Morphing a Theocracy

An alternative to those disillusioned by the breadth of poor political choices available


Morphing a Theocracy
by LalehGillani

There is election fever in the air, not in Iran but on The mounting excitement transmitted through a number of consecutive articles and a barrage of favorable comments has been contagious. Iran’s reform movement has been mobilized to silence the critics and downplay the significance of daunting issues.

The showdown, however, doesn’t appear to be between the opposing candidates from the conservative camp and the Reforms Front. Here, on, the face-off is between those seeking to rehabilitate the Islamic Republic of Iran and the political activists in quest of overthrowing the regime. After all, the prevalent fear amongst the reformists isn’t losing an election by large or small margins. Quite to the contrary! What keeps the reformists awake at night is the forfeiture of the underlying premise that a theocracy can be morphed into a democracy by gradual reforms imposed through theatrical elections.

The missing ingredients as advocated by the reform movement are patience and perseverance, but an ironclad commitment to the unconditional survival of the Islamic Republic of Iran is also evident. The benefits of such approach are explained to be multifaceted, the least of which is the peaceful transition of power from one camp to another.

Accordingly, after every election cycle, the fate of our nation is placed either in the hands of the hardliners or the reformists, resulting in revolving periods of death and destruction followed by relative redress and recovery. This solution, we are reminded, is preferable to the alternative: total death and destruction without periods of relief or, God forbid, contemplating a secular democracy without the mullahs.

Since the former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi, in an article published on, pledged to safeguard and protect human life and dignity, his ability to uphold such a commitment based on past performances has been scrutinized. As a result, the reform movement is hampered by those disheartening bygone years as it struggles to thread its way through the current election. Amongst the controversial subjects brushed under the rug is a pair of inconvenient reminders that refuse to fade away: The leaders of the reform movement are not dissidents but rather government insiders whose career trail leads to the massacres of political prisoners in 1980’s while their financial interests are traceable to the daily looting of our national wealth.

Unable to address such issues, the reform movement has either downplayed the enormity of such crimes or simply asked the critics to comprehend the circumstances under which such crimes have occurred. Nonetheless, whether out of sheer incompetence, absolute helplessness, or blatant criminality, the reformist leaders have become a material liability for the movement.

To revitalize the public persona of its leaders, the reform movement has capitalized on Iran’s current state of affairs only to remind the nation that last time one of their own held the Office of the Presidency, the conditions were more tolerable and prosperous. Not surprisingly, after hailing Ayatollah Khatami’s era, the reformists are dumbfounded by any attempt to spoil his accomplishments or dispute his effectiveness. Although the historical conditions that necessitated the emergence of the reform movement in Iran are often overlooked, in the light of the current election, a rudimentary understanding of those years is long overdue.

In essence, there were two political and social circumstances that attributed to the rise of the reform movement in Iran: First, the mounting opposition and discontent with the regime amongst the upper and middle class Iranians became apparent to Shi'a intellectuals who feared for the future of Islam in Iran. Second, the brutality of the regime after the massacres of 1980’s and the chain killings of 1990’s left absolutely no room whatsoever for possible expressions of political dissent.

Consequently, any twinkle of opposition had to emerge from within the establishment to withstand mullahs’ wrath, to boast of any likelihood of survival, and finally to live to tell the tale. Once this phenomenon was born, political activists seized the opportunity to form NGOs and human rights organizations to combat the regime. As a result, the successful election of Mohammad Khatami to become the fifth president of Iran was not the cause but rather the effect of the reformists’ mobilization.

Another controversy plaguing the reform movement is the vetting process through which presidential candidates are permitted to enter the race. Deriving the selection criteria from Article 115 of Iran’s constitution, the Guardian Council hand-selects only candidates with “religious and political personalities” who have demonstrated their belief in “the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official religion of the country.” Simply put, with a single stroke of their pen, the members of Guardian Council eliminate all opposition candidates but retain “the faithful.” Believe it or not, even the reform movement is struggling to legitimize this mockery as an election but stops short of withdrawing from it.

Regardless of the upcoming election’s outcome on June 12, 2009, the reform movement remains to be a decisive force in reining the masses on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in shaping the regime’s chances of survival. As hardliners eye the Office of the Supreme Leader and consolidate the Faqih’s hold on the armed forces, Iran’s moderate Shi'a clergy is pushing the limits to test our nation’s resolve and thirst for fundamental, meaningful changes in economic, social, and political arenas. At the same time, the reformist leaders are assessing the tolerance of the hardliners with cautious overtures to share the levers of authority before it is too late. In other words, the reformist candidates are asking our nation to place one of them at the helms of power out of sheer desperation and utter apprehension of the alternatives.

Today, running on a reform agenda but hand in hand with the hardliners, the leaders of the reform movement, having benefited from the imprisonment and murder of political activists throughout the country, have apparently emerged as the only viable alternative to the merciless inquisitors of Tehran. Simultaneously, in league with their blood brethren, the reformist leaders have also looted the country lock, stock and barrel and pocketed the fruits of our labor while the populace is destitute and distraught.

Once again, Iranian political activists are outwitted to follow the mullahs’ lead. Once again, the nation is bamboozled into placing their fate and future in the hands of the Shi'a clergy. Once again, Iranians are told to choose between the bad and the ugly. Once again, we are gambling with our future and blindly settling for a change, any change.

Meanwhile, the temporary, lax and jubilant election environment has been seized by few political activists to form a coalition encompassing grassroots organizations that represent pro-democracy groups from all walks of life. The Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran (SDHRI) has brought together organizations dedicated to the causes of women and workers while unifying secular movements such as the United Students Front, the Association of Liberal and Nationalist University Students, and Democratic Front of Iran. Additionally, our nation’s best and brightest legal scholars, human rights advocates, and seasoned patriots have joined forces to offer an alternative to those disillusioned by the breadth of poor political choices available.

The seed for this solidarity was planted by Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh in 1944, but the sapling was axed down long before it poked through the darkness. There, in obscurity, it lay dormant, spreading its roots silently but determinedly. Sixty five years later, after the failure of all flavors of Islam in Iran and after the collapse of all communist organizations, our path has taken us full circle to that seed, to that sapling, to that dream.

It is due time to nurture this sapling with light and guard it with our blood…

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Dr. Masoud Kazemzadeh for his informative and timely article: "Prospects and Obstacles: Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran"


more from LalehGillani

are your 100 men ready? (to Jamshid)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Jamshid, are your 100 men ready?


As clearly displayed in

by jamshid on

As clearly displayed in this blog, I am certain that Ms. Laleh Gillani is more than capable of answering to these comments herself, but I wanted to take a pick at a few of these comments made against her case:

Capt Ahyab, you wrote: 

"successfully been able to alienate everyone else by dictating what YOU want, and what is YOUR minimum requirements."

Who is this "everyone else"? Regime supporters? They have allienated an entire nation for 30 years. So let them be alienated a little. Additionally, Ms. Laleh Gillani is echoing the voices of many Iranians from all segments of the society, not just hers.

AnonymFirm, you wrote:

I was told by some political science instructors that genuine democracy is a time consuming process..."

I wonder, did you really need a teacher to tell you that?

"it took the European countries a few centuries to reach genuine democracy... first the idea of democracy must develop in a nation and gradually become a belief before it could be implanted into the political system of that particular people."

Your teacher is exactly right. The problem is that the IRI has completely destroyed this process and has not only brought it to a halt, but even reversed it in devastating ways.

"Do you think they are ready to unite behind you and follow you to the end in your goal of establishing the secular democratic republic?"

I don't recall Ms. Gillani asking people to follow HER. She is promoting an idea and vision, a secular democracy, which is a popular idea among Iranians.

Additionally, I hope you are not suggesting that everyone should just sit down and do nothing because the opposition leaders are not ready to unite. Two years before the revolution in 1979, it looked just as helpless and impossible to unite or overthrow the Shah's regime. But because of the persistence of a few, it did happen.

From the ashes of the IRI, there are many, and will be many more, Iranians who will try, fail and try again, until the time that a vision for union and true democracy is established.

Do you oppose this process? Why?

"will the Rajavists, Pahlavists, Leftists, Reformists, ... follow you?" 

There are many disilluioned leftists, monarchists, mosadeghis, reformists and other ordinary citizens who are tired of their failed past and current leaders and who want a new vision and leadership. This vision nor its leadership will not be formed over night. It will take much pain, trial, failure and more trial for it to take shape.

But it WILL take shape DESPITE the vast and massive IRI propaganda machine working against it day and night.

"and they start the Laleh democratic revolution"

"Hail Laleh
Anoucheh Laleh
Long Live Laleh!"

This is just a sample of old and tired methods of belittling activists, which is just that, "tired", to the point of being completely useless. It also exposes the real face and motifs behind your comment.


Ms. Gillani

by capt_ayhab on

With due honesty I have to admit to a bit of sarcasm in my last comment.

Perhaps if you honor me by your visit to my humble blog which I just published, you might be able to find some answer to the question you presented to me.


kocheye aval, dar e dovom ;-)




Laleh Revolutionaries: The Path to Victory

by AnonyFirm (not verified) on

Hail Laleh, hail...

Laleh jan, thanks for your reply. I became a little frustrated of your reply but now I am sure the lack of political knowledge on your part or the lack of understanding of my statement is purely accidental and it will not detract in iota from our program of overthrowing the regime and installing a flourishing secular democratic government in Iran ASAP.

You keep quoting of your history lesson on the American government and how it formed in the 17 and 18th hundreds. We all studied that in high school in America and I got a B grade for that in a tough private school. So I know very well what you are talking about.

However, it still amazes me to see how you can not understand the fact that what the political science instructors say about the long-term mental development of the idea of democracy in a nation (taking several centuries of intellectual work) has nothing to do with the American Revolution process you are boringly quoting from.

The white immigrants to the New World (America)in the 16th and 17th centuries came from Europe, mostly England or Ireland bringing with them not only the 300 years of the Renaissance intellectual experience but the ancient collective knowledge of Greeco/Rome political experimentation and democratic knowledge.

So your tedious repetative comparison between American Revolution and Iran is redundant and to some extent funny.

However, all this does not prevent us, I mean all of us in from standing firmly behind you in your secular democratic revolution to topple the regime.

My only worry, as I said before is about the opposition to which you will reply shortly and will enlighten us as to how you are going to solve genuinely the following possible problems:

1- The Rajavists as I said will try to rally behind you and once we have succeeded to destabilize the regime they might want to betray you and bring Virgin Maryam and Holy Massoud to power.

2- The Pahlavists will support you ardently for sure in your destabilizing efforts, but won't they dump you right away after the opportunity arises for Aalahazrat Reza and Oliahazrat Farah to be crowned back to the throne?

3- The Tudeh party and the leftists will immediately call you - and us- the stooges of imperialism...

4- The Iranian reformists (if we let them live and talk for they don't deserve that but we might be a bit generous for they have superficially opposed the akhounds) will ask about the sources of our fundings and then accuse us of getting foreign helps and thus dump us again...

5- My only hope is to the National Front which might endorse the Laleh Revolutionaries as genuine democratic secularists but again we have to make them sure that we are not getting support from any foreign sources.

Now if you can make us sure how to deal with the first 4 groups I would be glad to ask the revolutionaries to take up arms and all stand behind you firmly as I do to start the first step of our democratic secularist revolution in

Hail Laleh
Anousheh Laleh
Long Live Laleh!

PS: Since Maryam is with Masoud and Reza with Farah and Sakina with Rouhollah and Obama comes with Michelle, I mean since they all came in couples it is better to find a mate for you so that the Laleh Revolutionaries get more and more credence.

Sorry, I can not do the job since I am married with 3 kids. But I have found a good candidate if you accept, I think Mort Gilani is the best candidate since he is both handsome and in terms of political understanding he matches you very much.

Hail Laleh and Mort! Hail, Hail...


Cards on the Table!

by LalehGillani on

Capt_ayhab wrote: “With all due respect seems though Dear Ms. Gillani, more questions you answer, more frustrated you get and more like a tyrant you start to sound. In that one sentence alone you have successfully been able to alienate everyone else by dictating what YOU want, and what is YOUR minimum requirements.”

I am trying to be honest with you and tell you where I stand. Although I will do whatever I can to bring together all political activists, there are certain principles that I will not sacrifice.

Please remember that I am only one person, one voice. Do you honestly know what others want or don’t want? Do you know what principles drive the reform movement? Do you know what future they are cooking for you and me?

I will be more worried about them than this Gilani girl…


Role of the Opposition

by LalehGillani on

AnonymFirm wrote: “Let say the people of Iran are all standing behind you, I for myself am ever-ready to firmly stand behind you, let say all people follow you to overthrow this nasty regime because they are tired of the akhoundic regime, they start the Laleh democratic revolution and succeed in destabilizing the regime... What would be the next practical step? Now comes the role of the opposition, they must all keep united behind you (secular democracy) and follow you to the end.”

We can succeed in overthrowing the regime only if we already have a movement similar to the Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran (SDHRI). If the Solidarity continues to grow and gains public support, it is the foundation upon which we will build the new government. The Solidarity is in its infancy right now and will be targeted by the mullahs sooner or later.

The Solidarity’s original declaration contained 12 principles outlining its vision: what we are building and for what reason.


All political activists are welcome to join the Solidarity as long as they embrace the original declaration and subsequent principles of the movement.

After the regime is overthrown, a transitional government appointed by the Solidarity will be formed. Meanwhile, our legal scholars must draft a constitution to be ratified by the nation. Elections will be held to select our new leaders. All political groups will be able to participate in the elections and win sits. In a secular republic the only exclusion will be the involvement of religion in politics.

Opposition groups such as MKO and communist organizations will never join the Solidarity movement because they are driven by totalitarian ideologies. Although MKO is politically discredited and bankrupt in Iran, my best assessment is that it will regroup and turn into a political party.


interesting: opposition is even more exclusivist than IRI

by 1society (not verified) on

yes. EXACTLY. The double standard finally comes out.

That's what I thought Laleh Gillani.
Why are you and your friends like Mr. Kazemzadeh so narrow minded?

Religion cannot be purged from Iranian society, that means it will be in government too. Look how much it influences the US Politics. Can you imagine if Christian Right was banned by law in US politics? There would be a revolution!!!

Just look at Turkey, and you will understand that even after 80 years of policies like Reza Shah, the country is getting more and more Islamic.

So what will you do, design a shoraye-negahban to keep out candidates that might be too Islamic? It won't work! Religion is part of being Iranian. Just because secularism is used in Europe, it doesn't make it the best solution for Iran.

Not even in power, and they are lining up people and taking away their rights!

This is why the regime opposition has no credibility, no accomplishments and no future. If there is to be any change, it will come from inside Iran and will be most likely gradual.


Iran after the IRI cancer

by Sassan (not verified) on

Anonyfirm writes to Laleh: "The other problem is the problem of the opposition leaders and parties. Do you think they are ready to unite behind you and follow you to the end in your goal of establishing the secular democratic republic?"

Anonyfirm tries to make this seem a "far-fetched" reality, hinting that all the different parties would find it difficult to unite in creating a secular government after the cancer of the mullacracy. This difficulty is always exaggerated by regime supporters and others who lack courage and vision.

I once heard someone say, "nothing of value in life comes easy! Easy does not enter into grown-up picture." It bares repeating. What people like me seek is a free and fair REFRENDUM whereby we can choose the "form" of a secular democracy: whether we want a secular republic or a constitutional monarchy in the order of England, Japan, Sweden, etc.

As a supporter of Reza Pahlavi, I don't think he or his mother are gods or goddesses, I just think the symbolism of a constitutional monarchy is a plus for our country, in terms of the continuation of the uniqueness of our heritage (Kurush, etc.) in a region surrounded by Arabs and Islamists. Reza Pahlavi can be a goodwill ambassador, and nothing more!

However, after the cancer of the IRI, if the people choose a "secular republic" in a free and fair referendum, then by all means, people like me will back the new system of secular democratic republic.

People try to make this transition seem "far-fetched" (as if Iranians are just too irrational) when it really is NOT far-fetched at all, not after what the mullahs have given us!

If we get an objective and independent supervision of a free and fair referendum, perhaps by the UN, then we will agree with the results, even if the people choose an "Islamic Republic" -- which we all know will never happen, not after the monumental incompetence, thievery and genecidal crimes committed by akhunds in the last 30 years!

The end of the regime is very near, and they know this! And they're very scared. That's why they pay Nokia-Siemens millions of dollars to buy the necessary technology to intercept text messages and phone calls. They know that popular unrest is increasing and want to choke it before it gets out of control!

As such, they won't go without a fight! Unlike the Shah who did not want to sit on a throne of blood, the mullahs will kill as many people as necessary to keep their power. That's why we need international support to create a situation where the mullahs know that they have NO CHOICE but to leave! Once they realize that FACT, the leadership will implode from within! This scenario is NOT, and I repeat, it is NOT "far-fetched!"

This is why the veneer of a democratic "election" in Iran is a HUGE bonus for the mullahs, for it extinguishes, or at least it goes a long way to extinguish the basis for international support against the clerical regime. The vision of a smiling mullah (Khatami) as an "elected" president in the Islamic Republic did very little good for Iranians, but it did A WHOLE LOT of good propaganda for the mullahs in Europe and elsewhere.

The Europeans followed the election of Khatami by giving the Nobel Peace Prize, which we all know is a very political award, to Shirin Ebadi, so as to fabricate this picture of a new and vibrant political scene in Iran in order to quite those voices in America who were seeking regime change.

In other words, if the mullahs succeed at selling the idea that there is a "quasi-democracy" in Iran, it helps them enormously in deflating international pressure! That is not good for the nation of Iran, however, it is excellent for the continuation of the massively corrupt mullacracy!

This is why it is CRITICAL for people to not fall prey to this circus, this sham of "election," which is designed more to fool Europeans than help Iranians! Do not vote, do not fall prey to the lies of yet another dark chapter of the clerical regime!


Mrs. Gillani, I can think for MYSELF, you know!

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

from your last reply, i sense that you are worried that right after i vote, i will lose all consciousness and become a regime robot. i'm not stupid! i won't suddenly accept some kind of evil that i didn't accept before the vote.

you said you were worried that i might think the wrong thing about the regime. don't worry! the act of voting doesn't change my or anybody's mind. it's not a "on / off" switch. so, i conclude that there is no downside after all.

if i want a different government, i can work toward that goal and do things THAT ACTUALLY BRING ABOUT CHANGE. i dont' think this is one of them.

in the mean time if i want a peaceful transition, i can choose the best candidate for the current dilemma in front of me. there is no discrepancy.

with respect.


Sabz, I agree

by Ostaad on

and let me add LalehGillani wants to replace that bigotry with with his/her version.

As to the first part of your post, I wish I knew what you're trying to say. 


And I thought

by Parham on

Sabz gave a perfect reply to AnonyFirm!


Yes, a Secular Democracy.

by Mehrban on

Laleh, a Secular Democracy is inclusive of all its citizens.


Ms. Gillani

by capt_ayhab on

you say[The goal for me isn’t an inclusive democracy but rather a secular democracy. I strongly believe that religious involvement in politics must be outlawed in Iran. Religious leaders must not be allowed to run for local or national posts. Consequently, a more tolerant Islamic Republic isn’t an option for me.]

With all due respect seems though Dear Ms. Gillani, more questions you answer, more frustrated you get and more like a tyrant you start to sound. In that one sentence alone you have successfully been able to alienate everyone else by dictating what YOU want, and what is YOUR minimum requirements.

AnonyFirm echoed my original question to you and I am waiting for your answer on the subject. I would suggest that WE at least DRESS UP our INDIVIDUAL agenda for the good of PLURALITY. ;-)

Besides, wouldn't it be UNDEMOCRATIC to prevent a sect in a country from participating in governance of the nation if that individual wishes so, in this case being religious leaders in YOUR Iran?






A Tormented Tale of Trials & Errors

by LalehGillani on

AnonyFirm wrote: “first the idea of democracy must develop in a nation and gradually become a belief before it could be implanted into the political system of that particular people. Now without that process or just at the beginning of that process, would it be possible to succeed in your democratic revolution not in but in Iran?”

Your post is addressing a fundamental issue that is definitely at the heart of our dilemma. Before I address our Iranian dilemma, let’s look at the tale of a successful democracy:

Historical examination of American system reveals a few useful facts:

The gradual process through which democracy took root in the American society became possible when the founding fathers of the nation took it upon themselves to do a couple of things:

First, the Continental Congress declared its independent from the British Empire. This declaration of independence although is often taken as a physical separation was also a symbolic parting from foreign dominance and a system of government (monarchy).

This symbolic parting was the assertion of certain natural rights including but not limited to a right to rebel against tyranny.

Second, thirteen years later, James Madison in alliance with Thomas Jefferson introduced the Bill of Rights to the First United States Congress. The declaration of independence took place when there was no nation; the Bill of Rights was ratified when America was a very young republic and when American masses had no notion of what democracy was or must look like. Without these seeds, today there would be no republic.

Our dilemma, however, isn’t an American one. It is uniquely Iranian. It is a tormented tale of trials and errors.

There have been a few attempts to bring democracy to Iran, but none has succeeded not because of Iranian masses but because of our political activists. There has been no consorted effort to define our rights, to spell out our vision, to bring together different groups under one umbrella. Our political activism has been plagued by ad hoc trials:

“Let’s take up arms and start killing the rulers.”
“Let’s all beat our chests to the rhythm of Islamic fervor.”
“Let’s assassinate everyone who doesn’t agree with us.”
“Let’s settle for a change, any change.”
“Let’s rehabilitate a murderous regime.”
“Let’s bring back the monarchy.”
“Let’s give the reformist movement a chance.”

Iranian political activists haven’t paused for a fraction of a second to ask themselves: “Why are we doing this? What for? What is the goal?”

We have sold ourselves short to various “reform” movements. We have sacrificed our core principles to bring about a change, any change.

Mort Gilani

Good Things Don’t Happen to People Who Wait

by Mort Gilani on

Dear Laleh,

I absolutely support the goal for a secular democracy.  I also share your view that the Islamic regime cannot reform its violent ideology or approach.  However, I think that the election has created a buzz among Iranians who are naively pinning their hopes –once again - on a bunch of babbling buffoons.  The good news is this regime has never disappointed the opposition who understood the medieval nature of Islamic Republic and this time is no exception.

Keep up the good work.


What a Pity Anonyfirm

by Sabz (not verified) on

Funny none of the ones you mentioned ever thought about "standing behind democracy" only behind ISLAM for Muslim Iran. Of course, there was a not so small matter of covering their own butts for POWER.


Yup, the only acceptable bigotry in Iran is Islamic Bigotry. Nuffsaid.

Artificial Intelligence

Excellent Article Laleh!

by Artificial Intelligence on

I love how you so politely respond to the Islamist supporters and apologists.

Calling these people "Reformist" is an insult. Believing that Mousavi is a "Reformer"  is ignorant. The IRI system can not be reformed. As long as there is oil money, they will abuse Iranians and steel from Iran for the benefit of their theology.

Its also great watching all these "reformers" who were defending the IRI in its nuclear stance and foreign policy in the past few years, in addition to making excuses for all of Ahamadinejad's Anti-Semitic statements which made all Iranians look like losers in the civilized world, all advocating that Ahmadinejad must now go.

Funny stuff. 






LalehGillani, your "democracy" will be run by the bigots and...

by Ostaad on

for the bigots only.

"The goal for me isn’t an inclusive democracy but rather a secular
democracy. I strongly believe that religious involvement in politics
must be outlawed in Iran. Religious leaders must not be allowed to run
for local or national posts. Consequently, a more tolerant Islamic
Republic isn’t an option for me".



What I Worry About…

by LalehGillani on

Anonymous8 wrote: “How can you telling me what i would be buying into after i vote? i don't have to buy into anything. why does voting make it so? so, I really don't know what you mean. are you just worried about me and people like me actually having some new beliefs after voting? you really think the game plan is to make me believe in a theocracy just because i voted? why does a totalitarian regime care about what i think at all?”

I am worried that my countrymen who choose to participate in the upcoming election do so because they still:

1. Haven’t given up on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
2. Believe that their votes count.
3. Don’t see characters such as Mir-Hossein Mousavi as government insiders.
4. Don’t realize that there is no future for us under the reign of mullahs.
5. Don’t understand that a better future begins by rejecting the regime in its entirety.

The totalitarian regime cares about what you think because it realizes that it is running out of time. For this reason, it has dressed up a few insiders to present them as reformists. The reformist leaders are Islamic Republic’s last ace in the deck. By qualifying the reformist leaders to run in the election, the regime is buying time for itself.

The regime is fighting for its survival and with your vote, you will resuscitate it for a bit long…


Laleh's Reovution, Progress and Impediments

by AnonyFirm (not verified) on

Dear Laleh,

Your goal of establishing a quick secular democracy is ardently followed by democracy seekers like myself who are tired of the religious interference in all spheres of private and public life of the people of Iran.

However, I was told by some political science instructors that genuine democracy is a time consuming process which must be first implanted into the collective understanding and conscience of a people throughout some genearations of intellectual exercise and trial and error, it took the European countries a few centuries to reach genuine democracy after the dark ages ruling of kings and cardinals...

In other words, first the idea of democracy must develop in a nation and gradually become a belief before it could be implanted into the political system of that particular people.

Now without that process or just at the beginnig of that process, would it be possible to succeed in your democratic revolution not in but in Iran?

The other problem is the problem of the opposition leaders and parties. Do you think they are ready to unite behind you and follow you to the end in your goal of establishing the secular democratic republic?
How much do you know them dear?

Let say the people of Iran are all standing behind you, I for myself am ever-ready to firmly stand behind you, let say all people follow you to overthrow this nasty regime because they are tired of the akhoundic regime, they start the Laleh democratic revolution and succeed in destabilizing the regime... What would be the next practical step? Now comes the role of the opposition, they must all keep united behind you (secular democracy) and follow you to the end.

But wil they do that? Think about this please, will the Rajavists want a genuine secular democratic republic? (for them Masoud and Maryam are god and the holy virgin at least).

Will the Pahlavists stand with you to the end (for them Reza and Farah are a god and goddess on earth who have been usurped of their natural rights of ruling Iran by a bunch of deevan and now they must be returned back to throne ASAP.)

Will the leftists and Tudeh Party concede to your democratic plans (they are still sceptic to the western ways of democracy).

Will the Iranian reformists follow you to the end?
They are still a bit sceptical to the western sponsored groups.

Now if you could gather all these group to follow you to the end, It is great, I am not saying you can not do that, I am just saying it seems a little bit far-fetched. By all chances, I am behind you as I have said it before and I am sure many if not all of the residents are firmly supporting you to end.

Hail Laleh
Anoucheh Laleh
Long Live Laleh!


Not an Inclusive Democracy but a Secular Democracy!

by LalehGillani on

Mehrban wrote: “Is the end game in their reform an inclusive democracy which allows for the participation of all in the political process or their reform aims at a more tolerant Islamic Republic?”

Please allow me to first say that I am incredibly impressed with your logic and impartiality. Now, let’s talk about the main issue you raised:

The goal for me isn’t an inclusive democracy but rather a secular democracy. I strongly believe that religious involvement in politics must be outlawed in Iran. Religious leaders must not be allowed to run for local or national posts. Consequently, a more tolerant Islamic Republic isn’t an option for me.

Additionally, let’s say by some miracle there is a coalition formed amongst the political activists on one side and the reformist movement on the other side. Will the Guardian Council allow one of our leaders not connected to the regime run for any elections? Will the reformist movement fight to bring about such a change?

My answer to these questions is a resounding no. The Guardian Council (representing the hardliners at this time) and the reformist movement are in bed with each other. What suits one sustains the other.

Having said all this, please let me share one more important point with you: Many of the members of the reform movement have already joined our camp. Some have been disillusioned with the reform movement; others have realized the value of a secular democracy; many simply are fed up with the Islamic Republic. If this trend continues, the political activism seeking to overthrow the regime will be strengthened by more defections.


Capt Eyrab

by masoudA on

Very Weak -  Your Pedestrian approach won't get far on discussion forums.    To succeed in these forums you need Logic, vision, Information and sometimes humor - You have none my dear. 


Dear Bina for Iran

by capt_ayhab on

Thanks for your civilized and well rounded response, although I do not agree with all of your points but I enjoyed reading them.

My agreement with you:

1. You say[ Propaganda? You must have not 'heard' IRI and its supporters' empty
lectures from 1979 to presents that you consider my short essay propaganda. That is so telling about your sense of scale in other
matters - no offense intended - just facts.

IR has become masters of propaganda, and brain washing of their base. Once we consider the composition of their base, which is rural areas, and devout supporters[jeereh khor] such and Basiji, Sepahi then we can understand how successful they have been in keeping this base. Which is nothing but superstition and old ideologies. Few people in this thread I have seen who have the grasp of the situation as you have presented.

2.You say[Alternative? You should ask those who claim that Iran was a democracy in 1953 and it was all shah's and west's fault that we are where we are, and now after more than half a century are content if a criminal like Mousavi or a thief like Karrubi is elected.]

I could not agree more as to the real reason and the culprit behind 1979 Akhund Mutiny. I do as well see Shah with his ineffective and corrupt regime, with the help of USA the real reason that we are in this abyss today. Well said sir. However, the alleged democracy which MIGHT have followed Dr. Mosaddeq is only a speculation at best. The event did not occur so we do not have the point of reference. We are merely speculating what might have been!



1. You say[These number are so subjective. More than half of Iranians became moslim (by force) in 100 years after arab invasion and converted to Shiaism (yet again by force) on span of few decades. People are far more flexible and far more gullible than you think.]

I keep seeing this said by many with different agendas. Fact is my friend that the [alleged forceful conversion ] to Islam, which is historically debatable,  has occurred 1400 years ago. For one, Ancient Persians during Sassanian, slowly but willingly accepted the Islam due to public disapproval and rampant corruption among the Zoroastrian Monks. Furthermore, Shi'ite was accepted during Safavian rein and introduced as formal religion of the time.

Asides from this historical fact,  One must accept that religion in general and Islam in particular in any society, specially in Iran is part of the fabric of society. There are true believers of the faith in Iran who make majority of our population. It will be short sightedness to discard Islam and separate it from Iranian dynamics.

One of the earlier comment by someone extrapolated that her family although Muslim but they go to church for prayer in Iran, Hence she concluded that REST of the Iranian population MUST be the same, and majority MUST be disillusioned by Islam.

Unfortunately many of our resistance group fall into this very simplified version of perception in Iran. Meaning that since IR has been brutal and has established restrict Sharia Law, then as soon as the first bullet is fired everyone is going to convert to some other religion.

How far from the truth and reality of Iranian society could this statement be, You tell me.





Let's Hope the Best for People of Iran

by Anonymous111 on

Whether they chose to vote or not vote, it's their decision.  They are the ones who live there, and by all accounts, they are much more politically educated that those of us who live in the West. 

Let's hope for a better future for Iran and people of Iran.


Remember guys, no election fever!!

by Anonymous23423 (not verified) on

There is no election fever in iran, lalalalalal *covers ears*




by capt_ayhab on

I usually do not stoop to level of your kind by engaging in [Arbadeh Keshi, o Laat Bazi] but since in your crude and childish way you choose to answer my question, I should  answer you.

In regards to my question, you say that you see no substance in a short question of [Does your stand regarding [Anti Human] form of theocracy only apply to
Islam or you hold this view regarding other religions as well?]


Aren't you trying to say with all you arrogance and ignorance that you simply have no answer? is that why you are refraing from a civilized and logical answer?

Dude just come forth and say that you usually write from predefined script and you really are not capable of providing a civilized answers. Dige dad o bidad nadareh aghae mohtaram[behet bar bakhoreh Agha sedat kardam].

And as for debate with you? I am more than happy to set you and your kind straight[so to speak] anytime you speak out of context and act like a [laate chelh meydoun].  Az baghiyeh aghayoun okhanooma yad begir. ;-)




Ms. Gillani

by capt_ayhab on

Allow me to clarify my question.

I asked for your alternative to present issue at hand, which is to boycott or not to boycott the election. Given the circumstances we are in right now, which with tricks or deception[what ever you like to call] the REGIME has been legitimized back in 1979 by the YES/NO referendum they conducted.

Alternative to the regime I agree, is democracy, but what is the alternative in this election. To vote or not to vote and why.

you say[What needs to be done?
Iranian political activists inside and outside Iran must organize and
unite around a single agenda. This agenda must spell out our goals,
commitments, and convictions.]

cool..... but show me the unity, and show me the means.

Reformists have come up with a plan, and seemingly has produced SOME results. We must agree that the life today in Iran is bit easier than 1979, 80's and 90's.

Is it ideal? Hell no. Does it resemble anything like a democracy? Hell no, however what reformists are saying is that they are chipping away ever so minutely  at this rock of theocracy and dictatorship. and ever so slowly are gaining ground. Please do not take my comment as though I am a reformist[which absolutely nothing wrong with the notion].

My question,,,,, What is it that boycott going to accomplish? another 4 years of hardliner like Ahmadinejad? Bare in mind, one of the main reason he was elected was due to boycott. 

Abstention may be used to indicate the voting individual's ambivalence about the measure, or mild disapproval that does not rise to the level of active opposition.

In another word. It is ineffective under these circumstance, one can boycott Coca Cola or an issue on the ballet, given we are operating in a DEMOCRACY and not under dictatorship.



P/S Although I do not agree with your ideas in your article, however I did enjoy reading it. I found it well organized and well written. Thanks for sharing it.



by capt_ayhab on

Thank you for your comment, and since you have directed it to my person I would like to answer your points and allegations.

1. You say[ It's interesting you denounce a boycott against these sham "elections" and think that they are somehow relevant.]

I did not denounce boycott, I called it an INFECTIVE tool by an irrelevant group who has racked up a checkered past.  Boycott [abstention] is nothing but a soft tool designed to protest an issue in an election and hardly is considered a resistance. Besides the group calling for this abstention, are as irrelevant as it could get when it comes to Iranian dynamics.

2. You say [I guess if you lived in Iraq under Saddam you would also consider his
elections as somehow "relevant" -- after all what difference is there
IN REAL TERMS between Saddam's dictatorship and the mullah dictatorship???]

Gooz be shaghigeh che rabti dareh? what does geopolitics under Saddam has to do with my comments? Enlighten me please.

3. You say[You further place all the blame for the 1953 coup against Mossadegh at the door of the Americans and the CIA.]

You could not be more further away from truth. I did not blame the coup on Mosaddeq. I gave you a time line documented by the CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt. Instigator of the coup has always been British, however USA and CIA did their dirty work, by making the Tudeh Party the [bogyman]. As a matter of fact, few years  before  the 1953 coup, British had asked the President Truman for help in over throwing Mosaddeq government but he had refused. 

According to Prof. Abrahamian, in response to President Eisenhower that the communist was about to take over in Iran, Sec. of State at the time  Dean Acheson admitted the “`Communist threat` was a smokescreen”.

CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt had alienated Dr. Mosaddeq by systematically bribing every sector of the society in Iran, Refer to my synopsis of the event in my comment.

4. You say[Isn't it interesting that Islamists NEVER EVER blame England (their
hereditary masters), but always blame America as the "Great Satan."]

Simple answer, you are resorting to name calling rather than setting forth logical argument. Its childish.

It was not only the rohanion who helped the removal of Mosaddeq, it was every echelon of the society who were bribed by USA. From newspapers, to politicians to clergy to street thugs[Shaban Bimokh's]

there is a wonderful quote from Prof Abrahamian, which says:

Throughout the crisis, the “communist danger” was more of a rhetorical device than a real issue — i.e. it was part of the cold-war discourse ... Despite 20,000 members and 110,000 sympathizers, the Tudeh was no
match for the armed tribes and the 129,000-man military. What is more, the British and Americans had enough inside information to be confident that the party had no plans to initiate armed insurrection. At the
beginning of the crisis, when the Truman administration was under the impression a compromise was possible, Acheson had stressed the communist danger, and warned if Mossadeq was not helped, the Tudeh would take over. The (British) Foreign Office had retorted that the Tudeh was no real threat. But, in August 1953, when the Foreign Office echoed the Eisenhower administration’s claim that the Tudeh was about to take over, Acheson now retorted that there was no such communist
danger. Acheson was honest enough to admit that the issue of the Tudeh
was a smokescreen.

The 1953 Coup in Iran, Science & Society, Vol. 65, No. 2, Summer 2001, pp.182–215

In closing sorry that I do not share the sentiment of USA being an angel in regards to 1953 coup as you do.




Irandokht, and Capt Eyhab

by masoudA on

Irandokht -

You ask a fair question: What does not voting accomplish?  Here is the answer from someone who thinks Islamic Republic is a cancer to Iran and must be removed immediately;

Two elements are needed for the Islamic Republic's removal.   1- As Laleh Gillani and others said - an organized Rastakhiz of the Opposition inside and Outside Iran.    2- Support of the international community.    Voting in IRI elections, hurts both elements.

Capt Eyhab -

First and foremost, I think you suffer from some sort of visions of self grandeur thinking of yourself capable to "Ab Paki Roo Dast Ma Berizi" !!  I see very little substance in your thoughts and questions........ After calling me a traitor in another thread - a typical Hezi trait - you top it in this thread with another famous Hezi trait.   When you get cornered and are out of logic - the usual response is.........Shah was worst or Bush or Isreal did worst.......

But I will give you one more chance on a mature debate without derailing into side topics.  You asked me if it was wrong for Bush to let his religion interfer with his policies.......... The answer is yes - It is wrong for any system or individual to allow religion (any religion) interfer with the affair of a state.   Having said that - there is a difference between a "System" build on religion - like the theocracy we have in Iran - and a religious person heading a secular government....... I am sure you can get that - right ?

Finaly - on the subject of religion itslef.   I believe religion is a very important "tool" for mankind.   As our erfansits have repeated over and over - man can use religion as a platform to make the jump from being an idolist (premitive - bot parast) to enlightenment (for me God - for others whatever one considers enlightenment).   The problem is with the people who get stuck on religion and can't make the leap.   And of-course there are always the clergy in every religion making sure people get stuck on religion and never advance further.   That is God Inc., and it is the biggest obstacle between man and god.   Welcome to first step of erfan.   



Mehrban - About Democracy

by pk (not verified) on

"I think given the population and the demographics of Iran and the policies of the Islamic Republic, we may be headed where we may not want to go. And without a coalition of our democratic minded, incredibly smart and resourceful but presently divided groups at some point we would no longer be able to turn this ship"

Totally agree with you.

btw, Nilfour Parsi mentioning democracy re France, Christianity, etc... in her earlier comment in this thread, got her points/questions (almost verbatim) from here.