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Coup-d'État? The Iranian Election in Five Acts


18 May 2010 18:3439 Comments

Was Iran's June 12, 2009, presidential election a coup d'etat? A journalist who was part of the establishment investigates and presents this analysis. This is the story from their perspective.

Act One: Rehearsals

One evening in spring 2009, a whiteboard located on the fifth floor of a Reformist campaign center displayed a set of bullet points under the heading "Three factors that can weaken us and lead to electoral defeat":

• Fraud √

• Oil Rent

• Ineptitude of Reformists

The election was not far off. The person who had written down these bullet points insisted that the only way to prevent fraud by the government was to raise voter participation beyond a certain level.

Just a few miles away, on Zaffar Avenue, two missions were being defined at another meeting. One concerned 11,000 "agents"; the other, 3,600. These agents would report on the activity at voting centers via text message, allowing a group of five people at this central location to remotely monitor the status of nearly all ballot boxes. Later, Minister of Intelligence Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie would dub those at this center the "Zaffar Nexus."

On a similar spring day, a Revolutionary Guard commander, Adjutant Colonel Aziz Djaefari, carried a letter that had to be delivered to 2,500 Ashura-al-Zahra camps and 28,000 warrior units of the Karbala brigade. The letter had a singular message: At Attention!

These spring days were quite wearing for the employees of the printing and publication division of Bank Melli, Iran's central bank. Quarantined for long hours, day after day, they printed, sequentially numbered, and organized ballot slips. They could never have imagined unnumbered slips turning up after the elections. Where did these slips come from? Certainly, they had not printed them. Were they produced at the Islamic Revolution Documents Center? At Kayhan Publications? By the Guards?

Just a few days before these events, a shadowy figure appeared at a secret meeting at a complex on Ameen Boulevard in Qom. He recited the following to set everyone straight:

When Talut [the army's commander] set forth with the armies, he said: "God will test you at the stream: if any drinks of its water, he goes not with my army. Only those who taste not of it go with me. A mere sip out of the hand is excused." But they all drank of it, except a few. When they crossed the river -- he and the faithful ones with him -- they said: "This day we cannot cope with Goliath and his forces." But those who were convinced that they must meet God, said: "How oft, by God's will, hath a small force vanquished a big one? God is with those who steadfastly persevere."

This passage, verse 249 of the Baqqarah (Young Cow) sura of the Qu'ran, fixed the curse. The elections were carried out. But Ahmadinejad's opponents and their supporters talked of something beyond election fraud: coup-d'état! The defeated side's supporters and democracy-supporting protestors poured into the streets and called Ahmadinejad, the Guards, and the Basij perpetrators of a coup. With his sermon at the Friday Prayers following the election, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, along with his son, Mojtaba, rose to the top of the list of culprits. Outside of Iran, analysts with a broader perspective named Russia as a partner in the crime.

Subsequent investigations and analysis have been carried out within the framework defined by this coup scenario. Perspectives have been stuck at this viewpoint, without opening up to offer a wider understanding of events. There has yet to be published a comprehensive, historical review of these events, considered either as an election or as a coup d'état. All considerations, so far, have been devoted to isolated parts of the story.

The following review, abridged from an upcoming book, seeks to offer a comprehensive, beginning-to-end narrative of the coup in a five-part weekly series. This review is based on the following principles:

1. The perspective on events surrounding the last Iranian election must be broader than has been the norm to date.

2. To decipher the coup mystery, light will be shed behind the scenes to trace the plotters and executors lurking in the shadows.

3. There is no sense in denying or confirming other narratives; this one must stand on it own.

4. Many off-the-record interviews and discussions were conducted. Those involved included high ranking commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, officers in intelligence and military units of the Revolutionary Guards, the Ministry of Intelligence, and representatives of different political factions around the globe. The names of these figures, many of them obliged to take oaths of confidentiality, will be withheld for their security.

In our examination of the threads that may lead to the source of this coup, we will take historical detours, to the mid-1970s and further back, and geographical ones far afield. For now, the story starts thus:

The Master Key to the Coup Mystery

In their debates with Ahmadinejad, whether coordinating with each other or not, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi focused on certain of his political behaviors that are key to understanding the events that transpired a few days later.

In the debates, Karroubi and Mousavi alluded to the many reports of superstition, magic, and sorcery surrounding Ahmadinejad, and to the bright halo which he claimed shrouded him during his U.N. appearance. Ahmadinejad, of course, dismissed every one of these as rumors.

Mousavi, in particular, targeted Ahmadinejad's behavior in relation to foreign policy. He pointed out that threatening Israel with eradication and denying the Nazi holocaust was tactically wrong. Unequivocally, he declared that Ahmadinejad's belligerent rhetoric over the past four years, and especially at the Durban meeting, had in fact been advantageous to Israel, and that Ahmadinejad's foreign policy in general had produced results opposite to his slogans and declared strategies.

Ahmadinejad's bellicose and adventuresome policies were not limited to foreign affairs. Within Iran, the same disposition was expressed in the militarization of daily life via large-scale security projects, the designation and apprehension of "hooligans and troublemakers", and the many Guidance Patrols checking on Islamic dress codes.

Was this aggressive posture, within and outside Iran, the result of the religious beliefs and the political disposition of just the republic's 9th government? Or did it stem from the general character of the whole regime in that period? To begin to formulate answers to these questions, we must consider the history.

Long Training for a Short Coup

"The coup wasn't decided and carried out overnight. We need to go back several years," Colonel S.R.H., a high ranking intelligence and security commander said. His statement echoed that of Sergeant A.S., an intelligence agent in the Revolutionary Guards, emphatically uttered on the same day.

In 2004, less than four months into Ahmadinejad's first term, the Majles agreed to fund a government project overseen by the High Council of National Security to arm and equip the Basij with $350 million from the nation's foreign currency reserves.

Of course, Ahmadinejad's support of the Guards and the Basij predates his presidency. His substantial support of these organizations while he was mayor of Tehran is an open secret. First, instead of using the government's Social Welfare Organization, he assigned the task of local social assistance to the Basij Resistance Force units. Then, in January 2002, he awarded several urban and developmental projects to the Guards, without competitive bidding. Like all the regime's figures striving to rise in power, he set out to strengthen his base in the Guards. His older brother, Davood Ahmadinejad, then an intelligence commander at Tehran's Division of the Guards, played a crucial role. Nonetheless, the future president's base remained stronger with the Basij.

In the run-up to the 2005 presidential elections, a private poll was conducted by the directorate of Pars News Agency, in coordination with the Guards, to determine the best fundamentalist candidate from among Ahmadinejad, Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, and Mohsen Rezai. Ghalibaf had a majority and Rezai withdrew. But Ahmadinejad said that he didn't trust the Guards' polls and would not follow suit. This was the start of verbal sparring both between Guard commanders and between the Guards and the Basij. A large portion of the Guards backed Ghalibaf, while the Basij supported Ahmadinejad.

This infighting caused Ghalibaf and Alireza Zakani, both members of the Central Council of the Principalist Coalition, to file a complaint with Ayatollah Fazel-e Lankarani requesting his intervention. It is believed that Fazel-e Lankarani enjoys a special respect among Basij members, and most had chosen him over Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, as their source of religious emulation. He replied that the candidate should be the one viewed by the public as more fundamentalist, and with more affection. This declaration was distributed in many quarters of Tehran in a letter along with the poll results.

Still, Ahmadinejad would not withdraw. The reason was simple. The Basij had over 11 million volunteers and 900,000 organized active duty members, while the Guards numbered between 125,000 and 220,000. Beyond this numeric superiority, the Basij has had far more influence in most voting districts than any other organization. In addition, most of those put forward as voting station officials and ballot box monitors are active Basij members employed at various ministries.

The First Victim

Thus, Mousavi and Karroubi were not the first victims of Ahmadinejad's electoral machinations, nor even Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in 2005, but Ghalibaf in the run-up to the 2005 elections. His actions then, relatively limited as they were, were early training for the eventual coup.

The person at the start of this story, who listed "Fraud" as the primary factor that could cause Reformists' electoral defeat in 2009, had put a perceptive check mark next to it. Ghalibaf, of course, did not receive the candidacy tick mark in 2005. A crucial animosity developed between him and Ahmadinejad. Their personal feuds badly affected the relationship between the mayor's office and the national government.

As to the fate of those who had supported Ghalibaf back then, Colonel A.S. of the Guards' intelligence division offers, "After the 2005 elections and declaration of Ahmadinejad as the winner, supporters of Ghalibaf were transferred to the Joint Military Forces Center, were given minimally active or ceremonial, non-key positions to curtail their influence and reduce their importance in political power transactions."

The few projects given to the Basij during Ahmadinejad's mayorship were not the sole reasons the Basijis rose to his support in 2009 and prevailed upon the Guards and the leadership to go along. With the extensive celebrations he organized in honor of the Mahdi and his public pretense to piety, Ahmadinejad caught the eye of the shadowy figure mentioned above. He had found Ahmadinejad of the right disposition.

As mayor, Ahmadinejad would don a garbage collector's uniform and appear on rounds. He turned the mayor's office into a refuge for the destitute. For the first time in its history, the office handed out marriage loans. But, above all, it was the ten-day celebration of lights on the occasion of the Mahdi's birth -- when the mayoralty arranged for hojatieh and neo-mahdiat to be present and recruiting in every passageway -- that earned him an audience with the man in the shadows. This powerful man prefers not to enter the political arena personally. It is widely rumored that he has decided to designate the resident of the last mansion on South Palestine Avenue in Tehran as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic upon the death of the current one.

End of Part 1.

related reading

Iran's Stolen Election (Le Monde) by Ahmad Salamatian

Iran's Ex-Foreign Minister Yazdi: It's A Coup
(The Nation) by Robert Dreyfuss

Iran's Political Coup by Gary Sick

Spokesman: Political Coup by Muhammad Sahimi

The Leaders of Iran's 'Election Coup' by Muhammad Sahimi

The Supreme Leader's One Vote by MEA Cyrus

Another Coup for the Hardliners by MEA Cyrus

The Man in the Shadow: Mojtaba Khamenei by Muhammad Sahimi

This series on the election by Iranian journalist Reza Valizadeh is a joint project between Tehran Bureau and Tehran Review. To read this article in Farsi, please click here.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau, Tehran Review

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What on earth is a "warrior unit" of a brigade? Don't Ashura-al-Zahra units have collection centers or bases? Why are they described as "camps"?

Pirouz / May 18, 2010 8:57 PM

A lot of contentious statements and difficult to prove conspiracy theories of who & why is or are pulling the strings! I thought there has been far more analysis of this election than any in any of the so called 'democracies' of the world where elections are fixed with much more sophistication than the ordinary public comprehend and yet many wish to emulate these countries. BTW where is the story about the 12th Imam, believed to be the Mahdi by Twelver Shi'ites,have never heard or read anywhere that he disappeared down a well in Iran? Could not find any reference to it in the wikipedia either? Perhaps the author could enlighten us which well in Iran was this from? That would open up a new venue for religious tourists bringing additional revenue to the hard pressed Iranian economy!

rezvan / May 18, 2010 10:41 PM

I for one believe this election was rigged. But even that can't make me ignore this piece of shoddy journalism.

What exactly does "part of the establishment" mean? Is it supposed to make us buy these very questionable figments of the author's imagination?

Houshang / May 19, 2010 12:21 AM

Iranians have a talent for weaving fact, fiction and conjecture into rich, elaborate tapestries.

Anonymous sourcing may stimulate this insidious artform, and ought to be avoided by disciplined journalists who truly wish a better future for Iran.

No matter how compelling, if the main pegs of a story cannot be properly attributed and independently verified, it should not be published by serious media without an appropriate 'caveat emptor.'

Perhaps TehranBureau can create a new column called "RUMOURVILLE" or "FASCINATING IF TRUE" to feature such juicy content without laying its credibility on the line?

Ali from Tehran / May 19, 2010 1:55 AM

I could go along with the story but if the last sentence's reference to "the resident of the last mansion on South Palestine Avenue in Tehran" is Ahmadinejad I have to say that I cannot envison even the fanatical Basij members going along with that.

Bahman / May 19, 2010 5:40 AM

Dear Bahman,

My guess is that he's referring to SL's son, M.

Ali from Tehran / May 19, 2010 7:27 AM

This article perhaps reads even more like hearsay in translation, but there is not really much journalism here at all. So AN beat Qalibaf because he was more popular among his base - is that really a "machination"? Sounds like politics to me. I assume the reformists always got along their entire 20 years of existence and no one ever got screwed along the way or lost their positions because of infighting.

Given that there was just an interview with the editor of Tehran Review hosted at Tehran Bureau, where he eloquently warned against this kind of unfounded braggadocio from the opposition, I have to wonder why this kind of series is being posted on either site. Even Hunter Thompson would have refrained from using words like "shadowy." If this is to be a X-Files Iranian style, please give us the name of the smoking man!

Mohammad Khiabani / May 19, 2010 6:13 PM

I do not normally comment on articles, other than my own, that are published by TB, because I consider the authors as my colleagues.

But, I would like to comment this time, not on the article itself, but on the reactions from those of you who have commented on the article.

First of all, I find the article fascinating and totally plausible.

Second, criticizing the article because we cannot independently confirm its contents is uncalled for, because,

1. The author cannot name anyone in Iran as his source, for the obvious reason.

2. If you look at the leading newspapers and websites in the US, many articles by major figures are also replete by quotes from unidentified sources. Seymour Hirsh does it all the time, David Sanger and William Broad who write on Iran's nuclear program for the NY Times always have unidentified sources, and right-wing publications and website post articles almost exclusively based on such sources. The point is, regardless of whether the practice is good or bad, the author has not done something out of the ordinary. In his particular case, in fact, not naming his sources is completely justified.

3. But, aside from such considerations, we can also use our own knowledge to see whether what the authors say makes sense or not, or whether it is plausible or not.

So, let's take a few of the points that the author is making to see whether they make sense and are plausible.

The piece starts with the thinking of a reformist camp. Why is it implausible? Just as the Clinton campaign's motto in 1992 was "it is the economy, stupid," why is it not reasonable to think that oil money can be used for, for example, buying votes in Iran? In fact, we now know that that is exactly what has happened.

If you look at the history of elections in Iran, you will see that when the turn-out has been large, reformists have had relative or absolute success. In my pre-election articles of last year, I always emphasized that turn-out is the key (assuming no fraud takes place). So, if I, from 8000 miles away, know that, why is it that the reformist camp in Tehran might not?

Or, let's take the issue of what the article starts with saying about the hardliners. Why is it implausible?

Let's take the issue of election coup. Many people, including myself, have used this phrase in the past. In fact, I posted an article on TB last year right after the election entitled, "Leaders of Iran's Election Coup." So, why is using this objectionable now?

Look at my article about Ahmadinejad's cabinet, posted a few weeks ago. In it, I specifically said what this article say: Right after he was elected in 2005 (which this article says 2004, a minor mistake), he asked the Majles to give him the authority to spend $400 million for the Basij. This article says $350 million, because the current rate of exchange is $1=1000 toumans, but the original touman sum was 350 billion toumans which at that time was worth a little more than $400 million. But, the point is, the author is correct. This did happen. I know it did.

I can go on with this, but I hope that the point has been made.

Muhammad Sahimi / May 19, 2010 10:38 PM

Dear Professor Sahimi,

I highly respect your articles and your writings, but strongly disagree with your comment. The problem with this article is not that "it could be true" or that there are points within it - which you point out - that are true, but that overall it's a mishmash and weaving of wild tales similar to the ones written by Keyhan. This is NOT responsible journalism. The fact that The New York Times or any other major American news outlet does it too doesn't make it any better, I'm sure you know the dire condition of American journalism better than anyone.

Perhaps you are referring to Seymour Hersh who has gained a reputation throughout the decades for leaking information from good sources?

Well, suffices to say Seymour Hersh this article is not. The comparison is a very incorrect one. At the least, Hersh built up a reputation from scratch. He didn't start from "stories my grandma told me" from the get go. It's not even clear who this Valizadeh is or what he did exactly before coming to the West. There's investigative journalism, for instance, as demonstrated by the journalists at Norouz when they exposed the graves at Behesht-e Zahra, and then there's wild tales a la Keyhan, which this is more similar to.

Bottom line is that after the election, a lot of us who were in Iran or who are very connected through a wide number of friends and family have fascinating stories to tell of what happened and what our friends, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc witnessed while working as a Mousavi campaigner, Karoubi fundraiser, interior ministry insider, voting center supervisor etc, etc. But those stories should rightly remain as dinner table conversations.

Writing them in this format is irresponsible journalism, similar to that propagated by Keyhan, IRIB, etc. Is that what Tehran Bureau is striving to become? They all claim to "have sources inside the establishment" as well.

What is the point of this story anyway? If this is meant to cast doubt on the election, there are already enough credible reasons to doubt, if one chooses to go down that route. There's no need for Harry Potter and Friends to join the show. We get the point.

Adding to the titles proposed by Ali from Tehran, I would be ok if this article was under "rumorvile" or "possibly true gossip to discuss over chelo kabab".

Houshang / May 20, 2010 1:26 AM

Dear Dr. Sahimi,

I appreciate your thoughtful comments above and admire your principled support of a fellow author on TehranBureau.

But you defend Mr. Valizadeh on grounds unrelated to my objections. I also have no dispute with much of the content of this first instalment of Mr. Valizadeh’s story.

Most of the points in the story which you correctly term “plausible” are based on facts available in the public domain which do not require anonymous revelations to garner credibility. Mousavi said much the same in his post-election talk to academics last June. Dr. Mohajerani has also covered many of these issues in various symposia and media appearances.

My contention is with the anonymous sourcing.

You rightly point out that anonymous sourcing is often necessary to protect whistleblowers from government retribution or institutional backlash.

But the proven danger of anonymous sourcing is that the story-teller can, if she is so inclined, easily transition from incontrovertible fact to absolute fancy without any accountability. So the privilege to use anonymous sources to flavour or buttress a story should not be liberally granted – or tolerated -- by a discrerning readership.

Seymour Hersh is the most rarified example of a brave and honest reporter who has used anonymous sources to bring govt. malfeasance to light, expose American disinformation campaigns and challenge conventional wisdom. His honesty and integrity are beyond question. But it was my distinct impression that even this great man was unwittingly used by the Bush administration in psyops against Iran when he leaked stories disclosed to him by 'reliable' spooks about US sabotage and reconnaissance teams having been pre-positioned deep inside Iran.

By way of comparison, take a look at this extract from Mr. Valizadeh’s piece:

“... Colonel S.R.H., a high ranking intelligence and security commander said.”

Now, if IRI wished to find this whistleblower,
they would know his rank (colonel), his duty (intelligence related, high-level, certainly IRGC), and his initials (S.R.H.). Applying further filters on ideological inclination and political affiliation, my guess is that they could probably narrow it down, find the poor guy in a matter of days, and truss him up.

So much for anonymity.

Ali from Tehran / May 20, 2010 5:13 AM

The main question in my mind remains, was the coup planned in advance or was it ad hoc? The way events unfolded suggested a bit of both. That the reformists were prepared for some kind of operation against them I don't find surprising given actions dating back to the chain murders and the nature of the beast they are battling, that they know intimately. Obviously the regime made ready for any eventuality hoping that Amadinijads phony sales-job might actually pull off an election victory but realistic enough to know that probably wouldn't happen.
What no-one could of predicted was the scale of Moussavis win and no-one not even the GM leaders could have expected that millions would take to the streets. This is where the regimes response became unscripted, improvised and quite frankly incriminating. They were taken aback by something inconceivable. I am reminded of Bush Jr. response when first told of Obamas stunning election victory: "Awesome". You bet George.
The other question that arises is that of Russian involvement. The only indication of this is the odd choice of terms bandied about by the IRGC at the time "Velvet Revolution" and "Color Revolution" which are strange choices relating as they do to Eastern Europe under Soviet slavery and murky doings in the Ukraine, including the attempted poisoning of Yushenko. I take the Russian PMs statement that they had no involvement in the coup at face value. And that they would in no way assist in establishing a brutal dictatorship in Iran, even if it benefited them which I don't see how it could. Dictatorships in the long run don't benefit anyone and are a problem eventually for everyone.

pirooz / May 20, 2010 5:27 AM

This reads more like chapter one of the Da Vinci code rather than an analysis into the electoral coup d'etat of June 12, 2009.

Goli / May 20, 2010 6:20 AM

The point that large turn out make reformist win is absolutely false. It is an unsubstanciated claim, even if it were true in the past that does not mean the same is true in the future. Therefore, using such assumptions is what leads supporters of the Green movement to continue their rediculous claims without evidence. That is why such an article rings true to some, and not to the rest of us.

Let me be very clear as to why a large turn out would support Ahmadinejad. First of all, let us separate the conservatives who have little support from the character of Ahmadinejad. It is very convenient for Green Supporters to ignore the basic facts and never answer the basic questions which is why they continue these debates shamelessly pretending they hold the truth:

1-It may have been true that high turn outs favored "reformers" (that term by itself is laughable as it applied to a group of people who accomplished nothing, reformed nothing when in power-but I'll go with it and will challenge it later on) over conservatives, but that assumption ends with Ahmadinejad's candidacy. In fact, Ahmadinejad is immensely popular and high turn out favored him. Ahmadinejad is the only candidate in HISTORY of Iran elections that not only compaigned for his presidency, he went to every corner of the country. He practically met every child, woman, and man in every town and village in the nation. And he was accused of excessively spending on advertisement, further proof of his campaigning. Again, high turn out favored Ahmadinejad. 2-what people call Ahmadinejad spending oil money to buy votes, is actually his correct decision to abolish the "sherkate-barnameh" and give the money directly to municipalities. Those who fail to understand the magnitude of that decision are whom have not been to Iran to see what transformation has occurred in 4 years. Ahmadinejad is very popular. 3-Finally, Greens like to ignore facts for convenience's sake. They attack to administration for having the legal responsibility to carry out the election and thus having the opportunity to cheet. But they don't recognize that if low turn out was key for them to win, then why did they carry out an election of such magnitude. Why did Ahmadinejad change the face of Iranian elections when he had the chance? why did he expand the election to Iranians in diaspora in a way it had never been accecible before? Why did he bring presidencial debates on TV, involving every candidate? Why did he expand the number of balloting centers to 50000 in the country, more than ever before? We see voter suppression in the US all the time, he should have done the same. Because he correctly knew large turn out favored him.

The last point, let us give up this rediculous label "reformist" given to these thugs. The only reason some can't believe Ahamdinejad winning is because they want to remain oblivious to his record. What do you call a guy who decentralized Iran's economy, has sold large portions of government owned companies to the public and given 49% of their shares to the poor, responsible for the largest transfer of wealth in Iran's history going on right now, gave out 1 billion dollars of no interest loans to small companies (never done in Iran's history), gave health insurance to 22 million uninsured, passed Iran's first anti-trust law to end monopolies in late 2008, more than doubled Iran's cash reserves to $82 billion, is attempting to do what no one dared to do in the past by proposing to cut $40 billion of subsidies? I know what I call that man-a true reformist, which is why he is so contravercial. He did not order the crackdown, another one of the Green lies, he does not run Iran's security apparatus. That was Khamanei.

I think Ahmandinejad's only downfall is that his post-election comments were divisive, and he could have been more reconciliatory and uniting as the President of the nation. He failed to be Presidential and looked small, in my opinion.

pouya / May 20, 2010 9:56 AM

As a person who closely follow the news about Iran, and write commentary articles in Farsi, I think that this is a well-written and informative articles for informed people who might have missed some events and circumstances that had led to that election coup. So, while this article for non-ideologically oriented Iranian audience is fine, for broader english readers some points might need to be more elaborated with more supportive evidence. In this part, however, Ahmadinejad is introduced as the central focus and mastermind of the plot or plan that led to the coup. I would like to see that in the next part that proposed "powerful man" behind the scen being introduced which is Mojtaba, Mesbah or Fazel lan Tarani... and how their relationship can be defined.

Ali Salari / May 20, 2010 5:11 PM

ooooh. I am dying to know who this shadowy figure is!

Spoiler alert: Mojtaba Khamanai

Ahvaz / May 20, 2010 10:07 PM

Well written, but painful for those who have the wishful thinking that the coup was a spur of the moment reaction. Those who follow politics (aka money) in Iran know better. A friend of mine called me a few days BEFORE the election and said that there will be a coup. I laughed and called him a dope.

He was non-plussed. He recounted three things:

- Mafia economic rivalries (Bazar/industry vs. Government cronies)
- Involvement (i.e. heavy interest) of basij and guards in military industry, construction projects, communications (satellites), private oil companies, and more.
- Recirculating of public land. The basij and guards have been using courts and lack of records to adjudicate claims of land ownership in "national lands" around Iran by private people (friend, often overseas). Then asking these people to sell it to the government so that it can be used as "national land". The same land goes from the government into a private hand on paper, for a few days, then the government buys it back at exorbitant prices. The funds are sent to the friend overseas and presumably split between all who "cooperated", basij, guard, and judges.

So, I find this article actually mellow. Future sections may clarify what I have mentioned even better. I hope so.

Anonymous / May 20, 2010 11:10 PM

Dear Ali Salari,

If by "Fazel lan Tarani" you mean Grand Ayatollah "Fazel Lankarani," please be advised that he died a full two years before the June 2009 elections.

Partly for this reason, diehard cynics dispute his role as shadowy godfather of the electoral putsch.

I am glad you find Mr. Valizadeh's article so informative.

Ali from Tehran / May 21, 2010 1:20 AM


Election dispute aside, this transfer of wealth was immediately transferred to the IRGC who "purchased" almost every concievable privatized industry.

Ahmadinejad's only downfall were divisive comments? How about not investigating the murders inside prisons? How about being the person in charge while defenseless protestors were beaten and killed?

Anonymous / May 21, 2010 1:44 AM

I should add another point about this article. I think it overemphasis on differences between Sepah and Basij in this coup. while we know that Hassan Firooz Abadi and Aziz Jafari consistently supported Ahmadinejad and were memebers of that commading team of the coup...especially now that Sepah is under threat of being targeted in the economic and political sanction by the US and its allies, these types of speculation and rumours seems to be politically motivated and biased.

Ali Salari / May 21, 2010 2:07 AM

Ali from Tehran:

I thank you for your kind words.

I did not defend (or reject) Valizadeh. I just made some observations, noting that what he says is mostly consistent with what I know.

Your point about "anonymous" source is well taken. But, that by itself does not discredit the entire piece.

Regarding Hersh (whose name I constantly misspell as Hirsh!), he once told me this: "I am the voice of those in the Pentagon and the CIA who do not want a war with Iran."


I agree with some of your points, particularly regarding "dinner table conversation," but a beauty of the internet is that it allows people to express their opinion, to share their knowledge with others, etc., without going through the old meachanisms of becoming a journalist. After all, I am an example of that.

I always encourage people to get involved in what interests them. We should offer constructive criticisms, so that those who get involved do better next time. That was my main point. I thank you for your kind words.


I do not intend to argue with you regarding Ahmadinejad. It is clear that you support him strongly, whereas I have opposed him since his days as Tehran's Mayor. Two days after his election in 2005 I predicted almost exactly the present condition (a record of it exists). Therefore, any debate around him between you and me will not go anywhere. But your two points regarding the turn-out and privatization are way way off, and I must comment briefly.

Ahmadinejad has not privatized anything. He has transferred vast wealth of the nation to the IRGC, Basij, the right-wing clerics, and their cronies, all in the name of privatization. In Iran this is a hot topic of discussions even in the conservative camp, yet you repeat his claims here word by word. The "sahaam-e edalat" that he gave to poor people is worth close to nothing. trust me on this. I friends that are professors of economics, both in the US and in Iran. One in the US, at a famous university, actually supports Ahmadinejad. But they all tell me what I am saying about the "sahaam."

And, regarding the turn-out, all I say is, look at history of elections in Iran since 1979.

Muhammad Sahimi / May 21, 2010 5:10 AM


The Islamic Republic Of Iran was an authoritarian regime with some republican values on June 11 and it remained an authoritarian regime on Juen 13th.

The idea that there was a coup, suggests there was democracy that was subverted. That thug, Mousavi, is responsible for the death of thousands in Prison in the 80's, while Khamanei was president. Karoubi was publically endorsed by Khamanei in 1997 against Khatami. Karoubi remains the only candidate to have been so openly endorsed. Karoubi and Mousavi were no less insiders than Amhadinejad and Rezaei. Mousavi failed to utter a single word to tell us what he would fundamentally change had he become president. He was an insider, and would have done nothing. He would not have had the energy to fight for so many changes Ahmadi has at least done. Why cheat, if everyone is family? That's my point.

I am sick and disgusted by all these lies that discredit the greens, and their failure to answer fundamental questions I posed above, or the ones below:

1-Whose idea was to name the movement after a color, Green, when they fully knew this was a symbol of american subversion in other countries?

2-Mousavi had 42 thousand monitors that participated in vote count, yet he failed to mention a single region where his count was different to that of Mousavi?

3-Why did he announce his victory before the polls were closed, which forced the interior ministery to do same countering his claim?

4-Why did he not file his complaints within the 3 days time limit as required by law, and instead resorted to public encouragement of demonstrations? he could have done both.

I tell you why there are no answers to those questions, because he was subverting the system, backed by Rafsanjani and Rafsanjani's foreign business partners to stop Ahmadinejad. An Ahmadenejad who passed the anit-trust law to go after monopolies such as those of Rafsanjani and his business beneficiary like Mr. Karubi. That is why one Rafsanjani son is under inverstigation, and anothe sits in jail. That's what it is all about.

I am all for constructive criticism of the IR, but I am sick of Lies.

pouya / May 21, 2010 10:00 AM


What makes you think it's Mojtaba? In fact I don't think it's him. Wait and see.

May Smith / May 21, 2010 11:03 AM

How a bit of conspiracy theory brings Iranian to life.

Anonymous / May 21, 2010 4:15 PM

I'm still left wondering what's a "warrior unit" of a brigade?!

Pirouz / May 22, 2010 6:13 AM

Dr. Sahimi

You are right, we will continue to disagree on some issues, I respect that.

I will not give in to the rumors and conspiracy theories of Sepah taking over, especially that I have experienced time after time again these were just that, rumors. One such rumor now discredited is the arrest of Mousavi's guard. He was not, yet we have report after report by every anti-Iran website writing about it. There are just too numerous examples of such things. I won't go back, I will just point them out as they occur on a weekly basis.

On the stock bonuses going to the poor, you are absolutely wrong. Your friends are wrong, and please, after what I am about to tell you, please, and again please, stope dissagreeing and finally concede this point. My father lives in a small town, just inside Eastern Azarbaijan. A poor town who has seen an immense growth in just 4 years. My father was born there but never lived there after age of 9 or so. He went back occasionally, during shah and after revolution. He always was disgusted by the regime, shah's or IR, when he came back, saying "these people never do anything for Iran." Because there were never a single paved road ever built. 2 years ago when he went there, he was shocked he could drive to the village. He witnessed massive construction, curtousy (now he knows) of Ahmadi giving money directly to the town (what you call oil money or bribe money). Call it childhood memories, but at age 77, he moved back into the town. Now it has schools, a 2 year university, two clinics, one with a CT scanner (my dad got ill and that's how we know). Last May, in 2009, my dad like everyone else in town was waiting for the mail man. He arrived, only this time, within 15 minutes, my dad thought the town broke into riots. He went out to find out what had happened, and lots of people had poured onto the streets in celebration. They had gotten checkes each worth about 300 dollars. Since most families live together, you can imagin how some families got thousands. Yes, the timing before the election was genious, but it's happened again, and again.
I love you, and I respect you, but please accept that your friends know nothing, and they are just part of the rumor mill. It has happened three time so far, so stop repeating the unintended lies. PLEASE!!!! Respectfully!!! Yes, you were not allowed to see it on Youtube, but when Ahamdi won, they poured on the streets and celebrated, except my dad who voted for Mousavi.

No, sir, I know far better, and I encourage people to go to Iran and see Iran, not just Tehran, go out there and get to know the country most don't know, and won't recognize.

I am a bit disappointed that instead of addressing the Ahmadi record I stated accurately, based what is actually passed in legislation, a true record, you chose to dismiss it as my "strong support" for Ahmadinejad. Being dismissive will not erase that record. But that is my point, being dismissing and believing in conspiracy theories is the hallmark of the Green movement. Yes, perhaps the rest of us are ignorant and only the Greens know, and perhaps the people who benefited from Ahmadi don't exist, perhaps all the millions who show up on rallies and yes they are bused in (just as any movement in the world does it, just as the civil rights movement did in the sixties by busing people into Wahsington DC to hear King speak)perhaps don't exist, perhaps the checks my dad's neighbors got never happened, perhaps the towns that poured out in celebration never exist on a map, but that is a reality some of us choose to live in.

I am not a "stong supporter" of Ahmadinejad, but don't buy into these conspiracies. I just don't deny reality. I am sorry I just don't. Ahmandinejad is the most battled President in Iran's modern history. He can't even get his cabinet in without a fight. Most Majles representatives, including conservatives, did not show up to his innauguration. Did you forget that? What kind of a coup leader is this? I don't support him. I think he is mover and shacker, and is very contravercial. He has a record of supporting a conference to deny the Holocaust. That is a terrible record. He also has other things he has done. And he will be out in 3 years. Mousavi could have criticized but accepted the election result, and he would be president then. Instead, he has become a rediculous figure who no one knows what he would have done, had he become president. I don't lie to myself, the regime is authoritarian no matter who comes to power. Our only hope is the women's movement. When women win, Iran will become more liberal.

Let me say a word or two on Tehran's rumor mill. My relatives in Tehran, who absolutely hate Ahmadinejad, for years were saying that Tehran's subway was dirty, smelly and full of thieves. Finally, I found out they had never been there. Never! It was all what people said. So, after a family visit to the local station, the shocker was how clean it was, and they even have restaurants and tea shops at some stations. But instead of my Aunt accepting her mistake, she just moved on to another rumor and another complaint. Most popular-how Sepah is taking over everything.

Let me clarify where these rumors of Sepah come from. First, when the war ended, Iranian veterans, particularly Sepah (including Ahmadi) got easy pass to colleges, business loans, family loans, check benefits. Many became successful. When Iran perceived a national threat, instead of just increasing the military budget, they gave out contracts to private enteties related to Sepah to take the profits into defense build up, so as not to raise regional fears. This is a back door to increase military spending. But with that policy, every company who has a single ex-Sepah is now labelled Sepah company. And they are not. Lots of people joined Sepah and retired from them, remember the war was eight years? what do you expect? The mayor of Tehran is Sepah, but he looks more from the GQ magazine than fanatic, and he is no fan of AHmadi, and did not utter a single word in support of AHmadi since the election. Everywhere you go in Iran there are Sepah veterans.

Anonymous / May 22, 2010 11:15 AM

the previous, above, comment to Dr. Sahimi are mine.

Pouya / May 22, 2010 11:49 AM

Dr. Sahimi,

I completely agree with you with the history of Iran elections. You are spot on. But my point is that Ahmadinejad is not the conservatives, and projecting the conservative victories (which are as you have so correctly said) onto him is a mistake. They are not apples and apples. It is just as if one assumes everyone who voted for Obama was a democrat. Ahmadinejad is a candidate that gets a wide support beyond the conservative base, just as your University professor friend that supports him. The man is capable of hitting the nationalist nerve.

Pouya / May 22, 2010 11:58 AM


Whichever way you spin it, paying $300 each to the rural population IS bribery on part of Ahmadinejad (buying votes and support), and encouraging "Gedaii" (freeloading) on a massive scale on part of the rural population. Not to mention horrible economy.

Now, was paying off the rural population (thereby devestating the urban economy, the workhorse of Iran) enough to get Ahmadinejad the votes he needed? The secrecy, irregularities and shenanigans displayed before, during and after the election say NO.

The takeover of Sepah is not "rumors". These are well-documented. The Guard received at least $6 billion worth of government contracts in last two years according to IR's own state-run media! So who are you kidding here!!!

The truth is the last 4 years was nothing more than a huge transfer of wealth and power from "Ammameh"(clergy; Rafsanjani et al) to "pashme-shishe" (Sepah). PERIOD. CLEAR AS DAYLIGHT.
---why else do you think the Marjaas(Grand ayatollahs) hate Ahmadinejad? because they suddenly found their conscience? give me a break.

The strategy was simple:
Buy the rural population.
Steal the election if necessary.
take care of the mess afterwards with brut force.
repeat in 4 years.

Ahvaz / May 22, 2010 9:53 PM

@Pirouz, check out the link to the Persian version.

Anonymous / May 22, 2010 10:20 PM

Let me remind you that we live in the 21st century. You think Ahmadinejad is a saint because your village now has paved roads, a school and two clinics? If that's the case then I'll stop blaming my illiterate father for voting for him in exchange for a bag of potatoes.

May Smith / May 22, 2010 10:36 PM

May Smith and Ahvaz

Your angry comments do not respond to my statements. I did not say Ahmadinejad is a Saint. You need to read my statements again. I did not say the Sepah did not benefit from economic contracts it was given, to the contrary, I said they did but I explained the rational why contracts were given to Sepah companies, and added that many companies that are not Sepah are being categorized as one.

The entire point of my comments is that we need to have a balanced view of these issues. It is when we fail to form a balanced view that we steer to a radical view of the world, one of Coup-detat's and other conspiracies. In fact, it is this failure to come into grips of the reality of Iran is why the United States has failed against Iran for over 30 years. And will do so for another 30. It is this alternate universe view of Iran, the repeated lies, the denial of reality (like failure to answer questions I have posed) that have led the Green movement to complete failure. We were supposed to have witnessed a Green revolution on the aniversary of the IR, now we are being promised the same for the upcoming aniversary of the election. Lies after lies, steming from self made universe is why the outcome of this movement has been a disaster, and its followers mislead.

I don't say these things because I don't want a more secular movement remove the current IR, indeed I hope for those changes, but I say it because I want to point out why things are going the wrong way; Why things are not working out. When Khomeini led a nation through a revolution, there were no internet, and the Shah was simply incapable to stop the masses. Then why is IR successful? Because it cut off internet? The reason is two folds: A-Khomeini stuck to universal truths despite having hidden agenda's. The Greens could have made the Guardian Counsel the focal point because it is so hated and unfair. B-the IR and Ahmadi, for better or worse, do have significant support. Thus, any calculation to change the regime must take these masses into account. Such an strategy, with an inclusive voice, is unfortunately lacking. Add to all of that the lies that are being said, it all explains why a movement for change has gone to waste. But I believe we have hope, that hope comes from the women's movement that is still banging on the doors of the Ayatollahs. And they don't depend on such thugs as Mousavi and Karoubi. The success of the women's movement will liberalize Iran and will SLOWLY change teh nature if IR, giving us all hope. As my father said once to me, "son, not even God can stop women."

Pouya / May 23, 2010 10:45 AM

May Smith

Do I "think Ahmadinejad is a saint because" my "village now has paved roads, a school and two clinics?"

As I said before, I did not say he is a saint. But most fair minded people, reading your question as written by you, would answer "yes."

What would you call a guy that brings roads, schools and clinics? forget Ahmadinejad. What would you call such a person? I don't know if those people called him a saint, but I do know they voted for him. And why not? That's all I was explaining.

pouya / May 23, 2010 10:54 AM


I read my comments again and I dont think my comments were angry at all. I stated my view of the world based on my observation, and you have stated your.

If your argument is that Ahmadinejad has some genuine support in Iran, well, I dont think any one disputes that. Even with 30% support of the total population, you are still talking about millions of people. So yes, he has support.

If you are supporting Ahmadinejad (I can't tell for sure since you talk from both sides of your mouth---at least Pirouz is forthright) because he built roads and clinics, and gave free money to the poor, then my argument is this
1) so what! It does not take much ingenuity to build some roads and give away money when oil prices shoot up from $30 to $140 a barrel as they did during Ahmadinejad period.

2) Giving free money (from oil) to the population is bad economics.

3) Giving free money to the poor encourages a culture of "Gedaii" (freeloading), dependency, and bribery.

You stated that "Our only hope is the women's movement" . Then you quoted your FATHER several times. Since WOMEN are "our only hope" I am curious why you did not ever quote your mother or your sister? I am sure we could have learned from their wisdom as well.
One can also look at this from a different point of view. You and your father, MEN, want to pass on the difficult chore of uprooting a brutal regime (and cleaning up the mess us men created) on women? while men sit around? How typical! How chauvinistic! How convenient!

I do agree with you that the women's movement is critical. But not by itself. Dont forget the labor movement. Cultural shift towards separation of religion and state. Movement towards human rights; Movement towards ethnicity and minority rights, banning capital punishment, wanting competent leadership, national pride, friendship with nations, etc etc etc

And finally your determination of "defeat" of the green movement depends on your definition of the "green movement".
A) Do you define the green movement as the push for Moussavi becoming the president?
B) Do you see the green movement as part of a slow positive cultural shift in our country?

Ahmadinejad supporters wish it was A)
I know it is B)

Ahvaz / May 25, 2010 12:50 AM


You say you're not angry but I let people judge your comments for themselves when you bring my mother into it, when in fact it has nothing to do with anything. I used my father's experience because he lived in a neighborhood that received the distribution money and he observed it, he didn't get any money himself because my father is a retired physician. That's why I used my father's experience, my mother was not there. But you went into the deep end with "chauvinistic and convenient." and whatever else. good for you to get that out of your chest, so you can lable me. It is typical of those who support the foreign Green Movement of yours to get personal like that when sane arguments end. Again, I let your comments stand for themselves.

I don't agree with the importance of the labor movement, human rights, and all other things you say as long as they are not deeply affected by the women's movement. Once women engage in the society, and at every level, those movements will bear fruit. And only then can the society dissociate religion from the state, and when that happens rights of minorities begin to become prominent. Again, women's involvement in every aspect of the society is central for the advancements that you aspire, and without them they get nowhere. This is repeated in every society.

As far as the Green movement is concerned, well, it does not matter how you define it, mousavi or otherwise. The movement was/is foreign, and is dead. I will accept your "B" definition. But it does not change a thing. Again, you and your friends fail to provide answers to basic questions I asked about the Greens earlier. As a consequence, your comments are the way they are. You don't call them angry, ok, whatever you like to call them is fine with me, my appologies. But I like to point out that the greens died because they defined themselves by narrow topics, such as Mousavi's presidency, rigging of the votes, etc. These are not my definition, these are the claims of the Greens themselves, and as they got smaller, the lies began to flow. Another example where I say if they had spoken universal truths, ie an independent election process and women's rights, the movement would have had legs. But part of the problem was that they were named by foreign hands as a color movement, and even Mousavi's platform was meaningless. There is not a single person that can say what did Mousavi run on. Therefore it was a movement with nothing at its heart, with a useless leader, and the color green was turned against them by the regime, very successfully indeed.

Finally, unfortunately, you are deeply wrong to assume roads, schools and clinics don't mean anything. That is the essence of good politics, which Ahmadinejad has shown to be a master of. You are wrong to say he benefited from high oil prices for two reasons: first, oil prices were over $50 only for a year and a half of his first term, moreover, oil was worth over $100 for only a few weeks. Second, all oil nations benefited from the high prices, and no one more so than the Arab gulf states who have higher oil outputs per capita. Meaning they export much more oil than they need when compared as a ratio of their population, in contrast to Iran which has the lowest oil output per capita. Yet, all Gulf states except Qatar, are in heavy debt while Iran has grown his cash reserves from $29 billion to $82 billion under Ahmadinejad. This is not being supportive of Ahmadinejad, these are facts. I could be like you and engage in rhetoric and ignore everythingelse, but I choose not to.

I recognize Dr. Sahimi's comments, he is right that Ahmadinejad's comments have cost Iran. I did not agree with him at the beginning, but now I do. If Iran was my preferred secular free democratic state, Ahmadinejad not only would not be my choice, he would not even make it as Tehran mayor. But given the circumstances, including the green movements choices (the color green, mousavi, and a total lack of vision) I think the right guy is the president. That's not an enthusiastic support, but a recognition of the truth.

Reality like the truth is a bitch.

I do thank you for your thoughtful and engaging discussion. I appologize if I assumed you were angry. Thanks again.

Pouya / May 25, 2010 11:19 AM


Thanks for the response.

It is not surprizing that you, a self-described Ahmadinejad supporter, find human rights movement, and secular government movement unimprtant. But I am surprized that you continue insisting that women's movement is the precurser to every advancement in society. You even claim that "this is repeated in every society".

I searched my memory, from India to S. Africa to Tibet to the United States, but I could not think of a single event in history when women's rights were the central catalyst for revolutionary change. Not One!
Even in the United States, African American movement predates womens movement.
Did you know that blacks in America earned their right to vote before American women? They did. By decades!!!

There are countless examples of men and women TOGETHER evolving and changing their society, but I can not think of a single event when "women's movement" was the front center in the revolutionary event, never mind overthrow of a sadistic despotic regime.

Your argument that women's rights movement will be the precurser for all other aspiration of our people is merely based on absurd cliche's like "not even God can stop women". It is unsubstantiated. It is absurd.

*** My point is not to diminish the critical role of women in Iran. Far from it. I am delighted by the courage our Iranian women, our true SHIRZAN have shown, and I support them 100%.
What I am pointing out is that for someone who braggs about being a "realist", your ideas are far removed from reality, bordering delusional.

A more realistic example in history might be the European Renaissance (i.e. awakening; rebirth) from Papal Theocracy in the 1600s.

What happened last year could be seen as part of our Renaissance; our awakening; culmination of our cultural progress; our evolution; inability of a system to keep up with it, and its inevitable violent lashing out to resist it.

Pouya, You say you "accept [my] "B" definition": that the green movement is part of a slow positive cultural shift in our country...

Then you completely contradict yourself by saying this:
" the greens died because they defined themselves by narrow topics, such as Mousavi's presidency, rigging of the votes, etc. "

Well, which one is it?

You continue to speak from both sides of your mouth. I dont' agree with much of what Pirouz says either, and he gets a lot of heat for his pro IR comments on this forum. But at least he has the courage to be forthright.


Ahvaz / May 25, 2010 10:15 PM

You make too big a deal out of the election show of a despotic religious dictatorship in 21st century. The whole Islamic Republic is a FRAUD.

Maziar Irani / May 26, 2010 6:13 AM


Your first paragraph above is self made and has nothing to do with my statements. Comprehension of may statements seem to be your problem.

You find my comments absurd, because it is obvious you find women absurd and you underestimate the influence of incorporation of 50% of the population. But I don't consider that "chauvenistic", just failing to understand what I am saying.

The United States is a perfect example of what I am talking about. I am talking about social change, not legislative language. Just because a law is passed that does not mean "blacks" are free. A deeper observation of American history than the one you are rendering, shows that blacks did not become part of the society as intended. Indeed, no minoriy truely became part of the society until finally women joined the national fabric. In fact, your correct observation that women's right came later in history clearly demonstrates my point. And that remains true in all societies. Let's look at some more dramatic examples. The Soviet Union proclaimed women are completely equal to men and was one of the first societies to incorporate them into its military and other posts. But a closer observation shows that was propaganda. There were absolutely no women in the upper strada of Soviet rule. In fact, there were no soviet premiers, as there were no communist leader around the world that was a woman and led a communist nation. The main reason was that women did not have the right to challenge the system, no one could file a law suit against the politbureau. SO WOMEN WERE DEFINED BY WHAT MEN GAVE THEM. Another example of men defining women society where women could not challenge the social rulers was the Shah of Iran. He had passed many progressive laws in Iran, as he saw fit. But there were no Shirin Ebadi's, stationed from their law offices in Tehran, to file law suit after law suit against the Shah for women discrimination. The Shah had passed a law declaring girls could not be wed by age 18, but it could not be enforced because there were no women's goups that could bring legal action when it actually occurred. And let me tell you, it occurred a lot, the law was meaningless. Shirin Ebadi herself is a very telling story of my point. She is Iran's first female judge, chosen to the post under the Shah. Again, men defining women. But Shirin never challenged the regime. She never dared to, eventhough a woman was placed in an important legal post. That does NOT advance the cause of women, and as it should be evident, it does not advance the cause of freedom under such societies. The important lesson to learn from this is that when women, 50% or plus of the population, of any society is not truely incorporated in the social fabric, not allowed to or lack the means to challenge the system or its leaders, the entire society is not free as everyone is affected. Just as an unhappy wife makes an unhappy home, because she is 50% or plus of the value of that family. Therefore, history shows us, your example of the US shows us, that without incorporation of women, true incorparation that would allow women to define and defend women, no society has truely become free. How can blacks truely become free when 50% of their society is not included? Women in Iran are challenging the state, they are not free, but that challenge is hope.

As far as your "talking out of both side of the mouth" comment is concerned: Well, your mistake is that you believe I equate the June 2009 events to the Greens. That is not the case at all. That is your mistake, not mine. I separate the Greens from the overall unhappiness that had brought the Tehran society to the streets. One was based on genuine desire for change, another was about a misguided movement that attempted to hijack public discourse and failed. I do see we have something in common in this respect. I agree with you fully that the events of 2009 are a watershed moment in Iran's politics. I believe, 10 years from now we may look back and say to each other that "it all started in that June election in 2009." That is exactly my point, the Greens had a golden opportunity to change Iran for the better, along the points I eluded to earlier which you apparently ignored or did not comprehend. That is why I reject the Greens. Had they had a vision, and a leader that was not one of the brothers of the regime, and they had not been manipulated to be named after a color, you and I could have been looking at a very different circumstances now. What I am saying is that the regime and Ahmadinejad have their supporters, not all of them are religious fanatics. A real vision could have pulled them in different direction. Ahmadinejad's supporters partially consists of nationalists who are lured to his side because of his stance against the US and for the nuclear issue. That portion of his supporters could have been lured toward the "green" movement (for the lack of a better word). The lack of vision, the unpatriotic color green adopted like foreign influenced revolutions, and an idiot as a leader led to its death. A death you still refuse to accept. But I agree, and I believe, and I hope, underneath the ashes there is a new movement brewing. It is my speculation, that I believe it will express itself in an explosion of anger by women. Even Islamic women are unhappy about their rights. And no where more concensus has been built by Iranians from different walks of life that amongst Iranian women.

My arguments are consistent. Thanks again.

Pouya / May 26, 2010 10:51 AM


Thank you for your response.

I read through your long post, but you still failed to give a single specific example in history where women's rights movement was the primary force, front center for revolutionary change, never mind bringing down a despotic sadistic government.

*****The important role of women's rights and equality is not questioned here. As I said in my post, I (unlike Ahmadinejad and his supporters) respect the womens rights of equality and justice 100%. The bravery and courage our Iranian women showed last year in face of savagery and cruelty is only matched by their compassion and intelligence. I am proud of them and I route for them 100%, and there is no question they will be a substantial force of change.*****

What was demonstrated here was that you, obviously an intelligent and educated person, somehow came to the conclusion that "Ahmadinejad is the right man for Iran" , based on logic and expectations that are unrealistic, flawed, and baseless. I presented an example of it, and you, despite a long post and many slogans, really did not have an answer for it.
Could it be possible that YOU, Pouya, might have it wrong?

In light of the atrocities commited by Ahmadinejad and his supporters, your support for this man speaks volumes about you.

Despite your gleeful self-congradulating posts and illusions that you call "the real world" or "truth", you are a man that has truely lost his moral compass.

This will be my last response to you.

Ahvaz / May 26, 2010 9:31 PM

You simply fail to understand my point. The US is a great example. Without women's advancement the voting rights for Blacks were always meaningless. This is your failure to comprehend.

My statements are clear. Your failure to understand the value of 50% of the population and its influence in every aspect of that society is a failure on your part.

Once again your comments evade what I have said, and you make up as you go. But our statements stand as their own.

Pouya / May 27, 2010 8:23 AM