Is Iran Calming Down?

Nico Pitney analyzes:

In ordinary times, the violence in the streets on Sunday and Monday would have been shocking. But compared to Saturday's massive outpouring, the turnout of demonstrators has been significantly smaller. There is a good reason for it. Over the past week, the reformist rallies that have succeeded were those scheduled days in advance, with turnout aided by massive word-of-mouth promotion. Today's mourning rally for Neda, on the other hand, was announced only this morning on Karroubi's social networking sites. In the midst of a near-complete media and technological blackout, these large demonstrations need time to develop.

It's virtually impossible for anyone to gauge whether there is a petering off of intensity among demonstrators, who now know they face incredible risks if they show up in the streets. But the last two days should not be used to argue that the unrest has dampened. The reformists are organizing another major demonstration for Thursday, and a national strike is set to begin by tomorrow or Wednesday. Those will be far better guides to how Iranians are reacting to the government's campaign of repression.

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