The New York Times reports on demonstrations and clashes in the streets of Tehran at the apparently stolen election. Political opponents, including opposition candidate Mir Hussein Moussavi, have been arrested, and the Iranian government has attempted to cut off all communication with the outside world.

There were reports of demonstrations in other major Iranian cities as well.

The authorities closed universities in Tehran, blocked cellphone transmissions and access to Facebook and some other Web sites, and for a second day shut down text-messaging services.

As night settled in, the streets in northern Tehran that recently had been the scene of pre-election euphoria were lit by the flames of trash fires and blocked by tipped trash bins and at least one charred bus. Young men ran through the streets throwing paving stones at shop windows, and the police pursued them.

Globalpost tells us

As night falls, Tehran still ablaze

A level of rioting unseen since the 1979 revolution continued into the night; rioting also reported in southern cities of Zahedan and Shiraz.

John Podheretz wonders if it is Iran’s Tiananmen:

If this is Tiananmen II, and the regime crushes it, there will be no easy approach to regime change. And there will be no pretending any longer that Iran’s regime isn’t a unified, hardline, irridentist, and enormously dangerous one.

And if it is Tiananmen II, will supposed foreign policy iconoclast Charles Freeman tell us, as he did before, about Tiananmen I

I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ “Bonus Army” or a “student uprising” on behalf of “the goddess of democracy” should expect to be displaced with despatch from the ground they occupy.

Appropriate foreign policy realism may guide the Obama administration’s comments and actions. Understandable fear and care for their own and other’s lives may temper the outrage of the Iranian people.  But is there any doubt that one form of revolution or other – velvet, or iron if necessary and possible – would be justifiable now?

The world’s unwavering attention can play a role in the unfolding events. Andrew Sullivan and Talking Points Memo are following developments closely as the mainstream media mostly miss their mission during events of historic import, events that that can not only change the lives of millions of Iranians, but the balance of power in the Mideast and the possibilities of conflict with the United States and Israel.

A. Jay Adler blogs at the sad red earth

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