March 16, 2004

INTERESTING GOINGS-ON IN IRAN: I wish there were more information available, from more sources. Here’s what I can find, though it’s pretty low-profile:

A report from Radio Free Europe on Kurdish uprisings in Syria and Iran:

Recent Kurdish riots in Syria and demonstrations in Iran are raising concerns that Kurdish minorities could follow the lead of Iraqi Kurds in pursuing greater independence and recognition.

My only concern is that it won’t succeed. I hope we’re supporting them. Syria and Iran have been sending weapons, money and fighters into Iraq, so we ought to return the favor in spades. Then there’s this:

TEHRAN, Mar 15 (Reuters) Three days of unrest sparked by the revision of results in February’s parliamentary elections have left dozens of people injured in a town on Iran’s Caspian coast, local media reported today.

The Etemad daily newspaper said 68 people had been hurt, six seriously, during clashes with police.

Protests began in the town of Fereydounkenar on Friday after the hardline Guardian Council, an oversight body with sweeping powers, annulled the votes cast in three ballot boxes, handing victory to the incumbent conservative member of parliament.

Protesters set fire to cars and attacked buildings including the home of the town’s Friday Prayer leader, the ISNA students’ news agency said.

I suspect that these stories are sanitized. On the other hand, the Syrian and Iranian exile websites may be taking an overly hopeful view of how extensive the unrest is. It’s just really hard to know.

UPDATE: More here.

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