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News From Iran
The Green Brief is the best source of information from Iran, gathered from 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. An extremely small set of sources, considering the millions of Iranians who, not so long ago, carried on conversations with the world.
Josh, aka NiteOwl, has become a voice for some of them, and a valuable window for the rest of the world. I can’t stress how much I personally 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. We all come from a different place and we each have a unique journey.
We all share that.
The Green Brief #51 (August 11 – Mordad 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 Tuesday and Wednesday [Mod note: The days were unclear], August 11 – Mordad 20.
Protests / Unrest
1. People are planning on flooding the bazaars of several major cities in Iran. Protesters are planning to go to the bazaars and urge shopkeepers to join them in the protest and call for a strike. (This is already underway at the time of the writing of this Brief.) Bazaars will be targeted in Tehran, Tabriz, Mashhad, Isfahan, Ahvaz and Shiraz.
2. The chants of Allah o Akbar continue every night in all the major cities in Iran and the numbers have increased considerably since the campaign for nightly chants began.
International Protests / Events
3. [The “International Campaign to close down Iranian Embassies” is determined to close the Iranian Embassy in Canada. The campaign demands: all bank accounts of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran be frozen; the Islamic Republic of Iran be expelled from all International Agencies; all leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran be tried in an international court for their crimes against humanity.] For more information on the campaign’s goals and their upcoming meeting on August 12, visit: International Campaign Against Shari’a Court in Canada
4. Members of the Baha’i religious movement are holding a gathering in San Francisco on Wednesday which will focus on human rights in Iran and the case of 7 Baha’is who are currently in detention in Tehran because of their faith. For information on the event, visit: An Evening in Support of the Bahá’ís of Iran at Herbst Theater (Wednesday August 12, 2009) – Upcoming
5. For a list of protests that are being planned in Germany, please visit this link:
Julia’s Blog: Protests and rallies in Germany (subject to change w/o notice)
(English and German)
(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: email@example.com – I am also curious if anyone is doing something for the day of Ahmadinejad’s inauguration OUTSIDE Iran.)
6. Mahdi Karroubi’s letter to Hashemi Rafsanjani on prisoner abuse can be found here in English:
Iran: The Karroubi Letter to Rafsanjani on Abuse of Detainees | Enduring America
7. It has now been confirmed that Rafsanjani will be skipping the Friday prayers. Reportedly, he wanted to avoid a government crackdown on protesters, who might join the prayers or hold gatherings outside the prayer venue.
8. It has now been partially confirmed that Rafsanjani spent the past several days in Mazandaran. Details are unclear at this point and full confirmation could not be obtained. We previously reported that Rafsanjani had left Tehran for another city until further notice.
9. Shirin Ebadi today, repeated her request that the government of Iran, promptly free journalists and lawyers that have been held in detention for weeks. She also asked the government to allow foreign journalists to return to the country and allow freedom of speech. In a separate statement, she also asked the government to hold a fresh election under the observation of the United Nations.
10. The Committee Responsible for the Defense of Mousavi’s Votes has released a statement accusing the Guardian Council of clearly taking sides during the election. It also accused the council of turning a blind eye to accusations of clear instances of fraud relating to the election and the counting of votes. The head of the committee, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour – a former Minister of Interior – also criticized the council for its silence over a variety of other illegal activities – including the violent crackdowns on peaceful protesters – conducted by the government.
11. The government has apparently contradicted itself, again, over the number of protesters who have been detained. Alireza Jamshidi, a spokesperson for the country’s Judiciary – today stated that four thousand people had been arrested of which 3,700 had been already been released and the remainder were in detention. A few weeks ago, the commander of IRG Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, had announced that the government had detained just over a thousand people and most of them had been released.
12. Ayatollah Ezzuddin Hosseini Zanjani has released a statement calling the forced confessions un-Islamic and illegal.
13. Fresh allegations by groups tied to Ansare Hezbollah have surfaced against Rafsanjani and his family. These allegations, which were put forth by Lotfullah Ferozendeh – the head of Jamiyate Esargaran (Council of Sacrificers) – accuse Rafsanjani and his children of taking part in the recent unrests by providing money to protesters. Ferozendeh stated these allegations whilst in a meeting with members of Ansare Hezbollah.
14. The head of Mousavi’s electoral campaign Ghorban Behzadinezhad, vehemently denied any contact between Mousavi’s campaign and foreign embassies in Tehran. He added that the campaign had decided not to hold any meetings with members of foreign embassies from day one of the campaign.
15. In a meeting with lawyers, Rafsanjani on Tuesday asked that detainees’ rights be respected. “Judgment and proxy as well as (protecting) the rights of the accused can provide guarantees for the presence of justice in the final verdict,” Rafsanjani was quoted by ILNA.
16. Alireza Beheshti – a member of the committee formed by Mousavi and Karroubi’s campaigns to investigate the fate of detainees and protesters who have died during the unrest – today said a list of the names of the 220 detainees and the names of protestors who had been killed or died in detention had been handed over to the parliament. He added because of various reasons, information about the detainees was emerging sluggishly.
Government / International
17. A letter signed by 202 MP’s addressed to Ahmadinejad and read in the Iranian parliament, called on him to choose his ministers based on their experience and their professional skills. The letter warned that anyone selected, not meeting the criteria, would not gain a vote of confidence from the parliament.
18. Fars News reports: [Commander of the Basij (volunteer) forces Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb here on Tuesday cautioned that enemies of the Islamic Republic have hatched plots to sow seeds of discord among the Iranian nation. Commenting on the recent post-election unrest and developments in Iran, Taeb reiterated, “The enemy stepped into the scene of the presidential election to harness the (Islamic) Revolution and to achieve its goals by means of its agents and elements in Iran”. The commander further elaborated on other aspects of the enemies’ plot, and underlined that enemies made a wide use of the media against the Islamic Republic in an attempt to fulfill their regime change plans in Iran. “Enemies made their utmost efforts to spark and spread pessimism among the people and break integration of the Iranian nation” Taeb stated.]
19. Ali Larejani – the speaker of Iran’s parliament – has called for a probe into allegations that detainees of recent protests had been raped in detention. PressTV reported that Larejani had asked the special committee, assigned to investigate the situation of detainees, to look into allegations of rape as well.
(I confirmed instances of the rape of detainees in the Green Briefs almost six weeks ago and so have other sources. MSM has yet to confirm it, however.)
20. The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence has warned the media not to publish false news about the Intelligence Ministry claiming the media was releasing classified information. This is likely a backlash at reports by the media that Ahmadinejad had shuffled or sacked several high-ranking officials inside the ministry – which was confirmed weeks ago.
21. Iranian Ambassador to Paris, Sayed Mehdi Mirabotalebi said today that Iran had offered to allow the detained French teacher Clotilde Reiss, to stay at the French Embassy in Tehran during her trial, provided the French Embassy guarantee she will not leave Iran. However, he said the French government had not replied to the offer.
22. The British government today denied having any hand in the unrest that unfolded after the elections in Iran. Britain also denied allegations levied against Hossein Rassam – a senior British Embassy staffer, who is on trial in Tehran and questioned his confession that Britain had a hand in the unrest.
23. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sent a letter congratulating Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his election as Iran’s president. His spokesperson, however, indicated that the letter does not mean Mr. Ban’s endorsement of the election. The letter will not be released to the press.
24. A spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry told Radio Farda he could not confirm that Egyptian President Hosni Mobarak had congratulated Ahmadinejad on his reelection, as claimed by Iranian media.
25. The Swedish government summoned the Iranian Ambassador to Stockholm in protest to the ongoing trials of reformists, journalists, lawyers and foreign nationals in Tehran. Sweden, which heads the EU’s rotating presidency, has previously criticized Iran’s clamp down on protesters.
26. Amnesty International has demanded that international observers be present during the trials that are taking place in Tehran.
Arrested / Released / Killed
27. Mostafa Ghaniyan, a 27 year old university student, is the latest victim who has been identified by his family. He was killed, by a single bullet, days after the elections while chanting Allah o Akbar on his roof. He died in Sa’adat Abad in Tehran in his father’s arms.
28. Arman Astakharian, 16, is another victim of the government’s brutality. He finally succumbed to his wounds, after spending 17 days in coma. He had been savagely beaten by security forces on June 24, during a protest in Shiraz. His family had been told by the security forces not to speak about his death to the press, however, word has finally got out.
29. The Iranian opposition is now claiming they have confirmed the deaths of at least 69 people during the unrest following the election. PressTV is also claiming the official government tally is 30 – up from 20, repeatedly reported by IRIB and the Iranian government.
30. The brother of Kianosh Asa has been arrested. Reports also indicate Caspian Makan – the fiancée of Neda Agha-Soltan – has been in detention for more than a month. Makan’s arrest could not be immediately confirmed. Roshanali Moradi – a political activist from Kermanshah – was arrested on Friday by security forces while he was walking home.
31. Photographer Majid Saeedi has been released on bail. Nazok Afshar – the French Embassy staffer in detention – Kazem Faridiyan – a renowned Iranian mountaineer and Amir Hossein Shamshadi have also been released.
32. The committee for the defense of the rights of detainees following the election, has released a statement calling the conduct of the Judiciary in handling detainees’ cases and the intimidation of detainees’ families unlawful. The committee also accused unnamed organizations within the government of meddling in the affairs of the Judiciary.
33. Ahmad Tavakoli – a conservative MP – in the parliament criticized the government over the illegal arrests of peaceful protesters. He also staunchly criticized the government for tampering with freedom of speech, torture and abuse in prisons, as well as the detention of university professors. He put the responsibility on the shoulders of the Chief of Judiciary Shahroudi and Ahmadinejad.
34. Reports indicate that the Iranian government is also continuing its repression of religious minorities. A Baha’i man was arrested at his home in Sari today. Also two female Muslim converts to Christianity – Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, and Mariam Rostampour, 27, who have been in detention at Evin’s ward 209 for the past five months – were brought to the security headquarters of Tehran’s police and were forcefully asked to recant their beliefs or face persecution. Both women rejected to do so.
35. The government has printed fake copies of reformist newspapers, showing them to detainees to break their morale. One example is this front page from Etemaade Melli in which the headline on the top left reads, “Mousavi and Karroubi Regretfully Tell National Media: No Fraud Has Taken Place”. Picture: 6800_120277771370_109834371370_2867932_6812990_n+( 1).jpg (image)
36. The government is continuously printing news reports denying the rape and death of Taraneh Mousavi, apparently claiming that no one by this name ever existed.
(I have confirmed Taraneh’s rape and death in the past and in the face of mounting criticism, continue to stand by my earlier report. If, in the future, it comes to light that her story was indeed fake, I will not hesitate to retract my earlier report. As with Neda’s case, I am also respectfully going to decline reporting anything about her killer/killers and leave it to Iran’s next government.)
*Apologies for being absent for the past several days. I was out of town and the internet connection where I was refused to allow me to write the Briefs. There will be no further delays or absentees in the foreseeable future. Thanks for all the messages of support.
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– 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.
Original GreenBrief at WhyWeProtest