tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora

The Force Strikes Back

13 Dec 2009 00:117 Comments

[ snapshot ] A stunt pulled by Iran's state media to humiliate student leader Majid Tavakoli backfired -- big time.

Tavakoli was arrested on Monday in Tehran after addressing students at Amir Kabir University during the highly-charged Student Day campus protests.

In a move meant to discredit the prominent student activist, state news agency IRNA and state-affiliated Fars News Agency published several mug shot-style photographs of Tavakoli dressed in a chador (the full-length black cloak which is the staple of the 'orthodox' Shia women in Iran), alleging that he had tried to flee the campus disguised as the opposite sex.

Supporters of the opposition movement reacted by staging an online solidarity campaign called "We are all Majid Tavakoli." Hundreds of Iranian men photographed themselves draped in hejab and posted the photos on the Web.

The incident was widely covered, including by The New York Times' Lede blog and the BBC.

SHAREtwitterfacebookSTUMBLEUPONbalatarin reddit digg del.icio.us


Just want to get that straight: not only Iranians but men from all over the world took a stand by wearing hejabs. All are concerned by the whereabouts & future fate of Majid and the Green movement as a whole. We are shocked by the disgusting behavior of the ruthless Iranian regime & demand the immediate release of all political prisoners.

hussypussy / December 13, 2009 4:36 PM

Iranians, what are you waiting for? Dress up Khomeini, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad in mini skirts and post them all over the world.Let them experience first hand that for every one of their actions there is a price to pay.Make them pay every step of the way. I see too many Iranians running away when they confront the hostiles. You must learn to make a stand and make the other side pay. Additionally, where are the other factions in your country? I don't see anyone else except students. That is not good enough.Iran is more than just students.Where are they at?Hiding?This opposition leadership is weak.Obviously he does not want to change the system or he would have encouraged all factions within your country to rise up and join in.He wants controlled change and within the current system. If that is what you guys are after in the 21st. century, I am sorry for you.Just my honest opinion because you seem to be far more modern and capable. You cannot lie to yourselves. God be with you.

Paul Ertman / December 13, 2009 8:44 PM

Yes, there was a response to this here in the West. But how many Iranians living in Iran read the NY Times Lede Blog? or even watch the BBC?

Saying the move "backfired" is more than a bit unrealistic.

Pirouz / December 14, 2009 5:23 PM

@ Pirouz:

How many Iranians read the Lede is not a relevant point.

The point is that this response surfaced - which indeed constitutes "backlash"

Moreover, NYT has a large audience outside of Iran, so Fars' antics were exposed the state news agency as the vicious slander machine it is. That's also backlash, brother.


Amir / December 14, 2009 10:40 PM

There are many outsiders who would love a civil war in Iran. The sentiments expressed by Paul above are indicative of that. The irrational hatred that some commentators express here against Islam and against Imam Khomeini, who after all succesfully led a Revolution that was overwhelmingly supported by the majority of Iranians and probably had the largest attendance at a funeral numbering by some accounts 10m ever recorded in history. Neither him nor his successor, Khamanei are personally known to have amassed vast sums of wealth or lived lives of opulence and luxury as rulers previous to them did. There is not a single political system in the world that does not have its drawbacks and all systems need change as per the requirement of the population. Change will come but it is better that it comes peacefully and with as wide a public support as possible. Iranians must avoid turning their country into an Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. They have had comparatively 30yrs of political stability and little bloodshed compared to their neighbours.

rezvan / December 15, 2009 5:58 AM

This guy Rezvan is obviously a supporter of the Barbaric Republic. That is his problem. Yes, we do want change and we are going to get it. Khomeini lied to the Iranian people. Everything he promised in France and later in Iran turned out to be a lie. Khamenei and his puppet Ahmadinejad clearly showed their true nature and the nature of their regime last summer when they rigged the elections and resorted to murder, torture, rape and imprisonment to continue their illegitimate reign over Iran and Iranian people. Is it not surprising these supporters conveniently fail to mention the Billions of dollars missing by the regime's own admission?It is so bad they can not cover up anymore.This regime has no future in Iran. The stench is so strong they cannot overcome it. The harder they try the worst it is getting. The Iranian people will rise to the occasion to commit this regime to the garbage of history where it belongs. Iran is at the crossroads of history and we have no doubt good will overcome evil. Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and the rest of these thugs will be tried before the world.

Bina / December 16, 2009 1:15 AM

Dear Iranian Sister-Brothers: Because of your willingness to wear hijab, I believe Iran will heal and there is hope. You look marvelous!

shahed / December 16, 2009 1:23 AM