Iran: Still Going Green

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 6, 2009

A couple of links for your perusal . . .

1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was inaugurated for a second term “[w]ith his adversaries boycotting the ceremony and a vast deployment of police officers standing guard outside,” an indication of just how much the political establishment has turned against him. Consider that the regime continues to claim that Ahmadinejad won by an overwhelming vote. Then read the New York Times article, supra, and try to recall the last time a leader who had supposedly received the imprimatur of an overwhelming, legitimate popular vote looked so alone, and so lost. The atmospherics of Iran alone tell any reasonable observer that the election was a fraud. And despite the continuing crackdown, the protesters remain unafraid:

Prosecutors have warned that anyone questioning the legitimacy of the trial — as many opposition figures have — could in turn be prosecuted. Some senior lawmakers have hinted in recent days that Mr. Moussavi and other opposition leaders could be arrested soon, though it is impossible to tell if that is only a scare tactic.

But the opposition does not seem to have been cowed. In recent weeks, as news emerged of protesters who died in prison after being arrested, Mr. Moussavi and others spoke out more forcefully than ever before, accusing the government of savage and criminal acts. The anger spread to some prominent conservatives, prompting a number of conciliatory efforts by the government, including the release of more than 140 prisoners and the closing — at the personal order of Iran’s supreme leader — of a detention center.

Such conciliatory gestures have alternated with renewed crackdowns on street protests, as ever-larger deployments of police officers in Tehran and other cities fill the streets to intimidate and beat back protesters. The protests have continued, and the demonstrators have even adapted: in recent days, they have begun using a tactic in which they form clusters and chant antigovernment slogans, only to disperse quietly into the surrounding crowds the moment the police approach.

2. Meanwhile, a close Mousavi aide has been arrested. At this rate, the regime may ensure that most–if not all–Iranians will spend time in prison for opposing its depredations.

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