Posts Tagged ‘Mir Hossein Mousavi’

Tehran police attack protester memorial

July 31, 2009
Morning Star Online, Thursday 30 July 2009

Iranian police have fired tear gas and beat anti-government protesters with batons to disperse thousands of people attending a memorial of a woman whose killing made her an icon of the opposition movement.

The memorial service marked the end of the 40-day mourning period under Islam for 10 people killed in protests and clashes on June 20.

The service took place at the grave of one of the victims Neda Agha Soltan, who was shot to death on that day.

The 27-year-old music student’s dying moments were filmed and circulated widely on the internet and her name became a rallying cry for the opposition.

“Neda is alive, Ahmadinejad is dead,” some of those at the ceremony chanted, referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who the opposition claims won the June 12 election by fraud.

Plain-clothes forces charged at them with batons and tear gas, some of them chanting: “Death to those who are against the supreme leader.”

Police also barred opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi from joining the crowd around her grave.

When Mr Mousavi arrived at the site, hundreds of police surrounded him.

As several hundred supporters chanted his name, police forced him to leave the vast cemetery on Tehran’s southern outskirts where many of those killed in the nearly seven-week-old crackdown have been buried.

Before the clashes, police arrested two prominent Iranian filmmakers when they tried to lay flowers at Ms Soltan’s grave.

One of them was Jafar Panahi, best known for his film The Circle, which was critical of the treatment of women under the Islamist government and was banned in Iran.

Female documentary maker Mahnaz Mohammadi was arrested with him.

Anger over the abuse of opposition supporters has spread even to conservative government supporters.

Some critics have even compared the government crackdown to the torture and oppression under Iran’s former ruler, the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the 1979 revolution that led to the creation of the Islamic Republic.


It’s right to protest over lies and fraud, Mousavi tells his bloodied followers

June 22, 2009

The Times  Online/UK, June 22, 2009

Security personnel gather in a Tehran street in a picture uploaded on Twitter

A picture uploaded on Twitter shows security forces gathering during a march in Tehran

Martin Fletcher

Iran’s opposition leader appealed for restraint as his supporters regrouped after Saturday’s bloody confrontations with the security forces.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, defeated in a presidential election that his followers say was rigged, issued a statement mourning those killed, denouncing the “mass arrests” and insisting: “Protesting against lies and fraud is your right.”

Bursts of gunfire were reported as Tehranis took to their rooftops to shout protests under cover of darkness, but for the first time in a week there were no big demonstrations. That was partly because Tehran’s streets were flooded with police and Basiji militiamen, and partly because the protesters were still reeling from the previous day’s brutality.

Continued >>

Protesters cry: ‘Death to Khamenei’

June 21, 2009

Violence in Tehran continues as pro-Mousavi supporters defy heavy-handed security forces

By David Connett and agencies

The Independent/UK,  Sunday, June 21, 2009

Supporters of defeated opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi battled with the police in Tehran yesterday

Supporters of defeated opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi battled with the police in Tehran yesterday

Iranian security forces used water cannon, batons and tear gas in clashes with protesters in Tehran yesterday after crowds demanding fresh presidential elections gathered in defiance of government and police warnings. Eyewitnesses described fierce clashes near Revolution Square in central Tehran after some 3,000 protesters chanted “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to Khamenei”.

Running battles erupted in Tehran’s streets after security forces sought to prevent demonstrators from gathering in large numbers. One witness said supporters of the defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi set on fire a building in southern Tehran used by backers of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The witness also said police fired into the air to disperse rival supporters in Tehran’s South Karegar street.

Elsewhere in Tehran, several witnesses reported live ammunition being fired. Last night growing evidence was emerging that scores of demonstrators had been killed or wounded. Eyewitness reports and graphic video and phone camera footage captured killings and carnage on Tehran’s streets as protesters and security forces clashed. Reporting restrictions made it difficult to independently confirm many of the claims but the weight and detail of many of the accounts on internet sites such as Twitter or YouTube lent credibility to the claims.

Continued >>

Iran’s dictator gives up pretence of democracy

June 21, 2009

The Sunday Times/UK, June 21, 2009

By Amir Taheri

Just before noon on Friday, June 19, the Islamic republic died in Iran. Its death was announced by its “supreme guide”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had come to praise the system but buried it instead. Khamenei was addressing supporters on the campus of Tehran University, transformed into a mosque for the occasion. Many had expected him to speak as a guide, an arbiter of disputes – a voice for national reconciliation. Instead, he spoke as a rabble rouser and a tinpot despot.

At issue was the June 12 presidential election that millions of Iranians, perhaps a majority, believe was rigged to ensure the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a two-thirds majority. Since its inception in 1979, the Islamic republic has organised 31 elections at different levels. All have been carefully scripted, with candidates pre-approved by the regime and no independent mechanism for oversight.

Continued >>

Several killed at Iran rally

June 16, 2009
Al Jazeera, June 16, 2009

Several people were injured in the incident, but
the protest itself was largely peaceful [AFP]

An Iranian state radio channel has reported that seven people were killed after an attack on a military post close to a rally disputing the results of a presidential election.

The violence occurred on Monday in the capital, Tehran, amid protests against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Radio Payam reported on Tuesday.

“Several thugs wanted to attack a military post and vandalise public property in the vicinity of Azadi Square,” the radio said, referring to the site of the rally.

In depth

Video: One dead at Iran rally
Video: Iranians rally in Europe
Video: Poll result triggers protests in Tehran
Iran curbs media after poll result
Mousavi sees election hopes dashed
Iran writer on poll result
Mousavi’s letter to the people
Iran poll result ‘harms US hopes’
West concerned by Iran fraud claims
The Iranian political system
Inside Story: Iran’s political future

“Unfortunately, seven people were killed and several others wounded.”

Also on Tuesday, the Iranian authorities arrested two prominent reformists, Saeed Hajjarian and Mohammad Ali Abtahi, their aides said.

The arrests came amid mounting unrest in the capital as Mousavi supporters pledged to continue their demonstrations.

Ahmadinejad supporters said they too planned a demonstration on Tuesday at the same location, raising the possibility of further clashes between the rival camps.

State television reported that Iran’s highest legislative body, the Guardian Council, was willing to recount the votes and that the recount may lead to changes in cadidates’ tallies.

Ahmadinejad in Russia

The news of the deaths came as Iran’s president arrived in Russia for a security conference, despite the popular protests at home against a vote in which the authorities declared him the winner.

Ahmadinejad landed in Yakaterinburg for the Shanghai Co-Operation Organisation (SCO), in which Iran has observer status.

“We welcome the fact that elections took place, we welcome the new president on Russian soil and see it as symbolic that he made his first visit to Russia,” Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, told reporters after Ahmadinejad’s arrival.

“This allows hope for progress in bilateral relations,” he said.

Ahmadinejad’s trip had been scheduled for Monday but he postponed it in the wake of the protests.

Violent clashes

Initial reports suggested that armed men loyal to Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard opened fire during the protest rally in Azadi Square which was attended by tens of thousands of people.

Police mingled among the protesters in an attempt to control those attending [EPA]

An Associated Press photographer in the square said one person had been shot dead and several others appeared to be seriously wounded.The incident occurred in front of a local base of the Basij, Iran’s volunteer paramilitary force, which had been set ablaze.

Many at the rally were supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the election candidate defeated in Friday’s poll.

Mousavi addressed the rally, his first public appearance since his defeat.

Clashes were reported hours after the demonstration, which was held in defiance of a ban imposed by the interior ministry, began.

Police fired tear gas as dozens of protesters set several motorbikes on fire.

“There has been sporadic shooting out there … I can see people running,” said a reporter of Iran’s English-language Press TV who was at the demonstration.

Peaceful protest

The demonstration had been largely peaceful until the shooting.

Robert Fisk, a writer and journalist who was observing the rally, told Al Jazeera that he had heard shots being fired and saw demonstrators break into a run, but that things had continued to be largely peaceful.

“It’s extraordinary to me that anyone would start shooting at such a huge crowd of people,” he said.

“Especially people who have been continuously non-violent all the way from the start of this march, which has of course been prohibited so I suppose that will be the excuse.”

Fisk said that not all the protesters were supporting Mousavi and that many were simply making a statement about the vote.

“I don’t think they [the demonstrators] are all supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, they are objecting to the presence of Ahmadinejad as the president. They don’t believe he won those votes,” he said.

The official results of the election gave Ahmadinejad 63 per cent of the vote and Mousavi 34 per cent, figures Mousavi has dismissed as a “dangerous charade”.

Alireza Ronaghi, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Tehran, said several different police units were at the rally.

“There were several kinds of police there; riot police were easily distinguishable from the rest of them with their gear and vests and helmet,” he said.

“There were normal police, with their green outfits. There were also plainclothes police who you could only recognise because they were carrying wireless communicators. And there were also others, who were just walking but looked like they didn’t belong to the rally.”

Poll backlash

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, on Monday ordered officials to look into the complaints against the veracity of the election.

The 12-man Guardian Council said it would rule within 10 days on the two official complaints it had received from Mousavi and Mohsen Rezaie, another losing candidate.

Further protests by rival camps have been planned for Tuesday [AFP]

The council, headed by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who endorsed Ahmadinejad before the vote, vets election candidates and must formally approve the results for the outcome to stand.Earlier in the day, about 400 pro-reform students, many wearing green face masks to conceal their identity, gathered at a mosque in Tehran University and demanded Ahmadinejad’s resignation.

Iran has faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the polls.

Barack Obama, the US president, said on Monday that he was deeply troubled by the post-election violence.

Saying the world was inspired by Iranian demonstrators, he added that free speech and the democratic process must be respected.

France and Germany summoned the respective Iranian ambassadors to account for events.