Iran news links (UPDATED)
BBC: Huge rally defies Ayatollah. 4:15pm EST/12:45am Tehran: Unconfirmed reports from sources and at Tehran Bureau that there is some sort of burning substance (acid, chemical, or boiling water) being thrown on demonstrators. From member of Gulf2000 list: I received communication from Shiraz that there have been clashes in different parts of the city. What ...
BBC: Huge rally defies Ayatollah.
BBC: Huge rally defies Ayatollah.
4:15pm EST/12:45am Tehran: Unconfirmed reports from sources and at Tehran Bureau that there is some sort of burning substance (acid, chemical, or boiling water) being thrown on demonstrators.
From member of Gulf2000 list:
I received communication from Shiraz that there have been clashes in different parts of the city. What is notable about Shiraz is that the security forces have sometimes lashed out randomly at people who might only look like protesters. An eyewitness confirmed this report.
Reports from Tehran, Azadi St., Sanati Sharif University indicate that more that 10 helicopters landed inside the university,6 minutes ago from web
unloaded massive amounts of guns for more than 500 basijies whom had been sent there several hours earlier to confront the demonstrators.6 minutes ago from web
WHOLE city is shaking with very loud screams from rooftops. Their loud voices calling only for God is filled with fear, hatred, and hope.
From a source in Tehran: allah akbar just started and it’s the most intense yet. so surreal.
BBC: Mousavi, in letter to Guardian Council, calls for election to be annulled, saying it was rigged.
LAT/NYT: Fierce clashes in Tehran.
Reuters: report: suicide bomber kills self at Khomeini shrine.
Updated BBC Iran crisis coverage, TehranBureau, ABC’s Lara Setrakian, Andrew Sullivan, The Lede, NIAC, HuffPost’s Nico Pitney, IranCoup running coverage.
I am prepared For martyrdom, go on strike if I am arrested #IranElection
Via Tehran Bureau (9pm Tehran time):
Reports: People Blocking Streets at Tehran Pars (East Tehran) and Setting Fires
Report: The Girl Shot Dead by Bssij, killed at Salehi Cr, At Karegar St.
IR’s PressTV reportedly showing YouTube footage of "today’s Rally!," says omid007
White House at 2:30pm EST:
Statement from the President on Iran
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.
"Obama received intelligence briefings throughout the day," CNN reports. "The president also has discussed the situation with senior advisers during the day."
An unnamed Iranian relays from Tehran via member of Gulf list:
…HAS HIT THE FAN…TOHID SQUARE ON FIRE, PEOPLE ARE CHANTING, ALL ALONG SATTER KHAN STREET CHAOS, THEN SUDDENLY QUIET, PEOPLE EATING ICE CREAM, ETC., THEN MORE CHAOS, ROCKS, FIRE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREETS, CHANTS CHANTS CHANTS AND IT IS NOT YET NIGHT…TEHRAN IS ON FIRE TONIGHT…
An Iranian, B., in Tehran writes a Gulf list today:
Last night the Basij conducted ‘military excercise’ around the capital city with check points at ‘critical’ sections of the city. As of today, the Sepah now appears to have joined the police and the Basij in the streets of central Tehran. Also, I cannot confirm this, but apparently Rafsanjani is in Qom, mustering support from the high-ranking clerics.
From another list member in Tehran:
Tehran June 20th, 2009. 6 pm.
In the street outside my house in north-central Tehran, kids are playing and riding their bicycles, the evening is balmy and pleasant. People are doing their evening shopping on their way home from work.
About five miles south of here pitched battles have been in progress between what appears to be a very large number of pro-reform supporters and Baseej security forces. Over their plainclothes, the latter are wearing standard issue sleeveless flak jackets, they are carrying riot squad helmets, a variety of sticks ranging from the traditional indigenous chomaq to more modern varieties such as extendable black electroshock stun batons and riot shields. They are, in other words, professionally equipped (and perhaps trained) riot police who perhaps misplaced their uniforms or have an unusual sense of style.
As the numbers of demonstrators began swelling soon after 4 pm, the security forces prevented people from traveling south to Enghelab Square. At Amir Abad tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. It is hard to know the details of the mini-battles going on and too early to count the causalities but it is not, sad to say, so difficult to place odds on the outcome. There was one instance of demonstrators successfully chasing away some security forces by sheer force of numbers and will. They raised a stirring cheer with hundreds of hands in the air. Moments later the security forces returned ten times more in force and pressed that crowd, that happy crowd, back into, of all places, Freedom Street. Shots were fired into the air. Perhaps they were blanks, although a police officer had said earlier in the day that they had received orders to shoot below the waist with live ammo in cases of coming under attack. (Immediately a joke is making the rounds to the effect that all orders from on high are "below the waist"!)
But the advancing line of riot police had left their rear completely unguarded and tens of Allahu Akbar chanting demonstrators, had they been committed to violence (which they are not) could have attacked from the rear trapping those poor security men. But that is not the nature of this struggle; besides one just can’t trap several dozen security people without knowing what your going to do next. And since this movement is not a military or violent one, not is it very organized, it could never develop tactics like that.
By now, 7 pm, the crowds are mostly dispersed. I have not heard reports of any fatalities yet thank goodness. I have not heard about other parts of the city. All mobile phones are switched off in the area so no contact can be made. Interestingly the authorities have become much more efficient over the last week. At they beginning, they switched of ALL the mobile phone service, including text service, in the entire city so as to disrupt communications among the movement. But today, they only switched it off in the troubled neighborhoods. Why should the business of the city, selling and buying, and so on, be disrupted in those parts of the city that are calm and carrying on just carrying on,just because a small revolution is going on somewhere else which has hardly a chance of success?
(And good news on a tense Saturday. The NYT‘s David Rohde has gotten out after seven months captivity by the Taliban).
(Updated 4:30pm EST)
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