Thousants of protesters battled security forces in Tehran Feb. 14, leaving at least one dead. Amid clouds of tear gas fired by police and pro-government militiamen, the protesters marched down a central boulevard shouting "Death to the dictator," "We are all together," and "Down with Taliban, in Cairo and Tehran!" Dozens were arrested for participating in the banned rally. Similar protests and clashes are reported from Isfahan and Shiraz. (WP, Feb. 15)
The US State Department has begun sending Twitter messages to Iranians in Parsi, alluding to the "historic role" social media played in the 2009 post-election protests. On the Twitter account USAdarFarsi, the State Department said it "recognizes historic role of social media among Iranians We want to join in your conversations." Another tweet read: "#Iran has shown that the activities it praised Egyptians for it sees as illegal, illegitimate for its own people." And a third: "US calls on #Iran to allow people to enjoy same universal rights to peacefully assemble, demonstrate as in Cairo."
In the Iranian capital Tehran, anti-government groups, including members of the anti-Iran terrorist group Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), have staged riots, killing one person. The rioters opened fire on bystanders on Monday, leaving several other people injured as well, Fars news agency reported. Iranian Deputy Police Chief Brigadier-General Ahmad Reza Radan told reporters on Tuesday that nine security forces were among the injured. He went on to say that several people were also arrested in the Monday riots. This came as small groups of supporters of defeated presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi gathered in parts of the Iranian capital. The opposition had asked for permission to hold a public rally "in support of the people in Tunisia and Egypt” but the Iranian government refused to give permission and declared all such rallies illegal. The Iranian government said that no more demos were needed as the Iranian people already expressed their solidarity with the Egyptians and Tunisians on February 11 on the sidelines of rallies marking the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Meanwhile, counter-demonstrations were held to denounce the move by the opposition to disrupt public order, and condemn the riots by the supporters of the defeated candidates. This is while the US government has once again voiced support for anti-government moves in Iran.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that Washington stands with Iranian opposition supporters. "Let me, clearly and directly, support the aspirations of the people who are in the streets in Iran today," Clinton told reporters after meeting with the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. "We think that there needs to be a commitment to open up the political system in Iran, to hear the voices of the opposition and civil society," she added. Iran has repeatedly condemned Western countries, in particular the US and Britain, for supporting post-vote riots that erupted following the June 2009 presidential election, which resulted in the victory of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
United States designated the PMOI a terrorist organization. On January 26, 2009, the Council of the European Unionremoved the PMOI from the EU list of organisations it designates as terrorist.
Relations with Iraq under Saddam Hussein
The PMOI transferred its headquarters to Iraq in 1986, during the Iran–Iraq War. According to the US State Department, the PMOI received all of its military support and most of its financial assistance from Saddam's government until the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. The PMOI also has used front organizations to solicit contributions from expatriate Iranian communities. PMOI's main economic development is based on tributes and endowments from its supporters all over the world. The PMOI's decision to move its headquarters to Iraq in the middle of the war — which was started by an invasion by the Iraqi army and cost many tens of thousands of Iranians lives — caused the PMOI to lose most of its supporters in Iran, regardless of their views towards the Iranian government. A report by the Foreign Affairs group of the Australian Parliament states the PMOI "is believed to have lost much of its popular support within Iran since siding with Iraq".