Showdown at the Tehran Corral


On Saturday, as reported on  Mousavi’s Facebook page,   “A new era of censorship has started following the statement by National Security Council (headed by Ahmadinejad) which banned all the domestic press from reflecting any news regarding Mousavi, Karoubi or the disputed presidential election! This has been confirmed by three reformist newspapers.”

In good Soviet fashion, Mousavi and Karroubi have been declared “non-persons.”  And the “elections,” which really were non-elections all along, have been put on the Iranian Index.  Within minutes, millions of bloggers, tweeters and facebookers had the news, and were accordingly talking about Mousavi, Karroubi and the elections.

This is the latest move by a regime that fears time is working against it, and, at least for the moment, the big showdown is now scheduled for next Friday, “Quds (Jerusalem) Day,” on which a monster demonstration has been called by the followers of the two non-persons to protest you-know-what.

Friday is always an important day for public political rhetoric, and yesterday Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei gave a very tough sermon at Friday Prayers in Tehran.  It was the mirror image of Mousavi’s warning of increased violence on the part of the regime.  Khamenei warned that the only legitimate topic for demonstrations on that date will be Palestine.  So if anybody shows signs of caring about Iran, the regime thugs will crack down on them.

Last night the chants from the rooftops of Tehran were louder than ever.  And so the regime has decided to go all-out to assert its power.  They have already arrested some of the top aides to Mousavi and Karroubi, and several leading bloggers sympathetic to the opposition.  A story during the week quoted Rafsanjani as saying that an arrest order for Karroubi--who has been vigorously demanding full disclosure of the horrendous treatment of demonstrators in the regime's prisons--has already been issued and can be carried out any time.  However, most good analysts do not believe that the regime would arrest the dissident leaders until Ahmadinezhad has made his annual pilgrimage to the United Nations, early next week.  Most likely, the showdown will take place on Quds Day, next Friday.

That said, the Iranian universe is in great turmoil, and as Yoda used to say, there are great perturbations in the Force.  Most anything can happen.

The week is full of potentially major events.  Supreme Leader Khamenei’s birthday is this week, and he has long said that he would like to have one or two atomic bombs as his present.  Some are saying that the present is on schedule, but such stories have been told for more than two years.