• 28 August 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

We have unconfirmed reports that Ahmadinejad “lobbyists” resorted to buying a lavish dinner for Members of Parliament at a luxury hotel for Iftar dinner last night. They were trying to shore up support for Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet picks. Here is Ayande News‘ report:

A number of “vote brokers” have recently discovered a new method of bringing about the votes of Majles Representatives.

In luxury hotels of Tehran, by inviting members of Majles and members of Ahmadinejad’s proposed Cabinet, the “vote brokers” have found a new opportunity for lobbying and brokering extensively for votes.

200 guests were present, amongst them a number of Ahmadinejad’s proposed Cabinet ministers and a number of MPs.

In this Iftar dinner ceremony, where the costs totaled approximately $4 million Iranian toman, vote brokers were lobbying between proposed Ministers and members of Majles, and through making various promises to the MPs they were preparing the situation for obtaining those MPs’ votes for the Cabinet members.

It is said that a government bank picked up the costs of this particular Shah-like dinner celebration.

Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet picks have run into considerable opposition even amongst his own support base. Earlier today, Khabar Online reported that members of a core pro-Ahmadinejad group in Majles said they would reject all 3 of Ahmadinejad’s female MPs, which would ensure the 3 female Ministers wouldn’t get a vote of confidence.

Posted By Artin

    6 Responses to “Lobbyists Try to Buy Support for Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet”

  1. Mark Jenkins says:

    What’s the history of lobbying in the Islamic Republic? Also, considering their somewhat (technically) stringent laws on campaign funds, is this even legal? Regardless, this is very sad, considering people are going hungry thanks to his economics.

  2. TPD says:

    Lobbying in Iran means everything, like in the States. The strongest actors in Iranian politics are those who run the bazar, the same lobby who overthrew the Shah and who sustains the Republican system. It’s the bazaari lobby that wants to mantain the status quo, religion plays a pretty marginal role and is subject to finance: most of the clerics of the regime have a bazaari background.

    This means they feel threatened by any attempt to modernize Iran’s economy, because that means new forms of business organization, multinational corporations in their country, etc. And this was what the Shah was doing.

    That’s why strikes this time won’t succeed, because they should be done by the same people who have their privilegs guaranteed by the actual regime.

  3. Mark Jenkins says:

    I do realize there is a very large bazaari influence in the ulema, but the fact is that some amongst them who do also wish for at least a degree of reform, like Rafsanjani, do have a large following amongst the bazaaris. Additionally, the Rafsanjani faction has long been champions of introducing free market reforms to Iran, in fact, I personally think he favors this beyond any democratic or libertarian reforms. Don’t you think there is at least a faction of the bazaari class that agrees with him?

  4. A says:

    4 Million Toman is 4000 USD. Divide that by 200 and you get about 20 USD per head. I’m sorry, but a kebab on the Street in Tehran costs 5-7 USD. An “iftar in a luxury hotel” does not cost 20 USD per head, and it is certainly nothing Shah-era’ish about the whole dinner. I suggest you read about the Shah’s 2500-year celebrations held at Persepolis (in which no Iranian guests were invited btw).

  5. TPD says:

    Dear Mr. Jenkins, although the Rafsanjani faction may seem more appealing to foreigners such as you and me, politics in Iran are not as they look like.
    It’s quite a theater.

    You can’t never tell who is what, but I’m quite sure that Rafsanjani is not comfortable with any internal free trade reform (but he may be against protectionism) nor regime change. Rafsanjani is the most powerful businessman in Iran, he’s the Berlusconi of Iran if you know what I mean. Mafia. The allegations of corruption from Ahmadinejad were not a lie.
    He runs many activities in Iran and abroad, I think he’d like to liberalize just the ones he’s not involved in yet.
    Nor he’s a human rights activist, I didn’t hear him say any world in 30 years of IRI.

    About your second point: there is obviously a faction of bazaari looking for democratic reforms, but I think it’s the less influent economically.

    Please excuse my awful english, I hope to have made myself clear nevertheless.

  6. Artin says:

    A your calculations look about right.

    And you’re completely ignoring the fact that, even if it was $20USD per head, it is money allegedly coming from a government bank. For what purpose? To illegally lobby support for Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet.

    That said, I posted this article with the express disclaimer that this is an unconfirmed report. I wanted to give our readers an idea what the political conversations on the Iranian street were like running up to the Cabinet vote.

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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.

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