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

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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
"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:
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):
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:
Part II:

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, 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. :)))