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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Ali Khamenei Hand Waving Open Thread

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech today.  The content boils down to: “I’m worried.  I’m not sure what to do.  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Analysis from Al Jazeera:

Robert Fisk, from the UK’s Independent newspaper

It was a threatening speech, he basically said: ‘Enough is enough – from now on, no more street protests.’

And he didn’t give any quarter to the million people we saw [protesting] on Sunday. He didn’t even say: ‘We need a dialogue.’ Nothing.

Farzad Agha, an Iran analyst

He doesn’t seem to say anything in particular which shows that he is extremely worried. It looks like everything is fine, we have the ability to deal with it.

Ali Younes, writer and Middle East analyst in Washington, DC

But the real catalyst for this massive turn out of protests is actually dire economic conditions and the bleak future Iranians are facing.

Under president Ahmedinejad, inflation rose to 24 percent, unemployment numbers increased and Iranians saw their lot was not improving, despite last summer’s surge in oil prices and huge increase in oil revenues.

Ahmedinejad had promised before he was elected that he will improve the economy.

He did not.


  1. And that really is, I think, the core of the rabid opposition by the very conservative mullahs against him, and the reason that they’ve thrown their support behind Ahmadinijad.

    Mousavi is the father of Iran’s bond market. He is looking to steer Iran away from oil, and he is savvy to increase the education and communications industry more. That so many young people have turned out is not much of a surprise, considering the rampant unemployment–18% which is nearly double what it was when he took office. Inflation is rounding up 24%. The increasing reliance on oil revenue is running into snags as well.

    When you have millions across the country unemployed, it’s not hard to understand the size of these crowds. Of the better than 3 million people who are unemployed–about 13% which isn’t TOO horrible considering the world wide economic crisis—it has to be noted that 2.3 million of those folks are under 30.

    You couple those numbers, with one of the bloggiest nation on earth, you have a lot of folks who are connected, AND with time on their hands to run down a LOT of information and make contacts, and build networks. And who are fully cognizant of issues with their economy, and the world around them. This is not the nation that came out of repression from the Shah, but a much more technologically and politically savvy people.

    And they don’t necessarily want to abandon the system that they have–but they do want to have their say in it, and they want opportunity to do more than sit around and let old men who have no stake in the outcome guide their lives. And that is the ugly part of the unemployment figures. Lots of young people without a lot of hope for a decent job, and it’s getting worse all the time, and a leader who keeps padding things and glossing over the economic woes, and the rampant corruption that protects not just his cronies, but a whole class of older men and their favorite sons.

    It isn’t just about freedom in Iran, but economic opportunity.  

  2. Shaun Appleby

    I think the list just surpassed 2,000 private proxies for #Iran? Nice work Internet! #iranelection

    @austinheap Twitter

    Hands across the backbone.

  3. sricki

    But it’s incredibly moving, powerful stuff:

    Makes my chest tighten. For as soft-spoken as she is — as slowly as she speaks — that quiet, dark video will light a fire in you for the freedom of the people of Iran.

  4. If you have a Twitter account change your location and timezone to Tehran.  This makes it harder for the Gov’t in Iran to find Iranian twitterers.

  5. and praising Obama for doing “exactly the right thing” by handling it the way he has.

    Guy freaks me out sometimes.

    Buchanan: “As of now, (Obama) is dead right on.”

  6. It appears that there have been no large scale demonstrations. I read tweets that said Mousavi was leading a group of about 10,000 demonstrators, but never found any other references to it. I also read tweets that Mousavi had done the ritual bathing of a martyr earlier today and was prepared to die. It’s impossible to know if either one is true.

  7. fogiv

    …is that the hospitals are full of Basij, where wounded are being accosted, arrested, etc as soon as they’re brought in.  Many injured are being accepted by various embassies (including Slovenia and Great Britain).

  8. Haven’t got link yet, but he ‘stands side by side with the Iranian people’

    This is a good sign, only because Obama is too astute to make sure a forceful statement unless his intelligence services were telling him there was all to play for, and the regime was  falling

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