Saturday, June 27, 2009

Iran uprising fizzles out as Mousavi backtracks.

Mirhossein Mousavi has almost thrown in the towel - in the face of state brutality- by announcing that he will, in future, seek permission before organising any demonstrations over the recent Iranian election.

The latest moves may signal the beginning of the end for the protests, which have swept Iran since the incumbent President Ahmadinejad claimed a landslide victory. The number of people attending marches has dwindled after demonstrators repeatedly came under attack from police and the Islamist Basiji militia, and almost 1,000 people were arrested.

Iran's Guardian Council yesterday seemed close to endorsing President Ahmadinejad as victor, in what it maintained was "one of the cleanest elections we have had".

Spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodai said allegations of fraud by the opposition had proved groundless. "After 10 days of examination we did not see any major irregularities," he said. "I can say with certainty that there was no fraud in the election." In his latest message Mr Mousavi urged supporters not to break the law, while maintaining that the struggle to have the polls annulled must continue. The opposition leader said he had been asked by the Interior Ministry to apply in person for rallies to be authorised, and to give a week's notice. He pointed out that while restrictions were imposed on his protests, supporters of President Ahmadinejad were able to hold marches "that were well publicised on state television, seeming to encourage participation, with their regularly advertised march routes."

Mousavi may very well appeal for Iranians to keep within the law, but there's nothing to say that they will.

Why should they have any respect for a state which pays so little attention their will? And, having brutalised the protesters, there are now calls for the state to go even further in forcing people to accept the election of Ahmadinejad.
A senior Iranian cleric yesterday called for protesters to be executed as "enemies of Allah", as authorities came one step closer to formally declaring Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winner of the disputed election.

In a sermon at Tehran University, a venue believed to have been chosen deliberately because of the prominent role played by students in the protests, one Assembly of Experts member, Ahmad Khatami, said: "I want the judiciary to punish rioters without mercy, to teach everyone a lesson."

Mr Khatami's speech, which was broadcast nationwide, continued: "Based on Islamic law, whoever confronts the Islamic state should be convicted as mohareb [one who wages war against God] and punished ruthlessly and savagely. Under Islamic law punishment for those convicted as mohareb is execution."

They are now arguing that anyone who disputes the election of Ahmadinejad should face execution.

It seems with every day which passes that the lengths they will go to in order to hold on to power is simply limitless.

I'm sure that Khamenei will be able to use the full force of the state to impose his will, but he does so at a dreadful cost to his own legitimacy. I mean, it's a seriously bad day when even the Russians and the Chinese are worried about the level of violence you are engaging in:
Russia, which along with China, had maintained that the election result should be accepted, said it was nevertheless, worried by the scale of violence by authorities. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "We count on all questions which have arisen in the context of the elections being resolved in accordance with democratic procedures."
Forget the fact that Obama and the British are being critical, Khamenei's brutality is even managing to shock his allies.

Khamenei might manage to clear Iran's streets, but I seriously doubt that he will ever truly manage to put this genie back into the bottle.

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