December 30, 2009
Reuters is reporting huge pro-government demonstrations across Iran yesterday and early today.
According to Reuters, "Hundreds of thousands of government supporters rallied across Iran on Wednesday, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and accusing opposition leaders of causing unrest in the Islamic state."
"You should repent ... otherwise the system will confront you as a 'mohareb' (enemy of God)," cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda told a Tehran rally, directing his remarks at reformist leaders, state TV reported. Under Iran's sharia (Islamic law) the sentence for a mohareb is death." The situation in Tehran and elsewhere is rapidly deteriorating, from reports broad cast over You Tube and Al Jazeera, among others.
The article continued, "In Tehran, crowds burned American and British flags, condemning what they said was interference by Washington and London in Iran's internal affairs.
Semi-official Fars news agency said a group of hardliners gathered in front of the British embassy in Tehran, chanting "the British embassy should be closed down".
Iran's top authority accused the West of basing its actions toward Iran on "distorted realities".
"They are under influence of foreign and Zionist (linked to Israel) news agencies' reports," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, the students news agency ISNA reported.
There was no word of any opposition supporters on the streets on Wednesday, despite talk of demonstrations on reformist websites. Foreign media are restricted from moving around to report on such protests, which are illegal.
In Iran's bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June 12 presidential election, eight people were killed on Sunday and at least 20 pro-reform figures, including three senior advisers to Mousavi, were arrested.
United Nations Human Rights chief Navi Pillay called on the Tehran government on Wednesday to curb excess use of force by its security services and expressed shock over violence."
Read the entire article here to see the extent of the mess.
Meanwhile, the US continues to pursue its plans to seek more stringent sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. However, Reuters reports that this approach is not without danger to the broader situation evolving there. The Huffington Post in today's editions, discusses at length the rope balance between human rights and nuclearization that the Obama Administration has to walk to have any reasonable effect at all. Right now, it seems for the most part that Iran could care less about US threats. It remains to be seem if that view changes.
The Washington Post, on Monday, December 28th, had written about the impact of the anti-government demonstrations and deaths on Ashura--a high religious holiday for the Shi'ite Sect, and how this could mold opinion in that country. The Post calls the events of last weekend a turning point--one from which relations among the various Pro and Anit-government groups will never recover , at least until one of the other succeeds in eliminating the other and taking or retaining control. That could mean significant unrest for years to come, and has implications for the other area states with significant Shi'ite populations.
We will continue to cover events in Iran as they unfold.