Saturday, December 26, 2009

Iran protests continue as Iranian cleric predicts regime "collapse"

The Guardian (UK) covers Iran where the "Green revolution refuses to wither and die":

Iran today faces the prospect of a bloody Sunday after opposition supporters clashed violently with security forces yesterday at the start of a key religious ceremony that had been identified beforehand as a dangerous flashpoint.

Amid ominous signs that political tensions were reaching breaking point, reformist websites reported that special forces fired teargas and attacked crowds gathered in some of Tehran's main thoroughfares to begin two days of commemorations for one of Shia Islam's holiest figures. The opposition website Rah-e Sabz reported confrontations in Enghelab, Haft-e Tir and Imam Hossein Squares. Unconfirmed accounts told of disturbances breaking out between Ferdowsi Square and Valiasr crossroads and between Choobi Bridge and Shahmirzadi Hosseinieh.

Government forces were said to have smashed the windows of cars whose drivers honked their horns in support of the protest. Security forces chased protesters into the premises of the student news agency ISNA, off Enghelab Square, and beat them with chains and batons, Rah-e Sabz reported. The Iranian Human Rights Activists news agency said there had been at least 10 arrests.

Deutsche Welle's Farsi-language website carried reports of further clashes in Isfahan, Tabriz, Kermanshah and Ahvaz. Internet speeds in Tehran were said to have slowed to a crawl.

The reported disturbances came amid evidence that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered a crackdown on any challenges to his leadership during yesterday's Tasua ceremonies and Ashura, which is today.

The Observer has learned that the authorities have cancelled all leave for police and emergency services over the two days in anticipation of violence, while hospitals have been put on full alert to expect multiple casualties. The order is effective until midnight tonight.

"Cancelling leave means we are in for a very violent time," a paramedic said. "The authorities are very scared. They are prepared for everything and anything."
To the extent that these brave protesters can know of it, they must surely be energized to learn of an interview by Spiegel with Duke visiting professor Ayatollah Mohsen Kadivar wherein he states that he is "convinced that the regime will collapse."

I hope his prediction comes true soon before more protesters are beaten to death or shot by Basiji snipers from the rooftops.

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