Things moving fast in Iran

Things are indeed moving fast in Iran and it’s impotant to stay updated. Some important developments: 1. The other conservative candidate, Rezai, has also lodged a complaint similar to Mousavi’s calling the election a fraud. 2. The rally that was banned by the regime today but it went ahead in full effect with the BBC and CNN saying that 100,000 gathered, which is staggering, but it was not “the biggest demonstration in the Islamic republic’s 30-year history.”  I’d say that the MKO organized bigger ones in the spring of 1981 with an estimated 500,000 in Tehran alone (See Ervand Abrahamian’s book, The Iranian Mojahideen). And in 1987, over 1 million protested the massacre of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia (See Time Magazine’s 1987 “Iran vs The World” cover story). Nevertheless, the BBC is right to call this demonstration a “political earthquake.” See the footage from the event here. Make no mistake about it, although the protests were triggered because of the election results, they have morphed into anti-regime protests attacking the entire system. The Islamic regime is in an impossible situation to say the least, but one thing is certain, this is not like eastern Europe at the end of the Cold War and nor is it like the demonstrations in Ukraine a few years ago. The regime in Iran is very well entrenched and they are most likely preparing a massive crackdown. So far, today one person died in the demonstration, but I believe that is just a taste of what is to come. First, since the protests are not just about the election results, the regime knows that they will continue even if it backtracks and orders a revote. In fact, if he does cancel the election results, it may encourage and even give momentum to the demonstrations to press on. So what that means is that the regime knows that it’s only option is either to watch the protests mushroom or order a crackdown. This situation is more analoguous to the China of 1989 where the regime there ordered the ideolically hardline People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to clear out Tienanmen Square after weeks of student-led demonstrations. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) or the Pasdaran are Iran’s PLA and once given the order, they will not show any leniency. So in my opinion, the issue isn’t if, but when will it happen and when it does, do those students have the stomach to carry on after? In 1979, they braved the massacres. We’ll see, stay tuned.

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