Teheran (AsiaNews) - In many cities throughout Iran massive pro-government demonstrations were held today. While Ahmadinejad accused the opposition of being in the pay of Zionism, the United States and Great Britain, there are increasingly evident ruptures and divisions between police forces and amongst the Revolutionary Guard, some of whom are refusing to attack their countrymen. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is increasing its repression. It has arrested hundreds of dissidents and threatened to kill the opposition leader. According to some opposition websites in recent days there have been hundreds of arrests, following the powerful events on the day of Ashura. Among those arrested were relatives of Mir Hossein Mussa and Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize laureate; the journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, a critic of the government; another journalist of the agency ILNA; the son of a prominent ayatollah. The security forces are also hampering the movement of Moussavi and Medhi Karroubi, recognized leaders of the opposition.
Born of the June demonstrations against the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Green Wave, is now accused of being a threat to the Islamic Republic. Although it is composed of Iranians of all social strata, the regime has begun to accuse them of being a tool in the pay of foreign powers.
Ahmadinejad and other leaders condemned the protests as "a theater to the order of Zionists and Americans"; foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, has rebuked the British ambassador and threatened a "slap in the face" if it does not stop meddling in Iran’s internal affairs; Abbas Vaezi-Tabas, close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has denounced the opposition movement as "enemies of God" (mohareb) who deserve execution.
The escalation of accusations goes hand in hand with the leadership’s loss of esteem among the population.
According to AsiaNews sources in Tehran, demonstrations have now become a popular river made of young men and women, old people and mothers with children. And although in the beginning they were only calling for new elections, now they are taking aim Ali Khamenei and want the separation between state and religion.
Support for the opposition is also emerging in the army that refuses to attack the people present at the rallies and even the Revolutionary Guard, which - according to AsiaNews sources - are split into two over support of the Green Wave. The only group that still obeys Khamenei is that of the Basij (volunteers of the Revolution) trained from childhood to blind obedience of the regime.
Many ayatollah, first fearful, now explicitly criticize the choices of Khamenei and his violence against the opposition, branding it as "un-Islamic."