After Sunday Clashes in Iran, 'Green Movement' Supporters Take Stock
Athanasiadis, Iason, The Christian Science Monitor
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
"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. …