Iran: revolution or reform?

Larijani criticizes Guardian Council, IRIB

Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani suggests that some of the members in the Guardian Council have sided with a certain candidate in the June 12 presidential election.

Speaking live on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Saturday, the speaker said that “a majority of people are of the opinion that the actual election results are different than what was officially announced.”

“The opinion of this majority should be respected and a line should be drawn between them and rioters and miscreants,” he was quoted as saying by Khabaronline — a website affiliated with him. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Is Larijani trying to split the protest movement or save it? He’s certainly making a direct challenge to Khamenei’s endorsement of the election result.

If a mass protest devolves into a succession of running street fights, it seems likely that eventually the security forces will win. New tactics are called for.

Fighting over the revolution

The Islamic Republic, by contrast, was born in a people’s revolution and built on faith in a religion that is deeply held by most Iranians. The state’s ideology is not the hollow construct of political elites, as communism was by the time it collapsed in much of Eastern Europe. Rather, Iranian Islamism was forged over decades, in long struggle with the despotic regime of Mohammad Reza Shah, and from the potent raw materials of Iranian nationalism and Islam. Although the country’s constituency for democracy is vast and growing, the regime has a constituency, too, and it is passionately loyal and heavily armed.

The purpose of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij is the defense of the Islamic Revolution and the Supreme Leader. Rarely have the true believers in the militias been forced to consider the possibility that these two functions might come into conflict. Such a moment may have arrived. It is one thing to unleash brutal force on crowds that insult the Leader or Islam. That was how the members of the Revolutionary Guards and Basij could defend their assault on demonstrators at Tehran University in 1999. But now, in the name of Ahmadinejad’s controversial presidency, they are being asked to violently disperse fellow Iranians who are chanting religious slogans, carrying Korans, and calling for the lawful counting of their votes. Whether or not the rumors of splits at the top of the Revolutionary Guards’ hierarchy are true, the rank and file is not necessarily monolithic. [continued…]

Her name was Neda

The global community has been galvanized by the tweets, Facebook logins, cellphone pictures and reports from Iran. Now comes this video of a young a woman shot in Tehran by Basiji police force, which I came across after seeing “neda” and “#neda” on Twitter, where the words kept showing up in in the Tehran and Iran threads. “Neda” means “call” or “proclamation” in Farsi, an odd and chilling coincidence. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — The Basijis’ tactics at this point appear brutal and calculated. There will be no Tiananmen-style mass slaughter. Instead, snipers will pick easy targets in order to send a message. Then at night when YouTube loses much of its force, the Basijis go on the rampage, destroying property and terrorizing neighborhoods.

Larijani: Critics separate themselves from rioters

Ian’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani urges ‘politicians and candidates’ to separate themselves from rioters and seek legal channels to prove their claims.

“The issue can not be taken forward by shouting fraud, stirring the mood, and dragging the issue to the streets,” Larijani said in a Saturday televised interview.

“We must separate those who have burnt people’s shops in the streets and harmed the police and Basij (volunteer militias) forces, who are the guardians of the country, from the critics of the election results,” he added. [continued…]

Iran TV reports 10 killed in Saturday protests

At least 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured during yesterday’s protests in Tehran, state-run television said today.

The news came as Iran braced itself for the possibility of further post-election confrontations. Unconfirmed reports suggested the death toll could be much higher.

State television said the deaths happened during clashes between police and “terrorist groups”. [continued…]

Reporters’ log

We have this daily cry now from the roofs of Allahu Akhbar – God is Great – it’s an opposition protest and night after night it seems to get louder and longer.

Tonight was the loudest and longest I’ve heard, and that really symbolises and shows you the mood of the opposition here.

Whatever happens, whatever the government is putting up against them, they seem more and more determined to press on. [continued…]

‘Five Hashemi-Rafsanjani relatives arrested’

Iranian security forces have arrested five close relatives of Iran’s Expediency Council head Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, including his daughter Faezeh Hashemi.

Last night, five members of the former president’s family were arrested, Iran Newspaper on Network reported.

The five include Faezeh Hashemi and her daughter, as well as Hossein Mar’ashi’s wife, daughter, and sister-in-law — Mar’ashi is a cousin to Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s wife. [continued…]

Repression stepped up yet again as Iran becomes world’s biggest prison for journalists

The Islamic Republic of Iran now ranks alongside China as the world’s biggest prison for journalists. The crackdown has been intensified yet again following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s endorsement of the result of the 12 June presidential election and the opposition’s decision to call another demonstration on 20 June.

Iran now has a total of 33 journalists and cyber-dissidents in its jails, while journalists who could not be located at their homes have been summoned by telephone by Tehran prosecutor general Said Mortazavi. [continued…]

Preliminary analysis of the voting figures in Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election

Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, this paper offers some observations about the official data and the debates surrounding the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election. [continued…]

Obama says ‘justice’ is needed for Iranians

President Obama ratcheted up his language against Iran’s leadership on Saturday, in a statement that invoked the American civil rights movement as an analogy for what was unfolding on the streets of Tehran.

“Martin Luther King once said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’ ” Mr. Obama said in a statement released after security forces in the Iranian capital clashed repeatedly with protesters. “I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian people’s belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.”

Mr. Obama’s remarks came after intense debate and multiple meetings all day Saturday at the White House, administration officials said, and reflected growing concern within the administration that the violence in Iran could continue to escalate. [continued…]

Twitter fraud? Embassy stories of taking in injured protesters “flawed”

Yesterday and today, there has been a great deal of Twitter traffic about embassies that were taking in injured protesters. The Canadians were under attack on Twitter for not taking in protesters until it was reported, again on Twitter, that the Canadians were looking for doctors to be able and help.

A high quality map of Tehran-based foreign embassies taking in those who needed help was distributed. I posted the link on my blog here at The Washington Note.

And then a counter campaign also appeared warning those injured to stay away from Embassies because the basij were waiting for them at the embassy entrances.

I now must publicly question the entire exchange over twitter. I did get my link to the embassy roster and map — not from twitter — but from a friend who is an Iranian diplomat that has been stationed in an Asian country. I don’t think he maliciously sent be bad information, but I do think he may have recycled other material that was being pushed out through the new media. [continued…]

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