Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


« Iran: An Opening Thought on the Disconnection in Washington | Main | Israel: Masquerade of "Proximity Talks" and Settlements (Levy) »

The Latest from Iran (11 March): Marathon

1910 GMT: Reuters has picked up Zahra Rahnavard's latest interview, highlighting the line, "I have said many times that this government is illegitimate...but because the government claims to be legitimate, it has to carry out its duties."

1900 GMT: From Washington With... ? We've posted the video of yesterday's "Iran at A Crossroads" conference.

NEW Video: “Iran at a Crossroads” Conference (10 March)
NEW Iran: Gender Issues and the Green Movement
Iran Document: The Hardliners’ Project (Bahavar)
Iran Interview: Habibollah Peyman “Change Through Social Awareness
The Latest from Iran (10 March): The View from Washington

1855 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Readers have rightly noted an apparent lapse in our coverage of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani. The reformist daily Bahar claimed on Wednesday that, in a clear sign of reconciliation with the regime, Rafsanjani would soon lead Friday Prayers in Tehran. (He has not done so since his 17 July address, which was a catalysts for demonstrations against the Government.)

I saw the story, which was picked up by the Babylon and Beyond blog of the Los Angeles Times, but decided to pass on it. It felt much more like rumour than a confirmed development.

That said, even the rumour deserves noting. Elements within the Government seem keen on establishing that Rafsanjani no longer has any issues with the leadership, so all is now politically well. So far, however, Rafsanjani has been his usual coy self, not confirming any return to the Friday Prayer slot.

1840 GMT: Rahnavard, Women's Rights, and the Green Movement. Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has given an interview to Kalemeh talking about the relationship between campaigns for women's rights and the initiatives of the Green Movement. (See our separate entry on this subject, which was posted before we read the Rahnavard interview.)

1805 GMT: From Czechoslovakia to Iran. Vaclav Havel, the playwright and activist who was instrumental in the movement that challenged the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and then became the country's first post-Communist President, has sent a message to Iran's protesters. The occasion was the award of the Homo Homini Award by a Czech NGO to Iranian student activists Majid Tavakoli and Abdollah Momeni:
Of course all of us are interested in Iran's nuclear program and the nature of the current regime, just as we are interested in the abuses committed under the flag of Islam and whether or not the 2009 election was rigged. However, what I am most interested in are the brutal violations of human rights. I found myself in high political position thanks to peaceful public demonstrations and thanks to the students, who led them and made them happen. As a result, I have an elevated sensitivity for certain things and am deeply outraged and shocked that for participating in similar demonstrations in Iran, people are not only being sentenced to several years in prison, but are even being executed. It seems to me like an endless barbarity and I firmly believe this savagery is about to come to an end.

1745 GMT: Escape. It is being reported that student activist Ali Kantouri, recently sentenced to 15yrs in prison, has fled to Turkey.

1525 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. I think former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has taken another swipe at President Ahmadinejad but any impact may be ruled out by Rafsanjani's vagueness in expression. From Radio Zamaneh:
Akabar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Council stressed the role of people in governance and maintained that with the growth and spread of media, governments that do not have popular bases can not last long....

Speaking in a meeting of members of municipal councils of Tehran Province, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani said that Islam holds a special place for the role of people in the government.

He added that in democracies, parties that are triumphant in the elections act as buffers and when the elected candidates take a wrong turn, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the parties and this way the system does not suffer.

He also criticized the policy of limiting the legal powers of city councils saying such policies only weaken the councils and reduce their ability to respond to people’s demands.

1445 GMT: Ain't Nothing Gonna Change. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reviews the Supreme Leader's pronouncement on possible electoral reform, which we noted yesterday), and sees this is a clear rejection rather than an ambiguous response.

1345 GMT: Fist-Shaking. Yet another Iranian military advance which has nothing to do whatsoever with Tehran's power politics vs. the US: Iran has started production of a surface-to-air missile.

President Ahmadinejad added rhetorical colour with the promise that people in the region "would cut (American) hands off of Persian Gulf oil".

However, in a sign that the US still wants to avoid conflict, and possibly establish co-operation, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Iranian support for the Taliban in Afghanistan is "pretty limited".

1230 GMT: Catching Up.

I've posted a follow-up to the Washington hearing, considering the failure to answer adequately a question on gender issues and the Green Movement.

There is also an important correction: we reported yesterday, from Iranian human rights websites, that Saeed Nourmohammadi of the Islamic Iran Participation Front had been released on bail. His family say, however, that Nourmohammadi has not been freed.

Reports indicate more freeing of political prisoners. Mostafa Tajzadeh, a senior member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been released without bail for Iranian New Year.

Reader Comments (18)

GO KANTOURI GO!! I hope it's true, and I wish they would all run! Western countries have a clear duty to offer asylum to anyone fleeing from persecution for political beliefs. This regime does NOT use due process and therefore has no legitimate authority to compel anyone to submit themselves to its abuses.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Magdalen

"I hope it’s true, and I wish they would all run!"

Could not agree more I wish the whole green movement moved to those countries which so infatuate them.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Heh Heh, Professor Juan Cole is starting to sound like the Leveretts.

From Professor Juan Cole today:

"Ahmadinejad complained that the US fostered Sunni radicalism in the 1980s as part of its struggle to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan, and now had no right to complain about radicalism and terrorism in the region.

In this exchange, Ahmadinejad surely won on points. Gates's allegation of substantial Iranian support for the hyper-Sunni Shiite-killing Taliban is implausible on the face of it, and makes Gates look silly in regional eyes.

The dispute is particularly unfortunate, since the US and Iran largely have the same goals and friends in Afghanistan, and the Obama administration should have been talking to Iran all along about their overlapping interests in that country."

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

Someone posted an old article from December 2001 in the comments section of one of today's articles, I don't recall which one. It's an interesting blast from the past on Rafsanjani.

The Regime was apparently quite happy to have Rafbo give Friday Prayers when the topic was Israel as an "appendix" to be extracted from the body of the Middle East, causing its people to once again be scattered across the earth. He also casually mentions the "atomic bomb" as a weapon that the world of Islam should be "duly equipped" with, and then admonishes other people not to do anything crazy that might "fan flames of the World War III."

He also praises "martyrdom seeking forces." This is three months after 9/11. Stay classy, Raffers.

It's worth noting that even the author of this article way back then felt the need to add a note saying everyone knows Rafsanjani will basically say whatever he thinks will get himself into a better position, so take these things with a grain of salt.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Magdalen

"Could not agree more I wish the whole green movement moved to those countries which so infatuate them."

Then how do you suggest running the whole nation with remaining 12%, although as we all know over half of those 12 per centers are there for the money and don't give a hoot about black robed dinosaurs.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAryajet

zahra rahnavrd looks like she is retreating,south Teheran has not joined the green wave but the young across the city are united in the belief that the previous generation has mishandeled the country. The streets are quite for now-lets see what happens after the new year when new subsidy cuts are announced.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterespinas


The people have been scared off the streets by gunfire, false imprisonments, and now executions. That does nothing to lessen the fact that there is currently a "government" that most people realize is unpopular, lost the election, and is thus illegitimate. This illegitimate government is going to have to ask the people for more and more sacrifice as the oil windfall of the last 10 years recedes and the repression gets more expensive. That is not a calm its just the eye of a storm.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

"Then how do you suggest running the whole nation with remaining 12%"

Ha Ha thank you for the very funny joke.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel

»Would it not be easier / In that case for the government / To dissolve the people / And elect another?«

In his poem »Die Lösung« (»The Solution«) as belated commentary on the uprising of 17 June 1953 in communist East Germany, the poet Bertolt Brecht (living in East Germany) wrote:

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had thrown away the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPublicola

The 'greens' should do what Al Gore & the Democrats did after Bush's rigged re-election with the help of his brother governor in Florida & republican loyalists put in position by his father, by foregoing street protests which only give them a bad name & instead bide their time & work at grassroots level to prepare for the next series of elections. Despite restrictions IRI is a much freer and secure than many of its neighbours. Some of its factions also are well funded by US and its allies. It seems even Israel wishes to give them financial support. But the most important constituency are the Iranian people as yet it seems the majority either do not support the 'greens' or sitting on the fence. Many from these strata are also members or have links with the mass movement of the Basijis. There seems nothing that the Greens can offer to this conservative section of Iranian society & yet they would be the key to any changes.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan


Put a rest on the ridiculous propaganda. While the 2000 election was disputed, all sides were allowed freedom of speech and assembly both before and after the election and the election was approximately 50/50. In Iran's case, Ahmadinejad didn't get anywhere near 50%, and the fact that the regime has had to murder its own people en masse to get them off the streets is circumstantial evidence of its lack of electoral credibility.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

[...] (Enduring America) | March 11, 2010 [...]

Iran is not as politically mature as the US. The IR constitution is 30 odd years old and the US constitution is over 200 yrs old. So the point is what happened in Iran is not unique, election disputes also happen in the world's most advanced 'democracy' & the 'freest'. All the polls before & after show that AN would have won including one carried out by the Univ of Maryland several months later. In any case even if Mosawi had won he would not have abandoned his support for the IR but sought to fulfill some of the original ideals enshrined in its constitution. Many in these columns and amongst the political opposition in the diaspora do NOT want any kind of IR and see or saw Mosawi as a transition to open the door to a more secular system which would have to be imposed as I can't see how the majority conservative section of Iranian society would agree to. As for the charges of a massacre, to date figures from both sides amount to about 100 killed. Of course every human life is sacred but this hardly amounts to a massacre. As for the detainees, many have been released and more are promosed to be released. So far only two individuals have been reported to be executed. The regime did close down Kahrizak ( Obama still has to close down Guantanamo) and is now putting the perpetrators on trial. The Majlis didi form a committee to look into this and the Tehran dormitory events and it seems this is being followed through. There is also talk of electoral reform from the Expediency Council. So all in all progress is being made. As for the opposition leaders, they might not get coverage in the state media but they freely give critical interviews to foreign media and nothing so far has happened to them. As for Bush/Al Gore, if Al Gore had challenged the election result he would have probably won and the world could possibly have been saved the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Palestinians might have had their state by now and the US could have lead the world in efforts to save the planet and US/Iran relations might have been better. But unfortunately we cannot undo the events that have already happened but simply learn from our mistakes and move forward.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan

Hi Mr. Rezvan -
your perverted skewed sight into history and reality wan`t help you anymore - it is more than sure - it is clearly evident. Because - since the 12. June the only paltry and very weak answer you have is murder, torture, rape and death.
You wan`t believe it ? Please go to Evin - expcially to ward 209 - and have a look to all the brave Iranian mothers, fathers , grandparents, students and womens in every age. Kahrizak ist closed - and Evin is overcowded - and all the other horrible places all over Iran. How can that be that you don `t know that - because everybody in the world - even in the most hidden places - knows what you - Mr. Rezvan and Mr. Samuel - are doing with the brave people in Iran.
Mr. Rezvan - please have a look to all this crushed bodies and bloody faces - don`t go away - and please do me a little tiny favour:
Don `t tell anybody in the future, that you haven `t kown this
terrifying cruelities you are doing right now to your brave Iranian people.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergunni

And use your coffee break to peruse this informative patriotic site :

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpessimist


Perhaps your statement -- "As for the charges of a massacre, to date figures from both sides amount to about 100 killed. Of course every human life is sacred but this hardly amounts to a massacre." -- is an indication of something about yourself and the Regime you defend??

We are not talking about war here - but the murder of your fellow citizens. Is your ideology that you defend so precious that the murder of 100 of your own people amounts to nothing??

But perhaps it is war? - in your eyes. A civil war that has already started??


March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Barry- Of course loss of any innocent life is wrong and the perpetrators should be brought to justice asap. But by the standards of the world we live in there are governments such as those of the US and Israel who are and have been responsible for the killing of many thousands and these regard themselves as the civilized and standard bearers of freedom and human rights the world over. The UN in a report attributed the death of 500,000 Iraqi children as a direct result of US inspired sanctions against Iraq. Madeline Albright, the then US ambassador to the UN, merely regarded this as collateral damage. An estimated 100,000 civilians have died directly or indirectly due to the US invasion of Afghanistan and no count has been kept of the Iraqi civilian casualties arising out of US presence there. Bush officials and lawyers who authorised torture in contravention of US and international norms are not to be prosecuted. Those US officials implicated for human rights violations and torture in Guantanamo and Abu Ghoreib remain untouched. At least the IRI is bringing to trial those security officials implicated in the Kahrizak incident. We should base our opinions on known facts not on hearsay otherwise we will end up creating a very dangerous world as has happened with the Bush/Blair invasion of Iraq on the basis of a lie.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrezvan


You have done it again!! In another thread here, I said this to you :


"When somebody criticizes Iran – a response by you criticizing another country (whether Israel or the Eskimos) does not in any way counter that first person’s criticism of Iran. You may think it does – as it appears to be an almost automatic response, but it does not answer the initial post. It merely makes it appear that your hatred of the other country (in this case Israel) is what causes you to excuse the actions of the “current” Iranian Regime against their own people. Your eyes are wide open towards the direction of Israel – but closed towards Iran. "

I agree with you that bad things happen elsewhere in the world . But your use of these bad things to deflect attention away from the bad things happening in Iran are in vain. Your hatred of the US and Israel makes you blind and insensitive to what is happening in Iran.


March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>