The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.
From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.
These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.
Iran is a country ready for a regime change. 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.
Please continue to join us here, post your news stories and comments to this thread.
Thanks for all the help.
Emails work. I agree.
I don't detect a shift with the governments of Europe. The press and the people may be boisterous in their support for the students. But, it may take time for the governments to react to the change.
Perhaps the issue may not be as cut and dried as we think. The governments may have reason to be wary of opening the pandora's box that is Iran. I couldn't profess to know what goes on in the quiet meetings of the men in power.
Good background info on student mvmnt.
"The press and the people may be boisterous in their support for the students."
That's what we need here.
"But, it may take time for the governments to react to the change."
Seems our situations are reversed.
We have a lot of work to do to force the press here to give this story the coverage it deserves.
I'm trying to contain myself.
Thank you. I did. Not sure about the "security condo" as it pertains to Iran. But certainly thought provoking.
...Your lame attempt to spread the blame is based on your desire to cleanse the Rats from their philosophical fear of war and the direct blame for spread of the terrorist cancer to America. The pacifist Rats have American blood on their hands...
Please explain how I "attempt to spread the blame."
You must NOT be referring to something I wrote but to something I posted. I post a wide variety of material here. I do this so people can read first hand the entire debate on an issue.
Please be more careful of what you accuse others of. It is not very responsible. Read the thread carefully and you will find we probably agree on almost everything, except irresponsible rhetoric.
Iran: A Situation Analysis
August 03, 2003
Iran va Jahan
Not dissimilar to the pre-crisis years of the late 1970s, the world appears to have, once again, been caught off guard vis-à-vis its assessment of the political dynamics of Iran and the survivability of a regime, not long ago, classified as "secure" by most western intelligence and think-tank analyses.
September 11, the ensuing removal of the Taliban and the subsequent forced fall of Baghdad have brought a new and very real focus on the clerics of Tehran whom by most measures serve as the poster boys of radical extremism, in quest of the atomic bomb.
In many respects, the international focus on Tehran has bolstered and added fuel to the voice of domestic discontent against the ruling religious regime. President Bush's axis-of-evil speech followed by a crescendo of unprecedented personal overtures to the Iranian people -- in support of their cause against the clerical regime -- has had an undeniable influence on the Iranian psyche: While the dissident movement and, for the most part, the people welcome such overtures, the ruling regime, including its so-called reformist faction, has been nerved by the underlying intent of such calls.
Not withstanding, there is a real and vibrant civil discord brewing in Iran which is simply based on an epic and uncompromising conflict between a regime, set on ruling by divine right, and a populace in need of earthly freedoms and opportunities.
Approaching his seventh year of presidency and term limited, Hojatolislam Mohamad Khatami, by his own admission, has failed. Powerless or unwilling, the mid-ranking cleric president failed to draw on a mandate of "reform." Despite successive presidential and legislative elections, no meaningful challenge was ever risked against the ruling conservatives. Consequently, the recent student crackdowns, preceded by the rejection of "reform legislations," by the conservatives, are viewed as the final acts bringing as end to what was once dubbed as the "2nd of Khordad Movement" (named after Khatami's first election date).
Adding to its domestic turmoil, the regime's chronic inability to steer away from militant positions on a variety of international issues (i.e. pursuit of WMDs, obstruction of the Middle East peace process, relations with Al Qaeda operatives, overt and covert support of subversive anti terror forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the latest beating death of a Canadian-Iranian journalist, etc.) has strengthened the case against it, legitimizing its classification as a rogue, evil and non-conventional state.
This dynamic has brought forth an urgent need, in many western capitals, for a serious reassessment of their respective "Iran Policies." Any such reevaluation however will only translate into an actual policy shift (away from "dialogue and engagement") if its findings convincingly satisfy the following questions:
1) Is there mass discontent in Iran? If so, how deep and how broad based is it?
2) Is there leadership at the helm of the Iranian discontent; and if so, is it armed with a strategy and organization inside and outside of Iran?
3) Absence a leadership, how long will public voicing of dissent and protests be sustainable?
4) How brutal will the regime get and how far will it go in its suppression?
5) What are the prospects of a "Palace Coup," and or how far will the regime bend in offering concessions to and compromise with, the people or the "reformist" faction?
To most Iran experts, it is painfully and glaringly obvious that the missing ingredients in the equation for regime change in Iran are: leadership and organization, both domestically and among an extraordinarily affluent diaspora.
Fractious, splintered, unimaginative, spiteful and apathetic are words often used to describe the Iranian opposition. Hence, despite years of "waiting for their moment," the Iranian opposition is today ill-prepared and not in position to provide leadership for a movement that has a very real and legitimate chance of bringing positive and permanent challenge to a visibly paranoid and de-legitimized regime.
Despite numerous attempts and calls for unity among and between the various opposition groups, factions and personalities, very little has been accomplished and prospects of a miraculous coalition or even détente among such groups are dim.
This is especially troubling, since the regime's efficient intelligence apparatus is, by and large, quite successful in regularly draining the pools of political leaders that emerge from the domestic front of its political opposition. Those "leaders," who escape incarceration by the regime, find themselves in exile, where they either get consumed by exile politics, or become ineffective when disconnected from their domestic peers.
Window of Opportunity
Rushed by an increased acceleration of political events within Iran, there is a growing and very legitimate concern over the closing of a window of opportunity and the imminence of political chaos in Iran.
Irrespective of political orientations, a strong case can be made that the window of opportunity for meaningful change in Iran (either via internal "reform" or regime change) is approximately 7-16 months -- with the next Majlis (February 2004) and presidential (May 2005) elections as the critical focal milestones.
Based on this window, there are three distinct schools of thoughts which attempt their best to foretell the unfolding of events in Iran.
1) One school believes the regime will weather the storm: Arguing that the so called pragmatists among the ruling elite are survivors and, thanks to a leadership vacuum among the opposition, the regime will buy itself time by inevitably offering a series of strategic concessions. These concessions may come in two form:
a) To the West: in the areas of WMD's, the Middle East peace plan, war on Al Qaeda and even human rights; and,
b) To the Iranian people: it will loosen some social controls, offer an amnesty, concoct revisions to the election vetting process and shift some of the powers of the expediency council to the presidency. Under this formula, the regime will find the perfect opportunity to unveil "Khatami II," just in time for the next election cycle. (This time perhaps a western educated non-cleric, a former "dissident," or even a "liberal" female can become the dark horse to win the purse.)
2) The second school believes that the clerical regime will be unable to stand the socio-economic and political heat and will be left with one of two options:
a) A "palace coup" by the conservatives in an attempt to save political Islam and its "Republic" from the pagans. Or,
b) A "palace coup" by the pragmatists / reformers in an attempt to "bring to the people what they want." (In either case, it is thought that Mr. Rafsanjani will play the power broker. Unclear though, is which camp he will choose to pay his brokerage fee?)
3) The third school believes that regime change is inevitable. Irrespective of tactical maneuvers by the regime, or an absence of an organized leadership by the opposition, this school believes that the regime will be unable to stave off the energy of dissent and the demands of the youth who want nothing less than a complete exit of the clergy from governance and the establishment of a secular democracy.
Haplessly optimistic, this group discounts the absence of an organizational leadership for the freedom movement by subscribing to one of two views: a) That the movement is on the verge of spawning its leadership, from within Iran, and that it will happen literally overnight. Subscribers of this view believe that any such candidate will need to have either an armed services or a religious, yet secular, credential; or, b) There is an emerging non-traditionalist view that regards the current Iranian movement as a completely new phenomenon, breaking all rules and traditions and bucking all historic trends. It argues that Iran's freedom movement is so well ingrained among the people that it needs not the traditional leadership; it needs not a set traditional organization or a pre-defined disciplined strategy. In fact, it attributes the resilience of this movement to the very fact that there is nothing tangible for the regime to "shut down." The strength of the movement lies in the fact that it is mature, entirely homegrown and genuine. It is popularly driven and purely spontaneous driven by individuals, in the streets, in the alleys and neighborhoods of Iran. This school argue that Iran will produce the first "leaderless tidal wave of the masses" culminating in regime paralysis.
Notwithstanding its domestic problems, the Islamic Republic is also faced with increased and very serious challenge from outside its borders.
As the remaining superpower, and more especially because of the inherent "conspiratorial" psyche of the Iranian political culture, the United States will have an important role in determining the general direction and speed with which events unfold in Iran.
Yet, as reflected by grueling public debates and the ambiguities emanating from various Iran policy camps in Washington, America's direction and clarity of purpose will only come as a result of its dealing with the following issues:
1) America's Paranoia: America suffers from a crippling paranoia emanating from its Iran-experience over the last half century. On one hand America feels bound by the principal of "in defense of freedom, whenever and wherever," yet it suffers from its own inability to bridge the gap between 1953 and 2003. Two historic windows, half a century apart, with distinctly intertwining messages, Iran's current political predicament provides America's champions of "freedom" and "popular will" with a golden opportunity to make the right choice by backing the right side the people of Iran.
Irrespective of which face of history one sides with -- the coup or counter-coup of 1953 there is clarity in the opportunity afforded to America today. Instead of endless therapy sessions over 1953, America's choice today must be non-other than an unwavering support of the Iranian people. This resolve will not only strengthen the rightful aspiration of 70 million people but will also cure America's paranoia that has manifested itself through catatonic foreign policy blunders such as Iran-Contra, the Clinton/Albright apology or the ongoing continuous search for "moderates" within the regime.
2) America's alternatives? With Khatami's "reform movement" virtually decapitated and in a hole, America's political options on Iran are limited to: a) A few undesirables within the regime's "conservative" camp -- with the claim to have the ability to offer Washington "a deal;" b) A daring, yet leaderless, student movement limited, in action, thanks to the brute force and crushing suppression of the regime; c) The disorganized opposition within Iran; or, d) The unimaginative, pale and insipid Iranian opposition in exile.
It is an undeniable reality that without a tangible alternative, it is difficult for any argument, no matter how morally just, to win a U.S. foreign policy debate in favor of ridding the status quo in Tehran -- especially with Baghdad and Kabul in such disarray. Nevertheless, President Bush may have already limited his options against Tehran with his increasingly uncompromising rhetoric.
Iran's freedom movement and dissidents are hopeful that, much like Ronald Reagan's calls against the "evil empire," Bush's doctrine of rhetoric against Iran will not let up. They hope that similar to Reagan's Soviet policy, Bush's posture on Iran is also firmly heeled on a personal commitment and belief that ultimately (and despite a leadership vacuum at the helm of Iran's freedom movement) it is the freedom movement itself that remains America's only and clear alternative for investment.
3) With or without Europe? September 11 afforded America a unique mandate to lead the global war or terror. That mandate however found little translation when it came to international resolve on Iraq. Led by commercial interests, important powers within the European Union (EU) failed to follow America's lead threatening to deepen an Atlantic rift. Predictably that experience, caused American foreign policy careerist to draw a new line as to how far America's unilateralism should be tested come next time.
With vast gas and petroleum reserves, a consumer market of 70 million, Iran serves as a valuable multi-billion dollar annual asset to the EU. Hence, the very same commercial and political issues that served as the core reason for Europe's mutiny against Washington -- on Iraq -- are at play today with Iran. This time, however, making the case for the EU are camps among foreign policy careerists and certain lobby groups in America favoring "dialogue and engagement" with the clerical regime as opposed to a unilateral American confrontation with Tehran.
The clerical regime however, has not played its hand very well with the EU in that, it has managed, on its own, to increasingly make the case for Washington. The regime's belligerent and militant posturing vis-à-vis its WMD program and gross human rights violations, among other issues, are turning the tide against Tehran. Many members of the EU are taking formal and serious positions in support of Iran's freedom movement.
To exert successful pressure on the clerical regime, America needs Europe. Hence, here lies a perfect opportunity to defuse friction with the EU by favoring a multilateral policy and close alliance with Europe in support of the Iranian freedom movement.
4) Election Fix: For decades, America's strength -- its democracy and elective process has also been viewed as its weakness when it comes to long-term formulation and commitment to foreign policy. Every four years America's domestic politics and electioneering, handicaps its foreign policy considerations.
With national elections (Presidential, the entire House and 2/3 of the Senate) 15 months away, the Bush administration will need to stop the hemorrhage of public opinion support of its foreign policy efforts in the Middle East. Suggesting that the Administration's foreign policy choices will be severely limited by temptations of "quick fixes" and "settling down" the Middle East in favor of badly needed "success stories" and campaign sound-bites.
Unless something dramatically energizes the Iranian political process, within the next six months, it would be unreasonable to expect the Administration to take dramatic risks on Iran -- as U.S. campaign season kicks in by January/February 2004.
However, Iran and the story of its 50 million youth have a place in America's forthcoming elections. What better story than the story of freedom fighting for its place among a disenfranchised generation looking, not away from, but to America for support?
Serious or Curious?
Despite an overall pessimism among Iran experts in regard to exiled Iranian opposition, there has been, in recent months, a curious buzz about an unlikely name: Pahlavi.
The former crown prince, "Reza Pahlavi of Iran," as he prefers to be called, a few years ago embarked on a quiet campaign to re-introduce himself to the world at large, but more especially to the 50 million youth of Iran whom never knew him nor his father.
Young, modern, articulate and genuinely unassuming, Reza Pahlavi has found much success in the West, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, in presenting himself as a selfless "citizen-prince," calling for secularism by way of a referendum brought about as a result of a non-violent civil disobedience campaign of political defiance.
Careful analysis, as reflected by sentiments within power circles in western capitals, however, suggest Reza Pahlavi's bold public relations campaign significantly outweighs his organizational capabilities inside and, surprisingly, outside Iran.
This analysis suggests that in many respects Reza Pahlavi's strengths also appear to be his weaknesses: His high name identification among all Iranians; his recent success with a well disciplined public relations campaign; as well as, his articulate campaign message serve him as double edged swords: 1) To those who find it counter-intuitive to support a return of monarchy in Iran, the name Pahlavi is an insurmountable problem; 2) To those who find little problem with his message, the fact that he has become an "overnight" media darling in the west is suspect and immediately attributed to a "conspiracy by the powers" to yet-again return a Pahlavi to the peacock throne; 3) Ironically, to those who may be willing to take him at face value, there is a looming contradiction between Reza Pahalvi's public relations campaign and an obvious inability or, worse, lack of desire to assemble, forge, command or partake in a cohesive political mobilization effort (i.e. united opposition); and, 4) finally to those who are not convinced of his formula: "Nonviolent political defiance and civil-disobedience = regime paralysis = facilitating a referendum and secular democracy," he is suspect of either not being serious or, of being motivated by ulterior motives.
It remains to be seen, and especially difficult to gauge, whether the citizen-prince is able to translate his strong rhetoric into a solid emotional connection with the frustrated masses living under the Islamic Republic. His message has great appeal, but any legitimate chance for success largely depends on his ability to personally overcome the serious questions that have, for years, haunted him about his leadership skills and personal commitment to the cause.
Nevertheless, Reza Pahlavi has made inroads and is a name to be reckoned with. If for no other reason, for the very simple fact that the institution he represents still commands emotions among Iranians and can command a natural constituency deeply rooted in Persian culture dating back well before both Islam and Christianity. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news_en.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=08&d=03&a=1
This was very good and deserved to be posted again.
An important update on the jamming of the satellite broadcasts into Iran. -- DoctorZin
The Power of the Dish and the War of Ideas
By Nir T. Boms
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 1, 2003
On March of 2003, Zia Atabi, a former Iranian rock star placed a small satellite dish on the roof of a former pornographic studio in one of Los Angeles neighborhoods and began broadcasting.
Atabi, formally known as the "Tom Jones of Iran escaped his homeland shortly after 1979 and found refuge in California, where approximately 600,000 ex-Iranian patriots live today. As is common in many ethnic groups in the United States, The Iranian community enhanced its local cultural activities. Zia, contributed support to his communitys cultural needs by borrowing some money from his wife, and launching a Farsi satellite station. He called it NITV (The National Iranian Television Network) since he wanted to stress its non-partisan nature to his ex-patriot community. The station began airing some old films, music and eventually news and original programs. Few days later he received his first telephone call from Teheran The Iranians on the line were exhilarated, telling him how excited they were to finally see programming that has been banned in Iran for over two decades. This caught Zia by surprise... What do you mean? he asked.... I am not even broadcasting to Iran!. Well, He wasnt. But someone in the satellite dispatch station pushed a button that opened an additional link that quickly went across the ocean. The Iranian regime had feared an American invasion, but did not prepare for an intrusion that entered 300 new homes every single day.
According to Zia, approximately 25 million Iranians who encompass a third of the population have up until now, viewed NITV. It has created a culture around it. Since private satellite dishes are expensive (and not to mention, illegal), the programs are often recorded and distributed to the public on VHS tapes and via the Internet, often bringing large local crowds together for a private screening. Zia was quickly able to set a satellite link to other centers of Farsi speaking communities like those in Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. The channel was received in the Middle East, Europe, the Persian Gulf, South America, and even Australia adding millions of viewers.
We tell the Iranian about Gandhi and Nehru in India. Says Zia We broadcast programs about the iron curtain and about the fall of the Soviet Union. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, I asked young Iranians to show solidarity with America. The world must understand that the Iranian people do not stand for the terrorists. Using my channel, I asked that they take to the streets and they did. The images of students in the streets of Teheran were broadcasted all over the world. Ali Dean, an Iranian comedian, known for impersonating ayatollahs was hired by Zia. Ali successfully recreated the popular 1980s British show Spitting Image. The difference was that instead of puppets in the spitting image of Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock, the Farsi speaking community was watching deformed puppets in the image of Mullahs. NITV began fighting the Iranian theocracy by revealing its leaders true faces.
Following NITVs example, other Farsi news channels begun beaming their way to Iran. Among these are private channels like Azadi TV and Channel One TV, one of the fastest growing Los Angeles-based Farsi TV stations, and government sponsors channels such as Voice Of America and Radio Farda, a 24 hours U.S.- run radio service in Farsi.
In response to this new wave of streaming information, the Mullahs of Iran launched their counter attack. Private ownership of satellite dishes has long been illegal in Iran and is a punishable offence. Armed with government microwave trucks designed to jam satellite signals and help locate the satellite dishes themselves, the Mullahs unleashed the revolutionary guards in the urban and rural parts of the country. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former, very influential Iranian president, ordered an early end to the academic year in order to avoid the forth commemoration of the first wave of student riots July 9th 1999. Iran also reached out to its allies for help. Only a few weeks ago, intelligent sources reported a secret visit to Cuba by Moshen Hashemi, the son of Mullah Rafsanjani. The details of the visit remain on unknown, however by July 4th, 5 days before the anticipated July 9th anniversary, Cuban satellite jamming systems were successful in blocking Parsh TV, Azadi TV, VOA, and NITV broadcasts into Iran. The jamming signal is thought to have come from a monitoring complex outside Havana, a facility built by the Soviet Union to eavesdrop on the United States during the cold war.
Though the Mullahs have been temporarily successful in their efforts to turn off the waves of freedom, Zia believes that the power of the dish has been unleashed and will not be forgotten. He tells me that when Iranian students, Arrested by the republican guard, come out of jail, they immediately call his station. They play a crucial role giving information on the evolving situation on the ground. In turn, Zia promises to send them the new satellite frequencies that will be in use.
Unfortunately, finding alternative ways of reaching the audience in Iran becomes an increasingly difficult task.
Kourosh Abbassi , a spokesperson for Azadi Television, says that they tried changing the satellite frequencies but "within minutes" the new ones were blocked. The task of locating these broadcasts on the satellite dial becomes increasingly more difficult. The morale is so low here, adds Mr. Abbassi, as he notes over 2000 responses received from supporters in Iran; "Technically if they can do it to us, they can do it to anyone, even to CNN."
On June 28th, Iranian students took to the streets by the thousands - and they are still in the streets today. According to government reports, 4000 of them were arrested (although the actual number is estimated at 10,000), many with the use of excessive force. Some of the Television and Radio stations were able to find alternative ways to reach their audience using short wave, the internet, and telephones. Alireza Morovati, an anchor for Voice of Iran radio station told me that the students were coordinating their activities on the air: Someone from Shiraz was talking with someone from Teheran, telling them about the demonstration and the riots. Teheran and Shiraz were connected only via Los Angeles It seems that the battle over the power of the dish is reaching a climax. Our mission is to bring the voice of freedom to Iran says Morovati and sometime all it takes is one small dish.
Nir Boms is the Vice President of the Washington based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9168
And I think will deserve to be posted again tomorrow.