Iranians who've been protesting the elections are being detained in wide reaching crackdowns. Ayatollah Ahmed Khatam noted that anyone contesting the election should be "dealt with without mercy." Iran's loudest opposition voices are quiet. Has the revolution been silenced?
It looks like it could be winding down. The protesters don't have the brute force and weaponry that the police and Basij do, nor the incentive for violence, it appears. Also, some of their strongest voices are being identified and arrested:
- The daughter and four relatives of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjan were briefly detained. Despite being one of the more powerful figures in Iran, Rafsanjan is "believed to be" a supporter of the protests, and thus, susceptible to the wide net cast during the crackdown.
- Strong words via Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as he lashed out again at President Obama, this time asking: "Didn't he say that he was after change? Why did he interfere? They keep saying that they want to hold talks with Iran ... but is this the correct way? Definitely, they have made a mistake."
- The nighttime raids and beatings are getting particularly bad, notes Human Rights Watch. The Basij have been given run of the country. They're destroying private property, beating civilians, savaging entire neighborhoods, and detaining essentially anyone they feel like taking on. They're doing it to quell the rooftop chants and protests at night; nobody's complaining to the police, who're turning a completely blind eye to this sort of thing.
The picture that's beginning to come together: the protesters are tired, and the dissenting contingent of Iran is exhausted and starting to get a little scared. And now that Mir Hussein Moussavi has promised to conduct only "official protests" under what could only begin to be described as government pressure - which, come on, I'm more likely to get clearance to run assnaked on Lex from 92nd on down tonight - the figurehead of the political opposition to Iran's standing government has been more or less crippled.
It's easy to sit around and blog about how hard people are fighting, or how hard reporters are actually reporting, but honestly: we really have no idea what kind of energy it takes to do so. Moving the ground beneath one's feet, let alone that of an entire government's, can't be easy. Maybe they just needed a weekend off, maybe there's more to come tomorrow, or maybe this game's already been called. Whatever it is, it isn't looking good for anybody who hasn't already aligned themselves with Iran's re-ignited regime.