Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
With the ominous news of removal of subsidies and the resultant inflation, it is but natural to expect even more troubles for the ailing government and a more wide-spread social resistance by the people who will, once again, join in the students’ freedom movement.
2011 may turn out to be a surprisingly dreadful year for the oppressive mullahs in Iran.
Here are but a few of the many clips from several cities like Tehran (multiple universities like Shariff, Elm & Sanaat, Amir Kabir, ...), Qazvin, Zahedan, Hamedan, Babol, ... etc.:
Saturday, November 27, 2010
(click on the image for larger view)
Yes, you read it right. “To reduce natural disasters”, the government is joining hands with several seminary centers in Qom, Mashad, Isfahan, Shiraz, …, to rein in ‘immorality’ among Iranians, which according to them, is the source and cause of all the natural disasters afflicting Iran. Immorality like women not following the Hejab dictates!
While this may seem extremely funny to the general educated fellow at first glance, but underneath, it carries a frightening message that such garbage is printed because there ARE people who read and believe it!
That's the most frightening and at the same time, depressing part of this ... that even in 21st century, we still have a section of our population intellectually challenged enough to believe this religious hocus pocus!!!
Depressing as hell!!
In 1921, between the late Reza Shah and Lenin and then in 1940, there were two treaties signed by the two states sharing this vast water resource, Iran and Russia. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and formation of several states Iran faced a new front with the new states laying claim over the Caspian and thus a further division of each nation’s share. Iran failed to stake its claim of the bilateral treaty that originally allowed each of Tehran and Moscow about 50% of the waters and with that, it saw its share plummet to a mere 20%, as Russia refused to accept division of its share between the 4 nations.
Flash forward to the year 2010 and we stand on the threshold of yet another shameful event in which Iran may stand to lose even more territories due to the incompetence and bad policies of its ruling regime. On 18th November, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad represented Iran in the multi-state conference on Caspian region where the other heads of state from Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan were in attendance.
One of the points of discussion was to deal with the territorial divisions between the 5 nations of the Caspian waters and resources. But due to time limitations the topic was postponed to a later date. However, it does not change the fact that under the strong-arm handling of Iran by Moscow and the inability of the Ahmadinejad’s government to stand up for its rights since that may jeopardize the flimsy, occasional supportive remarks from Moscow in the UN security council, there are talks of further reducing Iran’s share from the present 20% to a paltry 11%! An affront to any sensible and fair minded person. And yet, given how the Islamic regime has bent over backwards trying to hang onto the little support it gets from the likes of China and Russia, pundits worry that we may yet concede more territories and rights.
Come the new five state conference, will Ahmadinejad stand up to the council in favor of Iran’s rights? Or will he succumb and buckle and miserably accept the new “legal regime” and relinquish precious waters of our Caspian sea?
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Statistics show that in the first 6 months of 2010, Iran has conducted at least 137 executions. There are also more than 100 reported cases where the sentence has been issued and they are awaiting their execution.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I came across a very peculiar news a few days ago, which reported Ahmadinejad, during his visit to Lebanon this week, is also planning to travel to the Israel-Lebanon border and symbolically, throw a stone at Israel. At first glance, my reaction was mere laughter at the pettiness of the gesture. Moreover, I doubted anyone was serious about this, and least of all, show concern. However, today, another news bit followed, which told of Jerusalem’s reaction and the comical importance Ahmadinejad’s visit to the border has taken for them with the Israel Foreign Ministry and security services conducting security evaluations of the visit! I was aghast how such a comical and almost insignificant gesture can turn into a diplomatic row between Israel and Lebanon. I also believe there are better ways to subdue this matter in more mature fashion.
Given Ahamdenejad’s mental make up and characteristic attention-seeking nature, the Israeli officials’ sensitivity towards the issue is playing right into his hands. The man craves public attention and loves to be in the limelight, no matter how negative the nature of the issue, hence the string of provocative remarks and actions. He likes to be talked about, and feels perhaps, he’s a man of some stature in world politics.
Naturally, the optimal way to disarm such a person is simply denying what he seeks and craves the most; reckoning and importance. In my humble opinion, the best possible statement that could have come out of Israel on the matter would have been:
“we are not concerned about Mr. Ahmadinejad or anyone of his stature visiting our border" (with emphasis on the title “Mister” rather than “President”)
In fact this has the potential for a more fitting reply that would render any similar provocative gestures from the petty dictator inconsequential. The Israelis can add:
“.... But should Mr. Ahmadinejad wish to follow through with this charade, we are even ready to provide the stone which he is to throw”
and if they feel a wee bit naughty, although inconceivable, they can add more:
“... and we shall make sure the stone is light and small enough, given the stature of Mr. Ahmadinejad”
You can never underestimate the impact and potency of humor in defusing and resolving much of the world’s ills. Humor can be a tremendously powerful weapon, at the same time, rather humane and non-lethal.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This only reinforces the belief that at the moment, given the present regime and its inability to govern a country and its stubborn refusal to heed IAEA protocol, it is only foolish to pursue such nuclear ambitions. But since when logic and sense has prevailed in this regime for this to be another example of it.
So while Ahmadinejad was cuddled and pampered by his “friends” in the US media, he desperately needed something to divert the attention away from the downward spiral Iran’s economy has taken after the sanctions, the ever widening cleavage of conservatives and the growing number of opposition from within the halls of regime as well as the worsening conditions of human rights in Iran. He needed something equivalent to a media bomb which would suck up all the oxygen from all quarters and take away any straying eye from what awaits him in the country, contrary to what he wants the naïve interviewers in the US to believe. With him, the more provocative the remarks, the better it would suit him.
This move was to be expected. But what was not expected was the subject of his media bomb that was frankly quite reprehensible. Or in the words of president Obama, “disgusting and inexcusable”. Apart from the fact that according to Ahmadinejad, any spotlight on him is beneficial, be it positive or negative, what else did such statement serve? He has been under tremendous pressure at home from the growing number of conservatives, parliamentarians, including some of his own close associates for remarks he and his right-hand, Rahim Mashaei have uttered, pitting the idea of nationalism against the governmental Islam that had quite a few clergy and Khamenei lackeys up in arms.
There needed to be a plug for the loss of popularity among the ruling class and any vile accusation or provocative rhetoric against the “great Satan” would find purchase with this class. And lo and behold as 195 members of parliament immediately issued words of support and encouragement for his “daring statesmanship” on question the role of the US government in 9/11. This, he hoped, would provide some needed respite from the furor of attacks on him and his failing economic agenda.
Such stances also find some resonance in the streets of the Muslim world and he has shown to be sensitive to this issue as the regime has always had an eye on the pulse of the Arab world, always looking for support among the masses.
However, this may have been a very bad time to be this provocative. Especially if he entertained any idea of softening the US administration or Europeans with respect to the crippling sanctions even if he opts for a defiant posture on the surface. In fact he couldn’t have timed it worse as this year saw a major shift in US intentions towards opening up to Iran. Unlike previous years, amidst the familiar sight of empty seats, a couple of US delegates (albeit low level ones) were among those who attended Ahmadinejad’s speech, perhaps an extension of an olive branch. But as he, ever so undiplomatically, brought up the theories of 9/11, the US delegates along with several other European counterparts stood up and departed the hall in protest, as Mahmoud went on and on, addressing even more empty seats.
Such drivel also highlights the vast difference between the regular Iranian population and the ruling class in Iran. Something that Mr. Obama addressed in his interview with BBC Persian. This new attitude of the administration may hold some promise for the people of Iran, worth keeping an eye on in weeks to come.
At the same time, I cant hide my dismay at how we over-estimated the intelligence of integrity of the western journalists. Or could it be us. Could we have been caught up with Iran’s affairs so much that we missed the woods for the trees. We relied on journalists whose priority was clearly not the tragic state of human rights in Iran. When there is promise of more trips and interviews with the little dictator, which naturally begets more sponsorship and advertizing, it would be suicidal for the reporter to shoot himself in the foot by asking tough and sensible questions that leave little wiggle room for escape for the cunning dictator.
Judging from Larry King’s abysmal interview that last less than half the time taken for his sponsors’ ads and the repeat of the same mundane and inane questions on topics that only feeds Ahmadinejad’s self aggrandizing agenda. It only reinforced the belief that Larry ought to limit himself with interviews with the likes of Justin Bieber or American Idol drop outs and leave serious politics to others.
Speaking of serious politics, I am reminded of Charlie Rose’s pitiful attempt to interview Mahmoud, where at one point, Charlie exclaimed he was given a guidebook by Iran’s human right watch on the true face of the regime, the truth about abuse of Iranians prisoners and many more topics. Charlie said: “I was requested to ask you about the human rights abuse in Iran …” and then, after raising everyone’s hope of finally seeing someone press Ahmadinejad on the topic believed to be his weakness, Charlie totally disregards his statement and asks about the nuclear program!
We cant expect the world to care for what we, Iranians care. Surely Christian Amanpour, an Iranian expat knows the truth and will have a different set of priorities than the other journalists. Alas! Aside from a half hearted attempt on the matter of stonning sentence of one Sakineh Mohamadi Ashtiani, she received a complete lie as reply and with no persistence she dived into safe waters of Sara Shourd story.
This year, unlike the last, all the journalists were supplied with enough info, data and stats by various groups to be able to counter any and all lies and falsified claims that are part and parcel of Ahmadinejad’s New York visit. And yet, money trumped integrity and humanity, as we have it.
Mahmoud’s visit ended with plenty of spotlight shined on him and his absurd lies and cover-ups, with American journalists getting a hefty boost of revenues for their mundane and redundant interviews with promise of more in Tehran perhaps. At the same time, news of closure of two more political parties, imprisonment of human rights activists and bloggers, and heavy handed sentencing of any voice of dissent ranging from years of imprisonment to execution fills the news feeds from Iran!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Mehdi Karroubi does it again and shatters yet another taboo in the Islamic regime. In the past 31 years none of officials, clerics or political personalities in Iran have challenged the rule and competency of the supreme leader. But Karroubi, in his recent letter to the Chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Hashemi Rafsanjani, decried the impotency and inability of this assembly to do its duty which is to supervise the leader. He also cited the dependence of the judiciary system on the dictates and control of Khamenei, as well as the infiltration of the revolutionary guards into every level of society, economy and political affairs with the blessing of the supreme leader. The embattled reformist, in other words, opens the door for discussion on removal of the supreme leader as unfit and questions his competency in reigning in elements and applying justice in his rule.
I doubt Karroubi ever entertained any hope of Rafsanjani acting on the letter or perhaps even comment on it. But issuing of the open letter marks another barrier broken which will be followed by more people bringing Khamenei and his decisions under question. I can only imagine how the conservatives and those allied with the leader may respond, which may range from utter shock and disbelief to anger and fury over such impertinence. This may also raise the level of calls for prosecution of Karroubi and other green leaders by the hardliners. However, the damage is done and I can only suspect it will be open season on Khamenei in near future, especially the way he and his decrees have been defied and weakened by Ahmadinejad’s camp.
In the midst of it all, Rafsanjani’s silence is intriguing as well. His character will never allow him to side with such letters and anyone holding their breath for a clear move or word of support from him may be in for a surprise. But he may yet find a way to utilize this to further his own agenda, albeit covertly. One thing is certain, though, which is testament to his longevity throughout the years, and that is he will never risk anything to help the freedom movement. Unlike Mehdi Karroubi, who has risen in stature in the eyes of everyone, surpassing the ever cautious, passive Mousavi.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
But I believe he is in for a treat this time around and we will not experience the absolute torture of watching how experienced journalists like Curic, Sawyer and King fumble through their interviews, get flustered and frustrated, and basically drop the ball and fail to pin anything on him whatsoever. This year I believe we may not see the more aware viewers punch their walls, slam their desks or put their feet through their televisions in exasperation as they watched these journalists struggle and fail to divert the interviews to more meaningful, real and lethal issues that would leave him stumped.
This year, in a preemptive move, the organization of Iran Human Rights has prepared a guide book for all those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to sit with the little dictator, addressing those issues that have better traction with people and more importantly, those that this illegitimate “president” cannot weasel out of answering or lie about. Although I am sure his staff will have taken the necessary precautions of warning and restricting the interviewers to certain topics of discussion, as well as plenty of advisors on call, real time to assist with any deflections, distractions and downright falsifying he needs. Nevertheless, this guideline is a major step in the right direction that hopes to reveal the true nature of this regime beyond its charade of lies and deceit and more significantly its absolutely terrifying abuse of human rights.
You can view or download this guideline booklet below:
Amidst all the issues stated in the booklet, I would love to see Ahmadinejad persistently pushed to comment on the ever widening rift between his faction and that of Khamenei. The more the interviewer pushes him to comment on it, backed by enough evidence of this divide, the more Ahmadinejad will be forced to take a stance. Knowing his ambitious character who thrives to paint a bigger, more significant picture of himself to the world outside Iran, he will be put in a position to either forgo his nature or take swings at Khamenei, albeit camouflaged and veiled ones.
This only helps drive the wedge even deeper and perhaps prepare for more factional skirmishes back at home, which eventually helps the freedom movement in Iran.
Ahmadinejad also has other matters to look forward too, at the UN General assembly. Such as staring at even more empty seats during his speech, which I presume will be a rehash of the old ones, denouncing one and all in the west, claiming a new world order, and sounding even more caring for Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Shourd along with Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer were taken hostage near the border of Iran-Iraq more than a year ago on the pretext of trespassing into Iranian territories without permit. Although given the track record of this fascistic regime, it is not beyond reason to allow for the possibility of the three having been taken hostage well within the Iraqi Kurdistan province and brought to Iran to serve as the regime’s political card, a familiar tactic from them.
The release of Shourd wasn’t bereft of controversy either as first Ahmadinejad, on the eve of his trip to New York for the United Nations general assembly, and in a transparent attempt to paint a favorable picture of himself, suddenly announced “he” is effecting the release of Sara Shourd based on humanitarian grounds (Shourd has been having medical complications recently that raised the concerns of doctors which the regime wanted to avoid) coinciding with Eid Fetr at the end of Ramadan month. This grant of freedom was the exact thing Ahmadnejad, nearly a year earlier, professed to everyone in the world, including the parents of the three hikers, that he is not able to do and was not in his hands, rather the supposedly “independent” judiciary system of Iran!
Playing a card just before his visit was expected by many as Ahmadinejad as the individual and his government as a whole was under increasing pressure from within the country through ultra conservatives and Khamenei camp and without the country through international sanctions as well as several world wide campaigns on human rights violations, including Sakineh Mohamadi’s case. Hence the vast media release of this gesture. But not all the players have played their hands yet.
Unbeknownst to the hapless, illegitimate president, the Khamenei camp had different ideas and plans to ruin his party. Within hours of Ahmadinejad’s announcement, the judiciary branch released a statement negating the release. If there was any Ace card to be played, it was only fitting that the “supreme leader” should be the beneficiary of it. Hence, the judiciary statement, which followed by another statement the following day that pointed to Shourd’s release, however under certain conditions and a bail of $500,000. One can only imagine the kind of emotional roller coaster Sara, her family and all the well wishers went through, all within a few hours. This highlights the power struggle that has been building up as the chasm between the two power structures of the regime has been widening with alarming pace, with each side trying to score points over the other and trumping the rivals.
I am happy to see Sara Shourd was finally released yesterday and she boarded a plane to Oman on her way to the States. However, there is the matter of the other two hikers still in captivity. Fattal and Bauer are to remain as unplayed cards for either power factions in the regime, to be used when necessary! But I believe such cards have an expiry date too and the regime cannot simply hold onto them indefinitely and they will have to be released at some point. But I presume that release also will be accompanied with its corresponding charade and theatre. Perhaps in a face-saving manner in which the two are put on trial, the kind of show trials that serve only the propaganda machine of the regime and nothing beyond. And most probably they would get convicted to a year or 15 months of imprisonment, which coincidentally was already served during their captivity. And the two will be released with much fan-fare and hoopla in an attempt to squeeze all the regime can from the two cards that were losing their potency.
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Government sanctioned hooliganism. Arsen and destruction of property. Religious mob threatening the lives of a political personality and his family members. All this may resemble a cheasey movie trailer in an post apocalyptic era where people ran amok bearing guns. Except this is the reality in Iran under the illegitimate Islamic regime.
Fear tactics have been routinely used by this regime to oppress the ever growing masses of opposition and they pride themselves of this ability. But a closer look at the events of past months shows a different side to this notion. It shed light on a ruling class that is riddled with fear of its own people, frightened of any voice of dissent and psychologically paralyzed to the extent that has made it incapable of closing any rift, solving any problem and looking more and more desperate in its measures to cling onto its seat of power by any means possible. It is here that we witness the treatment meted out to the very religious sects and personalities under Khamenei’s rule is unparalleled even during shah’s and his father, Reza shah’s time. Imprisonment, torture, murder of religious opposition was almost non-existent during the late monarch’s rule and yet under Khamenei, it is a regular occurrence.
They may have wanted their feeble minority of supporters to believe they have successfully squashed the freedom movement within Iran. But their reactions to any hint of opposition gathering or move has been to let loose their paid mercenaries and thugs, the now infamous plainclothes militia who carry out the dirty tasks of the power factions with impunity. The regime’s fear is confirmed when at the slightest hint of a rally, they spend obscene amount of money to hire and mobilize thousands of their militia and other security forces, spread throughout the city, days before a possible event, to make their presence felt. To an intelligent observer this only shows the utter fright of a government that has long lost its support among the people.
What took place at the resident of Mehdi Karroubi, a close associate of the late founder of the revolution, Rouhollah Khomeini is another sign of this inhuman ruling establishment’s fright and insecurity. Days before the Qods day, hordes of plainclothes militia and basij, carrying guns and tear gas gathered in front of Karroubi’s home and did everything possible to intimidate Karroubi, his family and ironically his neighbors. All in response to Karroubi’s statement that he would take to the streets and voice his allegiance to the peoples’ rights and demands. They broke every window in the apartment, threw paint on the walls and wrote derogatory comments about Karroubi and his family, threw tear gas into the complex, cut off the electricity (with the help of the city electricity board), even set fire to the entrance of the apartments and shot live rounds. All this while the police and security forces were seen to be merely bystanders and audience to this ugly show of organized thugery, while chants of support for their leader, Khamenei filled the air. This disgraceful display of barbarism continued for several days with promises of more to come by the chanting hooligans.
The freedom movement on its last legs? I think not, my friend. We have just begun and the fright seen in the regime’s actions and decisions clearly proves which side is on the losing streak.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
The free world observed Martin Luthor King’s famous “I have a dream” speech anniversary merely a few days ago, on August 27th. The day Dr. King had another quote that today, capsulates the dream we Iranians hold dear in our hearts when he said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”. And justice we shall have in Iran.
p.s.- Dr. King borrowed this inspirational quote from another visionary, Theodore Parker, who in 19th century said: "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Karimi criticized his club manager, M. Ajorloo, an IRGC elite commander, in relation to some shortcomings at the club, which was met with the order of expulsion. But Steel Azin, being owned and led by IRGC (explains the absurd amount of money flashed around by their officials) did not stop there and true to the nature of the Islamic regime, had to put their fundamentalist stamp on the affair by stating the breaking of his fast in public as the reason for the expulsion.
Apparently, this regime is hell-bent on proving they are incapable of learning from experience. Within hours of the news appearing in the media there was a whirlwind of internet activity, with fans as well as regular people from all over the world objected to the news and pledged their support to the star player. And the more media outlets like Fars news or IRGC’s Javan news, with even the state-run television chipping in, tried to paint an impious and agnostic picture of the player, the more support poured in. Although Karimi did provide a precedent for this attack by the state-run media as he was among some of the national team players who wore a green wrist band during last year’s World Cup qualifiers which coincided with the presidential elections and its subsequent events.
Here was the full force of regime propaganda apparatus at work and yet they were oblivious to the depth of people’s opposition to all things related to the regime. They still have not grasped the fact that people look for and will support any and all acts of defiance. It may not be the individual(s) who do the act, but the ‘idea’ of defiance and standing up to the regime is what finds purchase with the people.
This may have escaped many observers, but is a smaller example of the absolute arrogance of the regime that feels they are not to be held accountable for any of their acts and that they can use Islam and religious sentiments to accuse and indict anyone with impunity. Recent Jannati’s unfounded accusation of the leaders of the green movement receiving a billion dollars from the United States for overthrow of the regime without an iota of evidence is another example of this trait in a larger scale.
Monday, August 16, 2010
In a conference on education, Rahimi made a series of derogatory remarks against the British people, by calling them “inhuman idiots led by a stupid Prime Minister, David Cameron”.
But the Brits were not the only recipients of his ire, as his verbal incendiary was sprayed widely towards any nation that signed the United Nations sanctions against Iran’s nuclear ambitions in the form of calling the Australians as “a bunch of cattlemen” and the South Koreans “in need of being slapped”!
While the British ambassador may have been affronted by this language and attitude, my belief is it should have come as no surprise. When the president, albeit the illegitimate one, of the regime uses the form of low and base language which only appeals to the select uneducated and ill-cultured sects of society sees no reprimand for it and with each passing speech, his turn of phrase and terminology sinks lower and lower, when the head of Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani and his other brother, the head of Majlis, Ali Larijani resort to highly dubious phraseology and adjectives in describing any opposition from the outside world, not to mention the various commanders of the dreaded Revolutionary Guards corp, without being forced to retract or sanitize their comments, it should have come as no surprise to anyone that more and more IR officials reveal their true origins and nature.
This tragic comedy, only highlights the depth of suffering and pain that the Iranians, within and without Iran have endured for the past three decades under the rule of such vile minority.
The Bushehr plant goes down in the history books as one of the, if not ‘the’ most expensive nuclear plants in the history. Originally, under the Shah’s reign in mid seventies, the German company of Siemens AG was contracted to construct and deliver the plant. But soon after the revolution, the Germans withdrew from the project and the plant was left with only 50% of the construction completed. In mid nineties a Russian company called ‘Atomstroiexport’ was contracted to complete the remaining 50% of the plant. But since the German technology was unfamiliar and ahead of the Russian experts, the Russians were forced to rebuild many parts of the plant according to their own specifications and available technology.
15 years later and still the plant is in process of completion, and while there have been many ebbs and flows in the speed of construction, Russia has used this plant as a leverage and a bargaining chip used in its dealings with both Iran, winning countless concessions from Iran in various areas, as well as with its dealings with the west, especially the United States. Worthy mentions could be the Eastern Europe Missile Shield, or the States’ silence in Georgia.
According to today’s reality, the cost of building a brand new 1000 Megawatt nuclear plant would be about $700-750 Million. But so far, the Bushehr plant has cost Iranians somewhere between 2 to 4 Billion Dollars and still counting, with technology that is no longer safe or comparable to the modern plants. And that is limited to the actual cost of building of the plant and getting it ready for use. At the same time, one may be inclined to add the countless concessions, favors and sweetened deals offered to the Russians along the past couple of decades.
It is no wonder it is claimed to be the most expensive plant whose cost will be mounting as we consider its repercussions on the environment. Its social and economical impacts is another cause for worry, as Iran has come under increasing pressure from the world community for its general adventurism related to its nuclear ambitions.
Putin’s cold shoulder
Although Prime Minister Putin was planned to attend the ceremonies, he has, since, canceled the trip and the highest Russian official attending the inauguration is the head of Russia’s atomic agency. Putin’s cancellation only underlines the cooling off of relations between Moscow and Tehran.
Iran has claimed the plant should be operational by mid September. However Novikov, the spokesman for Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, says the plant will not be ready to produce energy for another six months.
On Friday, the White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "It, quite clearly, I think, underscores that Iran does not need its own enrichment capability if its intentions, as it states, are for a peaceful nuclear program” pointing towards several offers the west had made to Iran to supply the fuel and enriched Uranium, which will cost Iran far less than Iran actually enriching it indigenously. Offers that were rebuffed by the Islamic regime, thus leading the country down the path of ever tightening sanctions and hardship for the people of Iran.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Is Rahim-Mashaei, the father of Ahmadinejad's daughter in law, being groomed to continue the line after Ahmadinejad's term completes? Ahmadinejad's infatuation with power is no secret. Neither is his ever growing tendency to grab more control of the country, at the cost of alienating some of his religious support among the clerical establishment. This hunger for more power is demonstrated in his recent-found boldness to stand up to the major regime factions and personalities, be they the speaker of Majlis, Ali Larijani or even a show of defiance in the face of the supreme leader, Khamenei, albeit in a more timid fashion. But his change from being subservient to the rule of supreme leader during his first term to his new challenger for major power structures in the country is clearly palpable, no thanks to immeasurable favors bestowed upon the dreaded IRGC, the Revolutionary Guard Corp during his first term, which in turn created a strong-hold for his vie for power in this term.
What may point towards the Putin-Medvedev analogy is the little discussed, but still persistent rumors that he entertained an amendment of the constitution which limits the candidacy of a person for presidency to only two terms. His supporters may have issued out these 'feelers', and perhaps was rebuked by the supreme leader's camp. But there is no denying Ahmadinejad's ambition. Therefore the second best way is to follow suit and initiate the process of grooming an Ahmadinejad insider for the next presidential election akin to what Putin arranged. And who better an insider than Rahim-Mashaei?
It is, however, a different matter that many facts and figures, most speculations and theories point to an aborted presidency for this man and the freedom movement's eventual triumph, thus making any presumptions with regards to the next presidential elections moot and an exercise in futility.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
In yet another act in the ever increasing series of miscalculations by the regime’s top brass, Ayatollah Jannati may have granted a fresh opening to attack the system and hurt its standing among the shrinking supporting populace.
Jannati, a close ally of Khamenei for many years, is also the head of Iran’s most powerful institutions, the Guardian Council, a constitutional and electoral watchdog that screens candidates for national elections, and is by any standard, considered as one of the top 5 personalities of this regime. He is also known for his rabid views on suppression and crackdown on the anti-government and pro-democracy protestors, calling for their mass executions with no remorse or delay!
It was late July when Jannati claimed he is in possession of ample evidence that the so called leaders of the green movement, Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami have been on the pay-roll of the United States by receiving an initial down-payment of $1 Billion, through some Saudi channels to incite the unrest and turmoil and a promise of another $50 Billion when they eventually topple the Islamic regime! Perhaps Jannati was under the old illusion that persisted in Iran for the past 30 years where you can label or accuse anyone of any crime without the need of an iota of evidence. This tool was used on countless occasions for the purpose of removal of opponents and rivals in the regime. But the events of the past year have rendered many such tools useless or open to public debate.
Now, in an act of defiance by many in the freedom movement, Jannati, who belongs to the top echelon of the Islamic regime is being publicly ridiculed, something that a couple of years ago would have been unheard of. This is a testament that this fear-mongering regime is rapidly losing its tools of control that are basically built on fear and threats as well as unaccountability of its officials. This also demonstrates a challenge to Khamenei’s authority, which was aimed to be absolute given his title as the supreme leader. Another very crucial barrier broken through.
The strongest statement was issued by Mr. Karroubi, who openly challenged Jannati and explicitly demanded for disclosure of the claimed evidence and failure to do so only should mean Jannati is not only incompetent to hold such vital office, but also is accused of false libel and deceit which is not looked very kindly in the tenets of Islam. Following Karroubi’s full-on attack, Mousavi and a few other personalities have come forth and basically demanded the same. And as days have gone by, there is more chatter on the subject from more individuals, from officials to regular bloggers.
By persisting on their demand for evidence, they will drive the dagger even deeper into the body of the regime, as it only exposes more deception and falsehood, corruption and abuse of power that has formed the regime’s bulk. Not to mention its implicit effect in undermining of Khamenei, himself and his judgment.
Jannati’s Hubris complex has handed a great weapon to the opposition to deal severe and irreparable damage to the regime’s structure. But the attacks should be relentless and precise. Will the opposition cease on this opportunity to gain some of its lost momentum? In my opinion, the only individual capable to deliver this is Mr. Karroubi who has shown great bravery in the face of tremendous adversity, despite being a clergy himself. Mousavi, however, has been somewhat of a let down as he has limited himself to merely issuing statements once in a while. As for Khatami, … well, I wont hold my breath to see anything strong or half direct issued from his side. But aside from Karroubi, there are many others who have the spine to push forth, Like Mr. Saharkhiz, Tajzadeh and many others whose boldness and bravery has been proven time and again.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The first scenario is one that the Islamic regime is desperately pushing for, which is that Amiri was in fact abducted, presumably to gain more intel on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and capabilities. While not easy to rule out as an an impossibility, this theory has plenty of loop holes that makes one think twice before committing to it.
Let us assume this were true and the Americans did capture and abduct Amiri in Saudi Arabia and brought him to the States under the strict supervision of CIA and FBI (according to the Islamic regime’s spokesmen). Any sane mind would immediately question how on earth this abductee under the nose of CIA and FBI operatives somehow get his hands on a computer and camera, find access to the internet and the time to send out his supposed S.O.S. video messages on youtube to Iran?
Even less plausible is to fathom how Amiri, single-handedly bested the security apparatus of the CIA and FBI, escaped their clutches, and somehow traveled to Washington DC from Arizona undetected and with no trouble! This simply defies all manner of logic and rationale and reads more like a fictional yarn spun by the likes of Ludlum or Le Carre. Except Amiri is hardly a Jason Bourne.
The second theory could be Amiri, willingly defected with the help of the Saudis and American agents in Saudi Arabia and was brought to the States, wherein he decided to continue his education in Tucson, Arizona. A fact that he attested to in his interview with ABC, a total contrast to the grainy youtube S.O.S. message. But the Islamic regime, as is their Modus Operandi, applied pressure or even threatened the lives of his family members in Iran to force him to change his mind and returning to Iran, and under the pretense of “abduction" besmear the U.S. government. This is extremely likely given the nature of the regime in Iran and their utter disregard for human life, be it Iranian or otherwise, when their benefit is involved. Threatening people’s families has precedence and is a frequent mode of pressure tactic employed by them. So the hapless Amiri has no recourse but to bend to the pressure and leave his studies and return. Personally, I believe this is the most probable scenario.
The third scenario may be a bit of a stretch, but then again, in the world of espionage and clandestine operations, anything is possible. Amiri, being a member of the notorious Revolutionary Guards Corps’ science division, was merely a plant who was supposed to seek defection primarily and after being relocated to the States, start this charade of being tortured and pleading for his escape and return to Iran, thus, supposedly, inflicting a wound to the US image in the world and perhaps gain a dubious public relations victory for the Islamic state!!
But which sane person would believe that? CIA and FBI threatened him to expose all the nuclear secrets or they are going to torture him by feeding him … well??
Comparing his photos in Iran, before his supposed “abduction”, and the obese fellow in recent videos, it seems he had not cooperated with his “apparent abductors” and they had no choice but to torture him with tons of cheese burger and milk-shake!! Do the latest photos show a tortured and distressed man in peril?
Amiri, before and after his "abduction"(!!)
Amiri’s tale will be spun by the regime’s spin doctors at the IRIB and they will bend reality to gain as much millage out of it as possible. But who will buy that, except the naïve, and the ill-informed minority who still get their news from the disgraceful IRIB. Yes, you may even see biased international networks like Al-Jazeera (always in service of the Islamic governments in the region, and hardly the people of those nations) or Russia’s R.T. (‘Russia Today’, who just love to paint a distorted image of the west, to hell with reality or authentication) have a field day about this too. But eventually, sanity and logic ought to prevail and all this hoopla will die down a death much like the other forgotten, insignificant attempts of the Islamic regime to gain political millage or hit at the west.
In the end, Amiri may or may not survive the episode as the regime has the horrific penchant of being ultimately vindictive and unforgiving, especially with the likes of Amiri who for all accounts, may have revealed many secrets pertaining to Iran's nuclear program.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
A week ago, one of the members of the parliament, Mr. Palizdar, a notorious cleric, who was among the supporting cast in Ahmadinejad’s re-election campaign’s scenario and made ground breaking revelations accusing Ahmadinejad of creating false evidence and untrue claims of corruption against his rival candidates, Mr. Mousavi and Karroubi and their close supporters, made equally significant statements about his role and the smear campaign during Ahmadinejad's elections. The same tact was employed against Hashemi Rafsanjani and his ally, Nategh Nouri during Ahmadinejad’s first campaign for presidency.
Palizdar, a very close ally of Ahmadinejad at the time, was in fact, in charge of manufacturing the false accusations and defamation, who was promised a cabinet position in return. Having felt betrayed, he turns to the media to reveal the machinations behind the scenes.
Following these events, Ahmad Tavakoli, who is yet another conservative MP, brought up the matter of ‘impeachment of the president’ and in a statement declared with two third majority of the votes, the parliament can impeach Ahmadinejad for his blatant refusal to uphold the laws set by the lawmakers.
Based on the constitution, impeachment is possible. But in reality, and considering the deep turmoil the regime has been put through, post election and the ever increasing strain placed on various elements of regime, be it Khamenei’s factions or Ahmadinejad’s and IRGC’s, the key figures such as the supreme leader may try to step in and attempt to prevent the fractures getting deeper and may overtly or covertly order the halt to the proceedings.
But even if that comes to pass, what has happened is still ground breaking and may have prepared the ground work for an eventual dissociation of the two major factions, Khamenei’s and Ahmadinejad’s should matters become intolerable and there be a need for sacrifice. It is many pundits’ belief that with continuing pressures on the regime, there will come a time that Ahmadinejad will become a dead weight to Khamenei, and will have to be sacrificed for the greater good of the regime.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Ahmadinejad’s illegitimate government has been desperate in finding ways to lower the deficit and has been haphazardly aiming at various targets. Primarily, they had proposed lifting of the subsidies. But facing massive apprehension from the population, they have postponed the implementation of them. Then they targeted another source of tremendous wealth, which is the Azad Universities, affiliated with Ahmadinejad’s nemesis, Hashemi Rafsanjani. With weeks of threats and use of their plain-clothed militia to apply pressure, proving impotent, finally steps in the supreme leader to quell the simmering pressure cooker and effectively deny yet another route for replenishing the growing hole in the budget. And the Bazaar incident is just one more in a series of signals of Ahmadinejad’s utter desperation.
But what the freedom movement and activists can learn from this is when faced with a resolute, collective section of the society, it is the regime that stands in the vulnerable position. A lesson that can map the future plans of the movement as we move to the next phase of wide-spread strikes, civil disobedience in all forms, delays and refusal in payment of utility bills, …etc.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
With Israel’s firm declaration of their intention to stop any aid flotilla from reaching Gaza, the Islamic regime’s immature brinksmanship was in full view as they suddenly made a 180 degree turn around conjured up a nonsensical “technical difficulty” as the reason for their change of plans!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
However, the latest deal does exactly that, which is to have the exchange process carried out in Turkey and not Iran, and the enriched Uranium to be delivered at a later date after Iran’s dispatch of its low enriched reserves!! Some “irrevocable” conditions!
Did the Islamic dictatorship somehow manage to keep France out then? No. Since the type of enriched Uranium that can be used in the Tehran’s reactor is prepared and available in only two countries in the world; France and Argentina. Argentina has already announced it will not be a party in any deal involving Iran (reference to the bombings occurred during Rafsanjani’s presidency and IRGC’s involvement). So eventually the Iranian reserves have to be sent to France and it is the French high enriched Uranium that would fuel Tehran’s reactor.
So basically months have been wasted and much initiative lost to only go back to square one and finally accept the kind of deal that was initially offered by the west! But what could be the reason? This brings up the usual tactic of distraction and diversion of attention of the world from the regime’s greater fears and crimes.
And they have plenty of atrocities to hide and much to worry about. In recent weeks it has stepped up its execution of dissidents and political prisoners, using all sorts of labels to justify them. From executing a person who had merely sent money to his brother in Iraq, accused as a membership of the Mojahedin Khalgh group, to belonging to a pro-monarchist to supposed separatists when in reality all these people were guilty of was they had spoken against the totalitarian regime or demanded a free society. Not to mention with the anniversary of the fraud elections that resulted in the coup approaching, the regime knows it offers the opposition forces renewed purpose to once again take to the streets. Therefore, this deceitful government has much to hide and plenty to divert the world’s attention from as now the world media focuses on this deal and its supposed repercussions.
What hope does it have to be a lasting deal? Borne of a false pretense and founded on deceit and considering the coup government’s well known brinksmanship, its past record of wasting time, abandoning agreements or sudden change of mind it should not be a surprise to see this deal get filed along many other abandoned ones as soon as the coup anniversary is passed or it has achieved its momentary respite. In fact chances of this happening is far more than seeing a cooperative regime that surrenders its most useful instrument of camouflage and media weapon. Let us not forget how many times they have used the ‘nuclear program’ to divert the world attention and focus from its internal turmoil.
So why did the leaders of Turkey, Mr. Erdogan and Brazil, Mr. Lula Da Silva accept to be party to a deal that gambles on their political capital and reputation? The answer becomes more clear when we consider the over 300+ contingent of businessmen and financial personalities that accompanied Lula Da Silva’s visit which may see an eight to ten fold increase of business deals, investment and transactions between Iran and Brazil. Turkey also sees a potential increase of trade from its present $350 Million to close to a rumored $2 Billion which ensures the Turkish goods flooding the Iranian markets (much like the low quality imports from China) which in turn will spell doom for Iran’s already weakened (no thanks to the Chinese) indigenous industry and agricultural sectors! The sort of generous pay-off that this regime is well known to freely offer to anyone who is ready to help maintain its illegitimate hold on the country or help its ulterior motives.
Turkey has the added incentive as it tries to have a more meaningful presence and impact in the region, while continuing a palpable shift to a more religious and Islamic form of society, especially since it has little hope of being included in the European Union before several years from today, therefore shelving its European ambitions. It has been bolstering its contact and influence in Middle East from the overhaul of its relations with Israel and expansion of trade and political proximity to Iran. But what price one’s political reputation in Brasilia or Ankara gambling on the word of a regime that refuses to uphold its own laws and dictates, let alone deny itself a major tool of distraction?
At the same time the most crucial elements of Iran's nuclear adventurism has not been addressed in this deal, as its intention to enrich more Uranium to a higher grade is kept out of the agreement and it remains a great source of contention between the west and Iran. In other words, the regime still holds its nuclear card in hand, despite its politically naive attempts to portray a different picture of itself to the world as one who has become lenient and cooperative.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Aside from the audacity of trying to dictate or teach the world how to run itself and its affairs from global warming to the nuclear issue and armaments, Ahmadinejad proves he craves attention like no other, no matter if it is positive or negative. His incredulous bombastic rhetorics of the holocaust and Israel done in regular intervals are just another proof of this. A government that is incapable of performing simple tasks and has run the country’s economy to the ground now entertains ambitions of telling the world how to run itself?
But there’s more to the letter. In his warning about US’ inability to complete the job in Afghanistan and Iraq, he, indirectly points to IR’s influence among the various insurgencies and terrorist groups in those countries, who have consistently opposed the US presence and have been a cause of instability and terror. This was always hinted at in an obscure manner. But this latest statement is among the most direct confessions of involvement in destabilizing forces of Iraq and Afghanistan. The same can be said of IR’s relation to another terrorist group, Hamas in Palestine, who have been a thorn in the side of the peace initiatives between the Israelis and Palestinians. Ahmadinejad says “Obama has no chance in the Israeli-Palestinian talks either. Not only he doesn’t have a chance, but he is not allowed to have one too”. Could that be a veiled admission of interference?
The white house has indicated that it may not answer the letter and I truly believe this is the best tact in this situation. Apart from the fact that Ahmadinejad is still not the top voice in Iran and eventually it is Khamenei, who decides the macro issues, ignoring a petty dictator’s ridiculous cries for his most coveted attention is most effective.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The brunt of the administration’s failure and incompetence is borne by the poor class whose numbers are alarmingly rising and expanding to include the lower sections of the middle class also. Increasingly depressing news regarding labourers and factory workers are rife. Whether that is non-payment of their salaries for as long as 9-10 months or imprisonment for merely demanding their rightful salaries to sustain their families. Labour activists have been arrested and sentenced to many years of prison for voicing their grievances against the small but powerful ruling class!
And now comes the news of yet another blow to this ever expanding sector. According to economic experts, the poverty line stands somewhere near $900 per month, while the government officials try to downplay the number and trumpet numbers in the ballpark of $600 to $650. It is hard to miss the tragic sleight of hand that the very same autocrats with their erroneously low statistics, have yet set the minimum wage for the labourers for a family of four at $303. Half of what they deem (erroneously) as the rock bottom line for survival!
A major reason for industry’s inability to pay wages is the same import-craze that floods the market with cheap Chinese and low quality goods of all kinds, stifling home grown production and manufacturing. Even village-industry handicrafts carry the “Made in China” label! The damage is distributed throughout the country, from agricultural products to small & large industry. The pricing discrepancy and the consequent lack of a fair market competition has resulted in abysmal numbers for industrial growth. Even the airbrushed government figures of 6-6.5% for the previous year will be reduced to almost nil or at best 1% for the coming year. At the same time, the inflation rate was officially announced to be around 37%, which puts the real rate somewhere above 40%. We might as well brace ourselves for another series of woes as the regime faces a diminishing market for its oil with countries like Japan, India and even China reducing their purchase of Iranian oil. Not to mention the downgrading of investment by multinational corporations like India’s Reliance and Russia’s Lukoil. Although the Malaysian company, Petronas and the French Total are yet to join in the fray and reduce or stop their supply of refined petrol to Iran. Petronas and Total have the lion's share in supply of refined petrol to Iran.
Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad’s remedy to all these troubles, is to distribute whatever wealth we have left across the world! He has promised a “loan” of more than $100 Million to Ecuador at the incredible interest rate of 0.5% on the eve of their president’s visit to Tehran. In return, Ecuador’s president cancels his visit and sends a lowly mission to Tehran to collect the “loan ”! Ecuador was also the recipient of another $40 Million investment towards the building of two energy sector projects .
Within the last 5 years such “loans” and donations have been extended to countries like Sri Lanka ($1.95 Billion), Bolivia ($225 Million), Venezuela ($1 Billion), Afghanistan ($100 Million), and a plethora of other countries like Nicaragua, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Gambia, Zimbabwe, St. Vincent, … the list only grows, besides the usual recipients like Syria, Lebanon’s terrorist group Hizbullah and other terrorist entities like the Palestinian Hamas. In Perhaps this foolish largesse is with the aim of buying a “nay” vote in international arguments regarding U.N. resolutions or sanctions against Iran. While Nero merrily fiddles in this way, a large swath of Iranian children, the rightful owners of this wealth are homeless and go to sleep hungry. And Iranian factory workers and labourers continue to struggle to find the means to feed their families while waiting in fast fading hope for their overdue-by-a-year wages.
All this points to an extremely tumultuous year for the illegitimate government and a regime that is losing its scant popularity among their hardcore minority, as more and more of the population is affected by the terrible policies and negligence of people’s dire circumstances.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This demonstrates the utter fear of a ruthless regime that finds itself extremely unpopular among its people. Not to mention its inability to shrink the gap between the government and the people, as well as its futile last gasps in resorting to extreme acts to push back its ever-growing antagonists and opposition.
Nowhere in the history of mankind have such ruthless regimes been able to sustain their dominance over the will of people and have succumbed eventually.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Putting aside the brazen and badly calculated election process – coasting as they were on the complacent belief that they would get away with just about anything (although one might understand, I suppose, as this was indeed the case during the thirty one years of their reign, not to forget the exponential increase in abuses during Ahmadinejad’s first term) - and the subsequent hasty and fault-ridden announcement of AN's victory; there are 3 events that have had the maximum impact on the regime and that are therefore milestones for the present freedom movement. Three events without which I doubt the freedom movement would have been as strong as it is today, or the Islamic regime as unsteady and debilitated.
1- The closure of all foreign press agencies with the subsequent blanketing of coverage of the post election demonstrations by the foreign media. This paved the way for explosion of the citizen-reporter phenomenon. I personally believe that this has had a thousand times greater impact on the spread of information on the crimes and atrocities of the regime than if the foreign press were allowed to operate in their usual way. Ordinary people on the streets suddenly saw it as THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to bear witness, report and ensure the spread through the internet of the events as they happened. It is because of their heroic efforts that we saw each event from multiple angles, from a million different views and zones, all covered by a million people as opposed to the usual standard of a couple of foreign reporters carefully positioned by the government in a few government designated zones.
Neda Aghasoltan's death which became an iconic image for the movement was a DIRECT result of this and I am rather confident that had the tightly regulated foreign press been allowed in, her death and its iconic image would never have been seen by the world or telecast.
2- Mohsen Rouh-ol-Amini's death – Mohsen was one of the protesters during the post-election rallies, who were arrested and imprisoned in the notorious Kahrizak prison. His death, because of his father's rank amongst the conservatives and his position in Rezaei, a presidential candidate's campaign, was very different from hundreds of other victims.
Initially, the official forensic report attributed Mohsen’s death to contraction of Meningitis. But his severely battered body, loss of an eye and multiple fractures all over his body at the time of delivery to his family for burial made this excuse moot and revealed the true story behind his murder. Uncomfortably for the regime, they now HAD TO acknowledge and answer one of their own, which paved the way for further events that ended with the closure of Kahrizak, ordered by Khamenei. Had he not been from one of the families supportive of the regime, many more such deaths, rapes and other heinous crimes would have gone unanswered and ignored. Worse, the terrifying horror that is Kahrizak would still be functioning.
3- Mehdi Karroubi's expose´ of prison rapes and torture – Another insider from within the clerical establishment and a former speaker of the parliament, Karroubi’s expose´ of the crimes of the government to the public and further, his resolute decision to stand by his statements despite mounting pressure and accusations from all quarters, made the Kahrizak and prison abuses famous not only in Iran, but throughout the world. The regime reeled under this onslaught of information revealed by an insider no less.
This was the trigger for the steady trickle of the loss of support from within both government ranks and the clergy which is slowly building as we speak. Covering all and everyone from the moderate conservatives to foreign service consular officials.
Nothing was the same after these events and the Iran crossed the point of no return. The world finally woke up to the insidious nature of this evil regime, standing as it did, with all the malign undercurrents of the Islamic government exposed.
Note: For those not aware of the notoriety of Kahrizak, this prison was where a great many of the demonstrators were brought in by the strict order of Saeid Mortazavi for extended detention and interrogation. The simple description of a ‘prison’ shields the horrors that awaited the detainees who were arrested for merely asking that their votes to be counted. In the days following the mass arrest, reports of brutal beatings, life threatening injuries, maiming assaults with the loss of organs and body parts and even deaths, surfaced. Then came the matter of the prison rapes with many victims disclosing their torment to Mr. Karroubi with evidence. A few of these victims, I am happy to report, have now fled and have sought refuge outside Iran, in fear of further persecution or death as they pose the threat of evidence against their demoniacal violators.
End note: In the face of mounting criticism and growing evidence the prison was finally closed. As for the reasons for the sudden closure of Kahrizak, the government cited, ‘un-hygienic conditions’ and ‘fear of contraction of, and spread of meningitis’!!