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Iran: Threats From The Supreme Leader As Demonstrations Continue

(9:00AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

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Bad news from the Iranian government.  No concessions will be made to the demonstrators.

The New York Times reports that in his Friday speech, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, offered no concessions at all to the demonstrators and threatened leaders of the pro-democracy demonstrations with reprisals if the demonstrations do not stop:

In his first public response to days of protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opponents Friday to stay off the streets and denied opposition claims that last week’s disputed election was rigged, praising the ballot as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”

In a somber and lengthy sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, he called directly for an end to the protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians demanding a new election.

“Street challenge is not acceptable,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “This is challenging democracy after the elections.” He said opposition leaders would be “held responsible for chaos” if they did not end the protests.

As to the claims of the protestors and numerous analysts that the election was rigged, Khamenei absolutely denies any irregularities:

…he endorsed the president’s policies and insisted that the margin of victory – 11 million votes – accorded to Mr. Ahmadinejad in the official tally was so big that it could not have been falsified. “How can 11 million votes be replaced or changed?” he said.

He went on: “The Islamic republic state would not cheat and would not betray the vote of the people.”

Oh no.  Not cheating.  Some kinds of cheating are so huge that they’re impossible.  Not.   According to the ever cautious Times, “The ayatollah’s remarks seemed to show that the authorities were growing impatient with the street protests.  ‘It would be wrong to think that turning out on the street would force officials to accept their demands,’ he said.”

And, of course, the entire speech couldn’t be complete without this:

He blamed “media belonging to Zionists, evil media” for seeking to show divisions between those who supported the Iranian state and those who did not, while, in fact, the election had shown Iranians to be united in their commitment to the Islamic revolutionary state.

“There are 40 million votes for the revolution, not just 24 million for the chosen president,” he said, referring to the official tally that gave Mr. Ahmadinejad more than 60 percent of the vote.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the election ” was a competition among people who believe in the state.”

The speech explicitly threatens a wave of repression.

This morning’s Twitter at #iranelection says that more large demonstrations will be held tomorrow.

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8 comments

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  1. davidseth

    Thanks for reading.

    I’m worried that this is now poised to turn into Tiananmen Square.

  2. Night Owl

    From Mother Jones:

    Following the sermon, Wayne White, a former State Department intelligence analyst with expertise on Iran, sent out an email to colleagues concluding that the sermon does not bode well for the reformers:

     

    Those who have talked of the regime’s need for compromise, Khamenei’s fears and hesitation, etc. urgently need to reconsider seriously the overall situation.

       Khamenei’s sermon today appeared to have closed the book on substantial concessions to the opposition and its ardent supporters on the streets. Although the Guardian Council’s review might still be underway technically, Khamenei reiterated flatly that Ahmadinejad was and remains the winner and warned protesters to get off the streets or face and be responsible for the consequences. In fact, Khamenei rendered an accurate evaluation of the relatively insignificant investigation and partial recount supposedly underway: the margin of victory the regime has accorded Ahmadinejad (albeit falsely and shamelessly) was so wide that the collection of individual complaints involved in the recount probably could not erase Ahmadinejad’s victory (even if most all of the complaints were ruled valid by a biased Guardian Council led by a notorious hardline cleric who probably was party to the election theft scheme in the first place).

       The conservative, anti-reform establishment’s patience would appear to have worn out at this point, and now we can expect a ramped-up crackdown on demonstrations and other signs of dissent with most of the media previously able to record such ugly, brutish behavior now largely swept conveniently away and much of the country’s prominent reform-oriented leadership behind bars. Many accurate reports on the unfortunate events to come doubtless will get out to the world, but probably only the proverbial tip of the iceberg regarding the totality of the violence that may well be pending. As has been the case already (especially away from the main demonstrations and in other cities beyond Tehran less generally accessable to the media), the crackdown will likely become gradually more severe and more costly in terms of casualties, with the regime hoping that such a paced escalation can drive the protests to ground without one huge confrontation.

       A report this morning by email or some such routing from Iran read out on, I believe, CNN came from a hospital (specific location unknown to me) speaking of numerous civilian casualties flowing in-both dead and badly wounded-with authorities arriving to prevent any personal data from being recorded and taking away the arrivals. Such is being carried out by the same ruthless, fanatical elements that dragged an ailing Ebrahim Yazdi out of a hospital intensive care unit on Wednesday. I very much fear that this is the future.

       I would like nothing more than to post analysis that would convey more hope and less in the way of dire warnings, but, with considerable sadness, the above is what I truly believe to be yet another emerging bottom line that will increasingly define the remainder of this crisis. Over the long-term, especially with the steady mounting of demographics largely against this now more bare-knuckled, abusive authoritarian order, the days of the regime are numbered, but the robust, admirable challenge mounted in the course of this crisis may well be unable to overcome such violent countermeasures this time around. [Emphasis added.]

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