Iran Linkage

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on September 8, 2009

The highlights–or lowlights, if you prefer:

1. Not content with their efforts to crush dissent by bashing and killing people who demonstrated on the streets of Iran, the regime is now raiding the offices of opposition leaders:

Iranian authorities closed down pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi’s office on Tuesday, Iranian news agency ILNA reported, and a website said one of his top aides was detained.

Judiciary officials entered Karoubi’s office in northern Tehran and told him and others inside to leave, ILNA said, adding documents, discs and other material were seized.

“Karoubi’s office has been sealed off upon the Tehran prosecutor’s order,” it quoted Esmail Gerami-Moghaddam, a spokesman for Karoubi’s party, as saying. Karoubi came fourth in June’s disputed presidential election.

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Website mowjcamp.ir said agents raided and searched the home of Morteza Alviri and took him away. It also confirmed the closure of Karoubi’s office.

On Monday security forces raided an office run by allies of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, the election runner-up, and confiscated documents, his website said.

Mousavi’s website said it was the premises of a committee set up by him to look into post-election events, including the number of dead and the treatment of people detained during the huge opposition demonstrations that followed the vote.

I suppose that one can take some perverse sense of comfort out of this report; apparently, the opposition is still vibrant enough to be feaed by the regime. But where is the international outrage that should attend such violations of basic political rights? Is the United States still going to remain quiet? Is the Obama Administration still under the impression that it should not talk about this issue?

2. This is interesting:

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take into account “benevolent criticism” after a leading group of clerics urged the president to limit “provocative remarks.”

“Some internal criticism that is backed by foreign media aims to harm, but there is also benevolent criticism which may not come from supporters of the government, and they need to be taken into account,” Khamenei, the highest authority in the country, said yesterday in a meeting with Ahmadinejad and his ministers, according to state television.

The Society of Militant Clergy called on Ahmadinejad, who was sworn in last month for a second term after the disputed June election, to focus on “solving people’s problems and the country’s economic woes and social challenges, and avoid uttering unnecessary and provocative remarks,” according to a statement on the group’s Web site.

“Comments made and the disrespect committed in the debates, speeches and rallies prior to and following the election caused divisions,” they said.

Signs, perhaps, of continued divisions between Ahmadinejad and Khamene’i. At some point, one of these people is going to grow tired of the other and have the political equivalent of a blowup.

3. Former president Khatami has come out strongly against the actions of the regime. As the story indicates, his speech, along with Mousavi’s call to deepen protests, indicates that there is quite a lot of life left in the resistance, and that it is prepared to be a force in Iranian politics for the long haul. When the regime has to cancel Ramadan-related events because if fears that they may turn into protests, you know that the hardliners are not out of the woods by any means.

4. Finally, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

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