Archive for the 'Iranian election aftermath' Category

John Kyl (R-Arizona) Says Regime Change Should be Ultimate U.S Goal in Iran

This past week Iran was once again in the headlines. A Summer of violence inflicted on dissidents by the military and security forces following the Iranian Presidential “election” in June, as well as fears that the Islamic Republic could soon acquire nuclear weapons; have gained the country much attention and has created much concern.

Last week at the United Nations, the country’s “President” faced protests by those denouncing his brutish tactics against Iranian protesters in his own country. His diatribes against Israel and denial of the holocaust caused many to walk out during his speech before the United Nations last week. And intelligence of a subterranean facility connected to the country’s nuclear program; elicited rebukes and renewed talk of International sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and even Russia to a lesser degree.

Now, as the United States remains mired in two Middle Eastern conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq (both countries next to Iran), some of the neocons in the United States think maybe two millitary stalemates aren’t enough.

It appears that Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) and outgoing Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) are mulling regime change in Iran. Kyl and Bond who each appeared on Sunday morning political talk shows, aren’t yet urging an all out Iraq-style pre-emptive war just yet, nevertheless he says regime change should be the ultimate objective of the United States in its policy towards Iran.

“What we’re trying to do here eventually is get a regime change,” he said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Get a group of people in there that are more representative of the Iranian people, that we really can talk with in a way that might end up with a good result. I think it’s very difficult to do that with the current leadership and especially the elected president,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

My Pavlovian response to such rhetoric is usually a mix between a roll of the eyes, fear of another military adventure that ends in an outright fiasco, and anger that anyone could be stupid enough to be so cavalier after what we have endured with Iraq. But the so-called election this past Summer (and no Senator Kyl he isn’t the “elected President” of Iran he stole the election at least as far as we can tell) shows that there is a reservoir of suspicion and resentment towards Amadinejad that has gone beyond him and was so audacious as to be aimed even at the Mullahs who hold the real power in the country.

Action should be taken for sure, and as of now it appears that Obama is attempting to adopt the approach similar to that George HW Bush took in 1990 following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; attempting to build legitimacy with the International community specifically within the UN membership to denounce and punish Iran, rather then the bungled neoconservative model of the Iraq war.

As Josh Marshall on TPM points out, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even says that any sort of military action towards Iran would have limited results. After attacking any facilities what is to say that Iran won’t immediately work to rebuild such capabilities? Would we once again be forced to militarily reconstructing the entire sociopolitical framework of a nation where we are viewed with suspicion and whose culture Americans by and large have little familiarity with? Such a move would further destabilize the global economy, driving further up the price of oil. Not all the weapons sites are likely known in Iran since U.S Intelligence in the country is scant at best if existent at all. It sits in a region where its two neighboring countries Iraq and Afghanistan have unstable, inept regimes that are seen as effective by much of their citizenry and are just possibly fragile enough to also be forced from power in reaction.

The international community would likely not stand alongside the United States and Israel in such an attack, and such talk would only cause Iran to expedite the development of a nuclear program and do something that this summer shows Ahmadinejad and the government were never able to do and that is make him legitimate in the eyes of the Iranian people. His tirades and fear mongering would be validated and any opening the U.S may have had with the Iran citizenry could be very well sealed shut if we are perceived as trigger happy. An attack on Iran could turn more of them against us and in the wake of such an attack we could see a flood of Iranians crossing into Iraq armed with a newly formed hatred in their hearts and thousands of U.S soldiers in their sights.

Finally, the government of Ahmadinejad is not the body that really hold the bulk of the decision making power is done by the mullahs and the Grand Ayatollah. In the larger configuration of things Ahmadinejad is a minute component in the more vast system of the Iranian elite.

If we have learned anything from nearly a decade of struggle and Afghanistan and our invasion of Iraq, its that War and regime change are something that is easy to spout off about, but violent, costly, and painstaking to carry out. We are already locked in two wars rebuilding two nations,to enter a third would be the most absurd and tragic of follies.



Tortured Iranian Prisoner Kills Himself

Though the situation in the past month or two has been eclipsed by other events, the graphic video above (H/T:Andrew Sullivan) as an ireport for CNN, shows the bloodied father in the aftermath of his young son’s suicide who upon being released from prison leaped off a bridge to his death. Apparently the deceased had been jailed for participating in post-election protests and well in prison had endured rape and torture at the hands of his captors.


Free Maziar Bahari

Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show, I heard about Newsweek Iranian correspondent Maziar Bahari , who has been held prisoner by the government in Iran, in the wake of the intensity and disputes of that country’s Presidential election.

In the past he his coverage has been praised by the Iranian government who has given him clearance to do his job. But since June 21, he has been held by the government, who has alleged he presented coverage aimed at undermining the government in a plot to remove the government there from power.

By all accounts, he sounds like a journalist who reported objectively and is now being held (and even forced to give a false confession) all because he was merely reporting the facts and doing his job.

Sign this petition that action be taken to free Maziar Bahari now.


Iranian Wrap-Up: 7/31/09

Sorry for the lack of posts, especially regarding Iran. Been running around preoccupied with a lot of other matters this week, and unfortunately unlike bloggers who do so professionally or have a multitude of contributors.

One Iranian prison has been shut down earlier this week and 140 demonstrators released from prison, but both protester and government remain equally steadfast. Despite the Supreme Leader forcing Mahmoud Amadinejad to withdraw his choice for an Iranian Vice Presidential post because of comments that said Iranians and Israelis could be friends (talk about a mecca moment in Iranian politics), Ahmadinejad is adamantly denies there is a fissure between the leadership of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayidd Ali Khomeni and Ahmadinejad, saying the Supreme leader is like a father to him. Can we say covering ass? Obviously there are rifts here, after all unlike the Supreme leader Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy is in question and he has much less power and his name is on the ballot every four years.

And over a month since the death of Neda Soltani who was gunned down by a stray bullet from security forces cracking down on protesters in the streets, and about a week following the global day of action last Saturday against the repressive conduct of the Iranian government and their Janissary’s who won’t stop defaming her even in death. When masses of people emerged yesterday at her grave site in silent protest, security forces were unleashed on the protesters and blocked opposition leader Mir Houssain Mousavi and other political leaders sympathetic to the dissidents from visiting Neda’s grave.

Here by the way are some words by Neda’s boyfriend of three months, describing his girlfriend who was slain by the government.

[TEHRAN BUREAU] Caspian Makan 37, boyfriend of Neda 27 (Q&A conducted 24 June 2009)

Neda was a very happy girl, she was, how can I put it, a simple person, innocent, sweet. She was the sort of girl that when we went somewhere together, everyone liked her, people were drawn to her. She was very kind with people, she had a really sweet personality, very sweet, innocent and open. People were drawn to her.

She was not at all into politics nor was she a protestor or part of this ‘green wave’ movement. She didn’t support any of the candidates. She just wanted democracy and a little freedom, a little freedom in a logical reasonable way, that was what she wanted — just the basic rights of the Iranian people which this regime wants to take away from them.

We knew each for just three months. It was not long enough…


Global Day of Action Against Iranian Regime

Today in nations around the globe, including various cities across the United States there have been activities and protests to mark an international day of action against the Iranian regime, for its voting irregularities in the June Presidential election and the subsequent harsh and inhuman treatment of dissidents and Iranians across the spectrum.

Some protesters are demanding a new election, to rectify the lopsided results of the June election, all are calling for the release of dissidents and political prisoners from the bowels of Iranian prisons.

I wish I could have participated, unfortunately I just heard about these demonstrations last night and the nearest event in Massachusetts is in Boston. But just the same I and I think it is safe to say the plurality of Americans and people around the globe who believe in peace, egalitarianism, justice, and freedom; at least march with those protesters(especially those in Iran who are in many cases literally risking their lives)to voice their opposition and chart their own course in the vast sea of destiny.

LONDON (AP) — Protesters across the world called on Iran Saturday to end its clampdown on opposition activists, demanding the release of hundreds rounded up during demonstrations against the country’s disputed election.

Groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International backed a global day of action, with protests planned in more than 80 cities.

The protesters want Iranian authorities to release what they say are hundreds, or even thousands, of people detained during protests that followed the presidential election last month that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Inside Iran, as well, Iranian police and pro-government militia attacked and scattered hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Tehran in response to the global demonstrations of solidarity, witnesses said.

Demonstrators in Vanak and Mirdamad districts chanted “death to the dictator” and “we want our vote back” before they were attacked and beaten by police Saturday. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Interestingly the internal politics, even amongst the established order is fissured to some degree. Even amongst Mahmoud Amadinejad and the conservative ayatollahs composing the “Supreme Leader” Sayyid Ali Khameni are divided. Ahmadinejad had mulled choosing an Iranian Vice President who allegedly made some positive remarks aboutIsrael(or ones that weren’t threatening to Israel anyway). Apparently the established order didn’t like that too much, and after digging in his heals; Ahmadinejad finally capitulated and will not choose that candidate to serve as the top Iranian Vice President.

Some musings are traveling around that Ahmadinejad, long a fervent conservative ally of the Ayatollah’s and to their strict doctrine; was seeking a more conciliatory cabinet. Some may wonder why Ahmadinejad, someone who has been such a hardliner would seek to placate these factions? Well the answer is simple; despite the elections that have been rigged in his favor Ahmadinejad is still a politician. Ever few years he is up for re-election again, and even if the process is completely fixed in his favor his authority could be diminished in others ways and order completely disrupted. The Supreme Leader on the other hand is not up for election and his linked by the system to Shia Islam. He unlike Ahmadinejad who is accountable to the Ayatollah’s and to some degree the people; the Supreme leader who has the true power of state resting in his palms and no end to his term is accountable to nobody.

Ahmadinejad may be reckless, but he is not totally stupid. He is well aware that if he doesn’t sway or ameliorate the outrage in some at least slightly conciliatory way; if not at least cosmetically; the unrest and opposition towards him will blossom further; either forcing him from power or severely chocking any policies or actions his administration may want to take. In short the difference between the two is the old adage by Lord Acton that “absolute power, corrupts absolutely”.


Iranian Wrap-up: 7/17/09

After a fairly subdued period at least from the vantage point of those of us outside Iran and the Middle Eastern region, tension between Iranian reform elements and the regime have picked up steam again.

On Thursday it was announced that the chief of Iran’s atomic Energy operations and Vice President Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, tendered and gave to President Mahmoud Amadinejad his resignation three weeks ago. Explanation has not been publicly given for his abdication. Meanwhile this Friday a Prayer meeting led by ex-Iranian Prime Minister Rafsinjani, excoriated the regime for its treatment of protesters and conduct following the election, and have demanded the release of those protesters imprisoned. It is said that the crowds have periodically broken out into chants of “freedom” and others calling for “death to the dictator” a statement directed at the Supreme Leader Sayid Ali Khomeni.

Security forces including elements of the pro government Baji militia have gassed and beaten demonstrators according to reports, and many have been arrested. Top reformist politicians are said to have been present at the sermons that have been broadcast uninterrupted on radio. One of Iran’s televisions stations also for the first time is said to have aired some footage of the unrest in the Iranian capital city.

Also in a strange incident reminiscent of the 1979 Iranian Revolution when protesters, young bearded men of college background flooded the streets, setting flags ablaze and labeling America “the Great Satan” is said to have been occurring in Iran’s Palestinian Square. There are some shouting from speakers “death to America” and “death to Isreal”, but the shouters seem not to realize that the dynamics have shifted and the masses allegedly are returning those shouts with angry statements directed towards China and Russia, who have recognized the election of Ahmadinejad. Speaking of Ahmadinejad, the Iranian intelligence community has now emerged with a claim that the Israelis tried to assassinate him, a claim that doesn’t seem to be as effective for him politically as it used to.

Many including myself thought that the brute force of the Iranian state would have been too much for the resistance movement to surmount at this point. After all it is Ahmadinejad, the Grand leader, and others entrenched in power have the armaments, the media, and many other instruments of the nation at their disposal. Yet the combination of the youthful; protesters, their outrage at the election and desires for a new vision for the Iranian state, and the encouragement they now receive from powerful figures in the councils the country’s political and religious communities have allowed the reformist movement and anti-Ahmadinejad elements to be more resilent then in the past.

Here are some of the chants being recited by Iranian protesters:

* “Down with this people-fooling government!” (Marg bar in dolat-e mardom-farib)
* “Coup d’etat government, step down!” (Dolat-e kudeta, estefa, estefa!)
* “As long as it’s Ahmadinejad, every day shall be thus!” (Ta Ahmadinejad-e, har rooz hamin basat-e!)
* “Die Mojtaba, before you see the Leadership!” (Mojtaba bemiri, rahbari o nabini!) [in ref. to Khamenei’s son]
* “We are not chaff — we are the nation!” (Ma khashak nistim, mellat hastim!) [in ref. to Ahmadinejad labeling protesters ‘chaff’]
* “Political prisoners must be freed!” (Zendani siasi, azad bayad gardad!)

Before Rafsanjani began his sermon, a chant addressed to him warned:

* “If you maintain silence, you commit treason!” (Agar sokut koni, khaeni!)


Iran Wrap-up- July 9

(H/T: Average American Patriot)

Been days since the last wrap-up , but over this past weekend Vice President Biden hinted that the U.S might allow Israel to launch an attack against possible nuclear sites in Iran, an assertion that President Obama later denied. If done it would give U.S Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen much pause. Though Biden also remarked that the U.S is still open to constructing a dialogue with Iran.

President Ahmadinejad also asserted in a public address to Iranians on Tuesday, the first since the controversial election last month, that the elections and their astounding turnout were “the freest elections”, the freest ever in the history of the world times a million. And despite, the controversy surrounding his “re-election”, the autocratic Conservative populist President still believes he has a mandate. His rivals, especially Mir Houssain Mousavi seem to disagree and opposition elements in Iran are urging the European Union not to recognize Ahmadinejad as the legitimate leader of the country. The plea isn’t being made to the United States presumably because the U.S has not officially recognized any Iranian government since the overthrow of the Shah and seizure of the U.S embassy in Tehran in 1979.

An envoy has also visited a French teacher who has said to be detained, and there have been other native Iranian opposition elements (known to the autocratic government there as “counter revolutionaries”) detained,including a prominent human rights lawyer, who works for a Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and legal scholar

Meanwhile out on the streets, protests seem to have been revived for a time, after nearly two weeks of relative inactivity due to the harsh reprisals and measures of government security forces. But as many as hundreds of thousands are said to have defied the government and taken to the streets of Tehran towards a university where a decade ago a student protest erupted and was eventually quashed by the Iranian hardliners. So far protesters have encured beatings, assaults, and plumes of tear gas from security forces and the Basij militia, as some protesters are setting trashcans ablaze to counter the noxious affect of the tear gas and shouting chants of “Death to the Dictator”.

The Governor of Tehran meanwhile is urging residents to leave the affects, due to the heavy air pollution, and insists that those who demonstrate and support such protests will “be smashed”.