Thursday, November 12, 2009

13 Aaban In and out of Iran

By Pejman Akbarzadeh

Today is 13 Aban 1388 - Wednesday 4 November 2009; there is unrest all over Iran. This time however it’s the 30th anniversary of the hostage taking the workers of American Embassy in Tehran. The Iranian government and local media refer to this place as “den of espionage”.
On the 13th day of Abaan 1358 in the Iranian calendar the hostage taking pf American Embassy staff was carried out by students who were followers of the Imam line. (Imam Khomeini). This event led the biggest political crisis between Iran and the United States. The hostage taking took 444 days until the 30th of Dey 1359 in the Iranian calendar when a contract was drawn up between the Algerian, American and Iranian governments. The pivotal agreement in this contract was:
Iran’s commitment in order to release the American hostages.
America’s commitment to refrain from interference in the internal affairs of Iran.
In previous years, on 13 Aban, government supporters have staged protests and slogans against the United States of America. Today also in the local media (Islamic Republic media) an important part of the special protests against America took place at the former American Embassy building in Tehran and other cities of Iran. Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi declared on state television that 13 Aban is one of the most important days in the history of our revolution. Outside of his jurisprudence, he also said that people would declare their enemy by appearing in the intense protests.
However this year, for the first time people who are against the Iranian government and regime were also present during the protests. This issue was a cause of concern for the government officials of Iran even before the day arrived. Revolutionary Guards of the Islamic Republic gave a statement that 13 Aban is the national day of struggle against arrogance, therefore participants in this ceremony are asked to shout slogans only against America. Sections of the public were invited to attend the ceremony with warnings that people should beware of the possibility of mischief and misplaced intentions at this great event.
Despite these statements and warnings people addressed the highest officials of the Islamic Republic in opposition, as video footage uploaded on YouTube have shown. Ariane, an eye witness, in an interview with Zamaneh radio said: “There were many people today who gathered at Hafte Tir Square between 3 and 4pm. They came ready to face the suppression of the Special Forces unit. The forces attacked people and dispersed the crowd with pepper spray and tear gas. They forced businesses on Hafte Tir square to close their shops so there would be nowhere for the people to escape from the forces. Before, the election was the issue raised among people, but now the it was the whole establishment.”

Video footage sent from Iran showed renewed slogans against Russia, and the singing of revolutionary song “Yar e Dabestani”dispersing the sound level of gun shots and the people being beaten by police enforcements.
Iranians and citizens of other countries have also gathered in protest today. This afternoon in the Netherlands, opposite the Hague Tribunal, a demonstration was held from 5-7pm. Part of the route was cancelled due to rain, but poetry readings continued. Vahid describes this gathering: “There was a speech in front of the court, alongside a memorial and slogans were chanted in support of the Iranian people. People were holding cards demanding the freedom of political prisoners, free elections, and also the trial for recent crimes perpetrate. These were carried out in exactly the same way as the protests in Iran.
Demonstrations were also held in Paris, in solidarity with the Iranian people, opposition to the election results, and the violence against people. Iraj Adibzadeh was present. At St Michel Square, between 300-400 people came together to support people in Iran. Also members of the human rights associations were also present and gave a speech to the people. One of the Iranians who participated in the protests in Paris, in an interview with Zamaneh radio said: “I am here today to show Ahmadinejad that nothing can silence these voices.” He said that the least we could do is participate in the protests held outside Iran and show our support in this way, as unfortunately we are not in Iran and we cannot participate at the protests held in Iran with all other Iranians.
German cities that hold thousands of Iranians, planned protests on Saturday. Speaking from Aachen, Hadi Movayedi said: “We think that this is the strongest movement we have had since the days of the constitution. The influence of this movement both inside and outside the country is that different views were gathered around a series of common slogans. Even at the beginning of this movement, there were collaborations between us and other associations in Dusseldorf and Cologne. With these efforts there are now six human rights and political organizations working hard together.” Mr Movayedi explained the reason for holding the demonstration on Saturday 7 November “If we were to hold this event on Wednesday, then it would have been impossible for people to gather.”

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