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To: DoctorZIn
Monday, June 23, 2003

Iran Bans Public Protests on Anniversary of Unrest

June 23, 2003 Reuters Jon Hemming

TEHRAN -- Iran said on Monday it would ban any demonstrations outside universities to mark the July 9 anniversary of 1999 student unrest following a wave of sometimes violent democracy protests that prompted a crackdown this month.

Hundreds have been arrested over the protests by thousands of people demanding an end to clerical rule. Student leaders, who have been praised by Washington, have said the crackdown could make them adopt more radical and violent methods.

''The Interior Ministry will not give permission to any gathering outside universities,'' government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh told a news conference.

Newspapers said hardline militia who have attacked students and other demonstrators with clubs and chains had also been denied a request to gather outside Tehran University on July 9.

It was the same plainclothes Islamic militants who attacked the university dormitory four years ago, triggering days of riots in which a student was killed.

Iran's longtime arch rival the United States has applauded the latest protests which not only targeted conservative clerics but also criticised President Mohammad Khatami's moderate government for failing to push through reforms.

While the demonstrations have all but fizzled out, authorities are eager not to see them erupt again around July 9.

Ramazanzadeh said universities could decide whether to allow events to mark the July 9 anniversary inside their campuses. ''Each university can decide independently and the government will not interfere,'' he said.

The spokesman said some 470 people had been arrested in Tehran by police and intelligence agents for public order offences, but an unknown number of people had also been held by the Islamic vigilantes.

He condemned the plainclothes militants, fiercely loyal to conservative clerics, for taking the law into their own hands and demanded they hand over those they held to judicial authorities.

''No one under any name and for whatever reason should be allowed to disturb public order,'' Ramazanzadeh said.

He also called on the conservative-dominated judiciary to treat equally student protesters and Islamic militants detained during the unrest.

''We are expecting the judiciary to dispel suggestions which have existed in the past that the main elements are not being confronted,'' he said

33 posted on 06/23/2003 9:54:33 AM PDT by Eurotwit
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To: *southasia_list
34 posted on 06/23/2003 10:18:44 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Eurotwit
...While the demonstrations have all but fizzled out, authorities are eager not to see them erupt again around July 9. ...

Well Reuters once again has it wrong. I am still hearing reports across the country of continued protests. They do appear to be in a kind of stand off. The tactics of the protesters make it harder for the media to follow the story. The protesters produce a demonstration in one part of a city and them create another in a different part of the city.

Due to the heavy traffic jams at night the regime is having trouble bringing overwhelming force to all areas at once. I assume the media, which is banned from such sites, is also having trouble getting to the demonstrations. Also, my guess is that the "newness" of the story has worn off and therefore they are waiting for the next major "shoe to drop."

The date to watch for is July 9th, the anniversary of the 1999 crackdown on protesting students (just 16 days away). The regime has just issued a ban on any such demonstrations on that date. The demonstrators are also planning massive strikes to begin on that day. This is harder to stop. I have heard that the regime is paying select employees within the oil industry 200% of their salary to stay on the job. But we are also hearing, as I reported earlier, that the slowdown in the oil industry appears to already have begun.

I am also hearing that the regime is trying to discourage the late night traffic by stopping cars and getting the names of all those driving late at night. This is an obvious attempt to intimidate the public.

Just a reminder, it appears the regime has been forced to bring in paramilitary support from Lebanon and Syria to keep up with the protests. This appears to me to be a good sign that the protests are effective after all and that the regimes forces are running out of steam. This is consistent with what I was reporting a few days ago.

I will report back in as soon as I have any fresh news…

37 posted on 06/23/2003 11:46:11 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad)
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