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

Election Day, Axis Of Evil Style

In a few hours, Iranians will go to the polls to elect their next president. Who will it be?

Will Ahmadinejad Lose Iran’s Election?

In the free-for-all of this election, Iran’s Opposition supporters have been shouting slogans they’d normally only whisper, like “death to the government.”

They are emboldened by their man, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who looks like he could actually win, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

A 67-year-old architect and painter, Mousavi has promised to liberalize the economy, negotiate with the West over Iran’s nuclear program and give young people – especially women – more freedom.

“If Mousavi wins the election, things would change in a better way for Iran,” said one girl at a rally.

Mousavi is going into this election knowing he can count on the youth vote. Most of the people who come to his rallies are under 30 – young people who want him to deliver on the freedoms they crave.

But the real star of this campaign is Mousavi’s unofficial running mate, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who has shattered taboos by sharing the stage with him as an equal, calling to mind another high profile political wife.

“I was active in politics long before people discovered Michelle Obama, a woman I respect,” Rahnavard said through a translator.

Her wild popularity has got the competition rattled. During Iran’s first ever Presidential debates, Mousavi accused President Ahmadinejad of leading the country to dictatorship.

Ahmadinejad countered by attacking Mousavi’s wife, holding up her resume – he said she was an academic cheat, alleging she got a PhD without taking a university entrance exam.

Even if untrue – it went down well with Ahmadinejad’s supporters – who think the President can do no wrong. They love his non-negotiable stance on Iran’s nuclear program, and pork barrel spending that benefits the working class.

He’s a hero in rural towns like Pulur high in the mountains. In the local diner, it’s unanimous – everyone’s voting for Ahmadinjad for the local improvements he’s made.

But for every fan – there’s a critic, and Ahmadinejad and his backers are clearly shaken by the ferocity of opposition.

What looks like democracy to some, looks to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard like a potential uprising.

A notice appeared last night on the Guard’s website, warning that any sign of a popular revolution would be crushed.

Iran election race tightens

The day before polls open in Iran’s presidential election, the streets are suddenly quiet again as official campaigning comes to an end, and voters prepare for what is expected to be a record turnout.

Whereas President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a sure bet just 10 days ago, the race has closed this past week, in what is clearly turning into a referendum on his four years in office.

Rivers of green have flowed through the streets, those decked out in the colors of his main challenger, former Prime Minster Mir Hossein Moussavi.

The week started with tens of thousands of his supporters forming a human chain along 17 kilometers of the main Tehran artery Vali-Asr Street.

Called out by text message and email the numbers exceeded all expectations, their ranks swelled by thousands more who joined the chain spontaneously or just lined the route to watch.

“Ahmadi bye bye, Ahmadi bye bye,” they sang. Others held up posters that said ‘NO LIARS.’ It has become the opposition slogan.

They accuse the president of lying about the shape of the economy, overseeing higher prices, higher unemployment and higher inflation over the last four years.

One woman said she came out “because we want a change, because we want freedom.”

By the end of the week Moussavi’s supporters stretched as far as the eye could see from one end of Tehran to another, in scenes not witnessed here since the Islamic Revolution swept this country back in 1979.

Wednesday night a deputy leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard posted a warning on their Web site, vowing to “crush” any attempts at a “velvet revolution” in Iran.

President Ahmadinejad also drew large crowds, but even his most fervent supporters conceded, they didn’t come close to Moussavi’s. His staunchest supporters are among the traditional, the poor and the religious faithful.

See also:
Iran’s election system
SCENARIOS: How U.S.-Iran ties might develop after election
Former US diplomat hopeful for change after Iran election
Iran’s Election Brings Desire for Women’s Rights Into Focus
Iran’s Young Women Use Their Polling Power
Commentary: Iran’s nuclear work will go on

The election on Friday should be worth watching, considering that one-third of the electorate is under 30-years-old and was therefore not born at the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. In any case, I’m not sure this election will make a whole lot of difference, since the real power in Iran is wielded by the ruling mullahs, led by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. It’s also doubtful this election will change anything regarding what Israel and the United States are most concerned about, Iran’s nuclear program.

IAEA: Ahmadinejad election rival launched Iran nuclear program

International Atomic Energy Agency documents revealed that Iran began a secret nuclear program during the tenure of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader running against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The documents, which Iran transferred to the IAEA several years ago, show that Tehran decided in 1987 to purchase the centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium.

Mousavi, who is seen as a moderate candidate in the West, served as Iran’s prime minister between 1981 and 1989, and while that position has since been eliminated from Iranian politics, it was an executive position that was similar in nature to the current presidential role.

One of the documents revealed that the then-head of Iran’s atomic energy organization requested Mousavi’s approval for purchasing the centrifuges on the black market. Iran subsequently acquired the centrifuges through the smuggling ring of Pakistani scientist Abd al-Qadir Khan.

Anyway, this election ought to be interesting and I hope Ahmadinejad loses, just so we don’t have to see or hear the malignant dwarf anymore.

/stay tuned and pray there’s no violence