Ashura is over, and what a day it was. People turned out in at least the hundreds of thousands and faced down the regime. The regime started the day by trying to create a virtual martial law, security atmosphere. They occupied the major squares in Tehran and various cities throughout Iran. In what has now become a familiar scene, droves of regime militants (Police, Basijis, and plainclothes agents) rode around on motorcycles weilding clubs, chains and guns.
But this was not enough to prevent the Iranian protesters from unleashing six months worth of frustration and anger (some would argue it is more like thirty years worth of it) on the regime.
People turned out en masse chanting anti-government slogans directly aimed at Khamenei’s and the Islamic Republic. We live-blogged the days events here:
You should check that out. It contains tons of video, pictures and commentary on the days events. Iran News Now is working on a post-Ashura analysis, which we will publish shortly. Stay-tuned.
We are now in the post-Ashura phase. Ashura was definitely a turning point. Nobody except the most delusional supports of the morally bankrupt regime can say otherwise. Iran has changed. How the change will ultimately manifest itself is still unclear.
The regime has not given up and is likely reviewing their options, as are the people of Iran. More protests are already being planned and there have been protests on the 28th of December, the day after Ashura as well. We are investigating and will provide a report.
In the meantime, it seems the government has decided that it is time to start rounding up public figures, student leaders, and outspoken individuals, or anyone that they perceive to be a threat, however minute.
- Ebrahim Yazdi;
- Emad-e’Din Baghi
- Morteza Hadji, minister of educaion during Khatami’s reform era.
- Leila Tavassoli, daughter of Mohammad Tavassoli
- Seyed Hosein Mousvi Tabrizi (Head of the clerical Association of Ghom’s Teachers and Researchers)
- Alireza Beheshti Shirazi (Editor in Chief of Mousavi’s online journal Kalameh Sabz)
- Ghorban Behzadian Nejad (Mousavi consultant)
- Mohamad Bagherian (Mousavi consultant)
- Rasouli (deputy of President Khatami’s Baran Foundation)
- Forouzandeh (Manager of Mousavi’s office)
- Mohammad Sadegh Rabbani (Retired university prof who used to be the general prosecutor 20 years ago), arrested yesterday
- Son of Mostafa Moin, the minister of Science and higher education was also arrested yesterday.
- Heshmatollah Tabarzadi (Student Activist)
- Haleh Sahabi (Women right activist)
- Parvin Fahimi (mother of Sohrab E’rabi) and her son (Sohrab’s brother) are missing.
- Mohammad Taheri, son of Ayatollah Taheri–Isfahan’s Friday Imam (and a son in law of Khomeini!)
- Abulfazl Ghadyani (member of the central council of the Organization Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution–a reformist party)
- Mehdi Arabshahi (Student activist)
- Abolfazl Mousavian
These people will undoubtedly be subjected to various methods of extreme pressure including torture, both in a futile attempt by the regime to gain more information about the movement and to get them to “confess” to crimes against the nation, as they did in the first wave of arrests that took place in June and July.
The first person listed above, Ebrahim Yazdi, has till now been largely untouchable by the regime since he was one of the “liberal” revolutionaries that accompanied the regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, to Iran following the departure of the Shah, in 1979.
Most analysts believe that Iran is largely run by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) a group that was founded in the early days of the revolution, that fought in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, and now believes its time to lead Iran has come. It is unclear to what degree Khamenei has control over the IRGC, but many believe he is now in many ways subservient to them. What is clear is that their is a certain co-dependence between Khamenei and the IRGC, which is why the regime takes it very seriously when Khamenei’s rule is challenged.
This tactic of arresting regime opponents has been demonstrated to be largely ineffective during the past six months. We doubt it will be effective now. Here is a piece I wrote about the green movement in Iran, in which I have attempted to explain how the green movement is structured, and why I think it will prevail in the long run:
In any case, we have entered a new phase. The stakes are high. Nothing short of the destiny of a nation is at stake.