Today’s rally is the first one to occur in front of the United Nations offices, and the second in Imam square, not far from the city’s Grand Bazaar in the southern section of the Iranian capital.
Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezaï, who all lost in last Saturday’s elections, have lodged an official appeal with the Council of Guardians, who was ordered by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to conduct a recount.
The three filed 646 complaints for violations. The Council of Guardians is set to meet all three on Saturday, but all three have called for new elections.
After the clashes and violence of the past few days, various tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of the city in silence and without any disturbance.
Mousavi and former pro-reform President Khatami have called for the release of all those who have been arrested in the last few days. Some sources, unverifiable, have put the number of people in detention at around 100, including politicians and journalists.
According to Iranian and foreign analysts the people who have come out into the streets are a heterogeneous group. Indistinguishably, many hold up the pictures of Khomeini, Khamenei, Khatami and Mousavi. Some of them are supporters of the loser, who was a hardliner when Khomeini was in power; others are reformists who want to see greater opening to the West.
Even Iran’s national soccer team got involved with players wearing green wristbands in a match against South Korea. Green is the colour worn by pro-Mousavi supporters.
However, green bandanas can also mean obedience to a pure form of Islam, not far from Khomeini’s and Khamenei’s ideals.
For Abbas Barzegar, “anyone expecting (or encouraging) another Prague Spring or Tiananmen Square severely misunderstands the situation here.” Most protesters are not likely to want to defy the Islamic Republic even if they want anti-Ahmadinejad reforms.
Several analysts are suggesting that the powerful former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, is behind the demonstrations. He and his family have built a huge economic empire in the country, and Mr Ahmadinejad, who ran on anti-corruption campaign, appears to be their main obstacle. Even Rafsanjani’s daughter is said to have participated in the demonstrations.
In recent days and for several times Alì Khamenei has called on Mousavi to distance himself from those who want to create chaos in Iran, insisting that the recount must be done in legal ways.
For their part the revolutionary guards and Ahmadinejad’s supporters are sure of their victory. US Iran experts Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett point out that Ahmadinejad won 62.6 per cent of the vote in this year’s election, which is essentially the same as the 61.69 per cent he got in 2005. For them it is likely that he played the populist and nationalist cards well and attracted widespread support, especially in the countryside.