Sunday, September 30, 2007
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
"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.
Monday, September 24, 2007
What bothered me was when the family started telling their story. The program is set in today's contemporary world, so you would think this Iranian family who were seeking asylum were refugees from the Islamic Republic, but when they started telling their story, it started from the man's family who were booksellers and were persecuted during the Shah for having sided with Mossadiq in 1953 and having published books that were critical of the Shah. There was no mention of the Islamic Republic, or no mention of the Ayatollahs, it seemed whoever wrote the play was just too scared to mention those words, so he or she had gone for the safe option of yes you guessed it, the 1953 coup :)
'My family sided with Prime Minister Mossadiq who was elected by the people' his voice raising when he said the words 'elected by the people' :)) what load of non-sense, Mossadiq was not elected by the people, he was appointed by the Shah. I don't know about you but I have just had enough of these people who have just read a couple of lines about the 1953 coup and bring it up for just about every subject you can think of.
On the other hand, part of Ahmadinejad's interview with some US based channel (may be CBS?) was shown, where Ahmadinejad was masterfully playing the innocent, saying "what use is nuclear weapons? Soviet Union had them but despite their nuclear weapons they were overthrown." while the interviewer approvingly nodded his head.
Meanwhile Columbia university claimed today that their invitation of Ahmadinejad will consist of questions and answers session by those who oppose Ahmadinejad too.
As a "gift" to Columbia university, Ahmadinejad announced Kian Tajbakhsh, who apparently is a Columbia graduate, will be released from prison in Iran. Columbia university must be delighted by such a generous gift!
Thus, so far, it seems that president Ahmadinejad is winning the propaganda game, just as I predicted and feared. After this visit and with the way the Western media will report his visit, and the platforms that the likes of Columbia university will give Ahmadinejad, there will be more recruits for militant Islam, and there will be more Western "useful idiots" who will be charmed and schmoozed by the lovely words, the "humility" and the simplicity of this president.
Whether anyone will realise the ability of Ahmadinejad to look you in the face and lie through his teeth will remain to be seen, but I am sure if they could see this clip of Ahmadinejad on Youtube and understand it, they would be more savvy to such charm offensives by the mullahs and their representatives.
In the Youtube clip Ahmadinejad is shown on State TV before he became the president and the realities after his presidency. Before Ahmadinejad became the president, he claims on State TV, how detrimental and pointless it is for the State to interfere in people's choice of dress and hair style etc.
"..Our youngsters want to cut their hair the way they want to, what is to you and I?(smiles)..Its not up to the state to bother with such trivial matters..Iran is a country with mixed ethnic groups, traditions, types and styles.. it is beneath the state to interfere in such personal tastes and humiliate the people. The state should serve all Iranians...Is the problem of our country that so and so girl dressed in this way?.."
Next we see few victims amongst thousands of Ahmadinejad's Morality Campaign, who are arrested or cautioned because a few strands of their hair is showing, after this man becomes the president of the Islamic Republic.
Western mass media, Western Academics, Western "Useful Idiots", if you want to believe president Ahmadinejad and be charmed by his deceptions, its up to you; but just think of the seeds of lies and misinformation which you are scattering.
Militant Islam will make life like hell for you just as it did for the Iranian journalists, academics, intellectuals and just about every other Iranian.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Nazanin Afshin-Jam once again makes us proud and uses the power and influence of her position to promote human rights in Iran.
Interview with Spiegel
Friday, September 14, 2007
and scenes which should get reported by Western media correspondents that never make the headlines:
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
When I was a kid, Oman was a little non-entity. We on the other hand were the ones to whom the people in the region looked up to.
Now imagine how I felt when I was shown the Omani police boats patrolling the Omani waters, with their main task being to stop Iranian refugees enter Oman illegally. It was like an arrow through my heart and I cursed the ragheads and the pseudo-intellectuals of the previous generation who have reduced our people to such lows.
Oman is now a stable country in a volatile region and the people of Oman enjoy the prosperity that the stability has brought them. So much of this prosperity is because of a reformist forward looking king, but of course one must not forget the toil of the migrant workers in Oman who have helped build the country too.
As soon as you enter the airport, you see the migrant workers with worried looks on their faces, queuing for their permits to be approved.
The English language daily, Oman Times, is not really worth reading, the front page is boring and just about government officials visiting or hosting their counterparts. On the next pages however, I came across notices that I have never seen in any other newspaper. A big notice on the page 3, was a picture of a Pakistani national who had been sacked by his employers. Imagine someone getting fired from their work and then his employers announce it in the newspapers with full picture and details! Other notices were about other migrant workers, again with their pictures and full details, who had absconded their duties and left before their contract was due. The notices warned other employers of the legal implications of hiring them.
Oman has a rugged beauty about its landscape. Its mountains and even the greener parts of the country have an austere look about them. This coarse and craggy scenery however is what makes it interesting and not flat and boring like Dubai. It breaks the monotony of the repressive humid heat around in Oman at this time of the year.
The luxury hotels in Oman are on par with the ones in Dubai, even better some people think. They are as near to paradise as you can have on earth.
The people of Oman have come a long way since I was a kid. Iran on the other hand has regressed further and further every year, and it will not get any better until we break this mood of apathy and submission to the status quo.
Iranian refugees in Van, Turkey, fear that the five have been rounded up and returned to the Islamic Republic as a first act of co-operation between the two Islamist governments in cracking down against secular dissidents.
Mahan (Ali) Alemzadeh, Arya (Abolfazl) Adjorloo and Mojtaba Vatanpoor, members of the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), and Alireza Ranjbar and Pezhman Piran were protesting at the Turkish authorities for not allowing them to leave Turkey despite their asylum cases having been approved by the UNHCR a long time ago.
Abdullah Gul, the newly appointed Islamic president of Turkey, will today be visiting the border city of Van, as the first stop of his post election victory domestic trip. The pro-Islamic mayor of Van, Burhan Yenigün, has ordered 10,000 roses to be distributed amongst the Van residents to greet the Turkish Islamist president.
Secular people in Turkey should express solidarity with their Iranian counterparts against their new Islamic government and demand to know the whereabouts of the five Iranian refugees.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Relatives of a number of detained students who were also there to see Arbour were arrested along with Osanlou's wife.
Following the incident, Shirin Ebadi, who was also meeting Arbour, protested vehemently and a few minutes later they were released.
Five other families have also been arrested after taking part in the commemoration of the 19Th anniversary of the massacre of Iranian political prisoners.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
A human trafficking gang has been using the Islamic Republic as a transit country for transferring prostitutes from the ex- Soviet Republics to the Persian Gulf countries. To do this the gang had to obtain Iranian visas for the women under the disguise of pilgrims to Iran's holy Shiite shrines.
The Iranian leader of this gang, then moved the women from Mashad to Karaj, just outside Tehran, where they "earned the money" for the rest of their journey by hosting clients in Iran. Then they would be moved to the port of Bandar-Abbas in South Iran, and sent to the Persian Gulf countries by boats.
Many of these unfortunate women were initially told that they would be sent to the Persian Gulf countries to work in the hotels and bars, but once the gang got hold of their IDs and passports, they had no other choice but to do as the gang forced them to.
Typical of the Islamic Republic and its wrong priorities and the way those running Iran waste all the resources of the country. While the country is infested with prostitution gangs and narcotics, the Iranian authorities concentrate on arresting ordinary Iranian women for not fully observing the Islamic dress code!
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
"Some reactionary groups with a frozen intellect have infiltrated the seminaries and are taking over crucial posts in the country and are becoming active in politics"
The above statement is not made by some secular Iranian opposition figure, it is in fact made by Ayatollah Tabasi, himself a figure straight from the dark ages with a caveman mentality. Yet even Ayatollah Tabasi regards the takeover of Iran by the Hojjatieh sect, alarming and a step back.
Despite all this, there are so many individuals posing as intellectuals and so many so-called "progressive" organisations in the West that somehow still want to justify the Islamic Republic as an acceptable and legitimate government. They themselves however, as Ayatollah Tabasi phrases it so well, have a "frozen intellect".