Iran is usually the first to condemn Israel. Could its silence over the flotilla attack signal a sea change in Islamic politics?
guardian / Meir Javedanfar

The takeover of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmaris by Israeli commandos led to demonstrations in numerous places around the world. People in Baku, Istanbul, and as far away as Edmonton, Canada, marched on the streets to voice their opposition to Israel's actions. However, in Tehran and in other big cities in Iran, the streets have been eerily quiet.

This is unusual for the Iranian government. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, sees himself and the Islamic Republic as the defender of Muslim rights around the world. During every major confrontation in West Bank or Gaza, he has been the first to arrange demonstrations. This was seen during the Gaza war of 2009. Demonstrations were also arranged as soon as the Muhammad cartoon affair caused rage in the Muslim world. Even the killing of a pregnant Egyptian woman in Germany by a racist individual led to government-arranged demonstrations against Germany in Iran.

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