Anniversary of disputed Iranian election that triggered calls for change passes quietly

Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The one-year anniversary of Iran’s disputed election passed quietly Saturday with little more than a subdued Internet appeal by opposition leaders for supporters to speak out on the Web against government repression.

Fearing bloodshed and calculating that it would gain them nothing, the movement’s leaders called off a day of mass protests, reflecting their increasing powerlessness against the government’s military muscle. Witnesses and the opposition reported a few isolated confrontations in the capital.

“We have to expand social networks, websites, these are our best means,” said Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister who maintains he was robbed of the presidency through fraud in the June 12, 2009, election.

“These work like an army. This is our army against their military force,” he said on his website,

The retreat from Iran’s streets and university campuses to the Web is certain to be seen as a victory for the ruling hard-liners and for the armed forces that preserved their grip on power with a harsh crackdown on postelection protesters.

The anniversary passed with no signs of major disturbances or large public gatherings…

…Abuses against detained activists — which the government at least partially acknowledged took place — pushed some opposition supporters to go even further and challenge the ruling clerical establishment itself. But trials — some of which have resulted in death sentences — and threats to put down unauthorized demonstrations have left the movement with nowhere to go.

Even on the Web, Iranian authorities chase them, blocking sites and jamming Internet and mobile phone service at times…
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