Revolution in Iran

Thoughts on and about the Iranian Revolution

Posts Tagged ‘Revolution’

What did Rafsanjani say at this Friday’s prayer?

Posted by iranrevolution on July 17, 2009

The Friday prayer is barely over. As I listen to live radio from the US, people calling in and furiously pouring their anger at Rafsanjani, I am thinking that the critic is unbalanced.

Let me be clear, on a personal level, I utterly despise this person. However, let us see what the man actually did say on this sermon. I am using my twitter messages to write this post, so it might be fragmental.

First of all he opened his sermon by saying “God will judge you, don’t be proud” and further “God swears on the pen and what men write. Writing and humanity are the same.” He went on to talk of peoples’ rights. On this he orated for a very long time, telling stories from the time of Muhammad. Then he mentioned the 7th imam and the fact that he was jailed and tortured and finally was martyred in jail.

I read in this in the current context a reference to all the people who are currently jailed, tortured and martyred in Evin and other prisons. This is surely no coincidence.

Now he gets to the election itself saying that it started well with the debates on the state media and that people were hopeful that there would be a free election and therefore the turnout was higher than ever. He said that people should be thanked for their participation. He continued to say that regretfully this situation did not last till after the election.

Then he gets to the point when he is crediting himself for being close to Khomeini and insisting that Khomeini, just like the prophet always insisted that it is the will of the people that is important. That it is the people who should govern. That if we have the people, then we have everything and that is why he was so quick to appoint Bazargan as prime minister. He continues to tell how people defeated the regime of shah on the streets.

At this point I wondered if he is telling Khamenei that if his government is not by people then he too will be defeated by the people on the streets. Then he tells a story about the prophet Muhammad. The prophet had told the first Imam, Imam Ali, that if people don’t want you to be their leader, even though you are chosen by God, then let them do as they please. This has a pivotal message. He is in other words saying that a government that is not liked by people should resign. Am I reading too much in this? I think not, because he continues to say that according to the constitution everything is from the people – even the supreme leader who is chosen by the assembly of experts who in turn is chosen by the people. Observe that Rafsanjani is in fact the head of this assembly.

Rafsanjani goes on to talk about Iran being both a republic and Islamic. If not Islamic then we go astray and if not republic then it is not practical and it is not Islamic. Then he criticizes the state media for siding with one candidate. He says that today everyone is bitter, that everyone is a loser and that we need unity today and that he finally has some suggestions to resolve the situation.

Rafsanjani’s suggestions are as follows:

  1. We must all abide by the law
  2. We must create an atmosphere where all parties are allowed to express themselves, here are the state media of great importance
  3. Prisoners must be freed [my note: Did he say political prisoners? I am not sure I heard that. However he is of course refereeing to recently imprisoned protesters, writers, journalist, bloggers and political figures]
  4. We must console the injured and the families who have suffered losses.
  5. We must not limit media that work within the framework of law

He finishes by talking about the armed forces and basically asking them to cool down.

By now I am hearing that there are demonstrations all over the town. I only hope noone gets hurt. Someone calls in and says that people don’t really care about what Rafsanjani had to say. They are just using this opportunity to come out and protest. Perhaps, this was a good enough reason to go and listen to this old man of revolution.

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Cries of Defiance

Posted by iranrevolution on July 3, 2009

I firmly believe that civil disobedience, any and all kind of it, is a great tool in the fight against repression because

  1. The government is visibly, but peacefully, confronted.
  2. People will know that they are not fighting the government alone.
  3. The various forms of protest can easily spread.
  4. At one point, the government will have to face all day long protests manifesting itself in a great variety of ways and in such a manner that the government is simply paralysed to respond to.

So pick your choice, you want to wear green? Have your headlights on? Turn your lights off in the evening? Cry your defiance? Or do all of the above and more, every day and with all your neighbours at the same time?

This video is recorded on July 1 (well into the third week of the new Iranian revolution). I only hope that these cries of defiance shall be heard from every corner of every town until the change we sought, the change that unites all of us materialises.

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Pasdar* State

Posted by iranrevolution on June 29, 2009

Who controls whom? Is Khamenei in control of the Revolutionary Guards or are the Guards dictating policy and Khamenei is simply their front man? Who is the puppeteer and who is the puppet? As the 2009 Coup d’état enters its third week, this question is becoming of ever greater importance.

If Khamenei is still at the helm, then one have to ask why he has chosen to keep Ahmadinejad as president and why he has blatantly alienated half of the inner circle? What are his gains and what are his losses? Indeed, putting the pros and cons from his perspective on a scale, one begins to wonder.

Pros may be:

  1. Having a president who truly believes in an Islamic jurisprudence embodied by Khamenei.
  2. Preparing the way for his son, Mojtaba (and there is so much rumours doing the rounds that there has to be some truth there) to succeed him.

Cons have proved to be far more numerous

  1. Regime has lost its legitimacy both in and outside of Iran (and I am not getting into the debate if it ever has been legitimate)
  2. The tension and infighting within the ruling establishment has got to unprecedented levels, threatening the very existence of the regime from inside.
  3. The ensuing street protests on a level never seen since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Khamenei have managed singlehandedly to morph the election results protests into a genuine call for a complete overhaul of the regime. Effectively demanding its demise, a revolution has landed on Khamenei’s doorstep.
  4. The infallibility of Khamenei and the office he holds is seriously in question. Even if it would survive the current turmoil, the genie is out of the bottle and Khamenei is never going to be taken seriously nor is it likely that there is going to be a singular supreme leader in the future.

It should have been apparent even to Khamenei; that the stakes are truly high and I am frankly not convinced that he actually is grooming his son to succeed him. Iran is not North Korea. It remains then to believe that Khamenei chose to risk everything only to retain a president who is ideologically close to him instead of accepting a president who opposes his views on some major issues but that instead would probably guarantee, at least for the near future, the survival of the Islamic republic.

Hence, in comes the second scenario. The Revolutionary Guards, once an undisciplined group of volunteers with political views as broad as there are Iranians and with not much more weaponry than Kalashnikovs, have steadily gained power in Iran during the past thirty years. The young revolutionaries, who survived the internal cleansings of the corps, have climbed the proverbial ladder; spread their influence in every imaginable institution, governmental, economical or else in Iran. This has happened with not so little help from Khamenei himself who, specially at the beginning of his rein was a weak figure, a compromise to fill the void of shunned Ayatollah Montazeri; and who needed all the help he could get to establish himself as the supreme leader. So he bought the support of the Revolutionary Guards by simply agreeing to all their demands. Four years ago he went one step further, fiddled strongly with the election results back then, ousted the reformist Karroubi from the race and humiliated his former ally Rafsanjani, who because he embodied all that was wrong with the regime never stood a chance anyways, and handed the presidency to Ahmadinejad. With Ahmadinejad as president, the revolutionary corps was effectively running the country.

Four years on and the commanders of this mighty military, economic and political force were not too happy to lose their privileges by the hands of a former prime minister. One they helped to get rid of some 20 odd years earlier by simply abolishing his office all together. This time around Khamenei, as argued above, had much to lose if he would decide to meddle with the result just as he did last time. So the revolutionary guards staged a sort of a palace coup d’état, effectively forcing Khamenei to follow their lead. The pros and cons for the guards?

Pros:

  1. They maintain their power.
  2. Khamenei becomes a weak figure with not much authority, letting the Guards to expand their influence by directly dictating the state policies
  3. They can continue to do all this in the background with little direct attention to their affairs.
  4. There would be internal disputes in the highest echelons of power in Iran. But that suits the Revolutionary Guards just fine, offering them a golden opportunity to eliminate dissent within the ruling elite.

Cons:

  1. They would risk a revolution. The Revolutionary Guards expected that and unleashed the Basij militia on the people. Force, they assumed, will solve this problem

I conclude therefore by asserting that what we have witnessed so far is a coup d’état by the Revolutionary Guards. Unless the new Iranian revolution manages to keep up its momentum, we’ll witness much bloodshed inside and outside of the inner circles. This would indeed be the worst possible outcome for the Iranian nation, one that certainly this most sophisticated people do not deserve.

United we stand, divided we’ll be ruled by the Revolutionary Guards.

*Pasdar = guard, a member of the Revolutionary Guards

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The case against Moussavi

Posted by iranrevolution on June 24, 2009

The Iranian regime has been hopeful that the protests against the rigged presidential elections would have died out by now. This has after all been a carefully planned ballot box Coup d’état the likes of which has rarely, if ever, been seen before. Little did Khamenei expect or foresee the wrath that this last nail in the coffin of the republic would unleash. Khamenei has certainly at no point during his twenty years as supreme leader been publicly as humiliated as he is now. It is not just the crowds on the streets or on the rooftops that demand his removal, it is also the defiant attitude of Moussavi, Karroubi and even Rafsanjani that is making life miserable for this old man.

But the Islamic republic of Iran is a shrewd and ruthless player. It has succeeded in putting an end to 25 centuries of monarchical rule in Iran. In its early years, it survived assassinations, Khamenei himself is paralysed in his right arm due to a bomb planted in his microphone and Rafsanjani escaped another one, it managed to fight off eight years of Iraqi aggression, interestingly enough with Khamenei as president and Moussavi as its premier, but most importantly, it managed to kill or imprison or else silence every opposition to its dogmatic policies. In fact, quite a few of those men who accompanied Khomeini to Tehran from Paris were amongst those who were later executed. Even the first president of the republic, Banisadr, was impeached and later managed to flee the country allegedly dressed as a woman. So this regime has no qualms about getting rid of its former allies, Moussavi is certainly not going to be an exception and he should know, a lot of the atrocities happened during his tenor as premier. I am not suggesting that he was directly responsible for any of it, but he sure must have been aware of them. Of course, people can change.

To his credit, Moussavi has shown some backbone. Rezai, the former Revolutionary Guards’ head has already faltered and withdrawn his objection to the poll result – God knows how much pressure was exerted on him, but Moussavi is still defiant even though he must very much be aware of that a case against him is being prepared at this very moment. I can already see his broken image in court, much like Mossadegh, being remembered as the man who tried to challenge the 2009 ballot box Coup d’état. This is not an unlikely scenario. The hard line Keyhan newspaper (all links in Persian) has already accused Moussavi of being directly responsible for all the deaths and mayhem (his supporters, Kayhan accuses amongst other infinitely unbelievable stuff, were armed and martyred a mother and her child who had taken cover in a kindergarten), the intelligence minister (nothing intelligent about this man) suggests that Moussavi’s stab was heavily infiltrated by terrorist elements and Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi in a letter to Khamenei compares Moussavi to Banisadr, we all can see where that is heading.

There is however other possibilities. Khamenei is apparently buying time by agreeing to a five days postponement of the Guardian Council’s final report on the election. Perhaps, the protests ebb out, hardly likely, or Moussavi buckles. Perhaps Rafsanjani manages to get enough of the members of the Assembly of Experts on his side and challenges Khamenei’s position. Perhaps divisions within the revolutionary guards surface and throw in a new factor in the game. And perhaps the popular uprising brings down this regime once and for all.

The outcome is uncertain, watch this space.

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Death to dictator

Posted by iranrevolution on June 22, 2009

So where do we go from here? Yesterday was quieter on the streets of Tehran than it has been for days. The thugs, getting the go ahead from Khamenei, showed their true ugly faces and insulted, injured, imprisoned and killed our beloved sisters and brothers with impunity.

Yesterday was the time to assess the situation and the achievements made so far. It was time to regroup, to reorganize and to deliberately decide our next move.

Make no mistake, the basij militia on the streets is not a show of force, it is a true show of weakness. The regime is faltering; its inner circles are at each others throats. Grand Ayatollahs are openly criticizing the so called supreme leader. Rafsanjani’s own relatives are apprehended. The speaker of the parliament voices discontent and even the Guardian Council has admitted that in 50 cities the number of votes has been more than 100% in a direct rebuff to Khamenei’s suggestion that the election has been fair.

We need to keep the momentum up, to have the upper hand, to be the leading player in this battle for achieving our inalienable right to be free, to dictate the rules and to decide what our next step shall be. We must make this regime to counter our moves and not vice versa, we need to lead, to be strong. We must not flinch nor blink; we must stand united and be sure within ourselves, in our depths and in our hearts that the victory is in sight.

I talk to friends in Tehran each morning and each time I hear the same message. The cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Death to dictator’ are louder each passing night. This my fellow countrymen is the key to victory, stand united and let the entire city now that you are not alone, that your neighbours are not alone, that you are a majority, that you stand together and that you are ready to walk the line. Smile and think of how Khamenei feels in his bunker as he hears your cries for freedom. Instil fear in the hearts of your basij opponents and soon, reminiscent to the last revolution, the basij will disperse like dandelions in wind and your brothers in armed forces will join you in this new Iranian revolution. Victory is indeed in sight.

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A Young Girl Shot Dead

Posted by iranrevolution on June 20, 2009

WARNING: The link in this post is graphic and gruesome.

I am sitting in the comfort of my study and writing blogs which in a very small way I hope will contribute in toppling the oppressive regime of Iran. I am asking my fellow countrymen to go out on the streets and ask for what should be their birthright, freedom.

But as I watch in horror and disbelief the last moments of a young girl dying in the streets of Tehran I wonder if we are entitled to ask our fellow countrymen to become martyrs so that the rest of us can once again be free. Yes I have doubts, great doubts. I am, like so many of my fellow countrymen sick and tired of a nondemocratic autocratic repressive regime that discredits Iran in the world and deprives its citizens from basic human rights. Dare I utter a simple truth: We all want to live our lives freely! This should be a right given to every human being by birth. There should not be a price to pay for being free. There should not be! Still, in Iran today, we are witnessing the indiscriminate killings of our fellow countrymen for the crime of being freedom lovers. And I am wondering, do I want to see even one more of my beloved countrymen to fall victim by the hands of this evil, vicious and cruel regime and its foot soldiers? Am I in a way responsible for the death of this girl?

It is a truly sad day for all of us. Please, never ever forget her. Promise to remember her as if she was your sister.

With a heavy heart…

Update 2009-06-22

Some people have suggested that this video is a fake. In a way I wished that these people were right but I am sad to say that the girl in this video, Neda Agha Soltan was indeed shot by the Basij and that the video clip is authentic. BBC Persian interviewed Neda’s fiancé and some of the initial information, such as the man in blue being Neda’s father is corrected. That man is in fact Neda’s teacher. Neda is now buried at Behesht Zahra cemetery. May she rest in peace. Her lot is 32 41 257.

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Yes, Khamenei is scared!

Posted by iranrevolution on June 19, 2009

In his sermon today, Friday 19 June 2009, Khamenei demanded an end to the protests again the results of the presidential elections. He again affirmed his support for a president who is by now discredited both at home and abroad. The legitimacy of this presidency, if, and it is a big if, it manages to cling to power shall always be in question. It will be a weak presidency where various groups within the establishment will feel free to criticize and even mock, much like he’s been treated by the outside world in the past four years. One wonders how can such a sly man as Khamenei misjudge the situation so gravely. Is his fervour for Ahmadinejad based on ideology or is he simply cornered and out of options, Ahmadinejad the only man whom he can trust?

With the opposition, i.e. the Iranian people, sensing the weakness of the regime, realizing that a big push is all that is needed to topple this monstrosity and keeping up the momentum until that moment, it is plain to see how frightened Khamenei and his few allies really are.

Khamenei has put all his eggs in one basket and that basket shall fall shortly and all its eggs are going to break. What we see here is the beginning of the end. We see the end of Khamenei. Let us be vigilant, let us make sure that the next guy – or lady – is going to respect the people whom he represents. The new Iranian revolution is healthy and thriving.

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What is going on?

Posted by iranrevolution on June 18, 2009

How secure is Khamenei? There are good reasons to believe that Khamenei is struggling not just for HIS president, he is also struggling to keep himself in the office of supreme leader.

Unconfirmed reports are coming in that the Assembly of Experts has converged. Remember that the Assembly of Experts is the sole organ in the country that has the power to dismiss the supreme leader. Remember also that the head of the Assembly of experts is Rafsanjani whose rift with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad is obvious even to the novice observer. If this report is true, the obvious question is WHY have they converged now? Should Khamenei worry?

Update – The Assembly of Experts welcomed the election turnout but made no mention of the result (Source) which clearly shows that Rafsanjani opposes Ahmadinejad and is therefore in collision course with Khamenei.

Then we have the case with Mousavi who after getting the cold hand from Khamenei, turned to the clergies of Qom. If there is anywhere that Khamenei is vunerable, even with his most ardent followers, it is his religious credentials. He was elevated from Hojatoleslam, a mid ranking clergy to Ayatollah over night just for the sake of taking the office of supreme leader. Mousavi, cleverly, questioned the wisdom and the religious authority of the supreme leader by turning to Qom clergy. And he has indeed reason to be satisfied with the outcome.

First out was the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, whose rift with Khomeini himself some 20 years ago has always put him in collision course with Khamenei. And now the latest, Grand Ayatollah Saanei and Grand Ayatollah Ardebili, both issuing statements to the effect that the security forces should operate within the framework of law and furthermore

وی ازنهادهای مسئول انتخابات خواسته است تا به شکایت مردم در زمینه نتیجه انتخابات ریاست جمهوری با دقت و سرعت و به نحوی رسیدگی کنند که موجب رضایت مردم را فراهم آورد و آنان را قانع کند.

He (Ardebili) has asked the relevant organs to pay attention to people’s complaints regarding the result of the presidential election with accuracy and haste and in a manner that satisfies and convinces the people.

So how secure is Khamenei?

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United we stand, divided we fall

Posted by iranrevolution on June 18, 2009

If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. This is the kind of rhetoric that G. W. Bush would probably be able to utter. So, to show that we won’t fall to that level, let’s paraphrase it. If you are not part of the solution, then learn how you can be a part of it.

What can I do to help the revolution? If you are outside of Iran, you either fall into the category

a – you don’t know anyone in Iran or

b – you have friends and family in Iran.

If you don’t know anyone in Iran, do one of the following:

  1. Provide Iranians with web proxies and Tor relays. Here is how to do it in English and here in Farsi.
  2. Contact all the news outlets in your area and ask them to cover the developments in Iran even more. Ask them never to name any of their sources. It can cost them their lives.
  3. Follow development on twitter #iranelection
  4. On twitter, switch your time zone to that of Iran, GMT +3.5h

If you have friends and family in Iran, do one of the following:

  1. Spread this page to Iran and ask them to translate it into Persian with Persian characters
  2. Tell them how they can be on the internet anonymously using Tor, English and Persian instructions
  3. Show them how they easily can get around the firewalls using freegate

And the most important thing of all, do let them know that they are not alone, that the entire world is watching what is happening in Iran with intense interest. Let them understand that you truly believe that this time it is for real. Give them hope. Tell them that the future government can hardly be worse that it is today. Tell them that if they lose this chance, it might not present itself for another ten years.

Ask them to cry Allahu Akbar each and every night. Nothing is more comforting than the cry of your neighbours for freedom. Do not take this lightly. Cry out every night and your friends and neighbours know that you are with them and let the thugs know that they have already lost. United we stand, divided we fall.

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Grand Ayatollah Montazeri questions the election

Posted by iranrevolution on June 17, 2009

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

Grand Ayatollah Montazeri

I am sure that I am not the only person who has ever thought what if Ayatollah Montazeri had kept quite for a few more months and had become the supreme leader? Perhaps he would have turned out to be just like Khamenei when in power. But perhaps he would have scaled down his role and let democracy to take a hold in Iran. Judging by everything he has done since being politically demoted, I put my money on the second guess.

One thing is for sure though. Religiously he ranks far higher than the supreme leader and therefore what he says is of great importance to the man on the street in Iran. He has now officially questioned the election results. You can find his Persian message on his official web site and an English translation posted on this blog.

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