News / Middle East

    Iran Rallies Set for Weekend

    People take part in the funeral of Sanee Zhaleh, a student who was shot dead during an opposition rally in Tehran, February 16, 2011
    People take part in the funeral of Sanee Zhaleh, a student who was shot dead during an opposition rally in Tehran, February 16, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Iran's chief of judiciary said Thursday the government will block opposition leaders from making statements to their supporters. But websites linked to the opposition called for nationwide demonstrations on Sunday.

    The head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, said Thursday that Iran will block the ability of opposition leaders to make statements to their supporters.

    And he said Iran’s judiciary system will pursue the seditionists, referring to Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

    But websites linked to the opposition made a call Thursday for nationwide rallies on Sunday to show support for both men and mourn the death of two people who died in a political demonstration on Monday.

    Both politicians are leaders of Iran’s Green Movement, which grew up out of opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the disputed presidential election in 2009.  

    Anthony Skinner, a Middle East expert with the Britain-based risk analyst group Maplecroft, says Mousavi and Karroubi wield great influence.

    "They have clearly been key figures in the movement but the risk for the regime is that if they do arrest them and they put them on trial with the threat of execution, that this could be a tinder box, that people could be so angered by this, this as a clear strategy to try to stifle the movement, that it could explode," said Skinner.

    Mousavi and Karroubi made calls for their supporters to rally in support of revolts in Egypt and Tunisia earlier this week. Both men were put under effective house arrest and the rally was banned.

    But nonetheless tens of thousands of people marched in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran on Monday. Security forces made at least 150 arrests and two people were killed. Nine members of the security forces were also injured.

    A rally organized by the state is set to take place in Tehran on Friday to demonstrate “hatred” against the country’s opposition movement.

    Skinner says many people in Iran are fed up with political repression and a dire economic situation.

    "The economic dynamic at the moment is one which has not really fully been voiced on the streets as yet -- I'm talking about potential here. And I think that if the population, or a large segment of the population, who are suffering as a result and who take to the streets because of their economic dissatisfaction, then this could create quite a bit of difficulty," he said.

    Rodney Wilson is an Iran specialist at Britain’s Durham University. He says demonstrations in Iran are unlikely to have the same outcome as in Egypt and Tunisia, where longtime rulers have been overthrown in recent months.

    He says Iran’s leadership does have much support in the country and the security forces are loyal to it.  He believes there will be a heavy crackdown if the opposition does continue demonstrations.

    "The regime will react in quite a repressive way,' said Wilson.  "We would expect basically the security forces to deal with the demonstrators quite harshly. And obviously unfortunately people being arrested and taking off to prison and nothing much more heard of them."

    The Islamic Propagation Coordination Council, which organizes rallies in Iran that are backed by the government, says during Friday’s rally people will “scream out their hatred” against what it calls Iran’s “sedition leaders.”

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.