15 dead as Iran cracks down on opposition

posted at 10:12 am on December 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The death of dissident cleric Hossein Ali Montazeri continues to reverberate in Iran, and the mullahs have begun a brutal crackdown to end protests.  Fifteen people are dead as the regime sent its Basiji militias into the streets.  Tehran calls the dead “terrorists”:

At least 15 people were killed during massive anti-government protests in Tehran when opposition supporters clashed with security forces in the streets, Iranian state television reported Monday.

The report said 10 people killed during Sunday’s fierce clashes in the Iranian capital were members of “anti-revolutionary terrorist” groups, apparently referring to opposition supporters.

The other five who died were killed by “terrorist groups” in a “suspicious act,” the report said, without elaborating.

Iranian security forces stormed a series of opposition offices on Monday, rounding up at least seven prominent anti-government activists in a new crackdown against the country’s reformist movement, opposition Web sites and activists reported.

Today is the Shi’ite holy day of Ashoura, which prompted opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi to question the legitimacy of the theocracy for spilling blood on this particular day.  Karroubi noted that even the Shah knew better than to commit violence against Iranians on Ashoura, a particularly provocative insult in Iran.

The dragnet appears to have aimed at Karroubi and other prominent dissidents.  The regime raided the offices of Mohammed Khatami, one of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s predecessors as President but now openly opposed to the regime.  Khatami used to fill the role of useful reformer, the kind of public opposition to the more radical aspects of the mullahcracy that proved useful to Ali Khameini and the Guardian Council as a managed release valve.  Security forces also killed the nephew of Mirhossein Mousavi, who eventually led the summer protests against the regime, as well as arresting a former Foreign Minister.

Earlier this year, Barack Obama pledged this at the UN:

America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights – for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; and the oppressed who yearns to be equal.

Except, of course, when we’re on vacation…

Update: The BBC demonstrates its priorities when it asks readers to answer this question: “What will bring calm to the violence in Iran?” Gee, why not ask, “Can’t the mullahs keep their people oppressed properly?”


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The Obama family did not exchange Christmas presents.

He did not attend Mass.

He has been to church three times since elected.

….he is a muslim.

He will take no action against the Iranians, since they are muslims too.

pseudonominus on December 28, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Those pictures are lame and appear to be staged.

Otis B on December 28, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Obama: Crickets.

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2009 at 10:16 AM

And Iran, Iran so far away…

abobo on December 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Except for when Ogabe is too afraid of confrontation.

What an opportunity to reaffirm America’s commitment to freedom, but just as he did with Honduras, Ogabe will fumble and bumble and do nothing.

Bishop on December 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

I’ve read somewhere else that this is not just a standard protest in the streets, that the Opposition is actually attempting to take Tehran and overthrow the regime. Hope/wishing it were true, and they are successful.

JamesLee on December 28, 2009 at 10:18 AM

Say, with chaos erupting in Iran, is this a good time for an Israeli strike? I suppose there are arguments for and against.

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2009 at 10:19 AM

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I think it’s a perfect time to stage an “accident” and blame it on the protesters.

Otis B on December 28, 2009 at 10:21 AM

This is the stability leftists and realists crave.

rob verdi on December 28, 2009 at 10:21 AM

What an opportunity to reaffirm America’s commitment to freedom, but just as he did with Honduras, Ogabe will fumble and bumble and do nothing.

Bishop on December 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

A great way to save American blood and treasure. Foreign policiy experts should eb working overtime to help topple the Iranian government. The trickle down effect of such an event would be huge.

WashJeff on December 28, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Yeah, I am sure our closet Islamic Bolshevik Boy Wonder is going to speak out against what his good friend and comrade is doing over in Iran.

Dave R. on December 28, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Sorry, protestors, Barry is on the beach today.

reaganaut on December 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM

I can’t believe this report. I mean it couldn’t have happened…

After his Cairo speech and all.

TXUS on December 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM

The murder and oppression of Iranians who want to reform their government is a crime upon humanity. The people of America have led the way in the fight for freedom for over 230 years. It is an abominable act of cowardice and delay for the leadership of this nation to fail to fully recognize the murderous oppression that the Iranian regime crushes their people with. A threat to freedom somewhere, is a threat to freedom everywhere. The American people lay the duty and the responsibilty to stand up for freedom at the office of the President of the United States. For if the President cannot, in a timely fashion, denounce the thuggish brutality of the Iranian regime, then the American people will. We submit that this Iranian regime is a blight upon the face of the earth and that free people should rise up and support the demonstrators who seek to overthrow this murderous regime. For when there is bloodshed in the name of freedom, then free people of the world have a duty and responsibility to respond. We condemn these attacks and sustain that we wish freedom and liberty upon the people of Iran. We maintain that your strenuous efforts are not in vain, are not unnoticed and that the injuries and usurpations that your government inflicts upon you shall be avenged.

ted c on December 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Zero is on vacation and you people are trying to be free? The nerve! Let the man have a vacation!!!

SouthernGent on December 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

Where are all the “Broadcast Journalists” that would dog Bush during his times in Crawford? I guess Mr. President just can’t be bothered.

kingsjester on December 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM

I am sure that Dear Leader is monitoring the situation. The meathead, Bill Burton will let us know sometime in the next few days.

d1carter on December 28, 2009 at 10:27 AM

“Let me know when the body count reaches 200 and then I’ll say a quick word to the press or something. Now leave me alone.”

-Ogabe

Bishop on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Breaking News:

In a statement just released from the White House, President Barack Obama expressed his support of those being persecuted in Iran, and said that he believes that if the protesters will stop the violence, unclench their fists, and give their government time, they will see that their leaders do not mean them any harm. He reaffirmed his belief that all peoples need to be understood, and governments need to be allowed to pursue their own values in order for peace to prevail.

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM

don’t world events have a *pause* button…. like that Adam Sandler movie….?

ted c on December 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM

Obama: “The system worked.”

TXUS on December 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM

That meathead Bill Burton reminds me of Howdy Doody. The same as the NBC Howdy Doody does on the Sunday talk show.

bradley11 on December 28, 2009 at 10:30 AM

While I wish victory for the opposition, we shouldn’t delude ourselves if they are victorious. Iran will remain muslim and the desire for global subjection of the non-muslim will continue. Or to state it bluntly, the Iranian opposition also believes that they should conquer and kill us just as much as the current regime. The difference will be that they’ll probably tone down the actions considerably, which is admittedly an improvement.

thuja on December 28, 2009 at 10:33 AM

The regime cannot be overthrown without the Iranian army backing the protesters, as the revolutionary guard and militias have no problem killing unarmed civilians in whatever quantities are necessary to put down any threat to the regime.

So far there has been no evidence of that. If America contacted Western friendly Iranian mid-high level officers, and assured them of backing and recognition if they did jumped on the protester’s side and replaced the regime, would they move then?

We’ll never know, as the current administration has clearly chosen the mullahs over the people of Iran.

Rebar on December 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Don’t worry. If anything productive happens, Obama’s sycophants will swoop in and credit him entirely for it.

Speedwagon82 on December 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Surfs up!

albill on December 28, 2009 at 10:36 AM

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Linky?

gh on December 28, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Say, with chaos erupting in Iran, is this a good time for an Israeli strike? I suppose there are arguments for and against.

BuckeyeSam on December 28, 2009 at 10:19 AM

this is hard to tell, an Israeli strike would most likely unify the country against Israel. But a regime change would probably be more in line to trade the nuclear situation for some good incentives. There must be some intelligent people at the top of Iran’s leadership that realize the nuclear issue will just bring ruin to their country one way or the other.

royzer on December 28, 2009 at 10:40 AM

3 a.m. phone calls not a problem, Barry has disconnected the phone.

Daveyardbird on December 28, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Gee, why not ask, “Can’t the mullahs keep their people oppressed properly?”

Damn those bitter rock and Koran clinging peasants!

Dusty on December 28, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Shaved Ice anyone???

ted c on December 28, 2009 at 10:51 AM

The BBC demonstrates its priorities when it asks readers to answer this question: “What will bring calm to the violence in Iran?” Gee, why not ask, “Can’t the mullahs keep their people oppressed properly?”

Good grief–the commenters to that article are blaming the unrest on the Western countries (guess which one is prominently accused)–and of course–Israel…

lovingmyUSA on December 28, 2009 at 10:52 AM

The debate seems to be getting more robust.

LibTired on December 28, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Obama’s ‘smart power’ – recognizing the Iranian’s illegitimate government after the fraudulant election this year.

If Obama had his stomach pumped – we’d probably find Ahmadinejad’s DNA.

Danny on December 28, 2009 at 10:54 AM

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM

I trust that was a joke.

CPT. Charles on December 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM

I guess the Iranians got a little TOO fired up, eh?

Metro on December 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM

From Charles Krauthammer:

Apart from ostracizing and delegitimizing these gangsters, we should be encouraging and reinforcing the demonstrators. This is no trivial matter. When pursued, beaten, arrested and imprisoned, dissidents can easily succumb to feelings of despair and isolation. Natan Sharansky testifies to the electric effect Ronald Reagan’s Evil Empire speech had on lifting spirits in the Gulag. The news was spread cell to cell in code tapped on the walls. They knew they weren’t alone, that America was committed to their cause.

’nuff said.

tencole on December 28, 2009 at 11:05 AM

CPT. Charles on December 28, 2009 at 11:01 AM

gh on December 28, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Sorry, forget to turn on the snark off sign. My apologies.

The fact that there is a need to label it as such, is what is so frightening.

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Paging President Empty Suit…

elderberry on December 28, 2009 at 11:13 AM

If only we had a President of the United States of America who believed in freedom and democracy. . .

rbj on December 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Sorry, forget to turn on the snark off sign. My apologies.

The fact that there is a need to label it as such, is what is so frightening.

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Your quote was obviously a fake – it didn’t include lines such as “as I’ve always said…”, or “some say…”, and there was no mention of Bush or twist to make it all about Obama.

=)

gwelf on December 28, 2009 at 11:22 AM

The AP penned an article here in the Richmond Times Dispatch that was chilling. Here’s an excerpt:

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer, speaking in Hawaii Sunday, where U.S. President Barack Obama is vacationing, denounced Tehran’s “unjust suppression of civilians.“

So my question is when is the ever a just suppression of civilians? Do these Bolsheviks in the White House really believe there is an occasion to clamp down on civilians here?

TheAdmiral on December 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM

I wonder if the rest of the world will ever recognize the importance of America recognizing and supporting people who are trying to be free.

Maybe the lack of American leadership will help them realize how important it was?

hawksruleva on December 28, 2009 at 11:30 AM

How about another waffle?

ted c on December 28, 2009 at 11:34 AM

America will always stand with those who stand up for their dignity and their rights – for the student who seeks to learn; the voter who demands to be heard; the innocent who longs to be free; and the oppressed who yearns to be equal.

You! Specifically you: Barack Hussein Obama, LIE!

ya2daup on December 28, 2009 at 11:40 AM

O reccommends that we turn the other cheek (you don’t want to get sunburned there!).

Fuquay Steve on December 28, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Unfortunately, the people of Iran who are involved here have no chance.They are an unarmed people. The government will literally imprison and murder them. A military coup would probably be the only hope for a successful overthrow.

Protect our 2nd Amendment.

BierManVA on December 28, 2009 at 11:52 AM

The Iranian government calling protesters for freedom terrorists fits right in with the stage set in the US with the DHS calling people like me terrorists. As a veteran who Stands Up For Freedom 4 times a week with the Patriots Corner Club, pickets and attends those terrorist TEA Parties, we will know which way our government is headed beyond far left legislation when the ACORN/SEIU brown shirts are released against us. People like me, who Stand alone or with one other person, will be the likely first targets of those cowards.

Jefferson said that “The tree of Liberty needs to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”. I feel confident if the blood of patriots is what waters the tree of American liberty, Americans will not go silently as did the majority of Germans or Venezuelans. This American certainly will not become quiet.

amr on December 28, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Robust Debate?

BigMike252 on December 28, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Is it possible this is the beginning of the end for this regime? I remember reading that the deaths of protestors in the last revolution led to an increasing spiral of public mournings and more deaths.

aikidoka on December 28, 2009 at 12:15 PM

The people of Iran look to Obama for moral support. He shrugs, looks the other way, and mutters “What are you lookin’ at?”

Obama votes present again.

Mojave Mark on December 28, 2009 at 12:21 PM

How about another waffle?

ted c on December 28, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Waffle time is over. Now bring the man some Dom Perignon, arugula salad, sushi, a small kobe beef steak and some moisturizer!

Key West Reader on December 28, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Obambi to those seeking freedom in Iran: UP YOURS!

johnnybgood on December 28, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Didn’t y’all hear? The Prom King has declared that his vacay will be “news free”. What him worry that the world won’t comply with his juvenile pronouncement?

tigerlily on December 28, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Breaking News:

In a statement just released from the White House, President Barack Obama expressed his support of those being persecuted in Iran, and said that he believes that if the protesters will stop the violence, unclench their fists, and give their government time, they will see that their leaders do not mean them any harm. He reaffirmed his belief that all peoples need to be understood, and governments need to be allowed to pursue their own values in order for peace to prevail.

singlemalt_18 on December 28, 2009 at 10:29 AM
——————
I give that a B+, for reasons already mentioned.

fossten on December 28, 2009 at 2:12 PM

No time like the present to send Lurch to Iran!

ya2daup on December 28, 2009 at 2:13 PM

It is now embarrassing to be an American. Astonishing.

GaltBlvnAtty on December 28, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Iran: A Berlin Wall moment or a Tienanmen Square moment?

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?

Steve Z on December 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Do these Bolsheviks in the White House really believe there is an occasion to clamp down on civilians here?TheAdmiral on December 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM

The Magic Eight Ball says… \’Yes\’.

trigon on December 28, 2009 at 3:06 PM

@thuja

you do not have a clue about Iranians. The Iranian people are not out to kill us. The Iranian regime is out to kill us.

maggieo on December 28, 2009 at 7:54 PM