Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Latest in Iran

Thursday was Iran's official commemoration of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the government controlled Tehran's streets:
"Iranians marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution on Thursday with a mass pro-government rally and an overwhelming security presence that prevented opposition protesters from staging a long-expected showdown...

"But witnesses and analysts in Tehran said the 31st birthday party of the Islamic Republic belonged to the government, despite gaps in the rally-goers at Freedom Square, who were among the hundreds of thousands of Iranians who turned out across the country to wave flags and chant 'Death to America.'"

Is this the end of Iran's reform movement? Not really. It just shows the government was able to prevent the kind of uprising we saw during Ashura by not disrupting the funerals of prominent ayatollahs and maintaining intense security, including crackdowns on communications systems. This can't be done all the time, and if the opposition could find a good, consistent hook, they could probably keep some protests going. However, the problem remains the lack of a suitable hook. Economic crises are more likely to make people take risks than important anniversaries.



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