• 30 October 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • Events in Iran, Iranian Youth

Khamenei Criticized at Public Meeting

Mowjcamp is reporting that a student from Sharif University of Technology was apparently arrested in Iran after criticizing Ayatollah Khamenei at a public event. At least some of the comments were made while television cameras were broadcasting the event live.

The event, a meeting between the Supreme Leader and various academics, took place on Wednesday. According to the article posted on Mowjcamp,

The student directly addressed the leader criticising him and the Islamic Republic for twenty minutes. His comments were followed by occasional applause and cheers from those present. Iranian state-run TV which was broadcasting live images of the meeting was forced to stop airing the programme for some time.

Based on the information included in the article, it appears that the general thrust of the student’s twenty-minute address was that freedom of speech is under attack in Iran. Although, he also articulated dissatisfaction,

[with] what he described as a campaign to idolise the leader while questioning the “cycle of power” in the Islamic Republic and the structure of the Guardians Council and the Council of the Elite.

The report states that government security forces met the student as he was leaving the event.

Posted By Matt Sugrue

    8 Responses to “Khamenei Criticized at Public Meeting”

  1. Iranian-American says:

    A student is arrested for criticizing the Supreme Leader. The title says it all, Supreme Leader. If it was not so sad, it would be funny that there are those that try to argue that the Iranian government is not a dictatorship in the face of such reports.

  2. Ali says:


    Rumors that the student was arrested are lies. He is free, and commented on reports of his arrest as being ‘laughable’. And this post neglects to mention that he made his comments at the invitation of the Leader himself. btw, your claims about the term ‘Supreme Leader’ are false because this is not a direct translation. In farsi, the term is ‘Vali Faqi’ which means the Scholar-Ruler.

  3. Someone says:

    @ Ali

    Supreme Leader is a translation of Rahbar not Vali-e-Faqih. Rahbar is short for Rahbar-e-Enghelab-e-Eslami.

    Yes, Supreme Leader is not an exact word-for-word translation, but I think it gives a good impression of what it means to be the “Leader of the Islamic Revolution” in an Islamic Republic.

  4. Linda says:

    Amazing. Vahidnia is a truly heroic, brave person. I hope he will be okay.

  5. Lourdes says:


    I think you are either misinformed or deliberately lying.

    How exactly would someone like Khamenei try to control the damage from an incident like this? By claiming exactly what you claim.

    Still, that alone is not proof that it is not true. Do you have any evidence? Is there any way we can corroborate that what you say is true? (aside from state-run Iranian media?).

    Describing the possibility that he was locked up as “laughable” gives me a strong feeling that the source of your information is the regime itself.

    I look forward to more information from you.

  6. Someone says:

    @ Lourdes

    I think your comment was intended to be directed @Ali and not @Iranian-American.

    Anyway, FYI, I think Ali is referring to this article: http://alef.ir/1388/content/view/56152/

    According to EA (http://enduringamerica.com/2009/10/31/the-latest-from-iran-31-october-parliaments-challenge-to-ahmadinejad/) it purports to be an interview “with mathematics student Mahmoud Vahidnia … [in which he] denies that he was arrested after the incident.”

    Ali apparently eats this sort of misinformation up like fessenjoun. It’s a frequent tactic of the IRI to plant phony articles like this. They did the same sort of thing with Taraneh Mousavi to cover up her death and they’ve done it on countless other occasions as well.

    It’s no wonder the people chant “marg bar een dolateh mardom-farib” = “down with this deceiving government”.

  7. Lourdes says:

    Thank you, Someone, for the information. I am not in the least surprised by the phony articles. As the daughter of Cuban exiles, I am all too familiar with the tactics, lies, kangaroo trials, manipulation, spying, imprisonment and torture of citizens for speaking openly, etc. that is standard in totalitarian regimes.

  8. rezvan says:

    for lourdes- that is standard in all political systems including the ‘democratic’ west. the difference is they are more sophisticated the others are too crude and obvious so easy to detect.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
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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.

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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