Sunday, June 30, 2013

Don't Give in to Bullying

Female Iranian long distance swimmer, Elham Al-Sadat Asghari, or Elham Asghari for short, swam 18 kilometres in sea waters under 9 hours, in doing so she set a new record for women's open water swimming; but the Islamic Republic authorities have refused to register her record.

The reason given by the Islamic Republic authorities for their refusal to register Elham's record is said to be because there is no officially sanctioned female swimwear for such an event.  Elham however states that she was wearing the 'proper clothes' which included, the swim suit, cover, cap, goggles and head dress and she swam from the women's beach where no men apart from her father were present. Yet the authorities are still concerned that her "curvatures" may have been visible and are therefore uncomfortable to give her the recognition she deserves.

Elham has been told to change her sport to something more "appropriate" for women.

The extra attire that Elham has to put on to conceal her "curvatures" when she swims, weigh an extra 6 kg and are a burden to her swimming. "No where else in the world, would female swimmers put up with having to swim in these silly clothes. Imagine if Rezazadeh [Iran's former weightlifting champion] was told he had to cover himself up like this?"

The news of why her swimming record was not being recognised, quickly spread through the Iranian cyberspace, and was even covered in some official Islamic Republic websites like Fararu, Tehran Mayor and presidential candidate's news website.

Elham Asghari then released this video below and thanked all who publicised her case. Elham asked the Iranian women "not to give in to bullying, because swimming is not just for women"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"The Beautiful Unifying Chant of Death to America" - Dr Hassan Rowhani 1995

The newspaper page on the left is from the Ettela'at Daily, printed in Iran. Publication  date is 17 of May, 1995. The Title in large bold letters quotes Dr. Hassan Rowhani as saying "The Beautiful Chant of 'Death to America' is Unifying Our Country".

Glasgow Caledonian University claims Rowhani or Hassan Feridon, graduated with a PHD from the university in 1999. So when Ettela'at Daily referred to him as Dr. Rowhani, four years earlier, which other PHD qualification was it referring to?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Killing of Shiites in Egypt and the Late Tame Reaction by the Islamic Republic

The killing of Shiites on Sunday in Giza, Egypt, by the Salafi hate mob, was one of the most barbaric and inhumane crimes I have ever had to endure watching yet. It ranked second in terms of extreme brutality, only to the similar mob lynching of the Ahmadieh followers in Indonesia.

The Salafi mob which killed the defenceless Shiite worshippers in the Giza village, were not human beings, they were not even animals, for I know of no animals who would do this to each other. These were devils reincarnated who were standing over four suffering men, watching them die slowly, while cheerfully chanting Allah Akbar, God is Great! and in their warped skulls with their single cell brains, they deluded themselves by imagining they were securing a place for their own after life in paradise, with 72 virgins.

I expected a strong swift reaction and condemnation by the Islamic Republic, the state which claims to be the defender of the Shiite faith. I expected to see similar reactions and swift condemnations and rabble rousings I have seen by the Islamic Republic when civilians die in the Arab-Israeli conflicts. Had this been an Israeli lynch mob beating four Arabs to death and dragging their bodies in front of cheering crowds, the Islamic Republic state TV would have been constantly showing the scenes and stirring the Muslims across the globe to rise up for revenge.

Yet, there was nothing! Nothing on state TV and nothing on their news websites! Once again the Islamic Republic hypocrisy had been selective in what to report and what to condemn. It must have been a memory lapse on my part not to have remembered Islamic Republic's selectiveness in condemning atrocities, like how they were silent against the killing of Muslims in Chechnya and in China.

It wasn't until late in the evening the following day that finally Farsnews reported the incidence and a statement by the Iranian FMA followed 24 hours later. The late  FMA statement incredibly placed the blame on none other than the Zionists! It asked the "wise and revolutionary people of Egypt in unison with their astute political leaders to smash the Zionist plots as they did in the past when the Zionists had tried to divide the Muslim and Christians in Egypt".

The real problem in my opinion however lies with the foreign policy dilemma that the Islamic Republic has got itself into. How can it refer to the Egyptian revolution as "Islamic Awakening" and claim it was inspired by the Iranian revolution and the Egyptians were looking at the Islamic Republic of Iran as their role model and at the same time show defenceless Shiite worshippers be lynched by their fellow Egyptian revolutionary compatriots in such a way?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hats off to the Supreme Leader

I would like to think I will always be a fair person, when your rival or enemy plays the game skilfully, the right thing to do is to show your admiration. It is with this ingrained sense of fairness that I say hats off to the Supreme Leader for managing to get over 70 percent of the Iranians to take part in his sham "elections".

So after all that blatant vote rigging in 2009 and the heavy handed crackdown which led to so much suffering, how did they do it?

No one knows the psychology of the Iranian people better than the ruling clerics and the elite. Their tactics to bring the masses to the ballot box was no different than the good cop/bad cop methods they use in breaking down prisoners in the Islamic Republic.

For four years the people are deliberately humiliated, they are trodden on, none of their demands are met, they are counted as nothing and made to suffer. When the price of chicken goes through the roof as a result of mismanagement and hoarding, they are told "So what? you don't have to eat chicken, eat something else". Then only one week in a year, the same people who have suffered four years of constant humiliation are suddenly endeared and they suddenly matter, so long as they say the "right thing" and do the "right thing". The humiliated beaten soul, hungry for a small piece of affection and respect, will then find the moment so joyful and intoxicating that it will do anything for its tormentor.

Iranian nationalism which is frowned upon as anti-Islamic is rejuvenated in the weeks before the elections. Iranian patriotic songs showing the glories of the pre-Islamic past and the country's mountain peaks and other natural land marks are constantly played on state TV. Stage managed interviews with passers by suggest that ALL Iranians will go and vote. Women without the state preferred cover, the chador, and even with make up and loose head scarfs are also interviewed, they too, all say they will vote.

The most common answers in front of the cameras as to why they will vote are :
"Because it is my patriotic duty"
"Because I want to choose my own destiny"
"Because I have been given the right to vote and I should appreciate it"
"Because the martyrs would want me to vote"
and so on.

No passer by is heard in the stage managed interviews saying but they have hand selected the candidates for us or that nothing ever changes by their votes.
All good people will vote and its only the baddies and the enemies who will boycott.

This time the Supreme Leader and the ruling elite made an even bigger effort to get the public to vote. The Supreme Leader even appealed to those "who for whatever reason are against our Islamic system but love the country" to come and vote. His reasoning was that a large turnout will strengthen the regime in its negotiations with the West.

Who the people voted for was irrelevant. Why should it matter which hand selected candidate they voted for? Ayatollah Makarem, even spelled it out explicitly "everyone should come and vote, even if they cast a blank vote" and Mashad Friday Prayer warned the faithful that "those who do not vote, for sure will go to hell"

The local council elections which was due to be held three years ago, had been postponed without a reason and instead held on the same day that the presidential elections was to be held. Many Iranians will vote in the local elections regardless of what they think of the regime and it made sense to bring them to vote too. What was important, was to show queues of people voting, not who they voted for or in which election they voted.

On top of all this, the regime got the help of the BBC Persian and the reformists in Iran too. It is important to clarify what is meant by reformists here. Reformists in Iran should not be mistaken by what you may imagine as those who organise and mobilise non-violent civil disobedience movements. For some time now, Iranian reformists are merely those who try to please the establishment so that they may once again be included in the government administration.
The reformists backed the participation in the elections without asking for any concessions and without demanding any pre-conditions and this was their best chance. Even the former spiritual leader of the US embassy hostage takers in the 80s, Ayatollah Moussavi-Khoeiniha, now a reformist  questioned the merits of taking part in anything under any conditions and any price.

The regime didn't want queues just inside Iran, they wanted pictures of queues outside Iran too. They held ballot boxes in their embassies and consulates and many Iranian expats who had taken part in the Green demonstrations outside Iran in 2009, also took part in the masquerade election.

To me their treachery is unforgivable. Even if I can be persuaded somehow to understand the justifications for voting inside Iran, I will never accept that it was necessary for Iranian ex-pats to vote outside Iran. At least they could have gone and voted with T-shirts of Neda and other 2009 martyrs, or they could have been holding posters of Green Movement leaders and current political prisoners or chanted anti-establishment slogans while they were queuing in the street, but they went in like sheep being directed to their pens. They showed no protest or discontent. When I asked one of them why they didn't do so, the reply was "Moussavi and Karroubi's pictures were in our hearts!".
Unfortunately cameras can not take such pictures yet!

The expat voters could not even demand from the embassies and consulates to have their own election monitors to count the votes. It was capitulation pure and simple, shame on them.
Many of them got involved in the Green Movement protests thinking it will be a quick victory, they were not prepared for a long life in exile and they saw this as their chance to patch things up with the regime.

The establishment also needed to create the usual lesser evil choice. Hassan Rowhani (Feridon) who has been a pillar of the establishment and involved in the highest ranking intelligence circles of the Islamic Republic was remanufactured as a "reformist" saviour!

Rowhani has never been a reformist, even according to the Iranian version of reformists. He was a staunch supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini right from the beginning and was the first person to suggest calling him  Imam Khomeini, a title usually saved for revered Shiite saints only.

In 1999, Rowhani as the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council demanded the death penalty for student protesters after 19 universities were engulfed in six days of protests across Iran.

Even during the post-election protests, Rowhani never sided with Moussavi and Karroubi and on 14th February 2010, when the last major street protest by the Greens led to the house arrests of Moussavi and Karroubi, Rowhani condemned the protests as "an attempt by a few misguided people" and asked the judiciary to "carry out its innate duties against this counter-revolutionary protest".

During the TV debates however, Rowhani talked about moderation, avoiding extremism and how he managed to fool the West in negotiations and buy more time during his time as Iran's nuclear negotiator. He boasted how the Islamic Republic managed to quadruple its number of centrifuges during his time as the negotiator without suffering sanctions, and he described himself as a lawyer and not a warlike figure.

On the morning of the elections a reliable source told me it looks like the Supreme Leader's office  are happy with Rowhani becoming the next president and they will avoid the second round too. The six remaining candidates were Rowhani on one side and a fragmented vote amongst the other five on the other side. They need a new face to negotiate with the West and they think Rowhani can get them out of the present quagmire. While everyone was anticipating whether it will go to the second round or not, I was telling them confidently that Rowhani will be announced the winner in the first round.

So the most important thing for the Supreme Leader was to get a large turn out on the election day. Something many had not anticipated to be possible after the events of 2009 and the Supreme Leader proved them wrong by playing it beautifully. The international public opinion however must not interpret this large turnout as a vote of support for the regime, instead it should look out the celebrations after and the football celebrations last night and what people are chanting for:

Protesters singing the unofficial Iran national anthem and chanting 
"Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, We Die Only for Iran"

Protesters remembering Neda and chanting against Jalili

Anti-riot police attacking football celebrations in Rasht:

The Supreme Leader won the main battle but the price of the victory had some costs for him too. The long time it took to count the final votes and announce the results showed that the swift announcement of the results in 2009 was a mere wizardry. The few votes cast in favour of Jalili in remote villages and provinces broke the myth, propagated by mainly Western analysts, that Ahmadinejad had a lot of support in villages and small towns. The actual support for the regime and the Supreme Leader can be extrapolated from these results as around 8 million in the most optimistic estimate, around 10-15% of the population. Nevertheless the main price, another massive turnout, was what they gunned for most and they got it.

This may be the last time we see a directly elected pre-selected candidate in the Islamic Republic. The presidential elections are always a headache for the regime and as the Supreme Leader has hinted in the past, next time we may well see a constitution change that will lead to the Majlis choosing the next president.

BBC Persian Employees with Islamic Republic Flag in Trafalgar Square

BBC Persian Employees led by Massoud Behnoud in Trafalgar Square، showing their loyalty to the Islamic Republic flag

British tax payers money is spent on these people raising the Islamic Republic flag in Trafalgar Square.

Young girl inside Iran waves the Iranian tri-colour without the Islamic Republic insignia:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Islamic Republic's Stomach Churning State Propaganda

Why is propaganda by tyrants so stomach churning? Because only they can twist facts so much and so badly. Here is an example of Islamic Republic state TV propaganda below.

The state TV presenter asks the question "what would happen if we allowed BBC Persian reporters to come to Iran and freely walk about and interview the people? What would be their reaction?"
So to answer the question, he puts on a tie and a BBC sign on his microphone, calls himself Arya Azadmehr (almost Azarmehr),  poses as a BBC Persian reporter and in the most amateurish stage managed trash way makes out the majority of Iranian people have no wish to talk to a reporter who works for foreign press and are weary of them not praising the Islamic Republic as they should.

One "passer-by"even calls him a spy and tells him to get lost. All the ones who do talk to him say they will vote in the "elections" on Friday and all the ones who talk to him, say they are prepared to endure the hardships of sanctions for as long as it takes but they are not prepared to compromise.
All unequivocally believe in the Islamic Republic and will support it to the end.

The "passers by" are orchestrated to pretend they are from all walks of life in Iran. Even the women with loose hejab and make up and the one guy wearing a decadent tie are supportive of the Islamic Republic. In short everyone loves the regime and all say what the Supreme Leader says and that alone justifies why there should be no foreign reporters in the country!

Here is a picture of reality on the other hand. Press TV reporter, Narges Mobaleghi, freely walking in the streets of London with the protection of the UK police and talking to passers by.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So Who Wants Iranians to Vote on Friday?

The propaganda on Iranian State TV calling Iranians to go to the polling stations and vote on Friday is almost non-stop. Patriotic music, although any mention of Iranian nationalism is normally frowned upon as a non-Islamic thing, is unashamedly played throughout the election campaigns.

Hundreds of "passers by" are interviewed both inside and outside Iran by state TV, all without exception say its everyone's patriotic duty to take part in the elections and "honour the martyrs of the revolution and the war with Iraq by voting". State TV seems unable to find even one Iranian citizen who has decided to boycot this election farce.

Mashad's Friday Prayer leader, Ayatollah Alamolhoda, told the faithful during his sermon last Friday, that "those who do not vote on the election day will definitely go to hell".

Tehran's Friday leader, the ghastly reactionary Ayatollah Ahamd Khatami also told his sermon goers that "under no circumstances should they stay at home on the election day" and he predicted that "with the help of God, we will witness a maximum participation by the people".

Ayatollah Makrem Shirazi, the holocaust denier whose representative office in Harrow Road in London, received a grant from Brent Council for 'promoting religious freedom and religious tolerance' also said it is the religious duty to vote and "all should go to the ballot boxes on the election day even if they cast a blank vote!"
The most blatant confession that the regime is not that concerned about the vote count but is most keen on showing off pictures of long queues to the outside world.

The Supreme Leader himself makes it very simple, if you want to support the regime then you will vote and if you want to weaken the regime, then you will boycot. "What the enemy wants to see is empty polling stations, they want people to say 'why should I vote?' and people to think they can not make a difference, but those who want to see us strong will come and vote" Supreme Leader said during one of his recent speeches.

All the above is as you may have expected, however the call for people to vote also comes from other unexpected quarters, like BBC Persian.

BBC Persian employee, Massoud Behnoud who has dubious connections with the Islamic Republic,  has once again broken with all professional media and journalistic norms and rather than helping the BBC Persian to broadcast the Iran election news in a non-partisan way has been arguing restlessly for Iranians to go and vote this Friday both inside and outside Iran. His logic is the same l I have heard in the past 34 years by those who claim they are not with the regime but still go and vote, i.e. 'Lets save things from getting worse'

Massoud Behnoud, also runs Roozonline, a website that receives its grant from Hivos, a Dutch organisation which in turn is funded by the government of Netherlands. Not sure if it is even allowed for a BBC Persian employee to also run another news website but the way Behnoud always seems to do the Islamic Republic's dirty work is disturbing as always.

Islamic Republic state TV showing someone urging Iranians to vote on election day, so that Islamic Republic will remain a role model for other nations and they will wish they had an Islamic Republic too.