This is a live-blog of events in Iran on March 1, 2011 (10 Esfand in Iran). 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.
All accounts seem to indicate that Iranian citizens turned out again in large numbers for another day of challenge to the regime. Signing off for today — implications and analysis tomorrow.
Leaving you with a translation of the first two paragraphs of a letter, “To the Basiji Kids,” by Nooshabeh Amiri (translated by IranRiggedElect). An absolute must read:
To the Basiji Kids
By Nooshabeh Amiri
Translation of first 2 paragraphs of http://is.gd/sHKFhp by @IranRiggedElect
The struggle of the Iranian people will be successful. There is no doubt in this victory. It might come later rather than sooner, but it will come. But from now on, we must think of those who, despite gaining experience, will incur lethal wounds that will remain forever on the body of our homeland. Wounds that not only the government’s opponents, but also the government’s supporters will take with themselves to the deepest corners of their minds and souls. In this midst one of the worst wounds, is that experienced by those adolescent boys of our country who, with a chafiye around their neck and a club in their hand, have been brought in to raise their hands on their mothers and sisters and weather the fear and the violence at once. Those are the ones I’m addressing and the ones I’m worried and troubled about at this time. The basiji kids.
Someone from Tehran is online; he writes: It was a scene of fighting and running, I was running while holding the hands of my young son and daughter; we came face to face with a fourteen or fifteen year old basiji. He raised his club and roared from the bottom of his heart. He was like my own son. His face was pale. “Why are hitting my son?” I asked, “who are you hitting?” He lowered his hand, looked at me for a moment and then his face flushed with a world of fear. I know in that moment he wanted his mother. He started running away. I ran after him to tell him not to be afraid. But he ran and yelled. We stopped. He reached a group of officers coming the other way, with masks and batons. The boy was between us and them, he ran towards them and threw himself into the arms of one of the officers. “I am a basiji” he shouted as he was sobbing, “I am a basiji!”
I feel his hands shaking as he is writing this to me from far away, as I feel my own heart trembling. What are they doing to our children?
Pictures: The walls of the Iranian Embassy in Iran, covered with opposition graffiti.
Several Videos from Tuesday’s Protest
“Esteghlal, Azadi, Jomhourieh Irani!” “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic!”
This video is interesting in that aside from the “Marg bar dictator!” (“Death to the dictator!”) chants, we here the following:
“Honorable Army [soldier], join the side of the people!” A call to the military to side with the people.
“Hashemi, escape, abandon the dictator!” A call to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, and current head of the Assembly of Experts and Expediency Council to join with the people.
“Ya Hossein! Mir Hossein!” This chant is in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of the main opposition figures and a leader of the Green Movement.
The following video is purportedly from today in Shiraz, shows the riot police charging and beating people:
This video, also from Shiraz, showing regime forces and police vans, with the forces generally intimidating people.
At one point you here someone say, “Man, stop filming, they’ll take us and beat the crap out of us.”
“Ya Hossein! Mir Hossein!”, cars honking in support, in Tohid Square in Tehran:
1900GMT: This report from Tehran Bureau:
9:50 p.m. Saham News claims that protests continue in different parts of Tehran. Reports of chants of “Mousavi and Karroubi must be freed!” coming from the center of the city. BBC Persian’s TV channel has apparently been jammed again around the country.
1814 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch – We share this report, translated by anopposition Facebook Page:
Saham News reports that Fakhrosadat Mohtashamipour, the wife of Mostafa Taajzadeh was arrested during the protests in Tehran today. Mohtashamipour apparently contacted her daughter by cell phone while being arrested. Mohtashamipour’s daughter told Saham News: ” I could hear my mother protesting to the anti riot police.”
Fakhrosadat Mohtashamipour is the wife of Mostafa Tajzaadeh, one of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s advisers during the 1999 presidential elections and former deputy interior minister during the reform period. She has written many letters to the authorities of the Islamic Republic protesting the illegal arrest and incarceration of her husband over the past one and a half years.
Source: Saham News http://bit.ly/gRQbYW
1754 GMT: Our second video of the day reportedly shows protesters and police in Mashhad, where there have been widespread clashes all day.
1744 GMT: The BBC has released a video, reportedly showing chants this evening in Shiraz. The protesters can be head chanting “Mubarak, Ben Ali, Now it’s Time for Seyed Ali (Khamenei).”
1724 GMT: A Journalist, speaking to Kaleme, reported that he was “spattered in blood” after security fired shots into the crowd. Kaleme is calling today’s security presence in Tehran, and the resulting violence, “unprecidented.”
We have not yet verified these reports.
1717 GMT: RAHANA is reporting that there are heavy clashes on Ahmad Abad Street in Mashhad, hometown of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Eyewtinesses there describe a tense situation where at least 150 people have been arrested.
1707 GMT: This update via Scott Lucas:
1635 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Meanwhile, the contest for the leadership of the Assembly of Experts heats up. The office of Hasehmi Rafsanjani, who holds the post, says recent anti-Rafsanjani propaganda is an insult to the 80 members of the Assembly.
Earlier today, influential MP Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam said — incorrectly or mischievously — that Rafsanjani was not standing for re-election but Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, put forth by pro-Ahmadinejad opponents of Rafsanjani, would be standing.
1639 GMT: According to witnesses, there was a silent protest in Isfahan today, where there was very little friction between protesters and security forces.
Also, eyewitnesses are saying that at least 50 people have been arrested in Enghelab Square.
1635 GMT: More reports of a violent crackdown. While some crowds are still gathering, others have been dispersed. An eyewitness told our colleague Josh Shahryar that he/she had to run from security forces and hide in someone’s house, but people were furious over the detention of Mousavi and Karroubi.
1627 GMT: We’re seeing a lot of reports that security vans are picking up many people off the street, and that protesters caught in side streets and alleys are being beaten and arrested. Still we have these two quick updates viaEnduring America:
1616 GMT: Saham News is reporting that two security vans were set on fire by protestors at Enghelab Square.
1615 GMT: In Tehran, the number of protesters in Ferdowsi Square and Navab and Behboodi Streets is increasing.
1615 GMT: RAHANA is reporting a very tense situation as protests and security presence are increasing on Ahmadabad Avenue, Mashhad.
Mardomak is reporting that protesters are trying to demonstrate in Tabriz and Shiraz, but are being blocked by security forces. An eyewitness has told them that there are “mass arrests” in Tehran.
An eyewitness has told BBC Persian that protesters now control Abiwardi Avenue in Tehran.
Kaleme is reporting that many of the intersections near Enghelab Square are blocked by security and plain-clothed Basij forces.
The soccer match should be over, which will add 100,000 people to the streets near Azadi Stadium.
1605 GMT: There are reports of protests near Jamalzadeh Avenue in Tehran.
All sources so far are reporting that the scale of these protests is impressive. The regime does not think so. State run news networks are reporting that people are shopping for Persian New Year. A friend makes this joke, “Death to the dictator must be the newest piece of Haft Seen.”
It’s the economy, stupid – An eyewitness described growing discontent and a heavy security presence in the city of Ahwaz, where people are upset about the rising cost of gas, made worse by the cutback in government subsidies.
1552 GMT: These two unconfirmed reports have just come in from a source in Iran: Shots have been fired at protesters gathering on Azarbaijan Street. Also, according to the source, security attempted to arrest a protester at the intersection of Eskandari and Enqelab, but they were forced to release him because of the reaction from the crowd.
BBC Persian is reporting shots fired near Vanak Square in Tehran.
1543 GMT: The Jaras opposition website is reporting that ten people were arrested on Ahmad Abad Street in Mashhad, near Rahnamayi Crossroads. According to Kalame, protesters are gathered in Tehran’s Ferdowsi Square, Behboudi Street, and Navab Street.
Reza Sayah has these two reports on his Twitter account:
Tehran witness- protesters disrobe cleric riding as passenger on motorbike near Azdi & Enghelab
Tehran Witness – protesters chant “Khamenei is murderer! His authority is void!”
1531 GMT: James Miller has just received this report from a source in Iran:
Students gathered in the cafeteria in the Yazd University to mark March 1 at 9:30 am and took their protests to the university campus. Five minutes after the start of the gathering, 20 university guards attacked the students and seized their cameras.
Classes were also not held in the morning in this university.
1519 GMT: DW Persian has published an eyewitness account of a large, and still growing, crowd gathering in Tehran, despite teargas being used to try to disperse it. The most important line in the account, which has not been verified with other sources yet, might be this: the crowd near Enghelab Square is already larger than it was on 25 Bahman (Febrary 14), according to the source.
According to Kaleme’s latest report, less than an hour ago the crowd was still growing in Enghelab (Revolution) Square.
1506 GMT: There are many reports of clashes in front of Tehran University. GVF is reporting that there is a growing crowd at Vali Asr Square and Behboodi Avenue. Kaleme, a website closely linked to Karroubi, is depicting a very tense situation near Enghelab (Revolution) Square, where a large crowd of protesters is moving towards security forces. Eyewitnesses have told the BBC Persian that there is loud chanting at the Vesal Crossroads, where people are shouting “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein,” and “Ya Mehdi.” One witness has described Tehran’s streets as “packed.”
There are now new (unconfirmed) reports of protests in Tabriz and Karaj as well.
Reuters is confirming that teargas has been used on protesters in Tehran.
1451 GMT: CNN’s Reza Sayah is reporting a large scale security presence on the streets of Tehran. So far, he has not confirmed any of the other information about potential protests.
Protests appear to be escalating in Tehran. This report from the Tehran Bureau:
6:10 p.m. Eyewitnesses tell BBC Persian that people created an artificial traffic congestion in Resalat Avenue to halt the advance of riot police and Basij. Bardia on EPersian says he is at the intersection of Vali Asr and Enghelab and that tear gas has been fired there. Ferdowsi Square has been closed off by police. People have gotten out of their cars and are walking westward down Enghelab toward Azadi Square.
1421 GMT: KICKOFF!! The Asia Cup soccer match (Esteghlal v. Qatar) has just started in Azadi stadium. Multiple sources have reported that the regime is extremely worried that the fans (100,000 of them) might join the protests when the game is let out, or that they will chant anti-regime slogans. They have prepared to mute the audio.
According to the Human Rights News Agency, protesters are gathering in Namazi Square in Shiraz.
Homylafayette, a reliable source has this report on Twitter: “Eyewitness tells DeutscheWelle: Security in Vali Asr less than Feb 14, but higher in side streets.”
1347 GMT: RAHANA is reporting that protesters are gathering in the city of Shiraz, where a large security presence is also felt.
BBC Persian is also reporting that there are protesters gathering on Vesal Street, just north of Enghelab. According to their liveblog, people are honking their horns and shouting “dictator” in central Tehran.
PeykeIran describes Tehran as being in a state of “undeclared martial law.”
1327 GMT: A reliable source in the past has just reported that four people were arrested on Keshavarz boulevard. We cannot confirm this.
An eyewtiness has told the BBC Persian that protesters have started to gather at the Karim Khan bridge.
1310 GMT: Our sources – heavy security, people on the streets with umbrellas shopping for Nowrooz (Persian New Year) but still no protests. Protests are not expected to begin until 5 PM local time (20 minutes)
1254 GMT – RAHANA sums up the current situation in Tehran poignantly: “Tehran has once again become a barracks.”
1241 GMT: There are many unconfirmed reports of protests in Tehran. There are also reports, also unconfirmed, that the internet, cell phone, SMS and data networks are still functioning in Iran. This is very strange.
Two things we will continue to monitor is the role today’s soccer match at Azadi Stadium plays in the protests. This is a wild card not present during other recent protests. We are also monitoring reports that security in Tehran is casting a wider net, with security stationed in more squares and intersections than in the past.
1213 GMT: Reports of heavy security are increasing. Riot vehicles have been deployed to Enghelab Square, which is also being reported by the BBC. One report was that there were at least 27 vans.
1136 GMT: Classes at Tehran University have been cancelled over concerns that the students will protest.
Mohammad Reza Nourizad, the filmaker detained for his criticism of the regime, has released a statement in support of today’s protests. He stated that the demonstrators “have proven their survival with a cry of protest”.
1126 GMT: There are many reports of ramped up security in Tehran. HRA News is reporting that security is concentrating on the major squares and intersections in Tehran.
Rain is predicted all day.
1039 GMT –
PeykeIran is reporitng that Ali Bayani, a student of Ghazvin University, was arrested this week for promoting today’s protests. They also report that a professor at Ghazvin, Reza Isadi, has gone missing.
Quirky news – Iran’s Ministry of Information is concerned that football (soccer) fans will join in the protests. The regime is trying to balance looking normal (playing soccer) with looking united (and not having protest chants in the stadium).
1017 GMT –
Political prisoners show solidarity with the opposition – The BBC is confirming that prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison has released a statement in support of today’s protests.
Enduring America carries this update:
0950 GMT: BBC Persian reports that Internet speed is normal in Tehran. BBC Persian’s television service has been jammed and cut off in parts of north Tehran, however, and an EA source reports wide-spread destruction of satellite dishes by security forces.
10:07 GMT –
Bold statements from the opposition. Mojtaba Vahedi, advisor to Mehdi Karroubi and the opposition, said that Mojtaba Khamenei, the son of the Supreme Leader, was instrumental in the decision to arrest Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi. Vahedi also said that the head of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, disagreed with the decision but was overruled by the Supreme Leader.
What does this mean? For me, the biggest takeaway is that the opposition is getting far bolder in its statements. This is one step away from accusing Khamenei of breaking the law. It will be interesting to see if anyone associated with Larijani denies his objections to this decision.
Dave Siavashi signing out. James Miller will be providing updates.
James is also live-blogging at Dissected News here.
It is now early morning in Iran, March 1 / 10 Esfand, 2011 — on a day that a coalition of Iran opposition groups under the ambrella of the Green Path of Hope Coordination Council have called for nation-wide protests against the abuses of the regime. The regime has escalated the standoff, a marathon between a wide demographic cutting across a broad swath of social classes on one side, and a regime that believes that the only way it can survive is to completely crush all dissent on the other.
By arresting the people who were instrumental during the formative stages of the metastacization of the frustrations of Iranians–built up over 32 years of repression–into the uprising and social movement that is referred to as the Green Movement, the regime has sealed a new fate for itself and for Iran.
When that fate will manifest is unclear — but we can say that it is likely to occur sooner than most people before the June 12, 2009 presidential election thought that it would.
The form in which it will manifest, again, is unclear — but we can say that it will end with those who are responsible for, and who support, the existing system and status quo, no longer controlling Iran.
By arresting Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, Mehdi Karroubi, and Fatemeh Karroubi, the regime has crossed a Rubicon of sorts — a red line that has existed for 20 months.
“Eghelab” to “Azadi”
That means “Revolution” to “Freedom”, and has a double meaning associated with it, as it is both a call (intended or not) and a path that protesters take on days of protest. Revolution Square and Freedom Square are actual physical places.
Peyke Iran reports that 59 prisoners in Rajai Shahr prison have announced that they will go on an indefinite hunger strike to support the Iranian people in their protest today. Thanks to @democraticiran for the link.
Rajai Shahr is a notorious prison in Iran. Many political prisoners are held there, including Majid Tavakoli, a vocal student leader who has stood firm in his support of the Iranian people, and rejection of the abuses of the regime.
[Please note that we do not have independent confirmation for this report.]
Muhammad Sahami evaluates the evidence and clues to whether there are fissures in the leadership and ranks of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
A source in Tehran reports that chants of “Allah-o-Akbar” and “Marg Bar Dictator” were very loud – could be heard all over the city.
Iranian opposition figures Mohammad Nourizad and Abdollah Ramezanzadeh have been called back to prison by the regime after being out on bail. Ramezanzadeh was told to denounce the protests of 25 Bahman (14 February) or go to prison. He chose not to compromise his integrity.
Hillary Clinton speaks out on the human rights abuses of Iranian regime. Must watch:
We start today’s live-blog with the following video – Chants of “Allah-o-Akbar” ring through the night in Tehran, the night before a day that the opposition has called for nationwide protests:
With the arrests and purported imprisonment of key opposition figures and leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, Mehdi and Fatemeh Karroubi – the stakes have been raised. This one act is the one of the biggest escalations the regime has made in the 21 months since the uprisings that followed the disputed 2009 presidential elections.
We are tracking the arrests and news related to them here: Iran Green Opposition Leaders Arrested!
As always on days of protest in Iran, we will be covering the full days events.