In Iran: back on the streets again

Nico Pitney at Huffington Post is liveblogging (with lots of on-the-scene videos) events surrounding former president Hashemi Rafsanjani’s rather mild speech criticizing the current regime, and calling for the release of arrested demonstrators, at Tehran University’s Friday prayers.

However, as has often been the case in recent weeks, events have taken on a life of their own, going far beyond support for any particular opposition figure.

Thousands of people are on the streets again, the Basij has taken to using knives, demonstrators are chanting anti-Russian slogans, and there are reports of thousands of protesters surrounding the state media outlet IRIB.

Sorry, George– despite your prediction and your obvious wish, it hasn’t fizzzled out yet.

Update: The NIAC blog quotes an eyewitness account from Tehran:

Made my way down the west side of Laleh Park, large crowd was gathered around a radio listening to Rafi give the sermons, moved down to Keshavarz Blvd, where people had already started to taunt the bassijis who look like teenagers with Darth Vader helmets that was one size too big for them.

The main slogans were “Baradar’e basiji chera Baradr Koshi” (”Brother basiji, why do you kill your brother?”, the speaker after Rafi was urging people to shout “death to America” and “death to Israel” people responded in mass by shouting “death to Russia” and “death to the dictator”…

Further update: According to the description of this YouTube clip from Tehran today:

The man with loud speaker screams: “death to US, Death to Isreal, Death to the infidels, Death to England” and so on, but the crowd answers “death to Russia”… EVERY time they scream “death to Russia”