The nuking of Iran's dissent
Cowardice and Courage
In the run-up to the anniversary celebration, hundreds of people, including family members of prominent politicians and scores of journalists, have been arrested. On Thursday, an unusually large contingent of security forces, including masked Revolutionary Guards special units armed with assault rifles, closed off streets and kept opposition groups from the main square where the celebration took place.
Opposition supporters still showed up, even in conservative cities around the country. And they did take risks. Foreign journalists were restricted in covering the event. But opposition Web sites reported that security forces fired gunshots and tear gas at supporters of the opposition leader, Mir Hussein Moussavi, and that his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, had been beaten by plainclothes agents with batons.
While that was happening in the shadows, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on center stage announcing new advances in Iran’s nuclear program — a cynical effort to divert attention from his government’s repression and economic and political failures. More than three decades after Iranians overthrew the United States-backed shah, the country remains a living contradiction between its revolutionary ideals — justice, independence and self-sufficiency — and its shameful practice.
Credits: The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/opinion/12fri2.html