Iran’s Deadly Intimidation

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The Islamist regime has also targeted the small group of defense lawyers which has defended the dissidents. Since 2010, over 10 lawyers have been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms. The most recent convictions were Iranian attorney Khalil Bahramian, who was sentenced to 18 years in prison, and Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was sentenced to 11 years.

Still, some observers suspect that the events in Tunisia and Egypt are linked to the government increase in public executions and persecution. They argue the Iranian regime is encouraged by the prospect of the overthrow of secular, pro-Western governments, and as proof point to the government’s ardent and public championing of the revolts.

These thoughts were best echoed by the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, who told the Fars news agency, “The time has [been] reached to overcome puppet autocratic regimes by relying on the Islamic teachings.” Adding to the chorus was a top Iranian cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, quoted as saying, “An Islamic Middle East is being created based on Islam, religion, and democracy with prevailing religious principles.”

While there is a disturbing irony in the Iranian government backing a process which it crushed back in 2009, it is a fact not lost on Mousavi. On his website, he wrote about the Egyptian government’s confrontations and clashes with protesters: “We can identify a similar pattern.”

For its part, Iran’s government opposition and its leadership have also been vocal cheerleaders for the uprisings, which they claim are a natural extension of their own democratic efforts and call a sign of “Arab maturity.”

To them, the Green Movement was the first democratization movement that helped launch the Tunisian riots and then the subsequent Egyptian uprising. While some may dismiss the fact there is no correlation, arguing that Iran’s anti-government protests were a Persian Shiite movement and not a Sunni Arab one, others disagree.

In fact, Tunisian activists have been open about borrowing tactics used by Iranians in the 2009 Green Movement in their battle against the regime of Zine El Abdine Ben Ali. Specifically, they cite using social technologies, like Facebook and Twitter, as a means of organizing.

So now, as autocratic regimes peppered throughout the region begin to crumble, Iranian opposition leaders pine to complete the job they started. As Mousavi has confidently said, “No power can outrun the people’s will and demands. We believe that if election protesters are allowed to rally in Iran, people will express themselves.”

Despite its public bravado, Iran’s Islamist leaders are fearful what form that expression will take. While they may hope that Iran remains immune to the forces of change currently sweeping the region, they are busily hedging their bets. As Iranians are coming to learn, an overworked hangman is a good indicator of those efforts.

Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog,

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  • ObamaYoMoma

    For its part, Iran’s government opposition and its leadership have also been vocal cheerleaders for the uprisings, which they claim are a natural extension of their own democratic efforts and call a sign of “Arab maturity.”

    Uhm…Iranians aren’t Arabs. They are Persians; at least they were the last time I checked.

    • crazyhorse

      A lot are-racially mixed ,but a genuine Persian are blue eyed,Arayan..One lives in the North of Teheran,and the others in the south. On top of this there are tribal groups that are there also.

  • Steve Chavez

    Why is "democracy" such an important and sought after goal of the world when countries like Russian, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, etc… dismantle all democratic institutions and ban but one political party, jail opponents, exile others, and then use that word only to fool the world as if they were a true democracy as they claim legitimacy in the eyes of the Western World? Why are we so gullible to that word? "We had free and fair elections" they say. Jimmy Carter's presense than adds Western legitimacy but he is always suspicioulsy present when those countries allow all parties but the extreme Left wins and then uses that power to takeover the country to only turn it into a dictatorship that never allows any form of opposition! IT IS TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF IRAN, SYRIA, NK, VENEZUELA, CUBA, LIBYA AND RUSSIA TO ALSO RISE UP SO THEY CAN HAVE A TRUE "DEMOCRACY!

    • GUEST

      you mentioned Iran twice here " countries like Russian, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, etc " are you paid by the Zionist propaganda machine ? IRAN has it's own version of democracy , they do not need misinformed people to tell them about democracy

      • Rifleman

        Steve's an anti-communist and anti-islamist. No wonder you hate him. Are you paid in little boys by the ayatollas?

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Iran has put American youngsters on trial for crossing their border without being aware they crossed it. If they do any harm to these youngster and don't release them quickly we should retaliate in draconian ways – bombs, confiscation of assets, kidnappings and executions. We can't expect any help or words from the White House which gives shelter to a leftist Muslim, but if there are any MEN left in Congress, we should hear them speaking up.

  • USMCSniper

    What is absent is any serious objections from the oval office and the state department over a show trial for inocent Americans. I would make the Iranians "an offer they couldn't refuse."

  • Wesley69

    Had Obama supported the pro-democracy forces in Iran, this might not be happening now. It will be another generation before opposition raises its head against the oppressive rule of the Mullahs.

    If Obama had supposed pro-democracy forces in Iran, he would then have a moral authority when it came to trying to ease Mubarak out of power. Right now, he has none. In fact, allies of the US are wondering what good is an alliance with the US, if it is willing to push you out the door when the time is right.

    Iran is definitely profitting from the unrest in the Mideast. It's goal to destroy Israel appears to be nearer than ever before. But the Iranians better not miscalculate.

    If Israel realizes that defeat is inevitable and its people slaughtered, the cities of Teheran, Alexandria, Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, Medinia and other large population centers were become nuclear wastelands. Israel remembers well the experiences of the Holocaust and that of Masada.

  • ajnn

    iran = bad. is this new ?

  • Guest

    Mosavi and Karubi are two traitors who get paid by USA to destabalize IRAN

    • SAM000

      I agree on half of your sentece which says << Mosavi and Karubi are two traitors >> who get paid to betray the anti Mullahs demonstrators

  • Jaladhi

    Islam has only survived the centuries through intimidation and threats to its own followers as well as to non-Muslims. This is what Quran and Mo/allah have taught them. If it were not for the threats and death to apostates, Islam would not have survived once the followers become aware of its vile ideology. Unfortunately, becoming a Muslim is a one way street to Islamic prison – once you become Muslim, you can never get out of this prison alive – and its a life long incarceration if you stay.

    Iran keeps on executing innocent people to threaten and intimidate others who might be thinking of leaving Islam or might be thinking of rising up to the gutless mullahs who are making life miserable in Iran. This is Islamic democracy in action!!!

  • PaulaTripOrDie

    Fingers crossed for all the Iranians fighting for freedom.