Sunday, Bloody Sunday In Iran?

It could be bloody or it could be pivotal, or both. But this story hasn't got enough attention and if true, is a very big deal:

Senior officers in Iran's Revolutionary Guards have written a letter to their commanding officer demanding assurances that they will not be required to open fire on anti-government demonstrators... Following the recent violence that occurred during anti-government protests in Egypt, the officers argue that it is against the principles of Shi'ite Islamic law to use violence against their own people.

In a suggestion of a major split within the Islamic Republic's ruling hierarchy over its handling of anti-government protests, the letter has been circulated widely throughout the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards, the body responsible for defending religious system. The letter, a copy of which has been seen by the Daily Telegraph, is addressed to Major Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, the Guards' commanding officer. It calls on Major Gen Jafari to issue guidance to both the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij paramilitary militia to use restraint when handling anti-government protests.

The letter asks for the basij to leave their truncheons at home this coming Sunday, when a major Green protest is planned. It's signed by RG commanders in Tehran, Qom, Isfahan and Tabriz. Today, however, the streets of Tehran have been filled with tens of thousands of regime loyalists calling for Mousavi and Karroubi to be hanged. A sign of regime strength or nervousness? This quote from the IRG commanders' letter staggers me:

"We promise our people that we will not shoot nor beat our brothers who are seeking to express legitimate protest against the policies and conduct of their leader."

Know hope.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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