News / Middle East

Iranian Opposition Kept Off Guard Ahead of 1979 Celebrations

Communication services disrupted ahead of 1979 anniversary celebration as opposition activists call for peaceful demos

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold portraits of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C) and founder of the Islamic republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (2nd L) during a protest outside the Italian embassy in Tehran, 09 Feb 2009
Demonstrators shout slogans and hold portraits of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C) and founder of the Islamic republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (2nd L) during a protest outside the Italian embassy in Tehran, 09 Feb 2009

Multimedia

Audio

With two days to go before the anniversary celebration of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, authorities are slowing the internet and disrupting mobile phone service in what is believed to be an effort to disrupt opposition protests.  A top religious leader is also urging Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to release prisoners.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasts about the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution on state TV, two days tbefore the official celebration.  Meanwhile, on several Web sites, Iran's opposition is urging supporters to turn out for a "peaceful anti-government protest."

Observers inside Iran say the government is disrupting vital communications links, including the internet and mobile-phone service in an effort to keep the opposition off guard.  Opposition activists sometimes rely on text messages and the internet to coordinate demonstrations.

Several days ago, Iran's Communications Minister Reza Taghipour claimed internet speeds had been reduced "due to damage to Iran's fiber-optic network."  He also promised that repairs would be made "by next week."

Human-rights groups and Iranians living abroad say the government has detained more opposition supporters and activists, including Salah Noghrekar, the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and legal advisor to his presidential campaign.

Opposition Web site Rah-e-Sabz is reporting that Grand Ayatollah Abdul Karim Mousavi-Ardebili traveled to Tehran from the holy city of Qom to plead with Supreme Leader Khamenei to release opposition protesters in government custody.
 
Iran's Deputy Police Chief Ahmad Reza Radan urged Iranians on state TV to cooperate with security forces to make Thursday's celebration of the Islamic Revolution go smoothly.

"It is necessary for people to cooperate in order to make the celebration take place in a secure and organized manner.  Many people will be participating, so it is imperative to obey the law," he said.

Former French Ambassador to Tehran Francois Nicoullaud says that opposition leaders have urged their supporters to protest peacefully on Thursday, but he says it is not clear what will happen, since those leaders are more "figureheads," to a movement that is operating on its own.

"The leaders of the opposition have called upon their troops to go to the streets and demonstrate peacefully on the 11th of February.  So, will they be listened to?" He wondered.  "You know, [the leaders] are more figure-heads than leaders. The opposition moves through informal channels and not through hierarchical orders. This is a weakness for the opposition, because there is no central brain. But, this absence of organization makes it more difficult for the regime to develop counter-tactics," said the former diplomat.

Eyewitnesses say security forces in Tehran are preparing for the worst by removing plastic trash cans that can be set ablaze and deploying loudspeakers in key locations to drown out opposition chanting.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs