The Green Brief #18-19
These are the important happenings that I can positively confirm from Saturday and Sunday, July 4-5 in Iran.
1. The head of the IRGC – one of the various security forces used to quell protesters – claimed today that the BBC and the British Embassy were the main instigators directing ‘rioters’. Brigadier General Abdullah Iraqi (Iraqi is just a last name) claimed that the government did not deal with the protesters harshly in the beginning – although it could have. Among his many outrageous claims was that ‘rioters’ hauled other injured ‘rioters’ from ambulances and killed them. He also claimed that ‘rioters’ injured 600 IRGC officers and that 8 officers had been killed in the line of duty.
2. Monday 6 July at 5 PM Iran time, the families of some Iranians who have been detained at Evin Prison plan on gathering in front of the prison with flowers and gifts in recognition of Father’s Day. Around 5000 workers at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation the city of Shosh in Khuzestan province have gone on strike – although said to be in solidarity with the Sea of Green, this could not be independently confirmed. Although said to be still in the planning phase, reports indicate the government has already started planting cameras in areas of Tehran where protesters have gathered in huge numbers in the past. It is said to be a way for pinpointing individual protesters for arrests and also better coordination of security forces in case of protests. It is interesting to note that Ahmadinejad has opposed the idea.
3. Heavy sand storms have hit Tehran and according to sources within the city, the entire city is affected by low visibility. Confirmed reports indicate that protesters are quietly going through the city and writing anti-government slogans on city walls, using the storm to their advantage.
4. Recently, a lot of news has been circulating about IRG and military clashes over how to deal with protests. Although we’ve been hearing a lot about it, the more reliable twitter sources have not been able to confirm anything in this regard.
5. Mehdi Karoubi today stated that they will continue to fight even though it looks as if resistance will become more difficult. He mocked Ahmadinejad for ordering a probe into Neda Agha-Soltan’s death while many more people have been killed in the unrests. He claimed that the government had completely ruined the reputation of the Basij by ordering it to act violently during the protests. He further asked the government to stop the spree-killings during protests.
7. Reliable sources have indicated that Mir Hossein Mousavi will be creating a new party in order to further their goals of nullifying the election. Among the many instances of fraud in the election that have been claimed by Mousavi is the alleged printing of 20 million extra votes by the government in order to fill boxes with votes for Ahmadinejad.
8. It is continually being hinted that Rafsanjani is working frantically behind doors to find a solution to the current stalemate. Reports indicate that he has stepped up pressure on the Guardian Council and is working to weaken their sway over the security forces as well as the Iranian regime. Nothing is fully confirmed at this point, although the sources who have reported this are quit reliable. In a meeting with families of detainees, he said that what has happened since the election has been a bitter experience and that Iranians should join hands and help make the regime stable in the long-term.3
9. Several high-ranking officials within the government or related to government officials have been disowned by their parents. In the latest case, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s son-in-law was disowned by his father. Mahdi Khorsheedi’s father said on Saturday that he no longer had a son named Mahdi because Mahdi Khorsheedi had sided with Ahmadinejad in the post-election unrest.
Arrests, Releases, Fatalities
10. Isa Saharkhiz, a prominent Iranian journalist and founder of IAPPF (Iranian Association for Protection of Press Freedom) was arrested on Friday. Another reformist and member of Musharekat Party (IIPF), Jalal Mohammadlou was arrested while on his way to the hospital. Two prominent members of Musharekat Party, Saeed Hajjarian and Mohsen Amin-Zadeh, both of whom had already been arrested and released earlier in the uprising, have now been transferred to an IRG hospital in Tehran. According to sources, Hajjarian is in failing health.
11. Masood Bastani, an Iranian journalist and the husband of detained Iranian journalist Mehsa Amrabadi, was detained while he was at court seeking information about his wife. Mahsa was detained 20 days ago and is with child. Their house had previously been raided, but Masood hadn’t been home while the security forces caused serious damage to their property.
12. It has now been confirmed that the lone UK Embassy staffer in custody is being charged with endangering Iranian national security and is the Embassy’s senior political analyst. Most detainees that were arrested in the post-election unrest have been charged with attempting to endanger national security. So far, 20 journalists are also in Iranian prisons. A Greek-born American journalist working for the Washington Times has now been released by the Iranian government. Bita Samimi Rad, a leftist student activist, has now also been released from Evin Prison.
13. Members of Mourning Mothers, a group that was formed by mothers of detained protesters to seek their release, who had been arrested in Laleh Park last week have now been freed. The group has planned more gatherings in Tehran in the next week to try and seek the release of their loved ones.
14. Hamid Maddah, a core member of Mousavi’s campaign in Mashhad, died in custody on Saturday. He had been arrested in Gowharshad Mosque along with many other Mousavi supporters. According to sources, he had been tortured badly and wasn’t able to recover. The official death certificate registers the cause of death as internal bleeding in the skull.
15. There are reports surfacing of the wide-spread use of torture and intimidation in Evin prison. Protesters are regularly beaten, sources claim, and there have been instances of male protesters being raped. Unconfirmed reports also indicate of several protesters being hanged at Evin and in Mashhad, but they cannot be confirmed at this point.
Government / International / Clergy
16. The Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom released a statement on Saturday calling the election invalid and the government formed by it illegitimate. The association boasts within its ranks respected clerics and Shi’ite teachers that reside in the holy city of Qom, a center for Islamic learning for Shi’ites. It had been reported before, on the Green Briefs and other outlets, that there were intense negotiations going on in Qom. This seems to be only the tip of the iceberg and sources indicate more is soon to follow in the form of support for reformists and protesters.
17. Ahmadinejad on Saturday told a meeting of medical school deans that he wanted to hold negotiations with President Barack Obama before the media. He stated that he would go to the United Nations and ask President Obama for the opportunity. The White House has not released any comments about the offer. Ahmadinejad also indicated the Iran will pursue more active diplomacy in his second term.
18. Ayatollah Hashemi Shahrodi, the head of Iran’s judiciary, asked courts throughout the country to prosecute people who are aiding protesters through websites. He has also ordered an overall clampdown on anyone ‘using any means’ to help protesters. Furthermore, Sharhodi has ordered the prosecution of people who’re ‘helping to spread lies about Iran through satellite channels’.
20. Mohammad Mollabashi, a government official in the Ministry of Education, has stated that students who have been active in ‘riots’ will not be permitted to pursue their education in Iran.
Media / Communications
21. Fars News alleged on Sunday that Mousavi’s campaign headquarters was nothing but a meeting point for sexual-deviant Iranian youth. He claimed that many of these people wanted to help Mousavi to gain sexual freedom. The editor-in-chief of Keyhan newspaper has said that any party formed by Mousavi is illegal as Mousavi’s responsible for spilling Iranians’ blood.
22. Several prominent television personalities have now been banned from IRIB. The editor of Etemaade Melli newspaper was again summoned on Sunday by the public prosecutor’s office in Tehran. He was there to answer accusations of involvement in ‘riots’ by the newspaper’s staff and support for them by the newspaper.
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Labels: The Green Brief #18-19