To the outside world, street protests in Iran appear to have died down since summer ended. Yet the opposition movement, driven underground, has strategically slated mass turnouts for calendar dates such as September’s Qods Day, which turned the government’s annual tradition of anti-Israel rallies on its head. By targeting dates of historic significance to the regime, opposition supporters aim to ‘subvert’ ideological symbols touted for 30 years by the Islamic Republic and thereby re-brand that date as an ideology-free ‘green’ day, the trademark color of the country's burgeoning pro-democracy movement.
Far from being “spontaneous” as some in the Western media described the last instance when, by many estimates, hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets, anti-government demonstrations are laboriously planned and promoted a month beforehand, originating online, as ever, and transmitted on the ground by word-of-mouth, leaflets, and other creative ways.
The next major rally date is November 4, known as 13 Aban on the Iranian calendar, which marks the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran.
At Rooz Online: Be Present on November 4, by Hamed Irani:
In his statement number 14, Mir-Hossein Mousavi invited people to turn November 4 into the greenest day of the year with their presence. Various reports also point to the issuance of a statement by Mehdi Karoubi inviting people to participate in the November 4 rallies.
November 4 is the anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover in Tehran. The opposition seeks to turn the day into a day of protest against the regime. Meanwhile, police have declared that opposition protesters cannot take part in rallies “without a permit,” and the Basij organization has announced that it will send three million of its members to the streets to “foil the enemies’ conspiracy.”
Also interesting reading: Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s statement for 13 Aban (scroll down). For more on Montazeri and other clerical dissenters in Iran, see this earlier post. For more comment on the context of Montazeri’s statement, see Neo-Resistance.
Raye Man Kojast has a number of videos of today’s buildup amongst students in preperation for 13 Aban, and Enduring America has more links than I can handle.
The regime has prepared for the protesters by creating their own ersatz version of the Green Movement: see Pedestrian here and here, and Azarmehr here.
Solidarity protests will be taking place outside Iran. Harry’s Place gives details for London, 6-9 pm Wed 4th Nov, outside the Iranian embassy, 16 Prince’s Gate, London SW7.
Historical background: at Tehran Bureau, The Hostage Crisis 30 Years On, by Muhammad Sahimi. And linked to in an earlier post, part one of the BBC’s Iran & the West also deals with the hostage crisis.
All Iran posts here.