Monday, December 31, 2007

1977 UK Archives on Iran

Each year the UK government releases a set of 30-year-old documents to the national archives for public study. Two interesting ones from what I have read so far have grabbed my attention related to Iran in 1977.

First one is around the death of Ali Shariati in Southampton, UK. Shariati is often referred to as the intellectual force of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Almost all the MeK supporters I have ever come across who played an active part in bringing the Shiite clergy to power in Iran, started their misguided path by reading Ali Shariati's books. Shariati had a great aptitude for creating Socialist interpretations of Islam, and his books particularly impressed youngsters who had never read a book before. Shariati's sermons and his publications were instrumental in turning away the Iranian youth from secularism and nationalism and instead poisoned them with a cocktail of Islamic-Marxism, fondness for the Algerian revolution and glorification of martyrdom.

Shariati's supporters, as can be seen on his official website always claimed that he was murdered by the Shah's secret services, yet the released archives confirm that his death was due to nothing other than a heart attack.

The next document that grabbed my attention was the Shah's very accurate understanding of the players in Rhodesia. In his meetings with Anthony Parsons, the then UK ambassador to Tehran, the Shah expresses his concern about the future of Rhodesia and states that the Mugabe-Nkomo alliance is that of a temporary nature and short-lived political expediency. He expresses his clear preferences for Nkomo and refers to Mugabe as a dangerous village Marxist who will lead the country to ruin.
Remarkably accurate predictions 30 years ago!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In the Year 2007

Here is a summary of my highlights of the year 2007. It looks rather thin compared with 2005 and 2006, perhaps because I was out of the UK for most of 2007 and then ending up rupturing my pectoral tendon towards the end of 2007 or perhaps because this year I have felt more tired than ever before. As I explained to a friend in a New Year greeting email, I can not think of many things in which I have put so much time and effort into and yet got so little tangible returns from.

The year kicked off with exposing IRI propaganda activities in British universities:

and then soliciting help for Iranian women campaigners from students and academics in UK universities:

Highlighting protests by Iranian teachers

Showing Ahmadi-Nejad's popularity:

Highlighting the crackdown on dress code in Iran:

Then the crackdown on "hoodlums and thugs":

Pourya's escape:

Some good news in 2007, was sponsoring the CIS football team:

Exposing the hypocrite supporters of the Islamic Republic in London:

Hosting Fakhravar in London:

Meeting face to face with one of my favourite persons, Nazanin Afshin-Jam:

The sort of people the UK Home Office grants asylum to:

Turning up to face the Islamic Republic supporters in London on the Al-Quds day:

Going to Rome with Fakhravar:

and then exposing the way VOA Persian reported it:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kite Runner

Earlier this week, the US embassy in London showed a pre-premiere screening of the film, The Kite Runner, based on the best selling novel by Afghan-American writer, Khalid Hosseini.
I have been too busy this week to write about the event in my blog until now, but let me tell you straight away, it was an amazing film.

I must admit I had not read the novel and I did not know what to expect. The first thing that grabbed my admiration before the movie even started, was the calligraphy of the starting titles. The film is about many things, the story of Afghanistan, friendship and loyalty, a proud father, the long lasting guilt of showing cowardice, sacrifice, courage, sudden upheaval of lives, exile, re-building of lives in a new land, the roots to the original homeland, new freedoms and opportunities, the misery of living under extremist totalitarian regimes and much more.

You could say I could somehow relate to each one of those topics above and perhaps thats why I was so mesmerized by the story of the film which was so beautifully told and so well directed.

After the film, Khalid Hosseini himself joined the panel which was hosted by the US embassy's cultural attache, Michael Macy. Khalid talked about his own life, his book and the making of the movie and then fielded the questions from the audience. The last question was asked by a woman sitting right next to me and it was which scene in the film was the most memorable for Khalid himself. I can't remember what Khalid Hosseini answered, because somehow my own thoughts made me ask the same question in my mind from myself. It was really difficult to pin point just one scene.

Loyalty is so significant for me in my own friendships and the director, Marc Forster, could not have picked a more suitable young actor for the role of Hassan which was so genuinely played by Ahmad Khan Mahmadizada, in so many scenes which got imprinted in my mind.

Hassan's fascination with the story of Rostam and Sohrab from the Iranian Book of Kings (Shahnameh), and the slight similarities between this saga from the Shahnameh and the story of the film was another memorable scene which became more significant once the entire plot was unfolded.

The entire upheaval of exiled communities and the scenes related to it struck a chord with all of those who have experienced exile, as an Iraqi woman in the audience mentioned in her question.
There was a couple of factual mistakes or perhaps as Hollywood would like to call it, "artistic licence", in the film. The Taliban were shown coming to the stadium after a game of football watched by men and women in burkas, where as in fact Taliban did not allow football nor women being present in a mixed audience with men even in their burkas. Ignoring this minor Hollywood ignorance, The Kite Runner is a film well worth watching. It will keep you glued to your seat and you will talk about it with others who watched it for days after.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fakhravar's Speech in Rome

Please click on this link below to see Fakhravar's speech on the second day of the conference in Rome:

Italy's Radio Radical Broadcast of Fighting for Democracy in the Islamic World conference in Rome.

Fakhravar is the first speaker after the introduction. For obvious reasons the whole broadcast has an Italian voice over. I will post the links to the film footage of Fakhravar's speech without the Italian voice over as soon as possible so you can all judge for yourselves whether Ahmad Rafat and Jamshid Chalangi were trying to bad mouth Fakhravar or whether they were telling the truth. Whether these old generation Iranians try to inspire the young Iranians or divide and disappoint them with their falsehoods?

Despite the Italian voice over however, I think just from the applause Fakhravar receives, you can tell his role was not as insignificant as Ahmad Rafat tried to make out on Jamshid Chalangi's program.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

VOA Persian Lies About the Rome Conference

At last, VOA Persian could no longer ignore the Rome conference just because Fakhravar was there. Fakhravar was briefly mentioned today but in a program that started with lectures about professional journalism and the principle of balanced reporting, Ahmad Rafat, the VOA Persian correspondent in Rome lied through his teeth and sufficed to say, "The Iranian participant was Mr. Fakhravar but he only talked about himself".

Chalangi, the program presenter then repeated Rafat's statement, as if to emphasize Rafat's ridicule of Fakhravar, and said "So basically Mr. Fakhravar just talked about himself in this conference" and Rafat nodded again!

What nasty cheap liars! This is why the young generation of Iranians are sick and tired of the old generation of Iranians who got us in this mess and still won't let go. Their lies, their smear campaigns, their nepotism, their stupidity and their selfish motives still an obstacle to progress in Iran.

So much for impartial professional reporting when they now tell us they had their correspondent there but yet they did not even bother to interview Fakhravar.

Fakhravar's speech on Monday and his speech on Tuesday as well as his interview with the Italian newspaper and Italain televisions is all available and will be a testimony to VOA Persian's lies to the people of Iran.

Those of you who live in US should all let the VOA board of governors know about how VOA Persian tries to smear the reputation of an Iranian dissident, who has spent six years of his youth in Islamic jails, and how instead VOA Persian promotes Islamic Republic apologists and supporters.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back From the Rome Conference

I have just come back from the 'Struggle for Democracy in the Islamic World' conference held in Rome, where I had the pleasure of interpreting for my friend, Amir Abbas (Siavash) Fakhravar.

On Sunday Fakhravar had an interview with the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera. Just before the interview began, Fakhravar remembered the very first time a reporter from Corriere della Sera had contacted him. It was during one of his leave from prison periods before Ahmadi-Nejad became the president. The reporter had asked Fakhravar's prediction and was surprised to hear Fakhravar predict "Ahmadi-Nejad".

Ahmadi-Nejad was so unknown at the time, that the reporter had concluded Fakhravar was out of touch and "crazy". When Ahmadi-Nejad and Rafsanjani were put through to the second round however, the same reporter contacted Fakhravar again and this time called him a genius and asked how he had made the correct prediction? Fakhravar's reply was "the so-called Iran experts you rely on, are those who come to Iran for a few days, meet government officials, talk to a few hand picked and planted people, read a couple of books on Iran on top of that and think they know it all. We on the other hand live within the system, we know the internal power struggles, we understand the psychology of the regime officials better and we become aware when millions of duplicate ID cards are issued to the Baseej and they are told who to vote for, because we know this system inside out we can make the right predictions."

I have not had the text of the interview, that was printed in the paper yesterday, translated to me line by line yet, but in particular I liked Fakhravar's answer to the question "wouldn't more comprehensive sanctions bring more hardship on the Iranian people?"
Fakhravar's reply was "The oil prices in 1998 dropped down to $11 to $12 per barrel, and now they are over $90 per barrel. Do you think the Iranian people are any better off now than in 1998? Do you think the Iranian people benefit from the oil income? Iran's economy is controlled by and divided amongst the "Sons of Clerics". More effective sanctions will mean THEY will lose income and less money will be available to the regime to spend on sponsoring terrorism around the world."

After the interview we worked a bit on Fakhravar's part for next day's agenda and still had some time to wonder around Rome and see some of its famous land marks and magnificent monuments before joining with the other dissidents to eat in an Egyptian restaurant in Rome.

I must say, there were some amazing people who were invited by the conference. The likes of Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group a non-partisan organisation dedicated to exposing human rights violations by both the Israelis and Palestinians , or the likes of Saad Eddine Ibrahim, the Egyptian dissident sociologist, who was imprisoned in 2000 for allegedly defaming Egypt's image abroad (sounds like familiar charges? dictatorship are so similar :)

It really was a privilege for me to be dining and talking to these men whose resolve was never broken despite all the hardships they had suffered. The occasion reminded me again of my favourite quote, "Evil only prevails when good men stay silent" and here I was amongst these very good people who had not remained silent and had stood up to evil.

The next day the conference started with introducing the invited dissidents. They briefly talked about their experiences and each carried a message to those who enjoy the privileges of living in a free world. Fakhravar talked in Persian, I translated into English and a professional Italian translator then told his words to the audience in Italian. I was nervous, I felt an enormous responsibility not to miss a single word Fakhravar said, not to miss a single word when he talked about the students recently arrested in Iran, not to miss a single word when he pleaded to the free world to remember those who are detained in solitary confinements in Iran, and yet as always Fakhravar was shooting out the words as fast as a machine gun and with the force that comes from his abundant inner strength when he talks about freedom. I was struggling to keep up.

Afterwards, the TV camera crews surrounded the dissidents for interviews. The humility and modesty of these great men who suddenly found themselves surrounded by the Italian media cameras, brought an admiring smile to my face. Their shyness and reservation from being the centre of the attention made me like them even more. I helped Fakhravar with two TV interviews. Interpreting in front of a camera was harder than interpreting for a newspaper. Even though the interviews were not live, I felt I couldn't make a mistake and it seemed there was just less time to give answers. The TV crew wanted quick short sound bites and yet some of their questions needed a long detailed reply and clarification.

One of the reporters referred to the 1999 student uprising, she said "We know the 1999 student uprising during the reformist president Khatami failed and the people of Iran did not support the students and the intellectuals because the US spoke in support of the protests, what do you think should be avoided if there is another uprising on that scale?"

I translated the question to Fakhravar, our eyes locked into each other and I just know we were both saying inside our heads, "what the hell is this woman talking about?" Again inside my head I was pleading with Fakhravar "Please put this woman in her place Siavash, please!" and when Fakhravar delivered his reply, with full confidence I turned to the interviewer and repeated Fakhravar's words "Your premise in the question is not correct at all. The 1999 student uprising in fact failed because precisely we did not receive the international support that we needed and the international media failed to give accurate coverage of what was going on. The people of Iran did support the students and joined in the protests, It was the intellectuals and the reformists led by president Khatami who stabbed us in the back."
The interviewer was so shocked at Fakhravar's reply in not joining her in blaming America, that she nearly dropped the microphone!

In the evening another dinner was arranged, much more formal than the friendly and relaxed one we had amongst ourselves the day before. This time there were Italian politicians, senators and deputies and notable business people whom we did not know.

I was told Natan Sharansky would be there and will give the opening dinner speech. I remember clearly the TV pictures when Natan Sharansky was released to the West. He was a short man made to look even shorter in the middle of two huge KGB agents that were surrounding him, and it seemed the Soviet authorities had deliberately given him a pair of larger than waist size trousers that he was struggling to hold up. It was all so obvious that they wanted to humiliate this dissident in front of the world, but in fact they were humiliating themselves. For the greatness of the man who was being released was not in his tall stature or broad shoulders or in his difficulty to keep his trousers up, it was in his spirit of courage and determination.

I kept my eyes open to see Sharansky. I wanted to tell him my recollections, and when he did arrive, I pounced on him, introduced myself and told him my recollections of his release. Sharansky was overcome with laughter when I told him how I remembered his release, and in his gritty Russian accent said "Yes you are right" and asked me how old I was when that happened and where I was at the time. I wanted to talk to him more but there were so many others who wanted to grab his attention too.

In his speech, Sharansky said, "There are many things common in what happened to me and what has happened to these dissidents who are here today, but there is one fundamental difference. Neither I, nor Sakharov, nor Vaclev Havel or any other dissident in the Soviet bloc ever doubted that the West would forget us or not apply pressure for our release. It would have been unthinkable for us to imagine that the West would negotiate with them and say OK you give us this and we will forget about this or that dissident. Yet this is what is happening today. A dissident's worst nightmare is thinking that he is forgotten and abandoned"

I thought about our own comrades, Arya (Abolfazl) Ajorloo, Ali (Mahan) Alemzadeh, Mojtaba Vatanpoor, and Alireza Ranjbar abandoned and forgotten in Irbil. Amongst the audience were some deputies from the Iraqi Kurdistan, it was time Fakhravar and I told them about the hopelessness of the four and solicited their help.

I am a bit tired from the travelling and the lack of sleep over the last 48 hours, perhaps I write some more tomorrow and post some of the pictures, but before I finish this post, I have to mention the wonderful young volunteers at the Magna Carta Foundation, one of the sponsors of this conference. I can not thank these volunteers enough, they worked so hard as well as being great company for us during our free time. They provided us with an unforgettable Italian hospitality which I hope I can one day return.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More on Moran on VOA

One of my blog readers has alerted me, after my previous post, to a photograph on Congressman Jim Moran's website which explains why Moran made so many outrageous statements in support of the Islamic Republic, when he appeared on Ahmad Reza Baharloo's roundtable program on VOA Persian.

See Tritta Parsi and Jim Moran Picture or in case they remove the link, see:

You can clearly see one of the most active and well funded Islamic Republic lobbyists in Washington, Tritta Parsi, sitting in the panel, first from the left, while Moran is making his speech behind the podium.

I have also found out why Moran was invited to VOA Persian. Faraj Ardalan, one of the VOA employees, is a constituent of Jim Moran, and wanted to please his congressman by arranging his appearance on the program. Clearly not thinking about the extent of the damage that Moran's appearance would do to the viewers in Iran, to whom the Islamic Republic will seem once again so powerful and invincible with so many friends outside Iran.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jim Moran the Moron on VOA Persian

As a further testimony to my previous post on how little intelligence US has about Iran, Congressman Moran appeared on a VOA Persian program yesterday.

Jim Moran claimed the Iranian people had elected Ahmadi-Nejad in an orderly fair election and that Ahmadi-nejad won the election because his pledge in redistributing the wealth had appealed to the Iranian people!

Need I say any more? Does Moran the moron know that the candidates are vetted by the unelected Guardian Council in Iran and Iranian people are not free to choose whoever they want? Does he know that even Islamic Republic veteran politicians like the former speaker of the Islamic Assembly, Karrrubi, cried out massive vote rigging had taken place by the Baseej and the Revolutionary Guards? Does Moran know about the Supreme Leader's orders issued to the Baseej, that each Baseej member should solicit at least ten of his associates and acquaintances by whatever means in their disposal to vote for the Supreme Leader's chosen candidate? Is Moran aware of the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Interior's ridiculous published figures, where in several provinces the figures showed more than 100% of those eligible had voted?

Perhaps Moran is aware but the endless lobbying and dinner parties by the likes of Seyyed Hossein Nasr's proteges are influencing his judgement, just like the major credit card issuer who gave him a large home equity loan under favorable terms influenced his judgement on bankruptcy reform bill.

As usual the presenter of the program, the idiot Ahmad Reza Baharloo, who struggles to speak English or Persian fluently, was unable to challenge his guest on any of the moronic statements Moran made. The viewers who managed to get through the phone lines however did at least show how much Democrat appeasers like Jim Moran are hated by Iranians.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

US INtelligence Report on Iran

I have never commented on Islamic Republic's nuclear weapons program, simply because I don't have any information nor any expertise on this subject. I do however know that US intelligence on Iran is bollocks, they have no substantial knowledge or intelligence on Iran.

My instincts have always been to be against not only nuclear weapons but against nuclear energy too, not only for Iran but for any country in the world. The risks of more accidents like Chernobyl frighten me to no end. Similarly I have been against any military attacks on Iran and instead have always solicited international public support for the pro-democracy movement in Iran.

I do however have first hand experience of US State department officials and their lack of intelligence on Iran, which spans over three decades. I have witnessed a full blown revolution take place right after Jimmy Carter stated "Iran was an island of stability in a turbulent region". I have witnessed US officials refer to Khomeini as a "saint" and as "Iran's Gandhi". I have read how US intelligence had concluded that there was no danger to its diplomats in the US embassy in Tehran just before the embassy was taken over by pro-Khomeini students and the US diplomats were taken as hostages for 444 days. I have read how time and time again the US officials trusted the Iranian authorities that the US hostage crisis will soon be resolved. I have witnessed US officials apologise for the US role in the 1953 coup, to the very people who supported and benefited from the coup against the secular Iranian prime minister, i.e. disciples of Ayatollah Kashani, who are now in power in Iran.

I was part of a group of five Iranian ex-pats who took part in the first IVLP program for Iranians since the Islamic revolution. During our visit, we had several meetings with the US state department officials. We were told in black and white, several times that the US had no official policy for regime change in Iran but was intent on changing the behaviour of the Iranian regime. When I asked how they intended to change the behaviour of the regime, I was told "we have a web site", and it was the crappiest, most useless and most unknown website I have ever come across.

We also met with a lot of think tanks, from Michael Rubin in AEI to Hadi Semati in the Brooklyn institute. None of the officials or think tank people we saw ever supported a military attack on Iran or suggested it was on the cards.

In my view the whole notion of attacking Iran has been something trumped up by the media and, and it has never been suggested by any US State department officials. On the contrary all US administrations since Jimmy Carter, have always tried to appease the Islamic Republic, and they have always been outdone by the Islamic Republic.

The result of all this hubba hubba has been detrimental to the Iranian pro-democracy movement. Islamic Republic apologists and agents have formed well funded organised groups who have urged the international public opinion to turn a blind eye on human rights abuses by the clerical regime in Iran, under the justification that Iran faces an imminent military attack. Progressive and active groups have been reluctant to support the protests by Iranian women, workers, students, teachers etc. for fear of propagating an attack on Iran.

Iranian opposition have been accused of receiving money from US administration, although the truth is that no one but VOA Persian and Radio Farda got any of the much publicised allocated budget, and we all know how these institutions have wasted this money through the management's cronyism and nepotism on useless "special reports" like traffic in Karachi. All this media hubba hubba about an imminent attack on Iran has meant over shadowing of human rights abuses and peaceful protests in the news.

Also the perception of an Iranian nuclear threat has basically meant the continuation of the appeasement policy as well as people like me, with Iranian backgrounds, being held in US airports for over two hours by another super not-intelligent US agency, the Homeland Security, while Iranian officials visit the US with ease and make speeches and fund their umbrella organisations!

So in a way, I welcome this latest US intelligence report. Perhaps now Islamic Republic funded Groups like CASMII, Iran Action and individuals like Tritta Parsi and Elaheh Rostami, Abbas Edalat, etc. can go back in their holes and the world can take notice of an overwhelming majority of Iranians who want change and deserve a better more accountable government than these figures from the dark ages who are interfering in Iranian people's daily lives.

Although as before I wouldn't give a tuppence for any US "intelligence" reports. It wasn't just in Iran and in Iraq that they were wrong. Four months before the 1956 uprising in Hungary, a CIA report had concluded - "There really is no underground movement in Hungary at all".

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not Even Boots

It is normally during the summer time that Iranian women are harassed by the Islamic police for showing a few strands of their hair and their choice of clothing, but now for the first time, Chief of Police, Commander Radan, has announced the government's "guidelines" for combating inappropriate dress code in public.

Part of this new guideline is long boots worn by women. It is not allowed this year!
Expect some "pundit" Islamic Republic apologists to write something along these lines
"Although women in Iran are not allowed to wear long boots this winter, they can ,unlike their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, drive cars......."

Of course these "pundits" never compared Iranian women before the Islamic revolution with their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, this type of comparison only became fashionable when defending the clerical rule in Iran became a well paid pass time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Your Children will Curse Your Name

I have spent a large part of my post operation recovery, reading the book, "Guests of the Ayatollahs" by Mark Bowden, which was kindly sent to me by fellow Iranian blogger, Winston.

The book is almost 600 pages and it kept me well occupied, but more than that it was a great eye opener for me too. All I had known about the hostages was the few tame press interviews I had watched and the recent disastrous VOA Persian appearance by the most senior ranking former hostage, Bruce Laingen. Throughout their captivity, there were former school friends of mine and others that I knew about who were suffering much worse in Islamic Republic jails. The American hostages must have been better off and yet to me they seemed no way near as heroic as some of the Iranian teenagers who were standing defiant against the mullahs.

My heart went out to our own people who were in jail first and foremost, those who were forgotten by the world and never received any international attention, before I had any time to think about the plight of the US hostages whom appeared on TV conferences every now and then and said how friendly they were being treated .

The press conferences and TV interviews showed whole loads of international delegations of bishops, rabbis and university professors etc. who kept coming to Tehran to say hostages were looked after and the Islamic revolution was so wonderful. Naturally such shows did not help to increase my sympathies any further for the hostages.

What I did not realise was that not all the hostages were represented in these public TV shows. There were many who remained defiant throughout. Michael Metrinko, the political officer, for example, spent most of his time in solitary confinement and used every opportunity to taunt his captors, and so many other hostages on so many occasions did not bow their heads and its worth reading the book to learn about them.

It was only when I read the book that I learned the priest Darrell Rupiper, a man who epitomizes the term 'useful idiot', was given a note by AL Golacinski and Kevin Hermening written on a foil wrapper from a Wrigley spearmint gum, which described their ill treatment and poor conditions, but instead Rupiper handed the note to the hostage takers! Rupiper really was a USEFUL idiot!

The takeover of the US embassy, did not seem to me at the time, but it turned out to be a defining event which shaped the next three decades of Iran. The students who took over the embassy were pawns in the hands of the radical clerics who wanted to eliminate all their other political rivals in Iran. The feebleness of the Carter administration in not expecting the takeover and then not knowing what to do about it was another building block that made the Ayatollah's regime seem so invincible to the Iranian masses.

With the total consolidation of power by the most reactionary and backward section of the clerics, Iran entered a slippery slope of further curtailment of personal, political and civil liberties. The most progressive country in the region suddenly became comparable with the most backward countries in the region.

Towards the end of the book, Dick Morefield, the embassy consul is quoted to tell Ebtekar, the most prominent female hostage taker and US educated herself,
"Your children and your grandchildren are going to curse your name."

What a remarkable prediction at that time, for I believe the post-revolution generation of Iranians cringe at the thought of being reminded of what Ebtekar's mob did.

One thing puzzles me however, Ebtekar the hostage taker, has never regretted her prominent part in the hostage taking. She was appointed by Khatami in his cabinet as the first woman vice-president and the West still thought of Khatami as the best thing since sliced bread, and was charmed and impressed by his empty phrases of 'dialogue amongst civilisations'.
How many times in history must stupidity and credulity win over common sense?

Friday, November 23, 2007


Deutsche Welle: For the last nine years, every year you try your hardest to hold the commemoration worthy of your murdered parents, and every year the Islamic Republic authorities put up more obstacles in your way, I simply want to ask you until when will you continue your persistence?

Parastoo Forouhar: UNTILL I AM ALIVE! I told the ministry of intelligence agents too, until I am alive I will continue to come to Iran and try to hold the commemoration ceremony for my parents. Every year I will try to keep their memories alive, and I am just a small player amongst many many people who share this effort with me. As my parents' daughter however, I take the first step. On this very day, many people have phoned me saying they have come all the way from other cities but we have not been allowed to get near the house and take part in the ceremony. Others have phoned saying we are in the nearby streets and although we can not come near the house, we will hang around, know that we are with you. All this shows that the memory of my parents will live on, and until I am around I will do my part.

Every year the Islamic Republic has put more restrictions on Parastoo Forouhar, the daughter of the murdered Iranian secular dissidents Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar, to hold public commemorations on the anniversary of her parents's extra judicial murder. Last year, the authorities banned the commemoration from being held in a public place and the ceremony was held in Forouhars's home instead. Despite these restrictions, giant slides displayed images of the Forouhars to large crowds gathered outside their home and in the nearby streets.

This year, the authorities have put up physical barriers and fences, to stop anyone from going anywhere near the house. Even relatives and close friends have been prevented from entering the house.

Every year on the anniversary of the Forouhars, I remember a conversation I had with Arash Forouhar, the son of the late Forouhars, who was describing to me the events during the funeral of his parents, which was attended by tens of thousands of Iranians. During the funeral people were holding Iranian tri-colour flags but with a X in the middle instead of the Islamic Republic un-Iranian symbol now in the country's official flags, as a sign of protest. Just before laying the coffins to the ground, a working class woman with her chador wrapped around her waist and arm, stood in between the coffins and shouted 'People, do you know why there is no Sun and Lion (the true Iranian symbols that should be on our flag) on these flags that are draped over the coffins? Its because the Sun is inside this coffin, pointing to one coffin, and the Lion lies in that one'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Before and After

It was a weird feeling before going for the op. Imagine you are 90% back to normal but to get back to 100% you are told you have to go through this painful process that sets you back to worse than how you were when the injury first happened.

Perhaps the before and after pictures shown here demonstrate the dilemma I was going through. I tried to keep a brave face but I was dreading the next few hours, days and weeks.

The first hurdle is over and now I am going through the critical post-op aftercare days.

As I have always said, I am not a spiritual person, I don't know if things happen for a purpose or not, but one can learn so much from each experience. Once again I have been reminded how mortal and feeble we all are. You can be the cock o' the north and rule the roost one day, and then bed ridden the next day. One must always be humble and recognise that nothing, good or bad, will remain the same forever. We should appreciate the good times and remain hopeful during the dark times.

These experiences are great opportunities to learn who your real friends are too and who reads your blog :))) which reminds me to thank again all those who wished for my recovery.

Its frustrating typing with just the left hand but at least this has now filled part of my day, I better go and do some exercises now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Had a Dream

I am just getting ready for my pectoral tendon operation tomorrow. I am told I will have my arm in a sling for a few weeks, and I may not be able to type. Its such a comfort to know however that there are so many good Iranian bloggers now that do the kind of work I do, i.e. tell the world about what is happening in Iran.

I am a bit in two minds about the operation. I am almost back to normal now, except that I lack confidence about doing heavy lifting with my right arm. Even swinging the golf club the other day worried me and I had to stop after a few attempts on the driving range. I am reassured by the surgeon that I should be able to get back to 100% in a few months if I have the operation and I will be able to continue with all the sports I love doing.

Any way back to the subject of my post. I had a lovely dream last night, it seemed so real and strangely enough I remember while I was dreaming, I kept saying I should write about this in my blog :) I dreamt I was back in my ancestral town of Astara by the Caspian sea.

Astara is derived from the Persian word Ahesto-ro, where travel gets slow, because of the marshlands that surround it. It was divided into two and the northern part was lost to the Tsarist Russia after the treaty of Gulistan. Whole families were divided by the river, and separated families used to come by the opposite sides of the river and ask each other how they were for many years after the divide.

The spoken language in Astara until the early to mid part of the previous century was Talysh before a mixture dialect of Turkish and Persian spoken today in the Azerbijan province took over. Talysh is an old Iranian language which can be traced back to the Medes. See examples of Talysh language. Persian speakers can easily understand most of the Talysh language. I am told my maternal grandfather used to speak in Talysh and considered it his mother tongue. There is still a sizable minority, around 800,000, of Talysh people who live in the province of Aran, which unfortunately changed its name to the Republic of Azerbijan in 1919. The Talysh people who live in the Republic of Azerbijan are severely repressed by the Turkish chauvinists who rule Aran today and are banned from speaking their language and practising their culture.

Last time I saw Astara, it was still a small town and most its inhabitants knew each other. The people in Astara were decent, truthful and honest people. Burglaries, for example, were unheard of, and people left their front door open without fear. I remember telling my grandfather to lock the front door as we left his house once, and him telling me not to worry for there are no thieves in Astara.

I am told Astara is no longer like that and because it is now an important border trading town, many people from outside the town have moved in and its original indigenous character has greatly changed. In fact I have been warned I would be unpleasantly shocked if I ever see it again.

Whenever I go to Cyprus or some Greek island, I am most reminded about Astara. It had that Mediterranean look and feel to it.

But back to my dream. I was surrounded by my many cousins and taken to my paternal grandfather's house, where we used to stay during our summer holidays. To get to the house itself, one had to walk past where they kept the turkeys and the chickens and then through this big delightful garden, with all kinds of fruit trees; figs, pears, apples, lemons everything. If you wanted a fruit, you just picked it from the trees. I could actually smell that unforgettable scent in my dream. Then there was the water well and the hand operated water pump and finally the house itself. It was built of wood and raised above the ground on wooden columns. As I walked up the steps to the porch, my eldest uncle greeted me in the usual way, "Hey little sledge hammer, you are back!"

He was an interesting character. He had a fearsome reputation for his temper, and when his eyebrows tangled together as he frowned, you felt big trouble was just round the corner. He left school at a young age, his reasoning was that Hitler will soon invade and all the text books will change so there was no point in wasting time and learning the current ones :) And that's the best excuse I have ever heard to skive off school :)

After he left school, he started trading by secretly crossing the border at night and smuggling goods in and out of the country. As a result of these cross border runs, he had learned basic Russian that he could get his way round with. What he was most famous for however, was when during the Russian occupation of Iran after the second world war, he had beaten up a Russian soldier who had stolen something from his shop. A daring act in broad day light, which had increased his reputation amongst the locals.

His shop was at the only cross road with traffic lights in the town. I used to cycle to his shop on this bicycle which was too big for me and I could just about use its pedals but the bike was too high for me to get off from and once I got close to his shop, I would shout 'Amoo, uncle!' and he would come out of the shop and grab the bike and help me get off. On one occasion I recall, he was too busy bartering with a punter inside the shop, and he could not hear my frightened screams of 'Amoo, Amoo' but I was lucky that the bobby on the crossroad noticed my frantic screams, ran after me and grabbed the bike.

One of my cousins I have never seen. He was born after I left Iran, but I recognised him in my dream from the photos I have seen of him. My cousins have also had children whom I have never seen and I was being introduced to them in the dream as the 'cousin from England'. Of course so many of my relatives have also died without me being able to even go to their funerals. All my grandparents, two of my uncles, aunt, and many friends amongst them.

My cousins then took me on a tour of the town. One by one, landmarks and buildings in the surreal formats you expect to see in dreams appeared to me. The finale was one of the things I loved most about Astara. Grilling this fish endemic to the Caspian Sea, in the evenings on the beach. It is such a meaty chunky fish, you could put it on a skew just like you do with kebab. Yummee, and so I woke up disappointed that my dream had to come to an end.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Women's Rights Activist Abducted

The following has been posted by the Iranian Political Prisoners Association:

Hana Abdi, a 21 year old student of Sanandaj University was abducted from her grandfathers’ house by the Intelligence Ministry agents a couple of days ago and her where about is unclear, says her mother.

According to Hana’s mother, the Intelligence Ministry has not clarified the reasons for Hana's arbitrary arrest, yet the information centre of the ministry has already informed her family that Hana’s court would start in a months’ time, it is suspected that her arrest is due to activities concerning a petition which supported womans’ rights in Iran.

Hana abdi was very much involved in teaching literacy to the poor and especially to the women in villages and used to hold celebrations for those women who overcame addiction in the ‘Azarmehr' association. The association provides the means for battered and addicted women to over ride their problems.

Hana and her friend Ronak Safar Zadeh, had set up collections to support destitute women. Ronak Safarzadeh was also arrested by the Ministry on 9 October 2007, and is reported to be in a bad state of mind. She had recently called her family from prison expressing concern over her extended detention. According to her parents, Ronak's interrogations have finished but she has been kept in detention for unspecified reasons.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Can't Join if You are Critical of Iranian Regime

Yesterday's article in the Independent by By Jerome Taylor confirms the suspicions I had about the inconsistencies of 'Stop the War Campaigns', which I wrote about back in March this year:

I know Yassmine Mather, who is mentioned in the Independent article. I have known her from some earlier campaigns seven years ago, in the aftermath of the student uprising in Iran. She is a committed Socialist and definitely against any military intervention in Iran. If Stop the War Coalition refuses her to join the 'coalition', then it really goes to show that the group's true agenda is nothing other than keeping the Ayatollahs in power.

The Independent article finishes by quoting Andrew Murray, chair of Stop the War Coalition, as saying ".. It's completely untrue to say we are apologists. We are no more supporters of the Tehran regime than we were of Saddam Hussein or the Taliban."

I just wish Jerome Taylor had asked Murray the question I keep asking the SWP, to name just one occasion, in the last 28 years, when they had a campaign against the theocracy of the Ayatollahs in Iran or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Andrew Murray, you are an apologist and a supporter of those who keep people in chains and in misery. You are a disgrace.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

US Embassy Hostage Crisis Days

4th November was the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, in 1979, by Student Followers of Imam Khomeini's Path. US diplomats were taken hostage for 444 days and finally released when President Reagan was elected by the US voters.

I remember as a young teenager in those days, going outside the US embassy building in Tehran where I joined the discussion groups on the pavements, as was the custom in those days. There was still relative freedom in the aftermath of the revolution but up to a point. You could not, for example, publicly support the monarchy or Dr. Bakhtiar but Marxists groups and the MeK openly sold their newspapers in the streets. The Islamo-Socialists like MeK, supported the takeover from the very beginning and called it a heroic action against the US imperialism. They were still doing their futile best to win Khomeini's favour. The pro-Soviet Communist Tudeh party was also over the moon about what had happened as you can imagine. They too wanted to win Khomeini's favour and in their publications, Ayatollah Khomeini was always revered as Imam Khomeini in enlarged bold letters. Later when the moment was right, Khomeini did not hesitate to massacre any of their members and supporters, whether they had used bold letters to describe him or otherwise.

The other major Marxist organisation at the time, the Fedayeen took their time in deciding whether to support the takeover or not. In fact it was not until Khomeini referred to them as American Marxists that they decided it was in their best interests to go along with everyone else. This delay in supporting the take over, later played a key part in the split in the Fedayeen organisation into the Majority(Bolshevik) and Minority(Menshevik) factions, with the Majority becoming even more pro-Soviet and pro-Khomeini than the Tudeh party itself.

For days and weeks, the embassy became the focus of different political parties marching in support of the embassy take over and the occasion was exploited as a PR exercise to make themselves and their support for the take over known to the public. The Islamist groups would pledge in their slogans 'If America Attacks, We Shall Turn All of Iran into Karbala' while the Marxists would pledge in their slogans 'If America Attacks, We Shall Turn All of Iran into Vietnam'. Marxists argued sincerely that Vietnam was more contemporary and appropriate in the slogan than what had happened in Karbala 1300 years ago, while the Islamists would argue that this was an Islamic revolution and the Vietnamese were not Shiite Muslims.

It all seems like a comedy when I look back on those days and remember the slogans. Each group wanted to sound even more radical and uncompromising than the others, coming up with more and more heroic slogans. 'Savour that day that Khomeini will give me the Jihad Order, The Army of the World will not be able to match me!"

What was forgotten as usual in the midst of all this frenzy and excitement amongst the Iranians who were arguing the appropriateness of Vietnam or Karbala, was the national interest. When I joined the discussion groups outside the US embassy building, it was not expedient for my health and safety to publicly argue against the take over, instead I used to pose the question as a young innocent teenager would 'what is in our national interest to hold these Americans here?'. The question was asked in a way that it did not deny there was a national interest but was simply asked by a kid who wanted to learn the facts from his 'wiser' all knowing elders. Watching these 'wiser' elders dither and fluster in their replies on the rare occasions where my question was not ignored was often just as comical as the slogans I heard in those days.

Perhaps the one slogan that now has a serious ring to it was:
'Cannons, Tanks and Machine Guns Have no Effect Any More,
Carter has no idea of the joyous moment of martyrdom'

Carter and his diplomats who had called Ayatollah Khomeini a Saint and 'Iran's Gandhi', had no idea what a can of worms they had opened up.

I have been browsing the blogs these days, and a lot of the blogs by the younger generation of Iranians have been apologising for what happened back in 1980. Perhaps if they had watched former top ranking US embassy hostage, Bruce Langdon, on VOA Persian, they would not feel so apologetic. On his VOA Persian appearance, he seemed more apologetic and compromising to the mullahs than anyone else.

I watched with disbelief when Bruce Langdon tried to exonerate even Khomeini, saying his information! was that Ayatollah Khomeini was not so keen on the takeover but just wanted to go along with the power in the street :) Such a statement is typical of the deluded naive illusions of the Carter era officials. Khomeini did not need to go along with the power in the streets, Khomeini WAS the power in the streets. What Khomeini said happened, simple as that. The sad thing is Bruce Langdon is still so flimflammed after 444 days of being a hostage and 28 years after the event.

The post-Islamic revolution generation of Iranians do not need to apologise for what happened back then. We had nothing to do with it. We rejected very quickly the tragic mistakes of our previous generation who left us in this mess, and we are not as deluded as the US State Department officials and diplomats about the nature of these clerics ruling our country.

We have stood up to these Ayatollahs and 'useful idiots' all on our own in a variety of ways without any support from anyone or anywhere and we will continue to do so until an Iranian government is returned to our country and our Iranian Sun and Lion flag is raised again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Worst Option

Ever since Ahmadi-Nejad became the president, we have feared a military attack on Iran as the worst option. Instead we have presented the pro-democracy movement in Iran as the most viable option to bring peace and stability to Iran, the region and to the world.

Sadly the Islamic Republic apologists, individuals like Ray Takyeh, Fareed Zakaria, Hossein Nasr, Laura Rozen etc. and organisations like CASMII, Iran Action, SWP etc. have consistently tried to diminish the strength of desire for change from the current theocracy to a secular democracy amongst the young dominant Iranian population and have tried to present the Islamic Republic as an acceptable form of government and even a 'shining beacon of democracy'. Their efforts with the help of funding they receive from the Islamic Republic petro-dollars and the misguided support of 'useful idiots' has meant that the pro-democracy movement in Iran has not been able to enjoy the support and the recognition it deserves and hence not count as a credible alternative to the ever increasing menace of the clerics ruling Iran.

Yet there now seems to be an even worse option on the table. Limited strikes on military and nuclear targets which will destroy much of Iran's infrastructure but keep the clerics in power!

In fact the Ayatollahs in Iran seem to be welcoming the limited strikes, and as always their biggest fear has been regime change from within.

Well for those who have consistently defended the Islamic Republic and turned a blind eye on the human rights abuses by the religious dictatorship in Iran, and repeatedly played down the potential of the pro-democracy movement in Iran, here are photos from the students at Alameh University today protesting against the arrests and expulsions of their student colleagues. The pro-democracy movement in Iran despite all the obstacles in its way is still alive and kicking, it just needs more help and publicity.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Good News and the Bad News

The bad news, or I am sure for some people the good news, is that I have injured myself in an accident. See the lovely bruises in the picture :) I need to have an operation to stitch my pectorial tendon back on again and then some time before hopefully a full recovery.

The good news however is that Fakhravar's speech at DePaul University in Chicago, seems to have been a huge success.

Shame that none of the useless incompetent ex-pat Persian media we have, reported anything of the event at DePaul university.

I am sure many Iranians inside Iran would have found Fakhravar's speech and the event at DePaul university much more interesting than VOA Persian's typical report on car traffic in Karachi!

Oh, but VOA is getting a little bit more responsive to criticism, if you now send them an email criticising their "we are a news broadcasting only" policies and programs, they will send you a standard stereo reply below, but it does not matter what you send them, the reply is the same to whoever writes it and whatever you write :))

'Dear Listener:

Thank you for your comments. Our announcement for the present inspection noted that it will address the Board’s structure, its guidance and management processes, relations with broadcasting entities’ management, and legislative foundations for these roles. Although you observations do not fall in this range, we will keep them for future reference.


Tom Carmichael
Deputy Team Leader'

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

150 Years Under Putin

Putin in Persian means the boot, and '150 Years under Putin' is the title of an article by Iranian satirist, Ebrahim Nabavi, meaning 150 years under the boot and with obvious reference to Putin's visit to Tehran.

Nabavi himself was an active revolutionary who helped bring the clerics to power in 1979. In return for his revolutionary efforts, Nabavi enjoyed a series of official positions, amongst them, in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Ministry of Interior and he was also the chief executive of channel 2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran State TV Broadcasting. However revolutions devour their own children, and Nabavi in the late 90s became one of those devoured children.

In '150 Years Under Putin', Nabavi re-examines how his generation were always encouraged to shout 'Death to America, Death to England and Death to Israel' but never anything against Russia and he lists a series of historic facts on how Iran has suffered so much from her Russian northern neighbour.

The gist (not a word by word translation) of Nabavi's article is this:

- Iran lost a great part of its territory to the Russians after years of war between the incompetent Qajar kings and the powerful Tsarist Russian armies.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- During Iran's constitutional revolution that demanded to put a limit on the king's powers and establish an elected parliament, the constitutionalists seeked refuge in the British embassy. The Russians on the other hand, allied with the new despot Qajar king, bombed the newly built parliament building while the deputies were inside. Further support for the despot king meant Russian troops pouring into Iran and killing thousands of Iranian freedom fighters.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- The Communists came to power in Russia and decided to establish a republic in Gilan, a northern province of Iran. In effect they tried to secede another part of our integral territory.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- Reza Shah, the 'bloodthirsty dictator' - as Iranian Communists refer to him - founder of the new Pahlavi dynasty, arrested 53 Communists in total during his 16 year reign. One of them, Dr. Taghi Arani, was killed in prison but the other 52 went to Russia and there they were either killed or exiled or lived in misery and poverty for the rest of their lives and yearned to return to Iran.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- During the Second World War, Iran was occupied by allies and was used as a bridge to send aid to Stalin. When the war ended, Americans and the British left as was agreed, but the Russians stayed and wanted to secede Azerbijan from the rest of Iran this time.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- Mossadiq was appointed by the 2nd Pahlavi king, as the Prime Minister, and he led the drive for nationalisation of Iranian oil. Because Mossadiq was anti-Soviet, the Russians labeled him as an English lackey, and when it was too obvious that Mossadiq was not an English lackey they labelled him as an American lackey. The Soviet backed puppet Tudeh Party, demanded all Iran's oil should be nationalised except that in the North which was run by the Russians! After Mossadiq was toppled, the Soviet Union was the first to recognise the new government. Many Tudeh Party members fled to Russia. Again they encountered desperate conditions, some were imprisoned and some had to toe the Soviet Party line to the letter in order to have a basic living standard.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- The White Revolution or the Shah's program of reforms took place. Women were given the right to vote and feudal landlords had to pass the ownership of their land to the peasants and divide it amongst those who worked on the land. Workers were given a share of the profits on top of their wages. Army recruits were given the choice to serve as literacy corps, Health and Hygiene corps or Agricultural corps. The reforms were backed and encouraged by the Americans.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- Shiite clerics came to power in 1979, US embassy was occupied, Israeli embassy ceased to exist but the Russian embassy got bigger and bigger. The Soviet backed puppet Tudeh Party were told to back Khomeini and the clerics. The new theocracy started a mass arrest of Iranian Marxists including the Tudeh party leaders and members and most of them were executed. Russia maintained good relations with the Ayatollahs and never complained about the massacre of Iranian Communists. Some Marxists fled to Russia where they suffered great hardship. Those who were lucky, managed to escape again and flee to Western Europe and America, where they now enjoy comfortable lives.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- Saddam started a war against Iran. Saddam was pro-Soviet. His weapons were all Russian made. Iranians resisted the Iraqi aggression with the remnants of the US weapons they had from before the 1979 takeover of the country by the clerics.
While we shouted long live Palestine and death to American Saddam, Russia, the PLO, Cuba and the Socialist camp backed Saddam.
Islamic Republic resorted to buy arms from Israel.
Finally the US toppled Saddam.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

- The Soviet Union collapsed and the countries surrounding the Caspian Sea became many. Our share of the Caspian Sea was reduced further and further from 50% with the full backing of the Russians.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

Now Putin (the boot) comes to Tehran, so that we can be further trampled on by the Russian boots as we have been in the last 150 years.
Conclusion: Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel

Precisely my thoughts when we organised this protest outside the Russian embassy last year on the anniversary of the liberation of Azerbijan from the Soviet yoke.
VOA Persian however declined to give coverage to our protest and the points we were raising. Perhaps many of their staff still believe Death to America, Death to England, Death to Israel :))

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mehdi Jami and Radio Zamaneh

I must admit, I have never listened to radio Zamaneh Persian radio broadcast from Holland. I have however met Mehdi Jami on two previous occasions, before he became the director of radio Zamaneh. My first impressions of him were, what an apology for a man and as I listened to him more, my impressions were what a disgrace for the human race.
A twiggy servile creepy groveller who would scrape the bottom of the barrel to justify and say something positive about the clerics in Iran, followed by 'and I am not a supporter of mullahs you know'. Get the idea? A pisspot just like Hossein Derakhshan. You want to lift them up by their collar and clubber them round the ears but then you think, is there any point in hitting this cockroach?

So when I read the translation of the article by Janny Groen and Annieke Kranenberg in de Volkskrant about the mess at Radio Zamaneh, I really was not surprised to find out what was happening there.

When President Ahmadi-Nejad made the famous statement 'There are no homsexuals in Iran', I didn't put anything on my blog, because it was widely reported and ridiculed by the mass media any way, but I did look around to see which of the usual Islamic apologists tried to do the usual window dressing job for their masters in Tehran, and I could not find any. Not even Hossein derakhshan, who has managed to enroll at SOAS without a BA but with the help of media studies scholar!, Annabelle Sreberny, had any bright sparks on how to help his beloved Ahmadi-nejad with this one.

I did not however realise that Mehdi Jami had managed this difficult task until I read the article by Janny Groen and Annieke Kranenberg :)

''Everyone knows that he meant to say that Iran does not have institutionalized homosexuality, no marriages between same sexes"

So there you go. You get the picture on what sort of a revolting lackey the poor Dutch tax payers are paying for. Another example of how Iranian dissidents are accused of receiving money from the West, but in reality, the only people who are receiving grant after grant, are the Islamic regime's apologists and lackeys.

My message to these Western governments is don't waste your tax payers money with such lame radio and TV stations. Iranians have enough of these inside Iran, and my message to the people in the West is, next time your government tells you there isn't enough money for your schools or hospital or community projects, it has probably been spent on promoting the Islamic Republic apologists and lackeys living in your countries without you even knowing about it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Islamic Turks Still as Inhumane as when they Massacred Armenians

Islamist Turkish President Abdullah Gul, may condemn the US Congressional Committee vote on the 1915-17 mass killings of Armenians by the Ottomans, but the truth is the inhumane neanderthal behaviour is still inherent amongst many Islamist Turks who yearn for those Ottoman years.

Take the case of what happened to the 5 Iranian refugees, only recently, just prior to Abdullah Gul's visit to the city of Van. Iranian refugees, Arya (Abolfazl) Ajorloo, Ali (Mahan) Alemzadeh, Mojtaba Vatanpoor, Pejman Piran and Alireza Ranjbar had been stranded in the border city of Van for several years. Some of the five had already obtained refugee status from the UN HQ in Van and should have been allowed to leave Turkey already. Instead they were all called to report to the local police station, then taken into a separate room and beaten senseless by several armed savage Turkish police officers wearing bullet proof jackets. Turkish police is so brave and manly!

They were then stuffed into the back of a van and driven towards the Iranian border but at some point the victorious captors had to change their minds, when Ajorloo started having a seizure, and were dropped off few kilometers before the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. Of course the Turkish police were kind enough to give the five refugees a useful tip "If the Kurdish border guards start shooting, put your hands up and wave these white flags".

The five are now in Irbil. The UN at Irbil is about as useful as beauty make up on Debra Cagan. They are not allowed to leave the town and are extremely demoralized. 'We expected more from the international community. What have we done other than oppose the Iranian government?" Alemzadeh told me on the phone. "But I tell you something Potkin, at least the people in Irbil are ten times more humane and hospitable than the Turks. As comical as the UN here is, we are so grateful to the kindness of the local people. Many of whom were at one point refugees themselves and understand our plight."

Such is the true nature of bully Turks and their disregard for basic human rights. Do you want these Turks to be in Europe one day? No Thanks!

Tell the UN and the Turkish authorities what you think of their behaviour:
Turkish Embassy in London : +442073930202
UN Refugee HQ in Ankara : 00903124411696

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some More Pics from Al-Quds and Counter Demo

Hezbollah supporters marcing past the counter demo.

One counter demonstrator got behind the Iranian regime supporters with a placard saying oppose Government of Iran - Support People of Iran :))

One poster that said it all :

Ahmadi-nejad at Tehran University

Tehran University under military siege yesterday, during Ahmadi-Nejad's visit. Thank God we don't have to rely on Western media correspondents for news and pictures any more.
Here is a picture of protesting students which some Western correspondents referred to as a "couple of dozen":

Monday, October 08, 2007

Protests at Tehran University

Reuters reported scuffles at Tehran university today ahead of the speech by President Ahmadi-nejad. This picture grabbed my attention. The poster held by the male student asks for the release of three Tehran University students from prison and the one held by the female student asks "We have questions too, why just Columbia?"

The question is one asked by Iranians all the time. For the SS-lamic regime has one window dressing in order to impress the outside world but the reality of what happens inside Iran is always different from what is nicely packaged for outside of Iran.

Ahmadi-nejad is prepared to answer questions from Columbia students but not from Iranian students. The consequences of asking questions in Iran can lead to imprisonment.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Counter Demo to Al-Quds Rally

For the last three decades, Islamic Republic has organised Al-Quds rallies across the European cities on the last Sunday of Ramadan. In London, except on one occasion three years ago, the Al-Quds march has taken place completely unopposed. On that rare occasion three years ago, there were only seven of us then but we still managed to persuade a UK Left wing group not to join the rally.

The whole purpose behind the carnival is nothing but propaganda for the Islamic Republic of Iran. By arranging this annual rally, the Islamic Republic wants to pretend to be a friend of the Palestinian people and attempt to recruit from those gullible individuals who would believe such Islamic Republic misinformation.

The truth is of course very different. The clerical theocracy ruling Iran has brought nothing but misery, poverty, corruption, drug addiction, crisis and instability for the iranian people and it sure won't bring prosperity and happiness for the Palestinians or any other people.

The Al-Quds rally in London this year was different for two reasons however. There were much fewer participants in the Islamic government sponsored march. In fact the marchers were more than two hours behind the schedule, desperately applying their rent a crowd expertise before they could begin their march. More significantly, the rally did not go unopposed today. Not only it did not go unopposed, but this time we were joined by other British groups and individuals who felt it was time to stand up to supporters of Islamic terrorism marching in the streets of London.

Kudos to all the hard organising by Harry's Place in particular and the signatories to the Euston Manifesto, as well as Worker's Liberty and Class War who made it possible to finally show an opposition to the IRI lackeys in London. Today, thousands of people passing the Eros statue in Piccaddilly, realised that there are many who are prepared to stand up to the onslaught of Islamic fundamentalism in this country.

Hopefully we can now build on this.

A Che Guevara fan at the Al-Qods march. So many Iranian
kids of his age were executed in the 80s for admiring
non-Islamic Che and the infidel Fidel!

Does she realise what will happen to her
if she walks in the streets of Tehran like that??
Probably not, I imagine she only watches the BBC.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Debra Cagan Has to Go

It was only the other day I wrote a post on my blog on how much harm has been caused to our people by unthoughtful remarks made by US officials in the last three decades. Ever since the Carter administration, there seems to be some kind of competition amongst the white house staff, on who can come up with the most outrageous and ignorant statement that can bring about maximum damage. I mentioned Andrew Young calling Ayatollah Khomeini a saint!, Ambassador Sullivan referring to Khomeini as 'Iran's Gandhi', Clinton and Armitage calling the theocracy in Iran a democracy and so on.

Now to top this extensive list of uninformed ignorant official statements, we have the latest winner for the trophy of cretinous comments. The winner is Debra Cagan for her remarks in a meeting with UK MPs on how much she hates ALL Iranians.

Make no mistake, she/he - however you want to refer to this steroids overdosed 'ADVISER!!' - was not referring to the Iranian regime, it was referring to the Iranian people, and ALL of us.

When it comes to alienating friends and allies and promoting enemies, no one does it as good as the US officials. If its the so called 'Homeland Security' illiterates at US airports, you may take it with a pinch of salt. After all pay peanuts and you get monkeys but I doubt very much if Debra Cagan gets paid peanuts, she just looks like a monkey.

Debra Cagan has to be sacked immediately if the US has any interest in keeping the most pro-Western population in the Middle East on her side. Only her quick dismissal can reassure the Iranian people that she was just one rotten apple, one amateur diplomat or whatever her official job title is, who got a job she did not deserve and therefore was consequently dealt with.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tyranny of the Islamic Republic

I have some differences of opinion with the way Robert Tait has portrayed the likes of Khatami and Ibrahim Yazdi in his article, Tyranny in Tehran, but he has done an exceptional job so far in reporting from Iran.

Unlike most other correspondents in Tehran, he does not just paraphrase the official IR government when reporting the news from Iran, he goes out and investigates the news.

In particular, Robert Tait's report, printed in the Observer today, describes very well, the way dissidents are treated in Iran and how dissent is quickly clamped on by the regime.

Another aptly reported subject in Tait's report is the widely rumoured desire by US government for regime change in Iran and the famous $75m of annual US state department funding for pro-democracy projects in Iran.
What a load of cod's wallop. I know not of one single Iranian dissident or pro-democracy project who has received a single dime of this money, yet we have all been accused of it by anti-American groups and individuals.

During my IVLP visit to US and in our meeting with the State Department officials, we were categorically told, the US is not after a regime change but change of regime's behaviour, and when we asked how they intended to change the regime behaviour, the reply was some poxy ridiculous website that no one had even heard of. Good luck US State department and your desire to change the Islamic Republic's behaviour, but we would be grateful if you just stop giving the clerics platform after platform for their propaganda.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Critical Days for Burma

I remember when I was interviewed by CNN, the presenter tried to sound all doom and gloom and used Burma as an example of a hopeless case where regime change was not possible.
"I point out Aung San Suu Kyi who has been under house arrest for 10 years and still no democratic reform there" was the interviewer's exact words.

I have been following the events in Burma ever since the brave British national, James Mawdsley, was arrested there for distributing pro human rights leaflets. It fascinated me how the quest for justice motivated a British national to risk his life and freedom for that of others so many miles away. I admire Aung San Suu Kyi so much as well. She left her comfortable Cambridge life to serve her people, never showing any regret, never losing her determination. Many times, I hoped Parastoo Forouhar, whose parents were stabbed to death by Islamic Republic agents in their home, would be our own Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now that thousands of people have taken to the streets in Burma again, it has made me think and reflect over the past years that I have followed news of Burma. I ask myself, how is it in all these years since Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest, I never heard anyone in the West dare to justify the junta rule in Burma? No junta apologists ever appeared to have a free platform to promote the military dictatorship in Burma. No Burmese official was ever invited to Western universities and received honorary PHD? Yet when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a religious dictatorship and a religious apartheid, their apologists are given forum after forum to promote and justify the theocracy in Iran.

In fact ever since the beginning of the Islamic revolution in Iran, outrageous remarks have been expressed in support of the most reactionary despots in the world by influential people in the West. People that you would assume should have a reasonable degree of intellect for the positions they occupy.

Andrew Young called Ayatollah Khomeini a Saint! The US ambassador to Iran, at the time of the revolution, David Sullivan, likened the bloodthirsty Khomeini to 'Iran's Gandhi". Clinton and Armitage, ignored the unelected Guardian Council selection process of candidates, and claimed Iran was a democracy! The principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and a retired US Navy captain, Gary Sick, who has held impressive posts like the deputy director for International Affairs at the Ford Foundation, has gone out of his way in the past 28 years to buy friends for the Islamic Republic and promote murderers like Rafsanjani as moderates. If I gave examples of European statesmen, journalists and Left wing admirers of the theocracy in Iran, the list of such absurd adulation for the Islamic Republic and its henchmen will go on and on.

Where did we go wrong? Why is our message not getting across? Why is it that Islamic Republic apologists and supporters like Massoud Behnood and Hossein Derakhshan are able to get grants after grants from various foundations and institutions, and yet we struggle to fight a petro-dollar regime, which is a threat to the world, on our shoe string personal budgets?

Perhaps that is the answer to all these questions. The Islamic rulers in Iran are much more cunning and shrewd than their Burmese counterparts. They know how to spend their money to influence the international public opinion and buy their "useful idiots". We on the other hand, have to fight an army of IRI apologists and "useful idiots" before we can even get near to the Islamic Republic.

On these critical days for Burma, our hearts and minds are with the people of Burma who have risen against the tyranny of their oppressors. We express our solidarity with them and wish they can live a peaceful life where they will no longer have to look over their shoulder when they speak, a precious privilege that is so often taken for granted by the people in democratic countries.