Police again broke up protests in Tehran June 22, as the Revolutionary Guards warned they would crush “rioters” opposing the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “In the current sensitive situation…the Guards will firmly confront in a revolutionary way rioters and those who violate the law,” said a statement on the Guards’ website. Thestatement comes a day after pposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi called for continued protests. Ali Shahrokhi, head of parliament’s judiciary committee, said Mousavi should be prosecuted for “illegal protests and issuing provocative statements.” (Reuters, June 22)
The funeral of Neda Salehi Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old whose shooting at a protest June 22 was captured on video, has apparently been forbidden by the ruling clerics. Mehdi Karroubi—the presidential candidate who, together with Mousavi—is contesting the victory of Ahmadinejad, called a public commemoration of Neda in defiance of the ban. Karroubi made his appeal on Facebook. It is unclear if the demonstration was held. Twitter entries announced that Neda was buried at the Behest Zahra cemetery and that the authorities had prohibited a funeral. (AGI, June 22)
Official media cited unnamed security officials saying the “US-backed” and “terrorist” Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) has played a major role in the unrest, and that several of those detained have been identified as MKO members. According to the security officials, the detained militants confessed that they were extensively trained in Iraq’s camp Ashraf to create post-election mayhem in Iran, and received orders from an “MKO command post” in Britain. On June 20, MKO leader Maryam Rajavi expressed support for recent wave of protests in an address to supporters in Paris. (Tehran Times, June 22)
See our last post on Iran.
“Neda wanted Freedom for everyone!”
From the radical left Iranian opposition website Shooresh1917, June 23:
Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot dead by the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces on Saturday 20 June, wanted freedom for everyone.
In interviews with the press, her fiancee, Caspian Makan, said ‘Neda was never supportive of either group [referring to the factions in the regime]. She wanted freedom; Freedom for everyone.’
Her murder has become a rallying point across the world.
He went on to say: “She was near the area, a few streets away, from where the main protests were taking place, near the Amir-Abad area. She was with her music teacher, sitting in a car and stuck in traffic.
“She was feeling very tired and very hot. She got out of the car for just a few minutes.
“That’s when she was shot dead. Eyewitnesses and video footage of the shooting clearly show that probably Basij paramilitaries in civilian clothing deliberately targeted her. Eyewitnesses said they clearly targeted her and she was shot in the chest.
“She passed away within a few minutes. People tried to take her to the nearest hospital, the Shariati hospital. But it was too late.”
Makan said Neda’s family struggled to persuade the Iranian authorities to release her body.
“She was taken to a morgue outside Tehran. The officials from the morgue asked if they could use parts of her corpse for body transplants for medical patients,” he said.
“They didn’t specify what exactly they intended to do. Her family agreed because they wanted to bury her as soon as possible.
“We buried her in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. They asked us to bury her in this section where it seemed the authorities had set aside spaces for graves for those killed during the violent clashes in Tehran last week.”
The regime banned her family from holding a public funeral.
He continued: ‘She only ever said that she wanted one thing, she wanted freedom for the people of Iran.’
The white-haired man who is seen pressing on her chest in the video and repeatedly saying ‘don’t be afraid, Neda dear, don’t be afraid’ was actually her music teacher.