Khamenei’s Boast and Iran’s Crackdowns

 By discounting foreign threats, such statements may seem to acknowledge that the greatest threats to the Khamenei government’s hold on power come from within the country. The recognition of that threat would go a long way towards explaining Iran’s ongoing crackdown on free speech and the press. The Committee to Protect Journalists argues that this crackdown is the continuation of what began in 2009 amidst the rise of the Green Movement.

 The organization has issued a report of recent journalist arrests, noting that at the time of the 2009 presidential election, only nine Iranian journalists were known to be in prison. Less than a month later, this figure had climbed to 39, and it has consistently remained near that number to this day.

 While journalists stand as the repressed voice of that public sentiment that threatens the Iranian regime, the organized Iranian resistance can be said to stand as a political symbol of that sentiment. The regime has maintained constant efforts to attack and discredit the National Council of Resistance of Iran at home and abroad, particularly in Iraq, where some 3,000 members live under threat of attacks by Iran’s ally, Nouri al-Maliki.

 Fox News Channel on Tuesday called attention to the plight of the NCRI in Iraq, featuring comments by former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Hugh Shelton and an interview with Senator Joseph Lieberman. In the five minute segment, both men emphasized that the US had promised to protect the NCRI members during the American occupation, but had failed to do so.

 “America broke its word here, and we can’t let that happen,” Lieberman said amidst calls for the US government to help relocate the NCRI members to somewhere outside of Iraq.