News of the pro-democracy movement in Iran:



July 19, 1999: Keyhan newspaper in Tehran revealed today a "secret" petition signed by top IRGC commanders that was sent to President Khatami on July 12, warning him to back off on his reform program "before it is too late," Reuters reported. "Our patience is at an end. We do not feel it is our duty to show any more tolerance," the officers wrote. Among the 24 signatories were the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards Corp land, sea and air forces. "Mr. President, if you don't take a revolutionary decision today, and fail to abide by your Islamic and nationalistic duty, tomorrow will be too late and the damage done will be irreparable and beyond imagination," Kayhan quoted the letter as saying. Khatami responded publicly by denouncing the student protestors (see July 14, 1999 entry), and calling for them to end the protests.

July 18, 1999: The Intelligence Minister announced on Sunday that it had arrested student leaders Manouchehr Mohammadi and Gholamreza Mohajeri-Nezhad today, and accused them of conspiring with "with the help of the counter-revolution and of the so-called human rights circles" to plan the recent student protests. Relatives of both men expressed fear that they could be executed under Iran's tough 1996 espionage law. Seyyed Javad Emami and Hasan Zare'zadeh Ardeshir, of the Central Committee of the Student's Islamic Association, and Mohammad Salamati, the secretary of the Student's United Front , were also reportedly arrested according to the Paris-based Iran Press Service.

July 17, 1999: Overseas Iranians, under the umbrella of the Alliance for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran, plan to protest today in Washington, DC and march to the White House. A similar protest will be held in Bonn, Germany. Click here for scheduled times and places and contact numbers

July 16, 1999: Protests against the regime attempt to suppress pro-democracy demonstrations are being planned for today and tomoroww by overseas Iranians around the world. Click here for scheduled times and places and contact numbers. Click here to see a picture of the demonsration in Los Angeles on July 15, 1999.

July 15, 1999: FDI Director Kenneth R. Timmerman says the pro-democracy protests are "the beginning of the beginning of the end" of absolute clerical rule in Iran in today's Washington Times Read the slogans of the Iranian students. In the Washington Post, former Tehran University professor Azar Nafisi explains to an American audience why President Khatami is no friend of the pro-democracy movement, and has joined forces with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene'i against the students. Meanwhile, in a new statement from London Amnesty International calls on the Tehran authorities to "guarantee fundamental rights" of all Iranians, and to "investigate fully and partially" the killing of students by pro-regime militias and law enforcement forces.Human Rights Watch has also written to Ayatollah Khamene'i, condemning the assault on Iranian students.

July 14, 1999: Last night and today the regime struck back after six days of pro-democracy protests. President Khatami showed his true colors, calling for an end of the protests and claiming they were led by individuals with "evil aims." Tens of thousands of regime-supporters marched through Tehran on Wednesday (the regime had earlier announced that 100,000 would show up); sources in Tehran tell FDI that the majority were civil servants and other government employees who had been given the day off and an extra day off, and were bussed in from outside the capital for the event. Addressing the rally, the Secretary of the National Security Council, Hassan Rouhani, said the pro-democracy protesters would be arrested and could face the death penalty.

The Iran Nation's Party, formerly led by Darioush Forouhar, issued a statement on 7/14 from Brussels, calling for the release of all political prisoners. The INP said that three of its top leaders were arrested on Tuesday and taken to unknown locations. Those arrested were INP spokesman Khosrow Saef; Engineer Bahram Namazi, a member of the Central Leadership Council; and Mehran Kashani, an activist in the youth organization of the Party. Also arrested was an activist with the youth organization in Kermanshah, identified as Faramound. The INP said its youth organization had thrown all its forces behind the youth uprisings. "The nationalist and democratic students have risen, and it is our national duty to come out of our homes and join these students who are pioneers," the INP statement said. "These young Iranian students want democracy and justice and have no fear."

July 13, 1999: Student protests in Tehran have spread to more than eighteen Iranian cities over the past three days. CNN broadcast footage of pro-democracy protests in Tehran today, with police firing into the air and lobbing tear gas into Tehran University. Widescale arrests of student leaders and protesters were also reported today. Iranian students organizations have set up their own webpage to provide up-to-date information on the

Click here to see a picture of the first confrontation between pro-Democracy protesters in Tehran and riot police. For more pictures,

Elaine Sciolino, reporting on the front page of today's New York Times, said the demonstrations were "the most widespread and sustained protests since Iran's revolution two decades ago." In Tehran, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani, vowed to crack down on the protests in a statement issued late on today. "We will re-store peace at any cost in Iran from Wednesday," Shamkhani said. "All of the authorities agree that nobody should cross three red lines of Islamic Rule, Velayat-e-Faqih and Ayatollah Khamenei as the symbol of the first two pillars." The official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the Supreme National Security Council issued a bulletin today announcing a "solidarity rally" in Tehran on Wednesday, and called on "every citizen, including students, academics, the ulema, and the basijis" to attend. IRNA said the SNSC "would not tolerate the violent acts of opportunists and counter-revolution elements who were out to exploit the situation and create instability in the country or engage in such other acts as damaging public property or the property of the people." Click here for earlier reporting on the protests.

July 9, 1999: Newsflash: According to reports from inside Iran, anti-riot police and civilian-clothed MOIS operatives stormed student quarters in the Amirabad district of Tehran late last night, in a massive crack-down aimed at quashing student protests. Initial reports reaching FDI said 5 students had been killed, and an estimated 200 arrested. According to one source, two students were thrown to their deaths from an apartment house balcony. In another incident, a doctor and nurse who attempted to breach police barracades to tend to the wounded were hauled out of an ambulance and beaten, before being taken away in an unmarked Mercedes by MOIS operatives. Students from nearby Tehran University, who live in the lower rent Amirabad district, had been meeting to coordinate demonstrations and other actions to protest the anti-press law passed by the Majlis two days earlier. Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action memorandum expressing fear for the safety of student demonstrators.

July 8, 1999: The BBC reported last night from Tehran that hard-liners in Tehran have closed Salam newspaper, a leading supporter of the reform movement. Earlier in the day, the Majlis passed on first reading a sweeping new law which would legalize the crackdown on the reformist press that has been underway for the past few months. A court ordered Salam to cease publication after a complaint from the Intelligence Ministry over the printing of a secret ministry report about an alleged hardline plot to muzzle the country's pro-reform press, the BBC reported.

July 6, 1999: The Iranian Student Movement for Democracy (formerly known as the Islamic Student Movement) called a demonstration beginning at 2PM local time today in front of the United Nations office in Tehran, to protest the arrest of Heshmatollah Tabarzadi and Hossein Kashani. They also condemned the crackdown on the press and the failure of President Khatami to oppose it. Read the Amnesty International appeal regarding the Tabarzadi and Kashani arrest here. According to a fax received from the group in Tehran, three of the demonstration leaders were immediately arrested by the authorities and taken to an unknown location. They were identified as: Mohamad Massod Salamati, Seyed Djavad Emamil, and Parviz Safari. Reports indicated that several other students, as well as a reporter trying to take pictures of the arrests, were also seized.

Tabarzadi's former newsletter, Payam-e Daneshjou, earned the ire of IRI leaders by exposing some of the regime's dirtiest secrets. See "Rulers of Rafsanjan," from The June 1996 issue of The Iran Brief.


The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director. Tel: (301) 946-2918. Fax: (301) 942-5341. FDI materials, including the FDI Newswire, are available free-of-charge via the Internet at