Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Iranian Alert -- February 4, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.4.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/04/2004 12:04:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-59 next last
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

1 posted on 02/04/2004 12:04:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 02/04/2004 12:06:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Amir Taheri: Iran's Islamic republic faces moment of truth


Is Islam a sufficient basis for building a modern nation-state? This is the question that Iran's Khomeinists, in both mullah and "civilian" versions, have shunned for the past quarter of a century. They labelled their regime an "Islamic Republic", an oxymoron, and erected some of the décor of democracy including an elected parliament, an elected president and a constitution mostly copied from that of the French Fifth Republic.

For 25 years they have grappled with the fundamental contradiction of their system: a forlorn attempt at operating a "democratic theocracy." The current crisis over who could stand in the coming general election has brought that contradiction into focus. What caused the crisis?

Briefly, the conflict started when the Council of Guardians of the Constitution rejected the candidacy of some 3,000 individuals, including some incumbent members of the Majlis (parliament) on the grounds that they were not sufficiently "Islamic". Last month some of the rejected politicians started a sit-in at the Majlis, triggering a verbal duel with the Guardians Council. On Sunday, 116 members of the outgoing parliament resigned in protest.

The Western media describe the protestors as "reformers" and the Guardians Council as "conservative". Such labels, however, ignore the facts.

• The so-called "reformers" do not propose to reform anything. They are not asking for the Guardians Council to be abolished. Nor do they propose that the council lose its constitutional power to vet and, if necessary, veto candidacies. All that the "reformers" want is for the Guardians Council to dance to their tune.

• The Guardians Council is acting in strict accordance with its constitutional powers and duties. It is, therefore, the so-called "reformist" camp that wants the constitution to be violated, in both letter and spirit.

• In the case of a dispute between the Majlis and the Guardians Council, the present constitution includes adequate mechanisms for conflict resolution. Thus there is no need for sit-ins and threats of mass resignation. The disputing parties could take the matter to the Expediency Council which will hear both sides and issue a verdict. If the dispute continues beyond that verdict, the two sides could take the matter to the "Su-preme Guide" who has the final say on all matters, religious and temporal.

• Whatever the final list of candidates, to be published on Feb-ruary 7, it is certain that no "outsider" will be allowed to stand. This has been the case in all the elections held by the Khomeinist regime since 1979. Thus the choice is between two brands of Khomeinism, one presumably "lite", the other hard.

• The mass of Iranians are uninterested in what is, at best, a family feud between two factions whose members are often related to one other by blood, marriage and/or business interests. A poll by the Interior Ministry in Tehran last week revealed that 85 per cent of the electorate would boycott the coming polls even if all the candidates belonged to the so-called "reformist" faction of the Khomeinist family.


The showdown within the Khomeinist family has provoked a huge yawn inside Iran, but has forced the leaders of the regime to raise the taboo question: Is Islam compatible with democracy as normally understood across the globe?

President Mohammed Khatami, often introduced by the Western media as the leader of the "reformist" camp, had the courage to raise the question last Saturday.

Emerging from a pilgrimage to the tomb of Khomeini, Khatami had this to say: "The system of our Islamic Republic is based on the two principles of Islamism and republicanism. Just as those who do not accept Islamism are excluded [from our system] those who reject the republican aspect of our Islamic Republic fall outside it."

Khatami was careful to use the term "Islamism" rather than Islam, thus reducing religion to the status of a political ideology.

This was no mere semantic trick. For Khatami knows that Islam is incompatible with democracy. To say so is not meant as a disparagement of Islam. On the contrary many sincere Muslims regard any suggestion that Islam is not politically self-sufficient as an insult to their faith. The same sincere Muslims would feel hurt by Khatami's suggestion that Islam is a political ideology that cannot exist without the support of republicanism, a Western system of government.

In Islam all power belongs to Allah and is exercised only by His "regents" (Caliphs) in strict accordance with the immutable rules of the faith. In other words, it is Allah, and not the people, who is Sovereign.

The Khomeinist system is based on the claim that all of Allah's powers are concentrated in the hands of a mullah, named "Faqih Wali" (The Jurisconsult Custodian), who can even order the suspension of the rites of Islam itself.

In a republic, however, power belongs to the people on the basis of national sovereignty. A republic does not distinguish among its citizens on the basis of religion, although it respects their religious faith, whatever it happens to be. In a republic there are no immutable Divine Laws; an elected legislature can change whatever laws it deems fit in accordance with an earthly constitution.

In other words one can have an Islamic state just as one can have a republic. What one cannot do is to have both. The Iranian experience of the past 25 years shows that both Islam and republicanism emerge as losers from attempts to use them as a facade for a despotic regime based on violence, terror and corruption.

The true reformists in Iran are not to be found within the Khomeinist establishment. But they are present at all levels of Iranian society. They, too, are divided into two camps.


The first camp, consisting of traditionalist Muslims, wants the regime to abandon its dishonest pretensions to be "almost democratic" by establishing a fully Islamic state in which there are no secular legislative organs. Such a system could still hold periodical elections, but only to reaffirm the people's allegiance to the regime.

The second camp consists of the overwhelming majority of politically active Iranians who want a democratic system in which power belongs to the people and is exercised on its behalf by elected representatives. In such a system Islam will certainly remain the religious faith of most Iranians, the framework of the nation's cultural life, and a vital element of its identity.

Neither of those two camps is represented within the Khomeinist establishment. Both camps deserve respect because they are sincere in their beliefs.

The traditional Muslims believe that Islam has the answer to all questions that may ever be asked.

The democrats believe that Islam's principal function is to teach the individual how and what questions to ask.

This is the real debate in Iran, not the shadow-boxing in and around a meaningless parliament whose membership is disputed among members of the same politico-ideological tribe.

The Khomeinists, whether so-called "reformist" or "hardliners", deserve little respect because their positions are based on a lie labelled "Islamic Republic", a tyranny that is neither Islamic nor republican.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's available through
3 posted on 02/04/2004 12:09:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran conservative prosecutor warns eight dailies

Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Feb 3 (AFP) -- Leading conservative prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has warned eight reformist newspapers about their coverage of Iran's political crisis, the Culture Ministry said Tuesday.

Mortazavi, the prosecutor for Tehran who shut down dozens of newspapers when he was at Iran's press tribunal, "has written to the Culture Ministry asking it to warn (the newspapers) Shargh, Yas-e No, Nassim-e Sabah, Tossee, Aftab-e Yazd, Etemad, Hambasteghi, Mardom Salari," said the Ministry, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

Iran Deputy Culture Minister Mohammad Sohfi, who praised the papers for "doing their work" properly since the political struggle between reformists and conservatives erupted, said the prosecutor accused the newspapers of "spreading discord".

The Ministry, which oversees the press, has defended the newspapers during the crisis which erupted last month when the conservative Guardians Council vetting body barred 3,500 would-be candidates out of around 8,000 from standing for the February 20 parliamentary election.

Most of those barred were reformists.

Subsequently, the council -- ordered to carry out a review by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- reinstated 1,160 in a drawn-out appeals process, but some 80 sitting MPs, prominent pro-reform figures and allies of embattled President Mohammad Khatami remain barred.

Sohfi also emphasised that elections are organised under the authority of the Interior Ministry and it is up to the Ministry to determine whether the press has committed offences.

The Culture Ministry has received no instruction about any new working rules for journalists, he said.

Meanwhile, an Iranian journalist noted for his support for press rights has been summoned before a judge over his harshly critical coverage of the political crisis.

Friends said Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been accused of "spreading confusion among the public".

Shamsolvaezin has been jailed in the past and had three of his papers closed by the courts. Several reformist papers have run his comments on the elimination of the reformist candidates by the Guardians Council.
4 posted on 02/04/2004 12:11:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran's top leader refuses to put off elections

Published February 4, 2004
By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Knight Ridder

Tehran, Iran — Iran's all-powerful supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, refused Tuesday to delay this month's controversial elections for Parliament, fueling reports that reformist President Mohammad Khatami will step down.
Khatami's Cabinet will discuss the anticipated resignation at a regularly scheduled meeting this morning, after which the president probably will deliver a statement, supporters said. Another top-ranked politician, Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karrubi, who made an impassioned public plea to Khamenei on Sunday to postpone the election, is expected to announce that he won't seek re-election.

It's unclear what a Khatami resignation and Karrubi's decision would mean to the floundering reform movement. Both are seen as key to the movement, but many supporters, especially students, are disillusioned with the slow pace of political and social change.

The current crisis, the most public since the Islamic republic formed 25 years ago, was sparked last month when the conservative Guardian Council banned hundreds of pro-reform candidates, including the president's younger brother, from running in the parliamentary elections Feb. 20. On Sunday, 125 lawmakers resigned in protest.

Rescheduling the vote was the last recourse, and Khamenei, who succeeded the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 as Iran's unelected top ruler, was the only one who could take that step after the Guardian Council refused to act. Khamenei directly or indirectly appoints all 12 of the council's members — who are clerics and Islamic jurists — and has ultimate veto power.

Khatami met Tuesday with 70 reformist lawmakers, who urged him to press Khamenei for a postponement, then met with Khamenei. Khamenei issued no statement, but reformers said the ayatollah declined to intervene.

Analysts here said there was little reason for the ayatollah to risk alienating hard-liners by delaying the vote, given that public reaction to the crisis, particularly among students, has been muted.
5 posted on 02/04/2004 12:12:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Youssef M. Ibrahim: Watch for the right indicators


This week marks the opening of the American presidential election commencing with a succession of primaries that will bring into sharper focus which Democrat will face George Bush for the presidency as well as what differentiates Democrats from Republicans.

A word of caution to the reader: American elections are always decided over domestic, not foreign, issues. While the outcome is undoubtedly of crucial interest to the Gulf region as well as the whole Arab and Muslim world, it is important to watch for the right indicators.

In this coming election Iraq will affect the outcome to the degree that it has acquire too many "domestic" American features and not because the public cares about what happens to Iraqis. The questions being asked about Iraq now by pundits, candidates, inside the White House, within the army and the government as well as among the public are:

1) Did we have to go to war and invade Iraq? Were we lied to?

2) What did the president know and when did he know it about Weapons of Mass destruction: Where did intelligence end and politics begin?

3) How and when do American troops get out?

But these are not the only issues that will decide the outcome of this coming presidential election. Given that all politics are domestic, the American economy will be a major issue. And, the question of "character and integrity" among the president's team and about the president himself will also determine the outcome. The latter two will the subject of separate columns.

One way or the other, while the presidential decision is made in America, the outcome is crucial to this region and the world. Simply put four more years of the hard-line, extreme right-wing Republican administration of Bush carries the gravest risks.

Should Neoconservatives stay in power they will continue to implement an agenda of regime changes, pre-emptive actions, war of civilisations, and a growing strategic alliance with the equally hard-line government of Israel. This could spell chaos in Iraq, the total occupation of the West Bank by Israel ensuring high insecurity in the region . The results will not, as we saw in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1979, necessarily be democratic or in the West's interests. Gradual change and reform is one thing. Change in the neoconservative Bush bully-style spells catastrophe.

All this suggests that anything-but-Bush is a good idea. Right? Not surely.

Signals coming from a heretofore confused Democratic Party are not reassuring. While all challengers from the Democratic Party have in one way or another criticised the invasion and occupation of Iraq, none that matter have really disagreed with it nor proposed a coherent set of different strategies. Worse yet, the leading democratic candidates including Senator John Kerry and John Edwards have not said a word about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, oil policy, or the so-called democratisation process of the Muslim world, not to mention relations with the rest of the world.

So the picture of confusion that characterised mostly the Bush Administration from its very start as it is riven by ideological disputes on foreign policy is not much clearer on the other side of the aisle.

Take Iran. Republicans and Democrats have wavered between advocating some dialogue with Iran on issues of mutual interest, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, while, bizarrely at the same time fostering a revolt against the ruling clerics by street demonstrators whose agenda they know little about. Remember, American intelligence has been absent from Iran since 1979 as has been dialogue between Washington and Tehran.

Similarly, confusion in both parties reigns supreme when it comes to relations with Saudi Arabia.
Alternatively, the Saudis are described as enemies of the United States who foster religious intolerance and at the same time strategic allies because of their undeniable clout as the world's largest oil superpower. One day, a group of senators and congressmen propose a law to hold Saudi Arabia to account and possibly freeze Saudi assets. The next day, the president forks out a spokesperson to assure the undying alliance with Saudi Arabia.

And then there is the policy on Iraq, which takes the cake.

Relief and reconstruction effort, assigned by Bush to the Pentagon in January, have, to put mildly, stumbled over graft, corruption, bad staffing, lack of transportation and poor communication. The pattern of corruption as shown by the scandal with Halliburton, the industrial group once led by Vice President Dick Cheney is grave, promising to leave Iraq in shambles not reconstructed.

This foul smell of dishonesty is made worse on the political level by the inconsistent messages about Iraq's political future – at first US forces where going to be there until 2006, now they have to get out by June?

Just as before the invasion there were no coherent plans for what comes next. Which leaves one last thought.

If the Americans do not know what to do in the Arab and Muslim world, what is preventing Arabs and Muslims from coming together on a plan they want, or at least a minimal view of their own future.

Youssef M. Ibrahim , a former Middle East correspondent for the New York Times and Energy Editor of the Wall Street Journal, is Managing Director of the Dubai-based Strategic Energy Investment Group, a consulting firm specialising in assessing political risk in the Gulf, Middle and Near East region. He can be contacted at
6 posted on 02/04/2004 12:14:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran on brink of self-sufficiency in missile industry: Official

Payvand's Iran News ...

Iran has taken fundamental steps for self-sufficiency in its nascent missile industry with the domestication of much of the technology used in projectiles, the head of the country's aerospace organization said in Tehran on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Brigadier Ahmad Vahid recalled the hardship which dogged Iran throughout the war imposed by Iraq between 1980-1988, when the country bore the brunt of stinging economic and military sanctions.

"Logistic needs of the imposed war on one side and stringent sanctions slapped on the Islamic Republic of Iran on the other forced the country to found its missile industry.

"Thus, the industry started its rapid growth while none of the superior powers of the world were ready to cooperate with Iran in this field and everything took shape with belief in God and dependence on domestic knowledge and experience," he added.

Vahid cited achievements of Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization and its products, including production of anti-tank rockets as well as surface-to-surface Shahab missiles.

"There exist bright prospects for the organization in being a national front runner in the area of (access to) modern technologies and launch of light satellites and design of various products," he added.

Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said last month that Iran will launch its locally-built satellite within one and half years, making the country the first in the Islamic world to capture outer space.

The country later unveiled a new type of naval Ra'd missile, designed to be fired from ships or coastal batteries as well as a radar guidance system for homing Nur rockets into their targets.

Shamkhani has hailed Iran's aerospace achievements, saying the aerospace capacity of the Islamic Republic is among the most genuine areas for bolstering of the country's deterrence force through the cooperation of the defense industries and universities.

"There was a time when the Persian Gulf was regarded as a launch pad of threats against the Islamic Republic, but today with the power Iran has acquired, this region cannot be used by any non-regional power against us," he said last month.

Iran' state telecommunications company had for long been seeking a foreign contractor to construct the country's first independent satellite.

Several entities, including from China, India, France and Russia had submitted proposals for the project, dubbed 'Zohreh' which the press had cited once worth 300 million dollars, but none of them were ever pushed through.

The project had been in the air since the 1980s. Iran, with a population of more than 65 million spread out on a territory of 1.6 million kilometers, is seeking to improve its communications system.
7 posted on 02/04/2004 12:15:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Your job is massive. It is almost the equivilant (in size) to the colonists taking on the British Empire. It can be done. but you need constant and vocal publicity to get anyone in the lame stream media to pay attention. And remember their attention span is equal to a two year old childs.
8 posted on 02/04/2004 12:52:05 AM PST by marty60
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Feature: The Resecularization of Iran

Can we learn from our fathers' mistakes?

Sunday, April 14, 2002
IranMania News

Why did the Iranian modern middle class go into an alliance with the Mullahs against the Shah?
Why cannot secular minded Iranians agree on a political platform even though they all want the same things?

It is high time that we Iranians start to ask and answer these questions regardless of our political opinions if we want to find a way out of our current impasse.
In any country, any nation, democratic or semi democratic, military dictatorship or theocratic tyranny, there is always an inner sanctum of power, a control chamber where the state's vital interests, its very existence is protected.
In a democracy, the membership of that higher council is elective.
In Turkey, Pakistan or Egypt, they have elections but the military top brass are the final arbiters of power and therefore in charge of distinguishing the country's best interests.
In pre revolutionary Iran, the secular intellectuals were in charge of the control chamber, the "deep state".
In any moment of serious crisis the consensus of the secular intellectuals had the final and conclusive word on the course of the events.
The Iranian secular leadership was far more competent than their counterparts in similar societies .The 1979 Iran or even 1960s Iran was far ahead of Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Brazil, Venezuela, Malaysia or Thailand in terms of economic development, the material basis of modernization. Political development, the building of the intellectual basis of the institutions of civil society did not however materialize.
The question then becomes why was not democracy institutionalized in Iran while education and economic development clearly flourished?
There has been a range of answers so far:
The institution of monarchy and the personality of Mohammed Reza Shah were the biggest impediment to democracy in Iran or Mohammed Reza Shah was a megalomaniac by nature since he liked to fly airplanes and would always take his picture with Damavand in the background. (See Marvin Zonis, "The Majestic Failure").
Or the all too familiar conspiracy theory: Mohammed Reza Shah was groomed to be a dictator at the pay of the British and the Americans since the moment of his birth. (See the fictitious memoirs of Hossein Fardoust by the IR intelligence service).
These infantalizing, patronizing and ideology-ridden readings of history fail to answer one basic and simple question.
Supposing they are right why did the builders of the common secular consensus, the very architects of the Pahlavi State let it happen.
Where were they? Why did not they stop it?
It is therefore logical to consider that perhaps the secular state itself with or without the Shah had underlying design flaws when it came to the distribution of power or the production of a democratic consensus.
I believe that the lack of institutionalization of democracy in Iran during the Pahlavi State can be traced to the value system of the secular intellectuals themselves.
I believe that the social milieu into which Iranian institutions of civil society were borne and within which they operated had everything to do with their failure.
The social institutions of the Enlightment, an independent judiciary, a parliament, a free press can only exist if there is a consensus in society that individual humans as its members are "persons."
In the beginning of the Pahlavi era with an illiteracy rate of over 95%, neither the intellectuals looked at the majority of people as "persons" nor the majority of people thought of themselves as equal human beings to intellectuals.
That was the curse of our history. In her 1926 memorable Travel diary to Iran, "Passenger to Tehran", Vita Sackville-West, a member of the famous Bloomsbury group and a keen social observer makes an interesting comment: "This country is like the sands of its deserts, you can mold them any way you wish but the mold breaks the moment you loosen your grip. The reason is they have never experienced the 19th century when the foundations were built."

During the reign of Reza Shah, the intellectuals were convinced that democracy could wait until there actually was an Iran. As a result the secular intellectuals were the planners and Reza Shah was the muscle, the raw executive power behind economic modernization.
The relations between Mohammed Reza Shah and the intellectuals were different.
At the outset, as Iran was occupied, they looked at the Shah as a figurehead, a symbol of the continuation of the sovereign state.
As the threat to the country's national integrity subsided, the modern middle class and their delegates, the intellectuals started to treat the Shah as an independent arbiter of their differing views regarding the future path of the country.
The Shah was not the dominating power but the umpire, the power broker who maintained the balance of the secular consensus.
The attempts at building of grassroots genuine party politics in Iran were short lived and failed because of two main reasons: First, the country as a whole was still culturally and politically underdeveloped. Meaningful debates on substantive issues were nonexistent and parties would only exist as the expression of the political ambitions of their founders. Second, the material basis of Iran's modern middle class was weak. As a result power politics in the sense of independent nongovernmental civic entities exacting authority and demanding their agenda did not exist. Politics was more a case of the intellectuals theorizing and expecting change from the state.
As the institutions of the Enlightment failed to materialize, the intellectuals started to become disillusioned with the feasibility of the whole project itself rather than looking for the underlying faults. As a result, the modern middle classes were attracted by the ideals of communism in its various guises.
The Stalinist Tudeh party was a body blow to the secular consensus for not only it robbed it from some of its best talents in every field of humanities but also it imported the violent, ideological, uncivil discourse of third worldist Marxism to Iranian politics.
The events of the 28th Mordad and the fall of Mossadegh were the definitive coup the grace, the one cataclysmic event that sealed the fate of the secular alliance.
From its very beginning the motto of the constitutional movement was "The idea of legality and progress," "Andisheh Ghanoun va Taraghi".
Mohammed Mossadegh represented "Ghanoun", the political development side of Iranian modernization, the ideal of democratic legitimacy.
Mohammed Reza Shah represented "Taraghi", the economic development side of modernization, the ideal of material progress.
On the surface, Mossadegh and the Shah looked as opposites. In reality they complimented each other. No two men ever needed each other more than Mossadegh and Mohammed Reza Shah. For one was the body and the other the soul. One was critical logic and the other instrumental rationality.
Mossadegh was the consummate communicator, political tactician and crisis manager. Mohammed Reza Shah was a builder, the aloof, calculating long-term strategist.
The secular alliance needed both.
Their failure to work with each other for the common good of Iran destroyed each of them in turn and blew up the secular alliance.
Mohammed Mossadegh was arguably one of Iran's most honest, secular minded, patriotic and capable politicians. However by virtue of being a nineteenth century trained jurist, Mossadegh had very little understanding of the post war international politics and modern economics.
He actually believed that he could defeat Britain by not selling them Iranian oil.
In his memoirs he makes claims such as: " Reza Shah's building of the trans Iranian railway was a British plot. The project of sending students to Europe was a mistake for they all came back as scoundrels. Iranians do not need freight insurance for they trust each other."
Mossadegh's first year in power, was one of the best years in Iran's history. The whole of Iran united behind Mossadegh and Mohammed Reza Shah and together they accomplished one of Iran's proudest moments. The Nationalization of the oil industry. More important than the nationalization itself is how they did it. There was no hostage taking, no hate rallies, and no terrorist bombings. The Jews, Bahais or Armenians were not singled out as the enemy's fifth column.
In a manner befitting a proud, noble, old nation, they fought in the world's courts of justice and public opinion and they won.
Mossadegh's second year in power, 1953 was the year of Iran's shame. For the one man who was the symbol of democracy in Iran, Mossadegh, closed the Majlis, the Senate, the Supreme Court and ruled by decree.
And the symbol of Iran's national sovereignty and the country's best technocrat, the Shah, formed an alliance with foreigners against his own prime minister.
Mohammed Reza Pahlavi has been universally condemned and blamed for the failure of the secular state. The reality is that Mossadegh is as much responsible as Mohammed Reza Shah.
Mohammed Reza Shah did nothing wrong when he signed the edict removing Mossadegh from power. The constitution clearly gave him that right in the absence of the Majlis. The whole story of the CIA and MI6 involvement in the removal of Mossadegh is true but aggrandized way out of proportion.
Regardless, had Mohammed Reza Shah faced Mossadegh alone and defeated him without foreign interference of any amount or nature, Iran's history would undoubtedly be different.
The involvement of foreign powers as insignificant and minuscule as it was made all the difference as far as the legitimacy of the Shah and the future disposition of the secular alliance were concerned.
The economic boom which started in the 1960s mainly as a result of the Shah's and the technocratic elite's managerial expertise actually made matters worse since it laid bare the non existence and the necessity of the civic institutions of the Enlightment.
The whole modernization paradigm in Iran can be compared to a stool standing on the two pillars of economic progress and political development. The more emphasis on linear economic buildup in the absence of democracy resulted in the instability of the whole system.
As a result those secular forces that supported the Shah lost their faith in the whole system. They either retreated from politics altogether or worse they stayed on but became cynical participants in a macabre game of make believe.
On the side of the secular opposition to the Shah, from the late sixties onward the whole discourse was characterized by almost a complete lack of concern for the ideas of the Enlightment. Instead, attention was focused with what extremist political ideologies had to offer for emancipation from the domination of the West. Sociopolitical institutions were no longer discussed as a key to progress. If and when there was talk of civil liberties, it was clear from the context that it was meant only to signify the desire of the protagonists of this or that ideology to be able to have everything their own way.
The whole social milieu of the Iranian middle class became slanted and paradoxical. In one hand, the modern middle class loved the end products of economic modernization: material comfort, modern education and a cosmopolitan life style. On the other hand, they hated the very system that had produced them because of the lack of the other necessary ingredient: civil liberties. The dilemma of the modern middle class was not just political, it extended itself within every sphere of social activity: gender relations, family relations, etc. The Iranian modern middle class attempted to resolve its identity crisis, its spiritual dissatisfaction by going through a devotional metamorphosis, a metaphysical reconfiguration.
On the political side, to hide their role in the creation of the secular alliance, Iranian intellectuals created the "Myth of 28th Mordad" as the secular version of the "Karbala Syndrome".
The whole semiotics, screen play, Manichist set up of the legend of 1953 as portrayed by lay Iranian intellectuals in the 70s is reminiscent of a "Tazieh" play.
Mossadegh became the secular saint, the infallible, the Mazloum, the Shahid, the latter day Imam Hussein.
Mohammed Reza Shah became the Shiaa villain par excellence, the usurper, the tyrannical modern Yazid.
It did not matter how many dams, roads, universities, power plants the Shah built. It did not matter what the creation of OPEC did for Iran and the whole region. It did not matter that Iranian Armed Forces became the fifth in the world. It did not matter that for the very first time in our entire post Islamic history, women and religious minorities enjoyed full citizenship rights. It did not matter that the Pahlavi State succeeded where Amir Kabir and Abbas Mirza had failed
To carry the flag of patriotism, to be an authentic Iranian; you had to defy the Shah. Lock, stock and barrel.
On the social side, "Cultural Authenticity" was hailed as the solution to Iran's identity crisis. Cosmopolitanism became Westoxication, "Gharbzadegi." The opening of the Iranian culture to the world and the resulting scrutiny became "Cultural Invasion." To top it off, the intellectuals became suicidal and labeled themselves "Cultural Traitors," those who sold their ancestral faith to the devil of western modernity.
When a half literate, apprentice village Mullah, Ali Khamenei calls the whole Iranian intelligentsia, "A sick plant imported from abroad." Do not blame him.
We the secular intellectuals taught him.
The exchange of the ideals of the Enlightment for "Cultural Particularism " became the grounds for the odd coalition of the secular middle class and the political clergy to topple the last bastion of modernity in Iran, the Pahlavi State.
It did not however lead to the successful assumption of power by the secularists.
The reason is obvious, in the same way that Political Shiism has never surpassed its Karbala syndrome and is doomed to remain a creed of protest, the 70s version of Iranian ethnic nationalism could not surpass its Mossadegh myth and therefore remained the party of the honorable vanquished.
Bazargan's unwillingness to face off Khomeini when he was in control of all the levers of power is clear indication of the defeatist mind set.
In the whole fervor of the 1978-1979 Iran, three men of the secular alliance understood the depth of the tragic faith that the Iranian modern middle class faced and had the courage to stand up against the overwhelming flow. Gholam Hossein Sadighi when he asked the Shah not to leave Iran. Shahpour Bakhtiar when he put a last ditch effort to stop the inevitable. Abbas Amir Entezam when he opposed the passing of Velayat Faghih though the establishment of the assembly of experts. All three of these men were isolated or banned by their colleagues from the remnants of the secular alliance.
While in the past hundred years, we secular middle class Iranians have been busy with the demons of our past, the creations of our culture and collective conscience: the Iranian Enlightment, the Myth of Mossadegh and Cultural Authenticity; another metanarrative, a new global mega reality has been happening right under our nose.
If one takes a country's economy as a proxy for its competitive advantage amongst nations then we have miserably failed.
The general profile of Iran's economic predicament at the beginning of the Twenty first century is exactly as it was at the turn of the Twentieth century.
It is as if the collapse of the Oriental monarchy of the Qajars, the rise and demise of the Pahlavi State, the succesfull institutionalization of Political Islam and now its decay have not in the slightest measure changed the destiny of the Iranians from relying on a mono product economy for their survival.
We are still an insignificant, miniscule, marginal link in the global economic order.
The consequences of this predicament in the next decades will be catastrophic for Iran and will test the entire existence of our culture and nation.
What we have witnessed in the past twenty years is that economic globalization and the telecommunication revolution has made all kinds of third worldist Marxism, chauvinist nationalism and ethnic religious nativism simply obsolete.
The claims of those inside or outside Iran who brandish "Islamic Reformism" as a substitute to or a parallel project with the ideals of the Enlightment is entirely bogus. It is hard to believe that serious people still talk about Islamic modernism when the dramatic failure of the two hundred years old project of the construction of Political Shiism and Velayat e Fafghih as an ideology of governance out of the medieval faith of a nation is in full view of history.
"Islamic Reformism" is yet another trap to plunge the Iranian polity even deeper into an exclusively religious discourse.
If there is an iota of self-respect in the common travails that we Iranians have endured in the last two hundred years, it is certainly not in the sophistry of Ali Shariati or his reincarnation, Haj Hossein Dabagh circa AbdolKarim Sorush but in the works of Mohammad Ali Foroughi or AbdolHossein Zarinkoub or Ehsan Yarshater. If Iran has done anything where two hundred years from today, our children may proudly look back at it, it is not in the acts of hostage taking or terrorism but the trans Iranian railway, the Tehran University, the nationalization of oil, the creation of OPEC.
We do not have a choice but to rebuild the secular alliance where our fathers left it.
We are condemned to learn the art of disagreement if we are to survive.
9 posted on 02/04/2004 2:06:29 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot
Thanks for your posts. Very informative.
10 posted on 02/04/2004 2:23:59 AM PST by PGalt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
The Aytollas and Muftis and Fartwas must remain in cjarge in IRAN, serving as an example in the world of how f*cked up this Islam is!
11 posted on 02/04/2004 2:48:46 AM PST by observer5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
You would think the American press would pay more attention to the press in Iran. The fact that the IRI has it's official news mouthpiece, and threatens or shuts down papers that question the regime, speaks volumes about its goal of squelching any dissent.
12 posted on 02/04/2004 4:58:35 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: observer5
Better yet, after the Islamic regime falls the world will notice that pretending to be democratic and using religion as an excuse to crush the spirit of citizens, is not conducive when trying to sustain power.
13 posted on 02/04/2004 5:07:55 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife
More cheating by Tehran

February 01, 2004

Washington Times Op-Ed

Tehran doesn't seem to have learned the central lesson from the demise of Saddam Hussein: The rules have changed, and it has become dangerous to lie and play games with the international community when it comes to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Just a few weeks ago, Tehran acknowledged that it is continuing to build uranium-enrichment centrifuges, which are needed to make nuclear weapons. This contradicts the announcement made last fall by Britain, France and Germany that Iran had agreed to halt such activity. In short, the European trio appears to have been hoodwinked.

In September, the U.N.-affiliated International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Iran to suspend its uranium-processing and enrichment activities and sign a protocol permitting more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities. Iran agreed to sign the protocol and suspend the activities. In return, Iran gained a promise that it could have more access to high technology from Europe. Then, in December, Iran signed the protocol, much to the relief of politicians and diplomats in Europe and Washington.

Unfortunately, they were jolted back to reality when Iran announced several weeks ago that it is building the centrifuges. Tehran now brazenly claims that the deal does not require it to halt all "enrichment-related" activities and that it has the right to continue to amass centrifuges. France, Britain and Germany disagree with Tehran's very narrow interpretation of the agreement. But Germany wants to use gentle persuasion to get Iran to change its behavior, while Britain, France and IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei may be inclined to ratchet up the pressure if Iran's defiance continues.

"Iran is just the opposite of Libya," one frustrated diplomat told Reuters last month, referring to Moammar Gadhafi's renunciation of WMD and opening facilities up to international inspectors.

Of course, Tehran's cheating is nothing new. It merely continues behavior that has gone on for several decades. In November, the IAEA issued a 30-page report documenting Iranian deception about its nuclear weapons programs dating back to the mid-1980s. At the time, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton warned that if Iran "is continuing to conceal its nuclear program and has again lied to the IAEA, the international community must be prepared to declare Iran in noncompliance with its IAEA safeguards agreements."

Iran's continued cheating could have dire consequences. Henry Sokolski of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (who has been notably prescient in warning about the Iranian threat) writes in National Review Online that, if Iran fed those centrifuges with the enriched uranium that Russia plans to send it for the light-water Bushehr reactor, Tehran could produce enough material for a bomb "in a matter of weeks."

This week, a who's who of international terrorists — including Hezbollah and al Qaeda offshoots — are meeting in Tehran to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Ayatollah Khomeini's seizure of power. This event, known as the "Ten Days of Dawn," serves to remind us all why it would be intolerable to permit the Iranian regime to obtain nuclear weapons and why preventing this should be a top priority for American policy-makers.
14 posted on 02/04/2004 5:11:43 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife
Iran Election Row Edges Toward Compromise Solution

Wed February 4, 2004
By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's pro-reform government said Wednesday it was close to resolving a bitter row with hard-liners over parliamentary elections that has plunged the Islamic Republic into its worst political crisis for years.

The compromise deal over the exclusion of hundreds of reformist candidates from the Feb. 20 vote appeared to have been hammered out thanks to the intervention of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali-Khamenei, who has final say on all state affairs.

"We hope that by tomorrow afternoon we can reach acceptable results which could prepare the ground for the government to be able to hold the election," government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

He said Khamenei had called on officials to ensure a high voter turnout. Reformists have said the mass disqualification of candidates by the hard-line Guardian Council would dissuade an already politically-disillusioned public from voting.

"We hope the leader's views will be implemented," he said.

The Guardian Council -- an unelected oversight body dominated by religious hard-liners -- is expected to announce many of those barred from the election race can now run.

Reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami, who had previously said they would boycott the election even if all of the more than 2,000 barred candidates were reinstated, hinted they may be prepared to soften their stance.

"If there are positive developments we will review our decisions for the future," Ali Shakourirad, a member of Iran's largest reform party, told Reuters. "I believe there is a lot of hope but we should wait and see what practical steps are taken."


The vast majority of those barred were reformists and included more than 80 current members of the 290-seat parliament.

Khamenei, who analysts had long expected to step in to sort out the standoff, said such disputes were not unusual.

"There have always been disputes. (But) there is no knot which cannot be untied... There is no dead-end facing the Islamic system and the Iranian nation," Khamenei said in a speech, excerpts of which were broadcast by state television.

Reformists had called for the election to be postponed, but Khamenei made it clear a delay was unacceptable, officials said.

"The elections must be held on the appointed date of February 20 without a single day of delay," he said.

Khamenei, who has tended to side with hard-liners in disputes since Khatami's 1997 election win, strongly criticized reformist officials for threatening to resign over the election dispute.

"Evading responsibility by resigning or any other method is illegal and religiously forbidden," he said.

More than 120 reformist lawmakers resigned from parliament Sunday and dozens of other officials, including vice-presidents, ministers and state governors, had also threatened to quit.

Khatami was due to meet later Wednesday with reformist lawmakers to discuss the latest developments.

Reformists say the mass disqualifications were a crude attempt by hard-liners to regain control of parliament which they lost to reformists in 2000 elections.

Unelected hard-liners control powerful institutions such as the military, judiciary and Guardian Council, which they have used to block reformist legislation, jail dozens of reformist activists and close down scores of liberal newspapers.

Public interest in the election row has been muted with most Iranians disillusioned with the reformist-conservative power struggle and the lack of progress on economic and social reforms.
15 posted on 02/04/2004 5:53:05 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; nuconvert; AdmSmith
I'd like to keep saying that there is no difference between the so-called reformists and their colleagues named as hardliners.

No Difference.

They are loyal to the Islamic regime.

16 posted on 02/04/2004 6:03:29 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Can you explain the process by which Iran sets its elections? Is it unprecedented for the elections to even be halted?
17 posted on 02/04/2004 6:07:46 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; nuconvert; freedom44; DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; McGavin999; Eala
As far as I know, the Government of Iran is the executive section for the election and doesn't have any role to decide on whether who can join the campaign.
The Guardian Council is the Supervisory section and has more power to ban or halt the elections.
And as far as I know it has never been such a crisis in Islamic Republic of Iran since its foundation in 1979.
I would like to say that it looks like a Power Struggle and it doesn't really indicate the whole people's demand/wish for greater reforms or changes.
18 posted on 02/04/2004 6:14:21 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife
Khamenei rules Iran polls to go ahead on time

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled it was the pro-reform government's duty to hold parliamentary polls on schedule despite a crisis sparked by a mass disqualification of candidates.

"The parliamentary elections will be held on February 20, without being delayed by even one day," Khamenei said before several thousand people in Tehran, state television reported Wednesday.

He also warned that resignations by officials aimed at impeding the Majlis elections in protest at the barring of reformist candidates were "against the law and prohibited by Islam", at the risk of heavy penalties.

"It is the duty of the government to organise the elections and nobody can, in dispute, fail to carry out their legal duty and dispense with their responsibilities," said the supreme guide of the Islamic revolution.

Reformists had called for a delay in polling after the conservative Guardians Council vetting body ruled out some 2,500 candidates out of 8,000, most of them reformists and including some 80 sitting MPs.

Khamenei expressed optimism that a compromise solution would be found between the rival camps in the political crisis, blaming a "plot" by unspecified enemies of the Islamic republic.

"There is no knot that can not be untied ... as shown by the revolution which has overcome every obstacle placed in its path," he said, referring to the Islamic revolution which toppled the shah 25 years ago.

"This kind of tension has always existed," said Khamenei, apparently playing down the latest crisis.

"Enemies of the republic" were "encouraging certain officials of the executive to step down from their posts", and they had also "infiltrated parliament", he warned.

Several resignations have been announced among ministers, deputy ministers and provincial governors, while 125 MPs announced Saturday that they were quitting, depriving the Majlis of a quorum.

"The strategy of the enemy is to prevent the February 20 elections from taking place," he said, adding that both sides in the crisis were "resisting" heavy pressure.

"The government and the people will foil this plot," said Khamenei.

19 posted on 02/04/2004 6:17:18 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Agreed that it is an internal struggle. And with the people staying away from the elections, it appears that the victory of the hardliners will be bittersweet. How can they claim that the people have support for the regime, if ninety percent of the people do not vote? The only goal is to retain power, reform is not forthcoming.

Just my two cents. :)
20 posted on 02/04/2004 6:19:31 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-59 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson