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Khamenei Praises Arab Revolts As Iran Crushes Its Own Protests

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) is pictured here with a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Khamenei says the revolts sweeping the Arab world have a spiritual kinship with Iran's own 1979 revolution.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) is pictured here with a member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Khamenei says the revolts sweeping the Arab world have a spiritual kinship with Iran's own 1979 revolution.
By RFE/RL
Iran's Islamic regime and the opposition Green Movement have embarked on a tug-of-war to voice solidarity with the antigovernment demonstrations convulsing Arab countries, as Iran's own long-dormant protest organizations shows signs of reviving

The latest phase in an ideological struggle to claim spiritual kinship with the Arab wave of revolt took place on February 20, when Iranian protesters were met with a brutal crackdown from security forces after taking to the streets for the second time in a week.

'Now It's Time For Sayed Ali'

Although international media were barred from covering the gatherings, a video obtained and published by Reuters showed demonstrators chanting slogans sympathetic to the movements that recently toppled the long-serving presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. "Mubarak, Ben Ali, now it's time for Sayed Ali," protesters chanted in a slogan demanding the removal of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But the sentiments clashed with Khamenei's own comments, which insisted that Egypt's "people movements" and other Arab rebellions were in line with Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"The enemies try to say that the popular movements in Egypt, Tunisia, and other nations are un-Islamic, but certainly these popular movements are Islamic and must be consolidated," Khamenei told a gathering of Shi'ite and Sunni scholars at an international conference in Islam on February 20.

The comments echoed others made by Khamenei and leading Iranian figures. In a Friday Prayer sermon on February 4 -- a week before Mubarak resigned -- Khamenei called for the installation of an Islamic regime in Egypt.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has also hailed the Egyptian uprising as inspired by his own brand of messianic Islam.

"The final move has begun...a great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it," Ahmadinejad declared on February 11, the day of Mubarak's departure.

The Tehran regime's claim to be on the side of the Arab protesters appears in part to have prompted Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi, the de facto leaders of the Green Movement, to call Iran's first opposition protests in a year.

"We called for a demonstration to show our movement is alive and to stop the Iranian government's propaganda abuse of pro-democracy movements in the region," Karrubi said, after calling an antigovernment demonstration for February 14.

Double Standards

Green Movement leaders have been particularly incensed by the government's perceived double standards in condemning the Mubarak regime's violent suppression of protests when Iranian security forces used equally brutal tactics to quell mass demonstrations against Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection in 2009, which Musavi and Karrubi say was stolen.

The official Iranian line was expressed by the parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, on February 10 when he told Al-Jazeera: "The Egyptians have a peaceful protest. Why are they reacting to them with bullets and violence?"

But the Green Movement accuses Iranian forces in responding in identical fashion to protests it staged on February 14 and 20. Last week, two protesting students, Sanah Jaleh, 26, and Mohammad Mokhtari, 22, were shot dead when security forces fired into a crowd, the opposition says. It also accuses the regime of falsely claiming that the two men were members of the hard-line Basij militia.

A similar intolerance was on display on February 20 in a demonstration called to commemorate the death of the two men. Opposition websites reported that security forces, including riot-control units on motorbikes, used tear gas to disperse crowds in some of Tehran's main squares and thoroughfares.

Basij members were said to have taken over a commercial building in one neighborhood and dropped tear-gas canisters from the roof onto protesters, "The Wall Street Journal" reported.

Protesters chanted, "God is great," and, "It's the season for revolts; it's the end of Khamenei." Similar protests were reported in almost every major Iranian city, including Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, and Rasht, with reports of violent clashes, injuries, and multiple arrests.

written by Robert Tait with contributions from agency reports
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Comments
     
by: Fardan from: Tehran
February 21, 2011 15:21
"Last week, two protesting students, Sanah Jaleh, 26, and Mohammad Mokhtari, 22, were shot dead when security forces fired into a crowd, the opposition says."

Nonesense. A complete an unadulterated fabrication. Name a single opposition leader who said that. There were MKO terror groups embedded in the demonstrators who were carrying guns and one them shot a bystander, where there were no police to be seen. Sanah Jaleh was not shot to death he was beaten up by a mob of demonstrators and was killed. There are numerous video where mobs of demonstrators beat a pro-government supporter who confronts them. Many of them are on youtube. The sheer volume of propaganda and nonsense is mind boggling.
In Response

by: Sia from: Nowhere
February 21, 2011 21:01
Maybe it's because Iran does not let any foreign news reporters to come and report live. Now we are left with assumptions. Are they trying to hide something? I think so. If you want to talk about shear propaganda turn on the TV in Iran and see how there was NO coverage about the protests taking place. There were lots of coverage on Egypt yet the coverage on massive protests taking place in Tehran was no where to be found. The shear amount of hypocrisy is what you should really be concerned with!
In Response

by: Fardan from: Tehran
February 22, 2011 02:06
You mean independent reporters from BBC, CNN or RFERL? There is a massive and coordinated media attack on Iran. Why should the Iranian government cooperate with propaganda against Iran?
As for who the people were who were killed a little analysis shows the Iranian government account is pretty much correct.
In Response

by: Arsalan from: Kenya
February 23, 2011 13:07
Do you have any evidence of the preposterous claim that MKO terror groups embedded in the demonstrators shot the students during the demonstration? In fact, do you have any evidence, other than the false confessions under torture, that there is any foreign involvement in the green movement? Or do you just believe whatever the Iranian state media tells you?

I really wonder, does it ever occur to you that the reason the Iranian government tortures political prisoners to obtain and televise false confessions is to fool simple minded masses of the country? Do you ever critically think why Iran has the highest rate of political prisoners and political executions per capita? Does it at all concern you that Iran filters and blocks the internet so that people cannot access outside information and judge for themselves which information is correct and which is false? Have you ever thought why the Iranian government closes down all critical domestic newspapers and jail all critical journalists, to the rate that Iran has one of the highest rates of journalists in prison in the world?
In Response

by: Muhammed from: Washington D.C
February 24, 2011 05:55
The Islamic Republic of Iran has every right to exist. Narrow arguments which fail to recognise the complex issues of the Middle East should not be mindlessly thrown into discussions.

Particularly cliched stereotypes concerning Islam, the government of Iran and the Islamic world in general must be fearlessly challenged with the same intensity and fearless selflessness embodied by great African-American intellectuals such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jnr.. At a time when global society accepted the "inferiority" of black people, these pioneers for freedom championed and spearheaded a global consiousness and awareness.

In our society, Islam and Muslims, like Black people of the past, have become victims of a prejudicial and suspicious society. What remains to be seen is whether individuals are able to challenge or at least question the norms that its leaders have initiated.

Every response to this intricate topic should carefully consider all factors involved. The Islamic Republic is based on a solid ground of independence from a conforming global hegemonic political sphere. As a part of humanity, one needs to step back from political dissent and competition for power that has plagued the media, and for a moment or two, silently ponder the essentiality of ideological diversity, especially in a region synonimous with Islam.

The Islamic Republic embodies a spirit of struggle in the face of all odds to achieve the perfection of the mission of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him), Muhammad. Any individual who is not a practicing Muslim, or open-minded enough to understand and appreciate the dynamics of such an intricate system of life and governance as Islam will never truly comprehend the events that, in the coming exciting times, shall determine the course of the entire Islamic world, which now comprises between a fifth and a third of all human beings onthis planet.

Mainstream media has deliberately isolated itself from broadcasting unbiased, unpolitically-motivated news which does not merely inform the massed the facts and sensationalism they want to hear, but rather what actually occurs. The transitions to this just and relentlessly questioning world shall take time and effort, but once individuals reach this level of maturity, ignorance shall finally find its rightful place apart from the human existence.

The Islamic Republic has in fact become a target for countless terrorist attacks, ranging from the CIA and Mossad co-operation to attempt regime change to their joint support of the MKO. Facts are clearly evident if the public desires to find them. Volumes have been compiled, including images and detailed reports, of the thousands of innocent Islamic scholars, students, and professionals who have been assassinated in Iran.

It is only after a tragedy that people mourn. Malcolm X, praised today by the media, was given little mercy by the media during his lifetime. The same mistakes must not be committed unintentionally, by society as a whole, for being silent at a time when justice is most at risk.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

The USA, in imperialist decorum, allied with mindless individuals such as Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, even Osama Bin Laden during the Cold War. Jutice has escaped western political games for too long.

The time has come for humanity to ignite the Torch and let ignorance dissipate.

High School Mind, voice of the new generation


by: Andreas from: Sweeden
February 21, 2011 17:21
I just came back from a skiing trip to Iran and the only place where I heard of unrest was on BBC and CNN. The exaggeration of Iranian “threat” and presenting the Islamic government in Iran as a one lacking the backing of its people is a very big mistake, perhaps this illusion is the main reason why the West cannot effectively contain Islamic Republic for 32 years. It’s time for dialogue not demonization. Iran is far more democratic then most pro-Western autocrats in the region.
In Response

by: Michael from: DK
February 21, 2011 23:24
You haven't been to Iran you have been on another planet (if you even traveled at all), its so lame hahaha. Why would a Swede go to Iran for skiing ? How could you get a visa ?

I just went to Iran for a beach party and everything cheerful and calm. I was dancing, going to concerts, chilling on the beach with all the satisfied Iranian people. It is just the west and everybody else with any ethics that make a big fuss.

The Islamic priesthood in Iran are brutally destroying the people. You are either an paid Iranian propagandist or a down right idiot.
In Response

by: Andreas from: Sweeden
February 22, 2011 17:50
"Why would a Swede go to Iran for skiing ? How could you get a visa ?

Because I live in Qatar and most EU citizens since two years can get a tourist visa for 2 weeks upon arrival at IKA. It seems you lived too long outside of Iran and have no clue what is really happening inside the country. Leave the West and go see Iran not through TV, but through reality.

"You are either an paid Iranian propagandist or a down right idiot."

This really shows the "intellectual" creativity of your types. People who do not buy into the propaganda of FoxNews are paid Iranian agents. Great intellectual work! No wonder Islamic Republic is still in place since its opponents are “geniuses”.

by: Neda Irani from: Montreal
February 21, 2011 18:46
Khamenei has no shame and knows no bounds for lying

by: Geppetto from: USA
February 21, 2011 19:25
Both sides are claiming these martyred students are for their respective causes, that's for sure, Fardan. Can you comment or explain why this double standard exists in Iran? Why do they support Arab peaceful protests while brutally attacking or and suppressing peaceful protests in their own country at the same time?
In Response

by: Fardan from: Tehran
February 22, 2011 02:01
Because, there was no "brutal" crackdown and the demonstration wasn't peaceful. There were supposed to have been some demonstrations on the street who were to show solidarity with Egyptians. They had no permit to demonstrate in the streets, that was due to a mass demonstration in solidarity with Egypt three days earlier. The protesters as soon as showed up in the four or five locations they were to start gathering, started burning trash bins, breaking car windows, and by an eyewitness report (who I personally know and went to demonstrate and soon left) 2 protesters were carrying pistols. There are videos showing participation of MKO in the demonstration. This is the area where Mohammad Mokhtari (who was a bystander or maybe a protester but on a side walk -- there is a video of this -- but no where to be found anymore) was killed without any police being present. Jaleh was beaten to death, there are a number of videos of pro-government supporters being beaten up by a gangs of protester. There is one particularly where a pro-government individual pulls a poster from under a car and he gets beaten up very badly, luckily to be rescued by a bystander. Assuming Jaleh being beaten up in the same way is not a big stretch. The idea that anyone in Iran wants the MKO gang to come and take over instead of the current government is nonsense.

There is a legitimate desire in Iran for more social and civil freedoms, one may call it considerable desire and count me in it. But if this is going to be violent based on what the MKO cult desires or the government response to it, count me out, I'll be happy to live with the social restriction, and as far as installing a puppet government count me out as well, and I believe vast majority of Iranian feel the same.
In Response

by: Geppetto from: USA
February 22, 2011 20:59
Since the goverment would not grant permits to protest, these Iranians were frustrated and decided to do so anyway. Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most important Marja's in the Shiite world who lives in Najaf, Iraq, has declared that demonstrating against shortcomings is a fundamental right of every citizen, but that it should not result in the destruction of public and private assets and murder of people.

From the limited amount of news and videos coming from Tehran, it looks like both sides are escalating violence, unfortunately. If burning trash bins and breaking card windows was it, they should be arrested and pay fines. However, my understanding is that thousands have been arrested and the leaders, including Karoubi and Mousavi are under house arrest, with Mousavi's home being subjected to sound bombs and other intimidating tactics. Clearly the Iranian people want change. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani, the most important Shiite Marja' living in Iran, has recently severely criticized the judiciary for turning arrests and jailing of the people as a normal and common practice, clearly outside Islamic teachings. I hope and pray that both sides agree to change before this escalates into a civil war.
In Response

by: Muhammed from: Washington D.C
February 24, 2011 06:27
I support the people of Iran, and therefore the Islamic Republic, since I can comfortably discern, beyond any doubt, that American, British, Australian and European media share a common tone and message when coverage of Iran is concerned.

MKO attacks are sidelined, any anti-government demonstration is exaggerated excitedly, clearly with a tone of anticipation for regime change which is all the USA wants after loosing pre-revolution influence in the region.

A quest for global power does not have to take precedence over the right of people in western society to live without prejudice, especially in the media they deem reliable.

If I say 'shari'a', eurocentrically-minded people immediately associate oppression of women and backwardness with the word, failing to consider this stereotypic assertion which condescendingly degrades Muslims and Islam, from which this law is derived.

Very few people realise that the true shariah is not what American-bred groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban, ignorantly claim to follow, but a series of moral principles that every Muslim cherishes. Yes, these groups are American-bred, for they were once funded and supported by the USA as part of America's Cold War strategy, when Bin Laden and Saddam were American lackies.

Why use these irrelevant connotations when discussing Iran, which is a successful and stable country in the face of all impediments put forth by its relentless rivals for no truly justifiable reason?

People in the rest of the world do not label the west as "racist", justifying their words with the actions of the Klu Klux Klan. Al Qaeda is a similar cult, so why ignorantly trample upon truth when dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran? Why does the media in the "west" not address the human achievements of Iran? The alleviation of poverty since the Shah left, the equality and freedom of Islamic expression, the expansion of education, the cancellation of degrading policies such as capitulatory rights to foreigners, as Iranians were debased to the level of dogs under the Shah, the expulsion of the SAVAK. Why the constant pessimism in the "western" media? Why the focus on fuelling anti-Islamic sensationalism when Iran is mentioned? Don't other countries have rights to national security and sovereignty?

I have already predicted the ignorant responses of equally ignorant individuals. That does not reverse the fact the justice and truth shall always prevail.


by: Azhar khan from: multan pakistan
February 22, 2011 03:19
we must understand Irans system of Wilayat e faqih . which is the best domocratic system in which only people having excellence in character can rule.Ali khamenei is the best man in world leadeship having political ,,socio, and spiritual vision , such people are best fit to rule world.
In Response

by: Michael from: Australia
February 22, 2011 11:23
Thats bull and you know it, forcing religious idealogies espeically man made ones like Islam is pathetic
1- The Iran system isn't democratic at all, to even call a system democratic, the most powerful leader should be chosen by the people.
2- Forcing Sharia law, women to cover up etc will in the end only hasten Iran's demise by putting it on a war path with Israel.
In Response

by: azhar khan from: multan
February 23, 2011 19:12
thanks Dear , i love u , n happy to know that u r concerned wth safty and security of the universe, , u must decide first that what qualities and characteristics a tru true leader should have. .... ok just two... 1- knwledge
2- justice, ...now who is just n knowledgable ? Bush Blaair < obama ? Pope? is there any any one who should guide the humanity to the right path .... none?..... any one who should have the conviction that Man not only responsible to save the humans but also the univers. He has atomic power but do not believe to make nukes,that are deadly not only for enemies but also for frends , for nature, would gauranteee from israel.Islam isnt man made... yes its pure .... as muslims have not altered revelation as it hapend with bible. and the church is crupt now and has lost its spirtuality. i feel pity for the people like u who hynatized by media propaganda. Dont u feel u people have lost dignity and honour a human should have. didnt u make woman a comercial comodity in the name of liberty. dont u knw Queen Mary was coverd like iranian woman and was loved by God and people yet. dont u know Islamic revolution was in iran was result of the continuous strugle and sacrifices of people against an autocrate? an peple liked the system thy r enjoying now,.. dont u feel the awakening in midle east due to iranian revolution. shoudnt thy crush the people who were traind in dubai by Americans to plot against a just system of governmment. dont u realize that u r human and need to know truth and reality. ,,,, dont u desire a democracy on the basis of the sublimity of character and not on the treachry of dirty politics . people shuldnt b counted but must b weighed. Ali khamenaie is greatest bcoz he he has provd himself in all fronts of life. just study him having no biousness. inviting u for frndship bcoz Islam teaches zero animosity.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix AZ
February 27, 2011 17:15
It must really suck to live in a country where your life is controlled by people that you have absolutely no control over; IRGC, Basij militia, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ahmadinejad. Iran needs a big dose of representative democracy, or would that be against Islam?

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