Iran after the elections: 17 July (26 Tir). Rafsanjani speaks at Friday prayers, Mousavi, Khatami, Karroubi etc. attending

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big day today. Right now it's early morning in Iran and if everything has gone as planned then many will have spent yesterday going around and telling people about the event in order to get as many to attend as possible.

Reza Aslan has a piece yesterday on Rafsanjani and today's events but doesn't try to make any conclusions on what he's going to say today. A lot of people are saying though that simply denouncing the election results and demanding a new one isn't his style and that he's more likely to announce the formation of some sort of opposition that will work within the system instead.

The New York Times has an article here on today's events, and also about yesterday's resignation of Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization. The resignation actually happened three weeks ago but was announced yesterday.

From the National Iranian-American Council: apparently hardliners are mobilizing to try to disrupt today's prayers by shouting their own slogans and interrupting Rafsanjani as he speaks. How effective this will be will depend on the presence of green supporters, and it could easily backfire if there is a huge discrepancy in their numbers.

Some recommendations from Montazeri on how to attend the prayers can be seen here. My favourite part: "Do not forget to bring government-owned newspapers with you to show your faith and obedience to the supreme leader. You can then use them to clean your shoes."

The New Republic has an article here on Ahmadinejad's parallel universe and what he might try to accomplish in a second term (and why it wouldn't go as he hopes).

Okay, the speech has started. One nice thing right from the start: not only is #Iranelection at the top of Twitter's trending topics, but Rafsanjani is there as well.

At the same time though it's being reported that on TV in Iran right now they have a discussion about a dessert, a Japanese cartoon from the 80s, an Indian movie, a cheesy Iranian movie, and a documentary on the Iran-Iraq War. Heh.

Many will remember that during the first days after the election as well they showed the entire Lord of the Rings.

If you can read Persian and don't have access to a live stream, this is the Twitter account you want to follow. For updates in English you can also see here (Huffington Post). Edit: now you can see a transcript of the speech in English here.

Some are saying on Twitter that when hardliners brought in chanted Death to America, the other side responded with Death to Russia. Hmm. Somehow I doubt the sincerity of either one. They're really just talking at each other with those.

Some other parts of the speech: Rafsanjani is saying that Mousavi's side should be allowed to defend themselves on state TV, that if the people aren't happy with the government then this is a big problem, nobody is above the law, everybody needs to be able to express their opinions, everybody gets their legitimacy from the vote.

Okay, the speech is over. A lot of people are saying that the speech was a disappointment and not hard-hitting enough, that he should have taken sides. I'm not sure anyone was really looking for anything substantial from the speech beforehand though, simply the opportunity to gather in large numbers before and after the speech.

Okay, here come the videos. Here's one.

A lot of people are now saying that there is a crowd of people heading for IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) headquarters, which is in Valiasr. There have also been quite a few arrests.

The New York Times has also come out with a pretty quick writeup of the situation so far, and estimates the number of Mousavi supporters in the tens of thousands, though nobody really knows for sure how many there are right now.

Here's another video, better than the other one. They're telling Russia to leave Iran alone in the second part.

Here's another video apparently from today.

Another video is up showing a bit of a demonstration on the street while a helicopter flies overhead.

There is an account on YouTube here that is the source you want to look at first for videos of the protests today. An hour or two ago it had over 60 videos, now I think it's over 80. The people seem to have really taken Mohsen Sazegara's advice to heart about making sure to always take pictures and videos of the situation. He always stresses that when making videos.

Here's a picture of Mousavi from today, sitting down with everyone instead of being in the VIP seats at the front.


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