Myndighederne forsøger at forhindre demonstranterne fra at kapre årsdag

Bagbundne amerikanske diplomater, taget som gidsler på USAs ambassade i Teheran i 1979.
Bagbundne amerikanske diplomater, taget som gidsler på USAs ambassade i Teheran i 1979.

JERUSALEM (04.11.2009): I dag var det dagen, hvor jeg virkelig burde have været tilbage i Teheran. I ugevis har vi vidst, at 30 årsdagen for besættelsen af den amerikanske ambassade i 1979 også ville mobilisere oppositionen i Iran. Og det er præcist det, der sker lige nu. Ikke kun i hovedstaden Teherans gader, men i de større byer over hele Iran. Besættelsen af den amerikanske, som præsident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad selv tog del i, betød et totalt brud på alle diplomatiske spilleregler. 52 amerikanske diplomater og ambassadeansatte blev holdt som gidsler på ambassaden i 444 dage.

Det er smertefuldt for at skulle følge disse dramatiske begivenheder og forsøge at dække dem journalistisk på så stor afstand. Jeg har meget stædigt søgt nyt visum til Iran lige siden jeg forlod Teheran tilbage i juni, hvor mit tidligere visum udløb. Men de iranske myndigheder har lige så stædigt afvist at give mig et.

Her kommer en rapport om situationen lavet af en af mine kolleger, der også - som jeg - må tage til takke med at dække situationen fra udlandet.

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By Martin Fletcher
Times Online

En ung Ahmadinejad ses sammen med et af de amerikanske gidsler.
Violence erupted in Tehran this morning as Iranian security forces clashed with thousands of opposition activists seeking to hijack a state-sponsored rally marking the 30th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy.

A huge force of Revolutionary Guards, riot police and volunteer basij militiamen attacked the demonstrators with batons and tear gas. There were dozens of arrests, and reports of women and children being beaten.

There were also unconfirmed reports that Medhi Karoubi, an opposition leader and former Parliamentary Speaker, had been attacked, and that those detained included the mother of Neda Soltan, the student whose shooting during an earlier demonstration made her a worldwide icon of the resistance. Foreign journalists have been barred from Iran, making corroboration difficult.

Riot police used squads of motorbikes to disperse crowds. Helicopters hovered overhead. Metro stations were closed, and the mobile telephone system appeared to have been closed down to prevent the demonstrators communicating. Cars that supported the protesters by sounding their horns were attacked.

State television showed pictures only of the official anti-American rally outside the old US embassy compound in central Tehran, which is known as the "Den of Spies". The regime bussed in a huge crowd, which chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," and destroyed posters of the American "Uncle Sam" symbol.

But away from the embassy thousands of ordinary Iranians defied the regime's warnings and took to the streets to show their continued refusal to accept President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's hotly-disputed re-election in June. They included large numbers of students — a successor generation to those that stormed the US embassy in 1979. They chanted "Death to Dictators" and "No Fear, no Fear, We are all together".

Anti-amerikanske demonstrationer i forbindelse med ambassadebesættelsen.

It is the biggest demonstration since the opposition hijacked the official Qods Day rally in support of the Palestinian cause on September 18. Similiar demonstrations are planned in other Iranian cities today.

The regime has done its best to crush to opposition over the past five months — arresting hundreds of its leaders, closing its newspapers and websites and systematically raping and torturing detainees.

It went to great lengths to prevent today's demonstrations. It issued dire warnings that opposition demonstrations were illegal and would not be tolerated. It arrested student activists on campuses across Iran, instructed businesses not to give their employees time off, censored the media and flooded the capital with its own supporters.

It even tried to appropriate the opposition's trademark colour — green. On Tusday the Revolutionary Guards visited schools to hand out green headbands bearing slogans in support of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader. In some schools the pupils refused to take them.

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