Iran: December 5, 2003


: the others who are subjects.

A riot in southeastern Iran, between police and local Baluchis, left five dead. There has long been tension in the southeast, as the Baluchis are Sunni Moslems, and often do not get along with the majority Shia Moslems. The Baluchis, most of whom live in southwestern Pakistan ("Baluchistan") have long agitated for autonomy, but have been unsuccessful because of internal divisions and stronger neighbors. 

Meanwhile, an aide to the reformist president of Iran, was beaten by Islamic conservative vigilantes. The aide, Mohsen Mirdamadi, was about to give a speech to a crowd of reform supporters. Increasingly, Islamic conservatives organize gangs of young men to go out and physically intimidate, or attack, reform minded Iranians.

November 30, 2003: Islamic clergy are using "religious police" more aggressively to control public behavior by young people. The religious police are usually young men who volunteer, and enjoy imposing their strict view of Islam on others. The latest wrinkle is going undercover to cafes and restaurants to catch men and women getting too cozy. Then the thugs are brought in and the miscreants




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