CNN just showed footage of Mir-Hossein Mousavi talking to supporters in a massive demonstration in Tehran today.
Here’s an AFP photo:
I found the above image on Twitter, which has proven absolutely indispensable in following developments in Iran, especially over the weekend as the U.S. cable news channels dropped the ball in covering this major international news story. Twitter has been one of the few forms of media that has been able to get through the restrictions the totalitarian regime have put on free speech (through jamming cell phone service, texting, Facebook, etc.). For those who haven’t embraced Twitter, here’s a website that makes it easy to keep track of the reports being sent by individuals tweeting inside Iran. Lots of gripping stories, for instance from one Twitter user identified as an Iranian student at the University of Tehran, in a dormitory under attack:
my friend saying more than 100 students arrested, I can’t confirm this but the numbers are high
they used some kind of riot control gun in their last attack, never seen it before
bastards just attacked us for no reason, I lost count of how much tear gas they launched at us!
to other sources: this isn’t the police! police is still outside! we’re under attack by Ansar-Hezbolah.
You can follow his updates here.
As I documented last week, Mousavi shouldn’t be mistaken for a genuine reformer. But it’s become clear this weekend that he’s tapped into a sentiment among the Iranian youth and become a symbol of their desire for change. As long as the current regime is left intact, nothing can really change in Iran. And right now, it’s hard to say whether these protests will be sustained and present a real threat to the regime, as I hope they will. Some have argued that even if the regime is preserved, this public reaction may force it to moderate. But if the brutal response over the weekend is any indication, the regime seems more likely to respond to this challenge by imposing even tighter control on society. Either way, this is a story worth following very closely.