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The Latest from Iran (17 February): Psst, Want to See Something Important?

2250 GMT: Cyber-Warfare. Looks like someone wants to stop the latest Karroubi surge. The "Sun Army" took down Karroubi's website Saham News. The Saham staff have control of the site again but a message indicates that it is "under construction".

2230 GMT:It is reported that Parisa Kakaee of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters Maziar Samei of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Bahar Tarakameh, and Nazanin Hassania have been released from prison. 26 other political prisoners are also reported to have been freed.

1830 GMT: I'm on an evening break which happily involves dinner at Birmingham's best Iranian restaurant.

1820 GMT: More Importantly (Rafsanjani Front Continued). Hashemi Rafsanjani, manoeuvring against the pressure on him, has issued another statement declaring his loyalty to the Supreme Leader:
Certain people inside Iran are fanning divisions that never existed and do not exist, and foreigners looking for propaganda feed themselves some tasty morsels....Why should we have differences? Even now we sit together every two weeks and discuss every issue in the country. These are meetings where we speak without restrictions because they are not recorded.

NEW Iran Analysis: Ahmadinejad Stumbles; “Karroubi Wave” Surges
NEW Iran Nuke Shocker: Clinton/White House "Tehran Not Building Weapons"
NEW Iran Document: Fatemeh Karroubi “My Family Will Continue to Stand for the People’s Rights”
Iran Special: Live-Blogging Ahmadinejad Press Conference (16 February)
Iran: Why The Beating of Mehdi Karroubi’s Son Matters
Iran Document: The 10-Demand Declaration of 4 Labour Unions
Iran Document: Shadi Sadr at the UN on Abuse, Justice, and Rights (12 February)

The Latest from Iran (16 February): Un-Diplomatic Declarations

1815 GMT: For What It's Worth. Some outlets are giving lots of play to the Supreme Leader's use of Hillary Clinton's "dictatorship" statement to issue his own challenges to the "West".

You can get notable extracts in that coverage --- frankly, I know this script and I can't be bothered to post any more of it.

1810 GMT: Shahabeddin Tabatabei, of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front, has been released on $500,000 bail after eight months in detention.

1800 GMT: And the Karroubi Front. Following up our analysis of the renewed Karroubi challenge to Ahmadinejad and the text of the interview of Mehdi Karroubi's wife Fatemeh, some more news:

The mother-in-law of Ali Karroubi, the son of Mehdi who was beaten on 22 Bahman, has followed Fatemeh Karroubi’s letter to the Supreme Leader with one of her own: "As a mother of three martyrs of Iran-Iraq War, I ask you to listen to people’s voices and help them and punish those who hurt protesters." Like Fatemeh Karroubi, she said that her letter was not only for Ali but for any innocent person who has been jailed, beaten, or run over by cars as in the Ashura demonstrations.

The children of Hashemi Rafsanjani and the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini have visited Ali Karroubi and condemned the attack on him.

1755 GMT: On the Rafsanjani Front. Mehdi Hashemi, the son of Hashemi Rafsanjani, has responded to the jibe of Fars News that he has "settled" in London. Hashemi said in a letter, "I am doing my Ph.D. abroad just like any other Iranian. I have not become the refugee of any country. And I will return to Iran when the time comes."

1750 GMT: The Challenge on the Economy. Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani did not wait long to respond to the President's press conference. He made 15 points against the proposed budget and said that he had mentioned his dissatisfaction in a meeting with the Supreme Leader.

The pro-Larijani Khabar Online is also featuring the statement of an MP that, if Parliament did not have to follow procedure, it would have questioned Ahmadinejad over his illegal actions.

1740 GMT: From the blog of Shadi Sadr, via Pedestrian, referring to journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi, who has been sentenced to six years in prison:
An hour ago, I walked out of the post office and was hurriedly walking towards the metro when I saw a man on the sidewalk with two bags of fruit in his hand. I first saw the tangerines in one of the bags, and then I saw his face, as he was passing by me. He looked so much like Ahmad Zeydabadi! My heart sank. I thought: there were certainly days when Ahmad Zeydabadi too would buy fruit on his way home … those simple days of the past seem like so long ago!

I did not know Ahmad Zeydabadi personally. But I have a distinct memory of him in mind. A few years ago when the Committee of Human Rights Reporters had a press meeting to speak against the controversial family laws, Zeydabadi went to the podium, and instead of talking in difficult, muddled terms, like the politicians who spoke before him, he only spoke of his personal experience, growing up in a family of two wives. And through that, he spoke about how in a family where there are multiple wives, not only do the wives endure pain, but so do the children. His were some of the most honest words I’d ever heard, and I will never forget them. The day after, when I went through the news, no matter how much I looked, I did not see any of Zeydabadi’s words anywhere. Even those friends of mine who were filming the meeting, had not thought anything of Zeydabadi’s speech and had not filmed it! That’s when I realized how much our own culture is still resistant to men who want to break stereotypes.

I can write about Zeydabadi, because I did not know him personally. But I can’t write of my own friends who are in prison, because I’m afraid of what their interrogators will do. I’m afraid that they might put my friends under even more pressure. I can only say this: it has been a good while now that I know that every morning when I wake up and turn on the computer and read the news, a long list of my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, someone I used to know, will be in the list of new prisoners. Every day, familiar names are added behind the walls of Evin Prison, and everyday I ask myself: where did they go, those simple days? …

1735 GMT: Economics 101. Iran's Deputy Energy Minister, Mohammad Behzad, says 20 power plants will be privatised in the first half of the next Iranian year, ending 20 September.

Q. Given the problems in Iran's electricity industry, with the Government owing millions and up to 900,000 workers facing layoffs, who would want to purchase a power plant?

A. Maybe an up-and-coming firm with absolutely no connection whatsoever with the Islamic Revolution GuardsCorps?

1640 GMT: Changing the Numbers. EA readers may have noted our scepticism over some of the President's economic claims in his Tuesday press conference. Jahan-e San'at shares the view, criticising Ahmaninejad for citing data from 2007/8 as the figures for 2008/9.

1635 GMT: The reformist Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party has thanked all those who participated in the 22 Bahman rally despite threats and intimidations, and it has condemned "hard-line" propaganda for claiming that all those who participated in the rally were supporting "the coup government".

1630 GMT: Tabriz Lockdown? The speech of reformist member of Parliament Mohsen Armin, scheduled for today, has been cancelled. The cancellation follows the claimed halt of an appearance by Mir Hossein Mousavi in the same city on 22 Bahman.

1625 GMT: Iran v. Coma Countries. Quote of the day goes to Brigadier-General Seyyed Massoud Jazayeri, "The West has gone into a coma after mounting a propaganda campaign to sway the public opinion over Iran's nuclear issue."

1600 GMT: Labour Pessimism. Back from a break to find an analysis by two Iran-based journalists, "Opposition Fails to Organize Strikes". Javoo Akbar and Nivoo Sarvi (pseudonyms) conclude:
The absence of an independent workers’ union and the lack of interaction between their different associations across the country has resulted in low levels of political consciousness. That and the fact that so many of the weapons are in the hands of the authorities, means there is no prospect of either the opposition or organised labour initiating widespread workers’ strikes to back Mousavi or any other opposition figure.

1320 GMT: Putting Hashemi in His Box (cont.). More on yesterday's update about renewed attacks against former President Hashemi Rafsanjani ahead of next week's meeting of the Assembly of Experts, which Rafsanjani chairs.

Kalameh reports that Hamzeh Karami, manager of the Jomhouriyat website, which was active during the elections, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison and payment of six billion tooman (just over $6 million).

The link to Rafsanjani? In the Tehran trials last August, Karami gave a high-profile "confession" that implicated Mehdi Hashemi, Rafsanjani's son, in corruption and diversion of election funds to undermine Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

1225 GMT: How that "Regime Change" Thing Works. First, a couple of US Congressmen, John Cronyn and Sam Brownback, introduce an "Iran Democratic Transition Act" committing the US Government "to fully and publicly support efforts of the Iranian people to oppose and remove the current regime and transition to a freely elected, open, and democratic government in Iran".

Then Press TV gets hold of the bill, which is more a bit of political posing than likely legislation, to drive home the "foreigners" v. "good Iranian nation" theme:
Two Republican senators have once again introduced a draft bill in the US Congress seeking full support for the Iranian opposition and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic government in Iran. Senators John Cornyn and Sam Brownback introduced the so-called “Iran Democratic Transition Act” bill on February 11, coinciding with the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, in which unprecedented tens of millions of Iranians poured into the streets to rally and celebrate the 31st anniversary.

An 'extraordinarily' high number of people marched across different cities in the country, throwing their lot with a revolution which toppled a US-backed monarchy in Iran.

The bill repeats the old rhetoric about human rights violations in Iran, its nuclear energy program, and alleged support for terrorism, fully advocating a “regime change” in the country.

1215 GMT: The Clinton Charade. The theatre continues today, with the Supreme Leader using Hillary Clinton's "dictatorship" remark to strike a pose. Khamenei accused her of spreading "lies" and said, "Those who have turned the Persian Gulf into an arms depot in order to milk regional countries for money have now dispatched their official to go around the Persian Gulf and spread lies against Iran."

1115 GMT: For What It's Worth. CNN has posted the video of its interview with Iran's top "human rights" official, Mohammad Javad Larijani: "Iran is the greatest, the only democracy in the Middle East."

1055 GMT: Alireza Beheshti, Mir Hossein Mousavi's chief advisor, has resumed teaching at Tarbiat Modarres University. Beheshti was recently released after several weeks in detention.

1030 GMT: A Buffet of Analyses. We've got Sharmine Narwani taking apart the US Government's conflicting signals on Iran's nuclear programmes, an analysis of Ahmadinejad's stumble and the "Karroubi wave", and the English text of Fatemeh Karroubi's interview with Rooz Online.

0855 GMT: More on the Economic Front. Ali Asghar Yousef-Nejad, a member of the Parliament's Industries Commission, has declared that budget details are unclear and asserted that the Minister of Economy has projected only 3% growth, instead of the 8% envisaged in the budget. (Yesterday the President simply made up a figure for Iran's 2009/10 growth.)

0825 GMT: Not That Close to the US. More fencing on the nuclear issue and "America": Haghighat News, linked to the President, has denied that Ahmadinejad's chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai met with US officials in Qatar. His trip, which coincided with the stay of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her delegation, "was simply aimed to observe the condition of Iranians residing in the Persian Gulf Arabian country".

0815 GMT: In Rah-e-Sabz, Farid Modaresi offers a lengthy analysis on the relationship between Qom's clerics and the Government. Amidst its interesting insights is a meeting between Ayatollah Nouri-Hamedani and the head of Bonyade Shahid, the charitable trust for war veterans and their families. Nouri-Hamedani requested that this message be passed the President: "If you want to stay in power, eliminate problems like high prices (from which 70% of the population suffers), unemployment, discrimination. Eliminate also housing problems."

0750 GMT: Want to See an EA Analysis in Action? Here's a big clue pointing both to the economic Achilles' heel of the Ahmadinejad Government (see 0645 GMT) and the hope that it will just go away. Press TV headlines its summary of the President's press conference, "Ahmadinejad says Iran to install advanced centrifuges."

Number of paragraphs devoted to the nuclear issue? 11
Number of words devoted to the economic questions that dominated the conference? 0

0745 GMT: Evaluating the Movement. Ali Farhadzadeh offers a lengthy critique of the origins and development of the post-election opposition:
No one can deny the role of a leader in bringing protesters together in the freedom movements of modern history, such as the role Gandhi, Mandela and Martin Luther King played in the progress and triumph of the movements of India, South Africa and African Americans in the United States. However, in the Green Movement the lack of leadership is somehow compensated by virtual social networks.

0735 GMT: American Postures. Another shot at Tehran from a US official, although this may be just a specific statement from the American military linked to Iraq's internal development rather than part of a wider get-tough strategy:
The top American commander in Iraq says the U.S. has "direct intelligence" that two senior Iraqi officials in charge of keeping Saddam Hussein loyalists out of the Baghdad government have ties to Iran. Gen. Raymond Odierno says Ali al-Lami and Ahmed Chalabi "are clearly influenced by Iran" and have attended senior-level meetings with members of the hardline Shiite regime there.

0730 GMT: We've posted Tricia Sutherland's human rights special this morning, summarising developments between 7 and 14 February.

0725 GMT: Closing Iran's Movies. The first time EA has taken a story from Hollywood's newspaper, Variety:
Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi has been denied permission by local authorities to travel to Berlin.
Panahi, whose "Offside" was awarded the fest's jury grand prize in 2006, was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on Iranian cinema during the fest's World Cinema Fund Day today.

The Berlinale sent out a press release Tuesday announcing that Panahi would not be attending the fest, where he was an honorary guest.

"We are surprised and deeply regret that a director who has won so many international prizes has been denied the possibility to take part in our anniversary festival and to speak about his cinematic visions," said fest director Dieter Kosslick.

Reader Comments (25)

On the economy of evil etc.
Dog fights and snakes
in official Tehran

Free us from
the enclave of evil
a Sodom of Sepah and Khamenei where
the rod of authority
is shoved behind the people
and up

Down with the Dictator
the people cry out
to change their lot in life

Dog fights and snakes
in official Tehran

Rape in prisons,
tin boxes in the desert

So many cries to God --
is this the time to strike back?

Will there be a strike
from God above
or people below?
No one knows.

Dog fights and snakes
Darkness in Iran

But there will be a strike
as mighty as needs be

Boiled from minted tea
a vapor rises
heir apparent to a cloud

A strike will come
a cleansing rain

Snakes will be driven to hell.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

RE 1030 GMT: A Buffet of Analyses.

Allow me to add to the list - one of the better articles I have read with the theme of "How can the US help the opposition in Iran"?

From Foreign Policy by ALIREZA NADER and TRITA PARSI (9 Feb. 2009),1


- First, the United States should tread carefully when it comes to issuing military threats.

- Second, the United States should avoid sanctions that put a burden on the Iranian people, rather than the Iranian government. ... Instead, U.S. and U.N. designation of specific individuals within the government and the IRGC responsible for the repression and human rights violations would make the sanctions both effective and truly targeted.

- Third, Washington should slow down the diplomatic process.

- Fourth, the international community, including the White House and U.S. State Department, should be vocal in excoriating Iran's human rights abuses.

- Finally, Washington should exercise patience and view Iran as a long-term factor in shaping U.S. national security interests across the Middle East.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

I am uncertain how effective point no. 3 in the FP article Catherine cited above would really be in assisting the opposition in Iran. Publicly raising human rights abuses is of course a good thing in itself, and Parsi and Nader's argument for it is plausible, but on the other hand it is obvious to most observers that the US govt expresses concern for human rights in certain countries selectively for reasons of political expediency.

This double standard allows the Iranian regime to use its tried and tested response which is the evasive 'what about' defence. "What about orange-jumpsuited Muslims in cages at Guantanamo Bay?" or more likely "If the US really cares about human rights why does it support the crimes of the Zionist Occupation?" which always seems to garner Ahmadinejad a fair amount of support (including from other human rights abusers keen on shifting the spotlight elsewhere) in international forums.

US government support for human rights in Iran is probably useful in managing domestic public opinion but I think in Iran itself the regime is immune to this kind of criticism from abroad in its calculations and will commit whatever violations it considers necessary to maintain its position. As for the people of Iran, their attitude to human rights issues will be principally be determined by their direct experience of the security apparatus in action rather than anything Obama or Clinton say (recent 'either with us or with them' slogans notwithstanding).

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermukharbish

The 1600 story seems excessively pessimistic to me. In most general strike situations the government "has the weapons", that is not the determining factor. The journalists in question should keep in mind that the Green Movement has not sought to instigate labor strikes.
What the presence of Mousavi does do, however, is give labor unrest a unifying figure to rally behind, whereas before labor unrest was easy to isolate and dissuade since there is was no visible alternative to the current government that was not listening to them. Keep in mind that the political opposition doesn't necessarily have to be all powerful in all fields to be fatal to a dictatorship. But by giving disparate grievances and unrests a unifying alternative to the status quo the very presence of a viable political alternative can prove fatal to dictatorships.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Hate to say "I told you so", but when I questioned the 3.8% growth figure a few weeks ago since the other oil exporting countries with similar economic models to Iran were in deep recessions, I was accused of "wishful thinking" by many even on this board. Now we see Ahmadinejad pulling a number over 6% out of some dark place that I will not mention out of politeness that we know is false.
Is it really so hard to believe that even the 3.8% figure is simply made up also and that Iran's currency reserves are also drastically exaggerated?
Based on history my suspicion is that Iran's economic situation is MUCH worse than even the most critical economists are saying now.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam


Thanks for pointing to the important fact that Mousavi could act as a unifying figure to rally behind. I also agree with you on the much too pessimistic assumptions on possible labour strikes. The Sherkat-e Vahed (State-owned Bus Drivers Union) strikes from 2005 and 2006 attest to a vibrant labour scene, which has been brutally oppressed by arresting hundreds of activists, including it's president Mansour Osanlou, who was conferred to a "dog cell ward" in Evin recently:
During the past years there have been many strikes throughout the country, some of them quite successful as in the case of the Wagon Pars strikes in Arak in September 2009:

For possible future developments see also this interview with Iranian trade unionist Homayoun Pourzad:

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Catherine -

To the second bullet point from the Nader/Parsi article. While I agree blanket sanctions will likely do more harm than good, especially to Iranian citizens, I wonder what the impact will be through targeted sanctions of the IRGC as is being proposed by many, in light of the IRGC vast involvment in the economics in Iran - including the "black markets". Also considering the stance from China, is the targeted sanctions more of a PR play to the citizens in Iran/rest of the world or is there real consequence/effect if these sanctions are put in place.

Curious to other thoughts from readers. I had a lenghty discussion with Iranian friends recently but do not have time to discuss here at the moment.


February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

Mukharbish, I know exactly what you mean about the "what about" argument! But we have a saying where I come from, that "Johnny did it too" is no excuse. Mothers will say, "If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?" Everyone is responsible for themselves is the basic message.

Maybe human rights supporters can appeal to the Regime supporters' sense of honor. Is it really good enough that Iran be "no worse than so-and-so"? Shouldn't the children of Cyrus be at the forefront of human rights, not making excuses that others have done worse? It doesn't take any fancy technology or lots of money to become first in the world in human rights. All it takes is the will and the solidarity to make it happen.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Magdalen

Another question to pose to the audience at large for today's post. Regarding the act proposed by the two US senators (see post at 12:25 GMT), why, depsite the efforts of Iranian American institutions such as NIAC and the less publicized advocay groups such as PAAIA) who lobby Congress on a regular basis regarding US policy to Iran and all seem to agree to put it bluntly, "back off", US officials continue with the narrow minded view that the US needs to not only advocate but back regime change in Iran? Is this evidence these groups are not effective or US politicians that stubborn or clueless?

Also, while on the topic of US officials, I have read and re-read Clinton's comments and I am at an absloute loss as to why such a statement would be made. As many EA readers would have predicted, this would fall right into the hands of the regime, e.g. see post above for comments from SL. Unbelievable.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan


While I agree that the congressional bill is misguided and naive, I am also a bit tired of hearing that other countries have to "back off" Iran to help the Green Movement.
Other countries have a right to protect their national security interests, especially when it comes to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The claim that sanctions and/or a military strike against Iran's nuclear program will play into the regime's hands may or may not be true. While the regime will undoubtedly try to use such international pressure as justification for continuing the domestic crackdown, they use paranoid theories along these lines anyway, and the people do not have to believe them.
The notion that tough sanctions or a military strike would somehow make the Iranian population forget that they have no civil liberties anymore, that the election was stolen before their very eyes, and that thousands of innocent people have been imprisoned, abused, and/or killed merely for asking that their votes be counted, is simply not realistic and it is disturbing that this view has become the consensus in western policy circles.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Adam -

Thank you for your comment. I agree that it will not cause people to lose sight of their needs and wants (e.g. civil liberties as you state above) nor that it changes the game so to speak however I do think it could stir nationalistic sentiments. Does that mean people all of a sudden back AN et, but I do think it brings up thoughts that Iranians do not want the US to interfer...putting aside for a moment that the regime will use this to support the foreign intervention argument. While I conceed I am making a general statement and some may welcome direct US intervention, based on discussions I have with friends, family and reads of many opinions I do not get a sense that a majority would welcome direct US invention. But as stated, this well could depend on your audience. Also taking a historical perspective, many are cautious of foreign intervention, e.g. colonialism.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

Sahamnews has been hacked by a group calling themselves Sun Army.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShahram


Saham News is online, but apparently in an older version, and all links are working. In any case Ms Karroubi's statement has vanished from the first page. I checked it a minute ago.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

In all the demonstrations of Green Movement people ask for "international solidarity"; now all the countries are behind iranian people who have suffered during 8 long months; what's the problem ??
Both of the senators have said that there is no longer problem with nuclear or terrorism but the regime itself, for the sake of the world, for the sake of the Middle Est; the west could take outstretched hand of AN, but it didn't even for their own benefit; there is no more a problem of colonialism; personally , I welcome their help because our poor people are not able to do it alone, going to the streets peacefully without any outcome except being arrested, raped, killed or tortured; getting rid of those monsters , that huge octopus, is not really easy with empty hand !

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Some news

Iran rejects calls for UN probes on torture, violence -

WSJ quotes the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, Gen. David Petraeus, .. that Iran has transformed from a "theocracy" into a "thugocracy," as the IRGC and its subordinate elements - including the Basij domestically and Qods Force abroad - have used their influence to burrow even deeper into Iran's power structures.

Thugocracy is excellent!

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Peyke Iran has posted a video, showing the people tearing down the street sign of "Jomhoori-ye Eslami" (Islamic Republic) street:

Imho the situation in Iran is explosive. If the regime continues to ignore all proposals and offers of moderate conservatives, Green opposition and critical clergy to compromise, violent popular reactions are to be feared.
I still hope that someone within the regime wakes up and makes a decision to end this deadlock.

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Arshama -

I agree with your statement. My question is what event(s) will ulitmately bring all of these groups it, as you suggest, the lack of action by the AN administration to proposals/requests/demands from not only the Green movment, but clerics, conservatives, moderates, reformists, etc OR is there another rallying cry that will expand beyond just these groups to labor, middle and lower class (e.g. unemployment, subsidy reforms)...or perhaps all of these together will or I may say are creating a perfect storm?

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

The economic grievances will steadily find voice through the political opposition (Green Movement) that presents a viable alternative to the status quo.
I think that the economic story is more important than even many enlightened commentators realize, since Khamenei has to keep the Revolutionary Guards united (and even willing to kill) for a stauts quo that has less and less to offer them financially. This is part of what makes strong international sanctions so important.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam


If i knew the answer, I would be a millionaire ;-)
But seriously, either the clerics, conservatives, moderates and reformists decide to cooperate and are already holding secret meetings to find a way out of this mess, or they remain as factional and fragmented as they actually are and risk to be oppressed even stronger. I suppose they are much better aware of the danger, they are running into, i.e. a completely militarised state, which could be only overcome at much higher costs. Unite or perish -- it is obvious, which one of these two options they prefer. In the former case all those neglected sectors of society, who have always suffered, under the reformers as under AN, would perhaps accept to join them and support a nationwide strike or comparable measures.
Actually no reasonable offer has been made to these lower income or extremely deprived classes, including the workers, which could convince them to join. Whenever social security (ta'mine ejtema'i) will be added to existing slogans as civil rights, freedom and equality, I am convinced that they would join the mouvement immediately.
The overall fear seems to be that deposing AN, the SL or both of them would bring about no significant changes for them, and the "ruling class" would continue it's selfish bargaining. This is also the reason, why other parts of society still hesitate to join in.
And Raffers would probably align himself too, when convinced that such a broad movement could eliminate his principal adversaries. He would be also necessary for persuading parts of the IRGC to withdraw from their actual resistance against any kind of changes.
In any case time is running out for both, the mafia of AN and the SL as well as for the Greens and other discontented groups. The consolidation of military structures would provoke foreign military attacks, ignoring the people's anger would lead to a bloody explosion. Perhaps someone is listening over there...

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

Arshama thank you for these great insights! Maybe more people would join the movement if it could be shown exactly how the current regime has been ripping off everyone, which of course lower-income families feel the pinch of hardest.

A LOT of money comes out of the Iranian ground that belongs to the Iranian people, and instead of going for schools and pensions and healthcare and decent wages for them, it goes to line regime pockets! Maybe the ultra-religious folks don't want to believe religious people would act that way, or maybe people in general just don't realize how very very MUCH was stolen from them. Maybe there's a way to make a poster showing what could have been bought for each Iranian if that money hadn't been stolen.

I wish we could just freeze all the IRGC's assets and take that money and just give it to the Iranian people somehow, and say, here, this has always belonged to you.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Magdalen

@ Bijan, post 7
You know, I read an opinion article the other day that argued it would actually be much more effective to lift a number of current economic sanctions because that would put the IRGC's booming black market activities out of business. I wish I could find it...

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

@ Adam post 18
This article (GVF, Ahmadinejad's gift to Iranian workers) states:
"The Green Movement’s most important element, Mir-Hossein Mousavi has constantly spoken of the ails of the Iranian economy and the pressure on national industry due to unbridled import of foreign goods among other reasons which had pushed many factories into closing down. In the past eight months, he has slammed the Ahmadinejad government’s negligence of the workers’ situation in Iran and has even spoken of the need to set the minimum wage for workers according to international norms."

If true, why hasn't there been - as far as I have been able to tell - a greater coalescence during protests between the Green Movement and labour unions/workers' rights defenders so far? Or am I not well enough informed on this?

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

As everyone here knows, cheap Chinese goods flooding the Iranian bazars and markets have spelled the ruin of many domestic manufacturing industries and sectors of Iranian agriculture. Many analysts believe the only reason the AN administration started a policy of opening up the Iranian market to Chinese goods was to create a way to secure support for the nuclear programme. This open door policy to Chinese goods is also yet another nail in the coffin of the Iranian working class.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Arshama -

Well said and thank you for the response..and yes, we would both be rich if we knew all the answers!

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

Catherine -

I have seen something similar to article you discussed as well but can not remember where either. Of course, with all the debate on going on the effectiveness of sanctions it is difficult to keep straight!

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBijan

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