Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rafsanjani, Mousavi Vow Support to End Unrest

See how they have sold out sincere reformers of Iran: "Rafsanjani, Mousavi Vow Support to End Unrest" (Press TV, 25 June 2009)?

The only freedom that men like Rafsanjani and Mousavi care about is investor freedom, so Iranian reformers had no business lining up behind them against the will of the poorer two thirds of Iran, but all too many did. That is anti-democratic. This kind of incoherent anti-democratic coalition happens in every country where economic neoliberals succeed in conning
politico-social-cultural liberals and occasionally some foolish leftists into backing them, from Nepal to Venezuela, Thailand to Yugoslavia, Moldova to the OPTs.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iran: This Is Not a Revolution

Let the Iranian people solve their conflict on their own. Defend Iran -- including both sides of the conflict -- from the Western powers. Then, one day, the Iranian people will perhaps choose a man -- or even a woman -- who is truly worthy of their fidelity, someone who thinks like Arshin Adib-Moghaddam and is capable of synthesizing the aspirations of those who voted for Mir-Hossein Mousavi (freedom) and those who voted for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (faith and democracy) and uniting people behind the new synthesis.

Iran: This Is Not a Revolution
by Arshin Adib-Moghaddam

Political power is never good or bad, never really just or unjust; political power is arbitrary, discriminatory, and most of the time violent.  In Iran, the ongoing demonstrations sparked by the election results in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicate that such power can never really be monopolized by the state.  Iran's civil society is fighting; it is giving blood for a just cause.  It is displaying its power, the power of the people.  Today, Iran must be considered one of the most vibrant democracies in the world because it is the people who are speaking.  The role of the supporters of the status quo has been reduced to reaction, which is why they are lashing out violently at those who question their legitimacy.

In all of this, the current civil unrest in Iran is historic, not only because it has already elicited compromises by the state, but also because it provides yet more evidence of the way societies can empower themselves against all odds.  These brave men and women on the streets of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and other cities are moved by the same utopia that inspired their fathers and mothers three decades ago: the utopia of justice.  They believe that change is possible, that protest is not futile.  Confronting the arrogance of the establishment has been one of the main ideological planks of the Islamic revolution in 1979.  It is now coming back to haunt those who have invented such slogans without necessarily adhering to them in the first place.

And yet the current situation in Iran is profoundly different from the situation in 1978 and 1979.  First, the Islamic Republic has proven to be rather responsive to societal demands and rather flexible ideologically.  I don't mean to argue that the Iranian state is entirely reflective of the will of the people.  I am saying that is it is not a totalitarian monolith that is pitted against a politically unified society.  The fissures of Iranian politics run through all levers of power in the country, which is why the whole situation appears scattered to us.  Whereas in 1979 the bad guy (the Shah) was easily identifiable to all revolutionaries, in today's Iran such immediate identification is not entirely possible.  Who is the villain in the unfolding drama?  Ahmadinejad?  Those who demonstrated in support of him would beg to differ.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?  I would argue that he commands even stronger loyalties within the country and beyond.  The Revolutionary Guard or the Basij?  Mohsen Rezai, one of the presidential candidates and an opponent of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is contesting the election results, used to be the head of the former institution.

The picture becomes even more complicated when we take into consideration that some institutions of the state such as the parliament -- via its speaker, Ali Larijani -- have called for a thorough investigation of the violence perpetrated by members of the Basij and the police forces in a raid of student dormitories of Tehran University earlier this week.  "What does it mean that in the middle of the night students are attacked in their dormitory?" Larijani asked.  The fact that he said that "the interior ministry . . . should answer for it" and that he stated that the "parliament is seriously following the issue" indicate that the good-vs-bad verdict in today's Iran is more blurred than in 1979.

There is a second major difference to 1979.  Today, the opposition to Ahmadinejad is fighting the establishment with the establishment.  Mir Hossein Mousavi himself was the prime minister of Iran during the first decade of the revolution, during a period when the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, was president.  Mohammad Khatami, one of the main supporters of Mousavi, was president between 1997 and 2005.  Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, another political ally, is the head of the Assembly of Experts and another former president.  They are the engineers of the Islamic revolution and would never devour their project.  When some commentators say that what we are witnessing is a revolution they are at best naive and at worst following their own destructive agenda.  The dispute is about the future path of the Islamic Republic and the meaning of the revolution -- not about overthrowing the whole system.  It is a game of politics and the people who are putting their lives at risk seem to be aware of that.  They are aware, in other words, that they are the most important force in the hands of those who want to gain or retain power.

Thus far the Iranian establishment has shown itself to be cunningly adaptable to crisis situations.  Those who have staged a revolution know how to sustain themselves.  And this is exactly what is happening in Iran.  The state is rescuing its political power through a mixture of incentives and pressure, compromise and detention, due process and systematic violence.  Moreover, when push comes to shove, the oppositional leaders around Mousavi would never question the system they have built up.  As Mousavi himself said in his fifth and most recent letter to the Iranian people: "We are not against our sacred regime and its legal structures; this structure guards our independence, freedom, and Islamic Republic."

Born in Istanbul and educated at the University of Hamburg, American Universtiy (Washington DC), and Cambridge, Arshin Adib-Moghaddam lectures on politics and international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.  The author of Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic (Hurst/ Columbia University Press, 2007/2008) and The International Politics of the Persian Gulf (Routledge, 2006), he was the first Jarvis Doctorow Fellow at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.  He was also elected Honorary Fellow of the Cambridge European Trust Society at the University of Cambridge.  His latest publication Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic is now available for worldwide distribution from Hurst & Co.,, and Columbia University Press.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Western Leftists Lost in the Iranian Elections

. . . is a chance to gain the trust of Muslims, such as Al Musawwir, regarding Western leftists' commitment to truth, democracy, and class solidarity:
Wittingly (for the most part) and (a few) unwittingly, the "western" left is, in essence, siding with the elite, upper classes, against the working class. Now, why are they supporting these elites -- well, the twisted logic is that this has "politicized the Iranian people" and that civil strife of this kind is good, even if the cause they are supposedly fighting for is not real "fraud or no fraud". This is like saying, that running towards a mirage is good, hey, at least you are running, it'll get you energized. That is the kind of nonsense one would expect from those who engage in psyop destabilization, because their aim is to create a chaotic situation, and then swoop down and take the spoils.
Strange as it may seem to some, these days, Muslims are, probably on average, better at being historical materialist than Western leftists, who prefer fantasy to reality.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Be Like Rostam

Had I lived in Iran at the time of the Iranian Revolution, the Islamic republicans running Iran today would have killed me at worst or put me under house arrest at best, like Iran's Red Princess Maryam Firuz in her last years, because I'm a socialist. But still and all, a majority of the masses supported, and still support, the Islamic republicans, because they are populist Muslims, not socialists.

In the history of social revolutions, it often happened that leftists helped to bring about social revolution (socialist or nationalist), and then, after the overthrow of the ancient regime, a faction of revolutionaries (usually centrists) liquidated left-wing and right-wing revolutionaries as well as defenders of the ancient regime.

That's what happened in Iran, too. The revolution did in its leftists, as well as rightists. But, over all, the Iranian Revolution has done more good than bad for a majority of Iranians, making Iran the best country -- the most democratic! -- in the Middle East today.

The fate of leftists in many countries (excepting Cuba) is often the fate of Rostam: serve the rulers who are unworthy of your support, because the nation ruled by the unworthy rulers still must be defended from its many enemies.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ahmadinejad Won

Iran's election commission still hasn't counted all the votes (roughly 32 million votes in total), but, according to the official results based on about 28 million votes counted so far, Ahmadinejad (18,302,924 votes) defeated Mousavi (8,929,232 votes).

Most of the Western media were predicting a close race, and some were even suggesting that a landslide for Mousavi might be possible. But the actual results were presaged by those of the telephone survey of Iranian voters conducted by Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion, the New America Foundation, and KA Europe SPRL about a month before election day.

Who Will You Vote for in Presidential Elections?

Official Results as Reported by BBC Persian
2009 Presidential Election in Iran

IMHO, it's a class vote again.


Based on the counting of nearly 31 million votes, the results are 19,761,433 votes for Ahmadinejad, 9,841,056 votes for Mousavi, 633,048 votes for Mohsen Rezaei, and 270,885 votes for Mehdi Karrubi.

Official Results as Reported by BBC Persian
2009 Presidential Election in Iran

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Statement by a Group of Iranian Anti-war Activists about Iran's Presidential Elections

Statement by a Group of Iranian Anti-war Activists about Iran's Presidential Elections

Monday 8 June 2009

We are a group of Iranian academic and antiwar activists in Europe and the United States who, in the past few years, have consistently defended Iran's national interests in all areas including its right to develop peaceful nuclear technology. Our varied activities in the face of anti-Iran propaganda by the neoconservatives in the West have included organizing press conferences, taking part in radio and TV debates, creating antiwar websites, publishing bulletins and newsletters, writing opinion pieces and letters to editors, attending national and international antiwar conferences and petitioning and lobbying Western politicians and parliamentarians.

We have campaigned against the policies of the United States and its Western allies which have unjustifiably targeted Iran -- including sending Iran's nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council, issuing UNSC resolutions against Iran, secret and public efforts to provoke strife in Iran and destabilize the country, and threats by the United States and Israel for military intervention and bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities. As we approach Iran's presidential elections, we are duty bound to share the lessons of our antiwar activities and highlight what national policies can defend Iran's interests effectively in the international arena without isolating it or enduring U.N. sanctions.

In order to safeguard Iran's national rights successfully, we think Iran's president elect must give priority to the following policies in his programs and plans:

(1) Questioning the Holocaust, which has greatly aided the hawks in the West, must be discarded and replaced with a constructive foreign policy devoid of any provocative rhetoric.

(2) Release of all political prisoners, freedom of press, organization and political parties, as well as peaceful meetings and gatherings. Recognizing the right of all citizens to run for election without any political vetting.

(3) Abolishing medieval punishments, such as stoning and cutting limbs, public executions and execution of minors.

(4) Recognizing full and unconditional equality in all areas for women and ethnic minorities. Recognizing the full citizenship and civic rights of official and unofficial religious minorities.

Disregarding these tasks will seriously hinder the social and political development of the country, and will divide the Iranian people in their resistance against the unwarranted neo-colonial pressure and double standards of the Western powers. It will also provide powerful propaganda tools to hawks and their allies in mainstream media for isolating Iran and denying its fundamental rights in international organizations.

Taking steps to carry out these measures, on the other hand, will put our country on a fast track to progress, will unite Iranians of all walks of life, and disarm the neoconservatives in their aggressive propaganda against Iran.


Professor Ervand Abrahamian, City University of New York
Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Haleh Afshar, University of York
Professor Mohammad Ala, Persian Gulf Task Force
Professor Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
Professor Abbas Edalat, Imperial College London
Ali Fathollah-Nejad, University of Muenster and School of Oriental and African Studies
Dr Mehri Honarbin, Canterbury Christ Church University
Dr Farhang Jahanpour, University of Oxford
Mohammad Kamaali, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
Professor Mahmoud Karimi-Hakkak, Siena College, New York
Professor Fatemeh Keshavarz, Washington University in St. Louis.
Dr Ziba Mir-Hosseini, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, Tarbiyat Modarres University
Professor Davood Nabi-Rahni, Pace University in New York
Professor Azam Niroomand-Rad, Georgetown University
Dr Ali Rastbeen, International Institute of Strategic Studies Paris
Dr Elaheh Rostami, School of Oriental and African Studies
Professor Nader Sadeghi, George Washington University Hospital
Shirin Saeidi, University of Cambridge
Professor Muhammad Sahimi, University of Southern California
Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Download the statement in PDF:
English, <>;
Persian, <>.