Crackdown In Iran Puts Mousavi in Tight Spot
Ahmadinejad, Allies Tighten Their Grip
With the opposition visibly weakening in Iran amid a government crackdown, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters have begun to use his disputed victory in this month’s election to toughen the nation’s stance internationally and to consolidate control internally….
As we write, a protest is forming at Vali Asr Square, but protesters report that security forces are everywhere, ready to attack the people. But the security forces are hamstrung by people gathering in multiple locations, rather than only the originally planned Vali Asr square location, according to incoming updates.
The streets of Tehran are like a garrison. People are depressed and angry.
No matter what the mainstream media is saying, it is apparent that the spirit of change has been unleashed and there is no going back. Several continuing forms of protest have been agreed upon — green balloons; green wristbands, headbands, armbands; shouting from rooftops; writing slogans on paper currency; wall signs and graffiti, and cars driving with lights on. And rallies in support of freedom for Iranians continue in cities around the world every day.
Meanwhile, communications technology developed by the western world continues to empower the freedom-seeking young folk in Iran. Internet-based outlets such as weblogs, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, video sharing on YouTube, and above all the quick messaging Twitter enable them to communicate with each other and to get their message to the outside world. There is no atrocity that the mullahs can hide — every injustice they visit upon their citizens is almost immediately available to the world on video. The veil has been rent, the silence of suffering has been broken.
And western media continue to frustrate the attempts of the regime to prevent information from coming into the country. The British media in particular are reaching out to the Iranian people. The British Broadcasting Corporation’s Persian language broadcast challenges jamming by the Iranian government. The Persian broadcast was just launched in mid-January of this year, quite a timely event for the green movement. (BBC Arabic began last year, and the BBC has provided a Persian-language radio service since 1940. Also, it operates a Persian-language news site online.)
Now, the UK newspaper Guardian weighs in with a support service for families of the protesters that is sure to rattle the cages of the ruling theocrats. The Guardian is maintaining an interactive data base listing all the dead and detained protesters — Iran election: faces of the dead and detained:
We want to put a face to each of those hundreds – possibly thousands – killed or arrested since the Iranian election….
The British researchers have compiled their information from news reports, and by sifting through records of human rights and campaign groups such as Reporters Without Borders, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, and Human Rights Watch. They are inviting readers to submit additional information. Most importantly, they are trying to put faces with the names. Most heartbreaking are the fresh young faces of dead students. The very first picture commemorates a beautiful Persian girl who was shot and killed on June&20, Neda Agha Soltan. Her death was recorded on two different videos, both of which immediately received world wide coverage and gave her the status of martyr.
Despite the beatings, the terrible pain and torture, the indomitable young freedom seekers are poking fun at the bearded old clerics:
Iranian protests began over a disputed election only seventeen days ago. A “do-over” was all that the demonstrators really wanted. It is absolutely astonishing how radically their collective concept of governance has changed in that short time, refined in the crucible of the regime’s bloody brutality.
Soon after Iranian authorities declared that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won re-election, Iran’s most powerful man, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei summed up the result of the vote as a “divine assessment,” meaning God’s candidate had triumphed. Not all Iranians shared this view, as the drying blood on Tehran’s streets now attests.
That’s just one of the problems with theocracy. Who gets to decide what God wants?
To anyone contemplating the adoption of Iran-style government for their country, the system today looks much less appealing.
More than 200 years ago, the concept of separation of church and state gained a foothold in the Americas. A Muslim version of the idea will now find increasingly fertile ground in Middle Eastern soil….
It is impossible to know what will transpire in Iran in the coming days and weeks. What is certain is that Iranian-style theocracy has become much less appealing to Muslims seeking more representative government. Political Islam has suffered a serious wound….
It defies credulity that rulers who butcher their citizens with axes are acting on a mandate from the God who created them.
Grand Ayatollah Sistani today talked against the Islamic regime and gave his old Fetva that religion and politics should not mix.
Meanwhile, supporters of questionably defeated presidential candidates Mousavi and Karoubi are planning to form a human chain across Tehran at 6PM this afternoon, from Rajrish Square to Raah-Ahan Square.
Also, some of the teen-age protesters who have been tortured and released are telling their stories. In prison, they are continuously beaten, and have their fingers broken and the flesh webbing between fingers cut.
Families of the missing form a crowd outside the gates of Evin Prison. When a tortured body is released from the morgue, the family is forced to pay a “bullet fee” of several thousand dollars to reclaim the body for burial. Also, they are forbidden to hold a funeral ceremony or bury the body in Tehran. All the mosques in Tehran have been ordered to refuse such services.
According to reports coming out of Iran, Omidvar Rezaei, brother of third place presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, has noted that in some precincts 70% to 80% of the ballots are written with the same pen and in the same handwriting. Also, in 50 of Iran’s 366 precincts, voter turnout exceeded 100%, while across the country and diaspora, it was reported at 85%. Two scholarly analyses so far extant include:
….an archaic political system has been shaken by the use of powerful new weapons: foreign-based satellite television channels like the BBC’s that beam their signals into Iran, social networking tools like Twitter and sites like Facebook that act as running diaries on the upheaval and as forums for coordinating protest activities, and cellphone videos that have captured the confrontation in Tehran for worldwide audiences, perhaps most importantly in Iran itself….
Update, 6PM: Evin prison is full. Arrested demonstrators are now being taken to the football stadiums at Zendan Ghasr and at Karaj (20 km west of Tehran) and to the Sepah (Revolutionary Guard) headquarters.
In an effort to thwart communication among the citizens, the regime cut electricity and phone lines in most parts of Tehran today, beginning in Vanak.
Expressions of support for the protesters in Iran are coming from all over the world. Iranian-Armenian superstar Andy Madadian is joined by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora singing “Stand By Me” in Persian and English — download here.
On June 24, Iranian Superstar Andy Madadian went into an LA recording studio with Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and American record producers Don Was and John Shanks to record a musical message of worldwide solidarity with the people of Iran.
This version of the old Ben E. King classic is not for sale – it was not meant to be on the Billboard charts or even manufactured as a CD…..it’s intended to be downloaded and shared by the Iranian people…to give voice to the sentiment that all people of the world stand together….the handwritten Farsi sign in the video translates to “we are one”.
If you know someone in Iran – or someone who knows someone in Iran – please share this….
In cities across the globe, including some in neighboring Islamic countries, citizens are releasing green balloons in support of the “green revolution” in Iran. Here’s a picture of a rally in Ankara, Turkey:
This video shows green balloons being released from rooftops in Tehran, and then the green balloon rallies in New York City, Seattle, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Malaysia, and Dubai (United Arab Emirates).
Visit this page for pictures of a vigil held outside the town hall in Sydney this evening (there).
Also, Amnesty International has confirmed allegations that hospital staff are not allowed to get identity information for the wounded, and that they are being removed from hospital beds and taken to undisclosed prisons. The point is that the Iranian government does not want the families to know what happened to their loved ones.
From inside Iran, protesters report:
Despite what the media outlets inside and outside Iran say, there are still massive demonstrations by people on every street. People shout from every rooftop, and every computer is used to protest.
The Iranian government announced that it would allow a legal gathering today at Tehran’s Ghoba Mosque. A rally is held there every year in remembrance of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, a martyr of the Islamic Republic who was killed in 1981. But thousands showed up and began chanting “Where is my vote,” so the memorial turned into another massive protest.
Several thousand protesters clashed with riot police, who used tear cas and clubs. Several scenes of brutality were recorded and uploaded to YouTube — you can see today’s footage here. Below is one video from today’s protest, very blurry but included for the sound track. It is taken just outside the mosque. Did you every hear several thousand people yelling in unison?
The mullahs ruling Iran are really only politicians who use religion as a cover for their greed and ambition. From their vantage of power they have been steadily siphoning Iran’s oil money into their private coffers, while their people struggle in economic hardship. Women turn to prostitution and men sell their kidneys, while the mullahs wear Armani suits and sport gold wrist watches.
Their avarice and their ruthless means for keeping control are no different than those of Shah Reza Pahlavi who preceded them in ruling Iran. The bloody revolution thirty years ago may have succeeded in changing the players, but the game remains the same. The so-called clerics ruling Iran are not religious men at all, but a gang of criminals who have made common cause of stealing Iran’s oil revenues to line their own pockets.
Mullahs are sitting on the money of the people. They stole their money, rights & future.
- Sparkasse Bank (Frankfurt/Germany) Acct.# 234075617: DM 112.1 Millions
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct. # 217824: US$ 97 Millions
- Banque Cantonale (Lausanne/CH) Acct. # 71713: US$ 73.2 Millions
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rasfandjani
- Union Bank Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 223870390: SF 532.5 Millions
- Societe Generale (Zurich/CH) Acct.# 30064183: DM 477.2 Millions
- Sparkasse (Ciborg/Germany) Acct. # 2957132: DM 238.2 Millions
Mohammad Ali Tasskhiri
- Societe Generale (Geneve/Ch) Acct.# 500032654: DM 280.7 Millions
- Midland Bank (London/UK) Acct.# 832-150270: BP 12.2 Millions
- Dressdner bank (Dusserdolf/Germany) Acct.# 8354783: DM 48.3 Millions
- Credit Bank Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# CEO7680: SF 85.7 Millions
Bijan Namdar Zangene
- Union Bank Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 314380320: US$ 141.7 Millions
Habibollah Asgar Aladi
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct. # 3983BHK: US$ 180 Millions
- Midland Bank (London/UK) Acct.# 92114016: BP 54.2 Millions
Abdollah Nategh Nouri
- Union Banque Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 2102120321ND: USD 123.9 Millions
- Deutsh bank (Hamburg/Germany) Acct.# 03223486: DM 64.1 Millions
- Union Banque Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 2183130687: USD 122.7 Millions
Mohsen Hashemi Bahremani
- Deutsh bank (Munchen 3/Germany) Acct.# 1732736: DM 370.7 Millions
- Credit Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 928530FC: USD 178.2 Millions
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.# FAH7272: SF 97.2 Millions
- Sparkasse (Hamburg/Germany) Acct #. DFH72251660: USD 216.7 Millions
- Midland Bank (London/UK) Acct.# 34414011: BP 37.8 Millions
- Union Banque Suisse (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 442760430: USD 78.2 Millions
- Credit Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.# FAH7967: SF 52.7 Millions
- Commerz Bank (Koln/Germany) Acct.# 3528817: DM 287.8 Millions
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.# AMF4567: USD 18.2 Millions
- Societe Generale (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 50024814: USD12.6 Millions
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.#14710025: USD 14.7 Millions
- Corner Bank (Geneve/CH) Acct.# 12930034: USD 10.7 Millions
Mohammad Hashemi Bahremani
- Deutsh Bank (Munich 3/Germany) Acct.# 1734726: DM 177.2 Millions
That was in 2000. Of course the sums are likely much greater now. Incumbent Supreme Leader Khamenei is dying of lung cancer, and wants his son Mojtaba Khamenei to succeed him in the most powerful Iranian government position. That is the dynamic in the behind-the-scenes power struggle among Iran’s ruling elite, and now we know why. We know what the stakes are.
Four years ago, American Daughter Media Center personnel interviewed Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of the book Atomic Iran. “These are just a criminal mafia, a gang that has gotten together,” he said. On Friday, June 17, 2005 Dr. Corsi spoke with ADMC’s Dr. Rudy Bickel in the Washington, DC offices of the Iran Freedom Foundation. Dr. Corsi described the mullahs of Iran as common criminals, driven by greed for the oil revenues and enjoying lavish lifestyles, expensive cars, and Swiss bank accounts. Here is an audio segment from that interview:
The transcript of the interview follows:
Dr. Bickel: Dr. Corsi, we’ve heard a lot about abuses in many countries of the world. What is so different about the abuses in Iran?Dr. Corsi: Well, the Iranian mullahs, who are supposedly clerics, I think really are an organized criminal mafia. They have nothing to do with Islam, or the principles of the genuine religion Islam. They have nothing to do with Iran. They’ve stolen the country. Now, the kinds of things they do–the human rights abuses–I’m going to give you a couple of examples.
They consistently, over twenty-six years, arrested people as political prisoners for expressing their views, if their views don’t agree with the mullahs. People are arrested without trial. They’re tortured or killed or disappear–no lawyers, no representation. If those people have families, the mullahs may understand that the wives can no longer feed the children, and many of those women turn to prostitution in the streets to feed the children, or get the children medicine. The mullahs know that that’s going to happen. They’ll document that to a person in jail. It breaks them faster. That’s the psychology of cruelty that they’ll use. That has nothing to do with religion. That’s just criminal.
Many children, boys and girls, are sold into sex slavery. That’s a vile, big trade. And the Iranian children, the mothers and fathers of the future generation of Iran, are being sold into sex slavery to the Arab countries, to the United Arab Emirates, and in some cases even into Europe. That’s a tragedy. That should be stopped. Again, it has nothing to do with religion.
You see children on the streets in Iran. Families are extremely poor. A person may have to work two jobs–government employee, drive a taxicab at night–worrying all the time about putting bread on the table to feed the family.
Families are living in overcrowded situations. They can’t move out when a son or daughter gets married. There’s just no money to get another place to live.
Much of the population is under the age of thirty. The mullahs killed thousands of people in their brutal war against Iraq in the 1980′s. They sent waves and waves of their own children into the mine fields with little keys around their necks saying they’re going to be in heaven because today they’re going to be martyred in the mine fields. That’s insanity.
The people under thirty have–many of them–no future. Forty percent of the people under age thirty are unemployed or underemployed in Iran. You’ve got college educated people having jobs as janitors if they can find a job at all.
It’s a brutal situation in which the mullahs have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars. The mullahs ride around in air-conditioned, window-tinted, European-built limousines. They’ve got the best properties. Their mullah suits look about like Armani mullah suits today. They’re trimming their beards in Europe. They’re wearing gold-rimmed thin-lens glasses. They’ve gotten hundreds of millions of dollars of public relations expertise here in the United States and in Europe, around the world working for them.
They’ve stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, Swiss bank accounts, setting themselves up and their families up in international businesses, all the time stealing over two hundred million dollars a day from the people of Iran; building a nuclear weapons program trying to keep themselves into power; lying, preaching hatred (their anti-Semetic hatred is as bad or worse than Hitler’s); funding Hezbollah suicide bombing.
These are just a criminal mafia, a gang that has gotten together that is dysfunctional, has no human purpose other than serving their own selfish interests. And these largely fat old men ought to just get out of town before they get prosecuted or hunted down for their crimes and the money they’ve stolen from the Iranian people. It’s a tragedy, and the human rights abuses in Iran are some of the worst in the world.
Official support for Ahmadinejad may be waning. All 290 members of the Iranian parliament were invited to a celebration of his electoral victory last night, but fully 105 did not attend, according to the BBC. Most observers see this as a sign of a deep split in the ruling elite.
Also last night, seventy university professors from Iran met with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Following the meeting, they were promptly arrested and taken to an unknown location.
Iran’s intelligence minister, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, has warned the press that the government regards newsgathering as an arrestable offence. “Whoever, under any name or title, collects information in Iran will be arrested, and so far a foreign journalist has been arrested,” he said. He did not identify the journalist.
One of the leading European importers of Iranian caviar, Hague-based Persian Caviar, has decided to boycott the product….
“I will not give any more money to a regime that is massacring my people,” said Hossein Akef, the Iranian director of the company.
Persian Caviar, which sells about €400,000-€450,000 in Iranian caviar a year, will continue to import the luxury food item from other Caspian Sea countries, “all of which are also good,” Akef said.
Rallies to show support for the protesters are being held today in cities around the world including Melbourne, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin, Munich, Innsbruck, Palermo, Florence, Upsala, Stockholm, Helsinki, Southampton, Vancouver, New York City (outside UN), Philadelphia, Washington DC, Orlando, Gainsville, Dayton, Knoxville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, San Antonio, Belleview, Torrence, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. A similar roster of rallies occurs every day. This should give our readers some idea of how completely the global community is watching the events in Iran.
This image, which gained widespread popularity today, may be Photoshopped, or it may be real. In any event, it is giving the Iranian protesters and the supporting bloggers and tweeters around the globe a great deal of pleasure.
Despite yesterday’s bloodbath, the freedom advocates in Iran have scheduled another rally for today, to be held at 4:30PM from the Vali-asr intersection to Enghelab Square in Tehran. Protesters are sharing advice born of their recent direct experience:
If someone in your group gets killed, do not give the body to hospitals. Document the killing, Hide them for their families.
The authorities are carting the bodies away in trucks and vans before they can be identified, to further worry and confuse the families.
Dip cloth in vinegar, bind it in front of your face and nose, it helps against tear gas.
The government helicopters flying over the streets are dropping, not tear gas, but acid.
Wear gloves, tear gas canisters are warm, they can be thrown back at the police, do this fast!
The British Broadcasting Corporation has an interactive map of Tehran showing the locations of video clips sent to them by the protesters — Mapping the protests in Tehran. You can click on any icon and play the video for that location.
Leftists are thugs. There is no other word for them. I recently learned that the long-planned July 4th Atlanta Tea Party was forced at the last minute to cancel their protest. Simon Properties, owner of the Gwinnett Place Mall, whose property is adjacent to the privately owned lot planned for the event, used clout embedded in easement agreements to shut down the Tea Party event.
This event was organized in March, giving the mall management plenty of time to object. They could have informed organizers months ago and provided them enough time to find a new location. Instead they waited until now.
The owners of Simon Properties, Melvin and Bren Simon, are well-known liberal Democrats who provided huge donations to many prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Given the timing of their move, this smacks of political sabotage.
I am calling for a full-fledged boycott of all businesses located in any Simon Properties retail center anywhere in the country. Here is a link to all Simon properties. Each property provides a link to the stores within it.
I will also be contacting the major anchor stores located at Simon Properties and alerting them to the boycott so they can communicate their feelings about it to Simon.
Please urge everyone you know to participate in this boycott. Please contact Simon Properties to express your outrage and urge those of your friends who care about freedom to do the same. Following is the contact information for Gwinnett Place Mall and a form letter you can use in whole or in part if you wish.
It has come to my attention that the Gwinnett Place Mall used its clout to shut down the Atlanta Tea Party planned for an adjacent location, with only days remaining before the event. Why did you not alert the organizers sooner so they could find an alternate venue?
Given Simon’s generous support to prominent, leftwing politicians, I believe this last minute change was deliberate political sabotage aimed at stifling the Tea Party’s message.
I am hereby informing you that if you do not let this Tea Party proceed, I will cease to do business with any company leasing space in any Simon Property anywhere in the U.S. and will be urging everyone I know to do the same. I will be e-mailing every person on my contact list and urging them to forward the e-mail to every single person they know. I will be contacting my local radio and television stations and demanding they cover this newsworthy matter.
You should be hearing from a few million of us shortly. Perhaps it will help you rethink your thuggery. If not, it may at least persuade some of your lessees to locate their businesses elsewhere.
Yesterday’s efforts at a general strike in Iran produced only moderate economic effect. A noticeable slowdown in business occurred, but not enough to put pressure on the regime, as hoped. However, a more pronounced economic impact was observed in the predominantly Kurdish areas. The picture below shows all the stalls closed in the bazaar in Saghez, Kurdistan Province.
As massive arrests, brutal beatings and random killings put a damper on the large organized demonstrations, the reformers have settled into a holding pattern of less risky defiance:
Cars drive with their lights on to show support for the protesters, much as we would do to signify participation in a funeral cortège
Every night all across the country people shout from their rooftops “God is great” and “Death to the dictator”
Signs fastened to walls and graffiti written on walls everywhere proclaim “Death to the dictator”
Rallies are planned today for several main squares in Tehran at 4:30PM their time — Baharestan, Vanak, Tajrish, Enghelab or Jomhouri (not clear), Vali-asr, Sadeghie. The reason that some of the locations are ambiguous is that the protesters will announce one on Twitter and then change it at the last minute in an attempt to confuse the authorities. In advance of the rallies, the regime has deployed a heavy military presence along the streets:
In the twelve days since the disputed presidential elections, the rationale of the protests has been gradually evolving. In the beginning, the demonstrators were simply asking for a “do-over” of the national elections. A rift between two factions of the ruling clerics gradually became apparent, after Khamenei shed his religious mantle in Friday prayers on June 19 and indicated strong partisan support for Ahmadinejad.
Perhaps anticipating where this might lead, Rafsenjani has reportedly been meeting with clerics in the holy city of Qom, trying to persuade a majority to revise the government structure to replace the “supreme leader” with a panel of three clerics. While sources say that a majority of ruling clerics have agreed that Khamenei should be reined in, the plan has not moved forward because they cannot agree on a suitable alternative strategy.
A few days ago, the call for new national elections had morphed into a demand that Khamenei and Ahmadinejad be replaced. But today, for the first time, a radical new note has emerged:
“Death to Islamic Republic”
Update, 8:30AM: In anticipation of the announced rally, the regime has closed down the Baharestan Metro Line, and filled the square with security forces. Police there are using tear gas and attacking pedestrians.
Freedom to our people against the regime who kills us!!!
Protesters are organizing into groups with three members designated to carry water, first aid supplies, and a camera. They are wearing “black for the victims and green for hope.” Last week they were quoting Ghandi, urging peaceful resistance. Now they are quoting Victor Hugo:
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.
Here is new video from today’s protests. Marchers at 3 Tir Baharestan Square:
Mousavi’s campaign office has been raided, declared by the government to be a “headquarters for psychological war against the country’s security.” Iran’s journalists have been summoned before the “revolutionary court,” and asked to support Ahmadinejad. They have been told to write articles against Mousavi and the rallies. Families of detainees have assembled in front of the revolutionary court, surrounded by police.
We must stand up against Khamenei and his evil that he has brought upon us.
Update, 9AM: Intensive clashes are occurring in Baharestan Square, near the Iranian Parliament. When one girl was shot, the police refused to allow anyone to help her. A defenseless woman was lying on the ground, with eight militia savagely beating her. Watching helplessly, her husband fainted. There is blood everywhere, and people with broken arms, legs, and smashed heads.
Protesters have gatherd at Sepah Square. Clashes between security forces and protesters have begun in Azadi Square. Army vans with heavy machine guns are moving toward Azadi Street. Army helicopters are flying over Baharestan, Enghelab, and Vali Asr Squares.
Update, 10AM: There is such a difference between the army of protesters…
Remember to keep calm and maintain the dignity of the Sea of Green.
… and the government forces…
They were waiting for us. They all have guns and riot uniforms. I was like a mouse trap. People were being shot like animals.
We cannot help but read and weep.
Heavy conflicts are now being reported in Jomhoori Street and Sa’di Street. Protests have begun in Hafez Street.
As people run into the alleys to escape the violence on the main streets and in the squares, they find militia lining boths sides of the alley. They are trapped in the middle and beaten.
Update, 11AM: Heavy clashes are now reported in Homhori Street, with many people injured. Street fighting continues in Vanak, Tajrish and Azadi Squares.
Sharak-e-Gharb is very modern planned community in north-west Tehran favored by the affluent. Now ten special forces vans are operating in that neighborhood.
Update, 11:30AM: Eyewitnesses are now reporting a massacre in Baharestan Square, where government forces are chopping people up with an ax like butchering meat, and throwing people from a pedestrian bridge. Reports of a massacre are also coming from Lalezar Square. Basiji are piling the dead into vans and trucks and hauling them away. Here is a picture of a man who has been killed by an axe blow to the heart, just before his body is carted away:
A woman in Tehran made the following distraught cell phone call to CNN:
God help us all. We have taken a step towards freedom and many will pay a high price.
Bloggers and tweeters are beginning to compare Khamenei to Stalin.
Iranians were slaughtered today. Axes, clubs, live ammo, thrown from bridges. This cannot end in vain.
Update, 2:30PM: Night has fallen now in Iran, and Allahu Akbars shouted from the rooftops have started “with deafening intensity.”
Iranian protesters remain steadfastly peaceful, despite being attacked with chemicals, beaten, gassed, shot and maimed, arrested, and with many killed. Over and over they quote Mahatma Gandhi.
They defend against vicious baton beatings with garbage can lids. They cover their faces with cloths to protect against caustic chemicals dropped from helicopters hovering over the rallies.
By the hundreds they are filling unknown prisons, to be beaten and tortured, but in ten days not one of the hundreds of thousands of them has retaliated. When a Basij militiaman fell into their hands, a woman among the protesters held him in her arms, so he could not be harmed:
News agency of students supporting the civil movement in Iran
Supporters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, supporters of Mehdi Karrubi, supporters of Mohsen Rezai, and all friends who long for justice,
We have been witnessing the choking of justice through compromises. We have witnessed the bloodshed of the people who were asking for their rights on our streets and roads.
Maybe some people whose feeling of responsibility arises after seeing such scenes cannot get out on the streets to ask for justice.
We want to prove our unity and majority to the rulers who hide their oppression under the pretext of religion.
All workers and government and non-government workers, except workers of hospitals, health centers and fire-fighting agencies, are therefore requested not to attend their jobs on Tuesday, the 2nd of the month of Tir [ed. June 23, 2009].
All students and university workers are also requested to cooperate with us by dismissing universities on this day.
With this, we want to show our protest to the current situation in a peaceful way.
Please send this report to your relatives and those close to you throughout Iran through telephone, email or in person.
Yesterday, hundreds of cars in the streets of Tehran drove with lights on to show support for the Sea of Green. Members of the Iranian football team were banned from speaking to the press because they wore green wristbands during their match with South Korea last Wednesday.
Compatriots, we will be with you to the end with the same heart.
Reports from inside Iran describe the streets of all major cities “like war time,” with civil unrest everywhere. “Death to the dictator” is writte on walls throughout Tehran. This report from Tehran Bureau is a must read — This is not my country:
It is ironic that a system that was founded because of the people’s anger toward an oppressive monarchy is now making the very same mistakes made by the Shah of Iran.
It is a disgrace to see the system that condemned what the shah of Iran did — killing people to silence their voices — is now doing the same.
If the Shah declared martial law to paralyze the people, today, the very same Iranian authorities, who have always talked about the hardships they endured to spare us, the future generations, the pain of oppression, are now paralyzing us and imposing martial law.
Yesterday, a commander of the Revolutionary Guard was arrested for refusing to act against his own people:
A commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has been arrested for refusing to obey Iran’s Supreme Leader….
General Ali Fazli, who was recently appointed as a commander of the Revolutionary Guards in the province of Tehran, is reported to have been arrested after he refused to carry out orders from the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to use force on people protesting the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Fazli, a veteran of the devastating Iran-Iraq war is also believed to have been sacked and taken to an unknown location.
This must have taken a great deal of courage. If Khamenei and Ahmadinejad remain in power, he can expect to be stoned to death.
According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka’abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been “retired” from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday’s match against South Korea in Seoul….
None of the team members were given back their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match….
It’s Monday night in Iran, and between three and five thousand people are still in Hafte Tir Square in Tehran. Riot police are hitting them with batons. Throughout the country the people have gone to the rooftops, where the chanting “God is great” will go on all night.
Today the Guardian Council admitted that in 50 cities there were more votes cast than the number of eligible voters, but denied that the discrepancies could overcome Ahmadinejad’s purported 11 million vote lead. Watch the following clandestine video of ballot counting:
A general strike is planned to start on Tuesday, and all over the country families are stocking up on groceries and other necessities, before the stores run out of things to sell. The protesters are being advised to stay inside buildings in large groups with food, water, and other supplies. The government has announced that anybody who doesn’t come to work tomorrow will be immediately fired.
The Shiroudi Sports Compound in Tehran has been turned into a military garrison — see the video below:
There are four Iranian government agencies which can be used to suppress the demonstrations — the police, the Revolutionary Guard, the Basiji militia, and the army. At present only the first three have been involved, as the army has apparently not yet been deployed. However, reliable eyewitness accounts have confirmed that the regime has brought in support from three outside sources — Lebanese Hezbollah mercenaries, Palestinian Hamas militants, and fighters volunteered by Hugo Chávez from Venezuela. They are easily detected by the Iranian citizens in the rallies, because they shout to each other in their own languages.
Particularly galling to the Iranian citizens is the fact that, while they were suffering economic deprivation, their government was siphoning large sums into military training programs for Hezbollah and Hamas. Foreign recruits were brought to Iran, at Iran’s expense, and trained to go back and take over their own countries. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are thus perceived as caring more about their play for power in the region than the well-being of their own citizens.
Nothing like massacring your own people to prove how legitimate your election was!!
The wounded are no longer being taken to hospitals, where they will be arrested and disappear. They are being cared for as well as possible by their own friends, guided by instructions prepared by two Iranian doctors who have created a website telling the demonstrators how to deal with various types of injuries. The video below shows a group of young men trying to help their wounded comrades, several of whom have been shot by Basij militia. One has been shot in the groin, and his friends are trying to stanch the femoral artery by using a tourniquet:
For nine days now, the marchers have been suffering brutal abuse at the hands of the black-clad Basiji militia, whose garments hide their identity. Now the protesters are fighting back, identifying those that they can, and posting their picture, name, and home address on the Internet. Here’s an example — This thug’s name is Sattar Najafi:
Sattar Najafi, home address: Azadi Square, Moein Blvd., Saadati Street.
This was just posted today. Who would want to be in that fellow’s shoes tonight?
Clashes are occurring in 7 Tir Square and Valli Asr Avenue, with protesters setting street fires and numerous militia responding with tear gas and shooting. Clashes occurred earlier today in Jaam Jam and Mellat Park, popular with middle-class Tehranis.
All the major cities in Iran are now reporting crowds shouting “Allah Akbar – Death to the Dictator.”
This is no longer about the election. It is about regime change.
Update: 4:04PM EDT The highest position in Iran’s theocratic government is a religious role, that of “Supreme Leader,” currently filled by the increasingly despised Khamenei. The Supreme Leader is chosen by the “Assembly of Experts,” a group of 86 Islamic scholars, who are also responsible for supervising his activities. [The selection is somewhat parallel to the College of Cardinals selecting a Pope in the Roman Catholic church. They choose him, and then he rules over them.]
The current chairman of the Iranian Assembly of Experts is Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is a supporter of the opposition. Late Saturday, five of Rafsanjani’s relatives were arrested by pro-Khamenei forces while attending a rally, including his daughter and granddaughter. Although they were later released, this was not a wise move on Khamenei’s part, angering the chairman of the group responsible for monitoring his performance.
The International Business Times has just reported that the Assembly of Experts is considering removing Khamenei and forcing the newly re-elected President Ahmadinejad to resign:
Iran’s clerical leaders are said to be considering removing the position of the Supreme Leader and forcing the resignation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when the government said it had arrested the daughter and other relatives of former President….
The country’s Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council are reported to be considering the formation of a collective leadership to replace the position of supreme leader according to Al Arabiya, citing sources in the holy city of Qom.
The Assembly of Experts, a body of Islamic clerics, is responsible for overseeing the Supreme Leader and can even remove the Supreme Leader should they decide to.
The Expediency Council is responsible for mediating disputes between the parliament elected by the people and the unelected Guardian Council.
Both groups are headed by former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a key rival to Ayatollah Khamenei and a strong supporter of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Well, that would settle the current crisis pretty quickly!
Ever since the obviously “fixed” results from last week’s Iranian presidential election declared Ahmadinejad the winner, Iranian students and other Iranian citizens longing for change have been demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the status quo in that country. Thus far Obama’s statements concerning that situation have been pitifully lame, in true keeping with his philosophy of appeasement. Will our President find the courage and moral fortitude to condemn the oppressive shariah law-inspired Khamenei/Ahmadinejad dictatorship in Iran? I’m not betting on it.
This is something he can’t blame on his predecessor, like he has everything else that has gone wrong. It all began on his watch, and with his abysmal lack of knowledge and experience in dealing with such a situation, his first reaction is to ignore it and hope it goes away.
After all, Obama was really counting on his charismatic personality to win over the jihadists bent on our destruction. If he managed to hypnotize over half of the U. S. voters into believing he was a messianic savior, why couldn’t he similarly charm the rest of the world with his vague rhetorical jargon? Since he is so fond of Islamic world leaders (kissing up to the king of Saudi Arabia, for example), maybe he thought he could convince them he was the long-awaited 12th Imam. All indications are that he has the hubris to believe it.
His refusal to call them “terrorists” is so naïve as to be laughable. Iran has been funding and equipping terrorist groups all over the world for years. Ahmadinejad is very open about his intentions to annihilate Israel and the United States, and is rapidly building up the nuclear capability to carry out that threat. As the prophet Jeremiah phrased it, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” You can cozy up to a leopard and call it “kitty, kitty” if you want to, but it’s still going to attack you at the first opportunity.
How I long for George Bush’s moral clarity and strong leadership in accurately identifying the axis of evil and refusing to negotiate with it! He made me feel safe and protected. Obama makes me feel vulnerable and embarrassed to be part of a country whose leader no longer stands up for the human rights of people trying to rid themselves of oppression.
Who knows what will pan out in the next few days in Iran? Right now the demonstrators seem to be confined to the Teheran area; if the spirit of rebellion spills out into other towns and villages, it could become a real revolution. Let’s hope that if that occurs, Iran’s military leadership will have the courage to choose the right side.
Iran is ripe for revolution for several reasons. First, the Mullahs have ruled with an iron fist since their coup in 1979, and the meaning of “freedom” has vanished within that country. The human heart longs for liberty, not oppression.
As a direct result of the regime’s bully tactics, several million refugees have left Iran during that thirty-year period.
The country is now suffering from an unemployment rate that is somewhere between 30 and 50 percent.
And the regime does everything possible to suppress communication with the outside world. Video footage seen on television is due to private citizens in that country recording it secretly and then sending it via circuitous transmission to Twitter.
The demonstrators’ signs, in very clearly printed English, are a desperate bid for support from our country and others that still enjoy personal freedoms. Our terrorist-sympathizing, Islam-schmoozing President would be doing the world a service by at least coming out with a statement of support for their efforts to liberate their country from the election-rigging, Mullah-controlled jihadist theocracy.
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