Source: The Washington Post
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s opposition on Sunday renewed its call for a rally in support of protesters in Tunisia and Egypt despite a government warning of repercussions if demonstrations take place, a reformist website reported.
In a statement published on Kaleme.com, the opposition urged its supporters to rally on Monday in central Tehran and accused the government of hypocrisy by voicing support for the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings while refusing to allow Iranian political activists to stage a peaceful demonstration.
Wary of a reinvigorated opposition at home, Iranian authorities have detained several activists and journalists in recent weeks and opposition leader Mahdi Karroubi was put under house arrest, apparently in connection with the request to stage the rally.
The statement said further restrictions on Karroubi and fellow opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi were a sign of the “increasing weakness and fear of the government about the most peaceful civil and political rights” of Iranians.
In another report, Kaleme said many university students as well as a reformist cleric group have promised to attend the rally. But it was not clear whether the rally would actually take place. Many opposition calls for demonstrations in the past months have gone unheeded.
Still, the opposition’s persistence has placed the government in a bind. Iran’s hard-line rulers – who have also tried to capitalize on the uprising against their regional rivals in Egypt’s U.S.-allied regime – are seeking to deprive their own opponents at home of any chance to reinvigorate a movement swept from the streets in a heavy military crackdown.
Both Mousavi and Karroubi have compared the unrest in Egypt and Tunisia with their own postelection protest movement in 2009, which the Iranian government eventually managed to quash. Mousavi said Iran’s demonstrations were the starting point for the recent revolts in Cairo and Tunis, and that all the uprisings aimed at ending the “oppression of the rulers.”
The protests that swept Iran in the months after the 2009 vote grew into a larger movement opposed to Iran’s ruling system. It was the biggest challenge faced by Iran’s clerical leadership since it came to power in the 1979 revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.
Hundreds of thousands peacefully took to the streets in support of Mousavi, and some powerful clerics sided with the opposition.
However a heavy military crackdown suppressed the protests, and many in the opposition – from midlevel political figures to street activists, journalists and human rights workers – were arrested. The opposition has not been able to hold a major protest since December 2009.
Source: National Post (Canada)
For the first time, the WikiLeak’s trove of stolen U.S. diplomatic cables shows, in unprecedented ways, the growing pressures being put on Washington to find a military solution to Iran’s growing nuclear threat.
Arab leaders named in the WikiLeaks cables calling for military action to be taken against Iran, include the Saudi and Bahraini Kings, the Prince of Abu Dhabi of the UAE, and the Kuwaiti Interior Minister.
Before he rushed to New York for emergency medical treatment last week, Saudi King Abdullah repeatedly pressed the United States to attack Iran, at one point urging U.S. officials to “cut off the head of the snake,” several diplomatic memos say.
As early as 2006, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the defence chief of the United Arab Emirates, was urging Washington to take action against Iran “this year or next.”
In November last year, King Hamad of Bahrain told U.S. General David Petraeus Iran’s nuclear program “must be stopped . . . by whatever means necessary.”
According to a February 2010 diplomatic cable, Kuwait’s Interior Minister, Jaber Kahled al-Sabah, believes “the U.S. will not be able to avoid a military conflict with Iran, if it is serious in its intention to prevent Tehran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability.”
Israel has long threatened military attacks on Iran to derail its nuclear arms program. But it is only now, because of the diplomatic leaks, that Arab states in the Middle East are publicly on the record as having reached the same conclusion.
The implications of this unusual and unintended common cause could see Arab states simply look the other way, if Israel finally decides to launch a preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Source:The Vancouver Sun
The statements by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, stripped of diplomatic veneer, provide a cutting assessment of his own nation’s longstanding animosity toward Tehran. In a 2008 memo on a meeting with Senator John Kerry, Mubarak says the Iranians “are big, fat liars and justify their lies because they believe it is for a higher purpose.”
But he frankly warned that no Arab state would help the United States in a military standoff with Tehran for fear of “sabotage and Iranian terrorism.” He went on to suggest that Iran’s backing of terrorism is “well-known but I cannot say it publicly. It would create a dangerous situation.”