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Entries in Flynt Leverett (5)


Iran Feature: So What is The Regime's "Must Read" US Book?

So which US book is catching the eye of the Iranian leadership these days --- and doing so with approval?

Fars News, close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, offers a clue this morning with s a glowing review of the latest opus from Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett: "Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms With the Islamic Republic of Iran".

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EA Video Analysis: Iran Sanctions, Human Rights, and the Nuclear Issue

A seven-minute commentary on how and why the US-based discussion of sanctions on Iran --- and indeed the sanctions themselves --- miss the most important point about life inside the Islamic Republic:


Iran Snap Analysis: Propaganda, Negotiations, and the Economic Ties That Bind

Iran's media outlets and spokesmen are putting out the message that it is the US and Europe, not the Islamic Republic, who are economically weak --- this, rather than a genuine desire for agreement, is why Washington and allies are pursuing the nuclear talks. However, the argument is propaganda, not assessment, leaving the important question whether Tehran's officials actually believe the illusions of their rhetoric.

If they do, then they may be in for an awakening as they go to Moscow on 18-19 June. Given the economic difficulties within Iran, which cannot be masked by rose-coloured proclamations, and the European Union's cut-off of Iranian oil imports from 1 July, US and European governments believe they have the upper hand. Having planned for alternative supplies to cover the drop in oil taken from Tehran, they can afford to play the game long. It is far from certain that the Islamic Republic can do so.

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Iran Special: How the Myth of the Green Movement and "Regime Change" Was Created

Protesters in Tehran's Azadi Square, 15 June 2009

Three weeks ago, the Iranian site Khabar Online published an extended interview with Alireza Marandi --- the physician who returned from the US to become the Islamic Republic's first Minister of Health, a minister under Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi in the 1980s, and now a prominent MP from Tehran. While his name may not be well-known in the "West", Marandi's record and his "straight shooter" reputation make him a bastion of the establishment --- so when he speaks, the words carry weight.

The discussion is an extended denunciation of Mousavi, both in the 1980s and during the 2009 Presidential election. In that sense, with the former Presidential candidate now entering his 15th month of strict house arrest, it is far from surprising.

But amidst the damning of the Green Movement's figurehead, one passage deserves a feature. For Marandi's explanation of why Mousavi turned in 2009 from candidate to the would-be mastermind of "regime change" reveals how the myth was spread that Iran's protesters were merely the puppets of the "West" and the "seditious elements" within the Islamic Republic.

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The View from Iran: Ahmadinejad's Propaganda, Stoning, and the Green Movement (Gallo)

A reformist leader in Iran who wishes to remain anonymous summarises, "The society lives in fear, but under the ashes the fire of opposition hasn’t been extinguished. There is now a big gap between a large part of the Iranian people and its government."

The immediate enemy of the Government is the economic crisis. A well-placed journalist notes, "When you speak to Iranians the first thing on their mind is the terrible state of the economy, the inflation and unemployment. Young people are desperate, they see a grim future and many want to leave the country.”  

With the imminent introduction of reductions in the $100 billion-per-year Government subsidies, money will be missing in the pockets of the people. That is now the hottest challenge for the regime, but its effects could reignite the fire under the ashes, reuniting dissatisfied segments of society as resurrecting publicly the opposition of the Green Movement.

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