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Tehran Updates: Gag Top Greens, Say Guardian Council, Judiciary Heads

18 Feb 2011 12:10Comments

Press Roundup provides selected excerpts of news and opinion pieces from the Iranian and international media. Click on the link to the story to read it in full. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. The inclusion of various opinions in no way implies their endorsement by Tehran Bureau. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow other news items through our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

Please see our latest Tehran update page here.

11:30 p.m./Feb 18 The following updates were compiled by our columnist Muhammad Sahimi:

In a coordinated move, all the Friday Prayer Imams throughout Iran demanded that Mousavi and Karroubi be punished. Ahmad Jannati, Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam, said that the two must be put under house arrest and all of their communications with the outside cut off. The Friday prayer Imams are appointed by Ayatollah Khamenei.

In a statement, the reactionary cleric Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, said, "Today the leadership of the Supreme Leader is worth billions of dollars." He failed to explain how he came up with his estimate, or was able to put a monetary value on the leadership.

A large number of young people held a march in Ardakan in Yaz province in support of former president Mohammad Khatami, who is from that province. He has been under verbal attack and intense pressure by the hardliners. During Friday Prayers in Yazd, where Khatami was born, slogans were shouted against him, Karroubi, Mousavi, and Rafsanjani.

Iran's Foreign Ministry criticized the use of violence against demonstrators in Bahrain. He did not venture an explanation about the use of violence against demonstrators in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran on February 14.

Websites that are aligned with the Green Movement, including Advar News, Emruz, Tahavvol-e Sabz, Ta'ghir, Daneshjoo News, RASA (internet TV), Saham news, Mizan Khabar, Nedaaye Sabz-e Azadi, and Norooz, have invited people to come out on Sunday, February 20 and mourn the murder of the slain protesters of 25 Bahman, Saneh Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party issued a statement and invited the people of Iran to take part in the mourning of Saneh Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari on Sunday February 20.

Cleric Mojtaba Zolnour, deputy to Ayatollah Khamenei's representative in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, warned, "If the seditionists [supporters of the Green Movement] again invite people to come out and gather in the streets, they will be destroyed by the nation. People's patience has run out and they have demanded that the judiciary punish the sedition leaders." Sardar Yazdi, who is in charge of the Guards' legal affairs, also threatened that, "If the leader of the Revolution [Ayatollah Khamenei] issues the order, there will be nothing left of the seditionists."

In Mohamed ElBaradei memoir, to be published in April, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a leader of Egypt's uprising says that in September 2009 Ahmadinejad sent a message to President Obama through him. He told ElBaradei to tell Obama that Iran was ready to negotiate with the United States without any preconditions, or any intermediary, and based on mutual respect.

Melli-Mazhabi, the website of the Nationalist-Religious Coalition, which supports the Green Movement, has reported, quoting what it says is a credible source, that the revelation that Saneh Jaleh had met with the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri has created deep fissures between the intelligence unit of the IRGC and the inner circle of Ayatollah Khamenei. The intelligence unit had tried to blame the Green Movement for Jaleh's murder, a claim widely refuted. The report claims that some members of the Basij militia may be murdered by the security forces, in order to blame the Green Movement and their leaders, hence providing an excuse for a bloody crackdown. The story also alleges that the inner circle of Ayatollah Khamenei, led by his son Mojtaba, wants a violent crackdown on the Green Movement and the arrest of thousands of their supporters, in order to put the movement down.

Gholam-Hossein Elham, a hardline legal advisor to Ahmadinejad, demanded that the Assembly of Experts, which can theoretically appoint and sack the Supreme Leader, remove Rafsanjani from his post as the head of the Assembly.

Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght, who runs the website Fararoo, and Gholam-Ali Dehghan who manages website Aftab, have been released. The two had been arrested prior to the demonstrations on Monday.

Mohammad Javad Aghajari, who is in charge of foreign press in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, said that his ministry monitors the foreign press and warned foreign reporters about dispatching what he called "negative news" on a daily basis.

8:45 p.m./Feb 18 Here's the most extensive amateur video of the protests we've seen with a credible claim to having been shot on 25 Bahman. Among the chants that can be heard are "Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein"; "Marg bar dicatator" (Death to the dictator); "Marg bar Khamenei"; and "Ma bachehayeh jangim, bezan ta bejangim" ("We're the war [generation] kids, strike and we'll strike back). Shouts involving Mubarak's name are also audible.

JannatiAtPrayers.jpg7:30 p.m./Feb 18 Another call from a high-ranking regime figure to effectively silence the Green Movement's leaders. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the Guardian Council for the past 23 years, issued the call in his sermon during Friday Prayers in Tehran (file photo at right). The Washington Post reports:
Thousands of government supporters Friday demanded the execution of opposition leaders, but an influential Muslim cleric said they should be placed under permanent house arrest.

The calls came as Iran's opposition movement planned new anti-government demonstrations on Sunday.

Jannati said that prosecuting the opposition leaders was not "expedient" at this time. Instead, he said that former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi must be "cut off" from the world.

"The connection of the heads of sedition with the public must be cut," Jannati told thousands of worshipers. "The doors of their houses must be shut. Their interaction with the outside world must be limited. Their telephone and Internet must be cut. They must be imprisoned in their own houses."

The Friday Prayer service and Jannati's sermon accompanied a sizable pro-regime rally. The Los Angeles Times reports that among the slogans shouted by the attendees were "Illiterate Mousavi is an agent of Mossad" and "Mousavi and Karroubi should be hanged." The semi-official Fars news agency carried many images of the event.

12:00 p.m./Feb 18 As we described on the eve of the 25 Bahman demonstrations, there was a report that Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Revolutionary Guard commander, had expressed his doubt that Guard enlisted men would be willing to use violence against marchers. The Telegraph reports that reluctance of that sort is now being voiced at much higher ranks:

Senior officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guards have written a letter to their commanding officer demanding assurances that they will not be required to open fire on anti-government demonstrators.

Following the recent violence that occurred during anti-government protests in Egypt, the officers argue that it is against the principles of Shi'ite Islamic law to use violence against their own people.

In a suggestion of a major split within the Islamic Republic's ruling hierarchy over its handling of anti-government protests, the letter has been circulated widely throughout the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards, the body responsible for defending religious system.

The letter, a copy of which has been seen by the Daily Telegraph, is addressed to Major Gen Jafari [...] It calls on [him] to issue guidance to both the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij paramilitary militia to use restraint when handling anti-government protests.

The Telegraph has previously reported on supposed splits within the Guards and its "disgruntled officials" -- claims for which little other evidence is apparent.

While the regime still does not seem prepared to actually arrest the most prominent leaders of the Green Movement, it may well be pursuing steps to effectively silence them. Along with the extrajudicial house arrests of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami, there is now the official threat to cut off their ability to communicate, as Radio Zamaneh reports:

The Iranian judiciary today announced it will prevent opposition leaders from issuing statements, forbidding them from taking advantage of the "regime's tolerance."

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, told the media that the mass opposition demonstrations, which occurred in all Iranian major cities on Monday, were supported by "the intelligence and propaganda services of the West, monafeghin and monarchists," and the "leaders of sedition" do not understand who was truly behind the protests.

"Isn't the vast propaganda of escapees and monarchists as well as the support of Obama and Clinton sufficient proof of the anti-Revolutionary direction?" Larijani asked, referring to U.S. statements of support for Iranian protesters. He accused the opposition of playing into the hands of the Islamic Republic's enemies.

"We ask everyone to allow the judiciary to deal with the situation within the framework of the law, with foresight and consideration for the interests of the regime," he said. "Be certain that there will be no failure in this regard."

He gave assurances that the judiciary will block the "mechanism through which the sedition leaders issue their statements."

11:20 p.m./Feb 17 Iranian American Ramin Asgard is the new head of the Persian News Network (PNN), the Farsi service of the Voice of America. Barbara Slavin reports for ISP:

On Monday, Ramin Asgard, an Iranian-American Foreign Service officer whose last posting was as a political adviser to Central Command -- took the helm of the PNN. VOA executives said it was the first time since the waning days of the Cold War that a non-journalist has assumed such an important position in U.S. government-funded broadcasting.

VOA management has had difficulty finding the right person to run the sprawling service, which has one hit show -- a "Daily Show" clone called "Static" or "Parazit" in Farsi -- but has been riven by disputes among its staff over what vision of Iran's political future to promote. Some members of Congress as well as some Iranian expatriates have complained that PNN is too critical of U.S. policy and too accommodating to Tehran.

Asgard, who also served as head of an Iran watch office in Dubai, did not seek the position but was offered it after several others turned VOA down or were deemed unsuitable, according to a source with knowledge of the process.

On the job only three days, he has already been the target of an attack on a blog run by the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. Trey Hicks, a researcher at the Hudson Institute, accused Asgard of undermining U.S. policy toward Iran by suggesting U.S. taxpayer support for the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that has in the past advocated engagement with Iran but has also taken a tough stance on human rights abuses. Hicks also questioned Asgard's command of Farsi.

11 p.m./Feb 17 The New York Times reports that,

The daughters of the missing opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, told an opposition Web site that they had had no word from either of their parents since Tuesday and feared they had been detained. Security forces have surrounded their home, and all communications have been cut.

9:30 p.m./Feb. 17 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi has compiled the following updates from Iran.

For the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic, shouts of "death to Hashemi [Rafsanjani] was broadcast by the national television.

A group of Basij members gathered at Jamaran, where Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini used to live, and shouted slogans against Hashemi Rafsanjani; and Hassan and Yaser Khomeini, the late ayatollah's grandsons, who are allied with the Green Movement.

In a new statement issued through his close aides, Mehdi Karoubi declared that it is clear that the highest officials have ordered supporters of the hardliners to demand for the prosecution of Karroubi and Mousavi. He said that, "You [the thugs that shout against him] have the courage to demand that they [the regime] put us on a public trial. At least be as courageous as the Shah who put the late [Khosrow] Golesorkhi, [Mohammad] Bokharaei, and [Ayatollah Sayyed Mahmoud] Taleghani on public trials." Golesorkhi was an intellectual that was executed. Bokharaei had assassinated the Shah's Prime Minister, Hassan-Ali Mansoor, and was also executed. Ayatollah Taleghani spent years in Shah's jails, and passed away in September 1979, less than a year after the revolution.

Judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani said today that it is not in the interest of the regime to arrest Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami.

Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi said today that the judiciary will pursue vigorously its case against the Green Movement leaders.

Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, Ayatollah Khamenei's chief of staff and son-in-law, said today that Mousavi and Karroubi must be prosecuted and punished.

Ghaneh Jaleh, brother of slain 25 Bahman protestor Saneh Jaleh, has been arrested after telling VOA in an emotional interview that the Ministry of Intelligence issued a fake Basij membership card for his brother. There are reports that security forces have surrounded his family's home.

The families of slain protestors Mohammad Mokhtari and Saneh Jaleh said that they are under intense pressure from the security services not to grant any interviews to the media.

Some of slain protestor Saneh Jaleh's Art University classmates who had been arrested have been released.

The Office for Consolidation of Unity, the umbrella national organization for the majority of the university student associations, has declared a week of mourning for the two new martyrs of the Green Movement, Saneh Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari. The statement also warned that any move by the judiciary against Mousavi and Karroubi would provoke a strong reaction by the students.

Bahman Dorri, Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, said that over the past year 1000 books have been published against the "sedition" -- the name given to the Green Movement by the hardliners. This is while many publishing houses have been shuttered and hundreds of books and translation of foreign books have been denied publication permits.

Hossein Amini (Yaashaar), an actor and art designer, as well as a political activist, has been arrested and ordered to serve his one year sentence for "propaganda against the Islamic Republic." His father Ali Amini, publisher of Nashr-e Digar, and his mother Nazi Oskoee, editor of the same publication, have each been given a one-year sentence as well, but have not been jailed, pending an appeal.

Kurdistan's Mothers of Peace, a group of mothers whose children have been jailed for political reasons or executed, issued a statement condemning the attacks on peaceful demonstrations of Monday, February 14. The statement invited the nation to not go to work on Monday, February 21, and mourn those who lost their lives during the protests on February 14.

7:20 p.m./Feb 17 This video also appears to be from the 25 Bahman protests

6:34 p.m./Feb 17 In an interview with BBC Persian, Mousavi's senior advisor confirms calls for protests on Sunday. See entry immediately below.

5:11 p.m./Feb 17 Mir Hossein Mousavi's Kalame website has published a call for protests on Sunday, 1 Esfand, or Feb. 20, by an umbrella reformist group. The Unity Consolidation Bureau (Tahkim-Vahdat, main reformist student and alumni organization of Iran) said the turnout is to commemorate the deaths of the two slain 25 Bahman protesters and to show support for Iran's Green Movement leadership.

4:20 p.m./Feb 17 This video, purportedly from the 25 Bahman protests, recently turned up.

RafsanjaniGesture.jpg5:00 a.m./Feb 17: After the calls this week for the executions of Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami, hardliners in the regime have apparently added another big name to the death wish list: Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, president of the Islamic Republic between 1989 and 1997 (file photo at right). Radio Zamaneh reports:
Two days after the Bahman 25 (February 14) protests, supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, shown on national TV chanting slogans in Qom calling for the death of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani. The moderate cleric is the chairman of Iran's two major governing bodies, the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council.

The crowd in Qom called for the dismissal of Ayatollah Rafsanjani from his government posts and the prosecution and execution of the two opposition leaders, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi who issued the rally call for Monday.

The attacks against Hashemi Rafsanjani have come despite firm condemnation of the February 14 protests by the Assembly of Experts.

The Assembly of Experts has accused the protests of falsely using the recent Arab uprisings to further "seditious" objectives.

The Assembly of Experts is the body that selects the Supreme Leader and (nominally, at least) supervises his activities. The Expediency Council advises the Supreme Leader and, in Iran's complex governing apparatus, adjudicates conflicts between the Majles (parliament) and the Guardian Council, the body charged with vetting the Majles's legislation for conformity with the Iranian Constitution and Islamic law.

The hardliners have frequently put pressure on members of Rafsanjani's family, and last year moved to wrest control of the vast Islamic Azad University system from him, but he has rarely been targeted so directly, openly, and in such dire terms. Our Muhammad Sahimi took a close look at this fascinating figure last year in "The Middle Road of Hashemi Rafsanjani". He reports that one of the slogans now being heard is "Vatan vatan nashavad, taa Hashemi kafan nashavad" (Homeland will not be homeland, until Hashemi is shrouded -- i.e., dead and dressed for burial).

1:25 a.m./Feb 17: Tehran Bureau columnist Muhammad Sahimi has compiled the following report:

Two children of Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat Zanjani (who is close to the reformists, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi) were arrested on Monday. Mohammad Mostafa Bayat Zanjani is a arts school graduate and his sister Sousan Bayat Zanjani is a graduate student studying architecture at the University of Isfahan. Ayatollah Bayat Zanjani has said there is no difference between his children and those of other families that have been arrested.

Shahrbanou Amani, a reformist deputy from Orumieh in the 5th and 6th Majles, has been arrested. She has repeatedly criticized the last presidential election in Iran.

Ali Nabavi, a political activist in Seman (a town east of Tehran), has been arrested. He and his wife had been arrested last year in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election, and he had been given a sentence of two years. His wife, Atefeh Nabavi, was given a four-year sentence and is currently in jail.

Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght, who headed the press division of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance during the Khatami administration and currently manages the website Fararoo, has been arrested. Gholam-Ali Dehghan, managing editor of Aftab News, a website that is close to Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is also among the arrested.

Dr. Ahmad Hakimipour, head of the Coordination Committee of the Reforms Front, a deputy in the 4th Majles, and publisher of the weekly Omid-e Zanjan, has been arrested.

Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi's wife, has written a letter to Speaker of the Majles Ali Larijani criticizing the attacks of Majles deputies on her husband yesterday. She has said, "I have accepted the fact that we no longer even have the right to live under a political system in whose establishment we played the most important roles."

The home of Hossein Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi's eldest son, has been invaded and occupied by security forces.

Two university professors, Dr. Mansour Nasiri Kashani, a professor at the University of Medical Sciences of Tehran, and Dr. Ali Akbar Pourfatollah, a professor at Tarbiyat Modarres University, have been arrested. This is apparently because they had conducted investigations about the families of the political prisoners.

Some reports also indicate that Dr. Ali Akbar Alizad, a professor at the Art University, where Saneh Jaleh was studying, has also been arrested.

Fakhr ol-sadat Mohtashamipour, the wife of leading reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh, has been threatened with arrest if she shows up at Evin prison and asks about her jailed husband. Tajzadeh has reportedly been taken to an unknown location.

Mehdi Sharifian, a movie director, producer and documentary filmmaker, has been arrested. He had reportedly taken part in Monday's demonstrations.

Reports indicate that at least 16 students from Sharif University of Technology and at least 15 students from the Art University have been arrested, as have two other students, one each from the University of Tehran and Kh. Nasir Toosi University.

Reports indicate that the notorious Kahrizak detention center, shut down in the aftermath of the 2009 election after at least four young detainees were tortured to death there, has been reopened for business.

Followers of reactionary cleric Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi have prevented the classes of two Grand Ayatollahs, Hossein Vahid Khorasani (father-in-law of Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief) who is considered the most important ayatollah in Qom, and Mousa Shobeiri Zanjani, from forming today. Both had recently met with the families of political prisoners.

Former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, who is currently chief foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, claimed today that there was no doubt that Mousavi and Karroubi "are politically linked with foreign powers."

Ahmad Khatami, the conservative cleric, demanded in a speech in Qom that the Ministry of Interior outlaw all the clerical and non-clerical groups that support the reformists and the Green Movement.

In a strong statement, a group of students and members of the Muslim Students Association of the University of Tehran warned against the continuation of the present conditions in the country. Referring to Ahmadinejad's government as the "coup government," the statement praised the demonstrations Monday and warned that if the government moves against the leaders of the Green Movement, the students will not remain silent.

12:15 a.m./Feb. 17 Slain protester Saneh Jaleh is featured in a Pink Floyd parody video that takes on Islamic hypocrisy. The short film was reportedly banned at the Tehran Arts College where it was made:

Mehran [student who looks like a member of the Basij (sitting on prayer mat)]: Did you have satanic dreams again? Take a shower.

Music student on bunk-bed: Let me be, I was dreaming of all my miseries. (Pause) Mehran, what day is it?

Mehran: Today is Monday.

Music Student: Oh no, I have class today. [Jumps out of bed to get ready.]

The music student then asks whether Mehran has seen his instrument (it seems to be not where he left it...). Mehran chides him about it, then points to the corner of the room where it's located. "Reform yourself," he admonishes as his roommate leaves. As soon as Mehran has the dorm room to himself, he tunes into a music video -- in English! (apparently he likes the alternative genre) -- then phones a lady acquaintance with whom he makes a rendezvous that day. He refers to her as a "Haj Khanoon," a woman presumably married to a religious man. The exchange is laden with language the religious use to exchange pleasantries.

The video has probably turned up and is being circulated because news outlets close to the government claim that Jaleh was a supporter of the regime and that he was shot by agents provocateurs controlled by various opposition groups. Kayhan's Hossein Shariatmadari has gone as far as alleging that Jaleh was an informer for the regime. Opposition forces, with Jaleh's friends and classmates at the forefront, are leading a counteroffensive to prevent what they see as the cynical exploitation of the slain protester. Jaleh's brother told VOA in an interview that a cousin who works in the security service had come by and asked for Saneh's photo. The photo was then used in an allegedly fake Basij ID card.

11:45 p.m. Trend News Agency reported that an Iranian employee of Japan's Embassy in Iran has been arrested and accused of participating in rallies held in Tehran on Feb.14. The Spanish consul's advisor for consular affairs in Tehran, Ingacio Perez Cambra, was reportedly detained by Iranian special services and later released.

11:15 p.m. Video showing the Arts University on Wednesday.


8:15 p.m. The Battle of Images

The following photos from are from Fars, a news agency close to Iran's security forces.

1_8911271132_L600.jpg11_8911271132_L600.jpg3_8911271132_L600.jpg


Green Movement supporters of the slain protestor have mounted their own posters online (opposite).

182044_202052749809760_100000151094420_880470_2660843_n.jpg 182692_202052669809768_100000151094420_880467_283803_n.jpg

7:15 p.m. Homylafayette translated this from a claimed eyewitness:

I was there [at Saneh Jaleh's funeral service]. There were two or three thousand Basijis, and our group was at about a 100 or 200 maximum. They trampled on Saneh's blood. They did nothing but engage in insults at his service. They got into fights amongst themselves three or four times about what to do with the kids (to beat them or not, to let them go or not) who were in Farabi [Translator's guess is that this is the name of one of the halls at the university]. From the start, the kids didn't do anything illegal or ugly. They (the students) were just standing in a corner, but they (the Basijis) didn't even like that and created a skirmish and the kids went into Farabi and closed the door.

7:46 p.m. Homylafayette reports that the regime gets more "tech savvy...sort of," anyway:

Following the announcement by the Islamic Republic's security forces that a cyber-police squad had been formed, it was interesting to note the recent creation of a dozen pro-regime Twitter accounts.

They're a bit far from properly impersonating independent and grass-roots accounts as the following screen capture shows: identical tweets lauding Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were posted by several different "users" at exactly the same time.

6:06 p.m. From the AP (via WaPo), about an hour ago:


Iran's opposition leaders remained defiant Wednesday despite calls from hard-liners for them to be brought to trial and put to death, with one reform advocate saying he was willing to "pay any price" in pursuit of democratic change.

A day later, furious hard-line lawmakers pumped their fists in the air in parliament and called for opposition leaders to be tried and sentenced to death. One of the pro-reform figures, Mahdi Karroubi, was unmoved.

"I declare that I am not afraid of any threat," said Karroubi, who has been effectively kept under house arrest since first calling for the demonstrations earlier this month. "As I've demonstrated in serving the nation as a soldier (political activist) since 1962, I am ready to pay any price in this graceful path."

"We warn (the ruling system) that before it is too late, stop being stubborn and hear the voice of the people," he said in remarks posted on his website, sahamnews.org. "Exercising violence and opposing peoples' wishes can last for a limited time. Take a lesson from the fate of governments that distanced themselves from the people."

Another Iranian opposition figure, Mir Hossein Mousavi, praised protesters who turned out for Monday's rally.

"Praise be on you. Your glorious rally on Feb. 14 is a great achievement for the nation and the (opposition) Green Movement," Mousavi said on his website, kaleme.com.

6:00 p.m. Homylafayette: According to eyewitnesses /Arts University students, not many protesters managed to gain access to the funeral service. Those who did were corralled and beaten by the Basij in one of the university halls. Other students outside the radius of the official service were also beaten with batons and electric batons.

Also, same sources reporting that cinema dept head Ali Akbar Alizad and at least seven students were arrested this morning. Alizad has now been released from custody, but many students' whereabouts unknown.

They're saying there's increasing pressure on Jaleh's family to say that he was a regime supporter. They have refused thus far.

4:30 p.m. From Tehran: I cannot connect to anyone using my laptop. The only way I can check emails is through my mobile and only via WIFI. The GPRS is also not working. BBC Persian programs are completely cut. SMS service is very limited. (By 2 p.m., slow internet service available again.)

Last night there were guards everywhere. I couldn't go out. I wrote this poem instead.

To Roger Waters

Luners on TV

The lights are out
Windows shut
And there is a short crazy bearded man
who wants our throats cut

Phones are controlled
The Internet is blocked
There is a communication breakdown
And a crackdown and a showdown

No nobility in faith anymore or faith in nobility
No border for shame, no shame at all
Only a disgusting portrait of a nation
That was once great and now gone
Only a disfigured statue of a faith
That was once pure and now gone

The Lunatics on TV
Chanting death to us
Madmen in the 'House of the People'
Schizophrenic
Systematically sadistic
In jailing, maiming and shooting to kill
My faith, my brothers and sisters my home

We will not go down to a place where we can hide
It's time to change the tide
We will not let them shut us out or up
And no matter how many wily Turks or Chinamen
Sign contracts while we die in the streets
Satisfy and make the lunatics pleased
We will make our voices heard
We will persevere
This is our home not theirs.

One would dream of violence, of cutting the heads off
the lunes
One would dream of doing, what they have done to us,
those goons
One would then think

wait a minute
hold on a second

Maybe that is what the luners really want.

Tehran, Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clashes at Demonstrator's Tehran Funeral

BBC | Feb 16

Fresh clashes have erupted in Tehran during the funeral of a student killed in anti-government protests on Monday, Iranian state television says.

Rival groups of pro- and anti-government protesters both claim the dead man as one of their supporters.

Saneh Jaleh, 26, was among two people killed during Monday's protests, when thousands of opposition members rallied for the first time in more than a year.

Wednesday's clash took place during Mr Jaleh's funeral procession, which started at Tehran University in the centre of the capital, IRIB reported on its website.

"Students and the people attending the funeral ceremony... have clashed with a limited number of people apparently linked to the sedition [opposition] movement and forced them out by chanting slogans of death to hypocrites," the report on the state-run channel said.

It gave no details of any injuries.

The BBC's Mohsen Asgari, who attended the ceremony in Tehran, said he did not see any major clashes. But he said police forces had blocked all the roads leading to the university and were only allowing in pro-government supporters.

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