Monday, June 22, 2009

The latest from Iran

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The protests continue on the streets of Tehran, and elsewhere. And while the clerical powers-that-be, Khamenei et al., have declared Ahmadinejad the clear winner, it is clearer than ever that there were voting or vote-counting irregularities, with the Guardian Council admitting that in some places the number of votes counted exceeded the number of voters. The spokesman for the Council stated that this 100%+ irregularity "happened in only 50 cities," far less a total than the 80-170 alleged by opposition candidates. But, seriously, "only 50 cities"? Are we to take that as proof of Iran's democratic credibility? Is such vote fraud in "only 50 cities" really not that big a problem?


The WaPo reports that "a tense calm" prevails on the streets of Tehran. But the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime, now on the defensive, and so going on the offensive, has ratched up its post-election campaign against Mousavi:

Government media lashed out Sunday at Mousavi, suggesting that some of his actions were illegal and blaming "terrorists" for Saturday's violence, in which at least 100 people were injured. The semiofficial Fars News Agency, which has strong ties to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, quoted a law professor at Tehran University as saying that Mousavi's actions were criminal.

"Through uncivil and illegal means, he created an environment for unrest and hooliganism," Firouz Aslani told Fars News. "Contrary to his claims of lawfulness, he acted against the security of the nation and the interests of the system."

Some analysts in Tehran said those comments and others carried in the state-run news media questioning the legality of Mousavi's actions could be the government's way of preparing the ground for his arrest.

Of course. And how predictable. The regime is turning the full weight of the state apparatus on its opponents -- and on the leading opponent in particular. (If you can't beat 'em, in a free and fair election, rig the election, and if that doesn't work, or if the rigging is too obvious, arrest 'em or kill 'em.) It obviously perceives Mousavi, as well as the brave men and women who are standing up to it, and demanding change, as a serious threat to its ongoing rule. And the best way to undercut Mousavi's appeal, at least from the regime's perspective, is to brand him not just a dangerous criminal but a traitor to the nation.

It's just not clear to me how vilifying Mousavi benefits the regime. He is the one with the credibility, after all, and the regime would only look that much more transparently oppressive, and illegitimate, were it to arrest its leading opponent. Are Iranians really so gullible that they would accept the regime's claim that Mousavi is a criminal and traitor?


The NYT is reporting that Iran's ruling clerics are deeply divided.

The regime has arrested five of former President Rafsanjani's relatives. Rafsanjani is pro-Mousavi. His relatives were released.


The BBC is reporting that people were killed during Saturday's protests.

Mousavi is claiming that there have been "mass arrests."

State TV is calling the protesters "terrorist groups."



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  • Obviously -although it's the last thing Team Obama wants to hear- Ronald Reagan's support of Poland's Solidarity in the dark days of the Soviet-ordered crackdown are the model here- not the preposterous straw-man argument of "what are you going to do, invade?" disingenuously presented by the do-nothing, Obamapologist left.

    And isn’t this what George W Bush told you was going to happen in the Middle East in the wake of Iraq’s liberation?
    Maybe that’s why Barack Obama has so little apparent interest in finishing the job in Iran… no matter how much it benefits the US and free world.

    That, and the fact that he’s already piled all his chips on legitimizing this vile regime- and a democratic revolution at this point would be downright embarrassing for him.

    By Anonymous Reaganite Republican, at 11:39 AM  

  • The post hoc - propter hoc thing doesn't indicate causality. Nice try for a rookie, but Reagan had very little to do with the collapse of communism.

    If George had had his way and bombed their nuclear facility, we wouldn't be having this conversation and of course more sanctions, more bluster and more embargoes would have harmed the regime nearly as much as all that stuff harmed Castro or Saddam, for that matter. Did Khruschev's condemnation of the US prompt us to take to the streets?

    Anyone naive enough to think that further buffoonery from us would have encouraged Iranians to protest a rigged election is himself a buffoon.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 2:45 PM  

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