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Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Great post from Ali Mostofi

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Iran Tunisia Nist

Everyone is asking, “why did it happen in Tunisia, and not Iran?” The angry killers, are thinking that their way is spreading in Tunisia.  To me it seems that finally we have a window of opportunity for the freedom of Iran. Bear with me, let me define the various dots, and then we can connect them.

The Internal Situation

  • Iranians needed a moral order to fight to get more democracy and thought that Khomeini and his gang were it.
  • Iranians are disappointed with the Islamic way of life, but they do not have a simple alternative to fill the void, if Islam is removed.
  • Reforming Islam will not work as it sanctifies death, and Iranians do not like to kill.
  • Removing capital punishment as a distinct process will neutralize the religious discussion.
  • Political movements do not work, as no one trusts anyone until the country is regained first.
  • Once an Iran based on putting Iran first is created, then democracy can operate.

The External Situation

  • US military industrial complex is huge and it needs a foe.
  • USSR and Communists created the necessary fear to get the Shah to buy weapons, and become too “pro-US”.
  • Shah told the US to go out of the area as he was the policeman for the area against USSR.
  • US military gets rid of the Shah to be able to stay in the area and scare Arabs and Israelis with Khoemeini’s gang.
  • China and India are clashing with the US over Khmoeini’s gang exclusive deals.

So my argument is that it is all about money and in particular lucrative military deals.  They are those who have benefited.  Look at the military bandits in Khomeini’s gang.  They are so rich, much richer than the National Army’s Generals under Shahanshah’s White Revolution ever were. From a poor man’s perspective, nothing has changed.

Now that we know where the problem is, we need to think how to get rid of it in the simplest and least harmful way.  As you all know I have been the non-violent big mouth longer than anyone.  I have taken loads of crap from Generals’ kids for the past thirty years.  I love the Royal Institution as the defneder of Iranian culture.  We do not have anything else.

People say to me, you are called Ali, and yet believe in Zoroastrianism.  Nuts! I say that Ali and all those so called “Islamic” names didn’t just pop out of thin air.  What do you think Alis were before Islam?  They all read ancient Iranian books that we burnt by Salman Parsi’s gang.  So Iran is older and deeper than all that.  We Iranians have managed to find better thoughts without giving credit to Islam as if we hate it.

Dwelling on Hate. Let me go into this a bit.  I grew up with my mum as a Shiite who still prays towards Mecca.  My dad spent his life hating Islam.  Did he have an alternative? No.

So I found an alternative, and that is what got me out of hating. Nothing can be done based on hate.  Iranians now know that they cannot change Iran, by hating Khomeini’s gang.  Ok, you can argue that you can go and use a magic wand (if you had one) and wipe out Khomeini’s gang, but soon enough they will come around.

Remember Kartir tried to do that and look at what happened.  No Cause based on killing is a Cause.  So that is why we Iranians are not going around killing the gang.  We could not bear to look at them in the eye, and tell them we killed them.  Just look at how they are ashamed of what their gang has done so far.

Cracks that travel. We know that with time the gang will implode.  Cracks are there, but the pieces of the gang had no where to go until now.  With Islam revolting in the Arab lands, like it should have, instead of Iran, Khomeini’s gang can go there.  They have a way out, just like you will shut the lights to get rid of a fly in your room, to go next door. Iranians’ mind is shut to Islam, and the gang knows that.  They would love to leave, than die.  We don’t want martyrs.

US military can go elsewhere. With the need for US military increasing, as they worry more about the Islamic movements elsewhere, they will not be too concerned about Khomeini’s gang anymore providing the PR for them.  New gangs are propping up elsewhere and they will scare the US public more than Khomeini’s gang.  New scaremongering agencies are ready to work for them.

New threats to glorify. So once the US knows that it can still get funding because there are other areas, it won’t mind if we Iranians get rid of Khomeini’s gang.  Where we Iranians need help is in the media.  We need the US media to not convey the gang as Iranians, as they have since 1979.  The media sells a lot of articles about Islamic threat, and now it can write about Tunisia and elsewhere, and not glorify Khomeini’s gang.  Iran will be left alone.

New markets to sell weapons and other things to. So the US military industry has loads of new customers who are going to get scared, as missiles will threaten Europe from North Africa.  Christian African states will get worked up as well.  As these countries spend money on this new hardware, less money goes to the people’s welfare, and non-military domestic infrastructure projects. Suddenly the people will get more depressed and start to take more drugs.  Narcotics will increase like it has in Iran, and the drug dealers make money, just like they have in Iran since 1979.  Women will be exported.  Children will be sold.  Just like in Iran now.  But once they have other markets, they will leave Iran.

Ask any Iranian. Yes ask any Iranian, “what is it that has caused all our misery”, and they will tell you it is oil.  If we were some poor unimportant nation, then we would not have had Khomeini’s gang flown in by the US and UK and France.  So I say, once there is a new place for these miserable traders who feed on countries, to go to, then Iranians will be able to get rid of the gangs. So their new misery, will be our salvation.

Original article here

Follow Ali on Twitter at @alimostofi

Humanitarian Tragedy in Iran Yet Another Wakeup Call

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Post from the National Iranian-American Council’s blog: Humanitarian Tragedy in Iran yet Another Wakeup Call

It’s a very interesting piece. I have to say that, due to preconceived notions, I’m surprised that a California Democrat would be so ignorant of the situation in Iran.

Also, a piece from Radio Free Europe: Leading Iranian Publisher, Writers Accused of Attempting to Overthrow Islamic Establishment

Trojan Horse for Iran

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2011 at 5:09 am

As Ali Mostofi says “Again another US commentator gets confused.”

Gulf states should take a DIY approach with Iran

by Joel Brinkley

I have a New Year’s resolution for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states: Take the initiative. Solve your own problem.

A few weeks ago, WikiLeaks put out those State Department cables that quoted the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and some other Gulf states practically begging the United States to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

That wasn’t much of a surprise. The Arab world and Persia (now known as Iran) have been at each other’s throats for centuries, though in recent years they have pretended to get along. But the Gulf states are convinced that a nuclear-armed Iran would present a mortal threat. Hence the brazen requests: Take out those nuclear sites!

Well, think about a related fact: Over the last few years, the U.S. has sold those nations advanced weaponry worth hundreds of billions of dollars — fighter jets, smart bombs, offensive and defensive missiles. Europe, Russia and other nations have sold them billions in additional military hardware.

Then last fall, the State Department announced that the U.S. planned to sell Saudi Arabia another $60 billion in sophisticated military hardware including 84 new F-15 fighter jets plus upgrades to the state’s existing fleet of 70 F-15s. The bare outlines of this plan had already been known. But the State Department release revealed for the first time that the U.S. also plans to sell the Saudis as many as 1,000 one-ton, bunker-buster bombs — perfect for Iran’s underground nuclear sites.

So my question is: If you’re so concerned about Iran, why don’t you bomb those sites yourselves?

I know what King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia would say: We can’t attack a fellow Muslim nation.

That’s nonsense. Didn’t Iran and Iraq fight a nine-year war during the 1980s? Neither side showed reluctance to kill fellow Muslims; half a million people died. Haven’t the vast majority of Muslim civilian deaths in both Iraq and Afghanistan been at the hands of al-Qaida in Iraq, the Taliban and other Muslim miscreants? “We can’t kill fellow Muslims” is a nice slogan, but one that Islam lives up to no better than Christians, Buddhists or members of other faiths.

Instead, King Abdullah and the others would rather watch the United States do their dirty work for them, condemn the U.S. in public, offer thanks in private and then watch passively as America absorbs terrorist revenge attacks and further damage to its reputation in the Arab world. Why should the U.S. do it? The danger for the Gulf states is far greater than for anyone else, except perhaps Israel.

For the U.S., the sad truth is that even if the Saudis and their neighbors did find the gumption to collaborate on an airstrike, Iran would still try to blame the United States. Both the Bush and Obama administrations have made a great show of selling those arms to the Gulf states specifically as a counterbalance to Iran. Congress has seemed happy to approve these sales even though, many members would have worried that the weapons would be used against Israel.

Iran already blames the U.S. even for problems of its own making. Last month, Iranian authorities complained about epic air pollution in Tehran that killed 2,500 people. It turns out that the United Nations’ sanctions, and others, have forced Iran to begin refining some of its own gasoline for domestic use. Iran had no refineries, so it converted several petrochemical plants into refineries. They produce dirty gas. As the air pollution grew thicker and more toxic, the government blamed the U.S.

Also because of sanctions, Iran has been forced to slash generous government subsidies so that the price of gasoline has shot up from 38 cents a gallon to $1.44. Millions of Iranians are furious about the price hikes, the pollution and other hits on the quality of life. I doubt that many of them any longer believe the regime’s excuse: It’s all America’s fault. Still, one reason the United States has not bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities is the fear that the populace might rally around the government, angry about an attack by “the great Satan.”

But an airstrike by the neighbors would carry a different political message. Most Iranians would probably welcome it. So what are the Gulf states waiting for?

Find the original article here.
What do you think? Would Arab countries “rather watch the United States do their dirty work for them, condemn the U.S. in public, offer thanks in private and then watch passively as America absorbs terrorist revenge attacks and further damage to its reputation in the Arab world”? What benefits do we, the United States, gain from being allies with countries like Saudi Arabia?

The Shah’s Son’s Suicide: Why the Pahlavi Dynasty Still Haunts Iranians

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

When the Pahlavi monarchy was approaching its final days in power in Iran, I was playing with Cabbage Patch dolls in Cupertino, California, and thought my friends’ parents who worked for Apple ran an orchard. The diaspora community of Iranians around me talked politics incessantly, and I remember hearing vastly varied things about the Shah of Iran, who lost power in the 1979 revolution. Some of my relatives credited him with great feats, like transforming Tehran into a modern city; one elderly great-aunt kept a portrait of him and his wife, the Empress Farah, on her bedside table. Others called him a torturer, and avoided the Iranian man at the neighborhood pool with the Shah’s face tatooed on his shoulder. He was a former agent of the SAVAK, the Shah’s dreaded secret service, and he seemed to inspire a shadow of terror even in the California sunshine.

I grew up to study political science and work in Iran as a reporter, and managed to develop an adult understanding of the Pahlavi family’s role in Iranian history. But that mature knowledge co-exists with all the associations I absorbed as a child. Like so many Iranians, I find my feelings toward the Pahlavis a complex jumble of personal dreams and resentments, and the intensity of my emotions reminds me that they have as much to do with my past, my own family, and my relationship to history as the royal family itself. (See how Iran reacted to the suicide of the Shah’s son.)

The tragic suicide of Alireza Pahlavi, the Shah’s younger son, this week in Boston has stoked great feeling among Iranians everywhere. When I first heard the news, I felt an enormous sadness for the former empress Farah, who has endured more piercing losses in the course of a lifetime than most people could bear. The death of her by-then exiled husband from cancer, the 2001 suicide of her daughter Leila, and now the death of her youngest son. True, I had been feeling rather disappointed in Farah until that moment. She was all over the film Valentino: The Last Emperor that I’d seen the previous month, and I couldn’t help but wish that instead of just mingling with the fashion gliteratti of Europe, she would engage in thoughtful charity and be terribly glamorous at the same time – like Queen Rania of Jordan. (See pictures of the rise and fall of the Shah of Iran.)

I wondered to myself later why I felt so strongly about how Farah, 72, occupied herself in her elderly Parisian exile. Did it matter much to anyone, let alone Iran? I realized that part of why I cared so much was that she remained the lone figure in the Iranian First Lady department of my mind. We know next to nothing about the wives of the mullahs. Mrs. Khatami, Mrs. Ahmadinejad, who knows what they even look like, let alone how they spend their time and what they contribute to Iran. The clerical government of Iran denies Iranians a first family to grow up with – to admire, to envy, to criticize. We are left to feel our place acutely as outsiders to the clannish, insular fiefdom of the ruling mullahs, undeserving as citizens of even knowing their wives and children.

Perhaps that is why I continue to hold Farah and her family to such high standards. They continue to be the First Family of my imagination, a reflection of my fierce wish to be a part of what happens to Iran, to feel included in a country that no longer has a place for people like me. My expectations of them are oversized and my anger towards them is studded with the grievances against the Islamic Republic, as though they are to blame for the three decades of often brutal misrule that followed them.

Iranians these days cannot vent their political opinions in newspapers or on television, so they use the Internet as a forum to say all the things they so urgently need to express about their current plight. Reading the posts of young Iranians on Facebook and on the BBC Persian service’s website after the news of the suicide came out, I was struck by how so many young people who weren’t even born during the Pahlavi era were roused by Alireza’s death. Many expressed their sympathy in messages that were remarkable for their emotional and political maturity; they reminded me that living under dictatorship can make young people as wise as 40-year-olds in first world democracies.

Many were incensed that anyone might feel sympathy for a Pahlavi. These are the angry Iranians who have given up on the mullahs entirely, for the prospect of meaningful, peaceful change seems a chimerical notion, inconceivable for their generation. Their despair – over lives disfigured by economic blight, in which simple dreams like finding a job or getting married seem permanently out of reach – is so easily channeled into fury with the Pahlavis. It is as though they want to scream at them with the bitterness of children accusing a parent, “You let us down, you fumbled, it is all your fault.” It is almost a familial dysfunction: so many Iranians rushing like angry relatives at the chance to lay their anger at Iran’s fate at the feet of the Pahlavis, whose failure turned Iran over to the mullahs. Decades after the fall of the Shah, the clan remains a political acceptable target for so many painful feelings.

The family remains of great emotional relevance to Iranians. The Pahlavis themselves know that they stand no chance of being re-inserted into Iran politically, though they must more than suspect that their moments of personal grief will be reflected in monumental ways on the larger stage of the Iranian political imagination. Indeed, the initial statement by older brother Reza Pahlavi on his website starkly attributed Alireza’s suicide on the younger man’s despair over Iran – an all too blatantly political argument that only opened the family up to criticism. Certainly, the shattering fall of his father, and the dislocation of exile contributed to Alireza’s depression and pain. But just as surely any suicide in a depressed person arises when such anguish combines with intimate factors that emerge from that individual’s genealogy, biochemistry and medical history.

But the family changed tack. On Wednesday afternoon, I heard Reza Pahlavi speaking bravely and honestly about his brother’s battle with depression in television interviews. I felt an immense relief. His comments were nuanced and candid. They broke the Iranian cultural taboo against acknowledging mental illness, and underscored a point most Iranians everywhere can relate to: families suffer when torn apart. Thirty years after the Shah’s fall, the Pahlavis are no longer anyone’s enemy, and in their grief lies an opportunity to reach out across all those lines that divide.

By AZADEH MOAVENI

4 Photos from Iran

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Here are four beautiful photos that a friend of mine took in Iran.

You can click on the picture to enlarge it.

Iran’s Quest for Peace

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm

“The date – January 6, 5 B.C- As the kneeling servant put a final buff on his master’s soft, leather boots, the master, a young man aged about 25, rose to his full height. Placing his tall, serrated felt cap on his head, the young man, Hormizdah (who is known to Western tradition as Caspar), gazed into the distance.

As the sun sank into an ocean of fire, another great light was gaining strength in the heavens and that light, which Hormizdah and his two companions had been following for the past year, was now practically overhead. Indeed, that was the reason why the three had exchanged their dusty travel garb for the fine clothing of their station. It was the reason why they had bathed and anointed their beards with costly attar of roses. For tonight, they would pay homage to the special child – the beloved of Ahuramazda.

At that moment, Hormizdah’s two companions, middle-aged Yazdegerd (or Balthazar) and 75-year-old Perozadh (Melchior,) joined him. All three were similarly attired in jackets of exquisite Persian brocade along with cloaks and trousers of the finest, silky wool. And the cloaks of all three were clasped with heavy gold brooches bearing the insignias of their separate houses – the same insignias that adorned their standards and as well as the liveries of their servants and men-at-arms. Hormizdah’s was the great Persian eagle – bestowed on his ancestor by the mighty Cyrus.

All three men were “satraps”, or governors of provinces in the Parthian (Persian) Empire and all three were Magi – astronomers, men of wisdom and learning and priests of the one true God.

Their journey had been a long and arduous one, beginning almost a year earlier, in the Persian town of Saveh, when Ahuramazda’s holy Farvahar first appeared as a brilliant constellation in the western sky. The going had been fairly easy while the three friends were traveling along the well-kept roads of the Persian Empire, but once they crossed over into Roumiyan (Roman) territory, the dangers multiplied a thousand fold. .

Rome, an expansionist, warlike empire, which had won its territory by the point of the sword – and kept it by terrorizing its conquered peoples — was a sworn enemy of Persia and was constantly attempting to carve off bits of Persian territory to add to its own sprawling holdings. Persia had thus far managed to defend its borders, but if word reached the Roman authorities that three highly placed Persian satraps were now deep within its territory, who knew what could happen? Which is why the three men, being wise, had thus far kept a low profile (except on one occasion, when they had visited this region’s King Herod,) traveling as anonymous merchants.

Tonight, however, they would pay their respects to the special child so they would be entering his presence in while in full regalia – in the same way they would appear before their own Great King.

Moreover, they would not enter his presence empty-handed. They had brought with them rare and costly gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh.

“Tonight, my friends,” said Perozadh to his two companions, tonight we will see this child – beloved of Ahuramazda, and pay homage to him. The three Persians then mounted their snowy dromedaries and headed over the hill to Bethlehem.

On January 6, countless numbers of people throughout the western world will celebrate a holiday, known as “Three Kings’ Day,” the traditional day in which it is believed that the three Kings – or Magi – brought gifts to the Christ child.

There is little doubt that the Three Magi were Iranians. Overwhelming evidence points to such an assumption. Firstly, the word, “Magi” – “Magus” in the singular, –comes from the Avestan (old Persian) word, “Magauno,” the priestly or religious caste of Zoroastrianism, into which Zoroaster, himself, was born. And the very earliest traditions surrounding the story of the Magi’s visit to the Christ child always depicted them as Persian. As Dariush Jahanian, a Zoroastrian scholar, pointed out, a sixth century Syrian source (the earliest in which the 3 Magi are named), calls them Hormizdah, Yazdegerd and Perozadh. All three names are Persian.

And then there is Byzantine art, which generally shows the three distinguished visitors in Persian dress, including trousers, capes and Phrygian caps. Finally, there is Marco Polo’s observation in his Travels, he writes:

“In Persia is the city called Saveh, from which the three Magi set out when they came to worship Jesus Christ. Here, too, they lie buried in three sepulchres of great size and beauty. Above each sepulchre is a square building with a domed roof of very fine workmanship. The one is just beside the other. Their bodies are still whole, and they have hair and beards. One was named Beltasar, the second Gaspar, and the third Melchior.”

So the Magi, who were Iranians, made an arduous journey, deep into the heart of hostile (Roman) territory to pay homage to the new born child, who would one day be called the “Prince of Peace.” How ironic it is that some of the very same Western countries, which on January 6 will celebrate “Three Kings’ Day,” are accusing the land of the Three Magi of fomenting war.

The fact of the matter is that, all rhetoric and political spin aside, Iranians are not a warlike people, and seldom go to war unless first attacked. Iran has not waged a war of aggression in nearly 300 years. And the last such conflict, in which Nader Shah Afshar in 1739 attacked and conquered the Moghuls of India, was waged because the Iranian monarch claimed that his Hotaki Afghan enemies were taking refuge in the subcontinent. In other words, despite the fact that Nader Shah was an absolute ruler, he still found it necessary to give the Iranian people a valid reason for attacking and invading another country.

It bears mention that Nader Shah was unusual for an Iranian head-of-state in that he idolized the Mongol warlords, Genghis Khan and Timur Lang (Tamerlane) – an unusual choice of heroes, to say the least, considering the fact that the Mongols had once conquered and terrorized Iran.

Of course, there are some who might contend that desperate times called for desperate measures and that Nader Shah’s military campaigns were nothing more than Iran’s attempt to keep its borders safe. With the Ottomans pressing from the Northwest, the Russians encroaching on Iranian territory in the North, the Moghul threat in the South, and the Hotakis in the East, Iran was in dire straits. Through his military campaigns, however, Nader Shah was able to turn the situation around, restoring the country’s territorial integrity and sending the invaders packing.

Thus some historians contend that the king’s military exploits were not wars of aggression in the true sense of the word, but wars for survival.

Be that as it may, the fact is that before the reign of this 18th century monarch, Iran had not waged a war of aggression since the days of the Persian Empire. And since that time (Nader Shah’s reign ended with his death in 1747), no such conflict has been waged.

And that brings us up to the present day. Why is there so much fear in certain quarters that Iran will cause a major war in the Middle East? And here’s another question – is that “fear” genuine, or is it simply more facile political spin?

Firstly, it is highly doubtful that Mideast experts actually take the “Iranian threat” as seriously as they claim to. The facts on the ground indicate there is no reason on earth why they should. If a nation is peaceful by nature, if it has been so for two thousand years, why would it suddenly make a 180-degree about-face and become warlike? Such a turn of events is simply not likely to happen. And the Iranians are a peaceful, highly civilized people, who have given the world mathematics, astronomy, medicine and poetry, among other gifts. There is little reason to believe that such a people would be suddenly transformed into a bellicose gang of raging Neanderthals.

Thus the accusations must simply be based on political spin aimed at causing fear among Western nations. But why would governments want to raise such alarm among their own people? Well, that question might best be answered by posing another. Why did they demonize the Germans on the eve of the First World War, calling them the “Huns” and comparing them with Attila, who cut a wide swath of death and destruction throughout the ancient world?

One of the first and most important steps in getting one’s own population to back a war against another group of people is to first dehumanize those you wish to attack – to demonize them, picture them for the ignorant masses if you would, as the enemy. Otherwise, one could never get one’s own population (because most people are pretty decent), to attack an innocent peaceful nation that is simply minding its own business and going about the task of daily living. To attack and kill such ordinary individuals would hit too close to home. It would be like attacking one’s own neighbors – or members of one’s own family. Therefore, that primary step is of the greatest importance if a government wishes to psyche its people for war. If that step is omitted – if for some reason or other, it is not taken, the endeavor is almost certain to lack popular support and will therefore fall through.”

By Tahereh Ghanaati

Find original article here