Thursday, February 25, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
No, you read it right and your eyes are not deceiving you. A death sentence not for killing, raping or maiming another fellow human being. Not for committing grave atrocities against humanity or any of God's creatures. But for merely shouting a slogan.
The 26 year old Omid Dana was sentenced for chanting “Down with the principle of ‘Velayat-e Faghih’” . Velayat-e Faghih means ‘The guardianship of clergy over people’, a principle which belittles the people and portrays a nation as invalid and incompetent in their capability to make decisions for themselves, therefore are in need of a ‘Supreme Leader’ to make those decisions for them!!
The other target of such rants are the less informed populace whose sole source of information is the state-run IRIB that constantly feeds them false and baseless news in order to keep the tragic truth away from this ill-informed mass. But the world’s fifth great economic power is a stretch by any kind of imagination. A cursory look at the achievements of the Islamic republic should shed some light on its capability to reach any sort of ranking in the world.
3rd – In countries the most dangerous for blog writers and independent thinkers, with 23 of them in prison or executed (only after China 33 and Egypt 29)
3rd – Women’s suicide rate
2nd – Execution of its citizens
1st – Brain drain and loss of intellectuals due to migration
172nd out of 175 – In freedom of information & media
168th - In government corruption (bribery, sale of posts, judiciary for sale, embezzlement, ...)
88th in 182 – In human development (according to the UN)
123rd – In healthcare
219th in 229 – In inflation rate (below Afghanistan! And just above Zimbabwe, Burma, Venezuela, New Guinea, Iraq and Congo)
80th in 82 – In foreign investment attraction (according to 'The Economist' ) with countries like Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Kenya, above Iran
101st in 120 – In women claiming high ranking offices, law-making & positions of power
144th – In world trade and economy
186th – In the speed of the internet (which is usually brought down to zero as we get near a date for demonstrations)
3rd – Rial among "The lowest valued currencies in the world"
2nd – In importer of natural gas , while possessing the world’s 2nd biggest reserves in natural gas!
· Iran used to be a net exporter of rice; now it is a net importer. In the first five months of the current Persian calendar year, rice imports came to 654 metric tons, or $542 million worth. That is a whopping 311% increase over the corresponding period the previous year.
· Iran's production of sugar cane has dropped from 1.2 tons in 2006 to 0.5 tons at present. This came after the tariffs on sugar imports were reduced to zero.
· In the last Persian calendar year (March 20, 2008 to March 21, 2009), tariffs on imported cotton were eliminated, pushing hundreds of thousands of farmers to the edge of or into bankruptcy.
· While Iranian fruits have long been renowned for their quality and flavor, we are now seeing a huge surge in imported fruits. In 2008, 839 tons of fresh and dried fruits were imported from abroad. These included citrus, banana, and apple. Still none of the much-touted price decreases were observed in this market.
So Ahmadinejad will forgive us if we consider this as mere rantings of a belligerent, petty dictator who has absolutely no positive record to rely on and is forced to manufacture stats and make outlandish promises!
A small minded dictator who is not taken seriously by the world powers anymore. And for such a character, with AN’s attributes, not being taken seriously or being ignored is the biggest blow he can suffer.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Now, aside from the matter of how reliable AN’s boasts are, especially on the matter of more than 80% enrichment capability, judging by IR’s incapability to maintain the simplest of technology like airplanes and oil refinery, it is an immense cause of worry for the population of Iran. But the Islamic regime has proven on countless occasions that it cares very little for what happens to the people of Iran and it has a far wider design on the region and the Islamic world, where it is ready to pay the price for its adventurism with Iranian population’s life!
But why the announcement? Khomeini once said “War is the divine blessing” on the impact of Iran-Iraq war, which created enough excuse for a failing economy and political system to hide behind the war and all its ill effects on a country. What’s holding the ultra-fundamentalists like AN and Khamenei from diverting the ire of a people facing severe bankruptcy and poverty towards the western powers by provoking them into yet another tragic war?
A cover for their disastrous mismanagement of the government and economy is plenty of reason for such an evil government. But the icing on the cake could well be the inherent Iranian mentality of coming together and putting personal differences aside in face of any invasion by a foreign force. Thereby taking away the momentum of the freedom movement and the people’s diverted attention enabling them to crack down even more mercilessly (if that is possible) on its antagonists in the country.
This illegitimate regime has been itching for a confrontation with a foreign power ever since the election. Conducting two separate military maneuvers, repeated testing of medium and long range missiles, abducting foreign nationals (3 British sailors, jailing the French tutor, imprisoning the 3 American tourists for more than 200 days) and using the most incendiary and provocative language like blocking the strait of Hormuz all point to this perverted desire of the regime to manufacture a conflict.
Indeed a war would be a divine blessing for this blood thirsty regime. The most crucial issue is if the international community is wise enough to not take the bait.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
They continued by calling the Islamic regime having “irresponsible and senseless nuclear ambitions," and invited the world to stand behind the opposition green movement, "They deserve nothing less," the open letter ends. The ad was paid for by the human rights foundation of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.
Several politicians have also made overtures towards supporting the opposition in Iran, like US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates or French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
Many have advocated for further sanctions that are targeting the IRGC, the evil, ever-expanding militaristic arm of the regime that has crept into all levels of government and economy and frankly, THE reason for bankruptcy of Iran’s economy as well as political circus that gained momentum after Ahmadinejad’s election 5 years ago.
We witness more and more world elite hear the voice of freedom in Iran and come to its support. And this ought to be a motivational source for all the known and unknown soldiers of the movement. We have the right on our side and the world has recognized this fact.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Those who supported IRI and IRI's abysmal human rights records and went so far to actually congratulate them on issues including “women’s rights” (?!?!) were:
-- Srilanka (Long record of abuse of human rights and slaughter of Tamilians)
-- Zimbabwe (Widespread reports of systematic and escalating violations of human rights under Mugabe and his party)
-- Sudan (An Alqaeda & terroristic strong-hold)
-- Bolivia (Recipient of millions of dollars from IRI for various infrastructural projects among others, much like pan-handlers)
-- Kuwait (Fear of islamic fundamentalist may have prompted them. fear of retaliation by IRI? In June 2007, Kuwait became among the worst offenders in human trafficking )
-- Vietnam (A country known for restrictions in freedom of speech, press, assembly, as well as child labor, ... etc)
-- China (The biggest violator of human rights in the world)
-- India (An invertebrate and feeble nation in international politics, simply incapable of making any stance on anything whatsoever)
-- Algeria (Another Islamic fundamentalist nation, well known for corruption, restricted in civil liberties and women's rights and religion ...etc)
-- Bahrain (Fear of regional retaliation by IRI?)
-- Venezuela (AN's brother-in-arms and another recipient of vast fortunes from IRI)
-- Lebanon (Muslim brotherhood? Hizbullah's influence on the vote?)
-- Nicaragua (Another crooked, corrupt Central American and supplicant to IRI)
Hardly a set that invokes “respect for law or humanity” in your mind. Some are literally the “who’s who” of the most corrupted, controversial countries or even terroristic activities. Most probably the group that "lends bread to each other" (as we say in Farsi) so when the time comes up to pull their human rights record, they can rely on their unholy alliance. Sort of a "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours".
However, there are two nations that confound me: Japan and Brazil, who just ignored IRI's vast human rights abuses and actually congratulated this brutal regime and at best, were ambiguous on the matter!!! Both Japan's & Brazil's comments were both congratulatory and critical which was neither here nor there. That's just too intriguing to digest.
On the other hand, countries like France, Italy, Austria, Australia, Mexico, Holland, Czech republic, New Zealand, Slovakia, Slovenia, Israel, Romania, Luxemburg, England, Spain, Ireland, Denmark and the United States brought up various human rights abuse issues, illegal imprisonment, torture and rape of prisoners, violation of religious minority rights, ... etc
The whole country is rife with signs of people advertising to sell their kidneys and other body parts for a handful of cash!
Revolution in service of the poor? I think not.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
- Closure of the scant few semi-independent newspapers from weeks ago, thereby making any distribution of information impossible for the reformists and opposition
- Blockage of any form of communication between the regular folks, be it the SMS or email and internet services rendering any attempt in coordination of masses
- Month-long campaign by IRIB inviting people to take part in the charade
- Creating an atmosphere of utter fright & terror with series of executions under charges of “warring against God” that was slapped on everything as simple as shouting slogans in the streets or sending amateur videos of demonstrations!
- Arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of activists and journalists in the run up to this day, in line with their blanket of terror spread over Tehran
- Transforming the city into a large militaristic camps, packed with security forces and para-military militia and basij mercenaries
- Filling the designated areas (for the press coverage) with its own hired crowds and militia from the night before
- Bussing in people from rural and other areas outside Tehran. Many of whom were either forced to participate or lose their jobs, students who were ordered to join in and plenty of others who were handed all sorts of incentives, money included (see photo)
- And the end result is at best, being able to fill up one narrow street leading up to the Azadi square and only sections of the square (Click on the photos for large view)
Please click on the image to see the full, large view. The red lines are drawn along the 100's of buses that brought in the "hired crowd"
- Restricting the already diligently & carefully selected foreign media to only a small section of Azadi square with no permission to venture outside the perimeter
- Limiting the foreign media coverage to only Ahmadinejad’s speech and nothing more, lest any embarrassing scenes are witnessed by the carefully selected journalists
All this proves only one thing, which is the fright of a brutal and unpopular regime that is forced to pay people to come to its functions, is compelled to turn a city into a massive militaristic camp to prevent millions of its opposition from voicing their views. Never before have the Islamic regime been under this pressure to purchase a semblance of popularity.
Victory for the regime, Mr. Khamenei? I say thee nay.
This was only the final thrashings of a drowning man, clutching at any straw to slow his sinking. The futility of the charade has missed them and they are now, even more removed from the reality of the country as before.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
But jokes aside, today’s pictures and clips taken by the regular people clearly prove there was another side to all the events of 22 Bahman and once again shed light on IRIB’s (Iran’s state-run TV) blatant lies and manufactured portrayal and sound bites.
I don’t want to delve too much on the regime’s expected tactics of bussing in people from all over the country, resorting to bribe them and pay for their meals and many other rewards, just so they come to Tehran and spend a few hours as guests of the state and carry large banners and signs. It was also reported that almost half of the crowd inside the cordoned-off zone near the square were the green movement activists who were unfortunately misled on the routes and ended up in the middle of the security thugs and plain clothed basiji mercenaries.
But I must commend the opposition forces who did make their presence felt in the area around Azadi square as well as many more zones in Tehran. Not to mention various other cities in Iran. These brave souls knew what was at stake – their very lives, as the regime had been banging on their war drums and threatening everyone with prompt execution on the flimsiest of charges like shouting slogans against the gov’t, or sending pictures, video clips or information on the demonstrations to the outside world!
They braved bodily harm, possible arrest and subsequent torture and perhaps execution and still put the good of the country above their own safety. They effectively showed the fascistic regime’s murderous behavior and intimidation didn’t affect their resolve. I stand in awe of one and all of these brave soldiers of freedom.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
On the eve of the 31st anniversary of the 1979 revolution, the Iran that was dreamed and fought for by that generation has never been materialized. After 31 years, the country is in far worse shape, the people in direst of situations and the image of Iran and Iranians in stark contrast to what a nation, any nation would want it to be.
What was it that we demanded back in ‘79? One major slogan that often reverberated off the streets, back in 1980 or so was “esteghlal, Azadi, Johuriyeh Islami” meaning “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic”. But have we achieved any of these elements?
We are in a place that our government bends backwards to please the scant few supporters it has, like Russia and China, in the hope of blocking any legislation against it in the UN Security Council. These willful concessions have led to surrendering our rights in the Caspian sea, a role in providing natural gas to Europe in the gas deal that now Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are the suppliers, while countries like Turkey (as conduit) are other beneficiaries. This, while Iran holds massive reserves of gas in the region! Let me not start on the Fishing rights in the Caspian region too, since it is as bad a deal as the Gas’.
The flood of Chinese cheap and low quality goods, in to the country has effectively crippled many sectors in the indigenous industry that we see more and more factories shut down due to bankruptcy or inability to compete with the rock bottom prices of imported goods from China. To my horror, the recent released numbers on the amount of trade between China and Iran, has surpassed that of the whole of Europe. China, now, has about $36.5 billion, overtaking Europe’s $31 billion. No wonder no matter how heinous the crime of oppression of Iranians, how brutal the crack-down, the Chinese will not accept the world’s opinion on the need to reign the Islamic government in!
I don’t think there’s any doubt on the level of repression and lack of freedom in today’s Iran, as there has been tomes written on the matter. From an era where Iranians had almost everything they desired except political freedom, to a time that they have next to nothing including political freedom.
I believe it is the general consensus that the Islamic republic under the overseeing eyes of the supreme leader (Vali-e Faghih) who has the final say in all important matters, to the point of overruling the supposedly elected government, can by no stretch of imagination be considered or even mistaken with a “republic”. In a country where those who have the most power and leverage on running the nation are not elected, using the term “republic” is just a tragic joke, aimed at offending a sane man’s sensibilities.
This is not Islam. This is the most frequent statement repeated by many Islamic scholars and clergy, who are not under the payroll of the supreme leader or the government. From the oppression of citizens, to abuse of women’s rights, to treatment of minorities, to rape and torture of prisoners, willful spread of drug usage and prostitution, and to each and every aspect of life in Iran, is a contradiction to the dictates of Islam and Quran.
So we have failed to achieve the most basic and most important slogan/reasons we revolted against Shah. So much that we see hordes of past revolutionaries now have made a 180 degree about face and praise the very Shah they helped depose!
So what have we achieved?
Economically, in a glance;
- Inflation in excess of 30%
- More than 50% of the population under the poverty line
- A weak and ailing indigenous industry
- Devalued Rial (on the verge of extinction) from the rate of 70 Rials to 1000+ Rials per US Dollar!!
- Losing the chance to make the island of Keesh what Dubai is today, a financial and leisure focal point for the whole region as Keesh was planned to become
- Conceding countless rights to various neighboring nations, from Russia, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in various gas deals as well as fishing rights, to losing even in the southern border as Qatar, sharing a large gas reserve with Iran has been extracting gas and making ridiculous profit off it while we are barred from making use of the field due to sanctions!
But when we have government officials whose appointment is based on their allegiance to the leader or regime, rather than their capabilities & expertise in the field, it is natural to witness such devastation in economy and financial ruin of a once prosperous nation.
Socially and Politically;
- Becoming the world biggest prison for journalists and independent thinkers
- Numerous under-age executions, stoning of women and other inhuman and barbaric acts
- Conducting at least 138 terroristic assassinations outside our borders
- Suffering horridly high number of airplane accidents, simply due to our inability or unwillingness to be a peaceful part of world community, which has denied us the ability to maintain the fleet. Not to mention in our zeal to please the Russians in off-loading their defunct and decrepit Topulev planes that even the Russians have discarded!
- Becoming the regions pariah and often ridiculed nation from the era that we were respected and were the envy of the whole of middle east
- More and more people losing their faith in their religion and turning away from it
- A middle class that dances on the edge of poverty, from a middle class that used to vacation in Europe or the States mere 30+ years back
- Filling the pockets of various terroristic groups like Hamaas and Hizbullah and countless unknown others in Syria, Palestine, Yemen and ..., while among our own people we have those who go to sleep hungry, those who, due to abject poverty, force their children to beg on the streets or resort to much more unmentionable deeds!
There is indeed truth to the saying; "The Iranian government is like an evil step-mother to its own people, and a loving mother to all other muslims in other nations"
But one positive we have achieved amidst all the negative is the need for separation of religion from government. This, I believe, is the biggest and most valid fruit of the past 31 years.
31 years later and we are still in pursuit of independence, freedom and a government that is elected by the people and for the people.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
6 million cases in a country of about 70 million!
Nowhere in the world would one come across such a division between a government and its people. Even the ultra regimented Chinese government cant fathom nearing such numbers. This only goes to show how unpopular the system and the ruling class has been among the people of Iran.
An interesting aspect of the recent arrests and imprisonments is the time they are carried out, which is usually between midnight and early hours of mornings. This supports the belief that this method is chosen to inflict as much terror and shock on the opposition activists and their families as possible, as inhuman as it is!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Prior to the recent elections, it was Ahmadinejad’s usual rhetoric on the Jewish state, Israel and his stock inane remarks like “wiping it off the map” that created a black hole for the world media, sucking all eyes and ears, even the most experienced and respected journalists’ that illegal closure of independent papers, persecution of any voice of dissent, and general absence of freedom is totally forgotten from everyone’s mind! Larry King’s abysmal interview with Ahamdinejad was just too painful to watch as Mr. King struggled to come to terms with blatant lies uttered while AN looked directly into the camera or at Larry.
Post election events were no exception as the regime incessantly pushed the “nuclear issue” to the fore every time we got near a significant date for the anti-government demonstrations. Be it agreeing to a proposals offered by the west, or suddenly reversing an agreement on Uranium exchange or … . Each occasion coincides with a major date that the green movement adopts for voicing their dissent. And without fail, the world’s attention is diverted to IRI’s childish tantrums, while men and women, young and old are beaten by batons remorselessly and gunned down by the revolutionary guards, basij and other “imported” mercenaries!
Now, as we approach the 22 Bahman and arguably the biggest occasion for both sides to make their case, we see the Islamic regime suddenly make another 180 degree about face and agree with the Uranium exchange proposal! And true to form, most of the attention is converged on this, despite the fact that IRI has come up with absolutely nothing new to the table. … well, except the usual buying time.
And I stand unfazed as I witness the world media behave like utter novices and simpletons, easily tricked by IRI’s cheap sleight of hand.
This obviously smacks of the tried and tested tactic of the regime in distraction and aversion of the world attention from the horrid crimes and oppression that is carried out in Iran against its own people. The timing of this turn-around is quite interesting as we move closer to the 22 Bahman, the anniversary of the 1979 revolt, and all the excitement with regards to the opposition’s chance to show the world their refusal to die or bow down to the regime’s ruthless, fascistic acts of arrests, imprisonment, and even baseless execution of any who merely demanded basic freedoms.
So I suppose Mottaki may have had other ideas, but it is evident that the west is losing patience with IRI’s delay tactics and pressed the foreign minister on the regime’s aggression towards its people and the illegal executions by members of the audience as well as other European dignitaries like the Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt. I take this as a positive sign that finally the world has woken up to such methods and are involving the more effective issues of human rights abuse in their dealings with the Islamic regime.
Friday, February 5, 2010
It is believed that at least 47 independent journalists have been imprisoned for their free-thinking views and articles in the post election period. Even the Chinese government has not been able to get near Iran's fascistic methods, with a paltry tally of 24 only (almost half of Iran's) ... And that is for a population of 1.3+ Billion!! Many of the Iranian journalists have not been charged and those who have been charged, are accused of all kinds of ambiguous interpretations of crime!
Its absolute fright of the impending events in 22 Bahman is very much apparent as it has gathered its momentum in arresting and imprisoning any and all independent voices that speak of secularity, freedom, independence and human rights.
Speaking of human rights, I must add the United Nations and other human rights agencies continue to remind us how impotent and incompetent they have been, when it comes to such situations!!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
1- We know there will be many foreign news agencies invited for the iri's charade for the 22 Bahman.
2- We know the regime will try to cordon off some areas to keep away the anti-gov’t masses and keep a highly doctored and sanitized area for their thugs and bought tools to show some semblance of mass support for the world media.
I doubt the foreign press would be allowed to venture outside the cordoned areas. But when we PREEMPT (key issue) the regime and PREPARE the world media, then in the end reports a more true picture will be painted. What we can do in the RUN UP to this date is inform the world media of iri tactics of buying people and limiting the coverage to their meager crowds, with news, articles, evidence in pictures, videos, ... of their usual tactic. Thus, the truth can be reflected in the world coverage of the events, aware of a much larger segment of population that has been kept away.
If we dont do this, I am sure with regime's charade, the world will be denied of the truth and fooled into thinking the movement is quelled and/or the supporters of iri are numerous. On previous protests, we have been REACTIONARY. We have always come in LATE and tried to "correct the skewed view" of the world media by spreading the videos and news ... (often a couple of days late) to dispel iri's propaganda and doctored picture.
Let us be PRO-ACTIVE this time and take the upper hand.
Let us be a step AHEAD of the game and PREPARE the world opinion.
Here is a very useful list of the prestigious world press and media contact that can be used in this line;
This is not the first time we hear the Italians make a stand by the side of the people of Iran and their quest for freedom. Aside from the Italian government, the people of Italy also have been extremely supportive and active in voicing their alignment with the green movement, be it in their cultural events or political activities. In fact in the past 7 months there has not been any nation who have been more vocal and active in their support of our struggle than Italy. From their film festivals and their luminaries wearing green shawls and wristbands to the man on the streets in joining the Iranian expats in rallies and demonstrations against the Islamic regime's barbaric brutality against its own people.
To all the Italian brethren who have stood by us so far, we salute you.
Monday, February 1, 2010
This is the name of the thug who resorted to abuse to counter the chants of the greens: