The news from Iran is truly disturbing as we hear that members of parliament are calling for the arrest and execution of leaders of the opposition Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and learn of the deaths of two protesters yesterday. The 25 Bahman movement and friends of Sane Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari have published memorials to them and documentation opposing the government’s cynical attempts to claim both were either passersby or were killed by “agents provocateurs controlled by various opposition groups.”
Friends of Sane Jaleh called for people to gather to mourn their friend and counter the government attempt to co-opt his funeral Wednesday morning. EnduringAmerica reports:
0650 GMT: The Battle for a 25 Bahman Martyr. State broadcaster IRIB is now reporting clashes between a pro-regime group and opposition supporters at the funeral of Sanee Zhaleh. IRIB claims that the pro-regime crowd drove away their opponents with shouts of “Down with the hypocrites”.
0635 GMT: 25 Bahman’s Casualty. The funeral of Sanee Zhaleh, who was killed during Monday’s marches, has begun outside the Tehran University of Fine Arts where he was a student. The regime, without providing evidence. has tried to claim Zhaleh as a “martyr” slain by demonstrators from the banned Mujahedin-e-Khalq.
And unconfirmed reports are circulating on twitter at #25Bahman that:
@netvand sahar morgen
LIVE FROM HONAR UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN: “WE ARE TRAPPED IN KARBORDI HALL, BASIJIS ARE BEATING US, THEY ARE ARMED, HELP US” #25bahman
With western media barred from covering events in Iran – and given the persistent propaganda around all issues Iranian here in the States, it’s very hard to both follow events and parse their meaning. No matter how wrongheaded US policy toward Iran has been – nor how mistaken much of last year’s coverage of the Green Revolution was in overestimating popular opposition outside Tehran and the educated elite – the killings, beatings and arrests of protesters in the streets and the calls for executions of their leaders are horrifying.
One has to wonder how much American undercover attempts at regime change and sanctions on Iran have led to an increased insularity and resulting hardening by Iran’s government that contributes to the intensity of the crackdown on the protesters.
One does not have to wonder how clear America’s lack of commitment to fundamental human rights must be to the rest of the world when on Monday:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said … that Tehran’s crackdown on demonstrators, after it had praised the popular uprising in Egypt, shows the “hypocrisy” of the Iranian government.”
apparently forgetting her own support for the Egyptian regime while its response so closely matched what we now see in Iran’s streets – or when President Obama says things like this on Tuesday:
“We were clear then and we are clear now that what has been true in Egypt should be true in Iran, which is that people should be able to express their opinions and their grievances and seek a more responsive government,” Obama said. “What’s been different is the Iranian government’s response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people.”
. . .
Perhaps Obama missed the 300 killed in Egypt and the uncounted numbers arrested and beaten by Suleiman and Mubarak’s thugs while Obama and his administration was backing their continued rule?
He also said nothing about the two protesters killed in Bahrain where instead Obama simply called for the government to “get out ahead of change. You can’t be behind the curve.” Of course, Bahrain just happens to be home to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
The administration’s silence on the violent crackdown on protests in Yemen, noted earlier here by David Dayen, also continues while “one senior U.S. official” is tasked with warning that “If Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is overthrown, ‘the likelihood of some really bad elements coming to power is real'” and
President Obama is proposing to increase ties to Yemen by sending nearly $200 million in aid to Yemen next year including $75 million to double the size of a special Yemeni counterterrorism unit.
This morality of convenience from Washington provides cover both for regimes like Mubarak’s – and for those like Ahmadinejad who point to our double standard as another sign that they are under attack, an attack used as an excuse for their brutal response to the young people in their streets.
UPDATE – Al Jazeera is reporting from Libya:
Demonstrators gathered in the early hours of Wednesday morning in front of police headquarters and chanted slogans against the “corrupt rulers of the country”, Al Jazeera’s sources said.
Police fired tear gas and violently dispersed protesters, the sources said without providing further details.
In a telephone interview with Al Jazeera, Idris Al-Mesmari, a Libyan novelist and writer, said that security officials in civilian clothes came and dispersed protesters by using tear gas, batons and hot water.
And hours later, Mesmari was reported to have been arrested.
Anti-government protesters have also called on citizens to observe Thursday as a “Day of Rage”. They are hoping to emulate recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia to end Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s 41-year-old rule.