Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Sunday Clashes in Iran, 'Green Movement' Supporters Take Stock

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

After Sunday Clashes in Iran, 'Green Movement' Supporters Take Stock

Article excerpt

Following Iran clashes on Sunday between Green Movement supporters and Iranian security forces left at least 10 people dead, reformists say hundreds of supporters have been arrested. Now supporters of change are speculating about what comes next.

The young, unemployed college graduate joined Sunday's bloody

anti-regime protests in Tehran even after an army friend of his

warned him that Iran's security forces might use live rounds. After

several hours on the Iranian capital's smoky streets, he returned

home in a daze.

"People took the fight to the police in several places, attacking

them with stones for the first time," he said, asking that his name

not be used. "We saw them overturn a police jeep and set it


The pace of change in demonstrators' attitudes has accelerated, he


"We started [in June] with peaceful silent protests but then

slogans got more radical," he said. "At first, all we wanted was

'our vote back,' then 'our presidency,' and when there was still no

answer we demanded 'Death to the Dictator.' "

Iran's so-called Green Movement has returned to international

prominence after several months when it simmered without spreading to

poorer sections of society or the provinces. The regime has met the

swelling movement with force. The official death toll from Sunday's

crackdown stood at 10 on Monday and Harana, a website close to Iran's

reformists, said more than 500 activists have since been arrested.

Among Sunday's dead was Ali Habibi Mousavi, a nephew of former

presidential candidate and Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Reformists allege the younger Mousavi was targeted for assassination

by the government. Reformists websites said Monday that his body was

seized by government security forces, speculating that the regime is

seeking to head off his funeral and ritual morning that could fuel

further anti-regime protests.

"I'm very worried about the violence escalating," said Djavad

Salehi-Esfahani, a professor of Economics at Virginia Tech and a

Brookings scholar who visited Iran last week. "Society is even more

polarised and I can't see the young pople easily giving up. It'll

take a lot more violence till they're all scared off."

The unemployed graduate has been captivated by the events unfolding

around him. A child born after the Iranian Revolution, he has known

nothing but the Islamic Republic. But his hope for change is tempered

by caution.

"We're just going to lose out if we change the whole regime now

without knowing what we want to see in its place," he said as the

sound of people shouting "God is great" from their rooftops drifted

in from an open window. "I even think that we're not ready for

such a momentous change. …

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