Tuesday – running information

— This tonight from tweeter @kiwiaviator: “1000’s on balconys – Tehran is alive with sound of freedom – ‘Marg bar dictator’ [Death to the dictator]’.

— An intriguing article on the American website The Field suggests the main target of Tuesday’s ban on foreign reporting from the street was to prevent news seeping about the general strike, which appears to have had a certain amount of success. A few news organisations have reported businesses closed, many symbolically drawing their shutters half-way down. Although clearly biased, the “National Council of Resistance of Iran” reports that large sections of the bazaar were closed Tuesday following a number of closures the day before. “The merchants are on strike against the barbaric killing of people who took part in the courageous uprising against the mullahs’ regime.”

— According to this report one of Iran’s leading human rights lawyers was arrested Tuesday. As the police took Abdolfattah Soltani away they also confiscated papers and a computer.

— Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar MohtashamiPur, who heads Moussavi’s election monitoring committee, gave a press conference Tuesday at which he said they had evidence that in at least 70 districts more votes were counted than the number of eligible voters.  In some cases the figure was 140%.

— Several websites, such as this,  are posting the alleged letter from  Sadegh Mahsouli, the Interior Minister, to Khamenei last Saturday setting out the “true” election results. Seemingly written on official ministry notepaper, the letter gives the votes as: Mousavi 19,075,623,Karoubi 13,387,104,Ahmadinejad 5,698,417, Rezaie 3,754,218, spoiled  38,716. Total 42,026,078.

First reaction is that the figures are as hard to swallow as the official result, but it is occupying the conversations of Iran’s chattering classes. Some tweets have suggested the ministry man who leaked it has since met a mysterious death.

— According to several tweets there is to be another demonstration Wednesday at 5pm at Haft-e-Tir square.

— The parliamentarian Akbar Akami, considered a reformist, has published on  his personal website details of an attack on his home last night by the basij. It includes pictutes of the damage caused.

— I don’t know how many times I have seen Tweets suggesting the “army” is “entering Tehran” to move against the protesters. Nary a single thud of a military boot has been heard. Give it up guys.

Great cartoon

–The Huffington Post quotes NYT executive editor Bill Keller as saying that when he stopped off  at Qom, on the way to Isfahan, “my translator got a call on his cell phone from the ministry that oversees the press: ‘Please tell me, what is your program in Qom’.” Spookey eh? But his dispatch also suggests how disorientating Iran can be. “Yesterday I took a five-hour drive to Isfahan, in western Iran.” Sorry Bill, but you were actually travelling due south – the crow wouldn’t have beaten you by much.

— A reliable student Tweeter reports Iranian state TV showing two election specialists talking about the fact that it is impossible for the election to be a fraud because “we’re talking about a 10 million difference”.

— The excellent NIAC site reports that Grand Ayatollah Montazeri has issued a statement supporting the peaceful demonstrations, claiming that “no one in their right mind” can believe the  results of the election. It’s source is this website which carries links to the original statement in Persian and a translation of it which reads (slightly edited by me for clarity) as follows:

In the name of God

People of Iran

These past few days, we have witnessed the lively efforts of you brothers and sisters, old and young alike, from any social category, for the 10th presidential elections.

Our youth, hoping to see their rightful will fulfilled, came on the scene and waited patiently. This was the greatest occasion for the government’s officials to bond with their people.

Unfortunately, they used it in the worst way possible, declaring results that no one in their right mind can believe, and, despite all the evidence of crafted results, then  countered people’s protestations in front of the eyes of the same nation who carried the weight of a revolution and 8 years of war, in front of the eyes of local and foreign reporters, and attacked the children of the people with astonishing violence. And now they are attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and scientists.

Now, based on my religious duties, I will remind you :

1- A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views. I fear that this lead to the lost of people’s faith in Islam.

2- Given the current circumstances, I expect the government to take all measures to restore people’s confidence. Otherwise, as I have already said, a government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.

3- I invite everyone, especially the young, to continue reclaiming their dues in a calm manner, and not let those who want to associate this movement with chaos succeed.

4- I ask the police and army personell not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God. Recognize the protesting youths as your children. Today censorship and cutting telecommunication lines cannot hide the truth.

I pray for the greatness of the Iranian people.

That is one devastating message.

— It appears YouTube is continuing with its policy of taking down graphic videos of the violence in Iran. Latest to suffer was the Huffington Post which posted a video showing “a desperate group of people try to save a demonstrator who’s been stabbed, to no avail.” Unfortuinately, when you click the vid a notice appears saying it has been removed because of a “terms of use violation”. There have been many such reports on Twitter of videos being taken down by YouTube in this manner. You might think they have a case but, as the Post entry says: “I don’t enjoy posting this kind of content. But it helps those of us living in relative comfort understand the gravity of the situation, and supplants the dearth of coverage we are getting now that the foreign media has been clamped down.” I think that’s probably too many words for the YouTube guys to comprehend.

–America has deliberately sat rather quietly on the sidelines during all this, drawing some some moderate flak in the process.  But at least, as CNN reports, the State Department has been active in trying to ensure the few avenues of communication left to the opposition, most notably Twitter, remain open. State Department to Twitter: keep Iranian Tweets coming

— The New York Times reports on the growing press crackdown: “Press credentials of journalists temporarily in the country to cover the election were revoked; journalists stationed in Iran were required to get explicit permission to report beyond the confines of their offices. Reporters Without Borders said security services had moved into some newspaper offices to censor content and that four pro-reform newspapers have been closed or prevented from criticizing the official election results.” The newspaper’s report carries a picture suggesting Tuesday’s rally was again pretty big.

— First indications of Tuesday’s “clash of the Titans” suggests the opposition rally in north Tehran was larger than that mustered by supporters of Ahmadinejad. The BBC’s John Leyne says: From the television pictures, the size [of the Ahmadinejad gathering] was not clear, but it does not appear to have been on the scale of the opposition gatherings.” Of course, along with all other foreign correspondents, Leyne and his BBC colleagues are now prohibited from reporting from the streets themselves. The BBC report on the opposition rally is here. The suggestion is it was even bigger than Monday.

— Unconfirmed, but it’s becoming something of a Twitter chorus that foreign journalists have been banned from reporting from the streets. Clearly the forces of repression still have a huge grip on the levers of state. This could still all end in tears.

Reuters: Iran rules out annulment. It is now clear, also, that it will only be a partial recount of disputed areas (athough I imagine Moussavi disputes virtually every area). The same story quotes state television as saying the main perpetrators of the unrest had been arrested with explosives and guns.

— My student source says phone lines are being cut and the authorities have been scouring neighbourhoods to confiscate satellite dishes, which if memory serves me right are technically illegal  in Iran.

— Msnbc reports clashes in Tehran today

— An interesting “eyewitness” blog on the previous two days

— Keep an eye on this blogger, who also seems to have got well into the swing of things.

— Reuter reportedly quoting Moussavi spokesman advising people not to join today’s rally at 5pm (I think the horse has bolted on that one). There are signs Ahmadinejad supporters plan to join them! Also that Moussavi does not accept a recount but wants a new election.

— Ahmadinejad is in Russia shaking hands with the Russian president.

This website appears to be  “all you need to know about fighting the regime” . Advice on injuries, including gunshot wounds, using Twitter, proxies, the works! Slight problem might be that most Iranians can’t access the page but worth a try! It’s called: Where is their vote?

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