Iran escalation: Rafsanjani's daughter arrested; Update: Full speed ahead on negotiations, says Lugar; Update: Rafsanjani's daughter released; Update: Clerics mulling replacing Khamenei with committee? Update: Guardian council admits there were more votes than voters

There’s a hot rumor going around on Twitter that Mousavi’s been arrested too but I can’t find anything online to back that up. Rafsanjani’s daughter has been detained, though, along with four other members of the family, although we should call that what it is and refer to it more properly as hostage-taking. Rafsanjani himself is widely thought to be rounding up clerical opposition to the regime; now he knows the price he’ll pay if he follows through.


Tehran itself is reportedly “eerily calm” today, and some of the Iranian Tweeters who have been updating constantly have gone conspicuously, ominously silent in the last few hours. Even so, the government’s kicking out BBC reporters in preparation for god knows what. It’s a testament to how peaceful the protesters have been so far that Iranian state TV is forced to run inane news coverage of Wimbledon instead of showcasing footage of Mousavi supporters behaving violently, although rare examples of people fighting back are trickling out online. You saw one of them late last night in that vid I posted of protesters supposedly igniting a Basij gas line; here’s another stirring clip posted this morning of the crowd facing down the Basij and chasing them off. Below that is footage of what purports to be protesters coping with that mysterious burning agent being dropped by Iranian helicopters. Looks like they’re reacting to regular old tear gas to me, but you be the judge. More updates to follow as news breaks, needless to say.

Update: Republican Dick Lugar predicts a “very brutal outcome” to the uprising — and says the U.S. should negotiate with the regime anyway. Way to cover Obama’s ass, Dick. He and The One are pals, incidentally; I wonder if he said this at his behest.


Update: Keep your eye on statements from Ali Larijani. He’s the former chief nuke negotiator and current head of Iran’s parliament. He’s also a favorite of Khamenei and a bitter enemy of Ahmadinejad, which puts him in an awkward position under the circumstances. NIAC reports that he accused the Guardian Council this morning of taking Ahmadinejad’s side, which could suggest that he’s tilting away from Khamenei and the regime and towards Mousavi. That’d be a significant defection, if so.

Update: The 4:20 update at the NYT’s grand round-up of today’s (non-)action in Tehran claims that Rafsanjani’s daughter has been released. I guess this was a shot across the bow from the regime at what awaits his family if he presses on with rallying clerical sentiment against them. Which, according to Al-Arabiya, is precisely what’s he doing:

The influential Rafsanjani, 57, heads two very powerful groups. The most important one is the Assembly of Experts, made up of senior clerics who can elect and dismiss the supreme leader. The second is the Expediency Council, a body that arbitrates disputes between parliament and the unelected Guardian Council, which can block legislation.

Members of the assembly are reportedly considering forming a collective ruling body and scrapping the model of Ayatollah Khomeini as a way out of the civil crisis that has engulfed Tehran in a series of protests,

The discussions have taken place in a series of secret meetings convened in the holy city of Qom and included Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq.


Update: An ABC reporter in Tehran is tweeting that all of Mousavi’s top aides have been arrested, although I don’t see that confirmed anywhere else. If it’s true, presumably they’ll be released shortly as part of the some sort of warning Rafsanjani’s daughter got. What’s undeniably true is that state media’s ramping up the rhetoric against him as a prelude to arresting the man himself if this drags on much longer.

In other news, The One is playing golf today. Yes, really.

Update: Mousavi’s allies tell ABC that more than 700 supporters have been detained this past week. Follow the link and see how many journalists are being locked up, too.

Update: No rigging here. Mind you, this comes off from Iran’s own state media.

Iran’s Guardian Council has suggested that the number of votes collected in 50 cities surpass the number of people eligible to cast ballot in those areas.

The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.

“Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said.


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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on November 29, 2023