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  • 14 June 2010
  • Posted By Setareh Tabatabaie
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran

IRI’s Helping Hand

Hardline backers attacked and vandalized Grand Ayatollah Saanei's office on Sunday.

While some Iranians came out to protest on the one-year anniversary of the fraudulent presidential elections this weekend, others came out to attack Mehdi Karroubi and the offices of Grand Ayatollah Saanei and late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri.

Karroubi, who traveled to Qom on Sunday for a mourning ceremony, planned on visiting Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei, Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, and the family of late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. Shortly after arriving at the house of Saanei, a group of pro-regime backers encircled Saanei’s house, chanting slogans against Karroubi and Saanei. They also attacked Karroubi’s car, which despite being bulletproof, was still heavily damaged due to the severity of the attacks.

While these attacks were not particularly surprising — just another statistic added to the many other attacks this past year — what was surprising was the IRGC’s aid to Karroubi. The IRGC not only urged the violent crowds to disperse, but Karroubi also took refuge in a building owned by the Revolutionary Guards per their request until 4 in the morning on Monday when he finally left for Tehran. He escaped through a corridor made by the anti-riot police to ensure safe passing of Karroubi’s car.

As any Iranian who first points to an underlying conspiracy as the reason for an unnatural event taking place, I assumed it was the regime that set up the entire thing. Photos of Saanei’s office greatly resembled photos of university dormitories attacked by the Basij following the elections last year. Plain clothed thugs were hired by the regime, I thought, and then the IRGC came to the ‘rescue,’ showing the regime’s kindhearted nature, even to the opposition. It would serve for a brilliant propaganda campaign. But after fruitlessly searching on Press TV for any news of this event, I realized I was slightly off.

But only slightly. The place to look was Raja News, not Press TV. The state media was broadcasting the event, and of Karroubi’s flee from the people on domestic news sites, not international ones. The state-run media seemed to mock Karroubi for escaping a violent crowd — though I couldn’t imagine anyone in their right mind doing differently.

And all the while, the police did nothing. Shortly after Karroubi escaped, police and security forces stood by, watching while the mob attacked Saanei’s house and office and vandalized the late Montazeri’s office.  Said opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi’s son Hossein:

From the sudden gathering and the behavior of this group, it is obvious that they did not act by themselves and have orders.

This elaborate, and very organized plan, served the regime quite well. First of all, it allowed them to score some cheap points through the fear of violence.  Also, the IRGC very deliberately prevented the mob from going too far — because the last thing they want to do is create another martyr for the opposition movement.

Iran was shaken up after the death of Neda, and again, after the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri last year.  Another martyr would serve as the very flame needed to ignite the relatively smaller protests on the anniversary this year and turn them into something bigger, resembling the protests that followed the previous deaths. And so the IRGC prevented that from happening.

To be clear, this could have been a very major event — and it appears the senior leadership in the IRGC knew it.

For me, it wasn’t the violence that was surprising — thankfully, no one was hurt — it was its target: two grand ayatollahs, Montazeri and Saanei.  I was looking through the pictures of Saanei’s attacked office and saw a broken mohr.  A Mohr is a small clay tablet that Shi’a Muslims use to pray.

There’s no better illustration than this of what Montazeri meant when he said Iran is no longer Islamic nor a republic.

  • 9 September 2009
  • Posted By Lloyd Chebaclo
  • 1 Comments
  • Congress, Diplomacy, Sanctions

Iranian Opposition Leader Karroubi Against Sanctions

The outspoken opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi says he is against further Western sanctions against Iran, according to an interview with the L.A. Times published yesterday. The former presidential candidate has been at the forefront of Iran’s opposition since the disputed June 12 presidential elections, despite calls from for him to be arrested by hardline clerics, IRGC commanders, and even Ahmadinejad.

“Generally, I do not agree with any outside pressure on any government, as at the end of the day the ordinary people will suffer,” Karroubi said.

“I feel I am obliged to defend the rights of people,” Karroubi told the L.A. Times, explaining why he continues speaking out, despite the threats against him. He added, “I won’t go underground.”

Congressional leaders have expressed their intention to move forward with “crippling” sanctions as early as mid-September if Iran does not accept a U.S. invitation to talks on Iran’s nuclear program. Congress is currently considering sanctions that would expand unilateral sanctions and target companies exporting refined petroleum to Iran.

The sanctions bills have gained the support of nearly three quarters of both houses, due in part to the testimony of some Iran experts who have stated that many in the Iranian opposition would support the measure.

However, Karroubi said sanctions would not be helpful. “If foreign governments want to help, they must just stop being hostile toward us,” he said.

Iranian Opposition Leader Karroubi Against Sanctions

The outspoken opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi says he is against further Western sanctions against Iran, according to an interview with the L.A. Times published yesterday. The former presidential candidate has been at the forefront of Iran’s opposition since the disputed June 12 presidential elections, despite calls from for him to be arrested by hardline clerics, IRGC commanders, and even Ahmadinejad.

“Generally, I do not agree with any outside pressure on any government, as at the end of the day the ordinary people will suffer,” Karroubi said.

“I feel I am obliged to defend the rights of people,” Karroubi told the L.A. Times, explaining why he continues speaking out, despite the threats against him.

Congressional leaders have expressed their intention to move forward with “crippling” sanctions as early as mid-September if Iran does not accept a U.S. invitation to talks on Iran’s nuclear program. Congress is currently considering sanctions that would expand unilateral sanctions and target companies exporting refined petroleum to Iran.

The sanctions bills have gained the support of nearly three quarters of both houses, due in part to the testimony of some Iran experts who have stated that many in the Iranian opposition would support the measure.

Karroubi disagreed. “If foreign governments want to help, they must just stop being hostile toward us,” he said.

  • 9 September 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Mousavi Responds to Arrest of Top Aide

Mousavi’s 12 Announcement (h/t and translation exclusive to New York Times):

In the Name of God

The news of the arrest of dear brothers Dr. Seyyed Alireza Beheshti and Engineer Morteza Alviri, officials of the committee for following up the conditions of the post-election prisioners, and Sardar Moghaddam, from the committee of “sacrificers” for Mousavi’s electoral campaign, has created a wave of surprise and confusion amongst lovers of the Islamic System. They have been pushed to the limit in that they committed no crime except following the the path of the Revolution, defending justice in regard to the innocent blood that has been spilled, and helping the families of the innocents who were arrested after the election. Alas, they are now in prison, while those who orchestrated the recent catastrophes are free, and officials claim that they will definitely address the crimes that have been revealed. Do you think that by taking out of existence the documentation of these crimes, and arresting those who committed themselves to the rights of the victims, they will be able to address these crimes?

“One is kept in one’s son”. People’s dignity is preserved through their children. The people ask those who now claim to be the vanguard of the Islamic Revolution, in what way did you observe respect for the family of Martyr of the Revolution Ayatollah Beheshti?

People of Iran!

It is completely obvious that your attempts to return peace to our society will not be met with a wise, understanding response. Momentous days lie ahead of us. The arrest of individuals like Alireza Beheshti is a sign of the formidable events to come.  But they can be overcome, and what will remain is that which profits the Iranian people!

I give my condolences – especially for the dignity that has been stolen from Dr. Beheshti – to the children of that great Martyr, all students and followers and friends of him, and all lovers of the Islamic Revolution and Islam. And I hope to God that the legion that this action has created in the heart of the Iranian people will be cured, by rendering immortal the honor of this great family.

Mir Hossein Mousvi

  • 22 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 1 Comments
  • Iran Election 2009

Rafsanjani voices support for Khamenei

AFP has the story:

Powerful cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani urged Iran’s warring political groups on Saturday to follow the orders of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for ending the present political turmoil.

In his first such statement in direct support of Khamenei since the June 12 election, the former president said “the current situation needs everyone to observe the leader’s decrees and advice,” Iranian news agencies reported.

Rafsanjani was speaking at the start of a meeting of Iran’s top political arbitration body, the Expediency Council, which he heads.

He urged the bitterly divided groups to create “appropriate conditions to act and commit to the constitution … and confront law breakers, whatever their ideological leanings.” […]

On Saturday, Rafsanjani called for the current “excited and emotional atmosphere” to be replaced by a “wise one.”

He said authorities must follow Khamenei’s advice also on the issue of political detainees jailed in the aftermath of the election.

“The way out of the current situation is commitment to the leader’s advice on detainees of recent events and retrieving the rights of those whose rights have been violated,” he said.

Enduring America downplays the significance of the AFP story above, arguing that this is less of an event than my first take. They say “Rafsanjani’s statement is simply that he is not taking apart the system of ultimate clerical authority. It remains to be seen where he takes his next step against the political leaders in that system.”

  • 14 August 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 3 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Friday Prayer Leaders Launch Unprecedented Attack on Karroubi

Friday prayer leaders in several large cities have launched into an unprecedented attack on upon opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi. These hardline leaders are calling for his trial. Quotes from BBC Persian‘s reporting:

In the Friday prayers, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “The Judiciary has clearly announced that the sexual harassment that [Karroubi] claims has occurred is a lie, the Special Committee of the Majles also says it is a lie, everyone has said this sexual harassment is a lie.”

Mohammad Saeed, Friday prayer leader of Qom, said that the publisher of the claims of sexual abuse of the prisoners must face judgment and receive “maximum punishment.” “Unfortunately, these claims have created improper consequences and implications for the Islamic Republic.”

Ahmad Elmolhadi, Friday prayer leader of Mashhad, called Karroubi “A follower of the enemy’s system and an agent of Arrogance [the United States],” who “wants to bring shame upon the Islamic system at the national and international levels.” Therefore, Karroubi “should not be free inside this country, but he should be under legal persecution and face judgment.”

He said Mr. Karroubi must prove his claims and writings, otherwise, “We must confront him as if he were a terrorist.”

  • 14 August 2009
  • Posted By Artin
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Lawmakers Challenge Khamenei’s Qualification to Rule

The AP reports that former Reformist lawmakers have called for a probe of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that would investigate his qualification to rule following the post-election protests.

TEHRAN, Iran — A group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to a powerful clerical body in Iran to investigate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s qualification to rule in an unprecedented challenge to the country’s most powerful man over the postelection crackdown.

The call came as controversy heated up Friday over allegations that protesters detained the crackdown were tortured. Hard-line clerics across the country demanded that a senior reform leader be prosecuted for claiming that some detainees were raped by their jailers.

The former lawmakers’ appeal was to the Assembly of Experts, a body of clerics that under Iranian law has the power to name the supreme leader and, in theory, to remove him — though such a move has never been attempted. There was no immediate response from the assembly to the group’s letter, sent late Thursday.

But even if the call is ignored and is only symbolic, it was the most direct challenge to Khamenei yet in the turmoil that has embroiled Iran since its disputed June 12 presidential election. The letter breaks a major taboo among Iran’s political classes against overtly targeting Khamenei, whose position at the top of the political-clerical hierarchy has long been unquestioned.

This high-level challenge of Khamenei’s rule is unprecedented in the Islamic Republic — though it isn’t certain that government elites will take it seriously. It seems Rafsanjani’s ability to gather support amongst the Assembly of Experts, which he chairs, will be crucial to this measure’s success.

Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

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.

Sincerely,

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