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News From Iran
It’s damned near impossible to get any. Josh, aka NiteOwl has been producing The Green Brief for about a month. This is the best source of gathered sources which are verified as well as they can be, under the circumstances. Some of these things he reports I can somewhat verify, in that I have seen the same reports from very trusted sources. An extremely small set of sources. Josh is more connected to the #iranelection than I am. I trust him to be as accurate as is possible.
The following is from trusted reports from inside Iran and describes events of July 20th, 2009.
The Green Brief #34 (July 20)
I’m NiteOwl AKA Josh Shahryar – twitter.com/iran_translator on twitter. I’m a journalist and a human rights activist and NOT Iranian. This is a compilation of news from Iran that I’ve gathered through twitter and Iranian sites that were advertised on twitter. Remember, this is all from tweets. (My work is released under Creative Commons (CC).)
These are the important happenings that I can positively confirm from Monday, July 20 .
In German: http://iran-info-dienst.blogspot.com/
In Hebrew: http://bit.ly/Ocwdk
Protests / Unrest
1. Mir Hossein Mousavi has endorsed his protesters’ tactic of causing massive black-outs. The Iranian Government has equated the tactic to sabotage, but protesters have used it as a non-violent means to defy the government.
2. Neda Aga-Soltan’s family will be congregating at her grave site on the 40th day after her death on July 30, 2009 (the 40th day after a person’s death is traditionally the most essential day of mourning for Muslims). No prior announcements will be made – however, the family said they will welcome anyone who may want to partake in Neda’s bereavement.
3. There are calls for demonstrations tomorrow to commemorate the deaths of protesters killed on June 20th. It has not been confirmed whether or not it has the backing of any opposition leaders.
4. Italian fashion designer, Guillermo Mariotto, wore a shirt that said “Neda Alive” (in green writing) during Haute Couture. All the models presenting his newest creations also wore green wristbands in solidarity with the Green Movement in Iran. Video:
5. Archbishop Bishop Desmund Tutu – a Nobel Peace Prize winner and South African human rights activist – has announced that he too will be joining the Global Day of Action in support of the Green Movement. Other prominent Iranian and international personalities including Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams, Betty Williams, Mairead Maguire, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Dariush, and Simin Behbahani. Details on the event can be found here: http://united4iran.org/
6. Noam Chomsky – an eminent American philosopher, linguist, author and lecturer who is 81 years old – has announced that he will partake in the hunger strike in support of the Green Movement in New York. The hunger strike is reportedly being held from July 22-25, and will encompass many important Iranian and international figures.
7. The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, Sayed Hassan Khomeini, has reportedly left the country. Reports indicate he left the country after being pressured by the government to attend Ahmadinejad’s Inauguration Ceremony – in order to provide the government with much needed legitimacy.
8. Mousavi had a meeting with families of detainees today, where he made several statements:
• He announced that the Green Movement was a peaceful movement, BUT that it was ready to make sacrifices should the need arise.
• He asked the government to ensure freedom of speech. He claimed that it would foster a calm environment in the country – a much better alternative to the current atmosphere of fear created by the extensive use of security forces.
• He stated “The Iranian Nation had matured and that the use of pre-1979 tactics wouldn’t be enough to silence it,” and “The Nation had been reborn and was going to defend its achievements.” He condemned the on-going arrests in the country and called it a “National issue – one that would not solve the government’s problems.”
• He called it “An insult to the Iranian Nation to suggest that foreigners had orchestrated the post-election protests in Iran.” He also criticized the government for defending the arrests of peaceful protesters and called it unjust and cruel.
• He added that, “NO ONE in the international community was going to believe the lies the government was spreading with forced confessions from detainees.” Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatami have been holding regular meetings with the families of detainees during the past three weeks.
9. Supporters of Mousavi in Eastern Azerbaijan Province held a meeting Sunday night and released a statement in support of Mousavi. Hundreds of prominent members of society including politicians, human rights activists and university professors attended the meeting.
10. Press TV quoted Mousavi as saying that he had “spent nearly $3.5 million US dollars on his campaign,” and that “Mahdi Karroubi had spent roughly the same amount.”
In a rare break from the government, Press TV’s printed:
“According to Mousavi, Iran needs what he called a ‘free media’ to reverse the growing ‘appeal of foreign media’ which he claimed is a side effect of the ‘lack of press freedoms’ and the national broadcaster’s ‘mistaken approach.”
The report also accused protesters of turning to violence and claimed that the Guardian Council had authenticated the elections after ‘launching an extensive probe’ of examining the complaints from the defeated candidates.
Government / International
11. Ali Motaherri – a representative of Tehran in the Iranian Parliament – criticized Ayatollah Yazdi’s statements that questioned Rafsanjani’s sermon on Friday. Motaherri said, “A regime’s legitimacy was only guaranteed by people’s support.”
12. Khamenei issued harsh words today to ‘Iran’s Elite.’ He said, “The Elite should watch their words and actions carefully, because they are facing a test.” He added, “Failing the test would mean that not only would they lose their positions within the regime, but also lose their credibility and become pariahs.” Although no names were mentioned, many say his speech was directed at Rafsanjani – for creating insecurity and disorder in the country. Khamenei declared, “The Iranian Nation would hate anyone who participated in such actions.” He called the “creation of violence the biggest sin.”
13. President-Select Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office has asked people who want to help the country to come forward and offer their services. According to his office, the government was looking for people to help the president’s administration at different levels and that a committee will soon be formed to recruit such people.
Arrested / Released / Killed
14. Partially-confirmed reports from Evin Prison indicate that one protester was tortured for days in order to extort a confession. After all torture tactics failed, a doctor was brought in to examine the detainee who was found to be deaf and mute. He was later released. Other reports from Evin Prison suggest a new torture tactic: hanging detainees’ upside-down for hours, and sometimes the entire day.
15. Mohammad Kamrani’s body was laid to rest today at Beheshte Zahra Cemetery. He was one of the protesters who was detained and tortured severely. He was transferred to Tehran’s Mehr Hospital unconscious and shackled. He never regained consciousness, and later died.
16. It is now confirmed that Hamid and Puran Ebrahimnezhad – who have been in detention since their arrest – were in fact arrested on July 7, 2009. They were reportedly beaten while being hauled away.
17. On a positive note, detained political activist Mehdi Khazali has been released from Evin Prison. In a statement released today, families of political prisoners asked the government, yet again, to “promptly release all prisoners and stop the violent repression of the populace at the hands of security forces.” Their statement also thanked Rafsanjani for taking a bold stand against the continued detention of political prisoners and peaceful protesters.
(I am compiling a report on torture and rape of detainees in Iran during the post-election violence. Should be released tonight or tomorrow)
18. A leading Iranian Cleric – Hojatoleslam Seyed Mehdi Tabatabai – criticized Ahmadinejad’s statements (against his opponents right after the election) in a televised interview on IRIB. He said, “Ahmadinejad should have immediately called for dialogue with his opponents and should NOT have subjected them to ridicule.” He added, “The post-election violence was caused by hostility stemming from the blatant ridicule.” It should be noted that this is one of the very FEW instances where Iranian media has allowed criticism of Ahmadinejad to be broadcasted on IRIB.
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****A hearty thanks to Sahar joon for helping me out with proof-reading and very valuable tips. Also, a BIG THANKS to all the translators who’re spending their precious time on getting this to as many people as possible.
Read this if you want to help or get help!
A. You can retweet this link and help others know what is going on in Iran.
B. ****Discuss/Annotate: http://aic.openmsl.net/wiki/index.php/Green_Brief_34
B. The government in Iran is still increasing internet filtering and throttling in an attempt to silence their people. Anonymous info shows that many in Iran are looking for proxy and Tor information in Tehran and all around the country. Please donate your bandwidth to help bring down the Iran Curtain. Here are links on how to help and get help on this:
Original NiteOwl Greenbrief at WhyWeProtest.net