interview with member of basij

I found the Tatsuma, the person who's updates I've been posting from Fark has started a blog. He's posted an interview with a member of the basij from Tehran Broadcast where the plain clothed force member says he is being paid the equivelent of $200 a day and hopes he can get two wives with it.

- Who gave it to you?
— Haji. He said beat them so they cannot get up. They are traitors.

- What do you think?
— That’s none of my business. I only get my money.

- So you’re paid to beat. Do you enjoy it?
— Yeah! They pay me to beat. Wouldn’t you do it too?

- How much do they pay?
— 200 Thousand Tomans. (His eyes lighten up.)

- That’s a lot. What do you want to do with it?
— I’ll get a wife. When I have this much money, I can even get two. Do you know how much it will become [in 10 days]? 2 million! Though I might not go back to Torbat-e Jaam. I might stay here. Haji said there will be more demonstrations. They will keep us employed.

He also mentions Arabs from Lebanon being part of the forces. There have been reports from the beginning of this that Hizbullah members from Lebanon were brought into Iran.

- There are also Arabs. No?
— Yes. But I’ve heard they are in a hotel. It’s said that they’re from Lebanon. When we were given Tuna cans for dinner last night, the guys were saying that Arabs get better food.

Here is an update from yesterday on the blog.
- Security forces were out in force today, due to the decision of the Guardian Council to support Ahmadinejad. Thousands of Basijis and security forces were occupying Tehran's public places, clashing with angry protesters who came out to protest the announcement. Protesters were unable to form large groups, hindered by the massive presence of government forces patrolling the streets. Some protesters tried to express their discontent by honking their horns, resulting in Basijis smashing their windscreens and slashing their tires.

- Protesters had planned to make a human chain, but they were prevented by security forces and Basijis to assemble. As the regime is making it nigh impossible to recreate the huge protests that followed the election, the dissidents once again took to the roofs shouting "Allahu Ackbar" to express their anger.

- The Guardian Council announced its verdict regarding the dispute over the elections. Unsurprisingly, they sided with the Supreme Leader and declared that they were legitimate, there was no fraud and that Ahmadinejad was the winner. In reaction, Mousavi declared that he refused to accept the results and the Guardian Council's decision. The government is also pressuring former President Khatami to intervene and help quell the protests. A fight erupted in the Majlis as a MP asked for clemency and tolerance toward protesters.

- Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, refused to comment on the re-election of the Ahmadinejad, and refused to speculate on internal Iranian affairs. She declared that there was "a huge credibility gap" between the Iranian government and its population, and that this gap would not disappear after a limited recount. However, she harshly condemned the arrest of British embassy staff, qualifying it as "deplorable treatment" and that the United States Government was monitoring the situation with great concern.

- Following the arrest of the British embassy staff, the European Union announced that they were considering recalling their ambassadors from Iran until they are released. According to the French organization La Fédération Internationale des Droits Humain, at least two thousand protesters are still in prison, while thousands of others were arrested and then released. Reporters Sans Frontières came out with their own report, saying that Iran was the country with the most journalists in prisons worldwide.

- President Ahmadinejad asked a judge today to investigate the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, and declared that he was searching for Neda's real killer. He declared that Soltan had been killed by agents who are enemies of the Islamic Republic, possibly foreigners. Supporters of Ahmadinejad, including MPs, are trying to pressure State Media to ban all appearances of Mousavi on the airwaves.

- Egypt has stopped all attempts at protests and rallies in support of Iranian dissenters.


the struggle in iran continues (pictures from sf demonstrations)

Pictures from demonstrations in San Francisco from Thursday and Friday (or scroll down below).

Protesters continued to clash with police as a power struggle continues among the ruling clergy. Mainstream news sources reported around 3,000 protesters outside the Ghoba mosque while according to twitter sources 3,000 wouldn't even fill the mosque and numbers were greater. I'll also note that I mentioned the power struggle among top clerics at least a week ago from twitter, while the mainstream is just now catching on. Staff from the British Embassy were arrested the other day and I have read that they have been tortured to give links between the UK and the protesters. In Sweden a group of protesters broke into the Iranian Embassy. There is still discussion of the general strike that is being organized and planned.

One of the people on Twitter I am following's friend was arrested among with other protesters and gives his first hand account.

Reza released from Hospital yesterday he is banned from university and now is a stared [marked by gov] student

he spent his first 48h of arrest at level -4 of ministry of interior building without food or water

he said all sort of people were there & some of them were just unlucky people just walking in streets and captured for no reason

Reza estimated around 200 people were in each room and there were not enough space to even sit on the ground

they didn't open the plastic handcuffs for a day & half, & randomly beat up people in there

Reza said the only exception was they didn't hit arrested people directly in the face

there was also a awful problem of only one toilet for all people in there and a impossible time limit of around 1min for each person

He said in the second day some pain cloth people came with papers forcing people to sign them

the papers were prewritten confessions all in different hand writings saying the signer is a member of organization by mousavi

and they paid to go to streets and say things & they know they have violated national security & Islam

Reza said some people sign them & some other just faked their signs & names, there were not enough confession papers for all people

around 3am day 2 they started moving people in vans, Reza said a driver was talking to a Basiji about Evin prison is full and what shoul ...

apparently they released some people on that night & move Reza & some of the selected people to Evin

Reza had no idea why they select some of the people and where they moved the others

it took near 3 hours to get to the prison, Reza said the driver seemed enjoys wandering in the streets

and another hour passed just standing in the row at the entrance of prison & filling out forms

in first day at Evin prison staff started searching for severely injured people & gave them some first aid

according to Reza some of the injured people already passed out and a taxi driver looked like dead by that time

all types of gov agents came & go in the next couple of days, moving people, forcing them to walk or just stand for a long time

Reza said it looked like they have no idea what should they do with so much people

a man came and say they will be released today and an hour later another came & say they will be in prison for 10year!

they ran another confession show at Evin, this time with promise of instant freedom & new accusations

Correction: *but with new accusations, not promising them!

in last days Reza said it looked they get a little more organized and start searching for any special case in arrested people

unfortunately Reza's mother told everything she knows over the phone to a man calling from Evin

the man promised Reza's family they will release him if he's really innocent

and after they knew Reza is a student they moved him to a more harsh environment with some other people

according to Reza some students from Polytechnic university were also there

they prevented them from sleeping by kept them standing all the night

in morning a man introduced him self as Intelligent came saying he will record their confections with camera

he promised if one of them confess in front of camera he will free them all & they will blur his face & nothing to worry!

at night around 10PM they Released Reza & his family instantly moved him to a hospital for internal bleeding

Reza had no idea why they suddenly released him & some of his inmates

I skipped some of the incidents as Reza requested. he's very weak both mentally & physically

and I don't want to put him in more pressure of any kind right now

Finally, here are pictures I took on Thursday and Friday from demonstrations in San Francisco. See more of my photos on Flickr.


secret prison in US holds activists, obama "stonewalling" gay marriage

Democracy Now! had a very good and frighting piece Thursday about Andrew Stepanian, an animal rights activist, who was held in a secretive prison known as Communication Management Units (CMU), also called "Little Guantanamo." Most inmates are of the Muslim faith.

In 2006, Andrew Stepanian was sentenced to three years in prison for violating a controversial law known as the Animal Enterprise Protection Act. Stepanian and six others were jailed for their role in a campaign to stop animal testing by the British scientific firm Huntingdon Life Science. They were convicted of using a website to “incite attacks” on those who did business with Huntingdon Life Science. Together, the group became known as the SHAC 7.

Andrew spent his last five-and-a-half months at a CMU in Marion, Illinois with highly restricted visitation and phone rights. He was charged with conspiracy to commit a violation of the Animal Enterprise Protection Act for setting up a website, meaning he didn't actually take any action. In Andrew's case, we was charged for being involved with others by association and none of the others comited any criminal acts either.

The greater implications of this are downright scary, where a dissident is unable to criticize or plan to act against the government or corporations in non-criminal ways. These laws, along with the patriot act, are slowly turning our country into a police state where someone who speaks out and starts gaining traction can be arrested under this horrendous laws.

[O]ne thing that came upon over and over again was listing how these individuals have support websites, how they have individuals supporting them and donating money, donating books, organizing benefit shows, doing media, going on Democracy Now!. That actually came up in Daniel McGowan’s sentencing. So it’s clear that these people are being targeted because they have a strong network of support that can get information out. And putting them in these facilities is an attempt to neutralize that.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened (protesters being arrested at the Republican National Convention under the Patriot Act comes to mind) and it certainly won't be the last. I just hope the people will be able to fight and defeat these laws before we are all arrested for trying to speak against them.

Gay Pride is in San Francisco this weekend (as well as other parts of the world) and the parade is kicking off with a political contingent. The other day's Colbert Report had a good segment on how Obama is "Stonewalling" any advancements on gay rights. In his usual manor, Colbert explains how Obama has not kept his promises to the LGBT community. On his "The Word" segment as Colbert says "you see, the president is too busy with the economy, and healthcare, and the wars to issue an executive order ending don't ask don't tell," while text on the screen reads "Would require stroke of the pen." He goes on mentioning that even though Obama extended benefits to same sex partners, those did not include health or retirement benefits.


Stand with Iran Thursday and Friday

There are two gatherings to show support for Iranians in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first is at Union Square in San Francisco tomorrow, Thursday June 25th at 6pm.

SF Protest in Honor of Those Who've Lost Their Lives Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009 Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm Location: San Francisco Union Square City/Town: San Francisco, CA (please share this)

This is not a political demonstration.
this has come down to SUPPORTING BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS and supporting those who have been brutally murdered just to fight for freedom and Justice.
Come stand up against the barbarity, cruelty, massacre and inhumanity taking place in Iran.

Wear black, No Flags. No religious signs either please.
bring candles too. thanks.

Here is the Facebook event. Share it with your friends.

The second is Friday June 26th at 2pm at the Golden Gate Bridge. We are going to stand on the sidewalks of the bridge. No placards are allowed due to the windy weather, but you can attach A4 size printed plain flags or pictures to your shirt.

Show support by wearing some green as well. For more information check out the Bay Area for Iran Facebook group.

the end or is the media just loosing interest?

As the corporate media was writting off the protesters (they're finally catching up about 12 hours late) blood continues to spill on the streets of Iran as anti-demonstration forces crack down. I woke up to some chilling messages on Twitter.

just in from Baharestan Sq - situation today is terrible - they beat the ppls like animals - #Iranelection RT RT RT

I see many ppl with broken arms/legs/heads - blood everywhere - pepper gas like war - #Iranelection

they were waiting for us - they all have guns and riot uniforms - it was like a mouse trap - ppl being shot like animals #Iranelection

saw 7/8 militia beating one woman with baton on ground - she had no defense nothing - #Iranelection sure that she is dead

so many ppl arrested - young & old - they take ppl away - #Iranelection - we lose our group

ppl run into alleys and militia standing there waiting - from 2 sides they attack ppl in middle of alleys #Iranelection

all shops was closed - nowhere to go - they follow ppls with helicopters - smoke and fire is everywhere #Iranelection

phone line was cut and we lost internet - #Iranelection - getting more difficult to log into net - #Iranelection

rumour they are tracking high use of phone lines to find internet users - must move from here now - #Iranelection

reports of street fighting in Vanak Sq, Tajrish sq, Azadi Sq - now - #Iranelection - Sea of Green - Allah Akbar

in Baharestan we saw militia with axe choping ppl like meat - blood everywhere - like butcher - Allah Akbar - #Iranelection RT RT RT

they catch ppl with mobile - so many killed today - so many injured - Allah Akbar - they take one of us - #Iranelection

Lalezar Sq is same as Baharestan - unbelevable - ppls murdered everywhere - #Iranelection

they pull away the dead into trucks - like factory - no human can do this - we beg Allah for save us - #Iranelection

Everybody is under arrest & cant move - Mousavi - Karroubi even rumour Khatami is in house guard - #Iranelection -

we must go - dont know when we can get internet - they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names - now we must move fast - #Iranelection

The government has been cracking down on people using Twitter as well.

Despite this crackdown, there has been a stronger focus on regrouping and organizing. To the media, this might mean the movement is dying, but with closer inspection it is just entering another phase. The next few days will be days of mourning for those who have died. From today's Democracy Now:

The latest news, which I just checked, a number of websites that I ordinarily do, because you have to dodge censorship and such, is that Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, the senior-most opposition Grand Ayatollah, has called for three days of mourning of the victims of the recent violence.

And Mr. Mousavi has also called for a march of his supporters, with their families—namely, they’re coming with their spouses and their children—to march towards Khomeini’s mausoleum. This is a very shrewd move, because, obviously, if they’re coming with their families, they are a bit more protected from violence. And they’re headed towards a mausoleum, which is exercising a very old and amazing political gesture that we have in Iranian political culture, which means—translates as seeking refuge in a sanctuary, and presumably will be protected from violence there. So they’re using aspects of Iranian political culture in order to navigate through strategies of civil disobedience.

Guest Hamid Dabashi discusses how this is less of a revolutionary movement and more of a civil rights movement for the people of Iran.

On a sidenote I highly recommend listening to Democracy Now! as it's one of the most informative news sources out there. Rather than just give headlines, they actually go in depth on topics of discussion.

I was forwarded an article that gives more a first hand account from a labor point of view in Iran. If the people are successful, the degree of changed that is achieved in Iran will be measured by the strenght of the labor movement in Iran.

One 26 year old worker in Iran who was contacted by Socialist Worker on Thursday of last week said that many people felt it was “like 1979”.

“The protests are very uplifting and most people do not see them as a challenge to Islamic rule,” he said. “We have lost our fear of the state.


“The police tried to take a shortcut to ambush the protesters. The workers used shovels, bricks and construction equipment to stop the police. At this point the demonstrators joined in to help the workers.”

The involvement of workers and the poorer neighbourhoods is an indication of how this movement is reaching deep into Iranian society.


from the past two days

News update from June 22nd and 23rd. There's a mention of the strikes, but I think this was not well organized and not a full-on general strike. We'll see when we get more confirmation.

23rd of June

- Today is a day of national strike. The massive security forces presence makes it much harder for protesters to join up each others, as the security forces beat up people and force them to separate everywhere in Tehran, including in metro stations.

- The Guardian Council has declared that they will not nullify the results of the Election, and that Ahmadinejad is still the winner. Ahmadinejad will be sworned in as President between July 26 and August 19.

- On the International Front, the Government is getting angry with the international reaction. The Iranian Government issued a formal condemnation of the Secretary General of the UN for involving himself. They also declared that the French riots a couple of years ago were much more violent, yet they were never referred to as a crisis. Finally, they have expulsed two British diplomats from Iran and decided to recall their ambassador from Britain, while Britain has ordered the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats in return.

- The UN has declared it is dismayed by the post-election violence. Journalists are still being rounded up, now the focus seems to be on Iranian journalist who serve as correspondents for foreign newspapers.

- The split now seems to reach ever higher in the Conservative movement as Ali Larijani, speaker of the Majlis, is attacked by Ahmadinejad's supporters for staying neutral and even unofficially supporting the protesters. He is the one yesterday who called for a revision of the Iran-UK ties in light of recent events.

Sickening story of the day: Parents forced to pay a $3,000 fee for the bullet that killed their son

At the crack of dawn, his father began searching at police stations, then hospitals and then the morgue.

Upon learning of his son's death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a "bullet fee"-a fee for the bullet used by security forces-before taking the body back, relatives said.

Mr. Alipour told officials that his entire possessions wouldn't amount to $3,000, arguing they should waive the fee because he is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war. According to relatives, morgue officials finally agreed, but demanded that the family do no funeral or burial in Tehran. Kaveh Alipour's body was quietly transported to the city of Rasht, where there is family.

Worrying report: Iran is now considering setting up courts in order to streamline the prosecution of all those arrested while protesting.

22nd of June.

- Mousavi announced today that there would be a day of mourning for the martyrs killed since the protests began this Thursday, in sync with the demands of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. He also called on everyone around the world to show support for the plight of the Iranian people. Tomorrow, a national strike will take place. Karroubi for himself released a statement calling on the Iranian government to provide care to those injured during the violence, release journalists and other political prisoners and return the bodies of those killed to their families.

- Members of the Parliament have commented that they are getting ready to hold Mousavi legally responsible for the protests and ensuing riots. They have also called for a possible ending of relationship with the United Kingdom. In response to Mousavi's calls for a general strike, they have also declared that anyone not going to work tomorrow will be fired. An Interior Ministry official followed-up the declaration that the votes were tampered with in 50 cities, saying the results of each box will be published in the near future.

- The Guardian Council has further clarified its claims about voting irregularities, and declared that there were in fact 3 million extra votes cast total. Qom is still an epicenter of rumours, where discussions about Ayatollah Rafsanjani's behind-the-scene indicate that he possibly has the support of the Army and plans to topple the government. This is still rumours, but a rumour that has been persistent since the beginning of these protests and has now been picked up as real by Al Arabiya.

- Protesters have tried to protest peacefully and hold vigils, but were attacked by security and basij forces the second they were more than a couple of people together. Thousands of them have been roaming Tehran in order to block any protests from happening. IRIB is claiming that the government has quelled the protests and they are now things of the past.

- There are reports that one of the highest commanders of the IRG has been arrested for refusing to follow Khamenei's orders to start a heavy crackdown on protesters. Basij and security forces have stormed one of the biggest newspapers in Iran, arresting members of the Staff. The British Embassy has evacuated all non-essential personal, fearing that the increasingly anti-British rhetoric will lead to another hostage situation at an embassy.


in context

From what I can gather the general strike never took place today, but there has been talk of further planning. Hopefully if Mousavi doesn't take the lead with the strike, the people of Iran will. There is a call to flood a large market in Tehran but not purchase anything to slow the economy down. Further rallies will be announced in the week as well as days of mourning for those who have died.

President Obama condemed the Iranian government's action, but a spokesman cautioned that Obama would not back calls for a general strike. I can't find the context of this, but it will be very interesting and revealing to see how the main stream media reports the general strike. Hopefully people will realize that those on top fear that concept more than the protests already happening.

Yesterday, Democracy Now had Kouross Esmaeli discussing what happened over the weekend. One of the issues discussed was Western influence in Iran.

The Western presence in Iran has been there for about 200 years, from the British and the Russian, who took parts of Iran under control up to World War II. And after World War II, it was the US that stepped in and started supporting the Shah of Iran as their favorite dictator in the Middle East. There was a coup d’état against a popularly elected prime minister that had come in to nationalize Iranian oil. And that has really remained within the Iranian consciousness ever since, ever since 1953, and Iranians harbor deep mistrust for the US, that was seen as orchestrating a coup against their popularly elected leadership. And in 1979, when the Islamic Revolution took place, the biggest sort of fear of the Iranian people was a repeat of the coup d’état. And that’s why the—that’s a large reason why the hostage crisis took place. They took hostages to make sure that the US does not come in, invade, orchestrate another coup again. And that has remained the dynamic within the Iran-US relations: mistrust on both sides.

And at this point that the US does not have diplomatic relations, it really makes no sense for any administration to get political points for seeming like they’re standing up with some demonstrators somewhere in order to score points with their constituents here. Over the weekend—and what’s amazing is the way the media in the US has been really helping spin this for the Republican right wing. I mean, there were images on CNN and Fox over the weekend of President Obama, I think, buying ice cream for his daughters while the demonstrators in Iran were fighting for their democracy. And they were likening that to President Bush when he was playing golf right after he invaded Iraq and equating the two. It was like, how heartless could Obama be, when he could be—I don’t know what he could be doing in order to support Iranians. I think he did the best thing he could do in order to support the Iranians.

The guest also discusses the different players in the power struggle for Iran.

Today's episode discussed deep packet inspection, a method the Iranian government uses to monitor everything on the Internet. It goes into how this technology is used in the U.S. and other countries as well. This is a must see. I hope the situation in Iran brings more attention to this topic.

Lastly, the Socialist Worker has a great article on Iran putting the entire situation in context. Probably one of the most complete pictures of the situation I have read.


how to survive a strike

Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi has called for a general strike in Iran for Tuesday June 23rd. Hopefully future general strikes will be called with lengths greater than one day in order to destabilize the government. Problems with a longer strike quickly arise where they not only hurt the government but the people themselves. History has provided examples of such situation where workers are able to take control of vital services for the people. The Seattle General Strike of 1919 is a great example of this, lasting a week where workers established distribution systems for food and drinks, trash was still taken out, the sick were cared for, and veterans formed a militia to maintain order (even though crime dramatically dropped during the strike.

A cooperative body made up of rank and file workers from all the striking locals was formed during the strike, called the General Strike Committee. It acted as a "virtual counter-government for the city" (Brecher), somewhat akin to the Paris Commune in 1871. The workers in the committee organized to provide essential services for the people of Seattle during the work stoppage. For instance, garbage that would create a health hazard was collected, and firemen remained on duty. Exemptions to the stoppage of labor had to be passed by the Strike Committee. In general, work was not halted if doing so would endanger lives.

The people of Iran could use this historical example to use the strike to their advantage yet still keep the city going for them. This will also teach them that government bureaucracy isn't required to run a city and that workers can take control into their own hands.

Posters on Twitter also suggested that people pull their money out of banks, stop paying bills, and doing other things to stop the flow of money to the government.

updates from iran and article roundup

Today I've posted a handful of Twitter posts, a roundup of various articles about the situation, and a detailed update of the past few days from another source.

The doctor who helped Neda is also a friend of Paulo Coelho http://is.gd/19kHd #iranelection

Unconfirmed: Rafsanjani has votes to remove Khamenei, needs secure support of army. Regime may attack Qom. #iranelection #iranelections RT

Support frm army and Islam Guards and Mullahs for Mousavi growing NWest Iran regions and Khorasan #iranelection #neda #iranelections #gr88

Qom poised to support the ppl and condemn Khameni. Mullahs r joining protest. #iranelection #neda

Clashes today confirmed in Jaam Jam and Mellat Park - militia used tear gas - shooting heard - #Iranelection

clashes in 7 Tir Sq and Valli Asr Ave - street fires & tear gas - shooting heard - many militia #Iranelection

Democrats are urging Obama to stay out of the Iran crisis while Republicans are criticizing him for being too "timid and passive." Senator Dianne Feinstein said the reason to not get involved is due to lack on intelligence, which should be cause of concern. First, this is most likely false and second, it's easy for them to say that they do have enough intelligence if they decide to get involved. It's an easy argument to dispute. Democrat Bob Casey stated Congress should give Obama the power to impose sanctions on Iran if necessary. So as you can see, even though Democrats are being non-interventionist now, they are clearly laying the path to change their minds if they want.

Iran turmoil likely to benefit Israel. My roommate, Mollie, brought this up the other day, although in a slightly different context. Any long lasting instability in Iran will give Israel much more influence in the region. Hamas and Hizbullah will greatly be weakened and Israel may take advantage of the situation in Palestine and maybe other parts of the Middle East.

Dave Zirin comparing the Iran protests to the soccer riots Ahmadinejad called them. Mentions the role of women, minorities, and the working class to the protests.

An article by Pepe Escobar discusses the power struggle going on in Iran and how it is based on a movement by the people.

Iranian crisis widens fissure among clerics from The Seattle Times.

More details from the past two days from Tatsuma
21st of June.

Two major events happened today:

- Grand Ayatollah Montazeri went directly against Ayatollah Khamenei's wishes and declared a 3-day mourning period in Iran, while Khamenei had ordered mosques to avoid making ceremonies in the memory of the fallen victims of governmental violence.

- The Guardian Council admitted that in 50 cities, there were in fact more vote recorded than there are registered voters and said they were looking into the situation. Seeing as the GC is under direct control of Khamenei, this is very likely an attempt at damage control from people who have yet to grasp how deep the schism in Iran is. This could be an attempt to ultimately blame Ahmadinejad for the irregularities and throw him under the bus in order to save their skin, which would be a sign they don't fully realize yet what is happening.

- Aside from that, as expected there were clashes all over Iran, but subsided since the 20th. The Iranian Government went on the offensive, kicking out a BBC correspondent and attacking Western countries for what they see as meddling in Iranian internal affairs. Tomorrow Mousavi has called for a general strike all over Iran. It seems that business activity that the already paralyzed country will be stopped completely.

From the 19th to the 20th of June. post-Khamenei speech.

If anyone doubted this is a Revolution and that this was bigger than the election, there is no such doubt anymore. While Khameini directly called for them to stop, the population took the street more numerous than ever. This is direct defiance to the Supreme Leader. Here are the major events that happened between the end of Khamenei's speech and midnight on Saturday.

- Before the protest even began, heavily armed men were waiting for the dissidents, planning to prevent them from reaching the rally point. It didn't take long for the peaceful protests to turn into full-fledged riots. Security forces had also closed off the Tehran university to prevent students from leaving to protest or entering to take shelter. Basij, some security forces and what is suspected to be members of the Revolutionary Guard assaulted the protesters. The protesters fought back while chanting "Death to Khamenei" and "Down with Khamenei". The security forces used water cannons and tear gas to try and disperse the protesters. While the tear gas was partly successful, the water cannons were mostly useless, as they were quickly over ran by the protesters.

- A lot of eyewitnesses report that the Basij now fighting appear to be barely older than teenagers, most of them between 16 and 20, taking a real pleasure in the violence. Others report that up to hundreds of both security forces and Basij were injured in the last series of clashes. The Basij forces are using pvc tubes filled with concretes, bats, even knives and are assaulting people everywhere, down to metro stations.

- A bomb exploded at the Khomeini Shrine, killing one and injuring at least two. Most believe that the government is in fact behind it. Khamenei was a major figure of the previous Revolution, and they used a similar tactics then, destroying buildings and blaming it on the Shah in order to turn the population against him. The State television is of course blaming Mousavi for it and calling for a harsher treatment of the protesters. This is also very convenient for the Regime, has Mousavi said he would take refuge there if he feared for his safety, but now all access is blocked.

- In return, the harsher the treatment of protesters by the security forces, the harsher the rhetoric and reaction of the protesters. They are calling for the death of the regime, the death of Khamenei, the death of their oppressors and that they will avenge them. Once the gun shots started, the protesters went wild, beating down security forces and basij forces they caught to a pulp, while the Basij and security forces are showing absolutely no restraint, even less than they previously had.

- There are many reports that the security forces and Basij still ever present in hospitals and clinics. Basij are kidnapping some of those injured, while the security forces is identifying those participating in the protest. In order to arrest protesters, security forces raided the Khomeini Hospital in order to arrest injured protesters. There are rumours that Basij forces have hijacked ambulances and use them as a trap to brutally assault already injured protesters seeking help, or shoot at them. Iranian journalists, Reformist intellectuals and feminists are still being arrested and rounded up to prevent from reporting the news or reaching out.

- As the protests grew, extreme measures started to used by those trying to repress the Iranians asking for freedom. Gun shots were first fired in the air, but it did not take long for them to be fired at the protesters. A liquid was dropped from helicopters, creating severe skin burns on protesters. We are unsure what the liquid was. They are also openly opening fire on the crowds, 40 to 60 people at least were killed in a single day, and scores more injured according to protesters. There are also reports that Revolutionary Guard Helicopters dropped firearms crates to 500 Basij fighters, as they are more willing than government forces to use them on civilians.

- The protesters are fighting back, taking over anti-riot trucks and burning them, attacking Basij bases and burning another one to the ground. There are report that a security forces truck was actually blown up by the protesters. In many instances, government forces have been force to fled under the constant assault of the people. Another report mentioned a security forces post was burning as well.

- The Iran Fatemiyeh Hospital in Tehran has confirmed at least 40 dead as well as 200 injured. Other sources report that hundreds of security forces and hundreds of basij fighters were injured as well.

- At night the protesters joined each others on the roofs in Tehran, shouting "Allah-u Ackbar", "Margh Bar Khamenei" and chanting "I will welcome death, I will welcome death, but no subjugation, but no subjugation". None of the rhetoric is addressed to Ahmadinejad anymore, all of it is directed to Khamenei and the regime. Many of the popular chants throughout the day were "I will kill those who killed my brother/sister", "Death to the Government", "Death to Khamenei" and "Seyed Ali Pinoshe, Iran won't be Chile".

- China has been censoring all news coming from Iran. Obama's restraint has been useless, as the Iranian government has shown a video of him with a false translation where Obama declared his support for the protesters, and that they should keep on protesting.

- Mousavi gave a speech and declared that if he is arrested, then the whole nation should strike. He also told the people that he is ready for martyrdom.

- There are unconfirmed reports that the Army is now refusing to follow orders and will not attack the protesters. The newest strategy from the government seems to be arming the Basij, dressing them in riot gear, team them up with IRG soldiers, and try to prevent massive rallies and keep them localized instead, as they are easier to stop spreading.

san francisco candlelight vigil

Pictures from the candlelight vigil in San Francisco on Sunday, June 21st.




To those in the Bay Area, there is a silent candlelight vigil at Civic Center in San Francisco, tonight (Sunday, June 21st) from 7:30 to 9pm. Bring candles

Mousavi has been calling for general strikes in Iran. His Facebook called for anyone with organizational experience to contact him. This is terrific news since strikes will empower the working class and can lead to a popular revolution. The Autobus Workers Union of Iran has joined the resistance.

Add the bus workers to the auto workers and the industrial union sector that creates the means of transportation has emerged as the vanguard in what - thus speaks The Field - will soon become a coalition of industrial workers with the power to spark a general strike in Iran.


The regime can take out Mousavi. It can take out every operative in his orbit. But it cannot force an educated and organized workforce - with long memories of 56 years of struggle against Western and Eastern regimes alike - to show up on the job.

The Autobus Workers Union released the following statement:

In recent days we have witnessed the passionate presence of millions of women and men, the old and the young, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, people who want their government to recognize their most basic right, the right to freely, independently, and transparently elect, a right that in most societies around the world is not only recognized officially but for whose protection no effort is neglected.

In the current situation, we witness threats, arrests, killings, and naked persecution, which threaten to grow in dimension and lead to the shedding of innocent people's blood thus bringing a rise in popular protests and not in their decline.

Iranian society is facing a deep political and economic crisis. Million-strong protests, which have manifested themselves with a silence that is replete with meaning, have become a pattern that is growing in area and dimension, a growth that demands a response from any responsible person and organization.

The Autobus Workers Union in an announcement issued before the elections declared, "in the absence of the freedom for political parties, our organization is naturally deprived of a social institution that can protect it."

"Workers of the Autobus Workers Union consider their social involvement and political activity to be the certain right of each member of society and furthermore believe that workers across Iran as long as they submit the platforms of presidential candidates and a practical guarantee about campaign slogans can choose to participate or not participate in elections."

The fact that the demands of the vast majority of Iranian society go far beyond those of unions is obvious to all, and in the previous years we have emphasized that until the principle of the freedom to organize and to elect is not materialized, any talk of social freedom and labor union rights will be a farce.

Given these facts, the Autobus Workers Union places itself alongside all those who are offering themselves in the struggle to build a free and independent civic society. The union condemns any kind of suppression and threats.

To recognize labor-union and social rights in Iran, the international labor organizations have declared the Fifth of Tir (June 26) the international day of support for imprisoned Iranian workers as well as for the institution of unions in Iran. We want that this day be viewed as more than a day for the demands of labor unions to make it a day for human rights in Iran and to ask all our fellow workers to struggle for the trampled rights of the majority of the people of Iran.

With hope for the spread of justice and freedom,

Autobus Workers Union

violence on the streets of tehran

it was a nightmare, I can barely breath & my face is burning, Masood got shot in the arm & Shayan's brother is missing

I don't know where to start with, first they attack our peacful memorial gathering in front of the university with water gun

the university's doors were close, we couldn't run everywhere! & then they start shooting tear gas at us

they were so many! riot police, normal police, intel, IRG, Basij! I managed to scape, but they captured so many people

all routes to Azady square were blocked & if anyone stopped walking or walking slow they hit him/her brutally

there was no safe path, people were walking in cycles between all variety of security forces

I think they made fun of people, don't go here, go this way, not that way & for no apparent reason suddenly attacking random people

we tried our best using all known shortcuts for reaching Azady SQ were mousavi was, but ended up in face to face with IRG

they weren't just the ordinary police or motorcycle riot guard, they were soldiers holding MP5 supported by reinforced military cars

we didn't realize for a moment they started shooting at people, the gun's sound was like a toy gun, not loud & the soliders were smiling

I was going to tell masood they are using fake guns for scaring people! until people started screaming in agony

we were at Nosrat st, and that part of that damned street had no were for covering

we ran as fast as we could in the opposite direction, at the same time basiji bastards started to hit fleeing people

I think I saw 2 or 3 people lying on the ground in blood & IRG started to move them, probably hide them.

I lost masood in the crowd in upper streets of Nosrat the irony was everything was calm there & people overthere shocked by the looks of us

it was the biggest disadvantage for us today, police & basij managed to cut off people and prevent them from gathering

they also attacked & arrested anyone with any green symbols or mousavi's pictures

damned government also armed street thugs & Afghan workers with anti riot shields & wooden or electric batons

most of them wearing in house clothings & I think they were really enjoying attacking people

apprently when I was wandering in Laleh Park searching for water Shayan managed to take Masood to a local Doctor

The site from the Fark poster I previously linked has been updated with more info about the Iranian government structure.


picture i took last weekend. really like how it turned out. my flickr


the fight for iran begins!

after today Iran will never be ruled over by a Supreme Leader again, the ppl will be the Supreme Leader.

As expected protesters hit the streets Saturday afternoon to meet resistance from the Basij, a paramilitary group under the clerics. There were reports of them blocking off the path to the rally site and using tear gas and water canons on protesters. Due to a stronger government clampdown and many Iranians in the street, updates are more difficult to get and confirm as the situation unfolds. There were reports of helicopters dropping boiling water or other chemicals, but can't confirm. There was also a report of a bombing of Khomeini's (first Supreme Leader after 1979 revolution, not to be confused with Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader), but most people believe it was done by the government to make Mousavi look anti-Islamic.

I'm watching streaming video from Iran and saw a video with gunshots and what looked like a street battle. Hard to say because it was from a distance and low quality, but definitely heard gunshots. Can't confirm the video is from today, though.

Mousavi has released statements saying he has prepared for martyrdom. He also called for Iranians to strike indefinably if he is arrested.

Scientific analysis proving voter fraud. I only skimmed it so can't judge if it's sound reasoning, but probably true.

Here is a video from the streets. Links to other videos are below.


If you have the capabilities please set up a proxy server for the Iranian people.

I changed the background to green in support of the Sea of Green! Stand strong people of Iran, the world is with you!


the beginning or the end

Khameni drew a line in the sand Friday, Today the Iranian nation will cross it and say 'we are in charge'. #Iranelection #Iranelections

Tomorrow (today in Iran) will be a defining moment for the movement. On Friday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not back down at all from previous statements, calling the election fair and holding support for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He threatened no more protests will be accepted. Reform leaders are calling for a rally Saturday in opposition to Khamenei. The question now is if people will back down due to fear of retaliation or continue going strong. If a majority back down this will be the end of the movement. If they continue the question will be to see what the response of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard will be. Will they respond with violence? How will the Army respond? So far they have stayed neutral but have stated they will not shoot Iranian citizens. But will they side with the people or continue to stay on the sidelines. There have also been mentions of Revolutionary Guard commanders being arrested for not obeying orders. Will a part of the IRG side with the population? This could lead to civil war. There is definitely a power struggle going on. A number of reformist leaders are former high position government officials. The mullahs (basically high clerics) have also condemned Khamenei's speech.

In other news, SMS (text) services are finally back in Iran. This could be a huge advantage for the opposition if the government decides to not turn it off again. The U.S. has also passed a resolution supporting the protesters and Obama is expect to sign. Purely symbolic but will be ammo for the regime.

More about Khamenei's talk from Tatsuma.

A relatively large crowd was present to hear Khameini declared during the prayers, while Reformist leaders called on their supporters to stay home. It was very easy to notice that this crowd was also much older than those we have seen revolting.

There were two sermons, a religious one and a political one.
- The religious sermon itself was rather short and stayed on topic. It concentrated at first on peace and tranquility, leading into the fact that the Revolution was the Will of Allah, that it was sacred and its goals were the goals of Allah. He continued by asking Allah victory over their common enemies, and that people who went against the Revolution were enemies of Allah.

- The policial speech was much longer and disjointed. He started by thanking everyone for the election, then he proceeded to blame the West, claimed that Iran was one of the most democratic country on Earth and that the results were not rigged. He claimed that while yes, there is some corruption in Iran, it's nowhere near the UK MP expenses scandal. He then directly threatened the pro-Reformists leaders, saying that all the violence will be their responsibility. This is all the works of Zionist spies and British radio, and Hillary Clinton was responsible for Waco so Iran is better than America and the West.

There are three major statements to be gleaned from these speech, with further confirmation of a fourth. However boring and long-winded it might have been to the Western ear, it was a major milestone of this revolution, and its implications are far-reaching:

1- His declaration that the Islamic Revolution sacred, that its goals were the goals of Allah and that those who went against it were the enemies of Allah. He then asked Allah victory over the enemies.

This is major. He has in fact painted the entire reformist movement as being anti-Islamic. Due to his position, and the tone that he adopted, this is basically a death sentence delivered to those who will keep on protesting. Not unexpected, but a bold move nonetheless.

2 - He fully supports Ahmadinejad.

This is not a surprise, but he did not back down one inch. He does not give credibility to any of the Reformist claims, and says to either toe the line, or suffer the consequences.

3 - He has put the responsability of violence on the shoulders of the Reformist leaders, and openly declared that he is not going to tolerate it anymore.

This means that the repression from now on will be much more violent, and has more or less openly threatened the leaders of the Revolution that they will pay with their lives if they continue.

4 - As confirmed by Stratfor, the Revolutionary Guard has taken over from the police in all matters of domestic law and order. This effectively means that they are going to start crushing dissent as well, and that they have allied themselves to the regime.

Out of all major developments, this is the biggest one. Will the army stay Neutral, toe the line or side with the Reformists?

It seems that in reaction to being relegated second in the Satans category, the U.S. House has decided to pass a resolution supporting the protesters and Obama is expected to endorse it, which will most likely lead to further delegitimization of the Reformist movement.

In other news, things are not rosy for the Basij and there are increasing signs that they are starting not only to lose ground, but to fear for their safety. There are many reports that most Basij forces are now hiding their identities with masks for fear of reprisal. There are websites being created featuring images and often identities of Basij who have been violently repressing students, calling for actin to be taken against those men.

The Internet and International Solidarity

The recent events in Iran, dubbed the Twitter Revolution by some, have been unprecedented in which the Internet has been used during such events. In a country where the theocratic regime blocked nearly all access to the press, baffling mainstream media outlets, social networks, Twitter in particular, have become the main sources of information. While CNN could barely figure out what was going on, users on news website Fark.com give up to the minute updates deduced from a handful of Iranian “tweeters” they have deemed reliable from the past days events. By the time the mainstream media caught on it was difficult to separate truth from lies by the Iranian government trying to undermine the service. By this time the Fark users knew who provided factual information.

Twitter allows users to give updates to their followers in 140 characters or less. The service, often called more a novelty than practical form of communication, has proved invaluable for organizing and giving the outside world a glimpse of what is going on in Iran. Tweets are mostly factual information. “News: Eyewitness confirmed arabic speaking riot polices "definitely NOT Irani-arabs"” says a post by StopAhmai. Others show hope and astonishment; “Thursday Sea of Green was more than ONE MILLION people,” posts another user. Sometimes the wear of the struggle comes out; “I'm sorry about being negative, we're are doing all we can and still we have zero progress & I'm feeling bad about it.” Some users request their user names are not revealed in fear of retaliation by the government. Due to the nature of the service the government would have to shut down the Internet to silence Twitter, as was done in Moldova a few months ago. With the use of proxy servers set up abroad, tech savvy Iranians are able to go around government filters.

The most amazing aspect of the service is not the information it brings but the people it connects. Even workers on the political right, that months ago would have agreed with a U.S. strike against Iran, stood with Iranians. Users on Fark shared concern, support and anger, deep emotions, with people they had never met nor even held a conversation with. Users would worry when a tweeter had gone hours without posting, discuss wearing green armbands to work, help each other with setting up proxy servers, and pass along any information they can to help the movement. For many, this broke their assumptions of Iran as a backwards country behind the times. Historically this is the first time such an event has been told from the strugglers' perspective. Maybe more importantly this is the first time the working class of the world has united in solidarity through such direct personal means.


US interests

I'm going to keep this short, which maybe isn't such a great idea, since it'll lead to some yelling conspiracy, but if you've really read up on your recent US history, and not talking about your standard history books, you'd know that we've done more than our share of toppling of governments. Back in the day (Kennedy and before) we'd just go in full force with the military. But then people started protesting so the CIA got involved. Here is an article I found from two years ago discussing CIA plans to destabilize the Iranian government through economic means.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.

This is in no way proof and let me make a few things clear. What is going on in Iran is in no way something started by the CIA. People don't just hit the street in those numbers unless they have true motive, and as a modern society living under a repressive theocracy Iranians have the motive. At the same time the US has great interest in removing Ahmadinejad and to say something like this is going on without any US involvement is, in my opinion, a naive statement (one of the things I wanna write is a quick history of Iran which clearly shows how it got to where it is in large part due to the US and Great Brittan). Iran has been suffering economically more than the rest of the world. Iran has a large, educated middle class. Mousavi, being a moderate, would be more open to relations with the US than Ahmadinejad, especially with talks of removing the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The US has realized its foreign policy with the Middle East is failing. Obama's Cairo speech shows this, unprecedented in the way it was so honest with the way the US has dealt with the Middle East in the past (I'm talking pre-Bush II here). Therefore the big bad boogy man (Ahmadinejad) is no longer needed. But what Iran now has to offer is a market. And with Mousavi as president, and possibly with Khamenei out of the picture, this will happen.

At the same time something unexpected can happen, and that is if the people don't back down after the election and actually demand accountability from their leader, or worse yet (from the US point of view), the working class takes power of some industry. Another thing against their interest is how the internet, Twitter particularly, has connected the average American with the average Iranian in solidarity. I've seen this even from people who would have agreed with our government bombing Iran a year ago (I'll have more on this aspect in my next post). I have no idea how deep the CIA is, and reason being that it's a very sensitive issue as any showing of this will strengthen the regime. The state department has already intervened by asking Twitter to reschedule their server upgrade to be during the night in Iran. Of course what really matters is what's best for the Iranian people, and that will be determined after the regime is overthrown. Sure you might say that if the US is involved it's trying to bring democracy to Iran, but if you think that, you really need to read up on true US history.

Another site with good info on how the election unfolded. Only gave it a quick glance myself.

And from twitter...
the mobile phone and the computer replaces the gun as the waepon of the revolution #IranElection #IranElections

We have unconfirmed reports that there is dissent among commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Force - #Iranelection

http://bit.ly/1uRaDK - we need more proxys - #Iranelection - do not post on twitter

That last one is particularly important. If you could set up a proxy server it would help greatly.


the twitter revolution

Very worrying report: Supreme Leader Khameini has called for Friday Prayers where he will be present. There are fears that the IRG is going to have a massive presence and that this might be a trap, but on the other hand not attending makes the reformists enemies of Islam and worthy of the death penalty. There are also reports that other Reformist candidate Karoubi and his entire party leadership were arrested.

Nothing much has happened in the last hours aside of that. There are reports of clerics and ayatollahs meeting in the holy Shiite city of Qom in order to plan to overthrow Khameini as supreme leader, as well as a more and more pro-dissenters stance from the army, but we have nothing substantiated so far. I will yet update this tomorrow, adding further information about various other groups operating in Iran right now and relevant to this revolution.

I really am trying to cram the most relevant information and speculation only. Everything is updated as events unfold, especially the timeline and what will happen in the future. If you want to link this, here is the website, updated as the situation changes:


Some more updates directly from twitter:

Hezbollah & Hamas of Lebanon Helping Iranian Security forces in Tehran is what I meant, sorry for the confusion

Be careful about fake Iran security forces tweets, but don't block as it might be real tweeter Iran #Iranelection #gr88 #Iranelections

When we get new elections we must allow candidates not of approved lists. Real democracy this time. Iran #Iranelection #gr88 #Iranelections

and the rumor about Hezbolah & Hamas helping Basij, until today I never believed it but I saw them today with my own eyes

Next Ahmadinejad will turn water into wine, votes in 30 cities more than the people who live there let alon able to vote #Iranelection

can we block the airport so they can't make the foreign journalists leave? #Iranlection #gr88 #Iranlections

The Christian Science Monitor has an article explaining the inconsistancies in the Iranian election pointing toward fraud.

Results from 39.2 million handwritten ballots came much more swiftly than in previous votes, emerging within hours. Detailed election data typically released has not been made public.

Iran's Supreme Leader sanctioned Ahmadinejad's victory after a day, instead of the customary three.

Ahmadinejad made a surprisingly strong showing in wealthier cities, where he is known to have less support, and in the ethnic strongholds of his rivals. Results from cities and rural areas normally vary, but this time were remarkably consistent.

Democracy Now had Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, on the show discussing the lead up to the election and the disputed results.

Another set of pictures showing the size of these protests. Some are graphic.

On another topic, Salon blogger and constitutional law attorney Glenn Greenwald was also on Democracy Now talking about President Obama's embracement of Bush's policies on government secrets even though it was one of the cornerstones of his campaign. A great overall view of how Obama is no different than Bush on this issue.

rumors to overthrow the government

There have been rumors of clerics, Ayatollahs and the Army plotting to overthrow the government. If it happens, you heard it here first... maybe. I've been following 3 people from Iran on twitter:

Moves being made to force Generals to support Ahmadinejad, I am told they will not give the order to shoot. #Iranelection #Iranelections

If you carry Koran it will be difficult for Basij to attack. Imagine picture batton wielding Basij with Koran under his foot. #Iranelection

Khameni has no authority left and Grand Ayatollahs cannot afford Ahmadinejad getting more power. they will back Green - #Iranelection

unconfirmed - several Generals have been arested - #Iranelection

news from tuesday::: our march was big success!! militia are now frightened of us - they know world is watching - #Iranelection

I wonder if Admiral Shamkhani makes a move tomorrow, marines already prevent IRG from arresting him. he's also a war hero & ex-def minister.

It's really interesting getting these updates right to my phone. Makes me feel really connected to what's going on over there. It's almost noon in Tehran and I haven't heard anything from the people I'm following so I wonder if anything is up. It's been tougher and tougher to get internet connections over there. If the government is overthrown I hope the people don't just stand down and it doesn't go from one theocracy to another.

Other links:
on going timeline from the Guardian
news from iran

Daily show had pretty good coverage the past two days. Mostly making fun of CNN.


iranian revolution(?) update


Pulled this from Fark posted by Tatsuma. Great update on what's happened and what's going on in Iran.

Major timeline overhaul, including what has unfolded in the last few hours.

This seems to be helping quite a few people, so I'll go ahead and repost it in every threads with some adjustments. Sorry, this has reached the level of TL;DR but I really am trying to cram the most relevant information and speculation only. Everything is updated as events unfold, especially the timeline and what will happen in the future.

Suppression of Dissent - The Players

Currently, there are either two or three groups who are suppressing the students on the ground that you'll read about throughout this thread:

1. The Basij
2. Ansar Hizbullah (which I will refer to as Ansar)
3. Lebanese Hizbullah (Unconfirmed but highly probable. Der Spiegel, based on a Voice of America report, says that 5,000 Hizbullah fighters are currently in Iran masquerading as riot police, confirming the independent reports. Many different independent reports and video point that way. Even in the last hours other independent twitter feeds have declared witnessing thugs beating on people while shouting in Arabic; I will refer to them as Hizbullah)

- The Basij are your regular paramilitary organization. They are the armed hand of the clerics. The Basij are a legal group, officially a student union, and are legally under direct orders of the Revolutionary Guard. Their main raison d'être is to quell dissent. They are the ones who go and crack skulls, force people to participate in pro-regime demonstrations, and generally try to stop any demonstrations from even starting. They are located throughout the country, in every mosque, every university, every social club you can think of. They function in a way very similar to the brownshirts.

They were the ones who first started the crackdown after the election, but it wasn't enough. While they are violent and repressive, they are still Persian and attacking fellow citizens. A beating is one thing, mass killings another.

- Another group was working with them, whose members are even more extreme, is Ansar. There is a lot of cross-membership between the Basij and Ansar, though not all are members of the other group and vice-versa. The vast majority of Ansar are Persians (either Basij or ex-military), though a lot of Arab recruits come from Lebanon and train with them under supervision of the Revolutionary Guard. They are not functioning under a legal umbrella, they are considered a vigilante group, but they pledge loyalty directly to the Supreme Leader and most people believe that they are under his control. They are currently helping the Basij to control the riots, but due to the fact that they are Persians and in lower numbers than the Basij, they are not that active.

- The Lebanese Hizbullah is a direct offshoot (and under direct control) of the Iranian Hizbullah (itself under direct control of the Supreme Leader) and cooperates closely with Ansar though Ansar occupies itself only with Iran's domestic policies, while Hizbullah occupies itself only with Iran's foreign policy unless there is a crisis like right now. However, Hizbullah has been called to stop violent riots in Iran in the past.

(the following paragraph includes some speculation based on reports from ground zero) Hizbullah flew in a lot of their members in Iran, most likely a good deal even before the elections in case there were trouble. They are the ones who speak Arabs and are unleashing the biggest level of violence on the Persians so far. Another wave arrived recently and there is chatter that yet another wave of Hizbullah reinforcements are coming in from Lebanon as we speak. According to Iranians on the ground, they are the ones riding motorcycles, beating men women and children indiscriminately and firing live ammunitions at students.

What will happen

Unless the army decides to intervene in the favor of the Council and to stop the early beginnings of the new Revolution, Ansar & Hizbullah members will be the ones doing the brunt of the killing and repression with Basij as a support while also protecting government buildings and try to do crowd control. The police seems to have for the most part disbanded in centers like Tehran according to all reports, including international media. If the police decides to come back, they will focus less on protection and crowd control, so the Basij will start to crack more skulls).

Currently, this is what is happening.

Timeline (updated and revamped!)
note: I built this through both articles and twitter feeds, so I do not claim that this is a 100% factually correct representation of reality, but this is the general narrative.

14th of June - While the previous day had been witness to some protests, they were for the most part peaceful. However, as time grew the protests turned more and more violent. When the first spontaneous riots erupted, the first wave of violence was unleashed. The Iranian Riot Police was called in to support the regular police officers controlling the protests, and shortly after the Basij also took the scene, moving from a passive to active role of repression. The RP concentrated mostly around public buildings and streets while the Basij took position around student groups, especiallly universities.

- As things got more out of hand, more and more Basij troops were called in, as the police started dispersing. The riot police are less inclined (or, rather I should say the Basij are more inclined) to use violence so they retreated and leaving the place to the Basij. The repressive forces concentrated their assault mostly around the main Iranian universities, while the riot police were concentrating on protecting various government buildings such as the Interior Ministry. At least two people had been killed already.

- On the telecommunication front, this is when we started to hear more and more from twitters while videos were being freely updated to youtube (while youtube started to delete the more violent ones a few hours later). This is also the moment where the government realized what was happening, and ordered for the internet, phone lines and cellphones to be cut off, in order to avoid people communicating with the outside world.

late 14th, early 15th of June - This is the second wave of violent repression. At this point, violent riots had spread all over the main cities of Iran. The violence against citizens was not only the fruit of the Basij anymore, but also came from Ansar Hizbullah members. This is the point where firearms started being used. There were reports of a few murders but it was mostly fired in the air or on walls in order to scare away protesters in University dorms. It's also around the same time that the first reports and videos of an important number of non-Persian thugs shouting in Arabic and violently beating people with chains, clubs and electric batons (similar to cattle prods), which led to many speculating that lebanese Hizbullah members were now in Iran. Der Spiegel, through Voice of America, later claimed that 5000 Hizbullah fighters were passing off as Riot Police, validating the claims of many independent sources and twitter feeds.

- Universities have been the hotbed of protests, serving as a hub of anti-government demonstrations and preparations. 120 teachers from the Sharid University resigned in protest over the election results. Perfectly away of this, the Basij, Ansar and possibly Hizbullah members concentrated their attacks on University Dorms all over the country, storming them and beating students, destroying everything, especially computers.

- The end of the second wave came right before the beginning of the current manifestation. Things were getting quieter with only sporadic reports of dissenters being assaulted. Important to note: at this time. the Supreme Leader authorized the plainclothes militias to use live ammunition against the crowd if things were to get out of hands. By the end of the first two waves of protests, hundreds of people had been arrested.

midday, 15th of June - This brings us to the third wave, which just began around 12:30PM for those of us on the East Coast. Plainclothes militia opened fire on civilians protesting peacefully. Possibly up to 2 million protesters took the street. Chaos erupted in the streets, with reports of fighting all over Tehran and spreading over Iran as the news circulated. Pictures of people shot, some to death, finally surfaced and were published in the mainstream media. Violent and murderous repression has started. At least a twenty people had been killed at this by the end of the 15th of June.

- There is a major national crackdown on students, especially those with connections to the outside world going on right now. Students are fighting back in some areas. Telephones are being bugged and everyone twittering and sending videos outside of Iran are being rounded up. ISPs were shut down, government hackers are threatening people who twitter, and some of them have vanished in the last 24 hours.

- Eventually, the people started to fight back. First, they took over and burned down a Basij base, killing its commander. Later, a Basij shot a young man in the face in front of their HQ, at which point a policeman went to confront them. The Basij beat the policeman, at which point students stormed the compound, throwing molotov cocktails, burning it to the ground.

- During the night, the police entered certain neighbourhood to arrest public servants and force them to appear at tomorrow's pro-Ahmadinejad manifestation, but the people went out in the street and forced them out of their neighbourhoods. The Basij have kept on storming dorms. So far the reports are conflicting, but it appears that the death toll could be as high as 40 for the protesters, with two dead on the side of the repressive militias. This is the end of the third wave.

16th of June - Supporters of Moussavi have a manifestation planned for 5pm, Tehran time. Roughly the same number or more is expected to attend. People are dressed in black and told to protest silently.

- The pro-Ahmadinejad crowd however are planning a counter-demonstration at the very same place the supporters are supposed to gather at 3pm. Most agree that basically they are simply going to gather for a confrontation. Rumours are that they are taking position in buildings next to the parade and in bunkers to attack. Basij from all over the country are moving to Tehran and supporters are being bused from all over the country. A major showdown is expected to unfold.

- The crackdown on people using telecommunication is as strong as ever. Anyone with a laptop, camera or cellphone is attacked in the street by plainclothes militias. Tehran hotels are under lockdown to prevent the members of the foreign press not yet expulsed from reporting what is happening.

- As for the Iranian Government and different branches, there are rumours that many Army Generals have been arrested for plotting a Coup d'État, but this is still speculation at this point. The Supreme Leader has also called for a 10-day inquiry into the claims of fraud, but it has been widely dismissed as cosmetic. Moussavi and his supporters have rejected this, claiming that they want new elections. Khameini is now using the armed Basij as his own bodyguards, hundreds of them are surround him and his residence to protect from attempted assassinations. Ahmadinejad himself is in Russia right now, for a planned visit, and tries to pretend that everything is good as usual.

- The fourth wave of violence has yet to start, but it is expected to flare up once the Basij and Supporters see each others at Valli Asr, most likely attacked without provocation once again.

The Revolution lives on.

Demands from the protesters

1. Dismissal of Khamenei for not being a fair leader
2. Dismissal of Ahmadinejad for his illegal acts
3. Temporary appointment of Ayatollah Montazeri as the Supreme Leader
4. Recognition of Mousavi as the President
5. Forming the Cabinet by Mousavi to prepare for revising the Constitution
6. unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners
7. Dissolution of all organs of repression, public or secret.

Who is Grand Ayatollah Montazeri?

Ayatollah Montazeri is a pro-Democracy, pro-Human Rights Ayatollah who was at one point on the short list of possible successors of Khomeini, but became marginalized as he adopted what was seen as a too pro-Western, pro-Democracy stance.

Since the beginning of the Revolution, he has been one of the fiercest critics of the Regime, and one of the biggest proponents of women and civil rights for ALL Iranians, including much-maligned minorities like the Baha'is. In fact he goes further than the protections afforded to them under Sharia.

He is also a big critic of Ahmadinejad and has been seen for years as the best hope for Iran if he ever was to come to power, something that was unthinkable a mere week ago.


For further information on the Basij, Global Security has a good article about the history of the Basij.

CNN has a good article where eyewitnesses describe the type of violence usually unleashed by the Basij.

Here is another good article from GS again giving more background information on the ruthless Ansar thugs.

BBC profile of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

important: The Iranian government is looking for dissident twitterers, so if you have an account, change your location and timezone to tehran!

UPDATE: More from Tatsuma

early 16th of June - The fourth wave of violence has started, and was expected to flare up very soon. It surprisingly was quite mild. Pro-Moussavi supporters said that there were even more people today protesting against the regime, though raw numbers are hard to get. If this is true, it means there are more than 2M protesters in the street right now. They are dressed in black and protesting silently and without violence so far. Other reports that only 250,000 were in the street, possibly scared by the Basij and propaganda.

- The Basij, surprisingly, did not attacking the march itself but rather assaulted dorms again. It looks like they are using the march as a diversion. In Tehran proper, 2000 Basij are waiting to storm the male dorm, and they are backed by IRG helicopters, which seems to send the message that the IRG has broken from their undeclared neutrality toward tacitely supporting the Regime.

- The crackdown on telecommunications is starting to suffocate all of Iran. As of now:

* Gmail and GTalk are shut down
* Yahoo is shut down
* AIM is most likely shut down
* Phone lines are down
* HTTPS and other such protocols are down
* Iranian ISPs have been shut down
* They are trying very hard to close down the Iranian connexion to twitter and giving proxies they control in order to track down people
* Cellphones and SMS are shut down

People are also receiving phone calls from the government saying "We know you were in the protests".

Night has fallen on Iran, and the Basij are roaming, attacking passerbys at random. They have also surrounded dorms and waiting to storm them once again.

The Revolution lives on.

some links:
Leading Iranian Reformist Arrested, His Office Says
forum with up to date info