Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iran Early Bird

Full Report
Unrest Update

1. Human chain in Tehran – As the Council of Guardians ratified the election results, thousands of Tehran residents went out onto the main streets of the capital and formed a human chain to protest against the voting process. Large numbers of security forces and anti-riot squads were on hand to monitor the demonstration, and according to reports, authorities cut power and telephone services in many areas where the protests were being held. Night-time cries of "Allah Akbar" from the roofs of buildings in Tehran and other cities went on for longer than usual too. 2. Memorial ceremony goes ahead despite Intelligence Ministry threats – Despite numerous threats from the Intelligence Ministry and guards at the Science and Industry University, students and the family of Kianoush Asa, who was killed in recent unrest on the campus, held a ceremony in his memory. Participants called out “Allah Akbar” and slogans such as “My brother, the martyr, I will demand your blood back” and “The student will die but will not give in.” Click here for pictures from the event.
3. Behind the walls of Evin Prison – Most people arrested during recent events in Iran are being held at Tehran’s Evin Prison. Among them are dozens of journalists and bloggers. Authorities are not providing answers to questions from families, who are most concerned about detainees who are being held in the facility’s Wing 209, which is known as the torture wing. Posted on the prison notice board is a list of several hundred prisoners and this is the only piece of information available to the families. The Reporters without Borders organization has received numerous reports of prisoners being subjected to torture and has asked for human rights representatives to be allowed to visit the prison, likening it to the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile, following Pinochet’s coup and defining it as a bloody jail at which authorities are a law unto themselves.
4. IRCC claims it has “uncovered” a network for instigating a quiet revolution – The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have claimed that they uncovered a network codenamed “DARKOUB” (woodpecker) conspiring to topple the government in a “quiet revolution”. The IRGC added that further details will be disclosed soon.
5. Special committee to deal with cases of detainees – The spokesman for the Iranian Judiciary has announced the establishment of a special committee that will deal with the affairs of those arrested in the recent unrest. According to the spokesman, the committee will deal swiftly with the cases while upholding the detainees’ civil rights.
6. Javan daily: Abtahi can’t stop crying in jail – Since the arrest of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, Khatami’s former bureau chief and Karroubi’s election advisor, authorities have provided no information on his condition. The pro-Principlist Javan daily claims, however, that according to rumors, Abtahi has been crying constantly since his arrest and has expressed regret for his past actions.
7. Journalists arrested at Qaba Mosque clashes – During clashes outside Qaba Mosque on Sunday evening, security forces arrested a number of people, including two journalists – Shokoufeh Azar, who writes for the Sarmaye newspaper, and Kambiz Norouzi, the legal secretary of the Iranian Journalists Union. Azar’s family has yet to receive any information on her condition or whereabouts. Also during the same clashes, authorities arrested Nariman Mostafavi, a member of the Amir Kabir University’s Students Union, and Tara Sepahrifar, the secretary of the Sharif University’s Students Union. Mostafvi was released from detention a month or so ago after spending two months in solitary confinement.
8. Dr. Mahdi Khazali arrested – Dr. Mahdi Khazali, the director of the Hayan publishing house, was arrested yesterday after being summoned to the special court for religious figures. He has been transferred to an unknown location. Khazali was a prominent critic of the previous Ahmadinejad govermment and participated in recent demonstrations in Tehran. He is the son of Ayatollah Khazali, a member of the Council of Experts.
9. Sistan ve-Balouchestan University’s Students Union offices torched – Unknown individuals have torched the Students Union offices at Sistan ve-Balouchestan University. Security forces prevented students from entering the offices. Authorities at the university recently banned all activities of the Students Union on the campus. Click here for pictures.
10. Communication problems – Communication throughout Iran remains problematic for the third week running. Since the elections, most cellular telephones have been disconnected, text message services have been suspended and the Internet is running very slowly and is not accessible for the most part. Iran’s state comptroller has demanded an explanation from the communications minister.
11. Commentary in Reformist daily Etemad-e Melli: “When the people hear what they have lived and felt reported differently, clearly they will turn to other media; VOA on the rise – According to the daily: “In the past 12 days, the broadcaster that is no longer national has analyzed events in line with its blatantly biased policies. Many of the problems and offences that have occurred these days - and everyone knows the perpetrators were other people - are being attributed to the Iranian nation, whilst respected election candidates, their supporters and members of their headquarters have no platform or medium with which to defend themselves. They had long given up any hope in Voice and Vision and have further lost their means of information dissemination. Voice and Vision has gone further and is vigorously broadcasting this unfair news across the world. We should remember however that this policy entirely bereft of any trace of fairness, will do nothing but undermine public confidence. It makes people sit and watch foreign media and has achieved nothing for either officials or the public but to damage confidence. Reliable information from Iranian society indicates that the number of Iranians who are now customers of foreign media such as VOA television has increased several-fold from 12 days ago. There has been a 300 percent rise in the price of equipment allowing one access to other media. These lead us to conclude that the national broadcaster is busy finding customers for foreign media these days - an inadvertent piece of generosity now difficult to stop. The fact is that the nation does not remain in an information vacuum. People notice things in the city in which they live and breathe, and then see absolutely the opposite being reported on television that evening. This is a great danger for the system and its harm will not just affect the national broadcaster. We should remember that the national broadcaster is not a disposable phenomenon for the duration of 10th presidential elections. People should accept without doubts or hesitation any of its reports, statements or calls. But when the people hear what they have lived and felt reported differently, clearly they will turn to other media. Then, they [authorities or government supporters] will unfortunately use the result of these policies and Voice and Vision's approach to pin blame on the victims of recent elections, and tell them foreign media are defending and praising you!” )Etemad-e Melli, June 27(

The Political Scene

12. Guardian Council says election case 'closed'; approved the result of the 10th presidential elections and victory of Ahmadinejad - Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, in a letter to the interior minister has approved the result of the 10th presidential elections and victory of Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Iranian Guardian Council Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhoda'i. After an unsuccessful meeting with the representative of a candidate (June 29) , the Guardian Council decided to recount 10 percent of votes in front of the TV cameras…”very little discrepancies were reported in the recount.The ballot boxes were chosen randomly by a computer and almost every city in every province had a recount.

13. Iran electoral body looking into Mousavi's new proposals – Council of Guardians spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhoda'i has said that the council’s special committee is looking into Mir Hoseyn Mousavi's new proposals: “Mir Hoseyn Mousavi submitted his new proposals to the Council of Guardians in the final hours of Sunday. The Council considered his proposal as positive and in an attempt to build trust, it was decided to give him another chance and study his proposals in the morning session of the special committee… Some of the members of the special committee had a joint meeting with Mir Hoseyn Mousavi last night. We hope Mousavi's proposals will be examined by the end of the five-day deadline extension [Monday]. The outcome will be announced as soon as a decision is reached.”

14. Claim: 70-80 percent of ballots were marked with same pen and in same handwriting – According to Omidvar Rezaei, the brother of defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei: “The Interior Ministry claims it has re-counted the votes from some of the polling stations, but this is an unofficial re-count. Even in this unofficial re-count, it turned out that 70-80 percent of the votes were made with the same pen and in the exact same handwriting, and they all contained the name of one of the candidates.”

15. State comptroller: Offenses were committed during elections, but unrest is not the way to go – Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, Iran’s state comptroller, said that the country’s current problems could be resolved in a peaceful manner. Nothing could be achieved through illegal means, he added, noting that offenses had been committed during the election process but that they must be dealt with legally and without unrest.

16. Ahmadinejad sends personal letter to head of Judiciary ordering an investigation into the death of Neda Aqa-Soltan – In a letter to the head of the Judiciary, Ahmadinejad writes: “The honorable Mr Hashemi-Shahrudi, the esteemed head of Judiciary. As you are aware, one of our honorable citizens by the name of Neda Aqa-Soltan was shot dead in suspicious circumstances by unknown elements in one of Tehran's streets on 20 June 2009. Given the widespread rumors and the extensive foreign media propaganda about this heart-rending incident and in view of the existence of witnesses and the abundance of other evidence, it seems certain that there will be interference by opponents and enemies in order to exploit the situation and attempts will be made to mar the pure face of the Islamic Republic. Therefore, please order the Judiciary to investigate the matter of the murder of the late Miss Aqa-Soltan with the utmost determination to identify and bring to justice the elements responsible for this crime and publish the results for the information of the honorable people (of Iran). With thanks Mahmud Ahmadinejad.”

17. Majlis members trying to stop Mousavi's television appearance – Several pro-Ahmadienjad Majlis members, headed by Hadad Adel and Rouholla Hosseynian, are trying to collect signatures for a proposal to prevent Mousavi from appearing on television. They have also written letters on the matter to the head of the Iranian broadcasting authority, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and the secretary of the Council of Guardians.

18. Hashemi-Rafsanjani: We must all work together to solve the problems - In his first public appearance since the election Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, chairman of the Assembly for the Discernment of Expediency for Government Affairs, called upon everyone to cooperate and empathize to overcome obstacles and solve problems.

19. Majlis Foreign Affairs and Security Committee members meet with Khatami – Members of the Majlis Foreign Affairs and Security Committee met with former Iran president Sayed Mohammad Khatami to discuss the recent elections and aftermath. According to the committee’s chairman, Khatami said he was committed to the supreme leader and the revolution and expressed willingness to help resolve the current problems.

20. Closure of political parties - final step of a creeping coup - Mojahedin-e Enghelab Party describes closure of political parties as the final step of a creeping coup.

21. MP attacked for asking government to show tolerance - Parliamentarian Pezeshkian attacked while urging the regime to show tolerance towards critics and for defending the reformist candidates. Pezeshkian also criticized IRIB for not treating the election Pezeshkian, criticized the government for dissolving the Planning and Budget Organization and the lack of planning in the past few years. (pictures)

22. Ayatollah Musavi Ardebili: What is worrisome is when the people turn their backs on us - Ayatollah Musavi Ardebili met with National Security Commission: At this meeting Ayatollah Musavi Ardebili said “I do not want to judge which side is right in this struggle and have no intention of doing so, but there is an issue here and that is that we must not do anything to put ourselves in opposition to the people. We must not do anything to make them say the Islamic government is incompetent or that Islam cannot solve their problems. Whether some fellow did or did not win the election is not our primary concern. The primary concern is that the people must not think their demands will go unmet. The people must be satisfied and made content with the issues that have arisen….One way that could be considered for getting out of the existing situation is to have a group accepted and trusted by all sides consider the matter and make its judgment final…What foreigners say about us has no importance. Ultimately the enemy will be hostile and does not wish us well. What is worrisome is when the people turn their backs on us. If we have peace domestically and the people are happy we will have no fear of what is happening abroad." (Emruz. June 29)

23. Questions presented to Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani one of the prominent sources of emulation in his internet site :

a. Question (on using force against protesters): I am a soldier performing compulsory service; I was obliged during these incidents to confront the marchers. My question: Is confronting marchers and in some cases with physical violence and blows permissible or not? If it is permissible, to what extent may we discipline them? If it is between a physical confrontation with the people and disciplining by superiors, what is the requirement? Soldier Hassan

b. Answer: in any case it is not right to attack defenseless people Your duty is to be gentle and not confront the people, and if it is between a physical confrontation with people and a reprimand, your duty is certainly to accept the discipline and the reprimand. Assuredly in any case it is not right to attack defenseless people.

c. Question: As you know, in the last few days due to the issues arising from the election crowds have formed in Tehran. Since according to the Constitution the people are free to march provided they do not violate the principles of Islam, I therefore ask that you answer two questions: 1. Was this assembly--in which I personally took part and with God as my witness I did not think or act for a moment in violation of Islam--a violation of the principles of Islam or not? 2. If the answer is negative, wasthe behavior of the government's officials towards the participants in accordance with Islam and the Constitution or not?

d. Answer: These gatherings are the lawful rights of the people and are the only way for them to make their expectations and demands known to rulers. On the one hand the Constitution has also accepted that as a basic right of the people. For this reason the Ministry of the Interior based on this very law is obliged to grant permits so the people can protest within the law. If it does not do so the people are not at fault. Rather it is the Ministry of the Interior that must answer. Here the answer to the next question is clear. When the people ask the government for help declaring their legitimate and lawful demands, the government is obliged to cooperate and take the necessary steps. If it does not take action it has violated the law and irresponsible.

Diplomatic Affairs

24. Iran recalls Baku envoy after Peres visit – Iran's newly appointed ambassador to Baku, Mohammad-Baqer Bahrami, has been recalled to Tehran for "consultations” after Peres voiced "threats" against Iran during his trip.
25. Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan speech was designed to ease pressure of U.S. administration – An article published on the Iran Diplomacy website by former Iranian ambassador to Jordan Mohammad Irani asks: “Has Netanyahu backed down from his positions?” Irani writes that the Israeli prime minister’s recent speech at Bar-Ilan University appears on first glance to be a retreat from his past positions, but is actually a step forward. Netanyahu’s new position, Irani says, is designed to ease U.S. pressure on Israel. Netanyahu’s peace initiative, Irani adds, only serves Israeli interests and is not a retreat at all. The Palestinians and Arabs will not get anything from it, he concludes.

26. IRGC: British Foreign Minister ran a website to incite riots The Revolutionary Guards Cyber Crime Center claims the British Foreign Minister ran a website to incite riots in Iran and to provoke the British population to take "an anti-Iranian posture."

27. FM spokesman: Iran ready for talks on its nuclear program – Foreign Ministry SpokesmanHassan Qashqavi at his weekly news conference: "As the president said a few days ago, the Iranian nation is always ready for talks [on the nuclear issue].”

28. Reacting to Merkel's remarks, Shiraz City Council calls for severing cultural ties with Germany – Four members of the Shiraz City Council have tabled an urgent motion calling for the severing of all current cultural relations and exchanges with Germany. The motion comes in response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "intrusive" remarks about the unrest in Iran. (Khorasan, June 29)

29. Iran says Sweden should pay for damage caused to embassy – The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that Sweden should compensate Tehran for the damage caused to the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm when protesters stormed into the building on June 26. (Iran TV, June 29).

30. Iran wants to join Black Sea cooperation organization – During his meeting with the Bulgarian ambassador in Tehran, Iran's foreign minister stressed Tehran's interest in joining the Black Sea cooperation organization.
31. Saudi intervention in recent events in Iran – ‘Saudi Arabian opposition elements’ claim that the Saudi regime has been directly involved in recent events in Iran. According to the Saudi opposition sources, Saudi Arabia's National Security Council decided to take advantage of the unrest in Iran to undermine stability and security in the country.

32. Regime affiliated sources: Saudi Arabian intelligence service paying bribes to write against Velayat-e Faqihb – According to reports,the intelligence service of Saudi Arabia is paying some Arab press to write against the Shia and the inefficiency of the Islamic system based on Shia teachings. (Siast-e Ruz, June 29).

33. Brazilian author intervenes on behalf of Iranian doctor – Renowned Brazilian author Paulo Coelho has urged British authorities to extend the visa of Arash Hejazi, a student at Oxford University, so that he is not forced to return to Iran. Hejazi, an Iranian doctor, arrived in Britain a few days ago and said in an interview that he was alongside Neda Soltan when she was shot and had tried to save her life.

Security Affairs

34. Iranian ground forces begin war games – The Iranian Army’s ground force have started three days of war games dubbed as “Ali-Ibn-e-Abitaleb.” The Iranian forces are due to drill their power of commanders' command control in different regimens during military exercises in the southwestern provinces of Khuzestan and Ilam as well as the western province of Lorestan. The deputy commander of the forces, General Kioumars Heidari, said that different modern war tactics and methods for future combats with several scenarios designed and prepared by the commanders and officers would be drilled. He added that the command control centers enjoy modern equipment and advanced war systems, including telecommunications and command, engineering and obstruction and information processing, conduct and command electronic wars and psychological operations.

35. Traffic police officer killed in Zahedan – Two armed assailants shot and killed a junior local police officer as he was travelling to work in Zahedan on his motorbike. One of the assailants was arrested, while the other escaped on the killed policeman's motorbike. (Khorasan, June 29).

Economic Affairs

36. Iran to end gasoline subsidies – Iran President-electAhmadinejad has decided that all subsidies for private vehicularuse of gasoline should cease.Subsidies will still be provided for goods-carrying vehicles and for fishing vessels. The decision has been communicated by Vice President Parviz Davudi to the relevant executive bodies.
37. Average gasoline consumption per week as of last week: 65.3 million liters.
38. Iran, Qatar and Russia vying for OPEC Gas secretary-general position – OPEC Gas will elect a secretary-general at its session today in Qatar, with Iran, Russia and the host nation vying for the position in light of their large gas reserves.
39. Several countries ask to join OPEC Gas – Iran’s representative to OPEC Gas has announced that several countries have recently asked to join the organization. The requests would be discussed at the organization’s session in Qatar tomorrow, he said.
40. Finance minister: Inflation rate has fallen below 15 percent – Iran’s finance minister cites a report published by the International Monetary Fund and insists that the inflation rate in Iran has dropped from 25 percent to just below 15 percent. (Abrar, June 30).
41. Money and Credit Council revived - The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has decided to revive the Money and Credit Council two years after Ahmadinejad dissolved the policy-making body. CBI says it made the decision in collaboration with the president. The closure of the Budget and Planning Organization and 18 other high-ranking governmental boards such as the council has drawn criticism from many economists. The bank said in a statement that the council - the highest banking policy-making body - would hold its first session after two years on July 7 to consider "developments on last year's money and credit policies". Money and Credit Council members include the CBI governor, the Finance and Economy minister and two lawmakers.
42. Iraq to become Iran’s main trade partner – The chairman of Tehran’s Trade Organization has announced that Iran exports some $2.5 billion worth of goods to Iran every year, with the sum to increase to $4 billion in the field of goods and $2 billion in the field of engineering and energy services. According to the chairman, Iraq is set to become Iran’s principal trade partner.

Human Rights and Minorities

43. Lawyer of minors on death row arrested again – An organization calling itself “Stop the executions of youths” has announced that lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei has been arrested once again. Mostafaei represents 25 young Iranians who are facing the death penalty for crimes committed when they were minors. He was detained in Tehran some four days ago.
44. Authorities throw the book at Kargozaran newspaper editor-in-chief – The special court for media affairs has thrown the book at the editor-in-chief of the Kargozaran newspaper, charging him with publishing anti-Islamic material, disseminating propaganda, publishing false reports designed to sway public opinion and more.

1 comment:

Roger from Solar Power Facts said...

The current unrest may not result in a revolution, but it's not going to be far off I think. It baffles me why the ruling clerics even allowed an election at all. That just gave the masses a whiff of independence, and it seems that's been enough to trigger public unrest.