Iran protests spread in heartland; State of Emergency in Isfahan; Regime Threatens Harsh Crackdown

Iran protests spread in heartland —

The LAT reports further on Wednesday’s demonstrations in Isfahan and Najafabad, pointing out that these central regions are strongholds for the regime in general, making the challenge mounted there seem especially threatening. There were also further demonstrations at Tehran University and the eastern city of Mashad. There was also a local protest against an execution in the southern city of Sirjan.

The Iranian authorities are threatening an even more Draconian response if the protests continue, according to WaPo. The problem for the regime is that it not only has to repress dissidents but win the hearts and minds of the public, and increased brutality against dissidents, who are after all themselves ordinary Iranians, could backfire.

Provincial governors were forbidden to issue any further permits for memorial meetings on the death of dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hosain Ali Montazeri. Dissidents opposed to the current regime have used his death as an occasion for protest, especially in the holy city of Qom on Monday.

In Isfahan, the government declared a state of emergency on late Wednesday, according to CSM, and was calling on the federal military for help.

Here is unauthenticated video of basij paramilitary breaking up mourning for Montazeri in Isfahan:

The USG Open Source Center translated remarks of the representative in the Revolutionary Guards of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, made Dec. 17 and republished in the hard line Resalalat Online for Dec. 23,2009. Mojtaba Zo’l-Nur is alleged to have said,

“Authorities should introduce traitors to the people as soon as possible.” He pointed to the supreme leader’s description of the recent sedition as ‘a deep sedition . . . ‘ ‘Hojat ol-eslam Mojtaba Zolnur said: One of the reasons for such a description is the scale of that sedition. He added: There were many seditions after the Islamic revolution, such as that of anti-revolutionary groups, Banisadr’s, Montazeri’s, imposed war, etc., but none of them spread the seeds of doubt and hesitation among various social layers as much as the recent one.” . . . The supreme leader’s representative in IRGC also maintained that it is difficult to discern right from wrong during a sedition because under such conditions they get mixed and one needs insight to distinguish them. Zolnur then continued: In addition to insight, it is important to remain on the stage and added: With the presence of revolutionary forces on the stage, followers of the wrong will prefer to escape than to remain in sight.’

(Description of Source: Tehran Resalat Online in Persian — conservative Tehran daily, owned by the Resalat Foundation; associated with traditional merchants and conservative clerics; URL:

I think by ‘remaining on stage’ he means ‘beating people over the head.’ And that it is ‘difficult to discern right and wrong during a sedition’ signals how bewildered the old guard is by the breakdown of consensus over the regime even within the ranks of its foremost proponents.

Mehr News Agency on Dec. 23 quoted former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying that ‘a majority’ on college campuses had joined the opposition. He reiterated his opposition to hard line crack downs on dissidents, saying all legal speech should be allowed. He called for jailed protesters to be released. But he also expressed discomfort at the spiral of protest and repression in which the country is caught up.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Responses | Print |

11 Responses

  1. I don't think anyone should be drawing any conclusions at all from that video, which, like so many from the Iranian youth "opposition", is completely meaningless and really does appear to be contrived. Either the crowds were so small that it had to be shot upwards, or it could very well be a fabrication. Because the very purpose of posting it is obviously to affect opinion, it's a bit naive to assume that it's a genuine representation.

  2. Several young people from the green movement attended a ceremony held December 23, 2009 in the annex of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Neuilly sur Seine) to protest the events currently unfolding in Iran.

    During the ceremony four girls from the green movement were arrested and held by the embassy's security services.

    Police forced the embassy security services to release the young women.

    Upon release they reported having been violently beaten, robbed of their personal effects, mistreated and photographed. They stated that they had been interrogated for over an hour in the basement of the embassy.

    Embassy authorities also forced them to sign documents stating they were forbidden to enter any premises belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in Paris. Embassy authorities also demanded their addresses in France as well as in Iran.

    The four young women also recounted the following:

    During the ceremony Mr. Emami (embassy staff member) threatened to kill any person opposing the regime and called on all Muslims to do the same.

    Ms. Mir Aboutorabi (wife of the Iranian ambassador in France) issued death threats to the four young girls.

    Mr. Javadi, (Iran's head consular officer in France) violently struck one of the girls and attempted to strangle a second.

    11 people were threatened with death.

    2 young women are currently filing charges for assault and battery.

    3 young men are also filing charges.

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    From: Bahram

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  3. Ayatollalh Montazeri's memorial: developing news
    Despite orders banning memorial services for Ayatollah Montazeri on the occasion of the third day of his passing, people are gathering in different Iranian cities at this moment. I have a few initial reports of a gathering of 2,000 people in Tehran's Imam Khomeini Square (Toopkhooneh), and also in Zanjan. We are the media.
    Read about the ban here: link to

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  4. Selected Headlines
    23 Dec 2009 20:23No Comments50 arrested in Isfahan unrest

    Rahe Sabz | Dec. 23, 2009

    More than 50 people were arrested during protests in the city of Isfahan Wednesday, including four members of the press.

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  5. Be sure to check out "Ideas in Action" this February on PBS. The second episode "highlights the use of online tools by dissident groups, such as those active in Iran."

  6. 2 killed in Sirjan
    Police shoot people in melee during execution

    AP: Police have shot dead two relatives of convicts during a melee that erupted at a public execution in southern Iran. The state-owned Iran daily says the relatives, who came to watch the hanging of two convicts, started a scuffle, prompting the police to open fire. The paper's report on Thursday says 27 other people were injured in the melee. It says the incident took place on Tuesday afternoon in the town of Sirjan, some 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of Tehran, where the two convicts were hanged for armed robbery. The men were initially to be hanged on Tuesday morning, but a similar scuffle disrupted that execution.


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  7. مصباح یزدی: مسلمانان جهان تا حد امکان باید ازخامنه ای اطاعت کنند
    Al Arabiya
    Latest from Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor of Hojatieh Cult:

    "All muslims of the world must Obey Ayatollah Khamenie as much as possible"!

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