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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid