On air: Has anything in Iran changed?

nedaIt has been 40 days since Neda was shot dead in Iran, and this is traditionally marked by Shia Muslims.

People are posting messages in memory of her. Jamshid wrote

‘…We will never forget you nor what you represent – the will of a nation to be free! Sleep in peace Neda, for the Iranian nation is awake.’

40 days on, has anything changed in Iran?

Opposition leaders Mousavi and Karroubi will visit her grave and protests are planned. Memorials are being held around the world including California and New York. A street in Rome has been named after Neda.

Although 140 protesters have been freed from prison the first group could go on trial this weekend.

There could be splits in the Iranian leadership as the President and Supreme Leader disagree over ministerial appointments.

Will Iran’s spiritual leader dump  President Ahmadinejad? Sophia Hafez on the ISN site  says Iran could remain in limbo.

According to this column, Ayatollah  Khamenei is isolated and whether or not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes the oath, Iranians will not accept it.

40 days after Neda’s death, what’s changed in Iran?

51 Responses to “On air: Has anything in Iran changed?”

  1. 1 Deryck/Trinidad
    July 30, 2009 at 11:44

    There are internal changes among the leaders as a once united front has now revealed gaps in the ideological thinking of those at the top regarding the issues faced during the election and the aftermath.

  2. July 30, 2009 at 13:35

    How can anything change when the Western countries are fueling the useless protests taking place. If the opposition did not trust the body in charge of the elections, then why did they participate in the first place? Ahmeddinejad won, they should just understand and wait for the next elections. Protests and memorial services have not changed anything neither will they.

    • July 30, 2009 at 18:25

      What makes you think that the protests are useless or that they are fueled by the West?

    • 4 Karan
      July 30, 2009 at 23:31

      The USELESS PROTEST which mentioned is a great MAJORITY of people who stake their lives on the streets against the brutality of the regime. There is no OPPOSITION in this situation. The so-called Opposition are millions of Iranian People. People’s trust in this election was completely been ruinned and taken advantage by all the clear evidences. They largely participated for the CHANGE and not the Re-selection of Ahmadinejad and as someone who is writing from inside of Iran, I should better inform you, the protests has been given a DEEP SHOCK to the very foundation of the government, leadership and the SELECTED President Ahmadinejad. Like it or not, as an insider I see it VERY USEFUL and PROMISING! Dictatorships and Theocracies as such are doomed to extinct. Countdown just started! Power to the People!

    • 5 Maxine
      July 31, 2009 at 08:17

      I don’t know if Iran has changed because I am fortunate not to live there. But the violence is the same. Blaming the West for wrong doing has not changed. God bless Neda, may she rest in peace.

  3. July 30, 2009 at 14:09

    Neda’s death has become a symbol for those fighting for change in Iran. The ongoing dicontent with the reelection of Ahmadinajad is somewhat a discontent with the Iranian regime dominated by the clergy, top of whom is Ayatollah Khamenei , the spiritual leader.

    The ongoing protests in Iran, in one way or another, is an indication of the split in the Iranian leadership, if not, a split in national unity. This can lead to deep political divisions which can erupt into a regime change.

    Currently, Iran has become a weakened state with a regime under pressure at home from the strong opposition and abroad because of its pursuit of nuclear programme. Maybe, this can be a golden opportunity for the USA to force the hardline conservatives out of power and support a moderate Iranian leadership that can be a reliable, economically and militarily.

  4. 7 Dan
    July 30, 2009 at 14:24

    Things have certainly changed in Iran as ordinary people are fed up with Islamic rule and understand that Islam has not served them well.
    It has become clear that Islam in Iran is corrupt or simply run by corrupt Ayatollahs.
    That realization of reality and not the fantasy of Western interference is what is fueling the protests.
    People are fed up with the promise of the revolution not being fulfilled and one dictator being replaced with another more vicious dictator.
    There can be no doubt or argument that Ahmadinejad is an illigitimate leader as the election was a fraud.
    The protests must continue as should the memorial remembering Neda. The Ayatollahs must come to understand that Government derives its powers from the people and not by oppressing its people and lying to them.
    Lastly, there is no indication that any new and fairly eleceted leader would be friendly to the West, but he would be a LEGITIMATE leader and at least be entitled to have the respect of other world leaders and diplomats.

  5. 8 Tom K in Mpls
    July 30, 2009 at 14:25

    “There could be splits in the Iranian leadership as the President and Supreme Leader disagree over ministerial appointments.” “, Ayatollah Khamenei is isolated”

    Regardless of how much significance you place on which event, these statements show change. Face it, change is inevitable. All of this is worth watching, but it is all meaningless to global politics until Iran gets a stable, accountable political system. Until then Iran is just a sad, almost laughable soap opera.

  6. July 30, 2009 at 14:54

    Change in Iran is fueled by the majority of the population that did not experience the Islamic Revolution thirty years ago. Will Ayatollah Khamenei and the ultra-conservatives he leads give in without a fight? It seems not. Will the general population accept that the ideals they have been taught are lies? If the continuing demonstrations are any sign, likely not. Will the more moderate forces within the government’s leadership continue to organize a shift away from dictatorship? Yes. Those leaders have already cast their fate with change and cannot retreat. Though it might take years instead of months before the benefit of change is realized, there is no going back to “before”, and the force that the ultra-conservatives require to preserve their power will only further fan the flames of change.

  7. 10 Mucene James Ng'ng'a
    July 30, 2009 at 15:35

    No radical changes as everyone expected everything was politicized the was to be no bigger change than what is there.

  8. 11 patti in cape coral
    July 30, 2009 at 15:36

    I would like to hear from Iranians if anything has changed for them. Looking from the outside, I hope they get what they want. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything will be gained without sacrifice.

  9. 12 Anthony
    July 30, 2009 at 15:53

    I wouldn’t know if anything has changed. Michael Jackson died and Gates is screaming racism, and now that’s all I hear abour (unfortunatly :().

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  10. 13 hass
    July 30, 2009 at 16:15

    There’s no actual evidence of election fraud in Iran. The site IRANAFFAIRS.COM has collected the claims of election fraud and the counter-claims (all from WESTERN sources) and the claims of fraud look flimsy at best. Even the statistical studies are proven to be faulty.

    THink for a moment: Mousavi, the opposition head, was a regime-insider, who was specifically cleared and vetted to run for office, and yet the same regime considered his election victory to be such a threat that they resorted to massive election fraud? No, sorry that makes no sense at all. There was no need for election fraud in Iran.

    Neda and the protestors in Iran are being exploited, mostly by exile groups who have no credibility of their own.

    • 14 Ramesh, India
      July 30, 2009 at 16:44

      I agree with your last sentence. These exile groups are just trying to please those gave them refuge. They just don’t have any power to change the minds of ordinary Iranians to bring a democratic setup. All they can do is tweeting and blogging!!

  11. July 30, 2009 at 16:21

    The future of Iran is dangerously poised with President Ahmadinejad determined to quell demonstrations by brute force if necessary. However he will not have an easy ride as the memory of Neda propels demonstrators to dislodge him from power. Iran is at a very dangerous cross-road!

  12. 16 nora
    July 30, 2009 at 17:15

    The Iranian people who moved past convention and fear and found each other in the street have changed as I once did under Richard Nixon and baton happy police. He was the first US president forced to resign and his support for a torturing shah helped bring about the Islamic Revolution, I might note.

    The spirit of love flowed from the world for Neda forty days ago as she was caught in the crossfire of guns and cameras. Our condolences to Iran on the death of an independent thinker with some real magic to share. Deep condolences to her close loved ones who must mourn in the spotlight.

    I would love real man and woman on the street news from Iran, but I do not want my curiosity to wound any more people in a tense moment.

  13. 17 Ray
    July 30, 2009 at 17:21

    What has changed is the myth of a state of singularly minded people. That’s been smashed and we now know the moderates have substantial support. What HASN’T changed is the position of the supreme leader as the main decision maker and his disapproval and indirect removal of the president’s initial choice of vice president is testament to this fact.

  14. 18 DOLAPO AINA
    July 30, 2009 at 17:25

    The Iranian saga is quite remarkable in the sense that the political pendulum swings unexpectedly each week with no end in sight. The elections were rigged but it cant be officially verified. The protesters want to demonstrate and if possible remonstrate but they can’t do that fully. The leaders are singing discordant tunes every week and politically dancing macabre missteps.

    The problem with the country is this, a revolution is about to take place if given the chance. The authorities know this and are making concerted efforts to make it not happen.

    What has changed is that the masses have made the leaders realize that they want change and the more they are suppressed the more they would agitate.

    They authorities are in a limbo, no one wants the president, the spiritual leader has made some political mistakes and ironically, the infighting are becoming evident.

    The people’s will would triumph at the end. History will repeat itself.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  15. July 30, 2009 at 17:44

    From what’s going on in Iran, from protests to statements by influential opposition figures, it seems the regime in Iran isn’t as solid as it appeared to be before the presidential elections. The biggest change is that the Iranians, from politicians to ordinary people, have become more vocal and confrontational. This is the biggest test for the current regime. It remains if it will survive protests at home and international sanctions.

    The Iranian regime is using its nuclear programme as a weapon to get national unity and to weaken its opponents. It remains to see if the Iranians will accept having a strong nuclear weapon in exchange of a shaky economy. In other words, what will they prefer a strong army or weak enterprises plunging their living standard into further deep pits.

  16. 20 James Turner
    July 30, 2009 at 17:47

    Of course things have changed. Unfortunately none of it have been for the good of the Iranian! It breaks my heart each and everyday I’m forced to witness the mess we have caused in that part of the world.
    We don’t have the power to make the lives of the Iranian people better! We can only destroy lives! Our only hope of relief from the mess is some BEING will finally intern and make things better!
    We have to acknowledge it is out of our control before relief can come! We’re trying to be that BEING! We are trying to make the world one! We don’t have the power to pull that off!!!!!!!!!

  17. 21 William Beeby
    July 30, 2009 at 17:52

    I must ask , in reply to the question, just what does it have to do with us? We , in the West, seem to be obsessed with Iran and it`s goings on.Why? On the subject of nuclear weapons , does Israel have any weapons of mass destruction? Has anyone ever inspected their facilities? If not , why not?

  18. 22 Bert
    July 30, 2009 at 17:53

    I really hope that western powers keep their hands off of this. Let events unfold without meddling, PLEASE.

    Every day, of late, we are hearing stories of outrageous behavior by Islamist governments and their citizens. Daughers being murdered by their parents, for one stupid excuse or other, Lubna Hussein being threatened with 40 lashes for wearing totally unremarkable clothes some bearded, sanctimonious men didn’t approve of, acid on the face of a school girl, … It hardly seems real.

    From the outside looking in, I’m surprised that the protests are persisting in Iran. Seems more than just flash in the pan, to me. Why is this limited to Iran, one might wonder.

  19. 23 Ramesh, India
    July 30, 2009 at 17:55

    What an excuse to bring the Iran topic agai – 40 days Neda was shot dead in Iran!! WHYS seems to be in difficulty in finding a new topic every day! But we haven’t discussed G8 summit and its tall claims. Do you have any hidden agenda BBC wuth respect to Iran?:)

  20. 24 Kevin
    July 30, 2009 at 18:05

    I just heard your introduction on the radio where Neda was described as a “protestor.” I have not gleaned that from any source before. And the videos of her just before being shot look like she was an innocent bystander. Are you sure of her involvement in the protests?

    If you are NOT sure of her involvement, then declaring that she is a martyr for the cause is NOT helping matters. You are feeding in to the Iranian line that the BBC is meddling.

  21. 25 Jennifer
    July 30, 2009 at 18:23

    Neda was a Christian!

  22. 26 Sena
    July 30, 2009 at 18:25

    it a sad news heared from iran, where protesters are ralling against the electrial commission. i am really ashame for these protesters attacking the peace people who were trying to have peace with the late Neda . this may lift dangers to neighbours , friends, sisters, brothers and this may create higher losses capital, because when there is a stricks in these area more nad more things are distroied. pls let peace prevail

  23. 27 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    July 30, 2009 at 18:30

    The contributors on the show today seem to be representing both political parties, they are bending the information to suite there political agenda.

    I would like to hear some facts!

  24. 28 mike
    July 30, 2009 at 18:31

    I believe that it is the responsibilty, if not the obligation, of the west to free the Iranian people from oppression. We here in the west, talk about exporting democracy, but if we do not do anything to help those who want it to achieve it, i am afraid that our efforts will continue to be futile.

    • 29 RightPaddock
      July 31, 2009 at 03:07

      @mike – we already done that one, back in 1953. Are you seriously suggesting we repeat that futile exercise, which most historians regard as being seminal to the events of 1979.

      I wonder if the BBC has still the clock that tells the wrong time, the one they used to signal the start of Operation Ajax.

  25. July 30, 2009 at 18:32

    I am amazed by the bravery of Iranians who are willing to put their lives and livelihoods in danger to protest.

    I am equally amazed by the willingness of many to dismiss them and their protests or to blame the West or the BBC. They are taking their lives and their future into their own hands.

    • July 30, 2009 at 19:13

      “They are taking their lives and their future into their own hands.” I meant Iranians by “They” not other commenters…

  26. 32 Keith
    July 30, 2009 at 18:39

    Whether she was a bystander or a protester, the fatal shooting of this woman is proof of a government mad with power. Democracy is founded on the free expression of opinions, and this “democratic” government is a farce.

    It’s good to know that the opposition in this country is so strong. I am sure many Iranians appreciate the new image of Iran presented by these protesters.

  27. 33 sradan maharjan
    July 30, 2009 at 18:40

    The Iranian leader should understand the gravity of the ongoing protest. This is not a mere protest over presidential election , this is the protest about democracy and development in Iran. The long term of current president can’t be tolerated any more by Iranian people and this protest will end only after the president can address the Iranian’s people aspiration.

  28. July 30, 2009 at 18:53

    No Holding Back the Crowds!
    TEHRAN – The opposition assembly at Tehran Mosalah didn’t take place because the Anti-Riot Police had barricaded themselves in the 10 Sq. Km complex. They were also bunched outside the entrances on all three sides. Altogether, 30 Kms of traffic jams formed on Beheshti Street, Mottaheri Street and on the highways verging on the complex. Thousands of protesters gathered on adjoining streets and thousands more drove around on Beheshti Street right to Vali-e-Asr junction and up to Vanak Square, a distance of 10 Kms.
    Regardless of the Basiji Forces on motorbikes who charged by the dozen into the crowds and attacked honking cars, people dispersed and gathered on the next corner. At seven this evening, a squad of Anti-Riot Police charged into the Metro at Beheshti and Moffateh Junction.
    Protesters again outwitted Basijis and Anti-Riot Police on Vali-e-Asr Street which was packed with cars and didn’t let the Basijis through.
    No sign of Mirhossein Mousavi or Mehdi Karoubi as protesters shouted: “Death to the Dictator,” “Death to Mojtaba” – Ali Khamenei’s son and “Death to the Leader.”

  29. 35 Vijay
    July 30, 2009 at 18:55

    Has anything in Iran changed?

    No,not really,in fact the credibility of the regime has been enhanced because they have dealt with internal dissent relatively well,after all it is a factional fight ,not a struggle for drastic change,hardly a revolution,people use the form of the Iranian revolution because that is the language they know and were taught.
    In India people still use the rhetoric and techniques of the “freedom struggle” while protesting.
    Should Iran have changed?For whose benefit should Iran change?

    • July 30, 2009 at 19:14

      Well? Is imprisoning academics, students, and the opposition (among others) taking it well?

      Iran should change for its own benefit.

  30. 37 nora
    July 30, 2009 at 18:56

    Dattam raise a great point about grey being moved from the equation. Arash proves his point with hia dogma. Also, elders who disagree with their children often, in police baton moments, become almost indistinguishable from those who are riddled with fear for the protesters.

  31. 38 Ramesh, India
    July 30, 2009 at 18:59

    Ros, and Mark(The seniors in WHYS team), Can you please disclose on this blog why in your meetings a particular topic like the stupid one today comes as a the topic of the day on WHYS?

  32. 39 egographia000
    July 30, 2009 at 19:07

    Tim Bulton, former UN ambassador, on the daily show yesterday said that the west should have entered the issue concerning Iran by means that are open and clandestine. I am not saying that the West is in Iran clandestinely taking things towards one way or the other, but the openness of the West talking about it and presenting their OWN opinion of the mater has played a role into what is going on in the country. Why would the protest lose courage when you have some of the most powerful individuals seemingly behind you? I believe that the protest in Iran is a result of the differing views within the country, thus it cannot defeat the fact that the Islamic republic is by far one of the most open regimes within the region. Therefore, I see this dynamism within Iran a good thing. Facts, not presented with the opinions, need be aired. Too many times am I bombarded and my fellow students with “facts” then at the end “this is an outrage,” “clearly this does not make sense, what an scandal”. I know that i am speaking from experience and should not generalize, but I suppose i am shifting a view, a view from the field (Iran), that opinion base segment does little to shed light into what is happening from in Iran.

    • 40 RightPaddock
      July 31, 2009 at 03:42

      @egographia000 – I don’t think the UN as such has ambassadors, countries have ambassadors to other countries, the UN, and other international bodies. Susan Rice is the current US ambassador to the UN.

      I’ve not heard of Tim Bulton, nor has Google, Bing or Wikipedia. I suspect you’re referring to John Bolton who was the interim US ambassador to the UN in 2005/6.

      For an alternate perspective you might want to read Robert Fisk regarding Iran, he’s been able to get into the country and go out on the streets, he’s a print journalist who doesn’t do much TV, he lives in Beirut, writes for The Guardian..

      The only way to get an understanding of anything these days is to consume what’s on offer across the length & breadth of the opinion surface. The days of the objective comprehensive single source are long gone – if indeed they ever existed.

  33. July 30, 2009 at 20:56

    It is futile to see Islam in this internicine strife. It would be more illuminating to follow the advice of ‘deep throat’ and follow the money. Iran is a nation of crony capitalism and the concentration of wealth there is astounding to contemplate. Anyone in the ruling oligarchy could buy and sell Bernard Madoff several times over, Rafsanjani could bet at the same table as George Soros any day of the week, and yet they presumably can’t afford to refine their own oil! Who can afford so expensive a ‘revolution’?

  34. 42 Marco Polsen
    July 30, 2009 at 23:34

    Good evening –

    It’s almost midnight in London and still no signs of this show’s podcast. Would you kindly alert BBC’s podcast experts re. this delayed/missing audio file? I would greatly appreciate your help in offering this discussion to the broadest audience via podcasting. Thank you. Best regards,


  35. 43 Karan
    July 31, 2009 at 00:07

    As an insider, an Iranian living in Iran… Lots of things has been changed. People became brave enough to stand up and protest. Although they would be arrested, killed and torturered to death these days but days like today all the main squares of large cities in Iran witness uprisings. The legitamacy of spritual leadership in Iran has been shattered to pieces. No reputation of it is left among intellectuals, students, people and even clerics in religious centres. Iran is no longer the same IRAN which was before the election and it will never be. Cries for democracy is now being heard every night since the election between 9-10pm from the rooftops, slogans like “DOWN WITH DICTATOR”! This is what I call a BIG CHANGE! It is a long long road but with the hope of more promising changes to come…

  36. 45 scmehta
    July 31, 2009 at 06:48

    Yes, something has`changed for-good and for the better. People are no more going to take it lying down; no injustice and exploitation is going to be tolerated and they will refuse to be cowed down before any high-handedness of any unjust authority.

  37. 46 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    July 31, 2009 at 18:03

    First of all.I wanna sends my loves & condolences to the family,relatives & the friends of hers .I dont really know either to why her funeral had become to be more political than mourning itself in Iran !?.What other people like me think & hopes from the Iranian authorities is let it govt be hold countable by its own citizens incase such a heinous crime is inflicted on innocent woman like Mrs Neda by so called “Besiege” or “Police”. WE MAY HAVE LOST U BUT YOUR MEMORY WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN**!!.MAY HER SOUL REST IN THE ETERNITY.

  38. August 1, 2009 at 11:58

    Repression of democratic rights is always to be condemned worldwide. Iran is no exception and neither is it the only case. What about Burma for example? A japanese photographer was murdered by the regime there for taking a photo. Democratic rights are not a fruit salad. You cannot pick and choose who is or is not implementing them. Its a total package or nothing.

  39. 48 anu_D
    August 1, 2009 at 19:31

    misguided by a few tweeters and bloggers that represented less than a percent of population….under the notional percpetions of support from “The Western World”….. ( with BBC the chief creator of that perceptions through it’s daily coverage of the revolution that never was)……and without a leader having gut gumption….it was the most damp squib ever to be called a revolution.

    And within weeks normal governmental services have beenn restored with 100s imprisoned and tried for causing unrest/ riot/ arson….which has a minor by-product…gives the beacons of western media food for a few more days

  40. August 2, 2009 at 13:11

    Why are some denominations so susceptable to deception?

  41. August 3, 2009 at 15:37

    Neda has become icon of democracy in the world,
    she sacrificed her life for gemocracy,
    Iranian people never foget her untill iaran’s existance on the earth.

  42. 51 Katharine Rutherford
    August 4, 2009 at 19:02

    It’s unrealistic for the world to expect Iran’s political system to change after a few riots. There is no such thing as a bloodless revolution. The world should not be surprised that there is violence when change occurs. The world is using technology to try to shame Iran into change.

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