Regime Victory on Revolution Anniversary; Opposition Fails to Mobilize

The regime seems to have successfully repressed any significant demonstrations by the opposition on Thursday.

One of the problems for the opposition is that it has essentially been mounting ‘flashmobs’— fairly spontaneous demonstrations organized by email and Facebook. The regime closed down most electronic communication earlier this week, foiling the tactic.

It may also be that Ahmadinejad’s ploy of foregrounding the Iranian nuclear enrichment program and the denunciations that drew from the Western powers has gotten the Iranian public’s back up and made them more nationalistic, so that they are swinging behind the regime against what they see as imperial oppressors.

This ways of thinking is visible in comments of former president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani in this Aljazeera English report:

There are reports of attacks on and intimidation of the leaders of the opposition.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Responses | Print |

14 Responses

  1. Yesterday’s event is in line with the World Public Opinion organizations average of 12 polling with regards to the government of Iran popularity inside the country it also proves that green revolutionary dreamers and the so called Iran experts are clueless about the current internal Iranian affairs. People rally I saw live on TV last night wouldn’t have brought their infant Childs out if they were afraid there would be violence and if they were against government they wouldn’t be there that is best poll everyone should consider. You can’t boss in 5 million people just because you will give them free drinks that is an insult do the dignity of every Iranian who rallied for the revolution yesterday of course no one is denying that there is no opposition with the current government there are at least 13 million who did not vote for current Iranian government but this group is not looking to mount another revolution and more importantly they can’t even if CNN and NPR run a 24/7 program begging them to, so as Leveretss are recommending stereo typing a new revolution will damage the American standing in Iran as well as in greater middle east. If that’s what this country wants so let be it.

  2. JC, I find your sheepish apologia for the (lack of) popularity of the opposition in Iran quite funny. Perhaps the Gucci revolutionaries of North Tehran were never that popular and the western viewers were misled by their media (and continued to be so).

    See some interesting stats worth engaging: link to

    Now the "failure" of the opposition movement would be framed as a "hopeless" situation in Iran which would "our" intervention – once again, to protect ourselves, spread democracy, and liberate the meek.

  3. Let's give credit where credit is due. The 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution was a big success for the supporters of the Islamic Republic. The regime, as many had predicted — and hoped — did not come down crashing. Azadi Sq. and Enghelagh Ave. were packed with people loyal to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and protests were sporadic and much less eventful compared to the spectacular defiance displayed on Ashura a few weeks prior. So in the coming days expect Khamenei and his lieutenants to gloat about how the people have once again demonstrated their full faith in the Islamic Republic, despite months of tension and turmoil.

    Now let's take a look at how the regime was able to pull off this great birthday bash. After suffering a shocking beating by the Green Movement on Ashura, the security chiefs suddenly woke up. They realized the situation was much more serious than what they had imagined. They were determined to avoid a similar embarrassment on the biggest day on the Islamic Republic's calendar. The anniversary of the revolution should be a show of unity. It should send a message that Velayate Faghih is alive and thriving, despite efforts by the opposition and foreign media to show otherwise.

    First, numerous officials and religious leaders called for blood. They demanded that protesters and political activists be treated as enemies of God and put to death. That would send a chilling message that the regime would not hesitate to kill its critics even for non-violent protest. And two weeks before 22 Bahman, Rahmanipour and Alizamani were executed and another dozen or so received the death sentence, and await final decision. Meanwhile more moderate newspapers were shut down, several more activists and potential trouble makers were arrested, and massive efforts were made to encourage hardcore religious followers to show their loyalty with their presence on 22 Bahman.

    But the biggest preparation was on the security front. Thousands of riot police were deployed in a massive show of force (don't say martial law). This time they would not make the mistake of moving in small units, which made them vulnerable to attacks by rock-throwing protesters, but instead in intimidating groups of hundreds.

    And finally, phone text messaging was curtailed, nearly all internet lines were cut and virtually every means of communication with the outside world was blocked. As a result organized protest became almost impossible and images of defiant resistance, which have energized the opposition and generated sympathy in the outside world, dropped to a trickle.

    You have to hand it to the Islamic Republic. Must say job well done! Brute force did the trick. 22 Baatoon was a surprising hit.

    There's only one problem. The party's already over. The masses are as disillusioned as ever. Hatred of the religious establishment is at an all-time high and rising. If there were fewer protesters on the streets Thursday, they have not magically disappeared. None of them have been won over by the regime, rather they have only temporarily retreated because of a combination of fear and lack of organization and leadership. Schools and universities are still filled with students who wish nothing but freedom and an end to religious rule. Mousavi, Khatami and Karroubi have not yet bowed to the Supreme Leader. That coward Rafsanjani pays lip service to Khamenei but friend and foe know very well he can't wait for Agha to drop dead. And let's not forget the nuclear crisis and looming sanctions. The Islamic Republic has never been so unpopular at home and abroad.

    It's a brand new day. Charshanbeh Soori is around the corner. Got to figure out how to contain the bonfires all around and at the foot of Velayate Faghih. Get back to to work boys. No rest for the wicked.

    link to

  4. Today's events do not represent a defeat for the Green Movement. If on the anniversary of the revolution, that brought to power a political system that is supposedly supported by the majority of the people, the government must blanket Tehran with tens of thousands of security forces, intelligence agents, Basij militia, and plainclothe officers just to prevent expression of opposition, what kind of "victory" it is for the government? It is, in fact, a great victory for the GM.

    This was a defeat only for those who exaggerate things, who claime that the hardliners' demise is imminent, etc. I have always said, and repeat again:

    1. The struggle for democracy, including the struggle of the GM, is not a project that starts on a certain date and ends on a certain date, but rather a process; it is not a sprint, but rather a Marathon.

    2. The hardliners and their supporters do not have any place to go, unlike the Shah's supporters who moved to Europe and US. Therefore, these guys will not give up power easily. The plitical structure will change ONLY when even they become convinced that the present power structure is no longer tenable, and it is not even in their interest and survival for the system to continue. If the premise is correct, then the struggle will necessarily be long and tough.

  5. Iranians were victorious today

    Thousands of arrests of ordinary citizens, hundreds of journalists and academics in jail, disruption of all communication systems, threats, no foreign reporters, EXECUTIONS and threats of executions, daily psychological war, months of hard stress and pressure…

    Add to that the fact that the government bussed in it’s own people and provided them security all the while it clubbed and beat the opposition and kept them from gathering…

    Add to that the fact that the leaders are under virtual house arrest and beaten when they go out to protest…

    And yet, people STILL managed to show their discontent with nightly chants and their presence on the street.

    Iranians accomplished a lot today. They showed that it takes A LOT for the government to STAGE a ralley. They showed the government is not confident, otherwise why go through all this trouble?

    They showed they were still willing to walk out to the streets.There is no value in the staged rallies that take so much effort to orchestrate.

    Do you know how much work and blood and sweat these ordinary Iranians have sacrificed over these long months to put the government in this position?

    Let’s Please see Iranians as people first instead of… I think today was a great success. Iranians make it very tough for the IRI to put on such shows. Success isn't always about who is on the streets. There's a lot more to this.

  6. Months of preparation for Feb. 11 , the most important date for IRI, went down in ca. an hour of so called celebrations, with the people mocking every slogan they threw at the crowd. Yesterday, we saw the brave people of Iran confront the well-armed thugs of IRI with nothing but an innate desire for freedom. We saw the brave women on the streets take off their scarf in defiance of the old slogan "yaa ru-sari, yaa tu-sari", and sounding calls for liberty. And, the list went on……. all day long.

  7. To shut down opposing views,crack old lady's heads and shoot protestor's,Shut down the press,bus in the Rallier's and claim 'revered' Nuclear Power.

    The opposition's success yesterday as always was seen in the Regimes Complete desperation.

  8. so you tell your enemy in advance that on Feb11 you are going to do some thing and you give him ample time to prepare for that how smart is that!! All these half ass measure of peacfull demonstration, painting green, yelling alah o akbar ,blah, blah will not get you any where. In the end you need a coaltion of patriots along with logistical supports from abroad to get rid of these roaches.

  9. I see it as a defeat, simply because of all the claims that the hardliners make. Fars has said that 50 million pro-ahmadinejad people participated in the demonstrations! That is more than twice the number of votes that is claimed Ahamdinezad received last june!

    But, let's just say the 24 million votes is correct. A system that receives 63% of the vote should not need to saturate Tehran with paramilitary basij and riot stormtrooper just to prevent peaceful expression of opposition from the Greens.

    The fact is, the hardliners are terrified. They know that they are not wanted, and do not know what to do. They recall the Shah's experience of Fall of 1978, and believe that if they retreat just a bit, an avalanch will start. On the other hand, they also know that they cannot win a war of attrition. The military side always loses such a war.

    So, it is in this sense that I consider today's events a defeat for the hardliners. After 8 months, thousands of people arrested and jailed, tens of them killed, two assassinations, many raped and sodomized, etc., the Greens are still standing. That means they are not going to disappear.

    Again, this is a Marathon and a war of attrition. With patience, hard work, correct analyses, and realistic goals the Greens will prevail.

    As for whether Sazegara and the likes lost, I agree with you. These people were opposed to voting last June, but now want to ride the Green waves to power. And they are not alone. We have many of the "Latter Day Greens!"


  10. Venting anger in street demos in fact helps the regimes more than than demonstrators. We see that in the US and Europe more clearly. The anger dissipates. Some unruly groups always mangage to grab the headlines and present the entire demo as a mob. The head-count disputes overshadow the aims and messages ..etc.

    We saw how useless the anti Iraq war demos were despite their giant numbers and global organization.

    The Iranians who were not allowed to vent their anger will simmer and work underground feverishly to do as much damage as possible and recruit as many people as possible to the cause.

    The internet and other means of mass communications are far more effective than the quaint and obsolete demos. And if the western racist amd Muslim-haters miss the bloody street battles, then so what.

  11. History has shown that repressive regimes can be brought down by masses of people in one big push: Iran 1979, Marcos in the Philippines, Romania, and E Germany.

    But the repeated demosntrations do not work. The crowds must stand their ground for days, and surround the seat of government. This is how the Iranian regime will fall eventually.

  12. I think it is time everyone drops the wishful thinking and accepts the fact that the Iranian regime is going nowhere right now.

    And in any event, who benefits from any fall in the regime — Mister Mousavi, who was prime minister during the worst of the executions, terrorist supporting and excess of the early years of the Revolution.

    I think the less the west does about Iran the better — let them sort their own problems out but just remind them that any use of nuclear weapoins by Iran or a terrorist group supported by Iran will be followed by massively disproportionate retaliation.

  13. Seems odd not to even acknowledge the third possibility: that the movement was admirable, but never broad based, and that the size of the vocal opposition has been shrinking for some time. I wish it weren't the case, but predictions about the greens hitting some sort of critical mass on this or that day significant to the revolution or someone's death have never panned out. Theories of massive election fraud never panned out when more data was released (specifically, it's difficult to fabricate precinct-level results given how Iranian elections work).

    The conclusion I draw from this is that it's most likely that the Green movement has the sympathies of a large minority of Iranians and that a decreasing number of sympathetic Iranians are vocal supporters. I wish that weren't the case, but I also wish that suggesting that possibility didn't qualify you as a regime apologist (cf the Leveretts).

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