Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Iran News Briefs - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

  • Tehran police chief Azizollah Rajabzadeh announced the arrest of 204 'rioters and individuals attempting to hold an illegal gathering' in Tehran during the rallies yesterday. Mr. Rajabzadeh should review the Islamic Republic's Constitution, article 27: 'Public gatherings and marches may be freely held, provided arms are not carried and that they are not detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam.' He told reporters today, 'The police will be stationed in the area around Tehran University over the nex few days to prevent any gatherings or unrest.'

  • Zahra Rahnavard, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, was assaulted with pepper spray by a group of 'Basiji sisters' yesterday, according to Mousavi's news site, Kalemeh. 'A group of individuals calling themselves Basiji sisters followed Zahra Rahnavard around Tehran University yesterday,' reported Kalemeh, thereby confirming Rahnavard's presence there. 'They followed the university guards' car as they escorted Mrs. Rahnavard out of the campus. Towards the middle of Vesal Street, they sprayed pepper gas into Rahnavard's face from a distance of 20 to 25 centimeters which resulted in her shortness of breath and temporary loss of sight. Residents and merchants in the area rushed to her aid.

  • State media and news outlets close to the regime took another page out of the perfect tyrant's handbook as they published photos of arrested student leader Majid Tavakoli in women's clothes. The regime's mouthpieces claimed that Tavakoli attempted to escape arrest by disguising himself as a woman after he was cornered in Amir Kabir University. According to Fars news, close to the Revolutionary Guards, Majid Tavakoli 'felt he was in danger after witnessing the strong presence of pro-Islamic Revolution students and prepared to escape from the university with makeup and women's clothes.' It goes without saying that this blog will not post Tavakoli's photo. Instead, the photo to the right shows the protest at Amir Kabir University. The tiny group of people holding up signs on the bottom right-hand corner of the shot are the Basijis who apparently instilled such fear in Tavakoli, who has already experienced prison because of his activism.

  • Clashes broke out in Tehran University today, Tuesday, between students and pro-regime 'students.'
    A student gets help from fellow students after being pepper-sprayed:

    Confusion and screams as clashes break out:

    Fire lit inside Tehran University building to counter effects of tear gas:

    'Ahmadi didn't get enough votes, he's brought Shaban Bimokh!' (NB Shaban 'Bimokh' (brainless) Jafari was a thug who led gangs that beat up opponents of the Shah at the time of the 1953 coup d'├ętat.)

  • Footage from other parts of Iran continues to come in. This one shows Chamran University in Ahvaz, purportedly yesterday:

  • Freedom of the press took another hit today as Hayateh Now newspaper was shut down and the editor of Ayandeh news site was indicted for 'insulting the president.' It is interesting to note that Hayateh Now's publisher is Hadi Khamenei, brother of Leader Ali Khamenei. Hadi, the black sheep of the family, already had a run-in with the law several years ago when his newspaper was shut down because of a cartoon that was deemed insulting to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
  • For the full story of Mir Hossein Mousavi's confrontation with planclothesmen surrounding the Academy of Arts today, please go to this separate article.

Mousavi to plainclothesmen: 'Carry out your duty. Kill me.'

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi personally confronted a group of 30 to 40 plainclothesmen on motorcycles who were preventing his car from leaving the Academy of Arts on Tuesday morning, December 8, according to a news site close to the presidential candidate.

It should be pointed out that the term 'plainclothesman' or lebass shakhsi does not refer to police officers in civilian clothes. The regime's security and intelligence apparatus consists of a large number of different groups and organizations which may overlap. Though sometimes used to describe Basijis, 'plainclothesman' can be more precisely defined as a security or intelligence agent usually linked to the intelligence unit of the Revolutionary Guards.

Mousavi, a painter and architect, has run the Iranian Academy of Arts (Farhangestan Honar) and has had offices there since 1999. The academy grounds are situated on Vali Asr Street, near Tehran University and almost across the street from the back entrance of Amir Kabir University.

On November 4, the anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and another day of mass rallies against the regime, Mousavi had been prevented from leaving the academy's grounds and joining the protesters by a similar group of goons.

But this morning Mousavi had apparently had enough.

The following is a translation of the article which appeared in Kalemeh, considered to be Mousavi's news site:

Plainclothesmen on motorcycles intended to stop Mr. Mousavi from leaving his office by gathering in front of the Academy of Arts.

According to Kalemeh's journalist, when Mir Hossein Mousavi's car attempted to leave the academy this morning, it was blocked by a group of plainclothesmen on motorcycles.

This group of motorcyclists, consisting of 30 to 40 individuals, had been present around the academy since yesterday afternoon.

When this group of plainclothesmen prevented Mr. Mousavi's car from leaving the academy's parking lot today, the Imam's beloved prime minister (NB Mousavi was prime minister from 1981 to 1989, under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic and referred to as the Imam) got out of the car and approached the motorcyclists. This occurred as the motorcyclists chanted slogans against the Imam's beloved prime minister.

Mir Hossein Mousavi who was upset that similar incidents had taken place in the past, went among the plainclothesmen and told them: 'You are on duty. Carry out your duty. Kill me, beat me, threaten me.'

The comments of the Imam's beloved prime minister shamed the plainclothesmen who dispersed.

Without identifying himself, Kalemeh's journalist approached one of the motorcyclists and asked him the reason for their actions. The individual responded, We've been assigned the task of obstructing Mousavi's movements.

The bodyguards of the Imam's beloved prime minister insisted that he return inside the grounds, as the motorcyclists milled and drove around the academy.


The report was completed with the following update:

News update - Urgent - Plainclothesmen have retreated from the perimeter of the Academy of Arts

Kalemeh's journalist reports that the plainclothesmen on motorcycles, who had been present around the Academy of Arts since yesterday and prevented Mr. Mousavi from leaving his office this morning, have been forced to retreat from the entrance of the academy.

Mr. Mousavi has left his office at the academy, according to the latest news.