Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who's in Control in Tehran?

Excellent post on who's calling the shots in Iran at the moment. Good background information on the power structure there. Article is by Gary Sick, a veteran Iran watcher.

But here is a wholly different view, questioning whether the election was fraudulent.

Here's Juan Cole in his continuing coverage of the election results. The top level address for Informed Comment, Cole's blog, is

Nico Pitney is liveblogging events in Iran at Huffington Post.

Nick Kristof and Roger Cohen both write often about Iran in their columns in the New York Times. Kristof has an excellent article today on internet technology for dissidents. Here's another good one from Cohen.

David Corn here reposts two good background articles by experts from Gary Sick's Iran mailing list.

Robert Dreyfuss, of the Dreyfuss Report blog in The Nation, has this article which shows the two sides in Iran and who is backing each.

The New York Times has this op-ed piece by an anonymous student in Iran that is an excellent picture by a participant in the events.

Very good article by Azadeh Moaveni who has been covering Iran for years, and she shows how the frustrations of Iranians have been building for a decade, if not longer.

Update 6/22/09: Marvelous piece of reporting from the ground by Roger Cohen. Also a good piece from the Economist listing other good sources of information, and decrying that American news media keep using the same old talking heads that were wrong on Iran and don't know enough about Iran. Cohen's latest is marvelous, with good background information on the power struggle, and this amazing message from an anonymous woman student:

"I received this from an anonymous Iranian student: “I will participate in the demonstrations tomorrow. Maybe they will turn violent. Maybe I will be one of the people who is going to be killed. I’m listening to all my favorite music. I even want to dance to a few songs. I always wanted to have very narrow eyebrows. Yes, maybe I will go to the salon before I go tomorrow!”

And she concludes: “I wrote these random sentences for the next generation so that they know we were not just emotional under peer pressure. So they know that we did everything we could to create a better future for them. So they know that our ancestors surrendered to Arabs and Mogols but did not surrender to despotism. This note is dedicated to tomorrow’s children.”

Update 6/23: Thomas Ricks, whose book The Gamble I really respect, has this to say. He points to this essay by Robin Wright, which talks about in part about a cleric who has said the election results are invalid. The New York Times today had this article about the elections and the questions that remain after analyzing the results. The Los Angeles Times has this moving article on Neda, the young woman killed in the protests. Mashable has a list of 10 YouTube must see videos on the Iran election crisis and this timeline of social media events. ReadWriteWeb has this post that efforts to keep information flowing into and in Iran are failing. In another post, RWW has a great cartoon.

Update 6/25: Good article from AP on the role of women in Iran's protests and Iranian society in general. The Guardian U.K. has this horrible story that the family of Neda Soltan, the young woman whose death was captured on video and has been spread around the world, has been forced to move and prevented from showing any signs of mourning, and that they are now claiming that the protesters or foreign journalists killed her. What a travesty.

Breaking: story that the clerics of the Expediency Council and the Assembly of Experts may be considering replacing Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. Unconfirmed at this point. This comes from a list of useful and timely tweets.

Mousavi has now spoken out forcefully, to a group of 70 scholars who were arrested and taken away. I hope it doesn't cost Mousavi his life... surely the leaders are too smart to create that powerful of a martyr. Martyrdom is a major theme in Shia Islam, anyway, stemming from early martyrdoms that created Shia Islam.

Chatham House is a major British think tank, and here is their preliminary analysis of the Iranian elections. They find, for example, that two conservative provinces had above 100% voter participation, and other indications of fraud.

Here is the website for the Iran section of Reporters Without Borders, who are concerned primarily with press freedom issues. Three more journalists have apparently been arrested.

Update 6/26: The Wall Street Journal has this article on the spiritual authority of Khamenei for all Shiites and how that faith is being shaken by the current crisis.

McClatchy has this article story on the defiance in having a memorial service for Neda Soltan, and more on internal power struggles. All but four of the professors who met with Mousavi have been released now. Mousavi is increasingly restricted. By the way, McClatchy is a good news source to follow. They don't have a New York City or D.C. outlet, but they get a lot of stories that the others don't, including having a couple of reporters who were right about Iraq pre-war, when everyone else was drinking the Kool-Aid.

Here's a piece, originally published in French, with a lot of background about Mousavi.

Diplomacy Monitor is a great site that provides the full text of government documents from around the world. Here is their feed for official Iranian documents.

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