Many things of import happened in Iran today, but I held off writing this post to see if a rumor spreading on twitter could be verified. That rumor was that Iraq's senior cleric - and Iran's most popular cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani - had publicly denounced the Iranian regime for its brutality. I've blogged about Sistani's importance here. If you haven't read it, you should also see this 2007 Boston Globe article, "Shi'ite Cleric Gains Sway Across The Border." If the rumor was true, the importance of a public denunciation from him could not be overestimated. Unfortunately, I could not verify it.
The most important development has been Mousavi's decision not to capitulate to pressure from the theocracy and to come out swinging. This from yesterday's LA Times:
After days of relative quiet, Mir-Hossein Mousavi launched a broadside against the Iranian leadership in comments published today, suggesting that the political rift over the country's disputed presidential election is far from over.
The former prime minister turned artist and scholar accused Iran's supreme leader of not acting in the interests of the country and said Iran had suffered a dramatic change for the worse.
He slammed state-controlled broadcast outlets, which have intensified a media blitz against him and his supporters with allegations that recent unrest over the disputed June 12 presidential election was instigated by Iran's international rivals. And he vowed to pursue his quest to have President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection annulled.
Read the entire article. There has been some question, given his relative quiet of the past few days, whether Mousavi was getting cold feet and would fall from the titular forefront of this revolutionary movement. That is the subject of Krauthammer's article today, noting that the revolution may wilt if it does not find its Yeltsin. Mousavi appears, for the moment, back on track now to try to fill Yeltsin's shoes, though the effectiveness of the theocracy's repression is relentless. Indeed, the same LA Times article linked above goes on to say that Mousavi met with a 70 person group of university professors on Wednesday and that, immediately following the meeting, the professors were arrested en masse by the regime.
Several days ago, I blogged that the U.S. should be doing all in its power to covertly support the uprising, noting in the comments that the greatest need was to counter the theocracy's attempts to shut down communications and to facilitate as much as possible communications to and inside of Iran. Congressional Quarterly is reporting that Senator's McCain, Graham and Lieberman are drafting legislation to require the U.S. to do precisely that. Good for them, but what that tells us is it is likely Obama has our covert operators sitting on their thumbs at the moment. If so, that is an atrocity. If Obama still has dreams of crafting a grand diplomatic bargain with the butchers of Tehran, he is a danger to us and the world. As Robert Averich states, Obama seems to have graduated from the "Neville Chamberlain school of international relations."
Communications is critical to this ongoing revolt. In fact, it is important enough so that some of the protesters inside Iran are reaching out for assistance to Israel. This from Arutz Sheva News:
. . . "Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters," writes Iranian dissident Arash Irandoost, "Iran needs your help more than ever now. And we will be eternally grateful. Please help opposition television and radio stations which are blocked and being jammed by the Islamic Republic (Nokia and Siemens) resume broadcast to Iran. There is a total media blackout and Iranians inside Iran for the most part are not aware of their brave brothers and sisters fighting and losing their lives daily. And the unjust treatment and brutal massacre of the brave Iranians in the hands of the mullah's paid terrorist Hamas and Hizbullah gangs are not seen by the majority of the Iranians. Please help in any way you can to allow these stations resume broadcasting to Iran.
"And, please remember that we will remember, as you have remembered Cyrus the Great's treatment of you in your time of need," Irandoost concludes, signing his blogged call for help "Your Iranian Brothers and Sisters!"
In an interview with Israel National News, Iranian expatriate pro-democracy activist Amil Imani said that Irandoost's message represents the sentiments of much of the youth in the streets in Iran. They have a strong belief in the technological know-how of the Israelis to overcome the Iranian regime's attempts to block communications. . . .
Shiran Ebadi, famous Iranian female lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, made a statement the other day that she is willing to represent the family of the slain girl, Neda Soltana, in an action against the government. Iranian News announced today, reported at the blog NIAC, that a formal complaint has been filed against Ebadi to strip her of her license to practice law for "repetitive infringement of Islamic decrees, Sharia law and the constitution."
I blogged in the post Faultlines Developing that significant cracks throughout the regime were becoming apparent. Yet another became apparent today when President-elect Ahmedinejad held his formal victory party. All members of Iran's 290 person stong Parliament were invited to attend. The BBC is reporting that a substantial majority, 185, did not attend. The BBC, stating the obvious, notes "the move is a sign of the deep split at the top of Iran after disputed presidential polls."
There was supposed to be a general strike on Tuesday, though there was no confirmation of it occurring from any of the news sites. The progression of the 1979 protest went from street demonstration to general strikes. That will likely be the next phase of things if the revolution continues to grow. Gooya News now has pictures from a strike among the bazzaris in at least one city, Saghez, in the Kurdish region of Iran.
Lastly, via Hot Air, here is a BBC interview of the doctor who attempted to treat Neda, the girl brutally murdered by the basij during a protest in Iran.
24 June 2009: Glimpses Into Chaos - Iran, 24 June
23 June 2009: Obama, Iran & The Rising Of The Sun
23 June 2009: Obama On Iran: A Broken Moral Compass, A Distorted Perception Of Reality
21 June 2009: Faultlines Developing
21 June 2009: When The Regime Will Fall
20 June 2009: The Regime Turns On Its Own People (Updated)
20 June 2009: Life, Death & Terrorism On Iran's Streets - Neda
19 June 2009: Countdown To High Noon
19 June 2009: An Iranian Showdown Cometh - Liveblogging Khameini's Speech At Friday Prayers
18 June 2009: Iran Update
16 June 2009: Iran 6/16: The Fire Still Burning, An Incendiary Letter From Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, State Dept. Intercedes With Twitter & Obama Talks Softly
16 June 2009: Breaking News: Vote Recount In Iran, Too Little, Too Late
15 June 2009: Iran Buys Time, Obama Votes Present, Iraq's Status Is Recognized
15 June 2009: The Fog Of War - & Twitter
15 June 2009: Chants Of Death To Khameini
15 June 2009: Heating Up In Iran
14 June 2009: Heating Up In Iran
14 June 2009: Tehran Is Burning; What Will The Iranian Army Do? (Updated)
13 June 2009: The Mad Mullah's Man Wins Again - For Now
15 April 2008: The Next Moves In An Existential Chess Match (Background On Iran's Theocracy)