Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 02, 2018

Iran - Few Protests - Some Riots - U.S. Prepares The Next Phase

Updated below:

The riots and protests in Iran continue for a 6th day. While "western" media claim that the protests are growing I see no evidence for that in the various videos that appear online. The legitimate protests over price rises, failing private banks and against the new neoliberal austerity budget of President Rohani were hijacked early on by rioting gangs. These are obviously coordinated from the outside of the country through various internet applications, especially Telegram and Instagram:

Amad News, a channel on Telegram, appears to have played a pivotal role in the wave of protests. Reportedly administered by exiled journalist Rohollah Zam — a son of a senior Reformist cleric said to have escaped the country after being accused of having links with foreign intelligence agencies ...

Blocking the specific control channels proved to be insufficient:

Special software used to circumvent the government filters could still be downloaded easily. And on Monday, as on other days, there were calls for protests online and on foreign-based Persian-language satellite channels.

The blockage of the internet applications was lifted today.

The original protests over economic issues seem to have died down after President Rouhani confirmed the right to protest, conceded economic problems and promised to take them on. Indeed there are only few new videos of genuine protest marches but an avalanche of videos of rioting, arson and tussling with police forces. The size of the protests are in a few hundred people or less. Counter demonstrations, expressing loyalty for the republic (not noted in "western" media), are bigger in size than the anti-government protests. Since December 28 protests and riots have occurred in a total of 66 cities by now, but only about 30 have been taking place each night. This might point to some planning behind the events. A daily switching of venues might be intended to prevent police preparations.

The groups of rioters are between 30 and 80 people in size with a some bystanders milling around. They seem to follow a flash mob strategy appearing here and there and to vanish again when police appears in force. In some cities rioters attacked police stations, military posts and were even stealing firetrucks. Some of the rioters are evidently trying to get their hands on weapons.

Altogether only a few thousand people, overwhelmingly male youth, seem to be involved. Thousands protest in Israel each week against the corruption of Prime Minister Netanyahoo. On New-Years-Eve more than 1,000 cars in France were set alight by arsonists. None of this is front page news but a few dozen riots in Iran get elevated to a "revolution".

The total death toll of the "peaceful protests" is now some 21 of which (by my count) at least five were policemen killed in attacks by "protesters" and two unrelated civilians who were run over and killed by rioters driving a stolen firetruck. Six rioters were killed when they tried to attack a police station in the town of Qahderijan. The governor there claimed that the attackers were armed with guns.

The same faking of pictures of large demonstrations and "evidence" of government brutality that we have seen with regard to the war on Syria is taking place with Iran. Videos of demonstrations from Argentine and Bahrain are used to claim large demonstrations in Iran. A tweet with the Bahrain video by a "journalist" who claimed it was in Iran has received more than 17,000 re-tweets. Videos from Spain or even movie scenes are purported to show police violence in Iran. A video of a man lying on his back and being cared for is once claimed to show that he has been shot by police while at the same time another propagandists claims that the man had a cardiac arrest after police used a taser on him. There are no signs of wounds or other trauma. The dude probably just passed out.

The terrorist group MEK (NCRI, MKO) "leaked" fake protocols of an alleged government meeting which it claims shows panic over the protests. Allegedly the government fears the leader of the MEK, Marjam Rajavi. The MEK has paid large sums to get support from politicians, including John McCain in Washington and elsewhere. During the Iraq-Iran war it fought against Iran on the side of Iraq. After the U.S. invaded Iraq the MEK was held in special camps under U.S. control. According to a 2012 Seymour Hersh report the U.S. military trained MEK fighters in the U.S. in sabotage and insurgency technics. These people are deeply hated in Iran but feared they are not. Their early engagement in the "protests" via their website and propaganda ops in Iran may point to deeper role in the riots.

The usual neoconservatives in the U.S. media are arguing for "more help" for the "Iranian people". The help they want to offer is designed to worsen their economic situation.

I earlier argued that the larger plan of the instigators of these riots is not aimed at winning a violent "regime change" conflict, but at causing a reaction by the Iranian government which can then be used to press especially Europeans to again isolate Iran. This plan is now confirmed by an op-ed in the Washington Post. Michael Singh of the Zionist lobby in Washington writes:

If the regime resorts to violence anyway, the international response should focus on diplomatic isolation. European and Asian states should reduce their diplomatic ties with Iran and downgrade Iran’s participation in international forums. Sanctions may also have a role ...

Unsurprisingly the neoconned WaPo editors are fully in sync with the lobby:

European leaders, who have been far more cautious, should speak up. ... On Sunday [President Rohani of Iran] recognized that the demonstrators had legitimate grievances and nominally accepted their right to protest. The Trump administration and other Western governments should aim to hold him to those words through diplomacy and the threat of sanctions in the event of more bloodshed.

The rioting at the current level is in no way endangering the Iranian republic. Should some rioters acquire weapons the intensity might change a bit. But unless they receive material and personal support from the outside, like it happened in Syria, the situation will soon calm down. The people of Iran are against such violence and the government has yet to use its manifold capabilities.

I had documented in earlier posts that the Trump administration, in tight co-operations with Israel, long prepared for an intensification of a conflict with Iran. Half a year ago the CIA set up a special office with a high level Iran hawk leading the charge. Last month Trump named another Iran hawk to lead the State Department Middle East section.

Since the Iranian people successfully achieved "regime change" in 1979 the U.S. and Britain have had an adversarial policy against Iran. It has ebbed and flowed in intensity but never changed. Under Trump we will see a rapid increase of hostile actions. The administration just called for a UN emergency session about the situation. That is a laughable move when one considers the size of daily murder the U.S. and its allies commit in Yemen, Syria and Palestine. But the operation that unfolds now is likely just a small part of a larger anti-Iran strategy that has yet to become visible.

Update (Jan 3, 01:00am EST)

I just checked various internet resources for two hours to find new videos of protests/riots of January 2 to 3. There were just a handful and none of them was remarkable. Some short clips of loud screaming of small crowds and light bashing with riot police. The protests and riots are obviously dying down.

This map is by HRA_news a Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). It says "There were protests in at least 11 cities in #Iran on the sixth day".


Eleven cities is less than half than the thirty cities with protests/riots that were counted yesterday.

Posted by b on January 2, 2018 at 19:15 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

The rift in the elites seems to be serious enough if you believe the Guardian.

The president, who increased his mandate by 5m votes when he won his second term, fired back this week by saying that the political legitimacy of a religious leader is determined by the “people’s will and invitation” – comments that supporters of Khamenei, whose position as supreme leader is a lifelong appointment, have received with disdain.

Clerics sympathetic to Khamenei argue that the legitimacy of the leader, or the rule of the Islamic jurist (Velayat-e-Faghih) is divine.

This here is the Financial Times - Iran cracks down on Revolutionary Guards business network

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps is being forced to shrink its sprawling business empire and some of its senior members have been arrested as part of President Hassan Rouhani’s attempts to curb the elite force’s role in the economy.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2018 16:49 utc | 101

Well, the WP is certainly exaggerating when it claims 'tens of thousands' of people have protested in Iran.

"One commentator at least clarified the issue by writing:

Most of the pictures in this article are pictures of pro-government rallies.

The handful of pictures of the anti-government "protests" have been circulated over and over in the Western Media in the last few days to push an agenda.

Give it a rest Western Media! these anti-government protests are small and unpopular even by the people who want change in Iran.

They couldn't have come at a worse time (trump is just looking for any excuse to nix the Nuclear Deal), and serve no purpose than to destabilize the country at the moment which is not good for anyone with any political view living in Iran."

Haaretz published an article with a similar claim:

Analysis What Israeli Intel Really Thinks About the Iran Protests
Tens of thousands of Iranians breached barriers of fear and have taken to the streets, but the regime hasn't yet responded in full force

The telegraph published an article with the opposite 'Tens of thousands in Iran take to streets in pro-government protests'

Ditto The Express: Iran news: Tens of thousands take to the streets in SUPPORT of regime in latest protests

Posted by: ninel | Jan 3 2018 16:52 utc | 102

Is the US REGIME intimidating and destabilising the Iranian GOVERNMENT?

Posted by: Quentin | Jan 3 2018 17:01 utc | 103

Iranians profoundly detest violence. These demonstrations turning violent and manipulated by Nikki, Bibi and her likes will create more cohesion against the USA and will allow Rohani to stand firmer in front of Trump's threats.
Obviously the USA and Israel do not realize how hated they are and how any move they make only re-inforce that hatred.
Go on Nikki and Bibi stir the pot! The burning oil will get into your face!

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 3 2018 17:05 utc | 104

Folks who come to Moon of Alabama tend to be much more informative. And the site (MoA) and the content posted here is reflective of this. I bounce around a few sites to get my true news and MoA is one. What I would like is to have all you good and informed people to visit a few more sites that are similar.
I have been reading MoA for about 5 years but rarely posted since its more a church of the believers and I'm one. I'm also a fan of Zero Hedge and Tom Feeley's Information clearing house. Another good site is the 'Sakers' and some more.
The reason I mention this is that we need to make our presence felt more by posting comments.
For 9 years I was a comment moderator and I know how this free for all makes the wind blow. We all should try to prevent war mongers, racists, and societies built on pillage of the weak from controlling the narrative.

Posted by: Rev. Spooner | Jan 3 2018 17:22 utc | 105

Since this is a site that I love and the comments are usually what I agree with, I forgot to emphasize in my previous post, that it's in our interest to post comments on all the sites we visit. Duh! Stating the obvious but do it .

Posted by: Rev. Spooner | Jan 3 2018 17:28 utc | 106
Mohammad Hashemi @mo_hashemi
#IRGC chief: Sepah forces only had limited presence and were deployed in Isfahan, Hamedan & Lorestan provinces after latest riots.
The biggest gathering was held with only 1500 people and
in total no more than15,000 people joined riots at their peaks.

The total number of 15,000 total protesters/rioters which the IRGC chief gives sounds reasonable to me. All videos I watched showed only a few dozen during riots and a few hundred during protest marches.

Tiny when one knows that Iran has 80 million people.

The G20 protests last year in Hamburg were way bigger (and the rioting smaller).

Posted by: b | Jan 3 2018 17:36 utc | 107

The great Trumpolution

The funny thing is that even if the demonstrations completely fade, the FOX news crowd will still hail this as a victory for Trump's new approach.

Perception vs. reality list:
1. Obama missed a chance to change the Iranian regime by being quiet during protest.
Trump did the exact opposite and the result ???, FOX hails non-accomplishment.

2. Bill Clinton appeases N. Korea; obtaining an 8yr freeze on their Plutonium production.
Trump threatens N. Korea continuously as they develop a two stage miniaturized, thermonuclear weapon and an ICBM within 1yr.
Sean Hannity is ecstatic with Trump's handling of situation; no more appeasement.

3. Obama has ineffective air campaign against ISIS (I'll grant that one).
Trump takes off the gloves and gives the Generals full license in Afghanistan, they drop MOAB on ISIS, MSM has collective orgasm for weeks, war over, or maybe not, ISIS presence grows in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 3 2018 17:58 utc | 108

Regarding other websites, which websites have you written off as hopeless where it is impossible to even post a contrary opinion?

1. Newsmax - totally unbearable.
2. Politico - forgettaboutit.
3. HuffPo - used to be okay until they became Russophobic Maximus.

Oddly enough, National Review, facebook section stream is bearable. The people there are at least civil, perhaps posting under your own name contributes to that. They might ignore you but tend not to insult.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 3 2018 18:04 utc | 109

Well so far I have to say that 2018 is starting off nicely. The Pakistanis are totally pissed off with Trump. The Iranians have now shown the real Grass Roots by their massive demonstrations against the violence of the color revolutionaries - this is the grass roots discussed by Mazaheri in karlof1's link @36. And the UN has dismissed the US attempt to convene a Security Council emergency session over Iran.

It's all over except the empty words and false images. And it never had much substance to begin with. A few provocateurs, relative to the numbers of the real people.

THIS is the strength of the US today? And Israel? And Saudi Arabia? And France?

Now I look forward to the forensic analysis. Oh, for a smoking gun.

What's next for the US? Financial terrorism? Go on, do it. Push the multi-polar world into the Yuan as currency of choice, and gold as the hedge of choice, with the Russian alternative to SWIFT as the clearing system of choice.

2018. The year of choice.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 3 2018 18:15 utc | 110

Wonderful. It looks like the 'Streisand effect' is kicking in. While NPR is continuing to spread misinformation, I hope the same effect will make listeners that still trust this propaganda outlet drop this pathetic CIA tool.

Who would have thought that Faux news will essentially become the propaganda office for Agent Orange?

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jan 3 2018 18:18 utc | 111

@ 97 somebody

There's a struggle going on within the country between various factions of the ruling class. The Mashhad protests were initiated by opponents of Rouhani (Raisi's father in law). This struggle is in large part connected to the issue of succession of the Supreme Leader (rumours have been spread about Khameini's health, possibly by foreign forces or other actors with a stake in the system). According to Hossein Derakhshan Rouhani may wish to succeed Khameini and Ali Larijiani who is speaker of parliament and who Rouhani has worked closely with to implement the nuclear deal may wish to become the next president. But the hardliners are obviously opposed to this. And obviously foreign powers and agents are trying to take advantage of the situation. Derakshan writes:

"To sum it up, this is a plot against the moderates by two unlikely allies, in DC and in Mashhad. Rouhani would either be completely defeated as a capable leader, or he'd manage to manipulate the force of the threat against its instigators, like a jujitsu master."

Elsewhere on his twitter page, an IRGC commander is quoted as saying "a formal official who nowadays uses language opposing principles and values of the Islamic Republic" is under investigation for involvement in the protests." This suggests that former president Ahmadinejad is being implicated

Posted by: ninel | Jan 3 2018 18:47 utc | 112

Off topic:

Bannon is being quoted in the Guardian from his forthcoming book, paraphrasing: "they had (sic) top officials from the new administration meeting with Russians in Trump Tower and nobody thought to have a lawyer present? The minimum they could've done was call the FBI."

This statement doesn't pass the smell test or Bannon is smoking some Colorado grass. One minute he's against deep state and the next minute he wants to call the FBI? I don't think so.

The Guardian Article

Posted by: John | Jan 3 2018 19:14 utc | 113

M.K. Bahadrakumar over at Indian Punchline writes insightfully about this issue.

"The current unrest is doomed to fizzle out. The absence of middle class (which is in the vanguard of all revolutions in history) guarantees it. Again, the lack of leadership among protestors would mean that “fatigue” would set in sooner or later. The wretched of the earth do not have the luxury to protest till eternity instead of eking out their daily livelihood to keep body and soul together."

Posted by: William Manning | Jan 3 2018 19:28 utc | 115

Fizzling out?

Not to worry, Trump will write some more inspiring tweets reminding the Iranians that they are on the travel ban because they are all terrorists and that we have renamed that famous body of water, the 'Arab Gulf', the Iranians love that.

Trump can follow that up with more sanctions, freezing assets, and strong arming the EU into cancelling whatever civilian projects on in the queue, we could even stiff them on the Boeing deal, anything to show our solidarity with the Iranian people.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 3 2018 19:39 utc | 116

Great article as always here at MOOA.

Anyone interested in US policy toward Iran may consider to have a look at this strategy paper from the Brookings Institution (Saban center)
Link here:

They put all options on the table, from velvet revolution, military coup to full scale invasion and so on.
170 pages of "crazy" stuff. There are some serious sociopaths running around ...

Posted by: maningi | Jan 3 2018 19:54 utc | 117

@115 christian.. that is funny, but i like this one better.. btw - so many of those media outlets are complete trash.. oh well..

Is the US REGIME intimidating and destabilising the Iranian GOVERNMENT?

Posted by: Quentin | Jan 3, 2018 12:01:21 PM | 102

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2018 19:59 utc | 118

Anybody here able to give more details about how the Rohani camp leaked/published details about the real payments to religious institutions etc.? If publishing it was first no wonder that the other side took that as an attack on the fundaments of their power.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 3 2018 20:07 utc | 119


He did not leak the budget, he published it in the name of transparency

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2018 20:31 utc | 120

@ somebody | Jan 3, 2018 3:31:26 PM | 119

Thank you! Doesn't this mean that Rohani started the fight. I do not believe that he is so naive not to realize what most likely would happen. As of now it seems to work. Wrong?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 3 2018 20:43 utc | 121

Shakesvshav @99:

Thanks to ninel . . . Ludicrous to describe such a commenter as a troll
There’s good reason to believe that he is a troll - just a well informed one.

Firstly, readers of MOA are already aware of economic and civil right problems in places like Russia, Iran, and China. But we also know that USA and it’s allies have taken advantage of these to push regime change. Such action undermines those who seek positive change and lead instead to turmoil and war. The lesson (still unlearned) is that those who would lead the world must act morally.

One hallmark of trolls is the focus one a single issue or cause. ninel is very loquacious and claims to be a reader of MoA for years but shows up only now as USA-Israel-KSA push hard to turn small protests (as described by b @106) into something more.

In addition, there are other clues:

>> his non responsiveness to valid criticism;

>> his urging us to prioritize anti-Iranian regime over all else and his associated stories of suffering - as though there is no suffering anywhere else;

>> his evident use of second handle (ArioBarzan);t

>> his pushing hard on the story of Neda only to dismiss her later as insignificant when JS describes the real story, saying”As for poor Neda, she is only one casualty.” (@145 in ‘Iran - Early U.S Support For Rioters Hints At A Larger Plan’);

>> his attempt to make it personal -if you don’t see it his way - he considers you to be against the Iranian people.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2018 20:46 utc | 122

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 3, 2018 3:43:52 PM | 120

You mean for Rohani? Not really, as the US has been siding with the protests of his opponents, puts pressure on Europe, and his middle class base depends on him getting Iran out of isolation. I guess, he could not avoid the fight.

He does not necessarily seem to have Khamenei's back.

As I understand Iran's clerical system, Khamenei is checked by the clerical establishment whose power in the end depends on their respective followers who chose their leaders.

Plus the military establishment involved in economic enterprise probably have a life of their own.

Iranian clerics are highly literate. They know that they need the buy in of the youth.

If these demonstrations convinced them that young people under 25 cannot be coopted by personal freedom but need economic security, and there is no way of economic agreement with the west, Rouhani's attempts at neoliberal reforms designed to open the country for western investment are doomed.

Not that I know anything, really. Just reading stuff and applying logic.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2018 21:01 utc | 123

add to 122

It seems to have worked for Iranian security services who let this run to arrest some 1000 people according to reports, plus probably the existing inside network of Iranian royalists and MEK.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2018 21:04 utc | 124

add to 123

Reza Derakhshi
‏ @RDerakhshi

Unusual characteristics of #IranProtests:
No widespread calls in advance
Lack of specific root/demand
Lack of reformers' support
Reaches Tehran from smaller cities
Less violent reax by security forces
High number of deaths in a short time
No comments from the victims’ families

Posted by: somebody | Jan 3 2018 21:22 utc | 125

@121 jackrabbit.. i basically agree with you.. thanks for saying all that.

@122 somebody.. here is my quick take on iran's situation.. on the one hand the usa-israel-ksa want to isolate and make war on them while claiming they are a terrorist state - the opposite to me seems the case), while iran itself struggles to be in the everyday internet world that has become standard thinking in the west.. whether iran wants to open itself up to neo-liberal, corporate agenda world or not is only a part of it.. the other part is the religious rule that seems to dictate a particular code of behaviour, although no where near as bad was what the usa and west happily accept with saudi arabia.. so, dealing with these double standards, while under threat is a challenge and makes the west appear very hypocritical, especially at this moment in time.

at some point khamenei is going to have to pass the baton to someone else.. they need to have the support of the youth, as someone else mentioned here... if the religious leadership of iran is anything like the corruption that we know takes place in the vatican - they could hang in their for a long time and keep what they have going.. i can see iran being accepted into the community, however if the west continues to have control over the financial system that is ruling things at present, it is going to remain a challenge. perhaps after saudi arabia bites the dust and the usa is in full acknowledgement of a multi polar world, it will be different.. that seems like a good 10 to 100 years out from here. in the meantime i suspect the west will come up with some shitty reason to make war on iran, while life for iran will remain a challenge.. i would like to see iran succeed.. russia and china can help and i think they probably are.. too bad the usa is such a shitty actor on the world stage at this point.

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2018 22:13 utc | 126

Somebody @ 122, 123,124: Thanks for the information on Khamenei and the updates. From what you cite from Reza Derakhshi's Twitter account @ 124, the number of dead looks to be exaggerated, perhaps deliberately so.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 3 2018 22:16 utc | 127

A somewhat OT addition to @122 somebody.
The "unusual" part is the suddeness of the "protests" at the beginning and the lack of any build-up of momentum so far. Even the US and others seemed to think that it would fail - so why do it ? ( I am assuming that there is a definite "foreign" influence)

It has been an excellent distraction from the personal troubles of Netanyahu, MbS and Trump/Mueller/Clinton. It has had the secondary effect of "questioning" publicly the Iranian Governement/society. (Note I said Clinton rather than Trump - deliberately, as it is she that was about to be exposed - I am NOT going to discuss why on this thread, much too far OT for the moment).

However, the sudden protests during christmas, seem more a desperate attempt by the "weevil" three (US-Israel-Saudi) to change the course of MSM revelations from their own internal problems by using an external "threat" or pole of interest.

Mmmmm... still, I have learnt a lot about Iran on MoA recently. Thanks all.

Posted by: stonebird | Jan 3 2018 22:17 utc | 128

@127 stonebird
Maybe this can answer your questions:
ANALYSIS: The US's goal in Iran this week is
EU sanctions, not regime-change
January 3rd, 2017 - Fort Russ News - Joaquin Flores

Posted by: Dilara | Jan 3 2018 22:57 utc | 129

@95 Kooshy @121 Jackrabbit

Ideological drones are no different which ever side of the divide they stand on,
If you cant accept the basic fact that people can have different opinions and thoughts to yours, and engage with what they've said without calling them names and personally attacking them, you are not up for a debate or discussion you are only here to reaffirm your previously held beliefs, which is the height of stupidity and a waste of time as non of our posts here will have any tangible effect on the situation on the ground, we are purely posting as a mental exercise.

I do not know who @Ninel is but have you thought about the possibility of our views in this matter are similar because it represents at least a segment of the Iranian population?

Yes I do refer to it as the Iranian regime, look up the definition of regime in a dictionary "a system or ordered way of doing things"
So the Government of president Rohani is the executive branch of the Iranian Regime,
just as the Government of president Trump is the executive branch the US Regime,
also dont compare me to that vile women Hayley... I prefer a strand of Khamenei's beard to her,

Posted by: ArioBarzan | Jan 3 2018 23:06 utc | 130

@Ninel 96

Certainly agree with you, I would also add;
H) End to the extensive Censorship which has resulted in many Iranians viewing the west purely through Hollywood and other propaganda machines and having very unrealistic Utopian views of the west, A good example of this are the Iranian Refugees braving the high seas to get to Australia thinking that they would reach a land where the streets are made our gold or there is no poverty or oppression.

Regardless non of these points are possible without constitutional reforms; as long the 6 full beards + 6 half beards are sitting unelected and semi permanently in the Gaurdian council and have the right not only to approve Candidates for elections or Pass and reject parliament laws, but now also claim the right to change any law at any point with out even involving the parliament (As viewed in the case of Sepanta Niknam in Yazd City Council) nothing will change.

Posted by: ArioBarzan | Jan 3 2018 23:21 utc | 131

@ ArioBarzan and ninel

At least you folks know who your controllers are (6 full beards + 6 half beards). In the God of Mammon world, controlled by the owners of private finance over the centuries, the fog of control through the BIS, SWIFT, IMF World Bank and all the private Central Banks in countries is not at all clear.

Lets be clear here. We are discussing tenets of social organization that have not evolved in centuries around control of money/finance and private property/inheritance. I agree with you that Iran is not evolved but neither is rest of the world in this structural sense.

And finally, stick around and join the conversation or you really will be considered trolls for your hit and run tactics.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 4 2018 0:04 utc | 132

As I understand Iran's clerical system, Khamenei is checked by the clerical establishment whose power in the end depends on their respective followers who chose their leaders.

Plus the military establishment involved in economic enterprise probably have a life of their own.

Somebody @122

It is a bit different, IMHO. The theocratic branch of the the Islamic republic has a system of councils with exotic names like "Council of expediency" -- I guess some terminology does not translate well. These council are elected in multi-stage elections with controlled permission to run, so effectively this is a oligarchy that coopts its members. One of the councils elects the Supreme Leader, velayet-e-faqih, currently, Khamenei. As in other political systems, customs are more important than formal rules.

One crucial custom is that while the power of the Supreme Leader is vast, he is quite detached from day-to-day government. Theocratic branch has direct control over judiciary, police and military. The elected branch controls economy, education and so on. Institutions of theocratic branch may have leadership nominated by the Supreme Leader and the committees, but they are not changed whimsically. In elected branch, parliament is quite separate from the executive, somewhat American/French model.

So if elected President is bent on wrecking the economy, theologians have few means to stop him, but they also have somewhat limited blame. In the long run, it is much better than wrecking the economy with their own hands. Economy is not doing as badly as in, say, Venezuela, but it could do better. However, expert advise is contradictory, and Rouhani seems to follow wrong experts. In particular, my suspicion that domestic import substitution industries was deeply hurt by the liberalization of imports is discussed on Twitter and links found there. One number that was cited was the increase of unemployment from 10% to 12%, but because some sectors were stimulated by imports, the fraction of losers is quite a bit higher than 2%. Moreover, in situations like that the capital typically may gain while provinces loose a lot, and that explains why the protests in Tehran were so scant. There was also a ripple effect, like loosely regulated savings institutions that invested in factories and got bankrupt together with these factories, making both workers and savers unhappy.

Another set of losers were beneficiaries of housing subsidies, construction being another good source of widely distributed blue collar job.

What SHOULD be expert advise is highly debatable and controversial. I personally see nothing wrong in balanced budget, and even low import duties, but "shock therapies" often deliver more shock than therapy, and it is better to calculate the social cost of changes before you make them. On top of that, like Russia, Iran is effectively at economic war and it should not rely on international financial investments etc. Another issue is "corruption". Iran has a number of foundations that are controlled by theocrats and control many enterprises, enterprises controlled by military etc, and that can foster corruption. However, Iranian corruption has a silver lining: it is very hard to move profits abroad, as there they can be effectively confiscated by a new bout of sanctions, so they have to be invested domestically and "generate jobs". Destructive corruption vacuums a country from profits leaving wasteland behind, to cite Ukraine or Angola. China seems to have "constructive corruption", India -- ???. Oil countries have structural problem in fostering constructive corruption, international conflicts can actually help, and conversely, patching up those conflict may have contradictory consequences.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 4 2018 0:05 utc | 133

@129 "A good example of this are the Iranian Refugees braving the high seas to get to Australia thinking that they would reach a land where the streets are made our gold or there is no poverty or oppression."

I wonder if exposure to Hollywood means those young Iranians are quite as devout and patriotic as their parents? Could be they see Australia as a land of wine and bikinis.

Posted by: dh | Jan 4 2018 1:01 utc | 134

Could be they see Australia as a land of wine and bikinis.

Posted by: dh | Jan 3, 2018 8:01:09 PM | 132

I will not doubt about bikinis (unlike France, where beach goers go topless, and that violates even most liberal interpretation of the Holy Book), but Australians are more partial to beer than to wine. And they have a serious shark problem!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 4 2018 1:30 utc | 135

@131 Piotr Berman

Thank you for modulating the power of Khamenei downwards to the level it belongs. The Mazaheri article cited by karlof1 @36 actually makes the point that "Supreme Leader" is a very misleading term in terms of secular power. I take this to mean that the designation of "Supreme" applies more to the morality of his position within the sacred structure than to his ability to make trains run on time.


Personally, I've watched a couple of speeches by Khamenei and found him very impressive. I've been wondering more and more lately what could actually be so wrong with theocratic leadership at the pinnacle of an egalitarian society's organization. I note that the small minority of Christians in Iran celebrated their Christmas rituals in tranquility, with their place assured in the Iranian power structure, as indeed is the place of the Jews.

What we think of as "democracy" in the west, not only doesn't work because of massive corruption, but is also said by some to have been an invention designed unworkable from the beginning precisely to divide and subdue the masses. What a gift it could be to have a moral authority to refer to in times of secular inequality.

I've noted throughout these discussions on Iran a sense of apology, a la "yes Iran is backward/repressive/old-fashioned/" or whatever the bad word of choice is - but I haven't seen anything yet that shows me that life in this ancient and modern land of Persia is lacking in any substantial way.

I have a suspicion that life in North Korea, and Cuba, and Iran, is in fact abundantly satisfying to the heart, because of the richness and ancient tone of the culture, and the sense of national family. By contrast the US citizens are desolately impoverished in terms of this sense of belonging that makes life worth living.

I don't take it as a given that there's anything wrong with Iran, in comparison with the trials she has come through in the last centuries, that still form a part of living memory in the institutional culture. Whatever she may face for future "reform", one can guess that her people are very clear that these things are for all of their national family to work out, and certainly not for some outsider.

And finally, whenever someone mentions the concept of a country's need to "reform", I always want to ask: "Reform compared to what modern example, in this age of trashed societies, please?"

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 4 2018 1:31 utc | 136

@133 I can't really comment on Iranian tastes in alcohol but during a brief sojourn in Westwood, LA we got through a lot of bottles of Zinfandel.
My experience of Australia suggests it will take more than sharks to keep Ozzies off the beach.

Posted by: dh | Jan 4 2018 1:40 utc | 137

The Western media ( CNN, BBC) look increasingly ridiculous in their obsession to see a few thousands rioters and a few hundred protesters as a 'regime change'
It shows the West's impotence in more than 40 years in reversing the Islanic revolution that destroyed their hegemony on Iran
They keep trying and failing
Now Trump and his groupie Nikki Haley are joining the ridiculous western media in interpreting some riots as a sign of the Iranians 'wanting freedom' when they protest for less economical hardship.
Stupidity and dangerous infantilism is the trade mark of the Trump administration. It will end up in a big mess and the USA will need a decade to recover.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 4 2018 1:56 utc | 138

I doubt it. This here is the sober assessment of the British Trade Union Congress

The International Trade Union Confederation has ranked Iran a ‘category five’ country – the worst level for a non-failed state – because there is no guarantee of workers’ rights.

Despite western portrayals of the regime as an Islamic theocracy, the struggles of trade unionists in Iran show that the country is in fact more of a kleptocracy. Iran’s rulers represent people who want to loot the economy by refusing to pay decent wages or, in some cases, any wages at all.

Workers’ protests over non-payment of wages – one of the causes of the current demonstrations – have been commonplace, although other workplace issues are also problematic. Workers often go without wages for as much as three months, and companies intimidate them, harass them and dismiss them for protesting.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2018 1:57 utc | 139


Thanks for the support. I wouldn't engage too much with JS, James or jack rabbit. They're a bit too paranoid to realize that in their guardedness against foreign intervention, they unwittingly sound like IRI apologists. Any critics of the IRI inside the country are branded as traitors and spies and we both know what happens to them. The IRI makes quite a lot of money throwing people into jail and making off the bail. They also have a history of trading prisoners. Nasty government indeed. If only half these defenders of the IRI actually visited the country and experienced what tens of millions of people have to endure.

Again to reiterate its possible to be critthe cal of both international intervention and domestic oppression. This requires a lire sophisticated analysis which b and others are unable to provide because of their sole focus on US foreign policy and intervention.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4 2018 1:58 utc | 140

Sorry for the spelling mistakes

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4 2018 2:00 utc | 141

Also notice none of my paranoid critics responded to the following issues in Iran:

a) child marriages
b) torture, executions and public hangings
c) bonyads
d) repression of trade unions and of the right to organize, to collectively bargain and to strike.
e)compulsory dress code for women (and men)
f)corruption and mismanagement
g) prohibition of alcohol

To that we could add many more:

h) involvement of clerics in non-religious educational institutions such as Tehran university

i) brain drain (highest out of 178 countries according to the International Monetary Fund)

j) the institution of a supreme leader?

k) Shirin Ebadi's husband denouncing her on state television (after his arrest and torture according to her)

l) repression of Bahais

m) the very very brave Omid Kokabee, the imprisoned Iranian physicist who refused to work with the IRGC

Why don't some of you actually respond to some of these things? I can talk about US foreign intervention all day (I've read all of Chomsky's work which is empirically far superior to some of the speculative crap that some of you are spewing out) but I still feel that some of you are so anti-US that you actually become supportive of dictatorships. This is exactly the kind of problem that plagues the 'left'. Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and others have suffered at the hands of US et al. but they are not worthy of praise or support.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 2:13 utc | 142

@ Grieve 134

"Personally, I've watched a couple of speeches by Khamenei and found him very impressive"

This is exactly the kind of crap that pisses Iranians and those informed about Iranian politics. This is a man who is a brutal dictator. Why don't you google Abdol Karim Sorough, and find out who he was/is, and then read his letter:

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 2:15 utc | 143

Europe Resists Trump’s Call for Tougher Measures on Iran

Posted by: Nick | Jan 4 2018 2:28 utc | 144

>>>> maningi | Jan 3, 2018 2:54:33 PM | 116

Aaah, the Brookings Institution (Saban center)

There are some serious sociopaths running around ...

Hardly surprising when they associate with psychopaths at the Lawfare Institute.

Three points:
1. EFPs are used in the petroleum industry so it was unlikely the Iranians introduced EFPs to the Iraqis
2. Iraq was industrial advanced enough to build its own EFPs.
3. I doubt you would want to bury EFPs in the road, more likely he was confusing IEDs with EFPs.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4 2018 2:37 utc | 145

Bikini's and beer may be a bonus, but refugees headed to Australia because we ratified a number of international agreements on refugees and asylum seekers.

From the link...
"Australia’s duty arises by virtue of our ratification of a range of treaties, including the 1951 Refugee Convention, its 1967 Protocol, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This obligation extends to any place where Australian officials exert control over asylum seekers – whether within Australian territory, in another country, or on the high seas."

Although as far as I know we are still part of the UN agreements, intake of refugees was stopped under the Abbott government. I believe this occurred because five-eyes were about to use refugee flows to move jihadists around the world.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 4 2018 2:46 utc | 146

Iran arrests European citizen ‘leading rioters’ – rt news
Published time: 3 Jan, 2018 14:23
An unidentified European citizen has been arrested amid anti-government protests in western Iran’s Borujerd county, Tasnim news agency reports citing a local official. Head of the local Justice Department Hamidreza Abolhassani asserted that the person was “trained by European intelligence services and was leading the rioters.” The nationality of the arrested individual has not yet been disclosed.

Posted by: james | Jan 4 2018 3:43 utc | 147

@ ninel
All countries have domestic issues. All. At the moment there are a huge amount of external hostile forces at work in Iran and against Iran. Widen your vision and move into the bigger world.
So called dissidents that will work with foreign forces against their own country are a sickening crowd. The US is full of these. The hatred of the ex soviet crowd there is hereditary and not confined to an ideology. Same for many other so called dissidents around the world. Mostly just trouble makers anywhere they go.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 4 2018 4:07 utc | 148

"This is exactly the kind of problem that plagues the 'left'. Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and others have suffered at the hands of US et al. but they are not worthy of praise or support..."
When they are under attack we are all bound to oppose aggressive wars and imperialist subversion. Whether or not one likes any or all of these governments-and they could hardly be less like each other (Iran-Cuba??)- is not the point. The point is that the Empire attacks not because it has any goodwill towards the populations (ask any Libyan or Syrian) but in order to cripple burgeoning resistance to Washington's hegemony.
The proper response, when the Iranian government is attacked by the US or Israel, is to give Iran the support it will get by opposing imperialist aggression. Ditto for Korea, Syria, Russia, Venezuela and anywhere else imperialism is attempting to consolidate its control of that country, that region, wherever you live and the planet.
The question of whether the Iranian (or any other country's) government is to the taste of people living in Europe or America is completely irrelevant-our business is to stop our governments from intervening in other countries. History tells us that they have never done so for any but the worst motives. Common sense tells us that if trump were interested in 'democracy' he would begin by criticising his Israeli friends for their treatment of Palestinians and his Saudi mates for a regime that makes Khameini look like Tom Paine.
The slogan "Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism" was used to justify a refusal to confront imperialism for half a century. It is totally discredited and those who promoted it have the blood of hundreds of thousands on their hands.
Neutralism in a contest between a hegemon and a much weaker regime is, objectively, to give the US complete support.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 4 2018 4:11 utc | 149

"Neutralism in a contest between a hegemon and a much weaker regime is, objectively, to give the US complete support."
Covers it in a nutshell bevin.
The same arguments occurred here on the Venezuela thread. People criticizing Venezuela on domestic policy when the main problem is the US attack on their country.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 4 2018 4:19 utc | 150

Was this an all out attempt at Colour Revolution in Iran, or just a 'raid'?

From dubious beginnings it seems to have fizzled out pretty quickly with the government appearing firmly in control.

What's the next step?

Posted by: adamski | Jan 4 2018 4:23 utc | 151

I find the suggestion that 'the IGRC faction' colluded with amerikan/zionist agents both preposterous and laughable.
What is more likely is that the neoliberal urban elite-coddling Rouhanists have torn a leaf outta the amerikan dem party neoliberal book and replaced russophobia with zionophobia.
The difference being yes the zionists have interfered in Iran's domestic politics yet again but they did so by gazumping the ordinary people's genuine concerns about the mess of Iran's economy which the neolibs have made in their efforts to promote class division.

There is a link upthread to an al Monitor article which seeks to undermine the very real difficulties ordinary Iranians are facing by impugning the medium of the complaints, alleging the channel is 'pro-IGRC'.
Those who have read articles in amerikan media about 'how the russians robbed Hilary' should be familiar with the style of the piece.
At no stage is any proof offered, just a claim by two anonymous 'pro-regime sources' that the channel must be ICRC.

Naturally there is no effort to answer the problems which that vox pop of ordinary Iranians excellently articulated - it is difficult to deal with the irrefutable other than by simple contradiction and/or complex slanders which was all the article had.

Those Iranians who have found the growing inequality in their nation untenable have every right to protest about it, now that the ziofacists have stuck their sticky beaks into others' business, the so-called conservatives have pulled back from public protest.
A ninny like Rouhani will delude himself into believing the issues have gone away, but they won't have, the humanists will be further zionist proofing their methodology so that Iranians will be ready & waiting to support an alternative to the now hamstrung elitists by the time of the next elections in 2021.
In fact, even if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were to toss his hat in the ring once again the clerics would be much more reluctant to nobble his nomination next time around as placating Trump wouldn't just be pointless it has been demonstrated to be self destructive.
Though I doubt Ahmadinejad will run again, by 2021 humanist Iranians will have sourced a viable younger candidate who will also garner permission from Khamenei's crew, as the awfulness of neoliberalism will have become blindingly apparent even to that protected species.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 4 2018 4:26 utc | 152

@ bevin 147 I agree with many of your points (although interestingly, the Saudis might introduce reforms that do not even exist in Iran, for example, allowing women to attend sports events which hopefully will force the Iranians to do the same). But I was quite clear in my previous posts concerning the position of many Iranians vis-a-vis their own government and outside forces. Another commentator here, who I believe is Iranian, called it being stuck 'between a rock and a hard place'.

In other news, Press TV released a special concerning the 'rallies' a few days ago .

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 4:51 utc | 153

ninel @140, I don't know what you want from us.

You are giving us a list of bad things that you don't like about Iran, okay, great. What is the context, are you suggesting that this is what started the protests?

I do not believe that the protesters give a flip about 'child marriages', it would not make their top 10 or 100.

I'm certain that some of them would like to drink alcohol but again, I doubt that this is a huge issue for them. Iran likely has a black market for that anyway.

I'm certain that the Bahai are nice people but I doubt that the average Iranian gives a flip about their plight.

I can make a similar list that applies to every Gulf State, Pakistan, and even India (arranged child marriages since that seems to be a big issue for you). What is the relevance of your list.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 4 2018 4:53 utc | 154

@ Peter AU 1 146

"So called dissidents that will work with foreign forces against their own country are a sickening crowd. "

Hamid Dabashi has written an excellent book (Brown Skin White Masks) on the topic of 'native informers.' He describes the ways in which the American imperial project has for some time now turned to expatriate intellectuals to tell populations targeted they plan on invading, bombing, and occupying their homelands for those populations’ own good. But the main intended audience of this propaganda is first and foremost the Americans themselves, who have to be reassured they are a good, noble, and superior people, appointed by their creator to rescue the world from all its evils(!) Native informers have helped out, accommodated and entertained the US and Western populations while the US military machinery has flexed its muscles in the ME. Many of these intellectuals and public figures were used by the US military, for example Seyyed Ali Reza Nasr and Ray Takeyh or by important figures in the military establishment such as Azar Nafisi and Fouad Ajami or by neoconservative think tanks such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali or in a few cases by no one in particular, for example Salam Rushdie and Ibn Warraq because they provided the legitimacy to American imperialism in the ME. Dabashi also points out how Frantz Fanon tried to understand the overwhelming sense of inferiority that takes over those who fall prey to the racist assumptions of those who dominate their homelands. Fanon psychoanalysed the early pathology of what would grow into today’s native informer. The white masks that Fanon identified, however, were roaming around on colonized soil while the masks of today have made the journey overseas.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 4:57 utc | 155

France 24 debate: Iran Protests: More than an economic revolt?

The Iranian commentators who regularly travel to the country seem to know what they are talking about.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 5:18 utc | 156

Near the end of the France 24 debate (at the 42:00 minute mark) n interesting insight is discovered by the media analyst, namely that the reformist oriented media in Iran following the protests/riots depicted the developments as a positive event. So for example, the Arman newspaper, quoting Rouhani, sees them as 'an opportunity and not a threat'. The etemad newspaper pointed out that the protests lacked leadership and a unified message/platform (it's headline called for dialogue, calm and good management). Another newspaper makes the point that hopelessness and despair among sections of the population breed wrecklessness and violence. The reformist oriented newspapers essentially call for the government to listen and understand (which is what Rouhani has been trying to do but he may need popular support and demonstrations to get his way).

The conservative/hardline press condemned the protests/riots as 'foreign influenced' and call for a harsh reaction and crackdown. So it is interesting to take your own views on this matter and see whether they align more with the reformist oriented press in Iran which gives voice to reformists and a large segment of the Iranian population OR the hard line press in Iran which is pretty much a mouth piece of the Supreme leader and the clergy and IRGC.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 5:38 utc | 157

@149 adamski - "...fizzled out pretty quickly...What's the next step?

Joaquin Flores at Fort Russ thinks it was never a real attempt at color revolution - he says the west appreciates the impossibility of that, and simply took a thin slice out of the playbook in order to discredit the Iranian government in the eyes of Europe. It attempted to drive a wedge between EU and Iran:
ANALYSIS: The US's goal in Iran this week is EU sanctions, not regime-change

It's a serious possibility. I personally am not quite in that camp. The conditions for this to be the case seem themselves almost to defeat the case. You have to believe that the instigators are only evil but not stupid, to put it in Flores's terms. I think they're stupid also - simply to try to work this wedge, against all the tide of history and uncountable wealth promised by a future with Iran and the larger silk roads.

I predict they won't be able to separate EU from Iran. There's too much trade at stake. Iran holds priceless resources. If this ploy, and others that must surely follow it, are intended to unite Europe in sanctions against Iran, then surely it must also disunite European factions, and maybe drive a break-up of the EU? At some point German business has had enough, and it's been looking to me that they've long been at that point already.

It's been hard enough to keep EU united against Ukraine, which offers no promise. But if the US could truly unite EU against Iran, with the hammering down of all European business concerns in order to achieve this, then their regime change was always against EU, because that's what would follow eventually. It would be a huge policy score for the US. Trump would gloat over it for a long time.

It's actually an elegant thought. Using the enticement of Iran as a poison to fragment the EU? Caring more to destroy EU than to destroy Iran, no matter what the Israelis want? I don't think the US can do any of this. But it wouldn't surprise me to find that there are people in the US who think they can.

Anyway, now we're in the time of the post-revolution analyses. It's good to have the breathing space simply to range over the possibilities.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 4 2018 5:48 utc | 158

ninel @140 lists terrible practices that are suppose to shock and horrify us. Yet one of his many grievances against the Iranian leadership is their decision to fight ISIS - a fight which has been costly to Iran.

Thus, ninel pleads with us to join his hatred of practices in Iran that he would choose NOT fight elsewhere!

Furthermore, many of these problems seem cultural or otherwise long-standing but ninel shows up only now to air these grievance and attacks anyone that does agree with that they are a matter of utmost urgency.

These facts indicate that his breathless, persistent urging is just a manipulation designed make HIS concerns paramount. Yet there are MANY problems in this world that are arguably a greater menace: such as human trafficking; the drug epidemic; environmental disasters; corruption in one’s OWN country; increased risk of nuclear war; the prospect of massive unemployment due to technological progress (leading to social unrest); and so on.

If you had a magic wand, what would YOU fix first?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2018 5:58 utc | 159

Correction: doesn’t agree

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2018 6:02 utc | 160

@63 Lozion

Thank you for that link. I meant to reply earlier but got lost in my own words - fearing there were not enough words in this thread!

I've come across her but never bookmarked her as I now will. I love the point she makes:

"These interviews reveal that socio-economic justice is central demand of protestors who decry free market, capitalism, scrapping govt subsidies & inequality. In other words, contrary to US fantasies, the freedom demanded is positive freedom to rather than negative freedom from"


So succinct.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 4 2018 6:15 utc | 161

Christian Chuba @ 152, Jackrabbit @ 157: I'd be wary of debating with Ninel: this person's schtick is to dominate the conversation with a string of issues unrelated to the topic at hand. This is to divert responders in a direction that s/he can control. I've come across this form of trolling before on the Kremlin Stooge blog comment forums and believe me it is very annoying to deal with someone who keeps changing the subject, is never honest with you and who has his/her own agenda.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 4 2018 6:30 utc | 162

@156 Grieved
Thanks for the pointer.
Seems to me somethings gone off half cocked and most likely hit the firers foot

Posted by: adamski | Jan 4 2018 8:06 utc | 163


I agree with the old adage: Don’t Feed the Troll! But I think “feed” means: don’t engage constructively. If trolls are not met with ridicule and contempt then some unsuspecting reader is likely to succumb to troll bait.

In addition, trolls that have come to MoA have all been morons that have helped us to illuminate the dumbfuckery that brought them here.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 4 2018 8:11 utc | 164

ninel, you post links to France 24 as evidence? They run many of the jihadi @24 twitter accounts in Syria. @24/France 24/Le Monde is a sure sign the frog vassals are sticking their dick in the pot.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 4 2018 8:16 utc | 165

@134 Grieved, it his known during the Safavid period the common Iranian fared alot better than their fellow European serfs..

@159 Indeed isnt it? Here is what Magnier has to say on the situation, ending his essay with a quote from Khameini quite succint as well, to say the least..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 4 2018 9:01 utc | 166

@ b
EU und Iran: Zwischen Sanktionen und dem Versuch eines Neubeginns
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten  |  Veröffentlicht: 03.01.18 22:56 Uhr
Das Verhältnis zwischen der EU und dem Iran könnte durch die jüngste Entwicklung beeinträchtigt werden. Zuletzt hatten beide Seiten einen Neuanfang versucht.

Posted by: Dilara | Jan 4 2018 9:46 utc | 167

@164, *is not his. Sorry, tired..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 4 2018 9:51 utc | 168

@Ninel @Ariobarzan or a ghost in two shells, so many things you have listed here to portray bad things about Iran (I do believe so many of them has to change) but unfortunately has noting to do with what we are discussing here as is internal matter. Its matter of reforming our culture and knowledge. So many things you have listed here have existed even before this regime! where do you think Iran's government coming? from Mars? they are also people of the same country! these issues to you and I as Iranians, are internal matters, and we should fix and reform it ourselves! you want international community(USA and alies) bashes Iran and put Iran under more pressure so even if there is any chance of reforming among people they can't do it! if Iran's government is bad and evil to put it's people under so much pressure why international community lead by USA is helping them from different direction
If you didn't learn by now hat's goal of a website like this to inform those uniformed like yourself

Anyways I hope you are not trolls, and have a good day!

Posted by: BB8 | Jan 4 2018 9:55 utc | 169

@ Lozion | Jan 4, 2018 4:01:23 AM | 164
Thanks a lot for this link! One aspect I do not see there. If the details of the budget are really published my 2 cents are: the support for the clerics and "hardliners" from the poor part of the society will not implode right now, but it will start to decay. I noticed looking at the pro-government demonstrators that their symbols and slogans favored the [B]nation[/B].

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 4 2018 9:57 utc | 170

>>>> paul | Jan 2, 2018 3:58:50 PM | 11

The US has called a UNSC meeting. Watch Russia throw Iran under the bus at the UNSC, as it has done before and as it not long ago did to North Korea. Russia is a two faced vassal state to the hegemon. But go ahead and prove me wrong Vlad.

It looks like Kazakhstan bought Iran a few days to sort it. Now that it's over, it's difficult for Nikki Haley to argue that it's urgent enough to require any action from the UNSC and the Russians are politely telling her not to bother (see above link). I haven't be paying much attention to what the rest of Europe is up to but the poodles in London seem to be off the leash at the moment and doing nothing, so I suspect the Europeans were looking for a quick end to the demonstrations without too much violence and once the demonstrators were demonstrably violent, they started to hope the whole thing would just go away.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4 2018 10:00 utc | 171

@ Lozion | Jan 4, 2018 4:01:23 AM | 164
Thank you for the link to Magnier! One thing I miss there. There is no sign that the demonstrations at the beginning were linked to foreign instigators. If really the budget shows how big the part of the revenues is that is channelled to the clerics and the "conservative“ parts of the state this will mean that from now on the support of the poor segments of society will not implose but start to decay in the near future. People are not stupid. Those who started poor in 1978 have built up mighty institutions and their hierarchies were later fed well. Same thing in Turkey. If one has a miserable life he will stop to accept the escapism of those new rich.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 4 2018 10:29 utc | 172

The reporting where I live (Sweden) has been pretty fair and unbiased, especially on the airwaves. There has been cast doubt about Irans right to quell public rioting, that is the word used, the media here fairly desribed the counter protests massing "ten thousands" of participants. All well and kool... has had fairly good unbiased reporting too, but the mainly English media is very biased, the Guardian is one of the worst, it is unveiled as an instrument of US main foreign policy.
I wonder how US citizens, mostly mono lingual, will be able to get counter views in general, and in particular to this incident.
The EU seems to hold its breath. Clever. On the other hand the EU has 27 nations that have to agree, something that does inhibit rash decisions.
From my personal view point, Iranians have to themselves sort out their political differences, I do not think that US - Israel in earnest contemplated a war with Iran, just skirmishing, Israel especially dislikes Iran, because it is a credible opponent. The Irony in this being that IF the Israelis could settle their disputes with the Palestinians in an agreeable fashion, they would probably be partners, I know it is far out, but never the less a valid opinion. And that would open a new can of worms. sigh!

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 4 2018 10:29 utc | 173

@ 167 Ghost Ship
The UNSC is not going to make any difference at all. It is hypocrisy, when best, the US completely disregarding the UN on all other matters.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 4 2018 10:33 utc | 174

This might be off topic, but i wonder at commenter posting links to other peoples opinion. I dig posting a link to an actual news source, but linking to what other people think is rubbish imo. You have a mind of your own and a way of reasoning that probably is more sound than some high paid hack. Most of these hacks have not got sources better than yours, most I say.
Let you own mind free and try to formulate your own opinion...

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Jan 4 2018 10:39 utc | 175

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4, 2018 5:00:49 AM | 167

Russians are not really polite about it.

“There is no doubt that the US delegation to the UN has something to tell the world,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said on Facebook.

"Haley can, for example, share the US experience of putting down protests, tell [the Security Council] about the mass arrests and crackdown against the Occupy Wall Street movement or about the “clean-up operation” in Fergusson,” she sarcastically added.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2018 10:59 utc | 176

Hey guys long time reader, barely post nor reply because most of the time im on my phone and its just painful.

From what i have gathered from my experience with Iranians is this.

1 - Pro Revolution, borderline fanatical

2 - Anti Shah, Were Pro Revolution, but got sick of corruption within those in power.

3 - Anti Revolution, Pro Shah, think everything is religions fault, mullahs fault bla bla bla.

Number 2 seems to be the ones that are legitimately protesting. They are right with a lot of things, but Number 3 piss a lot of crap into their ears as well, so they are mixed and messed up.

That is why i believe it will not be a success. Number 1 have firm belief in what they believe in, support it to the death, where as number 2 are just your standard people who kinda have zero guidance as to what to do and how to replace it.

Number 2 and Number 1 need to find some middle ground and grind out some results.

That being said number 3 make things extremely difficult because they are your expat pro israel pro US pro whatever you want, and all they care about is their own pockets and are willing to burn the place to the ground they dont care.

Common theme from group number 2 is this. Gov steals all the money, Unemployment is high, they pump all this money into proxy wars and funding Palestine and Hezbollah and Iraq, they are just crooks etc etc etc

Reality is compared to Irans budget, their funding for overseas "proxies" is extremely low. Its blown out of proportion and what they are whinging about just doesn't make sense. I believe this is because when you have the US & CO saying for 30+ yrs that sanctions are due to their regional "activities"(not because they refuse to take it in the ass from Uncle Same), It eventually becomes embedded and they start to believe it.

They have zero clue how good they really have it.

This is the problem with TV. Everything seems la di da di, but go to the US and see how many people are struggling, go anywhere in the West, and they will see how broke people really are.

They just dont see the big picture, and expect the 1 yr of sanctions being "lifted" for the dollars to just start rolling in and for jobs to fall out of the sky.

Im pretty sure only "some" sanctions were lifted and there are still plenty more in place.

I have a Lebanese backround, and go ask any Lebanese person who has been to Iran, and they will all tell you, they are a bunch of whingers, who do not know how good they have it and how beautiful it really is.

Maybe they should go next door to Iraq and see what freedom brings you, or maybe go to Saudi Arabia, and see the definition of what a corrupt "government" is. I did my pilgrimage and for me to say Lebanon, is cleaner and people are better off there then they are in Saudi Arabia is a big call, but its true.

These protesters have their right to protest. Its their country and they can complain and whinge about whatever they want.I just hope they realise wtf they are getting themselves into.

Iranians are smart people and they are very patriotic, but after speaking to alotttttttttttttt of expats its all the same thing.

If they want their country to burn to the ground, let it be, its their choice and they are responsible for their own decisions.

Its just a shame how they place more blame on the government then they do on the US and Israel and 30+ years of sanctions.

Whenever i hear them complain about giving all their money to everyone else, it sounds the same as people complaining here in Aus about refugees and how they are the reason everything is bad, yet no one will ever question why you pay stupid interest rates for inflated house prices.

To the Aussie readers on here. those protesting are the equivalent of those who worship Alan Jones, and Roy Hadley lol, give or take 10 or 20 IQ points.

My 2 cents. Sorry in advance if i dont reply to anyone on time

Posted by: Deebo | Jan 4 2018 11:54 utc | 177

@133 Piotr Berman
We have a problem with many kinds of sharks- not just the serious ones.

Posted by: bwilli123 | Jan 4 2018 12:03 utc | 178

@Deebo --> 172
Media media media!

I believe this is because when you have the US & CO saying for 30+ yrs that sanctions are due to their regional "activities"(not because they refuse to take it in the ass from Uncle Same), It eventually becomes embedded and they start to believe it.

Yes exactly! they have said a lot so so many Iranians started to believe that hey maybe we are terrorists! So many still thinking and waiting that US will bring them democracy!

Posted by: BB8 | Jan 4 2018 13:15 utc | 179

Trolling vs dissenting opinion:

I try to give the benefit of the doubt to someone accused of being a troll because I've been accused of being one just for just disagreeing (newsmax was beyond the pale). I agree that the definition of a troll is one who throws out a list of disjoint topics just to elicit responses in order to fragment the coherency of the main topic as in 'trolling for clams'.

However, one should differentiate between that and merely disagreeing with the majority of posters on a given website. Too many websites degenerate into borderline cults, lacking diversity.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 4 2018 14:45 utc | 180

@ derby

Iran is different from all countries in ME in terms of population, resources (oil, gas, minerals, industry, petrochemical, military, nuclear, agricultural) and ingenious capabilities (most educated and technologically oriented population). The country should be far more advanced than it is, despite sanctions and foreign interference. i don't think Iranians are content with the idea that they're living better than some of their neighbours, especially Lebanon. The Iranians compare themselves to the more advanced economies like Japan and Germany. It is true many don't want to become the next syria or Iraq but demands to reform and improve the government in terms of corruption and management is definitely something that will not go away. Rouhani/reformers have been trying to address these issues but hard liners and IRGC are blocking his efforts.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4 2018 14:48 utc | 181

@ Peter Au 1

If you listened to the debate you will find that two or three of the commebtators are Iranians who regularly travel to the country and have insights that are worth listening to. Also the media analysis near the end is interesting and as I pointed out before even the reformist media in Iran dud NOT condemn the protests or label them as illegitimate. Rouhani called them an OPPORTUNITY and NOT a threat whereas the hardline newspapers condemned the riots and called for a crack down. Interesting that some opinions here don't even align with reformist opinion in Iran.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4 2018 14:52 utc | 182

Ninel, your posts are appreciated. As one who is bemused by labels, I have a question. In Iran, do people opposing the reformists actually go around calling themselves "hardliners"? Do they carry banners in their rallies saying things like, "Hardliners Unite!" or "Support the Hardliners!"? Do people wear buttons saying, "Proud to be a Hardliner?" Just wondering . . .

Posted by: zakukommander | Jan 4 2018 15:06 utc | 183


"The Iranians compare themselves to the more advanced economies like Japan and Germany."


What is wrong with Scandinavia?

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2018 15:17 utc | 184

@ Christian Chuba

"I do not believe that the protesters give a flip about 'child marriages', it would not make their top 10 or 100."

I listed those points not as immediate concerns of the protesters (although corruption and mismanagement and civil and political rights are certainly part of them as indicated by reformist media and Rouhani himself in a speech) but as issues that some of you may not be informed about and/or issues that you should take clear stances on. As for child marriages, which according to UNICEF 17% of girls in Iran (out of 80 million population) marry at the age of 13 or younger, don't you think the children themselves 'give a flip'? What kind of mindset do you have? Comments like yours are exactly what's wrong with some 'progressive' so called leftists.

@ zakukommander 178

Some commentators here might as well calls themselves hardliners. They sound like mouthpieces of Khameinei and the mullahs.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 15:18 utc | 185

@ Christian Chuba 175

I'm not sure if your distinction between trolling vs dissenting was directed at me or not. If so, yes I appreciate that being pointed out. But in my experience, some people are so wedded to an existing paradigm, one that is so unscientific and dichotomous (either against or for US), which fails to recognise let alone take into consideration struggles between different national ruling classes (US, Russia, China, Iran, etc.) and between national ruling classes and their respective populations, will always refuse and ignore to look at the facts and realities on the ground. Marx and Engels referred to this as 'ideology', the same kind some commentators here criticise when it comes to US propaganda.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 15:29 utc | 186

somebody @ 100.

You are right to bring that up. Imho 40% of the Iranian economy is in the hands of the religious wing, with the actual ‘gvmt’ occupying a regulatory role (with some members being major owners in biz like everywhere, so semi-gov orgs, read utilities etc)…which has always made for an uneasy duopoly top-level, officially something like a partnership.

The problem as I wrote before from a reformist “free market” pov are the monopolies / strangleholds. Assad faced exactly the same conundrums and also ‘liberalised’, ‘privatised’, cut subsidies (to farmers! never forget) and so on (link, top of goog, no flash news, fox 2010, an ex.) in his case *against* the advice of his finance min. at the time. Assad thought a new constitution (2012) would be beneficial, as he was called on to implement political reform.

Rouhani followed a somewhat similar path > getting the sanctions, a source of many ills according to him - impeding trade, confidence, profit, prosperity, etc.- lifted. Thru the ‘nuke’ deal. To R’s credit, he understood that stiffing the poor was not a great idea.

Idk how serious quarrels between the two factions you mention are but they are of long standing. Sadly whatever the outcome is it is unlikely to be positive for the poor - unemployed - …

A general outside pov.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 4 2018 15:34 utc | 187

@ jackrabbit 157

The post is about Iran not the world. These are issues that affect millions of lives. I didn't even list the environment/pollution which is a huge problem (schools, businesses and public offices are regularly shut down) or the declining birthdate (government officials have tried to bribe the population to have more children). Why doesn't the IRI address these issues? It would help its image inside and outside the country. Other governments like the US wouldn't be able to criticize as much. The IRI I don't think cares about its legitimacy inside the country. It's more focused on external threats. It knows it can use force and violence to put the population in check. A regime that doesn't even try to legitimate itself and rule through ideas rather than force is a nasty entity.

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4 2018 15:44 utc | 188

@Bianca 33:
Yes, things are getting confusing. The US MIC goal of sowing chaos all over world, and particularly the "arc of instability" has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, and now old, stable alliances are breaking down all over. Brings to mind the Monkey's Paw and the old saw, "Be careful what you wish for."

Posted by: William Rood | Jan 4 2018 15:48 utc | 189

Posted by: Ninel | Jan 4, 2018 10:44:46 AM | 183
1. There is child marriage in the US
2. Policemen are shot in the US
3. There is cruel capital punishment in the US and prisons are private enterprise - the US have the highest incarceration rate of the world
4. The president of the US denies the effects of global warming
5. The US has been toppling foreign governments and used terrorism
6. Electronic surveillance by the US is wide spread
7. Declining birthrate - sure
A regime that doesn't even try to legitimate itself and rule through ideas rather than force is a nasty entity.

Your argument is getting ridiculous. I'll ignore you from now on.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2018 16:14 utc | 190

ninel says:

Also notice none of my paranoid critics responded to the following issues in Iran...

g) prohibition of alcohol

the prohibition of alcohol seems to be one of your major gripes, which is curious, as not only is this one of the tenets of Islam, but even western academic peer reviewed materials have concluded what is obvious to anyone with half a brain and an ounce or two of honesty, i.e. that alcohol causes(by far) the most damage to society of any drug.

Posted by: john | Jan 4 2018 16:14 utc | 191

>>>> Den Lille Abe | Jan 4, 2018 5:33:43 AM | 169

The UNSC is not going to make any difference at all.

That was my fucking point.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4 2018 16:45 utc | 192

From 2010 Wikileaks:
Mossad Sells U.S. on Iran Regime Change Plan

Posted by: Anonymous | Jan 4 2018 16:46 utc | 193

@ john 186

Do you think majority of Iranians want/like prohibition? Do you know how much alcohol and other drugs are consumed in the country which the IRGC/clergy has a stake in and benefits from? There's a drug epidemic in Iran (and yes elsewhere too). Do you think the IRI has the 'best interests' of people at heart, that it knows better and does not need democratic consent to govern? I think you're taking up a position that is very difficult to defend my friend. Also, do you drink yourself? If so, then I find it very rich that some people who benefit from what they perceive to be trivial civil liberties, to lecture others about the insignificance of such freedoms.

In general, I find the views and opinions of some commentators here to be illogical, unprogressive and socially destructive. Your anti US stance drives you to take up some untenable positions. Very disheartening to see indeed.

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 16:53 utc | 194

I forgot to mention, if the raison d'etre of prohibition in Iran is the IRI's concern for peoples' well being, then why is the consumption of tobacco and other opiates legal and tolerated in the country? Ditto child marriages. I guess it's good for 13 year old girls and younger to marry off, out of desperation and poverty, to disgusting grown ass men. Public hangings must also be good for a people as sophisticated and cultured as the Persians who gave us the likes of great poets such as Hafez, Rumi, Saadi, Ferdowsi and Ganjavi. Google 'Lake Urmia' and see what the authorities there have done about it (or other issues, see for example:

Posted by: ninel | Jan 4 2018 17:00 utc | 195

@189 "Your anti US stance drives you to take up some untenable positions."

On the other hand your pro-US stance suggests you want the US to solve Iran's problems....morally, economically, militarily. You don't seem to understand that a lot of Americans want to solve problems at home before they start on yours.

Posted by: dh | Jan 4 2018 17:01 utc | 196

I haven't seen this reported so here is a ZH article about China telling its media to stop Iran protest reporting

China Orders Media To Stop Reporting Iran Unrest, Desires Stability For Massive Investments

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 4 2018 17:01 utc | 197

Iran public prosecutor unveils plots behind street unrests

Montazeri said that the main projector of the plan was an American national named Michael Andrea, a former CIA member in charge of combatting terrorism that formed the group to create unrest in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Michael Andrea along with an officer affiliated to Mossad spy agency were in charge of masterminding the plot while Saudi Arabia paid for all the expenses, he said.

The plot dubbed as 'Consequential Convergence Doctrine' was designed based on the data gathered throughout years', Montazeri said, adding that they conducted various scenarios such as protesting the high cost of living, high pay of bills and financial demands of the retired people.

Other outlawed groups such as MKO, followers of the monarchial regime, the nationalists and several groups affiliated to the communists were present in the plot, he said.

They had offered two models named Tunisia and Libya and finally chose the latter which was to create waves of unrest from outside to the center, Montazeri added.

They had prepared two operation rooms in Ebril of Iraq and Heart in Afghanistan to cross Daesh Takfiri groups to the streams of these unrests, he said.

Some analysts believe that they had prepared the plot for the year 2018 but due to the country's special circumstances they put it on ahead of schedule, the public prosecutor added.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 4 2018 17:05 utc | 198

@ninel 180, "[child marriages] but as issues that some of you may not be informed about and/or issues that you should take clear stances on... marry at the age of 13 or younger. What kind of mindset do you have?"

Guess what, I am still not informed just as my bonehead peers weren't informed after hearing about Gaddafi's impending slaughter of Benghazis when we pulled the switch and destroyed that country. I distrust comments designed to invoke an emotional response without any connection to a logical point. Gaddafi's atrocities were pure fiction. What am I supposed to do, think, 'those bastards, let's topple the regime', for all I know the protesters want to have child marriages starting at 8, or perhaps even sell child brides to the highest bidder.

Sorry, I'm not outraged, 13 is young but in the U.S. you can marry in some states at 16. So 18% of Iranians are married by 18 yrs of age, what is the correct number, tell you what, Iran is barred from joining the EU. The EU has all kinds of requirements for membership.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jan 4 2018 17:07 utc | 199

>>>> somebody | Jan 4, 2018 5:59:07 AM | 171

Russians are not really polite about it.

Did I say anything about "really polite"? No, I just said "politely" and was being ironic because the comment you quoted wasn't as polite as one would normally expect from the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, who btw is more popular with Russians than that well known "leader of the opposition" Alexei Navalny.

But I really don't see the sarcasm in her statement. On the other hand, if MariavZakharova had mentioned the "entirely peaceful way in which American police had dealt with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Ferguson protests", I'd say bang on, sister but unfortunately Nikki Haley is a thick as shit American and the insult would have passed her by.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 4 2018 17:14 utc | 200

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