Exclusive Tehran Account: Rejoicing Rafsanjani's Daughter's Release
In his second online chat with Tehran photojournalist NS, Parvez Sharma witnesses Iran media breaking news on the release of former Iran President Rafsanjani’s daughter. NS details another brutal attack on a loved one during a protest—a male photographer attacked with large Ghameh knife, a weapon traditionally used during the Shia mourning ritual of Muharram. NS also finds a video with the title “Basiji beats 7 year old boy Tehran Iran” but can’t watch it—her access to YouTube is blocked.
In his second online chat with young Tehran photojournalist and Mousavi supporter "NS," Parvez Sharma witnesses Iran media breaking news on the release of former Iran President Rafsanjani’s daughter. NS, whose name has been omitted for safety reasons, details another brutal attack on a loved one during a protest—a male photographer attacked with large Ghameh knife, a weapon traditionally used during the Shia mourning ritual of Muharram. NS also finds a video with the title “Basiji beats 7 year old boy Tehran Iran” but can’t watch it—her access to YouTube is blocked.
Sharma and NS chat from 10:10 p.m. Tehran time (during the chat, news of the prison release is announced on BBC Persian) and NS points out that the nightly rooftop chants of "Allahu akbar" are going on with the same intensity throughout their online chat. This, to both NS and Sharma, is a sign that the opposition has not given up.
Me (Parvez Sharma): so u are there after all!
NS: yes just got on the computer how are you?
Me: I am ok—its more about you.
NS: alah o akbar just started im ok thanks a bit down
Me: Why are you down?
NS: a photographer, a friend of mine was attacked with some kind of knife a large kind of knife called "GHAMEH"
Me: I know the Ghameh
NS: the ones they use during MOHARAM yes he is alive thank god
Me: Where did this attack happen and who attacked him?
NS: but he was attacked in the face last night the animals they released in the streets of tehran
Me: Please share more. Where did the attack happen? Who is on the streets
NS: alah o akbar is very loud and strong well as far as I know last night but I dont know by who exactly i guess by the one who are not in uniform the so-called "LEBASS SHAKHSSI"
Me: So he was attacked by the Basij?
NS: I assume he was shooting in the streets last night and that happened
Me: What do you know about today?
NS: today i went out there were guards and police everywhere nothing special there were some small movements around the city but nothing big or major as far as i was told
Me: Where is Mousavi?
NS: we just received some news but not confirmed that he was arrested
Me: Do people know that Rafsanjani's daughter has been arrested?
NS: yes it was on state tv and local papers
Me: That Rafsanjani’s family is being arrested?
NS: everyone knows yes
Me: That means they are cracking down hard?
Me: Has anyone heard from Mousavi?
NS: but the security is strong no no one as far as i know..
Me: What is planned tomorrow?
NS: nothing that i know nothing is planned as a big thing
Me: What can you see on TV my dear?
NS: we just heard that FAEZEH HASHEMI is released the daughter I dont have TV sorry..
Me: Wow Faezeh has been released?
NS: no details yet.. just a title in the news
Me: NS how are people communicating with each other?
NS: still as usual same system
Me: Can anyone even watch CNN or BBC Persian or VOA?
NS: some can and some can't in some area is easier but it's generally difficult as they try to cut them alah o akbar still on..
Me: I know. My friend told me that the Basij went into her mothers apartment building to take away satellite dishes!
NS: they have started that,yes
Me: If the Allah O Akbars are still on--that means people have not given up hope
NS: i guess that's a sign..
Me: Are people feeling sad? Do you and your friends even know how much support people outside have?
NS: we do feel sad feeling kind of sad...
Me: Is it all over? Or will it continue?
NS: who knows... everyone is waiting to hear something i dont think it's over but i think people will start changing their ways i think things has moved to another level now..
Me: What is that other level?
NS: people do hear about the support from outside and it's great but i wish it could help these people in the streets
Me: Will there be a national strike on tomorrow or Tuesday?
NS: the ones who were killed yesterday ones like NEDA
Me: Did you know Neda?
NS: there some talks no i didn't... but does it matter?
Me: It doesnt matter She is a shahid now
NS: there are some talks about strike and.... but nothing confirmed exactly
Me: How are you keeping in touch with friends and family joon? SMS working?
NS: sms doesnt work phone calls we also heard that they want to disconnect the internet
Me: But they have not done that yet, have they?
NS: not sure how true it is..
Me: You and I are online!
Me: How slow is it?
NS: thanks god it's not bad
Me: I am praying for you.
So many are praying for you. Yesterday when I published our chat so many people were supportive and sad
NS: thank you your help and support is really appreciated
Me: Which web sites are people generally able to access for information?
NS: if they pass the filter, everything if they dont then almost nothing maybe yahoo news
Me: but no CNN or all of that?
NS: alah o akbar still on
Me: In any case the people are doing a better job than CNN ever did
NS: all filtered
Me: How long has the Allah o Akbar been on now? People here dont realize how imortant that chant is
NS: started at 10 and now it's 10:40 it's fading now
Me: Mashaallah so 40 minutes people are fighting them back with Allah o Akbar!
Me: Will you now go out or is it too dangerous?
NS: i won't it is im a bit i guess
Me: I pray for you Please keep us updated here
NS: will do
Me: The world needs to know
NS: thank you so much
Me: And please tell all and each and every one of your friends that millions of people support them
NS: yes they do
Me: Ya Hossein!
NS: thank you i will
Me: Khoda Hafiz
NS: khoda hafiz
Me: u still there?
Me: so anything else to report today?
NS: im afraid not..
Me: But did you hear that Ayatollah Montazeri asked for a mourning from wednesday to friday?
seems like in this video you can see them beating a young boy i cant see it so im not sure yes i heard he released a "FETWA"
Me: Where did you hear that Faezeh has been released?
NS joon-u there?
NS: bbc persia
NS: announced it on tv
Me: but you dont have TV right?
NS: and a friend told us about straight away
Me: OK I see
NS: yes i dont
a friend called us
Me: OK talk soon Khoda Hafiz and take care
NS: oh one more thing
A NOTE TO OUR READERS: We are saddened to report that the Iranian photojournalist, whose pictures appear in this gallery, is missing. He has not been in contact with us; this morning we received the following email from one of his relatives. We will update this space when we have more details.
from life magazine the photo is on the cover of tim sorry life and they released that note today i dont know if you know about that already or not hope you'll have a good evening talk soon khoda hafez
Parvez Sharma is the director and producer of A Jihad for Love. He is in constant contact with friends on the ground in Tehran and has also been blogging on The Huffington Post.