Friday, June 19, 2009

Tension Mounts in Iran after Khamenei's Speech

Video of security forces vandalizing an office building:

The BBC's coverage of Khamenei's speech:

Obama's response to this speech:

"And I'm very concerned based on some of the tenor -- and tone of the statements that have been made -- that the government of Iran recognize that the world is watching. And how they approach and deal with people who are, through peaceful means, trying to be heard will, I think, send a pretty clear signal to the international community about what Iran is and -- and is not."

Roger Cohen is on the ground in Iran and offers his take:

The whispering is heard in the throng’s silence. It is the word-of-mouth switching mechanism of Iran’s uprising. I’ve never seen such discipline achieved with so little, millions summoned and coordinated with hardly a sound. “Silence will win against the bullets,” says one banner.

The odds must still be against that. But Ahmadinejad, in his customary bipolar (but tending manic) fashion, is making nice. “We like everyone,” he now says. I suppose he must mean those who are not in prison, hospital or a cemetery.

However, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, adopted a harsh tone in a Friday sermon, warning of chaos and bloodshed if protests continue, blaming “evil media” run by “Zionists” for unacceptable disturbances, dismissing rigging as impossible, and charging the United States with meddling. In effect, Khamenei drew a line in the sand.


Iran has sought independence and some form of democracy for over a century. It now has the former but this election has clarified, for an overwhelmingly young population, the Islamic Republic’s utter denial of the latter.

The feeling in the crowd seems to be: today or never, all together and heave!

A man holds his mobile phone up to me: footage of a man with his head blown off last Monday. A man, 28, whispers: “The government will use more violence, but some of us have to make the sacrifice.”

Tension is indeed mounting prior to tomorrow's first planned rally that the government has not issued a permit for. It is even reflected in the tweets:


Tonight at 10 pm, on the rooftops everyone chanted 'Death to the Dictator.' On previous nights it wasn't so strong.


Khameneyi said he will not tolerate any more protesters & rallies, so tomorrow's rally is completely against his will as the supreme leader


RT@Change_for_Iran:entire Farsi twitter network is talkin about tomorrow 4PM .what'll happen to rallies after khamaneyi speech #iranelection

Indeed, what will happen?

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