July 2nd, 2009
01:46 PM ET

Iranian Student Leader: 'First They Kill, Then They Count'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/07/01/analysis.iran.whats.next/art.art.run.afp.gi.jpg caption="The unrest following the disputed election led to riots on the streets and a brutal clampdown by authorities. "]
Golnaz Esfandiari

The Iranian government has reacted to the protests over the June 12 presidential election results with increased repression and force.

Over the past two weeks more than 1,000 reformist figures, political activists, journalists, students, and critics have been arrested in Iran. Some have been forced to make false confessions while others are reportedly under pressure.

A number of activists have been forced into hiding because of the crackdown. RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari spoke to one of them, a student leader, who discussed the postelection crisis and the future of the "Green" movement.

RFE/RL: A number of political activists have gone into hiding as a result of the postelection repression, but critics might say that this is the time when people such as yourself should work with others and be part of the movement for change in Iran. How would you respond to such criticism?

Student leader: Crises are a good opportunity for the establishment to repress the civil society with more force and prevent it from continuing its existence. Iran's establishment is facing a crisis on the domestic and international scene regarding its legitimacy and its acceptance; the establishment feels powerful only through the use of repression.

What happened in Iran in the June 12 vote is clearly visible in this context.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Iran
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. star

    It is sad that when all this is happening we care more to talk about "where MJ's doctor might be?" I understand that CNN is trying to cover the most popular news but there is major world crisis going and all CNN is doing is helping the Iranian Govt by not showing the world what is happening in Iran. and the rest of the world. please enough of MJ's gossip let the guy rest in peace and focus on the real news. I think I'd tune into MTV for MJ coverage. Meanwhile in Iran people are hiding, more than 2000* people have been arrested and people are being assassinated. weird all this sounds like the holocaust to me and President Obama decides to sit back and watch and meanwhile CNN is covering some more MJ gossip.

    July 3, 2009 at 12:30 am |
  2. Sean Afshar

    Dear Anderson,
    Thank you for all your efforts to show the world how the Islamic regime is killing innocent people in Iran. Please keep Iran's news in the headlines as long as possible. We understand it is hard to get information from Iran, but we want the world to see and hear how Iranians are fed up with this regime who has occupied Iran for 30 years.

    Thank you again.

    May Iranians see the light of freedom and democracy soon.


    July 2, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  3. rozita

    please don't stop reporing about Iran, we like to know what is happening in that country which will effect the whole middle East crisis.

    July 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    Is news out of Iran harder to get now or is it that news on Michael Jackson is more popular? I am sorry for Michael's death but I really think it is more important to keep up with Iran and the rest of the world – even the coverage on Elvis didn't approach this level of intensity when he died.

    July 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  5. Marilyn

    please keep what is happening In Iran alive! Please stop showing Michael Jackson 24 hours a day!

    July 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  6. Joe G. (Illinois)

    Iran wants to annihilate Israel with nuclear power.. And it just so happens that now they are killing themselves a bit.. But aside from the obvious Obama, who else is concerned about their Civil Rights? Aside from Obama.. Who’s feeling sorry for the Iranians.. Who wants to help the Iranian? Is it John McCain?

    July 2, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  7. William

    Anderson Copper is still reporting. I think he is trying his best with all the news here in the States.

    July 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  8. Cynfullll

    as i understand it, student protestors and other supporters r in hiding 4 fear of their lives. they continue 2 get information out of iran, even tho free communication via cell phones and the internet has been quashed by the regime. these brave iranian ppl cont. 2 risk their lives 2 get as much info. out of iran, as possible. spend a few moments in #iranelection on twitter and u will c the efforts of some 2 discredit the few sources 4 info. out of iran. imo, this adds credibility 2 the sources info. we at #iranelection, can only hope that the reliable sources accounts have not already been hijacked by repressors. i continue 2 support the brave iranian ppl, the sea of green.. in their efforts 2 preserve a democratic process.. #iranelection

    July 2, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  9. William

    Crackdown In Iran Spawns Creative Forms Of Dissent They are still Yelling from the roof tops. If you really understand Freedom. All I can say is Free people will always stand with people wanting Freedom.

    July 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Nicole

    Michael Jackson died, sadly American media is more interested in who will get custody of his children and where his chimp from the 90's is living rather than reporting the devastation going on around the world.
    It's a sad truth

    July 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  11. abe

    Why has CNN stopped news coverage on Iran.

    July 2, 2009 at 2:26 pm |