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Business as Usual in Tehran

by CORRESPONDENT in Tehran

01 May 2011 21:54Comments
9_9002116248_L600.jpg[ dispatch ] A bit of confusion was felt among the Green Movement's rank and file in Tehran over the past week. Like all watchers of Iranian politics, they too were befuddled by the Moslehi resignation saga, and wondered whether President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's week-long reclusion precipitated a viably exploitable rift in Iran's governing structure.

Simultaneous rumors of a May Day protest only raised this excitement: Just days before May 1, International Workers' Day, the Council for the Coordination of the Green Path of Hope expressed support for Iranian workers. With economic dissatisfaction in the air, activists dared to hope that this move by the Green Movement's leadership would be enough to energize widespread opposition against the recent cutbacks in government subsidies, which are beginning to strain middle- and low-income households.

On April 29, police and military cordons made an appearance on the streets of Tehran, along with tell-tale assemblies of Basij motorcycles in the main squares. When BBC Persian reported on the Green Council's May Day statement, some Green supporters made mental preparations for yet another day of demonstration. "The situation is getting serious -- just look at everyone's gas bill," said one 26-year-old activist in central Tehran. "Everyone is upset about this rise in prices, so it's possible that it's going to be big."

However, this surge of energy soon proved ephemeral. By May 1, it became clear that change, or at least a popular push for it, was not in the cards for this day. Ahmadinejad reemerged on the political scene, stifling rumors of a grave rift with the Supreme Leader. No further calls for demonstration were announced, and though a slightly higher-than-usual police presence was felt on the street, the atmosphere in Tehran once again returned to business as usual.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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