Posts Tagged ‘Iranian election’

Countdown to One-Year Anniversary of June 12 Elections in Iran

June 7, 2010

Five days before the one-year anniversary of the disputed June 12 Iranian elections, Tehran is likely preparing for mass protests and rallies. On Friday, the 21 anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini—the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution—Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a speech in which he criticized the Opposition and its leadership. In his speak, Khamenei said the opposition Green Movement was going against the values of the revolution.

The most prominent leaders of the Green Movement are Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hussain Moussavi—who was the front runner for the opposition party against incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during Iran’s presidential election last year. The election, which continues to be disputed, resulted in mass protests, arrests and casualties.

In his Friday speak, Khamenei said that loyalty was measured by a person’s position today, not their position historically. “One cannot say, ‘I am the follower of Khomeini’ and then align with those who clearly and frankly carry the flag of opposing the imam and Islam,” he said.

In Iran, protesters are expected to stage rallies and protests in the capital city and in other large cities during the June 12 anniversary. In response, authorities announced last week that they were busing in more than two million members of the Basiji forces from around the country to Tehran to quell and prevent any protests.

According to a New York Times report, Karroubi wrote on Friday on his website, that he feared “the republicanism of the Islamic republic establishment had been undermined to strengthen its Islamism.” Karroubi went on to say that he worried for Islamism because of the increasing influence of the military in Iran. “We have seen the presence of the intelligence and military apparatus outside the homes of clerics and the incidents that have occurred.”

Last Wednesday, just ten days before the one-year anniversary of the June 12 elections, the judiciary announced that Khamenei had pardoned 81 political detainees.


Iran Moves to Ban Two Opposition Parties

April 21, 2010

Authorities in Iran this week reportedly banned two of the country’s official opposition parties; and on Monday, two opposition leaders from the Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Mujaheddin of the Islamic Revolution Organization were handed prison sentences.

The move to ban the opposition parties must still be confirmed by the Iranian judiciary, which has turned more conservative since former Judiciary Chairman Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi left office and Sadeq Larijani took over the leadership role.

The Islamic Iran Participation Front and the Mujaheddin of the Islamic Revolution Organization parties advocated more civil liberties and changes in Iran’s system of Shiite religious rule. The political parties together comprised one of the country’s main political blocs.

Iran’s main political opposition group, the Green Movement, is reportedly not an officially recognized party in the country. Green party leaders include former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi. Mousavi, who was the leading Green Party candidate, was declared to have lost in a highly controversial election that had so many people claiming electoral fraud that they were willing to take to the streets en mass protesting the official outcome of the election.

The move to ban the opposition parties follows the sentencing on Sunday of two of the parties’ leaders, including Mohsen Mirdamadi of the Front and Mostafa Tajzadeh of the Mujaheddin, to six year prison terms for charges related to national security.

Karroubi Target of Protests

April 13, 2010

March 15, 2010
A small group of Iranian hardliners surrounded the Tehran home of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi Sunday, chanting death slogans and calling for the two time former parliament speaker to be put on trial.

The Fars news agency identified the crowd as “students and families of martyrs” of the Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980 and ended in 1988. Photos taken during the protests showed the building had been defaced with red coloring and slogans pronouncing “Death to Karroubi” had been written on the walls. The death threats also extended to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and former president Mohammad Khatami.

The Fars news agency quoted the protesters as chanting: “We want the judiciary to put the leaders of sedition on trial as soon as possible.”

According to an AFP report, some of the protesters held signs that read: “Karroubi is a Mossad agent”—linking the two-time former parliament speaker to Israel’s intelligence service.

This is not the first time Karroubi has been the target of protest following the disputed June 12 presidential elections which the opposition claims was rigged. Karroubi was attacked by hardliners during Iran’s annual revolution day rally on February 11 and his car was shot at earlier in January in the city of Qazvin west of Tehran.

How Will Iranians Celebrate Now Ruz This Year

April 13, 2010

March 12, 2010
I’m interested in seeing how the Persian New Year will be celebrated in Iran this year. The Islamic regime has been trying to pressure the people to not throw the traditional chaharshanbe souri parties, where people gather together and jump over huge bonfires to ward off illness and bad wishes.

Now Ruz dates back more than 2500 years, and began as a Zoroastrian (the first monotheistic religion) tradition honoring the first day of spring. Now Ruz is a 13 day celebration that is anticipated by Iranians all over the world. Now Ruz, however, dates back to pre-Islamic times and reminds Iranians of a time when Persia was the greatest empire and a time when Iran—then known as Persia—was not yet an Islamic republic.

As reports that the Islamic regime is trying to suppress Now Ruz celebrations, a celebration of ancient Persian culture, it will be interesting to see how Iranians will join together to celebrate this centuries old festival in defiance of the regime.