Today Tehran witnessed what people on all sides have called the largest rally of the past 30 years. Close to a million people gathered in and around the Azadi square to listen to the reformist candidate Mir Housein Mousavi and to call for the nullification of the election results (please the picture above–an amazing image of the square filled with people!). And here is a short clip:
While this is a major endorsement of the reform movement in Iran, unfortunately, it had its very sad moments including the death of at least one demonstrator shot by a member of the security forces from the rooftop of a building: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1184614595?bctid=26415347001
* A letter from a group of Tehran university Professors has announced that they will start a strike to object to the fact that the university dormitory was broken into in the middle of the night. As many as 5 students are reported dead and hundreds arrested. A student writes that Sharif University is also under full military control.
* Iranians feel trapped. The total number of deaths have been put as high as 12. A very concerned friend e-mailed to let me know that in his neighborhood of “ghaytariyeh” in Tehran a pregnant woman had died after security forces had broken into her apartment. Apparently, if people chant slogans from rooftops, their cars and apartment windows get smashed. Unfortunately, I was not able to attach the photos that this friend sent me.
* A young Iranian woman who had found my e-mail through this list serve, wrote to my yesterday to say that she was hoping to attend the rally today with her husband. She promised to write again if she returned home safe which fortunately she did. Today, she wrote:
“I am fine back home. it was a demonstration of at least 1 milion people — some say 2 millions !! however, as you have heard in the news, the police and the militia started to attack people in the early evening. It is sure that at least 1 person has been killed in Tehran and several others beaten and injured.”
She ended by saying there will be another rally tomorrow and added “…we will be there again.“
* The BBC Persian Broadcast announced that its signal is being jammed in Iran.
* The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei has for the first time acknowledged the need to look into the results of the election. Mr. Mousavi and Karrubi (the other reformist candidate) will meet with members of the Guardian Council to discuss the process. In the rally today, Mr. Mousavi said he is not hopeful about the results of this meeting. The size of the demonstration today, however, might get the attention of the Council.
* A rally and a general strike are planed for tomorrow. Lets hope it will remain peaceful.
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399