Far from being "spontaneous" as some in the Western media described the last instance when, by many estimates, hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets, anti-government demonstrations are laboriously planned and promoted a month beforehand, originating online, as ever, and transmitted on the ground by word-of-mouth, leaflets, and other creative ways.
The next major rally date is November 4, known as "13 Aban" on the Iranian calendar, which marks the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran. The designated route for the march is Talaghani Avenue in downtown Tehran and other streets near the former American embassy complex. Outside of the capital, protesters are set to march from the (public) State University to (private) Azad University campus in their city.
Initiatives to invite the public to attend 13 Aban rallies began well over a month ago. Web-based promotion included bulletins on Reformist news sites and posters circulated in social media, especially Facebook. One poster urges protestors to drive their cars to the demonstration route and block the roads, if they fear coming to the streets on foot. Another poster calls on Iranians to chant Allah-o-Akbar from their rooftops at 10 pm on the night before the rally, almost like a collective war cry, except that the opposition is committed to nonviolent struggle.
Aware that Iran's internet penetration rate hovers around 30 percent, efforts to spread the word in the physical world have included the distribution of flyers and writing Green 13 Aban! on billboards, walls, and money bills.
"Money passes from hand to hand," an activist in Tehran involved in promotional efforts told Tehran Bureau. "The message gets out to everyone [that way]."
A post-election phrase popularized by the Facebook page of opposition figure Mir Hossein Mousavi to counter the state's stranglehold on broadcasting, tight censorship of newspapers, and filtering of websites has been: You are the Media. Iran's youth have taken this call to heart, and Wednesday's turnout will be a measure of their success to mobilize the public for symbolic, date-based street protests in sustained a campaign for change.
- >>Brave student defies the “Supreme Leader” of Iran
In this meeting which is usually a place for students from across Iran to praise the leader and to show him their devotion, a mathematics student from Sharif University of Technology and a winner of the International Mathematics Olympiad courageously rose from amongst those present and requested to speak to the leader.
The student then directly addressed the leader criticising him and the Islamic Republic for twenty minutes. His comments were followed by occasional applause and cheers from those present. Iranian state-run TV which was broadcasting live images of the meeting was forced to stop airing the programme for some time.
During the meeting this daring student managed to grill Khamenei on a number of issues including the state-run TV’s one-sided performance during and after the elections. State-run Television is under the supervision of the leader. He also touched on the issue of the freedom of speech and the banning of newspapers and the atmosphere of fear that was dominant in the country, while calling on the need for open criticism of the leader himself.
“I have been following newspapers and magazines more seriously for four or five years now. During this time, I do not recall having read any piece that was critical of the leader.”
The student also expressed contempt towards what he described as a campaign to idolise the leader while questioning the “cycle of power” in the Islamic Republic and the structure of the Guardians Council and the Council of the Elite which many believe have compromised the people’s votes and their say in their own affairs.
The comments made by this student were actually the main reason for which Ayatollah Khamenei brought up the issue of the elections and its aftermath on Wednesday.
According to unconfirmed reports, this Sharif University student was faced with security forces after the meeting was over.
- >>Iran's Economic Daily Sarmayeh Banned
Ministry officials claim that Sarmayeh was working outside its approved category as a specialized publication in the human sciences field with a research and educational approach.
Last month, Culture Minister Mohammad Hoseini described that the banning of newspapers in Iran “nothing out of the ordinary.”
In the post-election events at least six publications have been shut down.
Iran has been given some of the lowest grades in terms of freedom of press by Reporters without Borders and “Freedom House” media research organization.
- >>Russian Embassy Tightens Security for 4 November
- >>Official Complaint Filed Against Moussavi
Azhei added: “Some of the charges raised against Mir Hossein Moussavi in the statement from the representatives are: collaboration and command of security disturbance and propaganda against the Islamic regime based on article 610 and 618 of Islamic criminal law.”
- >>Murder Statistics for Women Not Revealed
- >>Nuclear Inspectors Meet Fleeing Scientist Before Tehran Visit
Atomic Energy Agency inspectors arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning to visit the enrichment facilities in Qom city and it was declared yesterday that their mission was over. Amini worked at this site and had previously given information about these facilities to western countries. Earlier United Press International (UPI) had reported that exposing the nuclear facilities at Qom has increased doubts regarding the scope and purpose of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and that the US and European officials are convinced that the facilities are for making atomic weapons.
These officials said that in terms of structure, the Qom facilities are suited to a military aim., expressing that there is no possible role for this facility for civilians.
- >>Dismissal of Baha'i Students from Semnan University
Heranaagency reports that the students’ pursuit of this injustice with the university president and authorities has achieved nothing and their only response has been that the action was and “order from higher authorities". However no documentation of this is available to the students.
Human Rights Activists in Iran
- >>Iran Ranks a low 128 among 134 countries in Gender Discrimination
Economic opportunity, women’s participation, level of education and mediation are four areas used to measure the index.Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-large of Global Women’s Issues said: “We will not be able to solve the main challenges of our time without the presence of women. Women are key to economic growth while they do not have a place in decision making positions”.
According to a 2009 report observing the direct relationship between economic development and women’s presence in political fields, 43 countries have progressed in this field while most countries have progressed 83% in education and women’s participation in economic fields.
This year Iceland gained first place, which belonged to Norway last year. The interesting point is that the US ranking of 31compared to last year’s 27 is a downtrend for this country. USA ranked 23rd in 2006.
In 2006 Iran ranked 108 among 115 countries with an index of .580, 118 among 128 with an index of .590 in 2007 and 116 among 130 with an index of .602 in 2008.
- >>University students protest visit of government official
Upon arrival in the amphitheater where the speech was to take place, Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi was overwhelmed with cries of "culture killer," "our culture minister, our shame," and "death to the dictator."
Saffar-Harandi who was struggling to maintain his calm, responded by saying that Mohammad Khatami's culture minister, "Ataollah Mohajerani was better deserving of such honorary titles," and asked students to allow him to begin his speech.
Students then began shouting "Liar, Liar where is your 63 percent." Harandi replied by saying that this slogan better suited those who had released a list of post-election casualties. "Where are your 73 victims?" he asked Students then began to chant slogans requesting the release of political prisoners as they help up photos of Mohsen Mirdamadi, Mostafa Tajzadeh, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Abdollah Momeni and Ahmad Zeydabadi.
At this point, campus security began filming the session and the students shouting in protest.
Harandi attempted to continue his speech about the importance of the U.S. Embassy takeover 30 years ago. However, students had turned their backs to the podium and were chanting "turn off your cameras."
Harandi began calling students "uneducated" and "dictators," at which point students held up their shoes in a symbolic gesture. Harandi called the students "ill-mannered" and said, "They had told me [beforehand] that you had brought in a sack of shoes [to throw at me] but none of you has the courage of Montazer al-Zaydi to even throw your shoes at me."
Students responded by saying, "My shoes are too much for a liar."
After students began chanting "Oh Hossein, Mir Hossein" and "Iran will see Judgment Day if Karroubi is arrested." Harandi was forced to quickly wrap-up his speech and was escorted out of the venue by his bodyguards.
When students tried to follow Saffar-Harandi, his bodyguards reportedly began attacking them. The move infuriated students causing them to gather outside the amphitheater and chant, "Get lost, mercenary," and "Saffar, what scared you off?"
Students then moved outside and gathered in front of the university where they continued shouting slogans such as, "Iran has become Palestine, people why are you still sitting," "Neither West, Nor East, Only a Green Iran," and "Dictator, Dictator, this is our final message, Iran's Green Movement is ready for uprising."
- >>Film Makers’ Statement Warning of the Elimination of Independent Cinema
Cinema auditoriums are not showing some of our films and the ones that are screened are subject to numerous limitations yet there is no law to protect us. Something stands between you and us. This drive wants the sovereignty of money and capitalism and whoever doesn't make films that support this sovereignty in public screening will be punished by capitalism.
At present the criteria for the public screening of a film is not a prominent and talented filmmaker or the calibre of the film. They want to do away with independent cinema and do us the maximum favor and keep it in patio.
Fans of Iranian cinema, we make these films for you and with your motivation. Direct communication with people is the absolute right of any professional filmmaker and it's the people's right to watch different films, but monopolization has closed the way. If the system for making films and showing them in cinemas does not change and if cultural and economical justice doesn't apply in the world of films, we will witness theend of Iranian cinema.
Saeed Ebrahimfar, Mohammad Ahmadi , Saeed Asadi, Sirous Alvand, Mohsen Amiryousefi, Alireza Amini, Mohammad Bozorgnia, Rakhshan Banietemad, Ferial Behzad, Habibollah Bahmani, Bahram Beizai, Kambozia Partovi, Kiomars Pourahmad, Nase Taqvai , Qasem Jafari, Mohammad Hossein Haqiqi, Manijeh Hekmat, Azizollah Hamidnejad, Akbar Khajoui, Alireza Davoud, Nejad,Abolhasan Davoudi, Ahmad Reza Darvish, AmirshahabRezvanian, Abbas Rafei, Ali Jekan , Mohammad Ali Sajjadi,Siamak Shaeqi, Parviz Shahbazi, Yadollah Samadi,Kianoush Ayari, Naser Qolamrezai , Mehdi Fakhimzadeh , Ebrahim Forouzesh , Mehrdad Farid, Majid Qarizadeh, Rahbar Qanbari, Iraj Karimi , Abbas Kiarostami, Abdoreza Kahani, Manouchehr Masiri, Khosro Masoumi, Nader Moqadas, Mohammad Motevaselani, Asqar Hashemi, Mohammad Reza Honarmand
- >>Rafsanjani's son on the defensive
He denied allegations made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the presidential campaign accusing his family of financial corruption. In response to a widely held belief that Ahmadinejad picked up a significant amount of votes as a result of attacks on his father, he said, "If they allow [people to] talk about bigger people than Rafsanjani, they would get even more votes. Actually, if you put the whole revolution under question, you'd attract 70 million votes." The 70-million reference is to the population of Iran.
More notable than what he says, is the tone of the outburst, which appears to be the product of great frustration and anger at the pressures on his family and a lack of access to state media to respond. Rafsanjani, once considered a pillar of the Islamic Republic, is now under such pressure that his son appears to need to use the rare chance of an official gathering to speak in defense of his father.
- >>Iran to seek fuel supply guarantees in next round of talks
Speaking to Press TV on Monday, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh expressed the Islamic Republic's readiness to buy its needed nuclear fuel from global suppliers.
"We are ready to buy [the fuel] from any supplier under the full surveillance of the IAEA ... as we bought from Argentina about 20 years ago with the cooperation of the IAEA. The core issue is assurance and guarantee for [the] supply of the fuel," Soltaniyeh said.
- >>Iran police warn opposition over new demonstration
The warning comes days after two opposition leaders suggested they will call their supporters to the streets Wednesday, in what was seen as an attempt to reinvigorate their movement after a harsh crackdown killed dozens of protesters in postelection turmoil over the summer.
Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by militant students following the Islamic Revolution — a day that typically draws thousands to the streets of Tehran.
Tehran's acting police chief, Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan, warned Monday against any "illegal gatherings."
"Those who deceitfully invite and encourage people and youngsters to an illegal gathering should be held accountable for their actions," Radan was quoted as saying on Iran's official news agency, IRNA. Hard-liners already have called on security forces to take tough action against any opposition rally that day.
Calls to the opposition were not immediately returned Monday.
Thousands of people were arrested in a heavy crackdown this summer that crushed mass protests in support of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims the June 12 disputed presidential election was stolen through massive vote fraud. Dozens were killed in the crackdown.
It was the country's worst unrest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
On Monday, authorities also closed down a business newspaper known for criticizing the government.
The Culture Ministry ordered the newspaper closed because its content strayed from the business field, reported IRNA.
The Sarmayeh newspaper was known for carrying articles critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies, which they say have impoverished the country.
Since 2000 more than 100 newspapers and periodicals were banned in Iran, mostly on security charges.
Also Monday, state television reported that the Iranian intelligence service arrested five "terrorist" suspects who allegedly planned to assassinate an official and confiscated weapons belonging to the group.
The report did not provide details, but it cited the intelligence service as saying the group had also planned an attack in early September to instigate more post-election turmoil.
- >>Britain, Russia, others urge Iran to respond to uranium proposal
"We both want to see a prompt response from the Iranian regime in respect of the Tehran research reactor proposal," Miliband said at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
"We both want to see a positive response to the offer that was agreed by the E3 +3 ... in May 2008."
The E3 + 3 refers to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the United Nations' nuclear watchdog -- has given Iran another 48 hours "to come up with a serious response," Miliband said
"That's what we all want to see," he added.
Last week, Iran said it tentatively agreed to the IAEA's proposal, but then proposed its own conditions.
The initial draft was supported by the United States, France and Russia. It calls for Iran to ship low-enriched uranium outside the country for refinement, possibly to Russia. The material would be shipped back to Iran in a form usable for civilian purposes.
However, Tehran proposes that its uranium be enriched on Iranian soil by a third country, under IAEA supervision, ElBaradei said last week. Iran said another possibility would be sending out the uranium in several shipments, not in one bulk stockpile, he said.
Iran says the IAEA is responsible for sending it 20 percent-enriched uranium, which Iran says is needed for the reactor at Tehran University. That concentration is insufficient for making weapons.
The United States and other nations are trying to eliminate Iran's weapon-making capabilities, although Iran says it wants uranium solely for civilian purposes.
Speaking on Monday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also called on Iran to respond quickly to the offer or, he warned, France would not accept Tehran's response.
In his final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, ElBaradei on Monday said Iran needs "to be as forthcoming as possible in responding soon to my recent proposal, based on the initiative of the U.S., Russia and France, which aimed to engage Iran in a series of measures that could build confidence and trust and open the way for comprehensive and substantive dialogue between Iran and the international community.
"This is a unique and fleeting opportunity to reverse course from confrontation to cooperation and should, therefore, not be missed," he said.
- >>Many who stormed US embassy now oppose Iran regime
The students who captured the city centre compound of "The Great Satan" and who took more than 50 US diplomats hostage said they acted in response to Washington's refusal to hand over deposed shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
They feared a repetition of US interference such as the CIA-organised coup in 1953 that overthrew nationalist prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
Chants of "Death to America" reverberated through the streets of Tehran as Iranian masses sang the praises of the daring move against the embassy. Related article: Decades of bad blood
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic regime, dubbed the building's capture a "second revolution."
But many leading participants such as Massoumeh Ebtekar, Abbas Abdi and Mohsen Mirdamadi have since developed into reformists highly critical of the conservative government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mirdamadi, who played a key role in the embassy capture on November 4 1979, went on to head the influential national security and foreign policy committee of Iran's majlis (parliament).
He is now in prison accused of trying to topple the government.
Abdi too has served time in an Iranian jail for his work on opinion polls saying that Iranians want diplomatic relations with the United States.
Many attribute the failure of Jimmy Carter, US Democratic president from 1977 to 1981, to win a second term in office to his mismanagement of the hostage crisis when a failed rescue operation led to the crash of two aircraft and the deaths of eight American servicemen.
The 52 staff were released only in January 1981 following 444 days in captivity, just moments after Republican Ronald Reagan replaced Carter in the White House.
Washington broke off official relations during the crisis, a rupture that has yet to be healed. Iran still lauds the seizure as a revolutionary act while Washington condemns it as an abuse of human rights.
Nowadays the annual event opposite the former US embassy, known locally as the "Den of Spies," continues to draw a massive crowd, composed mainly of schoolchildren, since the day is also known as "student day."
They listen dutifully to a keynote speaker designated by the government, often someone who was not involved in the hostage-taking.
Iranian state-run television still broadcasts footage of the radical students parading the US diplomats blindfolded around the compound and burning the American flag.
The embassy building, now under the control of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, is used as an educational centre where occasional exhibitions highlight the "crimes" of the United States.
This year the annual anti-US day could also be marked by street protests against Ahmadinejad, whose disputed re-election on June 12 triggered the worst political crisis in the Islamic Republic's history.
Ahmadinejad's main rivals have rejected what they say is his "fraudulent victory" and their supporters have demonstrated in vast numbers against the hardliner.
- >>Iran needs additional $3.8 billion for gasoline through March 2010
"Iran needs $3.8 billion to import gasoline by the end of the current (Iranian) year," said Mohammad Royanian,who heads Iran's Fuel Transport and Management Organization, according to the Jam-e-Jam newspaper .
The Iranian year ends March 20.
Royanian said the government Fuel Transport and Management Organization had received expert recommendations to cut gasoline rations for the winter season, reports the newspaper.
"Some experts have recommended to the Fuel Transport and Management Organization headquarters that gasoline rations for cars be cut in the winter," Jam-e-Jam cites Royanian as saying.
Under Iran's current gasoline rationing scheme, which was launched in June 2007 to curb consumption and redirect money to shore up the nation's oil infrastructure, the monthly quotas for government-subsidized gasoline is 100 liters a month for individual drivers at a subsidized price of 1,000 rials a liter. Drivers can buy gasoline beyond the monthly quota for 4,000 rials a liter.
According to government officials, Iran pays between $35 billion to $45 billion a year on fuel subsidies. Subsidized fuels primarily include gasoline, gasoil, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG, and fuel oil.
Reuters on Tuesday quoted gasoline traders as saying that Iran is struggling to finance its international gasoline purchases. "They are struggling to raise money for their international oil purchases, and are trying to keep costs down...it doesn't help that oil prices are on the rise as well," said a a Middle East based gasoline trader, according to Reuters.
"Their initial bid price was pretty low, about 25, 30 percent off the market but there was no way anyone was going to deal at those levels," the trader added.
- >>Reformist journalist released on bail, hospitalized
Branch 26 of the Revolution Court issued the order for Shahidi's release on bail.
Shahidi requested more time to prepare her defense during her first court appearance, which was held in the same branch on Sunday. The judge granted a stay.
[Source: Norooz] Shahidi, who had been detained on June 30, suffers from severe heart problems requiring her to take 28 pills a day. Before her release, she was on her eighth day of a hunger and a medication strike to protest stagnation in her case.
The Shahidi family said she was in poor health and seeking medical attention.
- >>Baha'i Citizen Arrested in Yasouj
HRA- The Bahai’ rights committee of HRA reports that at 11 am on October 31, 2009 the officers of Yasuj Intelligence Office went to the house of a Baha’i resident called “Ali Bakhsh Bazrafkan” and after showing their warrant, they inspected his house and confiscated all his books and personal belongings. Later, they accompanied him to visit his son “Arman Bazrafkan” where they also inspected his house and confiscated all his religious books.
After completing the inspection which lasted for about 2 hours, the officers arrested Ali Bakhsh Bazrafkan and it has been reported that he is still in detention.
It should be mentioned that Ali Bakhsh Bazrafkan had been previously a member of the Yasuj Managing Bahais’ Council. This council was shut down last March as ordered by the Revolutionary Court Prosecutor, and Mr Bazrafkan has not had any responsibility of any kind among the Baha’i Community of Yasuj since then.
- >>Human Rights Lawyer Indicted for Criticizing Execution of Minor
HRA- The freedom of expression unit of HRA reports that Mohammad Oliyaifard, defense lawyer and human rights advocate, defended himself against all charges during a hearing held today at 10.30 am before the first branch of Public Servants Tribunal in Tehran.
The prosecution has accused Oliyaifard of propagating against the regime, disturbing the public mind, talking publicly about the execution of Behnoud Shojai and criticizing actions of the Judiciary.
Oliyafard defended his actions and was released on $50,000 bail pending next court hearing.
This is the second court case against the well known jurist who is already in the middle of fighting another case for insulting the agents of the Intelligence Ministry.
- >>Revolutionary Guards warn against Nov. 4th "disturbances"
In their statement, the Guards invite people from every walk of life to join the ceremonies for the day and to limit their slogans to anti-US content. They cautioned that “collaborators of the enemy and deceived people may attempt to create disturbances and riots.”
In Iran, the anniversary of occupation of the US embassy on November 4th, 1979 is held with demonstrations against US policies against the Islamic Republic.
Supporters of disputing candidates of the June presidential election, Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have announced their intention to stage their own demonstrations on the day to protest the alleged fraud in the presidential elections that secured Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory.
People have been rallied by individual calls for protest from Mir Hosein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, Ayatollah Yousef Sanei and the Association of Combatant Clerics.
Protesters also staged protests on Iran’s annual anti-Israel day of demonstrations on September 18, chanting their own slogans of protests against the June elections and the post-election government.
The Revolutionary Guards new statement maintains that Iranian people “will not allow any movement to taint their determined will by creating deviating slogans and false issues.” They also condemned the US of starting a “soft war” against the Islamic Republic regime.
Headquarters of Iran’s armed forces has announced that in the past 30 years, especially in the recent events, they have learned how to “confront the dominating US policies with astuteness.”
Deputy Commander of police forces has also announced that illegal gatherings will not be tolerated on November 4th. Ahmadreza Radan has warned: “Those who intend to join illegal gatherings and those who have deceived people and invited them to join these illegal gatherings will have to answer for their deeds.”
Iran police commander had announced earlier that any gathering will require police permission.