Student Protests Erupt in Over a Dozen Iranian Cities

The protests against the regime in Iran on Monday were remarkable in several ways, I conclude on reading Borzou Daragahi’s account in LAT. One is the sheer number of cities where students came out for rallies: “Esfahan, Shiraz and Kerman, in the eastern city of Mashhad and in the western cities of Tabriz, Kermanshah, Hamedan and Ilam as well as in Rasht on the Caspian Sea.”

Another is that Iranian Kurds joined in the protests in Sanandaj and other cities, throwing a scare into the regime, which is said to be sending armored vehicles to help restore order. Iranian Kurdish dissidents have been targeted by the regime for harsh treatment in recent months. The rise of a semi-independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq has increased worries in Tehran about Kurdish separatism. It is alleged that PEJAK, the Iranian-Kurdish guerrilla group, has carried operations against the regime with US encouragement.

Protesters chanted ‘Death to the Dictator,’ attacked Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for destroying the country, and burned photos of Khamenei. AP says, ‘Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi declared the clerical establishment was losing legitimacy in the eyes of Iranians. “A great nation would not stay silent when some confiscate its vote,” said Mousavi, who claims to be the real winner of the June 12 election. . . ‘

Monday’s rallies were bigger than the ones of November 4 and these protests are the largest since last summer.

Basij paramilitary intervened on motorcycles with batons. The regime used tear gas to dispersed the crowds, and some protesters were beaten. Reports of killings by the police have not been verified.

CBS has video on the university protests

This Kurdistan site has audio of student protests and shots ringing out , with a slide show of dramatic still photos overlain.

For the scene outside the capital, here is raw video of student protests in Kerman. The students are chanting “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom! God is Most Great!”

The USG Open Source Center translates an article on the conciliatory suggestions of Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi:

‘ Iran: Senior Ayatollah Calls For ‘Truce And Then A Ceasefire’
Iranian Students News Agency
Monday, December 7, 2009
Document Type: OSC Summary
Tehran Iranian Students News Agency in Persian at 1129 GMT on 7 December carried the text of an interview with Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi, senior cleric and member of the Assembly of Experts, published on Jamaran News website on 3 December on the anniversary of the passing of the Islamic Republic constitution.

In the interview, the ayatollah was asked to comment on the unrest and arrests that followed Iran’s presidential elections in June 2009. Makarem-Shirazi urged the two sides to negotiate a truce and then a ceasefire.

“Wherever there is war, a peace treaty is not suddenly achieved. They should introduce a truce first and then after a while when the tensions settle, they hold negotiations in a calm environment. I believe that a truce should be worked out. If we want to reach unity, there is a strategy for it.

“When we talk about unity, we are talking about people who believe in the constitution, leadership, Islam, and the interests of the country. Those who believe in those issues can reach unity. However, the precondition is to create a calm environment and then some people, who are respected by society and are moderate thinkers, should agree on the principles of unity. I do not believe that we have reached the end of the road, there is no deadlock.

“I have worked out a few principles but cannot discuss them under the current circumstances. If a calm atmosphere is created and if some people step forward to reach unity, then I will pronounce my views, too. I believe we can reach unity.
“I have repeatedly said that there were a few rioters who should be dealt with separately. However, a large number of people formed the majority in the elections and another large number of people the minority. We should create understanding between the two groups. After all they are 13-14m people who live in this country and the 24-25m people (referring to pro-President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad voters) live in this country, too. In other countries, figures less than these are cared for and governments negotiate with two-three million people.

We should sit together and negotiate and the precondition to that is the creation of a calm atmosphere.”

Elsewhere in his interview, Makarem-Shirazi alluded to President Ahmadinezhad’s recent threats that he might refuse to implement the economic reform plan, saying: “Many people, whether lower-class citizens or the elite, evade the law. They circumvent the law whenever they find it goes against their will and this can create many problems in society. If we respect the law, even if against us, it will be in the interest of everyone. If the law is dishonoured, anarchy will prevail. If everyone breaks the law because it is against their interest, then nothing will remain.

“If the president of a country says that he will not enforce a law approved by parliament, then the meaning of that action is that the parliament has no position in society. We should negotiate and even if we do not reach an agreement, we should respect the law.”

(Description of Source: Tehran Iranian Students News Agency in Persian — University student press agency; produces politically moderate reporting with emphasis on student activities. It is partially funded by the University Jihad, a state-backed student organization. In November 2007, Mehr News Agency reported that Jamal Rahimian, a lecturer in law and a member of Tehran University’s School of law and Political Science, and the deputy head of University Jihad in charge of cultural affairs in Tehran would be ISNA’s new head, taking over from Mir Hamid Hasanzadeh; URL: http://www.isna.ir) ‘

End/ (Not Continued)

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Responses | Print |

20 Responses

  1. The rise of Iraqi Kurds: now how exactly did that come about? I seem to remember how you explained repeatedly that the American invasion of Iraq had strengthened Iran.

  2. I found it rather amusing that State Department spokesman Ian C. Kelly condemned the "continued harassment, arbitrary detention, and conviction of individuals for their participation in peaceful demonstrations." Apparently Mr. Kelly has not witnessed any peaceful demonstrations in the United States at major summits or political party conventions and doesn't realize we handle them the same way the Iranians do.

  3. I did not find much conciliation in the Ayatollah Naser Makarem-Shirazi translation.

    "If everyone breaks the law because it is against their interest, then nothing will remain."

    What are the people to do if the law does not serve them?

    "If the president of a country says that he will not enforce a law approved by parliament, then the meaning of that action is that the parliament has no position in society."

    While this is intended to address an Iranian issue, it equally warns against US Presidential signing statements by any President.

    "We should negotiate and even if we do not reach an agreement, we should respect the law."

    If, under the protection of the law, grave inequities of rights persist, and if law does not serve the needs of the people, respect for law degrades, and unrest grows. This is equally true in Iran, the US, or any nation. No one in want of bread or work would think this a complex idea.

  4. Khomeinie in 1978

    He says, "unpopular leader must go"…Tell your paymasters to take heed!

    Khomeini: Unpopular leaders must go
    Neauphle le chateau, France, 1978

    link to iranian.com

  5. Iran bans reformist paper run by Khameni's brother:

    TEHERAN – IRAN banned on Tuesday a reformist newspaper owned by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's brother for publishing 'provocative' material, local news agencies reported.

    The press watchdog banned Hayat-e No (New Life) for 'numerous violations,' Fars and ISNA reported.

    The watchdog said the newspaper was initially licensed as a social publication but 'it allocated a considerable space to political issues especially divisive and provocative issues.'

    The newspaper, which supports Iran's reformist opposition, is run by Hadi Khamenei, who is an outspoken critic of Iran's hardliners and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    link to straitstimes.com

  6. More signs that the regime's end is near and more people are jumping the sinking ship:

    Iranians Rally Against Leaders
    Washington Post / Thomas Erdbrink
    08-Dec-2009 (3 comments)
    TEHRAN — Iranian security forces and paramilitary groups broke up anti-government demonstrations in central Tehran on Monday, usingclubs, tear gas and electric batons to disperse crowds outside the University of Tehran, witnesses said.

    Authorities blocked main roads into the city center and arrested dozens of demonstrators who sought to turn Iran's annual "Student Day" rallies into the latest in a series of protestsagainst the government that began about six months ago. Officials had declared such demonstrations illegal and threatened to meet them with
    force.

    >>>
    link to washingtonpost.com

    At the end of the article is paragraph indicating that Grand Ayatollah Shirazi thinks the IRI should negotiate a compromise with Mousavi and Karroubi.

    But I think it's way too late. Too many people have lost their lives and missing or being tortured. Demonstration will continue until this corrupt monsterocity is gone.

  7. Majid Tavakoli, a student at Polytechnic (Amir Kabir) University in Tehran, was arrested on his way out of the University after he gave a moving speech at ceremonies/protests held on the National Student’s Day in Iran.
    link to enduringamerica.com
    The Latest from Iran (8 December): The Half-Full Victory?

    According to the Amir Kabir student newsletter, Tavakoli was arrested last winter and served three months in jail after an appearance at commemoration ceremonies for former Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan. Tavakoli also spent over a year in jail after a 2007 arrest, and according to sources, he was tortured.

    A human rights activist who has been working in Iran for years told me that Tavakoli’s arrest does not bode well because the regime may try to make him a scapegoat, painting him as the leader and instigator of the massive protests that took place today. “His only chance is that the international community supports him,” claimed the activist. That is a dramatic statement: usually families and friends of a prisoner take a back-door route to getting release orders; an appeal to the international community comes only to cases that look hopeless.

    This was Tavakoli’s last entry on Facebook, posted on Saturday:

    Only two more days (to 16 Azar). I have spent ten exhausting days on the road with more than 100 hours of driving and now I have to leave for Tehran. Looking at my mother’s tearful eyes and father’s anxious glances and despite all the difficulties only the true wish for freedom can maintain my drive and steadfastness. And so once again I welcome and accept all the dangers, standing next to my friends with whom I am honoured and proud to be on 16 Azar shoulder to shoulder we will shout against tyranny. For Freedom.

  8. Jaun,

    While I understand that the Middle East is the region with which you are most familiar and in which you are most interested (at least in terms of scholarship), I would be very interested in any thoughts you may have on events in Athens this week.

    Greece may not be of supreme economic and strategic importance to U.S. planners, but student protesters are facing similar treatment from police with almost zero (maybe ENTIRELY zero) attention being paid them by major media outlets.

    Thanks

  9. Iran: New report says human rights as bad as at any time in last 20 years
    Amnesty
    09-Dec-2009
    Human rights violations in Iran are now as bad as at any time in the past 20 years, Amnesty International said today (10 December) in a new report six months on from June's presidential election.

    link to amnesty.org.uk

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