| February 2, 2010
Shayan Ghajar

Both the government and the opposition are looking to February 11, the 31 year anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, to bring the post-election unrest out of its current stalemate by staging massive shows of force in the streets of Iran’s cities. Traditionally, the anniversary has been a time for pro-government rallies to commemorate the overthrow of the Shah. This year, however, the event is being used as an opportunity for both sides to demonstrate their popular support by mobilizing as many people as possible to participate in their demonstrations either for or against the current government.

The political atmosphere has shifted in the past few days, from one of possible compromise to increasing polarization and radicalization, with the prospect of violence on February 11 ever more likely.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi issued a joint statement on January 30 calling for an opposition rally on February 11, inviting everyone supporting the opposition’s demands to take to the streets in peaceful protest. The opposition leaders condemned the recent executions of two political detainees, saying it was a scare tactic aimed at intimidating potential protestors from participating on Revolution Day. Moussavi and Karroubi also decried the widespread arrests of opposition leaders and protestors as illegal and contrary to the principles of an Islamic system of governance.

More pointedly, Karoubi and Moussavi asserted that these attempts at intimidation were serving only to shake the foundations of the Islamic Republic rather than making it more secure. The opposition leaders characterized allegations of conspiracies against the government as an “illusion,” saying that the crisis would be resolved if the government freed all political prisoners, lifted restrictions on the press and on political parties, and held free elections. An English-language summary of their statement may be found here, and the original Farsi version is posted on Saham News.

Read the full article at insideIRAN.