Iranian Braves : Defying the crackdown

Iran focus
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On Saturday, thousands of Iranians once again braved death to take to the streets, this time to mark the anniversary of the 2009 protests. Chants of “death to the dictator” could not be muffled by the heavy security presence. The protests were significant in outlining the future direction of the uprising.

University students, as always, were on the front lines. Video footage from Iran shows the universities of Tehran and Sharif were two notable campuses rising up in protest. Central Tehran was the scene of widespread skirmishes with security forces. Many were wounded, some seriously. Authorities acknowledged the arrest of at least 91 protesters, including several affiliated with the main opposition group People's Mojahedin.

The courageous public defiance pierced through the ominous cloud of suppression that has covered Iran. It derided the rusting iron fist of the clerical regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, who is desperate to restore his waning power, and it sent a clear signal about the uprising’s leadership and strategic direction.

Last week, both Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karoubi, the defeated candidates of last year’s presidential elections, scrapped previous plans for a peaceful rally citing a desire “to protect the lives and property of people.” The move was an embarrassing retreat that met fierce criticism in opposition circles and the blogosphere.

Both men have been regime insiders for decades. Prominent opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi, noted that by rejecting further protests, Moussavi and Karroubi showed themselves to be more concerned about “the lives and property” of the ruling clerics than those of the people.

Saturday’s protests, which are widely expected to continue in the coming days, made it palpably clear that the Iranian people have left Moussavi and Karroubi far behind. While Moussavi was quoted as saying, “we need to spread awareness,” it appears that it is he who needs to become aware that the Iranian people have chosen a path that will end in nothing short of regime change.


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