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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Video- Open Letter to the World: Iranian Regime Denying The Will Of The People

[Update Below post]

Video below found via Twitter and YouTube

As more news gets out, despite the Iranian regime's best attempts to stop it, McClatchy reports that Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most senior Islamic cleric, stands with the protesters in saying the vote and election results were rigged, stating on his website, that the official results cannot be believed.

"No one in their right mind can believe" the official results from Friday's contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Montazeri accused the regime of handling Mousavi's charges of fraud and the massive protests of his backers "in the worst way possible."

"A government not respecting people's vote has no religious or political legitimacy," he declared in comments on his official Web site. "I ask the police and army personals (personnel) not to 'sell their religion,' and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God."


Montazeri's pointed public comments provided fresh evidence that a serious rift has opened at the top of Iran's powerful religious hierarchy after Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei endorsed the official election results and the harsh crackdown against the opposition.

A leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution who's often feuded with Khamenei and once vied with him for the supreme leader's position, Montazeri accused the government of attacking "the children of the people with astonishing violence" and "attempting a purge, arresting intellectuals, political opponents and scientifics."

"He is questioning the legitimacy of the election and also questioning the legitimacy of (Khamenei's) leadership, and this is the heart of the political battle in Iran," said Mehdi Noorbaksh, an associate professor of international affairs at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania. "This is very significant. This is huge support for Mousavi and the demonstrators on the reformists' side."

Foreign reporters are barred from the streets, so information is coming from the Iranian people themselves, by bypassing bans set by the Government and using proxies to send photos, videos, and news. They are using Twitter, which is updating at a rate which can barely be kept up with, providing the world with a look of what is happening inside Iran right now.

Phone services, text services are spotty as the government of Iran tries to stop the people of Iran from communicating on a large scale as they set up times and places for their protests, yet by word of mouth, they are hearing about it and showing up en masse.


One day after the government revoked press credentials for foreign journalists and ordered journalists not to report from the streets, there were increasing signs Wednesday that the authorities were preparing further restrictions on opposition figures and on news about the protest. Government officials telephoned or sent faxes Wednesday to reporters in Tehran working for foreign news organizations telling them not to venture outside to cover events being held without an official permit. That included rallies by supporters of Mr. Moussavi and news conferences or other public events held without the government’s approval, reporters in Tehran said.

Government officials told journalists that they were at risk on the streets following an incident on Tuesday when a photographer was stabbed and wounded while covering a rally. Two well-known analysts, Sayeed Leylaz and Mohammad-Reza Jalaipour, were detained Wednesday and were likely to be held for several days, associates and family members said.

The Associated Press reported that the powerful Revolutionary Guards threatened restrictions Wednesday on the digital online media that many Iranians use to communicate among themselves and to send news of their protests overseas. In a first statement since last Friday’s vote, the Revolutionary Guards said Iranian Web site operators and bloggers must remove content deemed to “create tension” or face legal action, the A.P. said.

Defying the restrictions, new amateur video surfaced outside of Iran on Wednesday, apparently showing a government militia rampaging through a dormitory area of Tehran University late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

These people are risking their lives to get information out of Iran and available for the world to see the chaos going on inside the country now.

In Paris, Soazig Dollet, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders, a press freedom advocacy group, said at least 11 reporters had been arrested since the elections and the fate of 10 more was unclear since they may either be in hiding or under arrest.


The BBC is currently receiving around five videos a minute, with hundreds more appearing on YouTube, Facebook and other social networking sites.

Here, footage shows pro-government militia firing shots at a rally in Tehran.

This video shows students, some wearing masks, holding a secret rally at Tehran University, where they call on President Ahmadinejad to resign.

In another recording, a student at Tehran University claims he and other protesters were attacked by pro-government militia.

And an Italian journalist used his mobile phone to capture footage of police in Iran using their motorbikes to charge at protesters on Sunday, in a bid to break up a street rally.

A BBC Persian TV producer said most of the protest footage came from inside Iran but some was shot outside Iranian embassies in other countries.

"BBC Persian TV is being jammed by the Iranian government... but people are still sending us videos. They're just doing it," she said.

The channel's website has also been blocked with filters but people are finding a way to unblock them manually with anti-filters, she added.

[Update] The photo is via Twitter, of the Karim khan bridge filled with protesters crossing.

This will be updated as I run across new video, photos and witness accounts.