The reformist movement appears to be calculating how best to continue protests without endangering the lives of the protesters. I am not sure that this really entails some kind of loss of momentum for the movement; I anticipate that the protests will begin anew within short order, if they haven’t already. The Revolutionary Guard and the basijis have promised to crack heads, of course. They would not have anything to do or any reason to be constituted into a unit of any kind if they did not crack heads.
I presume, of course, that protests will get new life in light of this:
Iran’s Guardian Council has suggested that the number of votes collected in 50 cities surpass the number of people eligible to cast ballot in those areas.
The council’s Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, who was speaking on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Channel 2 on Sunday, made the remarks in response to complaints filed by Mohsen Rezaei — a defeated candidate in the June 12 Presidential election.
“Statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 80-170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said.
Remember that this comes from Iran’s official press. Despite the mealy-mouthed explanations that are attempted to rationalize the discrepanices in voting, this is one of the clearest indications around that fraud actually did take place. More here.
The split amongst clerics has deepened with the arrest of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s daughter. As the former president of Iran, and as the current head of the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council, Rafsanjani remains a very powerful figure–one who could instigate the removal of Khamene’i from his position of Supreme Leader. This split is worth watching and analyzing. The Rafsanjani clan appears to be resolute thus far against the likes of Khamene’i and Ahmadinejad:
The moves against members of Mr. Rafsanjani’s family were seen as an attempt to pressure him to drop his challenge to Ayatollah Khamenei — pressure that Mr. Rafsanjani’s son, Mehdi Rafsanjani, said he would reject.
“My father was in jail for five years when we were young. We don’t care if they keep her even for a year,” Mehdi Rafsanjani said in an interview, referring to his sister, Ms. Hashemi.
A Newsweek journalist, Maziar Bahari is being held by the regime. This is part of a trend:
According to Reporters Without Borders, over 20 Iranian journalists and bloggers have been detained since the disputed presidential elections on June 12. In its statement, NEWSWEEK condemned the seizure of innocent journalists as a violation of the right to a free press in Iran, and called upon world governments to use whatever influence they have to make clear that the detention of Bahari is unwarranted and unacceptable, and to demand his release.
A gripping account of the protests, which includes the following revealing excerpt:
If we want to go forward we need to pass through tear gas. So we ask a car to give us a lift. Then there is an attack. They cannot tell enemy from other people although they want to show everything is fine and they’re only after trouble-makers. There is a woman who is being beaten. She’s horrified and hysterical but not as much as the anti-riot police officer facing her. She shrieks, ‘Where can I go? You tell me go down the street and you beat me. Then you come up from the other side and beat me again. Where can I go?’ In sheer desperation, the officer hits his helmet several times hard with his baton. ‘Damn me! Damn me! What the hell do I know!’
I ask myself, ‘how much longer can these officers tolerate stress? How many among them would be willing to give their lives for somebody like Ahmadinejhad?
You can get in any car to go back home. People trust one another now. The woman in the back seat sitting next to me says, ‘It’s no longer about Mousavi or election results. We have suffered for thirty years. We didn’t live a life.’ An old man next to her offers me fresh bread. They tell jokes about the political figures and laugh out loud. They feel victorious. ‘I had waited thirty years for this. Now I feel relieved.’ She writes down my phone number to send me news. ‘Send it to The Guardian!’, she says.
I will. I promise.
No wonder that Neda lives.