December 21, 2009

WHY CAN'T WE BE AT LEAST AS FREE AS GEORGE BUSH'S IRAQ?:

Cleric's Death, Torture Case Jolt Iran (FARNAZ FASSIHI, 12/21/09, WSJ)

Tens of thousands of Iranian mourners--many chanting protest slogans--joined the funeral procession Monday for Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who had described government crackdowns as the work of power-hungry despots.

Iranian authorities have barred foreign media from covering the processions in the holy city of Qom for Ayatollah Montazeri, who died Sunday at age 87. But witnesses said many mourners shouted protest cries including "Death to the Dictator" in displays of anger against Iran's ruling establishment. [...]

The death of Ayatollah Montazeri, who passed away in his sleep, was only one of two surprises to shake Iran over the weekend.

Hours earlier, on Saturday, military prosecutors alleged that prison guards tortured to death at least three student protesters in July, contradicting months of denials by top leaders. The reversal is one of the biggest blows to Tehran's credibility since government protests first erupted six months ago.

Either development, by itself, would provide a rallying point for the opposition, which claims last summer's presidential election was a fraud and is demanding a political overhaul. Together, they represent the widening array of challenges facing the Iranian regime.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2009 6:32 AM
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