Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his army commanders have, in their response to the street-protests that erupted across the country after the controversial presidential election of 12 June 2009, employed a routine accusation against the United States: that it had initiated a “velvet revolution” in the country.
All the evidence suggests that the popular demonstrations were a spontaneous reaction to what was widely perceived to be a fraudulent result. Indeed, it is more plausible that the United States unwillingly helped to achieve the reverse of what Ayatollah Khamenei (and other hardline leaders) charged it with: namely, facilitating the regime’s effort to steal the elections and launch a “velvet coup d’état”.
The primary responsibility for what has happened in Iran since the election lies with the hardline core of the Iranian regime. But the ability of the Islamic Republic’s rulers to consolidate their power has – it is clear in retrospect – been aided by the sense of safety it had acquired from possible attack by the US. [continued…]
Human Rights Activists has received reports which suggest that the blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, who was arrested on Nov. 2, 2008, has spent the first eight months of his detention in solitary confinement and different wards of the Evin prison upon his return to Iran. During that time he has been subjected to various physical and psychological pressure tactics and multiple transfers.
He has been beaten repeatedly and has been forced to do squats in cold showers. His interrogators have threatened to arrest his father and his sister unless he confessed to espionage charges. With the start of the massive arrests after the presidential election, and as result of cell shortages in Evin prison, Derakhshan was transferred to Ward 2A of the IRGC prison, where he shared his cell with newly arrested people. [continued…]