[UPDATE No. 2 2011-02-10 8:49 EST]
Guardian reports that the BBC confirms its Persian TV service is being jammed tonight inside Iran, following its coverage of events in Egypt. BBC technicians have traced that interference and have confirmed it is coming from Iran. (Source: Guardian)
Peter Horrocks, director of the BBC's World Service says:
"This jamming should stop immediately. The events in Egypt are being viewed by the entire world and it is wrong that our significant Iranian audience is being denied impartial news and information from BBC Persian TV. This is a regional story that Persian TV have been covering thoroughly and it is clear from our audience feedback that Iranian people want to know what is happening in Egypt. The BBC will not stop covering Egypt and it will continue to broadcast to the Iranian people." (Source: Guardian)
[UPDATE No. 1 2011-02-10 Iran Day of Rage (Feb 14), Regime Continues Crackdown: Karroubi and more Detained or Arrested, Opposition Websites Down (Developing) 6:52pm EST]
The Iranian regime continues its crackdown on the opposition on the eve of the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Friday, Feb. 11, is the annual government-sponsored rally celebrating the Islamic revolution of 1979.
The crackdown is a response to Iranian opposition leaders, Mehdi Karroubi, former Parliament speaker, and Mir Hossein Mousavi, former prime minister, request to hold an alternative rally on Monday, February 14. See below.
In the past 24 hours:
[2011-02-10 Iran Day of Rage (Feb 14), Regime Crackdown: Karroubi under House Arrest (Developing) 10:01am EST]
On Saturday, Iranian opposition leaders, Mehdi Karroubi, former Parliament speaker, and Mir Hossein Mousavi, former prime minister, issued an open letter to Iran's interior minister requesting a permit for a rally on Monday, February 14. (Source: CNN and kaleme.com)
"In order to show solidarity with the popular movements in the region, particularly the freedom-seeking movement of the Tunisian and Egyptian people against their autocratic governments, we hereby request permit to call for a rally –- as Article 27 of the constitution authorizes – on Monday, 25 Bahman [February 14] at 3 p.m. from Imam Hossein to Azadi Square." (Translation Source: Radio Free Europe)
Messrs. Karroubi and Mousavi have been labeled by Iran's hard-liners as the leaders of a 'conspiracy' to overthrow the Islamic Republic, since they claimed election fraud after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the 2009 presidential election. (Source: NYT)
The opposition leaders have requested a rally permit on several occasions, and each time the government has turned them down.
Challenging Regime Rhetoric
Karroubi's and Mousavi's statement comes on the eve of the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution. Friday, Feb. 11, is the annual government-sponsored rally celebrating the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Observers note that the request is a maneuver to rally opposition and encourage the kind of mass protest which were violently crushed by the government in 2009. (Source: AFP) Commentator, Muhammad Sahimi remarks on Tehran Bureau:
It is also a shrewd tactic to put Tehran's hardliners in a tough position. If the hardliners oppose the demonstrations, their supposed support for the two revolutions will ring hollow. If they permit the demonstrations, the day may mark a show of strength for a movement that they do not fail to declare dead on a daily basis.
[T]he regime is hiding behind this concern that if it does not exist, religion will vanish and, by repeatedly voicing alarms, it tries to rally and organize the religious strata behind itself...But in reality what has hurt the religious atmosphere of society the most is the anti-religion and oppressive behavior of the regime itself.(Source: Al Arabiya)
Iranian Authorities Warn Opposition
Iranian authorities have warned against any attempt by Iran's opposition movement to hold the rally.
"We definitely see them as enemies of the revolution and spies, and we will confront them with force," said Hossein Hamedani, Revolutionary Guard Cmdr, according to IRNA news agency. (Source: CNN)
Hamedani also told the official IRNA news agency, "The seditionists are nothing but a dead corpse and we will strongly confront any of their movements.” (Source: Radio Free Europe)
Kayhan, spokesman for the security and intelligence forces has said, "The reformist leaders know that they cannot revive their sedition and chaos, and their request [for a demonstration permit] is to show that they are not totally powerless." (Source: Tehran Bureau)
"This is a political act. These people have separated their path from that of the people and they want to divide the people of Iran," Mohseni Ejeie, Iran's prosecutor general and spokesman for the judiciary, was quoted as saying by ILNA news agency. (Source: AFP)
The prosecutor general added, "If anybody wants to side with the wishes of people of Egypt and Tunisia, they should come along with the establishment and people on 22 Bahman (February 11) and take part in the rally," which marks the anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution of 1979. (Source: AFP)
Iranian Crackdown Developing
As Iran gets ready for its state-sponsored demonstration on February 11, commemorating the 1979 revolution, it has also begun its crackdown on Monday's unsanctioned rally.
In the past 24 hours, opposition member, Taghi Rahmani, has been arrested. A member of the outlawed Freedom Movement of Iran, he had campaigned for reformist cleric Karroubi ahead of the disputed 2009 presidential vote, and has spent a third of his life in jail. (Source: Saham News)
Today, Radio Amanheh reports that Karroubi has been prohibited from having his family visit him until 25 Baham [February 14]. Tehran Bureau reports that according to his Web site, he is, in fact, under house arrest. (Source: AP)
[UPDATE] Minutes after publishing this article Mousavi's Web site went down. See here for current status.
Regime Talking Points: 'Things Never Better'
Iranian Interior Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, said today that "Iran is at the peak of spirit, unity and solidarity nationally," and that the "Islamic Republic of Iran is at the peak of potency and strength at national, regional and international levels," according to a report from the government owned Press TV.
He said that social and political movements in other countries, including African states, were inspired by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, adding that the current developments in Tunisia and Egypt indicate that the Islamic Revolution was moving forward progressively to inspire the entire world. (Source: Press TV)
North African Model: 'Islamic Awakening' or 'Green Movement'
In late January, Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a statement linking the events in Tunisia and Egypt to the aftermath of the Iranian presidential election in 2009:
Today the slogan of "Where is my vote?" of the Iranian people is echoed in the slogan of "The people demand the overthrow of the regime" in Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria. To find the roots of these connections and similarities we need not go too far afield. It suffices to compare the manner of the recent elections in Egypt with that of our own, where the head of the "Guardian Council" blithely states that there is no need for the votes of millions of "Green" citizens. If we monitor the collapsing regimes of the Arab world and the Middle East, we will see that in all these regimes social networks, the press, and the virtual space have been assaulted and that the Internet, the messaging, and mobile systems are shut down. Everywhere pens are broken and dissidents are imprisoned. (Source: Tehran Bureau)
On Saturday, Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website editor in chief, Khaled Hamza, "denounced claims by the Iranian Supreme Leader Mr. Khamenai that the protests are a sign of an Islamic Awakening inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran."
President of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, Maryam Rajavi, also criticized Khamenai's comments, "describing it as a desperate attempt to advocate support of fundamentalism and terrorism, describing them as the worst enemy of Islam and Muslims adding, 'The day will come when they will be forced to let go of the name of Islam.'" (Source: Ikhwanweb)
Tehran Bureau reports that university students around Iran have called on people across the country to take place in the demonstrations: including those at the University of Ashrafi Esfahani, the University of Tehran, and the Islamic Azad University campuses in Qazvin, Khoramabad, Tehran. (Source: Tehran Bureau)
Cyber space has also been abuzz with support:
There is also a wave of support in cyberspace. There are pages on Facebook and Twitter calling on everybody both to take part in the demonstrations and to spread the word about them. All sorts of banners have already been designed for the occasion and posted on the Internet...People have been asked to bring posters and placards in different languages to the demonstrations. There is a call to demonstrate until "victory is achieved." YouTube is buzzing with all sorts of video clips of last year's demonstrations and summons to the ones next Monday. There is even a post that excitedly predicts "good weather for Tehran" on February 14. (Source: Tehran Bureau)