Iran Crackdown Quashes Protests
Wall Street Journal / Farnaz Fassihi and Chip Cummins

The balance in the Iranian uprising is shifting in the regime's favor.

Iran dealt a blow to the opposition Thursday, rallying tens of thousands of pro-regime marchers and disrupting, sometimes violently, protests long-planned to show continuing dissatisfaction with the regime on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic republic's founding.

The show of force came as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a pro-government crowd in Tehran that Iran had successfully enriched uranium to higher levels than before. Iranian officials also said Thursday they could enrich uranium further still, though Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran had no intention of producing a nuclear bomb.

Tehran's crackdown and fresh nuclear claims appeared to be a message to critics at home and abroad: Mr. Ahmadinejad's government remains unbowed, despite pressure from Washington and allied capitals to curb its nuclear ambitions, and amid persistent domestic unrest spawned by last summer's contested presidential elections.

Security services and government supporters appeared to vastly outnumber protesters on Thursday, according to online opposition accounts, Iranians reached by telephone and international media reports.

The full scope of the antigovernment turnout may not yet be known because of restrictions on Internet and cellphone services inside Iran. But the initial reports suggest Tehran may have found a formula for damping future protests.

That represents a blow to oppositio... >>>

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