My friend Gazelle, who has friends and family in Iran, shared the following note on Facebook and said I could repost it here. Much more detailed and straight-from-the-source explanation of what’s going on today. Plus pics at end of post Thank you Gazelle!
– Protests in Tehran are going strong, no sign of waning, as I had feared. People are observing the “silent” protest that has been permitted by the government and there are millions and millions of opposition protesters of all ages as opposed to just several thousand of Ahmadinejad’s supporters. They are planning to go every day until there is a new election, no compromises on that point. That made me feel very hopeful, because I feared the opposition would eventually slow down, but she says there is absolutely no sign of that
-They have promised a recount, but no one accepts this as an option because they feel the entire election was a sham. One relative told me that in Isfahan, a traditionally conservative city, there are also massive demonstrations because the vote totals that were released were so skewed.
-The numbers that were unofficially released by the Interior Ministry by a worker have Ahmadinejad coming in 3rd with a little over 5 million votes, and Mousavi as the winner. That worker was suspiciously killed in a car accident yesterday, Iranian state TV reported on his death and described him as a “liar” and “traitor to the government” but people believe the statistics that were released. My family members are all convinced this was in fact a stolen election, not just because of Tehran’s outrageous results but other provinces and cities are protesting including Isfahan, Rasht, Tabriz, Shiraz, Ahwaz, Bushehr, among others.
-Rafsanjani is starting to get involved and trying to call a meeting of the Assembly of Experts (which is separate from the Guardian Council, who has promised a partial recount only). Much of what is going on reflects the tension between Khamenei and Rafsanjani, and many prominent clerics are speaking out and taking sides, reflecting a schism in the clerical community that has not occurred in the history of the Islamic Republic. As many others have stated, she reiterated the point that it has shaped up to be a fight against the Revolutionary Guard, Ahmadinejad, Khamenei and some of his principalist clerics vs. the people, Mousavi, Khatami, Rafsanjani, and other prominent moderate or reformist clerics. Khamenei is losing the upper hand because even the army is beginning to disobey orders to shoot protesters…during the protest yesterday, my cousin said some of the soldiers were smiling and waving to the protesters from the tops of their cars/mobile units.
-My aunt was saying that during the day, the protests are incredibly peaceful. The violence we are seeing begins in the late afternoon/early evenings by a group of instigators who begin to attack the Basijis and the Basijis who attack anyone in the streets. (For those that don’t know, the Basijis are a fringe militia group that is unofficially supported by the government–they usually wear scarves around their necks, are in plainclothes, and ride around in twos on motorcycles trying to “control” people and “enforce” their notion of the rules.) She suspects that these instigators are mostly hooligans who are taking advantage of the disorder to cause violence and many are not even primarily interested in the election, just with attacking the Basijis and government. Many believe that those who are causing the violence are in fact hurting the reputation of the opposition, and gives the govt the ability to crack down on them, and then blame all the protesters collectively for being violent and say they are being influenced by “foreign powers”.
– She also said that this is not going away any time soon and people are not going to rest until there is a new election. There is no sign that they are going to give up. Like the revolution, they are going to their roof at night and yelling “God is Great–Allahoo Akbar”, which is very telling. Schools are closed and exams have been pushed back indefinitely. She says that the only time it is quiet is the early morning when people can do their shopping and business, and then everything starts again. People have been stockpiling food and water in their homes. My other aunt was saying that the electricity has been shut off for hours at a time…in their home it was shut off from 4am-6pm, over 12 hrs.
– Many people are outraged at the attack on the dormitory at Tehran University and this has become a major issue for the protesters as well. Although other people have been killed during protests, this is particularly a sore point because everyone says the students were defenseless and the Basiji’s attacked without being provoked. Parliament head Larijani and other government representatives have condemned the attack and supposedly are investigating it because they say the students were innocent of any illegal protest or activity.
– Basically she told me not to worry because everyone is trying to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner as to not give anyone the reason to attack them. The government has no idea what to do, it is obvious they are completely backed into a corner, where if they have a new election, they will surely lose legitimacy when they lose because its obvious they have lied. However, if they don’t do anything, they fear the entire system will come undone because people will not rest until this is resolved. They have tried to take the middle road by promising this partial recount, but no one is satisfied by that because of stuffed ballot boxes and other irregularities.
– She said most people think Obama is doing the right thing not getting involved and letting Iranians sort this out for themselves. Already Ahmadinejad’s supporters are trying to say that this is another “US-led coup like 1953, and the CIA is behind it” or other such nonsense about foreign involvement, but a few of the newspapers are offended and have come out and said “why can’t Iranians protest without everyone thinking someone else is behind it? We have brains and ability for ourselves– “nafaam neesteem”- we are not stupid”.
– In short, even my aunt who has massive back problems and other health issues, is going to go walk and join the masses, something she would never do out of concerns for her health and safety…which made me want to cry with pride. Its people like her who are going, regardless of physical condition, people who are tired of feeling pressure and feeling suffocated. They’ve had enough. That is why I think this time we will succeed.
These photos were sent to me by a relative who is from Isfahan, and another relative from Tehran. Not sure if they took themselves or if they received from other friends.