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Why North Tehranis Don't Revolt

by CORRESPONDENT in Tehran

17 Feb 2010 23:1879 Comments
benzdealer.jpg"So what's the talk among your colleagues?" a repatriate friend of mine asks, a reminder that he uses me as a measure for the sentiment among everyday Iranians.

My situation is not too far from my friend's, and like him I am hindered by a lack of direct experience with the situation in much of the country. Unlike him, however, I live and work among Iranians daily, interacting with people from many different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds in an Iranian-based business on the larger end of the scale of small-to-medium-sized enterprises. Having no direct links to the government, this company enjoys a relatively free environment in which political matters can be discussed without fear. Thus I can ask my colleagues, as there has often been occasion to over the past eight months, "Are you going out to protest?"

Iranian SMEs are no doubt few and those with whom I work are relatively privileged or at least privy to a life vastly different from that in places beyond the capital. I remind my friend, "Those with whom I work can hardly be considered a microcosm of Iran." On the whole, my colleagues are uninvolved and for whatever reason seem distant from the woes of many of my close friends. I thus often make the opposite assumption when I put the question to them: "Why don't you go out?"

In the office I see Facebook on every screen and hear the chants from YouTube videos. Debates occasionally arise, and though my colleagues choose to not use "us" when referring to the protesters, they all certainly refer to the regime and its hardline supporters as "them." You could conclude that my colleagues are universally sympathetic, near universally disgruntled, yet mostly inactive.

So why don't they go out?

"It's Too Dangerous"

As the security crackdowns intensify, this response has become the most common. "Being killed is not the worst thing that can happen to you, or something that I'm necessarily afraid of," said a female colleague. "Spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair, having my face deformed or worse still..." She pauses. I finish her sentence, "Being raped?" "Exactly," she answers.

A friend of mine, a medical student, said almost apologetically to me, "Since they've been executing people, none of the students want to go out, they are really frightened." I explained to her that only two people have been executed for political reasons and that they were in fact arrested before the elections. The nine that were later announced as receiving death sentences have not as yet been executed.

Not surprisingly, the abominable video footage they see following protest events cements my colleagues' decision not to attend, regardless of whether what they see is representative of the overall gathering. With the steady flow of news reports of beatings, arrests and detention without charge, torture, rape, and hangings, the ruling faction hardly needs to extend itself to demoralize much of the potential base of protesters. And since no branch of the ruling group seem to care if laws are flouted in such attempts -- some in fact suggest that the response is not harsh enough -- everyone simply knows that their safety and civil rights are far from ensured.

I'm reminded daily that terror reigns and fear presides. The many that tell me, "It's too dangerous," know well that the ruling party's retribution is carried out with arbitrary cruelty. They are reminded daily from sources on all sides of the costs of opposition. When my colleagues explain why they do not join the protests, references to danger are usually joined by one of the following stock phrases.

"I Promised My Mother I Wouldn't"

It surprises me how often I hear this response. It is nearly always coupled with, "I used to go out, at the beginning...," meaning the silent street gatherings that took place during the two weeks after the June 2009 election. This was before the lethal crackdown at Azadi Square that followed the Supreme Leader's announcement that if blood was spilled, it would be on the protesters' hands. The display of force seems to have halved the subsequent gatherings, separating the disgruntled from the determined.

As a taxi driver put it to me, "They needed to put a stop to things, the gatherings were growing and although they didn't seem to be translating to direct political action, it was like water that stays still: it gathers a bad smell and should be gotten rid of."

"I promised my mother I wouldn't": I sense that this is partly an excuse, a get-out clause for the conscience that I choose not to challenge. It is a version of "It's too dangerous," but as if the words have come from another's mouth. On rare occasions, however, there have been those that promise they won't go out but do so secretly.

"It's a Western Conspiracy"

"This is the work of the English!" A classic punchline, immortalized by a famously paranoid character in the popular book My Uncle Napoleon. Unamusingly, this paranoia persists, exploited by the regime and lent credence to by many of the people, even the disgruntled.

The "West" is used as the reference point by which the hardliners continue to define themselves. So naturally, it is now the activities of the so-called Greens that must be the work of the West.

One colleague, a news junkie who spends most of the day scanning reports from sources of every persuasion, managed to shock me when he revealed his intellectual kinship to Uncle Napoleon. I had noted that the majority of his news fixes come from opposition sites that are frequently blocked. He had even altered his Facebook icon to include a green background. I asked him, "Where are you starting from on the demonstration of the anniversary of the Revolution?" I deliberately assumed he would be participating and just as deliberately left ambiguous in what way. He brought his hands to the side of his head and closed his eye to indicate that he would be sleeping in.

I pressed him to explain why he intended to avoid participating in any way. "All this Green stuff is just pressure from the West to keep their replacement of the Shah in check," he declared. He went on to say that the Revolution was largely instigated by the West due to the Shah's decision to respond more to the people's demands and to alter the oil industry agreements to benefit the nation. He stated that only 10 percent of the people were involved in the Revolution and the rest was done from "behind the curtain." I recalled that he had added a symbol to his Facebook icon indicating his own death -- perhaps he is post-Green.

"I'm Going North"

On a few occasions, the regime has announced long holiday weekends around the time of planned protest events. It is said that this is targeted at the more privileged Iranians who supposedly make up the bulk of the Green Movement. The Iranian calendar is littered with national holidays that fall close to the weekend, creating opportunities to travel out of town. In my experience, the roads are heavily congested around these occasions. Since the elections, I've noted that the roads have been considerably less congested when gatherings are planned, possibly indicating that people stuck around.

The most recent anniversary of the Revolution coincided with two national holidays, allowing people to take five consecutive days off from work while using only one day of vacation time. I know that many colleagues headed up north to the Caspian Sea on this particular holiday opportunity. I also know that the turnout for the anniversary was near nonexistent from the Greens and much lower than in years past by supporters of the ruling faction.

"I Can't Because of My Work"

Of course, there are those who simply are obliged to be at work when protest gatherings take place. But I also know of many people who are very keen to be active yet are constrained by the type of work they do -- some are government employees, while others work at organizations that must carefully avoid any evidence of political interest or activity. These people must also take extra precautions to not be associated with anything considered ideologically provocative, which often entails keeping email accounts and social network accounts clean of protest-related emails and other signifiers of Green association.

In some cases, even coincidental associations to anything that could be construed as pro-Green must be altered. This is something I'm confronted with on an almost daily basis by my firm's senior management. I know of occasions in which the color green, used as a purely decorative element, has been replaced with red. So, on top of the sensitivity that has long had to be exercised for the sake of Islam, there is further sensitivity to anything that could be interpreted as support for the opposition.

"I Can't, I Might Be Being Watched"

I know of people who have been arrested for opposition-related activities that have been pressured to implicate others, that have had their mobile phones accessed and emails read. Those who are released tend to act very cautiously afterward. Many of those close to them also grow more fearful of being active, assuming that they are more likely to be monitored.

"I'm a Mother"

Amid the post-election crackdown, some of my female colleagues would gather and gaze in dismay at the violence visible in hundreds and hundreds of Facebook posts. They would then repost the images themselves before rising from their seats in tears. One of these ladies is a mother whom I know voted for Mousavi and is far from satisfied with the ruling party's regard for civil rights. I asked her if she'd considered going to a gathering or maybe doing something else to act on her feelings. She said she would like to, "But you know, I'm a mother." I assume she meant that she could not act in a way that would risk her being harmed or worse.

From my experience of these gatherings I see that mothers do in fact attend and are in fact very much up front and involved. These women -- whom I've seen stand face-to-face with the Basij militia, defying the attempts to intimidate them, whom I've seen pepper sprayed in the face on more than one occasion -- are likely mothers of children beyond their teens.

"I Didn't Know There Was A Gathering"

One colleague of mine, unlike most of the others, is exposed only to state media. The results are illustrated by the news related to Ayatollah Montazeri's passing just before the events on the Day of Ashura. The office was alive with discussion following his death -- many were familiar with his views, which closely aligned with those considering themselves Green. He was considered their spiritual leader, and his passing resonated among them. I mentioned Montazeri's death to our blinkered colleague. He asked, "Who?" Summarizing Montazeri's credentials, I had referred to his title of Ayatollah. My colleague grabbed the newspaper beside him, turned to page 4 and located, buried among an array of brief articles, one in particular. He read Montazeri's full name out, without the religious title. "So who was he?" my colleague asked again.

Apparently, national media sources were obliged to downplay the event -- newspapers, for instance, were forbidden from covering Montazeri's death on the front page. The regime also mandated the elimination of his title from news reports.

Another of many such examples came with the surprised looks on the faces of those brought in from the provinces for Qods Day demonstration when they were confronted by crowds of green-clad people chanting, "Down with the dictator." It's quite possible that our provincial guests were completely unaware that an opposition movement existed.

We Won't Be Going Out

Each day I witness how fear governs the actions of those around me. Fear has very effectively kept them silent, and made it easy for the regime to ignore their dissatisfaction. As for why my colleagues are seemingly less involved than those I see beyond the office, on a good day I imagine that things are just not intolerable enough for them yet. On a bad day, the phrase "You get the government you deserve" springs to mind.

Originally published on Feb. 14.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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79 Comments

Interesting. Supporters of Ahmadinejad in the West think that the entire Green Movement is the work of a bunch of "soosools" from north Tehran helped by the CIA, but the authors says the opposite.

George Stewart / February 15, 2010 2:37 AM

I'm writing from Poland. We have the same experiences from the past with our stupid, bloody communist regime. Fortunately, now we are free.
Iran is close to my heart, because I've been there two times and I have many close friends in this wonderful country. I love them, but I have to tell you one thing. I realized that iranian soul is to much emotional. When one day people had won the fight with basijis on the streets, they started to think that freedom is behind next corner. Now the same people are crying after one defeat. It makes me angry.
Fighting for freedom is always the very long path. It is impossible to achieve it only on the street, in seven months. You should have the strategy for few years and smart, active leaders like Lech Walesa - not like Mousavi (sorry). Freedom will not come to your country after few demonstrations. Stop crying and start to work, make leaflets, underground press, convince workers and people from small cities etc, there is hundreds of methods. I know, it is hard work, but my experiences from Poland told me - there is no other way. You have to deserve your freedom.
I love Iran and I'm sure that you will be free very fast, maybe in five years. But stop complain first.

Marek / February 15, 2010 2:49 AM

Nice piece.

Robert (NYC) / February 15, 2010 3:08 AM

@Marek: I couldn't have said it better myself. I completely agree with you and believe that people are too naive if they believe that they can change the regime in just a few months. Fighting for freedom will certainly take longer than this and unfortunately will require alot more sacrifices and casualties; but eventually it will prevail.

Archi / February 15, 2010 4:12 AM

This reminds me a lot of an episode of the popular TV show "All in the Family", titled "Archie [Bunker] in the Lock-Up (1971)."

In the show, Archie Bunker's son-in-law and a neighbor are off to an anti-establishment protest in New York City. Meanwhile, the women in the family are horrified that US police officers will savagely beat the two for protesting (sound familiar?), so they send Archie Bunker out to bring them back. This sort of thing happened a lot in America during the late 1960's/early 70's. Hilarious comedy and well worth viewing in its entirety on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbkGNxuhQzs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLdCF7alx38&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIowsZgDne0&feature=related

Pirouz / February 15, 2010 4:36 AM

@Marek: I definitely agree with you that such things never come to fruition quickly and can be painstakingly difficult, but you must also remember that with the technology that we have now (ie social media), everything happens at a faster pace. So I think it's safe to say that this would have an impact on the green movement and the pace that it moves at.

DC / February 15, 2010 7:44 AM

"Life is precious," is a common remark in Farsi. The islamists know this well. In effect, they are acting on the validity of this remark. They understand that death is a very permanent affair. Killing is what they are good at and as such, if they exercise this abominable skill, people will surely be reminded of the old adage that "Life is precious." The thugs do not have to kill everyone, but the specter of death will cause millions to stay away and thus, prolong the miserable and putrid life of this regime.

Tehran / February 15, 2010 8:17 AM

Right on, Marek. The 1979 revolution happened fairly fast & easy because the Shah cherished his reputation and people more than his throne. That's not the case of the current regime and that's both it's strength and it's weakness: over time through arrogance & corruption, it's power base will further erode to the point that it will at last crumble down. That can be accelerated if enough Iranians maintain their protest and pay the price for freedom.

Hamfar / February 15, 2010 10:05 AM

Someone once said that there are 2 people in Iran: Iranis and 'ShemIranis'. Shemiran being the North district of Tehran and oddly enough 'shem' means 'pseudo' in Farsi. That aside, there is some truth to this article. As someone who lives in the middle, I can testify that I have not seen much action North of Mirdamad Ave.
This is as true today as it was during the late 70s.
The people living in these areas are no longer the same. The 70s rich have moved to LA and the new rich are the benefactors of the Islamic Republic, but the attitudes are the same. Question is: will the new rich follow the old rich to Southern California?
@Marek: Agree with everything you said!

Maziar Irani / February 15, 2010 12:04 PM

More irrelevant nonsense from idiotic Pirouz

Agha Irani / February 15, 2010 12:47 PM

HOW CONVENIENT. Green doesn't show so let's blame it on North Tehran by a CORRESPONDENT in Tehran. The fact of the matter is very little showed from North, South, East or West and for a good reason. It is called lack of leadership with phony leaders like Mousavi and Karubi who are part of the system and who have never called for an end to the mullahcracy. Iranians need to put their emotions aside and focus on organization and creation of a leadership committee abroad to support the people on the inside. We must motivate the world powers to back the people of Iran, but to do so we must show them we have the MEANS for a change. The green movement served its purpose, but it is not the solution. We must involve all segments of society regardless of their political backgrounds to free our country. Our struggle must be continuous. We cannot afford to go home and only plan to come out on a national holiday. We must weaken the regime by all means, inside and outside the country. This regime is truly a house of cards. Google the events of 22 Bahman, look at the streets and you will see for yourselves how fragile they are indeed. You saw it on this very site, people who exaggerated the capabilities of the regime and then kept silent for the duration only to come out on the day after for some cheap Monday morning quarter backing. They know once Iranians unite there is no force on this planet that can stand in their way to freedom. BELIEVE IN YOURSELVES and CREATE a UNITED FRONT AGAINST TYRANNY. We already have a color and is our national flag (not the flag of mullahcracy) to gather around. WE MUST GATHER AROUND OUR NATIONAL FLAG. THAT IS OUR IDENTITY. God bless our people. God Bless Our Country IRAN.

Niloofar / February 15, 2010 7:36 PM

FYI

That 2nd Mercedes from left in window is a Mercedes SLR McLaren Convertible that retails for $600,000

These people in your post are enablers for the regime. You cant own any business in Tehran above a juice stand without paying huge bribes, and ongoing monthly extortion.

This "business" is sanctioned by the regime.

Shah / February 15, 2010 8:00 PM

I seriously doubt
if in any civilized modern-style (Western/European)country
[with some well-known exceptions within the[former] Communist-bloc]
somebody, anybody, people, senior members of the police or the army, public prosecutors, senior members of any law enforcement forces, ordinary members of any (semi-)armed (security/military) forces, ordinary citizens
might unpunished dare and might unpunished be allowed
to demand the death(s) of and death sentences for (a considerable number of) formerly high-positioned politicians,
if the mentioned politicians might unpunished and openly be attacked in public by state security personnel.

In any civilized country worthy of that label these acts would be rightly understood as a complete, utter, and undescribably perilous breakdown of public (state-)(order and of publicstate-) ethics, suggesting a (state-initiated) license of and a (state-initiated) request for a general cut-throat attitude and behaviour towards any imaginable citizen, setting alight a blast furnace of publicly sanctioned lethal violence on an unprecedented large scale.

Publicola / February 15, 2010 8:11 PM

good article

Anonymous / February 15, 2010 8:29 PM

and a very good comment by the polish commentor

Anonymous / February 15, 2010 8:30 PM

I totally agree with MAREK's comment that the days that Iranians were on the streets, everyone was praising them but the same people are crying and very disappointed after one defeat. That also makes me very angry. A movement has its ups and downs not to mention that the people are very scared of the brutalities, rapes, executions, etc. These are the sickest people in the history of Iran because they do it all in the name of god.

Iranians outside of Iran can do more also to support this movement. There should be more widespread protests outside of Iran and people should come out in great numbers. We can't just sit back and wait for the next protest on the streets of Tehran.

Minoo / February 15, 2010 8:43 PM

"Why North Tehranis Don't Revolt?"

Why should they?

Pedestrian / February 15, 2010 9:25 PM

The fact of the matter is that the Greens are primarily an upscale, priviliged phenomenon. When it gets too difficult for them they stay at home eating sweets and napping.

The current govenment has made unprecedented and largely succesful efforts to mobilize the rural and small town population in fervent support of the IRI. Of course these masses, the true Iranian majority, are not on facebook or twitter or writing signs in English about "where is my vote". Not surprisingly this is beyond the comprehension of the fevered minds of much of the emigre community.

Samuel / February 15, 2010 9:25 PM


Our friend from Poland has done a nice job getting to the core of issues at hand! He has pointed out that independent civil movements need time to gather momentum in order to make lasting changes.

Protest from people outside and inside Iran should be directed not only toward the regime but also toward those that are pushing for pressure and sanctions.

All rational indicators are that achieving a lasting change and an independent Iran will take time. It is inconceivable to me that anyone looking for both lasting changes and Iran's independence will not be objecting as vehemently to the external pressure groups as it is objecting to the internal pressure groups. I chose the word "pressure groups" carefully and intentionally. In my view, both pressure groups are attempting to destroy Iran's democracy movement - the external pressure group is intent on the destruction of the "independence" element, while the internal pressure group is bent on destroying the "change" element.

I would say "yes" to protests! But let us protest as vocally and actively both groups. Let's take out an add in NYT and make it known that we do not support more misery and pressure on the Iranian people from within or without -- That we want to give time and grow the green movement in order to achieve lasting democratic changes.

jay / February 15, 2010 9:58 PM

A struggle like this requires courage and sacrifice. During the American Revolution brave men put their lives, their land, their fortunes, their families at great risk to achieve freedom. "give me liberty...or give me death".
Time is running out for Iran and the world. Iran's belligerent leader has achieved a military dictatorship and his religious philosophy will lead to an apocaliptic end. God help us all.

John / February 15, 2010 11:38 PM

Dear Friends. I've been to Iran in June 2009 and I've seen very brave people on the streets despite big presence of police forces. I lived in Saadat Abad and I'm not agree that Northern Teheranis are cowards. I came from country where people know how to fight with cruel dictator's slaves, but I was really surprised due to courage of Iranians. So, now I'm sure that you will be free, it is only question of time.
Remember one thing. In 1988 I was sure that all my life I spend in this awful pseudo-communist system. And one year after it collapsed. It was like miracle. Of course, we have many problems now, but we are free (if real freedom exist).
So, work hard and stay with hope. One day we will go together to the cafe in Tehran or Shiraz.

Marek / February 15, 2010 11:42 PM

There is no doubt at this stage the Green movement needs foot soldiers on the frontline but it also needs other contributors especially in the area of funding. After all the importance of money in this movement is no different than a political campaign to persuade voters.

For example for years opposition groups abroad and even lately the green movement has called for various workers to go out on a strike. However that strategy hasn't worked. On the other hand if the movement is able to gather enough funding to support all or most of the workers wages lost after their request from them to go out on a strike then the likelihood of having such strikes will increase.

So it's okay for some North Tehrani's to not want to go out in street protests as long as they are willing to do other things be it donate money, have small fund raising events, share their knowledge in various technical areas, support the movement in boycotting various institutions, or provide safe houses etc ...

Mehdi / February 16, 2010 1:00 AM

Niloofar:

You constantly and baselessly rant here on this website about Mousavi and other "phony" leaders.

Who is your leader? Without any equivocation identify him/her, and explain why he/she is qualified.

Or, do you believe that a nation-wide movement does not need leaders?

Or, do you believe that the 20 years old university students - as pure and enthusiastic as they may be - are the leaders?

If these are your lines of thinking, spell it out as clearly and precisely as you can, so that people like me can have a good hearty laugh. Believe me, I need it!

George Stewart / February 16, 2010 1:12 AM

@ Samuel

re your very ignorant stetement : "The fact of the matter is that the Greens are primarily an upscale, priviliged phenomenon."

The "previliged" in Iran are the Bassij who are guaranteed entrance to Universities, jobs, loans, and recently, pay for beating up people with chains and clubs.

"previliged" are the Mullahs, IRCG generals and their children with astronomical bank accounts.

"Previliged" are the Bazaris with connections to the regime and the money to "oil the gov't's mustache".

You are not Iranian. let me educate you who greens are: The bulk of Greens are Iranians under 30 who see no future for themselves in their own country. Inflation, No jobs, no freedom to live or think, and no respect. For most young Iranians it is harder and harder to make ends meet, start your own family, shelter and feed your kids and buy or rent them a house. There is no future for them. All they have is an economy that looks bleak as far as the eye can see, and a gov't cares more for palestinins and Lebanese than its own people.

And they want change.

Ahvaz / February 16, 2010 5:04 AM

Niloofar,

I disagree with your stetement counting out the greens after one disappointment. This was due to overblown expectations, tactical errors, disorganization and mismanagement. And for AN and KhR not a victory but a disaster averted. Greens are already looking ahead.

Your rants about regime being a "house of cards" or " GATHER AROUND OUR NATIONAL FLAG" , "YOUR IDENTITY" etc etc dont really help any one, and frankly they are very annoying. It's all a bunch of hot air anyway. Do you have some constructive ideas?

"organization and creation of a leadership committee abroad"!!! Who do you have in mind? Sazegara/Makhmalbaf? Reza Pahlavi? Stop beating around the bush. who do you want to be the leadership? AT least have the courage to come out and say it.

Ahvaz / February 16, 2010 5:32 AM

If I didn't know better, I'd think your site was an apologist site, trying to deliver news and info the way the regime wants it to be read. So, are you?!

Beli / February 16, 2010 9:39 AM

Dear Ahvaz @ 5:32 AM,


Not hard to guess.


I believe she is referring to mini-Pahlavi as the chairman of her desired leadership committee abroad, and the imperial flag bearing the scimitar-waving lion with opposable thumbs as the blessed standard under which Iranians of every persuasion should unite [or else ...].


In one bulky paragraph she negates herself completely by shrilling that "once Iranians unite there is no force on this planet that can stand in their way to freedom", this nugget of wisdom appearing only a few short words after her plea that "we must motivate the world powers to back the people of Iran".


As for why this irresistable cosmic force needs backing from agenda-laden foreign governments (for which read America, Israel and their courtiers in Europe and Araby) please stay posted for further rants.

Ali from Tehran / February 16, 2010 4:23 PM

I live in North Tehran and based on my interaction. I saw some of them who have been living there for a long time and are more committed to their country are very active, these are the minority, educated north Tehranis who suffered 1979 and its aftermath. They don't belong to new rich class and they are the minority. Still among them but not all are some who are very rich and who are too sosool to risk their lives. While becoming green, they are not interested in participating any demo. they are a very tiny chunk.

Many of the Green north Tehranis are happy within the framework of the current system as long as their benefit is there.

Some of them had their asset confiscated after revolution, they fought and got it back and are very successful. They will be happy if the system is gone but they don't do no act about it.

and the last group is New rich north Tehranis are the majority and they are mostly from traditional Baazaris or children of officials. They earned their money thanks to the Islamic revolution.

Nadia / February 16, 2010 7:01 PM

The priviledge are mainly traditional Bazaaris who are enjoying a traditonal system. While many of them criticize and complain but none of them want to lose tradition in the face of modernism...they want iran to go backwards intentionally or unintentionally.

sarah / February 16, 2010 7:06 PM

When the banks start to fail, the North Tehrani's will revolt.

Thats when....and its not far off.

Shah / February 16, 2010 8:53 PM

Dear Shah,


On why the banks will not fail, in the conventional sense of the word, see Jahangir Amuzegar's recent article in Foreign Policy:


http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/02/11/the_rial_problem?page=full


If by north Tehranis you mean rich people, they will never revolt, in the sense of helping man barricades in the streets.


If risks to life and limb increase, or if making money becomes too difficult, they will simply convert their holdings into foreign currency, up stakes and depart to better climes and greener pastures.

Ali from Tehran / February 16, 2010 10:27 PM

@Ahvaz,

Let me EDUCATE YOU regarding your ignorant statement and I'll even do it for free.

The Basij represent the masses of the country's youth. No they are not on twitter or Facebook nor do they worship western culture but they are willing to lay down their lives for their Faith, their Country and their Leader just like their predecessors did during the war. They live modest lives with little material rewards and their work with youth is worth more than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

The anti-religious self-hating Iranians who look to the West for inspiration are either actual or potential Quislings. They would do well to go live in those countries which so fascinate them and join the wild eyed conspiracy brotherhood which makes up so much of the emigre community.

Samuel / February 16, 2010 10:30 PM

Ali from somewhere other than Tehran,
Do you have a problem with comprehension?
"once Iranians unite there is no force on this planet that can stand in their way to freedom" & "we must motivate the world powers to back the people of Iran". What is wrong with that?
You remind me of some of those left over old leftwing confederation boys full of negative waves."Imperial flag?" That is the flag of my country. Imperial, Republic or what have you. That is the flag of my country and you ought to wash out your mouth with soup. I could not give a hoot about Israel or any other foreign country. Any meaningful movement in Iran requires sound leadership which does not exist inside Iran at the present time. We owe it to our people on the inside to provide them with all means necessary. We must show the world we possess the means. Is this too hard for you to grasp? Would you like me to make it simpler? What have you done in the last 50 years old timer that is soooo great? What have you done? Why should I put the flag of my country aside and stick to a color? Whose side are you on? What nationality in the civilized world rejects its own national flag for some arbitrary color? The answer is simple. Those who want a controlled non-nationalistic outcome. One that remains within the frame work of the Islamic Republic. One supported by leftovers like you. You guys are on the way out and you know it.

Niloofar / February 16, 2010 11:58 PM

Lots of pipe dreams but the unfortunate truth is that the Greens despite of enormous help, covert & overt, from the US and its allies extensive coverage in the zionist & corporate dominated Western media, the vast majority of the Iranian people of all hues clearly are and remain in favour of the Islamic Republic. Further extensive independent polls repeatedly confirm that the majority support the current system and AN as President and an honest one at that according to the last poll by the Univ of Maryland. This is not to say that the reforms that Mossawi, Karroubi and others seek will not happen in time but there are simply no prospects for a secular republic or revolution that many emigres and anti-religionists would like are simply pipe dreams simply for the fact that the self sacrifice required in the path of reform and the unpredictable outcome of any secular revolution. Besides what motivation does a wealthy secular North Tehrani have to overthrow a system that offers a relatively peaceful & secure environment where he can live in luxury & comfort with his private wealth & property protected due to the strict provisions for this in Islamic law and any moral improprieties can be happily indulged in the privacy of one's home. As for the Poles, they have not actually freed themselves, they have simply exchanged their slave masters from the Godless communists to the slavery of the Western banks & corporates & mortgaging their country to the hilt in the process. The only difference is the Poles are freer to travel and offer to sell their labour on cheaper terms than the Western working & professional classes can afford to do. They have simply exchanged slave masters and in the process are impoverishing & lowering standards for those who are on the bottom rungs of the ladder in wealthy Western Europe & the US.

rezvan / February 17, 2010 12:40 AM

I will add one more item to your list of reasons:

"I know down deep inside there is no REAL and significant opposition movement, so I don't bother"

Roya / February 17, 2010 12:46 AM

Samuel,

Nice rant, but I think you you may still be remembering the Bassij as the idealistic boys and old men that willingly cleared the minefields and walked to their martyrdom in the 80s. I do not question their bravery.

However, by now it should be clear to you that the bassij today is not the bassij of the 80's. They have allowed themselves to become a tool of oppression against their own people. They hit youth with clubs and chains, AND they get paid for it! They get all the connections, loans, guaranteed uni entrance, free housing and jobs. As members of bassij and gov't loyalists they get a piece of the country that others don't have access to. i.e. they have "previlages" that "outsiders" dont have. i.e. They are "previlaged". Status quo is very good for them. Yes, They ARE previlaged. The modern tribe of yazid.


And since they started raping boys and girls (a Fact they can't hide anymore) and attacked Grand Ayatollahs mosques, they lost all religious legitimacy as well...

...they are far from "masses" of Iranian youth. Otherwise, AN and KhR wouldn't have had anything to worry about.

BTW
You conveniently left out the other 2 "previlaged" groups I mentioned. 1) Mullahs and IRCG generals and thier children with big contracts, big bank accts and near full control of the economy. And 2) Bazaris

Would you like to "educate" us by commenting on them as well? Or do you have nothing to say!!!

wait.. Dont let me forget the other benefitiaries: freeloading Lebanese Hizbollah supporters, the most ardent AN/Khamanai fans on the internet.


Ahvaz / February 17, 2010 1:07 AM

Your conversation changed to the way which is expected by the regime. Why you started to insult northern Tehranis? As I remember, majority of post election accidents happened in central and northern part of capital. If you are against north Tehran's citizens and call them cowards and materialists, give me better example of post election resistance.
This discussion responds to my first e-mail. You will never reach independence, if you do not stop complain and fight each other instead of fighting with regime. In my country (Poland) people started to quarrel after they achieved independence. They knew that when they have important task, they should work jointly and hide differences.

Marek / February 17, 2010 1:08 AM

Ali from tehran, Shah, Ped, author,

I agree that the wealthy wouldn't risk life and limb. They have too much to lose. And they have the means to leave if they want. But this is a small population. I would guess under 5%.

My uncle is a wealthy businessman in Tehran(an honest one, albeit he must bribe gov't officials regularly, and by doing so enabling them). He hates the regime, and would like them gone, but he did not participate; neither did his children. But you know he told me who did? Most of his staff, even his Abdarchi (janitor) and cleaning lady.

People revolt when thay have no hope, no future and no means to leave. In Iran this is the middle class (students, teachers, engineers, workers, doctors, educated professionals) and the working poor (except the Gov't moochers and benefitiaries s.a. bassij).

Shah,
bank trouble is one thing. But hight inflation is what looms ahead, and with that, the gov't will be in trouble with the rural poor as well. Look out for the end of govt subsidies in March. Things are about to get much more interesting.

Niloofar.

Please stop. This can't be good for your heart.

Ahvaz / February 17, 2010 1:34 AM

Absolutely useless article as it only serves to DIVIDE the people, rather than promote unity and understanding between different strata of society. This generalization of a whole section of society bears no rationale and false and at least, unproductive.

While there are certainly quite a few people who may use the above excuses not to join the movement, but there are many who have and are still doing so. Much like those in the lower segments of the society who could (wrongfully) be "generalized" as those who knowingly & unknowingly support the regime due to their religious superstitions.

Let us keep the big picture in mind before we make any announcements, lest it helps the brutal Islamic regime.

David / February 17, 2010 1:36 AM

Rezvan, if you think that the main change in Poland is that we changed the slave masters, it seems that your knowledge about the world is very small. Yes, we can travel now, but also police do not shot us on the streets (like in the past), there is no perspective to tanks on the streets (like in the time of martial law 1981-83), we can choose our parliament, we have free press, our economy is growing faster than other in Europe. Of course, there is many problems, there is many poor people in Poland, there is corruption within political system. But if (for you) it is nothing and we simply exchanged masters... I wish you this kind of change in Iran.

Marek / February 17, 2010 1:45 AM

Dear Valagohar Shahdokht Niloofar @ 11:58 PM,


Do you mind if I grab a bar of soap on my way out to wash my mouth with?


As I step out of your field-of-view [and presumably, step into the trashcan of history], please allow me to juxtapose -- for dramatic effect -- two sentences from your latest wonderful post:


1. "I could not give a hoot about Israel or any other foreign country."
2. "We must show the world we possess the means."


I am not sure if "Israel and any other foreign country" are part of the "world" which you so desire to show things to. Before I step into history's dumpster, I'll consult my World Atlas and let you know.


Dear Marek @ 1:08 AM,


I sincerely appreciate your interest in the Green Movement and in the Iranian people's struggle to achieve their human and civil rights.


However, I do not see why Iran should emulate the Polish experience.


Your nation simply traded Soviet bondage for US tutelage (admittedly a step up for Poland), dispatching auxiliary troops and mercenaries to aid American killing sprees in the Middle East, hosting secret CIA torture camps and rendition bases, attempting to sabotage energy cooperation between Germany and Russia, volunteering to host sites for US missiles and radar aimed purportedly at Iran (but actually intended to seed a nuclear first-strike option against Russia), and electing a pair of identical twins as President and Prime Minister, one of which had the gall to accuse Lech Walesa -- the icon of Poland's decades-long liberation struggle -- of collaborating with the ancien regime's secret police as a paid informant!


My ideal is an Iran that is proudly free and democratic at home, and fiercely independent abroad. Poland is not my role model.

Ali from Tehran / February 17, 2010 2:44 AM

marek- I have not seen pictures of any tanks to date on the streets of Tehran and yes there have been shootings but both sides have suffered victims. Yes, there was torture at Kahrizak and the death of three young people, one of whom Mohsin Ruhulamin, was the son of a Revoutionary Guard, and upon learning of this incident the SL ordered the closure of the detention centre down and the Majlis (parliament) appointed a committee to investigate this and the incidents at Tehran University. This report names a former government official as chief suspect and the guards responsible are to be brought to trial. Iran in its 31 years as an Islamic Republic has had far more freer elections than any other country in the region. Iran has made scientific and technological advances whilst being subjected to a severe sanctions regime essentially because it refuses to accept US/Israeli hegemony and wishes to chart an independent course of history based on its Muslim and national identity. Just as the Poles remain fervently Catholic, the majority of the Iranians are traditionally devout Shia Muslims and will never abandon their faith which is what the Westerners would like them to do. Despite allegations of repression by the government, the Iranian opposition both inside and outside the government and the Islamic Republic institutions remain very vocal and vociferous. Fatema Karroubi, wife of Mahdi Karroubi, has just penned a public letter to the SL alleging wrongful arrest of her son and other young people. This is not to accept any wrongdoing on the part of the government for any atrocities and abuses must be condemned for the betterment of society as a whole. But even if for argument's sake the elections were rigged, but the result was constitutionally correctly confirmed than the opposition if it wishes to remain within the bounds of the law and political norms has no option but to accept the results whilst peacefully continuing their movement to reform the system or legally challenge the results. Unfortunately none of the opposition candidates have done that. In the US, George Bush, whose election was rigged with the help of his brother in Florida in the end was confirmed as President of the USA by a single vote majority in the Supreme Court. Al Gore and his Democrats did not take to the streets and call for overthrow of the whole system. I believe this is where some people in the opposition have made a misjudgement. Things are not so bad in Iran that the public want another revolution or to abandon their religion altogether. They want the freedoms guaranteed, in what is actually a progressive constituion, to be implemented, respected , institutionalised and upheld by those in charge. This is why the current upheavals are actually going to result in the strengthening of the Islamic Republic's political instituions and not its disestablishment as some in these columns would like.

If Poles want to keep their new slave masters then they are welcome to keep them, as Ali says Iranians want to be proudly free and democratic at home and fiercely independent abroad, and NOT slaves of US/Israeli hegemony.

You would serve your country better if you did the same and not take the jobs of Western Europe's working classes and be a cause of the lowering of their living standards!

rezvan / February 17, 2010 4:05 AM

Ali from somewhere other than Tehran,
I am sincere and you know it. I love my country and you know it.
You said,"As for why this irresistable cosmic force needs backing from agenda-laden foreign governments (for which read America, Israel..."
My response, "I could not give a hoot about Israel or any other foreign country."
That has nothing to do with 'Agenda'.
We need to show the world 'We' stand for someting. That we have a plan and coordination.
Please do not tell me U.S. did not have a hand in the Green movement.That is below our intelligence. Yours and mine. I believe you are a lot smarter than that old boy.

Act 1 Scene 1 :

"Oh boy,the Greens didn't show."
Oh no, they were North Tehrani "soosools" that did not show. Signed, A Correspondent from Tehran.
But do you see the other millions in the streets? There they are. The less "soosool" South Tehrani Greens. There they are.
Do you see them Dr.?
Yeah, Yeah Ali, I see them. I see them. .....

Back to reality,

Ali from somewhere other than Tehran,
When are we getting serious about saving our country?

Niloofar / February 17, 2010 4:36 AM

Rezvan.... thanks for the excellent points, it's good to see someone enlightening the readers of Tehran Bureau. Can't blame them, if they get their info from TB. :)

And Marek, it's nice of you to try, I know you have good intentions. But look at the slew of Iranians' comments on this blog that are obviously lost and confused about their own country at the moment. So please go back at some stage, stay longer in Iran and travel around, you'll have a better understanding eventually. Good luck.

Roya / February 17, 2010 6:51 AM

Dear Ali from Tehran

I don't think it is fair to call Poland "US tutelage". There were other countries that joined Bush in his idiotic adventures. in Iraq: Spain, Italy, England! How about Australia's Howard? And in Afghanistan: Canada, Germany!
In 2002 Canada sent an innocent Canadian-Syrian to US, fully aware of planned rendition to Syria where he was tortured for months.
Is Canada”US tutelage"? How about Ireland where secret CIA planes on their way to Guantanamo stopped to refuel? Or Italy where their secret service along with CIA kidnaped an Arab immigrant and sent him to Egypt to be tortured? Turkey?

Governments make decisions. they pick sides, and act based on their own national interests, (in case of Poland hopes to enter NATO and eventually EU). Some govts stay in power, like Berlusconi, Others fall like Anzar in Spain.
But at least their people can elect their leaders.
I would n't call them "slaves" or other names because of their (often temporary) alliances.

...................

Dear Marek,

Congrats to Poland on your hard-earned freedom. Thanks for your support of greens.
I know many Poles, and you are lovely people. You have gone thru a lot of hardship, from Nazi occupation, to Soviet rule, and you have come out strong and kind instead of bitter and cynical. Best of luck to you.

Ahvaz / February 17, 2010 8:44 AM

I do not want to be rude, but a lot of your writing about my country simply reflected conspiracy theories.
I wrote about tanks on polish streets (1981-83), not on iranian streets. It happened in my country in the past, and fortunately now it is impossible. In the past, if you said that you are against russian missiles in Poland, they put you to jail. Now - due to idea of US missiles - you can call our government as cowards and traitors and nobody do nothing against you. And majority is against missile shield in Poland, this is one of the reasons that this idea collapsed. Last news is, that US wants to create shield in... Romania.
What's the problem that people chose twin brothers? This is democracy. Two years later one of them have lost the power (prime minister) due to accelerated, democratic election. And one of the reasons that people decided to change this funny guy was that he hid reports about CIA camps in Poland. Almost 80 percent of polish were against this secret camps.
This is main difference between democracy and autocracy that you can change your government. Could you change Mr Khamenei if you realize that he is against your nation rights? No, because after revolution you changed shah to another shah, cleric shah. And of course you can not change the king.
Sabotage energy cooperation between Germany and Russia? It was not sabotage, because they started this investment few weeks ago. We were against, but it was only opinion. If you are a member of EU you can have your own opinion, different than other member - Germany. Sorry, but we have very bad memories of russian-german cooperation. It is 123 years of polish captivity, when our country was divided by this two powers. And this is also memory of Ribbentrop-Molotov pact (you have many original documents about it in internet) from the beginning of II world war. Not so many people know that at the beginning of this war Hitler and Stalin were allies. The effect - we have lost in five years 6 million citizens (half of them jewish). This is ten times more that amount of iranian victims of war with Saddam. Could you imagine this kind of disaster? So, do not be angry that we have special sensitivity of russian-german cooperation.

I do not want to convince you that you should use polish way. You are wrong. Iran is completely different and should find own way. I simply share with you my experiences, if you find there something interesting, it is OK. I do not want to be your teacher. And where I wrote that you should abandon your shia faith? You think that I want to change you to the catholic or atheist?
I have to repeat again. Many of your opinion are from conspiracy theories world. And if (for you) we simply exchanged our masters, there is nothing to say more for me.
I can only give you YouTube link and say that I'm proud that this situations are impossible now in Poland.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPLE3Y3gvMQ

Marek / February 17, 2010 10:23 AM

Ali from somewhere other than Tehran,

"My ideal is an Iran that is proudly free and democratic at home, and fiercely independent abroad. Poland is not my role model."

That is good. I like that. You are not a bad person after all. A little left of center, but O.K. However, Iranians have not developed that kind of intellect yet. That is good essay material. Get back to reality.

You could use a Summer or two with the Marines to learn duty, honor and love of one's country and the flag.

Now,tuck your soft belly in, when are we getting serious about saving our country old boy?

Niloofar / February 17, 2010 5:39 PM

Ali From Tehran:

My two cents on the article you posted from Amuzegar's piece regarding the health of Iranian banks on FP.
__________________________________________

Insightful article albeit paradoxical. Don’t know the paradox was meant for hedging purposes in case Iran’s banks do start to fail or because author was writing like a typical economist suggesting ‘on one hand … ‘ - and ‘on the other hand …’

The author suggests that matters pertaining to Iran’s banking situation as related to bank failure or having a run on the banks is just a ‘false alarms’ yet he correctly points out all of the problems with these institutions that may lead to such ‘bank runs’. Which begs the question what comes first chicken or egg? Do folks begin pulling their money when non-performing assets increase by another ten folds, or will they wait until extreme levels such as when Rial’s usefulness is at par with Reichsmark before its transition to Deutsche Mark.

It is true that a particular bank that is facing some financial problems can always turn to the ‘open window’ at the central bank to borrow money, however this is in normal times. Just as in U.S. during the 6 month period between 4th quarter in 2008 to 1st quarter in 2009 we had many cases in which banks were on the verge of failing while some did fail because of various reasons but mainly due to a crisis of confidence – Iran too can face a similar storm. With the main difference being is that Iran doesn’t have the tools and benefit that U.S. had to deal with such a storm.
So yes if there is just one commercial bank failure the central bank should be able to protect the savings of the depositors however not if there is a full fledge run on all major banks in the country. No central bank can stop that!

Lastly on his comment that “Depositors in state banks never lose their savings overnight through bank failures, but only through a hidden tax called inflation”. This point basically suggest that you shouldn't worry you will not lose 100% of your net worth just 50%!

Mehdi / February 17, 2010 6:24 PM

Dear Ahvaz @ 8:44 AM,


The Americans have military bases in nearly half the countries in the world.


These bases are covered by "Status of Forces" agreements, giving the American personnel stationed in them, and their dependents, extra-territorial protection from the jurisdiction of the host nation.


At least in this one respect, starkly different countries like Germany, Italy, Japan, Bosnia, Bahrain and Afghanistan are in a single class, trading a substantial measure of national sovereignty for the protection of the global hegemon.


Many Iranian patriots define such exemptions as "capitulation rights", and consider them an outrage.


In most other countries, where the sense of nationhood is not as acute as Iran, or where the sense of nationalism was softened up with carpet bombing and 'shock-and-awe' operations beforehand, such agreements are concluded without too much fuss and comment.


Probably, we have Cyrus, Darius, Shapur and Ardeshir to blame for giving us a sense of historical destiny and innoculating us against "Status of Forces" agreements.

Ali from Tehran / February 17, 2010 7:12 PM

@Ali from Tehran

I see your point regarding the US bases. But you are wrong to question Italian, German, Bosnian, etc Patriotism or nationalism.

Ahvaz / February 17, 2010 9:13 PM

I'm sorry but Clinton's speech yesterday signaled the end for the reform movement as well as the Islamic republic. I don't know how many people have read Shakespeare's King Lear but there's a scene between the guards and in their uneasy conversation on stage the audience learns all is not right with the world. There are three big problems on the Eurasian land mass.No one party is capable of dealing with any particular problem by itself but if India, America, Russia and China agree to support one another then each group has acquired leverage over the troublemaker. Curzon warned that it would take a "military steam roller" running from one end of the land to the other end. Well it appears that they brought it. The Economist reports the frustration of Kim in North Korea. He simply can't play one party off against the other one anymore. Ditto for Iran. The Soviet Union is dead, and Russia alive and well. America has no need for Iran. Even the Arab states can recognize the value of Russia. Iran is kept in check. So it's Russia that Iran must please rather than America. It's China that North Korea must placate rather than America, Japan or Korea. America wants a victory in Afghanistan but Kabul and Washington must be reasonable and give Pakistan some say in Afghanistan. In turn India and Pakistan must be reasonable about Kashmir. After all isn't Kurdistan in four states? In view of the favors done to them in respect to North Korea and Iran it would be no surprise if China and Russia both strongly supported a peace on the sub-continent. In Washington it's known as a package deal. It might also be seen as the development of a working relationship between them and an American acknowledgement of the change in power for the 21st century. If China votes against Iran it's a done deal.

Daedalus / February 18, 2010 12:42 AM

Daedalus,

Did you just have 15 shots of espresso? It is impossible to keep up with you.

Anonymous / February 18, 2010 1:57 AM

To: Ali from Tehran

Thanks for the FP article; it ignores the primary issue (which the regulators in the USA just did in crisis).

When a liquidity crisis hits, no central bank can help with printing money. Esp. when the central back is looting the banks to start with.

Depositors will all want their money at the same time, and a crisis in confidence will result.

During '79 you couldnt get more than 10c/$ (ie, 10%) of your money out of the banks. This wasnt b/c the banks were broke...just that ALL their liquid foreign currency had been wired out for past 12 months, and remainder of funds were tied up in white elephant projects with maturities greater than 12 mos.

When same happens with all the RG/Mullahs kids backed loans....people will start accepting less than 100 cents on their dollars, defacto underwriting the non-performing loans, till the liquidity crisis becomes systemic, hyperinflation results and a collapse occurs.

Shah / February 18, 2010 2:43 AM

Mehdi makes excellent points re: FP / Banks Failure

I am not sure if FP really understands how ironic it is to quote a economist, whose Brother basically orchestrated the collapse of the Iranian economy in '77-'79.

Its like quoting the Weimar Republic's Finance Minister on inflation.

Per Wiki:

"Dr. Amuzegar was finally appointed prime minister of Iran in August 1977 in Ramsar, succeeding his rival Amir Abbas Hoveyda. However, he rapidly became un-popular as he attempted to slow the overheated economy with measures that, although generally thought necessary, triggered a downturn in employment and private sector profits that would later compound the government's problems. Hence in the wake of Khomeini's revolution, he soon resigned."

Shah / February 18, 2010 2:59 AM

Shout out to Ali in Tehran & Rezvan:

Yo' dudes, after reading all of your brilliantly incisive & convincing lectures here on the utter superiority of Islamo-thugocratic government over any and all other kinds past, present or future, just a few questions:

1) Why do the smart students in Iran always seem to be leaving in greater numbers than their counterparts arriving in Iran from other countries except maybe Lebanon or the Palestinian territories, given how GLARINGLY OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE the IRI's superiority to ALL other countries is? I'm not aware of there being in the IRI the equivalent of the old Soviet-bloc or current PR of China gov't. universities paying for the education of impoverished brainy types from Africa or elsewhere.

2) Again, if as you are right to say, the IRI is the zenith of human achievement for all time, why do IRI security forces stake out the airports to keep its own people from leaving?

3) Why not let the non-believers in the IRI miracle leave with your blessings, as that would leave Iran full of nothing but ideologically pure, revolutionary zealots like yourselves?

4) Oh, that's right, if you DID let them leave, all you'd be left with are the IDEOLOGICALLY PURE, REVOLUTIONARY ZEALOTS, not necessarily people capable of doing anything but navel gazing / arguing how many angels can fit on the head of a pin (the mullahs) or killing people (Basij, IRGC) - guess what, though, you'd have the company of your convictions with like-minded revolutionaries of Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe - but hey, technical competence in running a diversified economy in the 20th century (I'll spot you one) isn't as important for ensuring more than minimal freedom of want for food and shelter of a society as ideological purity, is it now? Just ask the good folks of any of the countries listed what they think of living first and foremost for the glory of the party / great or dear leader, and whether they wouldn't bolt in an instant for greener shores if their governments weren't dead set on keeping them imprisoned within the borders of these, for all intents and purposes, failed states.

5) All kidding aside though, can you teach the rest of us ignorant, corrupt countries in the world who don't enjoy the superior, flawless form of government and society you do how to import the Islamic revolution, with particular emphasis on the Supreme Leader, to our benighted shores?

Sincerely,

One who made it out in time & is doing just great, thank you.

farzad / February 18, 2010 5:00 AM

Marek- Just a fact to wrap up our conversation. The constitution of the IRI does indeed allow for the removal of the SL in certain circumstances. The SL is indirectly elected by the people through their direct election of 70 odd qualified religious scholars. These scholars form the Assembly of Experts and are subject to re-election every 7 years. They have a duty to monitor and hold the SL to account and did meet a few months back during which critical remarks were made of the SL by I believe Ayatollah Dastageib. In fact during a session with university students, the SL was questioned at length by a student who took up some 20mins of his time during which he made critical remarks about the SL. I have not seen a report anywhere that this student was soon after found dead or gone missing. The SL holds regular meetings with different sections of society and personally visits people who have been afflicted with tragedy such as the Bam earthquake. The videos of his visits can be seen on youtube and his website.
I personally believe that the SL could have handled the aftermath of the disputed elections better by first calling all the presidential candidates to a private meeting to resolve any likely disputes in other words 'nipped it in the bud', but I do not think that his actions are those of a dictator, maybe authoritarian and prejudiced in favour of AN which he should perhaps have not revealed. But his role essentially is that of a 'balance' to ensure that justice is not only seen to be done but is actually done between the various forces that shape Iranian society. But perhaps he fell short of that ideal but he is only human with a very difficult job and not a devil!!

rezvan / February 18, 2010 5:22 AM

MR shah
yours was the best.
write more man
i am amazed with your writing and analyzes
parvaz.iran . Andimeshk

parvaz / February 18, 2010 7:09 AM

A passionate overview of Iran's dim prospects from Iason Athanasiadis:


http://www.bitterlemons-international.org/inside.php?id=1236

Ali from Tehran / February 18, 2010 8:51 PM

Amir-Reza Arefi
Protester sentenced to death

Radio Zamaneh: Iranian court attorney, Mohammad Mostafai reported that Amir-Reza Arefi has been sentenced to death by the judiciary. The 21-year-old is charged with “enmity against God through membership in the Association of Iranian Monarchists,” according to Mr. Mostafai’s weblog. Mostafai goes on to indicate that the young man was arrested and
http://www.iranian.com/main/2010/feb/amir-reza-arefi

Anonymous / February 18, 2010 11:36 PM

Way to go Shah...awesome comment on Mercedes SLR McLaren Convertible!

Perse / February 19, 2010 12:54 AM

i live in center tehran and young and have read history and everyday i go to protest I ask why i the world did people go to get rid of Shah, we would have never been in this position.

we had to have a revolution then and not reform, and reform not revolution now. no way, revolt is coming

shah actually cared about iran these guys hate iran and abuse it

Ramtin / February 19, 2010 1:03 AM

If anyone believes that university of maryland poll they are a basij or a goverment worker.

No one will answer honestly a phone poll because they think its a basij or intelligence calling.

shahin / February 19, 2010 1:07 AM

just because the article starts with "why the north doesn't protest" doesn't mean it is true!!!
or just because the propagana machine spreads that there was a setback or defeat for the green, it doesn't mean it is true.
I am from North of Tehran and ALL my family and friends do participate in protests. The university professor who was killed was in North of Tehran.
the Green movement did not get defeated, the fact that the IRI had to bring so many armed forces to the Azadi square (number of Basijis and ppl with uniform and arms exceeded the regular ppl) and all the Google images show that the Green movement did not get defeated and they are well and alive and they are moving at the speed needed to study the situation and move forward. They are smart, calculated and they are not rushing down the same path as our parents did in 1979.
Mousavi is Smart, calculated, determined and courageous.

Azadeh / February 19, 2010 1:28 AM

Writing from Germany
I find Marek's concise analytical overview of some relevant stages of European history very convincing,
in particular the reasons quoted for Poland's foreign policy of avoiding to be politically "crumbled" or "crushed" between Germany and Russia, both countries attempting to accommodate to each other's interests.
In the same way Marek's hint to Poland's uprising against repression and in particular to this uprising's long-term duration and long-term strategy
is honest, comes from his heart and is not at all meant to be teacher-like didactic.

[I suppose that - similar to Iran - democrats in Poland could agree to lots of aspects and items of the official, publicly presented, constitution of communist Poland.
The catch was, as it seems to be in Iran now, that the reasonable and democratic parts of the constitution probably never had been and never had been intended to be practiced reality;
nobody right in his mind could seriously successfully refer to it.
That's e.g. why the "green" movement seems to fight for the observance of and attention to the basic rights guaranteed by the constitution, rights which are trampled on by the Iranian system of governance. ]

Publicola / February 19, 2010 1:31 AM

Let's put all our energy and efforts to free Iran. Let's show the world the true meaning of civilization. being one of the pioneers of civilization, we all know this government is not true representive of Iranian nation. The only way to save our country and its resources is to be honest, truthful and fair towards our self and each other.I think our goal at this time in our history should be free Iran from immorality, dictatorship, corruption, unfairness, unethical behavior, disrespect towards our people and....
Let's unite the nation towards a bright future with rule of ethical and moral laws. we are better than !

cyrus / February 19, 2010 3:22 AM

That is a real piece of propaganda. The protests mostly took place in north of Tehran among wealthy individuals influenced by huge propaganda campaign in western media (BBC, VOA, etc.) and mostly looking for western individual life-style. So the author is stating the opposite of the truth.

Alex / February 19, 2010 4:24 AM

Not sure why the fact that the Shah was essentially REMOVED by the West for pulling a Mossadegh and becoming excessively nationalistic and independent in his energy dealings needs to be considered "conspiracy theory". The trail of evidence for it is overwhelming.

YouTube alone has enough old interview footage with the Shah to outline how the West had tired of him and wanted him out for the better portion o the mid to later 1970s.

Also, there's author William Engdahl's "A Century of War", a book about the history of oil, and Robert Dreyfuss's book "Hostage to Khomeini". Great resources.

Ernst / February 19, 2010 7:30 AM

don't know much abt actual happenings in irna rite now...but have been there some ten yrs bck...luved the place and the environment...n i don't agree that it just 'fear' that keeps u making excuses...when one feels painone reacts...so i guess the wwhole thing is jsut a segment thing...not widely felt...n frm my country's experience i must tell u if things r going ok then the protests r not that large but if it is then no matter what govtdoes ppl do cum out...

hifsa / February 19, 2010 9:50 AM

So interesting reading all the comments, lesson 1 in democracy is accepting and valuing other peoples opinions, yet you all easily insult each other in these comments.
so true, "You get the government you deserve"

Interested / February 19, 2010 10:58 AM

Dear Ernst @ 7:30 AM, 19/02/2010,


To classify the 1979 Revolution as a Western plot against an increasingly nettlesome and errant Shah implies that:


-- huge masses of Iranian people had no autonomy and agency in thought, desire or action;

-- there would be no dissent by influential segments of the West, not least the Israelis, towards these plans;

-- the USSR would be unaware of, indifferent to, or even complicit in, these Western machinations;

-- the West would believe that the massive revolutionary forces unleashed could be reliably manipulated in a direction more favorable to their interests than the continued rule of the Shah;

-- the "excessively independent and nationalistic" Shah would not seek counsel several times a week with Anglo-American ambassadors and spooks on how to deal with the unrest;

-- safer options for change, such as organizing a palace coup or military putsch, were not available to the Western plotters;

-- the West had not already clipped the Shah's wings in OPEC and in the international oil market with the collusion of Saudi Arabia and the Consortium.

Ali from Tehran / February 19, 2010 3:08 PM

@Ali from Tehran / February 19, 2010 3:08 PM

The Shahanshah of Iran could have turned the largest army in the Middle East in 1979 on its people, and turned Iran into a Cambodia. He didn't.

He didn't even tell his people that he could not carry out his duties any more, because he was dying from Cancer. If he had, I am sure the wealthy pro-modernizing secular Iranians, would have managed to organize a new Iran with the Crown Prince. The people would have had very strong feelings for the dying Shah, and things would have been different.

But remember Iran was becoming a mighty economic giant, and there were forces that wanted to stop that. Khomeini did that for them.

Ali Mostofi / February 19, 2010 5:43 PM

Interested,

Have you watched Fox News lately? Then take a number. If everyone agreed on every issue, humanity would still live in caves.

Ali from somewhere other than Iran,
How are capitalists treating you old boy?

As for your response to Ernst,

Give me a break.

Niloofar / February 19, 2010 6:46 PM

I've only met one Iranian (I think he was Iranian-American, actually). He was a nice guy (easy on the eyes and bashful about it). He was smart, though. Witty when you didn't ogle him and funny and generous. Basically, he was like the rest of my friends, and like the person I want to be for other people.
When I see the arguments of why some people go and some people don't (aside from the many digressions), it makes me wonder what I would do. Since the one Iranian I know was a decent person and I'm a decent person. What would I do if I knew my government would do what the Iranian government has done?
Being an American, immediately my (albeit hard to encapsulate into words) nationalism would rear its head, lift my chin and say "bring it on, I'm not afraid of you"... but I have a 7 year old daughter. I have a husband going back to school. I have a mortgage and am the only or major bread winner at any given moment.
What would happen to them if something happened to me (death OR disability)?

I think the tipping point comes when the answer to that question is "Less evil than would happen if I let the government win".

When the Iranian people (and I mean a true majority of the people) see the same thing in their government, then the righteous justice will galvanize resolve.

Comfortable people don't usually protest. Poor people don't usually get loans. Stupid people don't usually die young. There are lots of adages or truisms you can reference... lots of generalizations that usually offend someone or another.

But the truth is... when Iranians see that their children, their fathers & mothers, their journalists and their downtrodden are being murdered under government sanction - by EDICT that calls them mohareb (when I thought only GOD could see into our hearts to know our intentions) for voicing their opinion or just silently marching... when they see this and feel the righteousness of anger on BEHALF of their insulted Allah... then Iran will be free... free IN their religion, FOR their religion and IN their land.

One adage that Iranians need to keep in mind, though its root is in another faith (though still of the book)...

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I hope for Iran's children's sake that enough people can recognize the difference between fighting FOR what is right and fighting only AGAINST what is wrong.

Marce / February 20, 2010 1:47 AM

NOTHING is worth getting killed for. NOTHING. There are no heroes amongst the dead, only the dead. There are no martyrs, only the dead. Unless every single anti-administration Iranian is willing to simultaneously take up arms against every person in the regime that needs to be purged so the sheer numbers will ensure their demise, instead of ending up a pyrrhic victory, nothing will change. Life is far too valuable to be messing around with armed overzealous, fanatical, religious extremists who are themselves, forever lost. Live, and you have won. Things change and at that time, this too will pass, just as it came to be.


Ernie Sandoval / February 20, 2010 3:19 AM

Ernie,

Country, dignity, family, freedom. Just for starters.

Now go and live in Iran as a woman for a month and then come back and tell me if nothing is worth dying for.

Fancy living in a country where scores of people have laid down their lives so you can live free with dignity. A little courage is in order.

Niloofar / February 21, 2010 3:11 PM

Exellent Oral History of post-revolution crisis

http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/200911/iran-hostage-crisis-tehran-embassy-oral-history

Shah / February 21, 2010 8:10 PM

Shah,
Thanks for the great link. very informative.

"Exellent Oral History of post-revolution crisis

http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/200911/iran-hostage-crisis-tehran-embassy-oral-history "

Ahvaz / February 25, 2010 2:36 AM

The IRGC structure will make it very easy to confiscate these assets when the revolution comes.

A De-Privatization of the Bonyads/IRGC with discounted share distribution compensation to original founders, will produce a brain funnel of all exiles and repatriation of intelectual capital.

This revolution will be based on technology and private equity recapitalization....woe to the clerics with their hyper inflationary currency and abacus.

The economically illterate mullahs will be penniless, if alive.

Shah / February 28, 2010 3:48 AM