Iran Linkage

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 28, 2009


A great deal is going on, it would appear:

1. Mir Hossein Mousavi is asking for more protests–and is asking for those protests to coincide with a religious festival and with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inauguration for a second term. Additionally, opposition figures want to commemorate the death of Neda Agha Soltan. This should all make for quite the political spectacle. It should be noted that protests occurred over the weekend.

2. The ongoing protests have led to further crackdowns inside Iran, including the arrest of a number of lawyers, which has been denounced by Human Rights Watch. Matters are ominous on this front:

HRW said plainclothes officers snatched lawyer Shadi Sadr on July 15 as she was walking to Friday prayers. A friend of the lawyer who was with her at the time is quoted as describing how a car pulling over next to them. Three persons from the car grabbed Sadr, one even beat her with a cable, then threw her inside the vehicle and sped away, HRW said.

At least four other Iranian human rights defenders — Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Mosatafaie, and Kambiz Noroozi — have been arrested, according to HRW. Mostafaie was later released but the others remain in custody.

HRW also said families of two detainees told the group their sons don’t want lawyers to represent them. One father quoted his son as saying that lawyers “cannot help us” now.

The Iranian opposition is now protesting to religious authorities concerning the crackdown. Extremely strong language (for Iran) has been used in denouncing the crackdown, with comparisons being made between the current regime, and that of the Shah, and with claims that the crackdown is worse than anything the Israelis have sought to do against the Palestinians. It should be noted that the fingerprints of the Revolutionary Guard are all over the current crackdown.

3. The human rights abuses in Iran have not spared the powerful:

The son of an advisor to Iran’s defeated conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaie was killed in a Tehran prison after being detained in post-election unrest, a reformist website said on Saturday.

“Mohsen Ruholamini, the son of Abdolhossein Ruholamini who was a top advisor to Mohsen Rezaie, was killed in Evin prison,” the Mosharekat website said.

It did not say how Ruholamini was killed or when, and the authorities were not immediately available to confirm the death or comment on the circumstances surrounding it.

Ruholamini was arrested in post election protests on July 9, and held in Evin, the website said.

“His family was told that Mohsen will be released soon. But the authorities informed the family on Thursday night about his death,” the website said.

I don’t understand why the regime would allow this to happen. The more powerful people it enrages, the greater the chances that the regime could be sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Then again, the regime’s hands are so drenched in blood already, that it may well just not care anymore about playing nice with others. It probably does not think it has to.

4. Meanwhile, in the court of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, intrigue abounds:

Just over a month after the election, Mr Ahmadinejad provoked fury amongst his fellow conservatives by promoting one of his vice-presidents, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, to the post of first vice-president.

The job would make him the president’s second in command, the man who would take over if Mr Ahmadinejad was run over by a Tehran bus.

As Mr Ahmadinejad must have known it would, the appointment infuriated conservatives.

Mr Mashaie had already angered the establishment by suggesting that Iran was friends with the Israeli people, even though he shared the Islamic Republic’s hatred of the state of Israel.

The whole article is well worth reading, for the insider’s account it gives of the machinations within Ahmadinejad’s government. It ought to go without saying that if the hardliners want to fight amongst themselves and weaken one another as the regime battles the reformists, people like me will welcome the development.

5. Want to help the reform movement? Donate your thumbdrives to the cause.

6. And finally, never let it be said that the regime doesn’t know how to bring people together.

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