Iran: Montazeri, More pro & anti-regime protests, Media Restrictions, Twitter, & More

Some more quick updates and then some more commentary:

1. Montazeri: One of the most important religious figures in Iran, Grand Ayatullah Hussain Ali Montazeri, a one-time designated successor to Khomeini until they had a falling out, has issued a letter critical of the regime and in support of the demonstrators. This is a supremely important letter and carries with it great religious authority. Read about it here. Excerpt: “I ask the police and army personals not to “sell their religion”, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children. Today censor and cutting telecommunication lines can not hide the truth.”

2. Pro-Government Rally: “Thousands of supporters of President Ahmadinejad staged their own rally in Vali Asr Square in central Tehran – some bussed in from the provinces, correspondents say.”

3. Anti-Government Rally: “The latest opposition rally comes despite a Mousavi spokesman urging supporters not to take part in another demonstration on Tuesday, amid fears of new violence.” [This is particularly important because the fact that the protests continue despite Mousavi’s order shows that the protest movement is mushrooming beyond the control of any one person.]

4. Media Restrictions: “Foreign reporters in Iran to cover last week’s elections began leaving the country Tuesday after Iranian officials said they would not extend their visas. Authorities restricted other journalists, including Iranians working for foreign media from reporting on the streets, and said they could only work from their offices, conducting telephone interviews and monitoring official sources such as state television. The rules prevent media outlets, including The Associated Press, from sending independent photos or video of street protests or rallies.”

I fear that the foreign reporters and being forced to leave and communications are being disrupted not simply just to block coordination among the organizers of the demonstrations, but because the regime is preparing for a crackdown and wants as little coverage as possible.

5. Recount: “A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted on state television as saying the recount would be limited to voting sites where candidates claim irregularities took place. He did not rule out the possibility of canceling the results, saying that is within the council’s powers, although nullifying an election would be an unprecedented step.” [The opposition has rejected any possible recount and demands a re-vote.]

6. Twitter and Facebook: The telegraph was the means of communication to Iran’s 1906 Constitutional Revolution. The cassette tape was the means of communication to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Today, it seems that Twitter, Facebook, and SMS are the means of communication to this movement.

7. Reza Pahlavi: So he’s being paraded on CNN and Fox News. What a clown. He’s has nothing to do with this movement and I have not seen a single image of him on the streets in Tehran. I’ve seen people hoisting up pictures of Mousavi and Khatami among the opposition and Ahmadinejad, Khomeini, and Khamenei among the regime supporters, but absolutely nothing of Pahlavi. Does he know that he’s doing more harm than good? People who want the protests to continue should not smear the demonstrators by tagging their constroversial and absolutely irrelevant selves to the movement.

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