Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Freedom for Iran (1)


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

The Latest from Iran (19 June): The Known and the Unknown

Iran: EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian – “Khamenei’s Supreme Dilemma”
Iran: What’s Happening? Sifting Information from Rumours on Twitter
LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran
Iran after the Elections: Confession, Accusation and Warning from Israel
The Latest from Iran (17 June): Uncovering the News on Attacks, Protests, and the Supreme Leader

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IRAN DEMOS 41805 GMT: I'm off to see Billy Bragg in concert, hoping he will do a version of "Waiting for the Great (Green) Leap Forward". Mike Dunn and Ali Yenidunya are keeping an eye out for any big developments.

1715 GMT: The rally, estimated by BBC as "100,000" people, has taken place peacefully in Tehran, with Mir Hossein Mousavi addressing the crowd.

I have just finished an interview with BBC World. It was clear, from preparation as well as the actual discussion, that BBC --- with their correspondent in Tehran effectively under "lockdown" --- is increasingly relying on "talking heads" with connections to Iran to provide information on detentions and political manoeuvres. (Sub-text: EA readers, please keep sending any information/feedback you might have.)

1520 GMT: Revelation or political stunt? Iranian state-run media reporting that authorities "thwarted a terrorist plot to plant bombs in mosques and other crowded areas in Tehran on election day".

1425 GMT: The health of Ibrahim Yazdi, who was detained yesterday in a hospital in Tehran and taken to Evin Prison, is reported as critical. Apparently, Yazdi has been returned to hospital and his family called to immediately go there.

1335 GMT: Intriguing coverage of the opposition rallies on Press TV's English-language website. The lead is a statement by a Mousavi advisor that those causing violence are "not supporters of, or linked to Mousavi or his camp." The report puts a question mark over the official results ("According to the Interior Ministry [Mousavi] has lost to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even in the East-Azerbaijan province where he hails from") and notes "mass rallies by hundreds of thousands of Mousavi's supporters".

No news on the site yet of today's protest.

1330 GMT: Further to Chris Emery's excellent analysis of the political battle at the highest levels of the Iranian Government, this quote from an article in the Los Angeles Times: "'It's very civilized, like a game of chess,' said one figure in Rafsanjani's inner circle. 'But our game is with Khamenei. Ahmadinejad is just a pawn.'"

1150 GMT: Spinning the Arrests: Press TV is quoting the Intelligence Ministry that it has arrested a number of "main agents" behind post-election violence.

Reports that Sharif, Tehran, Polytechnic, Shiraz, and Tabriz Universities are closed with Sharif University examinations delayed to September.

1145 GMT: Cyber-Politics: the Facebook page of Mir Hossein Mousavi has become a hot location for dissemination of information and a rallying of political views and comment.

1130 GMT: Spokesman for Guardian Council says that they will meet three Presidential candidates --- Mousavi, Rezaei, and Karroubi --- on Saturday: "This will enable them to raise issues and points they wish to discuss with the members of the council, and also provide a direct contact with the candidates."

1100 GMT: The main opposition rally will take place at 4 p.m. local time (1130 GMT) in Imam Khomeini Square in Tehran. Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi will be present.

Ibrahim Yazdi, leader of the Freedom for Iran movement, has been arrested in hospital. (Yazdi was to have been arrested on Tuesday, but security forces found that he was not at home.)

Reports from inside Iran indicate the scale of the crackdown on dissent, both with criticism of the opposition candidates and their supports and with a focus on Western interference via media and the Internet.

There is a claim on Twitter that the Mayor of Tehran, in a secret report to Parliament, estimated the size of Monday's rally at close to 3 million.

0800 GMT: Juan Cole has posted two US Government Open Source translations of the Iranian media: a state-run Isfahan TV report on the violence of "a group of adventurists" and the comments of the police chief of Fars Province: ""From today police will give no leeway to opportunist elements trying to provoke disorders during these demonstrations."

0630 GMT: A poster at "Anonymous Iran" is offering a summary of stories from Twitter: "There is NOTHING included here that is not from a reliable tweet." While caution is needed with this purported information, many of the points have been verified in part or in full by other sources, including the threat to protestors from "plainsclothesmen" and the location of demonstrations across Iran. We'll post the full summary in a separate post in the next hour.

Morning Update (0600 GMT): The dominant colour of the Iranian crisis changes from Green to Black this afternoon, as tens of thousands of opposition marchers are expected in Tehran. Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has called for demonstrators to produce "a sea of black", wearing dark clothing in mourning for those killed in Monday's rally and other incidents across Iran.

Elsewhere, the political colour is a very murky grey. International media continue to be cut off from events. Perhaps more significantly, state-run Press TV has now pulled back not only from any references to opposition marches but also to criticism of the Government, such as the Parliament-led call for an enquiry into the security forces' raids on university dormitories. Instead, Iran's media are concentrating on attacks on Western "interference".

So what might be happening? There is no news from the Guardian Council's supposed recount of the vote. Instead, Government authorities are focusing on the role of the Supreme Leader in uniting the country. Ayatollah Khameini's leading of Friday prayers is now a key event in this effort, with offers to transport people from around the country to Tehran. In contrast, nothing has been heard from President Ahmadinejad.

On the other side, Mousavi's call for a re-run of the election is likely to be joined by Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei (the other candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, is already appearing in opposition rallies). However, the most significant manoeuvres may still be those of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and his effort to set key bodies like the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council alongside the challenge to Ahmadinejad and, at least implicitly, to the Supreme Leader. The New York Times, which has benefited from the news blackout as it offers analysis rather than spot coverage, has a useful article this morning on the important role of clerics in developments.