Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Iran Is at War with Us, Someone Should Tell the U.S. Government - Michael Ledeen


Source: National Review Online

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is dying of cancer. But he is convinced that his legacy will be glorious. He believes that thousands of his Revolutionary Guards intelligence officers effectively control southern Iraq, and that the rest of the country is at his mercy, since we present no challenge to them — even along the Iraq/Iran border, where they operate with impunity. They calmly plan their next major assault without having to worry about American retribution.

The mullahs have thousands of intelligence officers all over Iraq, as well as a hard core of Hezbollah terrorists — including the infamous Imadh Mughniyah, arguably the region’s most dangerous killer — and they control the major actors, from Zarqawi to Sadr to the Badr Brigades.

Khamenei and his top cronies believe they have effectively won. They think the U.S. is politically paralyzed, thanks to the relentless attacks of President Bush’s opponents and the five-year long internal debate about Iran policy, and thus there is no chance of an armed attack, even one limited to nuclear sites. They think Israel is similarly paralyzed by Sharon’s sudden departure and the triumph of their surrogate force, Hamas, in the Palestinian elections. They despise the Europeans, and hardly even bother to pretend to negotiate with them any more. They believe they have a strong strategic alliance with the Russians and they think they have the Chinese over a barrel, since the Chinese are so heavily dependent on Iranian oil. Recent statements from Beijing and Moscow regarding the chance of U.N. sanctions will have reinforced the Supreme Leader’s convictions.

Hapless in the Beltway
Above all, Khamenei believes he has broken the American will, for which he sees two pieces of evidence. The first is that there seems to be very little American resolve to do anything about punishing Iran for the enormous traffic of weapons, poisons, and terrorists into Iraq from Iran. Khamenei must inclined to believe that the Bush administration has no stomach for confrontation.

We have done nothing to make the mullahs’ lives more difficult, even though there is abundant evidence for Iranian involvement in Iraq, most including their relentless efforts to kill American soldiers. The evidence consists of first-hand information, not intelligence reports. Scores of Iranian intelligence officers have been arrested, and some have confessed. Documentary evidence of intimate Iranian involvement with Iraqi terrorists has been found all over Iraq, notably in Fallujah and Hilla. But the "intelligence" folks at the Pentagon, led by the hapless Secretary Stephen Cambone, seem to have no curiosity, as if they were afraid of following the facts to their logical conclusion: Iran is at war with us.

In early March, to take one recent example, several vehicles crossed from Iranian Kurdistan into Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqis stopped them. There was a firefight. The leader of the intruding group was captured and is now in prison, held by one of the Kurdish factions. The Kurds say that the vehicles contained poison gas, which they have in their possession. They say they informed the Turks, who said they did not want to know anything about it (the Turks don’t want anything to do with the Kurds, period, and they shrink from confrontation with the mullahs).

The Kurds holding this man say that he confessed to working for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Apparently they have his confession. They say they are willing to make him available to U.S. military personnel. But the Pentagon, which has all this information, has not pursued the matter. This is just one of many cases in which the Iranians believe they see the Americans running away from confrontation.

The second encouraging sign for Khamenei is the barely concealed delight in Washington, including Secretary Rice’s recent statement at a press conference, that we will soon be negotiating with Iran about Iraq. This mission has been entrusted to Ambassador Khalilzad, who previously worked with the Iranians when he represented us in Kabul. It is a bad decision, and it is very hard to explain. The best one can say is that Khalilzad speaks Farsi, so he will know what they are saying, and it is probably better to have public dealings than the secret contacts this administration has been conducting all along. But those small bright spots do not compensate for the terrible costs the very announcement of negotiations produces for us, for the Iranian people, and for the region as a whole.

Talk Does Not Thwart
Iran has been at war with us for 27 years, and we have discussed every imaginable subject with them. We have gained nothing, because there is nothing to be gained by talking with an enemy who thinks he is winning. From Khamenei’s standpoint, the only thing to be negotiated is the terms of the American surrender, and he is certainly not the only Middle Eastern leader to take this view; most of the leaders in the region dread the power of the mullahs — now on the doorstep of nuclear military weapons — and they see the same picture as Khamenei: America does nothing to thwart Iran, and is now publicly willing to talk. In like manner, many Iranians will conclude that Bush is going to make a deal with Khamenei instead of giving them the support they want and need to challenge the regime.

If this administration were true to its announced principles, we would be actively supporting democratic revolution in Iran, but we do not seem to be serious about doing that. Yes, Secretary Rice went to Congress to ask for an extra $75 million to "support democracy" in Iran, but the small print shows that the first $50 million will go to the toothless tigers at the Voice of America and other official American broadcasters, which is to say to State Department employees. The Foreign Service does not often drive revolutionary movements; its business is negotiating with foreign governments, not subverting them. There were whispers that we were supporting trade unions in Iran, which would be very good news, but such efforts should be handled by private-sector organizations, not by the American government per se.

Yet this seems a particularly good moment to rally to the side of the Iranian people, who are known to loathe the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei, and who are showing their will to resist in very dramatic fashion. About ten days ago, seventy-eight regime officials were killed or captured in Baluchistan when a convoy (including the chief of the region’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and the regional governor) was attacked. Some of the captives have been shown on al-Jazeera, pleading for cooperation from the regime, and supporting their captors’ demands that five Baluchi prisoners be freed. The regime has responded by accusing the United States and Britain of masterminding the operation, which is the second such strike in the past six months. In addition to calling for the release of Baluchi prisoners, the insurgents are calling for the toleration of Baluchi Sunnis, the appointment of locals (instead of Persian Shiites) to govern the region, and the use of local radio and television.

Caring about Carnage
The situation in Kurdistan is likewise extremely tense. The city of Mahabad is now surrounded by the regime’s military and paramilitary forces, following the eruption of anti-regime demonstrations on the occasion of Persian New Year’s celebrations on March 20. It is impossible to get precise figures — Western journalists don’t seem to be able to cover such events — but dozens of Kurds were arrested and many more were beaten up in the streets.

Worst of all is the ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing directed against the Ahwaz Arabs in Khuzestan, where up to three divisions of the army, the Revolutionary Guards, and the infamous thugs of the Basij have been deployed, following the sabotage of a major oil pipeline by anti-regime dissidents. Radio Farda, our official Farsi-language station, quoted a local journalist, Mr. Mojtaba Gehestani, who says that 28,000 Ahwazi Arabs have been jailed in the past ten months, hundreds have been summarily executed, and many corpses have been fished out of the Karoon River, with telltale marks of torture.

Nonetheless, the regime’s interior minister recently announced that there is no "ethnic problem or issue" in Iran today. But he has quite clearly failed to convince President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that all is well. The president cancelled trips to the region four times in the past few months.

He and his cronies have a lot to worry about, because the Iranian people, in the face of a vicious wave of repression that recalls the worst moments of this dreadful regime, are showing themselves prepared to stand against it, and to move to remove it. Lacking a full picture, we should base our judgment at least in part on the behavior of the mullahs, and their dispatch of so many armed forces to three different regions suggests they are profoundly worried. This is not a good time to throw the mullahs a diplomatic lifeline. We should instead show them and their democratic enemies that the tide of history is running against them.

It’s time to take action against Iran and its half-brother Syria, for the carnage they have unleashed against us and the Iraqis. We know in detail the location of terrorist training camps run by the Iranian and Syrian terror masters; we should strike at them, and at the bases run by Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards as staging points for terrorist sorties into Iraq. No doubt the Iraqi armed forces would be delighted to participate, instead of constantly playing defense in their own half of the battlefield. And there are potent democratic forces among the Syrian people as well, as worthy of our support as the Iranians.

Once the mullahs and their terrorist allies see that we have understood the nature of this war, that we are determined to promote regime change in Tehran and Damascus, and will not give them a pass on their murderous activities in Iraq, then it might make sense to talk to Khamenei’s representatives. We could even expand the agenda from Iraqi matters to the real issue: we could negotiate their departure, and then turn to the organization of national referenda on the form of free governments, and elections to empower the former victims of a murderous and fanatical tyranny that has deluded itself into believing that it is invincible.

Original Article

Monday, March 27, 2006

Aghmagh-Nejaad does it again!


- It's official ladies and gentlemen! Ahmadinejad is really dumber than he looks. If this regime really believes that the people of Iran will do whatever the Regime says they are on a collision course with Karma. Last time I checked this wasn't 1979 and the people of Iran have tasted bits and pieces of freedom for approximately 10 years. If the ahmadinejaad thinks that he can "purge" Iranian society of good people and replace them with his hooligans he has another thing comming. The Iranian people need to stand up and say "enough is enough."

No government has the right to tell its people what to think, say, or do. No government should instill fear in the lives of its citizens. It is the other way around! The regime must always fear its people. It is time for the Iranian people to show this regime and the others that will come after it that it is not the place of government to tell the people what is right. To the contrary, it is the people that will decide that. The government is there only to serve. If it can't do that then it must leave. This regime has shown 100% that it is not able to govern effectively or efficiently. It has stolen billions from the pockets of the Iranian people and when it has sought to implement infrastructure projects in Iran they have been notoriously inefficient and costly.

Just look at the nuclear plant. How many times has it been delayed?

Down with the Islamic Regime!

Read the Article Below. There is also a link to another article that I thought very interesting

__________________________________________________
Title: Iranian Hawk Swoops on Universities to Crush Dissent
Source: The Guardian


President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is cracking down on Iran's universities in an effort to crush a student pro-democracy movement and strengthen the hardliners' grip on power. Leading student activists have been jailed or expelled from their studies, and lecturers have been sacked, while the government has proposed subjecting academics to strict religious testing.

The authorities have also begun a programme of burying the bodies of unknown soldiers on campus grounds in what student leaders say is a thinly disguised attempt to bring religious extremists into the universities on the pretext of holding "martyrs' ceremonies". Students fear that such a presence will be used to violently suppress their activities.

In one recent incident students at Tehran's Sharif University were attacked by plain-clothed Basij (religious volunteers) during an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the burial of three soldiers from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war inside the campus mosque. The incident was overseen by Mehrdad Bazrpash, a close aide to Mr Ahmadinejad and a former Basij leader.

The event took place against a backdrop of speeches by Mr Ahmadinejad, a former university lecturer, stressing the need for "martyrdom" in Iran's confrontation with the west over its nuclear programme.

Student leaders say the developments amount to a takeover of the universities by Mr Ahmadinejad's ultra-conservative forces. The campuses were hotbeds of pro-democratic protest during the presidency of the former, reformist leader, Mohammad Khatami. "They want to gain hegemonic control over the universities, which have always been important in influencing the social and political atmosphere and which normally support pro-democracy rather than authoritarian forces," said Abdollah Momeni, an activist appealing against a five-year sentence imposed for leading a student protest.

"Through burying martyrs on campus they open the doors for the entry of armed militias and thus add the universities to their fiefdoms."

Other activists have had their studies terminated after the intervention of Iran's intelligence services. Students also say they have been denied permission for low-level political activities that were allowed during Mr Khatami's presidency.

The purge has extended to academics and university administrators. One political science lecturer was dismissed for belonging to a human rights group.

The chancellor of Tehran's Science and Industry University resigned in protest at government interference. Mr Ahmadinejad has also been accused of overturning an established practice of appointing chancellors and faculty heads from academic staff in favour of trusted cronies. A radical cleric was recently appointed to head Tehran University.


Original Article

Here is another article to show how disgraceful this regime is.

Ottawa deports Iran-native despite torture fears - CTV


A former Saint John resident who was convicted nine years ago in the vicious beating of his then-girlfriend has been deported to Iran despite his claims he would be tortured or killed if sent back.

Mostafa Dadar, 55, was deported Sunday, two days after a Federal Court judge refused to stop his removal.

He was expected to arrive in Frankfurt before boarding a plane to Iran on Monday.

Dadar was convicted in 1997 of beating 41-year-old Lynn Landry.

Landry had been living with Dadar for about two weeks before the May, 1996, beating.

She was found naked and unconscious, suffered brain damage and spent weeks clinging to life in hospital.

He has maintained his innocence, but unsuccessfully appealed his conviction to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his appeal.

Dadar's lawyer Richard Albert Richard Albert criticized Ottawa for not stepping in to prevent his deportation.

"This is the first time that Canada has chosen to defy a decision of the UN Committee Against Torture," Albert told the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.

In November 2005, the UN committee concluded there were substantial grounds to believe Dadar "may risk being subjected to torture if returned to Iran."

Last week, Albert attempted to bring information to the deportation review to argue evidence used in the aggravated assault case was tampered with.

Ken Fitch, a private investigator and former RCMP officer, said in a sworn affidavit that photographs and videotapes taken by local police showed additional pieces of evidence at the crime scene the second time officers visited.

But Justice Carolyn Layden-Stevenson said Friday she could not accept the affidavit because she was only authorized to review the deportation order.

Dadar was a pilot with the Imperial Iranian Air Force during the reign of the Shah of Iran and actively participated in a failed coup d'etat against the successor regime in 1982.

He said he was imprisoned and tortured before escaping to Pakistan in 1987. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees granted him status as a convention refugee and referred him to Canada.

Canada granted Dadar and his now estranged wife were granted status as permanent residents in 1988. They settled in Saint John, where they had two children.

Original Article

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Here comes England pushing the world towards war - What else is new?


Title: Britain Pushes for Military Option to Restrain Tehran
Source: The Times


Britain is pressing for a United Nations resolution that would open the way for punitive sanctions and even the use of force if Iran were to refuse to halt its controversial nuclear programme.

In a confidential letter obtained by The Times, a leading British diplomat outlines a strategy for winning Russian and Chinese support by early summer for a so-called Chapter VII resolution demanding that Iran cease its nuclear activities.

If the Government in Tehran refused to comply with such a resolution, the UN Security Council would be legally compelled to enforce it.

The strategy marks a significant hardening of the Government’s position. It contrasts with public statements by Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, this month. On March 13 he insisted that military action was “inconceivable” and that the dispute with Iran “has to be resolved by peaceful democratic means”.

The confidential letter was written only three days later by John Sawers, the political director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and sent to his American, French and German counterparts.

“They (the Iranians) will need to know that more serious measures are likely,” wrote Mr Sawers, in a letter first leaked to the Associated Press. “This means putting the Iran dossier on to a Chapter VII basis.”

He suggested making a suspension of all uranium enrichment by Iran “a mandatory requirement of the Security Council, in a resolution we would aim to adopt, I say, early May”.

Mark Fitzpatrick, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that securing a Chapter VII resolution would provide the international community with a “stick” it could use against Iran. “It would be an important breakthrough,” he said. “It would open the door to sanctions and other measures.”

Before wielding any stick, however, Mr Sawers proposed that the international community give Iran a final chance in the form of a “revised offer” of incentives as a face-saving solution to allow it to back down peacefully.

The two-track diplomacy was devised by the British in an attempt to reach a compromise between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: America, China, Britain, France and Russia.

The US favours moving straight to a tough resolution that would punish Iran if it failed to halt its nuclear programme. Russia and China, which both have important commercial ties with Iran, favour a slower, less confrontational approach handled by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog.

“We are not going to bring the Russians and Chinese to accept significant sanctions over the coming months, certainly not without further efforts to bring the Iranians around,” Mr Sawers wrote.

“In parallel with agreeing a new proposal, we will also want to bind Russia and China into agreeing to further measures that will be taken by the Security Council should the Iranians fail to engage positively,” he wrote.

But the British initiative has so far failed to bring the parties together. On Monday Mr Sawers hosted talks at the UN between the five permanent members and Germany which broke up without agreement.

The US refused to take steps that would reward Iran or ease pressure on the regime. Russia, which has billions of pounds in contracts to supply Iran with civilian nuclear technology and sophisticated arms, and China, which has multibillion-pound deals to import Iranian oil and gas, rejected any move that could lead to punitive action. Yesterday follow-up talks at the UN were postponed.

Mr Sawers anticipated the hurdles in his letter. “I suspect we will need a meeting at ministerial level anyway to get agreement to this sort of approach, including an early Chapter VII resolution,” he wrote.

Nevertheless the international community will have to reach agreement if it hopes to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment work, which it resumed in February at Natanz.

Original Article

Monday, March 20, 2006

MPG Distributes Second Volume of Underground Paper!

MPG has successfully continued its distribution of an underground paper inside Iran. Such independant news papers are illegal in Iran as all media must be filtered through the Islamic Republic's censors. With the successful distribution of these papers we hope to bring our beloved country of Iran one more step towards freedom. I have tried to post images of the paper on my blog all day, but the site is giving me a hard time. You can access the images by going to the Marze Por Gohar website.

Images of the first publication may be accessed here.


Marg Bar Jumhurieh Eslami!
Long Live Iran

Interview: Israeli President Discusses Iran Nuclear Standoff - Radio Free Europe

On March 18-19, Radio Farda broadcast an exclusive two-part interview with Israeli President Moshe Katzav by journalist Farnoush Ram. In the interview, Katzav states that the international community will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and urges the Iranian government to adopt a course of negotiation and integration with the global community. "If Iran does not change its policies in the near future, it won't be able to integrate into the international community and will become even more isolated than it is now, which likely will have a negative impact on the Iranian people," Katzav said.

Question: In several interviews you gave in the last year, you emphasized that Iran is on the brink of a catastrophe and that the Iranian people may find themselves in a disastrous situation. What exactly did you mean?

Moshe Katsav: The internal conditions in Iran are worsening in all aspects. Poverty and unemployment are becoming more severe, despite the fact that Iran has turned into a developed and industrialized country. There are severe limitations on civil rights, limitations from which citizens of all layers of the society suffer.

In the international arena, Iran is turning into an isolated country, and the international community is becoming more hostile toward it. The international community is unwilling to accept the policies of the Iranian regime, which gives financial support to terrorist organizations all over the world, denies the Holocaust, and calls for the wiping the state of Israel from the map, while developing long-range missiles and trying to obtain nuclear weapon. These aggressive and irresponsible steps endanger the peace and stability of the world, and the international community feels the need to protect itself from Iran.

Consequently, I believe that if Iran does not change its policies in the near future, it won't be able to integrate into the international community and will become even more isolated than it is now, which likely will have a negative impact on the Iranian people.

Question: The state of Israel and you, Mr. President, have campaigned strongly to deal with Iran's nuclear intentions in the UN's Security Council. Now that this objective has been achieved, what lies ahead for Iran in your opinion?

Katsav: In the last year Iran misjudged the willingness of Europe and the international community to reach understandings with it, taking it as a manifestation of weakness and indecision. The fact that the Security Council decided to deal with Iran's nuclear intentions is essentially a message to Iran from the international community that it will not be willing to tolerate an Iran with a nuclear capability and an Iran that collaborates with terrorist organizations. In the past there were various suggestions in the framework of financial and other agreements to benefit with Iran. But Iran interpreted those suggestions in a mistaken way and deceived the international community on several occasions. Apparently Iran thinks that it can continue to deceive the world in order to reach its goals.

However, it has to understand that the standards of the international community manifest firmness and that in that regard there will be no concessions or willingness to compromise. Iran has no need for long-range missiles or to collaborate with terrorist organizations all over the world. Iran stands behind a substantial number of terrorist actions against us, together with Hizballah and the Islamic Jihad. It pretends to care for the Palestinians more than the Palestinians' own leaders and acts against the interests of [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmud Abbas, who was elected in democratic elections to be the leader of the Palestinians.

Question: How do you view the recent visit of Khalid Mish'al to Iran?

Katsav: It once again demonstrates how fundamentalist governments and organizations endanger stability in the world. The Hamas organization is unwilling to honor the obligations that the Palestinian Authority has signed. The bond of Khalid Mish'al with the Syrian regime, with Hizballah, and with Iran raises real concerns not only here in Israel, but also in Europe and in the UN.

The international community and Israel have the same opinion regarding the Hamas government. We don't say we are going to boycott it forever. What we say is that the Hamas government must abide by the obligations the Palestinian Authority has signed, and it must stop all terrorist activity against Israel and accept its right to exist. This is the opinion not only of Israel, but of the whole international community. The collaboration of Khalid Mish'al with the Iranian fundamentalist regime is very dangerous, and the world is very concerned about that.

Question: If eventually Israel attacks Iran's nuclear facilities, what will happen in the Middle East?

Katsav: I don't think that Iran with a nuclear capability will be just the problem of the state of Israel. It is true that [Iranian President Mahmud] Ahmadinejad calls for the destruction of Israel and if he had nuclear weapons, it would put us in an inconvenient situation, but this is a matter that concerns the whole world. When a totalitarian regime that has contacts with terrorist organizations tries to obtain nuclear weapons, it is a matter of concern not only to Israel. The international community is united in its refusal to allow Iran to have a nuclear capability. Even Russia and China, which were considered more moderate in regard to their dealings with Iran, strongly oppose a nuclear Iran. It is one of those rare occasions when the world is united against Iran, since the Iranian regime isolated its country. Iran needs to read the writing on the wall, and instead of acting against the international community, it should try to integrate with it.

Question: You are citizen No. 1 in Israel, but you were born in Iran, in the city of Yazd. What are your memories from Iran and what do you feel toward the Iranian people and culture? What reminds you of Iran?

Katsav: I am proud to be the president of the state of Israel. Thanks to the democratic values that exist in Israel, I was able to reach the high position of president of the state of Israel. At the same time, I have strong sentiments toward Iran, since I distinguish between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people. I highly esteem Iranian music and culture and hope for the day when I will be able to visit Iran, since I believe that Iran is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Persian social manners are well known, and there is no other society that can compete with them. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime sets a high wall around Iran so the world cannot see its beauties. Naturally, I would like to visit the city of Yazd -- my homeland -- where my eldest brother and my grandfather are buried. Our family has lived in Iran for 2,500 years, and Iranian Jewry has the long history in that land.

Question: Are your words in this interview directed solely to the Iranian people, or do you have also a message to the Iranian regime?

Katsav: The Iranian regime doesn't express the wishes and values of the Iranian people. I am sure the majority of Iranians want a peace agreement with Israel and want Iran to integrate with the international community and accept its universal values. It would be wise of the Iranian regime to change its policies toward the world. I have no doubt that eventually universal values and fraternity among nations will defeat Ahmadinejad's fanatical and dangerous regime.

Orginal Article

Iranian New Year Starts! - SMCCDI

The Iranian New Year started at 09:55':35" PM (Iran's local time) on Monday March 20, 2006 (the official 30th Esfand 1384). This precise timing is based on the start of Spring and to one full cycle made by the Earth around the Sun.

Peoples of Iranian descent call such a yearly moment of celebration as Nowrooz (meaning New Day). This event is a sign of the resilience of tradition amongst all people of Iranian descent, such as, Afghans, Azaris, Balootchs, Kurds, Persians and Tajiks who are deeply attached to their ancient roots.

The roots of Nowrooz date back to long ago. Historians trace it to pre-Islamic Iran. Some connect it to Jamshid Shah Jam, one of the epic kings of Persia (Iran). The engravings of Persepolis show, according to some historians, signs that the Achemenid dynasty celebrated Nowrooz more than two thousand and five hundred years ago.

Nowrooz is a relic of ancient times. A memory of old tales and epics, a celebration of rebirth and rejuvenation. Spring has arrived and the previous year with all its events, good or bad, has passed. Renewed hope anticipates new achievements. This event signifies the celebration of nature through culture. It heralds re-birth and announces the coming of the new. The dark has passed and the light of hope shines in people's hearts.

The current practice of Nowrooz, is an amalgam of many centuries of cultural influence. The Haft-seen (made up of seven symbols of life and the interaction of human beings with nature), visiting elders, giving gifts, special foods, house cleaning, wearing of new clothes, forgetting old grudges and embracing new things all make up different aspects of Nowrooz.

There is no doubt that this ancient way of celebrating the new year in Iran and its former territories have endured and adapted through many centuries of history-- surviving the Arab invasions and the forced conversion of all Iranians to Islam. Nowrooz-Nameh, which many attribute to the poet, Omar Khayyam, adapted this event to the solar calendar and preserved it for future generations.

The official year 1385 is based on a Muslim event rather than a genuine Iranian basis. But an increasing number of Iranians are seeking a calendar based on Iran's long history and rich culture rather than the travel of Islam's Prophet from one Arabic peninsula's city to another which happened fourteen centuries ago. They do believe in the Iranian New Year 2565 which is the year of foundation of Iran by Cyrus the Great.

Even many of the dogmatic Islamist clerics who tried, upon the victory of their revolution, to ban such important cultural heritage and deep popular believe, have had to accept defeat. They're more and more endorsing Nowrooz while trying desperately to build baseless analogies with Islamist texts.

Most Iranian political prisoners celebrated the start of the New Year by setting the traditional "Haft-Sin". They wrote slogans against the regime and its leadership on the traditional colored egs and wished for an end to the misery of the Iranian Nation. Their families' members will gather, on Tuesday morning, in front of the Evin Political jail's doors.

Original Article

Norouz and Its Symbolism - Iran va Jahan

Today, earth enters into the vernal equinox and thus spring begins. Iranians all over the world, irrespective of their religious creed or ethnicity, celebrate Norouz which literally means the dawn of a new day. Norouz, considered the most important celebration of the year, is the greatest symbol of a cultural identity which has outlived all adversities and adversaries.

The Norouz Table: Haft Seen

Every house gets a thorough cleaning before the arrival of Norouz and wheat, barley or lentils are grown so that the sprouts are three to four inches in height by Norouz.

A table is laid. It has a copy of a sacred book (either religious or poetry like Divan-e Hafez or Shahnameh of Ferdowsi), a mirror (reflecting our past and showing us our present so that we can thoughtfully plan our future), candles (symbolizing enlightenment, warmth, and energy to lead a righteous life that would, in turn, radiate light, give warmth, and provide energy for others), a Seville orange floating in a bowl of water represents the earth floating in space, a brazier for burning wild rue ,a sacred herb whose smoldering fumes ward off sickness and evil spirits, a flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power, bowl of water with live gold fish (symbolizing a happy life, full of activity and movement), the plates and vessels with green sprouts, flowers, fruits, coins, bread, sugar cone, various grains, colourfully painted boiled eggs (symbolizing productivity) and above all, seven items beginning in Persian with the letter "S" (seen). The number of the items however can be higher. These are:

  • Serkeh (vinegar), symbolizing age and patience;
  • Somagh (sumac), its red colour represent the color of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun, Light replaces Darkness and Good conquers Evil;
  • Seer (garlic), symbolizing pacification and peace;
  • Samanu a sweetish paste, symbolizing sophistication. Samanu is made when common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking;
  • Sib (Apple), symbolizing the healthy and beautiful fruits of our world, both literally and allegorically;
  • Senjed (the dry fruit of the lotus tree), which represents love. It has been said that when lotus tree is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit emanates love;
  • Sabzi (sprouts), symbolizing new growth;
  • Sekkeh( coins), symbolizing prosperity;
  • Sonbol (hyacinth), symbolize natural beauty and aroma.
  • The whole table which energizes and involves all our senses symbolizes all that is Good: light, reflection, warmth, life, love, joy, production, prosperity, and nature.
  • The Sabzeh (sprouts) are kept until Sizdeh-beh-dar, the 13th day of the New Year when families picnic out in the nature. It is on that day that Sabzeh should be thrown in running water, so that lethargy, lassitude and wariness are washed away.

Original Article

Saleh-no Omad!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I wish everyone a happy and prosperous year-to-come.
Hopefully we will all be celebrating in Iran next year.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What does Ganji's release mean? - Not Much


Unlike other countries around the world, Iranians have historically looked to, and allowed themselves to be lead by, one person in the political realm. This reliance on high-profile people who can bring "quick fixes" has generally had terrible results. With the exception of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian people's reliance on the "one-person fix" has brought the likes of Khomeini and even to some extent the deposed Shah Reza Pahlavi. My conversation with a compatriot a few days ago characterizes this. As we were chatting over the phone, our conversation turned to the attitudes of Iranians towards politics and their unfortunate habits of being followers rather then leaders. Specifically, our conversation turned to Dr. Mossadegh and how the people had been in the streets chanting "Ya Mossadegh" in unison one day and then chanting Shah Reza Pahlavi's name the very next day that he gained power.

This unfortunate attribute has not dimished. The two-year term of Khatami that slowed the regime's fall from power was brought about because the people of Iran were overwhelmingly duped into believing that Khatami, a person who believed in the overall appropriateness of an Islamic Republic in Iran, would be able to "reform" it into something else. Khatami's term in office also brought the likes of Ms. Shirin Ebadi whose high-profile Nobel Prize award lead Iranians, once again, to flock to someone - anyone - who could bring the quick fix. As all of you know, the reliance on Khatami and Ebadi didn't go exactly as planned. Khatami proved that he was simply a good actor and Ebadi showed her ability to denounce human rights abuses on the one hand and support the Islamic Republic in Iran on the other.

With the recent release of Ganji from prison, the question that is undeniably being asked by many Iranians is "what happens now?" There are those of us who are once again going to flock to Mr. Ganji in the hopes that he will be able to say a couple magic words that will have the people all over Iran rise up and burn the Mullahs to dust. Then there are those of us who know better. There is no doubt that Mr. Ganji has suffered in Jail. However, there are thousands of people who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the Islamic Republic. Arguably, the jail term of Mr. Ganji has done more harm then good to the dissident movement in Iran because his story has been used to overshadow serious abuses of other jailed dissidents being held in Evin Prison.

There is no doubt that Mr. Ganji was once a great supporter of the same people who jailed him. There is also no doubt that he has suffered at the hands of those same people that he once supported. The question that the people of Iran need to ask themselves is whether this man - just one man - can give the Iranians what they want. Although Mr. Ganji has become very popular in his harsh citicisms of the Regime, I have not heard Mr. Ganji reject the Islamic Republic in Iran as a proper form of government. Thus, is Mr. Ganji like Khatami who believes in the overall goodness of an Islamic system, or is he like the other jailed dissidents who are working for regime change? Is Mr. Ganji willing to place his life on the line and probably die in order to effect regime change? These questions need to be asked and answered by him. The question is not whether he suffered in jail or whether he believes that the actions taken by the regime are right and just. What needs to be asked and subsequently answered by Mr. Ganji is: DO YOU SUPPORT THE REGIME?

What Iranians need to learn is that there can never be one person who will bring about the changes people are looking for. Iran is a country of nearly seventy-million people and there are probably seventy-million different ideas on how the country should be run and what it should look like. Iranians need to stop putting all their eggs in one basket and start becomming their own leaders. As people in Western countries will tell you, one needs to stand up and fight for his/her individual rights because nobody will ever do it for you. I don't know if the Iranian people as a whole have learned that yet. Until they do, people like Khatami, Ebadi, and Ganji will come and go and the end result will be that nothing will ever change.


Marg Bar Jumhurieh Eslami
Long Live Iran

Freed Iranian journalist remains defiant - Times Union


TEHRAN, Iran -- An Iranian dissident journalist freed after spending most of his six-year prison term in solitary confinement vowed Saturday to keep criticizing the hard-line clerical regime.

Akbar Ganji, 46, appeared gaunt and considerably older, with a long beard, as he received friends and family at his Tehran home a day after being released.

"My views have not changed at all. Jail and pressures never forced me to change my views. Today, I'm more determined to say what I said six years ago," said Ganji, who was on a hunger strike for about three months last year.

"My imprisonment was unjust and will remain a great injustice forever," he added to applause from his audience.

Ganji was jailed in 2000 after reporting on the killings of five dissidents by Intelligence Ministry agents. Authorities said the articles he wrote violated the law and insulted the authorities.

He became a hero to the country's reformists for standing up to hard-line clerics.

Many world leaders, including President Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, called for Ganji's release because of his deteriorating health, but Iran's hard-line authorities rejected those demands.

A statement by Iran's judiciary said Ganji was freed on leave for Nowruz, the Persian New Year holiday beginning Tuesday. The holiday runs until April 3, and the statement said his prison sentence officially ends March 30, so it appeared unlikely Ganji would be taken back into custody.

Ganji's wife, Masoumeh Shafiei, said she was worried about his health. She said some of his friends initially had difficulty recognizing him.

"My husband is so weak physically now. He is just 49 kilograms (108 pounds)," she said handing out drinks to their guests. "But I'm happy he is back home."

Ganji came to prominence after his investigation of the 1998 murders of five dissidents by Intelligence Ministry agents.

The Intelligence Ministry blamed the killings on "rogue agents" within the secret service. But Ganji's articles in the newspapers Sobh-e-Emrouz, Khordad and Fath said the killings were ordered by senior hard-liners in the ruling Islamic establishment, including former Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian.

Fallahian has denied any involvement.

Ganji's imprisonment coincided with a massive media crackdown by hard-liners against the reformist press when former President Mohammad Khatami's reformist agenda threatened the power of the unelected hard-liners.

Iran's hard-line judiciary has closed down more than 100 pro-democracy publications in the past five years, including the papers Ganji wrote for, on vague charges of insulting religious sanctities and top clerics.

In his writings, Ganji said Iran needs to stop granting absolute rule to a top cleric, currently supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters.

Original Artilce

Iran's top dissident released from jail - Reuters


Iran's most prominent political dissident, Akbar Ganji, has been released from prison after six years behind bars for criticising some of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic.

Ganji, a journalist, was jailed in 2000 after writing articles linking senior officials to the serial killings of political dissidents in 1998.

His articles particularly targeted powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran's president from 1989 to 1997.

A cheerful but thin and heavily-bearded Ganji welcomed reporters into his Tehran apartment. He stuck to pleasantries and sidestepped politics.

"Thanks for coming," he said, grinning. "I am so sorry it is such a small place."

Lawyer Youssef Mowlaie told Reuters Ganji had been released late on Friday evening. He predicted a legal wrangle over whether Ganji would have to return to Tehran's feared Evin prison for a few more days.

Mowlaie said he reckoned his client's jail term ended on March 17, but a senior judiciary figure disagreed.

"Currently, he is on leave and his sentence will end on March 30," Mahmoud Salarkia, deputy prosecutor-general for prison affairs, told the official IRNA news agency.

Salarkia said Ganji was allowed to return home for seven days to celebrate the Iranian New Year holiday which starts on Monday night. However, Ganji's wife insisted her husband was staying at home for good.

Ganji spent stints in solitary confinement and fell gravely ill in July, weakened by a hunger strike aimed at persuading authorities to release him. The reporter's case sparked outrage from the United States and European Union.

Ganji, born in 1959, was a devoted follower of the 1979 Islamic revolution and served in the hardline Revolutionary Guards. He has been criticised for his propaganda work and his surveillance of Iranian student activities in Turkey.

However, his political views changed sharply and his letters from prison broke two of Iran's biggest taboos, both criticising the system of clerical rule and levelling personal attacks on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Original Article

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Students Strong Warning to “Inexperienced Ahmadi Nezhad” - IPS


TEHRAN, 15 Mar. (IPS) In the wors[t] student protest action against an Iranian government in the past eight years, anti-riot units of the revolutionary guards, backed by special units from the Interior Ministry, the basij volunteers and plainclothes men clashed with students of the Sharif Polytechnics University of Tehran, according to eyewitnesses and communiqués from the protesters.

The violence, that students sources described as “very brutal” started four days ago after the authorities approved a scheme aimed to bury in the grounds of the University’s mosque the remains of three “unknown martyrs”, a decision that the students denounced as an attempt by the authorities to “open their campus to militaries and abuses by elements hostile to students”.

“The attack on the students (opposed to the decision to burry martyrs in the University’s ground) was unprecedented in the past eight years by its violence and brutality to the point that even the Dean was wounded” a communiqué by the Office of Consolidating Unity (OCU), the largest organization of Iranian students reported on Tuesday, accusing the attackers of using tear gas, opening fire on the students and arresting several protesters.

Not only the government banned the press about reporting on the violent clashes that made several wounded among the students, but it also banned using the word “plainclothes men” on the pretext that it would “undermine the moral of the security forces”, the independent internet newspaper “Rooz” (Day) said on Wednesday 15 March 2006.

For its part, pro Government media accused the protesting students of "deliberate, provocative actions aimed at breaking the unity and solidarity of the peaple with the government at a time that the regime faces growing pressures from the enemies".

The initiative taken almost a month ago by the basiji students (pro-Khameneh’i students on the government’s payroll) and employees as well as some hard line religious committees of the Sharif Industrial University confirmed by the Supreme Council on Cultural Revolution had followed an earlier decision of the Government of fundamentalist President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad to burry the remains of one hundred martyrs (of the 1980-1988 devastating Iran-Iraq War) in public places of the Capital.

From the outset, the move was opposed by several members of the Islamic Association of Students, suggesting a vote on the issue with the approval of the University’s directorate.

But the day after, the religious students backed by security forces that had closed all the University’s doors, started to dig emplacements for the martyrs.

Infuriated at the news, other students marched towards the mosque, invaded the ground and demonstrated peacefully as at the same time some hundred men dressed in black and carrying coffins entered the University from a back door, protected by a cordon of security forces that immediately assaulted the protesters.

Angered by the violation of the campus by the police, Mr. Soharabpour, the aged Dean of the University called for calm and the evacuation of the university by the intruders, but he was suddenly attacked by a mob of religious students, according to the OCU’s communiqué.

“When unwise, inexperienced, arrogant people come to power, one can not expect justice”, the communiqué said criticizing severely the Higher Education Minister “who not only was approved by the Majles with the least votes, but also is praised for having cleansed the universities from their best elements”.

“Appointing uneducated clerics who can barely read and write, expelling the best professors is one example of the numerous mistakes committed by the Minister, creating huge problems, creating an atmosphere of fear and revenge while the inexperienced cabinet of Ahmadi Nezhad who has failed in solving the nation’s slightest problems and has isolated the nation on the international scene find no better way out but engaging and menacing the students”, the communiqué added.

This latest crackdown on students but also on the press and on the dissidents coincides with the humiliating defeat Iranian fanatic President Ahmadi Nezhad suffered at the International Atomic Energy Agency when its Board decided last week to report Iran’s controversial nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council, according to political analysts.

As the five permanent members of the Security Council are debating a statement calling on Tehran to stop all atomic activities and resume negotiations with the European Troika, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, who as the absolute leader of the regime has the last word on all key subjects ruled out any back stepping on the nuclear issue.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers retreat over the nuclear issue as breaking the country's independence which will impose huge costs on the Iranian nation", Mr. Khameneh’i told Iranian envoys abroad, adding forcefully that "This path is irreversible and the foreign policy establishment has to bravely defend the legitimate rights of Iranian people and Government".

“The use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is a necessity for the nation’s future. Every step back in the present circumstances would trigger and endless chain of further pressures and further retreat. Therefore, this path is irreversible”, he stressed, dashing all hopes for an amiable, diplomatic, negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Likewise, the authorities arrested five young Iranians guilty of attending a recent meeting in the Persian Gulf city of Dubai, United Arab Emirate, they thought was organised by an international NGO while in fact it was sponsored by the United States and attended by some Los-Angeles-based Iranian exiles and Serbs teaching them regime change methods, informed sources reported. ENDS STUDENTS POLICE CLASH 15306

Original Article

Jack Straw Gets Lesson in Chooneh-Zadan! - Reuters


VIENNA -- Negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme is the toughest test in diplomacy, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. Likening discussions with Tehran to bargaining in a bazaar, Straw said negotiators were never certain what deal they had reached. "You agree with them about buying a table and when the table is delivered you find out that it has no legs and that you have to pay extra for the legs," he was quoted on Thursday as telling the Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse.

"Whatever. That's Iran. And we will continue to negotiate with them," he said.

Original Article
________________________________________________________

- This case has absolutely no political significance, but I thought it was amusing. It's amazing that the Mullahs believe that they can use the same tactics in selling a carpet in negotiations with the world over our nuclear program. Aside from such negotiating tactics being exceptionally embarassing for Iran, it reflects even worse on the Mullahs. I hope that the world leaders who have supported this brutal regime for 27 years understand that you can't support a regime that takes the affairs of its people on the same level as the selling of pistachios.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coherence in Washington, Disarray and Confusion in Tehran - Iran Press Service


PARIS -- As for the first time since it came to power the Bush Administration is addressing seriously and concretely ways and means of bringing a change in the Iranian clerical-led leadership – and it starts to bring fruits --, the political atmosphere in Tehran is full disarray and chaos.

According to an article in the “Washington Post”, the Administration is summoning scholars for advice, creating an Iran Office at the State Department, biffing up the number of the Iran Desk from the present two persons to ten, allocating a 75 to 85 million dollars for helping Iranian opposition inside and outside as well as increasing the power of Iranian media beamed to Tehran.

Probably, one of the best ideas is about to form a team of “ayatollahologues” like the kremlinologues” that existed during the cold war to understand to working of the mind of the ayatollahs.

“The key word of the regime change programme by peaceful and democratic means is “separation of the people from the regime”, the article says.

“This point is very important as the Iranian propaganda is playing more and more on the nationalist string of the Iranians, sending Islam in the backbench, as they always do when they feel real danger approaching”, said one Iranian political analyst.

As an example, he said while 90 per cent of the Iranians are in favour of IRAN possessing an atomic weapon, the same percentage is against THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC having it, the emphasis being on the difference the Iranians makes between a nationalist, secular, democratic Iranian nation and government they would like to have with this theocratic regime the majority of them considers as stranger.

"Amrican leaders must all the time stress on that important point that America is a friend of the Iranian people, that if they are taking strong actions against the regime is because their leaders are belligerants, refusing detente and friendship, exactely what President Bush and Secretary of the Statre are doing now", he added.

Contrary to Washington, were activities about Iran is getting more coherent and centralized, in Tehran; the decision-making is in full confusion.

On Sunday, Hamid Reza Asefi, the official senior spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry made headline telling the semi-official Students News Agency ISNA that the Russian proposal (for enriching uranium for Iran in Russia) is “no more on the table”.

He was immediately badly reprimanded by his minister, who, like other high-ranking officials, assured that the project is “still being studied by Iran”.

Even this proposal is hotly debated in Iran, with some among both the more radicals and the more pragmatics considering continuing dancing with Moscow might be the Mollahrchy’s last change to avoid possible sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, others, also from both camps, think this is a catastrophe for Iran as it would place the country at the mercy of the Russians.

Also last week, the Interior Minister, Hojjatoleslam Mostafa Pourmohammadi indirectly but quite explicitly hinted that the Islamic Republic might use its oil as a weapon if thing get serious at the Security Council.

Such a threat had been raised before by Mr. Javad Va’idi, one of the senior Iranian nuclear negotiators after the International atomic watchdog decided to refer Iran’s nuclear case to the Security Council.

But both were immediately contradicted by other officials, including the Oil Minister and some members of the Supreme Council on National Security assuring that Tehran is not – at least for the time being – considering such possibility.

Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, an intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of dissident intellectual and politicians appointed as the Executive Editor of the radical daily “Keyhan” by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i and considered as one of the most influential brains of the ruling conservatives continue to urge the government to get out of the Non Proliferation Treaty and follow the example sat by the Stalinist regime of North Korea, Mr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary of the SCNS who is the coordinator of he nuclear issue and Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Foreign Affairs Minister are saying not only Iran would continue its membership of the NPT, but is still looking to renew talks with the European Troika.

“One reason for this unprecedented chaos is that for the first time, signals coming from Washington are clear. The Office of the Leader, where all key decisions are taken, for the first time feels with no ambiguity that after years of indecision, wrong decisions, incoherence, feuding between different departments and a staggering lack of understanding and wrong appreciation of the clerical leadership, the Bush Administration is taking the right direction about Iran”, the analyst pointed out, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Original Article

MPG co-sponsors event with keynote speaker Congressman Brad Sherman



Please note this event will take place in the Los Angeles region.

Congressman Brad Sherman will address what the United States and the International Community is, and should be, doing to respond to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He serves on the Committee on International Relations and is a ranking member in its Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation. Congressman Sherman is an outspoken advocate on the issue of what it means if and when Iran attains nuclear capability.

Call Michael Jeser, JCC Director of Development and Community Affairs at 818-464-3300 or email mjeser@jccatmilken.org to reserve your seats.



Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Iranians defy the regime by massive participation in banned event - SMCCDI


An increasing number of Iranians are coming, at this time (19:15 Iran Local Time), into most Iranian avenues and streets in a flagrant sign of defiance to the Islamic regime. Most cities, such as, Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Hamedan, Kermanshah or Oroomiah (former Rezai-e) are affected by the move.

In many places, security forces are just contenting to watch the crowd as knowing that an incident put turn the page. In some places and already at the start of a long evening, several security patrol cars have been damaged due to hand made explosive devices.

Even some isolated security posts, such as, the one located isnide Tehran University has been damaged by masked young Iranians who threw explosive devices inside the facility by forcing the usually feared Bassij Para-Military agents to run out.

Noise of fire crackers and hand made explosive devises are echoing in the cities, where, in most areas any car or motorbike circulation has been forbidden.

Public buildings have been placed under intense surveillance by fear of a sudden popular take over. Gas stations have been closed and most cities look likes war zone.

The Islamic regime and its leadership made the most tactical mistake ever, this year, by qualifying the Iranian Cultural Heritage events as "haram" and created de facto a clear line up from which it's coming as the end looser.

The night would be a very long one and in few hours bushes will be set on fire all across Iranian cities.

Original Article

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Iranians Are Preparing to Turn a National Ceremony(Chahar Shanbe Sori چهارشنبه سوری) to a Protest Against the Regime


See the Article in Persian ديدن مقاله به فارسي

According to an Iranian Based Blog چهارشنبه سوری Many in Iran this year are trying to turn Chahar Shanbe Sore( The last Wednesday of the year in the Persian calendar which is a Fire Festival for and it is been cherished as part of the Persian culture for thousands of year ) which is on March 14/ 24 Esfand in Persian calendar to a protest against the dictator regime of Iran.

On this Blog we read about the times and the places for the demonstrations also the bloger is alsking from every one to spread the word on this event also the freedom movements in Iran!

Meanwhile According to a pool conducted inside of Iran(See the Link ) Many in Iran also do not support the Nuclear path that the regime of Tehran is taking.

This information was taken from http://blogersinjail.blogspot.com/

Violent clashes rock the western City of Piranshar - SMCCDI


Violent clashes rocked, yesterday, the western City of Piranshahr as angry residents attacked official buildings, banks, security patrol cars and trucks. The riot took place following the murder of a resident, by Islamist Militiamen, and the refusal of the local authorities to restitute the body of the victim to his family.

Security forces closed all accesses to the Governor's Office and resorted to shooting when facing an increasing number of demonstrators. Several demonstrators were injured and one has been reported in critical conditions.

Additional troops were sent from the neighboring cities in order to control the situation which remains tense. The residents are requesting the public trial of agents involved in the murder and the shooting.

The [attempt] of [a] take over of the popular action, by individuals affiliated to some separatist groups, was a main reason that residents stopped their riot but they're requesting the public trial of agents involved in the murder and the shooting.

The area was also scene of other clashes, last year, but again, the opportunist try of separatist groups, such as the so-called Democratic Party of Kurdistan 'of Iran',(PDKI) to claim leadership of the situation brought the local residents to stop their protest actions.

While some foreign circles are evaluating a possibility to create ethnic unrest in Iran, in order to harm the Islamic regime, the reality is that such wrong tactic helps the Islamists to stop popular actions in Iran's border zones. Most Iranians, of every ethnicity, are profoundly attached to Iran and its territorial integrity and the regime plays such nationalistic feeling in its own favor.

The Bush Administration which has correctly understood such sentiment and George W. Bush, the US President, declared last July about the "necessity to respect the territorial integrity of Iran". Such positive and unprecedented statement resulted, few days later, in consecutive unrests in Iran's western border zones, but which stopped, few days later and as soon as, some meaningless separatist groups, helped by foreign circles, tried to claim the ownership of the situation.

Regime forbids sell of gasoline in containers - SMCCDI


The Islamic regime has forbidden the sell of gasoline in containers in an effort to limit subversive activities, at the occasion of the banned "Tchahar-Shanbe Souri" (Fire Fiest) on March 14th.The move intends to limit the fabrication of Molotov-Cocktails and has become a subject of mockery, as many Iranians are showing their cars' reservoirs as an alternative to use gasoline for other purposes than driving.

The Islamic regime which feels its lack of power in order to stop the preparation of the Fire Fiest celebration/demos, qualified as "pagan" and "un-Islamic", has increased its repressive measures and is arresting young Iranians or sellers of fire crackers and explosive ingredients.

More Bassij military force members have been transferred to main cities and contingency plans have been studied by the regime's National Security Council.

Unfortunately, the sudden interruption of NITV's Satellite programming - due to financial problems – is not helping thousands of Iranians which are using this main communication tool for a better coordination of the Fire Fiest Movement. NITV’s Management hopes to resume its satellite programming, from Monday, in case of collecting necessary financial support from individual donors.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

VIDEO: Women's Day Deomontration in Tehran


Here is a direct link to video footage that I stumbled across as I was casually surfing the web. the footage was found on Iran Focus which is a mouthpiece for the MKO (although you would never know it when visiting the site).

Here is the link:

Women's Day Video

Iran: Death penalty/fear of imminent execution - Amnesty International


Dr Awdeh Afrawi (m), aged 52
Nazem Bureihi (m)
Aliredha Salman Delfi (m)
Ali Helfi (m)
Ali Manbouhi (m)
Jaafar Sawari (m)
Risan Sawari (m), teacher
Mohammad Ali Sawari (m), teacher
Moslem al-Ha’i (m)

The nine men named above, all members of Iran's Arab minority, have reportedly been sentenced to death for their alleged involvement in bomb explosions in the city of Ahvaz, in Khuzestan province, which took place in October 2005. It is not known exactly what they were convicted of, but they are feared to be in imminent danger of execution. Two other men have already been executed. Seven have been shown "confessing" on local television, with one other mentioned as a participant in the bombings, and another reportedly convicted of the same offence.

According to the Minister of Justice, 45 people have been arrested in connection with the October explosions. On 14 February, the Minister of Justice told the state news agency IRNA that seven of them had been convicted on charges including "enmity with God (mohareb, for which the penalty is death), corruption on earth and murder" and that their sentences would be announced shortly. On 20 February, the Prosecutor General reportedly said that "some of those convicted in this case have been sentenced to death, including the two main culprits, whose presence in the recent Ahvaz incidents was proved and their execution verdict is definite". On 21 February, in a statement to IRNA commenting on this report, the Minister of Justice stated that only two had been sentenced to death and these sentences were under review by the Supreme Court. He noted that "the seven convicts have not all committed crimes that call for the death penalty."

Although seven men were said to have been convicted of involvement in the October bombings, nine men were shown "confessing" on Khuzestan Provincial TV on 1 March. Among them were Mehdi Nawaseri and Ali Awdeh Afrawi, who were hanged in public the following morning; Dr Awdeh Afrawi (father of executed Ali Awdeh Afrawi); Aliredha Salman Delfi; Ali Manbouhi; Jaafar Sawari; Ali Helfi, Nazem Burehi, and Risan Sawari.

Ali Manbouhi, Ali Helfi and Nazem Bureihi have reportedly been in custody since 2000, when they were arrested on charges of "insurgency" and each sentenced to 35 years’ imprisonment. However they also featured in the "confessions" footage. There are unconfirmed reports that they may soon face a retrial on charges of mohareb and murder.

Dr Awdeh Afrawi is a psychologist at Ahvaz's Shahid Chamran hospital. He and and his son were reportedly arrested in Ahvaz shortly after the October 2005 explosions. Risan Sawari was reportedly arrested in April 2005, released and arrested again in September. Jaafar Sawari and Aliredha Salman Delfi were reportedly arrested in September 2005. Mehdi Nawaseri was reportedly arrested on 19 October and Mohammad Ali Sawari on or around 4 November. Moslem al-Ha’i was mentioned during the "confessions" as a participant in the bombings, but it is not known when he was arrested.

BACKGROUND INFORMATIONIran's Arab community live mainly in the Khuzestan region, which borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much of Iran’s oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population. Historically the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated against. Tension has mounted among the Arab population since April 2005, after it was alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Hundreds have been arrested and there have been reports of torture. Following bomb explosions in Ahvaz in June and October 2005, which killed at least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and October, the cycle of violence in Khuzestan province has intensified, with hundreds of people reportedly arrested. Further bombs exploded on 24 January 2006, killing at least six people and were followed by further mass arrests.

Soccer game leads to protest in Iranian Capital - SMCCDI


Hundreds of Iranians used the occasion, offered by the match played between Persepolis and Esteghlal (former Taj) soccer teams, in order to protest against the Islamic republic regime. The local game took place yesterday at the "Azadi" ('Freedom') stadium of Tehran.

Slogans were shouted and a street clash took place in the Azadi and Enghelab areas as security forces attacked the protesters. Tens of security patrol cars and buses were damaged in retaliation to the brutality of Islamist Militiamen.

Tens were seen injured or arrested at the issue of the unrest.

Exasperated Iranians are usually seizing opportunities offered by soccer games or big events to protest and express their rejection of the Islamic regime. Iran was the scene of consecutive and massive protests, during the 2002 World Cup soccer qualification games but the trend was stopped by bloody repressive measures, and the believed forced loss of Iran to Bahrain. In Esafahan alone several protesters were killed by the security apparatus and the regime had to transfer the notorious Esfahan Governor. Known for having ordered the bloody repression, he, the governor, was transferred to his present post as the Islamic regime's Ambassador to Kuwait.

Since then, important soccer games are often turned into popular protests, especially when they're played in Tehran. The "Iran-Japan" game of March 25th resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injured or arrested.

Friday, March 10, 2006

PREPARED TESTIMONY OF DR. MICHAEL A. LEDEEN - The New York Sun


- I found this article after my father told me about it last night. I wish I had seen it earlier. I direct your attention to the part of Mr. Ledeen's testimony where he specifically talks about revolution (It's highlighted in bold red). He hits the nail on the head ladies and gents! This is exactly what needs to be done. In fact, I will go one further and assert that the extra fifty-million being spent on VOA and other broadcasts is a waste of money. The help that the Iranian people need is financial and in the form of organizational support. PLEASE READ

I am delighted and honored by your invitation to discuss American policy toward Iran, but before I do that, I hope I will be permitted a few personal words in appreciation of the welcome contribution that you, Chairman Hyde, have made to our country and to the tenor of life in Washington.

Our national political debate has long been very fractious, and this moment is especially nasty. But you are a rare man, Mr. Chairman. You have never forgotten that our elected representatives are sworn to advance the national interest, whatever the transient demands of party or faction. You have done that with rare grace and humor, through some terrible personal tragedies and despite some particularly insensitive slanders. After nearly thirty years in Washington, I cherish many memories of your ability to defuse a tense situation with an urbane chuckle, all the while reminding your colleagues of their responsibilities to the American people. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope that your years ahead are full of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Future historians will be baffled at the intensity and tenacity with which successive American administrations have refused to deal seriously with the obvious and explicit threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the first hours of the fanatical regime of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, Iran declared war on us in language it seems impossible to misunderstand. We are the great Satan, while they are the representatives of the one true faith, sworn to combat satanic influence on earth. Hassan Abassi, the chief strategic adviser to President Ahmadi-Nezhad, recently put it this way: ÒAmerica means enemy, and enemy means Satan.

They have waged unholy war against us ever since. They created Hizbollah and Islamic Jihad, and they support most all the others, from Hamas and al Qaeda to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command. Iran's proxies range from Shiites to Sunnis to Marxists, all cannon fodder for the overriding objective to dominate or destroy us.

A lot of nonsense has been written about the theoretically unbridgeable divide between Sunnis and Shiites, and we should remind ourselves that the tyrants of the Islamic Republic do not share these theories. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards as Shiite as they come were trained, beginning in the early 1970s, by Asser Arafat's Fatah Sunnis one and all. Arafat was the first foreign leader to be invited to Tehran after the overthrow of the shah, proving that when it comes to killing infidels, theological disagreements are secondary to the jihad. Yet even today, we hear that it is quite impossible that the mullahs have supported al Qaeda, because bin Laden, Zawahiri and Zarqawi are famously Sunni.

The Iranian war against us is now twenty-seven years old, and we have yet to fight back. In those twenty-seven years thousands of innocent people have died at the hands of the mullahsÕ terror state, inside Iran and around the world. Many Americans have been killed, in Lebanon twenty years ago and in Iraq today, by terrorists armed, trained and funded by the Islamic Republic. Iran is invariably atop the State DepartmentÕs list of state sponsors of terrorism, and we know that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi created a European-wide terrorist network in the latter years of the last century from a stronghold in Tehran. We know this from public sources Ðfrom copious documentation presented by the German and Italian Governments in public trials against terrorists arrested in their countries. Among the evidence introduced by the prosecution were intercepts of phone conversations between terrorists in Europe and Zarqawi in Tehran.

We also know from abundant evidence ranging from documents to photographs captured by American forces in both Fallujah and Hilla of the intimate working relationships between terrorists in Iraq and the regimes in Tehran and Damascus. Indeed, the terror war in Iraq is a replay of the strategy that the Iranians and the Syrians used in the 1980s to drive us and our French allies out of Lebanon. Those Americans who believed it was possible to wage the war against terrorism one country at a time, and that we could therefore achieve a relatively peaceful transition from Saddam's dictatorship to an elected democracy, did not listen to the many public statements from Tehran and its sister city in jihad, Damascus, announcing in advance that Iraq was about to become the new Lebanon.

They have made good on their threats. On Monday, ABC News broadcast a story about the discovery of very powerful bombs--the so-called IEDs--sent from Iran into Iraq.

"I think the evidence is strong that the Iranian government is making these IEDs, and the Iranian government is sending them across the border and they are killing U.S. troops once they get there," said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism chief and an ABC News consultant. "I think it's very hard to escape the conclusion that, in all probability, the Iranian government is knowingly killing U.S. troops."

Inevitably, there are still those who believe that somehow our differences can be reconciled, and we can yet reach a modus vivendi with the Islamic Republic. I wish they were right, but the Iranians' behavior proves otherwise. Religious fanatics of the sort that rule Iran do not want a deal with the devil. They want us dominated or dead. There is no escape from their hatred, or from the war they have waged against us. We can either win or lose, but no combination of diplomatic demarches, economic sanctions, and earnest negotiations, can change that fatal equation. They will either defeat us, or perish. And that is their decision, not ours. We have yet to engage.

THE NUCLEAR QUESTION

A few months ago, the CIA concluded that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons in less than a decade, but that timeline seems to have significantly contracted. Some Russian experts reportedly think it could be a matter of months, and they probably have better information than we do. In any event, the nuclear question has been elevated to the center of the policy debate, as if nothing else mattered.

The nuclear question is certainly serious. Numerous Iranian leaders have said that they intend to use nuclear weapons to destroy Israel, and contemporary history suggests that one should take such statements at face value. A nuclear Iran would be a more influential regional force, and since its missiles now reach deep into Europe, it would directly menace the West. Moreover, once Iran manages to put nuclear warheads on their intermediate range missiles, they might even be able to direct them against American territory from one or more of the Latin American countries with which the mullahs are establishing strategic alliances. The mullahs make no secret of their strategy; just a couple of weeks ago, when the leader of Hamas was received in honor in Tehran, a photograph of the event was released, in which there was a colorful poster of President Ahmadi-Nezhad and Supreme Leader Khamenei along with Castro, Morales and Chavez. The mullahs would be pleased to nuke Israel, and they would be thrilled to kill millions of Americans.

But they don't need atomic bombs to kill large numbers of Americans; they have long worked on other weapons of mass destruction, and they doubtless have moved plenty of terrorists all over the Western world. Hardly a day goes by without chest-pounding speeches from the mullahs warning us about the wave of suicide bombers headed our way. I am afraid that the obsession with the nuclear question often obscures the central policy issue: that the Islamic Republic has waged war against us for many years and is killing Americans every week. They would do that even if they had no chance of developing atomic bombs, and they will do that even if, by some miracle, the feckless and endlessly self-deluding governments of the West manage to dismantle the secret facilities and impose an effective inspection program. The mullahs will do that because it is their essence. It is what they are.

The nuclear threat is inseparable from the nature of the regime. If there were a freely elected, democratic government in Tehran, instead of the self-selecting tyranny of the mullahs, we would not feel such a sense of urgency about the nuclear program, or about an effective American policy toward Iran.

And still we debate how to respond. Some even wonder if we should respond at all. That is why we are here today.

WHAT TO DO?

The first step in crafting a suitable policy toward Iran is to abandon the pretense that we can arrive at a negotiated settlement. It can't be done. The Iranians view negotiations as merely tactical enterprises in support of their strategic objectives. Just look at the news from this past Sunday. According to the London Sunday Telegraph:

Iran duped European Union negotiators into thinking it had halted efforts to make nuclear fuel while it continued to install equipment to process yellowcake -- a key stage in the nuclear-fuel process, a top Iranian negotiator boasted in a recent speech to leading Muslim clerics. That bit of incautious self-congratulation came from Hassan Rowhani, the mullah in charge of negotiations with the French, British and Germans. He thoughtfully tells us that the Iranians used the negotiations to buy time for their nuclear program. They never intended to negotiate in good faith. As Colin Powell said in mid-January, Iran cannot be trusted to tell the truth about its nuclear program.

Nor is there any reason to believe that we can count on the United Nations to impose the rules of civilized behavior on the mullahs, either on nuclear issues or terrorism.

That leaves us with three courses of action, none of which is automatically exclusive of the others: sanctions, military strikes, and support for democratic revolution. I am opposed to sanctions, I am generally opposed to military strikes, and I fully endorse support for revolution.

SANCTIONS

I do not know of a case in which sanctions have produced a change in behavior by a regime that considered us its enemy. The two possible exceptions are regimes that thought of themselves as friends of the United States, and wanted to be embraced by us: Chile and apartheid South Africa. But enemy regimes donÕt respond to sanctions, whether it be Castro's Cuba or Qadaffi's Libya or the Soviet Empire. Indeed, sanctions aimed against the national economy are misconceived, because they harm the people who are not our enemies and may be our best weapon against the tyrants while leaving the tyrannical and oppressive elite largely untouched.

The basic rule for dealing with our tyrannical enemies is to punish the regime and help the people. Big-time economic sanctions or embargoes cannot do that, but very limited sanctions and other economic and financial actions can. I am very much in favor of seizing the assets of the Iranian leaders, because while the mullahs have ruined the lives of most Iranians, they have greatly enriched themselves at the people's expense, and a good deal of that money has been squirreled away in foreign bank accounts. My favorite example of the greed of the Iranian ruling class is a transaction tax, roughly worth 5% of the purchase price, all of which goes into the personal fund of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

That money properly belongs to the Iranian people, whose misery grows from day to day. We should hold it for them, and return it to a freely elected government after we have helped them overthrow their oppressors.

I also agree that a travel ban on the top leaders would be useful, if for no other reason than its symbolic value. It tells the Iranian people that we consider the mullahs unworthy of acceptance in the civilized world. The Iranians know it, far better than we. But they need to see that we have taken sides, and the travel ban is one good way to do that.

MILITARY ACTION

Nobody is talking about an invasion of Iran, but there is considerable speculation about limited strikes against nuclear facilities. I do not know enough about our information to be able to offer an informed opinion on this matter. I would only point out that our intelligence about Iran has been bad since before the revolution of 1979, and one would have to be very optimistic to base a military plan on our current intelligence product. Iranians are skilled at deceit, and have been hiding their nuclear projects from us for a long time.

Military action carries enormous risks, because of the many unforeseeable consequences. Some number of Iranians would likely be inclined to rally to the national defense, even if they hate the regime. It's impossible to estimate how many of them would take this path. Moreover, there would inevitably be innocent victims, and our strategy should aim at saving innocents, not killing them. Add to that the virtual certainty that Iran would respond with a wave of terrorism, from Iraq to Europe to the homeland.

That said, our failure to design and conduct a serious Iran policy for so long has narrowed out options, and we may be faced with a choice among various unattractive actions. If we and our allies decide that Iranian nuclear facilities must be taken out, we should first make clear to the Iranian people that we have come slowly and reluctantly to this position, that the regime could have avoided this terrible situation by negotiating in good faith, and that we would never dream of doing such a thing if Iran were governed by reasonable people.

In fact, whatever policy we adopt, it is very important for us to talk a lot to the Iranian people.

REVOLUTION

Iran had three revolutions in the twentieth century, and boasts a long tradition of self-government. The Iranian Constitution of 1906 might well serve as a model for the entire region, and prior to Khomeini's seizure of power, Iran was by far the most progressive Muslim country in the Middle East, providing considerable opportunity for women and a generally tolerant attitude toward minority religious groups, including Jews, Christians and Baha'i.

The demographics certainly seem to favor radical change: roughly 70% of Iranians are twenty-nine years old or less. We know from the regime's own public opinion surveys that upwards of 73% of the people would like a freer society and a more democratic government, and they constantly demonstrate their hatred of the regime in public protests, in the blogosphere in both Farsi (the internet's fourth most popular language) and English, in strikes (the most recent of which is the ongoing action by the Tehran bus drivers' union), and from time to time in violent acts against officials on the ground. The regime's reaction is violent and ruthless, but the protests continue, and there is good reason to believe that the mullahs are extremely worried. In response to recent demonstrations in Khuzestan, the oil-producing region in the south, the regime sent in members of the Badr Brigade (the Iranian-trained militia in Iraq) and of (Lebanese) Hizbollah. This suggests a lack of confidence in the more traditional security organizations: the regular Army, the Revolutionary Guards, and the thuggish Basij, generally described as fanatically loyal to the Islamic ideals of the mullahcracy.

Yet there is a vast cottage industry that gainsays the possibility of successful democratic revolution in Iran. The pessimists say many things, including the lack of a charismatic leader, the viciousness of the regime, and, with the urgency provided by the nuclear program, a shortage of time, arguing that revolutions take a long time to gather critical mass.

The pessimism is as bizarre as it is discouraging. We empowered a successful revolution in the Soviet Empire with the active support of a very small percentage of the population. How hard can it be for a revolution to succeed in Iran, where more than 70% of the people want it? Our experience with Soviet Communism suggests that revolution can triumph under harsh repression, and that there are often dynamic democratic revolutionaries even if we cannot always see them. Indeed, I suspect that in Iran there are many potential leaders, some of whom are in prison while others are underground. I also suspect that there has been a lot of planning, both for the revolution itself, and for the shape of the free society thereafter. This was the case in many of the Soviet satellites--Poland and Czechoslovakia being prime examples--and is certainly ongoing in the Iranian diaspora, whether in the United States or in Europe. It would be surprising if Iranian democrats were not doing the same.

The regime is famously vicious, as the mounting numbers of executions and the ongoing torture in IranÕs prisons unfortunately demonstrate. But tyranny is the most unstable form of government, and democratic revolution invariably surprises us. If anyone had forecast a successful democratic revolution in the Ukraine, even three months before it occurred, most of us would have considered it a fantasy.

Nobody knows with certainty whether revolution can succeed in Iran, or, if it can, how long it will take. But tyrannies often fall with unexpected speed, and in recent years a surprising number of revolutions have toppled tyrants all over the world. Most of them got help from us. Most revolutions, including our own, required external support in order to succeed, and there is a widespread belief in Iran that a democratic revolution cannot defeat the mullahs unless it is supported by the United States. They are waiting for concrete signs of our support.

Support means, above all, a constant critique by our leaders of the regime's murderous actions, and constant encouragement of freedom and democracy. Too many of us have forgotten the enormous impact of Ronald Reagan's denunciation of the Soviet Union as an evil empire. The intellectual elite of this country condemned that speech as stupid and dangerous, yet the Soviet dissidents later told us that they considered it enormously important, because it showed that we understood the nature of the Soviet regime, and were committed to its defeat. In like manner, the Iranians need to see that we want an end to the Islamic Republic. We need to tell them that we want, and show them that we will support, regime change in their country, peaceful, non-violent regime change, not revolution from the barrel of a gun.

We also need to talk to them very specifically about how such revolutions succeed. We should greatly expand our support for private radio and television broadcasters, both here and in Europe, and we need to get serious about using our own broadcasts as revolutionary instruments. We are not competing for market share, and we are not in the entertainment business; we should be broadcasting interviews with successful revolutionaries from other countries, and we should be broadcasting conversations with experts on non-violent revolution. The Iranians need to see, in detail, what works and what does not. They need to see and hear the experiences of their revolutionary comrades.

We also need to provide them with the wherewithal for two vitally important revolutionary actions: build resources for a strike fund, and get them modern instruments of communication. The strike fund speaks for itself: workers need to be able to walk off the job, above all the oil fields and the textile and transportation sectors, and know they will be able to feed their families for several weeks.

The instruments of communication include servers, laptops, satellite and cell phones and phone cards. The regime has been more effective in identifying and repressing nation-wide communications among dissidents. They have been less effective quashing local networks. We should accordingly provide the local networks advanced technology in order for them to better communicate between cities and regions.

LEADERSHIP IN WASHINGTON

There is much that is praiseworthy in the Iran Freedom Support Act. I think it can be improved by more openly embracing a policy of regime change in Iran, and allocating an adequate budget to demonstrate our seriousness in this endeavor. I know some members would prefer to dance around the explicit declaration of regime change as the policy of this country, but anyone looking closely at the language and content of the Iran Freedom Support Act, and its close relative in the Senate, can clearly see that that is in fact the essence of the matter. You canÕt have freedom in Iran without bringing down the mullahs.

I heartily endorse the suggestion that the President appoint someone responsible for our Iran policy, and who will advise the president and report to the Congress. The choice of that person is important, because the Iranians will be encouraged by someone who they believe to be firmly on their side, while they will be discouraged by someone who has participated in the failed efforts to formulate a serious Iran policy.

Mr. Chairman, I hope these thoughts will be useful to you and your colleagues in your deliberations. I believe this is the most important question we face in the Middle East, and in the war against terror. I wish you wisdom, patience, and good humor in your labors.

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