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The Race for Iran

PERSISTENT (AND GAME-CHANGING) MYTHS: IRAN’S 2009 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ONE YEAR LATER

(The cartoon above depicts one of many myths apparently ‘informing’  U.S. policy)

Since manufactured claims about Iraqi WMD led the United States to invade Iraq in 2003, no analytic line about developments in the Middle East has had a bigger impact on American foreign policy than the assertion that the outcome of Iran’s June 12, 2009 presidential election—held one year ago tomorrow—was a fraud.  Since shortly after the election, we have been subjected to a great deal of criticism (a disappointingly high percentage of it personal in nature) for arguing that no hard evidence of electoral fraud has been produced, and that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was, in fact, quite plausible as an outcome.  Of course, these are arguments that went against the conventional wisdom that took root among most Western Iran “experts” literally on the morning after the election.   

We stand by these judgments today.  We are certainly not in a position to vouch personally for the physical handling of ballots, the counting process, etc.—in other words, we are not in a position to conclude definitively that there was no fraud in Iran’s 2009 presidential election.  However, we continue to hold that no evidence of fraud has been produced, and that Ahmadinejad’s re-election, without fraud, was eminently plausible. 

We also believe that it should be incumbent on those who continue to assert that there was decisive fraud in the election to come up with hard evidence to support their claim—and not rely solely on “must have been” conjecture.  In 2003, the United States invaded another Middle Eastern country on the basis of “must have been” conjecture and fabricated tales by Iraqi “defectors” and expatriates.  That misadventure has cost well over 100,000 innocent Iraqis their lives, spent vast amounts of American blood and treasure, and severely damaged America’s strategic position. 

Today, the “social fact” that the 2009 Iranian presidential election must surely have been fraudulent is intensifying political pressure in the United States to adopt “regime change” as the explicit goal of America’s Iran policy.  Just read these words, from President Barack Obama, in his statement following the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 1929 earlier this week—a resolution ostensibly about Iran’s nuclear program: 

“Saturday will mark one year from the day that an election captivated the attention of the world—an event that should have been remembered for how the Iranian people participated with remarkable enthusiasm, but will instead be remembered for how the Iranian government brutally suppressed dissent and murdered the innocent, including a young woman left to die in the street.

Actions do have consequences, and today the Iranian government will face some of those consequences.  Because whether it is threatening the nuclear non-proliferation regime, or the human rights of its own citizens, or the stability of its own neighbors by supporting terrorism, the Iranian government continues to demonstrate that its own unjust actions are a threat to justice everywhere.”

Before the United States moves too far down the path of supporting coercive regime change in Iran—and, make no mistake, adopting regime change as the goal of America’s Iran policy will ultimately lead to a U.S.-initiated war against the Islamic Republic—it is incumbent on every American who cares about his or her country to ask the question that should have been asked before the Iraq invasion:  what, exactly, is the case for going to war, and what is the evidentiary base supporting that case. 

In that spirit, we want to highlight two pieces of analysis on the Islamic Republic’s presidential election that have informed our own thinking about this critically important event.  (Both pieces have been referenced in comments to various posts on www.TheRaceForIran.com, but we think these analyses warrant a much higher level of attention that they have received so far.) 

The first of these pieces is by Reza Esfandiari and Yousef Bozorgmehr, entitled “A Rejoinder to the Chatham House Report on Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election Offering a New Analysis on the Results”, see here.  The second is by Eric Brill, entitled “Did Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Steal the 2009 Iran Election?”, see here.    

The Esfandiari-Bozorgmehr piece is a sharp and, we believe, persuasive critique of a monograph, see here, published by Ali Ansari, Iranian studies professor at the University of St. Andrews, and two collaborators through the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London.  Ansari’s monograph, entitled “A Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran’s 2009 Presidential Election” and published on June 21, 2009 (literally nine days after the Iranian election), epitomizes, for us, a highly conjectural, “had to have been fraud” approach to studying the election results.  (Ansari has not yet produced a “final” version of his analysis.)    

In their paper, Reza Esfandiari and Yousef Bozorgmerhr systematically go through all of the various points adduced by Ansari and his collaborators—e.g., alleged irregularities and anomalies in the voter turnout, the sourcing of Ahmadinejad’s votes, the alleged underperformance of Mousavi (an ethnic Azeri) in Azeri-majority provinces and of Mehdi Karroubi in his home province, perceptions of statistical anomalies in the official results—and offer devastatingly persuasive rejoinders on every point.  Here are just some of the highlights from their paper: 

–On page 8, there is a graphic depiction of the “swings”, for and against Ahmadinejad, in 25 major Iranian cities, comparing the official results from 2009 with the results from the second-round runoff in 2005, when Ahmadinejad won a landslide victory over former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.  One of the biggest flaws in Ansari’s analysis is his insistence on comparing the results from 2009 with results from first round balloting in 2005—when there was no incumbent president on the ballot and a number of the candidates on the ballot were considered plausible as potential victors.  In 2009, Ahmadinejad was running as an incumbent president seeking re-election (no incumbent president in the Islamic Republic’s history has failed to win re-election) and Mousavi was widely seen as his main challenger; neither Mehdi Karroubi nor Mohsen Rezae was seen by most Iranians as having a serious chance to win.  This means that it is far more appropriate to compare the 2009 results to the second-round results from 2005 (as Esafandiari and Bozorgmehr do), not the first-round results from 2005 (as Ansari does).   

–On page 14, there is a detailed breakdown of official results in the 46 districts won by Mousavi, with the margin of victory and the ethnic classification of the people in these areas.  These data decisively reveal the gross inaccuracy of Western media reports claiming that the official results show (incredibly) Ahmadinejad winning everywhere in Iran, including among ethnic minorities. 

–On page 22, there is an enlightening analysis of the “overseas” vote—that is, votes cast outside of Iran by expatriates or citizens normally resident in the Islamic Republic who were traveling abroad on election day.  Among Iranians living in the West, the official results show that support for Mousavi was overwhelming.  However, among those Iranians who cast their ballots in Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia—where many Iranians normally resident in the Islamic Republic routinely visit for religious, business, or family reasons—the level of support for Ahmadinejad was the same as that among those who voted inside Iran.         

The paper deserves careful reading, in its entirety.  On the basis of their analysis, Reza and Yousef draw the following conclusion, which should be pondered by American policymakers dealing with Iranian issues and any Western pundit who comments on the Islamic Republic’s internal affairs: 

“The Chatham House report, although a “preliminary one”, clearly set out to cast doubt on the Iranian election without offering anything other than a superficial analysis…The distribution of votes across the provinces and districts does conform to general trends and comports to a natural outcome.  Statistical studies have proved inexact and inconclusive as far as detecting any real evidence of fraudulent manipulation.  If cheating did occur, it must have been localized and generally restricted to remote parts of the country where the population levels would not have been significant enough to sway the overall result.  We thus conclude that the 10th Iranian presidential election is a genuine reflection of the will of the Iranian people and that Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the duly elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  It is hoped that policy makers acknowledge this fact.”      

It is, indeed, imperative that policymakers in the United States and other Western countries approach the Iranian challenge on the basis of facts.  In this regard, Eric Brill’s piece identifies the potential dangers of getting analysis of Iran’s 2009 presidential election wrong, in terms we wholeheartedly endorse: 

“Ever since the disputed 2009 Iran election and the protests that followed, loud voices have insisted that the pieces are once again in place—an illegitimate jackboot regime, courageous cries for help, a whiff of WMD.  Though it seems unlikely now, the United States could be back in the saddle some day, galloping off to liberate yet another nation of Muslims from Muslim oppression, rescuing a myopic and predictably ungrateful world from yet another existential threat.  Just as those who questioned WMD claims before the 2003 Iraq invasion were shouted down as unpatriotic, those who question the “stolen election” claim today are dismissed as democracy-hating boosters of a thuggish theocracy.”  [Note from Flynt and Hillary:  That has certainly been our experience.] 

Eric clearly specifies the focus of his analysis:  “The question considered here…is not whether the government mistreated those who protested the election result, nor whether Iran’s government ought to be run by different people with different policies.  Nor is the question whether more candidates ought to have been declared eligible to run—a complaint not made by Mousavi until after the election.  Obviously he made the list, and the exclusion of other candidates probably improved his chances.  The question here is simply whether Ahmadinejad won the election, fair and square.” 

Eric then proceeds to review, with impressive meticulousness, the various complaints about the electoral process and the official results that were lodged by Mousavi with the Islamic Republic’s Guardian Council, Ansari’s “preliminary analysis” of the results, and claims of irregularities and fraud advanced by other analysts. 

Like Esfandiari and Bozorgmehr, Eric makes a powerful argument that what many critics of the 2009 Iranian election have described as “excess voting” merely reflects Iran’s long-standing rule that an eligible voter may vote at any polling station anywhere in the world. But he goes on to assess the other allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the election put forward by Mousavi and his supporters—registered observers turned away or later ordered to leave, Mousavi votes thrown away, ballot boxes stuffed with Ahmadinejad votes, pens with disappearing ink, and vote counts either misreported from the field or altered once they reached the Interior Ministry in Tehran.  Eric points out that, to this day, neither Mousavi nor anyone else has identified a single polling station where any of this occurred:

“At polling stations all across Iran, observers for Mousavi monitored the voting all day long and closely watched the vote counting after the polls closed. Not one of Mousavi’s 40,676 registered observers claimed on election day that he had been turned away or prevented from observing. Not one disputed the vote count at his polling station, or later claimed that he had been deceived or had lacked an adequate basis for approving.  Not one alleged that the Interior Ministry reported a different vote count for his polling station…

Shortly after the election, Mousavi claimed in his newspaper (Kaleme) that 10 million people had voted without showing proper identification, but his complaint to the Guardian Council mentioned only 31 such voters. Widespread ballot-box stuffing was alleged, but not a single stuffed ballot box has been identified. Wholesale buying and selling of votes was alleged, but Mousavi has identified only four instances, in each case without any evidence. Thousands or millions of Mousavi votes were said to have been thrown away, replaced by thousands or millions of Ahmadinejad votes, but no one has identified any of the perpetrators, nor mentioned exactly where or how this was accomplished. Vote counts from the field, approved by tens of thousands of Mousavi’s observers, were said to have been altered by the Interior Ministry in Tehran, but no one has identified a single ballot box ­where this occurred—even though the data have long been available to compare the counts for all 45,692 ballot boxes. The silence of Mousavi’s polling station observers is especially deafening. Most or all of them may believe that electoral fraud occurred all over Iran, but apparently each is equally adamant that it did not occur where he spent election day.” 

Eric’s work should make it clear to those who have not examined the 2009 election closely—and even some who have—that all of this can be established without any difficulty.  The facts that he marshals seem very persuasive and should be impossible to ignore—although any number of purported Iran “experts” have managed to do so over the last year.  It is also striking that Mousavi has chosen not to focus on these facts, but insisted instead that the election simply be tossed out and done over. Eric concludes his analysis with a number of trenchant observations:     

“No credible evidence published so far indicates that Ahmadinejad stole Iran’s 2009 presidential election—or, for that matter, that any fraud at all occurred.  The second point is important because many commentators have grudgingly accepted Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy only because his margin was large enough that they believe he would have won even without cheating.  Nearly as telling, there appears to have been no serious effort by Mousavi or his supporters to find such evidence…Nor have independent critics maintained their initial enthusiasm.  The Chatham House Preliminary Analysis never advanced beyond its self-described “preliminary” stage, despite the author’s own suggestion that his brief analysis “be followed up should the fully disaggregated ‘by polling station’ data be released during the ongoing dispute.”  Precisely that data was released just days later, but no “follow up” has appeared.  The response of nearly all pro-Mousavi analysts to the published ballot-box data has been largely the same:  silence.  Statisticians such as Roukema, Beber and Scacco appear to have ignored it entirely.  Even the few who have examined ballot-box-level data—Professor Mebane, for example—have overlooked or ignored its real significance.  For the first time ever in an Iranian presidential election, it was a simple matter to find evidence of vote-count fraud:  just compare the Interior Ministry count with the field count approved by a Mousavi observer, for any ballot box or for all of them.  It is fair to ask why no one has done this, or why they have not published their findings if they have. 

Despite the absence of evidence—or perhaps because of it—Mousavi’s demand has never changed:  Don’t investigate the election; just toss it out and do it over.  One wonders how Americans would have reacted if Al Gore had demanded this in 2000.  Mousavi has never explained what would happen if a second election were held and it yielded the same result.  Would he demand another do-over, and then another, until Iran’s voters get it right?  Even his most ardent supporters eventually would insist on evidence.  If eventually, why not now?  It is not fair to the 24 million Iranians who appear to have voted for Ahmadinejad—nor is it democratic—for a government to “compromise” with a defeated candidate by nullifying an election without a sound basis for doing so.  The loser has a right to complain about an unfair election, but the winner, and those who voted for him, have an equal right to insist that a valid election be respected.  One side will always be disappointed with an election result—but that is democracy, not fraud.  Fraud requires evidence, not merely surprise, disappointment and suspicion. 

All of this matters outside Iran as well.  One suspects that Western leaders acknowledge Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy when they talk privately with their foreign counterparts, but many of them posture in public.  Even those officials who have been comparatively restrained in their public statements on the election…welcome support from election-doubters for confrontational stances they take toward Iran on other grounds.  Most Western media outlets routinely refer to the election as tainted, and many writers insist that policy toward Iran must reflect this.  Those who disagree are often described as regime apologists, or naïve at best.  But they are merely accepting the election results.  It is time others did too.”  

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

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352 Responses to “PERSISTENT (AND GAME-CHANGING) MYTHS: IRAN’S 2009 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, ONE YEAR LATER”

  1. Arvin,

    On May 31, I received a pre-publication copy of Dr. Ali Ansari’s new “Urban Myths” article to which you provided a link. I read the published version you linked to, and see no differences. Only his first “urban myth” is worthy of comment.

    The first alleged “myth” is that the burden of proof of fraud is on those who allege it. Dr. Ansari makes a valid point: the government has a duty to establish fair election procedures whose fairness can be verified without undue effort. I agree entirely. If the government has done this, however, the burden shifts to those who allege fraud.

    Dr. Ansari’s article prompted me to make this explicit in my article. That is why I added the following passage, in which I cited hia article (footnote 10):

    “A responsible government must establish fair election procedures and make it possible, without difficulty, for its citizens to verify that the procedures have been followed. If the government does not, a challenger may rightfully complain even if he has no concrete proof of electoral fraud. But if the government has satisfied this obligation, as Iran’s government did in the 2009 election,[10] the burden fairly shifts to those who allege fraud. They must examine the available information and specify improprieties so that their charges can be investigated.”

  2. pirouz_2 says:

    @Arvin:
    YOU WROTE:”So majority voted for Ahmadinejad because of his economic policies? This may be the case for the 2005 elections when he ran on a Robinhood platform. He had more income from oil than all the previous administrations combined and yet people had less and less of a buying power. Instead of taking from the rich and giving it to the poor, he took from the poor and gave to the rich! The case of the missing billion dollars that Majlis at one point gave a damn about comes to mind. One word best sums up his first four years: mismanagement. But you actually have reason to believe that he performed SO WELL on economy from 2005 to 2009 that MORE people took to the polls to elect him for another 4 years for a similar performance? Are you now suggesting that the Iranian people are retarded?!”

    You try to bend the truth to make it fit your beliefs. So talking to you is useless because you are not arguing with logic trying to establish the facts but rather try to change the facts according to your own biases. So consider this as my last reply to you.

    First let me quote something from Robert Fisk (a staunch opponent of Ahmadinejad and an admirer of Khatami):
    “You know why so many poorer women voted for Ahmadinejad? There are three million of them who make carpets in their homes. They had no insurance. When Ahmadinejad realised this, he immediately brought in a law to give them full insurance.”

    And it is not just this case. In general Ahmadinejad was criticized for “populist” economic policies such as distributing money and food among the poor and the increase in “inflation” was attributed by the reformists to his policies of handing out cash and loans to the villagers and the poor. Khatami called his economic policies as “pro-panhandeling”. And there was even the shameless slogan of “death to potatoe” by the greens when he distributed “potatoe” to some people with a low income.
    So there is no doubt that he did try to create the image of a “populist” president who tries to distribute the resources among the people of lower income. His campaign was to a large degree based on fighting poverty. In fact Mousvi’s camp accused him of trying to bribe the voters.

    Well, when he was distributing potatoes and cash among the poor, what was Mousavi’s promise? Apart from criticizing him for “populist” economic policies (and in doing so he made the biggest contribution to Ahmadinejad’s camp) he promised to make the legal ground for private TV and removal of the “Gasht” (moral police) from the streets which would only appeal to the middle-class Tehranies (and middle-class in large cities in general).

    The problem is that for those three million carpet weaver, having an insurance is of FAR greater value than removing the moral police which in all likelihood does not even harras them! Moral police does not even exist in smaller cities and it mainly harrases the middle-class and educated western minded people in the large cities. In smaller cities the conservative code of dressing does not need enforcement by the government, it is enforced by people themselves.

    This is what I mean when I say that lower income families’ priorities are “economic” in nature.

    As for your comments on Ahmadinejad’s mismanagement of the economy: If we were to go by your logic we wouldn’t need any elections anywhere in the world. We could have economic panels by economists, to assess the economic situation and the decide whether the government has managed the economy properly or not and to decide whether the poor are better off because of the government or not. If they decide that the economic situation of people has deteriorated then considering that people are not “retarded”, we can safely assume that they “would” vote for the opposition, skip the elections and just hand the government to the opposition. How is that??
    There are so many many elections in which despite the deteriorating economic situation people have voted for status quo. People are not very sophesticated in general and look at a lot of issues superficially, which is why very often they are susceptible to “propaganda”. Still those people that we have to ask to decide on the election of the new governments not the decision of the economists or some wealthy or even educated elite.

  3. Iranian@Iran says:

    Arvin/Scott Lucas

    You only serve to discredit your self by making accusations that can easily be refuted.

    Once upon a time one could have said that Scott Lucas was ill informed, but as time went by it became clear that he is being shamefully dishonest.

  4. Arvin says:

    Eric,

    Who is more interested in distractions now?! From my whole post you only wondered if cell phones were cut off or not?! Text messaging was indeed completely cut off on the day before the election and stayed cut off for weeks after the election. Cell phone reception was cut off sporadically in various neighborhoods in various cities on election day and stayed cut off in most neighborhoods for most of the troublesome days and nights. I remember only being able to call house numbers, and even realized how I didn’t even have many of my friend’s home phone numbers. Now you can choose to believe someone who is enamored with Scott Lucas, or you may choose to believe me.

    Furthermore I didn’t deny the existence of such a report, I just asked to see it. And I continue to wonder why you take it at face value without questioning it.

    I think this article by Ali Ansari (I’ve been following him ever since reading Confronting Iran) sums up my positions on the matter and he does a better job of myth-busting:

    http://www(DOT)chathamhouse(DOT)org.uk/files/16737_july2010_iran.pdf

    Liz, the smart detective, might “catch me” again and point to Scott Lucas’ website because he now has linked to this article as well! Oh that Liz, so smart!

    @ Pirouz_2

    So majority voted for Ahmadinejad because of his economic policies? This may be the case for the 2005 elections when he ran on a Robinhood platform. He had more income from oil than all the previous administrations combined and yet people had less and less of a buying power. Instead of taking from the rich and giving it to the poor, he took from the poor and gave to the rich! The case of the missing billion dollars that Majlis at one point gave a damn about comes to mind. One word best sums up his first four years: mismanagement. But you actually have reason to believe that he performed SO WELL on economy from 2005 to 2009 that MORE people took to the polls to elect him for another 4 years for a similar performance? Are you now suggesting that the Iranian people are retarded?!

  5. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    Re your comment on June 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm:

    To the best of my knowledge, yes Liz is correct, it was NOT the cell phones which got shut off. It was only the text messaging system which was shut off.

    It is also interesting to know that during the Pittsburgh protests against G20, people were arrested because of using Twitter to help protesters escape the security forces:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/04/man-arrested-twitter-g20-us

    “A New York-based anarchist has been arrested by the FBI and charged with hindering prosecution after he allegedly used the social networking site Twitter to help protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh evade the police.”

  6. Scott, Bill, Arvin, Pak,

    LIZ WROTE: “Cell phone worked and the complaints made by Mousavi’s people in Iran (not the greens outside the country) were about text messaging.”

    Ouch! This accusation must hurt. Is Liz correct?

  7. Persian Gulf says:

    Arvin,

    my suggestion was a pretty serious one! add some story about making love before and after entering any polling station in Tehran! for a presumably momentous victory, a story about the night before the election and so on, and make sure to get it translated to Farsi and then you will see how popular your novel would be among young greens!
    you seem to be somehow unfamiliar with the temptation of most of the young greens, and instead want to correlate everything with your narrow political ideology. so, stay in that mind set, I leave this discussion with you.

  8. Liz says:

    Eric,

    Cell phone worked and the complaints made by Mousavi’s people in Iran (not the greens outside the country) were about text messaging.

  9. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Arvin:

    “Which is it amoo Pirouz, on the one hand you say majority of Iranians are traditional working class religious folks who vote for Ahmadinejad, on the other hand you say our generation (generations born after 1979 revolution that now make up majority of Iranians) are an apolitical bunch that only listen to Sasy Mankan!”

    First of all I would like to emphasize that voting for Ahmadinejad does not necessarily mean political consciousness, so your argument makes no sense.

    Secondly, when talking about people being apolitical I was refering to the middle class mainly.

    By the way the reason for voting for Ahmadinejad was not “religion”.

    The reason for a lot of people like you who voted for Mousavi (I am not talking about you personally, maybe you didn’t vote, but people like minded to you) was being more secular minded and their poor judgment on what Mousavi and Ahmadinejad each represent; but the reason for most of those who voted for Ahmadinejad was not religion. It had to do with their priorities being economic in nature.

    Class differences could be seen in all age groups. Simplly because you are in the 20-40 age group it doesn’t mean that you are the representative of the majority. We have upper class youth, we have lower class youth and we have middle class youth.

    “For one, let me defend Sasy Mankan for he makes the kind of pop music that makes everyone from northern Tehran to southern Tehran happy.”

    See what I mean?? I rest my case…

    “Which is why he’s famous and even YOU know about him.”

    I believe you are mixing fame and quality.
    By the way I didn’t know about him until I heard his support for Karoubi.

    And again one last time, the reason for voting for ahmadinejad (for the majority of the those who did) was NOT religion, in my opinion.

  10. Arvin,

    “Where is this publication? Please provide a link.”

    You’re referring here to the Interior Ministry’s 45,693-row (counting the header) spreadsheet containing the ballot-box by ballot-box election report. I have it on my computer at home and at work, all neatly color-coded. I got it from the Lotze source identified in footnote 1 of my article.

    Many people question the accuracy of this document, but I think you’ll find there’s very little dispute about its existence – some skeptical philosophers here and there perhaps, but they’re the ornery sort that deny the existence of just about everything. If I were you, I’d save my energy for other battles.

  11. Liz,

    In my article, I noted that reports differed considerably on the extent to which electronic communications were shut down on election day. Notably, I did not say that that cell phones worked throughout the day since so many opposition writers claimed they did not (as Arvin as here). But several sources, in addition to you now, claim that cell phones indeed did work.

    It occurs to me that cell phones might have worked for voice calls, but not worked for texting, since my understanding is that two different networks are used in some places for those two functions.

    I’d appreciate some clarification on this from you and others in Iran. Arvin, you too: were you able to make cell phone calls that day, but not able to text?

    Thank you.

  12. Liz says:

    Arvin (Scott Lucas),

    You are now sounding more and more irrational. Read your own posts before sending them. It’s not even worth responding to. Just one question, though. Which Mousavi observers complained about their cell phones being cut off? Text messaging was stopped during the voting to prevent slander against candidates at the last moment. Otherwise, no cell phone services were cut anywhere in Iran. This again shows that you are not residing in Iran now and that you were not residing in Iran back then.

    Read these and don’t just reject them out of hand because they run aginst your personal interests:

    http://www.raceforiran.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Iranian-election.pdf

  13. Arvin says:

    Dear Eric,

    “You insist on discussing something else – something else which indeed is very important but is not the subject at hand.”

    The subject at hand I assume is the elections. The something else you refer to is the government crackdown afterwards. What we’re saying is that in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation one cannot have a proper report on an election many in Iran believe to be faudulant. You cannot discuss one without the other.

    “Bill, my understanding is that you’re not in Iran, but instead are right in the middle of the United States, entirely “free of intimidation.” Thus, if we read your sentence carefully, all we need is to determine whether you have “all of the [undisputed] data” you need, and then ask that you consider it “objectively.” You need not look at much, frankly, because your argument will hit a dead end very quickly. My post to Arvin of June 16 at 7:16 PM lays out succinctly the hurdle you cannot clear:”

    What Bill is saying Eric is that in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation INSIDE IRAN. He’s pointing out the main flaw in your report; it’s done “scientifically” and “objectively” from across the planet! In order for your report to be accurate you HAVE TO BE INSIDE IRAN with access to files and persons on both camps. You don’t have that for your report, and no one does. You can conduct a fair and balanced analysis based on data provided by BOTH sides. You don’t even have any data from Mousavi’s camp. You have not interviewed anyone from either side. You have not asked for sample ballot boxes. You have not sit down with Mousavi aides currently in Evin or prisons elsewhere in Iran. You continue to rely on government data. Ahmadinejad has said that the election is over and the case is closed and no one can ask questions about it because months have passed and people should move on. This from a guy who argues that the Holocaust took place only 60 years ago and people should be able to question it.

    “…I am indeed asking you to accept as “fact” that the Interior Ministry reported 45,692 vote-count numbers, one for each ballot box. Nobody disputes that. I’m not asking you to accept that any of those numbers is correct. I’m asking only that you explain why none of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of election-day observers has ever claimed that the vote count he witnessed at his polling station is different from the vote count for his polling station reported by the Interior Ministry. I recognize that Mousavi now claims he had only 25,000 observers, not 40,676, and we can set aside that disagreement for now.”

    I dispute it. And so does everyone in the Green movement. Explain why none of Mousavi’s men have claimed a number any different than the one reported? First of all, I don’t believe that to be the case. I’m sure some have come forth, but were quickly silenced. Again, in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation where they arrest people for simply wearing green or for having simply worked in a Mousavi camp (seen any of the show trials where these are considered actual crimes and people are held accountable for working for a pre-approved Presidential candidate?!), these people, potential whisle-blowers, will dare not come forward if they have indeed witnessed irregularities. Why would they? They risk being imprisoned.

    “I’m really asking very little here: Have Mousavi send an email to each of his election-day observers that reads essentially as follows:

    “Attached to this email is a spreadsheet listing of the 45,692 polling stations on June 12, 2009. The vote-count reported by the Interior Ministry for each polling station is listed next to the polling station’s name and address. If any of you were at any of those polling stations on election day, and your notes of the vote count at that polling station are different from what is listed in the spreadsheet, please let me know.” …”

    When communication with Mousavi is considered a crime, you really think such an email would work?! And suppose he even did send that email and suppose thousands replied (assuming they all had access to email). What would be the next step? “Come to my office and testify in front of the judge. Just ignore the fact that the judge, the jury and the executioner are all on the other team!”

    “1. The Interior Ministry published vote counts for 45,692 polling stations. (This was the first time in history it did so, and it claims that it did so in the (naive) belief that this would prevent the very sort of “manipulation” charges that are nevertheless being made.)”

    Where is this publication? Please provide a link.

    “2. Mousavi had observers at tens of thousands of polling stations. (The exact number is disputed, but neither side disputes that it was “tens of thousands.”)”

    So what? Even if he had observers at each polling station, one call from the Supreme Leader and all those ballot boxes would be deemed useless. A call that must have taken place long before people even got to the polls. Suppose Mousavi’s observers were present in every station, including the mobile stations. Suppose they approved each ballot box. How hard is it to open the ballot boxes in the Interior Ministry when none of Mousavi’s men were present and just count one vote; that of the SL. Or have you seen the 24,000,000 votes personally?!

    “3. Not one of Mousavi’s election-day observers complained that he was barred from monitoring the voting, the vote-counting or any other election-day activity. (Mousavi later complained that this had happened in many places, but none of his observers has ever backed him up on this, and Mousavi has never identified a single polling station where it happened.)”

    I don’t think that’s true. Many complained. They also complained about their phones being cut off and there being difficulties in communication. But I guess for you that’s not important. And again, in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation these observers have every right to not come forward. Which is again, why the “something else” part is also very important to discuss. Plus Mousavi has in fact identified many polling stations with irregularities in his joint report with Karoubi from their committee of protection of votes (komiteh sianat az araa).

    “4. It is fair to presume that each Mousavi observer has a record of the vote count at his polling station. Either he has a copy of the Form 22 (which he may or may not have signed), or he has personal notes. There may be a few exceptions, but it is highly unlikely that a Mousavi observer would fail to write down the vote count (only 4 numbers, after all), go home and promptly forget it.”

    If you receive death threats and your fellow campaign staff members are arrested and in prison, you tend to forget a lot of things.

    “5. Since the election, no Mousavi observer has claimed that he was deceived or lacked an adequate basis for having approved the vote count at his polling station.”

    When did they ever have the chance to claim anything?! The Mousavi supporters came out in droves and asked “Where’s my vote?” A simple question. And we all know how THEY were treated. Now imagine what could have happened to Mousavi OBSERVERS who came out and asked for ANYTHING!

    “6. It’s fair to presume that at least one of Mousavi’s observers compared his record of the vote count at his polling station with the vote count reported for his polling station by the Interior Ministry. (Realistically, it’s very likely that every single Mousavi observer made this comparison immediately when the Interior Ministry ballot-box reports were released.)”

    I’m yet to see this detailed report that you speak of. But again, for the millionth time, in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation you cannot expect this to have happened. I believe even the Sharia law prohibits you from cooperating if you feel that your life is in danger.

    “7. Not one of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of observers has ever alleged that the Interior Ministry’s reported vote count for his polling station is different from the vote count he witnessed.”

    How many times will you repeat the same sentence? You’re just trying to make something out of nothing. You repeated the same thing 7 times!

    “Are any of these facts disputed? If not, is the conclusion they lead to not obvious and inescapable?”

    Yes. All. They are not facts, just reports by the Interior Ministry – the same ministry that was lead by one of the most corrupt men in Ahmadinejad’s government: Sadegh Mahsouli — who is also one of the richest. Look him up. See if you like to take his word over anyone else’s!

    [START OF QUOTED ARNOLD POST]

    “But to stay a little bit on topic, Pak and Arvin: what makes you think more Iranians voted, or intended to vote, for Mousavi than for Ahmadinejad?

    If your argument is that you don’t have a reason to believe that happened, but you don’t like the regime anyway, that’s cool, but it’s not a disagreement.”

    I didn’t like the regime to begin with, which is why I didn’t even vote. But I don’t think an incumbant who had performed poorly both domestically and on the foreign stage would be able to attract MORE votes than his first time around. The first time he ran the reformers split the vote which lead him to go to a second round with Rafsanjani. Since Khatami’s election the voters are younger and less traditional, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to pull a 180 and elect a super hardliner with 24 million votes. I know in your report (Eric) you’ve justified this by saying Khatami was a seyyed and a mullah and more charismatic than Mousavi and therefore he was able to get the vote of the traditional religious Iranians. But I don’t agree with that. For one Mousavi too is a seyyed (Mir). His revolutionary credentials and his close relationship with Khomeini got the religious base and Iran-Iraq war veterans excited. I think the truly religious are upset at how the Ahmadinejad government has hurt their religion by making mockery out of Shia Islam – Seeing a Halo in UN, Americans keeping the 12th Imam from appearing, etc. Also look at how the clergy are being treated in Qom. The moderate religious were always in reformer’s camp, since Khomeini’s time. The secular non-religious, including the young voting block that would pour into the streets in all major cities sporting green — well, goes without saying.

    “If your argument is that there’s indescribable evidence in the air in Iran, we’re not going to be able to argue that either.”

    No we’re not.

    “If your argument is that Ahmadinejad is wrong so of course nobody could have voted for him, that’s a well-understood fallacy, especially regarding events like elections where the people you interact with are not anything like an unbiased sample of the population.”

    I agree with that. And no this is not my argument.

    “If your argument is that only a regime that had a fraudulent election would have used violence against protesters, that is just ridiculous.”

    Why is that ridiculous? It may be if you put it that way, but I would put it this way: a regime that HAS THE SUPPORT OF 63% ITS POPULATION would not have used violence against protestors who it claims are a small minority. Specially if those protests were peaceful as they were in the beginning before they were radicalized by one reason or another…

    “If your argument is that the regime is illegitimate even if Ahmadinejad got the votes he claimed to get. Once again, that’s not a disagreement on the topic of this post, and really, if that’s your argument, you’re conceding that Ahmadinejad did get the votes he claimed to get. In that case it would be nice for you to admit it but I guess you’ll concede or admit what you want to admit. Either way it is clear that you’re not challenging the key assertion of this post.…”

    I don’t think he got the votes he claims. He’s spend the past year trying to convince the general public that he had 24,000,000 votes. Why would you continue to repeat that claim in each public appearance if you believed you actually did have the vote? Why does he feel the need to hammer it in? Because he knows he doesn’t have that many supporters. He does have some, but not many. He still relies heavily on staged crowds, people who are bussed in to see him. And even then he can’t fill spaces and even then he faces people who protest against him.

    “But I’m doing this because I have no idea what your argument is. The reason for this is that there is no reasonable argument that Mousavi got more votes that Ahmadinejad, so you’re kind of hiding and shifting behind various weak arguments and distractive strategies. Which is what I’d do in your position if I for some reason was really invested in the idea that Ahmadinejad won a fraudulent election but I had no convincing argument that this idea was true.”

    Take out reports by Ministry of Interior and other government organizations, take out reports by news outlets close to Ahmadinejad and Khamenei (Fars, Kayhan, etc.) Take out polls that work in your favor (some work in the Green Movement’s, including a poll conducted by IRGC on days leading up to the election) which for the same reasons mentioned above (fear and intimidation) does not apply to Iran. What reason do YOU have to believe that Ahmadinejad won majority of the vote? What makes you think that majority of Iranians — 24 million of them — voted for Ahmadinejad?

    [END OF QUOTED ARNOLD POST]

    BILL, ARVIN AND PAK:

    “It’s time to address these arguments, or to drop the “stolen election” mantra once and for all. You may well have strong arguments on other points. If so, by all means make those other arguments. They will be more persuasive to the millions of Iranians who discount everything you say because you insist on tainting it with your baseless “stolen election” claims.”

    One thing I’ve always been curious about Eric… Where does your interest in Iran comes from? Suppose I throw in the towel and say without further argument that you are right and the election was not stolen. Would you then sit down with me and discuss the crimes committed by IRI or would you continue down the path of defending the IRI? What do you have to gain from this on a personal level, or if its just something you’re interested in, what would America — your country — would have to gain from Iran? Hope I’ve answered everything…

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    @ Persian Gulf

    “I have to say that I can’t believe your election day story. it sounds a very nice one to be published in a romantic novel (you would make more money than doing this job, i guess!). I recommend you try that out. besides, don’t try to discredit people for not knowing Tehran. there are people in this website who know Tehran very well, probably far better than you.”

    I’m only spending money to be posting here! Pay as you go Internet my friend! It’s not a story, it actually happened, but I did say I could never use it as evidence, because it’s THAT absurd! Not sure how it’s romantic; it’s more tragic if you ask me. I wish I could find that guy again and ask him what he really meant by what he said!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    @ Pirouz_2

    Which is it amoo Pirouz, on the one hand you say majority of Iranians are traditional working class religious folks who vote for Ahmadinejad, on the other hand you say our generation (generations born after 1979 revolution that now make up majority of Iranians) are an apolitical bunch that only listen to Sasy Mankan! For one, let me defend Sasy Mankan for he makes the kind of pop music that makes everyone from northern Tehran to southern Tehran happy. Which is why he’s famous and even YOU know about him. Second of all, Sasy Mankan’s rise has to do with the rise of channels like PMC and the rise of a new generation of musicians in Iran who are retiring the old pop singers in LA. A generation that you once claimed are Quran thumbing AN-voting poor folks are now listening to likes of Sasy Mankan because there’s nothing Islamic about him. BUT, if you’re interested in good music our generation has produced, listen to Shahin Najafi, Mohsen Namjoo, Hichkas or Yas for starters. (Namjoo and Najafi have prison terms waiting for them should they return to Iran) Furthermore, the current pop hit is “Soosan Khanoom” by Barobax. Get with the program amoo Pirouz!

  14. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “Eric, You skipped my question. Would you just throw in the towel if you were to get Mousavi’s case or would you do what any good lawyer do and find ways to make his case, which includes questioning “facts?””

    I can tell you exactly what a good lawyer would do here, Arvin.

    First and most important, he will conduct the sort of analysis that I have conducted. He will conclude that his case is extremely weak and, thus, that his client’s best hope is to prevent this inescapable conclusion from becoming known to whoever ends up deciding the case.

    Next, he will determine who has authority to decide the case.

    If the answer is a judge or an arbitrator, or anyone else well-educated and trained to see through extremely weak arguments unsupported by evidence, he will become even more worried. He will caution his client to be prepared for the worst. He probably will consider whether it will be best for his client to get it over with quickly or to let it drag on, and will behave accordingly. He will hope that his opposing counsel hasn’t thought it through well enough that he insists on a different pace.

    If the answer is instead that a jury will decide, the lawyer probably will smile. He will recognize that he might be able to persuade the jury that his client’s case is stronger than it really is. Equally important, he will recognize that the opposing attorney will understand this just as well as he does, and that that opposing attorney will explain this to his client.

    The attorney probably will then lay out, first to himself and his client, and then to the opposing attorney in a more guarded manner, the various “interpretations” of the “evidence” that a jury might be persuaded to accept. The opposing lawyer probably will reply that no jury will accept such outlandish stories but, when the two lawyers have finished talking, the opposing lawyer will call his client and suggest that it might be worthwhile to consider a settlement. The two lawyers will then go through the near-obligatory sequence of posturing, bluffing, threatening and grudgingly yielding, and a deal will get struck.

    As you can see, the outcome often will depend considerably on the actual or perceived sophistication of the person or group to whom one’s case ultimately needs to be sold. If the lawyer considers that group to be very unsophisticated, easily persuaded by baseless arguments unsupported by any evidence, he might continue to make those baseless arguments for a very long time indeed.

    Sometimes even longer than one year and five days.

  15. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @BILL DAVIT

    “You both wrote meticulous well written documents in support of Ahmadinejad’s victory in the 2009 election. However as I have mentioned before the problem in both cases is the fact they are predicated almost exclusively on regime data with some anecdotal support from polls. In a true free, open, liberal democracy this would be all you need. The issue is Iran is not a free, open, and liberal deomocracy.”

    The surveys are far from “andectodal”. They are carefully and scientifically researched pieces of evidence that test hypotheses. Had they shown greater support for Mousavi, you would be hailing them as the proof of fraud you have since failed to provide.

    Eric can speak for himself, but my aim was to determine if the ministry data from all 45,632 ballot boxes showed any signs of fradulent manipulation and incredible results – I couldn’t find any at all. If the election was rigged in the way you claim it was, it would have been obvious.

  16. Persian Gulf says:

    the point is not the observers. when I say some of the commentators do not seem to be familiar about the Iranian system and mindset, despite their claim of otherwise, is here. I know for one occasion, the guy responsible for Karoubi’s office voted for Ahmadinejad! (the guy told my relative they know this but they had to run the office anyway. they needed some people) these are quite normal and that’s the main reason sometimes the candidates get less votes than their paid employees at a ballot box (this time it was Karoubi that was screaming for this discrepancy). frankly, If I was there and Karoubi’s team was going to pay me to run an office for him, I would have accepted the job offer of conducting the office and distributing the election advertisements. that doesn’t necessarily mean the vote is being bought. many of those observers did their job honestly, but their votes were not guaranteed. I am sure Karoubi knows this fact very well. unofficial reports said at the time that even Karbaschi (his running mate) didn’t vote for him and voted instead for Mousavi. how can he then talk about not getting more than the scrap ballots?!

  17. kooshy says:

    There is an interesting narrative by Mr. Kadkhodai (Spokesperson for the Guardian Council) of a meeting between Representatives of presidential candidates and the representatives of the guardian council and the interior ministry with the leader of the revolution( right after the election) apparently to hear the candidates disputes with election’s results. This was reported today on the Persian site Tabnak that apparently belongs to Mr. Rezai (one of the last election’s candidate)

    “Mr. Kadkhodai continued: Mr. Akhondi (representative of Mr. Mousavi in the meeting) addressed the supreme leader, he said that “we know if even all the ballot boxes are recounted no major violations will be detected, but our main problem and the issue is Mr. Ahmadinejad.” Leadership again replied “This is another matter. Here please address if you have any disputes with the ballot boxes, but discussions regarding candidate’s eligibility and competency was reviewed elsewhere and can be discussed in another time.

    Mr. Kadkhodai continued: Mr. Rasul Montajabnya, representative of Mr. Karroubi proposed, in order to assure the candidates of a fair recount representative of the candidates should be present with the representatives of guardian council at the place and time of recount.

    Ayatollah Khamenei approved this proposal, as the representatives of the Guardian Council he asked us to make possible presence and supervision of representatives of candidates for review and the recount and said: “If candidates have any complaint about any particular ballot box that same box should be recounted, you could
    even randomly select and recount the ballot boxes so there remains no more doubt”

    http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/pages/?cid=104769

  18. Persian Gulf,

    YOU WROTE: “Not having an observer is not itself a proof of fraud.”

    A point worth mentioning, even though I’ve charitably suggested that we start any inquiry by examining only polling stations at which an Mousavi observers indisputably signed a Form 22 to approve the vote count. If one were to press to its logical limit the argument that some have made (including Scott Lucas in an earlier Enduring America debate on this subject), the vote count at a polling station would be invalid unless a Mousavi observer had approved it in writing.

    In case it’s not obvious, this means that any candidate who expects to lose could invalidate the entire election by instructing all of his observers to stay home on election day.

  19. Persian Gulf says:

    Eric:

    I am getting to the point that Arvin is not telling the truth about being in Iran, knowing election process and so on. the rule to allow candidates’ observers has been implemented since 1379 (2000). this was explained in the Iranian TV by Mr.Kadkhodaei, the representative of the guardian council (I saw the footage and can find it for you if needed). this means, not having an observer is not itself a proof of fraud based on Iranian system (note to Arvin who tried to make one by one comparison between some western system and the Iranian one), and Iranian mindset. otherwise, one would question all the elections held in the IR prior to this time period specially the ones Mousavi’s gov. was responsible. Mousavi can’t stick to this, this is crystal clear. in addition, the other candidates had some observers. so statistically, the chance of not seen an opposition observer is slim.

    Arivn,
    I have to say that I can’t believe your election day story. it sounds a very nice one to be published in a romantic novel (you would make more money than doing this job, i guess!). I recommend you try that out. besides, don’t try to discredit people for not knowing Tehran. there are people in this website who know Tehran very well, probably far better than you.

    Eric, as you well know, the whole idea of “stolen election” is sort of joke for the absolute majority of Iranian people (their concern is not that anymore, they have mostly accepted the results) and a source of distraction by some oppositions and most of so called !Iran experts! abroad.

  20. To Bill, Arvin and Pak,

    Despite Arnold’s repeated efforts to remind us all of the original topic of this thread – whether fraud occurred in the 2009 election – you persist in diverting the discussion to what happened afterward. Bear with me one more time as I re-focus the discussion by quoting from the first paragraph of my article:

    [START OF QUOTE FROM EAB ARTICLE INTRO]

    “Charges that the Iranian government brutally mistreated protesters after the 2009 presidential election must be taken very seriously. A protester’s human rights should not depend on the merits of his position, just as our respect for a soldier should not depend on the merits of the war he is sent to fight. The question considered here, however, is not whether the government mistreated those who protested the election result, nor whether Iran’s government ought to be run by different people with different policies…[nor] whether more candidates ought to have been declared eligible to run … The question here is simply whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election, fair and square.”

    [END OF QUOTE FROM EAB ARTICLE INTRO - CLICK ON MY NAME ABOVE FOR LINK TO ARTICLE]

    What I’m seeing here, over and over, confirms the point of the “The light’s better here” joke in my post of June 12 at 5:35 PM. You insist on discussing something else – something else which indeed is very important but is not the subject at hand.

    BILL WROTE:

    “Until we can objectively look at all of the data free of intimidation, we simply cannot not come to any kind of scientifically based conclusion.”

    [END OF QUOTE FROM BILL]

    Bill, my understanding is that you’re not in Iran, but instead are right in the middle of the United States, entirely “free of intimidation.” Thus, if we read your sentence carefully, all we need is to determine whether you have “all of the [undisputed] data” you need, and then ask that you consider it “objectively.” You need not look at much, frankly, because your argument will hit a dead end very quickly. My post to Arvin of June 16 at 7:16 PM lays out succinctly the hurdle you cannot clear:

    [START OF QUOTED EAB POST TO ARVIN]

    “…I am indeed asking you to accept as “fact” that the Interior Ministry reported 45,692 vote-count numbers, one for each ballot box. Nobody disputes that. I’m not asking you to accept that any of those numbers is correct. I’m asking only that you explain why none of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of election-day observers has ever claimed that the vote count he witnessed at his polling station is different from the vote count for his polling station reported by the Interior Ministry. I recognize that Mousavi now claims he had only 25,000 observers, not 40,676, and we can set aside that disagreement for now.”

    “I’m really asking very little here: Have Mousavi send an email to each of his election-day observers that reads essentially as follows:

    “Attached to this email is a spreadsheet listing of the 45,692 polling stations on June 12, 2009. The vote-count reported by the Interior Ministry for each polling station is listed next to the polling station’s name and address. If any of you were at any of those polling stations on election day, and your notes of the vote count at that polling station are different from what is listed in the spreadsheet, please let me know.” …”

    [END OF QUOTED EAB POST TO ARVIN]

    You have “all of the data” you need here, Bill (and Arvin, who has yet to respond directly to this post), and it’s all undisputed:

    1. The Interior Ministry published vote counts for 45,692 polling stations. (This was the first time in history it did so, and it claims that it did so in the (naive) belief that this would prevent the very sort of “manipulation” charges that are nevertheless being made.)

    2. Mousavi had observers at tens of thousands of polling stations. (The exact number is disputed, but neither side disputes that it was “tens of thousands.”)

    3. Not one of Mousavi’s election-day observers complained that he was barred from monitoring the voting, the vote-counting or any other election-day activity. (Mousavi later complained that this had happened in many places, but none of his observers has ever backed him up on this, and Mousavi has never identified a single polling station where it happened.)

    4. It is fair to presume that each Mousavi observer has a record of the vote count at his polling station. Either he has a copy of the Form 22 (which he may or may not have signed), or he has personal notes. There may be a few exceptions, but it is highly unlikely that a Mousavi observer would fail to write down the vote count (only 4 numbers, after all), go home and promptly forget it.

    5. Since the election, no Mousavi observer has claimed that he was deceived or lacked an adequate basis for having approved the vote count at his polling station.

    6. It’s fair to presume that at least one of Mousavi’s observers compared his record of the vote count at his polling station with the vote count reported for his polling station by the Interior Ministry. (Realistically, it’s very likely that every single Mousavi observer made this comparison immediately when the Interior Ministry ballot-box reports were released.)

    7. Not one of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of observers has ever alleged that the Interior Ministry’s reported vote count for his polling station is different from the vote count he witnessed.

    Are any of these facts disputed? If not, is the conclusion they lead to not obvious and inescapable?

    Let me close with some excerpts from Arnold’s post of June 16 at 4:36 PM, to which no one has directly responded:

    [START OF QUOTED ARNOLD POST]

    “But to stay a little bit on topic, Pak and Arvin: what makes you think more Iranians voted, or intended to vote, for Mousavi than for Ahmadinejad?

    If your argument is that you don’t have a reason to believe that happened, but you don’t like the regime anyway, that’s cool, but it’s not a disagreement.

    If your argument is that there’s indescribable evidence in the air in Iran, we’re not going to be able to argue that either.

    If your argument is that Ahmadinejad is wrong so of course nobody could have voted for him, that’s a well-understood fallacy, especially regarding events like elections where the people you interact with are not anything like an unbiased sample of the population.

    If your argument is that only a regime that had a fraudulent election would have used violence against protesters, that is just ridiculous.

    If your argument is that the regime is illegitimate even if Ahmadinejad got the votes he claimed to get. Once again, that’s not a disagreement on the topic of this post, and really, if that’s your argument, you’re conceding that Ahmadinejad did get the votes he claimed to get. In that case it would be nice for you to admit it but I guess you’ll concede or admit what you want to admit. Either way it is clear that you’re not challenging the key assertion of this post.…

    But I’m doing this because I have no idea what your argument is. The reason for this is that there is no reasonable argument that Mousavi got more votes that Ahmadinejad, so you’re kind of hiding and shifting behind various weak arguments and distractive strategies. Which is what I’d do in your position if I for some reason was really invested in the idea that Ahmadinejad won a fraudulent election but I had no convincing argument that this idea was true.”

    [END OF QUOTED ARNOLD POST]

    BILL, ARVIN AND PAK:

    It’s time to address these arguments, or to drop the “stolen election” mantra once and for all. You may well have strong arguments on other points. If so, by all means make those other arguments. They will be more persuasive to the millions of Iranians who discount everything you say because you insist on tainting it with your baseless “stolen election” claims.

  21. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas (Arvin),

    Instead of ranting and raving read this excellent article and be ashamed:

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=39561

  22. Liz says:

    Scorr Lucas (Arvin),

    Instead of ranting and raving read this excellent article and be ashamed:

    http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=39561

  23. Persian Gulf says:

    pirouz_2:

    here is the way to get in touch. Ben can send you an e-mail to the address you provided to make comments, and give the e-mail address I used here in this site. I would appreciate if Ben could do this.

    I am not that of a secret guy. my field of work is also something far from what we see here. some of my friends (including the green supporters) know that I sometimes write here with this ID! I also wrote, one would get the feeling, in way that we say in Farsi: یکی به نعل زدن یکی به میخ however, this is not (and wasn’t) my intention. i just tried to say the truth.

  24. Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English)) says:

    Eric,

    “Ever since the disputed 2009 Iran election and the protests that followed, loud voices have insisted that the pieces are once again in place—an illegitimate jackboot regime, courageous cries for help, a whiff of WMD. Though it seems unlikely now, the United States could be back in the saddle some day, galloping off to liberate yet another nation of Muslims from Muslim oppression, rescuing a myopic and predictably ungrateful world from yet another existential threat. Just as those who questioned WMD claims before the 2003 Iraq invasion were shouted down as unpatriotic, those who question the “stolen election” claim today are dismissed as democracy-hating boosters of a thuggish theocracy.” [Note from Flynt and Hillary: That has certainly been our experience.] ”

    As predicted this would predispose on others a narrative based on prior precedance despite the facts pertaining to this particular instance. Ironically it was a narrative the Leveretts already believed in. However, I believe it is dangerous for others because it also posits the US was somehow behind this. This then feeds into the regime narrative and supports their case and obscures any attempt to objectively obtain a conclusion as to the “why.” Sadly this conclusion becomes the norm for some depiste the facts having clearly shown the US had almost no part to play in the unrest coming about. It is tragic because it just deflects from the real reasons internal to Iran that caused this to conflict to come about. I just hope it doesn’t lead to the narrative becoming fact as can occur when one of the parties either believes it or uses it to serve their purpose.

    Thx
    Bill

  25. Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English)) says:

    Eric and Reza,

    You both wrote meticulous well written documents in support of Ahmadinejad’s victory in the 2009 election. However as I have mentioned before the problem in both cases is the fact they are predicated almost exclusively on regime data with some anecdotal support from polls. In a true free, open, liberal democracy this would be all you need. The issue is Iran is not a free, open, and liberal deomocracy. Iran is a theocracy in which the majority of the power rest with one individual. I will agree it is more democratic than Egypt or Saudia Arabia but we are not debating that point. We are dealing with Iran that as history has shown has a well orchestrated process of electing a president that most categorically call a selection. It is why I feel your arguements are lacking because they do not note the importance of it being a “selection” and the environment the process occurs in.

    If you look at this from a legal or scientific standpoint the only way to reach a conclusive answer is to have access to all the information and both sides of the story. As we have all seen that is not the case. All we have is data largely from the regime. Yes the Green Movement has not proved their case either but how in the world can they? The regime has closed their offices, confiscated much of their data, imprisoned many of its leaders, imprisoned academics/journalists who support it, and just about made it a crime for the populace to to support it. When you take that all into context how can the Green Movement even begin to argue its case let alone supply us with any data that would prove the election was rigged? They cannot and by extension we in the West are left grasping at straws trying to figure out what happened. The one thing we who argue the election was stolen is the circumstantial evidence it was fraud by virtue of the Regimes actions.

    It is quite difficult to believe a party who has 62% of the populace supporting it has to resort to:

    1) Imprisoning more journalists than almost the entire world combined
    2) Detaining over 18,000
    3) Kill at least a 100 during the protests
    4) Banning international travel for most reformers
    5) Detaining most of the Green Movements leaders
    6) Continually resorting to intimidation to quite the clerical establishment
    7) Instituting purges in the governement and academic world of those not in line
    8) Arresting many notable human rights activists
    9) A Continual denial of the viability of the reform movement while at the very same time feeling the need to marshal tens of thousands of troops to keep the “supposed non existent movement” in place
    10) Fabricate lie after lie to cover up its most egregious crimes such as the killing of Neda which was either staged, done by the CIA, MKO, Mossad, and my grandma depending on the day
    11) Bleat at nauseum it is all a foreign plot ignoring it was their people who rose up
    12) Ban over 70 foreign news agencies blaming them as well for the unrest
    13) Completely ignoring due process of law as guranteed by the Iranian constitution for most of those detained
    14) The need to air obvious forced confessions
    15) Ignoring the fact not one Grand Ayatollah nor the majority of the clerical establishement believes in the result of election. This is an important one for a regime who places so much empahsis on on its validity due to its piety
    16) A complete news black out on anything to do with Green Movement and any of the crimes by the regime
    17) Igonoring the cases of those killed, raped, and beaten with almost no one in the regime being called to answer for it
    18) Violating Sharia by virtue of them banning the constitutional rights of free press, assembly, and protest for the Green Movement members

    God I could go on and on. What your both missing is that the regime is not acting like the party who won. They are acting like the party who stole it and knows it and thus must do everything it can to hide the truth. Until we can objectively look at all of the data free of intimidation we simply cannot not come to any kind of scitifically based conclusion. All we have is regime sourced data and polls which are not scientific especially so in a closed society. Thus at this point in time if you use only that data supplied by the regime only one conclusion can be reached, Ahmadinejad won. I implore you both to broaden you horizons and pay attention to the actions of the regime and ask yourself “are these the actions of a confident party secure of the fact they won the election fair and square?” I think not and both of you have to realize in a court of law your arguement is fundamentally flawed because to reach a true impartial verdict all parties must be able to freely present their case. That is not the case in Iran and the actions I enumerated above provide a very solid case for tampering.

    Thx
    Bill

  26. Arvin says:

    Eric,

    You skipped my question. Would you just throw in the towel if you were to get Mousavi’s case or would you do what any good lawyer do and find ways to make his case, which includes questioning “facts?”

    Dan,

    Did you just copy and paste from the other post?!

    What would a Basiji (the government) gain by killing Neda?

    FEAR. (رعب و وحشت)

    What would the regime gain from beating peaceful protestors or shooting them? There’s video of Basijis firing at crowds from rooftops. Footage of police cars running over people. All this is to make the public fearful so as to keep them from coming to the streets. I don’t think they targeted Neda. It could have been a stray bullet as far as we know. But she was killed by people carrying guns and shooting in the direction of the crowds (Basijis). To say that she was far from where all the action was is to admit that you don’t know Tehran well. That’s what Ahmadinejad tells his foreign audience knowing fully well they can’t dispute it because they don’t know Tehran. Do you honestly believe that if there was video footage of Ruholamini’s torture and subsequent death he would not have become as much an icon because he wasn’t a pretty girl? If there was video footage of each of the other deaths you can be sure that each of those victims too would have become martyrs in the eyes of the Iranian people. Heck, someone like Sohrab only had photos of wearing green, with no video footage of his murder, yet he has managed to become as much an icon.

    To ask what would a Basiji gain from killing Neda is like asking what would a murderer gain from killing someone innocent?

    The fact stands that the regime is its own worst enemy for providing foreign powers and media with plenty of content for use against itself. If they didn’t fill prisons or kill protestors or beat them, there would be no footage to use against them, would there? When will you ever admit to that?!

  27. pirouz_2 says:

    @Persian Gulf:

    I think there is a case of mistaken identity here! :D

    I have no idea who you might be, and in fact I was so surprised that some one on this site might actually know me! And the way you praised me mage me strongly suspect that are confusing me with someone else. :)

    I don’t know how we can get in touch then.

    PS. I checked all the emails through which one might possibly be contacting me, but I didn’t see anything from you.

  28. Persian Gulf says:

    sorry, “the gentleman should be” not it should be. I make typo errors here quite often, sorry about that.

  29. Persian Gulf says:

    pirouz_2:

    then it should be you! I hope. I didn’t judge you based on your comments on there sites. I actually don’t know which site you are talking about. anyhow, the one that I know, knows me a bit. and I have given all the hints of who I am. he should have known me by now! it should have been pretty obvious for him (I have thought of you to be the one I know based on one of your comments in this post on June 14, 2010 at 6:57 pm). will try to find a way for this then. well the Leveretts and Ben surely know where I am located at! good night, for now,

  30. pirouz_2 says:

    :-D
    You can’t make your decision between me and James?? James is American (as far as I can tell, any way for sure he is not Iranian) whereas I am Iranian. I got a feeling that you have confused me with someone else, because if you had read my comments in that other site, you would have no doubt that that person was Iranian, I was known to be Iranian in that site by everyone (and James obviously is not!)

  31. Persian Gulf says:

    Pirouz_2:

    I got confused now! I was actually not sure the one I know is you or James Canning! however, as I checked your recent comments, I kind of made my mind that the one I know is you not James! (or may be he is the one! you never now) if so, I sent an e-mail to you tonight (few hours ago). I forwarded a book in Farsi. then one of you can reply my e-mail and confirm it. otherwise, I was mistaken then. no other way to connect, unless we resort to Arvin’s type of method. lol north america is really big though! and I have some limitations too.

  32. pirouz_2 says:

    @Persian Gulf:

    Well you praised me so much that I am starting to think that you have confused me with someone else! :D
    No I don’t have a political resume, but there was this other site to which I used to go (under a different name) and write comments until some one year ago. I never returned there, if you know which site I am talking about (that is the only place that you may have possiblly seen my comments before here) then send me a private message in there. God…I hate that site now and it has been such a long time that I don’t go there. Send me a private message in there and I will see if we indeed know each other from before.
    At any rate you give me way too much credit, and you also under estimate yourself (you are very much above average).

    PS. Let me know if/when you send your message and I will go and check it.

  33. Persian Gulf says:

    pirouz_2:

    Thanks a lot. I’m flattered by your words.

    I guess, i recently got to know, from the style of your writings, who you actually are!. i also guess you changed your ID recently (may be, I am mistaken, am not 100% sure though. if true, you deserve more respect than people like me). I am a very average person, nothing is special about me. no political resume to refer to.

  34. pirouz_2 says:

    Persian Gulf:

    :-D

    I wish I could get to know you outside this site, I really have come to develop a deep sense of respect for you.

  35. Persian Gulf says:

    priouz_2:

    if “His age in years is not 22″, that speaks volumes!

    moreover, if intelligence is nothing more than the ability to survive and probably transfer the gens (purely Darwinian perspective without any reference to metaphysics of any sort as he might have obsession about!), then I would confess, he is really intelligent!

  36. pirouz_2 says:

    @Persian Gulf:
    You mean his age in years or his age in intelligence which one??? :-D

    In either case my answer would be “NO”. His age in years is not 22, and his age in intelligence is a bit below 22.

  37. Persian Gulf says:

    pirouz_2:

    did you really believe Pak’s age?!

  38. Pak,

    YOU WROTE: “I believe that Mousavi represents the next process in Iran’s political evolution.”

    That’s remarkable. If you really hope to get where you want to go, may I respectfully suggest you keep an open mind about that.

  39. Pak,

    YOU WROTE: “I have no friends on this blog.”

    That’s not my impression at all. I certainly don’t feel that way, and I doubt others do either. You make sharp comments, even if we don’t agree with some of them. (Probably we just ignore the ones that would give us trouble.)

  40. pirouz_2 says:

    “I have no friends on this blog. In fact, I have no idea who anybody on this blog is to be honest. So please, continue digging your hole instead of apologising.”

    I think even a person of your intelligence should understand that what I meant as “friend” was those who make take your side of the argument regarding the elctions and the GM.

    “Are you joking? You just did all the hard work for me and substantiated my argument, so thank you very much!”

    I am afraid you are disapointing me more and more with your lack of ability to understand the BASIC English:
    To say that Mosaddegh was a “secular leader” is very different from saying that “?National Front” was “wholly secular” as you did!
    If you don’t understand that Nehzat-e Azadi and Bazargan (an important part of the coalition of the National Front) were not Secular despite the fact that Mosaddegh was then I have nothing to tell you.

    “Indeed, and I am very proud of all Iranians for being so smart and successful, but your argument is flawed (and so is your spelling). The regime did not magically make Iranians smart and successful (the Iranian diaspora Worldwide is also among the most successful). Also, you are ignoring the endless ills that the Iranian society currently faces. How appropriate.”

    My spelling has nothing to do with the subject at hand, if that is the best that you can offer I am sorry for you.
    And you are right, the regime did not make Iranians magically smart and successful, in fact that was my whole point: They did by opening up new universities by investing in R&D and by promoting education. GOOD FOR THEM. LEARN TO APPRECIATE INSTEAD OF ONLY HATING.

    “My old man, in all honesty I have spent the better part of my day on this blog. I am not even a regular contributor; I just get a little heated when I see two American politicians interfering in Iranian politics. And I can wholeheartedly assure you that my generation are not simply “apolitical” lemmings who crave pop music, nice cars and fancy hairstyles. I can also assure you that a substantial proportion of my generation are opposed to Israel. My old man, I think it is past your bed time. Your imaginary World is waiting for you.”

    Now you are making me smile, I guess when you talk about those who oppose to Israel, you are referring to those who shouted “neither to Ghaza nor to Lebanon, my life is dedicated to Iran”? Or perhaps those who support people such as Zibakalam? or perhaps Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat which is sympatheitc to Israel? Ahhhh…no….I get it! You are talking about Caspian Makan, the wonderful fiance of Ms. Agha Soltan?!?!?!

    Well since you don’t know where I am you can’t possiblly know when my bed time comes, but I can tell you my dellusional friend it is nopt your bed, it is the time for you to wake up from your fantasy world! Wake up little one, wake up!

  41. Dan Cooper says:

    Arvin

    Re: Your post; June 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

    In this forum, you are constantly barking louder and louder than you bite.

    You have a deliberate desire to exploit people’s articles to discredit the Islamic republic.

    Most of your comments are based on exaggeration and manipulation of the facts.

    Ideological and emotional agendas have blinded you from reality, which has resulted in you distancing yourselves from factual, and analytical information, preferring instead, information that fits with your material interests and emotional disposition.

    The primacy of emotion over fact bids ill for you.

    Ahmadinejad won the election fairly, get over it, don’t be a sore loser.

    You must be so stupid not to have realised that “the regime change” in Iran is the most important foreign policy of Israel, USA and Britain.

    Mossad, CIA and MI6 are extremely active in Iran, “Exploitation of the Iranian election and Neda’s death and the orchestrated media campaign to discredit the Islamic republic” are part of their Psychological Operations “PSYOPS”.

    Neda was an innocent bystander. She was not participating in any demonstration; she was not wearing any green clothes. She was walking with her music teacher in a side street where there was no demonstration.

    Now Arvin, explain to me, what would a Basiji gain by killing her?

    Now ask yourself this; what would a “Foreign agent or the enemies of Islamic Republic” gain by killing her?

    Neda was “assassinated to order” for maximum publicity to tarnish the image of the Iranian government.

    CIA and specially Mossad are famous for this type of operations.

    They deliberately chose a “beautiful girl” in order to get maximum exposure. Have you ever asked yourself why they did not kill her music teacher who was by her side?

    I advise you to read Reza Esfandiari’s article;

    http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/nov/no-rest-or-peace?page=1

    He wrote:

    “it is every bit conceivable that those who thought the opposition movement needed a symbol and icon of resistance – recipients and supporters no doubt of a $400m CIA-backed destabilization program for Iran – would have arranged this horrible murder and try and pin it on the Iranian authorities.”

  42. Pirouz 2,

    I recognize Mousavi is not “fuzzy and warm” if one actually looks at his past. Many of his supporters don’t, and they think he is. My point remains the same either way: whatever his level of “fuzziness and warmth” may be, placing him in power in a non-democratic manner would establish a bad precedent that could be exploited by someone with an even lower level of “fuzziness and warmth.”

  43. Pak says:

    Thanks kooshy.

  44. Pak says:

    Dear pirouz_2,

    I have no friends on this blog. In fact, I have no idea who anybody on this blog is to be honest. So please, continue digging your hole instead of apologising.

    “Nehzat-e Azadi and Bazargan have nothing to do with secularism, since you are a kid (at least intelligencewise) let me explain something to you:
    When they proposed to Mosaddegh to make Bazargan the minister of education, HE IMMEDIATELY OPPOSED THE IDEA and said: “If we make him the minister of education, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT HE WILL MAKE ALL THE GIRL STUDENTS WEAR HEADSCARVES IN SCHOOL! BETTER TO MAKE HIM THE MINISTER OF OIL, he is honest and won’t be corrupted or accept bribes from the West”.
    That is WAY beyond being just “muslim” it is down right against the secular structure of schools.”

    Are you joking? You just did all the hard work for me and substantiated my argument, so thank you very much!

    “Iran as it stand right now has the highest scientific growth IN ALL WORLD, and its scientific output matches that of Sweden and surpasses countries such as: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria and Belgium.”

    Indeed, and I am very proud of all Iranians for being so smart and successful, but your argument is flawed (and so is your spelling). The regime did not magically make Iranians smart and successful (the Iranian diaspora Worldwide is also among the most successful). Also, you are ignoring the endless ills that the Iranian society currently faces. How appropriate.

    My old man, in all honesty I have spent the better part of my day on this blog. I am not even a regular contributor; I just get a little heated when I see two American politicians interfering in Iranian politics. And I can wholeheartedly assure you that my generation are not simply “apolitical” lemmings who crave pop music, nice cars and fancy hairstyles. I can also assure you that a substantial proportion of my generation are opposed to Israel. My old man, I think it is past your bed time. Your imaginary World is waiting for you.

    Dear Eric,

    Firstly, I believe that the fundamental structure of democracy does actually exist in Iran (one of the few beneficial products of the revolution). It simply needs a few tweaks here and there. Secondly, I have not once mentioned revolution. I believe in evolution, or progression if you like. I believe that Mousavi represents the next process in Iran’s political evolution. He and the reformists are the nearest thing we have to someone who has actually repented and finally sees the menace that the regime really is. This does not necessarily make me happy, because most of these men have innocent blood on their hands. But, having learned from the complete failures of the revolution generation, I understand the need for evolution and not revolution. One last shout out to pirouz_2: thank you for your mistakes and your idiocy, we are much wiser because of it!

  45. kooshy says:

    Pak

    Here you go if you like to read about Pan Iranianism

    Siavoshi, Sussan (1953). Liberal nationalism in Iran. ”

    Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions.

    Binder, Leonard; University of California Los Angeles (1999). Ethnic conflict and international politics in the Middle East.

  46. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric,

    Regarding your post on June 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm:

    Mousavi is not anyting but “fuzzy and warm”. He is one of the top people who were directly responsible for mass execution of ~7000 political prisons who had ALREADY been tried and condemened to various prison terms and were serving their time in 1988.
    He is one of the main characters who created the unimaginable environment of sheer terror and oppression in the 80s in Iran, he is also responsible for the wide spread corruption of the 80s which led to a new generation of ultra rich Islamic elite and the downward spiral of the country during the 80s.
    So in short your prediction of “Unfortunately, once you dismantle it, you’re left with no peaceful process for choosing leaders. Others may come along who take advantage of this. ” would have very much come true if the greens had succeeded in what they wanted.

  47. Pak,

    YOU WROTE: “I believe that Iran needs a secular republic.”

    That’s not what Iran has, of course. Entirely proper for you to want it. Frankly, I would too.

    The question is how best to go about achieving it. In studying the election and the protests that followed, my clear impression was that – despite what they strenuously argue – proponents of the changes you seek would be willing to ignore valid democratic elections if doing so would bring to power someone more likely to bring about the “secularizing” changes they desire.

    You would not be the first group in history to abandon democratic elections to accomplish your goals. Nor would you be the first group to insist that you are actually standing up for democracy at the very same time you are dismantling it. Unfortunately, once you dismantle it, you’re left with no peaceful process for choosing leaders. Others may come along who take advantage of this. That nearly always happens, and they’re not always warm and fuzzy guys like Mousavi.

  48. pirouz_2 says:

    “First of all, why are you showing me how lame that particular argument is? What has it got to do with me? Are you getting senile, my old man?”

    That is your (and your friends) problem, you people have no argument to offer except cursing and insulting.
    It was your side all this time which kept at saying Arnold and Eric had never been to Iran so they don’t know about Iran. So you disagree with your friends on that issue? I am glad to hear that.

    “Secondly, I apologise for my previous statement that the concept of Islamic government has only existed in Iran since 1979.”

    No need to apologize just read a bit more before you expressing views.

    “If you read what I said in context, I meant that the concept of Islamic government only came to prominence because of the Shah’s alienation of the opposition. I am fully aware that the concept of Islamic government has existed in Iran prior to 1979.”

    I am glad that you are aware (or rather you have just become).

    “Regarding the National Front, I am afraid that you are wrong. You are being stereotypical and assuming that secular equates to not-religious. You are clearly old, so why not recollect why the National Front came into existence. Religion? I doubt it.”

    Nehzat-e Azadi and Bazargan have nothing to do with secularism, since you are a kid (at least intelligencewise) let me explain something to you:
    When they proposed to Mosaddegh to make Bazargan the minister of education, he immediately opposed the idea and said: “If we make him the minister of education, before you know it he will make all the girl students wear headscarves in schools! Better to make him the minister of oil, he is honest and won’t be corrupted or accept bribes from the West”.
    That is WAY beyond being just “muslim” it is down right against the secular structure of schools.
    To call Nehzat-e Azadi as “secular” is just plain against the best know facts of the history.

    “I agree that making a government that satisfies all people is improbable, especially in Iran, especially since the 1979 revolution. Iran is a polarised society.”

    It is not “improbable”, it is downright IMPOSSIBLE. Social classes have OPPOSING economic interests. You can’t have both. And this is not the case just in Iran, it is the same all over the world. While the Iranian lower classes have the same interests as the ~50 million Americans who don’t have a health insurance, the interests of Rafsanjani/Karoubi is the same as that of Wall Street.

    “But, what are you suggesting? That we put up and shut up? Sounds very much like what the regime wants from its people.”

    No I merely suggest that you read and learn before expressing views.

    “Call me an idealist, but I am confident that practically anything will be better than the current pseudo Islamic, pseudo Republic, militaristic, dictatorial, corrupt and simply idiotic regime.”

    That wass precisely the problem with a great part of the intelligentsia in the run up to the 1979 revolution. They too in their despair tought “anything” would be better than Shah’s government and that “anything” included Mr. Khomeini.

    Iran as it stand right now has the highest scientific growth IN ALL WORLD, and its scientific output matches that of Sweden and surpasses countries such as: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria and Belgium.

    “You know the difference between me and you? You clearly come from a generation that has done nothing for Iran other than cause trouble. Thank you for your glorious revolution that has retarded social, political and economic progress and left behind a complete mess for my generation. You must be proud my old man!”

    No the difference between you and I is that I come from a generation who had ideals and an interest in politics, you on the other hand come from a generation which is apolitical and interested more in Sasy Mankan (the great supporter of Karoubi) and prefers him and going to bed with Israelies to the current government. I come from a generation which valued independence you come from the generation of “let’s bow to Americans and get rich”.
    Did you know that there are book stores and publishing groups in Iran which get closed down, not because of the government’s oppression but because simply no one buys their books! I am sure that you are very proud of your generation.

    By the way as a matter of fact I am proud of what I am!

  49. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    I believe that Iran needs a secular republic. I am young and never lived under the Shah. I am extremely proud of Iran’s royal history, but it is exactly that: history. Whether we like it or not.

    The point I was making to pirouz_2 was that the revolution did exactly what it was not supposed to do. I can only blame that generation (unless it was the Zionists or the Great Satan!)

  50. Pak,

    YOU WROTE TO PIROUZ 2: “Thank you for your glorious revolution that has retarded social, political and economic progress and left behind a complete mess for my generation.”

    Not suggesting you mean this – just asking for clarification: Would you have preferred that the Shah remain in power?

  51. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    You last post is very interesting and something I have not thought about much. Can you suggest any books or articles about it?

    Dear Eric,

    Here is my response. See it as you will. (I do not know how to post links onto this blog so will improvise. Apologies if it looks weird).

    www(DOT)4shared(DOT)com/document/TEcFtSyd/DETAILED_INTERPRETATION_OF_THE.html?

    Dear pirouz_2,

    First of all, why are you showing me how lame that particular argument is? What has it got to do with me? Are you getting senile, my old man?

    Secondly, I apologise for my previous statement that the concept of Islamic government has only existed in Iran since 1979. If you read what I said in context, I meant that the concept of Islamic government only came to prominence because of the Shah’s alienation of the opposition. I am fully aware that the concept of Islamic government has existed in Iran prior to 1979.

    Regarding the National Front, I am afraid that you are wrong. You are being stereotypical and assuming that secular equates to not-religious. You are clearly old, so why not recollect why the National Front came into existence. Religion? I doubt it.

    I agree that making a government that satisfies all people is improbable, especially in Iran, especially since the 1979 revolution. Iran is a polarised society. But, what are you suggesting? That we put up and shut up? Sounds very much like what the regime wants from its people. Call me an idealist, but I am confident that practically anything will be better than the current pseudo Islamic, pseudo Republic, militaristic, dictatorial, corrupt and simply idiotic regime.

    You know the difference between me and you? You clearly come from a generation that has done nothing for Iran other than cause trouble. Thank you for your glorious revolution that has retarded social, political and economic progress and left behind a complete mess for my generation. You must be proud my old man!

  52. Arvin,

    I am indeed asking you to accept as “fact” that the Interior Ministry reported 45,692 vote-count numbers, one for each ballot box. Nobody disputes that. I’m not asking you to accept that any of those numbers is correct. I’m asking only that you explain why none of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of election-day observers has ever claimed that the vote count he witnessed at his polling station is different from the vote count for his polling station reported by the Interior Ministry. I recognize that Mousavi now claims he had only 25,000 observers, not 40,676, and we can set aside that disagreement for now.

    I’m really asking very little here: Have Mousavi send an email to each of his election-day observers that reads essentially as follows:

    “Attached to this email is a spreadsheet listing of the 45,692 polling stations on June 12, 2009. The vote-count reported by the Interior Ministry for each polling station is listed next to the polling station’s name and address. If any of you were at any of those polling stations on election day, and your notes of the vote count at that polling station are different from what is listed in the spreadsheet, please let me know.”

    Simple enough, don’t you agree? Do you suppose Mousavi may already have asked this question?

  53. Arvin says:

    Eric,

    “Suppose you’d been given a chance to defend yourselves. What would you have said about the fact that ballot-box counts reported by the IM matched the ballot-box counts witnessed and approved in writing by tens of thousands of Mousavi observers?”

    The fact that…? Who said I would take this as fact? I would question it as any good lawyer would. First and foremost I would ask where you get your facts from. Second I would want to know who these alleged Mousavi observers are and whether they really were his observers approved by his campaign. I would question them one by one if need be. Third I would question the votes inside each box, as I would give the possiblity that some people may have voted more than once while others were kept from voting. I would let anyone of the citizens who had a complaint come forth and present their case to me. Every single one. If fake votes can be cast, fake badges can be made and fake signatures can be forged.

    You’re the lawyer. So suppose you were given Mousavi’s case. Would you throw in the towel and just say “the government says there was no fraud. So we lose!” Or would you find ways to represent Mousavi and millions of his supporters and make their case?

  54. pirouz_2 says:

    PAK:
    YOU WROTE:“As I said before, the concept of Islamic government has only existed in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The National Front, arguably Iran’s most influential political party prior to the revolution, was wholly secular. … The current regime is alienating its legitimate and often tame opposition, and encouraging radicalism, this time in the form of secularism. …I simply want an Iranian government that will serve the country and (all) the people first and foremost.”

    First of all in order to show you how lame this argument of “Mr. X you are not in Iran, so you don’t know what is going on in Iran and can’t understand the society of Iran is” actually is:

    Let me answer you using your exact same logic and see how ridiculous this sounds:

    Dear PAK, you are only 22, and you were not in Iran at the time of 1979 and the time before that (as I was), and so your whole argument regarding the appearence of an Islamic government in Iran is completely wrong, you don’t know the complexity of the Iranian society at the time of 1979 (and before that) and therefore you are talking about something you know nothing about!! I was there and I know what the situation was and you are completely wrong. Please don’t ask me for any reason or logic or evidence, simply take my word for it, you were not there and I was!!!!

    Do you see how ridiculous this sounds???

    Now as for the logical and serious response to your comment:

    1)No, actually the idea of an Islamic government existed long before 1979 revolution. Navvab Safavi and “fadaian-e Eslam” group existed long before the 1979 revolution and their goal was to establish an Islamic regime in Iran. In fact it goes even beyond that, the whole argument of “Sheikh Fazlollah Nouri” and his opposition to the constitutionalists was about government being run according to the Islamic Sharia.

    2)”National Front” was DEFINITELY not a “wholly secular” group. National Front was a coallition of many different political groups including Bazargan’s friends (which led to the “Nehzat-e Azadi”) which was ANYTHING BUT SECULAR.

    3)It is entirely impossible to make a government to satisfy “all” Iranians (and it is impossble to make such a government in ANY country) as the interests of various social groups/classes in Iran (and everywhere else) severely contradict and OPPOSE each other.

    You know what is the difference between you and Eric? Eric despite not being in Iran, has done his homework so to speak and has learned about Iran at least on the issues related to the 2009 elections. You on the other hand have not done your homework properly and your knowledge of the Iranian history is limited to the extreme.
    Which makes his assessments sound and yours some what weak.

  55. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE:

    “I’ll never forget what he said: “Don’t worry about this station, your votes are safe as long as I’m here. If they want want to do anything with the votes, they’ll do it at the top!””

    Let’s assume he was correct. What could they do “at the top” that could not have been detected?

    YOU WROTE:

    “You’re a lawyer Eric, right? Suppose you’re representing Ahmadinejad in court. You are to defend the outcome of the election and his very Presidency. On the other side of court, I’m representing Mousavi and Karoubi who believe your client stole the elections. Now, imagine if the judge kicked me, Mousavi and Karoubi out of court, imprisoned all our witnesses and destroyed all our evidence and asked you to proceed. Suddenly you’re alone in court and you win by default!”

    Suppose you’d been given a chance to defend yourselves. What would you have said about the fact that ballot-box counts reported by the IM matched the ballot-box counts witnessed and approved in writing by tens of thousands of Mousavi observers?

  56. Arvin says:

    Eric and Arnold,

    “How can anyone answer that “yes” or “no”? It would depend on what I learn, if anything, that conflicts with the information I now have. I gather you think that would be the case, but you’ll need to give me at least a hint of what you might have in mind.”

    The answer can only be yes. Your conclusions or ways in which you arrive at your conclusions will in fact be different. Because you have more resources available to you and have had the chance to sit down with all parties and hear their cases. You may in fact come to conclude AGAIN that Ahmadinejad won majority of the vote. But in such a scenario your examinations would be based on first-hand information that you yourself have gotten. And people like me, if convinced that you are a neutral third party observer will come to respect your report. But as is you have not had the chance to let all sides present their case. I am all but one citizen, whatever I say will be based on my own personal experience or tales I’ve heard from my friends and family. None of which counts as evidence which is why I refrain from offering you any.

    For example, on election day I went with my girlfriend because despite me trying to persuade her NOT to vote, she had the Green fever and wanted to. I took her to 3 polling stations in our middle-class neighborhood and Mousavi reps were not present in any of them. Tired of her dragging me to different polling stations I begged her to vote at the third place. At this place, there was a rep from Guardian Council or Expediency Council (don’t remember which, but a government rep nonetheless). He was a polite and trustworthy man. A group of voters (my girlfriend included) were complaining to him about Mousavi’s rep not being present at that station. I’ll never forget what he said: “Don’t worry about this station, your votes are safe as long as I’m here. If they want want to do anything with the votes, they’ll do it at the top!” Everyone laughed nervously at this statement and left it at that. But the next day when all hell broke loose and ever since then, that man’s statement has stayed with me. Did he know?! Is this evidence that the election was rigged? No. It’s only MY personal experience and I’m all but one citizen (who didn’t even vote!).

    Arnold, what can I, a powerless citizen of a country like Iran, offer you as DE-FACTO EVIDENCE that the elections were rigged? Probably nothing! But what I CAN do, is make you doubt the government line. What I CAN do is point to the millions of people who like me BELIEVE the elections were rigged — each with their own personal stories. Did foreign powers have anything to do with us believing this? Maybe. But that should NOT keep us from presenting our case. That does NOT mean we deserve to be beaten, arrested, imprisoned or killed.

    You’re a lawyer Eric, right? Suppose you’re representing Ahmadinejad in court. You are to defend the outcome of the election and his very Presidency. On the other side of court, I’m representing Mousavi and Karoubi who believe your client stole the elections. Now, imagine if the judge kicked me, Mousavi and Karoubi out of court, imprisoned all our witnesses and destroyed all our evidence and asked you to proceed. Suddenly you’re alone in court and you win by default! Because we were not even given the chance to defend ourselves. No podium (IRIB) to talk to the jury (people), no witnesses (imprisoned Mousavi and Karoubi aides and Green Movement activists), no nothing… As a lawyer would you even accept such a case? Or if you did, would you believe the verdict is just and final?!

  57. Pak and Arvin,

    I’d sure like to hear your responses to Arnold’s post of June 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm.

  58. kooshy says:

    Pak

    Sorry I had to go to a graduation and could not finish my earlier reply, but here is what I was to conclude my reply with.

    Some of the first generation western educated modern, secular Pan Iranian nationalist intellectuals, like my own grandfather and Dr. Mosadegh believed in preserving and promoting the Persian language as the main tool of unity and nationalism among Iranian ethnicities, and also to influence greater Iran, this was mostly influenced by traditional fear of the Ottomans and Pan Turkism.

    As it later became evident in the 1979 revolution, Pan Iranianism although it was important and influential it could not acted as the main source of unity and mobilization among all the Iranians, during the 1979 revolution.

    Because of their western education and influence of modern European movements, what was overlooked by this first generation of Iranian intellectuals was the importance of Shiite Islam the national religion of Iran that kept the unity of the majority and enabled the clergy to mobilize against foreign influence during the revolution of 1979. This was the source that prevented the foreign influence in Iranian internal affairs and made a new coup against the new movement impossible.

    Today Iranian’s influence in some important Shiite Arab countries (Iraq, Lebanon, and Bahrain) is because of Shiite Islam and not the Persian language and Iranian culture, which are influential in countries like Afghanistan and Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. So the question is why the Iranian intellectuals ignored such an important source of soft power that countries like Turkey now try to adopt.

  59. Pak,

    “But are you trying to make the point that the Islamists had the majority popular support? If so, I am happy to debate with you, because I disagree.”

    No. I’m not. Often, after a revolution, the dominant group writes the rules and only THEN (if ever) starts talking about democracy — within the framework of rules that are written so that they can’t be changed by simple majority vote.

  60. Pak says:

    kooshy, when I say “think modern Turkey”, I am referring to a nation that has a successful, secular government, without excluding its own heritage.

  61. Persian Gulf says:

    Pak:

    we say in Farsi:

    اگر در خانه کس است، یک حرف بس است.(if there is somebody in the house, one word is enough!). (ناسلامتی ما داریم درباره سیاست حرف می زنیم)!

    I thought, I got the point, anyway; take it easy.

  62. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    I believe we are misunderstanding each other. My point is that you praise intellectuals and insult them in the same sentence, thus contradicting yourself. I fully understand your point that social movements in Iran are not possible without the clergy and the “masses” (this is not to say that the clergy are always acting in the best interests of the nation, e.g. Ayatollah Kashani).

    “Pak – Truly your statement above sounds contradictory, secularism is inherently natural for people, just because people understand the importance of the religion therefore they will not question
    It. I think”

    If I understand correctly, you have misunderstood me (this is getting confusing). I am trying to make the point that secularism is not absolute; it is dynamic. A secular government does not mean Ataturk or Reza Shah. It means that the fundamental function of a government is to act in the best interest of the nation and all the people, regardless of any “variables” if you wish. Once this is assured, only then can a government consider the “variables”, such as culture, religion and so on. This is what I believe politicians were doing before the 1979 revolution; it was inherently natural for them to do so. Since the revolution however, the regime has demoted the interests of the nation and all the people and promoted religion (not only religion, but their own interpretation of an interpretation of one sect of one particular religion). Not only that, the regime has also completely alienated the concept of secularism, to the point that anyone who even mutters the word secularism is in danger. Think modern Turkey (and not what General Jafari envisages).

    No – I have not read Mossadegh’s PhD thesis and, to be honest, I do not think I ever will. But you are right; Mossadegh got stabbed in the back by Kashani, because Kashani was greedy and acted in his own interests rather than the nation’s interests… Sounds familiar.

    Dear Eric,

    In response to your post to Arvin regarding secularism and the revolution, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But are you trying to make the point that the Islamists had the majority popular support? If so, I am happy to debate with you, because I disagree.

    Dear Arvin,

    While I do not agree with many of Mousavi’s principles, he is right on one thing: Iranians must exhibit patience and endurance over the next year. So do not worry, I will be by your side!

  63. Arnold Evans says:

    But to stay a little bit on topic, Pak and Arvin: what makes you think more Iranians voted, or intended to vote, for Mousavi than for Ahmadinejad?

    If your argument is that you don’t have a reason to believe that happened, but you don’t like the regime anyway, that’s cool, but it’s not a disagreement.

    If your argument is that there’s indescribable evidence in the air in Iran, we’re not going to be able to argue that either.

    If your argument is that Ahmadinejad is wrong so of course nobody could have voted for him, that’s a well-understood fallacy, especially regarding events like elections where the people you interact with are not anything like an unbiased sample of the population.

    If your argument is that only a regime that had a fraudulent election would have used violence against protesters, that is just ridiculous.

    If your argument is that the regime is illegitimate even if Ahmadinejad got the votes he claimed to get. Once again, that’s not a disagreement on the topic of this post, and really, if that’s your argument, you’re conceding that Ahmadinejad did get the votes he claimed to get. In that case it would be nice for you to admit it but I guess you’ll concede or admit what you want to admit. Either way it is clear that you’re not challenging the key assertion of this post.

    If your argument is that we’re holding Iran to a different standard than Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq under Hussein or Burma, that is absolutely wrong. Egypt does hold elections, it limits the campaign resources available to competitors and reports, probably, an accurate count of the votes that are cast under its circumstances. Iran’s political system is nothing like those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq under Hussein.

    But I’m doing this because I have no idea what your argument is. The reason for this is that there is no reasonable argument that Mousavi got more votes that Ahmadinejad, so you’re kind of hiding and shifting behind various weak arguments and distractive strategies. Which is what I’d do in your position if I for some reason was really invested in the idea that Ahmadinejad won a fraudulent election but I had no convincing argument that this idea was true.

  64. Arvin,

    “Do you think that if given the opportunity to travel to Iran to investigate the election results, with a universal pass that got you to any place you wanted and put you in a position to interview whoever you wanted, your conclusions would have been any different?”

    How can anyone answer that “yes” or “no”? It would depend on what I learn, if anything, that conflicts with the information I now have. I gather you think that would be the case, but you’ll need to give me at least a hint of what you might have in mind.

  65. Arvin says:

    Pak,

    Do go to Harvard and do continue your interest in politics. You already have my vote for the President of a secular Iran. I agree with everything you’ve said and you’re saying it much better than me… So I hope to have you here on my side as I won’t be as motivated to continue without a comment-partner!

    Eric and Arnold,

    Thanks for the new tone. I just wish that next time a person ignores the content of anyone’s posts and consistently distracts away with childish behaviour you don’t take their side and push someone like me down the wrong path of having to defend my location or ID! In doing so I may end up saying things that I don’t mean. I apologize if you have found anything I’ve said upsetting… Moving on…

    Eric,

    You really have to learn to say more with less! I too confess that I am too lazy to thoroughly read each one of your lenghty posts in detail. My slow internet speed has something to do with this. I did try to simplify at one point by making a list and hoped that your rebuttal would be a simplified list of your own.

    For starters, from the looks of it all our discussions about the elections are going nowhere. We’re both accusing each other of presenting either no evidence or falsified evidence. But let me ask you a question. Answering this might clear some things up and put us in a better position to understand each other:

    – Do you think that if given the opportunity to travel to Iran to investigate the election results, with a universal pass that got you to any place you wanted and put you in a position to interview whoever you wanted, your conclusions would have been any different?

    It’s a yes or no question. I’ll continue once you give me the answer to that question…

  66. Pak,

    YOU WROTE:

    “As I said before, the concept of Islamic government has only existed in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The National Front, arguably Iran’s most influential political party prior to the revolution, was wholly secular. … The current regime is alienating its legitimate and often tame opposition, and encouraging radicalism, this time in the form of secularism. …I simply want an Iranian government that will serve the country and (all) the people first and foremost.”

    It occurs to me that you might find interesting my earlier post to Arvin. I wonder whether you and other “secularists” might be paying the price today for your secular predecessors’ “marriage of convenience” with the Islamists to overthrow the Shah.

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

    Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “For me a separation of Mosque and State is needed before we have any progress in Iran. But this is not about what I want and seculars like me may in fact be a powerless minority in Iran.”

    In his book, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, Dr. Charles Kurzman explained that the overthrow of the Shah required the combined effort of several groups – secular liberals, Islamists, students, striking (and other) workers, and others. That was hardly an original or profound observation, though that did not matter since it was not Dr. Kurzman’s central point (which, instead, was that the revolution happened largely because the various participants gradually came to believe that it could happen, and thus participated in greater and greater numbers, and with greater and greater zeal, so that it did happen).

    Dr. Kurzman’s account nonetheless was interesting. He explained that many prominent liberals in Iran had long hoped/believed that the Shah could be persuaded peacefully to ease up a bit, and they had had some limited success with their peaceful approach. The Islamists, of course, harbored no such illusions. Many liberals eventually concluded that they ought to hitch their wagon to the Islamist star, at least long enough to get rid of their common enemy, and that is what happened.


    When the dust cleared, however, as often happens after a revolution, the secular liberals were yanked back to reality: they didn’t really see eye to eye with their temporary allies on a lot of issues. They were quite disappointed, for example, to learn that the draft (and eventually the final) Iranian constitution had all this Islam stuff in it. Who had asked them?

    In short, they were shocked, shocked – and remain to this day shocked, shocked – that the Islamists, who had been by far the strongest group in the ad hoc coalition formed to oust the Shah, had insisted on writing the rules once the Shah was gone. Some participants in the overthrow of the Shah (secular liberals, for example) had felt they were just getting rid of the Shah; others had thought they were participating in a revolution; still others (the Islamists) had thought they were participating in an Islamic revolution.

    And it was this last group that got to write the rules – not to mention the official history books.
Those rules are still in place.

    I am not saying this is how it ought to be in Iran but, as most Americans’ once-favorite news anchor, the avuncular Walter Cronkite, used to say at the end of every evening newscast: “That’s the way it is.”



  67. kooshy says:

    Pak

    ““I believe your argument is flawed because you attribute some of the greatest political events in Modern Iran to intellectuals, but then you proceed to label their views as “Iranian upper echelon society” and “highly educated westernised upper middle class”. This is flawed and contradictory to the argument you are trying to make (which I gather is that social movements need the backing of the clergy and the “masses”).”
    Pak- If my argument is flawed and contradictory then you should be able to point to at least one social movements in Iran’s recent history that is been successful without the backing of Shiite clergy, as researched by Mr. Arjomand a national form of a religion was always an integral part of governance in Iran since the ancient times, rulers where representative of the all mighty on earth, and if you look closely Shiite Islam’s concept of inheritance is based on an ancient Iranian concept of governance.

    Pak

    “When I say that secularism was inherently natural to Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, what I mean is that people never questioned the role of religion because they understood the importance of it. Politicians like Mossadegh served the interests of Iran and the Iranian people first and foremost, but did not alienate religion in the process. Nowadays, because of the Shah and “Islamic” democracy (reference to Liz), any reference to secularism is deemed heretic and one is instantly alienated. History suggests that this alienation will only lead to radicalism. ”

    Pak – Truly your statement above sounds contradictory, secularism is inherently natural for people, just because people understand the importance of the religion therefore they will not question
    It. I think

    I know a thing or two about Dr, Mossadegh since he and my grandfather were very close friends and neighbors, both studying on their doctoral thesis in Switzerland back in early, early 1900’s did you read his doctoral thesis on inheritance in Islam. Some close friends and historians of Dr. Mossadegh like my own father believe a coup against his government become possible when he lost backing of the Shiite clergy.

  68. Pak,

    Yours was a pretty “lazy” response. I understand you may not have time to respond more thoroughly, but no response at all would have been preferable. If you have time later, I hope you’ll consider giving a little more thought to the two examples I posed about my uncritical reliance on government data.

  69. Pak says:

    Dear Persian Gulf,

    Thank you for your response. I am eager to hear your opinions, but I object to your accusation that my analysis is “false”. Firstly, what analysis? Secondly, what makes my analysis false? Do you have the absolute truth? I find that this is one major fault in Iranian society, fuelled by our lack of democracy and free speech. I think you will find that there is no such thing as an absolute truth. Instead, our different opinions should be the building blocks of a functioning civil society. In a previous post by Reza Esfandiari, addressed to Liz, he referred to a documentary by Press TV about the post-election unrest. Reza referred specifically to the “pre-election banter” that spread throughout Iran. He is right to lament the loss of this banter. For those few weeks, all Iranians felt alive and confident enough to debate their opinions in public, without fear, without hatred and with pride and nationalism. If this sort of social interaction had ever existed in Iran for prolonged periods, we would never be in the situation that we are in now (it existed during the 1950’s, which is why the Shah resorted to a Western-backed coup to safeguard his own reign). The regime, being dictatorial and all, knows full well that a healthy, functioning civil society will cause its downfall. This is why the regime has specifically targeted its oppression at civil organisations and groups since the elections, not just “rioters” and “foreign-backed agents”.

    Dear Eric,

    1. I am not criticising the form in which an argument or information is presented. I am criticising the Leveretts for resorting to a blog post to substantiate their very serious accusations and arguments. They are established US politicians; they should do much better than that. Furthermore, I never, not once, used the “You aren’t in Iran” challenge to discredit you or anyone else. I am not in Iran myself! I am merely suggesting that you have taken the elections out of context.

    2. Liz, DWZ, Rehmat, sometimes Reza Esfandiari…

    3. “I’m confident you’ll find that I rely on government data only when that data has been put out there by the government in circumstances where one would expect Mousavi to challenge it if he disagrees”.

    Hmm… Taking things out of context I see. My point, once again, is that you cannot take the elections as a discrete entity, which is exactly what you are doing. If you knew the history of Iran and its politics, you would at minimum sympathise with my opinion. If not, or if your history has been provided by the IRI propaganda machine, then you would obviously take the position you are taking. If you cannot understand my position, then I cannot understand your position and we have reached an impasse. Seeing as I am intellectually lazy, I will simply invest in the power of history to judge what has happened in Iran over the past year. Good luck with your quest.

  70. Arnold,

    “In one form or another it asserts that to fail to call the election results fraudulent is to confer legitimacy on the regime or support it. Most of the criticisms against the Iranian government, fair or unfair, are independent of whether or not the elections were fraudulent.”

    This is an important point that is very often missed. For someone to say that Ahmadinejad was validly elected and, therefore, is the legitimate president of Iran is NOT to say that one agrees with everything he does. No complaint about Ahmadinejad is precluded – except for the complaint that he is not the legitimate president of Iran.

    Sometimes legitimate rulers do bad things; sometimes illegitimate rulers do good things.

  71. Arnold,

    Very perceptive observation about Juan Cole: it used to be “here’s what happened;” now it’s “here’s what other people are saying happened,” a correct (if misleading) statement. I don’t read his blog often enough to say he always makes that careful distinction, but I have seen it several times there.

    Other writers fudge in different ways. Most common is a statement about the “disputed election” (again: correct) followed by a discussion of what happened after the election that leads to conclusions that can be valid only if those who claimed the election was fraudulent were correct.

  72. Pak,

    YOU WROTE: “If Eric’s blog post is the best that Harvard can provide, then may be I should reconsider my application for a post-graduate degree there!”

    By no means – you can always make it better. If you’re really 22, then, as Persian Gulf said, you’re indeed wise beyond your years, and quite adept at the English language for someone who grew up in Iran. Harvard would be lucky to have you.

    I do wish, however, that you would make a few changes here:

    1. Don’t criticize the form in which an argument or information is presented. Something presented in a “blog post,” or in a leatherbound volume, or written on a subway wall, either has merit or it doesn’t. Similarly, don’t overuse the “You aren’t in Iran” challenge to discredit what someone says. If i were to say “The government didn’t mistreat protesters,” you would be perfectly justified in pointing out that I lack a basis for saying that (which is why I never say anything like that – I have no clue how the government treats protesters, a state of ignorance shared but not acknowledged by many Western observers who nonetheless feel entitled to offer daily or even hourly pronouncements on the subject). But if I say “The government claimed that none of Mousavi’s registered observers complained about interference, and Mousavi has never identified one that did,” does the credibility of that statement really depend on whether I am in Iran or not?

    2. Cut out the references to “these people.” Just find a particular statement that a particular person has made, or a particular position that a particular person has taken, and let us know what you think about that. You diminish others, but more so yourself, by issuing sweeping condemnations. It’s entirely appropriate to name two (or even more) people in your comments, but only if each of those people actually has made the statement or taken the position you’re attributing to them. Don’t assume that everyone here agrees with what others say on everything merely because they happen to agree on one thing. Labeling and other forms of grouping are necessary to some extent, but often are signs of intellectual laziness, and unfair, when used frequently.

    3. Start right away applying my suggestion in #2 by considering some examples to evaluate your contention that I rely uncritically on government data. I’m confident you’ll find that I rely on government data only when that data has been put out there by the government in circumstances where one would expect Mousavi to challenge it if he disagrees. Here are two examples:

    A. When the government states, in its public and very widely circulated Guardian Council report, that not a single registered observer of Mir-Hossein Mousavi complained on election day that he had been barred or restricted in any way from observing any election-day activity at his polling station, and Mousavi disputes that statement generally three days later but declines (then or later) to identify a single polling station where this allegedly occurred (so that his general denial can be validated, or not), I indeed do count that statement by the government as true – not simply because the government said it, but rather because the government said it openly and publicly, leading with its chin if you will, and Mousavi failed to dispute it in a verifiable way in circumstances where I, you, or any other rational person who disagreed would dispute it specifically and offer whatever supporting evidence he had available to him. Do you think it is unreasonable to credit that government statement in such circumstances? If so, I welcome an explanation of your reasons.

    B. When the Interior Ministry reports the ballot-box counts for 45,692 polling stations, and it is undisputed that Mousavi observers were present to monitor (without any reported interference) the voting and vote-counting at tens of thousands of those polling stations (at somewhere between 25,000 and 40,676 polling stations, depending on which side’s versions of the facts one accepts for the moment), and Mousavi does not specify a single polling station at which the Interior Ministry has misstated the vote count, I indeed do discredit Mousavi’s claim that the government simply fabricated the vote-count numbers at those polling stations, and so I do accept the Interior Ministry’s reported vote count for those polling stations. If I had observed at a polling station that voted, say, 55-45 for Mousavi, and the Interior Ministry reported it as 60-40 for Ahmadinejad, or even as 54-46 for Mousavi, I assure you that I would have let someone know about the discrepancy, immediately if not sooner. I am confident that you or any other rational observer would have done the same. I consider it significant that not one of Mousavi’s tens of thousands of observers did so and, therefore, I consider it entirely appropriate to accept the Interior Ministry’s report for those ballot boxes as correct. Do you think it is unreasonable to do so? If so, I welcome an explanation of your reasons.

    (You’ll note on this point B, incidentally, that I proposed in my article a test for fraud on very generous assumptions in Mousavi’s favor: Count as “unobserved” every single polling station at which no Mousavi observer signed the Form 22 (confirming the validity of the vote count) and thus treat a polling station as “observed” only if a Mousavi observer approved the vote count in writing, compare Ahmadinejad’s percentages at comparable “unobserved” and “observed” polling stations, and conduct further tests for fraud if any significant discrepancy appears. Do you think that’s a fair test? If so, do you think (I do) that Mousavi already has all of the data necessary to have performed this test internally and, if so, do you wonder (I do) whether Mousavi has already performed this test but has chosen not to publicize the results?)

    In short, I did not accept any government numbers unless (1) those numbers were publicly and unambiguously stated; and (2) they were numbers that, if incorrect, Mousavi had both verifiable information necessary to establish that and a very strong motive to report it; and (3) Mousavi failed to do so.

    Do you agree, at least in the examples I’ve given, that I followed those rules? If so, do you think those rules were reasonable? If you think they were, do you think that amount to uncritical acceptance of government data?

  73. Arnold Evans says:

    We’re seeing two shifts in the discussion about election fraud. The first parallels Eric Brill’s observation that of the tens of thousands of election observers, they all may believe there was widespread election fraud throughout the country, none apparently believe any happened where they spent election day.

    Now, many people tell us that other people believe there was election fraud, but none believe themselves there was election fraud. The reason for this is you can’t ask anonymous other people what facts, if any, support their belief. For example, here is Juan Cole on June 13, 2009:

    But just as a first reaction, this post-election situation looks to me like a crime scene. And here is how I would reconstruct the crime.

    As the real numbers started coming into the Interior Ministry late on Friday, it became clear that Mousavi was winning. Mousavi’s spokesman abroad, filmmaker Mohsen Makhbalbaf, alleges that the ministry even contacted Mousavi’s camp and said it would begin preparing the population for this victory.

    The ministry must have informed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has had a feud with Mousavi for over 30 years, who found this outcome unsupportable. And, apparently, he and other top leaders had been so confident of an Ahmadinejad win that they had made no contingency plans for what to do if he looked as though he would lose.

    They therefore sent blanket instructions to the Electoral Commission to falsify the vote counts.

    Here is Juan Cole on June 13, 2010:

    Small protests broke out around Iran on June 12, the anniversary of the 2009 presidential election, which protesters say was stolen by the country’s clerical Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on behalf of his favored candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Now instead of Juan Cole saying the election was stolen, “protesters” say the election was stolen. If Juan Cole was to try to say, today, that Khamenei ordered completely fabricated vote counts, his readers would ask how throughout the entire country nobody has challenged any of the specific ballot-box by ballot-box results that have been released. So Cole does not try to say it, he lets “protesters” say it, safe from follow-up questioning.

    Other people say things like “many people strongly believe there was fraud”, which raises the question of the person making that statement: “do you strongly believe there was fraud?” And the whole point of putting the belief into the mind of another person is that from there it cannot be challenged.

    Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a July 2009 speech that may have severely damaged his political career, said that some have doubts about the election results, while not taking a position himself regarding any doubts and if he had doubts himself, explaining his reasoning.

    Noting that other people hold a position that one is not willing to support themself is essentially a concession of being unable to produce a convincing argument. That raises the further question of why one holds, or will not abandon a position given an understanding of the lack of support for it.

    The second shift is just old fashioned and uninteresting bad logic. In one form or another it asserts that to fail to call the election results fraudulent is to confer legitimacy on the regime or support it. Most of the criticisms against the Iranian government, fair or unfair, are independent of whether or not the elections were fraudulent. Even if whether or not the elections were reported accurately is unimportant, it is either an unimportant fact that is true or an unimportant fact that is false.

    I guess next there is the argument that we’ll never know. Maybe that is an attempt at some kind of metaphysical philosophical concept. We’ll never know in any election, but we can evaluate the procedures in place to ensure that fraud is detectable. It is not disputed anywhere that Iran has released vote counts for each ballot box in the election. Massive fraud would depend on tens of thousands of independent people having first-hand contradictory knowledge. Procedures are clearly in place in Iran to ensure that massive fraud is detectable if it happens.

    Lastly, we see the argument that people in Iran know there is fraud and people outside of Iran have to defer to that belief. According to polls, most people in Iran do not think there was widespread electoral fraud. This argument resolves to “I do not need evidence or even a reasonable argument for my claim to be true.”

  74. Persian Gulf says:

    Dear Pak:

    thanks for your answer. it’s unfortunate to hear that you are unable to visit Iran at the moment.
    I didn’t say you lie. sometimes we might be tempted to exaggerate things, it’s human nature. your answer confirmed my thought of your genuinity. I assume when you say “back for many years now”, you refer to at least a period of 4-5 years given the soundness of your english languages sentences. with this time period in mind, and the age you claim, you were a teenager when you left Iran if not a kid. it’s impressive to see how you are analyzing complex issues like power, history, religion, secularism, culture and so on of a complex society like Iran! these are issues that surely need time to be internalized. a certain passage of age is needed, at least for very average people like me!, to truly connect these issues.

    i have a lot to say about your somehow false analysis of contemporary Iran, but I have to finish a paper these days. leave it for another time when the time is ripe.

  75. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    It is not that hard to prove the elections were legitimate when using data supplied by the regime (think about it for a second). While you are at it, why not prove the legitimacy of the Egyptian elections, or the elections under Saddam Hussein, or the Burmese elections? I think Arvin is making the point that you are taking these elections completely out of context.

  76. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    I feel as though I was not clear in my previous post to you. I want to clarify what I mean by dynamic secularism.

    This is what I said previously:

    “We must understand that secularism, in spite of its absolute definition – separation of church and state – is actually a dynamic system of governance. It simply states that a government’s fundamental purpose is to serve in the interests of the country and the people.”

    Basically, what I mean is that secularism is the foundation of a government. It ensures that decisions are made in the best interest of the country and all the people, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or class. Once this foundation is secured, it allows a nation to build up a government in accordance with the nation’s traditions, culture and will (hence secularism is dynamic). If a nation instead chooses to work from the top down, problems will always be encountered. The current regime is based on this top down approach, which is why so many decisions are made in the name of religion that ultimately hurt the nation and the people (the regime’s interpretation of religion by the way).

    When I say that secularism was inherently natural to Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, what I mean is that people never questioned the role of religion because they understood the importance of it. Politicians like Mossadegh served the interests of Iran and the Iranian people first and foremost, but did not alienate religion in the process. Nowadays, because of the Shah and “Islamic” democracy (reference to Liz), any reference to secularism is deemed heretic and one is instantly alienated. History suggests that this alienation will only lead to radicalism.

    I hope I make myself clear.

    Dear Persian Gulf,

    I have no reason to lie. No – I currently reside in Europe. I had the honour of receiving a warning from a family member – yes, my own family – telling me not to return to Iran. I have not been back for many years now.

  77. Arvin,

    PERSIAN GULF WROTE: “The election case is different. and I think, people like you have to provide the evidences instead of jumping from one issue to another.”

    Exactly. I forgot to mention that essential point in my preceding post – an oversight which, I might add, provides a perfect illustration of the point I made in the preceding post: one spends so much effort just responding to false accusations in your posts that one at times forgets to respond to the gist of your comments. I’m glad Persian Gulf kept his eye on the ball.

  78. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “A year ago when news came out that a group of Basijis had attacked Tehran dormitories and injured, killed and arrested innocent students people like you asked where the evidence is …”

    Speaking at least for myself, Arvin: No I didn’t. That’s flatly false, without condition or exception.

    Its falseness goes to your other point about whether you’re “welcome” here. You’re indeed welcome if you don’t accuse others of having taken positions they haven’t taken, don’t offer unsubstantiated opinions as indisputable fact, don’t insist that your views count for more than others’ because of where you live, and generally behave civilly.

    Beyond that, nobody here asks for much. We just don’t like to spend a lot of time defending positions we’ve never taken or statements we’ve never made, or pointing out the difference between opinion, rumor, and speculation on the one hand, and evidence or undisputed fact on the other. You spent far too much time trying to persuade us where you live than you spent laying out your views and explaining why we should accept them – even after I and others repeatedly pointed you to specific posts on which we politely asked your thoughts. I regret, and at least some others probably do as well, that we occasionally “took the bait” and teased you. You provoked us, but we nevertheless ought to have resisted.

    You’re welcome here, but I think it’s fair to ask in return that you stop engaging in the same sort of “high maintenance” behavior. You might take a step in the right direction, for example, by re-reading the very first short paragraph of my comments, acknowledging to me that what I said is true, apologizing for having said it, and acknowledging to yourself that it’s inappropriate to write such things and then insist that you be taken seriously.

  79. Persian Gulf says:

    Arvin:

    Re your post on June 16, 2010 at 4:21 am

    I have to say that you are trying insincerely to divert from the main issue of this post. the attack on the dorm, disgusting as it is, was not kept secret or without evidences whatsoever.they were many eyewitnesses, at the minimum. it’s really frustrating to see how IR finally dealt with it, as you rightly said wishing for the people to forget it instead of bringing the criminals to justice. btw, I have experienced the fear of being attacked in the dorm on the summer of 1382 in one of Sharif Univ.’s dorms at Tarasht. whether there was an actual plan to invade that dorm or not, I am not 100% sure (there was an unfortunate attack to Tarbiat Modaress’ dorm few meters above our dorm nights before), but we were very confused as to why we should be attacked at the time of final exams (as you may know, those students at Sharif were totally out of daily politics). may be, there was no plan for such an attack and it was an illusion altogether, I am really not sure of this.

    The election case is different. and I think, people like you have to provide the evidences instead of jumping from one issue to another. if there was a massive fraud in the presidential election, IR can not hide it no matter the strength of the tools at its disposal. anybody with personal experiences of attending elections (probably you didn’t attend the elections or were not involved in the process) in Iran (specially in cities other than the big ones) know how the election is conducted there. the people who conduct the election are not just government employees (there are elder teachers among them if you consider them government’s agents!) rather mostly local trusted people. and Iran is a multi-ethnic society. indeed, there is an AMPLE COMPETITION between local people and the results published so far truly reflect that (I have looked at the results of my region with the knowledge of how each village is configured, and it’s amazing to see how reflective the official results are. I also asked from some of my close family members, in my last trip to Iran, about the situation in some specific villages and the results are not different from what the actual situation was). btw, some my of close family members, including two of my elder brothers, were strong supporters of Mousavi! (as far as I remember, unlike me, they voted for Ahmadinejad in the 9th presidential election!). as for cities like Tehran, I think the results are in favor of Mousavi, partially eliminating the suspicion one might have for this city.

    Pak:

    just a personal opinion. are you really 22 year old? and do you live in Iran or did you grow up in Iran entirely? (if so, you must be genius) it’s amazing. the language you use, I mean your political analysis, gives the impression that you are far older than 22. I remember when I was 22, I was truly disillusioned about the reformists and their hollow promises.

  80. Pak says:

    I cannot tell whether people (Liz) are being serious or are joking when they accuse others of being Scott Lucas. Either way, it is neither realistic nor funny.

  81. Pak says:

    Dear Arvin,

    Indeed, once again you are entirely correct. These people, including the Leveretts, accuse the West of being one-sighted, but what exactly are they doing themselves!? And it is purely wishful thinking to suggest that they are merely advocating the legitimacy of the elections; they are not. They are advocating the legitimacy of the entire regime, while simultaneously excluding the existence of a substantial opposition movement.

    Furthermore, I am surprised that a Harvard educated lawyer like Eric would try and prove the legitimacy of the Iranian election by using data provided by the regime itself (I am even more surprised that the Leveretts then use this analysis to substantiate their own arguments). I am only 22, yet my educational experience has taught me that the sourcing of data is vital to the success of an argument. This is probably why Eric’s blog post is exactly that: a blog post. If Eric’s blog post is the best that Harvard can provide, then may be I should reconsider my application for a post-graduate degree there!

    Arvin, what these people – thus the regime – fail to understand is that there has been a “race for Iran” within Iran since the elections (a broader race has existed for at least 20 years). While these people stopped after the first hurdle (the elections) to congratulate themselves and revel in their pseudo-success, the rest of us have continued the race, because the prize is something we have been chasing for over 100 years. We have valiantly cleared some hurdles. We have tripped over some too. We also have the disadvantage of being shot at. I do not know who will win this race, which will be slow and long, but I have my suspicions.

  82. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    Sorry for the delay – I only just saw that you responded to me.

    I will give that Arjomand article a read. I have already read his book “The Turban for the Crown”, which is definitely an interesting read.

    I believe your argument is flawed because you attribute some of the greatest political events in Modern Iran to intellectuals, but then you proceed to label their views as “Iranian upper echelon society” and “highly educated westernised upper middle class”. This is flawed and contradictory to the argument you are trying to make (which I gather is that social movements need the backing of the clergy and the “masses”).

    As I said before, the concept of Islamic government has only existed in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The National Front, arguably Iran’s most influential political party prior to the revolution, was wholly secular. But what does secularism mean? We must understand that secularism, in spite of its absolute definition – separation of church and state – is actually a dynamic system of governance. It simply states that a government’s fundamental purpose is to serve in the interests of the country and the people. This is exactly why secularism was inherently natural in Iran before the Shah alienated them and encouraged the rise of Islamic radicalism. We are not stupid. We all know that Iran has a long and proud Islamic heritage, which conforms to your example of the 1906 constitution.

    The problem is that the regime is doing exactly the same thing as the Shah did. I have said this before and I will continue saying it: history is my proof. The Shah alienated his legitimate opposition and encouraged Islamic radicalism. The current regime is alienating its legitimate and often tame opposition, and encouraging radicalism, this time in the form of secularism. This is why the Green Movement has been tainted, because people like you now believe that the movement represents radical secularism. I believe this is false. I simply want an Iranian government that will serve the country and (all) the people first and foremost. Mr. Khamenei is no less of a king than the Shah.

  83. Arnold Evans says:

    Arvin, do you “strongly believe there was massive electoral fraud”? What makes you believe that?

    Anyone else feel free to answer.

  84. Arvin says:

    Eric/Arnold/Others

    A year ago when news came out that a group of Basijis had attacked Tehran dormitories and injured, killed and arrested innocent students people like you asked where the evidence is and suggested that it’s just propoganda of Western Media. When Khamenei came out and condemned the attacks and essentially said “it wasn’t me,” you took his words over the words of the students and their families. Months later, the video of the attack was leaked. It left no doubt who was behind the attacks. The parliment said it will investigate so as to calm the public. It never did and it’s hoping that people will forget the incident. But people never will.

    Now you continue to ask where the evidence is that there was election fraud. You are again taking their words over the words of a large segment of the Iranian population that strongly believes there was massive election fraud. You continue to accuse the opposition for not providing enough evidence regardless of whether they’ve had extensive reports on the matter or not. But you fail to acknowledge that the government, with their full control of the media, control of military and para-military forces, control of prisons, the judiciary, and even the parlimant is doing everything in its power in keeping you from ever seeing the evidence needed to convince you once and for all. To base your arguments on a few government sources and websites is like basing your arguments in a defense of the Americans in Iraq on reports by Donald Rumsfled and Dick Cheney!

    From the sound of it I am not welcomed here. You don’t tolerate people like me who ask that you see the big picture. Any debate without the devil’s advocate ends up being an exercise in masturbation. So have fun congratulating each other on a job well done and enjoy padding each other on the back for comments you find agreeable. Put all your eggs in the basket of the Islamic Republic and hope for the best. So long!

  85. Arnold,

    YOU WROTE: “This particular post is about whether or not there was electoral fraud. While there are other issues in the world that are interesting, we have not seen one comment, as we approach 300, that argues that there actually was electoral fraud. This comments section itself is a very dramatic illustration of the weakness of the claim that Ahmadinejad did not defeat Mousavi in the June 2009 election.”

    I hesitated to say it, Arnold, but I couldn’t agree with you more. I learned a considerable amount from comments made by several people, but nobody argued persuasively that fraud occurred. We spent too much time (myself included, I confess) toying with a few people who really had nothing to say. Those capable of thoughtful contributions recognized that no evidence of fraud has been shown and either said that or quickly scurried back to their own websites where they can safely continue to say precisely the opposite because no one in their audience thinks seriously about the question.

  86. Arnold Evans says:

    This particular post is about whether or not there was electoral fraud.

    While there are other issues in the world that are interesting, we have not seen one comment, as we approach 300, that argues that there actually was electoral fraud.

    This comments section itself is a very dramatic illustration of the weakness of the claim that Ahmadinejad did not defeat Mousavi in the June 2009 election.

  87. Iranian@Iran says:

    Arvin/Scott Lucas

    Even the abusive language you use against Liz is almost identical to previous Scott Lucas posts. You only discredit yourselves this way.

  88. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Scott Lucas accuses the Leveretts of avoiding the issue of human rights, while he conspicuously avoids the facts surrouding the re-election of Ahmadinejad.

    Human rights do not define the US’s relationship with Israel or Saudi Arabia (both have worse records than Iran), so why should Flynt and Hillary see HR as a critical issue?

    Was the American government “delegitimised” after it emerged what happened at Abu Ghraib?

  89. Scott,

    Any comment on Pirouz 2′s post at June 15, 4:55 PM?

  90. Pirouz 2,

    I’ve only just glanced at your response, but can already see it’s exactly the sort of thoughtful response I’d hoped for. I’ll need to look later at it in detail, and will get back to you. But I’ll tell you already that I greatly appreciate the effort you’ve clearly put in.

    Eric

  91. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric:

    I had read your entire article long time ago when I first started writing comments on this site. It is just that since it is a very long and detailed article, I had forgot this particular detail regarding the source of the 40,000 observers claim; and being the lazy guy that I am, instead of going through the whole article all over again, I thought that since the author was readily available, I could ask him directly regarding his source. I already knew that Guardian council had made that claim, but I just wanted to know if there is any other independent sources to verify the exact number of Mousavi observers.

    Now, allow me first to tell you that you have done an excellent work, and IMHO your article is one of the best analysis which I have read.

    In my opinion your case regarding the Mousavi observers is VERY strong, and I don’t say this as the average reader, I say this as a person who is quite a bit more familiar with the basics of probability and statistics than the “average reader”.

    ASSUMING THAT THE NUMBER OF OBSERVERS CLAIMED BY THE GC IS EXAGGERATED AND TAKING THE NUMBER 25000 CLAIMED BY MR. BEHESHTI AS THE TRUE NUMBER:

    25000 is more than half of the total number of the ballot boxes, and provides an EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY for comparing between the two sets of boxes (those observed by a Mousavi supporter and those which were not). And again your suggestion that the comparison of the results of the two sets should provide a powerful evidence to evaluate the claims of fraud is statistically sound.
    The very fact that for the first time in the past 30 years, the ministery of interior has given the result of ballot count BOX BY BOX, ONLINE READILY AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE IN PUBLIC (I personally read through it when it first came out, especially in some areas that I was interested as to know the political tendencies of people) speaks volumes!

    There are several possibilities as to why there is no one from Mousavi camp which would go through it:

    1) In all likelihood, they have not gone through it, since they themselves already know very well that they have lied and therefore they see no reason in going through a “recounting” as it would be a waste of time.

    2) They may have already gone through it and found no evidence of fraud, but they couldn’t come out and say that because they cannot at this point come out and say that everything that they said was a lie.
    I am 100% sure that Mousavi and Karoubi themselves are very sure that Ahmadinejad has won the election fair and square. They made a GAMBLE at the begining (thinking that they have nothing to lose and quite a bit to gain) and LIED to the public and tried to steal the election. However, their gamble did not pay off and they lost. I am sure that if they could go back in time to the night of election knowing what they know now, they would both come out with open arms and congratulate Ahmadinejad and remind him that they oppose him non-the-less and that they would get back at him in the next elections. This way they could preserve their position in the system and hope to participate and perhaps even win the next elections. But now it is too late for making such a U-Turn.

    3) There is also this “innocent” explanation: They simply discarded their copies of form 22, because they had simply not thought about the possiblity of a major fraud.
    If this is the case then this by itself would be an EVIDENCE as to the bogus nature of the “fraud claim”:
    A VERY MAJOR POINT OF THE REFORMIST CAMP WHICH WAS VEHEMENTLY EXPRESSED AND DEFENDED BY THE MOST IMPORTANT REFOMIST FIGURES WAS THAT IN THE CASE OF A LARGE TURN OUT THERE WOULD BE NO POSSIBILITY OF A “FRAUD”, AS THEY HAD HIGH ENOUGH OF A CONFIDENCE IN THE ELECTORAL PROCEDURE TO KNOW THAT NO “MAJOR FRAUD” COULD OCCUR.

    Fact of the matter is that since the first election after the fall of Banisadr (the first president of Iran), IR has always tried to manipulate the elections by restricting the candidate choices to only those who would be very much within the system.
    At the election of the 7th majlis, they refused to let a lot of the former MPs (ie. Iranian parliament) from the 6th Majlis to become candidates again. Their eligibility was out right rejected by the GC. WHY? IF IT IS SO EASY TO MANIPULATE THE ELECTION RESULTS, OR EVEN AS MR. ANSARI CLAIMS THEY DON’T NEED TO EVEN COUNT THE BALLOTS, WHY WOULD THEY REJECT THE CANDIDACY OF THE OBJECTIONABLE PEOPLE??? THEY COULD LET WHO EVER WANTS TO PUT HIS CANDIDACY COME FORWARD AND THEN MANIPULATE THE ELECTION RESULTS TO THEIR OWN FAVOUR, WHY WOULD THEY NOT DO THAT???
    The answer is that IR has always tried to guarantee the outcome by controlling the type of people who can become candidates, because such a major fraud is not feasible!

  92. Arvin says:

    Eric,

    Not sure what you’re trying to get at. I mean this being the summer season and a prime time for tourists from all over the world flocking to Iran it would be very tough to get a plane ticket so quickly. Plus the direct flights to Tehran from America still take longer than it takes to go from Imam Khomeini airport to Ghandi square in Seyyed Khandan. Unless in your imaginative world there are teleports!

    “Liz”,

    Go burn your copy of the Quran and chant your Death to America, Death to England, Death to Mousavi, Death to Sanei, Death to Karoubi, Death to Logic and Death to Reason slogans from your “Tehran” rooftop. Don’t forget to kiss your sigheyi husband for the night goodnight. For tomorrow is a big day for you. You have a note waiting for you in crack somewhere!

  93. Arvin,

    An “imaginative screenplay?” Did you think I made all that up?

  94. Liz says:

    Since it’s after midnight over here, I’m off to bed. You can write what you like without fear for a few hours (after all it’s not very late in the UK!)

  95. Liz says:

    …who is now getting help from his green people.

  96. Liz says:

    Sorry “Arvin” you don’t convince anyone who knows a thing or two about Iran with your tall tales about “government thugs”. You claimed that the website was blocked when it clearly wasn’t. Anyone who reads last nights threat will have good reason to believe that you are Scott Lucas.

  97. Arvin says:

    Eric,

    You dissappoint me. As someone who has never been to Iran and doesn’t speak Farsi, whose evidence for an exhausting article on Iranian elections is only things that can be found online, you of all people should be the one making the case that location isn’t important. I appreciate you saying that what you care about is what I write here and I also appreciate that you believe that I’m not Scott Lucas. But a sarcastic imaginative screenplay is a cheap shot not befitting of you. As far as I know, LIZ, Iranian@Iran and some other posters are all the same person. They sure sound alike. But if you read in between the lines you’ll know that I am not Scott Locus and you are not Pirouz_2 or the Leveretts themselves. That I credit you for being able to do, something I can’t say about Liz, which in my opinion is here only for comic relief!

    Now Liz may or may not choose to go the address I provided. Considering her level of honesty, the fact that she denies RFI was blocked for one day and denies millions of people ever took to the streets a year ago today, I wouldn’t be surprised if she lies about having found the note in the first place. But rest assured the note is there for anyone who wants to find it. You just have to know Tehran well enough to not confuse GHANDI (قندی) Street with Gandhi (گاندی) Street for example. Or else you would get way lost!

    As for the Leveretts exposing my true location by revealing where my IP is, that would be wrong on many levels. For each of us (all of you included) have chosen to be anonymous posters. It’s about the content we post, not the name we give ourselves. And to criticize anyone for their location on a website moderated by two Americans in America, where majority of those who post are outside of Iran or worse yet have never been to Iran is ironic at best. But rest assured that I’m not dumb enough to post without using a proxy. I know my Iranian ISP would be the first to sell me out to the government thugs and they will soon knock on my door if I were to us my own IP to post.

    And to make it clear as to where I stand, I have since the begining claimed that there are no absolutes. To assume that everyone in Iran is pro-regime or pro-Green is wrong. If an equivalant of a Liz on the Green side were to start posting here, I would spend as my time criticizing him or her and asking that they too open their eyes. This applies to everything. You can’t say the Green for example are rich secular northern Tehranis when in that same day a gang of thugs attack the home of a Grand Ayatollah in Qom and destroy everything and throw (among other things) a picture of Khomeini and a copy of the Quran on the ground. Something even the Shah didn’t dare to do. You can’t say all AN supporters are poor Iranians when people who are benefiting the most from his policies are rich northern Tehranis who drives $300,000 Porsches and $150,000 BMWs. There are no absolutes in Iran. There are a lot of Gray Lines…

  98. Liz says:

    Scott Lucas,

    In other words you have no credible response, so you will shift the debate.

    As Iranian@iran put it, “you’ve already written about “legitimacy” as Arvin, remember? It was clear that you had lost the debate about the elections from the start, but over the past year you have completely lost your integrity. I assume that US attacks in Pakistan, it’s support for the Israeli murder of 9 Turkish and American aid workers, the continued killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 3 year siege of Gaza, the continued existance of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and so on, make the US government completely illegitimate in your eyes? You are left with no leg to stand on.”

  99. Scott,

    Your response is very unpersuasive. I won’t ask again, but feel free to supplement it if you like.

    Eric

  100. Scott Lucas says:

    Eric,

    Your faithful repetition of your original study, based largely on the Guardian Council report, is to be admired. But I’ve dissected it, as well as a wealth of countering evidence, in an earlier thread. And mere repetition — by yourself or by the Ahmadinejad Government — does not constitute an answer to those challenges and doubts.

    More importantly, in my opinion, the continual seeking of refuge in a study such as yours on the 2009 election risks being an evasion of the issues beyond the vote. For me, it’s telling that the authors of Race for Iran — having been challenged, in their last foray into internal Iranian politics, over rights and justice — have sought that refuge.

    I’m just a journalist and academic, now putting out information — my faith is checked at the door — on rights, justice, legitimacy, and other political, legal, and social issues in June 2010. It will be interesting to see — since the Green Movement long ago went beyond the specific issue of the Presidential election — whether that information will be engaged with the same amount of fervour that goes into the repetition of the “it wuz Ahmadinejad who won it” line.

    Respect,

    Scott

  101. kooshy says:

    Liz

    “Why don’t you just put something inside a crack in the wall near the corner of Bristol Rd. and Alton Rd. near the University of Birmingham (I must admit google map is pretty cool) to make it easier for you?”

    Sorry Liz I don’t think that would work, as meticulously researched by Eric, there seems to be too many cracks in “that” wall

  102. Liz says:

    Arvin,

    Why don’t you just put something inside a crack in the wall near the corner of Bristol Rd. and Alton Rd. near the University of Birmingham (I must admit google map is pretty cool) to make it easier for you?

  103. kooshy says:

    Eric, you got this wrong, I just came to believe that Alvin must be the original script writer for the movie Shaw shank Redemption, since the note in wall worked perfectly there he thought he can do the same to help Liz get away from the prison of northern Tehran (Gundy street is near vanak square where most riots took place last year) and start a new life of freedom where Alvin is working on his boat, now I don’t know if he left any Greens if you know what I mean.

  104. Persian Gulf,

    YOU WROTE: ” I think people sometimes forget here that the Leveretts and Ben are the moderators of this website and can easily recognize from where the commentators are making comments here. so, I suggest them to just say yes or no for Arvin’s location as this debate about the locations goes nowhere. it’s rather very cheap.”

    You’re entirely correct, of course, but Arvin’s suggested proof of his whereabouts is more than just amusing. It reminds me of ostensibly serious arguments often made by those who insist that the 2009 election must be considered fraudulent unless proven otherwise.

    To make this connection more clear, let’s suppose that Liz drops what she’s doing and heads to the Tehran address Arvin provided, finds no slip of paper in the crack in the wall, and declares triumphantly to Arvin “You are not in Iran!”

    What might Arvin say in response?

    Fortunately, I already know the answer to that question. Since I’m on the payroll of the Islamic Republic of Iran (though none too happy that they pay the Leveretts a lot more than they pay me), I recently received a short Microsoft Word file that they had managed to intercept as it passed through the airwaves from somewhere in northern Europe to Arvin’s home computer. Here is what Arvin plans to tell Liz, if it ever gets that far:

    “Liz, if you lived in the area, as I do, you would know that many Basij militiamen pass by this wall every day. It’s midway between a major bus route and a large Basij barracks. Did it ever occur to you that one of those Basij guys might have seen me put the note in the crack in the wall, and that they might have removed it before you got there? You didn’t think about that, did you, Liz? You just trust those Basij guys implicitly – is that it?”

    I had become familiar with tortured logic from researching my article on the 2009 election. I nevertheless was incensed when I read this, and determined not to let Arvin get away with it. I hopped on a plane to Tehran (no problem getting an Iranian visa at the last minute, if you know what I mean and I think you do), hopped in a taxi and handed the driver the address Arvin had posted here.

    Soon we were there, except that there was no “there” there. No wall at all, just a vast expanse of concrete spreading in both directions along what had once been the street that Arvin had named. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic. Proof.

    But it was not to be so easy. An elderly Iranian man had noticed my confusion and came over to offer some help.

    “I had understood that a wall ran along this street,” I explained, “or what used to be this street.”

    “They tore down that wall several years ago,” he replied. “The place was crawling with these big earth-moving machines for weeks. I’ll never forget the dust and noise. It was a big project, that’s for sure. Some company called “RG Construction Corporation,” – the name was in 6-inch letters on all the equipment.”

    “If it was such a big project,” I asked, “why is there nothing here?”

    He chuckled and replied: “Oh, there’s something here all right. You just can’t see it. It’s all underground.”

    “What is it?” I asked.

    “Let me put it this way to you,” he replied. “Can you spell N-U-C-L-E-A-R?”

    I told him that, no, I didn’t know how to spell that, but after he had spelled it for me two more times, I understood. He was saying “nuclear.”

    I knew it was best not to ask for more details, but I couldn’t resist another question:

    “Why would someone tell me there was a wall here when that wall’s been gone for years?”

    “I can’t say for sure,” he replied, “but there are several young men who used to live in this area that occasionally write letters to their mothers and make a point of asking how the old neighborhood wall is holding up. It’s happened enough that some of us wonder whether those young men are trying to persuade us all that they don’t know the wall’s been torn down.”

    “I see,” I replied, “but why might those young men want to pretend they knew nothing about that?”

    “Can you spell R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y G-U-A-R-D?” he answered.

    That I could spell – and I was even sharp enough to figure out that it might have something to do with the name “RG Construction Corporation.”

    I would like to say it was all becoming clear to me, but it wasn’t. I promptly texted my Iranian government handler (my luck was better than Arvin’s has been lately: nobody was blocking electronic transmissions), and told him that the guy we’d been tracking might have some connection with the Revolutionary Guard.

    He texted me back a few minutes later. His message was brief: “NFC.” I knew what that meant: “No further comment.”

    Dejected, I hopped in another taxi and headed back to the airport. I felt that eyes were watching me from the moment I arrived there, and the normally warm and smiling security people were none too friendly this time. When I handed over my passport at the check-point, the gruff security man slammed down a heavy stamp on the page bearing my Iranian visa. It read “VISA CANCELLED. DO NOT RENEW.”

    I don’t know what’s going on, Persian Gulf and Liz. But if I were you, I’d be careful not to get Arvin upset.

  105. Persian Gulf says:

    Eric,

    I think people sometimes forget here that the Levertts and Ben are the moderators of this website and can easily recognize from where the commentators are making comments here. so, I suggest them to just say yes or no for Arvin’s location as this debate about the locations goes nowhere. it’s rather very cheap.

  106. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE TO LIZ: “Seyyed Khandan, Ebtedaye Khiaban Sohrevardi, Khiaban Ghandi be samte Gharb, Koocheh 12, sar koocheh, a triangular shaped piece of paper is inside the crack in the wall on the Eastern side of the street. I’ve written LIZ on it. Once you find it, read me the content and give me the code word I’ve written on it and in doing so you too will prove that you’re in Tehran.”

    Very imaginative, But if Liz goes to that spot and doesn’t find anything, might the reason be that nothing was ever put there?

    Personally, I just care about what you write here, not where you are. But if you are intent on proving where you are, you’d better think a bit harder about how to accomplish that.

  107. Arnold Evans says:

    “Arvin”:

    What argument do you think you’re winning?

    The key contention of this post, at least in my opinion, is “However, we continue to hold that no evidence of fraud has been produced, and that Ahmadinejad’s re-election, without fraud, was eminently plausible.”

    For all of your complaints about debating tactics, you don’t challenge that contention at all.

    Unless you challenge that contention, you have to stretch the positions of the Leveretts and the commenters here beyond recognition to have an argument at all.

  108. Pirouz 2,

    In my post of June 14 at 7:54 PM, I responded to your question – entirely fair, as I noted at the beginning of my response – regarding the actual number of Mousavi observers on election day and certain related questions. Though my response was very long, the bulk of it was merely pasted in from a portion of my article, as I explained.

    I did that not in an effort to overwhelm you. I did it with the sincere hope (which I still have) that you will take a close look at the one area where I believe Mousavi’s supporters have an opportunity to challenge my analysis – if the presently unconfirmed facts discussed there can be established in Mousavi’s favor.

    As I make clear there, I strongly doubt that will occur, since those facts have been either known or readily available to Mousavi since shortly after election day and, it seems to me, anyone in his position would have trumpeted them from the rooftops long ago if they were in his favor. Nonetheless, some of those facts have not yet been nailed down, and it is possible – unlikely, but possible – that the explanation for this is simply that Mousavi has overlooked this opportunity to prove his case. In the very last paragraph of my post, I even suggest a method for going about that – based on what I believe are generous assumptions in Mousavi’s favor.

    I hope you (and others) will consider carefully whether this is an inquiry worth making – on the off-chance that Mousavi’s supporters have not already made it and decided not to reveal what they found. Though you and I tend to disagree on some points, we’ve agreed on other points, which has persuaded me that facts count for you and that you’ll take advantage of an opportunity to look for some that might cast doubt on my analysis.

    It will be in the interest of Mousavi’s supporters to exploit this opportunity to make his case. It will be in the interest of those who have looked for but found no fraud in the 2009 election to point out that this opportunity has been explained to Mousavi’s supporters and that no one has made anything of it.

  109. Scott,

    YOU WROTE: “My opinion, as it has been since June 2009, is that the significant issues remain transparency and legitimacy: it cannot be established, more than a year after the election, whether or not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a majority of the votes cast on 22 Khordaad.”

    No one has ever questioned that that is your honest opinion, Scott. What they question is whether your opinion has any basis. To claim that “the significant issues remain transparency and legitimacy” after those issues have been carefully addressed, in detail so mind-numbing that one almost feels obliged to apologize to readers, requires that you either explain why you believe they remain “significant issues” or allow others to point out that you expect your opinion simply to be accepted on faith.

    We may not have reached the point where that choice can fairly be forced upon you, but we are getting awfully close.

  110. Iranian@Iran says:

    Arvin

    You could ask someone from your green team to do such a thing for you in Iran. I think the previous exchanges between you, Liz, and others seem to show that you are (or were), indeed, Scott Lucas.

  111. Arvin says:

    I’m not Scott Locus. Again, you all fit my description of people who fail to win an argument and instead waste their time with distractions. Once you’re stuck in a corner you snap and get personal. Scott Locus does not need to hide behind an ID like the rest of us. If he did he wouldn’t have a daily blog about Iran in English with his own name. Us Iranians fear the government and that’s why none of us use a full name or in most cases here an actual name (look at our IDs: Pirouz_2, Iranian@Iran, DWZ, Liz, Arvin, etc.) Someone like Reza Esfandiari needs not fear the IRI, because he’s mostly in line with them and therefore he uses his full name — assuming that’s his full name. So before any of you accuse us of hiding behind anything, start by providing us with your full names. Though I will never do the same because I do live in Iran and I do fear a government crackdown.

    BUT, to prove that I am in Tehran, today I left a note addresed to LIZ at the following address. If she or anyone on this blog is interested in finding the note follow the instructions. But hurry before someone from Iranian Cyber army gets to it!

    Seyyed Khandan, Ebtedaye Khiaban Sohrevardi, Khiaban Ghandi be samte Gharb, Koocheh 12, sar koocheh, a triangular shaped piece of paper is inside the crack in the wall on the Eastern side of the street. I’ve written LIZ on it. Once you find it, read me the content and give me the code word I’ve written on it and in doing so you too will prove that you’re in Tehran. If not, you can stop your accusations and stick to the arguments at hand without finger pointing, name calling and other childish behaviour.

    Eric, waiting for your response…

  112. Iranian@Iran says:

    A new wave of dishonest anti-Iranian propaganda:

    http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=52895

  113. Iranian@Iran says:

    Scott Lucas

    You’ve already written about “legitimacy” as Arvin, remember? It was clear that you had lost the debate about the elections from the start, but over the past year you have completely lost your integrity. I assume that US attacks in Pakistan, it’s support for the Israeli murder of 9 Turkish and American aid workers, the continued killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 3 year siege of Gaza, the continued existance of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and so on, make the US government completely illegitimate in your eyes? You are left with no leg to stand on.

  114. Arnold Evans says:

    OK. So not Fahad, not Arvin, not “Arvin”.

    Does anyone have a reason to believe the reported election results were fraudulent?

  115. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Reza,

    My opinion, as it has been since June 2009, is that the significant issues remain transparency and legitimacy: it cannot be established, more than a year after the election, whether or not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a majority of the votes cast on 22 Khordaad.

    Perhaps more importantly, that question cannot be considered “irrespective of the post-election unrest and government crackdown”, for the legitimacy of the Government, if not the Iranian system, is affected by actions over the last 12+ months.

    Best,

    Scott

  116. Iranian@Iran says:

    Another victim of the green murderers:

    http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8903210001

  117. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @SCOTT LUCAS

    Can we get some clarification from you once and for all.

    Irrespective of your views on the post-election unrest and government crackdown, did Ahmadinejad win or not win the vote outright according to the evidence presented by Eric and myself, as well as the WPO-UT-Globescan surveys of Iranian public opinion?

    It is now time to make a decision.

  118. Iranian@Iran says:

    So just be yourself!

  119. Scott Lucas says:

    Salam Iranian@Iran,

    That’s why I always come back to Race for Iran: just to feel the love.

    Best,

    Scott

  120. Iranian@Iran says:

    I’m glad “Arvin” has finally been handed over to an Iranian! The American Arvin has made a complete fool of himself.

  121. M.Ali says:

    Arvin, I’d like to play the writings on the wall game! Hehehehe, this would be specially fun if we decide to write stuff in villages around Iran and we have to travel there to get the code.

  122. Arvin says:

    Liz,

    من لازم نیست به تو ثابت کنم که آیا ایرانی هستم یا نه. فعلا این تو هستی که نه فارسی بلدی
    بخونی، نه بلدی فکر کنی. تو مانند یک میمون فقط بلدی آنچه بهت می کن رو تکرار کنی. چرا که خودت قدرت فکر کردن نداری.

  123. Liz says:

    I think that Scott “Arvin” Lucas should hand “Arvin” over to one of his Iranian green team members for now on. Anyone who reads the thread would recognize that he is dishonest, he’s not in Iran, he is not an Iranian, he is promoting a particular propagands website, and that he writes just like himself. He writes nonsense and provides no evidence or names (such as the absurd claim about “a few “accidental” deaths in the State Department”,…) and makes claims that not even Mousavi have made. However, his description of Iran, which has little to do with the Iran that I live in, alongside all the other anti-Iranian propaganda, only serves to increase the chances of hardship, confrontation, and war.

  124. Pirouz 2,

    YOU WROTE: “Are you talking about “non-Iranians” who talk about Iran in general and the elections in particular, or their talking about any general political subject not necessarily related to Iran?”

    The former.

  125. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The Leveretts comment on the election in Foreign-policy:

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/14/whos_really_misreading_tehran?page=0,1

  126. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @LIZ

    Take a look at the pre-election banter of both sides:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwut8ZEJmU0

    It is so sad that such a colorful election campaign had to end in tears.

  127. Pirouz 2,

    YOU WROTE:

    “Eric, this claim that there were over 40,000 ballot boxes being observed by the Mousavi observers; what is its source? Only Guardian Council? I have heard this from both you and Dr. Afrasiabi (and also GC); is there any independent source verifying that?”

    You are asking a fair question. As I’ve mentioned before, it is not possible to close all of the gaps in my argument. I think this is the one area where small gaps arguably remain, though I’m confident I’ve closed them more than tightly enough and have suggested ways they can be closed entirely (see the final paragraph in this post). I could provide a summary answer to your question, but any summary might leave out some important element (and, to be candid, would take me too long). I’ll just paste in the section of my article that deals principally with this subject, though one certainly should read the entire article (especially the section immediately preceding this section) before concluding that this section leaves any serious gap in the argument.

    http://iran2009presidentialelection.blogspot.com/#ExcludedObservers

    “Complaint: Mousavi’s Observers Were Barred At Many Polling Stations”

    “Election rules required that each observer be registered several days in advance so that he could be issued a special ID card for presentation on election day. The Interior Ministry had established a website for this purpose, and each candidate had registered thousands of observers – 40,676 for Mousavi, 33,058 for Ahmadinejad, 13,506 for Karroubi and 5,421 for Rezai. Mousavi had filed applications for 5,016 additional ID cards, so that he would have an observer for each of the 45,692 polling stations in Iran (40,676 + 5,016 = 45,692). The Guardian Council did not issue ID cards for these additional Mousavi representatives because, it claimed, Mousavi had failed to submit required documentation even though the deadline had been extended for him. It is not necessary to resolve this disagreement. For reasons explained at the end of this section, the vote counts at these 5,016 “unobserved” polling stations should be considered suspect and specially tested for fraud, initially by comparing them with vote counts at comparable “observed” polling stations.”

    “On election day, none of Mousavi’s registered observers complained that he had been barred from watching when ballot boxes were sealed in the morning. Three days later, Mousavi alleged this had occurred in many places, though he did not specify where (then or later). The Guardian Council speculated that some Mousavi observers may have missed the sealing because many had arrived late, often “one or two hours” after the polling station had opened. Election officials were not required to keep voters waiting until Mousavi’s observers arrived, and they had not. Once again, it is unnecessary to resolve this disagreement.”

    “Mousavi identified 73 representatives who had been turned away from polling stations. The Guardian Council investigated and confirmed this, but pointed out that none of the 73 individuals had been registered. It added that “there has been no report of any problem for those representatives who had ID cards.” Mousavi did not dispute either contention. The Guardian Council did confirm that five registered observers had been ejected from polling stations for alleged violations of election rules, though its report does not indicate whom they had represented.”

    “Next, Mousavi complained that his observers had not been permitted to accompany many of the 14,294 mobile polling stations (usually a small truck or automobile) that, as in previous elections, had traveled to small villages, rural areas, hospitals, prisons and other places where people found it impossible or inconvenient to vote at a fixed-location polling station. Mousavi did not specify (then or later) where this had occurred, or how many times. Yet again, for the reasons explained below, it is unnecessary to resolve this complaint.”

    “Finally, some analysts complained, in effect, that Mousavi’s representatives were barred from observing even after the election, because “the authorities refused to release the actual ballot boxes.”[9] It is not clear what “release” means here. Under Iran’s election laws, when a field count is complete, the ballot box is resealed and turned over to a local election official for safekeeping for a prescribed period of time. No ballot box is ever “released” to a candidate (or anyone else) for private examination, for the obvious reason that tampering could occur. In some elections, some or all sealed ballot boxes are re-opened in the presence of election officials and candidates’ representatives, and the ballots inside are recounted. An extensive partial recount occurred in the 2009 election, for example: eight days after the election, thousands of sealed ballot boxes were reopened and millions of ballots were recounted – approximately 10% of the total votes. The Guardian Council had declared that all ballots must be recounted if the 10% recount revealed a significant discrepancy from the election-day count, but the discrepancy was slight. Thousands of video cameras taped the recounts and all candidates were invited to send observers. Rezai sent hundreds; Mousavi and Karroubi declined to send any. Mousavi objected to any recount, whether partial or full, insisting that the election must be nullified and done over.”

    “Although Mousavi made few specific complaints about excluded observers, some supporters later made sweeping allegations. Two months after the election, Ali Reza Beheshti, a top Mousavi aide, insisted that only 25,000 Mousavi observers had been issued ID cards, not 40,676. It has not been possible to investigate this allegation because Mr. Beheshti has neither disclosed his shorter list nor disputed any particular name on the Interior Ministry’s much-longer list. Mr. Beheshti also alleged that many registered Mousavi observers were barred from entering their assigned polling stations, or later were obstructed or asked to leave. He did not explain why Mousavi had not complained on election day about the exclusion or obstruction of any registered observer, nor did he identify any excluded observer when he made this allegation, or later.”

    “Many Mousavi supporters have argued that Mousavi should not be expected to identify excluded observers or the polling stations that excluded them. An observer and his family might be punished if he were to claim that he was barred or witnessed fraud. Under this argument, at any polling station for which the Interior Ministry cannot produce a Form 22 signed by a registered Mousavi observer, the vote count must be considered invalid – even if the Form 22 was signed by observers for all other opposition candidates (Karroubi and Rezai had 18,927 registered observers).”

    “If a Form 22 lacks the signature of a Mousavi observer (as many of the 45,692 Form 22s undoubtedly do) many explanations are possible – some innocent, others not. Perhaps the observer was arrested on election morning. Or someone may have beaten him, or threatened him or his family, or bribed him. He may have been improperly turned away at his polling station. Perhaps he was allowed to enter but was unfairly ordered to leave, or was blocked from observing. Possibly he witnessed fraud. Despite his broad allegations of wrongdoing, Mousavi has not identified a single registered observer who experienced any such form of mistreatment on election day, or any other form. Nonetheless, many of his supporters now argue that the Interior Ministry must prove that none of this occurred at a polling station, or else the votes cast at that polling station may not be counted.”

    “Many innocent explanations come to mind for the absence of a signature on a Form 22. The Mousavi observer may have fallen ill or had a family emergency, or decided to depend on other candidates’ observers to watch for fraud. He may have learned that the local election officials were staunch Mousavi supporters. Perhaps the observer was present all day and saw no wrongdoing, but forgot to sign the Form 22. Maybe he witnessed no fraud but was reluctant to sign because he had daydreamed, or even fallen asleep, for part of the day. Maybe he refused to sign simply because he did not want to validate Ahmadinejad’s election. Any one of these reasons, or many others, could explain an unsigned Form 22 at a particular polling station. Mousavi’s observers inevitably would need to supply details.”

    “So why not start with that? It is impossible to evaluate Mousavi’s allegations of misconduct if he refuses to supply details. One who claims electoral fraud is expected to specify who, what, where, when – not merely allege that many wrongs were done to many people in many places at many times, and then insist that the government prove that none of these wrongs was done to anyone, anywhere, at any time. A responsible government must establish fair election procedures and make it possible, without difficulty, for its citizens to verify that the procedures have been followed. If the government does not, a challenger may rightfully complain even if he has no concrete proof of electoral fraud. But if the government has satisfied this obligation, as Iran’s government did in the 2009 election,[10] the burden fairly shifts to those who allege fraud. They must examine the available information and specify improprieties so that their charges can be investigated. At which polling stations was Mousavi’s registered observer barred from watching the ballot-box sealing, or turned away entirely, or ejected or obstructed after he arrived? At which polling stations did Mousavi’s representative refuse to approve the count because he believed it was incorrect or had witnessed fraud? Which mobile polling stations were Mousavi’s designated observers not allowed to accompany? If Mousavi’s complaints are valid, he must have all of this information readily available. To start, he might simply compare his list of 25,000 Mousavi observers to the Interior Ministry’s list of 40,676 Mousavi observers – identify the 15,000 missing names so that, for example, other observers at those polling stations can be asked whether they remember seeing Mousavi’s observers on election day.”

    “Ironically, though Mousavi should supply evidence to support his allegations of fraud, it may be sufficient initially to require no evidence at all – to classify as “unobserved” every polling station at which a Mousavi observer did not sign a Form 22, regardless of the reason. This “unobserved” category would include each of the 5,016 polling stations for which Mousavi’s proposed observer was not issued an ID card, and might include hundreds or thousands of others. Presumably Mousavi’s staff already knows all polling stations in this “unobserved” category, or can quickly identify them by contacting his election-day observers. If so, Mousavi’s unresolved “excluded observer” complaints provide him yet another opportunity to make his case. If Ahmadinejad’s percentages were substantially higher at “unobserved” polling stations than at comparable “observed” polling stations, most neutral analysts would be suspicious. Although no two polling stations served statistically identical populations, statisticians should be able to identify sets of roughly comparable “unobserved” and “observed” polling stations, and then compare the Ahmadinejad/Mousavi percentages. Mousavi himself could start the inquiry with a rough spreadsheet comparison: compare Ahmadinejad’s and Mousavai’s percentages at all “unobserved” polling stations to their percentages at all “observed” polling stations. Once each polling station has been designated as “unobserved” or “observed,” such a rough comparison could be made in a matter of seconds. A more systematic comparison could be performed if any sign of fraud should appear.”

  128. Arvin says:

    Liz, 3:45am Tehran time… I’m a night owl. You must be too! Tomorrow I’ll leave a note for you somewhere in Tehran. Perhaps I’ll even draw a heart for you! You amuse me! Aslan fekr konam khodet farsi ham balad nabashi! Shayad ham yechizi barat be farsi neveshtam ke bebinam baladi bekhooni ya na!

    Eric,

    1. I don’t think any good policy will be made about Iran if we assume one side is an absolute majority. To be like Liz and say 100% of Iranian people are behind this regime is as dangerous as saying 100% of iranians are Greens. No policy made based on these assumptions will be anything worth studying. You agree?

    2. In regards to the elections one can only make conclusions if both sides are given the same platform to present their cases. If for example both were invited to appear on IRIB on live TV to discuss their case. If one side does not use brute force in destroying evidence if any by the other side. The Greens made a committee to protect the votes of the people and presented the Guardian Council with a hefty report. The heads of this committe were arrested, imprisoned and their offices closed, their files and possible evidence destroyed. I’m not saying they HAD evidence, but they certainly weren’t on equal grounds to present their case and are still not on equal grounds. This, together with suspicions in regards to a few “accidental” deaths in the State Department (Vezarat Keshvar) of people who MAY have known the truth is curious at best. You keep saying the Greens have presented no evidence. They have tried. And suppose no fraud was at the polling stations and as you say they had observers in every station, the real possibilty is fraud at much higher level. Like them pulling AN’s name out of the hat. I personally think Ahmadinejad could have won the election, but not with such a high margin and in fact the real outcome would probably have taken the two to a round two. I am speculating as you are two. The day you are able to SIT DOWN with a Mousavi rep and SIT DOWN with a Ahmadinejad rep, and are given premission to travel Iran freely and interview whoever you want freely without being labled a US spy is the day you will have a report on this matter worth considering. I will be first to promote your report! But as it stands, you are speculating from a faraway place based on “evidence” available to you online!

    3. In regards to the brutal crackdown of protestors that were peaceful at first and were radicalized gradually, you often side with the Basij and the IRGC and this is dangerous. If you have a point to make in regards to Iran and what the US should do about Iran (that’s the whole point of this website, isn’t it?) you should FIRST AND FOREMOST recognize the mistakes, the brutality, the oppresive nature of the IRI and THEN present your case. You could for example first acknowledge that THERE EXIST A SEGMENT OF THE IRANIAN POPULATION THAT IS AGAINST THE CURRENT REGIME, AS EVIDENT BY MARCHES OF 25 KHORDAD AND THE LIKES. Then acknowledge that these people (like them or not) were mistreated by government thugs (evidence is plenty thanks to citizen journalists). Then you could say that regardless of all this, you still stand by your views that the stance on Iran should be such and such… What annoys me and people like PAK here is that you always seem to be justifying these actions as though you will not be able to survive with your policy ideas without such recognitions. What is wrong about coming out against the IRI and still making the case that the best policy when it comes to Iran is ignoring the demands of the GM and sticking with engagement with this regime regardless?

    4. I always wonder what would have happened to an Iranian Leverett! If someone in Iran made a website called “Race For USA” and continued to make the case that we should engage with the US government regardless of their ties to Israel. How many days would you give such a person before he or she is arrested and put in prison? And suppose the Iranian Leverett had traveled to USA a few times over the years. What are his or her chances of not being labled a US spy and imprisoned for treason? Now, I never accuse the Leveretts of being agents of the IRI. They have their opinions and are entitled to them. Just as you are. But why are you and others on this site constantly accusing anyone who has slightest links with the US, or just wins an award by a US organization or does what the Leveretts are doing in regards to Iran but only related to the West you accuse them of being spies, traitors, puppets of a Zionist regime and so on so forth. Are you not then being condoscending towards Iranians? An American can express his opinions about Iran and support the government of Iran and be very pro-Iranian and discredit the opposition, but an Iranian cannot express his opinions about USA and support the government of the USA and cannot be pro-American? You find that to be fair?

    Perhaps you clear a few things about yourself if you answer those questions.

  129. kooshy says:

    Recently the focus of various Persian and English Iran related sites is again on how evil and brutal the IRI is rather than defending the greens and how right they are, looks like we have passed the green movement and allegation of fraud and rigged election since it is difficult to defend their past actions and recent inactions. I have noticed some post green commentators cleverly are willing to condemn the green’s actions for a trade off to prove how illegitimate IRI is. Some even openly now admit to go as far as to say that we supported the greens to just get rid of the Mulahs, I heard that yesterday from a 75 year old with a green band still on her hand, I thought to myself wasn’t that tried before with same logic?

  130. pirouz_2 says:

    Eric:

    YOU WROTE: “since I’ve noticed what you describe in a lot of non-Iranians too. I don’t expect the hatred to end any time soon, on either side, but it would be nice if it could become a little less “blind.” ”

    Are you talking about “non-Iranians” who talk about Iran in general and the elections in particular, or their talking about any general political subject not necessarily related to Iran?

    “IF” you are referring to non-Iranians commenting on Iran with unsubstantiated claims, I have a suspicion that that is not out of blind-hatred but rather because of the needs of their pockets. A lot of these so called “Iran analysts” (and I don’t want to generalize it to everyone) are on the pay-roll, so they don’t try to observe/report the truth but rather want to pursue their own agenda which is determined by their “employer”.

    By the way, what is your answer to the question I asked regarding the 40,000 observer claim?

  131. Pirouz 2 wrote:

    “The problem is that you cannot trust the sincerity of either IR government resources or the sincerity of the Western media outlets (I dare say you can trust even less the latter than the former!)…there is that fundamental national weakness that we have and very often what we hear from the Iranian middle-class is the product of some fantasies resulting from the pure and blind hatred that they feel towards IR.”

    I don’t know whether it’s some “fundamental national weakness” or not, since I’ve noticed what you describe in a lot of non-Iranians too. I don’t expect the hatred to end any time soon, on either side, but it would be nice if it could become a little less “blind.” I never cease to be amazed at the willingness of partisans on both sides to accept entirely unsubstantiated allegations, from someone with an obvious incentive to lie, as gospel truth.

    For an election-related example, many Iranian and Western analysts accepted without question the story about “secret government polls” circulated just 6 days before the election by Newsweek’s Maziar Bahari, which reportedly showed that Mousavi would outpoll Ahmadinejad by 10,000,000 votes – a 21,000,000 vote difference from the reported result (an 11,000,000 vote margin in favor of Ahmadinejad). While I certainly do not condone the Iranian government’s subsequent arrest and imprisonment of Bahari, or of any other journalist, I remain no less astonished that his implausible and uncorroborated story was accepted without question by journalists and analysts all over the world.

  132. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:

    Eric, this claim that there were over 40,000 ballot boxes being observed by the Mousavi observers; what is its source? Only Guardian Council? I have heard this from both you and Dr. Afrasiabi (and also GC); is there any independent source verifying that?

  133. pirouz_2 says:

    @Persian Gulf:

    YOU SAID:”I am not a fan of GM, but on the other hand can’t repeat obviously false news. if there was a single member of Basijies among the ones who were killed last summer, we would have seen a lot of sermons for them. not even a single name of these presumably Basiji members is known. this is where I say IR loses its sympathizers. I criticize the greens for not being honest, so I can’t defend the other side for what is obviously a deception. ”

    Allow me first to congratulate you on this LOGICAL, REALISTIC AND PRO-FINDING-THE-TRUTH approach. This is UNFORTUNATELY what is missing among the Iranian nation in “genertal”, and that is one of our biggest “national” weaknesses: an extraordinary tendency towards emotionalism, when we love or hate, we do it COMPLETELY BLINDLY with losing any principle and measure of fairness and realism.

    HOWEVER, I have seen other reports about Basijies having been killed by the greens, in one occasion I even saw the “footage” by CNN, as their [CNN's] news anchor was “happily” advertising the severe beating of security forces and their being forced (by the demonstrators) to yell that Khamenei was the son of a “prostitute” (I am using a polite word in here!). Furthermore there is the footage of the attack by the demonstrators on the Basij headquarters using molotov cocktail, which is an obvious attempt at murder.
    Also the link that Liz has provided does not say anything about an accident but it says RUNNING OVER with a “pride” brand Automobile.
    It is really interesting because I also saw a footage (in the Western media) of a police vehicle running over one protester during Ashura, but somehow I have a “suspicion” (and merely a suspicion) that that police vehicle was in the process of “escaping” from the mob to save its life as it ran over the protester when moving in reverse. I am not saying that they didn’t do it on purpose, it could be very well expected from the security forces to kill a peaceful protester brutally, but it could also very well be the case that the police vehicle was trying to escape and in the process ran over the protester without actually having planned to do so.
    The problem is that you cannot trust the sincerity of either IR government resources or the sincerity of the Western media outlets (I dare say you can trust even less the latter than the former!).
    At any rate, if your friends are anything like mine, I wouldn’t put my trust in their words. I am not saying that they are lying, but as I mentioned before there is that fundamental national weakness that we have and very often what we hear from the Iranian middle-class is the product of some fantasies resulting from the pure and blind hatred that they feel towards IR.

  134. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @Persian Gulf

    Saadatabad is where PressTV is headquartered, let us not forget.

  135. kooshy says:

    Persian Gulf

    “Again Kooshy, I think you are deflecting the case here like Liz, this time by condemning me for not criticizing the greens for this incident. You know exactly what I am talking about.”

    Sorry no I am not trying to condemn you or anybody else here I am just trying to be fair observer, all I did was to point, that the news story is clearly saying this Basij member was “martyred” during last year’s demonstrations, in the beginning you claimed there is no evidence of any members of Basij was killed because your friends said so, you mentioned if it was it would be in news, and I originally accepted your point but when later Liz produced a recent memorial for one such a case then you claimed that this was a car accident and there are many car accidents in Iran, with that logic I can’t argue, therefore I tend to believe that anybody who dies of a car accidents in Iran can be now called a martyr of state. I just hope this law would be adopted in California that may solve our insurance rate hikes.

    PG , I have to admit that I like your approach

  136. Liz says:

    As I said before, the witnesses and the injured have spoken many times on TV and so have the families of the murdered baseejees, including those of this young man. These murders are common knowledge over here in Iran. There were a number of baseej members there and the driver tried to drive into a group of them. Four were seriously injured and one of the four later died. There were many witnesses and, in any case, this is just one example. They have shown these things on Iranian TV, but the western media does not. Just because the western media censors these stories, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen and that we can delete the lives of these young murdered baseej and police members. Also, people have not turned away from Iranian TV. I watch satallite, but I have much more faith in (the flawed) Iranian TV news programs than in the BBC, VOA,…Anyway, I’m not attacking you.

  137. James,

    “My understanding is that China is the largest supplier of gasoline to Iran.”

    That’s my understanding too. They’ll undoubtedly miss the competition in the Iranian gasoline market.

  138. Persian Gulf says:

    kooshy:

    yes, we are reading the same text, it seems. but so what, somebody was killed in Saadatabad in an accident! accident is very normal in Iran, but it’s not normal to shoot in the streets (and btw, who passed on the body of that lady with a police car on the Ashura day? why don’t they disclose the identities?). the guy could be a Basiji member true, but this doesn’t show anything (more than 20,000 people are dead in car accident in Iran annually, unfortunately). what time it happened? where are the pics of that accident? what time and in what circumstances? were are eyewitnesses? why didn’t they announce it at that time? SaadatAbad is a crowded place. I happened to be living there for couple of years! and every time I go to Iran, I reside there as a close family member is living there.

    I have seen movies and pics that riot police were beaten up. and I have always criticized the greens for these actions. specially their action on the day of Ashura and they way they treated a soldier. I don’t defend the greens. it’s clear in almost all the comments I made. I am even convinced that Neda was not killed by Basiji and the riot police as it was claimed so far. she was killed, most probably, by one of those protesters, with the link to MOK. the greens screaming loudly here and there must explain Neda’s case and all the lies they spread.

    again Kooshy, I think you are deflecting the case here like Liz, this time by condemning me for not criticizing the greens for this incident. you know exactly what I am talking about.

    Liz:

    the majorities of my friends in Iran, and also most of my families still see IR’s TVs. they don’t believe in satellites. you are not the only one who sees those programs. you are talking as if you are explaining the situation for a totally blind person. sadly, this is the approach taken by IRIB.look at the TVs programs broadcast by Iran inside the country. as I said, is the main reason people have turn toward foreign TVs.

  139. Liz says:

    Eric,

    Surely you don’t expect “Arvin” to do all that at 2:40 am Tehran time?

  140. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “Like I said, your notes are scattered and plenty and I am not sure what is it that you want me to say precisely. So why don’t you just send me two three questions.”

    I’m not sure either what I want you to say precisely. I was hoping you were. I must reluctantly accept that you are not. I won’t ask again.

  141. Liz says:

    “WHOA! Magic folks!” lol! Sorry Scott (Arvin) Lucas, you are not fooling anyone! Why are you awake at 2:24 am Tehran time after being absent for so long? Get some rest. lol!

  142. Liz says:

    Iran is not a dictatorship as anyone who lives in Iran, reads Iranian newspapers in the morning, or listen to Majlis debates on radio,… would discover. The leader is answerable to the council of experts, but he is popular and there is no reason why he should be removed.

  143. Arvin says:

    Liz,

    I can safely say that the only person who ever makes a fool of herself on this blog is you. Like I said before, you are like a teenager in love with a boy band. You recite IRI’s ever-changing talking points and have nothing to offer of your own. At least others, people like Eric and Pirouz_2 present their own thoughts and sometimes make good points regardless of whether I agree with them or not. They show they can think for themselves. But you… Can’t say the same…

    Very well… To prove that am in Iran, tomorrow I will take a sharpie with me to the center of the city. Somewhere in the center of Tehran I will leave you a note. “From ARVIN to LIZ on RFI.COM.” I will also leave a code. Then I will come here and tell you where I’ve left the note. You can go read it and once you give me the code I too will know that you are living in Tehran. Can’t think of any other way to do this. Plus I would like to know if you’re in Iran or not. Or else you would have known that yesterday the site was blocked and today its not.

    Eric,

    Like I said, your notes are scattered and plenty and I am not sure what is it that you want me to say precisely. So why don’t you just send me two three questions.

  144. Fahad says:

    Arnold, I never wrote anywhere that there is hard evidence that the election was fraudulent. I only wrote that that doesn’t mean that there is evidence of no fraud. Just accept this as my strong opinion. For people who have never been in Iran (I assume your silence regarding my simple question just means that you belong to this group) it might be difficult to understand that the IRI is a dictatorship. Why should they conduct fair and just elections when the system cannot be overruled, the supreme leader not kicked in his a** and sent to hell?

    Election fraud cannot be proven or disproven from abroad. If Ahmadinejad won the election (I am quite sure, he did, I always was; maybe not with that margin), it’s okay with me. That the regime could not afford to let him lose is another thing but also true.

  145. kooshy says:

    Persian Gulf

    Are we reading from the same Persian text, it clearly says that this 18 year old Bsij member from Sharh Ray was ran over by a car and later died of wonds on June 15 2009 during the last June demonstrations, was he ran over by members of his own team? If so for what reason, and what would be the porpose to remember him by his friends and family at his burial site a year later. Do you also questions videos and pictures of members of security forces that were bitten up and bloodied in last year’s peaceful green demonstrations as if they were staged and not accurate just because your friends in Tehran said so.

  146. Liz says:

    Eric,

    They do show these things on Iranian TV, but the western media does not. Just because the western media censors these stories, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen and that we can delete the lives of these young murdered baseej and police members.

  147. Scott,

    YOU WROTE: “There is no reason for me to hide behind a pseudonym on this site.”

    Good to have you here, Scott. I can honestly say that I hadn’t suspected you of being “Arvin” for a moment. You nevertheless should be sympathetic to those who have doubts. That’s natural when one suddenly recognizes that he never sees Superman and Clark Kent at the same time.

  148. Persian Gulf,

    YOU WROTE TO LIZ: “… please don’t deflect to other issues. Give me at least a name, a pic. Look, I lived in Iran for almost 25 years. and believe me, … if there was a single case [of a Basij being killed], it would have been known all over Iran. They would have shown [it a] million times on the TV.”

    I agree it is entirely fair for you to draw conclusions on this basis. The Iranian government would have this information if it occurred, and certainly a strong motive and the means to publicize it. I drew conclusions on a similar basis in my article about the election. Mousavi had 40,000+ registered observers, and a strong motive and the means to report any wrongdoing at any of the polling stations at which his observers were present. I believe it was entirely fair to draw conclusions from the absence of such reports, just as you have here. And, just as I gave no weight to sweeping claims of election-day wrongdoing in which Mousavi refused to supply any details, I believe you are right not to credit non-specific reports about killings of Basij militia members. If someone was killed in such an incident, it is reasonable to ask the government to say what happened, where and when, and it is appropriate to question whether the incident occurred if the government declines to do so.

    “I recommend you criticize western media and the greens without trying to cover IR’s lie.”

    I have no way of knowing whether what Liz is reporting is true or false, so no comment on whether it is “IR’s lie,” but I otherwise agree. I’d add that, if the Iranian government is guilty of something and anyone has actual information – not merely the vague and unsubstantiated allegations one too often hears on other websites (and sometimes here) – I’d appreciate seeing it posted here.

  149. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    My understanding is that China is the largest supplier of gasoline to Iran. Iran is bringing some more refineries online before long, so its own production of gasoline will increase substantially. Moreover, as you know, the government wants to cut back on the subsidy of gasoline, to save money and reduce consumption. Sanctions allow the situation to be blamed on the US and its pals.

    I find it difficult to believe that Senator Schumer is not aware of Hamas’s offers to Israel of 40- or 50-year truces. Does he think Hamas would expect to be able to get rid of Israel, after the passage of 50 more years? I doubt it.

    I agree most Americans would not accept Schumer’s rationale for the continuation of the blockade of Gaza.

  150. Liz says:

    The witnesses and the injured have spoken many times on TV and so have the families of the murdered baseejees, including those of this young man. These murders are common knowledge over here in Iran.

  151. Liz says:

    PG,

    There were a number of baseej members there and the driver tried to drive into a group of them. Four were seriously injured and one of the four later died. There were many witnesses and, in any case, this is just one example.

  152. Persian Gulf says:

    Liz,

    sorry, I didn’t see your post before pressing the submit comment bottom. to be honest with you, I can’t believe the link you sent. as the link says, he was killed in an accident. are you know, Iran has a high rate of accident unfortunately. this is not gonna convince anybody. it’s rather unfortunate to see IRNA publishing story like this.

  153. Liz says:

    Take another look:

    http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=1170706

    You will find his name, a picture, the place where he lived, and the place that he was buried.

    “Arvin”, all I can say is you have made an utter fool of yourself tonight. lol

  154. Persian Gulf says:

    Liz:

    please don’t deflect to other issues. give me at least a name, a pic. look, I lived in Iran for almost 25 years. and believe me, I had never watched satellites’ show while staying there (we didn’t have one). I just watched IR TVs. so, I know perfectly how they show these things. if there was a single case, it would have been known all over Iran. they would have shown million times on the TV.

    I am totally aware of what western media did. we are not talking about their deceptive actions. and surely they were ordinary people who were killed as well as some thugs, but these are not part of the dispute. we are solely talking about Basij members. no name after a year. I recommend you criticize western media and the greens without trying to cover IR’s lie.

  155. Scott Lucas says:

    Rest easy, folks. There is no reason for me to hide behind a pseudonym on this site. I respect the positions others take, and I stand 100% behind my own.

    Just don’t forget — Paranoia will destroy ya….

    Peace,

    Scott

  156. Liz says:

    A ceremony was held a couple of days ago commemorating the death of one such baseeji member who was murdered by green thugs a year ago:

    http://www.irna.ir/View/FullStory/?NewsId=1170706

    In any case, I admire your honesty PG.

  157. Kamran says:

    I agree with Iranian, you are not as sophisticated as you think Arvin. You are not in Iran, you are an American, you hate the Leveretts, and you are in Birmingham. You are a poor actor so good night.

  158. Iranian says:

    And I was just about to got to bed. “Arvin” that was silly of you to “join the debate” using your real name! You reveal yourself to be a dishonest child.

  159. Persian Gulf,

    “I criticize the greens for not being honest, so I can’t defend the other side for what is obviously a deception.”

    Thanks for your even-handed approach. The more personal observations you can provide, the better for everyone.

  160. Liz says:

    The self promoting green advocate (and Leverett stalker as someone said once) finally uses his real name!

    Persian Gulf,

    Sadly it’s true. A significant number of baseej members were killed. In any case, as we all know the baseej used batons on the streets. The 40-45 people who died were not all rioters, some of them were innocent bystanders and others were from the baseej. Those who died from among the greens were mostly violent rioters who even attacked military bases. In any case, compare the footage from Tehran to that of Bangkok. In Tehran the police had battons, while in Bangkok they had guns and Tanks. However, the western media went crazy over Iran (and called for mob rule) and they said little about Thailand.

  161. Scott Lucas says:

    So nice of you folks to keep thinking happy thoughts about me.

    Meanwhile…

    http://enduringamerica.com/2010/06/14/iran-special-ea-gets-highest-award-from-tehran-government/

    Scott

  162. Persian Gulf says:

    Liz:

    with all due respect, the claim that some Basij members were (some even said up to 20 members) killed is a lie itself (and it made me really sad to hear it constantly from some officials). few months ago I was thinking in the same way as you, but in my last trip to Iran, I have accepted my friends’ arguments that this a lie that IR made. I am not a fan of GM, but on the other hand can’t repeat obviously false news. if there was a single member of Basijies among the ones who were killed last summer, we would have seen a lot of sermons for them. not even a single name of these presumably Basiji members is known. this is where I say IR loses its sympathizers. I criticize the greens for not being honest, so I can’t defend the other side for what is obviously a deception.

    there is a fundamental question as to why Basij members should carry gun in the streets and shoot at people. it’s acceptable to see riot police dealing with the thugs, but I can’t accept 17-8 young boys to carry gun in the streets and make trouble for the people.

  163. Iranian says:

    The identity of Arvin is pretty obvious, but I find his behaviour to be somewhat disturbing. It’s 1:07 am here in Tehran (not late in the evening like in the UK, Arvin) so I’m off to bed.

  164. Liz says:

    “WHOA! Magic folks!”

    lol

    A very poor choice of words for a self promoting green advocate.

  165. kooshy says:

    It sounds that once again, we are all privileged with visions and integrity of all the Scott’s Men

  166. Kamran says:

    I don’t like writing very much, but Arvin does write very much like a certain American citizen who once upon a time wrote a large number of comments on this website and who hates the Leveretts deeply and bitterly.

  167. Arnold Evans says:

    Arvin & Fahad:

    I’ll ask again:

    What makes you think the election was stolen?

  168. Liz says:

    “WHOA! Magic folks!” Sounds like an American (living in the UK probably!)

  169. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “I am not sure what is it that you want me to respond to.”

    Please start with my plea for civility: June 13, 10:28 AM.

    Then consider one or more of these more substantive posts, most of which are directed to you though some are directed to Fahad or Pak (who are also welcome to respond):

    June 13, 10:58 AM
    June 12, 7:10 PM
    June 12, 6:32 PM
    June 12, 5:35 PM*

    * You’ve responded to this one already, but if you reread it and your response, you might agree with me that it calls for a more detailed response.

    I hope this is enough for you to understand the subjects on which I would appreciate your thoughts. I suspect others would also like to hear what you have to say.

  170. Liz says:

    Arvin,

    You said, “Yes, I’m in Iran.” But you are not in Iran are you. Birmingham, UK maybe?

  171. Liz says:

    Arvin,

    You lied. You are not in Iran.

  172. Arvin says:

    WHOA! Magic folks! Yesterday when all WordPress blogs were blocked, RACE FOR IRAN along with ENDURING AMERICA were blocked. So I assumed they will stay blocked and used my VPN to get on here. But I just checked as per your suggestions and RACE FOR IRAN is no longer blocked! What does this say about the Leveretts influence in Iran? Did they just have to make a phone call?! EA is still blocked.

    My apologies if I wrongfully said RFI is still blocked. It was for a day. It no longer is. Which scares me even more about the Leveretts.

    Eric,

    I am not sure what is it that you want me to respond to. You made a series of questionable statements that I continue to beleive are due to your lack of knowlege about Iran and Iranians. You continue to ignore complexities of Iranian society in your defense of the Islamic Republic. This is not to say that all the Green Movement claims and statements are more accurate than yours. But they too make generalizations to their benefit and some could even argue they are out of touch. I am basically arguing for co-existence of these two factions in Iran and lean more towards the opposition because the government in my opinion is illegitimate and becomes more illegit with each passing day — for example they attacked home of Grand Ayatollah Sanaei today, which puts them one step closer to a fatwa that will unleash a religious force against them.

  173. Arvin,

    I notice that several Iran residents are questioning your claim to have heroically overcome the Iranian government’s censoring of this website. As any psychotherapist would tell you, however (usually for a hefty fee – consider yourself lucky here), overcoming barriers, whether real or existing only in one’s mind, is something one ought to be proud of.

    In any case, I’m just glad you’re back, and I look forward to your addressing some of the points I made to your responses yesterday and the day before. You did mention that you might not be able to respond to all of them, but I would appreciate a thoughtful response to at least one or two.

  174. Liz says:

    The 40-45 people who died were not all rioters, some of them were innocent bystanders and others were from the baseej. Those who died from among the greens were mostly violent rioters who even attacked military bases. In any case, compare the footage from Tehran to that of Bangkok. In Tehran the police had battons, while in Bangkok they had guns and Tanks. However, the western media went crazy over Iran (and called for mob rule) and they said little about Thailand.

  175. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric:

    YOU WROTE:”In addition, if the American public were to conclude that challenges to the 2009 election are baseless, the Iranian opposition’s complaints about post-election mistreatment might be less persuasive to some Americans: protesters would not have been mistreated, after all, if they hadn’t protested, and (the argument will go) they should not have protested since no fraud had occurred in the election. Personally, I believe that mistreatment of protestors is not warranted even if the reason for their protest entirely lacks merit, but I remember the Vietnam days well enough to understand that the perceived merits of the protesters’ position does matter to a large segment of the American public when assessing whether the authorities’ treatment of those protesters was appropriate.”

    I agree with you 100% that no reason justifies the brutal treatment of the protesters.
    However, there are a few points to emphasize here:

    As you very rightly pointed out, in the “public eyes”, the perceived merits of protesters’ position does matter in their assessment of whether the treatment of those protesters was appropriate (UNFORTUNATELY). This is especially so in case of the Iranian public, because the larger segment of the society voted for Ahmadinejad and then saw the losing side pouring into streets demanding an annulment of the election results!
    To understand this better (for Americans especially), just imagine in 1980, that Carter supporters would pour into streets demanding an anullment of the election results and in the process they were to set fire to trash bins. IF THE RIOT POLICE WERE TO CRACK DOWN ON THEM AND EVEN KILL A FEW WHAT WOULD BE THE REACTION OF THE REPUBLICAN BASE (ie. the larger proportion of the US society in 1980)?!?!?!
    In fact that is one of the WORST harms that GM has made to the Iranian progress towards democracy. It has made a the larger proportion of the society sympathize with the “oppressor” rather than the “oppressed”! Not that the so called “oppressed” was so democratic in this particular case, in fact they were even less democratic than their oppressors, they wanted to annul the result of an election that they had lost.

  176. Kazem Hussain says:

    Mr. Arvin:

    I read this website/weblog from my student dorm in Tehran. I have’t problem reading it. Where in Iran are you that you can’t read without “filtershekan”? I don’t think you are telling truth.

  177. Liz says:

    Arvin,

    You dishonestly claim that you are in Iran. How do I know this? Because this site is not filtered! You believe rumours too quickly!

  178. Arvin says:

    Liz

    As we say in Iran: “Kam ovordi!” Accusing someone of being drunk or high (as you have before) is a good debate tactic if you’re 7 years old. But then considering your thought process, you might as well be! Furthermore, stop breaking the laws of the Islamic Republic by using a filter-blocker to get on this site.

  179. James,

    I don’t think Sen. Schumer is either “foolish” or a “liar.” I think he sincerely believes what he says about the Gaza blockade – that it is likely to bring the Gazans to their knees – and that he has genuine confidence (though probably much less) that blocking gasoline imports to Iran will bring down the Iranian government. The real question is not whether he genuinely holds either belief, nor whether his predictions are likely to come true. The question instead is the one he answered (incorrectly, in my view) at the very end without even perceiving the need to pose the question – whether “it is our job to support” the actions he recommends.

    My hunch is that the US public would not support the Gaza blockade if Sen. Schumer’s reasons for supporting it were candidly presented to the US public.

    I wish I could say my hunch is the same for Sen. Schumer’s proposal to restrict gasoline imports to Iran. On that one, however, I’m afraid my hunch about the US public is exactly the opposite: just about any penalty on Iran suggested by just about anyone will probably be acceptable to Americans.

    Whether oil companies who stand to lose business from this proposed US-only sanction will feel the same way as the US public is a tougher question. It certainly presents an attractive opportunity for any non-US oil company that (1) sells gasoline to Iran, or would very much like to do so; but (2) sells no oil products to the US, or sells so little to the US that losing that business won’t matter that much to it. Which countries might fall into that category?

  180. Rfjk,

    YOU WROTE: “Diminishing the ‘Green Movement’ is just as nonsensical as glorifying it.”

    Your choice of verbs suggests that you believe either choice involves exaggeration. Whether or not the Leveretts are correct, they believe their description of the Green movement is accurate, not exaggerated. I have no idea whether they are correct but, if they are, it’s not “nonsensical” for them to describe the Greens accurately – for the very reason they emphasize: US policy toward Iran should reflect an accurate understanding of popular support for the Iranian government and for groups that oppose that government.

    YOU WROTE: “But this continuing obsession over the legitimacy of the Iranian election is superfluous and wrong headed as far as American interests go.

    How a country picks its leaders rarely matters to the US. If it did, after all, we might be actively opposing the governments in many other countries (Saudi Arabia being the usual example on this point). But when the US government finds other reasons for disliking another country, and many are urging the US government show its displeasure in a persuasive bombing sort of way, few arguments are more useful for garnering the support of the American public than the contention that the target country’s government is illegitimate. The Taliban’s illegitimacy in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein’s illegitimacy in Iraq, became very important to the US government once other reasons had arisen to send US troops into those countries. Perceived illegitimacy may be even more important in tipping the scales this time since no one (other than, perhaps, George Stephanopolous) believes that Osama bin Laden is being harbored by the Iranian government, and the US public is (or so I hope) a bit skeptical of the WMD claims so easily peddled before the Iraq war.

    In addition, if the American public were to conclude that challenges to the 2009 election are baseless, the Iranian opposition’s complaints about post-election mistreatment might be less persuasive to some Americans: protesters would not have been mistreated, after all, if they hadn’t protested, and (the argument will go) they should not have protested since no fraud had occurred in the election. Personally, I believe that mistreatment of protestors is not warranted even if the reason for their protest entirely lacks merit, but I remember the Vietnam days well enough to understand that the perceived merits of the protesters’ position does matter to a large segment of the American public when assessing whether the authorities’ treatment of those protesters was appropriate.

  181. kooshy says:

    PAK
    “I am sorry but your argument is completely flawed. It makes little sense because you are contradicting yourself.”

    Can you explain why my argument is flawed.

    PAK
    What do you mean by “modern western values”?

    I mean separation of church and state, even in the constitution of 1906 (the most secular state laws in Iran), all laws passed had to have final approved of council of 5 clergy even if they passed by the parliament and signed by the king, in Iranian history Kings were always called “shadows of god on earth” and required to uphold the state religion here is a good article analyzing relation of god and king (church and state) in Iranian culture since ancient times.

    Said Amir Arjomand. “The Shadow of God on Earth: The Ethos of Persian Patrimonialism”

    http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~fisher/hst373/readings/arjomand.html

    “Ardashlr made the restoration of Zoroastrianism the pillar of his newly founded empire. He was the restorer of Right/Order (Arta, Old Iranian rta, Avestan asa) and styled himself the King/Lord of Right/Order. In this he was assisted by the Zoroastrian priesthood. A letter attributed to his great herbad, Tansar, has come down to us in Persian translation. The core of the letter is very probably from the time of Ardashlr, and may well have been written by Tansar. It expounds the foremost principle upon which imperial order was restored:

    “Do not wonder at my zeal and ardour for promoting order in the world, so that the foundation of the laws of religion may be made firm. For religion and kingship were born of the one womb, joined together and never to be sundered. Order and corruption, health and sickness of both has the same constitution.”
    Religion and kingship were born of one womb and were the equally indispensable constituents of Arta (Right/Order).
    According to Zaehner, in the Zoroastrian ethos “the King is the center of the universe, and the goal of the universe is happiness.” The prosperity of the subjects depends on the quality of the king. Furthermore, “God is absolute lord of both worlds; the King is his representative on earth and, as such, may himself take the title of bagh, ‘god.’” In the Denkart, we have the affirmation of the principle, “Religion is royalty, and royalty is the religion.” Further, “the symbol of the Holy Spirit surely manifests itself on earth in [the person of] the good and righteous King, one whose will is bent on increase, whose character is pure, whose desire for his subjects is good.”
    Thus, over the whole world stands the King of Kings, who, in Zaehner’s words, “is the guardian of religion as he is of justice and order. Religion indeed, in the Zoroastrian sense, is almost synonymous with justice and order.” What is striking is the materialism of the Zoroastrian cosmology”

    PAK

    “If you are referring to the Green Movement, then I assume you are referring to representation and basic human rights. These are not “modern western values”, which is why we have already had 2 revolutions in the name of democracy.
    Even if you are referring to secularism, it is not a “modern western value” either. In fact, the concept of Islamic government has only existed in modern Iran since the 1979 revolution. Previous key politicians never questioned the concept of secularism because it was inherently natural for them, including Mossadegh (who not only was secular, but was also pro-monarchy!). We can blame the Shah for alienating secularism and allowing the rise of “Islamic” democracy (reference to Liz).
    Furthermore, the “masses” did not find it hard to understand the intellectuals during the past 100 years, did they? And who are these “Iranian upper echelon society” and “highly educated westernised upper middle classes”!? For example, would you classify Majid Tavakoli as one?”

    And here is what usually happens when this is intervened by an outside power

    “An enormous irony is that by toppling the native landowners, officers and bourgeoisie, the Americans created just the sort of regime that could be overthrown by Communist and Islamic revolutionaries. Attempts at Islamic revolution in Egypt and Communist revolutions in Colombia have failed because of the strength of native institutions. The revolutions in Cuba, Nicaragua and Iran would have almost certainly not happened if it were not for American interventionism.

    Usually, the upper and middle classes have too much to lose from revolutions, this is not the case in Patrimonial regimes. For example, the Nicaraguan middle classes switched support to the Sandinistas after Somoza expropriated funds meant to help victims of the earthquake in Managua.”

    See the upper and middle class lose by the revolution and become disconnected.

  182. James Canning says:

    Eric,

    Great post re: Senator Chuck Schumer (D – New York)! Is it possible he is so foolish as to believe that trying to prevent Iran from importing gasoline could help to bring down the government of Iran?

    Is Schumer merely a vicioius liar when he argues that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is needed in order to convince the Palestinians that Israel “is here to stay”?

  183. Kamran says:

    Those of us who live in Iran can only laugh at the nonsense that is constantly repeated in the western press and by their green mercenaries. A day doesn’t go by without me thinking that my vote for Mousavi was a mistake.

  184. Iranian says:

    Arvin knows the truth, but he’s like Scott Lucas. Anyone who looks at the evidence, the polls, the footage of pro-Islamic Republic rallies knows that the non-existent green movement is only victorious in the eyes of its western masters.

  185. Liz says:

    Arvin,

    I think you’ve had too much to drink.

  186. Arvin says:

    @ LIZ

    Glad to see that you too break the laws of the Islamic Republic by beating the censors and coming on websites that they consider illegal! That’s the first step in joining the Green Movement that you so despise. A movement that even at times appeals to someone like me who is against the Islamic part of the seudo-Republic. A movement that makes me cringe everytime its leader speaks highly of Khomeini and the “Golden days” of the 1980s. This movement has appealed more to the middle-class, lower middle-class and it will appeal more to the poor if the regime gives up its control over media (which they never will). Look at the crowds that showed up in support of the GM and you’ll see more diversity than the crowds that show up for pro-regime rallies. The rich northern Tehranis you speak of don’t show up anywhere. Because they are the ones with most to lose and they have made a fortune with this very system. So they are the ones that will not profit from a change in the system that made them rich in the first place. Look at the martyrs of the GM, from the middle class Neda and Sohrab and Kianoush, to the lower middle class lesser knowns that come from below Enghelab avenue. Look at the political prisoners. None are rich northern Tehranis. Be it Majid Tavakoli the student activist or Nourizad, the former conservative filmmaker, or any of the 70 journalists still behind bars.

    In restrospect I am glad that Ahmadinejad stole the election and became the president. Because no on will be able to destroy the Islamic Repuiblic better than him. A Mousavi presidency would have been a “soopap-etminan” (A pressure valve?). It would have ended up like the Khatami presidency where a reformer would have been stopped in his tracks by hardliners in line with Khamenei while at the same time the little changes he would have brought would keep the people happy enough that would have prolonged the life of the Islamic Republic. But with Ahmadinejad as president, the Islamic Republic has cut its life short. Because he will ruin everything for them.

    @ K. Voo

    Okay, then criticize the process by which Neda became an icon or a symbol of a movement. Don’t question her very death when the evidence is the video of her death or her absence in her family. Criticize Western hypocrisy, but don’t question her unfortunate fate. That just makes you sound stupid, like the people who believe Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley is alive and well!

  187. K. Voorhees says:

    Arvin,
    I haven’t said a word about Zionists.

    You have no proof, no investigation, nothing to substantiate the Neda video. Meanwhile, anyone who has been paying a little attention knows about US/George Soros funded “color” revolutions and Bush putting $400 million openly (Lord knows how much secretly) into destabilizing activities in Iran. Do I think a little money went to someone to shoot a “Neda” video that then got worldwide media coverage? Including US TV, including awards, including the US President (the current one hasn’t said boo about Rachel Corrie or Furkan Dogan or Emily Henochowicz). Yeah, I think it looks like it could be a possibility and wouldn’t be beneath our opinion leaders.

    By the way, it didn’t work, even with Americans. It was shoved down our throats for a while and was more puzzling than anything else. Whats the big deal, as Biden says.

  188. Fahad says:

    @pirouz_2. (1) Read it again. (2) I didn’t address you. But people ranting about Iran who have never been there, and talked to the people there, are not very competent, are they?

  189. A bit off-topic, but Juan Cole’s Informed Comment has an interesting article (http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/schumers-sippenhaftung-and-the-children-of-gaza.html) built around a speech given by Sen. Charles Schumer on June 9 to a very small luncheon gathering of the Orthodox Union in Washington. A link to the video is embedded in his article.

    The speech content is interesting, as will become clear below, but also interesting were the circumstances. The speech started 30 minutes late, and Sen. Schumer apologized in advance that he would have to cut it very short because he needed to attend an important committee meeting right after lunch. As a result, he set aside his prepared remarks, leaned forward with both arms resting on the podium, and gave what came across almost as an unguarded living-room presentation to a small group. The group indeed was small: several tables in front of Sen. Schumer were empty; I could see only 5 or 6 people in the audience, though background sounds suggested there were perhaps a few dozen altogether. Well into the speech, one audience member near the podium turned around and stared at the camera – apparently a hand-held camera operated (not very steadily) by one of the attendees in the back of the room – and seemed alarmed and annoyed to learn that the speech was being recorded.

    Sen. Schumer covered two issues in the recorded portion of his talk. (The cameraman stopped recording just as he started on a third: Turkey.) First was Iran. He mentioned that the UN Security Council had that day adopted new sanctions against Iran. He said he didn’t have much faith in the UN, in part because Russia, and even more so China, “put their own interests first.” Nonetheless, he felt the new sanctions resolution was important because it “gives the rest of the world a permission structure” to adopt single-country sanctions against Iran. He said that the House and Senate were about to reconcile bills that would impose strong US-only sanctions against Iran in two areas where Iran was most vulnerable. He never got to the second area, but the first was gasoline. The pending legislation would punish companies that directly or indirectly sell gasoline to Iran. Here is what Sen. Schumer said he hopes this sanction will accomplish:

    “That will pack a powerful punch. The whole idea is to bring the Iranian regime down. There is a lot of discontent. The people of Iran basically want economic advancement and if we can stop that economic advancement, if we really hurt the country economically, that might be the spark that brings the people to replace the regime, which is fundamentally not popular.”

    Sen. Schumer then turned to the Israel/Palestine issue. The “basic strategy” toward the Palestinians, he said, is that “you have to force them to accept that Israel is here to stay,” and he laid out a plan to accomplish that. He explained that the West Bank is “prosperous,” and that Palestinian police, “trained by the Israelis, paid for by the United States,” were now taking on the “terrorists” in the West Bank. Gaza, by contrast, was suffering. He felt that pointing out to Gazans the glaring economic difference between Gaza and the West Bank, and taking steps to make that difference even more glaring, would induce the Gazans to become more like the West Bank residents:

    “Since the Palestinians of Gaza elected Hamas, while certainly there should be humanitarian aid so people are not starving to death, [Sen. Schumer here held up a clenched fist] to strangle them economically, until they see that that’s not the way to go, makes sense. So I think the boycott is important for [here, Sen. Schumer began to smile] is important for bringing about peace in the Middle East. [Sen. Schumer laughed, and paused for applause, which didn't come right away, and so he continued.] To show the Palestinians that … [loud sustained applause]… and so I think that Israel is going to have to continue the blockade…So let’s hope it continues, and our job will be to support it.”

  190. Liz says:

    The so called Green movement is not about representation and basic human rights. It’s about elites attempting to steal the rights of the middle class, the lower middle class, and the poor who were represented by Ahmadinejad.

  191. Pak says:

    Dear kooshy,

    “In modern Iranian liberation movements, at least in the four most significant ones namely the tobacco movement of 1890 (similar to Boston tea party) and the constitutional revolution of 1906 and even in oil Nationalization of 1951 and finally the revolution of 1979, all this movements true that was initially prepared or proposed by the intellectuals, but every time it was only possible when the clergy was actively responsible to mobilize the masses and that is the reason they became successful.

    This should tell the Iranian upper echelon society that their base for mobilization is limited only to highly educated westernized upper middle class, this class easily understands modern western values represented by the intellectuals but these values are still openly resented by the lower classes.”

    I am sorry but your argument is completely flawed. It makes little sense because you are contradicting yourself. What do you mean by “modern western values”? If you are referring to the Green Movement, then I assume you are referring to representation and basic human rights. These are not “modern western values”, which is why we have already had 2 revolutions in the name of democracy. Even if you are referring to secularism, it is not a “modern western value” either. In fact, the concept of Islamic government has only existed in modern Iran since the 1979 revolution. Previous key politicians never questioned the concept of secularism because it was inherently natural for them, including Mossadegh (who not only was secular, but was also pro-monarchy!). We can blame the Shah for alienating secularism and allowing the rise of “Islamic” democracy (reference to Liz).

    Furthermore, the “masses” did not find it hard to understand the intellectuals during the past 100 years, did they? And who are these “Iranian upper echelon society” and “highly educated westernised upper middle classes”!? For example, would you classify Majid Tavakoli as one?

    You are right that national movements are only capable with the backing of the clergy and the “masses”. Which is why the regime should be very afraid of the dissent among the clergy at the moment. Slowly but surely the clergy are distancing themselves away from the regime; some are openly challenging the regime. The regime proves how afraid it is by the actions it takes – the past few days for example (assaulting Sanei and the son of Montazeri).

    You should stop degrading the Iranian population so much. Basic values are understood by everyone, not just intellectuals and the upper class. Once the “masses” break through the lies and propaganda you are spreading, such as the post I am referring to, they will rise up. The regime is very good at distorting history and current affairs, and then funnelling its narrative to the people through its propaganda machine, but our 100 year history proves that ultimately the Iranian people will prevail.

  192. Rehmat says:

    rfjk

    Forget about the US$400 million “Green Revolution”. It has turned ordinary Americans more against the so-called “Reformists” – as is the case with Turks after the new Nazis attacked the Gaza Peace Flotilla.

    Learn some lesson from Georgia – whose government has two Israeli cabinet minister.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/tbilisi-woos-tehran-while-tel-aviv-watches/

  193. rfjk says:

    Eric A. Brill

    Flynt Leverett is moderating a “Realigning America’s Relations in the Middle East” today at the New American Foundation. I’ll respond later to some of your queries regarding my opinions after I have digested this event.

    However, I’ll make this one observation. The Leverett’s are on no firmer ground when they are critiquing Obama’s foreign policy on Iran. But this continuing obsession over the legitimacy of the Iranian election is superfluous and wrong headed as far as American interests go. No matter how much the Leverett’s diminish the Iranian opposition, the internal crises it generated put paid to accomplishing any inkling of rapprochement or normalization with Iran floating around in Obama’s head.

    Diminishing the ‘Green Movement’ is just as nonsensical as glorifying it. Both are extremes and likely don’t represent the true state of affairs in Iran, which the current regime for all its coercive efforts has yet succeeded in eliminating. But that’s an internal Iranian affair and none of America’s business, one way or the other.

  194. Iranian@Iran says:

    People are very angry with the reformists and the only way that they can make a comeback is if they distance themselves completely from the likes of Mousavi.

  195. Reza Esfandiari says:

    I think the reformists have only themselves to blame. They boycotted the 2003 municipal elections and, as a result, Ahmadinejad and co were elected to the Tehran city council.

    Many reformists didn’t vote in 2005 and Ahmadinejad and co were elected to the presidency.

    In the next election cycle they have an opportunity to win back power….but they have to try.

  196. pirouz_2 says:

    @Fahad:

    1)Karoubi is a moron who cannot speak even a proper Persian! He is the very same person who took the bill of the new press law off the discussions in the 6th Majlis just because the “leader” had commanded so! He was FORCED by the conservatives to become the speaker of the 6th majlis despite the fact that the majority wanted Mohammad Reza Khatami to be the speaker. At the time “reformists” wouldn’t give him the time of the day, so he found his niche to maintain his relevance and political existance by doing the bidding of the principalists.
    When he lost the elections he started screaming “fraud fraud” again! (so he has a history of screaming fraud when he loses). So this time around the interior ministry was under Ahmadinejad’s control, what about 2005? Back then interior ministery belonged to Khatami, and still there was “fraud”???
    Apparently the only way that there won’t be any fraud is that “reformists” win the elections, any other outcome and it will be “fraud”! Will you be kind enough and tell me as to why we should conduct any elections at all?? Why don’t we give all the posts to “reformists” permanently and be done with it?

    2)” Question: Have you been recently in Iran? Have you ever been there?”
    No that is not the question at all. That is just the last resort for you guys out of depair when you have no argument to offer.
    No one can be at all places in the globe, and when one is in Iran, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows what’s going on in Iran. Majority of middle-class Tehrani urbanites are as far from the reality of Iran as “Marie Antoinette” was from the French society when she said “let them eat cake!”. The only place they know about is Shemiranat and their villas in “Shomal”!
    This is why we have “investigative reporting” (by decent people such as R. Fisk and S. Hersh) and “public opinion polls” which are based on the science of statistics rather than “hear say” and “rumours”.
    So this arguement that you have never been in Iran so you don’t know what is going on in there is an extremely LAME arguement!

  197. Arvin says:

    DWZ,

    You can’t even form a straight sentence. You’re like a boxer who snaps in the ring and closes his eyes and throws punches in the air hoping one will land on his opponent and knocks him out.

    K. Voo,

    Obviously you didn’t read my post regarding Neda and the reasons for auhtenticity of her film. Again, as I had predicted, when you and your friends come up short with reason and logic in presenting your case you try to change the subject by linking everything to conspiracies orchestrated by a Zionist/US “bad man.” Aren’t you then giving too much credit to the Zionists? Are you then not the one saying they are so powerful that they can come on the streets of Tehran, infiltrate Iranian society and kill Iranian citizens with ease and making a mockery of Iranian security forces in the process?

    Neda was killed. Please don’t compare her death to the fake charges of WMD in Iraq! That just makes you sound more and more stupid just as your claim that her moviemaker boyfriend staged her death.

    One thing the GM has achieved is that it has made it much tougher for the neocons and the Isareli lobby to make the case for war with Iran. The warmongerers could no longer paint a picture of Iran as an evil nation set on destroying the world. It is precisely because of Neda, Sohrab, Taraneh and others who were killed and thousands more who are imprisoned that the bomb bomb bomb Iran hawks cannot make the case for a war with Iran. For anytime they begin to use the word bomb in a sentence with Iran, image of blood gushing out of the faces of people like Neda is recalled and their policy of dehumanizing Iranians hits a stone wall.

  198. kooshy says:

    Persian Gulf

    “Ahmadinejad won, because he attacked Hashemi and his kids, Nategh,….(he showed that he is not afraid of anybody and he is not corrupted). he won, because he almost screwed up Karoubi in the debate. he won, because Mousavi was a passive and relatively unknown man. he won because the opposition ran a smear campaign instead of showing their programs and he could show he was attacked unfairly (in that sense he truly understood Iranians’ feeling!)….and he won, because simply a lot of people in Iran didn’t want to waste their votes! it’s psychologically difficult to radically change a president specially when the reform ideas had reached its standstill just few years back. there was not anything new coming from the reformists, unlike 1997, side this time and the society was fad up with what people like Karoubi were saying. obviously, the society had moved toward center and Ahmadinejad was clever enough to pick it up as it was clear from his campaign and also the debates.”

    Persian Gulf

    Thank You, I agree with your analysis of why Ahmadinijad won, and I would add that he learned a lot from the opposite sides continued mistakes of not to engage the lower rural and working class. He is a very strategic Politian who can rapidly take advantage of the situation, much like Karl Rove

  199. Persian Gulf,

    Very interesting post. Thanks.

  200. Persian Gulf says:

    sorry not is missing in one ofmy last sentences “I am not disputing this”

  201. Persian Gulf says:

    kooshy:

    I didn’t want to go through the detail! anyway, let’s get into it. 2 year ago at this time, I visited Iran and toured almost half of the country, rural areas and cities (I am from a rural area myself, though my current location might be misleading for you). frankly speaking, i got the feeling that Ahmadinejad might actually lose because of the economy. I also visited Iran last december-january. there is no doubt that Ahmadinejad won the election. I say this not just because I voted for him, because this is the reality on the ground. many of my Mousavi supporter friends told me in Iran that it’s not about the election. some say here abroad as well. that was an excuse albeit a very bad one as I always tell them.

    your analysis of the past 3 events in Iranian history could be right. I don’t want to go through them individually. religion was clearly a big factor in shaping those events. however, a Shariati like phenomenon was the last effect of this important factor, at least based on the current situation (obviously religion have had many up and down in the history of Iran). even with that, there is still a factor from that revolution that can be played out in the hand of Iranian leaders. actually, I was not alive at the time of the revolution, but it seems that Ahmadinejad’s victory has a sort of commonality with the revolution episode. they both aroused Iranians’ compassion.

    I remember, Mashaei once said last summer that it’s going to be a serious mistake for the IR to think 24.5 million are in its side entirely when it comes to its policies (we are talking about internal affairs). he said, IR has actually 4.5 million. the other 20 million (people like me and those who I know voted for Ahmadinejad) are actually more dissatisfied (and more assertive) with how the country gets run than those 13.2 million. they just think, Ahmadinejad can change this situation. i think, he is pretty right. well you may call it the dominance of justice over liberalism this time. I am disputing this.

    Ahmadinejad won, because he attacked Hashemi and his kids, Nategh,….(he showed that he is not afraid of anybody and he is not corrupted). he won, because he almost screwed up Karoubi in the debate. he won, because Mousavi was a passive and relatively unknown man. he won because the opposition ran a smear campaign instead of showing their programs and he could show he was attacked unfairly (in that sense he truly understood Iranians’ feeling!)….and he won, because simply a lot of people in Iran didn’t want to waste their votes! it’s psychologically difficult to radically change a president specially when the reform ideas had reached its standstill just few years back. there was not anything new coming from the reformists, unlike 1997, side this time and the society was fad up with what people like Karoubi were saying. obviously, the society had moved toward center and Ahmadinejad was clever enough to pick it up as it was clear from his campaign and also the debates.

    anyhow, don’t count to much on the clergy factor anymore!

  202. Fahad says:

    Arnold, as regards Neda, I have given a vague suggestion already. I have pointed to some similarities to the Benno Ohnesorg case in Germany in the 1960s. You and most readers here won’t know about it. You may find something in Wikipedia.

    As regards election fraud, I am pretty much convinced that it cannot be proven or disproven from outside the country with election forensics. But I am not an expert in this field. Karroubi has claimed electoral fraud already in 2005 (see Kasra Naji’s biography of Ahmadinejad of 2008, p 72ff). The regime certainly couldn’t afford to lose a sitting president Ahmadinejad, in particular a couple of days after Obama’s speech in Cairo. So it wasn’t a big surprise that he won. To assume Khamenei would not have intervened if there had been a tiny risk for Ahmadinejad to lose the election is very naïve. But he might have (had) support among the numerous have-nots, the silent majority in the country, those who won’t have anything to lose.

    I have been in Iran a few months before the election and have seen already some of Ahmadinejad’s campaign. Question: Have you been recently in Iran? Have you ever been there?

  203. rjfk,

    YOU WROTE: “The real cost of Obama’s cumulative fumbling, to be generous, is the massive shift in the balance of power the Turkish initiative has achieved to the disadvantage of the US and Israel in the M/E. Though the Iranians continue to have a serious internal problem, they’re enjoying America’s difficulties immensely. Obama’s weakly tepid handling of the latest Israeli crises in the Levant has to all intents and purposes put paid to any US activities or initiatives against Iran.”

    Obama has “fumbled” and a “shift” is occurring, but “massive” is not an adjective I would use. I’m not sure how you reach your conclusion in the last sentence. “Weak” US behavior sometimes is followed by more of the same, but at other times by a lurch to the other extreme. I can easily imagine Obama concluding that some swaggering is in order now.

  204. kooshy says:

    Persian Gulf
    “Kooshy:
    I want to disagree with your analysis of the election. Why Ahmadinejad did got reelected. However, I agree with you that there is something seriously wrong with Iranian intellectuals (better to be called intelligentsia).”

    Thank you for your comments, but unfortunately you did not offer any counter analysis of your own, that why you think Ahmadinijad won? If you believe he won? and the elections were fair?, it would be great if you can explain your view from a socio political angel. My point was that if you cannot do a coup and you want to make a soft color revolution historically important social movements was possible with large masses, and to have a large social support you will need the support from the clergy because simply the intellectuals do not have a large social base, that is because their own values have changed and are no longer willing to mix with lower class, but the base for clergy’s support has always been the lower class.

  205. rjfk,

    YOU WROTE: “I picked it off Clemons ‘Washington Note’ and must say I was as surprised as he was that Brookings would allow that point of view.”

    Make that three of us. Thank you for the link.

  206. rfjk says:

    James Canning:

    “Would there be any cost to the US, in reopening the American embassy in Tehran and allowing the Iranian embassy in Washington to reopen?”

    There’s no question that a president who attempts to normalize relations with Iran will start a battle royal. Either Obama naively thought a little speechifying here and there would set things right, or he’s a two faced liar. Regardless of which, the net effect is that he comes across “weak” as James Baker the III asserts, the worst result of the three characterizations.

    The real cost of Obama’s cumulative fumbling, to be generous, is the massive shift in the balance of power the Turkish initiative has achieved to the disadvantage of the US and Israel in the M/E. Though the Iranians continue to have a serious internal problem, they’re enjoying America’s difficulties immensely. Obama’s weakly tepid handling of the latest Israeli crises in the Levant has to all intents and purposes put paid to any US activities or initiatives against Iran.

    I think ‘dead meat’ about sums it up.

  207. Persian Gulf says:

    here is the recent video about Neda (it was just released):

    http://www.mediafire.com/?iyrjimwngev

    the women at the end of the video is really suspected. this case actually matches well with the scenario given in movie I posted. and this video was released outside of Iran (probably by opposition). the guy at the end of this video is also walks very strangely. he walks as if he is in a park. the lady and the guy are the only ones moving away from the place Neda and others were struggling. they seem to be leaving the scene quite intentionally.

    as I said before, unfortunately, IR made a lot false scenarios that is hard for people to accept it this time. rubbish claim like Arash Hejazi killed Neda, or her teacher did that, and so on and so on.

  208. Persian Gulf says:

    as for NEDA

    while it’s expected to work on the case to clear the situation as to who exactly killed her, the case should not overshadow the fact that there were other people who died at those days; and we somehow know who killed them. Neda’s case is special because it was unfairly used to shake the psyche of the people in the west. when somebody like McCain uses it, there is no question that it should be something problematic.

    and again, unfortunately, IR made several false scenarios about this case. however, the recent video sounds pretty convincing to me. at this point, I am somehow convinced that MOK killed her. here is the video:

    http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/74932/

    there was another video that was released in the past few days. can’t post it in this comment

  209. Persian Gulf says:

    In the past 60 years in the U.S (supposedly the longest democracy, as we know today, on the earth), only in 2 occasions the incumbent presidents could not be reelected. the Carter case sounds pretty obvious to me. I am, however, not that informed about 1992 (I can guess it was a combination of economy and a charming and handsome! candidate). so, why should it be surprising to see a president, who was on the media for 4 years, gets elected elsewhere?

    a friend of mine who didn’t vote last year and is not actually affiliated with politics, used to say; did Ahmadinejad made a scandal or disaster not be elected again? why should his reelection be that surprising?

    particularly with a passive candidate like Mousavi?

    Kooshy:

    I want to disagree with your analysis of the election. why did Ahmadinejad got reelected. However, I agree with you that there is something seriously wrong with Iranian intellectuals (better to be called intelligentsia).

    As I said before, the Islamic Republic, unlike its foreign policies, is extremely foolish in its internal policies. look at farsnews and stuff like that (lie, lie, lie,…). most of the time, they turn to lie while if true story is quite acceptable to the public and people understand them. they lost the ground to the junk TV shows broadcast in the west simply because of their lack of respect for the basic understanding of the people.

  210. DWZ says:

    People of this site:

    Israel has hired thousands of Internet agents to go to many sites , including the left leaning sites, to divert attention from Israel’s crimes against humanity and turn people’s attention to Iran. People usually ignore Mossad agents since they are not interested in the facts rather their aim is to spread lies and deceptions against the targeted country.
    NEDA was killed by a plot designed by the West abroad. Masoud Mohammadi, a university professor – as Raimondo wrote as well – was killed by a Mossad agent few weeks after Neda was gun down in the street away from the main street. Iran is under pressure by the West for ‘regime change’, and the West is threatening Iran with nuclear weapon every single day. The US would have been split into many pieces by now if she was under the same kind of pressure and destabilization forces. Israel would have been wiped off the map by now for sure. Therefore, those who want to see improvement in political and economic environment of Iran, they must ask US/Israel and their allies stop all the threats against Iran , to remove all the sanctions and recognize Iran’s legal right to enrichment since Iran is a member of NPT while Israel and India are not and not only US/Israel do not go after them but also has provided so much assistant to their nuclear weapon program and they refuse to join NPT, and the US cannot do a DAMN THING but comes after Iran’s legal enrichment program. Thus, billions of people around the world direct their hatred towards US/Israel for double standard policy against Iran. People clearly see that Iran is a VICTIM of the US policies directed by the Zionist lobby.
    No country in the world could have resisted as long as Iran has. Stop manufacturing ‘color revolution’ because Iranian people are not going to be fooled to accept a corrupt businessman’s, Rafsanjani, associate, Mousavi, who is close to the West. Iranians did not vote for Mousavi, Rafsanjani’s puppet, because he at the time of debate showed that he does not understand international Politics, thus, he did not fit to be a president. Ahmadinejad won the election with comfortable margin. Iranian people are not going to be intimidated by the NGOs of the western intelligent agencies who are using ‘human rights’ as pretext to bring Iranian government down. We as Iranians never allow that to happen. We have chosen Ahmadinejad as our president since he was the one who stood against the war criminals who want to steal Iran’s right to enrichment and turn Iran into another Zionist puppet like the Arab head of states. We did not choose Mousavi and never will. Those who were deceived and voted for Mousavi, majority of them have turned against Mousavi and its stooges. This can be seen by many weblog attacking “green” representative and rejecting their close cooperation with Mossad/CIA. Majority of the people who spread election ‘fraud’ hoax are from the upper middle class and university students who are trained under liberal pro American professor like Ziba Klam or Mortaza Mardih who the latter is one of the most reactionaries was retired a few months ago.
    US/Mossad must know that they don’t have any chance to implement their ‘color revolution’ in Iran. Why don’t you go to occupied Palestine and topple a racist and apartheid states where is erected on stolen land of Palestine.

    Why Makan, who claimed he was Neda’s fiance, should go to Israel and kiss Perez’s behind? He is earning thousands of dollars and has hired a PR person to arrange his interview with the zionist media.

  211. rfjk says:

    Eric A. Brill

    “I haven’t read the Brookings piece, but I gather from your comment that comparing the flotilla incident to the 1967 USS Liberty incident angers certain people because, in their view, it exaggerates the importance of the flotilla incident. I’m not sure I would draw the same conclusion from the fact of that comparison: how many Americans have even heard of the USS Liberty incident?”

    The Liberty incident is not widely known among the American masses today, but its by no means a lost memory within the US national security state. The author of the Brookings article was in fact chastising Israeli intransigence, equating the Israeli attack upon the ‘Free Gaza Flotilla’ with the assault against the ‘USS Liberty.’ I normally don’t bother with the Brookings institute because its so archaic in its ‘establishment’ thinking. I picked it off Clemons ‘Washington Note’ and must say I was as surprised as he was that Brookings would allow that point of view. Here’s the link.

    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2010/0608_uss_liberty_ebinger.aspx

  212. Bill,

    YOU WROTE: “News flash the topic is the Iranian election and the Zionists had nothing to do with it, nor Neda’s death, or all the other human rights violations.”

    I agree, and it’s good of you to contribute here. But please note that your own long post failed to discuss the election. I’d hoped for a more spirited defense of the position that the election was fraudulent.

  213. Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English)) says:

    DWZ,

    You said “Please watch the following video to see why Ahmadinejad won the election. Mousavi was out of the politics for the last 20 years. He never speaks out on any issue important to Iranian people. Why people are surprised to see Ahmadinejad, a sitting president who has improved people’s life in the rural areas was elected agian?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUzx7ndKU54&feature=channel

    Sorry dude no can do. Our Zionist controlled media, governement, and populace has banned Youtube, Twitter, Facebook,and all non news organizations deemed not to be in line with the Protocols of Elders of Zion!!! Its blocked!! Maybe someone can provide us with software like “haystack” so we can get around this. Ahh those evil joooos!

    Opps–Oh sorry my dyslexia kicked in again! Its only Iran than does all the banning! Quite rich of you to suggest media the regime categorically bans! I will be laughing about this all night long.

    Thx
    Bill

  214. Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English)) says:

    To All,

    As predicted this debate has again devolved into “Zionist” bashing and an attempt at moral equivalence to do nothing more than deflect. News flash the topic is the Iranian election and the Zionists had nothing to do with it, nor Neda’s death, or all the other human rights violations. The fact remains the Green Movement was a home grown movement born out of the ashes of 30 years of oppressive rule. The match that set it off was the election and the gross human rights violations following it. It is why when the protests started almost the entire world was caught off guard. Obama took weeks to even acknowledge it. Sadly some here refuse to see that and instead portray this as a foreign conspiracy which is laughable.

    If we are to believe deniers the 18,000 arrested(2,800 still behind bars), over 100 dead, the hundreds of journalists detained(70 still behind bars), many of the reform leaders still detained, numerous human rights activists detained, and the millions in the street of Iran protesting are some construct of a nefarious foreign power. Wow! To anyone objectively looking at this it clearly demonstrates the absolute absence of critical thought. For if critical thought is applied do you really think the majority of the clerical establishment, all of the Grand Ayatollahs, the trade unions, diplomats who defected, and the millions on the street crying “Allah o Akbar” would back a movement if the CIA or Mossad was behind it? No! All of these people sided with the Green Movement simply because they had enough of the regimes human rights violations that violated the constitution and by extension the Sharia itself. Ironically the regime gets this and that is why they have worked so hard at censoring or shutting down any “voice” that contradicts their message. As we have all now seen they will even block Race for Iran clearly demonstrating their willingness to even eat their own to stay in power. Simply put the regime is afraid of the truth.
    If they were not afraid of the truth they would have:

    1) Followed up and found those responsible for the 100 killed. Yet they have not and instead have resorted to intimidating the families and friends of those killed to suppress the news
    2) Avoided imprisoning thousands without due course of law in direct violation of the Iranian constitution
    3) Prosecuted to the fullest extent those accused of rape but instead chose to confiscate all evidence, ignore the charges, and instead sought to prosecute the rape victims themselves. Several of the rape victims had to flee the country with their families because the regime was looking to silence them
    4) Allowed each and every Iranian the right to protest and assemble as guaranteed in the constitution. They have not and the clever move by Moussavi to ask for it again and be turned down demonstrates to all the regime is once again showing their willingness to break its own laws to stay in power
    5) Allowed the press to do their job free of overt government influence. Sadly they have closed down close to 30 papers, numerous blogs, expelled almost all foreign journalists, and have detained hundreds of their own. At this very point Iran has more journalists in jail that most of the world combined
    6) Would have allowed an international team to evaluate the results of the election. They have not because they know full well it was nothing more than a well orchestrated selection
    7) Allowed the numerous bureaucrats, students, and professors to continue on with their work. Instead because these people were not deemed in line with the regime many are being purged. Students with too many “stars” are systematically being expelled simply for their political affiliations
    8) Not felt the need to declare over 70 foreign news agencies persona no gratis. Yet they did declaring in a fit of paranoia the bulk of the world’s major news organizations are part of some plot to overthrow the regime

    I could go on and on! Sadly the regime supporters will never see this because as demonstrated time and time again the truth does not factor into the equation.

    Folks please watch the Neda HBO video and pay attention to the words freely given by her family. When you do you will realize it completely contradicts the regime narrative. This contradiction clearly demonstrates the absolute depravity the regime will sink to in order to stay in power. Once done with that now ponder why would the regime block an ally in Race for Iran (hint it’s the comments section?) Finally now ask yourself why the regime that portrays itself as stable, full of justice for the oppressed, strong, truthful, open to all, and pious is so fearful of the information from each source? Well critical thought leads to only one conclusion, the regime is afraid of the truth. They are afraid of the truth because the legitimacy of regime is built on one lie after another. In fact the very birth of the revolution was born with a lie when Khomeini said “the religious dignitaries do not want to rule” only then to liquidate the secularists once gaining power. The moral of the story–trust those willing to lie at your own peril for they care naught for you but only themselves!

    Thx
    Bill

  215. DWZ says:

    Please watch the following video to see why Ahmadinejad won the election. Mousavi was out of the politics for the last 20 years. He never speaks out on any issue important to Iranian people. Why people are surprised to see Ahmadinejad, a sitting president who has improved people’s life in the rural areas was elected agian?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUzx7ndKU54&feature=channel

  216. K. Voorhees says:

    Arnold Evans,
    Back in 1992, I remember some of my co-workers telling me they thought Perot would win because everyone they knew was voting for Perot. Thats probably the thinking behind “election fraud” complaints about the Iranian elections.

  217. K. Voorhees says:

    Arvin –
    Do you think you’re going to shame anyone into believing that a video is an accurate record of a true incident? I remember watching Colin Powell’s histrionic speech at the United Nations before the Iraq war: full of lies. Whats his excuse now? He didn’t know they were lies, even though the lies were exposed in a few days. Same with Bush putting “Saddam sought uranium from Africa” in the State of the Union speech: it was a forgery, exposed quickly when an honest person looked at it and the excuse for Bush was that he didn’t know it was a forgery. Secretary of State and President are not ashamed to act dumb. So, anyway, I want evidence and have none that the Neda incident is anything more than a film. None.

    The thing about the Neda outrage, in my opinion, is that it is so damned phony. How many countries around the world are our dear friends and are not democracies and are pretty darned crappy on human rights. A few months back Hillary Clinton called Mubarak a “family friend.” The Jordan king runs torturers who rape; thats how the US has gotten some of the “confessions,” threaten them with being sent to Jordan where they will be raped. And that King and his wife and his stepmother are on TV all the time in the US.

    Remember VP Biden saying of the 9 people killed by the Israelis, “Whats the big deal?” What is the big deal about honest elections in Iran when we don’t care about them any where else?

  218. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “You presented me with a number of vague arguments and old accusations in multiple posts. Not sure if I can address everything.”

    Can you address one or two?

  219. Arnold Evans says:

    Also Arvin and Fahad:

    About Neda, who shot her and why?

    Again, not asking for evidence, just could you even sketch out a scenario that you’d consider plausible for why the regime shot her, if that’s what you think happened.

  220. Rehmat says:

    Arvin

    Calling people “Nazis”, “anti-Semite”, “Jew Hater”, “Hitler”, “Holocaust deniers”, etc. some of the “labels” used by Zionist Jews against anyone who dare to criticize Zionist entity, Jews or one who challenges the Zionist narration of the suuering of the Jews under Nazi rule, which incidently, not only had 150,000 German Jews but a few of Jewish terrorist organization which became part of Israeli Army in 1948.

    Have you heard of any Iranian leaders, in power or opposition calling Bibi or Leiberman or Obama or Hillary Clinton “Hitler” or “Nazis”? Though like Bush – their ancestors too collaborated with Nazis.

    If one study the writings of some of the World Zionist Congress leaders, he will be surprised to learbn that Herl, Chaim, Brenner, etc. were more anti-Smites than the New Testament, which Abraham Foxman of ADL called to be revised in 2006.

    Here is more to see in the mirror…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/israels-roots-of-anti-semitism-racism-and-communism/

  221. Arnold Evans says:

    Arvin and Fahad:

    I have never seen, since June 2009, anyone attempt to explain how the government electoral fraud even could have happened.

    Do either of you care to explain how a significant number of fraudulent votes for Ahmadinejad could have been produced, given that the ballot box results were published and there were observers in nearly all of the polling stations?

    I’m not asking for evidence, I’m just asking for a scenario that you consider plausible.

    What I’m really asking is what you think may have happened that Ahmadinejad was reported winner of the election when in actuality Mousavi was more popular than he was on election day.

  222. Arvin says:

    @ DWZ and those who find him agreeable:

    Thank you for continuing to fit my original description and prediction of your tired debate tactics. Your continued assumption that anyone who criticizes the Islamic Republic of Iran is automatically a Zionist and a neocon is unfortunate at best. Because you can never strengthen your arguments and will never be able to arrive at something new pertaining to Iran. Instead you’ll end up as a mouthpiece of IRI delivering their talking points. This at a time that the hardliners in Iran, together with the Neocons in the US, AIPAC and the conservatives in Israel have more in common than meets the eye. They all benefit from a world on the verge of conflict (or a world IN conflict) and people like you – perhaps unintentionally – end up serving their interests. To defend the hardliners in Iran is to defend AIPAC, to defend neocons and to defend the Israelis.

    @ K. Voo and other Neda critics

    COME ON PEOPLE! Are you so unsure about your defense of the IRI that you feel the need to question something as concrete as a woman’s murder in broad daylight? I think we can all agree that Neda was a victim of circumstances. We may disagree on who pulled the trigger and why. We may argue about whether her becoming the symbol of the Green Movement was just or not and expand our conversations to question the whole concept of martyrdom in Shia Islam and the Iranian culture and take it as far back as Imam Hossein’s death in Karbala. We might explore exploitation of martyrdom by both sides. Read Martyr Hemmat’s son’s description of how the regime is rewriting history and exploiting his father’s martyrdom for example.

    But to question the authenticity of the film is to be at a new low. Not sure if you know anything about filmmaking techniques. But Neda’s death is captured by two shaky mobile cameras from two different angles on a Tehran street. The two cameras confirm each other’s footage. To STAGE such a scene and fake it with CGI (as IRIB once claimed) would require a highly trained group of animators and computer graphics specialists at ILM weeks if not months to accomplish. And the end product will look nothing remotely as real. Because for one, they would need sophisticated motion tracking devices, 3D modeling scans, actors attached to sensors to create the models, green screen, etc. etc. Most of these technologies don’t exist in Iran and even if they did a “moviemaker” fiance (first I heard this claim!) who is a student filmmaker at best would not have the know-how or the resources to make such a film within 24 hours of 30 Khordad protests and have it be on youtube. Now let’s assume there was no CGI, only fake blood and a fake bullet. A staged “murder.” In a country where there is a whole genre of films dedicated to “Holy Defense” that get the biggest budgets from the regime to make big production war movies, there has never been a scene in which a bullet wound or a death scene has looked real! So the best Iranian directors with the biggest budgets have never been able to produce something a “moviemaker” boyfriend was able to produce with a mobile phone and his girlfriend in a few hours!

    And to top it all off… There is now a family without a daughter. Surely they can’t be faking their daughter’s death, can they? Or are you so heartless to rob them even of THEIR loss regardless of how you feel about Neda, the icon.

    @ Eric

    Yes, I’m in Iran. But I’m smart enough to work my way around the censors as most young Iranians do. Though we may have lost Liz. But if she comes back perhaps she can explain why she has a “filter-breaker” if she trusts that everything her beloved IRI does is just and if they don’t want her seeing a certain website, why she is breaking their law?

    You presented me with a number of vague arguments and old accusations in multiple posts. Not sure if I can address everything. But I still stand by my claim that you don’t know much about Iran and Tehran. I will take you more seriously when you COME to Tehran and spend some time with the people here and elsewhere in Iran. I am positive that your views will change and you will no longer be so sure about the election outcome. You will no longer claim for example that GM sympathizers are all rich and middle-class northern Tehranis because that’s the picture the Iranian government tries to paint of the movement. You will specially have your eyes opened if you end up next door to the three American hikers in Evin Prison and are labled a US spy! Come to think of it, perhaps you can offer your services to the three American hikers and arrange a trip to Iran to defend them in court. After all they are being held in prison without a shred of evidence against them. Not sure how that plays in your law books… But then again, you’re probably too afraid to come to Iran to begin with. Which begs the question, why are you so blindly supporting them?

  223. DWZ says:

    ‘GREEN’ IS A US/ISRAEL CONSTRUCT AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IRANIAN PEOPEL. THEY ARE REPRESENTED BY TRAITORS AND NEOCONS, ZIONIST SERVANTS such as Azar Nafisi, close to Wolfowitz, Abbas Milani close to Patrick Clawson, a zionist puppet at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, An Israeli Think Tank, Afshari, Atri, stooges of Zionism who help them to come to US, NED AGENTS Ladan and Laleh Boroumand, Kurdish sister who have collected thousands of dollars from American tax payers for ‘regime change’.
    A petty NED agent Mehrangiz Kar who received a freedom statute by Laura Bush, the picture of this agent next to Laura Bush could have been seen on line but since 6 months ago has been removed from the internet. Whoever has this picture where was taken at NED, please post it on the net.
    Another traitor and NED agent is Mahnaz Afkhami, a Zionist servant and pro monarchist.

    All these traitors are sitting next to the war criminals like John McCain who wants to BOMB IRAN. all are US citizens. We do not recognize these traitors as Iranians and will view them as fifth column who are at the service of CIA/Mossad, the enemy of humanity, assisting the Zionist puppets, black and white in Washington. Down with traitors.

    http://www.ned.org/events/democracy-award/2010-democracy-award

  224. Sean says:

    Here is a related piece on Iran’s disputed Presidential election!
    http://www.globalpolitician.com/25826-iran

  225. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    Excellent points. Obama should read this comment of yours.

  226. kooshy says:

    In modern Iranian liberation movements, at least in the four most significant ones namely the tobacco movement of 1890 (similar to Boston tea party) and the constitutional revolution of 1906 and even in oil Nationalization of 1951 and finally the revolution of 1979, all this movements true that was initially prepared or proposed by the intellectuals, but every time it was only possible when the clergy was actively responsible to mobilize the masses and that is the reason they became successful.

    This should tell the Iranian upper echelon society that their base for mobilization is limited only to highly educated westernized upper middle class, this class easily understands modern western values represented by the intellectuals but these values are still openly resented by the lower classes.

    From all accounts this is also highly visible in recent Green Movement which actually was started in late 1990’s shortly after the Iran-Iraq war. The green movment was incapable to reach the lower class since they did not share the same values, simply they did not accept each others class.

    On a personal note it was quite visible to me when I had a chance to travel in rural areas of Iran less than 2 years ago, that Mr. Khatami representing this group doesn’t enjoy much of support outside of Tehran and parts of Yazd and it was highly obvious that Mr. Ahmadinijad will have far more support than any representative of a merchant or intellectual group, however this was openly denied by my own friends and family mainly because class vise they refused to even engage the former group. This is what exactly Mr. Mosavie and the rest of the greens did, they did not bother to reach to lower class and when the results was announced they did not accept the facts , perhaps they still refuse. As can be seen from Mr. Majad’s recent post card report some relentlessly now admit that well perhaps we did not bother to hold a meeting in some rural areas instead of going and remobilize our already committed base.

  227. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    Re your comment on: June 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you very much for your answer. In fact I had not read your earlier comment which you had to partially quote again.
    That was the exact answer that I was looking for.

    The whole point that I was trying to make was the “non-sensical” nature of criticizing the pre-election screening of the candidates by the Guardian Council, when the criticizing person supports the “western democracy” as a “model” and complains that Iran’s system is not democratic in comparison!

    As I have had many times before, there is no “fundamental” difference between the Iranian system and the Western systems. The apparent differences between Iran and the Western countries, is not a result of a fundamental difference between the two systems (the two systems IMHO are pretty similar), but rather it is in the fact that:
    1) In USA the per capita income is more than $40,000/year and in Iran it is ~5000/year, and as such the ratio of the “content citizens” who can afford being apolitical and not to seek a radical change in their system is far higher than it is in Iran
    2)In the West, the opposition is not in liason with Al-Qaeda or on the pay-roll of Iranian secret service “proxies”! In Iran on the other hand a significant proportion of the so called “opposition” is strongly suspected of being in liason with CIA proxies!
    3) The western countries are not under siege from four sides by the armies of the worlds only superpower which threatens them with regime change and even a “nuclear attack”; IRAN IS!!!

  228. James Canning says:

    DWZ,

    I agree with you that Chomsky tries to cast the problem in terms of US “imperialism” when it is simply a problem of Zionism aided and abetted by Jews and others in the US (and elsewhere), who have almost entirely compromised the ability of the US to act in the best interests of the American people in the Middle East. Ironically, the Palestinians, Lebanese, Iranians, Syrians, and others – - not to mention the Iraqis – - suffer from this dangerous situation. In fact, even the best interests of the non-Zionist Israelis are injured by this situation.

  229. James Canning says:

    I recommend Glenn Greenwald’s June 12th piece in salon.com: “John McCain on the Evil, Barbaric Iranians”.
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/12/mccain/index.html?source=newsletter

    McCain, true to form, accuses Iran of squandering the people’s money on terrorists rather than roads and schools.

  230. DWZ says:

    {The American public being simplistic and extremely ignorant, tend to fall for this line. If the Iran-bashers took the position that Israel was not a democracy, the neocon story line would fall apart.}

    James Canning:

    You are absolutely right. The ‘color revolution’ supporters are extremely reactionary and pro Israel. Their ‘representatives, like Makhmalbaf close to Islamophic camp including Bernard Henry Levi and Hershi Ali, Mohajeran, a

    http://www.qlineorientalist.com/IranRises/bernard-henri-levy/

    womanizer who is close to Zionist lobby and has gone to ‘Washington institute for Near East Policy’, an Israeli think tank, Akbar Ganji, an imposter who has been given Milton Friedman award which transfer $500,000 to him for his services to the West.
    Majority of The ‘intellectuals’ who represent ‘green’ never have written a petition in support of the Palestinian people. The majority of people who represent ‘green’ DO NOT support PALESTINIAN CAUSE AGAINST THE Zionist terrorists in ISRAEL. The Iranian government created a day called ‘Quds’ in support of Palestinian people more than thirty years ago and every year the government stage nationwide demonstration in support of Palestinian struggle against zionism, thus, Iranian government has bought the hatred of terrorist and racist Zionists worldwide.

    On the other hand, the ‘green’ supporters chanted anti Palestinian people at the latest demonstration in support of Palestine in Iran, more than 9 months ago. They canted reactionary slogan such as:
    “No to Palestine, No to Lebanon, Yes to Iran”
    accepted by Mousavi and other ‘green’ managements including Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi’s wife and the western Human Rights organization who are hiding behind them and respresent the intelligent agencies of the West.
    Soon enough, the government attacked this reactionary slogan used by the ‘green’.
    The representatives of ‘green’ have NEVER written a petition against genocide in Gaza, 2009-10 where widely criticized by Iranians who did not believe in election ‘fraud’ hoax.
    It was after the raid on the flotilla, where few Iranian ‘intellectuals’ supporters of ‘green’ for the FIRST TIME signed a petition against the raid on flotilla. This group of individuals were writing petitions almost on the daily basis against the Iranian government for the past two years with Noam Chomsky signature on it who supports and repeats the election ‘fraud’.
    They have taken the opportunity to change their image since they are viewed as anti Palestinians and pro Israelis among Iranian population who support Palestin people.

    However, more than half of this petition is against the Iranian government but mild on Israeli’s action. They have painted Iranian government’s action worse than Israel’s action. This short letter was published 5 days after Israeli raid on the flotilla in PERSIAN only, and came under sever ATTACK by other ‘green’ representatives such as Faroukh Negahdar, an agent of the west and close to Zionist camp who called Israel a democracy and can be saved if Israel improves her action while he does not BELIEVE that IRANIAN GOVERNMENT is capable of improvement who has supported the Palestinian cause for more than 32 years. I was shocked to read Noam Chomsky, a Zionist – calls IRI a ‘rotten’ regime but he never uses the this language with Israel, an apartheid state, and has never called for ‘regime change’.

    Chomsky keeps American people ignorant by presenting Israel as an asset and a client state to justify Israel’s terrorist action and blme it on ‘US imperialism’. This is of course nothing but nonsense to protect interest of the ‘Jewish state’.

    Chomsky rejects the influence of Israel Lobby on US foreign policy and presents Israel as an ASSET, while everyone else including a Mossad agent has publicly said Israel is not only an asset but A BURDEN. He cleverly makes ‘US imperialism’ responsible for the crime of Zionism. Chomsky misleads the public when calls ‘US imperialism’ responsible for Israel action, therefore the raid on flollita become US-Israel action instead of Israel’s action. The same is true with illegal settlement, and the peace process. He always referes to Israel’s crime as US-ISRAEL CRIMES, US-ISRAEL WAR ON GAZA, US HELICOPTER BOMING GAZA, US DOES NOT WANT PEACE, ISRAEL WANTS PEACE BUT US DOES NOT ALLOW IT, to keep American FOOL for ever.

  231. Fahad says:

    No, no Eric. I am not living in Iran. I have been considering to live there, for some time, because of the vast cultural heritage I would like to study, but not under the present circumstances.

  232. Fahad,

    YOU WROTE: “No wonder that raceforiran.com is now blocked in Iran…”

    We are all just grateful that you and Arvin, who we understand live in Iran, are able to fight your way through this blockage.

  233. Pirouz 2,

    YOU WROTE: “In reality if a simple “citizen X” with the support of no major party or any “lobby”, wants to become a candidate in US presidential elections, what would be the financial costs that he/she HAS to afford just to become a name on the ballot?”

    There is no single answer to this question, but consider this passage from my June 11, 4:42 PM comment:

    “Consider California, for example, where I live. In the primary election held three days ago, the two Republican candidates for governor were Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of EBay, and Steve Poizner, another extremely wealthy business person. Ms. Whitman, who won, had spent $71 million of her own money, which worked out to $76 per vote. Mr. Poizner had spent $25 million of his own money, which worked out to a slightly more economical $63 per vote. Although several other potential winners might also have run, not one did – quite likely because none had sufficiently deep pockets of their own and prospective donors were intimidated by the spending juggernauts they knew they would be up against.

    Is that better? More free, certainly. But better for the voters of California? I don’t know the answer to that question.”

  234. pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric:

    By th way Eric, I understand that you are a lawyer? So you must know “election laws” in USA much better than guys like me.
    I am just curious to know:

    In reality if a simple “citizen X” with the support of no major party or any “lobby”, wants to become a candidate in US presidential elections, what would be the financial costs that he/she HAS to afford just to become a name on the ballot?

    And how much does he/she have to spend to make any “minimal” campaign so that he/she can make his name at least “heard” by the public before they see it on the ballot papaer?

  235. Fahad says:

    No wonder that raceforiran.com is now blocked in Iran, considering all comments here condemning apologists of the regime. I have recently tried to link in the comment section of presstv the UNSC Resolution 1929. Of course it didn’t go. Eric, again, be grateful that you are not living there!

  236. Pirouz_2 says:

    Eric:

    YOU WROTE: “I agree. The Green Movement has other arguments that might persuade more Iranians, but their insistence on the “stolen election” appears to have caused many Iranians to tune them out entirely. Some Green Movement leaders appear not to understand this.”

    Since you are an American, I don’t know how much you know about the Green camps slogans/promises/arguements. And indeed you are right, the insistence on the bogus claim of “stolen elections” may have made some Iranians to tune them out.

    HOWEVER, my main point was not exactly that.

    Look, what happens in the West when a party faces a debacle in elections? Normally they take some time and make some “self-assessment” and try to find out WHAT WENT WRONG? What in our promises and slogans made people top turn to our opponents and made us lose the elections? What were the basic needs of the society that the public “felt” we ignored and “felt” our opponents addressed them?
    Very often, the heads of parties are made to resign over election debacles and “strategies” CHANGE!

    WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN IN THE WEST? Because they don’t shut themselves into a delusion that they actually have the support of the majority and that the elections were “stolen”!
    THE FIRST STEP TO CHANGE AN “UNPLEASENT” REALITY IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE ITS EXISTENCE AND TRY TO FIND A SOLUTION TO CHANGE THAT REALITY! By living in denial that that reality does not exist you will kill the very hope of EVER changing that reality!

    Indeed I would argue that that is why the greens are so persistent on living in a dream world. If they accept the reality they will be forced to answer some VERY TOUGH questions about themselves. I don`t want to go into the details in this comment but if they accept the reality they will be FORCED to come in terms with the bitter truth that they lost the elections PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY WERE “GREEN“. That is the reality they don`t want to face!

  237. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “For me a separation of Mosque and State is needed before we have any progress in Iran. But this is not about what I want and seculars like me may in fact be a powerless minority in Iran.”

    In his book, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran, Dr. Charles Kurzman explained that the overthrow of the Shah required the combined effort of several groups – secular liberals, Islamists, students, striking (and other) workers, and others. That was hardly an original or profound observation, though that did not matter since it was not Dr. Kurzman’s central point (which, instead, was that the revolution happened largely because the various participants gradually came to believe that it could happen, and thus participated in greater and greater numbers, and with greater and greater zeal, so that it did happen).

    Dr. Kurzman’s account nonetheless was interesting. He explained that many prominent liberals in Iran had long hoped/believed that the Shah could be persuaded peacefully to ease up a bit, and they had had some limited success with their peaceful approach. The Islamists, of course, harbored no such illusions. Many liberals eventually concluded that they ought to hitch their wagon to the Islamist star, at least long enough to get rid of their common enemy, and that is what happened.


    When the dust cleared, however, as often happens after a revolution, the secular liberals were yanked back to reality: they didn’t really see eye to eye with their temporary allies on a lot of issues. They were quite disappointed, for example, to learn that the draft (and eventually the final) Iranian constitution had all this Islam stuff in it. Who had asked them?

    In short, they were shocked, shocked – and remain to this day shocked, shocked – that the Islamists, who had been by far the strongest group in the ad hoc coalition formed to oust the Shah, had insisted on writing the rules once the Shah was gone. Some participants in the overthrow of the Shah (secular liberals, for example) had felt they were just getting rid of the Shah; others had thought they were participating in a revolution; still others (the Islamists) had thought they were participating in an Islamic revolution.

    And it was this last group that got to write the rules – not to mention the official history books.
Those rules are still in place.

    I am not saying this is how it ought to be in Iran but, as most Americans’ once-favorite news anchor, the avuncular Walter Cronkite, used to say at the end of his evening newscast: “That’s the way it is.”



  238. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @Voorhees

    “It makes no sense for the Iranian government to kill a young, pretty woman getting out of a car over a kilometer away from the demonstration.”

    Exactly. That’s why it is suspicious. The media made it out as if Neda had thrown herself under a police tank holding a green flag like a modern “Joan of Arc” martyr.

    But, as you point out, she was getting out of a car in an sidestreet away from the protest. Why would anyone from the security forces want to kill her?

  239. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “And let me repeat in case you missed it… RACE FOR IRAN is now blocked in Iran.”

    I had understood you live in Iran. Not so?

  240. Pirouz 2,

    YOU WROTE: “Instead of trying to find out what was wrong with them which alienated the people, [the Green Movement] just try to close their eyes to reality and live in the comforting fantasy that they had the majority but the election was “stolen”.”

    I agree. The Green Movement has other arguments that might persuade more Iranians, but their insistence on the “stolen election” appears to have caused many Iranians to tune them out entirely. Some Green Movement leaders appear not to understand this.

  241. K. Voorhees says:

    Back to Neda — apparently no one has a site that substantiates that someone was actually killed. I saw Forrest Gump meet 3 presidents (Kennedy, Nixon and Johnson) and he is a fictional character. Its moviemaking and “Neda” was engaged to a moviemaker. I like evidence and I have none that this incident is what the video purports to show. And it makes no sense for the Iranian government to kill a young, pretty woman getting out of a car over a kilometer away from the demonstration.

    Rick Steves, the travel guru, did a show on Iran in 2008 and he has some interesting material on his website, especially “Rick’s Iran class.” Cute anecdote about the Iranian driver saying “Death to Traffic!”

    http://www.ricksteves.com/iran/iran_menu.htm

  242. James Canning says:

    rfjk,

    Any thorough discussion of American policy in the Middle East should touch on the Israeli attack on the Liberty, in my view, because understanding why the attack took place gives insight into Israeli thinking about what it is prepared to do to “protect” its strategic interests. Even more important, is to understand why Lyndon Johnson and Cyrus Vance covered up the attack, and lied to the American people in order to achieve this result. What role did Mossad play?

    Was Johnson blackmailed by Jewish financiers in the US? And did Mossad arrange for the blackmail? As you may recall, if you are old enough, Johnson did not want to be the first president to “lose” a war, and he needed the support of Jewish financiers to continue his deception of the American people regarding why the war began and why it was continuing.

  243. James Canning says:

    rfjk,

    Re: June 13th 12:15pm – - Many excellent points. Would there be any “cost” to the US, in reopening the American embassy in Tehran and allowing the Iranian embassy in Washington to reopen? Or to allow direct flights New York/Tehran? The cost would be tiny. Excluding political cost, of course.

    Eric,

    Americans need to be told about the attack on the Liberty, virtually once a week, or most of them will never have heard of it if asked. Some Americans need to be told this once a day. Attention span of gnats.

  244. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    The standard neocon propaganda line in the US is that Israel is a “democracy” under threat from a “democracy-hating” Iran. The American public being simplistic and extremely ignorant, tend to fall for this line. If the Iran-bashers took the position that Israel was not a democracy, the neocon story line would fall apart.

  245. Pirouz_2 says:

    @Eric A. Brill:
    RE your post on June 13, 2010 at 11:51 am,

    Quite contrary to the wide spread myth among the greens, GM was one of the most “reactionary” movements of the past 50 years.

    I will just point to some of the MANY harms that this movement has caused to the progress of Iran in the path to democracy:

    1) It has taken target the most basic element of democracy: the elections! It has made it acceptable to many that it is alright to simply disregard the vote of majority if the outcome of the election does not suit you.

    2) It has caused a very deepening class hatered among Iranians. Lower classes have always looked at the middle class as the “priviledged” minority who takes all the economic benefits in the society and looks down at them as some second rate citizen.
    Now GM and the actions of the election doubters has made them see that it is not just the “economic priviledge” that the middle class wants for itself, but that they also want “voting priviledge” so that their vote would over-rule any vote from the lower classes no matter what the actual numbers are.
    While people must look at scenes of beating of the demonstrators by the riot police with horror and should feel sympathy with those who are being beaten up and oppressed; I am afraid that when the people who voted for Ahmadinejad hear that some priviledged urbanite is throwing slogans demanding the annulment of the elections, they feel more sympathy with the Baseej which is opressing the demonstrators!
    This is an awful damage to the general mindset of the Iranian population because it makes them -SOMEWHAT RIGHTFULLY -sympathize with the oppressor rather than with the oppressed!

    3) It has caused the biggest damage to the opposition movement itself. In fact the damage of GM to any real opposition is FAR greater than what the government has done because:
    a) In assuming with a blind faith and without a shred of evidence but rather contrary to all available evidence and every bit of common sense, that there was a massive “fraud” which robbed them from electoral victory; they rob themselves of the opportunity to re-assess their beliefs and their slogans which made them lose the support of the majority. Instead of trying to find out what was wrong with them which alienated the people, they just try to close their eyes to reality and live in the comforting fantasy that they had the majority but the election was “stolen”.
    b) By doing the bidding of US/Israel, they have made all true opposition members apprehensive of making any criticism, with the fear of being seen as “green” (because no decent opposition memeber who actually has some real criticism to make would feel comfortable as being labeled as “green”)

  246. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @rfjk

    “The Leveretts however have wasted tons of cyberspace and harmed their analysis by foolishly denying the legitmacy of the Iraian opposition to the regime.”

    They are not the only ones.

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/652.php?lb=brme&pnt=652&nid=&id=

    Any movement that rejects the outcome of the ballot box has no legitimacy whatsoever.

  247. rfjk,

    At the risk of diminishing what is a very interesting post by focusing here on a sentence that wasn’t germane:

    “Of all F/P institutes, a bigger surprise was Brookings ‘bomb’ comparing the the Israeli attack upon the ‘Free Gaza Flottilla’ incident with the attack upon the USS Liberty in 1967 to the horror of neocons, Islamaphobes and Zionist barking dogs.”

    I haven’t read the Brookings piece, but I gather from your comment that comparing the flotilla incident to the 1967 USS Liberty incident angers certain people because, in their view, it exaggerates the importance of the flotilla incident. I’m not sure I would draw the same conclusion from the fact of that comparison: how many Americans have even heard of the USS Liberty incident?

  248. rfjk says:

    The Leveretts are right about the US need to reestalbish normalized relations with Iran. They however have wasted tons of cyberspace and harmed their analysis by foolishly denying the legitmacy of the Iraian opposition to the regime.

    Obama is on the verge of having not only the Israel lobby against him, but also the military lobby and corporate America. James Baker the III publicly chastized Obama for being weak over Israeli settlements; “When you are dealing with foreign leaders, they can smell that kind of weakness a thousand miles away.” Anthony H. Cordesman over at CSIS published an eye opener in the F/P making community; “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” Of all F/P institutes, a bigger surprise was Brookings ‘bomb’ comparing the the Israeli attack upon the ‘Free Gaza Flottilla’ incident with the attack upon the USS Liberty in 1967 to the horror of neocons, Islamaphobes and Zionist barking dogs. Gates recently warned that public opionion in both Briatin and America will not “tolerate the loss of their soldiers in Afghanistan unless Nato forces achieved a strategic breakthrough by the end of the year.” And the bought whores in Congress are about to pass its own sanctions that corporate America opposes.

    Admitedly, Obama came out of the gates with the right ideas, but he doesn’t have the courage to spend the political capitol in realizing them. Had Obama boldly acted before the Iranian elections he may have achieved a breakthrough and gained the vital cooperation necessary from Iran to stablize Iraq and Afghanistan. He instead choose to speechify and dawdle, runs scared before Israel and its lobbyists, earned the ire of important regional allies like Turkey and Brazil, lost the initiative across the depth and breath of the M/E losing all the ground gained, and reinitiated the steady erosion of US securtiy and eonomic interests in the M/E. Obama is racking up enemies foreign and domestic, besides all the bad press the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf is giving him. And he is looking foolish claiming how “furious” he is with BP.

    Recent events in the most vital region on the planet indicate how rapidly events can transpire and how quickly such can destroy US influence & power in the region. And US interests in the region are definitely eroding, not improrving. Ultimately, the only option the US will have is normalizing relations with Iran, but that will be accomplished at greater expense to the US and advantage to Iran, than had the weaking in the W/H taken the bull by the horns over a year ago and effected it. And the I/P issue is no longer an exclusive game dictated and played by the US and Israel. The Turks have put paid to that charade.

  249. Arvin, and a few others:

    You insist that those who found no fraud in the 2009 election are responsible for whatever is done by the fairly elected winner of that election. I’ve explained elsewhere my disagreement with you on that point. You might also consider whether those who challenge the 2009 election, without supporting evidence, may bear some responsibility for a possible future consequence of their challenge. Intentionally or not, they support the loud voices who urge the United States to attack Iran. Nearly all of those loud voices cite the “illegitimacy” of Iran’s government to justify their demand that it be replaced.

    I do not suggest that those who challenge the 2009 Iran election are the same people who shouted down the WMD-doubters before the Iraq invasion in 2003. To the contrary, I recognize that many election-doubters today were themselves WMD-doubters back in 2003. Unfortunately, the potential consequences of their doubts are quite different this time. Last time, they opposed war with Iraq and they opposed those who pressed for war with Iraq. This time, they (or least most of them) oppose war with Iran, but tacitly support those who press for war with Iran. They don’t intend to, but they do.

    A good example is Justin Raimondo, the long-time Antiwar.com webmaster, who strongly challenged the fairness of the 2009 Iran election, though he emphasized that he “anticipate[s] with horror the prospect of war with Iran.” Raimondo probably does not play tennis on Saturday mornings with John Bolton, Max Boot, Alan Kuperman, Joshua Muravchik or any other prominent member of the “bomb-Iran” crowd. One suspects that those writers nonetheless are grateful for Mr. Raimondo’s fervent support of their position on the 2009 Iran election, but are confident that they can fashion a proper remedy (bomb Iran) without further assistance from him.

    In short, just as fabricated claims of WMD – accepted uncritically by most Americans and many others – played into the hands of those who wanted the United States to bomb Iraq in 2003, so do baseless claims of a “stolen election” play into the hands of those who want the United States to bomb Iran in 2010.


  250. DWZ says:

    Alleged Mossad spy arrested in hit-squad case
    Poland arrests alleged Mossad spy regarding hit-squad slaying of Hamas agent in Dubai

    http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/06/12/alleged-mossad-spy-arrested-in-hit-squad-case-2/

    In Warsaw, Monika Lewandowska, a spokeswoman for Polish prosecutors, confirmed that the suspect, identified only as Uri B., was arrested at the city’s international airport on June 4. She told the AP that the arrest warrant was made “in connection with the murder of a Hamas member in Dubai.”

  251. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “They will never accept responsibility and will never admit that defending the IRI will never wash the blood on their hands.”

    Investigating an election and concluding it was fair does not leave one with blood on his hands if the fairly elected candidate does something bad. Democracy doesn’t always yield the best leaders – Hitler being the most obvious example, though most of us can think of recent examples as well. Democracy is nevertheless worth keeping around.

    Many who challenge the 2009 election result have persuaded themselves that they are standing up for democracy by insisting that Mousavi won. One shows respect for democracy when he challenges the validity of an election, investigates and finds support for his challenge, and courageously demands a remedy. One shows disrespect for democracy, however, when he skips the middle step but nevertheless demands a remedy. All one shows then, is a desire to shove aside the leader preferred by the majority.

    Down the road, others may feel equally justified in shoving aside the guy you like today. Maybe their guy won’t be quite so warm and fuzzy as Mir-Hossein Mousavi. How will you stop them – appeal to democratic principles?

  252. DWZ says:

    THE TOP TEN COUNTRIES WITH HIGHEST INCARCERATION RATE IN THE WORLD:

    1- The United States 2- Russia 3- Rawanda

    This statistics must disregard Palestinian as Israeli citizen that Israel is not found next to the United States.

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/06/09/three-charts-to-break-your-hea

  253. DWZ says:

    “Neda’s death is an undeniable evidence of the brutality of the IRI”

    Only the igonorant zionist make such a stupid remark because if they are honost about CIA and ‘jewish state’ well established assassination and kidnapping innocent people and turturing and raping in secret bases around the world, never would have made a clown out of themselves. In Abu Ghari sexual torture both MOssad and CIA were involved.
    http://www.aztlan.net/iraqi_women_raped.htm

    Rape of Iraqi prisoners was recommended by Neocon according to the message of a zionist’s book “ARAB MIND” by Raphael Patai who wrote sex is taboo among Arabs. Neocon, came to this conclusion that sexual torture of Arab men and women brings SHAME on them and will make silent against massive war criminal activities of US and Israel and their allies in Iraq, therefore leads to passification of the population. SHAME ON THEM ALL.

  254. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE TO PAK:

    “I agree with you wholeheartedly. But from the sound of it you can’t reason with the people active on this blog.”

    You’re correct that many people on this site look at Iran through a certain frame (or at least the ones who write on this site do: there are quite a few who read this site that don’t agree with much at all of what is written here, but they prefer to remain silent). By no means always the Leveretts’ frame, as you’ll discover if you stay around for a while, but a frame nonetheless.

    That’s how the human mind works, though. If one didn’t build mental frames to make sense of what strikes one’s senses every day, life would become quite exhausting. It’s simpler if all of the sights, sounds, smells and words can be made to fit somewhere – reshaped here, shrunken there, expanded somewhere else, discarded entirely if they just can’t be made to fit. Sometimes it’s easier or even necessary to adjust the frame a bit if too many facts don’t fit in it, but most often we prefer to keep our frame and do without the offending facts. We all have that human shortcoming, and eventually each of us figures out that we all do – at least if we don’t die too young. 


    But here is the immediate key point, Arvin (and Pak): We always recognize this shortcoming in other human beings before we recognize it in ourselves. And it’s during the time gap between those two events – a gap which, regrettably, sometimes lasts for several decades — that we are inclined to tell others that we’ve noticed that shortcoming in them.


    Enough said on that, I hope.


  255. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @PAK

    Was Neda a “martyr”?

    Did she go out into the streets willing to be killed?

    Or was she shot by some unknown assassin in some damned kooche in Tehran?

    Martyrs die for a cause: Neda’s plan on that fateful day was not to die for anything.

  256. Arvin says:

    Pak (re: Dan Cooper and others)

    Notice how predictable these people are?! As I predicted they change the subject by making this about Israel and the US and then they try to link you with them so as to bring you down. They will never accept responsibility and will never admit that defending the IRI will never wash the blood on their hands. Your sarcasm is beyond them. So they probably don’t know what you mean with your reference to culture of martyrdom in Shia Islam and exploitation of the Iran-Iraq war martyrs by Ahmadinejad and his gang. They refuse to admit that the families of the martyrs are for the most part supporters of the Green Movement and Mousavi and that the reformers have more martyrs and veterans from the Iran-Iraq war.

    Neda’s death is an undeniable evidence of the brutality of the IRI and the extents to which they go to in order to stay in power. Yes, the regime did not benefit from it, but they haven’t benefited from any of their actions over the last year. To say that the regime did not benefit from killing Neda and therefore is not responsible is about the stupidest argument I’ve heard. It’s like saying a convicted murderer who was hanged did not benefit from killing someone (for he ended up dead), therefore he could not have been the murderer to begin with! Is that logical to you? And most of the regime’s talking points (there were no riots nearby, there’s no footage of the basiji, etc.) are nothing but lies. The whole central Tehran was in total chaos on that day. Obviously people like “Dan” or “Eric” don’t know how close Amir Abad is to places like Keshavarz, Hafte Tir or even Tehran University. Clearly they haven’t walked the streets of Tehran to even know the geography of the location where she was killed. Plus let us not forget that she wasn’t the only one killed. She became the symbol because her death was caught on camera. If it wasn’t she would have been another death that the regime would have denied ever existed.

    And how dare they compare her death to that of the Egyptian woman. She took a man to court for insulting her hijab and won out in court. She was killed in the appeals court by the very same man. One man. In a court that had protected her rights. Imagine what would happen to a woman who takes a basiji to court for having insulted her for NOT having a hijab. SHE would be the one convicted, because in Iran she does not have the right to choose what she wears, let alone take someone who insults her hair coverage or lack of to court and win out.

    And let me repeat in case you missed it… RACE FOR IRAN is now blocked in Iran.

  257. DWZ says:

    On the other hand an Egyptian woman was stabbed in Court many times in Germany, but since she is from the ‘others’ demonized by HOLLYWOOD dominated by the Zionist Jews who have been directing the Western propaganda for centuries now, did not find this story to be worthy of publicity since the ignorant population of the West should be directed against Islam and Muslim not the ‘democratic countries ‘of the west.

    WALID EL HOURI writes:

    Neda’s death became an icon of the Iranian opposition and a symbol for millions of people of the injustice of the Iranian regime and the defiance of the protesters. Neda’s death was put in context. It was taken from the personal realm of the death of an individual to the public realm of the just cause of a whole society.

    On July 1st Marwa El Sherbini, an Egyptian researcher living in Germany, was stabbed to death 18 times inside a courtroom in the city of Dresden, in front of her 3-year-old son. She had won a verdict against a German man of Russian descent who had verbally assaulted her because of her veil. Her husband, who rushed in to save her when she was attacked in the courtroom, was shot by the police. Marwa’s death was not reported by any Western news media until protests in Egypt erupted after her burial. The reporting that followed focused on the protests; the murder was presented as the act of a “lone wolf,” thus depriving it of its context and its social meaning.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/walid07102009.html

  258. DWZ says:

    NEDA was killed by the agent of Israel and the United States to form the voice of their phony ‘green movement’. Neda in Persian means, the voice, then they killed a young, attractive and illiterate in Politics to create a MASK to hide their crimes against humanity in Muslims countries for decades especially after 9/11 which was designed and carried out by Israel and the Bush administration with the neocons directions to frame Muslim countries to create a pretext for the illiterate population of the West who have grown her behind so big to need constant blood to feed it.
    Neda has become an icon for the FOOLS in the west. Makan, a man who might have been involved in Neda’s killing, lied when he said ‘I am Neda’s fiancé’ which was denied by Neda’s family. This kind of claim was made when a US spy, Roxana Saberi was arrested and Bahman Qobadi, a film director, a liar claimed “He was Roxana Saberi’s fiancé’ where was rejected by Saberi’s father on behalf of her daughter acting as her spokesperson while she was in Prison. These liars were trying to cash in since they know they can make thousands of dollars by selling their ‘story’ and being part of the propaganda against Iranian people to frame their government. Makan is already doing that and making millions of dollar. He went to Tel Aviv and killed war criminals behind, Perez, to thank them for their crimes against humanity.

    They killed a young, attractive woman to construct a VOICE for their ‘VELVET REVOLUTION’ to fool people in the West. They wanted young, attractive women to be killed to make a MASK and cover their criminal face with her picture. They were sure that killing the war criminals who have been identified by real world community as WAR CRIMINALS who have committed CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, such as PEREZ, NETHINYHU, BUSH, CHENEY, WOLFOWITZ and others would have not been successful since the international community are waiting for punishment of these war criminals but since the world is run by thugs, they expect little.

    Didn’t they sell the fabricated story that SADDAM HAS WMD, to ignorant people in the West?
    They call their broken and apartheid system, a democracy. Why do people in a democratic country can BE FOOLED SO MANY TIMES AND NEVER LEARN FROM THE PAST? The reason is the survival of the West is based on a population who CAN NOT THINK INDEPENDENTLY AND ARE FED BY THE ZIONIST MEDIA. The population in the West are so dependent who cannot move their behind and pour into the street and stop the killing of millions of Muslims since their existence is dependent on demonizing of ‘others’ by their media and Jewish Hollywood and then kill them. Thus, the population of the West as long as are cooperating with mass murderers and war criminals are criminals themselves.
    The story of Neda who was killed by the agent of US and Israel, was made into a Film by financial resource of those who were involved in ‘velvet revolution’ directed by the West, Tehran Bureau, and an ISRAELI FILM production, RONACHAN, and a ZIONIST JEW AS IT’S PRODUCTION MANAGER, DEBORAH MCTAGGART.

    Mossad not only killed NEDA, but also a month later killed Mohammdi, a university professor, to frame Iranian government, but since he was not a young and attractive women, did not captured the attention of the ignorant in the west and did not erect the Western men either.

    Justin Raimondo in relation to Mohammadi terror wrote:

    Who killed Mohammadi? We don’t know, and may never know for sure: but all indications point to Israel, and it’s no wonder that even Debka, the Israeli web site with links to Mossad, practically claimed “credit” for the act on Tel Aviv’s behalf.

    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2010/01/14/who-killed-massoud-ali-mohammadi/

  259. Dan Cooper says:

    Re: Neda

    The fundamental question about Neda’s murder is this:

    >>>>>>>>> Who really benefitted from killing Neda? <<<<<<<<<<<

    It is alleged that a “Basiji” killed Neda.

    What would a Basiji gain by killing her?

    Now ask yourself this; what would a “Foreign agent or the enemies of Islamic Republic” gain by killing her?

    I recommend Reza’s article, He wrote and I quote:

    "It is inconceivable that an Islamic regime which understands the power of martyrdom in its own culture would sanction the cold-blooded murder of an innocent and ordinary young woman on the streets of Tehran.
    However it is every bit conceivable that those who thought the opposition movement needed a symbol and icon of resistance – recipients and supporters no doubt of a $400m CIA-backed destabilization program for Iran [11] – would have arranged this horrible murder and try and pin it on the Iranian authorities.”

    In my opinion, the tragic death of Neda and its vivid capture on film was deliberately used as a propaganda tool by American, British and Israeli media outlets to harden western opinion against the Islamic republic and grease the skids for a future invasion.

    Neda was “killed to order” for maximum publicity by a western agent to tarnish the image of the Iranian government.

    CIA and Mossad are famous for this type of operations.

    They deliberately chose a “beautiful girl” in order to get maximum exposure.

    Neda was a few streets away, from where the main protests were taking place.

    She was with her music teacher, sitting in a car and stuck in traffic.

    She got out of the car for just for a few minutes and was shot.

    She was not wearing any green clothes.

    She was not participating in any demonstration.

    She was an innocent bystander.

    Why a Basiji would wants to kill a young and beautiful girl?

    Why would a Basiji fire on someone in a street where there is no demonstrations?

    What would a Basiji gain by killing her?

    Now ask yourself this; what would a “Foreign agent or the enemies of Islamic Republic” gain by killing her?

    Eyewitnesses and video footage of Neda clearly showed there was no demonstration on that area where she was shot.

    It is alleged that a “Basiji” killed Neda and according to eyewitnesses he was immediately arrested and then released but no video evidence of the arrest has been produced.

    If the story is true, why there was no video evidence of the Basiji’s arrest?

    There were so many people with mobile phone who witnessed the incident but not a single shot of the Basiji’s arrest was captured.

    If we do not heed the lessons of history and understand, how sophisticated PR campaigns are routinely crafted around such events by western governments in collusion with their establishment media fronts, then;

    The tragic death of Neda will be the catalyst for a million more tragedies in the years to come – the only difference being that you will not see the deaths of those Iranian victims being broadcast on the BBC, Fox News or CNN.

    The propensity for western governments to manufacture or exploit intensely emotional stories such as Neda’s death, and tragic events involving young women and children in general, in order to hoodwink populations into supporting phony wars of “liberation” has been proven time and time again.

    The hypocrisy is almost impossible to stomach.

    Hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children have been slaughtered in similar fashion by coalition forces during the bombardment and occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and many of these deaths have been caught on camera,

    Yet the establishment media has blindly refused to broadcast any of it.

    Indeed, it could be claimed that the footage of Neda’s death has already been broadcast more times by the corporate media than the thousands of victims whose deaths were caught on film in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last eight years.

    There is no doubt that Neda’s vivid and shocking death is tragic to witness and a terrible loss for her family. However, the repercussions of the video circulating the globe via You Tube and its propaganda-driven exploitation by the west to demonize the Iranian government could have tragic consequences for many more innocent Iranians in the years to come.

  260. Pak says:

    Dear Reza,

    “The Neda episode is just posthumous exploitation – pure and simple…and shameless.”

    Indeed, exploiting martyrs is shameless. How dare anybody exploit the dead. I cannot think of anybody else who does such a shameless thing!

  261. Reza Esfandiari says:

    For a full treatment of the Neda affair, please take a look at my article:

    http://www.iranian.com/main/2009/nov/no-rest-or-peace?page=1

    The Neda episode is just posthumous exploitation – pure and simple…and shameless.

  262. Rehmat says:

    Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English))

    Before trying to expect readers to accept one of hundreds of proven lies by the professional Hasbara liars against Islamic Republic – as truth – why don’t you explain why Israel and the US governments still trying miserably to suppress their own involvement in the 9/11 false flag oporation?

    Next time you’re going to tell us to go on google and watch Osama Bin Laden’s tapes threatening Americans and calling for the murders of the Jew, eh!

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/911-the-lie-that-refuses-to-go-away/

  263. Fahad says:

    Neda’s assassination reminds me of that of Benno Ohnesorg in West-Berlin, 43 years ago, on 2 June 1967. The Shah of Iran Reza Pahlavi had been visiting BRD and there were huge demonstrations in the streets both by Iranian and German students. Provocations by the Shah’s own agents (Jubelperser) turned the peaceful demonstrations violent. Demonstrators were beaten under the eyes of German policy. A German plain-cloth policeman, Karl-Heinz Kurras, shot Benno Ohnesorg in his head. He died on the spot. Kurras was cleared of all charges in two trials, which was considered by leftists as a big scandal in Germany’s very young democracy.

    Only last year it was revealed that Kurras was an undercover agent of East Germany’s secret police and terror organization Stasi.

    A German terrorist organization named itself after June 2, “Movement June 2”. In 1975, they kidnapped Peter Lorenz who had been running candidate for mayor in the city.

    Don’t forget, today’s Jubelperser are called Basiji. Political assassination has an at least thousand-year-long tradition in Iran.

  264. Bill Davit(FOR NEDA (English)) says:

    Folks,

    Please view this documentary made by HBO about Neda and the election. All you have to do is google “FOR NEDA (English).” You should see it at the top under youtube with a 68 minute length. You can also just go to youtube and type in the title I have provided. Now after vieiwng it ask yourself “Why in the world would a regime go through so much trouble to conceal the truth and offer lie after lie in an effort to supress it?” I think you will find the answer is the regime fears the people. They fear them because the only thing holding them in power is not the voice of the people but the force they wield at this time. That my friends is powerful evidence the election was in fact rigged from the get go. Why would a regime who won the election by a landslide have to resort to these tactics? No its not scientific but neither are reports almost exclusively based on regime sourced data. The fact remains we will never know the truth because the regime is only letting all of us see ONE side of the arguement their side. They are in essence in control of the crime scene and will never allow an objective oppression free audit because to do so means the truth will get out. Thus we can all argue till we are blue in the face and it won’t change a thing. The only way the truth can be established is if a true scientific, objective, independent and coercion free analysis is allowed. Sadly this will never happen with a regime in power that seeks to control everything.

    Thx
    Bill

  265. Fahad says:

    @Eric, regarding your former class mate. Interesting read here: http://www.juancole.com/2010/06/schumers-sippenhaftung-and-the-children-of-gaza.html
    Many Americans have a tendency of ranting about things they do not really understand. The deleterious consequences are well-known.

  266. Fahad says:

    @Eric. I know that Americans hardly get visas for Iran for decades (maybe except the Leveretts who get it for obvious reasons). As you didn’t answer my question, “When have you been in Iran the last time?” I suppose, you never have been. That’s a pity. Maybe you (a lawyer!) would have avoided any frivolous comparisons of democratic structures in the US and Iran. Thank God that you are living over there.

  267. Arvin says:

    Congratulation Leveretts. THE RACE FOR IRAN is now blocked in Iran! I found the site BLOCKED this morning. Continue defending the regime that can’t even tolerate YOUR voice. Or perhaps they can’t tolerate your comments section.

  268. K. Voorhees says:

    Does anyone know of a website that presents proof of the “Neda” incident? I have tried to find anything to substantiate that someone actually died and the best I could find was the Iranian ambassador to Mexico saying that the bullet found in a woman who died of a head shot was not a kind of bullet used by Iranian government. Of course, the Neda video purports to show a woman shot in the chest.

    Andrew Sullivan is flakking the Neda incident again today and the anonymous videographer was awarded a Polk award. Barack Obama commented on it more fully (called it “heartbreaking”) than anything he’s had to say about 9 humanitarians including 1 American killed by Israel in the Gaza-bound flotilla. John McCain and several other Congresspeople made speeches in Congress about the Neda incident. What are they all relying on? “Neda” was supposed to be engaged to a man who is a filmmaker so I would imagine he would be capable of staging the incident just as I’ve seen thousands of people shot in movies over the years.

  269. Rehmat says:

    Fiorangela

    Have you learned any lesson from what AIPAC did to Dr. Finkelstein or Dr. Tariq Ramadan for the not following the Zionist definition of “Freedom of Speech”? Would not that make Israel Lobby a moral force or goondas more feared by American intellectuals than the CIA?

    For Tariq Ramadan’s views against establishment of an Islamic state, Huddod punishments, faith-based schools – Paul Donnelly in Jeiwsh-owned The Washington Post, wrote: “Tariq Ramadan is a Muslim Martin Luther”. Not long ago, Zionist-controlled mainstream media had declared Canadian-lesbian, Irshad Manji, a ‘Muslim Reformer”. Zionist mouth-piece like British Prospect and American Foreign Policy magazine ranked Tariq in 2008 at No.8 in a list of the world’s top 100 contemporary intellectuals.

    The Swiss-born maternal-grandson of Imam Hasan al-Banna (martyred in 1948) – the founder of Muslim Brotherhood – Tariq Ramadan see Islam and the Muslim world through the western ‘Islamophobic’ views. Basically, he is the product of western media – which depicts him ”moderate” or outright “terrorist”. The later title was bestowed upon him by Muslim-hating ‘Jewish intellectual’, Daniel Pipes, for Tariq’s criticism of Bernard-Henry Levy, Bernard Kouchner (then French Jewish heath minister and currently French foreign minister), Bernard Lewis, etc. for betraying their liberal traditions and defending Israel, right or wrong. His “political wrong” statement resulted in the US State Department’s revoking his teaching visa as Tariq might ‘endorse or espouse terrorist activity’ in the US…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/the-muslim-martin-luther/

  270. Fiorangela says:

    Arvin, you wrote: “But regardless of HOW Bush became the President no segments of the American public felt the need to take to the streets and no segments of the public ended up in prison or were killed because of their questioning of the outcome. And some 97% of the American people got behind Bush on 9/11. Over the years that approval rating fell to the lowest since Nixon because of the very things you cite, from Katrina to Iraq and Afghanistan. His was a failed presidency regardless of how he became president.

    Now what I am saying is that it doesn’t matter HOW Ahmadinejad became the president. The question isn’t the process, it’s the living with the outcome part.”

    Could anyone make a comparison of American talk media and a similar Iranian phenomenon? More specifically, is there an Iranian Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck etc. that is a useful megaphone for government propaganda? How is the Iranian public kept in line — Basiji? Morals police? These are enforcers, not thought-manipulators.

    Does Iranian culture have PR/advertising processes similar to western public relations/marketing/advertising?

    I suspect the answer is, not exactly.
    It is important to recognize that Iran is not, at heart, from the Abrahamic tradition. The Judeo-Christian bible is not the foundation mythos of Iranian culture; Zoroaster is (with an Islamic overlay). Islam is expressed differently in Iran than in any other Islamic country, and not just in terms of the Sunni-Shiite division. Proselytizing is an essential part of the Abrahamic creeds, but Zoroaster emphasized tending to one’s own personal conduct rather than to ‘saving’ or ‘redeeming’ the other. Thus, the Zoroastrian mindset is less concerned with ways to persuade the other, which is the basis of advertising.

    I would also think that Iranians would retain strong elements of Greek influence in their thinking patterns, which would revolt at too-obviously unrealistic self-assessment, which is the intention of hasbara.

    Iranian thinking processes are not influenced by the same myths and patterns as are Westerners. It’s hard to imagine how a Rush Limbaugh could survive in Iranian society. But what DOES serve the function of the rabble-rouser in Iranian society? Is he/she/it connected to government? Do Iran’s universities have ideological ‘flavors’ — for example, one would expect a far different argument from Liberty University than from Davidson. Do similar distinctions exist between universities in Shiraz as against Tehran? between the public and the private colleges?

    All these things affect the character of Iran’s quasi-democratic form of political behavior. It’s a shame we Americans do not have the opportunity to explore them more fully.

  271. Pak says:

    Dear Eric,

    Thank you for your response. Your academic background impresses me. May I ask what area of law you practice? By the way, the joke you referred to earlier is actually an Iranian parable – coincidence?

    Dear Liz,

    Thank you for your conclusive argument. I did not realise that Iran is democratic because it is an “Islamic” democracy. Now I feel like an idiot. I am just so naïve. Regardless, I did not insult Eric; I merely questioned why the Leveretts – established politicians – must resort to unknown blogs in order to substantiate their claims.

    Dear James,

    I do not know why you bring Israel into the argument. I did not mention Israel once. For clarification, I concur that Israel is not a democracy. Israel is no different to Iran; it is a theocracy. It is a Jewish state, thus exclusionary by nature. It has also completely alienated the Palestinian population, which is undemocratic by nature. I will not respond to your assertion that the regime has a right to crackdown on protesters, because the protests were wholly peaceful to begin with and within the constitution. The regime has dug its own grave by alienating, suppressing and radicalising the opposition, just as all dictatorships do. History is my proof.

    Dear Arvin,

    You took the words out of my mouth. I know there are many irrational beings on this blog, which is why I enjoy engaging with them, because it gives me valuable insight into the psyche of the regime. I also enjoy engaging with the rational contributors, because they keep my feet firmly on the ground and remind me that nothing is ever black and white.

    Dear Reza,

    Well done! You are practically famous now.

  272. Arvin,

    YOU WROTE: “You give the Iranian government too much credit and take what they say at face value without questioning it much.”

    To the contrary, I have accepted the government’s version of events only when Mousavi representatives observed the events, without reporting any interference, and did not dispute what the government reported. As I suggested in my article, for example, I would test election results first by assuming that all reported vote counts were suspect unless approved in writing by an on-site Mousavi observer:

    “Ironically, though Mousavi should supply evidence to support his allegations of fraud, it may be sufficient initially to require no evidence at all – to classify as “unobserved” every polling station at which a Mousavi observer did not sign a Form 22, regardless of the reason. This “unobserved” category would include each of the 5,016 polling stations for which Mousavi’s proposed observer was not issued an ID card, and might include hundreds or thousands of others. Presumably Mousavi’s staff already knows all polling stations in this “unobserved” category, or can quickly identify them by contacting his election-day observers. If so, Mousavi’s unresolved “excluded observer” complaints provide him yet another opportunity to make his case. If Ahmadinejad’s percentages were substantially higher at “unobserved” polling stations than at comparable “observed” polling stations, most neutral analysts would be suspicious. Although no two polling stations served statistically identical populations, statisticians should be able to identify sets of roughly comparable “unobserved” and “observed” polling stations, and then compare the Ahmadinejad/Mousavi percentages. Mousavi himself could start the inquiry with a rough spreadsheet comparison: compare Ahmadinejad’s and Mousavai’s percentages at all “unobserved” polling stations to their percentages at all “observed” polling stations. Once each polling station has been designated as “unobserved” or “observed,” such a rough comparison could be made in a matter of seconds. A more systematic comparison could be performed if any sign of fraud should appear.”

    YOU WROTE: “But I have to question any side that denies the mere EXISTENCE of the other.”

    I don’t know whether this comment is meant to apply to me. I don’t consider myself to be on any “side” here, and certainly not one that denies the existence of anyone else. One can determine whether an election was fair without taking sides. That’s what I tried to do.

  273. Cyrus says:

    Look every country has a screening process for candidates. In the US the process is actually less transparent than in Iran. But in any case Mousavi voluntarily partcipated in the screening process and was cleared to run, so what’s the complaint? Indeed, since he is a regime-insider who was specifically vetted and cleared to run for office by the regime, why would the same regime feel it needs to resort to massive election fraud to keep him out of office? Fact is, Iranians are far too cynical to believe all the handwringing in the US media about the state of human rights and democracy because all the have to do is look around themselves and see the type of real dictatorships that are US allies, or remember Abu Ghraib, or the fact that the US was backing Saddam in killing Iranians. So, who can blame them if they aren’t eagerly “rising up” to do Washingtons bidding? Washington may insist that there’s no contradiction in it’s policies but the rest of the world is just not willing to share that particular hallucination.

  274. Arvin says:

    Dear Eric,

    Thank you for taking the time to write your response. I appreciate the time spent. But with all due respect from your comments and a look through of your analysis I can only conclude the following:

    1. You’re not in Iran and have never been to Iran. If you come to Iran you’ll find that it’s a complex country with a complex society that can never be painted in solid blacks or whites.
    2. You don’t speak Farsi and are not familiar with reading in between the lines. This leaves you at a disadvantage and much of what you take away from Iranian politicians and people is lost in translation.
    3. You give the Iranian government too much credit and take what they say at face value without questioning it much. If you applied the same degree of scrutiny to government claims as you do to the claims of the GM you would side with no one.

    I am personally not a Green. I did not vote and don’t see much difference between a Mousavi presidency and an Ahmadinejad presidency. The difference is really in the window dressing. For me a seperation of Mosque and State is needed before we have any progress in Iran. But this is not about what I want and seculars like me may in fact be a powerless minority in Iran. I confess to that. But I have to question any side that denies the mere EXISTENCE of the other. Be it Greens who think the entire Iranian population is against the regime or regime supporters who think the Green Movement and all domestic opposition is dead because no one takes to the streets any more.

  275. Patrick Cummins,

    YOU WROTE: “If the Iranian electon appears to lack legitimacy, then that simply offers an opportunity, which won’t be passed on, to promote the pre-existing policy of regime change.”

    I agree, and that is precisely why I wrote my article: to show that the 2009 election did not lack legitimacy. That will not be sufficient, of course, to dissuade the US from following its policy of regime change, but every little bit helps.

  276. Pak and Fahad,

    PAK WROTE: “Oh, let us not forget that this entire argument is based on the assumption that Iran is a democracy.”

    FAHAD WROTE SOMETHING ESSENTIALLY SIMILAR:

    “Counter question. Does it make sense in a dictatorship to conduct fair elections?”

    It’s not proper to assume that Iran is a democracy and conclude on that premise that the 2009 election was fair, which I gather is Pak’s point. Nor is it proper to assume that Iran is a dictatorship, as Fahad appears to do, and conclude from that premise that the 2009 election was not fair.

    Forest Gump mentioned in the movie that his mother had often told him that “Stupid is as stupid does.” Something similar can be said about democracy: “Democracy is as democracy does.” If one examines how a country chooses its leaders and concludes, for example, that the guy who runs the country, rather than the citizens, picks the leaders (including himself), one probably will conclude that the country is a dictatorship. If, instead, it appears that the citizens choose the leaders in elections that appear to be fair, one probably will conclude that the country is a democracy. Labeling results in imprecision, of course, because there are many variations of both forms of government. For example, a democracy may not be perfect because many top leaders are indirectly chosen (as in Great Britain, for example), or because a “winner take all” electoral college system causes candidates to ignore voters who do not live in “swing states” (as in the United States), or because candidates must be pre-approved by some government agency (as in Iran). But the point here is the direction of one’s reasoning, not the result. One properly starts by observing how a country goes about choosing its leaders, and draws conclusions from that – not by declaring one’s conclusion and then deducing how, therefore, the country must go about choosing its leaders.

    If one examines how Iran went about choosing its current president in the 2009 election, what should one fairly conclude?

    PAK WROTE:

    “If the Leveretts and those who share similar ideals want to advocate the legitimacy of the Iranian regime, they have to simultaneously adopt the burden of the regime’s actions.”

    No they don’t. Sometimes legitimate leaders do bad things; sometimes illegitimate leaders do good things.

  277. Reza Esfandiari says:

    The Sunday Telegraph (British newspaper) has published an article on the rise of the Revolutionary Guards in the aftermath of the election and unrest.

    They include some of my comments on the election outcome and the fate of the green movement:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/7823532/Irans-Revolutionary-Guards-cash-in-after-a-year-of-suppressing-dissent.html

  278. Arvin,

    I am responding to your two comments on June 11 at 7:30 PM and June 12 at 5:32 AM.

    YOU WROTE: “The question is no longer was the election rigged or not. [What happened after the election matters more.]”

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen this statement in debates about the 2009 Iran election. Please do not interpret this as disrespect, but it invariably reminds me of this old joke:

    A man was walking through a park and came upon another man on his hands and knees, evidently searching for something in the tall grass.

    “Lose something?” the first man asked.

    “My keys,” replied the second man.

    “I’ll be glad to help,” said the first man. “Where exactly were you when you dropped them?”

    “Over there,” said the second man, pointing to a shady spot about 20 feet away.

    “Then why are you looking here?” asked the first man.

    “The light’s better here,” replied the second man.

    The light may be better on your arguments about post-election brutality, and so naturally you prefer them over your arguments about the election. And those “post-election” arguments indeed are important. I acknowledged this in the very first sentence of my article’s introduction, though I added that this will not help us to find our keys:

    “Charges that the Iranian government brutally mistreated protesters after the 2009 presidential election must be taken very seriously. A protester’s human rights should not depend on the merits of his position, just as our respect for a soldier should not depend on the merits of the war he is sent to fight. The question considered here, however, is not whether the government mistreated those who protested the election result, nor whether Iran’s government ought to be run by different people with different policies. … The question here is simply whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election, fair and square.”

    Contrary to your assertion, that remains the question, even on this one-year anniversary of that election. It remains a question not because Ahmadinejad and his supporters insist upon discussing it, but because supporters of the losing candidate, Mousavi, continue to insist that Ahmadinejad was not legitimately elected and base unwarranted conclusions on that invalid premise. Very rarely do I read an argument against the Iranian government that fails to mention Ahmadinejad’s illegitimacy. If other arguments against the government have merit on their own, why not present them on their own – not weakened by challenges to Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy that cannot be sustained and that much of the target Iranian audience does not accept? A government’s legitimacy does not insulate it from all complaints, after all – only from the complaint that it is illegitimate.

    In short, when those who challenge the election result present evidence to support their allegations of fraud, or drop the “stolen election” claim and move on, the question will no longer be “was the election rigged or not.” Not until then.

    Your emphasis on post-election demonstrations, and the government’s harsh response to them, might be persuasive in different circumstances. If a country lacks election procedures that can ensure fair elections, or its citizens cannot easily verify that the procedures have been followed, public demonstrations may be the best measure of government support or opposition. I acknowledged this explicitly in my article:

    “A responsible government must establish fair election procedures and make it possible, without difficulty, for its citizens to verify that the procedures have been followed. If the government does not, a challenger may rightfully complain even if he has no concrete proof of electoral fraud.”

    But, as I continued:

    “[I]f the government has satisfied this obligation, as Iran’s government did in the 2009 election, the burden fairly shifts to those who allege fraud. They must examine the available information and specify improprieties so that their charges can be investigated.”

    This raises two questions about the 2009 election, and obviously we disagree on the answer to each: (1) Did the Iranian government satisfy this obligation? (2) If so, does the burden of proof shift to those who challenge the election result?

    On the first question, I suggest you plod through the first three “Complaint” sections in my article. Frame your analysis by keeping these questions in mind: (1) If the prescribed procedures were followed, were they reasonably sufficient to ensure accurate vote counts? (2) Were Mousavi’s on-site observers able without difficulty to confirm that the procedures were followed? (3) Did any of Mousavi’s observers claim that the procedures were not followed to his satisfaction?

    If you conclude that the answers are “yes,” “yes,” and “no,” as I did, then you should also agree that the Iranian government “satisfied this obligation.”

    Turning to the “burden of proof” question, you insist that it remains squarely on the shoulders of the Iranian government:

    “Technically unless the regime finds a way to provide the national ID numbers of those who voted for Ahmadinejad on a public website whereby the persons with those ID numbers can somehow come and verify their votes, it would be impossible to prove there was no fraud just as it would be impossible to prove there was.”

    It is not clear how we could determine who voted for Ahmadinejad (none of the 39 million ballots bears a voter’s name or number, after all), or whether voters would want this information published even if we could, or how we could verify a voter’s on-line confirmation of his vote, or be certain he isn’t retroactively changing his vote, or account for non-responding voters – to mention just several of many practical problems with your proposal that are overshadowed by this question: Isn’t this the same question voters answered on election day? Why should they answer it again unless we have some reason to believe that misconduct occurred?

    You insist that Ahmadinejad’s election cannot be considered legitimate unless fraud can affirmatively be disproved. But the absence of electoral fraud can never be proven, as the Leveretts modestly acknowledged. Can anyone be sure that fraud did not occur when Barrack Obama was elected, or Ronald Reagan, or Franklin Roosevelt, or George Washington? Could you have been sure of this if Mousavi had been elected? Would you have suggested such an on-line confirmation procedure if Mousavi had won? If not, why do you insist upon it for Ahmadinejad?

    It appears to me that Iran’s election officials did substantially all that can fairly be expected. In essence, they said to Mousavi:

    “Here are the procedures we intend to follow at ever polling station on election day. Do they strike you as insufficient to prevent electoral fraud if we follow them? You may post an observer at every polling station to verify that we follow them, each step of the way. Let us know immediately if anyone interferes with your observers or they spot anything suspicious. If any of your observers has any doubt, instruct him not to approve the vote count reported by his polling station, and to report this promptly to us, to the press and to anyone else he may care to tell. If your observer agrees with the reported count, remind him to make sure that the Interior Ministry later reports the same numbers for his polling station. Let us and the press know immediately if it does not.”

    This strikes me as good enough (and far more elaborate than what I’m used to at my polling station in San Francisco). The Interior Ministry issued ID cards to 40,676 Mousavi observers, the most for any candidate in any Iranian election in history. None of those registered observers claimed he was barred from observing any activity at his polling station; none of them disputed the vote count reported by his polling station; none of them alleged that the Interior Ministry later reported a different vote count. This is not proof of non-fraud, but it comes about as close as one can fairly ask for.

    For these reasons, it does not matter here that, as you write: “THERE EXISTS A SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION THAT DID NOT ACCEPT THE OUTCOME AND WAS NEVER REACHED OUT TO BY THOSE IN POWER.”

    It is not the government’s job to “reach out” to those who supported the losing candidate and cannot accept that he lost. It is the government’s job to lay out a transparent electoral process that enables those disappointed supporters to confirm that their candidate lost in a fair election. That’s it. I looked pretty carefully into this and concluded that the government had done this. I did not conclude from my inquiry that Mousavi was a bad man, or that Ahmadinejad was a good man – simply that Mousavi had lost and Ahmadinejad had won, fairly.

    If you read my article carefully, I think you will conclude that too.

  279. M.Ali says:

    Arvin,

    Majority (obviously not all) of the posters here have proven again and again that they argue using facts and logic, something the the ones arguing against them don’t. While one side always seems to jump from topic to topic, using sentimental arguments and personal attacks, the posters here usually respond in calm, fact-based response. And if comparisons are made with other countries, it is only to better highlight the issue.

  280. M.Ali says:

    Just to give you a quick personal info on today and yesterday, guys. I live in Vanak, one of the more “famous” (for Greens, at least, no low class Tehranis here, which if they were, Greens would not be spotted dead here!). Anyway, last night, there were a few shouts of rooftop Allah Akbar, but basically for like 10-15 mins at 10pm. Interesting, but unlikely to make Ahmedinijad wake up from his sleep in sweet.

    And today on my way to work, no cops at Vanak square. Coming back (around 4.30pm), there were cops, maybe around 20, but no anti-riot police, no military weapons, no big buses, just max, around 20 normal cops. Oh yeah, yesterday, there were 2 cops in the square, with one black-ops kinda guy, and I don’t know if that guy was still hanging around today or not. I loitered around for 10 minutes, hoping to see some kind of spontaneous action, but got bored and went home, when nothing happened.

    Protests and clashes with the government happen regularly in every democratic country and if this is the best the Greens can do, it is extremely underwhelming. But it is no surprise when all Green websites keep trying to present today also as “another victory for the Green Movement!”. No matter what happens, some green analyst will read it in a way to make it seem like it was a backbreaking move against THE REGIME.

  281. Arvin says:

    @ Pak

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. But from the sound of it you can’t reason with the people active on this blog. Leave it to them and they will either defend the Islamic Republic as a 5 year old would defend himself after having been caught stealing a piece of cake (for comic relief read any post by LIZ who is like a teenager in love with a boy band.) Or they will drag the argument to obscure places so as to distract from the main Iran-related discussions at hand (ie. does democracy really exist?!). They will continue to deny or ignore evidence AGAINST the regime (actual films of large-sclae protests, of beatings, killings, arrests, existance of political prisoners, imprisoned jounalists, artists, students, etc.) and they will ALWAYS try to make the discussions about failed US policies, AIPAC and Western Media and try to link you with them. As though anyone who points to the crimes of the IRI and mere existence of an opposition group is automatically in line with them and must be guilty by association… For them you can’t be a critic of US, Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran at the same time.

  282. Rehmat says:

    Pak….

    This may help you to understand that true democracy doesn’t exist in this world – no matter what some self-denials my believe.

    Islamic Republic is a mixer of theocracy and western democratic process. It’s the only country in the world which has conducted elections on schedule even during 8-year war with Iraq.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/it-is-not-a-democracy-stupid/

  283. Rehmat says:

    James Canning…

    Former Mississauga (Ontario) MP, Carolyn Parrish, a Christian – was the first to coin the word “Moron” for Dubya Bush. Israel Lobby, Canadian Jewish Congress with the help of Islamophobe Daniel Pipes ran campaign against her for her understanding of Muslims’ problem in Canada and Occupied Palestine.

    The result was obvious. She was kicked out of her party and lost the next federal election as an independent candidate.

    G-d save the Queen!

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/muslim-canadian-take-on-islamophobes/

  284. James Canning says:

    Pak,

    Are you in effect contending that if a government takes steps to prevent a protest movement from developing into a violent effort to overthrow that government, it is not “democratic”? Are you arguing that Israel is not a democracy?

  285. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    That G W Bush was so foolish as to put Iran in the same category of “evil”, at a time Iran was working with the US regarding dealing with the situation in Afghanistan, is but one reason many observers, including Taki, regard Bush as a moron.

    We should keep in mind here that the effort to achieve rapprochement between Iran and the US, was blocked by Israel. Israel insisted Iran stop Palestinian attacks, not just in the occupied territories, but also within Israel proper (pre-1967 borders).

  286. Liz says:

    Pak,

    Iran is an Islamic democracy and has regular elections (and no one has claimed that it is a utopia). If Mousavi hadn’t acted like a child last years elections would have been one of many successful elections in the country’s recent history. In any case, I don’t see why you insult Eric or Reza. People like them have little to gain in the US for having the courage to speak the truth.

  287. Pak,

    “Eric appears to be a far more rational and polite man. However, unless Eric is “a computer scientist specializing in natural language processing”, his credentials are not available either.”

    Thanks for the compliment, which you may retract when I tell you what I do for a living. I’m a lawyer (Harvard Law, 1974 – same year as Charles Schumer (US Senator from NY), though I wouldn’t draw conclusions about my politics from that: Mitt Romney also started out in our class (but graduated a year later because he got a joint JD and MBA degree).

  288. kooshy says:

    Interesting, maybe Hillary L. can confirm?

    Amb. Crocker: Putting Iran in the ‘Axis of Evil’ Led Them to Release Brutal Insurgent Leader
    By Spencer Ackerman 6/11/10 12:08 PM
    At the Center for a New American Security’s annual conference yesterday, the respected former ambassador to Iraq and Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, made a point of saying that the rhetorical antagonization of Iran in 2002 had a real operational impact on the Afghanistan war. Including Iran in President Bush’s “Axis of Evil” during the 2002 State of the Union didn’t end a U.S.-Iranian diplomatic channel that Crocker personally participated in. But it did provoke the Iranians to release one of the most notorious guerrillas of Afghanistan’s decades of war from Iranian house arrest: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an ally of al-Qaeda, whose Hezb-e-Islami organization went on to kill numerous U.S. troops and Afghan civilians.
    Here’s what Crocker said yesterday:

    “That [diplomatic channel over Afghanistan with Iran in 2001] actually did produce some modest results. More importantly, it was the beginning of a process of sitting down away from the klieg lights and bounce things back and forth. I was in Kabul at the time of the ‘Axis of Evil’ [speech] and I can tell you it was a very interesting meeting in [U.N. official] Lakhdar Brahimi’s office after that with my Iranian counterpart. It did not end the channel. But it certainly changed the tone. And the key Iranian response to the ‘Axis of Evil’ was to send Gulbuddin Hekmatyar back into Afghanistan. We had been talking to the Iranians up to that point about the possibility of Hekmatyar, who was under house arrest, being transferred to the Karzai government.”

    So in response to one rhetorical move — co-authored by David Frum, no less — that created an arbitrary category for Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and North Korea, the Iranian leadership hedged its bets on cooperating with with the U.S. on post-Taliban Afghanistan and released a murderer back into the war zone.
    Crocker, as best I can tell, has told this story before, to Newsweek, but it hasn’t gotten much attention. He told the CNAS crowd that he thinks there’s still a chance for re-engagement with Iran over Afghanistan, but it will take the auspices of a United Nations process to restart that channel. And that’s with a far more hardline Iranian government in power and new U.N.-approved sanctions on the regime. “A lot of blood is under the bridge for both of us,” Crocker said.

    http://washingtonindependent.com/86820/amb-crocker-putting-iran-in-the-axis-of-evil-led-them-to-release-brutal-insurgent-leader

  289. Pak says:

    Oh, let us not forget that this entire argument is based on the assumption that Iran is a democracy. Without resorting to comparisons with the Great Satan, I would be grateful if someone could enlighten me with why they think Iran is a democracy. I am intrigued to experience your lack of political theory knowledge. Thank you.

  290. Pak says:

    With all due respect, who are Reza Esfandiari and Eric A. Brill? A quick search on Google reveals that Reza is either “a highly professional and knowledgeable therapist, who moved to the UK in 2003 after working in Iran and Japan as a qualified fitness instructor, personal trainer and massage therapist“, or a bigoted man who, among other things, claims that green sympathisers “are nothing but traitors who talk to the likes of the BBC and VOA.” Not only does he hope that God will “curse you and condemn you in this life”, but also “in the hereafter.” His valiant efforts to have a Stanford professor assess his work fell on deaf ears. But do not be sad Reza! The Press Complaints Commission seems to be more than willing to listen to you!

    Eric appears to be a far more rational and polite man. However, unless Eric is “a computer scientist specializing in natural language processing”, his credentials are not available either. I find it amusing that the Leveretts – established politicians – resort to unknown blogs to substantiate their considerable claims. At least cease the suspense and tell us who these men are!

    I fully understand the Leveretts’ fundamental argument: that the US does not have the right to judge and determine the fate of foreign governments, and that the US should engage the Iranian regime, because the Iranian regime is the representative of the Iranian nation, whether they like it or not. Fair enough. I would not be surprised if a majority of Iranians and non-Iranians agree with such an argument. The problem is that the Leveretts have stepped into territory beyond their argument; they are openly advocating and lobbying the legitimacy of the Iranian regime. Why, may I ask, are they defying their fundamental argument and meddling in the affairs of a foreign government? What gives these two Americans – who have minuscule experience of Iran and who openly work with Iranian neocons – the right to advocate the legitimacy of the Iranian regime?

    If the Leveretts and those who share similar ideals want to advocate the legitimacy of the Iranian regime, they have to simultaneously adopt the burden of the regime’s actions. Therefore, they must advocate the arrests of thousands of ordinary people, hundreds of human rights activists and journalists, and tens of reformist politicians. They must advocate the torture of political prisoners. They must advocate the murder of countless protesters, most of which occurred during peaceful protests and not during the consequent riots. They must advocate the stifling of media, the embarrassing propaganda campaigns and the coercion of ordinary Iranian citizens. They must advocate the police state and the expansion of the Pasdaran into civilian affairs, totally in violation of the Iranian constitution.

    If, on the other hand, the Leveretts and those who share similar ideals simply want to acknowledge the legitimacy of the elections, and then brush aside the disastrous consequences of the elections as beyond their control or argument, then they are basically being illogical. This is why so many Iranian and non-Iranian intellectuals, students, politicians, artists, musicians and ordinary people support the desires and aims of the Green Movement. This is why the Leveretts resort to the works of Reza and Eric to substantiate their claims.

  291. Arnold Evans says:

    What do you think would have happened if John McCain on election night said he was certainly the true winner, and any other announcement could only have been the result of fraud?

    Of his 50-60 million voters, how many would have taken to the streets if he encouraged them to do so?

    If it was openly known that China had allocated at least 400 million dollars to democracy promotion in the United States, and McCain was the candidate openly favored by the Chinese?

    If protesters were reported to say both that the United States should be more cooperative with China and the entire US constitutional form of government is called into question?

    Does anyone think McCain would not have drawn bigger protests, proportionally, than Mousavi did?

    Does anyone think the US security apparatus would not have come down on the anti-constitutionalists, McCain’s supporters and McCain himself more harshly than Iran did in this case?

  292. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Have you seen Ray Takeyh’s piece in the Financial Times June 11th (“Sanctions will not curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions”)? Written with Suzanne Maloney of the Saban Center at Brookings, it of course recites the mantra: “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. . .of the reprehensible rhetoric and rigged re-election”, but it concludes:
    Only an approach [to Iran] involving direct dialogue and strategic
    patience can produce lasting success.

  293. James Canning says:

    Liz,

    I assume you let Iranians know that the reason the “democracy loving” Americans show so much “concern” about the state of democracy in Iran, has everything to do with Iranian support of Palestinian resistance to Israeli oppression, and next to nothing to do with objective concern about democracy. A bunch of total hooey, in other words, brought about by the propaganda machine run by the Israel lobby and its fellow travellers.

  294. James Canning says:

    Arvin,

    Many many Americans think US foreign policy toward the Middle East is in large part dictated in effect by Jewish financiers. And that they can do nothing about it. How much “reaching out” is done toward these Americans, that you can point to?

  295. James Canning says:

    rezvan,

    You might enjoy Ed Luce’s comments in the Financial Times today: “How Washington has blunted Obama’s Middle East plan”. A top Aipac official, Steven Rosen, is laying down the policy to be enforced against US politicians: either you are for Israel, or you are against Israel. And this means buckling under to pressure from the Israeli government. Or else.

  296. epppie says:

    I was struck immediately by the ‘Green Revolution’ media hype. In my opinion, it was unmistakeably a prefabricated story.

  297. Liz says:

    Fadad,

    I’m a woman and I feel more comfortable here than I do in my home country. The same is true with most other women that I know and even western polls show this. This is a religious society and most people over here do not believe western values are universal values. Also, much of what is said about Iran in the west does not resemble reality.

  298. rezvan says:

    We can analayse ad infinitum but at some point a way forward has to be adopted and the way forward should not lead to another devastating military confrontation between Iran and the US, despite the wishes of the hawks on both sides. I think Iran will have to accept that Obama was probably under a lot of pressure from the Clinton and the pro-Israeli lobby in the US to show some teeth and he probably has one eye on the November congressional elections where unfortunately pandering to right wing sentiments and the pro-Israeli purse strings counts could tilt the balance in the Congress against him. The positive side is, as most analysts agree, is the sanction are not as bad as the rhetoric suggests and Iran will simply have to learn to live with. I think more sickening than any alleged fraud over the Iranian elections of 2009 which to date remains unproven, is the parlous state of ‘democracy’ in the world’s most powerful country, the US. That the promise of ‘change’ that Obama promised is looking increasingly ephemeral. The power of various lobby groups which actually dictate US policy rather than that of citizens group is a severe indictment of the weakness of such ‘democratic’ systems. It seems that the Velayat-e-Faqih system with all its weaknesses seem preferable for it can at least ensure that the silent majority are actually represented. This is probably why the majority of Iranians, whilst wanting some change and reform, do not want to tear down this essential pillar of the IR system which some, including religious figures such as Soroush and Ganji, would like to remove altogether in favour of ‘democracy’. A good ideal to have but in reality much maligned and in practice is not allowed to work in even so called ‘democracies’. No wonder that abstention rates in many Western ‘democracies’ are close to 50%. Iran at least achieved an 85% turnout at the last election, a record turnout largely ignored by the Western corporate media. And as Khamanei said that was the most important thing to celebrate, for change is a human necessity, and has to come sooner or later as the generational change happens.

  299. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Does anyone want to dispute any of the data presented in my report?

    If Ali Ansari is out there, I would appreciate his comments.

    Electoral forensics is quite interesting, apart from its application in this case.

  300. Arvin says:

    @Sakineh

    I didn’t say anything about the 2000 US elections being fair or democratic. But regardless of HOW Bush became the President no segments of the American public felt the need to take to the streets and no segments of the public ended up in prison or were killed because of their questioning of the outcome. And some 97% of the American people got behind Bush on 9/11. Over the years that approval rating fell to the lowest since Nixon because of the very things you cite, from Katrina to Iraq and Afghanistan. His was a failed presidency regardless of how he became president.

    Now what I am saying is that it doesn’t matter HOW Ahmadinejad became the president. The question isn’t the process, it’s the living with the outcome part. Regardless of what IRI biggest fans (people like LIZ on the comments section of this website) say, THERE EXISTS A SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION THAT DID NOT ACCEPT THE OUTCOME AND WAS NEVER REACHED OUT TO BY THOSE IN POWER.

  301. Fahad says:

    @Liz
    “Most Iranians are satisfied with their Islamic Republic and the amount of democracy that exists here in Iran within an Islamic framework.”

    That’s not enough. Velayat-e faqih, human rights, women’s rights, Baha’i, executions, executions of minors, Shi’a Islam as State religion (do you know what najasat-e ahl-e kitab means?). Et cetera pp.

    “People here ask, why don’t the “democratic loving” Americans worry about Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Turkey (where the Army is a constant threat to democracy), Egypt, Morocco,…?”

    Believe me, not only there.

  302. Fahad says:

    Sorry for the delay, but I’m living in a different time zone.

    @Eric

    ““Eric, believe it or not, but I have referred to your article numerous times in other forums. I appreciate your efforts.”
    The question I have is whether you’ve read it thoroughly enough. I think some of your comments would be much sharper if you would first take the time to see how they’ve already been addressed in my article. “

    Eric, believe me, I’ve read the original articles. Yours is a blog entry. Not peer reviewed, a narrative review. Secondary analysis. Try to get it published after peer review. Anyway, interesting stuff.

    @Eric
    ““But the fact that Iran is a dictatorship is not an issue in your analysis.”
    Can you explain what you mean by this?”

    Counter question. Does it make sense in a dictatorship to conduct fair elections?

    @Eric

    “REZA ESFANDIARI WROTE:
    “You may contest how the screening is done, but clearly a fair election requires equal airtime to all the candidates. 475 is not possible.”

    Iran’s electoral laws promise equal access and government assistance (TV airtime, for example) to all approved presidential candidates. I don’t claim to know how well that promise is honored, but that is not my point here. The quid pro quo is the Iranian government’s insistence on the right to limit the number of presidential candidates. As Reza notes, one may challenge the criteria applied to pre-screen candidates, and very few Americans would approve the criteria applied in Iran. But pre-screening on one basis or another is inevitable under any government-funded electoral system.
    One obvious alternative method of pre-screening would be to let candidates slug it out in primary-election campaigns, as they do in the United States, with the Iranian government stepping in to help only after the field has been winnowed out in this manner. That method of pre-screening would be more democratic, though it would have some flaws of its own. “

    Esfandiar (in particular), Eric, with due respect, but dream on.

  303. Liz says:

    Most Iranians are satisfied with their Islamic Republic and the amount of democracy that exists here in Iran within an Islamic framework. People here ask, why don’t the “democratic loving” Americans worry about Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Turkey (where the Army is a constant threat to democracy), Egypt, Morocco,…?

  304. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    With regards to the question of legitimacy of Iranian president: only Iranians view on the legitimacy issue counts; not any other country or peoples. Other countries can say that he is illegitimate till they are blue in the face and it won’t matter. Iranians and only Iranians bestow legitimacy upon him!

    Arvin you wrote: “In 2000 US elections there may have been fraud and one could probably prove that there was easier than proving an Iranian election fraud. But steps were taken by both sides to ensure that the American public CAN LIVE WITH THE OUTCOME.”
    Yes, I remember the “hanging chads” and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris announcing that she would reject any revised totals. Then the whole thing was thrown to US Supreme Court where W. won by 1 vote (5-4). How democratic! And, yes, I can see how the public is living with that outcome. Two endless wars, millions of jobless, trillions of deficit and debt, renditions, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Katrina, etc.
    Yes, they are living with the outcome alright.

  305. Patrick Cummins says:

    Thank you for drawing attention to these analyses of last year’s Iranian election.

    It would seem that a salient matter is the extent to which the United States is interested in the actual legitimacy of the Iranian election, and whether this question has much bearing on US policy. We can compare with two other recent elections that took place in the greater region. In particular,

    January 2006 – Hamas wins an election in Palestine that is unquestionably clean. In reaction, the United States adopts a policy of blocking Hamas from forming a government, directing funds and arms to rival Palestinian factions in an attempt to suppress Hamas. Attention is drawn to the ‘violent takeover’ of Gaza by Hamas, but the matter of the 2006 elections is ignored.

    August 2009 – Hamid Karzai wins an election that is indisputably tainted by massive fraud. While the United States initially shows some concern, this passes quickly and Karzai is now regularly touted as the ‘democratically elected’ President of Afghanistan.

    The inescapable conclusion is that the legitimacy of elections does not fundamentally shape US policy. If the Iranian electon appears to lack legitimacy, then that simply offers an opportunity, which won’t be passed on, to promote the pre-existing policy of regime change.

  306. Cyrus says:

    Arvin – the burden of proof is on the party aserting the claim. It is neither incumbunt upon, nor possible, for someone to prove a negative, ie that there was no fraud. This is basic logic. The election posts were all open to opposition observers, and they all signed the final count forms. It is doubtful if a sybstantial majority of people in Iran consider the elections illegitimate when several polls find that people did vote for Ahmadinejad. But in any case if course the IRI needs to learn more sophisticated PR techniques. Good PR addresseshow people feel notjust what they think.

  307. Rehmat says:

    Professor James M. Lindsay, former director of National Security Council and member of powerful Jewish think tank, CFR, wrote in an article titled ‘Security Council’s Muddled Message to Iran’ that the sanctions are “unlikely to produce the results he (Obama/Bibi) most wants …. And the high-stakes game of chicken over Iran’s nuclear program will continue”.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/unsc-approves-israels-crippling-sanctions/

  308. Arvin says:

    You can’t exactly accuse one side for arguing an election “must have been” rigged and expect to not be accused with arguing that the election “must have been” NOT rigged or “must have been” fair!

    Technically unless the regime finds a way to provide the national ID numbers of those who voted for Ahmadinejad on a public website whereby the persons with those ID numbers can somehow come and verify their votes, it would be impossible to prove there was no fraud just as it would be impossible to prove there was.

    One thing that can be said is that there exists a segment of the Iranian population who for one reason or another believes the election was rigged and until the regime finds a way to satisfy their needs and address their concerns the government of Mahmaoud Ahmadinejad, legitimate or not, cannot function properly or govern and address the needs of the Iranian people. It certainly didn’t help that instead of trying to address their concerns, the regime had a brutal crackdown and a campaign to suppress with violence.

    The question is no longer was the election rigged or not. The question is how can the Ahmadinejad government convince the opposition and its supporters that he’s the rightful president of Iran. Or can he ever prove it? In 2000 US elections there may have been fraud and one could probably prove that there was easier than proving an Iranian election fraud. But steps were taken by both sides to ensure that the American public CAN LIVE WITH THE OUTCOME.

    Not only no such steps were taken by Khamenai/Ahmadinejad/IRGC team, on the contrary they kept shooting themselves in the foot by providing that segment of their population who supports the opposition with MORE reasons to distrust and MORE reasons to hate their government. I personally highly doubt that following the events of the past year, and the fact that blood was spilled and “martyrs” were made, and prisons were filled, any of the millions who took to the streets on June 15 last year and some of the subsequent rallies suddenly started thinking “oh shit, I was wrong, I am a government supporter now.”

  309. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @ERIC

    Iran does not have a two-party system like in the States. It has a two-faction (conservative/reformist) system with many different political parties allied in blocks.

    So, I can’t see how this primary system would work in Iran.

    One alternative idea would be to have each candidate declare himself/herself with the backing of a quorum of deputies/congressmen. That way you would screen out all the nobodies and pranksters.

    I just don’t think there is a problem with Iranian presidential contests because there is always going to be a candidate from either faction taking part after the screening process. And where you have a contested election, the candidates reach out to all sectors of society for support.

    Mousavi won support among those who don’t like his political background but saw him as an agent for the change they want.

  310. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    I did understand that was the viewpoint in the Haaretz article. As I think you know, I personally have a good deal of sympathy for Ahmadinejad, without being unaware of significant mistakes he has made.

  311. James Canning says:

    Cyrus,

    Didn’t Israel and the lobby block the rapprochement that Khatami tried to achieve with the US? My understanding is that Iran agreed to accept Israel within its pre-1967 borders, but this was not good enough for the Israel lobby.

  312. Fahad,

    YOU WROTE:

    “Eric, believe it or not, but I have referred to your article numerous times in other forums. I appreciate your efforts.”

    The question I have is whether you’ve read it thoroughly enough. I think some of your comments would be much sharper if you would first take the time to see how they’ve already been addressed in my article. There may some gaps in my analysis (much as I’d like to think otherwise), but I think you’ll find that any gaps are considerably too narrow for your challenges to squeak through them. With all due respect, I’d prefer to respond to some of your points after I have reason to believe you’ve given some careful attention to what I’ve already written about them.

  313. Cyrus,

    YOU WROTE:

    “Eric and Fahad — the way presidential candidates are “pre-screened” in the US is through corporate donations to the 2 parties, and the fact that the Republicans and Democrats have a lock on drawing election district boundary lines and do so in a manner to minimize competition.”

    Thanks for pointing this out. I recognize that the US candidate-selection process is much more complicated than I described.

  314. Cyrus says:

    Incidentally people – note that the demonization of Ahmadinejad started early upon his first election, long before he had said anything controversial about Israel or the Holocaust etc. See, Khatami’s election and reaching-out to the US had caught the pro-Israeli lobby off-guard and so they were ready to throw mud at next Iranian president, regardless of whom he was (Remember the reports that he was a hostage-taker?)

    In the particular case of Ahmadinejad, this was compounded by the fact that he had domestic opponents in Iran who were willing to do the same as well.

  315. Cyrus says:

    Eric and Fahad — the way presidential candidates are “pre-screened” in the US is through corporate donations to the 2 parties, and the fact that the Republicans and Democrats have a lock on drawing election district boundary lines and do so in a manner to minimize competition. Walter Karp wrote a classic book on it, “Indispensable Enemies: The Politics of Misrule in America.”

  316. Cyrus says:

    Some “facts” about Iran are truths created simply through repetition: that there was fraud in the elections is one of them. Others include: that Iran is economically in particularly bad shape, that the people are deeply opposed to the regime which is only holding-on due to brute force, that Iran is hellbent on making nukes or seeks “nuclear weapons capability” (which is a deliberately vague formulation that can apply to any country that has a nuclear program), that the nuclear facility at Fordow near Qom was “clandestine”, that Iran’s enrichment program was ‘exposed’ in 2003 (it was actually set up under the Shah, and the IAEA was aware of it even in the 1980s and 1990s when for example Iran invited IAEA officials to visit Iran’s uranium mines, and in 2000 when Iran declared the completion of its uranium conversion facility.)

  317. Liz,

    YOU WROTE:

    “I have mixed feelings about Abbas Barzegar’s piece. I think his description of Iran today is flawed and his portrayal of Iran is far too negative, but he too was one of the few in the west who along with the Leveretts had the courage to tell the truth that Ahmadinejad won the elections and that there was no fraud.”

    His piece was a bit negative, which surprised me. I plan to read it again over the weekend before I reach any conclusion. But can you give a bit more detail on how his description of Iran is flawed? I don’t agree or disagree; I’m just interested in hearing more of your thoughts on this.

  318. Fahad,

    “But the fact that Iran is a dictatorship is not an issue in your analysis.”

    Can you explain what you mean by this?

  319. Fahad,

    REZA ESFANDIARI WROTE:

    “You may contest how the screening is done, but clearly a fair election requires equal airtime to all the candidates. 475 is not possible.”

    Iran’s electoral laws promise equal access and government assistance (TV airtime, for example) to all approved presidential candidates. I don’t claim to know how well that promise is honored, but that is not my point here. The quid pro quo is the Iranian government’s insistence on the right to limit the number of presidential candidates. As Reza notes, one may challenge the criteria applied to pre-screen candidates, and very few Americans would approve the criteria applied in Iran. But pre-screening on one basis or another is inevitable under any government-funded electoral system.

    One obvious alternative method of pre-screening would be to let candidates slug it out in primary-election campaigns, as they do in the United States, with the Iranian government stepping in to help only after the field has been winnowed out in this manner. That method of pre-screening would be more democratic, though it would have some flaws of its own.

    Consider California, for example, where I live. In the primary election held three days ago, the two Republican candidates for governor were Meg Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of EBay, and Steve Poizner, another extremely wealthy business person. Ms. Whitman, who won, had spent $71 million of her own money, which worked out to $76 per vote. Mr. Poizner had spent $25 million of his own money, which worked out to a slightly more economical $63 per vote. Although several other potential winners might also have run, not one did – quite likely because none had sufficiently deep pockets of their own and prospective donors were intimidated by the spending juggernauts they knew they would be up against.

    Is that better? More free, certainly. But better for the voters of California? I don’t know the answer to that question.

    I suspect most would say that neither country’s system deserves a lot of praise for its candidate pre-screening process. For better or worse, Iran’s method has yielded between 3 and 10 candidates for each presidential election so far, far more than the US system has yielded over the same 30-year time frame. Has Iran’s pre-screening process excluded presidential candidates who might have had a reasonable chance to win? My limited knowledge of Iranian politics over the past 30 years prevents me from answering that question (though several Iranian sources have insisted the answer is “no”). If I were asked the same question about US presidential elections, I’d be inclined to answer “yes.” I suspect many Americans would give the same answer.

    You might be interested in reading more about this, in the article section entitled “Complaint: Many Candidates Had Unfairly Been Declared Ineligible.”

  320. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @FAHAD

    “But the fact that Iran is a dictatorship is not an issue in your analysis”

    Sure…one where there have been 25 nationwide elections in 30 years with a turnout averaging over 60%…..nasty dictatorship.

    And just to pre-empt: human rights are abused universally…..you can’t attack the IR and claim that nothing bad goes on in the rest of the world.

  321. Rehmat says:

    James Canning

    “Dr. Ahmadinejad victory was better for Israel” – was not my view but deduction by Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

    Israel cannot gain from Ahmadinejad’s reforms as Israeli society is based on racism and economic exploitation. According to Jonathan Cook, there are 350,000 Dalits (untouchable) Jews in Israel – in addition to 1.2 million native Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Ha’aretz in December 2006 reported that one out of every three Israel children live in poverty especially considering that Israel has receieved over US$3,000 billion US taxpayers’ money since 1970s.

    It’s no secret that without US economic aid Israel cannot survive much longer.

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/350000-harijan-jews-in-israel/

  322. Peterson says:

    Here you get a 14 page analysis about the correctness of the election.
    Unfortunately in German: http://www.irananders.de/index.php?id=13&tx_ttnewstt_news=48&cHash=f076c6fc9b

  323. Fahad says:

    Eric, believe it or not, but I have referred to your article numerous times in other forums. I appreciate your efforts. But the fact that Iran is a dictatorship is not an issue in your analysis. When have you been in Iran the last time?

    Esfandiari, Mousavi is a former prime minister of an unjust and barbaric regime. He has become the darling of the west, but he is within the system.

    Leveretts, you have lost the race. Obama doesn’t want diplomacy. Sorry for you and all Iranians.

  324. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @FAHAD

    “Sorry, but most readers here may be confused about the simple fact that no evidence of massive fraud does not mean evidence of no fraud. I won’t trust a regime which is in need of preselecting candidates who then are allowed to run. The system is not credible, so why should ‘results’ of an election be? Brill and in particular Esfandiari (who is he?) cannot prove that there was no fraud (others couldn’t prove that there was).”

    And if Mousavi had won? Would you complaining about any screening process for candidates or questioning the credibility of the electoral system?

    The results can be verified – all 45,632 ballot boxes were released. These individual results were certified by representatives of the candidates, including Mousavi’s.

    Btw, while the disqualification of candidates for the Majlis elections is controversial and disputed in Iran, nobody thinks it is possible to have allowed all 475 registered candidates the opportunity to appear on TV and radio to announce their programs. You may contest how the screening is done, but clearly a fair election requires equal airtime to all the candidates. 475 is not possible.

  325. Fahad,

    “Eric, I am aware of all of this. There is no way to prove that it was a fair election, or the opposite.”

    Fahad, you sound entirely sincere, but I don’t get the impression you’ve read my article. It probably won’t change your opinion, but I think you’ll find it quite interesting.

  326. Fahad says:

    Eric, I am aware of all of this. There is no way to prove that it was a fair election, or the opposite. Iran is not a democracy. It is a theocratic dictatorship. There is a democratic movement. It struggles but won’t have a chance right now. I am afraid that UNSC sanctions will suffocate it. This is the major concern these days.

  327. kooshy says:

    Eric here is a new article by Juan, that I haven’t read yet

    Iran’s Green Movement: One Year Later | Mother Jones

    By Juan Cole

    How Israel’s Gaza blockade and Washington’s sanctions policy helped keep the hardliners in power

    Mother Jones – http://motherjones.com/rss/articles

  328. Fahad,

    YOU WROTE:

    “Sorry, but most readers here may be confused about the simple fact that no evidence of massive fraud does not mean evidence of no fraud.”

    Please see the article section entitled “Complaint: Mousavi’s Observers Were Barred at Many Polling Stations.” It includes the following passage, though you ought to consider reading the entire section, and perhaps the entire article:

    “It is impossible to evaluate Mousavi’s allegations of misconduct if he refuses to supply details. One who claims electoral fraud is expected to specify who, what, where, when – not merely allege that many wrongs were done to many people in many places at many times, and then insist that the government prove that none of these wrongs was done to anyone, anywhere, at any time. A responsible government must establish fair election procedures and make it possible, without difficulty, for its citizens to verify that the procedures have been followed. If the government does not, a challenger may rightfully complain even if he has no concrete proof of electoral fraud. But if the government has satisfied this obligation, as Iran’s government did in the 2009 election, the burden fairly shifts to those who allege fraud. They must examine the available information and specify improprieties so that their charges can be investigated.”

    You might also find interesting the following passage, which appears in the article section entitled “Complaint: The Result Is Not Plausible Because It Conflicts with Many Predictions and Post-Election Analyses:”

    “It is not enough to say, as these analysts essentially do: “The election result was so different from what I’d expected that no explanation other than fraud comes to mind. Therefore, the government must prove that fraud did not occur.” The burden of proof is on those who claim fraud, not on those who deny it. Few would insist on enough evidence to make a major dent in Ahmadinejad’s 11 million vote margin – just something beyond disappointment, suspicion, rumor and conjecture. If hundreds or thousands of ballot boxes were stuffed, surely someone can identify at least one. Which polling stations forced voters to use “false pens” with disappearing ink? Where, exactly, were ballot boxes left unsealed and open? If any of Mousavi’s on-site observers noticed any of this, why did none of them report it?”

    YOU WROTE:

    “I won’t trust a regime which is in need of preselecting candidates who then are allowed to run.”

    Please read the article section entitled “Complaint: Many Candidates Had Unfairly Been Declared Ineligible.” It includes the following passage, though you ought to consider reading the entire section, and perhaps the entire article:

    “Some commentators complained that many candidates had unfairly been declared ineligible by Iran’s Guardian Council and, therefore, Ahmadinejad’s election could not be considered valid. …This may have been a valid complaint for the excluded candidates, and it reflects a shortcoming of Iranian democracy. But did it affect Mousavi? Obviously he made the list, and the exclusion of other reform candidates probably improved his chances. This may explain why Mousavi himself did not raise this point until after the election. One must wonder whether he would have raised it if he had won.”

  329. Parker says:

    In fact if one wants a case where there clearly was incontrovertible evidence of electoral fraud that the US chose to ignore, and indeed welcomed as some of its PR operatives appear to have been involved, one only need look next door at the Mexican election of 2006.

    For the evidence see: http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2633

  330. kooshy says:

    Reza

    I agree that is a good idea for Iran, and clearly as you have read this site’s owners Iranian have gone out of their way to make a rapprochement possible, but they were rebuffed every time, including sending a letter to Obama and receiving Mr. Obama’s middle finger wrapped in a green color instead of his full hand.

    And no I don’t believe maintenance of this 30 year policy is “Just” due to the HRC acting on behalf of Zionist lobby, there is more important structural issues that makes possible for the lobby to take advantage of the ongoing policy, it’s a marriage of convenience between military posture and policy posture and who ever can align itself is on for a ride including Iran “if it changes it’s behavior”.

    What does changing behavior means to you?

  331. Parker says:

    EVEN IF there was well documented fraud, what business is it of the United States?

    I don’t remember Iran getting involved when Bush II was crowned by the Supreme Court?

  332. Fahad says:

    Sorry, but most readers here may be confused about the simple fact that no evidence of massive fraud does not mean evidence of no fraud. I won’t trust a regime which is in need of preselecting candidates who then are allowed to run. The system is not credible, so why should ‘results’ of an election be? Brill and in particular Esfandiari (who is he?) cannot prove that there was no fraud (others couldn’t prove that there was). I agree with the Leveretts that we have to live with the regime and try to work with it. But everything else would be frivolous.

  333. Reza Esfandiari says:

    @KOOSHY

    I disagree. The United States and Iran don’t have to remain in a state of cold war. They can co-exist as strategic rivals. There is mistrust on both sides, but mutual indifference to one another is more costly than any posturing and sloganeering.

    I think Obama sees the need for a dialogue, but Clinton is bought and paid for by the Zionist lobby. She has become a political mercernary of those who don’t have American interests at heart.

  334. Liz says:

    I have mixed feelings about Abbas Barzegar’s piece. I think his description of Iran today is flawed and his portrayal of Iran is far too negative, but he too was one of the few in the west who along with the Leveretts had the courage to tell the truth that Ahmadinejad won the elections and that there was no fraud.

  335. James Canning says:

    Reza,

    Sadly, the game plan of the “Israel-first” crowd, was to discredit the Iranian government in the wake of the election by arguing that dialogue with that government would undermine a strong existing movement for changing the government. This was a story line Obama seems to have bought. Thanks to Dennis Ross, Hillary Clinton, and others (and of course, numerous senators and congressmen beholden to the Israel lobby).

  336. James Canning says:

    kooshy,

    I think normal relations between Iran and the US can be achieved, but obviously this means a good deal of effort to get the story out, must be made. That story is that Iran itself wishes for normal relations (reopened embassies, etc etc).

  337. James Canning says:

    Arnold,

    You have your finger on a key point. By lying about what happened in the elections, the neocons who wished to prevent rapprochement with Iran were able to interfere with the diplomatic initiative (such as it was).

  338. kooshy says:

    Reza

    Considering US’s policy posture toward ME in general and particularly on Iran, any right minded Iranian should forget a reconciliation with US for long time to come
    unless as an Iranian you will be willing to accept to be a colony of US like many other countries around the globe, in that case you can forget a real democratic Iran for as long as US’s interests precedes Iran’s.

    US will not and cannot accept Iranian revolution in any content or format period regardless of whom and what administration is in the office very much like Cuba. For US accepting Iran’s self determination translates to an accelerated loose of hegemony in the region, a domino effect which US policy planners have been fighting since the Korean War if not before.

    Since the fall of the Iron curtain and the soviets what has become to astonish the world is that US’s post WWII policy of preventing with any mean to allow a domino to materialize was not really to block spread of communism it really was and is to maintain US’s colonialism, and that’s where the problem with Iran and Iranian’s mind sets becomes evident which now is slowly spreading to other like minded countries like, Turkey and Pakistan and Egypt. We are in for a continued down ride in this coming decade perhaps at a faster rate that US’s policy planers thought.

  339. Liz says:

    Thank you for your principled stance.

  340. James Canning says:

    Rehmat,

    Your point that Ahmadinejad’s victory was better from Israel’s point of view, assuming that further discrediting of Iran was thereby made easier, is obviously true.
    Especially since Israeli commentators themselves note it.

    On the other hand, Israel would benefit from an prosperous Iran, and the extent to which Ahmadinejad has botched the economics part of his job, has worked against Israel’s interests.

  341. James Canning says:

    Bravo! Neocon and other warmongers pushing for regime change have to dupe the American public, and part of the programme of deception is the development of a simple story line that the ignorant and rather stupid American public will spoon up easily. “Fraudulent election”! This is equivalent to attacking mom and apple pie.

  342. Rehmat says:

    Well, I must say even if one believe that Dr. Ahmadinejad had received only 25% of Iran’s voters’ support (even though Canada’s Israeli flagship, The National Post quoted 62%) – it’s far better than what most of American Presidents have recieved or any of Israeli prime ministers has recieved since the UNSC gave 53% of Arab Palestine to World Zionist movement.

    I wrote the following post after Dr. Ahmadinejad’s election victory and became the most read most by the Hasbara websites (1056 hits in first day):

    The Zionist propagandists expect that shallow reports on the election results and a sense of déjà vu with images of tyres and garbage being burnt on Tehran’s streets by followers of the “reformist” candidate would have the world believe that an electoral fraud of gigantic proportion has been committed by Ahmadinejad to “steal” victory.

    It’s interesting to note how short memory these Zionist propagandist idiots have. When Mir-Hossein Moussavi was prime minister of Islamic Republic of Iran (1981-89) – these idiots used to call him “a radical Islamist”. Now, they insulted his intelligence by reporting that he “claimed victory” while only 50% of the vote counting was completed (IRI Constitution requires 50% of the total votes cast – for a candidate to be declared a winner). Now, since Moussavi has lost to provide USrael’s desired “regime change’” in Tehran – we would be hearing a lot of the so-called “Contra Connection” and his involvement as a Mossad operative! Iran-Contra, like 9/11 – was a Zionist false-flag operation to discredit the Islamic regime in the eyes of the Muslim world. Riyadh paid US$10 million to fund this operation – using Israel as stop-over for the shipment of military spare parts which were long paid for by the Reza Shah regime.

    Personally, I feel the best joke came from Zionist entity itself. Daily Ha’aretz pundits called Ahmadinejad’s victory: actually preferable for Israel – claiming that it’s not his last four years good governance but his being a “holocaust denier” – which has endeared him among the Iranian majority…….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/zionist-deja-vu-over-iranian-election-09/

  343. An interesting article by Abbas Barzegar appears in today’s Guardian (UK). He updates his impressive analysis that appeared in the Guardian on the day after the election (see the first embedded link in today’s Guardian article) and presents a frank and equally impressive view of the current state of affairs in Iran, Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/11/iran-twitter-revolution-myth

  344. Arnold,

    “The analysis that Ahmadinejad really has support of only 25% of the country or so, advanced by Juan Cole, Gary Sick and others,…”

    Has Dr. Cole or Dr. Sick explained why they believe this?

    Dr. Cole’s initial response to the election was a mixture of specific charges (for example: “There is very little variation in Ahmadinejad’s numbers across provinces…”) and suspicion (for example: the result “makes no sense” and “seems odd”). His specific allegations were quickly refuted once the detailed results were announced, and I had assumed he has since limited himself to the vague sort of allegations made by hundreds of others.

    If Dr. Cole is once again making specific claims, I’d like to take a look at them. Do you have a link?

  345. Reza Esfandiari says:

    Before the election, Obama claimed that Iran had had a “robust debate”, and there was real optimism that the US administration would reach out to whoever won the election, just as they did in 2000 when reformists won the parliament/congress.

    It is therefore bitterly disappointing that the rejection of the outcome in Iran and the West, and the unrest it provoked has marred the best hope for US-Iran dialogue in a long time.

  346. Arnold Evans says:

    This is my favorite sentence from Eric’s monograph.

    The silence of Mousavi’s polling station observers is especially deafening. Most or all of them may believe that electoral fraud occurred all over Iran, but apparently each is equally adamant that it did not occur where he spent election day.

  347. Arnold Evans says:

    First, congratulations Eric (for those who do not know, he is an active commenter here), your examination of the election really deserves to be highlighted as it is here.

    Second, the Leveretts are right that there was a serious analysis failure that had negative consequences for US policy that continue to this day.

    From “the election was stolen” it is a short step to “the regime is unpopular and grasping for legitimacy” and from there another short step to “we have them where we want them, we can pressure them to give up their nuclear program”

    Some anonymous Western diplomat described Iran’s rejection of the fuel swap terms as playing chess with a monkey, you get him to checkmate and he eats the king”. When I first read that, the idea that the West had somehow checkmated Iran was just bizarre, Iran was in a very strong position in late 2009, as it is now. It amazed me that anyone who should be knowledgeable about Iran might think that.

    The analysis that Ahmadinejad really has support of only 25% of the country or so, advanced by Juan Cole, Gary Sick and others, almost the entire US Iran analysis community contributed to the idea that Iran was more vulnerable to US pressure than it was, and therefore encouraged the US use of pressure, rather than cooperative tactics with Iran.