The 9th of July, the 18th of Tir
Maybe it'll be a turning point. Maybe not. It's the anniversary of the massacre of students in Iran ten years ago, when they defied their tyrants and called for freedom. There are certainly a lot of people around the world who will turn out to show their contempt for the Tehran regime. I can't keep track of them all, but there should be significant turnouts in the Hague, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Washington, New York, Irvine and Santa Monica, Seattle and Hamburg...and more and more. In Iran itself, the regime's opponents have called for "the biggest turnout yet," totally silent, no posters or banners, just silence.
The silence of the demonstrations would be a counterpoint to the nightly chants from the rooftops and prisons of the nation. Chants of "Allah is great," along with "Death to the Dictator." If you believe the folks on Twitter, those chants have been louder with each passing night, despite the violence of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards, which ranges from snipers shooting from one rooftop to another, armed thugs breaking into homes to seize computers, cell phones and other communications devices, and arrest one or more family members. Meanwhile, horribly maimed bodies have been showing up all over the country. Some of the gouging of the bodies seems to have been done to remove all evidence of bullet holes, but whatever the "explanation," the bloody savagery is well documented.
If you want some detail about the horrors inside Iranian hospitals, have a look at Le Figaro's account.
Over the objections of medical staff, bodies from the demonstrations were quickly moved elsewhere. “We believe they were transferred to the Baqiatollah military hospital or some other undisclosed location”, notes the doctor. Then, under the pretext of “organ donation”, all traces of bullets were removed from the bodies. “The parents were force to accept this if they wanted to retrieve the body for burial”.
And yet, the protest goes on. For the past three days, a general strike has been in effect, with significant results. Indeed, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei preemptively admitted defeat when government offices and factories were shut down in the name of a religious observance. But the strikers only expanded the range of their actions, notably by shutting down electrical grids in several cities, including parts of Tehran. Great swathes of the nation were plunged into darkness. This sort of thing is likely to continue, whatever happens on the 9th.
Most of the protesters fear the worst, warning of snipers preparing to shoot into the crowds, and a massive buildup of security forces in Tehran. There are rumors about possible countermeasures from the demonstrators, but, like the stories about massive repression, these remain to be confirmed.
Meanwhile, there are continuous accounts of internal strife in the regime's ranks. The London Guardian, in a carefully worded account, tells us that the most powerful figure in the ongoing repression is Khamenei's second son, Mojtaba. He is said to be particularly enraged by the British Government's seizure of more than a billion dollars in London accounts, at least some of which belongs to him. No one would be surprised to find that the supreme leader was a very wealthy man, or that he had salted away some of his money outside Iran. Others have been moving their funds to more secure lands of late.