tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora
nextback

Friday Prayers (Updates)

17 Jul 2009 13:0329 Comments
090717160607_fridayp11

friday12

More from Pedestrian's blog:

We were all on the bus, wondering if the person next to us was going to the prayer. I guess after a while, the tensions melted, we mustered enough courage to ask one another, and found out that we were all going to the same location.

When I got off the bus at Kargar St. [near the University of Tehran campus - the site of the Friday prayer] I decided to walk around and have a look. For one entire semester, I had classes every Friday [so I could see the Friday prayer up close]. I wanted to do a little comparison.

The crowds were massive. But one other difference was that there were guards everywhere. It would definitely be harder now to speak up in unison.

I didn't want to get beaten up, so I shut my mouth and went further to Taleghani St. It was the same story throughout. Hoards and hoards of security guards everywhere. I could make out voices, but the dominant voice all around was coming from Taghavi [the speaker who went to the podium before Rafsanjani]. As I was walking, one of the militias turned to me and said: "Hello!" And I was startled to see how everyone had changed today. I had only gone a few steps farther when I suddenly heard people chanting loudly: zendaniyeh siyasi azad bayad gardad [Free the political prisoners]. Everyone was chanting this. I suddenly realized everyone there was on our side!

The more I kept walking, the more chants I would hear: Death to Russia, Death to China, Free Political Prisoners. So I had to get out my radio to hear the sermon.

I was walking down and listening to the sermon when I suddenly saw my aunt. I wanted to go say hello when I saw our neighbor in the row in front of her. And my old classmate!

And amidst all of this, Rasanjani was going on with an awesome sermon! We were riled up. We would only repeat the Allah o Akbar we were invited to chant. No one felt like saying Death to America or any of the other stuff.

After the sermon, we got up to pray. And we suddenly noticed how cozy everyone had become [Many leading clerics believe that men and women should not stand side to side when praying (Sane'i is amongst those who doesn't). But today, they were praying next to each other which is unprecedented].

After the prayer we got up to leave, but we were being instructed to chant Death to America. We would answer back with Death to Russia. He would want us to say the blood in our veins is a gift to our leader, but we would say the blood in our veins is a gift to our nation.

We were walking happily along until we reached 16th of Azar Street. And there we got to know what tear gas really means. And this is how our dear militia finally got into the game! Later on I heard from a friend who had been elsewhere that this had been going on from 12:30 in other locations [before the prayer]. There was a guy beside us, who kept instructing us to escape using the street routes. But we would insist that we wanted to go farther. We could see armed men standing behind the gates of the University of Tehran. The guy beside us kept saying: "Do you know what will happen if these guys are ordered to come out?" We finally agreed to let him take us out of the crowd. We were happily leaving when we saw a HUMONGOUS crowd run our way. People were scrambling to escape. When I spoke to one person later, when he had calmed down, he just kept saying: "Whatever that was, it wasn't tear gas. My entire body is burning."

Once on the main street, we could see our dear militias on their motrocyles.

I just got on a bus and went home.

----------------

From another friend:

There was violence today, but not as bad as the previous demonstrations. People were bruised and beaten, but not as many and not as severely.

We were getting up to leave the prayer, when we saw a truck coming our way from the distance. We could makae out a dozen or so militias in black uniforms in the back of the truck. Someone yelled: "don't get up! sit!" We sat, frightened, as there were only 30 or 40 people and the truck was getting closer. Suddenly, people around us all ran to our side. They all sat down. We were at least a few hundred now. The truck backed up and left.

----------------

Rafsanjani did not let us down today. Go back and carefully listen to everything he said. He spoke in an uncontroversial, fatherly tone and with words that could only serve the betterment of this crisis. He spoke of the prisoners and the dead. He gave us an "inside peek" into the talks that are going on behind the scenes that we were never sure of (it was reported today that Khatami met with Abdullah Nouri as well). There are many factions within the IRI that want this charade to come to a peaceful resolution. I certainly hope and pray for such an outcome.

3G338tivWq0g8kihaR7I8qifo1_500

Mehdi Karroubi, loses his turban in a confrontation.

6013_109282211691_591776691_2102469_3066134_n

Mir Hossein Mousavi spotted at Friday Prayers today.

Muhammad Sahimi stayed up all night to listen to the sermon and speak with those in Tehran who attended the Friday prayer ceremony. Please click here his analysis.

From an Iranian source in the Middle East [unconfirmed] | "Satellite jamming devices (manufactured locally by Saberin Co., an IRGC company) installed on Milad Tower. "Now we know why Milad tower was constructed. The current jammers have capability of jamming satellites serving the Middle East, Turkey and Europe as we have seen during past few weeks." Photos posted here.

Tehran update | 2:07 pm [US Eastern] Allahu-Akbar volume ultra-high tonight! (northern Tehran) ... mixed with "Death to USSR" (??!!) and "Death to Khamenei!" (!!!!)

From Tehran Bureau's Saya Ovaisy in Tehran:

Man, in his 30s: "I was at the main entrance to Tehran University (the landmark gateway on Enqelab) at 10 am. It was already packed as people had come even earlier than us. I didn't want to go inside because that entails a full body search and check-in of bags and cellphones.

The loudspeakers aired nohe-khani (a form of religious mourning song) for half an hour as today was the death anniversary of Mousa bin Jafar (the 7th Shiite Imam). During that time, the crowd was in constant flux, circulating to keep the security forces from moving to disperse us. Green wristbands and Vs were ubiquitous as usual. Slogans were bold and we chanted with impunity.

About ten minutes before Rafsanjani's sermon was due to start, teargas was shot into our midst. We dispersed but gathered again as soon as the fumes cleared up. To our surprise, they didn't shoot tear gas a second time. Generally, it seemed the police wanted to avoid clashing with us, perhaps because of our highly-visible location -- or because of our numbers and our vehemence!

I left by 3:30 after the prayers. I saw no violence, but my friend heard gunshots on Valiasr Avenue on his way home at that hour."

From Tehran Bureau's Saya Ovaisy in Tehran:

Eyewitness report from a 64-year-old university professor of Strategic Management:

I was outside the east gate of Tehran University on Qods St. (former Anatole France St.) at 11:30 am.

The crowd, amassed in all directions as far as the eye could see, was so thick and compact that security forces could do nothing but stand by passively on the sidelines.

They were so docile that the crowd thanked them by chanting: "Police Forces, thank you!"

Chants

Unhindered, the crowd chanted an entire repertoire of slogans, including:

* "Down with this people-fooling government!" (Marg bar in dolat-e mardom-farib)

* "Coup d'etat government, step down!" (Dolat-e kudeta, estefa, estefa!)

* "As long as it's Ahmadinejad, every day shall be thus!" (Ta Ahmadinejad-e, har rooz hamin basat-e!)

* "Die Mojtaba, before you see the Leadership!" (Mojtaba bemiri, rahbari o nabini!) [in ref. to Khamenei's son]

* "We are not chaff -- we are the nation!" (Ma khashak nistim, mellat hastim!) [in ref. to Ahmadinejad labeling protesters 'chaff']

* "Political prisoners must be freed!" (Zendani siasi, azad bayad gardad!)

Before Rafsanjani began his sermon, a chant addressed to him warned:

* "If you maintain silence, you commit treason!" (Agar sokut koni, khaeni!)

During the overture speech to Rafsanjani's sermon made by Friday Prayer organiser Reza Taghavi, whenever Taghavi spoke praisingly of Khamenei (e.g., "The Supreme Leader upholds the law"), the crowd outside erupted in boos and chanted:

* "Death to Liars!" (Marg bar dorugh-goo!)

A dozen or so people seated near the gate tried a few times to counter with pro-Khamenei slogans: "Until there's blood in our veins, Khamenei's our Leader!" (Ta rag dar khun-e mast, Khamenei rahbar-e mast!) but they were drowned out by a several-thousand-strong roar of "Get lost!" boos.

Crowd

They carried placards depicting Mousavi as well as photographs of Sohrab and Neda. Hand-written signs of "Death to Russia!" were also seen (a new slogan slamming Russian support for Ahmadinejad). Another first was that there was a number of shahrestanis (people from provincial towns) among the crowd. One told me, "If it weren't for you Tehranis, the game would be lost!"

Forces

I stayed for the duration of the sermon but left when the prayer began. It was about 2 pm -- up to that time I did not see any clashes, nor tear gas, at that location.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

In this clip, regardless of what chant leader calls for -- Death to America, Death to Israel, Death to England, etc. -- the crowd keeps chanting back, "Death to Russia!"

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Reaction to Rafsanjani speech (expounding upon what he wrote earlier): Hashemi's sermon was neither great to make him a hero overnight as some people hoped, nor treacherous as some people feared. He did not refer to the fraud in the election nor did he criticize Ahmadinejad in any fashion -- evan after the radical stance he took toward him before and right after the election, the two topics that the green movement expected him to touch upon. Happily for the movement however, he mentioned the lost of the public trust as a result of what he called a crisis and stressed the need for efforts to bring it back and asked for the release of the recent prisoners.

Reading between the lines, he also pointed to his lobbies with the members of council of expediency and the assembly of experts in recent weeks for a solution to the crisis, news of which had been circulating ever since election day. That may have been the crucial part of his speech, especially when in his whole speech, he did not mention the supreme leader, Khamenei, something unprecedented in the Friday prayers. In fact his speech didn't change anything more than his silence would. His presence however created an opportunity to revive the movement and bring people to the streets.

Another Tehran resident, "Protests were shown on TV. Tried to make protesters look negative, but it did show normal people wearing the green color trying to listen to the sermons and being at the university. It blamed them for disturbing the uniting event of Friday Prayers."

WishOneDay says via FB, "Many top Iranian politicians were at the sermon on Friday, including Abdollah Nouri who hasn't gone for 11 yrs."

A friend in Tehran calls to say that, "Iran's state TV Channel 1 showed the protests! for the FIRST time. It wasn't much, a 5 minute report on the Friday prayers. They showed a clip of Rafsanjani asking for order. That's about it. They also showed the protests for a second -- the basij beating up the "Arazel & Obash."

From a friend's blog today: This is a day of triumph for the Islamic Republic of Iran when monarchist radio stations all over the world broadcast Friday Prayers without interruption. Recent events have not made the Islamic Republic of Iran weaker, but stronger. Tis may have long-term consequences for those of us wishing for a separation of religion and state, but for now, I'm so very proud for the wisdom my people have shown.

Earlier entry:

Iranian state TV is currently broadcasting via its five channels:

1) a discussion on havij bastani (an Iranian desert with carrots and ice cream)

2) a 1986 Japanese cartoon

3) an Indian movie

4) an even cheesier Iranian movie

5) a documentary on the Iran-Iraq war

I've had almost every Friday lunch I can bring to memory listening to the Friday sermon playing in the background. IRIB1 made sure to start the live program a full hour before the sermon began to showcase the environment and the "revolutionary spirit of our people."

Apparently the spirit was a no-show this time as there is no sign of it on TV.

An update from Palestine Square in Tehran: The asphalt was really hot! The chants included "Down with Russia!" as well [for supporting Ahmadinejad's claimed victory]. The police presence was mild at the beginning, but when the sermon was over, they came out in force. I think some units were new; but it was still the same combination of professionals and basijis.

I saw one young militia member try to detain an elderly lady. Elderly ladies are quite vocal when they meet members of these units -- but his elder commander interfered to let the woman go.

Overall I did not see much violence. I was on Palestine Square. However they apparently used tear gas. It was very hot, damn hot actually.

Hashemi's [Rafsanjani] speech was good, moderate, peaceful and yet it was a confirmation that it is not over. I am constantly amazed by the people who come to these events. They are great people.

From Tehran correspondent | 10 am [US Eastern] : Reactions to Rafsanjani's speech in Iran:

A witness present inside the salon during the sermon said at one point when opposition supporters broke out into chants, Rafsanjani asked them to be quiet by saying, "Man az shoma behtar migam!" ("I am saying it better than you," meaning essentially, 'I'm saying the same thing you are, only I have a sanctioned microphone!")

One resident of Tehran, previously skeptical that Rafsanjani would speak ambivalently and favor any side, said he surpassed her expectations by his calls for press freedom and releasing prisoners, as well as his nod to the people's discontent over the disputed election result. "Out of a score of 20, I'd give him a 13," she said. "He spoke less vaguely than I had anticipated."

General feedback:

Most people I've talked to rate his speech positively, compared to what they expected of him realistically given the positions he stands to lose by taking up the opposition side openly. Of course, they say it was far from the decisive stance they would ideally want to hear from such a senior figure at such an important juncture. But for Rafsanjani's "Machivellean" pragmatism, it could have been worse, so they are not wholly disappointed.

From a FB friend [thus unconfirmed] "BIG CHAOS" across Tehran the Government forces are not in control of the situation. estimate for now: a little over 1 million to about 1.5 million ppl out in streets of Tehran an eyewitness said: Tehran City Police Force not following orders to charge the people.

Correspondent in Tehran | 9:30 pm [US Eastern]:

  • I saw helicopters overhead on Enqelab Avenue -- an indicator of the gravity of security response.

  • Types of uniforms I saw: all-camouflage (Basij), all-black (special guard), plainclothes leaders (giving orders into walkie-talkies), plainclothes filming w professional cameras (intelligence agents), and, ones I'd never seen before in all-blue uniforms (navy??!)

  • Many of the Basijis were teenagers, shockingly young... They wouldn't make eye contact with me as I walked by and tried to catch their eye. They seemed ashamed. The older Basij guys, not so... The burly ones who would glower fiercely seemed rabid and blood-thirsty.

  • On the east side of Tehran University: No overt violence while we passed up and down from 1:30-3:30 pm [Tehran time]; security presence was heavy. Mass of 30-50 black guards at each intersection (we passed 4-5 blocks from Hafez St. to Vesal St.) Both sidewalks were lined with camouflage basijis (mainly of the young ones, who we called "scarecrows") standing 1-2 meters apart in chain-like formation ... plainclothes motorbikes whizzing by occasionally on avenue ...
  • Interesting note: public transit buses were free to operate. They would go through Enqelab packed with ordinary people... and we'd hear the people in the bus chanting "allah-u-akbar" [God is Great!] ... on almost every bus we saw! : )

From Omid Habibia | 9:20 am: heavy Clashes at Keshavarz Blvd., Amirabad St, University Dorm, Ferdosi SQ, Jomhori, Azadi St., almost all central City

Gooya.com just posted some photos from today: http://news.gooya.com/didaniha/archives/2009/07/090872.php

From a correspondent | 9 pm: Friend in Tehran telling me that basij are on the rampage near Tehran Uni... many beaten. All I've heard so far.

From Tehran | 8:39 am: So far, one eyewitness told me the crowd was the second-biggest he'd seen since the initial Enqelab-Azadi [Revolution to Freedom Square] march ... He personally walked thru where it extended from Gisha to Teh Uni ... his estimate was 1 to 1.5 million ...

Apparently the crowd concentration was West of the uni ... (which makes sense that i didnt see it on the east side)

He said tear gas was fired so frequently that it was "suffocating" and b.c. of packed crowd, escaping to fresh air was difficult and he and his friends felt they "couldn't breathe"

Another guy I talked to said there is "sholughi" STILL going on (5 pm now) ...

From a friend, who also posted this on the NYT Lede:

the security presence was heavier than i'd even seen -- more even than "neda saturday" !!

I just returned from Enqelab. We couldn't make it to Tehran University because of the immense Guard/Basij presence -scores more than I'd seen at previous demos during the past month.

They had put up roadblocks to prevent traffic flow to that area and would force pedestrians to turn back. There was no violence where we were (east of the Uni), but people we met on the way back from other routes had teargas-reddened eyes and told us "they're beating people" and that crowds of protesters outside Friday Prayer grounds were "huge."

Since people couldn't break out into chants in front of the thug squads, they had to resort to codified slogans. "Marg bar Diktator" ("Death to the Dictator") alternated with "Marg bar Russiye" ("Death to Russia") -- this was a sly jab at Ahmadinejad-Khamenei due to their alleged alliance with Russia in orchestrating the vote coup (Medvedev had promptly congratulated the fraudulent win and welcomed Ahmadinejad to a regional summit after the elections; Russia is widely believed to give behind-the-scenes support to Ahmadinejad's government, bypassing sanctions, selling arms, helping build the nuclear plant in Bushehr, etc.)

The day was scorching hot and I heard fellow Mousavites saying that just by being present on the streets, we oblige security forces to stand for hours in the hot sun in their heavy uniforms, helmets, vests, masks ... the best revenge we can muster nonviolently!

From Iranian FB friend (not in Iran) | 7:20 am: Hashemis [Rafsanjani's] sermon was neither great to make him a hero overnight nor treacherous as some people were afraid of. In fact, his speech didn't change anything more than his silence would. His presence however created an opportunity to revive the movement and bring people on the streets. He also smartly mentioned his lobbies with the members of council of expediency and experts which might be the crucial part of his speech.

From Pedestrian's blog

Bahman Agha is listening to the sermons on the radio from Tehran. I will be translating his words as long as he keeps them coming.

---------------

12:42 Taghavi the head of the organization that oversees the Friday prayer imams is still speaking. "Whoever participates in the Friday prayers is strengthening his ties with the leader."

12:47 Taghavi is going on still.

12:48 Taghavi: The Imam is speaking on the behalf of the supreme leader and thus must only speak of those policies approved by him. The Imam must organize his speech according to these policies.

12:50 Taghavi: This podium and this gathering must never be used on behalf of any political party or political cause. The Friday prayer is a prayer said in allegiance with the supreme leader. It is a prayer of unity and brotherhood.

12:52 Taghavi (again): The Imam must only speak of those policies approved by the supreme leader.

12:55 Taghavi: Unity is a policy that must be propagated by the Friday prayer. Respect for the law is another such policy. We must accept the law even if it is not to our advantage.

12:58 Taghavi: We must accept everything the leader said during his Friday sermon a few weeks ago.

13:05 Taghavi is done speaking. He ended with a few grudging words for the BBC.

(I'm now listening to the sermons myself . There is only the sound of prayer playing via a speaker)

The moazzen is saying the azan.

Rafsanjani just got introduced to the podium.

Sound of loud chants we can't make out.

Rafsanjani: Please sit down so we can make time for the speech.

Chants again. They're not letting him speak. I can only make out "leader" in their chants. (the blood in our veins is a gift to our leader)

13:20 Rafsanjani: We are approaching the anniversary of the Friday prayers and today's Friday prayer is in ways very similar to the first every prayers led by Ayatollah Taleqani. In hopes that we can use this prayer for the betterment of the future of our country and the goals of the revolution.

(Tehran radio is now cut off. The host just came on to announce that thousands of people are chanting Allah o Akbar in the streets. WTF?!)

13:23 Rafsanjani: I have a main part to my speech. It will be about the most critical aspects of Islam.

13:25 The second part of my speech will be about the goals of the revolution, the goals people have worked for and have given their blood for and the goals that our Imam [Khomeini] spent his entire life fighting for.

13:26 The third part will be about current events and the conditions we are in today. I will try to draw out solutions the way I see them. Of course, these will be my personal opinion.

13:27 Rafsanjani is speaking of Mohammad, the prophet, and the early days of Islam. This will go on for the first part of his sermon.

13:34 Rafsanjani is still speaking of Mohammad's early days as prophet and his attempts to establish rule in Medina.

13:36 He is reciting a sourah from the Koran and interpreting it.

13:41 Rafsanjani is getting teary. "The prophet respected the rights of all those under his rule." He brings an example from the end of the prophet's life where the prophet comes to the people and asks that they come to him to let him know if he ever treated them unfairly.

13:44 The prophet felt, during the last years of his life, that animosity was brewing amongst his people [he is crying now]. The prophet felt that his old friends are now enemies.

13:46 The prophet went to Baghi [where his old friends were buried] and said to them: you are lucky that you are no longer here to see that your old brothers are killing and destroying one another.

---------------

The first part of the speech is over. The second has begun.

---------------

13:51 He begins (as is the custom) by mentioning the upcoming religious dates of significance (e.g., the death of the seventh Shi'a Imam)

13: 52 May all the oppressors who make innocent people bleed be a witness to eternal condemnation

[the chants begin again]

13:53 I asked you, I pleaded for you to let me speak.

[more chants]

13:54 Rafsanjani condemns China. People chant "Death to China". He asks that people stop their chants.

13:55 Rafsanjani: China has a rational government. It must look at how it can benefit from its relations with the Islamic world. We hope that we will no longer be witness to such atrocities towards Muslims in China or anywhere else in the world.

13:55 But coming to our own problems. We started off very well in the race for the presidency. Everything went smoothly and fairly.

13:56 People became very hopeful. Everything was set for a glorious day. This glory was due to the people. They were the ones who went to the ballot box. And we must be grateful to them.

13:57 I so very much wish that that path had been continued. But unfortunately, that was not the case. I will now elaborate. We must first see what we [probably the ruling establishment] were after. This is coming from a person who was always by the Imam[Khomeini's] side [he is referring to himself]. For 60 years. The Imam was always after the people. After getting their approval and their participation. This was the art of the Imam which made him so successful. It took the Imam less than 20 years to get the people to come to the streets.

13:58 These people, the ones who were behind the Imam, broke the back of the Shah and brought him to his knees.

13:59 After the victory of the revolution too, we worked on a daily basis with the Imam. The Imam would always say that if the system is not backed by the people, nothing would stand.

14:00 The Imam would always quote the prophet [Muhammad] who would say to Ali [Mohammad's successor]: leave the people if they do not want you.

14:02 He is speaking of the Imam's command to Bazargan to form a temporary government. But the Imam tells him to keep it short to pave the way for the constitution.

[loud chants]

14:03 We agreed that you will stop chanting. If we do not have the votes of the people behind us, we will have nothing. The guardian council, the expediency council, EVERYONE gets their legitimacy from the vote of the people.

14:04 Without Islam, without a republic, we have nothing. Ali [Imam Ali, the prophet's successor] waited 19 years until the people came for him.

[more chants]

14:05 Stop chanting.

14:06 Why did the elections come to this? Before the election, near the end, some people had doubts about what was going to happen. Maybe because of the way the broadcasting corporation behaved.

14:07 Rafsanjani: Some are chanting and I can't make out what they say. But I am speaking what you want to hear. I want unity too.

14:08 I have always acted above and beyond party lines, and now too we must search for unity to find a way out of our quandary.

14:09 I have some suggestions. I have spoken to some members of the the expediency council and the assembly of experts about them too. [Signaling that he is the chief of the assembly of experts and the expediency council and he is speaking from that platform]

14:10 We must bring back the trust of the people. First of all, everyone must accept the law. The people, the parliament, everyone.

14:11 We must create a condition so that everyone can speak. We must speak logically. And a part of this responsibility is on the shoulders of the broadcasting corporation.

14:12 The guardian council did not make good use of the extra fives days given to them by the leader.

14:13 We do not need people in prison for this. Let's allow them to return to their families.

[More chants of Allah o Akbar]

14:14 We must join with those who have incurred great loss and try to lesson their pain.

14:15 We must give freedom to the press within the confines of the law.

[not a word of the government]

14:15 We are all members of the same family. We must remain friends and allies. Why have we gone so far as to pain some of our marajeh [top religious leaders]?

14:16 I hope this sermon will pave a way out of this current situation. A situation that can be considered a crisis.

14:17 The sermon is finished.

14:18 Two chants can be heard: the blood in our veins is a gift to our leader and Hashemi, Hashemi, may god keep you safe.

...

The speech was brilliant. At least as far as my sleep deprived brain can think right now. Maybe I'll have a different opinion later. I would have liked him to criticize the mafia (i.e., government). But two problems: he's an old member himself, and he didn't even MENTION the government. How great is that?

Sorry for all the typos, grammatical errors, etc. I'll edit this soon!

SHAREtwitterfacebookSTUMBLEUPONbalatarin reddit digg del.icio.us

29 Comments

"Russia is widely believed to give behind-the-scenes support to Ahmadinejad's government, bypassing sanctions, selling arms, helping build the nuclear plant in Bushehr, etc.)"


Shame on those Russians for "bypassing sanctions, selling arms, and helping build the nuclear plant". They should support the "international community's" sanctions, make sure Iran gets no arms to defend itself, and let that long standing and on going nuclear plant that Iran has sunk billions into just sit there and rot.

observer / July 17, 2009 9:48 AM

WHO IS GOING HOME YOU BLOODY TWIT /S

bahramerad / July 17, 2009 9:49 AM

Who do you think is filing photos,uploading videos? Do you think they are doing so from the back of police vans?

tehranbureau / July 17, 2009 9:54 AM

that prayer photo looks doctored.

any photo imaging experts around?

iran_revolt / July 17, 2009 11:04 AM

"iran_revolt says:

July 17, 2009 at 11:04

that prayer photo looks doctored.

any photo imaging experts around?"

The photo credit reads ISNA/Photo: Mehdi Ghasemi

Check with them. Request a full size jpeg/raw file with exif data if not satisfied and check for obvious differences: light direction, focus,differing information value of pixels between figures, signs of work at edge of figure/face. He is sitting while others stand, but he's not the only one sitting. If you have doubts my advice is to do the background checking yourself with the help of an experienced Photoshop user. Then publish facts; not conjecture.

Mike Ricks / July 17, 2009 11:32 AM

Russia is the true friend of Iran.

Radical Guy / July 17, 2009 12:08 PM

While Russian government is a culprit in supporting the dictators in Iran, the Khamenei regime could by no means ensure it's continued existence through deadly suppression of dissidents by exclusive reliance on Russian and Chinese technology. Indeed, there are a plethora of evil corporations who either totally disregard currently enforceable trade sanctions against Iranian regime or find loopholes to circumvent them while maintaining "plausible deniability", to profit handsomely from doing business with this regime. Nokia and it's subsidiary / joint partnership Nokia Siemens Networks hardly need any introduction, in view of recent notoriety for supplying the regime with technology to control, intercept, and track voice & data communications by Iranian regime, already resulting in large number of arrests made by the government.


What many westerners would find shocking, is the fact that while G W Bush was busy spinning the "axis of evil" pitch, many well known US corporations were dramatically increasing their volume of trade with Iranian dictators with full knowledge - and in some cases direct involvement - of US government. I highly recommend reading the following article to anyone, specially American citizens, to realize just how the Khamenei regime has acquired the technology to build its secret police and military machine, which is already a menace to the Citizens of Iran, but also rapidly emerging as a high-potential threat to global security. Please take a few minutes to read this article, and if you think what was done was wrong, think about what you can do to change it:


"Despite conflict, U.S. does business with Iran

Commerce occurs amid on-again, off-again sanctions with lax enforcement

The Associated Press

updated 5:22 p.m. ET, Tues., July 8, 2008

link to full article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25588135/

ferdosi / July 17, 2009 12:13 PM

Radical Guy,


Granted, I don't always have time to catch profanities, but your recent comment was not posted for that reason.


kgn

tehranbureau / July 17, 2009 12:23 PM

Ferdosi says: ".. and in some cases direct involvement - of US government"


I've now heard this from so many different sources that I don't doubt it. Same goes for the UK.

Shirin / July 17, 2009 12:32 PM

No profanities in my posting - you are a censor -- you don't want the truth to some out.

Radical Guy / July 17, 2009 12:32 PM

Tehran bureau you have shown your true colors you are traitors to your nation. You argue free thought, but when someone disagrees with you then you censor that posting. You are the Americans agent trying to destroy Iran, so kiss their flag traitor!

Radical Guy / July 17, 2009 12:40 PM

it's not about the sitting position.


it's about the scale, angle, perspective, the halo aliasing

effect around a lot of the silhouettes; they look like

cut-outs, but we need experts to check. also the relative

lack of eye contact or attention by his peers is suspect.

his name has been on everyone's lips for a month, you'd

think people would be scanning him for a reaction, for

approval, whatever.


strange that this is the first appearance of moussavi,

and the first time prayer footage has been reduced to

audio stream and official photos.


@tb: do you have photographers/photoshop gurus on board?

do we have an eye witness spotting him in the crowd?

iran_revolt / July 17, 2009 1:11 PM

Dear Iran_revolt,


I will ask.


kgn

tehranbureau / July 17, 2009 1:14 PM

btw somebody has to lambast BBC, CNN, AP for cropping images and sticking their own watermarks and copyrights on them. mainstream media is really starting to piss me off. here's the BBC, taking the same pic, with ISNA logo cropped and AP added in.


BBC persia has no other pics from inside the protest.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/assets/images/2009/07/17/090717133333_fridayp4.jpg

iran_revolt / July 17, 2009 1:38 PM

Shirin & ferdosi


'Same goes for the UK'


Not entirely sure which bits of the sanctions you're meaning so forgive me if I misread or misunderstood, but as far as I know the UK only has the UNSCR sanctions in operation, we have no UK or EU sanctions and definitely not US sanctions, the EU discussed it on more than one occasion but voted not to have sanctions.


Under the UNSCR sanctions companies in the UK are only prohibited from exporting:

'materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran's enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear delivery systems. Indirect as well as direct export, sale, supply or transfer, are within the scope of the sanctions as are related assistance, training, investment, brokering and financing or financial assistance.


The sanctions also include an arms embargo and related ban on the provision of technical assistance and training for goods and technology on the military list, as well as a ban on related investment, brokering and financing or financial assistance.'


I think that Finland have any stronger sanction than we do so the Nokia deal was legit from a sanctions point of view. Whether or not you think it was legit morally is a different argument with many different points for & against.


But if you were talking about arms, I don't disbelieve it. The arms trade is a dirty, filthy trade and if there's a profit in it, I have no doubt that any of them would bust the sanctions, scum of the earth that they are

galgo / July 17, 2009 1:44 PM

I received a report from Tehran mid afternoon their time saying so many people were out chanting and the government was not attacking them. This shows that the peaceful approach can work. Everything takes time in Iran. This whole thing is still at a young stage but I believe

the people of Iran will see some change for the better. I even believe some, not all, of the older hard-liner types will begin to accept the new generation's thinking and desire for change. Time will tell

Blake Parker / July 17, 2009 1:56 PM

From an Iranian source in the Middle East [unconfirmed] | "Satellite jamming devices (manufactured locally by Saberin Co., an IRGC company) installed on Milad Tower. "Now we know why Milad tower was constructed. The current jammers have capability of jamming satellites serving the Middle East, Turkey and Europe as we have seen during past few weeks."


Solution: Isolate the jamming signal, invert the phase (180 degrees), amplify and rebroadcast back at the signal tower. This should neutralize the jamming effect.

Old School Tech / July 17, 2009 2:47 PM

Radical Guy, two things. One, Russia is NOT a friend to Iran. Russia is a friend to the dictorship in Iran, not the people. They couldn't care less about the Iranian people. They simply get into bed with anyone they feel can help them against the U.S. That's the reason the Iranian dictators didn't say anything about the massacre of Muslims in Chechnya. It's why they didn't say anything about China's brutal repression of the Uighurs. It's why you can't find anything about the protests in Iran anywhere in the official Chinese news outlets. It's why Chavez hasn't spoken out for "the people" in Iran. It's why the leaders of those three nations have all congratualted Ahmadinejad for his stolen "victory."


Two, if you don't like it here, go away. It's as simple as that. And don't let your friends in Russia, China and Venezuela hit you in the ass on the way out.

Dave In America / July 17, 2009 3:09 PM

Iran_Revolt: You don't get the technical skill to alter a photograph convincinly simply by taking one; you need someone skilled as a photo-retoucher. It's an art and the most skilled are very good indeed. It takes one to catch one. You might ask an artist who works commercially in advertising (of the sort published in the glossy magazines) the questions you have posted. These skills are also used within intelligence circles. Hope this helps.

Mike Ricks / July 17, 2009 3:15 PM

Dave in America -


Russia is a friend of Iran, more than America has ever been. Iran had an election, you just don't like the results. The massacre of Muslims in Chechnya is sad, terrible, but they were low Muslims. Chavez was elected (do you deny that?) He is a man of the people and for the people. And Ahmadinejad won the election so he should be congratulated. China is a peoples nation but there repression of the Uighurs is sad, but again they were low Muslims. I have no friends in China, but I do have friends in Russia and Venezuela.


Peace be with you my friend.

Radical Guy / July 17, 2009 7:07 PM

galgo:


With regards to doing trade with the Iranian government, what makes someone money could have a catastrophic effect in the lives of real people here, who are not criminals or terrorists - just ordinary citizens who are fed-up with being hostages to the blood thirsty dictators. I believe we can all agree - as human beings - that regardless of what the sanctions fineprints say, if what you're selling will be used to kill innocent people - it constitutes highest infraction of the greatest law there is: the universal code of humane conduct. NokiaSiemens has an army of PR magicians working hard to produce cute and fuzzy statements artfully worded - not unlike Mr Rafsanjani's sermon of today. But thank goodness we still have people in this word making sensible statements:


"Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said the monitoring center NSN sold to Iran last year should be regulated as though it were "dual-use technology" - items that can have military as well as civilian applications.


"There are a lot of export controls in place in Western countries on technology that might have a dual military purpose," he said. "But there are virtually no restrictions on the export of high-tech equipment that can be used to monitor or control free expression."


Very good article from WaPo, voicing opinions of different experts on the issue including some CIA Signal Intelligence pros. URL: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/13/europe39s-telecoms-aid-with-spy-tech/print/


My favorite answer to "Corporate Plausible Deniability" insult meant to add significantly to the already caused injury is:


"I have a problem with calling NSN's statements even half-truths, just as I would if someone said about a fully functioning hand grenade made available to a known serial killer that "it was our newest model of paperweight that we sold to Mr. Charles Manson to be used for completely legal purposes."

John Morrison / July 17, 2009 7:09 PM

galo - appologies, i made the post above with the wrong name!

ferdosi / July 17, 2009 7:10 PM

Radical Guy, "Low Muslims?" Really? So because YOU don't think highly of them, they're expendable? That says a great deal about what kind of person you are.


Ahmadinejad says he won and if you don't believe him, just ask him.


And when hundreds of thousands Venezuelans took to the streets Chavez touted it as the people's voice and said it was a wonderful sight, but that's only because they were supporting him. When hundreds of thousands of Iranians take to the streets, he dismisses it. Why? Because he knows he loses an ally against the U.S. if the Iranian people's voices are heard. Same with China and the same with Russia. They don't give one crap about the PEOPLE in Iran. Has any of them called for restraint by the distatorship? No. Why? Because, once again, they couldn't give one shit about the Iranian people.


I love how people like you always talk about being for "the people" when in reality they are only for the people who agree with them. In Iran, the peopLE are rising up against tyranny and oppression. Where is your support for "the people?" Or are they just "low" people to you, too?

Dave In America / July 17, 2009 7:48 PM

Saberin Co. is a company in Iran It is managed by Mr Mashhadi Ebrahimi who as far i could find out was a student in 2008. He as awarded some IT award in 2008. So if he graduated they could have taken him in. I still cant confirm what that box is. The company that did the filtering in Iran was a company called Secure Coumputing it was just bought by McAfee today. Guess i wont be using them for virus control dunno what else comes with the package Hope that helps. Will keep looking

michelle / July 17, 2009 9:01 PM

Since the subject of Iranian goverment's use of technology to crush dissidents seems to be arousing people's attention, readers might be interested to learn more about Iranian Government's very serious cyber warfare capabilities. Something to chew about, and if we all think about the implications of this on the global scale, people in western countries would be placing A LOT more pressure on their governments to completely stop western corporations from further aiding and abating Iran's dictators.


According to a recent Defense Tech assessment:


Estimated Cyber Capabilities

Iran Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)


Military Budget: $11.5 Billion USD

Global Rating in Cyber Capabilities: Top 5

Cyber Warfare Budget: $76 Million USD

Offensive Cyber Capabilities: 4.0 (1 = Low, 3 = Moderate and 5 = Significant)

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/004432.html

ferdosi / July 18, 2009 8:27 AM

Rafsenjani's sermon was strategic, and not just tactical.

He is trying to sway other well connected, established and influential men within the religious and political hierarchy, as part of an on-going reform movement that may or may not be able to change the consequences of this recent election, but will in any case work as productively as possible to demonstrate the fallacy of election fraud and such heavy handed techniques of crowd- and population-control as have been utilized in recent weeks.

Apparently some men at the highest levels think that such crude techniques, though they may work in the short run, will crush dissent in the long term. Their ignorance of history will result in much pain, but this generation of Iranians will not forget, and will benefit from international encouragement and support.

The righteous cause of the Iranian people will attract support from other lovers of freedom all around the world.

Roger / July 20, 2009 11:52 AM

My heart breaks and I pledge myself to support and give thanks for the strong women and men who give witness on behalf of all in the world whose freedoms are repressed.

ralph moore / July 22, 2009 10:46 AM

My friends....Is ANYONE really listening to the message to the people from Rafsanjani? and I quote "First of all, everyone must accept the law".

This is the PROBLEM my dear friends. The people want out from under this law. The people want basic human rights! ...not a fanatic law to choke the life from the people. The people are not dogs!....wanting to be told what to do and how to think.

The religious leaders think that the people are bad children that have to be told what to feel and how to think. This is wrong!!!.....this is against the laws of nature and against the laws of God. The religious leaders should express love to the people....thats their only job!

joseph / July 23, 2009 4:13 PM

While I understand Joseph's frustration with the present situation, Rafsanjani had to say enough of the "right things" so that the hardliners would not have ammunition to attack him. Keep his extremely difficult situation in mind. Given his constraints, he did a masterful job.

In today's sermon, however, (July 24) Ahmad Khatami (not the recent candidate for president, Mohammed Khatami) attacked those seeking a referendum or other method of determining whether the June 12 election actually reflected the will of the people. His sermon also appeared to support the supreme authority of Ayatollah Khamenei, rather than the will of the people.

Of note, Ayatollah Khatami also strongly urged Mahmoud "Landslide" Ahmadenijad to set aside his choice of primary V.P., since Khamenei and other hard-liners oppose him and gave Mahmoud "Landslide" Ahmadenijad written corroboration of their views.

So far, however, Mahmoud "Landslide" Ahmadenijad has resisted the call to substitute someone else for his primary V.P., so the ball is still in play.

This lack of unity between the hardliners, including Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei, and supposed president Mahmoud "Landslide" Ahmadenijad may be one of the more hopeful signs that miss-communication, and lack of communication will contribute to sufficient embarrassment that a new election, or at least a refrendum will demonstrate how much the people of Iran want reforms, freedoms (which are STILL banned) and greater contact with the outside world.

Perhaps the degree to which the Revolutionary Guard is profiting from the huge black market in Iran is becoming better known, and greater understanding of what they has to mean, as far as their policies, techniques and ideals.

Stay tuned!

Roger / July 24, 2009 1:20 PM