Iran’s marchers question direction

TEHRAN – A silent protest through the streets of Tehran under the watchful eyes of a heavy security presence marked the second anniversary of Iran’s June 2009 contested polls on Sunday, amid a growing rift between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and among different conservative wings preparing to compete in the March 2012 parliamentary elections.

The so-called “Green” movement that emerged in the wake of Ahmadinejad’s controversial re-election to a second term was recently energized by news that parliament had green-lighted an investigation into alleged use of government funds to buy nine million votes prior to the 2009 election.

Sunday’s march saw sporadic clashes and a few arrests but, in general, an uneasy calm enveloped the major thoroughfare, Vali Asr Avenue, where thousands of protesters had gathered. More

accurate numbers are difficult to estimate due to the dispersed nature of the protests.

In the coming weeks, the Green movement will also mark the anniversaries of major protests in 2009 and the murder of Neda Agha Soltan, a young student whose shooting death during the bloody post-election crackdown became a symbol of government brutality.

The larger dilemma at this point for the Green movement, according to an Iranian political analyst who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, is that intra-conservative conflicts are beneficial to the Greens, but lack of action could weaken t…

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