After Egypt: Iran?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 14, 2011

Despite their inability to secure government permission to protest, Iranians continued to demonstrate their bravery by taking to the streets:

Thousands of Iranian opposition activists rallied in support of popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt Monday, while a semi-official Iranian news agency said one person was killed and several wounded by protesters in the capital, Tehran.

Witnesses say security forces, many of them on motorbikes, fanned out across central Tehran Monday as opposition groups demonstrated despite a protest ban. Hundreds of black-clad Iranian riot police fired tear gas and paintball guns to disperse the crowds.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said what it called “seditionists” had shot a bystander dead at the Tehran rally.

Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Kaleme website reported that “Tehran security forces arrested dozens of protesters.” There was no official confirmation of the detentions. Mousavi’s website and that of fellow reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi said security forces surrounded their homes, preventing the two men from joining the march. Authorities also cut telephone lines at Mousavi’s house.

Some demonstrators chanted “death to the dictator” – a slogan used by protesters against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the disputed 2009 presidential election. By late evening Monday, chants echoed from Tehran rooftops, as they did during the unrest two years ago.

As the story indicates–and as I have noted–the Obama Administration is actually putting pressure on Iran to respect the rights of the protesters. One hopes that pressure continues, instead of disappearing as it did in 2009. Otherwise . . . well . . . I think that Claire Berlinski puts matters nicely (via InstaPundit).

Relatedly, wouldn’t it have been nice if the Obama Administration hadn’t decided to halve the funding for a successful overseas democracy-promotion program?

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