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No Sleep


11 Feb 2010 03:3215 Comments
IMG_1128.JPGThe sun set as always, gracefully in a haze of pollution over Tehran. Tomorrow it will be 22nd of Bahman, the twenty-second day of the 11th month of the Iranian calendar. Many find it hard to fall asleep tonight.

Thirty years ago Tehran could not sleep, either. Guns roared in Eshrat Abad and around army bases. The night before, Imperial Guards attacked an air force base where personnel showed sympathy for the revolution. It proved unfortunate, for air force officers had opened the armory and allowed people to arm themselves. Armed revolutionaries then attacked police stations, government buildings and army strongholds. An armored column had been attacked and its commanding general killed. In cities around the country armies could not maintain order, and in most places mosques had already become the command center of the revolution. Committees were forming. In Tehran, a provisional government announced its legitimacy, and time for Prime Minister Bakhtiar was running out. Tehran was anticipating the last day of Pahlavi's imperialist rule.

Tonight, no guns roar, no base falls under attack, and yet 22nd is anticipated as never before. Green Movement leaders have proclaimed it a day of protest. In reaction to their invitation, several arrests have already occurred. Agh Bahman, an Iranian blogger, wrote: "My father and mother were arrested today, my uncle and his wife were arrested yesterday." Another blog reads: "My classmate from college was arrested yesterday. Her brother is devastated." Many more have been arrested. Although there have been some released as well -- Mr. Beheshti and Mr. Tajik were freed yesterday, both senior advisors to Mr. Mousavi. Ironically, 30 years ago, Ayatollah Beheshti, Mr. Beheshti's father, probably participated in a meeting of the Council of the Revolution to decide a strategy of the revolution leadership; among revolutionary leaders his authority was second only to that of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Tonight, no guns roar and still it feels like the night before a battle. Notes have been exchanged; emissaries have communicated messages hoping to reach a compromise. Mr. Ali Motahari, a conservative MP with very close ties to supreme leader, published a letter to Mr. Mousavi last week. He asked Mr. Mousavi to consider the fact the unrest prevented the supreme leader from dealing with Mr. Ahmadinejad and the "excessive conduct" of his supporters. Mr. Mousavi was asked to accept the supreme leader's ruling and conduct himself as Ali Ibn Abitalib did, the first Imam and the rightful heir to Prophet Muhammad according to Shia belief, for the sake of the "Islamic unity" of the nation. Ironically, 30 years ago, Mr. Motahari's father, Ayatollah Motahari, the great Islamic ideologue, probably sat in the same meeting of the Council of Revolution with Mr. Beheshti's father. Tonight the sons are sleeping in opposing camps.

Defiantly Mr. Mousavi talked to students of the 22nd as the day for "all people to express all their demands." However, the truce has not been agreed upon. Rather, the opposing camps are preparing for a show of force.

Will violence prevail? I pray to God not. Mr. Motahari and many other conservatives have asked for calm and peace. And still there is no doubt that opposition demonstrations will not be welcomed. Some IRGC commanders are seething with anger. They called the 22nd the last day for Mousavi and Karroubi to give up their campaign or face the consequences. And still people are readying to march in silence as they did this past summer. For there is no turning back now.

The sun will rise in couple of hours and I do not know what will transpire, I do not know if this will be the last of great demonstrations protesting the results of last presidential election. Or it will be a turning point in history; I do not know if Green Movement will become realized. It is simply impossible to guess. Iran of today, as Iran of 30 years ago, intends to defy predictions, to betray forecasts.

And yet I know no matter what happens tomorrow, it won't be an end, only a new beginning. As it was 30 years ago.

Photo: Blogger Agha Bahman doesn't live in Iran, so his parents (pictured), along with other family members, have been arrested.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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"it won't be an end, only a new beginning"
Very well said.

Gloumdalclitch / February 11, 2010 5:11 AM

I pray you all find peace and that tomorrow dawns beautifully with no violence at all.

Cynthia Clinton / February 11, 2010 6:10 AM

Let the IRGC commanders seeth with anger. What angers them, that their so-far successful on paper coup doesn't have the total capitulation of the Iranian people?

The Supreme Leader we are taught is selected and rules with Allah's approval. He appoints the IRGC commanders, so apparantly that gives them the right like him to turn the personal offense they take to peaceful protest against the regime into the protestors' committing moharebeh, not just fighting against the regime for which the IRGC are but (well)-paid thugs, with guns, motorcycles, missiles, tanks, ships and jet fighters to aim at the "dirt" and "chaff" who dare question the glorious election's outcome? Ah, excuse me, they are also incompetent and corrupt mismanagers of the economy. How dare people not show proper deference to them, the peoples' superiors and betters, indeed!

Homayoun / February 11, 2010 6:35 AM

Mass Protest @ NYC - Residence of Iranian UN Ambassador 2/11/10

Feb 11 Mass Protest @ NYC

Official Residence of Iranian UN Ambassador
New York, NY 10022

This is the $15+ Million Fifth Avenue neo-classical 1912 Townhouse purchased by the Shah in 1966, and served as the un-official NYC Iranian Consulate in 1970s.

It now serves as the official residence of the IRI Iranian UN Ambassador.

What hypocrites...living in a milionaire mansion while millions are in poverty.....great redistribution of wealth.

Shah / February 11, 2010 7:07 AM

hopefully this would be the final action by Iranian people.

Faraz Amiralaei / February 11, 2010 7:27 AM

Such wonderfully brave people. I wish that you will overcome all obstacles to freedom and self determination.

Julian Pieniazek / February 11, 2010 7:51 AM

Peace is not always the answer...

J / February 11, 2010 11:41 PM

Expose Ayatollah Khamenei's Billions....and demand a Global/Wall St. 'Apartheid' Liquidation


The total wealth of Khamenei and his family: $36 billion.

Khamenei's personal wealth: $30 billion.

His family's wealth: $6 billion.


$22 billion of the $36 billion were kept in Iran in the form of currency. During the post-election unrest, it was decided to move a major portion of this money to Syria by way of Turkey. The shipment was exposed and confiscated in Turkey.

The rest of the cash: $3.5 billion, of which $1.5 billion is in diamonds, $1 billion is in gold, and the rest is in dollars.

$10 billion of the $36 billion are in bank accounts:

$1 billion in Russia
$1 billion in Syria
$1 billion in China
$1 billion in Venezuela
$2 billion in South Africa
$2 billion in London
$2 billion in other countries.

Apart from the $22 billion in cash and $10 billion in bank accounts, the rest of the assets are in the form of land and stocks:

$2 billion in stocks in world markets
$1 billion in South Africa
$500 million in Syria
$500 million in Venezuela

Where have Khamenei's $30 billion come from?

$12 billion from commissions on oil sales
$2 billion from land
$6 billion from the arms business
$10 billion from Ahmadinejad in the past 4 years

Shah / February 12, 2010 3:07 AM

My prayers are with you all. FREEDOM!

Philp / February 12, 2010 3:44 AM

Did the disillusioned gullible Greens of Tehran finally get it? They are not a majority, and Ahmadinejad IS popular and did win the election. The sooner you accept the truth, the better for every one.

Roya / February 13, 2010 7:48 AM

Dear Roya,
It is regrettable that recent months have caused you any inconvenience. we are very sorry ma'am, you are right he is popular, he won the election, just may i ask why he still has to pay his supporters?

Ali / February 13, 2010 11:43 AM


Nobody has inconvenienced me. You do confirm my point on the gullibility of the Greens though. To avoid being misinformed, please double check your sources of news, before believing anything. Whether the news source is Fox News or Fars news, BBC, NPR, Presstv, etc. They all can and will exaggerate to prove their point. Just check the facts and look for solid evidence. Do not get excited when images are thrown at you from CNN etc. That's how you can avoid being gullible.

I will be interested if you provide some evidence to me of Ahmadinejad paying his supporters. I for one voted for Mousavi, but his childish behavior, now I am an Ahamdinejad supporter. He has not paid me yet :)

BTW I am a secular, reasonably well to do woman, with a Masters degree that love wine, art, boys, and personal freedoms. Just said that in case you and other readers are still under the impression that Ahmadinejad supporters are uneducated, poor Moslem fanatics.

Roya / February 13, 2010 10:39 PM

Dear Roya,

Oh the personal freedoms a secular woman such as yourself enjoys in the great Iranian nation under the leadership of AN! AN, how does Roya love thee, let her count the ways. Talk about being gullible. Calling Mousavi childish! I suppose his boasting of how strong and brave he is makes AN seem more masculine, not childish, and more attractive to you. You may not be religious, but surely you have seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears the kind of apocalyptic nonsense your beloved AN spouts, specially since he won re-election, just like his puppet master, that benevolent and enlightened champion of women's rights, our beloved SL! All to incite the West to attack our country and start the end of days, so the 12th Imam will reappear and usher in an era of bliss for the Islamic faithful - not the apostates or infidels this bunch consider all secular people to be.

If I were you, with your Masters degree and love of wine and art, I'd invest in a one way plane ticket to Paris or New York before they start rounding up people without unquestioned religious or revolutionary credentials trying to flee at the airports and borders, or if that is too expensive since you are only "reasonably well to do" by Iranian standards, a scarf lined with fur, the more comfortable in which to be hung or beheaded by one of those nice, but poor, uneducated, unshaven boys or veiled women from the country in the Basij who have been taught since birth to despise your kind. Then again, if Mr. Makhmalbaf is right about the billions of dollars in wealth AN and the SL own, they might just be the kind of sugar papa you're looking for. Best of luck to you!

Homayoun / February 14, 2010 8:59 AM

Nice try Pirouz, oh I mean Roya,

the "miss secular wine-drinking master degree x-Green, now an Ahmadinejad supporter"

You made my Monday so much more fun.
thanks for the laugh.

But seriously Pirouz,

I liked your "half American Son of a Korean War vet" alterego so much better.

Ahvaz / February 16, 2010 7:48 AM

I think this is a very real problem and I am glad to see that Harvard is covering it. I think images are the biggest threat, especially on social media sites like Facebook. It’s an even bigger problem now if Facebook profiles have become searchable in Google…oooch

hotel insomnia / July 7, 2010 10:13 AM