(Updates at the bottom of this posting below)
Peaceful protests turned violent as Iranian authorities have authorized deadly force. Thus far there are fifteen (15) reportedly killed in Tehran and four (4) in Tabriz.
More details have filtered in that some Iranian policemen have refused to fire on the protesters. The hated Basiji Militia headquarters is up in flames and more reports of unconfirmed deaths from all over the country of Iran are pouring in view various media outlets.
Among those killed is the nephew of Mir Hossein Moussavi, the leader of the burgeoning opposition as well as the leading vote getter in the last election which was hijacked by the clerical ruling class. Ali Habibi Moussavi, the nephew, was shot in the chest and died at the hospital. Details are still sketchy.
The Islamic Iranian regime has barred all journalists, but pictures and footage have confirmed large demonstrations nationwide that have not been intimidated by the use of violent force.
Some showed huge crowds chanting slogans attacking President Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
President Obama has failed to respond to the growing violence in Iran outside of a standard White House response from Washington of a bland condemnation of “violence”. His hesitancy has betrayed many in the Iranian opposition to the point that if there is a regime change the opportunity to build again good relations with Iran diminishes each day as our president dawdles away in his luxurious resort home in Hawaii.
When the Shah fell from power in 1979 it was after a year of strikes and demonstrations. Revolutions in Iran tend to proceed at a stately pace. After a stolen Presidential election in Iran in the late Spring, the Iranian regime found itself faced with an active and growing opposition. The regime has been unable to crush it. On December 7, huge demonstrations erupted throughout Iran on college campuses. Now cracks may be beginning to appear in an institution that is key for the survival of any dictatorship: the military. The below story was reported in Pajamas Media by Iranian exile Afshin Ellian, who fled Iran in 1983 and who is a law professor at the University of Leiden. He is the sole source I can find for this report, so take it with a grain of salt.
On December 10, a statement signed by a number of officers and commanders of the Iranian army was released. The regular army of Iran had not been involved in the suppression of the population. The statement was signed by:
•Pilots and personnel of the aviation division of the regular army (Havanirooz)
•Commanders and personnel of the 31th artillery division of Isfahan of the regular army
•Pilots and airmen of the regular army
•Teachers of the Shaid Satari University of the regular air force
•Officers and staff of the logistics training unit the regular army
•Professors and lecturers of the Imam Ali University for officers of the regular army
•Officers, staff, and commanders of the chief of staff of the regular army
In summary, they wrote:
Together we fought in the war with our brothers in the Revolutionary Guards in order to defend the country, the people, and the honor of the nation. They also emphasize that “the value of the land means the value of the Iranian nation.” This is very interesting. ??Value of the nation.
Not abstract concepts such as Iran or Islam, but the value of the nation determines the value of the land. Therefore, the weapons of the army and RG are to be used to protect the nation: “When we fought together, we could never suspect that parts of the RG would ever use its weapons against the people.”
The last section of this brief but powerful statement will surely immortalize these brave officers: “The army is a haven for the nation and will never want to suppress the people at the request of politicians. We shall remain true to our promise not to intervene in politics. But we cannot remain silent when our fellow citizens are oppressed by tyranny.”
They go on: “Therefore, we warn the Guards who have betrayed the martyrs (from the war between Iran and Iraq) and who decided to attack the lives, the property and the honor of the citizens. We seriously warn them that if they do not leave their chosen path, they will be confronted with our tough response. The military is a haven for the nation. And we will defend the peace-loving Iranian nation against any aggression.”
Many recent developments in Iran, all of them bad for the Iranian regime of Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader, with apologies to Fearless Leader of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Khamenei. Huge demonstrations rocked Iran on Friday with crowd estimates ranging from 100,000 to over a million in Tehran. Repression, brutal as it has been, is simply not stopping the Resistance from taking to the streets once a week.