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1 posted on 06/27/2003 12:03:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Iranian Alert -- DAY 18 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 6.27.2003 |
Posted on 06/27/2003 12:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
2 posted on 06/27/2003 12:07:09 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Crackdown: Student protests are subsiding after a wave of arrests ordered by Iran’s clerical hard-liners

By Babak Dehghanpisheh

June 26 — Abdullah Momeni knew his time was up. Last night, Momeni and two fellow students left Tehran’s Tarbiyat Moalem University around 8:30 p.m. They had come to the campus to join approximately 40 other representatives from the Office for Fostering Student Unity, an umbrella organization of student activists, to discuss the fallout from the recent wave of protests against Islamic clerical rule in Iran. The trio had only walked a little way up Mofateh Street when they noticed two plainclothes men, armed with pistols, walking toward them.

TWO OTHERS WERE shadowing them on the opposite side of the street. Momeni, an outspoken student leader, made a break for the university gate, knowing that security officials do not have the power to make arrests on campus property. Two of the plainclothes men drew their pistols and cornered Momeni at the gate. He was slapped into a pair of plastic handcuffs and, according to one of the students who witnessed the event, put into a white Pride, an Iranian compact car, and driven away.

Momeni’s arrest was just one of dozens in an intensifying state crackdown on student protesters. Over 100 other students have been detained in similar circumstances in Tehran and smaller cities around the country since violent street protests broke out two weeks ago. Police officials say they have arrested 1,280 people around the country, including vigilantes who attacked students. Certainly, Momeni’s detention couldn’t have come as a surprise. Earlier in the evening, he had turned to his fellow students and said, “In case I’m arrested, my views aren’t going to change. Any announcement that I’ve changed my views will have been extracted under torture and pressure.”

So far, nearly a quarter of those arrested have been released on bail. Privately, some Western officials in Tehran say the detentions are a cause for concern. They point out that the official police numbers don’t include people who were detained by overlapping security services, some of whom operate with a great deal of autonomy. “The regime knows that there’s a threat and they react,” says one Western diplomat. “But it’s difficult to know how many people have been arrested.”

During the past week, worried family members have been gathering outside Evin prison in Tehran for news about their loved ones. Many don’t know if their relatives are inside or what charges they are facing. “When the arrests are violent, with some people even getting pepper sprayed in the face, then what are the conditions of detention going to be like?” Reza Yousefian, a parliamentarian from Shiraz said at a press conference yesterday. Yousefian and a handful of fellow parliamentarians also announced the formation of a committee for investigating student arrests. Among the committee members is Ahmad Shirzad, a parliamentary representative from Isfahan, whose son was picked up in the recent sweep. Frustrated parliamentarians have also been collecting signatures for a motion to call President Mohammad Khatami before the majles (parliament) for his inability to control the crackdown on protesters.

For their part, hard-line clerics have been sending out warning signals about how far they are willing to be pushed. During a Friday prayer speech last week, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi asked that protesters be classified as mohareb—a person who actively fights against Allah—rather than the lesser mokhalef—a person who opposes Allah. If convicted of being a mohareb, the accused could face execution. Members of parliament have also been put on notice. “Whoever crosses the line will be confronted,” Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the head of security forces, said in a parliamentary address yesterday. “Even parliamentarians who are encouraging student activism.”

So far, the arrests have had the intended effect: Kuye Daneshgah, Tehran Pars and other Tehran trouble spots have been largely quiet in recent nights. Police and members of the Basij paramilitary group, who have been given jackets stenciled with the word “Police,” staff informal roadblocks in neighborhoods where protesters gathered. Large buses have also been parked on the side of the road in these neighborhoods to haul off troublemakers. It is widely believed that detainees will be kept in custody until after July 9, the anniversary of a large student protest four years ago. All protests have already been banned on that day.

Meanwhile, not all young Iranians are sympathetic to the activists. “Students who were protesting because of their own political agenda should have been arrested,” says Mehdi Ahmadi, a nursing student and member of the Basij student branch at Tehran University. ”[When] there were huge protests in Michigan [after last week’s death of a motorcyclist during a Benton Harbor police chase,] the American police arrested many people and nobody thought that was inappropriate,” said Ahmadi at a counter demonstration to show support for the government earlier this week. “Why was this a big deal?”

© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.

3 posted on 06/27/2003 12:29:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Things are rather quiet right now. I hope it is a good sign.
4 posted on 06/27/2003 12:32:17 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Painting Iran's walls

SMCCDI (Information Service)
June 27, 2003

A wide scale effort has started by the Islamic republic regime in order to Paint Iranian homes walls as the number of revolutionnary graffitis and slogans, written with color sprays, have increased. Bassidj forces have been mobilized in order to cover these slogans.

Bassidji members are seen, in the middle of night, holding color recipient and brush by trying to hide these popular expressions while young Iranian freedom fighters are continuing their campaign of public awarness few blocks away.

It's to note that those who'll get arrested will
face terrible consequences and a young Esfhanai died, last month, as he was writing slogans.

Most slogans are, at this time, calls for participation in the banned rallies of July 9th and the overthrown of the Islamic regime, such as,
"Kareshan tamam Ast!" (They are Over!) or (Bayad Beravand!" (They Have to Go!).

Other slogans, such as, "Khamenei, haya kon, hokoomat o raha kon" (Khamene-i feel shame, leave power) or "Kahatami e bi kefayat, hamdast e jenayat" (Khatami the incompetent, accomplice of crime) are sen on many walls.
9 posted on 06/27/2003 6:33:28 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn

TEHRAN 26 June (IPS) In a very strongly worded open letter to the lamed Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, some 106 Iranian students activists warned that a "calamity would engulf the entire Iranian nation" in case "the last bridge between the students and the clerical establishment break down".

"This is probably the last time that the student’s movement addresses the Islamic Republic’s establishment", the students said, protesting to the illegal arrests of students and protesters, their detention at undisclosed jails, suppression of basic freedoms, attacks on dissident activists’ meetings by plainclothes men, events that they say they hold the President for the person responsible to answer.

"We warn you solemnly that these are the last words in the series of dialogue between the student’s movement and the leadership of the Islamic Republic.. if this dialogue is also cut, no doubt a great calamity would befall over the whole of the nation", the signatories warned.

As the letter was published, one of the students leader and member of the Office for Consolidating Unity, Mr. Abdollah Mo’meni was reported arrested by plainclothes men believed to have acted on orders from Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi, Tehran’s Public Prosecutor better known as "The Butcher of the Press", for having ordered the closure of more than 90 independent and pro-reform publications in the past three years.

"You know well that confrontation between the student’s movement with a regime that its legitimacy is about to vanish what kind of destiny reserves for all those are sitting on un-elected, appointed powers, hence, do your best to avoid that fatal day", the students said.

One of the letter's signatories, Sa’id Razavi Faqih, said if Khatami failed to heed the students' warning, they would even stop recognising the legitimacy of elected reformists within Iran's ruling establishment.

The students and the young generation that forms 2/3 of the Iranian 70 million population voted massively for Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami twice in the 1997 and 2001 Presidential elections, but now they have almost "divorced" him, because of his continued silence in face of the hard liner’s open abuse of power.

Reformists around Mr. Khatami accuse the conservatives for blocking the reforms promised by Mr. Khatami, but students and many analysts believe that Mr. Khatami is of a too weak nature to be capable of confronting the hard liners, who are backed by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i and his immense powers.

"Your silence is painful and disappointing. As the second man in the regime, how do you explain open abductions in the streets; the existence of illegal jails, arbitrary detentions? We call on you to react before it's too late and adopt a reasonable solution, or otherwise have the courage to resign so that you don't justify oppressive policies (of hardliners) and allow students to settle their accounts with the establishment", the signatories told the President.

The letter came as after eleven consecutive nights of protest against the Islamic Republic and its leaders, including both Khameneh'i and Khatami, the movement had dropped to a low level, as the authorities had informed that they would not allow any demonstration for 9 July, the fourth anniversary of the massacre of the students by the ruling clerics.

Government authorities have said they arrested about 520 protesters, mostly "hooligans". But not only the students put the number at more than a thousand, but also say that most of detainees are students.

On Thursday, Mr. Mortazavi said more than 2.000 have been arrested in the last ten days, but he did not say how many of them are students.

The clerical authorities routinely describe the dissidents as "hooligans".

While protesters have regularly condemned un-elected hard line clerics and supported Khatami, the recent student-led protests had for the first time called for the establishment's ouster and denounced Khatami for failing to fulfill promises. ENDS STUDENTS OPEN LETTER 26603
10 posted on 06/27/2003 6:38:08 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
4,000 arrested during Iran protests: report

Iranian security forces arrested 4,000 people during the recent wave of anti-regime protests, and half of that number are still being held, the prosecutor general says.

The student news agency ISNA and the semi-official ILNA agency report Ayatollah Abdolnabi Namazi says some of those arrested were freed immediately.

"In total, 4,000 people were arrested across the country, and 40 per cent of those arrested were immediately freed," he said.

"Currently there are 2,000 people who are still in prison, among whom there are not many students."

These are the first official figures for the number of arrests across the country.

In Tehran, epicenter of the June 10-20 demonstrations, the Ayatollah says 800 people were arrested.

The protests began after a small student rally against the privatisation of some university facilities snowballed into virulent anti-regime protests around Tehran university, sparking severe clashes between protesters and Islamist vigilantes.

The protests spread across the country, but fizzled out after a tough crackdown.
11 posted on 06/27/2003 6:55:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Italians launch "Free Iran" campaign

SMCCDI (Information Service)
June 27, 2003

Responsible Italian Intelligensia and media have launched an unprecedented campaign named "Iran Day" in an effort to focus the Italians attentions on the plight of Iranian Nation.

This campaign is planning to ask from Italians to attach thousands of flags from their windows stating "Free Iran".

One of the main coordinator of this action is the well known media activist Mimmo Lombezzi of Studio Aperto. This responsible media has created a special section in its website for the supports of Iranians:

Also, several Italian parties, and especially the TransNational radical Party have started their active support of the Movement.

The SMCCDI coordinator, explaining this campaign and support, on the waves of the Iranian radio networks, asked, this morning, from the auditors to thank the Italians for their noble actions by hoping other Europeans to follow their example.

DoctorZin Note: Perhaps we should do this in the USA.
12 posted on 06/27/2003 7:18:10 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
No reports of executions at this time.

As I said last night...

I would think that if they were prepared to start a reign of terror, the regime would want to make a very public demonstration of their power. That is what some of the haedliners reportedly want. I understand that they want to broadcast the executions around the country, to instill fear of the regime. If they fail to do so, then it will encourage the demonstators

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
13 posted on 06/27/2003 7:24:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn's Symposium: Whither Iran? ^ | 6.27.2003 | Jamie Glazov
Posted on 06/27/2003 6:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

14 posted on 06/27/2003 7:29:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Al-Qaeda Number Two and Spokesman is in Iran

June 27, 2003
AFP Yahoo News

DUBAI -- Ayman al-Zawahiri, right-hand man of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, and Suleiman Abu Ghaith, spokesman of the terror group, are among al-Qaeda members detained in Iran, Al-Arabiya news channel revealed.

Zawahiri, Abu Ghaith and one of bin Laden's sons are among a group of aides of the al-Qaeda chief held in Iran, the Dubai-based satellite television said, quoting "Western diplomatic sources."

Al-Arabiya, which did not name bin Laden's son, said the detainees included Saudis, Kuwaitis, Jordanians and Iraqi Kurds.

An upcoming visit to Iran by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will focus essentially on this issue, it said.

Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said Monday that some al-Qaeda members arrested in Iran had been identified but had refused to give any information about themselves, including the position they held within the organization.

Washington suspects Iran-based al-Qaeda members are implicated in last month's triple suicide bombings in Riyadh.

Iranian leaders said that a handful of members of bin Laden's network were arrested before the May 12 attacks, which killed 35 people.

Recent press reports said that Abu Ghaith, who was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship, and Saad bin Laden, the Qaeda chief's elder son who is believed to play a key role in the orgnization, were in Iran.

Egyptian-born Saif al-Adel, thought to have taken over as al-Qaeda's number three from military operations chief Mohammad Atef, who was believed killed in Afghanistan, was also alleged to be in Iran.

So was Abu Mussab Zarqawi, a Jordanian national of Palestinian origin who is thought to have previously operated from neighboring Iraq.

Iran has brushed off the claims but has not revealed the identities of the al-Qaeda operatives it is detaining.

18 posted on 06/27/2003 10:07:51 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
SMCCDI: Fresh protest and clashes rock Iranian Capital

Fresh protest and clashes rock Iranian Capital
SMCCDI (Information Service)
June 27, 2003

Fresh protest and clashes rocked, late afternoon, several areas of the Iranian capital and mainly the Amir-Abad and Tehran Pars areas where hundreds of residents gatehr to shout slogans against the Islamic regime and asking its overthrown

The islamic regime security forces enetred in action in order to smash the protesters who using guerilla tactics vanished at several occasion in order to appear in neighboring streets.

Many homes has opened their doors and giving hide to the protesters.

Buts despite this new tactic, sporadic clashes happened in these areas as young demonstrators were caught by the security forces.

More unrest is expecetd this evening.

DoctorZin Note: It sounds as if things are heating up again. I did hear a report that the regime was preparing to execute a dozen of the student protesters. No further confirmation on this yet.

Also, I have heard of numerous reports that the regime is attempting to keep people away from the protests by hosting concerts and on the television in the evening they are offering free movie tickets to viewers who stay home to watch these local broadcasts. Sounds rather desperate.

19 posted on 06/27/2003 11:48:13 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in...

I just spoke with leaders within the Iranian Student Movement. They are telling me that the regime is now planning on executing some of the student leaders early next week.
21 posted on 06/27/2003 2:26:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rice warns of 'Made in America' solution in Iran

Friday, June 27, 2003 - ©2003

LONDON, June 27 (AFP) - US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has indicated that the United States is ready to act alone against Iran and North Korea if European countries do not cooperate in stopping them from developing nuclear weapons, the Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"If we do not want a 'Made in America' solution, let's find out how to resolve the issues of North Korea and Iran," the paper quoted Rice as saying during a visit to London Thursday.

Rice sought to play down the prospect of a war against Iran, saying: "We do not ever want to have to deal with the proliferation issue as we did in Iraq."

However, according to the right-wing Telegraph, her comments had echoes of the blunt talking that surrounded the debate before the Iraq war.

Rice accused Iran of seeking secretly to build nuclear weapons, and vowed that North Korea would not be allowed to "blackmail" the world with threats to resume its nuclear programme, according to the newspaper.

But she said the US sought international cooperation and that Iran's programme was best dealt with by convincing Tehran to agree to intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Addressing the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Rice said North Korea was best addressed by regional powers exerting pressure.

But she did not rule out military action, the Telegraph reported. "The avoidance of war is not in itself a final goal," she said. "Sometimes one has to fight wars to deal with tyrants."

Later she added: "We want a multilateral solution. But we do want a solution.

"Post 9/11, the sense of urgency to have solutions to these problems has grown," she said, in reference to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

"The absence of action is not a solution. Sometimes multilateralism is code for not acting."
22 posted on 06/27/2003 2:41:13 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Strife Cleaves Society Still More Sharply

By Farnaz Fassihi
The Wall Street Journal
Copyright (c) 2003, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Friday, June 27, 2003

TEHRAN, Iran -- The growing split between Iranian students and the country's clerical government came to a head this week as plain-clothed forces detained more than 100 students, in the process widening the vast gap between conservative officials and reformists. The students were snatched from their homes, from their jobs and off the street, fueling protests in universities around the nation and triggering a four-day hunger strike by students in Isfahan, 200 miles south of Tehran.

The Islamic Student Unions of several universities have taken things a step further. They are collecting signatures for an open letter to President Mohammad Khatami in which they demand that he either resign or protect their civil rights.

"Mr. President, if you are incapable of protecting our rights, if you cannot put an end to illegal arrests and kidnapping of students, please resign so the student movement can confront the regime on its own," states the letter, published on Web sites operated by students. "Then everyone will know what the end result of such confrontation will be."

The official number of arrests according to the head of the security forces, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, is estimated at 1,280, with 375 free on bail and the rest in custody. This does not include students and activists subpoenaed to appear at court in the past week.

The crackdown is meant to curb unrest in universities over the slow pace of democratic reform and to discourage a nationwide July 9 student protest planned to mark a 1999 dormitory raid by pro-hard-line vigilantes that injured dozens and killed one student. The government said yesterday that it wouldn't allow protests this year inside or outside the campuses, but that is unlikely to deter students.

The recent arrests came after spontaneous riots broke out in Tehran and other cities two weeks ago, bringing thousands to the streets demanding an end to the clerical regime. Counter-demonstrators in plain clothes who attacked the crowd with batons, chains and daggers quashed the protests, and student activists were swiftly arrested. Several dormitories in Tehran and other cities were raided and vandalized by armed vigilantes in the middle of the night, leaving dozens of students injured. Under harsh criticism, the government disassociated itself from the vigilantes, saying they acted on their own and called for their arrests. Although several arrests have been made, the numbers pale compared with the number of students in detention.

The official reaction to the arrests has varied drastically among members of Iran's divided government, underscoring the tensions and the vast gap between the conservatives and reformists. In his Friday prayer sermon, a top conservative cleric, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, called the students Mahareb, meaning "those who oppose God," a charge that carries the death penalty. Others, such as Interior Minister Mousavi Lari, haven't been as harsh but support the detentions. "Being a student doesn't give any one immunity from the law," he said. "If a student crosses the line he should be dealt with accordingly."

The reformists, outraged over the student arrests, are collecting the 100 signatures required to call President Mohammad Khatami to parliament to answer questions regarding the crackdowns.

Moreover, for the first time, lawmakers have formed a committee to investigate the arrests. "We are very concerned about the fate of the students, where they are being kept and how they are being treated in prison," said reformist lawmaker Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, who has compared the dormitory raids to attacks by "Mongol hordes."
27 posted on 06/27/2003 4:16:12 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Posted on 06/27/2003 4:35 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
28 posted on 06/27/2003 4:36:21 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Below are photo's of the students on a hunger strike at the University of Esfhan, Iran.

29 posted on 06/27/2003 4:59:30 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed. To keep up with all the news on the Iranian protests movement join us at:

Iranian Alert -- DAY 19 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 6.28.2003
Posted on 06/28/2003 6:55 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
33 posted on 06/28/2003 7:01:08 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 11 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
This is an important article by one of the middle-east's leading journalists. I highly recommend taking the time to read this. -- DoctorZin


By AMIR TAHERI for the NY Post

June 27, 2003 -- AS the Iranian opposition to the mullahs gathers momentum, a chorus of self-styled experts in the United States is trying to belittle the pro-democracy movement, presenting the Khomeinist regime as a solid and urging Washington to seek détente with Tehran.

These "experts" present the pro-democracy movement as a student revolt with no popular base, no program and no leaders. In fact, it has a strong popular base. Its support cuts across class, religious, ideological and generational boundaries.

* Over the past six months, Iran has seen dozens of industrial strikes in which urban workers came out with exactly the same demands as the students. Workers at the nation's largest gas refinery, in Agha-Jari, and in the Mahshahr petrochemical complex (the biggest in the Middle East) have also organized symbolic walkouts in support of democratic demands.

* Teachers have engaged in a series of strikes, One last month closed 50 percent of the schools for several days.

* In the past three weeks, sections of the traditional bazaars in Tabriz, Rasht, Isfahan and Shiraz have also organized one-day shutdowns in solidarity with the students.

* Even the clerical establishment is broadly supportive of the pro-democracy movement. There are three Grand Ayatollahs in Iran today: Hassan Tabatabi Qomi, Hussein-Ali Montazeri and Muhammad Sadeq Ruhani. All three have endorsed the movement and publicly called for an end to Khomeinist tyranny.

* Scores of lesser ayatollahs, including many who once worked with the regime, are also calling for its overthrow. Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri-Khorramabadi, the main spiritual leader of Iran's second most populous city Isfahan, has described the regime as "an enemy of Islam and humanity."

* So strong is clerical opposition to the Khomeinist regime that the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei has been unable to visit Qom, the theological center of Iranian Shi'ism, for almost a year. Today, there are more mullahs and students of theology in prison in Iran, on political charges, than any other stratum of society.

* Iran's intellectual elite is even more solidly behind the pro-democracy movement. In the past three weeks, dozens of petitions signed by writers, poets, novelists, filmmakers, artists and academics have been published in support of the students' demands. Today, not a single prominent Iranian intellectual remains in the Khomeinist camp.

* The movement has support within the establishment itself. Almost two-thirds of the members of the Islamic Majlis (Parliament) have published a petition demanding constitutional change to transform Iran from a despotic-theocratic regime into a democratic one. This is especially significant, for all candidates for the Majlis must win the approval of the state-security services and the "Supreme Guide" before they can stand for election.

* The movement also has the support of several members of President Muhammad Khatami's Cabinet plus many of his closest advisors. (Khatami himself has tried to sit on the fence in the hope of acting as an interface between the regime and its opponents. But some analysts believe that he may have become marginalized in the process.)

As for lacking a program and a leadership, the movement has the first and is developing the second.

Its main program is to force the regime to accept constitutional change through a popular referendum. The idea is that parts of the Constitution that contradict the principle of people's sovereignty - notably by giving unlimited powers to the "Supreme Guide" and a number of un-elected bodies - should be struck out. Khomeini's outlandish claim that a single man should exercise power on behalf of God and, when necessary, even against the will of the people, will be consigned to the ashcan of history.

The idea of reforming the Constitution has been at the center of debate in Iran, and in the Iranian community abroad, for years. Scores of seminars have been held and countless papers and articles published on the subject. There is broad consensus among Iranians of all shades of opinions that peaceful change is still possible and that the regime, weakened by its contradictions, cannot maintain its despotic hold on power for much longer.

No one knows how much longer the regime may manage to hang on to power. One thing, however, is certain: It now faces a strong, growing and determined opposition that will not simply fade away.

For any regime to be overthrown, several conditions must exist simultaneously. Some are already present, at least in part, in the Iranian context.

The regime must lose its legitimacy: This is already largely the case in Iran. The regime lost its initial revolutionary legitimacy by crushing most of the other forces that had coalesced to overthrow the Shah, and by establishing a narrowly based theocracy. But it has also lost its religious legitimacy by persecuting many leading religious leaders.

A substantial section of the regime's original constituency must part ways with it: This is also happening. As already noted many members of the Majlis and Cabinet have publicly taken side with the pro-democracy movement, as have thousands of technocrats who have served the regime over the years.

The regime " must lose the support of at least part of the coercive forces at its disposal: This too is happening in Iran. The regular army (which the Khomeinists never trusted) will certainly not turn its guns against the people to preserve the present bankrupt system. Even the Revolutionary Guard, created by Khomeini to counter-balance the army, can no longer be trusted.

Earlier this year a senior Guard commander was dismissed after he made it clear he would not shoot unarmed protestors. Some 30 junior commanders have been moved to "less sensitive" positions in the remoter provinces. It is not at all certain that the regime would be able to count on the loyalty of all the guard units in a major confrontation with the people.

An alternative leadership must emerge: It begins by exercising moral authority and, then, develops into a government-in-waiting.

This last condition is not yet present in Iran. But some of the elements that might form it are identifiable. These include a number of clerics who have broken with the regime and fought it in the name of democracy. To these will be added scores of technocrats, members of parliament, journalists, university teachers and students, business managers and trade union leaders.

Right now the pro-democracy movement has a strong cadre of leaders at local levels. A movement with no leaders would not have been able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people in more than 20 cities to come out in simultaneous demonstrations and with identical slogans and demands. As the struggle intensifies, leadership is bound to emerge at the national level also.

Both President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair are right in their public expression of support for the pro-democracy movement in Iran. This is the least that the great democracies can do for those who are risking their lives by fighting one of the world's most vicious regimes in the name of values that the American and European peoples claim as their own.


"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
34 posted on 06/28/2003 7:27:39 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 10 days until July 9th)
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