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The Race for Iran

IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MISLEADING ITS READERS AGAIN—THIS TIME ON IRAN?

Photo from NYT

Recently, we critiqued a Washington Post article that relied almost entirely on unnamed U.S. officials and a known terrorist organization to make the Iraq-redux argument that Iranian “defectors” are providing the U.S. government with critical information about Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article—by Nazila Fathi, ostensibly reporting on the execution of five prisoners in Iran on Sunday—that epitomizes the same kind of agenda-driven, threat-hyping approach as the Post’s piece on Iran’s nuclear program.

In her reporting since the Islamic Republic’s June 12, 2009 presidential election, Ms. Fathi has demonstrated a clearly “pro-Green” perspective which has, at times, weakened the professional quality of her work.  We have addressed at least one example of this in previous posts.  But yesterday’s article was an especially egregious example of political advocacy passing as journalism.

In the interest of intellectual honesty, we should state up front some of our own personal views that might be relevant to our commentary on Ms. Fathi’s story.  As Americans, we oppose the application of the death penalty in the United States.  We are very skeptical about application of the death penalty in other countries, but ultimately leave it to the people of those countries to sort out what kind of criminal justice system they want to have.  (Interestingly, outside the United States, the death penalty is imposed not only by governments routinely described by Western human rights organizations as “authoritarian”, like those in China and Saudi Arabia.  India, the world’s largest democracy, imposes the death penalty for some crimes.  Likewise, Japan imposes the death penalty for homicide and treason.)

Furthermore, we are not out to defend the execution of the five individuals described in Ms. Fathi’s story, or any other execution that has taken place in Iran.  However, we believe that we can recognize misleading reporting driven by an inflammatory agenda when we see it; unfortunately, Ms. Fathi’s story fits that bill.

Let’s start with the article’s title—“Iran Executes Five Activists, Sending Message to Critics”—and its first paragraph:

“The Iranian government hanged five Kurdish activists, including a woman, on Sunday morning in the Evin prison in Tehran in what appeared to be an effort to intimidate protesters from marking the anniversary of last year’s huge anti-government rallies after the June 12 election.”

What is the basis for Ms. Fathi’s judgment that the executions “appeared to be an effort to intimidate protesters from marking the anniversary” of the June 12, 2009 election and to “send critics a message”?  Ms. Fathi cites the unsubstantiated opinion of the New York-based director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to support her point, but does not cite Iran-based sources or any other evidence of Iranian public perceptions (not even opposition web sites).  The New York-based human rights activist opines that “this could lay the ground for the execution of post-election protesters”.  But, Ms. Fathi herself reports that the five people executed on Sunday were sentenced in 2008—well before the June 12, 2009 presidential election.

We recognize that Fathi may not be responsible for the headline, describing the executed individuals as “activists”.  But, in the body of her story, she dismisses official justifications for the executions:

“Although the authorities announced that the five people executed Sunday had been found guilty of carrying out fatal bomb attacks, the executions were widely seen as intended to discourage people from rallying against the government on June 12.”

In keeping with the preceding discussion, we could ask, “widely seen” by whom, exactly?  But the more important point here is that Ms. Fathi offers no basis for dismissing official claims that the five individuals executed Sunday had been convicted of carrying out fatal bomb attacks.  She notes later on that Iranian prosecutors said all five had been convicted of “involvement in terrorism activities, bombings in government buildings and different parts of the country”.  Three of the five were also “convicted of membership in an armed Kurdish rebel group, PJAK”.  Ms. Fathi then notes that all five denied the charges of which they were convicted “in public letters posted on Web sites”.  (She links to the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to document this claim, but the link takes a reader to a page briefly describing such a letter from only one of the five prisoners.)

What Ms. Fathi fails to tell her readers—and which is surely relevant to evaluating the plausibility of official Iranian claims that the five executed prisoners had been involved in “terrorism activities” and “fatal bomb attacks”—is that the Obama Administration designated PJAK as a foreign terrorist organization in February 2009.  Why would Ms. Fathi have omitted this material fact from her story?  It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, for Ms. Fathi, PJAK’s status as a U.S.-designated terrorist organization was an inconvenient fact, which might have gotten in the way of using the story of the executions to demonize the Iranian government even further in American eyes.  Just as President Ahmadinejad’s re-election last year could not possibly have reflected the actual preferences of the Iranian electorate, anyone convicted of terrorist crimes in Iran must surely be the victim of government efforts to suppress popular aspirations for greater freedom.  From this perspective, it does not fit with the preferred narrative if individuals convicted of terrorist crimes in Iran are members of a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization.

Likewise, Ms. Fathi seems to have been intent on using the story of Sunday’s executions to “keep hope alive” for a revival of the moribund Green Movement—which, in her account, has Iranian authorities so worried that they are resorting to arbitrary and trumped-up executions to suppress it.  Interestingly, after Ms. Fathi’s story was published by The New York Times, Mir-Hossein Mousavi issued a statement on his website, www.kaleme.org (which continues to operate without interference, as far as we can tell), likening the executions to the “unjust judicial procedures that have led to the awe-striking sentences issued for scores of Iranian citizens in recent months”.  From this perspective, it also does not fit with the preferred narrative to report that individuals who are members of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization and had been convicted of capital crimes in Iran had had their sentences carried out.  This would mean that those individuals had received the same treatment that the U.S. justice system meted out to Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing.

To be fair, The New York Times did not come up with the most loaded headline for a story on this episode; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty offered “Iran Hangs Five, Including a Teacher”.  But, we think it is instructive to note the way in which the same story was headlined in some other newspapers around the world (we are grateful to a www.TheRaceForIran.com reader for bringing these to our attention):

–“Iran hangs 5 members of ‘terrorist groups’, Xinhua

–“Iran hangs five members of Kurdish ‘terrorist’ group”, Reuters

–“Iran hangs five for plotting bomb attacks”, Thaindian News

–“Iran hangs five terrorists”, Tehran Times

–“5 members of terrorist groups executed”, Press TV

Once again, we are not writing to defend the convictions or executions of the five individuals who were put to death at Evin prison in Tehran on Sunday.  Just as wrongful convictions (and executions) are possible in the United States, they are possible in Iran as well.  But asserting, without substantiation, that the five individuals who died on Sunday were wrongfully convicted and executed in order to advance a pro-Green political agenda is not responsible journalism and misleads the American public.

In 2002-03, The New York Times published multiple pieces on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction by Judith Miller, Michael Gordon, and others that failed to meet some of the most basic standards of journalistic responsibility and helped the George W. Bush Administration create an utterly false justification for the invasion of Iraq.  Has the “Grey Lady” learned nothing from that shameful episode?

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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205 Responses to “IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MISLEADING ITS READERS AGAIN—THIS TIME ON IRAN?”

  1. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    “First of all, is there any other way that we can communicate? Other than this site?”

    I can’t think of any. I would actually be worried about using emails. You probably will deny that many of my friends have been called in by the intelligence agency for their email and or facebook activities. But they have. I use a proxy to comment on this site, even though it’s not blocked.

    You know, we’re too random anonymous people talking this out and we never seem to come to an agreement about anything. We cherry-pick each other’s comments and continue to take it to a million different directions that someone who might actually be crazy enough to read all this might wonder what the heck is it that we’re trying to say! The two of us can’t find much of a common ground, so I can’t imagine the actual players being ever able to find a common ground! To put it blatantly, we’re fucked!

    On to the “simplified” list!

    1. Majority are poor in that they are after bread and butter as you say. But I don’t see how that translates into votes for Ahmadinejad. You can’t compare a campaign promise Mousavi made to the urban population with something Ahmadinejad may have done prior to the elections to win votes (like many of his projects that were for show, like his railway to nowhere; empty promises to nothing!). If you remember correctly Ahmadinejad in his first run for presidency also said that his government will not bother young people. In his now infamous promise to not have moral police to worry about what young people wear or do. So he too must have cared about the votes of the urban middle-class who want more social freedoms. And on the run up to last year’s elections, the moral police had cleared off the streets. Young people from North to South of Tehran were jamming music and dancing in the streets until 4 in the morning and no one said a thing. If AN really didn’t think these people count he would not have given this short lived freedom to them. But I think they didn’t think there would be so much support for Mousavi. They were taken aback. I think they planned the whole rigging of the elections in less than a week. It was a hurried coup and many questions are still left unanswered for the public in regards to the elections.

    You continue to argue that Ahmadinejad must have had 63% of the vote simply because majority are poor and they see in him a champion of the poor. You claim that majority don’t care about social freedoms or cultural issues. I disagree. If that was the case Khatami would not have been voted into power twice much to the shock of Khamenei who wasn’t expecting it. And the only reason AN came INTO power the first time is that the votes of the reformers were split and he ended up against someone who people hated: Rafsanjani. Majority of the actual votes on the first round voted for reform candidates. Which is why so odd that after 4 years of failed policies and weakened living conditions, he would suddenly get 24 million votes out of nowhere. I smell foul play a mile away. As though previous voting trends were non-existant. Even though the population as a whole was now younger and less traditional. Even though Mousavi was able to energize those who got tired of Khatami because he didn’t do enough reform. I won’t even get into voter irregularities and fraudulant activities or how text messages were cut off, etc. Just based on voting trends alone I would question the outcome. But what do you care about voting trends, right?!

    2. “I am very much against people being arrested expressing their opinion, and I don’t deny that in Iran there a lot of people who have been arrested because of doing so. HOWEVER, majority of the “reformists” who were arrested in the aftermath of the election, were not arrested because of expressing their opinion, had it been that, they would have been arrested BEFORE the election. They were arrested because they were leading an attempt to annul an election that they had clearly lost and that they were strongly suspected of being in liaison with the foreign intelligence organizations.”

    Many were arrested THE NIGHT of the elections. Before people took to the streets. What exactly was their crime?! And if they are “suspected” of being in liaison with the foreign intelligence orgs, where is the god damn proof? Why present the public with so many conflicting charges, reports and scenarios? If they are really really really sure of there being no fraud, why have show trials? Why not have actual trials where they PRESENT EVIDENCE and the defendants get the chance to defend themseleves and the public opinion forms based on the evidence they presented. Talking to foreign reporters does not mean you’re a foreign spy! Why have forced confessions that increase people’s distrust? If on that first week they let people protest the outcome peacefully (as they were doing), and then on state TV they invited Mousavi to come on a live show and present his case, and then they presented THEIR case, none of this would have happened. All these lives would have been saved if the battle took place in the TV studio in front of live cameras. And if that battle had a fair judge (and not the biased Guardian council) people would have respected the outcome. Whether Mousavi won or Ahmadinejad or if they were taken to the second round.

    But Mousavi hasn’t been on TV since the last time he signed off after his last debate. People WOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN TO THE STREETS IF THEY FELT THAT THERE WAS A TRANSPARENT PROCESS BY WHICH BOTH SIDES ARE PRESENTING THEIR CASE ON NATIONAL TV. The fact that they started beating people, arresting them, jailing them, killing them AND not letting them present their case made people even more suspicious of the voter fraud. None of the charges against Mousavi and his supporters have stuck. And as far as public opinion goes no one believes anything the government says anymore.

    Let’s assume that Mousavi “clearly lost” as you claim. Is this how a confident winner tries to reach to the sore losers? I think not.

    3. “The “reformist” newspapers and media hand in hand with the WORST of corporate media lie about the world and Iranian events. Unfortunately the green youth, is heavily exposed to this type of news (ie. lies) and swallows them like an oyster. They have a completely wrong picture of the reality about the wolrd events and history, from the creation of Israel, to the role of the West in our current miseries. These attempts to wash away the Wests sins is mainly to integrate Iran into the global capitalist market and open our markets and our labour force (and raw materials) into the forein capital.”

    Do you really want to go on the record as having said that the likes of Fars News, IRNA and Kayhan are legit sources of news? Do you really want to side with Basijis and THEIR understanding of reality and world events? Do you really think Kayhan does not lie? If you do, let me know and we’ll end this dialogue right away.

    Not sure how this is related to MY number 3: “We both agree the regime crackdown was brutal and stupid. You believe those killed were victims who were deceived and used as tools by their leaders. I believe they WERE the leaders who lead the movement. Mouasvi followed them and not them Mousavi. I doubt Mousavi imagined one day becoming the leader of a movement that calls for an “Iranian Republic!” ”

    4. “The day Iranians have a percapita income of $40,000/year, will be the day you will see similar rights for foreign refugees in Iran. And the fact that we have a very low income is a result of “imperialism” not because they have a more “efficient system”.”

    how do you think we can reach the level of having even half $40,000/year per capita? Do you even think it’s possible? If capitalism is bad, what alternative is there? The system of the Islamic republic clearly hasn’t paid off either. Communism didn’t work either. What alternatives are there? With all your talk that Ahmadinejad has made us more powerful (which I will later argue he hasn’t), you think we have a low income because of “imperialism” and not mismanagement of the country’s resources and corruption at the top? For how many more decades will you put the blame on imperialism? When will you admit that corruption at home is the cause of much of our troubles?

    “I am not basing my whole arguement on a specific lobby. I am talking about “lobbies” in general and the fact that they are the extension of corporations and their interests.”

    You justify the position of the SL by saying he’s the symbol of monetary interests and yet you criticize lobbies. Lobbies and corporations and special interest groups are all made up of a network of people who live in very societies they serve. I am not saying they always have the best interest of the majority in mind, but they are part of a system that seems to be functioning fine for a healthy majority. I take them over the position of a SL who is after the interest of his small circle of friends with utter disregard for the majority any day.

    “By the way Iran will NEVER have the position of Israel. Comparing Iran to Israel (and covetting their position) is like comparing a ship in Shepperd’s herd to the guard dog. The guard dog is to keep the sheep in line, it is not be “eaten”. Sheep on the other hand is the “food”. Sheep will never become the “guard dog”!”

    That may be the case. But at least Iranian-Americans will have a voice and a debate might take place. For as long as the Iranian-American lobby is not in line with the government of Iran we can’t expect any real change in their level of influence.

    “You mean the “converted” son of a Christian immigrant I guess? Because Obama is a convert (from Islam to Christianity). By the way there are claims that Ahmadinejad has a Jewish background. I don’t believe in that claim, and in fact I think it is a testament to the racist nature of the “reformists” and how they lack any sort of principle and that they use anything against their opponents if they think that it will hurt him. But I have no doubt that if a Christian or a Jew converts to Islam he will have no problem in getting promoted in the structure of IR’s elite.”

    Didn’t think you’d be a “birther” on the same team as the neo-cons! But let’s not make this about Obama. The whole Jewish claim I didn’t buy into and I don’t think it started with the reformists and nowhere did it ever make it to the GM slogans and or public opinion. If anything much of the hatred towards Ahmadinejad is his fanatic Islamic beliefs. The fact that he always starts speaking after citing an Arabic verse from the Quran – never a Persian poem. He’s influenced too much by the Arabs, not the Jews. Plus, suppose the Greens started that rumor. Is it really any worse than what the hardliners are doing by calling Mousavi and Karoubi “leaders of sedition” and “enemies of God?!”

    “In fact if you look at immigrants who have progressed in USA, they all have been integrated to the US system, and the moment that they speak out against the system and try to swim against the flow they are “demotede”/marginalized. Look at what happened to Oppenheimer and you will see what I mean. Even the fact that a lot of people with muslim backgrounds have to hide or change their names, is a testimony to what I say.”

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US (unfortunately). There is a 7 story mosque being built a few blocks from the World Trade Center site in NY. Muslim groups may face scrunity from the government, but they won’t be prosecuted. If citizens they will have the right to defend themselves. They have all rights Christians have. Compare that to how minority religious groups are treated in Iran. How the Bahais, the Jews and the Christians are second-class citizens. The US system may be flawed but let’s save our critique of it for a different talk on the US. For now we’re talking about Iran. So the question isn’t what are they doing in the US, the question is how are they treating religious minorities in Iran and i think not very well… And personally I don’t see anything wrong with assimilation. One reason why Iranians have done better than other immigrants is their ability to better assimilate and learn the ways. They have taken advantage of what America for example offers them and done well for themselves.

    “I would say we deserved Mosaddegh enough to have him as our democratically elected prime minister.
    So now you think that we actually deserved the 1953 coup? Well my friend, can you now blame the IR to think that you guys are the agents of the foreign countries?!?!? If you can brazenly claim that we “deserved” 1953 coup then it is very likely that you support a velvet coup TODAY, just as all green theoreticians do (Ganji, Zibakalam, Kawakebian …)
    Can you blame them for thinking of you as USA’s fifth coloumn?
    It is amazing, so you think that Iranians deserved the “coup” and the oppression of Shah and his crackdown on the opposition after the coup, but you believe the greens didn’t deserve the treatment that they got from the IR!!!”

    I said we deserved the coup because religious figures such as Kashani and perhaps a younger Khomeini still had a say and people would listen to them like sheep. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the 1953 coup was a good thing. I am not saying US did the right thing at the time. Believe me, I’ve brought up the 1953 coup time and time again as one of the biggest blunders of US foreign policy over the past century. BUT, the argument I am trying to make is that we can’t forever blame everything on foreigners. At some point we have to take responsibility. I think the GM is aware of this and they don’t want any foreign intervention. The fact that you and the hardliners continue to slap the foreign-assistance charge on the GM shows weakness on YOUR part. You’re essentially giving foreign powers too much credit for what is in fact an uprising of the people by the people. You present us with conflicting charges. On the one hand you say Iran is more powerful than ever before and the West can’t do a damn thing. On the other hand you say the West was able to infiltrate Iranian society and bring millions out to protest against the regime. So which is? You keep bringing up a velvet revolution as though you’re confessing that a large segment of our society is so unhappy with the system that they are willing to partake in the overthrow of the government. If you really had 63% of the vote, you wouldn’t have to worry about any velvet revolutions.

    “You think that we can have a relationship based on mutual respect with USA? You mean like a relationship in which we “deserve” an occasional coup such as the one in 1953?
    Look, relationship based on mutual respect between Iran and USA is like looking for a relationship based on equality and mutual respect between a lion and a deer! So you want relationships based on “mutual” respect? Sure….how about starting by US respecting NPT and stopping its harrasment on Iran for exercising its MOST BASIC rights under NPT? How about US giving back our money that it has from the time of Shah ogether with its INTEREST? How about US apologizing for the nuclear posture review and its threat to use nuclear arms against a non-nuclear Iran? How about US getting out of Persian Gulf? Do you see our navy in the gulf of Mexico? I can go on like this until tomorrow!”

    I agree with all that the US is indebted to Iran. From Iran’s frozen assets to it’s right to nuclear energy. In fact, if it wasn’t for Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, we would have had a much easier time convincing the world that us Iranians mean well. Ahmadinejad has done so much damage to our image that no one believes anything that comes out of his mouth. When he says there’s absolute freedom in Iran when clearly there isn’t, why should anyone believe him that he’s not after a nuclear bomb? When he doesn’t deny ever saying “wipe Israel off the map” how are we to convince the world that he won’t use such a bomb against Israel? He’s made it SO DIFFICULT to demand our most basic of rights and get back that which belongs to us. He’s created such an atmosphere that when someone says anything legit in regards to our rights the West can easily slap a “crazy” label on them that sticks. Mainly because of all the bull-shit that he has said.

    5. “This “economic powerhouse” nonsense is some what similar to the word “populist”. It is just that it is the opposite. Populist is positive praise word which is being used as a negative word. “Economic powerhouse” is a very negative word (as the meaning that it insinuates) and it has come -by the lies of the corporate and reformist media- to mean a good thing! It will be off-topic for me to debate the misery of people in countries such as China, Brazil, Mexico and Argentine here. Suffice to say that “economic powerhosue” equals misery for the people.”

    So this includes Ahmadinejad when he says Iran is going to be a “ghodrat eghtesadi?!” Why can’t Iran become like South Korea or Japan?

    “IRGC controlling the economy is EXACTLY a corporate taking over the economy! IRGC in a effect has become a “government owned” corporation which owns a significant part of our economy. If you have no problem with corporations then you should be very happy with IRGC. Leader is nothing but the representative of the economic elite in Iran. Just as the US president is the representative of the lobbies which have given him their support and have brought him to power.”

    A corporation with access to guns, tanks and missiles?! A corporation whose profit will benefit who exactly? What will they do with more profits? Inject it back in the economy or pocket it in their foreign bank accounts? Corporations and lobbies in the US for example at least have expertise in areas in which they function. What are the IRGC experts in? They get huge government contracts without much of a competition and a few people on the top pocket the money while spending little on the contracts they’re given. Look at all the highways that go broke within 3 years. Look at all the factories they’ve taken over and ruined. If you’re going to compare them with anyone out West you should compare them with Haliburton. They are like the Haliburton of Iran, only more corrupt and more powerful. And they use their power to suppress people. I’m not sure why you justify the MILITARY’s meddling in economy. No military should ever have anything to do with the economy. Let Iranian corporations come into existant and let them take over. Not the military. This is becoming very amusing how you constantly use US and the West as examples though.

    6. “No actually. Al-Menar (the TV station of Hezballah) is banned in USA. Also as recently as January 2010, a bill passed in the congress which banned all sattelite TV stations which deemed hostile to US.”

    I’m sure you can find ways to battle these bans. You if you wanted to can go to court and claims its a breech of your first amendment rights. Plus if they are on satellite no one will bother jamming their stations and risk the lives of population at large. So if someone really wanted to they could tune in to watch these stations. But people who think like you feel so marginalized that they won’t even bother fighting for their first ammendment rights. because fighting for it means partaking in the system.

    “Actually no, as a matter of fact certain “books” are profiled in USA, and if you borrow them a few times from the library you are noticed and profiled by FBI. Do you know the content of the patriot act?
    I once wrote a comment in response to Scott Lucas where I said this I quote myself here because it is relevant to this comment too…”

    I’m not big fan of the patriat act. A lot of people in the US weren’t. Most democrats. There are countless fights being fought by civil liberties advocates to overturn many of the missteps of the patriat act. Countless documentary films have been made about it and its still very much part of a public debate. This is Bush-era policies that met with a lot of opposition in the US. If a US citizen were to be arrested for buying a book or watching a TV station, that person could fight and probably win out in court. But I can’t think of any cases where someone was actually arrested.

    On a relative side note, I like to mention that I am extremely anti-Bush. I hated him and still do. Believe it or not I defended Ahmadinejad back in the US against his policies and said Bush was more evil than AN could ever be. And I still believe that Bush was more evil than Ahmadinejad. However, all the things you say in defense of Ahmadinejad you can say in defense of Bush as well. Because they are pretty similar. You defend AN’s foreign policy, you might as well defend Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us” doctrine. You defend AN’s in-your-face-rhetoric, you defend Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric. You defend AN’s support of Hezbollah and Hamas, you’re defending Bush’s war with terror. The problem with both Iran and US is when hardline conservatives take over. They are absolutists who see the world in a simple black and white.

    7. “Ok, this is why you leave the impression of being an American right winger rather than an IRANIAN opposition supporter: You completely overlook the case of hostage taking for Mr. Majid Kakavand in France, you completely overlook the case of arrest of Iranian diplomates in Iraq for more than 3 years without any charges despite the vehement objections of the Iraqi government and despite international law protecting the people with diplomatic status, that is not a “hostage taking” in your opinion. You completely overlook the case of brazen kidnapping of the Iranian scientist called Shahram Amiri. When was it that Iranians brazenly kidnapped American scientists in a THIRD COUNTRY? That you don’t consider as an act of “hostage taking”! But if Iran uses a woman as bargaining chip to get his hostages released from the West that is an unacceptable case of “hostage taking”. Illegal arrest of DIPLOMATS in a third country (Iraq) and the open kidnapping of an Iranian scientist in Saudi Arabia is not hostage taking, on the contrary it is a sign that USA is ready to speak with us in an atmosphere of “mutual respect” but arrest of three US hikers for illegally entering the Iranian territory is a brazen case of hostage taking!”

    In this day and age public opinion forms from what people see on TV and that public opinion helps governments advance their policies. So IMAGE is important in todays politics. Ahmadinejad and his gang have not learned the value and importance of images and how they could use it to THEIR advantage, to make THEIR cases. They keep taking the wrong steps and playing horribly with the cards they are dealt. Personally I have not seen any evidence against the French girl or the American hikers that would suggest they were spies. If you have, feel free to share. Just don’t be sending me links to Fars News. The fact they released the French girl just as they released Roxana Saberi so easily speaks volumes about whether they were really spies or just bargaining chips. BUT, for argument’s sake, let us assume that the 24 year old French girl was in fact not a lecturer but a bad-ass spy much like Angelina Jolie in Mr. And Mrs. Smith. Let’s assume she had in fact spied for France. To arrest her and have her sit in on one of the show trials when she LOOKED SO INNOCENT will make us appear as the evil country that takes hostages without any good reasons. Even if they had more evidence than her cell phone footage of the protests against her, even if she was guilty as charged, the IMAGE OF HER LOOKING SO YOUNG AND INNOCENT will work against us.

    Compare her to the 3 Iranian diplomats US arrested in Iraq. Let’s assume they were the sweetest puppy-loving kindest innocent fellows one could come across. But it didn’t matter, because THEY LOOKED LIKE COLD HEARTED CRIMINALS. I personally get chills looking at their photos; they look like the Basijis who hit us with batons, not like educated diplomat types we want representing us. Same with the image of the 3 American Hikers. Let’s assume that they were in fact in Iran to spy on us. Let’s assume that no one will bother to ask what is it exactly that they could have possibly been spying on out in the middle of nowhere near the border. THEY LOOK LIKE 3 INNOCENT YOUNG PEOPLE OUT ON AN ADVENTUROUS BACKPACKING JOURNEY. You can’t compare them with businessmen who are caught red-handed dealing with IRGC. You can’t compare them with assassins who were convicted of killing someone. And as for the case of the missing scientist, the verdict is still out. I think he deflected like so many others like him. I doubt any US scientist will ever deflect to Iran!

    “Once again the solid majority of the world population is behind us. World does not consist of US and its allies! All of NAM is behind us!”

    Who? Name countries. And what will friendship with them get us, the Iranian people? Sure, people in Bolivia might like us cause we might give them money. But how can the Iranian people benefit from this relationship? How can we even benefit from our relationship with the Palestinians? (Before you use yet another American example; just as I don’t see how the American people might benefit from US’s strong ties to Israel.)

    “And Iran is FAR more powerful than it was during Khatami. Our influence in the middle east has grown SIGNIFICANTLY from Iraq, to Lebanon and Afghanistan.”

    Guess why Iran’s influence in the ME has grown! Because its two arch-enemies, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were taken out by W. So this has more to do with W’s missteps than with any AN achievement. Considering the new makeup of the Middle East Iran should have been a LOT more influencial at this stage. Again, if it wasn’t for Bush’s missteps when he reject Khatami’s call for a collaboration on securing Afghanistan, we would have had more of an influence in Afghanistan as well and today Afghans wouldn’t be protesting outside the Iranian embassy. But instead of all this, US and its allies are able to scare the bejesus out of the Arab countries in regards to Iran by so easily building a bad-man out of AN and selling them tons of weapons.

    “At the tme of Khatami we were begging to have some enrichment activity in the level of research and development (and we were being denied out of the full respect that USA has for us and for our rights under NPT) today we are at the verge of Industrial level enrichment.”

    How does this new deal work in that equation? The Uranium we do have we have from the time of Mousavi. The basis of much of our scientific achievements are fruits of the efforts that go back to Khatami’s era, not Ahmadinejad’s.

    “Today, after 30 years of sanctions Iran has the HIGHEST scientific growth rate in the world! We are the 9th country to put a sattelite into orbit, we are one of the VERY few countries (I believe only 10) which has been able to do animal cloning, and we are in the first 25 (or maybe 19 I am not sure) countries in Nano technology.”

    Now you sound like AN when he was comparing what the Islamic Republic has done compared to the time of the Shah. Where he inspired the joke “during the Shah we had no Internet, now we do! We had no cell phone users, now we have 40 million!”

    “And Israel which you claim is in the stronger position is in a position that in fact has experienced the WORST defeat in it’s entire history (in Lebanon in 2006) thanks to your IR’s support for Hezballah. If today they are so reluctant to make a military attack on your country it is not because they have “respect” for you, it is IN PART because they are afraid what Iranian allies will do in retaliation to Israel! In the international arena, you don’t gain respect by kissing hands, you gain respect by showing “real” deterrence!”

    You’re now not only echoing Bush, you’re quoting him! Admit it, you’re a Bush/Cheney supporter at heart! It’s a shame that Obama’s time in the White House didn’t coincide with Khatami’s time as President. And too bad Mousavi didn’t come to power as he deserved. The world would have been a better place…

  2. Iranian@Iran says:

    Thank you Liz

  3. Liz says:

    For those who speak and write in Persian, this is also useful (about the 5 terrorists): http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=99096

    Nazila Fathi is a joke, just like the New York Tims when it comes to Iran, Israel, the Middle East, Latin America,…These people churn out propaganda so much that sometimes they actually start believing it themselves!

  4. Freedom4Iran says:

    I met Nazila Fathi on Sat in a conference held in the University of Toronto. I asked her about the vicious attacks that the Leveretts have launched against her. She simply laughed and said, it’s wildly known who they are affiliated with (she mentioned Prof. Marandi, the mouth piece of a dying regime). She also said, it wasn’t just my article that said the executions were a threat to the green movement, the Washington post also had another similar article. Also, the Keyhan newspaper linked the two incidents.

    The regime just issued more execution orders for people who were arrested on Ashura and other days. so I dont know how else the IRI agents and mouth pieces, like the Leveretts, can spin this one…. oh right, they wont, cuz they dont focus on Human Rights issues, that’s only when it doesn’t help their narrative though.

    Thanks Scott Lucas for all you do.. I appreciate your patience with these uneducated ignorant fellows on this board who take the side of a murderous regime such as the one in Iran. I hope at least they get enough money for this.

  5. pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio:
    First of all, is there any other way that we can communicate? Other than this site?
    “You know it really doesn’t help that you keep referring to me as “you people.” ”
    I really meant no offense, when I said “you people” I refered to you and a good proportion of the Green supporters who are thinking the same as you.
    As for your list, I will go by a similar list and each number in my list will correspond to the point on your list with the same number:
    1. Majority of Iranians are struggling for bread and butter, they simply don’t have the luxury to think about issues related to the culture. In order to have the time to go after “education” you must first have a full stomach and a steady flow of food to keep your stomach full. 15% is completely illiterate, the number of “barely” literate is probably much higher.We are talking about a country where “hymenoplasty” is very popular among the weathy “educated” class, you can very well guess where the rest of country is! FACT of the matter is that moral police is mainly concentrated in Tehran. In smaller cities they don’t have to “force people”. Even in the southern parts of Tehran they don’t have to “force” people.
    There was a very good article by Robert Fisk about the Iranian election, in which he said that Ahmadinejad gave insurance to some 3 million female carpet weavers, who worked from their homes and had no insurance before. Mousavi on the other hand promised to get rid of the “gasht”. Which one do you think will appeal more to a carpet weaver.
    2. “I think the country is not headed in the right direction if one side holds absolute power and does not allow the other side to even express its opinion. You for the most part believe its neccessary evil and for some reason the only person you keep mentioning to show that there is freedom in Iran is Zibakalam! I say there are hundreds of people in prisons because of their political beliefs, you say they are foreign agents and they deserve to be (you can correct me on these, but let’s simplify). ” No I am very much against people being arrested expressing their opinion, and I don’t deny that in Iran there a lot of people who have been arrested because of doing so. HOWEVER, majority of the “reformists” who were arrested in the aftermath of the election, were not arrested because of expressing their opinion, had it been that, they would have been arrested BEFORE the election. They were arrested because they were leading an attempt to annul an election that they had clearly lost and that they were strongly suspected of being in liaison with the foreign intelligence organizations.
    By the way as I will point out to you in the later parts, in the west, “dissent” is not treated as differently as you think either.
    3. The “reformist” newspapers and media hand in hand with the WORST of corporate media lie about the world and Iranian events. Unfortunately the green youth, is heavily exposed to this type of news (ie. lies) and swallows them like an oyster. They have a completely wrong picture of the reality about the wolrd events and history, from the creation of Israel, to the role of the West in our current miseries. These attempts to wash away the Wests sins is mainly to integrate Iran into the global capitalist market and open our markets and our labour force (and raw materials) into the forein capital.
    4. “You are clearly very anti-American and anti-West. I’m not. The day Americans and or any other migrant groups in Iran have equal rights as Iranians do in the US is the day I will even begin to draw comparisons.”
    The day Iranians have a percapita income of $40,000/year, will be the day you will see similar rights for foreign refugees in Iran. And the fact that we have a very low income is a result of “imperialism” not because they have a more “efficient system”.
    “Yes AIPAC is powerful in the US. But Iranian lobby is only now forming and within a couple of decades Iranian-Americans will have a say in the US as well. They are already being elected to offices around the country.”
    I am not basing my whole arguement on a specific lobby. I am talking about “lobbies” in general and the fact that they are the extension of corporations and their interests. By the way Iran will NEVER have the position of Israel. Comparing Iran to Israel (and covetting their position) is like comparing a ship in Shepperd’s herd to the guard dog. The guard dog is to keep the sheep in line, it is not be “eaten”. Sheep on the other hand is the “food”. Sheep will never become the “guard dog”!
    “And you can’t compare Obama’s rise to power to Ahmadinejad’s. The day son of a Christian immigrant rises up to be the leader of Iran we can even begin to compare.”
    You mean the “converted” son of a Christian immigrant I guess? Because Obama is a convert (from Islam to Christianity). By the way there are claims that Ahmadinejad has a Jewish background. I don’t believe in that claim, and in fact I think it is a testament to the racist nature of the “reformists” and how they lack any sort of principle and that they use anything against their opponents if they think that it will hurt him. But I have no doubt that if a Christian or a Jew converts to Islam he will have no problem in getting promoted in the structure of IR’s elite. In fact if you look at immigrants who have progressed in USA, they all have been integrated to the US system, and the moment that they speak out against the system and try to swim against the flow they are “demotede”/marginalized. Look at what happened to Oppenheimer and you will see what I mean. Even the fact that a lot of people with muslim backgrounds have to hide or change their names, is a testimony to what I say.
    “We both however agree that Western countries have been the cause of much evil over the past few centuries. But I think it would be futile to constantly blame them for everything that is wrong with our world today by living in the past. At one point we have to take responsiblity for our actions and accept that we had it coming. I hate to say it, we deserved Mossadegh’s overthrow by the CIA. People weren’t ready for him. He was way ahead of his time. Mullahs like Ayatollah Kashani still had a say (and were easily bought by the CIA — a detail the Islamic Republic ignores in its rewrite of history).”
    I would say we deserved Mosaddegh enough to have him as our democratically elected prime minister.
    So now you think that we actually deserved the 1953 coup? Well my friend, can you now blame the IR to think that you guys are the agents of the foreign countries?!?!? If you can brazenly claim that we “deserved” 1953 coup then it is very likely that you support a velvet coup TODAY, just as all green theoreticians do (Ganji, Zibakalam, Kawakebian …)
    Can you blame them for thinking of you as USA’s fifth coloumn?
    It is amazing, so you think that Iranians deserved the “coup” and the oppression of Shah and his crackdown on the opposition after the coup, but you believe the greens didn’t deserve the treatment that they got from the IR!!!
    “I believe we can have a good relationship based on mutual respect with the West and US without the adventurism of the likes of Ahmadinejad. You believe anything BUT Ahmadinejad’s way would be treacherous and giving in to their demands.”
    You think that we can have a relationship based on mutual respect with USA? You mean like a relationship in which we “deserve” an occasional coup such as the one in 1953?
    Look, relationship based on mutual respect between Iran and USA is like looking for a relationship based on equality and mutual respect between a lion and a deer!
    So you want relationships based on “mutual” respect? Sure….how about starting by US respecting NPT and stopping its harrasment on Iran for exercising its MOST BASIC rights under NPT? How about US giving back our money that it has from the time of Shah ogether with its INTEREST? How about US apologizing for the nuclear posture review and its threat to use nuclear arms against a non-nuclear Iran? How about US getting out of Persian Gulf? Do you see our navy in the gulf of Mexico? I can go on like this until tomorrow!
    5. “I think Iran HAS to become an economic powerhouse. Not sure how that is possible, you probably have better ideas on this.”
    This “economic powerhouse” nonsense is some what similar to the word “populist”. It is just that it is the opposite. Populist is positive praise word which is being used as a negative word. “Economic powerhouse” is a very negative word (as the meaning that it insinuates) and it has come -by the lies of the corporate and reformist media- to mean a good thing! It will be off-topic for me to debate the misery of people in countries such as China, Brazil, Mexico and Argentine here. Suffice to say that “economic powerhosue” equals misery for the people.
    “But we both agree that monetary interests have the final say in every country. I would rather see corporations take over; you are happy with… the Leader?! I’m actually not clear as to where you stand on this. To me corporations aren’t as evil as you make them out to be. I am however very much against the IRGC controling the economy. I think its very stupid to have a military force be in control of all financial resources and make the decisions. Again, i am not sure what your opinion on this is. In your rewrite correct all this.”
    IRGC controlling the economy is EXACTLY a corporate taking over the economy! IRGC in a effect has become a “government owned” corporation which owns a significant part of our economy. If you have no problem with corporations then you should be very happy with IRGC. Leader is nothing but the representative of the economic elite in Iran. Just as the US president is the representative of the lobbies which have given him their support and have brought him to power.

    6. “A person in the US could watch Press TV or Al Jazeera English if they wanted to.”
    No actually. Al-Menar (the TV station of Hezballah) is banned in USA. Also as recently as January 2010, a bill passed in the congress which banned all sattelite TV stations which deemed hostile to US.
    “They could access any website. And read opinions of the most obscure of thinkers.”
    Actually no, as a matter of fact certain “books” are profiled in USA, and if you borrow them a few times from the library you are noticed and profiled by FBI. Do you know the content of the patriot act?
    I once wrote a comment in response to Scott Lucas where I said this I quote myself here because it is relevant to this comment too:
    “I would argue that this is not the case, and that the system in Iran is not fundamentally different from the “liberal democracies” in the West.
    The fundamental difference does not lie in the structures of the two systems, but rather in the facts that one: the percapita income is disproportionately larger in the West than it is in Iran (which in turn is the result of gun point robbery under the name of colonialization and imperialism) and two: the West is the dominant military force on the globe and its security is not threatened by the covert (eg. CIA’s financing of subversive/terrorist activities inside Iran) and overt foreign military operations (eg. forced regime change, military invasion and laying military siege around Iran from Persian Gulf to the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan). The West is not being threatened to be the target of a nuclear attack by Iran or any other state, Iran IS!! (AND NOW IN THIS COMMENT FOR GREENIO I ALSO ADD THIS: furthermore US dissidents are not under the strong suspicion of liaison with the Iranian government to do subversive activity in USA)
    As a result the reactions to “dissent” is a bit different. If you go back to a time when there was a “communist” threat you will see that US government’s approach to a “communist” dissent manifested itself as “McCarthy era” during which luminaries such as Bertolt Brecht, Charlie Chaplin, Arthur Miller and even Einstein (for his support to Oppenheimer) were being constantly harrassed and prosecuted. In fact you don’t need to go even that far back in history, even to this day Al-menar (hezbollah’s TV station) is banned in USA, and recently there was a bill in the congress to ban all sattelite TV stations which deemed hostile to USA! Not to mention the case of prosecution of some of the shiite mosques in USA which were claimed to have connections to the Iranian government. A very similar arguement also applies to wests civil right approach.”

    7. “Last but not least, on Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy. I mentioned hostages and i was referring to the likes of Clotide Rice (who just left Iran apparantly after being exchanged for an Iranian prisoner in France).”
    Ok, this is why you leave the impression of being an American right winger rather than an IRANIAN opposition supporter: You completely overlook the case of hostage taking for Mr. Majid Kakavand in France, you completely overlook the case of arrest of Iranian diplomates in Iraq for more than 3 years without any charges despite the vehement objections of the Iraqi government and despite international law protecting the people with diplomatic status, that is not a “hostage taking” in your opinion. You completely overlook the case of brazen kidnapping of the Iranian scientist called Shahram Amiri. When was it that Iranians brazenly kidnapped American scientists in a THIRD COUNTRY? That you don’t consider as an act of “hostage taking”! But if Iran uses a woman as bargaining chip to get his hostages released from the West that is an unacceptable case of “hostage taking”. Illegal arrest of DIPLOMATS in a third country (Iraq) and the open kidnapping of an Iranian scientist in Saudi Arabia is not hostage taking, on the contrary it is a sign that USA is ready to speak with us in an atmosphere of “mutual respect” but arrest of three US hikers for illegally entering the Iranian territory is a brazen case of hostage taking!
    My friend I am afraid what you are talking about is not a “mutual respect” but rather it is “unilateral respect”. You are not talking about equal rights you are talking about subservient relationship!
    “The original hostage-takers as I said before regret the whole scenario. Though they believe at the time they did the right thing.”
    The case of the original hostage taking is one which is heavily censored in USA. Reagan administration was up to its neck, involved in that case, and as such as guilty as the hostage takers. One of the reasons that is being “suggested”, as to why the Iranian government is so suspicious about the GM leaders is that a big part of their top leadership are the same people who were in close relationship with Americans/Israelies during the hostage crisis and Irangate after that. So Robert Parry suggests that the Iranians may have a rightful suspicion that these guys are still in business with their old masters. It is just that in the 80′s they did their bidding by taking hostages, and this time they are doing their bidding by attempting a velvet coup.
    “You believe his policies have made us stronger, I believe they’ve isolated us and made us weaker. You believe he has a better bargaining position and can end up at a table with the US and the West as equals, I believe his policies and rhetoric have empowered the West, Israel and their allies. You believe majority of the world likes him. I believe they don’t. You think Ahmadinejad is next the messiah (!!!), I think he’s a simple man corrupted by power and greed. You think he has gotten us respect on the world stage, I think he has ruined our reputation.”

    Once again the solid majority of the world population is behind us. World does not consist of US and its allies! All of NAM is behind us!
    And Iran is FAR more powerful than it was during Khatami. Our influence in the middle east has grown SIGNIFICANTLY from Iraq, to Lebanon and Afghanistan. At the tme of Khatami we were begging to have some enrichment activity in the level of research and development (and we were being denied out of the full respect that USA has for us and for our rights under NPT) today we are at the verge of Industrial level enrichment. Today, after 30 years of sanctions Iran has the HIGHEST scientific growth rate in the world! We are the 9th country to put a sattelite into orbit, we are one of the VERY few countries (I believe only 10) which has been able to do animal cloning, and we are in the first 25 (or maybe 19 I am not sure) countries in Nano technology.
    And Israel which you claim is in the stronger position is in a position that in fact has experienced the WORST defeat in it’s entire history (in Lebanon in 2006) thanks to your IR’s support for Hezballah. If today they are so reluctant to make a military attack on your country it is not because they have “respect” for you, it is IN PART because they are afraid what Iranian allies will do in retaliation to Israel!
    In the international arena, you don’t gain respect by kissing hands, you gain respect by showing “real” deterrence!

  6. Bill Davit says:

    M. Ali,

    Thank you for your reply. When I mean Green Leaders I mean Moussavi and Karroubi. Of course the regime has arrested mid level players and some working directly for these folks. However, for some strange reason they have not arrested the two top leaders. Why? As I stated I believe it is because the regime realizes to do so could enflame the people. Now why are they worried about the people if as they state 62% of the population supports them? It would seem we have a bit of a contradiction. In your defense I do also realize a minority can cause quite a bit of havoc and that may be why the regime is holding off as well.

    As for the “summary executions” I understand your point and I believe your point is that this type of killing is done without a trial and on the spot. However I have seen “summary executions” defined as a verdict with no trial not concerned with timing just that it will happen at some random time. Thus I guess it depends on how you look it. Personally for me the determinent of “Summary” is not necessarily the timing but simply the lack of any true fair and objective legal proceedings.

    I hope that explains my point.

    Thx
    Bill

  7. Greenio says:

    M. Ali. Either have the decency to partake in a dialogue or just log off for good. You can’t take out one detail mentioned in passing out of this whole conversation we’re having and add nothing to it but your smart-ass comments. Poverty line in Tehran for a family of four is anywhere between $750-$1100. I rounded to $1000 in passing and also because its a number people are using in their daily discussion. If you lived in Tehran you would know. This is not something google can provide answers for. The illiteracy rate for example is at 11.6%, but it would have been irrelevant to our conversation to do a catcha moment and say its NOT at 15%.

  8. Iranian@Iran says:

    M.Ali,

    Your response to greenio (comparing Iran and India) was excellent and it reveals how almost all of his statements are flawed.

    Please read:

    http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=98921

  9. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    You know it really doesn’t help that you keep referring to me as “you people.” I respect you enough to talk to you as an individual with a set of beliefs that I as an individual may or may not agree with. This thing is getting out of control and we’re better off summarizing for the archives and leaving it at that.

    1. You argue majority of Iranians belong to a lower working class while I argue majority belongs to a middle-class who has taken a hit from the economic policies of not just the past five years, but the past 31 years. You bring up the 15% illiteracy rate and I look at the 85% literacy rate and the high percentage of college graduates. You say majority are pro-Ahmadinejad, I say they are anti-Ahmadinejad. We disagree on everything in regards to the population of Iran.

    2. You say supporters of the Green Movement are brainwashed by their leaders into thinking like they do. I say Basijis and supporters of the hardliners in power are brainwashed by their leaders. I believe Basijis are thugs. You believe GM activists or students are thugs. I think the country is not headed in the right direction if one side holds absolute power and does not allow the other side to even express its opinion. You for the most part believe its neccessary evil and for some reason the only person you keep mentioning to show that there is freedom in Iran is Zibakalam! I say there are hundreds of people in prisons because of their political beliefs, you say they are foreign agents and they deserve to be (you can correct me on these, but let’s simplify).

    3. We both agree the regime crackdown was brutal and stupid. You believe those killed were victims who were deceived and used as tools by their leaders. I believe they WERE the leaders who lead the movement. Mouasvi followed them and not them Mousavi. I doubt Mousavi imagined one day becoming the leader of a movement that calls for an “Iranian Republic!”

    4. You are clearly very anti-American and anti-West. I’m not. The day Americans and or any other migrant groups in Iran have equal rights as Iranians do in the US is the day I will even begin to draw comparisons. Yes AIPAC is powerful in the US. But Iranian lobby is only now forming and within a couple of decades Iranian-Americans will have a say in the US as well. They are already being elected to offices around the country. And you can’t compare Obama’s rise to power to Ahmadinejad’s. The day son of a Christian immigrant rises up to be the leader of Iran we can even begin to compare. We both however agree that Western countries have been the cause of much evil over the past few centuries. But I think it would be futile to constantly blame them for everything that is wrong with our world today by living in the past. At one point we have to take responsiblity for our actions and accept that we had it coming. I hate to say it, we deserved Mossadegh’s overthrow by the CIA. People weren’t ready for him. He was way ahead of his time. Mullahs like Ayatollah Kashani still had a say (and were easily bought by the CIA — a detail the Islamic Republic ignores in its rewrite of history). I believe we can have a good relationship based on mutual respect with the West and US without the adventurism of the likes of Ahmadinejad. You believe anything BUT Ahmadinejad’s way would be treacherous and giving in to their demands.

    5. I think Iran HAS to become an economic powerhouse. Not sure how that is possible, you probably have better ideas on this. But we both agree that monetary interests have the final say in every country. I would rather see corporations take over; you are happy with… the Leader?! I’m actually not clear as to where you stand on this. To me corporations aren’t as evil as you make them out to be. I am however very much against the IRGC controling the economy. I think its very stupid to have a military force be in control of all financial resources and make the decisions. Again, i am not sure what your opinion on this is. In your rewrite correct all this.

    6. On media, I think we both agree on the evils of the corporate media. I am also assuming that we agree on the evils of IRIB. What we disagree on is what voice if any an alternative media may have. A person in the US could watch Press TV or Al Jazeera English if they wanted to. They could access any website. And read opinions of the most obscure of thinkers. In fact, you yourself (still not sure where your location is), but you and people like you who have opinions way off the mainstream line of thinking are a testament to that. You have managed to form your opinions because you have had access to alternative sources. The difference between you and someone who watches Fox News all day is that you have worked hard to GET your news and you’re not delivering me talking points. If you stop calling me “you people” you may in fact give me credit as well. After all we found each other on a site belonging to people whom I am against. The fact that I am here proves that I do read what those who don’t think like me are saying. I am curious as you are and I plan on keeping it that way as you will. But I will never expect that from majority of the world’s population. (My favorite newscaster btw is Jon Stewart and the Daily Show!) That said, in Iran most websites belonging to alternative voices are blocked. All opposition websites are blocked. Satellites are jammed. Books with alternative thoughts to that of the islamic republic are hard to come by. And the Ahmadinejad government is going as far as rewriting history in favor of their own line of thinking. Not sure if you’ve seen how they’ve taken out many of the kings in Iran’s history from history books in schools! This is a shame. I am really against this. I wish you were too. (and one of the charges brought up against Maziar Bahari apart from the charge that he spied for CIA, Mussad, MI5 and Newsweek, was that he did an interview with The Daily Show! Is it me or is this not insane?!)

    7. Last but not least, on Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy. I mentioned hostages and i was referring to the likes of Clotide Rice (who just left Iran apparantly after being exchanged for an Iranian prisoner in France). The original hostage-takers as I said before regret the whole scenario. Though they believe at the time they did the right thing. What’s crazy is that Ahmadinejad and the hardliners continue to brag about the hostage crisis as though it was a shining moment in Iran’s history. You should see their celebrations on each anniversary. I digress… You believe his policies have made us stronger, I believe they’ve isolated us and made us weaker. You believe he has a better bargaining position and can end up at a table with the US and the West as equals, I believe his policies and rhetoric have empowered the West, Israel and their allies. You believe majority of the world likes him. I believe they don’t. You think Ahmadinejad is next the messiah (!!!), I think he’s a simple man corrupted by power and greed. You think he has gotten us respect on the world stage, I think he has ruined our reputation.

    ***

    Damn it. We just can’t keep it short can we… Please feel free to edit the above list as needed. You will have to rewrite the parts about what you think. I want us to come up with a list of what we think on each topic that I could think of (feel free to add to it) and simply juxtapose the thoughts. We’ll let others decide. If there are “others” at this point!

  10. M.Ali says:

    Hah, India’s national poverty line is 0.25 dollars a day. If Greenio is right, Iran’s national poverty line is 35 dollars a day…!!

  11. M.Ali says:

    Also, comment to Greenio, is the poverty line in Iran really 1 million toman? Thats around $12,000, which is (relatively) pretty high! Thats 26 times the International Poverty Line!

  12. M.Ali says:

    Quick comments:

    Greenio,

    * What do you mean “middle class” culturally? Unfortunately, this to me seems like you don’t understand Iran and think like most Greens, that you think if people think a certain way, then they are “better”

    * Ahmedinijad did not deny the Holocaust nor said he’d wipe Israel off the map. The propaganda has reached you too.

    * Ahmedinijad also had humble beginnings. And the difference between Ahedminja & Mousavi, or Khatami and Ahmedinijad is wider than the policies of Obama and Bush.

    Bill,

    * A lot of protesters have NOT been arrested and some Green leaders HAVE been arrested. Fit this in your theory.

    * How can it be a “summary execution” if they were sentenced to death MONTHS ago? Do you know what summary execution means? It means a US soldier pulls an Iraqi or Afghani out of his bed, takes him outside, and executes him.

  13. pirouz_2 says:

    “Notice I said “middle-class” culturaly, not financially. Yes, majority of Iranians are poor as in financially they can’t afford to make ends meet. But the lines aren’t drawn in the same way as in perhaps Sweden or in the US. To be poor in Iran doesn’t mean to belong to a working-class and or a “lower class” that feels inferior and helpless. There’s a bottom 15% that is poor by your definition of poor. But the rest feel that they are middle-class. They take pride in their education, they are proud and they hold their heads up in society. They THINK THEY CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGE. ”
    That is not correct. Culture is a result of economic status and life style not the other way around! We are talking about a country that has some 15% of ILLITERACY RATE. Meaning that they cant even read and write! The main issue of the vast majority of Iranians is BREAD AND BUTTER NOT THE CULTURE! Moral police almost does not exist in smaller cities.
    A person who is struggling for bread and butter, simplly doesn’t have the LUXURY to think about “culture” the way a middle class person does.
    “Communication with the masses is an important part of politics. If your perspective is marginalized perhaps you should find better ways to communicate. It doesn’t help that you’re a tad bit condoscending.”
    I am sorry if I sounded condescending, that was not my intention. It really wasn’t. It is just that I have talked with your side so many many times that I almost know by heart what you will say when I hear the start of your sentence.
    My perspective on the other hand is mostly censored (in pretty much all countries) so it is hard to come across my opinion.

    “I would love it if you for once acknowledged that there WERE in fact a number of innocent people who were killed by the regime for whatever reason. Just admit for once that there were innocent PEOPLE (Green or not) who were beaten, jailed, tortured, killed and raped. I mean even the SL confessed to some of the wrongful tortures when he ordered to shut down Kahrizak. Just let me sleep easy knowing that I got you to look at members of the GM as people. As Iranians who were killed. Not pawns in a larger scheme played out by either side. And those who were killed or arrested weren’t rich Iranians either. Notice how so many of them were poor. So many of the arrested students come from poor families. Just give me THAT!”
    I can’t tell you that pawns of a coup d’etat were innocent. All I can tell you is that they were victims because they had been decieved and used as tools by their leaders. And YES I think that the government’s crack down was extremely BRUTAL and STUPID. They could have handled the protests much better and much smarter. And we are right to be very angry at them.
    But can I ask you something? What do you expect that a western government would do if you did the same in there?
    Have you ever seen how they treat the G20 protesters? Have you seen how the French treated their immigrants who did a riot in the cities in protest to the polis brutality and racism? Do you know how many people were killed by the police in USA during the LA riots? Right now in Greece there are riots and protests, do you ever watch how the Greek police treats them? How do you think the Westerners would treat you if you tried to annul an election that you had clearly lost?
    “But the question that comes to mind is this. Can there ever be a REAL democracy?! You yourself suggested that majority of the people of the world are misinformed and or disinformed. A claim I find very agreeable. So why NOT have an elite that controls things for as long the majority have liberty and happiness?… BUT you can’t FORCE it on people. They want their big macs even if the obscure moma’s papa’s burger might be better.”
    This part of your comment is not quite relevant to our discussion. But since you mention, no I don’t think that the oligarchy can lead to happiness for the majority. If that was the case then you shouldn’t be even objecting to IR, because it is an oligarchy!
    And I am not forcing on anyone. To the contrary, it is the elite which is “forcing” its interests over the vast majority! Corporate media serves its owners interests and lies and distorts the reality to fool people. If that is ok by you then what is your problem with IRIB?!?!?
    By the way on the question of real democracy, even the liberal democracy was considered to be a “utopia” in the age of absolute monarchies. Abolishment of slavery was considered to be “unrealistic” up until a 2-3 hundred years ago. It did happen didn’t it?
    “It has worked for 200 years in the US. I’m not saying it’s perfect. But there is in fact a continous transition of power. And there has in fact been Presidents who have had very humble beginnings. Obama being the latest example. A change from bottom up. I just hope you’re not a McCain guy, cuz this debate will never end!”
    Now you are making me smile! So Obama had a very humble beginning? Well my friend so did Ahmadinejad!!! :-D
    By the way, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE IN THE USA TO BECOME A CANDIDATE UNLESS YOU HAVE AN OBNOXIOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY!
    Change of power in USA means nothing, the people who hold the actual power are the CORPORATE owners and Obama is one big NOTHING in their face. In fact he had to go and beg the support of different lobbies one by one to be ellected!
    Look if you are going to play that game and tell me that changing the power from Reagan to Bush I to Clinton I, to Bush II, and to Obama (by the way Clinton II is the sec. of State and was pretty close to be the president and Bush III is the governor of Florida and helped his brother become the president in the election of 2000, some nice democracy huh?), then I will tell you that in Iran there is a TRUE change of power from Rafsanjani, to Khatami to Ahmadinejad!
    “Not really. For one, we don’t have the range. There is a big difference (at least ideologically) between Obama and Bush. Not much difference in what we’re offered to choose from.”
    Absolutely disagree. There really isn’t more difference between Obama and Bush as there is between Khatami and Ahmadinejad. In fact I am surprised that of all people YOU would say that! So you think Ahmadinejad and Khatami are not all that different?

    ” And even when we “choose,” there’s always the position of the Supreme Leader. Not sure how you forgot that he’s still up there. And he decides things. He personally controls the media, the army, the judiciary, the parliment and even to some extent the economy. We’re a bit more dictatorial.”
    Supreme Leader is the representative of the balance of power between the various factions of the elite. He by NO MEANS has more power than the corporations and their lobbies in USA. He who holds the “captial”, holds on to the reins of power! The head of state is nothing but a “tadarokatchi” for him. In case you didn’t notice all three major candidates of the US 2008 election had to go and gain AIPACs approval in person! In fact Obama has had to go and beg the approval of many many lobbies! Quite contrary to what you think the president does not have such a great power in USA. He can’t even bring a meaningful healthcare reform (the overwhelming majority of the American public want a public health insurance), and when it comes to the time of crisis, he has to intervene and bail out the corporations not the people who voted for him!
    “This to me sounds like wild speculations. If that is truly Ahmadinejad’s intention, he sure as hell is going about it the wrong way. By denying the Holocaust and wanting to wipe Israel off the map he’s making it easy for the West to demonize him. If he was a good politican he would have made it more difficult for the West to make a scarecrow out of him.”
    First of all you are listening to VOA and BBC too much. When did he say that Israel should be “wiped off the map”?
    To begin with, Israel is the one which has ALREADY wiped another country literally off the map AT FUN POINT! It is the champion of human rights violation, it has been doing ethnic cleansing eversince its creation, and is the only country (as far as I know) where until a few years ago “torture” was actually LEGAL. The funny thing that it is considered by you people as “democracy” too!
    All Ahmadinejad said was that “this ‘regime’ which is occupying the Jerusalem should disappear from the pages of history!” This is the very samething which has happened to both USSR and the appartheid regime of South Africa. What is the military threat in this? If the westerners keep saying that, at least they have the excuse of not knowing Persian and not understanding what he has said. What is your excuse?!?!
    “Why weaken his position on the world stage by constantly feeding them rubbish when he could have instead spend his time gaining their trust?… Wouldn’t it be easier to sit at two sides of a table as equals and find a common ground? …”
    There is no way to “gain” the West’s trust except by submitting to their “commands” (which is what the Greens want to do). Look at the world history do you see ANY independent leader who could “gain” their trust? You think Mosaddegh had their trust? You think Allende had their trust? You think Mao had their trust? You think Patrik Lumumba had their trust? You think Gandi had their trust? You think Arbenz had their trust?
    This is not about a lack of trust, it is about a “conflict of interests”. The only way to gain their trust is by making them sure that you have no power to defend yourself and they can attack and occupy you at will and by being technologically dependent on them so that they can be sure that they can apply effective sanctions against you, any time they want. Shah had their trust, Sedat, Pinochet and Suhartu had their trust! And now Greens are trying to gain their “trust”!
    Ahmadinejad keeps telling them that he wants to sit at a table as EQUALS, they are the ones who don’t want to be equal and rather want to be in the terms-dictating-superior position!
    And what use is it to you guys to criticize him on his most successful point anyway? The more time passes the stronger is Iran getting in this region, and the more you guys attack him on his biggest success, the more he will gain points and the more you guys will look like a foreign agents. In fact if instead of acting like the submissive Shah Soltan Hossein, you had stood up for Iran’s rights, the position of ” the defender of Iran’s rights” would not have been left wide open for Ahmadinejad to occupy. Instead of changing your attitude, you guys want to still go in the wrong direction??
    “Not because they [the Chinese] kept holding hostages”
    Who has taken hostages? Are you talking about 1979? Now you are completely re-writing the history! Greens took the hostages and Ahmadinejad at the time was very much against it! Todays Greens are the ones who did it in direct collaboration with Reagan’s gang to bring down Carter’s government (so basically they were in collaboration with USA even back then!), and now the fault is Ahmadinejad’s who was against the idea to begin with?!?!?!
    “The US/China relationship came to be not because the Chinese kept on threatnening the world with what they may or may not do.”
    Actually again you are re-writing the history! Chinese heavily helped the North Koreans in the Korean war and at the time that Nixon approached them they intensely helping Vietnamese in their defensive war against USA (just as we are doing right now in Palestine and Lebanon!) In fact Maoism was so expansive and they were so EAGER to export their revolution, that “Maoist” rebels were popping up all around the globe like mushrroms! To this day there are still Maoist rebels in various parts of the world making “insurgency”! What the heck are you talking about? Compared to Mao’s China, Ahmadinejad’s Iran is like a tame cat!!

    “It’s to protest becoming puppets of Moscow and Beijing. ”
    Again some nonsense that the greens have been able to put in you guys head! Up until last year our biggest trade partner was EU and not China. I think even today our biggest trade partner is still EU and not China. And it is the West which is pulling out of Iran in the name of sanctions, Iran is not throwing them out. Moscow is not even a major trade partner with Iran compared to the other players! Even Turkey has a bigger trade volume with Iran than Russia! Why are you guys so ready to believe every single nonsense lie that the Green leaders tell you?
    Besides, having a large trade with a country does not make you necessarily its “puppet”. The biggest buyer of the Venezuelan oil is USA, does that mean that Chavez is USA’s puppet??! :-D
    What makes you a puppet to country is not that you sell oil to them. We are not going to drink that oil, we have to sell it to someone. What makes you a “puppet” is that they demand that you open up your markets to them and channel all your petro dollars to buy their “goodies” (as Shah did and Saudi Arabia still does). China couldn’t care less how we spend our oil revenue. Their main interest in Iran is buying oil from us.What we do with money is our busniess and they really don’t care all that much. The West on the other hand has a BIG problem on how we spend our oil revenue. That is the difference.
    Besides, you think China and Russia like the idea of an atomic Iran? Russia neither approves of our enrichment activity nor does it like our “space program”. If Iran were a puppet to Russia or China, it would stop the enrichment activity right away and would never send a sattelite into orbit either. (Russians reacted very negatively when we sent the first Kavoshgar).
    By the way, what is you guys problem with Russia and China? You guys hate our people or something? Had it not been for Russia and China by now very severe crippling sanctions would have been in place, is that what would make you guys happy??

  14. Bill Davit says:

    M.Ali,

    Thank your for your reply and sorry I did not get back to you sooner. It appears you have misread my words again. Thus lets rehash what I truly meant:

    1) My reference to “arrests” for the Green Leaders and protestors are mutually exclusive events in my comparision. Thus it is like comparing apples to oranges. I simply stated the if the regime felt secure they should be able to arrest Moussavi and Karoubi yet they have not indicating weakness. The arrests of the protestors again shows weakness because if they truly won the election they would not have had to detain 18,000 people. The fatal flaw in arguement is you are treating the protestors and the Green Leaders as equals which is contrary to my entire point. The arrests of the protestors and the potential arrest of the leaders are to entirely different subjects.

    2) Again in reference to the executions you are again trying to compare and contrast two statements that are not same. One is arguing about “the execution itself” while the other is about the “Timing.” The execution itself stinks of a summary execution while the timing says it was politically motivated. I don’t see the contradiction you seem to think exists.

    I hope that explains my position. I don’t know maybe your getting confused with the English terminology in refernce to what it means in Persian.

    Thx
    bill

  15. Bill Davit says:

    Eric,

    Thank you for your reply. In response to your question: “Is that ALL “Iran-based sources,” or just some of them?” you might be surprised but I think it does apply to all information. As we are all aware the events in Iran are higly politicized so it is only prudent to take all news with a grain of salt. The regime information is propoganda and they have proven that time and time again. As for the Green movement it is almost impossible to verify anything they get out making it difficult to trust the information. In addition I would hedge a bet some of the Green Movement data is itself propoganda. In essence both are putting on a show for the internation community, but I do beleive the regime is putting on the bigger show. However putting this all aside the blame falls on the regime for the overall state of the information because if Iran was a true open society we would all be able to get an object look at what it going on. Alas it is not so often we are left guessing and that is exactly what the regime wants.

    As for the trial attorney’s statement I would agree partially with your stance but remind you he could have just been the only one brave enough to say anything. We all know intimidation from the regime is silencing quite a few folks and it is quite likely occured in this istance. Sadly as always we have no way to substaniate anything because all we get is regime propoganda or Green Movement leaks about the information.

    Thx
    Bill

  16. Greenio says:

    @Javad

    Okay, whatever.

    @ Pirouz_2

    Thanks for taking the time for writing such long-winded reply. I appreciate the time spent. I am actually not sure what to write anymore because I don’t even know what it is that we’re talking about. The discussion has become broader and broader and soon we’ll be debating what it means to be humans! Very well… I think I am starting to see your perspective as well. On we go…

    “First of all allow me to make one very obvious correction to your comment: Iran’s majority is not “middle-class”. Iran is not Sweden (and that is precisely why you guys LOST the elections), the SOLID majority of Iran is POOR. And this one is not a matter of “opinion” it is a matter of FACT! The main difference between developed and developing countries is the size of their middle class, in developed countries middle-class constitutes the vast majority, and in developin countries it constitutes a TINY minority.”

    Notice I said “middle-class” culturaly, not financially. Yes, majority of Iranians are poor as in financially they can’t afford to make ends meet. But the lines aren’t drawn in the same way as in perhaps Sweden or in the US. To be poor in Iran doesn’t mean to belong to a working-class and or a “lower class” that feels inferior and helpless. There’s a bottom 15% that is poor by your definition of poor. But the rest feel that they are middle-class. They take pride in their education, they are proud and they hold their heads up in society. They THINK THEY CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGE.

    “You know what Greenio? We are actually getting somewhere with this discuassion. It doesn’t mean that we will agree at the end of the day, but at least you will understand what my perspective is. I already know what your perspective is, believe it or not. Because these discussions are not just going on in Iran, they have been going on pretty much since early 70s all over the world and I have talked so many times with your side that I know your ideas pretty well and as soon as you say “F…” I understand that you are going to say “Farahzad”. My opinion on the other hand is mostly censored/marginalized all over the world (and even worse in developing countries including Iran), so there is a chance that you may have not been exposed to my perspective.”

    Communication with the masses is an important part of politics. If your perspective is marginalized perhaps you should find better ways to communicate. It doesn’t help that you’re a tad bit condoscending. Perhaps I would be too if I was as passionate as you are about politics and thought the whole world doesn’t know anything. You look at politics philosophically. People like you may be able to be heard in a long run. Like in a century or two. And please take this as a compliment. But it doesn’t help our original discussion because talking at this level reduces people to just numbers and statistics and trivializes them. I would love it if you for once acknowledged that there WERE in fact a number of innocent people who were killed by the regime for whatever reason. Just admit for once that there were innocent PEOPLE (Green or not) who were beaten, jailed, tortured, killed and raped. I mean even the SL confessed to some of the wrongful tortures when he ordered to shut down Kahrizak. Just let me sleep easy knowing that I got you to look at members of the GM as people. As Iranians who were killed. Not pawns in a larger scheme played out by either side. And those who were killed or arrested weren’t rich Iranians either. Notice how so many of them were poor. So many of the arrested students come from poor families. Just give me THAT!

    “Let me tell you first what “I” think the whole “liberal democracy” means. Liberal democracy (or the Western democracy) is about a wealthy elite which is deeply divided and have conflicting interests ruling over the society as they wish. When there is no conflict of interests over an issue -meaning that a certain policy works for all sides of the elite- they leave no say for the people or a real opposition. Media is completely under their control and they censor any real alternative and any political force which tries to become a “candidate” in the elections and challenge those ideas he gets eliminated/filtered out.”

    But the question that comes to mind is this. Can there ever be a REAL democracy?! You yourself suggested that majority of the people of the world are misinformed and or disinformed. A claim I find very agreeable. So why NOT have an elite that controls things for as long the majority have liberty and happiness? Media may be under their control, but with the age of Internet and youtube any form of opposition could theoritically have access to media. But that doesn’t mean they will be able to amass a popular support. It’s kind of like the difference between Hollywood films and Art House foreign films. Hollywood films come out with a bang and screen in over 4000 screens and make a ton of money. Art House films which may in fact be better and more meaningful come out in limited number of theaters, a lot less people watch them and if they are lucky they make their money back. BUT, if the art house film were to open in 4000 screens, chances are it would flop! Because they don’t appeal to the masses. You can’t force people to LIKE something. Hollywood films have come down to a formula of what appeals to a majority and they usually work on people all around the world (think of the simple story of Avatar and how it inspired people and touched people from Kansas to Palestine!). Now apply this to politics. Yes, there are always alternatives to the mainstream. The alternatives may in fact be better than what the mainstream offers. BUT you can’t FORCE it on people. They want their big macs even if the obscure moma’s papa’s burger might be better.

    “BUT, whenever an issue refers to their conflicting interests, they go to people and take people as the referee. They make promises (most of the time to be unfulfilled) to various parts of people, each party to a certain part of the society, and whatever side wins the “elections”, its side prevails in the sharing of power and pursuing its own interests.”

    It has worked for 200 years in the US. I’m not saying it’s perfect. But there is in fact a continous transition of power. And there has in fact been Presidents who have had very humble beginnings. Obama being the latest example. A change from bottom up. I just hope you’re not a McCain guy, cuz this debate will never end!

    “This is a summary of the Western democracy. Does this sound familiar? It should, because it is EXACTLY the same system which is functioning in Iran today! [...] When Khomeini lived he functioned as the referee, and in doing so functioned as the classical dictator, but when he died, this function passed to the PEOPLE of Iran and hence the Iranian liberal democracy!”

    Not really. For one, we don’t have the range. There is a big difference (at least ideologically) between Obama and Bush. Not much difference in what we’re offered to choose from. And even when we “choose,” there’s always the position of the Supreme Leader. Not sure how you forgot that he’s still up there. And he decides things. He personally controls the media, the army, the judiciary, the parliment and even to some extent the economy. We’re a bit more dictatorial. So I wouldn’t use “EXACTLY” for as long as we have a religious figure-head by the title of Velayate-Faghigh. Khomeini too was a simple man. He believed in something and he stuck with it. He wasn’t corrupt. But he was manipulated by the likes of Rafsanjani. And when Rafsanjani put Khamenei in power he had no idea he would lose control of him and he would end up being the dictator that he is.

    “THE ARGUEMENT BETWEEN THE PRINCIPALISTS AND REFORMISTS IS NOT ABOUT THE MAIN SUBSTANCE OF PRIVATIZATION IT IS ABOUT WHO AMONG THE ELITE WILL GET THE BIGGER SHARE OF THE AMMASED CAPITAL RESULTING FROM THE REDISTRIBUTION OF THE WEALTH!
    There is no disagreement on getting into WTO, the main arguement is as to who will have the “honor” of commiting this treason to Iran successfully! Will it be reformists or will it be Ahmadinejad and the principalists? I personally think reformists stood a much better chance of getting us into WTO, and that is why I think Ahmadinejad was the less harmful of the two choices: because he is much less likely to be able to commit this treason against us (thanks to the obstinate attitude of the West towards him!)
    IT IS THESE CONFLICTING INTERESTS WHICH HAVE LED TO THE DE FACTO EXISTANCE OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY IN IRAN AND FOR AS LONG AS THERE IS A CONTINUING CONFLICT OF INTERESTS BETWEEN THE VARIOUS FACTIONS OF THE ELITE THE IRANIAN VERSION OF THE LIBERAL DEMOCRACY WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST.”

    I don’t know enough about how economies function to comment. You have good points though.

    “Now having said all these about the economic side of the issue, let me talk about the foreign policy differences:
    This is the only difference of substance which actually exists between the two. And this is the point on which I support Ahmadinejad’s side 100%.”

    OH oh!

    ” … Reformists want to pursue a SUBSERVIENT relationship vis-a-vis US/Israel, a relationship more along the lines of Eastern Europe, or even Egypt. [...] Ahmadinejad’s side on the other hand is after a relationship more similar to the one between China and USA.His side wants for Iran to be independent and make any type of bargaining as two equal sides where Iran can always use its leverage in potentially harming the US interests “IF” the US does not take the Iranian interests into consideration. And this is precisely why the Westerners have been trying so hard to demonize him. Mind you when I say he wants Iran to be independent I don’t mean that he wants Iranian people to prosper, what he wants is that the “state” of Iran to be independent, and the state of Iran is naturally the tool through which the Iranian elite rule over the population of Iran.”

    This to me sounds like wild speculations. If that is truly Ahmadinejad’s intention, he sure as hell is going about it the wrong way. By denying the Holocaust and wanting to wipe Israel off the map he’s making it easy for the West to demonize him. If he was a good politican he would have made it more difficult for the West to make a scarecrow out of him. Why weaken his position on the world stage by constantly feeding them rubbish when he could have instead spend his time gaining their trust? He’s very much like George W. Bush. A guy full of rhetoric who thinks he’s on a mission from God to save the planet from evil. A guy who sees the world in black and white and often ignores complexities of the world order. He sends letters to Obama and Bush, but fills them with words of advice, accusations, hatred and disrespectful comments so much so that he doesn’t even get a response. Yes, Khatami didn’t get a response from Bush. But that was Bush’s stupidity. If Obama was in power then he would have responded and saved us all from the rise of the hardliners in Iran. Why not have a person whose policy is one of building trust? Wouldn’t it be easier to sit at two sides of a table as equals and find a common ground? The US/China relationship came to be not because the Chinese kept on threatnening the world with what they may or may not do. Not because they kept holding hostages. Not because they shouted Death to America or Death to Israel. With Ahmadinejad we’re now at a weaker position than ever before. The ‘Death to China’ and ‘Death to Russia’ isn’t to wink at the West. It’s to protest becoming puppets of Moscow and Beijing. Though presonally I am against any “Death to” slogans, these slogans derive from the realization that after 30 years of being independant from America, they’ve gotten nowhere close to an independant state. They’re now just dependant on countries much worse: China and Russia! So when the Chinese kill Muslims they stay quiet and when the Russians chip away at the Caspian Sea they have to shut it. Is this the kind of relationship you’re after?!

    Let me end on a favorite GM slogan:

    سید علی بی وطن، مسکو می ری یا پکن؟!

  17. pirouz_2 says:

    First of all allow me to make one very obvious correction to your comment: Iran’s majority is not “middle-class”. Iran is not Sweden (and that is precisely why you guys LOST the elections), the SOLID majority of Iran is POOR. And this one is not a matter of “opinion” it is a matter of FACT! The main difference between developed and developing countries is the size of their middle class, in developed countries middle-class constitutes the vast majority, and in developin countries it constitutes a TINY minority.
    ” Who is “they?!” The opposition or the pro-regime papers such as Kayhan, or both? It’s just how politics are discussed here. They don’t say “rayis jomhoor mardomi,” they say “siasathaye populisti” which in Iran has come to mean keeping the poor poor or “faghir-sazi.” ”
    “They” means both the opposition and the principalist (by the way I prefer to use the word “principalist” rather than “pro-regime” because both sides are actually pro-regime).
    You know what Greenio? We are actually getting somewhere with this discuassion. It doesn’t mean that we will agree at the end of the day, but at least you will understand what my perspective is. I already know what your perspective is, believe it or not. Because these discussions are not just going on in Iran, they have been going on pretty much since early 70s all over the world and I have talked so many times with your side that I know your ideas pretty well and as soon as you say “F…” I understand that you are going to say “Farahzad”. My opinion on the other hand is mostly censored/marginalized all over the world (and even worse in developing countries including Iran), so there is a chance that you may have not been exposed to my perspective.
    Let me tell you first what “I” think the whole “liberal democracy” means. Liberal democracy (or the Western democracy) is about a wealthy elite which is deeply divided and have conflicting interests ruling over the society as they wish. When there is no conflict of interests over an issue -meaning that a certain policy works for all sides of the elite- they leave no say for the people or a real opposition. Media is completely under their control and they censor any real alternative and any political force which tries to become a “candidate” in the elections and challenge those ideas he gets eliminated/filtered out. BUT, whenever an issue refers to their conflicting interests, they go to people and take people as the referee. They make promises (most of the time to be unfulfilled) to various parts of people, each party to a certain part of the society, and whatever side wins the “elections”, its side prevails in the sharing of power and pursuing its own interests.
    This is a summary of the Western democracy. Does this sound familiar? It should, because it is EXACTLY the same system which is functioning in Iran today!
    Quite contrary to what you think that this system of “liberal democracy” has been more or less running in Iran since the time of Khatami, that is not the case! Khatami’s election did not lead to this system ON THE CONTRARY, it was the other way around, Khatami was the result of this system starting to run in Iran!
    From 1981 till the death of Mr.Khomeini we were being ruled under a “dictatorship”. Whatever Mr. Khomeini ruled, that was the end of discussion. But after he died, the various facions within the IR elite started to have severe conflicting interests, and voila: we had the “liberal democracy” de facto in place in Iran! And its first result was Khatami and the second result just following it was Ahmadinejad. The person who described in the best possible way the transition of Iran from dictatorship into a liberal democracy was Ayatollah Montazeri, he once said that: “When marhoom-e Khomeini lived, he would judge between the conflicting factions of the IR, and now that he is dead, they are fighting one another!”.
    This my friend is the essence of Western democracy, but I highly doubt that Montazeri understood the significance of his own words (contrary to his honesty and bravery, he was a bit of a simpleton). When Khomeini lived he functioned as the referee, and in doing so functioned as the classical dictator, but when he died, this function passed to the PEOPLE of Iran and hence the Iranian liberal democracy!
    Now what is it that is in the interest of all sides? Answer: A wild and brutal form of capitalism where labour takes a diminishing share of the surplus value and the capital and its profit remains in the hand of the wealthy elite. For as long as this is the issue, all sides are in absolute UNITY. That is why you hear “populism” being used as a bad word by all sides (reformist and principalist).
    There is no disagreement on wether there should be an elimination of subsides, all sides agree on that in “theory”. The only disagreement is on the way to do it and how it should be done. Mind you I didn’t say subside reform, I said subside ELIMINATION.
    There is no disagreement on the substance of massive “privatization”, all sides AGREE on that. The ONLY disagreement is about who will get the juicier share of the privatized companies: will it be the side supported by the reformists or the side represented by the principalists? By the way I would like to add a small point here, and that is a BIG lie that mainly reformists tell in their criticism of Ahmadinejad (Ahmadinejad uses the same lie too, but much less frequently and much less vehemently): They say that he is not privatizing in the “proper” way and that he is selling the companies to his own circle. Thats an absolute lie: there is NO proper way of privatization! Privatization=thievery.
    Allow me to explain: in all countries which are in the process of transition into capitalism, there should be an accumulation of wealth in the hands of an elite, this wealthy elite will constitute the capitalist class and is supposed to create jobs for the rest of the society. That is the theory.
    Well, my friend, in order for the wealth to amass in the hands of a few THERE HAS TO BE MASSIVE THIEVERY INVOLVED! Otherwise how are ordinary folks going to end up with the money to buy the privatized companies in the first place?? Look at all over the world and show me one example of “privatization” which was not been heavily involved with thievery? The westerners did their thievery at the colonial times (and they still continue doing so) and the wealth which was robbed from the colonies amassed in the hand of the “elite”. But in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Russia, Iran or Turkey which are not in a position to rob the world and have no colonies, they have to do the thievery internally and re-distribute the existing wealth in the society so that a few can amass the wealth in their pockets!
    THE ARGUEMENT BETWEEN THE PRINCIPALISTS AND REFORMISTS IS NOT ABOUT THE MAIN SUBSTANCE OF PRIVATIZATION IT IS ABOUT WHO AMONG THE ELITE WILL GET THE BIGGER SHARE OF THE AMMASED CAPITAL RESULTING FROM THE REDISTRIBUTION OF THE WEALTH!
    There is no disagreement on getting into WTO, the main arguement is as to who will have the “honor” of commiting this treason to Iran successfully! Will it be reformists or will it be Ahmadinejad and the principalists? I personally think reformists stood a much better chance of getting us into WTO, and that is why I think Ahmadinejad was the less harmful of the two choices: because he is much less likely to be able to commit this treason against us (thanks to the obstinate attitude of the West towards him!)
    IT IS THESE CONFLICTING INTERESTS WHICH HAVE LED TO THE DE FACTO EXISTANCE OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY IN IRAN AND FOR AS LONG AS THERE IS A CONTINUING CONFLICT OF INTERESTS BETWEEN THE VARIOUS FACTIONS OF THE ELITE THE IRANIAN VERSION OF THE LIBERAL DEMOCRACY WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST.
    Now having said all these about the economic side of the issue, let me talk about the foreign policy differences:
    This is the only difference of substance which actually exists between the two. And this is the point on which I support Ahmadinejad’s side 100%.
    First of all let’s get one thing straight: BOTH sides want to reach a deal with the West. It is not like Ahmadinejad does not want to establish relationship with the US. The main difference is in the nature of the relationship that they want to establish with the west.
    Reformists want to pursue a SUBSERVIENT relationship vis-a-vis US/Israel, a relationship more along the lines of Eastern Europe, or even Egypt. You can say that these guys are the Iranian versions of Fouad Seniora of Lebanon, or King Abdollah of Jodan or Mr. Berlusconi of Italy (at best!! I am being very generous here). In fact people such as Zibakalam have de facto called Iran’s official sovreignity into question (and I can prove this to you with irrefutable EVIDENCE). They believe that through a subservient relationship with the USA Iranians will be much better off economically. And this is the main reason behind the unconditional and open support of the west for these guys. They are openly flirting with the idea of becoming the Western interests representatives in Iran, and the West is giving them its full support (naturally!). This whole arguement of Iran helping Hezballah and Hamas harming our interests comes from that.
    In going against Hezballah and Hamas (and even saying “death to Russia” and “Death to China”), they want to “wink” and flirt with the US to show that they can be faithful dogs, if the master is kind enough to pet their head. And meanwhile hopefully they will be able to get Iran into WTO in return and this would be their “gift” to the Iranians!! By the way, entering into WTO is one of the worst things that can happen to Iranian working class. So you can very well guess the lowly nature of the reformists!
    Ahmadinejad’s side on the other hand is after a relationship more similar to the one between China and USA. His side wants for Iran to be independent and make any type of bargaining as two equal sides where Iran can always use its leverage in potentially harming the US interests “IF” the US does not take the Iranian interests into consideration. And this is precisely why the Westerners have been trying so hard to demonize him. Mind you when I say he wants Iran to be independent I don’t mean that he wants Iranian people to prosper, what he wants is that the “state” of Iran to be independent, and the state of Iran is naturally the tool through which the Iranian elite rule over the population of Iran.

  18. Javad says:

    Greenio

    I think there is no need to refute your claims and I will not bother to spend time responding to an angry person, because it serves no purpose. Just one point, contrary to what you say, IRIB is very influential and the Shakhes documentary for example was very damaging to the green movement which at the time was already very much on the decline (it is now no longer relavent). That does not mean that the IRIB is great, but it’s definitely more credible than the BBC, VOA, and etc. There is no doubt that the Iranian president is very popular. All you have to do is watch his speeches in the different provences. Regarding the elections, Eric A. Brill has written the best piece that currently exists in the English language.

  19. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    You just keep pulling me back in! I’ll just ignore Liz then.

    “That is my whole point my friend! If they used the word “mardomy”, it would have been much harder for them to fool people into using that word as a bad word! In using the word “populist” as an insult they show you their true face! They tell you that they are the “opposite” of the “populist”! And indeed they are! Now listen to me, “populist” is not used just by you! I have heard this word being used all over the reformist media against Ahmadinejad! And furthermore they are not the ones whoused it as bad word originally! It is a part of a mudslinging campaign by radical rightwing neo-liberals against all decent leaders such as Chavez and Morales! In the meantime, sometimes when they don’t like a guy -and he happens to make some populist gestures-and they use the word against him too (irrespective of the fact that he might not be a populist guy just as Ahmadinejad is not!).”

    Who is “they?!” The opposition or the pro-regime papers such as Kayhan, or both? It’s just how politics are discussed here. They don’t say “rayis jomhoor mardomi,” they say “siasathaye populisti” which in Iran has come to mean keeping the poor poor or “faghir-sazi.” It is indeed part of the Ahmadinejad agenda to keep the poor poor so he has his base of support. The poor don’t know any better and they can be fooled by occasional potatoes or cash compensations or empty promises. If you read the booklet Mousavi was handing out before the election about his policies (which were actually more anti-capitalism) you would have learned of a more solid plan to bring people out of poverty. Although Ahmadinejad is on the record saying that in three years in Iran we will have no poor people! Kind of like how we don’t have any gay people. This from a guy whose economic policies have made the gap between the rich and the poor wider than ever before in the history of Iran. A guy who benefits from making the middle-class disappear and fall into the more dependant lower class. Poverty line as defined by central bank now stands at 1 million Toman! That means all teachers, workers, etc are now below poverty line. These poor people are by no means supporters of the man who decreased their buying power ten folds in four years!

    “Well at least he makes the empty “promises”, the green side doesn’t even have that much of decency! They plainly say that they support thievery and that they are against “populism” and what is so funny is that they really think that they can get away with it in Iran and get the vote of majority!”

    When did they say that? They actually have better plans. Just read their plans. I know you would agree. As the joke goes, Ahmadinejad ran on the Robinhood economic platform where he promised oil money on every table. But after five years, not only there is no oil money on the table, he’s taken away the bread too!

    “Majority of the Iranians/world doesn’t like him?? Hell no…I 100% disagree with you! He is very popular all over the third world countries and he is popular among the poor in Iran too!”

    Maybe before the crackdown he enjoyed a degree of popularity. but that changed when images of Neda Agha Soltan beamed around the world. Recent public opinion polls show Obama as a lot more popular than him on the world stage (don’t you love polls, we can use them against each other forever!). If people like him, it’s not because of his policies. It’s because like I said he’s a western media darling. In the post-cold war era where the West needs a bad guy to advance its policies he fits the description of a perfect enemy. The little fellow who appears to be standing in front of the big Uncle Sam. But you know, and I know that he can’t do a damn thing. He doesn’t even control the army! He’s all tough talk and he is usually on an ego trip. He LOVES being in the spotlight. Look at how many interviews he does with the Western media. Interviews where he asks all the questions and uses US as his moral compass! Interviews that makes the blood of every taxi driver in Tehran boil because he lies so much! The bigger the lie, the easier for the world to believe him he thinks. Interviews that if reformers do they are accused of being agents of foreign powers and are even charged with espionage for! I think Ahmadinejad has helped advance US and Israeli anti-Iran policy in the past five years. The more he opens his mouth, the more US and Israel benefit!

    “Did you know that he was about to be voted as “the man of the year” in The Times magazine, by the popular vote before the magazine rushed in to cancel the “man of the year” when they learned that he was likely to win?”

    Now you’re totally losing me here. “Man of the Year” is for people who have changed the world for better or for worse! Osama Bin Laden was going to be man of the year at one point but that doesn’t make him popular by any means. You bash on Western media as you should, but as soon as it may prove one of your points you cite them?! I wouldn’t mention Mousavi’s 2 million Internet vote on Time.com. That proves nothing!

    “Actually….the image of Iranians was very high both before the GM and after the GM in the MAJORITY OF THE WORLD POPULATION. The problem is that you think that the world consists of USA and its western allies! That is not the world! All over the developing countries they like Iran and Ahmadinejad, believe it or not.”

    I don’t believe it. To be liked in some obscure countries in Africa or Latin America doesn’t get us anywhere on the world stage. I am interested in being liked in places that will help us come out of isolation and help improve the quality of life for every Iranian. Who are our friends on the world stage right now? Venezuela? Sudan? Belarus?! Which one of our neighbors are our friends right now? They are trying to change the Persian Gulf to Arab Gulf and AN can’t do a damn thing about it. From US to China, we are more isolated than ever before. I would be happy with a South Korean model where in thirty years we can be an economic powerhouse and the quality of life for all Iranians is improved and majority of the poor have been brought OUT of poverty. These fake “populisti politics” get us nowhere.

    Yes, US is after its own interests. We should be after our own interests as well. If the US market opens to the Iranian goods, we will all benefit. In fact the Leveretts too are trying to engage Iran and bring it out of isolation. But they are going about it the wrong way by making the case that the opposition is not only a minority, but rather non-existant. This is dangerous policy-making.

    “You have said something quite valuable here: GM supporters do not look like the commonly known image of Iranians. And that is because THEY ARE NOT the representative of the majority of Iranians. They are the represantative of the “middle-class” Iranians!”

    Well said! The MIDDLE-CLASS Iranians are the majority my friend! You can’t stop counting them once the poverty line goes higher and starts chipping away at their size. Majority of Iranians are middle-class. Perhaps not financially. But culturally they are. Majority are young. Majority are educated. Iran is not the Iran of 1979 when majority were uneducated villagers! One good thing the Islamic Republic has done is educated its masses. An education that has now raised a generation that will stand up to its unjust policies. Ironically they have weakened the position of the akhoond! Something the Shah couldn’t do! No longer can mullahs go on a stage and expect everyone to listen to them like sheep. People ask questions now! To a mullah a thinking population is very dangerous. That’s why after the GM they are now trying to change their education policies by making them more “Islamic” and less secular. But it’s too late. The cat is out of the hat.

    “All our youth (being from this side or the other) ended up getting involved in politics upto their necks during the GM. As I said, all around the world and not just in Iran, politics is mixed in all aspects of life wether you like it or not, if you read any work of literature from Brecht and Hedayat to Voltaire, from Lorca and Shamloo to Neruda, from Dostoevsky to Zola, Behrangi and Aziz Nesin, you will see that all branches of arts and literature are heavily mixed with politics all around the world!”

    You can’t expect everyone to read about politics and study politics as much as you and I might. You probably more than me. Majority of people in the world would rather live their lives and mind their own business. The only times they might get involved is if something is wrong in their lives and only then they are active politically. Obama’s rise to power was partially due to a young population that finally woke up and took interest in politics, because they suddenly felt that their future depended on it. The young people in Iran are more aware and alert than you give them credit for. The student movements at universities which is intertwined with the Green Movement is a place of great debates and discussions that you too would enjoy partaking in. It’s easy to say they are dumb and can be easily manipulated. But this generation of Iranians born after the Iran-Iraq war know better than your generation or mine (I assume you’re about 40, I’m about 30).

    “Because of my age I have seen the time of your Mousavi, so believe me when I say this: I know Moral police and women being forced to Hijab much better that 90% of the supporters of the GM who think Ahmadinejad is the “mir ghazab”! They don’t even remember the time your dear Mousavi, so they don’t have a clue what a true “mir ghazab” is!!”

    We’re not in the 1360s anymore. The society opened up a bit thanks to the 8 years of Khatami. Your generation pretty much got screwed out of their youth! And yes Mousavi is partially responsible for it. But they all were. What we should be worried about are people who are to the far right of even the 1360s. We should support people like Mousavi who have changed for good, not cheer the Iranian neo-conservatives who think earthquakes are related to bad-hijabis! Perhaps not AN himself, but those he takes orders from, the person whom we have forgotten to mention who is the mother of all things evil: Mesbah-Yazdi. A guy whose interpretation of Islam justifies ruining the world so as to get it ready for the return of the 12th Imam! A guy who can justify nuking Israel. A guy who gave fatwas that made it okay for Basijis to rape young girls and boys of the Green Movement. A guy who is positioning himself to be the next Leader. THAT’S who we should be afraid of.

    “There is a whole science of Statistics behind these polls, and believe me it is not so easy to cheat them or deceive the science of Statistics. So if I were you I would pay more attention to what they say.”

    I read Nate Silver’s analysis of them. Can’t find it right now, but he had a pretty good analysis. He said these polls can’t prove there was no fraud, but they can’t prove there was one either! Polls in Iran don’t work. There’s no correct sampling of the population. There are no statistics of the actual population, of people’s incomes and their political affilliations. Everyone lies about how much they make, who they are for and who they are against. Statistics with wrong data mean nothing. Official numbers don’t mean anything.

    “Let me modify that a bit to give you my personal perspective:
    Ahamdinejad =Very bad. Mousavi, Khamenei, Rafsanjani=Way orse…and I mean way way worse!!!”

    Way to ruin a simplified common ground! Couldn’t you leave it at all of them being bad. The fact that AN is a follower of Mesbah Yazdi qualifies him for way worse!

    “The whole nezam (which is actually a weird version of liberal democracy=very bad…. It’s alternative which is suggested by people with a pro-American/pro-Israeli agenda= Way way way worse!”

    If we find a common ground with US and Israel we will benefit. Like I said, US is after its own interests, so is Israel and we should be too.

    “Majority of Iranian people = Like the majority of the rest of humanity MISINFORMED and in a lot of cases DISINFORMED
    Minority of Iranian people (and I mean a very tiny minority and they are not green)= Well informed!”

    I guess what you are suggesting is that all we need is a good dictator!

    “I agree let’s agree to disagree. And I hope that one day the state media will be democratic (and no I don’t mean like the Western state owned media such as BBC), and NOT that we should have private TV stations. Private TVs are only mouth pieces for the capitalist elite who own them (just have a look at CNN, Fox and the like and you will see what I mean!)”

    We should have both private and public. You can’t force people to watch anything. The best you can do is to offer them choices. Majority will watch news inline with their own line of thinking. The wise can search for their news and find a middle ground somewhere between The Drudge Report and the Huffington Post, somewhere between Rahe-Sabz and Fars news, somewhere between Fox News and MSNBC, somewhere between IRIB and VOA Persian. But if IRIB and its falling ratings (by their own addmission down to less than 40% of before the elections) is any indication, people will not stand one sided news. IRIB is like the boy who cried wolf. They could be telling the truth 100% of the time right now, but no one believes them because they are so god damn one-sided and acted so unprofessionally during the uprising. They are the ones who made BBC Persian and VOA Persian a trustworthy source of news!

  20. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas:

    Shame on you for supporting murderers:

    http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8902250640

  21. pirouz_2 says:

    By the way, the previous message was for Greenio

  22. pirouz_2 says:

    “Even Kayhan doesn’t use the term “Mardomi” when talking about populism. Read in Farsi and you’ll see many of these terms transliterated in Farsi from French, English and even German. Plus notice that I corrected myself and said he’s a populist wannabe.”
    That is my whole point my friend! If they used the word “mardomy”, it would have been much harder for them to fool people into using that word as a bad word! In using the word “populist” as an insult they show you their true face! They tell you that they are the “opposite” of the “populist”! And indeed they are!
    Now listen to me, “populist” is not used just by you! I have heard this word being used all over the reformist media against Ahmadinejad! And furthermore they are not the ones whoused it as bad word originally! It is a part of a mudslinging campaign by radical rightwing neo-liberals against all decent leaders such as Chavez and Morales! In the meantime, sometimes when they don’t like a guy -and he happens to make some populist gestures-and they use the word against him too (irrespective of the fact that he might not be a populist guy just as Ahmadinejad is not!).

    ” He’s not a populist. Just makes promises of a populist president but never delivers.”
    Well at least he makes the empty “promises”, the green side doesn’t even have that much of decency! They plainly say that they support thievery and that they are against “populism” and what is so funny is that they really think that they can get away with it in Iran and get the vote of majority!

    ” You don’t like him. I don’t like him. Majority of Iranians don’t like him. Majority of the world doesn’t like him. So stop defending him.”
    You don’t like him, I agree. I don’t like him either, I agree with that too. Majority of the Iranians/world doesn’t like him?? Hell no…I 100% disagree with you! He is very popular all over the third world countries and he is popular among the poor in Iran too! Did you know that he was about to be voted as “the man of the year” in The Times magazine, by the popular vote before the magazine rushed in to cancel the “man of the year” when they learned that he was likely to win?

    “Do you really think before the Green Movement the image of Iranians was at an all time high or low?!”
    Actually….the image of Iranians was very high both before the GM and after the GM in the MAJORITY OF THE WORLD POPULATION. The problem is that you think that the world consists of USA and its western allies! That is not the world! All over the developing countries they like Iran and Ahmadinejad, believe it or not.
    “vs. the Green Movement of young men and women who look nothing like what people around the world thought Iranians look like: fanatic Muslims who shout death to everyone!”
    You have said something quite valuable here: GM supporters do not look like the commonly known image of Iranians. And that is because THEY ARE NOT the representative of the majority of Iranians. They are the represantative of the “middle-class” Iranians!

    “You mother is right. Politics is POISON. It shouldn’t be mixed with anything. Be it art or religion. Unfortunately for us it’s mixed with everything nowadays. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat to our social lives.”
    Again no we disagree. First of all I said that that advice by my mother (and by the vast majority of Iranian middle-class mothers) was the POISON, not the politics! In fact that was the only bad advice she ever gave me. And I believe every bad parent is entitled to at least one mistake and one bad advice, we are all human beings.
    Politics, my friend is mixed with EVERYTHING all around the world wether you like it or not. You can’t avoid politics no matter what! All that advice about staying away from politics helped what? All our youth (being from this side or the other) ended up getting involved in politics upto their necks during the GM. As I said, all around the world and not just in Iran, politics is mixed in all aspects of life wether you like it or not, if you read any work of literature from Brecht and Hedayat to Voltaire, from Lorca and Shamloo to Neruda, from Dostoevsky to Zola, Behrangi and Aziz Nesin, you will see that all branches of arts and literature are heavily mixed with politics all around the world!
    Now you have two choices either you become politically counscious so that you KNOW what is going on, or you become apolitical so that at the times of crisis -like GM- you become an easy prey to be manipulated fast by scoundrelly hands. Which one is it going to be?
    “But for every student who has been kicked out of school, for every couple who have been arrested on the streets, for anyone who has been forced to wear the hijab, for anyone whose heart skips a beat when they see a green Moral Police car, politics is not something they read about in books, its part of daily life”.
    Because of my age I have seen the time of your Mousavi, so believe me when I say this: I know Moral police and women being forced to Hijab much better that 90% of the supporters of the GM who think Ahmadinejad is the “mir ghazab”! They don’t even remember the time your dear Mousavi, so they don’t have a clue what a true “mir ghazab” is!!

    “Your polls have been cited before by the Leveretts. I didn’t buy them then and I don’t buy them now. Plenty of sites have already debunked them.”
    It is not becoming for an intelligent person like you to say that he doesn’t buy polls which have been conducted by the OPPONENTS of Ahmadinejad! These polls have been conducted SCIENTIFICALLY, by professional pollsters with years of experience in polling all around the globe in all kinds of countries, just because you don’t like the result of their polls. There is a whole science of Statistics behind these polls, and believe me it is not so easy to cheat them or deceive the science of Statistics. So if I were you I would pay more attention to what they say.

    “Ahmadinejad, Mousavi, Khamenei, Rafsanjani and the whole Nezam = Bad
    Majority of Iranian people = Awesome
    Minority of Iranian people = misinformed”
    Let me modify that a bit to give you my personal perspective:
    Ahamdinejad =Very bad. Mousavi, Khamenei, Rafsanjani=Way orse…and I mean way way worse!!!
    The whole nezam (which is actually a weird version of liberal democracy=very bad…. It’s alternative which is suggested by people with a pro-American/pro-Israeli agenda= Way way way worse!
    Majority of Iranian people = Like the majority of the rest of humanity MISINFORMED and in a lot of cases DISINFORMED
    Minority of Iranian people (and I mean a very tiny minority and they are not green)= Well informed!
    “And let’s just agree to disagree on who is the majority and who is the minority… Time will tell and may we one day live in an Iran where such discussions can take place on private television stations by people whose job it is to debate…”
    I agree let’s agree to disagree. And I hope that one day the state media will be democratic (and no I don’t mean like the Western state owned media such as BBC), and NOT that we should have private TV stations. Private TVs are only mouth pieces for the capitalist elite who own them (just have a look at CNN, Fox and the like and you will see what I mean!)

  23. Liz says:

    I said that because I didn’t want to call you dishonest. I spend a large proportion of my time in Tehran and it’s clear that the demontration held throughout the country and in Tehran were absolutely massive. Everyone should look at the footage of the pro-Islamic Republic demonstrations throughout Iran on Feb. 11 and after Ashura. It’s clear that Mousavi has no major support base and that the likes of Scott Lucas, through funding or otherwise, are trying to keep this myth alive in the west in order to help bring about further confrontation. By the way, one of my daughters is a student not my son! lol

  24. homer says:

    Here’s an idea- why don’t you hop on a plane and go to Iran and see what is happening there? So easy to sit around in the safety of your own home and disparage people who have been executed.

  25. pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio:

    I wish you wouldn’t go. On this site people have called me “moron”, “ignorant” and some even called my comment as “pure garbage”. Do you see me going?
    Try to avoid personal attacks, and if there is a personal attack on you, just ignore them. We are here to learn from each other! Stay and learn, and let us learn your perspective!
    I don’t have the time to reply to all of your message right now, but I will return and write a detailed reply to your message. For now I just want to say please don’t go, stay and talk to people.

  26. Greenio says:

    @Liz

    Classy move calling me a drunk. Very motherly of you! Glad you could convert to Islam. If an Iranian converts to Christianity he or she will face the death penalty. Watch out for your son, because he too will become a Green thug before you know it.

    For as long as the Iranian people (read Green thugs) don’t have access to the media, and the Iranian media does not show them or THEIR million-man marches (which dwindled because of all the tortures and rapes), you cannot talk about footage of a staged rally where hundreds of buses brought in thousands of people who looked nothing like Tehranis. Who where not as DIVERSE as the green thugs you speak of. WHERE IS THE DIVERSITY IN THE STAGED RALLY YOU SAW ON IRIB?! WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE IN DAILY LIFE IN TEHRAN? LIVE IN TEHRAN FOR A WEEK, TAKE THE METRO FROM NORTH TO SOUTH, YOU WILL NOT SEE THEM ANYWHERE. You sure don’t know more than me, and I don’t even claim to know more than you. We both know as much as we’re both exposed to. So let’s not accuse each other. For now stick to your son before he turns against you.

    @Pirouz_2

    Even Kayhan doesn’t use the term “Mardomi” when talking about populism. Read in Farsi and you’ll see many of these terms transliterated in Farsi from French, English and even German. Plus notice that I corrected myself and said he’s a populist wannabe. He’s not a populist. Just makes promises of a populist president but never delivers. You don’t like him. I don’t like him. Majority of Iranians don’t like him. Majority of the world doesn’t like him. So stop defending him.

    He’s the Western Media’s scarecrow/darling. They love him, because he gives them controversial sound bites. They used it in their demonization of Iran before the Green Movement came. Do you really think before the Green Movement the image of Iranians was at an all time high or low?! Could you not hold your head up after the bravery of young Iranians taking to the streets? The Western Media is mainly after money. And in the battle of the Greens vs. Ahmadinejad they have a perfect story that sells. The evil man they helped build in the last four years thanks to all his idiotic speeches, vs. the Green Movement of young men and women who look nothing like what people around the world thought Iranians look like: fanatic Muslims who shout death to everyone! THanks to the green movement we now have a seperation of Iran (the government) and Iran (the people). Whereas before when Basijis would attack an embassy disguised as “students,” they would be labled the Iranian People. Now if they attack, they are labled for what they are; regime thugs.

    We’re not here to brag about our knowledge of politics. You mother is right. Politics is POISON. It shouldn’t be mixed with anything. Be it art or religion. Unfortunately for us it’s mixed with everything nowadays. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat to our social lives. You say young Iranians are ignorant and know nothing about politics. I beg to differ. Their experience with politics is personal. This may or may not be a good thing. Probably not a good thing. But for every student who has been kicked out of school, for every couple who have been arrested on the streets, for anyone who has been forced to wear the hijab, for anyone whose heart skips a beat when they see a green Moral Police car, politics is not something they read about in books, its part of daily life.

    Your polls have been cited before by the Leveretts. I didn’t buy them then and I don’t buy them now. Plenty of sites have already debunked them. I would have given you MY polls, which are as accurate as yours (since polling in Iran means nothing), but ironically googling “Iran Election Fraud Evidence” is banned on my ISP in Tehran!

    I don’t plan on coming back on this page. People like Liz make me not ever want to visit this site again. But it was good chatting with you. Let’s agree to disagree and let’s simplify what we learned:

    Ahmadinejad, Mousavi, Khamenei, Rafsanjani and the whole Nezam = Bad
    Majority of Iranian people = Awesome
    Minority of Iranian people = misinformed

    And let’s just agree to disagree on who is the majority and who is the minority… Time will tell and may we one day live in an Iran where such discussions can take place on private television stations by people whose job it is to debate…

  27. pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio:
    “پوپولیست”

    No. I didn’t ask you to transliterate “populist” into Persian alphabet. I asked you for the persian word for “populist”. The persian word for populist is “مردمی” (=mardomy) and two populist icons of Iran are “Mirza taghi kahn Amir Kabir” and “Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh”. Now feel free to call Ahmadinejad a “populist” just as your leaders do. I don’t agree with you, Ahmadinejad is FAR from being a populist, in fact if he were I would be the first to support him!
    You see? this is the problem with you greens, greens are extremely ignorant when it comes to politics (be it the world or Iranian politics) and that is what makes you so easy to manipulate by the imperialist media. I know that you are not on the payroll of NED, but your leaders ARE! And they use your lack of political knowledge to manipulate you people like common tools to their own end!

    When I was young, my mom used to advise me all the time: “Son try to make a decent living through an honorable way and STAY AWAY FROM THE POLITICS. Politics is nothing but treachery and deception!” And it wasn’t only my mother, I believe, disillusioned with the revolution of 1979 and their own part in it, almost all “middle-class” parents advised their children to stay away from politics! I dare say that is the worst POISON that that they injected into our veins and the direct result of that mentality is your generation: An APOLITICAL “middle-class” generation who is extremely ignorant about even his own countries political events and background! Such a generation (your generation=greens) is very easy prey for the imperialism and is very easily manipulated and led to use a praising word such as “mardomy” as a bad word and insult!
    And it is not just that, it also shows what Green theoreticians and leaders are: since “mardomy” is a bad word and is being attributed to Ahmadinejad to prove him being the “bad guy”, it automatically implies that Grens are the opposite of “mardomy” meaning that they are: “ضد مردمی” (=zedd-e mardomy).
    Do you see how easily you are being manipulated or not?

    “Let’s see them. Don’t make us laugh though.”

    Posting links on this site could cause problems, so I will try to somehow get around it meanwhile you can google:
    TFT poll on Iranian election
    and that should lead you to the following webpage:
    terrorfreetomorrow[DOT]org/upimagestft/TFT%20Iran%20Survey%20Report%200609[DOT]pdf
    But instead of that you can read what Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty (I think they are the pollsters) wrote about it in Washington post:
    washingtonpost[DOT]com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061401757[DOT]html
    There are also two polls conducted by “world public opinion” and one by “Globescan” (which is a canadian institute), you can find the analysis of that those polls here:
    worldpublicopinion[DOT]org/pipa/pdf/feb10/IranElection_Feb10_rpt[DOT]pdf

    You can also listen to how Steven Kull presents that analysis here, it is easier and it saves time:
    newamerica[DOT]net/events/2010/iranian_public_opinion

    “While you’re at it, why not increase the number to $400 billion. Doesn’t make a difference.”

    My friend, it is not my fault that you don’t know anything about what is going on in the world. If you don’t know at least do some research before letting people manipulate you!
    It is the truth, $400 million was dedicated by Bush for subversive activity in Iran and the support of Iranian opposition.
    And Obama confirmed it too! Read a bit from Seymour Hersh, he wrote a lot about this issue.

    ” (a) where is this money? (b) what was it spent on? (c) suppose it “funded” the uprising, what’s your point? people got paid to shout slogans against the regime? they were paid to be unhappy? ”

    Again I am sorry that you know this little about world events, but make a research on: “Tulip revolution”, “Orange revolution”, “Rose revolution” and see how “little” CIA/MI6 spent during operation Ajax to pay-off the likes of “Shaban bi-mokh” to bring down the government of Mosaddegh, and then try to make parallel with the “Green Revolution” and see how awfully you have been manipulated!!

    “So what? A regime that is threatened by a $500,000 Friedman award is best off dead. A confident regime with support of a majority should not feel threatened by this or any other awards like it. ”

    Again read about “orange, rose and tulip revolutions” and and the very small amounts of money USA spent on those also read the “republican manifest” (Manifest-e Jomhourikhahi) by Akbar Ganji and see how he supports velvet revolutions, then you will see that a legally elected government can indeed be brought down with an unbelievablly small amount of money! Do you know how little a money USA spent for the coup of 1953 and brought down Mosaddegh? So perhaps you think Mosaddegh government was “best dead” because it was brought down by such a little sum?

    “Again. What’s your point? So what? A regime with 63% of the vote need not worry about any of this. In fact, they should welcome democratic movements because it would keep them in power if they do have majority of the vote at all times.”

    I am sorry if you don’t want to see that the leaders of the GM are all corrupt and work as agents of the foreign governments. If you don’t see anything wrong with it then I don’t have anything to tell you.

  28. Javad says:

    First of all, thank you Leveretts. I supported the green movement for a couple of months after the election and I even took part in one of the protests in front of the Iranian embassy in London. However, I now see that the protests are being used by western countries to hurt the Iranian people. The people who I backed never actually provided evidence for fraud and they have effectively turned into allies of the west (the same countries that supported Saddam for years). The greens are also violent and like their advocates they will only find fault with Iran. I and most other Iranians here in London will not allow US funded groups and activists to hurt Iran in our name.

  29. Liz says:

    By the way Greenio, I am a Muslim convert and my spouse is Iranian and one of my children is a university student in Tehran. I believe I know a great deal more than you or Scott Lucas does about Iran.

  30. Liz says:

    Greenio,

    I think you should stop drinking and start using your head. As I said before, the Iranian people have given their full backing to the Islamic Republic on the anniversary of the Revolution as well as after Ashura. They were not fooled by your propaganda. Go look at the footage.

  31. Greenio says:

    @Liz

    Green thugs? Just look at some youtube videos. It’s easy to pick out the thugs! They usually have chains, cables and guns. Mainly beareded. Mainly beating up on anyone from young girls and boys to elderly women and men. There are hundreds of videos. They also have a habit of running over people with their cars. They are also sexually frustrated. So I would be worried about who you pick sides with. You want to be in a room full of Basijis, or a room full of a diverse crowd of greens? Take your pick. Just know that if you’re a non-Muslim as your name suggests, the Basijis truly belive that they score points for heaven by raping you.

  32. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    Very well…

    “1) I asked you a very simple, straight forward question: You keep calling Ahmadinejad a “populist”. Do you know the persian word for “populist”?”

    پوپولیست

    I didn’t keep refer to him, I said he’s a populist President once, though I made a mistake and should have said he’s a populist wanna-be. In reality he’s as corrupt as any petty dictator.

    “2-4″

    Sure.

    “5) I have no less than 4 polling results conducted BY INDEPENDENT (at least independent from IR) western polling institutes consistent with the election results. You have ANY polls by INDEPENDENT institutes which would refute the election results? By all means! Bring it up and let’s all benefit from it! I am sure first and foremost the Leveretts will be very eager to learn about those polling results!”

    Let’s see them. Don’t make us laugh though.

    “6) You don’t need to be in Iran to know Iran in detail. In fact a lot of people outside Iran know far more than a lot of Iranians inside the country. That is what journalism and reporting is all about! That is not to say that I am not in Iran, and it is not to say that I am outside Iran either. I am simplly saying that my or your location is not necessarily relevant.”

    It’s relevant if you suddenly consider yourself champion of the poor and make general statements about how things are in Iran. It becomes clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about half the time, because you rely too much on news reports at a time that majority of reporters are kicked out of the country and the ones who do work inside the country have limited access to everything and everyone. How many interviews has Mousavi done with Western media? How many has Ahmadinejad done?

    “7) I gave you names with verifiable evidence as to their collusion (and being on the payroll) of foreign governments.
    It is a fact that US has put aside some $400 million to help Iranian opposition and finance subversive activity in Iran! Unless you are going to say that this money was given to Ahmadinejad at least some of it must have been spent to buy off so-called-Iranian journalists and “activists”!”

    While you’re at it, why not increase the number to $400 billion. Doesn’t make a difference. (a) where is this money? (b) what was it spent on? (c) suppose it “funded” the uprising, what’s your point? people got paid to shout slogans against the regime? they were paid to be unhappy?

    “It is a fact that Ganji has been given a $500,000 Friedman award.”

    So what? A regime that is threatened by a $500,000 Friedman award is best off dead. A confident regime with support of a majority should not feel threatened by this or any other awards like it.

    “It is a fact that Ali Afshari, Akbar Mohammadi,Ramin Jahanbegloo,Hossein Bashiriyeh, Haleh Esfandiari, Siamak Namazi, Ladan Boroumand have been NED fellows. It is a fact that Mehrangiz Kar has recieved the “democracy award” from Laura Bush!!”

    Again. What’s your point? So what? A regime with 63% of the vote need not worry about any of this. In fact, they should welcome democratic movements because it would keep them in power if they do have majority of the vote at all times.

    “It is a fact that N. Aghasoltan’s fiance has gone and shook hands with the murderer called Shimon Peres!”

    Everyone in the GM condemned this meeting, including Neda’s family. You forget WHY he ended up being a celebrity in the first place. His ex-girlfriend was SHOT AND KILLED by the Basij. She’s a symbol of the movement not him. And your beloved IRIB is so pissed off at her martyrdom that they have so far delivered four storylines as to how she was killed and by whom!

    “It is a fact that you guys have yelled on the streets “Death to Palestine!””

    This is not a fact. Show me a clip. We yelled “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life For Iran.” Naturally because of all the money our government wastes (or steals in their name) on them. That doesn’t mean death to Palestine. And supposed some folks did yell this. So what? The official rallies keep yelling Death To America, Death to England and Death to Israel. This is not wise foreign policy. It gets us nowhere. When is the last time you heard people in the US or England or Israel yell Death to Iran? What would happen if they did? How would that make you feel?

    “It is a fact that Forbes has named Rafsanjani as one of the richest Mullahs!”

    I am no big fan of him. No one is. But good for him. What does that have to do with anything?! Ahmadinejad’s ministers are quickly catching up with him though. Soon they’ll end up on that list.

    “It is a fact that REFORMISTS (Khoeiniha, Abbas Abdi, Hajjarian just to name a few)were the ones who were responsible for the US embassy hostage taking and that they colluded with R. Reagan to help him bring down the Carter government.”

    What does that have to do with the Green Movement? So now you’re pro-American?! They’ve all admitted it was wrong, and yet the current regime continues to celebrate the anniversary at a time that majority of the original hostage takers are in prison!

    “It is a fact that it was the REFORMISTS who colluded with R. Reagan in the Irangate, to buy American arms through ISRAEL while they were chanting “Death to Israel” and “The way to Al-Quds passes through Karbala” and pushed Iranian youth enmass to be slaughtered by a million!”

    It wasn’t the reformists. They didn’t really exist back then. They were just all part of a united front with minor infighting. At times of war shit happens. But it was the hardline elements of the regime that wanted to keep the war going. Since then people have grown up, moved on, etc. Where was Ahmadinejad during the war?

    “It is a fact that Mousavi and Rafsanjani were DIRECTLY responsible (after Mr. Khomeini) for the execution of some ~7000 Iranian political prisoners who HAD ALREADY been convicted and were doing their jail terms in the summer of 1988.”

    They are were and still are. But since some have moved to the right some to the left. So what? That makes it okay to have political prisoners now? It makes it okay to torture, rape and kill?

    “It is a fact that Abbas Abdi was the interrogator of Mr. Amir Entezam.
    It is a fact that Rafsanjani, Mousavi, Karoubi (as well as Khamenei) were directly responsible for the execution of 1000s up on 1000s of Iranian opposition members in the 80s (there were people as young as 19 among the executed!)”

    Whose getting sentimental now? If anything you should be saying they’re all full of shit. Not go out on the rim and defend the hardline elements of the regime. YOu’re better off supporting the moderates or those who are NOW moderates.

    “It is a fact that Mr.Atrianfar himself was an interrogator/torturer during the 80s!”

    What do you Ahmadinejad was doing in the 80s?!

    “Shall I go on?”

    Please do. Entertain us. Feed us more distractions and justifications… So far no evidence!

    “One does not need to be in Iran to know about these facts!”

    One needs to be in Iran to know about RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. You’ve given me nothing that discredits the GM. You are still denying the Green Movement has diversity. Not sure how you think we can end up with a secular democracy in supporting the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime…

  33. Liz says:

    It’s clear that the green thugs have little to say. The people of Iran turned out in the tens of millions throughout the country twice in 6 weeks to support the Islamic Republic. Their propaganda machine can not deny this. Hence, I think that the Leverett team should ignore Scott Lucas, who behaves more like an obsessed stalker.

  34. pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio

    1) I asked you a very simple, straight forward question: You keep calling Ahmadinejad a “populist”. Do you know the persian word for “populist”?

    2) Who told you that I lived outside of Iran? I made no comments indicating as to where I live. And I don’t intend to make any comment as to where I live.

    3) We are not here to do “dardeh del” with each other. I never asked you where you lived, I don’t care where you live. I have no problem with making friends with you and getting to know you better, but this not the place. This is a place to make discussion and debate, and we have to bring substance to support our claims.

    4) Since this site is for debate, please, if you are going to make a claim, bring up the substance, so that everyone can benefit. I have read all your comments, and so far I have been unable to see even one claim from you which was supported by any sort of evidence. All you say is I saw this, I saw that, my friend saw this, my friend saw that, I heard this, I heard that. BRING OUT THE EVIDENCE! Hearsay and rumor are not evidence!

    5) I have no less than 4 polling results conducted BY INDEPENDENT (at least independent from IR) western polling institutes consistent with the election results. You have ANY polls by INDEPENDENT institutes which would refute the election results? By all means! Bring it up and let’s all benefit from it! I am sure first and foremost the Leveretts will be very eager to learn about those polling results!

    6) You don’t need to be in Iran to know Iran in detail. In fact a lot of people outside Iran know far more than a lot of Iranians inside the country. That is what journalism and reporting is all about! That is not to say that I am not in Iran, and it is not to say that I am outside Iran either. I am simplly saying that my or your location is not necessarily relevant.

    7) I gave you names with verifiable evidence as to their collusion (and being on the payroll) of foreign governments.
    It is a fact that US has put aside some $400 million to help Iranian opposition and finance subversive activity in Iran! Unless you are going to say that this money was given to Ahmadinejad at least some of it must have been spent to buy off so-called-Iranian journalists and “activists”!
    It is a fact that Ganji has been given a $500,000 Friedman award. It is a fact that Ali Afshari, Akbar Mohammadi,Ramin Jahanbegloo,Hossein Bashiriyeh, Haleh Esfandiari, Siamak Namazi, Ladan Boroumand have been NED fellows. It is a fact that Mehrangiz Kar has recieved the “democracy award” from Laura Bush!! It is a fact that N. Aghasoltan’s fiance has gone and shook hands with the murderer called Shimon Peres! It is a fact that you guys have yelled on the streets “Death to Palestine!”
    It is a fact that Forbes has named Rafsanjani as one of the richest Mullahs!
    It is a fact that REFORMISTS (Khoeiniha, Abbas Abdi, Hajjarian just to name a few)were the ones who were responsible for the US embassy hostage taking and that they colluded with R. Reagan to help him bring down the Carter government.
    It is a fact that it was the REFORMISTS who colluded with R. Reagan in the Irangate, to buy American arms through ISRAEL while they were chanting “Death to Israel” and “The way to Al-Quds passes through Karbala” and pushed Iranian youth enmass to be slaughtered by a million!
    It is a fact that Mousavi and Rafsanjani were DIRECTLY responsible (after Mr. Khomeini) for the execution of some ~7000 Iranian political prisoners who HAD ALREADY been convicted and were doing their jail terms in the summer of 1988.
    It is a fact that Abbas Abdi was the interrogator of Mr. Amir Entezam.
    It is a fact that Rafsanjani, Mousavi, Karoubi (as well as Khamenei) were directly responsible for the execution of 1000s up on 1000s of Iranian opposition members in the 80s (there were people as young as 19 among the executed!)
    It is a fact that Mr.Atrianfar himself was an interrogator/torturer during the 80s!
    Shall I go on?
    One does not need to be in Iran to know about these facts!

  35. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    I’m glad you decided not to end our conversation. It is just getting interesting. If only I could subscribe to your rants (and you to mine) we would find a common ground in no time! My modem connection teamed up with my shady proxy setting won’t let me answer every point of your article…

    First thing’s first. I actually grew up in the States, went to school there and only 3 years ago decided to come back to Iran to help out. Allow me to maintain my vagueness as to what I do as I would hate another interrogation session! But I do come across a lot of the poor folks (mainly prostitutes and drug addicts – go figure). I usually try to keep my own personal opinions to myself when in their presence. But I am always curious and in Iran all conversations usually end up being about politics anyways! Long story short, I probably have a better idea of what the “poor” think than you. What you read about in blogs and news sites I come across in person — mainly in urban areas. So naturally i am the last person you can accuse of being out of touch with the poor. You probably haven’t even talked to anyone remotely close to the kind of people I come across, but I won’t accuse you of anything, as I am sure if put in my position you too will have the heart to help… I admit that many of the poor villagers did vote for Ahmadinejad and they probably still like him. In fact they liked him so much that many of them were proud that they were able to vote for him as many as four times! (They didn’t stamp their shenasnameh, so they would go to the next village and vote again!) But villagers are a mis-informed minority without much access to anything that would help them make up their minds.

    That said, your views and descriptions of the GM is similar to how members of the TEA party describe President Obama and his followers. You are extreme in your analysis of what the GM is made of and what their goals and intentions are. You do nothing but accuse them of the same things the Islamic Republic accuses them of, and all these accusations are baseless. You generalize too much (I admit that I too probably generalize too much, but that’s the nature of holding a discussion in a comments section of some random news article by Leveretts of all people!) It’s easy to say so and so are paid by so and so and therefore all those related to so and so are foreign agents! Followers of the GM, the millions who marched the streets right after the election to ask where their vote is ARE IRANIANS WITHOUT ANY CONNECTIONS TO THE WEST. Like it or not, they ARE IRANIANS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. You continue to fail to acknowledge that. You continue to dismiss their DIVERSITY. You continue to dismiss their RIGHTS. You continue to turn a blind eye to the INJUSTICE brought to them. You continue to cite only statistics and propoganda of the regime.

    All I am asking of you is to MOVE TO IRAN AND LIVE HERE. If within a year you still hold that majority of Iranians are pro-Ahmadinejad I will shut up for good. If you still believe 63% of Iranians actually voted for him, I will leave Iran and never look back! Forget the opinion polls that work in your favor. i can give you twice as many that work in MY favor. But that’s all pointless and it won’t take us anywhere.

    Perhaps you have lost all hope in your fellow countrymen. You think we are hopeless. We will never get a secular democracy because majority of us are dumb retards who don’t know the difference between a good government and a bad one. I am here to tell you that you can’t lose hope. I think Iran is ready for a secular democracy – and the reformers are a step in that direction without an all out revolution. I am here to tell you that the traditional extreme conservatives who might support the SL are now a small minority. I appreciate your attempt at an objective realistic view of Iran. But your objectivity is at a point where you are neither objective or realistic. You need to come back on the ground and travel across Iran a bit.

    As for SUBSTANTIAL ARGUMENT against Ahmadinejad, I am sure you are aware of the recent report by a SL appointed watchdog who found his government the most corrupt in the history of the Islamic Republic. And that’s from a watchdog appointed by the very SL who is 100% behind him! The corruption charges and failures in both domestic and foreign policy as found by the opposition is much worse – as you can imagine. I could give a long list of his failed domestic and foreign policies but you will probably just accuse me of being an agent of foreign powers and a victim of a biased Western media and dismiss anything that might work against your views of your so-called elected President! So I guess there’s really no point.

    As for the “over-educated” comment, I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that it doesn’t mean you’re “too educated,” you are right, you can never be too educated. But you can be OVER educated, which means you stick your head in books without much real-life experience and you think you know everything there is to know. You are book-smart, not street-smart! And you are not too educated to be part of the GM, you are too out of touch!

  36. Liz is an idiot says:

    I’m responding to Liz who is so out of touch with reality and called the greens “barbarians”

    Liz said: “How about the countless stories about green barbarians being chased by the police or locals? The green thugs would pound on people’s doors with clubs and demand that they open their doors or else… Sometimes when frightened people would finally open their doors (or their doors were broken), they were intimidated into silence until the police or locals would leave.”

    I was in Iran during the election and after. I saw with my own eyes how young people were getting beaten while they were peacefully protesting..

    One time they ran away from the government thugs, all bloodied and tired, looking for somewhere to hide, I proudly let them in my house. 2 min later 6 or 7 police wearing all black started banging on the main door. They broke the door and got in, and since there are more than one apartment in the building they didn’t know where we were. they banged on everyone’s door with the batons and almost broke some of them, scaring women and children living there to death. Since they didn’t find anyone, they went in the parking lot and broke all the cars’ windows and lights and left.

    so you wonder who was in my apartment? 2 guys and 2 girls all around 22 to 25. didn’t have anything on them but their cellphones. they were bloodied but not scared. they had tea at my place, and decided to leave. I said where are you going, they said back to where we were, to voice our opposition. now that’s called bravery and standing up for the truth. Something that you, liz and specially Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett will never ever truly understand.

    Greens dont want any foreign intervention, this is a domestic problem, and it will have to be solved there, no matter how long it will take. But What I am certain of is that the regime’s remaining days are numbered. Truth will prevail at some point. I might not see it, but my children will.

  37. Cyrus says:

    My last 2-cents on this: people shouldn’t confuse this or any other blog with a newspaper, and shouldn’t confuse the Leveretts with journalists. They are under no obligation to come up with original sources and material challenging the official statements. They have no way to know for a fact whether the convicts were in fact members of terrorist group or not. However that doesn’t mean they can’t criticize a journalist who simply leaves that fact out of her reporting.

  38. j r says:

    “IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MISLEADING ITS READERS AGAIN—THIS TIME ON IRAN?”

    Is a frog’s butt watertight?

  39. kooshy says:

    Pirouz_z

    Thanks for your comments and please don’t take me wrong originally it seemed to me that your argument is looking at an act of terror very narrowly.

    “Anyway, in case of education being a right and not a previledge, a lot of people agree with me.”

    That statement certainly includes me I will also include health, justice and environment to this list

    “As for the relationship between crime, social justice and education, I believe it is an observable fact that by an increase in the level of education of individuals and better state of social justice results there is a drastic decrease in the level of crime.”

    I also agree with this 2nd statement

    However
    1-Terrorism can be a violent act by a minority against the majority decision in a true (educated) democracy; there you would want the majority’s decision to be defended by law and punishment.
    2-“Terrorism” today is also implied to a reaction by a majority against a ruling minority but this happens only in a non democratic society, this act shouldn’t be called terrorism since this society is not democratic to begin with.

  40. Sh says:

    Kooshy

    You are right on that, but you have presented our history a little bit off. Iranian civilization is older than 7000 years. The number 2500 is usually refers to the history of ‘kingdom’. Iranians were present before establishment of kingdom. The civilization of Kerman is 7000 years.

    James Canning:

    Thank you for your attention. Iran, as you mentioned, repeatedly said that is up to Palestinian people to decide. As you know, no one in the region, Arabs and non Arabs did not vote for the partition of Palestine. Other countries with large population like India and China did not vote for the partition of Palestine either. No country including Iran, Turkey, and Greece voted for the partition of Palestine. The Soviet Union was not on board in the first round of voting and the Zionist did not get enough votes. Later, Stalin agreed due to many Zionist among the ‘socialists’ in the Soviet Union. Britain transfered Palestine to Rothschild but abstain at the time of voting for the partition of Palestine.
    Nathan Rothschild in early 19th century said: “I control the British Empire because I control the money supply.” Therefore, Rothschild influence was crucial for Balfour declaration, but Balfour never imagined the indigenous population of Palestine will be forced out to make room for the colonists. He wrote the following letter to Rothschild:

    Dear Lord Rothschild,
    I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
    “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
    I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
    Yours sincerely,
    Arthur James Balfour

    As the above letter shows, he did not want ethnic cleansing and genocide, where Palestinians have experienced since.
    The Zionists for the past 61 years and support of major Western countries have stolen Palestinian land through settlement, demolition of Palestinian houses, killings and wage of ward. They have changed the facts on the ground dramatically where two sovereign states IS NOT POSSIBLE. Iran from the beginning said “one state for all” but no one listens. Now, many fair minded people have reached to the same conclusion but closet Zionists still mislead people and preach ‘two state solution’. Chomsky is one of them. Today, even John Mearsheimer says the same thing, there is no solution except one state for all.
    http://www.countercurrents.org/tucker280407.htm

  41. Pirouz_2 says:

    James;
    I wish you hadn’t said that! That question was intended for Greenio, I was wondering if he knew what the word that he keeps associating with Ahmadinejad actually means!
    Still no hram is done. Greenio can still tell us the persian word for “populist”.
    He should be very good at Persian since he has been in Iran all his life apparently (or at least most of it?) and knows Iran very intimately.

  42. Pirouz_2 says:

    Kooshy:

    What is utopia and what is achievable is open to debate. You are certainly entitled to your opinion to think my idea of a democracy is utopic. World would be a very boring place if we all agreed on everything. Wouldn’t it?
    Suffice to say that a lot of realities which we live today, was considered perhaps as utopic say 500 years ago.
    Anyway, in case of education being a right and not a previledge, a lot of people agree with me. In fact European countries are far ahead of USA in that sense and all western europeans provide free education to all their citizens (with literacy rates standing at 100%).
    As for the relationship between crime, social justice and education, I believe it is an observable fact that by an increase in the level of education of individuals and better state of social justice results there is a drastic decrease in the level of crime.

  43. James Canning says:

    Pirouz_2,

    As you may know, the “populist” political movement in the US grew up in the late 1800s in response to the growth of monopolies, and to what farmers and small merchants in the Middle West (and elewhere) saw as unfair treatment by the railroads (which had a monopoly on transportation, to a large degree). Populism was opposed to plutocracy, and tried to benefit the “little guy” rather than what now would be called “fatcats”. I would place Ahmadinejad smack in the middle of this movement (viewed from an American historical perspective).

  44. kooshy says:

    Sh

    At least 2500 years of history is the evidence, that you are right, Iranian’s like all other nations can be fooled but only some of the times, but not all of the times
    otherwise like many vanished nations and societies we wouldn’t be here defending our national rights.

  45. James Canning says:

    The link posted by SH on May 13th 1:57 pm is well worth reading. I agree with Jeffrey Blankfort that the Iraq War was a scheme intended to “protect” Israel, and that the stories about the war being an effort to secure energy supplies are just a cover story very useful in deceiving the astonishingly ignorant American public.

  46. Sh says:

    Is SCOTT LUCAS an agent of the ‘human rights’ intelligent services of the West going to post the following news posted by Seymour Hersh?

    US TROOPS EXECUTING PRISONERS IN AFGHANISTAN

    We should keep in mind that majority of these ‘prisoners’ are kidnapped from the streets, on his website funded by NED and other intelligent services like similar to funding of the “Documentation Center” led by Payam Akhavan, a board member of Canadian NED, “Rights and Democracy’. They reported:

    The journalist who helped break the story that detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were being tortured by their US jailers told an audience at a journalism conference last month that American soldiers are now executing prisoners in Afghanistan.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19133

  47. James Canning says:

    Sh,

    That piece by J.J. Goldberg is very interesting (your post May 13th 1:41pm). Given that Iran has made clear a number of times, that if the Palestinians make a deal with Israel, Iran will accept it, do you oppose such a course of action?

  48. Pirouz_2 says:

    Sh;
    From now on, no more answers from me to rude people. Be polite and you will get your answer.

  49. James Canning says:

    Hamran,

    I agree there is much good material to be found on this site. Does anyone else wonder whether Scott Lucas supports the territorial integrity of Iran? And the territorial integrity of Iraq? WINEP (offshoot of AIPAC) pushes for major border changes in the Middle East, in part to camouflage Israel’s effort to keep the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

  50. kooshy says:

    Pirouz_2

    “I think you misunderstood my view. In a real democracy, education is a right not a priviledge, therefore there would be no case where people can’t “afford” to go to school.”
    Pirouz sorry to say but it seems to me a true democracy for you is a utopia (Persian Pardis) where everyone is educated and will not resort to terror, that has not happened in this planet and I don’t believe it ever will it truly is against rule of the nature. Still if there was a true democracy as you wished it was, if in such a community an educated resorts to terror, what would you do would you send Him/her back to school? At one point a community will have to punish (jail/incurs ration etc.)
    I like to think I am a naturalist liberal, and I happen to believe that the man like all other livings is part of this same nature with all attached evils and goods which he brings to himself (Still part of the Planet) and its habitat.

  51. Sh says:

    Read articles by Jeffrey Blankfort to get out of your ignorance. Blankfort and many others who are familiar with Chomsky’s politics call him a CLOSET ZIONIST. Those with limited knowledge will stay a fool if they don’t expand their knowledge of the history. As ma goftan va as jahelan nashanidan.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/nc-blankfort.html

  52. Pirouz_2 says:

    Sh;
    You guys are fast starting to become amusing! :D

  53. Sh says:

    Pirouz_2

    Stop lionizing Chomsky more than he is. Chomsky is everywhere. He goes to the heart of the neoliberal and zionist propaganda center, CHARLIE ROSE SHOW not once but multiple times. He gave a talk to the students at the WEST POINT, an elite military training. He has gone to all the elite university including Harvard many times. Where else do you want him to go. He even has gone to American University of Beirut and has talked to Nassrullah. Interesting enough he has not gone to Iran, where is a zionist target. How about that? He circulated a petition with Joe Biden, a self declared zionist, and called for release of NED agents such as Haleh Esfandiari and Jahanbeglou, and now he with other CIA agents such as Gloria Seinem is calling for the release of the ‘students hikers’. I don’t know when the Iranian fools want to wake up. Chomsky is a closet zionist and he know how to fool you and people like you especially Iranians.

    http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/123677/

  54. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio;

    By the way Greenio, you kept calling Ahmadinejad a “populist”. Do you even know what “populist” means? I mean since you have been living all your life in Iran, I am assuming that you know the persian word for “populist”? Right?

  55. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Greenio;
    I was going to end our conversation, but since you insist, here we go:

    Allow me first thank you for the compliment that you made to me by calling me an “over-educated” brat in your previous comment. Although I must tell you that there is no such thing as “over-educated”. No one can be over-educated (education is one of those things that no matter how much you take you can still take more); you probably meant to say that I am “too educated” to be green? Well in that case I thank you!
    IN FACT EVERYONE ON THIS SITE IS TOO EDUCATED TO BE GREEN!

    As for your most recent comment:

    “You’ve given us nothing but justification for the wrongful actions of an illegal regime.”

    Believe it or not I am against Islamic Republic, if you must know I would like for Iran to be a secular socialist republic governed by REAL democracy and not by some weird version of a “liberal democracy” (as it de facto is today).

    The difference between you and I is that I KNOW THAT I AM A PART OF A MINORITY BUT YOU ARE UNDER THE DELUSION THAT YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS CONSTITUTE THE MAJORITY.
    As such, I may a stand a chance of making a change, you on the other hand my friend will NEVER stand a chance to make a change. In order to change a bitter reality you should first see it for what it is. If you “deny” the reality you will never be able to change that reality, you will just beat your head against the wall.

    “Even if we were to assume Ahmadinejad’s supporters are a majority (I strongly believe they are not, simply because the quality of life is much worse off than 5 years ago), even if he has support of the majority, the way they are treating us “minority” cannot be justified by you or anyone.”

    1) There are tons of examples where people have made the wrong choice of voting for a government consecutively despite their deteriorating economic conditions. Just look at American elections one after the other which have brought governments consecutively into power which have damaged their life standards over and over again. This does not mean that the elections were fraudulent in USA.

    2) I am not trying to justify government’s crack down on the coup d’etat activists (greens), far from it, I think that it was a very stupid act, they could have handled it far better.

    3) You guys are not a simple minority in search of its legitimate rights! Had you been there you would have found me to be the first to give you my support despite you being a minority! If you had not asked for the annulment of an election in which your candidate had lost by a large margin, if you had not tried to overrule the vote of the large masses who didn’t vote for your candidate and instead had made demonstrations for your RIGHTS, you would have found me among you!
    What is DISGRACEFUL about you people, what makes me NOT take sides with you people is that your leaders are corrupt foreign agents with criminal past AND PRESENT. What is so disgusting about the GM is that it is a coup d’etat movement based on foreign assistance and money closely interlinked with NED!

    “Even as a minority we deserve access to media, a say in the economy, in foreign policy and in the way the country should be run. A couple of TV appearances by people who were never invited back to speak on IRIB does not constitute “absolute freedom.”

    1) As a minority, apart from your own newspapers and websites you have FULL ACCESS AND COMPLETE SUPPORT of the corporate western media (BBC, CNN, FOX, Jerusalem Post …)

    2) How much do you think any REAL OPPOSITION in the west, has access to the main stream media? How often do you think people such as Finklestein, Naomi Klein or Chomsky get to speak their views on the main stream US media?
    Your candidates had the chance to do a debate live on TV and they lost it BIG TIME. Ahmadinejad made fool of them both. Apart from that people like Kawakebian and Zibakalam have made numerous appearences on TV, and they have done numerous debates in the universities and none of them was arrested.

    3) You people’s main problem is not that you cannot criticize economy on TV, your problem is that YOU HAVE NO SUBSTANTIAL arguement against Ahmadinejad! You people have THE EXACT SAME economic goals and strategies. Apart from that Ahmadinejad made some populist gestures and distributed money and food (potatoes) among people, and you guys made the shameful slogan of “death to potatoe!”. With every populist gesture that he made you people accused him of “pro-panhandling” economic policies and in doing so you insulted the vast masses of Iranian poor as being “panhandlers”. That part is not so “unexpected”, all right wingers accuse the poor as “panhandlers”. What was “unexpected” and indeed “funny” was that you people were so out of touch with reality that you thought Iran was Sweden and you thought you can get away with insulting the poor (which constitute the SOLID majority in Iran) and when you naturally lost you started crying “fraud! fraud!”

    4) “Absolute freedom” does not exist anywhere in the world. However, even if it existed, I would assume its first sign would be that people would respect the vote of majority (however much they may hate it) rather than trying to annule their vote!
    I would say greens are THE LAST people in Iran who have a right to talk about freedom! The most BASIC of freedoms is a right to vote, and a respect for the vote of majority!

    “Your facts and evidence is as good as his facts and evidence! It’s all a big joke to everyone. Even the conservatives in Iran have no choice but to laugh at his statistics, claims and whatnot.”

    Look, I gave referred to historic events in Iran’s recent past with Rafsanjani, Mousavi, Karoubi, Abdi, Hajjarian being directly responsible. I give you poll results from independent western polling institutes (4 of them) all of them consistent with election results. In return all you have done is getting sentimental and curse on Ahmadinejad and me! Is this your idea of a debate?

    “He’s a moron and you are I’m afraid a moron if you believe him for a second. But keep it up, I’ll let time prove you wrong…”

    That is all you have to offer? calling me a moron? Or calling Ahmadinejad -who has outmatched every single western reporter who tried to corner him- a moron? That is all you got? “name calling”? :-D

  56. Alan,

    “I don’t see any huge issue with Nazila Fathi’s article. It seems to say that two of the five were executed for bombings, while 3 of the 5 were executed for being members of the PJAK. If that is the extent of the charges against the latter 3, guilty or not, the execution is a total disgrace by anybody’s standards. As far as the other 2 are concerned, if guilty it is not so disgraceful, but still a disgrace by my standards.”

    I think you sum up it pretty well. As for the two convicted bombers, assuming they indeed were guilty, I think it boils down to what’s the correct punishment, which leads to personal views about the death penalty. As for the other three, I agree strongly that mere membership in the PJAK does not justify what happened to them (or any punishment remotely close to that, in my personal view). We should have focused more on what else, if anything, was charged and proved against those three. Sometimes during that long thread, that did happen, but I agree with you that it got way too far off the point for most of its course.

  57. M.Ali says:

    Correction “therefore if it is not unique, it should NOT be used as “evidence” that is somehow linked to the Greens”

  58. M.Ali says:

    I posted this in EA, in response to Scott’s argument and I want to post it here for the others. My argument is that the no-notice execution is not something unique in the government’s record, therefore if it is not unique, it should be used as “evidence” that is somehow linked to the Greens. Therefore, while arguments can be made against the legal process, it would be disingenuous to link it to the Greens:

    My comment to Scott:

    Here is a quick find:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delara_Darabi

    “Delara Darabi was executed in the early morning of 1 May 2009 at Rasht prison, without prior notification to her attorney.”

    Note the date, before the elections.

    Do we expect a change in your analysis now?

  59. Sh says:

    Rehmat:
    Would you please post the site that has the list of zionist hasbara? I have difficulty to find it again.

    Nazila Fathi is a zionist hasbara and you can find her name among other zionist supporters. Thus, she is a biased journalist where can not be TRUSTED.

  60. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2

    You’ve given us nothing but justification for the wrongful actions of an illegal regime. Even if we were to assume Ahmadinejad’s supporters are a majority (I strongly believe they are not, simply because the quality of life is much worse off than 5 years ago), even if he has support of the majority, the way they are treating us “minority” cannot be justified by you or anyone. Even as a minority we deserve access to media, a say in the economy, in foreign policy and in the way the country should be run. A couple of TV appearances by people who were never invited back to speak on IRIB does not constitute “absolute freedom.”

    Ahmadinejad is a populist President full of empty promises to the poor. Promises he never keeps. If you choose to worship him, be my guest. But I haven’t heard a single word from his mouth that resembles anything remotely close to the truth. He’s possibly the biggest liar to ever represent Iran on the international stage and that my friend is shameful.

    Your facts and evidence is as good as his facts and evidence! It’s all a big joke to everyone. Even the conservatives in Iran have no choice but to laugh at his statistics, claims and whatnot.

    He’s a moron and you are I’m afraid a moron if you believe him for a second. But keep it up, I’ll let time prove you wrong…

  61. Alan says:

    I don’t see any huge issue with Nazila Fathi’s article. It seems to say that two of the five were executed for bombings, while 3 of the 5 were executed for being members of the PJAK. If that is the extent of the charges against the latter 3, guilty or not, the execution is a total disgrace by anybody’s standards. As far as the other 2 are concerned, if guilty it is not so disgraceful, but still a disgrace by my standards.

    I also think it is not unreasonable for Fathi to point or allude to a pattern of executions in the lead up to public events. I think it is a fair point to put out there for others to interpret how they see fit.

    Regarding the debate in general, the primary source over the 10-minute trial is the lawyer who was there. If somebody else was there and refutes his account, then we can compare what they say. But the guy is a primary source, and that can’t be disputed.

    The rest of the political back and forth on the thread is partisan nonsense.

  62. Pirouz says:

    Scott, I read your long-winded counter to this post and left a comment at EA.

    I must say, you put a lot of effort into your anti-Iran “journalistic” crusade. Your tools of choice: cherry picking, hype and emotionalism.

  63. pirouz_2 says:

    Greeno;
    there is no point in giving arguement or evidence to you, if I point to the shining sun, you will close your eyes and screem that it is night.
    Feel free to live in your fantasy world, where Mousavi has the support of the majority.

  64. pirouz_2 says:

    Kooshy;

    I think you misunderstood my view. In a real democracy, education is a right not a priviledge, therefore there would be no case where people can’t “afford” to go to school.

  65. Scott Lucas says:

    Thanks to all for comments — I look forward to responding to points of substance, but I have been occupied with reporting and analysis.

    Drawing in part from this conversation, I have just posted the followed on EA: “Iran Special: Executions, Politics, and the Attack on Nazila Fathi and The New York Times.”

    http://enduringamerica.com/2010/05/13/iran-special-executions-politics-and-the-attack-on-nazila-fathi-and-the-new-york-times/

    Scott

  66. M.Ali says:

    I live in Iran, Greeno, and let me tell you something about Tehranis. They stuck to their own. To a lot of middle-class and upper-class Tehranis, they not only dont mix with southern Tehranis, but they dont even go to those areas. And how many Tehranis know anything about other cities in Iran aside from their holiday sessions in Shomal, partying in their villa?

    Visit the smaller cities in Iran and you will see Ahmedinijad’s pictures in sandwhich shops…

  67. Greenio says:

    @Pirouz_2 and Kamran and other like-minded folks here;

    I hate to say it, but the more I read your posts the more I come to the conclusion that you are spoiled over-educated ivy-league brats who have either never been to Iran or your experience of living in Iran is limited to 3-months out of the year because you have problems with your army service and are afraid of being drafted to serve the very regime you are spending countless hours defending here.

    It is easy to defend Ahmadinejad/Khamenei’s government from the comfort of your uncensored high speed Internet out West. Seems like the cool anti-establishment thing to do. But perhaps you should first MOVE to Iran before being fooled by the propaganda of the Islamic Republic. Once you do you will realize that the 63% you claim to have voted for Ahmadinejad is a non-existent bunch nowhere to be found in the streets of Tehran and elsewhere in Iran. If you were here in Iran and drove from Northern Tehran to Southern Tehran, to West and East of Tehran on days leading up to the election you would have seen who was supporting who. The poor and the rich alike were in large numbers supporting Mousavi and NOT Ahmadinejad. And this is not limited to Tehran, I drove around Isfahan too. The support for Mousavi was overwhelming in all the neighborhoods. And talk all you want about the Green Movement being for the rich Northern Tehranis. If you had walked the walk of 25 Khordad, Qods Day, etc. you would have seen people from all over the place. You would have seen chadoris alongside Gucci-wearing bad-hijabi girls! You would have seen worker-types wearing sandals alongside business men wearing ties. Where is this diversity in the crowds staged for pro-government rallies? They are all poor villagers brought in with promise of food and cash.

    On Student Day thousands of these hired hoodlums were brought in to Tehran University to stage pro-government rallies. I asked one of them what was the name of the street adjacent to the university (Enghelab)? He said “Velenjak!” Does this sound like someone who goes to the University? What’s worse is that they started to pray “Namaz Fath” and they all faced South-East of the campus and not Ghebleh! They hadn’t even been to the Friday prayers to know which way the Ghebleh is! Are these the “poor iranian people” you are defending?!

    Before you continue with your rants bashing Western countries, start living in Tehran for a bit. You are products of the freedom those very liberal democracies you are now criticizing. You are biting the hand the fed you! Compare the lives of 4 million plus Iranians living outside of Iran with the 70 million Iranians living in Iran. Are they better off or are we? Are they happier or are we? Is their living condition better or is ours?

    All that said… It would actually benefit the Green Movement and the Iranian people if you folks along with the much-hated Leveretts keep saying that the government has the support of the majority of the people. Because soon the Iranian government itself will start believing your lies and will under-rate the power of the majority which will eventually overthrow their unjust rule.

    به امید پیروزی حق بر باطل

  68. Kamran says:

    I am really impressed with some of the material here. Eric A. Brill and others are really good to read. They help people see through US propaganda which is more or less represented by Scott Lucas and a couple of others here. This is important, because in Persian there is a great deal of information for those who want the facts. Hence, the very strong public support, in Iran, for the Islamic Republic against green organizations. However, in English it is hard to find anything, except for green propaganda. The Iranians sadly don’t put out much in English or do PR. Perhaps they are indifferent to western public opinion, because of the hegemony of western propaganda. Nevertheless, that should change.

    I really admire the Leveretts for speaking the truth in the face of irrational animosity and abuse. They are true supporters of US interests and at the same time the rights of the Iranian people.

  69. Cyrus T. says:

    There is no doubt that the American media establishment has a vested interest in demonizing the Iranian regime. However, there is a danger in giving the regime too much deference, too, which is what your article does. As you state, in the U.S., people are wrongfully convicted. However, to compare the American legal system to the Iranian one is absurd. Not only are there far more “wrongful convictions” in Iran than in the U.S., but over the last 30 years, the Iranian regime has consistently used the legal system to crush its critics/opponents by way of mass executions and lengthy sentences. It is common knowledge in Iran that some convictions for “terrorist acts” or “drug dealing” are, in reality, political executions by a different name (ones intended to present a veneer of legitimacy for these assassinations). It is entirely reasonable and justified for people to be skeptical at these executions, and the timing of them IS highly dubious, given that the anniversary of the uprisings of June 09 are approaching. While I applaud your criticism of the bias of the NY Times, you may want to take a good look in the mirror, too.

  70. kooshy says:

    Pirouz_2

    considering what you are suggesting, in a true democracy, if someone wants to get education but can’t afford one, all He or she needs to do is just blow up some people and be sent to a school to get an education, so if that is the case then the bigger your terror is, the higher free education you can get, then if one, can do like the level of Bin Laden you are good for free PhD.

  71. pirouz_2 says:

    By the way Eric;
    I didn’t mean that we should give punishment based on the level of literacy. What I was trying to say was that the way to fight crime, is “education” and “social justice”. It is “illiteracy” and social injustice which lead to crime.

    It is also worth mentioning that if someone were to blow up my family instead of sending him to school probably I would try to take revenge. But then again perhaps that is why no one seats the victim in the place of a judge. Because he won’t be able to make a rational decision and rather will think of taking his revenge.

    I don’t know anything about law so I maybe completely wrong; but as far as I know, the goal of justice is not “revenge”; the main goals of the modern criminal justice are to prevent crime and to rehabilitate the criminal back to the society. Otherwise no matter what big amount of revenge or punishment we subject onto a criminal, it wont bring back his victims.

  72. James,

    “My understanding is that an Islamic charity providing funds to a hospital run by or under Hamas, would be subject to investigation as an aider and abetter of “terrorism”.”

    I don’t know the details of the US government’s investigation of Islamic charities, but my understanding was that such a charity would have all of its funds frozen indefinitely. Is it true that it would only be “subject to investigation”? That seems to suggest that the investigation could go either way, which in turn suggests that its mere funding of a Hamas-run hospital would not be enough, by itself, to punish the charity — i.e. that the investigation would first need to find some actual aiding and abetting of terrorism.

    Maybe this was less extreme than I thought.

  73. pirouz_2 says:

    Kooshy;
    Based on what I have read from the internet sources (reliability under question), she apparently has learned reading and writing in prison. She has got I think her fifth grade diploma in Prison.

  74. Kooshy and Pirouz_2:

    Kooshy wrote:

    “If according to Scott and others we know that she wrote a letter from the Jail, the question is did she have someone else write this letter on her behalf, or if she did indeed write this letter herself then she can’t be illiterate. And further if someone else wrote the letter on her behalf then this letter will become less credible.”

    Good point, Kooshy. Which is it, Pirouz_2:

    1. Literate, and so she deserved what she got.

    2. Illiterate, so she should have been sent off to school, but the letter was bogus?

  75. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    My understanding is that an Islamic charity providing funds to a hospital run by or under Hamas, would be subject to investigation as an aider and abetter of “terrorism”.
    The idiocy then, and now, is the American effort to isolate or strangle Hamas. This relentless stupidity is promoted by most of the members of the US Congress! And why does that bizarre situation obtain, might one ask?

  76. kooshy says:

    Eric / Pirouz_2

    If according to Scott and others we know that she wrote a letter from the Jail, the question is did she had the someone else write this letter on her behalf, or if she did indeed write this letter herself then she can’t be illiterate. And further if someone else wrote the letter on her behalf then this letter will become less credible.

  77. Pirouz_2,

    “Illiteracy is a crime of government and no one can expect an “illiterate” to make a sound political judgement!”

    I don’t much care what “political judgments” an illiterate person may make. I do care if she blows up my family with a bomb. If someone blew up your family, I gather you would send her to prison if she were educated, but to school if she were not.

    I’d be inclined to send her to prison either way. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

  78. Bill,

    “These trials were in fact not trials but a summary execution. Even the defense attorneys stated they were 10 min trials.”

    Some people think defense attorneys are biased in favor of their clients. And so they discount what they say. Especially when there are a lot of defense attorneys, only one of them says it, and the others don’t back him up.

  79. Pirouz_2 says:

    Eric;
    The reason that you have a hard time in understanding my view, is PERHAPS, because you don’t know the underdeveloped parts of the thrid world countries. The reason that a lot of people take arms in my country is because of VERY LEGITIMATE griviences. When they tell me an illiterate farmer woman has taken up arms in Iran, I understand what that means!
    The main question here is that from what sort of severely underdeveloped village did she come from, that she didnt have even a primary school? Under what apalling economic conditions was she subjected to live (in Kordestan people used to live in stables together with their live stock at least up until some 20-30 years ago, I don’t know if it is still the same or not) that she could not even afford to go to primary school? Once you think about that then you will perhaps will see why I say that “education” and “social justice” are the answer and not throwing to jail. Especially in case of an illiterate person!
    Illitracy is a crime of government and no one can expect an “illiterate” to make a sound political judgement! Especially if illiteracy means abject poverty as it does in Iran!

  80. Bill,

    You mention that the Leveretts’ “most alarming [sin is] inferring that Iran-based sources are trustworthy.”

    Thanks for letting us know! Is that ALL “Iran-based sources,” or just some of them?

  81. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Greeno

    Look my friend, one of the worst weaknesses of our nation is that when we hate or love we become BLIND. If we hate we go as far as putting the blame of Tabas earthquake on the ficticious Amercan nuclear waste burried in Kaveer, and when we love we go under the delusion that Mr. Khomeini’s picture is on the moon!
    Now try to control your emotions and READ MY POST!

    1) Where have I said that people were not arrested before the elections??
    In fact quite a few university students and labour activists were arrested on the May 1st 2009 were brutally beaten and arrested, as a matter of fact even people who had nothing to do with the demonstration and were just sitting in the park, they too were arrested.
    People went to the Green king (Mr. Mousavi) and told him to use the attention that the world was giving him (as the reformist candidate), to use that and bring to the world attention the situation of May day detainees. Do you know what his answer was?
    it was this: “Did they have a permit to do demostration? No? Well then they had it coming! They deserve what they got!”

    2) Iranian officials themselves describe their regime as a “democracy”. And it really does not matter what the name is. Iran DE FACTO is a liberal democracy!
    Instead of screaming around go and search Youtube, and you will find Zibakalam’s debates on TV where he openly says “Reza Shah” (mind you not reza khan but he calls him reza shah) as hase done ONLY AND ONLY service to Iran! Go and listen to his debate with Marandi in the university and see how he openly sides with the pro-Israeli position! HE IS FREE ISN’T HE??? Go and openly give your “moral support” to Bin Laden in USA and see how long it will take until FBI will start the investigation.
    IF YOU DONT SEE THIS AS A SOCIETY COMPARABLE TO THE WEST IN TERMS OF BEING OPEN THEN YOU ARE GOING BLIND.

    3)WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT? Only rich effet urbanites count as “people”? The city slums, the southern parts of Tehran, those are “animals”?
    You people had ~2 million of vote in Tehran and in fact you brought out LESS than that amount to the streets in the immedicate aftermath of the elections, what is your point? So those people who voted for Mousavi are “people” but the millions who took to the streets after the Ashura events, the millions who took to the street after 22 Bahman, those were Martians???

    4) You keep talking about the beatings your relatives have recieved but you forget:

    a) Greens were trying to topple a government which was elected by the overwhelming majority (63%) of the voters and as such they were guilty of attempting a coup d’etat!
    b) You wanna see blood being spilled in “liberal democracies”?? Go to france where they killed poor immigrant protesters and Sarkozy called them “thugs” for setting fire to trash bins and automobiles (rings a bell my gree friend???)
    c) The number of the killed and executed under your Mousavi-Karroubi-Rafsanjani, were measured by 10s of 1000s! All the people who got killed in 2009 were ~100! Shah on 17th of Shahrivar ALONE killed close to that number! You people know NOTHING about Iran or its history and just rave!
    d) A great lot of your “reformist” reporters and all your reformist leaders have corrupt liasions with CIA/Israel. Go search who got the $500,000 milton friedman award this year? Go search who are the Iranian fellows of NED (Afshari, M. Kar, Akbar Mohammadi etc.)? Whose fiance went to Israel to shake hands with the murderer called Simon pres?? Who recieved the 400 million dollar from uncle sam to destabilize Iran?
    Who was the mastermind and the executives of the “hostage taking” (Khoeiniha, Hajjarian, Abbas Abdi, do these names ring any bell greeno??)? Who was the one who sent Iranian youth to their death by the million based on the arms bought through Israel from uncle Sam in the 80s? Do the names Rafsanjani, Mousavi and Karroubi ring any bell???

    Lastly: I am not showing USA as an example to follow! FAR FROM IT! You greens are the ones who see USA and other western “democracies” as a model to copy. Well, all I am saying is that if the western democracies are your goal, then relax because we already have that sort of democracy in Iran DE FACTO!

  82. Pirouz_2,

    I can see our disagreement is very narrow, but it’s also very stark on this one issue:

    “In such a society, when an illiterate young woman commits a crime, she is sent to school not to prison.”

    I don’t know whether the young woman executed several days ago was innocent or guilty, and I don’t suggest she ought to have been executed even if she was guilty. But let’s just assume, as you have for the sake of discussion, that she was guilty, and set aside the question of how she ought to have been punished.

    Do you really believe she should have been sent to “school” for her crime merely because she was “illiterate”? What if she’d learned to read before she committed her crime – prison instead in that case? If she had been, say, a Shakespear scholar, would you impose a longer sentence on her?

    Are you really suggesting that illiteracy is some sort of “Get Out of Jail Free” card? That all one need do to qualify for a scholarship is to commit a serious crime?

    Do these questions make you wonder whether you’ve thought this through as much as you ought to?

  83. James,

    “I’m sure you are aware of the relentless Bush administration effort to investigate, disrupt and destroy Islamic charities because they were believed to be providing indirect support to Hamas.”

    I’m aware of that from the general press, and was opposed to it. There may have been some wrongdoing, possibly a great deal of it, but it struck me that the government was way out of bounds in casting such a wide net.

  84. Pirouz_2:

    “Just as USA prosecuted and harrased intellectuals such as … Oppenheimer when it saw a ‘communist threat’”

    This might surprise you, given my expressed strong opposition to “guilt by association” prosecutions. Despite my deep respect for Oppenheimer, I will register a disagreement here. Oppenheimer was denied a renewal of his security clearance, which effectively put an end to his position as head of the Los Alamos nuclear research facility in the early 1950s. It was humiliating, and I believe the attacks on him were unwarranted. Nonetheless, I too would have voted NOT to renew his security clearance, after which I would have personally apologized to him for having felt the need to do so.

    Oppenheimer was in charge of an organization that was conducting top secret nuclear research for the United States. Setting aside the controversial Greenglass/Rosenberg case, at least Klaus Fuchs and Theodore Hall were all but indisputably guilty of espionage at Los Alamos, and I’m not aware that anyone has seriously disputed that they passed US nuclear secrets to the Russians. I have always believed, and am unlikely ever to stop believing, that Oppenheimer knew nothing at all about any espionage at Los Alamos, much less participated in it. He had, however, attended numerous Communist Party meetings before the war (as did many other intellectuals of that time), and had other undisputed dealings with several individuals whose loyalties, unlike those of Oppenheimer himself, were validly questioned. If I had been in Oppenheimer’s position before the war – a young Berkeley professor in the late 1930s, when it appeared that the Soviet Union was the US’ ally against Hitler – I very strongly suspect that I too would have attended Communist Party meetings. And I would have been, as I firmly believe Oppenheimer always was, a loyal American citizen.

    Nevertheless, I cannot see how anyone asked to vote on Oppenheimer’s status (or my status, if I’d been in his shoes) – head of the US’ most important secret nuclear research facility after World War II – could possibly have been so confident of his innocence that he would have voted to renew his security clearance. Why would anyone take a chance in such circumstances? The risk was low – extremely low, in my view – but the consequences of being wrong were extremely high. Sometimes, one has to vote “no” merely because he can’t be sure enough to vote “yes” and the matter at hand is simply too important to take even a small risk. I would have voted no, publicly distanced myself from the foaming-at-the-mouth Communist-haters who opposed Oppenheimer for different reasons from my own, done my best to help Oppenheimer find another position worthy of his considerable merits (not that he needed help: he landed on his feet at Princeton), taken him aside to apologize for having voted against him, explained my reasons for doing so, and asked for his understanding.

  85. James Canning says:

    Does Scott Lucas support the territorial integrity of Iran? Some of the readers of this blog may recall that Peter Galbraith promoted an independent Kurdistan (detached from Iraq), and it later emerged he will likely be a very rich man indeed due to oil deals blessed by the Kurdistan government.

  86. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I’m sure you are aware of the relentless Bush administration effort to investigate, disrupt and destroy Islamic charities because they were believed to be providing indirect support to Hamas. The flourishing white collar criminal orgy of those years owed not a little to the fact a large portion of FBI investigative energy (and Justice Dept. prosecutors) was deflected from the anti-white-collar crime arena.

  87. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric;
    What I am trying to say is that in a real democracy, people rule and not a wealthy elite. In a really democratic society, the fortunes and misfortunes are shared JUSTLY (ie. each person will have the product of his/her own labour not the product of his employyes labour. Or in other words money does not bring money, it is labour which labour brings money).

    In such a society, when an illiterate young woman commits a crime, she is sent to school not to prison.

    I know I belong to a miniscule minority group of people, but at least I know where I stand and I don’t claim that majority of Iranians share my views and that Ahmadinejad has stolen the election from me! Thats quite a big of a difference don’t you agree?

  88. kooshy says:

    Eric

    I for myself believe that with work you have done with regards to election dispute, you have moved a mountain and certainly I see the tune has changed ever since.

    In the millennium old, Iranian national epics book of Shahnameh (meaning Book of Kings and sometimes referred to as certificate of Iran) the main hero is a superman called
    Rostam who defends Iran from all invaders and “Evildoers” I believe with regard to “Rigged” election assertion you have acted like Rostam.

    Indecently in next few weeks there will be a conference on Shahnameh here in UCLA

    http://www.international.ucla.edu/cnes/events/showevent.asp?eventid=7766

    “In Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, Rostam is the champion of champions and is involved in numerous stories, constituting some of the most popular (and arguably some of most masterfully created) parts of the Shahnameh. He passes through a hero’s journey to save his sovereign, Kay Kavus who is captured by the demons (Divs) of Mazandaran. This journey is called “Rostam’s Seven Quests” (Persian: Haft Khan-e Rostam)”

    “The Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic, was composed from a prose literary archetype in the 10th century CE by Iran’s national poet, Ferdowsi (c. 940 – 1020 CE), whom many Iranians consider to be the father of their language. It exists in more than a thousand complete and fragmentary manuscripts, some of which are beautifully illustrated by excellent specimens of classical Persian art. It is some 50,000 distiches (100,000 lines) long, which makes it nearly twice the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The Shahnameh as Iran’s national epic is central to Iranians’ sense of cultural identity. It is the text that defines who is culturally Iranian regardless of that person’s citizenship, language, or religion. In addition to Iranians who live in Persia proper, many Tajiks, Kurds, Beluchis, and others relate to the narrative of the Shahnameh as their “ethnic history.” For this reason, its influence and importance extends beyond the borders of Iran and the limits of Persian literature.”

  89. Greenio says:

    @ EVERYONE

    What the Leveretts are essentially doing is ignoring the Iranian people, sticking with the oppressive Iranian regime and calling Iran “an Island of stability” in the Middle East. We all know what happened last time the US sided with the dictator while ignoring the voices of the people. Iran is by no means an Island of stability. So let’s not make the same mistake twice. Let’s stick with the people. And by the people I mean the millions who marched the streets of Tehran last June. THEY are the people, they were a diverse group from all walks of life. The staged pro-government rallies where everyone looks the same are not the people. Just as the staged pro_shah rallies didn’t represent the people.

    @ PIROUZ_2

    First of all I find your claim that no one was arrested before they took to the streets highly amusing. Perhaps you are unaware of all the arrests made the night of the election BEFORE everyone took to the streets. Perhaps you are also blind and deaf when it comes to atrocities committed by the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad coalition. I personally have a cousin who was in prison for two months because she was taking photos with her cell phone camera. I also have a friend whose roommate was shot dead. His family wasn’t allowed to mourn his death properly and was forced to keep it quiet. I don’t even see his name anywhere near the lists where Neda Agha Soltan’s name is. Which makes me wonder how many more unknown people have been killed. The saddest story in my circle of friends however goes to the case of a 17 year old brother of a classmate of mine. He was out getting fruit juice when he saw people running towards him and running away from the Basij. This was on the night before Ashura. Naturally he started running. When the Basijis caught up with him he kept screaming that he has nothing to do with the protestors. The Basijis told him to stop they won’t do anything with him. He did. Long story short they beat him so bad with chains and cables that he broke his ribs, fingers, jaw and got a crack in his skull. Most hospitals in the area wouldn’t take him i on the night this incident. So they ended up taking him to some remote hospital outside of town….

    I don’t mean to get sentimental about this. But at a time when getting sources is so problematic. I can only rely on FIRST HAND INFORMATION and speak of wounds I have seen with my own two eyes and felt with my own hand. These hoodlums are the ones you and the Leveretts are defending. Forget the green movement. hear the cry of the people!

    Regarding your claim that Iran is a “liberal democracy,” you will be hanged in Iran for even suggesting that! They like to think of themselves as an Islamic Republic. Which is an oxymoron if you ask me. If anything Iran is a neo-con theocracy.

    You are clearly very anti-American. But for some reason you and your buddies always use America as your moral compass. You justify all that is evil about the world by saying “America does it too!” If America does it too, that’s too bad. I am sure there plenty of discussions around the web on the topic. But while we’re on a website called The Race For Iran, let us expose the injustices of the brutal oppresive regime that is the Islamic Republic.

  90. Pirouz_2:

    I’m glad to see we’re in agreement on most of this, but I am confused by this:

    “In a real democracy on the other hand Brecht and Sartre are treated like precious gems and if an illiterate young woman -such as Ms. Alamhooli- even happens to commit/assist in commiting mass murder, the government is held responsible for her acts and instead of prison, let alone to execution, she is sent to SCHOOL!”

    In the context of your post, it seems to me you mean this. Rather than ask detailed questions about this, please let me just ask first for clarification.

  91. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric:

    “First, as I mentioned in another post, I personally disagree that mere membership in PJAK is enough to warrant punishment. I recognize that it often may be impossible to prove actual complicity in misconduct, and that proving group membership is a convenient alternative way of punishing a genuine bad guy when proof of actual misconduct can’t be found. I nonetheless feel that this loosened standard poses too great a risk of abuse, as the US learned on several occasions – most famously in the anti-Communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s, when the careers of many decent people were ruined, and often their freedom was taken away as well, based on nothing more than their beliefs and their associations.”

    I am so glad that you mentioned this. I agree with you 100%! If you have noticed I keep talking about “liberal democracy”. Careful distinction must be made between a “liberal democracy” (ie. the West or Iran for that matter) and a REAL democracy.

    In a “liberal democracy” there are communist “witch hunts”, PJAK “witch hunts” or to put it in better words: the system will suppress any REAL challenge (be it a right or wrong challenge), if possible through isolation by controlling the “independent” media and limitted arrests/harassments, and if push comes to shove and there is a bigger danger then through massive “witch hunts”.

    In a real democracy on the other hand Brecht and Sartre are treated like precious gems and if an illiterate young woman -such as Ms. Alamhooli- even happens to commit/assit in commiting mass murder, the government is held respnsible for her acts and instead of prison, let alone to execution, she is sent to SCHOOL!

    But we are not talking about a REAL democracy here, we are only talking about “liberal democracy” which pretends to be about human rights and the rule of people (as opposed to the rule of elite!).

    “Second, on your observation that you “don’t know” whether the five executed defendants were guilty as charged: I don’t know either; that’s why I’m trying to find out. But it’s not really anyone else’s job to make sure that you or I or any other particular individual “knows” whether it was all done right. What matters is whether (1) it was in fact done right; and (2) enough information is publicly available for one to determine whether it was done right if one makes an effort to do so. The fact that these five individuals have already been executed at least gives us the luxury of time to try to answer both of those questions, and the fact that these five individuals were executed also makes it important to search for those answers. That sad fact does not, however, justify you or I or anyone else in simply sitting back and saying “I’m not convinced. Prove it to me!” If one looks and can’t find the answers, then one can fairly say that. But if the answers are out there to be found, one must first try to find them before he claims these questions simply can’t be answered.”

    Again I agree with you 100%!

  92. Elisa,

    “There are so many un-founded allegations, statistics thrown around with no valid sources to justify the claims being said, that unless someone provides actual proof, I have a hard time accepting the information.”

    Exactly. I agree with you completely, and I think many people here do. Merely to ask for facts to support a claim that, for example, some opponent of Ahmadinejad was thrown off a bridge by some Basij militiaman does not mean the asker believes that opponents of Ahmadinejad ought to be thrown off a bridge. It merely means that the asker wonders whether an opponent of Ahmadinejad was in fact thrown off a bridge. Or whether instead, as you found, that the bridge happened to be in Iraq, or that a beaten woman holding bloody clothes was actually in Lebanon rather than Iran.

    I am too much and too often reminded of the build-up to the Iraq war in 2002 and early 2003, when, by the time someone could even think about responding to a story about “aluminum tubes,” the Western press would be off on some new story about “yellow cake uranium,” or perhaps a sighting of Osama bin Laden attending a backyard barbecue at one of Saddam’s palaces. It’s not hard to see exactly the same thing happening here.

    In the case of Iran, though, it occurred to me a while ago that at least one has the luxury of time to pick one of the unsupported claims, investigate it thoroughly, and either prove it or disprove it. The “stolen election” claim struck me as an excellent candidate that, and led to the article I’ve since written on the subject. The “stolen election” claim had several major attractions for me: (1) by a wide margin, it is the most frequently stated claim of Iranian government misconduct made by Greens, the Western press and very many others; (2) in my worried but (I think) realistic view, a potentially serious consequence of the “stolen election” claim, if left unchallenged and simply accepted as true, could be a US attack on Iran justified as a “liberation” of its people from an illegitimate regime (sound familiar?); and (3) it is a claim that I suspected, and have since confirmed at least to my own satisfaction, can be proved or disproved with sound arguments backed by verifiable facts.

    I’d like to think that I, and others who’ve made the same effort (Reza Esfandiari, for example), have had some effect. I pay very close attention to how the Western press refers to the 2009 election, and note with some satisfaction (and some belief, warranted or not, that I may have contributed to this) that most writers who once found it impossible to write about the election without using the word “stolen” or “fraud” now customarily refer to it merely as “disputed,” and that, when they simply can’t resist that old temptation to say more, at least attribute their personal beliefs to others, such as Nazila Fathi did with this phrase in her May 9 article: “… which many people believe was rigged.”

    The “short-attention-span” purveyors of baseless facts will always stay one step ahead of those who insist on evidence. But we can at least undo a bit of the damage they leave in their wake.

  93. Eric A. Brill says:

    M.Ali,

    “I posted a long post but due to many links, I think it was blocked.”

    One link is allowed here. To cite a second link, take out the “http://” and the “www.” (which I understand aren’t necessary anyway), and change the “dot” to the word “DOT.”

    Example: change http://www.abcdef.com

    To: abcdef[DOT]com.

  94. Elisa says:

    My views on this issue:

    Just like what Pirouz_2 stated I too am personally against capital punishment. I am also in agreement with the rest of his comments.

    I have to say there has been so many invalid videos and news reporting provided by various sources about the atrocities committed by the Iranian gov. against the so called “green movement” that one has to be an investigative reporter to dig and find out whether these allegations, crimes, and videos are in fact true or baseless, or simply as a means to create an anti-regime hype.

    For example I saw one video showing that the “basiij” were throwing those who opposed the Ahmadinejad Gov. and were pro Mousavi off a bridge. After going through a maze, the video in fact was taken from Iraq during the time of Saddam Hussein. Another one showed a picture of a woman beaten up and her clothes soaked in blood. If you widened the screen you could see that the video was taken at some march in Lebanon.

    There are so many un-founded allegations, statistics thrown around with no valid sources to justify the claims being said, that unless someone provides actual proof, I have a hard time accepting the information. Show us the facts along with reliable sources!!

    I am very glad that the Leverett’s have taken Nazila Fathi’s article and have scrutinized it. This is what any responsible individuals should do. In fact this is a responsibility that any professional journalist writing an article should have toward their readers, but then I guess I am asking too much.

  95. Eric A. Brill says:

    Pirouz_2:

    Good post, though I have a few comments:

    “As such the main argument here will become whether the recently executed have been really related to PEJAK and/or other armed militant groups or not? Do we have any evidence from “INDEPENDENT” sources which would suggest one way or the other? MOST CERTAINLY NO. AT LEAST NOT AS YET! THAT IS WHY I DECLARED MY POSITION REGARDING THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE RECENT EXECUTIONS AS: “I DONT KNOW!”.

    First, as I mentioned in another post, I personally disagree that mere membership in PJAK is enough to warrant punishment. I recognize that it often may be impossible to prove actual complicity in misconduct, and that proving group membership is a convenient alternative way of punishing a genuine bad guy when proof of actual misconduct can’t be found. I nonetheless feel that this loosened standard poses too great a risk of abuse, as the US learned on several occasions – most famously in the anti-Communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s, when the careers of many decent people were ruined, and often their freedom was taken away as well, based on nothing more than their beliefs and their associations.

    Second, on your observation that you “don’t know” whether the five executed defendants were guilty as charged: I don’t know either; that’s why I’m trying to find out. But it’s not really anyone else’s job to make sure that you or I or any other particular individual “knows” whether it was all done right. What matters is whether (1) it was in fact done right; and (2) enough information is publicly available for one to determine whether it was done right if one makes an effort to do so. The fact that these five individuals have already been executed at least gives us the luxury of time to try to answer both of those questions, and the fact that these five individuals were executed also makes it important to search for those answers. That sad fact does not, however, justify you or I or anyone else in simply sitting back and saying “I’m not convinced. Prove it to me!” If one looks and can’t find the answers, then one can fairly say that. But if the answers are out there to be found, one must first try to find them before he claims these questions simply can’t be answered.

    In my view, those who claim it wasn’t done right ought to be trying to answer the very same questions. They ought to be looking for, and pointing to when they find it, evidence that it was done wrong – not simply make bald statements such as Mr. Bahramian’s “10 minute trial” claim, apparently uncorroborated by any of the many other persons who are in a position to confirm or deny its truth. Doing no more than that will ultimately hurt their cause, since disproving such a statement may undercut their credibility when they make other statements that are true.

  96. pirouz_2 says:

    By the way, one last point:

    6) Since the number of executions conducted by the West out numbers that of Iran by a ratio definitely higher than 100 to 1, then ANYBODY WHO IS TRULY HONEST ABOUT HIS/HER CONCERNS REGARDING HUMAN RIGHTS must have a 100 to 1 ratio of criticizing USA’s human rights record in comparison to Iran’s!

    CONCLUSION: Main stream Western mass media is EXACTLY as independent as Fars News Agency!!!

  97. pirouz_2 says:

    To everyone:

    Let’s put the discussion into the proper context, so that instead of wildly opposing each other about random claims, we have a proper discuaaion where we all CLEARLY explain our positions:

    1) Most of all (that certainly includes me) agree with Leveretts in opposing the death penalty IN GENERAL NO MATTER IN WHICH COUNTRY IT IS DONE.

    2) We all agree that we are against kangaroo-court trials.

    3)THE MAIN QUESTION HERE IS THIS:
    What does a “liberal democracy” do in reaction to a group (and its members) which put-up an armed conflict in challenging the system?

    Leveretts point out that in Japan the penalty for “treason” and “homicide” is death. Well “treason” is a very general term and can include many acts.
    Let’s not forget that in USA, if anyone directly involved in the 911 events is captured he/she will be tried for “mass homicide” and terrorism and the penalty for “mass murder” is death in USA too.

    As such the main arguement here will become wether the recently executed have been really related to PEJAK and/or other armed militant groups or not?
    Do we have any evidence from “INDEPENDENT” sources which would suggest one way or the other? MOST CERTAINLY NO. AT LEAST NOT AS YET!
    THAT IS WHY I DECLARED MY POSITION REGARDING THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE RECENT EXECUTIONS AS: “I DONT KNOW!”.

    Since many people here have resorted to sources (!!!) such as “JARAS” and “Tehranbureau” as “independent”, I would like to mention here that:
    NONE of the green sources qualify as “independent”! They are all guilty of instigating a “coup d’etat” against a government ellected by the SOLID majority’s vote! And furthermore they are mostly using money from “shady” sources (read that NED/CIA) to say the least! Furthermore a lot of (I am being VERY GENEROUS HERE) of the Iranian so-called reporters are suspicious characters who may very well be agents of the foreign governments!

    4)EVEN ASSUMING that these were kangaroo-court trials and that these people were not members of any terrorist group, still the question remains that:

    WHAT IS IRAN DOING WHICH IS THAT DIFFERENT FROM WHAT THE WESTERN COUNTRIES HAVE BEEN DOING IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ (eg. routine battlefield executions conducted by the NATO forces)? Except for perhaps the fact that what Iran is doing -in terms of magnitude- PALES compared to what other “liberal democracies” have been doing!
    How much do the chest-beaters of democracy and human rights scrutinize any of the mass killings of the western forces when the latter claims that they have been killing: Taliban or insurgents or Al-Daeda members??

    5) What would our reaction be if the executed were alleged to be members of Al-Qaeda (which have commited the grave sin of killing Americans) instead of being members of PEJAK (which are “accused” of the very mild “naughtiness” of killing Iranians)?

  98. Eric A. Brill says:

    One point I do disagree with: offering the US government’s classification of PJAK as a “terrorist organization” as evidence of their guilt. Like most Americans and many others, I was raised to believe one should be punished, if at all, for one’s improper acts, not for membership in a group. In the past, mere group membership has been put forth as justification for punishment if the group (at least in the eyes of the accusers) advocates the “violent overthrow of the government,” a label that conveniently justifies the denial of many basic rights.

    For this reason, if I were to find that one or more of those five defendants was convicted SOLELY because he was a member of PJAK, I would be strongly opposed to that. I fully recognize that drawing the line where I would draw it will result in some guilty people going free. But it will also, in the long run, result in many innocent people staying free. In the US, we’ve seen what happens when the legal requirement of actual misconduct gets replaced with a “guilt by association” standard.

  99. Eric A. Brill says:

    Scott,

    Sometimes you make it too easy:

    “I can see in Sahimi’s article material from Ghazi, Jaras, the lawyer Bahramian, the families of the executed, the executed themselves, HRANA, RAHANA, Green Voice of Freedom, the Iranian activist “persianbanoo”, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Iran Labor Report, just to name some of the sources. I note once again that you cannot actually offer any countering information or refutation of the material provided by those sources.”

    If you can “see” all that in Dr. Sahimi’s article, your eyes must be considerably better than mine, or perhaps we’re reading different articles. Your long list of sources can be placed into three categories:

    1. The defendants, their lawyers and their families.

    Everyone in this group understandably was upset at the defendants’ executions. None of them stated any facts to suggest that the defendants were innocent – other than Bahramian, with his “10 minute trial” assertion (more on him below). Even the defendants failed to claim they were innocent.

    2. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

    Dr. Sahimi had just one sentence about these two organizations: “Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other international human rights organizations have condemned the executions.”

    3. Ghazi, Jaras, HRANA, RAHANA, Green Voice of Freedom, the Iranian activist “persianbanoo” or Iran Labor Report.

    Dr. Sahimi did not mention any of these individuals or organizations. At all.

    You say I “cannot actually offer any countering information or refutation of the material provided by those sources.” That indeed is true, since they haven’t offered any “information” or “material,” other than the “fact” – which I hereby concede – that they were opposed to the executions.

    Mr. Bahramian does make many assertions, most notably his “10 minute trial” claim, but I confess I’m not entirely persuaded by him. Call me skeptical if you will, but I find it curious that nobody else claims to remember it that way. I note that Dr. Sahimi referred to Mr. Bahramian as “one of the lawyers representing Kamangar.” If Mr. Kamangar had multiple attorneys, it occurs to me that the other four defendants might have had at least one attorney each. That adds up to at least 6 lawyers altogether, maybe more. What an opportunity! I and others might be persuaded if one of the OTHER five or more defense lawyers were to confirm Mr. Bahramian’s “10 minute trial” claim. It’s odd, don’t you think, that not one of them has said anything to support Mr. Bahramian’s claims? Certainly he’s received enough publicity that at least one of those other lawyers must have noticed his remarks. Don’t you find it surprising that none of them has stepped forward to back up Mr. Bahramian?

    I do not mean to suggest I was in favor of the executions, Scott. I’m merely asking for information that would help me to figure out what crimes these five individuals were charged with, what the evidence was against them, and whether they were given a fair trial. You may be entirely right to believe they were treated unfairly, and I think you’ll find that I’ll jump quickly and firmly to your side of the argument if I am given actual reasons to support you. But merely telling me that someone believed she should not be in prison, or that a young man’s mother insists he was a great son, or that some organization was opposed to the executions, or that one of a defendant’s multiple lawyers (but not the others) insists that he received a “10 minute trial,” doesn’t move the “truth” needle very far forward.

    If I were to cite some statement from a right-wing organization supporting the execution of some political prisoner, or the statement of a bombing victim’s mother insisting that the person charged with killing her children must be punished, would you be satisfied that the executed person was guilty?

  100. Cyrus says:

    BTW this is the photo of one of the executed people. Notice the background.
    http://www.rhairan.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/image_1.jpg

  101. Cyrus says:

    Oh and as for me “knocking down” Fathi, you can’t be a reporter and expect no criticism when you make unsubstantiated claims, sorry.

    Given that the Iranian judicial system needs a lot of work (but is hardly as bad as some close US allies) nevertheless as the Leverretts point out, there is simply no basis for Fathi’s claim that the trial and conviction of these individuals was in any way linked to suppressing the Greens, whose proponents such as yourself have lately had a hard time explaining why they’re still relevant and why the much-touted Green demonstrations have failed to materialize (just as they haven’t been able to substantiate claims of election fraud.)

    Let me make it simple: By linking the executions to the Greens, Fathi was making an argument by implication for the continued relevance of the greens, and so should expect to be “knocked down” when the argument is found to be unsubstantiated. She should have put aside the guise of an objective journalist and instead published an op-ed asserting her OWN VIEW that the executions were intended to put down the Greens. That would have been the proper thing to do.

    That’s just a fact and like I said, feigned outrage over human rights just doesn’t cover-up bad journalism.

    And if she thought they really weren’t members of PJAK, then the RIGHT thing to do was to report that they were accused of membership in what the US calls a terrorist organization, and then state her opinion rather than simply eliminate that crucial fact from the article entirely.

    There is entirely too much bad journalism on Iran. This doesn’t justify or excuse human rights abuses, but it is still bad journalism.

  102. M.Ali says:

    I posted a long post but due to many links, I think it was blocked.

    Anyway, here is the short. A lot of “fair and balanced” analysis seems to act like this execution was out of the blue.

    However, 3 out of the 5 were arrested in 2006 and were actually sentenced to death in 2008, their case was appealed, and the death sentence was upheld. Links exists to articles on that. The two other were arrested in 2008 and sentenced in 2010. The time-line actually sort of matches, it seems on average, their cases took 2 years to finalize.

    I dont know what happened in the court cases, however, one has the responsibility to try to look at both sides and at the big picture, not the current maniac anti-Iranian bias the media is taking (although, the bias was always there, but there has been an increased fervor). Why doesn’t the media mention that the case took two years to reach the stage of sentencing? Why doesn’t the media mention that three of them were actually sentenced to death three years ago?

  103. Scott Lucas says:

    Cyrus,

    Let us be scoundrels together. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

    Scott

  104. Cyrus says:

    Scott, you older scoundrel, my point was that you’re not expected to comment on every abuse that happens everywhere in the world. Sorry you took it the wrong way.

  105. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    Given your stated concern regarding Iranian government discrimination against Kurdish Iranians, do you support the territorial integrity of Iran? Of Iraq?

  106. James Canning says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Do you think a foolish hostility toward Iran, by the US, improves social conditions and human rights in Iran?

    Do you approve of US support for terrorists operating within Iran?

  107. Kooshy,

    I think you’ve got it right, though you slightly overstate it: an expression of displeasure can indeed stand as evidence of displeasure – just not as evidence of the “facts” on which that displeasure is based. I’m sure you can appreciate that distinction. Other’s can’t.

  108. Scott,

    “the Leveretts can acknowledge that they have no concern with human rights, justice, and fairness within the Iranian system…”

    There are two types of people who have “concern with human rights, justice, and fairness.” Those who do, and those who claim they do when such claims are useful to accomplish some partisan purpose that does not involve “human rights, justice, and fairness.” An example is Mousavi’s “fraud” claim concerning the June 2009 election, for which he’s offered not a shred of evidence.

    People who genuinely care about such matters – and I include myself in that group – get very upset when it appears that such rights have been denied. They look, they find evidence, and then they use that evidence to marshal support so that the wrong-doers can be either persuaded or forced to right those wrongs.

    What they do NOT do is exactly what you and many others have done since the election: simply insist that “human rights, justice, and fairness” were denied, offer no evidence whatsoever to support those claims, but continue to make those claims over and over and over, as if mere repetition will establish their truth. You accomplish only one thing when you do that: you undercut your own credibility.

    Everyone gets only a limited allotment of credibility to start with, Scott. If he shows he deserved his initial allotment, he’ll probably be allotted even more. If he shows he wasn’t, his allotment will sooner or later drop to the point that people pay no attention to him. When the day comes for him to make a legitimate claim about denial of “human rights, justice, and fairness” – a claim that really deserves to be taken seriously by his audience – he may find that his allotment of credibility has been all used up. He will have “cried wolf” too many times.

  109. kooshy says:

    Eric

    So that I understand correctly “if laughter is not an argument” then “displeasure can’t be evidence of a fact”
    Can you please confirm if I comprehended correctly

  110. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Not a very thorough reading of the sources mentioned in my post or you would have seen HRW on the treatment of Kamangar and other Kurdish detainees, Ghazi and HRANA on the current treatment of the families of the executed, various sources on torture and abuse, etc.

    Best,

    Scott

  111. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    OK, don’t dismiss the claim over the trial by calling Bahramian a liar. Just attack his character instead with your “stricter definition” of no evidence for that attack….

    Scott

  112. Scott,

    “Read the sources, assess the information and the facts (not the opinions, the information and the facts), and get back to me.”

    I did. That’s what I reported in my initial post. No facts. One defendant’s mother expressed great sadness at her son’s death and reported that he had been a good son. Dr. Sahimi claimed their trial had not been fair, but didn’t say why he believed that. Mousavi was quite upset, and so was his wife. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch opposed the executions.

    Those statements are “facts,” in a sense. Proof, acceptable to me, that the statements were made. But I’m not clear what “facts” about the case you believe any of those statements establishes. Can you point to just one?

  113. Pirouz_2 says:

    Greenio;

    Your comments are so wrong from top to bottom, that I don’t have the time to go through it all. I will just answer some of issues you raise:

    1)”Why not issue a permit to these handful of Green Movement supporters for a peaceful street demonstration? Why not let them exercise their constitutional right to assemble? Why have a heavy security presence on the streets on any days that they MIGHT gather?”

    First of all, for people like you countries such as Denmark, USA and Germany are the most democratic countries. Well I am not going to claim that Iran is “democratic”, but I will say that Iran in terms of democracy compared to the aforementioned countries is not doing so badly, so if their leader can be considered as democratically elected so can the Iranian leaders. In fact in certain areas one might argue that the tolerance for dissent is even higher in Iran than in the West!

    Why do I say this? Easy: German government in the last gathering of G20 summit in Germany, had the German secret service raid and make mass arrest of the POTENTIAL protesters of the G20 summit, some 48 hours BEFORE THE SUMMIT! Even if we consider the act of demonstration as a “crime” there is NO explanation for the arrest happening BEFORE the commitment of the “crime”!
    THIS AT LEAST I CAN SAY FOR SURE THAT IRAN HAS NOT DONE! IRAN HAS NEVER ARRESTED THE GREENIES BEFORE THEY CAME TO STREETS!
    Similarly in Denmark, G20 protesters were brutally suppressed and arrested and kept in inhumane conditions in the bitter cold of the winter. Similarly people in Pittsburgh and in Seattle have been brutally beaten and afterwards arrested for participation in Anti-G20/anti-globalization demonstrations.
    As a matter of fact two guys were arrested in USA (by FBI) for having used “twitter” to steer the G20 protesters away from the police!

    2)”Why arrest filmmakers, bloggers, journalists…”

    Every “liberal democracy”, when under a security threat, resort to arrest of dissidents. Iran is no exception. Just as USA prosecuted and harrased intellectuals such as Brecht, Miller, Charlie Chaplin, even Einstein (he wasn’t arrested but harrassed) and Oppenheimer when it saw a “communist threat”, just as EVEN TODAY it cannot tolerate Hezballah’s TV station (Al-Menar) and bans it (or the fact that there was a bill to ban all anti-US TV satellite stations), similarly Iran prosecutes people who are suspected of links to the hostile countries and doing their bidding in doing subversive activities!
    Greenies, based on the direct support of the Western media and using god knows how much of that $400 million that US has spent to destablize Iran and make a regime change tried to pull a velvet coup and topple a government which was elected by the vote of OVERWHELMING majority of the population.
    No country would tolerate an attempt of foreign instigated coup by some elements who are SERIOUSLY suspected of having financial links to foreign governments and doing their biddings!
    Look at the awards that people like Ganji ($500,000 milton friedman award) recieve and the association of people such as Afshari, Mehrangiz Kar, Akbar Mohammadi and Ganji with NED and you will see that a lot of these so called “journalists” are very good candidates of being a foreign agent!

    By the way, you claim that people cannot express their opinion without the fear of prosecution. The degree of freedom of speech varries from country to country and from time to time (eg. from the times of security to the times when they are under a security threat). Now have a look at people like “Sadegh Zibakalam” who openly gives his support to “Reza Khan Pahlavi” and openly questions even the sovreignity of Iran and gives his support Israeli/US line, and not only can he still work as a Univ. professor but also he can participate in debates both in universities and even on IRIB, look at people such as Kawakebian who openly criticizes radio and TV on the TV programs that he participate and you will see that actually Iran is not doing so bad as greenies/Americans try to suggest!

  114. Scott,

    “And not my 10-minute claim — Bahramian’s. Either call him a liar, without any support for your allegation, or stand aside on that one.”

    Some friendly advice: If I were you, I wouldn’t get too wedded to Mr. Bahramian’s “10 minute trial” claim. I don’t know for certain whether it’s true or not (since I apply a stricter definition of “fact” to my own assertions), and so I won’t call him a “liar,” which you insist I either must do or accept his statement as true. Nevertheless, if I were you, I’d find some way to backtrack a little on that one – some “back door” through which you can escape if you later regret relying on Mr. Bahramian. I’ll go out on a limb here with this bold assertion: it appears to me that Mr. Bahramian cares considerably less about his perceived credibility than I suspect you care about yours.

  115. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Read the sources, assess the information and the facts (not the opinions, the information and the facts), and get back to me.

    Scott

  116. Scott Lucas says:

    Cyrus,

    You old scoundrel, you know full well that EA and I have written extensively about “Guantanamo Bay, Israel, Egypt, etc.”

    But this ain’t about me.

    Your case for the Leveretts is a nice attempt to cover up their use of Fathi as a diversion.

    1. Note that they juxtapose Fathi against ” official justifications for the executions”. Knock down Fathi by going after her as pro-Green (the tactic which will likely be used for anyone who raises public issues about the executions)and what’s left? Because the Leveretts don’t bother to consider any sources themselves — not even the opposition websites they mention — we’re left with….

    The “official justifications”.

    2. The PEJAK claim isn’t just used to take down Fathi — note the implication at the end of the section. “[Acknowledging PEJAK as terrorist] does not fit with the preferred narrative if individuals convicted of terrorist crimes in Iran are members of a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization.”

    Presto, the official justification that the five executed (not all of whom were even alleged to be connected with PEJAK) were involved with a terrorist organization is propped up.

    3. There was an easy answer for this. Before setting Fathi up as a target, the Leveretts could have considered the case themselves, reading sources, assessing a range of claims and testimonies, and analysing the specifics of the detentions, trials, executions, and aftermath.

    To do so, however, would risk exposing the “official justification”.

    But I’ll give the Leveretts the benefit of the doubt and accept your explanation on their behalf. I look forward to:

    1. The Leveretts making their own critique of the material surrounding this case and presenting that critique.

    2. Or the Leveretts can acknowledge that they have no concern with human rights, justice, and fairness within the Iranian system.

    3. But if they do so, the Leveretts will then have to disclaim any ability to assess the legitimacy of the Iranian Government since they are not concerned with issues — human rights, justice, fairness — which may affect the legitimacy of that Government in the eyes of the Iranian people.

    Best,

    Scott

  117. Scott,

    Surely you jest here:

    “I can see in Sahimi’s article material from Ghazi, Jaras, the lawyer Bahramian, the families of the executed, the executed themselves, HRANA, RAHANA, Green Voice of Freedom, the Iranian activist “persianbanoo”, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Iran Labor Report, just to name some of the sources. I note once again that you cannot actually offer any countering information or refutation of the material provided by those sources.”

    These “sources” (and you might have added Mousavi, his wife, and Rafsanjani) expressed displeasure, not facts. What “information” did any of these sources state?

  118. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    I fear you are letting your standards of scrutiny slip.

    I can see in Sahimi’s article material from Ghazi, Jaras, the lawyer Bahramian, the families of the executed, the executed themselves, HRANA, RAHANA, Green Voice of Freedom, the Iranian activist “persianbanoo”, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Iran Labor Report, just to name some of the sources. I note once again that you cannot actually offer any countering information or refutation of the material provided by those sources.

    And not my 10-minute claim — Bahramian’s. Either call him a liar, without any support for your allegation, or stand aside on that one.

    Scott

  119. Scott,

    I just recognized that I may have misled you about what’s required for “irrefutable fact” status.

    As I mentioned, it requires reference to at least seven other sources who say the same thing (only two of which references may be to “Not Found” or other dead links), provided that each of those sources itself cites seven sources (with the same “up to two dead links” exception). What may not have been clear is that the seven required sources may cite each other! For example, you might cite Dr. Sahimi (as you did, of course), and then Dr. Sahimi might cite you (which he didn’t – aren’t you a bit miffed that he did not return the favor?), and then Mr. Bahramian some day might cite both of you to confirm the truth of his initial “10 minute trial” assertion. Just so it adds up to seven “sources.”

    I just wanted to re-assure you that there was nothing at all improper in your assertion that “In short, there are now multiple sources” immediately following your citation of Dr. Sahimi’s article.

    What may be even more useful is this part of the definition, which I left out of my earlier post:

    “If one of the sources of such IF ["IF" is short for "irrefutable fact"] consists of an article printed in the New York Times, Washington Post or similar publication generally thought to engage in careful fact-checking before publication, such source shall be counted as four sources – provided that such article itself cites at least one source, regardless of the actual or alleged bias thereof (including, by way of example only, an attorney for one of the defendants who is the subject of the article in question, or defendants’ letters from prison that discuss “little black fishes” at great length but neglect to claim innocence).”

    Even better, another subsection of the definition provides for “double counting” of any source that cites such a NYT, WaPo or similar article, which means you’re entitled to “two source” credit for your earlier reference to Ms. Fathi’s follow-up article, plus “four source” credit for the article itself.

    If you really work your way carefully through this definition of “irrefutable fact,” you may well find that this “10 minute trial” assertion has already attained even-higher NSN status. “NSN” stands for “no source necessary,” permitting the person stating the fact merely to say something like “the assertion is” (as you did, for example, in your post at 3:53 AM today). NSN facts are all but bullet-proof. I say “all but” because the definition does impose what you might call a “periodic maintenance” obligation on the asserter of an NSN fact: “At least once every six months, upon the written request of any person insisting on evidence to support such NSN, the person asserting the truth of such NSN shall be required either (1) to supply such evidence, which may include a mere repetition of the bases on which NSN status was initially conferred upon such NSN; or (2) to assert that supplying any evidence to support the truth of such NSN would subject innocent persons to arrest, torture, imprisonment and/or death.”

  120. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Kooshy,

    I will post the link to Fars’ report on EA with a fair summary. If you bring any other updates on the case which you think of merit — from whichever source — I will also post references to those.

    Scott

  121. kooshy says:

    Scott,

    All the reporters you mentioned on your post including Mr. Muhammad Sahimi, they are all known pro green activist, therefore they are biased and can’t be used as the only source, the question for some of the readers here is why you, Ms. Fathi, and others refuse to also publish the explanation of charges and trial period by the spoke person for the judiciary and let your readers be the judge, I had provided the link from Fars news that apparently reports the prosecutor general’s office account of charges and the duration of the trials as well as what evidence was available to the judge, I was hoping one of the green sites including yourself for sake of fair journalism make that available to your readers unfortunately you sarcastically brushed it aside as a “Fars News Report”

    Again there is a proverb in Persian that the translation of it is “don’t complain to receive what you have given”

    I am going to write this proverb also in Persian, since I think, if you are going to stay in this line of business, you will need to learn to read Persian and be able to translate what may not be available to you otherwise

    چیزی که عوض داره گله نداره
    Here is the link to Fars News of the report by the spoke person for the judiciary some in your staff can translate and have this also available to your readers for true and fair reporting.

    http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8902190214

  122. Sh says:

    Rehmat:

    Would you please post the link for the list of people who are Israeli hasbara?

  123. Sh says:

    No one should be surprised to see an agent of Zionism like Nazila Fathi writing rubbish to please her masters and feeding the readers with lies from Hadi Ghaemi, an agent of ‘human rights’ intelligent services of the West and the head of “UNITED for Iran” arranged demonstrations in the Western countries after the Iran election funded by NED (CIA) and Netherland “human rights’ intelligent agency.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/jacobs07142009.html

    Nazila Fathi is biased against Iran. Her name can be found among the list of Zionist hasbara.
    Rehmat: you have once posted the list of Zionist hasbara, but now I have difficulty to find it. Could you please post the link so everyone can see NAZILA FATHI is a biased propagandist and cannot be trusted? Is Nazila Fathi going to write about massacre of Muslims in different countries by the war criminals and the real axis of evil, US -Israel- Britain along with her own adopted country CANADA? Or her ‘expertise’ is limited to PROPAGANDA against the targeted countries like Iran to serve “WAR ON TERROR” agenda?
    PEJAK is a terrorist group where have received military training by Israel to be sent to the neighboring countries to conduct terror. The North of Iraq is occupied by MOSSAD disguised as ‘businessman.’
    According to this morning news:

    {The United States fired at least 20 missiles into the North Waziristan Agency today, destroying homes, cars and tents and leaving at least 24 tribesmen killed and an unknown number of others wounded.}

    Is Nazila Fathi,a zionist propagandist, going to write an article about the killing?

  124. Scott,

    Note what Cyrus says: those who simply ask for sources are not necessarily in favor of executions. They’re simply asking for sources.

    Speaking of sources, you write:

    “Muhammad Sahimi has posted a full overview of the case and its aftermath in Tehran Bureau today.”

    Just read it, all 2,032 words. I focused on sources for Dr. Sahimi’s criticisms of the proceedings. Here is what I found:

    “From abroad, the Anjoman leadership denied that [Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad-Reza Ali Zamani, two alleged members of PJAK executed earlier] were members.”

    “Khalil Bahramian, one of the lawyers representing Kamangar…”

    “the last letter that Kamangar sent from Evin Prison” (the famous “little black fishes” letter, in which Mr. Kamangar neglected to assert that he was innocent).

    “a letter dated January 18, 2010 [written by Shiran Alam-Houli]” (the same letter you quoted yesterday, in which Ms. Alam-Houli neglected to assert that she was innocent).

    That’s it, Scott. The rest of Dr. Sahimi’s article consists of Dr. Sahimi’s opinions, entirely unsourced statements, and condemnations of the executions issued by numerous individuals and organizations. Those who’ve read Nazila Fathi’s recent two articles will spot many familiar phrases.

    Dr. Sahimi is also going with your “10 minute” trial assertion, Scott. That makes at least two of you. Two or three more supporters and you’ll have yourself a “fact.” A few more, and it will be upgraded to “irrefutable” status. I wasn’t sure what “irrefutable” meant, by the way, until I looked it up. It means something supported by references to at least seven other people who say the same thing; provided, however, that (1) each of those seven sources is itself supported by references to at least seven other sources who say the same thing; and (2) no more than two of such seven sources are to “Not Found” or other variations of dead links.

  125. نادر says:

    ننگ بر اسکات و هیلاری . قاتل هستند  

  126. Pirouz_2 says:

    @ Scott Lucas;

    You never answer the questions that I ask you DIRECTLY!
    You say that I have honestly acknowledged that I didn’t know the details of what was going on in these cases, WELL THAT IS FAR MORE THAN WHAT I CAN SAY ABOUT YOU! YOU JUDGE AND CONDEMN WITHOUT KNOWING THE FACTS!

    Now once again:
    1)EXACTLY what is the point that you are trying to make by posting the letters from the executed?

    2)Iranian minorities can freely speak their languages, in fact there are TV programs in Iran in the local languages! In Azerbaijan people can even win diplomas in Azeri (thanks to your hated Ahmadinejad! I never see you making a tribute to him for that act?)

    3)The executed in all LIKELIHOOD were directly related to PJAK.

    4)PJAK is recognoized by USA as a terrorist group!

    5) Why should you focus on Iran when USA in Afghanistan ROUTINELY performs battlefield executions WITH NO TRIAL AT ALL (5 minutes is better than 0 minutes!)?

    6) Quite contrary to Fathi’s claims these executions have ZERO to do with last years election or with the Greenies.

  127. Cyrus says:

    Personally I am opposed to the death penalty and I do believe that it would be better for any trial and conviction ANYWHERE (whether Gitmo, Egypt, Israel…all outside of Scott Lucas’ purview…or in Iran) to be open to scrutiny as at the very least it provides legitimacy to the system. However, note that the Leveretts repeatedly state in their blog post that they do not support the conviction or execution of the 5 people. They are objecting to two very specific issues:

    1- The totally unsubstantiated link drawn by Fathi between the executions and the Green Movement: specifically, the unsupported claim that the executions were somehow intended to suppress demonstrations — demonstrations that lately appear to have petered out on their own, leaving proponents of the Green Movement to come up with various explanations on why the movement should be considered relevant, and

    2- A rather significant but entirely missing fact that should have been mentioned in the article: that PJAK is designated as a terrorist organization even by the US.

    Any objective reader of the piece would have seen these faults in the article. Pointing them out does not equal supporting tyranny and human rights abuses etc. Feigned outrage over human rights abuses is no excuse for poor, agenda-driven journalism.

  128. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    No, I wasn’t Fathi’s unnamed source :)

    Bahramian, who has been the one first-hand source who has been commenting publicly on the proceedings — given the regime’s secrecy over the trial — has said “no more than 10 minutes” in one of his interviews. That is not so distant from his 5-minute claim that you can make your extrapolation to save the due process of a trial lasting weeks.

    If this was a case where communications were open, easy, uncensored, and free from intimidation, then I am certain Fathi would have more sources. Indeed, I am certain that Fathi would still be reporting from Tehran — she had to flee last summer because of regime pressure.

    But Fathi is not the only reporter who has brought out information — she’s just the strawwoman for the Leveretts. Fereshteh Ghazi is bringing out excellent information. Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras) has put out details which have not been refuted. Human Rights Activists News Agency has put some information which has checked out, as has RAHANA.

    Muhammad Sahimi has posted a full overview of the case and its aftermath in Tehran Bureau today.

    In short, there are now multiple sources — despite the regime crackdown — putting together a picture, albeit still incomplete, of this case.

    Scott

  129. Scott,

    “yes, the assertion is that the trial which led to a death sentence was no more than 10 minutes in duration.”

    I certainly can understand why you’d want to nail down that number, Scott. Just in the few days we’ve been discussing this, the length of the trial has increased from Mr. Bahramian’s “five minutes” to s.’s “seven minutes” to your “10 minutes.” That’s double in just two days. At that rate of increase, if you hadn’t courageously drawn a line in the sand, we could have ended with a 10-week trial before you know it.

    On a more serious note, why do you say the trial lasted 10 minutes? Any sources for that?

  130. Scott,

    Ms. Fathis’ stated sources were:

    1. Mr. Bahramian, the voluble lawyer for one of the defendants who had claimed earlier that the trial was so short it could be clocked on an egg timer, and this time claimed that one of the mothers didn’t know her son had been executed until Monday afternoon – at least 36 hours after the story had been reported in hundreds of media outlets around the world (including Ms. Fathi’s own Sunday morning article).

    2. An opposition Website (Jaras).

    3. Unnamed “human rights activists” (Scott, was it you?).

    4. The Reporters Without Borders website, where the cited article’s stated sources were two earlier articles posted on the very same website (and which yielded two “Not Found” messages when I clicked on the links).

    Maybe everything Ms. Fathi wrote is absolutely true, Scott. At some point, though, don’t you think her readers deserve a bit more research than a quick scan of a couple of Websites and a phone call to some disappointed lawyer in Tehran whose statements practically cry out for fact-checking?

  131. Greenio says:

    @Reza Esfandiari,

    I like how you and YOUR lot always use USA as justification for your own actions. If US jails journalists and bloggers you argue, it is okay for Iran to jail them too! As the Iranian saying goes, if US jumps in a well, Iran must jump in the well behind her! I am against that kind of reasoning. Even one person shouldn’t be in prison for reporting, writing opinion pieces, etc. This is the reason why you use a full name and I have no choice but to stay anonymous. The fear is imprinted in all of us. We can’t speak our mind. Not sure where you get your 30,000 journalists working in Iran number from. But how many reform papers have been shut down over the past year? How many of their blogs have been blocked? How many seconds of air time are given to the reformers on state TV? What is the government so afraid of? Why not give some air time to Mousavi or Karoubi to defend themselves? Isn’t all this a confession that they are afraid?!

    As someone who has seen first hand Basijis setting cars, motorcycles and banks on fire and then have the IRIB report it as acts of “sedition” by members of the Green Movement, I testify to the peaceful nature of the millions of supporters of the opposition. Perhaps you weren’t there during the Silent March when millions just walked quietly and held V signs. Plus there are countless more footage of Basijis and police being violent than there are of the Green Movement doing any damage.

    And all your talk about Iran being in a better economic position than Europe or US is nonesense! It’s relative to the past. A kilo of meat cost about $15. How much did it cost only 2 years ago? You can say all you want that our economy is better off, the word on the streets of Tehran begs to differ. Ask anyone who is working 3 jobs to make ends meet if they are better off now?

    “The results of the ballot box and opinion polls show that it is people like you who are the minority. Any sympathy I had for the reform movement, and its legitimate aspirations, evaporated when I saw you lot rejecting the will of the majority and going on the rampage setting fire to buses and buildings.”

    What opinion polls?! There are none in Iran! Imagine being called and asked about your opinion of the government! Who in their right mind has the guts to speak their mind considering the atmosphere of fear that exists in Iran?! The will of the majority was to overthrow the Ahmadinejad government by way of electing Mir Hossein Mousavi. But that was clearly rigged. But I won’t get into that. He’s the president-select of this regime. If anything, people are tired of Mousavi and Karoubi for not having done enough…

    I respect your opinions and in a free Iran that is ideal we will both have podiums to speak our minds. But this Iran is not that ideal free Iran that you too can brag about…

  132. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @GREENIO

    “1. Why not issue a permit to these handful of Green Movement supporters for a peaceful street demonstration? Why not let them exercise their constitutional right to assemble? Why have a heavy security presence on the streets on any days that they MIGHT gather? Is this what a democratically elected government who is confident it has support of a majority does?”

    I agree with the right to demonstrate – peacefully. I also think that any protest should be authorised and liased with police for the safety of all concerned. There are riotous elements within the “Green movement” who have destroyed property and attacked security forces in the past, and there is no guarantee that the leaders of this movement can restrain these elements.

    “2. Why arrest filmmakers, bloggers, journalists and students for speaking their minds and or just simply reporting on the realities on the ground? Is this what in your opinion a democratically elected government does? Do you know what would happen to an Iranian version of the Leveretts in Iran? He or She who defends the United States which is a perceived enemy would be jailed, if not called an enemy of God and executed. The least the Leveretts could do is defend the rights of those in their own profession. 30+ journalists in prison is no joke. Jailing one of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers (Jafar Panahi) on the grounds of attempting to make a film is no joke.”

    Firstly, the US government arrests bloggers and jails them – check out the case of Vikram Buddhi. You say 30 journalists are in jail – how many are working in the press?
    There are perhaps 30,000 journalists at the national and local level in Iran.

    “3. The Green Movement is no longer about a number’s game. Talk all you want about how many people showed up to Ashura or February 11th protests. The question is no longer what are their numbers on the streets? The question is why have the numbers dwindled? Does it have to do with all the arrests, tortures and rapes? Everyone in Iran has someone who has been harmed or arrested at one point or the other over the past year. So it is only natural for less people to show up when they fear for their lives. The real question you should be asking is this: Are people happier now than they were 5 years ago, or a year ago? Are those 3-4 million people who marched the streets on Khordad 25 suddenly happy with the way things are or not? I dare you to go into any taxi cab anywhere in Tehran or other larger cities and get your answer there. With this unemployment, with this horrible isolationist foreign policy, with the inflation, with prices going up day by day, no one is happier.”

    The numbers have dwindled because people have seen the Green movement for what it is – a civil disruption group that helps the cause of Karroubi and Mousavi but not the Iranian nation. Also, inflation has declined from 25% to less than 10% in the past year. Iran is in a better economic situation than many European countries: read the IMF report on the country.

    “Answer those questions without feeding us Fars News and IRNA propoganda and maybe we’ll consider your arguments. Also my note to the Leveretts: considering how many times you are quoted by Fars News and how hated you are now in Iran, perhaps you can make your case by first acknowledging some of the wrong doings of the Islamic Republic (human rights, women rights, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, etc.) so that you don’t come across as paid apologists for an oppressive regime.”

    The results of the ballot box and opinion polls show that it is people like you who are the minority. Any sympathy I had for the reform movement, and its legitimate aspirations, evaporated when I saw you lot rejecting the will of the majority and going on the rampage setting fire to buses and buildings.

    Unless you can prove that you can accept democratic prinicples, I am not going to shed a tear at what happens to a few filmakers, journalists or politicians who are inciting civil disruption and sedition.

  133. Scott Lucas says:

    *Nazila Fathi in The New York Times this morning:*

    The authorities in Iran have refused to allow the families of five Kurdish activists hanged on Sunday to bury them, and have arrested the sister and mother of the only woman among the executed, one of the activists’ lawyers said Tuesday.

    The sister and mother of the woman, Shirin Alamhooee, 28, were arrested at their home in the city of Makoo, in northwestern Iran, said the lawyer, Khalil Bahramian, in a telephone interview from Tehran. He also said the family was not even aware of the execution until Monday afternoon.

    The government’s refusal to hand over the bodies to the families appears to stem from a fear of antigovernment demonstrations during burial ceremonies in Kurdish areas. Ethnic Kurds have come under increasing pressure since the large-scale protests last summer against the nation’s disputed elections, and at least two other Kurdish activists were executed late last year. At least 16 other Kurdish activists remain on death row, according to human rights groups.

    “Not allowing families to bury the bodies of their loved ones is against the law, Islam and Shariah,” Mr. Bahramian said.

    He said the authorities had told him they would bury the bodies and tell the families the location later. “They even turned down my request to allow the families to be present while they are burying them,” he said.

    Kurds are an ethnic minority in Iran and complain that the government discriminates against them. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslims in a country dominated by Shiites. The Kurds elect members to Parliament, but the lawmakers often have little power.

    The opposition Web site Jaras reported that Abdoljabar Karami, who represents Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province, in Parliament, was threatened by the governor when he tried to stop the executions and that his efforts to secure the release of the bodies this week had gone unheeded.

    Human rights activists have been alarmed by the hasty executions, which were carried out without having been endorsed by Iran’s Supreme Court. They worry that the government might hang more activists to discourage protesters from taking part in another planned rally, on the anniversary of the June 12 elections.

    Reporters Without Borders, which is based in Paris, expressed concern in a statement posted on its Web site Tuesday over the fate of reporters in jail after the executions on Sunday.

    Dozens of reporters have been arrested since last summer, and at least 42 still remain imprisoned, the group has said.

    The statement on Tuesday said that five journalists in jail needed urgent medical treatment, and it urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to send representatives to Iran.

  134. Dan Cooper says:

    Interesting video

    Press TV-Epilogue-The Invention of the Jewish People-05-10-2010(Part1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jJpbMOxpao&feature=player_embedded

  135. Greenio says:

    Iranian @Iran and other Islamic Republic apologists,

    Let us assume everything you say about the Iranian government being a democratically elected government and the Green Movement being a handful of thugs be true. Few questions that you will never be able to answer however are as follows:

    1. Why not issue a permit to these handful of Green Movement supporters for a peaceful street demonstration? Why not let them exercise their constitutional right to assemble? Why have a heavy security presence on the streets on any days that they MIGHT gather? Is this what a democratically elected government who is confident it has support of a majority does?

    2. Why arrest filmmakers, bloggers, journalists and students for speaking their minds and or just simply reporting on the realities on the ground? Is this what in your opinion a democratically elected government does? Do you know what would happen to an Iranian version of the Leveretts in Iran? He or She who defends the United States which is a perceived enemy would be jailed, if not called an enemy of God and executed. The least the Leveretts could do is defend the rights of those in their own profession. 30+ journalists in prison is no joke. Jailing one of Iran’s most prominent filmmakers (Jafar Panahi) on the grounds of attempting to make a film is no joke.

    3. The Green Movement is no longer about a number’s game. Talk all you want about how many people showed up to Ashura or February 11th protests. The question is no longer what are their numbers on the streets? The question is why have the numbers dwindled? Does it have to do with all the arrests, tortures and rapes? Everyone in Iran has someone who has been harmed or arrested at one point or the other over the past year. So it is only natural for less people to show up when they fear for their lives. The real question you should be asking is this: Are people happier now than they were 5 years ago, or a year ago? Are those 3-4 million people who marched the streets on Khordad 25 suddenly happy with the way things are or not? I dare you to go into any taxi cab anywhere in Tehran or other larger cities and get your answer there. With this unemployment, with this horrible isolationist foreign policy, with the inflation, with prices going up day by day, no one is happier.

    Answer those questions without feeding us Fars News and IRNA propoganda and maybe we’ll consider your arguments. Also my note to the Leveretts: considering how many times you are quoted by Fars News and how hated you are now in Iran, perhaps you can make your case by first acknowledging some of the wrong doings of the Islamic Republic (human rights, women rights, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, etc.) so that you don’t come across as paid apologists for an oppressive regime.

  136. Rehmat says:

    “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother,” General Moshe Dayan, quoted by David Hirst’s Hirst in The Middle East Order: The War.

    And thanks to Hasbara machine – the mad dog is planning to bite everyone around it and its trainers in the West.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/israel-must-be-like-a-mad-dog-to-fight-hizballah/

  137. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas,

    I’m sure even a feather weight Christopher Hitchens like you should get some recognition in DC.

    :)

  138. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas,

    You are not fooling anyone. You are merely dishing out propaganda. I’m sure there are people in DC who notice. :)

  139. Scott Lucas says:

    *Correction — previous post should have been only to Iranian@Iran (Happy tail-chasing!)….

  140. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Iranian & Iranian@Iran,

    I enjoy the banter, but I need to leave you both to chase your rhetorical tails. On this matter, I’m only dealing with informations and points of substance.

    Scott

  141. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Remember what Liz said about your logic:

    به روباه گفتند شاهدت کیه گفت دمم

    They told (asked) a fox “who is your witness?” He said “My tail”.

  142. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Your repeated attacks on the Leveretts show that you are neither honest nor rational. Your constant and repeated attack in response to their different posts, seem to reveal a personal obsession with these two people (the Charlie Rose interview really hurt you). Perhaps this is because they are playing the role that you would have liked to play. Their analysis on Iran turned out to be completely true, while yours was little more than a joke. They are standing firm against powerful forces that wish to stir up trouble in the region, while you are effectively fabricating material and dishing out propaganda to hide your incompetence and you are effective siding with the most extreme forces in US politics.

  143. Scott Lucas says:

    *Apologies for leaving my notes at the bottom of the post!

  144. Scott Lucas says:

    My thanks for all replies, which open up serious points for discussion (in contrast to the Leveretts’ original attempt to cast blame upon Nazila Fathi to preclude such discussion).

    1. Pirouz_2 assesses, honestly, that there may have been serious issues with due process, that the requirement of due process should not be diluted, and that he cannot say what happened

    2. On the lawyer’s claim, Eric tries to sweep it away as “opinion” and even “insult” — yes, the assertion is that the trial which led to a death sentence was no more than 10 minutes in duration. Masoud is uncertain what might have happened but diverts into speculation, in the absence of evidence, about whether there could be the possibility of a terrorist connection. Kooshy cites the Fars account, which does not refute the lawyer’s claims or provide evidence of guilt, and the Press TV account, which tries to imply guilt not by addressing the case but by invoking the PEJAK leader’s interview.

    3. M. Ali fails to split hairs by making a false distinction between the 2-4 year detentions of the prisoners, with no substantive evidence (at least to our knowledge) to support those detentions, and the sudden decision to execute them. Both occurred without any contradiction in the state’s approach — indeed, Fathi’s article gives a plausible, while far from proven, reason why this occurred.

    There is, therefore, an attempt to engage with the documents I posted, which is more than the Leveretts have provided in a reply to the Gulf 2000 discussion list. I thank everyone for that, while still have serious reservations about “justice” and “rights” in this case.

    Scott

    You state first that “Yet somehow this trumps the fact these trials were in fact not trials but a summary execution.” and few lines later you say, “If they were such big bad terrorists why did Iran wait until now to execute them?”

    If I had to bet, I’d say that these interrogations probably weren’t free of violence. Iranian security forces don’t goof around with suspected terrorists. But that doesn’t mean they got the wrong guys.

    Press TV’s implication of guilt

    Fars account

    Eric “insult”

  145. M.Ali says:

    Bill,

    You state first that “Yet somehow this trumps the fact these trials were in fact not trials but a summary execution.” and few lines later you say, “If they were such big bad terrorists why did Iran wait until now to execute them?”

    So you first claim that they were execused too soon (“summary execution” implies very little time was given) and then you claim that they were not execused soon enough (“wait until now” implies longer duration).

    This is like your previous posts on EA, you use contradictary arguments in the same post. Like your comments on why the elections were a fraud, I remember you mentioning that the proof was that they arrested certain people so that means the election was fraud and then few lines later you mentioned that they didn’t arrest other certain people (such as Mousavi) because they were scared of the people so it means elections were a fraud. Your argument basically meant that whether the government arrested or did not arrest, it somehow, in your logic, proved the elections was a fraud.

    You are using the same arguments here. The trail was illigetimate according to you because both it was a “summary execution” and “why did wait until now”. How?

  146. Bill Davit (Scott Lucas' biggest fan) says:

    Well I thought I had seen it all then I came across this post by the Leveretts. They say they are not out to defend the executions but then dive right into defending under the guise of “objectively” attacking an author(news flash when someone goes to lenghts to say “they aren’t” they usually are.) They can try to hind behind this guise but it is plain for most to see that the tone of the article is very much in defense of the regimes actions. Their most spurious claim is “but does not cite Iran-based sources or any other evidence of Iranian public perceptions (not even opposition web sites).” Has it not dawned on the Leveretts that 60 news agencies have been banned from Iran(least off all lets not forget the West’s Media was supposedly behind the unrest from the get go), that they themselves are part of very very small minority of the international journalist community even allowed into Iran(they might want to write a pro green article and see if they could get back in), Iran has already detained 100 journalists, shut down the majority of the reform websites and papers, that their sources are well known regime apologists who have flat out lied on TV, and most alarming inferring that Iran-based sources are trustworthy. Yet still some how the Leverett’s would have us beleive we should be able to easily check the facts with these “Iran based” sources. Which ones would those be the ones in jail, dead, on the run, or the IRIB who puts out the regime propoganda? Then comes the grand daddy of them all damning the author for being political as if it is a sin to be so?

    Hello the Green Movement is in a ideological war with the regime. What did they expect? Of course it is going to be political. Yet somehow this trumps the fact these trials were in fact not trials but a summary execution. Even the defense attorneys stated they were 10 min trials, with no concrete evidence presented, broke Iranian constitutional law, and ended with a death sentence. If they were such big bad terrorists why did Iran wait until now to execute them? The timing itself is suspicious and this fact alone lends credibility to the angle these were politically motivated. When you couple this timing with the fact no real information other than regime statements it further points to the very real possibility these were nothing more than executions that served some purpose for the regime. Sadly because they were Kurds the regime probably figured they could get away with it while getting the added bonus of sending a chilling message to the Green Movement.

    It is absolutely breath taking the efforts the Leverett’s goto to shill for the regime. It would seem the idea of rapprochement, which I agree with, has completely blinded the Leverett’s from the facts on the ground. Sadly this reminds me of the story about Amnesty International shilling for the former Gitmo Caged Prisoners rights group. Amnesty in this case is supporting radicals that espouse a world view(the Taliban and Wahhabi view) that contradicts the very essence of who they are. Shame on both for pursuing a cause, while worthy in many aspects, but doing so while ignoring the gross human rights violations around them. I liken this whole debate to treating with a murderer in the effort of some “greater goal”–just don’t pay attention to the dead bodies along the way becuase it may upset the apple cart!

    Thx
    Bill

  147. masoud says:

    I think the rule with confessions in Iran is that they have to be made with the defendant having been informed of his rights, and in the presence of both a defense lawyer and a judge, and it has to be made on four separate occasions. When that happens, we essentially skip the trial and go to sentencing. So I can’t imagine that any of these people met that standard and actually formally confessed. I don’t really know much about this case, but maybe what happened here is that they did make certain admissions while being interrogated that were presented to the court and contributed to their conviction?

    If I had to bet, I’d say that these interrogations probably weren’t free of violence. Iranian security forces don’t goof around with suspected terrorists. But that doesn’t mean they got the wrong guys. Mr. Kamangar’s letter, for example, completely belies his lawyer’s claim that “Not at all; he was neither a member nor a sympathizer(of PJAK). His character was not along these lines at all.”. He is clearly in favor of separation of not only the for the Kurdish people, but all virtually all of Iran’s “minorities”. He is apparently such an ardent supporter of this principle that he’s even taken to instructing children that the root cause of their poverty is Iran. He also claims he is not afraid of meeting death on his quest(these are all words he has written). So i don’t think this is a case of mistaken identity. Given that he has been able to publish his letters while in prison, I don’t think the main motive behind his trial and execution is to shut him up. Of course that doesn’t mean he’s a terrorist, it could be that the IRI just wants to intimidate separatists, one would actually have to look at the evidence of the case to determine that. However, i think it is a mistake to uncritically and unambiguously refer to him as a political prisoner. If anyone has any information on this, I would like to know what political activities he was engaged in and for which he has been supposedly hung for. I would also like to know the same with regards the Mrs. Alam-Hooli, the other person who was executed, and whose letter published here by Scott Lucas asserts among other things:

    “Mr. Judge and Interrogator: When you were interrogating me, I couldn’t speak your language and couldn’t understand you. I learned Farsi in the past two years in the Women’s section of the prison from my friends.”
    This {http://shirin-alamhooli.blogspot.com/2010/02/letter-from-shirin-alam-hooli-prisoner.html} seems to a letter containing an earlier version of her story.
    There are some interesting differences, for example we can start with:
    “My interrogators were men and I was tied to the bed with handcuffs. They would hit and kick my face and head, my body and the soles of my feet and use electric batons and cables in their beatings. At the time I didn’t even speak or understand Farsi properly. When their questions were left unanswered they would hit me until I pass out. They would stop as soon as they would hear the call for prayers and would give me time until their return for as they said to come to my senses only to start their beatings as soon as they returned – again beatings, passing out, iced water ”
    In the earlier version Ms. Alam-Hooli drops the presence of the judge, in the latter version she doesn’t mention the severe beatings she was subject to while making the confessions. Maybe one could argue she could have been referring to two different sets of interrogation sessions? Possible. Another feature is that originally inability to understand Farsi had been qualified in her earlier statement, while in the second statement it was categorical. That’s fishy but not necessarily a contradiction.

    She goes on however
    ["One day while interrogating me they kicked me so hard in the stomach that it resulted in immediate haemorrhaging. Another day, one of the interrogators came to me – the only one whose face I saw, I was blindfolded all other times – and asked irrelevant questions. When he heard no reply he slapped me and took out his pistol from his belt and put it to my head, “You will answer the questions I ask of you. I already know you are a member of PJAK, that you are a terrorist. See girl, talking or not talking makes no difference. We’re happy to have a member of PJAK in our captivity”.

    On one of the occasions that the doctor was brought to see to my injuries I was only half conscious because of all the beatings. The doctor asked my interrogator to transfer me to the hospital. The interrogator asked, “why should she be treated in hospital, can’t she be treated here?” The doctor said, “I don’t mean for treatment. In hospital I will do something for you to make her sing like a canary.” The next day they took me to hospital in handcuffs and blindfold. The doctor put me on a bed and injected me. I lost my will and answered everything they asked in the manner they wanted and they filmed the whole thing. When I came to I asked them where I was and realised I was still on a hospital bed and then they transferred me back to my cell."]

    So the guards were just beating her to the point where she was only semi conscious during the interrogations, and the MD on staff suggested he could give her some truth serum. And when he did she lost her will and gave incriminating testimony, which was then caught on film and presented in court. Remember, her supposed state was such it would have been difficult to coach her effectively, and besides this is the same time period wherein she could not speak or understand Farsi properly.

    Now this is not a matter to take lightly. I really don’t know Ms. Alam-Hooli’s story and she may be completely innocent. But then again she may not be. Her changing story over doesn’t help, but that’s clearly not enough evidence for anyone to go on. I don’t know if the judge was fair in this case, and to tell you the truth I probably am not going to investigate this much further. It’s not that I don’t have my suspicions, it’s just that i think it would be too difficult for me to give an issue like this the care it deserves There was a trial, she was found guilty, she appears to have vigorously represented throughout her trial and appeals process, and her advocacy was extended even beyond the courtroom to the media when it became apparent that battle wouldn’t be won over there. But her battle wasn’t won anywhere, and she was put to death for a charge best rendered in English as terrorism or providing material support to terrorism.

    Whatever the case, i think the fact remains that these separatists movements are supported by foreign governments as a way to destroy Iran, even though those very same governments acknowledge that these campaigns probably will fall well shor of their aims and result only needless carnage. I also think police brutality remains a serious problem, as does overuse of the death penalty, and measures could should be taken to curb both. But let’s be clear, those who seek to misrepresent these events as some kind of “crack down” on legitimate political activity have very ugly agendas.

    BTW, “S.” should actually do some homework on how the bulk of McVeigh’s appeals were handled; my recollection is that they were dropped in the middle of the night and he was executed the next day.

    Masoud

  148. Dan Cooper says:

    Iran: Brazil and Turkey make new nuclear proposal:

    Iran said Tuesday that Brazil and Turkey have offered a promising new proposal for a nuclear fuel deal as Tehran steps up a diplomatic push to stave off new U.N. sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

    http://snipurl.com/w5jwp

  149. kooshy says:

    From Press TV

    PJAK admits armed attacks in Iran
    Mon, 10 May 2010 18:06:28 GMT

    Haji-Ahmadi says PJAK members cannot operate in Iran without the use of arms.
    The leader of the terrorist Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), Abdolrahman Haji-Ahmadi, has admitted that the group has been conducting armed attacks inside Iran.

    In an interview with the BBC, Haji-Ahmadi said the situation in Iran made it impossible for his group to carry out operations without the use of arms.

    PJAK, an offshoot of the internationally-recognized terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is blamed for many terror attacks targeting both military personnel and Kurdish civilians in northwestern Iran.

    “It is evident that our members can not operate in Iran without the use of arms,” Haji-Ahmadi said.

    The terrorist ringleader was arrested in March in Germany but was released after two weeks. Tehran has criticized a German decision to refuse to extradite Haji-Ahmadi to Iran.

    Haji-Ahmadi further said that the five terrorists executed in Iran on Sunday had “no organic links” to PJAK.

    Four men and one woman were “convicted of carrying out terrorist acts, including the bombings of government centers and public properties in several Iranian cities.”

  150. Reza Esfandiari says:

    It is disgraceful that the NYTimes describes PJAK members as “activists”.

    Next they will be calling them “pro-democracy campaigners”.

  151. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – if you open the link I had provide – you would have found many of those names I listed – carry Israeli nationality – especially those who are Jewish.

  152. kooshy says:

    Eric , here is a little more details from the Fars News report , the report is lengthy and I can’t translate the whole thing

    According to the details published by Fars news which sites the public relation office of Tehran appeals court as source, which I have provided the Persian link on my earlier posts;

    During the process of interrogations defendants lawyers and representative of the prosecutor general were present, the lower courts sentences was appealed in the appeals court and finalized and approved by the supreme court of state.

    According to this report Mr. Kamalian was arrested in 1385 (about 4 years ago we are on beginning of 1389) for charges of bombing 2 government buildings in Kermanshah, when searched his house they found 57 RPG ammunition, explosives, and bullets and Etc. , the first court date is in late 11/10/1386 the lower court issues sentence on 12/1/86 and the sentence is announced to the defendant and his lawyers on 12/ 6/1386 which is appealed and the case is sent to the applet court the applet court on 12/10/1387 approves the lower court sentence.

  153. Jay says:

    Some may suggest that the Leverrets are being overly generous to NYT. On the face of it, as others have pointed out, this report and Ms. Fathi are but a small sample of the people at NYT that have taken the mantle of “motivated journalism” – a form of journalism that is motivated by the ends it wishes to achieve – for example, people have mentioned Sanger as another “motivated journalist”.

    It is difficult to judge from 5000 miles away the guilt and innocence of people. And, it is certainly permissible to speculate. However, it is surprising to find “journalists” and even some people in the forum who otherwise require a robust presentation of proof for any statement to suggest that this specific trial was a sham and that this specific group of people were innocent – moreover to proclaim it without first hand knowledge!

    There are certainly examples of gross miscarriage of justice in Iran, but where is that we have perfect rendition of justice? Is there systematic miscarriage of justice in Iran for all people? — I would venture to guess no on the balance. Are there instance of systematic miscarriage of justice in Iran? — I would venture to guess yes. Are there cases of injustice here in the US? — I would say yes. Does the presence of injustice in the US make it right for Iran? The answer is No.

    However, for journalists and some people in this forum to write from the standpoint of moral authority and superiority — that is disappointing.

  154. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric;

    The most important thing that is missing here is reliable “evidence”. So I share your concerns regarding “accusations” being fabricated against Iran. All I am saying is that the idea of a “5-minute trial” is PLAUSIBLE, and has happened MANY MANY times in the past. Has it been the case this time too? I really don’t know. I don’t know this particular lawyer, and therefore I cannot put my trust in his words. But he may very well be right. I know people from Iran in whose honor and honesty I have complete trust. I must wait until I hear a statement from one of those people, or until a RELIABLE evidence has been produced until I make my final judgement.

    By the way, you are right when you say:
    “The fact remains, though, that many of these confessions do turn out to be valid”
    BUT, it is a basic principle of any civilized system of justice that EVEN IF YOU ARE SURE that someone has commited a crime, for as long as you don’t have an evidence you have to let him go! As such “confessions” extracted by coercive measures are not valid under the law. EVEN if they turn out to be true confessions, for as long as they have been extracted by force, they are NOT VALID.

    The best example would be the mass trials of the reformist activists after the 2009 elections which included their confessions. I am 100% sure that over 90% of those confessions were TRUE. Thise guys are some of the MOST CORRUPT people coming out of the IR system and in fact some of them were torturer/interrogators of the 80s! But that does not deny the fact that in all likelihood those confessions were probably forced out of those guys!

    Also regarding your point about defence lawyers: in Iran the most of the defence lawyers in cases of political trials are honest people believing in human right ideals, and most of them take huge risks in taking on those cases (sometimes they themselves even end up in jail afterwards). Was this also the case here in this incident? I DONT KNOW!
    I dont know this lawyer.

  155. Eric A. Brill says:

    Iranian,

    “Dear All, Have you all noticed how Scott Lucas is silent about my own experience?”

    I assume that Scott was pre-occupied with how best to break the news to his Enduring America readers about Persian Gulf’s eye-witness confirmation of the Leveretts’ crowd estimate for the Dec. 27 Ashura protest rally. Give Scott’s poor followers some time to adjust to that first. Truth is hard enough to take even in small doses.

  156. Eric A. Brill says:

    Pirouz_2,

    I’m certainly not in favor of kangaroo-court trials, nor am I suggesting I know what happened in the 1980s or 1990s. I’m just trying to find out what happened here. On the Enduring America website, Scott recently posted some other story about several people having been executed merely for having been acquaintances of a member of MEK. When I checked the story, though, I discovered they’d been accused of serious crimes, that their case had worked its way up and down and up through the courts over a long period of time, and that at least one of them had been represented by a lawyer who was described as one of the top appellate lawyers in Iran.

    Maybe that didn’t mean those defendants got a fair trial, and it doesn’t mean the defendants in this case got one either. But it’s also possible that they did. I always find it odd when I read a story about the suffering of defendants in prison that includes not a single word about the charges, the victims, the trial, the evidence, the appeal or anything else about the case.

    As for your statement that “I have seen reports from the lawyer that you mention in which he CLEARLY states the innocence of his client from the charges,” I too have seen statements in which he makes this point more clearly. But so what? He’s the defendant’s lawyer – that’s what he’s supposed to say.

    As for why anyone would “confess” out of his/her free will, I agree that’s a sensible question – one I’ve asked myself many, many times over the years. Any so-called “voluntary” confession makes me suspicious. If I am ever accused of a crime, I assure you they won’t get one out of me. The fact remains, though, that many of these confessions do turn out to be valid. Maybe these were, maybe they weren’t, but making blanket statements like yours, and citing judicial practices from 20 or 30 years ago, doesn’t shed much light on these 5 defendants’ cases.

    I’m really not saying I believe these 5 were guilty and someone now has to prove their innocence. I’m just wondering whether anyone has anything other than rumors, opinions and pointless analogies to offer.

  157. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric;
    Generally speaking, Iranian courts which try political dissidents are far from fair. In fact they are in most cases the exact opposite of the fair. Pretty much everyone with the knowledge of Iran in the 80′s and 90′s can tell you that 1000s up on 1000s of people (including people as young as 19 year old) were tried in LESS THAN 5 minute trials and sent to execution (under Mr. Rafsanjani, Khamenei, Mousavi, Karroubi and the rest of the gang).
    By the way, I have seen reports from the lawyer that you mention in which he CLEARLY states the innocence of his client from the charges. Reports mention confessions taken under torture, and to me it makes sense, because the punishment for the crime of being a member of PJAK is known to everyone in Iran. Why would anyone “confess” out of his/her free will?!?!?

  158. Eric A. Brill says:

    Scott,

    You posted what appear to be two letters from the defendants. In such letters, defendants often claim to be innocent. Sometimes they are, of course, and sometimes they are not. Readers naturally take such claims with a very large grain of salt. Nevertheless, they expect to see such a statement – pointless or not, it is an important element of this particular literary genre.

    So I was expecting to see something like “I did not do what they have accused me of doing.” Something along those lines, though I wasn’t planning to be finicky about the wording.

    To my surprise, neither letter says that, nor anything like it. I am not terribly interested in stories about “little black fish” or complaints about how unpleasant prison has been. I’m wondering whether the woman complaining about bad prison conditions should have been in prison in the first place. If she was innocent, I will feel very sorry for her and her family. If she was guilty, I’ll feel considerably less sorry for them.

    You also include statements by a lawyer, Mr. Bahramian, who assures us that his client was innocent:

    “…on Farzad Kamangar [Mr. Bahramian's client], I can say [he was] a person hundred percent innocent who did not have any thing to do with the case and the accusations against him.”

    Lawyers for defendants often claim their clients are innocent. Sometimes their clients are, of course, and sometimes they are not. Readers naturally take such claims with a very large grain of salt. I would expect Mr. Bahramian to explain why he felt that way. To be sure, he refers to some “five minute” hearing – to be sure, an awfully short period of time in which to establish one’s guilt and sentence one to death – but he doesn’t make clear whether that was the actual trial or (more likely) some procedural post-trial hearing. If he is merely complaining that he was not duly notified about the carrying out of the death sentence, that is regrettable, but hardly grounds for reversing his client’s sentence if he received a fair trial.

    I was hoping for information about the charges, the trials or the evidence – not flowery letters from the defendants about “little black fish,’ missing even a claim of innocence, or rambling pronouncements by a defendant’s attorney that misleads at least one reader (s.) to believe the trial was actually “seven minutes” long. If you have no information, fine. But don’t insult us with this sort of stuff.

  159. kooshy says:

    It was in Iranian news media that Halbrook was going there around the same time Rigi got arrested in the air on his way to Bishkek

    http://bishkek.usembassy.gov/

  160. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    That the activities of the terrorist Rigi get so little attention in US newspapers, speaks volumes. Was he working for Holbrooke?

  161. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Is Israel conferring honorary citizenship on some of the people you list? That there is a remarable degree of penetration of the US national security establishment, by operatives working essentially for Israel (or the Israeli government) seems beyond doubt.

  162. kooshy says:

    I thought I should answer these questions for kattyM the blogger at the HP

    Q1. What would US do if arrested a terrorist responsible for planting bombs in public places?

    A. We will send them to an indefinite beach vacation in Cuba

    q2. What was Rigi doing in American base one day before his arrest?

    A.Oh’ that, well he was there with his travel agent, for a plane ticket to fly to Bishkek Kyrgyzstan, he was going on a business trip to see his boss Richard Hallbrook

  163. James Canning says:

    Hamid,

    What is “pseudo-academic” about the issues the Leveretts bring to the discussion on this blog? Can you recommend a site with better comments?

  164. hamid says:

    congratulations leverettes! you have done it. The commenters now feature agents of the Iranian regime. How do I know? I grew up learning their language. This place stinks of that language.

  165. Iranian says:

    And let us not forget all the women and children who were killed in the Shiraz bomb attack and other attacks carried out by the “innocent 5″!

  166. Iranian says:

    “How about the countless stories about green barbarians being chased by the police or locals? The green thugs would pound on people’s doors with clubs and demand that they open their doors or else… Sometimes when frightened people would finally open their doors (or their doors were broken), they were intimidated into silence until the police or locals would leave.”

    I know. These people killed baseej members, they stripped two police officers naked in the middle of the street and beat them like animals, they blinded another police officer, they destroyed banks and private property, they attacked people who looked religious, they received the backing of the west, they tried (but failed) to steal the elections, etc. I was just explaining my own frightening experience.

  167. Iranian @Iran says:

    You’re welcome Liz.

  168. Iranian @Iran says:

    The Leverett’s are courageous for standing up to the media and to those who are dragging us towards confrontation through lies and propaganda. They demand accountability.

  169. kooshy says:

    I have not read the entire lengthy detailed report published on Fars News which on my earlier post I added a link to that news in Persian, according to spokesman for the judiciary all 5 have admitted that they have been associated with PJAK a known terrorist group similar to Al Qaeda that has been declared by US state department as a terrorist organization, one male members of the group was captured in home in Tehran with 12 kilo of explosives and the female member was cut during installing a bomb on a vehicle.

    http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8902190214

  170. Liz says:

    Once again. I love Persian sayings and proverbs. When I read Scott Lucas, I think about the sentence:

    به روباه گفتند شاهدت کیه گفت دمم

    They told (asked) a fox “who is your witness?” He said “My tail”.

    Thank you Iranian@Iran! :)

  171. hamid says:

    My prediction has come true eventually: when the Leverettes started making noise about Iran, and especially after making a trip to iran via their contact “Prof Marandi” I predicted that they will soon move past the pseudo-academic discussion into an outright defense of the crimes of the regime. It has happened sooner that I expected though.

    But if we think about it, it is no surprise. The whole discussion of Leverettes has been without offerring a shred of evidence. This shows agenda, and agenda trumps any sense of morality in this case,so much so that it necessitates defending the regime on the grossest forms of human rights violations.

    -H

  172. Liz says:

    Insulting Muslim culture again Scott Lucas? The only thing you love is money and fame. Iranian@Iran put it so well when he said that you are a feather weight Christopher Hitchens.

    :)

  173. Liz says:

    Iranian:

    How about the countless stories about green barbarians being chased by the police or locals? The green thugs would pound on people’s doors with clubs and demand that they open their doors or else… Sometimes when frightened people would finally open their doors (or their doors were broken), they were intimidated into silence until the police or locals would leave.

  174. Scott Lucas says:

    Iranian@Iran,

    I know very well what Liz said — I do love her so — and I know who is chasing which tails in this post by the Leveretts (please don’t mention human rights, let’s talk about the nuclear issue and international matters). Provide evidence or step aside…

    Iranian, I note your account. Violence from any side in this conflict is not to be condoned, as opposition figures have repeatedly stated. I would hope that condemnation of abuses and violence, when carried out in the name of the Government, would also be forthcoming, rather than an attempt to rationalise these acts of violence without any presentation of evidence.

    Scott

  175. Pirouz_2 says:

    Mr. Lucas;

    Did you know that Iranian Radio and TV. have programs (and in fact I think completely dedicated channels) which speak in local languages in various Iranian provinces??
    Did you know that people in Azerbaijan province can get their college diploma in Azeri Turkish?
    What is this total and pure rubbish that in iran people are not allowed to speak “Kurdish”???

  176. Fiorangela Leone says:

    I find the attempt to ‘silence’ or censor speech to be odious.
    Yet, when I see Scott Lucas take over an article, I wish he could be blocked. He loads up the space, consuming digital squiggles far in excess of contributions made, and he’s the only one I’ve noticed who engages in insulting dialog on this forum.

    I avoid the conversation when Lucas is part of it in the same way I avoid a blowhard at a cocktail party.

  177. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MISLEADING ITS READERS AGAIN—THIS TIME ON IRAN?

    If you know they are misleading, and say they are misleading, why ask the question?

    THEY ARE MISLEADING!

    You posted the mea culpas from NYT and WaPo not too long ago regarding the Iraq war. Perhaps that is what we are going to look forward to, after the fact.

  178. Iranian says:

    Dear All,

    Have you all noticed how Scott Lucas is silent about my own experience? I’ve learned enough about him over the past few weeks to be able to say:

    I’m not addressing this to Scott Lucas, because he is not out to find or defend the truth. We all know why. On Ashura, my daughter called me from Saadi Street (south of Enghelab St.). She was participating in an Ashura procession with her schoolmates, when a number of stone throwing people wearing green started shanting slogans and breaking shop window. They used sticks and iron bars to attack people wearing black (mourners) on motorcycles.

    I jumped in my car and went to Saadi St. (Scott Lucas can look it up on a map, because he knows nothing about Tehran). As I neared the underpass for Engelab St., I saw these people throwing stones at cars from above on Enghelab St. I got stuck in the traffic and 5 green thugs came up to a car near mine and started kicking the car demanding that the driver (who was bearded) step out of the car and chant anti-Islamic Republic slogans. The man tried to reason with them and they started hitting his car with sticks, breaking both mirrors. As soon as the cars in front began to move forward he moved forward as quickly as possible. I passed by the thugs, looking the other way, and I don’t know what happened to the cars behind me.

    I found my daughter and we stayed put, until slowly we saw large crowds of people gathering to stand up against the thugs. The local mosques were all holding ceremonies and when people found out what was happening they began spilling out of the mosques and the green cowards began to run away.

  179. Iranian @Iran says:

    Scott Lucas can’t seem to provide evidence for his propaganda. Seems like a new low for Scott Lucas…

    :)

  180. Iranian @Iran says:

    Scott Lucas

    Don’t lose your temper. I guess you are not used to facing people more informed than yourself.

    Should I translate what Liz wrote about you, as you don’t know any Persian (a funny thing for an “expert on Iran”).

    It means: They told (asked) a fox “who is your witness?” He said “My tail”. lol

  181. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Liz,

    You are such a sweetie — thank you….

    Scott

  182. Scott Lucas says:

    http://www.astreetjournalist.com/2010/05/09/i-am-a-hostage-a-letter-from-political-prisoner-shirin-alam-hooli/

    The Letter of Ms. Shirin Alam Hooli

    I am entering into my third year of imprisonment, three years under the worst conditions behind the bars of the Evin prison. I spent the first two years of my imprisonment without a lawyer, and in pre-trial custody. All my inquiries about my case went unanswered until I was unjustly sentenced to death. Why have I been imprisoned and why am I going to be executed? For what crime? Is it because I am Kurdish? If that’s the case then I must say I was born a Kurd. My language is Kurdish, the language that I use to communicate with my family, friends and community, and the language that I grew up with. But I am not allowed to speak my language or read it, I am not allowed to go to school in my own language and I am not allowed to write it. They are telling me to deny my Kurdish identity, but if I do, that means I have to deny who I am.

    Mr. Judge and Interrogator: When you were interrogating me, I couldn’t speak your language and couldn’t understand you. I learned Farsi in the past two years in the Women’s section of the prison from my friends. But you interrogated me, tried me and sentenced me in your own language even though I couldn’t understand it and couldn’t defend myself. The torture that you subjected me to has become my nightmare.

    I am in constant pain because of the torture I was subjected to. The blows to my head during interrogation has caused major problems to my head, and sometimes I suffer from severe headaches, where I lose all sense of myself, my nose starts bleeding from the pain and this lasts for several hours until I start to feel normal again. Another “gift” your torture has left me is the damage to my eyes which get worse by the day. My request for glasses has gone unanswered. When I entered this prison my hair was black, now after three (3) years of imprisonment, my hair has started to turn white. I know you have done this not only to me but to all Kurds including Zeynab Jalaliyan and Ronak Safarzadeh… The eyes of Kurdish mothers are full of tears, waiting to see their children. They are in a state of constant worry, in fear that each phone call may bring the news of the execution of their children.

    Today is May 2, 2010 and once again they took me to Section 209 of the Evin prison for interrogation. They asked me to cooperate with them in order for me to be pardoned and not executed. I don’t understand what they mean by cooperation, when I don’t have anything more to say than what I have already said. They want me to repeat whatever they say, but I refuse to do it. The interrogators told me “we wanted to release you last year, but your family wouldn’t cooperate with us so things had to come to this.” He admitted to me that I was a hostage and until they reach their goal they will keep me a prisoner or execute me, but they will never release me.

    Shirin Alam Hooli May 3rd 2010

  183. Scott Lucas says:

    http://iranlaborreport.com/?p=690

    Khalil Bahramian, Kamangar’s attorney, in an interview before knowing about the execution said: “Mr. Kamangar and his interrogator told me that there are changes in the case and under review by the prosecutor and execution is out of the question. I inquired more than ten times and they told me the case is under review. But the intelligence officer had told Farzad that execution had been revoked”. Later being notified of the execution after the fact, Bahramian said in an interview: “The rules call for notification of the lawyers on carrying out the death penalty. In case of two of my clients, Farzad Kamangar and Mehdi Eslamian, I was not notified at all.” He continued, “on Farzad Kamangar, I was present at the court sessions. There were three accused in the case. My client had at most ten minutes in the court and when I asked to talk I was told to provide my arguments in writing. The judge said that he was going for prayers.”. “The sentence issued for Mehdi Eslamian did not par with the facts of the case but on Farzad Kamangar, I can say [he was] a person hundred percent innocent who did not have any thing to do with the case and the accusations against him.” Bahramian said: “Kamangar accusation was membership in PJAK.” When asked if he Kamangar was a member of PJAK, Bahramian said: “Not at all; he was neither a member nor a sympathizer. His character was not along these lines at all.”

  184. kooshy says:

    Here is more detaied as it was was published on Fars a few days back, it is in Persian and need to be translated

    http://www.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8902190214

    and here is a short version in English from Mehr

    Iran hangs five terrorists
    TEHRAN, May 9 (MNA) — Iran executed five people convicted of being counter-revolutionary terrorists on Sunday.
    The Tehran Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement on Sunday saying that Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian, Farhad Vakili, Mehdi Islamian, and Shirin Alamhouli had been executed.
    The five were convicted of carrying out terrorist acts, including bombings of government offices and public property in several Iranian cities, blowing up a section of a gas pipeline to Turkey, and weapons smuggling. Each of them was also convicted of being a mohareb, which means an enemy of God, a crime punishable by death in Iran.
    The convicts were hanged at Tehran’s Evin Prison on Sunday after the Supreme Court upheld their death sentences. The five terrorists had been convicted in 2008.
    According to the statement, Kamangar, Heidarian, Vakili, and Alamhouli were members of the counter-revolutionary group PJAK (the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan), which operates in western Iran.
    Kamangar, Heidarian, and Vakili helped establish the PJAK group in 2003 in an effort to overthrow the Islamic establishment.
    Alamhouli confessed that she had links with PJAK and received orders from the group to carry out terrorist acts in Iran.
    A representative of the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office and the convicts’ lawyers attended all the court sessions.
    HJ/HG
    END
    MNA

  185. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas:

    Umm sorry, but you’re the one who’s supposed to provide evidence. lol

  186. Liz says:

    I love Persian sayings and proverbs. When I read Scott Lucas, I think about the sentence:

    به روباه گفتند شاهدت کیه گفت دمم

  187. Scott Lucas says:

    Iranian@Iran,

    Deal with the allegations by presenting evidence or step aside….

    Scott

  188. Iranian @Iran says:

    A much more believable story from Iranian:

    Dear All,

    I’m not addressing this to Scott Lucas, because he is not out to find or defend the truth. We all know why. On Ashura, my daughter called me from Saadi Street (south of Enghelab St.). She was participating in an Ashura procession with her schoolmates, when a number of stone throwing people wearing green started shanting slogans and breaking shop window. They used sticks and iron bars to attack people wearing black (mourners) on motorcycles.

    I jumped in my car and went to Saadi St. (Scott Lucas can look it up on a map, because he knows nothing about Tehran). As I neared the underpass for Engelab St., I saw these people throwing stones at cars from above on Enghelab St. I got stuck in the traffic and 5 green thugs came up to a car near mine and started kicking the car demanding that the driver (who was bearded) step out of the car and chant anti-Islamic Republic slogans. The man tried to reason with them and they started hitting his car with sticks, breaking both mirrors. As soon as the cars in front began to move forward he moved forward as quickly as possible. I passed by the thugs, looking the other way, and I don’t know what happened to the cars behind me.

    I found my daughter and we stayed put, until slowly we saw large crowds of people gathering to stand up against the thugs. The local mosques were all holding ceremonies and when people found out what was happening they began spilling out of the mosques and the green cowards began to run away.

  189. Iranian @Iran says:

    Sorry Scott Lucas, but your propganda doesnt work everywhere. Your sources are suspect to say the least. They are the same people who have been lying about Iran for almost a year now.

  190. Scott Lucas says:

    Farzad Karmangar’s last letter from Evin Prison:

    http://persian2english.com/?p=9881

    Once upon a time, there was a mother fish who laid 10,000 eggs. Only one little black fish survived. He lives in a stream with his mother.

    One day the little fish said to his mother, “I want to go away from here.” The mother asked, “Where to?” The little fish replied, “I want to go see where the stream ends.”

    [Translator’s note: Little Black Fish is the title of a short story fiction piece for children. The story was written in 1967 by the dissident teacher Samad Behrangi. The book was banned under the Shah’s regime. It tells the story and adventures of a little fish who defies the rules of his community to embark on a journey to discover the sea. On the way, he courageously fights enemies. The tale is considered to be a classic in Iranian resistance literature]
    Hello cell mates. Hello fellow mates of pain!

    I know you well: you are the teacher, the neighbour to the stars of *Khavaran, the classmates of dozens whose essays were attached to their legal cases [as evidence], the teacher of students whose [only] crime was their humane thoughts. I know you well: you are colleagues of Samad and Ali Khan. You remember me too, right?

    [Translator's note: Khavaran is the cemetery in eastern Tehran where many political dissidents were executed during the 1980's and buried in mass unmarked graves]
    It is me, the one chained in Evin prison.

    It is me, the quiet student who sits behind the broken school benches and longs to see the sea while in a remote village in Kurdistan. It is me, who like you, told the tales of Samad to his students; but in the heart of the Shahoo Mountains [located in Kurdistan].

    It is me who loves to take on the role of the little black fish.

    It is me, your comrade on death row.

    Now, the valleys and mountains are behind him and the river passes though a plain field. From the left and the right side, other rivers have joined in and the river now is filled with more water. The little fish enjoyed the abundance of water…the little fish wanted to go to the bottom of the river. He was able to swim as much as he wanted and not bump into anything.

    Suddenly, he spotted a large group of fish. There were 10,000 of them, one of whom told the little black fish, “Welcome to the sea, comrade!”

    My jailed colleagues! Is it possible to sit behind the same desk as Samad, look into the eyes of the children of this land, and still remain silent?

    Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the path to the sea to the little fish of the country? What difference does it make if they come from Aras[a river in northwestern Iran, Azerbaijan], Karoon [a river in southwestern Iran, Khuzestan], Sirvan [a river in Kurdistan] or Sarbaz Rood [a river in the Sistan and Baluchestan region]? What difference does it make when the sea is a mutual destiny, to be united as one? The sun is our guide. Let our reward be prison, that is fine!

    Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and keep quiet?

    Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death?

    I cannot imagine being a teacher in the land of Samad, Khan Ali, and Ezzati and not join the eternity of

    *Aras. I cannot imagine witnessing the pain and poverty of the people of this land and fail to give our hearts to the river and the sea, to roar and to inundate.

    [*Translator note: Aras is a river in northwest Iran, bordering Iran and Azerbaijan. Samad drowned in the river in the summer of 1968. Some have considered the circumstance of his death suspicious and blamed agents of the Shah’s regime for his death]
    I know that one day, this harsh and uneven road will be paved for teachers and the suffering you endured will be a badge of honour so everyone can see that a teacher is a teacher, even if his or her path is blocked by the *selection process, prison, and execution. The little black fish and not the heron bestows honour on the teacher.

    [Translator's note: Selection process or Gozinesh is a process through which teachers and other government-paid employees are vetted based on their ideological, political, and religious views]
    The Little Fish calmly swam in the sea and thought: Facing death is not hard for me, nor is it regrettable.
    Suddenly the heron swooped down and grabbed the little fish.

    Grandma Fish finished her story and told her 12,000 children and grandchildren that it was time for bed. 11,999 little fish said good night and went to bed. The grandmother went to sleep as well. One little red fish was not able to sleep. That fish was deep in thought.

    A teacher on death row, Evin prison

  191. Scott Lucas says:

    http://www.iranhumanrights.org/2009/01/farzad-kamangar/

    The court issued a death sentence for Kamangar on February 25, 2008. Khalil Bahramian, Kamangar’s lawyer, said: “Nothing in Kamangar’s judicial files and records demonstrates any links to the charges brought against him.”

    Bahramian, who was present during the closed-door court hearing, described it as “lasting no more than five minutes, with the Judge issuing his sentence without any explanation and then promptly leaving the room.” He added, “I have seen absolutely zero evidence presented against Kamangar. In my forty years of legal profession, I have never witnessed such a prosecution.”

    Bahramian is appealing the death sentence. He believes, given the complete lack of evidence, that the Judiciary should cancel the sentence.

    Security forces detained Kamangar in July 2006, shortly after he arrived in Tehran from Kamyaran. The authorities originally investigated him in relation to two people he rode with during his trip to Tehran.

    Kamangar was cleared of all charges during the investigation process. It is not clear why the prosecution decided to put him on trial on charges of membership in P.K.K., given that it has presented no evidence. Bahramian said the prosecution and death sentence are an indication of “discrimination against Kurds” within the judicial system.

  192. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Department of Glass Houses, Division of ‘He who is without sin,’ Office of Casting first stones:

    African Americans and The Death Penalty in Missouri, USA

  193. Liz says:

    Iran in not Egypt or Israel, where people are held in secret prisons. In addition, no one can deny that (US backed) terrorist attack have been carried out in Iran. When people with blood on their hands are captured they and their western allies should expect nothing less than capital punishment.

  194. Pirouz_2 says:

    S:
    Leveretts are only expressing their opinions based on the set of “credible” information available to “THEM”. They are not criticizing Ms. Fathi for making a report which is damaging to the Iranian government, they are criticizing her for doing so without providing any credible evidence/source, and failing to meet the basics of responsible journalism!

    Since I am familiar with the methods of IR from the 80s and the early to mid 90s, I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, PROVIDED THAT: you can give CREDIBLE AND INDEPENDENT sources to your claim.

    Provide us with CREDIBLE/INDEPENDENT sources to your claim and at least I for one will give my support to you. But I should emphasize that some unsubstantiated claims by some reformist activist with shady sources of money (mostly from NED or related organizations which run on US government money) do not qualify as a “credible” source!

  195. Pirouz says:

    Eric, I reviewed the material over at iranian.com (where there are many subversives) and could not come up with such details. Furthermore, these details are not outlined in the subsequent protest letter put out by Amnesty International.

    From what I’ve read, the primary sources for complaint revolve around the investigative methods applied on the prisoners, and some of the circumstances of their executions. In regards to this treatment as well as their conditions of incarceration, I have to say that from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear extraordinary when compared to the treatment being described of American practices at the ongoing Guantanimo hearings. (The judgement of such activities, I’ll leave to the individual reader.) In regards to some of the circumstances of the execution, one has to bear in mind the problems encountered by authorities last year, where an execution for violent crimes was severely disrupted by a mob resulting in a number of injuries as well as an escape attempt. Thus, certain aspects of these circumstances can be explained as precautionary in nature.

  196. Eric A. Brill says:

    s.

    I strongly second Fiorangela’s request, and my own earlier request. I don’t see any useful information about the actual charges, trials and evidence in Ms. Nathi’s article, in the Leveretts’ criticism of her article on this website, or in any other source I’ve been able to find. We are sincere when we ask for that. We’ll look it over carefully.

  197. Fiorangela Leone says:

    Eric, So would I be interested in more details about the trial, tho Flynt and Leverett provided welcomed service in noting the involvement of MEK.

    s, can you provide evidence, or links to English-language sites, that support your assertions? I see a lot of charges that Iran is jailing, beating, raping, etc., but I don’t see many facts to back up the charges.

    Recently I heard Roxanna Saberi discussing her “captivity.” Saberi acknowledged that she DID ‘confess’ to having committed crimes against Iran. The confession haunts her. She also said she was not raped or tortured while in Evin, but she added, “the interrogators practice a different kind of torture, a mental torture, they know what they’re doing, they play with your mind….”

    Saberi’s angst sounds to me like the sound of one wheel backpedaling.
    If that is the case with such a high profile prisoner, what really goes on –, what are the facts behind the allegations of large-scale arrests, torture, etc. in Iran?

  198. Eric A. Brill says:

    I’d be interested in more detail about the charges and trials. Nazila Fathi may be minimizing what these five individuals did, but maybe she’s not. Can anyone post a link to something a bit more substantive?

  199. Iranian says:

    s.

    You are merely repeating green propaganda. It reminds one of MKO terrorist organization propaganda constantly repeated by the western media during the war years when the MKO was working for Saddam Hussain. Ironically, Mousavi ran the government at that time.

  200. Eric A. Brill says:

    I saw this on another Iran-related website two days ago:

    “Everything is in a headline. One news item – see the different ways of presenting the same reality:

    Iran hangs five terrorists [Tehran Times]
    Iran hangs woman, four other ‘enemies of God’ [AFP]
    Iran Hangs Five, Including A Teacher [RadioFreeEurope]
    Iran Executes Five Activists, Sending Message to Critics [New York Times]
    Iran hangs 5 members of “terrorist groups”: report [Xinhua]
    Iran hangs five members of Kurdish “terrorist” group [Reuters]
    Iran executes 5 for ‘anti-revolutionary’ activities [Times of India]
    Iran hangs 5 Kurdish activists, including woman [Iran Focus]
    Iran hangs five for plotting bomb attacks [Thaindian]
    5 members of terrorist groups executed [Press TV]
    Iran hangs Kurdish activists [Al Jazeera]
    Iran hangs 5 Kurdish activists for bombings [The Associated Press]“

  201. s. says:

    ” This would mean that those individuals had received the same treatment that the U.S. justice system meted out to Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing.”

    Was McVeigh convicted in a 7 minute trial without the presence of his lawyer? Was his lawyer told that the case is resolved and no link between him and a terrorist organization had been established? That he would be freed? Did McVeigh tell his family that he was tortured in prison? Did he put in writing that he was kicked in the stomach until he bled? Was Timothy McVeigh hanged in the middle of the night without notifying his family? Were Timothy McVeigh’s mother and sister arrested in their home after his execution? Did the security forces prevent the return of his body to his family for proper burial?

    I’m sorry that these details do not fit YOUR narrative, but for people in Iran, the message this regime is sending is loud and clear.

    The pro-green bias of the American media should be critiqued. But why be so shameless?

  202. James Canning says:

    Bravo! Let’s keep in mind here that the promoters of confrontation with Iran, rather than rapprochement, plant stories in American newspspers intended to convince the US public that the Iranian government is “bad” and therefor needing to be punished. Even now, the opponents of normal relations with Iran, within the Obama administration, are trying to come up with some sort of “evidence” the Iranian government secretly wishes to develop nukes. Even if this is not true.

  203. kooshy says:

    “IS THE NEW YORK TIMES MISLEADING ITS READERS AGAIN—THIS TIME ON IRAN?”

    That, one can bet his life on

  204. Arnold Evans says:

    Mousavi’s political instincts are comically bad. There is no worse move he can make than draw comparisons between his followers and an armed and violent separatist group that probably gets support from the United States and Israel.

    Hopefully there will be at least one talented politician (Dr. Ahmadinejad cannot run again) participating Iran’s presidential elections in 2013.