• 7 July 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
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  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran updates – July 7

5:59 pm: Ahmadinejad says his reelection gave him a mandate – LA Times

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared his disputed reelection gave him a mandate to continue his domestic and international policies and spoke out defiantly against the West in a televised speech meant to shore up his legitimacy amid continued political turmoil.

But he softened his rhetoric toward opponents at home from the days after the June 12 election, when he dismissed his rivals as sore losers.

“We have entered a new era in both the domestic sphere and at the international level,” he said. “Inside the country the path people are taking is clearer than before. And we will tread on that path more powerfully than before.”

During and after his speech, Iranians in various neighborhoods climbed to their rooftops and stepped out into their rooftops to chant “God is great,” and “Death to the dictator” in what has become a nightly protest against Ahmadinejad and in support of former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, his chief rival. Mousavi posted a statement on his website today calling on the government to free prisoners swept up in a crackdown against those disputing the election.

“…”

Ahmadinejad described the election as a “momentous” event which “was the freest and the healthiest election the world has ever seen,” setting a new start for Iran.

“People put their seal of approval to [my] four years in office,” he said.

He said those who alleged that the vote was rigged “failed to offer even a single piece of evidence,” though Mousavi recently released a 24-page document detailing accusations of fraud and official photos of a partial recount effort showed hundreds of unfolded ballots, despite the requirement that voters are to fold their ballots.

Ahmadinejad blamed “arrogant” foreign enemies for doing “everything at their disposal to insinuate into the minds that the vote was tainted,” alleging some Iranians collaborated with them.

5:40 pm: ISIS clarifies Biden’s supposed “green light” of Israeli attack – ISIS, the Institute for Science and International Security, takes a look at the media coverage of Biden’s remarks about an Israeli strike on Iran:

Vice President Biden has been widely quoted (here and here are but two examples) from his Sunday appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos as saying that the United States will not stand in Israel’s way should it decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  The Los Angeles Times piece’s headline bluntly states “Biden says Israel has the right to attack Iran.”

Unfortunately, this reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what Biden actually said.  Yes, the Vice President plainly stated that Israel, as a sovereign nation, can determine “what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.” But he also plainly stated that U.S. and Israeli interests are currently aligned:  “What we believe is in the national interest of the United States, which we, coincidentally, believe is also in the interest of Israel and the whole world” and that these interests are currently best served by engagement.  More important, Biden was saying that the United States would not be pushed into a course of action by Israel:  “If the Netanyahu government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.” Fine distinctions?  Perhaps, but worth being sensitive to.

5:23 pm: Ousted soccer captain speaks out

MahdavikiaThe captain of Iran’s soccer team, Mehdi Mahdavikia, said farewell to the nation following his “retirement” in a letter today.

While Mahdavikia expresses his deepest gratitude for the fans and all those who have supported him and the Iranian soccer team ‘team meli’, he expresses his frustration with the political backlash that several prominent members of the team have met in the face of the presidential elections that were recently held in Iran.

Mahdavikia was one of the 6 players who wore green arm bands during Iran’s last world cup qualifying against South Korea.

He said:

“My last word is to those who have called national soccer players traitors. How dare you speak without any proof or any documents calling players who over the years have sacrificed everything including their bodies, their souls and their families in order to make Iran proud, and to bring titles and joy to the people of Iran.”

“I suggest you show your track record and give us the honor to learn loyalty from you…though I am sure people will judge between us the traitors and you loyalists well.”

“Every night, before you sleep, think about respect and be conscious of those who you are about to disparage. The members of the national team are proud individuals who at every instance have given their utmost to make Iran proud.”

“National players did not work so hard for you to insult them with these words.”

4:07 pm: Closing down the Tehran and other cities: air pollution or scheduled strikes?

Multiple sources in Iran are skeptical about air pollution being the real reason behind closing down Tehran and other cities.  Some believe that recent shut downs are meant to coincide with scheduled strikes and the anniversary of the 1999 dorm incident at Tehran University this week.  On July 1st, Mousavi’s Facebook featured a flyer calling for national strikes from July 6-8th where Mousavi’s supporters asked the people “anywhere in the country and anywhere in the world” to take off work during those days.  The pollution is a real problem in Tehran, but many people have lost trust in the government and are questioning its true motives.

Qom and Ilam also closing down – Fars News Agency

In addition to Tehran, all government institutions in Qom and Ilam will be closed tomorrow because of “air pollution.”

4:06 pm: Ayatollah: Election approved by God and Hidden Imam

According to Amir Kabir Newsletter, the Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadayee, Dean of Qom’s Elmiyyeh Theological Seminary, has claimed that the June 12 presidential election “is approved by God and the Hidden Imam and there are no problems with it.”  Moqtadayee said “after the Guardian Council’s approval, the case of the elections must be closed.”  Moqtadayee believes that “believing in Velayat-e Faqih (the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist) means believing in the person whose word is the Hidden Imam’s word and speaks for the interest of Islam, the country and the society.”

3:58 pm: “Islamic Revolution insured for at least 20 years”

According to BBC Persian, Yadullah Javani, the chief commander of the revolutionary guard, with respect to the recent events in Iran stated: “the Islamic Republic dodged a very dangerous event and has insured itself for at least the next 20 years.”

Two days before the elections, Javani had warned Ahmadinejad’s opponents that “any movements towards a velvet revolution will be suffocated on the spot.”

Javanny’s recent remarks have been interpreted by many to be direct threats to the Mousavi and Karroubi camps. While more importantly his rhetoric is very dictatorial and brutal.

3:16 pm: Iran’s capital closed

According to BBC Persian “all government institutions besides the military branches will be closed today and tomorrow due to the poor weather conditions.  The poor conditions are contributed to sand storms that have been sweeping into Tehran and other parts of Iran from the Arabian desert and Iraq.”

2:39 pm: Obama not giving Israel green light to invade Iran – CNN:

The United States is “absolutely not” giving Israel a green light to attack Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama told CNN Tuesday.

President Obama meets Tuesday with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin near Moscow.

“We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East,” Obama said, referring to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Obama has been in Moscow for a summit aimed at trying to reset the U.S.-Russian relationship.

On Sunday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden appeared to leave the door open for Israel to attack Iran if it saw fit.

“Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Obama said Tuesday that Biden had simply been stating a fact, not sending a signal.

“I think Vice President Biden stated a categorical fact, which is we can’t dictate to other countries what their security interests are. What is also true is that it is the policy of the United States to resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear capabilities in a peaceful way through diplomatic channels,” he said.

2:32 pm: Karroubi announces phone number for people who were affected by recent events – According to Etemademilli, Karroubi’s office announced a phone number and asked the families of the arrested, injured and missing individuals to follow up on their issues by calling this number.  People can call “22713135” from 8am-8pm regarding their concerns.

1:38 pm: Tehran University dorms closed for two weeks – According to Amir Kabir Newsletter, the authorities are closing down the dorms at Tehran University for two weeks.  Every year, the dorms are closed for a few days during the anniversary of the 1999 dorm incidents to prevent protests.  This year, the time was extended to two weeks.  The university authorities claim “this decision is not related to recent events and was made before that.”

Amir Kabir said “student activists believe that the closing down of the dorms … and pursuing and arresting students on the one hand, and the threats by the Ministry of Science to deprive protesting students from education on the other, is to prevent the ‘99 anniversary event from taking place and is an attempt to confront people’s protests against the coup d’état.  However, many student activists and independent groups in universities have announced that they are determined to mark the anniversary.”

1:16 pm: French student arrested in Iran – Amir Kabir Newsletter reported today that a female French student, who was temporarily working at Esfehan University as a teacher’s assistant, was arrested on her return trip to France.  She has been accused of espionage for participating in some protests and taking pictures with her mobile phone.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy has requested her immediate release.

12:44 pm: The Washington Times editorial board today, in their column titled “Green Light to Bomb Iran,” wants to see Israel seize the opportunity of the post-election turmoil to carry out an airstrike on Iran. Though it comes as no surprise from the ultra-hardline paper, it is still upsetting to see them fling outright falsehoods at such a sensitive time as this.

The strategic lines can be drawn with syllogistic precision. Iran is nearing the stage where it will be in a position to test a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia and other states in the region. The United States has chosen a course of action that will not prevent Iran from achieving nuclear capability. Therefore, other countries must take concerted action to stave off the threat. Israel has the best-equipped conventional forces to undertake the mission…

No country would use its only nuclear weapon in a test detonation, so the Washington Times apparently thinks that Iran is close to acquiring not one, but two nuclear warheads.  A claim like this–backed up with absolutely no evidence–is at best irresponsible.

This is the same editorial board that has passionately supported the demonstrators in Iran and called for the US and the international community to speak out and back the opposition movement.

It is a strange calculation that has led them to believe the best way to support the Iranian people is by bombing them.

12:04 pm: Asieh Mir, one of the most enlightened Iran analysts in Washington, published this op-ed in the Washington Times today:

Post-Election Showdown

July 7, 2009

For the supreme leader, who has always tried to remain above the political fray — the critics went too far this time and got out of control. His biggest challenge has come from answering criticisms from the outside world. He believes Iran needs a president who can stand up to the nation’s enemies. To him, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s chief election rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was too weak and too independent for the task.

Feeling the danger, the supreme leader needed to play hard and fast to take care of unfaithful members of the elite, both moderates and conservatives. He needed to get rid of internal dissidents before dealing with the challenges of the enemy.

The Ayatollah Khamenei waged a war against internal opposition by using raw force. He may have won in the short term, but he made an irreversible miscalculation in assuming that a firm stance would silence all the dissidents. Many political leaders in the conservative camp publicly questioned the mishandling of the election and toying with the laws and manipulation of public opinion.

It is too soon to draw conclusions about this internal conflict broiling among Iran’s leadership. However, one thing is clear: With the purging of reformist leaders from politics, the next batch of dissidents will come from different factions within the ruling conservative party. This has started already. In the meantime, the U.S. game can make quite a difference. If Washington takes the right steps, it will let the fissures deepen on their own.

11:49 am: Stanford Iranian students and Amnesty organizing rally in Palo Alto:

flyer_IranMap

11:35 am: Iran at a Crossroads: NIAC Member Survey –

NIACsurvey

The violence erupting in the aftermath of the Iran elections has left very few around the world untouched. At NIAC, we have followed the developments extremely closely and have been at the forefront of the debate in the U.S. on how our government should respond. Thanks to your help, NIAC is recognized as one of the key groups shaping U.S. policy towards Iran.

Policymakers want to hear from Iranian Americans and the broader public alike. We need your input to accurately represent your views. Now, more than ever, we need to hear how recent events have impacted your views of U.S. policy towards Iran, and we have developed this survey to ask some key questions and get your responses.

Please click here to take the survey and share your views with us. If you are not currently a NIAC member, click here to join and become part of the dialogue on the future of US policy on Iran.

The time to affect change is now. Give us your input today!

11:12 am: Mousavi’s facebook page - “With respect to tonight’s speeches of the velvet revolutionary president (Ahmadinejad) the chants of ‘Allah Akbar are to commence at 21:00 tonight.  You are the messenger.”

10:27 am: Commander of Armed Forces: “Police did not fire shots!”

According to Sarmayeh news, Ahmadi Moqadam, commander of the armed forces said on Tuesday that “[they] had predicted the post election events and the police, prudently and decisively and without firing a shot, tried to return the situation to normal with minimal violence.”  Moqadam added “they try to mix Basij and the plainclothes [militiamen] and present them as being the same; while the rioters were also [in] plainclothes … were the rioters and protesters wearing a uniform? … From our point of view, both sides are breaking the law and their behavior is not acceptable.”

10:19 am: “The Philosophies of the Green Movement” — Mousavi has listed on his Facebook page important principles for his movement to follow.  Some excerpts:

1)      The demonstrations scheduled for July 9th are to be non-violent and within the bounds of the law. However we must prepare ourselves for reaction from non legal personnel and the best weapon here is patience and calmness.”

2)      Our second weapon is a red flower. [During the 1979 Revolution, demonstrators would approach lines of soldiers and place red flowers in their gun barrels as a sign of peace and friendship.]

3)      Remember that the ‘path’ and ‘participation’ is important – not the ‘destination’. If you are faced with armed forces, just change your direction and continue on your path.

4)      We are not in the position to take risks, but we must be in the position to accept responsibilities. We must be ready in body and spirit.

5)      Wear regular clothing and do not use make up or fix your hair in a way that can be used to identify you; we don’t want the children of the revolution to be oppressed any further than this.

6)      Do not bring any personal identification or anything that can be used to identify you.

7)      Refrain from carrying any jewelry or any other expensive items.

8)      Just write the phone number of your closest relative on a piece of paper and carry it in your pocket for emergencies only.

9)   Just use silent gestures such as holding up your two fingers and avoid using harsh chants such as “death to” – instead use chants such as “long live”. The best chant is “Ya Hossein… Mir Hossein”.

10:04 am: Latest on the condition of Saeed Hajarian and Mohsen Mirdamadi- According to Parleman News, Hajarian’s wife denied Fars News Agency’s report which said Hajarian’s family is aware of his physical condition.  Hajarian’s wife said “none of Mr. Hajarian’s family members has met him and we are unaware of his physical condition.”  She said that promises were made to arrange for a visit with Hajarian but these promises were not met.  She added “Mr. Hajarian ran out of medicine several days ago and no efforts by prison authorities has been made to get the medicines which is more worrisome for his family.”

Parleman News reports that other arrested individuals such as Mirdamadi, Tajzadeh and Nabavi also have not had any contact with their families.

9:54 am: Twitter updates:

Mousavi may be removed from his post at the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution.

9:42 am: THE GREEN CHAIN OF DEMOCRACY – From Mousavi’s Facebook page

July 9th demonstration poster

“Iranians from the cities and rural area of Iran and even those in Europe, United States and Australia or whereever else unite and form a green chain against the anti-democratic government of Iran. Our green chain of democracy is very similar to the national congress of Africa that stood up to apartheid. Under this umbrella everyone is a leader and every leader is a warrior and a member of this chain. Our aim is to oppose the liars and thieves who stole the elections, and whoever holds this government as illegitimate is part of our chain.”

9:26 am: Washington Times reporter Iason Athanasiadis out of Iran – The reporter for the Washington Times who was arrested and detained for 19 days in Iran following the election is now out of Iran.  Iason Athanasiadis sent the following letter to an email listserv (though we cannot publish it in its entirety due to sensitivities).

dear everyone,

I landed in dubai a short while ago and after having my first beer in a month at the house of iranian friends here with whom we were covering the riots before my arrest, I’ve logged on for the first time in three weeks and am shocked by the amount of work you and many others put together in trying to get me out, whether in the US, Europe or Greece.

I am extremely blessed and grateful to have such wonderful colleagues and friends, as yourselves. Your dedication and kindness are truly humbling.

If you were wondering, I was arrested on spying charges but their evidence was pathetic – two surveillance pics of me chatting with a British diplomat at a conference in Qom in the middle of a crowd four years ago. I was rearrested on Sunday after being released in a textbook example of Iran’s factionalism but some deft footwork by [a friend] got me out.

All in all I spent 19 days in solitary confinement, was exposed to very little violence after the first days, and had several rounds of interrogations with separate people but refused to sign a confession that I had endangered iranian national security through my actions.

Thank you so much for helping in all this and I look forward to seeing you all as soon as possible.

Iason Athanasiadis

Posted By NIAC

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