Death Of The Green Movement

So much for any hope of regime change in Iran any time soon. What a damn shame that the United States government offered exactly zero encouragement and support for the Green Movement when the Iranian opposition had the most momentum, directly after the last Iranian elections.

Iran moves to finally crush opposition movement

Iran’s last two legally registered political parties were disbanded this week after their leaders were thrown in jail. The government also banned a reformist newspaper and has carried out arrests of a number of high profile liberals.

Activists said that almost all prominent opposition supporters had suffered in the 10 months since June’s presidential election which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Opponents have suffered increasing harassment in recent weeks with new restrictions imposed on their movements, monitoring and disruption of phone calls and warnings of future punishment.

One activist said: “This is not a normal country. I cannot express my views or carry out my activities in any way more.

“There is no more mobile contact between us in the opposition. We can only meet by shaking off the people who tail us. The risks are high and getting worse.”

Mirhossein Mousavi, Iran’s opposition leader, is being held under restrictive conditions, according to close associates who claim they can no longer communicate directly with their leader.

Activists close to the former Iranian prime minister who finished second behind President Ahmadinejad told the The Daily Telegraph that they can no longer regularly communicate with their leader.

The leader of Iran’s Green Movement has not been seen in public for two months and only rarely leaves home. Neither he or his politically active wife Zahra Rahnavard have access to a telephone and their attempts at email communication has been limited.

The two political parties were outlawed after their leaders were imprisoned for helping to plan demonstrations. Mohsen Mirdamadi, leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front and Mostafa Tajzadeh Mujaheddin of the Islamic Revolution Organisation were sentenced to six years in prison on Monday.

See also:
Iran bans the country’s two remaining official opposition parties
Iran widens clampdown on opposition
Bans, jail for Iran opposition
Suspensions Of Two Factions Aim To Cripple Iran Reform Drive
Official gives reasons to ban two reformist groups
Iran Bans Top Reformist Organizations
Iran Mutes a Chorus of Voices for Reform
Iran suspends two leading reformist parties: report
Iran sentences 3 opposition activists to prison
Three reformists get six-year jail terms in Iran: agency
Iran bans the country’s two remaining official opposition parties
Iran ‘bans newly-reopened reformist daily’
Iran shuts down prominent reformist newspaper
Iran: Another reformist newspaper banned
Press watchdog bans reformist newspaper

Where is the U.S. government on this, why aren’t Obama and Clinton making public statements strongly condemning this Iranian theocracy’s brutal silencing of political dissent?

/probably because Obama and the Democrats are too busy trying to silence political dissent here at home

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If The Terrorist Enemy Of Our Enemy Renounces Terrorism Are They Our Freind Or Still Our Enemy?

Who’s side is the Obama administration really on here and who’s side should they be on?

Group sues US Government for labelling it terrorist

The People’s Mujahideen is sick and tired of being called a terrorist organisation by the US Government. So its leaders settled on a uniquely American strategy: they sued.

Yes, the group has done its share of assassinations, bombings, embassy attacks and killings of US troops. But that was long ago, and now the People’s Mujahideen says it has devoted itself to democracy and non-violence, and it would like very much to be taken off the State Department’s list of international terrorist groups.

Friends of the People’s Mujahideen Organisation of Iran – aka the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, aka the National Liberation Army of Iran, aka the National Council of Resistance, aka the Organisation of the People’s Holy Warriors – assembled on Tuesday at a courthouse in Washington to hear Andrew Frey of the firm Mayer Brown plead their case.

”Today’s PMOI is unique among foreign terrorist organisations,” the lawyer told a three-judge appellate panel. ”The organisation has forsworn violence. We walk the walk. There have been no terrorist acts by PMOI for eight years.”

People’s Mujahideen fighters were old-school terrorists who once battled the shah of Iran. They then went to Iraq and, with Saddam Hussein’s help, attacked the ayatollahs. They allegedly killed hundreds of people, but now they call themselves a non-violent Iranian opposition movement. About 3400 of them and their family members still live at Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

The Government’s lawyer, Douglas Letter, said he was not about to negotiate with ”an organisation that for at least 30 years has been involved in terrorism, violence, assassination …”

He admitted the public record was not sufficient to demonstrate that the group still poses a threat, but said classified material made it clear the group still deserves its terrorist listing. Here the People’s Mujahideen has a problem: it is allowed to respond to the classified evidence but not to see it.

Why Keep Iran Opposition Group on U.S. Terror List?

To the extent that the Iranian people’s six-month-old uprising for regime change is real, which it certainly is (“The People’s Revolt in Iran,” Review & Outlook, Dec. 22), the U.S. administration’s attitude toward it remains astonishing and unbelievable.

You should have mentioned that while current developments share striking similarities with those of 1978 prior to the Iranian revolution, the mistakes committed by the current Democratic administration bear striking resemblances to those of the Carter administration in 1978.

No one wants to see the U.S. interfering in Iran’s internal affairs. But it would be equally inexcusable to exercise silence while still pinning hope on nuclear negotiations with the clerical regime, a regime that is the primary state sponsor of international terrorism and whose rush to acquire nuclear weapons has brought on a regional crisis.

Washington is currently not on the side of the Iranian people. Even worse, by keeping the main Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK), on the State Department’s terror list, it has in effect rewarded the Iranian regime. The terror tag, levied in 1997 by the Clinton administration, aimed to placate the regime and change its behavior. It is completely devoid of legal, moral and political justification.

After seven court rulings that annulled the terror label against the MEK, the U.K. and the EU removed the organization from their own lists in 2008 and 2009. A court in the U.K. ruled in 2008 that “The reality is that neither in the open material nor in the closed material is there any reliable evidence that supported a conclusion that PMOI retained an intention to resort to terrorist activities in the future.”

The MEK rejected violence in 2001 and voluntarily disarmed in 2003. Interviews and extensive investigations conducted by nine U.S. security agencies on more than 3,400 MEK members in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, revealed that they pose absolutely no threat to America’s national security.

When it comes to the nuclear issue, the MEK has also served as the world’s eyes and ears by exposing the mullahs’ clandestine nuclear weapons program for the past seven years.

Why this organization remains on the U.S. terror list is a lingering mystery in Washington.

The Obama administration should remove the unwarranted restrictions placed on the Iranian opposition. Politically and morally, it should place itself on the side of millions of Iranians who are chanting for freedom. After that, it can leave the rest to the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement.

See also:
FACTBOX: Who are the People’s Mujahideen of Iran?
People’s Mujaheddin swears it has changed its terrorist ways
D.C. Circuit Examines Iranian Group’s ‘Terrorist’ Designation
Remove PMOI from terror list
End Appeasement of Iran, But Don’t Pull the Trigger (Yet)
PMOI
People’s Mujahedin of Iran
National Council of Resistance of Iran

Even if Chiang Kai-shek had horns and a tail he should be supported as long as he is anti-communist and we can reform him later.

/MacArthur

There’s no forgiving the killing of Americans, no matter how long ago, but that was then and this is now and we need all the help we can get with Iran. The PMOI has already been removed from the U.K and EU terrorist lists and they did uncover Iran’s secret nuclear program. When alliances and circumstances change and it suddenly is in our national interest, it wouldn’t be the first time the United States has embraced a former enemy to combat a current threat. If the PMOI can help us achieve regime change in Iran, we should be working with them and not against them. It may not be the most palatable choice, but the other choices we face regarding Iran are much less palatable.

/in my opinion, this particular enemy of our enemy should be our friend

It’s Starting To Look Like All Or Nothing In Iran

It appears that both sides are now painting themselves into two irreconcilable, mutually exclusive, opposite corners in this zero sum game for control of Iran, the country isn’t big enough for the both of them. There can only be one winner here.

Iran opposition leaders face threat of prosecution

Iran’s opposition leaders faced new threats Thursday with the state prosecutor warning they could be put on trial if they do not denounce this week’s anti-government protests – the worst unrest since the immediate aftermath of the disputed June election.

Police firing tear gas and wielding batons dispersed opposition supporters trying again Thursday to gather in two locations in central Tehran, said an opposition Web site called The Green Road. Police detained many of them, it said. The information could not be independently confirmed due to restrictions barring journalists from reporting on opposition activity in the streets.

The confrontation between Iran’s clerical rulers and their opponents has returned to the streets in recent weeks, after a harsh crackdown immediately following the election had all but put an end to demonstrations. Despite a continuing tough response from security forces, the opposition movement has regained some momentum.

Opposition Leader Strikes Back in Iran

Iran’s most prominent opposition leader launched a defiant broadside at the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday, striking back after two days of heavy criticism by supporters of the regime.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former presidential candidate who has become the opposition movement’s de facto leader, criticized a harsh government crackdown on protesters Sunday, and said he was willing to die in the fight to allow the Iranian people to express their religious and civic rights.

Mr. Mousavi, in his Internet posting Friday, said he “has no fear of becoming one of the martyrs” for the cause, and he challenged regime officials who have threatened to prosecute him and other leaders of the opposition.

The statement comes after two days of outpourings by government supporters against the opposition and Mr. Mousavi personally. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of regime backers demonstrated, sometimes raucously, in solidarity with Mr. Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. During some rallies, government supporters chanted against Mr. Mousavi and his opposition partner, Mahdi Karroubi, another unsuccessful candidate in the June 12 presidential elections, calling for Mr. Mousavi’s death and the execution of protesters.

On Thursday, Iran’s state prosecutor warned that opposition leaders could face charges if they didn’t renounced recent protests.

On Friday, Iran’s deputy head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, called pro-opposition protesters enemies of God, or mohareb in Farsi, a crime punishable by death under Iranian law, according to the Associated Press.

See also:
Iran prosecutor threatens opposition with trials
Repent or else’ … Iran vows to crush protesters
Iran opposition leaders face threat of prosecution
Iran: Legal prosecution against the opposition leaders
Standoff in Iran Deepens With New Show of Force
Iran Intensifies Crackdown on Dissent
Iran steps up crackdown on Opp after violent protests
Iranian authorities demand halt to protests
Iran Arrests Dissidents, Sites Report
Iran arrests hundreds of dissidents
Iranian regime rounds up relatives of opposition leaders in bid to stop protests
Trial over people arrested in Iran on Ashura Day to be held on Sunday
Divided Iran enters 2010 after a year of deadly protests
Mousavi supporters say Iran ordered murder of his nephew
Opposition leader Mousavi denounces Iran’s crackdown
Mousavi “ready to die” but green wave calls for Khamenei’s end
Mousavi: Not afraid to be a martyr
World Digest: Iranian opposition leader Mousavi ‘not afraid’ to die
Mousavi Anticipates His Own Death, Ctd
Mousavi arrest would have ‘catastrophic consequences’: dissident
Late cleric’s son warns of more Iran turmoil: report
New revolution challenges old

This is the best opportunity for a regime change in Iran that the West is ever going to get. While I agree that direct intervention would be the wrong course of action, the United States and the rest of the West need to do something to take advantage of this situation, we just can’t remain neutral and sit idly by.

/at a bare minimum, if Obama hasn’t authorized our intelligence community to provide the Iranian opposition with secure communication equipment and suitcases full of cash, he’s committing Presidential malpractice

Intifada At Isfahan

Iran protests intensify, prompting state of emergency in Isfahan

Iran security forces and opposition protesters stepped up clashes on Wednesday in the city of Isfahan, the birthplace of Iran’s top dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Montazeri’s death this past weekend, and the rituals marking his passing, coincide with a new push by regime opponents during a 10-day religious commemoration.

The government has responded by harassing two reformist clerics who could replace Montazeri, as well as stripping the opposition’s top political figure – Mir Hossein Mousavi – of his sole official post.

In Isfahan, pro-regime basiji militiamen used batons, chains, and stones to beat mourners who gathered at the city’s main mosque to remember Montazeri, the spiritual mentor of the Iranian opposition, whose websites reported the clashes.

“While people were reciting the Quran [in the mosque], plainclothed forces attacked them and threw tear gas into the mosque yard and sprayed those inside with pepper spray after they closed the doors,” reported the reformist Parlemannews. “They severely beat the people inside,” then doused the clerical speaker with pepper spray and arrested him.

“Tens of thousands gathered outside for the memorial but were savagely attacked by security forces and the basijis,” witness Farid Salavati told the Associated Press. He said that dozens were injured as riot police and vigilantes clubbed and kicked men and women alike – some in the face – and arrested 50 people who had gathered to mourn the grand ayatollah.

Montazeri – the chosen successor of Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until a falling out in 1989 – had been unrelenting in his criticism of the officially declared reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, as well as of Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is invalid,” protesters shouted on Wednesday, referring to violence since June, in which severe force has been used against Iranians who marched to reverse the official result. They wanted to see the “Green Movement” presidential candidate, Mr. Mousavi, elected. Scores died in June and thousands were arrested; protests have flared repeatedly around the nation since then.

In Isfahan, the clashes on Wednesday portend more violence, as protesters and pro-government forces alike prepare for the religious peak of the Shiite calendar, Ashura, which falls on Sunday. By the end of the day on Wednesday, it was reported that the governor had announced a state of emergency and reportedly called in the military for help.

“The regime has no alternative but to try to block the commemorations of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, because it has been state policy to demote him,” says Mehrdad Khonsari of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London. “But given the events of the last six months, this only aggravates the situation [and] becomes a catalyst for more protests and is counter-productive.

“Every demonstration is a dress rehearsal for the next demonstration. Once Ashura is over next week, there will be more demonstrations,” says Mr. Khonsari. “The fact is there is no likelihood that these protests are going to come to an end anytime soon.”

See also:
Police, protesters clash in southern Iran
Iran forces clash with cleric’s mourners: websites
Iran: unrest reported in Isfahan
Iran warns that it will deal ‘fiercely’ with protesters
Iran security forces clash with protesters in Isfahan
Iranian security forces suppress new wave of opposition protests in Isfahan
Isfahan beset by violence
Iran behaves increasingly like a ‘police state’: US
Iran Beats Mourners, Signaling Harder Line
Esfahan / Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center N32°40′ E51°40′
Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear Technology Center
Could This Be A Tipping Point?

It looks like this coming weekend might be shaping up as the largest nationwide Iranian opposition protest yet and, judging by recent events, it could also be the bloodiest. I can only hope, especially after reading this, that all the Green Movement pain won’t be in vain and these protests eventually reach the point of no return, critical mass, the overthow of the Iranian mullahs, regime change.

/Go Green!

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