The Green movement, named after the color chosen for his campaign by Mir-Hossein Musavi, who was initially endorsed by the reformist faction as well as ayatollah Rafsanjani, took shape amidst controversial fraud allegations at the 2009 presidential election. Rejecting institutional channels of mediation (the Guardian Council’s June 18 invitation for discussions, and the June 29 partial ballot recount), defeated candidates Mir-Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi asked their supporters to force a revision of the outcome through street demonstrations.
Opposition rallies, starting on June 13, however saw their number of participants progressively decline, while turning increasingly violent. Rioting reached its peak during the religious month of Ashura (December 2009), further alienating religious Iranians. The counter-demonstrations on Quds Day (September 18), November 4 and December 30, sealed the fading of the movement until its recent resurrection attempts.
Deprived of a charismatic leadership, the movement is also confronted with structural contradictions. Its official leaders, who used to be part of the political system, must compose with strong inconsistency on the ideological and sociological levels, since almost the entire spectrum of foreign-based, counter-revolutionary groupings, as well as radicalized segments of civil society, which emanate mainly from the affluent middle- and upper-classes, rushed to rally under their umbrella. This explains the gap between Green leaders’ claims of loyalty towards the present constitution, and their supporters’ slogans such as “Down with the principle of the Leadership of the Jurisprudent (Velayat-e Fahigh)”. On the foreign policy front, slogans like “Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, I shall sacrifice for Iran”, call for abandoning the principled stance of resistance against Israel’s ocupation policies, under the pretext of nationalism.
The Green Movement’s focus on internet-based social networks as a means of political communication is not only an asset, but also one of its weaknesses, since it has resulted in the proliferation of unverifiable claims, and a type of propaganda reminiscent of the west’s outright demonization tactics, where obvious achievements of the Revolution are systematically denied, which in turn cost the Green Movement additional credibility.