Green wave “strong and alive”, Karroubi attacked, offices of Sanei and Montazeri swarmed
The offices in Qom of the late grand ayatollah are closed and sealed after pro-government militias carry out a punitive raid. Karroubi, who is also visiting the holy city of Qom, has his car attacked and destroyed. Shirin Ebadi says opposition is not over but has adopted different forms of protest. The Nobel Prize laureate opposes a military attack.
 Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran’s clerical regime continues its violent crackdown against the pro-democracy opposition and moderate clergy. In recent days, government militias and plainclothes police swarmed the offices of Ayatollah Montazeri, then sealing them. Montazeri, a critic of the regime, died in December. Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi, who was visiting the holy city of Qom in northern Iran, was also the victim of an attack. Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi says that the anti-government movement is still strong and alive even though it has adopted other ways to protest.

On Monday, the Intelligence Ministry ordered the closure of Ayatollah Montazeri’s offices, sealing the doors, his son Ahmad Montazeri said. In the final months before his death, the grand ayatollah had become one of the staunchest critics of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmad Montazeri said that Sunday evening his father’s offices were swarmed by pro-government agents, including plainclothes agents from the Basij, Hezbollah and Ansar forces.

In addition to Montazeri’s headquarters, militias also attacked and wrecked the offices of Ayatollah Sanei (pictured).

On Sunday, Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi was also attacked during a visit in Qom. A crowd of almost 100 people wielding chains, batons and sticks attacked his car, which was “completely destroyed” in the incident.

“Their behaviour and their manner of gathering,” said Hossein Karroubi, “made it clearly evident that they were not acting arbitrarily and were rather organised and directed by a specific group.”

For the Islamist regime, Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi are the “heads of sedition” for refusing to accept the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election on 12 June 2009 and for their persistence in allegations of election fraud.

In Vienna, where she was invited for a conference, Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said the opposition is still strong. She urged the international community to pay closer attention to the widespread violations of human rights in Iran.

"Just because there are less people on the streets does not mean that the movement has weakened,” she said through a translator. “Criticism,” she explained, “has taken a different form”.

The Iranian activist gave the example of mothers of imprisoned protestors who meet, dressed in black, and display photos of their children.

Ebadi said she supported political sanctions against the regime but was opposed to any military action or economic measures that could hurt the population.

In an article published in the New York Times, former CIA Iran desk operative Reuel Marc Gerecht urged the Obama administration and the Democrats to support Iran’s domestic opposition. US leaders “need to understand that the good that they can do for the people of Iran far exceeds the great harm that comes from doing nothing.

For him, the Green Movement is “more-or-less” a liberal democratic movement, increasingly secular in philosophy and political objectives, rooted in Iran’s large middle class and even larger pool of college-educated youth.