22
Jan
08

God help us if a third round of sanctions is imposed

Akbar is a subscriber to the WHYS Daily Email in Iran and he contacted me about his concerns that further sanctions will be imposed on Iran. The UN is considering the matter this week. I asked him to write a post about that you could all read and comment on. Here it is. 

FROM AKBAR IN IRAN 

The Iranian administration is facing many setbacks. The rule of law, as we know it, is breaking down. Day to day affairs are grinding to a halt.  There are many things President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot cope with; runaway inflation; the widening income gap between the affluent and the poor; traffic congestion in Tehran; student unrest, and worst of all, two series of UN Security Council imposed international sanctions.  

The effects of embargos, bank black lists of Iranian firms and trade, and overt US manipulation are scuttling the local economy and we are beginning to feel the effects. 

There are no EU visas for our truck drivers who need to pick up factory cargo; cash on delivery for purchases which means carrying bags full of money to pay for merchandise (priced exorbitantly because of the embargo). There’s a gasoline purchase embargo because sanctions imposed on contravening intermediary banks mean they turn down Iranian credit arrangements.

We have soaring inflation with house prices having doubled in some areas in the last seven months in Tehran, and with price hikes of foodstuffs coming all the time.

These are just some of the problems facing the public.  The windfall of petro-dollars has not helped, since racketeering, profiteering and cut-throat interest rates are predominant, within the government and the business community. 

Parliamentary elections for the 290-man assembly are due 14th March. Here again, the government and Cabinet frequently sidestep constitutional guidelines. The Parliament has, in the past, focused on trivial issues, ceding control of gasoline rationing to the President.  

A hundred years after the 1907 Constitutional Movement in Iran, the issues of rule and government are still unsettled. What was originally aimed at a balance of power between the monarch and parliament is no longer the issue.  

Worse still, the Constitution which the Islamic Revolution provided for some 30 million people, no longer satisfies the needs of 72 million people.  The nature and needs of Iranian society have changed since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Thirty years after, people want cash in their pockets, jobs to go to, universal education and equal job opportunities for their children. The trouble is none of these goals have been achieved.

God help us if a third round of sanctions is imposed. We are human too after all. 

Regards, Akbar


142 Responses to “God help us if a third round of sanctions is imposed”


  1. 1 Tommaso Debenedetti
    January 22, 2008 at 15:38

    A third round of sanction to Iran will be a real tragedy for children, for old population and for all the people, and sanctions can’t stop Ahmadinejad but can increase the support to his terrible government.
    Thank you
    TOMMASO DEBENEDETTI
    Rome Italy

  2. 2 Mark
    January 22, 2008 at 17:20

    Iran is in a very dangerous situation and the government has a stark choice to make. Time for it to make that decision is rapidly running out. I don’t know what news reaches Iran but here are the fact the way I see them. Iran’s government has stated that it wants a world without America and that Israel should be wiped off the map. It supports organizations labeled as terrorists by the US and the EU such as Hezbollah and Hamas with vast amounts of money, arms, training, and sanctuary within its borders. The recent NIE report saying that Iran gave up its program to develop nuclear weapons reassures very few people because Iran continues to enrich uranium, the critical and difficult step in creating such weapons. Iran is seen as a threat to not only Israel and America but to Lebanon, nearby Arab states including Iraq and Saudi Arabia and the EU itself. It kidnapped 15 British Royal Marines in international waters and played a dangerous game with the US Navy just recently, probably coming within minutes if not seconds of an attack. As a result, it has become a pariah. Even as rabid an anti-American as Jacques Chirac gave Iran a thinly veiled warning that were France attacked, it would use nuclear weapons to retaliate. The members of the UN Security Council and many other nations in Europe and the Middle East have made it clear that a nuclear weapons armed Iran is unacceptable because of the potential threat that would pose to the world both directly and through its terrorist surrogates. Nor will those nations for whom these threats are not a direct concern such as Russia and China back Iran, ultimately if reluctantly they will see their own best interests backing whatever actions the US and EU deem necessary. That is why Russia and China will go along with another round of sanctions. This may be Iran’s last chance to avoid being attacked. There has even been talk of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran, if not by the US then by Israel as the apparent threat of a nuclear armed Iran looms nearer and larger. Whatever past injustices real or imagined Iran has suffered at the hands of those it considers enemies, it must face the reality of facts right now.

    Whether real or bluff and bluster, the appearance that Iran has or could have nuclear weapons does not make it safer, quite the opposite it would be a sure fire way to provoke being attacked. This is the mistake Saddam Hussein made with his supposed WMDs, he tried to bluff the US with threats and it backfired disastrously for him. The alternative is for Iran to open up all of its nuclear installations for continual on site inspections on demand to reassure the world it is not trying to build atom bombs and end its aggressive policy towards its neighbors and the rest of the world. This is its one and only path to re-engaging the rest of the world again. There is not much time left, some of us are surprised that the US hasn’t attacked Iran already.

  3. 3 Akbar
    January 22, 2008 at 17:22

    Thku Tommaso,
    Wonderful to hear someone cares.
    yet the situation is escalating by the day.

    Rgds,
    Akbar

  4. 4 Brett
    January 22, 2008 at 17:35

    I completely agree with Mark and hope to see the Iranian government either change its violent ways or get the boot from its citizens and a peaceful government voted into place.

    For the sake of the countless innocent Iranian citizens, I hope this happens.

    Unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be too long before the US does something else stupid in regards to Iran.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  5. 5 Akbar
    January 22, 2008 at 17:39

    Hi Mark,
    You are very eloquent on the nuclear issue which Iran is facing.
    Yet the social and civil agenda are the country’s main problem at home. The public is becoming increasingly vocal in its protests.
    Elsewhere, anyone talking about the nuclear agenda is a traitor, so also if they speak to Europeans or Americans or if they demonstrate for a free press, less government ownership of the media, less sermonizing and more modern day commodities and facilities such as internet access, freedom of the cinema industry and many other issues.
    Rgds,
    Akbar

  6. 6 Akbar
    January 22, 2008 at 17:47

    The issues in Iran are severe. Public patience is exhausted. How can we cope with 2.5 million addicts? As it emerges, the law enforcement forces have decided to be lenient on opium addicts for fear that they will turn to crack and other killers. Why not send them to an island retreat, where they can live out their lives without threat to the public and youngsters?
    The run on hard currency is a reality. There is alredy talk of lowering the parity of the dollar to local currency by some 25%, in which case expenditure can be scaled down, on paper, at least. Government agencies such as the Water Board or the Minsitry of Culture and Islamic Guidance are no longer satisfied with millions of dollars but are asking for billions.
    Where does the money go, people are asking.

    Rgds,
    Akbar.

  7. 7 Brett
    January 22, 2008 at 17:51

    Hi Brett,
    Your soft tone suggests you know more than you say.
    Frankly, the US will do nothing since the presidential primaries are eclipsing other events.
    Rgds,
    Akbar

  8. 8 Brett
    January 22, 2008 at 18:13

    Akbar,

    Please don’t believe that because the presidential primaries are being held eclipsing other events that the US isn’t capable of making poor decisions and taking unwarranted actions. Afterall and unfortunately, Bush still is president and has a record of using big news stories and events to eclipse his administrations agenda and its actions.

    Also there are plenty of new candidates in the primaries which do not have an anti-war stance and have supported continued ‘action in the middle east’. And while drastic actions may not be made by a newly elected administration, it is not to say that same administration will not begin making abrupt and uncalculated actions and decisions in the years to come.

    Since international pressures on a whole range of issues seems to have little to no relavence in the eyes of the Iranian government, how do you propose the changes that need to happen take place? What are the people doing and how are they mobilizing for change?

    Also, thank you for providing such a detailed account and answers about what is happening in Iran.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  9. 9 Akbar
    January 22, 2008 at 18:39

    Hi Brett,
    What you say is so true. Yet I cannot imagine what is going on in the states or your priorities. We may be talking at cross purposes. Thirty years after we broke off with you – incidentally, yesterday was the anniverssary of the release of the US hostages – little of consequence has happened in our relationship. We look forward to a civil agenda, civil liberties, a decent life for the younger generation. We know this and you know this, so it is a matter for the authorities to awaken to reality.
    In this region, it is first and foremost a matter of money, personal gain, short term profit, and this may be natural for a clever and genuinely dedicated, hard working public.
    Perhaps the ultimate answer is not on the battlefield, but sensible talk. You have your priorities and we have ours. Let’s hope we all get what we want.
    Rgds,
    Akbar

  10. 10 Brett
    January 22, 2008 at 19:32

    Akbar,
    Thank you for the quick response. I am still left wondering what Iranian citizens are doing to achieve their wants and needs with the Iranian government (it seems needs are not being met by both local and state government and there are issues embeded in each). I think that there are many issues internally and externally or internationally with Iran and other countries throughout the world.

    In regards to internal issues, I think little will be accomplished if authorities are left to ‘awaken to reality’, history across the world has proven this.

    -Ahmadinejad still denies the holocaust: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4527142.stm
    -And our leader Bush, if you would like to call him a leader, still denies the fact that ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, the War on Terror, whatever the propagandists would like to term it, they still deny that it was a mistake, a lie, and a failure.

    Both are strong and current indications that leaders, even ours often have problems coping with or admitting to reality and if left to do so on their own, it may take a long time to happen or not happen at all. Most are content living in a dream where they believe that if they think hard enough that something is true, it will be so, despite reality. I think Mr. Orwell did a wonderful job with this term; ‘doublethink’.

    I still believe that ultimately power lies with the people and the masses, and that any government can be changed for the better by the people its just a matter of how to accomplish such change. So what are Iranians doing to accomplish these internal changes and reforms that, from your post, it seems are needed?

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  11. 11 George
    January 22, 2008 at 22:06

    Men, I am sure this well stated discussion will reach the right ears.

    Oh, and,

    “God bless us every one!”

    (spoken as Tiny Tim waves his crutch with a winning smile)

  12. 12 John B. Min
    January 22, 2008 at 22:11

    Apparently there is a very serious problem with Iran’s president and his rule of the people.

    The sanctions are a quick pressure move to encourage Iran to participate, but it is not stopping the nuclear fission.

    The President of Iran needs to focus on the economic needs of his people. His perspective is that nuclear energy will be able to alleviate the economic strain of the people by allowing more export of fuel and less domestic consumption of resources.

    Problem is, the mass amount of resources going into nuclear energy, against the will of many wary nations, is bleeding the abilities of the government. Without the proper participation of foreign nations, like the U.S., Iran’s economy will dwindle.

    We need to work together, nation with nation and people with people.

  13. 13 Akbar
    January 23, 2008 at 03:55

    Hi Brett,
    Thks so much for your response.
    The war in Iraq ended the tyranny of Saddam, that was a good thing.
    Yet it became the cue for Iran to infiltrate Iraqi institutions in order to take over the country. That was wrong. Another iran in Iraq would be a tragedy for mankind and freedom. Imagine being forced to give lip service to a radical, fundamentalist regime in Iraq, intent on forcing itself on people. If the Iraq people were deprived the right to speak, to laugh, to dance and to drink or choose what they want to wear, it would be a calamity.
    Imagine being subitted to endless diatribes, and gibberish day after day, one sect destined to rule, live off the fat of the land, do nothing other than preach ascetic values? The tithes, trusts, endowments and the constant depletion of public coffers have made a mockery of government and paupers of the common man in the street.
    Thrity years after, and still relying on coupons? Where have the windfal of petrollars gone? Over 70 million people in Iran are at the mercy of the 500,000 brotherhood. Bootlegging and the drug trade are the most lucrative trade at present, and it wil continue, unless there are mass turnouts.

    Rgds,
    Akbar

  14. 14 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 09:25

    Hi Brett,
    There is talk of sanctions from Berlin. If indeed this is to have any effect, it must include blockades of seaports, land and air routes. Also, local currency is useless paper issue, so before there is a run on the American dollar, it is as well to make this clear.
    If indeed the international community has decided to act, comprehensive meassures including satellite black-outs cannot be ruled out.
    All told, a ban on our cloack and dagger fraternity may after all yield results if adopted unanimously, with immediate effect, so that we know what is in store and who to avoid.

    Rgds,
    Akbar

  15. 15 Gary
    January 23, 2008 at 09:43

    Perhaps the real question should be…..Why are there any sanctions imposed on Iran at all ?

    Surely any country should be able to adopt a civil nuclear power strategy if it wants. And many, including the UK, does. There is no evidence I’ve seen to suggest that Iran is following a military nuclear ambition rather than a civil one.

    Since there is an international scrutiny body (IAEA) for nuclear development, surely suspicions regarding a military capability can be able to be clarified. If Iran would accept inspections, surely the problem would not exist at all.

    I don’t believe there is any danger of an invasion or attack on Iran. After Iraq, even gung ho Bush and USA would have problems finding allies and they will not have the will or capability to go it alone.

  16. 16 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 13:26

    Akbar,
    Thank you for such a lengthy discussion on this topic. Its been quite informative and a pleasure speaking with you. It is nice to hear and discuss a firsthand account and not have it told through the eyes of US media institutions. I wish the best for you and the Iranian people.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  17. January 23, 2008 at 13:34

    Akbar: My biggest worry is that the Republicans and Democrats could take advantage of whatever situation in Iran to invade it. After all, the USA is also in a position of weakness. Personally, Iran is in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that the USA would talk with Iran and lift the sanctions against it. Roberto.

  18. 18 Mark
    January 23, 2008 at 14:15

    Gary;
    It is extremely dangerous to threaten the United States of America. If Americans forgot the lesson about ignoring materializing threats and neutralizing them they got at remote Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, they got a refresher course 60 years later in New York City their largest city and Washington DC their capital city on September 11, 2001. And while many in the general public seem to have forgotten that day because the government has foolishly tried to have the nation carry on with business as usual when it is actually engaged in a war for its survival against radical fundamentalist Islam, the government itself hasn’t forgotten. In 1776 the People of the United States made it clear to the governments of the leading world powers of the time that although they were a small weak nation they would not be dictated to from the outside. They meant it then and as the leading world power they mean it now. The US will go it alone if it has to. Ultimately, whatever help it gets from its “coalition partners” is more in the nature of political support then actual military assistance. Although appreciated and welcome, it is usually of marginal importance, the eventual outcome would be the same without it. The nature of an attack the US would launch against Iran’s nuclear and other military and industrial infrastructure should it find this necessary to protect its own security will not require approval by other nations and the resources will be found one way or another to get the job done. President Bush has said as much and Congress and I think most of the US public believes it. Iran’s government should be under no illusions that the US is too preoccupied elsewhere or too isolated lacking international consensus or too lacking in resolve to act unilaterally. That would be a unwise strategy, a fatal mistake.

  19. 19 Rashid Patch
    January 23, 2008 at 14:15

    Iran is completely within it’s rights to have a civilian nuclear power program.

    There is also no moral principle under which Iran is not within it’s rights to have a military nuclear capability. After all, if France, or the U.K., can possess nuclear weapons without the U.S. being alarmed, why not Iran? Iran has never been at war with the U.S.; both France and the U.K. have been. Is anyone bold enough to argue that Iran is “less civilized”?

    As long as the western nations refuse to acknowledge that Israel has a nuclear program which is devoted primarily to offensive weapons, and acknowledge that Israel has threatened and continues to threaten all of it’s neighbors, and deals with that – then any sanctions against Iran are blatant hypocrisy.

    Nuclear non-proliferation is an admirable goal. It has stagnated for decades because of continued western refusal to address the problem of Israel’s nuclear weapons.

  20. 20 Steve/Oregon
    January 23, 2008 at 16:57

    Mark after our invasion of Iraq I believe everyone knows better than to play games with the U.S. and it is simple as to why we need to have other countries support for a war. Most of our supplies for war come from other nations due to Bush’s great policy of exporting our jobs we are becoming more and more dependant on the world if the U.S. entered a war that the UN did not agree with 1 simple round of sanctioned would grind that war to a halt in no time. I do not believe the soldiers of America would follow our leaders into a war. How do I know this you ask? Simple I am a 24y/o medically retired Iraq war veteran and after a 15 month tour and 5 months home before my 2nd tour I can tell you from a soldier that knows many soldiers and marines there is already great amounts of unrest in our military.
    As far as more sanctions against Iran I think maybe necessary if the country does not willingly submit to IAEA inspections. Iran needs to have there program monitored because of its aggressive history within the region and with the U.S. with the current situation in Iraq; Iran could essentially hit 2 birds with one nuke in Iraq.
    I remember a while back Russia offering to run the nuclear plants in Iran I don’t remember what happened to that idea but it sounds like a good one to me.
    I am sorry Akbar but essentially the whole reason for sanctions are to cause civil unrest inside the nation in hopes of the people applying pressure to its government to copulate to the U.N. I do not wish pain and/or misery on any people and I know as an American that has everything I could want or need it seems over righteous to be speaking of this. If you are feeling the pain from these sanctions express that to your government. If that does not help roust the government and put one in place that you feel will represent you better.
    Oh by the way. What to the Iranian people feel about there nuclear program?

  21. 21 Mark
    January 23, 2008 at 18:15

    Rashid Patch;

    “Iran is completely within it’s rights to have a civilian nuclear power program.”

    That is every nation’s right…if it can afford the cost of it.

    “There is also no moral principle under which Iran is not within it’s rights to have a military nuclear capability.”

    Morality has nothing to do with it, security does. The result of a nuclear attack on any nation, even the United States would be so devastating that it would never be the same. That is why the threat presented by Iran and other rogue states is so unacceptable. That is why it cannot be allowed to have one. Iran has given many nations including the US and Israel good reason to believe that if it had one, it would use it. None of the governments of nuclear nations you cited has ever said another nation it considers an enemy should not exist. The problem of Iran and the world is whether or not those who feel they could be the targets of Iran’s bomb will accept the risk and wait to see what happens once it has one. The answer is almost certainly not, the only rational course open is to prevent Iran from obtaining them by non military means if at all possible, but if that fails then by whatever military means must be used.

    The nuclear weapons non proliferation treaty allows nations to exploit the possibilities of developing nuclear power peacefully without creating an alarming threat because by keeping its programs open for inspection by a trusted international agency the IAEC, potential targets of weapons can be confident they are not putting themselves at increasing risk by not acting pre-emptively. This is where Iran crosses the line. Many nations are not reassured, in fact they are becoming increasingly alarmed. Faced with this dilemma, at least some will act while they still can from their point of view.

    I think the world has forgotten just how deadly and powerful these weapons are. With the availability of worldwide television coverage, it might be worth the price of releasing some radioactive fallout to demonstrate the destructiveness of them by detonating one above ground on a remote island as a reminder of what this all means. That could have a sobering effect on some governments like those in Iran and North Korea who are acting recklessly now. If nothing else, it would show them what they could face in retaliation.

  22. 22 Ray
    January 23, 2008 at 18:24

    I agree that Iran has the right to nuclear power program, similar to all other countries in the treaty.

    I also believe that the Issue of Iran and its rights as a country, the peole of Iran, and the ruling government although tied and related, is in some cases independent. For example it is not right for the country and the people of Iran to loose some of its rights just because super powers do not trust the ruling government.

    It is also critical for the super powers to learn from their past mistakes and think about a uniform policy about their definition of Democracy and Democratic Countries in Middle East. Unfortunately siding with some corrupt regimes has created an unhelathy environment and made it easy for extremist to define the entire policies of the western countries in a negative way.

    I believe it is the responsibilty of the educated and experienced professional, I believe Akbar is one of those people, is to be unbiased and try to educate the Iranian people through available means and methods and existing rules and regulation, such that changes toward democracy can be made from within the system and the country. In other words Iran does need another revolution or imported democracy, it is the responsibility of our peole to have a united voice against corruption and profittering and all other problems and issues in Iran.

    I recommend to start having that united voice for the Iranians living in a democracy, for example for the Iranians living in US to have a united voice. For them to have a united voice, and be active in the civic society in US, as well as have united voice fighting for the well being of people and country of Iran.

  23. 23 Thomas Murray
    January 23, 2008 at 22:07

    Have patience, Akbar.

    I believe the best thing to have happened to Iran is our invasion of Iraq.

    I think the only reason our military “surge” is working is back-channel diplomatic discussions with Iran and Syria to help cool down the resulting insurgent violence (per the “Iraq Study Group Report”) in Iraq.

    But there are still hardliners in the U.S. who advocate a tougher policy against Iran. These men are tragically deluded. I must admit that I do not like Islamic totalitarianism, either, but, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned (apocryphally, invoking a common thrift shop rule) before the Iraq invasion, “If we break it, we’ve bought it.”

    Well, the U.S. has certainly “broken it.”

    No reasonable man can be against Iran’s peaceful need for nuclear power. Yet they are visible and vocal in the U.S. and Europe.

    But if Iran were more open (the diplomatic word is “transparent”) and tolerant of other ideas, more reasonable men in our culture will meet you half-way. And progress will accelerate.

    I realize that Islamic culture feels so threatened, that it feels a single book can harm it. I have a feeling that — like the creationists’ attack on Darwin’s Natural Selection in the States — the “Quran” — like Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” — is iron-clad strong enough to survive any critic. The Muslim world must rise above the fear that their faith might be damaged by mere critics. (Try reading Mark Twain’s “Letters from the Earth,” that is, if it is not too dangerous to possess it in an ultra-religious state.)

    We Americans have “bought it,” and we are going to need friends to repair the damage. And that means eventually ameliorating relations with Iran.

    Be safe. Stay warm. –Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

  24. 24 Ray
    January 23, 2008 at 22:12

    Correction for my previous posting;

    In other words Iran does “NOT” need another revolution or imported democracy, it is the responsibility of our peole to have a united voice against corruption and profittering and all other problems and issues in Iran.

  25. 25 Count Iblis
    January 23, 2008 at 23:30

    I think that sanctions are unlikely to work and may even lead to war. The Iran leaders want to make sure they master the technology to enrich uranium on an industrial scale and sanctions will only make them more determined to do this asap.

    Sanctions imposed on Iran because of Iran’s nuclear ambitions are actually very bad for democracy in Iran. We in the West have long forgotten what actually makes our democracy work. It has nothing to do with elections, parliament or any other institutions. These are just the visible institutions. The crucial ingredient is the willingness of people to sit down, discuss and find a compromize. It is then possible to hold elections to elect a government.

    Therefore, if Iran is ever to become fully democratic, that can only happen if the conservative people, the powerbase of the current government, will be able to accept the results of completely free elections. All this fuss about Iran’s nuclear activities from the West is mobilizing the conservatives in the wrong direction. It makes them suspicious about people who are pro-West or who want a different course on the nuclear issue.

    I think the best analogy is with what happened in the US presidential debates in 2004. When Kerry suggested that the US should consult with her allies before invading a country, the Neo-Cons translated this as: “Kerry says that France should have a veto power over US foreign policy”. Arguably Kerry lost a lot of votes on this issue.

    So, this was basically about the “right” of the US to invade any country as they please, and in Iran the issue is basically the right to put their own uranium in their own centrifuges to make fuel for their own nuclear powerplants. Both are nationalistic issues and in such cases the conservatives who argue in favor of self determination over the objections of foreign powers always win.

  26. January 24, 2008 at 05:21

    clearly the issue with the us/israel led sanctions are hurting the little people as well as arabs clearly you have only one option that works [the same one causing your problem]

    you have to form your own aipac lobby ,you have to play hard ball with all nomenees like aipac does to get the president to do the stuff he gets told to do by aipac and the neo con lobby only to do it so the sanctions stop

    if the senitor in question rejects supporting your cause [ie leave us alone] do as they aipac do , activly work on not getting them elected

    [simply by advertisements ,. negative][and getting your guy up in polling stats, its how the game is played and financing and promoting those accepting your bribes [sorry cause]

    if you dont want to play the game [its rules are clear
    for 30 million you get a return close to 1000 million, your just not playing the lobby game right ,its just how politricks works bro

    get your mossad equivelent to dig up [you dont even have to make it up] the wmd evidence of israels nukes and chemical weopens , buy a few news net works ,a few news paper ,

    play the game ,it costs pennies and in 10 years time you too will get 1.3 trillion us dollars of aid and un veto’s,you have to learn to play the game [only cash , publicity , and publicity releasing [pr] promotion works]

    its all how the game is played [its not ursery to get gain its politics ] soon you too will have your own lobby [its the only thing that really works]

    buy up some media and on the ground research/lobby [bag men] and get your list of friendly commentators into pre packaged ready to air pr spin and your on your way to getting usa to rebuild your country, for cents on the dollar return ,
    lobby its great mate
    become a part of the american dream
    dont accept the nightmare]

  27. 27 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 24, 2008 at 11:54

    Hi Akbar here
    For all that has been said on constitutional rule, democracy and toleration, a curb of power is essential to keep government in check and make sure common sense prevails.
    Indiscriminate toleration is a licence for repression.
    Some 80% of parliamentary candidates in West Azerbaijan Province in Iran were eliminated yesterday by the Iranian Interior Ministry. The vetting process for the 14th March general elections has begun.
    1 – It is a mockery for the President and his men to eliminate parliamentary candidates. The electorate must decide, otherwise why bother with elections at all!
    2 – In Iran, Parliament submits legislation for the approval of the President. Surely, it should be the other way round. Bills and legislation are debated in Parliament and signed into law – whether the President likes it or not.
    3 – If the President can legislate, implement rules and regulations, withdraw cash at random, why have a Parliament?
    4 – On paper, the government employs 35 % of total manpower. In actual figures, over
    3 million are on the government payroll. Why the burden on government? Where is free enterprise? Why dampen individual incentives?
    Ineffective government, embezzlement and sleaze are on the rise in Iran. The Administration is caught in endless controversies within itself, with the clergy and the opposition, to say nothing of mounting public discontent. There must be open debate, in and out of Parliament. We cannot live under the constant threat of persecutions and incarceration by the state. Unless there are safeguards for free and fair elections, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, Iran as we knew it will soon disappear from the face of the earth.
    Rgds,
    Akbar

  28. January 24, 2008 at 17:54

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    The nuclear programme of Iran is posed as a threat to the world. A stable country can’t be a threat to the world whether it is nuclear or non-nuclear. It is for this reason that no country wants to demolish its development through war that is acquired through hardships of ages. However, it is apparent to everyone that a nuclear iran would decrease American influence in the region.

    Also some statements of Ahmidi-Nijad are highlighted to make people believe that Iran is really aggressive towards Israel. But, it is nothing more than a “Psychological Cold War” between Iran and Israel.

    Is Iran more unsafe against nuclear Israel and America or vice versa? Would someone answer this question?

    With Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  29. 29 Thomas Murray
    January 24, 2008 at 21:19

    Dear Mr. Muhammad Asim Munir,

    I believe Iran couldn’t be safer right now.

    I think it is becoming clearer to policy-makers in Washington that the only way to attain stability in the Middle East is for ALL parties to sit down with each other and work cooperatively.

    I know, the situation with Israel is problematic among Arab and Persian states, but it is there now, and so the matter must be met with reconciliation and, eventually, entente.

    The reason for friendly U.S. relations with Israel is in the first sentence of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    Since its adoption in 1791, we’ve taken great pride in our tolerance of all faiths. About 10 years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Caribbean Voodoo cult in Florida had the right to sacrifice (i.e.,kill) chickens as part of their religious ceremonies, which ticked-off our resident animal rights advocates. But what can you say about a nation state who elected as its 16th president a man with the first name of Abraham.

    Not all Americans have always practiced such tolerance. Like any culture, we’ve had our ugly moments — ones of hatred, bigotry and intolerance. But when we observed the consequence of Adolph Hilter’s policy against the Jews, we were horrified. It was “the last straw” so to speak (the full metaphor is “the last straw that broke the camel’s back”). Long story short, that’s the reason for the strong U.S. support of Israel.

    If Pres. Amadinajad has truly embarked on a “Psychological Cold War” with Israel, then, that would actually be an improvement.

    As I said in a previous post here, no reasonable man would deny any country the peaceful use of nuclear energy. But not all our policymakers behave with such reasonableness.

    It is pretty certain that a democrat will win the next U.S. presidential election; which is not necessarily good news, as democrats feel the need to take a much harder diplomatic line than their republican counterparts. But a new democratic presidential administration will be acompanied by more liberal policy analysts — ones who will realize that a cooperative peaceful Middle East is better than a discordant vituperative one.

    Unless the neocons in Washington are less intelligent and less reasonable than I, and unless there is another mass terrorist attack against the United States, prospects for Iran should be getting better.

    I hope this helps answer your question.

    Respectfully yours,

    Tom Murray, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

  30. 30 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 26, 2008 at 09:52

    Helpless Bystanders in Palestinian – Israeli Conflict?
    Government sponsored mass parades and demonstrations in Iran routinely yell “Death to America” and “Down with Israel.” The highest authority in the land applauds Hamas, admires their prowess, and urges: “Fight to the finish, like a martyr.” Palestinian lads oblige, blow themselves up and everyone else, to become martyrs.
    But why pit Hamas against Fath? Wouldn’t it be simpler to bring them to the negotiating table? Why create hell for everyone everywhere? Why fan the flames of war in Iraq, Afghansitan or Lebanon? Shouldn’t we focus on chronic inflation, housing shortages and unemployment in our own backyard? No freedom of speech, no freedom of the press, can’t eat or drink what we want, how long is this to go on? Why can’t we live decent, peaceful lives like everyone else around the world?
    But a word of comfort from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking to the media at the Presidential Compound on Wednesday: “There’s plenty of freedom in Iran.” Government spokesman Gholam – Hossein Elham dismissed the third round of UN Security Council sanctions on Tuesday, adding: “UN Security Council handling of Iran’s nuclear issue is unwarranted.”

  31. 31 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 27, 2008 at 08:01

    Fair, Free Elections in Iran
    TEHRAN – Iran’s learned patriarchs are reluctantly coming to terms with the third round of UN Security Council sanctions. The government has got the jitters, wondering where to turn next, amid increasing public discontent at profiteering, flight of capital, and a third wave of snow and cold. The government privatization plan has fallen flat, according to state owned radio today. Some 80% of industry is in government hands, much of it idle or at a standstill, a burden on public funds. Stocks in profitable operations such as aluminum and steel plants failed to attract private buyers.
    Parliament is in its last days before recession, in the run up prior to nationwide parliamentary elections on 14th March. Parliamentary Spokesman Gholam-Ali Hadad-Adel belatedly plucked courage to denounce iron-fisted measures by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The President was accustomed to dictate to the assembly.
    Tabloid headlines are also focusing on the forthcoming elections. Opposition leaders and politicians are outraged at vetting measures, and appraisal of would-be-candidates. Former Iranian president Seyed Mohammad Khatami dashed home from Davos on Friday upon hearing that several of his faithful were eliminated. Morteza Haji, Issa Kalantari, Ahmad Khoram, former ministers of Education, Roads and Transport, and Agriculture, respectively, have been banned, before the race begins.
    Ali Reza Afshar, the head of the Electoral Supervisory Board at the Interior Ministry, outlined eligibility provisions for candidates on Friday:
    Electoral Supervisory Board Vetting Guidelines
    • Strict adherence to Holy Islamic Republic of Iran.
    • Belief in Constitution & Enlightened Supreme Religious Leader.
    • M.A. or M.Sc. Degree.
    • No record of wrongdoing at Electorate Commission.
    • Candidates must be sound of hearing, sight and speech.
    • Minimum 30 years, maximum 70 years of age.

    Automatic Ban
    1. Candidates who held public office or contributed to the former regime.
    2. Land speculators.
    3. Members of banned groups and organizations.
    4. Former enemies of the regime.
    5. Criminal record.
    6. Smugglers.
    7. Mentally unstable.
    8. Members of City and Local Councils in the former regime, Free Masons, Members of former Rastakhiz and Iran – Novin Party, Parliamentarians and Senators of the former regime.
    9. Profiteers & racketeers.

  32. 32 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 28, 2008 at 10:20

    Give Us Freedom

    TEHRAN – Former presidents Seyed Mohammad Khatami, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi met on Saturday to lament the elimination of two thirds of their candidates for the 14th March parliamentary elections. The Electoral Supervisory Board has axed two thirds of reformist candidates from the race.
    Mehdi Karroubi, sprightly, outspoken Reformist, is best remembered for his acquiescence during the Sixth Parliament. He could have done so much for freedom, but didn’t, and lives to regret it. Lip service to the prevailing order and apathy resulted in power abuse today. A prelate and publisher, he promised to redress grievances of all camps on state owned TV on Sunday.
    Former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami, a man of hearts, adept of Plato, author of “Dialogue Among Civilizations,” voiced alarm at vetting procedures on Saturday, and added: “It is impossible to contest the elections.”
    The prevailing attitude in Iran is that if government is sound, why change it? But change we must, and pave the way for a new and better life for our people. Battered and struggling, thirty years after, we lag behind the rest of the world.
    The political process means implementing the rule of law, universal law. We must set terms of tenure for our officials, define salaries according to duties. US President George Bush gets a salary, so does the Queen of England: But who gets what in our country? Let the people know, the public has a right to know

  33. 33 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    January 30, 2008 at 15:06

    ‘They Come by Appointment’
    TEHRAN – Remember the popular TV series in the 1950s where major personalities of the day were interviewed? Well, this time Edith Piaf is back in the form of a movie of here life. I liked her, a voice in the wilderness.
    I’m also a great fan of the late Mo Mowlam, the former Northern Ireland secretary. She was all smiles and full of grace when she came to Tehran. The celebrities and personalities we get from Britain are decorated, either before or after the trip; it is part of the ritual; it comes with the job, we are told. We have the PM’s ear, they usually say, but not the lady. She was alert, and immediately sensed something was wrong, but she was too polite to blow the whistle. We have a lot of healing to do.
    No citations for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but sanctions are on the way. EU is also following local events and focusing on the Electoral Supervisory Board which has made a mockery of the vetting process in the run up to March 14th parliamentary elections. Members of the outgoing assembly have also banned banners and posters from the election campaign. Add social unrest, public dissatisfaction, lack of clarity in the civil agenda, absence of political emancipation, or effective parliamentary rule, no wonder UN Security Council is fretting further action, over and above the nuclear problem.

  34. 34 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    February 2, 2008 at 12:13

    Iranian Privatization in Doldrums

    TEHRAN – Bank Melli of Iran, affiliated to the Central Bank and Bank Saderat are acting as governors and proprietors of many national industries. It is a form of long-term receivership. The government calls it the private sector. Bankers know nothing of the day to day management and running of these plants. Every so often, a man is sent to inspect the books, and that’s it.
    One prominent Spanish leather manufacturer was asked to take over a tannery in Iran, and asked: “How much?” What he meant, was how much he would be paid. He said the plant required modernization and he needed skilled labour. The plant needed new machinery, cash to buy chemicals and raw skins to be processed into wet blues. He proposed sending the semi-processed skins to European tanneries where the end leather would be produced. He was right. Lip-service to privatization, as is the case in Iran, is not enough. The total value of the Tehran Stock Exchange is approximately $500 million.
    As early as the 1970s, Communist China opted for change and free enterprise. Russia after the fall of the Soviet, had no alternative, and was forced to adopt a market economy. Much of Eastern Europe is following the guidelines of the EU.
    There are so many ways to revamp and modernize the Iranian economy and industry, but dependents of the new and old administrations will not release their stranglehold. They won’t go peacefully, although they are a burden on the public purse. The oligarchy controls the energy sector, the services and banks. Parliament has done nothing to alleviate the plight of the masses during its four year term.
    Countless auxiliary agencies have outlived their use. There is no need for the Expediency Council, Guardian Council and Assembly of Experts. They impose their will and squander public revenues. It would be easier to start at the top where the sacrosanct, revered Seyd Ali rules unopposed, amid sycophant and faithful. Does he need countless endowments and trusts so that he can disburse hundreds of millions of dollars to Iraq and Lebanon? Surely humility and frugality is the badge of his tribe.

  35. 35 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    February 4, 2008 at 07:20

    Iranian Vice – President Says: “There’s No Equality of Sexes”

    TEHRAN – Zohre Tabibzadeh-Nouri, Iranian Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs, said on Saturday: “There’s no such thing as equality of the sexes,” and added: “Male doctors must not attend female patients.” Elsewhere, the official emphasized: “Equal job opportunity must be assessed according to prevailing customs and the situation on the ground.” She promised the government would shortly outline restrictions and priorities for women in the work place, accordingly:

    Allowed
    • Sanitary, health, Women patient care, advanced medical treatment including maternity, birth control, women’s journals and media, emergency relief operations and welfare, – e.g. Red Crescent Society .
    Prohibited
    • Active service in the Armed Forces, mining, underwater welding, repairs on deep sea high power cables, chemical factories, work on board ships, long term travel and long haul transport.
    Men and Women
    • Work in agricultural sector, banking, service sector, office, factory or workshops on equal basis. No priority will be given to women since working men provide for the family.

  36. 36 Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch
    February 4, 2008 at 08:14

    Revolution Must Save Face

    TEHRAN – Every high-powered delegation coming to Iran from Africa receives US $1 million – US $2 million, but why? Iran is trying to save face and keep appearances in order to hide rampant nepotism. Here as in Africa, repression and force keep the Administration in power.
    At one time, the man from Timbuktu in Tehran – Bamako, Mali – was no longer satisfied with Roasts and Kebabs. He asked for Caviar on the menu.
    Perhaps we are in the same predicament as Kenya and Chad. Unless Iran takes the plunge and the government makes a clean break with the past, nothing will be done. Commerce, trade and the banks are in a rut. Official borrowing rates stand at 15%, – how stupid can you get!
    No-one has the guts to make a move. This is only the tip of the iceberg – after all, there was a revolution and we must save appearances. The windfall of petrodollars has added to Iran’s problems. The new wave of directors and senior managers are less reluctant to relinquish power than the old school. You are paid for keeping things going, regardless of efficiency or profit. Who cares if you’re making a loss? Balance the books; that’s the secret! But Keep the lid on. It is called stagflation.
    Government agencies imported a couple of million tons of sugar five months ago; but it wasn’t needed. The country had a surplus production last year. So what! The commission was good, and that’s that.
    Government banks hold hard currency. Merchants turn to banks for hard currency, make a kill, share the profits! What’s wrong with that! Monopoly is the rule here. Importer, wholesaler, retailer are often one and the same person in Iran.
    Economists and authorities on the subject deplore the lack of free enterprise and adverse effects of government monopolies. The relationship of government to trade in Iran must change. It all adds up to economic stalemate, lack of opportunity, autocratic rule. The power base of government has eroded.
    President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad has become a laughing stock. Sauntering up and down the country, he has been running away from problems. Scathing criticism has been leveled at the government from all sides. He is responsible for persecution of academics, imprisonment of student activists, teachers and members of Tehran Vahed Bus Syndicate. He has been ruthless in his repression of the opposition. He makes a mockery of freedom!

  37. 37 Kelly
    February 4, 2008 at 17:34

    With our penchant for imposing embargoes and santions on those we disagree with politically, why would any nation consider allowing us control of their primary energy sourse? That would decimate their national security! I am sure no other nation would allow that, particularly a western one.

    Kelly
    Lebanon, Oregon

  38. 38 Akbar
    February 29, 2008 at 04:17

    Hi Brett, Steve, Mark & Patch

    Chronic Inflation Cripples Iran Government

    TEHRAN — Perhaps the greatest threat to the corrupt, incompetent Iranian government is public awareness. The welfare state has become a nightmare. Commodities are in short supply. People are cursing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the streets. Soaring inflation is cutting hard into monthly salaries. Nearing the Iranian New Year on March 1st, merchants are doing roaring trade and selling to the highest bidder, but the majority of families are in despair.
    Prices of dairy products have increased by as much as 70% in the last six months. Chicken and lamb are in short supply at Tehran Municipality sponsored markets. Inflation is cutting by as much as 10% or 15% into monthly salaries.
    Windfall of petrodollars has contributed to inflation. Cut-throat interest rates,
    – officially 20% to 25% – doesn’t help. Absence of investment opportunities has also aggravated the problem. The parity of local currency to the US dollar has decreased a hundred and fifty-fold over the last 29 years.
    Cajoled and touted as a champion of the people at the outset of his term by Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Ahmadinejad has become a uisance and a threat to the ageing clergy. They now fear for their own skins as discontent is mounting. Ahamdinejad has still over a year left in office, but can he make it?

  39. March 3, 2008 at 08:20

    Grueling Task Awaits Ahmadinejad Back Home

    TEHRAN – The international media gave top billing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his visit to Baghdad on Sunday, but the event hardly got a mention on Monday morning news bulletins in Tehran. State-sponsored networks concentrated on Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei instead. Ahmadinejad is, at best, his hand-picked, personal choice, but no more.
    Elsewhere, can Iran live with the presence of Western powers in Baghdad or the littoral states of the Persian Gulf? That is the question.
    Najaf, Karballa, Kazemein and Sameera near Baghdad are traditional pilgrimage sites for Iranian shi’ites, it is true. If Ahmadinejad could procure easy travel arrangements for Iranian pilgrims, it would help. Overland routes between the two states are hazardous.
    Iraq under President Jalal Talabani is very different to Iraq under former dictator Saddam Hussein. Talebani, a Kurd and his counterpart Massoud Barzani rule supreme in northern Iraq, but who has the last say over the whole country? Iran may curry favour with Talabani for the time being, but he won’t always be there. And then, Tehran is no champion of the Kurds, sunnis, nor Arabs.
    Iran is awaiting nationwide parliamentary elections on March 14th. The approximately US $72 billion annual budget was ratified on Wednesday although no-one is satisfied. Ahmadinejad was accused of heavy handedness in dictating terms to parliament, but that doesn’t worry him, since there is no parliament anymore, he told TV viewers on Sunday. He is enjoying the limelight while it lasts, but can he grapple with the problems back home?

  40. March 5, 2008 at 06:36

    UN Dampens Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

    TEHRAN – The third round of UN Security Council sanctions on Iran dealt a deft blow to Iranian nuclear ambitions. Resolution 1803 is another package of restrictions targeting banking and trade between Iran and the outside world.
    Iran is already suffering from chronic inflation and unemployment. According to latest figures, trade with EU suffered 11.3% decline between 2005-2006 and even further in 2007.
    The deluge of surplus oil revenues on the local market has created havoc and generated hefty price hikes in commodity prices. Worse still, bus loads of youngsters from the provinces arrive in Tehran every day and aggravate unemployment, which currently tops 20%. In the provinces, it is between 30% to 70%, depending on local agriculture and industry. Many youths have turned to opium, adding to the current 2.4 million addicts.
    Although the current sanctions are intended to end Iranian nuclear tests and uranium enrichment, it has unnerved the public. The mood in Tehran is tense and threatening.
    Ten days to go to nationwide parliamentary elections, stringent government regulations are in place to block opposition and Reformist candidates from reaching the legislature. Some factions are urging students to come onto the streets, the National Trust Party of former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi is advocating economic stability and diplomatic forays in foreign relations, if and when it comes to power.
    Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, the outgoing Speaker of the 7th Parliament failed to curb the excesses of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Will the new Parliament appease the international community which is alarmed at Tehran’s intransigence and come to terms with the reality on the ground, remains to be seen.

  41. March 9, 2008 at 06:40

    Dwindling Fortunes of Women and Children in Iran

    TEHRAN – State owned radio and TV are urging government employees to pick up their rations prior to the Iranian New Year on March 21st, – or is it March 14th nationwide parliamentary elections? Conveniently, for the ruling Fundamentalists, 35% of the total labour force is employed by the government. If they know what’s good for them, they know what to do.
    Also, over 20 million Iranian women are eligible to vote, but alas, battered and weary through the last 30 years, it is unlikely they will make much difference. The majority are trying to make ends meet, and can be seen at local markets on most weekdays. Clutching their veils, dragging their young ones behind, they try to balance the family budget. A musty smell of weariness and cooking permeates the air where they stand.
    Conditions are no better in the provinces where the arduous tasks of agriculture and animal husbandry are performed by women. In their spare time, they will be at the loom, weaving a rug and selling it in order to supplement the family income. You may see them in any village, with bloated faces and blank looks, while their husbands do some hard thinking over a drag of opium or a cup of tea at the wayside café.
    It is true that women are battered, harassed and persecuted in Iran. It is an ancient rite, propagated by the harem mentality. It persists in the countryside and towns. The men of the bazaar cherish this tradition and keep their women ignorant and illiterate. It gives them peace of mind and tranquility. Most women don’t even know where their husbands work.
    The plight of children is no better. Private schools account for 30% of primary and secondary schools; but the cost is increasingly high and out of the reach of the average working class family. The curriculum, both at private and government schools is tough. It is a constant process of cramming. Children are unhappy in and out of school. There’s little sports or recreation. Altogether, children try to avoid their parents as much as possible. Beware the Ides of March. They see there is a flicker of hope on the horizon, but where is it?

  42. March 25, 2008 at 13:48

    Parliament Must Shelve State Control

    TEHRAN – In Iran, we have yet to come to terms with the notion that parliament is the supreme arbiter of our affairs and regulator of our lives. Establishing the rule of law is half the task on the road to good government. Every other department, whether foreign policy, trade, Tehran Municipality Council and all other town and provincial councils come under this category. This is the rule of law, for the four corners of Iran.
    The party system, particularly in America, has come under attack as an unnecessary burden on the electorate and an obstacle to good government. The process distances parliamentarians from their constituents. Yet it is unavoidable since without it, the order of debate in any assembly would be difficult. With a clear division of the legislature into the government and the opposition, the house can proceed to debate, regulate and legislate, as circumstances require.
    Unfortunately, the genteel sensibilities of the Eastern man do not allow him to speak plainly. We swear by God and Country, but this has little to do with good governance. Parliament decides what the government must do, not the other way round, as we have it now. A cabinet outside parliament has no power to do anything, let alone legislate, approve its own motions, enact laws and demand cash from the Central Bank. No wonder we are in the soup with all the loose money around. The windfall of petrodollars has proved our undoing, since it goes straight to the exchange market in the bazaar.
    The money supply must be carefully regulated, otherwise inflation sets in. We are asking for trouble. Local currency has become worthless paper issue. The Central Bank could, instead, revamp the value of local currency, and bolster the economy. There have also been accusations of money laundering. Without strict controls, the current practice will further erode our monetary system and destroy our credit rating with international banks.
    Iran is a long way away from a market economy. There is a lot of talk about privatization but 70% of industry is in government hands. State owned oil and gas, state owned radio, state owned TV, state owned banks, state owned insurance, state owned airlines, state owned railways, state owned schools and universities, subsidized sugar, flour, rice, meat and cooking oil are a disgrace in this day and age. No wonder we are in a rut and the government is grinding to a standstill.

  43. April 10, 2008 at 08:00

    Iran Health Minister Rejects 40% Medical Cost Increases

    TEHRAN – Kamran Baqeri-Lankerani rejected demands from doctors, specialists and private hospitals for fourty percent charge increases on Wednesday. Health Ministry officials are also disputing tenfold cost differences for health care and surgery at private hospitals and state owned establishments.
    The Iranian health care system is in urgent need of overhaul. During the Eight Year Iraqi War, vast sums were spent for medical supplies and services. Bonyad Shahid, a major government organization, was specifically set up to administer hospital facilities and medical care. It was also entrusted with the task of importing and distributing drugs and medical supplies.
    Twenty years after, health and medical care in Iran have become lucrative business: Yet, during the same period, the standard of health services for the general public has deteriorated. The Social Security and Welfare Organization is also to blame since it has failed to carry out its duty and ensure satisfactory health care and medical services for all Iranians. Its role is fuzzy and insignificant.
    All told, the Health Ministry, which incidentally administers medical schools and faculties, must monitor and work closely with all departments, including medical schools, hospitals, and Social Security and Welfare Organization since it is responsible for the health of the nation. It must supervise medical services and health care in order to ensure easy access to reliable and satisfactory medical care for all. What’s more, an urgent enquiry must determine the causes of the emigration of large numbers of doctors and the brain drain from Iran, and provide sufficient incentives for them to stay home.

  44. April 28, 2008 at 08:14

    Curbing Stagflation

    TEHRAN – Iran is unscathed by world food shortages, so far. Home production and heavy food subsidies have averted danger but signs of drought in several provinces spell trouble for the future.
    Stagflation is inefficient production of local industry and plentiful money supply, stoking high property prices. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has until Wednesday to decide whether to fix interest rates at 10%, 12%, or 14%.
    Central Bank of Iran Chief Tahmasb Mazaheri has already stemmed money flow by restricting issuance of travelers’ cheques, except through CBI. The Iranian money market was flooded with surplus money and easy credit facilities prior to 19-04-2008.
    The government doesn’t know what to do with money. US $100 million for Timbuktu, a car plant for Senegal, Bauxite complex for Guinee, 19 MoUs with Venezuela, Gas Peace Pipeline and home deliveries to your doorstep in Islamabad or Delhi, at our expense; OPEC style Gas Confab with Russia: What’s in it for the average, bourgeois, B.Sc., Iranian graduate, looking for work?
    Why is this God forsaken tax haven and welfare state on the brink of chaos? Dairy products, meat and poultry, rice, bread, cooking oil and sugar are subsidized to the hilt; but the Social Security Organization doesn’t work. It has a backlog of several million pensioners who haven’t been paid.
    Iran is the best consumer market in the region and the world. Better still, dump your stuff, collect your money, and don’t say anything. Some 14 wharfs and unloading facilities on the Persian Gulf are at your service, ex administration. Economists have long insisted on abolishing excise and import duties altogether. If the state owns 80% of industry, and it is exempt from paying excise tax or customs’ duty, why bother? Same goes for exports; why penalize the exporter when he is generating business and gaining a couple of bucks in the process. Long live free enterprise.

  45. May 14, 2008 at 09:02

    New Iranian Parliament to Assemble March 27th
    TEHRAN – A fortnight to go, and the old Parliament will be finished, and the new batch of parliamentarians wil take their place. In an unprecendented move, the old Parliament raised the qualification level to post graduate for new delegates. Daft, but as Lord Temple Morris once said in Tehran, before receiving his peerage: “I come with impeccable credentials.”
    Incidentally, Lord Phillips visited Iran twice in the last decade. For someone who knows the place, his ruling on the MKO is very perplexing, or that may just be politics, I dunno!
    Outgoing Iranian parliamentarians will miss their generous salaries, luxury cars and expense accounts, but that’s the way it is. The public wishes them luck in their new postings. Sorry to see the former speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel go, but as he always said: “I am here do my duty.” The ascetic, pristine academic was the first to admit that he wasn’t cut out for the job. The Majlis was reduced to the secretariat of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is still standing, and likely to remain.
    A native of the salt mines some 200 kms East of Tehran, he’s doing very well. Not eloquent by any standards, but he’s reached to the masses. Old-timers are grateful for free transport and access to swimming pools. No-one is starving in the welfare state, generous food subsidies still in place! Most important, he has the support of the Leader.

  46. June 4, 2008 at 17:48

    Berlusconi Snubs Ahmadinejad, Rafsanjani Welcomed in Mecca

    TEHRAN – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rebuffed a request to meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the FAO meeting in Rome on Monday. “Either climb down on Israel and the Holocaust, or make a substantive offer on Iran’s nuclear programme,” he told the Iranian President. Ahmadinejad is already back in Tehran.
    Meanwhile, Saudi King Abdullah welcomed former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at Al-Saffa Palace before the opening ceremony of the International Islamic Conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue in Mecca on Wednesday.
    In the flimsy world of Iranian politics, it is difficult to say who is in or out. Yet Expediency Council Chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani scored big. He is in his element among sheiks, potentates and sultans. It has ben his lifelong dream to be like them.
    Meanwhile, on Tuesday, during ceremonies to mark the Nineteenth Anniversary of the Demise of Ayatollah Khomeini, Founder of the Islamic Republic, Leader Khamenei pledged to continue plutonium enrichment.

  47. June 17, 2008 at 15:21

    Iran Determined to Keep in Line

    TEHRAN – Amid formalities and soft talk, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana spelt out the message loud and clear in Tehran: “End uranium enrichment.” The local press played down his role on Saturday, but he delivered a clear message to the local and international media at the German Embassy on Sunday.
    What’s more, Europe is more determined than ever to keep Iran in line, and Solana is the man to do it. The departure of US President George W. Bush in November will have far-reaching consequences, but Tehran must tighten its belt if it is to get economic and technical help from abroad.
    Not surprising, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was away for the occasion. Blamed for inconsistency and rebuttal of his banking policies, he kept clear of the talks.
    The political climate in Europe and Iran has changed over the last three months. EU integration is proceeding at a maddening pace, while too many things are going wrong for Tehran.
    Solana arrived against a backdrop of random power cuts, out of control inflation, shortages of foodstuffs, and a bleak future for 10 million low income earners once subsidies are phased out. Petrol subsidies will shortly disappear, stranding millions of drivers who make a meagre living by shuttling passengers across the city.
    Elsewhere, Hamid Karzai and Parviz Musharraf are fast losing ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nothing is settled in Iraq, and Iran’s staunch ally Syria is locked in peace talks with Israel. Iran risks being left in the cold, so for the time being, best keep in line.

  48. June 23, 2008 at 20:07

    EU Sanctions Shake Iran

    TEHRAN – It was bound to happen. The frivolous Iranian response to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana last week has had disastrous consequences. Everyone in Tehran brushed off the seriousness of the situation. “In due course,” quipped Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, asked to comment on the response to EU 5+1 proposals.
    Ali Larijani, newly elected Iranian Parliamentary Speaker, retorted that EU should refrain from masquerading and duplicity, as if cautioning a schoolboy. Is this the coup de grace, or is there more on the way?
    Bank Melli is Iran’s Central Bank. Freezing its operations literally cripples all Iranian financial transactions across the world. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently proposed merging local banks into public loan funds. Banking officials, including Bank Melli Governor Tahmasb Mazaheri, laughed in his face: Well now is his chance to put his idea into practice.
    The public is already under duress from petrol rationing, power shortages and blackouts. Iran state controlled radio and TV have so far said nothing of the new sanctions. Traditional epicurean hedonists, as Iranians are known, they will be sorely surprised upon waking up to-morrow morning.

  49. June 24, 2008 at 16:15

    Iran Stumped and Dazed!

    TEHRAN – Iran is still reeling from newly imposed EU sanctions on Bank Melli of Iran. The measure will probably cost $10 billion in immediate losses, with more on the way from lost business and blocked transactions. Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei spent Tuesday morning at a poetry reading session to soothe his nerves.
    Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini assured the public late into the night on Monday that all was well, and nuclear negotiations with EU were proceeding normally: But the tabloids this morning complained of conflicting and muddled reports. “He verbally approved of our proposals,” said Hosseini, referring to European foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iranian counter-proposals to 5+1 package. Sheer lie. Solana told state TV in Iran that uranium enrichment must stop.
    These sanctions are severe. Iran is licking its wounds, wondering what to do, or where to turn next. Young Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fared no better on Monday night, trying to cushion the blow. He proposed cash subsidies to the poor at one stage, the next moment he was suggesting raising property sales taxes, and in an aside to a reporter, he touted former Russian president Vladmir Putin as a close ally and comrade-in-arms.
    Cash strapped Iran has sold the Continental Hotel and a string of provincial spas and luxury hotels for a fraction of their value recently.
    Four Security Council resolutions have so far been passed on Iran since July 2006. The country is facing severe economic, political and social issues. The tabloids have subtly drawn parallels between Iran and Zimbabwe. Hassan Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, complained earlier this month that a plot was a-foot to oust prelates from politics, but what he didn’t say, is: “What’s the alternative!”

  50. June 29, 2008 at 14:06

    Whose Heading for Hague War Crimes Tribunal!

    TEHRAN – The decision of British law Lords last week to lift the ban on the People’s Mojahedin, – alias Mujaheddin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO) – has triggered a knock on effect in Europe and within Iran. What’s more, the 70,000 strong demonstrations in Paris on Saturday by MKO supporters rattled Tehran.
    Iran rejected the European Union Council 5+1 package, drafted June 23rd 2008, but the document contains a droit d’ingérence clause which gives the council a supervisory, regulatory role.
    Members of MKO are now in their fifties and sixties. Many have good family backgrounds, and are sons of merchants and factory owners. Others held notable government posts prior to going into exile. Some now run supermarkets, construction firms, or drive taxis in Europe and the States.
    Ayatollah Gilani personally signed the death warrant for his two sons, both MKO members, the same group which arranged security upon the arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran. Many issues remain unsolved. Why did prelates provoke the war with Iraq and send innocent, unarmed Iranian teenagers to the fronts? Why did the clergy shoot Nader Jahanbani, a top fighter pilot, and a string of high ranking military officers on the eve of the war? Who stood to gain by the US Embassy hostage affair in Tehran? Some of the more notorious offenders have died, but others may be heading to the Hague War Crimes Tribunal.

  51. July 7, 2008 at 13:56

    Iran Military Chief Firouzabadi Threatens to Block Hormoz Straits!
    TEHRAN – Seyed Hassan Firouzabadi threatened to scuttle the Hormoz Straits on Saturday. He was responding to recent warnings by US Chief of Staff Mike Mullen that engaging Iran in the Persian Gulf was dangerous.
    Meanwhile, Iranian Government Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham dispelled any notion of change in Tehran on the nuclear issue since receiving the EU 5+1 package in mid-June; but Iran is under pressure.
    The kitty is empty and the government hasn’t got the guts to tell the people. No more subsidies on gasoline, foodstuffs, and a wide range of other products. Hojatollah Ghanimifar, head of International Department at the Oil Ministry, has been canvassing the government for $ 9 billion to import gasoline and oil derivatives for next year; he won’t get it.
    Britain removed the ban on Mojahedin Khalq Organization which has supporters throughout Europe and US recently. London also outlawed the military wing of Hezbollah; but these measures are cosmetic with little judicial clout outside London. Tit for tat for the time being. Intransigence on the one side with a few disapproving gestures from EU, US from across the divide. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili was in Ghom on Friday for final rites and ablution.
    Is Iran oblivious to imminent danger, that Britain and US are on a war footing? That the situation with Israel could escalate at any time? Is military intervention inevitable unless Tehran curbs excesses?
    Part of the problem with military engagement is the aftermath. Can an operation focus solely on Bushehr, Natanz and Parchin, traditionally associated with Iran’s nuclear program?
    The partition of Iraq is a reality, but is a commensurate adjustment in Iran inevitable to assure a balance of power? Along ethnic, tribal divides, maybe! Autonomy interwoven here and there, perhaps! We can’t go on like this!

  52. July 9, 2008 at 10:11

    The General is an Honourable Man
    TEHRAN – I went to the house of the general almost a year ago. The general is in the Army. Most other members of the family are also in the military. My son fell in love with his daughter. He was humble, amiable and attentive, the image of the career soldier. Disciplined, yet the loving father, he conferred with his wife and daughter. It was a happy occasion. Our son and daughter have been engaged ever since.
    In recent months, increasing focus has surrounded the Armed Forces. The tabloids have been carrying pictures of the top brass. They are a mature breed of soldiers who have adapted to the times and met the challenges of the moment. It would be well to tone down rumours of Iranian military ambitions in the region, because we have none. The military is devoted to regional peace and stability, although it lacks independence to embark on its mission and concentrate all its resources to thwart attempts to undermine its role.

  53. July 16, 2008 at 12:52

    Al-Bashir Genocide Charges Unnerve Iranian Prelates!
    TEHRAN – Indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir by the Hague International Criminal Court is a grim reminder to his Iranian cronies of what is in store for them. They lured hundreds of thousands of innocent, unsuspecting youngsters to their death in the Eight Year Iraqi War. They were sent to the Front in batches of 30,000, often unarmed, to face well-equipped Iraqi forces.
    Iranian prelates who swagger with impunity today and trample the rights of a submissive docile public, were anxious to stamp out the last vestiges of support for the deceased monarch in the Iranian Army in 1980. The provocation of former Iraqi president Saddam Hossein into hostility and war had no other purpose than to add fodder and encourage him to invade a defenseless nation and destroy the Iranian Armed Forces.
    The same scenario prevailed in the US Embassy hostage incident which had no other purpose than to inflame international opinion against Iran, leading to the evacuation of Americans, Canadians and Europeans from Iran, leaving prelates in sole control of the country.

  54. July 18, 2008 at 17:42

    Fingers Crossed, Make or Break Geneva!
    TEHRAN – Iran anxiously awaits the outcome of Geneva talks on Saturday. Europeans have worked hard to bring 5+1 plus US Under-Secretary of State William Burns and Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili together.
    There is a strange hush here. Friday Prayers Leader Ahmad Khatami briefly referred to the topic today. The Leader is treading gingerly, hoping that talks will be constructive. Iran Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki hopes direct Tehran, New York flights will be established.
    The venue has gained impetus with Syrian President Beshar Assad, a staunch ally of Iran, and Turkey, another economic, political partner, urging Iran to capitalize on the occasion. What about William Burns, who pledged to remain silent, will he say something?
    Oddly enough, Washington is anxious to make some sort of leeway in its relations with Iran. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has come into the open and said it. It may be the Democratic view, but she has destroyed President George W. Bush. The US presidential elections has turned into a mud slinging match, with disastrous implications for the Mideast, where nothing has been resolved. What is going to happen to Iraq and Afghanistan? Barack Obama doesn’t care, doesn’t want to know, but we are in the thick of it.
    As if we didn’t have enough on our hands! Temperatures above F104 degrees in Tehran, soaring inflation, population bulge, lack of cash, no gasoline, no food subsidies, rising unemployment and social discontent.

  55. July 20, 2008 at 11:18

    Abysmal Iranian Failure at Geneva Escalates Discontent at Home!
    TEHRAN – Saeed Jalili, most incompetent and inappropriate man to represent Iran at 5+1 talks in Geneva, blundered and dithered his way through the entire session. William Burns, US Under-Secretary of State who was at the meeting, must be wondering if it was worth coming at all!
    They came to negotiate, Jalili delivered a soliloquy on the virtues of peace, stability and prosperity which we haven’t seen in 30 years.
    Iran’s covert nuclear program only became known in 2003. An over-priced plant at Bushehr and scrappy uranium enrichment programs dotted about in Parchin and Natanz which no one wants.
    Iran wants food and gasoline, not nukes. Geneva achieved nothing, Jalili failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to sweep the nuclear issue under the rug and get the ball rolling in Iran’s favour.
    The power struggle in Iran is becoming ugly. Akbar Hashemi, alias Rafsanjani, the last of fading race of patriarchs, still standing after thirty years, may make a move to seize power. Brigadier Baqer Qalibaf, a former police chief and current Tehran Mayor, thinks he has a good chance to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Either way, seething discontent could spill into the streets at any time.

  56. August 4, 2008 at 11:52

    Building the Republic
    TEHRAN – Thirty years in the making, still getting nowhere. We sat down to lunch with Christopher Rundle, Ian MaCready the Chargé d’Affaires and Khodabandelou at the Enghelab Hotel in 1980. I was tired and weary from my trip to Nice and return to Tehran Times. The paper was hopeless. I had subsidized it, nurtured it and tried to keep it going in impossible circumstances.
    Rundle was particularly courteous, but there was no substance to what he said. Whenever former British prime minister Lady Margaret Thatcher spoke, I was terrified. It was always the ‘wretched twins,’ and what was to become of Marks. Who would be landed with the task of grooming the lad? She should have left him to get on with his life.
    Things didn’t work out for Lady Thatcher, either. As Lord Waverley once said, she was given the push. She didn’t arrange a ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq war. She couldn’t get Russia out of Afghanistan. She was ousted by Messrs Heseltine and Co while on a trip to the Paris Opera. I sometimes feel that the Conservatives abandoned ship in disgust in 1997. All said and done, Labour invented British foreign policy in the third millennium. Iran will always be grateful to former foreign secretary Jack Straw. He had the tenacity and vision to examine the Iran imbroglio.
    Is Iran any nearer to The Republic, I doubt it. The nation ambles on against immense odds. There has never been and never will be any substance to prelates. Give them their victuals and let them be. What about the military? They are the most honest and straightforward segment of society.
    What is Iran’s foreign policy? You could have fooled me. We are going nowhere. We have fallen into the lap of Israel, but we don’t know it. Europe, the United States, Russia, do they mean anything in modern Iran, doubtful.
    The only flicker of hope for Iran is Europe. It talks with one voice. It has the funds and manpower. Sir Jeffrey is a credit to Britain, but are we any nearer to building the Republic?
    Should EU play a specific role in Iran with special tasks assigned to each member? Leave them to get on with the job, why not! Leave TOTAL to develop Assalouyeh and let the Germans do what they do best. Iran needs laws, infra-structure and social development. This needs careful thought and deliberation, but it is unlikely we will achieve much on our own.

  57. August 9, 2008 at 18:39

    Iran Scoffs at EU Sanctions
    TEHRAN – The Iranian nuclear issue drags on as Europe tightened sanctions on Friday. The balance is clearly in favour of Iran since Israel is now within the 2,000 kms range of Shahab missiles. Armed with nuclear warheads, Iran might obliterate Tel Aviv, as it promised.
    The soft approach of Europe has misfired and misled Reformists inside the country. Credulous expats actually believed the United States could bring Democracy to the Mideast. The occasional refrain of President George W. Bush will soon be forgotten when he leaves office in November.
    Iranian prelates have killed two birds with one stone. Like it or not, they are entrenched as sole rulers of the land and their Shi’ite brand of Islam has gained a measure of legitimacy in the Arab world. The Saudis can spend all they want on fundamentalism and radical Islam in Waziristan, it won’t do them any good. An Arab ambassador even brought a chunk of dynamite with him to Tehran recently, but was caught at the airport.
    Iran has become the ‘bête noire’ of international politics. Only British Labour and Russia know the full story. Unfortunately, British Conservatives in the eighties and nineties were the greatest setback for British foreign policy in the region since the Suez Canal affair in 1956. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says, the task is to keep the boat steady, but for how long?
    The British Compound in Gholhak hosted a sit-in by hoards of prelates during the Constitutional Movement a hundred years ago, but no such luck for the thousands and hundreds of thousand of political activists, political dissenters and disenchanted Iranians fighting for freedom today. Thirty people were hanged in Evin Prison recently. The majority were fighting for their legitimate rights. So the masquerade continues.

  58. August 11, 2008 at 12:34

    Disgruntled Iranian Military Sidelined in Damscus–Tel Aviv Accord
    TEHRAN – Lack of contact with the outside world, bogged down with daily routines and manoeuvres, Iranian military forces have been dealt a further blow by the current Syria, Israeli peace talks. Ironically, Tehran trained Israeli jet pilots prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
    Iranian prelates are playing down the issue for fear of a mutiny. Already constrained by reduced spending, the military and Guards Corps is dissatisfied with prevailing conditions, including family allowances, housing facilities and retirement packages. Pay and promotions are in no way comparable to the outside. The military feels wasted. Disgruntled officers say Syria did the intelligent thing. Russian instructors have been called in, very much like Armish Maag, in the pre-Revolutionary days.
    Elsewhere, the public resents the maintenance of two forces, two navies and two air force, referring to the maritime wing of the Guards Corp and its airborne division.
    Iranian Armed Forces are monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are unable to contribute to peacekeeping efforts. They know the terrain and, in many cases, speak the vernacular. Direct contact with the military could possibly alleviate casualties and reduce the death toll in both regions.

  59. August 11, 2008 at 17:04

    Gulf Council to Debate Iranian Threat to Region
    TEHRAN – Kuwait urged caution on Saturday, in the wake of major joint US-EU maritime operations near the Hormuz Straits in the Persian Gulf. Kuwait was the first to break the news of the military invasion of Iran by Iraq in 2,000. This time round, Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah warned of the consequences and danger of scuttling the waterway, and added: “Merely talking about such a closure creates a state of tension and will raise the insurance costs on vessels passing through.”
    Iranian Guards Corps Commander Mohammad Jaffari repeatedly threatened closing the Hormuz Straits. Tehran tabloids today reported that the Gulf littoral states are worried and the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council
    will soon debate the deteriorating security situation in the region.
    US and its allies are in the area and naval maneouvres dubbed “Operation Brimstone” are underway since July 20th . Iran which is facing widespread dissatisfaction at home, cannot continue in limbo much longer. Soaring inflation, gasoline shortage, unemployment, influx of economic migrants from Afghanistan, dwindling Forex revenues and four rounds of international sanctions have crippled the Administration. Iranian prelates also stand accused of meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  60. August 16, 2008 at 18:09

    Can Military Save Iran!

    TEHRAN – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned from his two-day trip to Turkey today. The international media ignored the event, so did local tabloids.
    At times, he seemed more of an embarrassment to Turkish President Abdullah Gul than an honoured guest, but can Ankara diffuse Iran’s nuclear bomb, doubtful! Emboldened by the lull in US concerns due to the presidential race, Tehran’s uranium enrichment program continues unabated.
    Military commanders are nervous at the escalating situation in the Gulf and fear political isolation. Can the military topple Ahmadinejad! Tehran Mayor Brigadier Baqer Ghalibaf fancies his chances at the forthcoming presidential elections in mid-2009, but Tehran City councilors don’t think so. They summarily take swipes at him and repudiate his statements on infra-structural plans for the capital. Can he muster the support of the Chiefs of Staff, because he won’t succeed without help!
    Hamshahri daily which belongs to TCC carried a scathing attack on government mismanagement by Expediency Council Chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday. The latter led Iran into the senseless Eight Year War with Iraq and lacks rank and file support.
    The message to Iran from the West is change, urgent change, lock, stock and barrel. Can Iran abolish loan sharking, drug peddling, government sponsored murder and torture? Will Tehran release political dissenters, student activists and unionists from Evin Prison, because that is the price of “stay of execution”? Finally, genuine Muslims in Saudi Arabia are alarmed at the spread of Iranian cult culture which engulfs the region and threatens peace and security in Mideast.

  61. August 18, 2008 at 15:28

    “Life-Strength and Guiding Light”
    TEHRAN – Horatio Nelson defeated the French fleet at Trafalgar in 1805 and ended Napoleon’s ambitions to conquer Europe. Master of the seas, Nelson defeated the French emperor long before Waterloo in 1815 when he was sent packing to Elba and perpetual exile. It is always difficult to convey the relevance of historical facts since the ultimate goal is never obvious.
    Much of the Mideast today has the hallmark of British Labour. It is remarkable how quickly the party revived after the demise of former British prime minister Tony Blair. It is understandable when Lord Desai reminisces of Champagne and Caviar or Lord Levine sighs with nostalgia at the loss of a friend, but unless you are in the thick of it in Iran or Iraq, you won’t know what’s happened.
    Britain is never one to let go when under pressure, but even more persistent when it’s mind is set. It is well to talk of the succession to Prime Minister Brown at Westminster, or hear Conservative leader David Cameroon say: “The challenge for the modern Conservatives is reviving our society,” but Labour has re-written British foreign policy; it is beyond anything Lady Thatcher imagined, in the words of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain has become “life-strength and guiding light.”

  62. August 20, 2008 at 15:17

    Iranian Leader Seyd Ali Refutes Sightings of Messiah
    TEHRAN – Seyed Ali Khamenei disregarded rumours of the sighting of the Twelfth Imam and Messiah on his Birth Anniversary on Sunday. Indeed, is Revelation a flesh and blood affair or a notion in time and space?
    Saturday’s rocket launch was a flop. People want change. They are openly jeering at paunches and shaggy faces in Tehran. Rich kids in sleek limousines and sports cars careen up and down posh avenues as in the Shah’s days. Less fortunate souls and unemployed youths huddle together and line up on street corners early mornings looking for work. The government can’t help. It’s feeling the pinch from four rounds of international sanctions, but the private sector has found a way out.
    There are two main hurdles to tackle if Iran is to shed its feudal yoke and modernize. Call it democratization, if you will, but how to tackle the cultural divide, curb cult practices and stamp out superstition? Is a federation the answer, with equal opportunities in each and every province?
    Charles Darwin makes for wonderful reading when he explains evolution and assimilation, but he hasn’t a quick fix for us humans. The French tried it and failed in Algeria. We could stack up each wave of youngsters and migrants as they arrived in the capital as they do in the States. No training, no special skills, the problem would get worse every day. How to create a republic while preserving sound ethical values, that is the secret and what Iranians want!

  63. August 28, 2008 at 11:27

    Flagging Iran Opposition Fails to Field Single Presidential Candidate
    TEHRAN – Mehdi Karroubi, one-time head of the Martyrs’ Foundation and two-time speaker of parliament, announced his candidacy for the presidential elections next year on Tuesday, breaking rank with the mainstream opposition. The favourite is still former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami, if he decides to run.
    Haj Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani another possible presidential candidate and head of the Assembly of Experts, quietly ceded to strong arm tactics by the Supreme Leader Seyd Ali Khamenei who hinted that he might expose all Western-oriented prelates if he continued to criticize the government.
    Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator, is also running on behalf of Motalefeh, the party of businessmen and bazaar.
    Ironically, Hadi Saei, Tehran City Councilor and Beijing Olympics 80Kg Gold Medalist, would be a formidable contender. The popular, outspoken critic of the government, was denied an official welcome when he returned from China. The Leader had better things to do on Sunday, wishing “may the day come when all oil wells would be capped,” when Iran could rely on alternative energy sources which would be come about through new discoveries by our bright students.
    Seyd Ali has also been accused of meddling and reshuffling the military every couple of months. He recently appointed new army commanders, unnerving senior officers and sharpening rivalries between the Armed Forces and the Guards Corps.

  64. September 4, 2008 at 14:48

    Popular Songs and Ballads of Iranian Opposition
    TEHRAN – Iran has escaped international media attention amid latest developments in Georgia, the war in Afghanistan and recession in Europe, but the problems are real enough. Tehran City Council no longer wants Baqer Qalibaf the Mayor who doesn’t care anyway because he wants to be President.
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad no longer knows what he is doing or saying. Burbling something to Bolivian President Evo Morales at one moment and warding off rumors of bankruptcy and economic stalemate the next. Morales doesn’t seem to mind, coming as he did half-way across the globe to a land he neither knows or understands. Why is he here anyway?
    Ahmadinejad is at odds with Parliament as usual, but the controversy may spill into the streets this time where, hopefully, the fate of Iran will be decided. Will the nuclear bomb help preserve the rule of prelates? Certainly not! It may even hasten their end since the West will not tolerate an explosion in the Gulf region.
    Ironically, the repression and tyranny of prelates has led to a backlash of songs and ballads by talented youngsters and musicians. Not least Mohsen Namjoo, a thirty year old lyrist and composer who has come out with “Neo-Kant Ballad,” a subtle skit on institutionalized repression.
    The deliberate accentuation on sh, the initial syllable for Shah, draws wide acclaim from young audiences. It is reminiscent of the good old days. Scathing attacks on lack of freedom underline the reason for apathy and indolence across the country. Tell tale references to harassment and arrest further focus on increasing resentment of the current regime.

  65. September 10, 2008 at 08:16

    Iranian National Security Deputy Warns of Monthly Forex Raids
    TEHRAN – Former nuclear negotiator and current National Security deputy Hassan Rouhani deplored monthly raids on Forex reserves on Tuesday. Man of the cloth, stiff and usually impeccably dressed, his cassock and tunic are slightly ruffled these days. The prelate deplored the three-year Administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
    “Where is the windfall of petrodollars,” he asked. Gone the days of high oil prices, he bemoaned. The Administration imported apples and oranges with the money but little else, he added. Bureaucratic, government dominated trade has stifled the economy. Clause 44 of the Constitution specifically requires privatization to go ahead. The Expediency Council adopted the motion and the Leader ratified it but little has so far been done to implement it, according to Rouhani.
    Saudi Arabia holds $870b Forex reserves and Kuwait $350b, but where do we stand, asked the member of the Assembly of Experts. Four rounds of EU sanctions and US restrictions on international investment in Iran have crippled the economy.
    Rouhani’s scathing attack on the government comes at a time of indecision and incompetence in highest places, reducing the nation to surrogate status. Pandemonium reigns in Parliament where the debate on bigamy and polygamy dominated all week. An improvement on the Seventh Parliament where the “breakfast menu” and whether to adopt “daylight saving hours” dominated several sessions, but still a far cry from law and order and good governance.

  66. September 16, 2008 at 12:19

    Why Ahmadinejad Must Go!
    TEHRAN – The latest IAEA report on Iran focuses on military dimension of its nuclear programme. Another news dispatch on Monday highlighted supply of Iranian arms and munitions to the Taleban in Afghanistan.
    This comes at a time that law enforcement agencies in Iran are turning a blind eye to opium trafficking, distribution and sales. Afghan economic migrants to Iran are multiplying by the day. According to latest arrivals, the cross border fee varies between US $300 – $400 per person.
    Has law and order broken down in Iran? It would certainly seem so. The government, or what is left of it after the dismissal of some ten ministers, is struggling. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has dodged Parliamentary questions for the last three years. He adopted petrol rationing while parliament was in recess last June and didn’t even consult the legislature when he abolished the 40,000-man strong Management and Planning Organization. The Surplus Oil Revenue Forex Fund which held US $37.5 b some fifteen months ago is nearly depleted.
    The endorsement of Ahmadinejad by Seyd Ali and assurance of another four-year term in power has undermined Constitutional Parliamentary rule. The weak and hollow leadership of former Majlis speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel further eroded Parliamentary power. It was reduced to an auxiliary agency during his tenure. Finally, repressing news headlines and censorship has undermined the credibility of Ahmadinejad and may hasten his fall.
    In the case of Georgia, President Mikhail Sakashvili provided the pretext for Washington to step in, but no such luck in Iran. Party rags are not worth the paper on which they are printed and there are hoards of corpulent, shaggy faces and paunches to take over as soon as one member of the prelacy and theological hierarchy falls.

  67. September 21, 2008 at 07:35

    “Love Israel” Muezzin Under Attack
    TEHRAN – Rahim Masha’ai, former muezzin of good peasant stock from the foothills of Ramsar and current head of Iranian Tourist Organization, has been under attack by Reformists and Fundamentalists in and out of Parliament for the last couple of weeks. He uttered the forbidden phrase “love Israel” in Tehran. Leader Seyd Ali has finally come to the rescue and warned President Ahmadinejad critics that it was too early to begin campaigning for the presidential elections, still nine months off. “Don’t say ‘Love Israel,’” he added. “A small mistake, slip of the tongue, let things rest,” he told the congregation at Friday Prayers.
    There is increasing support for Israel in Iran in the wake of Damascus, Tel Aviv peace talks. Tehran has few allies in the region and its erstwhile confidant and conspirator has all of a sudden decided war doesn’t pay.
    Turkey is totally at ease with Israel, so are the Gulf states, Pakistan and Egypt, which leaves Iran isolated in the Muslim world. Yet political bickering is heating up as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad heads for New York where the son of the late General Ordoubadi, alias Talebzadeh, has promised to thrust him into American politics.
    Will Ahmadinejad meet Obama, it is doubtful. McCaine, perhaps, he despises the lad but Sarah Palin will address a protest rally on Monday when the Iranian President will be in town.

  68. September 24, 2008 at 08:26

    Trust a Fool to Tell the Truth!
    THERAN – State-owned media failed to air UN General Assembly proceedings today. The lacklustre performance of President Ahmadinajad was largely overshadowed by Israeli lobby protests on Manhattan, US $10 trillion plus debt and Pakistan bombings. Ahmadinejad did refer to the demise of the American empire. Are NATO, EU, Russia and China taking over centre stage in the world?
    Iran is after the bomb, there is no doubt about that. Ahmadinejad is secure as long as Iranian prelates are safe. They have been dangling the threat of nuclear war at their adversaries at every Friday Prayers.
    The starkest reversal of US fortunes was seen in Baghdad. Washington has been issued with orders to leave. No one could have imagined this a year ago, but here it is. Iraq is a fully sovereign nation and US troops are no longer wanted.
    What are the chances for hope and security with US out of the picture? Obviously better than if foreign troops remained. Washington can afford three billion dollars to defend the enclave, but with a little help form friends, Iraq can do a job without them.
    True we have our differences. Kuwait has already voiced alarm at Iraqi rearmament, but it is Washington that is arming Baghdad. Does that mean we have to tolerate prelates on both sides of the border? No, and as soon as Baghdad is back on its feet, Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Lebanon must rid themselves of idolatry, cult worship and interference in civil affairs which prelates thrive on.

  69. September 28, 2008 at 06:12

    Provisional Government in EU Talks
    TEHRAN – What is taking place is a tribute to François Niccoullaud, former French ambassador to Iran. EU and Scandinavian countries have given Iranian expatriates generous incentives and assistance in the last thirty years.
    Droit d’ingérence duly stipulated June 23rd 2008 by the EU Council, is invoked, providing supervisory, regulatory measures. The military has pledged impartiality, paving the way for emergency measures, democratic process, and restitution of civil rights.

  70. October 8, 2008 at 09:40

    Moshe Dayan: Watch Where the Bullets Are Coming From!
    TEHRAN – Won the Six Day War in 1967 but lost the Yom Kippur War in 1973. That’s what they say anyway. Back to the person and the famous patched eye, who said: “Watch where the bullets are coming from,” although he took one in the eye.
    Brilliant commander and intelligent, it could have been Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, a lot of people want to meet him. What he says makes sense. Who is NATO fighting in Afghanistan, what for and what does it hope to achieve? A man of heart, obviously, epitome of our own commanders. No wonder prelates want the Army out of the way.
    When is the crunch going to hit Iran, that is the other big question!
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said goodbye to Central Bank of Iran Chief Tahmasb Mazaheri on Monday. The average honest to goodness economist, Mazaheri refused to flood the market with worthless banknotes. The parity to the US dollar is 10,000 rials as compared to 69.5 rials in 1979.
    You should be grateful, quipped Ahmad Jannati recently, a minuscule, frail figure and head of the ultra-orthodox, fundamentalist Guardian Council, things could be worse. Perhaps he is right, prices are still holding. There seems to be enough food to go round, but business and the construction boom of the last eighteen months have halted. Contractors are abandoning work and leaving steel and concrete blocks unfinished. Speculation subsided when Mazaheri decided to curb inflation and limit bank loans and credit facilities a year ago. That’s why he must go.
    Government in Iran rarely interferes with trade on the assumption that it has enough revenues from oil, but things may be changing. Ahmadinejad has emerged as an opponent of big money, big loans and corporate giants who have hitherto controlled business and trade in Iran. He may have accidentally stumbled on nepotism, vested interest, sleaze and kick-backs, but there seems to be some truth to what he says. Banks have been forced to recall large loans. Bank Refah is before the courts in a case involving approximately US $ 220 million.
    The Mostazafan Foundation which controls some 1500 factories and plants is still unscathed. The agency supplies funds to the Leadership and is the center of graft, extortion, loan sharking and monopolies. It is under scrutiny although it has refused entry to government auditors or tax assessors. Mohsen Rafiqdoust, a barrow boy-cum handyman from early Revolutionary days, handles the joint, although his brother was jailed for a bank heist worth some US $ 114 million.

  71. October 9, 2008 at 08:24

    Spread Your Wings and Fly Says Ahmadinejad
    THERAN – Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani tabled a motion allocating $100,000 towards living expenses for each deputy in the 290-man Legislature on Monday. Cheap, you may think, but it’s a bad act. Thirty from Tehran who presumably already have living quarters and another 260 delegates from the provinces who gather regularly to discuss what they know nothing about.
    Parliament also reacted on Wednesday to constant moves by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to curtail its powers. The latter began distributing easy loans and credit facilities as soon as he dispatched Tahmasb Mazaheri, former Central Bank chief. At a time of world recession when banks are recalling bad loans and repossessing houses and property, top priority in Iran is to distribute as much worthless banknotes in as short a time as possible. The parity of local currency to the greenback dropped overnight.
    Is the government stupid?
    Ahmadinejad told television viewers on Tuesday: “Spread your wings and fly.” Four million addicts on our hands, soaring inflation and chronic unemployment, but how? The bottom has fallen out of the oil market. He refused to reveal Iran’s current hard currency reserves and attributed the international financial turmoil to mismanagement.

  72. October 12, 2008 at 11:12

    “We Would Have Moneys”
    TEHRAN – Aye, so says Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh. Speaking at the Oil Forum in Tehran on Saturday, he urged the assembly to give generously, otherwise, we simply don’t have the refining capacity to continue.The industry needs twenty five billion dollars to build new refineries and service existing plants. Oil prices have dropped from a peak of $147.27 in July to $78.07 a barrel for London Brent crude today. The sad truth is that the Tehran Administration ran aground long before world recession.
    The welfare state is in trouble. Subsidized bus fares, subsidized plane rides, subsidized cooking oil, subsidized bread, subsidized sugar, subsidized healthcare and subsidized education are becoming a thing of the past. Why bother with having a government, you say? Absolutely, but, says former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami: “Can’t turn back the clock overnight.”
    The rejoicing in some quarters in Tehran at the international credit crunch was short-lived. Prelates simply don’t understand statistics. Ironically, Europe has been most generous to the developing world, including Iran. True French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is despairing at the stalemate in nuclear talks with Iran, but G7 voiced alarm at credit shortages in D8 (Developing Nations) yesterday in Paris. Russia refuses to sell S – 300 missile system to Iran. The brigadier says it’s all about money.
    Things are no better next door in Afghanistan where NATO threatens to unleash a drug war and US continues to bomb Pakistani militants in Waziristan. What about Iraq? Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad says Tehran looks forward to a stable Iraq with Kurds, sunnis and shias living side by side, but without a permanent US military presence. Could he be right?

  73. October 15, 2008 at 10:27

    Stop the Prattle!
    TEHRAN –OPEC crude prices continue to fall. Iran’s hard currency reserves are down and out. Locally made cars are exploding on collision by the day so that the Fire Brigade is making it compulsory for every machine to be fitted with a fire extinguisher.
    The Mayor is cursing the President as usual, but state-owned radio and television won’t air his speech. Haj Akbar the ‘eunuch’ cried “perfidious Britain” yesterday, with a tinge of nostalgia. London has been absent from Iran for most of the last thirty years.
    In a seminar devoted to British, Iran Relations at Tehran University, two-term former president Hashemi alias Rafsanjani – reference to his origins in the south of the country –recalled the bitter Eight Year War with Iraq and countless UN, US, EU sanctions and financial restrictions.
    Amid the fray, constant bickering, political wrangling, and party politics, Seyed Mohammad Khatami, another former two-term president, was hosting a two-day seminar on “Religion in the Modern World.” His distinguished guests included Kofi Annan, Romano Prodi and Lionel Jospin, all duly relieved of official duties, a page out of the annuls of history.
    They could not have come at a worse time. Seyd Ali Khamenei who has been telling Friday Prayer preachers: “US Supremacy is over,” also met them.
    “Perfidious Britain” indeed, but times are changing. Down on Heyravi Square in Tehran stone masons were carving the facades of three and four storey blocks. It was pure sculpture, designed for another age, another generation. Just as well since no one can afford a new apartment at the moment. Iranians are from good peasant stock. We have made advances in the last thirty years, but not enough: Uncertain future, you would say! Change, definitely! Bloodshed, no!
    “But how?” Americans keep asking! Dunno, but stop talking, let’s get down to business!

  74. October 16, 2008 at 18:16

    Disgruntled Military Protest Sacred Defense TV Documentary
    TEHRAN – “Docile, obedient and faithful,” that’s how Mohammad Reza Vahdat, Deputy PR for the Army, described the military on Tuesday.
    Brigadier Hossein Hassani Saadi Deputy Coordinator at Joint Forces HQ, Brigadier Mohammad Hossein Dadress and Brigadier Nasser Arasteh are furious at the disparaging image and role of the army in a nineteen episode TV commentary on the Eight Year War with Iraq, commonly referred to as Sacred Defense.
    The war in 1980 was designed to eliminate the last stronghold of the late monarch and pave the way for the takeover of the country by prelates. Some 300,000 unsuspecting youngsters were dispatched to the Front, often unarmed, in a token show of resistance to Saddam Hossein’s invading armies. Double these numbers were maimed and mutilated in a lopsided battle and eight year war of attrition which left the country devastated. Forced seizure of property and random arrests led to the exodus of millions of Iranians.
    The Guards Corps and Basiji Forces have since emerged with orders to crush opposition in the Armed Forces and quell any possible mutiny.

  75. October 20, 2008 at 10:58

    Baqer Sumimoto, Tokyo’s Man for Iran!
    TEHRAN – Brigadier General Baqer Qalibaf, former police chief and current Tehran Mayor advocated strict economy and budgeting in the execution of major projects. He was in Tokyo on Sunday but outlined his four-year plan to solve Tehran traffic jams prior departure on Wednesday.
    The mayor vaunted the Iranian economy to the Japanese media as secure, stable and profitable although the international recession has hit Iran bad. The prospects so far indicate a $54 billion budget deficit for the current year alone. Liquidity shortages and sudden dip in oil prices has plunged Petropars into bankruptcy. The state-owned energy firm on Sunday said it was $2 billion short to finish phases 6, 7 and 8 of South Pars Gas Field.
    High local consumption of oil has also reduced exports of 2.750 million barrels per day four years ago to 2.350 million/bpd in the current year. The welfare state imports 8 million tons of corn and 3 million tons of sugar per annum. Even chicken feed is imported for the poultry industry.
    There is a blackout on state owned media of Qalibaf’s speeches. He is at loggerheads with head of Tehran City Council Mehdi Chamran. Seven months to go to the Iranian presidential elections, the Japanese media was curious to know if he would run again for president. Qalibaf, an accomplished pilot and motorcyclist, is an outsider judging by the impressive turn-out of the Reformists and Conservatives, including incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  76. October 21, 2008 at 12:57

    No Money, Ahmadinejad is Ranting!
    TEHRAN – US $40 billion budget deficit or $54 billion shortfall according to former parliamentary Economic Commission deputy Mohsen Safai Farahani. Conflicting reports abound. Expediency Council National Security Chief Hassan Rouhani repeated: “Oil Surplus Hard Currency Fund is depleted,” on Sunday. Read between the lines, but something is seriously wrong. The government simply doesn’t know what it’s doing. Anyone can see through the charades and thinly shrouded scams.
    More serious, goldsmiths, guilds and tradesmen throughout the country refused to comply with value added tax earlier this month. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested ten-fold increases in utility bills, instead, but again failed to gain support.
    Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei seemed unperturbed as he watched a military parade and march past at the Military Academy in Tehran yesterday, but he recently promised Ahmadinejad another four-year term as president.
    The President attended an Export Promotion Confab in Tehran on Sunday and promised $5 billion to boost exports, but nobody believed him. Bonuses for last year haven’t been paid; “Where’s the money?” Everybody was asking: “Not to worry,” said Ahmadinejad: “It’s coming.”
    There are signs that Ahmadinejad is delirious and ranting. Petropars which is working on phases 6, 7 and 8 of South Pars gas Field is bankrupt, according to Managing Director Gholamreza Manouchehri, speaking to the press on Saturday, but the President set out for the desert region today to inaugurate the project.

  77. November 3, 2008 at 08:50

    US Embassy Takeover, Absence of Britain!
    TEHRAN –State owned media on Saturday reported that Iran has no sound basis for its international relations since the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran on this day 29 years ago.
    Such a messy affair. No one knew what to do, least of all former US president Jimmy Carter, arch puritan, dedicated, still licking his wounds. His lamentable performance and repeated blunders are still a major hurdle for US Mideast policy.
    Former oil minister Mohammad Moinfar in Mehdi Bazargan’s government recently said that Mohammad Mossadegh bungled Tehran, London relations. The pound went up to 240 rials from 110 rials. Iran’s international relations were put on hold. Iran’s oil accord with Britain were perfectly in keeping with accepted norms at the time, he says: The indemnity and damages which Iran incurred in the final settlement far outweigh any supposed advantage.
    Controversy still rages in Iran on Britain, particularly its absence. Britain’s top emissary Sir Jeffrey is not a career diplomat but more a statesman, patching up differences, bridging the gap, turning a new page if it is possible in this quagmire. He has been key to many solutions to Iran’s lamentable problems with the outside world.
    Political pundits insist that the current US presidential race again hinges on Tehran, Washington ties. If Obama wins, Iran will field moderates such as current Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani or former foreign minister Ali Velayati in the next Iranian presidential. Mcaine! Well, you will remain with yours truly, Mahmoud Marx Ahmadinejad, currently polishing his version of Das Kapital, with added commentaries by prelates.

  78. November 12, 2008 at 07:27

    High Government Expenditure Stokes Inflation, Unemployment
    TEHRAN – Government expenditure on infra-structure projects and industrial expansion has dropped 25% over the last twenty years although hard currency revenues rose four-fold over the same period. Taking account of current drop in oil prices to approximately $60 per barrel, this is still a hefty hike over $22 per barrel in 2001.
    The clumsy and costly subsidy programme is still in force in Iran although it was shelved by Europe in the 1960s. The government spent $4 billion on fruit imports earlier this year to ward off inflation over the Nowrouz festivities although Iran ranks 11th in the world in horticultural produce. Similar amounts were spent on steel imports to cater for the construction boom which has halted due to money crunch and falling prices.
    Meanwhile work on major damn projects in Ilam and Khuzestan provinces is on hold. Irrigation could have bolstered agriculture in both regions and created jobs for the endless queues of unemployed.
    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has raised government expenditure by indiscriminate distribution of money and resources on his weekly country jaunts. Lavish expenditure on entertainment and cash distribution to Lebanon, Palestine and parts of Africa are also blamed for depleted coffers and low hard currency reserves.

  79. November 14, 2008 at 12:53

    Parliamentary Speaker Larijani Unfit for Office, Says Presidential Aid!
    TEHRAN – Presidential Advisor Ali Akbar Javan-Fekr blasted Parliamentary proceedings which led to the ouster of former Interior Minister Ali Kordan on Wednesday. “Either Larijani was duped or failed to confront the issue earlier,” according to Javan-Fekr. Ali Kordan served in the Iranian Broadcasting Corporation under Ali Larijani. “Either way, he’s unfit for office,” concluded Javan-Fekr.
    Ali Larijani was instrumental in bringing down Ali Kordan as part of his bitter feud with the President. The latter dismissed Larijani as nuclear negotiator, whereupon Larijani entered the Parliamentary race, mustering support from top clerics to become their representative in the Eighth Parliament.
    The Parliamentary Presiding Board was outraged at these comments and vouched to take up the issue. One deputy cited the late Imam Khomeini and Founder of the Islamic Republic who insisted that Parliament is the ultimate authority in the land.

  80. November 17, 2008 at 12:18

    Dumping, Commissions, Subsidies Drain Oil Revenues!
    TEHRAN – Uncertain outcome of G20 meeting has plunged Mideast further into economic uncertainty but cheers for King Abdullah al-Saud. He urged religious toleration at the meeting and virtually ended the reign of terror, fundamentalism and extremism in his desert kingdom.
    OPEC oil is selling below $50/barrel, another blow for Iran, which must borrow or go bust. Local economies have never been secure or reliable for long but isolation, no confidence and exodus of oil majors are severe blows for Iran. Turkey, which is straddled with over $280 billion in foreign debts of its own, is supposed to contribute $10 billion to developing three phases of South Pars Gas Field in Assalouyeh! The exercise fooled no one.
    European chemical firms including BASF and Bayer are dumping products on the local market. Likewise, steel and rice, but bakeries are shutting down in Tehran because of lack of government-subsidized flower.
    High government expenditure, incompetence, depleted hard currency reserves have resulted in no-confidence motions by Parliament which is constrained by the Constitution and restricted to a ‘supervisory, regulatory role.’
    The government must continue borrowing to service foreign debts, balance the budget and import more rice, more flower, more steel, more chemicals and more gasoline to stay in power till June 2009 when presidential elections take place!

  81. November 25, 2008 at 08:45

    Ahmadinejad Says We Can Survive with Oil at $5 per Barrel!
    TEHRAN – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he could run the country with oil at $5 per barrel at the Press Fair on Sunday. Elsewhere in a radio broadcast, he has touted the army, Leader and Revolution as the backbone and lifeline of the nation, but the nation is not convinced.
    Ahmadinejad is ranting for most of the time. His severe criticism of officials at home and diatribes directed at governments abroad no longer make sense.
    Tehran is going through a period of economic and political uncertainty. Commodity prices are fluctuating by the day. The price of bread is never the same on two consecutive days. Dwindling oil and gas revenues, Iran’s sole hard currency earners, have paralyzed trade and industry. Trade and financial restrictions in Europe, the States and Southeast Asia are hurting. The Administration can’t pay for general maintenance of the Metro which has stopped all work on needy expansion sites. National road networks are rapidly deteriorating. Fatalities from road accidents top 30,000 each year.

  82. November 27, 2008 at 17:01

    Iran Foreign Minister Mottaki: Britain Hasn’t Learnt It’s Lesson!
    TEHRAN – Why is Iran sealing its fate? Fatemeh Haghighat Pajouh went to the gallows on Wednesday after spending seven years in jail. She killed her husband who was trying to rape her daughter by a previous marriage.
    Iran locks up juvenile delinquents until they come of age and then hangs them. Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has been complaining of over eight million outstanding court cases, while defendants are squeezed into crammed jails awaiting their turn to be tried.
    Four rounds of EU sanctions have crippled Iranian commerce and penalized the financial sector. Likewise the Americans have slapped further restrictions on Iranian banking operations. On June 23rd 2007 the Council of Europe approved “le droit d’intervention,” which paves the way for direct action in Iran. Iran’s shock tactics, threatening Gulf littoral states with Shahab-3 missiles, interference in Iraq, hanging women and children seem to have worked, but how to confront repression and abuse in Iran?
    British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has repeatedly warned Tehran to suspend uranium enrichment. So has his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner. Same with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir. British political pressure, French stance against human rights abuses and German pressure on Turks to tone down Islamic rhetoric. Will it work?
    Political observers are awaiting the outcome of Iranian Presidential elections in June 2009. Tehran Mayor Baqher Qalibaf is running. He has been feted in Switzerland, Australia and Japan as a suitable candidate. Akbar Hashemi, Mehdi Karroubi and incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be there. One wants to raise utility bills and the other is asking for higher house rates to raise money. We don’t have it.
    The oil and gas industry are suffering from lack of maintenance and repairs. It’s expensive and requires hard currency to pay for spare parts and sophisticated technology. We don’t have it. We don’t know how to ask for it like Pakistan and scores of others.
    See what’s happening in Bangkok and Mumbai! That’s where we started in 1979. We are back to square one. Now you understand why we can’t wait!

  83. January 15, 2009 at 13:06

    BBC Persian TV, Stunning Success
    TEHRAN – The faces are familiar, so are the sites, but the end effect is stunning. That is BBC Persian Television. The commentaries, news bulletins, and general coverage have received overwhelming applause from Iranians. “We’re back on track,” said one youngster, adding: “It’s a credit to the country, thanks to Bush House.”
    Can Iran have a share through promotional programs? Will Iranian officials have a voice?
    “Khatami was right and Ahmadinejad is wrong?” Nevertheless, let the man speak.
    It’s not all bad over here. Schooling has improved immensely. Health services have taken a leap forward. The Iranian welfare system is keeping some six or seven million people alive.
    Smart, presentable and well-informed, the team at BBC Persian has affected the lives of Iranians throughout the world. The women and girls on the program are well dressed. No excesses, because their counterparts In Iran must identify with them. Some of the male team are already well-known from radio commentaries. What they say carries immense weight. In depth, political analysis and survey of Iranian government and trade offices will doubtless come in due course.
    In spite of Iranian government fears of being left out or being scrutinized, the program has taken an impartial stance on the existing situation in Tehran and the provinces. Lastly, many EU countries have contributed positively to developments inside Iran and have been kind to expatriates. Let’s hear and learn from their experiences.

  84. January 23, 2009 at 07:33

    Hillary Clinton, a Gift!
    TEHRAN – Hillary Clinton “a gift to the State Department” according to US President Barack Obama. Certainly gifted! Richard Holbrooke to head Pakistan, Afghan operations, George Mitchell assigned to Israel, Palestine. No reference to Iran. President Obama stressed the role of General Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen at the State Department on Thursday. That’s what we are up against. No wonder Tehran is after military hardware and revamping its military strength. Money down the drain for both Washington and Tehran!
    Iran has no problem with Pakistan or Afghanistan or Palestine but President Obama has focused on military confrontation in the former region and Israeli priorities in the latter case.
    Washington will negotiate with anyone except Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to some media reports. Neither side will climb down. Another blow to peace and stability in the region.
    Ambitious prelates, including former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, have been blowing their own trumpets and extolling their virtues on state owned Iranian television. He hates criticism. They all do. Torture is a fact of life in Iran, according to Mehdi Rafsanjani, talking to Sean Penn during the Iranian presidential campaign in 2005. Iranian officials agree.
    Lack of accountability and incompetence are the only plausible explanation for pandemonium and economic chaos in Iran. Sleaze and corruption are on the rise! Perhaps we do have some commonalities with Washington, after all!
    We are out of touch with reality or what’s going on in Europe, America, China or India.
    “Stop uranium enrichment,” “Atomic Iran unacceptable.” The same refrain, over and over again, falling on deaf ears. Iran’s much touted Bushehr Nuclear Plant, 15 years in the making, hasn’t produced any electricity yet.
    Admittedly, excellent work and improvements to the infra-structure, banking, town and city planning were made in Iran after the Eight Year War in 1988, but we are now at a political standstill.
    Countless US, EU, Russian and Chinese politicians have advised Iran to accept a compromise! The other problem is political bickering, party politics and incessant power struggles in Iran. There will be no peace and stability without the rule of law and Parliamentary democracy in Iran; No solution to regional problems without responsible behaviour and compliance with international norms by Tehran.

  85. January 29, 2009 at 08:17

    Getting to Know President Obama!
    TEHRAN – Great man, great orator, but Washington must have someone on the ground in Tehran to talk to the average man in the street. We have so much to learn form each other. Zalmay Khalilzad has been an effective US emissary in Iraq and UN. He may even run for president in his native Afghanistan. Pity Washington hasn’t someone of the same calibre in Iran. There is a US Interest Section affiliated to the Swiss Embassy down in Pasdaran Avenue, but there’s no American national to run it.
    We are both republics. Tehran, Washington must capitalize on commonalities before sitting down to negotiate. Iran’s Parliament meets regularly to discuss trivialities while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes the decisions. Congress actually has authority, enacts laws and regulations.
    We have oil and gas but can’t process and market them. American oil conglomerates control the international energy market. We want free trade in the region but only US and Europe can make it happen.
    The good news is that we have no problem with Israel. I had breakfast at the Synagogue today. Someone blessed the bread and we sat down to eat and talked of carpets afterwards.

  86. February 2, 2009 at 09:21

    Israel, Iran’s Erstwhile Partner!
    TEHRAN – Davos and BBC Persian TV have destroyed the shroud of mystery surrounding the Islamic Republic. CNN Senior Correspondent Christian Amanpour took Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to task on Saturday. He was also given a grilling by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner for intransigence and lack of transparency in its nuclear program.
    More important, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari proved a formidable diplomat and politician at the Forum. Full of praise and appeasement for his Iranian counterpart on the surface, he gave no illusions about the problems facing the two countries. Baghdad wants US forces to remain to ensure security in Iraq. Tehran still believes US military is an occupational force.
    It is all too reminiscent of the era of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani 1992-1996. Iranian influence was at its height in the enclave but ended abruptly as soon as he was toppled.
    We may curry favour in in Iraq while Shiite influence is at its peak, but Sunnis have staged a comeback. Iraq has forged a partnership with its Arab neighbours. We should have no illusions about our changing fortunes. Perhaps, after all, Iran’s only viable partner in the region is Israel!

  87. February 18, 2009 at 13:08

    Will US Change Foreign Policy for Iran?
    TEHRAN – US State Secretary Clinton stressed Islam, modernity, and democracy on arrival in JIndonesia, and focused on global trade and human rights. Bad news for Iran where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been urging a change in US policy.
    What does this mean in real terms? Former US president Jimmy Carter toasted the late Shah thirty years ago but urged him to adopt human rights. People were out on the streets the next day.
    “Liberty, freedom, equal opportunity,” said US President Obama in his inauguration address. Nothing will change for us or Indonesia while the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts continue. Worse still, unless Tehran tones down the rhetoric and comes clean on the nuke issue, it will suffer the same fate as Pakistan and fall into the hands of the Taliban.

  88. February 21, 2009 at 18:55

    Why Didn’t Coalition Forces Take Iran On Board, Sir John?
    TEHRAN – Islamic fundamentalists were gunning for the Ba’ath Party long before the Iranian Revolution. Najaf was their lifeline. They felt threatened by the secular regime in Iraq. Britain’s UN ambassador Sir John Sawers has accused Iran of killing British troops in Iraq. Iranian clerics didn’t target British troops. Predominantly Shi’ite clerics in Iraq and Iran certainly played a role in the victory of Coalition Forces, but, in their view, foreign troops replaced Saddam. The “liberation campaign” was a hoax. No WMD were found in Iraq after the March 2003 military operation – mission accomplished in three weeks.
    The action turned sour for Washington and London. Iraqis went on a rampage, destroying everything in their path.
    Baghdad became a nightmare for former British prime minister Tony Blair and George W. Bush. Coalition Forces suffered unnecessary loss of lives. The war lasted all of six years. It isn’t over yet. Why didn’t Washington and London take Iran on board?

  89. March 5, 2009 at 07:30

    Voice of Gaza
    TEHRAN – Very little to choose between Tehran Palestine Conference and Sharm al-Sheikh. It’s not clear who is speaking for Palestinians in Gaza. Arabs sidelined Iran at Sharm al-Sheikh but Tehran called for indictment of Israelis for war crimes on Wednesday.
    US State Secretary Hillary Clinton wasn’t convincing yesterday in Ramallah. Her press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas lacked punch. “Education, jobs, hope for all Palestinians,” She said. Empty words. Nothing can be done until there is a government in Tel Aviv. Little comfort for the destitute and hungry tent dwellers in Gaza.

  90. March 10, 2009 at 14:09

    Sorry to See You Go, Sir Jeffrey!
    TEHRAN – British Ambassador Sir Jeffrey Adams is to handover his duties to Simon Gass in April. He came at a bad time. A brilliant strategist, he is credited for turning the tables and putting Iran on the map.
    He came in 2007, between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s premierships. There has been a divergence of views between Tehran and London ever since the Islamic Revolution.
    Tehran captured and incarcerated 15 British sailors in March 2007, straining relations further. The incident was diffused without a clash. Sir Jeffrey played an important role, calming tempers, taking charge of the sailors and returning them to Britain.
    Sir Jeffrey took over from Sir Richard Dalton, a wonderful person, according to a friend who met him in Libya. His term coincided with the aftermaths of the Iraq invasion. There were some terrible scenes and scuffles outside the British Embassy during his tenure.
    We have come a long way since. Sir Jeffrey is probably the highest ranked British Civil Servant to come to Iran. I admired his composure and intelligence. Many will be sorry to see him leave.

  91. March 22, 2009 at 07:18

    Obama, Khamenei Soul Brothers World Apart!
    TEHRAN –In the wake of US President Barack Obama’s Nowrouz message to Iran, the international media has highlighted differences between Tehran and Washington.
    The message was simple enough: “Let’s get together,” but Khamenei was too clever to take the bait. Why should he? Some 700 companies, conglomerates, foundations and charities are working to keep him in style. As one BBC commentator put it: “Seyed Ali nipped the proposition in the bud,” before his opponents seized on the opportunity to attack him.
    Obama shelved half a dozen choice candidates to reach out to Khamenei. We are first and foremost a Republic. Keep it simple. Mismanagement, embezzlement and incompetence are the main issues at stake in Tehran. That much we have in common with Washington.

  92. April 20, 2009 at 16:25

    Walk-Out in Geneva Won’t Solve Anything!
    TEHRAN – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad touched on sensitive issues in Geneva, but there was plenty of support for what he was saying.
    Not everyone supported the Gaza massacre. Not everyone wants Israel to pound the region. What is Israel doing in India? These and many other factors have the Islamic world worried.
    Where is EU heading? Europe has become a cultural heritage foundation, touting the beautiful sites in former East Europe.
    UN has been helpless over the years in the face of coercion and heavy-handedness by Washington. When is the Security Council going to change? It’s not only Ahmadinejad. The whole world wants change. American President Obama has made it his top priority.
    Tehran, Tel-Aviv have always been on a collision course. Compare ultra-Orthodox Jews with Iranian Islamic Fundamentalists. They want everything for themselves. No room for opposition!

  93. May 21, 2009 at 14:54

    Waning American Influence in Iran!
    TEHRAN – Europe may have to deal with Iran on its own. US President Obama is facing disappointment after disappointment in his handling of the world recession and Guantanamo. It’s unlikely that he will have any success with Iran. Nothing has changed since George Bush left office.
    Soft talking is not the way. A tough America is needed which can quell the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan and bring peace to Iraq. Iran must drop nukes prior to the June 12th presidential elections otherwise the issue will never be solved. The nuclear program is key to the success of hardliners and radicals.
    It is a bargaining chip. Their system of charities, trusts and foundations is systematically acquisitioning whole chunks of real estate and other people’s property across the country. The only way to quell their advance is to confront them: “No nukes, no political prisoners, no Hizbollah, no renegade Palestinian factions, no hit squads or extortion gangs.”

  94. May 24, 2009 at 12:35

    Where Have the People Gone?
    TEHRAN – Enjoy the summer in Canada. No, it’s not a travel ad, everyone is doing it: That is anyone who’s anyone in Iran: Visiting the children. They’ve settled in California, somewhere in Europe or perhaps in Canada? It used to be Vienna in Austria or Nice in the south of France: But California beats them hands down today.
    The Presidential? Ahmadinejad! it’s a foregone conclusion. Nothing will change. Youngsters have long since lost interest. The majority of sat-TV stations with links to the inside or sponsored by expatriates blare out music all day. The rest focus on slimming diets and good food.
    Dad used to say: “If you have any self-respect, keep out of politics.” The middle class in Iran cherish their self-esteem. That’s the way it’s been through the centuries.
    The two contenders from the Rafsanjani stables at the the Expediency Council? No chance. It’s all about Ahmadinejad, what he’s done or hasn’t down. Mehdi Karroubi the plucky prelate? Cried himself silly! Lost his voice before campaigning began.

  95. June 13, 2009 at 16:42

    Mousavi Alleges Treachery, Vote Rigging, Amid Public Discontent!
    TEHRAN –Ahmadinejad is at it again. His supporters were celebrating victory on Friday night before the vote tally in the presidential elections. People are on the streets today to seek justice. They are not scared by the strong-arm tactics of the Police either although the Armed Forces promised to stay away. .
    Shopkeepers and car drivers on Fatemi Street in central Tehran refused to help innocent demonstrators on Saturday. They are disorganized and helpless.
    Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei made a fatal mistake. He refused to accept the outcome of Friday’s elections. The public is hollering for Ahmadinejad’s blood and Khamenei’s ouster.

  96. June 14, 2009 at 07:51

    Simmering Discontent!
    TEHRAN – Combatant clerics have called for the annulment of the presidential elections. More websites and web logs have been filtered. Satellite TV stations are blocked. Senseless media control and clampdowns on personal freedom by the government have multiplied: But once Iranians take to the streets, there’s no stopping them.
    Fraud and vote tampering on Friday brought this on, but it won’t stop here. Riots and protests throughout Iran are just the beginning. Autocratic rule hasn’t worked in Iran. Resentment runs deep.
    Life is getting harder by the day. There is no escape. Tired, weary faces of hungry people on the bus every morning: This is the life of millions of Iranians; trekking back and forth to sweat shops; working two or three shifts to make ends meet; trying to offset the rising cost of living and paying for primary and secondary school education for their children.
    Will the future be any better? Not under prelates. Clerics simply don’t have solutions to the countless problems we are facing. Heads perched high, smug under their turbans, they think they have a lease for life on Iran and Iranians.

  97. June 16, 2009 at 06:21

    Ahmadinejad in Moscow!
    TEHRAN – Iran has said it, the world is saying it! Ahmadinejad shouldn’t be in Moscow. A spokesman for Military High Command in Tehran said that first priority was to quell protests, but failing that, a re-run of the elections would be advisable.
    The Guardian Council is unlikely to come up with anything since it will not override Khamenei’s wishes: But should there be any elections in the absence of democratic institutions to safeguard the ballot, ensure civil liberties and protect people against assault and battery and false arrest, as we have witnessed?
    Seyed Ali Khamenei is the main culprit in the latest round of unrest in Iran. He is an obstacle to peace and security. He manipulated former president Ahmadinejad all these years. Should Khamenei stay? A dozen patriarchs, better qualified and in full possession of their faculties – which he isn’t – are ready to step in, with reduced responsibilities, and specific duties.

  98. June 17, 2009 at 06:46

    Peaceful Demonstrations Without Ahmadinejad!
    TEHRAN – Government supporters avoided clashes with Reformists on Vali-Assr Square yesterday. Luckless presidential contender Mirhossein Moussavi advised party loyalists to stay away, fearing they would be cornered, outnumbered and smashed, but it didn’t happen. State owned Iranian television carried live images throughout the day.
    Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Moscow.
    Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei met representatives of all three presidential hopefuls last night in an effort to appease all sides and consolidate his own power. Deep rifts have emerged within the clergy over Friday’s elections. Akbar Mohtashemipour, son-in-law of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic, advocated a clear break with the past yesterday?
    Reformists also gathered at the gates of state-owned TV and radio on Tuesday afternoon where Faizeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, Expediency Council chief’s daughter, spoke to them. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanajani who is bankrolling Mousavi’s campaign, is branded a secular politician his clerical colleagues and despised as over-ambitious by the public.
    Should the public take a hint and dispose of Ahmadinejad or bring down the house, as some are suggesting?

  99. June 17, 2009 at 15:46

    Young Faces, Soft Voices on Haft-e-Tir Square!
    TEHRAN – At the top of the rush hour and near the deadline to assemble on Haft-e-Tir Square, I didn’t think any cab would take me for the 10 Km ride to get there, but there I was, the last of five passengers to board the car.
    Hundreds and thousands of youngsters descended on the square from all sides. A dozen Policemen kept watch and restricted us to the pavement.
    The square is better known for Javad Mosque, which slammed its iron gates on the crowd at 5:00 P.M. sharp.
    The march was well organized. I was given a placard reading: “What’s happened to my vote?” The loud-mouthed, son of a scrap dealer from the salt mines in Garmsar would have been out of place here.
    The marchers set out for Karim-Khan Zand Blvd., formerly Queen Elizabeth. These youngsters are unanimous in their deamand: “No Dictator!” and, “No recount but rerun of the election!” It’s hard to refuse.
    What’s to be the outcome of all this? “Trust Doctor Khatami!” said one protester. Should there be a coalition government of Mousavi, Karroubi, Rafsanjani?” Why not, he answered. What about the restrictions on dress code, free speech and liberty? I asked: “Later, much later!”
    There is no hint of the polemics of Mohsen Kadivar and Youssef Ashkevari in all this. None of the rhetoric and finesse of former culture Minister Ataollah Mohajerani! No call for Seyed Ali Khamenei to go as suggested by Ayatollah Montazeri, but the Leader is losing his supporters by the hundreds and thousands. The rift within the ruling clique on account of Ahmadinejad’s unpopularity and blunders hs had dire consequences and could bring him down by the end of summer.

  100. June 18, 2009 at 10:14

    Take the Bull by the Horn!
    TEHRAN – Former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami invested presidential hopeful Mirhossein Mousavi with a green sash the other day, green being the colour of innocence, red for sacrifice and black for mourning in the Shiite faith, but nothing will change so long as the ruling clique is ensconced in power. Another 500,000 – 600,000 protesters will march today, mourning the massacre of eight colleagues who perished in a senseless spree of shooting by renegade militias, faithful to Ahmadinejad.
    The Police is weary, the military tired, people anxious, what’s to become of us?

  101. June 19, 2009 at 07:14

    Last Chance for Peace in Iran!
    TEHRAN – Countdown to Tehran Friday Prayers has begun amid fears that a showdown between Hardliners and Reformists is inevitable. Mirhossein Mousavi has called for Congregational Prayers by his supporters at a seperate venue.
    A military spokesman last night said that Basijis are in league with plainclothesmen and affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards. Protesters and students were harassed by Basijis all last week, who killed seven of them in Azadi Square, another five at Tehran University Dormitory and two more at Shiraz University last week. Basijis helped Ahmadinejad to power in 2005.
    There is little hope that Seyed Ali Khamenei will climb down and annul presidential elections. His power is under attack. Hashem Agahajari, prominent academic, wounded in the Eight Years’ War, imprisoned at one-time for advocating an end to institutionalized Leadership, was among protesters last week.
    Head of the National Trust Party Mehdi Karroubi and publisher of a party rag, is a plucky and outspoken cleric, criticized efforts to muffle opposition in the name of the Islamic Republic, during the lifetime and after Mister Khomeini in his manifesto on Thursday. Free allocation and distribution of Equity Shares, provincial jousts and popular rhetoric over four years by Ahmadinejad were designed to influence the public and buy votes, he says.
    Ahmadinejad carefully staged these elections, forced his appointee for the Interior Ministry on Parliament four months ago. Was there any machination of the outcome of the elections in a secret chamber after balloting on Friday, as has been alleged? Why wasn’t anyone from the opposition allowed in? Why were impartial observers denied scrutiny?
    Expediency Council Chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is emerging as a champion of the people. Former president and author of “Dialogue Amongst Civilizations” Seyed Mohammad Khatami has been hailed a saviour.” Getting them to the negotiating table with his protégés Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi may be the last chance for peace in Iran.

  102. June 19, 2009 at 12:00

    “Well Done Contestants, No More Rivalry, Race is Over!”
    TEHRAN – Seasoned politician, articulate orator, Seyed Ali Khamenei called an end to presidential elections and praised his hard working protégé for winning the race with 24.5 million votes.
    No objection to rivalry, he said. A race between my prime minister and former chief of the Revolutionary Guards and the incumbent president, he added. “Purely within the establishment,” away from the international media and arrogant powers. He cursed Britain, the United States and Israel, as usual.
    Some 300,000 – 400,000 people from the bazaar and rank and file of the public attended Friday Prayers in a six square mile area around Tehran University, cordoned off for the occasion. Veiled women sat on the grass on Keshavarz Boulevard while their paunchy husbands, beads in hand, sporting turquoise and agate rings, squatted on the asphalt. Small clusters of Mousavi supporters sat on the periphery, poster and manifesto in hand. Rafsanjani and Khatami supporters were also present.
    Leader Khamenei condemned disparaging rumours about Rafsanjani. Certain misdeamenours attributed to him may have been perpetrated by his family and relatives, he continued, but this was not a slight on his personal character, he concluded. Nateq Nouri also has misunderstandings with the Revolution: “But that’s nothing new,” he added.
    Today’s well organized, impeccably policed Friday Prayers dispels any doubt as to the power of Khamenei. The cab driver had told me on the way: “We proved we can do it if we set our minds to it, no need for meddling by London or Washington.” He wasn’t there to chew his words.

  103. June 20, 2009 at 06:52

    Keeping the Pressure!
    TEHRAN –Government propaganda, public relations and the bazaar gave victory to Khamenei on Friday. You don’t matter unless you are over fifty over here! There was plenty of that on Friday, satisfied pallets, nodding in approval! Send the wife to Damascus every two years, keep to the straight and narrow, everyone in line, good reputation, good house, good business, that’s the bazaar.
    Ironically, the carpenter, the house painter, the smith and the electrician are still at their trade, thirty years after the Islamic Revolution, lucky if they survive.
    The bazaar is rightly identified with success and wealth!
    Importer, wholesaler, retailer and distributor are often one and the same in the bazaar. Iran imported approximately US $70 billion from China in 2008. Commission on these contracts was worth US $7 billion – US $10 billion, paid across the counter, remitted before shipment.
    No one pays taxes. The bazaar came out on strike last year when the government suggested a 5% sales tax, but the government receives oil and gas revenues, valued at nearly US $80 billion in 2007. Precise figures for 2008 are not available. At a higher level, Islamic banking, loan sharking, foreign exchange and the financial sector in Iran is directly or indirectly controlled by the bazaar. Why protest, why spoil it all!

  104. June 21, 2009 at 15:27

    Pray for Neda!
    TEHRAN – A gentle voice, soft face, like so many others in the bustling crowd, crying for freedom. A single bullet, swathed in blood, she fell yesterday! One last gasp and she passed away. Father by her side, fellow protesters watching! A doctor told her: “Don’t be afraid!”

  105. June 22, 2009 at 11:58

    Hand of God!
    TEHRAN – Ten days of protests have taken a heavy toll on lives and property in Tehran and the provinces. The Guardian Council, Iran’s top legislative body, is repeatedly calling for disenchanted presidential hopefuls to hand in their complaints. Checks on ballot boxes in northern Iran counted more votes than eligible voters. The complete story will never be known, but Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani criticized Interior Minister Mahsouli yesterday.
    Mirhossein Mousavi and two-term former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami are calling for further protests. Some 34 people have been killed and 500 arrested. Weary, hungry protesters refuse to abandon hope and continue to assemble across Tehran and other cities.
    The damage is done. Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei went too far on Friday. Honest broker turned politician has fallen foul of Qom Seminary School, traditional home of Shiite patriarchs. Too much pamphleteering, lampooning, jingoism and political bickering, they say. Extravagant projects are underway on the riverside to expand the Shrine of Zeinab in Qom, a fitting tribute to Neda, the lone warrior who is mourned today!
    “Down with the Dictator!” echoes through the city, night and day. What started out as a hoax and practical joke has misfired. Militias are keeping a low profile but will they keep away? Radio and TV Chief Ezzatollah Zarghami is one of them! Who else?
    Muzzling the press has damaged the Administration since television screens across the world have highlighted the atrocities in Iran, images taken by young protesters, fighting a lonely war.

  106. June 23, 2009 at 10:41

    Where to Draw the Line!
    TEHRAN – CNN Coverage of Iran protests has been impeccable, but the clergy is not finished! Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, social equality, equality for women, effective parliamentary rule, emancipation, civil rights and an independent judiciary! Who is going to make it happen?
    History has come a full circle. The regime has dwarfed anything the Shah did. Images of the heir apparent on the TV screen didn’t arouse emotions yesterday.
    Last time round, Washington offered its unstinting support to the Revolution! See what happened, but America is the only hope of millions of youngsters in Iran.
    Should US President Obama walk in and take over? Parliament congratulated the Leader, President and Militias in suppressing the revolt today.
    The 290 Parliament is a supervisory body failed to make its imprint on the government in the last thirty years. Some 260 delegates are from the provinces, spending the best part of their tour of duty in real estate offices, trying to make a bargain and turn a profit. Influence peddlers, at best. They have a generous living allowance and a car, making their stay as pleasant as possible.
    We traditionally belong to the Shiite Faith. Clerics sometimes quote excerpts from the Old Testament referring to the patriarchs, Joseph and Moses in their semons for optimal effect. At certain times in the Hejrat calendar, almost a thousand years behind real time, the public goes into incantations and self-flagellation. Ancient laws on slaughter and perhaps subtle points of governance are also in usage.
    The clergy in Iran is shaky. It is language illiterate and has lost its popular base, a law unto itself! It failed to broaden its appeal and relax moral and social codes.

  107. June 29, 2009 at 07:57

    Mousavi, Karroubi Delight Supporters!
    TEHRAN –Bastion of Revolutionaries in the 1970s, Ghobah Mosque came alive last night with some 3,000 – 4,000 Mirhossein Mousasvi and Mehdi Karroubi supporters. Officially, the assembly commemorated the demise of the late Hossein Beheshti, killed with hundreds of others in Sar Cheshmeh in 1981.
    The congregation was in and out before the dragnet of police, Militia and plainclothesmen could close in. The winding side streets in north Tehran didn’t make their task any easier. Traditional bastion of merchants and well-t-do upper middle classes, the mosque awoke from years of slumber.
    Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, parliamentary speaker from 1980-89, former two-time president, has also spoken out against street unrest and opposition to vote rigging in the presidential race.
    Political pundits say that Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei cries wolf too often. He has lost credibility. He’s no longer in control! Not fit to rule, they say: But Rafsanjani is no option because he lacks common support.
    Could Iran’s paper Parliament weather the storm? Unlikely since empty rhetoric, nepotism and vested interest dominate its 30-year history. A Junta? Plebiscite? A provisional administration, perhaps? A prompt solution will save the nation from bloodshed and endless political bickering.

  108. June 29, 2009 at 11:02

    Oh Perfidious England! Blighted by CNN & BBC!
    TEHRAN – Superb display of what is possible, that’s BBC and CNN. They offered Iranians what local radio and TV never could! An updated image of what people are doing and saying on the streets.
    State owned media focused on official communiqués, official guidelines, official ads, and official point of view: A veritable exercise in propaganda, a spy network, complete with prosecutor’s office. The rift with the outside was complete.
    Yet Iranians found supporters on the outside: Thousands, hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of expatriates who fled or deserted the country for fear of their lives, –seizure of property, imprisonment without trial and death by hanging are still common in Iran.

  109. June 30, 2009 at 10:47

    Stunned Silence and Despair!
    TEHRAN – Political activists, students and journalists will remain in custody, according to Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei. Ringleaders, and anti-Revolutionary elements won’t be released, he said. He was speaking to Qom Administrative Commission yesterday, 150 Km away from Tehran. Law and order is breaking down in the wake of rigged presidential elections on June 12th. Elsewhere, Judiciary Chief Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has appointed a panel to investigate the detention of hundreds, maybe thousands of civilians arrested during public unrest.
    British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband have also voiced alarm at the continuing detention of Tehran British Embassy staff. Allegations of harassment and intimidation in and out of prison abound in Iran. Tens of political activist, students, and journalists have disappeared over the years: But social reformers and political pundits ask whether the Administration has a clear mandate?
    Muftis in Saudi Arabia, the seat of Islam, criticize the personality cult in Iran, calling it image worship and idolatry. Is there any legitimacy to the sacrosanct personage of His Eminence and Holiness? Should he interfere in daily life and politics, or take sides in presidential elections as he has?
    The elections are suspect. Ramming it down people’s throat is tantamount to tyranny! Heed the writing on the wall before the nation plunges into anarchy!

  110. July 2, 2009 at 14:32

    Don’t Go!
    TEHRAN – Iranian opposition leaders have finally united. They don’t want Ahmadinejad for president, nor do we or you. Civil unrest has given way to civil disobedience.
    Tehran is peaceful enough, but women, including housewives, office workers and teachers are joining their men counterparts and campaigning for freedom. Foreign dignitaries, including Sultan Qaboos, refuse to visit Tehran. Others have canceled their trip.
    Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Military Joint Command, threatened to exclude Europe from 5+1 nuclear talks. A clumsy move! Washington, Moscow will shortly tackle the real issue of Iranian WMD and uranium enrichment. Hong Kong Electronics based on Kish Island has been targeted by US Treasury Department for funding North Korean missile program and transferring technology to Iran.
    The military here is confused. It has been on alert for most of the last two months. It is not directly implicated in recent clampdowns and street atrocities: That was done by Militias!
    We have problems but Europe has been a pillar of support in our campaign for civil rights and Parliamentary rule. Keep up the pressure, stay! Don’t abandon millions of youngsters who have seen a ray of hope on the horizon.

  111. July 3, 2009 at 14:45

    Negotiate or Else!
    TEHRAN – The Hostage Crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran On November 4, 1979 was only the beginning. Gruesome deaths and wholesale massacres followed at Evin Prison. Khalkhali ordered the massacre of thousands of innocent Iranians, before they had a chance to plead for a reprieve. Ayatollah Gilani, who shrouded his face during secret trials, personally signed the death warrant for his two sons. The fate of thousands of Iranians is unknown.
    The same breed of madmen has compiled a secret list of citizens who must be tracked down at all costs and eliminated! Why? Because they marched peacefully in Tehran and the provinces in mid-June and asked for their rights.
    Just as well that Europe is invoking the June 23rd 2007 “droit d’ingérence!” Call it mediation, liberal intervention, or simply a supervisory, regulatory role! Our patriarchs must listen, or it will be back to the barricades!

  112. July 9, 2009 at 16:46

    No Sign of Mousavi!
    TEHRAN –Law Enforcement Forces, Militias and Riot Police were out in full on Thursday afternoon on Enghelab Square. I rode on the back of a motorcycle towards Azadi Square and back, past the square towards Tehran University. Militias on motorbikes, others in pick-up trucks and armored vehicles patrolled the 4 Km. stretch between Enghelab Square and Ferdowsi Ave.. In some areas, Police and Anti-Riot Troops outnumbered pedestrians and protesters.
    Still peaceful at five in the afternoon,. Families strolled along on their weekend holiday. They were working class people, a different crowd to the youngsters we met on Haft-e-Tir Square three weeks back.
    A two kilometer traffic jam formed on the stretch of road between Enghelab Square and Ferdowsi. Drivers honked their horn in a show of solidarity with their pedestrian counterparts. Still no sign of Mousavi! The shoe shops and clothes stores on Enghelab Square started closing at 6:30 P.M.. The Police had ample warning and was prepared for the occasion. They dispersed crowds and chased them down side streets before they had a chance to assemble. Dozens of Police Patrol Cars were parked on street corners.
    “There is no hope in Iran,” said Sepideh, a post graduate student. What’s the use of it all if scuffles break out, she added, adding: “Most of us have gone back to our daily lives.” The Administration is very powerful, she concluded.

  113. July 13, 2009 at 06:03

    British Sacrifice in Afghanistan!
    TEHRAN – If it weren’t for Young British soldiers, there would be no Afghanistan. They sacrifice their lives so that August elections can take place in that country.
    This is in stark contrast to the attitude of state owned media in Iran which gloats at British fatalities. Lack of Iranian support for the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq is a gaping sore in our history. The number of Taliban who are hiding in Qom or al-Qaeda in Yazd is still unknown.

  114. July 14, 2009 at 09:53

    Chinese Connection!
    TEHRAN – Didn’t begin in Hong Kong, won’t end with Taipei! Chinese atrocities in Xinjiang are just a sample of a wider scheme to command and dominate. Iranian tabloids and hoary patriarchs have belatedly realized what Peking is up to. There is a strong parallel between Chinese tactics, equipment and troop deployment used in Zianqing and what happened during recent civil unrest in Iran. It’s not Han Chinese killing Uighurs but plainclothesmen butchering, laming and killing disgruntled citizens, similar to our own thugs and sundry Militias, they say!

  115. July 19, 2009 at 07:26

    Rafsanjani in the Sky!
    TEHRAN – A novice cringed and disappeared into the thick crowd outside Tehran University on Friday. He was out of place! Ashamed of his attire almost! He felt uncomfortable in the convivial atmosphere. A bigoted die-hard, ready to take ablution and blow up everyone: He wasn’t used to young, smiling faces. Was there something wrong with these youngsters? They saw right through him!
    Another cleric emerged after the sermon, carefree, full of smiles. He could have asked anything in that split moment, and it would have been done, no questions asked, but where was Haj Akbar Rafsanjani? People sat all morning on the asphalt in C40 degrees, just to hear him. They weathered the storm, resisted riot squads, Militias and plainclothesmen, until they got the upper hand! There goes Hashemi Rafsanjani in his helicopter. No sooner had he delivered his sermon and he was gone, vanished in the skies.

  116. August 3, 2009 at 16:27

    Parliamentarians Criticize Inquisitions and False Arrests!
    TEHRAN – Former Interior Minister Mostapha Mohammadi warned his fellow prelates in Qom on Sunday against the excesses of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His tantrums are no excuse for poor performance, he added. Ahmadinejad’s insistence on retaining Rahim Mashai, in spite of Seyd Ali Khamenei’s opposition, has alienated Fundamentalists and Reformists alike.
    Elsewhere, the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Rapporteur discussed their recent visit with political prisoners in Evin Prison. Kazem Jalali said that out of the 30 prisoners paraded before the Commission, they talked to three or four. Former Interior Ministry deputy Mostapha Tajzadeh could not be located, he added.
    The show trial of Mohammad Ali Abtahi on Sunday also offended theologians in and out of Parliament. Abtahi broke down under interrogation and has since praised the high standard of debate inside prison and added: “I have found myself for the first time in my life!” Abtahi seemed the jovial Friar in the past thirty years, but his confessions have portrayed him as a delirious, ranting cleric, and alarmed his fellow clergymen.He should have appeared before the Special Court for the Clergy, they say, which would have saved them considerable embarrassment.

  117. August 5, 2009 at 10:58

    No Time for Greetings!
    TEHRAN – Lawmakers watched silently, the odd man cocking his backside to break wind during the Investiture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Parliament today. Contingency plans were in force for four hours from Mokhbere Dowleh Junction to Eshratabad Square, an area of some 10 Sq. Km..
    Over 10,000 forces including Anti-Riot Police, Paramilitaries, Basijis and plainclothesmen were on duty. A convoy of 40 Militias on motorbikes barricaded the entrance to a Gas Station 200 Meters from Parliament.
    A young girl broke down in tears in the taxi as she related her grueling interrogation in a makeshift garage by plainclothesmen because she was seen talking to a friend on her cell phone.
    Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi conducted the proceedings in Majlis for “Dear Doctor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” All this to the backdrop of petrol hikes, gruesome tales of torture, forced confessions and death of protesters after mock elections on June 12th.
    An unfortunate start to a four-year term which Ahmadinejad can not fulfill: The majority of Iranians don’t want to have anything to do with him, including senior politicians, enlightened clergy and tradesmen.

  118. August 14, 2009 at 03:01

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  119. September 3, 2009 at 07:51

    Still No Government!
    TEHRAN – And no worse for it! Almost three months have elapsed since the June 12th presidential elections but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hasn’t a Cabinet. By a quirk of democracy, we are better off without it. Parliament is treating Ahmadinejad with disdain, but the latter is bathing in glory. Parliament is pondering the merit of his appointees and examining their academic credentials.
    Iran is not poor. Billions of dollars change hand every day in the business districts of Tehran. Few words are said. Money is the benchmark of success or failure in Iran.
    MPs and ministers simply need common sense and a basic knowledge of the law in order to understand what is going on around them. Perhaps the Government doesn’t need to know, because the money is there. It must simply spend it. As Mehdi Karroubi told Ahmadinejad in the pre-election campaign: “I am short of funds because I don’t receive oil revenues and I am not on the Tehran City Council.”
    The last Administration squandered $270 billion over four years. Tehran City Council charges $300,000 – $400,000 for a building permit. Look at the mess it has made of the skyline! Where is the water and electricity for those ugly blocks?

  120. September 10, 2009 at 12:19

    Ahmadinejad Leading Iran to Ruin!
    TEHRAN – This according to Stephen Handley, former US National Security Adviser. Not far wrong. Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet is still three ministers short. Mohsen Ejei has been replaced at the Ministry of Information. Dreaded former Tehran Public Prosecutor Sayeed Mortazavi is gone. Former Judiciary chief Hashemi Shahroudi has made way for Sadegh Larijan, but show trials continue, the purge of former ministers and officials has gained momentum. Party headquarters of presidential hopefuls Mehdi Karroubi and Mirhossein Mousavi have been raided and sealed off. Nothing has changed.

  121. September 23, 2009 at 07:17

    Shopping for Friends!
    TEHRAN –Vakili Rad is eligible for parole. He spent eighteen years behind bars in France for butchering former Iranian prime minister Shahpour Bakhtiar and chopping up his body. Speaking on RFI last night, former French ambassador to Tehran François Nicoullaud suggested Iran should make a reciprocal goodwill gesture for his release.
    Ideally placed and qualified to orchestrate the gruesome government torture campaign against political activists, Rad will be an invaluable asset to the Administration.
    Franco-Iranian ties will gain since Tehran will spare no effort to recompense Quai d’Orsay for its generous offer of assistance in the clampdown on civil liberties in Iran.

  122. October 2, 2009 at 07:06

    “Iran Can Help in Afghanistan”
    TEHRAN – Washington is cutting back on the war effort in Afghanistan. The rising death toll is bad for the Administration and bad for NATO.
    The provisional outcome of 5+1 talks with Tehran in Geneva indicate progress, contingent on Iran opening up all nuclear sites to IAEA inspection and possible suspension of uranium enrichment.
    Political analysts contend that Hassan Rouhani would have been preferable to Saeed Jalili, currently in Geneva. Tehran is under military siege; Azadi Stadium is swarming with militias and plainclothesmen, ready to pounce on spectators at today’s football match.
    Ahmadinejad hasn’t shown his face in public since the mock elections on June 12th. The floundering economy, rift within the clergy and increasing influence of the Revolutionary Guards in banking, communication networks and oil is unacceptable. General McChrystal should have waited before letting the cat out!

  123. November 4, 2009 at 14:41

    Never Again!
    TEHRAN – “Wrong,” according to Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. He condemned the single greatest blunder of the Revolution last night. Whatever induced youngsters to occupy the US Embassy on this day thirty years ago and hold the staff hostage for 444 days, people died needlessly through this single act which derailed an otherwise silent overthrow of the monarch.
    The government had been dreading this day for the last couple of months. The opposition hasn’t forgotten mock presidential elections on June 12. The Leader insists Washington is our main enemy, but no one comes to Iran, even when invited to attend international seminars.
    The US Embassy compound on Taleghani Street was cordoned off hours before official ceremonies at ten this morning. Side streets were blocked. Militias stood at doorways in case anyone tried to escape.
    Shops around Enghelab Square were closed: “In case of a pitched battle,” the passenger in the cab remarked. A lackluster affair attended by some 50,000 to 60,000 people. Mostly school children and plainclothesmen, parading drab banners, condemning an enemy who had long since deserted Iran. Loudspeakers repeated: “Official slogans only.” Protesters faithful to Mehdi Karroubi and Mirhossein Mousavi held their own gatherings some two kilometers away on Haft-e-Tir Square.

  124. November 8, 2009 at 09:57

    Britain Must Not Fail in Afghanistan!
    TEHRAN – Deputy Guards’ Commander General Hossein Salami has linked Pakistan to recent bombings in Sistan, Baluchistan Province, but this is no time to settle scores.
    What can Iran do to assist United Nations and NATO in Afghanistan and Pakistan? We must coordinate our actions since anything that happens on the border will have a knock on effect on the whole region!

  125. November 11, 2009 at 14:02

    End the War in Yemen!
    TEHRAN – Iran is willing to mediate in the Yemeni-Saudi conflict, according to Foreign Minster Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday. Saudis have blockaded the Yemeni coast, citing the threat of Iranian arms reaching Yemeni Shi’ites. Saudi Arabia has bombed their hillside posts.
    Continued fighting serves no purpose. The whole region will be dragged into a full scale war unless Tehran, Ryiadh cease hostilities and talk.

  126. November 14, 2009 at 15:15

    Arab Support for Nuclear Iran!
    TEHRAN – “Should We Trust Iran,” asked the Doha Debate on Saturday? Some 48% responded positively. There has been plenty of bloodshed in Tehran over the last five months. Controversy rages between supporters and opponents of Ahmadinejad. That’s politics!
    Iran supports Hezbollah but there wouldn’t be a Lebanon without Hezbollah. Iran is aligned with Houthis in Yemen but who is doing the bombing?
    We don’t get on with France, oppose Americans and lambaste Britain, but popular opinion in the Arab world is shifting!

  127. November 28, 2009 at 15:19

    Diplomatic Coup!
    TEHRAN – Amid general disgust in Europe, America and the region at repeated tales of abuse, harassment and torture in Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday demanded that Tehran “suspend immediately construction at Qom.”
    The news that Shirin Ebadi’s Nobel diploma and medal have been confiscated has further shocked self-respecting Iranians. “First time in one hundred years” according to one official of the Nobel Prize.
    The diplomatic community in Tehran is a low key, low profile affair. The occasional national day or particular anniversary is discreetly celebrated, nothing more. Yet the efforts of each legation in echoing the plight of ordinary Iranians hs precipitated the end to tyranny.
    Empty chairs at international seminars in Tehran, Isphahan and Tabriz are clear signs of Iran’s isolation after the fraudulent presidential elections on 12 June. Once the public has taken to the streets, there is no stopping them! Whether plebiscites will take matters into their own hands or whether the crowds will bring the dictator to Justice, Iran will never be the same.

  128. December 6, 2009 at 15:49

    Staying the Course!
    TEHRAN – Expediency Council Chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been forced into the spotlight. His son Mehdi has been summoned by the Judiciary to answer charges of orchestrating and organizing demonstrations. His eldest son Mohsen is at loggerheads with President Mahmoud Ahhmadinejad over running the Metro. To complicate things, Seyd Ali Khamenei accused Britain of duplicity and undermining his authority today.
    All this on the eve of demonstrations at Tehran University to-morrow, but the leadership struggle has taken a new turn. Rafsanjani has support from the powerful clergy in Mashad where he spoke on Sunday. Opponents of Ahmadinejad, including former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi the head of the National Trust Party and Tehran Mayor Baqer Qalibaf have declared their readiness to continue the struggle for freedom.
    Last time round, Rafsanjani disappeared just when victory was in sight. Brigadier Qalibaf hs been feasted in Australia as an exemplary mayor, but the different factions lack unity for success.

  129. December 16, 2009 at 07:48

    Whose Who in Copenhagen?
    TEHRAN – Diplomatic gaffs and leaked documents have cornered Iran. The use of UD3 is irrefutable evidence that Iran is after the bomb.
    Is this the last straw? More sanctions? Will students get the upper hand? Final curtain for ranting prelates, perhaps?
    We lead the world in road accidents, brain drain and pollution as BBC Persian says but Ahmadinejad and Tehran Mayor Baqer Qalibaf will be on hand to comment today.

  130. December 30, 2009 at 10:45

    Offense Intended!
    TEHRAN – British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is most unassuming and cuts a debonair figure. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki accuses him of “ranting,” unlikely for a person who is short on words. Unusual for Mottaki to utter such nonsense, but Genghis laid waste the country for much less.
    It wasn’t Lord Callaghan or Lady Thatcher who dismissed the Shah. After Guadeloupe in 1979, he had to go because Jimmy Carter didn’t want him either, nor former German Chancellor Schmidt or Giscard d’Estaing of France.
    Britain was like the Gospel to the Shah: A handbook on “How to Rule.” He wsn’t far wrong. Consecutive British envoys to Tehran have since tried to patch up differences.
    The sheer effort of launching BBC Persian TV, the ailing Sir Richard Dalton trying to understand a rogue state, tireless efforts of Sir Jeffrey Adams to put Tehran on the map! Now this! I dreamt of a massive portrait of the Shah, smug and smiling. Let the punishment fit the crime!

  131. January 1, 2010 at 17:41

    Will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad step down?
    TEHRAN –Nader Ordoubadi – alias Talebzadeh – film director, documentary producer and insider of state media suggested he wasn’t crucial to the governing apparatus. “The crowds carried portraits of Khomeini, Khamenei and Nasrallah,” he told a talk show tonight. They are focused on long-term goals, he continued. The regime is furiously trying to ward off imminent danger, but Massoumeh Torfeh from the School of Oriental and African Studies in UK thinks different. The legitimacy of the Islamic Republic is on the line, she says.
    Prominent opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi is rightly offended at his failure to secure the presidency on 12 June but his demand for freedom of speech and assembly etc.. don’t go far enough.
    Iran is on the edge, but that’s no reason to yield to half-measures. The government received a drubbing last week but eight protestors were killed. The public will not settle for anything less than victory!

  132. January 7, 2010 at 13:56

    Good Old Gordon!
    TEHRAN – If anyone can lead Britain out of recession, it’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The G20 in London last year was amazed by one man’s vision for economic growth, jobs and stability.
    “I’ve had to fight for everything I got,” he says. Just as well because he will be doing plenty of that for every Englishman after the General Elections.

  133. January 20, 2010 at 14:41

    Jackboots and Bloodhounds!
    TEHRAN –Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has urged an end to the publication of philosophical tracts and political treaties. His brother Sadeq and head of the Judiciary has been overwhelmed by the two-year backlog of court cases waiting to be heard. He has no legal training and unable to settle the long-standing Constitutional dispute between the Legislative and Executive powers.
    Add public discontent, rampant inflation, falling oil revenues and unemployment, you get the picture. The public has lost confidence in the Administration which is prying into every aspect of its life.
    Grim days ahead in the two months to the end of the Iranian financial year. The Administration has yet to submit the 5th Economic Development Plan, however vague, to Parliament.

  134. January 21, 2010 at 07:28

    Leader Wants More Power!
    TEHRAN – Unswerving allegiance, he calls it. Over 2,000 innocent protesters arrested since 12 June 2009 phony elections, another 150 murdered in cold blood while the nation veers out of control!
    We have a Constitution, a Legislature and law courts, but the Constitution is useless according to the former Consul in Oslo. Mohammad Reza Heidari says that as long as arbitrary rule persists, the Constitution is worthless.
    In essence, the sacrosanct supremo has the last word, regardless of sharia, or what’s left of the old civil and penal codes, but Democracy can only prevail if the old order fades!

  135. January 28, 2010 at 15:56

    Odd Man Out!
    TEHRAN – All bad news this week. Plane crash, train crash, and a snub in the face by Russia. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili didn’t go to Moscow as planned. His hosts cancelled the trip at the last moment on the eve of US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address – Russia will shortly sign a comprehensive nuclear disarmament pact and Tehran mustn’t get in the way!
    Absent from the Conference on Afghanistan in London today, another setback for Iranian diplomacy – and threats of further sanctions looming ahead: But there can be no peace in Kabul or Baghdad without help and assistance from Tehran!

  136. February 16, 2010 at 18:55

    Cash-Strapped Iran Turns on the Heat!
    TEHRAN – Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal calls it “threat of war.” US State Secretary Hillary Clinton has been urging solidarity against Iran but Iranian President Ahmadinejad seemed undisturbed at imminent danger over the nuclear issue at his press conference in Tehran today.
    Revolutionary Guards received their fair share of blame for their role in assassinations, torture and forced confessions since the 12 June phony presidential elections: But the real issue in Iran is mounting government debt and falling oil revenues.
    The transfer of power to the Guards was in part tolerated by patricians in the hope that they would alleviate the problem but those hopes were dashed. Greater share of oil revenues and majority control of communication networks emboldened the Guards to crush opposition and write off debts. Their rough methods brought Iran to its knees because thuggery doesn’t inspire creditors.
    If there is one thing all Iranians are agreed on, it is money.The Guards are money guzzlers, no good to the bazaar or patricians. They must go, but who will bankroll any future Iranian government?

  137. February 19, 2010 at 17:45

    Restoring Lost Pride!
    TEHRAN –Who holds power in Iran? Tehran Mayor, Seyd Hassan Khomeini, Rafsanjani, the Revolutionary Guards or Seyd Ali? Why the sabre rattling yesterday and belligerent talk in a hangar in Bushehr today? Uranium enrichment to 20 percent, weapon grade perhaps, then a flat denial?
    Could it be that Seyd Ali Kamenei is playing an end game, luring the Armed Forces to commit themselves? His authority has eroded since 12 June fixed presidential elections. All may be lost but he had best hurry before a 300,000-man Force lands in Iran.

  138. February 24, 2010 at 16:28

    Getting to Know You!
    TEHRAN – “We are preparing to install anti-missile systems to bring down your rockets,” said one envoy. Brunei National Day on Tuesday was a casual affair, but the real action was outside. A group of Revolutionary Guards huddled together, discussing the invitation list and checking diplomatic cars. They work in small clusters, going about their daily schedule.
    The arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi is another such instance. Security forces in the region cooperated, bringing Jundullah to account. At least one European nation was involved, according to one report.
    Why can’t the good work continue? Because there is no chain of command in the Guards. An advantage in wartime but a setback in peace. Ahmadinejad is not in control nor is Seyd Ali! That’s why Rafsanjani, Khamenei and a number of other patricians are clinging together: But it may be too late.
    Iran is turning a new page which will sweep everything before it. It may be for the better if meaningful contact and dialogue is established, before things turn nasty!

  139. March 15, 2010 at 07:37

    Kaleidoscope of Future Conflict!
    TEHRAN – A lot of truth in what General Sir Richard Dannett said on Hard Talk today. The military in the West is traditionally viewed as irascible and impatient, but Washington’s strategy in the Middle East is based on the opinions and strategies of its military commanders.
    Iran is no exception. The military will sooner rather than later take over the running of the country – if they haven’t done already. Come Labour or anyone else after May General Elections, Sir Richard should be taken seriously.


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