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« Latest Iran Video: The Mousavi-Karroubi Press Conference | Main | Iran Analysis: The Green Movement and The Lesson of 51 Pegasi B (Shahryar) »

The Latest from Iran (11 June): Waiting, Watching, and Wondering

2140 GMT: Tonight's Allahu Akbars (God is Great):


NEW Latest Iran Video: The Mousavi-Karroubi Press Conference
NEW Iran Analysis: The Green Movement and The Lesson of 51 Pegasi B (Shahryar)
NEW Iran Reaction: Mysteries Beyond the Mousavi-Karroubi Statement
NEW Iran Feature: Why the Green Movement is Important (Dissected News)
Iran Urgent: Mousavi-Karroubi Statement on 22 Khordaad Protest (10 June)
Iran Interview: Ahmad Batebi “People’s Movement Will Stay Alive with Knowledge and Information”
Iran Document: Karroubi “In the End, the Wiser Ones Will Take Over Iran” (9 June)
The Latest from Iran (10 June): Mousavi-Karroubi Withdraw Request to March

2130 GMT: Karroubi Challenges Supreme Leader? Agence France Presse lifts one provocative sentence from the video of Mehdi Karroubi's joint press conference with Mir Hossein Mousavi, with Karroubi singling out Ayatollah Khamenei (without naming him) in the 2009 Presidential election: "There will be no results if he doesn't approve. Is this a republic?"

2120 GMT: Football, Rights, and Protest. A convergence today as activists used the opening of football's World Cup to put out a message of support for human rights and political prisoners such as human rights lawyer Mohammad Oliyaifard and Behrouz Tehrani.


2115 GMT: Rahnavard "We are Going Forward". Zahra Rahnavard, academic, activist, and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has given an interview to The Guardian of London. She summarises:
This movement started with the simple question: "Where is my vote?" But because the response was violence and bullets and repression from the ruling regime, the situation entered another phase which was completely unpredictable. People's demands have changed so now there are more fundamental questions and more intensive criticism of the regime. The Islamic republic has deviated from its path and goals.

We are still pursuing our ideals of 30 years ago. But the current government is the result of an electoral coup d'etat. The Green movement has not been defeated at all. It is going forward.

Rahnavard adds, "[The] movement is not looking for the support of foreign governments at all and wants to stands on its own."

2110 GMT: 22 Khordaad --- 83 Cities and Counting. That's the number of locations around the world for rallies on 12 June, the anniversary of the election. Full details and a map finder are available at

2100 GMT: The Mousavi-Karroubi Press Conference Emerges. Back from a break to find, thanks to an EA reader, the link to the video of the gathering with opposition websites held by Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi at the start of this week. It is in Persian, of course, but given its potential importance, we have posted it in a separate entry.

1530 GMT: Tehran Friday Prayers Summary. "Substitute Friday Prayers leader" Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami (Substitute?! Was the first-choice religious striker injured? Or has former President Hashemi Rafsanjani begged off sick again?) lines up for his best shot at goal.

Unfortunately, it's a pretty tame effort: "The world should think of an independent organization and security council which would not be dominated by the imperial powers". The UN sanctions resolution on Iran's nuclear programme stinks. The US, which faces internal and external problems, will find this adds to "the crisis of disgrace".

Khatami, trying to match the record of Iran's best-known international (R Khomeini),  then asked the audience if they happened to notice that the US is a Great Satan.

The cleric did show a nice couple of nice touches with this query, made against the global run of play (see 1415 GMT): “Now judge for yourself: Is powerful Iran, which is present everywhere on earth, isolated, or it is you, who are alone, and your few puppet states?”

Then, however, it was back to another predictable passage of play: "savage attack" of the Zionist regime on the Freedom Flotilla, US kidnaps Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri by the US and Saudi Arabia, “I hope a freedom caravan with an aim of breaking the siege of Gaza will start moving and Iran will abide by its historical duty in the way.”

So a pretty tepid 0-0 draw. Then again, this was just the curtain-raiser for a more important game tomorrow.

1415 GMT: International Smackdown for Iran? If this story plays out as predicted here by Agence France Presse, this is a signficant blow, delivered by Moscow and Beijing amongst others, to the Iranian Government:
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), where Russia and China call the shots, gathered Friday to consider changes to its membership guidelines which could lead to further expansion for the bloc.

At its annual gathering in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, leaders including Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and China's Hu Jintao were expected to adopt new guidelines seen as potentially opening the door to SCO observer nations India and Pakistan.....

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the guidelines to be approved Friday would not allow countries under UN sanctions to obtain membership, a major blow to Iran who sorely needs international support.

Iran is currently an "observer" nation in the SCO.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he had cancelled his appearance at the meeting, ostensibly his change of mind was a protest against Russian and Chinese support for UN sanctions. However, The Russian newspaper Kommersant, citing diplomatic sources, is claiming that Ahmadinejad had wanted an invitation to the event, but Russia, China, and Kazakhstan had "politely denied" it.

1330 GMT: Polite Intimidation. Rah-e-Sabz claims that Iranians are receiving the following text message from the Ministry of Intelligence: "Dear citizens, You have been deceived and foreign media to do their work. If you repeat this action, you will be punished under Islamic law."

1310 GMT: One Year On. CNN has a snapshot of the opposition, based on interviews with four Iranians, two inside the country and two now abroad. This comment from "Azadeh", a bank teller in Iran, stands out:
"There is fear. I can't say I'm not scared, but you still have to go out -- because that's what the government wants, for you to be afraid and not continue. But we have to."

1305 GMT: We welcome back Josh Shahryar as an EA correspondent with his analysis on the significance of the Green Movement.

1300 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammad has been arrested by security forces during a late-night raid on her home.

Mohammad is the Vice President of the Defenders of Human Rights Center and President of the executive committee of the National Peace Council.

0915 GMT: Spreading the Word. A new website, Access Now, has been launched, featuring a "Global Proxy Cloud" to help computer users get to the information they want.

0910 GMT: Looking Back. Tehran Bureau features the recollection of Farhod Family of a year ago, just before and after the Presidential election: "Tehran had done a complete 180 in less than 24 hours. A cheerful country had turned violent in disgust."

0905 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Islamic scholar Ahmad Ghabel has been released on bail of more than $500,000, almost six months after his arrest.

Ghabel, a student of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, was arrested on 20 December while travelling to Qom for Montazeri's funeral.

0900 GMT: 4 June Fall-Out. Another cleric denounces the uproar at last week's ceremony for Ayatollah Khomeini and comments on the heckling of the Ayatollah's grandson, Seyed Hassan Khomeini: Hojatoleslam Hossein Ebrahimi said the "events have caused sorrow for all".

0855 GMT: Larijani's Latest Move. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, manoeuvring for position against President Ahmadinejad as well as the "opposition", has pronounced, The Supreme Leader is there to show the right way. Those who don't understand must not be excluded."

An EA correspondent comments, "Those who don't understand? I still wonder whom Larijani means: clerics, Mousavi and Karroubi, Ahmadinejad...or all of them?"

0840 GMT: PsyWars. A sign of strength, a sign of worry, or just a big bluff?

General Hassan Firouzabadi, the head of Iran's armed forces, has announced that a Psychological Operations Command will be established for 12 June. At the same time, he announced that victory had already been achieved over the opposition: “The unity of the conspirators has been disrupted thanks to the events of the 4th and 5th June, and public alertness. [Mir Hossein] Mousavi has been trapped in cyberspace created by the US, Britain, the Zionist regime and counter-revolutionaries, is moving towards destruction. The reformist sheikh [a reference to Mehdi Karoubi] too has been isolated in the dreams of the green movement.”

The Command, it appears, is neceesary because, in Firouzabadi's words, “The Freedom Movement is still the leader of the US position and is the instigator of the conspiracy inside the country as it tries to perpetuate the situation while revolutionary students and politicians are aware of their ways. Moderate reformers are gradually moving towards the regime and the Imam’s line and their new policy is to work within the regime.”

0740 GMT: Crystal Balls. Lots of "One Year On" pieces today, many of them making sweeping and often weakly-supported claims --- The Opposition is Strong, The Opposition is Dead, the Regime is Weak, the Regime is Powerful.

The most curious article comes from The Washington Post, which manages to be both horribly deceptive and insightful in the space of a single article. The headline writers --- as they have done before --- distort Thomas Erdbrink's reporting, "A Year after Its Rise, Iranian Protest Movement Stymied and in Disarray".

In the final paragraphs, however, Erdbrink --- who continues to operate out of Tehran despite regime pressure --- slides in this important revelation:
"Because everybody is in charge, the movement can continue," said Ali Shakorirad, a former member of parliament and leading member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, which was recently declared illegal by the judiciary.

He said the opposition is playing a waiting game, exploiting the weaknesses of the government, which he asserted is less powerful than it appears. The opposition's inactivity, he said, has caused those advocating radical change to lose interest, which he considers a positive development.

"Ahmadinejad is making increasingly more blunders, so our first objective -- getting rid of him -- is looking more probable by the day," Shakorirad said. "When that is reached, the next step is free elections."

0730 GMT: Reading Mousavi-Karroubi. An EA correspondent checks in with a comment on the statement, "I think they had no other choice. People in Tehran told me they made the right decision because of the prospect of violence."

0720 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad has had a look at the Shanghai Expo in China. Despite reports that he has cancelled an appearance at a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting because of dissatisfaction at Chinese and Russian support of this week's UN resolution on sanctions, Ahmadinejad said, "The two great nations of Iran and China, who are the owners of the most ancient civilizations of human beings, can stay together to make this dream come true."

0655 GMT: Less than 24 hours before 22 Khordaad, the anniversary of the 2009 Presidential election, we offer two analyses: Dissected News posts a useful reminder to the media, "Why the Green Movement is Important", and Scott Lucas evaluates mysteries beyond yesterday's statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.


Ebadi's Message of Support

Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has put out a video message for 22 Khordaad. An English version is promised soon.

Revelation or Disinformation?

The Guardian of London features a dramatic article, "Former Elite Officers Reveal Tensions in Iran Regime", based on interviews with four "former members of the Revolutionary Guard...who have fled Iran and are in hiding in Turkey and Thailand".

The article claims:

• Deep divisions within the Revolutionary Guard, the powerful military organisation at the heart of the Iranian state, which have widened since last year's repression of the so-called green opposition.

• Firsthand accounts of the measures taken to crush the popular protests that erupted in the wake of last June's presidential elections. The men interviewed describe the widespread use of rape and torture by the regime.

• A ruling elite so unsettled by the uprising that it had a plane on standby ready to fly the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, to Syria at a moment's notice.

I'm refraining from any judgement at this point --- the allegations match up with Internet chatter that goes back to last autumn. I have no doubt, based on other information, about the second claim regarding abuse of detainees, but the first and third assertions circulated without any support.

The Challenge from Iran's Youth

The US Institute for Peace has released a report, "Iran's Youth: The Protests Are Not Over": "Iran has the most politically active youth among the 57 nations of the Islamic world. As the most restive segment of their society, Iranian youth also represent one of the greatest long-term threats to the current form of theocratic rule."

Reader Comments (15)

A voice from within: "Inside Iran" published an analysis by 'A professor' in Tehran (any idea Scott? If so, don't tell me...)

"As someone who is living in Iran, it is important to counter the many myths that are often perpetuated in the West."

"The role of communication technology, such as Internet and mobile phones, in the present and future of the Green Movement, continues to be debated. One side argues that one of the keys to strengthening the Green Movement is to create conditions to advance this technology. The other side uses the example of the Arab world to show how these technologies provide more possibilities for the state to crush social movements than to those oppose them. Thus, we should not be too optimistic about the future of the Green Movement, so the argument goes. Although the basic premise of this argument, namely that technology has enhanced the state’s ability to crush threats to it, is sound, its conclusions in regard to Iran do not hold up to deep analysis."

"What deserves attention and praise is that despite mass arrests, killings, rapes, and show trials the Green Movement not only survived but succeeded in developing a form of infrastructure which continues to evolve. The view on the streets in Iran is that it is far too early to argue that the Green Movement is no longer a political force."

"While the government’s attempts to limit access to outside sources of information and the ability of Iranians inside the country to exchange information and to communicate with each other have certainly produced results, society is finding ways around the restrictions. For example, those with the time and ability to work around these restrictions disseminate information and news through regular e-mail, traditional social networks, such as family, friends, work colleagues, and places of recreation. Those obtaining news and information from these places in turn disseminate them among their own social networks. This writer has been following traditional tea houses, gyms, computer and/or DVD/CD shops in central and south Tehran, Shiraz, and Tabriz which serve as centers of dissemination in soft and hard-copy form of news and information, in particular the statements of Mousavi and Karroubi and plans for collective action."

"The challenges facing the Green Movement remain formidable and a long; an uncertain path awaits it. But the continuing outrage over electoral cheating and the use of violence against the people, the worsening economic crisis, and the deep unbridgeable elite divisions, combined with international pressure ensures that the Green Movement and its leaders will continue to challenge Ahmadinejad seriously. It is the symbol of positive political change in the Islamic Republic."" rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

RE: The Guardian of London features a dramatic article, “Former Elite Officers Reveal Tensions in Iran Regime”

Here's another Guardian article with a pretty detailed description of the film - if you who don't have the opportunity or desire to watch the video:" rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE Ebadi’s Message of Support
I don't know if they're the same, but here's her message to Western governments: "Confront Iran on brutality not nuclear weapons, says Nobel prize winner"" rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE Human rights activist and journalist Narges Mohammad has been arrested by security forces during a late-night raid on her home.

Yet, as Iran defended its record before the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling itself a model of Middle East democracy, opposition leaders in Tehran on Thursday canceled a weekend rally marking one year since the country’s disputed presidential election because the government did not give them a permit." rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

This is especially for you. I seem to recall you said you worked as a bus driver. Maybe you can get something started in your area?

American Bus Drivers Stand in Solidarity with Mansour Osanloo
Human rights activists in Washington DC have begun a campaign to raise awareness about the situation of Mansour Osanloo and all political prisoners in Iran. The campaign has begun by engaging local bus drivers, explaining what the Islamic regime has done to Osanloo and other labor activists, and asking for their support." rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Rooz Exclusive Report on Ramin Pourandarjani’s Murder
Fereshteh Ghazi
While the Islamic Republic judiciary officials have turned silent after making several contradictory statements about the death of Ramin Pourandarjani, Rooz has determined that contrary to official claims, the young doctor at Tehran’s Kahrizak prison did not in fact commit suicide, but that he died by means other than poison. This conclusion is based on information obtained from a source closely associated with the case and from documents related to the case." rel="nofollow">

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

New video surfaced of the death of Neda:" rel="nofollow">
It provides a fleeting glance at the face of the person -- a balding, gray-haired man -- who filmed the original footage of her death.

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWitteKr

I was just about to post this so nice to see it's slowly getting around.

June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDCl6


Ange has asked me to post this article on EA: Obama urges support for Iranian 'freedom'" rel="nofollow">

She is still very angry with EA, but I hope she will overcome her anger soon and join us again.
Ma chère Ange, il est absolument nécessaire que tu nous rejoins! Ne laisses pas seul les supporteurs du Mouvement Vert sur EA, je t'en prie :-)


June 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Corruption Watch

$14 Billion of Financial Corruption Reported in Ahmadinejad’s Government" rel="nofollow">

June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama


Excellent video. Gotta love it when dictators who lie that free speech is a right in Iran must resort to force to quite a heckler! And to think this regime has said the world looks up to them to lead everyone. HA HA HA Marg Bar Dictator!!


June 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwdavit

Back with a vengence I see!!!!

June 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwdavit


Tell Ange we still love her and to come back. You might also remind her withdrawal symptoms will start to set it soon if she doesn't get back to EA soon!!! HA HA LOL


June 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwdavit


I was away for a few weeks and did not read EA. Why is Ange angry with EA? Please tell her I was thinking of her when I watched the World Cup match between France and Uruguay yesterday.

June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMagang428

Bill and Megan,

Ange continues to read EA, but she refuses to send messages, because they are constantly "controlled" by a moderator as she told me, i.e. she is furious to see them not appear instantly, but hours later...
No idea how to react, because Mike has proposed her already several solutions to get around pre-moderation. I hope she accepts one of them and rejoins us as fast as possible :-)


June 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

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