This is a live-blog report on events on December 7, 2010, Student Day in Iran. Any videos and information contained in this report are obtained through various online sources. Iran News Now is not affiliated with any of the groups or individuals who produced any of the videos. We are simply an outlet and conduit for information being shared by sources on the ground in Iran, primarily via online social media outlets. Our goal is to curate the information and provide context around it. To read this in chronological order it must be read from the bottom up. Please also note that the time-stamps are for when we posted something; they do not represent when the events actually occurred as the actual times of occurrence will vary depending upon when they are uploaded to the Internet, and when we receive them. Some videos will have associated text, and names of organizations displayed.
[3:10PM Tehran Time]
We will pause updates to the live-blog for several hours. When we return we will do a summary update.
[3:00PM Tehran Time]
@persianbanoo posted the follow flyer in support of imprisoned student, Kouhyar Goudarzi distributed at Sharif University:
[2:40PM Tehran Time]
@Arshama3 provided us with the following cartoon from Mana Neyestani, on Jannati’s earlier declaration regarding the Supreme Leader and the crime of apostasy:
[2:35PM Tehran Time]
Josh Shahryar has an unconfirmed report of more students gathering at Tehran University where some arrests have been made. More students coming in. Will continue to monitor this report.
[2:05PM Tehran Time]
Another confirmed video from today taken near Tehran University showing heavy security presence:
[corrected from previous post, where we had it at Enghelab Square]
Other interesting news:
MSNBC has reported that WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, has been arrested. Considering that he just released a list of physical sites critical to the survival of the U.S., I’m not surprised. Whether that will stop further leaks is not obvious at the moment, but I won’t be surprised–the cat’s already out of the bag.
A EA WorldView provides an interesting report on a new WikiLeaks revelation:
Wikileaks and Iran: The Regime’s Ninja Assassins?
And in the category of “Strange…But True?” from the WikiLeaks documents….
In September 2009, an Iranian political source — who also happens to be trained in martial arts — tells the US Embassy in Azerbaijan that the regime is pressuring martial arts clubs, despite suspicions that they could be assisting opposition groups, to provide instruction for the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.
The outcome supposedly went beyond training: the source maintains that one of his acquaintances killed at least six intellectuals and young “pro-democracy activists” before he himself was eliminated.
There may be even more in the report: in a document claiming specialised training in warfare and assassination, one topic is so sensitive that it has been removed by WikiLeaks before release (Paragraph 6)
[1:43PM Tehran Time]
Correction to earlier report. Tear gas not fired in Rasht city–it was on Rasht Street in Tehran, near Amir Kabir University.
[1:40PM Tehran Time]
Reports of students gathering at Tehran University. Also a report that Internet access is cut off in parts of the university. The story is developing. A lot of incoming info. Internet access being cut off is usually a very bad sign. When it happens, its not by happenstance–the regime is trying to block information from leaving the university.
[1:33PM Tehran Time]
Reports are starting to trickle in at a faster clip now. We have a report from reliable source, @manic77, (unconfirmed) of tear gas fired by Basijis in side street of Polytechnic School in the city of Rasht. We will watch this story closely to seek confirmation.
[1:27PM Tehran Time]
Video showing heavy police presence in Eghelab (Revolution) Square. It may be hard to spot at first because the video is angled and choppy. Obviously the person filming it did not want to be noticed. Keep a look at for the white cars with the green stripes. Those are the police vehicles. Heavy security presence on days of anticipated protests are a common site in Iran since the rigged election of 09:
[1:15PM Tehran Time]
Reza Sayah of CNN, has reported the following in several successive tweets:
Witness reports that hundreds of security forces are patrolling Tehran’s universities. So far no sign of protests or clashes (this contradicts the reports earlier from @iranproxy about protests at Qazvin Azad University, but that may just be because Sayah’s witness was not aware of them). Sayah’s witness also reports that there are scores of security personnel at Amir Kabir University checking student IDs. Basij forces with motorcycles are present, some wearing masks (masks worn by security forces have not been a good sign during protests since the rigged 2009 presidential election).
[1:12PM Tehran Time]
Several trusted sources are stressing caution with that last video. According to one of our trusted sources, INA (the stamp on the video) indicates it is produced by a the People Mojaheddin Organization (PMOI) a controversial ideological resistance group known for spreading propaganda. I can’t confirm that the video is from today.
[1:00PM Tehran Time]
First video purportedly of protest from today at Qazvin University (not confirmed but checking). Crowd singing “Yare Dabestani” (My Gradeschool Companion) a patriotic song that was popular during the 1979 protests:
[12:47PM Tehran Time]
Security at Tehran University is vetting every student entering and leaving the campus and recording their names. He adds that the university’s perimeter walls have been covered with black banners to hide the interior, presumably and that security vans have lined 16 Azar Avenue where students were expected by some to protest.
Security forces are not letting cars to be parked near the university – even buses aren’t allowed to stop. Visal and Valiasr squares are witnessing heavy security presence as well.
[12:40PM Tehran Time]
Homy Lafayette reports that jailed human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, has gone on hunger strike with the goal of getting authorities to let her see her family and lawyer.
[12:32PM Tehran Time]
Trusted source @manic77 reports “dark cloths at the entrance of Tehran uni”. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but suspect he might be referring to regime security forces, who often wear dark colored clothing. Will seek to confirm.
[12:21PM Tehran Time]
Opposition website, JARAS, reports that popular opposition and Green Movement leader, Mehdi Karroubi, has met with university students and families of student political prisoners in Tehran today, where he assured them that “victory is near” and that just as the 1979 revolution had many hurdles before finally succeeding, the student should expect hurdles on their current path towards change.
[12:00PM Tehran Time]
The following video was provided to us by our colleague, James Miller from Dissected News. It is from Danjoonews (Student News) and purported to be taken from Razi University in Kermanshah, just prior to two students being arrested. It shows a gathering in an auditorium that appears to be interrupted when security forces show up. A whistle is heard, then there is some commotion, followed by:
“…Uh oh, uh oh!”
People filter out of the room as nearing the end of the clip the speaker on the microphone says:
“…Albeit, sometimes dictators have their servants who do their dirty work for them…”
[11:42AM Tehran Time]
@iranproxy reports that protests at Qazvin Azad University was ended or disrupted by university security:
From iran: Protest in Gazvin Azad university was ended/disrupted by university security #iranelection #16azar
It should be noted that this is the twitter account of a trusted source. Iranian state media have reported on a group with the same name. They are not the same people.
[11:40AM Tehran Time]
A BBC report from yesterday shows the mindset of the current ruling clique in Iran right now:
Ayatollah Jannati [hardline cleric and head of the Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council] is quoted by local media as telling a conference in the southern city of Shiraz that the principle of Velayat-e-Faqih [Supreme Leadership] – rule by Islamic clerics – is one of “God’s commandments on Earth”.
“Denying the guardianship of the supreme leader [Ayatollah Khamenei] is the same as denying God,” he said.
Analysts say the unusually strong demand for public loyalty to Iran’s supreme leader is an attempt by the influential cleric to liken political dissent to religious apostasy – a crime which carries heavy punishment under Iran’s strict Islamic code.
Apostasy is punishable by death under the laws of the Islamic Republic. Jannati is basically saying that political protesters deserve to be killed.
This should put into clear context the risk that people in Iran who dare voice their opposition to the existing regime face on a daily basis.
[10:52AM Tehran Time]
Confirmed by trusted source @iranproxy straight from Iran, protests have started in Azad University in Qazvin. The report by @iranproxy on Twitter:
News from Iran: protest started in azad qazvin university #iranelection #16azar
[10:40AM Tehran Time]
Posted earlier on Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Facebook page:
Statement by The Council for Defending the Right to Study for Student Day
The Council for Defending the Right to Study by issuing a statement on the eve of the National Student Day (December 7) called this day the symbol of the fights of the noble Iranian students in the path of freedom and the symbol of the tireless efforts of students to achieve democracy. In part of this statement the council by pointing to the unjust imprisonment of the student activists stated: “Among us the families of the imprisoned starts of this ending night are the most proud, those who stood by their loved ones in enduring the price of seeking freedom by their children.”
Statement by Youth and Student Branch of Participation Front
The Youth and Student branch of the Participation Front issued a statement for the anniversary of the National Student Day (December 7). The statement in part reads: “In this era, the elimination of social sciences, retiring professors, selection of students and academia based on personal preference [of the government], and terminating student activists and barring them from continuing their studies, are not news. Seeing our universities abruptly closed down, our professors retired, our colleagues denied the right to educate and locked in prisons have become a daily occurrence. What happens today in our universities including the termination of professors and protesting students, altering or eliminating sciences that inform human of what is and what must be, and creation of synthetic and dependent student groups, is an effort to theorize the dictatorship and hide the intrinsic contradictions within the ideological packages, which are created under different names with passing and transient use for the crafted and engineered students and social groups.”
[10:34AM Tenran Time]
@lotfan has informed us that the Mousavi video is from last year’s National Student Day in Iran. Thanks @lotfan!
[10:32AM Tehran Time]
UNITY4IRAN has posted what appears to be a message from opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi for National Student Day in Iran. I’m not certain if this is a brand new video but it certainly appears to be:
Will seek to confirm. Analysing the video now.
[8:25AM Tehran Time]
In a message to the students’ gathering at Tehran University that was held on December 6 on the eve of National Student Day and was called “Hope, the loudest of protests”, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami told students: “We should be hopeful. We should try and not be afraid of paying the prices [for our goals] and of course the method that has always been advocated and our students and our reforms are committed to it, is following civic methods and avoiding and rejecting violence committed by anyone; whether by those at power or by those who may have objections and issues. Our path is the peaceful path of civic movement and abiding to the criteria and bases that our nation has had and has expressed in its great revolution.” Khatami also referred to the suffocating atmosphere that the government has imposed on the people, especially the academia and students, and added that the oppression that has been imposed on professors and students is not acceptable for the universities of the Islamic Republic.
[8:20AM Tehran Time]
[8:05AM Tehran Time]
A site on Blogspot, seculardemocracy.blogspot.com, has compiled a list of planned events at various universities in Iran for Student Day.
@manic77 has posted a series of pics purportedly from Tehran University yesterday showing a big crowd gathered in an auditorium. There are green banners and slogans on signs, as well as pictures of various political figures (from the opposition, but also pictures of the late Ayatollah Khomeini):
[5:00AM Tehran Time]
It is hard to believe that a year has gone by since the last Student Day in Iran. That was an eventful day. Here is our live-blog report for last year’s Student Day protests in Iran
In June of last year a highly disputed, rigged presidential election gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This led to massive opposition in the form of peaceful protests, with millions of Iranians risking life and limb by marching silently in the streets of Tehran and other cities asking, “Where is my vote?”.
Knowing full-well the penchant that the Islamic Republic has for killing first and asking questions later (or never), the people took the legitimate stance that if they protested peacefully–a right supposedly guaranteed and enshrined in the constitution of the Islamic Republic–the regime would have no basis upon which they could justify cracking down.
That is not how things panned out.
The regime, with the full-blessing of the self-titled, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei, unleased a hell-horde of government paid vigilantes, police, quasi-independent militias such as the Basij forces and other nefarious and odious entities, on the hapless and helpless protesters–killing many and injuring many more. People were raped, stabbed, shot, beaten with cables and batons, and gassed. Many were arrested and held in various detention centers and prisons controlled by different elements of the regime (namely the Ministry of Intelligence, Islamic Revolutionary Guards and police). There were numerous reports and indications that mercenaries from other countries, such as Lebanon, may have been used in the crackdowns that ensued.
The people didn’t take this lightly of course. The collection of protests and crackdowns that followed amounted to what was and still is the highest level of political unrest in Iran since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It is also the biggest challenge to the belligerent regime since its founding.
The people rallied under the banner of the main contender to Ahmadinejad in the election, a moderate that–at least until the election and its aftermath–was thought of as an insider of the regime, Mir Hossein Mousavi. His campaign used the color green, which became synonymous with the movement that sprung from the campaign and became the biggest challenge to the 31 years of brutal authoritarian rule by the regime. The Green Movement was born, and continues to this day.
Multiple days of protest have come and gone–shaking the confidence of the regime. Reports have circulated that the regime’s leaders had planes on standby last year during the December 27, Ashura day protests, to fly them out of Iran should they lose control.
In February of this year, the regime held rallies marking the 31st anniversary of the revolution. Until then, the green movement and people of Iran had been highly successful in co-opting regime sponsored holidays to protest the rigged election and the brutality that followed. The regime, through a massive expenditure funded by the oil-wealth of the nation, bussed in untold hordes of its police, volunteer Basij paramilitary forces, revolutionary guards and others to flood Tehran’s streets and brutality crush the formation of any potentially large and vocal groups of opposition protesters from amassing. Despite that people were on the scene, but the regime was able to hold it’s cheer-leading session and prevent the types of protests that they had been unable to prevent up till that point. Here is our live-blog report from that day.
This was seen as a sort of cooling point in what had been a fairly steady stream of protests. The regime was able to prevent mass rallies by its sheer brutality.
This did not however lead to a decisive blow to the protest movement. Far from it. The fervor of the movement dissipated somewhat, at least visibly in the streets, but the resistance has continued, and there are reports that it is picking up again, albeit slowly, as the people find new ways of expressing their resistance.
During last year’s Student Day in Iran, one of the student leaders, Majid Tavakoli, was arrested for giving a speech espousing the need for a real democracy in Iran. He has been in prison since, and subjected to all manners of torture and humiliation in an attempt to break his spirit and get him to admit to “crimes against the nation” and to being a seditionist. He has resisted, but has suffered greatly (as have many many others languishing in the regime’s torture chambers and solitary confinement cells).
As the date for this year’s Student Day approached, many Iranian universities and various student groups have stated their intent to protest and stand in solidarity with their fellow students and the Iranian people.
We will live-blog the day so that their message gets out to the world. Stay-tuned. As information comes in, we will post it here.
For now, here are several of the first videos that have come in:
From Tehran: Chants of Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Marg-bar-Dictator (Down with the dictator), a staple on protest days and a thorn in the rear of the regime (since they used the same chants in 1979):
This one is the first we’ve seen, purported from Tehran University today [correction: this is from yesterday], showing a gathering of students. The following slogans are chanted:
“Down with this people-deceiving government!”
“Down with the dictator!”
“Ya Hossein!” (In reference to Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main opposition contender in the rigged elections last year)
“Students would rather die than accept humiliation!”
They at one point break into song, singing Yare Dabestani (My Gradeschool Companion), a patriotic song that was popular in the 1979 revolution, and that has resurfaced in protests since the 09 rigged election.