1. Saturday: Protestors Defied Khamenei’s Demand to End the Protests: “Some 3,000 protesters, many wearing black, chanted “Death to the dictator!” and “Death to dictatorship!” near Revolution Square in downtown Tehran, setting off fierce clashes with police firing tear gas, water cannons and guns, witnesses said. It was not clear if police were firing live ammunition. Some protesters appeared to be fighting back, setting fire to militia members’ motorcycles, witnesses said. State video footage showed people beating a man in the street beside a fallen motorcycle. Another motorcycle blazed nearby. Amateur video showed crowds chanting in the streets and hurling rocks at police, with white clouds of gas billowing through the streets. There were no immediate confirmed reports of fatalities.”
2. Mousavi “Prepares for Martyrdom”: Unconfirmed reports are saying that Mousavi, in response to Khamenei’s threats against continuing the protests, has declared that he is prepared for martyrdom.
3. Explosion at Khomeini’s Shrine: “Two people were killed and eight people were injured in a blast at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in southern Tehran, Press TV reported.”
4. Columbia University and Iran Expert Hamid Dabashi on the Shrine Explosion and the Protests: He calls the movement not so much a revolutionary movement but a civil rights movement, which I thought was interesting. See the video here.
5. President Obama steps up his rhetoric in support of the protests: US President Barack Obama urged Iran’s government “to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people”, saying the “world is watching”. The country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei had warned protesters on Friday not to continue their rallies, but they openly defied his words. President Obama said the US stood by all who sought to exercise their right to free speech and assembly. He added: “If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.”
6. University of Michigan Professor and Iran Expert Juan Cole: Is the current movement closer to 1963’s uprising or the 1979 revolution? “The real question is whether this is 1963, when the shah managed to put down a rebellion led by Ruhollah Khomeini, or whether it is 1978-79, when he failed to do so. The answer lies in the depth of support for the protests among the population, and in the stance of the various armed forces toward the latter. In 1963 the military was willing to crack down hard on the protesters. In 1978, they started refusing to fire on them. The air force officers actually went over to Khomeini, which was decisive. Precisely because the opposition is from within the ruling circle, we cannot know what the Revolutionary Guards and the regular armed forces are thinking. Mousavi helped get Iran’s military act together during the Iran-Iraq War. Rezaie is a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s national guard. If the armed forces hesitate or split, Khamenei could be in real trouble. If not, the protesters could end up being crushed.
7. Shirin Ebadi on the Movement: “Continue to express yourselves but stay peaceful – don’t give any excuse to those who want to use violence against you.”