Monday, June 15, 2009

Reports: Shots Fired at Iranian Protesters

There are incoming reports that gunmen have opened fire on protesters at a pro-Mousavi rally in Iran. This site is claiming (though it is in Farsi) that half a dozen were hit by gunfire and has cell phone photos from the scene. Reuters has tweeted this: "FLASH: Gunman fire on people at pro-Mousavi rally, one killed, many wounded -witness"

ABC's Jim Sciutto tweeted that one is dead and an AP photographer has been hit. He also recently tweeted asking if anyone else is hearing that the shooter was a female. Reports continue to come in that many regions around Tehran are erupting in absolute chaos, with possible shootings in multiple districts in Northern Tehran.

Reza Aslan over at the Daily Beast thinks that we are seeing a slow military coup:

Yet the brazenness with which this presidential election was stolen by Ahmadinejad’s supporters has caught everyone in Iran, even the clerical establishment, by surprise. Indeed, I am convinced that what we are witnessing in Iran is nothing less than a slow moving military coup against the clerical regime itself, led by Iran’s dreaded Revolutionary Guard, or Pasdaran, as the organization is called in Iran. The Pasdaran is a military-intelligence unit that acts independently from the official armed forces. Originally created by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to be the supreme leader’s personal militia, the Pasdaran has been increasingly acting like an independent agent over the last decade, one that appears to no longer answer to the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Scott Horton gives some analysis that the traditional media is not giving:

The recent developments exposed the fault lines both within Iran’s governing elites and the population in general. They reveal that Ahmadinejad’s provocative foreign policy and his pursuit of nuclear power (and warheads) are not popular with powerful elements within society. They reveal a strong taste for personal freedom and reforms among many groups—students, women, and what the Iranians call the “bazaar,” namely middle-class businessmen. The rigging of the election was certainly supported by the highest clerical levels and was designed to silence these political opponents and heighten the prestige and authority of Ahmadinejad. But the fraud may have been too crudely carried out to allow this objective to be achieved. In any event, however, it is unlikely that this election will be unwound, because that would severely threaten the power and authority of the clerical leaders. It will be key to see what happens in the next few weeks with Mir Hossein Mousavi—will Ahmadinejad keep him in prison? Will be continue his defiance? Will he be forced into exile? Similarly, what happens with critics like Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the chair of the Expediency Council, is also important. Harsh action against the reform camp will, however, signal weakness or perceived vulnerability and not strength in the government in Tehran.

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