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Green Wheels

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The green wheels of reform regained traction in Iran over the weekend.

Things had been relatively quiet since the inauguration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former leader of the opposition whose campaign color was green, had kept a low profile. Bickering had turned inward. Out of fear of the Basij militia or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, or out of resignation to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei's final word, the demonstrating masses that had once taken to the streets to dispute the June 12 Iran election lay dormant.

Sporadic protests had continued overseas. Sometimes the domain of ordinary exiled Iranians, sometimes that of the glitterati, like director Shirin Neshat who attended the Venice Film Festival premiere of her film -- Women Without Men -- alongside cast and crew in green gowns. As poignant was support by non-Iranians, like rock band U2 performing Sunday Bloody Sunday against a scrim showing Iran protests, or designer Guillermo Mariotto, whose fashion show in Rome had catwalk models sporting green ribbons and him wearing a 'Neda Alive' T-shirt, honoring the young woman who died in the aftermath of the Iran election.

However, last Friday, the social networking sites pulsed once more with green YouTubes, Tweets, pictures and stories, and yes, even a joke or two. One showed a chiuawawa on a green leash squatting suggestively on a sidewalk above a magazine cover depicting President Ahmadinejad.

In 2000, there was a disputed election in America: Bush versus Gore. The matter was resolved through established political channels. Though some disagreed with the ruling, Gore supporters did not demonstrate. They accepted defeat -- as did he -- because the people in America more or less trust their system of government. But some people in Iran do not feel the same way. The 2009 Iran election remains among certain Iranians...well...disputed.

Since 1979's Islamic Revolution, Quds Day is an annual anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian political rally in Iran. This year it fell on Friday, September 18, and despite government warnings, the opposition took to the streets again for their cause in tens of thousands, bedecked in green. Both the candidates of the June election, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, joined them, as did government notables Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Discernment Council, and former President Mohammad Khatami.

In addition to videos of demonstrators on the streets of Tehran, there were also those protesting both underground on the public transit system and above-ground on rooftops late into the night. After the rally, at Tehran's Azadi Stadium, the live broadcast of a soccer game came out in black-and-white, before stopping completely for unspecified technical reasons. An hour or so later, the football was back, with the sight and sound of 70,000 spectators edited out.

The truth is this. No matter how many or how few people in Iran remain dissatisfied with the state of affairs, so long as they show their green and voice their heartfelt longing for reform, the movement is alive.

Green wheels keep on turning.