We are about to bid farewell to the year 1388 in Iranian calendar in a couple of weeks and in a recap, the major events of the year cannot be overlooked.
Putting aside the brazen and badly calculated election process – coasting as they were on the complacent belief that they would get away with just about anything (although one might understand, I suppose, as this was indeed the case during the thirty one years of their reign, not to forget the exponential increase in abuses during Ahmadinejad’s first term) - and the subsequent hasty and fault-ridden announcement of AN's victory; there are 3 events that have had the maximum impact on the regime and that are therefore milestones for the present freedom movement. Three events without which I doubt the freedom movement would have been as strong as it is today, or the Islamic regime as unsteady and debilitated.
1- The closure of all foreign press agencies with the subsequent blanketing of coverage of the post election demonstrations by the foreign media. This paved the way for explosion of the citizen-reporter phenomenon. I personally believe that this has had a thousand times greater impact on the spread of information on the crimes and atrocities of the regime than if the foreign press were allowed to operate in their usual way. Ordinary people on the streets suddenly saw it as THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to bear witness, report and ensure the spread through the internet of the events as they happened. It is because of their heroic efforts that we saw each event from multiple angles, from a million different views and zones, all covered by a million people as opposed to the usual standard of a couple of foreign reporters carefully positioned by the government in a few government designated zones.
Neda Aghasoltan's death which became an iconic image for the movement was a DIRECT result of this and I am rather confident that had the tightly regulated foreign press been allowed in, her death and its iconic image would never have been seen by the world or telecast.
2- Mohsen Rouh-ol-Amini's death – Mohsen was one of the protesters during the post-election rallies, who were arrested and imprisoned in the notorious Kahrizak prison. His death, because of his father's rank amongst the conservatives and his position in Rezaei, a presidential candidate's campaign, was very different from hundreds of other victims.
Initially, the official forensic report attributed Mohsen’s death to contraction of Meningitis. But his severely battered body, loss of an eye and multiple fractures all over his body at the time of delivery to his family for burial made this excuse moot and revealed the true story behind his murder. Uncomfortably for the regime, they now HAD TO acknowledge and answer one of their own, which paved the way for further events that ended with the closure of Kahrizak, ordered by Khamenei. Had he not been from one of the families supportive of the regime, many more such deaths, rapes and other heinous crimes would have gone unanswered and ignored. Worse, the terrifying horror that is Kahrizak would still be functioning.
3- Mehdi Karroubi's expose´ of prison rapes and torture – Another insider from within the clerical establishment and a former speaker of the parliament, Karroubi’s expose´ of the crimes of the government to the public and further, his resolute decision to stand by his statements despite mounting pressure and accusations from all quarters, made the Kahrizak and prison abuses famous not only in Iran, but throughout the world. The regime reeled under this onslaught of information revealed by an insider no less.
This was the trigger for the steady trickle of the loss of support from within both government ranks and the clergy which is slowly building as we speak. Covering all and everyone from the moderate conservatives to foreign service consular officials.
Nothing was the same after these events and the Iran crossed the point of no return. The world finally woke up to the insidious nature of this evil regime, standing as it did, with all the malign undercurrents of the Islamic government exposed.
Note: For those not aware of the notoriety of Kahrizak, this prison was where a great many of the demonstrators were brought in by the strict order of Saeid Mortazavi for extended detention and interrogation. The simple description of a ‘prison’ shields the horrors that awaited the detainees who were arrested for merely asking that their votes to be counted. In the days following the mass arrest, reports of brutal beatings, life threatening injuries, maiming assaults with the loss of organs and body parts and even deaths, surfaced. Then came the matter of the prison rapes with many victims disclosing their torment to Mr. Karroubi with evidence. A few of these victims, I am happy to report, have now fled and have sought refuge outside Iran, in fear of further persecution or death as they pose the threat of evidence against their demoniacal violators.
End note: In the face of mounting criticism and growing evidence the prison was finally closed. As for the reasons for the sudden closure of Kahrizak, the government cited, ‘un-hygienic conditions’ and ‘fear of contraction of, and spread of meningitis’!!