As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 1979 Iranian Revolution Started In 1978

That's all you have to remember when reading about another sparking of protests in Tehran.

Tens of thousands of green-clad protesters chanted and carried banners through the heart of Tehran and other Iranian cities on Friday, defying tear gas and truncheons as they turned large swaths of a government-organized anti-Israel march into the largest opposition rally in two months [...]

Conservatives had warned against using the annual pro-Palestinian march as an excuse for renewed protests against Mr. Ahmadinejad, whose election plunged Iran into its worst internal crisis in three decades.

But the protesters turned out anyway, often walking alongside larger groups of state-sanctioned marchers bearing huge banners denouncing Israel. The protesters even flouted the day’s official message, chanting “No to Gaza and Lebanon, my life is for Iran.” And when government men shouted “death to Israel” through loudspeakers, protesters derisively chanted “death to Russia” in response. Many opposition supporters are angry about Russia’s quick acceptance of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s electoral victory.

Opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Muhammad Khatami joined the crowds in Tehran, drawing appreciative cheers and chants of support. Later, Basij militia members tried to attack Mr. Khatami and Mr. Karroubi, but defenders fought them back, opposition Web sites reported [...]

There were reports of similar demonstrations and clashes in other cities Friday, including Isfahan, Tabriz, Yazd, and Shiraz, where protesters skirmished with Basij militia men, and freed a group of fellow protesters who were being arrested, opposition Web sites reported.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a lie, which is basically the closer in his comedy set. It's a bit upsetting that the White House even bothered to respond to this, as Iran is being squeezed internally to support a less belligerent approach to foreign policy. The October negotiations with the West on the nuclear question and other issues have been called a window of opportunity by the top Iranian envoy. Clearly the cracks in the ruling regime's legitimacy is pushing them to accept something broadly agreeable to their increasingly alienated public. I don't know if it will work. But that's driving the new approach. Ahmadinejad's a pleasant comic, but he's the opening act, not the headliner.

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