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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 2nd, 2009.
The Green Brief #47 (August 2-3)
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 2 – Mordad 11. (Some reports are from August 3 as well)
Yesterday’s Report on the Trial of Reformists is at the end of this brief as well.
In German: http://tinyurl.com/nnlbla
Protests / Unrest
1. On August 2, there was a gathering of detainees’ families in front of Khamenei’s house. The number of people gathered was estimated at a few hundred.
2. The Sea of Green will be holding protests August 3 and plan on increasing power consumption at 9 PM. Chants of Allah o Akbar are continuing. (By the time this is out, protests will have already taken place.) On August 5 – the day of Ahmadinejad’s inauguration – there will more gatherings and protests. Locations cannot be disclosed at this time, as previous policy.
3. August 3, approximately a thousand people gathered in front of Judiciary Chief Shahroodi’s office. The protesters went to show their opposition to the trial of reformists.
4. August 1, several dozen members of the Mourning Mothers group held a gathering at Laleh Park.
5. Iran’s national cell phone company sent an SMS to all of it’s customers that services will be disrupted for the next 72 hours.
6. Checkpoints are being set up in Tehran by Basijis and police, yet again.
7. Partially confirmed reports indicate that at least 10 more protesters were being put on trial today. Need full confirmation.
8. Reports suggest that when news of the trial of reformists, reached Evin Prison, dozens of prisoners started to chant Allah o Akbar to show defiance against the regime.
9. Protests are being held in Paris August 3 and 4 against the Iran regime. For further details: Where is my vote? – Paris
*85 year old protester demands her vote be given back and says she wants to take it back from Khamenei: YouTube – شیرزن ایرانی در روز 25 خرداد
(If you, your friends or your organization are holding events, protests or doing something else related to the Iranian elections internationally, please send me an email with details and I will give you coverage. (Will only cost you 10 million dollars!) My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org – I am also curious if anyone is doing something for the day of Ahmadinejad’s inauguration OUTSIDE Iran.)
10. Mahdi Karroubi on Sunday said that the confessions of political prisoners in court had no value. He asked the government to find a solution the current problem and asked them to stop trials, arrests and creating panic and fear among the people.
11. Shirin Ebadi today said that the trial was not held for the defendants; but for legitimizing Ahmadinejad’s government by forcing people to say that there was no fraud during the elections. She added that the trials held no legal merit.
12. It has been confirmed that Hashemi Rafsanjani may have left Tehran for Kerman in order to avoid participating in Ahmadinejad’s confirmation by Khamenei.
13. Mohsen Rezaie today asked that if reformists could be put on trial, then the government should also put on trial members of security forces, who violated Iranian laws during the post-election unrest.
14. Ebrahim Yazdi – the Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran – today said that the prosecutor’s claims, during the trial of reformists, was an attack on the integrity of the regime. He called the confessions immoral and said that it was an example of the in-fighting amongst various factions of the regime.
Government / International
15. The confirmation ceremony of Ahmadinejad by Khamenei was held today in Tehran. The ceremony was attended by Ayatollah Hashemi Shahrodi, Ali Larejani, Ahmad Jannati, Mohsen Rezaie, Ayatollah Golpaygani, Mojtaba Khamenei, Ahmad Najafi, Afshin Ghotbi, Hossein Rezazadeh, Hamid Reza Saakit, Jahangir Almasi, Mohammad Reza Sharifinya, Mohammad Saleh ‘Ala and Mahmood Khosravi Wafa. During the ceremony, Ahmadinejad did not kiss Khamenei’s hand as he normally does and instead planted a kiss on the Supreme Leader’s shoulder.
16. Neither Khatami nor Rafsanjani – two former presidents of Iran – attended the ceremony. It had been speculated that at least Rafsanjani might attend, but he has left Tehran and is reportedly in Kerman. No member of Imam Khomeini’s family attended the ceremony either.
17. IRIB did not broadcast the appointment ceremony live. Some government-run news outlets, however, did report the ceremony as it went along.
(Picture Courtesy of Enduring America: The top shot shows the confirmation from today while the shot below is from Ahmadinejad’s confirmation 4 years ago.)
18. Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is a senior advisor to Ahmadinejad on media affairs – resigned on Monday.
19. The office of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court has warned people to not comment on or criticize the trial of reformist leaders, reporters and other detainees. It added that anyone who did so would be prosecuted. The warning came after not only reformists, but even some conservative Iranian members of parliament openly criticized the trial and questioned its legitimacy.
20. Members of Iran’s Parliament have asked Ahmadinejad to provide answers as to why he sacked two distinguished and high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Intelligence last week. The two officials are Haji Habibullah and Khazayee. The MPs want to know why their sacking was undertaken without consultation with the parliament first.
21. Partially confirmed reports suggest that Iran’s Police Chief, claimed today, that they had discovered books and other material on how to wage a guerilla war campaign, from the election offices of reformist candidates. Full confirmation is still unavailable.
22. Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked the Iranian regime to release all political prisoners and respect the civil and political rights of the citizens of Iran. He also harshly criticized the trial of reformists that was held two days ago and reminded Iran it had to remain committed to its international commitments of respecting human rights.
23. Hashemi Rafsanjani’s son, Mahdi Hashemi said today that the trial of detained reformists was going to weaken the regime and the Supreme Leader. He called it a show trial and laughable.
Arrested / Released / killed
24. New reports indicate that 103 additional protesters have been moved to Evin that were arrested on Thursday. This number does not include the 50 protesters that the government announced it had detained.
25. New reports emerging from Evin suggest that Behzad Nabavi and Mohammad Ali Abtahi may have been tortured psychologically. The reports suggest that Behzad Nabavi was stripped naked and then taken to Abtahi’s cell and Abtahi was told to perform fellatio on him. Full confirmation is unavailable.
26. Pooya Maghsood Beigi is the newest victim whose death has been confirmed. He was arrested in Kermanshah on June 20 and died after suffering extreme torture in Kermanshah Prison. He died a few days after being released. Now reports have emerged that his mother, Zahra Nowrozi was arrested from Kermanshah yesterday.
27. Iranian media today reported that the three American hikers who were arrested from northwestern Iran, are being held on charges of espionage and were working for the CIA.
28. The commission for investigating the rights of detained protesters and other people who’ve been arrested in relation to the recent unrests, has confirmed the death of at least 62 people that they are aware of during these unrests.
29. The only good news from the past two days is the release of Masood Kordpour.
*A responsible twitter – @NedaAgain – has focused my attention to the issue of the veracity of Abtahi and other detainees’ confessions on August 1. His evidence and similar evidence provided by other Iranian sources seem to make it doubtful that Abtahi’s confession was from August 1. Facts reported by Iranian media say that Abtahi and other detainees were brought to court and after the trial session, immediately met with reporters and then were taken to prison. However, pictures and video show that while he was wearing prison uniform in court, he had on a crisp new shirt during the confession. Does it make sense to anyone else?
Picture during trial on right: http://i29.tinypic.com/25inm6g.jpg
Video of Confession:
Mohammad Ali Abtahi press confession August 1 2009
Important Correction: The Green Brief reported yesterday that: “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.” Another journalist covering Iran, Fintan Dunne observed and corrected the statement which is rather misleading. The correct statement was that they had collected the names of 1,700 detainees, yet did not know the location and status of an unspecified and undetermined number of those detainees. Thanks Fin!
**In retaliation to the forced confessions being extracted from reformists in Iran, supporters of the Sea of Green around the world have started a new project: Watch Me Confess!
– Anonymous – the collective that organizes and runs this forum – needs donations to keep the servers running. They only need about 22,500
Cents a month to make this possible. If you do want to make a donation, please chip in your pennies here for the month of August: General Expense – Why We Protest
– Info on republishing the Green Brief: For Bloggers, News Sites and Forum who want to republish the Green Brief Plesae Read! – Why We Protest – IRAN
– Information on Tor: Tor Browser Bundle
– Discuss/Annotate: http://aic.openmsl.net/wiki/index.php/Green_Brief_47 ; Create it if it doesn’t exist.
– (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.
Report on the Trial of Reformists (August 1 – Mordad 10)
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.)
Original Greenbrief at WhyWeProtest