Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 26, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/25/2004 9:01:03 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largely 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. As a result, most Americans 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. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
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.
|August 26, 2004||No.772|
Progressive Columnist: Iran's Nuclear Build-Up Endangers its Neighbors More than it Endangers Israel
The London Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an op-ed by its former editor, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, claiming that Israel is merely used as a pretext for Iran's nuclear build-up, and that in fact this build-up principally endangers the neighboring Arab countries. The following are excerpts from the article: 
'All of the Countries in the Region Use Israel as a Pretext'
"In early 1990 one of the American newspapers cited a Saudi diplomat as saying that his country saw the growth of Iraqi military power as a source of worry.
"[Following this statement] the Iraqi government generated a commotion by claiming that its power is always [directed] against Israel and will always be so. Saudi Arabia was obliged to distance itself from the [diplomat's] statement. A mere few months after this episode, the entire world witnessed the Iraqi forces invading the city of Al-Khafji in Saudi Arabia after having completely taken over her sister country and ally, Kuwait.
"Today Iran is saying the same thing, that its nuclear arsenal and its improved missiles are directed [only] against Israel. [This statement] plays on our emotions so that we will think that anyone who waves the banner of confrontation with Israel will be forgiven all his sins, deeds, and intentions, without any careful scrutiny of his public promises.
"Iran is of course in a state of conflict with Israel as a result of its solidarity with the Palestinian problem, its support for Hizbullah [in its fight] against the former Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and what is left of it today, [and] its support for Syria for the same reason.
"But apart from the verbal campaign against Israel [broadcast] by the official Iranian media, not a single event has been witnessed which would back [Iran's] statements to the effect that its weapons development is in order to defend itself against Israel. Not a single event has been witnessed of confrontation not even by mistake -between the two countries by land, air, or sea, despite Iran's arsenal of missiles and massive artillery.
"All of the countries in the region make use of Israel as a pretext, and there is a grain of truth in [their claims]. Yet the truth is that the annals of the wars and conflicts [in the region] do not back up the claims of self-defense against Israeli attack or confrontation with Israel.
"What interests us is not what has been said but rather what has happened and is happening. Regrettably, all of Iran's confrontations have been with Saudi Arabia [in the form of] air and land battles, with The [United Arab] Emirates, and most recently with Qatar when [Iran] detained a [Qatari] gunship. Iran's conflicts have extended also to Taliban-era Afghanistan before the events of 9/11 as well as clashes with Azerbaijan, and of course with Iraq."
'The Only Possibility is that the Artillery is that it is the Neighboring Countries that are the Intended Target'
" Among all of the confrontations in which Iran has been involved over the course of a quarter of a century, there has not been a single direct confrontation with Israel. This fact causes Iran's neighbors to be worried - more than Israel is worried - by the accelerated development of Iran's 'quality' artillery and the quantity of [both] conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
" There is no evidence supporting Iran's claims that the development of the missiles is directed against the Zionists. Moreover, the fact that Iran always fights against Israel through proxies, that is to say by way of support for factions hostile [to Israel] contradicts Iran's claim.
"It is inconceivable that this artillery would be transferred to such proxy warriors, [Therefore] the only possibility is that [the artillery] is that it is the neighboring countries that are the intended target.
" The quiet arms race that Iran has been pursuing with great zeal does not frighten Israel. Rather, [it frightens] the small neighboring countries that are obliged to buy arms for self-defense, all of which only increases the distrust on both sides and gladdens the arms dealers and the distant countries."
TEHRAN, Aug 25 (AFP) - Leading crude oil producer Iran has spent in five months its budget allocation of 1.5 billion dollars to import refined petrol (gasoline), and is to ask parliament for a further 1.1 billion, a senior oil official was quoted as saying Wednesday.
The head of the state-owned National Iranion Oil Company's international affairs department, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, told the official IRNA news agency that rising international oil prices were to blame.
A tonne of petrol that cost some 210 dollars in January last year now costs some 460 dollars, he said.
Ghanimifard said the extra cash would be expected to last until the end of the current Iranian year on March 20, 2005.
Earlier this month the oil ministry's Shana news agency said Iran faced a faces a growing shortfall in supplies of vehicle fuel, with consumption of heavily-subsidised petrol reaching 70 million liters a day.
Average consumption has reached 66 million liters, compared with a daily output by Iran's refineries of some 39 million liters, obliging the Islamic Republic to import the rest.
Despite a 23 percent price hike for the current Iranian year, pump prices are still only 800 rials (less than 10 US cents) a liter for standard, lead-free petrol and 1,100 rials for super.
This is close to 2.5 times less than the real price, with the difference being made up by subsidies totalling 3.5 billion dollars a year.
This not only makes for heedless consumption in a country with inadequate public transportation and a large number of old and uneconomical cars, but massive smuggling of fuel to neighboring countries.
The government is unwilling to raise the price again but is considering other steps along with appeals to cut down on fuel use, though it has benefitted from increased revenue from crude exports recently.
|IRAN COULD DEVELOP BOMB IN 2005
|WASHINGTON [MENL] -- Iran could complete development of its first nuclear weapon in 2005.
U.S. officials and analysts said Iran has accelerated its nuclear weapons program and could achieve a breakthrough over the next year. They said Iran has determined that it could enrich a sufficient amount of uranium by late 2005.
Undersecretary of State John Bolton said Teheran has told Britain, France and Germany that Iran could enrich enough uranium for a nuclear weapon within a year. Bolton said Teheran has developed programs for the production of plutonium as well as enriched uranium. He said Iran has constructed a large underground facility meant to house up to 50,000 gas centrifuges.
"If we permit Iran's deception to go on much longer, it will be too late," Bolton told the Hudson Institute on Aug. 17. "Iran will have nuclear weapons."
Iranian giant cash-strapped
TEHRAN: Leading crude oil producer Iran has spent in five months its budget allocation of $1.5 billion to import refined petrol and is to ask parliament for a further $1.1bn, a senior oil official said.
The head of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company's international affairs department, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, told the official Irna news agency that rising global oil prices were to blame.
A tonne of petrol that cost some $210 in January last year now costs some $460.
Ghanimifard said the extra cash would be expected to last until the end of the current Iranian year on March 20, 2005.
Earlier this month the oil ministry's Shana news agency said Iran faced a faces a growing shortfall in supplies of vehicle fuel, with consumption of heavily-subsidised petrol reaching 70 million litres a day.
Iran bars Iraqi reporter from working -TV station
TEHRAN, Aug 25 (Reuters) Iranian authorities have told an Iraqi reporter working for a Gulf-based television station he can no longer work as a journalist in Iran, his employer said today.
Abu Dhabi TV correspondent Najah Mohammed Ali is the second foreign journalist to fall afoul of Iranian authorities this year.
An American reporter working for Britain's Guardian newspaper was told to leave Iran in May.
''Our correspondent has received notification to stop his journalistic operations in Iran. There was nothing specific against the operations of Abu Dhabi TV or the office of Abu Dhabi TV,'' said a senior official at the government-owned station.
''We have been informed that this is a specific issue that has to do with our correspondent and has no reflection either on Abu Dhabi TV or on the ties between the United Arab Emirates and Iran,'' he said.
Officials at Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which oversees media activities, declined to comment.
But a source close to Abu Dhabi TV's office in Tehran said the ministry had refused last week a routine request by Mohammed Ali and his four colleagues for renewal of their press credentials and ordered the office closed.
''They were asked to close the office and told they cannot work here any more,'' said the source, who declined to be identified.
''They didn't say why they were doing this.'' The source told Reuters that Iraqi-born Mohammed Ali, who has worked as a journalist in Iran for 25 years -- the last five for the Abu Dhabi station, would leave Iran shortly in protest at the move.
While Mullahs beat their chest for Arabs, Arabs trying to block Iran from Iraq market
Aug 25, 2004, 09:51
Arab countries are engaged in a psychological war against Iran in an effort to curb its entry into the Iraqi market, the Islamic republic's Intelligence Minister was quoted as saying Wednesday.
"There is a multilateral coalition of Arab countries aimed at depriving Iran of the Iraqi market," Ali Yunessi was quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA during a speech to Tehran's Chamber of Commerce.
"With supporters of Iran controlling the Iraqi interim government and the Iraqi market full of Iranian goods, there is a competition between the other countries and as a result a propaganda and psychological war against Iran," he claimed.
The Minister was not quoted as giving any further details, except to say he would "fight against this conspiracy".
I believe there is a strong under current in Iran that is soon to be a revolution for freedom. IMHO, the Iranian government is using it's nuclear threats as much against their own people as they are to the USA.
The uprising is gaining strength and the winds of change are coming soon.
Unfortunately, the USA will not be able to act overtly until after 11/2, and my prayers are that President Bush will continue to be our President and promote freedom to those oppressed in the Middle East.
AFARAT, FROM ZENITH TO INFENO
By Safa Haeri
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004
By Safa Haeri
PARIS, 25 Aug. (IPS) In his last intervention at the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament, Yaser Arafat, the 75 years old Chairman of the Palestinian Authority admitted to wide spread corruption and mistakes in his Administration and promised he would take measure to wipe out abuse of power.
This was the first time that the ageing leader was making such dramatic confessions in public, but failed to spell out concrete actions to reform a system based on nepotism, clientalism and favouritism.
In an unconvincing effort to calm down the unrest in Gaza that has produced one of the strongest challenges to his authority since he returned from exile a decade ago, Mr. Arafat said Some unacceptable mistakes have been made by our institutions and some have abused their positions and violated the trust that has been placed in them.
Arafat accused Israel of trying to sabotage his government and of wrecking the peace process with its continued settlement activity and building of the West Bank separation barrier.
However, in his televised address from his decay and ruin office of Muqata, in Ramallah, where he is living in a semi-detained situation since three years, Abou Ammar, Arafats nom de guerre, also said that one shouldnt blame only the occupation.
"We must show the courage to recognise our mistakes," he said. "There is no one free from mistakes, from me on down. Even the prophets made mistakes", he said, as younger generation Palestinians denounced the chaos, lack of security, overlapping institutions, administrative corruption and long-postponed elections.
Mr. Arafat also admitted that "no real effort" had been made to enforce law and order and said, "More efforts and support should be made for the security of the people".
Without naming names, the Old Man, as the Palestinians call him affectively, went on telling lawmakers and the Palestinians at large, "Some mistakes have been made by our institutions and some have abused their positions and violated the trust placed in them". No one has been immune, starting from me downward, he pointed out.
But when Abed Jawad Salah, a dissident legislator known for his unabated struggle to denounce corruption at high positions interrupted Arafat charging him, "You are protecting them, Abou Amar, he angrily shouted back, "I'm protecting them?". You better be careful!
In a petition signed with some twenty other Palestinian personalities from the territories in 1999, Mr. Salah had strongly denounced the tyrannical nature of the Palestinian administrative system and accused Arafat to have open the gates to exploiters.
In response, he had been badly beaten up by the police.
A recent poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, 90 per cent of the people questioned acknowledged the existence of corruption in the Palestinian Authority, with some 65 per cent of them describing it as wide spread.
As to the identity of those behind the turmoil, 61.1% blamed elements inside Fatah, Yaser Arafats own organisation, while the rest are convinced that regional and international parties were involved.
The French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine revealed last February that Mrs. Souha Arafat, the Christian-born wife of the Palestinian is under investigation by French police for two suspicious transfers of 9 million Euros from Switzerland into her bank account in Paris, where she lives in a semi-luxurious disgrace.
The nomination of Mousa Arafat, the nephew of the Palestinian leader to the sensitive post of security services is another perfect example of nepotism and a decision that triggered a wave of unrests in the Gaza strip.
If the Old Man is serious, why he keeps ministers accused of corruption, asks Hasan Khreish, the legislator who wrote a report on the case known in the territories as the cement scandal, involving Civilian Affairs and Economy ministers suspected of helping an Israeli firm to buy cheap priced cement from an Egyptian factory with Palestinian documents against hefty commissions.
The parliament speaker, Rawhi Fatouh, who introduced Mr. Arafat, addressed him directly after his speech, saying "We need from you some formal decisions with your signature about issues you raised in the speech. The most important thing we need is your signature, and then we can start a revolution of reform that you, Abou Amar, will be leading. It will be called the presidential document for reform".
But so far, the Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has refused to sign anti-corruption legislation demanded by lawmakers, as well as laws passed by parliament.
"He expects them to take his word for it after all these years he refused to reform", lawmaker Ziad Abu Amr noted, adding, "Wednesday's speech was his last chance to introduce much needed reforms, but is unlikely to sign the laws. The speech was only given to pacify the PLC, he added.
"Arafat is not serious, or he would have been specific, another legislator said, adding that the point is not to admit vague mistakes but to be specific and then correct them".
If the speech was intended to convince the international community about his sincerity, one can say for sure and certain that it was an exercise in futility, for both the United States and the European Union remember that all the pledges he made before on their advises, including new elections and sweeping change never materialised.
While the US Administration said it was "unimpressed" by Arafats admission of mistakes and remains steadfast in its commitment not to negotiate with the veteran PLO leader whom Secretary of State Colin Powell last month accused of being the master of "yo-yo" insincerity, the 25-members European Union almost ignored the confessions.
Even France, the country that supported and backed Mr. Arafat at times he suffered bitter isolation, like in the nineties after he unwisely sided with the now toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his attack against neighbouring Kuwait, showed no reaction.
Arafats slow but steady descent from a zenith of popularity to inferno started after the collapse of the Camp David negotiations that many observers put the blame on the Palestinian leader.
Former American President Bill Clinton who had arranger the meeting between the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yaser Arafat believed all the most difficult practical issues between the two sides had been solved, but (realised) that Arafat "seemed confused, not wholly in command of the facts", and that he ultimately "couldn't make the final jump from revolutionary to statesman" -- what Clinton calls "an error of historic proportions".
Actually, when this correspondent was flying with the PLO leader in the special plane provided to him and his small, hand picked delegation and few journalists and photographers by the late King Hasan II of Morocco for his trip to Washington for the historical shake hand with the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, some advisors suggested Arafa should change his traditional military uniform and keffiyeh for a civilian dress and tie.
I suggested he better keep his usual outfit, as the plane was starting its approach.
On our way back to Tunis, where he had established his headquarters after being saved by the French in extremis from Beirut years ago under Israeli guns commanded by General Ariel Sharon, and being metamorphosed from a terrorist into a respectable statesman in less than 48 hours, I told him Rais (President, in Arabic) Arafat, now it is time for you to change dress.
But he never did, preferring to remain a flying revolutionary leader jumping from one capital to another talking to world leaders instead of becoming a statesman, a job that calls for a lot of responsibilities.
According to insiders, at Camp David, the Palestinians demanded sovereignty over all of East Jerusalem including the Haram-Asharif, or the Temple Mount as well as full implementation of the right of return of the refugees, under UN Resolution 1948, a request that Israelis refused, offering control of parts of East Jerusalem.
Arafat was persuaded that the Israelis were setting a trap. His primary objective thus became to cut his losses rather than maximize his gains, noted Hussein Agha, a Palestinian scholar and Robert Malley, an assistant to Clinton involved with the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in their joint essay, Camp David, The Tragedy of Errors.
"I warned Arafat that he was single-handedly electing Sharon and that he would reap the whirlwind", Mr. Clinton wrote in his recent book, My Life published by Hutchinson.
Clinton took no pains to hide his disappointment at failing to go down in history as the American president who reconciled the Israelis and Palestinians and winning a Nobel Peace Prize. But he also tried to find an explanation for Arafat's intransigence.
"It was hard to know why he had moved so little", Clinton said. "I still didn't believe Arafat would make such a colossal mistake".
Ironically, when Arafat telephoned Clinton at the end of his office to thank him for his work and called him a great man, the former Democrat President replied:. "Mr Chairman, I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you have made me one", Clinton told The Guardian newspaper.
Asked by the paper whether he is convinced, as the Israelis are, that so long as Arafat is there, there is no Palestinian partner for peace, Clinton says no. President Bush and Ariel Sharon make a mistake if they think they can ignore the veteran Palestinian leader.
"Unless they just want to wait for him to become incapacitated or pass away or unless they seriously believe they can find a better negotiating partner in Hamas ... then they need to keep working to make a deal", he added in the exclusive interview carried out on 21 June 2004.
Arafat admits to mistakes and corruption at a time that he has lost all his political charisma and power. His confessions demonstrates more the last efforts of a leader who has failed in his political action and has no significant role in the Palestinian-Israeli theatre, his political demise rather a way out of the present situation, said Mansoor Farhang, a former Iranian ambassador at the United Nations now teaching Middle Eastern politics at New York universities.
As Palestinians are now looking for new generation of leaders acceptable also for the Israelis and the Americans, the fact is that like other Arab leaders, Abou Ammar, during his 40 years of undisputable reign over the destiny of the Palestinians, not only has groomed no one to succeed him, but also eliminated anyone who wanted to become a rival.
The biggest sin Arafat committed was his public endorsement of terrorism and suicide attacks against civilian Israelis after the collapse of the Camps David talks, leading to renewed violence and ultimately the coming to power of Israels most radical elements, Mr. Farhang concluded ENDS ARAFAT CONFESSIONS 25804
Iran's Hossein Reza Zadeh Wins Gold in Weightlifting
Athens, Greece (Sports Network) - Hossein Reza Zadeh of Iran repeated as the gold medal winner in the men's super heavyweight division Wednesday night. It was the final evening of weightlifting competition at the Athens Games.
Reza Zadeh came into the competition already recognized as the world's strongest man after capturing the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics. He set a world record in those Games with a lifted weight of 472.5kg, but matched that total Wednesday night.
"If I am healthy, I will go onto lift 500kg," proclaimed Reza Zadeh following his gold medal performance in which he set a world record in the clean and jerk with 263.5kg.
Viktors Scerbatihs of Latvia won the silver medal with a total of 455kg, while Velichko Cholakov of Bulgaria was third with a mark of 447.5kg.
German veteran Ronny Weller, competing in a record fifth Olympic Games, retired with a shoulder injury after his second attempt in snatch. The injury denied him of the chance of being the first weightlifter to win five consecutive Olympic medals.
American Shane Hamman was seventh. Hamman set a new American record in the clean and jerk of 237.5 kg and a record for highest total ever by an American of 430kg. He lifted 192.5 in the snatch.
"I had a medal on mind, so I was a little disappointed in the snatch," Hamman said. "I have a lot more in me. My technique was not in line tonight. The lift felt a little sloppy. I had a great clean and jerk and I am happy to have done a personal best and set a new American record. I tried going for 240kg on the third lift but I was out front about four inches and had to drop the bar."
Rostam was a national hero in Ferdowsi poems and lyrics. He is the symbol of Goodness and fighting the DEEV which is the symbol of Evil.
Congratulation to all Iranians for the 2nd Gold Medal of our ROSTAM in the Olympics games.
Gold medalist Hossein Reza Zadeh of Iran lifts 581 pounds (263.5 kg) for a world record in the clean and jerk during the men's over 231 lb (+105 kg) event at the Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Wednesday Aug. 25, 2004. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Really? World record?
I haven't followed any of the weightlifting comps yet... that's outstanding. Congratulations.
I remember the days of the Soviet guy... wassishname... Vasily Alexiyev... (sp?) that guy was a machine... completely unbeatable...
Hmm...I missed that.
Wonder if Russia or North Korea or China is going to come to help out Iran.
More On Rezazadeh
I remember him, too.
Thanks for the ping!
|Last Update: 26/08/2004 11:09|
|Iran calls for pressure on Israel to sign nuclear treaty|
|By The Associated Press|
MANILA - Israel's alleged arsenal of nuclear weapons is causing instability in the Middle East, and Israel should be pressured into joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran's foreign minister said Thursday.
|Israel has never confirmed nor denied having atomic weapons, but it is widely believed to be a nuclear power.
Meanwhile, Israel and the United States strongly suspect Iran - which has signed the non-proliferation accord - is secretly building nuclear weapons.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said his country advocates a nuclear arms-free Middle East, but "the problem is that Israel has full capability in nuclear weapons [and has] a large arsenal of nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction."
"Every country in the Middle East is feeling insecure because of the capabilities of Israel," Kharrazi told reporters during a visit to Manila.
"I believe the international community has to put pressure on Israel to become a member of NPT and... eliminate its existing nuclear weapons."
Kharrazi also disputed an Iranian government-owned newspaper report that quoted Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani as saying Iran was producing nuclear defense equipment to protect its citizens in case of any possible attack on its nuclear facilities.
Kharrazi said Iran has "never" said it's producing nuclear defense equipment.
He repeated earlier statements that its nuclear technology is "only for peaceful purposes" such as energy, medical and agricultural use.
Kharrazi also said Iran's nuclear program is under close watch by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspectors "frequently visit Iranian sites" and have found "no evidence" it is diverting nuclear material for weapons production.
"Basically, we do not believe nuclear weapons are bringing us security," he said. "That's why we believe that the whole Middle East should be free from nuclear weapons."
Tens injured and arrested in Guonaveh clashes
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Aug 25, 2004
Violent clashes lead to several injured and arrested in Guonaveh as the angry residents retaliated to the brutal attack of the regime's militiamen against their peaceful protest gathering.
The offices of the governor and several public buildings were burnt and the custom's depots were looted. Several militiamen were injured and their patrol cars heavily damaged by incendiary devices.
The situation of the city is very tense and the regime, in an effort to calm the situation, has qualified its initial decision to transfer a hospital from the city as a "rumor spread by the enemies of the State".
More and more Iranians are resorting to violence in reaction to the repressive Islamic regime despite knowing the heavy price to pay if caught opposing the unpopular theocracy.