Mousavi joined the thousands of Iranians who took to the street today in the face of Khamenei’s threat of bloodshed, declaring his readiness for martyrdom. He has thrown his lot in with his supporters, setting his path as definitively as Khamenei did yesterday.
Today was likely a turning point in the Iranian revolution – for it is a revolution, now. Had the Green Sea not taken to the streets – and early this morning, sitting stateside the reports seemed to indicate that they would not – the momentum would have been lost, the movement stymied, and all last week’s promise dissipated. But, by noon on the East Coast, the initial reports of empty streets dominated by riot police and Basiji were being eclipsed by dispatches of street clashes, images of sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Mousavi supporters chanting, running, fighting, and marching in pursuit of something still not well defined but in clear opposition to the status quo.
Faced with thousands of government thugs, water cannons, batons, gun fire and arrests, the Green Sea took to the streets. They were beaten, they were arrested, they were killed, but they were not routed. And because they were not routed the movement lives on tomorrow and the illegitimacy of Khamenei’s regime has been thrust into stark relief. After today, the threat the movement poses to the Islamic Republic of Iran as it now exists is greater than ever before and the impotency of the state more startling than was imaginable even a week ago.
While much remains uncertain, there is no question that Iran will never be the same.
Now go read Roger Cohen, who was on the streets of Tehran with the demonstrators.