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The Race for Iran

LISTENING POSTS ON IRAN PRODUCE SAME SORT OF BAD INTEL AS IRAQI DEFECTORS

It seems like a bad Bush-era joke today that U.S. officials relied on information solicited from Iraqi defectors with code names like “curveball” to make their case for invading Iraq (and leaving at least 100,000 civilians dead).  A significant portion of that information was funneled through the Defense Department’s Office of Special Plans (OSP), created in 2002 by then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith to “find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, wanted to be true—that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States”.  But the Wikileaks cables show that Obama Administration officials are happy to be carrying on a similar Bush-era program focused on Iran, intended to elicit and solicit information from would-be Iranian defectors and other Iranians who simply wish to travel to the United States.  

In 2005—while Khatami was still President of the Islamic Republic—Bush Administration officials decided they wanted to significantly expand their operations to elicit and solicit information from would-be Iranian defectors (they didn’t actually expand the operations until 2006).  The idea was to establish new or fortify existing offices in countries neighboring Iran (Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates) where U.S. embassy or consulate officials could come into contact with Iranians—a significant portion of whom would be coming into the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a visa or to establish a relationship with a U.S. official for some other reason (e.g., to gain financial remuneration for information the U.S. official would want to hear or to punish the government of the Islamic Republic by providing derogatory information about it to its foe).  The Wikileaks cables we have seen so far show that, just as happened in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government, under the George W. Bush Administration and now under the Obama Administration, is getting what it pays for through its “Iran watchers”—information that is intensely critical of the Islamic Republic and often flat out wrong. 

When asked, after the Iraq war, about the bogus information provided to the U.S. Government about Iraq’s WMD programs and links to Al-Qa’ida by sources associated in the Iraqi National Congress (INC, the neoconservatives’ favorite Iraqi opposition group), the INC’s leader, Ahmad Chalabi, told The Daily Telegraph that “we are heroes in error…as far as we’re concerned, we’ve been entirely successful.  That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad.  What was said before is not important.” 

Now, the Wikileaks documents tell us that the State Department’s Iran watchers are effectively replicating, with regard to Iran, what OSP did with regard to Iraq.  When the Iran watcher program was formally launched in 2006, then-Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns compared it to the “Riga station”, operating at the U.S. Embassy in Latvia between the Russian Revolution in 1917 and America’s recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933, with the aim of collecting information and providing analysis about developments in the Soviet Union, at a time when the United States did not have an embassy in Moscow.  But the real comparison, in our judgment, is with OSP. 

This is genuinely sad; we know some of the State Department officers who have served as Iran watchers since the program was launched in 2006, and think well of them as professionals and as people.  But they are part of a system that is set up to draw out as many Iranian “heroes in error” as possible; this set up, in turn, guarantees that Washington policymakers will see reporting streams about Iran that are corrupted in much the same way as those produced on Iraq by OSP.  And that outcome is worsened by a seemingly irreducible level of analytic mediocrity, less-than-complete competence, and overwhelming eagerness to please superiors in Washington exhibited by some of the State Department officers assigned to Iran watcher positions.   

We highlight below six examples from the Wikileaks documents to illustrate what we mean.  (There is, unfortunately, a lot more material of this sort that can be gleaned from the Wikileaks cables.)    

1)              The Iran watcher in Ashgabat reported on June 15, 2009—three days after the Islamic Republic’s presidential election—that, according to an Iranian source who had gone to the Iranian Embassy in the Turkmen capital to cast his vote, “everyone he spoke to who was there to cast their ballot said they were voting for Mousavi.”  This quote is used to reinforce what was already becoming the conventional wisdom in State Department channels—that the election results must have been fraudulent.  The source’s story may well have been true—the official election results, which State Department sources and most Western commentators routinely disparage, show that Mousavi decisively carried the votes of Iranians living abroad.  No Western commentator, to our knowledge, has ever claimed that this particular aspect of the results is also fraudulent.  Nevertheless, the Iran watcher in Ashgabat used his source’s anecdote to support what was rapidly becoming the conventional wisdom in State Department channels—that the official results were undoubtedly the product of fraud.        

The same source also passed on to the Iran watcher in Ashgabat an assessment that, “based on calculations from Mousavi’s campaign observers who were present at polling stations around the country and who witnessed the vote counts, Mousavi received approximately 26 million (or 61%) of the 42 million votes cast in Friday’s election, followed by Mehdi Karroubi (10-12 million).  According to [the source’s] sources, Ahmadinejad received a maximum of 4-5 million votes, with the remainder going to Mohsen Rezai.” 

These numbers may fit with Western observers’ preferred narrative—but there is no objective basis for believing them.  Polling data from both Iranian and Western polling organizations gives no ground for believing that Karroubi received anything close to 10-12 million votes.  Furthermore, those Mousavi supporters with whom we’ve spoken and who think there must have been fraud—although they’ve never explained how it was perpetrated—still acknowledge that Ahmadinejad received at least 10-12 million votes.          

Unfortunately, Obama Administration officials—just like their Bush era predecessors—like hearing what they want to hear, regardless of whether that relates to reality.  A cable from the State Department on June 19, 2009, from Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeff Feltman—who previously distinguished himself by blowing virtually every major call about the direction of Lebanese domestic politics during his tenure as the U.S. ambassador in Beirut—commended this officer and Embassy Ashgebat for “its excellent reporting on the Iranian elections”.  Assistant Secretary Feltman noted that “Embassy insights were extremely useful for their timeliness and for the helpful view from ‘man on the street’ Iranians.”  (Never mind that the embassy officer is prohibited by the U.S. government from entering Iran and must, instead, report the views of “man on the street Iranians” who are not in Iran but in Ashgabat).  “This excellent reporting provided key insights to 7th-floor principals and [the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs]…This crucial information has helped [the Bureau] and key principals in deciphering the maze of Iranian electoral politics…You have set a high standard for your colleagues here in Washington and elsewhere.” 

2)              The Iran watcher in Baku reported in September 2009 that one of his Iranian sources said that “almost everyone he knew voted for Mousavi, and was angered by the fabricated result.”  It may well be true that “almost everyone” the source knows voted by Mousavi.  But this is roughly comparable to the analytic line of a resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side we know, who still thinks George W. Bush’s re-election victory in 2004 must have been the product of fraud because no one she knows voted for Bush.  On this point, we should give at least some credit to the Baku Iran watcher’s source—while everyone he knew allegedly voted for Mousavi, he acknowledged that most Iranians saw the post-election fallout as “an issue for Tehranis”.   

3)              While this particular item does not relate to the Iran watchers’ Iranian sources, we think it is worth highlighting all the same.  Iran watchers in Dubai reported in August 2009 that controversy over the Islamic Republic’s June 12, 2009 presidential election had undermined Ahmadinejad’s “standing among moderate Arabs, who have come to view Ahmadinejad’s administration as oppressive, unpopular, and undemocratic”.  The evidence for this?  A handful of commentaries on the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiyya; some data-free, opinion-laden statements by Al-Arabiyya executives; similar sorts of statements by individual Lebanese and Saudi “commentators”; and the observations of a Syrian-born “journalist and blogger” based in Dubai.  In contrast to these anecdotal, idiosyncratic, and completely unsubstantiated observations, reputable polls conducted by Western polling organizations and scholars show that Iran’s “soft power” on the Arab street remains fundamentally undiminished.  

4)              In the run-up to the February 11 (22 Bahman), 2010 celebration of the anniversary of the Islamic Republic’s founding, the Iran watcher in Baku breathlessly reported that “more than a dozen Iranian contacts…including several Iran-based interviewees”, predicted “massive demonstrations in Tehran, and significant protests in Tabriz, Mashad, Isfahan, and some smaller cities.  Many asserted that pre-demonstration planning, propaganda, and organization activities by opposition supporters (especially students) is far more noticeable and fractionalized compared to previous demonstrations.  Several commentators claimed that while pro-Mousavi and pro-Karroubi websites are still important sources of information and encouragement, they are no longer the only or even main reference points for determined oppositionists.  ‘Neither Moussavi nor Karroubi can stop this (opposition protests) now,’ one social activist contended.” 

It is unfortunate that the Iran-watcher in Baku chose to rely on “more than a dozen” agenda-driven sources to hype the anticipated anti-Islamic Republic turnout on the 22 Bahman anniversary.  Instead—as we predicted—the anniversary produced huge demonstrations in support of the Islamic Republic, and was a colossal bust for the Green movement [link to post]. 

5)              The Iran watcher in Baku also reported in February 2010, citing an Iranian source described as a “former non-Marxist revolutionary activist”, that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had so infuriated Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari at a recent meeting of the Supreme National Security Council in Tehran that Jafari “slapped Ahmadinejad in the face, causing an uproar and an immediate call for a break in the meeting, which was never resumed…[the Supreme National Security Council] did not meet again for another two weeks, after Ayatollah Janati successfully acted as a ‘peacemaker’ between Jafari and Ahmadinejad.  Source added that the break in the [Supreme National Security Council] meeting, but not the slap that caused it, has made its way on to some Iranian blogs.” 

Along with other weaknesses in the plausibility of this story, we have to ask—how would a “former non-Marxist revolutionary activist” have anything like the level of access to make him an even marginally credible source for a story like the one recounted in the Iran watcher’s cable?   

6)              Again, we should give credit where credit is due.  One Iran watcher—in Dubai—wrote in a January 2010 cable that “at this point, the Green Path Opposition is more of a persistent problem for the regime than an existential threat, and it is unrealistic to assume that the GPO will be able to effect any ‘regime change’ in the short-term.  This officer systematically laid out why the Green Movement was in no way comparable to the revolution that overthrew the Shah in 1978-1979. 

But this officer also blithely asserted around the same time that, “While we don’t know nor might not ever know the real June 12 vote count, it is clear that the turnout was at record high levels and that there was systematic vote count fraud (if in fact the votes were even counted) to ensure that Ahmadinejad ‘won big’ in the first round.”  There is no sourcing of any sort for these statements.  Also note the nearly complete lack of specification as to how the “fix” was done.  It might have been “systematic vote count fraud”; we assume that means actually altering or replacing ballots in order to produce a desired result.  But, perhaps the votes weren’t even counted. 

Someone who charges fraud in a foreign country’s election—particularly a State Department officer reporting to Washington in an official cable—ought to be able to explain how the alleged fraud took place.  But, we have seen what happens when reporting officers are relying primarily on sources with overriding political and personal agendas regarding an issue of high importance for American foreign policy.   

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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389 Responses to “LISTENING POSTS ON IRAN PRODUCE SAME SORT OF BAD INTEL AS IRAQI DEFECTORS”

  1. James Canning says:

    Binam,

    Most Americans think Iran’s president has powers equivalent to those of an American president. This misconception is exploited by some of the Iranophobic propagandists who try to distract attention from Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

  2. Pak says:

    To clarify:

    “Instead, we are being force fed a narrative by the state media and other murky sources, such as the Leveretts and Eric.”… and the mechanisms of democracy are being trampled on. No free media, no right to organise political parties/groups/protests, no right to legal activism, no right to do anything but accept the narrative being forced upon us.

  3. Pak says:

    Dear Humanist,

    Democracy is not just about elections. It is an entire social mechanism that empowers the people, in other words it also respects the will of the supposed minority. If Iran was a democracy, then the Green Movement and all those who are suspicious of the elections would have the mechanisms to allay their suspicions (through accountability and transparency, through media and discourse, through law and civil organisations). Instead, we are being force fed a narrative by the state media and other murky sources, such as the Leveretts and Eric.

    Otherwise, you sound just like any other totalitarian state. We must unite against the eternal enemy and obey the leader appointed for us!

    War is Peace! Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength!

    P.S. You envisage a federal democracy for Iran? How risqué.

  4. Binam says:

    Humanist and M. Ali jaan,

    Who are we kidding here, at the end of the day it doesn’t even matter who is the President in Iran – elected or selected. Ali Khamenei is the de facto Leader of the Islamic Republic; he’s the commander of armed forces, he appoints head of judiciary, head of State TV, even half the people who are supposed to be watching over him are appointed by him, he controls everything and Presidents can’t do a damn thing without his approval. All these discussions about the elections suggest that the President’s office actually has powers in Iran when it doesn’t. Fact of the matter is Mousavi in office would have been not much different than Ahmadinejad or Khatami before him. I would just be suspicious of people like the Leveretts who support one faction in Iran over another. Khatami and the reformers had strong popular support when they came into power, but apparently the will of the people didn’t count then as Hillary Mann Leverett was campaigning AGAINST them.

    I’m all for MAJORITY RULES, but I am also strongly for MINORITY RIGHTS.

    ما می گیم شاه نمی خوایم، اسمش رو رهبر می ذارن

  5. Humanist says:

    Before comparing US and Iran presidential elections I wrote “I know little about US electoral process..” warning the readers about my possible disqualification..

    Anyhow I am, in strongest way possible, disassociating myself with those who still believe or pretend to believe there was fraud in Iranian election……As Eric A. Brill shows “not a single credible evidence of fraud was ever found in that election”. Four other reliable polls do not contradict Eric’s assertions.

    Those here in this site who try to ridicule or belittle the validity of that election should know:

    1- Civilized people respect the will of majority. Ahmadinejad (like him or not) is the Legitimate President of Iran and as such he should be respected.

    2- From Timmerman’s early announcement of “selection of Green color for the uprising in coming days”, Mousavi’s announcement of victory before the votes were counted (although he knew from about 40’000 reports from his observers he has lost), the fact that there was never any violent protest (or any type of contesting) in previous elections and so MANY other signs of FOREIGN interventions in the election I conclude:

    Anyone who opposes the validity of June 2009 Presidential election is either ignorant or is a stooge.
    I fully respect those whose beliefs are stemmed from their naivety or ignorance but I sense a feeling of appall from the statements of the latter type.

    I believe strongly that Iranians of different political persuasion have a historical duty to unite until all dangers of war are disintegrated. Only then they should let the evolution do its work towards achieving a truly Iranian authored, unique, just and progressive federal democracy.

  6. M.Ali says:

    “There are cases of villagers or people who voted in mobile voting stations who cast more than one vote, simply because they didn’t have their Shenasnamed (ID booklet) stamped. I have personally met such a person, who was proud to have voted for Ahmadinejad three times. No joke. But I have no proof or evidence of how wide-spread this was.”

    These are exceptions, not the rule. It might affect the outcome, but not by millions and millions of votes. And the fault lies for voting for all candidates.
    Ahmadinejad got almost 11 million votes more than Mousavi, are you claiming that almost half the voters did this? And all for Ahmadinejad?

    Because stamping is a human act and because there are 45,692 ballot boxes and the many people handling those many boxes, it would not be a surprise if some make a mistake. But I repeat, those are exceptions that in such an outcome would not have made a big difference.

    The election process is improving every year in Iran, so I’m confident those minor issues will slowly be ironed out as the country gets more experience.

    “Iran is not as big a country with various States (it’s not a United Stated!). One federal law is supposed to apply to all constituents. In 2009 elections there was the case of writing in the number of candidate which confused many of the voters. I forget the exact numbers, but Mousavi’s number was 40 even though he was listed first or viceversa. I saw this first hand in the precinct I voted in (I was in Iran for the elections).”

    Again, do you attribute this to Mousavi getting 11 million less than Ahmadinejad? 11 million people made mistakes? I never heard any of my friends complain that they got confused over the numbers.

    “Plus in Iran the problem man of the opposition figures are claiming isn’t that the votes were never counted to begin with.”

    But their observers were there to sign off the final count at the ballot boxes they represented. Why did they do that if it was not counted?

    “If you factor in the primaries in the US there are more than just 2 candidates. In 2008 there were at least 10 presidential candidates from the two major parties. During the primaries each party had to pick its own candidate. You can’t forget the tough battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. This is not to say there are no other parties. There is the Green party (Ralph Nader, from a Lebanese background ran as a Green in 2000), the Libertarians, etc. It’s just none of these third parties will garner enough votes. Perhaps if the American people are fed up enough of the two major parties at some point they’ll turn to a third party.

    While in Iran, as you say, a bunch of Mullahs (half of which are appointed by the unelected Supreme Leader mind you) qualify various candidates. There is really just ONE party. As much as we’d like to think there’s a difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, there really isn’t much of a difference. One just wants to continue same failed policies while one is considering reforms that he may or may not be able to implement. Even Pirouz_2 agrees that there isn’t much of a difference between the two!”

    If you look at this logically, you will realize that there are restrictions to who is a major candidate in any of them. Both go through a selection process (indirectly or directly) which is basically, “Do you play by the system’s rules?”.

    And as similiar as Mousavi and Ahmadenijad might be, the similiarities are more between Obama & Bush, because there has been no major policy chances in US whenever someone new comes.

    Which is one of the complaints about Iran’s system that I hear from Iranians. Some Iranians LIKE the fact that nothing changes in western countries. They say that irregardless of who wins, the country’s path is not shifted, but in Iran, whenever they have a new President, there is an overhaul of the whole government, previous projects are cancelled, and new laws are put in place.

  7. Binam says:

    Humanist,

    “1- In Iran Registration is not required. Only Identification Booklet is needed where it is stamped after voting.”

    There are cases of villagers or people who voted in mobile voting stations who cast more than one vote, simply because they didn’t have their Shenasnamed (ID booklet) stamped. I have personally met such a person, who was proud to have voted for Ahmadinejad three times. No joke. But I have no proof or evidence of how wide-spread this was.

    “2- In Iran there are no Electronic Voting Machines, no tools that could cause ‘hanging chad’, no Electoral College etc.”

    Iran is not as big a country with various States (it’s not a United Stated!). One federal law is supposed to apply to all constituents. In 2009 elections there was the case of writing in the number of candidate which confused many of the voters. I forget the exact numbers, but Mousavi’s number was 40 even though he was listed first or viceversa. I saw this first hand in the precinct I voted in (I was in Iran for the elections).

    Plus in Iran the problem man of the opposition figures are claiming isn’t that the votes were never counted to begin with.

    “3- In the US there are only 2 candidates but in Iran no limit for number of candidates is specified in the electoral laws.”

    If you factor in the primaries in the US there are more than just 2 candidates. In 2008 there were at least 10 presidential candidates from the two major parties. During the primaries each party had to pick its own candidate. You can’t forget the tough battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. This is not to say there are no other parties. There is the Green party (Ralph Nader, from a Lebanese background ran as a Green in 2000), the Libertarians, etc. It’s just none of these third parties will garner enough votes. Perhaps if the American people are fed up enough of the two major parties at some point they’ll turn to a third party.

    While in Iran, as you say, a bunch of Mullahs (half of which are appointed by the unelected Supreme Leader mind you) qualify various candidates. There is really just ONE party. As much as we’d like to think there’s a difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, there really isn’t much of a difference. One just wants to continue same failed policies while one is considering reforms that he may or may not be able to implement. Even Pirouz_2 agrees that there isn’t much of a difference between the two!

  8. Reza Esfandiari says:

    James,

    LEU can be used either as fuel for the Bushehr reactor or enriched further as fuel for the TRR. If Russia reneges on its deal to supply future deliveries to Bushehr, then Iran has to have a large enough stockpile of LEU waiting in reserve to compensate for this eventuality.Bushehr will open in January/February next year.

  9. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Didn’t the US very foolishly object to the return by Turkey of the Iranian LEU even if the TRR fuel supplier failed to deliver? Granted, Iran has no current use for the LEU, but the US clearly was not behaving properly in making that demand (if it was made).

  10. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    I think Geneva 2009 didn’t succeed because Iran didn’t want to ship most of its LEU out in one go. There was no guarantee that the West would reciprocate on its part of the deal either.

    Anyway, you correctly distance yourself and the GM from the idiocy of Rubin, but the fact is that virtually every neocon nutjob out there – Ledeen, Gerecht, Gardiner, Muravchik etc are avid supporters of the GM and want to promote it in some way. As such , many reformist or secular-minded Iranians have stopped backing the GM.

    I back Iran’s reform movement led by the likes of Khatami, Kavakebian and Kamali. I think they represent the aspirations of up to 40% of Iranians. But the GM has been superimposed over the reformists and it doesn’t have any basis to it other than the use of the color green.

  11. Arnold Evans says:

    Scott:

    That is an an excellent question. In October 2009, it was Ahmadinejad who was pushing for a deal at Geneva but he was undercut by Larijani and other conservatives and the Supreme Leader backed away from further talks with the 5+1.

    Yes. That’s the dominant Western narrative about the deal. Do you have any indication that it is true?

    Apparently according to statements of Western analysts, the West demands that Iran’s nuclear stock be held beneath one ton for the duration of at least three years of talks during which any fuel would be delivered.

    I don’t think anyone in Iran agrees to that. It is also very clear that the West has never had any intention to deliver TRR fuel to Iran if Iran’s stock of LEU is more than a ton.

  12. Rehmat says:

    Iran behind ‘US-Venezuela Missile Crisis’

    Hudson Institute’s (founded by a Zionist Jew by the name Herman Kahn in 1961) mouth-piece ‘Hudson New York’ has come up with a very scary story for Barack Obama, written by Anna Mahjar-Barducci, titled, Iran Placing Medium-Range Missiles in Venezuela, Can Reach the US. How reliable this news item is? Well let us connect the dots. The Chief Editor -in-Chief of ‘Hudson New York’ is Nina Rosenwald, who is Chairman of the Board of the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) – an Israeli propaganda think tank, famous for misquoting Iranian President Ahmadinejad. Nina is also a director of Israel Lobby (AIPAC). The writer, Anna Mahjar-Barducci, is daughter of Moroccan Muslim mother and an Italian Christian father. She is married to an Israeli Zionist Jew, David, and lives in Italy.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/iran-behind-us-venezuela-missile-crisis/

  13. Scott Lucas says:

    James,

    “Do you think Ahmadinejad is more interested in putting through the IAEA application to refuel the TRR than was Mottaki? Or no difference between them on this particular issue?”

    That is an an excellent question. In October 2009, it was Ahmadinejad who was pushing for a deal at Geneva but he was undercut by Larijani and other conservatives and the Supreme Leader backed away from further talks with the 5+1.

    Now Ahmadinejad has scored a major victory over Larijani but is he still committed to getting a deal? And on what terms? I think that will be a key question after the fallout over Mottaki’s dismissal.

    S.

  14. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “I was merely wondering whether she’s correct to say that the Green movement has stated a desire for US assistance.”

    No, she is not correct.

    S.

  15. Humanist says:

    Arnold Evans and all

    re: Comparing US & Iran elections

    Since, in the time of Shah, Iran had blatant fraudulent elections (similar to today’s Egypt), after 1979 the electoral system was designed (and later improved) makings any kind of major rigging practically impossible. Only when the differences are very small then doubts might arise in the validity of the final outcome. In such type of suspicions one could assume the observers of say Mousavi AND police AND local authorities etc were ALL bribed, blackmailed or intimidated to ignore any improper fraudulent acts of Ahmadinejad campaigners.

    See minute 46 of this video where Houman Majd explains the difficulty of any major fraud in all types of Iranian elections. http://fora.tv/2009/06/02/The_Persian_Paradox_Understanding_Iran_and_Iranians

    Because of the existence of stringent rules past Iranian Municipal, Parliamentary and Presidential Election results were rarely contested. Thanks to plot by foreigners to use the Golden Opportunity of 2009 presidential election to cause crucial havoc in Iran, those who voted for Mousavi were deceived to believe the election was ‘stolen’ and were evoked to pour to streets to protest in the well coordinated manner and slick timing. (During the protest MEK stooges carried out pre-planned instructions for how to kill unarmed policemen, burn Bassij Stations, government building, busses, government properties etc) .

    I know the above extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. I am still collecting them. So far I have quite a few that, with high probability could convince impartial experts (judges) in the involvement of Israel, UK and US. (My evidences are in the form of documents, videos, pictures, statements, testimonies, data. twitter statistics etc)

    On the subject of your commentary:

    I know little about US electoral process yet I think there are distinct differences between the presidential elections in USA and Iran:

    1- In Iran Registration is not required. Only Identification Booklet is needed where it is stamped after voting.
    2- In Iran there are no Electronic Voting Machines, no tools that could cause ‘hanging chad’, no Electoral College etc.
    3- In the US there are only 2 candidates but in Iran no limit for number of candidates is specified in the electoral laws.

    Hence if hypothetically the Iranian rigid system was used in Gore / Bush case, there was no room for any kind of contesting since Gore got about 200,000 more votes than Bush. Moreover every single vote was viewed and approved by a small group of observers who had to sign the validity of the process in every precinct..

    I have to mention one major flaw in both systems. Both in the US and Iran the way the candidates are selected is undemocratic. In Iran a few Mullah’s selecting the candidates can be the topic of a good joke, so is how (unrepresentive) institutions like Republican or Democratic parties are instrumental for such a selection.

  16. Rehmat says:

    Eric A. Brill – Had Obama openly supported the so-called “Green Movement” (sounds like some Pakistani organization – the country which do have the largest green flag in the world) – the movement had died within a few days. No matter which side an Iranian may be – he doesn’t like people supported by the US government. Henry Kissinger had admitted that fact in his BBC interview.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/kissinger-gassing-of-jews-not-a-us-problem/

  17. Scott,

    “I have no time at all for any opinion expressed by Jennifer Rubin.”

    I wasn’t asking your views about her opinions. I was asking about her assertion about the Green “movement’s stated desire” for US assistance.

    I’m not asking you to “prove a negative” here (you know how I feel about that sort of thing) — merely wondering whether she’s correct to say that the Green movement has stated a desire for US assistance.

  18. Persian Gulf says:

    James Canning:

    As far as I heard, Jalili was supposed to nominated for the foreign minister for the Ahmadinejad’s second term. Mottaki was a little too soft. Basically, I have no problem with his replacement and it’s the right of the president to change the person in charge of the foreign ministry. my problem was only the way it was conducted.

    Ahmadinejad could replace him once Mottaki was back to Tehran from the official trip. I understand that Ahmadinjad wanted to project an uncompromising image (in the same way as he did for the replacement of Jalili to Larijani in the past) given the events of the past few days and the weeks ahead, but I don’t think the way he treated Mottaki was appropriate by any standard.

  19. kooshy says:

    Neocon’s Iran plan: Assassinations, human rights

    Washington Post scribe calls for United States to kill civilian scientists — while also prioritizing human rights

    BY JUSTIN ELLIOTT

    The Washington Post’s new neoconservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin, is up with a big post laying out four steps for a “reset” of America’s policy toward Iran.
    Rubin’s four-point plan contains this remarkably unselfconscious juxtaposition of ideas:
    Second, we should continue and enhance espionage and sabotage of the Iranian nuclear program. Every nuclear scientist who has a “car accident” and every computer virus buys us time, setting back the timeline for Iran’s nuclear capability, while exacting a price for those who cooperate with the nuclear program. Think of it as the ultimate targeted sanction.
    Third, we need to make human rights a central theme in our bilateral and multilateral diplomacy regarding Iran. The spotlight on the noxious regime helps to undermine the regime’s legitimacy at home and emboldens the Green Movement. We should test the theory that the most effective disarmament strategy is a robust human rights policy, one that includes the EU and other nations exerting diplomatic pressure on the regime.
    To summarize: Rubin wants the United States to make human rights a central theme in its Iran policy — and to indiscriminately assassinate civilian scientists.
    The “car accident” line in her post is a clear reference to the bombing of two scientists’ cars last month in Tehran. Here is a BBC account of those attacks, carried out by unknown men on motorbikes. One of the scientists was killed and one was wounded. Both of their wives were also reportedly wounded. Another nuclear scientist was killed in a similar bombing earlier this year.
    No one has argued that any of these men could be considered combatants. It’s also still unclear who was behind the attacks, though Iran has accused the United States and Israel of having a role. But even the U.S. State Department referred to these attacks as acts of terrorism, which would make them antithetical to any serious concept of human rights.
    For more on Iran, check out Salon’s timeline of how we got to this moment of crisis.
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/12/13/jennifer_rubin_on_iran/

  20. nahid says:

    A few facts:
    Dr. Salehi is fluent in Arabic and English. He was born in Karbala, Iraq and studied in Lebanon and MIT.

    He was the point man back in 2003 for implementing the 2003 deal wit the EU stopping/delaying enrichment program

    He is said to be liked over others by EU as he is known, speaks directly, and does not rant as much.

  21. Binam says:

    A note on Salehi – the new foreign minister. He’s an MIT grad and his daughter was in med school here in NYC.

  22. fyi says:

    Rd. says: December 13, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I read the URL that you included in your message.

    This author lives in a fantasy world.

    A Libyab-style deal for Iran? I think that is patently absurd; Libya surrendered and resumed her position among the rank of the “now-kar” states.

    US and Iran dividing Central Asia? Kazakhstan, with its mixed population of Slavs and Turks can easily be broken up by Russia and its northern areas – containing the Russian-Ukranian populations and the energy fields incorporated into the Russian Federation. Tadjikisan, Kyrgyzestan, and Uzbekistan are just net drains on any would-be conquerer. Which leaves Turkmenistan as the spoil – not worth the blood of a single Basiji.

    Iran has no incentive or rational reason to align with the US-EU Axis. The Russian Empire, the bane of Iran for the last 300 years, is gone. The Chinese Empire will never be a threat to the Iranian state while US-EU Axis is and will remain so. For as long as the United States indulges in Israel, the confrontation between US and Iran and indeed between US and Muslims will persist. And this persistent confrontation will be a net drain on US and not on Iran.

    The way I see it, Iran’s best course of action is active neutrality; trying to fish in the muddy waters; taking advantage of missteps of others to enhance her powers. Alliance with Russia or China are not in the cards.

  23. Dan Cooper says:

    Arnold Evans

    On the subject of the WikiLeaks, there is an article by Ron Paul which is interesting

    Focus on the Policy, Not WikiLeaks

    by Ron Paul

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul708.html

  24. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    I am embarrassed by people like you who talk about “democracy” and refuse to accept democratic verdicts that you don’t like. If you had had you way, the presidential election would have been repeated until you got the outcome you wanted.

    The Green movement does indeed have homegrown support, of course it does. But that does not detract from the fact that practically every neocon nutjob out there is cheering it on and that the NED is trying to support it financially. If you don’t believe me, ten read Jennifer Rubin’s blog in the Post where she advocates the murder of Iranian nuclear scientists and steadfast support for the for the greens.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2010/12/time_to_reset_iran_policy.html

    Sorry, but I smell a rat in all this. The “green movement” is just another color-coded revolution contrived by the CIA – Iran’s “reform movement” is a grassroots political phenomenon that has been around for over 15 years.

  25. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Payvand are running a (non-scientific) poll on the questions asked in the IPI survey:

    http://payvand.com/blog/blog/2010/12/13/iranian-public-opinion-survey-by-international-peace-institute/

    You might want to participate.

  26. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    Thanks. Do you think Ahmadinejad is more interested in putting through the IAEA application to refuel the TRR than was Mottaki? Or no difference between them on this particular issue? If Ahmadinejad wants to get some of the sanctions lifted, surely trying to proceed with the TRR deal is the logical way forward.

  27. Arnold Evans says:

    Now if George W. Bush and the Republican party despite their low approval ratings in 2008 decided to take matters into their own hands because they believe they were a sent by God, if they shut down all news sources that were critical of them on election day, if they forced all foreign journalists to leave, if they arrested Obama’s closest advisers on election day, if they shut down telephone lines, if they raided Obama’s campaign headquarters and THEN declared McCain the winner, you can be sure millions would have taken to the streets and a civil war would have broken out! But that’s all too hypothetical.

    None of the things you listed would impact the vote count. Many of the things you listed could have happened if Obama gave the government indications he would call for and/or lead general protests if he lost. Especially if those protests either had the aim or the potential of either overturning the election or making the country ungovernable and vulnerable to a coup.

    If Bush and McCain had done all this and announced precinct by precinct vote counts that could be corroborated not even by observers but by the people who counted the votes themselves then either Obama supporters would be able to provide a plausible and coherent story of how the election was stolen, that Mousavi supporters have never been able to present, or it would essentially certainly be the case, contrary to both the wishes and beliefs of Obama’s supporters, that McCain actually won the election.

  28. Scott Lucas says:

    James,

    “Wasn’t there an effort several months ago to force Mottaki to resign? But the scheme failed or was reversed?”

    Forgive me for jumping in on your question to Persian Gulf. Mottaki offered his resignation this summer when the President appointed four “special advisors” for foreign policy, including his Chief of Staff Rahim-Mashai. The Foreign Minister withdrew the resignation when the Supreme Leader intervened, chiding Ahmadinejad for pursuing a “parallel” foreign policy.

    Whether Ahmadinejad has effectively won the battle here by getting the Supreme Leader to shift his approach is a significant aspect of Mottaki’s dismissal.

    S.

  29. James Canning says:

    Persian Gulf,

    Wasn’t there an effort several months ago to force Mottaki to resign? But the scheme failed or was reversed?

    I liked Mottaki’s idea to have the next Afghan conference held in Tehran.

  30. M.Ali says:

    Regarding Gore comparisons, Al Gore took the legal route. The government invited Mousavi to do the same, but he refused. They asked for evidence, they wanted him part of the investigations, and they even asked him to be part of the random counts. He refused it all, but the government tried its best anyway. But Mousavi just kept asking people to go on the streets and was making inflammatory comments.

    Al Gore did none of that and worked with the government and when he saw that his position might be problematic for the nation, he quickly withdraw. Mousavi not only did not work with the government, but he refused to calm down his follower’s emotions.

  31. James Canning says:

    What is happening with Mottaki? Is there an effort underway to sack the Iranian foreign minister? He has many good ideas and should remain in place.

  32. Empty says:

    Ali Akbar Salehi is on the UNSC travel ban list. Are they going to remove Salehi’s name from the list or does Hillary Clinton intend to go to Iran for the next 6+1 meeting?

  33. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz,

    Thank you for your apology. I am used to being embarrassed, especially by my own government.

    Regarding this blog, there are many occasions where it does not focus on foreign policy at all. An example would be the recent article on Larijani’s interview. Throw into the equation the fact that the Leveretts go on all-expenses paid holidays to Tehran, funded by Ahmadinejad’s government, and the fact that Hillary Mann worked for WINEP when it was actively working against the Khatami administration, and I get very suspicious.

  34. Binam says:

    Arnold,

    As questionable as the Western MSM is, during the Gore/Bush fiasco there was wall-to-wall coverage of the events as they unfolded, hanging chads and all, for weeks on end to the point were people got sick of it. Same cannot be said for the Iranian election and Iranian media’s coverage – they didn’t even show the multi-million man marches of the greens!

    Your Obama/McCain parallel is too hypothetical to make any sense and its a far stretch to try and connect it to the 2009 elections in Iran. But for discussions sake, I have two points to make;

    1. McCain’s Republican party was the party in power. Not true for Mousavi.
    2. The Republicans may control (or are controlled by) Fox News, but they did not and do not have total control of the rest of the MSM or the Independent or foreign news sources. The Iranians conservatives in power control the State media, and have power to shut down newspapers and websites of the reform party. They also kicked out most foreign journalists in the aftermath of the elections.

    Now if George W. Bush and the Republican party despite their low approval ratings in 2008 decided to take matters into their own hands because they believe they were a sent by God, if they shut down all news sources that were critical of them on election day, if they forced all foreign journalists to leave, if they arrested Obama’s closest advisers on election day, if they shut down telephone lines, if they raided Obama’s campaign headquarters and THEN declared McCain the winner, you can be sure millions would have taken to the streets and a civil war would have broken out! But that’s all too hypothetical.

  35. Binam says:

    Pak,

    “I am so embarrassed by Iranians on this blog; they have a severe deficit problem. Not only is everything bad in Iran a result of Western interference (thus suggesting that the West is more capable than Iran), but an intelligent opposition movement, supported by intellectuals, students, human rights activists, womens rights activists, trade unions, and lawyers, is also a product of the West (thus suggesting that the West is more intelligent than Iran).”

    True that! Well said.

  36. Arnold Evans says:

    Regarding analogies between Ahmadinejad/Mousavi and Bush/Gore:

    It is very easy for Gore supporters to present a coherent, plausible explanation of how the election was wrongfully given to Bush. A story that is fully consistent with all available information about the election. The type of story we’ve been asking for without result regarding Mousavi since the very first protests. The levels of evidence are in no way comparable in these two cases. If Mousavi had as good a case as Gore, it is difficult to say his concerns would not have been addressed.

    But if in Obama/McCain – where Obama still won by a smaller margin than Ahmadinejad – McCain’s supporters claimed that none of the actual votes were counted (or like Scott that we don’t know how many of Obama’s votes were fraudulent and we cannot assume Obama was the actual winner) and McCain had immediately called his supporters to the streets, McCain would be at least as marginalized from US politics as Mousavi is from Iranian politics.

    I have not heard an argument that Mousavi won or might have won that could not be used to argue the same for McCain.

    If the McCain protests had even a 1% chance of rendering the country ungovernable and forcing a pressured regime-change, McCain would certainly be in jail and those protests would be put down at least as brutally as the Mousavi protests were.

  37. Pirouz says:

    Pak,

    What polls are you referring to? Please provide links.

    Sorry to “embarrass” you. But it appears your grasp and experience on matters of national security is quite limited. I suggest you widen your scope.

    Also, keep in mind–and this is very important–this blog by the Leveretts is NOT intended as policy advocacy for the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is intended as realist policy advocacy for the United States. A lot of Iranians misinterpret this distinction, concerning the Leveretts’ positions on this issue.

    And it is their realist policy advocacy for the United States that I share, being an Iranian-American (Iranian father, American mother), and recognizing the potential benefits of American directed rapprochement with the IRI for both Iranians and Americans regardless of Iran’s internal political dimensions.

  38. Binam says:

    Mohammad,

    They were not asked to be on TV. Even if Mousavi asked for a one-man show (he didn’t) it would have released some of the tension had they given him. Plus it would only have been fair considering State TV is essentially a one-man show – there to present the views of the Supreme Leader (head of TV appointed by him) and those who he finds agreeable. As I said earlier, even other GRAND Ayatollahs are never featured on TV, let alone minor reformist politicians.

  39. Mohammad says:

    Pak,

    OK, I just wanted to make sure my comments are actually read. I will continue as soon as possible.

  40. Mohammad says:

    I would also add that Salehi is a capable, moderate person and seems to be a good candidate for foreign ministry. But such style of changing ministers is unacceptable and non-statesmanlike, and damages Iran’s interests. Mottaki is still in Senegal for an official visit.

  41. Pak says:

    Dear Mohammad,

    I was waiting for you to expand on your thoughts. I sympathise with what you said, but you fail to take into account the many polls that pointed to a Mousavi win. You also say you are open to indications of fraud, so I am waiting for you to reply to the points I raised earlier. Some may be “anecdotal”, but most are not.

    Thanks

  42. Pak says:

    I am so embarrassed by Iranians on this blog; they have a severe deficit problem. Not only is everything bad in Iran a result of Western interference (thus suggesting that the West is more capable than Iran), but an intelligent opposition movement, supported by intellectuals, students, human rights activists, womens rights activists, trade unions, and lawyers, is also a product of the West (thus suggesting that the West is more intelligent than Iran).

    Napoleon complex? Well, Ahmadinejad is very short. So are most of those in his government.

    Is there not an Iranian parable about a man who keeps poking himself in the testicles with a needle, only to cry and complain about the pain, but carries on doing it anyway? I am sure there is. If there is not, I just made a new parable to describe regime apologists.

  43. Mohammad says:

    Yet another unexplained, surprising move by Ahmadinejad (firing Mottaki). I really hope he is impeached by the parliament or at least summoned by MPs for explanation. We have many other people with higher skills for presidency.

  44. Mohammad says:

    Binam,

    “If Mousavi and Karoubi and all those who questioned the elections were also included in a televised national debate eventually someone would have conceded.”

    I’m not sure, but based on what several officials and MPs have said, and as far as I know not refuted by Mousavi himself, I think that he was invited to a debate on TV after the election, but he wanted to speak alone in a one-man show and refused to take part in a debate or in a show with a host.

    Again, I’m not sure if this is true, but I believe that what you said is not supported by available information.

  45. Mohammad says:

    Eric,

    Yet another excellent, balanced, frank and unbiased comment. I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    Pak,

    I’m waiting for your feedback to my last comment addressed to you.

  46. Binam says:

    M.Ali,

    “Therefore, if a) Iranians are behind the governmen (b) the government they voted for is in power
    Then, why are you trying to undermine their desires?”

    If you’re all for majority rules, you should also be for minority rights. Even by the numbers you suggest some 35% of Iranians did NOT vote for Ahmadinejad and are not supportive of the job he’s doing as the president. Their rights as a minority (a significant minority at that) should be respected. Defending the rights of the minority and treating them well is both democratic and Islamic. Unless you’re now going to change your numbers to say that 99% of Iranians support the Islamic Republic because they voted for it in 1979 – ignoring the notion than some 70% of Iranians alive today were not even born in 1979 (I know you didn’t say this, but this was once a story featured on Fars News.)

    bib,

    “In fact a “significant minority” didn’t consider the Bush-Gore election results to be legitimate, but when Gore conceded the issue was resolved and eight years later his party won. Mousavi, unfortunately, not so smart or ethical or delsooz for his country. To me that makes him a traitor.”

    The American election was debated for 3 months and Al Gore and his party were not banned from appearing on national TV. If Mousavi and Karoubi and all those who questioned the elections were also included in a televised national debate eventually someone would have conceded. But instead the “winning” party chose to clamp down on dissent with brutal force and even helped radicalize portions of the movement. So slogans went from “Where’s my Vote?” to “Death to Khamenei” to “Neither East nor West, Iranian Republic.”

    Eric,

    “I think it’s fair to say that the dissident groups that have had the greatest impact within their country are those groups that manage to keep themselves clearly separate from outside groups that may share their short-term goals but don’t necessarily have the best interests of their country at heart.”

    Very true. Couldn’t agree more. It’s actually a very fine line.

    Reza,

    Forgot to say, I have actually been to Robat Karim. I remember when I was there last thing I wanted to discuss with the locals was politics. They seemed so far removed from debates such as the ones we have here.

  47. Humanist says:

    I found one article on Outside Interference in June 2009 presidential election and “Kenneth Timmermann spilling the beans”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/27782.htm

  48. Humanist says:

    Rd

    I have quite a few (sort of) convincing evidence the plot of Green Revolution was concocted outside Iran.

    Here I just refer you to Paul Craig Robert’s June 22, 2009 article.

    ,http://www.zimbio.com/Mir+Hossein+Mousavi/articles/31gV1FaIxlw/CIA+Orchestrated+Color+Revolution+fails+Tehran

    I had a link to an article by Timmermann in his own site (which was quickly deleted since as the antiwar media described the article as the fiasco of “Timmermann;s spilling the beans”.

  49. Rd. says:

    Binam says:

    “do know that if the Green Movement was in fact a color coup (I haven’t seen any evidence to support this claim)”

    fyi-perhaps this will show a different perspective.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21584

  50. Empty says:

    RE: “the actual subject of this thread”

    An emerging diagnosis: US “intelligence” suffers from what’s called DRIPS.
    [Data Rich Information Poor Syndrome]

  51. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Dear All,
    Let’s discuss everything under sun except the actual subject of this thread…

  52. Pak,

    You wrote to someone else:

    “I would rather ignore the arrests, intimidation and accusations of fraud, just like in Egypt and Burma, because the numbers prove everything is dandy.”

    No need to ignore the arrests and intimidation that happened after the election, Pak — just the accusations of election fraud: as you note, “the numbers prove everything is dandy” about the 2009 Iran election.

    My apology for being facetious, Pak, but sarcastic comments such as yours sometimes bring that out in people.

    I’ve noticed that a few others (still not you) have stopped insisting that the numbers don’t matter, that the fairness of the 2009 election instead must be determined based on what happened afterward. It’s been so difficult just to get across this “separate issue” point that, until very recently, we’ve not paid much attention to a concern that has finally worked its way into the debate: the extent, if any, to which freedom of expression may properly be restricted in Iran in light of the inescapable fact that there are outsiders trying to instigate internal unrest to undermine Iran’s government. I don’t believe, for example, that Iran’s nuclear scientists have just been having a rash of bad luck lately — and for every incident that makes the news, it’s natural to assume there are many more that are kept hidden.

    Freedom from such undermining efforts is a luxury we’re fortunate enough to have here in the US, but it’s a legitimate worry for Iranians. Judging from some of the poll figures recently reported here, it’s a very big worry for many Iranians: one poll question, for example, asked whether, all other attributes of two candidates being equal (or unknown), the respondent would vote for a candidate who emphasized stronger “security” or for one who emphasized stronger “civil rights.” According to the poll, the hypothetical “security” candidate would win by a very large margin. If we were to assign actual names to the “security” candidate and the “civil rights” candidate, what would those two names have been in the 2009 election, Pak?

    I certainly recognize the danger to civil liberties that can result from an excessive focus on “national security.” That phrase makes many Americans uncomfortable whenever US government officials start bandying it about. I’ve noticed that several recent Iranian posters have made clear that it makes them uncomfortable too. But they also emphasize that Iran indisputably does have people trying to undermine its government.

    Bad government, good government — whichever it may be, any government is likely to clamp down when it feels threatened by outsiders. And when that government is supported by a substantial majority of the people — even if (or maybe: even more so when) a substantial minority argues loudly that the government does not deserve that support) — it’s not unlikely that the government will crack down even harder, nor unlikely that its suspicion about foreign infiltrators will extend to government critics within the country itself.

    I’m not arguing it ought to be that way, but that’s usually how it is, not only in Iran. People who opposed the Vietnam War were often labeled as Communists in the US; the same with civil rights workers and labor organizers. They responded in many ways, but one particular effort was made by most of those unfairly accused: They carefully avoided any connection with the foreign groups with which they were accused of being associated. Those that did not make this effort — those who freely admitted to being members of the American Communist Party, for example — were sometimes persecuted, especially during periods when the US government imagined itself to be relatively vulnerable, and were sometimes instead “labeled and dismissed” (i.e. ignored, a fate nearly as bad for someone whose objective is to change minds), when the government considered itself to be free from serious threat.

    Wrongly accused, fairly accused — whichever it has been for a particular dissident group within a country during a time of unrest — I think it’s fair to say that the dissident groups that have had the greatest impact within their country are those groups that manage to keep themselves clearly separate from outside groups that may share their short-term goals but don’t necessarily have the best interests of their country at heart.

  53. Scott Lucas says:

    M. Ali,

    “I am not the court nor the prosecutor. How do you expect ME to offer any evidence? Because you are usually talking about this point, it would interest me if YOU could give substantial information on the cases, but you have never done so.”

    You miss the point: the Iranian judiciary has not given any public evidence to support the charges against the journalists, which are usually of the “threat to national security” and “propaganda against the regime” variety. That is why I cannot give much legal detail to support what appear to be political prosecutions.

    And you miss the point on Sotoudeh, whose case is becoming more and more important given her hunger strike. The general charge of “national security”, with the addition of membership in Ebadi’s Center, was merely a device to punish her for taking on clients such as Ebadi. (Mohammad Javad Larijani has added the allegation that Sotoudeh talked to the foreign media.) The same goes with Sara Sabaghian for daring to represent human rights activists.

    In short, the Government has offered no legal basis for political detentions of many journalists and lawyers.

    Best,

    S.

  54. Scott Lucas says:

    EA’s snap analysis on the Mottaki dismissal:

    *Our initial approach to the dismissal of Foreign Minister Mottaki focused on the domestic power plays in Tehran, with the President scoring a key victory over rivals like Ali Larijani, especially in getting the Supreme Leader’s support for the changes.

    An EA correspondent offers the complementary perspective of the nuclear talks: “Timing was dependent on Khamenei. Probably both he and Ahmadinejad were impressed by Salehi over the nuclear dossier and wanted him to lead foreign policy too.”

    So the domestic and the foreign intersected. With last week’s resumption of nuclear discussions in Geneva producing agreement on another meeting in January in Turkey, there was a window for change. If Mottaki was to go — for whatever reason — and Salehi was to replace him, the window of opportunity was now.

    We’ll refine the analysis as the day develops but note: this is significant. This is the first time since the early 1980s that a Foreign Minister has been fired.*

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/13/the-latest-from-iran-13-december-political-battles-and-human.html

  55. Pirouz says:

    PG, I raised my eyebrows to this, as well. It really does make the executive branch appear immature and unprofessional on the world stage.

    On the other hand, Salehi might be a better choice. He has a full command of the nuclear issue and is considered an honest and articulate spokesman. Let’s see if he’s as good a diplomat.

  56. Reza Esfandiari says:

    *** Breaking News ***

    Ahmadinejad has fired his foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jmfPpMYcFvZ60DPNtdrpZCnxJJ0w?docId=CNG.85d0025a8145a0ffde7323d6b2c409a4.6c1

  57. Persian Gulf says:

    اندرستایش محمود:
    چو کودک لب از شیر مادر بشست/ زگهواره محمود گوید نخست
    !!!

    however, sometimes it’s hard to comprehend what Ahmadinejad does, i.e. firing the foreign minister while he was in the middle of an official visit! let him get back sir and then fire him. even farsnews was surprised of this hasty decision. it was known for sometimes that Ahmadinejad is not happy with Mottaki, but humiliating people this way is not called statesmanship.

  58. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Bussed-in-Basiji,

    Maybe Scott thinks that Iranians are applying “taqqiya”. They would therefore not be entirely truthful in order to protect themselves from reprisals by the regime.

    However, even if they did fear persecution, I don’t see why Iranians would be reluctant to mention the fact that they voted for Mousavi whom, after all, had his candidacy approved by the Guardians council. Why lie about what the government knows tens of millions of Iranians did on election day according the official figures?

    Half of the respondents want to scrap the morality police (gasht-e-ershad) which many conservative clerics see as essential for protecting Islamic values.

    I think the answers given in the IPI poll are as frank and candid as you will find in any survey.

  59. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    The FACT that the majority of Iranians consider the elections and its results to be legitimate is a FACT, not an opinion.

    Pak, Binam, Scott etc. seem to have succeeded in diverting the discussions in this thread from the main issue which is the incompetence of the foreign service ass-licking career drones and their Iranian (sorry “Persian”) exile intestinal parasites and the idiocy of the “principals” who make policies based on their wrong info and analysis.

  60. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Pak,
    The majority of Iranians consider the elections and its result to be legitimate. The majority of Egyptians and Burmese don’t consider the elections and the results to be legitimate. In fact a “significant minority” didn’t consider the Bush-Gore election results to be legitimate, but when Gore conceded the issue was resolved and eight years later his party won. Mousavi, unfortunately, not so smart or ethical or delsooz for his country. To me that makes him a traitor.

    Binam,
    Pay attention, I never said Iran is an Islamic utopia, so no need to keep repeating it to convince yourself I did. I said the majority of Iranians consider the elections and its results to be legitimate. Now get on with your life. If you like you can start working on the fitna following the next elections.

  61. Pak says:

    Dear M.Ali,

    No no, I love numbers! I do not care about the context. I would rather ignore the arrests, intimidation and accusations of fraud, just like in Egypt and Burma, because the numbers prove everything is dandy.

    As I said, extremists feed of each other.

  62. M.Ali says:

    Pak, the issue of legitimacy has already been established by the fact that:

    1) 85% voting turnout (an amazingly high number, showing the populance’s belief in the system)

    2) Results from various different polls shows support for the system

    And also by the fact that absolutely no empirical data has been ever offered by you, Binam, or Scott on why exactly the legitimacy of the government is in question with the majority of the people. Aside from “I know someone who told me” stories, there has never been any actual physical numbers to give us an idea. But wasn’t it you (or was it Binam) that dismissed numbers anyway?

  63. Loyal says:

    Is there any reason why Motaki was replaced by Salehi few weeks before Meeting in Turkey ?

  64. M.Ali says:

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/tag/nasrine-sotoudeh

    Your site has three pages of Nasrine Sotoudeh posts. As I couldn’t find anything substantial in the ones I read, can you please point me to a post where her charges and case is discussed in detail, or are they all about the inhumanity of it all and the hunger strikes she is attending?

  65. Pak says:

    It is interesting how apologists are moving on from legitimacy to necessity. It just goes to show how extremists enjoy the support of other extremists.

  66. M.Ali says:

    “Please look over the list of the detained journalists and those on bail and offer any evidence — or assertions by the Government in the charges of “national security” —that the accused were in contact with foreign powers to undermine the government.”

    Dear Scott, I am not the court nor the prosecutor. How do you expect ME to offer any evidence? Because you are usually talking about this point, it would interest me if YOU could give substantial information on the cases, but you have never done so. Given that your daily updates are nowadays purely about such cases (since you have nothing else to report anymore on the Green Movement), one would expect you to have a large amount of information at your fingertips discussing the cases in details. But most of what you link is either one-sided information from the defendant, NGO’s extremely biased and brief summary (if you could even call it that) of the cases, or prisoner letters.

    “I think you are referring to the detained attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh. One of the reasons that she was arrested in September was because she dared to take on Shirin Ebadi’s case. The Government turned this into the (false) allegation that Sotoudeh is a member of Ebadi’s Center for Defenders of Human Rights.”

    I don’t know which case was, but I remember one of their anger at the government was that they were taxing Ebadi’s prize money, which most countries too, but in Iran it is a clampdown on human rights?? I’m sure you have the link, but her complaint was something about paying tens of thousands of tax money on her prize, which I think is 1 million dollar. I think in US tax on this would be 30% so USD 300,000.

    Anyway, “was because she dared to take on Shirin Ebadi’s case. ” Is that the charge? What WAS the charge? I know very little about this case, but even the little I know tells me that there are actual charges brought against her with her having several lawyers to defend her, and the case has been going on.

    You also say that “turned this into the (false) allegation”. But how do you know for certain its false allegation? And if it is false or not, the government has brought a charge against her in the courts, and she is being defended. The prosecutor will bring its own evidence and the defendant will bring its own evidence and a verdict will be reached.

  67. Empty says:

    RE: “Obviously, Yitta Halberstam & Judith Leventhal do believe that G-d is on Israel side by making ‘miracle’ to support the ‘official lies’.”

    As the saying goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. God must be keeping them closer.

  68. Scott Lucas says:

    M. Ali,

    “We already know that certain people are directly in contact with foreign powers to undermine the government (the wikileaks show examples of an actual reformist politician directly doing that!) and many others are involved in misinformation in harming the stability of the country.”

    Please look over the list of the detained journalists and those on bail and offer any evidence — or assertions by the Government in the charges of “national security” —that the accused were in contact with foreign powers to undermine the government.

    ” I remember in one of his links, one prisoner was complaining that the government has used unfair bullying tactics such as trying to get the tax from dear old Shirin’s Noble prize money!!”

    I think you are referring to the detained attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh. One of the reasons that she was arrested in September was because she dared to take on Shirin Ebadi’s case. The Government turned this into the (false) allegation that Sotoudeh is a member of Ebadi’s Center for Defenders of Human Rights.

    Best,

    S.

  69. Rehmat says:

    Empty – let me prove to you how the American traitors dressed as American patriots never give up dropping hammer on their feet – when it comes to Hasbara lies. Obviously, Yitta Halberstam & Judith Leventhal do believe that G-d is on Israel side by making ‘miracle’ to support the ‘official lies’.

    9/11: Waiting for the tenth Man
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/911-waiting-for-the-tenth-man/

  70. Empty says:

    RE: “By the same rational would you then reprimand Eric, Scott, James, Dan and all the Americans on this blog for criticizing their American government in front of the eyes and ears of all of America’s sworn enemies?!”

    1. Nowhere in that remark did I direct any request toward anyone or reprimanded anyone to do anything one way or another. I was ordered to be open-minded and criticize Iran and I stated what my approach is. If you have misread what I said, then it’s up to you to decide within your own mind what you would like to do.

    2. If the United States was threatened to be attacked, if there were billions of dollars or Yuan or Rial or whatever other currencies earmarked to destroy the American people, if there were a history of a coup, use of chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a history of attack by other countries against American people, if there were an open policy of several countries to shred the American people’s land into pieces and destroy its culture and put a puppet regime in place (oops, sorry, there is one already, scratch that), if there were a long history of sanctions against the American people, if the military power of the American people were disproportionately smaller than those who planned to attack them, if the sworn enemies the American people had a history of using simple criticism into a blown up excuse to attack and destroy the American people, and thousands of other if’s…..then, I would have seen it my responsibility as a thoughtful and caring human being to chosen very carefully what I say, where I say it, and how I say it so as I minimize the potential for misuse of that information toward the destruction of a people. As the saying goes: Anyone can get angry. That’s easy. To get angry at the right time to the right degree and in the right manner, that’s not easy.

    It is entirely up to you what you choose to say. I have not said nor will I ever say how you should or shouldn’t behave. My statements will always be directed at the content of the statements made.

  71. M.Ali says:

    We already know that certain people are directly in contact with foreign powers to undermine the government (the wikileaks show examples of an actual reformist politician directly doing that!) and many others are involved in misinformation in harming the stability of the country.

    For national interest, a government that is in charge of protecting a country has to make difficult choices. The bigger threat there is to a nation, the less it can afford to offer complete freedom to inidviduals to do and say as they please. While this might be something not desire, it is a realistic notion.

    And polls show that people in Iran more or less agree to this strategy.

    When Scott constantly brings up detained journalists, the government brings up charges of national security against them. Scott himself has never once given a detail link to these charges, aside from one-sided article from the defendants. I remember in one of his links, one prisoner was complaining that the government has used unfair bullying tactics such as trying to get the tax from dear old Shirin’s Noble prize money!!

    And Binam, polls suggest that Iranians are behind the government and that the results of 3 different polls at different times show that it matches the election results. Therefore, if a) Iranians are behind the governmen (b) the government they voted for is in power
    Then, why are you trying to undermine their desires?

  72. Scott Lucas says:

    Pirouz,

    Thank you for your considered reply

    “It’s not a safe situation, with terrorism on the border regions, assassination and abduction of prominent citizens, espionage, severe economic warfare (sanctions), energy related sabotage, sedition strategies–most of which are externally sponsored or directed.”

    I note this but, of the cases that I have followed from this list, there is no evidence that the journalists have been connected with terrorism, espionage, or foreign powers.

    One episode which could be discussed was the discussion of six staff (journalists, chief editor, director) of Shargh, apparently because the newspaper ran a National Students Day feature last Tuesday under the headline “The Student Movement is Alive”.

    Best,

    S.

  73. Pirouz says:

    Scott,

    Part of this can be explained by a lack of specific guidelines on what is acceptable under the current external threat environment. And within this context is the perception of threat/weakness associated with specific political orientation.

    It’s not a safe situation, with terrorism on the border regions, assassination and abduction of prominent citizens, espionage, severe economic warfare (sanctions), energy related sabotage, sedition strategies–most of which are externally sponsored or directed.

    Understandably, the IRGC, VEVAK and NAJA are going to employ countermeasures, many of which are unpleasant but self-perceived to be necessary. Hence, the understanding of the majority of Iranian citizens reflected in some of the results of the IPI and WPO public opinion polls.

  74. Scott Lucas says:

    In the context of the discussion on post-election politics and freedom of expression, I offer this not to provoke for just for consideration of the current situation.

    Iran: The List of More than 100 Detained Journalists

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/12/iran-gold-medal-feature-the-list-of-more-than-100-detained-j.html

    S.

  75. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    I have no time at all for any opinion expressed by Jennifer Rubin.

    S.

  76. Binam says:

    Dear Castellio,

    I don’t know enough about Ukraine and the Orange Revolution to comment on it. But I do know that if the Green Movement was in fact a color coup (I haven’t seen any evidence to support this claim) and Mousavi did come to power as a result of it and he then proceeded to NOT deliver on his campaign promises and let down those who put him in power (whether with a color coup or by voting him in), then his government would deserve to get 5% of the votes in the elections that would follow and Mousavi would then be deservedly kicked out. That’s a right the Iranian people SHOULD have.

    Now, would it be fair to say that if the Iranian people were to be unhappy with Ahmadinejad (again, regardless of HOW he came into power, whether a military coup or actually being voted in) they have the right to cast his party or whoever his replacement is in 2013 5% of the vote? Or are you suggesting that they CANNOT and SHOULD NOT have a say because there exist a foreign threat and the Supreme Leader should have an eternal grip on power?

    And does that mean you’re saying Iranians are doomed to having a one-party/one-man rule?

    “You have become frightened by the traditions of your own people, and can’t give credence to a different direction that they have chosen.”

    I refuse to believe that a theocracy is traditions of my own people and I’m yet to be convinced that they have chosen a different direction. And I think it’s unfortunate that some here think Americans should have the right to criticize their government while Iranians should NOT because according to people like Pirouz_2 they don’t know any better.

  77. Castellio says:

    No, Binam, I didn’t think that you would find “some nutjob American conservative agreeable”.

    In fact, I knew you wouldn’t. But she’s not a “nutjob”, she’s speaking for the forces currently in control. You saw the Committee on Foreign Relations, do you think there was one person who presented who would not agree with Jennifer Rubin?

    I just think you and Pak are unaware of what is coming. FYI is aware, and is constantly preparing. Pirouz_2 is aware.

    I remember the excitement of my Ukrainian friends during the “Orange Revolution”. I also remember their growing bitterness in the years that followed. In the last election, the party of the “orange revolution” managed to get 5% of the vote.

    And yet still, in North America, the Ukrainian expatriates and exiles claim that the movement is supported by the majority of Ukrainians (when its not) or would be, if only the Ukrainians in Ukraine weren’t so Russified, and were true Ukrainians. It is just arrogance.

    I find myself my closer to Pirouz_2, who wonders how to close down a colour coup without doing damage to the interests of those who support the government and those who don’t. I find myself closer to FYI when he states that Khomeini is a political thinker of weight. I find it hard to be close to your thoughts when the larger context in which Iranian democracy is being forged is dismissed by you outright. Iran under the Shah was not democratic. There is now an interesting hybrid democracy quite unlike the path of western nations, (or sometimes quite alike, actually, if you replace the landed aristocracy with the religious class).

    You are comfortable in America. You see it as benign and benevolent. You have become frightened by the traditions of your own people, and can’t give credence to a different direction that they have chosen.

  78. Binam says:

    Empty and others,

    “And again for me, makane enteghad az Iran, dar dakhele iran va be door az goosho cheshme tamame badkhahan va doshmanan_e ghasam khordehye iraneh.”

    Translation for our non-Farsi speaking contributors: Empty: “And again for me, the place for criticizing Iran, is inside Iran and away from ears and eyes of all ill-wishers and Iran’s sworn enemies.”

    By the same rational would you then reprimand Eric, Scott, James, Dan and all the Americans on this blog for criticizing their American government in front of the eyes and ears of all of America’s sworn enemies?! Or for you it’s okay for Americans to criticize their government’s actions but as Iranians we should just shut up and stay at home and wait for our $40 subsidy cut checks? Or do you think of people like Eric and the Leveretts as Iran’s sworn enemies who need not be reminded of Iranian government’s failures and missteps?

    Furthermore, where exactly in Iran can such criticisms take place? Do we need to remind you on a daily basis of whereabouts of people who DO criticize the Iranian government away from ears and eyes of Iran’s sworn enemies? Do we need to constantly draw your attention to people like Majid Tavakoli?

    Castellio,

    “Sakineh: I’m hoping that many will read Jennifer Rubin’s article, especially Pak and Binam.”

    Thanks for sharing the article. What a pile of crap it was! But I really do wonder, do you think that anyone who criticizes the conservatives in power in Iran (as me and Pak have been doing) must find such idiotic articles by some nutjob American conservative agreeable?

  79. Castellio,

    You wrote to Fiorangela:

    “Does George Mitchell stand for anything at this point?”

    I answered that question for myself when they first appointed him. George Mitchell likes to talk to a lot of people, write a report, and pat himself on the back for a job well done. He didn’t even get that far this time around, of course, but that’s the most we could ever have hoped for from him. He’s a well-respected guy, as he deserves to be, but not strong at all.

  80. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric:
    “I may be naive on this point, and I have almost no doubt that the protesters included a substantial number of people who had in mind exactly what you suspect, but I still think the vast majority of people in the streets were there for exactly the reasons they claimed to be there: They’d already been dissatisfied with the government before the election, and they sincerely believed the election had been stolen from Mousavi. That combination was enough to bring them out on the streets, and I frankly doubt that very many of them thought it through much farther than that.”

    Eric;
    I don’t think that you are naive about that point and if you are then so am I, because I agree completely with what you say (distinction must be made between those who voted for a candidate -be it Mousavi or Ahmadinejad- and the candidate himself).

  81. Pirouz_2,

    First, I didn’t recall which “Iranian individual” had made the comment I referred to, and didn’t bother to look back to figure that out. From what you say, it probably was you. I didn’t intend to misinterpret it. As George Bush liked to say, though, I may well have “misremembered” it.

    In any case, if you ask me now to assume that the post-election protests were a “colored coup” attempt, you push me pretty far toward an inevitable conclusion. A legitimately elected government — especially one that has just won a fair election in a landslide — has a right to defend itself against a violent overthrow. Like you, however, I also believe that peaceful protests should be allowed. Obviously it gets hard to draw the line confidently when one is asked to assume that the true purpose of a million peaceful marchers is to stop being peaceful the moment someone gives a hand signal, storm the barricades, and take over control of the government. Certainly I would be quicker to crack down on such an assumption. And I acknowledge that the US government, by contrast, never really has to worry about a coup attempt when protesters take to the street, which makes it easier for authorities in this country to remain tolerant. Beyond saying all that, I don’t think it’s possible to know how I would have acted last June. I do, though, think your point is a good one: free expression is certainly not the only concern that matters in the situation you are assuming here.

    As for whether your assumption is a reasonable one, I really have no idea. It does appear, though, that I’m much more skeptical about that than you are. I may be naive on this point, and I have almost no doubt that the protesters included a substantial number of people who had in mind exactly what you suspect, but I still think the vast majority of people in the streets were there for exactly the reasons they claimed to be there: They’d already been dissatisfied with the government before the election, and they sincerely believed the election had been stolen from Mousavi. That combination was enough to bring them out on the streets, and I frankly doubt that very many of them thought it through much farther than that.

    Your separate comment on the “class” conflict, incidentally, struck me as very perceptive, much more nuanced and more likely correct than what I’d written about that.

  82. kooshy says:

    Pirouz_2

    Thanks, and likewise, I also do enjoy your candid openions on Iranian matters, after “smelling and breathing” the unrealistic, conceptual American foreign policy in this last thirty some years, on Iran and ME in general, one wouldn’t need much martial to be humorous, and frankly can’t do better than just be humorous.

  83. Pak,

    “Here is the extent of criticism on Press TV”

    Pretty lame, I agree. If you want some hard-hitting criticism of the Iranian regime, try this website:

    kaleme.com

    It’s run by some guy who ran for president of Iran last year but didn’t win.

  84. fyi says:

    Pak :

    You are wrong about Khomeini – you do not seem to graps the truly revolutionary amalgam of the principles of Islam and the principles of Republicanism that Mr. Khomeini has froged.

    Mr. Khomeini, who broke will al Ghazali on at least 6 points of doctrine, is, in my opinion, the most significant Muslim thinker/statesman of the last 1000 years. The future of every and all Muslim polities with now be developed based on his ideas of what Islamic government and polity ought to be like.

    It is highly likely that I am a minority of one who thinks in this manner; that does not think it realistic to expect an Islamic order that is secular – execept through bayonets of the Armed Forces.

  85. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric;
    YOU SAID:”It may be that many in Iran feel the same way, but a comment from an Iranian individual on an earlier thread made me wonder. If I interpreted his comment correctly – and I’m pretty sure I did – he was arguing that the crackdown was justified because the protesters had no basis for contending that the election had been fraudulent. I agree that their position had no merit. I also agree that, even if they had been correct, they would not have been justified in engaging in violence or destruction during their protest (we can set aside here the important question of whether that in fact occurred). But if we assume for discussion here that the protests were peaceful, they should have been permitted, regardless of the merits of the protesters’ position – as they would have been permitted in the US.”

    Eric;
    When I read this comment from you, I was not sure who that “Iranian individual” was.
    On one hand you seemed to have given an example which I talked about earlier (as a ‘hypothetical’ example, but I guess it was not that hypothetical after all?), and on the other hand what you said your impression of the words of that individual was only partially correct about what I meant.
    Whoever the first part of your comment was referring to, let me explain my own view once again:
    I don’t think that the difference between our views is about a conditional acceptance of the rights of people to demonstrate depending on the merit of their views (for which they are demonstrating). Like you, I too believe in the inalienable right of people to demonstrate and express their views irrespective of what it is that they believe.
    Our main difference, I think, is in that I believe that the green movement was indeed a “coloured coup” attempt and you don’t.
    We can talk extensively about why I think that way, but that is another subject. Right now, I would like to ask you, that ASSUMING that the green movement was indeed an attempt to make a “coloured coup”, then what do you think that the government reaction should have been?
    Before you answer this question, I will give you my own answer to this question (while I confess that I am conflicted about it). But even before that let me remind you, that “demonstrations” are not always about an innocent expression of views (and let me be on the record here that I consider the expression of opinion to be innocent irrespective of the opinion). There were anti-Allende “demonstrations” in Chile, organized by seemingly “common people” which later on turned out to have been organized and paid for by the CIA for the purpose of destablizing the government of Salvador Allende. And this is just one example of many such occasions. So this idea that demonstrations are always innocent expression of opinion is not correct.
    The problem is that how are you going to make the distinction between demonstrations which are paid for and organized by foreign agents and demonstrations which are actually innocent but very much against your own perspective?
    It is a very tricky situation and is like walking on a thin layer of ice on a lake. WHILE TRYING TO PREVENT A COUP, YOU DONT WANT TO FALL INTO THE TRAP OF BECOMING THE NEXT DICTATOR!
    And Let me be on the record here again that I prefer to be a democratically elected stateperson who chooses to stay democratic even at the cost of falling victim to a foreign coup than becoming the next oppressive dictator.
    Even if I strongly suspect foul play, for as long as I don’t have HARD evidence of organic foreign connections I would let demonstrations take place.
    And I think this is one of the biggest differences between USA (the west in general) and Iran, in the West there is no foul play or any foreign agent behind making demonstrations in favour an anti-system idea, IN IRAN THERE IS (AND IT IS NOT A PARANOIA, IT IS THE REALITY!). However, if you go back to a time in US history where there was a strong suspicion that demonstrators maybe “sympathetic” (merely sympathetic not necessarily on their payroll) to a foreign force, then the US stopped being so tolerant of “dissident” voices (heck even right now it is fairly intolerant of radical dissent, let alone the 50’s -the MacCarthy era- and the 60s).

    Another point about which we may disagree is the role that class antagonism play in Iran’s turmoil in the past 18 months. While a lot of people have described the situation in Iran as a strugle of educated vs. ignorant, in my opinion that is not the case. The main conflict which underlay the the events of the past 18 months in Iran (in fact it goes far before that) was a class conflict between the Iranian middle-class and the lower income parts of the society.
    I am not saying that Ahmadinejad represented the working class and Mousavi represented the middle and upper classes. Had that been the case I would have been fully behind Ahmadinejad. Fact of the matter is that both sides (in fact all four sides) represented the same. The difference was that people who supported Ahmadinejad supported him because they THOUGHT he was their representative.

  86. Arnold Evans says:

    Dan:

    In fact, the cables show that most Gulf Arab regimes – including Saudi Arabia itself – have been seriously concerned about the consequences of a strike against Iran for their own security, in sharp contrast to Israel’s open advocacy of such a strike. They also show the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait expressing that concern with greater urgency in the past two years than previously.

    Those facts were completely ignored

    The most frustrating part of the story is that there are 250,000 cables the New York Times has read and chosen not to present. So while on the one hand it is possible to read the presented cables more closely, the claim was never worth taking seriously until access is provided to the rest of the cables.

    Wikileaks is really doing a disservice by releasing such a tiny and skewed sample of the documents. It would have been much better to release them on chronological order. I think someone at the State Department and/or New York Times has really taken advantage of Assange’s naivete regarding the foreign policy agendas of major mainstream news organizations.

    This can and should be corrected now by Assange releasing the rest of the documents the way the Iraq war logs and Afghanistan war logs were released, given that he rightly says even the Pentagon can point to nobody who was harmed by those releases.

    If not, Assange, while he is being pursued and wrongly persecuted, is just acting like a press agent for the US State Department, giving publicity and a sensational element to stories the US foreign policy establishment is comfortable releasing, when that establishment is comfortable releasing them.

  87. AFSANEH says:

    May be you should have told that Khomeini before he went to Paris and hanged Iran’s dirty laundry in front of the entire world. In the globalised world we live in, everything will be heard. Instead of cowering away from the world, we need to grow up and deal with it. Everything is always the West’s fault in your eyes. How weak does that make Iran look? And, like it or not, the regime’s current façade of strength is merely hot air, because Iran’s economy is crumbling and more and more people are being imprisoned. This is while the nuclear program is grinding to a halt and nuclear scientists are being blown up in the middle of downtown Tehran.

    Pak
    Are you trying to be funny. Not that the the economy of your master country US is not crumbling. Or may be they are not globlised enough. I really do not know why people on this site try to answer to your comments.

  88. Pak says:

    Here is the extent of criticism on Press TV:

    http://presstv.ir/section/3510201.html

    – Farshchian’s latest painting unveiled
    – Asian Gaza convoy arrives in Tehran
    – Jordan’s king welcomes Tehran trip
    – Iran urged to expel UK envoy
    – Iran, Turkey set to boost economic ties
    – Iran summons Canada chargé d’affaires
    – Retaliation urged against PG distorters
    – Iran MP blasts UK envoy over remarks
    – ‘Iran reviewing relations with UK’
    – Iran students gather outside UK embassy

    Wow, that is really deep.

  89. Pak says:

    Dear Empty,

    May be you should have told that Khomeini before he went to Paris and hanged Iran’s dirty laundry in front of the entire world. In the globalised world we live in, everything will be heard. Instead of cowering away from the world, we need to grow up and deal with it. Everything is always the West’s fault in your eyes. How weak does that make Iran look? And, like it or not, the regime’s current façade of strength is merely hot air, because Iran’s economy is crumbling and more and more people are being imprisoned. This is while the nuclear program is grinding to a halt and nuclear scientists are being blown up in the middle of downtown Tehran.

    Criticism? Iran has the most number of journalists in prison, per capita, in the world. The most number of executions, per capita, in the world. Khomeini executed thousands of critics in the 80’s. The chain murders rid the world of a few more. The internet is filtered of dissident bloggers and websites. Newspapers are constantly closed down. The Green Movement, one big critic, is being trampled on. Critical Grand Ayatollahs – yes, mullahs in a theocracy – are under house arrest and being besieged. I can go on.

    The only criticism in Iran is highly restricted. The economy used to be open to criticism, but now even economists such as Saeed Laylaz are in prison. The central bank has not released valid data on Iran’s economy for over 2 years. Political criticism is restricted to the corrupt Larijani family and a few other insiders.

    You make a valid point: Iran is not “super developed” in 32 years exactly because of a lack of criticism. Other than a few improvements (which are expected given the developments of the late 20th/early 21st century), the regime has improved nothing. It destroyed Iran with a revolution promising improvement, but betrayed its promises.

    P.S. I misspelled Castellio in my earlier post.

  90. Pak says:

    Dear Castillio,

    Thanks for asking an irrelevant question. Due to the stupidity of the question, I will refrain from answering it. Though I believe the answer it pretty obvious.

  91. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela,

    Does George Mitchell stand for anything at this point?

  92. Dan Cooper says:

    Actual U.S. cables belie New York Times’ version

    “a careful reading of all the diplomatic cables reporting the views of Saudi and other Gulf Arab regimes on Iran shows that the Times’ account seriously distorted the content – and in the case of the Saudis, ignored the context – of the cables released by Wikileaks.

    The original Times story, headlined “From Arabs and Israelis, Sharp Distress Over a Nuclear Iran”, referred to “a largely silent front of Arab states whose position on sanctions and force looked much like the Israelis”.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his U.S. neo- conservative backers immediately seized on the story as confirmation of what Israel has been saying all along.

    In fact, the cables show that most Gulf Arab regimes – including Saudi Arabia itself – have been seriously concerned about the consequences of a strike against Iran for their own security, in sharp contrast to Israel’s open advocacy of such a strike. They also show the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait expressing that concern with greater urgency in the past two years than previously.

    Those facts were completely ignored”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LL08Ak01.html

  93. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Henry Kissinger no fool. As a Zionist Jew – he knows how to kill two-Goyim-birds with one stone. One of his assistant, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is very active in putting sanctions against Islamic Republic for Israel.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/the-pot-calling-the-kettle-black/

  94. Fiorangela says:

    I’m officially embarrassed. The Brookings website says George Mitchell was part of the event that ran over the course of two or three days. The sky has not fallen.

    Agreed, however, that the flag fusion is inappropriate.

  95. Empty says:

    Pak says, “Of course, once again, it is the West’s fault.”
    The West’s fault? No way. No how. Never. They are angels.

    Re: “I think you need to open your mind a little.”
    Okay.

    Re: “start criticising your own country.”
    For me, har kar jaee va har nokteh makani darad. And again for me, makane enteghad az Iran, dar dakhele iran va be door az goosho cheshme tamame badkhahan va doshmanan_e ghasam khordehye iraneh.

    Re: “Criticism is not bad you know, it helps a nation develop.”
    In that case, Iran must have super developed in the past 32 years.

  96. Fiorangela,

    “When Saban introduced Clinton, he said, “This is the first time you’ve spoken from here.” (I think; could be wrong.)”

    He just said it was the first time she’s spoken as Secretary of State. (One wonders, by the way, whether it may be the last as well: she’s looking a bit worn out in many recent photos.)

  97. James,

    As I said, I have no objection to seeing any country’s representatives (or US supporters) place the flag of their country next to the US flag. It was just the superimposition of the Israeli flag over the US flag that struck me as inappropriate. I just can’t imagine that citizens of another country would find it acceptable for foreigners to visit their country and display their flag covered up by the flag of the visitors’ country.

  98. Fiorangela says:

    ok, I’m easily worried.
    I sometimes wear tinfoil for a nightcap.

    but
    ~Bill Clinton took to President’s podium the other day.
    ~Richard Holbrooke in ICU after major heart failure/surgery to repair aneurysm. Such surgery not infrequently involves loss of some brain function. Tragic Coincidence? Most likely. Or not.
    ~ Hillary Clinton, sans George Mitchell, pronounces new policy; boasts that US has provided more “security” to Israel under her tenure than in past; pledges bff.
    ~ The flag behind Clinton was an Israeli star of david fused over Stars and Stripes, as Eric Brill observed
    ~ When Saban introduced Clinton, he said, “This is the first time you’ve spoken from here.” (I think; could be wrong.) I KNOW I’m not wrong that Hillary Clinton has spoken from Saban Center in the past. Has Saban just established a new center of government of US with Bill & Hil in charge?

    this is crazy; i’m not going to press the submit button.

  99. Castellio says:

    Pak, if your child were on the street in the way of a speeding bus, would you remain quiet and call it a learning experience for the child? Just curious.

  100. Pak says:

    Dear Empty,

    Of course, once again, it is the West’s fault. I think you need to open your mind a little and start criticising your own country. Criticism is not bad you know, it helps a nation develop.

  101. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Is Henry Kissinger delusional? The late Shah’s son seems a nice enough fellow, but there is no way whatever to put him back in power by employing US military forces. None.

    Kissinger, of course, deserves some credit for the Iraq War catastrophe. He claims he was brought into the planning too late to stop the war. BULLSH*T. What he means is that trying to stop the war would have cost him a good deal of money, most likely. Due to retaliation of the sort Dan Rather talks about.

  102. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    I think your objection to the rank propaganda is well taken. Clearly the intent is to foster the false impression Israel and the US are virtually one and the same. This in fact is a catastrophically bad strategy, potentially, for the Israel-first crowd to follow.

    Don’t miss the Dec. 20th New Yorker piece on Eisenhower’s farewell address (where he warned the American public about the grave dangers posed by confluence of huge armaments manufacturers and giant permanent US military establishment.

  103. Rehmat says:

    The Israeli Hasbara idiots want the world to believe that Ahmadinejad is a ‘Jew-hater’. After the 2009 election – Henry Kissinger on BBC called for a regime change in Tehran. He did not want Mir-Mousavi to replace Ahmadinejad – as he believes when it comes to Israel – both are two-sides of the same coin. He had Prince Reza in mind.

    Now, the Nixon tapes released the other day – shows that as Secretary of state had advised Presiden Richard Nixon that if the Russian put Jews in gas chambers – that’s none of America’s business.

    Kissinger: ‘Gassing of Jews not a US problem’
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/kissinger-gassing-of-jews-not-a-us-problem/

  104. I don’t get worked up about flags and other symbols, and I have never minded seeing the flag of Israel next to the US flag on the podium at AIPAC conventions — nor seeing the flag of any other country next to that of the US flag.

    Nevertheless, I do find it offensive to see the symbol that Haim Saban saw fit to place on the stage of the convention at which Hillary Clinton spoke on Friday (see link below; she comes on at about 25 minutes into the video). It depicts a US flag with an Israeli flag superimposed on it. The Israeli flag covers up the right side of the US flag — or it would, except for the fact that the US flag fades away on its right side, thus leaving it replaced there entirely by the Israeli flag.

    Am I being finicky here? If a convention were held in Tel Aviv, would an Israeli audience find it acceptable to have the US flag superimposed over the Israeli flag, with the latter fading away to make room?

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/IsraeliRe

  105. Scott,

    It may seem that I’m baiting you to ask this (perhaps because I am), but do you agree with this sentence in Jennifer Rubin’s column — particularly the part about the movement’s “stated desire”?

    “The notion that we will “taint” the Green Movement by helping it is unsupported speculation and contrary to the movement’s stated desire for U.S. support.”

  106. Empty says:

    Re: “The overthrow of the Shah in 1979 did not in itself bring on the Iraqi invasion; instead, it was a series of ill-considered actions and statements by the new government in Tehran that caused the murderous, opportunistic dictator in Iraq to think he had an opening to pursue personal glory.”

    The statement that “a series of ill-considered actions and statements by the new government in Tehran that caused, etc.” is false. It false by omitting facts about the U.S., Arab, and Western government’s role in encouraging Saddam to attack Iran as they thought she was weak enough for them to go for the kill like a pack of wolves. Here is Imam Khomeini’s (salavatullah va salam o alayhe) speech (sub-titled) in the early days inviting the people to be calm… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6JVPMqteew

  107. D.E. Goodman says:

    Iran is being “set-up” to take “the bomb” and if they don’t wise up, and alter there way of thinking, they will fall right into the trap being set for them as I write this. I have little doubt, the “leaders” will be on the same “train to the promised land” that the rest of the “establish-MINT” will be riding on. THEY don’t care about humanity, only about the rich. Who have orchestrated all these “false-flag” operations, and will continue to do so, unless, and until, humanity wakes the Hell-up and puts an end to it. Before it is too late. The book of REVELATION is being manipulated so as to make it “acceptable” to murder more “Christians” and then blame it on “the Devil.” Which doesn’t exist accept in the greedy war-mongers who hate.

  108. Fiorangela says:

    Goli, re the article by Maidhc O Cathail, didn’t Glen Greenwald write a column in Salon detailing how NY Times had duped Assange into turning over ALL material to NYT, but that NYT studied/used only 1500 or so cable — cherry-picked for their ability to serve Israeli propaganda purposes?

  109. Thank goodness the Washington Post has strict word limits on opinion columns. Look how much unwarranted speculation Ms. Rubin managed to pack into just one paragraph:

    “And fourth, we should begin to make the case and agree on a feasible plan for the use of force. When there is a credible threat of force — not occupation or invasion, but strikes sufficient to hobble Iran’s nuclear program, military and Revolutionary Guard — the decision-making calculus may change. What of the notion that the nation will rally around the flag if attacked? Well, that depends on the nature of the assault and, moreover, how far the regime has alienated the Iranian people by its serial killings, jailings and prison rapes. There is good reason to believe that a wide anti-government coalition views the regime as illegitimate and acting in ways contrary to its stated Islamic precepts. In these circumstances, an attack would serve as a tipping point rather than a rallying point.”

    Surgical strikes, a popular uprising against a despised regime, and (though she’s too modest to say it explicitly) flower petals strewn at our feet — all in one tidy little paragraph.

  110. D.E. Goodman says:

    There was No “incorrect-intel.” The invasion of Iraq was PRE-decided. And had NOTHING to do with “intel.” They knew about 9/11, as sure as they knew about Pearl Harbor! This manipulation by the media has been going on for more than hundreds of years. And by the very-same organisation!

  111. Mohammad,

    “Large sections of the Iranian society, simply don’t consider freedom of expression a value if it is used to express non-acceptable views or is ‘destabilizing’.”

    This is an interesting comment, principally because one of the reasons for suppression of free expression that you cite after the “if” would be valid in the US in some circumstances, while the other would not be — at least until it has been transformed into the other reason. With great confidence that the preceding sentence has confused you, I will explain that in a war situation (including, of course, the never-ending “war on terror” — which means: pretty much at any time), US authorities may deem it necessary to restrict free expression on the ground that it gives “aid and comfort” to the enemy; other phrases are used as well, but this seems to be one that editorial writers latch onto early and often. In other words, the US government may restrict free expression that might be “destabilizing,” to use your term.

    This doesn’t mean, of course, that the US government properly may restrict free expression in such circumstances merely because “non-acceptable views” are being expressed. If you mean that the Iranian authorities feel it is permissible to do that, then the US and Iran do differ in that respect. At least on the surface: in the US, “non-acceptable views” would first need to be relabeled as “destabilizing.” Once that procedural detail has been attended to, it indeed will become acceptable to restrict expression of those beliefs. But this re-labeling is considered to be an important preliminary step here, which apparently is not the case in Iran.

  112. Fiorangela says:

    Jennifer Rub9in wrote: “So what should we do? I have four suggestions. First, we should give robust support to the Green Movement (financial, technological and rhetorical), which offers the only hope for positive change and the emergence of a regime that is less horrific on human rights and less aggressive on the world stage. The notion that we will “taint” the Green Movement by helping it is unsupported speculation and contrary to the movement’s stated desire for U.S. support.

    Show us the evidence to support those claims, Rubin.

    I’ll tip my hand first: In 2008 (ya, I know, before the Green Movement became a movement, but I’ll take my chances that the analysis holds up) the US State Department Commission on International Religious Freedom held a hearing to discuss religious freedom in Iran.
    Witnesses included Jeffrey Feltman, Barbara Slavin and Susan Maloney, Payam Akhavan, and Roya Boroumand. The witnesses offered four distinct perspectives: Feltman revealed that he was using US funds to run NGOs in Iran whose identity he would not disclose, and the US budgeted funds were further used to fund broadcasts into Iran on Voice of America and other media outlets.

    Slavin and Maloney BOTH INSISTED that the content of VOA broadcasts was of poor quality, was propaganda, and was counterproductive. They said that Iranian reformists pleaded with US policy makers NOT to fund “secret” groups — it only made the work of reform that much more difficult and dangerous. Both Slavin and Maloney advised that it would be a far better use of US efforts to: arrange for academic and cultural exchange between American students and Iranians; permit Iranian reporters to travel to the US to report on US activities. Slavin said that Iranian reporters had requested permission to travel to US to observe and report on US presidential elections but had been denied. Slavin and Maloney suggested that some diplomatic mission be established in Iran, at least adequate to make obtaining a visa was less cumbersome and costly; Slavin said she and Ahmadinejad discussed that possibility; Ahmadinejad said Iran would be pleased to work on such an arrangement, and requested direct flights from Iran to the US.

    In this 2008 hearing, Slavin and Maloney could not have made themselves more clear: funding and managing “secret” “NGO” and other propaganda operations in Iran was harmful to US interests, counterproductive to Iranian reform possibilities, and Iranian reformists strenuously asked that the US NOT — got that Rubin, NOT continue those practices.

    I’m sure WaPo will regret the error and print a correction.

  113. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    What a spectacle! Hillary Clinton, openly a stooge of Haim Saban (who boasts he can get her on the phone anytime to set her straight). Martin Indyk’s piece in the Financial Times December 10th (“The way out of the Middle Eastern morass”), apparently is Saban’s plan to dupe the American people into not making noises about continuing thefts of Palestinian land in the West Bank, on grounds the seizures etc are in areas the Palestinians accept will be part of Israel. Rubbish.

  114. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Mohammad,

    You are absolutely right that there is a class conflict inside Iran and it also represents a form of socio-economic apartheid. Rich and poor in Iran are segregated into their own districts – like in most developing countries (but also the United States). I doubt anyone from affulent Shemiran has even visited a place like Pakdasht or Robat Karim.

  115. Pirouz,

    You make a good point about less than full tolerance for certain protests in San Francisco. I certainly do remember that a lot of heads were unjustifiably bopped during the (disappointingly small) protests against the Iraq war.

  116. Pirouz says:

    Good observations, Mr. Brill. I don’t wish to further extend the US/Iran comparison too far as obviously it has its limitations. But you mentioned the ability to demonstrate not based on political orientation and I have a couple of relatively recent exceptions for you, from here in our city of San Francisco. I would just mention the early gay rights protests of the late 1970s and early 80s, as well as the antiwar protests against Bechtel Group, as instances where this tolerance to protest regardless of political orientation was not observed. There are other minor cases but you may see the point I’m getting at.

  117. Fiorangela says:

    link to Hillary Clinton speech http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/IsraeliRe

    The speech was delivered Dec 10, 2010 — I guess this is old news and commenters on RFI may have already ingested and analyzed this event.

  118. Fiorangela says:

    Did a coup take place in the US and nobody noticed?

    I’m listening to Hillary Clinton speak from the SABAN center, kissing Haim Saban’s feet — Saban introduced her.

    Hillary Clinton acknowledged her friendship with Saban, called him a “man of peace,” and asserted that the American commitment to Israel is both political and personal.

    (* [Saban] hosted a fundraiser in Century City, Ca, for the Israel Defense Forces and, along with former Seinfeld star Jason Alexander and Andrea Bocelli, raises $9 million (Saban’s wife said the Sabans should match the amount collected, thus, $18 million from American sources flowing to Israel. Know that Saban, who has a residence in California and control numerous media outlets in the US, registers his businesses in Cayman Islands to minimize his tax bill.)

    Clinton insists the “zionist dream MUST be support.” “The support of the US is stronger than ever, unwavering and forever.”

    Clinton said, “My husband spoke to Iran,” and told them, do what we demand or suffer more consequences.

    Yesterday, after spending two hours together in the Oval Office, Obama spoke from the president’s podium in the White House to discuss the “tax deal.” THEN, he turned over the microphone and the podium to Bill Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton has taken possession of the Middle East peace process. Hillary Clinton acknowledged the presence of Martin Indyk, but not of George Mitchell. Where is he???

    This afternoon P J Crowley was asked if China was becoming more helpful in dealing with N. Korea. Crowley said, “undersecretary Steinberg is traveling to China to speak with . . .” Are there no Chinese Americans who are fluent in Chinese and conversant with the issues, that the US State Department could send? After all, Israel has a declared interest in forging an alliance with China as “America’s power declines.” Dennis Ross chaired the organization – the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute — that did the study, wrote the paper, and detailed the steps for Israel to take to form an Israeli-China alliance.

  119. Mohammad says:

    Eric,

    Excellent comment.

    As for #1, there is a clash of values going on in Iran over the issue of freedom of expression. WPO and IPI polls clearly show that (as I have mentioned in a comment below). Large sections of the Iranian society, simply don’t consider freedom of expression a value if it is used to express non-acceptable views or is ‘destabilizing’.

    On #3, I know at least two Iranian analysts (both economists) who speculated before the voting that the election was becoming more representative of a class conflict. One of them was Djavad Salehi Esfahani and the other, Hamed Ghoddusi (Ghoddusi’s post was in Persian but amazingly accurate of what was going to happen. He rightly predicted that for the first time, the winner of the election might lose Tehran). Regarding the post-election crackdown, I wonder if you have seen the photo in which (if I recall accurately) a member of anti-riot police is breaking the glass of a luxury car for no apparent reason. I’ve read people speculating that it represented a deep sense of injustice in the policeman who was probably from a poor family.

  120. For anyone who still believes Americans “learned their lesson” in Iraq, Jennifer Rubin’s article should be required reading.

    On the other hand, how can one find fault with a writer who argues that more Iranian nuclear scientists ought to have “car accidents,” and insists in the very next paragraph that “we need to make human rights a central theme.”

  121. Pirouz, Mohammad, Castellio and others:

    Based on earlier comments on this thread, and on an earlier thread on which we also discussed the 2009 post-election protests, three observations strike me as worth making – apparent differences between Iran and the US in their handling of street protests:

    1. In the US, at least in theory and usually in practice, the protesters’ position on an issue is irrelevant. They are permitted to demonstrate (peacefully) regardless of the issue or the merits of their position on the issue. Probably the best-ever illustration of this important point occurred several decades ago when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) volunteered to help the Ku Klux Klan obtain a permit to conduct a march in a Chicago suburb. The KKK had been turned down by local authorities on the ground that their march would incite violence. With the help of ACLU attorneys, the KKK eventually got their permit. To readers who aren’t familiar with the ACLU or the KKK, let me just say that their members probably don’t get together for Sunday brunch very often. But the ACLU wanted to emphasize the important point that the right to free expression does not depend on the merits of what is being expressed.

    It may be that many in Iran feel the same way, but a comment from an Iranian individual on an earlier thread made me wonder. If I interpreted his comment correctly – and I’m pretty sure I did – he was arguing that the crackdown was justified because the protesters had no basis for contending that the election had been fraudulent. I agree that their position had no merit. I also agree that, even if they had been correct, they would not have been justified in engaging in violence or destruction during their protest (we can set aside here the important question of whether that in fact occurred). But if we assume for discussion here that the protests were peaceful, they should have been permitted, regardless of the merits of the protesters’ position – as they would have been permitted in the US.

    2. Pirouz raised the second point in this thread. I hadn’t taken it into account, but I think it ought to be considered. When street protests occur in Iran, authorities often suspect that foreign elements have instigated them – whether through propaganda, financing, logistical support or some other form of assistance. I certainly don’t argue that this belief justifies repression, nor suggest that the post-election protesters were in fact helped by US or other foreign elements (in fact, I doubt it). Nevertheless, I do think this suspicion was sincerely held by Iranian authorities, and that it helps to explain why they cracked down so hard on the post-election protesters.

    In the US, I doubt that the authorities have this concern when street protests occur, though many decades ago they probably did (when foreign Communists were often suspected to be the guiding hand behind labor strikes, civil rights marches, and, occasionally, other protests). One can hardly blame the Iranian authorities for suspecting this, whether it’s true or not, given the US government’s frank admission – boast, even – that it has set aside hundreds of millions of dollars a year to destabilize disfavored regimes. A very large chunk of that budget undoubtedly is devoted to Iran. I emphasize that this suspicion does not justify repression, and in any case I tend to believe the Greens when they insist that they carefully avoid any knowing cooperation with the US. But I do think this suspicion helps to explain why the government cracked down so hard.

    3. Finally, though I try to avoid “class” based explanations for such things, I happened to watch recently some long news clips of the anti-war protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago which made me think such an explanation is worth considering here. The Chicago anti-war protesters, by and large, were college students or college graduates, very few of whom had served in the military, much less been to Vietnam. By contrast, the Chicago policemen were largely blue-collar and non-college-educated. Many of them (most, I would guess) had previously been in the military, probably in Vietnam, and many of them routinely labeled all protesters as “draft dodgers” (not inaccurately, I might add: I was in college back then, and if I ever met a male college student who wasn’t trying to avoid the draft, his name must now be slipping my mind). I have little doubt (as in “none” – I went to high school with several such people) that many Chicago policemen welcomed the opportunity to bop heads that night. It would have taken very little to persuade them that the protests had become non-peaceful.

    The parallels to the opposing groups involved in the 2009 post-election protests should be obvious – largely educated protesters versus less-educated policemen and Basij militia men. I recognize that many exceptions could be cited (as in Chicago in 1968), but generally I think this was true. Few of the policemen or militia men were old enough to have fought in the Iran-Iraq war (though many of their superiors undoubtedly had), but it’s a fair bet that most of them had voted for Ahmadinejad in the election. I suspect that many of them welcomed the opportunity to bop heads. It probably took very little to persuade them that the protests had become non-peaceful. Once again, I don’t think this observation justified brutal treatment of any protester, but I do think it helps to explain it.

  122. Loyal says:

    According to Musavi wickileak document support his claim of fraud. In his latest interview he is apparently referring to one of document about rumor of votes not counted.

    http://wieni2010.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/mir-hossein-mousavi%E2%80%99s-interview-with-internet-newspaper-qalamsabz/


    „This document and the recent terrors of our nuclear scientists show how much our support for Palestinian and Lebanese nations besides its moral aspects, is in favor of our national interests. The documents regarding the election frauds were also interesting, especially where it was pointed that the votes were not counted at all – i.e. the coup d’état election….“

    Apparently he is once again suggesting not counting a vote as a proof of election fraud.
    He live in his cocoon

  123. Castellio says:

    Sakineh: I’m hoping that many will read Jennifer Rubin’s article, especially Pak and Binam.

    If you follow the links about Jennifer Rubin, this is what she says about herself… and realize, this is a writer for the Washington Post:

    “What do I believe in? For starters: American exceptionalism, limited government, free markets, a secure and thriving Jewish state, defense of freedom and human rights around the world, enforced borders with a generous legal immigration policy, calling things by their proper names (e.g. Islamic fundamentalism), and recapturing vocabulary (a “feminist” is not the same as a pro-choice activist). Nearly all wisdom is found in the Godfather movies (no, not Part 3!) and the Torah. I’m a dog nut, so I’m a sucker for any dog story. (And for the record, I think Bo is adorable.) I’m a harsh critic of racial preferences, the Middle East “peace process” (which is short on peace-production), Keynesian economics, judicial imperialism and liberal statism.”

    America is inreasingly and openly Likudnik.

  124. Mohammad says:

    Pak,

    You raised a large number of issues, and it would be a pleasure for me to discuss them. But unfortunately I don’t have the time to discuss all of them at once in the next few days; so I will pick the points one by one in the same order asked by you and discuss them. I hope I can finish all of them in a reasonable amount of time. BTW, if one searches for the answers on the Web, most have been discussed extensively either in Persian or in English.

    First of all, I would like to make it clear that I’m open to any indication of electoral fraud. I wasn’t really sure if fraud really did happen or not in the early days (but from the beginning I was sure that it wasn’t such ‘clear’ as claimed by the Greens), and I actually prefered Mousavi over Ahmadinejad while I voted for neither
    .
    Second, after giving much thought to the issue, trying to be as objective as possible, I have come to the conclusion that whether systematic fraud happened or not, Ahmadinejad was almost sure to win the election in the first round (there’s a small chance that the election would go to the second round but Ahmadinejad still surely had a large lead). There is anecdotal evidence both in favor and against the fairness of the election, and every anecdotal evidence is inherently subject to noise, doubt and misinterpretation (one of my close, trusted friends quoted one of my other close, trusted friends – who is a fervent Green – what we knew was an outright lie. Who should I really believe?).

    In my opinion, the most reliable evidence of what really happened in the election (or in any election) are independent, scientific polls.
    To the best of my knowledge all such polls with publicly published results (TFT, GlobeScan, ISPA, WPO and IPI) have remarkably similar results. Not a single such poll has produced an Ahmadinejad vote percentage outside the range of 55% to 66% and Mousavi more than 36%. Three of them (TFT, ISPA and GlobeScan) were conducted before, and two of them after the election. While the perception among Greens is that of a very tight security climate after the election (and everyone agrees that before the election, saying that you were to vote for Mousavi was in absolutely no way a taboo), the results of these polls converge.

    I think this is the most ‘hard’ evidence we have about the real election outcome. Of course everything can be disputed (in the TFT poll only half had decided whom to vote for), but other ‘hard’ evidence which you claimed are dubious at best, when compared against these opinion polls. Hopefully, I will substantiate this claim in later comments (but I suspect that most objective minds find it rather obvious).

  125. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    I finally am getting it. Talking to them is what bestows legitimacy on an illegitimate government. Stop talking to them say Jennifer, murder them instead (read item 2 of her solution):
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/right-turn/2010/12/time_to_reset_iran_policy.html

  126. Reza Esfandiari says:

    James,

    Yes, Napoleon overthrew the republic. What I am saying is that Enlightenment thinkers like Robespierre realized that there is a fine line between liberty and anarchy.

    France was in danger of disintegration in 1793 – The “Terror” was appallingly brutal and murderous, but it did suppress the rampant insurrection in the provinces and paved the way for the Directorship which brought the country a period of peace and prosperity.

  127. James Canning says:

    A new poll taken in Afghanistan show 2% of Afghans have a “very favorable” opinion of Osama bin Laden, but 6% have a “very favorable” opinion of US troops in their country. Now Clinton and Gates can troop up to the Hill and tell Congress three times as many Afghans have a “very favorable” opinion of US troops in their country, compared to Osama bin Laden.

  128. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Yes, due to a lack of experience and poor judgement, Khomeini brought catastrophe to the Iranian people.

  129. James Canning says:

    Bibi Netanyahu, true to form, says Israel will never get out of East Jerusalem. Time for UN recognition of Palestine within its 1967 borders.

  130. Pak says:

    Dear James,

    That is what I meant by “opening the door.”

    fyi said: “In all cases, the long term interests of the state and the polity are ignored or damaged in order to gain short term advantages for narrow factional and familial interests.”

    That is exactly what Khomeini did after the revolution. Is fyi therefore censuring Khomeini, and to a greater extent the entire revolution?

  131. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    The overthrow of the Shah in 1979 did not in itself bring on the Iraqi invasion; instead, it was a series of ill-considered actions and statements by the new government in Tehran that caused the murderous, opportunistic dictator in Iraq to think he had an opening to pursue personal glory.

  132. James Canning says:

    Robert Gates has once again made a tour of the Persian Gulf, but without visiting Iran. And surprise! Gates once again is ranting about Iran’s “aggressive behavior”! The US has hundreds of thousands of troops (including mercenaries) in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Gates rants about Iran’s “aggressive behavior”!

  133. Pak says:

    Dear fyi,

    The 1979 revolution opened the door for an Iraqi invasion that resulted in an 8-year war and millions of dead or injured.

  134. fyi says:

    Reza Esfandiari:

    The years between the Constitutional Revolution and the establishment of the Pahlavi Dynasty were years of chaos in Iran. The meddling of the British Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire in Iranian internal affairs only worsened the situation.

    Reza Shah established order and put an end of the chaos. In that he was supported by the English, who were scared of the Russian Revolution and did not see how chaos in iran could help them any longer, and by Qum; the religious scholars have always feared moral and political chaos.

    That which obtained in early years of the 20-th century in Iran, still obtains today – in my opinion and also based on my observations on the chaos immediately following the collapse of the Pahlavi Monarchy.

    The leaders of Green Movement, and the Rafsanjani gang behind them, were willing to throw Iran into political chaos in order to advance their narrow interests. In that, they resembled the “Shadowy Pressure” groups that harrassed Mr. Khatami during his presidency and sabotaged his openning to US – with impunity.

    In all cases, the long term interests of the state and the polity are ignored or damaged in order to gain short term advantages for narrow factional and familial interests. Nixon could have plunged US into political crisis in 1960 when his election victory was stolen by the Chicago Democratic Party, but he did not.

    In a different connection, you can gain insight into Iranians by they way they make and sell rugs: use cheap dyes and poor materials to make a profit today and ignore any consideration for loss of future market share and opportunity loss.

    Really, thank God for US hostility: beating Iranians into more rational actors.

  135. Iranian says:

    For a second yesterday, I actually thought Scott Lucas was thinking about becoming reasonable! Whew, that was scary.

  136. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Let’s remember that by 1804 France was an empire with Napoleon I as emperor.

  137. Rehmat says:

    kooshy – I am sure the Iranians, pro-Islamic-regime or the so-called ‘Liberal’ – can understand what is stored for them when Ben Obama bends on his knees in front of the Israel Lobby as one of its Hasbara Zionazi, Allan J. Kuperman, delivered Zionist message to Barack Obama on the last year’s Christmas Eve: “Incentives and sanctions will not work , but air strikes could degrade and deter Iran’s bomb program at relative little cost or risk (to Americans fighting as an Israel proxy war) and therefore worth to try….”

    I bet he took the inspiration from Book of Esther…..

    Iranians’ Purim2!
    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/iranians-purim2/

  138. Empty says:

    “For some reason, Scott doesn’t get this at all.”

    If someone is sleep, you could wake them up by gently calling them once or twice. If someone is pretending to be sleep, you could play the trumpet into his ears, he ain’t gonna wake up.

  139. Castellio says:

    If you want to get a feeling for the American context in which this issue sits, the following is a good summary:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5OtB298fHY

  140. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott writes:

    “Actually, there was a serious challenge to the legitimacy of the system of the 5th Republic and of specific figures. On a personal level, this was the political end of De Gaulle, and there was a protracted reassessment of the institutions of the Republic.”

    De Gaulle quit because he lost a referendum on the constitution a year later. He was getting old anyway.France did change but that was more because of a generational shift in values. The point I make is that the legitimacy of his presidency was never in any doubt throughout his brutal crackdown on the opposition: he was the democratic president of the French Republic and the protesters did not represent all the people.

    Interestingly, Maximilian Robespierre found himself faced with a similar situation in 1793 when a wave of insurrection plagued the revolutionary government of France: His answer was to all this was to wage the “Terror” in which he suspended the constitution and executed much of the royalist opposition and those of other political factions. He famously proclaimed that “in order to preserve national liberty one must be prepared to suspend individual liberties.” This was a man who considered himself a humanist and a democrat. Some historians would claim that his brutality ensured the survival of the Revolution, and its republican ideals, and prevented complete anarchy.

    I am not surprised to learn that 60% of Iranian supported the suppression of the opposition when it became clear they refused to accept the democratic will of the majority and resorted to sedition. For some reason, Scott doesn’t get this at all.

  141. Rd. says:

    William Engdahl has been voicing wikileeks as in inside job from early on.. his latest highlights wikileeks, geopolitics, iran and a dangerous US intelligence Con Job which will likely be used to police the Internet.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22357

    worried about elections and freedom in Iran!!!! may be should be worried about enduring (not) Blockfuehrers and Sippenhaft in US/UK.

  142. Castellio says:

    An interesting overview of American-Nato relations with Eurasia as a whole. (Should anyone really want to know how Iran fits in)

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22170

  143. kooshy says:

    Some may have noticed that I often write common Iranian proverbs in my comments; I do this, thinking that in a way it may help the non Iranian readers to understand and become more acquainted with Iranian mindset and mentality and in general make them learn Iranian culture more closely. Now, reading various comments and arguments about the 88 elections made by Scott and co. in this past few days, I couldn’t imagine how high their pile of BS can get, and where in the solar system it will pick, that till, I saw Arnold sarcastically and without any comments of his own, is just re posting a line of Binam or Pak’s comment, that reminded me of this commonly used Iranian proverb

    Goes like this “ ghafieh- ke- tang-ayad-shaher-be–jafang-ayad” and the translation is “When finding a rhyming word becomes thin, poet ends up resorting to BS”

  144. Scott Lucas says:

    *”reasons we can discuss”, not “reasons we can change”

  145. Scott Lucas says:

    “Tell us which country your so-called ‘dissents’ are not suppressed?”

    Totally agree that the right to dissent has to be cherished and upheld and that those who try to suppress it should be challenged. Indeed, that was the driving force behind a book I wrote a few years ago — which owed much to Chomsky — about the US and Britain.

    So I approach this question on a case-by-case basis….

    For example, Reza writes, “In 1968, students and workers rose up against the elected Gaullist government in Paris – thousands were either killed, injured or arrested in the crackdown that followed: a far more brutal and nasty affair than what happened in Iran.

    But did the French government lose its ‘legitimacy” in the process? It may have lost some moral authority, perhaps, but I don’t think it became ‘illegitimate’ in the eyes of the majority of the French people.”

    Actually, there was a serious challenge to the legitimacy of the system of the 5th Republic and of specific figures. On a personal level, this was the political end of De Gaulle, and there was a protracted reassessment of the institutions of the Republic.

    In the end, the system survived, for reasons we can change. But, yes, this was a case where legitimacy was challenged and dissent was suppressed, often with violence — as was the case in a number of other countries, including the US, in ’68.

    S.

  146. Binam says:

    I wish it was that easy BiB. I would be a happier person if I didn’t care and was an ignorant American who could go shop at Macy’s and drink latte in Union Square and not bother read the news. But unfortunately I’m not. I do follow up on the event in Iran and it just makes me sad. Very sad. I am not twisting your words, the Iran you describe is an Islamic utopia where there are no problems with anything. That clearly is not the case and you clearly are not admitting to that.

  147. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Binam,
    As usual you twist whatever others have said. I never claimed Iran is an Islamic utopia. What I said is that the majority of Iranians consider the elections and its outcome to have been legitimate. How Scott and his intestinal parasites feel about the legitimacy of the elections is not very relevant.

    Go shopping at Macy’s, take a stroll in Central Park or drink latte at a Union Square cafe, whatever you do, just get on with your life.

  148. Liz says:

    There is no room for dissidents like Chomsky in the US media either. Remember Nasr, Helen Thomas, Sanchez, the NY cable men in prison for offering Alamar,…and the US is neither surrounded by Iranian forces nor is it being flooded with Iranian soft power money.

  149. Binam says:

    P2,

    I didn’t claim there’s “absolute freedom” in the West, “absolute freedom” is in reference to Ahmadinejad’s claim for Iran (azadi motlagh). You want to call your retreats “losing patience” so be it, you have a habit of doing that. Fact is there’s no criticism of the SL and that there’s no platform for dissident Grand Ayatollahs on the so-called Islamic state TV. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And the idea of us being ultra-conservatives is absurd.

    BiB,

    For someone who claims to be from northern Tehran you have managed to sound more and more like actual baton-wielding neo-Basijis! I do hope I’m wrong and that Iran is in fact an Islamic Utopia that you describe. It would mean a majority of Iranians are happy and living wonderful fulfilling lives and for me as an Iranian that would be ideal. But unfortunately the living conditions of most Iranians and their frustrations with Islam-e Talebani as practiced by hardliners in power tells a different story.

  150. Arnold Evans says:

    Pak:

    And after the elections, there is hard evidence showing that the Guards knew that the elections were rigged.

  151. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott says:

    “If you try to use this for an artificial separation of the election from the political context, thus clinging to a narrow case for “legitimacy” (and arguably privileging this over your recognition of what has happened in the 18 months since 12 June 2009), then this is a different matter altogether….”

    You are *very poor* historian, Professor Lucas. In 1968, students and workers rose up against the elected Gaullist government in Paris – thousands were either killed, injured or arrested in the crackdown that followed: a far more brutal and nasty affair than what happened in Iran.

    But did the French government lose its “legitimacy” in the process? It may have lost some moral authority, perhaps, but I don’t think it became “illegitimate” in the eyes of the majority of the French people.

  152. Rehmat says:

    Dear Pak – Why don’t you open-up the link I provided – take-off your Israeli Hasbara blinkers and find-out the proof you are looking for?

    Shalom.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/gilad-atzmon-israelis-are-subject-to-palestinians-kindness/

  153. Pak says:

    Dear Rehmat,

    What is your opinion on the failure of the IRI to condemn the human rights abuses in Chechnya, or the Muslim Uighur people in China?

    Could you please also provide some evidence that shows how human rights abuses are more prevalent in Europe than in Iran?

    Thank you.

  154. Pak says:

    Ah Pirouz_2, hello! Did you ever hook up with Persian Gulf?

    Binam – Pirouz_2 believes that there is no freedom in liberal democracies. Why? Well, he does not actually have any substantial evidence, he just asks you to “think hard enough” and suddenly you will agree with him!

    On a more serious note, Mohammad –

    I agree to an extent that post-election violence should be separated from the elections, because protests that go unheard usually end up with more violence and rioting. It is a mix of: the protesters filtering out, leaving behind the more hard-core protesters; radical groups taking advantage of the situation; and, the security forces becoming emboldened and clamping down to end the protests once and for all.

    But, separating post-election political movements from the elections is a big error. And failing to take into account pre-election political movements is a big error too.

    What is your opinion on the role of the Revolutionary Guards in politics? For example, there is hard evidence showing that the Guards have on many occasions threatened politicians and political parties. And after the elections, there is hard evidence showing that the Guards knew that the elections were rigged.

    What is your opinion on the arrests and intimidation of politicians and Mousavi’s advisers? For example, many arrest warrants were actually issued before the elections. And many subsequent arrest warrants were illegitimate. Also, Mousavi’s office was raided and shut down a few days after the elections.

    What is your opinion on Khamenei’s explicit support of Ahmadinejad before the elections? Khamenei is supposed to be beyond the day-to-day activities of the government, but he said that he wanted the current policies to continue for another 5 years. He also made numerous references to Ahmadinejad, by saying that he preferred a president of Ahmadinejad’s character.

    What is your opinion on the bias of the interior ministry and the Guardian Council? At the time of the elections, both were headed by Ahmadinejad supporters. The GC is still headed by an Ahmadinejad supporter.

    What is your opinion on the media clampdown? This includes the imprisonment of journalists (largest per capita in the world). This includes the shut-down of mobile phone networks and internet, hindering Mousavi to re-group. This includes the failure of the media to cover post-election events, other than spewing the narrative we see from people like Pirouz_2. (I am still thinking Pirouz_2, very hard! I promise!)

    What is your opinion on the marginalisation of the Grand Ayatollahs who support Mousavi? Why do you think thugs raided the offices of a number of mullahs and intimidated them (and continue to do so)? Iran is a theocracy run by mullahs at the end of the day, so these actions are highly controversial.

    By the way, you earlier said that intellectuals, students and wealthy people have a disproportionate access to media. You did not mean Iran, right? Because in Iran the media is vastly dominated by the state. In fact, intellectuals and students are being ejected/rejected from universities on a daily basis.

    On a subjective note, labelling the Green Movement as bourgeois is very rash. While the movement has the support of the better educated, more liberal populous, do not forget that people like Majid Tavakoli exist too. He comes from the most pious, simple background possible.

    And I know a number of Iranians from a similar background. They come from families where their mother married a man who was 30-40 years older. They have numerous brothers and sisters. They come from villages not even on a map. One of the dads was a sabzi seller who could not afford to buy a bike for his children. Yet these Iranians, too young to remember the revolution, are not only against Ahmadinejad, but against the entire regime. Two of them are starred student.

    So these generalisations are insulting. Just as a lot of regime apologists are educated and wealthy, which does raise the possibility of a hidden agenda.

  155. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Mohammad-jan,
    Thanks for your opinion, I pray for your success.

  156. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Scotty,
    “Legitimacy” counts when the electorate involved in the elections deem the elections to be legitimate, not when ass-licking drones and their Iranian exile intestinal parasites question them. As such, the elections are legitimte because the overwhelming majority of Iranians deem them to be so, wa law karahal kaferoon (get one of your slime “sources” to translate that last part and then get on with your pathetic life).

    Concerning the real issue of this thread:
    It’s clear to any “objective” and “rational” observer that the US political system is in a state of cardiac arrest, both parties owned by the rich bought to protect their interests, insisting on policies abroad which are exactly the opposite of the national interest, a people to mentally sedated (and physically obese) to even understand such concepts as “justice”, “freedom”, “honor”, “diginity” and alas the old favorite “liberty”.

    America is literally dead and poses zero threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran or any other country with a half-way decent military and security apparatus. Only capable of threatening the Saddams, Kim Jong-ils and Mullah Omars of the world, can’t even find the big O in Afghanistan after 10 years.
    Talk about lack of “legitimacy”!

  157. Rehmat says:

    Scott Lucas – tell us which country your so-called “dissents” are not suppressed? Please don’t even consider the US, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia or Israel – because in those countrie human-rights situations are even worse than the Islamic Republic.

    I love the way Hasbara idiotslike to accuse Iran for everything bad while living amongst the most corrupt societies.

    Here is a Zionist Jew billionaire who gloats over the murder of hundreds of thousands on innocent Muslim men, women and children in Chechnya.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/chechnya-the-israeli-connection/

  158. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “We simply argue that it’s a separate issue from the election.”

    If you mean that the post-election suppression of dissent — which is continuing, despite the hope expressed on this thread that the Iranian Government would learn from its attempt to crush opposition — has overtaken the specific question of the vote count, I agree.

    If you try to use this for an artificial separation of the election from the political context, thus clinging to a narrow case for “legitimacy” (and arguably privileging this over your recognition of what has happened in the 18 months since 12 June 2009), then this is a different matter altogether….

    S.

  159. Mohammad says:

    Bussed-in Basiji,

    I don’t think such comments by you will have any positive effect, if they don’t have any negative one (which I think they do). Again, I’m willing to discuss this issue in more depth (and possibly in our own native language) in email exchanges. My email address: mohammad.discuss ATSIGN gmail.com

  160. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Also, the enemies have no effective military tool either because the clerical leadership, Sepah, Artesh and the great and wonderful young scientists in Iran have slowly and patiently been increasing Iran’s military capabilities in all areas. There’s nothing the ass licking drones and their Iranian exile intestinal parasites can do.

  161. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Concerning the real subject of this thread:
    Like I said, ass-licking career drones and their parasite Iranian exiles who live in a symbiotic relationship from the crap they feed each other.

    Concerning the b.s. that some losers (as in ‘losers of the presidential elections’) insist on filling the thread with (unfortunately has to be responded to):
    The elections were legitimate and fair and glorious and among the most significant positive events in the 5,000+ years of Iranian history. Scott, Binam, others: it’s really time to get on with your pathetic lives.

    The slime traitors wanted to turn Iran into a western-oriented secular liberal society but lost badly and decisively. The self-sacrficing Shia patriots of Iran gloriously and decivisely won the elections and succeeded to solidify the path of Iran as a society which is based on the Islam of the Ahlul Bayt and oriented towards the Muslim world and the developing nations.

    In fact that is why the pain of defeat was so bad for the slime. The elections were their last hope and they tried every dirty trick, lie and deception in the book. But of course as always they didn’t factor in God in their plans.

    Don’t forget, we are religious fanatics and we pray to God that He and his army of angels support us. And He always has and He always humiliates his enemies. You have no effective intellectual, social, economic, religious and political tools to deal with us.

    Also, check out the Ashura processions in the next couple of days in Iran and you will see whose the real boss in Iran (hint: a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad(sawas) ditto in Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Azerbaijan).

  162. Pirouz_2 says:

    Binam;
    Everytime I become inclined that you are simplly being dishonest, you say something which shows pure ignorance, and I start feeling doubts: “Is he just dishonest, or is it ignorance?” I think in your case it is a combination of the both.

    Your comment is so completely false and downright against the welknown facts of the history, that I really don’t know where to begin, and quite frankly I dont have the patience to dedicate an hour of my time to address every single false belief that you have, I will just breifly go over some of them, and in case that you answer to this message and recieve no reply from me, just know that I have run out of patience and have simply disregarded your reply:

    1) “Absolute freedom” exists no where in the west either, and furthermore it is not possible and even if it were I am not sure if it would be desirable.

    2) Yes I have gone to highschool in Iran, and I think that you are either being dishonest regarding your education (ie. you have not studied history in Iranian schools) or that you have done rather poorly on history. ‘Official history’ in Iran, in the early 80s introduced Reza Khan as a villain (and indeeeed he was a villain!) and a puppet and agent of the British (and indeed he was so!), and the person who was glorified was Modarres. And guess who was the author of those books?? I believe one of them was Mr. Lucas’s favourite opposition figure, Mr. Baghi (but I maybe mistaken on that one). In fact if you listen to what Zibakalam says, you will see that he himself is saying explicitly that he is challenging the ‘official version’ of the history.

    3) If I were you, I would refrain from making comments about terms about whose meaning I didnt have the slightest clue! Neoliberalism is an ultra right-wing ideology, and one of its main theoreticians was Milton Friedman, and his first practical application of the neoliberal ideas was in Chile after the coup of 1973 during the time of Pinochet. His main followers in the West were Margaret Thatcher and Ronal Reagan (two of the most notoriously conservative Western leaders!). Since when Pinochet, Reagan and Thatcher have become icons of the “left”?!?!?!

    Honestly I have reached the end of my patience, so I am not going to even bother answering the rest of your message.
    Good luck…

  163. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Kooshy;

    My dear friend Kooshy;
    I agree with what you say, in the sense that the fact that the green movement was being overtly supported by the West played an important part in their losing the elections.
    Since you defered the discussion to some later time, I dont want to go into the details of my view on the subject; however, I will just briefly say that I think that what greens did was not a “mistake”, but rather a conscious decision resulting from their right-wing-neoliberal ideology, it is just that they perhaps could not guess the result of their decision. I think one of the people who has touched on this subject the best is Rober Parry; have you read his article called: “Ahmadinejad won, get over it?”. If you haven’t I strongly recommend that you do, because in that article he touches on this subject.

    By the way, I am very fond of your sense of humour. That nickname of “half-a-million-dollar man” for A. Ganji, was it your idea or did you read it somewhere? I heard it for the first time from you, and I think it was BRILLIANT. Eversince I heard that from you, I have been using it myself to address Mr. Ganji. :-D

  164. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Pirouz;

    :) Ahhhh! So Uskowi on Iran is your weblog?? I had thought so! I found out about your weblog long time ago, and from the views that you expressed on this site and knowing the change of opinion that you have had, I pretty much guessed that it must be your weblog.
    I like your weblog very much and I once even left a comment on it (regarding the news related to the arrest of A. Rigi)!

    By the way, I agree with your comparison between Iran and USA (whole heartedly), the only part which I thought the two sides were different was what I mentioned in that message to you.

  165. Binam says:

    Pirouz_2,

    I’m sorry but three links to Sadegh Zibakalam’s speeches does not mean there is “absolute freedom” in Iran. There’s nothing radical in these speeches. Not sure if you ever went to school in Iran, but I remember clearly that as early as sixth grade history class in the 1980s we were being told that Reza Shah was in fact a competent king who managed to do good things for Iran. One reason for this is Khomeini’s own feelings towards Reza Shah and his feelings towards his incompetent son Mohammad Reza.

    Your links also don’t address my points: 1) NO CRITICISM OF THE SUPREME LEADER (even though he has questionable religious credentials), 2) NO GRAND AYATOLLAHS WHO OPPOSE THEIR BRAND OF ISLAM ARE EVER PRESENTED ON IRANIAN TV. The day you do provide such links is the day I will consider there being relative freedom of speech in Iran. Zibakalam doesn’t cut it. For each Zibakalam I can name a 100 people who are either imprisoned, were at one point imprisoned, banned from journalism, banned from TV or have fled Iran altogether. Isa Saharkhiz comes to mind when you mention Sadegh Zibakalam.

    RE: “By the way when I say people who supported the green movement I am not talking about people such as Pak and Binam, people like those two are not acting honestly.”

    Oh please oh wise one, tell us how we can be honest. To me honesty comes from recognition of realities from all sides – not just selective recognition.

    “Green movements supporters are ultra-rightwing-neoliberal people who have been deceived into supporting US imperialism and Israel, where as those peace activists in the US were FIGHTING against US imperialism.”

    Ha! You’re being ridiculous and rather unfair. Ultra-rightwing-neoliberals?!!! how is that even possible?! I would understand ultra-leftwing-neoliberal, but right-wing?! What does that even mean?! To question the authority of the leaders of the IRI does not equate supporting US imperialism and Israel. Would questioning the US government automatically mean you’re a Chinese communist or a Taliban sympathizer?! If you think that, then you’re obviously brainwashed by the Islamic Republic’s propaganda machine, and THAT is very upsetting. You seemed like an intelligent enough person to not fall for their shenanigans!

    Fiorangela,

    “The flaw in that argument is that Israel has had Iran in its sites since at least 1992; the Libya-Iran Sanctions Act became an executive order in 1995 and turned into legislation in 1996. ”

    It’s more complicated. Israel was one of Iran’s biggest allies during the Iran-Iraq war. I guess the way they looked at it Iran was the lesser of two evils and though they were enemies on the surface, Israel was selling arms to Iran for use against Iraq. While Saddam was still around and the policy of Dual Containment was working for the Americans (without much effect inside Iran) there never was any serious talk of war with Iran. The war talk has heightened ever since Ahmadinejad has taken power. It doesn’t help that there is no longer a bogyman as good as Saddam in the region!

    “I don’t like Israel’s involvement with US government. And, my biased perception of Ahmadinejad is of a leader who is committed to protected Iran against intrusions and control by outsiders: Just because you know you’re paranoid does not mean someone is not out to get you. I see Israel as “out to get” Iran, and that troubles me. ”

    Yes, it’s pathetic that in the US you can say “fuck the US government” and no one will bother you, but the second you say “fuck the Israeli government” you risk losing your job and even being imprisoned. I hope more Americans were like you in this regard and started weakening AIPAC’s grip on power in the US.

    But when it comes to Iran, do you really think that any of the opposition leaders would not protect Iran against intrusions and control by outsiders? If so, what makes you think that? Iran is more alienated than ever before because of AN’s policies and more so on the brink of war because he’s essentially helping Israel by playing the part of an antagonizing foreign leader who scares Israel-supporters into shitting funds via AIPAC and other interests groups.

    “So when I cheer on Ahmadinejad for sticking his thumb in Israel’s eye, it appears I am not much different from Americans who, as I stated, are willing to encourage Iranians to shed their blood: Ahmadinejad says things to Israel that Americans cannot say to Israel; Iran gets punished for what Ahmadi says.”

    I think I agree with that – not sure what you mean exactly though. But agreeing with Ahmadinejad solely because he’s saying what you can’t say as an American would be morally wrong – and in a way meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. It would be like agreeing with Bush as an Iranian opposed to the IR simply because he said Iran was part of an axis of evil and forgiving him for all his crimes against humanity! Like an Iranian saying “it’s okay he invaded Iraq for no good reason, it’s okay he screwed up US economy, simply because he called our government evil at a time we can’t freely do that!”

    “I got all huffy because in my view, the comment reflected elitism, a belief that “common people” were not smart enough or courageous enough to care about their own government.”

    That’s if you believe the Green Movement was made up of northern Tehranis as people like Pirouz_2 would have you believe. Northern Tehranis were for the most part too much of a wuss to take to the streets. Look at the footage of the protests in June and July of 2009, most people are not RICH northern Tehranis. They are from all walks of life. None of the people who got killed were from super wealthy families of northern Tehran. They were lower-to-middle-class Iranians. Pirouz_2 would have you believe they were fooled – I would have you just look at their living conditions to understand the root of their frustrations.

    Eric:

    “Iran will be presented as having a glorious and peaceful past, and as being populated today by peace-loving, intelligent, all-around wonderful human beings. There will be no mention of the movie “300,” I can assure you. Quite the contrary, the historical fact often cited by Iran’s supporters – that Iran hasn’t initiated a war against a neighbor in hundreds of years – will be taken up by those who would now like to attack Iran.”

    I’m sorry, maybe I’m missing a point, but do the Leveretts then like to attack Iran?! This is after all THEIR narrative!

    “They will profess great concern that that impressive stretch of peaceful behavior is about to be broken by the illegitimate band of thugs that now runs the Iranian government, oppresses its own wonderful people, and threatens the rest of the world with nuclear annihilation. That band of thugs will be the only obstacle to a restoration of Iran’s glorious past and a continuation of Iran’s long tradition of peaceful conduct toward its neighbors. Those who explain all of this will, of course, also offer a quick and simple solution to the problem faced by Iran’s wonderful people and the rest of the world.”

    Is it me or is this paragraph filled with more sarcasm than one could handle in order to make sense of it?! Are you being sarcastic when saying “wonderful people” or “iran’s glorious past” etc?! I don’t get where you’re going with this – really!

    “But I agree with you that, if the government had dealt with the protests differently, the suspicions and divisions you describe could and would have been greatly reduced.”

    It’s very kind of you to say so!

    “I hope you’ll read carefully and think about the several posts immediately below from Mohammad, Pirouz and me. The essential point is what we and others have been saying for some time. Most of us who defend the election don’t thereby pass judgment on what happened afterward. We simply argue that it’s a separate issue from the election.”

    Then let us put the elections behind us. I agree to NEVER discuss the 2009 elections and whether it was legit or not if you promise to begin discussions or simply RECOGNITION of Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader’s failures on both domestic and foreign affairs.

  166. Arnold Evans says:

    What I meant by the thing about limits is that if the US gets into a war with real costs, another Vietnam, that would focus attention on the costs of Israel in a way that has not happened yet, and would threaten, and I actually think succeed in breaking the US out of that relationship.

    Short of that, I don’t see a sudden rupture happening. But I think an attack on Iran has a unacceptably high probability – even to Israel – of doing exactly that.

    If we are not going to see a military disaster for the US then we’ll see instead a gradual process of Israel becoming steadily more expensive and the US willingness to support it continuing to decrease from a peak that has passed.

  167. Pirouz says:

    Pirouz 2,

    I almost forgot, you asked about my blogging. My field of interests are Iranian military and law enforcement subjects. You can find the URL to my blogging contributions on the links I provided in referencing previous comments on this thread. My email address can be found on the site’s blogger profile page.

  168. Pirouz says:

    Pirouz 2,

    I have the benefit of living in America during that anti-establishment period of the late 1960s and 70s. The situations are not exactly alike but there are certain similarities. I’ll point to just a few:

    For one, there was a big social divide between advocates of a very liberal and open society (which we now take for granted), and the older conservative order where the social norms belonged to those that experienced WWII and were the dominant social force of the 1950s. Today, you find a social divide in Iran, between those that experienced the Iran-Iraq War and those advocating a more liberal and open society.

    Two, there is a backdrop of a cold war shared in both situations. In America, many within the establishment viewed the challenging social order as being part of a “commie plot” (no lie!). While in Iran today, we see the establishment view the challenging social order as a Western plot.

    Three, the leadership of America’s establishment back then reassured the country, claiming that those challenging the establishment were actually a vocal minority and that the silent majority did not share such radical views. The American presidential election of 1972 proved this was indeed the case, where Nixon was elected by a huge landslide. The four polls taken recently of Iranian public opinion and the 2009 presidential election results show the existence of such a silent majority in Iran today.

    I should also point out that there were a hundred thousand political refugees that left America during this period–most finding refuge in Canada–dwarfing the number leaving Iran during current times.

    Anyway, I don’t want to go too far with this comparison. Still, it does put things into perspective, especially for someone of my age and mixed heritage.

  169. kooshy says:

    Sorry my last comment should be correct to read

    “where effectively, it can be overruled from the political forces no matter how hard they press.”

  170. kooshy says:

    Arnold

    “I have two thoughts about this. 1) There are limits to how far out of its way Israel can distort US policy, and the whole system could shatter if demands are imposed on the US which surpass those limits. Which is why as long as the costs of attacking Iran would be tremendous as they would be now, Israel cannot and really does not want to provoke a US attack on Iran.”

    OK, but where in the US government, that limit of resistance (even dismissing) is set for any undoable or excessive demand by Israel and related lobbies, since as you said, it is not the executive or the legislative branch, therefore this limit must be set in the US military, where effectively it can’t be overruled from the political forces no matter how hard they press. If there is going to be any hope for a change in current Israel centric US political environment it wouldn’t be effective even if it comes “to open” by the current media or the Anti war left in the cyber environment, this would change, only when the US military’s main strategic posture changes, same as what happened in the Nam, it was not the Nam papers, the demonstrations, or the politicians that ended the war true they facilitated the end (kissed the Chinese butt to let them go), but it ended when US military accepted the loss and forcefully restructured its global strategic architecture.

  171. kooshy says:

    Pirouz /2

    I believe one of the biggest mistakes made by the green movement, which I mostly blame Mr. Khatami and to a much lesser extent Mr. Rafsanjani (see Wikeleak’s Ankara cable) for this huge political mistake in an Iranian political environment of this last 150 years, to me their mistake was that from the very early on true or not, Mr. Khatami and all other leaders of the greens, did not overtly and confirmatively distance themselves from being labeled as supported by foreigners and particularly the west, again this labeling being it correct or not (we can discuss that later) did not help them to win the support of the majority of the Iranians, in a fiercely nationalistic political environment of Iran one should not allow to be labeled as being supported and approved by any foreign actor specially the west. Greens, they thought, they will benefit by being perceived as an approved democratic movement by the westerners, unlike what they hoped, by just resorting to a mild and benign denial of any connection they perhaps lost support from a large portion of military, nationalist, and religious families.

  172. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Mohammad,

    My cousin living in Tehran thought the election was rigged, and was angry about it, but he did admit to me that outside of the capital things might have been different.

    He now doesn’t give a damn about the 2009 election any more, although he will likely not vote in the next presidential election.

    I think it was a sense of disappointment and injustice that led people like him to despair in the early days. I have to admit I was very surprised when the result was first announced as I had been led to believe it was going to be much closer. But when I looked at the results in detail, I realized there was nothing suspect about them.

    But Iranians have a habit of overcoming their deep differences – something the western media found difficult to understand

  173. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Everyone (especially, Mohammad, Pirouz and Eric);
    I think that the discussion on this thread has taken a very interesting turn and I think it was about time too! Here in this comment I would like to explain my own view on the subject; but before that I would like to thank the Leveretts for this site. This is one of the best internet sites that I have come accross and it has become a truly excellent medium for sharing information and educating the readers, I know I for one have learned a great deal on this site.
    As for my view on the subject of post election clamp-down of the government:
    I believe that care should be taken in distinguishing those who voted for Mousavi (and Ahmadinejad) and the actual candidate himself (ie. Mousavi and the green leaders and Ahmadinejad).
    While I do believe that the so called “green movement” was an attempt to make a coloured coup, I do also believe that the common people who supported it were deceived into doing what they did, and while I do believe that serious investigations (and if necessary arrests and imprisonments) should have been made about the coup leaders, the common people who got killed or beaten up were treated unjustly.
    I think one of the best comments about the government’s reaction to the demonstrations in the early days came from Cyrus, who described it as a “knee-jerk reflex”. As Pirouz beautifuly said in one of his posts, there is an honest (and completely true) belief in the Iranian system, that there is a very serious EXTERNAL threat to its existence and they VERY RIGHTLY believed that the Western powers were trying to pull a coloured coup using their inside men. One look at the “Republican Manifesto” by A. Ganji, in which he almost openly supports coloured coups, and the fact that he is being rewarded by the Milton Friedman award (for his strugle for democracy!!!!), and the position of people such as Zibakalam, Zeidabadi and Abbas Abdi (and people such as Batebi and Afshari and where they work and on whose pay-roll they are) and the fact that USA has dedicated over 400 million dollars to the overthrow of the IR (afterall someone must have got that money, it did not evaporate into thin air), is enough to understand that the IR government was right in its belief. By the way when I say people who supported the green movement I am not talking about people such as Pak and Binam, people like those two are not acting honestly.

    However, I don’t think that the “knee-jerk” comment describes the situation completely. It may have been a “knee-jerk” reaction at the beginning, but it did change into a practice of clampdown on anti-system opposition. But then again clampdown on anti-system opposition is the common practice of all liberal democracies (so it is not peculiar to Iran) and that is why I believe that liberal democracy is giving the actual concept of a true democracy a truly bad name.

    By the way, I am one of the 15% minority who actually boycotted the elections (what is the point of participating in an election in which all four candidates are pretty much the same and support the same economic policies?), but if someone forced me to vote at gun-point, I would still vote for Ahmadinejad.
    I want to end this message by two last comments, one to Pirouz and one to Mohammad:

    a) Pirouz while there is a very correct analogy between the Iran security forces and the US security forces, there is not much of a similarity between the peace activists and anti-system protesters of the 60’s in the US and the people who supported the green movement in Iran. Green movements supporters are ultra-rightwing-neoliberal people who have been deceived into supporting US imperialism and Israel, where as those peace activists in the US were FIGHTING against US imperialism.
    By the way Pirouz, did you once say that you have a blog of your own? May I ask its address?

    b)Mohammad, we don’t need to wait for some 10 or 15 years to see the actual results of the subside cuts, these are not the inventions of IR, they are all policies dictated by the World Bank and IMF, and they have been applied in many other countries elsewhere in the world and their disasterous results are out there for everyone to see.

  174. Humanist says:

    James

    I found the letter of the Senators to Obama in a PDF link here
    ,http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/12/06/senators_to_obama_no_iran_does_not_have_the_right_to_enrich_uranium

    The 5 Senators are Joseph Lieberman, Jon Kyl, Kristen Gilliband, Robert P. Casey Jr. and Mark Kirk.

    Somewhere else (don’t remember where) I read McCain also has signed the letter.

  175. Kathleen,

    Thanks for mentioning the Ronen Bergman article (http://warsclerotic.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/iran-israel-and-the-arab-contradiction-wsj-com/). It seems to me that his view is a bit more nuanced than you suggest, though: he doesn’t really overstate the significance of Arab leaders’ “cut off the head of the snake” statements, as many other writers have done.

    On the other hand, he certainly came to a conclusion for which I, so far, find little support in the published Wikileaks cables: that those cables should make the Israelis uncomfortable because they indicate that the US may not be as fully supportive of Israel as Israel would like to believe. I certainly did not come away with that impression.

  176. Kathleen says:

    Feith, Rhode, Wolfowitz, Luti, Cheney, Bush, Condi “mushroom cloud” Rice, Rumsfeld, Kristol, Wurmsers etc are all war criminals. Instead of witnessing any of these war criminals held accountable…we watch many of the same players march this country towards a conflict with Iran.

    Amazing to watch and listen to NPR’s Robert Siegel who chose to have Jeffrey Goldberg on to discuss the Wikleaks release and all they did was flip it on Iran, Friedmann in a recent opinion piece etc walking and talking bad bad bad Iran.

    Today in the WSJ Ronen Bergman did the same thing. Turned the Wikileaks release into a song and dance about bad bad bad Iran.

    Still do not hear any of the talking heads like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, Chris Matthews etc, question the endlessly repeated unsubstantiated claims about Iran. No instead you hear Rachel Maddow, NPR’s Terri Gross repeat the debunked “Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map” When the truth is it is the other way around

  177. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I wonder what percentage of “Christian Zionists” actually believe the world will be destroyed, if only the Jews can drive all the Christians and Muslims out of the “Land of Israel”? I have a hunch it is less than 50% of so-called “Christian Zionists”. Has anyone seen any polls?

  178. James Canning says:

    The Iranian foreign minister, Mottaki, has proposed Tehran be the site of the next international meeting re: how to bring stability to Afghanistan. Great idea, and one Hillary Clinton should have the intelligence to support. But I am not counting on it.

  179. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    You’ve put your finger on the key issue: Israel as “alien” or as “native” to the region. In my view, Israel needs to fit into the neighborhood by accepting the Saudi peace plan (with an adjustment re: right of return). A prosperous, independent Palestine will be to Israel’s own advantage. On the other hand, continuing a militarist, oppressive approach puts the entire enterprise at risk. I think a number of those who claim Israel would not be secure within its 1967 borders, actually do not believe that to be the case. It is used as an excuse for more oppression of the Palestinians.

  180. Castellio says:

    Arnold, just to strengthen the thesis that a third option is possible. This is from:

    http://www.truth-out.org/justice-department-prepares-expansion-laws-targeting-activists

    “Seizing on this overbroad definition of “material support,” the US government is now moving in on political groups and activists who are clearly exercising fundamental First Amendment rights by vocally opposing the government’s branding of foreign liberation movements as terrorist and supporting their struggles against US-backed repressive regimes and illegal occupations.

    Under the new definition of “material support,” the efforts of President Jimmy Carter to monitor the elections in Lebanon and coordinate with the political parties there, including the designated FTO Hezbollah, could well be prosecuted as a crime. Similarly, the publication of op-ed articles by FTO spokesmen from Hamas or other designated groups by The New York Times or The Washington Post, or the filing of amicus briefs by human rights attorneys arguing against a group’s terrorist designation or the statute itself could also now be prosecuted. Of course, the first targets of this draconian expansion of the material support law will not be a former president or the establishment media, but members of a Marxist organization who are vocal opponents of the governments of Israel and Colombia and the US policies supporting these repressive governments.”

  181. Mohammad says:

    Pirouz,

    Your 4:25 comment reminded me of what Iranians responded to related questions in University of Tehran opinion polls, both before and after the election. I copy and paste (with minor edits) here:

    Q16-UT13. Now imagine that you have to pick one between two candidates where victory of one will result in the improvement of Iran’s security and the victory of the other will result in improvement of civil liberties in Iran. Which one would you pick?
    The person who will improve the security
    The person who will improve civil liberties
    Depends
    DK
    NA/Ref
    (The percentages are in the same order as the corresponding choices above)
    May 19-21: 80 11 3 5 2
    May 25-28: 82 11 3 4 1

    Q31-UT9- Now consider that the president could either focus on improving our country’s security or improving civil liberties in our country. Which one of these would you recommend to him?
    Improve security
    Improve civil liberties
    Depends
    DK/NA
    (The percentages are in the same order as the corresponding choices above)
    July 13-15: 82 12 4 2

  182. Rehmat says:

    James Canning – Israel doesn’t believe that it will be secure within the pre-1967 borders – because they know that they’re alien in the region, politically, ethnically, by language and by social attitude (racism).

    American author and blogger, John Kaminski has summed up Israel: “When you read the history of Israel from objective sources, you discover that it is an outlaw state, created by the powers that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since.”

    Shimon Peres, too, acknoledged the fact two months ago when he said that Israel cannot survive without the financial, military and moral help of the US. In spite of this – the Jerusalem Post wrote early this year that one out of three Israeli children live below poverty level. One wonder what happened to the US$1.6 trillion Israel has received since 1970s – as reported by The Christian Monitor in 2005.

    In a recent speech in Germany last month, Gilad Atzmon said that Israelis are subject to Palestinians’ kindness.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/gilad-atzmon-israelis-are-subject-to-palestinians-kindness/

  183. Pirouz says:

    I would just add that for American policy advocates as well as ordinary Americans, a sense of empathy is key towards understanding the positions of Iran’s leadership and the results of public opinion polls taken of ordinary Iranians, under these externally directed adversarial conditions.

  184. James,

    I suspect you’ve already read Peter Beinart’s excellent article in the New York Review of Books in June, but just in case…

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jun/10/failure-american-jewish-establishment/

  185. Pirouz says:

    Mohammad,

    This may be a stretch for some, but I also infer from some of these poll results that a majority of Iranians realize that they face an overall security challenge. I would compare it–within obvious limits–to that which the British faced during 1940. Back then there was a general acknowledgement of a hegemonist power directing negative energies toward their country’s well being, and ordinary people were accepting of their country’s law enforcement efforts and curtailment of certain liberties.

    Now I admit there are limitations to this comparison. But I do think Iran’s political and security leadership genuinely feel they are experiencing a hostile external threat being relentlessly pursued against their country, with a solid majority of ordinary Iranians supporting this view.

  186. Scott, Binam and Pak,

    I hope you’ll read carefully and think about the several posts immediately below from Mohammad, Pirouz and me. The essential point is what we and others have been saying for some time. Most of us who defend the election don’t thereby pass judgment on what happened afterward. We simply argue that it’s a separate issue from the election.

  187. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    Israel can be safe and secure within its 1967 borders, and it easily can retain a sufficient offensive striking power to deter any attack. Israel’s problem is based in delusional thinking of Zionists trying to keep all or large parts of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

  188. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    The US should not even by trying to control events in Israel/Palestine, apart from imposing the 2002 Saudi peace plan – – something the stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress will prevent. Time for UN to recognise Palestine on 1967 borders.

  189. Mohammad says:

    Cont’d:

    But I am positive that Iran will learn from its mistakes. The conversatives have publicly and repeatedly criticized the security forces for the way they handled the post-election situation. NAJA also had a relatively good (much better than 2009) performance in handling the 1999 student protests in central Tehran. I know that the scale was very smaller, but I have heard from a first-hand eyewitness account that the security and the Basij were much restrained in their reaction (at least in the open street). Qalibaf was in charge of Tehran’s security then.

  190. Mohammad says:

    Pirouz,

    I agree. But many of the discontent people are intellectuals, students, the well-connected and the wealthy, who have disproportionate influence on the media and on Iran’s public memory. And there are very powerful nations hostile to Iran who would like to exploit these differences. Even if the former held for the 60’s America, the latter fact certainly didn’t hold (the Soviets had much less relative power than the Americans have today).

  191. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Yes, and let’s remember that vicious liar and warmonger, Dick Cheney, wanted to bamboozle the American public into supporting 50 YEARS of war in the greater Middle East, to “protect” Israel (meaning, enable the Israelis to continue to roger the Palestinians, to please powerful Jewish financiers in the US).

  192. James Canning says:

    Humanist – – You should name the US Senators who weighed in before the meeting in Geneva, heping to wreck the opportunity at hand. The hundreds of stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress make it easy for the Israeli government to manipulate the US government to injure the national security interests of the American people.

  193. Mohammad says:

    And the Iranian government must thank my friend for rightly accepting that the election outcome was genuine, despite his suffering. Not every man is such honest and intelligent to distinguish between personal suffering and pursuit of facts.

    Sigh.

    I really wish the Iranian government improves its crisis management capabilities, or otherwise it will have more problems in the future.

  194. Pirouz says:

    Eric and Muhammad,

    To a certain extent, this is attributable to a lack of expertise by NAJA, Iran’s law enforcement agency. NAJA was clearly in over its head in certain situations, early on. It’s my opinion that their level of training and expertise was roughly equal to that of the United States up to the late 1960’s and early 70s. Also comparable, to a certain extent, were responses from both criminal justice systems. See this pictorial comparison:

    http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2009/11/law-enforcement-versus-anti.html

    A notable difference between the two cases being a US reliance on a lethal force policy in certain situations, contrary to Iranian policy post-June 15. Another difference is American law enforcement’s universal distribution of lethal force firearms where Iranian law enforcement is not so equipped.

    It should be pointed out that Iran’s law enforcement response was dynamic in its responses over time. A more strictly enforced policy of less-lethal force became evident, post-June 15, and tactical adaptations such as the use of company-sized patrols were effectively used by the time of 22 Bahman.

    Bear in mind, this latest poll shows Iranian public opinion responded favorably toward Iran’s law enforcement efforts during the post-election demonstrations by a solid majority of 60% to 20%, which is roughly comparable to US public opinion of US law enforcement during the period of US demonstration activity during the late 1960s and early 70s.

    I should point out that current US law enforcement training and equipment has progressed to a point where they are better capable than they were back in that period. Caging techniques and larger capacity detention centers are in place in major metros. Armored vehicles such as AWCVs equip these PDs. (NAJA is also equipped with AWCVs but interestingly enough, there is no evidence they were ever employed, post-election.)

  195. Humanist says:

    Fiorangela and all

    I found another circumstantial ‘suspicion’ of Israelis trying to torpedo the Geneva meeting.

    Read the following article entitled “Senators Give President Obama Negotiating Instructions for Iran”
    ,http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/08/senators_give_president_obama_negotiating_instruct/?ref=c1
    I noticed a few flaws there yet overall it delivers a big bulk

    On the Iranian side attempting to anger them and on the American side two attempts to force the WH acting tough on Iranians? For what? To alter the outcome of a critical peace-producing opportunity which is beneficial to all parties involved?

    Maybe the appalling attitude expressed in the following article is also indicative of similar demonic manipulations. It is entitled “US to Tests Iran’s Pain Threshold over Nuclear Plan”
    ,http://news.antiwar.com/2010/12/10/obama-aide-reveals-us-strategy-more-sanctions-against-iran/
    Testing Pain Threshold reminds us of sadistic and psychopathic behaviors in the political arena. Indeed if that is sadistic the main performers are real danger to the entire world.

    And aren’t all of those activities CLEARLY pointing the finger towards the direction of Israel? If so, then are we talking about an entity who is so powerful it doesn’t CARE its attempts may clearly dispose its intentions?

    Troubling thoughts !

  196. Mohammad says:

    Eric,

    True. Three of my friends were beaten by security forces with batons, without any acceptable reason (i.e. they weren’t vandalizing public property). Naturally, I couldn’t seriously challenge their perception of fraud since I would be viewed as betraying them and their suffering.
    BTW, at least one of them has now accepted that a fraud likely didn’t happen (despite losing a Nokia handset which was in his pocket where a baton striked, just because he had went to Beheshte Zahra cemetry with several hundred other people to mourn for the killed people in summer 2009). I haven’t asked the two others if their opinion has changed.

  197. Castellio says:

    There is, Arnold, a third and more likely outcome than the two you posit: the alliance between Israel and the US fundamentally shifts American self perception and international goals. The US begins to see itself as a beleaguered state in a defensive posture allied with a weakened Israel, and the only way out is to sacrifice democratic elements to win a “long war” against internal and external enemies.

    Which is just another way of asking you to define what you mean by “there are limits to how far out of its way Israel can distort US policy”. Are there limits? I would have thought that limit had been met many years ago.

    And, by the way, what do you mean by “and the whole system could shatter if demands are imposed on the US which surpass those limits.”

  198. Mohammad.

    “Maybe the government’s mishandling of the post-election crisis is to be attributed.”

    Very interesting post. On this, your last sentence, I agree. I don’t think the government’s handling of the post-election protests casts doubt on the validity of the election, and I understand you also think it does not. But I agree with you that, if the government had dealt with the protests differently, the suspicions and divisions you describe could and would have been greatly reduced.

  199. Mohammad says:

    Eric,

    The Iranian 2009 election was an extraordinary political event in terms of public uber-excitement and stirred-up, uncontrollable emotions. Before the voting it was in many ways pleasant, pointing into a lively election; both sides (Ahmadinejad’s and Mousavi’s) were quite active, and also peaceful, but after that it suddenly turned into an very stirred up anger among Mousavi’s supporters and silence of Ahmadinejad’s shocked supporters who couldn’t understand why all the joy suddenly disappeared.

    Reason seemed to have gone from well-educated, ‘rational’ north-Tehranis. I exactly remember those strange days, when I was even afraid of casting doubt on the allegation of fraud in front of some of my closest friends. I have heard of families divided over the election and friends discontinuing their friendship (people removing their friends from their Facebook contacts just because they supported Ahmadinejad or didn’t believe in fraud). Someone really has to investigate the issue from a social psychology perspective.

    Some Green supporters have argued that since such a phenomenon was extraordinary, so something special (i.e. fraud) must have happened. They say that in other countries nothing similar has happened without fraud. I wonder, are they right? Is there any known example of a similar incident in another country? (influential, well-educated people fervently claiming fraud without having enough evidence and not backing down after several weeks and months)
    Maybe the government’s mishandling of the post-election crisis is to be attributed.

  200. fyi says:

    James Canning:

    Americans have lost control of the events in Palestine.

    If they could, they would have ended that war yesterday.

    They no longer have that power; a historian of the future will go through and sift how US arrived at that position of (relative) powerlessness.

    It is alos the recognition of that powerlessness that is causing US leaders to sound so shrill.

    Realistically, state and non-state actors have neutralized one another’s powers. In practical terms that means current inter-state issues will have no chance of resolution wither by Peace or by War.

    Change will come as the current situation generaly erodes and various actors gain or loose power. Give it 2 years.

  201. Arya says:

    The article is right on the money. The bias of mainstream media has been nauseating for years now, and obviously intended to mislead.

    Just over 4-5 years ago in the deep of the jungle of Borneo, I was mocking a fellow oil&gas worker from Iran for having a lunatic elected as president. Although I still think Ahmadinejad is a bit too loud for his own good, a warmongering madman-the media depict him to be- I’m certain he is not.

    A glance of history would set one perspective straight regarding US-Iran relation. It’s clear who trespassed against whom. The crime committed by the enemies of Iran toward her and her people is outrageous and getting more blunt by the day. While the one sided sanctions were not fair,the killing of the scientists were flat out crime against humanity.

    As a an Indonesian,predominatly a Moslem country and also ruled by democracy albeit not perfect (what country is?), my sympathy toward Iran comes naturally. I wish all the best toward Iranian people. May good judgement always bestowed upon her leader, peace and prosperity for her people.

    I also owe one schlumberger wireline engineer an apology.

  202. Arnold Evans says:

    About the President of the United States taking insults from Israel,

    Fundamentally, the United States without Israel is a global power with fewer headaches. Israel without the United States is non-viable. It couldn’t maintain the military or technological edge it needs over its neighbors to continue to avoid the fate of Apartheid South Africa.

    Israel’s supporters have, at a very low cost, fairly thoroughly corrupted the US political system so that relations do not reflect the fundamental balance of necessity between the US and Israel.

    The executive branch of the United States government can conclude that it is a strategic necessity that Israel end its settlements and still be unable to get cooperation from its dependent in changing its policies.

    I have two thoughts about this. 1) There are limits to how far out of its way Israel can distort US policy, and the whole system could shatter if demands are imposed on the US which surpass those limits. Which is why as long as the costs of attacking Iran would be tremendous as they would be now, Israel cannot and really does not want to provoke a US attack on Iran.

    2) Inside of those limits, the US political system is going to continue to be corrupt in Israel’s favor until this corruption is discussed and addressed openly.

  203. Rehmat says:

    PITY – Only the people who trust MEMERI’s lies would like poll by IPI.

    Here is a recent poll by a Christian but not pro-Muslim PEW….

    According to the survey – Palestinian Islamic resistance, Hamas, is more popular in Jordan (60%) than Egypt (49%), Lebanon (49%), Nigeria (49%), Indonesia (39%), Pakistan (18%) and Turkey (9%). In election 2006, Hamas received 44.45% votes as compared to USrael’s favorite Fatah (41.43%). Interestingly, Turkey with the least favorable ratings for Hamas – Turkish humanitarian group IHH was the one which initiated the first Freedom Gaza flotilla.

    According to the survey – Lebanon’s Islamic Resistance, Hizbullah, is more popular in Jordan (55%) than in Lebanon (52%) – followed by Nigeria (45%), Indonesia (43%), Egypt (30%), Pakistan (19%) and Turkey (5%). The PEW claims that Hizbullah support in Lebanon comes from Shia (94%), Sunni (12%) and Christians (20%). Interestingly, Thomas Friedman and Elliott Abrams’ Hasbara lies in the New York Times after the June 2009 election: “The majority of Lebanese have rejected Hezbollah’s claim that it is not a terrorist group.” The victory of March 14 “no doubt came as a huge relief to a good majority of Lebanese,” mused Claude Salhani. In fact, the Lebanese Opposition lead by Hizbullah received 53.4% of the votes against the pro-US March 14 ruling coalition headed by Sa’ad Hariri’s 43.4% votes. It’s the ‘religious seat quota’ which did not allow Hizbullah to form a government in Beirut.

    Interestingly, PEW boys did not go to Iran, Malaysia or Syria – which are considered ‘home away from home’ for both Hamas and Hizbullah.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/pew-poll-muslims-welcome-shariah-but/

  204. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The site of the organization for the Iran ,and also Levant, poll is provided below:

    http://www.ipacademy.org/news/general-announcement/209-iran-lebanon-israelis-and-palestinians-new-ipi-opinion-polls.html

    I like polls…they are an objective account of people’s subjective views.

  205. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Obama apparently is foolish enough to be following the advice of Martin Indyke (Haim Saban’s boy at the Brookings Institution). Indyke wants the US to coerce Abbas into accepting Israeli annexation of numerous pieces of the West Bank, so the stooges of Israel in the US Congress are not bothered by the problem of continuing illegal construction of housing for illegal Jews in the West Bank. And Indyke demonises Iran incessantly. It’s all about using US power to roger the Palestinians.

  206. Arnold Evans says:

    Kooshy:

    Thanks for the link. I’m more disgusted by the New York Times than ever.

  207. Not to beat a dead horse, but I can’t resist mentioning this further “evidence” of electoral fraud reported by a commenter on another website:

    “As to the election polls, I have my own conspiracy theory related to the fact that the pre-2009 election poll (63% or so in favour of AN) corresponded to the so-called “count” announced by AN & Co. after the election.”

    Most people would conclude just the opposite from such a correlation.

  208. Pirouz says:

    b,

    I just used the link on your comment and it works. Here, this might be easier:

    http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2010/12/yet-another-poll-mirrors-official-2009.html

  209. b says:

    @Reza Esfandiari you said:

    “Read the latest survey of the Iranian people:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65872019/Iran-Public-Opinion-2010

    That doesn’t work for me – any other link to that doc?

  210. Castellio says:

    In the article by Margolis to which Arnold refers, the last line reads: “Obama’s shameful failure in the Mideast will haunt the world for decades.”

    I think the only disagreement I have with that line is “decades”, which strikes me as rather too short a time frame.

    In any case. Obama’s response is already clear. He is going to toughen up, not to confront Israel, but against the Iranians and all the “traditional foes”.

  211. Rehmat says:

    Eric Margolis is indeed an honest and courageous US-Canadian journalist and author. He is in love with the Afghan Mujahideed. When Gulbedin Hikmatyar and professor Rabbani visited Toronto – they staed at Eric’s home.

    However, while praising Gen Eisenhower – Eric misses to mention Eisenhower’s part in the murder of 1.7 million German Christians after the D-Day. Jeff Gates in his article, “Obama’s Inner Eisenhower” called him a ‘Crypto-Jew’.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/obama-the-first-jewish-president/

  212. kooshy says:

    Arnold have read Greenwald’s on the Wikileaks yet, if you haven’t I would think you would be interested

    The media’s authoritarianism and WikiLeaks

    BY GLENN GREENWALD
    FRIDAY, DEC 10, 2010 09:43 ET

    http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/12/10/wikileaks_media

  213. Pirouz_2 says:

    Binam;
    “Criticisms are limited to mundane day to day shortcomings of mostly local government officials. You don’t for example see any criticism of the Supreme Leader. If you do, let me know and please do share a link to a video if you can.

    True that unfortunately in US MSM you can’t criticize the Israeli government. It’s a shame I know. But can you for example criticize the Palestinians on Iranian State TV? It would be considered sac-religious! Can one point out to massive projects the Iranian government is undertaking in Lebanon and Belarus and Venezuela or Chile while at the same time showing the poverty that exists at home? I think not.”

    You want to see “radical” criticism? Here you go buddy:
    www [dot]youtube[dot]com/watch?v=2HmjqgtUs48
    www [dot]youtube[dot]com/watch?v=Is2jitFaeX4
    khabarnamehiran[dot]persianblog[dot]ir/post/5633/

  214. Arnold Evans says:

    I think Eric Margolis may be the best Middle East analyst who is regularly printed in any major Western news organization.

    US President Dwight Eisenhower deemed the tripartite Suez aggression immoral and damaging to American interests in the Muslim world. “Ike” angrily ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Egypt at once – or else. They got out.

    Fast forward to 2010. President Barack Obama has been demanding Israel stop building illegal Jewish settlements around Jerusalem and on the West Bank.

    Obama rightly concluded the ongoing agony of Palestine has turned the Muslim world against the United States. It is also the primary cause of what Washington calls “terrorism.” I write about this extensively in my latest book, “American Raj.”

    After the Suez invasion, Israel’s American partisans set about building an influence network that would ensure no American president could ever force Israel to do anything against its will. Over the next half century, the Israel lobby became the most powerful and feared lobby in America, dominating both the US Congress and media.

    The lobby’s brilliant success was again confirmed last week as Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel’s rightist coalition, literally spit in Obama’s face, sneeringly rejecting the president’s pleas to create a viable Palestinian state. Vice President Joseph Biden was earlier humiliated on a trip to Israel to plead with Israel to stop building Jewish settlements.

  215. Scott,

    “Please accept my apology for the error I just noticed [in my earlier post].”

    That sort of thing happens to all of us. For months now, I’ve been trying to explain how much I agree with you about the 2009 election, but inevitably my cat steps on the keyboard while I’m still composing my message.

  216. Castellio says:

    Binam, your national pride has blinded you to one half of the equation of the US-Iraq war, the US-Afghanistan war, and the US-Iran war. You look at them and say…. “but it is not the same, Iran is not Iraq. Iran is not Afghanistan. How can some people be so dense as to not notice?”

    On the other side of the equation is a constant. We are talking about the actions of the constant, which are unfolding in prescribed and familiar patterns.

  217. You wrote to Castellio and me:

    “I feel like as an Iranian I should be offended by your recent posts equating Iran of 2010 to Iraq of 2003 and Afghanistan of 2001.… I don’t think Iran is anything like Iraq or Afghanistan. For one, you can’t compare the Iranians inside Iran to Iraqis or Afghans who were being presented as people who demand “liberation” from the US military.”

    You would have every right to be offended if that is what we had meant. But you’re overlooking the point. If the US government decides it’s time to attack Iran and begins to “set the stage,” the Iran presented to the American people will bear little if any resemblance to the way Iran actually is – just as the “Iraq of 2003 and Afghanistan of 2001” presented to the American people bore little resemblance to reality.

    Iran will be presented as having a glorious and peaceful past, and as being populated today by peace-loving, intelligent, all-around wonderful human beings. There will be no mention of the movie “300,” I can assure you. Quite the contrary, the historical fact often cited by Iran’s supporters – that Iran hasn’t initiated a war against a neighbor in hundreds of years – will be taken up by those who would now like to attack Iran. They will profess great concern that that impressive stretch of peaceful behavior is about to be broken by the illegitimate band of thugs that now runs the Iranian government, oppresses its own wonderful people, and threatens the rest of the world with nuclear annihilation. That band of thugs will be the only obstacle to a restoration of Iran’s glorious past and a continuation of Iran’s long tradition of peaceful conduct toward its neighbors. Those who explain all of this will, of course, also offer a quick and simple solution to the problem faced by Iran’s wonderful people and the rest of the world.

    To be sure, some wardrum-beaters will reject the inevitable talk of “surgical strikes” and soberly predict resistance from regime hard-liners. But even this sober group will end by asking rhetorically whether the world will be better off acting now, risks though there may be, or instead waiting until those hard-liners have acquired a large arsenal of nuclear bombs and tightened their stranglehold on the Iranian people. I’m afraid I know the answer to that question.

    After the dot-com boom of the late 1990s turned into the dot-com bust in 2000, very many investors assured themselves that that sort of thing would never happen again. Everyone had learned his lesson and thereafter would invest more cautiously. No more crashes would happen.

    People have been saying similar things about the lesson we all learned in Iraq in 2003.

  218. Arnold Evans says:

    New assassinations of Iranian scientists is a very serious issue. As the initial shock wears off we’re faced with the question of what to make of it and how to deal with it.

    The United States enables these assassinations, as it enabled the assassination last year as well as the Balochistan attack and other attacks before and since.

    If the United States makes unlimited resources available to Israel and Israel uses those resources through its own agencies or through proxies, or if the US or one of the US’ cohorts such as France uses proxies to execute these attacks, it has to be clearly understood that the return address is Washington DC which is the leader and the organizer of the current Middle East colonial effort.

    We are looking at Barack Obama’s policy.

    Where to go from there becomes a more difficult question.

  219. pmr9 says:

    Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam blog is now reporting that the “prisoner X” held without a name and in total isolation in Israel’s Ayalon prison is Ali Reza Azgari, a former IRGC general and government minister abducted in Turkey in 2007. Silverstein is a reliable source, and I’d guess that more information about this will leak before very long, leading to a crisis with Turkey as well as Iran.

  220. kooshy says:

    Fiorangela

    Exactly for that same question Q&A in this Wright’s interview, which you also noticed, I decided to post her interview on this site, I knew people on this board will easily notice that she totally dodged and ignored to answer a direct question on the assassination of Iranian scientist, that to me implies even the think tank circles suspect that the west was involved with this assassinations, therefore shamefully they don’t want to condemn the assassinations and rather ignore to notice for time being.

  221. Scott Lucas says:

    Fiorangela,

    No apology needed. Momma (in boots) is always right….

    S.

  222. Fiorangela says:

    instead of just criticizing Robin Wright, I should have said what I hope for:

    I would have thought an American would reflect American values as well as keen analytic thinking and declare with absolute clarity:

    “These acts were counterproductive and can scarcely be expected to persuade the Iranian people that their government is incorrect in warning that Iran is under attack by subversive elements. The attacks were very sophisticated. Regardless of whether Western agents were involved or not, the US should categorically condemn these acts as contrary to American values.”

    THAT’s what I would have expected a fellow of the American Institute for Peace, to say.

  223. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy, thanks for this link to a Robin Wright interview: http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2010/dec/09/iran-nuclear-talks-widening-chasm

    Someone should require “experts” like Wright to post expiration dates on their wrappers. If Wright were a loaf of bread, she’d have been croutons 5 years ago.

    On the other hand, she’s not so stale that she has forgotten how to bob-and-weave; look at this Q&A:

    QUESTION:
    * What do you make of the bombing attacks on the two Iranian nuclear scientists last week?

    ANSWER (pt. 1):
    It’s a fascinating story. Who could get so close to those cars to put explosive devices on them? What kind of intelligence operations would know the daily car routes of these scientists? For all we know, they may very well vary every day. You’d have to know their cars, their license plates, where they live. This was a major intelligence operation as well as a sophisticated assassination attempt. There are lots of different possibilities.

    This bit of uninformative, noncommittal occupation of time and space logically flows into this assertion, in answer to the Question, “What do you think of Iranians being assassinated?” —

    ANSWER (part 2)
    Some critics want the United States to broaden the Iran agenda to include human rights, and also to discuss things the Iranians would like to talk about, such as Israel’s nuclear weapons.

    Iran’s position has consistently been that they want a nuclear-free region. So Iran and the Western powers, or the world’s major powers, come at these talks from totally different perspectives, what they even want on the agenda, and that’s what’s so discouraging about the diplomatic efforts. Just getting them to come up with a common agenda, get them on the same page, is very difficult. I don’t know anyone who holds out great hopes that these talks are going to lead to Iranian concessions. But I will say the administration is committed to diplomacy, in part because of the reality that the military option is far, far more complicated in many ways than Iraq and Afghanistan were.

    Wright will be on C-Span Washington Journal (7:00 am – 10:00 EST) Tomorrow, Dec. 12

  224. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott Lucas writes:

    “Please accept my apology for the error I just noticed”

    You only have just noticed that you have been talking bull all this time?

    Nice.

  225. Empty says:

    Binam says, RE: “True, there are the monarchists or MEK members and some others who want to annihilate anything IR, but majority of the 4 million plus Iranians who live outside of Iran have strong ties to the motherland and would not let a war with Iran happen easily.”

    Unfortunately, the eggs are in the wrong basket there. Most Iranians (of the type you mention) outside of Iran are all words and no action. The moment the manure of US-Iran war hits the fan, they will become quiet as a mouse and turn into Greeks, Italians, and Turks overnight. Sorry to burst any bubbles here.

  226. Empty says:

    the “fly” goes deaf.

  227. Empty says:

    Speaking of “intelligence”…..[adapted for effect.]….In a particularly slower than usual “diplomatic” day, an American “diplomat” stationed in the American interest office in the Swiss embassy in Tehran was “swatting flies,” as the Persian expression goes for painfully slow moments. Deciding to be productive, he decides to carry out an experiment and report the results. He captures a fly and commands it to fly. As soon as the fly tries to fly away, the diplomat pulls one of the fly’s wings and follows with another flight command. Again, as soon as the fly tries to fly away, the diplomat pulls off the other wing and commands it, yet again, to fly. The fly does not fly. Then, he orders the fly to walk, as soon as the fly starts walking, the diplomat pulls off one of its legs and commands it to walk. The fly begins to limp walk and the diplomat pulls off yet another of its legs. He repeats the same command till the fly’s all six legs are pulled off. Then he commands the fly to fly: not a twitch. He commands the fly to walk: no movement. The fly lays there motionless. He repeats the same experiment with multiple other flies and at the end sends the following cable to Washington: “When wings and legs of an Iranian fly are removed, the goes deaf.”

  228. Fiorangela says:

    one other thing, Binam; you wrote: “Yes. I agree with you on that. But they are relatively successful with their propaganda in part due to Ahmadinejad’s reckless rhetoric and adventurous cowboy foreign policy. He’s like Iran’s version of George W. Bush.”

    The flaw in that argument is that Israel has had Iran in its sites since at least 1992; the Libya-Iran Sanctions Act became an executive order in 1995 and turned into legislation in 1996.

    Ahmadinejad did not appear on the scene until 2005. True, as Mitchell Bard, an American-Israeli propagandist, says, Ahmadinejad is the gift that keeps on giving: every time Ahmadi opens his mouth, contributions to Israeli causes increase. But that is a relative recent phenomenon.

  229. Fiorangela says:

    oh, thank goodness Scott! Welcome back to the fold, and pardon the hobnail boots with which I jumped all over your (erroneous) comment.

  230. Fiorangela says:

    Binam, you wrote: “The difference being, you could say what you say and you’d be seen as a good politically conscious American, while if I say it, some people (trying to avoid generalization) will call me a stooge of Israel, an American spy or some of the other names in the book! Why is that? Is this not having a double-standard?”

    I see your point. I also am forced to confront the implications of some of my own biases. Although I’m certain no one’s noticed it, I’m not fond of Israel. I don’t like Israel’s involvement with US government. And, my biased perception of Ahmadinejad is of a leader who is committed to protected Iran against intrusions and control by outsiders: Just because you know you’re paranoid does not mean someone is not out to get you. I see Israel as “out to get” Iran, and that troubles me.

    In the little that I have read, it seems to me that when Israel WAS closely tied to Iran, Israelis abused the trust to cheat and harm Iranians; and in the years since Israel has been shut out of Iran, Israelis have waged a world-wide campaign of propaganda, demonizing and misrepresenting Iran to the world. More recently, Israel has used US institutions to economically attack Iran (with US willing acquiescence). I want Iran to prevail over that US-Israeli agenda — but that is what I want. And I said earlier that what Iran does internally, AND I should add, how Iran conducts her relations with other nations, is for Iranians to decide. Iranians may decide that it is in their best interest to ally with Israel; I believe that is the case that Shirin Hunter made several months ago. So when I cheer on Ahmadinejad for sticking his thumb in Israel’s eye, it appears I am not much different from Americans who, as I stated, are willing to encourage Iranians to shed their blood: Ahmadinejad says things to Israel that Americans cannot say to Israel; Iran gets punished for what Ahmadi says.

    I believe there are both generational and class divisions in Iranian society that come into play in the interpretation of the way that Americans support the Green movement. On another forum, I sharply rebuked someone who wrote that Americans should support “the educated people in Tehran” who were “eager and capable” of reforming Iran’s government. I got all huffy because in my view, the comment reflected elitism, a belief that “common people” were not smart enough or courageous enough to care about their own government. I suppose I have a fantasy view of Iranians: mindful of the Tobacco rebellion and other actions Iranians have taken to assert their independence, I believe a large swathe of Iranians are culturally infused with a sense of self-determination. Moreover, in the US, the elites are leading the people badly astray; it turns out many of “the educated people” are pragmatically hewing to the line that allows them to make a living to amortize their costly education. A revolt of the plebs seems to be the only way US is going to get back on track.

  231. Pirouz says:

    Doh!

    Scotty, my man, you just committed another sic! But we get it and I’m sure most here agree with you on that.

  232. Binam says:

    Eric, Castellio,

    “Soon enough, my friend, you will see the photos of “invincible” Iranian military forces needing to be destroyed for the sake of Western civilization side by side with photos of poor Iranians waiting to be “liberated”… and when you see the photos, be aware that your naiveté was the fertile soil in which they were developed.”

    I feel like as an Iranian I should be offended by your recent posts equating Iran of 2010 to Iraq of 2003 and Afghanistan of 2001. As critical I am of the current government of Iran I don’t think Iran is anything like Iraq or Afghanistan. For one, you can’t compare the Iranians inside Iran to Iraqis or Afghans who were being presented as people who demand “liberation” from the US military. Second of all, Iranian expats have a much louder voice than Iraqi or Afghan expats did (they were pretty much non-existent). True, there are the monarchists or MEK members and some others who want to annihilate anything IR, but majority of the 4 million plus Iranians who live outside of Iran have strong ties to the motherland and would not let a war with Iran happen easily. Look at all the hell they raised when a stupid Hollywood film by the name of 300 came out!

    And as I said before, any foreign threat would unify the Iranians and as they have proven to be active citizen journalists and bloggers, they’ll make sure to let that message be heard across the globe.

    Alright, maybe my “rag-e Iraniam zad bala” and I exaggerated a little! But I wouldn’t compare Iran to Iraq or Afghanistan if I were you.

    M. Ali, Mohammad,

    Personally I don’t think freedom of expression is an East or West thing – it’s a universal right. But even culturally in Shia Islam there is supposed to be a level of openness and debate that calls for the religion to be constantly reformed for the times. But when someone like Jannati comes and says obeying the Supreme Leader is obeying God (blasphemously equating Khamenei to God and those who don’t obey him or criticize him are enemies of God and should be executed), well that has nothing to do with some skewed Iranian version of freedom of expression – its flat out dictatorial, sac-religious, inhumane, NOT Iranian, NOT Islamic!

    I am not asking for Iranian versions of Fox News or MSNBC and I hope we’re spared the headache they create if there ever was to be freedom in Iran. Okay fine, maybe asking for secular atheists to appear on Iranian TV would be too much. THAT would be ideal for me. But I’m asking for at least an environment where a Grand Ayatollah they don’t find agreeable could get on TV and speak to his followers (Sanei, or Mortazavi before he passed away). As is even former President Khatami is banned from TV! There is no criticism of the Supreme Leader, criticism of Ahmadinejad is limited to what the SL allows, and there sure as hell are no debates about religious matters – like Hijab! There are Grand Ayatollahs who are against mandatory Hijab for example, but are THEIR views ever expressed?

  233. Mohammad says:

    Binam,

    “Thank you for comparing us to those minority groups! They all share the same passion for opposing oppressing powers. The views of the IRI you so strongly support is represented on Iran’s mainstream media (aka state TV), while views of regular Iranians is heard ONLY on the web. What you folks say here is nothing new, you’re repeating the talking points of the State TV of the IRI.”

    First, not all my views are shared by the IRI, nor I agree with all of them. My relation to IRI is just like the relation of any ordinary citizen to his/her government in any part of the world.

    Second, on issues which are not sensitive (not related to the basic values of IRI) like the economy for example, almost all views are presented on the state TV (or at least there’s no obstacle if someone wishes to speak), not just the views which are officially-sanctioned.

    Third, there are multiple avenues of communication in Iran other than the state radio and TV. None have the influence and impact of the state TV, but there are newspapers and public gatherings which have much more freedom than state TV (while still being monitored by the government), other than the Web.

    Fourth, opinion polls show that a plurality or majority (depending on the wording of the question) of Iranians believe that there should be controls on freedom of expression. For example, a 2008 poll by WPO found that (there is a similar finding in the recent IPI poll)
    “Low pressure for more press freedom — Although a majority of Iranians support the principle of having a free press, support for this principle can drop sharply under certain circumstances. When asked a two-sided question, more Iranians opted for government “having the right to prevent the media from publishing things that the government thinks would be destabilizing” (45%) than for the media “having the right to publish news and ideas without any government control” (31%). Iranians tend to perceive that their press enjoys some freedom (45%); the proportion who believes the Iranian press enjoys a lot of freedom (17%) is matched by those who believe Iran has little or none (21%). Nevertheless, only a third of Iranians believe the press in Iran should be given more freedom (34%), compared to about half who prefer either the same amount of press freedom (43%) or less press freedom (9%). [WPO, QQ 57c, 66-68] ”

    Fifth, as I pointed out before, the Web is the only reliable tool to express any kind of views. Naturally, the people whose views are not expressed much by other media, are more likely to be active on the Web. So the Web is not a fair and proportionate representative of all Iranian views. ‘Regular’ Iranians hold a full range of views from full support for the Ahmadinejad government to full opposition to Islam (Foad Sadeqi has proposed (ayandenews DOT com/news/20675/) a ‘pyramid of values’ which I think is very useful to our discussion). To find out that which opinion has the most support, we have no other way than to rely on independent, scientific opinion polls.

  234. Scott Lucas says:

    To all:

    Please accept my apology for the error I just noticed in my post — too hastily written before I went to bed — that “engagement should be a carrot-and-stick approach, especially Dennis Ross’ pursuit of negotiations only to establish a pretext — when those negotiations are collapsed — for aggressive economic or military action.”

    It should have been “engagement should NOTE be a carrot-and-stick approach”. I have written at length about how much of a damaging influence I think Dennis Ross is within the US Government.

    S.

  235. Scott Lucas says:

    James,

    “Are you actually advocating even more of the relentless stupidity we see regrading the US approach to Iran?”

    No. Absolutely not.

    S.

  236. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Mohammad,

    Much appreciated.

    S.

  237. Mohammad says:

    Scott,

    The same official announcement from Tehran public prosecutor which announces the arrest of Shakouri-Rad, mentions that Sadeq Larijani has ‘clearly’ denied the claim. Right now I don’t have an independent link to verify.

  238. M.Ali says:

    “Criticisms are limited to mundane day to day shortcomings of mostly local government officials. You don’t for example see any criticism of the Supreme Leader. If you do, let me know and please do share a link to a video if you can. ”

    But thats just the way Iranian system & culture works. Stop applying western mentality to Iranian life. Criticisms should be policy-targetted rather than mudslinging, headline grabbing attacks that are so prevelent in the west and are completely pointless, aside from giving the illusion of freedom. Repeated footage of Bush of nearly choking on a peanut, trying to impeach Clinton over his defination of sexual relationship, and debates over Obama’s birth certificate does not affect the policy aside from ranking up the ratings.

    Iran’s TV debate are boring to watch. Because there is no marketable phrases to shout at protests nor juicy attacks to gossip at. Think of the Presidential debates were they were probably more to your liking. But what exactly did Mousavi and Karoubi contribute to those debates? I can hardly remember any policy discussions aside from repeatedly attacking Ahmadenijad on every front. I don’t think anyone I talked to could summarize Mousavi’s policies aside from vague terms of honesty and transparency and justice and returning to the real values of the revolution. At least, Rezai had the decency to have a plan (he talked about his Federal government system).

    The debates in Iran discuss policies, rather than attacks on the government officials.

    Whether YOU like it or not or I like it or not is not the question. Polls generally seem that people are more or less okay with it.

    To me, there is space for more critical discussions, but at a measured pace. With so many opportunities in Iran, it is counteractive to Iran’s security to give full reign to such people.

    And your other point (not to my post, but still, I want to reply):

    “I strongly believe that Iran is not headed in the right direction and I strongly believe that most Iranians feel the same – even those who voted for Ahmadinejad.”

    Except I have rarely seen you discuss specific Iran policy or advocate real policy changes. How would you like Iran to deal with USA? What concessions should they make on their nuclear issue?

  239. Binam,

    Castellio wrote to you:

    “Soon enough, my friend, you will see the photos of “invincible” Iranian military forces needing to be destroyed for the sake of Western civilization side by side with photos of poor Iranians waiting to be “liberated”… and when you see the photos, be aware that your naiveté was the fertile soil in which they were developed.”

    Exactly.

    We’re already seeing tell-tale signs of that. When a Senator finishes up breakfast and heads for the office on a rainy Tuesday morning and his car won’t start, whose fault is it? The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, of course. If soybean production numbers in Iowa are down for the month of November, whose fault? Who stole the 2009 election, according to your Wikileaks-cable friend from Turkmenistan. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, of course. And no one needs to be reminded who they like best.

    Eight years ago, it would have been the Iraqi Republican Guard.

    And who can forget (other than just about everyone) that nine years ago, as winter approached in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, we were told that the US “mission” to Afghanistan involved a whole lot more than just a military incursion: Afghanistan was experiencing a serious famine, and hundreds of thousands (millions, by some accounts) of Afghani civilians would certainly perish during the winter if we didn’t send food, medicine and warm blankets immediately if not sooner — and wasn’t it convenient that our military guys could drop them off, since they planned to be in the neighborhood anyway? Does anyone remember the grim “body count” of dead Afghani civilians reported the following spring? No? Does anyone remember how many countries fulfilled their pledges to provide humanitarian aid to the poor, starving Afghanis? No?

    Will this prevent the US government from conjuring up the same bleak scene of human suffering in Iran just before we decide its time to liberate those suffering people from Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps?

  240. Castellio says:

    Oh God, Binam, if you’re under the illusion that the American people care about the freedom and well-being of Iranians I have a bridge to sell you.

    You write:”For one I think Americans have learned their lessons from Iraq. They are not as gullible as back in 2003 and they are not lead by maniacs like Bush/Cheney. And if you have at all followed MSM short-lived fascination with the Green Movement you’d notice that their narrative wasn’t so much “those poor Iranian people,” but rather “those young, brave, highly educated Iranian people who want REFORM.” They did manage to include in their narratives that Iranians want EVOLUTION and not REVOLUTION. This is different than images they were showing of Iraqis before the 2003 invasion – of poor kids playing in dirt and having no food, education or sandals!

    Soon enough, my friend, you will see the photos of “invincible” Iranian military forces needing to be destroyed for the sake of Western civilization side by side with photos of poor Iranians waiting to be “liberated”… and when you see the photos, be aware that your naiveté was the fertile soil in which they were developed.

    When Iraq was sanctioned, members of the United Nations who still had a conscience resigned, calling the restrictions of the embargo, including simple medicines, a form of genocide… this is just the beginning.

    The intention is to squeeze Iran like a lemon, and then to hit her hard. The squeezing has just begun, and you’ve mistaken it for a friendly hug.

  241. kooshy says:

    This is an interesting interview with RW on the negotiation subject

    Iran nuclear talks: A widening chasm
    December 9, 2010 | 6:04pm
    Robin Wright

    http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2010/dec/09/iran-nuclear-talks-widening-chasm

  242. Kamran says:

    That’s not true many of the green people (Shirin Ebadi,…)have advocated more and more sanctions that are directed at the Iranian people. They are a selfish and unpopular bunch.

  243. Binam,

    You wrote to Fiorangela:

    “For one I think Americans have learned their lessons from Iraq. They are not as gullible as back in 2003 and they are not lead by maniacs like Bush/Cheney.”

    They may not be led by Bush/Cheney any more, but I’m not so sure about the “gullible” part.

  244. Arnold Evans says:

    Fio:

    Why is US pursuing this flawed policy?
    One word:
    Israel.

    The cost of US support for Israel is an interesting subject. During the recent Charlie Rose Larijani interview Larijani made the obvious connection between Israel and 9/11 and bringing it up made Rose visibly anxious.

    Rose has had it drummed into his consciousness that it is anti-semitic to acknowledge that supporting Israel is costly for the United States. Most members of the US decision-making class in his generation are in a similar position. If Larijani were better versed in the dynamics of the US political culture he would have expected it and may have confronted it head on when he saw it. It was very striking to me.

  245. Dan Cooper says:

    Lying is Not Patriotic

    Video

    Congressman Ron Paul speaks on the house floor. December 9, 2010

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27031.htm

  246. Arnold Evans says:

    Eric, Binam:

    About the about 20 people who regularly post and number of people who read this, I’m always surprised at how vastly lurkers outnumber active participants in online discussions. For a lot of reasons, a lot more people would rather just read articles and comments than add their own comments.

  247. Binam says:

    Fioranegla,

    Noticed your other entry…

    “I KNOW without a doubt that the notion that Ahmadinejad is an extremist conservative who “wants to destroy Israel and the West” is propaganda relentlessly repeated by Israel and disseminated across the US by Israel and its advocates.”

    Yes. I agree with you on that. But they are relatively successful with their propaganda in part due to Ahmadinejad’s reckless rhetoric and adventurous cowboy foreign policy. He’s like Iran’s version of George W. Bush.

    “M. Ali has made an important point: Americans clap themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for their discernment in distinguishing between the Iranian PEOPLE and the Iranian GOVERNMENT (presumably made up of non-people).”

    I think governments SHOULD be separate from their people. Many Iranian politicians always point out that the “Death to America” chants are targeted to the American government and not the American people. And in a country like Iran when one group has a strong and eternal hold on power (Supreme Leader and his allies) it is VERY important to make this distinction.

    “Americans are terribly eager to rush in and HELP those poor Iranian people. Well, let’s rephrase that, to keep it consistent with the theory of “fighting ‘em over there so we don’t have to fight ‘em over here:” Americans are willing to cheer on Iranians and watch them bleed to achieve American-style regime change. THAT is what constitutes support for Green Movement.”

    I disagree. For one I think Americans have learned their lessons from Iraq. They are not as gullible as back in 2003 and they are not lead by maniacs like Bush/Cheney. And if you have at all followed MSM short-lived fascination with the Green Movement you’d notice that their narrative wasn’t so much “those poor Iranian people,” but rather “those young, brave, highly educated Iranian people who want REFORM.” They did manage to include in their narratives that Iranians want EVOLUTION and not REVOLUTION. This is different than images they were showing of Iraqis before the 2003 invasion – of poor kids playing in dirt and having no food, education or sandals!

    And all Green Movement supporters and spokespeople have always said that an attack on Iran would unify the country and regardless of how Iranians feel about their government they will rally behind it to defend the country. So in other words, the hawks in Iran (who unfortunately happen to have a tight grip on power) know that they would BENEFIT from war. It’s how Khomeini managed to unify the country when Saddam invaded Iran in 1980 and its how they will manage to end the internal conflict now, kill dissent and opposition and profiteer from war by hoarding and other corrupt ways that they’re so good at!

    “If Americans are so concerned for the Iranian PEOPLE, why was there no cry of outrage that Iranian citizens were assassinated? Do Americans think such actions induce Iranians to embrace Western “values”? Does one win “hearts and minds” only by sundering those organs from living bodies?”

    They were concerned as most Iranians were of people being killed by police and basij militia. The assassinations didn’t get much airtime and I’m sure most Americans don’t even know about them – specially considering America’s domestic problems nowadays. But I’m skeptical about who was behind these assassinations. To me, it might as well have been IRGC intelligence. But we can only speculate at this stage.

  248. Arnold Evans says:

    Fio:

    On the next earlier thread, Arnold Evans said he “believed the NY Times” re cable that it printed.

    Ouch. OK. That is what’s known as a rhetorical device that didn’t work. Sorry about that.

    What I was trying to say is that if the NY Times starts with enough cables, and releases a small enough portion of them, it can produce cables, even true cables, that say exactly opposite of what the entire collection of cables say.

    If you give me those 250,000 cables, I probably could produce 5 cables that imply the US is imminently going to radically reorient its policies in a way unfavorable to Israel. Especially if I also have the option of omitting sections of individual cables for reasons known only to me.

    Someone who gets these cables would be able to believe those cables say what I say they say. The problem isn’t that I’m lying about the content of the cables. The problem is that I’ve chosen a distorted and misleading subset of the cables.

    So when the New York Times says it has some cables that imply that Saudi Arabia encourages the US to attack Iran, I believe the NY Times found cables that say that. That does not mean Saudi Arabia actually encourages the US to attack Iran. It doesn’t mean that someone reading over all of the cables could reasonably conclude that Saudi Arabia encourages the US to attack Iran.

    All that small selection of cables proves, whether the NY Times is being honest about the accuracy of its small selection or not is … damn, I trying to figure out what it proves and my point is that it proves absolutely nothing. I can believe the cables say what the NY Times say they say, but I still am no closer to knowing what an independent examination of the collection the Times has access to would imply, and even from there I have no information about what Saudi Arabia actually wants.

    The Times has presented a tiny selection of cables, so tiny that it has no need to lie about the content of those specific cables to mislead its readers about the content of the entire collection of cables.

  249. Binam says:

    M. ALI: “Watch any random debate program on Iranian TV and there is always criticisms of the government.”

    Criticisms are limited to mundane day to day shortcomings of mostly local government officials. You don’t for example see any criticism of the Supreme Leader. If you do, let me know and please do share a link to a video if you can.

    True that unfortunately in US MSM you can’t criticize the Israeli government. It’s a shame I know. But can you for example criticize the Palestinians on Iranian State TV? It would be considered sac-religious! Can one point out to massive projects the Iranian government is undertaking in Lebanon and Belarus and Venezuela or Chile while at the same time showing the poverty that exists at home? I think not.

  250. kooshy says:

    Here is another story on Samore, today this one from CSM
    Eric note that he said: “concluded that the international sanctions reinforced this year are hurting but not yet causing enough hardship to alter Tehran’s behavior.” That means they did not produced any result, So back to step one, and I guess the Laveretts now can easily laugh and say, we told you so

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2010/1210/US-allies-reviewing-sanctions-on-Iran-How-much-pain-will-it-take

    The Christian Science Monitor

    US, allies reviewing sanctions on Iran: How much pain will it take?

    Following two days of talks in Geneva that failed to address concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, the US is signaling its readiness to seek even harsher sanctions.

    By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer
    posted December 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Washington —
    When it comes to US policy on Iran, the White House is signaling a move toward a variation of “no pain, no gain.”
    A senior White House official on Friday suggested that the US will soon seek adoption of even tougher sanctions on Iran, having concluded that the international sanctions reinforced this year are hurting but not yet causing enough hardship to alter Tehran’s behavior.
    Gary Samore, President Obama’s special assistant for arms control and nuclear proliferation issues, told a Washington conference that the US and its partners aligned against a nuclear Iran are likely to “increase pressure” in the coming weeks in response to Iran’s refusal to address international concerns about its uranium enrichment program.
    “We need to send the message to Iran that sanctions will only increase if Iran avoids serious negotiations, and will not be lifted until our concerns are fully addressed,” Mr. Samore told a conference organized by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
    Suggesting that talks this week in Geneva between Iran and world powers including the US fell short of what were already low expectations, the president’s top nuclear adviser said another round of sanctions would be one way of testing “how high Iran’s pain threshold is.”
    The two days of talks in Geneva – characterized by one European diplomat as the two sides talking past each other – did conclude with an agreement to meet again next month in Turkey. But the failure to address any substantive issues and the Iranian delegation’s refusal to entertain discussion of its uranium enrichment program apparently led to the White House decision to speak publicly of additional turns of the screws.
    Before this week’s talks, a senior European diplomat in Washington had said privately that the chief aim of the European countries involved in the talks was to break Iran’s pattern of agreeing to negotiations to look serious, but in fact only using them to buy time for its nuclear program to progress. In addition to the US, China, and Russia, the talks with Iran involve Britain, France, and Germany.
    Samore suggested a similar concern, saying Iran “believes it can manipulate the appearance of negotiations to weaken existing sanctions and avoid additional measures.”
    “This ploy will not work,” he said.
    Following Samore’s remarks, a California congressman proposing new measures to close loopholes that Iran has found in existing sanctions told the same conference that tougher sanctions could lead to a more democratic regime in Iran.
    Referring to the sanctions that he said helped end apartheid in South Africa, Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat, said, “Nelson Mandela has thanked us for those sanctions, and I look forward to the day when a democratic leader of Iran thanks us for these sanctions.”
    That comment is unlikely to be well-received in Tehran. Officials there have long been convinced that the Western powers’ punitive measures are really aimed at achieving regime change and not simply at limiting the country’s nuclear program.

  251. Binam says:

    Dear Fiorangela,

    You raise some good points:

    “In my estimation, from an American, non-Iranian-American standpoint, Iran’s internal affairs are for the Iranian people, internal and ex-patriated, to decide and to struggle to create. It is not my problem, it is not my right, it is not my fight.”

    But as an expatriated Iranian with strong ties to Iran who travels back frequently the internal affairs is of great concern to me, my friends and my family. It IS my problem, it IS my right and it IS my fight. The election issue is after all an INTERNAL problem, specially when put in the context of the past 18 months and all that has happened since the actual ballots were cast. I strongly believe that Iran is not headed in the right direction and I strongly believe that most Iranians feel the same – even those who voted for Ahmadinejad.

    “The only right, and obligation, I have is to attempt to influence American government to behave justly and in accord with what I perceive to be American values, in country-to-country relations with Iran.”

    With your permission, allow me to blatantly plagiarize: The only right and obligation I have is to attempt to influence Iranian government to behave justly and in accord with what I perceive to be Iranian values, in country-to-country relations with America.

    The difference being, you could say what you say and you’d be seen as a good politically conscious American, while if I say it, some people (trying to avoid generalization) will call me a stooge of Israel, an American spy or some of the other names in the book! Why is that? Is this not having a double-standard?

  252. Rehmat says:

    “Watch any random debate program on Iranian TV and there is always criticisms of the government”

    M. Ali – You have proved that in Iran there is more freedom of press than the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and France. Because in those countries – if someone criticizes the government’s foreign policy – The first stone thrown on that person has “anti-Semitism” written on it.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/u-of-t-under-fire-for-thesis-on-jewish-racism/

  253. kooshy says:

    “Mr. Obama’s coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, suggested that Iran may have decided to resume talks with the members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany “because it believes it can manipulate the appearance of negotiations to weaken existing sanctions and avoid additional measures.”

    Eric- what I took from Mr. Samore insertion above is that he is in a way explaining why the sanctions hasn’t worked, since clearly the Iranians didn’t concede anything in Geneva due to this last round of sanctions, so he is explaining why the sanctions didn’t work he is saying is because by manipulating they are weakening the sanctions. How he did not explaine.

  254. Castellio says:

    The fact that all the people on the blog disagree with the approach to Iran evident in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is not trivial.

    Like it or not, there is the beginning of a consensus that transcends differences with questions of the relative popularity/legitimacy of the current regime.

    I think our focus on Dennis Ross is good. We need to have him and his history known by as many people as possible. We need to put a name and a face to those marching the peasants off to war on a basis of misguided analysis, lies, and false loyalties. Forget Obama. Lets point to the true decision makers. We need a citizen’s trial of Dennis Ross, Stuart Levey and William Burns.

    If Frances Boyle were on-line we could ask him to draw up the charges…

  255. kooshy says:

    James

    When one fallows US’s Iran policy in past thirty some years, specifically in this last five years (since the Iran’ 05 elections) under both political parties and two supposedly different US administrations, one would conclude that for lack of choice, US’s Iran policy has become a revolving routine, which initially start with threatening Iran with military and economic sanctions in media and think tank circles, then the military part gets dismissed by some internal event (07 NIE or firing Fallon etc.), if Iranian don’t bite now we go first to Russian and the Chinese and end up giving them any concession we can bargain with, the good part is we never need to be worried about the other 3 clowns since they are client states, in the mean time we get Sanger(s) and others blow the pipes that the Iranian bomb is coming, now with the P5 commitment in hand we go to the UN and get our all new sanction resolution, will have to throw a few more articles at the Iranian that sanctions are crippling and Iranians are getting to feel the pain, next step is to Waite a few month for the sanctions to sink, now we start pressuring and threatening the Iranian to come to a negotiation meeting , at the end relentlessly the will agree, next, with all kinds of piped in media PR in few days we finally are told, that there was no concession by the Iranians, and this failure is all due to this huge factional dispute among Iranian decision makers. That few hours or days takes us back to step one again, back to think thank and the congressional hearings and explaining not to worry seat tight with this coming new sanctions for sure we will get the SOB’s to concede

    As you may have read this new NY times article by Sanger that I posted earlier, one should understand, currently we are back in step one, here is an outline of the , to show how this works.

    1-Think Tank presentations on how to make Iran concede
    2-Congressional hearings, with experts from think tanks
    3-Media leak on threats of sanctions or coming Military action
    4-Military threat gets a sudden dismiss in a process, but is still on the side table
    5-Concessions to Russia and China for some mild agreement on UN sanctions
    6-UN sanction resolution against the enemy of the mankind
    7-Media pressure to agree to talk
    8-Negotiation with Iranians relentlessly materializes
    9-Iranians leave the negotiation, with no concessions on their part
    10-Back to think tank and step one

  256. Fiorangela says:

    Binam — one more thing then I’ve got the day’s chores to catch up on —

    M Ali and others have noted how some do and some do not “support” or “agree with” Iranian government.

    In my estimation, from an American, non-Iranian-American standpoint, Iran’s internal affairs are for the Iranian people, internal and ex-patriated, to decide and to struggle to create. It is not my problem, it is not my right, it is not my fight.

    The only right, and obligation, I have is to attempt to influence American government to behave justly and in accord with what I perceive to be American values, in country-to-country relations with Iran.

  257. M.Ali says:

    Watch any random debate program on Iranian TV and there is always criticisms of the government.

  258. Fiorangela says:

    M. Ali has made an important point: Americans clap themselves on the back and congratulate themselves for their discernment in distinguishing between the Iranian PEOPLE and the Iranian GOVERNMENT (presumably made up of non-people).

    Americans are terribly eager to rush in and HELP those poor Iranian people. Well, let’s rephrase that, to keep it consistent with the theory of “fighting ’em over there so we don’t have to fight ’em over here:” Americans are willing to cheer on Iranians and watch them bleed to achieve American-style regime change. THAT is what constitutes support for Green Movement.

    If Americans are so concerned for the Iranian PEOPLE, why was there no cry of outrage that Iranian citizens were assassinated? Do Americans think such actions induce Iranians to embrace Western “values”? Does one win “hearts and minds” only by sundering those organs from living bodies?

  259. Fiorangela says:

    Binam wrote: “suggesting that ALL Iranians are like Ahmadinejad and SUPPORT his policies is dangerous and it’s EXACTLY what the war-mongerers want. If Israel could convince the world that all Iranians are extremist conservatives who want to destroy Israel and the West they would have no problem rallying them to attack Iran.”

    Part of the problem, Binam, might be that some of the RFI commentariat, like me, do NOT believe for a moment that Ahmadinejad “wants to destroy Israel and the West,” nor do we/I believe that all Iranians are like Ahmadinejad.

    I KNOW without a doubt that the notion that Ahmadinejad is an extremist conservative who “wants to destroy Israel and the West” is propaganda relentlessly repeated by Israel and disseminated across the US by Israel and its advocates.

    Israel–or zionism — has used US Christian zionists as well as a deeply entrenched system of influence over US government and institutions to delude Americans into believing that Israel/zionist policy is American policy and that what Israel does is a model for what is in the best interests of the US. The history goes back as far as the late 1800s when zionists partnered with US evangelical Christian businessmen to petition Congress to create a zionist state for Jews in Palestine.

    It is as recent as last month, when Mitchell Bard spoke to a group titled, “Children of Holocaust Survivors,” about his book, “The Arab Lobby.” Upon telling the group that the greatest threat Israel faces, greater than nuclear Iran, is DELEGITIMIZATION, a member of the audience asked, “Well, can we still count on Christian zionists to support us?” http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ArabLo

    I think we want the same things, Binam. But I think your analysis does not look at the problem from an American perspective. That’s okay; we need to explore all of the parts of the elephant.

  260. M.Ali says:

    Also, Binam, do you know that most people that claim the election was not fraudulent do not support the government 100%? Many of us here don’t (I know that Eric, for example, never supported the post-election clapdown), many Iranians also don’t, nor do talking heads in Iranian state media, nor do ACTUAL POLITICIANS IN THE FREAKING GOVERNMENT.

  261. M.Ali says:

    Binam, current propaganda tactic leading to war does not rely on claiming all the people are bad. The tactic nowadays (as was with Iraq) is that the government is EVIL, and the people are against it and are oppressed, and we the white (literally) knight in shining armor (or tanks) are there to save them.

    Thats what you people are whispering to the hawks. That the Iranian people are en masse against their government, so no use engaging the government. If anything, it is against decency to engage a government that are so hated by its populace. So, its best to isolate them and sanction them, the Iranians love that, as many talking heads and analysts claim, example as do most of Scott’s readers, of which I have read them claim they know many Iranians loving the sanctions. If that doesn’t work, and with continued propaganda, the american public will buy into a military option that will not only stop the bad guys, but also SAVE THE IRANIAN PEOPLE.

    So, instead we try to say , the elections were legitimate and here are the evidence, and you people say, “welll….there might be no evidence of fraud ,but there is no evidence of it being correct either” And we go, but what about these evidence? And someone like scott goes, welllll…its not important what actually happened, whats important is that the people do not consider it legitimate. And we go, but at least 3 major polls support what we are saying!! And you guys go, wellll…the polls are shoddy. And we go, but how come their results not only match the government claims BUT also match each other!! and you go, welll…none of that is important, its about human rights!

    Its like what the Iranian President said in one of his interviews. He said it wasn’t about the nuclear issue, because American problem with Iran existed before the nuclear issue. If its not one thing, its another. Its just an excuse. Your guys attacks on IRI is exactly the same way. We try to have a logical debate on any issue, and you guys keep moving around, covered in oil, slipping out of our hands, and just jumping from one excuse to another.

    It reminds me of the many ways IRI has been attacked. It is both a dictatorship/theocracy/mullacracy and at the same time, its falling apart because of the many internal conflicts. Ahmadenijad is a dictator in one analysis and two weeks later, he is just a puppet without any real power.

  262. Fiorangela says:

    Scott – “Engagement is preferable to confrontation, and that engagement should be a carrot-and-stick approach, especially Dennis Ross’ pursuit of negotiations only to establish a pretext — when those negotiations are collapsed — for aggressive economic or military action.”

    Interesting comment, particularly on this very day.
    Three years ago today I was in the audience as Pat Clawson made nearly the same speech/recommendation about how US should “deal” with Iran.

    Made me want to puke.
    In the jargon of the day, “radicalized” me.

    Dennis Ross is a traitor to the United States. He is an advocate for Israel. He has more blood on his hands than any ten Marines. It is a crime that good men like Giandomenico Picco, John Tirman, Chas Freeman, are kicked aside while Ross is involved in executing American foreign policy.

    Ross has been instrumental in lighting the fire under every war since Persian Gulf I (see “Secret Dossier” by Pierre Salinger.

    Dear Scott, I truly hope persons on this forum can come together and put our disparate skills to good use to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to retrace US – Iran relations.

    Dennis Ross ain’t it. Carrots and sticks ain’t it. Duplicitous offers of engagement ain’t it.

    Please try again. Harder.

  263. From the Times article cited by Kooshy:

    “Mr. Obama’s coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, suggested that Iran may have decided to resume talks with the members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany “because it believes it can manipulate the appearance of negotiations to weaken existing sanctions and avoid additional measures.” “This ploy will not work,” Mr. Samore said. “In the wake of the Geneva talks, we and our allies are determined to maintain and even increase pressure.”

    Well, at least Mr. Samore will arrive in Turkey with an open mind.

  264. Binam,

    “You on the other hand do what FOX NEWS does – you try to define entire countries with one brush stroke.”

    Nobody here really does that, Binam, and at least one of us would prefer that you avoid this and other annoying generalizations. We’ve been talking about the 2009 presidential election.

  265. Fiorangela says:

    On the next earlier thread, Arnold Evans said he “believed the NY Times” re cable that it printed.

    The next level, tho, for those of us who wear tinfoil for nightcaps, is whether the cables were rigged at the source. Pat Lang explained to an audience at Miller Center that Yemen announced it had uncovered the plot to place explosives in a print cartridge, but that Yemen couldn’t find its way out of a paper bag; Saudi Arabia uncovered the plot.

    This article suggests the possibility that somebody might be boxing Saudi Arabia into a position to make SA squirm.

    When Israel mounts a propaganda campaign, it fires on multiple burners. David Makovsky lead a delegation of WINEP trustees/venture capitalists/Wall Street bankers to Israel last month. In a report on the trip, he said Israelis had told the delegation that there was heightened fear that Hezbollah would take over the Lebanese parlaiment.

    In her comments in the Foreign Affairs committee hearing, Ros Lehtinen said there was a fear that Hezbollah would react violently if Hezbollah was convicted of assassination of Hariri, and that Hez would take over Parlaiment.

    In this article, the same issue, Hezbollah, the assassination of Hariri, occuppies the center of concern between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the ubiquitous [and murderous] Jeffrey Feltman, he from whom Ros Lehtinen seeks favors for MEK, her “Iran watchers.”

    Here’s the article: “Iran is not the enemy, Israel is the enemy,” the head of the Center for Strategic Studies in Saudi Arabia declared in an interview with Al Jazeera,
    This was his response to a question on whether the $60 billion arms deal between Riyadh and Washington was meant to deter Iran. The American efforts to portray the deal as aimed against Tehran doesn’t fit with the Saudi point of view, and it seems this isn’t the only subject over which these two countries fail to see eye to eye.

    But the frequent contacts between Iran and Saudi Arabia are not over the big arms deal or Iran’s nuclear plans. The two countries have concluded that they need to reach an agreement on two other issues regarding their sphere of influence in the region: Iraq and Lebanon.

    Regarding Lebanon, Iran is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to help stop the work of the special international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This would prevent the collapse of the Lebanese regime. While Iran is worried about Hezbollah’s status, it also doesn’t want Lebanon to collapse or fall into another civil war, whose results cannot be ensured.

    In this respect, Tehran doesn’t have to make too great an effort to get Riyadh’s support. This became clear last week to Jeffrey Feltman, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and a former U.S. ambassador to Beirut, when he visited Riyadh. During his meeting with King Abdullah, the monarch tried to figure out America’s position if the international court’s work were stopped. Arab sources say Feltman was “furious but restrained,” and made it clear to the king that Washington was determined to support the tribunal.

    Suggests to me that Feltman WANTS Lebanon to fall apart. How better to ensure that than to plant cables suggesting that Saudi Arabia is not going to help Iran achieve its goal? Feltman was US ambassador who oversaw Israel’s wanton destruction and cluster-bombing of Lebanon in 2006. Perhaps his blood-lust was not sated.

  266. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    Are you actually advocating even more of the relentless stupidity we see regrading the US approach to Iran? MORE CARROT-AND-STICK? Iran is not a donkey.

  267. Binam says:

    Oh my! Where to start?!

    Eric: “… it makes me a bit uncomfortable to recognize that well-educated and decent people can so easily be persuaded to believe something that has no basis in fact. You might take that as a sarcastic remark, but I mean it sincerely. It makes me sad.”

    It breaks my heart that well-intentioned well-educated people such as yourself take for fact that which is given to them by a government that has a track record of lying to its own people. Whether its a lie about some unfinished railroad project in a central province, or a lie about existence of “absolute freedom” in Iran. We’re all critical of US administrations here – perhaps one thing we all have in common on this forum is our hatred for US/Israeli policies.

    But when it comes to Iran you and your supporters lower your standards. If Bush had done to Al Gore what Ahmadinejad has done to Mousavi you would have raised hell – as you should have. But for some odd reason Ahmadinejad/SL are so close to your hearts that you don’t like it when anyone criticizes them and their actions. THAT makes me sad.

    M.Ali: “Fiorangela, I understand your frustration. For me, as an Iranian, the reason I engage Scott and other Iranians who follow his line, is the very reason the original post was made at this site. I am concerned that people like Scott, Pak, and Binam are lending a voice to the hawks in USA, making them believe their lies and encouraging them to attack Iran.”

    Believe it or not, the reason why I’m active here is because I fear people like you and the Leveretts are all lending a voice to the hawks in DC and encouraging them to attack Iran! I’ve said it in a previous post, I think what’s dangerous is whole-heartedly getting behind any ONE government, be it the US government or the Iranian government. Me, Scott and Pak are all critical of the US and Israeli governments while also being critical of the Iranian government.

    You on the other hand do what FOX NEWS does – you try to define entire countries with one brush stroke. At some point I hope to make you realize that suggesting that ALL Iranians are like Ahmadinejad and SUPPORT his policies is dangerous and it’s EXACTLY what the war-mongerers want. If Israel could convince the world that all Iranians are extremist conservatives who want to destroy Israel and the West they would have no problem rallying them to attack Iran. BUT, precisely BECAUSE of voices of dissent and specifically because of activities of the Green Movement (which includes the student movement, the women’s rights movement, the worker’s movement, etc) Israel CANNOT convince even it’s strongest allies that an attack on Iran is mandatory. That is why I think the Leveretts are trying SO HARD to convince the world that all Iranians are like Ahmadinejad – so as to help Israel.

    I doubt my posts here can change their perspective, but maybe there is a 1% chance that they will listen to reason. That 1% chance of giving less voice to such inaccurate beliefs is to me worth the hours I spend debating people like them.”

    I’m here for that 1% chance that YOU will see my point of view. If you agree that ALL governments are evil to varying degrees, then that would be a good starting point. But for as long as any of us believes any one government is sacred nothing of substance will be said here. Obviously it seems that you and others think IR is a sacred government that cannot and should not be scrutinized. That to me is very troubling.

    James: And it would not be “promoting the government of Iran” for Obama to send a US ambassador to Tehran. But the hundreds of stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress would block it!

    Oh and you must believe that the Iranian parliament will be all open arms about the prospects of a US ambassador in Tehran?! Your friends here on RFI would be first to call such a man a spy. Highly doubt the conservative factions in power in Iran (IRGC, Principalists) would favor such a thing – perhaps you think they too are stooges of Israel?!

    Mohammad: I guess the same holds in every country. If I’m not mistaken, American socialists, Israel opposers, atheists, anarchists, peace activists and other minority groups are more often heard on the Web than the mainstream media, and sometimes may give the impression that they are the majority.

    Thank you for comparing us to those minority groups! They all share the same passion for opposing oppressing powers. The views of the IRI you so strongly support is represented on Iran’s mainstream media (aka state TV), while views of regular Iranians is heard ONLY on the web. What you folks say here is nothing new, you’re repeating the talking points of the State TV of the IRI.

  268. James Canning says:

    Dan,

    I too like Pilger, though I would say Britain’s moral basis for fighting the First World War was 100 times stronger than that supporting the idiotic US invasion of Iraq.

    We all should pay attention to Dan Rather’s comments, about how TV news reporters etc feared for their jobs if they did not let the warmongers have their way. Something of the same sort clearly obtains regarding Iran.

    Is the Israel lobby the greatest threat to the national security of the American people? A good case can be made for the proposition.

  269. Scott Lucas says:

    Fiorangela,

    Let me which areas you want to develop and I would be pleased to discuss. As a starting point until tomorrow, any pursuit of military action by any group within the US Government — executive or legislative — is misguided, economically destructive, and — most importantly — would be the murder of innocent people. There are no grounds for US or Israeli operations against Iran.

    Engagement is preferable to confrontation, and that engagement should be a carrot-and-stick approach, especially Dennis Ross’ pursuit of negotiations only to establish a pretext — when those negotiations are collapsed — for aggressive economic or military action.

    S.

  270. Scott Lucas says:

    Rd,

    “Having problem with freedom of expression and government legitimacy? ”

    Not at all — I think the Government’s approach to fees for higher education is appalling on many grounds. And I am pleased that British students are expressing defiance.

    S.

  271. Scott Lucas says:

    Mohammad,

    Thanks for the information in the post.

    One clarification: I didn’t make the point initially to say Shakouri-Rad was “right”. It was to illustrate that public questioning of the official line of 12 June can get one put in jail very quickly.

    If you have an at-hand reference for Sadegh Larijani’s denial of the allegation, would be grateful for it.

    S.

  272. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    What a spectacle! Two whores of the Israel lobby, Dennis Ross and Gary Samore, want more sanctions against Iran.

  273. James Canning says:

    What a great photo with this piece! Colin Powell at the UN delivering a load of cr*p to the assembled delegates! It is too bad Powell did not visit Langley and view the numerous important pieces of evidence that Iraq had destroyed all its WMD during the 1990s, that Dick Cheney was keeping buried in the CIA (and away from the White House).

  274. Fiorangela says:

    Howard Berman chaired the Foreign Affairs committee meeting. Before his prepared remarks, Berman took a moment to recall Ste Solarz, who died recently. Here’s some background on Solarz, and the ‘set’ he gave to the Foreign Affairs committee:

    See especially Jeffrey Blankfort’s comment, #3. Blankfort is a pretty knowledgeable fellow. He hosts a weekly radio program on which he interviews the people MSM seldom allows to speak.

  275. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Rd,

    I hope Scott Lucas would agree that the proposal to increase tuition fees should have been presented to the public as a national referendum on the issue.

    I have to admit a certain nostalgia in these student protests for the Poll Tax Riots which shook London in 1990 and presaged the demise of the Thatcher regime. Of course, these were unacceptably violent but there was lot of provocation by the police

    Britain, indeed, has a history of popular revolt against the Establishment.Some may see it as quaint, but the British political system is medieval in origin.

  276. Humanist says:

    Another informative and thought provoking article by Leverets.

    The Wikileak files referred in this post are REPORTs written by personnel of the State Department in countries encircling Iran. The article puts the content of these reports under an analytical microscope and reveals how nearly all of them are flawed from the point of view that adherence to them might critically mislead the policy makers..

    After reading this article my mind drifted toward the makeup and character of those who wrote these reports.
    In my view even if their marks are high in the areas of “patriotism” or “integrity”, their scores in the “analytics” or in the “IQ”department do not hit the qualification mark. In this critical time of complex political world the significance of such disqualification doesn’t warrant repeated emphasis.

    In any modern organization which is controlled by principals of ‘Operations Research’ extra attention is paid on the qualification of the personnel assigned for any ‘pivotal’ job. The rule is if any of them makes a consequential mistake he/she should be immediately re-posted otherwise the “process of fatal deterioration in the organism” starts to take shape.

    I was thinking were any of the above personnel re-posted to lower jobs after their reports were proven to be so wrong ? What about those who ‘selected’ the personnel in the first place? Could they pass the tests of integrity, patriotism, intelligence or experience?

    US historian have a mighty and interesting tasks ahead of them to discover the answers for those amazing questions.

    Why analytical thinking is so important in every field of science, business, management and so on? Google search to find out why. I just mentions one reason why. Those skilled in Analytics are capable to consistently PREDICT or foresee the future ‘events’ with higher ACCURACY compared to those who rely on their subjective perceptions alone.

    Why Leveretts are incessantly gaining higher respect? Because what they are asserting or predicting prove to be ‘right’ while their opponents who tried to discredit them run away toward the lamentable hiding corners.

    Of course ‘no one is perfect’. Newton or Einstein too made serious blunders. So far I have noticed a prediction by Leveretts which didn’t materialize ie when they thought China might not go along regarding the recent UN sanctions on Iran. Whether I am wrong on this one or not the couple are really great assets to USA
    Even one understandable inaccuracy out of so many accurate assertions or prediction is quite remarkable.

    As Castello said ‘chapeau’ to Leveretts.

  277. Fiorangela says:

    Castellio, I read a number of the comments to the article about Ms. Peto’s thesis. Canadians are in pretty much the same spot Americans are in — perhaps even more government repression of “antisemitic” speech. That is surprising, and must be relatively recent. About two years ago I read David H Goldberg’s “Foreign Policy and Ethnic Interest Groups: American and Canadian Jews Lobby for Israel.” The book seemed to suggest that Israel lobby was much more powerful in US than in Canada. However, the book was published in 1990 — lot of political water over the Falls.

    I’m searching for the link you posted to Peto’s thesis; thanks for that.

  278. Fiorangela says:

    ““This ploy will not work,” Mr. Samore said. “In the wake of the Geneva talks, we and our allies are determined to maintain and even increase pressure. We need to send the message to Iran that sanctions will only increase if Iran avoids serious negotiations and will not be lifted until our concerns are fully addressed.””

    Dennis Ross was on NPR a few days ago and said the same thing, nearly word for word.

    Wonder if Bibi tells them both what to say? Wonder if Hillary Clinton gets a word in edgewise? Wonder if George Mitchell suffers at these affronts to American dignity, prestige, and values.

  279. Rd. says:

    oh my my aren’t we getting a bit testy!! :-)

    Speaking outside Downing Street on Friday, David Cameron, the British prime minister, said: “What we saw on the streets of London yesterday was completely unacceptable.

    “Of course there is a right to protest peacefully, there always should be, but there is not a right to go on the streets of London wanting to pursue violence and smashing up property.”

    Having problem with freedom of expression and government legitimacy? Perhaps the red jackets need some help with enduring the great britain!!

  280. Castellio says:

    Samor, Burns and Levey should all be accused of the crimes they are perpetuating in the International Court. Of course, the US is not a signatory to that court….

  281. Dan Cooper says:

    Why Are Wars Not Being Reported Honestly?

    The public needs to know the truth about wars. So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us?

    By John Pilger

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27036.htm

  282. kooshy says:

    It seems that the Geneva talks didn’t work very well for Gary and the west

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/world/middleeast/11nuke.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print

    December 10, 2010
    U.S. and Allies Plan More Sanctions Against Iran
    By DAVID E. SANGER
    WASHINGTON — Three days after the first nuclear talks with Iran in more than a year adjourned with no progress, President Obama’s chief nuclear adviser said on Friday that the United States and its allies planned a new round of sanctions against the country in coming weeks, part of an effort to test “how high Iran’s pain threshold is” and force the country into suspending its production of nuclear fuel.
    Another session of talks with Iran is scheduled to take place next month, probably in Turkey. But at a conference on Friday held by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Mr. Obama’s coordinator for weapons of mass destruction, Gary Samore, suggested that Iran may have decided to resume talks with the with the members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany “because it believes it can manipulate the appearance of negotiations to weaken existing sanctions and avoid additional measures.”
    “This ploy will not work,” Mr. Samore said. “In the wake of the Geneva talks, we and our allies are determined to maintain and even increase pressure. We need to send the message to Iran that sanctions will only increase if Iran avoids serious negotiations and will not be lifted until our concerns are fully addressed.”
    Mr. Samore was not specific about the sanctions now being contemplated. He also would not comment on the effects of the Stuxnet worm, which appears to have been directed at disrupting Iran’s centrifuges.
    “I’m glad to hear they are having troubles with their centrifuge machines,” he said with a smile, “and the U.S. and its allies are doing everything we can to make it more complicated.” But he said nothing about who was responsible for the worm.

  283. Fiorangela says:

    William Burns was one of the two witnesses who gave testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that Humanist described as an “amazing historic event.”

    A script of Burns’ testimony can be found here: http://www.state.gov/p/us/rm/2010/152222.htm

  284. Castellio,

    Thanks for the link to Jennifer Peto’s thesis (in your 2:02 post). I plan to read it this weekend, but the Introduction already makes clear that she probably pulls no punches:

    “My first memory of questioning my loyalty to the Israeli state is from the 9th grade. It was 1995 and I was almost 15 years old, attending a private Jewish high school in Toronto. One day, during a Jewish History class, our teacher was giving a lesson on the city of Hebron. During the class, he mentioned Baruch Goldstein – the Jewish settler who, in February 1994, had massacred over 50 Palestinians while they were praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. When my teacher said Goldstein’s name, he followed it with ‘zichrono livracha’ which is Hebrew for ‘may his memory be blessed’. This is a common practice among Orthodox Jewish people when mentioning the name of someone who is deceased. I remember being completely shocked that he would bless the name of a man who had committed such a horrible act of violence. I raised my hand and asked him why he had blessed Goldstein and not said ‘yemach shmo’ which, in Hebrew, means ‘may his name be erased from history’ and is commonly said after mentioning the name of an evil-doer that has died. My teacher, who himself was an Israeli settler, became enraged, refused to engage in this debate with me and sent me to the principal’s office where I was reprimanded for being disruptive in class.”

  285. Mohammad says:

    Scott,

    “A Government which imprisons a politician — with no apparent legal basis — for making a claim about an event that took place 18 months ago is not exactly showing security in its position.”

    That would be the case in a liberal democracy, but in Iran it doesn’t hold.
    If an Iranian publicly claims that some high-level Iranian politician or cleric is a homosexual, he’ll be arrested on charges of “publishing lies” (نشر اکاذیب) and “propagandizing against the system” (تبلیغ علیه نظام). It does not necessarily mean that he’s correct.
    I’m not defending Shakouri-Rad’s arrest, and I think his arrest is self-defeating, but using it as evidence that he’s right is not acceptable. Sadeq Larijani has reportedly denied Shakouri-Rad’s claims in the past.

    Also, the legal basis for his arrest exists in Iran. I don’t know if the public prosecutor is right, but charges which are defined in the Iranian law have been brought against Shakouri-Rad. The problem is in the law which defines such ambigous crimes as “propagandizing against the system” which includes everything from claiming homosexuality of officials to claiming fraud in the election.

  286. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott says:

    “I was a vocal critic of the Bush Administration’s policy on Iran and I have written extensively — including at length on EA — criticizing the current Administration’s approach (and the US media’s presentation) re the nuclear issue and regional questions. Indeed, I am in general agreement with the authors of RFI on their geopolitical approach.”

    Indeed, many of the critics of Bush policy towards Iran became ardent supporters of the Green movement almost overnight: Juan Cole, Barbara Slavin, Lee Sustar, Stephen Shalom, Muhammad Sahimi etc….

    I find this rather interesting given that neoconservatives like Michael Ledeen, Josh Muravchik etc are equally supportive of the Green movement and the likes of Mousavi and Karroubi.

    The true foreign policy critics ,like James Petras , didn’t fall for the bait and denounced the hype about the “stolen election”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14018

    This convergence between the pseudo-left and hard right ,following the election, was one of the most interesting aspects of all this.

  287. Fiorangela says:

    Scott – could you please be more specific and analytical.

  288. Iranian says:

    Scott Lucas

    Then have the courage to put aside an argument when you know there is no evidence to back it up. The US government and political establishment is focused on confrontation and they are the one’s who should be the focus of critique.

  289. Scott Lucas says:

    Fiorangela/Castellio,

    I would be eager to consider with you the strategies in putting forward a positive response to challenge the dangerous approach of the House Committee.

    I was a vocal critic of the Bush Administration’s policy on Iran and I have written extensively — including at length on EA — criticising the current Administration’s approach (and the US media’s presentation) re the nuclear issue and regional questions. Indeed, I am in general agreement with the authors of RFI on their geopolitical approach.

    Best,

    S.

  290. Fiorangela says:

    Barbara Slavin weighs in with a backgrounder to support the thesis the Leveretts offered this morning: The US relies on dubious sources of information to understand what is going on in Iran (apparently the US feels it is a more efficient, honest, open, and reflective of American values way to understand another country before bombing it ’til M Ali’s head hurts).

  291. Fiorangela says:

    Luccas, “I would be hard-pressed to think of an occasion since October 2009 when they have criticised the Ahmadinejad Government.”

    Do you really think that’s a wise approach — to provide to a group like the Committee on Foreign Affairs more fuel to fuel their anti-regime fire?

    What level of expertise to you possess on US domestic political pressures and influence-shapers?

  292. Pirouz says:

    Scott,

    if you take issue with the methodology of the poll or have further questions, simply contact IPI for a further explanation rather than summarily dismissing it.

  293. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Castellio,

    We don’t know what Scott Lucas actually believes any more. He is more evasive than any politician could ever be. I am curious about why he even comes on RFI to challenge all the evidence massed against his arguments and for which he can offer nothing in reply.

    Maybe he feels he has to try and refute the irrefutable.

    Good for him then.

  294. Fiorangela says:

    Scott, I am fully in agreement. I have no time for the approach of the leaders of the Committee. But I think they have to be met with more than an unquestioning promotion of the Iranian Government (just as I would be quick to challenge anyone with an unquestioning promotion of the US Government).

    How do you suggest “meeting with” the House Foreign Affairs committee? What approach do you propose? What arguments would you make? About what key features of Iran would you seek to educate them in order to persuade them to create a mutually beneficial policy — the argument that a US poll of Iranian sentiment was illegitimate?

  295. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    The only illegitimacy that I can think of here is linked to you. You lied about your affiliation to the University of Tehran. You promised on this website to remove reference to it from your university website months ago and you didn’t.

    You are a shameless fraud.

  296. Castellio says:

    Scott, you say below “I am fully in agreement [with Fiorangela’s comment]. I have no time for the approach of the leaders of the Committee.”

    Will you develop your argument as to why you are in disagreement with the approach of the Committee and publish that on your blog?

  297. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    So now you’re an expert on polling too? Amazing since I assume you haven’t seen the data. It’s also amazing that you refute all the polling results both before and after the election. You refute everything, but you provide no evidence for anything.

  298. Scott Lucas says:

    James,

    Re “unquestioning promotion”: It’s not just the election: in the case of the authors of RFI, I would be hard-pressed to think of an occasion since October 2009 when they have criticised the Ahmadinejad Government.

    S.

  299. Scott Lucas says:

    M. Ali,

    My comment was simply that the IPI poll is shoddy — I doubt it will be more than a ripple, given the lack of methodology, despite the likely post coming from the authors of RFI.

    And on the election, the key actors who are challenging the legitimacy of the election do link the public announcements of Ahmadinejad victory and private notifications to Mousavi.

    On your more important points:

    “It’s not a question of “feeling” illegtimacy/legitimacy. It’s a question of establishing it to the satisfaction of the populace.”

    Your more important points:

    “Where is [the] evidence that the populace are NOT satisfied [or ARE satisfied] with the results aside form a loud minority?”

    With the modifications, that’s a great question.

    My suggestion — from observation and from sources — would be that most Iranians are beyond the election, whether or not they think it was legitimate. Most are concerned with the economy. Most are concerned with social services. Many are concerned with security. Many are concerned with rights.

    That’s why the immediate political battle is within the establishment, and arguably within the principlist camp. It is they who have power re the economy, subsidies, the legal system, education (recognising, of course, the Supreme Leader’s position above them), so the immediate squabbling over power is within the group.

    But as the next major election approaches, I would not be surprised to see that question of legitimacy through the ballot box become more than a “Green” annoyance.

    “What has [Shakouri Rad being in jail ] that got to do with the elections?”

    It has everything to do with the legitimacy of the elections and with the important questions of rights beyond them. A Government which imprisons a politician — with no apparent legal basis — for making a claim about an event that took place 18 months ago is not exactly showing security in its position.

    S.

  300. Mohammad says:

    Binam,

    Previous polls by WPO have shown that only 13% of Iranians are active Web users (i.e. using it at least once per week). All polls have consistently shown that well-educated, wealthy, urban and young people are more likely to oppose the government (that doesn’t mean that most of them oppose the government, but it means that the percentage of unhappy people among them is higher than other sections of the Iranian society). Considering that the opposition have no other consistently reliable tool to express their opinions than the Web, they are more likely to be active on the Web.

    I guess the same holds in every country. If I’m not mistaken, American socialists, Israel opposers, atheists, anarchists, peace activists and other minority groups are more often heard on the Web than the mainstream media, and sometimes may give the impression that they are the majority (I guess Bush supporters on the Web were less than Kerry’s in the 2004 presidential election).

  301. James Canning says:

    Scott,

    It is not “unquestioning promotion” of the government of Iran to say that Ahmadinejad won the 2009 election and all the noise since then has not worked in the best interests of the American people. Was Franklin Rosevelt “promoting” the government of the Soviet Union when he sent his friend Bill Bullitt to Moscow to serve as US ambassador? Of course not. And it would not be “promoting the government of Iran” for Obama to send a US ambassador to Tehran. But the hundreds of stooges of the Israel lobby in the US Congress would block it!

  302. Scott Lucas says:

    Momma (Fiorangela),

    “I want to talk about how American citizens can affect US policy toward Iran so that my children will not live the rest of their lives in shame and degradation. I want my children to be able to interact freely with the extraordinary people of Iran and of the rest of the world.

    The policy decisions and trajectory of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee would make that vision impossible.”

    I am fully in agreement. I have no time for the approach of the leaders of the Committee. But I think they have to be met with more than an unquestioning promotion of the Iranian Government (just as I would be quick to challenge anyone with an unquestioning promotion of the US Government).

    S.

  303. M.Ali says:

    Fiorangela, I understand your frustration. For me, as an Iranian, the reason I engage Scott and other Iranians who follow his line, is the very reason the original post was made at this site. I am concerned that people like Scott, Pak, and Binam are lending a voice to the hawks in USA, making them believe their lies and encouraging them to attack Iran.

    I doubt my posts here can change their perspective, but maybe there is a 1% chance that they will listen to reason. That 1% chance of giving less voice to such inaccurate beliefs is to me worth the hours I spend debating people like them.

    I don’t have any children to think of. But I live in the ground floor in an apartment in Tehran. And I am fully aware of how much concrete will fall in my head if a US rocket hits my building. So I’m thinking of my poor head.

  304. Rehmat says:

    When it comes to Hasbara lies – even sky is not the limit.

    During June 2009 elections in which Hizbullah lead the Opposition against pro-West ruling March 14 coalition lead by billionaire Sa’ad Hariri – Thomas Friedman and Elliott Abrams lied in the New York Times: “The majority of Lebanese have rejected Hezbollah’s claim that it is not a terrorist group.” The victory of March 14 “no doubt came as a huge relief to a good majority of Lebanese,” mused Claude Salhani.

    In fact, the Lebanese Opposition lead by Hizbullah received 53.4% of the votes against the pro-US March 14 ruling coalition headed by Sa’ad Hariri’s 43.4% votes. It’s the ‘religious seat quota’ which did not allow Hizbullah to form a government in Beirut……

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/pew-poll-muslims-welcome-shariah-but/

  305. M.Ali says:

    Pirouz, I, of course, agree. Iranians on the ground are smart enough to know that no nuclear-armed country has ever been attacked by USA…

  306. Fiorangela says:

    ok, now I’m losing my patience.

    I put a helluva lot of work into a comment earlier.
    I recognize that commenting on a blog does not entitle anyone to anything.
    But dammit, Lucas, you are annoying as hell. Shut up and go away. You have nothing to contribute.

    I want to talk about how American citizens can affect US policy toward Iran so that my children will not live the rest of their lives in shame and degradation. I want my children to be able to interact freely with the extraordinary people of Iran and of the rest of the world.

    The policy decisions and trajectory of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee would make that vision impossible.

    I suggest that we, here, focus on the topics that the Leveretts offer to us, so that we can all find positive directions towards which we can push, and negative influences that we can expose and derail.

    When my kids were little they made clay plaques that said, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

    Lucas, I am not happy with you. Be quiet.
    Momma has spoken.

  307. Pirouz says:

    M. Ali,

    Actually the number of people that elected to respond to the WPO poll was significantly higher than polls attempted to be taken of Americans (not the same).

    This isn’t the first time “nuclear weapons” has been substituted for “nuclear technology” in these Western polls. But anyway, who can blame ordinary Iranians for feeling this way? The Americans and Israelis have been issuing weekly threats for years now, and Obama stated publicly the nuclear option against Iran is “on the table”. How do you expect an ordinary Iranian citizen to react?

    Myself, the results pertaining to the 2009 election and law enforcements efforts post-election were the most illuminating of the poll. It confirms what I’ve been saying of Iran’s public opinion for over a year now.

  308. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Binam says: “you should know that a much larger crowd of online contributors and activists don’t even know you and I exist and that your positions on legitimacy of the Iranian government are held by a minority both online and offline.”

    Evidence please. Let’s have some *numbers”!

    If there are *some* people who claim the election was rigged and the government illegitimate, does that mean that this is so? What percentage of a population have to regard a government as illegitimate for it to be illegitimate?

  309. Binam,

    “There are at most 20 people who post regularly on the RFI forum….”

    That strikes me as a reasonable estimate; there is probably an equal number of occasional posters. All in all, an extremely active website. I’m not aware of any other Iran-focused site that even approaches it in the level of activity and sophistication. Like or not the views expressed here — and I certainly am aware that many don’t — most people who follow Iran closely probably at least check in now and then, and I know that very many find it worth reading carefully — your posts, included, and Scott’s, Pak’s and nearly everyone else’s. It doesn’t do me much good to read only posts from people who agree with me.

    Sometimes people get uncivil here, but much less often than on similar sites. It’s certainly true that each of us has his bias, though I certainly don’t think there is the “Leverett line” unanimity that some purport to find here. I disagree with them on some matters, for example, as I make clear when those matters arise.

    A few other websites have a vigorous back and forth too (Muhammad Sahimi’s Tehran Bureau comes to mind), but most others I’m aware of are either sparsely followed or amount to nothing but echo chambers (good manners dictate that I not give an example). Indeed, a few of the echo-chamber sites remind me of the early days of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, when listeners would call in and wait on “hold” for hours until Limbaugh put them on the air so they could say “Ditto, Rush!” and hang up — meaning, of course, that they agreed with everything Mr. Limbaugh said, had nothing to add, and just wanted others to know how they felt.

    They’re arent’ many ditto-heads here.

  310. M.Ali says:

    Here is also another interesting thing to take out of the polls.

    Most people are not satisfied with the economy, but majority blame it on economic sanctions, then threat to territory, then relationship with the west, and only 8% with development, meaning they probably don’t directly blame Ahmadenijad, but outside factors.

  311. M.Ali says:

    In the polls 50% said they should abolish the moral police, and Scott says the people answering the polls are scared. If I was scared, I would say they would all say NO

  312. Castellio says:

    Fiorangela and others:

    Should you wish to read the MA thesis which is causing such a ruckus in Canada.
    https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/24619/1/Peto_Jennifer_201006_MA_thesis.pdf

  313. M.Ali says:

    “It’s not a question of “feeling” illegtimacy/legitimacy. It’s a question of establishing it to the satisfaction of the populace.”

    Where is your evidence that the populace are NOT satisfied with the results aside form a loud minority?

    Please, for once, cite something definite, instead of anecdotes that in no way represent the general view of 70 million people. Please please pretty please.

    “You misunderstand: the challenge is that the “published” numbers, before the polls closed, gave the victory to Ahmadinejad; the private message — from the Larijanis, amongst others — was that Mousavi had won.”

    Most arguments don’t link the two. They attack the former for being too early, while at another time, they bring up the latter. Like the many instances of claiming votes were in too early (like that famous cartoon that has been used many times of a cleric taking the votes by camel, lol iran is so backwards) but at another time, saying that Mousavi got a private message that he won.

    Let me address other things you said,
    “Shakouri Rad (why is he in jail?)”

    Lets just say that he was in jail for his points of view (which I disagree, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for this post), what has that got to do with the elections? What if, the government concerned about the way people were using the elections to undermine the elections and had to take actions for security reasons. One thing we learned from the wikileaks cables were that Iranians were reaching out to foreigners to undermine the government for their own political agendas. Maybe the government feels that it has to take pro-active approach to defend itself against such attempts. Whether they have the right to do this or not should be discussed outside the discussion of the legitimacy of the elections.

    On Polls:
    “Even if one accepts that a fair poll can be conducted under the current political and social circumstances in Iran,”

    If they are afraid, they could refuse to answer. I havent checked out this poll yet, but I remember previous polls had the same percentage of refusal to answer as polls conducted in western countries.

    “even if one accepts that Iranians would give straight answers to an organisation calling from the outside,”

    I repeat my previous point.

    “even if one accepts the methodology (which we don’t know, because IPI for some bizarre reason only released a slide-show summary)”

    Again, I can’t speak for this one, but WPO had detailed results shown.

    “even if one believes that a sampling of 702 people is a fair reflection of opinion amongst all Iranians”

    I’m not a statistician, but I know that almost all statistics is based on a sample. You speak like such a non-academic sometimes, I feel a tinge of sympathy for your students.

    What I WOULD say that I do not know what the correct sampling number would be. This would depend on the choosing of the sample and I hope someone smarter than me can comment on it.

    But how come the results of the three major polls are so SIMILAR? Did all the three polls ask the same group of people? Did the government tell the polls who to ask?

    If the polls are so inaccurate and people so scared and the results so inaccurately pro-government, why doesn’t slide 18 have 100% voting turnout instead of 86% similiar to the government’s 85%? Why is the next slide’s results for Ahmedinijad 58%, close to the officials results of 63%??

    “even if one discounts the high number of Don’t Knows on some questions….”

    What was the percentage of don’t knows? Was it higher or lower than average compared to other polls? I remember the percentage of refusal to answer the questions were high in WPO and people like you (it might even have BEEN YOU) said the percentage was high enough to make the poll inaccurate, but I later realized how western polls in western countries had the same percentage.

    “….the results are confused and contradictory.”

    “Defenders of Ahmadinejad will not note that 85% of Iranians think their economic situation is “negative” (fair or poor) vs. “postive” (good or very good).”

    Not everyone who argues with you is a defender of Ahmadinejad. They are defenders of the election. what are you arguing? That if you think the elections are fair you should automatically claim the economic situation is positive? Or are you saying that people who are not happy about the economics would have automatically voted for Mousavi?

    Ahmadenijad run on a platform of economics for both terms. Mousavi run on a platform of…uh…Ahmadenijad sucking. Karoubi run on a platform on Ahmadenijad sucking. Rezai run on a platform of Federal Government.

    “Those who note that Iranians favour repression of post-election protest will not note that a majority also support outside intervention over human rights.”

    You think this is contradictory? This is why you get Iran wrong so much. A lot of people were against the protests and have supported the governments ability of bringing stability back to their lives. Most people didn’t care about shouting slogans, they wanted to safely go to work, or open their shop, or go shopping at night, and attend Ashura without making it political.

    At the same time, they might be concerned about human rights.

    “Almost no one except supporters of Rafsanjani will note that Rafsanjani is the overwhelming favourite — among those presented in the survey (and Ahmadinejad was not an option) — amongst the participants.”

    The questions wasn’t who you like most. THe question seems to be, asking one by one, if they favor them or not. People have less reason to DISLIKE Khatami and Rafsanjani. Both were previous presidents who led the country for two terms. It is doubtful they have suddenly become unfavorable among the public.

    What this result shows is something you missed. It seems people have a feeling towards the two previous presidents (take the favorable plus unfavorable response, and its almost 100%). But with Karoubi and Mousavi, it seems 40% were neither favorable nor unfavorable, means they don’t even care enough to think about them, which is why their party has become so insignificant in Iran.

    “The question on “nuclear weapons” was not accompanied, it seems, by a question on “nuclear energy” so we get the headline that Iranians Favour the Bomb.”

    I agree, maybe another question should have been asked

    Based on the summary — which is all we have — this is a poor survey. That will not stop it from being used as a political weapon.

  314. Reza Esfandiari says:

    One can sense the frustration of Lucas.

    But let’s go through his pojnts.

    “Even if one accepts that a fair poll can be conducted under the current political and social circumstances in Iran,

    These sorts of polls were conducted long before the election and are strangely consistent with each other.

    “even if one accepts that Iranians would give straight answers to an organisation calling from the outside,”

    They can refuse to answer any question.,,nobody is forcing them to answer.

    “even if one accepts the methodology (which we don’t know, because IPI for some bizarre reason only released a slide-show summary),”

    Wait till the questionnaire data is released.

    “even if one believes that a sampling of 702 people is a fair reflection of opinion amongst all Iranians”

    Idiot. That is what polling is all about – taking as representative a sample as possible.

    “even if one discounts the high number of Don’t Knows on some questions….”

    People aren’t allowed to say they don’t know? Most, however, voice their opinion.

    “….the results are confused and contradictory.”

    On the subject of the election, they are remarkably consistent with previous surveys and congruent with the official figures, or do you wish to ignore this?

    “Defenders of Ahmadinejad will not note that 85% of Iranians think their economic situation is “negative” (fair or poor) vs. “postive” (good or very good).”

    Few people, anywhere in the world, claim that their economics situation is optimal: Ask the same question in the U.K or U.S and see what the response is.

    “Those who note that Iranians favour repression of post-election protest will not note that a majority also support outside intervention over human rights. ”

    No, that is duly noted. But suppressing sedition and instability is not the equivalent of violating human rights. The government may have cracked down but it also prosecuted those responsible for abusing people at Kahrizak.

  315. Binam,

    “[Y]our positions on legitimacy of the Iranian government are held by a minority both online and offline.”

    I’m well aware of this, and it makes me a bit uncomfortable to recognize that well-educated and decent people can so easily be persuaded to believe something that has no basis in fact. You might take that as a sarcastic remark, but I mean it sincerely. It makes me sad.

  316. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    Losing your temper?

  317. James Canning says:

    The lawyers who conspired to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq, acting on instructions from Dick Cheney, knew the “Curveball” intelligence was rubbish, and German intelligence made it clear they regarded his intelligence as unsound, to say the least.

    Cheney made numerous trips to Langley, to review CIA intelligence and suppress clear evidence Iraq had destroyed its WMD during the 1990s. Cheney did not want such intelligence to get into the White House because he was protecting the “deniability” of the team of lawyers who were conspiring to set up the illegal war and did not want to be prosecuted.

  318. kooshy says:

    Scott

    “Those who note that Iranians favor repression of post-election protest will not note that a majority also support outside intervention over human rights.”

    Good, and I See now that’s where your goal post is, and that’s why one Scott Lucas needs to keep this issue alive, to be able when needs be, confirmatively and based on Iranian’s majority opinion announce that the “majority of [Iranians] also support outside intervention over the human rights”

    May I as an Iranian ask what kind of outside intervention you recommend and you have in mind I hope is not the kind you gave to next door neighbors? And is there any relation on above with your next important point you mentioned.

    “The question on “nuclear weapons” was not accompanied; it seems, by a question on “nuclear energy” so we get the headline that Iranians Favor the Bomb.”

    Reza see this new connection he is making is what I wrote my comment to you yesterday, this guy has an agenda to carry out

  319. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas

    No one is going to help you with your incompetence. Pay more money, get more translators, stop sticking to a few western backed green websites, and find your information.

    PS If you stop being dishonest that would help too. lol

  320. Iranian says:

    “Based on the summary — which is all we have — this is a poor survey. That will not stop it from being used as a political weapon.”

    What a laugh. Scott Lucas is really going mad. Americans produce the polls, like a series of other polls and they all say the same thing (both before and after the elections and then Scott Lucas gets angry that this “poor survey” will be used as a “political weapon”. Binam what is important is that the vast majority of Iranians inside Iran will not let the US steal the elections.

  321. Binam says:

    Eric: “Some have praised my patience for bearing with you on this as long as I have, but I suspect that many more are questioning my sanity for having done so. I fear that the latter group may be growing larger and larger every day.”

    Don’t get carried away now! There are at most 20 people who post regularly on the RFI forum and while Scott, Pak and Co. are a minority here, they are by no means a minority elsewhere on the Internet. Don’t forget that at least as far as the cyberspace goes, the vast majority of web-savy Iranians hold positions closer to the RFI Opposition (!) than to the Leveretts and in fact find it a waste of time to frequent this blog. So while you may lean towards a “larger and larger” number of people questioning your sanity for putting up with Scott Lucas, you should know that a much larger crowd of online contributors and activists don’t even know you and I exist and that your positions on legitimacy of the Iranian government are held by a minority both online and offline.

  322. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    The Larijanis never sent any message and they denied that sort of propaganda put out by people like you.

    In addition, this poll mearly reaffirms what all other polls have stated. MANY OF THOSE POLLS TOOK PLACE BEFORE THE ELECTIONS.

    The US government is really wasting the money of taxpayers on people like you. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  323. Scott Lucas says:

    Meanwhile, on the IPI survey….

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/10/the-latest-from-iran-10-december-human-rights-day.html

    Even if one accepts that a fair poll can be conducted under the current political and social circumstances in Iran, even if one accepts that Iranians would give straight answers to an organisation calling from the outside, even if one accepts the methodology (which we don’t know, because IPI for some bizarre reason only released a slide-show summary), even if one believes that a sampling of 702 people is a fair reflection of opinion amongst all Iranians, even if one discounts the high number of Don’t Knows on some questions….

    ….the results are confused and contradictory.

    Defenders of Ahmadinejad will not note that 85% of Iranians think their economic situation is “negative” (fair or poor) vs. “postive” (good or very good). Those who note that Iranians favour repression of post-election protest will not note that a majority also support outside intervention over human rights.

    Almost no one except supporters of Rafsanjani will note that Rafsanjani is the overwhelming favourite — among those presented in the survey (and Ahmadinejad was not an option) — amongst the participants.

    The question on “nuclear weapons” was not accompanied, it seems, by a question on “nuclear energy” so we get the headline that Iranians Favour the Bomb.

    Based on the summary — which is all we have — this is a poor survey. That will not stop it from being used as a political weapon.

  324. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    No longer offering replies to substantive points — including the points raised on this thread from Mohtashamipour and Shakouri Rad (why is he in jail?) — but handing out personal advice is a sign of full retreat.

    S.

  325. Scott Lucas says:

    M. Ali,

    It’s not a question of “feeling” illegtimacy/legitimacy. It’s a question of establishing it to the satisfaction of the populace.

    Re “the elections were fraudulent because the results were in way too early for Ahmadenijad’s victory and also say that the results gave the victory to Mousavi first? So, which is it? Isn’t that contradictory? They catn’t even get their arguments straight.

    You misunderstand: the challenge is that the “published” numbers, before the polls closed, gave the victory to Ahmadinejad; the private message — from the Larijanis, amongst others — was that Mousavi had won.

    S.

  326. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    As pointed out:
    “Akhoundi at no point said that the elections were fraudulent.”

    You can’t hide from the truth.

  327. Fiorangela says:

    for publication in LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, and my grandchildren’s comic books:

    Dear Mossad/CIA and/or bad guys everywhere/anywhere:

    PLEASE bomb Iran and wipe out all those who are STILL yammering about an election, over one year after the fraudulently/not fraudulently elected person has TAKEN the gosh durned office and is making decisions, representing his country abroad, and serving his constituents, for good or ill, at home.

    PLEASE!!

    Make them stop!

  328. Scott Lucas says:

    Kamran,

    “Akhoundi at no point said that the elections were fraudulent.”

    That’s not the argument here — the claim which was made was that Akhoundi said the elections were legitimate. If he did say that (and I have yet to see the source for the claim), that was not his position by 5 July.

    S.

  329. Reza,

    In the recent poll you cited yesterday, I noticed that the number of Iranians who want Iran to build a nuclear bomb appears to have jumped recently — not just risen slightly, but jumped (to 71%). Any thoughts on why that has occurred?

  330. Iranian says:

    Pak

    Personally, I don’t see any irony. Scott Lucas is in no position to talk like that. He’s being arrogant and childlike. There is no evidence out there to back up his claims. The world has moved on, but inside the US hawks use the garbage the the likes of Scott Lucas produce to claim the Iranian government is weak and unpopular so the US should push harder to bring about regime change.

    There is little doubt in my mind that Scott Lucas has a vested interest in pursuing this dishonest position. Otherwise, it’s clear that there was no fraud at all.

  331. Fiorangela says:

    The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs appears to use information from flawed sources; namely, from MEK, just as Drs. Leverett outline and compare to the same fatally flawed process US policymakers succumbed to regarding Iraq.

    What is the impact of this repeat of a dunderheaded thinking?

    1. US is chasing the wrong bad guys (Iran). As Ros-Lehtinen’s comments indicate, the Foreign Affairs committee labels Iran a “major threat to the US, its interests, and its allies” because of its “pursuit of nuclear weapons, and support for Hamas and Hezbollah.” But according to terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman, the real threat to US interests is Al Qaeda. What is more, while the rest of the world is suffering constrained economic circumstances, Al Qaeda is expanding, having grown by 50% since 2008. Even more worrisome, says Hoffman, is the fact borne out by Gen. David Petraeus that Al Qaeda now has cells in the US that are capable of activating “home-grown” “terrorists.” Iran is not an enemy to the US (leastways it didn’t used to be until the US started to push Iran around, strangle its economy and kill its intellectual elites: according to a poll that Reza Esfandiari linked, below, Iranian disaffection with US has soared since Obama took office: in February, 2008, 49% of Iranians polled had an unfavorable impression of the United States. In September, 2010, 87% of Iranians polled had an unfavorable impression of the US.

    2. In the process of chasing the wrong bad guys, US is delivering to the “real” enemy (Al Quaeda, according to expert Bruce Hoffman, and to the fact that US is killing Afghanis in order to deny safe haven to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan) precisely what Al Qaeda seeks: our economic viability. According to Hoffman, Al Qaeda’s primary tactic is to wage a war of attrition: to cause the US to spend ever more resources on domestic security as well as to require that US retain forces in the field, until US has been bled dry. A secondary tactic is to isolate the US in the field. Al Qaeda believes it has accomplished one such victory in peeling off the Dutch contingent from the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, and in the process bringing about the fall of the Dutch government.

    3. While US is chasing the wrong bad guys (Iran), it is twisting the arms of key nations in the international community, and alienating them from forming favorable trade relations with the US.
    In her testimony, Ros-Lehtinen listed five major nations that are not “cooperating” with US efforts to get them to join in sanctioning Iran. These nations include Russia, China, Brazil, Turkey, and Armenia.

    Russia, China, Brazil, Turkey, Armenia, and Iran, the nations on the bitter end of the ire of the new chair of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee, represent a combined population of 1.797 billion men, women, and children, potential consumers, with a combined purchasing price parity GDP of 14.79 trillion US dollars.

    This morning, William Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council, was a guest on C Span Washington Journal to discuss the US-South Korea trade agreement. In the course of the discussion, he repeated that the US, as a mature, slow-growth economy, can no longer survive on solely domestic consumption; the US MUST engage in foreign trade/export. He stated that “95% of the world’s consumers are outside our shores. We can’t sustain our growth on domestic consumption.” Reinsch noted that President Obama had set a goal of increasing US exports over the next five years.

    By enacting policies that alienate nearly 2 billion potential consumers with nearly $15 trillion to spend, Ros-Lehtinen and the House Foreign Affairs committee are working at loggerheads to Obama’s plan; working at cross-purposes to the interests of the American people; and turning a deaf ear to the message the American people sent to Washington when they voted out the old legislators who had failed to deliver jobs and a plan for a sound financial future for the United States.

    4. In the Miller-Parthemore paper that outlined the “game-change” strategy that the “next” US administration should employ regarding Iran, the strategy sought to simultaneously constrain/punish Iran until it renounced nuclear enrichment, AND gain Iran’s help in resolving US difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, by punishing the bad guy, unnecessarily, and at cost to the US economy and future, the US is turning its back on a major source of assistance in redeeming itself from a major foreign policy blunder.

    Why is US pursuing this flawed policy?
    One word:
    Israel.

    Israel, with a population of 7 million, a ppp GDP of just over $200 billion, and a debt burden of 77% of GDP, borrowed mainly from the US (US debt is +- 54%).

    Israel, that has started at least three wars in the last 30 years, at a cost of untold thousands of civilian lives, not to mention the destruction of civilian infrastructure; that has assassinated numerous heads of state and civilians/citizens of other nations; that even today keeps under embargoed conditions over one million Palestinian Arabs; that refuses to recognize democratically elected leaders with whom it does not agree, and carries out subversive activities against other elected leaders of whom it does not approve; that has carried out bombing campaigns against the sovereign territory of other nations without provocation.

  332. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    The percentage for the turnout is usually a sign of legitimacy. 85% of Iranians voted in the presidential election compared to just 15% in the recent Egyptian parliamentary one. Numbers do matter….the percentages of Iranians claiming they voted for Ahmadinejad in now 3 post election polls is around the 60% mark. No alternative numbers for any of the 45,692 ballot box tallies has ever been presented.

    It is all about numbers. If a minority thinks the government is illegitimate it does not make it so. Only when a majority, or at least a plurality, thinks so does it become the case.

  333. Scott,

    Some have praised my patience for bearing with you on this as long as I have, but I suspect that many more are questioning my sanity for having done so. I fear that the latter group may be growing larger and larger every day.

  334. Pak says:

    Am I debating with children here? Does anybody actually know what democracy is?

  335. Pak says:

    “The elections are obviously legitimate. Period. An American like you sitting in the UK is in no position to say otherwise.”

    Irony alert!

  336. M.Ali says:

    Also, isnt it amusing how certain people both claim the elections were fraudulent because the results were in way too early for Ahmadenijad’s victory and also say that the results gave the victory to Mousavi first? So, which is it? Isn’t that contradictory? They catn’t even get their arguments straight.

    Or, look at the claim about how some Mousavi observers were allowed in late. They are there as observers, its their job to observe and make sure everything went smoothly. if they felt there was some issues with that particular post, all they had to do was refuse to sign off on the form, and raise an issue later on. If the observers signed off the vote as legitimate and at the same time, not raise the issue, then there was either no problems with the elections or they can’t do their job, so maybe next election Mousavi should choose better people to be his observers. And if thousands of observers are incapable of doing their jobs, maybe its better Mousavi didn’t get elected, because how can you trust someone who can’t even employee the right observers?

  337. Reza,

    You wrote to Pak:

    “Surprisingly enough, numbers are what elections are all about.”

    Well put.

  338. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    Numbers are only one factor of elections. If they are the only indication of legitimacy, then the latest Egyptian and Burmese elections were legitimate, because the numbers say so.

    Clearly that is wrong. Other factors should be taken into consideration, such as the ones I listed below in a post addressed to Pirouz. Can you please tell me why you are not considering factors such as: the involvement of the Revolutionary Guards, before, during and after the elections; the imprisonment of politicians, before, during and after the elections; the explicit admissions of fraud and other legitimate claims of suspicion; the ransacking of opposition offices; and the explicit bias of Khamenei.

    These same factors are used to prove that neither Egypt nor Burma have legitimate governments. Why may I ask do these factors not apply to Iran, and the numbers are your proof?

  339. M.Ali says:

    So one person (Pak) says that numbers don’t matter, while the other person (Scott) basically says there is no proof of fraud, but it doesn’t feel legitimate.

    Basically, it seems these people dont really support democracy.

  340. Pirouz says:

    Pak,

    Let it be known that I personally voted Green in the 2009 election. After some initial confusion, I accepted the official results. I did not protest.

    I’ve been saying for over a year now there is a silent majority in Iran similar to that which I witnessed in America during the late 1960s and early 70s. This silent majority supports the IRI and voted for Ahmadinejad for president in 2009. And what’s more, a sizable representation of this silent majority attended that pro-IRI rally during 22 Bahman.

    http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2009/09/silent-majority.html

    Now yet another poll reflects the existence of this silent majority.

  341. Kamran says:

    Scott Lucas

    You are making things up. Akhoundi at no point said that the elections were fraudulent.

    The elections are obviously legitimate. Period. An American like you sitting in the UK is in no position to say otherwise.

  342. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    Surprisingly enough, numbers are what elections are all about.

    Maybe you didn’t realize this.

  343. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    A fatwa is a legal opinion. It is not binding.

    To infer that 70% of Iranians support “fitna” because they want nukes, is patently ridiculous.

  344. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    I am going to take a wild guess and say that you are a statistician. You love numbers, you do not care where the numbers come from, and you cannot see the bigger picture. Numbers are just numbers for you.

  345. Pirouz says:

    That should read nearly 60% support law enforcement efforts to nearly 20% that think the effort went to far. A sizable majority of support, similar to views representative of America’s “silent majority” during YS demonstrations during the late 1960s and early 70s. Note the similarities:

    http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2009/11/law-enforcement-versus-anti.html

  346. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz,

    Over 70% of Iranians in the poll you refer to want nuclear weapons. Khamenei issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons. Therefore over 70% of Iranians are seditionists.

    Concurrently, this craving for nuclear weapons plays into the war narrative of the US and the Zionists.

    Hey, if you want to use the poll to confirm the legitimacy of the elections, you should be consistent and admit that you are also a seditionist and a supporter of the war narrative.

  347. Pirouz says:

    Pak, where did you get the 70% “sedition” figure? Nearly 70% support Iran’s law enforcement efforts against the post-election demonstrators.

    What I’ve been saying all along is that the views being touted in the MSM and by Iranians in the diaspora are reflective a vocal minority inside Iran. On my blog I referred to the pro-IRI, Ahmadinejad supporters as “the silent majority”, similar to that which supported Nixon in ’68 and ’72, in the face of demonstrations in America by a vocal minority. Yet another poll on Iran now reflects this.

    This now makes 4 independent polls that mirror the official 2009 presidential election results. People like Scott and Pak need to face facts. The election was not “stolen” and the political views they espouse are only compatible with a vocal minority inside the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  348. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott,

    There is no such thing as “proof” in science (unless you are dealing with mathematical equations). Something is either “supported” or it is not.

    You’d think a scholar like yourself would know this.

    The best available information indicates that 80% of Iranians inside Iran consider the re-election of President Ahmadinejad and his government as “legitimate”.

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/652.php?lb=brme&pnt=652&nid=&id=

    Now, if you don’t that is your view. But you cannot then claim that your view is the majority view without providing a shred of evidence in support.

  349. Rehmat says:

    Pak – The elections in Egypt and Burma – are as much kosher as the earlier elections in the Occupied Afghanistan – because they all served US agenda in the Muslim world.

    The current corrupt Egyptian-regime is to be maintained as it protects Israel from the Islamic resistances both in Gaza and Lebanon.

    Burma, not long ago was a very ‘dear friend’ of US and Israel. Washington’s rant to bring regime-change in Burma has nothing to do with democracy or human right. It’s the control of strategic water-ways between the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea – the Strait of Malacca, which links Indian and Pacific Occeans. More than 80% of China oil imports passes through Strait of Malacca. Washington wants to militarize but Burma and some other regional countries refuse to submit to the ZOG imperialism.

    The visit of Burmese Prime Minister U Nu in 1955 made the ‘Israel’s dream’ come true. As a gesture of friendship, Israel sold British-made WW II Spitfires to Burma (Mayanmar). In October 1959, Israeli President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi paid official visit to Burma. In December 1961, David Ben Gurion went to meet U Ne and to learn Buddhism. However, in 1962 the military coup in Burma ended Zionist dream. The new military Boss, Ne Win turned out to be an ‘anti-Semite’. He did not want sleep in bed with the Israelis.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/burma-to-go-nuclear/

  350. Scott Lucas says:

    The election has not been proven fraudulent. It has not been proven legitimate.

    Period.

  351. Scott Lucas says:

    Liz,

    Yes, I am challenging your claim about Akhoundi.

    This is how last autumn’s attempt to put this claim wound up:

    “1) The Mousavi campaign not only maintained but stepped up their challenge to the legitimacy of the elections in the days after Akhoundi supposedly made his statement;

    2) Akhoundi, if he did accept that there were no irregularities on 16 or 17 June, changed his position by 5 July.”

    And I am challenging your justification of Shakouri Rad’s detention. It is not a case of libel. It is not a case of uttering a proven falsehood, as we do not know what happened on 12 June (Sadegh Larijani does, but he has not filed charges).

    It is a case of detaining someone because he said something unacceptable about the election.

    Best,

    S.

  352. Pak says:

    Dear Cyrus and kooshy,

    Based on your standards, the recent Egyptian and Burmese elections were both legitimate, as there is no “evidence” to prove otherwise. Forget the arrests, intimidation, counter-claims and illegal political maneuvers; the government statistics and state media confirm the elections were legitimate, therefore they were legitimate.

  353. kooshy says:

    Cyrus December 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    “If someone has evidence of election fraud, present it. Otherwise, don’t say there was election fraud. Period.”

    Cyrus with regard to your request above, so far the best answer “Sense” Chef Scott and Co. has came up with is what he wrote to me last night ( see below).
    This is the ever famous highly trained and sensitive nose for “smell and breathe” that our cook has, one must take it or leave it as he wrote, it all looks now that he is been working on this recipe for 18 months and he is not willing to change no matter if by now (18 months later) it smells rotten.

    Scott Lucas December 10, 2010 at 2:22 am

    “Days after the election, I said the issues were transparency and legitimacy. Have held that position for 18 months and see no reason to shift.”

    “See y’all next time internal issues come up on RFI.”

  354. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Pak,

    I wish you would get real and see some sense.

    Read the latest survey of the Iranian people:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65872019/Iran-Public-Opinion-2010

    It clearly shows that your views are those of a minority – a significant minority (tens of millions) – but still a minority.

  355. Liz says:

    Cyrus,

    They are just revealing how one sided and absurd the debate in the US actually is. The US is hurting itself more than it is hurting Iran. Iran will just watch it bleed in the ME.

  356. Cyrus says:

    If someone has evidence of election fraud, present it. Otherwise, don’t say there was election fraud. Period.

  357. Cyrus says:

    What’s sort of frustrating about the Leverett’s blog is that while they point out that the Obama administration was never serious about engaging Iran, and while they assert that the US has been trying to “curveball” the intelligence coming out of Iran, they don’t then reach a conclusion from all of this: What is the significance of these facts? What is this leading up to? What sort of policy and agenda does it imply that the US has undertaken with respect to Iran?

  358. Pak says:

    Sorry Pirouz, make that over 70%, not 60%, of Iranians who are seditionists and support the warmongering agenda of the US and the Zionists.

  359. Pak says:

    Dear Pirouz,

    Once again your are ignoring the facts and relying on external sources to claim the legitimacy you desperately seek. I am more dubious about external sources and tend to rely on information coming from Iran itself. This generally eliminates former CIA agents, WINEP employees and low-lying lawyers in sunny California. I even ignored internal polls to be honest, which mostly pointed to a Mousavi victory. One poll, from the interior ministry itself, also pointed to a Mousavi victory. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Even more so in a country like Iran, where there is little political freedom.

    Remember Iran? It is that country in the Middle East, shaped like a cat, where your father is from. There are people in Iran who we call Iranians. A lot of Iranians do not view the elections as legitimate. These Iranians include a number of politicians and journalists, who are incidentally in prison now.

    This influential Iranian, one could say a supreme Iranian, explicitly supported Ahmadinejad before the elections and took comfort in the fact that his policies would be continued “for the next 5 years.”

    One Iranian who is not in prison and is in fact a loyal Revolutionary Guards commander was caught on video describing how the elections were rigged.

    Another Iranian, a general and head of the Revolutionary Guards, once warned reformists to cease their agenda, otherwise the Guards would “take the law into their own hands.”

    Another Iranian, who founded Hezbollah (so hardly a secular, liberal reformist), made substantial claims of fraud.

    A few more Iranians, including some members of a corrupt, powerful family of loyalists, even called Mousavi to congratulate his victory. An Iranian journalist who brought this fact up on television in now in prison.

    Then we have some Iranian journalists who proclaimed an Ahmadinejad victory hours before vote counting had finished.

    A number of Iranian officials also issued arrest warrants for politicians long before the post-election unrest had occurred.

    There was also a group of Iranian thugs who raided Mousavi’s office, shut it down and arrested his advisers.

    I could carry on, but the facts are available for you to find yourself; in Iran and not the US. But good for you, you go wave around that opinion poll like a victor. I want all my compatriots (or half-compatriots) to feel happy once in while.

    By the way, the same poll you support claims that over 60% of Iranians want a nuclear weapon. Two questions in light of your support for the poll:

    1) are you not worried that over 60% of Iranians are seditionists, considering they want to defy Khamenei’s fatwa against nuclear weapons?

    2) are you implicitly supporting warmongers and Zionists – in violation of status as a peace activist – who want to bomb Iran because of its supposed nuclear weapons programme?

    I look forward in anticipation to your response.

  360. Fiorangela says:

    A Modest Proposal

    the topic of this article is (if I understand it correctly) How US succumbs to bad information to create policy toward Iran.

    I think it’s extremely important.

    There have been numerous articles about the vote in Iran.
    Could comments about the Vote be restricted to those articles, in an attempt to conduct an on-topic conversation on pertinent threads?

    Perhaps participants in the Iran Vote debate could agree among themselves which article would serve as their meeting place, and other articles, such as this one, could be more closely focused on the topic at hand.

  361. Fiorangela says:

    as I typed the background on Ros Lehtinen, I was/am listening to Bruce Hoffman speak before the Jamestown Foundation on Al Qaed and Taliban Terrorism Threats. Hoffman was introduced as the “foremost expert on terrorism” in Washington (syntax error!!) and states that he has been studying terrorism for 30 years.

    Hoffman says al qaeda in Arabian peninsula is better financed and stronger than ever, and is a foremost threat to US.

    Ros-Lehtinen, are you listening? Hello?? Why do YOU and your neocon fellow travelers cling to the notion that Iran is the worstest baddest threat to US evah, and create US foreign policy consonant with that view?

    WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION?

  362. Fiorangela says:

    Ros-Lehtinen has been appointed chair of the House Foreign Affairs committee.

    Her comments at at Dec 1, 2010 hearing dovetail perfectly with the analysis of Drs. Leverett: the Committee is getting its information from MEK, a group with an axe to grind, that does not seem to represent a plurality of Iranians. If I recall correctly, MEK operates out of Paris, is personality-driven (can you say Chalibi redux?).

    Ros-Lehtinen’s background gives a bit of insight into her monomaniacal urge to punish Iran. (from wikipedia) She was born in Cuba, daughter of a Cuban businessman and passionate opponent of Castro Enrique Ros, [Cuban-born] Miami based Cuban-American businessman and activist opposed to Cuban president Fidel Castro. He is the author of Revolucion de 1933 en Cuba and other books. . . .Project Vote Smart lists Ros-Lehtinen as Episcopalian. Ros-Lehtinen’s maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews from Turkey who had been active in Cuba’s Jewish community.[29] Her mother later converted to Catholicism.

    Ros-Lehtinen’s Cuba activism and propensity for violent solutions:

    Ros-Lehtinen also advances strongly held views on Cuba, and has lobbied against ending the United States embargo against that country. In 2004 she formed the Cuba Democracy Group aimed at curtailing U.S. agriculture exports and preventing U.S. banks from doing business with the Cuban government.

    Ros-Lehtinen has defended former fugitive Velentin Hernández, convicted of murdering Luciano Nieves, a fellow Cuban exile who supported negotiations with the Cuban government, In the 1980s Ros-Lehtinen lobbied for the release and pardon of Cuban exile Orlando Bosch, who had been convicted of terrorist acts and has also been accused of involvement in the 1976 bombing of Cubana Flight 455, which killed 73 people, helping organize an “Orlando Bosch day” to gain support for his release.Ros-Lehtinen played a prominent role in the failed attempt by relatives of Elian Gonzalez to gain custody of six-year-old from the Castro regime, describing Cuba as “that system of godless communism”. She also attempted to block Jimmy Carter’s visit to the island in 2002.
    Calls to assassinate Fidel Castro

    Ros-Lehtinen stirred controversy by calling for the assassination of Cuban Leader Fidel Castro. She appears in the British documentary 638 Ways to Kill Castro, saying: “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people.” After a 28-second clip began circulating on the Internet, she claimed the filmmakers spliced clips together to get the sound bite. Twenty-four hours after the controversy erupted, director Dollan Cannell sent unedited tapes of his interview with Ros-Lehtinen to reporters. The uncut version contradicted Ros-Lehtinen’s response and showed that she had twice welcomed an attempt on Castro’s life. Though she attempted to distance herself from her denial, filmmaker Cannell requested an apology, which has not been forthcoming.

  363. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    No one in the Mousavi camp spoke out against Akhoundi’s statement even when he made those comments in fron to Beheshti, Alviri, Karrubi’s wife,… YOU’RE rejecting them?

  364. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    YOU DENY THIS?

    Dr. Abbass Akhoundi was Mousavi’s representative in the Interior Ministry. He said that there was no fraud and he stayed in the Ministry until morning.

  365. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    I’m not going to be giving you any more help. I could have written more, but you have to find your own stuff. Whenever I get a share of your funding (God forbid), I’ll think about being more helpful.

    Meanwhile,

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_britain_royal_security;_ylt=Av4u9.pc_ycnGR_m..AectfBF4l4;_ylu=X3oDMTM3a2tjazBpBGFzc2V0Ay9zL2FwL2V1X2JyaXRhaW5fcm95YWxfc2VjdXJpdHkEY2NvZGUDbXBfZWNfOF8xMARjcG9zAzQEcG9zAzQEc2VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNyb3lhbGF0dGFja3A-

  366. Scott Lucas says:

    Liz,

    “Dr. Abbass Akhoundi was Mousavi’s representative in the Interior Ministry. He said that there was no fraud and he stayed in the Ministry until morning.”

    Several RFI supporters tried this line last autumn and had it taken apart.

    “[Shakouri Rad] went to jail because he made staements which he falsely attributed to the head of the judiciary. You call it libel.”

    1. For this to be libel, Sadegh Larijani would have to file the charge against Shakouri Rad. Did he do so?

    2. Libel is almost always a civil, not a criminal, charge in Britain and the US. Is there provision in Iran for imprisonment as punishment for libel of an individual?

    S.

    http://www.raceforiran.com/video-of-the-leveretts-on-charlie-rose

    S.

  367. fyi says:

    Leverett:

    The way to address this – partially – is for US to opne an Interest Section in Swiss Embassy. In 2004, Mr. Ahmadinejad was interested in that.

    My sense is that, at the moment, Iranians are not going to permit it. But perhaps they could be persuaded otherwise.

  368. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Dr. Abbass Akhoundi was Mousavi’s representative in the Interior Ministry. He said that there was no fraud and he stayed in the Ministry until morning. Sorry Scott Lucas. You lose.

  369. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    Learn to be honest at least some of the time so that we can take you seriously. He went to jail because he made staements which he falsely attributed to the head of the judiciary. You call it libel.

  370. Fiorangela says:

    text of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen opening comments,

    House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Howard Berman, Chair.
    Sanctions Against Iran Dec 1, 2010

    Testimony: William Burns, Undersecretary, Dept. of State, Political Affairs
    Stuart Levey, Undersecretary, Dept. of Treasury, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

    Berman opened the meeting.

    At 12:00 minutes, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen made her opening statement:

    Ros-Lehtinen: “I’d like to start by recognizing some of my constituents who are in the audience. They are Iranian-Americans who are staunchly opposed to the Iranian regime, who have shed light on Iran’s nuclear program through the unveiling of information on different Iranian nuclear facilities. [camera pans audience; 10-12 men, 1 woman in yellow T-shirts w/ ?? writing] Many have relatives in Camp Ashraf and I raised with Assistant Secretary of State Feltman a few weeks ago the need for the administration to ensure that the Iraqi government lives up to its human rights commitment and protects the residents of Camp Ashraf. Welcome.

    With respect to Iran, Mr. Chairman, as we all know the Unites States must have one vital objective and that is to stop the regime’s pursuit of nuclear and other unconventional weapons, the missiles developed to deliver them, and its sponsorship of terrorism and other activities that threaten Americans, our interests, and our allies.

    However, since the 1990s the US and international efforts to stop the growing Iranian threat have been half-hearted at best, with the results to match.

    The problem is not that a tough approach has failed, but that it has yet to be fully tried. The sanctions were not fully implemented or enforced. Then, the focus was not on measures the US could easily take, but instead on persuading the so-called international community to ‘act collectively,’ collectively meaning agreeing to the lowest common denominator while continuing to cultivate ties with the regime in Tehran.

    Russia, of course, has a long record of cooperation with Iran on missiles and on nuclear matters, particularly its construction of the Bushehr reactor, which is scheduled to come online in January. To secure Russians cooperation, the current and previous administrations have resorted to a series of concessions to Moscow. What did we buy at so great a price? Tacit support for UN sanctions and, quote, assurances, enquote, that Russia WILL WRAP up investments in Iran’s energy sector and that Russia will NOT at this time, proceed with its sale of advanced missiles to Iran. Of course, despite all of our concessions, Russia has, indeed, offered nuclear cooperation agreements AND advanced missile sales to the Syrian regime.

    China is another key ally and protecter of Iran, and has made it clear that it will prevent significant pressure to be placed on Tehran. Chinese companies are eagerly expanding their trade with—and investments in—Iran, many taking advantage of opportunities CREATED by Western and other companies which are curtailing or finally severing their ties.

    Recent reports indicate that China has actively facilitated N. Korea’s providing Iran with advanced missiles and ingredients for chemical weapons in violation of UN Security Council sanctions.

    But support for Iran comes from other places as well. Determined to demonstrate its growing distance from the US, Turkey has publicly embraced Tehran, increased its economic cooperation, signed a major gas pipeline deal, and tried to undermine US efforts to stop the Iranian threat, including voting against UN Security Council Resolution 1929. Turkey recently prevented NATO from designating Iran as a missile threat to be countered with a proposed anti-missile shield despite Tehran’s expanding missile capabilities.

    Armenia’s expanding financial, trade, transport, and energy cooperation with Iran.

    Unfortunately, securing effective COOPERATION by one administration after another has been an uphill battle. Over fourteen years since the passage of the Iran Sanctions Act, only one determination of sanctionable activity has EVER been made, and the resulting penalties were immediately waived. Efforts to strengthen existing laws were opposed by each administration, citing a reluctance to tie the president’s hands or upset other countries who want to keep doing business with Tehran.

    This past June, after a long, hard-fought struggle, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) was enacted. Although weaker than some of us hoped, this law could prevent – could represent a major step forward, especially through its energy, refined petroleum, and financial sanctions.

    This congressionally driven effort has led some countries, including the EU, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, to finally impose their own, albeit more limited, sanctions on Tehran.

    On the financial front, the actions taken by foreign governments to sever their ties with the Iranian financial institutions and other Iranian entities designated as involved in Iranian proliferation and sponsorship of terrorism is encouraging.

    Undersecretary Levey, at Treasury, for your pivotal role in these developments and your years of dedication in acting against the Iranian regime and its enablers, thank you sir.

    I am, however, concerned that history may be repeating itself regarding the State Department’s implementation efforts. For example, the law requires the administration to investigate, upon receiving credible evidence, suspected sanctionable foreign investment in Iran’s energy sector. The US has known for years about Chinese investment in Iran, but only this past September did the administration initiate investigations of sanctionable activity. Yet State STILL refuses to publicly disclose whether Chinese companies are among the targets.

    The State Department has issued one determination under CISADA – just one – imposing the minimum number of sanctions on NIKO, an Iranian subsidiary, for its role in Iran’s petroleum sector. Likewise the administration has listed and sanctioned just eight – just eight – Iranian officials responsible for human rights abuses.

    We’ve wasted enough time – fourteen years. No more waivers, exceptions, or excuses. We cannot live with a nuclear Iran. We must ensure that the tools we have are used to their maximum effectiveness, and look for new means of compelling Iran to cease activities that threaten our security, our interests, and our allies.

    I’m not just referring to this nuclear pursuit but also to its state sponsorship of terrorism. Of particular concern is Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Mr. Chairman. It’s threatened violence if, as expected, its operatives are indicted for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Hariri; has amassed an arsenal of about 50,000 rockets; and participates in and has veto power over the current Lebanese government.

    I would ask Undersecretary Burns what the US is doing to address this situation before it becomes a full-blown crisis and Hezbollah takes over completely.

    Thank you Mr. Chairman, and I’ll the administration also about the continued military assistance to the Lebanese armed forces.

    Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.

  371. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    “Tens of thousands of local vote counts went into the Interior Ministry. Tens of thousands of local vote counts came out of the Interior Ministry. If the vote counts that came out matched the vote counts that went in, no fraud occurred.”

    And how are you establishing the “local vote counts” that went into the Ministry?

    S.

  372. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    I also look forward to your thoughts on why Shakouri Rad has been imprisoned after the debate on the 2009 election.

    S.

  373. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    The Guardian Council report addresses Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour’s claim about the number of ballot papers and alleged shortages at polling stations.

    It does not address his claim about the cutting off of cellphone service amongst Mousavi and Karroubi observers and of the Committee for Protecting People’s Votes. It does not address his claim about the exclusion of observers from the Ministry of Interior’s process in the tabulation of the votes. It does not address the issue of the newspaper reports announcing Ahmadineadjad’s 63% figure hours before the polls closed.

    The Guardian Council does not address the claim by Ali Shakouri that Ali Larijani, Sadegh Larijani, and Mohsen Rezaei all offered victory congratulations to Mir Hossein Mousavi on 12 June.

    On your other point, you do realise that Mohtashamipour was speaking publicly on behalf of Mousavi’s observers, probably because his position gave him some relative security regarding possible detention?

    S.

  374. Scott,

    The person in that story you cited does make one point that enables me to highlight the importance of the validity test I suggest. He claims that Mousavi’s representatives were excluded for several hours from observing the vote tabulation at the Interior Ministry’s offices in Tehran, though they were finally let in. I should note that many of Mousavi’s representatives have claimed that his people were never let in, but that is not the point. I certainly agree that they ought to have been allowed to watch the process from start to finish, and I don’t claim to know when they were let in.

    But the more important point here is this: Because a ballot-box by ballot-box count resulted from whatever the Interior Ministry did behind its closed doors, Mousavi ended up in a position to determine whether the Interior Ministry had committed fraud. Tens of thousands of local vote counts went into the Interior Ministry. Tens of thousands of local vote counts came out of the Interior Ministry. If the vote counts that came out matched the vote counts that went in, no fraud occurred. Period — no matter what may have happened inside. On the other hand, If the vote counts that came out did not match the vote counts that went in, fraud may well have occurred.

    That is why it was, and still is, so important for Mousavi to let us know whether any mismatch occurred, at any polling station.

    When all of the vote count numbers that come out are exactly the same as all of the vote count numbers that went in, and (with a few minor reported exceptions) none of Mousavi’s observers reported wrongdoing or obstruction of their views at the polling stations, how can anyone reach the conclusion that fraud occurred?

    The process really was a lot more straightforward and transparent than you’re trying to make it in retrospect, Scott. You may not like the result of the election, but you will be much better off focusing on other issues of importance to you. Insisting on “linkage” between the election and your other issues yields two bad results for you: (1) it makes people question your credibility in general; and (2) it makes people wonder whether your other issues lack sufficient merit to stand on their own.

  375. Rehmat says:

    Zionists, without any shame, have been projecting the same lies as they did prior to American invasion of Iraq for Israel and oil. Then they lied about Saddam Husein having WMDs, which posed great threat to world peace (the Zionists ‘world’ happens to be inside Israel) – now they are warning that Iranian enrichment activities are threat to world peace. Any American who is not brainwashed by Jewish media – would know that Iran, even if it has nuclear weapons, poses no threat to the US, which has more than 10,500 nuclear bombs including world’s best delivery system.

    Zionists tried their best to blackmail the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to put some ‘scary words’ in its reports on Iran’s nuclear activities – but when its director general, Dr. Mohamed AlBaradei refused to obey them – the Jewish Lobby’s selected US ambassador at UN, John Bolton, tried to block Dr. AlBaradei’s third term as director general of IAEA – but failed miserably…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/is-iran-a-threat-to-world-peace-nyeth-its-israel-stupid/

  376. Scott,

    I’d seen that story on another site already. When I say “observer,” I’m referring to one of Mousavi’s representatives who actually observed the voting and vote-counting at a polling station on election day, who presumably wrote down the vote count he witnessed, and who thus was in a position to tell Mousavi whether his record of the vote count matched what the Iranian government later reported for that polling station.

    The government claims Mousavi had 40,676 such individuals. Mousavi later insisted the number was closer to 25,000. Whatever the number, this individual was not one of them.

    I’m sure you’ve read the Guardian Council’s report, but it might be worth rereading. You’ll find all of this person’s allegations in there, and many more.

  377. Liz says:

    The Lebanese poll was carried out before Seyed Hassan Nasrallah gave his presentation on Television about evidence of Israeli involvement in the Harriri killing. His presentation was highly effective according to an Aljazeera poll.

  378. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    After almost 2 years? Did they also claim that the Wikileaks founder raped them too? By the way, are you the “former non-Marxist revolutionary activist”?

  379. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric Brill,

    Two gentlemen apparently have come forward to meet your challenge, “Where is an Observer?”. (One of them was sent to prison yesterday for his efforts.)

    “Renewed Claims That Presidential Election Was Manipulated”

    http://www.enduringamerica.com/home/2010/12/10/iran-feature-renewed-claims-that-presidential-election-was-m.html

    Best,

    S.

  380. Pirouz says:

    Yet another poll reflecting results that are consistent with the official election results of 2009:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65872019/Iran-Public-Opinion-2010

    Note that a solid majority favor Islamic Republic governance, as well as approve of Iran’s law enforcement efforts employed during the post-election protests.

    That makes four polls that consistently reflect the official returns of the 2009 election. What say Scott, Pak and the rest now?

  381. kooshy says:

    Why did Hillary Clinton behave so oddly with the Iranians in Bahrain?

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/richardspencer/100067355/why-did-hillary-clinton-behave-so-oddly-with-the-iranians-in-bahrain/

    By Richard Spencer World Last updated: December 8th, 2010

    Nile Gardiner believes that Hillary Clinton’s failure to win a “hello” from the Iranian foreign minister in Bahrain at the weekend is a sign that engaging Iran has been a mistake. There have been lots of mistakes in America’s handling of Iran, but I’m not sure “engaging” with them – and it’s an odd phrase, don’t you think? – per se is one of them.
    First of all to the greeting that she proffered and which she said he failed to return (though he claimed the next day that he did). As I was there, though not sadly on the same dinner table as them, I feel I should have my say. It was Clinton’s behaviour that was weird.
    She says so herself, in fact. Although she was sitting five places away from him at the top table, and had to walk right past him to get to her seat, she made no attempt to speak to him all through dinner (I was watching). This was all the stranger since she had specifically addressed a large chunk of the speech she had just given to him.
    Instead, she says that as they were leaving, she “called out to him”. She called out to him? Like an old mate in a bar? Is that how to deal with a diplomatic situation that’s difficult at best? Put all that in the context of how normal people would behave.
    There is no doubt that the two “biggest names” in the room were Clinton and Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian minister. Sure, there were kings and princes too, but these were the two everyone was looking at. And she addressed her speech to him – and then ignored him totally for an hour and a half, turning her head away as she walked past him. Then she “called out to him” across the room as they were leaving. How was he supposed to react – just come running? Is this how two CEOs of rival firms would behave at a business dinner?
    I think it’s a sort of classic, nervous “brainbox student made good meets the school bully at a party” routine – where you don’t know quite whether to be friendly or hostile and end up just being a bit gauche.
    I wouldn’t go on about this if it weren’t symbolic of something – something different from how Nile Gardiner sees things though. Why did Clinton not have a plan of personal engagement ready beforehand, one that he could not turn down? The straightforward, confident march to his seat after the speech, hand outstretched (which he could hardly refuse) or, less risky, the friendly-but-firm nod of the head? Why suddenly leave it until he could only react defensively?
    This is exactly, in fact, the cack-handed way America has engaged with Iran over the last ten years. Alternating between moral lectures, haughty indifference, threats which you show no signs of carrying out, and then sudden expressions of care, concern and friendship, which by now seem hypocritical but are in fact just confused and indecisive. If Iran is the troubled and difficult teenager she is sometimes portrayed as (or a bully), America is the worst sort of schoolteacher.
    The truth is that, as one of the participants in the Manama Dialogue which both were attending put it, America and Iran have succeeded in reaching out to each other only when the other was not prepared to respond. Iran offered a nuclear deal in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq when the reformist President Khatami was in power. Who knows how sincere they were, but Bush and his team weren’t interested in finding out – they wanted nothing short of a Libya-style cave-in, which Iran didn’t feel it could do. Now the “reaching out” is coming from America, but Iran’s leadership is too weakened by dissent – and much more hardline – so there’s nothing doing (probably).
    That is bad news for the world. But it is still not clear what the alternative to keeping trying is. The policy advocated by Nile Gardiner is pretty much the policy that Obama has put in place. But it is true there is little taste for military action, either in the US, its European allies or the Gulf states, whatever their private belligerence revealed in the Wikileaks cables. If Iran does get the bomb – and it’s not doing a great job – it will be terrible for the region, much worse than North Korea’s efforts, since Iran’s neighbours are less self-confident than the Japanese, SouthKoreans and Taiwanese. But it is an unfortunate consequence of national sovereignty that you can’t necessarily stop other countries from doing what they really want to do.