Iran Blocks Pre-Rally Internet Sites; US: Tehran Running Scared
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Revolution fever is returning to Tehran, where new and illegal protests are planned tomorrow as the United States charges Iran “is scared of the will of its people.”
The regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already blocked several opposition websites, including one named "Bahman,” the 11th month of the Persian calendar, in advance of the planned rally Monday.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, opposition elements in Yemen have accepted an offer by President Ali Abdullah Saleh not run again after demonstrations threatened stability in the country. Bahrain’s kingdom tried to stem trouble by offering every family $2,653 to "praise the 10th anniversary" of its constitution.
In Algeria, where protesters defied a ban on demonstrations, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika promised to lift emergency laws.
Iran was the scene of massive opposition rallies nearly two years ago after Ahmadinejad won re-election in a vote that opponents charged was riddled with fraud. Leaders of the opposition remain under house arrest, and others have been taken into custody ahead of Monday’s planned rally.
The Islamic Republic has praised the Egyptian uprising as being a copy of the Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1979, but the prospect of new protests in the streets of Tehran have prompted charges of a “double standard” against the government.
Ahmadinejad as recently as last week told Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters, "The Iranian nation is your friend and it is your right to freely choose your path. We will soon see a new Middle East materializing without America and the Zionist regime and there will be no room for world arrogance in it.”
The Obama administration, which had remained silent on Iran during the Egyptian turmoil, charged on Saturday that the Iranian regime is "scared of the will of its people.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said, "We know that what they really are scared of is exactly what might happen.”
Iran has jammed BBC’s Persian-language television channel and has arrested several foreign journalists. "The recent arrests and effort to block international media outlets underscores the hypocrisy of the Iranian leadership," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
"By announcing that they will not allow opposition protests, the Iranian government has declared illegal for Iranians what it claimed was noble for Egyptians," he added in a statement. "We call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate that's being exercised in Cairo.”
Monday, February 14, 2011
Iran Suppresses Protests, AgainReformist leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi said they called the gathering to show solidarity with uprisings that ousted authoritarian leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. Iranian authorities warned the reformists against proceeding with the rally, calling it a ploy to mobilize an anti-government protest and revive their Green movement.
VoA News: Iranian security forces have fired teargas on Monday to disperse thousands of Iranians rallying in support of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Witnesses say riot police, many of them on motorbikes, fanned out across central Tehran, as opposition groups vowed to rally despite the government's rejection of their request for a permit.
Security forces have deployed on the streets of Tehran and blocked off the home of an opposition leader .
Mousavi's website, Kaleme, says Iranian police stationed several cars outside his Tehran home Monday to prevent him and his wife, from taking part in the planned gathering. It says authorities also cut telephone lines at Mousavi's house and severed his mobile phone connection.
Karroubi also has been placed under house arrest in Tehran in recent days. Kaleme called the Iranian government's moves a sign of “weakness and fear.”...
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