The March of the Millions, three days after the disputed Presidential election, is an established part of the narrative of the Green Movement's challenge. What has been largely forgotten --- at least in my memory --- was that there was other large demonstrations before the regime decided to crack down on the marches.
One of those occurred on 18 June 2009, as many tens of thousands of Iranians responded to the call for a "Sea of Black" to mourn the eight protesters killed in the March of the the Millions. They were addressed by Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Presidential candidate who is now under strict house arrest in Tehran. We have re-posted our Live Coverage of the day's events.
The continuing defiance of the regime's declaration of an Ahmadinejad re-election appeared to pose questions for Ayatollah Khamenei, who would be giving the Tehran Friday Prayer the next day. We offered the analysis of EA's Chris Emery, written for The Guardian:
The Supreme Leader is expected to lead Friday prayers in Tehran, where he will doubtless restate his calls for restraint. Hundreds of thousands of supporters on both sides will attend to see if Ayatollah Khamenei offers any more openings or whether he is drawing a line under the election. It appears that the Supreme Leader faces a stark decision of either further concessions or repression. In truth, neither option has much appeal to him. Khamenei could, as is his sole constitutional authority, declare martial law. To do so, however, would only demonstrate his personal, and the Islamic Republic's structural, failure.
Mousavi also faces a dilemma. He is well aware that the supreme leader perceives the mood on the streets as a potential threat to the very notion of an Islamic Republic. Mousavi, a former prime minister and acolyte of Ayatollah Khomeini, is no revolutionary. He will thus come under intense pressure from the supreme leader's office to reign in some of his supporters for the good of the republic. This is already the reason why Mousavi has asked for silent demonstrations and urged supporters to shout purely Islamic slogans. Khamenei has, however, so boxed himself in following his early endorsement of Ahmadinejad, that he has little to offer Mousavi which could appease him or his followers.
And, looking back at our coverage, there was also a signficant moment in the development of EA. In a test of whether social media could enhance coverage of international events --- effectively, a test of how EA's shift emphasis from watching US foreign policy to watching the world --- we considered 16 points in the "Green Brief" summary written by a young journalist named Josh Shahryar.
"Sifting Information from Rumours on Twitter" is re-posted in a separate entry.
12 JUNE: Remember Iran: An EA Special