Iran Protests Blacked Out by Ahmadinejad Tech Crackdown

Ten days after the blatantly rigged presidential election, Iran is descending into darkness.

Text messaging has been down for almost two weeks, the mobile phone network is partially shut and Web sites critical of the Ahmadinejad government are blocked.

The state-controlled press covers Iran's ousting from the World Cup qualification matches, and Iranian state TV shows popular South Korean soap operas.

And martyrdom may be near, not only for the presidential candidates, but also the entire political class of Iran.

There is little mention of thousands of protesters in Tehran who defy supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to demonstrate in Tehran and shout, "Give me my vote!" and "Death to the dictator!"

In his Friday prayer sermon, Khamenei warned that "Iran is not Georgia," a reference to the "Rose Revolution" of 2004 when mass protests of a rigged election in that nation ended in the bloodless ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze.

Increasingly isolated, vanquished opposition candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi have difficulties communicating with their supporters and mobilizing the masses anywhere else than the capital Tehran. In the provinces, the Revolutionary Guards have terrorized the public into submission.

Mousavi and Karrubi stress that they will not recognize the election results under any circumstance. Mousavi has even added that he is ready for martyrdom.

And martyrdom may be near, not only for the presidential candidates, but also the entire political class of Iran, which may become the latest victims of a revolution they themselves led to victory three decades ago.

As the Iranian revolution devours its sons and daughters, the Islamic Republic is changing from a regime ruled by the Shiite clergy and guarded against internal and external enemies by the Revolutionary Guards into a military dictatorship both ruled and guarded by a generation of veterans from the Iran-Iraq war.

Ali Alfoneh is a visiting research fellow at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Ali
Alfoneh
  • Ali Alfoneh's research areas include civil-military relations in Iran with a special focus on the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Alfoneh has been a research fellow at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College and has taught political economy at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.

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