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« Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar - 2nd Set (7 December) | Main | Israel: PM Netanyahu Calling for Unity under His Leadership »

Iran's 16 Azar Protests: An Interim Analysis and Questions for the Green Movement

16 AZAR TEHRAN2From Enduring America's Mr Smith:

The demonstrations have gone on as planned today in Tehran. The threats to bring the Internet to a grinding halt in Tehran have been fruitless, as usual the Internet got the videos and evidence out.

Couple of points for discussion and analysis:

1) Is this only a Student Demonstration? The reports and news out so far from Tehran and other cities indicates protests, chants, and opposition activity almost entirely within university campuses. There appears to be little follow-up in the streets or little participation by ordinary people. We need more facts and evidence to prove this, but it appears as though 16 Azar did not turn into yet another day of widespread popular defiance of the regime, as seen during 13 Aban [4 November] or Quds Day [18 September].

The Latest from Iran (7 December): The Marches of 16 Azar
Latest Iran Video: The Marches of 16 Azar (7 December)
16 Azar Opinion: “Iran’s Voice Will Be Heard”
16 Azar Special: A Letter from Inside Iran
Latest Iran Videos: The Eve of 16 Azar “Allahu Akhbar” and “Death to Dictator” Chants (6 December)
Iran Opinion: “Why The Green Movement Will Prevail”

2) Is Mir Hossein Mousavi still considered to be the Leader of the Green Wave?

Another point to notice is the radicalisation of chants. The chant considering Mousavi the figurehead of a much vaster struggle against the entire regime and the burning of posters of Imam Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei are telling signs of impatience within the student movement and willingness to go beyond Mousavi's stale and unattractive gradualism and his refusal to take on the pillars of the regime --- Khamenei especially --- in a frank and direct way.

This doesn't bode well for the reformists, as they could have to contend with a widening gap between themselves and rank-and-file greens in the months to come. Additionally, it could also lead to repression against Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and other leaders, as they could be accused of leading a "counter-revolutionary" movement which aims to overthrow the sacred Islamic Republic, should the footage of Khamenei and Khomeini being burnt be paraded on national television.

Reader Comments (22)

so far its been limited and scarce it seems. Looks like the socalled green movement is slowly but certainly dying out. Face the truth, the majority are religious people supporting the IR

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterarman

Who wish

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertega

May the peaple know that the world hears their plight, knows their pain, and one day share the freedom they have brought about.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterToman

[...] Enduring America’s Interim Analysis of the Green Movement [...]

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTweets For Iran! « Livin

One has to analize the events in Iran with scientific theories made to conceptualize CIVIC MOVEMENTS. First lesson is, it takes time!! One can not emphasize that enough! This is not a revolution - thats a totaly different game. We are talking about a heterogeneous movement with no actual hierarchy. "The Greens", as we like to call them, are by no means homogeneous. What is happening right now, is that "they" are trying to formulate their demands in a pretty vital and democratic discourse. "They" do not wait for their "leader" to formulate demands. We are wittnessing a democratic debate within this heterogeneous movement. Mousavi has an important role, but he is not "leading" anything. Change will come gradually, not by a collapse of the system. we had that twice before..

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterResario


Are you Iranian regime spokeman????????????????

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Wonderfully said, Resario!!!!!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsdollahMirza

In the heterogeneteiy lies the dilemma AND the strenght of the movement. One the one hand, it leads to a democtratic discourse about the demands. Democtratic, because there is no hegemony in the discourse. There is not ONE party, or ONE person formulating demands for the rest of the movement (unlike the last movement, where the clerics dominated the discourse). That is the strength of not having a hierarchy. On the other hand, the lack of a hierarchy leads to the dilemma we are wittnessing right now: There are a lot of different visions and demands brought into this discourse about the shape of an Islamic Republic. The movement has to deal with all these demands, and has yet to find ONE clear POLITICAL voice, that underlines the SOCIAL movement. We have Mousavi and lots of other activists who say that realistic change can only be achieved within the framework of the system - velayat-e-faqih. And then we have people who chant "Death to Chamenei". The dilemma is that all these legitimate but different perspectives have to connect somewhere "down the road". For that to happen, a free discourse is necessary. So far, this is happening in an unprecedented manner!!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterResario

Just giving a quick update and going back to demos
- Heavy battles are going on around Tehran University. All gates are closed and many students are stuck there. The traffic is stand still around the Uni. The area is full of Plain cloth forces.

There has been a shooting around Sharif university, which I heard it myself. There is an un-confirmed report from a hospital, saying three people have been shot.

for the past two days, the nightly demonstration on roofs were going on, in spite of heavy rain. My neighbor who is a 70 year old lady, in chador, who has come from a small village near Babol, joined us last night for nightly demo. She is religious, but she prayed to have the chance of experiencing the fall of this regime.

You stupid Arman!

If the green movement is dying out, why there are so much paid basiji in town??? why there are so much casualties??!! Why the regime showing such awful face of itself, by beating, arresting and killing innocent and peaceful people??

why there is such barbarian control over media, internet, TV and radio???
Very soon you'll feel a kick in your butt, then you wake up, when it's too late.
Once a wide range of public, including your own ex-supporters are among Green demonstrators, our victory is guaranteed.

Long live, Green Iran!!

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlborz

Hey Expert-Arman,
the "so called" green movement as you call it, has not even officially begun yet. Until now everything was peaceful and the regime has reacted not very peaceful. Wait until the protests get to a new phase - I am in regular contact with my family in Iran and the green movement is omnipresent - everywhere. You find it in libraries, universities, shopping centers and yes even or particularly in toilets the green movement writes on the wall what it thinks of the current goverment....get your facts straight before you write these lies.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Scott where did you get the information that people were chanting against Mousavi? I have seen all videos and have not one has been anti-Mousavi.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnhtony


I think that this is a question of wording. It's not that they were chanting against Mousavi but indicating a move beyond reform to dismantling of Islamic Republic (which Mousavi opposes).

Will seek to clarify in later analysis,


December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas

Hey Arman, Where are you now? I think we want to have an answer back from you. You have a point, a majority of Iranians are religious. But that same majority does not want this state of affairs any longer. Iran is full of people like the 70 year old lady in chador, neighbour of Alborz. Either you make yourself clearer, or you disappear. You must be an agent trying to sack our moral. But don't you see that people have nothing to lose anymore, that they are ready for anything at this stage? And you can only blame the stupidity of your leaders. Because had your friends not done the coup, had they accepted reforms, your Islamic Republic would have survived for another 10 years. My grandmother always used to say that Mullahs teach the devil himself. Thank God Mr. Khamenei didn't get the point and actually showed that in the end, him and his pairs are just IDIOTS.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda


I wouldn't be so sure Mousavi in fact opposes dismantling the Islamic Republic as it exists today. He works within the system because for him personally that is more effective at this point. I get the sense that even the most establishment-oriented of the Green Movement leaders realize that things have gone way too far and that a secular democracy is much preferable to the current dictatorship.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I'm sorry but the so called issues are wrong. Not too long ago you dismissed 13 Aban and Quds day as nothing, today they're suddenly pictures of wide spread defiance. Keep dismissing us, but we will keep going and we will win! Thousands of people poured into the streets today all over Iran, despite months of arrests, brutalizations, tortures, show trials, murders and threats! What are you up to?
As for your claims of radicalization, I can't decide if you're joking or actually stupid? Have you notice the progression of events? People peacefully protest, people are shamelessly lied to, arrested, brutalized, tortured, raped, murdered... and you get the feeling things have radicalized? And I hate that tag because it undermines the legitimacy of the movement. People haven't radicalized, people are angry and have become determined to overthrow the system that has brought them nothing but misery. I ask you to please be more considerate with your language, we have given blood, we have lost loved ones and the bright beacons of our country's future, don't dismiss us, don't undermine us.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsieh

Dear Mr. Arman
If it takes all the might of the Pasdaran, Basij and the IRIB, rape, barbaric prison sentences and economic hardship to force the people to stay home, then you have at your hands a hollow victory. However you did not even get that I add. By my count the streets were very busy. Busier than expected.

W.r.t the slogans against Mousavi

Please analyze this in respect to the speech of Rafsanjani yesterday. Rafsanjani clearly said, if the people do not want us (the regime) , we shall leave and not govern. You heard peoples call today. This was a coordinated attack by people following up on the call of the Shark to send their message to the Pasdaran / AN / SL alliance.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwhereismyvote

In light of the attack on Zahra Rahnavard, as an alternative to violence, I think the proper escalation would be for Mir Hossein Mousavi to start talking about Khamenei personally.
He has avoided naming Khamenei up until now, and I think that has watered down his message. Perhaps demand an apology from Khamenei for violence and dishonor against Iran's women would be a good place to start.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

brave people of Iran, I LOVE your new slogans! it may take some time but the Islamic Regime is doomed.

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard

I'm entering this from my mobile so pls forgive me for the brevity. I wrote an Op. Ed. analysis of the viability of the green movement a couple days ago called: Why the Green Movement will Prevail.

While there certainly were more than just students involved, one can't say that because the protests were mostly confined to the unis they movement is dying out. FAR from it. I would argue that the protests accomplished a major objective: they refocused the worlds attention on the struggle and opened space for further protests.

Its a pain typing in the phone...

December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIran News Now

[...] und den Live-Blogs der New York Times und von France 24 gelange ich zu den gleichen Fragen wie Enduring America in einer Momentanalyse (ebenfalls via Andrew Sullivan): Is this only a Student Demonstration? The [...]

they wo nt be successful. this is exactly an emotiional demonstration with no support , with no logical claim....

December 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfafa

Think deeply with a holestic view. Do not decieve yourself. you make your self to be played with others.
\There is not any plan, any proved claim, just a play.
Please do not bother yourself.


December 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfafa

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