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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 over 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 21st, 2009.
The Green Brief #35 (July 21)
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 Tuesday, July 21 . (Apologies for being late today, I babysit on Monday’s and Tuesday and the baby demanded extra attention today.)
In German: http://iran-info-dienst.blogspot.com/
In Italian: http://tinyurl.com/ngyj5p
Protests / Unrest
1. Thousands of people gathered in and around Tehran to commemorate the deaths of several protesters who died a month ago. It was also the anniversary of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh’s uprising against the former Shah more than half a century ago. The protest today was set forth by the people – it did not have the backing of any of the reformist leaders.
2. Hordes of protesters made their way to 7 Tir Square in Tehran chanting anti-government slogans. Protesters were wearing green armbands and headbands. Crowds gathered at Vanak Square, Valiasr Square, and adjoining areas.
3. The number of women outnumbered the number of men in some areas.
Although exact numbers are hard to obtain, most sources estimate the number of protesters to be around 15,000. Today’s slogans included praise for former President Mohammad Mossadegh – who was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA in 1953.
4. Thousands of security forces armed with guns, batons and tear gas gathered in many parts of the city. Their presence was mostly jam-packed at 7 Tir Square. Many partially-confirmed reports indicate that several foreigners were spotted among the ranks of the security forces gathered at 7 Tir Square.
5. Police clashed with protesters as the crowd continued to swell – using brutal force to disperse them. Helicopters flew above Central Tehran. IRIB personnel were again positioned on high-rise buildings to take photographs and videos of protesters – to later be used by security forces. Police had also surrounded the IRIB building for protection against protesters. Protesters walked past IRIB with no clashes reported.
6. Women again took the brunt of the beatings as they were not fast enough to escape the attacks from security forces. Many were viciously beaten with batons. The use of tear gas was confirmed – especially at 7 Tir Square. Most of the shops around the city were already closed – protesters had nowhere to take refuge this time. Clashes were also reported from Baharestan Square. Although it has been confirmed that shots were heard from several areas in Tehran, no deaths could be confirmed. No confirmation of protesters suffering from gunshot wounds, either.
7. On a lighter note, many eyewitness accounts reported that some security forces would stop running after protesters and start cursing their superiors. Many complained of fatigue and were seen panting and telling protesters, “To just go and leave us alone.”
8. Reports confirm protests in Oroumieh and Shiraz. There have been accounts of small protests in Tabriz – but none have been confirmed. Cell phone service was cut-off throughout Central Tehran.
9. In Oroumieh, hundreds of people marched peacefully but were attacked by security forces trying to disperse them. Partially-confirmed reports indicate that shots were fired at protesters. No casualties can be confirmed at this point.
10. Hundreds of people marched through Chamran Blvd and Saadi Street in Shiraz, before being attacked by security forces. Protesters were beaten severely with batons. The security presence was so overwhelming, that many claim there were more security forces than protesters. People chanted, “We want goat meat – NOT a goat president!”
11. The citizens of Iran again used electrical blackouts as a means to show their discontent. It was reported that many parts of Tehran, as well as some parts of Karaj and Qazvin experienced blackouts. Reports emerged indicating that Iranian TV did not even display the correct time as a means of confusing people who wanted to synchronize their overuse of electricity.
12. Two original members of the 1999 student protests in Tehran – Ahmad Tabatabie and Hasan Zareh Ardsher – have announced their participation in the upcoming “hunger strike” in front of the UN building in New York. Academy Award-winning actor Sean Penn has also announced his support for the hunger strike. The hunger strike will be held July 22 – 25th.
13. Seventy-two former political prisoners from Iran have announced that they will hold a hunger strike in Berlin to show their solidarity with the Iranian people. The hunger strike will take place July 24th and 25th.
14. Mahdi Karroubi’s supporters are planning a protest that will be held on August 2nd – the same day as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Presidential Inauguration. The location has not been disclosed at this point.
15. Sayed Mohammad Khatami met with families of two political prisoners, Hossein Tajik and Hamza Ghaleb, last night. They both work for Mousavi’s campaign. Rafsanjani’s website published a page from his memoirs that talked about his days of fighting against the Shah during the Revolution. The page outlines that every generation faces challenges and that fear was never going to stop generations from fighting for their rights. Many are interpreting this as a direct message to Khamenei.
16. Former Minister of Health, Iraj Fazel, has criticized the government’s clamp- down on peaceful protesters and asked for an immediate halt to the violence. He stated, “People of Iran did not revolt against the Shah so that the blood of our youth could be spilled by the revolution.”
17. After yesterday’s gathering of reformists in Eastern Azerbaijan Province, reformists in Fars Province held a meeting in Shiraz today. They declared their support for Mousavi and called for the annulment of the elections.
Government / International
18. The infighting within the Iranian Government over Ahmadinejad’s appointment of Asfandyar Rahim Mashaie as one of his Vice Presidents continues. Reports today suggest that Ahmadinejad continues to support his selection. One of his aides, Mojtaba Samara Hashemi, was quoted today as saying, “Ahmadinejad will not reconsider the appointment; it is final.”
19. Ahmadinejad’s continued support for Mashaie was “checked” today by Khamenei. Sayed Mohammad Hassan Abotorabifard informed the ISNA (Iranian Student’s News Agency) that Khamenei, the majority of Members of Parliament, and the Iranian people wanted Mashaie to either resign his position or for Ahmadinejad to take back his appointment. Abotorabifard, an MP from Qazvin, stated that Khamenei had sent an official letter to Ahmadinejad opposing the appointment of Mashaie.
20. In an ironic twist to his claim of “good governance,” Ahmadinejad appointed his son-in-law, Mehdi Khorshidi, as Director of the Presidential Secretary, and the husband of Ahmadinejad’s sister-in-law, as the head of Iran’s largest youth organization.
21. The Iran’s Chief of Police, Esmail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, accused the opposition of “inciting sedition” and announced that the, “Iranian police will crush anyone who creates tensions in Iran.” The Iranian Judiciary announced that it was NOT going to enact a statute that lawyers claimed “restricted their freedom to practice their profession.”
22. Russia’s Foreign Minister stated, “Only a small number of people in Iran were chanting against Russia during protest.” Meanwhile, Iran’s Ambassador to Russia, declared, “Russian planes were far more secure in terms of flight-safety than the Airbus.”
23. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), gave a speech in the US House of Representatives today. McCotter criticized the Iranian government and talked about Taraneh Mousavi’s rape and murder. Here’s a video link to his speech: YouTube – McCotter on Iran’s Khamenei: Your Referendum Has Been Held and You Have Failed Your Test
Arrested / Released / Killed
24. Reports suggest that as many as thirty people were arrested during protests today. No deaths could be confirmed.
25. Mohammad Ali Dadkhah -an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist who was detained after the protests – has been charged with possession of illegal firearms and opium. Mohammad Ali Abtahi has also been charged with possession of illegal weapons. One Iranian blogger has managed to obtain pictures of the ‘weapons’ discovered in Abtahi’s house (LOL): تصاوير سلاحهاي كشف شده در منزل محمدعلي ابطحي � اولين وبلاگ مستقل پس از صدر اسلام
26. It has now been confirmed that Shapur Kazemi – the brother-in-law of Mir Hossein Mousavi – has been in detention for more than a month now. Reports also indicate that during the past few days, at least six prominent reformists have been arrested in Mahabad.
27. The editor for Keyhan Daily Newspaper’s dismissed Khatami’s call for a “referendum” and called it akin to proposals by Michael Ledeen – from the American Enterprise Institute who in 2003 pressed for a military overthrow of Iran’s regime. Press TV’s Javad Shamaqdari today said that the IRIB should give Ahamdinejad more airtime.
28. Paula Slater has sculpted a detailed portrait bust of Neda Aga-Soltan which will be presented at a rally to support Iran on July 25th. The rally will take place in front of San Francisco City Hall. A picture of the sculpture: Death of Neda
29. The Piazzale Michelangelo – one of Florence’s main squares – went green today in support of the Green Movement. Video:
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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.
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Original NiteOwl Greenbrief at WhyWeProtest.net