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IRAN: Tehran residents speak up about protests and opposition movement

Protesters-in-Tehran3What do Iranians think about the confrontation between pro- and anti-government forces that continues to dominate the country's political discourse?

Babylon & Beyond spoke to people on the streets and in the mosques of Tehran to canvas opinion about recent protests in the Iranian capital, the opposition movement and its leaders.

Those interviewed also were asked whether they thought protests might escalate or were losing momentum.

Amir, 50, businessman:

"The demonstration on March 1 was in Engelab and Azadi avenues and they were more than I had expected. But the difference was the plainclothes police who were among the groups of demonstrators. ... As soon as [the protesters] dared to chant slogans, they were arrested and taken away to the waiting buses. I have watched videos ... about the demonstrations in Shiraz and Isfahan and other cities. The demonstrations will be escalating if the suppressive militia lets up and is a bit lenient."

Mohammad, 46, Koran teacher: "I think the sedition is not going to escalate in the future. Of course, sedition is a mixture of right and wrong, and it is difficult to discern right from wrong. I think the people who voted for Mousavi and Karroubi are distancing themselves from them -- especially those who are faithful Muslims and want a religious state here. Mousavi and Karroubi have used their supporters as a bridge to reach to their goals. Now people are realizing the reality."

Hamid, 54, bookseller: "I am pessimistic, and the demonstrations seem to be diminishing in size. As you can see, the number of demonstrators diminished in the protests Feb. 14, Feb. 20 and the latest, March 1. People like me think that it is not worthy to take to the streets and be beaten up or arrested or killed for the sake of Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi and ex-President Mohammad Khatami. We need new goals to fight for. Otherwise, we have to revise our protest methods, and I believe we need militant groups to fight in parallel to our peaceful demonstrations to exercise our pressure on the regime."

Emad, 27, engineer and salesman: The demonstrations are shrinking in size and number, but I think as soon as the economic dissatisfaction becomes more of a factor, demonstrators will be able to mobilize people for bigger protests. But the next time, the leadership will be out of reach for Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Javad, 43, businessman in Tehran's Grand Bazaar:  England, the U.S. and Israel are behind the sedition. The Feb. 14 unrest, especially, indicated that the sedition leaders are under the influence of Britain. People who were among the 13 million who voted for Mousavi are now disillusioned and are realizing the ill intentions of the sedition leaders. For sure, the sedition will diminish.

Shahram 24, pharmacology student: Sixty percent of our faculty are pro-Mousavi and pro-Karroubi, but only a very tiny group of us is ready to take to the streets to protest. One thing is sure: I was in the demonstration on March 1 but not for Mousavi or Karroubi. Not at all. We are subversive. We are against the whole system.

Naser, 48, teacher : One of my students was arrested on March 1 but was freed after a few hours by law enforcement. I think the Basiji militia and police were lenient and more divided than before. So I hope that the protest will gain momentum.

Mehdi, 27, student studying for doctorate in philosophy: Some friends who were supporters of and voted for Mousavi and Karroubi are now distancing themselves from them. ... In short, the majority of Iranian society is religious, and those who want to raise the banner of secularism and separation of state from the mosque are mistaken, and that is why I think the sedition or green movement or whatever you call it is diminishing. But I think the sedition will remain and will be problematic in the future.

Mostafa, 40, unemployed: Before Feb. 14, the green-movement websites tried to depict the regime as lacking power to suppress and crack down and wooed people to take to the streets. But on Feb. 20 and March 1, the wooing and lulling techniques failed. I personally do not want to end up in jail, and I am looking for a better life and to get a job to earn my living. So I am with the protests as long as they are easy and promising.

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: Anti-government protesters out in the streets of Tehran on Feb 14. Credit: Payvand website

Comments () | Archives (11)

as far as i am concern most of peopel in iran are facing the hardship that has been impose of them by western world for the same reason of stopping iran doing this or doing that for that reason they just blank the fact that west as always trying to keep iran from becoming an stronger powe in region
non of thise reason could explain the person reason to turn to traitor against his own country and a foot soldier for kikes and scum of amrica

In February, during the popular Arab uprisings, the U.S. State department started to send out Tweets to Iranian activists to get out on the streets and protest. As a result some protesters died and many ended up in jail.
Iranians and Iran should be allowed to find their own direction and future without interference from the us. American involvement in Iran is primarily to serve Israel's wishes. I have several posts regarding this on sajepress dot com

No Two Iranian conform to a single rule or law or political view and that is how they are. You should see the traffic condition in Tehran as an example. Iranians are smart people with 3000 years of history and experience under their belt. through out their history they have fought outsiders politically or by force and they have not changed a bit in that regard. Their culture supports struggle, non-conformity and freedom of opinion, which is very apparent in their poems and the teaching of their philosophers. We in the West have tried to understand their goals and aspirations, to pigeon hole them, but have not succeeded. The British tried to divided them and marginalize them and they did not succeed. Russians tried to muscle them out, but they did not succeed either.

Our obsession with Iran is rooted at the helpless feelings that we have when it comes to deal with them in any level. We overthrow their democratically elected government in 1956 and they took our embassy prisoner for 444, which no one was hurt only our ego. All embassy members were released un-harmed. The more we push the more we look bad. So, President Obama is staying away and is letting the Iranians decide for themselves.

As for the Mullahs, they are nothing new in Iran. They have been there for 1400 years since Islam in every and each village or country side. They are not going to go any where either. So, get used to them as well.

Protests are dying. Fewer and fewer people are coming to streets. More people have realized that in 1953 people who were on streets demonstrating and getting applause in western newspapers and media were all wrong. Their protests in 1953 just like now was not legit and had been planned for them by CIA. Mosavi, Karoubi, Rafsanjani and Khatami belong to the same political party which has been in power for 24 years in the past 32 years. If they have any idea what should be done, they should have done it then. They have failed. The worst thing they did was the implementation of outright deceit in 2009. All independent scientific polls conducted since the election including the American ones all prove that the election was fair. Mosavi failed to provide any evidence to the contrary. This was their biggest political miscalculation. The interview in this article is basically meaningless, since this can not substitute statistical polling. Interviewing few individuals in Tehran is ridiculous. Tehran specially the rich north Tehran is not Iran. It is just a small part of Iran. The rest of Iran who are poor vastly outnumber rich city living people love the political system which takes from the rich and distribute among villages. I personally do not see any thing wrong with that and rationally think if a president be Ahmadinejad or Plumbinejad brings electricity, safe drinking water, schools, road, agri-machinery etc to a village in Iran, I do not think those villagers would ever be voting for anyone other than the Plumbinejad. The majority of Iran is poor and they do not have much in common with elitist green movement. Ahmadinejad since last two years has been building two million apartments and giving them away to those who do not own houses. Those are millions of poor people. None of those millions have been interviewed here. It is time to recognize the facts here. 400 million dollars was not enough to bring down an elected Iranian government.

Why can't we just leave Iran alone and mind our own business? Oh, I get it. There is oil there!! Otherwise, if we are really for liberty and human rights, there are lots of other places like Africa where people are in abject poverty and are being ruled by the most savage rulers. Then again, I get it. These rulers are on CIA's payroll. In other words, we know they are SOBs. It's just that they are OUR own SOB's which makes it OK. I got it!!

The Iranian regime uses all means to undermine the people discontent with the political and economic situation in Iran. If they continue their way of suppression they will cause an internal war.

lipservice90 (and LA Times editors):

Mir Hossein Mousavi has no links to the MKO terrorist group, aka The Cult of Rajavi. This group is widely hated inside Iran for, amongst other things, their treasonous decision to join Iraq and fight with Saddam against Iran during the 1980-88' Iran-Iraq war, in which close to a million people died. That is why the Iranian regime has been putting out propaganda claiming Mousavi is linked to the MKO for some time now.

In fact, it is a common trick by the Iranian government to smear legitimate internal opponents as linked to either the MKO, the much-hated Monarchists, or Israel / UK / USA.


How many Iranians do you know? Cause' I know quite a few.

You do not understand the Iran or Iranian culture, and your conclusions about Iran and Iranians are misleading and/or incorrect. What little credible polling we have from Iran strongly indicates that Iranians want to have direct democratic elections over all institutions of government, including the Supreme Leader, and that they want greater civil and personal liberties.

And, other than opinion, what does this 'scholar; submit as proof?

You might also want to consider the fact that this 'scholar' has a side ... and that side may be pro-regime. In which case, you are letting yourself be used as a propaganda tool at a minimum.

So there you have it. Most folks quoted in this small piece oppose the separation of church and state.

So the neocon/liberal idealists can abandon any hope of establishing Western-style democracy over there. All politics is a reflection of its society's culture, that's for sure.

How were these views obtained? In general, it is difficult to get sincere views from folks who are living in a country that actively suppresses dissent.

Mousavi linked to terror group: Scholar
Mon Mar 7, 2011 11:38AM

An Iranian university professor says Mir Hossein Mousavi, a key opposition leader in Iran, has been backed by the MKO terrorist group.


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