Iran’s Green Movement leader released from hospital after heart attack

Iran’s Green Movement leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has returned home after being hospitalized yesterday for a heart attack. Mousavi has been under house arrest for 18 months since he led his pro-reform movement onto the street for protests in support of the Arab uprisings in February 2011. Mousavi ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Iran's Green Movement leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has returned home after being hospitalized yesterday for a heart attack. Mousavi has been under house arrest for 18 months since he led his pro-reform movement onto the street for protests in support of the Arab uprisings in February 2011. Mousavi ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his bid for re-election in 2009, in voting which was widely considered fraudulent. Mousavi and fellow reformist Mehdi Karoubi became figureheads for the subsequent six months of massive protests, accusing authorities of vote rigging and calling for democratic reform. The demonstrations were the biggest since the revolution in 1979. Iranian judicial officials ruled that Mousavi, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a women's rights activist, and Karoubi were leading seditious activities and should be isolated from the Iranian public. Mousavi began feeling ill Wednesday evening, but security forces did not bring him to the hospital until Thursday morning so that security could install cameras. Mousavi's senior advisor and exiled opposition figure Ardeshir Amir Arjomand spoke to journalists about Mousavi's condition, and called for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other leaders to demand to meet with him when they are in Iran next week for a summit of 120 developing countries.

Syria

According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 100 people were killed across Syria on Thursday, adding to the 200 estimated killed on Wednesday. Fierce government strikes on the suburban Damascus Sunni town of Daraya have killed an estimated 26 people and wounded over 200 in the past two days. According to an opposition activist, Syrian troops used mortar bombs to clear sections of the town sweeping toward the center. Fierce clashes additionally continued in Aleppo, Homs, and Dara. Meanwhile, Britain and France have backed the United States on statements from President Barack Obama that Syria's use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. France's Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian advocated for the consideration of a no-fly zone, and along with Britain raised the possibility of a military intervention.

Iran’s Green Movement leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has returned home after being hospitalized yesterday for a heart attack. Mousavi has been under house arrest for 18 months since he led his pro-reform movement onto the street for protests in support of the Arab uprisings in February 2011. Mousavi ran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his bid for re-election in 2009, in voting which was widely considered fraudulent. Mousavi and fellow reformist Mehdi Karoubi became figureheads for the subsequent six months of massive protests, accusing authorities of vote rigging and calling for democratic reform. The demonstrations were the biggest since the revolution in 1979. Iranian judicial officials ruled that Mousavi, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a women’s rights activist, and Karoubi were leading seditious activities and should be isolated from the Iranian public. Mousavi began feeling ill Wednesday evening, but security forces did not bring him to the hospital until Thursday morning so that security could install cameras. Mousavi’s senior advisor and exiled opposition figure Ardeshir Amir Arjomand spoke to journalists about Mousavi’s condition, and called for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other leaders to demand to meet with him when they are in Iran next week for a summit of 120 developing countries.

Syria

According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 100 people were killed across Syria on Thursday, adding to the 200 estimated killed on Wednesday. Fierce government strikes on the suburban Damascus Sunni town of Daraya have killed an estimated 26 people and wounded over 200 in the past two days. According to an opposition activist, Syrian troops used mortar bombs to clear sections of the town sweeping toward the center. Fierce clashes additionally continued in Aleppo, Homs, and Dara. Meanwhile, Britain and France have backed the United States on statements from President Barack Obama that Syria’s use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian advocated for the consideration of a no-fly zone, and along with Britain raised the possibility of a military intervention.

Headlines  

  • Sectarian clashes continued overnight in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, killing an anti-Assad Salafist Sheikh and wounding 21 others, including two journalists.
  • Libya seized more than 100 tanks and 26 missile launchers from a Qaddafi loyalist militia group when authorities were investigating Sunday’s car bombings.
  • Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, charged with defamation for his Twitter posts, was cleared. However, last week he was sentenced to three years for organizing protests during the 2011 uprisings.
  • The United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet with Iranian officials on Friday with plans to challenge Iran on its installation of more uranium enrichment centrifuges.

Arguments & Analysis 

Has Support for Israel Hurt U.S. Credibility?’ (The New York Times, Room for Debate)

Aaron David Miller: "The reality is that the pro-Israeli community in America does have a powerful voice but not a veto. And a strong American president with a smart strategy and buy-in from the Arabs and Israelis can trump domestic politics every time."

Rashid Khalidi: "Israelis know it. Palestinians know it. The whole world knows it. The absence of any American sense of fair play where Palestinian-Israeli issues are concerned is no secret. In fact, it will keep the U.S. from ever being a disinterested intermediary in the Middle East."

Dylan J. Williams: "The United States is rightly standing with Israel and most of the Western world in opposing the serious threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to regional and global security, using a combination of sanctions and diplomacy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Yet the broken politics surrounding U.S. policy regarding Israel have blinded many in Washington to the fact that exerting bold American leadership toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would also help us isolate and pressure the Iranian regime."

Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition‘ (Hassan Hassan, The Guardian)

"Meanwhile, the country appears set for a war that will continue until the regime falls. Significant segments of society in Syria are torn between a despotic regime that is committing atrocities on a daily basis and a stagnant political opposition that has so far failed to present a viable alternative and is dominated by a group they view suspiciously. That is a torn majority, not a silent majority."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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