Iran Elections Thread

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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2009-06-19 04:15am

Lord of the Abyss wrote:
Samuel wrote:
It certainly is. Iran owes the US for the overthrow of Mossadegh, for all the people tortured and "disappeared" by Savak, for the US Navy blasting a passenger jet and killing hundreds of civilians while giving the crew medals for their heroic actions, among other things.
Someone pointed out in the "religious conservatives versus libertarian" thread that the Shah managed to make a modern country. He was brutal and vicious, but without the country has dropped like a stone under the theocratic grip of its current rulers.
Current rulers who are in power in part because we replaced Mossadegh with the Shah. And a rejection of modernity we helped create by associating it with foreign imposed tyranny.
It's more complicated than that, and wrong to claim that Iranians somehow "rejected modernity" because we linked it with the Shah. It wasn't just Khomeini and the Islamists who overthrew the Shah in 1979 - it was a broad coalition of groups including secular groups, pro-democracy groups, and the bazaar merchants. Afterwards, the Islamists and mullahs managed to push out everyone else through some pretty ruthless political infighting.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2009-06-19 04:38am

By the way, Khamenei is speaking on this for the Friday Sermon. I've been trying to follow a Twitter feed on it from here, but Straha's suggested feed is a good starting point. The Guardian is also live-blogging it to some degree.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2009-06-19 04:55am

Sorry to make a third post, but the BBC is streaming it live. I'm getting it from here, but you can probably find it on the BBC website directly.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Zac Naloen » 2009-06-19 05:11am

He seems to be defending the actions of the Ahmadinejad camp. I can't see this going down well.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by CJvR » 2009-06-19 05:22am

I have read on several places that the regime have sent it's foreign legionares from Hamas and Hizbollah against the protesters. Anyone have a solid confirmation of that? Things are very bad for Amadjihadii if they have to deploy foreigners to supress the protests.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Zac Naloen » 2009-06-19 05:29am

Those are reports from people on the streets, they don't want to believe it's Iranians against them. If they have done, not in the numbers being claimed. There are enough standing forces in Iran to account for what's been seen.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2009-06-19 05:33am

CJvR wrote:I have read on several places that the regime have sent it's foreign legionares from Hamas and Hizbollah against the protesters. Anyone have a solid confirmation of that? Things are very bad for Amadjihadii if they have to deploy foreigners to supress the protests.
I've heard the "Hezbollah in Tehran" rumors were bullshit - they were claiming more Hezbollah fighters in Tehran than there are Hezbollah fighters period.

By the way, he said that the biggest enemies of Iran are the British.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Surlethe » 2009-06-19 07:33am

Ayatollah Khamenei warns protesters:

NYT
TEHRAN — In his first public response to days of protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opponents Friday to stay off the streets and denied opposition claims that last week’s disputed election was rigged, praising the ballot as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”

In a somber and lengthy sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, he called directly for an end to the protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians demanding for a new election.

“Street challenge is not acceptable,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “This is challenging democracy after the elections.” He said opposition leaders would be “held responsible for chaos” if they did not end the protests.

His remarks seemed to deepen the confrontation between Iran’s rulers and supporters of the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who have accused the authorities of rigging the vote.

Ayatollah Khamenei urged dissenters to pursue their complaints about the June 12 only through legal channels, insisting that the turnout — officially put at 85 percent — showed the ballot to be a reflection of the national will.

Speaking in front of an audience of thousands that included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he endorsed the president’s policies and insisted that the margin of victory — 11 million votes — accorded to Mr. Ahmadinejad in the official tally was so big that it could not have been falsified. “How can 11 million votes be replaced or changed?” he said.

He went on: “The Islamic republic state would not cheat and would not betray the vote of the people.”

There was no immediate response to his 100-minute long sermon from opposition leaders.

Iranians had been looking to his appearance the national prayer service from Tehran University on Friday for clues as to whether the authorities were prepared to bend to opposition demands. But Ayatollah Khamenei showed no readiness to countenance their demands for the election to be annulled.

He blamed “media belonging to Zionists, evil media” for seeking to show divisions between those who supported the Iranian state and those who did not, while, in fact, the election had shown Iranians to be united in their commitment to the Islamic revolutionary state.

“There are 40 million votes for the revolution, not just 24 million for the chosen president,” he said, referring to the official tally that gave Mr. Ahmadinejad more than 60 percent of the vote.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the election “ was a competition among people who believe in the state.”

He also spoke of the religious roots of “our revolutionary society.”

“Despite all the diversions , our people are faithful,” he said, but urged young Iranians to lead more spiritual lives. “The youth are confused. Being away from spirituality has caused confusion. They don’t know what to do,” he said.

He said the June 12 elections had been a “great demonstration of responsibility by our nation” and its 85 percent turnout had shown “the hand of the Lord of ages supporting such a great development. This is a sign of God’s mercy for this nation.”

He accused what he called arrogant Western powers, particularly Britain and the United States, of showing their hostility to the Iranian Islamic revolution in remarks casting doubt on the election. And he warned them not meddle in Iran’s affairs, accusing them of failing to understand the nature of Iranian society.

Tens of thousands of people streamed into the university to hear the ayatollah speak a day after protesters flooded into the streets for the sixth straight day Thursday. The ayatollah’s remarks seemed to show that the authorities were growing impatient with the street protests.

“It would be wrong to think that turning out on the street would force officials to accept their demands,” he said.

Throughout a week of protests, Iran’s leaders have offered conciliation, while simultaneously wielding repression.

With one hand, the government offered to talk to the opposition, inviting the three losing presidential candidates to meet with the powerful Guardian Council. Ayatollah Khamenei repeated on Friday that those complaining of electoral irregularities should do so through the council.

Even Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has kept a defiant if low profile, made an unusual public concession. After insulting the huge crowds that poured into the street by dismissing them as “dust,” the president issued a statement on state television, according to The Associated Press:

“I only addressed those who made riot, set fires and attacked people. Every single Iranian is valuable. The government is at everyone’s service. We like everyone.”

With the other hand, the government continued to arrest prominent reformers, limit Internet access and pressure reporters to stay off the streets, and security officials signaled their waning tolerance.

It was not clear whether Iran’s government, made up of fractious power centers, was pursuing a calculated strategy or if the moves reflected internal disagreements, or even uncertainty.

“Most analysts believe the outreach is just to kill time and extend this while they search for a solution, although there doesn’t seem to be any,” said a political analyst in Tehran, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “This will only be a postponement of the inevitable, which is indeed a brutal crackdown.”

There was some speculation among Iran experts in the United States of a possible compromise, with reformers being given positions in a new government. But it was unclear if that would be acceptable to the opposition, which understands that in Iran, positions do not necessarily come with power. For eight years, the reform president, Mohammad Khatami, saw his program stifled by the conservative interests of the religious leadership and its allies.

“There could have been a very easy political solution, and that would have been nullifying the election results, but they have refused to do that so far,” said Mashalah Shamsolvaezin, a political analyst in Tehran. “Postponing the resolution means they want the military to find the solutions,” he said, referring to the Revolutionary Guards, not the army.

On Thursday the opposition remained firm in its demand for a new election, and it was not immediately clear how it would respond to the council’s offer of talks, which could take place as early as Saturday. The meeting would include Mr. Moussavi and two other candidates, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohsen Rezai.

Mr. Moussavi has indicated in the past that he does not trust the Guardian Council because some of its members campaigned on behalf of Mr. Ahmadinejad before the election. State radio said the Guardian Council had begun a “careful examination” of 646 complaints about the vote.

Nor was it clear what role was being played by a former Iranian president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who supported Mr. Moussavi and is in a power struggle with Ayatollah Khamenei. There were unconfirmed reports Thursday that two of his children had been banned from leaving the country because of their role in helping the protesters.

Ayatollah Khamenei devoted a section of his sermon on Friday to rebutting what he said were accusations of corruption leveled against Mr. Rafsanjani. But, he said, he believed President Ahmadinejad’s views were “closer to what it should be.”

In a statement on his Web site on Thursday, Mr. Moussavi had called on his followers to mourn those protesters killed in clashes with paramilitary forces over the past several days, and protesters responded by wearing black and carrying black candles. Many held up their fingers in a V-sign for victory.

Meanwhile, some protesters expressed growing fears that the government’s tolerance of the persistent protests would soon wear out.

The Iranian authorities reported that at least seven people were killed in Tehran in the first days of unrest after the election. Student activists say seven more people have died since then in attacks by government militia on student dormitories in Tehran and in the southern city of Shiraz.

Iranian Web sites have carried reports of violence in some other cities, but given the press restrictions now in place, those could not be verified.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Straha » 2009-06-19 10:20am

CJvR wrote:I have read on several places that the regime have sent it's foreign legionares from Hamas and Hizbollah against the protesters. Anyone have a solid confirmation of that? Things are very bad for Amadjihadii if they have to deploy foreigners to supress the protests.
There's been some contention over this. People in Iran say that Hamas and Hizbollah thugs are brought in because the thugs don't speak Farsi. Other people in Iran point out that most Iranians mean Ansar e Hezbollah, which is a different Hezbollah than you're probably thinking of. Also, they and people in America point out, if these troops are coming from Lebanon and Hizbollah then Hizbollah is being denuded of troops to fight in Lebanon. Further, it's well known that the Iranian police do hire some Arab and ethnic (that is, non Persian speaking) auxiliaries. Other people retort that Hizbollah was brought in during the '97 riots, and that you don't need more than a couple thousand associates of Hizbollah to give proper aid in mounting an effective crackdown.

So, yes. Contentious issue. If I had to cast my lot one way or the other I'd say that there are probably some Hizbollahis there, but not as many as people would like to think. Also, I think the idea of Hamas serving in Iran to help put down these riots is slightly absurd and doubt they're serving there.
By the way, he said that the biggest enemies of Iran are the British.
Iran's biggest enemies, in their mind, have always been the British. It's weird, but they give semi-mystical almost occult powers to the British. There are a number of people who believe the events of '79 and '80 were both orchestrated by the British. They believe that Mossadegh was overthrown with British support.

An aside, the idea that the U.S. should apologize for the overthrow of Mossadegh is a fucking absurdity. The man wasn't overthrown by direct U.S. intervention. In fact, the early reports from Iran by the team trying to intervene was that they'd failed, fucked up, and called it a day. (I'll note here that the team started off supporting a British mission to overthrow Mossadegh.) What got Mossadegh kicked out was that he had no plan for the future and had shat away all support he once had, with the Merchants, Clerics, Poor, and Rich all wanting him gone, and with the Shah making a very public "It's him or me" gesture (which he thought of in a panic.) The only reason we remember the U.S. as the culprits is because Kermit Roosevelt was an incredible self-promoter and wrote a damn book about it that no one in the main stream likes to question, and because a group of anti-Imperialist Iranians grabbed onto the myth because it made a very useful political tool. ANYWAY, back to the main point.

Britain has always held a place as enemy number one in Iranian hearts, because the Brits have been in the area for four hundred years, lending support one way or another. Overtime a lot of hatred has gathered up, and there are a lot of popular folk legends on the eeeeevils of Britain and the British. They are viewed as being far worse than the Americans ever were, and as a sort of national bogey man. So when Khameni says this is the result of British influence and "Bad British radio" he's trying to trot out the national terror (think America and Communism, but worse), but I don't think it's going to work this time.




Important parts of the Khameni speech:
We have not had such participation (85%) since the revolution. The young generation especially showed their worry and their political obligations. There are differences between the people, some prefer different candidates. This is natural. This election was a big celebration of the revolution. That many people showing love and loyalty. This election was a religious democratic event. It showed dictatorial countries that this is a religious democratic country.

The election showed that people with belief, hopes and joys are living in this country. Our enemies are using it. If the young did not feel free they would not have participated in the election. This trust is the biggest asset of the Islamic republic.

There were claims of fraud before the election. Don't listen to those allegations.
The result was clear. They selected candidates they wanted. These disputes and conversations among candidates went to the streets and houses of the people. This gives strength to the system. This should not be misunderstood. The people should be ready to answer critics.

Rumours spread that were not true, and gave a bad image to the previous government. Calling the president a liar is that good? This is against the truth. The 30 years of the revolution was turning black.
My dear people, June 12 was a historic event. Our enemies want to cast doubt on it and portray it as defeat for the regime. The presidential campaign has finished. All of the four candidates are among the Islamic system. The people have trust in the revolution and the republic. The Islamic republic is not cheating against others. There is no cheating inside the election system - it is well controlled. There may been mistakes but 11 million [votes] is not possible.

The guardian council has said that if people have doubts they should prove them. I will not follow false allegations. In all elections some are winners and some are losers. Correct legal procedures should be followed to ensure trust in the process.
(Emphasis added.)
The street is the place of living and trading. Why are you taking to the streets? We have had the election. Street demonstrations are a target for terrorist plots. Who would be responsible if something happened?


So, there you have it. "There was nothing wrong with the last election. Everything is fine. Everyone trusts the government. Stop protesting now, because if something happens you're responsible." He fiddles while Tehran protests, and hopes to shove the genie back into the bottle without realizing what he's done.

I want to hear reports as to what the rest of the Clergy said during their local prayer sections. Hopefully that should filter in soon. Tehran bureau adds that Grand Ayatollah Montazeri has come out unequivocally against the election results. If he has gone that far, others from the center will follow too.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Zac Naloen » 2009-06-19 10:53am

The street is the place of living and trading. Why are you taking to the streets? We have had the election. Street demonstrations are a target for terrorist plots. Who would be responsible if something happened?
Holy shit, I can't believe he just laid down that threat.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Gigaliel » 2009-06-19 11:35am

We have not had such participation (85%) since the revolution. The young generation especially showed their worry and their political obligations. There are differences between the people, some prefer different candidates. This is natural. This election was a big celebration of the revolution. That many people showing love and loyalty. This election was a religious democratic event. It showed dictatorial countries that this is a religious democratic country.

The election showed that people with belief, hopes and joys are living in this country. Our enemies are using it. If the young did not feel free they would not have participated in the election. This trust is the biggest asset of the Islamic republic.

There were claims of fraud before the election. Don't listen to those allegations.
Perhaps I'm blind or my google-fu is weak, but where does that bit come from? The closest thing I can remember would be Mousavi claiming victory before the official results were announced, but that doesn't sound right either.

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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Straha » 2009-06-19 12:07pm

Gigaliel wrote: Perhaps I'm blind or my google-fu is weak, but where does that bit come from? The closest thing I can remember would be Mousavi claiming victory before the official results were announced, but that doesn't sound right either.

Rafsanjani wrote a letter to Khameni saying that there was a chance of fraud before the election and that the Supreme Leader should come out strongly against it.

Also, Ayatollah Yazdi issued a letter that seemed to insinuate that it was a religious obligation to rig the election on behalf of Ahmadinejad. People were a tad upset over it, but there was no public rebuke.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by ray245 » 2009-06-19 12:15pm

Economist article on the subject
It looks increasingly as though the government will have to crack down or back down


THE sight of a million-odd demonstrators on the streets of Tehran, the like of which has not been seen since the revolution that unseated the shah in 1979, is bound to stir the hearts of freedom lovers the world over. That is especially true when the chief butt of popular anger, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a Holocaust-denying bully who seems bent on getting his hands on a nuclear weapon. Yet outsiders tempted to shout their support for the protesters should tread carefully for fear of achieving the opposite of what they intend.

After holding the country in a tight grip for 30 years, Iran’s clerical rulers are in disarray. The presidential candidate who was supposed to have come second in last week’s ballot, Mir Hosein Mousavi, seems likely, judging by all the chicanery, to have won (see article). The establishment is divided, with some stalwarts of the revolution siding with the demonstrators. Even the supreme leader, too spiritual to submit himself to popular ballot for the near-omnipotent post he has held for the past two decades, has become embroiled in the squalid electoral fray. He may ultimately even face the question of his, and the regime’s, survival.

No one can see into the back rooms of the clerical establishment or into the bunkers of the Revolutionary Guard. No one knows the real results of the vote. No one can predict how long the street protests will last or how ready the regime is to use force and the price it would pay in its own people’s blood. Yet something momentous has happened in a pivotal country in the most combustible part of the world. Having fatally misread its own people, Iran’s government must now decide whether to back down or to crack down.

The judgment of history

Iran is the fulcrum of an unstable region. If it behaved responsibly, the world would naturally look to it as the local power. Instead it meddles, often malevolently, with its neighbours.

That is not surprising, for it has been the victim of much meddling. The country has been buffeted between imperial rivals—Russian, Turkish, British and American—for more than a century. The West once took Iran’s oil for itself. Britain and America sabotaged its brief experiment with democracy in 1953, as Barack Obama admitted in his admirable speech to Muslims in Cairo earlier this month. A generation ago Iran was assaulted by an Arab army headed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, leaving a million dead. Persian prickliness, even paranoia, is understandable. Iran feels ringed by the forces of what it sees as its main enemy—America. The eagerness of Iran’s rulers for a nuclear capability, which they swear is only for civilian use but which most outsiders reckon would lead inexorably to a bomb, is shared by nearly all Iranians, even those on the streets, as a national birthright in a hostile world.

But an external threat cannot justify the crass debauchery of the presidential poll. Iran is not a democracy, but its system, which combines unelected religious authority with a subordinate elected civilian one, was designed to give people a chance to let off steam from time to time within carefully set electoral limits. And today there is a head of steam to vent. The young are bored and rebellious and short of work, women are oppressed, bazaaris fed up with economic bungling. Even some clerics reject Mr Ahmadinejad for his populist brand of Islam.

For this election, the limits were set very narrow. The supreme leader, abetted by largely unelected councils, allowed just four out of more than 400 candidates to face the voters in the presumption that his populist incumbent protégé would stroll to victory. Instead those disparate groups of discontented Iranians united behind the main challenger, Mr Mousavi. The ballot-rigging turned that support into a mass protest against the system itself. Given that all four official candidates were sworn to keep the largely theocratic system going, the government’s performance was stupid as well as pernicious.

Iranian demonstrators are a determined lot. Before the shah’s fall, protests went on for months. But what happens now will be decided as much by the depth of divisions within the ruling clerical establishment as by the stamina of angry crowds. The clerics are faced with a desperate dilemma. By letting air into a system that has stifled even basic freedoms, yielding to the demonstrators could undo the regime; and yet to use force risks turning Iran into any other cheap dictatorship. A regime that has long sought to claim both legitimacy and a monopoly on power may soon have to choose which of the two it most desires.

The best of all possible worlds

Watching Iranians pour onto the streets to demand change, those in the outside world who wish Iran well must hope fervently that it comes. Iranians are too sophisticated to be ruled for ever by a clutch of old men in turbans. The regime has been illiberal and authoritarian. It is often vicious in its suppression of opponents and its disregard for human rights. Iran has the highest rate of judicial executions per head in the world. Women are second-class citizens. Even so, Iran is nothing like the totalitarian, mass-murdering regimes of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. However many votes he rigged, Mr Ahmadinejad has a big constituency behind him.

The West must tread carefully—as Mr Obama has done (see article)—in its response to Iran’s unfolding crisis. It should condemn abuses of human rights and electoral malpractice, but it should avoid taking sides. Given Iranians’ understandable hostility to outside interference, endorsing Mr Mousavi would only strengthen Mr Ahmadinejad. And whoever ends up running Iran, the West will have to talk to its leaders about its nuclear programme.

A new president and a kinder regime in Iran would be a valuable prize. It would lower the regional temperature. In Iraq, where Iran meddles, blood is still being copiously spilt, albeit far less so than a few years ago. In Palestine and Lebanon, both zones of Iranian interference, it could help tilt the protagonists towards compromise. It could even improve Afghanistan. So, as Iran splutters and seethes, the world must watch and wait—and keep its offer of goodwill on the table.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by MarshalPurnell » 2009-06-19 12:25pm

Well, I think that closes off any possibility of Khameni leading a climb-down from the position that Ahmadinejad won an overwhelming majority. By trying to link the opposition to Western manipulation and issuing a warning against further rallies, and now with the Interior Ministry denying permission for further protests by the opposition, he seems to be laying the groundwork for sterner measures to control the situation. Just riding out the protests and letting the youth exhaust themselves seems to have failed, and the cracks within the facade of clerical authority are becoming more obvious, which may have led the government to lose patience. I doubt the opposition is going to accept the narrative that they are British/American or Zionist pawns, and it will probably piss off the more moderate clerics who have already come out in support of the protests. Though when coupled with the televised confessions of "terrorists" who purportedly planned to carry out bombings on behalf of the US and Israel, it could whip up Ahmadinejad's own supporters and provide a veneer of legitimacy to the use of deadly force to quell the protesters.

If the crowds back down it amounts to a ratification of the Ahmadinejad clique's seizure of power, though just possibility later internal realignments in Iranian politics will limit how long the period of reactionary fervor will last. On the other hand it would cede power and authority in Iran to the Pasdaran at least for a temporary period and force the moderates from positions of influence as the hardliners inevitably purge opponents of Khameni and Ahmadinejad. If the protesters stay out in the streets, remaining highly visible but non-violent, it might instead facilitate a move by Rafsanjani to remove Khameni from his position, as he is widely rumored to be attempting. That is probably the only political solution open to the opposition at the moment, and if reports that Rafsanjani has called for a meeting are true, it suggests he probably thinks he has the support there to do just that. The truly variable factor is violence, whether initiated by the government or by protesters as they lose the leadership of arrested moderate politicians and come under increasing pressure by the security forces and Ahmadinejad's partisans bused in from the countryside. Khameni's speech makes that prospect seem a lot more likely than it had been, and if the Basij and Pasdaran are given orders to crush the protests with deadly force the consequences are unknowable but certainly going to be dire.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Guardsman Bass » 2009-06-19 01:03pm

EDIT: I guess since Straha quoted me, I might as well add back in my point.

I am not in favor of giving anything resembling an apology for the 1953 coup unless the Iranians, at the very least, apologize directly for the Embassy situation in 1979-80. Especially when you consider how they treated Albright's apology (which came with some other "carrots") - Khamenei turned around said the apology was "worthless".

As for Mossadegh, he was coming down sooner or later. By the time he actually fell, he was widely resented, increasingly authoritarian, and had multiple schemes in process against him to bring down his government. We may have helped the Shah to some degree, but it's hardly as if we installed him - he had support among a number of sectors in Iran.
Last edited by Guardsman Bass on 2009-06-19 01:13pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Straha » 2009-06-19 01:06pm

Guardsman Bass wrote: In any case, the US already apologized, so we shouldn't do it again - not without an apology from Iran for the Embassy Hostage situation, at the very least.
A little bit more than an apology would be nice.

Of course, since the embassy is still a museum to U.S. Imperialism (which I've wanted to go to for quite a while) I don't think the Iranian government will do much more than a very very very vague apology.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by CJvR » 2009-06-19 02:00pm

Well it seems as if the regime have thrown down the gauntlet to the people.

Accept our victory and shutup or we will kill you! Now we will see how determined the population is.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Force Lord » 2009-06-19 03:13pm

Straha wrote:Britain has always held a place as enemy number one in Iranian hearts, because the Brits have been in the area for four hundred years, lending support one way or another. Overtime a lot of hatred has gathered up, and there are a lot of popular folk legends on the eeeeevils of Britain and the British. They are viewed as being far worse than the Americans ever were, and as a sort of national bogey man. So when Khameni says this is the result of British influence and "Bad British radio" he's trying to trot out the national terror (think America and Communism, but worse), but I don't think it's going to work this time.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't most of the Middle East think that way about the British?
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Dartzap » 2009-06-19 03:20pm

The BBC did recently launch a Farsi news channel, which supposedly is quite popular there. No doubt it has mind rays to control the masses.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Force Lord » 2009-06-19 03:26pm

Guess the Brits know how to repair bridges then. :)
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-06-19 03:31pm

I honestly can't understand why anyone is surprised by this kind of behaviour. Iran is the sort of place which tortured a journalist to death for criticizing the regime. Why the hell would we be surprised if they start threatening crackdowns?
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by MarshalPurnell » 2009-06-19 04:38pm

The risks involved in using force to crush a movement as large as the electoral protests are considerable. A botched attempt is exactly the sort of thing that could start a revolution or civil war. And a successful attempt will be a bloodbath that transforms Iran into an openly fascist dictatorship, ruling purely through force rather than maintaining the legitimacy that even their facade of consultative government grants.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Elfdart » 2009-06-19 05:00pm

Straha wrote:They believe that Mossadegh was overthrown with British support.
I wonder where they got that idea.
An aside, the idea that the U.S. should apologize for the overthrow of Mossadegh is a fucking absurdity. The man wasn't overthrown by direct U.S. intervention.
Yeah, Operation Ajax is just a figment of the Iranians' imagination. Did you read this bullshit somewhere or are you just making it up as you go?
In fact, the early reports from Iran by the team trying to intervene was that they'd failed, fucked up, and called it a day. (I'll note here that the team started off supporting a British mission to overthrow Mossadegh.)
No, their first plan of using the Shah as a puppet who would dissolve parliament with official-sounding royal decrees, with a quisling general being in charge is the one that flopped. The one that ended up working was being used at about the same time against Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala and later in other countries (Greece, Chile, Venezuela): bribing military officers and other thugs to kill people and otherwise stir up trouble, planting false stories in local media outlets, sabotaging the economy and so on. These were direct actions by the US and UK.

The British have had such a bad reputation in Iran for a long time for the same reason the United States has developed one in the Middle East as a whole over the last sixty years or so: They earned it and they deserve it. Plotting to overthrow a lawfully elected government (let alone carrying it out) for an oil concession isn't going to make you any friends outside the oil business. Installing a regime that tortures and murders large numbers of its own citizens is also going to cause resentment.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Straha » 2009-06-19 09:57pm

Elfdart wrote: Yeah, Operation Ajax is just a figment of the Iranians' imagination. Did you read this bullshit somewhere or are you just making it up as you go?
Every decent history of the events that isn't written based on Kermit Roosevelt's self-serving account of the operation.

As your later quote makes eminently clear, I never denied Ajax existed. The fact of the matter is that their plan failed. It called for having an army officer deliver a firman to Mossadegh telling him he was out as Prime Minister. Mossadegh's response was to have the officer arrested. The Shah got cold feet, panicked, fled to Iraq and then to Rome without so much as a change of clothes with him. The Imperial Guard was blocked off by pro Mossadegh forces, the C.I.A's agents were all mainly arrested, and there was no cohesion in the Pro-Shah forces. At that point Operation Ajax declared "Jobs done, we lost." Except then Mossadegh crushed the Tudeh party (one of his biggest, and best organized, supporters), returned his soldiers to the Barracks, and then dissolved parliament. This caused protests from the Bazaris, Clerics and peasants, things snowballed and a week later the Shah was back.


The reason why people believed Operation Ajax overthrew the Shah is because:

1. Kermit Roosevelt was one of the world's biggest self-promoters telling his modern day action-hero story about how he bullied the Shah, bribed thousands of people, and handed Iran back to the Shah on a silver platter.
2. The CIA was very happy to let people think they had pulled it off, especially after so many of their other operations failed so miserably.
3. The Iranians have always been prone to "Other countries are screwing us over!" syndrome. Mainly because other countries were screwing them over all the time. So they all bought it hook line and sinker. (Actually, in an irony of fate, some seniors government figures of the Revolutionary Government claim that Mossadegh was a British agent, working to advance Britain's interests by bringing the Shah to power with a hardened power-base.)
4. By the time the story really hit the Western World, after Kermit Roosevelt's publication of Countercoup in 1979 (which was originally a Iranian commissioned biography of the Shah, but Roosevelt decided that he was a far more interesting subject than an ex-monarch), everyone who had a vested interest in refuting him and could do so based on first hand accounts was on the run, or dead. Only the CIA could have done it credibly, except they destroyed all the records, except for one long report from the time which contradicts just about everything Roosevelt claims he did.


I can see the U.S. apologizing for Operation Ajax. That's fine (but opens up a huge can of worms on all sides.) But apologizing for overthrowing Mossadegh is absurd because they didn't do it.
No, their first plan of using the Shah as a puppet who would dissolve parliament with official-sounding royal decrees, with a quisling general being in charge is the one that flopped. The one that ended up working was being used at about the same time against Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala and later in other countries (Greece, Chile, Venezuela): bribing military officers and other thugs to kill people and otherwise stir up trouble, planting false stories in local media outlets, sabotaging the economy and so on. These were direct actions by the US and UK.
They tried and tried and tried. And failed. They bribed military officers, but half of them were stuck in the Baracks and the other half moved and then were dispersed by pro-Mossadegh forces, the thugs didn't move until after other vested interests moved people instead, and when they tried to turn the media to their side the printing presses were being watched by Mossadegh forces. I cannot stress this enough everyone involved in this operation was incompetent. Everyone. The Shah, Zahedi, the CIA, the Brits, everyone. They got lucky and Roosevelt cashed in on it later.
The British have had such a bad reputation in Iran for a long time for the same reason the United States has developed one in the Middle East as a whole over the last sixty years or so: They earned it and they deserve it.
Not arguing that. Not arguing that the U.S. doesn't deserve a bad rap in Iran either. But they don't deserve credit for the overthrow of Mossadegh.
Plotting to overthrow a lawfully elected government (let alone carrying it out) for an oil concession isn't going to make you any friends outside the oil business.
Actually, Mossadegh's plan to nationalize the Oil industry had ground to a halt. WHen he began insisting that Iranians control every part of mining and refining (when no Iranians had the training to do so) and insisting foreign nationals not have any control over the process, or serious cut of the profit, he shot himself in the foot. There was no way forward and many Iranians were displeased with the fact that he'd cut out Iran's major source of income when they were running massive deficits and needed the money badly.
Installing a regime that tortures and murders large numbers of its own citizens is also going to cause resentment.
Ah, yes. But I seriously doubt the Iranians care about the installing of the regime, as much as they do the fact that the U.S. supported it for twenty years while the Shah went from mildly controlling to downright paranoid obsessive while the U.S. said Iran was "Free" and "Stable". Or the fact that the U.S. trained and helped SAVAK when SAVAK was torturing people unnecessarily and undeservedly.
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Re: Iran Elections Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2009-06-19 10:36pm

Zac Naloen wrote:Those are reports from people on the streets, they don't want to believe it's Iranians against them. If they have done, not in the numbers being claimed. There are enough standing forces in Iran to account for what's been seen.
True, but does that mean the standing forces are the ones being seen?

Using foreign troops to crush domestic unrest is not an unusual strategy, and I could see some advantages to Iran of bringing in foreign paramilitaries to deal with the situation. It avoids any questions about the loyalty of the security forces. Moreover, it allows the regime to profit from having ruthless head-breakers on its payroll without having to worry about the negative consequences of keeping them around in times when they aren't needed.

Oppressive regimes still have to worry about public opinion; they just have more tools for putting an end to any given expression of public opinion, and for manipulating it over the medium-to-long term. The downside is that many of those tools are obvious, and keeping them around makes the state look bad. As long as the torturers and thugs do their jobs, fear will keep the local populations in line... but if that fear ever breaks, the government will be almost universally hated.
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