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A Step Too Far

by JAHANGIR SALEHIAN in London

25 Mar 2010 01:3259 Comments
neda.jpg[ opinion ] "This trip to Israel was a New Year's gift to the Iranian regime," read one reaction from an internet user who, like many, was enraged by Caspian Makan's trip to Israel. Makan, Neda Agha Soltan's fiancé, has incited both sides of the post-presidential election confrontation in Iran with his visit and meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Some like satirist Ebrahim Nabavi have tried to play the trip down and called it a purely personal choice. But Nabavi could not ignore the impact of such a move and has called it opportunistic and harmful to the Green Movement.

One prominent member of the Green Movement told me, "What Makan has done is very suspicious to every Iranian." He even went so far as to allege that, "It is possible that he was recruited one way or another by the Iranian government when he was in prison in Iran."

Before analyzing what this trip could mean to the Green Movement, it is worth assessing a few significant points.

First, Makan is in fact Neda's fiancé. Some journalists have insisted that Makan's relationship with Neda ended before Neda's death. But according to the latest information released by Neda's family, Makan was Neda's fiancé and they had plans to get married.

Second, Makan has not been active in the Green Movement in any way. Although he stepped forward after Neda's tragic death and spoke with the BBC and other media, he has remained silent about the Green Movement. So it is important to note that he is not involved with the resistance movement inside or outside Iran. But that said, his trip to Israel has immense political side effects regardless of his personal politics.

It is not clear why Makan chose to journey to Israel, let alone meet with a top Israeli power. Neda's mother, Hajar Rostami Motlagh, has made public her futile attempts to dissuade her once-to-be son in law. According to a report, she told him, "If Neda were alive, she would not have gone to Israel. I don't see why you should." Motlagh accused Makan of "misusing Neda's name" and "wrongly calling himself a representative of the Iranian nation." She added, "Makan had no right in doing so... and I told him you ruined your image by going to Israel as Israel does not have any respect (or place) among Iranians....please let Neda's soul be at peace."

Makan introduced himself to Peres as a representative of the Iranian nation. For a man so silent on political and post-election issues, it is not clear how he could establish himself as ambassador to the entire Iranian nation. Especially while visiting Israel, a move seemingly designed to incite his compatriots given the sensitivity to Israel held by many Iranians, both reformist and hardliner. Until Makan comes out and explains his motives and the details of his trip to Israel, a great many important questions about his trip, not to mention its potential consequences, remain unanswered.

A few non-Jewish Iranians daring to travel to Israel returned to face IRI's wrath, most notably the famous blogger Hossein Derakhshan. While Derakhshan did not meet Shimon Peres or other ranking Israelis, it is widely believed that his trip to Israel was one of the factors behind his detention upon his return to Iran. He has been in prison without a court hearing ever since, and according to his brother, "Our family does not even know of any official charge against him."

Knowing the efforts of the Iranian government to cast doubt over Neda's death, it is hard to believe that Makan went to Israel to raise positive publicity for the Iranian Green Movement, or on behalf of the Iranian people. One can only assume that he was aware of two facts: first, that Neda's name and image are internationally iconic for opposition movement. Second, Israel is not a good place to discuss issues of freedom and human right abuses occurring in Iran unless you are siding with the enemy of your own country. Taking these points into account, the task of deciphering a conceivable explanation for what impelled Makan to Israel, except for perhaps the insanity of hubris, becomes ever more difficult.

One factor present from the outset may have been Israel itself. It is widely known that some in Israel became extremely engaged when Neda's clip became an internet magnet. They were asking for anyone who could provide a channel of contact with Makan in hopes to speak with him, and even mentioned their desire to invite Makan to Israel.

Even if Makan is politically naïve, the Israelis are not. But what does Israel gain by arranging a meeting between Makan and President Peres? There is a strong possibility that Tel Aviv, aware of Neda's iconic status with the opposition, has tried to damage the Green Movement's image by hosting Makan in Israel. There is no previous example of Israel as a destination for an Iranian political activist of any affiliation. On the other hand, there is talk of Israel's fear of the Green Movement as a distracting element that has put Iran's nuclear issue on a back burner in terms of exerting international pressure. The opposition may have created a hold-your-breath-and-see-what-happens moment when it looked as though the government could be overthrown without international involvement, which would have changed the game dramatically. It may have been this sort of pause, or inaction, that Israel saw as a setback, and the Green Movement as an obstacle to Israeli tactics already set in motion. So any move that could damage the Green Movement is then incorporated into Israel's strategy. Hence, damaging Neda's image by inviting his fiancé to meet with the Israeli president strengthens the Iranian government's ability to prove its own long propagated scenario that Neda's death was a "sinister show" right from the beginning.

At the outset, several stories emerged from the Iranian government to explain Neda's death. Iranian hardliners attempted to depict it as a plot perpetrated by enemy secret services determined to provoke Iranians to rise up against their government. The Iranian regime also tried to make people believe that Dr. Arash Hejazi, who tried to save her, was the one who killed her. Then a foreign correspondent in Tehran was accused of staging her death to make a documentary. But it is hard to imagine what could play better into the hands of the Iranian government to promote its version of the story than Makan's trip.

In my view, if new Israeli settlement construction announcements coinciding with Joe Biden's trip to Israel or Netanyahu's trip to Washington gave a strong implication of Israel's out-of-touch approach, the same can be said about Makan's trip to Israel. It is not only bad timing on Makan's part, but it is a combination of stupidity and other factors and on the Israeli part; it is a move unwelcome by all. If in 1991 with the war with Iraq over Kuwait, and again in the 2003 Iraq war, Israel was not welcomed to participate, the same can be said about Israelis lecturing Iranians on human rights. If it was his own hubris that drove Makan to Israel, it was Israel's hubris that invited him.

Photo/Ha'aretz

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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59 Comments

Makan is one of these fools like Reza Pahlavi who have nothing to do with the Green Movement but want to gain attention for themselves in stupid ways. Pahlavi still has fantasies about bringing back the monarchy and Makan appears to have fantasies about becoming some sort of political player, or collaborator with Israeli colonialism. No doubt he will have a book coming out soon!

Cyrus / March 26, 2010 1:25 AM

Any time, anyone, anywhere - takes a step towards peace and friendship, it should be welcomed by all. I do not agree with your premise that any contact with the Israeli government is naive or bad.

Israel is the only natural ally of Iran - and Iranians - in the entire Middle East.

The Settlement issue is not an Iranian issue. Its never been.

Iranian people know better than to listen to the Iranian state propaganda. And as for the Iranian government blaming the West or Israel for all their ills - well they do that anyway.

Let the dialogue begin......

Ally Bolour / March 26, 2010 3:43 AM

Iranians need to GET OVER their misplaced anti-Semitism and their antagonistic hostility to Israel. Good for Caspian for not being cowed by the crowd.

Amir / March 26, 2010 3:57 AM

With your reasoning;
1. Makan can be an Iranian agent who went to Israel ordered by IR to damage the Green Movement's image.
2. IR not only would love Israel to attack Iran but even would pay a portion of oil revenues to Israel to attack Iran in order to get Green Movement off their back.

Makan is free to do what he wants to do and does not need advice. Let him make that choice.

As far as what Neda's family say, I don't believe any thing any body say inside Iran. Living under that regime you say any thing to survive another day or overdose in Heroin to end the that version of death called life.
Half of the Ayatollahs lie to survive that prison called Iran.

Dylan / March 26, 2010 5:20 AM

Ummm .."A representative of Iran Nation". I am not against his trip or Israel and understand how hurt he might feel but at the same time i think he might have been better off to not call him a representative of Iranian Nation.
How about simply being himself and telling his own account rather.....!
Sometimes, Its just about getting too carried away.


PersianTraveler / March 26, 2010 7:12 AM

Your theory of Makan's reception in Israel as an intrigue to fatally taint the Green Movement is compelling, as is your analysis of Israel's motives for desiring the Greens' early demise.


As for Caspian Makan's own agency in this spectacle, it's worse than criminal, it's stupid.


He has made himself a pariah for life, and added to the grief of Neda's family.


But all is not lost. Perhaps, like Antoine Lahad of the SLA, he can now look forward to opening a kebab joint in Tel Aviv, or else head to WINEP or FDD armed with a job recommendation from Shimon Peres, the butcher of Qana.


You have not touched on the role of Meir Javedanfar in this wretched affair. He can be seen sitting beside Makan in press junkets.

Ali from Tehran / March 26, 2010 9:03 AM

Wenn im Iran ein Umdenken einsetzen soll, dann sollte man auch ueber das Verhaeltnis zu Israel nachdenken. Iraner und Israelis muessen sich nicht direkt in die Arme fallen, aber man kann dennoch kritisch aufeinander zugehen und mal ueber den einen oder anderen unterschiedlichen Standpunkt sprechen. In Israel ist man bereits dazu bereit, man denke ... Mehr anzeigenan die Fussballgruesse, die der iranische Verband versehentlich auch an den israelischen Verband gesendet hat, und die vom israelischen Verbandspraesidenten absichtlich freundlich beantwortet wurden.

Bernd / March 26, 2010 2:18 PM

The word is STUPID! Stupid not naive, his trip was the best NY gift to IR. And yes Islamic Republic is running the best policy to benefit Israel. As long as they support Hamaz with their weapon supplies, there is a good reason for Israel avoid peace talk. Ahmadinejad and his extreme foreign policy has been in charge of Israel's interest more than US was.
It makes me wonder if the roamers regarding him being from Jewish origin could be true.
Would anyone ever take this guy Makan serious ever again, even if he is an opportunist who wants just a piece of the cake of fame in the political scene, his trip is nothing but a public suicide.
Neda will live but Makan is already dead, just think about that, he can't damage the greens and he can't stop the greens. That a fact despite of his motivation!

Gheseh2000 / March 26, 2010 3:02 PM

You guys are actually hurting peace with an article like this. This should be seen as a positive, that it may change opinions about Iranians. But it seems you guys, you "peaceful" people, also hold biggotry to some extent. Shame on you and I won't be reading your blog anymore.

paul / March 26, 2010 3:17 PM

I think that the analysis is convincing. It is true that Israel will obstacle the growth of an authentic and national movement by Iranians themselves. What an absurd situation Makan has made by turning criminals like Peres to the supporters of justice in Iran.

I hear a lot of talks here in Tehran about the alliance of coup government with Israel's interests. It seems that they are not very wrong.

Didaar / March 26, 2010 4:33 PM

If this anti-Jewish article is reflective of the Iranian mentality, then I think the Iranian people deserve the government they have. Enjoy getting raped and beaten by your regime.

RB / March 26, 2010 4:43 PM

Sad that PBS has chosen to publish this fool's anti-Israel and conspiracy theorizing.

"There is a strong possibility that Tel Aviv, aware of Neda's iconic status with the opposition, has tried to damage the Green Movement's image by hosting Makan in Israel."

Foolishness. If this visit of friendship brings down the Green Movement, then the opposition must have always been quite marginal -- but of course that's not the case.

Focus on the real issues and don't go chase a red herring in Israel.

Another Conspiracy / March 26, 2010 5:42 PM

Blessed are the peace makers.

The central issue for Iranians is the removal of the Barbaric Republic. Today, Iranians live in a prison known as the Islamaic Republic and their voices are supressed. The Arab Israeli problems do not interest the Iranian people except the Islamist few and their representatives in the West who use Israel as an escape goat to cover up their failures in the last 31 years. I would be surprised if we would not see such shallow reactions from the Islamist supporters.

I have no doubt in a free and safe environment Neda's family would take the very same steps to convey the message of peace from the Iranian people to the rest of the world. We start fighting when we stop talking. Unlike these coward pretenders, Makan has shown a lot of courage and he is a source of pride. Stay focused Iran, victory is at hand.

Of One Essence is the Human Race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern'd with Others' Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face.

God bless the Makans of Iran.

Niloofar / March 26, 2010 8:49 PM

@ally yes the settlement issue is not an Iranian issue, it is a humanity issue that the entire world needs to be involved in. Israel openly calls for attacks on Iran based on zero evidence of nuclear weapons (similar to the us attack of iraq based on false claims of wmd's) and Israeli influences such as AIPAC are waging a war with Iran. What kind of "natural ally" is that?

@amir Iran has a long history of openness to jews dating back to cyrus and darius. jews have lived in iran for nearly 3000 years and outside of israel, iran has the largest jewish population in the middle east. the problem is people like you who do not understand that zionism is not the same as being jewish. iran and for the most part the entire middle east is any zionist, as are many other nations and many jews.

keivon / March 26, 2010 10:00 PM

RB, your game ended years ago. Opposing Israeli apartheid and perfidy has nothing to do with being "anti-Jewish" ... if that's the game you like to play, the annual AIPAC circus seems to suit you more than the forum here at Tehran Bureau.

Houshang / March 27, 2010 12:28 AM

Keivon, Cyrus and Darius were both Zionists. It looks like you're the one who doesn't understand history.

RB / March 27, 2010 12:52 AM

@ those who took offence with this being anti semitic.
1- if this criticism of israel hosting Makan coming from an iranian is difficult for you, same can be for those iranians who saw talk of moral and ethics and human rights coming from israelis. so we are even.
2- I personally am not anti jew in any way, but seeing a word of criticim against israel makes you jump out of your seat, makes me think what kind of agenda you pushing forward, only love of israel when millions are living in such a poor condition that beggars belief and one wonders how those who suffered in the hands of others now can do this to others. if this is only politics, so why getting angry of iranian(s) being angry at a foolish act one publicity seeker had done.
3- if one says israel is interested in seeing demise of green movement, a reader says so iranians deserve beaing beaten or raped, as if israel is going to be a source of help and freedom for iranians. far from it. it is not only 31 years of islamic republic that makes people be angry of what israel is doing to palestinians and making threats nonstop towards iran, it is a natural reaction and if iranians are smart and clever enough to despice mullahs, they are smart enough to ask why israeli goverment has stepped into an area that only helps mullahs in crushing image of the green movement. that makes israel an ally of mullahs not an ally of iranian people.

irani / March 27, 2010 2:05 AM

Makan is just an opportunist, who wants to benefit from Neda's death. Not because he has traveled to Israel, but because he calls himself the representative of the Iranian Nation. How dare you?
I can't imagine that his travel could have any positive effect for the Green movement and he could have known that.

amin / March 27, 2010 2:07 AM

Amin,

Green movement? What Green movement? Am I looking and not seeing anything? I am not trying to be smart, but where are these people? Before we brag about anything, shouldn't we be able to show performance? Where is this Green movement Amin? Isn't it time for us Iranians to get real?
Please give me a logical and thoughtful response.
Iranian to Iranian. I am curious. Thank you.

Niloofar / March 27, 2010 5:24 AM

The people here supporting Makan's trip need to grow up and walk in the real world. It doesn't matter whether you support the Islamic Republic or not, Israel is actively making war plans towards Iran, this is obvious to supporters of Ahmadinejad and supporters of the Green Movement. Let's stop living in a fantasy land, after everything that has happened in the last few years, does anyone really believe meeting with Shimon Peres on behalf of "the Iranian people" helps Iran or the Greens?

This has nothing to do with the Palestinians, they could have their own state and Israel WOULD STILL be planning war against Iran just to keep a military hegemony over the region. It's not racial, it's just pure geopolitics.

Cyrus / March 27, 2010 6:14 AM

@RB "Cyrus and Darius were both Zionists. It looks like you're the one who doesn't understand history"

zionism did not exist at that time, not in the sense of today's zionism. thats an absurd comment.

read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

keivon / March 27, 2010 1:42 PM

If you read the Book of Ezra, you will see that Cyrus the Great supported the right of the Jewish people to build settlements in Jerusalem (Zion). He was basically the opposite of Obama.

RB / March 27, 2010 5:43 PM

Even if I completely do not agree with Israeli policy toward Palestinians, even if Makan is ?!#@$% when he impersonate himself as a representative of Iranian nation - main idea which has appeared from this article (Jewish plot) is a sign of author's paranoia. I'm sure he can find zionists even in my fridge.

Marek / March 27, 2010 6:45 PM

Cyrus,

Green got nothing to do with it. We are Iranians first and obviously we do not want any foreign government attacking our country.

However, if I recall correctly it was Rafsanjanii who threatened Israel first with this idiotic statement, "It takes several bombs to destroy Iran and only one bomb to destroy Isreal," and the follow up(s) from another idiot called Ahmadinejad.

Now let's walk in the real world. What would you do if you were in Israel shoes? Would you ignore a regime that has no regards for human life as in the lives of its own people?

What will happen to the future of the Iranian people when these barbaric murderers get their hands on the bomb and your 'Greens' will turn into irrelevancy over night?

Please answer my questions and do not come back with the Islamist rhetoric of Israel vs. Palestine. My concern is my own people before I start worrying about the rest of the world.

So far Israel has gone along with the rest of the world who are just as equally concerned about the Barbaric Republic except Russia and China and for obvious reasons, the gold mine they have inherrited at a cost to our people.

Makan is alright in my book. He showed courage when he told the Israeli people the Barbaric Republic does not represent the Iranian People. The only few people mad about this trip are the Islamist murderers in Tehran and their outside representatives. 31 years of hollow death to/anti Israel, U.S., U.K. ... propaganda has had no impact on Iranian people. In fact it has backfired on themselves. Listen to, " death to the dictator ..." chanted through out Iran.

There are many Makans in Iran and they do not need to be painted in green to prove themselves. They are Persian and proud of it.

Niloofar / March 27, 2010 7:35 PM

Strange logic of this article: If the Iranian regime demonizes Israel, than the opposition against it should do the same or even find more political correct reasons for it. This is shameful cowtowing in front of the mullahs, nothing else.

iransol / March 27, 2010 7:44 PM

Dear RB,


The lesson I learned from Cyrus the Great's emancipation of Babylon's Jewish exiles is that he was UNIVERSALLY opposed to ethnic cleansing, deportation and 'population transfer', regardless of the tribe or race involved.


The brutishly selfish lesson that you draw from it is that Cyrus made a special dispensation for the Jews, due to his alleged belief in Jewish exceptionalism, ie. Zionism, the conviction that Jews have a Yahweh-given EXCLUSIONARY right to Palestine, and that any other people living there, whether ancient Canaanites or modern Palestinians, are just interlopers.


Of course, if you read the Old Testament literally as the definitive guide to ancient history, this sort of ethnocentric myopia is unavoidable.


In your disregard for Palestinian rights, you share common sentiments with Churchill, pioneer of poison gas attacks on the Kurds and prime architect of the anti-Mossadeq coup of 1953, who in his savage testimony to the Peel Commission in 1937, opposed Palestinan demands for self-determination with this brilliant Anglo-American logic:

__________________________________________________


"I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time...

"I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place."

__________________________________________________


But there is no doubt in my mind which people's modern exile and dispossession Cyrus the Great would seek to redress if he was reigning in our era.


So, my dear Zionist RB, please don't appeal to our pride in the magnificent early Achaemenid kings to garner cheap brownie points for your nasty, West-sponsored project of expulsion and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

Ali from Tehran / March 27, 2010 8:01 PM

The charge of anti-Semitism has become so absurd that soon filmgoers who do not enjoy Woody Allen's later films will be labelled anti-Semitic. It is now a blanket charge against anyone who seemingly disagrees with any Jewish or Israeli person.

And I hope this Makan guy takes his visa to Europe and crawls inside his rat hole and never appears again. He and Neda were separated at the time of her martyrdom and today he is doing nothing useful for the people of Iran.

Arash / March 27, 2010 8:18 PM

This silliness reminds me as to why I abandoned keeping up with the by now decadent compulsion of the modern intelligentsia to rationalize Islamic totalitarianism. What is the point of this entire diatribe with its uneasy back text of cries, whispers, and rumors in the wind? That because the Iranian authorities killed this man's wife, he makes himself an enemy of the Iranian "Green Revolution" by going to Israel? What? Do your editors read copy any more? At least run it by the office pooch mascot and reconsider if he cocks his head, squints his eyes and gives out a sad, querulous interrogative whine.

Paul Freedman / March 28, 2010 12:13 AM

Let us take another look at our own people three decades ago and ask ourselves a simple question, were we ready? Perhaps it is only natural for us to be where we are at today.

All those concerns expressed by outsiders about the human rights in Iran when Iran only lacked political freedom,(most countries did not have political freedom at that time anyway).

Where are those outsiders now? Where are those concerns today for a country that lost all its freedoms? It was not about freedom, was it?

Look and decide for yourselves.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc61e8_untold-stories-about-islamic-revolu_news

Jalili / March 28, 2010 12:56 AM

I agree with Ali from Tehran.

This is a momentary headline grab, a brief distraction and further grief for the family.

That's all.

Very interesting observation regarding the role of Meir Javedanfar. I've been commenting here at Tehran Bureau that this Zionist activist should not be making editorial contributions. Let's see if this enough for the TB editorial board to finally come to its senses.

Anonymous / March 28, 2010 7:13 AM

"Israel is actively making war plans towards Iran"

Really? Was it Israeli president who called for destruction of Iran?
I'm an Iran-Iraq war veteran and I can assure you Israel was Iran's strongest ally during that booldy 8 years war (google it).
As an Iranian I don't want to be insensetive toward the plight of Palestinians but in my book arab-Israeli conflict is their problem, I don't mind to extend helping hand but at the same time I would rather let their 27 arab nations berthren (many quite wealthy and politically influential BTW) to step fwd first.
And if you speak about humanity and ethics I would like to share that moral higher ground with Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Chechnya, Tibet and Zimbabwe as well.

Aryajet / March 28, 2010 3:06 PM

Can all the supporters of Israel define when criticism of Israel is NOT equal to to anti-semiticism? Even Americans are waking up to this nonsense, but the SUPERPATIOT Iranians Niloofar, Aryajet, and others are still deeply sleeping!

It is good to laugh heartily every Sunday morning. When I read Aryajet's comment that Israel was Iran's best friend during the war with Iraq, I got my sunday morning laugh!! Thank you.

And Lady Niloofar has her usual rants. If Greens are "Greens," what are you? Yellow? Black?

Several times people have asked you on this website to define yourself politically, but you have refused. What are you?

Iranian neocon? You certainly sound like one by repeating their S... here!

Royalist Shahollahi? You certainly sound like one by making Greens "Greens", as only they do that!

Jewish Iranian? You certainly sound like one by tearing yourself apart for Israel! "Of course, we do not want our country to be attacked, but, hay, it is Israel we are talking about!"

On second thoughts, you are all of the above!

Let us wait for Lady Niloofar's next knee-jerk reaction, rant, superficial, shallow, devoid of substance response. Hold your breadth people! It is coming!

George Stewart / March 28, 2010 9:25 PM


NYT's Sanger and Broad have been writing propaganda pieces against Iran for some time now.

If NYT, a purportedly "left of center" outfit keeps Sanger and Broad employed, why should TB be any different with respect to Meir Javedanfar?

As BBC learned many years ago, for propaganda to be effective it must come from a source that can establish some degree of trustworthiness. And, one method of establishing this is to intermingle propaganda (for matters of importance) with reliable news (for matters of momentary unimportance).

jay / March 28, 2010 9:41 PM

Wow
What a polemic from either side of isle but at least folks here have the freedom to say what they think.
Thank you PBS

persiantraveler / March 29, 2010 2:10 AM

Darling George (aka Gholam Ali),

What would you like me to say dear? What would make you happy?

Let's see,

I am a proud Persian woman, I hate the Barbaric Republic and its supporters with passion and last but not least I was born at night, but not last night.

Would you like me to translate that for your dear? That means I am not 'Green'.

There.
-----------------
We do not need another version of the Barbaric Republic headed by 'Green' washed Mousavi whose hands are soaked in the blood of thousands of our people.

Our symbol is the flag of our nation (not the Islamic flag) and our identity is best represented by our proud history. Don't let them 'Green' wash it.

Stay focused Iran, victory is at hand.

Niloofar / March 29, 2010 3:19 AM

The anonymous comment above was written by me (I forgot to fill in the name box.

Jay, you're right, of course. But I still hold out hope that TB can rise above this sort of thing. I mean, in the case of Meir Javedanfar, it is so obvious. It's almost as bad as publishing Iran perspectives by Charles Krauthammer, only Meir is more subtle yet often times clumsy in his anti-Iran cause.

Pirouz / March 29, 2010 5:41 AM

Niloofar:

I showed your "writing" here to a Persian friend. He said there are two words in Persian that describe you:

"salite" and "lajjare"

Even though I begged him to tell me what they mean, he just said, "she would know."

Now, unlike what you implied, I am not Iranian, but come to this site once in while to read about Iran. All I would say by your response to my pointed questions (which you refused to answer as usual) is, you are what the Iranian friend said, even though I do not have the foggiest idea what the words mean.

But, on a more serious note, how are you going to achieve "vectory" if Greens are "Greens"? By your hollow, shallow, devoid-of-substance rants on this site? Is there an army of your type?

Again, I am not Iranian, but if your "victory" implies people like you coming to power, Iran would be better off without your "victory," although I am sure like your rants, you are simply fantasizing!

George Stewart / March 29, 2010 7:04 PM

Dear Jay and Pirouz,


I hope my post of 26/03/2010 @ 9:03 AM did not give the impression that I object to Meir Javedanfar's articles being published in TehranBureau.


On the contrary, I welcome them.


All I was asking for above was that author of this article, Jahangir Salehian, explain Mr. Javedanfar's possible role in arranging Caspian Makan's visit to Israel.


Decades of preaching to converted dimwits with a strange mix of Old Testament, racist, Islamophobic and reductio-ad-Hitlerum talking points has dulled the intellectual capacity of Zionists to conduct effective hasbara campaigns against more discerning non-Western audiences.


Zionist disinformation is far less insidious in print than in the audio-visual media, and temptingly easy to challenge.


As long as TehranBureau gives us the opportunity to rationally criticize, any article from any author and viewpoint should be welcomed.


The onus is on us, the readership, to provide balance with sound, factual counter-argument.

Ali from Tehran / March 29, 2010 8:37 PM

Thank you everyone for offering so many different perspectives on the issue and some truly require a lot more reading and investigation to agree or disagree.
If I fail to present my view as I truly intend to , please forgive me, I am not perfect. My points below should not be taken as if I agree with every strategy of the recent movement , because I can not clearly see a progressive leadership that can carry the hopeful masses to victory.
-Neda should be honored and respected as an innocent sympathizer of a progressive movement, just like many other men, women, young, old, married, single etc. who have lost their precious lives. Her life was just as valuable as any other one of those who are not among us any longer and all their names and pictures should be printed just like Neda's and their lives equally honored .
-Neda , as far as I know, had never claimed to be and was not the strategist for the movement, so her personal life style and choices should be respected without allowing it to have any relevance to the ideals of the movement.
-Neda's parents, relatives, fiance , friends etc. , just like all the others who lost their lives, each have their own personal lives and can do whatever they like to do with their own lives just like we do, ( legal of course). Why should valuable time be wasted scrutinizing what they say, what they do, Where they go, who they meet, and what they claim?
-Mr. Makan's decision to meet with Israel's president, even though I personally disagree, but it is his personal decision and he might have a ton of reasons justifying his choice. All of us make our own personal choices everyday and there are many who may disagree with our decisions. But his actions are personal and it should be regarded as such.
-Anyone who tries to put a lot of emphasis on the personal lives of innocent sympathizers and their family and friends , by analyzing everything they say and do is unintentionally ( and some intentionally ) misdirecting the attention from more important issues that really should be concentrated on.
-Our duty should be first to become enlightened and then to help enlighten others to see the road ahead with clarity and not get distracted by many different traps constantly being planted along the way by those who want to derail the movement.
-If the movement's vision of the future and it's strategy to achieve it is not clear due to lack of progressive leadership , instead of constantly being ahead of the well armed, well organized and experienced enemies, with a clear vision and road map , they tend to be constantly falling in the enemy's traps by becoming defensive and trying to respond to their illogical accusations. Instead of a progressive leadership that should be constantly offering masses great food for thought, they help enemy feed everyone human waste.
Hoping for a bright future.

Tom / March 29, 2010 10:26 PM


I do not object to Javedanfar being published in TB at all. On the contrary, I encourage the publication of a broad range of viewpoints.

I was simply making the observation about the real world. Propaganda is part of real life! I concur with the view expressed: "the onus is on us...".

jay / March 29, 2010 10:49 PM

Gholam Ali,

Thank you for exposing yourself and your inner circle.
---------------------
Tom,

There was never a leadership and there will never be a leadership in this movement. They painted them 'Green' only to get them consumed by the 'enemy' and without any road map. How can a leadership that is part of the system provide any road map that leads to its own demise?

They fear the Persian sense of nationalism and the national flag as a rallying point. Consequently, they painted the movement 'Green' and linked it back to an Islamist butcher by the name of Mousavi to preserve their establishment minus Khamenei and his clown Ahmadinejad. It didn't work. It is over and done with.

Do you know why they are hurting? Because we are in the twilight zone right now. They have not had enough time to come up with another gimmick. The Barbaric Republic is dead. It died last June. It is hooked up to a respirator, but brain dead.

Long live the people of Iran and better yet, long live the women of Iran who have endured so much hardship at the hands of these animals during this last miserable 31 years. Where are our men? look for skirts and you will find them. This is why I admire Makans of Iran. Because they are hard to come by.

Niloofar / March 30, 2010 12:08 AM

Niloofar:
The opposition movement in Iran is made up of many different groups with totally different ideologies, visions and expectations while all having just one thing in common. The "Green" is an excuse to bring all these different groups together . There are many many very bright people part of this movement.
The assumption is that when the initial goal is achieved , then different groups must decide how to go forward. The progressive and bright are hoping that later they might have a chance to lead.

The brave men and women of Iran who are part of this movement and are risking their lives should be honored and respected, even if we disagree with many in the movement's leadership. True leaders are created in the midst of such struggles. Brave people are fighting and dieing even though they do not see a leader who can truly represent them , and they are desperately seeking one.

I am sure many of those who do not like to appeal to Nationalism believe that "all people" have the right to live in peace and be respected.

The fact that an amazing movement has been temporarily silenced due to lack of leadership , is very sad for all of us who want to see better things ahead.

And the men you are looking for are in prisons being tortured, executed, and disappeared everyday .

It is an honor to be on the side of those who put their lives on the line to see the smallest change for a brighter future. Unfortunately I can not extend Mr. Makan the same honor , because I can not see how his action can be helpful to the progressive movement. I personally do not have anything against him and he should be free to do what he likes.

Tom / March 30, 2010 1:25 AM

what is there to admire in makan? Cuddling up with Israeli leaders who themselves have the blood of innocents and children in particular on their hands is hardly a manly or noble act. At least if he had gone to see the Dalai Lama or even the UN Sec General Ban ki Moon, he might not have been seen in such a bad light.

If the likes of Nioofar truly want a reformed or a new Iran than they should first start to look at their own values. Otherwise they will end up kicking Iran from the frying pan into the fire. Iranian nationalists should be careful in the values and friends they want to keep otherwise the 'greatness' of the Persian civilisation will soon evaporate and the 'Barbaric' Republic could end up being replaced by an even more 'barbaric' government based on the Khmer Rouge model of wanting to turn the clock back to the year zero right to the very dawn of the 'great' persian civilisation.

I subscribe to the theory that all states are equally barbaric, they are only different in their scale of barbarity and who they decide to inflict their barbarism upon. Western governments are just more clever in concealing their barbarism and more often exporting them through wars they inflict upon others. The Iranian govt by comparison are unsophisticated making their acts of brutality easy to detect.


rezvan / March 30, 2010 4:22 AM

Tom,

Although I do not agree with everything you said, but I thank you for your detailed response.Management and leadership is a must when we talk about such undertaking with so many lives at stake. It has been decades of hell, especially for the women of Iran at the hands of these barbarians.
Makan delivered a message of peace. That is alright and as you said he is FREE to do what he likes.FREE.

Niloofar / March 30, 2010 5:16 AM

@ George Stewart )Gholam Ali?)

After you are finished with breakfast falafel for take a look at the link below, and if you don't accept it as a credible source just google "Israel Support for Iran during the war". You don't have to read all 200,000 hits, just pick the those which you are comfortable with.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_support_for_Iran_during_the_Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_war

What you fail to understand is that I did not claim Israel was/is in love with Iran, it was the national interest of Israel to support Iran because victorious saddam could be far more dangerous to her national security than war torn Iran.
Egypt was rejected and thrown out of all arab organization after her peace treaty with Israel, by attacking Iran Saddam was instrumental for arab nations reconciliation with Egypt and in return uncle Mobarak didn't hold back any thing which could support Iraq that includes foot soldiers on the ground and even pilots in the air. . Israel had to side with Iran other wise 15 arab nations who directly were providing all means of support to Iraq could turn west toward Israel if Iran was defeted.

And also I must bring it to your attention that the detail info I have about Israel support for Iran during the war is not gathered by surfing the internet, it is personal because "I was there".

Aryajet / March 30, 2010 12:20 PM

Rezvan,

I think U.N. is a waste of time but Dalai lama is a great idea.
Why don't you deliver this message of peace to him? Makan did it to Israel and you to Dalai lama. Fine.

Iran cannot sink lower than the Barbaric Republic. Are you suggesting these animals can go farther in terms of brutality?
They murder people right in front of the cameras while the whole world is watching only to have their phony President deny the murders and label them as foreign conspiracy. If this is not vulgarity and if these people are not animals in human skin then how else would you describe it?

At the end it is the beautiful Persian in us that will save us from this nightmare.God bless the women of Iran.

Stay focused Iran. Victory is at hand.

Niloofar / March 30, 2010 4:18 PM

Unfortunately, I think the situation in Iran can become a lot worse, as happened in Iraq, with different groups killing and beheading each other, with dead bodies piled up everywhere and no one even daring to get close to them.

Countries, who some even loudly claim to have "Interests" in the Middle East area, do not benefit from the area's countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan , etc. being democratically independent and powerful, and they will go to any extent to have control over these countries affairs .

The weaker these Middle Eastern nations, the more control can be had , and as a result the more profit can be made, and the more goals can be achieved. Wars , tensions, instability, economical pressures etc. all help achieve those goals.

If majority of people are kept misinformed about the dynamic forces that move the society, as it is constantly being done, people will always
fail to recognize the real friend from the real enemy.

Keeping people in dark makes them choose Barbarians as their saviors. We are not exceptions to the rule, how informed or misinformed are we? Do we really recognize Barbarians if we see them? or are we being sold ice in Alaska , by charming sales people?

Tom / March 30, 2010 9:48 PM

Niloofar - who knows? all human beings including you and me are capable of both exceptional brutality as well as exceptional valour and courage in defence of humane values. My point is that not all change is beneficial. Presuming that what people express is the expression of their mental state of mind, there are some extreme nationalist comments made in these columns and where such minds to come to power, Iran would not necessarily become a better place and could become even worse. If we want change than we first need to demonstrate change in ourselves for the better than only can positive change occur (although there is no guarantee of that but a reasonable probability that this will happen - we reap what we sow-

rezvan / March 31, 2010 1:56 AM

Tom,
We came to that conclusion not too long after the so called revolution in our country. We have gone down hill ever since. But I do not believe the senario in Iraq is applicable to Iran. Iranians are pretty knowledgeable about the events in their country and they have figured out their true friends in the world: NONE except ourselves.
This is why our sense of nationalism and our history and culture must be the focal point and I personally believe we shall be victorious. In fact I have no doubt. At the end of the day we are Iranians and have been for thousands of years. Watch and learn.

Anonymous / March 31, 2010 5:14 AM

At Anonymous above

Thank you for the insightful post.

Indeed.
Let me add my $0.02, if I may.
Unlike modern western nationalism, Iranian nationalism is not exclusive, in fact it has been and it is by far the most inclusive nationalism in the history.
Iran in her 3000 years history has been a battle ground for numerous foreign forces, has been occupied, ransacked and governed by such, governments have been toppled and new ones instated, but has never been engulfed in civil war.

I'm sure there have been some local clashes but never a full blown civil war in national level and IMHO there will not be one in foreseeable future.

Aryajet / April 1, 2010 3:32 PM

It seems our resident pundit, Aryajet, has not heard of the huge uprisings on the Iranian plateau after the murder of Bardiya, the armed rebellion of Cyrus the Younger against Artaxerxes II, the crushing of the popular Mazdakite revolt, or the endless 7th century strife between Parthian and Sassanid feudal warlords that paved the way for Byzantium's crushing victory over Khosrow Parviz, and led shortly thereafter to the Arab conquest.


But I fully agree with his point that Iranian nationalism is, or ought to be, inclusive to all races and ethnicities which form this great multi-cultural nation.


Thanks anyway for the metahistorical 'feel-good' narrative.

Ali from Tehran / April 2, 2010 12:05 AM

Government crushing armed rebellion and/or an uprising by certain group of people like being done today by barbaric republic is not called "Civil War". You might want to check the recent history of Balkan states and see what civil war means.

Comical Ali from Baghdad / April 7, 2010 7:14 PM

Criticism of Israel seems to be the haute cause célèbre with Iranians who feel powerless over the destiny of their own country.

The current regime in Iran uses emnity against Israel to good effect in an effort to garner support. Most Iranians who opine here (and in other venues) choose to forget that Israel had to take drastic steps to protect itself against annihilation. The same tyranny that many here say is a product of Zionism is relentlessly practiced by the regime in Iran in much greater magnitudes against the Iranian people.

We never see crowds in Tel Aviv chanting for the death of Iran. Never! The democracy of Israel is light-years ahead of Iranian experience. Regarding the further attitude that only Iranians know how "bad" Israel is, that we are all subject to the propaganda of Zionism, let me say: Americans know freedom when they see it.

Sadly, regretfully, there is more civil liberty in one city block of Tel Aviv than there is in the whole of the Iran.

The attitudes reflected above are symptomatic of a logical disconnection. I don't think most Iranians see how insular their own thinking appears. Jews have been subjected to the more conspiracy theory speculation than anyone in history. What do Iranians turn to when they can't sort out the raw reality of their own political misery? MAKE MORE conspiracy theory!

Honestly, it's like iron filings drawn to a magnet.

Iranians don't know Israel, its culture or its people. They know what they have been told and the sources aren't exactly balanced. Iranians know little about Jewish history beyond Kourosh and Ester. I appreciate Caspian who took time to discover something about their "theorized" enemies. That took guts.

"Peace" means opposing parties will speak without rancor or blame. Isn't that what we want? Peace? I know I do.

greenanonymouse / April 8, 2010 1:22 AM

Dear Greenanonymouse,


I am quite sure that Caspian Makan was just as clueless about Jewish culture and history leaving Israel as he was going in.


The crimes of anti-Zionist regimes do not make Israel a shining city on a hill, just as the brutality of anti-Apartheid African despots did not validate the racism and exclusionary colonialism of the Afrikaners.


Peace is the outcome of 'justice' and 'fairness' in human affairs, not a substitute for them.


Overcome your feral tribal prejudice and allow the people you have ethnically cleansed and brutalized to return in dignity to their ancestral homes.


Establish a state that equally empowers and cherishes all of its inhabitants, irrespective of race, creed and ethnicity, even if it means letting go of your anachronistic ideal of a Judenstaat.


Peace will follow, and your country will become a model to admire and adopt.


Until then, silly Zionist bromides about 'city blocks', 'light years', 'logical disconnect', etc., is not likely to convince befuddled, powerless, consiracy-minded, miserable goyim like yours truly.

Ali from Tehran / April 9, 2010 3:41 PM

Dear Niloofar, aka 'Comical Ali from Baghdad'


You say that "government crushing armed rebellion [...] is not called "Civil War".


Actually, the term "civil war" applies to armed conflict between regions OR factions in the same country, and is generally applied when these criteria are met:


- both sides are armed
- the strife is protracted
- the conflict is widespread
- death and damage are substantial


It does not matter if the rebellion is crushed, or if one faction is nominally the government, which is why we -- but perhaps not you -- refer to such events as the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s, and the English Civil War (1642-1648) between Royalists and Parliamentarians.

Ali from Tehran / April 9, 2010 5:07 PM

Dear Ali of Tehran,

As one "goy" to another, dignity begins when rockets stop falling and threats of death no longer pierce the air. When children and women stop wearing death vests.

When brutalized Palestinians are no longer used as pawns by people like you to justify hatred, insult, and to mollify your own thwarted national ambitions, they will have a chance. Then Palestinians will develop realistic strategies that involve development and nation-building. This is what most Americans want, what most Palestinians want and a growing number of Israelis want.

The word is spelled: RECOGNITION

When sanctimonious diatribes against entire nations of people transform into recognition of the right to exist, Palestinians will have a nation.

All that most of us ask as Americans, Jews and as sympathizers (yes, sympathizers!)with Israel, is that for the calls to annihilation end and recognition to be given. BTW, you have no idea what Israelis go through when the antagonism gets to be too much and both Jews and Arabs have limbs blown off. There is so much I could tell you but, you are not capable of listening. You still need an enemy.

I realize, cher Ali, this is too much for you to contemplate because you have so much to gain personally and politically from the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians.

silly zionist bromide aka GA / April 9, 2010 8:55 PM

Greenanonymouse,


In other words, all the ethnically cleansed natives have to do is RECOGNIZE your right to exist (no doubt as a Jewish state, not a state of all its citizens), by clear implication repudiating their inalienable right to return, and retroactively approving your Yahweh-given and US-certified right to have dispossessed them in the first place?


And that's all you ask, my ascetic U.S. Zionist friend? I am deeply humbled by your frugality.


And if they do all this, you will consider giving them a few reservations of land to "develop and nation-build in", in the best tradition of South Africa's bantustans, provided of course they don't get uppity and try to exercise full sovereign rights on what's left of their borders, airspace, water resources, foreign relations, defence, etc.?


Does your generosity have no bounds?


*** *** *** *** *** ***


And those who oppose your selfish, nefarious plan do so only because they "need an enemy" and wish to make a shekel off the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians?!


You don't credit the goyim with carrying around much grey matter in their craniums, do you?


I am reminded of the great Hannah Arendt's prescient words in 'Zionism Reconsidered' (1944), four years before the establishment of your beloved apartheid State of Israel, where she said:


_________________

The end result of 50 years of Zionist politics was embodied in the recent resolution of the largest and most influential section of the World Zionist Organization. American Zionists from left to right adopted unanimously, at their last annual convention held in Atlantic City in October 1944, the demand for a "free and democratic Jewish commonwealth ... [which] shall embrace the whole of Palestine, undivided and undiminished." This is a turning point in Zionist history; for it means that the Revisionist program, so long bitterly repudiated, has proved finally victorious. The Atlantic City Resolution goes even a step further than the Biltmore Program (1942), in which the Jewish minority had granted minority rights to the Arab majority. This time the Arabs were simply not mentioned in the resolution, which obviously leaves them the choice between voluntary emigration or second-class citizenship.
_________________


On reflection, my dear amateur hasbarist, I think my first suggestion was much, much, much better than yours.


REPEAT:


Peace is the OUTCOME of 'justice' and 'fairness' in human affairs, NOT A SUBSTITUTE for them.


Overcome your feral tribal prejudice and allow the people you have ethnically cleansed and brutalized to return in dignity to their ancestral homes.


Establish a democratic, non-sectarian state that equally empowers and cherishes all of its inhabitants, irrespective of race, creed and ethnicity, even if it means letting go of your anachronistic ideal of a Judenstaat.


Peace will follow (not precede), and your country will become a model to admire and adopt.

Ali from Tehran / April 10, 2010 4:22 AM

So, cher Ali, like the Iranian president, you suggest that the inhabitants of Israel, pack-up and bow to the descendents of the many who fled because they were fed propaganda by Arab heads of state at the time.

Ever heard of Yamit? The Israeli town on the Sinai peninsula? Many citizens of that place made significant sacrifices to settle there and build an amazing town on nothing more than dissicated dunes. Yet they abandoned what was a resort-like city in order have a peace settlement with Egypt.

No doubt you will point out the utter fallacies and self-serving motivations of the people who left their homes there. Yet peace with Egypt has remained a fact.

The fact of Israeli existence cannot be wished away, but I do admit your rhetoric sounds amazingly righteous without requiring anything from you, just other people's sacrifices. Since no nation can will itself to non-existence, you can quote 60 year old wisdom from your easy chair with impunity. Israel will not go away. Maybe you would do the Palestinians a favor if you stopped portraying them as mindless, helpless victims that need the borrowed wisdom of Tehran. I am doubt the Palestinians are waiing to emulate Iran's government.

Look to the untold numbers of political prisoners and minorities in Iran who have no civil rights under the IR's constitution. In short, you might want to work on cleaning up your own backyard before you champion the rearrangement of someone else's. Oh I forgot, that might require sacrifice and terrible danger. It may be easier for you to blog endlessly about someone else's political foibles, rather than take on your own.

Nice chatting, but since you can't say much withour insulting my heritage, I will let you have the last word, which in your mind is the same as heroic victory over an unrepentant Zionist. I still maintain what is missing from your argument and the above editorial is actual knowledge of Israel.

Anonymous / April 10, 2010 8:42 PM

Dear Greenanonymouse,


Wonder why you post each time under a different screen name? Is consistency no longer a virtue?


I am not suggesting that the current residents leave, but that the original natives also be allowed back in as equal citizens of a non-sectarian democratic state.


In fact, I personally believe that a properly assimilated, truly reconciled, strong Jewish presence in Israel/Palestine will be hugely beneficial to all the peoples of this region.


Also, your own knowledge of Israel is quite stale. You should ask the Israeli foreign ministry for some updated songsheets.


You paint the forced ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Haganah and other Zionist terror gangs as a voluntary exodus by the natives, encouraged by Arab leaders.


This self-serving myth, concocted by the imaginative underlings of Ben Gurion and Golda Meir, and propagated with zeal by feral American Zionists for decades in pliant Western media, has been soundly debunked by your own new historians (including the ultra-Zionist Benny Morris and the anti-Zionist Ilan Pappe) thru access to Israeli state archives. And even if this cheap narrative was true, it would have no bearing on the natives' inalienable right of return.


Apparently, despite your supposedly prodigious knowledge of Israeli affairs, you have yet to hear of the malicious 'Plan Dalet', which began the expulsion of natives months before the 'evil' Arab regimes attacked your apartheid state.


I appreciate your point that Iran has to put its own house in order before lecturing others. But to give you a historical parallel, the fact that the Soviet Union was a repressive, totalitarian state with no regard for the human rights of its subjects did not mean that its support for Nelson Mandela's ANC against Apartheid South Africa was wrong or reprehensible.


So I invite you to take your own sound advice and stop spinning obsolete Zionist fables in a website primarily dedicated to discussion amongst bonafide Iranians. There are plenty of websites devoted to Israeli self-congratulation and navel-gazing, where your fledgling hasbara talents can be properly nurtured.

Ali from Tehran / April 11, 2010 12:31 AM