Could This Be A Tipping Point?

Clashes Erupt at Reformist Cleric’s Funeral

Hundreds of thousands of Iranian mourners, including opposition leaders and influential senior clerics, attended the funeral of the country’s top dissident cleric in the holy city of Qom on Monday, turning the event into one of the largest antiregime protests the city has seen in three decades.

The funeral procession of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, one of the regime’s harshest critics, began peacefully. But opposition protesters used the charged event to chant against Iran’s leaders, and security forces and riot police responded by attacking mourners with shoes, stones and tear gas, according to news reports and videos circulating on the Internet.

On Sunday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a condolence message for the deceased cleric, a founding architect of the Islamic Republic, who fell out with the regime in the late 1980s. Mr. Khamenei offered his regrets but pointed out that Mr. Montazeri had strayed from the ideals of the 1979 revolution.

When the message was read to mourners in Qom on Monday, many jumped up and down, booing and screaming “Khamenei is a murderer. His leadership is finished,” according to videos posted to opposition Web sites and to YouTube.

By nightfall, Mr. Montazeri’s house was under siege by security services, his son Ahmad told the BBC’s Farsi-language service. Mr. Montazeri’s family canceled a memorial service planned that evening at a mosque in Qom, according to a statement issued by his son and posted on opposition Web sites.

“We received word that Basij and Revolutionary Guards have entered the mosque and are waiting for us with batons,” Ahmad Montazeri wrote.

Authorities have banned press coverage of the event. Iranian Web sites that posted accounts have reported reliably on protests in the past, and videos posted on YouTube match their accounts.

The BBC’s Persian service, a source of news for many Iranians, was jammed Sunday, knocking it off air inside Iran, the British Broadcasting Corp. said.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as Mr. Khamenei’s brother, Hadi, who is also a critic of the regime, attended the funeral.

Mr. Mousavi’s Web site, Kalameh, reported that his car came under attack on his return trip to Tehran, and a bodyguard was injured, but Mr. Mousavi was unharmed.

The opposition called for the grand ayatollahs of Qom, Iran’s highest clerical officials, to call for a national day of mourning Tuesday to protest what the opposition called the insulting way the government security forces treated mourners in Qom.

Qom serves as the spiritual capital of Iran’s ruling clerics. A dusty city in the desert plains south of Tehran, it is dotted with turquoise minarets and golden domes, and has been instrumental in shaping Iran’s politics for the past century.

Analysts said Monday’s massive protests in Qom and the presence of high-profile grand ayatollahs in the funeral ceremonies elevated the opposition’s profile, further denting the credibility of Mr. Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Mr. Khamenei’s legitimacy was questioned in Qom today, and that is a significant blow to the regime. It will be extremely hard to recover from this,” said Mohamad Javad Akbarein, a former cleric from Qom and a Shiite scholar now living in Beirut.

Mr. Montazeri was once in line to succeed the founder of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as supreme leader. But he fell out with the regime and became one of its highest-profile critics. In recent months, a protest movement ignited by contested June 12 elections adopted the frail cleric as its spiritual leader.

Opposition leaders, including Messrs. Mousavi and Karroubi and their supporters, accused Mr. Ahmadinejad of stealing the June vote, which the government denies. Over months of protests since, demonstrations have veered from protesting the elections and its results to denouncing the regime itself.

See also:
Iranian Mourners Swarm Qom for Montazeri’s Funeral
Report: Large turnout for Iran cleric’s funeral
Protests mark funeral of Hossein Ali Montazeri
Iran’s Ayatollah Montazeri buried in Qom amid protests
Iran: ‘clashes’ at Montazeri funeral
Iran funeral ends with anti-govt slogans -website
Popular dissident Hossein Ali Montazeri mourned in Iran
Iran’s Mousavi In Qom For Cleric’s Funeral – Website
Mousavi Motorcade Attacked Amid Iran Clashes
Some Iranians Arrested on Way to Funeral – Website
YouTube Offers Glimpse of Funeral Scene in Qom
IRAN: Video of dissident cleric’s funeral ceremony
Filling Montazeri’s shoes in Iran
The Conservative Dissident: Hosein-Ali Montazeri
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, R.I.P.
Death of a cleric, but not of a movement
Iran: What the death of dissident cleric Montazeri means for opposition
Iran opposition energized by Montazeri funeral in Qom, say eyewitnesses
The Difference One Ayatollah Might Make
The Peoples’ Revolt in Iran

/let’s hope someone in the Obama administration is paying attention, we should be actively supporting the Iranian opposition, it’s a much better option than a military strike

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It Was 30 Years Ago Today, The Ayatollah Took Our Embassy Away

And to this day, we still haven’t properly thanked Iran for this act of war.

Every year on the anniversary of the Iranian seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, the Iranian regime sponsors mass rallies to mark the event, with bused in pro-regime crowds burning U.S. flags and chanting “death to America” for the cameras. This year, something different happened, anti-regime protesters risked their lives to take to the streets and shout “death to the dictators’, while trying to stay one step ahead of the regime police, military, and paramilitary security forces using everything up to and including reports of live ammunition to try and stop them.

Iran protesters take to streets as regime marks 30th anniversary of US Embassy seizure

Iranian security forces used clubs, teargas and paintball guns to disperse thousands of antigovernment protesters in Tehran on Wednesday who took to the streets as thousands of regime loyalists marked the 30th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in 1979.

While a pro-government crowd chanted anti-American slogans and burned US flags at the walls of the former embassy compound — still often called the “den of spies” – antigovernment demonstrators were caught in sometimes vicious confrontations at other locations in central Tehran in the first mass protests for six weeks.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the embassy takeover anniversary has been an important event for rallying regime support, so the scale and boldness of the opposition turnout – after weeks of warnings from security officials that any attempt to gather would be harshly confronted—was seen as a test of opposition strength.

“Greens [won] by far. They proved that no longer can the government assemble people without any incident, and [the regime] has based everything since the beginning on [large] public assemblies,” said one witness who, like others quoted in this story, asked not be named for security reasons. “Also, if you bring out [security] guards in such numbers, you know you are in deep trouble. The government as expected was scared.”

And while the Islamic Republic revitalizes the anti-American pillar of its revolution with a celebration, many of the radical students who took control of the embassy have since become reformist critics.

And the pro-democracy protesters had a message for Obama.

Opposition demonstrators, meanwhile, chanted “Obama, Obama, are you with us, or against us?” Many opposition activists have been critical of Mr. Obama for negotiating with the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom they say was re-elected in June as a result of fraud and vote-rigging.

So, it’s the 30th anniversary of one of the most humiliating episodes in American history, an act of war that Iran still hasn’t paid any price for, and Obama decides to issue a statement to mark the event. Does he lend U.S. support to the brave pro-democracy factions, risking their lives to bring freedom to the Iranian people? Hell no, he “reaches out” again to the belligerent Iranian regime that consistently spurns U.S. diplomatic overtures on a weekly basis.

Obama calls for new relationship with Iran on anniversay of embassy takeover

President Obama today called for a new relationship with Iran in a statement that marked the 30th anniversary of the takeover by Iranian militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The seizure of the embassy by radical students marked the beginning of Iran’s turn to hard-line policies. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

“This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation,” Obama said in his statement. “I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”

Of course, Obama’s endless all carrot, no stick apologies have become something of a running joke in international circles, his weakness is palpable. Like clockwork, the Iranians rebuked Obama’s groveling with the same response they’ve used ever since Obama took office.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Rejects Engagement With U.S.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday rejected any direct engagement with the United States, stressing that the Islamic Republic will not be deceived by Washington’s “apparent re-conciliatory behavior.”

“We do not want any negotiations whose results are predefined by the U.S.,” Khamenei said Tuesday. “Iran will not be deceived by Washington’s apparent re-conciliatory behavior.”

Oh, and if Obama somehow thinks the Iranian regime is kidding when they keep telling him in no uncertain words that they have no intention of cooperating with the United States or the West, all he has to do is take a look at what Israel found today.

Israel: Commandos seize huge Iranian arms shipment

Open crates from a cargo ship seized Wednesday by Israel revealed dark green missiles inside. Containers from the vessel bore writing in English that said “I.R. Iranian Shipping Lines Group.”

Israel alleged that the shipment of hundreds of tons of rockets, missiles, mortars, grenades and anti-tank weapons — the largest it ever seized — was headed for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel stopped the ship, named the Francop, off the coast of Cyprus and towed it to the port of Ashdod. It carried orange, red, white and blue containers piled three deep on its deck.

Rows of crates from the vessel were displayed on the dock, and inside were rockets, hand grenades, mortars and ammunition. At least 3,000 missiles were on board, the Israeli military said.

The seizure spotlighted the dangerous tensions between Israel and Iran. Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program and long-range missile development, dismissing Iranian denials that it is building nuclear weapons.

Among the weaponry displayed were Katyusha rockets. One of the long skinny missiles sat atop a pile of storage boxes the military had labeled in Hebrew “rocket 122 mm.” The 122 mm Katyusha was the main weapon used against Israel by Hezbollah in a monthlong war in 2006. During that war, about 1,200 people were killed in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and about 160 people were killed in Israel.

See also:
Iran Protests Against U.S. and Regime on Hostage Anniversary
Iran protesters hijack 30th anniversary of US embassy seizure
Protests erupt on 30th anniversary of U.S. embassy seizure
Iranian opposition and police in fresh clashes
Iranians hold anti-U.S. rallies to mark 30th anniversary of embassy takeover
Iranians Mark 30th Anniversary Of U.S. Embassy Siege, Anti-Government Protesters Dispersed
Clashes in Iran on Embassy Takeover Anniversary
Relationship With Iran Should Be Based On Mutual Interests: Obama
Obama calls for new relationship with Iran
Obama: Iran must decide what its focus is
The President Snubs Iran’s Democrats
Iran’s Courageous Dissidents Need Our Support
‘Obama Are You with Iran or with Us?’
Dialogue with Obama a trick, says Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ridicules Obama, Condemns U.S.
Iran warns US against influencing talks
Strong oil prices give confidence to Iran amid sea of troubles
Iran Boosts Output of Uranium Mine, Satellite Images Show
Israel says seized ship contained Iranian arms
Analysis: Seized arms evidence of Iran’s investment of Israel’s borders
Israel Seizes Ship Loaded With Weapons
Former Embassy Hostages Recall Anniversary of Iran Takeover
Iran hostage crisis
The Hostage Crisis in Iran
Iran Hostage Crisis
30 Years Later: Iran Hostage Crisis

/how many time does the Iranian regime have to kick Obama in the nuts before he feels the pain and humiliation, man’s up to the in your face hostility, and fights back in defense of the United States’ honor and national security?

The “Religion Of Peace” Is Anything But

It’s just another peaceful day in the world of Islam, without the peace.

Details of deadly Iran protest shooting vague, and reports election was stolen

Pulling out two of the most interesting bits of twitter and bloggerati, here are two reports about the major developments of the day, first the shooting of protesters in Tehran’s streets, from AFP:

One protestor was shot dead and several were wounded during a rally in Tehran on Monday, a local Iranian photographer told AFP.

The incident occurred in front of a local base of the Basij volunteer militia, which was set on fire, the photographer who declined to be identified said, adding that the dead man had been shot in the head. [Ed note, this Twitter link allegedly shows the victim, WARNING, graphic content]

Pictures of the incident which AFP saw showed armed men, wearing helmets and in civilian clothes, pointing guns at the crowds from the rooftop of the Basij base.

The photographer said that the dead man was killed by shots fired by these men from the rooftop.

An AFP correspondent at the rally also said that Iranian police had clashed with protestors and that crowds of people were seen fleeing.

Witnesses told the correspondent that the clashes erupted at the end of the rally when armed men dressed in plain clothes who did not appear to belong to the police force started shooting at people.

See also:
‘One shot dead’ at Iran protest
At least 1 dead in Iran election protests
Shooting raises tensions in Tehran
Protesters rally for Mousavi in election dispute
Shooting Victim, Tehran

PM calls Mubarak to clarify stance

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu telephoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday night to clarify Israel’s stance on a Middle East peace agreement, according to a report on Egyptian television.

It came after Mubarak blasted the prime minister for Sunday night’s policy speech, saying that “Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is ruining the chance for peace.”

According to Egyptian news agencies, Mubarak further added that “not Egypt, nor any other Arab country would support Netanyahu’s approach” to the peace process.

See also:
Syrian media blasts Netanyahu speech
PA: Netanyahu speech will spur new intifada
Palestinians angered by Netanyahu peace terms
Palestinians reject Benjamin Netanyahu speech

Bodies of foreign hostages found in Yemen: officials

The bodies of several foreign hostages have been found in Yemen, officials said Monday, the first time in almost a decade a kidnapping in the country has resulted in deaths.

Seven Germans, including three children and two female nurses, were abducted last week in the volatile Saada province in northern Yemen along with a male British engineer and a woman from South Korea.

There were conflicting reports coming out of Yemen about how many bodies had been found by the son of a tribal leader in Noshour, east of the mountainous Saada area.

One official, who also said two children had reportedly been found alive, put the number at seven. Another, at the interior ministry, said later only the women — two Germans and one South Korean — had been found.

“We have found the corpses of three women… who were kidnapped alongside six others,” the official told the website http://www.26sep.net, which is linked to the defence ministry.

Another source close to the investigation said examinations had shown the corpses, including one child, had been found shot and stabbed.

The missing nine belong to an international relief group that has worked for 35 years at a hospital in Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, an official said on Sunday.

The Yemeni authorities have accused Shiite Zaidi rebels of being behind the abductions although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

See also:
Yemen hostage killings: the work of Al Qaeda?
Govt ‘very concerned’ over reported Yemen hostage deaths
Yemen hostages ‘found dead’
Yemen Hostages Found Dead

Taliban attack musicians at Afghan wedding

Taliban fighters beat musicians, shaved their heads and left them tied to trees overnight because they performed at an Afghan wedding, a village tribal chief said on Monday, a sign of the fighters’ growing influence.

While in power from 1996-2001, the Taliban banned music as un-Islamic.

The militants have returned to areas in the east and south of the country, where violence has sharply spiked in recent years. They attack government officials, Afghan police, foreign troops and schools that teach girls, another practice they forbid.

“A party was going on when a group of Taliban grabbed five musicians and started beating them and smashing their musical instruments,” said Rahmatullah Khan, a head of Merke Khel village in the east of the country.

“The musicians were tied up with rope to trees last night and villagers found them in the morning when going out for prayers,” Khan said.

Khan said Taliban fighters shaved the heads of the musicians and made them take oaths in the presence of villagers that they would not sing or play music at weddings again.

Afghan weddings and engagement parties in rural areas are traditionally celebrated with hundreds of guests, music and singing that often continues until late at night.

See also:
Taliban Attacks Musicians At Afghan Wedding
Taliban attack musicians at wedding
Taliban attacks musicians at Afghan wedding

Christian Man Raped, Murdered for Refusing to Convert to Islam, Family Says

A young Christian man was raped and brutally murdered in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam, and police are doing nothing about it, the victim’s brother and minister told FOXNews.com.

Pakistani police reportedly found the body of Tariq “Litto” Mashi Ghauri — a 28-year-old university student in Sargodha, Pakistan — lying dead in a canal outside a rural village in Punjab Province on May 15. He had been raped and stabbed at least five times.

“They have sexually abuse him, torture him with a knife on his testicle and genitals,” Ghauri’s brother, 24-year-old Salman Nabil Ghauri, said. “They have tortured him very badly, and after that they have stabbed five times with a knife and killed him.”

The family believes Litto Ghauri was murdered by the brothers of his Muslim girlfriend, Shazi Cheema, after they found him in a compromising sexual position with their sister.

The Rev. Haroon Bhatti, a Christian clergyman in the village and a friend of the Ghauri family, said Cheema’s three brothers came to Litto Ghauri’s house on May 11 and gave him an ultimatum: Marry their sister and convert to Islam.

Ghauri agreed to the marriage but refused to accept Islam, and the brothers kidnapped him at gunpoint and drove him to a remote farmhouse, where they tortured and murdered him, the minister said.

See also:
Student Reportedly Raped, Killed in Pakistan
Pakistan: Christian Raped, Murdered for Refusing Islam

So we have reports of Muslims of murdering international aid worker hostages, torturing and murdering a Christian for refusing to convert to Islam, murdering fellow Muslims for protesting, beating musicians for playing music, and, as always, refusing to make peace with the Jews. And that was just today, what will they do for an encore tomorrow?

/based on widely observed behavior over time, the “religion of peace” should be more aptly named the religion of murder, mayhem, and violence