(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.
In the proud tradition of news photos of beautiful women protesting against political oppression, the Boston Globe provides a series of photos of the protests over Iran’s apparently rigged presidential election, but the first is this one:
(In all seriousness, this is some of the best photo journalism I’ve seen in a long time, go check it out.)
There’s some reasonable dispute as to whether it would help or hurt the protestors for the Obama Administration to break silence on the issue and speak in support of the protestors. Given Iran’s history and the fierce national pride across the political spectrum, if Obama openly supported the protestors it might give Ahmadinejad the ability to paint Mousavi’s supporters as stooges of the US. However, the US and the rest of the world should make it clear that a violent crackdown ala Tiananmen Square would be absolutely unacceptable.
Gary Sick provides a rundown of recent events, prompting the question: has their been a political coup in Iran?