Iranian Wrap-up: 7/17/09

In blogs, Foreign Affairs, human rights, Iranian election aftermath, media on July 17, 2009 by Editor Z

After a fairly subdued period at least from the vantage point of those of us outside Iran and the Middle Eastern region, tension between Iranian reform elements and the regime have picked up steam again.

On Thursday it was announced that the chief of Iran’s atomic Energy operations and Vice President Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, tendered and gave to President Mahmoud Amadinejad his resignation three weeks ago. Explanation has not been publicly given for his abdication. Meanwhile this Friday a Prayer meeting led by ex-Iranian Prime Minister Rafsinjani, excoriated the regime for its treatment of protesters and conduct following the election, and have demanded the release of those protesters imprisoned. It is said that the crowds have periodically broken out into chants of “freedom” and others calling for “death to the dictator” a statement directed at the Supreme Leader Sayid Ali Khomeni.

Security forces including elements of the pro government Baji militia have gassed and beaten demonstrators according to reports, and many have been arrested. Top reformist politicians are said to have been present at the sermons that have been broadcast uninterrupted on radio. One of Iran’s televisions stations also for the first time is said to have aired some footage of the unrest in the Iranian capital city.

Also in a strange incident reminiscent of the 1979 Iranian Revolution when protesters, young bearded men of college background flooded the streets, setting flags ablaze and labeling America “the Great Satan” is said to have been occurring in Iran’s Palestinian Square. There are some shouting from speakers “death to America” and “death to Isreal”, but the shouters seem not to realize that the dynamics have shifted and the masses allegedly are returning those shouts with angry statements directed towards China and Russia, who have recognized the election of Ahmadinejad. Speaking of Ahmadinejad, the Iranian intelligence community has now emerged with a claim that the Israelis tried to assassinate him, a claim that doesn’t seem to be as effective for him politically as it used to.

Many including myself thought that the brute force of the Iranian state would have been too much for the resistance movement to surmount at this point. After all it is Ahmadinejad, the Grand leader, and others entrenched in power have the armaments, the media, and many other instruments of the nation at their disposal. Yet the combination of the youthful; protesters, their outrage at the election and desires for a new vision for the Iranian state, and the encouragement they now receive from powerful figures in the councils the country’s political and religious communities have allowed the reformist movement and anti-Ahmadinejad elements to be more resilent then in the past.

Here are some of the chants being recited by Iranian protesters:

* “Down with this people-fooling government!” (Marg bar in dolat-e mardom-farib)
* “Coup d’etat government, step down!” (Dolat-e kudeta, estefa, estefa!)
* “As long as it’s Ahmadinejad, every day shall be thus!” (Ta Ahmadinejad-e, har rooz hamin basat-e!)
* “Die Mojtaba, before you see the Leadership!” (Mojtaba bemiri, rahbari o nabini!) [in ref. to Khamenei’s son]
* “We are not chaff — we are the nation!” (Ma khashak nistim, mellat hastim!) [in ref. to Ahmadinejad labeling protesters ‘chaff’]
* “Political prisoners must be freed!” (Zendani siasi, azad bayad gardad!)

Before Rafsanjani began his sermon, a chant addressed to him warned:

* “If you maintain silence, you commit treason!” (Agar sokut koni, khaeni!)



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