News / Middle East

Iran’s Opposition Stays Afloat Despite Heavy Crackdowns

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

Iranian leaders praised revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, calling them Islamic revolutions.  But Iran’s opposition movement interpreted the protests as popular uprisings against tyranny.  They’ve taken to the streets in numbers reminiscent of the post-election rallies of 2009.  But the movement has quieted; some analysts have even called it dead.  Is it?


Opposition protesters took to the streets in Tehran this week.  The crowds were the largest since 2009, when thousands of Iranians demonstrated against what they deemed the rigged re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  

Police routed the protesters. And conservative lawmakers joined the push-back by calling for the execution of two prominent opposition leaders -- Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

They organized the massive, anti-government rallies two years ago, and authorities accuse them of fueling this latest unrest.

Even some in the opposition movement do not fully back these two men because of their ties to the Islamic Republic.  Mousavi is a former prime minister; Karroubi, a speaker of the parliament.

But Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says the regime will err in putting these men on trial. "If these two leaders were to disappear from the scene, the next generation of leaders would be much more hostile to the Islamic Republic," he said.

In Washington this week, President Barack Obama slammed the Iranian government for its crackdown, drawing a sharp contrast with the Egyptian military’s more restrained handling of Egypt’s upheaval. "What has been different is the Iranian government’s response which has been to shoot people, beat people and arrest people," he said.

Clawson says that after repeated efforts at diplomacy with Iran, Mr. Obama has given up. "There are no U.S.-Iran talks and therefore there is little reason for the Obama Administration to hold back in its comments about the protests," Clawson said.

The harsh government crackdowns have led to a less visible opposition movement in Iran.  But analysts say anger toward the regime bubbles just beneath the surface.  As one expert put it:  the situation in Iran looks stable and will be stable until it’s not.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More