iran protests 311.
(photo credit: AP)
protester has been shot dead by police officers during a banned protest
taking place in Iran's capital, Tehran, Monday, semi-official Iranian
news agency Fars reported.
Clashes between Iranian police and tens of thousands of protesters wracked
central Tehran on Monday, with security forces beating and firing tear gas at
for reform intensify throughout Arab world
Egyptian events not like ’79 Iranian Revolution
The opposition called the demonstration in
solidarity with Egypt’s popular revolt that a few days earlier forced president
Hosni Mubarak to resign after nearly 30 years in office.
The rally is the
first major show of strength for Iran’s cowed opposition in more than a
Police used tear gas against the protesters in central Tehran’s
Enghelab (Revolution) Square and in Imam Hossein Square, as well as in other
nearby main streets. Demonstrators responded by setting garbage cans on fire to
protect themselves from the stinging white clouds.
Security forces cut
phone lines and blockaded the home of an opposition leader in attempts to stop
him from attending the rally. Police and militiamen poured onto the streets of
Tehran to challenge the marches, which officials worry could turn into
demonstrations against Iran’s ruling system.
“We support you, Mousavi,”
some of the demonstrators chanted, referring to the prominent opposition
“An Iranian dies but doesn’t accept humiliation” and “Death to
the dictator,” they said, referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed support for the tens of thousands of protesters in Iran’s capital, saying they
“deserve to have the same rights that they saw being played out in Egypt and are
part of their own birthright.” Speaking to reporters after meeting House Speaker
John Boehner, Clinton says she and others in Barack Obama’s administration “very
clearly and directly support the aspirations of the people who are in the
streets” of Tehran.
She spoke of the “hypocrisy” of the Iranian
government that hailed the protests in Egypt but has tried to suppress
opposition at home.
At least 25 people were treated for injuries, and one
man died after being found on the street with severe head trauma, according to
Security personnel on motorcycles could be seen chasing
protesters through the streets, according to eyewitnesses.
Maddy-Weitzman, a senior Middle East researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe
Dayan Center, said he views Egypt-style unrest in Iran as unlikely in the
“Can it happen in Iran? Certainly not today, and probably not
in 18 days, or anything approaching it,” he told The Jerusalem Post
noting that the possibility of shaking the regime’s hold on power has already
been proven, as long as there is a powerful enough trigger. “What will be the
trigger? The last time, it was the fixing of election results,” he
Maddy-Weitzman noted that Iran’s economy is qualitatively different
from that of Egypt.
“The Iranian economy is less vulnerable to mass
popular protests, in one sense, because it has oil,” he told the Post
popular protest to succeed in Iran, there has to be a broad alliance of
disparate social and political forces. The 2009 protest wanted reform and/or
democracy while maintaining an Islamic Republic.”
More ambitious demands
on the part of protesters are unlikely, he said. Hagai M. Segal, a lecturer on
Middle Eastern Affairs at New York University in London, also highlighted stark
differences between Egypt and Iran. In the latter, he said, there are security
forces eager to do “exactly what the Egyptian military were not willing to do –
beat, and even shoot and kill, citizens protesting on the
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and fiercely loyalist Basij militia
are happy to do so for the regime, and even consider it their “sacred duty,” he
Try as protesters may, that difference all but precludes the
possibility of Iran seeing a successful revolt similar to Egypt’s, Segal
Iran’s security clampdown is reminiscent of the backlash that
crushed a wave of massive protests after Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in
June 2009. But opposition supporters revived a tactic from the unrest, shouting
“Allahu Akbar” from rooftops and balconies into the early hours Monday, in a
sign of defiance toward Iran’s leadership.