Green Brief #16 (July 2)
These are the important happenings that I can positively confirm from Thursday, July 02 in Iran.
In Italian: Gonzo Times � Blog Archive � 02/07/2009: Report di fine giornata
1. Thousands of people gathered at Iran’s Beheshte Zahra Cemetery, along with other smaller cemeteries, to mourn the people who have died in the protests. The numbers were hard to confirm, but various sources claimed somewhere between 10,000 – 15,000. Large numbers of Basijis were reported to have been stationed in and around Beheshte Zahra Cemetery, but no clashes were reported. Shopkeepers in Tabriz have reportedly stopped their strikes because of government intimidation and threats made by the Basijis.
2. Mousavi’s Facebook page asked for protesters to form a human chain this Sunday – we could not confirm this through other sources. Meanwhile, about 120 women from the group “Mourning Mothers” gathered at Laleh Park again today and lit candles in memory of the fallen protesters. They have planned mass gatherings in Laleh, Andisheh and Mellat parks for July 4. Relatives of detainees yet again gathered in front of Evin Prison today and asked for the release of their loved ones.
3. Hard-line Parliament members today again called on the Judiciary to prosecute Mousavi for allegedly breaking the law by calling for protests and for instigating violence. The call had been made in the past as well and several state-run newspapers have also made similar demands in the past few days. Unconfirmed reports from Qom and Khorasan indicate that more and more clerics are considering denouncing the government’s actions; declaring the protests as legitimate.
4. Samareh Hashemi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign manager, told PressTV today that the SMS outage and cell phone service restrictions were put in place to "ensure security" during and after the election. He added that Mousavi wasn’t really an opposition leader because “his views closely match those of the governments.” Furthermore, he claimed that the candidates KNOW that the election was as impartial as any before, and that no voting fraud had taken place.
5. More international pressure is being mounted on Iran’s Government. There will be an EU meeting next week where it is reported that member nations will consider pulling their ambassadors from Iran. Russia’s foreign ministry announced today that Russia opposed international sanctions against Iran and that the election and its aftermath were Iran’s internal issues that needed to be dealt with by Iranians, MosNews reported. A former Justice Minister of Canada, Irwin Cotler, has asked the international community to ban Ahmadinejad from entering their countries, Deutsche-Welle reported.
6. Al-Arabiya’s website has stated that an Egyptian lawyer belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, Mamdouh Ismail has filed a complaint in Egypt’s Prosecutor General’s Office. He has asked them to ban Ahmadinejad from entering Egypt next month to attend a diplomatic meeting. He has accused Ahmadinejad of winning the election erroneously and for insulting two of Prophet Mohammed’s companions.
Arrests, Casualties, Releases
7. Seven people were arrested in Qazvin today in connection with the protests. The head of Participation Front in Hormozgan Province, Mr. Ramezanpour, was also arrested. The government-owned media now claims that 20 people have died in the post-election protests. Real numbers are hard to obtain, but the number is reportedly much higher than what the Iranian media has reported. On a positive note, Iranian journalists Maryam Ameri and Omid Mohaddes were released from prison today in Tehran.
8. Saeed Hajjarian – a prominent politician and backer of Mousavi – is being said to be in deteriorating health. Hajjarian has diabetes – a very serious condition that requires daily care. Amnesty International today once again called upon the government to release Hajjarian. On Wednesday, Newsweek asked Iran for the immediate release of their reporter, Maziar Bahari, who was arrested on June 21, 2009. Newsweek rejected accusations by the Iranian media that Bahari had a hand in the post-election violence. Bahari has since been denied access to a lawyer.
9. Media reports of six protesters, reportedly hung in Evin Prison, were denied by the government. Iranian Student’s News Agency reported via their website that the aforementioned individuals were accused of killing their spouses and other people. They made neither implications nor correlations with the “prisoners” and the post-election arrests.
10. Interpol today denied that the witness to Neda Agha-Soltan’s death is wanted by the Interpol. They also denied receiving any requests from the Iranian government for his arrest. Iranian media and government have claimed that the witness, Arash Hejazi, was wanted by the Interpol. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Iranian government’s intelligence agencies as well as the Ministry of Islamic Guidance are compiling a list of Iranian journalists which will be barred from traveling abroad.
11. Reports of torture at Evin and other Iranian prisons are continuing to mount. Some sources claim that detainees are being beaten every night and others are being water-boarded with hot water in order to coerce confessions from them.
12. Yet another Ayatollah has joined the cause of the protesters. Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani today said that the demand for justice and protesting for one’s rights was legal. He also denounced the suppression of protesters and called the act illegitimate. He asked Mousavi to stand for justice and help people obtain their rights. Zanjani joins Ayatollahs Taheri, Ghaffari and Montazeri in supporting the cause of the protesters. Karoubi again announced today that he would not recognize the current government and would continue to stand by the people in their quest for their rights – even if it took the rest of his life.
13. It has been reported that Rafsanjani, who is one of the Imams that lead Friday Prayers in Tehran's largest mosque, has declined to lead prayers there again. Last week, his spot was first filled by Khamenei, but Khamenei pulled out at the last minute leaving Ahmad Khatami to lead the prayers. Rafsanjani is not planning to attend this Friday's Prayers either.
14. Parlemaan News website has been blocked by the government. The website was one of the only remaining sources of impartial news for the Iranian people. The government closed it after it posted several of Mousavi’s statements and Khatami’s criticism of the government. Parlemaan News – parlemaan means parliament in Persian – is the official news website of the Imam’s Way faction of MP’s in the Iranian Parliament. They had been warned last week by security forces and the Judiciary to restrict criticism of the government.
15. The BBC reported today that the Kingdom of Jordan had banned Iran’s state-run Al-Alam and Press TV stations from broadcasting in Jordan and revoked their operating permits. Al-Alam broadcasts news in Arabic and Press TV is the main English language news channel of Iran. The latter today showed footage of what they called ‘thugs attacking Basiji Headquarters in Tehran’ – but the footage only showed several protesters chanting in front of the headquarters at an unspecified date. The recording didn’t show any of the ‘thugs’ actually using any of Molotov cocktails they were holding.
16. Even though SMS was back in Tehran yesterday, reports indicate that it has been cut-off once again. Sources indicated that they had asked twitter users from Tehran to NOT text each other using the service because it could be a ploy by the government to find dissidents. There are reports that Iran’s main telecom companies were trained in China in “how to weed out dissidents using their data posted on the net,” as well as monitoring and other techniques.
17. Although yesterday’s news of four un-opened ballot boxes found in Shiraz couldn’t be verified, reliable sources indicate that the Governor of Fars Province, where Shiraz is located, announced today that the boxes were from past elections. He added that they will be stored as National Documents. Mohammad Reza Nasab-Abdollahi, the journalist that broke the news, has been reportedly intimidated by the government and is being pressured to recant his report and deny the previous claim.
18. Chants of Allah o Akbar again echoed across Iran. Reports have suggested that dozens of people – in some cases the residents of entire apartment buildings – have been arrested by Basijis for chanting on their rooftops at night. Residents in Northern Tehran have also been warned that they should either stop chanting or risk losing their satellite antennas. Satellite antennas are illegal in the country, but widely owned by the public.
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Labels: Green Brief #16 (July 2)