Sunday, December 4, 2011

The government wants everyone to know they were caught off guard by the attack to the British embassy, and the incident was not orchestrated by any factions within the regime. That  their security forces were "overwhelmed" and just couldnt handle the sheer force of the 250-300 Basiji crowd intent on destruction of property. And yet, there are those pictures all over the net, available of how the same security apparatus "handled" the innocent and unarmed protesters just 2 years ago:

2009 -

And 2011 -

The double standards that was clear to one and all and prompted many jabs at the regime's inability to hide its involvment in the latest fisaco

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Which entity or group gains the most from the attack on the British embassy?

Given the historical precedence of this event (79’s US embassy occupation) and the fact that nearly all those students who participated in that event have expressed their regret and admitted the costly price Iran has paid for their thoughtless act (many of whom are now in the prisons of this regime, under pressure), nothing good ever comes out of such acts for the country and its people. So who would be the ultimate winner of this political fiasco?

Aside from the war-mongers in the west who will definitely use this to step up their lobby for war with Iran, Internally, I believe it is the IRGC (the repressive Revolutionary Guard Corp), even far more than the paranoid supreme leader or the ultra conservatives, who will benefit from this mess. With more isolation of Iran, IRGC’s hands would be even deeper in matters like smuggling of goods, trade deals and contracts. With their hands in nearly every trade agreement with the outside world, as well as the now-proven countless smuggling ports under their control, they would strengthen their monopoly over Iranian markets.

And we must not forget an eventual war would also strengthen the hardliners in the regime as well as serve the goals of IRGC, whose commanders have been provoking and itching for a fight with outlandish daily statements of how they can crush this enemy or cripple that country that only find purchase among the more immature and delusional sects of people. An example of which, below, where Sardar Naghdi of Basij forces boasts about attacking American forces everywhere believing US's inability to respond or retaliate:

Not to mention this attack serves in delivering a significant blow to the Ahmadinejad’s faction who were busy with their foreign relation initiatives, trying to somehow carve a tiny bit of support to wedge open Iran's doors to the rest of the world.

However, the most ridiculous is the reaction and statements of some of the western countries who still have not understood it is impossible to make this regime see sense or be a responsible member of international community. Some of these politicians and officials still hold onto their incredulous and naïve stance that conversation and dialogue with this regime would result in anything near normalcy of relations or behavoral change of the Islamic officials! As if all their efforts in recent years have borne fruit or made any dent to the ruling mullahs’ attitude or belligerence.

They seem quite incapable of comprehending this regime is beyond reform and the only way to achieve peace in the region and prevent a nuclear arms race in this volatile Middle East is to have an Iran that is democratic, run by its people and accountable to its people. With a responsible government in Iran to its people, all these points of contention with the region and the world will automatically be solved. So instead of trying to do the impossible, which is making this theocratic, totalitarian regime see sense, all the world has to do is put its support behind the democratic opposition groups.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

History repeats itself ... unfortunately

This was like history unfolding itself right in front of our eyes. A group of Basiji thugs and hooligans, under the guise of “university students” attacked and swarmed the British embassy in Tehran in response to Britain’s talk of sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank as a part of their comprehensive effort to rein in the regime’s pursuit of nuclear bomb.

Let me start with the fact that usually almost none of these people are ‘students’ (defined as individuals in pursuit of science and knowledge in an institute of higher learning). These are the militia and pressure groups routinely used by the regime and factions within the regime (mostly on the side of Khamenei and ultra-conservative mullahs) as their fascistic arm to do the jobs that cant be done legally or under the umbrella of law. Even if some of these individuals possess a University Id, they are those who have been strategically ‘placed’ in the institutes to monitor and spy and if needed, be the insiders for the regime to ‘handle’ genuine students’ movements from within. Therefore labeling these purchased hooligans ‘students’ is the regime’s way of discrediting the real students and student movements.

It came as no surprise when one of the first photos that came out of this event showed a well known IRGC commander - Qods Force division, a certain Karim Jalali who was immediately identified by the Iranian activists and exposed here.

The second matter of note is to address the ambiguity of the foreign press who, as usual, are muddled and still naïve enough to not have understood the mechanics of politics in Iran. Someone with a little more time invested in Iranian politics would easily spot the factions behind this (no matter how desperately these ‘students’ want to claim they are not connected to any political faction). Khamenei and the ultra-conservatives and the ruthless IRGC stand to gain the most from this as this method of Political-Suicide suits their agenda of isolating Iran even more as well as Khamenei’s inherent paranoia of everything and everyone especially the threat of improving the relationships with the west. So despite the insistence by the networks and pundits, this move has been well planned, orchestrated and supported by the supreme leader’s gang.

And if there was any need for more proof, we have the security forces who were in charge of protecting the sovereignty of embassies merely stood aside and became bystanders as the small horde of Basiji militia attacked and invaded the embassy. The same security forces who showed extreme brutality and barbarism in their methods of dealing with un-armed innocent Iranian protesters on the streets  during the disputed elections demonstrations, were overwhelmed and incapacitated by a gang of 250-300 ‘students’? Really?

After a while and much damage to the compound, the security forces managed to expel most of the attackers (regime’s media relations must have been very active) only to be ‘over-powered’ once more and this time there was talk of taking 6 people as hostage. Although the news on this hostage taking has been confirmed and denied, which leaves it an ambiguous matter to be resolved later. The report of the 6 hostages was seen in the state agencies, but were immediately removed, most probably by higher order as there must have been some frantic political haggling and arm wrestling between the conservatives and Ahmadinejad’s group.

On the international front this bode very badly for Iran as well as the regime. The European Union was the first to condemn this act with promise of further and harsher response against Iran. Did the regime strategists even consider the ramifications of such a move and their relationship to Europe where they have extensive trade deals with?

You know Iran was in real trouble when their usual staunch allies and partners-in-crime, Russia and even China (the unscrupulous government that usually turns a blind eye to nearly any atrocity and crime as long as there is some profit, direct or indirect, for them) condemned this act. This also plays right into the hands of the neo-cons and the war-mongers who have been banging their war drums lately, but with this, the drums will be much lauder than usual.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The latest explosive disclosure and war of words on the regime's or at least a faction of the regime's hand in assassination of the Saudi ambassador and bombing of a restaurant in Washignton DC resulting in a change to more aggressive stance of Obama towards Iran and the possibility of tougher UN snactions and even a referral to the Security Council seem to coincide with another key development in the region. And that is formation of both Libyan and Syrian National Councils who pose and offer alternatives to the world for the ruthless, brutal governments of those countries. Could an IRANIAN National Council be in the offing, which could gather momentum with the new US and UN stances?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ahmadinejad's New York trip a total failure on all fronts

Unlike the last few years, Ahmadinejad's annual visit to New York lacked the fan-fare and publicity blitz his aids used to whip up in and among the US media. A major reason for this could be that even the slow US media has finally realized the true source of power does not lie in the presidency, but the leadership. And with the recent clashes, some public and some not so public, between the leadership or Khamenei's factions and Ahmadinejad's group, his position has shown to be of a weakened, lame-duck president who is merely flailing about and trying to simply matter. So his primary and most precious objective of being in the lime-light of the world media was taken away from him.

The release of Shane Bauer and Joss Fattal from Iranian prisons, as expected many months ago coincided with his visit. Perhaps to paint a more humane and peace-loving picture of him. But even that fell on its face. As if keeping the poor innocent Americans for this many years imprisoned in Iran was simply a little misunderstanding that the regime expected people to forget and forgive. But soon after their release, both Fattal and Bauer released statements relating their horrifying experiences inside the prison, how in their cells they heard the pleas and cries of Iranians being tortured and how irrational was the regime's baseless claims for their capture. Any hope of gaining some world sympathy among those with minimal intellect evaporated with this statement.

And to make this issue even more ridiculous is the judiciary's final findings and rule which found the three Americans to be "spies". A charge that carries the most severe punishments in most countries, let alone in this regime. So this charade of conducting a court and charges against the Americans made their release, of course after accepting a $1.5 Million "bail" from Oman on behalf of the United States, a hilariously pathetic display on the part of the judiciary and the whole regime. If they were "spies" how on earth do they get bail and are allowed to travel outside the country? And if they were innocent that justified their release, why were they imprisoned for nearly three years and where is the explanation for this?

And as if all this mess was not enough for Ahmadinejad, he had to cancel a few dinners and a couple of pre-arranged meets with students and universities due to the mounting pressure of the Human Rights activists in New York. Well, he also had to talk to a lot of empty chairs during his speech in the UN. But seeing that every year he is greeted with a 90% empty hall, I'm assuming that didnt really shock him.
During the visit he seems to have indicated his willingness to a more constructive dialogue and line of contact with the US administration and authorities on various fronts. A move that saw immediate and harsh reprisal from both Khamenei and the IRGC in Iran that simply dismissed this as foolish and unlikely. This only underlined the fact that his authority and word carries very little within the system anymore.

Bringing along an entourage of a 100 people, mostly comprising of his family and their extended families, his aids and some cabinet members, their families and basically multiple dozens of people who had no business to be there in the first place, was reflected in the Iranian media and many questioned why he had to take the extended families of people whose duties and job descriptions had no relation to a president's UN speech. Some speculate he brought along people like Mashaei and Baghaei, both of whom were targeted by the conservatives and had been on the receiving end of months of accusations and attacks. Perhaps Ahmadinejad was afraid his close aids (Mashaei, Baghaei and Rahimi) would have been arrested had he left them in Tehran.

This only reinvigorated those members of parliament who were seeking his impeachment vote. An impending impeachment that still hangs over his head. It has not occurred yet only because the leader, Khamenei, sees his over-exuberant endorsement of Ahmadinejad soon after the elections may eventually see many fingers pointed at him and his inability to choose correctly. But all these have not been kept away from the world media. Perhaps another reason he wasn’t well received as before.

Thus was the latest nightmare of a visit by Ahmadinejad to his beloved United States and New York. He and his group may not let on, but they have taken quite a serious beating in recent months and this visit not only didn’t help, but made matters even worse back at home. 2 years left of his tenure and he has turned into a true lame-duck.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gaddafi's fort about to crumble

This was the picture Mere months ago with the four happy dictators enoying their last few happy moments, unbeknownst to them.
(Tunisia's Bin-Ali, Yemen's Ali saleh, Libya's Gaddafi and Egypt's Mobarak)

Tonight dictators like Syria’s Bashar Al-Asad and Iran’s Ali Khamenei will rest their heads that much more uneasy on the pillow, sleep will come to them a bit later and will have that much more to worry about their upcoming fate.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Russia shifts her stance on Iran … yet again!

Following the meeting between Iran’s foreign minister, Salehi and the Russian security council secretary, Patrushev on August 16th, the Russians disclosed their plan to re-introduce the talks on Iran’s nuclear energy program with the P5+1 in their upcoming meeting. The plan of step by step resolution to the conundrum was proposed by the Russian foreign secretary, Lavrov, last year and is to be looked at once again.

Knowing the behavior of the regime in Tehran, and their utter desperation to find some relief on any of the fronts (external and internal) at this point of time, one can only guess the amount and nature of concessions they have offered the Russians to pursue this futile matter once more. Could it be that on their necks they feel the breath of a revolution in Syria, their sole ally in the region, that forces them to look for any alleviation of pressure? Could it be their dire domestic squabbles among their conservative factions that have been slowly spinning out of control? Could it be the ever increasing pressures exerted from international sanctions that have played havoc with the economy, banking, finance and even foreign relations (reports of pending and blocked payments by India, South Korea and even China and Iran’s inability to effect these transactions due to the banking sanctions imposed)? The question of wholesale concessions to Russia only arises from the fact that until a few months ago, the relations between Tehran and Kremlin was at a recent low and quite cold with Russia’s refusal to deliver the S-300 missile defense system to Tehran and a few supportive nods to the United States’ moves to tighten the pressure on Tehran. The very same Russia who has yet to complete Bushehr’s nuclear plant and solve the problems it has been facing, having taken extraordinary number of years to finish the project despite Tehran’s urging.

Whatever the reason for these concessions, the regime, irrational and desperate, is clearly groping for any refuge or island of relative positivity in a stormy sea. Does that mean they will accede and accept the conditions put forth in the upcoming talks and show leniency in their stance on the nuclear issue? It would be futile to hold one’s breathe as they have shown their belligerence in dealing with this issue if their previous brinksmanship is anything to go by.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Expansion of power and influence by IRGC continues

Rostam Ghasemi, an IRGC commander (already under international sanctions for his involvement in clandestine acts with regards to the nuclear energy) has been proposed to take over the helm at the crucial Oil Ministry, and by default, the head of OPEC, by none other than Ahmadinejad. He is the head of Khatam-ol-anbiah (a significant industrial and financial arm of IRGC) and has been a party in many oil and gas contracts won by IRGC. Although he does not yet have the mandate of Majlis and the members of the parliament have to accept his candidacy.

Being included in sanctions may restrict much of his movement outside of Iran to perhaps very few countries, which may prove to be a hindrance when considering the duties of the head of OPEC.

Is this Ahmadinejad’s way of once again cozying up to the IRGC and in a way bribing them to garner their support in the bigger power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei? How will this play in the coming months? Will the guards or at least a portion of it abandon Khamenei and side with Ahmadinejad/Mashaei faction?

Or could this be an act of appeasement by Ahmadinejad towards the supreme leader to alleviate the tensions between the two sides? Especially at a time of turmoil when the internal squabbles and struggles have aided the opposition.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Yesterday, a monumental event occurred which bears great impact on the region as well as the possible future of Iran. The United States joined by 30 other nations moved to recognize the Lybian opposition groups as the legitimate government representing the people of Libya.

This, effectively rules out any claims Moamar Gaddafi may make on continuing as the Libyan president. This is yet another step, even if it has come after a long while and has come in painfully gradual manner, in the right direction and in service of the cause of human rights and preserving the peoples' dignity and will.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ICC issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi

The international criminal court in Hague, today, issued the arrest warrant for Mo’amar Gaddafi, his son and a few other Libyan officials. This means Gaddafi’s option of seeking sanctuary in another country is, by law and on paper, taken out of the equation as he will be arrested the moment he sets foot outside his secure circle in Tripoli.

The question is how will this be implemented? How can various countries be forced to follow this ruling? Sudan’s tyrant, Omar Al Bashir, also has been on the similar arrest warrant by the ICC, for crimes against humanity. However, the effectiveness of such warrants has come under question when we see the very same Sudanese tyrant attending the ridiculous “conference on terrorism” in Tehran (oh, the irony!) and he is scheduled to visit yet another country known for its abuse of human rights, China.

The Chinese officials, however, wave any inquiry away, merely commenting: “China is not a signatory to the ICC, so is not legally obliged to turn Bashir over”. It comes as no surprise such criminals find allies and sympathizers only in similar states where the government is well known for its infringements and crimes against humanity; the Islamic regime of Iran and China.

Therefore it will be of interest to see how the international community will react and impose the will of the ICC. Or will ICC be shown as just another impotent and increasingly weakening international body like the United Nations, when it comes to the real issues that the people of nations (as opposed to the governments) face.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prisoners' hunger strike rakes in support

Prominent opposition activists and figures, including the Noble Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, extend their support for the 12 political prisoners who have resorted to hunger strike in their bid to be heard by the authorities, following the latest tragedy, the death of a well known activist and journalist, Hoda Saber. The latest in a long line of despicable treatment of political prisoners and those who think differently from the ruling theocrats.

The brave prisoners:

Shirin Ebadi, lawyer, former judge and human rights activist, winner of Nobel Peace Prize

Maziyar Bahari, journalist, Newsweek correspondent

Mojtaba Vahedi, Journalist and Mehdi Karoubi's deputy

Prof. Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

RASA TV's coverage of the hunger strike:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Numbers tell a tall tale

According to the Human Rights statistics released recently:

0: number of UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights issues permitted to visit Iran in last 2 years.

1st: Iran is the first and largest prison of journalists in the world, according to Reporters without Borders.

19: Arash Rahmanipour’s age, when executed in January 2010 after appearing in a show/mass trial. According to Amnesty International, his sentence was flawed for several reasons including concerns about his motivation for confessing against himself in a public trial.

20: number of years filmmaker Jafar Panahi was banned from making films, on 20 December 2010. He was also given a 6-year prison sentence, and is currently on bail.

25: number of people executed in public (at least) since the beginning of 2011 in Iran, according to Iran Human Rights (.net) list and an Amnesty International report in April.

27: is the article in the Islamic Republic constitution, referring to freedom of peaceful assembly and gathering; however this right has been severely restricted in Iran throughout the past couple of years.

34.5: is the total number of years of imprisonment that the two bloggers Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Hossein Derakhshan have been sentenced to (15 yrs and 19.5 yrs respectively).

116: Number of days that the leaders of the opposition, Mousavi and Karroubi have been placed under house arrest without trial or arrest warrant (up until Sunday 12 June, according to Iran Green Voice counter)

120: Number of days (at least) that Ahmad Zeidabadi, journalist, spent in a solitary confinement. He later described his solitary confinement to his wife as like a grave (a small room of 1.5x1 meters with no ventilation) according to Radio Free Europe (Farda).

150: the number of Iranian Journalists (at least) who have fled Iran and sought asylum in other countries in the past couple of years according to Reporters without Borders.

158th: Iran’s ranking (tied with Libya) in the Index of Democracy, out of 169 countries in 2010. Iran dropped 11 steps in the ranking since the 2009 election, according to Economist Intelligence Unit (from Wikipedia).

271: Number of Prisoners of Conscience in Iranian prisons (at least) including journalists, human rights defenders, union activists, dissident politicians, women rights activists, poets and authors, religious and ethnic minorities, religious converts, student activists, etc. (According to the list of Free My Family Campaign)

682: number of people executed in 2010 in Iran according to UK Human Rights Report 2010, based on credible reports. More than all other countries put together in 2010, with the exception of China.

1,000,000: 1,000,000 signatures is the name of the biggest women’s rights movement in Iran, several of whose activists have either been forced to flee Iran or have been imprisoned over the past couple of years; despite all this the movement is still going on.

(Courtesy of ukiniran website - British Embassy in Tehran)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Former Maldives foreign minister is UN's investogator to Iran

Maldives former foreign minster, Mr. Ahmad Shaheeb has been appointed as United Nation’s Human Rights Commission representative and investogator to Iran. It is a wise decision as he is first and foremost a muslim, which will automatically deny the Iranian government their usual excuse of “westerners” being unfamiliar and opposing eastern and Islamic values.

On earlier occasions, the Iranian officials had brought up plethora of excuses for their non-compliance with these representatives, whose mostly western origin was exploited. Therefore, in a preemptive act by the Iranian human rights activists, proposing a muslim male who is an easterner is nothing short of a coup.

And what is a promising turn of events is that he is authorized to gather information and present the case whether he is permitted to enter the country or not, through families, relatives and friends’ accounts of those who have been victims of human rights abuse by the regime. So the crimes and atrocities of Khamenei’s regime will be documented irrespective of compliance by the government and there is no way that this can be stopped.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Youtube and Facebook revolution

These days we hear a lot about the events in Syria with the people’s uprising and Syria’s and Lybia’s news fill the air with every broadcast agency covering all aspects of the peoples’ struggle. Very similar to the Egypt uprising with 24 hour coverage by some news agencies like Al-Jazeera. This 24 hour coverage helps the people’s cause tremendously as it keeps the focus on the issue, therefore forces the international community to take action. Something that was missing when Iran and Iranians went through the same motions 2 years back during the election fraud.

However, the dissimilarities don’t stop there. These days we hear a lot about Syria introducing the “Youtube revolution”. Much like when we heard the “Facebook revolution” during the Egyptian revolt. Really? Surely the western news agencies can remember 2 years prior to these events when Iranians introduced the use of social media, particularly the Facebook and Twitter in service of spreading information, coordination of groups and informing of the occurrences when the Iranian government severely restricted the coverage of the events and banned any foreign media to be present and bring the voice of our people to the rest of the world. It was the very same Iranian, back in June 2009 when they made use of Youtube to relay clips recorded by their personal cell phones of the atrocities and crimes of the Iranian security forces and Basij militia.

Yes, the only difference is the amount of attention the western and international media is giving to the Syrian and Egyptian and other revolts because there are foreign media on the ground covering news as they happen. But surely they can be fair and acknowledge the true introduction of Youtube or Facebook revolutions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yesterday saw a show of defiance by the people, despite the regime’s efforts at decapitating the opposition through various nefarious means, starting with imprisoning the prominent figures of the opposition, Karoubi and Mousavi along with their family, to closing all the opposition newspapers and websites and pretty much every route for spread of information, to intimidation, imprisonment, torture, and murder of the activists, journalists and even ordinary folk who dared make a stand against the ruling theocracy.

There is absolutely no way to measure the numbers as this was supposed to have been a silent protest. But given the regime’s frightened tactics of flooding the streets with thugs and security forces, while other basiji thugs on motorcycle roaming the streets shouting and screaming at people, only shows the depth of its fear of the opposition. According to the NBC reports there were tens of thousands gathered in several venues, among which Vanak Square and ValiAssr Circle saw more action. There were reports of several arrests by the security apparatus, the numbers of which we don’t know yet and given the regime’s track record, may never know.

The video evidence may take a few days to leak out of Iran due to the govt’s strict control of the internet and its band width. Not to mention hacking of people’s personal accounts and emails by the hired goons (including some Chinese and Russians hackers) calling themselves “Iranian Cyber Army” makes dispatch of information and video clips more difficult and dangerous. But what can be understood in all this is that the people showed their defiance despite 2 years of constant life threatening measures taken by the regime. That, by itself, ought to demonstrate the level of antagonism prevailing among the people against this tyrannical regime.

Meanwhile, some of the opposition figureheads have announced the following demonstrations and protests will not be as silent. So while the government lackeys desperately tried to sell the idea that the opposition is dead, it showed it is still thriving, albeit underground, and will make its presence known in more ways than only hitting the streets.

Elsewhere, Hoda saber, an imprisoned journalist, on 8th day of his hunger strike, passed away. He was reported to have been beaten and injured by plain-clothed intelligence ministry personnel and his cries of help were heard by others in the hospital.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

On the eve of the anniversary of the stolen 2009 elections

There have been calls for a peaceful, silent demonstration throughout the country, especially Tehran. Given the recent events within Iran and in the Middle East, it is expected that the authorities will bring in their security apparatus in full force to quell any dissent or outward display of opposition. Therefore, I believe inviting the people to a silent demonstration is a wise move.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama delivers another sharp warning to Assad

President Obama, in his speech today ( May 19th 2011) sharply delivers an ultimatum to Bahsar Al-Assad while recognizing Tehran’s regime’s hand in the Syrian government’s crack-down and repression of its opponents. He expressly told Al-Assad to “lead the transition (to democracy) or get out of the way”. And at the same time hails the Iranian opposition as the catalyst for the peaceful demonstrations of the people of the middle east and north Africa region.

Some excerpts of the speech:

The Syrian people have shown their courage in demanding a transition to democracy. President Assad now has a choice: he can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests; release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests; allow human rights monitors to have access to cities like Dara’a; and start a serious dialogue to advance a democratic transition. Otherwise, President Assad and his regime will continue to be challenged from within and isolated abroad

Thus far, Syria has followed its Iranian ally, seeking assistance from Tehran in the tactics of suppression. This speaks to the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime, which says it stand for the rights of protesters abroad, yet suppresses its people at home. Let us remember that the first peaceful protests were in the streets of Tehran, where the government brutalized women and men, and threw innocent people into jail. We still hear the chants echo from the rooftops of Tehran. The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory. And we will continue to insist that the Iranian people deserve their universal rights, and a government that does not smother their aspirations.

At the same time, he does not spare the US allies (Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and other states) while sugar coating his words of warning and demands for reform.

I presume this was a reply to many people’s remarks on the duality of US policy towards certain middle eastern countries and allies. Perhaps this is indeed a reset button for the US policy in the region. Although with the upcoming re-election year one may wonder exactly how much of the future events of the region would weigh on his administration’s mind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dorothy Parvaz recounts her experience in Syrian and Iran's prisons

Dorothy Parvaz is finally released from Iranian & Syrian prisons.

Obama trains his sight on Bahsar Al-Assad and Syria

Today, following the brutal crack-down of the Syrian population, the United States under executive orders of president Obama imposed sanctions on Bashar Al-Assad and a host of other top ranking Syrian officials on charges of human rights abuses, for the first time and expecting the European Union follows this move as well. Russia's resistence and opposition to the sanctions, of course, was well expected as per their track record of support of petty dictators in the region.

So far the announcement of these sanctions appears to move according to the expected play book. However how long and to what extent the west is willing to pursue this line before they step it up to more incisive measures is anyone’s guess. But the situation will be definitely followed very closely by one and all, especially the tyrants in Iran.

However, amidst all these events, it is very curious how the other Arab nations have kept quiet and have not uettered a word in objection to the Syrian violence against its own citizens.

On a side note, one may be forgiven to question the motives of the west for the duality of their approach towards, frankly, two similar situations of despotic tyrants resorting to extreme violence and murder against their own citizens. On the one hand, in Lybia, the west quickly moves to the more proactive phase of 'no fly zone' and then to bombardment and direct attacks on Lybian troops (including attempts on taking out the Lybian ruler, Gaddafi) and on the other hand, we see a more reticent and patient attitude is adopted in case of Assad and Syria. Could it be the presence of oil in Lybia which prompts the west to take thier more aggressive role, as opposed to Syria's lack of oil?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gaddafi is charged by ICC. When will Khamenei and Ahmadinejad be served theirs?

May 16th 2001 - Finally the International Criminal Court (ICC) takes a stand and recognizes Moamar Gaddafi culpable and guilty of crimes against humanity … albeit the symbolic nature of this announcement. This can only mean mounting pressure on the Lybian dictator from other International communities and countries in the days to come. Justice shall be done.

This is a momentous occasion for Iranians as well, when we consider this may be an opening for those who seek the same justice with the despotic ruling class of this regime. This court ruling will hopefully pave the way to see other tyrannical rulers like Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with their vicious minions who have had direct and indirect hand in torture and murder of innocent Iranians throughout the wretched history of this Islamic regime. People such as Mesbah Yazdi, Naghdi, Jaffari, Araghi, Ta'eb, Raadan, Mortazavi, Khatami, Jannati, … etc.

After today's announcement I can only wonder what may be going on in the minds of Khamenei and his ilk.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Syria providing a road map to deal with Iran's regime?

Is Syria turning into Iran-lite in terms of oppression and persecution of its opposition masses? Is Syria’s case going to prepare the way for the free world to approach the Islamic regime in Iran? And are we seeing the hands of the IRGC and repressive command of the Islamic republic in Syrian authorities and security apparatus’ dealing with street protests and the growing rebellion – be it through direct participation of personnel at various levels, which is not highly likely or through indirect strategic aping of the brutal IRGC/basiji tactics to clamp down.

Parallels are abound as with each passing day and with escalation of the volatile situation in Syria. From the over the top and brutal handling of the street protests to mass arrests of protesters, to persecution of the families of these prisoners. Even the reprehensible acts of collection and arrest of the wounded from hospitals which was a new low seen done by basij thugs in Tehran and other cities in Iran.

We may not reach any concrete answers at the moment. But what’s apparent is many believe the Islamic regime’s fate is tangled with the fate of Bashar Al-Assad and his government. What is certain is that Assad has learned some very valuable lessons in its neighborhood. From how the Tunisians and Egyptians were able to overturn their governments which must have added to his anxiety and also from two other cases where the rulers and people in power vehemently resisted their people’s will and resorted to animalistic crack down. Khamenei’s and his illegitimate government’s acts may not overtly and on the surface appear in the same level of Gaddafi’s stand in Lybia’s case. But this regime has done far worse behind the walls of prisons and detention centers of its intelligence ministry and revolutionary guards.

Perhaps seeing how Gaddafi and Khamenei/Ahmadinejad are still clinging onto power after resolutely shedding much blood has become Assad’s preferred modus operandi in dealing with the situation at home. Little do these petty dictators know that their day is fast approaching and that no government willing to kill its own citizens will have much to stand on and is surely on its last days.

Perhaps the west, willing to deal with the Syrian situation, can develop a template through which it can apply to the other similar barbaric regime in Iran.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The infamous "cake & sandis" package given by the government to those basijis and poor people as bribe to attend the 22 Bahman rally.

The amounts and the variety of the goods used as bribe is indicative of how weak and unpopular the regime is among its people and to what extents it has to stretch its resources to be able to gather some  20-30  thousand people for its government celebrations!

It also indicates that a large swat of the government's support mass is easily swayed with the slightest bit of favors and would readily drop and change their loyalty in favor of the highest bidder. But the most important conlcusion is that 30 years of constant ideological brain washing through various means, has resulted in very little impact and sway on the true belief and conscience of Iran's population ... that more than 3 decades of effort to transform the population of Iran into a homogenous and ideologically backward identity has failed.

Two dictators down, one more to go

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then, you win.
                      (Mahatma Gandhi)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First they came for ...

Growing antipathy towards the issue of executions

The Islamic regime, in 2011 has stepped up its executions beyond the shameful rates of 2010 (according to an estimate, there has been an execution every 8 hours, which is 3  every day in 2011) and has adopted a different strategy on the matter. By randomly picking different regions and big and small towns to conduct the executions in ones and twos, they have flown under the radar of most human rights groups as well as media. Although the failure of prominent opposition leaders’ reaction towards these executions is a far more worrying concern. Their silence is, in my opinion, tantamount to acceptance or at best, an indifference to this crime against humanity.

But the blame should not stop at the doorstep of the leaders. Most of the activists, bloggers and opposition media have also shown scant interest in pursuing this grave matter. A part of it could be the regime’s insistence on continuing its political executions which may have increased the moral immunity of the population in Iran as well as the expatriates! A stark contrast from the last year’s fervor created on Sakineh Ashtiani’s sentence, that saw a concerted effort on part of various groups to bring the issue to the forefront of international media. A case that was not even a political one! But today, while we see an increased rate and number of executions, we hardly come across any gathering, rally or media blitz!

The regime started its murders initially targeting minorities like Bahais, Kurds and Baluchis under the guise of dealing with “armed opposition” or “conducting velvet revolution” and unfortunately many opposition groups failed to show any foresight to condemn these executions even if they did not share the ideologies or thesis of these minorities. Having seen the abysmal reaction of the opposition and their lack of unity, the regime stepped up and widened its reach and gradually included more groups and sects while on the other hand, the opposition looked more distracted and preoccupied with the high profile distractions like the nuclear ambitions, minor skirmishes between rival factions in the government and Ahmadinejad’s diversionary rhetoric.
The regime by applying tremendous amount of pressure on the families of the political prisoners, force them to remain silent and discourage whipping up the public sentiments. These families are often promised the release of their loved ones in return for their consent and silence. However, majority of these promises go unrealized and the heinous deed is carried out with no reprieve.

The only way to stop this villainy is to show as much interest and attention to this issue as we show to the other talking-points of the day such as the subsidies and nuclear talks. By publicizing the executions, spread of information on the prisoners and their pictures and keeping up the zeal most of us showed a year or so ago. By allowing the regime to get away with mass execution of those who think differently from them, we make way for more horrendous crimes against a wider populace in the near future.

Let us not forget the wise words, that I find quite apt, of Martin Niemoeller who said:

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Iran to import natural gas from Azerbaijan!

I came across an incredulous and extremely shocking news today, discovering Iran, in possession of the second-largest reserves of natural gas in the world has contracted the nation of Azerbaijan, to purchase its natural gas to the tune of 1 billion cubic meter per year!!!

Yes, it is unfortunately true. The country with such tremendous reserves ought to be earning billions of dollars per year from export of its natural gas … and yet, we see, due to amazing levels of incompetence on the part of our officials and use of unqualified experts, coupled with some of the most anti-nationalistic policies in the history of our great nation, we are forced to import natural gas. All the while, our own reserves are being depleted at an alarming rate by Qatar, who shares our massive southern gas reserves!

Is there no bottom to the level of incompetence and mismanagement of this regime?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shahram Amiri's case got more curious

Remember this man who had a difficult time deciding whether he was abducted by American super-spies or he had just plain visited the United States to further his education in a university? And eventually he landed in Iran sticking to the former theory (after much oscillation, of course) and proposing an escape scenario that would befit only the best 007 movie plots, single handedly outsmarting hordes of trained American and Israeli super spies and intelligence agents?

For more details and a recap, click here:

Yes, that fellow. The same person who, on his arrival in Tehran’s airport, was hailed as a true nationalism hero who bested the best of the west. According to some reports he now languishes in a prison in Iran! Having become a pawn in the hands of the fractious regime with one side using him and personalities like him as an instrument to hurt or discredit the other factions of the dictatorial regime. God only can help this poor soul who became a tool for a set of people with utter disregard for truth or humanity.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Did the Stuxnet worm inadvertently prevent a bloody war between Israel and Iran?

Theories are rife on the subject, but one thing is pretty clear that whoever designed and produced the infamous Stuxnet worm may have prevented, or in the least, have postponed a terrible bloody war between Israel and Iran. For close to two years Jerusalem has been issuing warnings as well as threats about Tehran’s nuclear ambitions with growing intensity as talks between the western nations and Iran proved fruitless one after another, with Tehran refusing to heed the warnings and even threats of sanctions and continuously resorting to delaying tactics and diversions that eventually brought naught to the table. The west following their offer of carrots, attempted to wave the sanctions stick at Iran by stepping up their efforts to marginalize Iran with each passing UN resolution and corner the regime officials. It is a different matter that even this move proved to be porous, with Russia and China refusing to play ball until they were given more leniency in dealing with Tehran in terms of trade. But I digress.

Stuxnet was hailed as one of the most sophisticated worms or spyware ever designed which targets certain specific software and its related hardware equipment. Notably, in Iran’s case, its nuclear centrifuges. Reports show an array of A-26 centrifuges, in the Natanz plant, that were installed by 2008 were the ones that were affected by the worm and within a year, nearly half of these centrifuges were rendered useless and stopped functioning. A few months later, another large batch of the centrifuges broke down, which eventually ground the process to a near halt or severely cut into the process.

What is more curios is after this, the then Israeli deputy director of Atomic Energy Commission, Levite, remarked their efforts have caused a significant delay in Iran’s nuclear project. A statement that many believe is directly pointing at the Stuxnet worm introduction. Israel’s resources in terms of software engineering and programming is well known and is believed to be quite extensive. So much that Microsoft estimates the creation of the worm may have taken in excess of 10,000 man hours by expert level software programmers. Another interesting fact is the worm is designed in a way that it would self-destruct eventually after a specific period and it has to be introduced into the system only within that particular time frame for it to become active and do its damage. Most probably the method of introduction to the system was an infected USB or portable drive.

This worm is now spoken as the herald to a more technologically evolved and sophisticated warfare where the battle lines happen to be very different from what we are familiar with. The frontline could well be the technology that drives our society and industry. And the impact of such weaponry is on par with use of multitude of cruise missiles and more. An alternative to a more barbaric waging of war by firing missiles and aerial bombardments, but with as devastating results to the targeted population. It is indeed not beyond truth to believe this worm did what Israel has been vowing to do by inflicting great damage on Iran’s nuclear project, but without firing of a single bullet.