This is a live-blog report on events in Iran on the eve of the anniversary of the 2009 Iranian presidential election. As reports come in, they will be placed at the top of this page. To read this in chronological order it must be read from the bottom up.
On June 12, 2009 Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in a controversial election result that was highly disputed and resulted in massive opposition protests. This live-blog shows the events on the eve of the anniversary of this momentous election.
[11:25 AM Tehran Time]
One of the characteristics of the Iranian protest movement is the abundance of videos, songs, poetry and artwork that has been pouring into cyberspace by activists and supporters of the movement, since the rigged election last year. The following is an example of a video that just got posted to YouTube:
One Year. One Country. One Voice.
[11:15 AM Tehran Time]
It is not only regrettable that the opposition cancelled demonstrations… but it demonstrates very clearly why the Iranian regime has caused so much concern throughout the world.
When you look at the combination of their repression of their people, manipulation of their own elections, the fact they are an exporter and supporter of terrorist activities around the world, and the pursuit of nuclear weapons, it adds up to a very dangerous combination.
And therefore we stand in solidarity with the people of Iran as we have since the beginning of the administration.
We hope there will be a response from the Iranian government to their own people’s aspirations.
It is nothing short of astonishing that even the Secretary of State of the United States of America feels that it is regrettable that Mousavi and Karoubi called off the protests. It is even more amazing that she has stated this publicly.
[10:31 AM Tehran Time]
Reading one of our favorite and one of the most prolific and insightful sites on Iran, Enduring America, we came across an article that was posted earlier on another excellent resource on Iran, Persian2English.com. The article was an interview with Ahmad Batebi, a former political prisoner in Iran under the Islamic Republic, who was arrested, held in prison for years and tortured because a picture of him surfaced in The Economist magazine from the 1999 student uprisings in Iran. The interview is particularly relevant when viewed in light of the joint Mousavi-Karoubi statement just issued calling off the planned June 12 protests. The points he makes on the leadership of the green movement, which he believes (and we agree) is synonymous with the People’s Movement, are particularly poignant and important:
During the electoral campaign, each candidate camp chose a colour. Yellow was for Ahmadinejad, red was for Karroubi, and green was for Mousavi. Since the supporters of Mousavi were greater in number, green became the colour of the opposition movement. We do not necessarily agree with everything, but the Green movement possesses distinct characteristics that is also supported by Khatami, Karroubi, and Mousavi; such as encompassing all people under its umbrella.
You look and see people in the Green Movement who are secular and some who are religious. They all say, “We don’t want this regime, we want human rights, we want equality between men and women.” It is the first time such a thing has happened. All social movements gradually reach this point. Now, there are distinguished personalities in the movement like Karroubi and Mousavi who have the ability to mobilize people. Some consider them the leaders, others don’t. I believe they are leaders but just as much as the people. For example, when Karroubi announces that people should take part in the anniversary of the June 12th election, he is displaying leadership. However, people are taking the lead too. For example, on Ashura (December 27th), nobody called out for the people to come out, but they took to the streets and protested. Thus, everyone is a leader, because everyone is carrying out his or her duties.
[9:52 AM Tehran Time]
We have confirmation of the Mousavi-Karoubi Statement in which they call off the planned rallies that had been marked to protest the rigged election of last year:
Now that there is only 48 hours left to the time planned for the demonstration, by considering the report of the representatives of reformist parties [who were following up on the request for permit] and also for the safety of the people we are announcing that the planned demonstration will not be held. It is obvious that with the dark history of the past year in repressing the protestors who their only crime was to demand their vote in a peaceful manner and also the reports received indicating that once again hardliners and repressors are being organized to attack the defenceless and innocent people, we ask the people and the protesters to demand and follow up on their rightful demands and requests through less costly and more effective methods.
It is self-deceptive and naive to believe that in your artillery with all the threats, insults and lies you were able to repress and subjugate people’s protest movement. Despite the deafening claims of the so-called national TV and Radio stations and the pro-government press giving the impression that the protesting forces of the Iranian people’s movement has diminished, the very same individuals involved in these claims as well as the policy makers more than anyone realize this fact that the movement is alive and the true honour of it belongs to those who despite all the threats and dangers, the insecurities and also knowing the potential life threatening and financial consequences still have not given up on their rightful protest and even their simple announcement of demonstration makes the repressors shiver from fear and follows the wide scale and comprehensive security and police mobilization.
This is the tradition of an illegitimate government that does not give permit to hold demonstrations to anyone but to their own supporters but given all these the path that you the great nation of Iran have chosen cannot be blocked; and you will brighten your role in this path with creativity and we also in all aspects until the emergence of the bright morning of tomorrow will be with you and will accompany you.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi
Obviously they are correct in their statements and logic, although I’m not sure that they should have necessarily called off the protests, if not warned people that they faced grave danger if they chose to protest. Either way though, based on what we have observed over the past year, it is indeed clear that Iran’s march towards freedom, basic human rights and dignity is unstoppable. One can’t judge them for not wanting to see further bloodshed, especially considering that everyone who gets beaten, arrested, tortured, raped and/or killed would likely have layed heavily on their consciences.
However, one cannot help but wonder if it would have been better if the two green leaders would have not made a formal request for protests if they felt that the rejection of said request would mean they would have to issue a statement calling them off. They have admitted in the past that they are followers of the movement. Well if that is the case, then perhaps they should have waited to see what the people would do. Again, the intent here is not to judge, but to present some thoughts on the matter.
It still remains to be seen what people will do. We will report as we get information.
[7:21 AM Tehran Time]
Shocking video of Manochehr Mottaki confronted by protesters in Dublin.
[6:51 AM Tehran Time]
The Wall Street journal reports the U.S. is helping to counter Tehran’s jamming of Websites and Western Broadcasts .
While some programs, such as one center who catalogs human-rights abuses, underwent cuts, others have been bolstered.
One primary goal of the U.S. tech-support program is to counter Tehran’s jamming of Iranian websites and Western broadcasting, including reporting from the Voice of America, which Tehran routinely blocks, and U.S.-funded Radio Farda, which provides real-time political news.
As part of the effort, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces U.S. trade sanctions, provided San Francisco-based Censorship Research Center a license to export Haystack antifiltering software to Iran.
In March, the office lifted restrictions on American tech companies like Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. exporting mass-market software, such as chat and instant messaging, to Iran. The Green Movement has used social-networking tools like these to organize protests.
[6:36 AM Tehran Time]
Foreign Policy reports that McCain calls on Obama to support the Iranian Green Movement.
The United States has never had a president whose personal story resonates as strongly overseas as President Obama’s does — whose ability to inspire, to move people, to mobilize them on behalf of democratic change is one of the greatest untapped sources of strength now available to Iran’s human rights activists,” he said. “If the president were to unleash America’s full moral power to support the Iranian people — if he were to make their quest for democracy the civil rights struggle of our time — it could bolster their will to endure in their struggle, and the result could be historic.
[6:32 AM Tehran Time]
Multiple news sources are now reporting that Mousavi has called off anniversary rallies amidst fear of government crack down on protesters.
[6:10 AM Tehran Time]
Guardian article is still not confirmed. If true, Mir Hossein Mousavi has put himself in front of the movement. In the past he and Karoubi have stipulated that they are following the movement rather than the other way around. Mousavi’s words come on the heels of promises by the Islamic regime to flood the streets with large numbers of security guards to intimidate and silence protesters. It remains to be seen what impact Mousavi’s words will have on the Green movement.
[6:05 AM Tehran Time]
BREAKING: The guardian reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi has called off rallies for tomorrow. We have not confirmed this yet through our sources. Having said that, while Mousavi is one of the leaders of the movement, so far the movement over the last year has shown itself to be horizontal in nature–in that people have acted on their own accord, despite what he has said in the past. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this announcement will have.
[5:16 AM Tehran Time]
The following video is from June 9th. People on rooftops are heard shouting “Death to the dictator”. Several child voices are heard in the background chanting.