In Iran, all demonstrations seen as suspect

Elation and fear come in the same breath for the people of Iran these days.
While it’s heartening to see the masses stand up to the strong-arm government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Revolutionary Guards, it’s oh, so scary, to see the innocents slaughtered.
Sunday’s open fire on demonstrators killed a dozen and wounded hundreds. It was the most recent outburst since the July protests of June’s fraudulent presidential election. Crowds had amassed for a twofold reason: One to honor the holy festival Ashura, the day on which Shia Muslims mark the death of their religious leader Imam Hussein, and the other to honor the Dec. 19 death of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Monta-zeri, the spiritual leader of the reform movement that succeeded in 1979. More than 1 million attended his funeral.
Massive arrests have accompanied the violence. As of Sunday night, more than 1,500 citizens had been rounded up. As with the summer’s mass arrests, it’s questionable some may ever see the light of day again, much less due process of law.
The worst violence occurred in Tehran, but demonstrations were held in several other cities across the country.
The militaristic re-sponse is another sign that Ahmadinejad is using his position to influence the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to walk a line closer to a police state than that of an Islamic regime.
No one is above being suspect for inciting treason. Groups of more than three are banned from congregating.
Government officials are using the uprising to arrest any and all opposition figures in a wave meant to crush dissenters. Of particular note was the assassination of Ali Moussavi, 43, the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, who was first run over by an SUV and then at point-blank range shot in the temple as reported by onlookers.
Because the violence broke out on a religious holiday was especially egregious to religious conservatives. It is a Muslim tradition to cease all forms of fighting during such holidays.

FROM AFAR, the United States and other democracies signal a beacon of hope for the oppressed to remain strong. It’s our duty to denounce the violence in Iran and press its government to at the very least live up to its own moral code.

— Susan Lynn