The wife of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was attacked with batons during Iran’s anniversary protests yesterday. View our wrap of reactions, videos, photos, and dispatches from Iran below.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overshadowed opposition protests by declaring Iran a nuclear state Thursday. But Azadeh Moaveni says reformers should also beware of strong global foes—from exiled Iranians to Western pundits, Arab states to Al Jazeera.
The Basij used paintballs, pepper spray, and batons to help beat back the opposition. Disappointed over the outcome, protesters are regrouping for a fresh run at the Ahmadinejad regime.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, released a statement on his web site Friday praising the turnout of "tens of millions" at Thursday's government rally, which commemorated the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Although the government rally dwarfed opposition protests, the authorities did their best to crush opposition activists. They jammed Internet connections and mobile phone networks, fired tear gas to disperse opposition rallies, marked protestors for later arrest with paintball guns, and physically attacked opposition leaders, including the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the head of the opposition movement. And what would an Ayatollah's statement be without a few potshots at the West? Khamenei lashed out at "bullying states," charging that "foreign enemies" should "wake up and abandon futile efforts to subjugate Iran."
Hardliners and reformers battled on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Rouzbeh and Trita Parsi on the revolutionary government's return to despotism.
Read first-person accounts, directly from Iranians’ Facebook posts to their blogs, from before and after the protests.
Click Below to Watch Video of Protests in Tehran
Click Below to View Photos of the Anniversary Rally
More Daily Beast Coverage of the Iranian Anniversary
The Daily Beast's Jason Shams—who spent months protesting in the streets of Tehran—monitors the latest unconfirmed dispatches from the opposition on blogs and Facebook.
The Green Movement's leaders are calling supporters to the streets, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rallying his side with nuclear brinksmanship—and the clashes expected Thursday for the Islamic republic's 31st anniversary could spell civil war.
Iranian News Agencies Report the Violence Inflicted on Protesters in Ahvaz
During the clashes, plainclothes and security forces attacked women, youth and adults. Without any consideration, the forces pepper-sprayed the citizens and beat them. Those who were resisting arrest were badly beaten, and in many cases, were surrounded by guard forces who pushed them on the ground and took them away.
Security forces reacted severely to any filming. Reports indicate that in the very early hours of the clashes, at least 20 citizens were arrested and transfered to an unspecific spot with caged anti-riot cars.
Optimism for the Opposition from IranNewsNow.com blogger Dave Siavashi
The protests took place, thousands entered the streets and chanted against the regime with slogans like “Referendum! Referendum!” and “Free Political Prisoners!”, they confronted and faced the regime forces–and this time, the regime had to use so much more security presence than on past protest days–and they suffered far less casualties than on Ashura and many other bloody protest days. This means that the regime cannot stifle the voices of the people. It is being heard loud and clear, both inside Iran–even on official government channels to the behest of the regime–and outside Iran, to the world. This means the regime simply can’t stop this cycle of protests against them.
Mousavi’s Wife Beaten
While major anti-government protests were predicted for Thursday to coincide with Iran’s 31st anniversary celebration of the revolution, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad successfully overshadowed dissidents with scare tactics, a large pro-government rally, and a news-making announcement that Iran is now a “nuclear state.” Iranian hardliners went so far to stifle opposition that they attacked dissident leaders, including the wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi was approaching Azadi Square, where Ahmadinejad gave his speech, when he was surrounded by baton-wielding plainclothes militia, and wasn't able to join the people, according to an opposition Web site, Kalame.org. His wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who took the unlikely step of campaigning with her husband last year, was allegedly surrounded and beaten with batons on the head and shoulder. But protesters formed a circle around her and escorted her away. She's safe now, according to Kalame.
Click Below to Watch Video of Ahmadinejad’s Speech
“Big Anticlimax” for Dissidents
PBS writes of the opposition: “Everyone we have spoken to so far this morning has said about the same thing—in a word or two: ‘A big anticlimax,’ ‘defeat,’ ‘An overwhelming presence from the other side. People were terrified.’”
Blog Reports from Iran
The Daily Beast’s Jason Shams reports one blog read: “It's 6am, my mother knows that I will be going out, I'm holding back tears. My mother's eyes are worried, she saw my father off the same way 25 years ago to defend the country. My father never came back, and my mother raised me with great difficulty. I convinced her last night that I'm going to finish what my father left halfway.”