"Moreover, you scorned our people, and compared the Albanese to sheep, and according to your custom think of us with insults. Nor have you shown yourself to have any knowledge of my race. Our elders were Epirotes, where this Pirro came from, whose force could scarcely support the Romans. This Pirro, who Taranto and many other places of Italy held back with armies. I do not have to speak for the Epiroti. They are very much stronger men than your Tarantini, a species of wet men who are born only to fish. If you want to say that Albania is part of Macedonia I would concede that a lot more of our ancestors were nobles who went as far as India under Alexander the Great and defeated all those peoples with incredible difficulty. From those men come these who you called sheep. But the nature of things is not changed. Why do your men run away in the faces of sheep?"
Letter from Skanderbeg to the Prince of Taranto ▬ Skanderbeg, October 31 1460

Iran's Elections spark rage

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Arta
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Iran's Elections spark rage

#1

Post by Arta » Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:07 am




Iran election protesters set to defy supreme leader
Opposition supporters vow to continue protests against presidential election results despite warning from ayatollah



Iran's opposition movement looks set to defy a blunt warning from the Islamic regime's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to stay off the streets, by holding further protests over the "stolen" presidential election.

The Iranian interior ministry today reitirated the message from Khamenei, saying the reformist presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would "be held responsible for the consequences of any illegal gatherings". In a statement on its website the ministry accused the 67-year-old former prime minister of supporting protests that "have lead to the disruption of security and public order".

Mousavi, who claims he beat the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was said by an ally to have no plans for unauthorised rallies today following the ayatollah's warning, but supporters vowed to continue protesting. This morning, Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who has become an unlikely figurehead for the opposition movement, is reported to have said the rally would go ahead.

But fears are growing of an intensifying crackdown on media and opposition activists, and many are worried that today's protests could lead to further bloodshed.

Students at the fine arts department of Tehran University – where scores of students were injured and some reportedly killed after raids by security forces earlier this week – announced an indefinite sit-in starting today.

Khamenei yesterday rejected accusations of fraud in the poll, confirmed Ahmadinejad as the winner, and gave no ground to the millions of Iranians demanding their votes back.

His closely watched speech at the university's Friday prayers could hardly have been tougher. It had been hoped he might adopt a more conciliatory tone that would help defuse the gathering crisis, the worst in Iran's 30-year post-revolutionary history. But he warned: "If there is any bloodshed, the leaders of the protests will be held directly responsible. The result of the election comes from the ballot box, not from the street. Today the Iranian nation needs calm."

Tens of thousands of worshippers cheered as he told them: "It is your victory. They cannot manipulate it."

Mousavi, whose "green" movement scared the regime with the support it was attracting, ignored a call to attend the prayer meeting and now faces a dilemma over his next step. Ignoring Khamenei's message risks bloodshed on a far larger scale than the eight people killed last week. Accepting it means surrender to the regime.

The reformist cleric Mehdi Karroubi, another candidate for the presidency, added to the pressure last night by calling for the election to be annulled. "Accept the Iranian nation's will by cancelling the vote and guarantee the establishment's survival," he urged.

Khamenei attacked opponents at home but also lambasted Iran's enemies abroad in hardline remarks that bode ill for any opening to the US, where Barack Obama is seeking talks to tackle worries over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Britain was attacked as "the most evil", but the US, Israel and "Zionist-controlled" media were also abused, as was Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state. "The enemies are targeting the Islamic establishment's legitimacy by questioning the election and its authenticity before and after [the vote]," said Khamenei.

President Barack Obama toughened his rhetoric yesterday in support of the demonstrators and criticised the Tehran government for its violent response.

"I'm very concerned – based on some of the tenor and tone of the statements that have been made – that the government of Iran recognise that the world is watching," Obama told CBS News. "And how they approach and deal with people who are, through peaceful means, trying to be heard will, I think, send a pretty clear signal to the international community about what Iran is – and is not."

Analysts and commentators were dismayed by the implications of Khamenei's speech. Sadegh Saba, chief analyst for BBC Persian TV, said: "Mousavi wants the protests to continue but Khamenei is saying if they do there might be bloodshed – and it will be on your hands."

Issa Saharkhiz, a Tehran-based pro-reformist commentator, said Khamenei's speech had transformed the crisis from a conflict over the election result into a trial of his own political authority, which was now being openly questioned. "Now the issue is that the supreme leader's sense of justice, management and competence is under question," he told Deutsche Welle. "The leadership cannot be left in the hands of such a person, who for the sake of preserving himself and his power threatens people with mass murder."

Crucially, Khamenei ruled out any cheating in the election, apparently dashing hopes that a partial recount ordered by the guardian council, a supervisory body of senior clerics, will mitigate the crisis.

Khamenei's call for Mousavi and Karroubi to confine their protests to legal avenues prompted mockery. "This means that Imam Hossein [the third most revered figure in Shia Islam], instead of making a last stand at Karbala, [should have] pursued his grievances through the legal process," one blogger said on the Farsi blogsite Balatarin.

Balatarin was flooded with messages voicing outrage at Khamenei's warning. One read: "Mr Khamenei, the direct responsibility for any damage to people's lives or property now lies with you."
"I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."~Harry S. Truman

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Re: Iran's Elections spark rage

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Post by Arta » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:11 pm

Image Police block protest site in Tehran, witness says


Image Image
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Heavily armed police prevented several thousand Iranian protesters Saturday from entering Revolution Square, one of the main protest sites in Tehran, a witness told CNN.

About a mile away, police kept the crowd back by throwing two canisters of tear gas at their feet, the witness said.

The Web site of the main opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi, quoted news reports as saying a flood of people was headed to the capital from surrounding towns.

Two rallies had been scheduled to begin about 4 p.m. Saturday (7:30 a.m. ET) to protest a disputed presidential election, despite stern warnings from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He said Friday that protest organizers would be held responsible if the demonstrations led to bloodshed.

Two people were hurt in a blast at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in southern Tehran, Iran's state-run Press TV reported Saturday.

Ayatollah Khomeini was the father of the Islamic Revolution that swept the Shah of Iran from power in 1979. He is regarded as the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

CNN could not independently confirm reports of a blast or who or what may have caused it. Khomeini is buried at the shrine.

There have been conflicting reports about whether the rallies would go on as scheduled -- or on the scale at which the organizers first envisioned.

Iran's state-run media reported Saturday that the two major rallies had been canceled, but CNN could not independently confirm those reports. Many people on social networking Web sites, such as Twitter, said rallies would go forward as scheduled.

A reformist group that had planned to join one of the rallies, however, told CNN it would not participate.

The Combatant Clerics Association, affiliated with former President Mohammed Khatami, called off its plans to demonstrate. Khatami supported the main opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Moussavi. iReport.com: Share images from Iran

The two rallies were scheduled to begin about 4 p.m. Saturday (7:30 a.m. ET) despite the threat of a government crackdown.

One rally was sponsored by supporters of Moussavi and Mehdi Karrubi, another of the three candidates who ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in elections June 12.

Police were in two of the Tehran squares where the major demonstrations were to be held on Saturday

About 200 heavily-armed police officers massed Saturday afternoon at Freedom Square in Tehran, the site of one of the two demonstrations, a freelance journalist said.

Hundreds of armed, uniformed police were also at Revolution Square, and no demonstrators were there. The journalist said that it was "very dangerous to try to take pictures."

An analyst told CNN that the rallies could still go on even if leaders or the government called for them to stop.

"Often these protests can take on a life of their own, and if the leaders call off the protest, that does not mean the people will not come out on the streets and their will not be a resulting crackdown," said Reva Bhalla, an analyst with Stratfor, a global intelligence firm.

Both camps have said they had no plans to cancel the marches. No permits had been issued for either event, the Interior Ministry told Iran's FARS news agency.

A Moussavi supporter who did not want to be named said the "situation is really ambiguous."

Many who said they planned to attend the rallies wrote to one another on the social networking site Twitter early Saturday. Some wondered whether there would be violence at the protests.

"Let the Qu'ran shield you. It's a mortal sin to kill anyone holding the Qu'ran. BRING your Qu'ran to protest!!!" one person wrote on Twitter.

"We will try 2 keep this rally peaceful/silent as usual at every cost. Cant give them excuse 2 use force. Hope they wont," another said.

CNN is not using the posters' names for safety reasons. Both said they were in Iran, but CNN could not verify that.

News coverage in Iran has been limited by government restrictions on international journalists.

On Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, called for an end to the protests.

Khamenei also declared the election a "definitive victory" for Ahmadinejad and rejected allegations of vote-rigging.

"Any extremist move will fan up another extremist move," Khamenei said, criticizing the street protests. Those who caused violence during demonstrations would be held accountable, he said.

"If the political elite want to ignore law and break the law and take wrong measures which are harmful, willy-nilly, they will be held accountable for all the violence and blood and rioting." Video Watch Khamenei deny allegations of vote-rigging »

The opposition -- after staging large demonstrations for six days -- must consider whether to cross the line that Khamenei seemed to draw.

The supreme leader called on those who don't believe the election results to use legal avenues, such as requesting a recounting of ballots in their presence.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government said Saturday it was ready to randomly recount up to 10 percent of "ballot boxes."

The Guardian Council, which supervises the country's elections, invited three candidates -- Moussavi, Karrubi and Mohsen Rezaie -- to its meeting Saturday, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Two of them, Moussavi and Karrubi, failed to show up. Video Watch more on defiant protesters »

After Khamenei's speech Saturday, Amnesty International said his message "indicates the authorities' readiness to launch violent crackdowns if people continue to protest, which may cause a widespread loss of life."

"A top U.N. human rights official also said she was concerned about reports of excessive force and arrests at the protests.

"The legal basis of the arrests that have been taking place, especially those of human rights defenders and political activists, is not clear," said Navi Pillay, high commissioner for human rights . "It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that militia members and regular law enforcement agencies do not resort to illegal acts of violence."
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The government has maintained that the post-election death toll stands at seven. Amnesty International said on Friday that reports suggest up to 15 people have died. An activist told CNN that the death toll had climbed to 32, with 12 of those victims in Tehran.

Because of the Iranian government's restrictions on newsgathering, CNN could not independently verify the reports.
"I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."~Harry S. Truman

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Re: Iran's Elections spark rage

#3

Post by Arta » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:06 pm




Protests in Iran continue despite warnings of bloodshed
"I never gave anybody hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."~Harry S. Truman

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