A single police van could have taken away all the Iranians who protested at the United Nations building in Tehran on March 30.
But there was no need for police because the demonstrators were friends of the regime.
In contrast to the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters who braved massive police and paramilitary brutality in repeated nationwide rallies since February 14, the regime could recruit only a vanload of demonstrators to vent spleen against the US and its friends across the Middle East.
The all-male crowd chanted the typical chants: “Death to America,” “Death to the Israeli regime,” and condemnation of what they called “the Zionist Saudi regime” and “US-style Islam.”
By contrast, in the widespread democratic student protests, young men and women chanted “Death to the dictator,” meaning Supreme Leader Khamenei, and called for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic regime.
The tiny turnout received top-line coverage by the Islamic Republic’s official and semi-official propaganda outlets, as well as by the People’s Republic of China’s Xinhua propaganda agency. However, the regime’s Press TV ran a photo that showed only 17 demonstrators – all men, and some who looked older than normal students (see picture, which we borrowed from Press TV).
And Xinhua had to admit that the protesters were only “a group of Iranian university students joined by some people.”
Not a very big turnout. Especially when considering that police in Tehran arrested 500 protesters on a single holiday night two weeks ago, on March 16.
Press TV headlined its story, “Iranians slam Arab world crackdowns,” drawing attention away from the Iranian regime’s own brutal crackdowns of protests since February 14. Xinhua’s headline ran, “Iranians protest against Saudi Arabia, US in front of UN office in Tehran.”
It is becoming more apparent that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been behind some of the foment in some Arab countries, especially where there are strong Shi’a populations as in Bahrain, Kuwait and eastern Saudi Arabia. Bahrain recently reported that IRGC agents, including Lebanese members of Hezbollah, helped organize the protests against the pro-US government there. A Kuwaiti court recently sentenced three IRGC agents to death for espionage against that country and the United States.
Leaders of Iran’s secular, pro-western student movement, the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), did not support the protests in the Gulf states because of concern that the agitation was a product of the Revolutionary Guards.