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Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Just say no to crackdowns

Sam Dagher of The New York Times writes that even as the clerics in the government are tightening their stranglehold on the media and protests, the mood among many citizens remains defiant.

Interviews with more than a dozen Iranians here paint a picture of a nation deeply polarized by the results of the presidential election last month, and a government that, with a daunting display of security might from town to village, appears to be succeeding in silencing dissent.

One Tehran resident said the people protesting the re-election of Ahmadinejad are finding it nearly impossible to get together in large numbers, as

“Guards are lurking everywhere in the city,” he said.

Still, every night, people in Tehran are on their rooftops at 10pm shouting "Allahu akbar!" which usually lasts about 20 minutes.

The resident stated that friends and relatives in other Iranian cities, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Isfahan, reported that the mood was similar. From around Iran, in towns large and small, there is a large and formidable security presence, and demonstrations have dried up.

“The government should allow people to express their opinion,” the Tehran resident said, speaking in English. “We want to have a democratic place for talking and negotiating with each other. We want justice.”

Dagher also interviewed people who voted for Ahmadinejad, like Haidar Amirallah, a truck driver from a town near Isfahan.

“If you do not interfere in politics, you can move around freely,” he said.

Mr. Amirallah said that he was in favor of the crackdown against Moussavi supporters.

“They want freedom like in Europe away from Islam,” he said. “They want to have sex, drink alcohol and do everything that Europeans do. We reject this.”

He's not alone. It's interesting to see the other perspective in this conflict, because even though we can legitimately question whether Amadinejad won, or even got as many votes as the government insisted, there is no doubt that he did receive the votes of millions of Iranians.

Things are changing in Iran, but the pace appears as though it will be slow. It remains inexorable.

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posted at 3:28 PM

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