Protests against the highly controversial 2009 Iranian presidential election results (Persian: اعتراضات علیه نتایج انتخابات ریاست جمهوری سال ۱۳۸۸) (a disputed victory by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), in support of opposition candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, occurred in major cities nationwide from 2009 into early 2010. The protests were titled Iranian Green Movement (Persian: جنبش سبز Jonbesh-e Sabz) by its proponents, reflecting Mousavi's campaign theme, and Persian Awakening, Persian Spring or Green Revolution, reflecting the "Persian identity" of Iranians and the so-called "colour revolution" theme.
Protests began the night of 12 June 2009, following the announcement that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won nearly 63% of the vote, despite several reported irregularities. However, all three opposition candidates claimed the votes were manipulated and the election was rigged, with Rezaee and Mousavi lodging official complaints. Mousavi announced he "won't surrender to this manipulation", before lodging an official appeal against the result to the Guardian Council on 14 June. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered an investigation into the claims of electoral fraud and irregularities, as requested by Green Movement leaders. Ahmadinejad called the election "completely free" and the outcome a "great victory" for Iran, dismissing the protests as akin to little more than "passions after a soccer match".
Despite the entirely non-violent nature of the protests, the government deemed them unacceptable and had the police and paramilitary Basij violently suppress them; protesters were beaten, pepper sprayed, arrested and tortured, and even shot in some cases. The most widely known firearm victim was Neda Agha-Soltan, whose last moments were uploaded to YouTube and broadcast around the world. Opposition groups also reported thousands more were arrested and tortured in prisons around the country, with former inmates alleging mass rape of men, women and children by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, in prisons such as Kahrizak and Evin. The Iranian government confirmed the deaths of 36 people during the protests, while unconfirmed reports by Mousavi supporters allege at least 72 deaths (over twice as many) in the three months following the election. They claimed relatives of the deceased were forced to sign documents citing death by heart attack or meningitis. Iranian authorities closed universities in Tehran, blocked websites, cutoff mobile signals and banned rallies.
The creation of the Iranian Green Movement developed during these protests. It was also termed the "Twitter Revolution", due to protesters' reliance on Twitter and other social media to communicate.
|2009 Iranian presidential election protests|
Iranians protesting in Valiasr Square in the capital Tehran
|Date||13 June 2009 – 11 February 2010|
(7 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Iran: Tehran, Abadan, Ahvaz, Arak, Ardabil, Bandar Abbas, Birjand, Bojnord, Borujerd, Dezful, Sari, Babol, Bandar Torkaman, Bushehr, Hamadan, Isfahan, Ilam, Karaj, Kashan, Kerman, Kermanshah, Khorramshahr, Khoy, Mashhad, Najafabad, Qazvin, Qom, Rasht, Sanandaj, Shahr Kord, Shiraz, Tabriz, Urmia, Yasuj, Yazd, Zabol Zanjan, Zahedan
United States: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Preston, Iowa, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Irvine, Kansas City, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Madison, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, State College, Tempe, Washington, D.C.
Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Waterloo
Germany: Berlin, Bochum, Cologne, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Heidelberg, Münster, Stuttgart
Sweden: Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Skellefteå, Karlstad, Sundsvall, Uppsala, Helsingborg, Umeå, Jönköping, Uddevalla, Borås
Netherlands: The Hague, Amsterdam, Delft, Leiden, Groningen, Maastricht,
Italy: Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence
Switzerland: Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich, Bern
Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide
Spain: Barcelona, Madrid
Ukraine: Kiev, Kharkiv
United Kingdom: London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol
France: Paris, Lyon
Belgium: Brussels, Leuven
New Zealand: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur
Austria: Vienna, Salzburg
Czech Republic: Prague
Japan: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya
Denmark: Copenhagen, Aarhus
Norway: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Arendal, Kristiansand
South Korea: Seoul, Busan, Daegu
Israel: Tel Aviv
United Arab Emirates: Dubai
Turkey: İstanbul, Ankara
Pakistan: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar
Kuwait: Kuwait City
|Caused by||Alleged voting fraud and irregularities|
|Goals||Election transparency, recall of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office|
|Methods||Demonstrations, riots, civil disobedience, strike actions|
|Resulted in||Protests quelled|
|36 killed (Official figure) |
72 killed (Opposition figure)
Since 1980 following the collapse of the Shah's regime in 1979. The government is based on the concept of Velayat-e Faqih, which is a system of governance in which a faqih was to serve as the Supreme Leader. However, following calls that this idea was undemocratic, the system was moderately altered into the current "Islamic Republic", in which a council of clerics, who are elected by the people, choose the Supreme Leader who, per the constitution, has to be a cleric (though this was altered in 1988). The Supreme Leader, in turn appoints the members of the twelve member Guardian Council, who approve laws and candidates for elections, even at the presidential level. The President of Iran is not the commander-in-chief, and the control of the military, police, and the parallel Revolutionary Guards is under the control of the Supreme Leader. The Revolutionary Guards is a constitutionally protected paramilitary force that operates alongside the regular Armed forces, whose primary function is to protect the Islamic Republic. The Revolutionary Guards also have an auxiliary wing called the Basij, who provide support in enforcing religious laws and suppressing dissidents. They are not considered full members of the Revolutionary Guards, and lack the training given to full-time members, although they can be called up at any time to assist the regular forces in times of trouble. Though Ayatollah Khomeini and his successor Ayatollah Khamenei, claimed that this system was democratic and the Revolutionary guards are necessitated to protect the government from military coups and foreign interference, critics contend that this system only serves to keep like-minded conservatives in power and marginalize any opposition, while using the Revolutionary guards to silence any dissidents.
The Islamic Republic has not escaped popular opposition in the past. During the 1980s, the Marxist-Islamist, Mojahedin Khalq was instrumental in opposing Ayatollah Khomeini through large protests and bombings against politicians such as Mohammad-Ali Rajai, Shahid Beheshti, and Khamenei himself, who escaped an assassination attempt that left his right arm paralyzed. Following the 1981 Hafte Tir bombing, Ayatollah Khomeini declared the Mojahedin and anyone opposed to the Islamic republic, "enemies of god" and pursued a mass campaign of torture, rape, and execution against members of the Mojahedin, Fadaiyan, and Tudeh parties as well as their families, close friends, and even anyone who was accused of insufficient Islamic behavior, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Iranians who were usually tried in secret kangaroo courts run by hard line clerics. Following Operation Mersad in 1988, Khomeini ordered all prisons to execute those still in captivity, resulting in an estimated 3,000 to 30,000 dead. Since then, no organized opposition has surfaced in Iran and following this experience, the Iranian Government usually employs heavy handed tactics to marginalize any attempt at regime removal and usually justifies this with the "enemy of god" classification.
In 1997, following the unexpected victory of a before-little-known reformist cleric Mohammad Khatami, there was a revival of a moderate faction within the government whom the public believed had the ability to reform and curb the power of the conservatives and make the system somewhat democratic, and that Khamenei was willing to trust this faction in the hopes that it could recover the country after the eight-year war with Iraq, which Rafsanjani and the conservatives had failed to do. However, rather than promoting a reform of the system, the reformists began questioning the concept of the Islamic republic itself and following the exposure of the murders of dissidents by the intelligence services in reformist newspapers (which were run by former Revolutionary Guards and intelligence agents now turned reformists), the government began to distrust Khatami and his faction, a conflict which reached the breaking point after the 1999 student protests, after which hardliners such as Mohammad Ali Jafari, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and Qasem Soleimani were promoted to take control of the Revolutionary Guards and the Security Services to crack down on most reformist movements. Despite reformists gaining a majority in the Majlis in 2000 and Khatami winning the 2001 election as well, Khamenei would oppose any attempts at liberalization of the government or society. Most Iranians and observers in general have regarded the reform movement to have been a failure with Saeed Hajjarian, the main theorist behind the movement, declaring in 2003 that "the reform movement is dead. Long live the reform movement".
In 2005, Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected to the presidency, defeating now reformist Ali-Akbar Rafsanjani, placing the conservatives in charge of the government once more. Ahmadinejad would focus his presidency on confronting Israel. His speeches gained international infamy, which usually called for the destruction of Israel and claimed that the Holocaust was fabricated. The funding of anti-Israeli groups went up exponentially, particularly towards Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been labeled as Terrorist groups by the United States. Despite Iran's huge oil and gas reserves, those sectors have been relatively neglected in favor of a nuclear energy program that has cost billions of dollars and has been condemned by Israel and the United States, who claim that the program is a cover up for a much larger nuclear weapons program. As a result, the United Nations has placed sanctions on the Iranian government, which has had a heavy impact on the economy, reducing the value of the rial from a low of 8,000 to the dollar in 2005 to 10,000 to the dollar in 2009.
Iran has been experiencing high birth rates since 1988, both due to an increase in standard of living and government encouragement of large families, with an estimated 60 percent of the country being under the age of 30. However, the economy has failed to keep pace with the number of people entering the job market and Iran has been experiencing high unemployment rates since early 2000. Ahmadinejad began a campaign of privatization of state enterprises, but most companies ended up in the hands of government-connected officials and foundations (bonyads) operated by wealthy clerics and the Revolutionary Guards. Estimates by the Los Angeles Times suggest IRGC has ties to over one hundred companies and annual revenue in excess of $12 billion, particularly in construction. The Ministry of Petroleum awarded IRGC billions of dollars in contracts as well as major infrastructure projects. Most government-issued contracts were awarded to these companies, and private enterprise in Iran has been struggling heavily against these groups.
The election of the president of Iran in 2009 was preceded by many Iranian surveys and a survey by the US-based Terror Free Tomorrow organization. The Terror Free Tomorrow opinion poll, conducted from 11 to 20 May 2009, predicted the high participation and showed similar ratios for the candidates to the later official result, with over a quarter yet undecided. The many Iranian surveys show a wide range of differing results. An opinion in the New York Times claims that this is due to the high fluctuation among voters during the campaign season.
The election for presidency took place on 12 June 2009. Unlike the election in 2005, the 2009 election featured high participation. The results of the elections were announced only 2 hours after the end of the votes, which may seem impossible. The official results were rejected by all three opposition candidates, who claimed that the votes were manipulated and the election was rigged. The last presidential election had already been controversial, but this time it escalated. Candidates Mohsen Rezaee and Mousavi have lodged official complaints. Mousavi announced that he "won't surrender to this manipulation" before lodging an official appeal against the result to the Guardian Council on 14 June.
According to an analysis by Professor Walter R. Mebane, Jr. from the Department of Statistics of the University of Michigan, considering data from the first stage of the 2005 presidential election produces results that "give moderately strong support for a diagnosis that the 2009 election was affected by significant fraud". The UK-based think-tank Chatham House also suspected fraud in the voting process for a number of reasons:
|More than 100%||In two Conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.|
|No swing||At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased turnout, and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that his victory was due to the massive participation of a previously silent Conservative majority.|
|Reformist votes||In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, and all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also took up to 44% of former Reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two groups.|
|Rural votes||In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces in 2009 flies in the face of these trends.|
On Saturday 13 June after election results announced that Ahmadinejad had won, supporters of Mousavi took to the streets to protest. The next day, protests grew, as did violence. On the night of 14 June the pro-Ahmadinejad Basij paramilitary group raided Tehran University, injuring many. On 15 June millions of protesters marched on Azadi street and Mousavi made his first post-election appearance.
On 16 June, protests continued, and the Guardian Council announced a partial recount would be conducted; however, the vote was not annulled. On Wednesday 17 June another large protest occurred; some members of the Iranian national football team wore green wristbands in support of Mousavi during their game against South Korea. On Thursday, 18 June more than 100,000 protesters held a candlelight vigil in Tehran following Mousavi's call for a day of mourning for those killed in protests. The Guardian Council invited the three major challengers to meet to discuss their grievances.
On Friday, 19 June, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini spoke during religious services, saying the election was legitimate and called the large voter turnout and resulting victory (for Ahmadinejad) a "divine assessment" and that protests would no longer be tolerated. However, the opposition did not accept this and the protests occurred, albeit on a smaller scale. The next day, 20 June, fewer protesters took to streets. At the protests that did occur, said to number in the tens of thousands of people, much violence occurred, causing many would-be protesters to stay in their homes the next day, Sunday, 21 June. On 20 June, a young Iranian woman, identified as Neda Agha-Soltan, was shot and died in front of cameras on Kargar Avenue in Tehran. Highly graphic amateur videos of the killing rapidly spread viral across the Internet after being posted to Facebook and YouTube. On 22 June, riot police broke up the main rally in Tehran with tear gas and live fire into the air.
During Friday, 26 June, prayers were broadcast live on television, and Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami is reported to have said that "Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction" and called for the execution of leading demonstrators as they are "people who wage war against God".
On Monday, 29 June, the Guardian Council certified the results of the controversial election. This set off a wave of protests, disregarding the Iranian government's ban on street marches. The Iranian intelligence chief alleged that western and "Zionist" forces were responsible for inciting the protests. Four of the nine British officials arrested on 28 June 2009 remain in custody under those charges.
Late July, protest had reportedly entered a "Phase II", using tactics such as the boycott of goods advertised on state-controlled television; attempting to deny power to state-run TV evening news broadcasts by turning on all electric appliances just before the news; "blitz" street demonstrations "lasting just long enough to chant `Death to the dictator!` several times", but not long enough for security forces to arrive; identifying paramilitary Basij vigilantes linked to the crackdown and putting marks in the opposition color green, or pictures of protest victims in front of their homes; scribbled anti-regime slogans on money. The new protest is reportedly based on the idea of Mohandas Gandhi that "even the most powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled."
On 5 August, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as President of Iran in an official inauguration in Tehran. Protests were held outside the Parliament during the inauguration, with protesters chanting "death to the dictator".
Major protests would continue after the inauguration as well. Among the largest were protests that were held on Iranian holidays, such as Quds Day on 18 September, 13th of Aban on 4 November and Iranian Students Day on 7 December.
Another wave of protests occurred following these election protests across Iran in 2011.
On the weekend of 13/14 June, in a series of raids across Tehran, the government arrested over 170 people, according to police officials. Among them were prominent reformist politicians, including MIRO founder Behzad Nabavi, IIPF leader Mohsen Mirdamadi, and former president Mohammad Khatami's brother Mohammad-Reza Khatami, who was later released. Also arrested were Mostafa Tajzadeh and Mohsen Aminzadeh, whom the IRNA said were involved in orchestrating protests on 13 June. Unidentified sources said that the police stormed the headquarters of the IIPF and arrested a number of people. Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin claimed that presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi was put under house arrest, although officials denied this. An estimated 200 people were detained after clashes with students at the University of Tehran, although many were later released.
Acting Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan stated via the state press service on 14 June that "in the interrogation of related rebels, we intend to find the link between the plotters and foreign media". A judiciary spokesman said they had not been arrested, but that they were summoned, "warned not to increase tension", and later released. Intelligence minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei linked some arrests to terrorism supported from outside Iran, stating that "more than 20 explosive consignments were discovered". Others, he said, were "counter-revolutionary groups [who had] penetrated election headquarters" of the election candidates.
Relatives of several detained protesters have confirmed that the interrogation of prisoners is now being headed by Saeed Mortazavi, a figure already known for alleged involvement in brutal interrogations and torture.
Mojtaba Khamenei, the second son of Ayatollah Khamenei, has emerged as one of the driving forces behind the government's crackdown, diplomats and observers said. He is reported to have a strong influence over his father and is talked about as his possible successor. Mojtaba is affiliated with current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
On 16 June, Reuters reported that former vice-president Mohammad-Ali Abtahi and former presidential advisor Saeed Hajjarian had been arrested. Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, who had been demanding a recount of all votes, was also arrested on that Tuesday according to Shirin Ebadi, who said that security officials had posed as clients. Over 100 students were arrested after security forces fired tear gas at protesters at Shiraz University on the same day. Reporters Without Borders reported that 5 of 11 arrested journalists were still in detention as of 16 June, and that a further 10 journalists were unaccounted for and may have been arrested.
On 17 June, former foreign minister and Secretary-General of the Freedom Movement of Iran, Ebrahim Yazdi, was arrested while undergoing tests at the Tehran hospital. In Tabriz, other Freedom Movement activists and eight members of the IIPF were arrested, with reports of at least 100 civic figures' arrests. The total number of arrests across Iran since the election was reported as 500.
Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the international campaign for human rights in Iran, stated that "Iranian intelligence and security forces are using the public protests to engage in what appears to be a major purge of reform-oriented individuals whose situations in detention could be life-threatening".
In Esfahan Province, prosecutor-general Mohammadreza Habibi warned that dissidents could face the death penalty under Islamic law. He also accused the protesters of being a "few elements controlled by foreigners [who were] disrupting security by inciting individuals to destroy and to commit arson" and urged them to stop their "criminal activities". It was not clear if his warning applied only to Isfahan or to the country as a whole.
On 20 June, Committee to Protect Journalists reported that LIFE Magazine photographer Amir Sadeghi was arrested by Iranian authorities. According to a CPJ report, he was released from Evin Prison on 28 June.
On 22 June, The Guardian's live blog reported that at approximately 1:30 pm, General Ali Fazli, the newly appointed commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran province, had been arrested for refusing to carry Khamenei's order to use force against demonstrators.
On 11 August 2009, the Iranian government confirmed that 4,000 were detained in the protests
Basij members were filmed firing into crowds and breaking into houses. A number of hospital staff protested after people were transported to the hospitals dead or in critical condition with gunshot wounds. The IRGC and the Basij also attacked Universities and students' dorms at night and destroyed property.
While the death of Neda attracted widespread media attention, The Guardian is also maintaining a list of numerous other people who have ostensibly been either killed or arrested since the election. The government has issued very little official information on who has been killed or arrested (except Neda Agha-Soltan, whose video circulated quickly on the Internet). Hospitals were prohibited from registering the dead bodies or injured people, as a medical student at Rasoul-Akram hospital witnessed on the night of 15 June: "Nine people died at our hospital and another 28 had gunshot wounds... [the government] removed the dead bodies on back of trucks, before we were even able to get their names or other information... No one was allowed to speak to the wounded or get any information from them." Hospital staff protested due to the restrictions. The government admitted to at least 27 fatalities in Tehran, while CNN and other news organizations reported 150 unconfirmed casualties from 20 June protests. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran counted 34 of them, claiming to have eyewitness reports of much higher numbers. Human rights activists in Iran called for independently collecting information about the killed, injured, and arrested people.
Among those who were killed by the government forces, names such as Sohrab Aarabi, Naser Amirnejad, Masoud Hashemzadeh, and Mohammad Kamrani are confirmed. Among them, the death of Sohrab Aarabi received special news attention, after Mousavi and Karroubi visited his family.
The families of those who died were allegedly subjected to penalties and bureaucratic red tape, such as being asked to sign paperwork that they do not have complaints against the government prior to being allowed to claim bodies. When the death was due to gunshot wounds, some were reportedly asked to pay a $3,000 fee, ostensibly for the bullet used by security forces. Restrictions on burial locations have also been reported, and the Iranian government did not permit a memorial service for Neda Agha-Soltan. Time speculates that the Shi'ite cycle of mourning on the third (23 June), seventh (27 June), and 40th (30 July) day after a person's death may give the protests sustained momentum, similar in fashion to what occurred during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Opposition leaders have claimed that the prisoners have been tortured and raped in prison. Opposition leaders and world leaders condemned the abuse. However, Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, denied that prisoners were abused.
Former chairman of Iranian parliament Mehdi Karroubi stated that male and female prisoners have been raped in the prison and their genitals were torn, but it is not yet proven. He asked the head of the assembly to investigate the issue in a letter to the head of Assembly of Experts. Iran's police chief, Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, acknowledged that the prisoners had been abused and raped.
Additionally, several of the detained died while in prison. Authorities claimed that the deaths were caused by "pre-existing conditions". However, examinations of the bodies showed signs of torture, including broken bones, finger nails torn off, and rape.
Iranian film maker Reza Allamehzadeh made a documentary about Azar Al-Kanan, a prominent Iranian human rights activist and former political prisoner in Iran who became one of the victims of torture, sexual abuse, and finally, rape. The documentary was released after ex-chairman of Iranian parliament Mehdi Karroubi called for investigation of sexual abuse of protesters in prisons by Iranian police and the judicial system, both under the responsibility of the Supreme Leader. Karroubi's letter angered conservatives and the head of Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, and senior cleric and representative of the Supreme Leader, Ahmad Khatami, denied the reports of sexual abuse. Following the denials, on 16 August 2009, Fereshteh Ghazi, in an article in Rooz, wrote her story and described the torture and sexual violence in Iranian prison.
Testimonies from victims of rape by the Iranian regime's agents in jail can be downloaded here: http://seculardemocracyiran.blogspot.com/2010/07/many-people-were-tortured-by-regime.html
According to the Telegraph, on 14 June "Iran's regime was doing its utmost to choke off the flow of news from its capital". Al Jazeera English has leveled allegations of direct media censorship by the Iranian government, stating that "some of the newspapers have been given notices to change their editorials or their main headlines". The Al Arabiya's offices in Tehran were closed on 14 June for a week by Iranian authorities, who gave no explanation for the decision. NBC News offices in Tehran were raided, with cameras and other equipment confiscated. Meanwhile, the director of BBC World Service accused the Iranian Government of jamming its broadcasts to the country. Peter Horrocks said audiences in Iran, the Middle East, and Europe had been affected by an electronic block on satellites used to broadcast the BBC Persian Television signal to Iran, adding: "It seems to be part of a pattern of behaviour by the Iranian authorities to limit the reporting of the aftermath of the disputed election". A BBC corporate official has referred to the network's conflict with the regime as 'electronic warfare'.
On 15 June, Belgian national television reporter Jef Lambrecht from the Flemish public television broadcaster VRT and his sound technician, Vandervorst, were arrested in Tehran. They had been doing a story on the riots and had gotten caught in the middle of the violence. While Lambrecht had taken a punch, Vandervorst was arrested by riot police. When Lambrecht went to check where Vandervorst was being taken, he was promptly arrested as well. Both were taken to the Ministry of Information and detained in the basement. They were both released after two hours with strict instructions not to make any photos or film recordings of the protests. At the same time, two Dutch reporters from Nova were also arrested and deported.
On 16 June, the Ministry of Culture issued a directive banning all foreign media from leaving their offices. This directive stipulated that international news outlets could still talk about rallies in their live reports, however, they were not allowed to leave their hotel rooms and offices to witness the protests. Iranian government-run television was not affected by the restrictions. On 20 June, the Ministry of Culture intensified the restrictions by banning international media from reporting on the demonstrations altogether unless they received permission from Iranian authorities.
On 5 August, the Association of Iranian Journalists was forcibly closed when its offices in Tehran were raided by government security forces. The International Federation of Journalists released a statement criticizing the Iranian government for the forcible closure of the Association of Iranian Journalists and calling for freedom of the press.
BBC correspondent John Simpson was arrested, his material confiscated, and then released. Reporters from the Italian public television broadcaster RAI stated that one of its interpreters was beaten with clubs by riot police and the officers then confiscated the cameraman's tapes. ABC News reporter Jim Sciutto has also had material taken. People from the German public broadcasters ZDF and ARD have been harassed as well, with men carrying batons and knives reportedly storming the ARD's Tehran office and taking the technician for further questioning (who was released the day after).
Ahmadinejad responded to civil liberties concerns by stating Iranians enjoyed "absolute freedom" of speech. "Don't worry about freedom in Iran ... Newspapers come and go and reappear. Don't worry about it."
On 5 July 2009, the Sunday Times reported that the Iranian state media have been transmitting "confessions" by demonstrators against the alleged rigging of the presidential vote claiming they did so under the influence of the Voice of America, the BBC, and other foreign media agencies. Their faces have been obscured in the TV broadcasts, which the newspaper claims, after speaking to witnesses, is due to facial bruising resulting from torture whilst in custody, which included several instances of male rape.
On Saturday following the elections, Mir-Hossein Mousavi's supporters started DDoS attacks against president Ahmadinejad's site and exchanged attack tools through sites such as Facebook and Twitter. After the attacks, the government stopped Internet access. On 13 June, as the election results were being announced, Iran shut down all Internet access for about 45 minutes, then restarted it apparently with lower bandwidth; this may have been in order to set up filters to block sites like YouTube that could be used for political purposes. When thousands of opposition supporters clashed with the police on 13 June, Facebook was filtered again. Some news websites were also blocked by the Iranian authorities. Mobile phone services including text messaging also had stopped or had become very difficult to use since the day before the election. Specifically, all websites affiliated with the BBC were blocked, as well as those affiliated with The Guardian. Iranian Internet users used social media to trade lists of open web proxy servers as a means of getting around the restrictions, but the Iranian authorities monitoring these media gradually blocked these proxies, so that after two weeks very few proxies were still working in Iran. Associated Press labeled the actions as "ominous measures apparently seeking to undercut liberal voices". An anti-censorship software, Freegate, developed by Global Internet Freedom Consortium, was widely used and proven effective. The software was developed by oversea Chinese scientists to allow mainland Chinese users to break through the "great firewall" in China, and was also found to be very effective in Iran.
Iran was known to operate one of the world's most sophisticated Internet filtering systems, with widespread blockades on specific websites. During the protests, operation of this system dramatically intensified. Yet, Iranian Green Movement online activists continued their political activism and resisting online repression by adopting different strategies such as: "(1) de-identification, (2) network reformation, (3) circumvention, (4) self-censoring, and (5) being inconspicuously active".
On 26 August, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a statement through Iranian state television. He said that although he did not believe opposition leaders were working as agents of foreign governments, he did believe that the protests were organized and planned, possibly without the knowledge of the Iranian political opposition. He said that "This plot was defeated, since fortunately our enemies still do not understand the issue in Iran", specifically pointing to foreign involvement in the protests.
On 16 June, Der Spiegel cited Voice of America as reporting that the Iranian government had recruited as many as 5,000 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters to clash with protesters. On 19 June, CNN reported that, according to media reports and online chatter, the Basij "seem to have added some Arabic-speaking members – suspected of being [Lebanese] Hezbollah fighters." In response, a spokesman for Hezbollah denied any involvement with the turmoil in Iran and stated that Hezbollah is not taking sides in what it considers to be an internal Iranian affair.
On 17 June, The Jerusalem Post quoted two Iranian protesters who claimed that "Palestinian forces" (which the article states are members of Hamas) were working with the Basij in helping crush the protests.
A number of Iranian intellectuals organized a three-day hunger strike in front of the United Nations. The invitation was signed by 42 scholars. The event was scheduled for 22–24 July 2009. Iranian journalist and writer, Akbar Ganji, spearheaded the strike to call for the release of all those who have been arrested in Iran following the protests.
Among the intellectuals that signed the invitation are: Abdolkarim Soroush, Hamid Dabashi, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abdol Ali Bazargan, and Janet Afary. Among the supporters of the initiative are Reza Baraheni and pop singers Ebrahim Hamedi, Googoosh, and Shohreh Aghdashlou. U.S. citizen Noam Chomsky was present at the hunger strike.
A number of Iranians organized a two-day strike at Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, Germany. The event was scheduled for 24–25 July 2009. The invitation had a list of over twenty people as strikers so far and a considerable list of supporters. Among the strikers was Daryush Shokof.
The number of cities joining the Iranian global hunger strike reached over fifty with Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, as well as Italy, Australia, and Ireland. The hunger strikes are for freedom of all Iranian political prisoners and for "not" recognizing the presidential elections and its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
BBC News has described the overall reaction by the international community to the 2009 Iranian presidential election as "muted". Mir-Hossein Mousavi has not asked for any kind of foreign assistance or called on other leaders to comment. His spokesperson, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for maintaining that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi "may not be as great as has been advertised." Makhmalbaf retorted, "Does he like it himself [when someone is] saying that there is no difference between Obama and [George W.] Bush?" He also said that other nations must "not recognize the government of Ahmadinejad as a legitimate government" and that "it's not only an internal matter- it's an international problem".
However, in international popular culture, the protest has "morphed in the global consciousness, to the point that U2 and Madonna have adopted the cause of Iranian democracy," according to The New York Times Protesters have gathered in cities all over the world to protest the violence and election results. One of the largest protests was organized by United For Iran and held on 25 July 2009 in over 100 cities all over the world.
Although the 2009 Iranian presidential election was widely disputed, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sent a traditional congratulatory message to Ahmadinejad upon his inauguration. He kept silent over the request of Shirin Ebadi to visit Iran after the crackdown on peaceful post-election protests by the Iranian police. During the election protests, more than 4,000 were arrested and nearly 70 were killed (with some sources, including Mohsen Kadivar, citing hundreds of killed), some while being held in prison. In another incident, prominent activisit Akbar Ganji went on a hunger strike for three days in front of the UN. The incident was followed by an official request by more than 200 intellectuals, human rights activists, and reformist politicians in Iran for a reaction from the UN. Ban, however, took no action to help end the violence in Iran.
About eight players in the Iran national football team playing in their World Cup qualifier wore green wristbands in support for Mousavi for the first half of their game. During the break, they were ordered to remove them, seven of the eight complied. They were subsequently suspended. Likewise, Italian footballer Francesco Totti sent a message of greeting to the Iranian youth during the protests.
A group of Iranian "artists and writers in exile" published an open letter in support of the protests. Significant protests have been held in major cities all throughout the world. Demonstrators in Los Angeles have protested daily calling not only for election reform but complete regime change. Demonstrators have been seen holding signs stating, "No Ahmadi(nejad), no Mousavi, no Islamic Republic!," "No more Islamic Republic."
The Economist reported that supporters of Mousavi have enlisted religious symbolism on their side. This directly appeals to the notion of injustice and redemption at the heart of Shia Islam. Others, however, were irreligious in their protests.
For Iran, one of the links of communication exist solely because of the ideology the revolutionary movement was based upon Islamism (Poursaied, p. 136). The religious institutions were used to communicate from one revolutionary group to another. These institutions consist of "mosques, ritual centres, and even charity funds, and these venues allowed people to gather right under the nose of the government in order to become organised.
Protesters have deliberately dressed modestly. The marches in Tehran saw women in chadors and turbaned clerics, some of whom were seen thronging Mousavi's car during the 15 June rally at Revolution Square. According to Anna Johnson of Associated Press, conservative women in black chadors have joined the liberal youth for the common goal of trying to get their voices heard. The Time reported that some protesters believed they had a religious duty to protest.
Protesters have also made use of slogans such as "Allahu Akbar" (a common Islamic Arabic saying that translates to "God is great") from the revolutionary era. Protesters on Twitter have urged marchers to carry copies of the Qur'an with them, citing its verses bringing about peace. When mourning the deaths of slain protesters, the marchers chanted "Peace be upon (Prophet) Mohammed and his family."
A bystander, Neda Agha-Soltan, who was killed by authorities, has been mythologised by the opposition as a martyr. The status of a martyr is revered in Shia Islam. To prevent this from happening, the authorities have tried to call off funeral services for her, which according to Shia Islam, must be held on the third, seventh, and 40th day after the martyr's passing. Robert Tait and Matthew Weaver of The Guardian noted that it was funeral processions on the 40th day of mourning of fallen protesters in 1979 that created momentum in toppling the shah's regime. The idea of martyrdom resonates deeply amongst the Shiite Muslim population of Iran. The Shiite faith was founded on the idea of self-sacrifice in the cause of justice.
"Doctor Ahmadinejad, by getting a majority of the votes, has become the definite winner of the 10th presidential election", the news agency said.
The 2017–2018 Iranian protests refer to a series of public protests occurring in various cities throughout Iran beginning on 28 December 2017 and continuing into 2018. The first protest took place in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city by population, initially focused on the economic policies of the country's government; however, as protests spread throughout the country, their scope expanded to include political opposition to the theocratic regime of Iran and its longtime Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. According to The Washington Post, protesters' chants and attacks on government buildings upended a system that had little tolerance for dissent, with some demonstrators even shouting "Death to the dictator!" — referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and asking security forces to join them.
The protests mark the most intense domestic challenge to the Iranian government since the 2009 presidential election protests. However, these protests differ from the Green movement in participants, causes, goals, and chants.
Unlike 2009, the 2017–2018 protests protests remain leaderless and disorganized. While some analysts suggest the protests are a result of unfavorable economic policies adopted by the administration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, others say that dissatisfaction with the theocratic regime and the Supreme Leader are the actual causes of the unrest. Rouhani acknowledged on 8 January 2018 that "people had economic, political and social demands".According to Iranian authorities, protests turned violent in some parts of the country, and Iranian state television reported that the protesters attacked police stations and military personnel and installations, and started fires. As of 2 January 2018, at least twenty-one protesters and two security force members had been killed. Additionally, 3,700 demonstrators were arrested according to Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist lawmaker from Tehran, though official figures were much lower. On 5 January 2018, four special rapporteurs of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the Iranian government to acknowledge and respect rights of protesters and end its blocking of the Internet.In a backlash against the protests, thousands of government supporters staged pro-government rallies in more than a dozen cities across Iran.Even though there have already been economic protests in Iran in 2019, sources predict there will be more anti-government protests also in 2019.Ali Khamenei
Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei (Persian: سید علی حسینی خامنهای, pronounced [ʔæˈliː hoseiˈniː χɒːmeneˈʔiː] (listen); born 17 July 1939) is a marja and the second and current Supreme Leader of Iran, in office since 1989. He was previously President of Iran from 1981 to 1989. Khamenei is the second-longest serving head of state in the Middle East (after Oman's Sultan Qaboos), as well as the second-longest serving Iranian leader of the last century, after Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.According to his official website, Khamenei was arrested six times before being sent into exile for three years during Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's reign. He was the target of an attempted assassination in June 1981 that paralysed his right arm.Khamenei was one of Iran's leaders during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s, and developed close ties with the now powerful Revolutionary Guards which he controls, and whose commanders are elected and dismissed by him. The Revolutionary Guards have been used to suppress opposition to him. Khamenei then went to serve as the third President of Iran from 1981 to 1989, while becoming a close ally of the first Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini. Eventually, after Khomeini had a disagreement with the then heir apparent Hussein Ali Montazeri, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani claimed that Khomeini had chosen Khamenei as his successor while the Assembly of Experts deliberated to elect the next Supreme Leader. After Khomeini's death, Khameini was elected by the Assembly of Experts as the new Supreme Leader on 4 June 1989, at the age of 49. He has been head of the servants of Astan Quds Razavi since 14 April 1979.Today, as Supreme Leader, Khamenei is the head of state of Iran and the commander-in-chief of its armed forces. For this reason, he is considered the most powerful political authority in the country. As Supreme Leader, Khamenei can issue decrees and make the final decisions on the main policies of the government in many fields such as economy, the environment, foreign policy, and national planning in Iran. According to Karim Sadjadpour, Khamenei has either direct or indirect control over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, as well as the military and media. All candidates for the Assembly of Experts, the Presidency and the Majlis (Parliament) are vetted by the Guardian Council, whose members are selected directly or indirectly by the Supreme Leader of Iran. There have been also instances when the Guardian Council reversed its ban on particular people after being ordered to do so by Khamenei.There have been major protests during Khamenei's reign, including the 1994 Qazvin Protests, the 1999 Iranian student protests, the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests the 2011–12 Iranian protests, and the 2017–18 Iranian protests. Journalists, bloggers, and other individuals have been put on trial in Iran for the charge of insulting Supreme Leader Khamenei, often in conjunction with blasphemy charges. Their sentences have included lashing and jail time, and some of them have died in custody. Regarding the nuclear program of Iran, Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa in 2003 saying that the production, stockpiling, and use of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction is forbidden.Avaaz
Avaaz is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization launched in January 2007 that promotes global activism on issues such as climate change, human rights, animal rights, corruption, poverty, and conflict. The UK based newspaper The Guardian considers it "the globe's largest and most powerful online activist network".The name chosen for the community is a Sanskrit transliteration meaning "voice" and it has since been incorporated in various neo-lexicons of classical Indo-Aryan lexicons.By Time
By Time (Persian: قسم به زمان) is a 2011 Iranian documentary film written and directed by Ali Fatehi. This film was directed after the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and in the wake of the Green Movement in Iran. This film addresses the three periods of Monatzeri’s life, before revolution, when he became deputy of Supreme Leader and finally when he gave up the power.
This documentary was released in Malaysia on the first anniversary of Ayatollah’s death and was then broadcast on Rasa TV.EA WorldView
EA WorldView is a website specializing in news coverage and analysis of Iran, Syria and the wider Middle East.Facebook Revolution
Facebook Revolution may refer to different revolutions and protests, which were coordinated using Facebook:
2009 Iranian presidential election protests, following the 2009 Iranian presidential election against the disputed victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Media curbs and usage of social networking sites in Kashmir, India, protests against the "Bloody Summer" of 2010
Egyptian revolution of 2011, overthrowing President Hosni Mubarak
Tunisian Revolution, overthrowing President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, 2011
Euromaidan, a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, 2013
Romanian presidential election, 2014, protests over the presidential elections in November 2014
2014 Hong Kong protests or "Umbrella Revolution", a series of sit-in street demonstrations protesting proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system
2017 pro-jallikattu protests, India, against the Supreme Court's order to ban a traditional Tamil bull-taming sportFront of Islamic Revolution Stability
Front of Islamic Revolution Stability (Persian: جبههٔ پایداری انقلاب اسلامی, translit. Jebha-ye pāydārī-e enqelāb-e eslāmī, also translated Persevering Front, Endurance Front and Steadfast Front) is an Iranian principlist political group described as "extreme end of the fundamentalist camp" and "Iran’s most right-wing party". It was established as an electoral list for the 2012 legislative election. The Front is partly made up of former ministers of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi is said to be the "spiritual leader" behind the group.In 2013, the Front supported Saeed Jalili for president after Kamran Bagheri Lankarani's withdrawal, and released electoral list for local elections in several cities, with a landslide victory in Mashhad City Council.The front declares that it stands against both “sedition” (2009 Iranian presidential election protests) and the “deviant current”. Rajanews website is its online mouthpiece.Green Revolution (disambiguation)
The Green Revolution was a massive increase in agricultural yields between 1943–1970 that occurred worldwide.
Green Revolution may also refer to:
The Green Revolution in India, a massive increase in agricultural products in India
The 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, an attempted revolution after Iran's 2009 presidential election. Green reflecting presidential candidate Mousavi's campaign color
The rise of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya
Environmental Revolution, an ongoing process of mitigation of climate change and use of sustainable technologiesGroundReport
GroundReport was a citizen journalism website that enabled contributors to publish news reports and videos. The site was owned by a nonprofit organization called Open News Platform until mid-2017. Since the site did not attract enough donations and advertisement revenue to sustain it, Open News Platform sold the GroundReport.com domain and platform to Search-Ladder, LLC in 2017. Search-Ladder is a digital marketing agency. The sale was completed in May 2017.Hossein Nejat
Mohammad-Hossein Zibayinejad (Persian: محمدحسین زیبایینژاد), also known as Hossein Nejat (Persian: حسین نجات), is an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander who currently serves as the deputy for its Intelligence Organization, being appointed in December 2016.Iran protests
Iran protests can refer to:
Protests leading to the Iranian Revolution of 1979
Iran student protests, July 1999
2009 Iranian presidential election protests
2011–12 Iranian protests
2017–18 Iranian protests
June 2018 Iranian protests
2018–2019 Iranian general strikes and protestsMahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Persian: محمود احمدینژاد, translit. Mahmūd Ahmadinezhād [mæhmuːd(-e) æhmædiːneʒɒːd] (listen), born Mahmoud Sabbaghian (Persian: صباغیان, translit. Sabbāghyān) on 28 October 1956) is an Iranian politician and statesman who served as the sixth President of Iran from 2005 to 2013. He was also the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country.
An engineer and teacher from a poor background, ideologically shaped by thinkers such as Navvab Safavi, Jalal Al-e-Ahmad and Ahmad Fardid, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Iranian Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran's council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on 3 August 2005.During his presidency, Ahmadinejad was a controversial figure within Iran, as well as internationally. He has been criticized domestically for his economic policies and disregard for human rights. Internationally, he is criticized for his hostility towards countries including Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and other Western and Arab states. In 2007, Ahmadinejad introduced a gas rationing plan to reduce the country's fuel consumption, and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He supports Iran's nuclear program. His election to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed and caused widespread protests domestically and drew significant international criticism.During his second term, Ahmadinejad came under fire not only from reformers but also traditionalists in parliament and the Revolutionary Guard, and even from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, over accusations of corruption, Ahmadinejad's dismissal of Intelligence minister Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i, and his support for his controversial close adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. On 14 March 2012, Ahmadinejad became the first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran to be summoned by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament) to answer questions regarding his presidency. Limited to two terms under the current Iranian constitution, Ahmadinejad supported Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei's campaign for president. On 15 June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected as Ahmadinejad's successor and assumed office on 3 August 2013.
On 12 April 2017, Ahmadinejad announced that he intended to run for a third term in the 2017 Iranian presidential election, against the objections of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. His nomination was rejected by the Guardian Council. During the 2017–18 Iranian protests Ahmedinejad criticized the current government of Iran.NEDA Party
Nedaye Iranian Party (Persian: حزب ندای ایرانیان, lit. 'Voice of Iranians') —NEDA is the official acronym standing for 'Second Generation of Reforms' (Persian: نسل دوم اصلاحات, translit. Nasl-e Dovom-e Eslahat)— is a reformist political party in Iran with social democratic leanings that held its first congress in 2015.It was the first party that emerged after the reformist crackdown during 2009 Iranian presidential election protests, followed by the Union of Islamic Iran People Party.
The majority of members belong to the youth wing of banned Islamic Iran Participation Front and are in their early 30s.The party was in coalition with the Pervasive Coalition of Reformists during Iranian legislative election, 2016.Nazila Fathi
Nazila Fathi (born December 28, 1970) is an Iranian-Canadian author and former Teheran correspondent for The New York Times. She also reported on Iran for both Time and Agence France-Presse. In her book The Lonely War she interweaves her personal history with that of Iran, from the 1979 Revolution until, when continuing to report from Iran became life-threatening in 2009, she was forced into exile.Online social movement
Online communities build off social movements, enabling the connection of persons worldwide to develop a base and gain awareness to the cause. Online social movements gained momentum in the late 20th century and early 21st century as new generations sought social change. With access to the internet and the fast growing World Wide Web, online social movements brought awareness to issues both political and social. Online social movements have been praised and criticized; the former for its ability to raise awareness to important causes, and the latter for its ability to perpetuate problems like slacktivism. Although online activism has received criticism, it has had real impacts on social movements.Prison rape
Prison rape or jail rape is rape occurring in prison. The phrase has come into common usage to refer to rape of inmates by other inmates, and less commonly to the rape of inmates by staff, and even less commonly rape of staff by inmates.
In the US, the overwhelming majority of cases are men who are raped by other men.In some jurisdictions, sexual contact with inmates by prison staff is illegal regardless of consent.The well-known teardrop tattoo sometimes signifies that the wearer was raped while incarcerated and tattooed with a teardrop under the eye by the rapist, as a way of “marking” an inmate as the property of another person and humiliating the inmate while in prison, as a tattoo on the face cannot be covered up or hidden.Sadeq Larijani
Sadeq Ardeshir Larijani (Persian: صادق اردشیر لاریجانی; born 12 March 1961), better known as Amoli Larijani (Persian: آملی لاریجانی), is an Iranian cleric, conservative politician and the former and fifth head of the judicial system of Iran after the 1979 revolution.Siamak Ghaderi
Siamak Ghaderi (ca. 1967 – ) is an Iranian freelance journalist and blogger, formerly an editor with the state news agency IRNA, who was arrested on July 27, 2010, and charged with crimes for covering the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests and the Green Movement protest in Tehran, Iran. Ghaderi was sentenced to 4 years and 60 lashes in Iran's Evin Prison.The Green Wave (2010 film)
The Green Wave is a 2010 documentary film directed by Ali Samadi Ahadi. It covers the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests and human rights violations in Iran.
2009 Iranian presidential election and subsequent events
Protests in the 21st century
This list includes post-WWI conflicts (after 1918) of at least 100 fatalities each
Prolonged conflicts are listed in the decade when initiated; ongoing conflicts are marked italic and conflict with +100,000 killed with bold.