A reader notes the upcoming calendar:
I think one way to explain the regime's brutality is by looking at the calendar. There are two important national holidays coming up, the first one is "Arba'ain" it is the 40 day anniversary of third Shia imam (who died in "Ashura" which was today), this will be also the 40 day anniversary of everyone killed today (I think it will be Feb. 5th). The second one is 11th Feb. the anniversary of Iranian 1979 revolution which is a national holiday accompanied by mass rallies.
I am thinking they are trying to preempt protests during those days by being excessively brutal today. Also bear in mind that in March Ahmadinejad's government is set to end several of its subsidies. Most importantly gasoline quotas will be eliminated and everyone has to buy at the non-subsidized price of 0.6$ per liter. Two and half years ago when they introduced rationing and quotas there were protests and gasoline stations were set on fire, imagine what might happen this time.