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Archive for December, 2009

The State-run newspaper "Keyhan" estimated the crowd at Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral (above) at only 5,000!!!

The State-run newspaper "Keyhan" estimated the crowd at Ayatollah Montazeri's funeral (above) at only 5,000!!!

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Dear All,
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Today has been described as a new day in the life of the Iranian Green opposition.  At the request of Mr. Mousavi and Karrubi, hundreds of thousands of people turned up to participate in the funeral of the Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri who passed away on Sunday. Ayatollah Montazeri parted ways with the founder of the Iranian Revolution over the issue of human rights violation in Iran (among other things).
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* The Iranian official news agency described the funeral attenders as approximately 5,000! It is not quite clear how they think they can maintain the appearance. However, look at the photo above this message to see a shot of the “five thousand” mourners for yourself.

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* The BBC has an informative news item as well:

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* Not surprisingly, Ayatollah Montazeri’s personal website seems to be down (possibly hacked). In the absence of that, I refer you to this general article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosein-Ali_Montazeri.
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Don’t forget to share “https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/” with friends.

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Good night,

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Fatemeh
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===================================
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
==================================

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Dear All,

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, one of the spiritual leaders of the Green Movement, has passed away.

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, one of the spiritual leaders of the Green Movement, has passed away.

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Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, died last night at age 87 in the city of Qom. In the past few months, he had come to be known as the spiritual father of the Green Movement in Iran. Mr. Mousavi and Karroubi have declared tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 21, a day of national mourning.
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Background

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Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini until their major fall out in 1988. Montazeri’s dismay was caused by many issues including the executions of the opposition leaders, the lack of openness to political parties, and the insistence on exporting the revolution. Not only did Ayatollah Montazeri loose his political position as a result of objecting to these policies, he was condemned to house arrest, severe curtailment of his personal activities, and regular abuse by the state run media.
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In real life, he never lost his respect among the general public or the other grand Ayatollahs. His images surfaced at almost any public protest. With the crystallization of  the Green Movement after the 2009 election, Montazeri emerged as its spiritual father. He issued daring statements in condemnation of the government’s abuse of power, repression, and particularly torture and abuse in the Kahrizak prison.
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His death is unlikely to be good news for the current regime in Iran. It has already triggered events, even before the designated day of morning, which they are trying desperately to prevent. Below see a small sample coming out of Iran hours ago.
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Demonstrations in support of Ayatollah Montazeri
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* In his birth place near Isfahan:
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* Ilm o San’at University, takes a few seconds for the image to get straightened:

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* Sharif University:

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Have a Great Winter Break,

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Fatemeh
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===================================
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
==================================

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Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Iranian students flooded the streets and campus today, December 7th, 2009. See the videos below for live coverage.

Dear All,

This window is dedicated to the brave Iranian students who came out today on Students Day in large numbers to make it clear that their protests to the June general  election, and the way it has been handled by the government, are far from over. With security forces everywhere, including the entrance to hospitals, peaceful unarmed protesters were subjected to teargas, pepper gas, physical assault and arrest. The government of Iran had extended the religious holiday of Ghadir in the hope that the students would return to their home towns and today’s protests would remain small. The scope and intensity of the demonstrations, however, made it clear that many students did not take advantage of the offer. Furthermore, many non-students joined them in their protests. In this clip, Amir Kabir Students open the door and let in the outside protesters into the university:

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Protests Continue Amidst Arrests
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Incoming reports, limited to eyewitness accounts, and short clips taken by cell phones and posted on youtube, indicate that the protests continued in many cities in Iran, amidst arrests and attacks, into the afternoon and early evening hours. The most common slogan addressed to the members of the Revolutionary Guards militia, the Basij, was “How much money do you get to wield that baton?” This particular clip was taken from facebook and posted on the NIAC website: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.
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Locations of the Student Protests

The Iranian government suspended the permits of the foreign press momentarily so they could not report the student protests of today. Perhaps they would have been wiser to permit proper reporting. Below there are clips of student demonstrations across Iran. Pieced together, they picture an ominous future for the regime which seems unable to overcome its state of denial of the reality. I could have added many more clips.
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Tehran University:

Ilam University:


Karaj University:

Tabriz University:

Mashhad Azad University:

Streets of Tehran:

Streets of Tehran:

Khajeh Naseer University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Elm o San’at University:

Amir Kabir University:

Amir Kabir University:

Sharif University:

Kerman University:

Isfahan University:

Qazvin University:

Gilan University:

Hormoszgan University:

Honar Unviersity:

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Here are some more, available on Facebook:

Tehran University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105011899516362.

Tehran Azad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104953809521406&ref=mf.

Beheshti University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104960846187369&ref=mf.

Mashhad University: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=104944512855669&ref=mf.

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Toronto Laser Show in Support of Iran Protests

* Some major cities in the world predicted the events of today and expressed solidarity with Iranian protesters. Let me share the video of a beautiful modern art work that the Canadians made to express their support for these protesters and the Green Movement as a whole.

* A high-power green laser projected on the Sky dome/Rogers Center to bring awareness to the current situation in Iran . Thousands of residents of Toronto were able to see the projections from their apartments, homes and on the streets below.  Watch it all the way (approximately six minutes) with the speakers on to hear the music:


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Zahrah Rahnavard, Mousavi’s Wife, attacked Outside Tehran University

* Today’s demonstrations were used by government forces to make targeted attacks. Among these was an attack with pepper spray on Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi. Rahnavard, whose eye sight has been effected, is in hospital.

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Mousavi’s Youth Campaign Organizer Arrested

* Another victim of the police was Mohamad Ja’far Tahmasebi, the cultural coordinator of the student organization affiliated with Mr. Mousavi’s campaign. He was arrested today while protesting with fellow students in Tehran.

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Faezeh Hashemi Among the Students

* On the positive side, the student protesters were visited by Faezeh Hashemi, one time representative of Tehran in the Majlis, and daughter of the two times president Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani. She was warmly recieved and thanked by the demonstrators:

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Students of Iranian Descent in Holland

* Before closing this special window, I am going to turn to another struggle the Iranian students have been facing in another part of the world.

* Court Hearing in case of Iranian Students, 10 December 2009: Since July 2008, the Dutch Government has banned Iranian citizens, as well as Dutch citizens of Iranian descent, from parts of certain university graduate programs. In addition, five locations have been designated as forbidden for the latter group. This measure is presumably meant to avoid the ‘proliferation of sensitive information. Iranian students have been objecting to this ban arguing that securing any information can be perfectly achieved without such a discriminatory measure.

* The Campaign of Iranian Students has taken legal actions against the Dutch government, and the case will soon appear before the court. Although the initial assessments are promising, the students have asked for public support, especially in the form of their presence during the court hearing. The court hearing is scheduled on Thursday, the 10th of December at 10:30 am at the Palace of Justice in The Hague.
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Put Your Gun Down!

* There are reports that at least one student has died in Iran today. One can only hope that the Iranian authorities see the reality of the situation and realize that violence will not calm the struggle for reform in Iran. I was looking for a piece of art that would heal the sadness caused by today’s events, and I thought of the Iranian master vocalist Mohamad Reza Shajarian. He has a song based on lyrics by the celebrated contemporary poet Fereidun Moshiri. The refrain to this song, which Mr. Shajarian dedicated to the Green Movement in Iran reads:  “Put your gun down!”  It is the most fitting piece to end this window:

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Please remember to share the website https://windowsoniran.wordpress.com/ with friends.

Good Night,

Fatemeh

===================================
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
==================================

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A photo of one of the courageous women defiling the governments orders and proudly demonstrating in favor of the Green Movement during the November 4th "Quds Day" protests.

A photo of one of the courageous Iranian women defying the government's orders and proudly demonstrating in favor of the Green Movement during the November 4th, 2009 "Quds Day" protests.

Dear All,
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I hope you are well. I have not sent you a window in a long time. This is not because in Iran the opposition has stopped its efforts or some of the issues have been resolved. As you see from this window, neither of these is the case. The delay is merely the result of my business with teaching and departmental duties. So, without further ado, let me open window 98.
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Another Image from Iran Receives World Attention
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* Images from Iranian Greens have now become part of the world visual repertoire. To the right, is another incredible image of courage during the Nov. 4th protests. The image was circulated worldwide.

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Ahmadinejad Supporters No longer Back Him
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* Since the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, determining the degree of his support among the population in rural and small urban areas has been at the center of debates over the issue of electoral fraud. The research presented here is the result of polling and the tracking of political opinion in eleven rural and small urban areas with populations between 8,000 and 34,000 people in Fars and Isfahan provinces in the following periods: two five-month intervals from June 2008 to March 2009; and late April, the first week of June, the middle of July, and the middle of September in 2009.

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* The polling, done by people local to these areas, was conducted in various places of employment and recreation, via telephone, and face-to-face. Despite organizational difficulties, the total amount of people who participated over this period was 11,529. The study tried to reflect the demographic percentages of each town in the sample groups. For example, the largest group polled in most areas was the 20-to-32-year-old age group, which is the dominant age group, according to official records. The methodology for the study was based on theoretical work on polling conducted in non-and semi-democratic polities: http://www.insideiran.org/featured/study-reveals-ahmadinejad-supporters-in-rural-areas-no-longer-back-him/.

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Protests Continue Amidst Harsh Sentences
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* Recently, Mr. Saffar Harandi, President Ahmadinejad’s ex-minister of Islamic culture, tired of strong negative reception of the officials in major universities,  visited a teacher training college in the small town of Karaj outside Tehran. As you watch the students protesting his presence on this small campus, remember the brutality with which the regime puts down any kind of objection. The results of the trials of 89 post-election protesters announced recently indicate that while 3 were released, 81 received jail time ranging from 6 to 15 years, and 5 were sentenced to death. As you see in this video, however, the brutal crack down seems to only intensify the protests:

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Abtahi Sentenced to Six Years in Jail

* http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/11/20091122212736626494.html.

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Six Years in Jail for a Blog

* Ali Behzadian-nejad received a six years jail sentence for the anti-government comments that people put on his blog. You might be interested to know that he is the nephew of Ghorban Behzadian-nejad, one of the organizers of Mr. Mousavi’s election campaign.

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Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani

Dr. Ramin Pourandarjani

The Kahrizak Doctor Dies at the Age of 26 Due to a “Heart Attack”

* As you know, after the June 2009 election, many who protested the fairness of the election ended up in the Kahrizak prison which soon developed a reputation as the Guantanamo of Iran. Mr. Karrubi, one of the candidates, has been pursuing an investigation into the assaults in Kahrizak. Today, the news of the death of Dr. Pourandarjani, the young physician who examined many of the detainees, adds to the validity of the claims that torture has
been used on these detainees: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/11/kahrizak-doctor-dies-first-lady-appears-in-public-in-rome.html.

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* A new investigation reveals Dr. Pourandarjani was poisoned: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8388728.stm.
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Iranian Student Speaks Critically in the presence of the Supreme Leader
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* A young Iranian student who won an international math contest two years ago, speaks critically of the Iranian Supreme Leader in a Q&A session with him: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/06/iran-student-criticises-ayatollah-khamenei.

Mahmoud Vahidnia speaking and criticizing the Supreme Leader at the Q&A session.

Mahmoud Vahidnia speaking and criticizing the Supreme Leader at the Q&A session.

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Fox Apologizes to Haddadi, the Iranian NBA Player, for Derogatory Remark
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* The Iranian American community is learning to use its voice. Hours after two Fox commentators made derogatory remarks about Hamed Haddadi an Iranian American NBA Player, thousands of demands for apology were made. Fox had to apologize to Haddadi, twelve hours after the two anchors had made their remarks: http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1557&Itemid=2.

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Neda Agha-Soltan

Neda Agha-Soltan

Oxford University Establishes Scholarship Named after Neda
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* Neda Agha Soltan was shot to death during a protest that took place days after the disputed election in Iran. The scene of her shooting and tragic death was captured on cell phone and viewed worldwide. She has since become the symbol of the Iranian youth’s protests to the 2009 election. Queen’s College at Oxford has just announced the establishment of an Iranian Studies Scholarship in honor of Neda: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8354372.stm.

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Iranian Graduate Students and Professionals in the U.S. Ask for Multiple Entry Visas
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* For years, the Iranian graduate students in the U.S. often have had to stay in the country for the duration of their studies because if they leave – even for a family emergency – they will face the strong possibility of not being allowed back in and therefore loose their graduate career. For the first time, the Iranian graduate students and professionals are campaigning to get the INS to allow them have multiple entry visas. In their letter, they described their community as  an “active and vivacious part of the international environment at universities” and “one of the most distinguished contributors to American academic life.”

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Is There a Threat of an Israeli Attack on Iran?
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* At least this round of diplomacy with Iran does not seem to be getting very far. If so, would Israel decide to move ahead with an attack on Iran? Could (and should?) the U.S. prevent that? Why? These are all issues that Trita Parsi, President of the Iranian American National Council is addressing in his latest article written for Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trita-parsi/washington-can-give-an-is_b_373205.html.

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A New Hit Song from Shajarian
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* Amidst uncertainties about the new steps the current government might take to curb further protests to its legitimacy, Iranians continue to show great interest in music and other art forms.

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* In Iran, many artists are iconic figures for reform – distinct among them the legendary vocalist, Mohamad Reza Shajarian. Shajarian who had spoken candidly about the undemocratic nature of Mr. Ahmadinjad’s government while in Germany was reprimanded upon return to Tehran last week. Nonetheless, due to his immense popularity, no arrest was made.

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* It would be fitting to close this window with a song which was posted on Youtube in spring. It shows him – and his son Homayun, at concert in Tehran. This song is now a major hit. Based on a ghazal of Rumi which ends with the refrain “saghiya” it addresses the cup-bearer, a symbolic figure able to free the soul from the narrow confines of sobriety and dry logic:

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The poster reads: "Students Strike All Over Iran: 50 Cities, 200 Universities". See the link below for many more examples of the posters circulating in Iran currently.

The poster reads: "Students Strike All Over Iran: 50 Cities, 200 Universities". See the link below for many more examples of the posters circulating in Iran currently.

December 7 Protests Approaching
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* In the meantime, Iranians prepare for another day of protest: “Students Day,” the 16th of the Persian month of Azar (Dec. 7). The posters for this day are already circulating. One of them is on the right and many other examples are here: December 7th Student Protest Posters.

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Good Night,

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Fatemeh

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===================================
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
==================================

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