Ever at the ready with a grandiose metaphor, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the latest efforts of protesters in his country clamoring for regime change, claiming Tuesday that they were "going nowhere" and out to "tarnish the Iranian nation's brilliance."
As protests in Iran continue, the extent to which the government will go to silence dissent has sunk to even further depths of ridiculousness. Protesters at a Tehran soccer match chanted and waved green banners, to which government censors responded by delaying the telecast of the game and editing out the crowd noise and close-ups.
Members of the Iranian public aren't the only ones registering their displeasure about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's impending second term. On Monday, as Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei formally gave his endorsement to Ahmadinejad, some key members of Iran's political elite were conspicuously absent from the ceremony.
More than 100 of the protesters and opposition leaders swept up and arrested after Iran's controversial election are now on trial. The leading opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has said that the "teeth of the torturers and confession-extorters have reached to the bones of the people."
Although Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, aka Iran's supreme leader, has called the recent protests over the contested election evidence of foreign powers meddling in his country's affairs, his words didn't seem to sway Iranian opponents, who on Monday proposed a referendum to sort out the issue.
On Tuesday, Iran's three leading opposition candidates formed a unified front to demand an end to the government's harsh crackdown on protesters and the release of all those detained. Meanwhile, in a radio interview, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thanked Iranians for re-electing him and promised to "dedicate [his] entire existence to serving the people."
After crackdowns, deaths and the detention of 1,000 protesters and nine British Embassy employees, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has warned the West of the power of the "united fist" of the Iranian people if it continues criticizing the Iranian election results. The announcement came after French firecracker President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday: “Really, the Iranian people deserve better than the leaders they have today.”
Several reformists currently jailed in Iran are alleged to have been tortured as the government tried to obtain videotaped "confessions" of a foreign plot against the government. Such "confessions" would paint politicians like presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi as agents of the West.