Iran’s green opposition calls rally despite government ban
Committee gathers support and asserts constitutional right to protest
By Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Sunday 13 February 2011
Activists in Iran will go ahead with a banned rally in central Tehran on Monday in defiance of warnings by the regime and a heavy security presence, a figure in the green movement has told the Guardian.
Ardeshir Amir-Arjomand, a spokesman for the former presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, accused the government of hypocrisy in voicing support for protest in Egypt and Tunisia while refusing to allow a peaceful demonstration at home.
“Our dictators in Tehran are ruling the country with terror and panic,” he said. “They are afraid of their own people. They only sanction whatever pleases themselves, and disapprove of anything that is not under their surveillance. The call for renewed street protest in Iran is a clear sign that the green movement is still alive, and that’s why they’re afraid of it.”
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have compared the uprisings against western-backed autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt to Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. But the government has launched a security crackdown ahead of the march. Dozens of activists and journalists have been arrested, with Karroubi put under house arrest on Thursday. Bloggers complained of censorship and access to hundreds of news websites has been blocked.