Image © Ryan Welborn
Thousands of opposition supporters gathered for Friday Prayers in Tehran last week. Most of the slogans on show were anti-Ahmadinejad, but there were also, strangely, many people demonstrating against Putin and Medvedev's Russia.
Protestors burning the Russian flag
“They were screaming 'death to England', so we responded with 'death to Russia!'"
Nazli, 25, is a student in Tehran.
After the prayers, when clashes broke out with the police, they started shouting crazily. They were screaming ‘death to England' [and also ‘death to Israel', ‘death to America'], so we responded with ‘death to Russia!' [As pointed out by blogger Andrew Sullivan, while the literal translation is ‘death to...', the correct translation is ‘down with...'] They chanted ‘death to the opposition', so we responded with ‘death to the dictator!'
Then a group of students set fire to a Russian flag. They consider Russia and China as Ahmadinejad's main supporters, and Russia is seen as the worst because it was one of the first country's to congratulate the president on his re-election [on June 12]. Medvedev personally, and warmly, greeted Ahmadinejad at a summit at the beginning of June [the Shanghai summit], while back in Iran, the people were trying for a coup d'état.
Russia's always had a good relationship with the Islamic Republic. Even when members of the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party were executed [between 1981 and 1988], little fuss was made. Russia still invests in the country and supports the government in times of crisis."
The England/Russia shouting match