Saturday, December 30, 2006

End of the "One who Confronts"

Saddam, meaning "the one who confronts" was hanged this morning. The man who hated our people so much and conflicted so much carnage on Iranians and on his own people is no longer alive. Now it is up to the Iraqi people to build in his aftermath. For it takes more courage to build than to confront.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Remembering the Jailed Iranian Christian Converts

My thoughts on this Christmas day today were with our jailed Iranian Christian convert compatriots and their families. They were recently arrested during their worship ceremonies in Tehran, Karaj and Rasht.

Their names:

- Shirin Sadeq Khanjani
- Behrooz Sadeq Khanjani
- Hamid Reza Toloii-nia
- Behnam Irani
- Bahman Irani
- Shahin Taqi-zadeh
- Yussef Nourkhani
- Parviz Khalaj-Zamani
- Mohammad Beliad
- Payman Salarvand
- Sohrab Sayyadi

Where are those people who sat passively listening to Khatami's twaddles on inter-faith dialogue??

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The 1953 Coup in Iran

During an Iran related lecture I attended a few weeks ago, I came across a very pretty Iranian girl who had come up to the speaker after the lecture, to get his book autographed. The girl was immaculately dressed and it was obvious that she was well looked after. She spoke Persian fluently, as well as German and English. She told me she was born in Iran, but her family apparently moved to Germany some years after the 1979 revolution and she now worked in London.
"I will never go to USA though", she told me during our brief conversation.
"Why?" I was puzzled by her statement.
"Because of what US did to Mossadiq in 1953!" She replied.

I shook my head as I laughed uncontrollably and said "But we are in London now! did the British not have anything to do with the 1953 events? were they not the main culprits? at least the Americans have apologised for their part in what happened half a century ago!".

Time was short and I wasn't able to get into a real discussion with her. I was thinking to myself, imagine how bizarre it would be if an Indian person said to me "I would never go to Iran, because of what Nadir Shah did to India!" and I was also thinking how that girl would feel about going to Russia, after all the wrongs and evils that Russia has done to Iran.

However history will judge the 1953 events in Iran, the post 1953 period was a period of boom and prosperity for the Iranian middle class. In fact, the Iranian middle class, to which that girl evidently belonged to, was created in the aftermath of the 1953 coup and prospered from the later reforms that followed.

The 1953 Coup, is one of those peculiar historic events that everyone seems to want to claim to be a victim of, or mention it to acclaim their knowledge of Iranian history and justify their kooky conclusions of why the clerics in Iran behave as they do.

Think Tanks and "Iran experts" who want to write an essay about Iran-US relations, always refer to 1953 by default. Not to mention 1953 in a typical academic paper on Iran, would tantamount to sheer academic ignorance on Iran.

The former BBC correspondent in Iran, Jim Muir, felt compelled to mention the "US backed 1953 coup in Iran" as the introduction to his pathetic documentary on the murder of Zahra Kazemi in IRI prisons!! The 1953 events is always mentioned in the introduction part of just about anything which does not want to come across as totally anti-theocracy in Iran. It is often used to "analyze" the current psychology of Iran's current rulers and somehow justify it because of what happened in 1953 :))

This kind of analysis seems to give such academic papers and news programs some sort of balance and intellectual credibility. After all, if someone simply said the Islamic Republic is simply not interested in being partners with America, but rather more interested to lead the Muslim world and that any compromise with the US would in fact jeopardise that ambition, then the author would come across as too pro-American.

What makes me laugh, is that the present rulers of the Islamic Republic are themselves very anti-Mossadiq. They were pro the overthrow of Mossadiq in 1953!
Mossadiq's name is very rarely mentioned by the Ayatollahs unless in despise or where it is expedient for them. The current rulers of the Islamic Republic regard their icon of that era, not to be Mossadiq but Ayatollah Kashani, who ordered his henchmen to pour into the streets to overthrow Mossadiq.

So how do these think tanks, academics, reporters and pro-IRI lobbyists in US conclude that it is because of what happened in 1953 that the Islamic Republic has reasons to be suspicious of peace with the US?

Some of the Iranian essay writers who write such conclusions, like Vali Nasr and others, actually belong to devout Muslim families who were close to the Iranian Royal Court and benefited enormously from their ties with Iran's imperial regime. Vali Nasr's father, Seyyed Hosein Nasr, for example, is an extremely devout Sufi Muslim, who was appointed by the Empress Farrah, as the head of the Imperial Iranian Academy of Philosophy. Surely what happened in 1953 did not hurt them!

So who are the ones that should have a legitimate grudge against the US and what happened in 1953? Well in my view that would be members of Mossadiq's cabinet and leaders of the Iranian National Front. After all, they were the ones who were deposed from power. Some of them went to prison, although most of them later became quite affluent and successful.

During the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, most of the National Front members abandoned Dr. Bakhtiar and co-operated with the Ayatollahs against the Shah. Later when the clerics consolidated their power in Iran, most of the Iranian National Front figures were either jailed or fled from Iran to safety. Where did most of them go to seek a safe haven? to the United States of America :)

So I am so fed up when I hear anyone, think tank - "Iran Expert" or reporter, mention the events of 1953 in Iran, in order to justify the anti-US position of Iran's clerics. The Iranian clerics are anti-US not because of what happened in 1953, but because they are anti-modernity. Read your history on Iran, the mullahs opposed the use of any thing new, whether it was tables and chairs, telegraph, railway, hand clapping.... because it was all new to them. They see modernity as a threat to their survival. It has nothing to do with 1953.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Book Burnings by Pan-Turk Secessionists

I heard about Pan-Turk secessionists burning Persian books of literature. Sure enough this is confirmed in their website baybak.com.

I have a particular loathing towards neanderthals who burn and destroy books. I think those who take part in such disgraceful acts clearly show their backwardness and intellectual poverty. Burning a copy of a book does not diminish its worth and value. Indeed many copies of books by Persian literature giants like Ferdowsi and Khayyam have been destroyed by other neanderthals, despots and usurpers
throughout the last millennium. Their words however have survived and it is unlikely that a handful of misguided Pan-Turks can ever deny future generations, the pleasure of reading them.

The Pan-Turkish reenactments of crystal nights, just shows their true ignorant faces. From the photo, I can clearly see one of the books burned has a picture of Ferdowsi on it, I wonder if they also burned any books by Nezami- Ganjavi, Azeri poet who created the Persian masterpieces of The Seven Beauties, Khosrow and Shirin, Labours of Farhad etc.

We on the other hand never burn the books by Pan-Turks. We just read them and have a good laugh. I mean you have to laugh at people who claim Babak Khorramdinwas a Turk and try to re-package him as Baybak :)))

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Can they Cheat in these "Elections"??

The mind boggles, the Islamic rulers in Iran always push the boundaries of logic, reason and sanity to new limits, and some of Iran's "intellectuals" even more strangely follow. Especially if they are employed by BBC Persian.

There has just been a so-called "elections" in Iran, where every candidate has had to be filtered through the most stringent criteria by an unelected body which rules the country. So you would then think by holding such "elections", the Islamic rulers would not have to worry about who comes out of the ballot boxes. They are all vetted after all. Yet they still cheat, even after so much vetting of the candidates!

Here are the statements made by Mehdi Karubi about the latest "elections" in Iran:

- "Ballot boxes that should have been taken for counting disappeared for a while and then appeared again. Are ballot boxes like bowls of yogurt that one lends to someone, they disappear and then turn up after a while?"

- "We have reports that some of the ballot boxes had open seals when they were presented for counting. "

- "Those who were counting the votes were suddenly replaced by new faces. "

At the last presidential "elections" in Iran, Karubi was one of the candidates. He said by 2PM, the early counts suggested he was running second. He decided to have an afternoon nap, and when he woke up, suddenly Ahmadi-Nejad had obtained one million votes. "did these votes suddenly come from the sky?" Was Karubi's question.

This time Karubi aptly decided not to have an afternoon nap! and advised other candidates in his camp also not to take an afternoon nap :) However it seems whether Karubi and his friends take a nap or not, those who run the Islamic Republic will pull out whoever they want out of the ballot boxes. Messbah Yazdi who was struggling with the 15th position, suddenly in the very last hours climbed to the 6th position and thus comfortably entered the Assembly of Experts.

Iranian intellectuals who confuse the masses from the BBC Persian broadcasts with their complicated schemes of why people should take part in the elections are either naive or on the payroll of the regime.

It will make no difference whether people try to vote or boycott the elections in Iran. Those who rule the Islamic Republic will pull a rabbit out of the "ballot box" if they wish to do so. Boycott, however denies the Islamic Republic of its claims of legitimacy. The ultimate correct tactic however should be to organise the people to protest at the very root cause of the problem, i.e. the vetting of the candidates by the unelected body of the Guardian Council.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Film of Student Protests in Iran

Polytechnic Students Hiding in Fear of their Life

When former Iranian president Khatami visited Britain, he wooed his gullible audiences, describing how Iranian students heckled and jeered him with no consequence, during his visit to the Tehran university on National Student Day.
“No where in the Middle East, do the students have the privilege of criticizing their president so vociferously” Khatami lied through his teeth to the delight of his ignorant and out of touch with reality UK academics.

Yet the real truth was that the students faced no consequences on the day, but after the foreign press had forgotten about the incident, the university’s disciplinary committee identified and summoned the ringleaders of the incident.
Farid Yekani from the Political Sciences and Law Faculty, Pooya Heybatollahi and Iman Amir-Teimur from Literature and Humanities Faculty, Maziar Firuzmand from Arts Faculty and Salman Rasuli from Agriculture and Natural Resources Faculty were amongst some of the students who paid the price for heckling the "reformist president" and his cunning smiles.

Similarly this year, Ahmadi-Nejad tried to score a political point on how democratic Islamic Republic is, by saying that students can heckle the president and burn his pictures.

Luckily this time, there is a brilliant Guardian reporter by the name of Robert Tait, who unlike other foreign correspondents in Tehran, does not sit behind his/her desk waiting for official news to reach him. He actually goes out and finds the real news to report.

Just as I feared for the consequences of the brave student holding the placard "Fascist President, Polytechnic is not your place", Robert Tait reports
Iranian student activists who staged an angry protest against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week have gone into hiding in fear for their lives.

"The 21-year-old student holding the "fascist president" banner was among those threatened with expulsion. He is said to be in grave danger after foreign news outlets, including the Guardian, published a picture of his gesture. Friends say he went into hiding after being confronted by two vigilantes.

They said they would pull his father out of the grave [an ancient Persian threat]," said one student. "He is in real danger. Vigilantes have been standing at the dormitory doors asking for him.
" reports Robert Tait.

Well perhaps in a few years time when some British university resembling Tom Sharpe's Kloone university, with academics resembling Walden Yapp or Porter House College Fellows, award Ahmadi-Nejad with an honourary PHD, they too will be delighted at how Ahmadi-Nejad will claim that he allowed students to heckle him, and become mesmerised by his condemnations of treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.

If these universities and academics had any sense and any courage however instead of awarding honours for the representatives of an anti-student religious apartheid, they would arrange scholarships for the students who are now in hiding or the Iranian students who have been suspended and threatened with expulsion for various political activities, including writing articles critical of the government.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

They Love Death More Than we Love Life

"We joined Hamas to become Martyrs, not ministers" - Head of Hamas government, Ismail Haniyeh, during the rally in Gaza City on Thursday.

Perhaps, those who call "for new and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts in Iraq and the region" and advocate negotiations with the Islamic Republic are under the illusion that
"No country in the region will benefit in the long-term from a chaotic Iraq". Such study groups fail to understand the essence and objectives of Haniyeh's statement above and that of other Islamists in the region.

Actually Iran's present rulers benefit enormously from a chaotic Iraq. The worst scenario for the rulers of the Islamic Republic would be a peaceful stable and prosperous democratic Iraq, which would become the envy of the Iranian people. Had these Study Groups bothered to watch Islamic Republic TV, they would have realised how the chaos in Iraq is delightfully presented to the Iranian masses on a daily basis but there is never any mention of the stability and progress in the Kurdish part of Iraq.

"Iran should stem the flow of arms and training to Iraq, respect Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and use its influence over Iraqi Shia groups to encourage national reconciliation... " are all fine words but such statements reveal a total misunderstanding of what the other side is after.

The true nature and intent of the other side was understood in 641 by Cyrus, the governor of Egypt, who said of the invading Muslim army "They love death more than we love life".
What they will barter with, as always, is not peace and stability but "Islam, Tribute or Sword".

What they fear most however is raising awareness amongst the masses and spreading the joys and love of life on this earth amongst the people.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Those who Wanted a Big Turnout

So once again, Iran's pseudo-intellectuals, through the media platforms they have at their disposal, inside and outside Iran, did their best to confuse the Iranian masses and along with the leaders of the Islamic Republic encouraged them to turn up at the ballot boxes. Once again the regime claimed the event was an "epic", and how the presence of the people at the ballot boxes was a knock out punch in the mouth of the enemies of the Islamic Republic.

So lets see who wanted to see a big turnout at these so-called ballot boxes:

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:
http://www.entekhab.ir/display/?ID=33335&page=1
"The presence of every nation at ballot boxes is a sign of awareness by that nation...If people are unsure about the candidates they should seek guidance from trusted and faithful sources."

Grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic:
http://www.entekhab.ir/display/?ID=33424&page=1
"Without a doubt, the winners of these elections are the people of Iran...The people must show an ever more colourful presence in these elections to show the world that we are always vigilant and ready"

The head of Iran's parliament and the Supreme Leader's son-in-law, Hadad Adel:
http://www.ilna.ir/shownews.asp?code=377116&code1=11
"Voting in these elections is voting for the essence and the spirit of the Islamic Republic...Americans are angry with us and they want to come back, and our people by turning up at the ballot boxes are saying NO to America."

Iran's head of judiciary:
http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-24/0612151214145926.htm
"glorious and massive participation of people in the elections will be a logical and objective response to empty claims of the enemies. "

Former President Mohammad Khatami, who recently received an honorary doctorate from St. Andrews university:
http://www.entekhab.ir/display/?ID=33430&page=1
"Today we are witnessing a regime which is in compliance with Islam. People must know that boycotting these elections does not solve anything." Former president Khatami also hoped "For these elections to be held in even more glory with more participation by the people. Those who call for a boycott do not believe in democracy".

Tehran's Friday Sermons leader, Ahmad Khatami:
http://www.entekhab.ir/display/?ID=33426&page=1
"The glorious participation of the people in these elections, was a sign Iranian people's vigilance and political maturity".

And in the West, those who are exploiting the luxuries and comfort of the secular democracies, and using the media platforms that they are provided with to promote the Islamic Republic as an acceptable form of government.

Massoud Behnood:
http://www.roozonline.com/english/archives/2006/12/000888.php
Behnood, works for BBC Persian and is said to be in line to head the BBC Persian TV and also a new Persian speaking TV to be funded by the Dutch government.

Hossein Derakhshan (Hoder):
http://i.hoder.com/archives/2006/12/061207_015683.shtml
Hossein Derkhshan is known by Iranian activists to be an agent and promoter of the Islamic Republic. Yet some gullible Westerners have been succumbed by his trendy looks and intellectual gestures that he is an Islamic Republic dissident :))

Hope the above helps to identify who is who and who wants what.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What will happen today?

I have already said what I think of the so-called elections in the Islamic Republic that are being held today.

After all these years and despite the selection criteria of the candidates getting more and more ridiculous every time, a section of Iranian "intellectuals" still encourage people to take part in the elections. Their reasoning is always the same, "dont let the worst ones get in to power, lets pick the best of a bad bunch!".

Yet those of us that advocate a boycott of the elections, say "the best of the bunch" were in power for 8 years. What good did they do? And if a boycott serves the hardliners, as they argue, why does the regime always go out of its way to mobilise the people to vote? Why is it that people turning up at the polling stations is so important to the regime's propaganda that they are now holding the elections for the assembly of experts, the mid term election of MPs and the councils all on one day?

One only has to watch state Islamic Republic TV in the election days to see how important it is for the regime to broadcast images of large queues at the polling stations. Suddenly the programs are more relaxed and jovial. Presenters smile more. Teasers of participation by the people in previous elections are shown repeatedly. Selective people are interviewed, especially 15 year olds who can vote for the first time, who give the standard cliche replies of why turning up at the polling stations is so important. Actors and artists appear on state TV, emphasising that they will cast their "vote" as a "patriotic" duty :)

For the last 27 years, dubious Iranian intellectuals have encouraged Iranians to vote in Islamic elections, where has it got us? How many times must an experiment prove to be wrong before the theory is shelved as obsolete? Scientifically only once, but with these dubious intellectuals there seems to be no limit.

The truth is that the Islamic regime, even despite the most restrictive candidate filtering, will pull out whoever it wants out of these dummy ballot boxes.

Foreign broadcast media will be told which polling stations to go with the permits issued by the Guidance Ministry and the police. The regime will bring bus loads of people from other areas to these selected booths for the sake of TVs and cameras. No TV or radio or even printing media will be allowed to stay more than 15 minutes in each polling station. Images of long queues outside polling stations will be broadcast, and the truth about Iran will not be reported by the correspondents.

Yet the real truth lies in this logic:
If the clerics in Iran were as popular as they claim, there would be no need to filter candidates and every Iranian would be allowed to stand as a candidate and to choose who they want to vote for. This however is the biggest fear of the mullahs.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

250 Million USD Islamic Republic Handout for Hamas

The London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported Tuesday that Tehran promised Hamas, it would transfer USD 250 million to the Palestinian Authority.

Meanwhile this photo shows an Iranian Iran-Iraq war veteran, Mohammad-Reza Qanbari-Kia. He is a victim of chemical weapons used by Saddam's forces during the Al-Fajr 8 operation to take the Faw peninsula. He is unable to work and make ends meet for his family. The oxygen equipment in the picture was on loan to him at the time the picture was taken. His devoted wife, Soheila, tells the ISNA reporter, so far they have paid for his medical needs by selling all their belongings and borrowing. Soheila herself has health problems and finds it hard to work. She says her children eat one meal a day only.
When some of her paper work ended in Varamin due to a clerical mistake, she travelled there to obtain her paper work. Soheila says how one of the Varamin officials leaped from behind his desk to physically attack her, when she pleaded with the official that her husband is in a real bad shape. The official was stopped by other employees from hitting her, and said to her "so what if he dies? if he dies then he dies, he can go to hell!"
Qanbari-Kia made the ultimate sacrifice in defending Iran against occupation by Saddam's forces. Instead the Islamic Republic is handing out cash, as if it was monopoly money, to terrorist organisations throughout the world. Yet if the US promises any funds to the Iranian pro-democracy movement, the do-gooders will never rest!

Iranians Stage Protest Outside the Russian Embassy

Iranian ex-pats staged a picket outside the Russian embassy in London today; to protest at Russia's continuous support for the Islamic Republic and the inhumane treatment of Iranian refugees in Russia.

Iran has suffered continuously from the unwanted interference by her northern neighbour in the last two centuries. Many of Iran's provinces were annexed by the Tsarist Russia, in line with their expansionist ambitions of reaching warm waters of the Persian Gulf. The Russians opposed Iran's constitutional revolution by siding with the despot Qajar king, bombing the new parliament and killing thousands of Iranian freedom fighters.

After Iran's occupation in the second world war by the allies, the Russians and their puppet installed government in Azarbijan refused to
leave the Iranian territory. Throughout the second half of the 20th century too, the Soviet backed Communist Tudeh Party, kept destabilising the country and served faithfully its pay masters in the Soviet Politburo.

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, the Russians have been close allies with the clerics in Iran, both during the Soviet years and the neo-KGB era.

Today coincided with the anniversary of the liberation of Iranian Azerbijan from Russian occupation after the second world war. Iranian ex-pats chose today as an appropriate occasion to stage a protest picket outside the Russian embassy in London to condemn Russia's continuous support for the clerics in Iran and the mistreatment of Iranian refugees.

Interestingly, the Russian embassy refused to accept a letter and a petition by the organisers fearing that the papers may be contaminated! This by the way is not a joke, they really refused to accept on the grounds that the papers may be contaminated. The Persian proverb comes to mind "The evil doer thinks everyone is like him".

Polytechnic Protest

It was good that the protests against president Ahmadi-Nejad yesterday, got some worldwide publicity. In fact a Google news search showed more than 150 related articles. For me however, the most striking picture from the event will be the one below:





The simple placard held up by this brave Iranian student, says:

"Fascist President, the Polytechnic is not your place"


Its not just that he is standing up to an intolerant and dangerous man; one has to remember that the majority of the attendants were pro-Ahmadi-Nejad baseeji students, shipped in from Imam Sadeq and Imam Hossein universities.


I just hope this picture will not land this student in a similar fate to that of Ahmad Batebi, and what happened yesterday will not be used by the Islamic Republic to justify another more heavy handed crackdown on the universities.


See more pictures:


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pictures of Student Demos Last Week


Some of the pictures of Iranian students staging anti-government demonstrations on Iranian Student Day, last week.

BBC Persian said the demonstrators numbered around 300. Judge for yourself!

From Sofia Fog to VOA Studios in London

This week I made a short trip to Sofia, Bulgaria, with a very good friend of mine. Our plane was due to land in Sofia, but the fog was so strong that the plane had to be diverted to another airport in Plovdiv. We were then huddled on to a coach and drove all the way back to Sofia. No wonder the plane couldn't land in Sofia. Not only Bulgaria's main airport does not have adequate runway flood lighting, but we realised how dense the fog really was as the coach approached Sofia. No motorway lighting either by the way, and the road from Sofia to Plovdiv apparently is the best road in the country.

Despite the fog, the coach driver seemed quite happy to overtake other cars, making some passengers nervous but personally I wanted him to get us to Sofia as quickly as possible. I was dying to take a leak. The gents at the Plovdiv airport only had one urinal and there was a large queue outside it. So when we got to Sofia, I asked my friend to get my bag, while I quickly rushed off to the gents for a much welcomed relief.

When I came back, my friend was talking to this old Bulgarian guy. He was one of those unofficial taxis hanging outside the airports. I asked my friend why he didnt get a normal taxi? "I felt sorry for him, seeing him hustling for an extra Lev in his old age." was my friend's justification.

The old man took us to his ancient Skoda two door car, with our light luggage barely fitting in the small boot, we struggled to get in the car, which was covered with old blankets, hiding the wear and tear on the seats. My friend sat at the back next to his bag and I sat in the front. Finally the car managed to start, and we got going. The heater in the car wasn't working and the windscreen kept steaming up. The fog and the constant build up of the steam made a mockery of the term "driving vision", but the old Bulgarian had a solution for all this. He used an old vest to frequently wipe the windscreen which enabled us to temporarily see the few inches ahead. I kept turning back and looked at my friend everytime we had a close shave with another car on the road which seemed to appear from nowhere. I didnt say anything, but he kept repeating "I felt sorry for the poor old boy."

Our driver said he spoke many languages. He knew a few words in Persian, and a few words in Turkish. He said his German was better than his English, but when I tried to speak to him in German, I realised his German was even more limited than mine.
"What you do in Bulgaria?" He asked me as he wiped the screen with the vest. I felt confident enough to say whatever I liked just to make the situation a bit more lighthearted. "We are here to kill someone. If its ok we would like to then blame you for it. Is that ok?" I said to him. "Yes, ok, good!" He gave me the thumbs up.

When we got to the heart of the city, we realised the driver did not know where our hotel was! "eine moment!" He kept saying as he switched his car off, got out of the car, taking the car keys with him, and asked other drivers or pedestrians for directions. Everytime he stopped and got out to ask for directions, I turned around and looked at my friend, questioning his judgement with my looks only. "I felt sorry for the poor old boy" was the usual reply from the back.

Taxi drivers, who presumably saw him as a threat to their livelihood, seemed to give him the wrong directions all the time, and the pedestrians had never heard of our hotel.
Finally I got fed up, and got out of the car myself, asking younger female pedestrians where the hotel was, and eventually we did arrive. The "poor old boy" asked us for what we later found out was double the usual cab fare from the airport. I looked at my friend, when the driver asked for the fare. "I pay him, don't worry" My friend said as he got his Lev notes out.

The fog lingered on all day for the next day too. In fact our Bulgarian host said the fog had been around for two weeks, which was extremely unusual phenomenon. Prior to our flight, I had looked at the BBC weather report which predicted sunny 10 degrees for the next two days in Sofia. Its not just BBC reports from Iran that are inaccurate then, I thought to myself.

We came back to London from Bulgaria never seeing the sun. Our plane was delayed but while planes couldnt land in the fog, they could eventually take off. I was worried about getting back to London in time. I had an interview with VOA in the evening, and while in Bulgaria I had not updated myself with any news about Iran. When I got back, I jumped straight into bed and nodded off almost immediately, catching up with some much needed sleep, only to be woken up by Behnood Mokri from VOA, who had rang to remind me about the interview. I was so tired, I almost wanted to ask Behnood for a postponement, but I like Behnood, and didn't want to let him down. So quickly got dressed and drove to VOA studios in Fleet street, London. This was the interview:
Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hQsnQKRYac
Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kgkwOkJ_3A

I felt I did too much umming and erring, and at times I struggled to find the right words. I seemed to have the Sofia fog in my brain, my thinking was not as clear as it should be. I also forgot to mention a lot of things that I should have said. For example the demo outside the Russian embassy in London, to condemn Putin's support for the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, 12th Dec, between 13:00 - 16:00.



Iranian Blogger in Need of Help

I just heard the sad news about Arash Sigarchi, a brave Iranian blogger, who is in need of urgent medical treatment.

Please see the post in spiritofman blog for more details on how you can help him.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

27 Years of Women's Struggle in Iran

Thanks to youtube.com, some interesting video clips have been posted which demonstrate the struggle of women against the religious apartheid in Iran. A just and worthy cause which never really got the support of the active feminist groups in the West. I suppose it was not anti-American enough for them to deserve any solidarity actions!

The clip below is from the early post-revolution days. Thousands of Iranian women demonstrate against the compulsory veil.


Lots of interesting points in the clip. For example, the support shown by some women who themselves are observing the Islamic veil but at the same time, demand freedom of choice on what to wear by women. The solidarity shown by the nurses as the demonstrators pass a hospital. The Iranian men who supported the women and joined their demo. The young school girls, unaware of what is coming their way in the near future, and statements by Leftist intellectuals who were still under a delusion that they could achieve equal rights by taking part in an Islamic revolution which brought the fundamentalists to power. Most of the clip is self explanatory, shame about the biased partisan commentary.

and here is another clip of their struggle, 27 years later:


Monday, December 04, 2006

Most Popular Post

I was doing some monitoring on my blog. One of the indexes was listing of top posts in terms of how many comments they have attracted. Gunaz TV post is still attracting comments from readers. As I write today it has 125 comments posted. A google search on Gunaz TV brings back my blog post ranked near the top on the first page.

I also had a reason today to have a look at another index, corruption perceptions index for 2006. Out of 166 countries listed, Haiti is listed at the bottom of the list, Islamic Republic of Iran - Ali's Just Society, as the clerics like to call it - is in the 105th place next to Bolivia and Libya, but guess where the Republic of Azerbaijan is? 130th next to Swzailand and Burundi.

I wonder if these kind of facts are ever mentioned on Gunaz TV? How stupid must some people be to advocate to Iranian Azeris to jump from a frying pan into fire and unite with one of the most corrupt and lawless fiefdoms in the world?
At times like this, I always remember the way the little Afghan girl, Ariana, answered back to two other separatists who were under the illusion that breaking away from Iran will make things better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Assembly of Experts

I wish I was a good satirist and could really demonstrate the farce of the "elections" for the Assembly of Experts in the Islamic Republic. Although I think some of the news related to the "elections" for the Assembly of Experts, due to be held on December 15th, is so bizarre that even if I just list them as bullet points, it will make good material for stand up comedy.
Perhaps it will also preempt the likes of Laura Rozen, Simon Tisdall, Simon Jenkins, Baroness Nicholson, Sir Menzies Campbell, Jack Straw and the like who claim the Islamic Republic is the greatest democracy ever :)

So here are a few bullet points on the latest round of elections for the Assembly of Experts in the Islamic Republic:

- Some of the candidates who were rejected are incumbent members in the present assembly. To be vetted for the assembly, candidates must be examined for their Shiite theological knowledge. In other words these incumbent members were knowledgeable in the past, but now somehow, they have lost their expertise on the subject. Perhaps they have failed to keep up with the latest technological developments in Shiite technology!

- In previous years, the criteria for deciding a candidate's expertise was the testimony of three high-level clerics or the approval of the Supreme Leader. Now written exam and oral exam has been added too. Again with the exception of approval by the Supreme Leader which will negate
the necessity for the exams.

- The Guardian Council's obsession with vetting the candidates has become more and more extreme each time. One third of the candidates were rejected by the Guardian Council this time round. This meant in some constituencies, there was only one candidate up for elections :)

- To avoid the embarrassing situation of uncontested seats, the Guardian Council decided to transfer some of the candidates to other constituencies in order to have multiple candidates in all constituencies.
For example, Mohsen Gharavian, one of Mesbah-Yazdi's students, although had registered as a candidate in Qom was instead transferred to run as a candidate in Northern Khorasan Province because there was only one candidate there.

- Transfer of candidates to other constituencies became so preposterous that finally the Guardian Council re-approved 18 candidates it had earlier rejected. In other words 18 candidates who were earlier deemed to lack enough knowledge on Shiite theology, suddenly became experts again.

- One of the candidates rejected was the former governor of Gorgan, Hossein Raf'ati. The former governor has served for 18 years in the revolutionary guards, 14 months as the governor of Gorgan, two years as the director of the political and law enforcement body of the province. Now the reason for his rejection, wait a minute, hold on tight to your chairs, is:
" Taking part in actions against the national security" :))
The former governor of Gorgan claims he has never even been accused of such a charge, let alone been tried or punished for it. :)))

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Clashes at Tehran Polytechnic

Three students from Amir Kabir university, Abbas Hakimzadeh, Ali Azizi and Majid Tavakoli, staged a sit in at the university entrance today. They were protesting at the decision to ban them from continuing their education. The three are involved with student publications which have been critical of the university management and President Ahmadi-Nejad's government. Their criticisms have resulted in the decision to
ban them from studying at the university.

The campus security threatened to forcefully remove the three students and this resulted in a spontaneous human chain by other students to protect the three. Campus marshals tried to break up the gathering by physically attacking the 200 students who had formed the human chain. One injured student was taken to hospital.



Friday, November 24, 2006

Evil Putin Silences Another Opponent

'...You may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed...' from Alexander Litvinenko's last public statement.

Islamic Republic's biggest supporter, President Vladimir Putin, has managed to silence yet another one of his opponents. Will Putin get away with yet another murder, as he did with the invasion of Chechnya and the murder of so many Chechens and so many Russian dissidents and journalists?

Will the likes of Michael Moore, follow up on Litvinenko's claim that Putin deliberately bombed the block of flats in Moscow to justify the full-scale military mobilisation against Chechnya?

Well I recall no marches and no protests by the politically active groups in Europe, against the invasion of Chechnya or any other one of Putin's crimes. I heard no cries by the "anti-war" crowds when the Chechen mountain village of Dzumsoy was razed to the ground and the Russian troops killed every civilian, burned down every house and even spared no cattle.

The inconsistency of the European Left is despicable. The fashionable thing to do for them is to be anti-American and anti-Bush. After all, its safer to be anti-Bush than anti-Putin.

And look at the audacity of the evil Putin, and how he dismisses the accusations against him in a press conference in Helsinky:
"Meanwhile, as far as I know, in the medical report of British doctors, there is no indication that this was an unnatural death. There is none. That means, there is no reason for discussion of that kind. "

Not an unnatural death? Litvinenko's death is now known to have been caused by polonium-210 . High levels of radiation from Polonium-210 have been found in a trail of places last visited by Litvinenko, from the Sushi place in Piccadilly to Barnet Hospital in North London, and Putin claims this was not unnatural death?

My fear now, is how long will it take for Putin's henchmen to teach their colleagues in the Islamic Republic how to use these new methods for eliminating dissidents.

Litvinenko's last public statement finishes by saying :
"You may succeed in silencing one man but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life."
Somehow with what I know of the Western media, sadly I doubt this.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

8th Commemoration of Forouhars

last year any public commemorations of the slain Iranian dissidents, Daryoush and Parvaneh Forouhar were banned by the Islamic regime, and so their daughter, Parastoo, held the commemoration in their house. Crowds came to the house and overspilled on to the streets nearby. Large screens displayed the commemoration and pictures of the Forouhars to those in the streets.

This year even a commemoration at the Forouhar's home was banned by the authorities.

Eight years on, the regime is still petrified, even by the memory of the Forouhars and their popularity amongst the people of Iran.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

UCLA Student and Sabzevar Student

The incident of the Iranian student , Mustafa Tabatabaii-nejad, being tazered at UCLA has created a lot of strong feelings amongst some Iranian ex-pats. Mostly the kind of ex-pats who always remain silent about Islamic Republic crimes and bury their heads in the sand and say "I am not political". The sort that stay silent when a pregnant woman is executed in Iran but God forbid if something happens in America, they will be up in arms. In fact at the same time the Iranian-American student was tazered in UCLA, another Iranian student,Towhid Ghafarzadeh Nadi, was murdered in Sabzevar by a Baseej student. His "crime" was that he was talking to his wife at the bus stop and thus he was disturbing the religious sensitivities of devout Muslims!

One of the emails I had from one of such ex-pats said "excessive force was used against some one who at the most was doing a civil disobedience". Civil disobedience against what? against a college rule which stipulates students studying late at the library should show their student ID cards? A rule designed to protect the students from outside intruders. Is that such a bad rule?

The IRI has also jumped on the bandwagon and condemned the human rights abuse of the Iranian-American student at UCLA, along with some other IRI sponsored TV stations in the US.

So far I have not heard an explanation as to why the tazered student at UCLA did not show his ID card and resisted the police when they tried to move him. The courts will decide the rights and wrongs of the incident.Until then I can't have much sympathy with Tabatabaii-nejad or other Iranian ex-pats who are trying to make this a national issue. Instead my sympathies lie with Towhid's wife in Sabzevar who witnessed her husband being murdered at the bus stop over nothing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Bus Drivers Leader Arrested Again

Mansour Ossanlou, the leader of Iran's bus drivers was once again arrested on Sunday. Ossanlou was walking along with his deputy, Ibrahim Madadi, when they were approached by plain clothes agents. Madadi asked the plain clothes agents for their IDs and arrest warrant, which resulted in the plain clothes agents beating him up.

Ossanlou was huddled into an unmarked car and taken away. Ossanlou's wife was later contacted by officials and notified that her husband was taken to Evin prison.

Ossanlou was released on bail three months ago while his file remained open. His imprisonment sparked off a wave of solidarity actions by other trade unionists across the world, including a protest outside the Iranian embassy in London.

Pro-Islamic Republic Socialist Workers Party in UK, was one of the few left wing organisations which refused to take part in the protests outside the Iranian embassy in London.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Iranian Refugees in Moscow


I read about the heart wrenching plight of this family on Ardeshir Dolat's weblog. Watching the video of the mother describing the plight of the family is even more disturbing. I curse every day those who have reduced the children of Cyrus to such misery. I have no first hand knowledge of this family. My information comes from Ardeshir Dolat's weblog and the video on youtube. However I do believe that we owe much of our misery to our proximity with the Russians.

When I travel through East Europe, I can still sense the hatred the people of East Europe feel towards the Russians. We too, have much justification to despise the Russians. Ever since their ambitions to reach warm waters of the Persian Gulf, we have suffered from their interference and meddling in our affairs.

It was the Russians who tore away large chunks of Iranian territory from the Greater Iran.
It was Colonel Liakhov, the Russian commander of the Iranian Cossak brigade, along with other Russian officers, who set the artillary fire against the newly formed Iranian parliament. It was the Russians that attempted to quash the constitution and abolish parliamentary government in Iran. It was the Russians that invaded Iran during the WWII and then wanted to tear away Azaerbijan from Iran. It was their puppet Tudeh Party and their co-operation with the clerics in Iran that helped bring about the theocracy in 1979, and ever since then, they have been the biggest supporter of the Islamic Republic. Even when the Islamic Republic turned on the Tudeh Party, the Soviets ignored the plight of their long time lackeys and turned the other way.

So many of our best sons and daughters were tricked by the promise of a Soviet Euthopia, and lost their lives for nothing. Even those Iranian allies of the Soviet politbeaureu who fled to the Soviet Union, suffered enormously at the hands of those who they had once served with such loyalty.

Yet despite all the Russian support for the Islamic Republic, we Iranian ex-pats, never stage demonstrations outside the Russian embassies. Perhaps this heart wrenching video of this Iranian family will remind us of all the misery we have suffered, at the hands of our northern neighbours. Russians have never understood humanity and human rights, no matter who they have in power.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Responsiveness of the British Police

While the British Metropolitan police were quick to raid Safa Einollahi's house and suspect him for "terrorist" activities, or shoot Jean-Charles Menendez, the innocent Brazilian, five times in the head, they seem to be some what more lethargic in moving against the real threats against this country.

A group called Vigil, have infiltrated one of the most extremist groups in Britain, the radical al-Muhajiroun group, headed by Omar Bakri Mohammed, yet they claim the British police are just not interested in their evidence.

One academic, who is a member of Vigil, contacted the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist hotline saying he had more than 100 hours of material from the chatroom only to be told to contact his local police station.

"The anti-terrorist office showed no sense of urgency to get this information," he said.

It has also been emerged today that a senior executive officer, Abid Javid, in Immigration and Nationality Directorate which processes tens of thousands of asylum and visa applications every year, is a member of the fundamentalist Islamic group Hizb-ul Tahrir which believes in a worldwide Islamic state under Shariah law.

I have seen tens of genuine asylum applications by bonafide secular Iranian political activists refused by the Home Office, and yet unsavoury characters determined to break up the very fabric of this society keep pouring in. I always suspected infiltration in the Home Office by Islamic radicals and have written about it in the past. Today's news confirms my suspicions.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ayatollah Taheri's Warning

Ayatollah Taheri, who resigned from leading Friday prayers in Isfahan, four years ago, warned Iranians yesterday that "They want to replace the republic with the khilafat" in the next "Assembly of Experts". In his statement, he clearly referred to Messbah Yazdi, as someone who took no part in the revolution, yet his sect appear to be taking over the entire establishment.

While Khatami still beats the drums of the Islamic Republic during his world tour lectures, Ayatollah Taheri four years ago stated in his resignation letter:
"I could not close my eyes to "tangible realities, and witness the stifling pain and unbearable suffering of people who were seeing the flowers of virtue being trampled, values collapsing, and spirituality being destroyed."
"When I remember the promises and pledges of the beginning of the revolution, I tremble like a willow thinking of my faith
,"

Meanwhile Durham university is in the process of opening a new centre for Shii Studies with financial support from Mesbah Yazdi. An Ayotllah whose statement "If anyone insults the Islamic sanctities, Islam has permitted for his blood to be spilled, no court needed either" made headline news in Iran, is funding a British university!

So far two ex-diplomat/current smuggler/terrorists, who studied at Durham University have been arrested. Professor Anoushirvan Ehteshami, a British-Iranian academic who has been based at Durham for years, is the facilitator for absorbing Islamic Republic officials into Durham university as students.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Khatami Myth Busters

As expected, ex-Islamic Republic president, Mohammad Khatami, wooed and dazzled some British academics, diplomats, think tanks and church figures with his usual clever ploys of nice smiles and pretty phrases during his UK tour. It is sad to see that after all these failed Khatami years, some in the British establishment, still have such illusions about Khatami.

Below are some points which may help bust those myths.

Myth 1) Khatami himself is a nice person

Khatami did not come from nowhere. You can not be vetted as a presidential candidate by the Guardian Council and not have a history of collaboration.
Before serving as president, Khatami was the Supreme Leader's supervisor in the repressive Kayhan Institute. He was the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance during the repressive years of 1982 - 1986 and then a second term in 1989 - 1992. Khatami was also a member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution.

If there is any doubt about Khatami's commitment to the Islamic Republic, perhaps the gullible Western admirers of Khatami should read his public praise for the butcher of Evin, Lajevardi. A vile character who was responsible for the torture and execution of thousands of Iranian political prisoners including pregnant women and children. Yet the nice kind hearted reformist Khatami praised Lajevardi at his funeral, as a "valiant servant of the people and a devoted soldier of Islam."
Khatami also showered similar praises for the maniac hanging judge Ayatollah Khalkhali, the butcher of Kurdistan and a mental case who enjoyed strangling cats for fun.

Nice people do not praise mass killers.


Myth 2) - Khatami was elected by more than 20 million votes

This myth is often regurgitated in a way as if there are normal democratic elections in Iran. The fact is that not everyone can stand as a candidate in IRI elections. The candidates are closely vetted and approved by the people. Iranians were given a choice of 4 approved candidates. Even then the Supreme Leader told the people which one to vote for - Nateq-Nouri, Supreme Leader's favourite candidate. The vote for Khatami by the Iranian people, was their way of showing their disapproval to the Supreme Leader, within the narrow options they had available.

Myth 3) Khatami allowed students to protest against him

This was a myth that was repeated by Khatami himself in several of his lectures during his UK tours. Khatami's audience just did not have the knowledge to challenge him on this. Yet this is so baseless. A massive crackdown followed the student protests in July 1999, where 2000 protesters were arrested in just one day and some long term sentences were handed out to the likes of Ahmad Batebi (15 Years) and Akbar Mohammaadi (12 Years - recently killed while in prison). Khatami however refers to a meeting on Iran's National Student Day, where he was heckled by the students throughout his speech. It is true apart from a few scuffles that happened in the hall, no one was arrested on the day, but they were arrested later!
Names of those who heckled Khatami and were later arrested are known.
See: IranvaJahan Report

Myth 4) - Khatami is a reformist

Western supporters of Khatami always stumble when they get asked to name one single reform set in motion by Khatami. They generally try to attribute a youthful and less revolutionary atmosphere in Iran to Khatami. Yet the truth is that Khatami did not set any reforms in motion.
During the Khatami years, Iran was witnessing a technological revolution in communication and a profound demographic change. More and more Iranians were purchasing satellite dishes, despite the official ban. The internet took off in Iran and became an alternative source of information to the mundane state propaganda. Internet Cafes became part of the youth culture where they would meet and contact each other.

As well as the technological change, there was a demographic change taking place too. Earlier Islamic Republic birth control policies and the 8 year war against the Iraqi aggression, had resulted in a youthful population. 70% of the Iranian population were under 30. They had enough of the Islamic Republic restrictions, empty promises and rhetoric. The youth was at the point of explosion and the regime knew this.

Far from being a reformer, Khatami put the brakes on all the zeal for change in the young population. He disappointed those who had supported him and pinned their hopes on him, time and time again. Khatami failed to stick up for his closest supporters. He failed to safeguard freedom after speech. His eight years in power turned all the enthusiasm of the youthful population, who were hungry for change, into apathy and hopelessness.

If the Iranian women pushed back their scarves even further and wore more colourful clothes, it was not because of Khatami, it was because the clerics could not hold people back. Khatami should not take any credit even for such cosmetic changes.

The reformist parliament which seated Khatami's supporters, failed to pass basic reforms past the veto of the Guardian Council.
Such as:
- Raising the age of marriage for girls in Iran from 9 to 12.
- Allowing unmarried girls to study abroad
- Press liberalisation bill
- Ban on torture

Khatami was no reformist, he was a shrewd trusted establishment figure, who cunningly put the brakes on a society which desperately desired change.

Myth 5) - Khatami stands for inter faith dialogue

The mind boggles at such naive suggestions by some academics and church figures. It is so far from the truth, one wonders at the academic qualifications of those who make such statements. Far from any inter faith dialogue, the Islamic Republic is a religious apartheid, where the rights of citizens are according to their faith or lack of it.

Before I go on to the treatment of other faiths in Iran and during Khatami's presidency, lets just consider the fate of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, who is a high ranking Shiite cleric. Boroujerdi was banned from holding public sermons during Khatami's time. He was arrested with his followers after some bloody clashes outside his house. Boroujerdi's crime is that he wants a non-political Islam. There are many other dissident Shiite clerics in Iran too who are suffering terrible fates because they have not toed the state line.

Khatami lectures his Western audience about inter faith dialogue but he can not even hold a dialogue with the people of his own faith let alone other faiths.

Treatment of other faiths in Iran is even more abysmal. Sunnis Muslims are not even allowed to build a mosque in Tehran.
Sufis in Iran are violently suppressed.
Christian converts are murdered as apostates and the Bahaii are persona non gratis in Iran.

Myth 6) Khatami supports dialogue amongst civilisations

Khatami's concept of dialogue is that he holds nice sermons for selected audiences in the West who are fooled by his smiles and poetry. If Khatami really believed in dialogue, he would have met the two Iranian refugees in London who applied for his arrest because of the horrific tortures they suffered in prison when Khatami was president.

Khatami lectures the West on human rights abuses in Guantanamo etc. yet he fails, and so do his passive audiences, to make the distinction between holding foreign suspected terrorists and detaining your own citizens for just thinking differently from the state sponsored ideology.

When human rights abuses take place in democracies, the media and others write and speak out against such abuses. When such abuses take place in the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are not talked about. When Khatami cleverly dodges the human rights abuses that took place during his time and refers to examples outside Iran, he is not comparing like with like.

Myth 7) Khatami Did not know about human rights abuses during his presidency

This is such a lame excuse and sadly one used by the Metropolitan police who refused to arrest him. It is impossible for Khatami not to have known about human rights abuses in his time, and he is part of the collective responsibility that led all the abuse.

There are numerous cases of human rights abuses which got international publicity during his presidency. Like the case of Iranian born, Canadian photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi, who was beaten up and raped in prison.

Morris Copithorne's report of human rights abuses in Iran itself shows the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human rights abuses that took place during Khatami's presidency.

Even the non-political abuses of human rights, such as the execution of the 16 year old teenage girl, Atefeh Sahaleh for "crimes against chastity", must have been known to Khatami. These crimes all happened during his 8 years as president.

And surely Khatami should have at least read the horrific letter of conditions in Iran prisons and the extent of torture applied by no less than the head of the judiciary in Iran himself, Ayatollah Shahroodi.

Witness to Zahra Kazemi's Murder is Executed

According to news received from human rights activists in Iran, Madhan Javadolmanshi, one of the prisoners who claimed had witnessed the murder of Iranian born photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi, was secretly executed back in August this year.

Madhan was in prison for more than 10 years on charges of espionage. One of the political prisoners who met Madhan in prison, said Madhan told him, he had heard two of the prison guards by the names of Moussa and Niazi, take part in the horrific beating of Zahra Kazemi, which led to her death.
He claimed to have heard Zahra Kazemi repeatedly plead with the guards during her ordeal, not to hit her on the head.

Latest on Batebi

After the missed opportunity to save Ahmad Batebi by the St.Andrews Association who were unwilling to take a single step in solidarity with a jailed fellow student, the suffering of Ahmad Batebi and his family continues.

Batebi was shortly allowed 48 hours leave from prison before Khatami received an honorary PHD from St. Andrews. Ahmad Batebi's family had to come up with property title deeds worth more than £100K as bail money for his brief leave from prison. Yet after Batebi's return to prison, he is still kept in solitary confinement and his demands to be transferred to section 305 of Evin prison along with other political prisoners has been ignored. The authorities have also refused to release the bail money put up by Batebi's family, despite his return to prison.

Batebi's wife, Somayeh Beinat, has also been threatened with imprisonment if she continues to talk publicly about her husband's situation.

History will remember a spineless St. Andrews Association President, Tom D'Ardenne, who refused to stand up for a student colleague serving 15 years jail for lifting a bloody T-shirt of a comrade in a rally during Khatami's presidency. Instead the president who endorsed the arrest of 2000 students in one day got an honorary PHD from St. Andrews university with the full backing of the university association.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Welcoming the Belarus President

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and doesn't aim to produce atomic weapons.

Photo shows Iranian judiciary minister rushing through to welcome President Lukashenko, while taking care not to mess up the line up in the guard of honour for President Lukashenko.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Reply to Laura Rozen

I have been meaning to reply to Laura Rozen's article against Fakhravar in motherjones.com, but just haven't had time until now.

I actually think Laura Rozen is not so much against Fakhravar himself, but just wants to have a dig at the neo-cons. Callously for Rozen, Fakhravar for her, just happens to be a dispensable casualty. After all Fakhravar is not fighting American imperialism, he is just a pro-democracy activist who wants the same rights for his nation that Laura Rozen has got. I do not understand why Rozen is jealous of this?

In order to justify her attack on Fakhravar, Rozen quotes Hassan Zare-Zadeh Ardeshir. Her audience is primarily the readers of motherjones.com and I doubt how uptodate these readers are with the Iranian opposition politics. For me however quoting Zare-Zadeh was enough to make up my mind about her article. All genuine Iranian activists know enough about Zare-Zadeh and how he embezzled money sent by ex-pats which was meant to be channelled to pro-democracy activists inside Iran. We also regularly received reports from Iran by those who were once close to Zare-Zadeh, suggesting that he was a government snitch. Yet Rozen has chosen a snitch to accuse Fakhravar of being a snitch!!

Rozen dismisses Fakhravar's claims that he was on the shortlist for a literary prize, the Paulo Coelho award, and says there is no evidence that such an award exists—a point first raised on the blog “Moon of Alabama”. By the way the blog of "Moon of Alabama" has also been quoted by Hossein Derakhshan (Hoder). Again I don't think there is any doubt for any genuine Iranian activist that Hoder is an Islamic Republic agent, who like Zare-Zadeh has managed to fool many anti-Neo-Con people like Rozen. Just do a search on Hoder on this blog to see how time and time again Hoder has defended the Islamic regime and tried to stain Iranian dissidents from Ganji to Jahanbegloo. By the way its very easy to gain the trust of the likes of Laura Rozen, just put on an intellectual gesture, say a few words against Bush and neo-cons, and hey Bob's your uncle or Laura is your auntie as the case may be here.
Any way Rozen is wrong that this prize does not exist, here is the Paulo Coelho award that Rozen so adamantly says does not exist. I have checked Fakhravar's claims for having been shortlisted for the prize and that the publishing house has exclusive rights on Persian translations of Paulo Coelho's books in Iran. I just hope none of the people there get in trouble because of Rozen's lack of initiative to dig for truth.

Rozen then mentions Ahmad Batebi, having distanced himself from Fakhravar on his blog. Rozen may not know this, but detained dissidents in Iran have often appeared on state TV, to recant after having suffered extreme duress. For Iranians, these forced confessions no longer have any credibility. We all know the human tolerance for pain and deprivation is limited, what matters is not what people are forced to say under duress but what they said when they were free to say. Rozen and her comfortable armchair revolutionaries just do not seem to grasp this. They think dissidents in despotic countries have the same freedom as her in expressing their true opinions.

Lastly Rozen tries to go for Fakhravar's jugular by quoting Nasrin Mohammadi. Fakhravar has pictures of himself with Nasrin's brother, Akbar Mohammadi, another victim of the Islamic Republic, and yet another Iranian dissident whom Rozen never tried to publicise his plight while he was still alive and resisting the Islamic regime's henchmen. When I was in US, Nasrin rang Fakhravar on his mobile. Fakhravar was helping her other brother Manouchehr while he was stranded in Turkey. Fakhravar was too humble to even mention the Rozen article to Nasrin, so I grabbed the phone from him and asked Nasrin myself. I have known Nasrin ever since her brothers were imprisoned. Nasrin was in so much distress because of Rozen's article and swore to me that the email about Fakhravar to Rozen was never sent by her.

In fact today, she copied me on her email to Rozen, which prompted me to find time and finally reply to Rozen. See email below.

Finally my last words to Laura Rozen and the likes of her in the West is this. I understand you are anti neo-con, Perle and Bush etc. This is your privilige which living in a democracy entitles you to, but why try to sacrifice our comrades who have suffered so much? And if you do not want the Iranian pro-democracy activists to associate themselves with the neo-cons, then try to help them yourselves. Win them over, write about their plight, mention the brutality of the religious apartheid in Iran. Until that happens, I can't blame Iranian activists for accepting help from wherever it comes.
I remember an ANC military official was once put under pressure for accepting funds and arms from Communist countries. The ANC guy did not deny it, he said "Their help is enabling us to fight Apartheid, if you help us we will gladly accept your help too."

Nassrin's email to Laura Rozen which I was copied on:

"Hi Laura
Iam writing to you about an article published in Mother Jones against Fakhravar.
You wrote something on my behalf.
I would like to inform you that my E-mail was hacked and is destroyed. those are not from me.
Those are not my words.
Please call me at --- if you have any questions

with respect
Nasrin Mohammdi
"

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Inter Faith Dialogue



While Khatami dazzled and wooed some of the British academics, think tanks, diplomats and journalists with his lovely words about inter faith dialogue, Iran's Ministry of Interior has ordered officials throughout the country to step up the surveillance of Iranian Baha'is focusing in particular on their community activities.


The Ministry has requested provincial officials to complete a detailed questionnaire about the circumstances and activities of local Baha'is, including their "financial status," "social interactions," and "association with foreign assemblies," among other things.

Over the last two years, at least 129 Baha'is have been arrested, released on bail, and are now awaiting trial throughout the country. The bail demands have been high, in most cases requiring the Baha'is to hand over considerable sums of money, deeds to property, business or work licenses.


See translation of the document.

28 Murdád 1385 [19 August 2006]
Islamic Republic of Iran
Number: 70878/43
Ministry of the Interior

In the Name of God

To the honourable political-security deputies of the offices of the Governors’ General of the country

Greetings,

Respectfully, we have received reports that some of the elements of the perverse sect of Bahaism are attempting to teach and spread the ideology of Bahaism, under the cover of social and economic activities. In view of the fact that this sect is illegal and that it is exploited by international and Zionist organizations against the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we therefore ask you to order the relevant offices to cautiously and carefully monitor and manage their [the Bahá’ís’] social activities. In addition, complete the requested information on the enclosed form and forward it to this office for its use by 15 Shahrívar [6 September 2006].

Siyyid Muḥammad-Riḍa Mavválízádih [Seyyed Mohammad-Reza Mavvalizadeh]
Director of the Political Office
[Signature]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

British Police Try to Arrest the Plaintiff Against Khatami

British police today tried to arrest Safa Einollahi as soon as he arrived to join other protesters against Khatami outside Chatham House, but other protesters fought with the police and prevented them from taking Safa away.

Safa is one of the two Iranian refugees who had applied to the Met Police to have Khatami arrested under Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1998. This Act requires the arrest of any individual, regardless of nationality, where there is evidence that they committed, condoned or colluded with acts of torture. The legislation has a universal jurisdiction, and therefore covers torture committed by Iranians against Iranians in Iran. Section 134, which incorporates the UN Convention Against Torture 1984 into UK law, also holds high state officials responsible if they fail to stop torture.

Safa was arrested and detained in 1999 during the student protests in Iran. During his arrest, Safa was raped by bottle on two occasions. As a result of such inhumane acts, Safa suffers from long term physical and pscychological injuries.

In a more sinister move, the Metroplitan police also entered Safa's house last night and interrogated him. Asking him questions like "What other friends do you have in Britain who were previously detained in Iran."

Sue Wilkinson from the Metropolitan Police, yesterday replied to the application made by Sabi & Associates lawyers who were acting on behalf of the two Iranian refugees and refused to issue an arrest warrant saying there was insufficient evidence that Khatami personally committed such acts of torture or ordered them to be conducted.

Khatami has not attempted any dialogue with the two refugees who suffered such horrific treatments during his presidency, while on his UK tour.

Extending Love Profusely

"One can live within the religious, geographical and political borders but they must extend love profusely.

"Borderless friendship will save the whole world." - Khatami at St. Andrews

The above sound bites were said by Khatami in his speech at St. Andrews. I am so fed up answering all the silly points raised in defence of Khatami by gullible stupid people that I can not even be bothered to write about them any more. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Below are two pictures of the reality in Iran. Here is what happens to love in a park in Iran, this is what happens when love is extended on a park bench, before it is given a chance to be extended beyond borders. A simple cuddle on a park bench leads to interrogation and arrest.



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boroujerdi Taken into Hospital

Ayatollah Boroujerdi is reported to have been taken to hospital from section 209 of the notorious Evin prison. It is not clear whether his transfer to hospital is due to a heart attack or problems arising from going on hunger strike. In the past months, two Iranian political prisoners have died under suspicious circumstances while on hunger strike.

Meanwhile, St. Andrews university is honouring Khatami for his efforts in promoting religious tolerance! later today and St. Anthony's College at Oxford University on 3rd November will give him yet another platform to spread his nonsense. Khatami will deliver a lecture to students and faculty of Oxford University entitled 'Religion and the Promotion of Democracy'!. This shameful visit is disguised as "opportunities for academic discussion" :))

Contact for further information on Khatami's lecture at Oxford University can be obtained from:

Vanessa Hack
Antonian Network and Public Relations Officer
St Antony's College
Oxford OX2 6JF

Tel: +44 (0)1865 274494
Fax: +44 (0)1865 274526
Email: dev.office@sant.ox.ac.uk

Hope Vanessa Hack and others at Oxford university who are providing this platform to Khatami can sleep well! Meanwhile two Iranians who were tortured in prison while Khatami was the president will be giving a press conference at the Foreign Press Association today between 4 and 5 pm.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2426688,00.html

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend in Bratislava and Vienna

One of the great advantages of living somewhere like London is you can actually travel to two or more different countries in one weekend.

If you have been fortunate to wait at the arrivals in Stanstead airport recently, you could not have missed the parade of East European beauties currently flooding into London. What a delightful site it is :) But its nothing compared to what you see in Bratislava itself. Really stunning girls.

We took a cheap flight to Bratislava from Stanstead on Friday. It only takes a couple of hours to get there. I had been to Slovakia before but never really stopped at Bratislava itself. Only 10 minutes from the airport and opposite the Opera House is a historic hotel building, Inn at The Three Green Trees, dating back to 1820. Now it has been fully reconstructed & renovated to the highest standards of a modern hotel while maintaining the reputation and history of days gone by. Outside the hotel there are pictures of famous people who have stayed there before.

Names like Albert Einstein, Thomas Eddison, Roosevelt, Elton John and few others that have skipped my mind for now. The masseuse in the fitness centre told me that in 2002 the England football team had stayed there and she had massaged David Beckham's legs for three hours before the match. Four years later she was still excited by her experience :)

Within a short walk from the hotel, there are busy and lively bars and night clubs. I saw no police on the streets but everyone seemed to be well behaved despite the large amounts of alcohol they must have consumed. Actually that was with the exception of one Austrian bloke I came across in the Malecon bar. Full of Dutch courage and probably some other banned substances, he kept pushing into me while I was standing next to him, and then he had the cheek to turn around and tell me "excuse me, but I got the feeling that you keep pushing into my back." He stood while expanding his pidgeon chest into my face as if trying to intimidate me :)
"Well I dont know how you got that impression, coz I am just holding my ground here while your elbows are flying everywhere." I told him while his chest slowly deflated. He asked me where I was from and bought me a drink. Normally if someone buys me a drink, I have to buy him a drink back but this time I was happy to drop my principles.
He told me he was from Austria and he was a lawyer. I hate lawyers, I always tell my son he can become anything he likes but not a lawyer. I find them unproductive leeches that feed off other people's hard work and do nothing good for the world.

After he bought me a drink I saw no reason to continue conversing with him, until he started insulting the people working behind the bar that is. At which time, I pinned his arm down with the full weight of my forearm and elbow, I thought he was going to throw a glass at them, and told him sternly "Hey dont say things like that, you might be an Austrian and a lawyer and think they are lower than you, but they are not begging or stealing, they are working hard for their living, so show them some respect.." It seemed to sober him up a little bit and he went away from the bar to join his friends. Then one of his friends got close to me and started having a loud conversation on his mobile so I could hear him. I dont know why he thought his conversation impressed me.
"Bring us few grams of Coccaine, make sure its ze good stuff, none of zat cheap shit" and then he put his hand on my shoulder and said "Vell you might as vell have ze gut stuff hey?" I put on a false smile briefly, as if I could care less what crap he got himself! I just wanted to enjoy the delightful scenery. I am not kidding every single girl in that bar was ravishing to say the least.

We had a few drinks there and left. Ending up in the Cocoloco Cocktail bar. From the outside and judging by the noise you think this is a big club but it is actually quite tiny. I found it too dark and the heating was turned on so high that with all the smoke it was actually quite uncomfortable. Next to our table there were five or six young Slovak lads, sharing a bottle of Vodka in small shots with some snacks and having a laugh and unlike our Austrian lawyers, really decent and well behaved chaps. The rest of the punters were all couples busy dancing together or having a drink at the tables. Cocoloco was our last stop, and I was really tired.

The next day we headed off to Vienna. We are so priviliged to live in this day and age. I mean it is so easy to travel now. Our parents couldn't even dream of it. Brief passport checks at the border, none of those US immigration idiots, a windscreen display for the motorway tolls and if you have a GPS navigator, you can go anywhere in Vienna you fancy, all within an hour. I had never been to Austria before, and so this was now the 25th country I visited. I can't complain, I have had a good exciting full life and I am always grateful for it.

The first place we visited was the magnificent Schonbrunn castle. I always thought the English were the best gardeners but just take a look at the The Great Parterre, in the link and you see how magnificent it is. So we took loads of pictures which included one of me doing a royal wave from the balcony. First time I got an imagined sense of how it must feel to have the multitudes of the crowds longing to see your simple wave from the above. So tempting and intoxicating :))

Then we went to Stephansplatz. Parking was murder and just like London, the no parking signs were not clear at all. The local authorities in Vienna like in London must purposely aim not to be clear so they can collect more revenue from the innocent drivers. In search of a legal place to park, I came across a young friendly Austrian couple who put themselves out to find out if we could park outside a bookshop. What lovely helpful couple, a credit to their country, unlike their charlie consuming compatriots from the night before.

Stephanplatz reminded me of Covent Garden in London. Busy bustling place with street performers, expensive shops, coffee bars on the pavements and really chick Viennese men and women out on a weekend stroll. We had a drink at one of the coffee shops in the main square, enjoyed the scenery and finally called it a day. Back to Bratislava for great beer, costing less than a pound, and a Slovak dish I enjoy called halušky.

Nice rest and a great weekend in a peaceful free Europe. The way all countries should be.