The Iranian Revolution [UPDATED]

Because tweets scroll by so quickly and are gone, I’m going to copy them here to preserve them. Someday I’d like to look back at them and remember what was happening in Iran. From most to least recent:

  • Iranian student calls CNN: “To the int’l community, especially…Pres Obama directly: we need your help… Don’t leave us alone.”
  • Very few protests today in Iran as police and militia forces increase in number and intesnity. Streets described as “eerily quiet”.
  • TIME: Gov’t dropping “acid-like liquid” on protesters from helicopters; beating them, and even literally throwing some into fires…
  • Neda, an innocent girl, was killed by Basij; has become the rallying cry for protesters. Video: tinyurl.com/lxrbgf (Warning: *very* graphic)
  • Unofficial death toll in the hundreds as militia forces open fire on innocents, including women and children to try and quell the protests.
  • Fri, Khamenei orders protesters to stop or else; all weekend they defy him; Basij forces begin killing protesters…
  • Mousavi spokesman:The people don’t want a recount, they want the election annulled; they want more than an election: they want freedom.
  • Obama’s response to Khamenei throwing down the gauntlet this AM: “This is not about the US.” Have we ever seen such spinelessness in the WH?
  • Yep, nothing says “We won legitimately” like censoring all media and threatening your own people.
  • Khamenei threatens that he is monitoring Twitter feeds. If true, this is for you Kham: Give your people freedom, you bastard. #iranelection
  • Mousavi refuses to give in to Khamenei’s demands, calls on all of Iran to protest again tonight in “Sea of Green” protest!
  • House resolution in support of Iranian protesters passes 405-1. Barack, are you paying attention? That’s what moral clarity looks like.
  • House of Reps currently voting on a resolution of support for Iranian protesters… doing what our President is too cowardly to do.
  • Fri is Muslim day of prayer & most important day in Iran so far. Khamenei threatens Mousavi & followers, will give speech after prayers…
  • Est. 2mil+ marching in Iran today… Candian gov’t latest to condemn Iran, still nothing from U.S…fistfights in Iranian parliament…
  • Iranian student: “The people of Iran will not forgive Barack Obama for siding with the evil regime.” Wake up, Barack! #iranelection
  • Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton pressuring Obama to speak out against Iran…still nothing from Barack, though…more major protests today…
  • CNN: Iranian police now actively protecting protesters from Basij militia attacks… Basij attacking wounded inside of hospitals…
  • Germans, French, EU gov’ts have condemned Iran gov’t now. Still waiting for our cowardly, feckless US President to do the same.#iranelection
  • BBC: 500+ arrested in Iran… more prorevolution protests: San Diego, Portland, DC and NY…Ahmadinejad flies out of country to Russia…
  • Anti-Iranian gov’t protests now in at least Germany, Spain, Dubai, and Los Angeles…Hezbollah & Hamas soldiers confirmed in Iran…
  • Iranian police, military in many areas supporting revolution… only the Basij (religious militia) responding to orders from gov’t…
  • Amazing Flickr photo stream of pics from inside Iran: http://tinyurl.com/nthyt7
  • Reports of a huge silent vigil in Tehran w/ 3m+ all in green…protests spread to Berlin…Iran gov’t blocks access to blogs in country…
  • The French gov’t has condemned Iran’s regime and called the election a “fraud”. Since when did the French have more backbone than Americans?
  • Iranian army storms Tehran University, arrests students; 150 faculty resign including the head of the University…
  • Tweets from Iranians: “I do not fear death. I fear my daughter will not be free when I die.” “140 chars is a novel when being shot at.”
  • The Iranian revolution is our generation’s Berlin Wall moment… Where is our Ronald Reagan???
  • Obama asked whether or not he would condemn the oppressive Iranian regime. He replied he has not and would not. Pathetic appeasement.
  • Shocked by Obama’s ridiculously weak response to Iranian revolution… Doesn’t want to “meddle” in Iran? Completely and utterly pathetic.
  • Could this be the tipping point for freedom in Iran (and possibly the Middle East)? I am cautiously hopeful for the Iranian people…
  • Crazy stuff going on over in Iran today after elections… getting out mostly via web 2.0. Massive protests by literally millions of people.

Here are some more pictures of the protests today:

The Iranian Revolution [UPDATED]

Because tweets scroll by so quickly and are gone, I’m going to copy them here to preserve them. Someday I’d like to look back at them and remember what was happening in Iran. From most to least recent:

  • Iranian student calls CNN: “To the int’l community, especially…Pres Obama directly: we need your help… Don’t leave us alone.”
  • Very few protests today in Iran as police and militia forces increase in number and intesnity. Streets described as “eerily quiet”.
  • TIME: Gov’t dropping “acid-like liquid” on protesters from helicopters; beating them, and even literally throwing some into fires…
  • Neda, an innocent girl, was killed by Basij; has become the rallying cry for protesters. Video: tinyurl.com/lxrbgf (Warning: *very* graphic)
  • Unofficial death toll in the hundreds as militia forces open fire on innocents, including women and children to try and quell the protests.
  • Fri, Khamenei orders protesters to stop or else; all weekend they defy him; Basij forces begin killing protesters…
  • Mousavi spokesman:The people don’t want a recount, they want the election annulled; they want more than an election: they want freedom.
  • Obama’s response to Khamenei throwing down the gauntlet this AM: “This is not about the US.” Have we ever seen such spinelessness in the WH?
  • Yep, nothing says “We won legitimately” like censoring all media and threatening your own people.
  • Khamenei threatens that he is monitoring Twitter feeds. If true, this is for you Kham: Give your people freedom, you bastard. #iranelection
  • Mousavi refuses to give in to Khamenei’s demands, calls on all of Iran to protest again tonight in “Sea of Green” protest!
  • House resolution in support of Iranian protesters passes 405-1. Barack, are you paying attention? That’s what moral clarity looks like.
  • House of Reps currently voting on a resolution of support for Iranian protesters… doing what our President is too cowardly to do.
  • Fri is Muslim day of prayer & most important day in Iran so far. Khamenei threatens Mousavi & followers, will give speech after prayers…
  • Est. 2mil+ marching in Iran today… Candian gov’t latest to condemn Iran, still nothing from U.S…fistfights in Iranian parliament…
  • Iranian student: “The people of Iran will not forgive Barack Obama for siding with the evil regime.” Wake up, Barack! #iranelection
  • Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton pressuring Obama to speak out against Iran…still nothing from Barack, though…more major protests today…
  • CNN: Iranian police now actively protecting protesters from Basij militia attacks… Basij attacking wounded inside of hospitals…
  • Germans, French, EU gov’ts have condemned Iran gov’t now. Still waiting for our cowardly, feckless US President to do the same.#iranelection
  • BBC: 500+ arrested in Iran… more prorevolution protests: San Diego, Portland, DC and NY…Ahmadinejad flies out of country to Russia…
  • Anti-Iranian gov’t protests now in at least Germany, Spain, Dubai, and Los Angeles…Hezbollah & Hamas soldiers confirmed in Iran…
  • Iranian police, military in many areas supporting revolution… only the Basij (religious militia) responding to orders from gov’t…
  • Amazing Flickr photo stream of pics from inside Iran: http://tinyurl.com/nthyt7
  • Reports of a huge silent vigil in Tehran w/ 3m+ all in green…protests spread to Berlin…Iran gov’t blocks access to blogs in country…
  • The French gov’t has condemned Iran’s regime and called the election a “fraud”. Since when did the French have more backbone than Americans?
  • Iranian army storms Tehran University, arrests students; 150 faculty resign including the head of the University…
  • Tweets from Iranians: “I do not fear death. I fear my daughter will not be free when I die.” “140 chars is a novel when being shot at.”
  • The Iranian revolution is our generation’s Berlin Wall moment… Where is our Ronald Reagan???
  • Obama asked whether or not he would condemn the oppressive Iranian regime. He replied he has not and would not. Pathetic appeasement.
  • Shocked by Obama’s ridiculously weak response to Iranian revolution… Doesn’t want to “meddle” in Iran? Completely and utterly pathetic.
  • Could this be the tipping point for freedom in Iran (and possibly the Middle East)? I am cautiously hopeful for the Iranian people…
  • Crazy stuff going on over in Iran today after elections… getting out mostly via web 2.0. Massive protests by literally millions of people.

Here are some more pictures of the protests today:

Could This Be the Tipping Point For Freedom in Iran – and the Middle East?

There are crazy, historical, once-in-a-lifetime events happening in Iran right now that began with the country’s elections last Friday.

To understand what is going on, you have to understand a little about what Iran is like. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this at all, but here’s what I do know: Iran is led by maniacal tyrant and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is a highly and severely oppressive government based on strict Islamic law which derives its power from the Supreme Leader (currently Ayatollah Khamenei) and his Grand Council. A massive number of Iranian citizens – to the tune of 60% of the total population by some estimates – are under 30 years old. These youth are much more oriented toward reform, democracy, and freedom, but have been afraid of government reaction if they protest against (or even vote against) the current regime. The right to public assembly and free speech is outlawed in Iran among many other basic freedoms.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly and publicly called for the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people, has denied the Holocaust ever happened, and has been clear in his pronouncements of America and the West as enemies. He supports radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and is driving Iran’s nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons in opposition to the rest of the developed world.

So it comes to Ahmadinejad’s re-election campaign, and the election, like others in Iran, was a sham. People who were responsible for counting ballots were threatened and told they were to report the results in favor of Ahmadinejad regardless of what the actual ballots said. The government announced the results (which are now known to have been decided on prior to anyone even voting) within a couple hours of voting being closed – long before all of the ballots could have actually been physically counted. This time, however, unlike elections in the past, the people of Iran are mad as hell and decided they’re not going to take it anymore. What is happening is truly remarkable.

Literally millions of people are marching in the streets in protest of the Iranian regime. The Ahmadinejad/Khamenei government is blaring reminders that to do so is illegal and then even more people join the protests. That in and of itself is remarkable. Hundreds of thousands are marching in Tehran alone, the capital city and the physical center of power for Ahmadinejad. The police and security forces are mixed in response from declaring neutrality (also very remarkable) to firing gunshots into crowds of people.

Several protesters have been killed, which is only strengthening the will of the millions of others who are marching and chanting against their government. The protests lasted through the night and are still occurring today.

Because of the Iranian censorship of information and media, most of the information about this nationwide unrest is actually getting out via Twitter and Facebook. People in Iran are live-tweeting what they’re seeing and what’s going on, including pictures and short videos, and disseminating information in ways that the government can no longer control. Web 2.0 is an amazing thing. In fact, Twitter was scheduled to go down for routine maintenance for an hour last night – but they rescheduled the downtime after learning about the role Twitter was playing in the Iranian revolution currently underway. Many, many people are decrying the mainstream media as feckless and useless for their abysmal coverage of what could by the biggest foreign policy story since the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

As of this morning, the Grand Council led by Khamenei has announced that they will do a “partial recount” of the ballots from the election — a move that means absolutely nothing pragmatically speaking (they’ll just announce whatever results they want again) but means everything idealistically speaking. The mere fact that the Grand Council is willing to make this concession is sending shockwaves through Iran and into the region. A dictatorial government even making a a small concession to protesters such as this is huge.

Ahmadinejad’s opponent in this election was a man by the name of Mousavi. And while he represents some change from Ahmadinejad, he is still a relatively hard line candidate. He supports continuing Iran’s nuclear program and continuing the funding of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. But he is much more moderate than Ahmadinejad in other aspects (not that that would be difficult to achieve). The danger, however, is that this revolution becomes about Mousavi rather than about reform and freedom. We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple of days and hope that it continues to snowball into something much bigger than a single simple election. Hopefully this will be the tipping point of freedom in Iran and the rest of the region.

The frustrating thing in America is our President refusing to side with the Iranian people and offer them support in their attempts for freedom. The strongest words Obama has offered thus far have been that he doesn’t “know who rightfully won the balloting” and that “Iranians have a right to feel their votes mattered” but that a recount should happen “without violence.” He said that the “world was inspired” by them participating in the election “regardless of what the ultimate outcome was.” Honestly? A blatant sham election with Iranian security guards killing innocent people and an entire nation on the verge of revolution that has been fomenting for decades, and that’s what Obama weighs in with? The United States has an opportunity to be aligned with history here and this is the best Obama can offer? And even worse – in the middle of all this unrest and protest, the Obama administration is continuing to try to push talks with Ahmadinejad over their nuclear program. Unbelievable.

If you’re interested in following what’s going on in Iran, you can track the tags #iranelection or #iran09 on Twitter or follow Twitter user tehranelection9 (a pro-reform Iranian government official), and The Daily Dish has great updates as well. These could be, quite literally, world-changing events.

Could This Be the Tipping Point For Freedom in Iran – and the Middle East?

There are crazy, historical, once-in-a-lifetime events happening in Iran right now that began with the country’s elections last Friday.

To understand what is going on, you have to understand a little about what Iran is like. I don’t pretend to be an expert on this at all, but here’s what I do know: Iran is led by maniacal tyrant and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is a highly and severely oppressive government based on strict Islamic law which derives its power from the Supreme Leader (currently Ayatollah Khamenei) and his Grand Council. A massive number of Iranian citizens – to the tune of 60% of the total population by some estimates – are under 30 years old. These youth are much more oriented toward reform, democracy, and freedom, but have been afraid of government reaction if they protest against (or even vote against) the current regime. The right to public assembly and free speech is outlawed in Iran among many other basic freedoms.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly and publicly called for the annihilation of Israel and the Jewish people, has denied the Holocaust ever happened, and has been clear in his pronouncements of America and the West as enemies. He supports radical Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and is driving Iran’s nuclear program to develop nuclear weapons in opposition to the rest of the developed world.

So it comes to Ahmadinejad’s re-election campaign, and the election, like others in Iran, was a sham. People who were responsible for counting ballots were threatened and told they were to report the results in favor of Ahmadinejad regardless of what the actual ballots said. The government announced the results (which are now known to have been decided on prior to anyone even voting) within a couple hours of voting being closed – long before all of the ballots could have actually been physically counted. This time, however, unlike elections in the past, the people of Iran are mad as hell and decided they’re not going to take it anymore. What is happening is truly remarkable.

Literally millions of people are marching in the streets in protest of the Iranian regime. The Ahmadinejad/Khamenei government is blaring reminders that to do so is illegal and then even more people join the protests. That in and of itself is remarkable. Hundreds of thousands are marching in Tehran alone, the capital city and the physical center of power for Ahmadinejad. The police and security forces are mixed in response from declaring neutrality (also very remarkable) to firing gunshots into crowds of people.

Several protesters have been killed, which is only strengthening the will of the millions of others who are marching and chanting against their government. The protests lasted through the night and are still occurring today.

Because of the Iranian censorship of information and media, most of the information about this nationwide unrest is actually getting out via Twitter and Facebook. People in Iran are live-tweeting what they’re seeing and what’s going on, including pictures and short videos, and disseminating information in ways that the government can no longer control. Web 2.0 is an amazing thing. In fact, Twitter was scheduled to go down for routine maintenance for an hour last night – but they rescheduled the downtime after learning about the role Twitter was playing in the Iranian revolution currently underway. Many, many people are decrying the mainstream media as feckless and useless for their abysmal coverage of what could by the biggest foreign policy story since the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

As of this morning, the Grand Council led by Khamenei has announced that they will do a “partial recount” of the ballots from the election — a move that means absolutely nothing pragmatically speaking (they’ll just announce whatever results they want again) but means everything idealistically speaking. The mere fact that the Grand Council is willing to make this concession is sending shockwaves through Iran and into the region. A dictatorial government even making a a small concession to protesters such as this is huge.

Ahmadinejad’s opponent in this election was a man by the name of Mousavi. And while he represents some change from Ahmadinejad, he is still a relatively hard line candidate. He supports continuing Iran’s nuclear program and continuing the funding of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. But he is much more moderate than Ahmadinejad in other aspects (not that that would be difficult to achieve). The danger, however, is that this revolution becomes about Mousavi rather than about reform and freedom. We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple of days and hope that it continues to snowball into something much bigger than a single simple election. Hopefully this will be the tipping point of freedom in Iran and the rest of the region.

The frustrating thing in America is our President refusing to side with the Iranian people and offer them support in their attempts for freedom. The strongest words Obama has offered thus far have been that he doesn’t “know who rightfully won the balloting” and that “Iranians have a right to feel their votes mattered” but that a recount should happen “without violence.” He said that the “world was inspired” by them participating in the election “regardless of what the ultimate outcome was.” Honestly? A blatant sham election with Iranian security guards killing innocent people and an entire nation on the verge of revolution that has been fomenting for decades, and that’s what Obama weighs in with? The United States has an opportunity to be aligned with history here and this is the best Obama can offer? And even worse – in the middle of all this unrest and protest, the Obama administration is continuing to try to push talks with Ahmadinejad over their nuclear program. Unbelievable.

If you’re interested in following what’s going on in Iran, you can track the tags #iranelection or #iran09 on Twitter or follow Twitter user tehranelection9 (a pro-reform Iranian government official), and The Daily Dish has great updates as well. These could be, quite literally, world-changing events.