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Green Brief 33 - July 19, 2009
Protests / Unrest
1. It has been partially confirmed that a protests took place in Shiraz tonight. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the late afternoon and marched down the streets, chanting slogans against the government for several hours, before peacefully dispersing. Yesterday it was reported that Mahdi Karroubi’s supporters had obtained a permit for a peaceful protests in Shiraz. It could not be immediately confirmed if there were any clashes or not.
2. Families of detained protesters will hold another protest in front of Evin prison tomorrow evening.
3. Mahdi Karroubi visited some of the families of detainees and expressed his sorrow over the death of more than a hundred Armenians that died in the plane crash yesterday. Karroubi also visited the Church of St. Sarkis in Tehran to offer his condolences to the Iran-Armenian community over the tragic incident.
4. In a separate statement released today, Mahdi Karroubi has said that he feels “ashamed of being part of a government that spreads lies.” He condemned the security forces for alleging that their staff had “been martyred,” as well as “they hadn’t opened fire on anyone.” He asserted that, “Such lies could not be contained - the entire world had witnessed the atrocities committed by the security forces.” Karroubi also confirmed that he was indeed attacked on Friday.
5. Khatami also held meetings with families of detainees today. During the meeting, he thanked Rafsanjani for his statements during the Friday Prayer’s. He went on to add that what Rafsanjani asked for is the “bare minimum requirements” that must be met by the government. Khatami added that not only is the government facing a challenge, but the Islamic Regime was in danger because of the government’s actions. He asked the government to pay heed to Rafsanjani’s statements, but added that a referendum on the government’s legitimacy should be held as soon as possible to restore the people’s trust. It has been reported that during the meeting, two prisoners were allowed by prison guards at Evin to call their families.
6. Hashemi Rafsanjani traveled to Mashhad and will be there for a few days. According to sources, Rafsanjani is there to hold meetings with Ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi and Safi Golpayegani. Many important clerics are in Mashhad right now because of the holy month of Rajab (Shi'ite). Reports indicate that the overwhelming majority of clerics in Mashhad endorse Mousavi and Rafsanjani, while a very small minority is putting their support behind Ahmadinejad.
7. The Association of Combatant Clerics (ACC) has released a statement today calling for a referendum. The ACC also praised Hashemi Rafsanjani’s sermon and asked the government to pay heed to his words. According to the ACC, a referendum would be the best way to restore the trust of the Iranian populace - whose trust had been severely diminished by the election and post-election turmoil.
8. Iranian Security Forces are claiming that a plan by the MKO (Mujahideene Khalq Organization) to assassinate Mousavi and Karroubi had been foiled. MKO, which is a left-wing Iranian paramilitary organization, had previously claimed that Israel had plotted to assassinate Ahmadinejad before the election.
9. Mir Hossein Mousavi released a statement today, offering his condolences to the families of victims of the airline crash near Qazvin. In the statement, he showed concern over several recent accidents involving Iranian airlines and asked the government to work to improve flight-safety in Iran.
10. Twenty members of the Iranian Parliament have summoned the Ministers of Intelligence and Judiciary in order to inquire about the arrests of politicians and political activists.
Government / International
11. Rumors circulated today that Esfandyar Rahim-Mashaie, the man appointed as the First Vice President of Iran, had declined the position. There were reports later suggesting Mr. Mashaie had denied making such a statement. We have been unable to confirm either statement, but it seems unlikely that he would decline such an appointment. It has now been confirmed that Khamenei had asked Hashemi Rafsanjani to attend the Inauguration Ceremony of President Ahmadinejad – a request he rejected.
12. Abbasali Kadkhodaie, the spokesperson for the Guardian Council, today criticized Rafsanjani’s sermon and responded to comments made by one of Mousavi’s representatives. According to Kadkhodaie, the Guardian Council had acted within the law and used all the legal means possible to ensure that the election was free and fair. He also slammed Karroubi and Mousavi for not sending representatives to a committee formed by the Guardian Council to investigate allegations of voting fraud (it is worth mentioning that the committee was set up to investigate only 10% of the total votes cast. Even if all those votes were to be transferred to Mousavi alone, Ahmadinejad would have still been the victor).
13. Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, a prominent Shi’ite cleric and a hard-liner who is supposedly the religious mentor of Ahmadinejad, stated today that "Many politicians are saying they only believe in the Supreme Leader’s words because he has been constitutionally appointed. Yet the Supreme Leader has jurisdiction regardless.”
14. It has been reported that Ayatollah Javad Amoli and Ayatollah Amini will soon meet with Khamenei to discuss the post-election mayhem. In another breakthrough, Ayatollah Kharrazi of Qom has announced that “Khamenei is responsible for the blood that has been spilled during the past few weeks.”
15. The Iranian Minister of Energy has warned citizens that causing power blackouts (by over-using electricity) was useless and would, moving forward, be considered sabotage. This comes at a time when fresh allegations by the IRG have been levied against protesters. The government is once again claiming that:
A. The protests were pre-planned
B. Protesters were prepared to use violence weeks before the election.
Arrested / Released / Killed
16. Iranian Government officials have confirmed that the last British Embassy staffer, Hossein Resam, had been released on bail. His release comes days after firm pressure from the international community. The government has also announced that over 40 protesters had been arrested during protests on Friday.
17. In a letter addressed to the Judiciary, the Ministry of Information, and the Attorney General of Iran, Ayatollah Mousavi Tabrizi has demanded for the speedy release of all detainees. He has demanded the lifting of all sanctions against political parties and a clamp down on those who have violated the people’s civil rights during the protests.
18. Disturbing news continues to emerge from Evin Prison. Released detainees claim that prisoners are chained to walls within the prison’s halls - in hot and overcrowded conditions. Prisoners are frequently beaten while other prisoners are forced to watch. Sleep-deprivation is common. Food and medication are hard to come by. Other sources also report of continued use of sexual assault as a torture tactic (we have already confirmed that many prisoners have been raped).
19. Dozens of university students from Tabriz, Mashhad and Semnan have been asked to appear before disciplinary committees. Reports suggest that most of these students had actively taken part in the protests following the elections.
20. IRIB TV has reportedly broadcasted a mangled-up version of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s sermon. The broadcast omits his appeal for the immediate release of prisoners, as well as his call for the lifting of media censorship. Instead, it focuses entirely on his calls for unity. The broadcast also stressed that Rafsanjani had not taken sides during the speech. This is while Grand Ayatollah Sobhani today slammed the Iranian media for lying about what was happening in Iran and called it un-Islamic to do so.
Note: (I respectfully decline to participate in the ongoing “hunt for Neda’s killer.” I have seen pictures of a man that many people claim to be the IRG member who killed her, but we cannot be certain about it. Even if we could, this would only incite people to commit violence – please remember, the Sea of Green needs to remain peaceful.)
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*****A hearty thanks to Sahar joon for helping me out with proof-reading and very valuable tips. Also, a BIG THANKS to all the translators who're spending their precious time on getting this to as many peopl