ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Iran: Green Shoots of Resistance

Democratic aspirations cannot be held hostage to the geopolitical demands of fighting us imperialism.

Seven months back when Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was declared re-elected president of Iran, there were strong protests which soon grew into the biggest anti-government movement in that country since the successful establishment of the Islamic Republic three decades ago. Not only were hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on the streets demanding a recount but intense protests were reported from almost all parts of the country. What was equally striking was the stamina of the protesters who managed to continue with their street demonstrations for almost a month.

Significantly, there was a visible schism within the phalanx of the Islamic Republic’s leadership, with influential religious and government leaders coming out in support of the protests. If Ahmedinejad had the support of ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the “supreme leader”, as well as the security services like the Basij, he is opposed by ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani as well as grand ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, among others. In fact, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who was his principal opponent on a “reformist” manifesto, has been an integral part of the Islamic republic’s ruling set. But, with the continuation of the protests for seven unbroken months, it is no longer possible to analyse them merely on the basis of the divisions between the ruling groups or sponsored by western powers. Every time there has been a major occasion (al Quds day in September, 13th of Aban in November or Student Martyrs day in December), hundreds of thousands of people have come out to demonstrate despite ever increasing force used by police and security forces. Not only have the protests not ended, they seem to have grown stronger over time and matured in their political agenda. What is crucial is that the protests now are not about the alleged rigging of the presidential election, the demands are asking for an overhaul of the very foundations of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The protest movement itself clearly shows the different political tendencies present inside it.

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