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Iran Unrest

Iran: The days of living dangerously

Hazel Heyer, eTN Staff Writer  Jun 24, 2009

As Iran’s top cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared Iran's recent election legitimate, a “no major fraud.” He will not denounce the results of the presidential election, stopping a recount much sought by angry opposition supporters alleging systematic vote rigging.

Iranian government officials have repeatedly suggested that a re-vote is extremely unlikely, and warnings to the protesters have widely intensified.

Iran’s supreme leader has ordered demonstrators to get off the streets and the feared Revolutionary Guards has threatened a tough crackdown, as some 17 people have been killed in the street violence.

Expressions of discontent were seen from the eyes of Iran's ruling clerics who dealt the opposition new setbacks, making clear they have no intention of holding a new vote and setting up a special court to deal with hundreds of protesters arrested in more than a week of unrest.

Iran expelled two diplomats from Great Britain, accusing them of spying. More riot police and militia already breaks up any street gatherings, signaled the regime's determination to squelch dissent and mute the voices of those whose protests have been the largest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranians don’t even go to the Grand Bazaar market, with storeowners and shopkeepers saying customers are intimated by the violent crackdown were venturing back outdoors. Journalists and international news media have been asked to get off the street.

The British Guardian reports that Mir Hossein Mousavi appears to be planning a general strike. A discussion on his Facebook page stated: “We are working on a general strike plan. Please help us with your ideas if you have expertise on this issue.”

Bill Fletcher, co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal and author of the book "Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice," has said: "For a general strike to be successful, you have to have organized supporters to withstand the attacks that will result… People in Iran are responding in a way that we should have regarding Florida in the 2000 election."

But Nelson Lichtenstein, a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy thinks otherwise. He is the author of "State of the Union: A Century of American Labor" and "The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart." He said: "By making the secondary boycott illegal in strikes and organizing campaigns, the 1947 Taft-Hartley law made solidarity itself illegal, thus ending the great tradition of general strikes which had broken out each decade since the massive railroad strike of 1877 first shut down American commerce 70 years before."

Iran: The days of living dangerously

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