A Journalist in Tehran told the Campaign, “Crackdown on People Will be Another Mistake”
A Journalist in Tehran describes the mood in the city for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran’s blog, just a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution’s victory in 1979. Below you see excerpts from this interview:
ICHR- 24 hours before the anniversary of the Revolution, 22 Bahman, how is the mood in Tehran? Some people have reported an unusual presence of security forces in Tehran. Have you seen such presence?
Not any more than usual in most of the city. There is a new type of police in black Mercedes cars and Toyata SUV’s in black uniforms, but no one knows who they are yet. I think the mood feels oddly normal. No one is sure what will happen, mostly because they haven’t announced specific routes for the greens. Everyone will be in the same place and that’s what we’re worried about. Nothing is clear, but everyone knows that the regime is VERY nervous.
ICHR- How are the latest rounds of arrests seen in the society? At this time local newspapers and news agencies cannot cover such arrests and pressures on human rights activists; how is the society discussing the widespread human rights violations?
Well in a way I think many Iranians have become de-sensitized to these things. It’s almost as though they expect these sorts of arrests and the pressure. Frankly, I think many consider it to be part of a long trend and don’t necessarily consider it an escalation, although of course it is.
ICHR- How is the popularity of the Iranian state TV which is simplysilent in regards to any human rights violations?
I tend not to watch State television and fewer and fewer people do, as well. The forced confessions of a few months ago (Abtahi especially) were a big deal. Again it seems now like people aren’t affected by these things anymore. Anything they see on TV seems fake.
ICHR- How do you see the mood in town in regards to participation in tomorrow’s celebration rally that is planned to bring the crowds to the Azadi Square?
Very hard to gage. Everyone I know will be there, either in opposition to the government or just to see what happens. I think people are challenging the leadership. There’s a sense that if they crack down hard on this day in particular, they will lose their control. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment, but I do think it would be another mistake in a long series of mistakes over the past few months. It seems to me that if a compromise is in the works, tomorrow is an appropriate time to start talking about it openly. But somehow I doubt that will happen.
There is also a sense that the opposition will likely far outnumber the security forces and if they try to stop them harshly many people who are pro-government (or at least the ones that are there because the government brought them) will be hurt as well. It’s not their goal that for that to happen, but they’re betting that if it does the regime loses a lot of support from people who were with them before.