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News From Iran
Josh, aka NiteOwl has been producing The Green Brief, the best source of gathered sources which are verified as well as they can be, under the circumstances. Nearly all of this information is gathered via twitter sources from inside Iran. 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.
I can’t stress how much I appreciate Josh and his small team for the work they’re putting into all this. As an American, it might seem strange that I would care at all. I can only stress that we are all brothers, sisters, and cousins on this world.
I don’t really care about “spreading democracy” to the world. What I do care about is that each nation of us is able to choose the government we want, to choose our lives as we see fit. The revolution was supposed to guarantee that right to my Iranian friends, but as we see now, that revolution was co-opted by some assholes.
Those assholes are not Muslim, any more than assholes here are Christian. They are Assholes, and would be such in any land, any language, any nation, any religion. Assholes must not be allowed to rule.
The following is from trusted reports from inside Iran and describes events of August 1st, 2009 and includes a Report on the Trial of the Reformists at the end..
The Green Brief #46 (August 1 – Mordad 11)
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 Saturday, August 1 – Mordad 11.
The Report on the Trial of Reformists is at the end of the Brief
Protests / Unrest
1. A protest has been planned for today at 11 AM Tehran time, in front of the Judiciary Chief Shahroodi’s office. The protest is being held against the trial, by the Iranian government, of around 100 reformist leaders, political prisoners and journalists. The families of the detainees have released statements asking for the people of Iran, to stand by them, in this time of need.
2. Protests are also planned for August 3 – the day of Ahmadinejad’s official appointment by Khamenei, as Iran’s president, August 5 – the day of Ahmadinejad’s inauguration – and August 7 – Imam Mahdi’s birthday celebration.
3. A group of students from Tehran’s San’ati Sharif University, held a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of protesters during the violent crackdown by government forces.
4. People are planning to overload electricity during the times when IRIB will be broadcasting the ‘confessions’ of the detained reformists.
5. There were reports of an extremely loud explosion in the southwestern city of Ahvaz today. The cause could not be confirmed.
6. People again climbed on their roofs and chanted Allah o Akbar, continuing their nightly ritual. Tonight, chants of “Free Political Prisoners!” could also be heard.
7. A new petition in support of Human Rights has been created. 28,000+ have already signed it. (Including me)
Here’s the link if you want to join the petitioners: http://bit.ly/DRrQa
8. In an interview with GhalamNews today, Mousavi said that the Sea of Green had no contact with foreign elements. He also denounced propaganda aimed at connecting the Sea of Green with foreign countries. He said the Sea of Green was a public uprising, aimed at getting their deserved rights, guaranteed to them by the constitution. Mousavi added that people’s demands were within the framework of the Islamic Republic’s constitution and laws.
9. Conservative MP Emaad Afroogh said today, he was curious as to how the government intended to prove that a ‘Velvet Revolution’ was being planned. He added that calling people’s legitimate demands a ‘Velvet Revolution’ was an insult to the Iranian people and anyone propagating such insults should be prosecuted.
10. Hashemi Rafsanjani’s office today dismissed Mohammad Ali Abtahi’s ‘confession’ which implicated him in the ‘Velvet Revolution’. According to the office, Rafsanjani had not made a pact with Karroubi, Khatami and Mousavi that he would not support them in any ‘revolution’. They further asserted that Rafsanjani had, at no point, been involved with the protests and had not declared his support for any candidate during the elections.
10. Khamenei’s brother Hadi Khamenei, today criticized the government’s actions in the post-election violence. He said the cases of detention centers that have been closed, because of the inhumane conduct with detainees, needs to be investigated and the people involved violating human rights should be prosecuted. In a meeting with freed prisoners, Hadi Khamenei – who is a member of the Imam’s Way faction of parliament – said that the Guardian Council had erred in supporting a specific candidate and that the killing of peaceful protesters must end.
12. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Rafsanjani has moved out of Tehran to a safer area close to the city. This has been reportedly done to ensure his safety.
13. Members of the Imam’s Way faction of MPs will be holding a meeting with Mahdi Karroubi tomorrow.
Arrested / Released / Killed
14. It has now been confirmed 3 American hikers, have been arrested by Iranian border guards, after they mistakenly entered Iranian territory while hiking in Northeastern Iran. The Iranian media ran the story saying that the hikers repeatedly ignored warnings by the guards. The US has asked the Swiss Embassy in Tehran – which carries out diplomatic ties on behalf of the US with Tehran – to intervene and secure the release of the hikers as soon as possible.
(This might not seem relevant to the Iran Elections – yet we all know that this COULD become ugly if Iran decides to use the hikers to blame the US of intervention in Iran.)
15. Behazad Mohajer is the latest protester whose death has been confirmed. His body, which was kept at Kahrizak’s morgue, was handed over to his family yesterday. He was 47.
16. One of Mousavi’s close aides, Alireza Beheshti – the son of Ayatollah Beheshti – has stated in an interview they have so far gathered the names of 1,700 detainees whose whereabouts are unknown.
17. Reports from Mashhad indicate that during the protests on Thursday, more than 30 people were arrested.
18. The Association for the Defense of Children’s Rights have sent a letter to Ayatollah Shahrodi – the head of Iran’s Judiciary – asking him to investigate the cases of underage detainees who were arrested in the post-election turmoil. The association has also shown a willingness to represent these children in court, if they were put on trial.
19. Keyhan Daily has published a report claiming evidence of Mousavi and Khatami’s betrayal of Iran has been gathered and will be published soon.
20. Press TV published an article today, citing government sources, saying that the Sea of Green was planning on planting bombs to create an atmosphere of unrest and violence in the country.
(Don’t worry, this is the least bit of shocking news you’ll get.)
Picture of the day (Front Page of Keyhan Daily): http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/b…g?t=1249226639
(The large red circle says: “Evidence of Mousavi’s Betrayal of Iran Exposed!” while the small red circle says: “Evidence of Inhuman Torture of Detainees by Americans in Bagram Prison [Afghanistan]).
Report on the Trial of Reformists
Today, the Iranian government put more than 100 detainees on trial, who according the government, were responsible amongst other things for sabotage, anti-government activity, subversion and the instigation of a ‘Velvet Revolution’ with help from foreign elements. Prominent reformists were among the detainees, including:
– Mohammad Ali Abtahi: A former Vice President of Iran and a close associate of former President Mohammad Khatami. He is a member of the central council of Association of Combatant Clerics (Majma’e Rowhaniyoon-e Mobarez).
– Mohsen Mirdamadi: Leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front.
– Behzad Nabavi: A former Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Iran and one of the founders of the reformist party Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization.
– Mohsen Aminzadeh: Deputy Foreign Minister under Khatami.
– Abdollah Ramezanzadeh: A former spokesman and secretary of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran under Muhammad Khatami.
– Mohammad Atrianfar: The head of the “Policymaking Council” of the daily newspaper Shargh, a member of the Executives of Construction Party, a senior political advisor to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former elected a member of the City Council of Tehran from 1999 to 2003 and the Vice Minister of Interior in Politics under Minister Abdollah Noori as well as a vice president in Defence Industries Organization of Iran and a former editor-in-chief of the newspaper Hamshahri.
Other detainees included prominent political activists, reporters and other important Iranian personalities. The presiding judge was Judge Salavati of the 15th circuit of the Revolutionary Courts (could not find his first name). The government had previously announced that only 20 people would be put on trial on similar charges. It is worth noting that the lawyers of many defendants were not present during the trial. Saleh Nikbakht, who’s been appointed by the families of Abtahi, Nabavi, Safaie Farahani and Aminzadeh to represent the defendants, later claimed he had not been allowed to be in court for the trial.
The government’s prosecutor quoted a ‘spy’ the government had apprehended and that could not be named because of ‘security’ reasons. According to the prosecutor, the spy had entered Iran recently. The prosecutor then continued to explain how the spy was involved in planning a ‘velvet revolution’. (I cannot confirm the name of the spy at this point as only one source has made a claim about his identity.)
The prosecutor then talked about ‘velvet revolutions’ that were held in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan. He named some prominent politicians, activists, feminists and reporters who had taken part in the planning and attempts at executing the said ‘revolution’.
Some of specific charges against the defendants were:
– Attacks on Military Installations with firearms and bombs.
– Attacks on government buildings and setting them on fire.
– Destruction of public and private property.
– Creating fear amongst the populace.
– Establishing contacts with militant organizations.
– Beating of ordinary citizens.
– Distributing leaflets against the government.
– Beating security forces.
The prosecutor also connected the defendants with George Soros – a billionaire who regularly helps fund ‘revolutions’ according to the prosecutor – and the US State Department. He said that the connection was established to coordinate the ‘revolution’.
It was claimed, during the initial trial, that some of the defendants had acknowledged the accuracy of the elections’ results and had denied that any fraud had taken place. Later, during ‘confessions’, Abtahi and Atrianfar declared that no fraud had taken place during the election. Abtahi also said that Rafsanjani, Khatami, Karroubi and Mousavi had made a pact to back each other up to discredit Ahmadinejad, in case he won the election.
He also went on to say that the ‘velvet revolution’ had agents who were to incite women, minorities, human rights activists, laborers, NGOs and students to take part. He blamed Shadi Sadr and Shirin Ebadi for inciting women. Nowsheen Hamadani Khorasani, an unknown individual, was also blamed for inciting women.
He further blamed, as being the ‘brains’ behind it, Hadi Qayemi – spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign in Iran – Mansoor Asanlo in charge of the Laborers wing, Sohrab Razaqi and Baqer Namazi of the NGOs wing and Abdul Kareem Sorosh.
Later, four of the defendants, Abtahi, Atrianfar, Tajbakhsh and Mazyar Bahari (an Iranian-Canadian journalist) faced the government media for questions. Some read their ‘confessions’.
Excerpt of Mohammad Ali Abtahi’s media ‘confession:
“After the election [Mohammad] Khatami and Rafsanjani had sworn to have each other’s back, and I don’t understand the point of it, knowing the difference [in votes between Ahmadienjad and Mousavi] was 11 million….Hashemi wanted to take revenge on Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader….
Mousavi probably did not know the country, but Khatami, with all due respect… knew all the issues. He was aware of the capability and power of the leader, but he joined Mousavi and this was a betrayal, …I see myself as a reformist but stated that Khatami did not have the right to force [this] on Mousavi. I did not agree with Ahmadinejad’s presidency but believe in people’s votes, and congratulated as people’s choice as the president.
It was wrong of me to take part in the rallies, but [Mehdi] Karroubi told me that we cannot call the people onto the streets with such a meager number of votes, so we had better go to the streets ourselves to demonstrate our protest.”
Abtahi’s full confession in Farsi:
The prosecutor also accused many defendants of participating in ‘terrorist’ activities against the state of Iran. He also accused them of being in touch with the MKO – a leftist Iranian paramilitary organization. He claimed they had been trained at Ashraf Camp in Iraq with American Forces. They had received logistic and financial support from America together with intelligence. Reza Khademi, Naser Abdolhosseini, Mohammad Noori, Hossein Shermohammadi, Azra Saadat Qazi, Naseh Fareedi, Amir Hossein Fotoohi, Mahdi Shirazi, Hassam Salamat, Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani, Ahmad Karimi and Hamed Rohinezhad were all accused of taking part in these ‘terrorist’ activities.
The only government reaction came from Tehran’s representative in the parliament, Hamid Rasayee, who said that the trial had paved the way for the government to prosecute the real leaders of the riot (this is only partially confirmed at this point).
“It is being said that the sons of revolution have confessed to planning to overthrow the Islamic Republic and the role of foreigners in this. I personally and carefully examined their words and did not find any truth to any of them… What we saw and you saw is nothing but an unskilled preparation for the start of the government’s term. They want a court that is fraudulent to find instances of fraud in the elections.”
He added that the defendants should know that people know the confessions were only made to save the lives of the defendants.
The IIPF released a statement which says, “The coup d’état led by the totalitarians has entered a new phase by the comedy show they have staged – disguised as a snazzy courtroom to put a number of the detainees on trial”.
Full Statement here: IIPF Statement – Why We Protest – IRAN
Abtahi’s wife said that Abtahi had been forced to take psychoactive medication, to break him down and to force him to say whatever he was told. Her statement was corroborated by Mohammad Reza Tabesh – a reformist member of parliament. He also condemned the trials as a sham. Abtahi’s wife called the trials inhumane and senseless.
Mohsen Mirdamadi’s wife said that family members of defendants were not allowed to talk to them, before or after the trial and they were taken away just as soon as the session was adjourned. She said that her family were not even allowed to be present during the trial.
Sayed Mohammad Khatami said the trials were against the constitution and that such acts were deeply endangering the regime.
Rafsanjani’s office dismissed allegations of Rafsanjani’s participation in any ‘velvet revolution’ and called all statements against Rafsanjani ludicrous.
Famous Iranian lawyer Mohammad Hossein Aghasi spoke to Voice of America from Iran and said that the trial could not be called one. He added that it was like ‘a theatre act’ staged by the government.
Reporters Without Borders released a statement calling the trial a joke and condemned it.
Reformist media outlets were completely barred from attending the trial and the only news coming out was through government-run media.
Fars News reported a statement attributed to Abtahi which was markedly different from what he actually said in court.
Keyhan News used the trial for its front page headline. It accused reformist leaders of attempting to hold a ‘velvet revolution’ and called the confessions proof of what had actually occurred.
For a compilation of videos related to the trial: Video Blog…
(Excerpts were also used from Enduring America and Fereshteh Ghazi’s report on the trial.)
*Discuss/Annotate: http://aic.openmsl.net/wiki/index.php/Green_Brief_46 ; Create it if it doesn’t exist.
**If you wanna republish the Green Brief, please visit this page: For Bloggers, News Sites and Forum who want to republish the Green Brief Plesae Read! – Why We Protest – IRAN
***For Radio Broadcasters: Green Brief Pronounciation Guide – Why We Protest – IRAN
****(A list of all the Green Briefs: http://ded1.hybrid-optix.com/greenbriefs.html
*****A hearty thanks to Sahar joon and S 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. 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 GreenBriefs at WhyWeProtest.net