- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
- Law firm that cleared N.J. Gov. Christie in ‘Bridgegate’ gave 10K to RGA, which he heads
- PETA ‘hopping mad’ at Michelle Obama for using real eggs at Easter Egg Roll
- Sneaky Nebraska toddler traps self inside claw machine game
- Biden to lead $600 million work force training effort
- Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
Iranians seen as reformists become targets of crackdown before election
TEHRAN — Iran’s rulers are nervous as they prepare for elections in June and hope to avoid the massive street protests that followed the disputed presidential ballot in 2009.
The reformist opposition is calling for free elections, and other critics are accusing the theocratic regime of planning to steal the vote.
For three months, authorities have been cracking down on dissent in anticipation of the June 14 elections.
In February, police arrested 19 journalists working for reform-minded media. On March 6, Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi announced that his ministry had identified a group of 600 “seditious” journalists and “dealt them a blow.”
About two weeks later, authorities detained reformist politician Hossein Loghmanian and four associates en route to a meeting with former President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist. The authorities also have shut down most of the private computer networks that allow Iranians to circumvent Internet censorship.
A recent communique from the Intelligence Ministry provides insight into the regime’s paranoia and the Orwellian lengths to which it is willing to go.
On March 23, the ministry sent to an Education Ministry a set of 23 instructions to issue to citizens. In them, Iranians were encouraged to report any interactions with foreigners who ask “general” or “work-related” questions. The ministry warned people not to believe or spread the “rumors” of “the enemy’s media” and cautioned them to beware of “suspicious” phone calls asking for “special news.”
The ministry also reminded Iranians that hoarding weapons and explosives is illegal.
Gov. Isa Farhadi of Tehran Province boasted that Election Day security will be tight, with 99 battalions of the brutal Basiji militia to be mobilized, alongside the regular police.
The greatest bombshell regarding the upcoming elections came from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, in an order many saw as clear evidence of plans for vote-rigging.
On Jan. 8, Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi, the supreme leader’s envoy to the elite military unit, said: “A reasonable and logical engineering of the elections, however, is the inherent duty of the [Revolutionary Guards].”
The opposition was outraged.
The election “shouldn’t be spoken about in such a way that the people feel that the election is merely ceremonial,” said Hassan Rowhani, a moderate who has declared his intention to run for president.
Maverick conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari warned: “If these policies continue and if the opposition and critics cannot participate, then not many people will take part and it will be a ‘formality’ election.”
Another danger for the regime is a possible rebellion by the current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who cannot run again because of term limits.
TWT Video Picks
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- EDITORIAL: Intolerance at Brandeis silences Muslim dissident Hirsi Ali
- Kirsten Dunst: Actress sparks feminist ire: 'You need a man to be a man'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.