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Dec. 31, 2009: More videos from Ashoura protests. New cellphone videos are becoming available of the Ashoura protests. In this extraodinary scene, an angry crowd confronts anti-riot police in front of a Bank Saderat branch in Tehran. After several minutes of rock-throwing, protesters get hold of a police motorcycle and set it on fire. As the police retreat, they abandon their motorcycles and a full-scale melee begins.

In this scene, a police pick-up truck can be seen charging into a crowd, then rapidly retreating in reverse as another police vehicle strikes a bystander, backs up, and runs over the body. (For another link, go here). Police chief Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam became defense when a reporter asked him about the video. "There are so such images. Do not lie! You are not allowed to ask false questions!" he said. Meanwhile, a much discussed document purporting to describe the preparation of a government plane to evacuate Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his family to Russia if the street protests intensify was circulating on the internet (and of course, was dismissed as a "forgery" by the regime.) Here's a copy. Send your comments/translation to - subject line: Khamenei letter).

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Guardian newspaper has uncovered extraordinary evidence that the Qods force was responsible for the kidnapping of five Britains in 2007 from a government ministry in Baghdad, and sought to exchange them for a senior cleric who was one the Tehran regime's top terror-masters inside Iraq.

Dec. 28, 2009: Iranians come to the streets in large numbers on Ashoura.
With chants of "Death to the Dictator" and demands that political prisoners be set free. hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran on Sunday, defying the security forces. According to news reports from the Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran eight protesters were killed in clashes with the bassij in Tehran, 4 in Tabriz, and 1 in Ardebil. (Go here for an English summary of the HRD blog).
Regime media are reporting 10 deaths in Tehran. Der Spiegel has an impressive report from Tehran. "This time it was the demonstrators who were chasing, seizing and beating up the police. This time it was members of the security forces who were sitting covered in blood by the roadside." Worth reading in its entirety. The New York Times ran this impressive picture (right) from the protests on the front page of its Sunday editions.

FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman reports from Jerusalem that Israeli leaders for the first time see the real possibility that the people of Iran could overthrow the regime. “The nuclear issue is tremendously important,” said a veteran Iran watcher who has advised Israeli prime ministers for many years. “But regime change must be the objective.”

Dec. 23, 2009: 3 killed, 20 wounded in Sirjan.
Residents in Sirjan for the second time tried to block the execution of two detainees by the authorities on Tuesday, Dec. 22. After a successful attempt yesterday morning, 5000 people gathered outside on Tuesday afternoon and clashed with law enforcement forces. According to reports coming from the scene, three of the protesters who were killed, and more than 20 were wounded. Seven people were reported in critical condition in Kerman hospital.

Also today, Police beat mourners in Isfahan trying to enter a mosque in Isfahan to commemorate Ayatollah Montazeri's death. In Qom, bassijis broke windows in the compound of Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanai, widely seen as a supporter of the green movement. In Tehran, police chief Brig. Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, threatened legal action against protesters, warning that their movement was illegal. Gen. Moghaddam said that further protests would be treated harshly, a thinly-veiled warning to the organizers of the planned Ashoura demonstration in Tehran. Read the detailed AP report here.

Dec. 22, 2009: Ashoura protest could be watershed event.
A key leader of Iran’s green movement tells Newsmax that the opposition is gearing up for a massive protest this weekend that could see millions of people pour into a single street in Tehran, forming a green chain more than 15 miles long. “We call it the army of the people,” says Mohsen Sazegara, a former government minister who has broken with the regime and works closely with the green movement leadership inside Iran. Read the full story here

Dec. 21, 2009: Ayatollah Montazeri funeral today in Qom.  The death of Grand Ayatollah Ali Hossein Montazeri on Saturday and his funeral on Monday could become flashpoint for the pro-freedom movement. Of note was the surprising absence of any mention of his religious title (Grand Ayatollah, or even Ayatollah) in the initial announcement on state-run media in Iran. This was later corrected, and the Leader was quick to send a note of condoleances to the family, showing his continued anxiety over the role of the traditional clergy.  Ahmadinejad, showing contempt, sent no note at all. Montazeri criticized Khamenei repeatedly for his lack of religious credentials.

Today’s funeral (see pictures and video clips here and here), Ashoura (Dec. 26-27), and the 7-day commemoration of Montazeri’s death all combine to provide a potentially toxic cocktail for the regime. The Green Movement has been calling for massive protests on Ashoura. These could now become a series of rolling protests – exactly what the regime has been trying to avoid. We will provide updates as available.

Dec. 16, 2009: Former Bassiji describes election abuse.
A former member of the Bassij  describes the indoctrination and orders he was given BEFORE the June 2009 elections to crack down on protesters and to rape prisoners. This link gives an English-language translation of this intense and emotional interview with Channel 4 news in Britain. reports today on the Obama administration's continued refusal to apply pressure on Iran, even as the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approves HR 2194 to impose sanctions on companies supplying refined petroleum products to Iran. Opponents of sanctions predictably relied on the arguements of the pro-Tehran lobbyists, NIAC, in their efforts to defeat the bill.

Dec. 7, 2009: Live updates from Iran protests. Several bloggers and websites are now posting live updates from inside Iran, including video-clips of protests and clashes with security forces. Sayeh Hassan, a Canadian lawyer and human rights activist, has links to video footage taken this afternoon (Tehran time) during protests at Amir Kabir University, Sharif University and Tehran University, as well as from the faculty in Esfahan. Planet-Iran has posted protest routes in seven cities and plans to have live blogging later in the day, so stay tuned.

Update 11:42 am: The Persian2English Facebook page has many links to short cellphone videos from today's demonstrations.

Update: 350 pm: Some highlights from the day:

- Zahra Rahnavard, a Tehran University professor and wife of Mir Housein Mousavi, was harrassed by female bassiji agents at Tehran University, and sprayed with pepper spray and she got into her car.

- Students broke down doors at Polytechnique university (watch video), after police had barricaded them inside.

- In Tehran, protesters torn down a giant poster of Ayatollan Khamenei.

- Throughout Iran, protestors chanted "Death to the Dictator."

Dec. 4, 2009: Opposition/regime gear up for mass protest on Dec. 7. The IRGC and MOIS are engaging in mass intimidation of activists both inside the country and abroad in an effort to quash expected mass protests this coming Monday, when more than a hundred opposition organizsations plan to hold protests across Iran for Iranian Student's commemoration day (this coming Monday, Dec. 7). The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Iranians arriving at Tehran airport from overseas are being detained and forced to reveal their Facebook passwords to intelligence officers upon arrival. Iranians living overseas report having received threatening email messages warning them to stop making anti-regime statements on social networking sites, or see their family members inside Iran suffer.

Dec. 2, 2009: Trita Parsi faces tough question from American University students. Asked to defend his pro-engagement policy toward Iran, NIAC founder Trita Parsi  says that the U.S. is not legitimizing the Iranian regime through talks. He also claimed, against all evidence, that the leaders of the Green Movement inside Iran seek to "reform" the Islamic Republic. An American University student quoted a recent statement by former president Khatami - the father of the "reform" illusion movement - who recently said that the regime was illegitimate and "reform" was "no longer an option."

Meanwhile, emails between Parsi and Iran's Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations have surfaced in a lawsuit pitting NIAC against Hassan Daioleslam. These emails, reproduced in an essay by Mr. Daioleslam in the American Thinker, caused him to retort that "Trita Parsi Reports to Tehran."

Nov. 24, 2009: "U.S. Acting in Iran's Interest," Opposition Leader says. In an exclusive interview with in Europe, Iranian Kurdish leader Rahman Haj Ahmadi accuses the Obama administration of thwarting negotiations among Iranian pro-democracy groups that were on the verge of creating a united opposition front that could have led to the collapse of the Islamic regime during this summer’s post-election turmoil. Those negotiations were on the verge of success, Haj Ahmadi said– until the Obama administration inexplicably placed his group (PJAK) on the terrorism list on Feb. 4, 2009. The U.S. action “made the other groups afraid to work with us, for fear of U.S. government reprisals.”

Oct. 28: House Foreign Affairs committee passes Iran Refined Petroleum Act; Canadian parliament calls on govt to support pro-freedom movement. On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs committee finally adopted a new sanctions bill, six months after it was introduced. Committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman (D, CA) held the bill at the request of the White House, and called it his "fourth best option" for stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the Canadian parliament yesterday adopted a resolution calling on the government to support the pro-freedom movement in Iran.

Canadian-Iranian blogger Sayeh Hassan has set up an on-line petition to muster support for the Iran Accountability Act, a private bill introduced by Liberal MP and human rights activist Prof. Irwin Cutler. The bill seeks to divest Canada from investment in Iran, freeze the assets of top military and nuclear officials, an dmore The petition is here.

Oct. 27, 2009: FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman addresses the Canada Israel Committee conference in Ottawa on the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran.  Timmerman sought to dispel the illusion that outside pressure or inducements had any realistic hope of changing the behavior of the Iranian regime, which has survived 30 years of sanctions that were often much tougher than those now being proposed. However, Timmerman said that new and tougher sanctions were necessary to building an international coalition to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. It also will send an im portant message to the Iranian people that the free world supports their struggle for freedom. Timmerman urged activists to get engaged in the movement to divest public pension funds from companies doing business in Iran, specifically those who have provided surveillance technology used gainst the pro-freedom movement. (See photo of the Milad tower, below). 

Oct. 15, 2009: Rep. Berman plans hearings on gas sanctions; Rep. Trent Franks introduces PEACE Act.

Rep. Howard Berman (D, CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, announced today that he plans to hold hearings on his bill to impose sanctions on companies providing refined petroleum products to Iran. “The committee will mark up the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act on Wednesday, October 28," Berman said today. "By then it will be nearly six full months since I introduced this legislation, now cosponsored by 327 Members."

Berman has held the legislation at the insistence of the White House. At a September 10 meeting with leaders from Jewish organizations around the country, he pledge he would hold the hearings by the end of September, so he is already a month late.

At the same time Berman made his announcement, Rep. Trent Franks (R, AZ) introduced new legislation that would expand U.S. sanctions from suppliers of refined petroleum to any importer or exporter to Iran.

The Peace Through Strength Act  "supports the use of 1.) truly crippling economic sanctions 2.) exhaustive diplomatic means 3.) and if all else fails the use of military force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability," a statement accompanying the bill said.

The PEACE Act specifically targets companies that trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which until now has been exempted from sanctions because it is a news organizaiton. IRIB deserved to lose that exemption because of the key role it played in importing and using technologies to track down protesters during this summer's post-election demonstrations.

New reporting requirements are placed on both the Treasury Department and the Department of Defense. Treasury will be required under the PEACE Act to provide a list of the top political leadership in Iran, as well as the individual businessmen and companies that are supporting them, and their foreign trading partners. The goal of this measure is to ensure that the regime decision-makers personally feel the sting of sanctions.

The Defense Department is required to report to Congress on U.S. military options to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear-weapons capability and to "counter a nuclear ballistic missile threat" from Iran.

In another far-reaching measure, the bill calls for oversight hearings in Congress within 30 days should the president exercise his waiver authority and refuse to apply sanctions."As a result of this waiver, no sanctions have actually be implemented against entities doing business with the terrorist regime," a statement accompanying the bill said. "The Peace Act requires that as soon as the president uses his waiver authority Congress shall immediately hold a series of oversight hearings on the president's use of his waiver." Full text of the bill in PDF format.

Oct. 8, 2009: Executions of juveniles, women planned; pro-democracy demonstrator sentenced to death. Encouraged by the Obama administration "engagement" policy, the Tehran regime is taking off the gloves with political prisoners and with juveniles and women sentenced for blood crimes. Reuters reported today that Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zaman, who was arrested during this summer's protests, was informed by a regime court on Monday that he had been condemned to death for active membership in a "terrorist" organization. 

Meanwhile, Human Rights Activists in Iran announced that Akram Mahdavi, who was arrested in 2003 for killing her 74 year old husband, was scheduled to be executed this coming Sunday. In addition, two teenage boys, Behnood Shojaee and Safar Angoowho, have also been condemned to hang in the coming days for murders they committed as juvenile delinquents. Their lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, has said that the executions could take place as early as tomorrow..

Sept 27, 2009: Regime thugs assault female protester in New York. A security guard working for Ahmadinejad assaulted an Iranian-American woman peacefully protesting in front of the Barclay Intercontinental Hotel in New York last night. His identity was caught on videotape. When the attacker tried to flee the scene in a taxi cab, he was stopped by Iranian pro-democracy activist Ardeshir Zarezadeh (FDI Photo: Zarezadeh addresses NY city rally this Thursday).

Sept. 26, 2009: Statement of FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman Regarding False Reports in Official Iranian Media. Over the past several weeks, the Islamic Republic official media has run a series of story alleging that the Foundation for Democracy in Iran and its Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman have been instrumental in guiding and funding the recent anti-regime demonstrations in Iran.  This attempt to attribute the pro-democracy and anti-authoritarian movement in Iran to FDI and its Executive Director is grossly misleading and factually incorrect.

FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman said, “While we would be happy to accept such an honor, neither I nor my board can take credit for such power or influence. The people of Iran have shown through their courage, independence and determination that they don't need help from anyone outside their country to get them to take to the streets. I have full confidence that they will get rid of the dictators of Tehran. Apparently, so do the regime's leaders.”

In articles that have appeared in Fars News, IRNA, Keyhan, Etelaat, Reselaat, Asr Iran, and elsewhere, the regime's conspiracy-minded propagandists have woven a tall tale of dark influences and of a secret cabal, led by FDI and Mr. Timmerman, who they claim to be involved with the CIA's "Iran desk" and other covert activities.  This is pure invention. 

“They'd do better hiring a new Bollywood screenwriter,” said Timmerman. “Anyone can just Google my name or FDI and judge for themselves whether our profile fit that of a clandestine CIA operation, careful to leave no traces behind.”

The latest claims, which appeared in two separate articles in Fars News (on Sept. 23, and Sept 26) and are repeated in the headline of the official Islamic Republic News Agency today, assert that FDI has organized funding for former president Mohammad Khatami through George Soros. As proof, these eminent organs of Pravda-style "truth" trot out an article FDI Executive Director Timmerman published at on Sept. 7, 2006, which describes a dinner Soros threw in Khatami's honor in Boston during the former president's trip that month to the United States. Khatami, today, denies he attended the dinner - but as anyone can see from the Newsmax article, my sources at the time included organizers of the dinner as well as Khatami's translator. That being said, there is no connection whatsoever between FDI or Ken Timmerman and Soros or his Open Society Institute.

Earlier articles in the Tehran Pravda have cited articles that exposed a State Department bias in favor of Khatami, Moussavi and the so-called "reform" movement, and criticized the Obama administration for "interfering" in Iran's domestic politics.

Either Hossein Shariatmadari and the Supreme Leader's propagandists want to make Mr. Timmerman out as a supporter of Khatami-Moussavi and the (now former) "reformists," or as a critic. They can't have it both ways. The problem with conspiracy theories is that they get caught up on facts. 

Moreover, Mr. Timmerman has  been critical of the whole notion of "reforming" the Islamic Republic from the start. Right after Khatami's election in 1997, FDI issued a statement cautiously welcoming the new president, saying his election showed the "thirst for freedom" of Iranian voters, not some new "Tehran spring." We stated that Khatami's election was "the beginning, not the end, of the long road to democracy in Iran," and set down a few guidelines for what real "reform" would mean. This included the dismantling of the police state, the release of political prisoners, and respect for internatinally-recognized civil and political rights. The full statement is here.

This is not the time or place for a full critique of Khatami's failures as president, which began with his lack of spine. But I have written often and much about this, and have criticized the State Department repeatedly for trotting out the "dead parrot" of reforming a corrupt and dying regime. Remember: under Khatami scores of independent news organizations were shut down, hundreds of journalists were jailed, thousands of Iranians were jailed for their political views and many were murdered. And all the while, the nuclear ayatollahs continued to pursue the bomb.

The real fear of the thugs now ruling Iran is that the demonstrations that have rocked the country since the stolen June 12 election are authentic; that they are led from inside Iran; that neither the United States, France, Israel, George Soros, nor Kenneth R. Timmerman organized them or played any significant role in them whatsoever. Many of us begged the President of the United States and his Secretary of State to get involved, at least as a cheer-leader (see FDI's letter to President Obama here). Instead, the President washed his hands...  But the Iranian people showed they didn't need outside forces to mount opposition to the regime. That is what has got the thugs running scared.

Download a PDF of this statement.

Sept. 25, 2009: Obama says Iran has secret uranium enrichment plant. This morning at the G-8 in Pittsburg Obama announced that Iran has been operating a secret uranium enrichment plant near Qom, south of Tehran. He said that "the size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program," and that its existence, which Iran now appears to acknowledge, makes the upcoming Oct. 1 talks between the P-6 and Iran all the more "urgent." Until now, the Obama administration has given the appearance of allowing Iran to "run out the clock" by negotiating and negotiating while its scientists completed a weapon or a weapons arsenal. This is the first time we have seen a serious statement from the White House about the Iranian nuclear threat, coupled with hints of strong steps to counter it. Stay tuned.

Sept. 24, 2009: FDI joins the Stand for Freedom in Iran rally in New York. FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman joined with a broad-based movement calling for US and international support of the pro-freedom movement in Iran. In addition to two dozen American groups and speakers, Iranian dissidents Ardeshir Zarezadeh and Roya Temouri addressed the crowd. We will be posting additional photos from teh rally on a separate page and hope to get up some of the digital voice from the speakers, who included NY State Governor David Patterson and former NY City mayor, Rudy Guiliani.

Sept. 23, 2009: Newsmax reporting on the rally of Iranian dissidents in New York, and a press conference at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York. Demonstrators used one of the slogans from the 1978-1979 revolution, but with a twist. Instead of esteghlal, azadi, enghelab-e eslami (independence, freedom, Islamic Republic), today's protesters are chanting esteghlal, azadi, enghelab-e irani (independence, freedom, Iranian Republic). A single word shift, in this case, is literally a revolution. This slogan was also used during demonstrations inside Iran to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the July 9, 1999 student uprising.

Sept. 22, 2009: Ahmadinejad arriving with 127-member delegation. Ahmadinejad will arrive at 5 PM today in New York. This is the largest delegation of any UN member state this year. He will also have 65 security guards drawn from the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC (US green card holders or US citizens) and the Iranian Mission to the UkN in New York.

Sept 18, 2009: Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Tehran streets. Live video from Persianhq (see above), and photos from Western wire services (photo below courtesy: Reuters) suggest large crowds of protesters at today's "Qods" day rally in Tehran. Rafsanjani, who usually does the Friday prayer address for this annual anti-Israel and anti-America hate-fest, was disinvited. Khatami nearly lost his amameh in the crowd; Mousavi was jostled by pro-regime supporters. Check the latest news reports here.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration maintains its plans to give the regime more leash with "negotiations" to "begin" on October 1, as the AP describes the "secret annex" to the latest IAEA report that was suppressed by ElBaradei at the Board of Governors meeting in  Vienna last week.

According to the Guardian, the report contradicts ElBaradei's assurances that the Agency had "no evidence" that Iran was working on a nuclear weapons program, and states the assessment of inspectors that Iran has tested non-nuclear components of a bomb and now has the technical knowledge to build one. "The IAEA annexe, entitled Possible Military Dimension of Iran's Nuclear Program, gives details of a top-level meeting in 1984 in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then president and now supreme leader, appears to give the green light for building a bomb, saying: 'A nuclear arsenal would serve Iran as a deterrent in the hands of God's soldiers,'" the Guardian reported.

Aug. 5, 2009:  Show trials in Tehran or pro-democracy supporters, as Ahmadinejad sworn in. Show trials continued in Tehran today of hundreds of pro-democracy supporters arrested during the demonstrations of the past month, as Ahmadinejad took the oath of office for the second time. Choosing Aug.5 for his swearing in date showed particular hubris, since it is the anniversary of the 1906 constitutional revolution, whose freedoms have been abolished by Ahmadinejad and his IRGC regime.

Among those on trial was internationally-renowned photographer Majid Saeedi (3rd row, 3rd from the left), who was accused by Prosecutor Mortazavi of taking pictures of "illegal" demonstrations in Tehran and sending them "to an anti Revolutionary group Marzeporgohar in United States, Getty Agency in England and [Agence Sipa] in France.”

Mortazavi's account of the accusations was widely available inside Iran, and was carried by all the major Iranian and international news agencies when Saeedi's arrest was announced on July 27.

But in its ongoing effort to downplay any news from Iran that cuts against the orthodox view that the entire protest movement is just a factional war inside the regime between pro-Mousavi supporters and pro-Ahmadinejad supporters, the Voice of America purposefully omited the name of the opposition Marzeporgohar party in its TV and radio reporting, or on its website. " Iran's official news agency says two photographers detained earlier this month have been accused of new links with an unnamed movement seeking the overthrow of the Iranian regime," VOA reported. In fact, the official IRNA dispatch, quoted here, specifically mentioned Marzeporgohar (MPG)

Last month, when MPG founder, Roozbeh Farahanipour, traveled to Iran clandestinely (see below), a Voice of America reporter called him several times on his satellite phone over a half day period, forcing him to change locations to avoid arrest. “They put my security at risk for half a day before actually doing the interview,” Farahanipour said. “Then editors said they couldn’t air the interview because I had entered Iran clandestinely.”

VOA Persian Service editors have been claiming to reporters that they refused to air the interview with Farahanipour because they were "unable to verify that he was actually inside Iran," a preposterous excuse. Sources close to the son of the former Shah told FDI recently that "Reza Pahlavi has also been banned from the VOA Persian service for the past eight months."

Just in case anyone was wondering, the White House officially recognizes Ahmadinejad as "Iran's elected leader." Such was the word from the podium yesterday from White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs.

Farahanipour on Majid Saedi arrest: "Majd is a known and recognized photographer and he was doing what photographers are supposed to do, take pictures. The fact that the regime dislikes journalism does not make journalism a crime. In the eyes of Iranian people and the international community, reporting history is a duty; in the eyes of the Islamic Republic, it’s a crime.

July 13, 2009: New evidence links Ahmadinejad to murder of Kurdish leader. As Iranian Kurds gathered in front of Iranian embassies around the world to protest the 1989 assassination of Kurdish leader Abdurrahman Qassemlou by an Iranian government hit team in Austria, new evidence has emerged linking Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the killing.The new evidence, presented to Austrian police last week by Peter Pilz, the spokesman for Austria’s Green Party, cites a previously secret sworn statement by a jailed German arms dealer in Italy, who said he sold Ahmadinejad the weapons for the Qassemlou murder at a meeting in the Iranian embassy in Vienna. Pilz said that he has questioned the Austrian police officials who were present when Schlax made his statement. “They said they found him to be quite credible, because he didn’t have a personal interest to accuse Mr. Ahmadinejad.” Read the full story at

More photos of July 9 (18th Tir) protests:

July 9, 2009: Riot police clash with protesters on Azadi street; block Tehran university; protests erupt across Iran. News is starting to come in from bloggers, wire reporters and other sources of protests all across Iran today. According to one blogger on-scene, security forces have massed in front of the Interior Ministry building in Tehran and in Enghelab square; helicopters have been circling over Laleh park and Azadi street... Mobile phone networks have been cut off in all of central Tehran...Wire services reported clashes between police and protesters at Tehran university early in the day, with police using tear gas and batons.  Meanwhile, reports are coming in of large protests in Shiraz, Tabriz, Isfahan, Mashad, and other cities.

The American Thinker provides more background on MPG leader Roozbeh Farahanipour, who returned to Iran this week to coordinate anti-regime demonstrations. So does Lisa Dafteri in FrontPage magazine.

• Reporters Without Borders publishes new list of journalists and bloggers jailed recently by the regime.

First pictures from today's demonstrations inside Iran. These pictures were just posted at, but we cannot verify that they actually come from today's demonstrations. Stay tuned....

July 8, 2009: 10th anniversary of student uprising tomorrow; student leader Farahanipour returns clandestinely to Iran. A key leader of the 1999 student uprising that shook the Islamist regime in Iran to its foundations returned to Iran clandestinely this week, and plans to lead a nationwide protest on Thursday for the 10th anniversary of the uprising.

Roozbeh Farahanipour, 37, was jailed for several months for his role in the July 1999 protests and was tortured extensively. “After ten years, I am fulfilling my dream," he said. Farhanipour is the spokesman for Marze Por Gohar (Glorious Frontiers party), a secular, nationalist group created in 1998 with close ties to the Iran Nation's Party of Darious and Parvaneh Forouhar, who were assassinated in 1998. For more, see

Protests to commemorate the 1999 student uprising will be held around the world. Find the one in your city here. Another on-line clearing house for videos of protests is here.

IRGC puts jammers on Milad tower. The Revolutionary Guards have built a giant tower one mile behind the Ex Hilton Hotel (now called Esteghlal), the highest construction by far in the entire area, dominating Tehran. The exclusive photograph at right shows what the Milad tower is being used for: satellite jamming devices that have proven to be successful in recent weeks at jamming communications from Europe and the Middle East.

The jammers bear nameplates from Saberin Company, aka Ofogh Tose-eh Saberin Engineering, an IRGC "special forces batallion" that is part of the IRGC Protection and Intelligence Department (counter-intelligence). Sabarin imports and assembles telecom and surveillance gear from foreign suppliers. If any of our readers recognize the foreign supplier of this equipment, let us know!

June 30, 2009: Corrected picture of Morteza Rezai. When we posted the picture of Morteza Rezai last week (see below), we thought he looked an awful lot like Khamenei when he was president. It was. Our mistake. Morteza Rezai was behind Khamenei in the picture. Here's the full photo. Morteza Rezai is in the red circle.

- Three days before the June 12 election, Majles member Fatimeh Rahbar, an Ahmadinejad supporter, predicted that Ahmadinejad would be elected with 24 million votes - almost precisely what he eventually got. Her speech to a parliamentary committee initially appeared on a pro-Ahmadinejad website. Some observers now see it as additional proof that the elections were cooked from the start.

June 29, 2009: Regime sets up collaborationist website to identify pro-democracy activists. FDI has learned that the regime set up a new website on June 21, 2009, OBASH.INFO, to incite the denunciation of pro-democracy activists by other Iranians, in yet another flashback to Nazi Germany. The website gathers video and still footage from a wide variety of public sources - BBC Persian service, FoxNews, YouTube,, citizentube, CNN, etc, and identifies protesters by name - much as pro-democracy activists have done with some of the regime's thugs who have been responsible for killing on the streets. The website calls on visitors to name the protestors, so the website can then send their names to the Islamic Republic authorities for prosecution.

• A MEMRI analysis released today details the violent methods used by the regime to quell the pro-democracy protests, including massive arrests, attacks on student dormitories, the establishment of a special court to try the protestors, and televised "confessions" of detainees. One of the three elements MEMRI cites for helping to quell the protests was the "absence of international support" for the protestors, most notably the refusal of the Obama White House to get involved.
• On Sunday, Majles member Mullah Alikhani, read a letter from the Head of the Leader's Office, Nateq-Nouri, which denounced Ahmadinejad and the authorities for stealing the election and "the plunder of the people's resources.' Nateq-Nouri said that the stolen election caused "a rift in the people's trust for the system." This is a stunning 5- minute presentation in the Majles - with English subtitles.
Faces of the Dead and Detained.
• Group offers to translate documents on the protests from Farsi to English

June 25, 2009: Regime confiscates passports at airport, turning whole country into a prison.
FDI has received reliable reports that regime authorities are confiscating the passports of Iranians arriving at national airports from overseas, including the foreign passports of dual nationals. Arriving Iranians have been told by the authorities they can ask to get their passports returned "the day they decide to leave Iran."

Meanwhile, the European Parliament is actively considering sending an investigative team to Iran to review reports of election fraud and human rights abuse.

Preliminary reports of up to 17 people killed during yesterday's protest in front of the Parliament building in Tehran.

June 23, 2009: Update 2: Morteza Rezai said to be behind "coup." FDI sources tell us that the real power behind the Khamenei throne is not so much his son, Mojtaba, but the long-standing head of IRGC intelligence, Morteza Rezai.

Few people beyond the inner leadership circle have ever seen Rezai (not to be mistaken with presidential candidate and former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai, who is not family), as he does not frequently appear at large public gatherings.

Two years ago, Morteza Rezai "retired" from the IRGC, but our sources say he was put in charge of a top secret program on behalf of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, to guarantee his re-election in 2009. Part of the plan, as we revealed below (Update 3 from yesterday) was for Ahmadinejad to suspend the constitutional term limits on his office, and become president for life - like Hugo Chavez.

"All the billions of dollars these reformists say has gone missing these past few years have gone to Morteza Rezai to plan this coup," a former Iranian intelligence officer told FDI.

Update 1: Obama Sheds Crocodile Tears for Neda. Asked his reaction to the video of the murder of Neda Amir Soltan in Tehran on Saturday, President Obama at his press conference today said it was "heartbreaking" and "a problem." But he refused to speak out against human rights violations by the regime, despite repeated questions from reporters. One reporter pointed out, as FDI has done repeatedly, that the notion of "consequences" was oddly missing from his remarks. Obama replied that the U.S. will do nothing "until we know how this is going to play out."

Even more troubling from the president's mouth was this quote: "[I]t's not too late for the Iranian government to see there is a peaceful path that leads to legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people."

Is Obama the last one to understand that the regime has irrevocably lost all legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people? Or is he just too beholden to his strategy of outreach to the regime to admit that the voice of the Iranian people has spoken louder than the whispered words of courtship spoken by the ruling mullahs he has been hearing in his dreams?

Iranian dissident Mohsen Sazegara said he was stunned and listened to the president's words with "deep, deep, deep regret."

Mojtaba Khamenei said to be top regime strategist. The Guardian is reporting that the middle son of  Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Mojtaba Khamenei (second from left in this undated picture), is the real power behind the  throne. (Blogger Potkin Azarmehr made a similar argument four years ago, when Ahmadinejad first came to power). The cleric in the middle of the four Khamenei brothers is their former teacher, Mojtahadi Tehrani, who died in 2008.

Sources inside Iran say that Mojtaba Khamenei conspired with Ahmadinejad to "fix" the elections. This report claims that the plan, code-named Sharayet-e Khakestari" (Condition Grey), involvement the movement of the Supreme Leader to a secure undisclosed location in north Tehran at dawn of Saturday, June 13 (the morning the election results were announced), and the massive deployment of anti-riot troops in Tehran to head off any demonstrations. The report alleges, as other sources have done (see the document below) that Khamenei was first told that Mousavi had won the election by a significant margin, but that the regime was planning to announce Ahmadinejad as the winner. This new report is so important that FDI has translated it into English (along with a link to the Persian original)

Washington Times reporter arrested in Iran. The Washington Times revealed today that freelance reporter Iason Athanasiadis, who has been covering the election and post-election turmoil in Tehran for the paper, has been arrested by regime authorities. Reporters Without Borders says more than 30 reporters and prominent bloggers have been arrested since the disputed election by the regime.

The latest from the Guardian's correspondents in Tehran.

June 22, 2009: Update 4: Reader identifies Ahmadinejad cronies.

One of our readers has identified the men in the famous motocycle picture from last week (larger picture, below).  The two men with red circles are brothers. They are senior members of the Sarollah Basij and have earned significant fortunes -  thanks to their close relationship to Ahmadinejad, wh has helped them to acquire several mining companies. On the front cycle is Seyed hassan Mir-Kazemi; on the rear cycle is Seyed rouhollah Mir-Kazemi. According to our source, they control: World of Metals (Donyaeh Felezat), in Ardestan Yazd; Sherkat Loh-e Feshordeh Pars; Renous Company; Mojtame Kesht-o-sanat Fadak, Tehran; and Zob-e Ahan Ezna, in Lorestan. Their corporate HQ is located in Tehran in Ghaem Magham Farahani Street, Alley No. 17 (Street No. 17), Building No. 18.

Update 3: Ahmadinejad sought to become president for life. In a memo that purports to be a transcription of private notes taken at a pre-election meeting of Ahmadinejad's top staff in April, Ahmadinejad explains that as soon as his re-election victory is announced as planned, they have to move "very quickly" to replace key members of the Judiciary and other government agencies in order to change the constitution "to remove the 8-year limitation"on the president's term. If Parliament interferes, Ahmadinejad tells his top aids that they will "learn a lesson soon after we take office." Pointing to the success of Hugo Chavez in suspending term limits in Veneuzuela, Ahmadinejad boats: "If Chavez was able to achieve this, so can we." Read the memo.

Update 2: Phone numbers for Iranian intelligence and police headquarters. Former political prisoner and human rights activist Amir Farshad Ebrahimi today released cellphone numbers for a number of senior IRGC and MOIS officers, as well as intellience and police headquarters in Tehran and other cities, and urged Persian-speakers to call them to inquire about missing persons.

Update 1: Reza Pahlavi mourns slain protesters. At a press conference today in Washington, DC, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi wiped away tears as he pulled out a photograph of Neda, the 26-year old girl shot on Saturday (see below). C-SPAN carried the entire press conference.

• Foreign embassies evacuate, but offer shelter to protestors. Rafsanjani makes headway in Qom.

The Iranian Students Solidarity Movement is reporting that more than 300 protestors have been killed by regime thugs since the June 12 elections, and provide a city by city breakdown. The same report also lists the addresses of foreign embassies in Tehran that have been ordered by their governments to provide shelter and medical assistance to protesters wounded in street fighting. Many reports have emerged in recent days of wounded protestors being arrested or murdered in hospitals where they had gone seeking treatment of their wounds.

The British embassy announced today that it is evacuating all personnel from Tehran. Other foreign embassies are evacuating non-essential employees and dependants.

Rafsanjani is said to have received support from 40 of the 88 members of the Assembly of Experts in Qom for a motion that would examine Khamenei's behavior in the elections, leading ultimately to his removal as supreme Leader. FDI has learned that Rafsanjani - an unlikely leader of the moving that could end the Islamic Republic! - has sought to meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most widely followed and most senior cleric in Shia Islam, who lives in Najaf, Iraq.

Graphic footage of teenage girl shot to death by Basijis on Saturday. Her death has sparked widespread new protests inside Iran.

June 19. 2009: "Supreme Leader" paves the way for popular revolt. Group calls for Free Elections. Khamenei's Friday prayer speech rejected challenges to the election result, and called on protestors to go home or "be held responsible for the chaos and the consequences."

An Iranian opposition group, Marze por Gohar, said the time has come "to demand full and completely free elections," not just an investigation into election fraud. The demands should include"freedoms of speech, assembly, press and media, political parties, freedom of political prisoners and fair financial competitiveness; ellection laws free from discrimination based on gender, thought, religion, ethnicity and under the supervision of the United Nations. It is under such circumstances that we shall see who the nation’s choices are and what the people want," the party said in a press release this morning.

• Photo (above): Allegedly one of the basijis who opened fire on demonstrators in Tehran.

• Supporters of jailed Ayatollah Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi again called for an internationally-supervised referendum today. Ayatollah boroujerdi's plea to UN Sec. General Ban Ki Moon.

Obama administration cuts off pro-democracy funding for Iran, from

• Former FDI board member Joshua Muravchik debunks the pro-Ahmadnejad opinion poll from Terror Free Tomorrow as  "Junk Poll."

• In strong show of support for Iranian people, U.S. Congress today approved a resolution condemning the crackdown by the Islamic Republic of Iran authorities in a 405-1 vote.

June 18, 2009: Islamic Republic imports Hezbollah thugs to attack demonstrators. FDI has received these photograph of Lebanese Hezbollah members who had been in Iran to receive military training, and who now have been deployed during the demonstrations to attack protestors. Notice in the picture at the right the Farsi writing behind them. FDI has received many eyewitness reports (see below) of Iranians who said they heard masked militiamen speaking Arabic as they beat up protesters.

• PARS TV does a segment today with new information on foreign troops entering Iran at the regime's request.

Youtube clip of Mousavi aid, Mohsen Maqhmalbaf, telling the European parliament that Ministry of Interior officials came to Mousavi headquarters on election night to inform him he had won the election. Maqhmalbaf also gave the election results that figure in the letter below (the letter itself may be a fake, but the information is being widely credited as true).

Pictures and new documents from the People's Fedaii

From the Guardian: an Iranian reader sent in this picture of the protest yesterday (June 17) in Isfahan's Naghsh Jahan square.

June 17, 2009: Letter fake? FDI sources who have many years of experience with internal Iranian regime documents believe the letter below is a fake and is being spread deliberately by the regime in an effort to discredit the legitimate protest movement inside Iran. But an Iranian correspondent for the Guardian newspaper reported this morning that the man who "leaked" the letter and the election results, Mohammad Asgari, was killed yesterday in a suspicious car accident.

Better translation of Ministry of Interior letter. A friend of FDI has provided a better copy (below) and a better translation of this letter, which purports to be signed by Minister of Interior Sadegh Mahsouli, addressed to the Supreme Leader on 23 khordad - Saturday, June 13, 2009. Once again, we emphasize that we have not yet been able to verify the authenticity of this letter. We also note than unlike most regime documents of a sensitive nature, it bears no secrecy stamps. But we are told that Mahsouli is IT-savvy and is likely to have typed it himself and delivered it in person.

In the letter, the minister advises Khamenei that he is "responding to the apprehension and cause for concern you indicated relating to the results of the 10th elections of IRI and to your personal view as to the prudency of renewing Mr. Dr. Mahmoud Adhmadinejad's presidency at this critically sensitive time, and as such please be advised that all planning and advanced steps have been taken (by the Ministry) to allow for an announcement [of victory] in favor of whichever candidate is favoured by the regime and the revolution, and that all actions have been taken
preemptively to circumvent all probable repercussions by the political leaders of parties and candidates and their camps and that all are under the microscope and surveillance." Mahsouli then provides Khamenei "for your informational purposes only, the accurate vote count." The first line is the total number of votes case, then it shows the tally we listed below (Mousavi first, Karrouubi second, then Ahmadinejad, Rezai, and blank votes). Finally, the minister asks Khamenei how to proceed. (Download a better image of the letter).

• A video-grapher working for the Norwegian daily Aftenposten was arrested by police while filming crowds on the streets.

• A well-made slideshow of the post-"election" protests and crackdown.

• BBC video of Sunday's clashes in Tehran, police arrest and beating demonstrators; more cellphone video of police beatings; Two particularly gruesome videos of masked police wearing armor padding cutting the tongue out of one demonstrator and beating to death another.

*** FDI is receiving reports from many sources that Hamas Palestinians and other non-Iranians have been specially trained to do the regime's dirty work. Eyewitnesses last night (Tuesday) saw police in black masks club to death six young people at a Tehran intersection, and heard them conversing among themselves in Arabic.***

June 16, 2009: Update: Proof?? An anonymous blogger has posted what he purports to be a letter from the Interior Minister to the Supreme Leader, showing the "real" election results. According to the text, Mousavi came in first with 19,075,623; fellow "reformist" Mehdi Karroubi came in second with 13,387,104 votes; Ahmadinejad came in third with 5,698,417; and Mohsen Rezai came in fourth with 3,754,218. The letter writer starts his letter by asking the Supreme Leader which candidate he wants to declare the winner. At the end, he gives the actual vote tally. Not having seen a hard copy, FDI cannot vouch for the authenticity of this document.

Demonstrators, Hezbollahi, surround state TV in Tehran. Demonstrators have been converging on the state-run IRIB TV network all evening, and as the crowds thickened, broadcasters called on Hezbollahi supporters of Ahmadinejad to come to the streets to battle the demonstrators. Violent clashes could be imminent... FDI has also received reports of clashes between demonstrators and hezbollahis in Tabriz in Shiriz.

The latest news update from Bloomberg says 8 people were killed yesterday and 25 injured when security forces fired on demonstrators in Valiasr square. Mousavi supporters held massive rallies again today in Tehran's Valiasr square.

FDI to Obama: Break Your Silence now!
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran has written to President Barack Hussein Obama, urging him to stand up for America's principles and avoid the error made by President Clinton in 1999, when he washed his hands of the student uprising in Iran, claiming that America could do nothing."Mr. President, America can do much, as you and your supporters said repeatedly during your election campaign. For starters, America should continue to hold up the beacon of liberty that Iranians look to with such longing – not put it under a shroud," the letter states.

The FDI does not call on the United States to support any particular group or party inside Iran, but instead calls on the president to "assert America’s moral authority in defense of freedom."

Above all, the letter calls on President Obama "to refuse to recognize the imposter regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to muster world opinion to neutralize him behind an international cordon sanitaire until he crumbles from isolation and neglect. Download a PDF of the letter.

•  Rep. Dana Rohrabacher video message to the people of Iran: "We're on your side."

June 15, 2009: Khamenei backs down... a bit. Faced with a challenge mounted by Rafsanjani and the Assembly of Experts in Qom (see below), Khamenei today appears to have backed down somewhat, now ordering a review of election results to determine if fraud occured. Ahmadinejad remained arrogant, taunting his opponents; reports persist that Mousavi and 100 others tied to his campaign have been placed under house arrest. Texting, Internet access, and cellphone coverage have been blocked. This afternoon, Mousavi supporters march on Tehran from Enghelab avenue to Azadi square, the exact same path that anti-shah protesters used in 1978 and that led to a bloodbath. Reports reaching FDI from Iran say that protesters are "equipping themselves with chains and batons to fight back" against the security forces. And for good reason. In this amateur video, a man is hauled off a motorcycle and beaten to death by anti-riot police. At least one protester was killed by gunshots fired from a military barracks near Azadi square.

Candidate Mohsen Rezai finally has joined the other two "losing" candidates and filed his own complaint with the Council of Guardians. Meanwhile, the pro-Ahmadinejad state-run news agency, IRNA, reported in the person edition of "Iran" daily today that forner president Mohammad Khatami traveled to Cairo last week at the precise time that Obama was speaking there, and met with a "senior U.S. administration official" to "share intelligence" on the election. While this would appear to be another allegation by Ahmadinejad in his campaign to tie Mousavi and his supporters to the United States, Iranian observers we queried pointed out it was highly unusual for "Iran" to mention former President Khatami. "If they had alleged it was his brother, that's one thing. But the former president? It's very hard to lie about that," one observer siad. Stay tuned....

Photo: Pasdars patrolling the streets on motorcycles in plain clothes (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images. For more of these terrific  photos, go here:

June 14, 2009: Mousavi protests election results; Rafsanjani in Qom. Mir Hossein Mousavi, reportedly under house arrest in Tehran, has issued a formal protest to the Guardians' council, asking them to annul the election results. Iranian filmaker Mohsen Maqhmalbaf, speaking on behalf of Mousavi, released a statement on Facebook (the unofficial Mousavi site) saying that Interior Ministry officials came to Mousavi headquarters on the evening of the election, telling them that Mousavi had won a clear victory and that they soon would announce the results. Two hours later, the Interior Ministry announced that Ahmadinejad had won by 62.6% - exactly the same percentage they had announced when the first partial results came in early in the evening.

Exclusive video from Saturday:
 Police use civilian cars to charge protesters and clear the streets

On Sunday, sources reported to FDI that Rafsanjani has traveled to Qom to convene an emergency meeting of the Majles Khobregan, the Assembly of Experts, to debate the legitimacy of Khamenei's decision to certify the election results. If this report is confirmed, it signifies an open rift between Khamenei and Rafsanjani. FDI has been told that Rafsanjani is "counting the votes" among fellow Majles Khobregan members to remove Khamenei as Supreme Leader - a dramatic move with unpredictable results.

All eyes are now on Mohsen Rezai,
the former Revolutionary Guards chief and bit player in the presidential election. Rezai commands enormous respect and allegiance among senior Revolutionary Guards officers. Initially, he accepted the official results giving the election to Ahmadinejad. But late on Saturday, he sent a letter to the Interior Ministry, demanding that they release detailed election results, ballot box by ballot box. If Rezai puts his formidable influence firmly behind Rafsanjani and Mousavi, then all bets are off and Iran could be headed for armed clashes, with rival factions within the IRGC supporting Ahmadinejad and Mousavi.

One unconfirmed report we have seen allegedly from "reliable sources from inside the Ministry of Interior" in Tehran gave Mousavi 57.2% of ballots counted, and Ahmadinejad 28%. Rezai won 2.7 million votes, or 7.2%, and Karubi got 2.2 million votes, or 6%, with 1.6% of the 37.4 million votes cast indicating no vote.

Video from Channel 4 in London
Italian TV video of street clashes and shouts of "Death to Dictators"

June 13, 2009: Riots erupt in Tehran. Violent confrontations broken out on Saturday  in Tehran between Mousavi supporters and riot-control police. Supreme Leader Khamenei has refused appeals from Mousavi and his supporters to examine the election results. In a TV address on Friday night, Khamenei called on the people to unite behind Ahmadinejad, and said the election result was a "divine assessment."

• Sources inside Iran tell FDI that the govenrment cut off access to Facebook, jammed BBC, CNN, and VOA broadcasts into Iran at  9:30 pm local time. "We expect that a phone and Internet blackout is imminent," one source said.

In Shiraz, the head of Mousavi's campaign was assaulted by Ahmadinejad supporters, his nose and several ribs were broken, and his car destroyed.

In London, demonstrators surrounded the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy chanting, "death to the Islamic Republic, Death to Khamenei, Death to Ahmadinejad, We Want Freedom."

More pictures from Mousavi supporters in Iran....

And more pictures here from the BBC

Short video of demonstration on Saturday in Tehran

• Ahmadinejad initially declared the winner; Mousavi calls result "treason." After the initial results announced by the Interior Ministry - controlled by Ahmadinejad - gave the incumbant president a landslide victory, Mousavi called the results "treason" and "a dangerous manipulation." To prevent Mousavi from organizing supporters, the security forces shut down the text messaging system across Iran and deployed anti-riot forces in large numbers on the streets of major cities, AP reported. At a press conference, Mousavi declared himself "definitely the winner." A statement published on his website urged his supporters to resist a "government of lies and dictatorship." At 11 pm, security forces shuttered Mousavi's campaign headquarters and dispersed his supporters using pepper gas and batons.“It appears that a coup has taken place in Iran overnight to force the results on other parties. These elections cannot be considered fair by
any measure under such circumstances,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Ghaemi said there were unconfirmed reports that Mousavi had been arrested as he attempted to visit the Supreme Leader's office to protest the election results.

By mid-afternoon on Saturday, however, AP reported that the Interior Ministry had "put on hold" any further announcements, a move that "suggested intervention by Iran's Islamic authorities seeking to put the brakes on a potentially volatile showdown."

As we predicted below, the regime is now circling the wagons, deciding how to massage the vote count to suit its ends.


- FDI calls on all Iranian-Americans who support the pro-democracy forces inside Iran to contact local law enforcement and FBI field offices to control the identity of the IRI officials holding the polls. (See below for the Title 8 violation involved). The regime this morning has activated their website with specific polling locations. You can find them here: Here is a PDF with a complete list....

June 11, 2009: Mousavi-Rezai run-off?? Regime insiders are whispering tonight that the split within the IRGC between the Ahmadinejad and Rezai factions has got the Supreme Leader and other decision-makers within the ruling clique so worried that they are considering a Mousavi-Rezai run-off after tomorrow's "election."

As we've been saying all along, despite the popular enthusiasm for the elections, the State Department money and training being pumped into the "green revolution," it won't be the people who vote who count, but the people who count the votes. If past elections are any guide, the regime leadership will get together at 2:30 AM on Saturday morning, weigh the exit polls against the popular pressure from the street and the pressure from within the IRGC, and decide the outcome of the election based on a calculus of regime survival.

FDI has learned tonight (Thursday) that the Supreme Leader ordered  the IRGC to hand over control for transporting the ballots to the polling places to the Regular Army - the first time the Regular Army has ever been granted such a responsibility since the 1979 Revolution. This shows how deep and potentially violent the divisions within the IRGC have become. Also, a reformist website tonight posted an answer by the Leader to an "Islamic" question by a reader, whether it was permissible to vote for a candidate (such as Rezai) who had no hope of winning. The Leader said, yes, such a thing is permissible.

An Ahmadinejad victory would lead to riots in the streets by Mousavi supporters, while an outright Mousavi victory would lead to riots by the IRGC faction that supports Ahmadinejad, our sources in Tehran say. "Rezai represents the minimum acceptable solution for the Revolutionary Guards," sources with acces to the leadership tell FDI. "After this fatwa isued by Khamenei, he now has the upper hand."

We are also told that Rezai has succeeded in getting his own observers into Ministry of Interior vote-counting units.... This could be the most critical gain of all.

• Regime releases address of new polling place in Los Angeles. At approximately 4:47 pm today, the U.S. website used by the regime to publicize polling places for tomorrow added a new address: The Westin Hotel at 5400 West Century Blvd (near LAX) in Los Angeles. Get directions. It would appear that they feared action by opposition activists and so only released the identity of this location at the last minute.

FDI is also hearing of an additional location in the Washington, DC area - the Hilton, in McLean, Va - and the Grand Hyatt of New York at 42nd and Lexington. (Note: the Hyatts are owned by the family of Penny Pritzger, a major Obama fund-raiser). Here is a PDF with the updated  list....

Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R, FL) writes to Sec. State Hillary Clinton, seeking action against Islamic Republic polling places. Rep. Bilirakis said that Iranian diplomats traveling beyond the 25 mile radius of their official places of residence would be "subject to arrest." He also stated that allowing the Islamic regime to organize polling in the U.S. "raises questions with regard to how the U.S. can possibly participate in legitimizing these grossly illegitimate elections by a state sponsor of terror." Read the full letter.

Unpredictable polls... Opinion polls in Iran wildly vary, with pro-IRGC newsites claiming that Ahmadinejad will win by a decisive margin, and pro-Mousavi newspapers claiming that he will win. The latest from Asr Iran (thanks to Ali Alfoneh at AEI and their excellent irantracker website) shows just how wildly unpredictable the polls can be: it shows Mohsen Rezai (in light blue) climbing up from near zero to beat Ahmadinejad (red), just below the winner, Mousavi (in green). So we get back to the Josef Stalin theory of elections in undemocratic states: It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes. And they are solidly in Ahmadinejad's camp - even though FDI learned overnight from sources in Tehran that the regular army is calling on officers to vote for Mousavi.

Top IRGC officer says "velvet revolution will be crushed at inception." The head of the IRGC political division, Yadollah Javani, told the IRGC publication Sobhe Sadegh that the IRGC would crush any effort to launch a "color" revolution in Iran. (Complete text in Farsi here and here). Javani referred to the past events such as the reformists' sit-in during the Sixth Majles and the July 9, 1999 student uprising as attempts directed by the West and "Zionists" to overthrow the Iranian regime. He mentioned Freedom House as a CIA affiliate and a promoter of color revolutions. For more election news, and other threats to Mousavi's alleged "green" revolution, see today's Newsmax. Today's BBC Persian service reports that the regime banned any gathering in the streets of Tehran of more than three people, and has deployed 200,000 police and 50,000 bassijis nationwide.

June 10, 2009: FDI writes to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. FDI has sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today, urging her to stop State Department interference with Voice of America’s Persian Service, and to enforce the law on Friday when Iranian regime officials in the United States will attempt to open 35 election sites around the country.

The FDI letter notes that VOA editors have “disinvited” previously-booked guests because of their position in favor of boycotting this Friday’s vote in Iran, and reminds Secretary Clinton that even the State Department’s choice – so-called “reformist” Mir Hossein Mousavi – is no friend of America or of the Iranian people.

The letter also asks Secretary Clinton to uphold the law that restricts Iranian diplomats from traveling more than 25 miles outside of their posting (Washington, DC or New York), and to prosecute under Title 8, U.S. Code, any U.S. Persons officiating at the balloting places on behalf of a foreign sovereign. (Taking an oath to a foreign sovereign leads to loss of U.S. Citizenship). Download a PDF copy of the FDI letter.

Latest election developments:

- According to Saeed Behbehani of MihanTV, a U.S. government emissary met in Dubai two weeks ago with Mehdi Khazali, campaign manager for Mir Hossein Mousavi, bringing assurances of U.S. government support for his campaign. So far, organizations such as "One Million Signatures" inside Iran, which is funded through NGO's getting State Department fnding, have been mobilized in favor of Mousavi in the election. For 30 years, Iranian women have been knocking their heads on the doors of Western "feminist" organizations, seeking - if not help, at least sympathy. Until now, they have been given the brush-off. But with a "reformist" in the White House, "reformists" in Iran have access s to campaign war chests, VOA Persian Service, National Endowment for Democracy grants, and more.

- Rafsanjani asks Supreme Leader to rein in Ahmadinjad and quash corruption allegations

- Askar Oladi says whoever wins, the Islamic Republic is the victor.

- Regime agents in the United States remain cagey on location of 35 polling places. Fearing interference from opposition groups, the regime has yet to reveal the precise location of the ballot boxes for this Friday's vote. The website they have set up to coordinate voting has been registered in Bellevue, Washington, through several layers of cut-outs to obscure the manner in which the regime is directing the voting operation. Here's a screenshot of their map of the US with the 35 polling places indicated with red dots, just in case they try to take it down....

- David Albright, at ISIS, reveals that Mousavi played a "small but important role" in the original contacts with the A.Q. Khan network for uranium enrichment gear. In an email sent out today, Albright said that the November 2007 IAEA report revealed that Mousavi endorsed the decision to acquire nuclear technology from the Khan network when he was primse minister. "In 2007, Iran provided the IAEA with a copy of a “confidential communication” between the AEOI and Prime Minister Mousavi dated March 5, 1987 in which the AEOI President stated that Iran’s activities with the Khan network “should be treated fully confidentially,”" Albright writes. "The communication was intended in part to substantiate Iran’s assurances to the IAEA that there was no military dimension to its centrifuge program. Mousavi effectively approved Iran’s use of the black market to pursue its secret gas centrifuge program. This decision, made more than two decades ago, may not reflect Mr. Mousavi's current thinking regarding Iran's nuclear program or nuclear proliferation in general, but it is worth being aware of."

June 7, 2009: Khamenei advisor says "No!" to Obama. A top advisor and propagandist for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei wrote in an editorial appearing this morning in Tehran that the Islamic Republic has "logical preconditions" for any talks with the United States. Writing in Kayhan,  Hossein Sharimadari said that while Obama's Cairo speech on June 4 demonstrated his willingness to take "the first initial steps towards better relations with the Islamic Republic," the regime also has "logical preconditions which must be met" before any talks can begin. "We seek the return of various rights that the United States has stripped from us," Shariatmadari wrote.

Shariatmadari is an IRGC brigadier general, and has extensive ties to the intelligence services. Kayhan is considered the "mouthpiece" of the intelligence ministry.

In his June 7, 2009 editorial, Shariatmadari wrote that the regime was demanding that the following "preconditions" be met before any talks with the U.S. could begin:

  • The U.S. must suspend  the four US-initiated UN Security Council resolutions on Iran;
  • The U.S. must release frozen assets'
  • The U.S. must criminally try and convict the commander of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers III (the ship that accidentally shot down an Iranian Airbus in 1988; the U.S. apologized and paid reparations to the families).
  • "Criminals" (meaning Iranian opposition activists) who fled Iran must be sent back
  • The U.S. must recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as government representatives.

June 7, 2009: U.S. government supports reformists in Iranian election. The U.S. State Department has sent a letter to employees and editors at the Persian service of Voice of America, requiring them to support reformists Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi-Khamenei in the June 12 elections, and to ban individuals and groups from VOA programs who are calling for a boycott of the elections, FDI has learned. As of today, all major opposition groups inside Iran are calling for a boycott. So are  prominent personalities such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, student leader Heshmat Tabaradi, jAbbas Amir Entezam (the longest serving political prisoner in Iran's history), and Dr. Mohammad Maleki, former head of Tehran university.

Groups calling for a boycott include: the Iranian National Front, the Iran Nation's Party, Iran Party, Marze Por Gohar Party, PJAK, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, Komeleh, the People of Balouchestan party, the Pan Iranist Party, and the 
Organization of Iranian People's Fedaii Guerillas. Iranian Kurdish students protested the elections last month, criticizing the candidates' refusal to grant Kurds and other minorities their rights.

Marze Por Gohar spokesman Roozbeh Farahanipour, a leader of the 1999 student rebellion in Tehran, was scheduled to appear on a VOA program today, but received a call from editors yesterday cancelling his appearance because his party has called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections.

Regime leaders repeatedly have called on Iranians to vote and made it clear that they view high turnout as an expression of support for the regime. Expediency Council leader Ali Akbar hashemi-Rafsanjani has said anything less than 40 million votes cast will be a "defeat" for the regime, while anything more than that will be a victory. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has made several speeches calling on Iranians to vote in order to show the "legitimacy" of the Islamic Republic regime. The regime is also hoping to lure overseas iranians into supporting the regime, and plans to set up 35 polling stations in the United States alone. Iranian opposition groups are vowing to shut them down through legal action and through protests.

June 6, 2009: FoxNews quotes FDI president on Obama's Middle East speech. "Timmerman said Obama should have appealed to the Iranian citizens' right to choose their leader and pointed out that the elections being held this month are a "sham" and a "farce" because all of the candidates have been handpicked by the supreme leader," FoxNews reported. "'Obama... believes he can reach accommodations with an ideological regime, and it shows he does not understand the nature of the regime,'" Timmerman said.

June 5, 2009: Mud-slinging intensifies in elections; Newsmax banned by MOIS. Wednesday's live televised debate between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi was full of fireworks, with the candidates accusing each other of corruption and secretly consorting with the United States. As a result of Newsmax coverage of the debate, MOIS today cut off access to the center-right website inside Iran, alleging it was "hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran." During a speech today in Esfahan, Ahmadinejad told followers that "a group of gangsters took control of the regime five to six years after the revolution, and their only thought has been to line their pockets and pad their bank accounts," according to state media accounts in Iran. Ahmadinejad promised to "name names" later in the evening, but then said he was being called back unexpectedly to Tehran.

Payandeh, a website close to former president Rafsanjani, accused Ahmadinejad this afternoon of sending $2 billion in cash out of Iran "in suitcases," and demanded to know where they money had gone. (Our guess: to Hezbollah and Hamas.) Appearing in Zirjan this evening, Mousavi told his supporters they had a right to know "what happened to those billions that disappeared."

And the mud-slinging continues: Also today, Aftab news reported that foremr Tehran mayor Karbaschi slammed Ahmadinejad, calling his cabinet members "gangsters who are trying to change the course of teh revolution." He repeated claims that Mousavi made during Wednesday's debate that the bank account of Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli, an IRGC general, contains billions of dollars in illgotten gains.

"After this election, they won't be able to put anyone in jail any more for talking about corruption," said Roozbeh Farahanipour, a spokesman for the opposition Marzeporgohar party, which is calling for a boycott of the vote.

Rafsanjani-supported Press TV said today that Wednesday's debate was watched by 50 million people and was a "game changer." Meanwhile, in a late night statement, Mousavi told reporters in Tehran that "the green freedom revolution has just begun," a reference to the bright green colored scarf he has adopted as a symbol of his campaign.

"Whoever is declared the winner in the election will be the one who does the best job at cheating, with the approval of Khamenei," said U.S.-based dissident, Sardar Haddad. The Interior Minister - controlled by Ahmadninejad's crony, Gen. Mahsouli - is in charge of the election and will count the ballots. If past elections are any measure, a winner will be declared at 2:35 AM - just hours after the polls close - despite the remoteness of many of Iran's provinces.

As Josef Stalin liked to say, "it's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."

June 4, 2009: FDI joins 20th anniversary of Tienanmen square massacre.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is proud to join with Chinese freedom-lovers in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tienanmen square massacre. Like the many young Chinese men and women who saw in the Statue of Liberty a beacon of hope, young Iranians see in America's founding documents and ideals a hope for their own future as an independent nation, secular, and united in freedom. Go to Initiatives for China for more on the June 4 commemoration events.

June 3, 2009: FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman exposes Mir Hossein Mousavi's role in the creation of Hezbollah at

May 27, 2009: Update on Ayatollah Borujerdi.
Sources close to dissident ayatollah Borujerdi tell FDI this morning from Iran that the jailed cleric, who went on a hunger strike several weeks ago to protest his imprisonment, was taken to the prison hospital a week ago and has been held incommunicado since then. "We have had no news from him whatsoever for the past week," a source close to the family told FDI.  Borujerdi supporters also expressed frustration that letters they have sent to Javier Solana, the European Union's top diplomat, and to Human Rights Watch, have gone without response. "They never answered us. Only you and Amnesty International have paid any attention to Ayatollah Borujerdi's case," they said.

May 26, 2009: "Devil worshippers" arrested. Just two days after a popular heavy metal promotor was interviewed in Persian on Voice of America, the regime police said they had arrested 104 "devil worshippers"in the city of Shiraz. "Devil worshippers" is a regime euphemism for metal fans. The promoter, 35-year old Iranian-American who calls herself Metal Sanaz, appeared in a two-part interview on VOA television on May 23-24; the metal fans were arrested in Iran on the 25th. She condemned the arrests in a statement released today.

In announcing the arrests, the IRGC said, "we see the hand of our enemy using the youth as a missile against us," and called the young people under arrest "unholy beats" and "Devil worshippers." According to Metal Sanaz, there are hundreds of metal bands in Tehran alone, and several million metal-heads in Iran, mostly young people between the ages of 14-25. Here is a video-clip of Metal Sanaz in her own words.

May 20, 2009: Regime newspaper blasts Obama for "nothing new." Pro-regime Asr Iran daily picks up the latest column by FDI president Kenneth Timmerman in the Washington Times, called "Obama in Wonderland."

While President Obama continues to insist that the U.S. has engaged in "no diplomacy" with Iran for the past eight years, Timmerman points out that the Bush administration conducted no fewer than 28 high level meetings with Iranian government officials starting in November 2001. "The notion that the Bush administration "never talked to Iran" is the founding myth of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. Mr. Obama repeated it at every occasion during the campaign and has repeated it since. It is patently false," Timmerman writes.

The column also debunks the notion that the Iranian regime offered a "grand bargain" to the United States in May 2003, which Bush administration neoconservatives rejected out of ideological zeal. According to former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, it was State Department diplomats on the Near East desk who concluded that the offer was bogus and advised against pursuing it.

May 22, 2009: Iranians protest during Mussavi rally. For those in the West who believe that former prime minister Mir Hossein Mussavi-Khamenei is a pro-Western "moderate" who can offer "hope" and "change" to Iranians, our advice is that they watch this short video clip of a Mussavi campaign event today in Iran. Young people can be heard chanting "Death to dictators" during the speech.

May 6, 2009: Dissident cleric allegedly tortured. A dissident Iranian cleric who was arrested with hundreds of his followers in 2006 was tortured in prison Tuesday after issuing a statement urging the United Nations to oversee a referendum in Iran, his supporters told FDI today. Jailed cleric Seyed Hossein Kazemeini Borujerdi contends the referendum is needed to allow “young and old generations to choose their government independently.” Borujerdi's open letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the regime jailed him because he “objected to the joining of religion with politics” by the Iranian regime. He is one of several senior clerics a Special Court for the Clergy has convicted because they reject the doctrine of absolute clerical rule enshrined in the Islamic Republic’s constitution. Read more at

 March 21, 2009: Khamenei slams Obama Nowruz message.
In what can only be called a slap in the face,
Ayatollah Khamenei, the "Supreme Leader" of the Islamic Republic, rejected President Obama's Nowruz message of "friendship" toward the Islamic Republic of Iran leaders, saying that Obama has "insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day." Perhaps thinking that words of hope and change would resonate with Iran's ruling clerics, Obama said he wanted to "speak directly to the leaders and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran." But as Iranian pro-democracy activist Mani Aryamand noted, "the people of Iran are called just that. There is no such thing as people of [the] Islamic republic of Iran."

Obama's evocation of the pre-Islamic festival of Nowruz as embdoying a cherished tradition of the ruling clerics demonstrates a pitiful ignorance of recent Iranian history, since Islamic Republic leaders tried to absolish Nowruz after seizing power in 1979 and have only allowed its continued celebration because they were incapable of preventing it. In our view, rather than offering concession after concession to a bloodthirsty leadership that has shown no inclination to negotiate over anything it considers essential, the president would have better served America's interests by demonstrating the natural affinities between America and the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom.

The Islamic Republic leaders demonstrated their commitment to freedom on March 19, when they murdered 29-year old blogger Omid Mirsayafi in Evin prison. Mirsayafi was sentenced to 30 months in jail last month for "insulting" Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The regime claim he commited suicide.

As can be expected, the regime's chief apologist in America, Trita Parsi, welcomed Obama's Nowruz speech , calling it "unprecedented, extremely positive."  In fact, President Bush regularly issued Nowruz greetings, which he addressed to the Iranian people, so the notion that a U.S. president would do such a thing has a significant precedent, which Obama ignored.

March 4, 2009: Obama making big mistake, says Iranian oppposition leader. In an extensive interview with FDI president Kenneth Timmerman that appeared at, the leader of the Iran Nation's Party chastized U.S. policymakers who think that talking to the regime will change its behavior. “We believe the United States should talk to the Iranian people, not to the regime,” said Khosrow Seif, 73. [seen at right with picture of former prime minister Mossadeq. Photo copyright© Kenneth R. Timmerman]

Recalling his own role in the popular movement against the Shah in the 1970s, Seif said the United States should learn from its past mistakes and not support a dictator against the people, as it did with the Shah.

“The last time the United States had relations with Iran was to help the regime, to support the Shah against the people and keep him in power. The type of relationship I would like to see is just the opposite to that, for the United States to support the people of Iran against the regime," he said. Read the full article here.

Feb. 10, 2009: Queen Elizabeth congratulates the Islamic Republic for
"national" day. In a brief notice on her official website, the Queen of England sent her greetings to the ruling clerics of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She is the only foreign leader we know of who has ever referred to the anniversary of the Khomeinist revolution as Iran's "national" day. For the record, the Islamic Republic itself has decreed April 1 - not February 10 - as its "independence day," because that was the day in 1980 that the Islamic Republic regime was officially decreed. Many Iranians consider their true independence day to be August 5, the anniversary of the 1906 constitutional revolution).

Iranians have long suspected the British government of interfering in Iran's internal affairs; some have accused Britain of conspiring with Khomeini in 1979 to bring down the Shah. The Queen's statement could have been written by modern Iranian novelist Iraj Pezeshkzad, whose comic hero, dear Uncle Napolean, saw a British hand behind every ill of Iranian society.

Feb. 9, 2009: Khatami declares for president, as opposition group releases documents tying him to serial murders. Former president Hojjat-ol elsam Mohammad Khatami, known as a "reformer" in the West, has finally made up his mind after weeks of hesitation, and now says he will challenge Ahmadinejad in the June presidential elections. But Khatami faces opposition from all fronts, including from many of the people who elected him in 1997, who accuse him of quashing the student movement in 1999, and of using a pretense of liberalisation to flush opponents out from hiding so the intelligence services could better identify them and crush them.

Now, the opposition Marze por Gohar party has released an explosive 138 page dossier on the 1998 "serial murders," which for the first time directly ties Khatami to the regime's effort to shut down the Military Court investigation and reveals that the Supreme Leader personally ordered the murder of opposition leaders, journalists, and human rights activists. As Newsmax reports, the revelations come as the Obama administration has repeated its calls for “negotiations without preconditions” with the Islamic Republic leadership, and amid reports that former Defense Secretary William Perry has been discussing security-related issues with senior Iranian officials on Obama’s behalf.

FDI WEB EXCLUSIVE: Go here for more information, including links to the original Persian documents and to selected English-language translations.

Feb. 5, 2009: In concession to Tehran, U.S. Treasury Dept designates PJAK as terrorist group. The Treasury Department has blacklisted an Iranian Kurdish opposition group based in northern Iraq, a move that was greeted enthusiastically in Iran’s state-run media as part of a initiative by the Obama administration to forge better U.S.-Iranian relations. The Party of Free Life of Iranian Kurdistan, known by its Kurdish acronym, PJAK, was created in 2004 and has never engaged in international terrorism or in military activity outside of Iran.  But its guerilla fighters have clashed frequently with Iranian Revolutionary Guards units in Iranian Kurdish towns and villages, making it a primary target of the Iranian regime.

FDI urges the Treasury Department to reverse this decision, which appears to be based on Iranian and Turkish government propaganda, not facts. The U.S. decision was greeted enthusiastically in Ankara and Tehran, where the website of Asr-Iran newspaper called it a "positive signal" form the Obama administration.

Read more from

Jan. 28, 2009: Update on Persecution of Christians:
According to Farsi-Speaking Christan News Network, security forces raided the house of Hamik Khachikian, a 51-year old, a member of Iranian Assemblies of God Church, and seized Christian literature, notes, computers, and his personal phone book.
 In a separate radi on the same day, security forces arrested two new converts, Nadereh Jamali, 44, and Jamal Ghali-Shoorani, 49, bursting into their homes without a warrant. All three men were taken to an unidentified location.
Jan. 27, 2009: Religious persecution continues.
The Judiciary announced today that it has arrested six Bahai's and a Christian for alleged propaganda against the Islamic republic and insulting Islam, spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said on Tuesday. "These people were not arrested for their faith. The six Bahais are accused of insulting religious sanctities and the Christian citizen of propaganda against the system," Jamshidi said.

This news came as Compass Direct News reported today that three Christians were arrested in Tehran on January 21 as part of a larger operation in which as many as 50 people were rounded up. "The arrests come as part of a tsunami of arrests in the past several months," the news service reported. Whereas past waves of harassment and arrests of Christians eventually have subsided, recent pressure has been “continuously high,” with reports of arrests in almost every month of 2008, the news service added.
Compass Direct News focuses on endangered Christian communities being persecuted around the world.

FDI deplores the ongoing persecution of Bahai's, whose faith is outlawed under the Islamic Republic constitution, and efforts by the Islamic Republic authorities to marginizalise and harrass Christians, especially Muslim Background Believers. In recent years, as the house church movement in Iran has grown dramatically, the Judiciary has arrested priests, pastors and lay persons in increasingly large numbers. Many have been murdered because of their faith.

Since 1999, the Department of State has designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as a "Country of Particular Concern" (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act for its "particularly egregious violations of religious freedom." The 2008 State Department report on International Religious Freedom documents the arrest of 41 Bahai's and  notes that the government now requires evangelical Christian groups "to compile and submit membership lists for their congregations" in an effort to discourage Christian groups from bearing witness to Muslims.

Jan. 26, 2009: European Union unfreezes MEK assets. The European Union removed the Mujahedin-e Khalq from its list of international terrorist organizations on Monday, unfreezing its assets. An MEK spokesman told reporters that the group had more than $9 million in bank accounts in France alone that it could now use for its operations.

The U.S. State Department decided earlier this month (Jan. 7) to keep the MEK on the U.S. list of international terrorist organizations. This has led to speculation - not solely from MEK supporters - that the new U.S. administration was hoping to use the continued ban on MEK activities to support President Obama's announced intention of opening direct talks with Tehran.





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