Iranian Opposition Protests Today
On Sunday was the death of one of the most prominent opposition clerics in Iran, Ali Reza Montazeri. His death left the government in Iran in a difficult situation as he was one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and till recently one of the most vocal opponents of the Iranian regime’s crackdown. Montazeri broke ties with the Iranian regime in the 1980’s citing their betrayal of the ideals set forth by the clerics who took absolute power and was put under house arrest until 2003. During his funeral proceedings, thousands of protesters took the streets today turning his funeral into yet another opposition protest. The protesters, who included Moussavi and Karroubi, continued to show support for the Green Movement. Many of the slogans chanted included “Death to Dictator.” Government officials clashed with protesters yet again and the regime cut out phone service in various areas. Disruption of phone and Internet services is one of their frequent tactics used to disrupt the organization of protests. Protests are expected to take place again in Iran in one week as it is customary to mourn the death of a person again 7 days after their death.
With this internal pressure and external pressure on the Iranian regime, the regime appears desperate to hold on to power with the use of any force it can employ. The nuclear issue has been of great concern on a worldwide scale and Iran’s development of long range weapons has also raised concerns. The Iranian regime has also announced that the three American hikers who wandered into Iranian territory while hiking will now be put on trial. This posturing by the Iranian regime has been used as a tactic to quiet protests inside while buying time outside on the nuclear issue. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently stated that in regards to the nuclear issue “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians.” Though some continue to say that this failed path is the one to continue to follow, it has become apparent that allowing the Iranian regime to stall on the nuclear issue while violating human rights at home has provided for an unpopular, ineffective, and illogical approach to U.S.-Iran relations.