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« Video: Obama Statement on Iran (19 June) | Main | Transcript: Ayatollah Khamanei's Speech at Prayers (19 June) »
Friday
Jun192009

The Latest from Iran (19 June): Speeches and Rallies

Iran: The 7 Lessons of the Supreme Leader’s Address
Iran: Live Blog of Supreme Leader's Address (19 June)
NEW Transcript: Ayatollah Khamenei’s Speech at Prayers (19 June)
NEW Video: Obama Statement on Iran (19 June)
Latest Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran
Iran Eyewitness: The Wednesday and Thursday Demonstrations in Tehran
Iran Eyewitness: More Audio from “Alive in Tehran”
Text: Mousavi Speech to Tehran Rally (18 June)

The Latest from Iran (18 June): From Green to "A Sea of Black"

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KHAMENEI2003 GMT: From former President Mohammad Khatami's Facebook page: "Please join Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi tomorrow at 4pm from Enghelab Sq. to Azadi Sq. in Tehran for a crucial green protest."

2000 GMT: We've posted the video of President Obama's latest statement on Iran.

1955 GMT: The US Senate has followed the House of Representatives in a resolution supporting Iranian citizens espousing "the values of freedom".

1940 GMT: Reports that residents in Tehran again took to their rooftops tonight to shout, "God is Great" and "Death to the Dictator", despite the warning in Ayatollah Khamenei's address at Friday prayers.

1845 GMT: The US House Representatives has passed, by a 405-1 vote, the following resolution:
Expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law, and for other purposes.

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law;

(2) condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and

(3) affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections.

Representative Ron Paul of Texas cast the lone No vote.

1725 GMT: We've just posted a rough English-translation transcript of the Supreme Leader's speech.

1525 GMT: We've just posted Chris Emery's snap analysis of the Supreme Leader's speech, "7 Lessons".

1330 GMT: The Ministry of the Interior has turned down the application for a permit for Saturday's 4 p.m. march at Enqelab Square.

1300 GMT: Press TV English is focusing on the Supreme Leader's criticism of "Western countries" and "Western media" in his speech today calling for an end to "illegal rallies".This includes Khameini's misrepresentation of President Obama's statement this week: "The US President [said] Washington had been waiting for people to take to the streets."

Press TV English is also reproting on a "massive rally" by worshipers denouncing the West and expressing "their readiness to defend the achievements of the Islamic revolution".

1240 GMT: The Clerical Challenge? Today's Washington Times offers further details on Hashemi Rafsanjani's attempt to rally clerics against the electoral outcome: "Three grand ayatollahs have responded, but they are the same three who have gone on the record in the past denouncing government policies to little effect." They are Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who at one time was the designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini but is now under effective house arrest, Ayatollah Yusef al-Sa'nei, and Ayatollah Mousavi Ardabili. According to the paper, "The dozen or so other senior clerics in Qom are doing little."

The report relies on Mehdi Khalaji, who is with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and has been a strident critic of the Iranian Government, but it does correspond with other information we have received.

1200 GMT: The opposition campaign has made an immediate response to Ayatollah Khamenei's challenge. According to reliable Twitter sources, there will be a rally at 4 p.m. local time in Enqelab Square. Presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and former President Mohammad Khatami will attend.

1005 GMT: And not too difficult to read the next critical step. Do the opposition campaigns and their supporters, given the Supreme Leader's threats against any new marches, stand down their plans to demonstrate tomorrow?

That decision will be made not only in response to today's speech but in response to the Guardian Council's meeting with representatives of Presidential campaigns tomorrow.

0953 GMT: Not too difficult to give an immediate reading of the Supreme Leader's address: he laid down the line to those challenging last Friday's election results. He declared that the outcome was final, indicating that any adjustment of "mistakes" would be far less than the 11-million vote lead of President Ahmadinejad. While not blaming the leader of opposition campaigns for violence, he said they would be "responsible" for "terrorist plots" carried out under cover of the demonstrations.

Khamenei's attacks on "Western interference" had a dual purpose. He was warning off other countries, especially the US (note the direct reference to President Obama's relatively mild statements about the demonstrations), from any intervention. At the same, he was using that pretext of "intervention" to mobilise support for the re-election of President Ahmadinejad.

And there was also a challenge to former President Rafsanjani to cease and desist in his own attempts to challenge Ahmadinejad and, by implication, the Supreme Leader. I may have immediately mis-heard/mis-interpreted Khamenei's references to Rafsanjani and "corruption" --- analysts are saying that the Supreme Leader was not targeting Rafsanjani's allegations of corruption against Ahmadinejad; instead, Khamenei was offering a conciliatory hand by chiding the President's allegations against Rafsanjani --- the final statement was definitive: "I am closer to the President's views."

0945 GMT: We've moved the live blog of Supreme Leader's address to a separate entry.

0815 GMT: In Britain, Al Jazeera is giving a English translation of the Supreme Leader's address. CNN is carrying out a commentary, while Sky News is taking the Press TV English feed.

0810 GMT: The Supreme Leader has now appeared in the square, which is opposite Tehran University.

0805 GMT: Press TV English is providing live coverage of Friday prayers, with a large crowd awaiting the Supreme Leader. Their current commentary is defending the recent silence of President Ahmadinejad and his advisors, as the "powerful bodies" of the Assembly of Experts, Expediency Council, and Ministry of the Interior are making the necessary statements. Their analyst, Nader Mokhtari, is praising "a tribute to the strength of Iranian democracy that allows people to go out and voice their opinions and voice their grievances on the streets. It shows a great degree of tolerance in the face of destruction that has been wrought on Tehran by certain elements."

0710 GMT: Tehran Bureau has posted an interesting overview of the political battle between former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "Rafsanjani's Next Move".

0700 GMT: It is 1130 GMT and almost everyone, including news reports, are awaiting the Supreme Leader's appearance. An Iranian witness has told "Alive in Tehran" (see separate post) that, rather than marching to prayers, the opposition protestors will demonstrate on Saturday.

We have also posted eyewitness testimony from Thursday's demonstration and the text of Mir Hossein Mousavi's speech to the rally.

Morning Update (0530 GMT): The Known: the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, will address those attending Friday prayers in Tehran. It will be his first public appearance since the election, and his first statement since his call for "calm" and "unity" earlier this week after meeting with representatives of the Presidential campaigns. The event will be shown live by State media, including Press TV English.

The Unknown: it is unclear whether opposition campaigns, notably that of Mir Hossein Mousavi, will organise a march to today's prayers or whether they will hold a demonstration on Saturday, when the Guardian Council will be meeting with representatives of all four Presidential candidates.

It is even more uncertain what is happening in political and religious gatherings behind the scenes. In particular, there is speculation about the latest initiatives of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has been trying to organise clerical protest and even a formal position of the Assembly of Experts and Expediency Council against the electoral outcome. We have gathered some interesting analysis about Rafsanjani's position and will be posting later today.

Press TV continues to give prominence to the "official" Government line, featuring not only the Supreme Leader's Friday speech and the Guardian Council's Saturday meeting with the campaigns but also an extended report on protests in London against the BBC's coverage of the crisis. However, the broadcaster is also referring (briefly) to Thursday's demonstration in Tehran and noting Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei's appeal for details of the vote recount (he was turned down sharply). CNN's correspondent in Tehran says he is now restricted to one report per day --- today, it will be the Supreme Leader at Friday prayers, the images of which can be broadcast --- and CNN crew's requests for extensions of visas are being turned down.

Reader Comments (7)

The Supreme Leader sounds like to me that he is defending the election results and blaming the mistrust over the election results on outsiders and enemies. This could be leading into an escalation of the crackdown.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCanuckistan

Like any leader of any country, Ayatollah Khamenei is protecting the interestes of the country. It would be political and international suicide to look weak when discussing this. Lets not forget, party politics aside, this is the reputation and values of the Islamic Revolution that he is defending.

As for the demonstrations and 'crackdown' as Mr. Canuckistan mentioned, there is no need for force or violence from any side of the candidates supporters or security forces, what the need is now is to build reputation in the international arena and concentrate on regional and international security and relations.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShirvin Zeinalzadeh

The position he has taken today was made inevitable when he endorsed the election result last weekend. To reverse course now would destroy any remaining credibility of the regime. And, yes, I stand by my use of the term "crackdown." Clearly, a concerted effort is underway through arrests and intimidation (and now the explicit threat from the Supreme Leader toward protesters and their leaders) to end the protests. This approach is hardly surprising.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCanuckistan

The BBC interpretation had the Supreme Leader as coming across as concilliatory toward Rafsanjani over charges of corruption (which I think Ahmadinejad made during the campaign).

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCanuckistan

My immediate blog on the Rafsanjani passage was inaccurate, although I don't think it changes the broader attempt of the Supreme Leader to get Rafsanjani to back away from any challenge to the election outcome/system. See later updates above and the note on the Live Blog.

S.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

The real question is what does Mousavi do. The end game is at hand and the Supreme Leader has made the consequences of future protests clear. Undoubtedly, some will go ahead and demonstrate tomorrow regardless of what Mousavi does. However, the stance Mousavi takes may well signal whether the elite are closing ranks or if splits are widening.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCanuckistan

See latest update. Demo announced for Sat 4 pm with Mousavi attending.

S.

June 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

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