On Friday, the Iranian state commemorated the 32nd anniversary of its Islamic Revolution with victory parades, while simultaneously applying force in an attempt to crush any impetus by Iranians to take part in demonstrations planned across the country on Monday.
On Thursday, WL Central reported on the Iranian regime's continuing crackdown in response to Mehdi Karroubi's and Mir Hossein Mousavi's call to rally on Monday, 25 Bahman [February 14] "to show solidarity with the popular movements in the region, particularly the freedom-seeking movement of the Tunisian and Egyptian people against their autocratic governments." (Translation Source: Radio Free Europe)
The crackdown has placed Karroubi under house arrest; detained or arrested numerous opposition leaders and journalists, disabled Web sites and platforms, and even jammed BBC Persian TV's transmission of the Egyptian revolution and deposition of Mubarak in Egypt.
Web Site and Platforms Disabled
Also reported, "[T]he WordPress website has been inaccessible to internet users in Iran since Wednesday after authorities blocked the weblog hosting provider altogether." (Source: GVF)
Dozens Arrested and Detained
On Friday, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran demanded the "immediate release of dozens of journalists and dissidents who have been arbitrarily detained in an apparent effort to intimidate Iranians from participating in the February 14 demonstration":
"'The government is doing all it can to intimidate Iranians and deny their right to peaceful assembly. With recent events in Egypt, we see another round of repression in Iran aimed at silencing a people frustrated and dissatisfied by the denial of their human rights,' said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign's spokesperson.'" (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)
"Since the evening of 8 February, plainclothes security forces stormed the houses and offices of at least thirty activists, journalists, and dissidents, detaining most of them in the middle of the night and taking them to unknown locations. The agents did not provide any summons or judicial warrants for their actions. (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)"
The organizations says, that it has received information regarding the detention of at least 30 people, 13 of whom are listed on their Web site.
'Seditionists Nothing But a Dead Corpse'
WL Central reported on Thursday, that Hossein Hamedani, Revolutionary Guard Cmdr, told the official IRNA news agency, "The seditionists are nothing but a dead corpse and we will strongly confront any of their movements." (Source: Radio Free Europe)
The Washington Post reports that since "uprisings swept across the Middle East last month, Iran's government has taken extraordinary measures to suppress dissent. It has executed one person every nine hours since January 1."
The number of executions "breaks the per-capita world record, human rights groups say. In January alone, Iran executed 87 people, the state media reported. That one-month tally is higher than the total annual executions in 2005, the year President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power" (Source: Washington Post)
Hadi Ghaemi, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran spokesperson says, "The executions are a political message to the population: 'don't even think about unrest, we are in control and this is your punishment.'" (Source: WSJ)
Global Revolution and the 12th imam
Several hours before Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak stepped down, The Washington Post reported, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "urged Egyptians to continue their protests and to 'free' themselves and choose their own leaders and their own form of government."
Mr. Ahmadinejad said: "It is your right to be free. It is your right to exercise your will and sovereignty." (Source: NYT)
When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed people gathered in Tehran's Azadi Square to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, he framed the recent revolutions through the lens of a "new Middle East, without the Zionist regime and U.S. interference." (Source: NYT)
He predicted the formation of a world government, ruled by the 12th imam: "This is a global revolution, managed by the imam of the ages." He said, "Hearts and beliefs are swiftly leaning toward forming a global governance and the necessity of the rule of the perfect human, linked to the heavens." (Source: NYT)
According to the same report, he stopped short of asserting that the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt had been directly inspired by Iran's Islamic Revolution. (Source: NYT)
Challenging the Regime Rhetoric
In challenging the regime's accountability to human rights, Mousavi's and Karroubi's have sought to show the hypocrisy of the regime's rhetoric.
"'If they are not going to allow their own people to protest, it goes against everything they are saying, and all they are doing to welcome the protests in Egypt,' Mr. Karroubi said in an interview with The New York Times earlier this week via an online video link." (Source: NYT)
North African Model: 'Islamic Awakening' or 'Green Movement'
In late January, Mir Hossein Mousavi issued a statement linking the events in Tunisia and Egypt to the aftermath of the Iranian presidential election in 2009:
"Today the slogan of 'Where is my vote?' of the Iranian people is echoed in the slogan of 'The people demand the overthrow of the regime' in Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria. To find the roots of these connections and similarities we need not go too far afield. It suffices to compare the manner of the recent elections in Egypt with that of our own, where the head of the 'Guardian Council' blithely states that there is no need for the votes of millions of 'Green' citizens. If we monitor the collapsing regimes of the Arab world and the Middle East, we will see that in all these regimes social networks, the press, and the virtual space have been assaulted and that the Internet, the messaging, and mobile systems are shut down. Everywhere pens are broken and dissidents are imprisoned." (Source: Tehran Bureau)
On Saturday, Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood's official English website editor in chief, Khaled Hamza, "denounced claims by the Iranian Supreme Leader Mr. Khamenai that the protests [in Egypt] are a sign of an Islamic Awakening inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran."
President of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, Maryam Rajavi, also criticized Khamenai's comments, "describing it as a desperate attempt to advocate support of fundamentalism and terrorism, describing them as the worst enemy of Islam and Muslims adding, 'The day will come when they will be forced to let go of the name of Islam.'" (Source: Ikhwanweb)
Currency of Words
The Wall Street Journal reports that residents of Tehran and other big Iranian cities scribbled on paper money, "End executions, stop dictatorship," and spray painted 'Tahrir Square' - the central location of recent Egyptian protests - on traffic signs on Tehran's Azadi square, the site of Iran's anti-government protests in 2009." (Source: WSJ)
On Tuesday, Dr. Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, senior legal advisor to Mousavi, declared, "There is no plan to cancel the demonstrations. The government should comply with its duty.... Do they not claim that the Green Movement is dead? Do they not claim that they support the people of Egypt and Tunisia against dictatorship? This is their chance to demonstrate their honesty in supporting those who are protesting dictatorships and their claim that the Green Movement is dead." (Source: Deutsche Welle)
*This post was originally published for WL Central.