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Green Movement of Iran
جنبش سبز ايران
Leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi
Mehdi Karroubi
Founded June 15, 2009 (2009-06-15)
Ideology Liberalism
Reformist
Islamic Democracy
Nationalism
Justice
International affiliation Aliance of Greens
Website
rahesabz.net
kaleme.org
english.mowjcamp.ws
tagheer.net
Politics of Iran
Political parties
Elections

Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters have demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. Green was first the symbol of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign but after the election, it became the symbol of unity and hope for those asking for annulment of what they regarded as a fraudulent election.[1] Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are recognized as political leaders of the Green Movement[2]. Hossein-Ali Montazeri was also mentioned as spiritual leader of the movement.[3] Protests of this size have not been seen in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Contents

Where is my vote?

Where is my vote?, the motto of demonstrators against the purported vote fraud. Where is my vote? (Persian: رای من کجاست؟) is a motto which was used during the protests. The Iranian Government, currently headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, released results claiming a two-thirds majority, However Mousavi had already claimed victory before the vote count was done [4] and supporters of Mousavi and Karroubi, accused the government of rigging the votes.

In the aftermath of the election, protests were widened and several massive peaceful protests were held around the country by the people. The government arrested a large number of the protesters and several were killed by the police and governmental militia forces. (Basij) - Neda Aghasoltan.

Handala, coming and watching the Iranian Green Movement, has become a web mascot.[5]

Due to a general ban of all non-governmental newspapers and news agencies and the arrest of the senior members of the opposition party across the country, totally denied by the state media, most scenes of the massive protests (the biggest since the Islamic revolution) have been recorded by the people and widely available on Youtube. Facebook and youtube have since both been banned[citation needed].

Although the Iranian government prohibited any form of gathering by opposition-supporters in Tehran and across the country, significantly slowed down internet access and censored any form of media agreeing with the opposition, hundreds of thousands of Iranians chanted this motto, defying the law and challenging the strength of the Republic.[6]

Legal ways

Mousavi and the reformists are now working in legal ways to put into force reforms. They had set up a new coalition, named The Green Path of Hope, to support this way.

Outcome of 2009 presidential election

Millions of Mousavi supporters, gathered in Tehran on 18 June, protesting against the election results

The election was held on June 12, 2009. The official results show Ahmadinejad winning by a landslide, though Mousavi and many others believe the results to be fraudulent, suggesting that the Interior Minister, Sadegh Mahsouli, an ally of Ahmadinejad, interfered with the election and distorted the votes to keep Ahmadinejad in power.[7] Mousavi has claimed victory, and called for his supporters to celebrate it. There have been large protests as a result [8][9][10].

"Previously, he was revolutionary, because everyone inside the system was a revolutionary. But now he's a reformer. Now he knows Gandhi – before he knew only Che Guevara. If we gain power through aggression we would have to keep it through aggression. That is why we're having a green revolution, defined by peace and democracy."
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Mousavi's spokesman, June 19 2009 [11]
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Protests

Clashes broke out between police and groups protesting the election results from early morning on Saturday onward. Initially, the protests were largely peaceful. However, as time passed, they became increasingly violent. Some protesters began to get violent after the results of the election were announced. Angry crowds in Tehran broke into shops, tore down signs, and smashed windows.[12] Civil unrest took place as protesters set fire to tyres outside the Interior Ministry building and others formed a human chain of around 300 people to close off a major Tehran street.[13]

The demonstrations grew bigger and more heated than the 1999 student protests.[14] Al Jazeera English described the 13 June situation as the "biggest unrest since the 1979 revolution." It also reported that protests seemed spontaneous without any formal organization.[15] Two hundred people protested outside Iran's embassy in London on 13 June.[16] Ynet has stated that "tens of thousands" protested on 13 June.[17] Demonstrators are chanting phrases such as "Down with the dictator", "Death to the dictator", and "Give us our votes back".[18][17] Mousavi has urged for calm and asked that his supporters refrain from acts of violence.[18]

Protesters in Tehran, June 16

Ynet reported on 14 June that two people had died in the rioting so far.[17] That day, protests had been organized in front of the Iranian embassies in Turkey,[19] Dubai,[19] Paris,[20] Berlin,[20] London,[21] Rome,[22] Sydney,[23] Vienna[20] and The Hague.[24] In response to the reformist protests, tens of thousands of people rallied in Tehran on 14 June to support the victory of Ahmadinejad.[25]

On 15 June, Mousavi[26] rallied, with anywhere from hundreds of thousands[27] to three million,[28] of his supporters in Tehran, despite being warned by state officials that any such rally would be illegal. The demonstration, the largest in the Islamic Republic of Iran's 30-year history, was Mousavi's first public appearance after the election. Protests focused around Azadi Tower, around which lines of people stretched for more than nine kilometers met. Gunshots were reported to have been fired at the rally, where Mousavi had spoke to his supporters saying, "The vote of the people is more important than Mousavi or any other person."[19][27] All three opposition candidates appeared.[28]

Competing rallies for Mousavi and for Ahmadinejad took place on 16 June. The pro-Ahmadinejad protesters, chanting the phrases "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!", outnumbered their opponents, but they did not match the numbers of opponents who had protested the day before. Reports from the state media and elsewhere stated on 16 June that seven people have died in all of the protests so far.[29][30] However, Times Online quoted a Rasoul Akram Hospital nurse that day who asserted that 28 people have suffered from "bullet wounds" and eight have died so far.[31] Over half a million reformist Iranians marched silently from Haft-e-Tir Square to Vali Asr Square on 17 June. The National Iranian American Council stated that day that 32 people had died protesting so far.[27]

Government actions

Where is my vote? The motto used by demonstrators.

Arrests

On the weekend of 13 and 14 June, in a series of raids across Tehran, the government arrested over 170 people, according to police officials.[32] 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.[33][34][35] Also arrested were Mostafa Tajzadeh and Mohsen Aminzadeh, whom the IRNA said were involved in orchestrating protests on 13 June.[35] Anonymous sources said that the police stormed the headquarters of the IIPF and arrested a number of people.[14][36] Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin claimed that presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi was put under house arrest, although officials denied this.[37] An estimated 200 people were detained after clashes with students at Tehran university, although many were later released.[38]

Acting Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan stated via the state press service on the 14th that “in the interrogation of related rebels, we intend to find the link between the plotters and foreign media".[39] A judiciary spokesman said they had not been arrested but that they were summoned, "warned not to increase tension," and later released.[40] Intelligence minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei linked some arrests to terrorism supported from outside Iran, stating that "more than 20 explosive consignments were discovered".[41] Others, he said, were "counter-revolutionary groups" who had "penetrated election headquarters" of the election candidates.[41]

On 16 June, Reuters reported that former vice-president Mohammad-Ali Abtahi and former presidential advisor Saeed Hajjarian had been arrested.[42] Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, who had been demanding a recount of all votes, was also arrested on the Tuesday according to Shirin Ebadi, who said that security officials had posed as clients.[43] Over 100 students were arrested after security forces fired tear gas at protesters at Shiraz University on the same day.[38] Reporters Without Borders reported that 5 of 11 arrested journalists were still detention as of 16 June, and that a further 10 journalists were unaccounted for and may have been arrested.[38]

On 17 June, former foreign minister and secretary-general of the Freedom Movement of Iran, Ebrahim Yazdi, was arrested while undergoing tests at Pars hospital in Tehran.[38][44] He was held overnight in Evin Prison before being released and returning to hospital, where according to Human Rights Watch he remained under guard.[45][46] In Tabriz, other Freedom Movement activists and eight members of the IIPF were arrested, with reports of at least 100 civic figures' arrests.[38] The total number of arrests across Iran since the election was reported as 500.[38]

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".[38] In Isfahan Province, prosecutor-general Mohammadreza Habibi warned that dissidents could face execution under Islamic law.[47]

Green Movement

6th Day - Fans of Mousavi.jpg

Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the Iranian presidential election, 2009, in which protesters demanded removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office. Green was originally the symbol of Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign, but after the election it became a symbol of unity and hope for the protesters.[48]

Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, Hossein-Ali Montazeri and Mohammad Khatami are recognized as leaders of the Green Movement[49].

Where is my vote?(Persian: رای من کجاست؟) was a motto used during the protests. Anti-Ahmadinejad protesters chanted the English-language phrase in numbers not seen since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, in an attempt to receive international attention. The Iranian Government had released results claiming a two-thirds majority for Ahmadinejad, but supporters of Mousavi and Karroubi, the moderate opposition leaders, accused the government of rigging the votes.

In the aftermath of the election and ensuing comments by Ahmadinejad and other conservative leaders, calling the opposition "a pile of dust" (خس و خاشاک), protests were widened and massive peaceful protests were held around the country. Although the Iranian government prohibited any gatherings of protesters in Tehran and across the country, significantly slowed down internet access and censored any form of media supporting the opposition, hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched in defiance.[50] Large numbers of protesters were arrested, and several were killed by the police and militia forces Basij. Neda Agha-soltan and Sohrab Aarabi were among the victims, and alleged cases of rape in prison (Taraneh Mousavi) were also brought to attention.

Since the election, the government has severely restricted the access of foreign and Iranian media to footage and information relating to opposition activities. As a result, scenes of the massive street protests and more frequent student protests have been filmed by participants, and are widely available on Youtube.

The Green Path of Hope

Mousavi and other reformist leaders are now working in peaceful and legal methods to widen the influence of their reforms. They have set up a new coalition, named The Green Path of Hope. Iranian political parties and movements need to be authorized by the Interior Ministry. Mousavi neither recognizes the current government as legitimate nor is likely to receive permission; so, the movement was named a "path" in order bypass this law. [51][52]

The Green Path of Hope seeks to continue protests against Ahmadinejad's presidency following lawful and peaceful methods, and the full execution of the constitution, as Mousavi says:

"You can't follow some parts of the constitution and throw the rest into a bin."

[53]

Mousavi is quoted in describing the movement [54]:

"The Green Path of Hope is formed for the sake of people’s rightful demands and for claiming their rights... the color green is the symbol of this movement; its slogan is demanding the impeccable implementation of the constitution, and innumerable self-motivated independent societies form the body of this movement."

According to organization officials, the movement functions encompasses numerous political parties, NGO's and social networks. Mousavi emphasized that existent, autonomous social networks in the community are part of this movement: [55]:

"During the election, our mottos supported and remained in the framework of the constitution; today we are devoted to those slogans. We believe that if the people's demands were treated fairly, instead of being distorted by the media and linked to foreigners, and the government promoted truth by fair criticism, our mottos could satisfy the public."[55]

Mousavi's supporters in Tehran, 3rd after Election.

The "Green Path" has six main members of the central council, who are connected to reformist parties, NGOs, and social networks. The main body will be ordinary protesters. The strategy is to connect existent pressures and issues in society in a social network, and to therefore lead protests in a lawful manner. [56]

References

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  2. ^ Aseman Daily News (5 July 2009). "دعوتنامه برگزارکنندگان مراسم ۱۸ تیر از ميرحسين موسوی و مهدی کروبی و محمد خاتمی" (in Persian). http://asemandailynews.com/?p=2417. Retrieved 5 July 2009. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Shirin Sadeghi (2009 09 18), QODS DAY: Protesters Transform Jerusalem Day Into Iran Day 
  6. ^ Iranians, by hundreds of thousands, ask: Where is my vote?
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  50. ^ Iranians, by hundreds of thousands, ask: Where is my vote?
  51. ^ http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2009/08/092369.php
  52. ^ http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2009/08/092369.php
  53. ^ http://www.parlemannews.ir/index.aspx?n=2694
  54. ^ Mousavi announces new political party, UPI, August 16, 2009
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  56. ^ http://news.gooya.com/politics/archives/2009/08/092369.php

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