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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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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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