Iran: Thursday, Khamenei Vows No Retreat, Rezai Quits Protest, Mousavi Rumors, & more

1. Wednesday: “Eyewitness reports say there have been clashes near the parliament building in the capital Tehran, in the streets around Baharestan Square.” Reports suggest that the number of protesters was around 300.

2. Thursday: There is general agreement amongst the media that there are going to be protests tomorrow, maybe the largest we’ve seen this week.

3. Khamenei Vows No Retreat: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday he would not budge in response to protests over a disputed election that has sparked the biggest street demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic revolution. “I had insisted and will insist on implementing the law on the election issue … Neither the establishment nor the nation will yield to pressure at any cost,” Khamenei said.

4. Mousavi Arrest/House Arrest Rumors: Rumors abound that Mousavi is either under house arrest or his physical arrest is imminent. One of the reasons why people believe he could be arrested is because of this article in Kayhan, a newspaper closely affiliated with Khamenei: “Its following these murderous acts that the wave of people’s desire for revenge from Mir Hossein Mousavi is increasing day by day, and Mir Hossein will not be able to avoid assuming responsibility under the guise of attending memorial services for the victims, or childish acts like lighting a candle…”  It seems like the official state media is preparing the population for his arrest.

5. Iranian candidate Mohsen Rezaie withdraws voting complaint: “He said, as a ‘selfless soldier for the Islamic republic,’ he could not pursue his allegations given the ‘critical’ and ‘pivotal’ political and social conditions of the country. He said controlling the situation was more important than election results.” At the end of the day, these candidates belong to the system, even if they got burned by the handling of the elections. In other words, they have a vested interest in the continuity of the status quo.

6. Monday Night “Allahu akbar” Chants: See the video here. I’m not sure about the date of this video because although it says Monday (June 22), the video is also dated June 23. Nevertheless, the echo of “Allahu akbar” is tantalizing.

7. Chomsky on Iran: Fast forward the first 3 minutes and the rest is Chomsky’s insight.

8. Translation of Iran Slogans and Signs: See the images and translations here.

9. The Daily Show’sJihad Walk

10. Surveying Arab Sentiments on the Iranian Demonstrations: “Most Arab governments dislike the current Iranian regime, so you would think they would be pleased to see it toppled, or tempered by its own people. Yet, if such change were to occur through street demonstrations choreographed via a web of digital communications, whispered messages, and rooftop religious chants in the middle of the night, Arab leaders of autocratic regimes would be unhappy — because they would sense their own vulnerability to similar mass political challenges. The fact is not lost on anyone that the Iranian regime effectively withstood and defied American-Israeli-European-UN pressure, threats and sanctions for years, but found itself much more vulnerable to the spontaneous rebellion of many of its own citizens who felt degraded by the falsification of election results by the government. Arab regimes and leaders have worked themselves into a lose-lose situation whereby they would be unhappy if the Iranian regime stayed in power, and unhappy if it were removed through popular challenge. The same awkwardness defines the perspectives of Arab citizens. Most Arabs do not want to live in an Iranian-style political system that blends theocracy with autocracy; but many were pleased to see the pro-American Shah overthrown by Quran-carrying demonstrators. They would also be unhappy to see the Iranian regime overthrown because they enjoy its defiance of the United States, Israel and the UN in particular, along with its development of a nuclear capability. At the same time, ordinary Arabs would feel jealous were the demonstrators in Iran able to topple their regime for the second time in 30 years — because this would highlight the chronic passivity and powerlessness of Arab citizens who must suffer permanent subjugation in their own long-running autocratic systems without being able to do anything about it. Whether Iranian street demonstrations challenged the Shah or the Islamists who toppled him, Arabs watch all this on television with a forlorn envy.”

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