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Iranian Alert - May 11, 2005 - The Wily Shark Resurfaces for Another Bite at Iran Presidency
Regime Change Iran ^ | 5.11.2005 | DoctorZin

Posted on 05/11/2005 4:53:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

Top News Story

Wily Shark Resurfaces for Another Bite at Iran Presidency

An Excerpt:

Richard Beeston, The Times UK:

A founding leader of the Iranian revolution, who promoted militant Islam in the Middle East and led his country through a war, yesterday became the favourite to be elected President.

Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 70, who left the presidency eight years ago, announced last night that he had joined the field for the election on June 17.

I am proud to be a candidate,” he said in a three-page statement. The new President, he added, would need to tackle “unemployment, social security, poverty, corruption, discrimination”, and “meet the challenge of a young society”, particularly women “more determined to participate in the development of the country”.

The decision came as little surprise. Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani is one of the most powerful and ambitious figures in Iran and has rarely strayed far from the centre of power since he helped Ayatollah Khomeini to overthrow the Shah in a revolution 25 years ago.

Although he will be challenged by younger and more hardline candidates loyal to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he is regarded as the favourite at this early stage of the contest.

Iran’s future president will inherit heavy responsibilities from Mohammad Khatami, a reformer whose attempts at modernising Iran and improving relations with the West failed in the face of resistance from religious ideologues.

The new leader will have to fend off a looming showdown with the international community over Iran’s nuclear programme. He must also decide whether the country still wants to promote Islamic revolution in the Middle East at a time when the trend is moving from bullets towards ballots.

Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani’s features may have grown a little heavier and his hair turned whiter and thinner, but those who know him insist that his mind is just as sharp as it was when he was last President. In more than 30 years at the heart of the Iranian regime he has proved himself to be ruthless but flexible, a war leader and a peacemaker — and above all a pragmatist prepared to cut deals with anyone when it suits his interests.

His nickname is Kusheh, which in Persian means “Shark”, a reference to his smooth features and ruthless reputation. A self-made millionaire, with ties to everything from pistachio exports to heavy industry, the shrewd tactician emerged from the chaos of the Iranian revolution as the most powerful figure in the country after Ayatollah Khomeini. It was often Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani, Kalashnikov rifle clutched in his hand, who delivered the famous Friday sermons at Tehran University, where the regime’s anti-Western tirades would be greeted by chants of “Death to America”.

During the eight-year war with Iraq, he often took day-to-day responsibility for operations at the front, where hundreds of thousands died in the trenches.

Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani was directly involved in what became known as “Irangate” — the secret negotiations with the Reagan Administration in 1985 for the trade of Western hostages held in Lebanon in return for arms shipments to Iran. He is also credited with persuading Khomeini to bring the Iran-Iraq war to an end. Under his leadership, diplomatic efforts were also made to restore relations with Britain, formerly the “Little Satan” to America’s “Great Satan”.

He is thought to favour a Chinese model of reform that would liberalise Iran’s economy and grant greater personal freedoms to the public but keep the Islamic regime firmly in control.

His pragmatism is encouraging hopes in the West that he may also resolve the 26-year conflict with America. President Bush included Iran in his infamous “axis of evil” trio, and Washington is expected to renew efforts to isolate Tehran if the Iranians persist with their nuclear programme.

A new Iranian-American clash is not inevitable, however, in a region undergoing profound change. A Shia Muslim Government, with close links to Tehran, has just been elected in Iraq with American help.

Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese militia backed by Iran, is now contemplating becoming a purely political party. Militant Palestinian groups supported by Iran are also flirting with peaceful rather than violent means to express themselves.

These contradictory forces could confound the best efforts of even the most able leader. In the eyes of some Iranians, Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani might be too rich, too old or too compromised for the task. But as of yesterday he was also the only candidate with the experience and political muscle for the job.


This article leaves out a few important facts.

First, while the Times hopes Rafsanjani can resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, Rafsanjani has already made his position clear:
"Iran is determined to have all branches of nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment." "And we will have it at any cost."
Second, the times attempts to rehabilitate Rafsanajani by calling him a "self made millionaire." But Forbes has published an excellent review of his financial corruption.

Third, he has made clear his antipathy towards the U.S.:
"We have some scores with America that must be settled one day." The NY Post.

"The Islamic Republic must get ready for confrontation against the enemy’s attack by answering its offensive right in its heartland." Iran Press Service.
Finally, Rafsanjani is the Iranian leader that threatened the need for a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel, quoted in the Times:
One atomic bomb would wipe out Israel without trace while the Islamic world would only be damaged rather than destroyed by Israeli nuclear retaliation.”
If the media is going to try to rehabilitate Rafsanjani, they need to explain how they reconcile these statements with their new found confidence in the man.

PS. A great freeper project would be to catalog Rafsanjani's statements for the world to see before placing their confidence in him. Anyone willing to help?

A Daily Briefing of Major News Stories on Iran:

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

1 posted on 05/11/2005 4:54:07 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 05/11/2005 4:55:30 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

One might also phrase it: "You-Know-What-Floats-To-Top-Of-Bowl".

3 posted on 05/11/2005 5:07:21 PM PDT by genefromjersey (So much to flame;so little time !)
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To: DoctorZIn
If the media is going to try to rehabilitate Rafsanjani, they need to explain how they reconcile these statements with their new found confidence in the man.

How does the average Iranian feel about this guy? I mean, I read a while ago on your threads that the Iranians are going to boycott the coming elections. I was hoping that the boycott would be huge, but I wonder if Rafsanjani would tempt Iranians to go to the polls. They don't need another fanatical muslim ruling like a rabid dog. They need an overthrow of the whole blasted mess that they call their government. They need a new beginning or a return of Cyrus. ;-)

4 posted on 05/11/2005 5:41:49 PM PDT by Reborn
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To: Reborn

The latest poll I read was about 13%

5 posted on 05/11/2005 6:19:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: All

6 posted on 05/11/2005 6:24:35 PM PDT by Khashayar (Take Carter! We'll Keep the Shah. <<< American protestors defending the Shah in NYC in 1979)
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To: All

Shock and Awe:

7 posted on 05/12/2005 7:01:46 AM PDT by persiandissident (Free The People, Please)
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To: All

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Under the Veil of Iran's Nuclear Aspirations

May 13, 2005
Roya Hakakian

The Iran of May 2005 is, in some ways, looking very similar to the Iran of November 1979. Back then, when the American embassy in Tehran was seized by hardline university students, every other domestic issue was cast into oblivion. Nothing mattered more than the hostages. Nothing superseded the war with the "Great Satan." The hostage crisis became so giant of an issue that all else alongside it was immediately dwarfed — in particular, the issues of freedom, civil liberties and human rights.

With each passing month in 1980, as the world's attention increasingly focused on the hostages, more and more arrests took place throughout Iran. Given the absence of both domestic and international scrutiny, acts of summary justice were performed far more swiftly. After January 1981, when the hostages returned home, the state of oblivion only deepened.

Today the dominant discussion about Iran is focused around another giant issue: Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. More attention is now focused on Iran than at any point in time since the 1979 revolution; nearly all of it is in regard to Tehran's intentions for its uranium-enrichment program. As media around the world report on the day-to-day details of the European Union's ongoing negotiations with the Iranian regime, the story of the Iranian people's daily struggles is increasingly buried.

In 1999, two years after the election of President Mohamed Khatami, a nascent reform movement in Iran seized the world's imagination. Now little thought is given to what became of its masterminds, or of the brave students who took to the streets in defiance of the regime.

Think, for instance, of journalist Akbar Ganji, who through in-depth investigations uncovered ties between a handful of top leaders and the assassinations of intellectuals and writers such as Mohammad Mokhtari. Overnight, Ganji became a sensation in Iran, the beloved editor-in-chief of the most popular daily.

Today he's spending his sixth year in prison, much of it stuck in solitary confinement. Ganji is watching those whom he jeopardized his life to expose now running as presidential candidates. How can Iran — how can any country — ever reach democracy when truths are so constantly twisted, when acts of heroism prove merely ethereal and are vulnerable to the will of the rulers?

If the since-crushed reform movement of the late 1990s teaches anything, it is that another state of oblivion must never again be allowed to surround the subject of Iran. A permanent space for the issue of human rights must be carved out so that they will no longer be subject to political trends and headlines.

These days, among Iranian scholars a dangerous argument seems to be gathering momentum, one which essentially brands any criticism of Tehran's human rights record as unpatriotic — particularly given the presence of American troops in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq. However, those of us who lived through the 1979 revolution and its aftermath know better than to agree.

Back in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini proposed reinstituting the Islamic dress code, Iranian women who took to the streets in protest were accused of being unpatriotic. With the revolution still in its infancy and with the grave threat posed by the United States, the argument went, truly conscientious Iranians were those who sacrificed their personal happiness on behalf of collective unity. Women who advocated for free choice were, among many other things, slandered as selfish.

The Islamic dress code, of course, soon became mandatory. We were driven under the veils and the uniforms and the scarves. In retrospect, it is clear that the enforcement of the dress code paved the way for the loss of other civil liberties.

Given this history, now is the best time — indeed, the only time — to be talking about the issue of human rights in Iran.

Will the E.U.'s negotiations with Iran succeed? Will there be a military strike? Will there be a deal? If a deal is struck, those who care about the cause of democracy in Iran must play their humble part in making sure that Iranians' human rights won't be sacrificed for the sake of diplomatic considerations.

Tyrannies thrive on forgetfulness. Their hold over society is made clear to the public every time they manage to obliterate someone's record of opposition — or someone's existence.

As the international community converges on Iran to sort out the nuclear problem, it should remember that focusing on human rights is, in itself, an exercise in sovereignty — it infuses the debate with preoccupations that ultimately affect only Iranians. It is a way for the Iranian people to make our own demands. It is a way for us to wrest the subject from political and partisan wrangling and claim it as our own.

Roya Hakakian, co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in New Haven, Conn., is the author of "Journey From the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran" (Crown, 2004).

8 posted on 05/12/2005 7:06:32 AM PDT by persiandissident (Free The People, Please)
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To: DoctorZIn
To read today’s thread click here.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

9 posted on 05/12/2005 12:27:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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