great' too."

1234 GMT: Claim that Mehdi Karroubi has entered Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

1228 GMT: Claims of gatherings across Tehran, with largest at Ferdousi Square.

1218 GMT: BBC Persian reports that filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mahnaz Mohammadi have been arrested during today's memorial.

1209 GMT: Deutsche Welle is also reporting (in Farsi) on clashes and arrests at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

Al Jazeera English has just cut to a correspondent in Tehran (on a rooftop far from the cemetery) who is repeating the news provided by Reuters.

1200 GMT: Not a word from "mainstream" media in their headlines but EPersian Radio is claiming to carry reports by cellphone from Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

1145 GMT: Witness to Reuters: "Police forced Mousavi to return to his car and leave the cemetery. Police are also warning mourners to leave the place or face the consequences."

1140 GMT: Reuters reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi has entered Behesht-e- Zahra cemetery to pay his respects to those killed in post-election violence. Marchers clung to his car, chanting "Mousavi we support you".

However, there are also UNCONFIRMED reports that he has been forced to leave by security forces.

1130 GMT: And So It Begins. It is now 4 p.m. in Tehran, and Reuters is reporting, via a witness, "Hundreds have gathered around Neda Agha-Soltan's grave to mourn her death and other victims' deaths....Police arrested some of them....Dozens of riot police also arrived and are trying to disperse the crowd."

1125 GMT: Saeed Mortazavi, the prosecutor of the Islamic Revolutionary Court and Prosecutor General of Tehran, has issued a statement announcing the first trials of detained protestors on Saturday and criticising the "enemies" who challenged the Presidential election, a "golden page [in] the book of religious democracy":
Once again we had to witness that the global imperialism lead by America and Britain did not accept one of the world s most democratic election and the will of you free people....Obviously some mercenaries and misled groups within the country were manipulated by foreigners, and by committing illegal and dishonest actions formed a base for the unrest of elements of the enemy.

Charges include "attacking military centres with weapons, firearms, and incendiary bombs", "attacking government centres and setting them on fire", "destroying public property", "creating panic among the people", and "contact with heretic and infidel groups".

1120 GMT: Peykeiran reports that "opposition" newspapers have been removed from the front of kiosks in Tehran since Sunday.

1100 GMT: A reader has pointed towards an Iranian blog on conditions in the Kahrizak prison, whose closure as a "non-standard" facility was ordered by Ayatollah Khamenei earlier this week. The author of the entry, who claimed he/she was detained for almost a month, writes of "200 people in single room, all beaten, bruised and wounded" and names six people who allegedly died in the prison.

1020 GMT: Revolution in Iran, drawing from a variety of sources, is maintain a running list of those who have died in the post-election conflict, adding names where possible. The list, updated yesterday, now has about 180 listed deaths with more than 60 persons identified.

1000 GMT: We've posted a separate entry, half in jest, half as serious comment on "media", on the approach of CNN to today's events: "Media Mischief --- The Return of #CNNFail?"

0753 GMT: Rooz Online breaks the news that Neda Agha Soltan's mother will NOT be at the memorial at her daughter's grave in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

0745 GMT: Reconfirming the Memorial. Ghalam News, Mir Hossein Mousavi's website, still features its story from last night: "Commemoration of Martyrs Movement: Behest-e-Zahra, 1600 Hours on Thursday".

0730 GMT: New Move for Political Front? Rasoul Montajebnia, a deputy of Mehdi Karroubi's Etemad-e-Melli Party, has suggested that reformists form a "leadership assembly" including Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami to lead all reformist groups in Iran.

0720 GMT: How You Know the Regime is Nervous. Two notable stories from the "conservative" press:

Kayhan has claimed, "We have found documents proving that some of the rioters participating in the Tehran have been killed by some thugs hired by Mousavi and Khatami."

Fars News tops this, asserting that Neda Agha Soltan "is alive and in Greece"!

0715 GMT: Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has also responded to the Khatami-Mousavi-Karroubi letter. Summary is in separate entry.

0700 GMT: Summarising News on Detainees. From Parleman News:

Although a lot of publicity has been given to "the release of Said Hajjarian", he has not yet been freed.
Mohammad Tavassoli, the head of the political office of the Freedom Party, was released on Monday.
Journalist Aida Mesbahi has been released on bail.
Shadi Sadr, the attorney, was released on bail.
The families of attorney Abdulfath Soltani and journalist Abdoreza Tajik have been asked to post bail.
Mohammad Atrianfar has spoken with his family and seems to be in good health.
The families of Hengameh Shahidi and Somayeh Tohidlou are concerned because they have heard nothing regarding them.
Jila Bani-yaghoub has met with her mother. Bani-Yaghoub told her mother that she does not expect to be released soon. Her husband Bahman Ahmadi has also met his family.
The families of Saeed Laylez, Ahmad Zobd Abadi and Kaveh Mozaffari have been told that these individuals are quarantined and prohibited from meeting people.

0650 GMT: Ayatollah Montazeri has published a response to the letter from Mohammad Khatami, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mir Hossein Mousavi asking for intervention on the detainees issue. We've posted the English translation, as well as other statements by clerics, in a separate entry.

0530 GMT: The Iranian post-election conflict has been marked by a convergence of complicated, often hard to see, manoeuvres behind the scenes and of high-profile events. Today's planned "40th Day" memorial, set for 4 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, is one of those events. It is the most prominent since the 17 July gathering for Friday prayers in Tehran and, arguably, the most significant since the first organised mass demonstration on 15 June, three days after the election.

Put bluntly, if the Green Movement can mobilise thousands of people on the streets of Tehran, whether or not they make it to Behesht-e-Zahra, and if Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi make their planned appearance, this will be the symbolic moment that shows --- seven weeks after the election --- that the Government has not been able to put down opposition. Conversely, if those thousands do not appear and if opposition leaders do not show up, it will be an indication that, while symbolic protests will continue, they will not put the pressure of mass activity upon the regime.

A sign of that importance is the return of some "mainstream" foreign media to the Iran story. The BBC is highlighting, "Iran Opposition Vows to Defy Ban", both in its broadcasts and on its website. Their reports have been bolstered, and indeed prompted, by a message from Neda Agha Soltan's mother expressing gratitude to those remembering her daughter. (Neda's mother will also be at Behesht-e-Zahra today, although it is unclear whether this will be as part of the 4 p.m. ceremony.) In contrast, Time magazine casts an ominous, even negative, shadow as "Tehran Braces for Another Day of Street Battles": "Although tens of thousands are expected to march in silence July 30,...many more will be staying home." (CNN and Al Jazeera English lag behind, with neither referring to today's plans.)

Understandably, the significance of this moment emerged in some confusion and nervousness amongst activists yesterday. The apparent change of plans from the 6 p.m. gathering in the Grand Mosala to the Behest-e-Zahra memorial took time to emerge, and with the Government-imposed difficulties in communication, the opposition feared that many would not get word of today's schedule. This morning there seems to be an easing of those concerns, and attention is turning to the response of the Government to the gatherings. An unconfirmed report last night asserted that the Supreme Leader's office had put out a communiqué ordering no use of force against marchers. If true, that would appear to be an acceptance of large crowds at Behehst-e-Zahra and, indeed, in the streets surrounding the cemetery.

Iran: Ayatollah Montazeri and Others on the Khatami-Mousavi-Karroubi Letter (29 July)

The Latest from Iran (30 July): Memorial Day

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MONTAZERIUPDATE 0705 GMT: Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has also responded to the letter of Mousavi-Karroubi-Khatami. He echoed Ayatollahs Montazeri and Sanei in their denunciation of the Government's disregard of the vote of the people, the mass arrests and detentions of protesters, and the torture of prisoners. Calling these actions a "horrific evil". The Ayatollah asked all of those concerned about the future of the establishment, including politicians and higher-ranking officials and judges "to take a stand against this horrific evil and try to purify society from this evil"; otherwise, "the most corrupt of you shall rule upon you".

UPDATE 0645 GMT: Mohammad Motahari, the son of Ayatollah Motahari, a prominent religious figure in the Revolution who was assassinated in 1980, has written a lengthy article assessing Islam and the treatment of protestors and detainees. He concludes, "Whether there was foreign interference or not, whether a velvet revolution was or wasn’t planned, whether the ruling system was in danger or not, no matter who the primary or secondary culprits may have been, none of this gives an infinitesimal right to tyranny and oppression." (hat tip to the "Pedestrian" blog)


Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, the one-time successor to Ayatollah Khomeini and a long-time challenger to the current regime, has responded to Saturday's letter from opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mohammad Khatami asking for Grand Ayatollahs to intervene on the issue of detainees and on the legitimacy of the Government.

What have the rulers gained from the crisis that they have caused? Have they gained anything other than making an absolute majority of our beloved people angry and discontented, placing a huge distance between themselves and the people, weakening the prestige of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the world, and inflame the suspicions and sensitivities of many citizens of other countries and human rights organizations throughout the world? Have those who decided to perpetuate these recent horrific events forgotten the fate of the Shah and other totalitarian regimes? Was the Shah able to resist the wave of people's protest and discontent by using [methods such as] brutal suppression of freedom movements, media censorship, imprisonment and torture of political activists and protesters, coerced confessions and false propaganda?

Why have the "wise men of the tribe" given a mandate to a bunch of fanatical individuals who lack rationality and are enslaved to paranoid fancies and cabalist tendencies, individuals whose behavior casts serious aspersions upon the legitimacy of this establishment that is the result of so much investment, leading the young to doubt the principles of the revolution and religious governance?

Why are you inducing the security forces and the basij to commit fratricide and brutally suppress the people? Was this the goal of establishing these forces? What crime have those dear detained individuals committed that you are imprisoning and forcing confessions out of them and consequently deliver their dead bodies to their families? Have they done anything other than protest calmly and peacefully the multitude of irregularities, crimes, misdemeanors, fraud and illegal actions observed in the election and demanding their rights? These coerced confessions are absolutely worthless from the viewpoint of Islamic Law and those who perpetuate these acts are committing mortal sins and must be tried in a just, impartial and open court so the people sincerely believe that their rights are considered.

I warn all decision makers, before the crisis gets deeper and gets out of hand, they should act sensibly, logically and according to Islamic Law, and prepare a sensible and satisfactory reply to the demands of the people. They must bear in mind that the Iranian public are wise and sensible and will find it unacceptable if the culprits are not punished....

[I ask God to grant] health and prosperity for the dear and noble people of Iran, glory for our dear Islamic religion, power to reinstate the the ignored rights and freedom for the prisoners detained under false pretenses.

The Latest from Iran (29 July): Challenges Outside and Inside the Government

The Latest from Iran (30 July): Memorial Day

More than “Velvet Revolution”: The Battle Within Iran’s Intelligence Ministry
Iran: The "40th Day" Memorial and the Inauguration
Latest Iran Video: Mousavi Speech, Nighttime Protests (27-29 July)
The Latest from Iran (28 July): The Regime Crumbles

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2105 GMT: Still no confirmation of the release of Saeed Hajjarian from detention, which was supposed to take place today., reporting of behalf of the "Green Wave", says the news should not be trusted.

2025 GMT: Another Arrest. Now it is Khatami advisor Shayesteh Amiri who has been arrested.

2015 GMT: The Latest from the Police. It's not just the Ministry of Intelligence that is being shaken up (see separate story). Three high-ranking officers --- the head of preventive forces, the head of the traffic section, and the head of airport police --- have been replaced.

Meanwhile, the overall head of the security forces, General Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, is adjusting his position. Hours after the Prosecutor General insisted that officers show restraint, Ahmadi-Moghaddam said, "The security forces try to install calm and justice in society.....however no type of provocation must cause the security officers to step out of the law....Some members of the security forces have overreacted."

Ahmadi Moghaddam added, "In response to the complaints of 440 of our countrymen we have compensated 197 of 300 people that have sustained damages....The total amount of compensation paid was $50,000." (Correspondent Mani thinks the General is being a bit of a cheapskate, since the cost of a  car in Iran starts from $8000.)

2005 GMT: Press TV Coverage Meter - Mousavi Up, Mahmoud Down. There is an overload of indicators of the shifting view of state media in this story from Press TV's website, "Amid growing dissension among Iran's ruling elite over the president's conduct, former presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi says the post-vote crisis is the product of undervaluing the will of the people."

Who is the troublemaker now?

2000 GMT: Don't Give Up the Story Now. Press TV may have stopped treating the murder of Neda Agha Soltan as a foreign plot (0720 GMT), but others are not ready to quit. A Revolutionary Guard commander has told an audience that the "accident was completely planned".

1905 GMT: Mahmoud, We Want Our Vote Back. An editorial in Ya Lassarat newspaper, associated with Ansar al Hezbollah activists, has demanded, "Mr. Ahmadinejad, apologize to the nation!” The editorial continued,

We must tell you, Mr. Ahmadinejad, that our criteria in voting for you was your indisputable allegiance to the Leadership. But now we see that you, in the past week, have done things that raise questions about your allegiance to the Leader. The appointment of [First Vice President] Rahim Masha’i, the removal of the ministers, leaves doubts about allegiance to the Leader whose only fault was reminding you to obey the order of the Leadership. Your hesitation in carrying out the Leader’s orders has led us to begin to assume that your love for a person such as Masha’i is far greater than your love for the Leader. Of course we hope that we are mistaken.

We would like you to be aware that in the event you repeat, persist with such behavior, we will have no choice but to ask you to return our votes.

1900 GMT: Some Come Out, Some Go In. Further illustrating that the release of 140 detainees is a limited concession, Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested Saeed Shariati, a leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

1800 GMT: Press TV's English website reports from Iranian security services: "An underground network providing foreign media outlets with photos and footage of the post-election unrest has been identified and arrested in Iran." No further details of the network, the foreign outlets, or the footage is given.

1755 GMT: Iranian media continue to report that the mother of Neda Agha Soltan will also be at Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery tomorrow.

1745 GMT: Reports that Emad Behavar, leader of the youth wing of the Freedom Party and a prominent member of the pro-Khatami Group 88, has been released from detention.

1730 GMT: Latest News on Thursday's Events (and What It Means). Parleman News has repeated the news from Etemade Melli that Mousavi and Karroubi will attend the 4 p.m. ceremony in Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan. This is also the information on Ghalam News, the official site for news from Mousavi.

Our correspondent Mani interprets all today's news and sorts out what has happened and is likely to happen:
I do not think that Mousavi would make a joint official statement and then undermine it by bringing up the business of a further ceremony at the Grand Mosala at 6 p.m.

Personally I think that the Behesht-e-Zahra plan makes sense. I think that it may be possible that some behind-thscenes negotiations have happened between the different factions. The "conservative" faction, both the pro- and anti-Ahmadinejad members, have made concessions: they have released prisoners, they have started to apologize, members of the judiciary have talked about the rights of individuals, etc. (more or less carrying out the suggestions of Rafsanjani). It is reasonable to expect that Mousavi-Khatami-Karroubi have made concessions by changing the venue from the Grand Mosala, allowing the interior ministry to save face, and putting the ceremonies at the cemetery,which personalises the ceremonies and lowers the political tension and pressure). It is possible that some supporters of Mousavi will go to the Mosala but I doubt that Mousavi himself will be anywhere but at the place where he has officially said that he is attending.

1530 GMT: Mousavi Facebook page posted this message 25 minutes ago: "URGENT: Program tommorow (Thursday) fixed: 6:00 p.m. "Mosalla" in Tehran(+4:30 GMT). Before: Burial site of the Martyrs. After: Martyrs home visit. You are the Media!"

1455 GMT: Etemade Melli restates the information given by the offices of Karroubi and Mousavi on Facebook, "We will play our respects to the Martyrs of June 20th and their families at their site of rest....These ceremonies will occur at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan, tomorrow Thursday at plot number 257 in the cemetery Behesht-e-Zahra".

1445 GMT: An Iranian blogger is claiming, via a source, that a secret communiqué from the Supreme Leader's office to all intelligence and security offices has insisted that there be no forced used against demonstrators tomorrow "even if there are harsh slogans against the regime and the Government".

1410 GMT: Activists are trying to confirm plans for tomorrow. Mousavi Facebook page says, "Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi are going to visit Burial site of the Martyrs of 20th June, in the [Beheshteh Zahra] cemetery tommorow (Thursday) 16:00 o' clock (GMT +4:30)." Norooz News is reporting that the 6 p.m. memorial at the Grand Mosala is being replaced by this gathering. We are trying to confirm.

1155 GMT: First Concession, then Stick. Less than a day after the Government announced the release of 140 detainees, the Islamic Republic News Agency reports that trials of about 20 protesters will begin Sunday on charges of belonging to terrorist groups, carrying weapons and grenades, and "sending images to the media of the enemy". Ominously, in an apparent reference to "reformists" politicians who are still detained (see 0925 GMT), IRNA adds, "Those who ordered the postelection unrest" would be put on trial later.

1150 GMT: We've just posted a separate analysis on the "coup" within the Ministry of Intelligence in which more than 20 officials, including two Vice Ministers, were allegedly dismissed.

0940 GMT: Bringing Security Forces Within the Law? The Prosecutor General of Iran, Ayatollah Dorri-Najafabadi, addressing the special units of the security forces, has stated, "The security forces are obligated to be in control of their behavior." After thanking the security forces for their recent efforts, Najafabadi said
The public must feel that the police are serving them and are not against them. The psychological well being of the public depends upon the discipline and law abidding behavior of the department or section should consider themselves beyond the law....In an Islamic establishment security is not attained via brutal suppression but by the requirements of freedom and human dignity and no justification exists for assaulting human dignity, and the rights of people even the accused must not be ignored....Both law enforcement and the judiciary are not separate from the people but are there to serve the people. This must be shown in deeds so that the psychological security of the public is obtained.

0925 GMT: Amidst the news of the imminent release of Saeed Hajjarian, questions remain over the fate of other detained politicians. Press TV's website reported last night:
When asked about the fate of former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh and former deputy speaker of the Parliament Behzad Nabavi, [Farhad Tajari, deputy head of the Parliament Judicial Commission] said that they were in detention for major security charges. The parliamentarian, however, voiced hope that the two veteran political figures would be released on bail as per an earlier order by the Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi.

0920 GMT: Reuters is now reporting, from Iranian state media, that Saeed Hajjarian will be released from detention today.

0900 GMT: We're splitting off our first update today, "The Memorial and the Inauguration", as a separate analysis.

0750 GMT: Apparently We're Wrong. Perhaps President Ahmadinejad read our morning update (0615 GMT) describing "battles within" his Government. He has denounced "media speculation" and the "imaginary scenarios" of an argument in last Wednesday's Cabinet meeting and the subsequent attempted dismissal of four ministers. Ahmadinejad's office adds the reminder that spreading "false news" is "illegal".

0740 GMT: Another Important Memorial Service. The memorial was held for Mohsen Roohulamini, who died in detention after his arrest on 9 July, in the house of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei. (Roohulamini's father was Rezaei's campaign manager.)

Those who paid respects included the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hassan Abutorabi-Fard; Ayatollah Rasti, a member of the "conservative" Society of Teachers at Qom; Admiral Shamkhani, the Minister of Defense durring the Khatami Government; and General Hossein Alaie, one of the commanders of the Revolutionary Guard durring the Khatami Goverrnment.

0730 GMT: The "conservative" Jahan News reports that politician Saeed Hajjarian has been freed from detention. He will continue to be interrogated in his home.

0720 GMT: Press TV Changes Its Message. On its website last night, Press TV reported the statement of the Political Director-General of the Ministry of Interior that ""no permit has been issued for gathering or rallying for any individual or any political group" on Thursday.

That statement has been overtaken by the claim of the Green Movement that it carried no official authority. What is more interesting is the framing of the story. The headine recognises "post-vote victims". Even more striking is the picture and caption used for the story, "Neda Aqa-Soltan, who was shot dead in Tehran's post-vote protests, became an international icon in the heat of post-election developments."

The acknowledgement, even elevation, of Neda's death is in sharp contrast to Press TV's coverage in late June, when it first ignored the story and then highlighted claims that Neda had been killed by foreign agents as part of a conspiracy to discredit the Iranian Government.

0710 GMT: The funeral of Sefollah Daad, a prominent Iranian film director who has died of cancer, was due to take place this morning. There were unconfirmed reports that members of the Green Movement, including Mir Hossein Mousavi, would be present.