a different side of Israel

Tag: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (page 2 of 2)

The End of the Resistance in Iran

It appears that the worst fears have been affirmed regarding the Iranian government’s crackdown on the protests which have been going on in the Islamic Republic since the recent elections there gave incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a supposedly overwhelming victory over his main opponent Mir Moussavi.
Iran hangingsThe crackdown, in which opposition supporters have been beaten, shot, arrested, and even removed from hospitals where they had been receiving treatment, has culminated in at least 6 Moussavi supporters being reportedly hanged in the holy city of Mashhad. The fate of these six (not shown in this photo, taken back in 2005, when young Iranian homosexuals were hanged), along with many others who have simply disappeared since the crackdown began about a week following the June 12th elections, presents a sinister and extremely sad climax to what had hoped to have been a new air of reform and personal freedom in a country where these human attributes have been severely lacking.

One of Mir Moussavi’s few clerical supporters, Ayatollah Seyed Jalaleddin Taheri-Esfahani, had tried to defend the candidate (and former prime minister) against the regime’s criticisms by saying:

“Is it a case of justice to see that an honorable and modest Seyed [a descendant of the household of the prophet Muhammad], who until the last moments of Khomeini’s life was a dear and close companion of that grand leader, is now considered to be a rioter and an agent of arrogance who must be punished?”

The ongoing crackdown has become so harsh that anyone who was even seen shouting slogans or wearing green ribbons or paint (or honking their car horns) are now subject to beatings and arrest. What will happen to so many young, intelligent university students, the country’s future, is a serious matter – to say the least. But history has usually shown that in the case of a tyrannical government wanting to have full control of the people, a country’s academics are some of the first to be either seriously persecuted or outright eliminated altogether. Such was the case when Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany during the 1930’s; and during the Russian Revolution of 1917 as well. In the extreme “double-speak” Orwellian nightmare that often takes over the sanity of a country, autocratic leaders find they can manipulate and intimidate the uneducated “proletarians” a lot easier than the intelligensia.

So is this now the reality of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where educated, well intended people, the “cream of the crop” for this country’s economic and political future, are now being rounded up in either the middle of the night – or even in broad daylight (like they often were in Argentina during the 1970’s) and then taken to undisclosed locations to be brutally tortured and then executed for the simple “crime” of wanting to live as democratic and free people in their own country? And likewise , young Iranian women who participated in this brief expression of self determination -like Neda Aqha-Soltan, who has become a national symbol of resistance – have now been replaced by the Islamic extremist women’s group Sisters of Zeynab.

The “new” Iran that is now emerging is an even more frightening version of the former one; which means that Ahmadinejad and his mullah religious superiors may intend to steer the country towards a much more sinister direction – including the end result of the Iranian nuclear program.

The Closing Window of Opportunity in Iran

As the post-election opposition violence in Iran becomes more intense Top Iranian leaders, including President Ahmadinejad and Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamani are warning outside countries not to meddle in Iranian internal affairs regarding the crackdown by Iranian police and Republican Guard paramilitary units. Iranian President Ahmadiniejad had kept silent following his remarks made right after the elections, when he compared the then mild protests to “disagreements made by people leaving a stadium after a football match”.

Iran electionsThe events transpiring in the capital during the past few days have gone far beyond “football match disagreements”, and eyewitnesses there are saying that at least 13 people have been killed and scores injured and arrested, including opposition leaders like Mir Moussavi himself . Police and Republican Guard units have been stationed en masse at locations where opposition rallies had been schedules to be held; and use of tear gas and water cannon were reported to have been used against the protestors – as well as live ammunition.

Foreign journalists who had been covering the events, and had a relatively freehand at the beginning of the protests, are now forbidden to report or film any of the violence without receiving official “permission” from governmental authorities. All that appears to be left are personal cell phones and video cameras of Iranians themselves; but even these are less capable of recording ongoing events as wireless phone and satellite networks are being jammed or closed down altogether by the government.

Foreign governments, including the U.S. Administration, have been issuing strong condemnations of the Iranian government crackdown that has included Republican Guards going past crowds on motorcycles and hitting people with weighted anti-riot batons (photo). Many protestors outside Iran are calling on the U.N. to take some form of action against Iranian government; which probably would be just about effective as it was during the Chinese government’s crackdown on student protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. Besides, what can the U.N really do, except to authorize more economic sanctions against the regime, which up to now have had very little effect?

What these events are telling the world is simply that the Iranian people, especially the young, educated ones under 40, have simply had enough with living under the edicts of the Mullahs, especially the draconian leadership of Ahmadinejad; who on more than one occasion has almost admitted that he is ready to sacrifice at least a third of his compatriots to possible annihilation should he launch a nuclear or chemical weapons attack against Israeli or American targets. Most of these young Iranians have few or no personal animosities toward either “the Great Satan” (USA) or “its Zionest proxy” (Israel). Which brings us to the point of this article, in that the rebellion these Iranian young people are making, could either result in the creation of an entirely new order in their country – with a disbandment of Iran’s nuclear armament ambitions (nuclear power for peaceful means is not a problem); or, cause a descent into an “Apocalypse Now” syndrome that will end up with disastrous results – for both their country and others as well.

The “Green Rebellion” window of opportunity can either be slammed shut or thrown wide open, with obvious benefits to all.

No Change For Iran – Mousavi Contests Election Results

No sooner had incumbent Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared himself victorious in last Friday’s election, his challenger, Mir Hossein Moussavi cried “foul” at the results of the balloting which gave Ahmadinejad 62.5 % of the total vote. Mousavi, a former Iranian president during the 1980’s and who ran under a campaign of economic and social reform, claimed that many election precincts were “managed by untrustworthy monitors”, and many of his supporters rioted in the streets of major cities afterwards.

News in Stories: Iran Elections Boston GlobeSince foreign observers were banned from the actual balloting, there’s no telling what really went on, and many people who stood in long lines for hours at polling stations; and even had their thumb ink dyed when they did get to vote, may have had their vote discarded during the actual counting period once the polls closed. An amazing 85% of the country’s eligible voters went to the polls in an election which had culminated weeks of intense campaigning by supporters of both candidates in a contest that was really a referendum on Ahmadinejad’s handling of the country’s economy, now experiencing 30% inflation and more than 17% “official” unemployment. Many Mousavi supporters were dissatisfied young Iranians, especially academics who can’t find decent jobs after completing university studies.

Ahmadinejad gave one of his usual long victory speeches on Saturday, and gave an even longer one on Sunday during a news conference where he compared the rioting to disturbances that occur “after a football match”. Football match indeed! The streets of Teheran were almost turned into a battle ground as many young protesters battled police and paramilitary personnel, and numerous vehicles and shops were set ablaze. Many of the protestors were arrested, and it was even rumored that Moussavi himself has been detained for questioning for his possible part in the rioting (and may even be under arrest). The protests, according to many observers, were nothing less than many peoples’ dissatisfaction with the way the country has been run under Ahmadinejad, and how Iran has become increasingly isolated by international sanctions due to the ongoing nuclear program; including Ahmadinejad’s tirades against Israel and his denial of the Holocaust.

News in Stories: Iran Elections Boston GlobeThe results of the election come to no surprise with Israeli leaders, and many even hoped that Ahmadinejad would win in order to continue international pressure against Iran, and especially it’s missile and nuclear enrichment program which is now said to have progressed far enough to have enough enriched uranium and plutonium for at least one if not two nuclear bombs. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to give a speech to the country Sunday night, which is said to be a response to both U.S. President Obama’s speech in Cairo, as well as the aftermath of the Iranian elections. Israel has been warned by the Obama administration not to try to “go at it alone” to take out Iran’s nuclear capability; and the country’s leadership is now fully aware that Israel’s current relations with the USA are a far cry from what they were during the Bush administration.

All in all, however, the violent protests which have occurred in many parts of Iran following the election may wind up being a “consolation prize” for Mr. Mousavi and his followers; and are an indication that all is not well in the country. There appears to be a strong “grass roots” movement that could decide it’s had enough with people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

GIANT HAT TIP: Boston Globe Iran’s Presidential Elections in Pictures

Lesser of two evils: Mousavi or Ahmadinejad?

46 million Iranians voted Friday in what was declared to be the first really contested election in that country since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that “lovely” man who continues to say that Israel is an “illegal” state and should be “wiped of the face of the map“, was opposed by former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, who presented himself as a “reformist candidate”, although he still backs his country’s nuclear program. What Mr. Mousavi may have meant as being “reformist” is probably similar to former president Mohammad Khatami, who was really one of the Mullah religious leaders, and said to wield the real power in the Islamic Republic, with people like Ahmadinejad only being front men.

Mahmoud AhmadinejadWhat all this means for Israel is that no great surprises were in store, no matter who would win, and that the anti-Israel rhetoric will continue, as well as the nuclear program, which went into high gear when Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005. Mousavi is even said to have begun the nuclear program back in the 1980’s.

Reform means a lot of different things to different people, especially in a country like Iran, where Sharia Islamic law is practiced to a large extent, although not to the extreme as it is in Saudi Arabia, or in the former Taliban controlled Afghanistan. What this means for Iranian women is that they are allowed to drive, not completely cover their faces (even a bit of fashion is permitted), achieve a higher education, work in most professions, and vote. The voting right by women was definitely exercised in the election, although the way many women exercised their vote was probably influenced by their husband or father (if they are not married yet). The Iranian legal system continues to try, and punish, both men and women according to strict Islamic law, meaning that people committing acts that are contrary to Islamic Law are often given the harshest punishment – including death.

It is well known that the real holder of the reins of power in Iran is the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is as bad or worse than the Ayatollah Hasni Komeni, who presided over the country following the Islamic Revolution.

Iran has a number of problems that should be dealt with by no matter who wins this election. These include a 17% unemployment rate, and an energy and industrial infrastructure that is in complete shambles. For a country with the world’s second biggest oil reserves (said to be anywhere from 14 to 25 %) it must import most of its refined petroleum products; and many Iranians still drive around old locally made versions of British Hillman Hunter automobiles from pre-revolutionary days. And at least half of the population is 27 years old or younger, making available careers for university graduates even scarcer.

In the end no earthshaking changes came about, as the “reform candidate” Moussavi didn’t win. As for people living in Israel, being prepared for the worst case scenario is a matter of acute reality in these current times.

Durban II and The Horribly Racist Israel

Racist Jews?I am not sure if some of the countries boycotting the Durban II summit are doing it out of solidarity for Israel or the Jewish people. Regardless, I think its very symbolic that today the eve of the Holocaust memorial day the UN conference on racism is on its way with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad taking center stage and meeting with the Swiss President. As I write this I hear that as he started to speak, attacking Israel immediately, people started leaving the hall. What a shock.

R I PThe channel 10 News morning show today showed some Holocaust survivors who were invited to visit one of the Air Force’s largest and oldest bases. The seniors met with the pilots and saw some of the jets on the runway. There was a point where one of the visitors spoke to a pilot and asked him to assure her that there will be no more Holocausts. When asked if these air crafts can reach Iran, he answered that they could reach anywhere they were needed.

This is just one example and extension of the general mood lately. The powers in Israel are preparing the Israeli psyche for the next phase which would be the annihilation of the Iranian Nuclear program. In this case a UN summit “dedicated” to fighting racism and whoring itself out to a notorious Holocaust denier who clearly is calling for destruction of Israel (a UN member) is just the sort of confirmation that the Israeli government is looking for.

I hope the UN books an alternate speaker for the next Durban summit because I have a feeling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won’t be available.

New U.S. – Iran Strategies: “Let’s Talk, Baby”

The Obama administration is looking for new ways to deal with Iran and its nuclear program, even though it has been revealed that the Islamic Republic now has enough low-enriched uranium (more than 1,000 kilograms of the stuff) to make at least one nuclear bomb. The new U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice (no relationship to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice) was reported as saying that the U.S. Administration will make all diplomatic efforts to encourage Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program and become a regional “team player” who is no longer a sponsor of terrorism. Rice, who served as Under-Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration, said that she hopes to help convince Iran to “abandon its illicit nuclear program and become a regional actor”, along with Syria (another sponsor of terrorism) to help lesson tensions in the Middle East.

Obama wants to open a dialogue with both countries, and said in his inaugural address that America is willing to “extend a hand to those willing to unclench their fist”. Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, said that America’s allegations towards Iran are “completely groundless” and that his country does not sponsor international terrorism and “has no intention of developing nuclear weapons”. Along with Khazaee’s remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran will welcome talks with America and other western countries as long as they are conducted in a framework of openness and mutual respect.

President Obama’s willingness to open talks with a country that has been an enemy of America since the Islamic Revolution of the late 1970’s is a bit contradictory to that of previous administrations; especially that of the Bush Administration, when Iran was considered to be part of an “Axis of Evil”. The Bush stance resulted in virtually no official contact between the two nations. Iranian Ambassador Khazaee further remarked that “Iran has always condemned terrorism in all its aspects”, possibly referring to his country’s version of whom and what terrorists actually are; usually in reference to countries like Israel.

It may yet be awhile before Obama extends an actual invitation to Iranian president Ahmadinejad to come to Washington on a formal visit; but it does look like some sort of meetings will take place between representatives of the two nations, most likely in a neutral location like Geneva or Paris.

Talk is cheap though, and as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. After all, the Japanese ambassador was in Washington for talks in 1941 when his country attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, ushering in America’s involvement in WWII. Iran’s animosity towards both the U.S. and especially towards Israel needs to change dramatically before any progress can be made towards improving relations between Iran and the West.

Behind the Persian Wall

Iran is the third largest nation of bloggers in the world. Its population tops 70 million. And yet when we think of Iran, all we can see is the face of one man. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This wonderfully done animated clip asks us to take a look behind our common preconceptions.

IRAN: A Nation Of Bloggers from ayrakus on Vimeo.

Ahmadinejad in New York

President of Iran @ Columbia University.
Image via Wikipedia

I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the near future a Broadway premiere titled “Mahmoud Superstar”.

The man is a celebrity! A notorious one — but a celebrity none the less. He is fond of the media, and arrived yesterday in New York like a Persian Prima donna.

Why has he come to the country which he despises so much? So he could speak freely in the United Nations’ General Assembly. I wonder if George Bush would be given the same honor if he came to Iran?

What’s on Ahmadinejad‘s agenda? The usual propaganda: “We’re not developing nuclear weapons, but we have all the right to do so.” , “Israel is a disgrace that has to be wiped off the face of the Earth” , “…so does America” , and on and on.

If I’m not mistaken, it’s the second time he arrives in New York in the past year or so. Perhaps he’s just too fond of Macey’s. Perhaps he’s scheduled a dinner with TomKat.

To be honest, he’s a funny man. I would go see his shows, if he happened to turn into a stand up comedian. But the UN’s General Assembly is no place to try out your new jokes. It’s a tough audience.

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