Iran Live-Blog: June 12, 2010 (22 Khordad)

The First Anniversary of the Election in Iran

This live-blog is now closed. For a recap, including more videos and analysis, see my article here.

Other Live-blogs of this event: Daily Nite Owl, Enduring America, Iran News Now.

Sunday, June 13, 01:11 Tehran (Saturday, June 12, 20:41 GMT) – I’m still working, but here is the initial analysis:

The videos look great, our contacts were upbeat, and the buzz on the street is that Green is back. There’s a few media sources that say otherwise, to which, for now, I will simply respond with this:

Josh Shahryar’s analysis and Enduring America’s videos.

Bottom line seems to be this: Green is back in town.

20:03 Tehran (15:33 GMT) – There are unconfirmed reports of protests in Tabriz, Sanandaj, Ahvaz,Shiraz, Mashhad, Isfahan, Zahedan, Sari, Kerman and Aryashahr.

There are also more reports of Basij activity, protests, clashes, annd even gunshots in Tehran. All of these are very hard to pin down and confirm, but we do know that there were fairly widespread protests throughout Tehran. No idea how many protesters were involved.

There has been a great deal of debate about the videos, especially the one from Sharif University (posted below), but I believe that this is the most reliable video yet. The way these things work, we’ll be getting new videos and pictures as the hours and days go by.

Updates will be sporadic for quite some time. The perils of not working for CNN means that some of us have to go work a job. So please check the other blogs while I’m gone (listed above) for updates.

Azadi.

18:46 Tehran (14:16 GMT) – Multiple reliable sources have confirmed that the police have blocked off the Westbound direction of Enghelab Avenue in the direction of Azadi Square. In parts of the city of Tehran, batons and tear gas have been used. There have also been multiple reports of gunshots (which could be tear gas) but these have been unconfirmed.

There are also unconfirmed reports that protests have started in Isfahan.

18:42 Tehran (14:12 GMT) – According to Enduring America:

Human Rights Activists News Agency are reporting at least 10 people detained, with security forces using tear gas and baton, in Tehran clashes.

18:36 Tehran (14:06 GMT) – Reports from an UNCONFIRMED course: “Protesters have torched trash bins in Valiasr Street towards Enqelab Square.”

Also, we’ve received some reliable confirmation on some news. Josh Shahryar can confirm that there was teargas used in Amirabad, and Radio Farda has confirmed many of the protests and clashes.

Somebody showed up after all. Too early to tell how many.

18:20 Tehran (13:50 GMT) – There are multiple reports (that might all be relying on the same report) that crowds of people are attempting to ready Tehran University, site of a suspected clash between students and security forces, but they are being blocked from doing so.

18:14 Tehran (13:43 GMT) – Report from Reza Sayah (CNN) is claiming that there have been clashes in Vali Asr Square, where three have been blindfolded and taken away on motorcycles. There are other reports that callers into E-Persian radio have heard gunshots in the area. No confirmation.

Earlier, there were reports that the government had ordered security forces to aim “below the waste” if they had to fire into the crowds in order to avoid making martyrs. This has also been unconfirmed, and may be rumor.

18:04Tehran (13:34 GMT) – Scott Lucas: “1320 GMT: There are indications that, in addition to Shiraz (see 1220 GMT), there will be protests in Tabriz & Mashaad at 5:30 p.m. local time (1400 GMT).”

17:41 Tehran (13:11 GMT) -New video (OnlyMehdi) Tehran – Sharif University protests – unconfirmed by reliable.


17:37 Tehran (13:07 GMT) – via Twitter: ” @sayahcnn: Tehran witnesses sat 530pm: Many Basij & Sec forces waiting in local schools & mosques #iranelection”

17:34 Tehran (13:04 GMT) –  DailyniteOwl (Josh Shahryar) – “Unconfirmed reports of security forces using tear gas in Amirabad are also coming in.”

17:30 Tehran (13:00 GMT) – According to Reza Sayah (CNN), police are lining the streets from Azadi Square to Enghelab Square. Also, a different and very reliable source said that Enghelab Square is quickly filling up with protesters and security forces, and many shops are now closed.

17:26 Tehran (12:46 GMT) – “Authority and Security” maneuver – Prior to today, the police announced that they would be ramping up security in a show of force (a la “Shock and Awe”) in order to discourage protesters from the streets. According to Rahana, “Tehran governor Morteza Tamaddon said on Friday that any type of chaos across the city will be treated according to the law.”

17:18 Tehran (12:55 GMT) – Trying to confirm, but according to Enduring America:

Reza Sayah of CNN reports from sources: “Packs of riot police roaming Azadi Ave. Basij waiting in mosque at Kaj Square”.

An Iranian activist claims, “Plainclothes on their motorbikes are wandering and shouting ‘Death to the traitors; to scare people.”

17:05 Tehran (12:35 GMT) – Partially confirmed reports of clashes inside Tehran University. Also, there are reports (according to Josh Shahryar) that there are pro-Green Movement chants at Tehran University and Sharif Industrial University. There are unconfirmed reports that there is chanting in Enghelab Square, where security forces are gathering.

16:59 Tehran (12:29 GMT) – Scott Lucas: “Totally reliable info — Protest in Shiraz will be 5:30 p.m. (1400 GMT)”

16:55 Tehran (12:25 GMT)Josh Shahryar points out the obvious, which we all missed – As E-Persian Radio is reporting that people are slowly making their way into the streets, Josh points out that A) it is a work day and people are just now getting off work, and B) It’s like a million degrees in Tehran. As the sun goes down, activity goes up.

16:06 Tehran (11:35 GMT) – Only Mehdi (Mehdi Saharkhiz) has posted the video of security forces in Ferdowsi Square.

15:53 Tehran (11:23 GMT) – A new video from Only Mehdi showing security forces near Hafte Tir Square, near Karim Khan bridge. Also, I amended my previous update (below)

15:38 Tehran (11:08 GMT) – There are unconfirmed reports of clashes at Hasef Bridge in Tehran. We are treating these reports with caution, as there have been problems verifying any of the information from these sources so far today. It is also suspicious that there are reports that traffic is flowing normally, without heavy security in the intersections, and internet is operating at normal speeds. The patterns don’t fit each other, so until we can confirm… stay tuned.

There are also several videos that have surfaced, allegedly filmed today, of some security forces and anti-riot vehicles in Tehran, Ferdowsi Square (which is near Hasef Square, so we’ll try to verify clashes near there). However, there have been reports of heavy security all week long, so this would not be surprising.

Also, Iran’s top military commander has activated the Psychological Operations Command of Iran’s armed forces in order to combat the Green Movement through propaganda and cyberwar.

14:53 Tehran (10:23 GMT) – According to Enduring America, Reza Sayah of CNN has Tweeted that by 12:00 Tehran time there were no signs of security forces at major intersections and squares.  There also are only unconfirmed reports of protests. However, as the (now cancelled) official rally was to take place starting at 4 PM (16:00) local time, it may be unlikely that there will be much protesting action before that point in the day.

Also, internet connection in Iran had slowed to a trickle a few hours ago, as had SMS and cell phone service, but communication seems to have returned to normal speeds.

11:38 Tehran (07:07 GMT) – While we wait for more news out of Iran, I figured I’d post a very compelling documentary. Since before 22 Bahman, I have been working with a documentary crew from Guardian.co.uk, and they finished this project this past week.

“Tomorrow will mark a year since the post-election violence in Iran. In today’s Guardian and on Guardian.co.uk – an investigation by Guardian Films and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism exposes disaffection within the revolutionary Guard at the crushing of dissent by the Iranian regime. Four former Guard members discuss why they chose to flee.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/jun/11/iran-revolutionary-guard-defectors

11:29 Tehran (06:49 GMT) – There are reports of heavy security in Tehran, which has been ramping up for several days now. Also, there are unconfirmed reports of helicopters circling the sky there.

10:37 Tehran (06:07 GMT) – Signs of life in the night. Since last June, protesters have often led chants from their rooftops after dark.  In this video, taken last night, one can clearly head “Marg Bar Khamenei (death to Khamenei),” and possibly “Khamenei leave my country !” and “Death to the Islamic regime!”

10:10 Tehran (05:40 GMT) – An unconfirmed report from a source in Iran:

– a confidential directive has been issued by higher organs within the regime that in case of the severity of the protests in Jun 12,(Saturday) and in case situation gets out of hand the suppressive organs are permitted to shoot the protesters but from waist down. The reason is put as such: “last years those killed became heroes” and the suppressive forces are told not to kill anyone if they are forced to shoot.

09:57 Tehran (05:27 GMT)

From Twitter, just moments ago:

Iran Elections News #iranelection SMS threat sent to people ““Dear citizen, you have been tricked by the foreign media and you are working on their behalf,” the message read. “If you do this again, you will be dealt with according to Islamic law.”(Setareh)

This morning I received a comment  on one of my newer articles, “Unity and the Many Voices of Dissent in Iran,” from a source inside Iran, perhaps a first for me.

The following is an update from Iran News Now:

[9:15 AM Tehran Time]

Citizen journalist Persian Banoo reported about 10 hours ago that a friend of hers reports that police entered their apartment building because of chants of “Allah-o-Akbar”. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, and why it is significant as a form of protest, “Allah-o-Akbar” means “God is Great” in Arabic, and it is a phrase that was used during the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran. It is an Islamic phrase that the people of Iran are now co-opting to protest against the regime and government of Ayatollah Khamenei and “President” Ahmadinejad. It’s ironic because the slogan used to be a sign of support for the Islamic Republic, and now it is in protest to it (or at the very least its current leaders). The fact that the regime has been arresting people for using this slogan to protest the current government shows its hypocrisy.

08:59 Tehran (04:29 GMT) – My newest article, “The Green Movement in Iran Is Alive, and Important,” was published to the Huffington Post today. It was pinned to the Front Page the entire day, and was the top featured blog in both the “World” and “Iran” pages for most of the day. In my experience, this kind of thing is unprecedented. I’d like to thank editor Nico Pitney for all the support he has given to the Green Movement.

We have friends at the Huffington Post, though you couldn’t tell by the comments.

This kind of press is especially appreciated, as the topic of my article was the misrepresentation of the so-called “Twitter Revolution,” the nuclear issue, and the Green Movement (often painted as dead for lack of protests). Revolutions take time, and the Green Movement is making rapid progress when compared with many other, similar, movements.

08:35 Tehran (04:05 GMT) – From Iran News Now:

Karim Sadjaipour wrote an article for Foreign Policy titled: “Even the Regime Hates the Regime” in which he quotes “a scion of a powerful clerical family”:

Too often we underestimate the sustainability of morally bankrupt regimes that have mastered the art of repression coupled with financial co-optation. In the cynical words of a scion of a powerful clerical family, who told me once: “When you have control over the oil revenue, you can run this country with a few million supporters and 20,000 people who are willing to kill and die for you.” Maybe, though that formula did not work for the shah.

08:30 Tehran (04:00 GMT) – One year. For me, it hasn’t been a whole year yet since I took the tumble down the rabbit hole called #iranelection. I didn’t start to tweet Iran’s news until June 16th. However, I firmly remember going to bed on the night of the 12th and wondering whether there would be a run-off election.

There will be. It just might take a few years.

Throughout the day I will be publishing the information I know, analyzing the information I’ve posted, and telling some of the untold stories of Iran in the last year.

T-minus 38 miuntes: The World Cup Supports the Green Movement

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