18 Tir: All Eyes on Iran

July 9 marks the 10th anniversary of student demonstrations protesting the closure of the Iranian reformist newspaper Salaam in 1999. Government forces attacked students in their dormitories in Tehran and other Iranian cities, reportedly arresting and detaining 1,000 students.

The protests that ensued lasted for six days, and the number of protesters grew from hundreds to thousands, making it one of the largest protests since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The crackdown was just as brutal as the one we recently witnessed the week of June 20.

Tir is the fourth month in the Persian calendar year and the first month of summer.

In his recent article in Tehran Bureau, Jason Rezaian predicts that today, the 10th anniversary of the crackdown, will be "pivotal" for the current reformist movement. Rezaian has also observed heightened security on this day in the years after the 1999 crackdown. In this article, he writes of the reformist movement co-opting the tradition of mourning as a means of staging peaceful protests.

Rallies have been planned in 30 Iranian cities and in 18 cities around the world, but few details have been posted on Twitter or Facebook. In fact, twitter users have been informing the twitterverse not to disclose any details on protest times or locations.

The LA Times has reported that leaflets have been circulated instructing people to carry roses as a symbol of peaceful demonstration. Protesters have also been told not to wear green, which symbolizes reform, or any make-up in an effort to stave off the wrath of government security forces. Demonstrators are to focus on their rally destination point and change their route if they see riot police or basiji militia. In addition, if safety is an issue, protesters are instructed to walk or drive around their own neighbourhoods flashing the peace sign to onlookers.

The regime has closed government offices and universities and is encouraging Tehran residents to leave the city because of elevated pollution levels and dust storms.

JudyRey has 68,484 followers on twitter and is reportedly used as a key person to get information out on the situation in Iran. She has a number of contacts in the Islamic Republic and has recently stated that Hamas, Hezbollah and Taliban forces have been deployed in Iran. There have been a number of unconfirmed reports of Arabic-speaking security personnel on the streets of Tehran.

Photo courtesy of Maydar via Twitpic.

The following commemorates the 1999 crackdown:

LA Times
CBS World Watch


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