Iran

Iranian Student Protests

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Security forces and pro-government militiamen clashed with protesters shouting "death to the dictator" outside Tehran University on Monday, beating men and women with batons and firing tear gas, on a day of nationwide student demonstrations, witnesses said.

Thousands of protesters demonstrated in the streets outside the campus in support of students inside. As they chanted "death to the dictator," riot police and Basij militiamen charged the crowds, the witnesses said.

The plainclothes Basijis beat protesters on the heads and shoulders as the crowd scattered, then regrouped on nearby street corners. Nearby, protesters and Basijis pelted each other with stones, the witnesses said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Read more here.

One of the many problems with the U.S. invasion of Iraq is that it came at a time when grassroots opposition to the Iranian government was heating up and potentially leading to a popular overthrow of the Islamist government there. What a victory against forces of religious terror that might have been. But the U.S. pulled all support of such efforts in the run-up to invading Iraq.

Back in 2002, Charles Paul Freund wrote about the plight of Iranian academic Hashem Aghajari, one of the cases that triggered massive protests in Iran. Aghajari was sentenced to death for apostasy (can you believe it?) after declaring that Iranians should not blindly follow clerics. Due to the reaction to his sentence, he was only (!) imprisoned and fined, and eventually released in 2004.

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Jesse Walker wrote about the strength of Iranian civil society for USA Today.

When falls the Islamic Republic of Iran, a "liberationist" revolution that somehow managed to be even worse than the tyrannical regime it replaced? What ever the date, it will have likely been pushed back years by the Iraq war.

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  1. Still trying to justify your treasonous anti-war bullshit after we won in Iraq, huh, traitor boy?

    1. We won in Iraq? How delusional does one have to be, to think that America’s intervention in Iraq was triumphant.

      1. The standard of victory has been reduced to “not another Vietnam”.

    2. YO WE KICK SADDAMS AZZ NIGGAZ WE WON DAT SHIT LIKE A MOTHAFUCKA YO

  2. grassroots opposition to the Iranian government was heating up….What a victory against forces of religious terror that might have been. But the U.S. pulled all support of such efforts in the run-up to invading Iraq.

    Let me get this straight: The U.S. should be conspiring with The Right Kinds Of People to topple their governments? We should be meddling in the affairs of Iran? Again? That’s a good thing, but the inevitable escalation into actual war is a bad thing?

    1. “Let me get this straight: The U.S. should be conspiring with The Right Kinds Of People to topple their governments? We should be meddling in the affairs of Iran? Again? That’s a good thing, but the inevitable escalation into actual war is a bad thing?”

      Who said anything about needing to support one side or the other? “The grassroots opposition” was already in place, and would have toppled the iranian regime on its own if our government wasn’t fumbling around in Iraq, and ultimately sidetracking those efforts in Iran

  3. Cabeza, the US did kinda sorta win in Iraq. Which still doesn’t justify the invasion.

    First commenter, take your own eponymous advice.

    1. X,

      We defeated the the Iraqi military & captured Saddam. That can be seen as a success, but America’s invasion completely destablized the entire country. It turned Iraq into a Islamic terrorist haven. I wouldn’t consider that a success, more like a major strategic blunder.

  4. C, i said the US won, i didn’t say it succeeded. It’s kind of like we won the war and lost the Middle East.

  5. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq–regardless of whether it’s a win or loss–would that have made regime change in Iran any more likely?

    The biggest outbreak of grassroots revolt in Iran was last June when their election appeared to have been rigged. Violence in Iraq had already been mostly dormant at that time. But the world sat on the sidelines for that one, and eventually the mullahs strong-armed their way through it.

  6. If we hadn’t invaded Iraq–regardless of whether it’s a win or loss–would that have made regime change in Iran any more likely?

    The proposition that our invasion of Iraq led many Iranians to shelve their own opposition to the mullahs needs a little support, it seems to me.

    1. It’s entirely speculative. And Mr. Nick’s thesis seems to go against that famous libertarian hands-offism. Don’t meddle in Iraq so we can meddle in Iran? Oooo-kaaaay…

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