Unrest Spreads to Iran

Are the mullahs next?

Major clashes in Iran between protesters and government forces:

Iranian police have fired tear gas at opposition supporters participating in a rally in the centre of the capital, Tehran, called in solidarity with the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

A BBC producer, who was affected by the gas, said there had been severe clashes and described a scene of “total chaos”.

There were also reports of protests in the cities of Isfahan and Shiraz.

Earlier, the police placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, according to his website.

It said the move was intended to prevent the former prime minister attending the march in Tehran, which the authorities had prohibited. The road leading to Mr Mousavi’s house was also blocked by police vans.

Fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi a former Speaker of parliament and senior cleric, is also reportedly under de facto house arrest.

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61 comments

1 tigger2005  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:41:45am

All oppressive regimes are not created equal…even if more people were killed in the Egypt protests than the Iran protests last year, Iran is a more oppressive state than Egypt by several orders of magnitude. I’d say one reason the body count was lower (if in fact it was) may have been that the Iranian government has a greater capacity than Egypt (had) to control by fear. Also, Egypt is much more open and tied into the rest of the world than Iran…it’s a tourist mecca.

2 Kragar  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:42:43am

Iran hinders web searches leading up to planned rally, sources say

Iranian authorities have blocked the word “Bahman” – the 11th month of the Persian calendar – from Internet searches within the country, according to an opposition website.

The measure appears to be an effort by Iranian authorities to obstruct access to several websites that are promoting a rally on Monday – the 25th day of Bahman – proposed by Iranian opposition leaders in support of the uprising in Egypt, Saham News reported Saturday.

3 darthstar  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:45:57am

Isn’t this just Iran coming around for a second lap on the “we want change” bandwagon? They’re probably wondering why Egypt got it right the first time…oh, yeah…their police refused to fire on the people.

4 Four More Tears  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:47:27am

I just watched the Atlas Shrugged p1 trailer. Not even in “so bad it’s good” territory.

5 lawhawk  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:48:14am

Iran’s preventing foreign media outlets from reporting on the situation, so many of the reports are simply referencing the same few digests that have come to light thus far.

That doesn’t mean that we aren’t getting more information from Twitter and other sources -

[Link: twitter.com…]

It means that the kind of reporting seen from Tahrir Square by int’l news agencies isn’t going to happen in Tehran and the regime’s ability to control information is much better than Mubarak’s abilities.

6 Kronocide  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:50:13am

Beck spinning this as evil in 5… 4… 3… 2….

7 ProBosniaLiberal  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:50:43am

Let’s hope that Green Revolution 2: Green Harder succeeds. The economy is worse than it was 2 years ago, so things might be different this time.

8 Four More Tears  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:50:55am

re: #6 BigPapa

Beck spinning this as evil in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Caliphate!!11!

9 sattv4u2  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:51:17am

re: #5 lawhawk

Iran’s preventing foreign media outlets from reporting on the situation, so many of the reports are simply referencing the same few digests that have come to light thus far.

That doesn’t mean that we aren’t getting more information from Twitter and other sources -

[Link: twitter.com…]

It means that the kind of reporting seen from Tahrir Square by int’l news agencies isn’t going to happen in Tehran and the regime’s ability to control information is much better than Mubarak’s abilities.


hence, we may never fully know the extent/ depth of the protests and the gov’ts response unless/until the regime is overthrown and actual eyewitness testimonies are calculated

10 Big Steve  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:52:06am

this will be tough genie to put back in the bottle

11 Kragar  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:53:20am

Police crack down on Bahrain ‘day of rage’

Clashes have erupted on the outskirts of the Bahraini capital, Manama, as security forces seek to prevent protesters gathering for a widely publicised “day of rage” against the regime.

Riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to break up a noisy but peaceful 10-minute demonstration by hundreds of mostly young people in Duraz, a shia village on the edge of Manama. The youths then engaged in running battles with phalanxes of security personnel.

12 tigger2005  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:54:11am

re: #6 BigPapa

Beck spinning this as evil in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Naw. Mubarak was “our” s.o.b., so his overthrow was automatically bad in Beck’s book.

13 tigger2005  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:54:59am

re: #10 Big Steve

this will be tough genie to put back in the bottle


I say smash the bottle.

14 sattv4u2  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:58:59am

re: #10 Big Steve

this will be tough genie to put back in the bottle

Not when the regime has the military/police/secret services on it’s side!

15 Big Steve  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 9:59:33am

Wasn’t Dinner Jacket just bragging last week how the twitterlution in Egypt last week would smash the US and Israel.

16 lostlakehiker  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:01:48am

The odds don’t look good for the Iranian people. The regime has a corps of thugs, the Basij, who enjoy the perks of license to brutality, the motorcycle gangster hip reputation, and a degree of financial support. This army of brownshirts is backstopped by another force, the “revolutionary guards”, that has both business and military branches. It’s all very fascist. The mullahs, Ahmadinejad, etc. are the face the government presents to the outside and to the people, but there’ve been some careful analyses done of who is finally calling the shots, and from these one may conclude that the Revolutionary Guards have the final say. They are, in effect, the government.

So, no one man can have a change of heart and relent. No committee of mullahs, reading theological texts and studying scholarship from Egypt, can have a change of heart that matters. To topple the Nazis it took invasion from East and West, and the regime held on for a time even after the Ruhr industrial district, and Berlin, had both fallen. Two wooden stakes plus garlic were needed to kill it.

This Iranian regime is solidly planted, ruthless and heartless. It has money, weapons, street power. The military isn’t a disinterested professional force.

All these things don’t make the regime immortal. But attempts at revolution can fail even with the backing of most of the people. Any encouragement we give the people of Iran should be given cautiously: we do not promise military help, we will not come to their rescue, they’re on their own. If they win, which we cannot foresee, we will rejoice with them and look to a cooperative future. If they lose, they die.

And if they don’t make the attempt? Life in Iran is hard and the regime is on a crusade [ahm, eh] to get nuclear weapons. And then what? The prospects are just awful. But we, here, are not well placed to see just how likely it is that the regime, once it does have nukes, will plunge Iran into war. We cannot discern whether a desperate long shot rebellion makes sense.

Makes ya want to just cry.

17 Kronocide  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:01:49am

As I take a long view of the region over the last few months I can’t help but think of the influence of ‘the Information Age’ in these events.

18 ProBosniaLiberal  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:09:53am

re: #16 lostlakehiker

The Iranian Military and the IRGC are different entities if I’m not mistaken. What if the main military turns? Long shot, but it might change the situation. Though the change may very well be to a Civil War.

19 Feline Fearless Leader  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:10:15am

re: #17 BigPapa

As I take a long view of the region over the last few months I can’t help but think of the influence of ‘the Information Age’ in these events.

The invention of the printing press was a bit of a political disruptor as well.

20 justaminute  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:12:05am

Stanley Sea I saw your post wanting to hear from me but I can’t tell you anything yet. Husband had to go to the restaurant at 4AM. He might hear something while he is at work but they don’t usually call from Iran until 3:00p.m. The one thing I am going to ask him to check on is the voices of the mullahs other than Khamenis is unusually quiet. I’ve heard that they are really unhappy in Qom. They have been really marginalized by the RG in the past year. Frankly Iran is now just a form of a military dictatorship and Khameni is just a figurehead.

21 Fozzie Bear  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:13:08am

re: #19 oaktree

The invention of the printing press was a bit of a political disruptor as well.

The internet is a much bigger deal, in terms of social/political impact, than the invention of the printing press.

22 ProBosniaLiberal  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:13:35am

re: #20 justaminute

Did the last revolution result in going to a Military Dictatorship from a Theocracy, or has it been this way for a while now.

23 reine.de.tout  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:14:29am

re: #20 justaminute

Stanley Sea I saw your post wanting to hear from me but I can’t tell you anything yet. Husband had to go to the restaurant at 4AM. He might hear something while he is at work but they don’t usually call from Iran until 3:00p.m. The one thing I am going to ask him to check on is the voices of the mullahs other than Khamenis is unusually quiet. I’ve heard that they are really unhappy in Qom. They have been really marginalized by the RG in the past year. Frankly Iran is now just a form of a military dictatorship and Khameni is just a figurehead.

Keep us posted, please. We’re very interested!

24 Interesting Times  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:14:37am

re: #20 justaminute

They have been really marginalized by the RG in the past year. Frankly Iran is now just a form of a military dictatorship and Khameni is just a figurehead.

How could the people possibly defeat the RG, though? Haven’t they got a stranglehold on everything, and no problem committing mass-murder to keep that power?

25 Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:15:28am

re: #1 tigger2005

All oppressive regimes are not created equal…even if more people were killed in the Egypt protests than the Iran protests last year, Iran is a more oppressive state than Egypt by several orders of magnitude. I’d say one reason the body count was lower (if in fact it was) may have been that the Iranian government has a greater capacity than Egypt (had) to control by fear. Also, Egypt is much more open and tied into the rest of the world than Iran…it’s a tourist mecca.

I’d be willing to venture the death toll in Iran was higher than reported, potentially much higher. How many people simply vanished into the prisons
in Iran? How many people will never come back out?

26 reine.de.tout  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:15:57am

justaminute - Here’s a liveblog from Tehran Bureau.

27 Fozzie Bear  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:17:35am

re: #24 publicityStunted

How could the people possibly defeat the RG, though? Haven’t they got a stranglehold on everything, and no problem committing mass-murder to keep that power?

They probably can’t.

What happened in Egypt is as much the result of what Mubarak wasn’t willing to do as it was the result of what the protesters were willing to do. Mubarak is a hippy compared to the Iranian leadership. It wouldn’t play out the same way there.

29 okonkolo  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:19:41am

I guess that Mullah spin of “Egypt got their inspiration from our 1979 revolution” isn’t looking very convincing today.

30 justaminute  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:20:08am

re: #22 ProLifeLiberal

Did the last revolution result in going to a Military Dictatorship from a Theocracy, or has it been this way for a while now.

The RG is in power now. The are the paymasters of the Basij. Ahmadineajad was actually physically slapped in the face by the commander of the RG and not one word was said by Khameni. Interesting times there.

31 avanti  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:20:17am

Here’s how the right wing loonies deal with the mid east revolutions. First, start with assumption that the POTUS is a idiot, and clueless, than make up a story by a “White House insider” Like this:

“FYI there was a closed door meeting recently under the guise of discussions on Egypt. That meeting did not involve Egypt much if at all. This information is relayed second hand but I believe it to be completely reliable. Source told that meeting was run by Jarrett from start to end. Obama said very little. Asked no questions. The primary focus was how to protect Obamacare so it was not a “liability” in 2012 campaign.”

Once you do that, spread it around to the other echo chambers so they can nod approvingly and lies become truth.

clueless.

32 SanFranciscoZionist  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:20:21am

re: #25 bloodstar

I’d be willing to venture the death toll in Iran was higher than reported, potentially much higher. How many people simply vanished into the prisons
in Iran? How many people will never come back out?

That’s the thing. We have absolutely no way of getting real information on a consistent basis out of Iran.

33 justaminute  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:26:24am

re: #24 publicityStunted

How could the people possibly defeat the RG, though? Haven’t they got a stranglehold on everything, and no problem committing mass-murder to keep that power?

That’s true. That’s why sanctions have had some impact. The government had to cut the people’s subsides. But it’s going to take alot for them to fill pain though. Plus the price of oil is going up.

34 Alexzander  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:28:12am

re: #32 SanFranciscoZionist

That’s the thing. We have absolutely no way of getting real information on a consistent basis out of Iran.

Nevertheless, the publicly known executions apparently add up to one every eight hours in Iran since the new year.

36 Lidane  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:30:28am

re: #17 BigPapa

As I take a long view of the region over the last few months I can’t help but think of the influence of ‘the Information Age’ in these events.

Well, yeah. Near-instant communication with people around the world tends to put the lie to whatever state-controlled media is telling its citizens.

37 mr.fusion  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:31:45am

Too soon to label myself as a soothsayer?

Not so fast my friend…the Iranian Revolution took a decade.

I don’t think it’s all that likely…but would anybody be shocked if Iran was the next domino to fall?

38 Alexzander  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:33:49am

re: #36 Lidane

Well, yeah. Near-instant communication with people around the world tends to put the lie to whatever state-controlled media is telling its citizens.

Unless governments sufficiently demonize opposing perspectives in international media cough*al jazeera*cough. A good number of Americans still think Al jazeera is a terrorist organization.

39 Fozzie Bear  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:35:25am

re: #38 Alexzander

Unless governments sufficiently demonize opposing perspectives in international media cough*al jazeera*cough. A good number of Americans still think Al jazeera is a terrorist organization.

No other country in the world is as awash in highly effective propaganda as the US. We are, quite simply, far better at bullshit than any country in the history of the world.

40 Fat Bastard Vegetarian  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:36:38am

Gosh, I hope this is not a harbinger of things to come.

The Middle East is chocked full of gifts from antiquity to the future.

41 Ericus58  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:44:33am

re: #39 Fozzie Bear

No other country in the world is as awash in highly effective propaganda as the US. We are, quite simply, far better at bullshit than any country in the history of the world.

You sure are turning into a bore.
Even the present Administration?

You are saying that the U.S. is ahead in propaganda of any past regime/country, and any present?
What a load of tripe.

42 Fozzie Bear  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:45:46am

re: #41 Ericus58

You sure are turning into a bore.
Even the present Administration?

You are saying that the U.S. is ahead in propaganda of any past regime/country, and any present?
What a load of tripe.

I didn’t say it was government propaganda.

43 ProBosniaLiberal  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:47:06am

re: #35 Alexzander

This makes me hate the Iranian government even more, even though it shows that people are willing to risk everything for more freedom.

re: #40 Fat Bastard Vegetarian

I’m again paranoid that the religious fanatics are responsible for this.

44 ProBosniaLiberal  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:48:01am

re: #43 ProLifeLiberal

The stealing in the museum. I’m afraid that looked vague.

45 efuseakay  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:48:43am

re: #39 Fozzie Bear

No other country in the world is as awash in highly effective propaganda as the US. We are, quite simply, far better at bullshit than any country in the history of the world.

You don’t travel much, do you?

46 Romantic Heretic  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:53:35am

re: #21 Fozzie Bear

The internet is a much bigger deal, in terms of social/political impact, than the invention of the printing press.

I disagree. The only difference is in the speed of the effects.

Bur my read is that the invention of the printing press had almost the exact same effect as the internet. It allowed information to escape from the control of the people who ran things at the time, the Catholic Church and nobility then and the corporations and their nobility now.

It took longer during the Renaissance but the over all effect was the same. Things got turned upside down.

47 Alexzander  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:55:06am

In vaguely unrelated news: RADIOHEAD RELEASING A NEW ALBUM THIS SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.thekingoflimbs.com

48 Kronocide  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:55:27am

re: #39 Fozzie Bear

No other country in the world is as awash in highly effective propaganda as the US. We are, quite simply, far better at bullshit than any country in the history of the world.

AMERICAN BULLSHIT FUCK YEAH! GO USA!

Point made. The information potential can be exploited by bullshit as well as truth. But I have a positive spin on it.

In a casino, the house always has the odds. Sometimes 1% (good blackjack games or crap games), sometimes horrid 5% odds (sucker games).

I think truth is the house. It’s the bullshit that has to work harder to propagate. Maybe ‘the odds’ are slimmer, maybe .5%. In the end, it takes more effort to support a non-fact than it does a fact. Sometimes it does not seem that way (right wing-AGW), but when I look at it from a long perspective I have a more positive take.

49 Achilles Tang  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 10:58:15am

re: #11 Kragar (Proud to be Kafir)

Police crack down on Bahrain ‘day of rage’

This is an example of copycat demonstrations that are not of the same character as Egypt. It is largely a sectarian issue between Shiites and Sunnis which the entire Muslim world experiences and is only political to the extent that the Shiites are a minority in Bahrain and tend to want more theology power, not less.

50 TDG2112  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 11:02:22am

I don’t think this will go anywhere. This is not like Egypt where the army was facing people they knew. Iran is pretty big. There is a lot of class division in addition to the geographical divides. The gov’t can bring in units from other places (just like the Chinese did at Tienanmen way back when) and face what is mostly the tech savvy well off youth who have some idea what its like in the west. They’re the ones that are being hurt by the gov’ts policy of isolation. Until this group can get their protesting demographics to spread the Iranian gov’t can just squash them as soon as they get out in the street.

51 Alexzander  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 11:05:02am

re: #50 TDG2112

Well, they were pretty big (demographically) in the protests of 2009 and 2010 but that didn’t stop the government from both violently attacking the protests while simultaneously trying to ignore it/sweep it under the rug.

52 justaminute  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 11:05:58am

I am curious to see what will happen in Egypt as they go forward. The military owns quite a bit of the means of production like the RG in Iran. That is why the Muslim Brotherhood does not really bother me.

53 Ericus58  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 11:45:58am

re: #41 Ericus58

You sure are turning into a bore.
Even the present Administration?

You are saying that the U.S. is ahead in propaganda of any past regime/country, and any present?
What a load of tripe.

Oh Jimmah….
that’s just weaksauce.

54 Sol Berdinowitz  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 1:19:10pm

I fear that this little tremor in Iran will get nipped in the bud for reasons mentioned in other posts.

But I do wonder what will happen when it spreads to Saudi Arabia and how the US is going to deal with an uprising against such a close ally.

55 _RememberTonyC  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 1:57:46pm

To quote Fred Sanford, this could be “the big one.” I pray that the good people of Iran (and there are MANY) will have the courage to persevere in the face of an evil and merciless regime. May they gain strength and resolve from their martyrs like Neda Soltan and the two young activists who were hanged by the regime a few weeks ago. There are few things more important than the overthrow of this regime and a reversal of their murderous and destabilizing policies.

I hope our government is quietly helping the Iranian patriots trying to oust the evil mullahs and their henchmen.

56 Ojoe  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 2:22:30pm

Throwing out the mullahs would be the best news, just the best.

57 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Tue, Feb 15, 2011 4:45:11am

re: #41 Ericus58

You sure are turning into a bore.
Even the present Administration?

You are saying that the U.S. is ahead in propaganda of any past regime/country, and any present?
What a load of tripe.

Fox News, sucka

58 Girl with a Pearl Earring  Tue, Feb 15, 2011 6:51:49am

And what is the word from the White House on the protests in Iran? Will a demand for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to step down “now” be forthcoming?

59 Girl with a Pearl Earring  Tue, Feb 15, 2011 6:54:24am

re: #55 _RememberTonyC

“I hope our government is quietly helping the Iranian patriots trying to oust the evil mullahs and their henchmen.”

We didn’t help the last time there were protests, and there was no encouragement from our current Administration to the protestors. So why now?

60 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Tue, Feb 15, 2011 2:07:59pm

re: #58 Girl with a Pearl Earring

Gotta love you dead threaders

61 Girl with a Pearl Earring  Wed, Feb 16, 2011 8:21:24am

re: #60 WindUpBird

“Gotta love you dead threaders”

So what’s your argument? Can you answer the questions?


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