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


by Parham on

Don't fly off the handle! I'm saying they're an amateurish SPIN, meaning he's not good at spinning facts. In fact, I hold Kinzer's work more valuable than Abrahamian's, yes! Scholarly is not when things are twisted.
And btw, Tudeh did support Mosaddegh. Many of them were jailed and executed, even a year after the coup. You've got your history wrong too.


A Vision for Tomorrow

by LalehGillani on

Capt_ayhab wrote: “What is your alternatives? What is it that need to be done, how is it that needs to be done and when is it that it must done. In answering the question, please also determine the future of the Muslims in Iran as well, What is going to be your solution for their faith?

What is the alternative?
My alternative to the Islamic Republic of Iran is a secular republic.

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.

When must it be done?

How is it to be done?
We must inform and educate the public while exposing the regime. The masses must know that there is an alternative to the current choices. Once we have enough public support, we will reveal our power by flexing our muscles: nationwide demonstrations and boycotts. We must bring the regime down to its knees.

What is the future of Muslims in Iran?
Islam must get out of politics and move back into mosques. Laws must be passed and enacted to prevent mullahs from using the pulpit against the secular republic.



by JavadJigool (not verified) on

The effect of boycotting can only be felt in a democratic and free society.

Since Iran is not free nor, democratic in a western sense the dictator could care less whether you vote or not. They always have the option of adding a few illegitemate votes for their candidates of choosing.

It is true that candidates are vetted through the velayate faghih filter but you still have the option of choosing between these candidates and making your voices heard to a certain degree.

Your solution is not only unrealistic but its foolish to say the least. Everyone else who agrees with you either lives in the west with complete detachment from the realities of Iran or IS inside iran and is drinking the kool-aid courtesy of those in the west.


Are You In or Out?

by LalehGillani on

Anonymous8 wrote: “What is wrong with voting? What is going to happen when I vote that is so bad?”

Different political activists have enumerated various reasons for boycotting the upcoming election. I agree with some and disagree with others. For me, the main reason is deeply rooted in my conviction towards the end game. Please allow me to elaborate:

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a dictatorship and an illegitimate government. Not voting for the likes of Ahmadinejad or Mir-Hossein Mousavi is the first step our nation must take in order to be able to move forward into the next stage of our struggle. This first step has been hampered down by the dream that the reformist movement is trying to sell us: “This theocracy can be morphed into a democracy.”

On behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the reformists are asking, “We have a dream to sell! Are you in or out? Are you still playing?” The answer is no. We are done with this game. Instead of participating in such a mockery, we must organize in order to chart a new path for our nation.


IF we are still just "experimenting" with democracy

by Fair on

and are not so ready for freedom and are still a traditional society as Abarmard and others say, then I have this to say:

65 years after Dr. Mossadeq, we have no right to complain that we lost our chance at democracy- because he had no chance in hell to establish a modern democratic government in such a society anyway.

So is that the case? Is that the society we are today? 65 years later? Have we even bothered to learn his platform and not just his name?

That is right. We as a nation, with so many opportunities to educate ourselves had ample time to learn about modern, secular, democratic values. Instead, the bulk of our EDUCATED opposition turned in large numbers to Islam, Islamic Marxists, Marxists, etc. The National Front was a minority, and the most democratic and closest in philosophy to Mosaddeq of them Dr. Bakhtiar was abandoned and ridiculed by them - 25 years after Mosaddeq was ousted.

Today we Iranians show the world and ourselves whether we were deserving of a democratic republic in 1953, and whether we have the right to complain about Mossadeq being overthrown or not- by choosing what platform we support NOW.

What will it be?




Can you show us factual evidence to convince us?

by Doubtful (not verified) on

"Why are a few people here so adamantly against voting when the results would clearly be 4 more years of AhmadiNejad's economy and foreign policy? "

First of all, if you believe that there are only very few opposed to voting on this Website, then I say you don't have to worry and shouldn't even bother to convince them to see things your way! after all there are only a few and the majority are with you.

Secondly, how can you be so confident about the results?what sort of guarantee can you give people that all votes will be counted as they are and respected no matter what?? What gives you such confidence? How do you know? please share your fact based evidence. Mere speculation and guessing will not do!


Bina for iran

by capt_ayhab on

Nice propaganda speech I might say, lumping everyone with the Islam faith in Iran which happens to be ONLY 93% of whole population, as [Jeereh khore doulat].

My question, and please spare me the lecture, what is your ALTERNATIVES?

WHAT is it that need to be done,

HOW is it that needs to be done and

WHEN is it that it must be done.

In answering the question, please also determine the future of the Muslims in Iran as well, What is going to be your solution for their faith?




To Anonymous8 : JUST don't sell your vote short

by Anonymous44646456464654 (not verified) on

There is nothing wrong with voting as long as you believe in what you vote for.

If you genuinely believe in the IRI, its constitution, its so called election process, and its Velayat-e-Faqih system then by all means go and vote.

I believe voting must have a meaning and above all a value. Voting in this system has neither a meaning nor a value.

Every time IRI scares people from death so that people are forced to agree to a fever as they say in Farsi. Every time we have to choose between bad and worse. Every time we have to be worried that things do not get any worse than they already are and NEVER better.

Like everybody else, no I do not have a solution but I genuinely think that boycotting or participating in this sad satire will not make the least bit of difference as to who the system will eventually decide to come out of the ballot box in to serve the Supreme leader.

What I do know is that I refuse to be played with by mullahs.


ok we don't accomplish anything by voting

by IRANdokht on

IRI is not going to allow free elections and the candidates are all the same and passed the IRI filters so none is better than the others and voting for one does not bring our country forward... We know that reasoning by heart now!

My question is: What does "not voting" accomplish besides the re-election of AhmadiNejad?

Why are a few people here so adamantly against voting when the results would clearly be 4 more years of AhmadiNejad's economy and foreign policy?

I wish for once people would come forth with their true agendas and not make us try and guess!


PS: Niloufar I loved your responses, short and to the point! 


Captain Ahab

by Sassan (not verified) on

It's interesting you denounce a boycott against these sham "elections" and think that they are somehow relevant. 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???

You further place all the blame for the 1953 coup against Mossadegh at the door of the Americans and the CIA. Mind you, the "naft" issue had everything to do with British arrogance, not to mention their spies in the mullah establishment (Ayatollah Kashani, Behbahani, etc.) and the Rashidian brothers who were all British spies.

Isn't it interesting that Islamists NEVER EVER blame England (their hereditary masters), but always blame America as the "Great Satan." Mind you, the greatest tormentor or "Satan" in the history of Iran in the last 2 hundred years has been ENGLAND (just behind Russia), and not America!!!

But you never hear the chants of "Death to England" at the hezbollahi rallies anywhere in Iran. It's always "Marg bar Amrika." And don't tell me it's because of the 1953 coup -- the mullahs (Kashani and the Fedayoun-e-Islam) GREATLY assisted and benefited from the removal of Mossadegh!

The coup had no chance of success if only the Fedayoun-e-Islam and the Tudeh had sided with Mossadegh! The CIA, which was in its infancy, made a number of critical mistakes in carrying out the coup, which would have failed fantastically if the mullahs and the Tudeh had backed Mossadegh! This is almost a certain fact from reading all the materials OBJECTIVELY!!!

The ayatollahs hated Mossadegh because they HATE all true democracies (after all, the principle of Maraj-e-taghlid requires people to "emulate" the learned clergy (like monkeys) instead of having independent free thinkers (one man, one vote). And as we all know, Islamists are dead set against free thinkers of any stripe.

The Tudeh also hated Mossadegh (almost as much as they hated the Shah) because they viewed him as a capitalist beholden to the Truman administration. After all, Mossadegh was a Qajar prince of an aristocratic pedigree with abundant assets and holdings in Iran. In fact, Mossadegh met with Truman, who was deeply impressed by the Persian Premier, on his visit to America.

Of course, the British are smarter than Americans when it comes to Iran, in that they let the loud-mouth Americans take all the credit for the coup and they cleverly hid in the background, knowing full well that the perpetrators of the coup would be looked upon as traitors by the Iranian nation.

But in reality, the coup was all about the arrogance of England, which didn't even want to grant the same 50/50 deal to Iran, which America had given to the Saudis in 1949.

At first, Iranians only wanted the same type of 50/50 deal reached with Aramco and the US, but when the greedy British, who actually believed that they owned Iran's oil industry, rejected the offer, Mossadegh nationalized the oil.

Point is, why is it that IRI supporters and their leftist malijaks always blame America (and the CIA) for Mossadegh's downfall, when in fact, the coup was initiated by the British government, and it would have never succeeded BUT FOR their powerful spies in the mullah establishment.



by Mehrban on

Thanks for your prompt reply.  I know it sounds lame but I have to leave now but will come back because I want to understand why some groups are on opposing sides and not on the same.  I will come back.  


Laleh, what is wrong with voting?

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

I still haven't heard a reasonable answer to this from anybody. Maybe I like reformists better, even if you think they are all the same.

But even if you don't, what is going to happen when I vote that is so bad?


The Question

by LalehGillani on

Abarmard wrote: “We do have ways to go, the question that you need to ask when thinking about the Iranian society and their socio-political gains/losses is whether you see the Iranians on the right path? Maybe this is the ultimate divider between the Reformists and Revolutionaries.”

That’s not the correct question to ask. Instead, we must ask, “The path to where?” Where is the reform movement taking us? The answer is nowhere new, somewhere we have already been.

The reform movement is taking us to an Islamic Republic. Been there! Done that! Let’s chart a new path and a new destination.


Dear Abarmard

by Jimmy (not verified) on

As a matter of fact, Reagan’s presidency only proves my point: Reagan’s worldview and little education were reflected in his 2 terms as President: bullying small countries, super liberal economic policies, “Star Wars” delirium, a world vision that could be summarized in 1 or 2 sentences (us the good ones, them the bad communists and the terrorists). The American economy did well in short term but collapsed to the lack of long-term planning and interest in quick profit only, and we are still feeling the effect of Reagan’s economic policies today. Never were the American people so much fed by stupid slogans, lies and deceit than during Reagan’s administration.

Just like what we saw with 4 years of George W. Bush: either you are with or against us. Hunt them down, smoke them…This is what I mean. A man with connections only, but no real education or plan and vision for his country, its economy and the world: look at the disaster after 4 years!

Yes, I considered voting and I have spent the past 2 weeks listening and watching to campaigns and what these candidates have to say, and I am seriously starting to think I have insulted my intelligence.

As for your question, many trends lead me to believe that Iranians are on the wrong track: people being rude, bad traffic, liars, bribes, men cheating on their wives, corruption, pretending to be religious when needed to, social schizophrenia, drinking heavy alcohol, drug addiction, brain drain, high spending on weddings, neglect for the poor, “kelass” type of society…All these negative trends have been strengthened in the recent past.


A Vibrant Nation!

by LalehGillani on

Abarmard wrote: “The issue here is where society stands in regard to freedom or democracy, in the Western sense (I assume). People in Iran are not voting to dismantle the Velayat e Faqih from the system/ constitution. It is important to realize that the concept of democracy for Iran or freedom is not well defined for the mass.”

The concept of freedom is very well defined for the masses in Iran. With all due respect, your understanding of the Iranian society is similar to a father talking about his immature and invalid children, those that must be taken care of and guided through life.

Iranian masses are vibrant and alive. Thirty years of oppression hasn’t sucked the fervor out of them. To the contrary, grassroots movements have emerged only because of our fighting spirit.

Our rich history and culture has taught us what freedom is. Our folklore is filled with the accounts of heroes who have rebelled against injustices of a few only to set the masses free. We draw strength from our ancestors to pave the way for a better tomorrow.



by capt_ayhab on

you say[ Theocracy is a backward anti-human rights concept - when are you going to get it? ]

Not that I agree with this form of government, but i need to ask you a question.

Does your stand regarding [Anti Human] form of theocracy only apply to Islam or you hold this view regarding other religions as well?

If so, can you tell me what you think about form of government in Israel, which  by all accounts is religious to core. Or even G W Bush platform in 2004 campaign which was religious family values.



Dear Jimmy

by Abarmard on

Your short answer is very simple. How did Ronald Reagan move from Hollywood to the white house?

I admire that you have  checked closely and looked to see the face of the candidates. There are cultural differences that does not yet require politicians to clearly discuss their plans. I agree with you on that. I have no doubt that this will change in the near future. The signs are indicating that society is politically maturing and will demand more information about the candidate's plans. Then the candidates will be responsive to those demands.
The competition is real and the candidates will try to satisfy their followers and gain more advantage however they can.

We do have ways to go, the question that you need to ask when thinking about the Iranian society and their socio-political gains/losses is whether you see the Iranians on the right path?

Maybe this is the ultimate divider between the Reformists and Revolutionaries.


Wrong interpretation of elections...

by Bina for iran (not verified) on

You people got it all wrong! This election is NOT to elect a president, rather it is to identify and elect the following groups of people:

(1) The Islamists whose whole lives revolve around islam and their financial associates and ideologues. As you see from comments on this site, anything iranian is a thorn in their eyes and they rush to humiliate it as racist, zionist, LA type, etc. Never mention "persian", "aryan", "ferdowsi", "cyrus", "darius", "persepolis", ... or be ready to be attacked in an ideologically similar way to Omar the Caliph when attacked and defeated iran and took away wealth and iranian slaves. Fortunately, there are so many of such "iranian" thorns to be poked into islamists' eyes and anger them. Islamists are traitors cloaked in a 1400 year old religion and its anti-iranian slogans. The most hypocrites of islamists are self-defeating run-away islamists in the west that preach what they CANNOT tolerate and had to run away from. There far more plentiful on this site than in whole iran.

(2) The fools who have read this book and seen this movie for 30 long years and still do not comprehend what it is about. They never move to a higher grade as long as they are stuck in IRI 101. They just don't get it.

(3) The blind who just do not see what has been going on - they are rare within iran but plenty outside iran who have no empathy with day to day life of iranian struggle . They are ready to bring up IRI ready-made made-up statistics to show how fantastic this regime is but do not bother to even consider living in iran for a few months.

The election is NOT to elect president but to elect voters who fall into one of the above groups. Unfortunately as long as there is ignorance of above kinds, and a majority of voters of above kinds, there are sellers of the same movie and no change in the devolution of the past 30 years. Those who do not learn from history of the last 30 years are doomed to repeat it, again and again. We never get a different result with the same behaviour (unless the hands of Emam Zaman is involved).

I hate to break it to you but, "Kheshte avval chon nehad memaar kaj, taa sorayya mirevad divaar kaj". Remember what doctor Yazdi said when he was arranging execution of shah's generals in the first week of revolution without due process: "this is not Nuremberg that we should offer due process to shah's generals and staff." That view of citizens having less rights than Nazis have continued to this day and is codified in IRI laws.

The oppression and backwardness that governs iran is institutionalized in the constitution and bill of no-rights that the islamisc republic is based on.

I hate to break it to you, but "entekhaabaat vaaseh faati tomoon nemished" and no matter who gets elected, it will be "hamin aash va hamin kaaseh"; and it is all legal according to IRI laws, until people mature and demand democracy on massive scale which iranians are not the kind to make such demands on empty stomachs. Remember the saying: "keep arabs' stomachs full and iranians' stomachs empty and neither will revolt". Things will not change in our life time in any measureable way unless a brave iranian like abu moslim, yaghoob laith, ..., reza shah rise and push these nationless bas***ds out of the way by sheer force before they achieve their objectives and totally destroy the fabric of iranian society.

Now that you know the bottom line, get to know your religion better to see what you did to your country in 1979 before packing and running away:






Those who fall into the same trap again and again and again, deserve what they get. Weep for iran and what WE did to our country which fed us and served our ancestors well for well over 7000 years of written history.


About these elections

by Jimmy (not verified) on

After listening to the candidates’ campaign ads and programs, I am even more convinced that:

- None of the candidate has a real plan for the economy, the housing or the unemployment problems, because they are not real politicians or managers. They are just people who happen to have connections and networks and support within the establishment. This is why they are where they are.

- None of these candidates speaks a foreign language, let alone English, and none has credible contacts in other countries, people whom they can work with, build alliances with, associate with. So Iran’s foreign policy will continue to be a continuation of empty slogans, provocation followed by attempts to buy time and reconcile…But on the larger scale, it will be the same as usual: attract some major oil contracts, and that’s it.

How can someone like Karroubi or Rezaei understand the dynamics of international politics, world economy, liberalism or diplomacy if they haven’t even travelled once, outside of Iran (except to Mecca or Karbala), if they haven’t taken a few courses at some major universities on the dynamics of current economy and world affairs, on international law and foreign policy, if they haven’t read a few major books by some major authors?

How can Mousavi who has spent his last few years painting or in the Iranian Academy of Arts suddenly go to international forums and talk about environmental issues and sustainable economy or the current economic crisis or the?

About Ahmadinejad, he is the living proof of what I am trying to say: no tact, no international relations, no education whatsoever…Just lies, provocation and more lies.

Do any of the candidates seriously know the sociological problems of Iran, the problems leading to drug addiction, the international conventions of human rights and international laws? All they propose is populist slogans to grab votes: giving shares of oil to people, giving 70K toman to each Iranian, paying 75% of university tuition fees, having less moral police. These are only populist promises which are not true measures for improving the conditions of a major country of 70 million people.

As for reformists: I do understand the dynamics of reforms, but it’s only a POLITICAL movement, void of any real plan for improving the economy, the society and the environment, and it is too intertwined with Islam and vague concepts to ever be a realistic progressive movement, like what Christian Democracy has become in Europe.

In the end, it’s just talk, talk and more talk.

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

certainly: a gradual, step-by-step move toward a more open and tolerant society - one that grows and learns to be democratic through experience rather than having western bombs or violent revolutionaries force 'democracy' on iran. there is no end game as there is no end to history.

how many years did it take the french to get democracy after the french revolution? can anyone answer that question?

iran and her government are mirror images of each other. same in the US or anywhere else except for very few exceptions. those exceptions are most evident in conflict situations.

evolution is natural. revolution is a myth for the great majority.

btw, what do you mean by an 'islamic' reformist? is it any different from any other type of reformist? did christianity or judaism come packaged as 'democratic' before anyone thought of democracy?



کویر تشنه باران است


I hate to [Abe paki ro dastemon berizam] but I have been reading the article, and all the responses, with all due respet[nafase hamamon az jaye garm boland mishe] so to speak.

To start with, we can't even reach a consensus on our recent history, being 1953 coup. Some believe that Mosaddeq failed to consolidate the power, where some others believe that he played it safe due to his opposition to Hezbe Tudeh.

Granted that his success would have PERHAPS meant a brighter day today, yet it is highly debatable since these are only speculation of an event that has not occurred. Our problem with this event is that we can't even agree on real culprit for 1953 coup and fall of Dr. Mosaddeq. Who did what and when did they do it. One thing is for sure, Issue was NAFT. It was done as simply as follows:

The C.I.A. sent one of its most adept operatives, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, to Iran with the mission of organizing the overthrow of the government. Question is how do you go about overthrowing a government? What do you do? Suppose that you are sent to a country with that mission. 

The first thing Kermit Roosevelt did was, he
started bribing members of parliament and leaders of small political parties that were a part of Mosaddegh ‘s political coalition. Pretty soon the public started to see the Mosaddegh ’s coalition splitting apart and people denouncing him on the floor of parliament.

The next thing Roosevelt did was start bribing newspaper editors, owners and columnists and reporters. Within a couple of weeks, he had 80% of the newspapers in Tehran on his payroll and they were grinding out every kind of lie attacking Mossadegh .

The next thing Roosevelt did was start bribing religious leaders. Soon, at Friday prayers, the Mullahs were denouncing Mossadegh as an atheist enemy of Islam. Roosevelt also bribed members of police units and low-ranking military officers to be ready with their units on the crucial day.

His Master plan was when he hired the leaders of a bunch of street gangs in Tehran[Shaban Bikhokh and likes], and he used them to help create the impression that the rule of
law had totally disintegrated in Iran. He actually at one point hired a gang to run through the streets of Tehran, beating up any pedestrian they found, breaking shop windows, firing their guns into mosques, and
yelling—“We love Mossadegh and communism.” This would naturally turn any decent citizen against him.

He didn’t stop there. He tired a second
mob to attack the first mob, to give people the impression that there was no police presence and order had completely disintegrated. So, within just a few weeks, this one agent operating with a large sum of cash and a network of contacts and various elements of society, had taken what was a fairly stable country and thrown it into complete upheaval.

His next step was to send a letter signed by Shah ordering firing of Dr. Mosaddeq. Unbeknown to him that Shah can not fire the PM[according to constitution] Mosaddq refused. This was the first attempt to coup , date: August 15 1953. As a result of this failing, Roosevelt was ordered home by CIA, which he refused.

Roosevelt On his own, he activated his mobs on the 19th of August, just four days later, in a second coup attempt. They rampaged through the streets by the tens of thousands. Many politicians whipped up the crowds during those days. Roosevelt had been spending $11,000 a week just to bribe members of the Iranian
parliament. There were only 90 members. The average annual income in Iran at that time was about $500.

At crucial moments, police and military units joined the crowd. They started storming government buildings. There were gunfights in front of important buildings. The crucial battle, the climactic battle was actually in front of the prime minister’s house. It started at nightfall. There was heavy gunfire, including an artillery duel. About
100 people were killed just in the battle in front of Mosaddegh ’s house. Towards the end, members of a military unit, whose leader
Roosevelt had bribed, arrived with a column of tanks, and with that, Mosaddegh was no longer able to survive. By midnight, on August the
19th of 1953, his house was in flames, and he had fled over the back guard wall to surrender himself a couple of days later. And the
general[Fazlollah Zahedi], who was a C.I.A.—who the C.I.A. had selected as the designated savior of Iran was installed as prime minister.

What was Shah doing meanwhile??? hiding under the bed.

Source: //

How to Overthrow A Government Pt. 1: The 1953 U.S. Coup in Iran



Second issue I have with this article and some of the comment is that we have some group who propagate boycott of the election. Another group is calling and supporting reformist movement[If even there is such a thing]. and finally we the group who is calling for drastic change through the means of revolution.

For the group who is asking for boycott, my take is that they could not be more irrelevant to Iranian society, as they have always been. Boycott is NOT a remedy, it only demonstrates their total lack of relevance, and detachment from the goings of Iranian society.

To the other groups , with all due respect, SAYING NO is not a solution. We all have wonderful means of disagreeing with everything and with each other[namely character assassination, name calling, fosh o fazihat]. Where we fall short is presenting a workable SOLUTION.

First step is to come to an agreement and consensus on near recent history. Once this monumental task[lol] is accomplished, then instead of our usual [dava morafe] we need to brain storm, come together, bring our thoughts an abilities together  and present SOLUTION !




Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on


Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on



Dear MasoudA

by Abarmard on

Iranian problem is domestic and do not buy in to the propaganda that it's a international problem.

Do not hold the "international broadcast" about Iran as your point of reference, because they are OK with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That should tell you something. Please let's keep the arguments focused. 


Dear Abarmard

by masoudA on

If man was to condone with "local" cultures and rituals - canibalism would still be alive today.    In 1948 and after the atrocities of WW2 - the world sat down and came up with some basics rules to live by - rules that were called: the international articles of human rights - with our country Iran being one of the first 15 to sign and acccept it.   This Islamic regime has been set on a foundation that is in full idealogical conflict with basic human rights.   You can't reform a rat into a flying eagle.   


Election boycotted by another party! (to Kazemzadeh)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Dr. Kazemzadeh, along with Hezbe Marze Por Gohar, Hezbe Khar dar Chaman also boycotted the election.


The path is not this term or another

by Abarmard on

The issue here is where society stands in regard to freedom or democracy, in the Western sense (I assume).
People in Iran are not voting to dismantle the Velayat e Faqih from the system/ constitution. It is important to realize that the concept of democracy for Iran or freedom is not well defined for the mass. You may argue that everyone in the country understands what freedom is. All women want is to be free and be able to dress how they like. I would just raise this question: Are you certain?

In my family I have sisters, aunts and grandmother. Large family. They all hold different values. In the West the society had to grow for hundreds of years of struggle between different forces within the society and against the governments that ruled them. Some European countries were still dictatorial even at the beginning of the last century. Iranian revolution happened only thirty years ago.

Historically we are in the infancy stages. The maturity of the Iranian society however, shows when we witness that their expectations have become realistic based on the level that country is. That is directly related to the time of the information age, where people realize what's happening around the neighborhood and the world.

The fact speaks loudly if one takes a trip from North to East or West or any direction to the south, that the society still is a traditional society. What does that mean? The fact that today Iranians are living under the current system has had many negatives but also some profound positives. To ignore the positives is making a mistake about the Iranian society. To Laleh's argument about the Russians or Saudis and her mistake to compare, the Iranian society was/is not in the same level or social experiences that Russians or Saudis were/are.

Iranians are active; they are moving towards modernity, they are experimenting with democracy. None of which is present in either the Russian or Saudi societies hence their governments. To disconnect society entirely from a government is a mistake. If Iranians were similar to Russians or Saudis, then we should have remained with Shah today. We would not have had women uprisings or social unrest many times in our history, but we did.

Some have raised the issue about those who don't travel to the country might not have the proper perspective about Iran today. There is some truth to that. I left Iran originally when Iran was in the state of war. The government was revolutionary and in many ways harsh. Today, one can argue that although those attributes are still there, yet all could agree that the extent has shrunk dramatically. The system is theocratic, but we are also living in a different age and time. This is what differs between the supporters of reform and non believers in reform. In analysis all different aspects of the Iranian society and the Iranian system along with its actions must be reviewed independently since the fight in different levels of society has giving different results and outcomes. They are not all blossoming simultaneously. Most people have not given up hope for other parts, yet. The path to freedom and democracy, even if you believe in revolution, is a gradual social leaning. Otherwise putting society a side, there are no guarantees that the next regime would bring anything good.

A quick example. My friend from Urumiyeh visited Baku. He told me that most people listened and watched the Islamic republic TV and radio. Women while free to dress however they like, were under influence of men, and covered themselves. Now this is not the entire city, but most of it. Similar to Iran, the merchants and traditional forces were heavily influential. They told my friend that they listen to the Islamic Republic media programs because it is their "values". Although the Iranian society is not completely comparable to the Azerbaijan Republic, we do share similar values. This is an important idea to keep in mind about the region that Iran is also a part of.

A good point was brought to my attention in one of my debates that if we bring the best system of government to a country like Iran (today), it will become corrupt and dictatorial. If we bring the worse government to the United States, it will become better and gradually fixes itself. The concept behind this example is the society that many tend to ignore when talking about a form of a government or a system.

There is much more that needs to be said, but I am not going to take more room. Sorry that this turned so long, so I'll stop here.



by Mehrban on

Could you as a reformist answer my question?  What is the end game to an Islamic Reformist?    Many thanks

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

you have spent all your article on depicting the reformist movement as a failure, but there is no word on what the 'revolutionary' camp has to offer and how.

you also miss the point that much goes on in between elections with the reformists, but nothing at all with the revolutionaries.

really, the problem is the other way: while the 'revolutionaries' have no option or strategy (and therefore nothing but fantasy) to offer, the wide range of reformist efforts are constantly chipping away at the edges and getting there bit by bit with the people.



You can't be serious!

by Sassan (not verified) on

PARHAM writes: "I've looked at Abrahamian's claims as well and for what my opinion's worth, I believe his claims are just an amateurish (at best) spin on historical facts."

Are you kidding yourself? He is a foremost historian on Iran, always quoted by all the scholarly heavyweights for his objectivity! His life's work is Iran (as opposed to some western journalists who take off six months to write a book on Iran and suddenly they're "Iran experts," i.e., Steven Kinzer types whose books are littered with factual innacuracies. Your humble "opinion" is dead wrong if you think Abrahimian is some sort of an "amateur" on Iran. Dead wrong, and utterly foolish! That's the most ridiculous thing I heard since Q's claim that this sham "election" actually matters!

LALEH GILLANI writes: "Islam is a totalitarian ideology incapable of tolerating other belief systems."

I could NOT have said it better! I've been saying that in my posts for a long while and have been called a racist for it!

RealityIS writes: "To those who forget the great knowledge of Abarmard, Q, Mammad, Niloufar Parsi and like..." Wow!!! Stop right there! "The great knowledge of..." What a joke to the pursuit of knowledge! I would say that the above listed names are the most prolific IRI supporters on this site, always spinning massive misinformation to advocate the cause of the treacherous mullacracy! I wouldn't be surprised if they're all the same person!