February 6th, 2010
11:29 PM ET

Iran's Islamic Revolution faces off with the Green Movement

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/08/20/annoying.facebook.updaters/art.facebook.user.gi.jpg caption="Social media sites are abuzz with pictures, cartoons and slogans calling for massive anti-government demonstrations."]

Octavia Nasr | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor, Mideast Affairs

Social media sites are abuzz with pictures, cartoons and slogans, calling for massive anti-government demonstrations on Thursday, Feb. 11. The day is also commonly known as "22 of Bahman" in the Iranian calendar.

The choice of avatars on Twitter is not a coincidence. The color green represents what has become known as the Green Movement, a symbol of Iran's opposition. The people who make up the movement took to the streets last year in protest of election results. They have staged many demonstrations since.

For Iranians around the world, this time of year is a commemoration of historic events etched in their memories.

Thirty-one years ago, the Shah was ousted and within weeks, Ayatollah Khomeni returned from exile, the Islamic Revolution took hold and the Islamic Republic of Iran was established.

For certain Iranians, this is a time to celebrate the Revolution and its achievements. But others consider it to be an unfortunate anniversary of when Iran changed into a religiously policed and controlled nation.

This year is like no other since the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Following the 2009 presidential elections, the opposition cried foul, claiming votes weren't counted and accusing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of "stealing the elections" from reformist candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi.

Since then the mood has shifted constantly and the rhetoric on both sides has reached new levels.

The Green Movement appears to be organizing and growing in size and determination. Its members and supporters are now calling for massive demonstrations on the actual anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

and judging by their activity on line in social media forums, they seem determined to take to the streets no matter what the price or consequences.

Opposition supporters are now going after religion and its guardian, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Akbar Khamenei.

Slogans have started to attack him personally such as "Death to Khamenei" alongside "Death to the dictator."

According to media reports, Iranian authorities are responding by warning demonstrators that they will be "crushed."

For example, Police General Ismail Ahmad Moghaddam has reportedly said, "The era of tolerance is over. Anyone attending such rallies will be crushed."

Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani of the Revolutionary Guards issued this warning, "If there is any voice or color other than those of the Islamic Revolution it will be pushed aside and if a minority makes this attempt, it will be firmly confronted."

To understand the severity of these threats one must look at how Iran has been arresting and putting on trial those accused of having participated in recent demonstrations. The fate of many remains unknown.

While the opposition is united in voicing their disapproval of President Ahmadinejad and the support he continues to get from Ayatollah Khamenei, a group within the opposition seems to be hoping that the so-called “sons of the Revolution” could perhaps turn against the Islamic Republic and, in turn, against the Revolution itself.

A situation almost identical to how the Islamic Revolution took hold exactly 31 years ago this week.

Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Octavia Nasr
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Elke, Germany

    I´m really afraid of what will be on Tuesday. Seems that the government had arranged it well, Mottaki´s appearance in Munich, the announcement of enrichment of uranium, now to produce drones, etc. To that the harsh statements of police and the Revolutionary Guards, that the tolerance is over. It looks that there will be clashes.
    What makes me nervous is, that whatever will happen in Iran, it has an impact to the neighboring states and to the region.
    I hope for the Iranian people, that in the end they will have more freedom.

    February 8, 2010 at 7:48 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    The Iranian government is the master of, more time please, stop being unreasonable, especially on the uranium enrichment issue.
    As I see it they have bought six months by saying Yes and No alternately and this time Russian negotiations fail. Only China seems to believe its a good idea to allow Iran to potentially develop nuclear weapons.
    This is not an issue of trust any more or of one nation vetoing anything = China, they Iran, have been duplicitous to be kind or lied about intentions to be unkind, now for more than 8/9 months continuosly to the international community.
    Furthermore, it does not help to say Iran is an Islamic Republic it is incomplete and inaccurate. It is a correctly (from a journalistic standpoint)a Democratically elected Islamic Republic. Where yes you can report on opposition demonstrations, suppression of internet, excessive police or national guard activity and violence as long as it is legal, honest, decent, and truthful. and challenge the democratic bit. but its a challenge only and not the fact you like portray.
    The time is now for the rest of the world excluding China if necessary to impose sanctions. Then challenge China in the UN why they veto. No reply apply the same sanctions to them.
    For me, it wont happen, but if someone could ever bring out of Iran in provable unequivocal form 90% enriched uranium, I would tell Iran now we will because of your lies Nuke you off the planet as a government and military. It does not need to happen ever, but might get some truth talking from both sides to take place now!

    February 8, 2010 at 2:25 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    Green movement or tea party, the cause seems to be the same in some ways does it not. Long live the freedom for all.

    February 6, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  4. mocean emanuel cristian

    In my oppinion U.S.A. shoud help get Iran out of the middle age.
    Freedom of speech and religion is every person's birth right.
    Its a shame as late as 2010 there are still people who are denied that.

    February 6, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  5. meturl

    Well history can always repeat itself no matter how different circumstances can occur...

    February 6, 2010 at 7:42 am |