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

Laleh, you are not Iranian, maybe born there!

by Daryush on

Ok Laleh, Now I know who is sitting across table. Shoma dorost migin.

Nemishe KArish Kard ;)

In reality, I did not write my comment for you and Masoud because I know there is no way to make you debate openly.

However, you missed my most important points and focused on "Islam" part, which is the value system of the country. Who were the "youth" that were interviewed? Were they in Minab? Borazjan? Yazd? Bandar Abbas? Tabriz? Urumiyeh? Mashad? Do you honestly believe that?
Where are you from? When did you leave Iran? What's your understanding about the country? that people respect Jesus more than Imam Ali? Who am I talking to?

By what you said in the comments, and your latest comment, you don't need to answer me when was the last time you were in Iran. Not relevant any more. I see you as close to Iran as I see Jack in Nashville.

I am beginning to think that Mashty has it right :)
Sorry, I will not return to your site, or any of your future writings of yours. Waste of time. I thought I give you a point of view from Iran, and I see my stupidity. Good bye.


What Would an Iranian Say?

by LalehGillani on

Daryush wrote: “I would like to ask you if you could just tell me, if you said this to the people on streets or friends or families in Iran, what do you think they tell you. Sorry to say that they will laugh.”

My family, friends, and acquaintances in Iran have asked me to keep up the pressure. They have told me not to forget about them and their predicament. They have reminded me time and again that it is my duty to expose the regime’s atrocities so that the world knows what is going on in Iran.

They carry cameras everywhere they go so that they can catch the brutal regime in action. They send me pictures and videos to be posted on the internet.

I realize that it has become fashionable to mock Iranians who live abroad. However, this approach is a desperate attack to discredit political activists that have dedicated their lives to the betterment of our nation. When all fails, this mockery becomes your only weapon…

Farah Rusta

Ignorantus Morronicus Gigantus

by Farah Rusta on

Q and Ali1234 

As both you gentlemen can be collectively grouped as IMG, I decided to save our host, JJ, some virtual space and respond to your babble in one piece.

The credibilty of the Iranians ratifying the amended constitution of the Islamic Republic in 1989 (97% in favor)) was only 3 percent less than the credibility of the Iraqis electing Saddam Hussein as their President for life in 2002 (100% in favor).  Now, given your incurable condition, I don't expect you to make any sense of these statistics but I am sure there are those on this site who know what I am talking about.

If you guys tap into your knowldeg base, meaning Wikipedia, you will find that unlike the Islamic constitution, the American constitution can be amended by an elected body and/or appointd individuals by an elected president. (not by a non elected Leader-appointed council of this and assembly of that) . So unless you tell me that 2+2 is not 4, then I cannot see why you have diffcuty in understanding something as clear as this. Education, Ali1234, is not a privilege, it is a right - something you and your brother Q seem to have been deprived of.

Lastly, your obsession with  this parkhash (I gather it is a he as you call him Parviz) is amusing. I did google him and all I can say is that you guys suffer from, in addition to IMG, what can only be descibed as Parkhashophobia. What has he done to you that you are so alarmed and excited?



Laleh khanoom

by Omida (not verified) on

"There have been a few independent studies and surveys of Iranians to assess whether Islam is still the religion of the majority of Iranians. The most recent study was conducted by According to these studies, the prevailing trend is disillusionment with Islam. The overwhelming number of Iranian youth no longer identifies themselves as Muslims.

Once our country is free, such surveys and studies can be conducted on a broader scale to assess the situation better. Forcing people to declare their religion and publishing it on their birth certificates isn’t an accurate measuring stick. "

Could you provide me with these indepentent studies? I would like to take a look at them myself.




by Mashty (not verified) on

lol, are you for real?
I guess daryush's point is not proven.


انجمن پژوهشگران ایران


Daryush wrote: “We are not American or European and our people are not like them. We are Muslims and to a large extend value our culture and traditions that are also Islamic. I don't do prayers but I respect Ashura, Tasu'a, Imam Ali and Hossain, and respect the book of Koran. Even though I don't follow it closely. That's my values that I believe many in Iran share the same thinking.”

There have been a few independent studies and surveys of Iranians to assess whether Islam is still the religion of the majority of Iranians. The most recent study was conducted by According to these studies, the prevailing trend is disillusionment with Islam. The overwhelming number of Iranian youth no longer identifies themselves as Muslims.

Once our country is free, such surveys and studies can be conducted on a broader scale to assess the situation better. Forcing people to declare their religion and publishing it on their birth certificates isn’t an accurate measuring stick.


I just read Laleh responce

by Daryush on

"It is precisely because of this daily struggle of our countrymen that I
continue to fight the regime. I consider it to be my patriotic duty."

I would like to ask you if you could just tell me, if you said this to the people on streets or friends or families in Iran, what do you think they tell you. Sorry to say that they will laugh.May I ask when was the last time that you visited Iran?

Thank you for your response.


From Iran I can tell you what we think

by Daryush on

I am not claiming that I speak on behalf of the Iranian people, but from living here I can give you some points:

-I also don't care about the election, BUT I am going to vote. The reason is simple, there is a lesser evil.

-Most of my friends don't think like Laleh or Masoud because we have come to terms as what is real in Iran and what is not.

-Even if we are allowed to have an small but concrete freedoms as was offered during Mr. Khatami, we'll take it.

-What we gain in our quest for Democracy, we won't give up and it becomes our Rights for ever, unless we let it go.

-We are not American or European and our people are not like them. We are Muslims and to a large extend value our culture and traditions that are also Islamic. I don't do prayers but I respect Ashura, Tasu'a, Imam Ali and Hossain, and respect the book of Koran. Even though I don't follow it closely. That's my values that I believe many in Iran share the same thinking.

-We still trust the regime more than we trust the foreign governments.

-My friends and I will all vote. I will vote for Mousave while most of my friends like Karubi.

-What the Iranian government might be interested in, is to see what the majority of the Iranians in the West agree with that what ideas of the candidates are attractive to them. This is huge but many don't realize the importance of it. We believe that the system is to some extend responsive and not totally dictatorial. For those of you who are with us Iranians, choose the candidate that speaks loudest about freedom so the system realizes what every one in and out wants.

-Voting is a Right that in Iran we will not give away.

-Laleh and Masoud do not live in Iran and are not willing to come and struggle in their homeland. To them a little difference here and there is not sufficient. Come home and I'll prove to you how wrong you both are.

-Iran today is not the country that I enjoy to live in, but it's not the country that was 30 years ago either. I am here to make the path clear for my future generations. Most of my friends and I don't think that way on the daily basis, but many of us are fortunate enough to be able to migrate but love our lives so we remain here. It's our land.

-In this site, there are people who agree with the system and those who don't. Iranians do not think this way any more. You are outdated in your arguments and useless for us in Iran. If you wish to contribute, you need to first realize what it is that Iranians are doing, what it is that Iranians can do, and what is that Iranians would like to do. From my point of view, we want better economy so we can have a more open society. My friends and I, including many people on street would agree with this.

- WE ARE NOT GOING TO GO ON STREET AND CHANGE THE REGIME. We don't want to start all over. Socially we have gained some experience that is far a head of the entire region. We will build on that. You can help by starting from where we are, or you can not be counted as always with your delusional mentality.

-Coming from the West to Iran, my first experience was to realize that I did not have all the answers and I was not superior to the rest because I lived in the West. You also should get that in to your head that an Iranian in Iran is far more aware and emotionally intelligent than you. Iranians are much smarter than you think. You just forgot because you deal with dimwits most of your life in the West. So sometimes try to learn and listen rather than just prescribe. We have a lot to say in Iran and our voices are not being heard. You are not our voice, first hear us, then speak for us. Otherwise you are clouding the realities that we deal with daily. Hope that's clear to all of you.

-And Thank you for listening.


Will & Struggle of Iranians

by LalehGillani on

Q wrote: “Those who kept saying "Khatami is not different" were proven wrong after 8 years of Ahmadinejad. Finally, those whose only criteria for change is a new revolution are completely indifferent to the will and stuggles of people living in Iran.”

I don’t believe that the only criterion for change is a new revolution. However, realistically speaking, mullahs won’t give up power without an armed confrontation. In the final stages of our struggle, we must be ready to face them with force…

My beef with the reformist movement is evident: I neither believe in the leadership nor the proposed solution. Are we going to live under the clutches of hardliners every 4 to 8 years and then switch to the reformist camp? Why do we have to settle for this half-baked remedy?

The will of people living in Iran is no different from those living outside. We all want freedom! Although I live in exile not by my own choice, Iranians living inside the country do struggle with far greater problems that I do every day. It is precisely because of this daily struggle of our countrymen that I continue to fight the regime. I consider it to be my patriotic duty.


Thank You Ms. Gilani

by Anonymous XXX (not verified) on

There is more "election fever" on than any place else on this planet, including Ahmadinejad's office. I guess the collection of IRI propoganda agents (official and unofficial), leftover 60's and 70's leftists, idiots, pseudo-intellectuals, anti-werstern "oghodehis" and other loonies on this site has finally found its cause.

Wake up people: there are no "elections" under IRI's "Islamocracy". IT'S ALL A SHAM designed to fool the naive.


Dear Q

by Mashty (not verified) on

My friend, just take a look at the bunch who wrote and support this noche level mentality from 40 years ago. Times has changed, we know it, they are hoping it will return. No problem with that. Don't bother with them.
There is no way these bunch would ever understand. Their hope is that Iran becomes Western and the stupid Iranians who are not Western go in to hiding. What do you honestly expect from them? I am so happy that they all agree with this writer, shows you the level of their intelligence.

Just think Q, we used to be backward thinking like this crowd and were shameful about our own culture and country. They still are. Leave them alone :) Let them. Let me explain by experiece, how to speak and logic with them:

Laleh wow, great logic. Go get them tiger.
Down with Islam,
wow with Cyrus
hip hip Hurray
hip hip Hurray
Iran will never die
wow Iran Zamin, the land of pre Islamic nation.
We were so European and now we are Muslim and so bad. People are so bad looking, they wear no ties anymore. Googoosh hasn't perform in Iran for 30 years. Down with this bad guys. (Tell them Laleh)

We will return
oh yeah
we will
People become Zoroastrian and Aryan again. Pure Aryan

Hip hip Hurray...

***Veleshun kon baba, ba ina keh nemishe logic sobat kard.


Dr. Orientalists and their naivete...

by Anonymousss (not verified) on

With you people claiming leadership and representation of the Iranians who needs enemies.

Although your ideas are geniune and you want the best for Iranians you will be the cause of destruction and disintegrations of Iran and surival of the regimes we hate.

You are too westernized for your own good.


Ms. Gillani

by BK (not verified) on

Thank you for your comprehensive and highly informative article. Your piece does a thorough job of dismantling the joke of a so called democracy under Islamic Republic.

The laughable thing is, the supporters of the Islamic Republic, here and elsewhere, in their desperation to add a veneer of legitimacy to the so called elections in Iran, have the gall to compare the process under the repressive clerical rule in Iran to those in the US and UK.

Undoubtedly no democratic systems is prefect, and sure enough those in the US and the UK (and elsewhere) have flaws of their own. But at last under those systems genuine opposition parties and candidates can actually take part in the elections, giving people a degree of real choice, and there is no such as a bunch of unelected and reactionary clique of clergy who decide, based on their own medieval and puritanical mind-set, who and can’t take part in the elections.

To call the election in Iran “democratic” is an insult to the whole concept of democracy.

Thanks again.


Well said !

by a friend (not verified) on

Laleh khanoom, well said. I have to say that having you around in this site is wonderful. I second what sassan and Mr Kazemzadeh did write.Best to you dear.


Kazemzadeh, I thought you were rational, I was mistaken

by Q on

I see you are too caught up in your own world built by LIES! (LOL)

So it's all lies! The referndum, the constitution, the Islamic republic. Are you one of those who thinks the BBC just made up the entire revolution? If you are, we're done.

If you're not, please explain how you know that the revolution itself, the initial referendum, and the vote that elected the drafters of the constitution were not lies? But the third vote on the constitution itself was a lie? If your whole (sad) case is based on the fact that "they were liars", then you should not believe there was a revolution to begin with.

I can see by the fact that you dismissed nearly all my questions, and insulted me as "joosh avardi" that you really aren't interested in facts or debate. That's good, because I really hate wasting my time.

By "our" I refer to Iranians who want freedom, democracy, and human rights. It is used in contradistinction to "they" the supporters of the ruling fascist regime in Iran.

Please... now you have appionted yourself spokesman of "Iranians who wants freedom" !!! really? With a straight face? I consider myself in that category and I wouldn't be caught dead having you as a spokesman for anything.

The FACT is no one has elected you as spokesman for freedom loving people. Your opinions are just as valid as anyone else's and since you seem to lack any ability to convince based on evidence, they will not be popular either.

Really, are you that egotistical? Where's the proof that any of your ideas is accepted by "all who want freedom?"

On the number

You are funny! First you attack me for saying "90%", and insist I should use "98.2%", then you attack me for using a regime LIE!

In fact, I did not mean 98.2%. I have heard numbers ranging from 92% to 99.6%, so I usually say 90+%. The point is made regardless.

You claim this number is a lie. What's the true number? What is the truth, please enlighten us. I'll use whatever number you can reasonably show is true.

Unless you are claiming it was below 50%, you are just wasting time on this point.

First of all, if we were to call any government reported election results "lies" than all elections in the world are lies, including all European and American ones. That by itself is a laughable non-point.

Where is your proof? You really have nothing.

You have some facts that at best cast doubt on the elections, but not the fact that it passed overwhelmingly.

That's fair enough, but there are tons of other facts you do not mention that equally strengthen this result.

Your first set of facts is that some individuals and some organizations criticized the constitution. That's true some did. Some did initially support it and then changed their minds. Some others pointed to major problems but did not outright call for a boycott. At any rate, all these leftist groups were rather small, drawing their membership (what survived the Shah and the revolution that is) from students and the educated class. What makes you think that they had such high numbers of boycotters?

The only other group possibly capable of getting out serious numbers of people were the MEK, and you said it yourself, they remained silent.

Do you have any statistical analysis or any demographic numbers that someone reputable has looked at and said "Yes, this means it was not a lie."

The Kurish provinces in rebellion did not count in the results. This was known to everyone.

Some clerics were against it, yes. But the popular ones whose words and pictures had been blasted on TV screens for the past 12 months were for it.

The single most important individual was Khomeini. Time and time again, from 1978 to 1980, massive numbers of people did what he said. The demonstration in the streets, the strikes which were non-existent until he put his approval on them, the millions who showed up to greet him when he landed. This was the atmosphere. If you are honest you would acknowledge this.

There is absolutely no possible way that a large majority of Iranians would not have approved the referendum when it was endorsed by Khomeini, after being drafted by elected representatives. So who the hell do you think people were listening to besides Khomeini?

Still, you think people suddenly turned on the most popular Iranian leader of the century on this one vote? Fine, you are welcome to have an opinion but that's all it will remain until you prove it which you have not.

The Bottom line is that you're not thinking logically, but emotionally. What a surprise! If someone has "lied before", (like say Richard Nixon or Reagan, or Clinton or Bushes) that does not mean the entire system is based on lies. This is a weak argument to try to prove that the refrerendum was a "lie." Again, if you have proof to the contrary, present it, othewise, it's just talk.

On the US Constitution

You don't need to lecture me on the electoral college. You need to understand my point before you go patting yourself on the back. First of all this is not true:

In reality the electors have always voted for whom the actual voters had voted.

Second of all, I'm not talking about the electors being dishonest. I'm talking about the electoral college system giving rise to political bossism which was the dominate force behind getting anyone elected until well into the 20th century. It was a system of cronyism and corruption.

Your drivel about the 12th amendment, Washington and Jefferson is completely irrelevant. Why did you even bring this up? Do you like to hear yourself talk? Or do you enjoy making non sequitor strawmen that you can use to insult people's intelligence later?

My point was that US government was undemocratic in many ways that I mentioned for years under the same constitution that it now has. Your point (remember that?) was that Bush V Gore debate was different because the US constitution was democratic. I showed you why it wasn't always (the same constitution) democratic, therefore, the question of what's written down on the constitution is not necessarily a barrier to democracy.

You forget your own original points. Your granstanding and irrelevent responses to sub-points, when the bigger point is undeputable, makes me think you're the kind of person who is affraid of a real debate.

On the British system

Again the point was that the system evolved from something undemocratic. We can say the same about the Iranian system. You try to waste more time by starting with the original Magna Carta. No, don't need to go that far back. The House of Lords (un-elected, undemocratic) still had major powers in the mid 20th century. It could block any commons legislation (in fact, it still has certain powers). The Queen still has her powrs today. The evolution is not even over, but the fact remains that it did happen there.

So why is it unreasonable to say it can happen in Iran? Why is Iran the monkey in your analogy?

On your personal "roadmap" for Iran

Again with the "we must...", "we write...". You have one opinion about the road that Iran should take. Others have different ideas. Funny you mentioned Pinochet. Surely you understand that it does not help your case. Because that was in fact the classic gradual approach (took 25 years), and almost until the very end, he had immunity under Chilean law as a Senator for life.

It's not for me (and definitly not for you) to decide what path Iran should take. I think it's clear after 30 years, that people do not want another revolution. You don't have to take my word for it, the facts are on my side. Iranians have not revolted (and we both know they are capable of it). They have continued to participate in elections dispite all the opposition urging against it.

It's been 30 years of every year one opposition group or another predicting the "end" of the regime and it has not happened. Arguably the Islamic Republic is in the best position, militarily, geopolitically and economically than it has ever been. So obviously there's a disconnect between what you say, and what people are doing. Obviously your "my way or the highway" approach is not working. But hey, if one day the Iranians decide they have had enough, maybe they will actually boycott the elections and fill the streets demanding a new system, then I will support them.

Now, you can of course put both hands over your ears and say lies!, like nobody really votes. Nobody elected Khatami. The reformists are all stooges and the only reason people go to vote is to get food. These are real lies that get repeated over and over again.

Their only function is to give comfort to those whose fantasies dont' match with reality on the ground and they have to find a way to explain it to give their own lives meaning. It's a win/win situation. Whatever is inconvinient is a "lie". Therefore, the world always works according to your plans.


for your sake, I hope not.

Kadivar jan

I rarely read your material, and haven't seen that one. I didn't even click on it now. But if it means a lot to you, you can claim you invented the British analogy.


Khamenie has already

by sickofiri (not verified) on

Khamenie has already declared whom he wants to win. That simple fact alone, makes all these arguments about voting or not voting utterly useless.

It would be utter chaos if Khameni-selected Ahamdinejad does not win the election. If anyone else wins, it would be utter it would reflect the impotency of the "leader". It will indicate that the people are more powerful than the "Leader" and the Leader will never allow such a precedant. It would be suicidal for Khamnie if he allowed the will of the people to override his will, the agent of god on earth.

Laleh jan, You are one bright star among ver few commenters on this site. I admire your analytical mind and your unflappable stance against injustice and inhumanity. Thank you a million times for being you.


Wait another four years and repeat

by Fred on

While the prescribed trend is to write fact damning emotional essays, what is it with you going realistic on everyone? Look, no worries there are plenty of tested and proven holistic remedies for this malady.

Take a strong dose of amnesia-inducing pill, the stronger the better, convince yourself cancer is a good thing and should you employ enough patience you can eventually get delicious Fillet mignon out of cruds.

 Now with chin up walk up to the Islamist ballot box and cast your belief in the system. Any bothersome afterthought can quickly be laid to rest by a smorgasbord of conscience lulling fallacies. Just to name a few,  participating in a hard won right to vote, saying no to war, sticking with incremental “reform” hoping it will eventually materialize and plenty others. Wait another four years and repeat.


Rotted IRI's Apologists

by Armeen (not verified) on

Ms Gillani,

Thanks for your intellectual analysis on the coming (s)election which has little result for people but a propaganda confirmation for the continuity of the regime or "Nezam".

As you mentioned, all true political dissidents, secular intellectuals and those of democracy-loving Iranians were physically purged, imprisoned, or forced to escape the country after the 1979 revolution, what started short after the Islamist clutches spread upon allover the space of our country, the dram accelerated when Mossavi was the last PM, who had full support of khomeini.

Of course, all totalitarian regimes impose a process of repression upon their people, but the IRI has done in a worst dimensionality because it entrails a 14-century-old heritage of "Jihad-Fi-Sabi-Allah". A doctine, which in the name of Allah, allowed islamic invaders to massacre, enslaves, and humiliate our ancestors.

It is clear that during the last 14 centuries of both bullying and brainwashing toward our people, a great number of populace is not equally enlightened in regard to this belief system and its historical destruction. After the destruction of "Persian" civil society, Islamic conquers could sow the seed of their archaic creed among different segments of our once advanced society, what today still serves their descendants, mullahs, to pick, as much and as long as they can, the fruits of this self-alienation before people get enlightened.

Sassan / Masoud / Parham,

Thanks for your support for democracy and secularism in Iran.

As Masoud described, by referring to some statistics, the regime is hugely unpopular. Only thanks to its repressive organs and propaganda machinery, including its apologists on this popular site, it can prolong its parasitic life. No need to affirm, every day of its survival will cost more human, economic and cultural damage to our people.

As Masoud said, a number of IRI supporters, who easily further mushroom on this site, are under different names, even fitted Persian and female names, serving the regime.

Thuggish Islamists, chameleon-opportunists aside, the full-job-pro IRI, like Q, Jalleho, Ommani do on this site a professional job for their regime. Nevertheless, they are full of false learning, and make a vain parade of words, slogans, false definition and terminology which can never justify the legitimacy and consequently the continuity of this regime. They, also, resemble too many to those who, now thanks to billions of ,hidden, petro-dollars, serve the IRI while having themselves a luxury life in the West.

Even though, some rotted IRI's apologists may express themselves in terms which appear to be different, but, at bottom, mean the same thing, especially in regard to IRI's survival--or Nezam, as expressed by Masoud.


A few notes

by Parham on


Thank you for this piece. As I mentioned before, I may not agree with everything you say (although in this article I do), but I'm certainly glad there are people like you around. You stand against despotism and that, in my book, is one of the highest values in a thinking human, and one so many Iranians seem to have forgotten. So kudos to you.

Just a note: The fact that this is turning into two main groups of voters (mostly for Mousavi) and non-voters instead of proponents of the four candidates is not specific to It's also the same on Facebook (with the largest amount of opinions, actually with people participating from within Iran), where there are those who have turned their pictures green (in support of Mousavi) and those who have turned their pictures blue (in favor of a boycott), and also on BBC Persian (both the web site and the TV), where they've received so many complaints from their audience that starting today, they'll also be covering the elections on a boycott vs. voter type of theme.


Referring to your first post: It's actually 4 years of Ahmadinejad, not 8. We still haven't been blessed as much!

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Just a side-note: I hadn't followed one of your online debates since the Jebhe Melli b.b. days, but I can tell there's been a (very welcomed) touch of humor added to your debating style in the meantime:

- "These liars make choopan doroogh-go look like the most honest raast-go person on the planet."

- "Any scientist would tell you the fact that primates evolved into human beings does not mean that this particular monkey will evolve into other human beings or that like that particular human being."

- "In conclusion, you do not know what you are talking about. And you do not even know that you don't know what you are talking about."

Hehe... :)


reasons for voting for somebody else..

by Anonymoussss (not verified) on


The fact is, majority outside and some inside Iran have absolutely no knowledge of what is happening in Iran beyond what they hear from their khalejoons, on TV, or a dodgy media with an agenda. clueless as they are, on how vastly different governments operate under the same banner of velayate faghih.

Some of our poor gullible people inside Iran are like our the blue collar workers in the US being told by the rich ass millionaire republicans talking heads (Iranian expats) that this economic policy is good for them... point being that poor people being ****ed without knowing it by others with self-serving agendas seems to be the norm everywhere.

Darius Kadivar

MON Q Suddenly discovers the virtues of the Monarchy ? ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Oh So suddenly You discovered the Virtues of a Constitutional Monarchy in order to maintain your Turbaned Dynasty ? ...



Good Try But You see Copy Right Infringments are Illegal ...

People usually prefer the Original


You will ALways Amaze me my dear Fellow. If you didn't exist someone should still try and invent you for the Gallery ...;0))

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Q ziyad joosh nazan

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Q jaan,

ziad joosh nazan, aziz.

By "our" I refer to Iranians who want freedom, democracy, and human rights. It is used in contradistinction to "they" the supporters of the ruling fascist regime in Iran.

You wrote: "90% of the people approved this same ‘fascist’ constitution." What you write is a LIE. No serious scholar accepts this fundamentalist LIE. To begin with the fascist regime states that it was approved 98.2%. Here is the fascist constitution where it says that 98.2% of the eligible voters.


The FACT of the matter is that the fascist constitution was condemned by the highest ranked Shia cleric in Iran at that time Ayatollah Uzma Kazem Shariatmadari as well as the 2nd highest ranked cleric, Ayatollah Uzma Hasan Qomi and other top 5 or 6 grand ayatollahs. The fascist constitution was also condemned by the main democratic organization, the Jebhe Melli Iran. It was also condemned by all other leftists with the exception of Tudeh and Aksariyat. In other words, Aghaliyat, Peykar, etc condemned it. The PMOI remained silent. The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan condemned it. In his memoir Bani Sadr writes that Khomeini told him that he wants to keep the American hostages until he can "pass" his vf constitution and holding the hostages would allow him to accuse anyone who opposed him and his fascist constitution as being pro-imperialist.

Simply looking at the reality of who opposed the constitution and the number of people each could bring to streets it is crustal clear that the fascist regime’s figure of 98.2% is a LIE. You simply repeat the fascist regime’s LIE with a few percentage lower.

Therefore, no sane and honest person would fall for the fascist regime’s LIE. ALL dictatorial regime LIE about their support. Saddam said that he got 99% of the vote. If Saddam is telling the truth, so is Khomeini and his fascist henchmen and in that weird world 98.2 % of eligible voters voted for the vf constitution.

The fascist regime is based on LIES. Khomeini LIED and LIED in Paris saying that he would not want to have any power himself and that there will be freedom in Iran. Khomeini LIED.

The fascist regime has assassinated Dr. Bakhtiar, Dr. Qassemlou, Dr. Sharafkandi and so many other Iranians abroad. The regime’s assassins have been arrested, convicted and imprisoned. The fascist regime LIES and denies that FACT that its agents have committed these assassinations.

In sum, the fascist regime has a LONG proven history of LIES. Khomeini, Khamenei, Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad, Moussav are a bunch of LIARS and charlatans and mass murderers. These liars make choopan doroogh-go look like the most honest raast-go person on the planet.

A person has to be a moron to believe a gang of proven charlatans. They are PROVEN LIARS.


You lack basic logic and instead of making logical arguments, you use false analogies. I already showed you that your analogy with the 2000 US elections is flawed.

You do not even understand the basic facts of the U.S. Constitution. For example, you write: "

"In fact due to the electoral college system, there wasn't much of a "real" election anywhere until the 20th century."


1. We still have the electoral college in the U.S. today. The basics have remained the same. The people do NOT vote directly for the President. Instead they vote for electors (real human beings). Later on, these electors (real human beings) get together and vote for the President. In reality the electors have always voted for whom the actual voters had voted. They don’t have to. The so-called concept of "faithless elector" allows for the electors to vote for whomever they want (and a handful sometimes do and the Supreme Court on several occasions has said it is constitutional).

2. The modifications have been instead of the number two vote getter becoming the vice president, there is now two different lists containing President and VP on different tickets. The correction was done via the 12th Amendment in 1804.

So, you are wrong. The electoral college truly did what the voters wanted in electing George Washington (twice in 1788, 1792), then John Adams (1796). In the election of 1800, none of the candidates got the majority of the electoral college votes.

The problem with you is that you lack the most basic knowledge of American politics, and the basic info on Iranian politics. Even worse, instead you write a bunch of nonsense.

You compare what is going on in Iran today with the un-written British monarchy which has evolved since Magna Carta in 1215 AD which in fact went through many bloody revolutions including within one century alone (the 17th century) two civil wars, brief military dictatorship, beheading of King Charles (yes all that in one century). The comparison is ridiculous to the nth degree. It is like we have a human being (let call him Eienstein) who is sitting next to a monkey. You are saying this monkey given time will evolve to become like this human being and will be Eienstein. You can take Nazi Germany or Afghanistan under Taliban and say the same non-sense. Any scientist would tell you the fact that primates evolved into human beings does not mean that this particular monkey will evolve into other human beings or that like that particular human being.


If Iran is going to have freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law democratically promulgated then the first step is to sent the fascist fundamentalist terrorist regime to the garbage can of history. Then, we could write a democratic constitution for a democratic secular republic. We have seen numerous transitions to democracy from Chile to South Africa to Eastern Europe, to Soviet Union, to the Philippines. There is no reason that we could not observe the same fate for the ruling fascist fundamentalist regime that is brutalizing our people. To say to those who struggled against Pinochet or the apartheid regime, do not struggle the incumbent dictatorship and instead support Gen. Pinochet or the racist regime. See Britain has a Queen who does not govern, in due time there will be a general or an improved version of apartheid that will be just like the British Queen.

In conclusion, you do not know what you are talking about. And you do not even know that you don’t know what you are talking about.






P.S. Americans have a saying, "you can take a horse to water, but you cannot make the horse drink the water." I can bring fact after fact for you. But it is impossible to make you accept these basic widely held concepts. That is why it is useless to engage in any discussion with you.




Q's polished propaganda

by Sassan (not verified) on

There is so much misinformation and outright lies in Q's last comment -- the biggest lie = that 65% of the Iranian people voted in the last election! No one believes these numbers that come out of the IRI, just as no one EVER believed the numbers that came out of Saddam's "election," which was always 99.9% in his favor.

Secondly, the people voted for mullah Khatami in 1997 because they sadly thought that he had the balls to dissolve the theocracy -- the people were suckered into thinking Khatami was the Iranian Gorbachev! In the end, the masses felt massively betrayed, which is why Khatami is the biggest traitor in the long history of Iran.

And then, this famous IRI supporter, Q, writes: "Furthermore you seem to have some "elme-gheib" as to what is in the head of the candidates." That's the whole point, man, it DOES NOT MATTER what is in the head of the so-called "candidates" in Iran, as they all will do whatever it takes to promote and support the corrupt mullacracy!

We don't need to know what's in the head of candidate A or candidate B in this rigged IRI "election" because at the end of the day, a bunch of corrupt UNELECTED ayatollahs will make all the decisions that matter.

The merchant of misinformation continues: "The role of the "Supreme leader" for example, can very easily be interpreted as a symbolic or ceremonial role, given the right electorate inside Iran."

This one requires no comment whatsoever as it is patently laughable on its face!

The house hezbollahi continues: "Please tell us, are you seriously saying there's no difference between IRI and Taliban or Nazis?"

That's exactly what we're saying!!!! There is no difference between the Nazis and the IRI -- both are/were fascist dictatorship that silence(d) dissent at the point of the knife and both pursue(d) weapons of mass destruction and both brutalize(d) ethnic and religious minorities and both practice(d) deceptive propaganda and both repress(ed) free speech and free expression, etc. etc. There is no difference between Hitler and Ahmadinejad, who would (if he could) wipe out all of the Jews just like Hitler tried to do, except that A-jad does not have the kind of military and economic power Hitler had!

And as far as there being "tangible" differences between Khatami and Ahmadinejad -- please tell us what those "tangible" differences are? As I stated before, the only difference between A-jad and Khatami was a few more inches of women's hair showing under Khatami, who allowed students to be pulverized in 1999, who allowed intellectuals and journalists (Zahra Kazami) to be butchered and murdered, who accelerated the nuclear weaponry program, who called for the slaughter of all non-believers at his hezbollah rallies, etc. etc.

Indeed, there are no "tangible" differences between the "hardliners" and the "reformers." There are only "cosmetic" differences. It's like good cop, bad cop -- there is only one actor, two deceptive faces!


Why is everyone all of a sudden critical of voting?

by Anonymous999 (not verified) on

Where were you all during the last 4 years of Ahmadinejad's reign? Everyone all of a sudden becomes an Iranian hero trying to make themselves feel better by sticking to their principles and encouraging people not to vote... little do they know how lonely and foolish they are.

Get a grip, at least 20 million in Iran will vote in this years elections whether you like it or not. The less people vote more chance for the ahmadinejads to grab on to power and mess things up even further.

Clearly you have zero knowledge of the stress and hardship his presidency has brought Iranians and non iranians alike.

Save your persuasions and campaign for no-voting for when there is NO elections. Like 4 years before they actually happen so you can mobalise enough people for it to be effective.


Farah Rusta

by Ali1234 (not verified) on

"The US constitution gained its legitimacy from the US people. Not from a non-elected body of clergy"

It seems like you don't know neither the Iranian nor the U.S history.

The Iranian constitution was adopted through referendum by the Iranian people while the U.S constitution was ratified by the Congress of the Confederation which had only 13 States at that time.

Please educate yourself or at least do a google search before posting comments.


A proposition to the opposition abroad

by Ali1234 (not verified) on

The oppositions abroad is SO out of touch with reality that it is not even worth arguing with them. It is like banging your head against a concrete wall.

I seriously advise them to buy a piece of land somewhere near LA and create their own fantasy land of "Persia", they can elect their own President (Hakha?), rant all day long about everything that is wrong and dark with Iran and they can even declare war on Arabs and Muslims and the I.R with their toy guns and plastic swords. The MKO has done that in Camp Ashraf and it seems to be working for them, expect that they take themselves too seriously and ruin the fun. You guys can make it more fun.

This way, you get what you want and people take their important decisions in peace, without constantly have you on their backs.


Actually Parviz jan,

by Q on

US declaration of independence refers to God as the source of all rights for people.

Secondly there was a direct popular referendum in Iran to ratify this constitution and it passed overwhelmingly. There was no such referendum for the US constitution.

Parkhash, you can stop pretending now, everyone who can google, knows it's you

Farah Rusta

The US constitution gained its legitimacy from the US people

by Farah Rusta on

Not from a non-elected body of clergy. 


Thanks Ms Gillani for a valid argument, sadly wasted on delusional regime sympathizers. 




I seriously disagree Mr. Kazemzadeh,

by Q on

first of all, I read a lot of "Our task is...", "Our concern is...", "Our priority is..."

Who are you talking about? Are you an elected official of some kind? Just for clarity, I would like to know on how many people's behalf are you speaking.

Furthermore you seem to have some "elme-gheib" as to what is in the head of the candidates. I will leave this alone as it seems rediculous to even discuss.

The fact that 65% of the people went to the polls 4 years ago, (and that was one of the lowest so far), and 90% of the people approved this same "fascist" constitution that you speak of, seriously undermines any point you can make based on your own authority. So let's stick to facts and figures.

I'm interested in knowing how you explain the landslide election of Mohammad Khatami for 2 terms? How did he get so many millions of people to vote for him?

I think the 2000 analogy is very apt, and I stated in what way. There was a false claim that there was no difference between Bush and Gore. In fact Ralph Nader made the same argument you did. He said the system is broken and "send it a message" by either not voting or voting for 3rd party (which in this "democracy" means throwing your vote away). In other words, the argument was regardless of who gets elected, they will act the same. What we found out subsequently was this was not true. Bush and Gore would have radically different reactions to world events.

Two conclusions can be made from this experience:

1. The system really wasn't rigged, like Ralph said, and it did offer a real choice.

2. The system was rigged, but there was still tremendous space for change inside this rigged system.

Now, you can believe either 1 or 2, either way, it means you should not have thrown your vote away in 2000. The analogy I made was about the false claims of congruency, not about the constitution. But I'm glad you mentioned the latter.

You say Constitution of the US is widely believed as legitimate. Yet you forget that the same constitution allowed for Slavery, racism and discrimination against women, religious bigotry and many other injustices. When the constitution came into existence, Senators were not even elected. In fact due to the electoral college system, there wasn't much of a "real" election anywhere until the 20th century. Corruption and voter fraud was (and actually still is) common in the United States. For about 150 years, the same constitution allowed for operation of a government that no one would today consider democratic.

What this shows, is that the issue is actually not the constitution, which is after all a piece of paper that can be changed (and has been changed) in Iran. It is what is done in the name of the constitution.

The role of the "Supreme leader" for example, can very easily be interpreted as a symbolic or ceremonial role, given the right electorate inside Iran. Technically, the Queen of England has the same powers as the Iranian Supreme leader. By law she can overrule any bill and dissolve the parliament. This does not happen any more only by convention, not because of any constitution. It didn't happen this way by design, it evolved to this point. That's just one example, the Swiss system is another. There are many more.

So, your assertion that nothing short of a revolution (let's face it that is what you are saying) can bring change is demonstrably false.

Also, from your descriptions of "fundamentalist fascist dictatorship" etc., it's hard to know what country you are describing. It sounds like you are describing Nazi Germany, or the Taliban. Please tell us, are you seriously saying there's no difference between IRI and Taliban or Nazis? What about China? The entire Arab world, most of Africa, and much of Asia?

Lastly, where is the alternative?. If you don't like or believe in gradual peaceful change, what are you offering?

If you don't consider the differences between reformists and hardliners as worthy of pursuit, tell us, what is the incentive for the poor "bandeh khoda" who lives in Iran, and can very much appreciate the tangable differences? Why should that person give up any amount of control in his own future?

You say this difference is clearly not significant for you, but how can you be sure it's not significant to 70 Million Iranians?

Darius Kadivar

Excellent Analysis

by Darius Kadivar on

Very clear and insightful article on the situation today. And It joins what I believe is on most people's mind today that the situation is ripe for an IRANIAN SOLIDARNOSC, like what was shaped in Poland to bring down the communist dictatorship.

One of the advantages of Solidarnosc was that it was not a party (initially) but a syndicate that gradually was enriched into an intellectual and social movement that demande concrete change but was pragmatic enough to do this by putting the political system (sustained by an ideology communism) in contradiction with itself since it were the workers who were calling for equal rights to a government and political establishment that had become corrupt and no more in touch with its own people and even ideals it was supposed to live up too and that is a just and truly egalitarian system. The Aparatchiks of nearly all Eastern European communist regimes had been overfed and over corrupted with their own priviledges and private Datchas that they had in turn created what they were initially supposed to have ousted from power and that is an aristocracy of their own.

In Iran Rafsanjani and his family own half of the country's economy in their hands. These overfed mullahs have become the Taghoutis they were denouncing back in 1979 which would even make Khomeiny turn in his tomb.

The atmosphere of debate and internal demand for genuine change can only thrive if we work towards uniting all democrats regardless of their past or political affiliations into working and dialoging with eachother into developing a movement outside the current political arena and establishment in order to show that parallel to the official stance a genuine public opinion exists in Iran that want real change and not just slogans.

It is only by reaching a common ground on the ultimate goal that is Regime Change that we can then develope on a more or less short term a political agenda in order to achieve this outcome with the less damage and human casualties as possible. Solidarnosc set the example to all other VELVET REVOLUTIONS in Eastern Europe.

This is why  I believe that this should also serve as an example to us in trying to achieve unity on a set of common values and aspirations mainly those in relation to Democracy and Human Rights.

This way we can create an "Intelligent Opposition" that will see the emergance of leaders within its own ranks rather than the current establishment or packaged reformists who to date have at best made only promises but never delivered.

Lets hope that all  true democrats can work towards creating such an eventuality which seems ripe today and that is to create an Iranian Solidarnosc movement that is the only motor to formulating and demanding real change after 30 years of suppression and lies that have made this regime prolong its survival at the expense of our people's freedom and our nation's future.

Thank you again for your excellent article and analysis of the dillemas we are facing as a nation.


My Opinion too,