Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Battered Iranian protesters threatened with 'decisive confrontation'

Their numbers are vastly reduced, the government killing protesters tends to have that effect, but still there are people taking to the streets of Iran.

So now, disgracefully, the Khamenei regime are threatening them with "decisive and revolutionary confrontation" should they fail to stand down. And, ridiculously, the Iranians continue to insist that this protest is somehow the work of British interference in Iranian politics.

As Iranian officials and the state media stepped up their allegations of British involvement in the protest movement, the British embassy in Tehran began evacuating the families of members of staff, and the Foreign Office advised against non-essential travel to Iran.

The parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, called for a "revision" of diplomatic ties with the UK in the light of what he alleged was British meddling, an allegation denied on Sunday by the foreign secretary, David Miliband.

British diplomats warned, however, that a further worsening of the bilateral relationship was likely in the next few days in view of Tehran's allegations.

The pro-government Fars news agency quoted a former member of a conservative Islamic student movement as saying: "If Britain continues its blatant intervention and malevolence, Iranian students will close down the British house of spies in Iran, like they did the US house of spies."

The European Union, represented by the Czech government, summoned Iran's chargé d'affaires and "categorically rejected" all allegations of interference, and the Italian embassy said it was available to offer humanitarian aid to injured demonstrators.

The Iranian regime of Khamenei is now blatantly clutching at straws, denying what should be obvious to them; their people have rejected an election which they perceive as a massive fraud.

The government backlash against the protesters intensified as the regime acknowledged serious problems with the 12 June elections. The guardian council, a group of 12 conservative clerics tasked with investigating the vote, said that more votes had been cast in 50 electoral districts than there were registered voters. However, a council spokesman insisted that such "discrepancies" would not overturn the president's election.

Alongside the riot police, the government's principal weapon against the demonstrators has been the Basij militia, a paramilitary subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guard.

Yesterday the 125,000-strong Revolutionary Guard corps threatened to intervene directly to quash the protests. A statement on its website said the demonstrators should "be ready for the decisive and revolutionary confrontation with the IGRC, Basij and other security forces".

The intelligence department of the police issued a statement of its own urging Iranians to help police officers identify "the main elements who have been behind the recent riots", while a member of the judiciary said special courts should be set up to try them.

The chances are that they will manage to put down all forms of protest, but one is left wondering what validity any government would have which was formed under such circumstances.

I can't help but feel that Khamenei has let something out of the box.

It's like trying to keep hold of sand. The more tightly Khamenei grips it, the less of it he actually has in his hand. And his grasp is, at the moment, resembling a vice.

Which means that his entire regime has almost no validity. In trying to save Ahmadinejad, Khamenei has sacrificed his own authority.

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