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Entries in Peyke Iran (6)


The Latest from Iran (28 May): A Pause in Discussion? 

1410 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Omid Sharifi-Dana, arrested just after the Ashura protests of 27 December, has been sentenced to six years in prison.

1400 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Summary (Nukes! Nukes! Nukes!...and Some Poor People). Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani taking the podium today, and he has decided that the international dispute over Iran's uranium deserves religious priority. He wags a clerical finger at the "5+1" powers (US, UK, Germany, France, Russia, China): "The P5+1, instead of welcoming the [Iran-Brazil-Turkey] declaration [on a swap of uranium] goes to the [United Nations] Security Council and threatens sanctions against Iran."

And from there, Emami Kashani makes his big leap: "This is a world of barbarity and rapaciousness."

It wasn't all nuclear gloom, however. Emami Kashani expressed hope that the country under the guidance of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, would see greater success and progress.

That's when the Ayatollah looked beyond uranium and noticed Iran's poor people: "The well-to-do and all who have [financial] prowess should think of providing shelters for those who cannot afford one."

NEW Friends or Obstacles?: Iran, Human Rights, & US “Concern”
NEW Iran Analysis: When Allies Co-ordinate (Mousavi & Karroubi)
NEW Iran Analysis: When Allies Fight (Tehran and Moscow
The Latest from Iran (27 May): Cooperation and Feuds

1330 GMT: Today's Propaganda Highlight (with a Cameo Appearance by EA). We noticed this morning that hundreds of readers were linking from a Rah-e-Sabz story to an EA video of reformist activist Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, in debate with Government supporter Seyed Mohammad Marandi.

I ran this past an EA correspondent, who uncovered a tale of Iranian state propaganda:
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting have produced a "report" on Haghighatjoo, which is a masterpiece of distortion (Fars News will go green with envy). Marandi is not mentioned at all, only Haghighatjoo, allegedly soon to receive a prize from an American institution soon (a lie). She is presented as a traitor to Iran, by editing her speto demonstrators in Boston where she allegedly said "Do not accept Iran!". Haghighatjoo's reference to "the government/ president of [Iran]" is cut out from her "(rayis jomhure) Iran ra be rasmiyat nashenasid".

IRIB proceeds to explain that all other reformists are traitors and human rights organisations are foreign operatives. Iranian commentator Alireza Nourizadeh is a British Intelligence officer, and Amnesty International is a Zionist organisation.

1325 GMT: Concern over Tavakoli. Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard have made phone calls to the mother of Majid Tavakoli, the imprisoned student activist, to express deep concerns about Tavakoli’s condition and to ask her and her son to end their hunger strike.

Reports claim Tavakoli has been transferred to hospital because of health issues during the hunger strike.

0855 GMT: Economy Watch. Deutsche Welle, via Peyke Iran, reports on Turkish companies who are leaving Iran and/or refusing to invest in the country.

0850 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Peyke Iran claims two more teachers have been arrested in Yazd Province, bringing the total detained to 10.

0845 GMT: Assessing the Movement. Taghi Rahmani --- writer, journalist, activist, and member of National Religious Front --- offers extensive thoughts about the state of the Green Movement. He says a powerful Iran is not possible without civil society and civil society is not possible without instruction and discussion.

0830 GMT: Fashion and Politics. Looks like "bad hijab" is going to persist as a front-line theme in Iran during current tensions. Ayatollah Javadi Amoli has declared the source of improper veiling by women is "ignorance".

0820 GMT: Finger-Pointing. Well, it might be quieter today but that hasn't put a stop to the fighting within the Iranian establishment.

President Ahmadinejad's attack on local and provincial officials, which we noted in Thursday's updates, still resonates. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi has another target: he has asserted that the "anti-revolutionary current" started during the era of President Hashemi Rafsanjani (1989-1997).

0815 GMT: Rights-First? We have published an analysis, "Friends or Obstacles?: Iran, Human Rights, & US 'Concern'".

0810 GMT: A Political Fast. Khaje Nasir University students have asked all university candidates 2 join them in a day without food to protest the current political situation and detentions of students.

0530 GMT: A quiet start to the Iranian weekend. Not even the pretext of the uranium dispute offers headlines today, with President Ahmadinejad apparently maintaining silence after his clash with the West/US/Israel/Russia earlier this week. Press TV tried to stir the pot 12 hours ago with the "Breaking News" that "Iran Navy Detects US Nuke Sub in PG [Persian Gulf]", but nobody seemed to take much interest.

On the domestic front, there was also  a pause in opposition statements after the interview of Mehdi Karroubi in Rah-e-Sabz, now translated in full into English, and the reach-out of Mir Hossein Mousavi to political parties (including Karroubi's Etemade Melli).

We started yesterday, in the aftermath of those statements, looking for the ripples of organisation and challenge amongst groups and individuals. We'll maintain watch but, so far, it looks like today will be one to gather breath.

The Latest from Iran (26 May): Panahi Out But 100s Still Imprisoned

1503 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Peyke Iran reports that detainees in Evin Prison have joined student leader Majid Tavakoli (see 1425 GMT) on hunger strike.

An EA reader notifies us that a Facebook campaign for a three-day hunger strike, starting today, in sympathy with Tavakoli has been launched.

1459 GMT: Ahmadinejad "Something's Not Right with Russia". Radio Zamaneh has extracts from the President's speech today in Kerman (see 0940 GMT), and he is sounding more than worried about Moscow's position on nuclear issues: "“Today, explaining the actions of the Russian President [Dmitry Medvedev] to the Iranian people has become difficult. The people wonder whether they are our friends, whether they are beside us and with us or if they have other objectives.”

1455 GMT: M0usavi on Political Parties. We've posted, in a separate entry, Mir Hossein Mousavi's comments made today to youth and student activists in Mehdi Karroubi's Etemade Melli party.

NEW Iran Document: Mousavi “On the Importance of Political Parties” (26 May)
NEW Iran Document: Karroubi “Aligning the Green Movement Inside and Outside Country”
Middle East/Iran (& Beyond) Revealed: US to Expand Covert Activities (Mazzetti)
NEW Turkey’s Diplomatic Dance: The Nuclear Two-Step Between Iran & the US (Yenidunya)
Iran Analysis: Towards the Final Battle? (Zahra)
The Latest from Iran (25 May): Panahi Freed; Will There Be a 12 June Protest?

1425 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Lots of internet chatter about an interview with the mother of detained student leader Majid Tavakoli, as she calls on all Iranians abroad to help him. 

Ali Tavakoli has spoken with Human Rights Activists News Agency about his brother's condition and hunger strike and revealed that his mother is also refusing food.

1400 GMT: Mousavi, Rahnavard, and the Students. Back from an academic break to find news Mir Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard met student activists from Tehran's Amir Kabir University this morning to share "views and concerns". We are keeping eyes open for more details.
0940 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? (Nuclear Special Edition). President Ahmadinejad has delivered his speech in Kerman.

Press TV's article features standard rhetoric on the uranium enrichment deal, such as "[President Obama] should bear in mind that if he does not use this opportunity, Iranians are unlikely to give him a new chance....Arrogant and tyrant powers should either give up or be obliterated."

There are interesting revelations, however. Ahmadinejad tipped off his worry over Russia's position on sanctions, urging President Dmitry Medvedev to support the Iranian nuclear programme.

And Ahmadinejad actually pointed to Tehran's weakness rather than strength in the manoeuvres over uranium:
We have a reactor in Tehran which produces radio medicines. Around 800,000 people annually use radio medicines. Twenty five years ago Iran bought nuclear fuel enriched up to the level of 20 percent from Argentina for use in Tehran Research Reactor. It is currently running out of fuel.

No clue in the story whether Ahmadinejad mentioned unemployment, which is what his crowd in Khorramshahr wanted to address on Monday, or indeed any internal issue apart from uranium.
0840 GMT: We have posted an extract, in a separate entry, from Mehdi Karroubi's interview with Rah-e-Sabz (see 0715 GMT), “Aligning the Green Movement Inside and Outside Country”.

And our colleague James Miller has written for The Huffington Post, "A Year of Blood and Promise in Iran", using the review of events to conclude with a look forward:
It's been a long, interesting, and tumultuous year in Iran, but the Green Movement is far from dead, or even asleep. Rather, it has been waiting for June 2010 to pounce. We'll have to wait to see who is the Caspian Tiger in Iran, the government or the people. If I were a betting man, I'd say that the next year may give us the answer.

0815 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. RAHANA reports on female detainees facing charges of "mohareb" (war against God), with its death sentence, including Maryam Akbari-Monfared, the mother of three children, and the youngest female prisoner, 22-year-old Parvin Javanzadeh.

0810 GMT: Economy Watch. Fararu claims that growth in 2009 was about 0.5 % --- that compares with a Government projection of 8% in its 5th Plan.

Not that this will necesarily trouble the Revolutionary Guard. Rah-e-Sabz has another article on the millions (billions?) of dollars in oil and gas projects being picked up by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (see 0710 GMT).

0800 GMT: The Challenge to Ahmadinejad. Fatemeh Badaghi, the President''s legal advisor, has said that if necessary, lawsuits will be filed against members of Parliament for criticising the Government.

Badeghi might be quite busy. Ali Larijani has easily retained his seat as Speaker by a 214-44 vote with 32 abstentions; the suggestion of some Ahmadinejad supporters that Larijani could and should be challenged soon fizzled out.

And as the Iranian judiciary claims that it is investigating the corruption allegations against First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, MP Gholamreza  Mesbahi Moghaddam has criticised the Guardian Council blocking a law on  money laundering.

0730 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? After his appearance in Khorramshahr on Monday, distinguished by heckling from the crowd over unemployment, President Ahmadinejad is on his way to Kerman Province in central Iran.

0715 GMT: Karroubi and the Green Movement, One Year Later. Rah-e-Sabz features an interview with Mehdi Karroubi, with the cleric's responses to questions such as "Entering the second year of the Green Movement, where do you think you were wrong and what do you think are the strengths and successes of the movement?"

0710 GMT: Revealing the Revolutionary Guard. Peyke Iran features an article by Jaleh Vafa claiming the devleopment of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps into a military and financial "mafia" over the past 30 years

0640 GMT: News of One Still Detained. Speaking of imprisoned journalists....

Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi has said that Emaduddin Baghi will be relocated in a general ward. Baghi's family have claimed that the journalist has been held in solitary confinement and in poor conditions during his 5 months behind bars.

0630 GMT: Those Who Are Not Free. Arshama3's blog, which has maintained a list of journalists in prison (reposted on Enduring America last month), adds two more names:

Ramin Jabbari, Blogger and Journalist, Bayram, Nedaye Moghan, Yashil Moghan, Detained 17 May 2010

Mostafa Jamshidi, Journalist, Redaktion Yashil Moghan, Nedaye Moghan, Detained 18 May 2010

Up to 102 journalists are still imprisoned or restricted by bail conditions.

0555 GMT: A Call for Reflection. An EA correspondent sends us the translation of an open letter from Saeedeh Montazeri, the daughter of the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, to Mir Hossein Mousavi. An extract....
After your reaction to recent political executions, [Tehran Prosecutor General] Jafari Doulatabadi [said]: "How could those who claim to follow the line of Imam forget his teaching of standing up to dissident groups?....In the same years that the executions were carried out against the hypocrites by the order of Imam Khomeini (RA), Mousavi] was Prime Minister. If we consider his present claim, how did he serve then?"

Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi! I do not intend to confirm what he [Mr. Jaafari Dowlatabadi] said, but it is fair to conclude from his words that we need to be critical according to society’s needs. Why do we all virtually have history safeguard our deeds, so that the future generation can criticize us?! This is our collective duty, to criticize our past; and if we have made any mistakes, we should attempt to compensate for it. This is especially important for politicians. Before the future generation criticizes them, politicians should attempt to criticise their deeds themselves. You must know well how this criticism can be helpful to the Green Movement.

This point must be made that the critical principle is that no one is immune from error, and our affairs should be based on this hadith that the Prophet said: "All of Adam’s children are fallible, and the best would recant."

0545 GMT: Ironic Headline of Day. Press TV writes with a straight face, "Protesters Silenced before Queen's Speech".

0500 GMT: Tuesday's late news outside Iran was dominated by the emerging information of the release of film director Jafar Panahi on $200,000 bail. Panahi, gaunt after almost three months in detention and a reported hunger strike, was freed after a meeting last week with Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi. (A question to consider: was Panahi's silence on political issues and abandonment of plans to film about the post-election situation a condition for his release?)

Because of Panahi's high profile --- and because a photograph was released to the international media --- the news was picked up by international media. Some noted that another director, Mohammad Nourizad, had been freed a day earlier --- in fact, that news on state media has still not been confirmed (t0 our knowledge) by Nourizad's family.

The essential context was provided, however, by those who circulate news on social media. One activist reminded, "Let's not forget the other filmmakers who was jailed with Jafar Panahi. Mohammad Ali Shirzadi is still detained at Even prison." Others put out the information that blogger Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki (Babak Khoramdin) has been placed in solitary confinement and is the third day of a hunger strike.

And, of course, it's not directors and journalists who languish, sometimes without formal charges, sometimes in isolation, sometimes with lengthy sentences from closed trials and little known evidence, in Iran's prisons during the post-election crisis. There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, students, human rights activists, woman's rights activists, housewives....

So another day begins....

The Latest from Iran (19 May): Fallout

2035 GMT: The Uranium Sideshow. President Obama issued a boiler-plate, stay-the-course statement at a press conference alongside President Felipe Calderon of Mexico (which happens to have a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council):

"[We agree] on the need for Iran to uphold its international obligations or face increased sanctions and pressure, including UN sanctions. And I'm pleased that we've reached an agreement with our P5-plus-1 partners on a strong resolution that we now have shared with our Security Council partners.

Obama did not mention, for he was not asked, why he had encouraged Turkey to pursue talks with Iran leading to the uranium swap agreement in Tehran on Monday.

1845 GMT:Political Prisoner Watch. Housewife Masoumeh Yavari has been given a seven-year jail term at Rajai-Shahr Prison in Karaj. Yavari had been accused of "mohareb" (war against God), and the prosecutor had asked for the death penalty.

Zahra Jabbari, married and the mother of one child, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison. Jabbari was arrested during Qods Day protests on 18 September.

Student Activist Mohammad Yousef Rashidi has been handed a one-year jail term.

NEW Iran’s Uranium: Why Can’t the US Take Yes for an Answer? (Parsi)
NEW Iran’s Uranium: Washington “Can’t Afford to Look Ridiculous”, Makes Ridiculous Move (Emery)
NEW Iran’s Uranium: US Shows a Middle Finger to Tehran…and Turkey and Brazil and… (Gary Sick)
NEW Iran Document: Iranian Labour Unions “This is Not 1979″
Iran Analysis: Washington and the Tehran Nuclear Deal (Parsi)
Iran Alert: Filmmaker Firouz Faces Deportation From UK
Iran Analysis: The Contest at Home Over (and Beyond) the Uranium Agreement (Zahra)
Iran Analysis: Assessing the Tehran Nuclear Deal (Gary Sick)
The Latest from Iran (18 May): Getting Beyond the Uranium Agreement

1700 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced student and women's rights activist Bahareh Hedayat to 9 ½ years in prison: six months for insulting the president, two years for insulting the Leader, five years for anti-state and anti-national security actions, and two years, previously suspended, for organizing a gathering in June 2006.

Milad Asadi, another senior member of the alumni organisation Advar-e Tahkim Vahdat, has been sentenced to 7 years in prison.

Bahareh Hedayat's statement for Iran's National Student Day in December 2009:


1200 GMT: The Uranium Battle. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's atomic energy agency, has issued the highest-level reaction to the US pursuit of a sanctions resolution at the United Nations, "They won't prevail and by pursuing the passing of a new resolution they are discrediting themselves in public opinion."

0940 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Masoud Heidari, the former head of the Iranian Labour News Agency,was released from prison on Tuesday. On Sunday, Heidari had begun serving a three-month prison sentence.

0840 GMT: Alice-in-Wonderland Media Statement of Day. I guess the editors of The New York Times have not paid any attention to the events of the last 72 hours:
Brazil and Turkey should join the other major players and vote for the Security Council resolution. Even before that, they should go back to Tehran and press the mullahs to make a credible compromise and begin serious negotiations.

0830 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tahereh Saeedi, the wife of detained film director Jafar Panahi, has told Rah-e-Sabz that her husband has been on hunger strike since Sunday.

Panahi has demanded access to his lawyer, visits by his family, and an unconditional release until a court hearing is held.

Six journalists and cultural activists --- Mahnaz Karimi, Hafez Sardarpour, Mehdi Zeynali, Nader Azizi, Mustafa Jamshidi, and Ramin Jabbari --- were arrested on Monday in Iranian Azerbaijan.

0820 GMT: Shutting Down the Inquiry. Parleman News writes that a reformist proposal to investigate Iran's prisons has been rejected by the Parliament. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani insists that the Majlis continues to observe prisons and has forwarded a report to the National Security Council.

0815 GMT: Claim of Day (No, It's Not about Uranium). Rah-e-Sabz claims new accusations of impropriety against Mohammad Javad Larijani, a high-ranking official in the judiciary. The website asserts that a deal has been struck: Ahmadinejad will not press a corruption case against Larijani, while the official and his powerful brothers will drop charges against First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

0810 GMT: And There's Always a "Terrorism" Story. Press TV features a summary of its interview with Abdolmalek Rigi, the captured leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah: "While in Morocco, suspected Israeli or US agents had given him a list of people to assassinate in Tehran."

0755 GMT: Evaluating the Uranium/Sanctions Story. We have three analyses of the US response to the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement: Trita Parsi asks why Washington cannot take Yes for an answer, Chris Emery suggests it is because the US feels it "cannot afford to look  ridiculous", and Gary Sick thinks Washington just showed the middle finger not only to Tehran but to Turkey, Brazil, and a lot of other countries.

The Washington Post has posted a copy of the sanctions resolution introduced by the US into the United Nations Security Council.

0635 GMT: Nuclear Spin of Day. Peyke Iran tries an different angle to attack the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement. The website claims that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip is angry about his reception in Tehran: he and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were offered an Iranian breakfast of sangak bread, Bulgarian white cheese, walnuts, and inferior dried fruit.

0630 GMT: Mousavi's Bodyguard. More manoeuvring over Monday's arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi's head of security, Ahmad Yazdanfar. Khabar Online claims that Yazdanfar "withdrew" from his position, and the story that he was detained is a fiction of the "leaders of sedition" and foreign media.

Opposition outlets have responded that Yazdanfar is not "political" at all but a simple security officer. Through his arrest and the kidnapping, terror, and torture of others, the Government is slowly becoming a terrorist group.

0615 GMT: Iran's Debate on the Tehran Deal. The Government is still facing some opposition to the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement. From the conservative wing, Ahmad Tavakoli (and possibly, through indirect means, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani) made challenges on Tuesday. On the reformist side, Darius Ghanbari asked why Iran had waited seven months and expended so much capital in its foreign policy, only to move towards an agreement it could have had in October.

The response of pro-Government politicians is that this is only a "declaration", not a "treaty", so Tehran has not entered any binding commitments. Or, as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, "If the Vienna Group (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China) accepts Iran’s terms and conditions...both parties commit themselves to the implementation” of the deal."

(Which means that Washington's response --- throwing out any consideration of the agreement in favour of a sanctions-first approach --- has sheltered the Ahmadinejad Government against its internal opponents.)

0530 GMT: For many observers, the nuclear sideshow will remain the main event today. The Obama Administration pretty much guaranteed that when, despite the Iran-Brazil-Turkey agreement on a procedure for a uranium enrichment deal (and despite the small fact that President Obama appears to have encouraged the Turks to pursue the deal --- more on that later), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton loudly and not very politely announced that the US was proceeding with a sanctions resolution in the United Nations.

The resolution was submitted in the late afternoon, so now we will be treated to a lot of posturing on all sides, possibly obscuring this bottom-line assessment, courtesy of the National Iranian American Council: "This is an unbelievably stupid move on the part of the Obama administration. Not only are we rejecting our own terms of the agreement, but we are doing so in as tactless and diplomatically insulting way possible."

Meanwhile, on the centre stage of Iranian politics....

Containing Mousavi

Muhammad Sahimi offers a concise summary of the latest steps by the Government to intimidate Mir Hossein Mousavi ahead of the election anniversary on 12 June, including the arrest of Mousavi's top bodyguard.

The Labour Front

We have posted, in a separate entry, the statement of the Network of Iranian Labor Unions setting out its view of opposition to the Government, "This is Not 1979".

Iran Labor Report posts an overview of recent workers' protests.

The Latest from Iran (13 May): Justice, Legitimacy, and a Strike in Kurdistan

2015 GMT: Kurdistan. ADN Kronos summarises, "Many shops, markets and public offices were closed in Kurdistan's main cities of Sanandaj, Saqqez, Kamiaran and Marivan. Most school and university students stayed away from school, according to the CyrusNews opposition website.

In Kamiaran, protesters gathered outside the home of Farzad Kamangar, one of five political prisoners executed on Sunday in Tehran's Evin prison."

2000 GMT: Iran and Iraq Troops Clash. From Agence France Presse:
Iraqi border guards exchanged fire with Iranian troops along the two countries' border on Thursday....

An Iraqi officer was captured by the Islamic Republic's forces in the 90-minute gunfight on the border with Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, which was apparently sparked when Iranian troops mistook Iraqi soldiers for a Kurdish rebel group.

"Iranian forces thought that the border guards belonged to PJAK (the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan -- an Iranian Kurdish rebel group) and started to open fire," Brigadier General Ahmed Gharib Diskara, the head of Iraq's border guards in Sulaimaniyah province, told reporters.

"The border guards shot back and one officer of the Iraqi army has been captured. Negotiations are ongoing to free him."

NEW Latest Iran Video: Strike in Kurdistan (13 May)
NEW Iran Special: Executions, Politics, and the Attack on Nazila Fathi and The New York Times
NEW Iran Transcript: Mousavi “Do Iranian Mothers Have Rights?” (12 May)
NEW Iran Document: A Letter from Majid Tavakoli About the Executed (11 May)
Iran Update: The Aftermath of the Executions
Iran Document: Maziar Bahari’s Response to His 13-Year (and 74-Lash) Sentence
Iran Special: A Renewal of Protest for 12 June?
The Latest from Iran (12 May): Defending the Indefencible

1945 GMT: Kurdistan. Report --- Ajlal Aghvami, the spokesman of the Kurdistan Human Rights Organization, has been arrested in Sanandaj.

1540 GMT: Last Words from the Executed? Peyke Iran has posted what it claims is the last statement of Mehdi Eslamian, executed on Sunday, and footage from inside Gohardahst Prison in Karaj.


1535 GMT: Investigation Complete? Mohammad Hassan Abutorabi-Fard, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has claimed that a report has been completed on last June's attack on Tehran University dormitories. Reformist members of Parliament had claimed that the supposed enquiry into the events had been set aside.

1525 GMT: Meanwhile...Where's Mahmoud? Khabar Online has pictures of President Ahmadinejad's visit to Yasuj in southwestern Iran, including a poster, "Sir, where is the gas you promised to the village of Kalous?"

And the President's message? "Be sure, Iran's next government will be 10 times more revolutionary....People all over the world, even USA and Europe, are disappointed by their leaders:their only hope is Iran! We should prepare the world for the arrival of the Mahdi."
1515 GMT: Kurdistan (Containing the Students). In addition to the 15 Kurdish student activists reportedly arrested in Marivan (five names have been published), Peyke Iran claims seven Kurdish students have been summoned to Evin court.

1500 GMT: The Kurdistan Strike. We are now featuring videos apparently showing widespread closure of shops and empty streets in cities in Iranian Kurdistan.

The strike was called for by the Kurdish Communist Party, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, and Komeleh, including its Socialist branch.

BBC Persian have now posted a brief item on the events.

1455 GMT: A Rights-First Approach. Writing in The Washington Post, Roxana Saberi, who was detained in Iran from late January until early April 2009, begins with this story:
I received an e-mail from a human rights campaigner in Tehran who knew one of them, asking me to spread the word about the hangings. "We are truly helpless," she wrote, "and we feel lost."

Saberi argues:
As the international community focuses on Iran's nuclear program, it should also make human rights a first-tier issue. When the U.N. Human Rights Council meets in Geneva next month, Washington and the European Union should lead calls for a resolution setting up a mechanism to investigate human rights atrocities in Iran during the past year. A bigger push should be made to send a U.N. special envoy on human rights to Iran and to aid Iranians, including the many journalists forced to flee their country out of fear of persecution.

But perhaps even more important than government efforts is the outcry of ordinary people worldwide. When everyday citizens speak out against Iran's human rights violations, Tehran has a tougher time asserting that their calls have been masterminded by foreign governments.

1045 GMT: Kurdistan. An EA correspondent writes:
The point worth noting is the discipline and strong support evidently commanded by the Democratic Party within the population. The appeal for the strike was made over Kurdish satellite TV, and in contrast to the response of Iranian counterparts to calls for national strikes, the people of Sanandaj were immediately receptive. The photos have prompted congratulatory messages from people in Tehran, who commented on the efficacy of strike action in Iranian Kurdistan, as opposed to getting anything done elsewhere in the country.

1040 GMT: The Oil Squeeze. Financial Times Deutschland reports that Iran is having problems finding buyers for its oil, with supplies sitting on tankers.

1035 GMT: Kurdistan. Peyke Iran is claiming a heavy security presence and authorities' pressure on shopkeepers to reopen their shops in Sanandaj. The website claims that
two protesters were shot and injured in Sanandaj and that there have been clashes. Most Kurdish pupils and students reportedly did not show up at classes today.

1020 GMT: Streets are reportedly deserted in Sanandaj, Iranian Kurdistan's largest city.

1000 GMT: The Strike in Kurdistan. For three days, I have been following Internet chatter that there would be a general strike in Iranian Kurdistan, protesting the executions. However, as I could not hard evidence, apart from a statement from a Kurdish Communist Party (apologies to readers if I missed information), I held back on reporting.

Now, however, photos have emerged indicating that some shops are closed today. There are also claimed photos of clashes; we are trying to confirm.

0945 GMT: Apologies for limited updates. I have been occupied with writing an analysis, "Executions, Politics, and the Attack on Nazila Fathi and The New York Times".

0700 GMT: The Executions --- The Official Account. Yesterday we posted, without comment or criticism, Fars News' "further update" on Sunday's execution of five Iranians. This was based on the official statement of the public relations office of Tehran’s General and Revolutionary Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Having allowed time for readers to consider that account, we now have the queries of an EA correspondent over the failure to establish a justification for the executions, offer a credible defense that due process was indeed followed, or explain the timing:

1. Only four of the five are identified as members of the Kurdish separatist movement PJAK. One defendant was executed for a bombing in Shiraz although no claim is made that he was involved in the bombing and no evidence is offered that he knew about the intent to bomb before the operation. It is stated, based on the accused's confession, that he learned about the bombing after he became suspicious of a friend and persuaded that friend to admit that he was involved in the bombing. He then helped the friend flee.

2. The cases of two of the executed were never sent to the Supreme Court for final decision. The executions were performed with mere confirmation of the Appeals Court.

3. The Supreme Court decision to confirm the execution order of the other three was apparently rendered on 1 March 2009 after an Appeals Court decision that was rendered in February 2008. The delay in executions until May 2010 is not explained.

4. The evidence given in the statement regarding the PJAK membership of four accused is at best circumstantial.

The evidence given for Farzad Kamangar's membership in PJAK is that his brother was active in "party activities" in Sulaymanieh and has a "conviction record" for involvement with the PKK, the Kurdish movement active across Iran, Iran, and Iraq. The statement does not say if the record is in Iran, Iraq, or Turkey and does not explain why this blood relationship is significant in relation to alleged crimes.

The other evidence given for Kamangar's membership are the words of the other two executed men --- one of whom himself is alleged to be PJAK because of a coded note and PJAK booklet found in his house --- that they knew Kamangar, lived in the same neighborhood, and forged documents for him. They do not accuse Kamangar of being a member of PJAK and the statement does not say that they themselves admitted being members of PJAK.

If the Prosecutor's statement is accepted at face value, Kamangar was never involved in the actual bombing. Allegedly an explosive timer was found in his house and he was also accused of fabricating documents for two people, who intended to put together material for explosives found by police in a car.

0620 GMT: The Oil Squeeze. Kalemeh reports on the significant number of foreign companies who have suspended development of the South Pars and Assalouyieh oil and gas fields.

In recent weeks Iranian officials have issued "ultimata" to Royal Dutch Shell and Spain's Repsol to resume development or face eviction from Iran.

0615 GMT: The Executions. The Iranian Writers' Association has condemned the hanging of five Iranians on Sunday: "There are no words which could describe this bloodshed and bloodthirst"

0520 GMT: We begin this morning with two features. We have posted a letter from student activist Majid Tavakoli, detained in Evin Prison since 7 December, about three of the Iranians executed on Sunday. And we have put up the English translation of Mir Hossein Mousavi's wide-ranging comments on Tuesday about the Green Movement and the legitimacy of an unjust Government, "Do Iranian Mothers Have Rights?"

The Latest from Iran (12 May): Defending the Indefencible?

2100 GMT: The Executions (Arresting the Students Special). RAHANA reports, "At least 15 female and male students have been arrested since Tuesday May 11, in Marivan [in Kurdistan], and taken to unknown locations. The arrests follow two days of rallies at Payam Nour University in Marivan as well as widespread calls for a province-wide strike on May 13 over the execution of 5 political prisoners."

2050 GMT: The Executions. The Iranian Independent Workers Union has issued a statement on the hanging of teacher Farzad Kamangar: "Execution of Farzad and other political prisoners will only add hatred and disgust of workers, teachers, and all Iranian’s towards the current situation more than ever. Freedom seeking shouts of Farzad will turn into screams of million teachers, workers and students to achieve a society free of death penalty."

And the Tehran Bus Workers Union declares, "We are mourning a teacher whose equipment was chalks and pens, one who taught kids, many of whom put their heads hungry on their pillows at night. His crime was standing for human rights."

NEW Iran Update: The Aftermath of the Executions
NEW Iran Document: Maziar Bahari’s Response to His 13-Year (and 74-Lash) Sentence
NEW Iran Special: A Renewal of Protest for 12 June?
The Latest from Iran (11 May): Opposition Surfaces

2040 GMT: Economy Watch. With the Ahmadinejad subsidy cuts imminent, a sign of things to come? Khabar Online reports:

During the last days, some gas stations in Tehran have installed notices saying they lack unsubsidized gasoline. The announcements have caused the bewilderment of customers who can not meet their demands by rationed gasoline.

As the gas stations avoid selling unsubsidized gasoline, the head of Iran's Association of Gas Station Owners declares that the problem is due to the shortage of "special unsubsidized gasoline cards".

Khabar adds the pointed fact, "Lacking sufficient oil refineries, Iran imports 40 percent of its gasoline for local consumption."

2030 GMT: More on the Karroubi Statement (1515 GMT). In his meeting with the family of the imprisoned journalist Ali Malihi, Mehdi Karroubi focused on the Government's loss of legitimacy because of transgressions and abuses: “They have not yet resolved the cases of Kahrizak Prison and the sexual abuses; the ambiguities surrounding that case still exist and they are increasing." Karroubi continued:
Lack of trust it at its lowest point ever, and the regime’s behaviour is such that an unprecedented crack has emerged between the people and the state. I swear to God we never thought country’s fate would turn out to be this way ... The people are moving in one direction and the state in another

1840 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Arsalan Abadi, an engineering student at Qazvin International University, has been sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

1830 GMT: Mousavi's Latest. Mir Hossein Mousavi, speaking with Rah-e-Sabz, has emphasised that the Green Movement is a peace movement", supporting the Iranian people's demands for fulfillment of the Constitution.

Mousavi criticised the lack of independence in Iran's judiciary, said that reform depends on a free media, and noted the torture of and forced confessions from detainees.

1740 GMT: The Executions. A reader points us to Fars News' article with further details of the "case of the five terrorists", found guilty of bombing of centres of government and the people of Iranian cities.

1515 GMT: Is Human Life This Cheap? Mehdi Karroubi, visiting the family of a detained journalist, has asked, "Is human life so cheap that one can take it so easily, without the slightest legal consideration and hidden from the public?" He continued, ""When human life becomes so cheap that they [the authorities] open fire on people on the street only because of some civil protest, then such behaviour is not so much out of the norm."

Asked about a statement by Gholam-Hossein Elham, a member of the Guardian Council, that Mir Hossein Mousavi is pursuing "mohareb" (war against God), Karroubi replied: "We should cry for Islam that Elham and his disciples have become its spokesmen. "

1320 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has declared that those who have to be purified are "those who stand against the law, people and religion, not me".

1315 GMT: Executions. Muhammad Sahimi has a long article in Tehran Bureau, "Capital Punishment, Capital Fear", pulling together the strands of information on Sunday's executions and their aftermath.

1300 GMT: Diversion. Amidst the internal tension and developments, today's Presidential distraction....
"You should know that your resolutions are not worth a penny," Ahmadinejad said in a message to the big powers.

"If you think that by making fuss and propaganda you can force us to withdraw, you are wrong. The Iranian nation will not withdraw even one inch from its stance," he said in a speech to a crowd in southwestern Iran.

1230 GMT: The Family of the Executed. Fereshteh Ghazi updates on alleged regime harassment of the family of Shirin Alamhouli, executed on Sunday (see 1130 GMT). Alamhouli's sister and mother are reportedly out on bail, but Ghazi says her grandfather, uncle, and cousin have now been arrested and are held in the Ministry of Intelligence. The family's phone has been disconnected since yesterday., the house is surrounded, and a curfew is in place.

1215 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Fereshteh Ghazi has a full account of Sunday's trial of Mohammad Davari, the imprisoned editor of Mehdi Karroubi's Saham News, with Davari's statement, “They want to sacrifice someone over the issue of raping detainees, and didn’t find anyone better than me.”

Davari was arrested on 26 September when the headquarters of Karroubi's Etemade Melli party were raided, less than two months after Karroubi publicly raised allegations of abuse and rape of post-election detainees. The Official charges against Davari include “disseminating propaganda against the regime" and "conspiracy to disrupt national security and public order".

Davari's lawyer, Mina Jafari said that her client, who is reportedly in poor health, is under pressure to confess against Mehdi Karroubi but has refused to do so.

According to Jafari, Davari said at his trial on Sunday, "In the past 8 months in prison, I judged my own actions more than you judged them, and I concluded that I didn’t do anything to discredit the regime. In fact, all of my actions added to the regime’s credibility.” The lawyer asked Karroubi to intervene to seek Davari's freedom.

1130 GMT: The Executions. Nazila Fathi of The New York Times follows up this morning on her reporting of Sunday's executions of five Iranians.

The centrepiece is an interview with Khalil Bahramian, lawyer for the three of the five slain prisoners. Bahramian said that authorities are refusing to release the bodies and asserted, in line with reports from the family, that the sister and mother of the executed Shirin Alamhouli, were arrested at their home in northwestern Iran. (They were later reportedly released on bail.) He also said the family was not aware of the execution until Monday afternoon.

Bahramian noted, “They [the authorities] even turned down my request to allow the families to be present while they are burying them [the executed].”

Fathi also draws from Rah-e-Sabz to report that Abdoljabar Karami, member of Parliament for Sanandaj, the capital of Iranian Kurdistan, was threatened by the provincial governor when he tried to stop the executions and was unable to secure the release of the bodies.

1025 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Peyke Iran claims that Hossein Rassayian, physics professor at Qazvin International University and a Mir Hossein Mousavi supporter, has been arrested.

1020 GMT: The Executions. Human Rights Activists News Agency claims that authorities are trying to arrest members of the family of Farzad Kamangar, one of the 5 Iranians put to death on Sunday.

1010 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Rah-e-Sabz offers a round-up amidst summons of bailed protesters to return to the courts. Zahra Jabbari has been acquitted of "mohareb" (war against God), but human rights activist Abolfazl Abedini has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Emaduddin Baghi, Badressadat Mofidi, and other journalists are seriously ill and need medication.

Baghi's lawyer, Hassan Ali Abutalebi has contrasted the treatment of his client with that of Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmardari, acquitted of all charges of libel earlier this week.

0945 GMT: President Be Gone? Ezzatollah Sahabi, former minister and member of Parliament, editor of the banned journal Iran-e Farda, and leader of Iran’s Nationalist-Religious political alliance, makes the declaration --- published in both Rah-e-Sabz and Khabar Online --- that the dismissal of President Ahmadinejad is necessary to preserve Iran and the Islamic Republic.

Reformist member of Parliament Darius Ghanbari has said that the prolongation of Ahmadinejad's presidency "is a joke" and the characteristic of his government is that "it doesn't tolerate critique".

0825 GMT: Dealing with Detainees. Writing in The National, Michael Theodoulou draws from our analysis to assess that the three detained US hikers, and the Iranian decision to allow their mothers to see them, are linked to Tehran's manoeuvres with the US over Iran's nuclear programme: "Hikers Seen as Bargaining Chips".

0815 GMT: On the International Front. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has returned from Turkey and the meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference with the declaration that a Qods Committee on Palestine will be established and assertion of agood relationship with Turkey, but with not a word on uranium enrichment.

Following a pattern, President Ahmadinejad has used a speech to look away from internal matters, asking, "Who is Israel to stand against us?" and declaring, "No one will attack us, there is nobody."

0530 GMT: Responding to the Defence of the Indefencible. I had not posted my response to the latest column of Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, using an attack on Nazila Fathi of The New York Times to maintain "official justifications" of Sunday's executions, as I did not wish to offer any oxygen for their views. Instead I had commented in a personal capacity on other websites and in discussion with members of Gulf 2000.

I have asked by readers, however, to post my response:
In the spirit of the intellectual honesty that the Leveretts claim, I note that they --- in the guise of an attack on Nazila Fathi's journalistic honesty --- have defended the "official justifications" of Iranian state media over Sunday's execution of 5 Iranians, denying any substantiated claims of the deprivation of human rights.

I therefore offer extracts of and links to only a few of many pieces of evidence for consideration:

"Khalil Bahramian, Kamangar’s lawyer, said: 'Nothing in Kamangar’s judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him.'

Bahramian, who was present during the closed-door court hearing, described it as 'lasting no more than five minutes, with the Judge issuing his sentence without any explanation and then promptly leaving the room'. He added, I have seen absolutely zero evidence presented against Kamangar. In my forty years of legal profession, I have never witnessed such a prosecution.'"

2. "Khalil Bahramian, Kamangar’s attorney, in an interview before knowing about the execution said: 'Mr. Kamangar and his interrogator told me that there are changes in the case and under review by the prosecutor and execution is out of the question. I inquired more than ten times and they told me the case is under review. But the intelligence officer had told Farzad that execution had been revoked.' Later being notified of the execution after the fact, Bahramian said in an interview: 'The rules call for notification of the lawyers on carrying out the death penalty. In case of two of my clients, Farzad Kamangar and Mehdi Eslamian, I was not notified at all.'"

3. "Mehdi Islamian's brother was executed last year, convicted of cooperation with the Monarchist Group. Mehdi was convicted of giving financial aid to his brother before his arrest."

4. The last letter of Farzad Kamangar before his execution

5. The last letter of Shirin Alamhouli before her execution

In the spirit of intellectual honesty, and more importantly in the spirit of respect for human rights, I ask the Leveretts to set aside their diversionary attack on Nazila Fathi and to provide evidence, beyond the official account of Fars News and the Islamic Republic News Agency, that due process was followed from arrest to execution in the case of these five Iranians.

(The Leveretts have subsequently replied on Gulf 2000 --- the first time they have ever engaged with my comments --- without providing any evidence on the case, and I have responded.)

0425 GMT: Culture Corner. Golnaz Esfandiari of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports on "Banned Music Banned":
Rasul Abbasi, the director-general for transportation and traffic coordination of Iran's municipalities, has told the Borna news agency that taxi drivers are not allowed to play banned music in their taxis.

Abbasi said that if they did so, they would be dealt with according to the law, which could lead to the cancellation of their taxi permit and confiscation of their cars.

The Iranian official added that the law in this regard has not been implemented for the past few years. He called on the managers of organizations supervising taxis in Iran to oversee the performance of their drivers.

Moshtaq, a taxi driver in Tehran, commented on the announcement:
It is one of the most important human rights for one to be able to choose what he listens to and no one has the authority to determine that. What would one want to listen to in his free time, for instance, whether banned or not. Who is the one to actually decide what should be banned and what should not? On what basis is this determined?

0420 GMT: While looking for further signs of the political fallout from Sunday's executions of five Iranians, we post an update on the latest developments.