Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Juan Cole (21)


Iran Document: Supreme Leader's Speech on "The Battle Within" & Talks With US

Over the last 48 hours, we have paid close attention to the Supreme Leader's speech to an audience from Tabriz, noting 1) its place in the "battle within"; especially the fight between President Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani; and 2) its intervention on the nuclear issues and the question of direct talks with the US.

The text of the speech, translated by the US Government's Open Source Center, and posted by Juan Cole on his website:

Let me say this to you, the American Government officials are unreasonable people. Their words are unreasonable; their actions are unreasonable, and repressive. They expect others to surrender to their unreasonable actions. Well, some do surrender. Some governments, some political elite in some countries, surrender to their audacity and bullying behaviour.

But the Iranian nation, the Islamic Republic is not going to surrender.

Click to read more ...


Remember Iran Flashback: 13 June 2009 --- EA's Live Coverage Begins

The Iranian authorities declare victory for President Ahmadinejad; candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi challenge results; protests begin amid reports of detentions by security forces

2230 GMT: We're signing off until the morning. Thanks to everyone who sent us information today. To friends in Iran: our thoughts are with you.

2200 GMT: We have now posted the English translation of the letter released by Mir Hossein Mousavi to his supporters this afternoon.l

2145 GMT: In addition to the video of this afternoon's protests in Tehran, which we posted in this entry, we now have posted footage that the riots have spread this evening to the university in Shiraz and to the city of Mashhad.

Click to read more ...


Iran Propaganda 101: Nanodiamonds, Nukes, "Western Officials", and The Washington Post

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

A discussion, including David Albright and Karim Sadjadpour, on a Sunday talk show about the IAEA report and Iran's nuclear programme

See also Iran Feature: Did Unnamed Officials Use the Media to Turn Nanodiamonds into Nuclear Bombs?

A classic case study in how information/propaganda --- choose the word according to your perspective --- circulates between Western governments, supportive media, and "think tanks"....

Click to read more ...


Open Letter to the Arab Spring: 10 Ways to Avoid US Mistakes (Cole)

The blood of your martyrs for revolution is too recent and too precious, and too often belonged to young people who sacrificed a bright future, for you to squander this once-in-a-century opportunity to put liberty and democracy on a firm foundation in your countries. You are young, and you still weep at the thought of freedom, and of those who died for it. You are having your weddings at Tahrir Square to celebrate a new beginning. Be careful. Be very careful. In my lifetime I have seen the American state spiral down into a brutal tyranny that tortures, spies, union-busts, engages in illegal wars, and plays dirty tricks on dissidents. We used to have something much more like a democracy. Maybe we can learn from you how to safeguard something so precious.

Click to read more ...


Top 10 List: Why Libya 2011 is Not Iraq 2003 (Cole)

1. The action in Libya was authorized by the United Nations Security Council. That in Iraq was not. By the UN Charter, military action after 1945 should either come as self-defense or with UNSC authorization. Most countries in the world are signatories to the charter and bound by its provisions.

2. The Libyan people had risen up and thrown off the Qaddafi regime, with some 80-90 percent of the country having gone out of his hands before he started having tank commanders fire shells into peaceful crowds. It was this vast majority of the Libyan people that demanded the UN no-fly zone. In 2002-3 there was no similar popular movement against Saddam Hussein.

Click to read more ...


"It's Official: Tunisia Now Freer than the US" (Cole)

Tunisian Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi announced on Monday the dissolution of the country’s secret police arm. This step toward democracy is the most important taken by any Arab country for decades.

Arguably, Tunisians are now freer than Americans. The US government thinks our private emails are actually public. The FBI and NSA routinely read our email and they and other branches of the US government issue security letters in the place of warrants allowing them to tap phones and monitor whom we call, and even to call up our library records and conduct searches of our homes without telling us about it. Millions of telephone records were turned over to George W. Bush by our weaselly telecom companies. Courts allow government agents to sneak onto our property and put GPS tracking devices under our automobiles without so much as a warrant or even probable cause. Mr. Obama thinks this way of proceeding is a dandy idea.

Click to read more ...


North Africa and the Middle East: Your Top 10 List for Democracy This Weekend (Cole)

Juan Cole gets to grips with all the developments to produce his Top 10 List of changes for democracy. It's a good round-up, but we should also note events ---covered in EA's LiveBlog --- that did not make the list, such as weekend protests in Lebanon and Casablanca (see inset picture):

10. In the Sunni-ruled monarchy of Bahrain, which has practiced employment discrimination against the Shiite majority of citizens, the Ministry of Interior has announced it will create 20,000 security-related jobs, apparently intended to be filled mainly by Shiite Bahrainis with college degrees. The protest movement, however, is unlikely to be satisfied unless there are political, not just economic concessions.

Click to read more ...


The Latest from Iran (3 February): Glancing at Cairo

2120 GMT: The "Right" Egyptian Revolution. How much is Tehran playing up Egypt? To the point where almost all the story on Press TV's "Iran" section after actually about Cairo....

The military advisor to the Supreme Leader, Brigadier General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, suggests that some of the opposition figures are not "right" for Iran: “By introducing several people as [protest] leaders, the US is seeking to pave the way for creating rifts amidst the Egyptian nation and to use the outcome to its own advantage.”

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamedani is also setting out Good and Bad for the demonstrators, warning anti-regime protesters in Egypt over the dangers of a “secular revolution".

So what is the right path? MP Gholam-Reza Mesbahi-Moghaddam helps out, “Thanks to the Islamic Revolution, Islam and Shiism is cultivating in the world and this revolutionary culture is Islamic.”

The Foreign Ministry says it is monitoring the "wave of Islamic awakening".

Click to read more ...


Iraq Analysis: Is PM al-Maliki Holding Firm for US Withdrawal? (Cole)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made news this week with his interview in The Wall Street Journal, in the course of which he insisted that all US troops would be out of Iraq by January 1, 2012:

WSJ: Some American officials have spoken about contingency plans being drawn now in Washington for the possibility that some American troops will stay after 2011. Do you know about these contingency plans, and do you need troops?

Mr. Maliki: I do not care about what’s being said. I care about what’s on paper and what has been agreed to. The withdrawal of forces agreement [Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA] expires on Dec. 31, 2011. The last American soldier will leave Iraq.

Secondly this agreement is sealed and at the time we designated it as sealed and not subject to extension, except if the new government with Parliament’s approval wanted to reach a new agreement with America, or another country, that’s another matter. This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration, it is sealed, it expires on Dec. 31 [2011]. 

Click to read more ...


Afghanistan: The Top 10 Myths of 2010 (Cole)

Myth: There has been significant progress in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan.”

Reality: A recent National Intelligence Estimate by 16 intelligence agencies found no progress. It warned that large swathes of the country were at risk of falling to the Taliban and that they still had safe havens in Pakistan, with the Pakistani government complicit. The UN says there were over 6000 civilian casualties of war in Afghanistan in the first 10 months of 2010, a 20% increase over the same period in 2009. Also, 701 US and NATO troops have been killed this year, compared to 521 last year, a 25% increase. There were typically over 1000 insurgent attacks per month in Afghanistan this year, often twice as many per month as in 2009, recalling the guerrilla war in Iraq in 2005.

Click to read more ...