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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 23rd, 2009.
The Green Brief #37 (July 23)
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 Thursday, July 23 .
In German: http://tinyurl.com/ld63l5
In Hebrew: http://tinyurl.com/mnyuvq
In Italian: http://tinyurl.com/ktc5bo
In Russian: http://tinyurl.com/ljbs3j
Protests / Unrest
1. Dozens of Iranian-Armenians and Iranians protested in front of Caspian Airline’s office in Tehran today. A journalist covering the protests was arrested, but later freed. The protesters demanded to know why a Caspian Airline’s flight from Tehran to Yerevan, Armenia crashed near Qazvin more than a week ago. Security forces dispersed the protesters. Iranian Government Officials have said that it will take another 2 months to complete their investigation.
2. The hunger strike in front of the UN building in New York continued today, despite the pouring rain. Protesters sang songs from the revolution of 1979 and demanded that Iranian rights be safeguarded. Protesters declared their opposition to any military action against Iran. See pictures below – compliments of Mehdi Saharkhiz: onlymehdi, People singing so many ppl even in the rain
3. The citizens of Tehran have planned a protest for this Saturday. Details of the protest will be provided after it has transpired. People continued to chant “Allah-o-Akbar” last night in Tehran. Others walked the streets chanting “Death to the Dictator,” and “Allah-o-Akbar.”
4. In a statement released today, Mousavi said, “We will not stop until the last detainee has been released by the government.” Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, stated, “The government can fabricate as many lies as it wants to, but the people of Iran will never believe any of the allegations against my detained brother.” She added, “My brother is only one amongst many other Iranian brothers and sisters who have been imprisoned – this is why I have not given his name to the media.” Lastly, she indicated that she will fight for her brother’s freedom.
5. Hossein Khomeini – a grandson of Imam Khomeini – has told the BBC in an interview that an Islamic Government had no legal basis in Islam unless the prophet or one of the 12 Imams was leading it. Hence, hinting that the current regime had no legal basis in Islam.
He also added that the current constitution and government could not be changed until a post for a spiritual leader as the country’s Supreme Leader existed, adding that spiritual leadership was for the prophet and the 12 Imams – 11 of which are dead and one is believed to be in hiding for more than a millennium. He condemned the government’s killing of peaceful protesters and of the indiscriminate arrests.
Government / International
6. It has been confirmed that Mohammad Yazdi – Secretary of the Assembly of Experts – has written a letter condemning Rafsanjani’s speech during Friday Prayers. Yazdi has asked him to revoke his stance. Although the letter is being circulated in the name of the entire Assembly, reports indicate that only a quarter of the members have signed it – another quarter has declined to do so.
7. IRIB has published Ahmadinejad’s letters of appointment for several of his new staff members. The list includes:
1: Asfandyar Rahim Mashaie as 1st Vice President
2: Mehrdad Bazrpash as Director of the National Youth Organization
3: Parvez Davoodi as 1st Advisor to the President
4: Sayed Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi as 1st Assistant to the President
5: Ali Akbar Salehi as Director of the National Atomic Energy Agency
6: Mohammad Javad Hajali Akbari as Presidential Advisor on Youth Affairs
7: Masood Zaribafan as Director of Martyrs Foundation and Veterans Affairs
8: Hamid Baghaie as Director of the Office of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts
8. The Minister of Communication announced that SMS services will be reactivated step-by-step. SMS services have been essentially suspended in Iran for more than a month. Protesters were thought to rely on SMS services for coordinating their protests.
9. Ahmad Khatami – a member of the Assembly of Experts Leadership Council and hard-line cleric – announced today that, “Ahmadinejad will prove his loyalty to Khamenei by quickly removing Mashaie from his post as VP.” Khamenei has already shown his express desire for Mashaie’s removal.
10. In a statement released today, Ayatollah Dastegheyb yet again praised Rafsanjani’s Friday Sermon and asked the government to listen to Mousavi, Karroubi and Rezaie’s demands. He called for unity among Iranians. He added, “Foreigners are never going to be Iran’s friend- unity among Iranians is the only solution to Iran’s problems.”
11. On the other spectrum, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Gharshi also released a written statement that was sent to government officials and opposition leaders criticizing Rafsanjani’s Friday Sermon. Gharshi – who is a representative for Western Azerbaijan Province in the Assembly of Experts (which Rafsanjani heads) – told Rafsanjani, “It caused me much pain and distress to see that you were unable to keep yourself away from the turmoil on the streets.” He asked Rafsanjani to stop before his “achievements and bright past” go to waste.
12. Ayatollah Abolghasem Khazali has also criticized Rafsanjani’s Sermon and said that the elections had been a marvelous event. He hinted that prisoners should not be released because they had been implicated in violence. It is worth mentioning that Ayatollah Khazali’s son was detained during the protests and has now been freed on bail.
13. In an interview with the BBC, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The internal debates going on inside Iran have made it difficult, if not impossible, for them to pursue any diplomatic engagement, not just with us but anyone, like the P5+1 [permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany]. There is so much that is on hold.”
14. Sweden – which heads the rotating presidency of the EU for six months – has asked the Iranian Government to promptly release Clotilde Reiss, a French citizen who has been imprisoned at Evin Prison for weeks.
Arrested / Released / Killed
15. Saeed Shojaiezadeh and Khosro Mousvivand – students at Ahvaz’s Naft University – were detained yesterday. The father of martyred protester, Masood Hashemzadeh has been detained from his house by plainclothesmen. His house was searched and many items belonging to Masood were confiscated. Masood died during protests on June 21st on Shademan Ave, north of Azadi Street.
16. More people have been detained during the past few days including: Ahmad Bahri – the founder of Mahabad Monthly who was arrested in Mahabad, Jafar Agha-Mohammadi – an activist from Maghan who was arrested in Maghan. Ramin Sultankhwah, Saeed Kashani, Zafar Mogheemi, Saeed Shamsaie and Abbas Zareh-Haqeeqi were arrested in Gonabad.
17. More reports indicate that missing protester, Alireza Eftekhari, was actually killed during protests. Mohsen Rohulamini – the son of the former Director of Pasteur Institute in Tehran – who was feared to be in detention, has now also been confirmed to have died during the protests. Fahimeh Solahshoor – another protester – is confirmed to have died at a hospital after sustaining head injuries during protests on June 14th. Finally, Maisam Ebadi – a 17 year old protester – has also been confirmed to have died on June 13th.
18. The son of Isa Saharkhiz, Mehdi Saharkhiz, has reported that his father called home from Evin Prison. According to Mehdi, his father is currently being held in solitary confinement. Mehdi said that his father reported of having several broken ribs. He did not reveal if he had been tortured or not.
19. Partially-confirmed reports indicate that many detainees are now being held in a building that was previously used as a drug rehabilitation center in Shorabad (close to Beheshte Zahra Cemetery in Tehran). According to the reports, Evin Prison is now full to capacity and only important prisoners are being kept there. The rest of the “street protesters” are being moved to temporary holding spots.
20. It has been confirmed that Khamenei has plans to pardon and/or reduce the sentences of many detainees in order to foster reconciliation.
21. The mothers of Sohrab A’rabi and Ashkan Sohrabi went to meet Neda Agha-Soltan’s mother today. Many other feminists and women’s rights activists accompanied them.
22. An Iranian photographer, Ali Zareh, who was detained and released after 40 hours in detention by the security forces has released a Youtube video chronicling his arrest, detention and torture. In the video, Zareh confirms that two of the men responsible for his arrests were Lebanese. The Green Brief has repeatedly confirmed the presence of foreigners amongst the ranks of Iranian Security Forces. This is the first solid confirmation. Here’s a link to the video: YouTube – Ali Zare, photographer, talks about his detention in Iran
23. Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi today criticized IRIB for using what he called ‘aggressive’ and ‘unfriendly’ language against the opposition and asked for compassion and friendship.
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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!
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Original NiteOwl Greenbrief at WhyWeProtest.net