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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Open Thread (Update)

Fresh open thread for the coming day here in the States. We’ve got several folks here on Motley Moose doing a spectacular job keeping track of events overseas. Being less twitter-savvy than some of you, I sometimes find it a struggle to keep up, and perhaps tend to rely on Nico a bit too much. But I wanted to say, I’m proud of The Moose, and I’m proud to know all of you. The passion I’ve seen here for the Iranian people is breathtaking in its own way.

Update: Don Lemon’s full segment with Melody Moezzi, below. Really, really worth a look.

From a rally Sunday:

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian state radio said on Monday that no unrest broke out in Tehran overnight and the capital had been calm for the first time since a disputed June 12 presidential election.

“Tehran last night witnessed the first night of calm and peace since the election,” state radio said.

On Sunday evening, witnesses told Reuters shooting was heard in two northern districts of Tehran, which are strongholds of defeated presidential election candidate Mirhossein Mousavi.

State television earlier on Sunday said at least 10 people were killed during street clashes in downtown Tehran the previous day.


Now then… chitter chatter.


  1. louisprandtl

    Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has urged his supporters to continue protesting over the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Mr Mousavi also made a veiled appeal to the security forces to show restraint in handling demonstrations.

    The conservative leadership has vowed to use force wherever necessary to quell the opposition’s demonstrations.

  2. sricki

    and being here has given me a chance to talk to my kid brother about the situation in Iran. It is appalling how ignorant some of America’s youth are. Well, I say “youth,” but it’s probably Americans in general. My brother doesn’t often watch the news and hates politics, and it came as quite a surprise to him to hear about the ways they’ve used technology to stay in contact with the rest of the world. Apparently he thought they were some “totally backward place” — as he put it, he “figured they just plugged their laptops into sand dunes or something.”

    Our education system needs an overhaul.

  3. Shaun Appleby

    An interesting op-ed piece in the NYT:

    Yet in the current demonstrations we are witnessing not just the end of the first stage of the Iranian democratic experiment, but the collapse of the structural underpinnings of the entire Islamic approach to modern political self-rule. Islam’s categorical imperative for both traditional and fundamentalist Muslims -“commanding right and forbidding wrong” – is being transformed.

    This imperative appears repeatedly in the Koran. Historically, it has been understood as a check on the corrupting, restive and libidinous side of the human soul. For modern Islamic militants, it is a war cry as well – a justification of the morals police in Saudi Arabia and Iran, of the young men who harass “improperly” attired Muslim women from Cairo to Copenhagen. It is the primary theological reason that Ayatollah Khamenei will try to stop a democratic triumph in his country, since real democracy would allow men, not God and his faithful guardians, the mullahs, to determine right and wrong.

    Westerners would do well to understand the magnitude of what is transpiring in the Islamic Republic.

    Reuel Marc Gerecht –The Koran and the Ballot Box NYT 20 Jun 09

    Indeed, and Mousavi’s recent statement reads like a manifesto challenging the premise of autocratic theocracy on grounds of Islamic scholarship which cites the egalitarian ethos of the ‘greater good’ and respects the rights and the intentions of it’s congregations in the form of democracy.  It is an argument of ‘divine right’ vs enfranchisement very familiar to us from our own Enlightenment era and 19th century histories.  This has become far more than a dispute over a ‘stolen’ election.

  4. sricki

    TEHRAN, Iran – Riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran Monday, carrying out a threat by the country’s most powerful security force to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election.

    Witnesses said helicopters hovered overhead as about 200 protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square. But hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration and prevented any gathering, even small groups, at the scene.

    [. . .]

    Just before the clashes, an Iranian woman who lives in Tehran said there was a heavy police and security presence in another square in central Tehran. She asked not to be identified because she was worried about government reprisals.

    “There is a massive, massive, massive police presence,” she told the Associated Press in Cairo by telephone. “Their presence was really intimidating.”


  5. anna shane

    I spent some hours yesterday watching al jazerra and heard some smart people (amazing) talking about the situation.

    What I took from it is this:

    The people have been growing more and more dissatisfied over the last thirty years, but most in the last four years. They want their revolution to include their own lives and their personal freedoms.  They want to take back their revolution.

    70 percent of Iranians are thirty and under.

    More than half voters are woman who have lost rights in the past four years.

    More than half university students are female, which gives a notion of how isolated Iranians are, when the men don’t see the value in higher eduction cause there are so few opportunities.  

    about 70 percent of Iranians live in a handful of large urban areas.

    This is a fight between mullahs. One intellectual was amazed they’d steal an election from a moderate/reform candidate since no one thought he’d get much done. This was personal, and stupid.  

  6. Cheryl Kopec

    Read this report. If this movement succeeds, and I pray it does with every fiber of my being, it could literally change Iran’s governing structure. Khameini/Ahmadi would be gone, and we will find ourselves dealing with an Iran that has just received a stern come-uppance not from any foreign power, but from within. I think they would be duly humbled and would come to any bargaining table with a much more cooperative attitude. This would be a ginormous Advil for one of Obama’s biggest headaches.


  7. creamer

    And if Mousavi suceeds, he will still want the bomb. I understand that polls show the majority of Iranians think its their decision to develop Nuke’s not ours or the rest of the world.

    So while I hope change is coming, its completely possible that we have power struggle among the elite and the protesters are just pawns. And bloodied pawns at that.

  8. fogiv

    WASHINGTON , June 18 PRNewswire-USNewswire — Iran’s former Crown Prince, Reza Pahlavi, a leading advocate of a campaign for civil disobedience against the clerical regime, will call for a secular, parliamentary, and democratic political system in Iran at a National Press Club Newsmaker press conference at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 22 , in the Zenger Room, 13th Floor, National Press Building, 529 14th St., N.W., Washington, DC .

  9. anna shane

    by skipping that step, and gain credibility.  We need to get rid of those bombs, not add more. but I agree that if they had it, they wouldn’t use it, it would be for prestige. Some prestige!  

  10. HappyinVT

    count issue in response to this…

    “Statistics provided by Mohsen Rezaei in which he claims more than 100% of those eligible have cast their ballot in 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Kadkhodaei said.

    The spokesman, however, said that although the vote tally affected by such an irregularity is over 3 million, “it has yet to be determined whether the amount is decisive in the election results,” reported Khabaronline.

    Nate says this…

    For all the complex series of statistics that have been run on Iran’s election, it’s the simplest that might prove to be the regime’s downfall. More people “voted” than were eligible to vote — in a lot of places. The interior ministry admits to 50 such instances out of the 300+ jurisdictions in which Iran tallied results. That is widespread, prime facie and admitted-to evidence of fraud, and I don’t see how the Guardian Council expects people to buy the argument that whatever caused the tub to overflow in those 50 cities was not also tainting the results throughout the rest of the country. The Chatham House report we linked to earlier today found that there were more “votes” than voters in two entire provinces.


    The Interior Ministry’s goal here must be one of two things. Either they’re hoping to gain credibility by arguing, in essence: “Sure, there was some fraud! But there weren’t 11 million votes worth of fraud!”, an argument that echoes the Ayatollah’s specious comments from Friday. Or, something has clicked and this is the first step in their starting to throw Ahmadinejad under the bus.

    I’d love to take the second option but I’m more inclined, in my admitted highly uneducated about this view, to think it’s the first.

  11. HappyinVT

    Thought for the Day: I wish one, just one!, from the group of chatterers and pundits screeching that “Obama should do more” or “Obama should say more” about Iran would put pen to paper and propose the specific words they want the man to use beyond what the President has already said. Until they do, they can be taken no more seriously than vague shouters from the bleachers at the coach or the quarterback to “score a touchdown.”

    They won’t do it, though. And that reluctance carries with it the acknowledgement that they know damn well that any talk tougher than what’s already been said would only strengthen the regime’s hand. I really have zero respect for those faux-pundits. They’re circus clowns, that’s all.


  12. HappyinVT

    According to the Guardian, President Barack Obama has accepted an invitation to attend the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will be the first ever World Cup hosted by an African nation, and so this represents a unique opportunity for everyone who thinks the President was born in Africa to combine conspiracy resources with those who think the President wants us to have European-style socialized medicine.


  13. fogiv

    Update: Monday 8 pm Tehran timeTehran resident: I am just back from 7 tir square where there was supposed to be a memorial for the 7th day of the martyrs.

    Drove down there at 4 ish. there were a lot of people in the square, but no one allowed to gather, so people were just walking up and down the meydoon (square). there was a HEAVY military presence – all kinds, basij, riot police, khahki (camouflage) uniformed ones – all on motorbikes, or in pick up trucks or standing – they ALL had those batons and weren’t allowing people to stand still (ie. gather). we walked around and tried to have a look from those walkways that cover the meydoon/square but the police were also on them so wouldn’t let u stand still for a second.

    people were also gathering in the koocheh’s (alleyways) off the side of the square too see what was going to happen and if we could gather in one place. there was not just young people, but all kinds of age groups and people from all walks of life. then the police would start coming to an alley where a lot of people were and shout at them to move along/disperse. they would then get aggro and start chasing people down the alleyways, hitting with batons. people would run but then gather in another alleyway… very resilient.

    we moved through the various  alleyways too until shouted at to leave. these police are v v intimidating. like animals really as u just dont know if they are gonna wack you (which they would). i wanted to take photos of the milit presence, but it was way too scary. honestly people who manage to record or take photos are incredibly shoja (brave). then we saw that they had blockaded one alleyway (koocheh mina) and people were getting trapped and beaten up with the batons. there were people on roofs/windows looking so i hope they managed to record some stuff. we moved around the meydoon and streets. after hearing/seeing that they were blockading people in alleys.

    we decided it was safer to stay in the main square and move around. over the few hours it was getting busier with protesters, but i think they needed someone like mousavi or another figure so as to gather around him. it was v v difficult to gather.

    then we moved to another side of the square and the police started chasing and tear gassing people – it really spreads… and though i wasn’t too close it went up my nose and had a strong burning/stinging sensation. people were now wearing those surgical masks but there eyes were all red. people were lighting cigarettes and blowing the smoke into peoples eyes as it helps get rid of the stinging. i gave several people cigarettes to help and blew smoke into a strangers faces to help them (something i would of course never do!!). then the police started chasing people down a street and smashing windows and following protesters into bldngs which was quite scary (no where is safe then).

    we kept moving around the meydoon and streets, as were other people, which were definately in their thousands. people were breaking into sporadic chants of ‘allah akbars’ on the meydoon – which i managed to record.

    then around 6 ish we were standing near an alley entrance and the police on motorbikes with batons started chasing us badly. we could only run up the street and they are chasing u on these bikes about 5/6 mtrs away shouting at u to disperse – it is absolutely petrifying. we were running on the sidewalk. they also had whips with them. there were so many of them just riding and shouting at you. then we heard shots and u just don’t know whether they are going to even shoot (as we know they have done before). i am not sure whether it was guns or firecrackers or what but at the time u all think is that it is guns, and that u are about to feel a bullet hit u in the back or something as u run. all i did was run with my hands clasped (like i was praying) and just trying to make eye contact with them so that they could see the sheer fear in my face! then a door opened in the street and some people were ushering us into their garden to hide in there in case the motor police guys came back (honestly there must have been like 50-70 of them chasing us).

    we then hid in this grdn for a bit with like 20 or so other people but it really wasn’t the best idea. i thought as i had seen them go into people’s houses and smash doors etc minutes before and then there is no escape for u. so we waited like 10 mins and crept out. it was really quite scary. anyways. let us see what else comes out of the news this evening. i hope no one was killed but i do know pple were beaten up for sure.

    also, on another note, i heard (god knows if it was true) that hashemi-rafsanjani has just come from qom with 40 signatures.

  14. Very interesting.  Khatami, Powell, Jack Straw and all sorts of folks interviewed.

    Man, did we screw the pooch under Bush.  

    When it is all laid out it’s really amazing how badly we handled this whole thing.  It was Iran that hooked us up with the Northern Alliance, literally physically gave us the maps of where to hit the Taliban and intelligence to take out Saddam.  We set Iran up for Ahmadinnerjacket to come in and screw up.  It’s almost comically heartbreaking to have it laid out like this.

    Just makes me want to slap the stupid out of Bush and crew.

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