Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Protests in Iran capital 'halted'.

The bludgeoning of the Iranian people appears to have been successful as protests in Iran dwindle and die. But the lengths the regime have gone to in order to quell the unrest is quite startling.

Residents say the city is quiet, but opposition supporters have called for a day of mourning on Thursday for those killed during the protests.

Barack Obama has condemned the "unjust" violence used against protesters.

Meanwhile, reports say four Iranian footballers who appeared to show solidarity with them have been banned.

The pro-government Iran Daily newspaper said four of the six players who wore green wristbands during a World Cup qualifier against South Korea in Seoul had been retired from the national team.
So, four players have been "retired" for even daring to wear green wristbands during a national football game. That really does sum up the level of free expression allowed in Iran at the moment. The wearing of a wristband can end the career of international footballers.

Just think of the message that it would send in this country were a footballer to have his career ended for letting it be known that he supported New Labour or the Tories. It's actually unthinkable.

On Tuesday, President Obama used his starkest language yet to strongly condemn Iran's clamping down on election protests.

He said he respected Iran's sovereignty and it was "patently false" of Iran to say the West was fomenting the unrest.

Mr Obama said: "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days.

"I strongly condemn these unjust actions and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost."

He said: "The United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran's affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society."

There has been a "remarkable opening" within Iranian society, an opening that has been crushed brutally by the regime of Khamenei.

I don't know what happens now, but I do know that the current regime have given up all claims to legitimacy.

They remain in power because they were willing to use the full power of the state against their own populace. To the extent that they were willing to end the careers of footballers who dared to suggest that they supported the other side.

The Iranian people are no longer under the illusion that they live in a democracy. They don't.

The real question is what happens now. Violence has silenced the protests, but it has not taken away the feeling of injustice.

Not only is Ahmadinejad in power against the will of the people, but Khamenei has also made his own position perilous by the stances he has struck since the election. They will both stumble on, but we all know that they are both there because they were willing to crush all opposition, not because they actually represent the will of ordinary Iranians.


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