The Co-Opting Of Qods Day
Tehran Bureau has some essential background to today's unrest in Iran:
All the important reformist leaders, including Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and former president Mohammad Khatami, have called on people to participate in the demonstrations, as has Rafsanjani. Formally, they have invited people to show up for the demonstrations to protest the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel, but it is clear that they have something else on their mind: To demonstrate once and for all the overwhelming strength of the reform/Green Movement not only the hardliners, but to the entire world.
All the reformists groups and political parties, including the leftist Association of Combatant Clerics, the Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization, and Islamic Iran Participation Front, have asked people to participate in the demonstrations under the guise of the Quds Day protests. Other important clerics who support the reformists, including Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanaei, the outspoken critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have also called on the people to come out for the demonstrations. Perhaps the strongest call for participation in Quds day came from Hojatolleslam Sayyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini.
In a thinly disguised rebuke of the hardliners, he announced that “Quds Day is International; it is not exclusive to Quds. It is a day for the oppressed to resist against the oppressors,” implying that it is also a day of protest against repression and oppression in Iran. In effect, he was responding to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who, during his sermons in last Friday’s prayer, declared that, “Quds Day is only for Quds [Jerusalem].”
The possibility of a great show of strength by the Green Movement has terrified the hardliners. The show would debunk their claim that the 85% of the eligible voters who voted in the rigged presidential election of June 12 did so to express their support for the political system, not as a peaceful way of making deep and lasting changes in Iran, as the reformists claim.