Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 15, 2009

Debs Take On Iran's Election

by Debs is dead
lifted from a comment

I'm really reluctant to post on any of this because it is none of our fucking business and that includes the bourgeois sons and daughters of Iranian 'refugees'. What happens in Iran is Iran's business comment either way is mined and then used to develop talking points to bring the neo-cons, neo-libs, & national socialists onside for sticking their sticky beaks into Iran.

At most Oblamblam and co will be spinning up acceptance for more overt destabilisation of Iran, a full on attack is completely off the agenda despite however much Israelis, imperialists and pseudo leftie national socialists may want it. The plain fact is the odds of America and whatever other scurds of cannon fodder can be scraped out from under Oblamblam's fingernails after he has scoured the bottom of the foreign support barrel couldn't win a bar blue at happy hour, let alone take on Iran's well organised and well resourced defence forces.

And they, (the war mongers) know it. Consequently they are stuck with trying to organise a colour revolution in the hope that even if they don't get a puppet in, they may get the opportunity to leverage a bit more of an opening. One to either take over and at best install their trained chook or at least weaken Iran's defences.

Nukes and crap have about as much to do with this as WMD had with Iraq, they are an excuse not a reason.  The motive is exactly the same as that which has had Americans slaughtering native Americans from the Amazon to Angoon for the last 300+ years.

It won't stop - it can't stop, the empire must be fed or it will die, and Iran is much favoured sustenance.
Iraq was a stopgap, a small taster that fortuitously became available after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Iran has been on the agenda since Stalin offered the loot up to Roosevelt in 1943 as payment for the material required to defeat Europe's national socialists.

Tehran's kids are an easy target for the quiet Americans, the situation parallels that of Moscow in the 80's where kids would sell their society for a few pairs of Levis. The Iranians regime know that and attempt to keep most consumerist stuff coming for the bourgeois youth, they know how this goes otherwise.

However the effect of the sanctions combined with the controls on the media the ruling elite believes they have to put in place cause they can see no other way of preventing the covert disinformation campaign America and co are running now from going right over the top, have combined to convince the kids that their own leaders are 'uncool' - which is probably true but nevertheless the alternative would be much less cool for a whole lot more Iranians - worse there would be no way back from it. Well no bearable way. Ask the Zimbabweans what happens if you close your legs once the gang has begun to bang.

Attempting to convince kids of this is likely to make matter worse, so the Iranian administration is forced to sit on it's hands and hope that if things go real quiet some of the kids might just hear the Americans and work it out for themselves.

Sometimes that isn't possible. Setting fire to buses and smashing windows provokes a crackdown anywhere in the world. When Tibetans protest that's good and the crackdown bad, but until recently protesting was frowned on in Nepal - the protesters were Maoist murderers on the streets of Kathmandu - until the Maoists won power that is, now Nepalese rioters are freedom fighters.
Same in Thailand, when the Bangkok middle and merchant class put their airport under siege for weeks so as to overthrow the democratically elected government - that was good, but when the rural people who voted for the former government arrived in Bangkok to protest the coup, the western media dubbed them illiterate peasants greedy for hand outs.

Still in Iran none of it will matter in the end. Ahmadinejad has got another 4 years and his mob was ready for the losers' dummy spit, the 'riots' will die down and things will be tougher for America next time round in Iran.

I'm betting that it will be the heroin the amerikans are smuggling into Iran that will likely bring them undone in the eyes of the young Iranians - they will get caught at it as they eventually always do.

There hasn't been much talk about this problem in the west (I wonder why not) and the Iranians are staying shtum for their own reasons, but since the coalition of the willing cranked up the Afghani 'O' cultivation racket, the bulk of that O has been refined into hammer and pushed into Iran.

The BBC ran a story a few weeks back saying Iran now had 4 million yep you read right 4,000,000 junkies. I have an Iranian student in one class who told me he reckons that Tehran probably has 4 million addicts. He said the real figure for all Iran is much much higher.

Smallpox in blankets becomes smack in bindles but this hammer thing won't work, it never really has. I suppose you could say that taking crack into Compton helped America keep it's slaves in their place, but the destruction of black society hasn't been anything like complete and has relied upon a number of other controls which cannot easily be replicated in a country whose leadership doesn't play ball.
For example the Iranians are treating the problem as more of a health issue than a good old American "war on drugs". They have been opening many treatment centres (altho without getting the "turn yourself into a pliant vegetable" Bill and Bob scam going)

In the end the young people will realise that their difference of opinion with Ahmadinejad is just a family dispute which America exploits for it's own ends. One is an overly authoritarian parent, the other a sleazy old sex addict whose seeming charm is just grooming in preparation for rape.

Posted by b on June 15, 2009 at 03:31 AM | Permalink

Comments

Iran's 'Stolen' Election: a Hardline Demagouge's Victory Over a 'Reformer'? Not So Fast

The dominant view among Western commentators, as well as some progressive members of the Iranian diaspora, is that Mousavi is a "reformer" who favors loosening restrictions on civil liberties within Iran, while being more open to a less hostile relationship with the West. Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, is described as a "hardliner" who demagogically appeals to the poor, while making deliberately provocative statements about the United States and Israel in order to bolster his standing in the Islamic world.

In my opinion, both of the above characterizations are superficial. The fundamental contradiction between the two leading candidates has to do with their respective bases of support and, more importantly, their different approaches to the economy.

...

What kind of Iran are the Mousavi forces really hoping to create? And why is Washington -- whose preference for “democracy” is trumped every time by its insatiable appetite for raw materials, cheap labor, new markets and endless profits -- so sympathetic to the "reform" movements in Iran and in every other country whose people have nationalized its own resources?

...

The days ahead promise to be challenging ones for all those who oppose war, sanctions and interference in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As we pursue that work, it would be good not to get caught up in what is sure to be a tsunami of criticism of a government trying to resolve a crisis that in all likelihood is not entirely homegrown.

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 4:47:14 AM | 1

M K Bhadrakumar looks at the internal powerfight aspect of the election: Rafsanjani's gambit backfires

Iranian politics is never easy to decode. The maelstrom around Friday's presidential election intrigued most avid cryptographers scanning Iranian codes. So many false trails appeared that it became difficult to decipher who the real contenders were and what the political stakes were.

In the event, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei won a resounding victory. The grey cardinal of Iranian politics Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been dealt a crushing defeat.

...

For those who do not know Iran better, suffice to say that the Rafsanjani family clan owns vast financial empires in Iran, including foreign trade, vast landholdings and the largest network of private universities in Iran. Known as Azad there are 300 branches spread over the country, they are not only money-spinners but could also press into Mousavi's election campaign an active cadre of student activists numbering some 3 million.

The Azad campuses and auditoria provided the rallying point for Mousavi's campaign in the provinces. The attempt was to see that the campaign reached the rural poor in their multitudes who formed the bulk of voters and constituted Ahmadinejad's political base.

...

The regime was already well into the election campaign when it realized that behind the clamor for a change of leadership in the presidency, Rafsanjani's challenge was in actuality aimed at Khamenei's leadership and that the election was a proxy war. The roots of the Rafsanjani-Khamenei rift go back to the late 1980s when Khamenei assumed the leadership in 1989.

...

Khatami did the worst thing possible to Rafsanjani. He simply ignored the "Shark".

The IRGC and the Basij volunteers running into tens of millions swiftly mobilized. They coalesced with the millions of rural poor who adore Ahmadinejad as their leader. It has been a repeat of the 2005 election. The voter turnout has been an unprecedented 85%. Within hours of the announcement of Ahmadinejad's thumping victory, Khatami gave the seal of approval by applauding that the high voter turnout called for "real celebration".

...

Khatami's message to Rafsanjani is blunt: accept defeat gracefully and stay away from further mischief. Friday's election ensures that the house of Supreme Leader Khamenei will remain by far the focal point of power.


Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 6:47:39 AM | 2

AFfter reading through that article, i'm a bit flummoxed:

Was that a typo in that last paragraph you quote? Should "Khatami" be "Khamenei"? And if not, then could someone please explain the sudden unexplained shift, how we get from "Khatami's allied with Rafsanjani against Khamenei" to "Khatami's ignoring Rafsanjani"?

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 7:10:55 AM | 3

Christ Almighty! Just because the Americans may have wished for a Moussavi victory doesn't 'per se' prove they interfered in any way. The level of intellect on this Blog has become feeble.

So with student unemployment at 40 %, the students opposed Ahmadinejad simply because the U.S. told them to do so?

With corruption at unprecedented levels and 90 % of the nation's economy in the direct hands of the revolutionary Guards whom Ahmadinejad represents, the nation expressed its anger because "The Americans" encouraged them to do so?

With inflation increasing from 11 % in Khatemi's time to officially 25 % today, national frustration at the mismanagement and misuse of $ 250 billion of oil revenues, any national movemnet was due solely to some "outside force"?

With 11 of Ahmadinejad's ministers fired, impeached or otherwise resigned, the nation voted him out simply because of "Outside Intererence"?

The 10 million Iranians who received monthly handouts were larger than the 25 million other voters who were unemployed, angry and mostly boycotted the last election in which Ahmadinejad was (s)elected President?

Get a grip. Please. I'm seriously considering whether to continue contributing to a Blog frequented by so many shamelessly Machiavellian members who would deny the illegality of the vote simply to support anything anti-American. I'm as anti-U.S. foreign policy as the next person, but what has this got to do with the outpouring of frustration by 20 million who boycotted the last election?

Where are the ballot boxes? Why has access been denied? Why were independent monitors forbidden from monitoring? You should ask these basic questions instead of speculating about whether or not the street revolution was U.S.-supported.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 15, 2009 7:36:35 AM | 4

@china-hand : yep, obvious &hilarious "typo" in original article, just google the "I congratulate" line , this was the official Khameini declaration/elections validtion

Posted by: totoro | Jun 15, 2009 7:37:09 AM | 5

What 'independent' monitors have ever existed in previous elections? How is this election different from any others? Other than some section of the iranian population, that for now to me, seems to be mostly expatriates and middle and high people, seems a bit more upset than usually. And an already typical 'color revolution' managed propaganda campaing in the western media.

Wasn't Iran already under a dictatorship? So how is that a 'free election' was stolen from a place were no free elections have ever existed. Facts, not emotions. Any comment on M K Bhadrakumar iluminating article? Or do you don't even known the real power structure of your own country?

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 7:44:22 AM | 6

weird, the latest AFP news is reporting the actual Moussavi demonstration...but the photo coming with it is curious :

http://q.liberation.fr/photo/20090615/photo_0302_459_306_48401.jpg

taken on :
http://www.liberation.fr/depeches/0101574190-teheran-debut-d-une-manifestation-interdite-contre-ahmadinejad

Are Moussavi fans bringing Ahmadinejad flags ?? or is the current event so "visually unimpressive" they have to borrow images from opposite side ?

Posted by: totoro | Jun 15, 2009 8:05:55 AM | 7

Its a matter of record that the US last year assigned substantial funding for covert actions to destabilise the regime in Iran, see http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN29358834

Perhaps all those spooks didn't notice that there was an election scheduled for this month? Perhaps they did notice it but didn't see any opportunities to further their agenda?

Yeah, right.

Posted by: Maff | Jun 15, 2009 8:07:36 AM | 8

@China_hand2 - you are right - that must be typo it otherwise makes no sense at all. Sorry for posting that before thinking.

@Parviz - My emphasis is on "We don't know!"

What makes me suspicious of the assertion that Mousavi won this thing:

- Mousvai asserted he had won before the election closed - why?
- I have no idea if Ahmadinejad's numbers are correct, but they seem plausible when compared to the TFT poll, the only one available.
- There seems to be a internal power-struggle between Rafsanjani and Khamenei behind this
- There are signs that the parties have somewhat class based support which would give Ahmedinejad likely a majority of votes over Mousavi
- No actual proof of fraud but lots of assertions
- There are all characteristics of a color revolution visible
- The 'western' media reporting is obviously very biased towards Mousavi
- The U.S. spent/spends hundreds of millions to achieve regime change in Iran. I am not saying the U.S. is behind this, but is this spending without any result? Really?

Again - we don't know and don't have the information to really decide on this. What I am trying here is what I tried on other subjects too. Collect information and look at it from various points while being suspicious of the mainstream media reporting bias.

On the inflation and jobless numbers I get my information from Prof. Djavad who seems to have reason to believe that the numbers usually in the media are somewhat exaggerated. This can certainly and should be be discussed rationally.

Like always you are very welcome to add your information and views to this.

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 8:09:54 AM | 9

I'm sorry, Parviz. But it's uphill to convince many here of anything other than some 007 scenario. The power of the fixed idea is overwhelming at this point, and I'm not sure what it will take to dislodge it. Antifa wrote last night to explain that this is a coup, but he too is not believed. And Antifa is is rightly respected for his intelligence and sound analysis, not just here at MoA, but on many other sites where his commentary is known; but little heed was paid to him.

There are many signals, insofar as I see that suggest a stolen vote; this is not including facts that you have provided which support the case. I swear I'm not kidding, but there was some link the owner put up last night that suggested that the CIA and MI-6 conjured all this up, in order to usher the freaking Pahlavis back into country. A fantasy of such bizarre proportions I don't how one can even measure it without bursting into hysterical laughter.

I wrote last night that the story we tell ourselves ought to be the truth. You are asking questions that ought to be answered in a systematic way, and I trust those who have always shown intellectual curiosity here, will get around to answering them.

Antifa counseled patience, with the belief that the emerging story will change minds here. I know that kind of patience is painful for you, because it's your country at stake. I'm so sorry for the hard time you and others in your country are facing now.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 8:26:20 AM | 10

The British Telegraph newspaper is touting an article that says...

...The statistics, circulated on Iranian blogs and websites, claimed Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million...

I'm not saying that these are wrong (although they conflict with other reports) rather that all those CIA spooks would be expected to be pimping just these sorts of 'statistics' regardless of whether they are accurate or not. Remember - they have orders to destabilise the regime. It is therefore very risky to draw any conclusions from a piece of 'data' that would be present whether or not it fairly represented the actual facts.

Posted by: Maff | Jun 15, 2009 8:30:25 AM | 11

In this increasingly globalized world, it certainly is the business of any intelligent, sentient being, however, that being said, it is also that being's responsibility to evaluate the situation critically, and not rely on a single, or limited sources in order to make an educated opinion about what's really going on.

Also, I disagree about organizing a colour revolution in order to get a puppet in. That has zero chance of success, and those behind fomenting such a charade know it. The true angle of such an endeavor is to make Iran look bad in the court of global public opinion. That has been the goal for the last 8 years, and nothing's changed with Brand Obama.

I don't think the U.S. and Israel would take on Iran in a ground conflict, but I do think they would bomb the hell out of Iran from above, and from the sea, creating chaos and sowing the seeds of discontent in its general population.

If you look at the larger picture, there is no way the Mullahs can remain in charge of Iran for the next 20 years. Iran is too strategic, geopolitcally, to allow the Mullahs to dictate terms. Iran is going to be torn asunder. It's just a matter of when, I'm afraid.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 15, 2009 8:48:10 AM | 12

It was announced today that the Supreme Leader of Iran has ordered a full investigation into the accusations of potential election fraud. That's more than can be said for our leaders after the 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections. Sure, it's for purposes of damage control and public relations, but our leaders didn't even bother with saving face. They just pretended such accusations didn't even exist because that type of thing just doesn't happen in America The Beautiful.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 15, 2009 8:56:34 AM | 13

...which is a very good point to make, i think, O'mageddon: in the supposed "undemocratic" Iranian Republic, there exists a system to investigate election fraud that is being used at the appropriate time, and, hopefully, in the appropriate way.

In the U.S, there exists almost nothing to deal with such proposed fraud, and when fraud on a massive scale was exposed, people and the government just pretended like it didn't exist.

@Copeland:

If you go back and read my original post, just pre-election, you'll see i was hopeful of a Mousavi win -- hopeful because i really believed it would go a long ways to defusing the situation with Israel, and because i really believed he would be the reformer he has been portrayed to be in the Western media.

However, after hearing about the shenanigans that have surrounded this election (which, honestly, i haven't paid much attention to until today), and seeing the utterly irresponsible way in which Mousavi and his supporters have handled the entire situation, i have changed my mind: i was wrong. Mousavi now seems to have been nothing but a hollow shill for a larger, coordinated collection of groups. Where before i didn't see any hint of "colour revolution", now i see only that, and not much else.

I still pity Iran and the Iranis; i wanted to see them gain some relief from the theocracy, and further secularize. As hard as i'm finding it, i also still have hope that the Doomsday Scenario Israel seems hell-bent to perpetrate will not come to pass.

But having seen how Mousavi handled the aftermath of these elections, i no longer have the slightest inclination to believe he could have pulled any of that off.

Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 15, 2009 9:12:33 AM | 14

To Parviz, Copeland, et al.

This has probably been posted before, but;

Preparing the Battlefield

L ate last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership. The covert activities involve support of the minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchi groups and other dissident organizations.

Now this may not have anything to do with what is happening now. But When the U.S. government **PUBLICLY** states its going to devote resources with the intent of destabilizing the Iran government, we are suspicious when we see destabilization happening. I hope we can be forgiven for that.

Second, last week b and many of us were talking up the benefits of a Musavi victory. Indeed, writers at Haaretz seemed gleeful when AN's victory was announced.

Now all of us are hoping Iran is not attacked/bombed/invaded. I think that is unlikely, but it is certainly more likely if Iran is vulnerable. Hence, most of us want that vulnerability removed. If that means talking up AN's legitimacy, then I guess it beats war. But if it means Musavi taking power, we are happy with that as well.

Again, I don't know what is happening. Its still a developing story and we are just trying to make our best guess. Today we hear that Khamenei has ordered a vote probe. If it turns out that Musavi did indeed win and is instated as president, That could be wonderful news for all of us. It would give Iran's government unassailable legitimacy. It would show the government has to bend to the will to the people and that Iranians are not sheep...like Americans currently seem to be. And there is certainly no need for any external "liberation." And Musavi, if he is a true patriot, will not give away anything to the west without something big in return. Indeed, I like this scenario a lot. I'm sure the war mongers and Iran bashers would hate it. At the same time, however, a probe may demonstrate the there wasn't as much vote fraud as claimed.

So let us wait and see. We all want what is best for Iran and so there is no need to be angry at us.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 15, 2009 9:20:12 AM | 15

To put into perspective Parviz and other similar opinions I have this to say.

People from Venezuela usually comment on some (left of center) spanish paper web sites on news and articles related with Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez and his policies (which are invariable put in a bad light). If you had to evaluate the whole public opinion from Venezuela from the average of those comments Chavez would be one of the most despised dictators in any country. However how many elections has he actually won in the last ten years? And without a single true trace of fraud. Of course those commenting on web sites of spanish papers are from a middle to high class extraction (and thus have Internet access) or expatriates. And they hate Chavez 'populist' (radical leftist pro-lower classes) policies. They would never vote for him. But there is more people in Venezuela who votes for him and his policies. Most of them, though, don't go to those forums to comment for obvious reasons.

That's why I can't really take what Parviz and other iranian commentors from a similar background as the single and only truth. And we have also multiple sources stating that a victory from Ahmajineyad isn't an impossibility as Parviz and others try to tell us. Of course they would never support or vote him. But many people could. We just don't know. So we can just read and make our own opinions.

I also find Parviz dismissing and insulting Loyal as 'low class' in another thread quite disturbing. And actually proves my formed opinion about the higher class being unable (or not wanting) to understand this kind of class conflict. Some people from middle and high class, both in 'developed' and 'undeveloped' countries seems to think that due to their wealth and 'education' their votes and opinions count or should count more than those of the poor and 'uneducated'. Exactly the same that what those in the 'empire' power structure actually think.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 9:33:50 AM | 16

I would like to add that I do not believe in 'youth movements' who work for establishment figures.

Posted by: outsider | Jun 15, 2009 9:52:08 AM | 17

Debs

What about the Tuskeegee experiment, the murder of Fred Hampton, and the 1950 quiz-show scandals? You forgot those.

You have zero ZERO support for your grand opinion Mousavi is a USuk-paid comprador. ZERO support. In none of b's tendentious links defending ahmadinejad will you find the proof you would need.

Reports http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/15/opinion/15iht-edcohen.html?_r=1>like this seem persuasive, to me--actual reporting, of the sort supplied by some of our comrades here.


Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 10:23:09 AM | 18

When has b defended Ahmadinejad? He has only stated his suspicion about the claims that the election has been rigged. And about the possibility that Ahmadinejad and his 'populist' (code word for 'not for the rich') policies have a following in the iranian lower classes that could explain such victory.

Comrades? For some reason I don't see Parviz marching with you towards the US-imperial-marxist paradise-hell you seem to dream of.

That article starts with the words 'green wave' just at the second paragraph. For Marx sake. That's coded phrasing clearly coming from any of the previous color-coded CIA-backed 'revolutions' the world have suffered in the least 10 years.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 10:32:27 AM | 19

Also, sadly, an election fraud can never be proved to the satisfaction of someone who needs the impression of a fair result to vindicate a chimera resembling a political philosophy.

I'd enjoy another delicious admonition of your worldview, were it not that so many people in Iran will suffer for it.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 10:35:43 AM | 20

"I'm really reluctant to post on any of this because it is none of our fucking business and that includes the bourgeois sons and daughters of Iranian 'refugees'.

I don't think she fits that bill.

Just because neocons are jumping on the situation there to promote their agenda does not make it less tragic for many Iranians.

Posted by: ptw | Jun 15, 2009 10:48:03 AM | 21

b digs anybody who opposes "empire." He must hate Germany.

He has defended at every turn ahmadenijad, even the crank holocaust denial bullshit. Oh! this might be plausibly denied, of course: "I never said that!" he will shriek. "I dismantled the 'western' view he denied the holocaust. No, clearly he says "why should palestine pay for a central european problem? Which is true, not denial"--it's always a support of cranks and dictators which is always comfortably qualified by the endless "but he really meant..." It's like a a Joe Kennedyesque summer of the events of '38: "well, he said he was going to liberate Sudetenland, he was very specific of that" which is neither overt support or disavowel but a strategic way to conceal a considerable consubstantiality of thought. Fucking dishonest subterfuge, imo. It's public relations masquerading as analysis.

There are many more examples: ahmadenijad is a "social democrat" sans socialism, sans democracy. yadda yadda.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 10:55:21 AM | 22

And about the "comrade" stuff. I'm aware of the problem, a really debilitating problem, that most persons here who regard themselves as leftists have no contact with the history of leftist thought.

This problem manifests itself directly here: ahmadinejad becomes a "social democrat" serving as a convenient receptacle for b's delivery of anti-"empire" homilies.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 11:07:53 AM | 23

Looking in that blog at previous posts from May it's clear that she is a Musavi supporter. So what? That's prove or something other than there is people, posting in Internet, that supports Musavi and therefore believe that were cheated?

There seems to be a large protest rally in Tehran right now. It also seems that Musavi, Khatami and others have showed up in the rally. Weren't they yesterday under house arrest ordered by that evil Ahmadinejad dictator? BBC has some video of a crowd but most are short planes so it's hard to estimate how many people is there protesting (so typical). Nothing compared with the large planes and huge amount of Ahmadinejad supporters in the video linked in today's links by b yet. Also how is that we get to see that video? It is not a mobile phone video or an amateur video. All the western sources are telling me that western reporters are forbidden for filming anything, cameras and recordings stolen, urged to leave the country already. Who filmed that video and sent it to the BBC? Wasn't the Internet down due to the government?

The western governments are already clearly moving towards phase two: desligitimation of the iranian election. France is calling the iranian embassador on the matter. Same noises from Berlin. In the internal side Musavi's faction is clearly positioning for a repeat of the elections (ala Ukraine circa 2004) by using 'pacific' protests.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 11:11:41 AM | 24

The most important issue Debs points out well is the heroin problem in Iran. CIA and drug dealing were never that far apart ...

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 12:00:55 PM | 25

I've been running a thread with links-etc on all sides of the fence plus comments and reflections since the day before the elections started, some of the links are worth reading -
http://www.strategytalk.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6682

On my part, I'd been asking myself the same questions I've read on this forum and hadn't altogether made up my mind - but the Basij's brutality has sickened me... there are people weeping in the streets saying "This can't be my country"! So my current "working hypothesis" on the demos side is that although there may have been a few agitators and/or idiots-on-dope around, what's been happening has snowballed by emotional chain-reaction, it's become way too big-and-passionate to be a mere paid-up "colour revolution" (Kasparov, anyone??)...and/or just a gang of spoilt frustrated middleclass brats on a rampage. Remember Iran's had quite a history of street-revolutions, one foreign-fomented most not - all very passionate, divisive and convulsive.
And on the officialdom side I also see chain-reactions: misjudgements, panic, attitudes hardening, backs stiffening as things-get-more-and-more-out-of-control - Iranians are saying their country has never been this divided since 1979.

Real question is how can it pull back from the brink, stick itself back together again at this point without endangering its spirit, its very soul?? So my heart's with the people in Tehran's streets today - hoping-against-hope they'll somehow find a way out of the labyrinth that will not involve a future of perpetual mutual-anger-and-mistrust, repression, vengeance, purges, loss of hope... hoping for a future of peace pride dignity and unity for all Iranis - regardless of which name they wrote on their ballots.

Posted by: parvati_roma | Jun 15, 2009 12:11:39 PM | 26

b does not need to be defended. if his post are seen in a real light & not one of prejudice & preconceived notions - it is clear to me that b i susing that samme approach he used when writing about georgia & the ukraine. it is exactly the same multiple sourcing that he used when covering lebanon & gaza

i have sd from the first day that this is an interelite struggle & that remains my position - & it is a class struggle

parviz speaks so badly of the poor as if they are miscreants incapable of any thought - it is the dominant ideological perception of the people that has held sway for 40 years. & i find the attack on loyal to be both offensive & revealing. i find the ferocity of the attack on loyal, telling

i do not know why it is so necessary fo slothrop to try to demean b - & to try to do so from a kind of 'marxism' that hyas nothing to do with marxism. it has nothing to do with real analysis & its the same kind of subjectivity slothrop has paraded in defence of u s military power, the innate bloodlust of arabs, their nature being intercenine, that in fact what wr call empire & he calls something else is in fact defending christian civilisation from the darker 'hordes', slothrop has not tried to give an analysis class or of race inside afghanistan, he has repreated more or less what neoconservatives have sd about iraq -again & again there is a knnejerk response that is both ill informed & a playing with the 'facts' that approaches the fraudelent. slothrop has so consistently attacked the red flag with the red flag that i have come to question the motives for doing that. be that as it is - that is possible in a forum such as ours - but the attempt to dismantle the work of b is hard not to take personally

& i do not know why antifa is so angry - b is simply providing another way of seeing - & it seems to me from where i post that the majority of people here believe in one way or another that there is something wrong in the state of denmark. so b's approach is not evangilical - it is nothing like the kind of scratching that replaces thought at d kos. it is consider & it is followed through where that is possible. it is not hysteric. it possesses distance & measure. why the need to demonise him for that. it not only seems unjust to me but it is inaapropriate given the scale of writing that b has offered over time - & that scale of writing tells us many things - that b is a committed social democrat - highly sceptical of 20th century's face of socialism - & because of his country's history & healthy disregard of nationalism from wherever it comes

antifa & copeland - i respectfully argue with - they are not hitting me with a hammer but opening up the discourse to other possibilities - that at this point in time i do not accept - but i am prepared to be patient - to say what role the people play in this interelite rivalry

i find it absurd that the color revolution influence in iran is being taken for paranoia when for the last 8 years & especially the last three it has been clear how much u s imperialism has invested in destabilising iran, how much it has been present in the destabilising of other countries in our immediate history - it seems to me that when you read site after site in relation to now - they have a connection to a number of think tanks & lobby groups in washington. night after niçght on al jazeera i hear nothing else but the commentary of these people & as i have stated their groups are never called by their real name & their subjectivity is hidden in an approach that destroys any credibility. so trust in that situation - is skeletal. take huffington post for example - who at this moment reveals the height of leberal bourgeois hysteria - nearly every link, & i mean every link is connected to one group or another that have their funding, their leadership outside of iran with offices mostly in new york or washington

if this is a revolution by the people as posited by copeland & antifa then it must be supported but in the world we live in - it would be wise to understand what is the real state of interelite rivalry & in what roile the people are being condemned to - though as i have sd repeatedly it trust the people & yes it is true i trust the poor before i would trust the rich, i trust the villager before i would trust the city, - i accept that is a prejudice but i do it openly & hopefully not with the hammer i feel the 'partisans' of moussavi are using here

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15, 2009 12:47:56 PM | 27

My take on these "color revolutions" is that they don't depend so much on outside agitation and secret ops, but a bitterly divided country where the "two halves" (or more) don't really talk to each other nad haven't got a good gauge on what the entire country is like. Both sides believe that they represent will of "the people." Both believe that there is no way the other side could possibly win in a fair election--because they only talk amongst themselves and have no idea about the others. It just so happens that one side is hipper, more affluent, and more western-leaning and they happen to get support from the outside. All these pieces apply to Iran.

I do want to qualify this by noting that, whatever "really" happened, the pro-Western side, even if they got support from the Western sources, are no less "representative" than the more "traditionalist" side. There are lots of them and they are clearly important societally--it just happens that the society is badly fractured and they aren't the only ones that matter.

Whether Ahmedinejad really "won" the election or not, I don't think, really matters any more. There are millions who sincerely believe that they'd been robbed. (I would imagine, however, that the same would have been true had Mousavi been declared the winner, actually.) It is true that the suspicious claims of a landslide and the lack of transparency are fueling suspicions--but I don't think anything done by the regime could have allayed the suspicions at this moment (they could have done something like invite huge numbers of neutral international observers in advance--but, curiously, I haven't heard anything about presence of observers, in this election or in the past The doubters are willing to "fight," literally or figuratively. The other side is willing to fight back--and it so happens that they have the machinery of the state behind them--and they don't seem especially hesitant to use them. The "real" election results are now irrelevant.

The real challenge for the Iranians at this stage, I think, is how they can step back from the brink without things blowing up completely. Their political leaders already squandered a lot of credibility to their own people--Ahmedinejad's supporters will have hard time trusting Mousavi's, and vice versa for Mousavi's vis-a-vis Ahmedinejad's. The pre-existing tensions between different factions, coupled with whatever foreign influence there are make such reconciliation difficult. (There are shades of Zimbabwe here--bitter pre-existing conflict between factions, a certainly repressive incumbent who nevertheless enjoys widespread and dedicated support base, highly improbable claims of landslide electoral victories for the incumbent, agitation by foreign gov'ts and do-gooders, and large dedicated groups of supporters for both sides who wouldn't give up without a fight) Yet, without such a reconciliation, Iran will become a total basketcase.

The problem with these "successful" color revolutions had been that they sow the basis of future conflict by shunting aside the wants and needs of the large numbers of "traditionalists" who vow revenge--shades of Chile, 1973, except with the role of Allende reprised by likes of Saakashvilli, i.e. the pro-Western "liberals" (not shocking, perhaps, since US has been acting like USSR of the 1950s and 60s--"liberating" countries against their will and all. Clearly, this is not going to be a sustainable situation in the long term.

Posted by: kao-hsien-chih | Jun 15, 2009 12:48:54 PM | 28

From the ‘west’, the usual slant in the MSM:

1. Pictures of crowds who support the guy who will lose (yes, often)

2. An attempt at color-revolution crap the results of which are reported endlessly. This time the color was a mistake, as green is the color not of Cohn- Bendit (EU ‘greens’) or of US Transition Town Types, but of Islam. If one takes color symbolism seriously.

3. Highly selective pictures of demos after the result.

4. Accusations of electoral fraud. Guff about the underdeveloped, etc. The largest electoral frauds that have taken place in the past few years (barring some small elections I am not aware of) have been in the US. There were some reps. of the UN at Bush 1 election, their report was buried.

5. Lamentations at the result, democracy is demolished, or dodgy to begin with, because how could anyone elect a baby-killer, a terrorist, a holo denier, an extremist, a woman hater, a complete chump, etc. (Bush, anyone?)

6. Interviews of selected stooges who bemoan (often for payment) the lack of varied things such as miniskirts for women, boosting indigenous sports so that they can win olympics, letting the IMF do its thing, cracking down on non PC actions, hate speech, letting artists sell controversial works (and note the contradiction here), etc. etc. While completely ignoring education and health care, infrastructure, etc. and, just to add it in, the position and outlook for women who are not up there hob-nobbing with the pols or the CIA wearing western garb with ethnic touches, but simply rad poor and desperate, starving, in fact.

These ‘west’ supporters are generally blinded by financial, status, class, inherited or just new-grabbed advantage, privilege, and look no further than their own bank account and kow-towing to the powerful or playing cute by making some minor moves towards whatever nonsense is current, as a way of maintaining income and safety, and their cards in the hand. So they are easy to exploit, and can be counted on to perform, in print and on camera.

More fool them. Or good for them. They will survive, their countrymen, not.

- i didn’t read the whole of the last Iran thread

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 15, 2009 1:35:50 PM | 29


An interview of Pepe Escobar on the political struggles shaping the Iranian elections.

Power Struggle Amongst Iranian Elites

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 15, 2009 1:54:28 PM | 30

@BenIAM - I was wondering about that Escobar piece. Him quoting from Radio Free Europe and Radio Farda, both U.S. government entities, is a bit curious. He also swallowed some debunked Mousavi rumors hook, line and sinkers.
---
@all

The official election count by province is out and published at Press TV: Interior Ministry releases provincial vote count

Tehran Province

Total votes: 7,521,540
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: 3,819,945
Mehdi Karroubi: 67,334
Mohsen Rezaei: 147,487
Mir-Hossein Moussavi: 3,371,523
Spoiled ballots: 115,701

In the cities of Tehran and Shemiranat, Moussavi beat Ahmadinejad with 2,166,245 votes to 1,809,855 and 200,931 to 102,433 votes respectively.
...

Doesn't look implausible to me ...

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 2:04:04 PM | 31

I support this here
http://www.iranian.com/main/node/67809
and this
http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/farah-rusta/right-cause-wrong-choice

Posted by: outsider | Jun 15, 2009 2:06:33 PM | 32

pepe escobar used to be great imho not so any longer - just a personal opinion

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 15, 2009 2:06:56 PM | 33

and - talking about business - this here explains it all

http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/death-to-fascism/irgc-mafia-and-financial-motives-behind-2009-coup-detat

Posted by: outsider | Jun 15, 2009 2:25:18 PM | 34

'Plausible' means for a lot of people 'what I want to believe'.

I have a great feeling of deja vu with the will issue. It's not the first time we are seeing this script being played. Point by point. Including people like Parviz playing their lines willingly. Ask any ukrainian who favoured the Orange revolution. Was Yushenko that different other than being pro-US? Has the confrontation with the pro russian eastern half of Ukraine actually solved?

I agree kao-hsien-chih analysis about color revolutions. All the true believers from any of those revolutions weren't agents of any extern power (exclusing the leadership of course). For one or another reason something was 'triggered' and the reaction as obvious (or planned). But I wonder what is a revolution that puts into power a group of cronies that the week before was good budy with the previous group of cronies but due to being a bit more open to western 'influence' or more crudely open to selling the country to those powers they *have* to come into power. Now. Not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Revolutions coming not from the poor and desperate but the rich and well being.

My feeling is that Rafjansani and his clerical and business backers has been more than open to 'dialogue' with the 'old enemy' (the US). So it wouldn't come as far fetched some kind of agreement between both sides (and wouldn't be the first time in any case). Is really Rafjansani trying to boat out Khamenei and thus he had to react? Khamenei has always showed a more moderate face than Ahmadinejad, is this a sudden change or something expected? To me it cames as a bit of surprise but I'm not an expert on Iran. What is the true root of the Iranian Islamic Republic? The clerical and business elite? Or the Revolutonary Guard and Basij organizations, which are likely to be drawn from the lower classes more religious and a conservative that the westernized elite, backing the Supreme Leader and the power structure created by the 1979 revolution?

So the event was triggered and the conflict between those two sides of the current Iran seems unstoppable. I doubt whatever the final outcome the western 'powers' are sad about this matter.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 15, 2009 2:34:03 PM | 35

@outsider @32 -
first link talks of "president elect Mousavi" - I could not support that as it is an unproven claim.

second link talks of the "the most backward and brutal of regimes". That is objectively wrong considering all its neighboring countries. Iran is much less backward and brutal than Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jemen etc.

@34 -
The economic powers of the ICRG is certainly a general issue. But there is no factual proof that this is the reason behind the alleged "coup".

One may want to ask how Rafsanjani, the backer of Mousavi, became the richest Iranian and even mentioned in Forbes billionaire list.

Said differently: There is no black and white in this and one needs to dig to understand the various shades of gray.

Posted by: b | Jun 15, 2009 3:20:56 PM | 36

There are all characteristics of a color revolution visible

What are these? The NGOs most active in the so-called "color" revolutions have been freedom house, center for non-violent resistance, usaid, eu, etc. --Many of the rainbow revolution NGOs are not active in Iran.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 3:57:00 PM | 37

re: #16
Glenn Greenwald:

Speaking of Iran, I don't have any idea what really happened with its presidential election -- if, as Juan Cole argues, there was widespread fraud, that would be entirely unsurprising -- but Newsweek's long-time Middle East reporter Christopher Dickey persuasively warns against the emerging assumption that the anti-Ahmedinejad views expressed by middle class and cosmopolitan Iranians and promoted by the Western press are representative of a majority of Iranians. In Brazil, if you ask middle class, professional and/or educated Brazilians what they think of President Lula da Silva, you would conclude that he is an intensely despised figure, when -- in reality -- he is profoundly popular among a majority of Brazilians largely due to the deep support from that country's poor and under-educated population (much the same way that you'd get vastly disparate responses if, in 2004, you went to Manhattan and then to rural Kansas and solicited opinions of George Bush). Dickey suggests that the same dynamic exists in Iran.

Posted by: rudolf | Jun 15, 2009 3:58:51 PM | 38


@ 31 and 33 I'm also taken aback by Pepe's giddyness about the 'green revolution' since he should know better than to repeat talking points (the Azari "ethnic" vote has been mentioned so many times it's getting old) but the interview is better than his Asiatimes piece Tehran Spring

What I continue to find relevant in some of his analysis is the inter elite power play that is going on and the class based mobilizations around the elections (each can be thought of distinctly). The red line that has been crossed is not election fraud but the one dividing Hashemi from Khamenei - 2 major power centers with their own elite and popular constituencies.

Trita Parsi nails it when he says:

"Here's where the powerful chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Mousavi supporter Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, comes in. Only this assembly has the formal authority to call for Khamenei's dismissal, and it is now widely assumed that Rafsanjani is quietly assessing whether he has the votes to do so or not.
It may be that the first steps toward challenging Khamenei have already been taken. After all, Mousavi went over the supreme leader's head with an open letter to the clergy in Qom. Rafsanjani clearly failed to win Khamenei's support in a reported meeting between the two men Friday, but the influential Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, who heads the vote-monitoring committee for Mousavi and fellow candidate Mehdi Karroubi, has officially requested that the Guardian Council cancel the election and schedule a new vote with proper monitoring."

The coordination amongst the Hashemi group to take steps to challenge the power structure of the Islamic Republic starting from the Supreme Leader within 1-2 days of the claims of fraud cannot be a mere coincidence.

While I have my reservations in accepting the media's presentation of the election protests as a movement of radicalized students to change the Islamic Republic akin to the 1979 revolution - Pepe's report of the Bazarri-Cleric's alliance with the middle-upper class to grab power is the closest analogy to the 1979 revolution except the poor and rural majority as well as large segment of the urban population are on the side of the principalists.

If their is a massive election fraud that has been conducted by the principalists then it is an outgrowth of the struggle for supremacy between the 2 elite groups and is not merely a matter of procedure where the "bad-guys" Ahmedi and Co. stole the election from the "good-guys" Mousavi the painter and his supporters.

Posted by: BenIAM | Jun 15, 2009 4:03:28 PM | 39

@Debs is dead

Great post/comment.

For those who have google account the result of elections is at this link:
"Results of the Tenth Presidential Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Divided by Province and County"

Posted by: balkanac | Jun 15, 2009 4:22:47 PM | 40

In survey before Elections current President is front runner.

Iran: New 2009 Survey before Elections

Posted by: balkanac | Jun 15, 2009 4:36:31 PM | 41

I do not understand why Parviz and Antifa are so angry at the results of this elections. Parviz argued with me multiple times that Iran is NOT a democracy and that it is the worst kind of dictatorship, maybe even worse than Saudi Arabia (as if that is possible). Now he is angry that the elections were fraudulant. If you believe that Iran is a dictatorship, then you should NOT be surprized that there is fraud in elections!!! If anyone should be angry, it is people like me who have argued that Iran is an Islamic democracy. But I am not angry at all.

I fully understand what has happened here:

1. All Islamist movements have sought legitimacy by providing to the poor and disadvanraged in the society. This is the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, of HAMAS, of Hizballah and of Iran. In Lebanon, for example, the legitimacy of Hizballah rests on two primary foundations. First, the unwavering resistance to Israel and zionism. Second, the provision of a welfare network that is far more effective and sofisticated than that of the corrupt Lebanese state. When Israel bombed Lebanon in the summer, Hizballah stepped up and gave $14,000 cash to anyone whose house was damaged during the Israeli offensive. Hizballah was on the scene assessing damages and removing rubble and rebuilding even before the state could act.

In Iran after the revolution ousted the Shah and the rule of the moderates failed (read the Anatomy of a Revoltion) and Bani Sadr was exiled to France, the radicals had no qualms about nationalizing major segements of the economy and using the resources for tow purposes. First, the created an extensive social services network system to satisfy the needs of the masses for subsidized food and free education and free healthcare. Roughly 50% of the Iranian budget goes to social welfare and subsidies of food and other essentials like bread, flour, tea, sugar, rent etc...Second, they used the revenue from state control of the means of production (mainly oil), to strengthen the means of coercion of the state. So, on the one hand, the state was able to provide to the masses and on the other hand, the state crushed those elements who continued to defy the state.

AN is the head of the state that provides such services and he has supported these services to the poor and disadvatages. The Koran is very clear about the necessity of taking care of the poor and disadvantaged in a society. The Koran was the product of a period in pre-islamic society where mercantelism was taking a foothold in Meccan society and the tribal bond of hospitality and taking care of the needy where disintegrating. Muhammad hated this and as a reaction the revelations in the Koran stressed the importance of generosity and taking care of the weak and disadvantaged Muslims.

2. It is very common in LDC to focus on what is happening in the capitol and generalize those trends to the whole of society. Most Western journalist stick to the capitol and they do not roam elsewhere. Musavi's support was in large cities, ie, Tehran. Journalists saw the pro-Musavi crowds and they assumed that it is the same elsewhere. IT IS NOT. The one poll that b posted clearly showed that support in the election was 2 to 1 in favor of AN. I understand that this is only one poll, but it seems to be reliable and used proper samples and polling. It was done using sound techniques. It does not sound too far fetched that AN won 65% of the vote when he was 2 to 1 ahead of Mousavi in that poll. Clearly, the support for AN is across Iran and more than likely in the lower classes of society. It is among those classes that want the continuation of an extensive welfare state that AN found his support. The fact that AN is humble in his daily living (drives the same worn out Peugeot and lives in the same house since coming to Tehran, and packs his own food to work) also appeals to the masses. His resistance to the West and Israel also gives him support among the masses in Iran and in the larger Muslim world.

AN reminds me of Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt. The people loved him despite the fact that he was a secular dictator. Why did they love him? He opposed Israel and the West, he was humble in his daily living (lived in the same house he had when he was an army captain, died broke owing money to others), and was not personally corrupt. The West, predictably, hated him. By contrast, the West loved Sadat, but the Arabs and Egyptians hated him. When Sadat was assassinated, Western journalists were trying to find people who were sad to see him die, they could not find many. When Nasser died some people jumped from rooftops because they were so saddened by his death.

Posted by: ndahi | Jun 15, 2009 4:48:32 PM | 42

Did you actually read the survey???

- was conducted 5/11-5/20, i.e. plenty of time before the elections.

- Ahmadinejad = 34%, Mousavi = 14%, Karroubi = 2%, Rezai = 1%, so there is another 49% up for grabs

- Quote: "A close examination of our survey results reveals that the race may actually be
closer than a first look at the numbers would indicate. More than 60 percent of
those who state they don’t know who they will vote for in the Presidential
elections reflect individuals who favor political reform and change in the current
system. "

- Quote: " The current mood indicates that none of the candidates will likely pass the 50
percent threshold needed to automatically win; meaning that a second round
runoff between the two highest finishers, as things stand, Mr. Ahmadinejad and
Mr. Moussavi, is likely."


Posted by: St | Jun 15, 2009 4:52:06 PM | 43

the decisive role here is going to be played by the urban & rural masses whatever is the process of interelite rivalry & i'd suggest they are willing to support ahmadinejad because they have been the real benificiaries of the rule of the principalists.

& i wonder how tempting the west's modernity really is when any fool can see that for over 40 years there has been even greater levels of inequality of opportunity especially in the west. in the west if you are poor, you are colored or you are other - there is no peace or justice to be had. liberty & freedom are just words on a biscuit tin you will never be allowed to open & what is the 'electoral process' in the west than some cruel comedy where the people choose who is going to betray them first.

only in latin america - in countries fatigued by the poverty & torture forced upon them from washington - who have finally risen up & used the words of tom hayden's famous port huron statement - they are involved in a participatory democracy - iran & china are strong enough nations to open themselves because the reality is u s imperialism is finished, really finished - yes it is dangerous, quite dangerous & will remain so in its dying but it is not a threat in the sense that it's ideas were revealed more clearly in the flood filled streets with the bloated bodies of blacks in new orleans - than any ideologue's words could ever tell. the underclass of europe & america are an enormous population whose material life is little different than what it was when charles dickens wrote. & what the economic crisis ought to have taught everybody that the middle class as a class is being menaced & extinguished as is so clearly happening in american cities tonight. in europe the suburbs of every country are filled with populations that wander between revolt & self destruction. there is no hope there. none at all & the only opportunity that is really offered in the west is as it always was - criminality. & it is only getting darker - in france for example there is a deliberate & methodic attack on social security - on the destruction of the historical contract between the poor & their rulers

thye question is as it always was - socialism or barbarism

& tho slothrop would mock - the social policies of ahmadinejad have in material terms been socialist policies - & it is clear that the alliances iran has tried to build in latin americ are not a one way street. the real lessons of history are to be learn there & not for the first time

meanwhile, netanyahu softly speaks of the final solution of the palestinian problem & the world made so weary forgets these people once again

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15, 2009 6:18:34 PM | 44

b @36

I agree that references to Iran being especially brutal and backward, must be condemned as inappropriate and in the service of interests other than those of the Iranian people and their country. But it is another thing to say that shades of gray cover the theft of the ballot box everywhere in the country and the issuance of wildly improbable numbers, that perforce reflect no tally or counting at all, is simply preposterous. I think we should be worried on behalf of Iranians when un-uniformed militia begin to appear in the place of the place of the first set of goons on motor bikes. I think a shade of gray doesn't cover the lockdown of the Ministry of the Interior and the lockout of normal employees.

I thank r'giap for his comments @ 27.

I think it is obscene to propose, as another commenter has, that the vote itself is no longer even relevant. Bullshit. The only thing on the domestic front that even begins to mitigate this disaster, is the call by Khamenei, for an investigation. Only a real investigation, and an honorable process of jurisprudence can help Iran now. If this can't happen among Iranians, by and for the good of the country, there is probably only an escalation of emotions; and what is at the end of that I don't know.

We know there was in previous years substantial progress in Parliament among the reformers who sought compromise with the religious authority, whose aim was to make things better for women and in some way have a different cultural feel in society by loosening, just a little, the harsh yoke of dogma and harsh religious conformity. These were no Jacobins, and they sought a little compromise...compromise in the social compact. But we see that after religious circumscription of Parliament and the religious litmus test applied to those who were allowed to stand for office, the clerics had made the people's chamber less than a representative body, until finally the sum of hope for the kind of societal change that the young especially desire, have come to rest in the office of president.

And now we see a coup taking place, a naked and brazen exercise of fiat, to stomp out whatever remains of popular sovereignty. I will quote an Iranian woman Naj, from her blog:

"No, they are not organized under a fascist leadership...they are just given legitimacy...fascism is not necessarily a political ideology...it is a psychological one...it's the intolerance of a group who feel righteous about their wantings and their values and are arrogant and brutal in forcing their vision of history and life onto others, with little chance for dialogue.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 6:26:38 PM | 45

ari fleisher & his goons at freedom's watch & the american enterprise institute take responsibility for the 'reformist' movement in iran - a direct legacy of their führer bush, as they tell it

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15, 2009 6:32:50 PM | 46

Sure the neocons are parasites and would like to attach themselves like leeches to the neck of this crisis.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2009 6:39:38 PM | 47

The more I read, the more I am convinced the belief is wrong that this movement is guided by western NGOs, unless by NGO is meant anybody in Iran who twitters.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 15, 2009 6:43:15 PM | 48

slothrop

Never say never!

Read this:
The new Gladio in action?

See this:
THE ALBERT EINSTEIN INSTITUTION
-Use of strategic nonviolent action in conflicts throughout the world!? No kidding! Among other languages are Farsi and Azeri!


Posted by: balkanac | Jun 15, 2009 7:09:52 PM | 49

The Iranians need to be left alone to work through their issues but this sanctimonious, hypocritical crap via the BBC made me want to throw up:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was following the situation closely. "The position of me and the United Nations is that the genuine will of the Iranian people should be fully respected," he told reporters.

EU foreign ministers expressed "serious concern" and called for an inquiry into the conduct of the election, while France and Germany each summoned their Iranian ambassadors to explain what was going on.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the use of "completely unacceptable" force against protesters and called for a "transparent evaluation of the election result".

What about respecting the genuine will of the Palestinian people, you cunts!

Posted by: blowback | Jun 15, 2009 7:37:04 PM | 50

"No, they are not organized under a fascist leadership...they are just given legitimacy...fascism is not necessarily a political ideology...it is a psychological one...it's the intolerance of a group who feel righteous about their wantings and their values and are arrogant and brutal in forcing their vision of history and life onto others, with little chance for dialogue.

That sounds like life in Corporate America.....and if Reform advocates have their way, what life will be like in Corporate Iran. Replacing one form of Authoritarianism with another is not reformation.

I abhor all Authoritarianism, in its many forms, be it religious, political, corporate, etc, etc. I do not support Neoliberalism. Obama does.....and, by accessory, his many supporters on the left calling for all those who are not of the conservative persuasion to support Neoliberal Reformist candidates abroad, and, by default, the Neoliberalist agenda. Never!

Surely there's a third way.....or a fourth, fifth, sixth....seventh. Once upon a time, there was a true populist movement from the left in Iran. The clerics usurped it during the Revolution. The Mullahs filled the power vacuum that was created by the ouster of the Shah, and any hope of a successful Leftist system manifesting was, most likely, forever dashed.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Jun 15, 2009 8:11:19 PM | 51

blowback

that seems to be the one feature of a dying capitalism - that becomes more feverish in selling itself - selling itself all the time for virtues all the time for virtues it has never possessed

but to sell itself - the images of bloated black bodies floating through city streets must be forgotten, the aboriginal man who dies in 60° heat in the back of a 6 hour ride in a paddy wagon in the desert, the ancient steel worker who is living in a box in any city of america you can name, any city of civilised europe, you have to forget - fields that ought to be for play buit instead are full of used needles, you have to forget the africa that everybody forgets, poor poor broken congo, you have to forget that since reagan & thatcher generations of people have been forgotten, have been left behind, have been geographically isolated so that they don't upset the middle class that is beginning to fall apart, you have to forget the schools, the hospital & the jails where future is extinguished

i am thinking of the way the right worked - in italy for example - it slaughtered people, literally slaughtered people in bologna & other italian cities & those criminals were never ever touched - the demonic andreotti will die in his bed with his beloved catechisme - while the poor son of the underclass, cesare battisti is taken to hell

they keep on selling themselves - selling themselves as the answer - when their answer for the last 40 years is a living hell for the mass of peopl & fear of precarity for the rest - when will i fall being the only central question in everybody's life - when will i fall

fuck them & their sick story of success which is nothing other than failure,, bloody failure

they have nothing to teach the iranians except from their failure & i hope the iranians are quick enough to understand that - it took the poor russian people 10 years of absolute hell to learn that the american dream was their living catastrophre

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15, 2009 8:13:03 PM | 52

remembereringgiap - powerful comment, well said...thank you

Posted by: euclidcreek | Jun 15, 2009 8:39:16 PM | 53

Unless Rafsanjani has been bought out, I don't think the West is a major factor in the confrontation we're now seeing in Iran.

Khamenei, for all of his faults and all of the faults of the Iranian regime, is an idealist. He does believe in elections. The only reason he would have participated in a fraud would have been that between when Mousavi was vetted and when the results came in, he was made to believe that a Mousavi victory would threaten Iranian national security - possibly due to links between Mousavi and foreign powers.

If Khamenei was made to believe that, that does not mean it was necessarily true, and acting on such a belief, as we see now, could predictably have led to Iranian turmoil that favors interests hostile to Iran.

The problems we're seeing in Iran, we've never seen in Egypt, because the Iranians are idealists who believe in elections, while the Jordanians openly disregard the wishes of their people in favor of the foreign US and Israeli powers that they are truly accountable to.

I shudder to think that Rafsanjani really is cynically positioning himself to be Iran's next Shah or Mubarak. Because if he is, he will have no more electoral problems than the the Saudis, Jordanians, Abbas or Mubarak do, and this time he'll tame the clergy. CIA-aligned intelligence services are also far more efficient, and far less squeamish about applying brutality today than they were in 1979.

The biggest danger to Iran is that just as the West was able to find a weakness in Iran's electoral system in 1953, it has found one today, that is being exploited with the cynical and greed-based connivance of Mousavi and Rafsanjani and the naive connivance of many Iranian students and Western liberal and conservative spokespeople.

I hope this is not the case. I hope this is purely an internal struggle of Iranians determining what the proper balance of power in Iran should be moving forward.

At this point though, I'm slightly worried that Rafsanjani and Mousavi have reached understandings with powers hostile to Iran.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 15, 2009 9:26:58 PM | 54

@54

that is my fear

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 15, 2009 9:35:09 PM | 55

Hi All,

New here. Found this blog through the comments section of Mondoweiss, the article about Proxies. I was browsing through some of the recent posts and noticed the heated debates regarding the current situation in Iran. I agree in particular with the very nice and eloquent post by Antifa here and some of the things "Ali" was saying. "Ali" was neither very polite nor articulate but as an Iranian I think he was saying the truth, and he seemed genuine. To see the official news about the deaths he was reporting yesterday, go here. I, like him, do find it interesting that all of the Iranians with access to persian media understand that A.N. has defrauded the country, while non-Iranians on the left seem to claim a massive and impossible conspiracy.

To quote Antifa:
Whatever influence, devious meddling, financial or other shenanigans unnamed Westerners may wholeheartedly believe they are accomplishing, or believe they are capable of accomplishing in Iran, my friends over there assure me are all well known and included in the calculations of even the man in the street. America and Europe have been fucking Persia and the Middle East for over a century now. The recipients of all this raping and pillaging know every nuance of this tawdry romance.

b, the claims that there are CIA/JSOC/Psy-ops/Israel forces at work and responsible for the events of the last few days are interesting, though fundamentally misguided. A.N. is not Chavez, and the class struggle in Iran manifests itself in a different form. The oft-repeated claims that these events form part of a Pahlavist resurgence are completely ludicrous.

In the interest of transparency, and as way to qualify accusations of several posters on this website who had attacked "Ali" and others of being "agents provocateur", it would be interesting if you could post the IPs or domains where some of his posts had come from. I guess if he's a person working for AIPAC the posts should come from the US. But he was claiming to be in Canada.

Accusations like this are grave and need to be either debunked or verified or else you'll all be wearing tin foil hats in days. From the posts I've read here, it will not be surprising if some have already donned this new fashionable piece of headwear.

---A.S.

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 15, 2009 11:01:45 PM | 56

There is an article on the Guardian Unlimited website by another pair of US pollsters, pointing out that the result is what their poll predicted.
Everybody likes a revolution, especially when it is elsewhere, but the sad truth is that most of these 'student led' demos are not, nowadays, genuine. They all have the same aim, to provoke half trained, angry security forces into excesses in order to produce copy for propagandists. Real revolutions are not like that, they are much broader. And most of them feature work stoppages, plant occupations, direct economic action. Revolutions about ladies fashions and lifestyle issues are few and far between.
What is heppening in Iran is phoney. It's a pity, but there it is. Rafsanjani is not, in any sense a revolutionary, he's a fat cat, the source of much corruption (by comparison Ahmedinejad is pure) playing a cynical game. A large number of bright youngsters seem to be involved: bright kids, duped by reactionaries; it happens all the time.

Posted by: ellis | Jun 15, 2009 11:44:48 PM | 57

Amir:

There are real problems with the thesis that Ahmadinejad is defrauding the country

1- Are you saying Ahmadinejad is more corrupt that Mousavi? More corrupt than Rafsanjani? Really?

2- Iran's supreme leader, and Iran's basic policies are not at risk in the election. What terrible fate are would you claim either Ahmadinejad or Khamenei is afraid of that one would crudely invent election results?

3- Where is the evidence? You say you can't believe Ahmadinejad got this many votes in that place, and all your friends voted against Ahmadinejad. Where is the person saying publicly, "I was asked to participate in a fraud", or "here is a copy I made of the real results in this district" or "here is a picture of uncounted ballots"

4- Here's the thing. The richest man in Iran, and the chair of the Assembly of Experts that appoints and can remove the Supreme Leader is on your side. Who is he afraid of? Forging votes is clearly against the constitution. If it happened, who is there that could blow the whistle that Rafsanjani could not protect?

5- Why allow Mousavi to run if he's a threat to someone powerful enough to fabricate the entire election? Hosni Mubarak really could fabricate an election. But because he's powerful enough to fabricate an election, he never has to throw one where the outcome is in doubt.

6- The street protests are following the pattern of color revolutions in other places, exactly. Eerily in fact.

7- The United States has openly allocated hundreds of millions of dollars towards destabilizing Iran, so when Iran suddenly destabilizes, in a manner similar to other US destablization efforts, including Iran's in 1953, how do you get to call it an impossible conspiracy? Maybe it is not what's going on. I hope it is not, but it is completely possible.

I guess I could keep going but the people most afraid of Mousavi the day before the election were Israeli officials. Khamenei had nothing to lose from just letting him serve his term if he won, according to all information available publicly.

If Obama had lost, Americans who supported Obama would be very emotional, would think the whole world upside down and there must have been some deep conspiracy. And if someone got the idea that rallies in New York City and San Fransisco could pressure the results to be overturned, you'd see millions of people rallying in New York City.

People with more distance, informed people in Moscow and Beijing would wonder what the fuss is about. Really Obama's policies are going to be a nudge different from McCain's. Just a nudge. Bush didn't authorize an Israeli attack on Iran. Obama will not. McCain would not have for the same reasons. Bush would not stop funding Israel's military. Obama will not stop funding Israel's military. Bush and McCain would have issued menacing threats at North Korea. Obama is issuing menacing threats at North Korea.

Iranians likely think Mousavi is more different from Ahmadinejad than Western liberals do. Especially the in the heat of the election campaign or its aftermath. From here I can't imagine would would motivate Khamenei to take the risk of allowing a tremendous but crudely executed fraud (for which there still is no real evidence). Except reports that there are ties between his campaign and the US. That would do it, that might cause him to call the election by fiat, other than that, what would be the motive? For the most part Khamenei's power is secure either way, but the principle that Iranian elections should be free of foreign interference does have to be protected.

So a million Iranians coming here and writing that their gut is sure there is a fraud would not convince me. I hope a million protesters in a park in Chicago would not have convinced you that the entire US election, every single vote, was fabricated. Because in similar circumstances, meaning if there was an outside power that Kerry supporters had hoped could pressure Bush to relinquish power was available, there would have been millions of protesters in Chicago in 2004, and maybe millions of protesters in Houston in 2008.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 16, 2009 12:11:45 AM | 58

Hi ellis:
I think you're a bit misinformed or lack information about a few of these points:


the sad truth is that most of these 'student led' demos are not, nowadays, genuine.

There were 100,000~1,000,000 people in streets of Tehran today in support of Mousavi, so it wasn't really student led.

I know and know of many of the people who have taken part in the student movement during the last 15 years, and have tried to follow the developments, for example on ISNA and through other channels, which are unfortunately unavailable to average Americans. I have seen very little that for me casts doubt on their truthfulness. On what basis are you making the claim that the students in Iran and their demonstrations are not genuine?


Real revolutions are not like that, they are much broader. And most of them feature work stoppages, plant occupations, direct economic action. Revolutions about ladies fashions and lifestyle issues are few and far between.

Tuesday is a general strike in Iran. About ladies fashions: A.N. did not crack down on western style clothing, and if you look at the in the large number of pictures that have become available, all of the women are "properly covered". The protest leaders in public pronouncement have stated that we must continue the 'allah-u akbar' line, and that women must obey the proper Islamic hijab.


Rafsanjani is not, in any sense a revolutionary

True. And this is not a revolution. It is a power struggle, where the people have chosen one of the two sides.

---A.S.

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 12:49:22 AM | 59

On what basis are you making the claim that the students in Iran and their demonstrations are not genuine?

Rafsanjani literally owns an entire segment of Iran's secondary education establishment; it's such a huge number of schools that they make up -- i forget, so correct me if i'm wrong -- 1/3rd of its colleges and universities, no? No doubt these are at least partly run by recognized clerics under Rafsanjani's control and who are powers among Iran's theocracy, as well. So even if the schools're only a fraction of that -- 1/6th, 1/12th -- that's still a huge, huge direct influence over the student population.

If there's were only one man in the world who could manufacture a student movement and make it look like it's really a grass-roots effort, it'd be him.

But back just before the first U.S.-Iraq war, i remember a group of inarticulate, poorly groomed, "politial science" majors from UTSan Antonio suddenly showed up on our campus claiming they represented "Students for a Free Kuwait" -- this was South Texas, these were College Repulicans, and my guess is that not a single one of them had even heard of Kuwait until a couple weeks before, when their political contact came to them and said "We need to do some Astroturfing". They hadn't the first idea what was really going on over there (i, on the other hand, had just returned from an archaeology dig in Tunisia, where i'd gotten quite the crash-course in Middle East and Muslim history), but man -- they were all up in arms about how we needed to protect the freedom(!) of Kuwaitis from the evil dictator Hussein.

Ellis is right, as are the other posters here who've mentioned it: when college kids throw their weight behind a mainstream political figure (whether Obama, Bobby Kennedy, Saakashvili, or Mousavi), nine-times-out-of-ten they're being manipulated by elders or superiors in the political and business hierarchy.

That said, if labor groups and other independent, adult institutions start joining in, then i'm a bit more inclined to believe in such movements -- but not by much. Often, the kids are being used to pull others in: once they see young people (or their own progeny) bloodied and beaten, most people are inclined to join in and fight the people who've done it.

It's going to take a lot more than just Pepe Escobar to convince me the U.S. didn't have a hand in this. Rafsanjani is a mastermind of layered and varidimensional political conspiracy that plays both sides of the line, whether for international or domestic purposes. He has always been interested in working with the West and in creating a more open and business-friendly Iran. He is smart enough to recognize the threat the U.S. and Israel pose for Iran, and powerful enough to convince others around him of the necessity of action.

Yet i still can not imagine him attempting so bold a move against the dominant powers without at least some assurances from abroad that the USUK will remain neutral, and hold their fire.

So there is nothing, so far, to suggest that these movements aren't, at least in part, the product of targeted U.S. money and influence -- or at the very least, tacit U.S. support and cooperation -- and until we get more information from Iran's relevant bureaucracies and oversight agencies, i doubt i'm going to change my mind.


Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 16, 2009 1:31:08 AM | 60

1- Are you saying Ahmadinejad is more corrupt that Mousavi? More corrupt than Rafsanjani? Really?

No, they are both corrupt and everyone in Iran knows this.


2- Iran's supreme leader, and Iran's basic policies are not at risk in the election. What terrible fate are would you claim either Ahmadinejad or Khamenei is afraid of that one would crudely invent election results?

I'll simplify things a bit, sorry in advance if this seems a bit cartoonish. It's the only way to properly describe the situation to someone without access or experience with 40 years of literature.

I guess your question is, why didn't they do this 1997 when the reformists won. In 2009 for the first time we have an alignment of interests of disjoint factions such as the Intelligentsia, the Religious Old Guard who never accepted Khamenei, Reformists, Bazaar, Students, the middle-class, and large portion of the urban poor. On the other side we have the militarist Hojjatiye factions, including Ayatollah Yazdi, Khamenei and A.N.

Now looking at history, the 1979 revolution was brought about by the Religious Old Guard (Qom), Bazaar and to some extent the Intelligentsia. In 1997 we had the Reformists and Intelligentsia vs everyone.

The reason why the militarist faction in Iran felt threatened enough to attempt a power grab, is because they felt threatened. For the first time, they are essentially alone with interests counter to those of all other factions.


3- Where is the evidence? You say you can't believe Ahmadinejad got this many votes in that place, and all your friends voted against Ahmadinejad. Where is the person saying publicly, "I was asked to participate in a fraud", or "here is a copy I made of the real results in this district" or "here is a picture of uncounted ballots"

There were some people reporting boxes of ballots found on the back of pickup trucks which had been left unopened, and reports of burning of ballot boxes. These are all rumors. For a complete analysis we'll have to wait a bit longer.


4. Here's the thing. The richest man in Iran, and the chair of the Assembly of Experts that appoints and can remove the Supreme Leader is on your side. Who is he afraid of? Forging votes is clearly against the constitution. If it happened, who is there that could blow the whistle that Rafsanjani could not protect?

It's not that simple. First of all, the Majlis Khobregan votes; it is not Rafsanjani's decision. Also they're really only meant to choose the leader. Removing the leader is really unchartered and undocumented in Iranian law.
Secondly, Rafsanjani would only attempt to do this if all else fails. As long as there is a chance that the Velayat E Faqih system can survive, through a change of heart of the leadership, Rafsanjani will wait. This is after all a power struggle inside the Islamic Republic. None of the factions are interested in weakening and destroying its core pillars.


5- Why allow Mousavi to run if he's a threat to someone powerful enough to fabricate the entire election? Hosni Mubarak really could fabricate an election. But because he's powerful enough to fabricate an election, he never has to throw one where the outcome is in doubt.

I don't think they expected him to become popular enough. Also it is in the interest of the Islamic Republic to legitimize itself through elections.


6- The street protests are following the pattern of color revolutions in other places, exactly. Eerily in fact.

I disagree. It follows the pattern of previous Iranian uprisings. In particular Azar 1332. (Oct 1953)


7- The United States has openly allocated hundreds of millions of dollars towards destabilizing Iran, so when Iran suddenly destabilizes, in a manner similar to other US destablization efforts, including Iran's in 1953, how do you get to call it an impossible conspiracy? Maybe it is not what's going on. I hope it is not, but it is completely possible.

I'm sorry, did I miss something? Did A.N. just nationalize Oil? The comparison is very superficial and misleading. The destabilization efforts have also been directed at creating opposition to the Islamic regime. What we are witnessing is a power struggle internal to the regime. These uprising are similar to 1953, just not May 1953, but October 1953 when the students of Tehran University came into the streets. In fact, today, 119 professors of Tehran University resigned. Reason? This weekend, for the very first time since 1953, security forces had entered the student dormitories. 12 students have been killed.


People with more distance, informed people in Moscow and Beijing would wonder what the fuss is about. Really Obama's policies are going to be a nudge different from McCain's.

I completely agree with you. But this doesn't apply to Iran. America has a coherent power structure and one single ruling hegemony; Obama and McCain are its representatives. Iran has many different factions and doesn't have a ruling hegemony. These disjoint groups have been allied among each other in different ways over the years. In recent years, the interests of one of these factions has run counter to those of all others. This power struggle is essentially one faction (that of Khamenei) which still controls the military by attempting to assert control over the country. Most Iranians understand this, and many are risking their lives to keep it from happening. In the last few days, many have died to keep the faction of Khamenei from taking over the country.


I hope this clarifies some of the issues.

---A.S.


Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 1:39:30 AM | 61

Did you actually read the survey???

- was conducted 5/11-5/20, i.e. plenty of time before the elections.

- Ahmadinejad = 34%, Mousavi = 14%, Karroubi = 2%, Rezai = 1%, so there is another 49% up for grabs

Yes I did. From page 8 of the survey AN has 34% Moussavi has 14%, Kharoubi 2% and Rexai 1%. 27% are UNDECIDED. There is no 49% in the survey numbers. Even assuming there are 49% undecided and assuming they break by the same percentage for each candidate AN would win by 50.66% to Moussavi's 20.86%. AN won by 65%. So from the middle of May to the election in June it is entirely plausible that he gained more support especially when you consider that Moussavi was supported by the wealthist and most curropt man in Iran, ie, Rafsanjani. Rafsanjani's support might have been the kiss of death to Moussavi.

Posted by: ndahi | Jun 16, 2009 1:42:41 AM | 62

china_hand2:

Rafsanjani literally owns an entire segment of Iran's secondary education establishment; it's such a huge number of schools that they make up -- i forget, so correct me if i'm wrong -- 1/3rd of its colleges and universities, no? No doubt these are at least partly run by recognized clerics under Rafsanjani's control and who are powers among Iran's theocracy, as well. So even if the schools're only a fraction of that -- 1/6th, 1/12th -- that's still a huge, huge direct influence over the student population.

No. Rafsanjani owns a chain of private universities.

All of the raids and bloodshed, and resignations have been at the public universities. Tehran University, Sharif University, Isfehan University of Technology and Shiraz University.


If there's were only one man in the world who could manufacture a student movement and make it look like it's really a grass-roots effort, it'd be him.

Student movements have a long and contiguous history in Iran.


Rafsanjani is a mastermind of layered and varidimensional political conspiracy that plays both sides of the line, whether for international or domestic purposes.

Again I think there is some misunderstanding and mythologizing. There are smart people on all sides. The rest of your analysis is a bit irrelevant, please see my previous post to clear some things up.

---A.S.

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 1:54:11 AM | 63

by FLYNT LEVERETT AND HILLARY MANN LEVERETT

Ahmadinejad won. Get over it

Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.

They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential election, when he trounced former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The shock of the “Iran experts” over Friday’s results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.
...
Like much of the Western media, most American “Iran experts” overstated Mir Hossein Mousavi’s “surge” over the campaign’s final weeks. More important, they were oblivious — as in 2005 — to Ahmadinejad’s effectiveness as a populist politician and campaigner. American “Iran experts” missed how Ahmadinejad was perceived by most Iranians as having won the nationally televised debates with his three opponents — especially his debate with Mousavi.

Before the debates, both Mousavi and Ahmadinejad campaign aides indicated privately that they perceived a surge of support for Mousavi; after the debates, the same aides concluded that Ahmadinejad’s provocatively impressive performance and Mousavi’s desultory one had boosted the incumbent’s standing. Ahmadinejad’s charge that Mousavi was supported by Rafsanjani’s sons — widely perceived in Iranian society as corrupt figures — seemed to play well with voters.

Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s criticism that Mousavi’s reformist supporters, including Khatami, had been willing to suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment program and had won nothing from the West for doing so tapped into popular support for the program — and had the added advantage of being true.
...


Posted by: b | Jun 16, 2009 2:39:49 AM | 64

You say:

No

Then you say:

Rafsanjani owns a chain of private universities.

I think it would've been easier if you'd just said "Yes. Exactly." Although it is interesting that you say all the bloodshed has been at the public universities.

This is a sincere question: mightn't a big part of that be because the private ones have their own security mechanisms, private guards, and private investors backing them?

Student movements have a long and contiguous history in Iran.

As they do pretty much everywhere.

It's a time-tested way to start an insurgency.

Again I think there is some misunderstanding and mythologizing. There are smart people on all sides.

"Smart" does not equal "capable".

The rest of your analysis is a bit irrelevant, please see my previous post to clear some things up.

Your previous post didn't touch a whit on the rest of my post.


Posted by: china_hand2 | Jun 16, 2009 2:44:25 AM | 65

Amir S. - thanks for your posts, just about everything you've written but especially the parts on the power-struggle alignment have added a great deal to my understanding of what's going on.

Posted by: parvati_roma | Jun 16, 2009 2:57:31 AM | 66

china_hand2:

private and public universities are very different entities in most place in the world, other than the US. so saying that someone owns the education system is false. Either way your assertion is false, the students attacked were at public universities.

Ok, i'll answer the rest of your post:


But back just before the first U.S.-Iraq war, i remember a group of inarticulate, poorly groomed, "politial science" majors from UTSan Antonio suddenly showed up on our campus claiming they represented "Students for a Free Kuwait" -- this was South Texas, these were College Repulicans, and my guess is that not a single one of them had even heard of Kuwait until a couple weeks before, when their political contact came to them and said "We need to do some Astroturfing". They hadn't the first idea what was really going on over there (i, on the other hand, had just returned from an archaeology dig in Tunisia, where i'd gotten quite the crash-course in Middle East and Muslim history), but man -- they were all up in arms about how we needed to protect the freedom(!) of Kuwaitis from the evil dictator Hussein.

Irrelevant.


Ellis is right, as are the other posters here who've mentioned it: when college kids throw their weight behind a mainstream political figure (whether Obama, Bobby Kennedy, Saakashvili, or Mousavi), nine-times-out-of-ten they're being manipulated by elders or superiors in the political and business hierarchy.

No. Students make up a very small portion of those behind Mousavi.


That said, if labor groups and other independent, adult institutions start joining in, then i'm a bit more inclined to believe in such movements -- but not by much. Often, the kids are being used to pull others in: once they see young people (or their own progeny) bloodied and beaten, most people are inclined to join in and fight the people who've done it.

Labor groups are behind Mousavi. Mousavi has in fact always been very popular among to old left i.e. Tudeh. Organization of Iranian Feminists have put their support behind Mousavi. Organization of Artists, Academics, etc.

Yes. When a government attacks students and kills them, it becomes less popular. To call this a ploy is like saying a girl being weaker than a guy is a ploy for the girl to be raped by the guy.


It's going to take a lot more than just Pepe Escobar to convince me the U.S. didn't have a hand in this. Rafsanjani is a mastermind of layered and varidimensional political conspiracy that plays both sides of the line, whether for international or domestic purposes. He has always been interested in working with the West and in creating a more open and business-friendly Iran. He is smart enough to recognize the threat the U.S. and Israel pose for Iran, and powerful enough to convince others around him of the necessity of action.

No. Mousavi's government is the most socialist government Iranians ever had, during the most difficult economic situation. Iranians remember his presidency fondly.


Yet i still can not imagine him attempting so bold a move against the dominant powers without at least some assurances from abroad that the USUK will remain neutral, and hold their fire.

So there is nothing, so far, to suggest that these movements aren't, at least in part, the product of targeted U.S. money and influence -- or at the very least, tacit U.S. support and cooperation -- and until we get more information from Iran's relevant bureaucracies and oversight agencies, i doubt i'm going to change my mind.

Read previous post. In particular the difference between supporting opposition to the Islamic report, and factions inside the islamic republic.


To b:

I guess Flynt Leverett is right, and ~100,000-1,000,000 people who risked their lives to come into the streets of Tehran are wrong.


1. About Leverett: He used to be a fellow at the Saban institute. It was started by Israeli Haim Saban. First director was the former director AIPAC.

2. Israel and AIPAC prefer Ahmadinejad.

Try to connect these two dots.

---A.S.

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 3:11:44 AM | 67

Hi parvati_roma

Thanks for your comment!

Another reflection of the different types of power structure present in Iran and the US has to do with the application of laws. In Iran, it is because of the heavy factionalization that laws are applied in the ad hoc manner Iranians cherish (joking). In the US, on the other hand, because of the existence of hegemony laws are inflicted uniformly, at least on those who don't make part of the power structure.

The unusually large number of competing and disjoint factions, present in the Iranian IR system, and their constant effort to sugar-coat their differences and keep their conflicts behind closed doors is one of the reasons why Iran is so difficult to understand. The lessons of America or even venezuela can not be applied directly.

It brings me great excitement however that after 30 years, this internal conflict, present from the very first days has spilled into the streets.

---A.S.

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 3:45:15 AM | 68

Amir S.

I was hoping you could shed some light on the dynamics of this coup. As you see it, has this plot been orchestrated by the military or Khamenei? Has anyone discovered who the un-uniformed militia are who were reported to have shown up in the streets?--or from which units were they drawn?

We have heard conflicting claims here. Another commenter said that Khamenei can be called an optimist in the sense that he "believes in elections". That would assume he is sincere in his call for an investigation into charges of a stolen election. Thanks for the information you have brought to this forum.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 16, 2009 4:28:59 AM | 69

No. Mousavi's government is the most socialist government Iranians ever had, during the most difficult economic situation. Iranians remember his presidency fondly.

You may mean by those that were not killed, right? Because we all have been reading from multiple sources in the last days that he was prime minister in one of the blodier periods of the Islamic Republic, that himself and his government were conservative and radical to boot. So I don't find any credibility in you afirmation that the 'left' would support him. The true left, not bourgeoisie western loving sponsored 'left'.

Trying to make him look like a social democrat (backed by who he is backed in the current election/coup/green revolution) now seems top most hypocrisy ... or planned propaganda.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jun 16, 2009 4:43:51 AM | 70

Copeland

There was an interview last night on Newsnight ( BBC2) with Mousavi's European representative - he asserted that both the Interior Ministry and Khamenei himself had told Mousavi that he had won and that it would be a good idea not to be triumphalist about. There is no way of verifying this claim. He made a further claim of Khamenei essentially being strong-armed by elements of the IRGC into retracting the victory. Again, this claim cannot be verified. What the publicising of this claim does permit, whether it is true or not, is an exit strategy for Khamenei. I find the fact that Ahmadinejad delayed his trip to Ekaterinburg by a day interesting - I'm not sure that he's happy to be there.

The shooting incident that you are referring to occurred when a crowd attacked a Basij militia building - Channel 4 News had footage of the incident which shows besieged militiamen in a building, parts of which were on fire, shooting into the crowd.

What I think that some of you are missing is that the election campaign itself was very open, with a very vigorous public debate, coupled with the freedom for the public to express themselves politically without undue interference. The problem is that the "transparency" of the process was abruptly curtailed - which is why there is very public dissatisfaction with the result. The erratic behaviour of both Khamenei and the Ministry of the Interior in announcing results on Saturday, rather than Monday as the protocol dictates, has not helped the situation. Khamenei and, in a broader sense, the entire Iranian political establishment, clearly agreed to have an open electoral contest, but, and it seems fair to say this, failed on the follow-through.

I would note that the "issues" here are all internally generated - this is not an instance of outside forces deftly manipulating events. This reading is borne out by the pre-election propaganda which emphasised ( wrongly in my opinion ) that a Mousavi victory wouldn't matter, as the Iranian beast is eternal and unchanging; in his CBS interview last night, Netanyahu reiterated this trope. The statements coming out of both Washington and London suggest that they don't really have much of a clue, which is why they are saying as little as possible. Interestingly, the reaction from the Egyptians, Saudis etc was a wholehearted acceptance of the result as given.

Frankly, Iranian elections have a well-established tendency to make monkeys of all outside observers - I get the impression that this is no different. I think that the idea that this is an externally-driven "colour" revolution is ludicrous - in many respects the dynamics of the election are a repeat of the 1997 Khatami victory ( and Khatami, not Rafsanjani, is the guy who is prominently displayed on Mousavi's election literature ), with the added frisson that Ahmadinejad is a much more capable and serious politician with a genuine constituency that he has assiduously cultivated than the no-mark that Khatami defeated.

The biggest irony in the whole shebang is that it's perfectly plausible that Ahmadinejad won - but the whole lack of transparency in the post-vote process has actively done him a disservice too. As far as I can tell, this has now been punted to the Guardian Council.

Given that none of us commenting here has the expertise to do the psephological and sociological analysis of the result as given, it would be helpful if someone - Amir S? - could point the way on this. I may be hopelessly wrong, but I would have assumed that the electoral profiles for Isfahan and Shiraz would not be too dissimilar to Teheran, rather than crushing victories for Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: dan | Jun 16, 2009 5:38:54 AM | 71

Hi all,

I cannot reply to all comments because the ADSL lines are often down (censored by the same people who rigged the vote)and I am having to use proxies and other tricks to get through as well as to avoid reprisals in this 'free' nation .....).

The Ahmadinejad rally of approx one million people (mainly families of militia, Revolutionary Guards and others bribed and/or coerced to attend the legally scheduled and widely advertised rally) was followed by a one million-plus opposition rally that extended from Enghelab Square to Azadi Square, the difference being that

a) The opposition rally was not sanctioned, was declared illegal by the terrifying Interior Ministry and therefore carried the threat of brutal oppression by the militia and other unofficially employed regime goons (Goons are an Iranian tradition -- the Shah used to employ goon leader Sha'aban-e-Bi-Mokh to beat up protestors);

b) News of the rally was spread by word of mouth just a couple of hours before it took place;

c) The participants gained nothing from the rally (food, coupons, handouts, public transport to and fro) other than the chance to express their views at great personal risk.

Now, which million-person rally do you think was the legitimate one and which was the propaganda display?

Finally, some of you can't seem to get it into your suspicious skulls that the movement is genuine, MOST people in Iran hate the whole concept of a religious dictatorship (I speak regularly with everybody from taxi drivers to shopkeepers and bazaaris who began a year ago to criticize the regime openly). As for aspersions cast by some on my own character and motives, well, I have always had Iran's interests at heart and on these pages have heavily criticized the Shah, Khomeini, the U.S.A., Britain, Israel and any other forces that have tried to destroy Iran's independence. Unfortunately, what applies to Israel applies equally to Iran, namely, that the regime and the hardliners in each case are their respective nation's own worst enemies.

This revolution has taken even the U.S. by surprise. Sure, we all know about the CIA financing of Jundullah and the power of the Israel Lobby, etc.,. but some of you are confusing 'cause' and 'effect': Iran's freedom movement is spontaneous and broadspread, and the trigger was lit on this short fuse by the televised debates which the entire nation (50 million viewers by the state media Seda-va-Sima's own admission) watched and which proved that the 'Islamic' Republic is run by self-appointed barbarians and crooks whose behaviour resembles that of the 'pigs' that they officially consider 'unclean'.

I will fight as hard as any nationalist against yet another CIA-engineered coup d'etat, but what I see on the ground is that the uprising was/is spontaneous/genuine and definitely NOT limited to 'spoiled middle class brats' and 'blond girls dying to throw off their headscarves' (despite the international media's morbid obsession with beautiful Iranian protestors). It is a revolution of the 40 % student unemployed, the laid-off factory workers in spite of $ 250 billion of forex revenues during Ahmadinejad's term (which people compare with only $ 40 billion during Khatemi's first term), the anger of secular Iranians fed up with religious hypocrisy (there are more of these than you might believe following our 2,500 year tradition of tolerance) and many others fed up with pervasive religious corruption and the existence of the brutal militia and Rev. Guards.

You will all see that everything I write above was prophetic. This regime will have to change, or die, by popular will.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 5:52:03 AM | 72

Moussavi is Iran's 21st century Mossadegh. If the regime doesn't assassinate him he will become the next President. This time the U.S. will have to try working with him rather than overthrowing him.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 6:12:05 AM | 73

r'giap, here's one for you:

Instead of raising the spectre of foreign involvement why have you never, ever questioned (let alone criticized) the 200 executions/year (2nd highest in the world) in Iran (including minors), the imprisonment and torture of journalists, the imprisonment and torture of students, the unprecedented theft by the regime of the nation's wealth, the annual 200,000 brain drain, the miserable treatment of women whose testimony in all legal matters carries half the value of a man even if the woman has 20 doctorates and the man is illiterate, the existence of a regime in which a self-appointed "Representative of God" has the final say on ALL matters, the transfer of the entire means of production and revenues to the Revolutionary Guards .........

???

Why I have a big problem with you personally is that you see everything through a narrow ideological lens, whereas I detest Communists, Capitalists, religious dictators and any other oppressive systems in equal measure.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 6:22:01 AM | 74

Amir S., good posts. At last there's at least one countryman who can confirm why the revolution is genuine as well as broadspread.

b (9), you wrote "The U.S. spent/spends hundreds of millions to achieve regime change in Iran. I am not saying the U.S. is behind this, but is this spending without any result? Really?"

"Hundreds of millions"??? So what? The Iranian regime spends tens of BILLIONS to PREVENT regime change. I think you've lost your sense of proportion somewhere. If, in spite of the unbearably oppressive internal security, the torture chambers, total media censorship and every single instrument of control in the hands of the brutal Revolutionary Guards there is 'change', so what if the U.S. supports it? I don't give a shit about what the U.S.A. happens to like or dislike about what's going on in Iran. I only care that this stiflingly repressive and corrupt-to-the-core system dramatically improves, that people aren't forced to join the Baseej militia for $ 500/month support, that the nation's natural resources (zinc, copper, uranium, gold, aluminium, phosphate, semi-precious stones) aren't divided up among the mullahs and Guards like sweets in a candy store, .....

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 6:38:29 AM | 75

@Dan@71 - I find the fact that Ahmadinejad delayed his trip to Ekaterinburg by a day interesting

Are you sure that was delayed? The SCO meeting only started today and today Ahmadinejad arrived in Ekaterinenburg: Iranian president's visit marks future development of ties: Russian deputy FM

@Parvit@72 - and bazaaris who began a year ago to criticize the regime openly

That was because Ahmadinejad wanted to introduce a Value Added Tax which would have required the bazaaris to have some decent bookkeeping. The baazaries protested that for obviously financial reasons (i.e. tax evasion) - right?

Posted by: b | Jun 16, 2009 6:47:12 AM | 76

"Still in Iran none of it will matter in the end. Ahmadinejad has got another 4 years and his mob was ready for the losers' dummy spit, the 'riots' will die down and things will be tougher for America next time round in Iran."

Debs, shame on you for mocking the anger, intentions and sacrifices of a pissed-off population and referring to them as a 'mob'. That's what Ahmadinejad tried to do, claiming in his speech to the organized/coerced gathering in Azadi Square that the opposition were no more than 'a few thousand'. He got a rude awakening the following day despite the regime's attempted intimidation. And the same will come to pass with your careless and ignorant dismissal.

Iran is not a Banana Republic, and its people are not dumbed down like Americans. We are politically aware, cultured and literate. Even shopkeepers recite poems. The language is expressive and flowery, with twice as many words and many more nuances than in the English language. People discuss politics all day and we have one of the highest newspaper readerships in the world despite heavy censorship, with people trying to discern what has been left out, rather than includedl, from one day's edition to another. There are newspapers literally on EVERY street corner, and those who can't afford to buy then read them standing up at the kiosques.

It is YOU who have been misled by 30 years of global media broadcasts showing staged events and emphasizing religious extremism and the alleged 'piousness' of Iranians. It's mainly a game, a ruse that you all fell for. Most of those Iranian who are genuinely pious have turned their backs on the regime and hope to see the back of the regime under the weight of dictatorship and corruption unprecedented in Iran's history.

Before you make such sweeping statements in future about some isolate and meaningless mob, do your homework, visit the country and ask questions of those who, like Amir S., actuall do have some direct knowledge of the subject on which they write.

b, I'm shocked that you gave Debs such prominence, a dedicated thread to sound off on such a sensitive topic about which he knows zilch. Poor monitoring -- if you'll excuse the pun ;-)

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 6:55:41 AM | 77

I think that the idea that this is an externally-driven "colour" revolution is ludicrous - in many respects the dynamics of the election are a repeat of the 1997 Khatami victory ( and Khatami, not Rafsanjani, is the guy who is prominently displayed on Mousavi's election literature)

Thank you, Dan. I was in a state of shock when I first managed to regain my internet access and read all the B.S. on this Blog dismissing the courageous and spontaneous demonstrations as U.S.-engineered. I suppose Khomeini's victory in 1978 was U.S.-engineered? Or Chavez's victory in Venezuela? The opposition in Georgia is U.S.-led?

No? So why do some people think the U.S. is so powerful that it can do whatever it likes?

Methinks some of you conspiracy theorists are too befuddled to think straight. Didn't some barflies say that Ahmadinejad was the greatest gift to Israel??? Even Ha'aretz quoted the head of Mossad as having said this. So why would the U.S. engineer Ahmadinejad's downfall when he is the excuse the U.S. has always needed to expand its military bases in the Persian Gulf, support Israel and feed its weapons lobby?

Wake up, everyone. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 7:06:20 AM | 78

b (76), you're clutching at straws. The VAT was only 3 %, was practically insignificant but gave the bazaaris the excuse they needed to vent their general frustration. This would never have occurred under Khatemi. The bazaari ringleaders were arrested and are still imprisoned, leaving ever more frustrated people to join the opposition. Opposition to the Shah really took off in the Bazaar. It's not just Iranian blondes. Aren't you watching the video and TV footage?

If I disappear for more than a few days it means my diversionary tactics backfired.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 7:13:14 AM | 79

ndahi (42), you know nothing about Iran, so please stop pontificating from wherever you are.

Karroubi received 5 million votes 4 years ago and only '300,000' this time despite having 30 provincial deputies backing him who didn't exist 4 years ago. He ran an absolutely brilliant campaign with Obama's motto 'CHANGE', which brought numerous people onto the streets pre-election.

Please, STOP IT before you embarrass yourself further. 300,000 votes? He had 6 times that amount in his own province.

Posted by: Parviz | Jun 16, 2009 7:17:51 AM | 80

The language is expressive and flowery, with twice as many words and many more nuances than in the English language

Hm, heres a trivial offer re expanding ones english vocabulary ...

Conceited, condescending, disdainful, haughty, narcissistic, overbearing, presumptuous, vain, insulting, rude, pompous, bombast, patronising, domineering, manipulative, discourteous, vanity, conceit, egotism, incivility ...

... even, perhaps prompt some minor self-reflection ...

Posted by: Outraged | Jun 16, 2009 7:52:33 AM | 81

parviz, maybe you should take some notes from your countryman, amir, and try dialogue without being onceited, condescending, disdainful, haughty, narcissistic, overbearing, presumptuous, vain, insulting, rude, pompous

folks here are just trying to understand the best they can what is happening, and i read your comments with interest, but try to ignore the condescension dripping from your words. it's not easy.

no US influence, right? except maybe stylistic, right? like when you say this: He ran an absolutely brilliant campaign with Obama's motto 'CHANGE', which brought numerous people onto the streets pre-election.

maybe you haven't been paying attention to the "change" over here, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. i know, all you iranians are reciting poems and reading newspapers, while us dumb americans sit back and watch our tax dollars disappear via the fiscal policies you so passionately defended a few weeks ago.

i hope you get your obama, parviz, i'm sure he'll make everything better.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 16, 2009 8:50:54 AM | 82

Me: Where is the evidence? You say you can't believe Ahmadinejad got this many votes in that place, and all your friends voted against Ahmadinejad. Where is the person saying publicly, "I was asked to participate in a fraud", or "here is a copy I made of the real results in this district" or "here is a picture of uncounted ballots"

Amir: There were some people reporting boxes of ballots found on the back of pickup trucks which had been left unopened, and reports of burning of ballot boxes. These are all rumors. For a complete analysis we'll have to wait a bit longer.

Um, you're admitting there is no real evidence of fraud.

So can we wait for some actual evidence before the general strike? Everybody knows Iran has some people who oppose Ahmadinejad. Are they really the majority of the country? The rallies do not prove that.

It is possible that these people are not the majority of Iran. Losers of elections are prone to believe the election was stolen. Losers of elections, if they think street demonstrations could change the outcome, will demonstrate in the streets.

If you acknowledge that you do not have evidence of fraud beyond rumors and that your expectations were dashed, and you know that there are major power centers in your country that want to see your candidate win, why not wait for evidence to be presented.

Me: Iran's supreme leader, and Iran's basic policies are not at risk in the election. What terrible fate are would you claim either Ahmadinejad or Khamenei is afraid of that one would crudely invent election results?

Amir: The reason why the militarist faction in Iran felt threatened enough to attempt a power grab, is because they felt threatened. For the first time, they are essentially alone with interests counter to those of all other factions.

I guess I'll never be able to make you see how incoherent this is. First, we don't have real evidence of the militarists attempting a power grab. As you admit. Second and maybe more importantly, we've reached the point where if anyone could demonstrate a motivation for Khamenei to fear a Mousavi victory for presidency enough to fabricate the election it would have been presented.

Me: The United States has openly allocated hundreds of millions of dollars towards destabilizing Iran, so when Iran suddenly destabilizes, in a manner similar to other US destablization efforts, including Iran's in 1953, how do you get to call it an impossible conspiracy? Maybe it is not what's going on. I hope it is not, but it is completely possible.

Amir: I'm sorry, did I miss something? Did A.N. just nationalize Oil? The comparison is very superficial and misleading. The destabilization efforts have also been directed at creating opposition to the Islamic regime. What we are witnessing is a power struggle internal to the regime.

We'll agree that the US does not prefer Mousavi to Ahmadinejad. The US, rather than either winning, prefers Iran's political system to be paralyzed and Iran incapable of directing its attention outside of its borders. The students are giving that to the US, I'm sure naively.

Mousavi though, has been acting very provocatively. He could say, let's wait until we have real evidence beyond rumors. He could call on anyone with information about election fraud to contact rivals of the Khamenei faction that have resources in the country to both expose and act on the information and protect the source.

Mousavi may not be completely acting as if this is an power-struggle internal to the system. I'm worried that Mousavi is acting in a way consistent with installing himself into power while at the same time discrediting Iran's constitution, positioning himself to be in a position where he is in power without any recognized limits on his term in office or powers. Like Abbas, Mubarak or Musharraf.

If he is attempting a take-over of the system, it is not implausible at all that he is doing so with foreign direction, making the same bargain Sadat and Pavlavi did. I hope he is not.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 16, 2009 9:22:18 AM | 83

parviz

not that you ever bother to but you might actually read what i said

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 16, 2009 9:52:31 AM | 84

& i simply refuse to see it in the lack & white way you would like us to view it. it is seen through your proper prejudices that have as little basis in fact as you are accusing so many others. i refuse to see it in the way that the mass media portrays it with the willing assistance of the liberal bourgeoisie & their hysteric helpers at dkos & huffington post. & i will not view it through the slather of american think tank professional hitmen that drwon every medium

it is so much noise

it is interelite rivalry

the people will decide

& the urban & rural masses of iran will play a decisive role

& as interelite rivalries go - iran's is a great deal more sophisticated than you might find elsewhere - so i take antifa's counsel & am patient in trying to filter through what passes for information

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 16, 2009 10:01:41 AM | 85

I'm happy to link to:
Ahmadinejad challenger calls off Tehran rally to avert further bloodshed
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6510663.ece

I have nothing against Mousavi. If he really got the most votes, I hope he takes the office of President. I preferred Mousavi to Ahmadinejad before the election because his election would have made it harder for anti-Iranian factions of the US to demonize the country. If I could vote in the election, or could have on Friday I definitely would have voted for Mousavi.

I have some points:
1- The people of Iran have the right to vote for Ahmadinejad if they choose, despite my preference

2- Supporters of losing candidates are very easy to convince of foul-play and conspiracies, all over the world. I'm completely unimpressed by a large demonstration of supporters of a candidate who is acknowledged to have gotten millions of votes. If McCain supporters believed "the world is watching" and sympathetic to rumors that Obama won by fraud, they could have gotten hundreds of thousands or millions of people to rally. That does not even hint at demonstrating that McCain actually got more votes or has more supporters. Same thing for Mousavi.

3- It is very irresponsible to make charges of fraud before there is any evidence beyond rumors, and it is very irresponsible to lead protests at least apparently aimed at rendering the country ungovernable before there is any evidence

4- So irresponsible that I worry about the motivation of a person that does this, I was worried, never convinced but worried, that Mousavi may be acting irresponsibly in a way that is coordinated with outsiders. I am less worried now since it is becoming clearer that Khamenei and Mousavi are coordinating

5- There never has been presented an explanation of why Khamenei would have allowed Mousavi to run but stolen the election at the last minute. I say again and again, Mousavi winning the presidency, by itself, would not have threatened Khamenei's hold on power. It would have made Khamenei's foreign policy goals easier, not harder to reach.

6- Because there are major structural societal forces in Iran aligned with Mousavi, street protests strike me as redundant. When there is real evidence of election fraud, the election will be overturned by establishment factions that have nearly as much power as Khamenei but in that case will have the law and morality on their side. There is no question in my mind that in those circumstances, Rafsanjani's faction would win out, with or without student demonstrations. Unless there is a factor that we don't know about, such as the state having evidence of foreign intervention in the election process, in which case Khamanei probably would win, as he should.

7- An atmosphere of doubt and suspicion pervading over Iran benefits opponents of Iran. Even if there is fraud, this is a circumstance in which people who are not hostile to Iran can wait calmly for reliable information. It is difficult because emotions run high during and immediately after election campaigns, but everyone who cares about Iran should strive to do so.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 16, 2009 10:34:50 AM | 86

@Parviz - Aren't you watching the video and TV footage?

Only very little.

What I have seen in the mainstream TV is obviously and intentional skewed to a specific side. I do not need to watch the 50th interview IN ENGLISH with an Iranian person that obviously belongs to a richer elite. Now if a journalist would report form Qom and ask some pilgrims in Farsi, that could likely give me a better understanding than hanging in front of the BBC.

And journalists calling Ahmadinejad hardline right are a joke. His policies have been more to the left than most of the others, not only on the economy, but also on fighting drug addiction with methadone and free clean needle programs and allowing women into soccer stadiums (some clerics later forbid that).

Calling Mousavi who, according to Angry Arab, campaigned to "return" to the original teachings of Khomeni (ggod luck to you Parviz when he implements that) and a neoliberal economic program a "reformer" is also a joke.

Posted by: b | Jun 16, 2009 11:51:43 AM | 87

His policies have been more to the left than most of the others, not only on the economy

You mean, the jailing of trade unionists and banning of collective bargaining? Or the funneling of petro dollars into the pockets of the Revolutionary Guard?

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 16, 2009 12:32:20 PM | 88

He's a leftist. Well, he's you're kind of "leftist": recalcitrant anti-american.

I'm sure you could find a pro-labor account of AN's "social democratic" politics. In Counterpunch!

http://www.gozaar.org/template1.php?id=581&language=english>This might help!

Go get 'em, Tiger.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 16, 2009 12:38:55 PM | 89

He's kind of like Eugene Debs and Jerry Falwell, all in one: http://www.merip.org/mer/mer241/maljoo.html>More.

To be sure, his "reforms" were blocked by the leadership, and the sanctions have reduced his options.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 16, 2009 12:47:56 PM | 90

I don’t understand why Parviz and others who are clued in aren’t posting about what Iranians want, or don’t want, even if polls are lacking. Surely that should be the first consideration?

One can speculate according to various numbers (incl. the published vote nos.), make stabs in the dark, speculate, discuss what Ahmadinejad has going for him, or not, etc. One guesses the women’s vote would be a interesting point. The price of gas, as well. (A. tried to rise it ifirc.) The national deficit (huge), perhaps. What reformers might be expected to accomplish. (See Obiman, sorry that is another topic.) Which factions of society sway one way or the other, and why. How income is distributed. What are in fact the main beefs on the ground?

No, what we get, is in the same register as media hype. Stolen elections, reformers booted out, the worst of both worlds (Parviz, and that may be true but it need fleshing out), the weight of protests, and so on. Talk of color revolutions - it is all framed by the media and the PTB. Hysterical diatribes for or against one or another aged pol in rigidly controlled system, then what? Nothing much, so far.

I find it desperately shallow, uncreative, and would like to understand Iran better.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jun 16, 2009 12:52:40 PM | 91

Speaking to you people is incredibly frustrating.

You've drank the kool-aid that

1. A.N. is a leftist/pure Iranian Hugo Chavez; He's not. he has repressed labor. He has stolen: 200B petro $ have gone missing during his tenure. He's a militarist.

2. The americans are trying to bring mousavi to power. No, a strong A.N. re-election would be good for Americans and Israelis.

Arnold:
I'd slept 3 hours a night since the 12th. You go through 60 sentences and find one, written in my second language, that doesn't make sense, and you quote it. Please show some respect and try to read and understand the entirity of what I'm saying, I replied do your post point-by-point.


I won't be coming back here.

---A.S.


Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 1:24:43 PM | 92

I'm really trying to understand your point Amir, I recognized that as a mistake, but my biggest question: what do supporters in the idea that Khamenei ordered all of the votes thrown and fabricated results presented think Khamenei's motive was?

You didn't answer that question. Really there is no answer to that question. What is so terrifying to Khamenei about Mousavi winning? Nothing. If Mousavi won, the world would just continue as usual for all the information we have publicly. Khamenei would remain the Supreme Leader and the apex of the Iranian political system. The composition of the Guardian Council and Assembly of Experts would remain the same. Foreign policy decisions would remain in place, put executed more smoothly.

You're claiming Khamenei orchestrated a huge fraud. Not only do you admit there is no evidence of this fraud, you can't even say what would have been in it for Khamenei.

I'd say get some rest. Elections are stressful times. When you wake up, I'd say don't try to bring down the government on a suspicion of electoral fraud until some evidence turns up of electoral fraud. Evidence will come out if a fraud of the necessary scale was executed. And it will be acted upon.

You admit that there are powerful factions inside the system that are confronting Khamenei. When they get the evidence of the fraud you're protesting against, they will bring Mousavi into power.

Posted by: Arnold Evans | Jun 16, 2009 2:35:46 PM | 93

tangerine @91 "I find it desperately shallow, uncreative, and would like to understand Iran better."

so would i

& the screaming being done by parviz & amir s are largely fact free & is so black & white it mirrors cnn rather than the exceedingly complex situation it actually is

of course the massive demonstration by the supporters of ahmadinejad doesn't exist - tho slothrop rightly brings up some dissension with the working class, i will repeat what i sd before it is the urban & rural poor that will decide here & we are seeing them in the streets of tehran & other cities today - of course the huffington post will delegitimise them - say they are bused in etc etc - turning it again into black & white

as i sd i refuse to be boxed in by a hysteria that has become too familiar a dynamic - whether it was in the election processus ukraine georgia, nicaragua, el salvador & venezuela

i've thought it an interelite rivalry that could quickly become a class war & that seems to be borne out by at least some informed commenters in the middle east & if that is the case - the elections will be what they are in the west - a sideshow

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 16, 2009 2:39:56 PM | 94

Hard evidence of election Fraud
http://www.mashrotenews.com/?p=4643

Posted by: Amir S. | Jun 16, 2009 2:56:28 PM | 95

rattansi on 'revolution'

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 16, 2009 3:50:42 PM | 96

Thanks a lot Amir for linking to something we can't read. That was fucking constructive. That really shored up your argument.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 16, 2009 4:07:05 PM | 97

wow, republicans want to, like, congressionally declare US support for fair elections in iran or something. i dunno, but mccain seems reluctantly adamant. but Omanna says we're not meddling, and because his polls are still, like, totally awesome, we can be sure he speaketh the truth.

Posted by: Lizard | Jun 16, 2009 11:20:06 PM | 98

Any way we could get a little more economic news? I miss the posts that talked about actual facts and then built a credible conjecture based on those facts.

This hypothesis built on conjecture built on hypothesis built on conjecture doesn't seem to do much other than advance an ultimately anti-American viewpoint. I'm down with that. I got no beef with people that see the invisible hand of the empire. Sure. The CIA did it. The fuhrer did it. Oblamabama did it. We think we may have seen the Bruno Magli footprints and bloody glove in the last Iranian rally photo unless we didn't, in which case disregard. But don't you worry, our next post will wrap it all up in a neat little bow.

It's your blog, b. I don't mean to tell you how to run it. But maybe I could drop a little note in the suggestion box that asks for you to a least touch on what I think you do best?

Posted by: Ryan | Jun 17, 2009 11:47:03 AM | 99

MOA is the last place I'd look for information or analysis on the situation in Iran.

Posted by: MeanMrMustard | Jun 21, 2009 10:12:26 PM | 100

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