Sunday, June 28, 2009

Protests In Iran Continue To Ebb And Flow, But Where's Mousavi? (3 Updates)

Gateway Pundit continues to be one of the best aggregators of news about the protests in Iran. Today, he has a post about more protests in Iran.

This comes as the Iranian regime has taken ever harsher measures to take the steam out of the protests:
The Iranian government has seized and detained several hundred activists, journalists and students across the nation, in one of the most extensive crackdowns on key dissidents since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Even as unprecedented protests broke out on the streets after the June 12 disputed presidential election, the most stinging backlash from authorities has come away from the crowds through roundups and targeted arrests, according to witnesses and human rights organizations. They say plainclothes security agents have also put dozens of the country's most experienced pro-reform leaders behind bars.
Apparently, in addition to the protesters themselves, Mousavi has been targeted and has been effectively muzzled:
[Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami's] call for merciless retribution for those who stirred up Iran’s largest wave of dissent since the 1979 Islamic Revolution came as Mir Hossein Mousavi, the nation’s increasingly isolated opposition leader, has been under heavy pressure to give up his fight and slipped even further from view.

Mousavi said he would seek official permission for any future rallies, effectively ending his role in street protests organized by supporters who insist he — not hard-line incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — won the June 12 election. And an aide said Mousavi’s Web site, his primary means of staying in touch with supporters, was taken down by unknown hackers.

...Mousavi, meanwhile, has sent mixed signals to supporters, asking them not to break the law while pledging not to drop his challenge.

...Iranian officials have seized documents and computers from a political party that had backed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the June 12 presidential election, a newspaper reported on Saturday, AFP reported.

...Mousavi’s campaign manager Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad has also been detained since Wednesday, the website of Etemad Melli party said. [emphasis added]
And yet, despite the obvious dangers, the protests continue--albeit on a smaller scale. Gateway Pundit reports that today there was a protest of some 7,000 in Tehran [note: Al Jazeera says its 3,000]--and it was brutally put down.

Gateway Pundit also notes reports of other 6 separate protests.

Ideally, we all wanted a quick definitive result from the protests--an unrealistic expectation. The explosion of protests is no more definitive than the current success of the regime in curtailing them.

As Instapundit keeps pointing out: Democratization is a process, not an event.

Ed Morrissey writes:
The mullahs may have momentarily succeeded in repressing the street demonstrations and open defiance of the regime, but they lost their legitimacy over the last two weeks, and they know it. That’s why they’re trying so desperately to frame the Brits for the protests [link], in an attempt to discredit them. But when millions of people face off against the armed forces of a dictatorship, it’s usually at least the beginning of the end for the tyrants. And as we’ve been saying, this stopped being about Mousavi after the first few days of the crisis.
This is still not over.

UPDATE: In Mousavi, Out--Abe Greenwald writes about what the next step needs to be:
With the protests breaking away from the personality of Mousavi and with Mousavi’s getting reabsorbed into the corrupt theocracy, it’s more important than ever that the U.S. make clear its support for Iran’s citizens. We are, after all, aligned with them against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This should now be easier for our president to articulate, as it no longer means endorsing Mousavi by default
UPDATE II: And Jennifer Rubin has a suggestion, if Obama is ready to go beyond just words:
There is a petroleum sanctions measure gaining sponsors in Congress. And now might be a good time to assess whether Iran is in compliance with those international norms the president is fond of citing. If it is not, is he prepared to take economic and diplomatic action against the mullahs?
UPDATE III: Here's another idea:
A bipartisan pair of senators is pushing for international restrictions on electronic equipment sold to Iran, citing reports that the government has monitored citizens’ communications after the country’s disputed elections.

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to request that the European Union curb all telecommunications equipment German and Finnish companies, Siemens and Nokia, sell to Iran.
So what are we waiting for?!

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