Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iran - Supression and a compromise initiative

From Iran, there is news of more demonstrations over the fraudulent elections, and over the suppression of the elections, and - a compromise initiative from the influential senior clerics of Qom.   But Ayatollah Khameinei insists that the election results will not be changed. As Sharq al Awsat wrote regarding the compromise initiative:
... informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the senior sources of emulation in Qom were exerting pressures on the authorities in Tehran to search for a compromise to the current political crisis shaking Iran. They said a delegation from the Guardian Council's members visited the religious leaders and ayatollahs in Qom to get their public support for the legitimacy of the election and the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term. But an Iranian source told Asharq Al-Awsat: "But praise be to God, the sources of emulation did not support the demands" of the Guardian Council and added that many of the sources of emulation in Qom formed a "neutral" voice during this crisis and because of their tendency to remain "above politics" can play an important role during the crisis shaking Iran.

An Iranian source talked about reports to the effect that around 50 of the sources of emulation, ayatollahs, and clerics in Qom sent messages to Ayatollah Khamenei urging him to look into the complaints of the reformists and examine the reported violations. An Iranian source from the reform movement explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that members of the Guardian Council, the body supervising the election, visited the Shiite seminary in Qom and met the sources of emulation there and that Great Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani, one of the most important sources of emulation in the seminary, was among those they met. The source, which it cannot be identified, said Ayatollah Golpaygani urged the Guardian Council "to be above politics and exercise its role as a neutral arbiter between the political parties and not lean toward one party at the expense of the other." It added that Ayatollah Golpaygani's stand should be pondered because of his great influence on the Guardian Council whose chairman he was during the first years after the revolution. The source then went on to say: "Compared to Ayatollah Jannati, the Guardian Council's present chairman, Golpaygani is an expert jurisprudent, has a history in the revolution, and is respected." It added that the Guardian Council came under heavy pressure from the reformists and the ayatollahs because it acted as a supporter of Ahmadinejad. It noted that the sources of emulation in Qom stressed to the Council's members that "it is a judicial body and not apolitical one and the political nature of its action is damaging for it."


And from Haaretz:

Armed Iranian security forces thwarted a demonstration planned by opposition protesters outside the parliament building in Tehran on Wednesday, according to various media reports.
Riot police and militia volunteers gathered outside the parliament armed with batons to deter the hundreds of protesters from demonstrating, said witness reports in The New York Times and AFP.
According to an Iranian blogger who witnessed the event, police bearing guns and riot gear attacked unarmed demonstrators. The New York Times quoted his post as saying: "They were waiting for us - they all have guns and riot uniforms - it was like a mouse trap - ppl [sic] being shot like animals."

Iranian authorities have also arrested 25 journalists linked to defeated refortmist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's campaign, AFP reported.
Mousavi's official Web site had declared earlier in the day that a protest was planned for the venue on Wednesday afternoon, despite an official ban on the rallies.
The Web site distanced Mousavi from the demonstration, calling it independent and not organized by the reformist leader.
The mixed messages reflected the dilemma facing the unlikely opposition leader, a longtime supporter of Iran's government thrust to the head of a pro-democracy protest movement.
Mousavi, a former prime minister, saw his campaign transform into a protest movement after the government declared that hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the overwhelming winner of the June 12 election.
Mousavi and his supporters claim massive fraud tilted the election and want the vote to be canceled and held again. The final tally gave 62.6 percent of the vote to Ahmadinejad and 33.75 percent to Mousavi, a landslide victory in a race that had been perceived as much closer. Rezaie came in third.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the protests to end, leaving Mousavi with the choice of restraining followers or continuing to directly challenge the country's ultimate authority despite threats of escalating force.
Ami Isseroff

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