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article imageThe Persistence and Ingenuity of the Iranian Opposition

By Chris Dade     Aug 13, 2009 in World
With the Iranian authorities quick to crack down on any street protests organized by opposition supporters, those wishing to show their disdain for the Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are resorting to more unusual tactics to get their message across.
As Time magazine recently reported it could be something as simple as not buying products supplied by organizations that advertise on state-controlled television. Or scribbling a message critical of the regime on a bill.
Even discovering where members of the Basij militia, prominent in helping the authorities break up or prevent demonstrations during recent weeks, live and then leaving some form of protest message outside their homes.
If mass street protests are out of the question, then there is always the "quickie" demonstration which involves a person or persons running out into the street and shouting "Death to the Dictator" as many times as they think they are able before the authorities are alerted.
Small as those actions might seem they nevertheless keep up the pressure on the authorities.
And there are many other ways besides in which those opposed to what they claim was the fraudulent reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are continuing to register their dissatisfaction with what has happened in their country.
Time magazine notes that the tactics now being adopted by the opposition in Iran are reminiscent of the actions of civil rights protesters in the American South in the 1960s or those in India who fought for that country's independence from Britain. Indeed the magazine reported that a quotation from Mohandas Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement, regularly appears on websites in Iran. Gandhi's quotation reminds people, in this instance the Iranian government, that "even the most powerful cannot rule without the cooperation of the ruled."
But some forms of protest are still not quite so subtle. On July 17, when former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani took Friday prayers at Tehran University, religious and non-religious Iranians alike turned up to offer their support to a man who, whilst still in many ways very much a part of the Iranian establishment, has nevertheless been unstinting in his criticism of the manner in which the June 12 election was conducted. Mr Rafsanjani and another former President Mohammad Khatami both supported the candidacy of Mir-Hossein Mousavi in the June election.
Nor is Mehdi Karroubi ,another candidate defeated in the election, remaining silent. Days after claiming that some of those arrested during the recent demonstrations had been raped whilst in detention, and he claimed that it happened to male and female detainees alike, Mr Karroubi has spoken of prisoners having been tortured to death. The BBC quotes the 71-year-old cleric as saying:Some young people are beaten to death just for chanting slogans in [post-election] protests
Authorities are denying that there is any truth in Mr Karroubi's allegations but they are starting to acknowledge that abuses have taken place. Only last month Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei ordered the closure of the Kahrizak detention center because, as he described it, the center had "failed to preserve the detainees' rights".
With arguments continuing to rage as to the true number of people killed or detained since June 12 and a trial of some 100 detainees currently ongoing these are still uncertain times in Iran. The opposition does not appear to be ready to abandon its campaign just as yet so it might be that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters still have many more difficult times ahead.
More about Iran, Ahmadinejad, Mousavi
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