2009-06-23

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.

source

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’├ętat 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’├ętat. 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.