This is a live-blog of events in Iran on February 21, 2011. The majority of the reports in this blog are sourced via social media. With regards to the videos and images in this live-blog, we are not affiliated with the people or groups that produced them and the posting of the content by us is not necessarily an endorsement of the content or views expressed within them. The timestamps associated with the updates are when we posted the updates and not necessarily correlated in time with when the events occurred. In order to follow this report in chronological order, it must be read from the bottom up. The newest entries will be at the top.
Meir Javadanfar has written a piece for the Guardian, Iran’s repressive regime cannot last, in which he talks about the resurgence of the Green Movement, and the regime’s reaction. He also talks about the significance of a workers’ strike at the Abadan Oil Refinery:
The resurgence of demonstrations in Iran seem to have caught Iran’s leaders by surprise. Many of them had thought that the green movement was dead. But the demonstrations have shown that they are wrong. Not only is the green movement alive, it is also showing resilience and stamina and making progress, from launching demonstrations to strikes, a notable one taking place at the oil refinery installation at Abadan.
This refinery is no ordinary place. It is the most important refinery in the country. Officially, workers there claim that unpaid wages for the last six months are the main reason behind their strike. However, the fact that they chose 14 February to launch it is significant. This is the same day the green movement called for Iranians to pour onto the streets to demonstrate. This is a strong sign that the strike could have had a political motivation as well. Security forces have tried to force the strikers back to work, to no avail.
This is a serious development for the Iranian government, both economically and politically. The striking workers are badly needed in order to upgrade the refinery’s infrastructure, so that it can produce more petroleum. Once completed, the upgrade would allow Iran to significantly reduce its reliance on imported petrol. There is also a political angle. In 1978, strikes in the Abadan refinery were instrumental in bringing down the shah. Should current strikes there continue unabated, it could lead to serious cracks in the foundations of the Islamic Republic.
Regime Watch: Peyke Iran reports that the Iranian Parliament wants Karroubi defrocked.
Member of Parliament, Ali Motahari, lends his support to embattled former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, saying it is unreasonable to expect him to denounce Mousavi and Karroubi (lead opposition figures). This is as an aide to the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Hossein Safar-Harandi, indicating moves to have Rafsanjani removed from his post as head of the Assembly of Experts told a group of academics in Shiraz:
“Hashemi’s actions have been completely corrupt and he has still not repented. According to our knowledge of his character, we do not feel that he will repent and his fate could become like those of Montazeri and Shiriatmadari,” referring to two Iranian grand ayatollahs that did not support the Islamic Republic establishment.
More Opposition Watch: A report posted on Facebook on further intimidation of the Karroubi family by regime thugs:
According to SahamNews – official website of National Trust Party (chaired by Mehdi Karroubi) – yesterday evening, security forces raided the home of Mehdi Karroubi and confiscated many of his books and documents. Based on this report security forces imprisoned Mehdi Karroubi and his wife – Fatemeh Karroubi – in separate rooms and then started to search their home and changed all the locks of the home. Since last night when this event happened to this moment, despite all efforts to get some information regarding the well-being of Mehdi Karroubi and his wife there has been absolutely no information.
Additionally, security forces by raiding the home of Ali Karroubi, youngest son of Mehdi Karroubi, arrested him and his wife –Nafiseh Panahi . Ms. Nafiseh Panahi , who is a sister of three Iran-Iraq war martyrs, was released hours later but to this moment there is no information regarding the situation and well-being of Ali Karroubi.
Ali Karroubi is Mehdi Karroubi’s third son who was arrested during last year’s Feb 11, 2010 demonstrations on the anniversary of Islamic Revolution; Ali Karroubi was brutally beaten and tortured while in custody last year.
Also security forces yet again in order to arrest Mehdi Karroubi’s eldest son, raided Hossein Karroubi’s home but since he was not home they could no arrest him.
Please read the previous reports about the attacks on Mehdi Karroubi’s residence by pro-government thugs here.
Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi along with their wives have been under house arrest since last week following their call for peaceful demonstrations in support for the democratic uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Opposition Watch: We start our live-blog today with a confirmation from Saham News, the website associated with Mehdi Karroubi, that Karroubi’s son was arrested yesterday.
International and Foreign Relations Watch: Iran has sailed two warships through the Suez canal for the first time since the 1979 revolution, at the permission of the Egyptian military. Technically, this is allowed as the Suez is considered international waters. The government of Iran claims the ships are headed to Syria for “training”. The Egyptians have said that the Iranians have said there are no weapons, chemical or nuclear materials on the ships. The Israelis view this as a provocation.