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“Neda” Was Buried Today, Her Memorial Cancelled by “Authorities”

Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009

Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009

Via Hot Air, it appears that “Neda,” the young woman who was shot at a rally and has become a symbol of the Iranian protests, has been identified. Her name was Neda Agha Soltan. She was not 16 years old after all, but 27. She reportedly was a philosophy student who attended the rally at which she was shot with a professor, not her father. Reportedly, she was shot by a Basiji passing on a motorcycle.

According to ABC news Middle East reporter Lara Setrakian, Neda’s memorial service, which was to have been held tomorrow, has been cancelled on orders from the government. She was buried today in Behesht Zahra cemetary.

Here is the wiki page that has been created for her and a memorial page that someone built in her honor. Huffpo has this information on their liveblog:

6:55 PM ET — A bit more on Neda. A blogger apparently in touch with Neda’s family members offers some new details (translated by reader Nima): she was born in 1982, apparently her full name was Neda Agha-Soltan, and she was at the protest with one her professors and several other students. She was, they said, shot by a basiji riding by on a motorcycle. Also, she was apparently buried today at a large cemetery in the south of Tehran. ABC News’ Lara Setrakian writes, “Hearing reports Neda was buried in Behesht Zahra cemetery earlier today, memorial service cancelled on orders from authorities.”

Huffpo also posted this video from “a reader”:

2:23 PM ET — Neda before she was shot. A reader forwards this video showing Neda (in the black shirt and blue jeans) and a companion (blue striped shirt) during the rally. Another reader sends an unconfirmed report of a memorial service for Neda planned for tomorrow at 5PM at Niloufar mosque at Abas Abad, Tehran.

And here is the video of Neda after being shot. Warning: It’s disturbing. Most people have probably seen it already though.

May she rest in peace, and may her death not be in vain.


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Iranian Government and State-Run Media Escalate Conflict

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ali Rafsanjani

Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of Ali Rafsanjani

It appears that the Iranian government is getting increasingly desperate. Earlier today several relatives of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashimi Rafsanjani, including his daughter, were arrested and detained for a time. According to The New York Times,

Mr. Rafsanjani, one of the fathers of the Iranian revolution, has been locked in a power struggle with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and worked closely with the reform movement during the disputed presidential election. Sunday morning, state television said five members of his family had been detained, including Mr. Rafsanjani’s daughter, Faezeh Hashemi. Later, family members said all had been released.

The detentions suggested that Mr. Khamenei was facing entrenched resistance among some members of the elite. Though rivalries among top clerics in Iran have been a feature of Iranian politics since the 1979 revolution, analysts said that open factional competition amid a major political crisis could hinder Mr. Khamenei’s ability to restore order.

Now the Washington Post is reporting that the Iranian state-controlled media is calling losing presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi a “criminal” and claiming that protesters are members of a terrorist group based in France, Mudjehadin-e khalq.

Authorities appeared to be seeking to blame the violence on radicals. State television charged that “the presence of terrorists . . . was tangible” in Saturday’s events. It asked viewers to send videoclips of protestors in order to help authorities to arrest them.

Scenes of the violent protest were shown frequently on Iranian state television and in a special broadcast the rioters were said to be members of the Paris based Mudjehadin-e khalq organization, an Islamist Marxist group that is labeled by the United States as a terrorist organization. After siding with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and a series of terrorists attacks, the group has little support among most Iranians.

Audio clips were played of alleged telephone recordings in which people said to be members of the organization urge others to get information about the protests to Western news organizations. Despite the media claims, involvement of the group seems highly unlikely since supporters are rare in Iran.

In addition, the Post reports that Mousavi has not made any public appearances today, and his followers are very worried that he may be arrested. The Post says that it is becoming clear that there is power struggle going on in the Iranian government between Rafsanjani and Ayatolla Khamenei. Continue reading

Saturday: Witnessing the courage of Iran

Update: I am going to sticky this post for the rest of the day.

President Obama has worked up enough emotion for a statement.  Here it is:

“We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost,” he said, adding: “Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.”

Funny, he seemed to positively approve of gaming the caucuses and having his whips threatening to get delegates at the convention fired if they didn’t change their votes.  No amount of coercion seemed to be too much back then, as long as he was winning.   My question is, does President Obama regard votes as sacred and does he believe in self-determination through the electoral process?  I would like to hear him say that unequivocally.  I would like to hear him promise that none of the cheating that he used in 2008 will happen in 2010.  What say you all?  Does the Obama WH believe in protecting the vote?

The NYTimes reports that Moussavi has told his followers that he is ready for martyrdom and if he is arrested, they are to go on indefinite strike.  There have also been reports that the crowds have been successful in keeping the militia at bay in Gisha.  There is a very disturbing video of a young woman shot to death by basij.  And there are reports that various embassies have opened their doors to the wounded.  I only wish we had an embassy there.

I found this video through Twitter of a woman’s poem during the cries of Allahu Akbar last night.  I hope she knows that the whole world is watching.

There are conflicting reports from Iran.  Is today’s planned demonstration on or off?  Unconfirmed reports from Engheleb square in Tehran say that Moussavi is on the march from his office with a crowd of 10,000, that there are riot police everywhere and that tear gas has been used.  Yesterday, the protestors were instructed to bring a copy of their Quran and to sit down if they were attacked.  There are various reports that internet service has been blocked and that cell phone signal in the area of the protest has been jammed.  Nevertheless, truth has a way of getting out.  Where there’s a will…

Put aside the politicians for a moment.  The people of Iran seem to be taking on this task themselves for their own reasons.  It’s clear that they do not trust their government and they want a new one.  They want their votes to count.  They don’t want the facsimile of a government by the people without the actuality of their votes having meaning.  Those of us who lost our votes during last year’s primary can sympathize.  When your leaders can disregard your vote, they don’t have to listen to you or represent you.  They can run the country any way they please.  You are no longer master of your own fate.  You don’t get to end wars you don’t like, ensure that all people are treated with dignity and equality, make sure your financial institutions don’t cheat or reform healthcare.

The protests in Iran really have nothing to do with Ahamadinejad or Moussavi.  This is about a people taking back their rights to rule themselves.  Good Luck to them, our PUMA brothers and sisters in Iran.

PUMA Power

Here are some sites to follow for the latest:

Twitter’s #Iranelection

The Lede at the NYTimes

Informed Comment (Juan Cole)


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