Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The dinosaurs in Iran are uneasy:

In Tehran, hundreds gathered near the home of Mansour Osanloo, the imprisoned leader of the capital's transit workers, with a simple message: We are not afraid! The authorities had organized a military operation to cordon off the streets leading to the house - but couldn't prevent union members from assembling. The day ended with the arrest of at least 15 workers' leaders.

Meanwhile, in factories and workshops in and around the capital, workers organized peaceful hour-long "solidarity pauses," defying a ban imposed by the authorities. Several other major cities saw similar demonstrations, including Ahvaz, Arak, Sanandaj, Shiraz and Tabriz.

Everywhere, the protesters took care to keep their actions within the law. Yet the authorities kept any mention of Thursday's events out of the official media.

That the mullahs should treat this as "not news" is no surprise. For years, they have pretended to be working on behalf of Iran's poorest working masses - but now the mask is falling. It is precisely those poorest working masses that present the regime with its biggest challenge. What is surprising is that much of the global media should also regard this bad news for the mullahs as no news.

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