• 21 June 2009
  • Posted By Michelle Moghtader
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009, MEK

The Danger of Hijacked Rallies

State-run TV in Iran is showing demonstrations in other countries such as the US, however with some serious editing. They are not broadcasting the majority of people standing and shouting in solidarity with people in Iran. Rather, they show images of demonstrators who shout, “Death to the Islamic Republic,” while they hold pre-1979 flags of Iran which have come to symbolize the monarchy. Even worse, they show rallies organized by the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran now known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI,MKO, MEK, or PMOI), who are on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations as they have killed Americans and Iranians alike.

State run TV goes on to make statements along the lines of, “These are the organizations which are supporting the ‘rioters’ and ‘terrorists’ that fill the streets of Tehran.” As a contact in Iran said,

The only concern that we have now is the bloody Rajavis (MEK), who now want to benefit from the situation. They are definitely helping the dictators. They are only giving more reasons for cracking down the people. May God protect us all.

There are many reasons for the Iranians and non-Iranians outside Iran to demonstrate. We are tired of refreshing our computer screens for the latest bits of news that come out of Iran and it gives us a sense of release to be with hundreds of others who care about the plight of Iranian demonstrators. Most importantly of all, the protesters in Iran need to know that the world is watching and hasn’t forgotten them. Just as one contact told me, “People risk their lives by taking videos for you [foreign media]. So it helps and motivates us to know that you are out there thinking about us.”

In Paris on June 20, the National Council of Resistance of Iran helped bus in several thousands from all across Europe to hold a rally where the leader of NCRI, Maryam Rajavi spoke. Busing in people from out of town. sound familiar? Just today, June 21, in Washington DC, a rally organized by monarchists – though attended by many non-monarchists – featured Reza Pahlavi, the son of deposed Shah. Many sat down when he arrived, while others moved to the periphery obviously uncomfortable with his presence. Like a celebrity, he spoke for five minutes about democracy in Iran interrupted by cries of “We love you” and was ushered away. “I sensed he was being very opportunistic,” remarked an onlooker.

If one truly aims to help the people in Iran, then one should follow the people lead and not try to hijack their movement by imposing one’s own agenda. Demonstrations outside of Iran should be filled with unity, peace, and reflection for the brave Iranian people fighting for basic freedoms, and void of flags and slogans that undermine their cause with the burden of past political divisions.

Posted By Michelle Moghtader

    13 Responses to “The Danger of Hijacked Rallies”

  1. Jewel says:

    Thanks for the posting Michelle-I couldn’t agree more that the involvent of the monarchists and MKO terrorists are very dangerous for the fight for democracy. Iranian youth are dying on the streets for freedom-not a constitutional monarch or a Communist Cult or their outdated flags-but a just government that represents its population and works to fulfill the aspirations of its citizens who didn’t abandon and violate her when she needed them most.

  2. Jewel says:

    Thanks for the posting Michelle-I couldn’t agree more that the involvement of the monarchists and MKO terrorists are very dangerous for the fight for democracy. Iranian youth are dying on the streets for freedom-not a constitutional monarch or a Communist Cult or their outdated flags-but a just government that represents its population and works to fulfill the aspirations of its citizens who didn’t abandon and violate her when she needed them most.

  3. Arguably the best way for people outside of Iran to hold rallies is to hold silent demonstrations in green. No speakers to hijack or distract or take advantage of the gathering. Just a mass of people wearing the color in solidarity. Hard to hijack that.

  4. Tina says:

    People need to realize that when pre-revolution flags are displayed at rallies outside of Iran, the Iranian government uses these images as ammunition against the Reformists to portray them as people who want to over throw the regime. Unfortunately, the rallies in Los Angeles and Irvine overwhelmingly displayed prerevolution flags, and the local media failed to draw distinction between the message of the “green” people and the monarchists. Even though many people attended the rallies with noble intentions, they ultimately do more harm to the reform movement inside Iran than help, at least as long as the rallies are dominated by monarchist slogans and flags.

  5. Jewel says:

    Thanks for the posting Michelle. I couldn’t agree more that the involvement of the monarchists and MKO terrorists are VERY dangerous to the fight for democracy. Iranians youth are dying on the streets for freedom–not a consitutional monarchy or a Communist Cult (or their outdated flags that mean nothing to our generation)–but for a just government that represents its population and strives to fulfill the aspirations of her citizens who didn’t abandon and violate her when she needed them most.

  6. VERY WELL SAID aziz!
    We are exactly fighting this stupidity of (mostly) our parental generation here in Sweden…so far we have been met with anger and irritation as to “you young people don’t understand” or “are you not Iranian? how dare you ask me to put down my flag?” and such 🙁

    What I don’t understand is why they haven’t learned anything in these 30 years and still insist of repeating the stupidities of 30 years ago? I despise all these political and ideological older Iranians here in Sweden, heading towards ruining everything for all of us once again…I wish there was a way of convincing most of them (through reason and rationale) why their strategy is wrong, something like your text here but LOUDER and MORE SPREAD in media etc. Sometimes it feels like we, the 2nd generation younger Iranians (both inside or outside of Iran) are smarter and wiser than our parents. We all hate that regime, but the best way of getting from point A to point B isn’t always a straight line, in fact sometimes it might be too obvious and thus counter-productive.

    Zende bad Iran
    va mardome shojaash

  7. Shabnam says:

    Give over you idiots, no one cares what Iranian state TV says any more.

  8. Sarab says:

    Iranian regim´s propagande should not be a surprise to anyone. The called people demontrationg for hulligans and then terrorist. Then they told that terrorist killed prople last Saturday.

    NIAC should press Obama to make stronger statements, Iran says majles discusses expelling European ambassadors, the revolutionary gaurd made a statement, cacking down whoever participate in rallies. I am affraid Obama will bargn with Iran over Iraq and Afghanistan and above all nuclear program, forgetting Iranian people.

    Speaking about MEK, regim calls them for “grouhak” – a minor fraction and stills is terrified by them. Is´nt that strange?

  9. Nykos says:

    We in the West want, first and foremost, a SECULAR Iran, as built during the reigns of Reza I and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – maybe minus the absolute monarchy part. Any amount of mixing Islam with government will lead to more confrontation and intimidation, both inside and outside of Iran. Iran also has Atheists, Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Christians and Jews. If these people continue to be sometimes murdered and sometimes treated as inferior dhimmis, there will be no major change and all lives have been lost in vain if an anachronistic theocracy is preserved.

  10. David says:

    “the White House needs to speak vociferously against the bloodshed taking place before our eyes.”

    NIAC statement from Saturday, reiterating its comdemnation of the Iranian government’s use of violence and human rights abuses.


  11. Sarab says:

    Mohammad Reza Pahlavi called himself “the servant of the saint (hazrat-e) Abbas” and also “specially protected (nazar karde-ye Emam Zaman) by Imam Zaman” – the hidden Imam.
    He used mullahs against secular and leftist aoopsition, being fearfull av Sovjet communism
    What I mean is that even during the Pahlavi era islam was politically instrumentalized to gain legitimacy as a tradition since Qadjar era.

  12. Dordaneh says:

    Now everyone knows why there has been a rumor for a several years that NIAC has been set up & funded by Iranian clergys . The author for this article & the comments are not doing the justice to [people whom have come for the protest.

    Once again I believe that the author of this article carelessly & on purpose have chosen certain comments just to neutralizes any openina than Mosusavi ( so called muslim green party) .

    How dare you suggest that we as Iranian in a free society should not have the right to raise our own three colored flag as our only flag?. If you are not Irani or not proud to be Iranian, many other Iranians are happy to see that flag everywhere. I am a none believer who dose not care for any religion specially forced green flag.

    Have you looked at Iranian whom has come to these demonstrations, if not go back & check the videos on “you tube”? Majority of the protesters are NOT protesting B/C of Mossavi or B/C they want him to be their leader.

    Honey I have news for you, the time that your terrorist killer clergy’s could pull peoples strings & tell them what to so , wear or eat & even how to live their life is gone.

    I know right now you are yelling & calling me liberal, none believer, Mojahed , Komonist , Jewish or even saltanat talab, none is true & I really do not care, at least I am not been paid by anyone in my life to support them.

    Who said people have no right to voice their political views through out the demonstration, I thought we all fighting against the same monster, but obviously WE ARE NOT.
    I guess you have forgotten that everyone has a fundamental right to their opinion even that view is an old political view & is conflict with our expectations. Who said that Reza Pahlavi & his wife have no right to come for demostrations? . If I remember right I have not seen either one of them carry any three colored flag or chanted viva pahlavi & just followed the irrational request of staff protesters. After all is not Reza & his wife Iranian? Who were to judge others?

    Again this is the biggest problem with our Iranian culture who thinks they can decide for others.

    Now that we need unity more than anytime , people are not willing to help & come in your demonstrations just B/C of this stupid remarks & comments that some idiots are making including not to raise three color flag or demanding not to chant “death to regime”. I guess I know why, since Mossavi & Rafsanjani along the khamenei & other molas still want to remain in power.

    You know what I was wondering when these walls fall, where these clargys are going to hide? how much money they can take with them into the holes that are hiding from Iranians ?

    Please wake up……. We are all IRANI, no religion or political views should concurs what we are aiming for & we all should have a common goal of bringing down the Islamic regime in our county call IRAN.

  13. This is a response to Dordandeh who is the monarchist Iranian who believes in the conspiracies against NIAC, just like other monarchists
    Once again I believe that dordandeh has used this opportunity to advance the agenda of the monarchists and secularists

    Now dordandeh the reason why the true Iranian people don’t want that flag around them, is because they know that that flag has NOT represented DEMOCRACY rather it has supported a MONARCHY (which is not a free society), particularily the monarchy of the PAHLAVI dynasty which was more oppressive than this current government.

    The idea of raising a flag representing an oppressed society, in a free society, is itself an irony. Its like raising the flag of nazi germany, or the soviet union, in America (which unfortunately does go on, similar to how Iranians like these peoples raise monarchy flags representing an oppressed society)
    99% of Iranians are muslims (inside iran) and they don’t want a monarchy flag to represent them because first and foremost the representation of animals is against islam, secondly the idea of a monarchy through hereditary rule is against islam.

    So if you don’t like the belief of majority of the people in iran, which is islam (I am guessing you do since you are non believer) then get out of iran!! and move to a country that shares your belief like the U.S or turkey.

    Honey I think you need to check the videos on “youtube” AGAIN since you seem to be blind, you should check the protests going on in turkey, UAE, Pakistan, Europe,
    Most of the protests you follow I assume are in America and Canada? Well those places (along with some in Europe) have pockets of monarchists and their supporters or simply anti-regime Iranians who are communist or mojahedin or fedayeen (leftist), the protests organized by those people don’t use green rather they use shahanshahi flag or red, they are mostly anti-regime not anti-dictatorship like moussavi.

    Majority of Iranians inside iran and around iran (pakistan, malaysia, UAE, Turkey) are moussavi supporters and NOT anti-regime, otherwise they would have fought and overthrown it, while at the same time chanting the same slogans as the exiles are which is “death to islamic republic” and “death to khomeini” and “death to islam, Muhammad, ayatollah etc.”.

    Honey, I have news for you, the people decide how to live their lives, not the clergy, they simply guide the people on how to live their lives through the lessons from quran, hadiths of prophet and his family. So your idea that “the time clergy can pull strings to control people’s lives is gone” isn’t really gone, because it hasn’t EVEN STARTED!!! What you are saying is in fact BULLSHIT and LIES! If clergy controlled people’s lives they wouldn’t have given many choices and freedom to the people which are sometimes controlled in other countries like Afghanistan and north korea. Go visit those countries I mentioned and visit iran and then you will appreciate the degree of freedom that the clergy offers you.

    Funny how you call the clergy’s terrorists dordadeh, at least they didn’t force a foreign influence and ideology through terrorism and oppression (like the pahlavis) they only reacted to the westernization and moral decay occurring in iran…i.e. they were re-instating the culture and religion that was there before the pahlavis.

    I can see how You deny being liberal, mojahed, komonist, jewish, but a non-believer/ honey, you just said you were a non-believer and 2 paragraphs you denied being a non-believer? So are you or are you not? You are the one who is stupid and is delusional as the propagandist MEK

    I know you are going to call me an IRI goon or an agent of the regime or interior ministry – none is true. I am only basing my opinions based on the facts on the ground and from iranians inside iran, and the facts deny your ideology of secularism and monarchy and shahanshahi flag. At least I am not being paid by anyone in my life to support them (unlike you being paid by reza pahlavi and rastakhiz)

    People have no right to voice their political views in demonstrations that don’t demand it. Some demonstrations don’t ask for a flag for fear that it will be used by the regime to justify the crackdown on protestors inside iran, by tying them to people who use the shahanshahi pre-revolution flag. If protests have those pre-revolution flags then it will only hurt the green movement and path to democracy for iran instead of strenghtening it. That’s why protests that are largely neutral and for the protesters in iran and for the green movement don’t demand EITHER flags in their protests, if any flag bearing political message is brought, they will be asked to leave.

    I thought we were all for democracy in iran, but obviously WE ARE NOT!
    Yes everyone has a fundamental right to their political opinion even if it is old political, but there are some protests that are organized that DON’T demand people to voice their old political and anti-regime grievances, those protests are usually for the people of iran, not the exiled monarchists of former IMPERIAL IRAN.

    Dordandeh who said that reza pahlavi and his wife have no right to come to the demonstrations? Of course he has right, but What I and other Iranians (the majority) are saying is that he should be in a protest that isn’t political about him and that is neutral (with NO flags) then we can agree he is with the people and not to reclaim power or his father’s throne. Most protests he goes to has him talking for majority of time. Do you know how much coverage he gets in the media? DESPITE him being an ex-crown prince? Whoever interviewed the former crown prince of iraq (yes he does exist) when iraq was to be invaded? You know why he gets so much support in western news media like FOX, CNN, MSNBC, BBC? Its because his father was a stooge for the Americans, supported by CIA through SAVAK, and so is he.
    You have not seen any one of them carry a three colored flag ? how about these videos? Maybe they will prove you wrong…

    again this is the mentality and culture of old generations of Iranians, claiming that they are right about their political views (i.e. monarchy, secularism, reza pahlavi) and that their shahanshahi shir-o-khorshid flag is the right one. its basically the same mentality with that of the republicans who claim that their country is changing and that they are losing power and want America to go back to the 1950s. similarily the monarchists are fearing they will never get power and are being aggressive to make iran go back to the 1970’s, but I only got one thing to say to you honey, iran won’t go back the ssame way, because Iranians don’t want a monarchy, they want democracy, and through their green movement and reforms, NOT ur idea of a regime change and revolution etc. iran has changed and is changing, but there is nothing you can do about it.
    Unfortunately the monarchists think they can decide for others through their aggressive methods, well they can’t because majority of Iranians inside iran reject your monarchist secularist idea of iran with reza pahlavi as king, and support green movement with mousai instead.

    Dordandeh, most people are coming to the demonstrations BECAUSE we are asking them not to bring flags and anti-regime slogans, most protests are for solidarity eith the Iranian people. The reason why the majority of the Iranians outside iran haven’t protested in these huge numbers is because the monarchists and MEK/PMOI (i.e. extremist/radicals) would always take the stage with their pre-revolutionary shahanshahi shir-o-khorshid flags chanting “marg barg jomhuriye eslamiye” (i.e. death to Islamic republic), along with their political agendas and plans, to the protests. The silent majority of Iranian expatriates have risen, they speak for the majority of Iranian peoples inside iran (i.e. their aspirations for democracy), guess what… they aren’t taking your radical monarchist or mojahedin bullshit anymore, its not about the politics, its about iran and the people.

    Funny, you wonder where the clergy is going to hide, but where did your icon’s father, reza shah pahlavi hide? That’s right he LEFT iran like a COWARD, went into exile, and you’re saying where’s the clergy going to hide? The clergy was there during the iran-iraq war…on the frontlines helping the soldiers, the monarchists and the royal family wasn’t, they were safely in exile calling for the overthrow and death of a regime that was defending iran from saddam’s army, by organizing the Iranian army – the shah and his imperial iran couldn’t do that because they were weak. By logic the monarchists were anti-iranian, not the IRI. So you ask where the clergy will hide? Well they will hide among the Iranian people because they have their support.

    Bringing down the Islamic regime? Several political views and religions will disagree with you (religions like muslims and jews and Christians who have protection and representation in government, political groups like islamists and nationalists). That’s why you won’t be able to bring down the Islamic regime down YOUR WAY, you know why? Because its IRRATIONAL and won’t succeed in making iran better. What will help make iran better is the reformist green movement, not some regime change plan or revolution which will only help the foreigners.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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