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Thread: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009
    The Most Elegant Scene: Mass Protest in Tehran

    What I saw today was the most elegant scene I had ever witnessed in my life. The huge number of people were marching hand in hand in full peace. Silence. Silence was everywhere. There was no slogan. No violence. Hands were up in victory sign with green ribbons. People carried placards which read: Silence. Old and young, man and woman of all social groups were marching cheerfully. This was a magnificent show of solidarity. Enghelab Street which is the widest avenue in Tehran was full of people. I was told that the march has begun in Ferdowsi Sq. and the end of the march was now in Imam Hossein Sq. to the further east of Tehran while on the other end people had already gathered in Azadi Sq.

    The length of this street is about 6 kilometers. The estimate is about 2 million people [Cole: Western press reporting was up to 500,000 people]. On the way, we passed a police department and a militia (Baseej) base. In both places, the doors were closed and we could see fully-armed riot police and militia watching the people from behind the fences. Near Sharif University of Technology where the students had chased away Ahmadinejad a few days ago, Mirhossein Mousavi (the reformist elect president) and Karrubi (the other reformist candidate spoke to people for a few minutes which was received by cries of praise and applause.

    I felt proud to find myself among such a huge number of passionate people who were showing the most reasonable act of protest. Frankly, I didn't expect such a political maturity from emotional Iranians who easily get excited. My family and I had put stickers on our mouths to represent the suppression. Placards that people carried were different; from poems by the national poet Ahmad Shamlu to light-hearted slogans against Ahmadinejad.

    Examples include: " To slaughter us/ why did you need to invite us / to such an elegant party" (Poem by Shamlu). " Hello! Hello! 999? / Our votes were stolen" or " The Miracle of the Third Millenium: 2 x 2 = 24 millions" (alluding to the claim by Government that Ahmadinejad obtained 24 million votes) , "Where is my vote?" , " Give me back my vote" and many other.

    We arrived in Azadi Square where the entire square was full of population. It is said that around 500,000 people can be accommodated in this huge square and it was full. Suddenly we saw smoke from Jenah Freeway and heard the gunshot. People were scared at first but then went forward.

    I just heard the gunshots but my sister who had been on the scene at that part told me later that she saw 4 militia came out from a house and shot a girl. Then they shot a young boy in his eye and the bullet came out of his ear. She said that 4 people were shot. At least one person dead has been confirmed. People arrested one of the Baseeji militia but the three others ran away when they ran out of bullet. At around 8 we went back on foot.

    On the way back people were still in the street and were chanting Allah Akbar (God is Great).

    ...All their internet sites are filtered as well as social networks such as facebook. Text messaging and mobile communication was also cut off during the demonstration. Since yesterday, the Iranian TV was announcing that there is no license for any gathering and riot police will severely punish anybody who may demonstrates.

    Ahmadinejad called the opposition as a bunch of insignificant dirt who try to make the taste of victory bitter to the nation. He also called the western leaders as a bunch of "filthy homosexuals".

    All these disgusting remarks was today answered by that largest demonstration ever. Older people compared the demonstration of today with the Ashura Demonstration of 1979 which marks the downfall of the Shah regime and even said that it outnumbered that event.

    The militia burnt a house themselves to find the excuse to commit violence. People neutralized their tactic to a large degree by their solidarity, their wisdom and their denial to enage in any violent act.

    I feel sad for the loss of those young girls and boys. It is said that they also killed 3 students last night in their attack at Tehran University residence halls. I heard that a number of professors of Sharif University and AmirKabir University (Tehran Polytechnic) have resigned.

    Democracy is a long way ahead. I may not be alive to see that day. With eyes full of tear in these early hours of Tuesday 16th June 2009, I glorify the courage and bravery of those martyrs and I hope that their blood will make every one of us more committed to freedom, to democracy and to human rights.

    Viva Freedom, Viva Democracy, Viva Iran
    Informed Comment: The Most Elegant Scene: Mass Protest in Tehran

    From an Iranian source, via Juan Cole's blog (can't stand the man, but this is a great report).

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    It is the worst thing we could do. Iran is on the edge of rebellion and may very well already be there (when you distill all the Tweets and news reports, the quantity of hard facts is still frustratingly small, making any firm conclusions about the state of things in Iran tenuous at best), but it is Iranian people rising up against Iranian government. This is an Iranian matter entirely, and every foreign nation should park its happy ass on the sidelines.
    The quantity of facts as we, the average Joe Citizen are aware of, is not necessarily what the Intelligence Community knows. You're the same guy who didn't get the Velvet Revolution comment I made, so I question what you actually know about Iran to begin with.
    What you are suggesting is directed regime change, and, as hostile and dangerous as the Islamic Republic could be as a nuclear state, the case for regime change just isn't there. Khameni is a lot of things, but a Shi'ite Saddam Hussein is not one of them.
    I absolutely am suggesting regime change. And no, the situation in Iran isn't like Iraq, Khameni isn't Saddam. Iran is actually an active state sponsor of terrorism, Iran actually has an active nuclear program. The case for regime change absolutely is there, and you're being conveniently tolerant of the regime out of your desire to try and criticize me.

    Arming the opposition would undermine their legitimacy as a native Iranian movement. Giving them US weapons and US material support, especially at this early stage, only makes the opposition another tool of the Great Satan; that's hardly a ringing endorsement for a revolution.
    No it wouldn't, you're simply being melodramatic. It wouldn't undermine anything about this movement. Well, maybe in the eyes of the Iranian government and some other extremist Islamic organizations, but who cares? When is the last time you gave two ****s about what the world thought of the U.S.? And I didn't say arm them with "U.S. weapons."

    Dude, stand down and try thinking for a change.
    Rich coming from you. You do any thinking on the Velvet Revolution in Iran? Maybe a google search there smart guy?

    You don't even know who the real players are or where they stand. Rafsanjani is more or less a moderate, but he's not the only mullah out there, and there's no guarantee him and Moussavi will be in control when the shooting is done. Not only do you not know if you'd be backing the winning horse, you don't even know if you'd be backing the right horse.
    Did I suggest arming any specific group or backing any specific leader? No, I did not. I was speaking in generalities. I'd like to assume our intelligence community knows a little more about who the players are than you or I. One thing is for certain, the current regime needs deposed. Do not think for a moment we have not been in contact with opposition elements for the last two to three years. This is not a brand new situation that just sprung up and surprised us. There has been a strong undercurrent of dissent in Iran for years. We haven't just ignored it. Well maybe you have, but our government has not.

    Arming one side of a factional protest is exactly what sponsoring a civil war is. We don't need to be sending any arms to Iran, and the necessary information flow is out of Iran, not into it.
    So this is not an uprising against the government now it a factional protest only? Sure about that? And information is key for any force involved in any kind of battle. Being able to track the movements of specific military assets would be of great value to the opposition as it could assist them in knowing when and where to move themselves. They aren't armed at this time, any information on what the military is doing is good information. Try and argue against this.

    The only message the protesters need to know is that the United States and the rest of the free world will be happy to shake their hand when they raise a flag of freedom over Tehran, and in the meantime, we wish them good luck and good hunting.
    Right, so now the Dear Leader of the Anti-Obama crowd, which regularly criticizes Obama for "doing nothing" is in fact endorsing a course of "do nothing" about Iran. How very politically convenient for you Dear Celticlord.

    I've participated in many debates on this forum and gotten many thanks for suggesting the U.S. and it's allies need to stand ready to strike Iran militarily if need be to cripple their ability to threaten the world and the region. Nearly everyone agreed the regime there was a definite threat. Yet when I suggest arming the citizens so that they themselves can take action to destabilize the government or possibly overthrow it, well then it's just not acceptable. It's not legitimate if the Iranians themselves take military action against their government, especially if we arm them. But we can bomb and Tomahawk the **** out of the country and that would be okay, that wouldn't really damage our reputation in the worlds eye.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 06-17-09 at 11:10 AM.
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Lerxst,

    I have to disagree with you.

    As hard as it is to sit back and watch peaceful protesters being killed by totalitarian religious thugs, this is in the hands of the Iranian people. This is THEIR mission.

    This is exactly like the metaphoric story of the girl who found a caterpillar that was halfway through it's transition to a butterfly. She was determined to help, and so she ripped open the rest of the cocoon.

    The butterfly emerged, but because the struggle to free itself is what pumps fluid into the wings of a butterfly, its wings were forever crumpled.

    This is THEIR country. They have to stand up and take it and make it what they want. I believe that at this point, the will of the overwhelming majority of Iranians is for freedom and democracy. And, if that is the case, they will struggle for it, and they will succeed.

    We would only do them harm by getting in the middle of that process. The process itself has value. The process of struggling together is bringing together Iranians of all walks of life, all economics, all classes, all educational levels, and melding them into a single people.

    Do you know why Americans are so committed to our freedoms? Because we fought and died to get them.

    We have to let them struggle for it, just like we did. It is part of the process.

    When you have fought and died for freedom, you don't let go of it and allow people to take it away from you easily. They are going to NEED that to pull them through the hard times.

    This is like having a teenager and watching that teenager struggle with some of the lessons of adulthood. it would be easier to step in and just do it for them. But, by doing so, we would deprive them of the lessons they need to learn on their path to adulthood, as a nation.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 06-17-09 at 11:10 AM.

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Updates

    - Thanks to our friend (keep your head down) we know the military and Revolutionary Guard show evidence of supporting the protesters. Very good news, I just hope it becomes widespread. I wondered all day yesterday, no one could confirm it though. Now we can.



    Not so good news:
    Chavez backs Ahmadinejad: Chavez backs Ahmadinejad in dispute - , - Latest news & weather forecasts - MSN News UK
    Venezuela's foreign ministry issued a statement condemning what it called "a terrible and unfounded smear campaign" aimed at discrediting Iran's institutions and "stir up the political climate".
    Prior to Friday's vote, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez praised Mr Ahmadinejad for defending the Islamic Revolution while boldly standing up to the United States.
    12:42 AM ET -- Solidarity. Actress Alyssa Milano is now tweeting obsessively about Iran (via reader Laura).

    The Pirate Bay -- the most heavily-trafficked website you've probably never heard of (massive file-sharing site) -- goes green and renames itself The Persian Bay.

    And an email from reader Mark, an American in South Korea:

    Tonight I plan on going to the Iran v. Korea soccer match wearing green, and cheering for the Iranian team. I know that if I was in their in their situation back home I would be doing the exact same thing. Everybody should in some way or another show that we support what they are doing. Whether its something simple like wearing green, sending out chain emails, or calling into radio shows. We all must do a little something to make sure that this historic event only picks up more steam in the media. I'll make sure to send you pics and anything interesting.
    Unconfirmed: Iran theatening Youtube and twitter with legal action if they keep us online

    Interesting analysis of the nuclear options in Iran: Iran: What Now? | Ploughshares Fund

    Isfahan, south of Tehran, estimated 1 million marching, led by bikers:
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkTLaAa4tBE&feature=player_embedded]YouTube - ‫??????? ??????? ???? ?????? 4‬‎[/ame]

    Rumor control: Masavvi was not shot. Another misinformation piece.

    RT From Iran: 2M strong, silent crowd in Haftetire Sq.No slogans today, no chants."My silence is more powerful than your club"

    From Huffpost:
    2:01 AM ET -- Aslan: Rafsanjani calls "emergency" meeting of Assembly of Experts. If true, this is a bombshell. Appearing on CNN last night (video below), Iran expert Reza Aslan reported this:

    There are very interesting things that are taking place right now. Some of my sources in Iran have told me that Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who is the head of the Assembly of Experts -- the eighty-six member clerical body that decides who will be the next Supreme Leader, and is, by the way, the only group that is empowered to remove the Supreme Leader from power -- that they have issued an emergency meeting in Qom.

    Now, Anderson, I have to tell you, there's only one reason for the Assembly of Experts to meet at this point, and that is to actually talk about what to do about Khamenei. So, this is what I'm saying, is that we're talking about the very legitimacy, the very foundation of the Islamic Republic is up in the air right now. It's hard to say what this is going to go.


    Aslan's scoop is also reported by the Farsi-language Rooyeh.

    The reader in Iran who tipped me off to this sent a follow-up note:

    jesus christ dude,
    I'm [in my 30s] and never thought of it, let alone witnessing it as it unfolds.
    I'm going nuts.
    HOLY **** !!!


    An informed Iranian-American had a different take. "I think Rafasanjani is not going to ask for Khamenei's removal, but is bluffing to force Khamenei to drop support of Ahmadinejad."
    (video)
    Iran Updates (VIDEO): Live-Blogging The Uprising
    This is important. They're scrambling to save their power.



    Iranian Artists in Exile | Facebook
    Great video and letter
    The [video] is important because it is a very eloquent communication indicating how many members of the worldwide Iranian diaspora community feel and it is important to share this message with the world whose attention is currently fixated on the Iranian plight.

    I am an Iranian by birth whose family fled Iran 30 years ago as a result of the 1979 revolution and have not set foot back in Iran due to the political situation which makes it impossible to do so for me and my family. Now, as an adult, I am witnessing these events which are awakening within me feelings that I didn't know I had or didn't know the extent to which they were present and I feel compelled to speak up for all of my fellow Iranians, as well as for all members of the human family who are being oppressed throughout the world, to make
    sure that their struggle is not in vain.
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwKVLwckDYw&feature=player_embedded]YouTube - Open Letter to the World - English Version[/ame]


    More evidence of police/military sympathy to protesters:
    3:45 AM ET -- Journalist defies the crackdown on foreign media. Via readers John, Pejman, and Colin: the pugnacious British reporter Robert Fisk witnesses a stunning scene in which Iranian soldiers keep a group of plainclothes paramilitaries away from Mousavi supporters:

    In fact at one point, Mousavi's supporters were shouting 'thank you, thank you' to the soldiers.

    One woman went up to the special forces men, who normally are very brutal with Mr Mousavi's supporters, and said 'can you protect us from the Basij?' He said 'with God's help'.

    It was quite extraordinary because it looked as if the military authorities in Tehran have either taken a decision not to go on supporting the very brutal militia - which is always associated with the presidency here - or individual soldiers have made up their own mind that they're tired of being associated with the kind of brutality that left seven dead yesterday - buried, by the way secretly by the police - and indeed the seven or eight students who were killed on the university campus 24 hours earlier.

    Quite a lot of policeman are beginning to smile towards the demonstrators of Mr Mousavi, who are insisting there must be a new election because Mr Ahmadinejad wasn't really elected. Quite an extraordinary scene.

    I can't access some BBC videos any longer. A few tweeters inside Iran aren't posting any longer. I hope they've just changed their ids and it's nothing more sinister.
    9:16 AM ET -- Trying to create a black hole. What they can't censor with technology, they'll try to censor with a violence-backed threat.

    The BBC claimed today that Iran has widened electronic jamming of its services, as the country's Revolutionary Guard ordered domestic websites and blogs to remove any material that might "create tension" amid post-election unrest.

    Both the BBC's World News and Persian TV channels are now being jammed by "ground-based interference" in what one senior corporation insider told MediaGuardian.co.uk was akin to "electronic warfare".

    Iranian authorities also blocked access to Yahoo Messenger early today as the country intensified its crackdown on all means of communication following Friday's controversial presidential poll.
    9:23 AM ET -- Solidarity. Via reader Dean, Iranian soccer players are wearing green wrist bands in their World Cup Qualifier match on Wednesday versus South Korea.

    These players, who can't hide their identity, are placing themselves at potential grave risk. How courageous, how inspiring.

    Tweeters reporting Ahmidinejad orders players to remove green.
    I am a Tiki Bar Tarte, do you really think you can Tango with me?!?
    "A Nation is not defeated, until the hearts of it's women lay on the ground" Tsitisisis (Cheyenne) saying

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    Lerxst,

    I have to disagree with you.

    As hard as it is to sit back and watch peaceful protesters being killed by totalitarian religious thugs, this is in the hands of the Iranian people. This is THEIR mission.

    This is exactly like the metaphoric story of the girl who found a caterpillar that was halfway through it's transition to a butterfly. She was determined to help, and so she ripped open the rest of the cocoon.

    The butterfly emerged, but because the struggle to free itself is what pumps fluid into the wings of a butterfly, its wings were forever crumpled.

    This is THEIR country. They have to stand up and take it and make it what they want. I believe that at this point, the will of the overwhelming majority of Iranians is for freedom and democracy. And, if that is the case, they will struggle for it, and they will succeed.

    We would only do them harm by getting in the middle of that process. The process itself has value. The process of struggling together is bringing together Iranians of all walks of life, all economics, all classes, all educational levels, and melding them into a single people.

    Do you know why Americans are so committed to our freedoms? Because we fought and died to get them.

    We have to let them struggle for it, just like we did. It is part of the process.

    When you have fought and died for freedom, you don't let go of it and allow people to take it away from you easily. They are going to NEED that to pull them through the hard times.

    This is like having a teenager and watching that teenager struggle with some of the lessons of adulthood. it would be easier to step in and just do it for them. But, by doing so, we would deprive them of the lessons they need to learn on their path to adulthood, as a nation.
    Catz, I absolutely disagree with you on this. We should be involved at least covertly, supporting any move by the Iranians to topple their government. The best outcome would be that the military have sufficient defectors that the opposition can mount it's own armed resistance and survive. However, should the military be convinced to attack, the consequences could be horrendous.

    There is no reason we should not capitalize on this. Nobody wants the Iranian regime to stay in power. If any but a few on here claim otherwise they are damned liars. I've witnessed countless calls for military action against Iran on this board. But for some reason the idea of arming the population so it can do the deed itself is just not legitimate or wise.

    And regarding your comparison of the American Revolutionary War, you might want to ask the French about us fighting for it on our own. The direct assistance to Washington was invaluable. French troops fought and died helping us achieve our independence from England.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 06-17-09 at 11:23 AM.
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxst View Post
    And regarding your comparison of the American Revolutionary War, you might want to ask the French about us fighting for it on our own. The direct assistance to Washington was invaluable. French troops fought and died helping us achieve our independence from England.
    French troops didn't DECLARE our revolution or push us into fighting. That happened organically, and it was BECAUSE of the martyrs at Lexington and Concord that many Americans took up arms against the British.

    The French only became involved much later (1778).

    So, your point is off-target.

    One of the biggest outcomes of this is that I think that many Iranians have been exposed to actual Americans, via the online world, and it will be impossible for the mullahs to keep portraying us as "The Great Satan" for many in Iran who have seen that while they may have issues with our government, the AMERICAN PEOPLE have been incredibly supportive of their actions.

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    How stupid are the Mullahs to stage an election giving the citizens a taste of freedom that they will never forget. I understand both candidates are not ideal but to offer a glimps of free elections could prove to be the eventual downfall. This could get real interesting.
    It's nothing more than X's and O's.

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by Triad View Post
    You feeling ok?
    Very much so. I've said on this forum many, many times there was a strong dissent movement in Iran, that the people of that country aren't happy. I've always suggested we support them and promote regime change from within. I've been thanked numerous times and people have agreed with me from both sides.

    Now we have a catalyst for regime change in Iran, and all of a sudden it seems that the idea of supporting that movement with real tools that they can use to not only defend themselves with but to actually take down the regime is taboo.

    It all seems so very romantic, so awe inspiring seeing the Iranian people in the streets. And I agree, I am overjoyed. I had hoped for something like this for years. But you don't just let an opportunity like this slip away. The only way the Iranian government will stop this movement is to brutally suppress it by force of arms. If that happens I wonder how many people here will be saying "we should have done something!" How many will criticize the administration for standing idly by while Iranian forces massacre protesters.

    It's all so ridiculous that people will go into convulsions over Iran threatening to obliterate Israel and accuse them of seeking nuclear weapons while calling for direct military action to protect the world from this threat. Of course when someone suggests arming the opposition so that they can do internally what we all seem to want done I'm "not thinking" or I'm wrong.
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    French troops didn't DECLARE our revolution or push us into fighting. That happened organically, and it was BECAUSE of the martyrs at Lexington and Concord that many Americans took up arms against the British.
    And that is what is happening right now in Iran.

    The French only became involved much later (1778).
    Yet they became involved nonetheless.

    So, your point is off-target.
    Not at all, my point is very on target considering your hands off approach to this. You can't use our Revolution as an example of us "doing it on our own" when we clearly did not. We even had Spanish assistance. I'm not suggesting we send in our troops, I'm suggesting that we provide them with arms if they need it to facilitate taking their country from the Mullahs. Simply letting this uprising be crushed because we don't want it to "lose it legitimacy" is not acceptable.

    One of the biggest outcomes of this is that I think that many Iranians have been exposed to actual Americans, via the online world, and it will be impossible for the mullahs to keep portraying us as "The Great Satan" for many in Iran who have seen that while they may have issues with our government, the AMERICAN PEOPLE have been incredibly supportive of their actions.
    I agree with you on this, but the biggest outcome that could occur is the ousting of the regime, a restructuring of Iran's political process, and a brand of Iranian democracy that is legitimate.

    That to me is worth helping them fight for. We can't force our material and technological assistance on them, but we should damn well make it available if they decide they need it. They are not opposed to us helping them in other ways, we should stand ready to escalate if it becomes a practical and welcomed mechanism for regime change.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 06-17-09 at 11:51 AM.
    *insert profound statement here*

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    Re: Riots erupt in Tehran over 'stolen' election

    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxst View Post
    Not at all, my point is very on target considering your hands off approach to this. You can't use our Revolution as an example of us "doing it on our own" when we clearly did not.
    We did it on our own, with the population split almost 50/50 pro and con against the revolution, for 3 years. Wait. Watch. Give them a chance. Perhaps they can do this without firing a single bullet.

    I agree with you on this, but the biggest outcome that could occur is the ousting of the regime, a restructuring of Iran's political process, and a brand of Iranian democracy that is legitimate.
    Legitimate according to whom? If we get in the middle of this, we will strip their victory of legitimacy.

    THIS IS THEIR FIGHT. We have to let them fight it. Hopefully, by peaceful means.

    If, at some point, the leaders of this peaceful velvet revolution ask for help, I think we should be standing ready. BUT THEY AREN'T ASKING FOR OUR HELP RIGHT NOW.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 06-17-09 at 12:01 PM.

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