Iran – Recent Events – More Protests, More Killings, More Upheaval
July 18, 2009 · Posted in Foreign Policy
From a blogger who meticulously collected different Tweets from reliable sources and summarized them in Anonymous Iran, Green Brief #31:
Protests / Unrest
1. Hashemi Rafsanjani’s Friday prayers speech was accompanied today by large protests across Tehran and in many other parts of Iran. His sermon was not live-broadcasted on Iranian TVs, but one IRIB radio station did broadcast it (Here’s a PARTIAL translation of his speech: Rafsanjani’s Friday Prayer Sermon – Why We Protest – IRAN).
2. Many top Iranian pro-reform politicians were present during the Friday sermons including Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mahdi Karroubi and Abdollah Nouri. Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, and Rafsanjani’s wife and two daughters also joined the prayers today.
3. Karroubi was assaulted in front of Tehran University as he tried to enter the compound to join the prayers. Nouri – a former minister during Khatami and Rafsanjani’s presidency and a much respected reformist who’s derided by the conservatives – was also insulted and attacked by Basijis as he was making his way towards Tehran University. Reformist former president Mohammad Khatami was not seen attending the prayers. Conservative politicians largely stayed away from the prayers.
4. In his sermon/speech, Rafsanjani asked the government to release all prisoners, all sides of the political debate to sit together and discuss the issues, the government and security forces to follow the law when dealing with protesters, for an end to media censorship and said that the Guardian Council had missed a chance to restore people’s trust.
5. Rafsanjani’s speech at Tehran University was attended by thousands of people – many of them protesters who wore green bands on their heads or around their wrists. Thousands of people gathered outside the University while hundreds of thousands marched across other areas of Tehran even while the speech/sermon was being delivered.
6. Protesters inside the mosque chanted “Allah o Akbar”, “Azadi… Azadi” (Freedom… Freedom) and slogans against Russia and China. Rafsanjani tried several times to stop people from chanting but the chants continued sporadically. It is worth mentioning that there was a loudspeaker inside the mosque which chanted, “Death to America!”, but every time that slogan was heard, people loudly replied with, “Death to Russia, Death to China!”
7. How many people may have gathered in Tehran is very difficult to determine. While tweet sources claimed up to four million people were out on the streets, the real numbers were probably much lower. From photos and video footage that was released and testimonies from reliable tweet sources, one could assume that there were close to a million people or slightly more than a million took part in the protests. Again, this is just an estimate.
6. By far the largest part of the crowd headed from Tehran University to Azadi Square. Streets around the University were crowded with protesters. There were a few hundred pro-Ahmadinejad and pro-Khamenei protesters out too. Many held placards with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei’s pictures. They also staged a march towards Azadi Square.
7. Thousands of people gathered around the Ministry of Interior, the IRIB building and in front of Evin Prison. Large numbers of protesters were present in Keshavarz Boulevard, Enghelab Square, Valiasr, Jamhori Blvd, Ferdowsi Square and Quds Ave and well as 16 Azar Ave. Protesters chanted “Death to the Dictator” “Where’s My Vote?” and similar slogans.
8. Cell phone Networks were cut off in most parts of Central Tehran and in areas where protesters had gathered elsewhere. IRIB photographers and cameramen were filming individual protesters from within the crowds and from high-rise buildings. The task was made difficult because there protests in all parts of Tehran, not just the centre of city.
9. Basijis and other security forces today brutalized protesters once again. At least two people were shot and one girl was reportedly killed during the protests. Basijis used batons to beat people – even small children and women were not spared. Many women were reportedly stabbed with knives by Basijis dressed as women. Several mosques around the city were packed with Basijis waiting to come out and clash with protesters.
10. Heavy clashes were reported from around the IRIB building, Jame Jam Street, Keshavarz Blvd, Amirabad Street, University of Tehran dorms, Ferdowsi Square, Jomhoori Street, Azadi Street and almost all parts of Central Tehran as well as in front of Tehran University where clashes were the heaviest. Gunshots were heard from many parts of the city, especially Azadi Square. Basijis even attacked people who had come to prayers.
11. More than a hundred people were arrested from Tehran today, a large majority from the central part of the city. Tear gas was used extensively in many parts of the city by Basijis and other security forces. There were also reports that many Basijis were carrying taserguns and used them on many protesters. Military helicopters were flying around the city for much of the day. Many shop-keepers and people with homes close to the protests opened their doors for protesters running away from security forces. Cars driving past protests honked their horns in a show of support for protesters. Protests continued till about midnight Tehran time.
12. Today, there were also reports of protests in Karaj, Ghazvin, Mashhad and Tabriz. In Mashhad, hundreds of people walked the streets with green placards. It has been partially confirmed that Basijis used tear gas to disperse protesters in Mashhad and many people were injured. A small rally was held in Qom as well.
13. During Ahmadinejad’s speech in Mashhad yesterday, it has been confirmed that many people chanted Allah o Akbar and many people there to hear the speech wore green armbands and headbands.
14. The Participation Front issued a statement today, thanking the Sea of Green for participating in rallies on Friday. The statement also added that the people responsible for the coupe d’état against the people would eventually lose the battle against the will of the people.
15. Reports indicate that Said Mohammad Khatami and Abdullah Nouri held a meeting on Tuesday last week to discuss the current situation in the country. It is being reported that Nouri has joined the opposition to the elections by urging of Khatami.
Government / International
16. President-Select Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed several members of his cabinet so far, but the full list of cabinet members will be released after his inauguration. Among the appointees, Asfandyar Rahim Mashaie has been appointed to the post of first vice president. He also appointed a new chief for the Iranian nuclear agency.
17. Iran Intelligence Minister Gholamhosein Ejaie claimed today that Israel as one of the enemies of the Islamic Republic had been responsible for much interference in Iran’s affairs. Ejaie also added that the Israeli government had plotted to assassinate Ahmadinejad during the elections. (For once…)
Arrests / Release / Deaths
18. New reports indicate that at least 36 officers of the Iranian Army have been arrested for participating in Kamyl prayers for detainees and martyrs. They were arrested in Ray city close to Tehran on charges of holding secret meetings and activities pertaining to sabotage.
19. Shadi Sadr – an Iranian lawyer, feminist and journalist – was beaten and arrested while making her way towards the prayers today in Tehran. Later, her house was thoroughly searched by security forces. Her whereabouts are unknown at this point. New reports indicate that yesterday, Roshanak Siyasi – another feminist and reformist activist – was arrested as well. Other detainees from recent days include Ahmad Madadi, Raoof Taheri and Reza Abbasi from Zanjan.
20. An advisor to Mousavi has announced that a committee formed by reformists to follow cases of detainees will start operations from Saturday. Families of detainees can contact their office on this phone number: 77637696
21. I can now confirm the gang rape and death of Taraneh Mousavi. She was a leftist reformist student and was detained by Basijis a few days ago. She was raped repeatedly and her charred body was found in Ghazvin two days ago. Another detainee reportedly died on July 9. The cause of death cannot be ascertained at this point.
22. IRIB censored many of Rafsanjani’s pro-reform remarks and instead focuses all of its attention on his words for unity. Fars News claimed that people were whistling and clapping while Rafsanjani was giving the sermon. IRIB also failed to mention people chanting against China and Russia.
*A lot of questions regarding Bernard Kouchner’s statement that France would recognize Ahmadinejad yesterday were answered by a responsible French citizen who provided us with valuable analysis of what actually happened: What Bernard Kouchner REALLY said about Iran – Why We Protest – IRAN)
**This picture is old, but I figured I’ll post it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It shows how the Iranian government photoshopped a pro-Ahmadinejad protest a few weeks ago to make it look larger than it was: http://tinyurl.com/lkqscu — Courtesy of an Israeli friend)
***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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Here one more video where militias attack protesters on a bridge: