Thursday’s events

— A number of posts on Twitter say Moussavi has issued a rallying call to the world to turn their capital cities into  “seas of green” on Sunday as an act of solidarity with the Iranian protesters.

— They were back on the rooftops in force in the night shouting Allah-o Akbar, ya Hossein, mir Hossein. If you don’t believe me The Huffington Post has a  video of  it.

— There is some confusion as to what exactly is going to happen Friday, the day of all-important Friday prayers. What is known is that Khamenei is going to address the city’s big prayers gathering (with unconfirmed reports of people being bussed in from surrounding areas for the big occasion). Other reports say Moussavi and perhaps some of the other “moderates” might join in. But on Twitter claims that another opposition “sea of green” rally  is on tomorrow or has been cancelled are running at about 50-50.

Timesonline reports Khamenei’s call to Moussavi to toe the line and stand beside him at Friday prayers, during which he is expected to issue a call for national unity.

— Another big demonstration took place in Tehran and other cities, this time to mourn those killed in previous clashes.  This report sums it up but misses what Moussavi told the crowds centred on Imam Khomeini Square. For that we again have to thank our Twitter posters. Here are their edited highlights:

This government is not what Imam Khomeini wanted for Iran. I will change all this – this is the sea of green. We are Muslims – what is happening in the Iranian government is a sin. I know of no being  who places himself ahead of 20 million of the nation.

I have come to you [today] because of the corruption in Iran[‘s government] What have you done with $300 billion in the last four years – where is the wealth of the nation? 25% inflation means ignorance, thieving, corruption. Where is the wealth of my nation?

Why do all our young people want to leave this country?

I have come to be accountable to you my people and to this world. I have come to represent the poor the helpless the hungry.  Iran must participate in fair elections; it is a matter of national importance. The next government  of Iran will be chosen by the people.

The BBC adds this dispatch of comments from Iranians who have contacted it. One unnamed correspondent said the crowd was enormous. “It is, in effect, a funeral procession for the eight people who were killed here in Tehran on Monday [some unconfirmed reports now put the figure as high as 12], and the perhaps seven or so who have been killed in other parts of the country. But the most remarkable thing about this demonstration is the complete silence. The only sound is a certain amount of conversation. There is no shouting, no chanting – just a really dignified silence.”

— Questions were raised, not least on the guardian website, about the whereabouts of Ahmadinejad. The BBC said he had appeared on state TV to qualify his weekend comments comparing the protesters to angry football fans. The Wall Street Journal, however, said it was a recorded message. In it, the BBC says, the President said: “I meant those who riot, those who set fire [to buildings] and attack people… I said those individuals… are aliens to our nation.” He then said of the election: “Everyone is a winner. Iranians are very much valued and respected, and the cabinet belongs to all Iranians.” That, it can be noted, is not in the dismissive, confrontational vein of previous days. Has someone had a word with him?

— Another straw in the wind was a statement by the Assembly of Experts, headed by Rafsanjani and responsible for picking and monitoring the Supreme Leader, which was as significant for what it left out as for what it said. Again according to the BBC, the assembly welcomed the election turnout and congratulated Iranian voters on their 85% turnout and  – that’s it. No mention of the rigging claims, but equally no mention of Ahmadinejad’s stunning victory.  One senses a message to Khamenei to clean up the mess pronto or it might have to take sides.

— A small sign of the power struggle taking place was reports that “students” outside the prosecutor’s office in Tehran protested against Rafsanjani and his family and their role in events.  Fars news agency said his daughter, Faezeh, who had addressed an opposition rally on Tuesday, and her brother Mehdi had been barred from leaving the country pending an investigation of their activities.

— The Guardian Council, which says it is  investigating 646 complaints of election irregularities, has invited the three defeated candidates for talks on Saturday.

— Fars agency is quoted as saying the wife of the assassinated President Rajai has been arrested in Qom with a number of other prominent women who were planning a protest sit-in.

— The American NIAC website reports on what it calls the tragic irony that Microsoft has blocked its instant messaging service in Iran, blaming US sanctions laws, even though the US Treasury has apparently said such activity was not prohibited. “The receipt or transmission of postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other personal communications, which does not involve the transfer of anything of value, between the United States and Iran is authorized,” it said. Microsoft apparently acted without any official prompring. The NIAC’s take? “At a time like this, it sure would be nice to be able to have as much access as possible to the Iranians on the ground, letting them tell the world what is actually going on.  It’s a shame that they have to fight against their own government’s repression and censorship and at the same time struggle with America’s attempt to isolate the Iranian regime at the expense of its people.”

— The  Etemaad Persian news website reports that fighting broke out in parliament over the violent activities of plainclothes security police.  Pro and anti Ahmadinejad members of the parliament “started slapping and pushing each other”. The Huffington Post has a fuller translation.

— Here’s one I missed earlier. The Views from the Occident site reports a number of grand ayatollahs joining Montazeri in questioning the election results and crackdown on protests – Gulpaygani, Makarem-Shirazi, Ardebili and Saanei.

— The Wall Street Journal says that among the hundreds of people detained this week have been former lawmakers, cabinet members, journalists, bloggers, political analysts and advisers, student activists and lawyers. These include: Saeed Leylaz, an economist and editor of Iran’s main financial newspaper, taken from his home at dawn Wednesday; Hamid Reza Jalaipur, a sociology professor and senior adviser to Moussavi; and  Mohamad Atrianfar, editor in chief of a number of newspapers and magazines that have been shut. The paper quotes Said Abitaleb, who has switched sides to support Moussavi, as saying: “It’s a test of wills for the country’s political future. They can’t arrest hundreds of thousands of people off the streets, but they can show them who is in charge through these arrests.”

— Keep an eye on Press TV, the English language arm of Iran’s state broadcaster. It dutifully reports all the state stories about bomb plots against the regime and foreign interference etc etc, but also includes a quite even-handed report of Thursday’s big Moussavi rally, tops it’s home news index with a picture of a woman pro-Moussavi protester giving a V-for-victory sign, and has a big report quoting Hilary Clinton as saying the last thing America wants is to interfere in the Iranian election process. Curiouser and curiouser.


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