Ominous message from the Iranian Supreme Leader

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran

Today, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, spoke to the crowd at the weekly Friday Prayer and made what many have interpreted as a warning to those opposing the contested election results to cease their public protests or else face possible severe reprisals. The reprisals in question have been viewed as thinly veiled references to violence by government agents and Basij, or paramilitaries. The Supreme Leader said that opposition leaders would be held responsible for any bloodshed that resulted from the banned opposition rallies.

Although the protests in the streets in the first few days after the elections were met with attacks by baton-wielding riot police on motorcycles, and on Monday by deadly indiscriminate shooting into the crowd that left up to seven people fatally wounded and many more injured, the massive street protests since Monday have been largely peaceful, although random violence carried out by vigilantes and Basij have been reported.

Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the activists who have been arrested in the aftermath of election protests in Iran.

Human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is one of the activists who have been arrested in the aftermath of election protests in Iran.

The Iranian authorities have conducted their severest repressive measures in the form of mass detentions of journalists, students, opposition politicians and human rights activists. Among those arrested are human rights lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani, a close associate of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi and a member of the Center for Human Rights Defenders.

However it has been an open question to what extent the Iranian authorities would be willing to unleash the full force of its military and riot police against the vast numbers of protesters in the streets. The potential for such use of violence to result in large-scale bloodshed is alarming.

Amnesty International has expressed concern that an opposition rally that is said to be planned for tomorrow may be met with the use of excessive violence. We urge the authorities to respect the right of the Iranian people to engage in the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association.

Written by Elise Auerbach, AIUSA Iranian country specialist

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

7 thoughts on “Ominous message from the Iranian Supreme Leader

  1. Peace Vigil Urging End to Violent Crackdown in Iran

    DATE: Saturday, June 20, 2009

    TIME:4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    WHERE: CNN Center (headquarters)
    190 Marietta St NW
    Atlanta, GA

    Note to Photo Editors: Event will feature high-impact visuals — hundreds of
    activists with banners and placards.

  2. Peace Vigil Urging End to Violent Crackdown in Iran

    DATE: Saturday, June 20, 2009

    TIME:4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

    WHERE: CNN Center (headquarters)
    190 Marietta St NW
    Atlanta, GA

    Note to Photo Editors: Event will feature high-impact visuals — hundreds of
    activists with banners and placards.

  3. It is needful to differentiate between peaceful protest and violent anarchy.

    The rules put into force to restore order and safety in an emotional nationwide crisis have been made clear to all, both native and foreign. If we were to have "Rodney King-type riots" going on all over the USA over an election we did not like, we would not permit our news media to encite and entice our young people to come on down and join in the anarchy and destruction. What else is a government supposed to do other than to restore order in their streets?

    Peaceful demonstrators do not carry clubs and scream out for the deaths of their religious and political leaders. Rioting mobs and street gangs do.

    It is an Iranian problem and America certainly has no right whatsoever to tell the Iranian people what to do or to interfere with propaganda and incitement to do anything, either disapprove of the election or approve of the election.

    It is sad that people are being killed. It is sad that most of those are claimed to be innocent. A prudent person does not go into areas where there is known rioting and armed police, military or militia, unless they are lacking common sense. Some of those young people are acting like this is a gang war and they are the "Bloods and the Crips." They are not doing Ghandi, or Dr. King, type of peaceful resistance and non violent protest. They are rioting and advocating violence and death. They are out of control and no country, no nation, no government would be fulfilling their obligation as a government if they did not make every effort to get the disorder under control.

    I know I am out of step with most folks on this issue, but I am becoming more and more out of step as each new outrage and each new deceit becomes exposed. Your organization has done so much of the exposing, so much of the investigating, that your organization, and others, have taught me to look at things more closely and to examine the information I am receiving and the interests of the organizations, governmental or private, that are giving me their "take" on what is going on. I cannot see that this is a time for American citizens to do anything whatsoever to interfere in Iran, but it is a time to recognize once again the grief, the insanity, the deaths, the injustices, that those who are governed must endure because there is each and every day, less and less likelihood that world leaders have the interests of the average citizen,ANYWHERE, at heart. The power is all corrupt and none have escaped the hypocrisy.

    We are a pathetic lot.

  4. Deja Vu: This is a CIA coupe lead by Dick Cheney's daughter. Ex-prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi is an evil, corrupt far right cleric. He is no reformer. He has a bloody history of executing hundreds of reformers.

  5. It is needful to differentiate between peaceful protest and violent anarchy.

    The rules put into force to restore order and safety in an emotional nationwide crisis have been made clear to all, both native and foreign. If we were to have “Rodney King-type riots” going on all over the USA over an election we did not like, we would not permit our news media to encite and entice our young people to come on down and join in the anarchy and destruction. What else is a government supposed to do other than to restore order in their streets?

    Peaceful demonstrators do not carry clubs and scream out for the deaths of their religious and political leaders. Rioting mobs and street gangs do.

    It is an Iranian problem and America certainly has no right whatsoever to tell the Iranian people what to do or to interfere with propaganda and incitement to do anything, either disapprove of the election or approve of the election.

    It is sad that people are being killed. It is sad that most of those are claimed to be innocent. A prudent person does not go into areas where there is known rioting and armed police, military or militia, unless they are lacking common sense. Some of those young people are acting like this is a gang war and they are the “Bloods and the Crips.” They are not doing Ghandi, or Dr. King, type of peaceful resistance and non violent protest. They are rioting and advocating violence and death. They are out of control and no country, no nation, no government would be fulfilling their obligation as a government if they did not make every effort to get the disorder under control.

    I know I am out of step with most folks on this issue, but I am becoming more and more out of step as each new outrage and each new deceit becomes exposed. Your organization has done so much of the exposing, so much of the investigating, that your organization, and others, have taught me to look at things more closely and to examine the information I am receiving and the interests of the organizations, governmental or private, that are giving me their “take” on what is going on. I cannot see that this is a time for American citizens to do anything whatsoever to interfere in Iran, but it is a time to recognize once again the grief, the insanity, the deaths, the injustices, that those who are governed must endure because there is each and every day, less and less likelihood that world leaders have the interests of the average citizen,ANYWHERE, at heart. The power is all corrupt and none have escaped the hypocrisy.

    We are a pathetic lot.

  6. Deja Vu: This is a CIA coupe lead by Dick Cheney’s daughter. Ex-prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi is an evil, corrupt far right cleric. He is no reformer. He has a bloody history of executing hundreds of reformers.

  7. Pingback: Iranian Lawyer Shadi Sadr Released! | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog