Senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Killed in Suicide Bombing - What it all Means

While some quarters of the Americans foreign policy apparatchik (and a sizable number of Iranian-Americans) will send out three cheers for the big news of the day, that is, the killing of several senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commanders (read about it here and here) the news should be the cause of great concern for other Iran observers.

The bombing, which killed a deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Noor Ali Shooshtari, was claimed by a Sunni seperatist group with links to Pakistan working out of the eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan called Jundallah (The Soldiers of God). Despite these claims, several of Iran’s ruling elite have proclaimed the act to be the work of American and British clandestine services.

Determining the true culprit, whether it be Sunni separatists or Western powers, will take some time. However, the Iranian government is not without reason in laying blaim on the US and Britain. It was only last year that ace investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in The New Yorker magazine that the Bush Administration had begun pouring funds into covert activities aimed at destabilizing the Iranian regime. As Hersh wrote, “The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.”

In recent months, questions have emerged as to whether or not the Obama Administration had put an end to the Bush era program in Iran. No clear answers have emerged.

Alas, relations between nations are the same as human to human relations, violence begets violence. If the United States and Britain do nothing to assure the Iranians that they had no part in today’s terrorist acts we may see an escalation in violence spurred on by the Iranian Guards in a number of places including, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Israel. News that does not portend well for those wishing for peace and stability in the region.

Moreover, the news of the terrorist attacks is terrible timing for Mir Hossein Mousavi and the countless youth of the Green Wave made famous last June in their street opposition to the ruling parties aligned with President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei. The regime could use today’s attacks as an excuse for the continued mass jailing of dissident reformers claiming them to be “un-Iranian,” actions similar to what was done to the (so-called) American left in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail and fists, as President Obama likes to say, will be unclenched. Time will tell.

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Fresh Protest Video from Tehran University

The New York Times’ lede blog has just posted fresh footage of protests from Tehran University. The struggle continues for the Green Wave both at home and abroad.

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Green Wave to protest Ahmadinejad tomorrow in NYC!

For those of you wondering how to get involved in the protests tomorrow in New York you might want to check out Voices for Iran which has been tirelessy organizing here in New York City in preparation for Ahmadinejad’s arrival to attend the United Nations general assembly. (they also have information about chartered buses from Washington to New York)

As Gary Sick has noted, the New York Times blog has written today about the masses of Iranian activists who are coming to New York from across the United States and Canada to protest the Iranian leader. It seems this time around the Iranian diaspora is finally united (despite a few old school protesters and their kids) in its hopes for reform over revolution.

The qizilbash team hopes to bring live coverage tomorrow from the event. So check early and check often.

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Empire State Building to be lit Green during Ahmadinejad Visit to NYC!

From the NPR blog:

The Empire State Building will be bathed in green lights.

And the display will come at the same time as Iranian activists stage protests around the city over Ahmadinejad’s appearance at this week’s opening of the U.N. General Assembly.

As The Wall Street Journal explains, the owners of the building are not endorsing the activists’ movement. In fact, a request from some activists to have the green lights turned on this week was turned down by Empire State Building Co.

But — and here’s where what the activists believe is a good omen comes into the story — the owners did approve a request to turn on the green lights this Thursday in honor of the 70th anniversary of film The Wizard of Oz.

What great fortune for the Green Wave NYC!

(thanks maryam)

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Iranian Street Art Green Wave Style

You can see more images like this here.

(hat tip AM)

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Photos from Today’s Protest in Tehran

You can check out a great series of photos from today’s protests here:

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Borzou Daragahi talks about Rafsanjani Sermon on NPR

You can listen to the Los Angeles Times’ Borzou Daragahi (who deserves this year’s pulitzer for reporting) talking to NPR’s Steve Inskeep right over here. It’s a nice little interview that is worth listening to.

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WSJ Report: Inside the Iranian Crackdown

Farnaz Fassihi who has done some of the best reporting on the Iranian uprising for the Wall Street Journal (thankfully Murdoch hasn’t ruined the paper yet) has recently published a story that takes into account the Basij (state para-militaries who were seen attacking the protestors) position on the uprising.

Although, many of these young men are severely misguided, it is very intersting to read how they were mobilized and what they were thinking during the peak of the protests:

By the eighth day, demonstrators alleging that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had rigged his re-election were out by the hundreds of thousands. Mr. Moradani says he mobilized in a 12-man motorcycle crew, scouting out restive neighborhoods across Tehran. He battled protesters with a baton and tear gas. The demonstrators fought back with rocks, bricks and bottles. Mr. Moradani says he handcuffed scores of demonstrators and dragged them away as they kicked and screamed.

"It wasn’t about elections anymore," says Mr. Moradani, a short, skinny man with pitch-black hair and a beard. "I was defending my country and our revolution and Islam. Everything was at risk."

You should definitely read the whole article here.

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Rafsanjani will lead upcoming Friday Prayers in Tehran.

Big news from Iran. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a major anti-Ahmadinejad power broker in Iran has spent the last month holed up somewhere plotting something (I am sure), is to lead national prayers this upcoming friday.

The LA Times reports:

News of the return of reformists and moderates to the official Friday prayer ceremony could serve as a challenge to hard-liners, led by supreme leader Ali Khamenei, on their home turf. Alternately, it could be a sign that the two sides have brokered a truce in their continuing political conflict.

More importantly, it is believed that both Mousavi and Khatami will attend the sermon. If indeed this is true, Rafsanjani’s sermon may well be on of the most watched events in the 30 year history of the Islamic Republic.

Rafsanjani, known as “The Shark” within Iran for his cunning political ability, his massive wealth,  and his inability to grow a beard, is a political survivor so many would not be suprrised to see him kowtow to the State (having already made backroom deals). We will know on friday.

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