It appears that the worst fears have been affirmed regarding the Iranian government’s crackdown on the protests which have been going on in the Islamic Republic since the recent elections there gave incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a supposedly overwhelming victory over his main opponent Mir Moussavi.
The crackdown, in which opposition supporters have been beaten, shot, arrested, and even removed from hospitals where they had been receiving treatment, has culminated in at least 6 Moussavi supporters being reportedly hanged in the holy city of Mashhad. The fate of these six (not shown in this photo, taken back in 2005, when young Iranian homosexuals were hanged), along with many others who have simply disappeared since the crackdown began about a week following the June 12th elections, presents a sinister and extremely sad climax to what had hoped to have been a new air of reform and personal freedom in a country where these human attributes have been severely lacking.
One of Mir Moussavi’s few clerical supporters, Ayatollah Seyed Jalaleddin Taheri-Esfahani, had tried to defend the candidate (and former prime minister) against the regime’s criticisms by saying:
“Is it a case of justice to see that an honorable and modest Seyed [a descendant of the household of the prophet Muhammad], who until the last moments of Khomeini’s life was a dear and close companion of that grand leader, is now considered to be a rioter and an agent of arrogance who must be punished?”
The ongoing crackdown has become so harsh that anyone who was even seen shouting slogans or wearing green ribbons or paint (or honking their car horns) are now subject to beatings and arrest. What will happen to so many young, intelligent university students, the country’s future, is a serious matter – to say the least. But history has usually shown that in the case of a tyrannical government wanting to have full control of the people, a country’s academics are some of the first to be either seriously persecuted or outright eliminated altogether. Such was the case when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany during the 1930’s; and during the Russian Revolution of 1917 as well. In the extreme “double-speak” Orwellian nightmare that often takes over the sanity of a country, autocratic leaders find they can manipulate and intimidate the uneducated “proletarians” a lot easier than the intelligensia.
So is this now the reality of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where educated, well intended people, the “cream of the crop” for this country’s economic and political future, are now being rounded up in either the middle of the night â€“ or even in broad daylight (like they often were in Argentina during the 1970’s) and then taken to undisclosed locations to be brutally tortured and then executed for the simple “crime” of wanting to live as democratic and free people in their own country? And likewise , young Iranian women who participated in this brief expression of self determination -like Neda Aqha-Soltan, who has become a national symbol of resistance – have now been replaced by the Islamic extremist women’s group Sisters of Zeynab.
The “new” Iran that is now emerging is an even more frightening version of the former one; which means that Ahmadinejad and his mullah religious superiors may intend to steer the country towards a much more sinister direction â€“ including the end result of the Iranian nuclear program.