Following Iran

From HuffPo

A powerful note from a female medical student in Iran, translated from Farsi by a trusty reader.

It's painful to watch what's happening.

I don't want anything to do with what has been said this far, as I neither have the strength nor the resilience to face all these unfathomable events.

I only want to speak about what I have witnessed. I am a medical student. There was chaos last night at the trauma section in one of our main hospitals. Although by decree, all riot-related injuries were supposed to be sent to military hospitals, all other hospitals were filled to the rim. Last night, nine people died at our hospital and another 28 had gunshot wounds. All hospital employees were crying till dawn. They (government) removed the dead bodies on back of trucks, before we were even able to get their names or other information. What can you even say to the people who don't even respect the dead. No one was allowed to speak to the wounded or get any information from them. This morning the faculty and the students protested by gathering at the lobby of the hospital where they were confronted by plain cloths anti-riot militia, who in turn closed off the hospital and imprisoned the staff. The extent of injuries are so grave, that despite being one of the most staffed emergency rooms, they've asked everyone to stay and help--I'm sure it will even be worst tonight.

What can anyone say in face of all these atrocities? What can you say to the family of the 13 year old boy who died from gunshots and whose dead body then disappeared?

This issue is not about cheating(election) anymore. This is not about stealing votes anymore. The issue is about a vast injustice inflected on the people. They've put a baton in the hand of every 13-14 year old to smash the faces of "the bunches who are less than dirt" (government is calling the people who are uprising dried-up torn and weeds) .

This is what sickens me from dealing with these issues. And from those who shut their eyes and close their ears and claim the riots are in opposition of the government and presidency!! No! The people's complaint is against the egregious injustices committed against the people.

Aslan: Rafsanjani calls "emergency" meeting of Assembly of Experts. If true, this is a bombshell. Appearing on CNN last night (video below), Iran expert Reza Aslan reported this:
There are very interesting things that are taking place right now. Some of my sources in Iran have told me that Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who is the head of the Assembly of Experts -- the eighty-six member clerical body that decides who will be the next Supreme Leader, and is, by the way, the only group that is empowered to remove the Supreme Leader from power -- that they have issued an emergency meeting in Qom.

Now, Anderson, I have to tell you, there's only one reason for the Assembly of Experts to meet at this point, and that is to actually talk about what to do about Khamenei. So, this is what I'm saying, is that we're talking about the very legitimacy, the very foundation of the Islamic Republic is up in the air right now. It's hard to say what this is going to go.

Aslan's scoop is also reported by the Farsi-language Rooyeh.

The reader in Iran who tipped me off to this sent a follow-up note:

jesus christ dude,

I'm [in my 30s] and never thought of it, let alone witnessing it as it unfolds.

I'm going nuts.


An informed Iranian-American had a different take. "I think Rafasanjani is not going to ask for Khamenei's removal, but is bluffing to force Khamenei to drop support of Ahmadinejad."

Here's a supplement to that via The Daily Dish's Andrew Sullivan:

Ex-CIA field operative Robert Baer has his eyes on Rafsanjani:

If the protests and demonstrations in Tehran cannot be controlled, we should seriously start to wonder about Khamenei's future. Rafsanjani is rumored to be in the holy city of Qum plotting against Khamenei, seeing if he has enough votes in the 86-member Assembly of Experts to remove Khamenei. A vote recount is unlikely to change the results of the election, but it could lead to more demonstrations, which backed by Rafsanjani and the other mullahs, might just end Khamenei's 20 year run.

For one of the best summaries, check out Trita Parsi in TIME: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904989,00.html

And this pretty much sums up what most intellectuals think so far about Obama: [again from andrew Sullivan]

Judis urges caution:

[T]he Obama administration has to be very careful about backing, or even placing great hopes on, someone like Iran's Moussavi and even on his impassioned followers. If we are seeing the beginning of another revolution--or structural transformation--in Iran, it is worth remembering that before the dust clears on this events, Kerensky can become Lenin and Bani Sadr can become Khomeini. The U.S. should use its influence--and get European countries to use theirs--but we should be careful and not allow ourselves to get into crusading mode where we think we can protect or defend one side against the other.

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