The spirits are high in Iran. Conversations with individuals indicate that fear and despair are giving way to hope. Mr. Mousavi has issued his nineth public statement possibly the strongest in recent days calling the current regime in Iran illegitimate and weak and affirming his commitment to bringing about reform: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/01/mousavi-iran-presidential-elections-protest.
Khatami Issues Statement of Strong Support
* Mr. Khatami, Iranian ex-president (1997-2005), who had kept a low profile for the past two weeks responded to Mr. Mousavi’s statement quickly with an equally strong statement in support of the reformist candidate’s demands. In this statement, Mr. Khatami described the current atmosphere of propaganda in Iran “poisonous” and in response to the regime which has described the Green Movement as a “velvet revolution,” he called the rigging of the election and the heavy presence of security forces as “a velvet coup d’etat” against the “republic” in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Khatami demanded immediate “demilitarization” of the streets, freedom of the political prisoners, and the return to the Iranian constitution.
“We Shall Overcome” Joan Baez Sings for the People of Iran
* The legendary singer Joan Baez joins a host of other artists expressing her admiration for the Green Movement in Iran:
Humor Enters the Fray
* A sign of higher spirits in Iran is that humor has now entered the scene of political struggle. Unfortunately, Iranian humor (which is a prominent aspect of the culture) is little known in the world. At this critical historical juncture, it has surfaced in the form of cartoons, humorous poems, and images. One form this humor has taken is putting funny captions, echoing the official propaganda, on familiar images from the street protests. A picture of two men in uniform hitting people is captioned “the TOUCHING presence of the Basij on the streets.” Another image depicting rows of women protesters sitting on the street facing a barrier of standing soldiers is captioned ” introducing ladies to the intricacies of military service,” and the famous picture of hundreds of thousands of people in Azadi square is captioned “the grand funeral service for the regime.”
* Along the same lines, today, an Iranian woman called a live show on the national TV dedicated to family matters. She spoke to the host about her husband affectionately and ended by saying “interestingly, my husband has the same name as that of our beloved President Mir Husain Mousavi” Needless to say, the show was instantly famous and the clip circulated.
Suspicious Ballot Photos
* Apparently, images of ballots posted on Iranian official websites to document the recount of the ten percent offered by the “Guardian Council” has caused an uproar.These images include crisp unfolded ballots, and close ups reveal the same hand writing in many of the ballots (see picture to the left). And more here: http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/Photo/?NewsId=567619.
“Demonstrate and Run” Squads
* There is a new strategy according to which the protesters avoid clashes with the Basij and make it hard for them to guess where the next demonstration is going to take place. It is a “hit and run” strategy minus the hitting. They form squads of forty or fifty protesters who communicate by phone, show up in a part of town to stage a loud protest, and quickly disappear. By the time the Basij arrives, another group is demonstrating elsewhere.
Another Young Victim of the Violence Against Street Protests
* The Iranian state run media works nonstop to put the blame for Neda Agha Soltan’s death on agents of foreign elements. So far, the CIA, the BBC crew, a staff member at the British embassy, and the protesters themselves have been blamed for her death. There are other young victims whose demise was not caught on camera. Ashkan Sohrabi is one such victim. According to his sister Elham, Ashkan was shot in the chest three times on the same day that Neda was killed (his picture is on the left).
Mr. Ahmadinejad Barred From attending the African Union Summit
* According to /Sarmayeh/ news, quoted by NIAC updates on the election, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s trip to Libya, in order to attend the African Union Summit was canceled today. Furthermore, the trip of Sultan Qaboos of Oman to Iran has been canceled. It is clear that nations which previously welcomed Iranian Presidents are now doubting the wisdom of recognizing (and hosting) Mr. Ahmadinejad. No doubt Iran’s foreign policy will seriously be affected by the post-election environment created by the current Iranian government. Interestingly, the Iranians News Agency has not provided any explanations for these cancellations.
In sum, while the Green Movement’s strategy of public protest has changed to minimize clashes and casualties, it is reasonable to assume that the supporters of reform are far from crushed.
Remember to visit www.windowsoniran.wordpress.com for previous windows.
Fatemeh Keshavarz, Professor and Chair
Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University in St. Louis
Honorary Co-Chair, Iranians For Peace
Tel: (314) 935-5156
Fax: (314) 935-4399