Iran Burning, Pt. 8 (UPDATED REPEATEDLY)


There is more news trickling in this morning of the Iranian government brutally suppressing opposition demonstrators:

Riot police attacked hundreds of demonstrators with tear gas and fired live bullets in the air to disperse a rally in central Tehran Monday, carrying out a threat by the country’s most powerful security force to crush any further opposition protests over the disputed presidential election.


Witnesses said helicopters hovered overhead as about 200 protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square. But hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration and prevented any gathering, even small groups, at the scene.

At the subway station at Haft-e-Tir, the witnesses said police did not allow anyone to stand still, asking them to keep on walking and separating people who were walked together. The witnesses asked not to be identified for fear of government reprisals.

Just before the clashes, an Iranian woman who lives in Tehran said there was a heavy police and security presence in another square in central Tehran. She asked not to be identified because she was worried about government reprisals.

“There is a massive, massive, massive police presence,” she told the Associated Press in Cairo by telephone. “Their presence was really intimidating.”

[Emphasis mine]

And Time tells the story of Neda, a young Iranian woman who was allegedly shot to death by the Basij.

Her death was caught on video and has spread throughout the internet; some people are now portraying her as a martyr for the opposition’s cause:

A gruesomely captivating video of a young woman — laid out on a Tehran street after apparently being shot, blood pouring from her mouth and then across her face — swept Twitter, Facebook and other websites this weekend. The woman rapidly became a symbol of Iran’s escalating crisis, from a political confrontation to far more ominous physical clashes.


Although it is not yet clear who shot “Neda” (a soldier? pro-government militant? an accidental misfiring?), her death may have changed everything. For the cycles of mourning in Shiite Islam actually provide a schedule for political combat — a way to generate or revive momentum. Shiite Muslims mourn their dead on the third, seventh and 40th days after a death, and these commemorations are a pivotal part of Iran’s rich history. During the revolution, the pattern of confrontations between the shah’s security forces and the revolutionaries often played out in 40-day cycles.


“Neda” is already being hailed as a martyr, a second important concept in Shiism. With the reported deaths of 19 people Saturday, martyrdom also provides a potent force that could further deepen public anger at Iran’s regime.

Meanwhile, a number of European countries are opening up their embassies to wounded demonstrators who need medical attention but risk arrest and/or execution if they go to an Iranian hospital.

A number of videos chronicle the escalating violence in Iran. Here, police attack a group of unarmed students in Shiraz:

And here a group of opposition demonstrators successfully fight off a group of Basij:

This video allegedly shows opposition forces setting fire to the gas lines that lead to the Basij headquarters:

And pictures, from Andrew Sullivan:






UPDATE: BBC Persia (translated by HuffPo) has more on Neda Agha-Setan.  Apparently she was not a supporter of Mousavi–she simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and was killed because of it.

Which, in my opinion, is even worse–Agha-Setan was gunned down even though she wasn’t a member of the opposition. So, whoever shot her is targeting people indiscriminately, whether or not they show any sign of being a Mousavi supporter.

UPDATE II: Here are two videos from today’s demonstrations: