‘Death to Khamenei’
Speaking of the Green Movement, the Iranian regime directed a new spate of violence against the Greens during street demonstrations yesterday commemorating the Shiite holiday of Ashura, which remembers the climactic battle between the martyred saint Hussein and his persecutor Yazid. Protesters, amazingly, chanted “Death to Khamenei,” the supreme leader of Iran, and compared him to the hated Yazid. That could be the death knell for a regime that claims its legitimacy from fidelity to Shiite religious precepts.
Frontline’s reporter Meir Javedanfar thinks the violence heralds an “Iranian intifada.”
Judging from the events of Ashura, however, they now seem to have the potential to turn into a full scale-civil disobedience campaign, not unlike the first intifada that the Palestinians initiated against Israel in 1987. This will mean continuous periods of strikes and civil disobedience, as well as more confrontations between members of the public and security forces.
The main factor contributing to the new status quo is the unrelenting policies of the Supreme Leader, which have pitted his version of the Islamic Republic against longstanding Islamic institutions.
This is a battle that he will find extremely difficult to win. In fact, if developments continue in their current form, they can, at a minimum, result in significant changes to the structure of his regime, or more drastically, lead to its total demise.
A statement released by Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council, on the violence, reads:
We strongly condemn the violent and unjust suppression of civilians in Iran seeking to exercise their universal rights. Hope and history are on the side of those who peacefully seek their universal rights, and so is the United States. Governing through fear and violence is never just, and as President Obama said in Oslo – it is telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.