Jun 21, 2009

Sunday in Iran

Yesterday's protests left 13 dead, according to Iranian state television; CNN has put the number at 19 dead, and some reports are as high as 150.

Another protest is reportedly planned for today at 5 p.m. Tehran time, the New York Times reports.

Iranian authorities have deemed reform candidate and opposition symbol Mir-Hossein Mousavi a criminal; he's said he's ready for "martyrdom." Meanwhile, state television says police have arrested family members of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a vocal supporter of the opposition movement.

Steve Clemons of Washington Note and the New America Foundation reprints a letter to a colleague about Mousavi supporters targeting Iran's thuggish morals-police, the Basij (h/t Talking Points Memo):
Basij hunting

By the way, two nights ago I went out to see a few things ... as the general crowds spread into their homes militia style Mousavi supporters were out on the streets 'Basiji hunting'.

Their resolve is no less than these thugs -- they after hunting them down. They use their phones, their childhood friends, their intimate knowledge of their districts and neighbours to plan their attacks -- they're organised and they're supported by their community so they have little fear. They create the havoc they're after, ambush the thugs, use their Cocktail Molotovs, disperse and re-assemble elsewhere and then start again - and the door of every house is open to them as safe harbour -- they're community-connected.

The Basiji's are not.

These are not the students in the dorms, they're the street young -- they know the ways better than most thugs - and these young, a surprising number of them girls, are becoming more agile in their ways as each night passes on.

What's an update on Iran without an update about Twitter? "Six lessons learned" from the New York Times. Change comes on the ground, not online, from the Berkman Center. Etaoin Shrdlu calls bullshit on Clay Shirky claims.

Helene Cooper analyzes the extent to which America's shifting foreign policy has inspired reformers in Iran to challenge the hard-line regime.

Robin Wright looks at the way mourning, martyrdom and the death of a woman on the streets of Tehran could shape opposition strategy.

Foreign Policy talks to a Mousavi surrogate to find out what the reform candidate wants.

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