Rallies, Clashes Throughout Iran on Ashura; 4 Demonstrators Killed, including Mousavi Nephew

Opposition web sites are reporting that big protests broke out Sunday afternoon in several major cities in Iran. The rallies were confronted by police, basij paramilitary, and plains clothes security forces, first with tear gas and then with live ammunition. It is being alleged that at least 4 protesters have been shot dead, and that one is the nephew of opposition leader and former presidential candidate Mir Husain Mousavi.

Sayyid Ali Husain Mousavi, 34, was said to have been taken to Ibn Sina Hospital after being shot in the heart during a demonstration in downtown Tehran.

After initially denying that anyone had been killed, Iranian official media are now acknowledging several deaths, but declining to identify them as protestors shot by security men.

After mourning sessions Sunday morning at spiritual centers called Husayniyehs or takyehs, crowds issued into alleys and streets, mixing religious slogans with pro-opposition ones. (They chanted, “O Husayn (grandson of the Prophet), Mir Husain (i.e. presidential contender Mir Husain Mousavi).”)

In Tehran, police used tear gas at Revolution Square and closed the Vali Asr intersection

Reports came in of the capital’s streets being full of smoke and fires. Reports of large numbers of arrrests are circulating.

In Shiraz in the southwest, there was a policee crackdown on demonstrators and pro-regime elements are said to have surrounded the house of prominent cleric Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastghaib, a member of the Assembly of Experts who appears to be critical of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Authorities deployed pepper spray and tear gas against crowds in Isfahan, who continued to mourn the passing of regime critic Ayatollah Husain Ali Montazeri along with their Ashura mourning.

Similar reports came in from Tabriz, Mashhad and other cities.

AFP has a roundup.

Some important points:

For the regime to create a member of the Mousavi family as a martyr on Ashura was most unwise. Shiite Islam even more than traditional Catholicism thrives on the blood of martyrs.

Junior or middle-ranking Ayatollahs favorable to the ideas of Montazeri show up in a number of these reports about protests in provincial cities, suggesting a generational split in the clerical corps and trouble for Khamenei ahead.

Iran’s political crisis is far from over, even though the opposition has little hope of coming to power as long as the security forces remain firmly behind Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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5 Responses

  1. The hard-liners in Iran have already suffered a devastating defeat. While they can still rely on state mechanisms of repression & brutality to maintain power, they've lost the respect & the regard they could once take for granted as "Leaders of the Revolution." For most of this generation of Iranians, their moral authority is shot, their credibility is gone, & the relationship is now one of relentless intimidation with a populace that loathes them.

  2. Shocking Video– Iranian Protesters Save Prisoners from Hanging in Sirjan & Attack Police Truck — Regime Thugs Shoot Down Protesters

    Iranian protesters in Sirjan rescued two prisoners being hanged by the brutal regime. They rushed the Iranian officials smashed up their truck and cut the prisoners down.
    The regime called in assistance and shot and killed a number of protesters.
    This young man was shot in the groin by the killer regime and is bleeding profusely.
    In this amazing video the protesters rescue the prisoners and then are shot at by the regime

    link to youtube.com

    link to dailyniteowl.com

  3. Hello Professor Cole,

    Quite insightful as always…

    But I think that the security forces are not as firmly behind the current ruling gang as you think they are. With the deep economic and social malaise in the country, the regime has profound challenges. I hope you had a chance to review Mohajerani's comments on the Green Movement Website on the continued tactical and strategic mistakes being made by the regime repeatedly..which includes as you so eloquently point out the martydom of Mr. Mousavi's Nephew….

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