Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 25, 2021

Iran Election Preview

The Guardian Council of Iran, which preselects candidates for the presidential election, has today announced the names of those who have passed its tests:

The list of seven presidential hopefuls was unveiled by Iranian state media on Tuesday. The candidates have been picked from nearly 600 people who submitted their bids for approval. The list is dominated by political hardliners, including judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, believed to be a very close figure to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a favorite in the upcoming polls.

Raisi ran for president before, losing to the incumbent president, Hassan Rouhani, back in 2017 by a wide margin of nearly 20% of the votes. Rouhani is barred from running for office again due to legal limitations, as he has already served the maximum allowed two consecutive four-year terms.

Two candidates who I would have liked to see running were disqualified.

One was former parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani on the reformist side who had supported the current President Rouhani in the Majles (parliament). The reformists, who had banked on the nuclear deal, lost support when Trump shunned it and sanctions brought the economy down. The Majles now has a conservative majority and the upcoming presidential elections will likely also trend towards a conservative candidate.

But if Larijani had been allowed to run the election would also have been a real contest between the conservative and reformist side. Without such a contest the voter participation in the election will be on the lower side. That might damage the system's legitimacy.

Golnar Motevalli @golnarM - 11:19 utc · May 25, 2021

Fars news says the latest poll indicates participation in Iran's presidential election will be 53%.
Of those who said they will definitely turn up and vote, 72.5% said they'll pick Raisi.

On the conservative side I would have liked to see the former president (2005-2013) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being allowed to run. While the establishment - in Iran and in the 'west' - despised his style, working class people in Iran tend to like him. A February poll by the University of Maryland asked "who would you want to be Iran’s next president". 28.2% named Raisi while 15.1% named Ahmadinejad. All other candidates had much lower values.

A confusing aspect of Iranian politics is that the socially conservatives, which the west unfairly calls 'hardliners', are on the social-democratic left on economic issues while the socially liberal reformers tend to favor the bazaari and capitalists. Still, it is not yet clear to me what Raisi's economic preferences and policies are.

The election will be held on June 18. Meanwhile the U.S. and Iran are still negotiating about the U.S. return to the nuclear deal. The Biden administration has been very slow to work on the issue and thereby destroyed all election hopes for the reformists in Iran. It also made it more likely that the attempt to return to the deal will fail as the soon ruling conservatives in Iran will likely oppose any condition the U.S. is trying to attach to it.

Posted by b on May 25, 2021 at 17:26 UTC | Permalink

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Thanks for this info b.

Given that there are no coincidences in politics, it seems to me that the slow motion displayed by the US in negotiations for a return to JCPOA means they prefer the conservatives/hardliners.

Is it because they want Iranian leadership to just say no? To be able to say 'there is nobody there to talk to' so we'll just need to bomb them?

Or is the simpler explanation of just being incompetent and continuing to drop the ball the correct one?

Posted by: Idiocrates | May 25 2021 17:48 utc | 1

Hmmm. Though no longer possible an 11th hour, hail Mary, soon to be reneged on, breakthrough agreement by the non-agreement capable team Biden would have influenced the election. That was a good take I saw here.
So with the deal remaining dead, four to eight years of this swing in combination with events in occupied Palestine is going to further change the ME. They are going to be armed to teeth with missiles and drones all over the ME.
That is unfortunate but it seem to me unavoidable. They are adapting to the occupiers high technology tactics.
We are looking at autonomous killer tanks and drone swarms next.
If you are a movie buff. This is the first time in history that Sky Net (from Terminator) now has the chance to take over. Not really, but the necessary pieces all exist not. In reality land we just end. This ain't a movie.

Posted by: David G Horsman | May 25 2021 17:54 utc | 2

David G Horsman@2 Tanks versus buildings, the buildings tend to win. Drones do even worse. In warfare, every built up city can turn into Stalingrad, where the defense can exact a terrible price for every objective. A minority with funding, including outside funding, can tie up the legitimate government in knots for years. See: Lebanon, Libya, Syria. Automated machine guns on four wheelers seems like the future of robot warfare to me.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 25 2021 18:19 utc | 3

"A confusing aspect of Iranian politics is that the socially conservatives, which the west unfairly calls 'hardliners', are on the social-democratic left on economic issues while the socially liberal reformers tend to favor the bazaari and capitalists."

Actually, it is similar in Poland. There is nothing "natural" in combining religious conservatism with "free-market" bent, to me, it is American peculiarity, although it seems to be present in India as well.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 25 2021 18:26 utc | 4

Well, as Mao so aptly put it:
"Religion is poison"

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 25 2021 18:33 utc | 5

re: The Biden administration has been very slow to work on the issue
The US president has no sole authority to make important agreements, AKA treaties, with other countries, especially when the Israeli bought-and-paid-for Senate would never consent to such an agreement.
. . .US Constitution on presidential authority--
"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur"

Looking at it generally, recent US presidents have been autocrats regarding treaties. Bush-43 did it with Iraq regarding US troop removal (then Obama got blamed for it). Obama did it with the JCPOA, then Trump got out of it while while dumping on autocratic governments elsewhere. Trump then made an agreement (Singapore) with DPRK's Kim, which Trump promptly disregarded.

Now Biden in his weak way is dealing with the JCPOA (while also disregarding Singapore). It's: 'Hey I'm the president and also the commander-in-chief, with a free hand on all international matters, and the status quo works for me.' And Israel, BTW.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 25 2021 18:49 utc | 6

For some context, just how powerful is the office of president in Iran?

Some say Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the single most powerful person in Iran with the president being second.
Others believe the leader of the IRGC can be even more powerful than the president.

So, the question is this: If a "hardliner" wins, what are the possible consequences in future reactions to US and Israeli attacks?

Posted by: Mar man | May 25 2021 18:55 utc | 7

thanks b... i tend to agree with @ 1 Idiocrates in that the usa-israel want the hardliners so they can continue with their bullshit...

Posted by: james | May 25 2021 19:09 utc | 8

Actually, given the experience of Russia, China and others with the non-agreement capable US, I am starting to think that just saying no is the better strategy.

Thanks to the recent dispalys of misile and drone (asymetric?) warfare from Lebanon, to Yemen, to Palestine, the option to just 'bomb-bomb-bomb Iran' into the stone age is clearly off the table. That means the US has no good options.

This aparent shift in warfare is well discussed in https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/24/the-missile-intifada-brings-an-era-crashing-down/.

Posted by: Idiocrates | May 25 2021 19:12 utc | 9

I do have to say that of all the potential candidates I referred Ackmaninejad. He was without doubt one big s*** stirrer. It seems the Iranian deep state is not interested in that type confrontation. That is their choice. Certainly as an US citizen it is not my choice.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 25 2021 19:46 utc | 10

Iran is a sovereign nation, not having to accept any limitations by the "rules-based" US, and there is no basis for the UN to treat it otherwise.
UN Charter: "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members."

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 25 2021 19:48 utc | 11

"Meanwhile the U.S. and Iran are still negotiating about the U.S. return to the nuclear deal."
There is no negotiations. The US representative is sitting in his hotel room, the other principles to the deal sitting in another, waiting for the US to come back. How can you negotiate with someone who agreed to something and then simply reneged. Especially when that party wants to add more conditions.

Posted by: Michael Doliner | May 25 2021 19:51 utc | 12

"A confusing aspect of Iranian politics is that the socially conservatives, which the west unfairly calls 'hardliners', are on the social-democratic left on economic issues.."

Not confusing at all. The Bolsheviks/Soviets and associated communists were historically fairly conservative on a number of social issues. The Latin American left (with the exception of Cuba) has been even more so, with the Sandinistas and others being denounced as reactionaries and champions of patriarchal values etc. This is why the US-backed regime change operations in the region in the 21st cent. include an unholy combo of fascists, liberals, eco-"socialists" and LGBT activists.

Posted by: Constantine | May 25 2021 20:11 utc | 13

Constantine | May 25 2021 20:11 utc | 12:

re Bolsheviks/Soviets and social conservatism:

It's worth noting that this wasn't true in the pre-Stalin era. Georgii Chicherin, an open homosexual, was Lenin's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and even survived in that position under Stalin, who found him too useful to discard, until 1930 (and died, apparently of natural causes, six years later). Tsarist laws against homosexual acts were eliminated in the RSFSR penal code, reintroduced throughout the USSR by Stalin in the early 1930s. Similarly, abortion was decriminalized in the RSFSR in 1920 (and in the USSR a year later), only to be recriminalized by Stalin in 1936.

It's Stalin who aligned state Marxism with social conservatism, with predictable consequences in post-WWII Eastern Europe and the PRC. Interestingly, in officially communist countries where Western notions of social conservatism are irrelevant (Vietnam, Laos), homosexual acts have never been considered criminal offenses.

Posted by: corvo | May 25 2021 20:43 utc | 14

@1,@8 James

In a speech in 2006, after the Israeli withdrawal, Nasrallah stated that Israel held onto a small piece of S Lebanon because they needed Hezbollah to exist... He mocked them, and pointed out how the country would fall to hating and fighting itself without Hezbollah as a 'threat'. He said, even if we didn't exist, they would have to create us.

We get to watch it in action, as the US is now in the same position

Posted by: les7 | May 25 2021 20:45 utc | 15

The right way to escalate against the outlaw U.S. regime. I would love to see Iran make an arrangement with either Russia and/or China to buy uranrium enriched to 90% so that Iran could enrich to that level but not store it in their country.

1. It would genuinely alarm the insane Neocons in the U.S. and it would be an appropriate way for them to put pressure on the U.S. while demonstrating that they are not building a bomb.

2. While they are not building a bomb, it would allow them to improve their centrifuge technology to the point where it would certainly reduce that famous 'break out window'. But hey, you have Trump to thank for that. How else should they respond.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 25 2021 20:46 utc | 16

@3 Steve re thanks vs buildings

You forget Hama

In about 1982, in the original brotherhood revolt in Syria, Assad the father sent tanks into a neighborhood, about 1/5 of the city, with bulldozer blades.

Some 15,000 people lie beneath the pavement, streets, and parks. Army casualties were minimal. People had one chance to leave. Most did not

The movie themed rebels hiding in rubble strewn sets only exists where air and artillery are primary.

Tanks are a whole different level if there is will to use them

Posted by: les7 | May 25 2021 20:55 utc | 17

"A confusing aspect of Iranian politics is that the socially conservatives, which the west unfairly calls 'hardliners', are on the social-democratic left on economic issues while the socially liberal reformers tend to favor the bazaari and capitalists."
The former is how the Left has historically been in Europe, and the latter is how the right currently is in Europe. Note: "the right" is basically the bulk of current European parties, including allegedly "leftist" ones.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 25 2021 21:05 utc | 18

A Russian Tu22M3 just landed in Syria to begin operations from that base

Previously they worked out of temporay facilities in Iran for central ME operations

Is Russian stepping back from what they see developing in Iran?

Posted by: les7 | May 25 2021 21:08 utc | 19

"A confusing aspect of Iranian politics is that the socially conservatives, which the west unfairly calls 'hardliners', are on the social-democratic left on economic issues while the socially liberal reformers tend to favor the bazaari and capitalists."

Meh. That's perfectly natural, even universal. Communitarianism, from Anabaptism to Muslim Brotherhood, is all about community. While liberalism is exactly the opposite. It's just another word for individualism, with everything that follows.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | May 25 2021 21:33 utc | 20

It is hard for any objective observer to expect anything other than a readjustment to at least center, given the events of the last few years. Add to that the 'less than perfect' situation, and related developments, as regards development of international relations with the west (to be very, um, diplomatic about it), and it is difficult for a rational person to arrive at a conclusion which would not include certain correction.

Posted by: Joshua | May 25 2021 22:01 utc | 21

Mao Cheng Ji | May 25 2021 21:33 utc | 19

That's a great way to simplify the fake politics of our world.
Forget left and right is it truly for the welfare of people or for the money for a few?

Posted by: KF | May 25 2021 22:02 utc | 22

When the 'collective west' admits to themselves that everyone else is also human, things like this will begin to make much more sense to them.

Posted by: Josh | May 25 2021 22:05 utc | 23

Posted by: corvo | May 25 2021 20:43 utc | 13

As I pointed out, the Bolsheviks/Soviets and most communists and/or socialists have been fairly socialy conservative on a number of issues, but not on everything. The effort to terminate discrimination for homosexuals or the first gender change surgical operation never implied the creation of a cult.

The same can be said about abortion. The legalization took place in the context of the transformation of the country and the ruination caused by the Entente-instigated Civil War, but abortion was not deemed a casual option by the early Bolsheviks. It would surprise many people today, left and right, to know that the prominent Bolshevik feminist Nadezhda Krupskaya, lenin's wife and later widow, was not at all fond of abortion as she herself wished to have children but couldn't due to a pathological condition. She believed that the option should exist, but the Soviet government and society should strive to "eliminate the causes that lead to abortion". I should add that this seems to be the most rational approach on the subject.

The same can be said about other social mores and can be expanded when other socialist movements are taken into consideration. Sexuality was deemed extremely private and not to be flaunted (andthis has been the case in Vietnam or Laos too) and I won't mention pornography, even though the latter has been around in some form or another since antiquity.

The use of weed, marijuana, halucinogenics and drugs in general was also proscribed due to its perceived deleterious effect of detaching people from reality.

The only possible exception to much of that may be Cuba, but even there certain standards hold sway.

Posted by: Constantine | May 25 2021 22:48 utc | 24

The participation rate will be very low in this years elections.
Ahmadinejad fans (~20% of population) will most likely ban elections altogether. The reformists (Larijani was supposed to spearhead them) are another 40% whom are not strong supporters of the IRI to begin with, and need a big motive to vote in general.

That means participation rate will be around 40-50%. The establishment decided to block Larijani and Ahmadinejad to ensure Raisi will win the election, even with low turnout, rather than risk it. Probably because of the future with China.

All the other 6 candidates have ran and lost before. They have a combined vote of less than 10% in the polls.

Posted by: A | May 25 2021 22:48 utc | 25

les7@16 may be right about Hama. I'm skeptical about the casualty figures, which may be a sensible estimate or may be a hallowed propaganda point. I'm also uncertain how many casualties were actually insurgents versus how many were just collateral damage. Further, I don't know how "built up" that part of Hama was. But judging from every other example I know of, Hama would still be remarkably exceptional. Tanks failed miserably in the center of Grozny, which I think would be the most relevant example of using tanks in a built up area of a city with a funded and organized opposition. I don't think tanks with bulldozer blades would topple multiple story steel frame stone buildings so easily.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 25 2021 22:49 utc | 26

Kind of sad that even RT uses western media propaganda terms like ‘state media’ and ‘hardliners’. How about just using ‘Iranian media’ (no qualifiers needed) and ‘conservatives’ (instead of ‘hardliners’). Why parrot the west’s idiotic language? It’s not like it will earn RT any more respect from the western media and governments.

It’s bad enough that RT America (TV) thinks it had to mirror “conservative” talking points on China and Iran.

RT would benefit from new, less westcentric management. Chinese “state media” does a far better job countering western propaganda bs with facts.

Posted by: Antibody | May 25 2021 22:54 utc | 27

Constantine | May 25 2021 22:48 utc | 23 :

Perhaps we have different understandings of what it means to be a Western "social conservative." For me one of its hallmarks is the degree of control the state has over the individual's body in intimate matters: social conservatives tend to support rigid "traditional" stereotypes of male and female functions. In this regard Stalinist and most post-Stalinist communisms have a good deal in common with other authoritarian systems, in particular the many varieties of European fascism, all nurtured at the breast of Holy Mother Church. So the question with abortion isn't whether one is "fond of abortion" -- a popular canard among Western social conservatives -- but whether a woman should have the right to have one and agency in making relevant decisions. Stalin, with his excellent training in an Orthodox seminary and his need to repopulate a country, didn't want any of those fetuses going to waste -- nor did he want men avoiding their responsibility in the babymaking process. Otherwise he would've been content, as the Bolsheviks of the 1920s were, to allow homosexuality, which they legally tolerated but hardly approved of and indeed, in utter ignorance of human sexuality, dismissed as a bourgeois aberration, to wither away in their budding socialist utopia.

Posted by: corvo | May 25 2021 23:14 utc | 28

@ Posted by: corvo | May 25 2021 20:43 utc | 13

Most of Soviet law and decrees of this time were essentially dead letters. They were almost never enforced, referred to intentions rather than reality or simply ratified what was already being done without their control (e.g. the famous land distribution decree of October 26, 1917 - published just one day after the Revolution, merely legalized what the peasants were already doing on their own around Russia).

The women's rights laws were extremely advanced for the time (they are very advanced even for the present day), but most of it never truly got out of the paper, and nobody at the time seriously believed they would ever get out of the paper in their lifetimes. The USSR was simply too poor and too underdeveloped for any of that (besides free marriage and free divorce) to ever become a possibility.

A few articles of the Soviet family code were also fruit of immediate necessity: the prohibition of adoptions - bizarre from the point of view of a Westerner living in times of peace - as encoded into law because the Civil War generated a lot of orphans, who were being adopted and used as de facto slave labor (it was forbidden in the RSFSR/USSR to use wage labor, for obvious reasons). Even the basic task of building and keeping orphanages was considered unrealistic by the contemporaries.

Posted by: vk | May 25 2021 23:28 utc | 29

Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism:

https://www.amazon.com/Women-Have-Better-Under-Socialism/dp/1568588909

Good book.

Posted by: Prof | May 25 2021 23:34 utc | 30

Until the U$A takes a realistic position with regards to the treatment meaded out by Israel to the Palestinians, they have no hope whatsoever, of having a significant discussion with anyone in Iran. Reducing the phoney sanctions on Iran, and having a real honest conversation with possible sanctions on Israel's criminal treatment of Palestinians might give the U$A more credibility in any talks.

Don't hold yer' breath until that happens.....

Posted by: vetinLA | May 25 2021 23:46 utc | 31

@ Posted by: corvo | May 25 2021 23:14 utc | 27

Stalin despised his time in the seminary, this is well documented. He probably (certainly? I'm not a Stalin expert) was an atheist until the end of his life. The only useful things Stalin said to have learned from the seminary was rhetoric (which he conserved throughout his life) and the art of political conspiracy.

Complementing my comment @ 28, it's important to highlight that, albeit nobody took it seriously, the Bolsheviks agreed with its content. The key here is that, in order to transition to socialism, you had to end the institution of the family (which is the core of private property), so, logically, the liberation of women would happen automatically.

This did not only reflect on private life: there was pressure to allow women to work night shifts and in dangerous jobs so that they could be employed and fully proletarianized. This request was given, and flexibilization of women labor followed. Women were disproportionately unemployed during the NEP, so there was an immediate interest for gender equality in the cities. In the countryside, it was a different story, and there was pressure to keep the traditional gender roles and the sanctity of marriage intact.

Posted by: vk | May 25 2021 23:54 utc | 32

vk | May 25 2021 23:54 utc | 31 :

Whether Stalin loathed or loved his time in the seminary is irrelevant; what matters is whether it influenced the terms in which he thought. (I loathed Catholic school, but it takes a lot of will power on my part *not* to think like a Catholic.) And Stalin was awfully good at adopting a lot of the trappings of religion in his budding utopia (e.g., the deification of Lenin, the persecution of Trotskyite/Zinovievite/Bukharinite heretics)-- not surprising, because any system that promises heaven on earth in some indefinite future engages in essentially religious manipulation and delusion. This is of course not limited to communism. The Enlightenment, anyone?

No doubt there was a lot of "traditional morality" in Soviet societies, and not just in the countryside. In fact, its strength can be gauged by the ease with which Stalin grafted onto it -- to say nothing of its recrudescence in present-day Russia. What never disappeared, after all, easily reappears. (Similarly, one can't mistake the mores of Weimar-era Berlin -- just the Isherwood parts of Berlin, that is -- for those of Germany as a whole; Hitler derived a lot of popularity for putting feminists, homosexuals, Jews, socialists, communists, etc. "in their place," usually prison or worse.) Still, I fail to see your point about lax enforcement of the law (cf. you at May 25 2021 23:28 utc | 28): What is lax enforcement of the law mean when the law *de*criminalizes an action? Does this mean the action is locally prosecuted anyway? If so, I'd love to see the incarceration rates for, say, abortionists and homosexuals in 1920s Russia, and what legal justifications they used in the prosecutions. I'm sure there was lots of desperate back-room coathangering and semi-public fag-bashing, but heck, we've got that here and now too. The recriminalization of those acts in the 1930s, however, led very much to prosecutions, even if applied inconsistently (e.g., Sergei Protopopov went to prison, but his lover/teacher/mentor Boleslav Yavorsky never did). But this was like shooting fish in a barrel, because not only was the state apparatus much more functional at all administrative levels during the Stalin era, but Stalin had the people on his side in such matters as well.

Posted by: corvo | May 26 2021 0:47 utc | 33


"...You forget Hama

In about 1982, in the original brotherhood revolt in Syria, Assad the father sent tanks into a neighborhood, about 1/5 of the city, with bulldozer blades.

Some 15,000 people lie beneath the pavement, streets, and parks. Army casualties were minimal. People had one chance to leave. Most did not..."
posted by: les7 | May 25 2021 20:55 utc | 16


Others say the number was more like 1500 than 15000. Bullshitters usually say 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 etc.

Posted by: tucenz | May 26 2021 0:52 utc | 34

@ 25 Steven

Hama was initially stated to have 50,000 dead. R.Fisk stumbled on it and reported it. I was, much later, on several occassions guided through the area by first hand participants.

Later reports got as low as 15,000. No one knows, or will ever know how many were there.

The buildings in that area were mainly standard 6-8 storey concrete and steel apartments, 4 per storey, interspersed with one and two storey family dwellings

I asked one of my guides, who lost several siblings and their children in the event, how he felt/thought of it now. He surprised me with the deeply sad and reflective observation that:

It was necessary to restore order... after which, he sighed.

I dont think he lived to see ISIS.

Posted by: Les7 | May 26 2021 0:58 utc | 35

Getting back to the subject of Iranian elections:

I'm having trouble understanding why having an unelected body of Guardians (Iran) determine presidential candidates representing a narrow spectrum of acceptable discourse (Iran) is so wrong, and why having an unelected body of billionaires and careerist hacks more or less arbitrarily divided into two factions determine candidates representing a narrow spectrum of acceptable discourse (USA) is so much better. Anyone?

Posted by: corvo | May 26 2021 1:01 utc | 36

Not confusing at all. The Bolsheviks/Soviets and associated communists were historically fairly conservative on a number of social issues. The Latin American left (with the exception of Cuba) has been even more so, with the Sandinistas and others being denounced as reactionaries and champions of patriarchal values etc. This is why the US-backed regime change operations in the region in the 21st cent. include an unholy combo of fascists, liberals, eco-"socialists" and LGBT activists.

Bingo!
We have a winner

I would also include Venezuela during Chavez with Cuba.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 26 2021 1:10 utc | 37

The social conservative, economically liberal is common anywhere not controlled by the West.

"Economically conservative" i.e. "free market" money hoarder is a rather frowned upon concept in societies, I don't know how greed is glamorous in America.

Posted by: Smith | May 26 2021 1:17 utc | 38

There are seven candidates in this election. In the likelihood that none get a majority of the votes, how does it work? If the highest percentage of votes is, say, 35%, does that person get elected, or is there a runoff?

Antoinetta III

Posted by: Antoinetta III | May 26 2021 1:25 utc | 39

@35

Sigh... with a little reflection you might see a connection between the story of Hama and Iran with their elections.

Perhaps the guardian council is simply reflecting the Iranian calculation as to what is necessary for maintaining internal order given the much bigger sharks circling it.

Posted by: les7 | May 26 2021 1:29 utc | 40

les7 | May 26 2021 1:29 utc | 39

Perhaps the guardian council is simply reflecting the Iranian calculation as to what is necessary for maintaining internal order given the much bigger sharks circling it.

Which is precisely why -- guess you missed it -- my question was rhetorical. What calculation is being made by the American corporate-political oligarchy in determining which candidates we vote for? Not "maintaining internal order given the much bigger sharks circling it" -- that is to say, survival in a hostile world -- but simply the naked accumulation of power and money, more often than not to the detriment of the nation as a whole and its people.

Posted by: corvo | May 26 2021 1:55 utc | 41

Polished talking points a

'we use rockets to protect people, they use people to protect rockets' - an Israeli Amb. on FOX (or CNN)
🤢 <=me

Israel-ica - All we are good at is creating clever sayings to justify war and death against other people. We only have to convince ourselves. But I would like to our free, 'non-state' media show a some independent thought.
For example, 'Mr. Amb, are you saying that Hamas should have its own Iron Dome, that you would let the Russians give Gaza an S400 or Iran give them air defense systems so they could use rockets to defend people?'

I know this is an Iran politics thread but I justify it because I want to know each candidate's position on Israel.

Max Blumenthal documenting how the recent reporting on 'wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes' is manufactured https://thegrayzone.com/2021/05/24/gaza-slaughter-israel-lobby-antisemitism/

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 26 2021 2:13 utc | 42

Mr. corvo | May 26 2021 1:01 utc | 35

It is considered wrong because it does not conform to the popular governance models, theroretical as well as practical, that emerged in Western Europe over the last 400 years.

For many, all-things Western are normative and all things non-Western are, deviations, and at times, grotesque distortions of those normative Western European patterns.

I think every one who thinks like that is an ill-informed person.

The current Iranian constitutional structures are derivatives, through several iterations, of ideas of Western European Constitutions of 120 years ago.

The initial monarchical constitution of Iran contained stipulations for a Guardian Council, a senate, and for provincial councils that were never put into practice in 1907.

The 1980 constitution revived the Guardian Council and added the vetting of candidates to its duties. The other innovation of the current constitution has been the replacement of the hereditary monarch with an Elcted Philosopher-King, a Supreme Juris-Consult.

It is interesting that the Christian Doctrine of Trinity as embdied in the doctrine of Separation of Powers is preserved and very much strengthened in this new Islamic Constitution. On the other hand, the ancient idea of the Classical World, i.e. the Principate being the Highest Magistrate on Land is embodied in the Office of the Supremr Juris Consult.

This system, in my opinion, is workable and also not confusing. It goes to the heart of Shia Muslim people of Iran who want to be governed in dispensation that contains Spiritual Authority as well as Temporal Authority. So far, this type of "Khomeinist" Republicanism has been the most enduring constitutional framework of representative democracy in a y Islamic country to date.

Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 2:31 utc | 43

I have absolutely no problems with a "hardliner" coming to power in Iran. Almost anyone would be better than Rouhani.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | May 26 2021 2:41 utc | 44

@29 Prof

Interesting book, thanks. And not really off-topic here, since the patriarchy of Iran is also a socialist system.

Fyi, the title is currently being ridiculed over on the open thread - it's an unfortunate title, to be sure - but from what I saw of the reviews, it presents very good information. Everyone was surprised, given that damn title, how good the book was.

It was only your recommendation that encouraged me to follow the link. Not everyone will have that good fortune. Friendly tip: I suggest her material is probably worth reading, but if you offer it anywhere again, a paragraph or two about it would be valuable ;)

Posted by: Grieved | May 26 2021 2:44 utc | 45

Mr. corvo | May 26 2021 1:01 utc | 35

To continue on, while the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran may be debated on legal, philosophical and practical grounds, the source of the issues of confusion that Mr. B brings up must be sought elsewhere, in the culture of the Iranian people, were centuries of invasions, plunders, rapine, autocracy has made survival one of the most personal and familial values for many.

It must be noted that the historical experience of the people inhabiting the Iranian plateau has been one of extremely lawlessness and the attendant insecurity. Contemporary Afghanistan is bearing bloody witness to that eveyday. So it is that a people unused to the Blessings of Liberty must have to, in practice, feel their way into it.

The distinction between Reformists and Conservatives, when it comes to Liberty, is not as substantive as either side would claim. They are like political cadres everywhere else in the world, working to enrich themselves. They both want to keep the modern, professional classes out of the Presidency and out of Majlis. A d the Iranian people, fearing those irreligious professionals, are going along with it. No modern, nontraditional nonreligious person has been elected to Majlis since 1986 when the election law was changed to exclude non-religious people from standing for office. No one know how they would govern or have governed. In fact, if allowed to run, it is possible that everyone would vote for them and not for either Conservatives or Reformists. As it stands today, Iran is very similar to the situation in Mexico during the rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, a machine for enriching Mexican factions after the Revolution and for a oiding another civil war.

Like the Catholic Church and Clerical Celibacy, the Supreme Juris-Consult of Iran can help resolve this by inducing, indirectly, changes in the Election Laws. In 1999, when Mr. Khatami was initiating such a change, he quashed it and thus opened Iran to the political crisis of 2009.

Ultimately, the balance between Liberty & Order, Islam & Modernity, Change & Conversation which is being fought inside 90 million people will take decades of trial and error and reflection for their resolutions.

Which brings me to this: Iran needs to become a nuclear-armed state so that her population will have the time a d space to do so.

There is no longer any other way since secuirty situations in the Middle East have now only War as a possibility for their resolution.

Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 2:55 utc | 46

Mr. les7 | May 26 2021 1:29 utc | 39

The alternative would be to let all 500 or so registered candidates to run. Perhaps impractical, causing every presidential election to go to second, or third or fourth runs.

Who knows?

But the major problem is the sense of injustice to the professional a d managerial classes who are very very upset about this electoral discrimination. And rightly so, I might add.

And Justice is very very central to the hearts a d minds of Shia Muslims.

Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 3:07 utc | 47

@ Corvo # 35
"
I'm having trouble understanding why having an unelected body of Guardians (Iran) determine presidential candidates representing a narrow spectrum of acceptable discourse (Iran) is so wrong, and why having an unelected body of billionaires and careerist hacks more or less arbitrarily divided into two factions determine candidates representing a narrow spectrum of acceptable discourse (USA) is so much better. Anyone?
"

Gaurdians are Islamic Jurists/lawyers with specialization in specified legal fields. Consider them as the Supreme Court Justices of the US who are also unelected and appointed based on certain merits.

Their job is to interpret the constitution according to Islamic law.

The candidate that most thought was a favorite of Khamenei (Sayed Mohammad) was not approved. The guy is a highly accomplished & innovative IRGC general who could have been a much better president than all of the other candidates that were approved.

I think US would have been far better off if the Supreme Court picked the 2 candidates instead of the big money.

Posted by: Someone | May 26 2021 3:08 utc | 48

Mr. Biswapriya Purkayast | May 26 2021 2:41 utc | 43

I don't either given the fact that the late Mr. Rafsanjani, Mr. Khatami, Dr. Ahmadinejad, and Dr. Rouhani were not hardliners.

No hardliner has ever been elected to the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 3:11 utc | 49

Yeee haaa...it is good to know that the Iranians have for awhile chosen the American system of elections. In the West an elite group (know was billionaires and oligarchs) get to choose the candidates and which at least for Americans have no choice to vote for pressed by the state obedient media. And yes, equal voting rights for both men and women for limited number of officially approved candidates.

The West needs to make friends with the Iranians as the West has a nearly identical system of elections.

Posted by: Erelis | May 26 2021 3:14 utc | 50

OT: Iran has denounced nuclear and mass destruction weapons on religious, ethical, and philosophical grounds where they prioritize doing what they believe is right above any "praticality" of mass murder or mutual genocide.

If the US and zionists want to believe Iran actually has a nuclear capability (Iran would have had it years or decades ago like Pakistan and North Korea) then judging by the other fantasies the US & "Israel" entertain then nothing will ever be enough to convince them otherwise.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 26 2021 3:16 utc | 51

Withe the JCPOA dead and the US sanctions remaining in place there won't be much room to manouver in the field of economic policy. The Iranian economy will have to remain a siege economy.

The Israelis sigh with relief at this prospect.

Posted by: m | May 26 2021 4:00 utc | 52

@18 les7 I'm going to take a wild guess and speculate that a runway has just been extended at Khmeimim air base, and so the base can now accommodate an aircraft that it could not previously host.

Or is that too simple an answer?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 26 2021 5:07 utc | 53

Below is a link to a posting at Juan Cole's Informed Comment and authored by FARHANG JAHANPOUR


Iran: The Election Trump did succeed in Spoiling

The posting adds a bit to what b wrote and agrees that Mohsen Rezai will be the winner

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 26 2021 5:08 utc | 54

I think the main reason the US and it’s 5-eyes lackeys and extended vassal states don’t like Ahmadinejad’s style is because he told the truth about 9/11 and the entire ‘war on terror’ on the world stage. Which I am sad to see is never mentioned here.

Posted by: James | May 26 2021 5:26 utc | 55

How important are the presidential elections compared to the parliamentary and local government elections in Iran? Is the focus we give to the presidential elections in Iran more a reflection of what the West, dominated by the US and the obsession Americans have with the personalities of their presidents (rather than what they believe or don't believe) and their peccadilloes, believes? Do Iranians really attach much importance to the office of the Presidency and the person who occupies it?

Posted by: Jen | May 26 2021 6:13 utc | 56

Dear Bernhad,

As a longtime reader of this blog (but not as a frequent commenter!) and as someone who cares about proper analysis of events that you usually offer here, allow me to respectfully correct you on a number of issues that you mentioned in the most recent "Iran Election Preview" entry. Please be advised that in order to make things easier to digest, I would like to offer my points in the form of bullet-points. Let's begin:

* Ali Larijani, the frmr. and the longest serving Speaker of the Parliment is NOT a reformist, never has been and does not come from a "liberal or reformist" constituency which is the city of Qom, located appx 100km south of Iran. The city is the seat of the shia "Marja'iah" in Iran and one of the most powerful centers (along with traditional Bazaari whom can be usually found affiliating with the "Mo'talefe movement", and military/IRGC) in Iran.

* It was during the Larijani's termship that the price of fuel overnight hiked by 300% and the plan was carried out by Rouhani
and as the head of the executive branch in order to compensate for the lack of fund to manage the already diminishing state funds. Ibrahim Ra'isi who is most likely the next president was the head of the Judiciary and his branch did not find anything un-constitutional regarding sudden fuel hike and the rest is history, i.e. what happened in the aftermath of this disastrous decision. Additionally, there was another massive social unrest, again relating to the increase in the price of basic goods that occurred under Larijani's watch in Dec. 2017, approved by Ra'isi and executed by Rouhani. Same formula, same disastrous outcome.

*Mr. Larijani also ran the national TV in them mid 90s. One of the infamous series that he ran in 1996 was one called, "Identity" whose major theme was showing confessions of intellectuals, reformists, dissidents, etc... Interestingly, Lariajani after two decades just recently came out in an conversation in the Clubhouse app (which is filtered in Iran btw) as saying that he was sorry and regretful that he aired the program of such content and that he wished he had not aired it in first place.

Mr. Larijani's brother, Sadiq was the head of the Judiciary for a decade who was recently replaced by Ibrahim Ra'isi. last year as part of a wide anti-corruption campaign, Mr. Ra'isi, the current forntfunner candidate rightfully and correctly prosecuted Sadiq's former deputy for massive embezzlement and corruption of public funds worth tens of billions of dollars. The name of this deputy is Akbar Tabari and soon will face a lengthy sentence inside the 'can'. Yesterday this brother blamed Ali Larijani's dismissal by the Guardian Council as one motivated by the "pressure from the security apparatus to dissmiss him" which is absurd and baseless since there is so much evidence based on which to dismiss Ali Larijani for and therefre no need for the security apparatus to do anykind of pressure for Ali Larijani's dissmisal. It should be noted that Sadiq Larijani is himself member of the same guardian council that rejected Ali as presidential candidate. So go figure...

*The hardline faction that you described as "socially conservative and economically socialist" is with all due respect, false and completely nonsense. It is socially conservative when it comes to punishing people for improper hijab, but when it comes to the economy, it is much closer than communist than socialism. Interestingly and hypocritically, you see in Lebanon and Syria and Iraq that women with the same and even looser 'improper clothing' cheer on the Hezbollah and the Resistance Front and even the state TV sometimes airs it to show its popularity among many people of the region but domestically and in reality the domestic population are treated 180 degrees differently. Economically, add plutocracy and cronyism to the mix and you have better understanding of the situation. In Iran the economy is controlled by a number of families (and dynasties) that are close to power and that are also protected by state power. For example President Rouhani who is often mis-characterized as as pragmatist or even reformist was the head of the supreme security council, internal security, and similar roles and his brother was arrested a while back for corruption, having monopoly over basic goods and other similar charges. Rouhani's son-in-law has monopoly over import and export of fruits; Rouhani's VP Eshaq Jahangiri's brother is another major corrupt figure and has its own economic 'ring' that he manages using state funds. The current speaker of the House's Deputy Issa Sharifi is one of the major corrupt figures who was recently arrested and sentenced by Ibrahim Ra'isi for embezzling public funds worth tens of billions of dollars for personal use. Mr. Larijani's own children, Mr. Zarif's own children and most inside the top pyramid of power live in the West and participate in BLM protests, pussy-hats, Occupy Wall street, Yellow vests and 'anti-capitalist and anti-imperialists' marches but when it comes to the rank and file in Iran they nothing but late 19th century robber barons.

I myself am a conservative and relatively optimistic about what is going to happen inside the nation Iran because the judiciary, the parliament and the executive are set to become unified under one ideology and under one faction. Thus, there won't be any excuse regarding the failure of this policy or that policy. Nobody can't blame this branch or that branch of negligence and fuel polarization and political unrest. Whatever good and bad happens, this unified faction will be held responsible for and no one can blame the failure of JCPOA on the late Gen. Soleimani akin to how Javad Zarif deceitfully did a few weeks ago.

So all in all, dear Bernhard please keep the quality of this blog at where it has always been by getting your facts straight, and believe me it is a heavy burden because not everyone has the knowledge or access to Persian-language media to correct you on topics you may mis-understand and mis-characterize. Please in the future try not to refer to the University of Maryland's polls as they are notorious (allow me to tell you as someone who has 'knowledge' of the shenanigans involving the majority of polls that the University of Maryland conducts with regards to Iran) and nonsense.

P.S.: I kept the references section limited to the bits that may be hard to find. I can give further evidence for what I have expressed here if you wanted.

Posted by: Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 6:39 utc | 57

I forget to drop my comment on the future of warfare: drones with AI.

Human technology has advanced so much that the human flesh is now a weak point in all that armor and weapons.

I believe drones assisted by either remote control or operate independently with AI will open new possibilities that the human cannot do before.

After all, the machine has beaten the human mind in both chess and Go, AI is growing faster at record speed.

Posted by: Smith | May 26 2021 6:44 utc | 58

Iran. The only democracy in the middle east.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 26 2021 7:27 utc | 59

Posted by Prof @ 29

We are digressing OT, I know, however:

Here is another book on that subject I recommend, from amazing UTX academics :

https://www.amazon.com/Why-Women-Have-Sex-audiobook/dp/B002W8RUAG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=why+women+have+sex&qid=1622019532&s=books&sr=1-1

I don't recommend Amazon.


Posted by: Paul | May 26 2021 9:08 utc | 60

Going slightly off-topic: May 26, 2021, is the date of Presidential elections in Syria. The Presidency is being contested by three individuals including President Bashar al Assad going for a fourth term, after the field of 50 candidates was whittled down by the Syrian Supreme Constitutional Court.

Not surprisingly, given that Assad is running again and is likely to win the elections, the United States and its faithful poodles in the EU have spoken as one on their view of the Syrian Presidential elections.

A brief and very vague description of Presidential candidate Abdullah Sallum Abdullah's platform is presented here by Syrian Observer.

Let's hope the roaming regime-change prostrator Roman Protasevich sings loudly and a lot for the Minsk prosecutors to keep Western governments, intel agencies and other anti-Lukashenko actors in such fits of paralysis that the Syrian elections proceed without incident while so-called "oppositionists" await their instructions from their foreign masters.

Posted by: Jen | May 26 2021 11:50 utc | 61

Social conservatives tend to be social democrats economically? Really?

https://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/12/23/dabashi.iran.subsidies/index.html

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | May 26 2021 13:30 utc | 62

@ Fyi #45 Iran needs to become a nuclear-armed state so that her population will have the time and space to do so. There is no longer any other way since secuurity situations in the Middle East have now only War as a possibility for their resolution.
Not necessarily. Iran (plus Hez) has a mighty arsenal of conventional missiles which could destroy Israel and the 40,000 US troops and dependents, and warships, situated around the Gulf. That's why 'real men' haven't gone to Tehran by now. IOW the US has made a mistake in its 'forward deployment.' Also China is making heavy oil and BRI investments in Iran, which is a key geographical position, which could bring China into any military situation, and possibly Russia as well.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 26 2021 13:35 utc | 63

@68 "Social conservatives tend to be social democrats economically? Really?"

Yes, really. Ahmadinejad introduced the subsidy reform plan which lowered general subsidies on gasoline and some food stuff and replaced them with direct monthly payments to the poor. What the 'green movement' guy criticized was the second phase of that plan.

The general subsidies had led to fuel waste by the rich and to a lot of smuggling of subsidized gasoline to foreign countries. Iran was loosing billions from it.

The reform had the desired effect. From the above link:

The income Gini coefficient fell from 0.4023 in 2005 to 0.3813 in 2010.

If one looks at the Gini coefficient in Iran over the years (graph) on can see that it went down under Ahmadinejad (from 2005: ~44 2013: ~38) while it rose again under Rohani (2013: ~38 to ~40 in 2016).

Posted by: b | May 26 2021 14:03 utc | 64

"Iran. The only democracy in the middle east. Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 26 2021 7:27 utc | 57"

True. 1. They have a constitution that limits govt and guarantees the people some rights, not extensive but unlike many countries, it exists.

2. As much as the U.S. hates to admit it, a structure similar to ours in that the Islamic authority functions as a Supreme court and serves to negate legislation and secular govt decisions. It does not actively engage in day to day operations. Again, not endorsing the system, just quantifying it correctly.

3. A system of fair elections after the Islamic Authority eliminates unacceptable candidates.
At the very least, Iran should be considered, a limited democracy and get a higher ranking than Saudi Arabia.

Now for my pet peeve, the western Democracy Index from the U.K. Economist
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1f/Democracy_Index_2020.svg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index#By_country

^ - improved, v - got worse, since 2006
7.84^ Israel
7.92v U.S.
5.81v Ukraine
4.48v Turkey
3.31v Russia
2.20v Iran
2.08^ KSA

Iran barely ekes out KSA, wow, letting a few woman drive, something Iran has done for decades, really pays off.
Israel, Ukraine, and Turkey have disenfranchised 5 to 20% of their own population from voting, eh, no big deal, that does not prevent Israel from getting glowing reviews or prevent Ukraine from getting a higher ranking than Russia.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 26 2021 14:03 utc | 65

Mr. Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 6:39 utc | 57

I am in complete agreement.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 14:07 utc | 66

Mr. Don Bacon | May 26 2021 13:35 utc | 63

The United States has no diplomatic alternatives to war with Iran in case of security issues in the Middle East.

From this observation, everything else follows.

Inside the United States, even getting a cease-fire deal with Iran is evidently very difficult - the Judeo-Christians hate Iran so much.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 14:12 utc | 67

@ James | 55

'
I think the main reason the US and it’s 5-eyes lackeys and extended vassal states don’t like Ahmadinejad’s style is because he told the truth about 9/11 and the entire ‘war on terror’ on the world stage. Which I am sad to see is never mentioned here.
.

Inside Iran Ahmadinejad was the man of the people. He helped more than 30 million Iranians open their first bank accounts so that the government subsidies would directly be deposited on time and safe from corruption.

He did however give a good view of the Iranian politics. He showed why Iran always wins and will win at the end....it is because Iranian style of politics is on the side of common sense- which puts them on the right side of history.

Here is a comparison of the BIG BAD IRAN with HISTORICAL ALLY PAKISTAN
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-yd3hL8AKQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Na2dfDJJ90


Posted by: Someone | May 26 2021 14:24 utc | 68

Mr. b | May 26 2021 14:03 utc | 64

Subsidy, as basic income, has a corrupting influence on people.

Iranian government subsidizes water and petrol.

You walk down the street and a shopkeeper is using subsidized water to clear in front of the store.

When you remind him to not waste water, he says: "What of it, I have paid for it."

Yes, he has paid for it, at 50% discount - at the very least.

All of the middle class Iranians pining for a European life styles constitute a heavily subsidized population which would dirty their pants if they had to pay market prices for much of their standard of living - in transportation (bus, train, airlines)....

Everyone in Iran is Unhappily subsidized.

Take away the subsidies and that will improve the position of the state for future investments - and keep the population busy do actual work.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 14:26 utc | 69

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 26 2021 14:03 utc | 65


Now for my pet peeve, the western Democracy Index from the U.K. Economist

We're not going to get anything sensible from a rag that rates the KSA, a family run business, *anywhere* but dead last on a 'democracy' index.


Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 26 2021 14:33 utc | 70

Mr. Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 6:39 utc | 57

Additionally, just like Mexico under PRI, there are officially sanctioned forms of corruption that are completely legal - but immoral.

Used to be that the President of Mexico retired a very rich man since by Law, he was chairman/executive of this or that state enterprise, drawing a salary from each - like the sinecures of old Europe - being a Colonel of the Welsh Guards....

Dr. Velayati is an example of the Iranian analogue of that - he draws multiple salaries from multiple state-controlled organizations.

The late Mr. Rafsanjani's son spend more than a decade in the United Kingdom, representing the branch of Islamic Azad University at Oxford (there goes another example of the Iranian cultural trail of obsession with prestige and status)...

Tehran, with 15 million inhabitants, consumes 1/3 of the state budget - in effect, the ever-dissident Tehran inhabitants that complain of Discrimination and Injustice, consume twice the rest of the Iranian population on the whole.

I personally think Iran is a very advanced country since so many of her citizens think & talk just like the French about government and social policy; i.e. in an infantile manner.


Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 14:49 utc | 71

Mr. m | May 26 2021 4:00 utc | 52

I think one effect of the US and Co. economic wars against Iran and Syria has been the unravelling of the corruption networks that existed before the wars.

In both countries, an effort has been made for the past 2 years to clean up the corruption networks since they could no longer afford it.

Another consequence of these wars has been that ill-gotten money cannot leave those countries; just like Mexico under PRI, politicians kept on stealing from people but invested in Mexico - before NAFAT made it easy for them to take the money out.

So, these wars of the United States against Syria and Iran (and now Lebanon) are forcing a sort of house-cleaning on those two countries and are making them more efficient and more capable.

War is a great teacher, you either learn to survive or you die.

Israelis taught Arabs of Lebanon and now Gaza how to fight a hot war.

American are teaching Iranians and Syrians (and Lebanese) how to fight an economic war.

If Israelis and Americans were smart, they would not have initiated these hostilities.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 15:03 utc | 72

@ Fyi/fyi #67
The United States has no diplomatic alternatives to war with Iran in case of security issues in the Middle East.
Baloney. It has the alternative of withdrawal. The US is engaged in a retrograde from the ME, in its loss to Iran which is now closely allied with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, as well as Russia and China. The Carter Doctrine is dead, emphasized by the US losses in Syria and Iraq. It's happening simultaneously with the US loss in Afghanistan and the recent Israel loss in Gaza. Simply out, the US doesn't have significant boots on the ground in these places and US enemies do have, so it's no contest. It's pull-out time for the US, that's all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 26 2021 15:21 utc | 73

Proyect generates more laughs as his trolling fails yet again.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 26 2021 15:31 utc | 74

Russell Kirk @57
Thank You for your enlightening comment.
I look forward to more from you.

Posted by: ld | May 26 2021 15:37 utc | 75

Posted by: Yeah, Right | May 26 2021 5:07 utc | 53


"Russia’s long-range modernized Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers have flown to Moscow’s Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, where they will be located for the first time ever, following the reconstruction and lengthening of its second runway. "

Posted by: arby | May 26 2021 15:50 utc | 76

@ld, @fyi

You are welcome friends. I have to say that I cut my original comment short and opted for a shorter version of what I had intended to express, for example on Ahmadinejad and how his 2nd term back in 2009 was such a disaster for the nation and for the political situation in Iran that ultimately led to the rise of neo-Principalists out of the hard right faction called "the Paydari Front" in 2012-20133 whose prominent members make up to 30-40% of the current parliament and recently 3 were 'granted' the nod by the Guardian Council to run in the upcoming election as opposed to hardcore reformists like say, Mostafa Tajzadeh. They are Alireza Zakani, Ghazi-Zadeh Hashemi, and Saeed Djalili. Some may recognize Djalili as Ahmadi nejad's hapless foreign minister who was in charge of the negotiations with the West. There was a running joke back in 2011-12 that whenever he would emerge out of the negotiation room, Iran would be slapped with new sanctions and ultimately to the point where Iran's nuclear case was referred to the article 7 of the UNSC, which literally (in legal terms) meant one step away from UN authorization for war. Ahamdinejad never implemented socialist policies, what he did was that he 're-distributed' meager pennies ($40 per month, which today due to rapid-devaluation of the currency is equal to around 2-3$) to several million (out of 80m nation-wide) of low income households mostly in rural and destitute parts of Iran which at the time was a purposefully populist policy of the hardline faction to 'cheaply' hook people permanently to their camp in exchange for votes. Two mega-embezzlers emerged during Ahmadinejad's reign: Babak Zanjani, a sanction-pimp and former driver of a high-official who laundered and pocketed billions worth of black-market oil $$$ to his own pockets instead of returning them the state for them to then be injected into the currency-hungry central bank. Another was Mahmoud-Reza Khavari, the Central Bank chief who literally like in movies flew to Toronto Canada with the arguably biggest $$$ ever stolen from public funds in history of the country and today is said to be active in local municipal politics in Toronto, Canada Scott free.


As with 'Moon of Alabama', I would like to say that I like this blog and would like to see it at a level it usually is, i.e. offering quality analysis from someone (i.e. B) who actually takes a hefty amount of time to write for you and I. So, first and last all the credit should go to B for his valuable time and effort he pours into this.

Posted by: Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 16:35 utc | 77

Mr. Don Bacon | May 26 2021 15:21 utc | 73

No way, Judeo-Christians will have to discard their religion before that happens.

Call me when AUMF has been repealed.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 17:25 utc | 78

Mr. Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 16:35 utc | 77

Mr. Babak Zanjani got his start under the late Mr. Rafsanjani, I believe.

Posted by: fyi | May 26 2021 17:29 utc | 79

Russell Kirk | May 26 2021 6:39 utc | 57 and 777

Thank you very much. I have learnt a lot.
Particularly about corruption;

...and here I quote Fyi;
I think one effect of the US and Co. economic wars against Iran and Syria has been the unravelling of the corruption networks that existed before the wars. In both countries, an effort has been made for the past 2 years to clean up the corruption networks since they could no longer afford it.

Another consequence of these wars has been that ill-gotten money cannot leave those countries....... are forcing a sort of house-cleaning on those two countries and are making them more efficient and more capable.

It would be perfect if the cleaning process was applied to the EU and US as well. We need it here, as there is as much "controlled" wealth and family privilege systems - but it is not so obvious.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 26 2021 19:04 utc | 80

I find it hard to believe that Ahmenadijidad had a corrupt bone in his body. Even when he was put up in very fancy hotels he chose to sleep on the floor of the massive bedroom. I liked him because he spoke the truth.

Posted by: arby | May 26 2021 22:00 utc | 81

Mr. arby | May 26 2021 22:00 utc | 81

Yes, a humble pious man, who, in his own ways, tried to move Iran forward.

I think many incorrectly blame him for Iran falling under UN Chapter 7 rubric.

Iran could do nothing to prevent that short of dismantling her nuclear capabilities.

On the other hand, without it, she would have gradually been dismembered or otherwise dis-empowered: one needs only look at Iraq or Afghanistan.

Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 22:27 utc | 82

Posted by: Stonebird | May 26 2021 19:04 utc | 80

It would be perfect if the cleaning process was applied to the EU and US as well. We need it here, as there is as much "controlled" wealth and family privilege systems - but it is not so obvious.

It's not so obvious? C'mon! It's obvious to anyone with half a brain, but unfortunately the US/EU populace has been dumbed down to the states of zombies. However, even if the they smart up and start nosing into here money goes in every billion $$$ government expenditures, I bet you there ain't nothing the can do about it. Democracy in US/EU is a staged game.

I echo your appreciation to Russell Kirk and Fyi.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | May 26 2021 22:49 utc | 83

@ fyi at 69

Can't say I agree with you there.

It's the government job that needs to take care of the people, and that include price control and subsidies to maintain their livelihood.

The fact some people are wasting resources means they need better education, not that the government needs to destroy their living standards to "teach them a lesson".

This sounds like a "fiscally conservative" mindset.

Posted by: Smith | May 27 2021 1:36 utc | 84

Posted by: Smith | May 27 2021 1:36 utc | 84

The fact some people are wasting resources means they need better education, not that the government needs to destroy their living standards to "teach them a lesson".

Here in the West they call it "Austerity", which is mostly about keeping the underclasses under. Those are wasted human assets and a competent government will invest the small amount it takes to give them opportunities. I suppose Iran has its own professional managerial class, like us, who doesn't?

Posted by: Bemildred | May 27 2021 2:01 utc | 85

Mr. Smith | May 27 2021 1:36 utc | 84

To my knowledge, no one in Iran is paying even the break-even prices for potable water, natural gas, petrol, plane tickets, train tickets, electricity, education, many food items, sweage, city buses, subway and medical care.

This encourages waste, inefficiency and sloth. Farmers planting rice in Isfahan province, paying for water at 10% of cost.

It causes the state to be perpetually in financial crisis, not having the funds to invest in future. The current rationing of electricity, soon to be followed by that of potable water, are examples of government ministeries lacking funds to invest in their ministeries.

Then you get 90 million people with their hand out stretched: " give me, give me, give me! I am weak, downtrodden, poor. And I desrve it."

Let me tell you something, they won't last a week in China.

Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 2:38 utc | 86

Mr. Bemildred | May 27 2021 2:01 utc | 85

Subsidies distort the economic planning, at the macro as well as micro level, since one cannot estimate the real costs.

In Iran, you have a cuddled population that is, at the same time, in many ways quite infantile in their understanding of the world.

They very much remind me of French and leftist Spaniards.

Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 2:43 utc | 87

Which brings me to this: Iran needs to become a nuclear-armed state so that her population will have the time a d space to do so. There is no longer any other way since secuirty situations in the Middle East have now only War as a possibility for their resolution.
Posted by: Fyi | May 26 2021 2:55 utc | 45

Mr. Fyi, sorry to disagree, but I must respond this.
As I’ve argued here previously with the following statements, Iran does not need nukes.

Iran does not need nukes.
Iran does not need a nuclear umbrella.
Iran has MAD parity — eliminating the first two on the list. Here is the reasoning: when you can blow shit up in the 2000 Kilometer range from any border, with the accuracy — shown at Ein al Assad — parking a rocket between two silos — the very range that includes all circling empire’s bases, ships, and assets, you don’t need nukes. That’s MAD, PLENTY MAD. And I haven’t even talked about other realms: sea, undersea, drone, allies, cyber, etc. etc.
Lest we forget that there is also a Islamic fatwa against them.

As for the shitty little apartheid state, it’s covered. Hezbollah to the north, Quds forces to the east, and Hamas to the south.
Should we even talk about how the brave Palestinians that are now more united and showed that they can defeat cancer, just on their own?

I am always surprised by intellectuals that have no answer for the following nuke related question: Where would Iran detonate such a device? Tel Aviv? Riyadh?

Nukes are just the theater of the absurd for the absurd. Just take a look at Nutty. He’s been at it for 20 years.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 27 2021 3:24 utc | 88

@72 fyi
You are right as long as mere economic survival is concerned.

Posted by: m | May 27 2021 4:08 utc | 89

@ fyi

Iran is a besieged state, lacking foot in the world market, the fact it can achieve a reasonable living standards should be applauded.

The state can be poor, but if the people are rich and live off reasonably well, that is much better than a "rich" state yet the people are the poor.

The problem of wastefulness should be corrected, but not at the expense of the people.

Regarding China, there's indeed a lot of labor problems (people working 996 - 9am to 9pm, 6 hours a week) in companies, so even if China seems rich, it shouldn't be emulated on that front. Overworking and poor living conditions/wage do not mean efficiency.

Posted by: Smith | May 27 2021 4:12 utc | 90

My above comment should be (people working 996 - 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week)*

Posted by: Smith | May 27 2021 4:17 utc | 91

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 27 2021 3:24 utc | 88


I am always surprised by intellectuals that have no answer for the following nuke related question: Where would Iran detonate such a device? Tel Aviv? Riyadh?

Nukes are just the theater of the absurd for the absurd. Just take a look at Nutty. He’s been at it for 20 years.

The lunatics Iran is up against are nowhere near as rational as you.

When it's pointed out that it's not that viable to "glass over" Iran, they don't quietly accept this and look at peaceful solutions.

Instead, they simply ask: "So ... how about we use smaller nukes?"

A central theme of Western colonial domination has been the willingness to use absurd levels of force and weapons of disproportionate power against those much weaker than them - mostly brown natives of the South, Asia and Africa.

Another central theme has been the lack of willingness on the part of these "brown natives" to adopt the same weapons as their aggressors.

My advice to Iran:

Don't waste your time overthinking the ethics of self defense. Or who will get in the way should you retaliate in defense: Your enemies have no such cognitive overhead.

Ensure you're armed first ... then ruminate on the morality of it at your leisure.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 27 2021 7:08 utc | 92

Ms. Sakineh Bagoom | May 27 2021 3:24 utc | 88

You are unaware of the public sentiment in Israel that supports strongly a nuclear first strike against Iran. They have that sentiment because they think Iran cannot retaliate.

You asked what the target of a (retaliatory) strike could be?

How about Tel Aviv?

American exert as well as journalistic discourse has had many references to nuclear strikes against Tehran, going into details how the particular geography of that city, surrounded by mountains, will amplify the effects of a kiloton range bomb.

Americans are mad and North Koreans are the rational ones.

One would hope that Iran possesses, even at this late hour, the capacity to field such weapons on a very short notice.

Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 13:36 utc | 93

Mr. Arch Bungle | May 27 2021 7:08 utc | 92

That was how the late Shah Ismael Safavi was defeated by the Ottoman artillery and lost a third of his kingdom, by refusing to adopt and to adapt.

He drank himself to death.

Even thermobaric weapons would be preferable to not having any WMD capacity.

Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 13:41 utc | 94

Mr. Smith | May 27 2021 4:12 utc | 90

Wasteful practices could quickly be eliminated by introducing a price schedule of cost + 15%.

Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 13:47 utc | 95

You asked what the target of a (retaliatory) strike could be? How about Tel Aviv?
Posted by: Fyi | May 27 2021 13:36 utc | 93

Thank you, for the reply Mr. Fyi.
No, not retaliatory, but first strike. Tel Aviv? Really? Is this the best you can muster?
Can you describe the seconds following the strike?
This is stuff of neocon wet dream: A glass parking lot, called Iran.

No Mr. Fyi. I don’t think Iranian leaders are that messianic as you ascribe them to be. I know, I know, everybody in the middle east is waiting for the hidden one(s) to come. But NO sir. Iranians will not destroy 7 millennia of history to demolish the shitty little apartheid state. The Palestinians are equal to that task on their own now.

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 28 2021 1:48 utc | 96

Ms. Sakineh Bagoom | May 28 2021 1:48 utc | 96

The Quranic stipulations are to fight until the enemy ceases and desists from war. It does not advise turning the other cheeck.

I gather that you are neither Iranian nor a Shia Muslim, thus you do not seem to grasp the messianic (from Messiah - the Savior) ones are Judeo-Christians and Jews and not Shia Muslims.

"Neocon" (neoconservative) is a word describing mostly American Jews with dubious loyalty to the United States. But behind them stands the bulk of Anglo-Saxon Judeo-Christians, who are quite willing to start World War III over the control of Palestine.

Posted by: Fyi | May 28 2021 4:01 utc | 97

Posted by: Sakineh Bagoom | May 28 2021 1:48 utc | 96


No, not retaliatory, but first strike.

No one is proposing this. The assumption is that Iran has been put in the position where a retaliation against israel is mandatory in order to restore the balance of terror.


Tel Aviv? Really? Is this the best you can muster?

It is the ideal target.

It offers an opportunity for Palestinians to remove themselves from the blast area.
It is the host of the israeli economic heart.
Destroying Tel Aviv is sufficient to effectively end the occupation state.


Can you describe the seconds following the strike?

Again, on the basis that Iran is *retaliating*:

1) The Iranians would have already warned israel that a retaliation will be made on Tel Aviv and that if israel does not retaliate further, Iran will not destroy Haifa, Ashdod, Ashkelon and other critical parts of the occupation infrastructure.

2) the 'israeli' state will decide whether they are willing to tolerate the loss of Tel Aviv vs. the complete destruction of all of occupation israel.

3) They will conclude that a measure of survival is better than complete annihilation

4) The Americans will calculate that loss of the entire israel will mean the end of a key pillar of their control of the middle east and step in to force a truce between Iran and israel. Unless they are satisfied with a complete wipeout of their only true ally in the Levant.


This is stuff of neocon wet dream: A glass parking lot, called Iran.

As I have detailed in previous posts, the amount of nuclear ordnance required to realise the metaphor of "a glass parking lot" in Iran will mean the nuclear contamination of the entire middle east, large parts of central Asia, Europe, Russia. It will also trigger a nuclear response from Russia, perhaps China.

The neocons may be a loud voice within the American regime' but there are still rational adults standing between them and the nuclear button.

Ultimately, israel is a means to an end for the Anglo-Saxon elites leading the neo-British empire, there is no reason why the US would risk itself in a nuclear game of dice to start WW3 over a little colony.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 28 2021 5:05 utc | 98

Mr. Arch Bungle | May 28 2021 5:05 utc | 98

Israel is now the heart and soul of the Judeo-Christianity. They will take the United States into World War III over her.

Have they not dragged the Honor and Reputation of the United States through Blood and Mud already in Iraq, Syria, Libya for Israel?

To destroy Tel Aviv, Iranians do not need nuclear weapons, only sufficient numbers of thermobaric warheads of certain destructive capability.

Do Iranians possess such weapons?

I do not know but they have had decades to work on them.

Posted by: Fyi | May 28 2021 14:53 utc | 99

Posted by: Fyi | May 28 2021 14:53 utc | 99


Israel is now the heart and soul of the Judeo-Christianity.

I sincerely doubt this.

World Jewry is mostly outside of israel, comfortably ensconced in Europe and the US. Were israel to vanish tomorrow there would still be a powerful Jewish 'diaspora' with influence at the highest levels of western power.

israel, ultimately, is a dispensable appendage of modern Jewry.

As for christianity, it has no soul left, it is a shell. The bulk of Western christians are only christians in name. Christians in the global south are of no consequence vis a vis israel.

It is, however, the heart and soul of the Anglo American colonial strategy in the M.E ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | May 29 2021 1:04 utc | 100

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