Despite mobilizing all governmental resources including the Revolutionary Guards and Basij para-military force, and threatening or enticing the people, especially the pupils and government employees, the number of those attending the event was unprecedentedly and significantly far lower than previous years.
This is while Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, had declared that the rally would be ‘the largest possible’ and would ‘bring enemy to its knees.”
The state rallies were largely ignored by the people in Tehran and cities throughout the country, according to reports by eyewitnesses.
In Tehran’s Azadi Square and the streets leading to it as the finishing site of the march to gather, as well as in Engelab and Azadi streets and Engelab and Firdausi squares as the main routes of the march, the crowd was quite small.
In many government offices, the employees had been told that their participation in the February 11 demonstration was mandatory and many had been promised extra salaries pending their participation.
In many streets and districts of Tehran, government elements and the Basij pleaded with people since early morning to participate in the demonstration. In some districts, they said that during the demonstration launch will be distributed.
In the route of the demonstration, a large number of pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei that were being distributed by the IRGC and Basij forces were torn up by the people and covered the streets or were thrown into the garbage bins. To avoid the disgrace, regime’s officials had mobilized municipal workers to quickly clean up the streets of the torn pictures.
At least three times during his speech on February 8 Khamenei promised a great march on February 11 as a tool to terrorize the Iranian people domestically and to blackmail the international community. Attempting to portray as if the clerical regime has not gone to the nuclear negotiating table under the pressure of sanctions, he said: “The U.S. official says that Iranians are cornered and come to the negotiating table with their hands tied… now you will see on February 11 what the Iranian nation will do and what a show of solidarity we will have. Then it will be known if the Iranian nation has its hands tied.” In another part of his speech he noted: “There are many ways for the government to dull and render ineffective the weapon of sanctions. God willing, on February 11, the Iranian nation will demonstrate that anyone who wants to humiliate the Iranian nation will receive a reciprocal blow from the Iranian nation.” He concluded his remarks by saying, “God willing, on February 11, the Iranian nation, through its presence, by showing its might, by showing its firm resolve, will bring the enemy to its knees”.
In addition to this disgraceful defeat, the February 11 demonstration also turned into the scene of antagonism between regime’s internal feuding factions. In his speech, Rouhani accused those who oppose the negotiations with treason: “No treachery is greater than the treachery of the rear flank… Today, solely the enemies of this nation are against the negotiations.” Reciprocally, Khamenei’s factions chanted slogans against Rouhani, Rafsanjani and the negotiations during the march. Khamenei’s faction accused Rouhani of “treason on the front line”. Vatan Emruz daily, the mouthpiece of this faction, described attempts by Rouhani and his foreign minister to seal a two-stage deal as: “If people are to know who the traitors are, then reminding the events should not be unpleasant to these gentlemen. Mr. Rouhani speaks of treachery of the rear flank… one must say that treachery is where a deal is sealed without the annulment of all sanctions.” (Vatan Emruz – February 12, 2015)
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 12, 2015