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Entries in Mir Hossein Mousavi (55)


Iran: The "Mousavi Revolutionary Manifesto" for Change (Gary Sick)

The Latest from Iran (22 June): Waiting for the Next Move
Video and Transcript: The Moment of Truth? Mousavi’s Speech at Saturday’s Protests

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Iran ElectionOn Saturday, hours after his speech to marchers in Jeyhoon Street, Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi posted a lengthy letter to his supporters. (We posted the video and letter in a separate entry.) Yesterday Gary Sick, one of the top US specialists on Iran, offered a critique: "It is apparent from this statement that Mousavi’s movement — and Mousavi himself — have evolved enormously in the past week....[This] is truly a revolutionary statement."

Mousavi's new revolutionary manifesto

[On Saturday], Mir Hossein Mousavi, the presidential candidate who has come to represent the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, issued a formal statement.

Although he denounces the “lies and fraud” of the leadership, particularly in the recent election, he views the fraudulent election as only as the symptom of something far more serious. He describes a revolution gone wrong, a revolution that was originally based on attention to the voice of the people but has resulted in “forcing an unwanted government on the nation.”

This moment is “a turning point,” he says, and he defines the ” the movement that is forming around him of having a “historical mission” to accomplish nothing less than “renewing the life of the nation” according to its own ideals.

He acknowledges, interestingly, that his own voice at the beginning was less ‘eloquent’ than he would have wished and that the people were ahead of him in turning the movement green. But now he accepts the “burden of duty put on our shoulders by the destiny of generations and ages”

He denounces both extremes of the political spectrum: those on one hand who believe that “Islamic government is the same as Tyranny of the Rightful;” and on the other, those who “consider religion and Islam to be blockers for realization of republicanism,” i.e. those who believe that Islam and democracy are incompatible.

Mousavi says his call for annulment of the election and a revote, supervised by an impartial national body, “is a given right.” Theobjective is nothing less than “to achieve a new type of political life in the country.”

That is truly a revolutionary statement. He says he will stand by the side of all those seeking “new solutions” in a non-violent way. He accepts the principles and the institutions of the Islamic Republic, including the Revolutionary Guard and the basij, but denounces “deviations and deceptions.” He demands reform “that returns us to the pure principles of the Islamic Revolution.”

He calls for freedom of expression in alll its forms, and says that if the government permits people to express their views “there won’t be a need for the presence of military and regulatory forces in the streets.”

It is apparent from this statement that Mousavi’s movement — and Mousavi himself — have evolved enormously in the past week. The candidate started as a mild-mannered reformer. After the searing events of the past several days, he has dared to preach a counter sermon to Khamene’i’s lecture on Islamic government. Although he never mentions the Leader by name, there is no overlooking the direct contradiction of his arguments. This open opposition to the Leader by a political figure is unprecedented.

Mousavi has in fact issued a manifesto for a new vision of the Islamic Republic. The repression and disdain of the government has brought the opposition to a place they probably never dreamed of going. And no one knows where any of the parties are likely to go next.

But for outside observers, it is like standing on the edge of a glacier and feeling the ice begin to crack under your feet.

The Latest from Iran (21 June): Does the Fight Continue?

The Latest from Iran (22 June): Waiting for the Next Move

NEW Iran: Can Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani Prompt a Solution?
NEW Text: Mohammad Khatami Statement (21 June)
LATEST Video: The “Neda” Protests (20-21 June)
ARCHIVE Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran (12-18 June)
The Latest from Iran (20 June): From Rally to Street Fighting

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IRAN DEMOS 92040 GMT: One of the latest postings on Mir Hossein Mousavi's Facebook site: "You have the legal right to protest lies and frauds." A full statement is promised on Mousavi's website.

2005 GMT: Reports that Fazaeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Rafsanjani, has been released from police custody.

1900 GMT: Protests and Arrests. Reports that cries of "God is Great" and "Death to the Dictator" from Tehran rooftops are even louder this evening. Lara Setrakian 0f ABC News (US) writes that all "first- and second-level Mousavi advisors and workers" have been arrested and Mousavi is not allowed to speak to journalists.

1800 GMT: We've just published an analysis on Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani's political manoeuvres and whether they might foster a political solution.

1705 GMT: Four members of former President Rafsanjani's family have been released from police custory, but his daughter Faezeh (see 1325 GMT) is still detained.

1700 GMT: Today's pattern, on the lines that we set out this morning (0715 GMT), appears to be of the Iranian authorities getting a "breathing space" by putting a heavy security presence on the streets and in the squares and of the opposition movement considering its next move.

Correspondents inside Iran write of security personnel and paramilitary Basiji in large numbers in Tehran and other cities. Arrests of "reformist" activists and journalists continue, with latest news of detentions of members of the Islamic Participation Front.

There is, however, news of a "sit-in" of up to 10,000 people on Gisha Street in north Tehran.

1445 GMT: A disturbing claim from an activist via Twiter: "Ghalamsnews asks for those injured in recent violence to leave their names and contact number."

This should be considered in conjunction with the claim of the Mousavi campaign, publicised on their Facebook page (see 1335 GMT), that Ghalam News, which had been their website, had been hacked and might now be controlled by others. The possibility is that the message now up on the site is a trap to lure and detain protesters.

1345 GMT: Reports of demonstrators gathering in Vali-e Asr Street, Engelab Square, and Baharaestan.

1335 GMT: Mir Hossein Mousavi's Facebook page is buzzing with information, such as "GHALAMNEWS, the main Newsagency of Mir Hossein Mousavi seems to be hacked". Reports also indicate that Mousavi is asking for volunteers with professional management experience to join his effort.

While I can't be certain, my memory of the numbers indicate Mousavi's pages has added 12,000 supporters in the last few days, taking the current total beyond 80,000.

1325 GMT: More on the move against the family of former President Rafsanjani (0935 GMT). Five members have been detained; it is unclear how many, although Iranian activists have listed Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh and his granddaughter. The Fars News Agency claim they have been held to protect her against assassination attempts.

Faezeh Rafsanjani is a former member of the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament. She spoke at a Tehran rally last Tuesday.

1315 GMT: Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, possibly the strongest supporter of the Supreme Leader and President Ahmadinejad in the clerical establishment, has declared that the establishment has no duty to convince Mousavi of the election's results (text in Farsi).

Ayatollah Yazdi is a member of the Guardian Council. He also, as a reader posted out in an important comment this morning (#2 below), is the leader of the Assembly of Experts: we reported yesterday that the Assembly had supported the Supreme Leader's Friday address, 24 hours before it was delivered, but Yazdi's was the only signature.

1240 GMT: Ayatollah Montazeri, the former successor to Ayatollah Khomeini but now under house arrest, has calle for three days' mourning for slain protestors.

1225 GMT: Summaries of former President Khatami's statement have appeared. Warning of the "dangerous" consequences of banning public demonstrations, he has argued that the Law and Constitution must be respected: "The people are the Government."

Latest reports of arrests: activist Shahab Talebani, newspaper editor Mohammad Ghoochani, National Front Party memberKourosh Za'eem.

BBC correspondent Jon Leyne has reportedly been ordered to leave the country.

1050 GMT: Ahmadinejad appears! Iran State News Agency is carrying the President's statement, "tell[ing] U.S and Britain to stop interfering in Iran's internal affairs".

Former President Khatami has also issued a statement about yesterday's events --- we are looking for an English translation.

1045 GMT: The Autobus Workers Union of Iran (Sendikaye Sherkat Vahed) has issued a declaration, asking that 26 June be a day "to ask all our fellow workers to struggle for the trampled rights of the majority of the people of Iran".

1040 GMT: CNN correspondent claims that final examinations at Azad University indefinitely postponed after 200 students refused to take them.

1010 GMT: An interesting move, either by Speaker of the Parliament Larijani or by State authorities representing his position. Balancing his internal criticism of the Government (see 0745 GMT), Larijani "has called for ties with Britain, France and Germany to be reconsidered in view of their 'shameful' statements". According to State media, Larijani mades the comments in a speech to the Iranian Parliament, the Majlis.

Shrewd readers of Iranian politics will note that, while Larijani also called US remarks "shameful", he did not call for a reconsideration of Iran's relations with Washington.

1000 GMT: State media is now taking the line of 10 deaths in yesterday's violence, all of them caused by "hooligans".

0935 GMT: CNN correspondent reports, "Faezeh Rafsanjani, daughter of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was arrested Sat[urday] in Tehran, her brother said."

0925 GMT: Iran State media has now withdrawn the claim of "several" killed in the mosque fire yesterday.

0900 GMT: A bit of house-keeping: our video page was becoming overloading. It's now been split into Latest Video (the "Neda" videos of 20 June) and Archive Video.

0835 GMT: Definitely a State counter-attack in the media through allegations of extremism/terrorism. Latest claimed assaults are upon two petrol/gas stations and a military post.

(Press TV's website is lagging behind the campaign, however. Its main headline still is, "Calm Returns to Tehran Streets".)

0820 GMT: Sky News passes on the latest line from Iran's state media: "several people" killed by demonstrators in an attack on a Tehran mosque yesterday (see yesterday's update for initial references to the incident).

0757 GMT: Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has been brought out to give a lengthy, standard defence of the Presidential vote: it was well-organised, there is no chance of systematic fraud/vote-rigging, Western powers should not interfere/criticise, etc.

The statement is not nearly as significant as this question: where is President Ahmadinejad?
0755 GMT: We're just posting a new video of a claimed Saturday night attack on a Basiji headquarters.

0745 GMT: A political development, which depending on events may have lasting significance, that I missed yesterday. Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani told Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), "“Although the Guardian Council is made up of religious individuals, I wish certain members would not side with a certain presidential candidate."

Larijani's comment not only struck at the unnamed President Ahmadinejad but also challenged Iran's legislature-court of last resort as it supposedly recounted part of the Presidential vote. He has enough status, not only as head of the Parliament but as a former head of the National Security Council, to mobilise opposition "within" the system as demonstrations continue outside it. It also would be useful to know if he has been in contact with another potential challenger, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.H

Unlike other criticisms that were suppressed Saturday, Larijani's comments were reported on Press TV and the website Khabaronline. (It should also be noted that, during the week, Larijani pressed for and got a nominal Ministry of Interior investigation of the raids by security forces on Tehran University that allegedly killed up to five people.)

0735 GMT: Today "Neda" may become the symbolic label and image for a movement that is verging on revolution, rather than reform.

"Neda" (the name means voice or message of the divine) was far more than a symbol; apparently she was the woman shot and killed in cold blood by a paramilitary Basiji yesterday as, with her father, she watched the demonstrations. The graphic 40-second video of her death (which is posted, albeit on the "More" page) soon represented the violence and tragedy of yesterday's clashes. Within hours, Iranian activists on Twitter, who had begin using the tag #GR88 (Green 88), also adopted #Neda as the powerful shorthand for their cause.

Morning Update 0715 GMT: Apologies for the later start today --- we're still recovering from the intensity of events yesterday and a very late night.

This has the feeling of a "regrouping" morning, as both the Government and the opposition campaigns assess the marches, the violence, and the political situation. Our immediate reaction is that yesterday was a "score draw". The Supreme Leader and security forces struck first by ensuring there could be no single, large, organised gathering at Enqelab (Revolution) Square, while the Guardian Council fending off the pressure for a meaningful reconsideration of the vote. The opposition challenge rallied, however, both because of the persistence of demonstrators, now scattered throughout the city, and because of a single event: the appearance of Mir Hossein Mousavi at a large rally in Jeyhoon Street.

None of this assessment, however, should overshadow the tragedy of yesterday. The "confirmed" casualty count, based on hospital sources, is 19 dead, but the actual total may be far higher. There were hours of beatings, tear gassings, and panic, as security forces and paramilitary Basiji tried not only to disrupt a major rally but to crush resistance (supported by the effective blackout on media). This may have been supported by a deliberate effort to show the "terrorism" of the opposition through a staged or exaggerated proclamation of an attack at Ayatollah Khamenei's mausoleum.

ARCHIVE Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran (12-18 June)

LATEST Video: The “Neda” Day of Protests and Violence (20 June)

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Mousavi Waving to Crowd at Thursday Rally in Tehran


Gunfire and wounded in Tehran


Thursday: "Green Sea" Protest in Tehran

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Opposition Protest on Underground/Subway Train


Aftermath of Security Forces' Raid on Tehran University Dormitory


Wednesday: Demonstration in Tehran


Undated: Demonstrations in Shiraz


Demonstrators Mingle with Police at Isfahan University


Wednesday: Najafabad University in Isfahan (unconfirmed)


The Clash with the Basiji


Tuesday: Paramilitary Basiji Shooting at Civilians


Tuesday: Death of Shot Student after Isfahan University Raid (note: unverified and graphic footage)


Tuesday "Silent Rally" in Tehran


Aftermath of Tuesday Police-Basiji Raid at Isfahan University


Tuesday on Vali-e Asr Street


Monday night anti-Ahmadinejad rally in Tehran


Tuesday: Doctors and Nurses Protest at Tehran Hospital


Monday: Demonstration, Shooting Victim in Azadi Square


Video of today's rally in Tehran

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Video of Monday rally in Tabriz:


Video showing Iranian women being beaten by police in Vali-Asr


Sunday Night in Tehran: "I Fight, I Die, I Take My Vote Back"


Security Forces Charge Tehran March on Saturday


Aftermath of Security Forces' Raid on Tehran University Dormitory


Video of security forces beating a man near Vali-Asr Street in Tehran


New scenes from Sunday protests in Tehran


Riot Police fleeing Saturday protest in Isfahan


Sunday demonstrations in front of Sharif University

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Latest videos of demonstrations in Tehran:

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Videos of Saturday's protests against the declared victory of President Ahmadinejad over challengers including Mir Hossein Mousavi:








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The Latest from Iran (20 June): From Rally to Street Fighting

NEW Video and Transcipt: The Moment of Truth?  Mousavi's Speech at Saturday’s Protests
NEW Iran: EA’s Chris Emery in The Guardian on Khamenei and Mousavi
Iran: An Iranian Live-Blogs the Supreme Leader’s Speech
Twittering Iran: What the “New Media” Means for Politics, Protest, and Democracy
The Latest from Iran (19 June): Speeches and Rallies

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IRAN DEMOS 82350 GMT: An Iranian activist claims, based on this posting in Farsi, that the Assembly of Experts' letter backing the Supreme Leader was issued a day before his Friday address. That would be more evidence of a systematic effort to rally the clerics behind Ayatollah Khamenei, rebuffing Hashemi Rafsanjani.

2152 GMT: CNN, based on Iranian hospital sources, is reporting at least 19 people died in today's violence. The unconfirmed death toll is as high as 150.

2150 GMT: More from the activist who was at today's marches (see 2110 GMT): "All routes to Azady square were blocked & if anyone stopped walking or walking slow [security forces] hit him/her brutally. There was no safe path, people were walking in cycles between all variety of security forces. I think they made fun of people, don't go here, go this way, not that way & for no apparent reason suddenly attacking random people. We tried our best using all known shortcuts for reaching Azady SQ where Mousavi was, but ended up in face to face with IRG [Republican Guard]. They weren't just the ordinary police or motorcycle riot guard, they were soldiers holding MP5 supported by reinforced military cars. We didn't realize for a moment they started shooting at people, the gun's sound was like a toy gun, not loud & the soliders were smiling. I was going to tell Masood they are using fake guns for scaring people! until people started screaming in agony. We ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction, at the same time Basiji bastards started to hit fleeing people. I think I saw 2 or 3 people lying on the ground in blood & IRG started to move them, probably hide them."

2140 GMT: We've posted the English translation of this afternoon's speech by Mir Hossein Mousavi.

2110 GMT: One of the most prominent activists on Twitter has returned from today's marches with this report, "It was a nightmare, I can barely breath & my face is burning, Masood got shot in the arm & Shayan's brother is missing. I don't know where to start with, first they attack our peaecful memorial gathering in front of the university with water gun.The university's doors were closed, we couldn't run everywhere! & then they start shooting tear gas at us. they were so many! riot police, normal police, intel, IRG [Republican Guard], Basij! I managed to scape, but they captured so many people."

2105 GMT: An Iranian activist asks on Twitter, "Why are Rafsanjani and Khatami so silent?" Indeed, apart from Ayatollah Montazeri with his general letter this morning, has any "establishment" figure come out alongside Mousavi with the demonstrators today?

2055 GMT: Twitter sources say that this Mehr News page (in Farsi) summarises the support of the Assembly of Experts for the Supreme Leader's Friday statement. This in turn indicates that the initial attempt of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani to mobilise the Assembly against the election outcome has fizzled out.

2050 GMT: Latest reported arrest is of Mohsen Mirdamadi, the head of the pro-reform Islamic Iran Participation Front.

2005 GMT: Reported arrests throughout the day in Iran, including editors, Mousavi campaign workers, and journalists. The latest reported detainee is Jila Bani Yaghoub, journalist and women's rights activist.

1915 GMT: A few hours ago, we posted a video of a woman "badly injured" by a gunshot in today's demonstrations. The footage is so graphic that we have moved to the "jump page" after the More... tag.

I have just read more information on The New York Times blog about the incident. The woman was a bystander watching events; according to a doctor who witnessed the event, a paramilitary Basiji deliberately fired at her chest. She died within moments of the shooting.

1905 GMT: Tehran Bureau reports, "Hospital close to the scene in Tehran: 30-40 dead thus far as of 11pm and 200 injured. Police taking names of incoming injured."

1900 GMT: Press TV continuing to lead with "police usedbatons, water cannons, and tear gas on protesters", over images of a burning bus in the centre of a Tehran boulevard. It adds, "Reports say clashes are continuing" and "several people have been injured".

Press TV continues to declare " a terrorist attack" at Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum although casualty figures have been revised downward to the dead assailant and three injured. No supporting footage is provided.

1835 GMT: President Obama has just released this statement on Iran:
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

Martin Luther King once said - “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

1810 GMT: Tehran Bureau reports, "WHOLE city is shaking with very loud screams from rooftops. Their loud voices calling only for God is filled with fear, hatred, and hope." Lara Satrakian of ABC News: ""People are very angry…they are screaming like a banshee…this ain't aloha [sic] akbar anymore."

"Explosive" shouting also reported in Mashaad.

1755 GMT: Reports of loud shouts of "God is Great" from Tehran rooftops.

Reports of clashes with paramilitary Basiji at Haft Hooz Square. Further claims that demonstrators set fire to a mosque in Tehran and also set alight a bus and several motorcycles.

1745 GMT: The UK's Sky News is currently showing footage of protesters in Tehran seemingly being kicked and beaten. They are streaming a small amount of footage on their frontpage. You may also be able to see the footage by clicking 'Video News Headlines' or 'Watch Sky News Live' in the right-hand bar of their main story.

1725 GMT: The English translation of a  letter purportedly from Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, the designated successor Ayatollah Khomeini before falling out of favour in 1998, has been posted: "A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress critical views. I fear that this will lead to the loss of people’s faith in Islam."

1720 GMT: Reports that IRIB 1 [Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting] now broadcasting "confessions" from detained protesters.

Also reports that people are blocking streets in east Tehran and setting fires.

1650 GMT: Claims now of fighting in Tehran, Shiraz, Rasht, Tabriz, Ahwaz, and Isfahan.

1645 GMT: We've posted a video which purports to be of Mir Hossein Mousavi addressing a rally in Jeyhoon Street in Tehran this afternoon. If verified, this could be footage of a key point in the development of this crisis.

1600 GMT: Mir Hossein Mousavi's Facebook page has been updated three times in Farsi in the last hour. We're seeking a translation.

1543 GMT: Claims that, in his speech, Mousavi declared the Presidential election "null and void". Claims also that he cast shame upon the Government and declared that he is ready for martyrdom.

1540 GMT: Eyewitness reports, via The New York Times blog, confirm fighting in Shiraz.

1530 GMT: Reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi is now addressing a crowd in Jeyhoon Street, beginning his speech, "We all go back to God."

1525 GMT: Reports of heavy fighting in Khosh St. and claims of shot protester as security forces dispersed people in Khargar Street. Claims that many people are trapped in Azadi Square.

Also reports of fighting in a 2nd city, Shiraz.

1520 GMT: CNN, whose reporters in Tehran are not allow to broadcast without permission of Iranian officials, are going to great lengths to cast scepticism on Press TV's report of the bombing at Ayatollah Khomeini's mosque. At the same time, to offer some coverage, they are playing portions of Press TV English's broadcast.

1505 GMT: Tehran Bureau reports clashes across Tehran, including Vali-e Asr Street, and gunfire and sirens around Tohid Square. It also reports protesters gathering at Vanak Square in north Tehran. There are unverified reports of one demonstrator killed at the crossing of Vali-e Asr Street and Enqelhab Square, and 20 injured protesters transferred to Loghman Hospital in 30 minutes.

There are reports that Mousavi supporters set fire to an Ahmadinejad headquarters.

Tehran Bureau: "The city is boiling over. It's a mess."

1500 GMT: Press TV's hourly lead: "Police have used batons and water cannons to disperse protestors in central Tehran who gathered to hold an illegal rally. Reports say sporadic clashes are continuing....Two helicopters have been seen hovering over the area....Police say a week of protests in the capital have injured 400 forces and done a great deal of damage to public property."

In what is likely to be a significant line, Press TV also emphasized that the Assembly of Combatant Clerics (associated with former President Khatami) had called off the rally after the Ministry of Interior refused a permit. And the station is repeating the morning statement of police commanders that Mir Hossein Mousavi will be responsible for any violence.

Press TV says three people, including the bomber, and eight were injured in the "terrorist" attack on Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum in southern Tehran.

1450 GMT: We've posted latest video of the clashes in Azadi Square and off Engelab Square, including BBC footage of shooting, fires, and clashes.

1430 GMT: We're back with the following. The bombing at Ayatollah Khomeini's shrine was reportedly caused by a suicide bomber.

Eyewitnesses reported about 20,000 riot police surround Enqelab Square, armed with rifles, water cannon, and tear gas. Dozens of people were reportedly beaten to force them to leave the square, with security forces reportedly beating passing motorcyclists and even those just passing by. Some demonstrators took refuge in Tehran University.

1325 GMT: We're off to check out some reports. Back just after 1400 GMT.

1317 GMT: Press TV reporting two blasts at Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum, with two hurt (Fars News says one dead). Reports that police have closed off Tehran University.

1310 GMT: Twitter report: "In Khosh Street police is attacking people with batons & pepper spray trying to disperse people, shots can be heard around Azadi [Square]."

1300 GMT: Reports of security forces trying to prevent people assembling, chasing them into alleys and allegedly using batons. Demonstrators reportedly trapped between Behboodi and Enqelab Squares.

Reports of gunshots being fired into the air, possibly as warnings. Also reports of tear gas and water cannon being used.

1240 GMT: First pictures coming through from today's march: riot police around square (left).

1230 GMT: Associated Press reports entrance to Revolution (Enqelab) Square blocked by fire engines, with riot police surrounding Tehran University.

1213 GMT: Classic state-run double-speak on Press TV's website. It is still not mentioning today's march. Instead, its story is of the National Security Council warning Mir Hossein Mousavi "against 'the consequences' of backing street rallies". The picture? A very large rally.

1203 GMT: Unconfirmed report "from usually reliable source" to The Guardian of London that Mousavi walking with 10,000 supporters from his party office.

1200 GMT: Witness reports (albeit from before 1130 GMT) that riot police cutting off access to gathering point for march.

1150 GMT: First reports of clashes, with beating of demonstrators near Azadi Square.

1133 GMT: First reports of the march: large numbers gathering, no action by police. Cellphones in area reportedly disconnected.

1107 GMT: Al Jazeera English and Twitter sources report heavy presence of riot police on both sides of Enqelab Square.

1103 GMT: It's On! This message was posted 20 minutes ago on the Facebook page of Mir Hossein Mousavi: "The CRUCIAL Demonstration on Saturday 16:00 in Tehran and all around the world, please spread this message around."

1100 GMT: From one of the most useful Iranian sources on Twitter: "To Western Media: Stop sharing false information given to you by Iranian state television. The demonstration will GO ON. It is NOT canceled."

1045 GMT: As we wait for developments, some interesting thoughts from Gary Sick, one of the foremost US experts on Iran, on the Supreme Leader's address, Mousavi's position, and President Obama's strategy on his blog.

1030 GMT: One hour to the scheduled start of the march. Still awaiting statement by Mir Hossein Moussavi. Reuters reports the statement of Mehdi Karroubi's Etemad-e Melli party, "Because permission was not obtained, the rally today has been cancelled."

1000 GMT: Press TV English interviews Dr Seyed Mohammad Marandi of Tehran University (and a past contributor to Enduring America) about "reports here and there of protests today in Tehran": "Wouldn't this be some kind of defiance of the Supreme Leader's call for calm and peace?"

Marandi replies about "one of the things important things the Leader said yesterday and what most people believe": "It's very hard to imagine vote-rigging where 11 million votes have been manipulated....It's virtually impossible to do that." He criticises Mousavi and Karroubi for their absence from this morning's Guardian Council meeting. "All sides should calm down a bit....Shopowners and ordinary people on the streets want calm. Demonstrations on the part of any candidate...[are] irresponsible."

0930 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that Guardian Council, after its meeting with campaigns this morning, says it will conduct a random recount of "up to 10 percent" of ballot boxes from last Friday.

0907 GMT: Events moving fast. Questions now as pro-Mousavi website (text in Farsi) has announces the withdrawal of support from the Assocation of Combatant Clerics for the rally.

(It should be noted that withdrawals of support also happened on Monday, but in end Mousavi --- who had supposedly backed away from the protest --- appeared at gathering of hundreds of thousands.)

0903 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports from Iran state media that main reformist cleric body, the Association of Combatant Clerics, which includes former President Khatami, say they do not sanction this afternoon's rally.

News agencies are reporting an "important" statement from Mir Hossein Mousavi soon. Al Jazeera also passes on reports that Parliamentary committees are meeting with former President Hashemi Rafsanjani to ask him to take a "greater role" in resolving the crisis.

0900 GMT: A clue to the day? Press TV English reports that Mohsen Rezaie attended this morning's meeting with the Guardian Council but Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi did not appear.

0850 GMT: Juan Cole has posted his analysis of the Supreme Leader's Friday address: "The real question is whether this is 1963, when the shah managed to put down a rebellion led by Ruhollah Khomeini, or whether it is 1978-79, when he failed to do so. The answer lies in the depth of support for the protests among the population, and in the stance of the various armed forces toward the latter."

0830 GMT: Reuters, via Iran's Fars News Agency, quotes an Iranian police commander that his forces will deal firmly with "illegal" rallies "beginning today".

0800 GMT: An aide to Mehdi Karroubi has told Agence France Presse that the rally will go ahead.

0705 GMT: There is an intriguing story on Press TV's English website, indicating both that the "inaccuracies" in last Friday's vote may be far greater than the outside figure of "1 million" in "mistakes" cited by the Supreme Leader yesterday and that challenges to the system are coming from candidates across the board, not just Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Presidential challenger Mohsen Rezaei is claiming that he received 3.5 to 7 million votes in last Friday's elections (official returns gave him less than 700,000). A spokesman of the Guardian Council "cautioned" Rezaei against "agitating public opinion".

0700 GMT: Press TV English is making no reference to today's march. Instead, it is still focusing on the Supreme Leader's address from almost 24 hours ago and saying that the National Security Council is "holding Mousavi responsible" for any violence from "unauthorised protest rallies".

The NSC also said that "a network" of agitators responsible to "foreign powers" has been carrying out violence.

0655 GMT: Meanwhile, we are waiting to hear the outcome of a meeting that could have a significant influence on developments. The Guardian Council is seeing representatives of all four Presidential campaigns about the 646 official complaints over the election. On Tuesday, when the Council agreed to hold at least a partial recount, it said the process would take 7 to 10 days.

Morning Update 0630 GMT (1100 Tehran): Five hours before the scheduled start of today's major rally, in Enqelab Square in Tehran, and there are still conflicting stories as to whether it will go ahead. Reuters is still quoting "an ally" of Mousavi who spoke to them yesterday, "Mousavi has no plans to hold a rally tomorrow (Saturday) or the day after tomorrow."

However, Twitter sources inside Iran who have proven reliable continue to publicise the march, quoting former President Mohammad Khatami. Khatami's Facebook page continues to carry the announcement, posted last night, that the demonstration will take place, with Khatami and Presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi in attendance.

My guess, following the excellent analysis of Chris Emery yesterday, is that the march proceeds.

Video and Transcript: The Moment of Truth? Mousavi's Speech at Saturday's Protests

The Latest from Iran (20 June): Will The Rally Go Ahead?
LATEST Video: The Protests in and Beyond Tehran

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This video was posted late Saturday afternoon. Supporters are claiming it is footage of Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi appearing and addressing a large rally on Jeyhoon Street in Tehran today. Mousavi's speech, which has appeared on numerous sites, has now been translated into English and is reproduced below the video. Taken together, these are evidence of a significant act of defiance, not only of the Iranian Government but of the Supreme Leader:

MOUSAVI: In the name of God, the kind and the merciful

Indeed god demands you to safe keep what people entrust in you, and to rule them with justice. [this a verse of Koran]

Respectable and intelligent people of Iran, These nights and days, a pivotal moment in our history is taking place. People ask each other: “what should we do?, which way should we go?”. It is my duty to share with you what I believe, and to learn from you, may we never forget our historical task and not give up on the duty we are given by the destiny of times and generations.

30 years ago, in this country a revolution became victorious in the name of Islam, a revolution for freedom, a revolution for reviving the dignity of men, a revolution for truth and justice. In those times, especially when our enlightened Imam [Khomeini] was alive, large amount of lives and matters were invested to legitimize this foundation and many valuable achievements were attained. An unprecedented enlightenment captured our society, and our people reached a new life where they endured the hardest of hardships with a sweet taste. What this people gained was dignity and freedom and a gift of the life of the pure ones [i.e. 12 Imams of Shiites]. I am certain that those who have seen those days will not be satisfied with anything less. Had we as a people lost certain talents that we were unable to experience that early spirituality? I had come to say that that was not the case. It is not late yet, we are not far from that enlightened space yet.

I had come to show that it was possible to live spiritually while living in a modern world. I had come to repeat Imam’s warnings about fundamentalism. I had come to say that evading the law leads to dictatorship; and to remind that paying attention to people’s dignity does not diminish the foundations of the regime, but strengthens it.

I had come to say that people wish honesty and integrity from their servants, and that many of our perils have arisen from lies. I had come to say that poverty and backwardness, corruption and injustice were not our destiny. I had come to re-invite to the Islamic revolution, as it had to be, and Islamic republic as it has to be. In this invitation, I was not charismatic [articulate], but the core message of revolution was so appealing that it surpassed my articulation and excited the young generation who had not seen those days to recreate scenes which we had not seen since the days of revolution[1979] and the sacred defense. The people’s movement chose green as its symbol. I confess that in this, I followed them.

And a generation that was accused of being removed from religion, has now reached “God is Great”, “Victory’s of God and victory’s near”, “Ya hossein” in their chants to prove that when this tree fruits, they all resemble. No one taught hem these slogans, they reached them by the teachings of instinct.

How unfair are those whose petty advantages make them call this a “velvet revolution” staged by foreigners! [refering to state TV and Khameneni, perhaps!] But as you know, all of us were faced with deception and cheatings when we claimed to revitalize our nation and realize dreams that root in the hearts of young and old. And that which we had predicted will stem from evading law [dictatorship], realized soon in the worst manifestation.

The large voter turnout in recent election was the result of hard work to create hope and confidence in people, to create a deserving response to those whose broad dissatisfaction with the existing management crisis could have targeted the foundations of the regime. If this good will and trust of the poeple is not addressed via protecting their votes, or if they cannot react in a civil manner to claim their rights, the responsibility of the dangerous routs ahead will be on the shoulders of those who do not tolerate civil protests. If the large volume of cheating and vote rigging, which has set fire to the hays of people’s anger, is expressed as the evidence of fairness, the republican nature of the state will be killed and in practice, the ideology that Islam and Republicanism are incompatible will be proven.

This outcome will make two groups happy: One, those who since the beginning of revolution stood against Imam and called the Islamic state a dictatorship of the elite who want to take people to heaven by force; and the other, those who in defending the human rights, consider religion and Islam against republicanism. Imam’s fantastic art was to neutralize these dichotomies. I had come to focus on Imam’s approach to neutralize the burgeoning magic of these. Now, by confirming the results of election, by limiting the extent of investigation in a manner that the outcome will not be changed, even though in more than 170 branches the number of cast votes was more than 100% of eligible voters of the riding, the heads of the state have accepted the responsibility of what has happened during the election.

In these conditions, we are asked to follow our complaints via the Guardian council, while this council has proven its bias, not only before and during, but also after the election. The first principle of judgment is to be impartial. I, continue to strongly believe that the request for annulling the vote and repeating the election is a definite right that has to be considered by impartial and nationally trusted delegation. Not to dismiss the results of this investigation a priori, or to prevent people from demonstration by threatening them to bloodshed. Nor to unleash the Intelligence ministry’s plain clothes forces on people’s lives to disperse crowds by intimidation and inflammation, instead of responding to people’s legitimate questions, and then blaming the bloodshed on others.

As I am looking at the scene, I see it set for advancing a new political agenda that spreads beyond the objective of installing an unwanted government. As a companion who has seen the beauties of your green wave, I will never allow any one’s life endangered because of my actions. At the same time, I remain undeterred on my demand for annulling the election and demanding people’s rights. Despite my limited abilities, I believe that your motivation and creativity can pursue your legitimate demands in new civil manners.

Be sure that I will always stand with you. What this brother of yours recommends, especially to the dear youth, in terms of finding new solutions is to not allow liars and cheater steal your flag of defense of Islamic state, and foreigners rip the treasures of the Islamic republic which are your inheritance of the blood of your decent fathers. By trust in God, and hope for the future, and leaning on the strength of social movements, claim your rights in the frameworks of the existing constitution, based on principle of non-violence.

In this, we are not confronting the Basij. Basiji is our brother. In this we are not confronting the revolutionary guard. The guard is the keeper of our revolution. We are not confronting the army, the army is the keeper of our borders. These organs are the keepers of our independence, freedom and our Islamic republic. We are confronting deception and lies, we want to reform them, a reform by return to the pure principles of revolution.

We advise the authorities, to calm down the streets. Based on article 27 of the constitution, not only provide space for peaceful protest, but also encourage such gatherings. The state TV should stop badmouthing and taking sides. Before voices turn into shouting, let them be heard in reasonable debates. Let the press criticize, and write the news as they happen. In one word, create a free space for people to express their agreements and disagreements. Let those who want, say “takbeer” and don’t consider it opposition. It is clear that in this case, there won’t be a need for security forces on the streets, and we won’t have to face pictures and hear news that break the heart of anyone who loves the country and the revolution.

Your brother and companion Mir Hossein Mousavi
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