I’m NiteOwl AKA Josh Shahryar – twitter.com/iran_translator on twitter – and I’ve been immersed in tweets from Iran for the past several hours. I have tried to be extremely careful in choosing my tweet sources. What I have compiled below is what I can confirm through my reliable twitter sources. Remember, this is all from tweets.
These are the important happenings that I can positively confirm from Thursday, July 02 in Iran.
1. Thousands of people gathered at Iran’s Beheshte Zahra Cemetery and other smaller cemeteries to mourn the people who’ve died in the protests. The numbers were hard to confirm, but various sources claimed somewhere between 10-15 thousands. Large numbers of Basijis were reported to have been stationed in and around Beheshte Zahra, but no clashes were reported. Shopkeepers in Tabriz shopkeepers have reportedly stopped their strikes because of government intimidation and threats by the Basijis.
2. Mousavi’s Facebook page asked for protesters to form a human chain on Sunday, however, this could not be confirmed through other sources. This while about 120 women from the group Mourning Mothers gathered at Laleh Park again today and lit candles in memory of the fallen protesters. They have planned mass gatherings in Laleh, Andisheh and Mellat parks for July 4. Some relatives of detainees gathered in front of Evin Prison again today and asked for the release of their loved ones.
Government / International
3. Hard-line parliament members today again called on the Judiciary to prosecute Mousavi for allegedly breaking the law by calling protests and for instigating violence. The call had been made in the past as well and several state-run newspapers have also made similar demands in the past few days. Unconfirmed reports from Qom and Khorasan indicate that more clerics are considering to denounce the government’s actions in the past week and to declare the protests legitimat
4. Samareh Hashemi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign manager, told PressTV today that the SMS outage and cell phone service restrictions were put in place to “ensure security” during and after the election. He added that Mousavi wasn’t really an opposition leader because he’s views closely matched those of the governments. He claimed that all the candidates fully know that the election was as impartial as any and that no voting fraud had taken place.
5. More international pressure is being mounted as in a meeting next week; EU member nations will consider pulling their ambassadors from Iran because of the government’s actions. Russia’s foreign ministry announced today that Russia opposed international sanctions against Iran and that the election and its aftermath were Iran’s internal issues that needed to be dealt with by Iranians, MosNews reported. A former Justice Minister of Canada, Irwin Cotler, has asked the international community to ban Ahmadinejad from entering their countries, Deutsche-Welle reported.
6. An Egyptian lawyer belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, Mamdouh Ismail, has filed a complaint in the prosecutor general’s office in Egypt asking them to ban Ahmadinejad from entering Egypt next month to attend a diplomatic meeting there. He has accused him of winning the election fraudulently and insulting two of Prophet Mohammed’s companions. This was reported on Al-Arabiya’s website.
Arrests, Casualties, Releases
7. Seven people were arrested in Qazvin today in connection with the protests. The head of Participation Front in Hormozgan province, Mr. Ramezanpour, was arrested there today. The government-owned media now claims that 20 people have died in the post-election protests. Real numbers are hard to obtain, but the number is reportedly much more than what the Iranian media reported. Iranian journalists Maryam Ameri and Omid Mohaddes were released from prison today in Tehran.
8. However, Saeed Hajjarian – a prominent politician and backer of Mousavi – is being said to be in deteriorating health. Amnesty International today once again called upon the government to release Hajjarian. On Wednesday News Week asked Iran for immediate release of their reporter Maziar Bahari who had been detained earlier and rejected accusations by the Iranian media that Bahari had a hand in the post-election violence. He was arrested on June 21 and has been denied access to a lawyer.
9. Meanwhile media reports of six protesters being hanged in Evin were denied by the government. Iranian Students News Agency reported on their website that the six people were accused of killing their spouses and other people. They didn’t indicate that any of the people were implicated because of any involvement in the protests.
10. Interpol today denied that the witness to Neda Agha-Soltan’s death is wanted by the Interpol. They also denied receiving any requests from the Iranian government for his arrest. Iranian media and government have claimed that the witness, Arash Hejazi, was wanted by the Interpol. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Iranian government’s intelligence agencies as well as the Ministry of Islamic Guidance are compiling a list of Iranian journalists which will be barred from traveling abroad.
11. Reports of torture at Evin and other Iranian prisons are mounting. Some sources claim that detainees are being beaten every night and others are being water-boarded with hot water in order to get confessions from them.
12. Yet another Ayatollah has joined the cause of the protesters. Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani today said that demand for justice and protesting for one’s rights was legal. He also denounced the suppression of protesters and called the act illegitimate. He asked Mousavi to stand for justice and help people get their rights. Zanjani joins Ayatollahs Taheri, Ghaffari and Montazeri in their support for the cause of the protesters. Karoubi announced again today that he would not recognize the government and would continue to stand by people demanding for their rights till the end of his life.
13. It has also been reported that Rafsanjani, who is also one of the Imams who rotate leading Friday prayers in Tehran’s largest mosques, has for the second week decided to not lead the prayers. Last week, his spot was first filled by Khamenei, but Khamenei pulled out at the last minute leaving Ahmad Khatami to lead the prayers. Rafsanjani is not planning to attend this Friday’s prayer either.
14. Parlemaan News’ website has been blocked by the government. The website was one of the only remaining sources of impartial news for the Iranian people. The government closed it after it posted several of Mousavi’s statements and Khatami’s criticism of the government. Parlemaan News – parlemaan means parliament in persian – is the official news webstie of the Imam’s Way faction of MP’s in the Iranian parliament. They had been warned last week by security forces and the Judiciary to restrict criticism of the government.
15. The BBC reported today that the Kingdom of Jordan had banned Iran’s state-run Al-Alam and Press TV stations from broadcasting in Jordan and revoked their operation permits. Al-Alam broadcasts news in Arabic and Press TV is the main English language news channel of Iran. The latter today showed footage of what it called ‘thugs attacking Basiji Headquarters in Tehran’ which showed several protesters chanting in front of the headquarters at an unspecified date. The footage didn’t show any of the ‘thugs’ actually using any of Molotov cocktails they were holding.
16. Even though SMS was back in Tehran yesterday, reports indicate that it has been cut-off once again. Sources indicated that they’d asked twitter users from Tehran to not text each other using the service because it could be a ploy by the government to find dissidents. There are reports that Iran’s main telecom companies were trained in China in how to how weed out dissidents using their data posted on the net as well as monitoring and other techniques.
17. Even though yesterday’s news of four unopened ballot boxes being found in Shiraz couldn’t be verified, reliable sources indicate that the governor of Fars province where Shiraz is located announced today that the boxes were from past elections. He added that they will be stored as national documents. Mohammad Reza Nasab-Abdollahi, the journalist that broke the news, has been reportedly intimidated by the government and is being pressured to recant his report and deny the claim.
18. Chants of Allah o Akbar again echoed across Iran. Reports have suggested that dozens of people – in some cases the residents of entire apartment buildings – have been arrested by Basijis for chanting on their rooftops at night. Residents in Northern Tehran have also been warned that they could either stop chanting or risk losing their satellite antennas – which are illegal in the country, but widely owned by the public.