Dog and Pony Show

Mousavi and Karroubi’s attempts at navigating the ship of reforms is arriving at a pivotal juncture


Dog and Pony Show
by Siamack Baniameri

With relentless pressure from the right and deterioration of once powerful green movement, Mousavi and Karroubi have been forced to outline their strategy. Finding themselves in a tough position, both men have made it clear that reform is the path they endorse and regime change is not on the agenda of the green movement. This is a tricky balancing act as it forces the duo to reaffirm their alliance to Islamic revolution while trying to keep the coalition of green movement motivated and together.

Keeping the green movement in sync with reformist agenda (gradual establishment of an Islamic Republic Light) has been a challenge for both men. In attempts to appeal to both sides of the conflict, they have been forced to make statements that are contradictory in nature. By framing their movement around IRI’s constitution and the “rule of law,” both men are appealing to moderate elements of the regime. At the same time to satisfy the hunger of younger generation for fundamental changes, the duo often speak of demands that cannot be achieved as long as IRI’s constitution and laws are in effect.

However, Mousavi and Karroubi’s attempts at navigating the ship of reforms is arriving at a pivotal juncture. Green movement’s poor showing on February 11th, which was supposed to display the ultimate power of Mousavi and Karroubi’s reformist agenda, exposed serious problems with both men’s leadership style and popularity. The February 11th outcome was in direct contrast to the events of Ashura which was not sanctioned by either man. The Ashura events carried a great deal of passion, participation, organization and acts of self-defense that was in direct conflict with reform movement’s “non-violent” creed. It questioned the very legitimacy of the supreme leader—a subject that reformists are hesitant to tackle.

The events of Charshanbeh-Soori might seal the faith of Mousavi-Karroubi’s leadership in the green movement. Both men have asked their followers to refrain from anti government demonstrations during the celebration of last Wednesday of the year. If Charshanbeh-Soori turns out to be a repeat of Ashura, then both men’s legitimacy as leaders of green movement will be seriously questioned. IF the younger generation displays defiant and radical resistance on Charshanbeh-Soori, then the green movement will become more fragmented and reformist agenda more isolated. A large-scale participation in Charshanbeh-Soori anti government events will tip the balance in favor of secular forces of the green movement who demand nothing short of regime change. The events of Charshanbeh-Soori, assuming that there will be one, will have more direct implications for Mousavi-Karroubi tag team than the regime itself.


Recently by Siamack BaniameriCommentsDate
Girl Power!
Sep 21, 2012
Thank you, Apple
Jun 27, 2012
We are Persians… Hello!
Mar 22, 2012
more from Siamack Baniameri
I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I still can't believe it

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

You are commenting on an empty article by someone who usually writes about the smell of women's private parts. These are crazy times.


The future is bright

by Rastgoo on

Have no fear as the future of Iran is very bright.  The progressive changes will occur as nature requires them for the survival of the Iranian nation.  The Iranian Constitutional revolution was largely aided by the new telegraph system in Iran and in direct analogy to that we have the internet today and satellite communications.  Change for the better is inevitable. The reform from within will definitely amplify to full Democracy in no time.  The change is definite but the period to that change is the uncertainty.  Would it be in a year of 10 years is the unknown.  Let's just hope that the regime does less damage than it already has already done in these 30 years before it is reformed.  


Thank you for further

by bachenavvab on

Thank you for further elaborating your position.  If the eventuality you mentioned becomes reality, what profound changes in terms of democracy, economy, education, etc.  are we going to get from the reformist elements of the Guard (or any reformist for that matter)?  Wouldn't that be another dimension of this in-fighting that is going on right now?  It seems to me peoples' expectations for change are much higher and won't be a party to that conflict.  But, it is what it is and there are no guarantees in life; one thing we agree on though and that is the fact that passive resistance has proven fruitless and is behind them.  What remains to be seen is the "if, when, how and how long" of the armed struggle, and yes, with no guarantees.       



I fear that violence is

by Rastgoo on

inevitable.  As much as we in the west want a peaceful transformation it will probably not be.  The reason is simple: peaceful resistance is not in our political culture.  If we could do as India did under Ghandi or the African Americans under MLK then that would be ideal.  But let's not kid ourselves we are the epitome of the martyrdom culture.  All moslems are and to a larger extent Shias.  We are the land where the good vs. evil originated from, metastasized to Imam Husain and continued all the way through Mossadegh to Shariati and beyond.  We honor martyrs and from that standpoint martyrdom is viewed as the highest act of bravery.  Not civil disobedience.  I was in Iran a few years ago on Chahar Shanbeh Soori and I was stupid enough to be walking in Maydan Tajrish when it was near sunset.  It was rowdy, loud and everything that could blow up was getting blown up, Dad's BBQ mini-gas canister was no exception!  Unfortunately it is hard not to envision violence erupting during this year's ceremonies as it is the norm anyways!  As far as if we could possibly win using violence we should look at the histories of Fadaiyan, Mujahedin, the Kurds and Jundallah and ask ourselves if they have been successful?  The days when small armies led by such men as Sattar Khan, Yeprim Khan, Mirza Kuchak Khan and the Bakhtiari tribe chiftain Sardar Asad are gone.  Iran is a modern country with a centralized military force.  I personally think that the quickest way (and a probable course) to succeed is for a military coup by reformist elements within the Revolutionary Guards and/or the Army.  Keep in mind that 75% of the guards voted for khatami in 1997.  If that happens brace yourselves for a short civil war.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Siamack: stick to your whore stories

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Jesus is everyone an expert on Mousavi and the election and green movement? I'm so sick of reading analysis on this subject from people outside of Iran. 

Siamack, please stick to writing about Las Vegas innocent prostitutes and your childhood memories. Those are fun. This was bad. Why are you even venturing into these waters? Please please please stick to your usual topics. 


evolution? hmmm!!

by bachenavvab on

To me the theory of evolution as proposed by RASTGOO makes sense.  If the time is right, despite possible set backs and deviations; the movement will ultimately correct its course.  It all began with people trying to bring about profound changes by working within the system and by voting.  That couldn’t and naturally didn’t work.  Then passive demonstrations were adopted by the nonconformists.  As evident now, that couldn’t and didn’t work either.  Then violence broke out and that is where we are now.  4Shanbe Souri is an active and powerful holiday that may be the catalyst for random acts of violence by some people and it may involve some sort of a weapon.  Armed struggle has been the next stage for successful movements by the masses.  Is that where we are going?  Are the conditions present for that stage?  After Khomeini’s mass executions of the 50’s and 60’s, who is left to arm and to lead them?  Is that what this “reformism through passivism” all about; to screen and remove the elements of the population that may be the future leaders of the armed struggle and perhaps to differ liberation for one more generation and continue to rape our natural resources?  I wonder!


amgw4, biggest failure of all is IRI

by AMIR1973 on

A murdering regime, that after 31 years of oil and natural gas revenues, still has a miserable 3rd World standard of living for the average Iranian and whose economic performance is deep down in the dumps. A regime that has killed an exponentially greater number of Iranians than any other in Iran's recent history, as well as raping, stoning, and flogging them in its medieval punishments. But, of course, no one knows the ugly reality that is the garbage IRI better than IRI's cyber groupies, who no matter what, still choose to live in the decadent West. O IRI cyber groupie, why are you living here rather than in the Islamist paradise that you are constantly shilling for?


I thought the pivotal juncture was:

by amgw4 on

1. Protests after Khamenei's speech in the summer - fail.

2. General strikes - fail.

3. Protests at ashura - fail.

4. Protests at 22 bahman - fail.

And I'm missing a bunch of lesser efforts in between. How many "pivotal junctures" can you have before it becomes maskhareh?


Who leads in a Democracy

by AgaPablo on

Very sadly, your post fails to grasp the very essence of democracy.

In a dictatorship a leader "guides" its country, whether people likes it or not.

In a democracy people lead, and "leaders" help the people achieve their goals.

Your post puts very clearly why Mousavi and Karroubi failed, and why the green movement should pursue its own agenda.

David ET


by David ET on

The demand of Iranian people has always been about "democracy" even in 1979 but democracy is a goal , the process is what makes the difference.

The experience of past 31 years is a proof that by mixing the religion and state, democracy not can be achieved.

People always have wanted democracy, but now they also know what they don't want and that is their religion mixed with government.



David ET

well ....

by David ET on

Any reliance of present and future of the movement on specific dates (such as 22 Bahman) or in this case Charshabe soori is unrealistic and as others mentioned simplistic.

22 bahman was not a failure of the movement or even Mousavi/Karoubi but failure of the simplistic view of sudden turn of events as some had wishfully hoped.

Planning, unity, organization and realism is what works and not football fan mentality.


Out of touch

by Rastgoo on

With all due respect, this article is out of touch with the reality on the ground in Iran. The green movement did not start with Moussavi and will not end with Moussavi or Karroubi.  The green movement is the manifestation of the Democratic social grass roots evolution of the Iranian society at large.  The sentiments of Democracy are now engrained in our society no matter how hard the regime tries to subdue them.  The movement is about Democracy and not Islamic vs. Secular.  If the movement were to go completely secular you will have the revolutionary guards completely and explicitly taking over the government. Everybody knows that the Islamic government model has failed.  But there is no point in admitting to it so long as the IRG holds the fire power.  The revolution is unfurling and there is no question that the regime will reform.  The reform could be enough of a tilt so that we get a snow ball effect after that a la the Soviet Union.  Don't lose your hopes and please don't judge the events in Iran using the outdated anachronistic metrics that have been incorrectly used by all the opposition for the past 30 years (MKO to Monarchist).  Let the course of events play out its course.  It is evolution and although one cannot stop it but one can disrupt its rate of progress by promoting pessimism. 


Mr. Hamsadeh

by capt_ayhab on

I agree with your assessment of calling the analysis by gentleman of the author too simplistic. 

The election was the [charge] that set off the bomb of anger and movement in huge numbers. To think that lack of turnout in 22 Bahman, which was result of months of harsh and brutal crack down on the movement, imprisonment, torture  and executions of who ever was perceived as the leader, is the sign of movements demise would be a simplification of movement and Iranians as a whole.

Movement may have gone dormant to gain more strength, but it has not died, not even by a long shot.




taking bets now: who will die first-Khamenie or Hosni Mubarak

by yahoo_yabo on

both of them

keep beating people and then institute Emergency Rule to rule forever\

at least King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia even though a dictator is loved by majority of saudis.  i have yet to hear one saudi say a bad thing about that Fat F-ck

hamsade ghadimi

simplistic to hang your hopes on artificial dates

by hamsade ghadimi on

there was resistance from the inception of apartheid in south africa from 1948 until its demise in 1994.  no one knew exactly when the racist regime of south africa would be toppled, but it did not deter those who resisted it.  setting artificial dates for confirmation of the demise of anti-iri or reforming-iri movement seems ludricous to me.  am i right mr. bainameri, that in 16 days if the masses come out in numbers, the reform movement is doomed?  and if they don't come out in numbers, it signals that reform movement is succeeding?  i just hope you're not working in the stock market. 



by saadat bahar on

I am afraid you assessment is fundamentally wrong.

The pro-reform leaders of the Green Movement are the only realistic option for the opposition. Since the elections, they have consolidated themselves and will continue to do so. Let us not forget that it was Mr Musavi who millions of people voted for. The Green Movement has two elements: The pro-reform faction inside country and a middle class urban activist base. Both are the outcome of many years of social and political development and they are not going anywhere. To think that a Red Wednesday will “seal the faith” of their leadership reflects a failure to understand the real dynamics of the current situation. I would give you 5 out of 20.


Realistic approach!

by Raoul1955 on

Realistically speaking most Iranians are happy with the Islamic regime, however, those few who are Westernized and desire a Western style secular regime should base their hopes on our CIA to plan for and subsequently institute a regime change in favor of a pro-American secular regime as was done in the early fifties.

However, a MORE realistic approach to the Iranian problem would be a clear cut division of the said territory by Russia, China and the US, with each receiving their share of natural resources in that land and each participating in creating a secular regime under the ‘management’ of a multinational military juntas.

Maryam Hojjat

I agree Mr. Baniameri

by Maryam Hojjat on

You absolutely right in your blog.

Payandeh IRAN & True IRANIANS

Darius Kadivar

Absolutely Siamak Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

Very True.

Although I am quite pessimistic about the Turn Out. And am afraid our local Sargord may be satisfied by the outcome and non event to come.

Let's hope the People will surprise us all for the better. It is an absolute necessity be it on the short term at least.



Sargord Pirouz

The pivotal point was 22

by Sargord Pirouz on

The pivotal point was 22 Bahman, which turned out to be a non-event for the Green movement.

Any expectations for Charshanbeh-Soori are fantastic if not outright desperate.