Iran Uprising No Longer About Mousavi

Protesters attempted to gather in Haft-e-Tir square in Tehran today to mourn the death of Neda, whose murder was caught on video, and who has become a rallying point for many in Iran. The 1,000 protesters were outnumbered by “hundreds” of riot police who crushed the protest with helicopters overhead.

This uprising began as a popular challenge to the election results, but it is no longer about Ahmadinejad, and may never have been about Mousavi. Mousavi himself is a bit of a shady figure—his history as a confidant of Ayatollah Khomeini must cast some doubt on his credentials as a reformist. At any rate, we don’t know much about what he stands for.

But it hardly matters. This uprising has unmasked the true nature of the regime in Tehran: there’s no longer any question that we’re looking at a military dictatorship, complete with violent suppression of peaceful protests, and the absolute censoring of free speech. This uprising has become a challenge not to the election results, but to the very legitimacy of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

UPDATE: In an interview with BBC Persia, Neda's fiancee said she was not a supporter of either Ahmadinejad or Mousavi, she just wanted "freedom and freedom for all."

The changing nature of this uprising alters the way we can and should speak about it here in the U.S. Watch this space for ongoing analysis of the events in Iran and the American reaction to it all.