[3:21 PM Tehran Time]
I have to step away from the live-blog for a few hours. In the meantime, if you have been following us and would like to help out, please post new incoming Qods Day news in the comments section at the bottom of this live-blog post. Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook. Let the mainstream media know what’s going on as well.
If you are new here, you should start from the bottom of this live-blog entry and read upwards.
Again, please help us out by adding news that you come accross, including audio and video, links to important information, etc. into the comments section. When I return, I will place them into the live-blog entry.
Thank you, and God Bless and Protect Iran and all of the citizens of Iran who are seeking nothing more than their freedom. I had no doubt that we would get there someday. But after today I am even more confident that Iran will be free.
Until I return,
The Guardian has reported that people were shouting “Ahmadi, Ahmadi, Resign, Resign” during a radio broadcast all over IRIB on live Iranian TV. (That news just put a huge smile on my face). Here is the link: Guardian: Iran Protests Qods Day
And Associated Press reports on the attack on Khatami: Iran reformist attacked; Ahmadinejad slams Israel.
[3:05 PM Tehran Time]
Lots of videos of Qods day anti-government protests as well as videos of security presence on the streets starting to come in:
This one shows the security presence in Shiraz:
This video is interesting because it shows a crowd of Karoubi supporters chanting “Karoubi! Karoubi!” while clapping and marching. After several chants they start chanting “Marg bar diktator!” or “Down with the dictator!”:
This next video shows protesters at Vali Asr Square:
MikVerbrugge confirms that Mousavi is “under siege” at home. Josh Shahryar sent out an urgent tweet on Twitter saying that an Associated Free Press report and IRNA report has been circulating claiming that Mousavi showed up at the protests that this is NOT correct. The IRNA story is a complete fabrication. The regime is sending out misinformation.
There is also a report of cell phone service being cut at Vali Asr Square.
[2:29 PM Tehran Time]
Multiple sources are reported clashes between protesters and government security forces in various cities throughout Iran.
Reza Saya (sayaCNN on Twitter) has reported that CNN sources say there is a 3km to 4km stretch between Vali Asr Square and Laleh Park packed with tens of thousands of opposition supporters. This is HUGE news! There is simply no way that Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and their respective sycophants can claim that the opposition did not show up today. From what we have been reporting over the last several hours the Green Movement in Iran not only lives on, but it lives on strong.
Several other interesting updates since our last one:
MikVerbrugge reports that Hashemi Rafsanjani was at Enghelab Square (Revolution Square) in Tehran among Greens.
He reports of heavy beatings of people in Kargar Street by Basijis, and that Tehran Police have been disbursing and charging at Basiji plain-clothed agents, protecting the people. His report is corroborated by others. One report says that the people are actually thanking security forces (presumably for the protection against attacks by plain-clothed Basijis and government agents). Apparently, armed Basij stormed out of tents around Tehran University. Also, there is a report that forces are trying to gather around IRIB (the government broadcasting agency, a mouthpiece of the regime that is typically spewing government propoganda) because masses of people are approaching and there are no forces available to protect the building.
Basijis also attacked people in Valiasr Square, where thousand have marched (and continue to march). Some protesters are also moving towards Vanak Square. There are Greens everywhere in Tehran. People are singing the national anthem as they march through the streets.
[2:14 PM Tehran Time]
Josh Shahryar reports that the situation in Isfahan is very tense, with thousands of protesters gathered and hundreds of security forces present. Security forces attacked and beat people where they had gathered in Imam Hossein Square. Cell phone service in different parts of Isfahan have been cut off.
And (unconfirmed) Greens are marching in the city of Kermanshah.
[2:02 PM Tehran Time]
From MikVerbrugge: There are unconfirmed reports coming in that the Isfahan University is under attack. He also reports that people are attacking Basij everywhere.
[1:39 PM Tehran Time]
Photo taken in Tehran today, from a trusted source (click to enlarge):
According to the source, people in white clothes and green caps are police. MikVerbrugge is being told the picture shows police standing between the people and Basij but this is hard to tell.
Also, I just noticed on RetweetRadar.com, a site that monitors Twitter trends realtime, that IranNewsNow.com contributor MikVerbrugge is in the Top Retweeted People list! And Mehdi Saharkhiz’s (@onlymehdi’s) blog is listed in Top Retweeted Links (click to enlarge):
[1:31 PM Tehran Time]
Seems to corroborate the story we reported earlier. Especially since his turban appears to have been knocked off his head, which is what earlier reports claimed.
[1:27 PM Tehran Time]
Enduring America has a running summary of Ahmadinejads speech. This is excerpted from the site and must be read in reverse order:
0833 GMT: Ahmadinejad ends his speech.
0830 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “We want [Palestinian] refugees to come back and decide their own future. [But the Israelis] have built several scenarios to reduce the dimension of the Iranian people. They are rallying some people in New York. The Iranian nation shall not crush a single grain for these machinations. The Iranian people have declared that they are ready and stands by the values of its Leader. They struggle against tyrants and hold high the flag of freedom and justice and will never set it down.”
0827 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “Messages to nations friendly to this [Israeli, not Iranian, I presume] regime. This regime is nearing its end. Occupation and rape are nearing their end.”
“You shoot a million-dollar missile towards a smaller value building in Gaza. The million-dollar part cannot emerge victorious! This regime has no future. They are building walls along themselves. We advise you: relinquish support for the Zionists. This regime is doomed, do not attach yourself to it. Even if 1000 years would pass, the nations of the region will not acknowledge this regime or recognise it.”
0826 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “The influence of Zionism is permeating everywhere. When they influence, they will never leave. A US professor would tell me that one of them requested to be employed after no appointments were made in the past 5-6 years. He came back to that university a few years later. The faculty was infested with Zionists.”
0824 GMT: EA Correspondent – “Chants inside Tehran Uni exclusively in line with regime. There seems to be no Green presence inside.”
0822 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “Iranian people are the flagbearer of everything good in the world: justice, pureness, peace and friendship. Resistance towards this [Israeli] regime is a national and global duty. The people of Iran will never put this flag down. The only route for salvation is resisting the corrupt Zionist channel in the world. You should know that, due to God’s will, the final victory of the revolutionary people of the world front against Zionism is in our hands.”
0818 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “Some US, European politicians have told us, ‘You can shout against us, don’t shout slogans against these Zionists.’ They will put us under pressure. Big companies in Europe, US cannot do business unless they have Zionist stakeholders.” [Ahmadinejad’s get-out clause for Iran’s economic difficulties?]
“World should know that Zionism is the best example of racism. They are people that have no respect for anything but their own. Even the US president — should they manage it — they will assassinate him.”
0814 GMT: EA Correspondent – “Ahmadinejad still going on in same terms about Israel.”
0807 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “All the bits and pieces of Israel’s regime are against humanity. All of the components of Israel’s government and regime have no faith against faiths of the world.”
0802 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “We should have 72 countries in Europe. Even Russia has to be dismembered if every nation is to go independent.” [Hmm….Can’t see Moscow being too pleased about this.]
0800 GMT: Ahmadinejad – “The Europeans are supporting the crimes of the Zionists and are creating anti-Jewish sentiment to further the Israeli crowds. All are for domination on the world.
“We have to give rights to Indian redskins [Native Americans]. They had culture and heritage. You have encroached on them and killed millions.” [Nice touch. Ahmadinejad stands alongside the first victims of “American imperialism”.]
0755 GMT: Running summary of Ahmadinejad speech: “Holocaust once again. He is asking on why research on the Holocaust has been impeded. Palestine most important problem of the world. Iraq. Afghanistan, Sudan being trampled, all due to Zionists. All imperialism due to Zionists.
Why don’t you allow the main reason of the Palestinian plight to be analysed?”
[1:15 PM Tehran Time]
Josh Shahryar reports on a rumor that Mousavi may have been put under house arrest. This is as-yet unconfirmed, but if true it is a huge development. Especially if the reports on attacks on Khatami turn out to be true as well. The regime is really going out of its way to anger the people.
[1:07 PM Tehran Time]
More videos coming out of Shiraz (source Mehdi Saharkhiz):
And this one:
A report from the website Parleman News (Farsi) reports that the hardline newspaper that acts as a mouthpiece for Khamenei, Keyhan’s chief editor’s son was behind the attacks on former President Khatami (although we cannot confirm this at this time, nor can we fully confirm yet that Khatami has been attacked, but chatter on this is building up).
There are also reports that Mehdi Karoubi is moving with large crowds in Tehran towards Tehran University where Ahmadinejad was recently speaking (and may still be as far as we are aware) and where Ahmad Khatami (a hardline cleric not to be confused with former President Mohammad Khatami) is supposed to give today’s Friday Prayer sermon.
[12:50 PM Tehran Time]
My focus for last several minutes has been on trying to get mainstream media attention on the massive protests happening in Iran. So far, I have contacted CNN and NBC News. Others have contacted the BBC. In particular I would like them to show the video from Shiraz posted on the liveblog at 12:25 AM Tehran Time.
The following is a report from the BBC. Bravo BBC!: Thousands defy Iranian rally ban
Reports have come in that Ahmadinejad has started speaking. According to Enduring America, he is standing up for the rights of Native Americans. To this we say, WHAT ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF IRANIANS?! Good Grief!
New chants have been reported:
“Azadi! Azadi!” or “Freedom! Freedom!” in Vali Asr Square.
“Police Force, Support, Support!”
“Our vote is lost, Iran is turned to Palestine!” This one is a play on the fact that Qods day is supposed to be a rally in support of the Palestinian cause if you go by what the Iranian government wants it to be. The people are claiming the day for their own.
Reports coming in of protesters being badly injured (one report of a fractured skull).
I have not received further confirmation yet on the report about Khatami being attacked. Will monitor closely.
[12:25 PM Tehran Time]
First video coming out of Iran, from Shiraz (source: Mehdi Saharkhiz) shows people marching and chanting! Chants of “Down with Russia!” and “Not Gaza! Not Lebanon! My life for Iran!” heard in the video. The “Down with Russia” chant is being made to protest Russia’s support of the coup government and regime in Iran. The latter quote has been previously mentioned (see below) but this is the first proof I have seen:
[12:14 PM Tehran Time]
Mehdi Saharkhiz and other sources report that former President Khatami has been attacked while in the crowd with protesters in Tehran. Mehdi’s twitter post:
RT @onlymehdi confirmed on Khatami being beaten. there was knives involved #IranElection
If this is true it is a VERY BIG DEAL! All the regime needs to do to continue to mobilize the Green Movement is to allow its thugs and goons to attack or harm them.
[11:57 AM Tehran Time]
Mehdi Saharkhiz, human rights activist, whose father, Issa Saharkhiz is being held in prison by the regime simply for voicing support for the Green Movement, has posted the first picture coming from Iran today on Twitter. The location is Karimkhan Street (presumably in Tehran):
(Picture source: Mehdi Sahakhiz’s (@Onlymehdi) Blog
Mehdi also reports that Ahmadinejad has entered Tehran University in a fully armored bullet-proof vehicle escorted by eight motorbikes. His speech will commence shortly.
[11:53 AM Tehran Time]
One source reports thousands of greens protesting now in city of Qazvin.
IranNewsNow.com contributor MikVerbrugge reports of rumors of shots being fired in Qom (unconfirmed)
[11:39 AM Tehran Time]
People in Valiasr Square chanting “Salam Bar Sane’ie” and “Dorood bar Karoubi” in respect for Grand Ayatollah Sane’ie and Mehdi Karoubi for their staunch support of the people and Green Movement. Others chanting “Marg Bar Diktator” or Down with the Dictator.
Other sources are reporting thousands of people with green flags in Shiraz chanting “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My life for Iran!”.
Word of caution: I can’t stress enough that although I trust my sources of information, I cannot corroborate this information as I have yet to see any video or audio. The numbers may be incorrect (either over- or under-estimated). As information comes in, and corroborates with past info, we can be more certain, and in some cases we may be able to completely confirm it. However, suffice it to say that there is no question that a very large show of people has come out to protest in support of the Green Movement and in opposition to the government of Ahmadinejad, Khamenei and company.
Another trusted source from within Iran claims that on TV they are showing footage of a previous Qods day. He can tell by the fact that school students are shown protesting while school is currently closed. The government clearly does not want to show the anti-government protesters in the streets right now.
[11:28 AM Tehran Time]
Reports of people in Tehran chanting for the government to resign and heckling Basijis on their bikes. Also people shouting, asking for military to support them. (via @NedaAgain).
Multiple reports of reformist leader Mehdi Karoubi now amoungst the protesters. People in Ferdowsi Square shouting and chanting in support of Karoubi.
One source reports lots of police standing around in Tehran doing nothing, just watching the protesters.
[11:13 AM Tehran Time]
Reports coming in from multiple sources at a very rapid pace now. From this point forward I will not rename a source that has been previously named, and I will attempt to aggregate reports of similar occurrences or events so that I can focus on getting the reports out as fast as possible.
There are multiple reports coming in from trusted sources of a massive number of Green Movement supporters in Isfahan. MikVerbrugge reports 50,000 to 60,000 greens! Additional reports from Isfahan are coming in indicating clashes between government security forces and protesters, with tear gas being used. At Isfahan’s Industrial University, one report claims that 1000+ greens are surrounded by police where tear gas was used.
Protests are building up in Tehran as well. Reports of forces asking people to use official (government sanctioned) chants but people are ignoring them. In Vali Asr Square there are reports of bikers (in the past these have been Basiji or plain-clothed government agents) heading towards 7 Tir square.
Trusted contributer of IranNewsNow.com (as well as HuffingtonPost.com) Josh Shahryar (@Iran_Translator) confirms that crowds are pouring into the streets in what he termed ‘FLOOD OF GREEN’.
[11:00 AM Tehran Time]
Reports of protestors in Isfahan’s Eghelab Square chanting “No Gaza! No Lebanon! My Life for Iran!” (via trusted Twitter source @madyar). Here’s a video purported to be from yesterday (from Twitter source @Shadien) where people are chanting this:
Trusted Twitter user @IranRiggedElect mentions “reports of tear gas used in front of the industrial university of Isfahan”. He also reports of Greens starting to gather in Qom (holy city) as well.
Enduring America Reports:
Reports from numerous sources of chanting from protestors, including “God is Great”, “Yah Hossein! Mir Hossein!”, and “Death to the Dictator”. Also people are gathering under Karim Khan Bridge chanting “No Gaza, No Lebanon — My Life for Iran”.
As these reports start to come in, and they start to corroborate one and other, the likelihood of a massive turn out of anti-government protesters increases (although I cannot independently confirm the reports at this time, such is the nature of reports that come in from Twitter, however, based on months of watching various users, I will always state whether I believe the source is an IranNewsNow.com trusted source).
[10:35 AM Tehran Time]
Reports now from trusted source that protesters are gathering in city of Shiraz. Same source also getting reports of people shouting, “Marg bar Basiji!” meaning Down with Basij (Basij were involved heavily in the post-rigged-election crackdown on protesters). From now on, if I mention a Twitter source I will mention only the Twitter account name. In this case, the source is IranProxy.
[10:19 AM Tehran Time]
From Enduring America:
0515 GMT: It is now 9:45 a.m. in Tehran. There are reported gatherings in Tehran at 7 Tir, Vanak, and Mirdamak Squares. Uniformed security forces are gathering in Enghelab Square near Tehran University. Claims also of gatherings in Tabriz, Isfahan, and Shiraz.
One twitter source says that reporters have been put in places full of Basijis (government youth militia) and people in support of the government. Source: http://www.twitter.com/peaceiniran88.
A report circulated earlier saying that foreign media were only being permitted to film in specific locations. This meshes with the information from the Twitter source above. The regime is trying to control the media message getting out. It will be interesting to see whether the mainstream foreign media will show protester videos as they start to come in, like they did during earlier protests. It is up to everyone concerned to make sure to provide mainstream media sources with information and videos as you find or come across them.
[10:07 AM Tehran Time]
Trusted contributor to IranNewsNow.com, MikVerbrugge, reports that forces in Tabriz are calling for reinforcements due to a mass gathering. I am assuming he means a mass gathering of potential anti-government protesters. If reinforcements are being called in already this means the potential for violence is extremely high now. Everything depends on the size of the turnout for the Green Movement now.
[9:59 AM Tehran Time]
Trusted twitter source reports that some security forces are covering their faces if they see people with cell phones. Source: https://www.twitter.com/iranproxy
If true, this is indicative of fear amoungst the ranks of security forces of possible identification in the future. Do they see (green) writing on the wall…?
[9:49 AM Tehran Time]
Mowjcamp.com reports Plans to arrest Karroubi and Moussavi, following the Quds Day marches:
According to an informed source, the security forces, based on prior plans, intend to arrest Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi karroubi; following the Quds Day Marches.
This informed source, in continuation of his interview with NouroozNews, said: Analysis leads to believe that the reason that government organizations and institutions have given their employees two days off; Saturday and Monday of this week [coming week], is to decrease the population of the City [in those two days] and to pave the way for these arrests.
He also [the informed source] thinks it is probable that with prior planning [by the authorities] and in order to create excuses for these arrests, pre-planned clashes will take place during Quds Day marches so that they [authorities] can later attribute the clashes to the popular Green Movement.
A lot will depend on the turn out of Green Movement supporters. If the turnout is massive, arresting Karoubi or Mousavi will work against the regime, and they probably won’t do it.
[8:32 AM Tehran Time]
A website called MowjCamp.com has published a report just before 1:00AM : IRGC Preparing for Bloodbath. Given the importance of the message, here is the report in its entirety:
Fri, 18 Sep 2009 00:52 AM
IRGC preparing for bloodbath
Even after the international and internal fiasco caused by clampdowns, prisoner abuse and killings after the disputed elections in June which have made Iranians more determined to support their Green Movement, it seems that the expected conclusions have yet to be drawn.
As Basij forces from the outskirts of Tehran (especially Varamin) are being deployed in Tehran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps has issued a new stern warning to protestors ahead of Al-Quds days.
According to the website Khabar Online which quoted the pro-government news agency Fars News, the statement issued by the IRGC states: “by their special moves and deviating slogans and the use of deceptive colour symbols and acting according to the wishes of foreign media, the enemies of the revolution and the [Islamic] system and those defeated in the recent elections are making an effort to take revenge from the people who made the glorious 85% turnout happen on 12th June and opened a new chapter in the progress and advance of the country and are disrupting the unity of the people, and turning the strong and unified slogans of the people against the occupiers of Palestine into deviating slogans.”
The statement warns about the readiness of intelligence and military forces, especially the Basij and IRGC to confront any deviating and anti-revolution movement that disrupts the march for Al-Quds on Friday.
The end of the statement glorifies and justifies plain-clothed forces and their illegal actions and calls on people to help security forces in carrying out their duties in case of any disruption or deviation in the march on Friday.
IRGC stands for Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a powerful military group established after the 1979 revolution as a parallel force to the regular Iranian military. The IRGC has been gradually involving itself in directly in politics, and during Ahmadinejad’s first term their power has been on the increase. They are involved in everything from the military, to Iran’s industrial industries, to the black market. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei both have strong ties with the IRGC. Since the June 12 rigged elections, they have been heavily involved in the brutal crackdown on dissent.
[8:18 AM Tehran Time]
A report has surfaced claiming that Ahmadinejad has had supporters of his brought into Tehran by bus (standard operating procedure when the regime needs to show that it has them). Source (Farsi): http://bit.ly/CpMuy from Twitter user: IranRiggedElect.
[7:36 AM Tehran Time]
This begins the start of our live-blogging session on Iran’s Qods Day Demonstrations. Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s first Supreme Leader designated this day as a day of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. In recent years the event has been used by the regime in power to propagandise and show-off the “might” of the regime. But this year, the event has the potential to turn into a widespread demonstration of popular discontent with the regime in Iran.
Since the rigged June 12 presidential a large, sophisticated resistance and opposition movement has been growing, crossing all social classes, in Iran. The movement has metastasised from one that was initially asking “Where is my vote?” of the regime that stole it, to one that wants wholesale changes, if not the complete dismantling of the existing power structure. It is both a freedom movement and a civil rights movement at the same time.
While anger and resentment over the rigged election and the violent crackdown afterwards has not subsided, the massive crowds of protesters that marched in protest in the early days have turned into a brewing and simmering stew of discontent and anti-government sentiment. For weeks now this movement has been planning to turn the regime’s own, planned Qods day event into a massive, non-violent anti-government protest.
It is early in the morning in Iran. As events unfold and I learn about them, I will share them here.