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Iranian Alert -- February 11, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.11.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/11/2004 12:10:04 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: bushdoctrineunfold; iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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To: DoctorZIn
Bring on the Revolution, Says Reza Pahlavi

February 11, 2004
The Times
Charles Bremner

A quarter of a century after the Shah fled Iran, his son and heir to the Peacock Throne is convinced that his country is ripe for peaceful revolution.

However, the coming regime change is, he says, not being helped by visits from the Prince of Wales or by other Western overtures to Tehran.

Reza Pahlavi, 43, voiced his dim view of the Prince of Wales's trip in an interview with The Times yesterday. He urged the world to desist from dealing with what he depicts as a doomed Islamic republic.

"There is still confusion about supporting a reformist movement," the man who would be king said. "On one hand are the people of Iran; on the other there is the regime. You take your pick. Whose side do you want to be on?"

Sitting in a little Paris office with the royal tricolour behind him, the man known to his entourage as The Prince said that Iranians appreciated the concern of British royalty for Iranian earthquake victims, but that such contacts with Tehran helped to prop up the ayatollahs' state. "When you are in a very critical period, any kind of engagement could be seen as a gesture of appeasement. It would obviously be detrimental," he said.

Some may see his opinion as marginal. He has not seen Iran since the American-backed monarchy fell to a popular uprising in 1979. He was 18 and learning to fly in Texas at the time. For a few years he led a nomadic existence, but, since settling and studying in the United States in 1983, Mr Pahlavi, as he is known there, has devoted his life to the cause of a democratic Iran.

Nostalgia keeps the big Iranian diaspora -which is concentrated in Los Angeles and Paris -loyal to him. He has also emerged as a figurehead for the young in Iran. They are weary of the impotence of President Khatami and parliamentary reformers in the face of the Islamic Governing Council. Tehran students chanted Mr Pahlavi's name in the 1999 protests and there is evidence of support in Tehran on Persian-language satellite television from the US.

Mr Pahlavi looks and sounds more like a polished executive than a throneless "King of Kings" and uses a light touch to plead his case in elegant English and French.

He quotes from a crumpled printout from the Iranian Information Ministry, which says that 89 per cent of voters intend to boycott the elections next week to the Majlis (parliament).

Mr Pahlavi's grandfather, Reza Shah, was installed as ruler of Iran in a coup supported by Britain in 1921. He says that he would like to resume the throne "if the people so choose", but insists that his greatest preoccupation now is to use his name simply to encourage and promote better co-ordination between the opposition movements.

His aim is a "grand coalition" for democracy inside and outside Iran that could lead to a referendum.
21 posted on 02/11/2004 7:43:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Bring on the Revolution, Says Reza Pahlavi

February 11, 2004
The Times
Charles Bremner
22 posted on 02/11/2004 7:44:53 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tens of millions of Iranians boycott revolution's 25th Anniversary "celebration"

Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran ^ | 2.11.2004 | SMCCDI (Information Service)
Posted on 02/11/2004 7:55:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn

Tens of millions of Iranians boycotted today what was supposed to be qualified as the "Celebration" of "25 Years of Glory". Millions and milions stayed home by turning, once again, their backs to the Islamic republic regime and its dark legacy.

In Tehran, the regime was just able to gather a professional crowd rich of less than 150 thousands and in main provincial cities the number was much lesser than any other year. It's to note that the population of the Greater Tehran is around 15 millions of inhabitants and that some of the regime's mouthpieces have reported that the today's demonstrators were brought to the Azadi square by around 4000 buses which had departed from 7 "gathering points".

SMCCDI had revelead eralier that confirming reports from main Iranian cities and especially the Capital were stating about the start of mass transfers of paid "celebrators" and future "voters" to these cities. These transfers managed and supervised by the Offices of Islamic Propagation and the Pasdaran Intelligence are made in preparation of the "celebration" of the 25th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, on Wednesday, and the regime's sham parliamentary elections of Feb. 20th.

Full buses reached the cities of Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, tabriz, Mashad, Hamadan and Oroomiah (former Rezai-e) by delivering their load of paid rural people who are receiving money, gifts, promises and free full paid travel to cities.

Most of the state's foundations' hotels and dorm places, Bassij centers, mosques and even part of the regime's military facilities, such as in Lavizan (NE of Tehran) are lodging these guests.

The regime intends by this way to boost its "popular legitimacy" and avoid empty streets on these days while each of the ministries received the order to gather groups of employees, school students and plainclothes militaries and to send them for the two events.
23 posted on 02/11/2004 8:03:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
25th Anniversary of Iran's Revolution

By Alireza Jafarzadeh | February 11, 2004

Today, February 11, marks the silver anniversary of the popular revolution that toppled the dictatorship in Iran, but turned into a nightmare when Ayatollah Khomeini and his firebrand clerics erected a fundamentalist theocracy.

Exploiting the anti-Western sentiments, Khomeini perverted the revolution as an Islamic crusade against the “Great Satan” and brutally crushed the democratic opposition.

Having eliminated all voices of dissent by sending tens of thousands to the gallows, the ruling clerics, as desperate as ever, have now turned on their partners of the past twenty-five years by disqualifying thousands of rival candidates in the parliamentary elections set for February 20.

While some in the West continue to paint the recent row as a “hard-line” vs. “moderate” showdown, the impasse reflects the dire state of a ruthless, incompetent and corrupt regime that has run aground, to the point where it can no longer tolerate its accomplices in a quarter of a century of bloody rule.

To run for office, all candidates must declare their “heart-felt” and “practical” allegiance to the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical supremacy). In all these years, Mohammad Khatami and his camp have gone out of their way to assure the rival faction and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei of that loyalty.

That the watchdog vetting body, the Guardian Council, disqualified out of nearly 8,200 candidates some 3,000, including dozens of incumbent deputies, underlines the undemocratic and illegitimate nature of this election.

The Iranian public’s widespread apathy toward the developments in recent weeks, including the sit-in in the Parliament building by dozens of disqualified deputies, makes it clear that for the vast majority of Iranians elections is a sham. No more than 10 percent of the electorate cast their ballots in the “Islamic” councils’ elections last year that pitted the so-called reformers against the hard-liners. Even more so, most observers believe, the upcoming parliamentary elections will be shunned by the vast majority of the Iranians.

The Supreme Leader insisted that the election must go ahead as planned, and not a day later. He warned his rivals not to play into the hands of “foreign” enemies and those bent on toppling the Islamic Republic. “Elections will be held on time on the basis of your order,'' obeyed the lame duck president in a letter. Once again Khatami did not live up to his promise when he had earlier vowed to only hold elections that were “competitive, free and fair.”

“Khatami should not turn into an instrument in the hands of hard-liners,'' an angry prominent supporter of Khatami told the Associated Press.

In addition to proving the “reformist” faction a total travesty, this has further exposed the vulnerability and the fragile state of the ruling theocracy to the point where it cannot tolerate even those who have helped this fundamentalist regime remain in power since its inception. It has also shown to the outside world what millions in Iran have already opined: The mullahcracy is illegitimate and must be removed in its entirety.

Where does this leave the international community and the United States?

To be sure, the Europeans, in hot pursuit of business, continue to promote engagement with Tehran, reflected in the French President’s receiving last month of Hassan Rowhani, one of the most hard-line pro-Khamenei clerics. They appear to have found some allies among traditional Iran appeasers in Washington who are still in search of illusory moderates in Iran.

Others argue, as did former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, in his address to some 5,000 Iranian Americans in Washington last month, that “there is no question where the power lies in Iran today; it isn’t through the electoral process... It’s a hand full of self appointed dictators. And to believe that we can do business with them is to fail to completely understand what we are up against.”

“What the mullahs fear the most is the expression of the people of Iran. That is why they would do everything they can to resist a referendum and that is why there must be a referendum,” added Mr. Perle.

The United States has now the historic opportunity to side with the millions in Iran in their call for a United Nations supervised referendum as the last peaceful recourse to regime change in Iran.

Alireza Jafarzadeh is the president of Strategic Policy Consulting, Inc. in Washington and is a longtime commentator on Middle Eastern and Iranian affairs.
24 posted on 02/11/2004 9:10:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from inside of Iran…

The regime is reporting their crowd in Tehran is over 1,000,000.

A student in Tehran wrote me saying this is impossible.

Here is his reasoning.

He claims the length of that street the demonstration took place in is not more than 7 or 8 kms and the width is around 40 meters.

So if you multiply 8000 mts by 0.4 mt, you get 3200 Sq Mts (surface of the region that people stood on).

So if only 100 people stand on every 1 sq mt of that surface (( which is impossible ))
then you wont be able to see more than 320,000 protestors which most of them are imported to the city.

DoctorZin Note: February 20th we will see the size of the support the regime actually has when the elections are held. Most observers expect fewer than 10% of the potential voters will actually got the polls and large numbers of them will do so out of fear.
25 posted on 02/11/2004 9:37:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
So if only 100 people stand on every 1 sq mt of that surface (( which is impossible )) then you wont be able to see more than 320,000 protestors which most of them are imported to the city.

320,000 in a city with more than 12 milion people? How is that?

26 posted on 02/11/2004 9:53:29 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Calls for 'Third Way'

February 11, 2004
The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran -- On the 25th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, its reformist president attacked the vast powers of ruling conservatives Wednesday, saying restrictions on political freedoms pose a “threat to the nation.”

President Mohammad Khatami’s warning could heighten the current political friction ahead of Feb. 20 parliamentary elections that many reformers plan to boycott.

“Elections are a symbol of democracy if they are performed correctly,” Khatami told crowds gathered in a huge square to celebrate the collapse of the Western-backed monarchy in 1979. “If this is restricted, it’s a threat to the nation and the system. This threat is difficult to reverse.”

The setting for Khatami’s remarks showed the depth of the nation’s political turmoil. Normally, revolution anniversary events are dominated by predictable praise for the Islamic struggle and denunciations of “enemies” led by the United States.

But Khatami broke with tradition by using the nationally broadcast forum to discuss his frustration about hard-line tactics that have pitched Iran into one of its most serious political crises since the revolution.

Reformist candidates disqualified

More than 3,000 reformist candidates for Iran’s 290-seat parliament, or Majlis, were disqualified from the election by the hard-line Guardian Council, which claimed the candidates lacked the criteria to stand for office.

The disqualified candidates included 80 sitting members of parliament.

Liberal lawmakers countered with sit-ins and protests. The council later reinstated about 1,100 candidates, but reformists said that was insufficient.

Khatami bowed to pressure from the powerful theocracy and agreed to hold the elections, but he said the polls will be unfair.

“For the prosperity of the nation, I don’t know any path other than reforms,” he said. “Whether I succeed or not and whether obstacles keep preventing me from fulfilling my promises or not, I know no other path and won’t choose a path other than reforms.”

A major boycott — urged by a wide-ranging coalition from activists to academics — likely would return control of parliament to conservatives.

The backlash, however, could lead to huge political rifts and greater street demonstrations calling for ruling clerics to relinquish some of their virtually unlimited controls.

Khatami calls for 'third way'

In his speech, Khatami called for a “third way” avoiding Western-style models and a Taliban-like system led by “those who don’t consider the rights of the people ... and oppose freedom and democracy using religion.”

“Blocking the demands of the people and their right to vote ... causes frustration, especially among the young,” he said.

Iran’s largest reformist party, Islamic Iran Participation Front, has joined the boycott camp. The party is led by the president’s younger brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, who is deputy speaker of parliament and one of those barred from the election.

State media has urged voters to ignore the boycott and turn out in large numbers.

Reformists won control of parliament in 2000 for the first time since the 1979 revolution, which deposed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi and brought a conservative clerical government led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power.

But hard-liners have used their control of unelected bodies such as the 12-member Guardian Council to thwart attempts to liberalize Iran’s political system and relax its strict Islamic social code.

Anniversary celebrations

Most events scheduled for the anniversary celebration gave little hint of Iran’s current political crisis. Millions of Iranians held marches around the country, waving banners and flags.

In Tehran, some of the banned reformist candidates even joined the rallies — attempting to contrast the revolution’s dream of greater freedoms with their current showdown against forces some dissidents have called an “Islamic dictatorship.”

A statement distributed by a pro-reform group, Organization of the Islamic Revolution, said, “Unfortunately the people ... are struggling for the freedom that was promised them but never implemented.”

Tens of thousands of people streamed to Azadi Square to hear Khatami or gathered in other areas that had a street-fair flavor with food stalls and music.
27 posted on 02/11/2004 12:06:37 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Election Boycott Could Signal New Iranian Revolution


Under banners and balloons praising the Islamic Revolution, crowds streamed on to the streets of Teheran today to celebrate a death – the end of the Western-backed monarchy 25 years ago.

In another part of Teheran – away from the speeches and patriotic songs – a student activist was waging a quiet counterattack on the system that succeeded the shah.

He worked the phones and faxes to support the boycott of February 20 parliamentary elections that liberals consider have been hijacked by Iran’s ruling theocracy.

The dissident also dreams of someday joining an even bigger protest.

He calls it a “pink revolution:” applying the same tactics of mass resistance and clear goals that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini used to claim control of Iran in 1979.

“I don’t like what has happened,” said Roozbeh Riazi, a leader of the Office for Fostering Unity, Iran’s biggest reformist student movement.

A growing array of believers – from think tank analysts to veterans of Iran’s political scuffles – say next week’s elections may offer a defining moment for the country.

It could, they say, finally clarify and energise the so-called reform movement that started with the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997 and his calls for “Islamic democracy”.

“This boycott is the beginning of the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Qasem Sholeh Sadi, a former lawmaker who wrote a stunning open letter in 2002 to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei complaining about a lack of political openness. “The boycott is the start of social disobedience.”

For years, Iranian reformists have been unable to find a unifying theme. Some pressed for more social freedoms. Others sought a greater voice in political affairs or expanded human rights.

But the anger over the elections could sharpen the focus straight to the top: the almost unlimited power of the ruling clerics.

President Khatami has not made it clear whether he will join the boycott. But he used the Islamic Revolution ceremonies to take a sharp jab at the system.

“Elections are a symbol of democracy if they are performed correctly,” Khatami said in a speech. “If this is restricted, it’s a threat to the nation and the system. This threat is difficult to reverse.”
28 posted on 02/11/2004 12:43:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"I" as in Icarus

February 06, 2004
Iran Institute for Democracy
Professor Adam Przeworski In an interview with Ramin Parham

“I” as in “Icarus”*

“Daedalus conceived to escape from the Labyrinth with Icarus from Crete by constructing wings and then flying to safety. He built the wings from feathers and wax, and before the two set off he warned Icarus not to fly too low lest his wings touch the waves and get wet, and not too high lest the sun melt the wax. But the young Icarus, overwhelmed by the thrill of flying, did not heed his father's warning, and flew too close to the sun whereupon the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea.”
The Myth of Daedalus and Icarus

From the University of Warsaw (Philosophy, and Sociology) and the Polish Academy of Sciences, to the University of Chicago and Northwestern University (Political Science); From Mannheim Germany to l’Université de Genève onto the Paris-based Ecoles des Hautes Etudes Pratiques; From Kanpur India’s I.I.T., to Santiago Chile’s FLACSO, Adam Przeworski, Carroll and Milton Petrie Research Professor of Political Economy and Democratic Theory at New York University, co-author of “Modernization, Theories and Facts” (1), a statistical analysis into the interaction and putative correlation between “affluence” and “democracy”, accepted our invitation with interest and generosity. And he did so, despite “the heavy winter storm” …

The answers are rooted in experience and knowledge, overlapping geography, geopolitical upheavals, and scientific domains. Some of the questions remain open, for questions are meant to be open-ended. And the storm goes on, for the storm will never end.

Ramin Parham (RP): In 1959, Lipset observed the relation between democracy and affluence. Could you please elaborate on this and tell us to what degree, in your knowledge, Lipset's theory had an influence on those years' development programs in developing countries?

Adam Przeworski (AP) : Lipset observed that most developed countries were democratic while most poor countries suffered from various forms of dictatorship. But he was not clear as to why this pattern would emerge. Through most of his writing, his main hypothesis was that "the more affluent a country, the more likely it is that it would sustain democracy" (I am quoting from memory), that is, once democracy is installed, it is more likely to survive in a more developed than in a less developed country. This hypothesis must be distinguished from the claim that as countries develop they are more likely to establish democracy, which was the main claim of the modernization theory. But Lipset vacillated between the two stories.

The hypothesis that attracted the attention of the US policy makers was the latter: they believed that there was a "benign line" that led to development and to the emergence of democracy. This hypothesis, in turn, was combined with the widespread belief, influenced by the economic success of the communist countries, that dictatorships promote economic growth of poor countries more effectively than democracies (I summarize this literature in my 2000 book). When combined together, these beliefs led to a policy of supporting dictatorships, so that they would generate development, with the expectation that once countries develop democracy will emerge spontaneously. Later on, in the 1980s, a distinction was made by Jane Kirkpatrick, between "authoritarian" dictatorships that are capable of turning into democracies and the "totalitarian" ones that never would. Hence, the Reagan administration could support the military dictatorship in Chile, while at the same time combating communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe. As we show in DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT neither of these beliefs was true: dictatorships, on the average, do not develop faster than democracies, and even when they develop, they are not more likely to transit to democracy.

RP: In 1968, Samuel Huntington puts the emphasis not on "the form of the government" and their "holding elections" but on the "degree of government" meaning the "degree of organization". What was Huntington’s position about? To what extent this view differed from that of Lipset? What were its basics tenets? What was its impact on policy making in the developing world?

AP: Huntington observed that democracies were falling in several countries that reached middle levels of development. His view was that while democracy does survive in the most developed countries, development of poor countries generates political instability, promoting dictatorships. The reason, he thought, was that development promoted political participation which, in turn, led to demands that could not be satisfied given the level of development. Hence, development generates crises of "governability." What mattered, in his view, was that countries were effectively governed, but not how the rulers were selected. His prescription was to restrict political participation. Hence, he provided a rationale for policies supporting authoritarian regimes of all stripes as long as they maintained order.

RP: What is "modernization"? How does it differ from "westernization"?

AP: The theory of modernization which emerged in the 1950s maintained that development is a general process in which particular social transformations necessarily follow one another. Industrialization leads to urbanization, which in turn leads to increased communication, an expansion of education, and eventually to political participation, that is, democracy. The exact causal sequence was a matter of dispute among modernization theorists, but they shared the belief that such transformations necessarily lead one to another.

This theory generated two types of dissent. Almond and Verba (CIVIC CULTURE) observed that while modernization generates all these economic and technological transformations, it does not automatically produce a "democratic," Western culture that in their view is necessary for democracy. Huntington, as well as O'Donnell (BUREAUCRATIC AUTHORITARIANISM), observed that this process is not linear: modernity produces democracy but modernization creates conflicts that end in dictatorships. "Modernization," in these views, was the same as "Westernization”. Since all countries had to follow the same path, they would all end in the same place, which was the pattern of the already developed countries, all of which were "Western."

RP: Under an evolutionary angle, how would you see the evolution of governance?

Do not know.

RP: Borrowing from biology, would it possible to talk about the ontogenesis of democracy?

AP: Modernization theorists would certainly think so. I do not. Even when they share the same distant path, particular countries varied enormously in their subsequent economic and political history. Between 1946 and 1999, Argentina experienced nine regime changes, Costa Rica continued as a democracy (except for a brief civil war in 1948), while Paraguay continued as a dictatorship. I do not believe that there are general patterns of development.

RP: In the concluding remarks to your study "Modernization: Theories and Facts", World Politics 49, Number 2, January 1997, you state that "there are no grounds to believe that economic development breeds democracies". Can democracy be established from "above"? If yes, are there any precedents?

AP: I have a view on this which not everyone shares, namely, I believe that in a way all democracies are established "from above," that is, as a result of bargains among elites. But at the same time, I believe that elites are led to such bargains -- to agree to disagree -- only when there is strong popular pressure in support of democracy. Perhaps the extreme case where this pressure was almost non-existent was Hungary in 1989. But even in Great Britain, the successive extensions of suffrage followed periods of popular mobilization, in fact, both in 1832 and in 1867 riots.

RP: England had its land reform in the 13th century (the Japanese on the aftermath of WWII; Iran in 1963). Subsequently, the British understood very early the relationship between a "capitalist market" economy and "freedom" (reform of serfdom) [cf. "In the Wake of the Plague", by Norman F. Cantor, Perennial editions 2001). Does "freedom" come before "democracy"? If yes, in what form?

AP: This hypothesis goes back to Marx (CAPITAL, vol. III) and finds echoes in Schumpeter (CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, AND DEMOCRACY). Marx's idea was that since capitalist production requires the mobility of labor (otherwise firms could not compete), under capitalism political authority must be distinct from property. Under feudalism, the lords were at the same time the owner of peasants' labor and their political superior. Under capitalism, labor must be free. As Marx once said "that medieval proverb “nulle terre sans seigneur” was replaced by that other proverb “l'argent n'a pas de maître”. (I cite from memory). The current view is that "the rule of law" preceded democracy, understood as a method of choosing rulers through competitive elections, but this is a complicated topic (See HOLMES in MARAVALL AND PRZEWORSKI (EDS), DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW, NEW YORK: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2003). In any case, this hypothesis cannot be interpreted to imply that once capitalism is established, democracy must follow. There are quite a few countries where capitalism flourished for a long time without democracy.

RP: 8. "Modernity" seems to be to the social sciences, what the genetic approach is to biology and the quantum theory to physics: a unifying theory. Most cultural entities, from Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism the East to Judeo-Christian cultures in the West have embraced Modernity at some point. What is "Modernity"?

AP: I am afraid that this issue is so ideologically charged that I prefer not to get into it. Perhaps at one time we knew what "modern" was supposed to mean but if you read the "post-modern" literature, it becomes completely unclear. Certainly, "traditional" vs "modern" is not a good distinction. It turns out that many "traditions" are newly invented. All I can say is that I do not believe that the approach that dominated the social thinking since the beginning of the nineteenth century -- a necessary evolution from "traditional" to "modern" -- has proven not to be illuminating.

RP: Professor Przeworski, thank you for your time and insightful comments.

(1) World Politics, 49, January 1997, No. 2, p. 155-183.

* The Myth OF Daedalus & Icarus: Daedalus was a highly respected and talented Athenian artisan descendent from the royal family of Cecrops, the mythical first king of Athens. He was known for his skill as an architect, sculpture, and inventor and he produced many famous works. Despite his self-confidence, Daedalus once committed a crime of envy against Talus, his nephew and apprentice. Talus, who seemed destined to become as great an artisan as his uncle Daedalus, was inspired one day to invent the saw after having seen the way a snake used its jaws. Daedalus, momentarily stricken with jealousy, threw Talus off of the Acropolis. For this crime, Daedalus was exiled to Crete and placed in the service of King Minos, where he eventually had a son, Icarus, with the beautiful Naucrate, a mistress-slave of the King. Minos called on Daedalus to build the famous Labyrinth in order to imprison the dreaded Minotaur. The Minotaur was a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. He was the son of Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, and a bull that Poseidon had sent to Minos as a gift. Minos was shamed by the birth of this horrible creature and resolved to imprison the Minotaur in the Labyrinth where it fed on humans, which were taken as "tribute" by Minos and sacrificed to the Minotaur in memory of his fallen son Androgenos. Theseus, the heroic King of Athens, volunteered himself to be sent to the Minotaur in the hopes of killing the beast and ending the "human tribute" that his city was forced to pay Minos. When Theseus arrived to Crete, Ariadne, Minos's daughter, fell in love with him and wished to help him survive the Minotaur. Daedalus revealed the mystery of the Labyrinth to Ariadne who in turn advised Theseus, thus enabling him to slay the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth. When Minos found out what Daedalus had done he was so enraged that he imprisoned Daedalus & Icarus in the Labyrinth themselves.

Daedalus conceived to escape from the Labyrinth with Icarus from Crete by constructing wings and then flying to safety. He built the wings from feathers and wax, and before the two set off he warned Icarus not to fly too low lest his wings touch the waves and get wet, and not too high lest the sun melt the wax. But the young Icarus, overwhelmed by the thrill of flying, did not heed his father's warning, and flew too close to the sun whereupon the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea. Daedalus escaped to Sicily and Icarus' body was carried ashore by the current to an island then without a name. Heracles came across the body and recognized it, giving it burial where today there still stands a small rock promontory jutting out into the Aegean Sea, and naming the island and the sea around it after the fallen Icarus.
29 posted on 02/11/2004 12:47:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Arafat's Wife Under French Scrutiny, Will Millionaire Mullahs be Next?

February 11, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Paris -- The Paris public prosecutor's office is investigating the wife of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on suspicion of money laundering, the weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaine reported Wednesday.

According to the paper, prosecutors want to know the source of some 9 million Euros (11.4 million dollars) transferred between July 2002 and July 2003 from Switzerland to two Paris bank accounts belonging to Suha Arafat, who lives in the French capital.

The inquiry was opened in October of last year after the French Finance Ministry's money-laundering cell alerted Paris prosecutors to the transfers.

The paper reported that of the sum allegedly transferred to Suha Arafat's accounts, 2 million Euros were paid to the office of the well-known interior decorator Alberto Pinto, for reasons that remained unclear.
30 posted on 02/11/2004 12:49:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian News Agency Alleges Presidential Candidate John Kerry Sends Email Message

February 12, 2004 No.661

According to an article published in the Tehran Times, the office of U.S. Senator and leading Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry sent an email message to the Mehr News Agency . The following is the article as it appeared in English : [1]

"The office of Senator John Kerry, the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary in the U.S., sent the Mehr News Agency an email saying that Kerry will try to repair the damage done by the incumbent president if he wins the election. The text of the e-mail follows:

"'As Americans who have lived and worked extensively overseas, we have personally witnessed the high regard with which people around the world have historically viewed the United States. Sadly, we are also painfully aware of how the actions and the attitudes demonstrated by the U.S. government over the past three years have threatened the goodwill earned by presidents of both parties over many decades and put many of our international relationships at risk.

"'It is in the urgent interests of the people of the United States to restore our country's credibility in the eyes of the world. America needs the kind of leadership that will repair alliances with countries on every continent that have been so damaged in the past few years, as well as build new friendships and overcome tensions with others.

"'We are convinced that John Kerry is the candidate best qualified to meet this challenge. Senator Kerry has the diplomatic skill and temperament as well as a lifetime of accomplishments in [the] field of international affairs. He believes that collaboration with other countries is crucial to efforts to win the war on terror and make America safer.

"'An understanding of global affairs is essential in these times, and central to this campaign. Kerry has the experience and the understanding necessary to successfully restore the United States to its position of respect within the community of nations. He has the judgment and vision necessary to assure that the United States fulfills a leadership role in meeting the challenges we face throughout the world.

"'The current Administration's policies of unilateralism and rejection of important international initiatives, from the Kyoto Accords to the Biological Weapons Convention, have alienated much of the world and squandered remarkable reserves of support after 9/11. This climate of hostility affects us all, but most especially impacts those who reside overseas. Disappointment with current U.S. leadership is widespread, extending not just to the corridors of power and politics, but to the man and woman on the street as well.

"'We believe John Kerry is the Democrat who can go toe-to-toe against the current Administration on national security and defense issues. We also remain convinced that John Kerry has the best chance of beating the incumbent in November, and putting America on a new course that will lead to a safer, more secure, and more stable world.'"
31 posted on 02/11/2004 1:43:43 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
George W. Bush -- Grand Strategist

February 11, 2004
Tony Blankley

The Boston Globe -- the respected, liberal newspaper owned by the New York Times -- ran an article last week that Bush critics might wish to read carefully. It is a report on a new book that argues that President Bush has developed and is ably implementing only the third American grand strategy in our history.

The author of this book, "Surprise, Security, and the American Experience" (Harvard Press), which is to be released in March, is John Lewis Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett professor of military and naval history at Yale University. The Boston Globe describes Professor Gaddis as "the dean of Cold War studies and one of the nation's most eminent diplomatic historians." In other words, this is not some put up job by an obscure right-wing author. This comes from the pinnacle of the liberal Ivy League academic establishment.

If you hate George W. Bush, you will hate this Boston Globe story, because it makes a strong case that George Bush stands in a select category with Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and James Monroe (as guided by his secretary of state, John Q. Adams) in implementing one of the only three grand strategies of American foreign policy in our two-century history.

As the Globe article describes, in reporting on the book and an interview with Professor Gaddis, "Grand strategy is the blueprint from which policy follows. It envisions a country's mission, defines its interests and sets its priorities. Part of grand strategy's grandeur lies in its durability: A single grand strategy can shape decades, even centuries of policy."

According to this analysis, the first grand strategy by Monroe/Adams followed the British invasion of Washington and the burning of the White House in 1814. They responded to that threat by developing a policy of gaining future security through territorial expansion -- filling power vacuums with American pioneers before hostile powers could get in. That strategy lasted throughout the 19th and the early 20th centuries, and accounts for our continental size and historic security.

FDR's plans for the post WWII period was the second grand strategy, and gained American security by establishing free markets and self determination in Europe as a safeguard against future European wars, while creating the United Nations and related agencies to help us manage the rest of the world and contain the Soviets. The end of the Cold War changed that and led, according to Professor Gaddis, to President Clinton's assumption that a new grand strategy was not needed because globalization and democratization were inevitable. "Clinton said as much at one point. I think that was shallow. I think they were asleep at the switch," Professor Gaddis observed.

That brings the professor to George W. Bush, who he describes as undergoing "one of the most surprising transformations of an underrated national leader since Prince Hal became Henry V." Clearly, Professor Gaddis has not been a longtime admirer of George Bush. But he is now.

He observes that Bush "undertook a decisive and courageous reassessment of American grand strategy following the shock of the 9/11 attacks. At his doctrine's center, Bush placed the democratization of the Middle East and the urgent need to prevent terrorists and rogue states from getting nuclear weapons. Bush also boldly rejected the constraints of an outmoded international system that was really nothing more than a snapshot of the configuration of power that existed in 1945."

It is worth noting that John Kerry and the other Democrats' central criticism of President Bush -- the prosaic argument that he should have taken no action without U.N. approval -- is implicitly rejected by Professor Gaddis as being a proposed policy that would be constrained by an "outmoded international system."

In assessing Bush's progress to date, The Boston Globe article quotes Professor Gaddis: "so far the military action in Iraq has produced a modest improvement in American and global economic conditions; an intensified dialogue within the Arab world about political reform; a withdrawal of American forces from Saudi Arabia; and an increasing nervousness on the part of the Syrian and Iranian governments as they contemplated the consequences of being surrounded by American clients or surrogates. The United States has emerged as a more powerful and purposeful actor within the international system than it had been on September 11, 2001."

In another recent article, written before the Iraqi war, Professor Gaddis wrote that: "(Bush's) grand strategy is actually looking toward the culmination of the Wilsonian project of a world safe for Democracy, even in the Middle East. And this long-term dimension of it, it seems to me, goes beyond what we've seen in the thinking of more recent administrations. It is more characteristic of the kind of thinking, say, that the Truman administration was doing at the beginning of the Cold War ... "

Is President Bush becoming an historic world leader in the same category as President Franklin Roosevelt, as the eminent Ivy League professor argues? Or is he just a lying nitwit, as the eminent Democratic Party chairman and Clinton fundraiser Terry McAuliffe argues? I suspect that as this election year progresses, that may end up being the decisive debate. You can put me on the side of the professor.
32 posted on 02/11/2004 3:39:51 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Prince Charles's Visit Seen As Attempt To Maintain Influence

February 11, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Jan Jun

London -- Prince Charles's visit this week to Iran -- and the earthquake-destroyed city of Bam -- has been hotly debated in the press.

Reaction has been mostly critical.

It was the first visit to the country by a member of the British royal family since the Islamic revolution 25 years ago. As such, commentators said it was laden with political symbolism, reflecting Britain's keenness to improve ties with Tehran."There is a political motive to it, apart from, obviously, the humanitarian visit to Bam. The reason essentially would be that the British government is trying to show its support...for the constructive, critical dialogue with Iran."

Many newspapers said the visit could be seen as giving support to authoritarian regimes. This rings true in Iran right now, as it appears conservatives have gained the upper hand in a recent election row with reformers.

Ben Faulks, a country expert at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, says UK officials badly miscalculated if they thought the visit would not have symbolic or political overtones.

"British men in the Iran embassy were saying that it was a non-political visit, but of course it was impossible not to foresee that it was going to be perceived as a political visit. In the sense that, clearly, it's a highly charged environment you are walking into, particularly at the moment, so I think that if that was the intention [to have a non-political visit], then they have miscalculated," Faulks said.

Commentator Michael Gove went further in the London "Times" newspaper. He wrote, "If the prince really wanted to do more to help Muslims then he could have used his trip to Iran to ask some pertinent questions. He could have drawn attention to the absence of a free press, free elections and free speech." The paper continued: "[The prince] could have asked why the tragic people of Bam were condemned to live in [poorly constructed] housing in an oil-rich country that uses its resources to fund terror abroad and build nuclear weapons."

But not everyone sees it that way. Ali Ansari is a lecturer in Iranian studies at Exeter University in the U.K.. He says in his opinion, on balance, the visit was a good thing. He says the appearance of Prince Charles in Iran focused newspaper attention on Iran's problems.

"There is a concern that many Iranians will interpret this as British support for the regime, but I think that on balance, the visit was probably a good thing because it's drawn attention to what's going on in Iran in a way that the British [newspapers] were not paying any attention at all prior to that. This has drawn an amazing amount of coverage in the press. And the other thing is, of course, that Charles's humanitarian side, I think played very well. But it has focused the mind, I mean it is certainly true that irrespective of Charles going or not, the silence of the Europeans on what is going on in Iran has been quite deafening," Ansari said.

Ansari says the British government is wise in keeping diplomatic contacts going. He says these contacts help to bridge over the one defining characteristic of Iran's conservative faction -- its antagonism to the U.S. and U.K.

"I mean, I think there are two levels here. One is to keep a diplomatic offensive in terms of securing Iran as an ally in the war on terror in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and I think in some ways that will, in any case, bring results that the reformists want anyway. If Iran has rebuilt bridges with the United States and the United Kingdom, by default, the conservatives will have orchestrated their own demise, because what they are doing is bridging over the one real final distinguishing factor of the Islamic revolution in Iran, which is antagonism with the United States," Ansari said.

Faulks agrees Britain should keep communication open.

"There is a political motive to it, apart from, obviously, the humanitarian visit to Bam. The reason essentially would be that the British government is trying to show its support, this policy that is ongoing for some time now for the constructive, critical dialogue with Iran. It's quite a bold thing to do. It is quite a juncture, I would say," Faulks said.

Mahjoob Zweiri, a research fellow at Durham University, says the reason may be simpler. He points out that Britain and Iran have a long tradition of good ties dating back to the 19th century. Perhaps, he says, Prince Charles's visit was just intended to emphasize this.
33 posted on 02/11/2004 3:40:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Young Turn Their Backs on the Revolution

February 12, 2004
Angus McDowall

Grey-robed and bearded, the elderly cleric paused at the exit of the plane and the crowd surged forward in ecstasy. They did not realise it, but the millions of Iranians who flooded the streets of Tehran and thronged the airport to greet the returning exile, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, were part of a political earthquake that would eventually bring down the most powerful man on earth and shake the world for the next quarter-century.

The revolutionary fervour that gripped Iran in 1979 stunned the world. The CIA spooks and well-dressed foreign businessmen who had haunted Iran's marbled corridors of power for decades were gone. In their place were a motley but triumphant crew of mullahs, thinkers and dissidents.

That November, students besieged the "nest of spies" as they called the American Embassy in Tehran and took dozens of US citizens hostage. President Jimmy Carter ordered a daring rescue operation that humiliatingly failed when two helicopters crashed into the desert floor before even reaching the capital.

He was gone within a year and his successor, President Ronald Reagan, allegedly forged a back-door deal to release the hostages on the day of his inauguration, more than 400 days after they were captured. In Lebanon, the long-running civil war became a new battle front for the Islamic Revolution as Iranian-backed Shia groups made suicide bombing an art form and drove the American military presence out of the country.

The new Islamic Republic prided itself on being a democracy forged in revolution, but freedom of speech and human rights quickly dropped from the agenda amid bloody purges and a social crackdown. As power was passed among the diverse factions of the new revolutionary government, the hanging judge, Sadeq Khalkhali, became the new face of state fear as he gleefully condemned the enemies of his revolution. Royalists and courtiers were strung up in their thousands, "like starlings on a wire", alongside revolutionaries who had backed the wrong ideological horse.

A terrorist campaign gripped the nation as the leftist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation bombed and slaughter- ed many of the new Islamic Republic's leading political lights and alienated many of its then numerous supporters. On the streets, piety became the law as conservative dress codes and social relations were rigidly enforced. University students with long hair were forcibly shaved and denounced by revolutionary committees.

Twenty-five years later, the revolution is running out of steam. After a decade of war and a decade of economic decline, Iranians are tired. Yesterday, 100,000 people gathered underneath the Azadi monument in western Tehran to celebrate the anniversary.

But their avowed support for the conservative rulers of Iran is in stark contrast to many of their fellow Iranians, who believe they have again seen the glimmer of democratic hope snuffed out before their eyes.

In 1997, as millions voted for the reformist President Seyyid Mohammed Khatami, a new wave of euphoria swept Iran. It seemed violence could be banished from politics and the voice of the people ring in government again. But in the years since, that turned to disillusionment as change was blocked by an entrenched hard core of unelected conservatives.

Now the reformist movement appears to be dying fast, threatening the creeping liberalisation it struggled to promote. Thousands of reformist candidates have been barred from running in next week's Majlis elections, in what has been described as a parliamentary coup d'état.

Yesterday, President Khatami warned that the Islamic Republic must follow the path of reform or risk being taken over by extremists, who he said resembled the Taliban in Afghanistan. "They oppose freedom and democracy in the name of religion. Their model is a detestable and violent one," he told the mainly conservative crowd during the anniversary rally. But although most Iranians still support the social and political changes at the heart of the reformist agenda, the movement is on the back foot. The conservatives are expected to take back the Majlis after next week's elections, and to seize the presidency in mid-2005. But as another period of conservative rule beckons, the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic has never seemed weaker.

Voter turnout at last year's municipal elections fell below 20 per cent in large cities such as Tehran, a staggeringly small figure in a country where polling booths have drawn more than half of the population for almost every election since the revolution. The conservatives had wanted a show of strength at the anniversary celebrations. But yesterday's crowds were a shadow of those who once thronged here. The fire has gone out of Iran's revolutionary spirit.

A black-bearded conservative in dark glasses said the crowd this year was bigger than before. "Anybody with eyes can see this is the largest demonstration ever," he said, as curious boys nearby talked about Arsenal and Manchester United. Another man said the people had made the revolution and won the war and would turn out for the election to prove the Islamic Republic's strength. But the mood was more countryside carnival than revolutionary rally.

Fundamentally, the Islamic Republic today is very different to when millions took to the streets for the return of Ayatollah Khomeini from exile in early 1979. Then, less than half the population was literate and more than 60 per cent was rural. Now the population has doubled and the majority are educated city-dwellers. Most are barely adults. The new generation is eager for change, but has shunned the political activism of its forebears.

Apart from occasional demonstrations, attended by a few thousand, there is little sign the young are interested in politics. Instead, the reformist generation is pushing back the boundaries of social acceptability, often taking its cue from the West. Rock music, fast cars, parties and relationships define middle-class Iranians more than religion or revolution.

Falling mosque attendance also suggests that far from inculcating Iranians with religious zeal, the revolution has dampened Iranian enthusiasm. An eminent sociologist and reformist commentator who did not want to be named said: "Before the revolution, there was a strong religious culture, otherwise the revolution would not have been religious. The interesting point is that the present generation does not care who rules, but how."
34 posted on 02/11/2004 3:59:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Supreme Stupidity

February 12, 2004
Daily News (Taranaki, N.Z.)
Gwynne Dyer

Just six days before tonight's 25th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, a hopeful door to the future clanged shut.

Democratic reformers, who won control of the Iranian parliament in 2001, but found their legislation blocked by the unelected Guardian Council, have decided to boycott the election on February 20.

Democracy will still come to Iran in the end, no doubt, but now it will come in the streets.

The only question is whether it will be a non-violent revolution, like Berlin in 1989, or a re-run of Iran's own bloody revolution in 1979.

The straw that broke the camel's back was a brazen attempt by religious conservatives to regain control of parliament by banning 3000 reform candidates, including more than 80 sitting members of parliament (out of 290), from running in this election.

Iran's bizarre two-headed constitution allows for an elected parliament and president alongside an unelected but all-powerful Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and a Guardian Council appointed by the religious leader that can veto all parliamentary legislation and vet all political candidates, so it was technically legal.

It was also supremely stupid.

Iran's elected president, Mohammed Khatami, urged patience on his reformist supporters and appealed to the Supreme Leader to reverse the Guardian Council's decree.

Fearing his appointees had overplayed their hand, Khamenei suggested a compromise: the intel-ligence ministry would certify 600 prominent reformers as loyal to the Islamic state and they would be allowed to run.

The Guardian Council replied by approving only 51 of the 600 and, at that point, the democrats threw their hands in.

At least 127 MPs have already resigned, and the main opposition parties have declared a boycott of the forthcoming election.

The election will probably go ahead anyway, returning a huge conservative majority on a drastically shrunken turnout, but the important thing is that the democratic opposition has finally given up on politics.

In one form or another, direct action is what will now determine the outcome of the struggle between Islamic conservatives and democratic reformers in Iran.

It has only taken this long because of the pacifying - and stalling - role played by Mohammed Khatami, who was reluctantly persuaded to run for the presidency in 1997 by the reformers.

An Islamic cleric himself, though far more open-minded than the men around Khamenei, he agreed to run mainly to head off a direct clash between the bearded old men who rule Iran and the impatient young men and women who cannot stand them.

In office, Khatami moved slowly, avoiding direct confrontations with the religious authorities, but his enthusiastic supporters forgave him because the conservatives still controlled the parliament.

He briefly tried to play hard-ball in 2002, threatening to resign if the Guardian Council vetoed two parliamentary bills to stop the arbitrary vetting of political candidates and to end political trials. The Guardian Council vetoed them anyway, and Khatami didn't resign.

Neither did he condemn the conservatives when they used their constitutional position to shut down pro-democratic media. He even stayed silent when the police (who, like the army and the state-owned media, are under conservative control) helped fanatical vigilantes to beat protesting students last June.

Eventually, the conservatives were so emboldened that they overplayed their hand. Now the political struggle moves to the streets.

Khatami will stay in power for one more year, but he is a burnt-out case whose former supporters are coming to see him as a mere apologist of the regime. Among the massive cohort of disillusioned youth (Iran's population has doubled to 70 million in the past 25 years), the alienation from the whole idea of the "Islamic" republic is spectacular.

If they are middle-class, they are virtual citizens of a quite different world known to them through satellite TV, videos and constant contact with the huge Iranian diaspora that regularly travels back and forth between Iran and its new homes in Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand - a world in which people like Khamenei and Khatami seem like complete anachronisms.

When something does finally bring them out on the street again in a big way, it will probably be the end-game.

Fanatics like Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the regime's most prominent ideologue, vow to preserve the Islamic republic "even at the price of a million martyrs", but it is also possible that the whole rotten structure of the theocratic system might collapse at the first hard push.

Nobody knows - but it is clear that the patient, political phase of the struggle for Iran's future is over.
35 posted on 02/11/2004 4:56:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Long, Lost Revolution

February 12, 2004
Australian Financial Review
Andrew Burke

It's 25 years since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. But there are many who don't have much to celebrate, as Andrew Burke reports from Tehran.

Acouple of hours after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew into Tehran on February 1, 1979, he addressed 250,000 rapturous supporters at the sprawling Behesht-e Zhara martyrs' cemetery south of the capital. The 78-year-old, who had been in exile since being expelled by Mohammad Reza Shah in 1964, was his usual earnest, belligerent self. He had a vision of a new Iran, he told the assembled masses, and in it the good Muslims who populated the country would no longer be ruled by foreign-backed shahs and their lackeys. No, Khomeini had a different idea: "From now on it is I who will name the government."

Khomeini was hailed as a liberating hero. But despite festivities yesterday to mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the world's first Islamic republic, few people are in the mood for celebration

Today, Iran is a very different place. Khomeini has been dead nearly 15 years, but his legacy, or spectre, as some would prefer to describe it, can still be seen in almost every facet of life.

There are the overt symbols, such as his bearded face staring down from walls and billboards across the country, or the fact that women are still forced to wear hejab, whatever their religious belief. There are also more subtle but no less significant leftovers. The conservative Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Khomeini's hand-picked successor as Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution; volunteer militias such as Sepah and the Basijis, charged with defending the revolution; and, of course, the 12-man Guardian Council, which has the power to veto any bill passed by the parliament, which is known as the Majlis.

In spite of these often oppressive legacies, the Islamic Revolution has lost its way. After the Khomeinists ruthlessly disposed of their political rivals and co-revolutionaries in the power vacuum left by the Shah and the long war with Iraq was finally ended, belief in theocratic rule has steadily faded away.

"Do I think the clergymen should go? Certainly," says Ahmad, a software engineer from Shiraz who, like everyone approached, preferred not to be named in full for fear of retribution from hardline elements in Iranian society.

"Iran has had 25 years of going nowhere. We need to join up with the rest of the world. In the system we have we cannot do this. It is not working."

Mohsen, a young soldier doing a relatively easy two-year military service by standing around with a rifle outside one of the Shah's old palaces in Tehran, brazenly suggests that the government is "no good".

"We should not be ruled by the mullahs religion should be separate to politics," he says.

"The mullahs say `no' to everything and say it is against Islam. They say `no' to things that have nothing to do with religion this is just an excuse for them to stay in power."

The sentiments of taxi driver Ali-Reza reflect a common belief in Iran that those running the country today are as bad, if not worse, than the autocratic regime of the Shah. "Before, the Shah wore the crown; now it is these mullahs," he says.

"Those rags on their heads are there to hide the gold."

It is no small irony that as the Islamic republic marks what should be a glorious anniversary, Iran is lurching into probably its greatest political crisis since Khomeini's return.

In Tehran, government has, in effect, ceased to function. The long-simmering battle between the reformist-dominated Majlis and the unelected Guardian Council has finally boiled over in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for February 20. The crisis was sparked when 3605 out of 8157 candidates were barred from standing. The vast majority of those black-listed were from the reform camp. At least 80 are sitting members of the Majlis, among them Mohammad Reza Khatami, the President's outspoken brother and leader of the biggest reform block, the Islamic Iran Participation Front.

However, while a significant majority of Iran's predominantly youthful public are impatient for change (the population has exploded to about 70 million since the revolution), events in Tehran have failed to stir the citizenry in the way reformist legislators would have liked.

The initial black-listing of candidates was followed by a parliamentary sit-in by dozens of members. But while the banned members called for people to take to the streets to show their support for reform, most Iranians were more interested in the local football results.

That such a lack of interest has afflicted a country normally so eager to make a political statement reflects the deep-seated cynicism with which Iranians look at their leaders. The reason for the disenchantment is simple: reformists have been unable to deliver the liberalisation they promised.

It has not been for a lack of trying. The Guardian Council, which must approve all bills passed in the Majlis, has used its veto power to reject 111 of 295 pieces of mostly progressive legislation passed in the parliament. With an overwhelming mandate for change after three landslide electoral victories but without the power to execute that change, the Majlis has lost credibility with much of the population. Many Iranians have simply given up hope that the change they seek will come by working within the existing establishment. And some believe their parliamentarians are as bad as the clerics who oppose them.

Twenty-year-old Tehran student Afshin is less than diplomatic.

"They're all f---ed in Tehran," he says. "The mullahs, the reformists, they're all the same. They just want power and money. They never do anything for the people."

For the reformers, altering this perception is key to their survival as a political force. The influential student movement, which is the source of almost all organised public protest, had until last week refused to come out in full support of the reformists. Indeed, several weeks ago it released a statement saying the student movement had been burned too often by violent repression and the inability of reformers to protect them. The statement went on to reject the very idea that elections could advance the cause of reform: "Unless elections lead to systematic and fundamental change they will only legitimise autocracy."

Further proof of the decline in support for the reformers can be seen in the way many people have simply stopped bothering to vote. Mohammad Khatami's election to the presidency in 1997 saw a vast majority of the population support the only candidate out of eight who stood for change. However, by the time he was re-elected in 2001, again with an overwhelming mandate for change, 14 million people representing almost a third of the electorate did not vote. By the local elections of 2003, abstentions had risen to a staggering 28 million.

All of this was music to the ears of conservatives. Political scientists say the conservatives can rely on about 12 per cent of support every time.

With public support for the reformers so weak, many are questioning the wisdom of the Guardian Council in banning candidates and thus giving the reformers an issue to take to the public.

With more than 2000 candidates still blocked from running despite three reviews of the "blacklist", reformers have now joined those prominent liberal newspapers which have not been shut down in openly urging would-be voters to avoid the ballot box, thus rendering the elections illegitimate in all but name. Last week 130 reformist Majlis members confirmed their resignations and said they would not participate in the election, even if they were among those who hadn't been barred from doing so. Despite threats of prosecution for their "illegal act" and being labelled as US spies by the editor of one hardline newspaper, ministers, deputy ministers and all 27 provincial governors have also resigned.

It's a high-risk strategy. The clerics can count on their 12 per cent and this might well be enough to win them a majority in the Majlis. The reformers, and a majority of the public, are counting on international pressure and a conservative desire for at least some form of democratic affirmation to force significant change to Iran's political landscape.

What form this might take, no one seems to know. Many say, at least for now, they have little appetite for Iran to experience its third revolution in 100 years the first being the Constitutional Revolution of 1906.

"What happened 25 years ago, I don't want to happen again," Hossein, a 55-year-old merchant, says. "Shooting in the streets, what does that bring us? It would be very bad for the country."

But Amin, a young man not old enough to have seen the last revolution, says: "Things will change when there is the next revolution. It might be two years, might be five years, inshAllah, but things will change for Iran."

Could the students even look to Khomeini for inspiration. In lectures made in the city of Najaf, where he was exiled, and distributed by cassette to mosques across Iran in the late 1970s, the ayatollah dismissed reform and called for, in as many words, regime change. "The Shah must go," he boomed. "It is too late for reforms. The time is ripe for action." Twenty-five years on, is the time again ripe for action? Probably not. Yet.
36 posted on 02/11/2004 5:55:07 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Are in No Mood to Celebrate Revolution Anniversary

February 12, 2004
The Irish Times
Caitríona Palmer

With a staggering two-thirds of the country under the age of 30, the clerical leadership has plenty to worry about. And many of Iran's youth say they're fed up with social restrictions, a lack of jobs and rampant inflation.

Louyi Bijani was just 15 when he died in the Iran-Iraq war. Now, every Friday, his family makes a pilgrimage to Behesht-e Zahra, Tehran's largest cemetery, armed with buckets and rags. As his young nephews and nieces play nearby, Louyi's brother and mother gently wash the white marble headstone and scatter flower petals on his grave.

"He was a very good boy," said Louyi's mother. "He loved me the most out of all of my children."

Louyi's photograph, encased in a rickety glass cabinet above the grave, surveys the scene. He seems all of his 15 years, proudly wearing a barely visible line of fuzz above his top lip. Beneath his photo stands a vase of garish plastic flowers lovingly arranged by his mother.

Around Louyi lie over 200,000 young men, killed during Iran's horrific eight-year war against Iraq. Each grave has its own glass cabinet stuffed full of memorabilia from a short life. Yellowing photographs, ceramic figurines, a copy of the Koran, and again and again, the same bright, plastic flowers.

These are the men revered by Iran's Islamic Republic as "martyrs" to the cause. They are the linchpin of the 1979 revolution.

But such accolades from the theocracy mean little to Louyi's family. And as Iran marks 25 years since the overthrow of the Shah, they say they have few reasons to be celebrating.

"This anniversary makes no difference to us," said Ardel, Louyi's older brother. "I don't have a positive answer about the revolution because everything that they told us has been a lie, and nothing has turned out to be true."

Families like this are not supposed to be criticising the fruits of the revolution. Ardel and his two brothers work for the Revolutionary Guards and the Baseej militia, created during the revolution to cement conservative clerical authority.

"We have no money," said Louyi's mother. "No, I don't have a positive attitude towards the clergy. I have lost my four brothers and son in this war. When I go to the Martyrs' Foundation to look for help, they just shout at me."

Just across the road from the graveyard lies the Holy Shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini. Nearly 15 years following his death, construction on his mausoleum has yet to be completed, forcing pilgrims to pick their way to the entrance through cement blocks and steel cables. Inside the mausoleum children chase pennies on the shiny marble floor while the faithful press their faces against the glass wall of Khomeini's shrine in devotion and prayer. But even here, at the very heart of Iran's Islamic revolution, there is dissatisfaction.

Nestled against a wall of the mausoleum, dressed in a black chador and cradling a Koran, Fatima (35) says she rides the metro once a week to visit Khomeini's tomb.

"For me, it's like coming to my grandfather's grave," she said. "I talk to Imam Khomeini about my problems but I also complain to him about the problems caused by this government like the economy, unemployment, high prices."

"During the time of Imam Khomeini it was better. We liked the core message of the revolution, but now there are people in power who don't sympathise with the revolution and who are after their own goals. They have put aside the people who were the supporters of the revolution."

Twenty-five years on the world's only theocracy is struggling to engage an increasingly alienated population that no longer pays any heed to its official promises of prosperity and freedom.

With a staggering two-thirds of the country under the age of 30, the clerical leadership has plenty to worry about. And many of Iran's youth say they're fed up with social restrictions, a lack of jobs and rampant inflation.

In a coffee shop in affluent north Tehran, 25-year-old Reza is drinking coffee with two female friends while texting obsessively on his mobile phone.

He laughs derisively when asked whether he'll be celebrating the anniversary of the revolution. "No, we won't be participating," he shrugs. "We don't see any reason to celebrate. They haven't given us any happiness so why should they expect us to celebrate?"

Unsure of how to mollify the vast youth population, the conservative leadership recently began to ease social restrictions. Now unmarried young men and women can hold hands in public without fear of arrest, or congregate together in coffee shops and billiard halls.

But according to Reza, social freedoms are the least of their worries. "We've got so many problems that we don't have time to think," he said. "You know, from housing problems to financial problems."

"They've given us more social freedom," he said. "But it's a little too late."

Political analysts say the revolution succeeded in dumping the US-backed monarchy but failed to deliver on its promises of democracy. Perhaps Iranians feel let down because they didn't really know what they were getting into when they embraced Ayatollah Khomeini on his return to Tehran from exile.

"They didn't want the Shah but they didn't really know what they wanted," said one analyst. "They said they wanted an Islamic Republic but it was a reaction. It was not a carefully premeditated, calculated move by the people." More than two decades later, Iranians seem to be back to square one, accusing their leaders of exercising absolute rule.

"Iranians have been walking in a circle for 25 years," he said. "Twenty five years ago they wanted freedom of choice and now once again they want freedom of choice. Iranians want to live the lives they like, they want to be able to choose for themselves and decide for themselves." They may feel they don't have much freedom to choose, but this week as state television rebroadcasts footage of the revolution, many Iranians will be choosing to tune out.
37 posted on 02/11/2004 5:55:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"The Iranians are setting themselves up to take Afghanistan by stealth, gradually and certainly. They will use their outposts to smuggle al Qaeda and Taliban operatives, as well as weapons and money, in and out of Afghanistan. They must be stopped with whatever force it takes."

How can Karzai not know this?
38 posted on 02/11/2004 6:07:57 PM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: DoctorZIn
Reza Pahlavi Invites the West to Boycott the Islamic Republic of Iran

February 11, 2004
The Associated Press

PARIS -- As the Iranian political crisis persists ten days away from its legislative elections, Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, invited the West on Tuesday not to expand its relations with the theocratic rulers in Iran, in order to accelerate "the popular movement" in favor of a true democracy, 25 years after the introduction of the Islamic Republic.

"We are today at a juncture wherein we want to cripple the regime", he declared at a press conference held in Paris on Tuesday. "The Iranians will do what they have to do." "All that they hope for, is that the world today takes into account what they want - to invest in the people of Iran and cease bargaining with the mullahs", he continued. "And you will see that meaningful change would come about much faster than anyone expects."

The 43 year old Mr. Pahlavi, in exile for 25 years, made these remarks as Prince Charles of England had an hour meeting on Monday with the Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, during a visit to Iran intended to meet the survivors of the earthquake in Bam. In mid-January, the French president for his part, officially received Hassan Rohani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme Council for the national security. A visit during which Jacques Chirac wished for a "new future for the Franco-Iranian relations".

On Tuesday, the son of the late Shah of Iran asked the Western countries to clarify their position with respect to the clerical regime in Iran, which has "become a convention center for the terrorist industry". "Here's the bottom line: are you with us or against us? Whose side are you on, the people or the oppressive regime?", he asked.

The theologians in the Guardian Council, whose members are designated by Ayatollah Khamenei, disqualified more than 2400 reformist candidates, including 80 incumbent deputies, causing a political crisis since January which resulted particularly in the resignation of many reformist members of the Parliament and the critics of the Supreme Leader.

Referring to this poll, Reza Pahlavi minimized this electoral process pointing out the inherent inability of the Parliament (Majlis). "These elections are futile, because even as a member of the Parliament, one lacks the power to legislate", he stated. "Even if everyone were to participate, still the elections are meaningless."

For the elder son of the Shah, it is thus necessary to seize this moment of crisis in order to unite the Iranian expatriates "beyond the ideological and political divergences" and empower the Iranian people. Questioned on the means and methods of resistance, Mr. Pahlavi recommended "nonviolence" and "civil disobedience", while admitting that "for the demonstrations or strikes to function, it is not enough to merely have an intellectual movement". "What could amplify this movement also depends on certain external factors", he underlined before concluding: "the world could play an extremely constructive or destructive role."
39 posted on 02/11/2004 6:11:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Reza Pahlavi Invites the West to Boycott the Islamic Republic of Iran

February 11, 2004
The Associated Press
40 posted on 02/11/2004 6:11:50 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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