Bumpy Road to Freedom

It won't be an easy ride

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Bumpy Road to Freedom
by Fariba Amini
28-Feb-2011
 

In the summer of 2005, shortly after Ahmadinejad had first been elected President, I visited Iran. I saw with my own eyes the many changes that had taken place. I remember trying to enter Tehran University. A few bassijis (herasat ) were at the gate and would not let me in. I entered from another gate where the guy who was a bit nicer allowed me in on the condition that I would not go into classrooms. I kept to my promise but managed to interview a few students. They had voted for Ahmadinejad.

Upon my return, I told friends and colleagues “these people are not going anywhere.” By “these people,” I meant the new rulers of Iran and their supporting base, the Bassij and the Revolutionary Guards, both paramilitary forces with vested interests in the country’s economy and social structure. What I witnessed was a far cry from the conditions 32 years ago, when a dictatorial ruler, chose to step down instead of spilling blood. The Shah, like Mubarak, relinquished power relatively quickly. People were killed but to be sure in the end, the Iranian military like their Egyptian counterpart, stepped back and refrained from creating a blood bath. As the revolutions go, The Iranian one was relatively bloodless.

Now, three decades later, the idea of a velvet revolution or a non-violent movement maybe attractive in theory but it does not always work in all places. The model worked in Poland or Serbia but in Iran it has thus far failed. Iranians may use non-violent tactics but the regime reacts with more brutality. How far will each side go? Only time will tell.

What the Islamic Republic has done differently and cleverly is to empower a segment of the population, those who used to be the underdogs and who now have everything to lose if and when this regime falls. Whereas half of the population is underemployed, the base of the regime enjoys financial benefits and has investments throughout the industrial sector.

In a move clearly designed to bolster the role of the Revolutionary Guards, Ahmadinejad appointed the head of the Guards as the new chief for Iran’s nuclear program. There are many Sardars (commanders) who once served in the Iran-Iraq war. They have enormous power and clout. A former bassiji told me, “where were you when my brothers died in front of my eyes, we were the ones who defended Iran, not you the intellectuals.”

The new class now has their hands in every pot and in every pie. Why give it up that easily?

I remember once entering a chic office in northern Tehran with one of my relatives who had some business there. The company owner was a former Iran-Iraq war veteran, now running the largest glass manufacturing company in Iran. They were sending truckloads to Iraq. I began to talk to his son who spoke perfect English and had just come back from Canada where the new Iranian elite have vast investments.

Those in power will resort to more violence if necessary and will stoop to anything. The regime has arrested civil society activists and members of the opposition, including Mousavi and Karroubi, who were under house arrest and have now been taken to undisclosed locations. Stealing the identity of a student who was recently killed, the IRI has claimed that he was in fact a government informant. “He was our martyr not the opposition’s,” they bragged. In addition, it has been reported that “fear gas” containing yellow rain, has been used against the demonstrators.

For the time being, even under international sanctions, the IRI can sustain itself via Iran’s main resource, oil. The West and the United States have failed to reach a resolution on the nuclear issue with the Iranian regime. President Obama, now called the “black guy” in some Iranian newspapers, has offered the olive branch on more than one occasion. But in the end the Iranian people’s cry for freedom will shake up a semi-military, semi-theocratic regime.

In the spring of 1979, Iranians hoped that the end of a dictatorship would bring about democracy. It did not. At times, I am afraid this regime will take Iran into the abyss in order to save itself. A spring cleaning is much needed in the upcoming Persian New Year.

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Kaveh V

The "Green" Trojan horse

by Kaveh V on

 The deceptive, Islamist criminal system is a sinking ship. To salvage whatever they can, they have launched the "Green movement" (another Islam tainted demagoguery), as their lifeboat. They hope that most, or some, can jump on board the "Green" lifeboat at the right time and let Seid-Ali and his cronies sink. While blaming Seid-Ali as he meets his demise, they can salvage whatever left of their Islam on board the "Green" lifeboat. Well, there is only one problem; too many anti-IRI/anti-Islamist and Islam ravaged Iranians are already on board the "Green" lifeboat. There may not be any room left for the "IRI reformers" on board anymore and this may not be a "Green" lifeboat for them after all!


Kaveh V

"Bumpy" road with great deceptions

by Kaveh V on

 

Mullahs are the masters of deception and modern Persian anecdotes are the best in revealing Mullah/Shii-eh/Islam characters when they are cornered. As the opposition gathers momentum, they will jump on board, one-by-one. They are just looking for the right opportunity to change sides. Watch out!

Best to discard Mullah/Shii-eh/Islam forever.


Siavash300

Iran is going through the darkest time in it's history

by Siavash300 on

Recently, CNN released the names of these criminal gang who robbed our country. Here is the link:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-421699

Now, a trip to cemetary of Behesht-e-Zahra reveals the massacre of our brothers and sisters who were buried in night time in small pieces of land. Mass graves. Islamic monsters didn't even allow to have tombstones on these graves. The major massacre happened during summer of 1988 according to law of lizard eater arab call "Fatwa". The law of fatwa belonged to nomadic tribe of Arab in 1400 years ago. Needless to say our virgin sisters were being raped the night before their execution according to the similar law. 

On the other hand, white collar criminals who come on this site, getting paid by stinky mullahs write comments in their favor. They address the oppositions zionist, imperlialist. They continue their parasit life style by the money on which they or they families receive from these monsters who destroyed our country for last 32 years. 

Mullahs contibution to Iran's history is his sperms. They are promoting "prostitution" by making segheh or temp. marriage. Recently, one of them has 16 segheh. From 17 Iranians 1 is drug addict according to Washington post newspaper. 

Now, how can we deal with these monsters? playing card of reformist or none-violent demonstration is getting old. It doesn't work. These bastards will kill anyone and any voice for any price, just to stay on power. U.S military intervention or providing guns and weapons to oppositions is the only solution to get rid of these dirt bags. Remaining issue could be addressed once we overthrow these criminals.  


azaadikhah

I was there and many other

by azaadikhah on

I was in the War against Iraq and many others of them, living out of Iran. The Sepah and Basiji is fully rebuilded and not the same as 20 years ago in War. 

the War was absolutely wasted  after Abadan was taken back and we reached the Border of iraq. Khomeini's Goal was Karbela and saddam away from Iraq as Iran's Shah and building united Islamic world to over come zionist.

They do not care about Iran anymore and there is nothing has changed positive in iran. Building some Hospitals after 32 Years is not a magic. But driving Country in a  desiccated Field is a wonder- Orumieh was the 2 biggest salt see and many other crimes you will find in any geo report.

Mousavi and Karroubi know much about those killed Young Iranian and i would say:

ای کشته که را کشتی تا کشته شدی زار / تا باز که او را بکشد انکه تورا کشت

 


didani

Dear Fariba

by didani on

There will be no external war on Iran. However, there is a 30 year old war already in progress, by IRI against the Iranian citizens and resources. The only people who can win this war are the Iranians themselves as long as Rafsanjani and his cronies (inside and outside of Iran) don't keep playing the "peaceful protests" card on them where they will be used as an instrument to be caught between hardliners and so called pragmatics.


Fariba Amini

No war on Iran and no

by Fariba Amini on

No war on Iran and no attack against Iran.

The devestation will be beyond our imagination, far worse than Iraq.

 

 


didani

۱۹۷۹: بر پا خیز، از جا کن، بنای کاخ دشمن

didani


حالا: مولا زاده‌های خارج کشور: ضدّ خشونت

It will not work, the more the people are peacful, the more mollas within and without will take advantage of them. They will capture and execute more and more young Iranians to make examples of them. Its time for eye for an eye.


aynak

Many who fought in the war are not happy with the regime.

by aynak on

  The only issue I have with Fariba's article is that I know of many who fought in the war  and have not benefited.   As a matter of fact there is a big class of Pasdars who fought the war and got injured, but because they were not in the top brass, have benefited very little and are very unhappy with the regime.

 As far as the sentiment, the large sum of people who are quiet are in South Tehran.   There in my view, many fear their neighbors but that is fast changing.   The drive there will be mostly financial than social, nevertheless with added pressure from removal of subsidies, things are brewing real fast.

People who live outside Iran, tend to think of the society in Iran as what they remember it 30+ years ago.    The guy who used to do our garden work now has 4 kids each in school and with high set of demands.   It is the new generation which is smart demanding and with their requests un-answered, causes a very unstable system.

 To be honest, there is really a group of people (numbering under 500) that need to be taken out.   If/when that is done this whole system will collapse.  There is a reason why all the gatherings including Friday prayers  are held in Tehran U, say  instead of Azadi square or even Mosala.    The regime CAN NOT fill either!

 So Farbia Jan,  not sure if you have visited Iran, since Ahmadi-Nejad's first term.   Back then, the corruption (correctly) was linked to Rafsanjani family and therefore Ahmadi-Nejad's populism.  Still, the biggest project since revolution (METRO) was done with Rafsanjani and there is little to point to in terms of Ahmadi Nejads achievement.    People know the disaster of Esfahan Shiraz railway.    However in this 6 years, much has changed in the view of average people.  (even Rafsanjani is not as hated), but certainly Ahmadi Nejad has lost most of his traction.    You get the real feed back, when you ride a bus in Ray or Shabdol-Azim not when you talk to people at Tehran University.    

 The entire reason the regime is attacking with such iron fist, is that they know once the flood gates open, there is nothing they can do to stop it.   My main concern is frankly the future and what will replace it.   The days of this regime are seriously numbered, not because I think so, because I know so many of the old war veterans and some even in Basij that are fed up with the system.    Iran is going through phases.   The first huge rally post election/coup was warning signs.   One group within this system (Karoubi/Mousavi) were trying to take the path of reform, but that has shown to hit the dead end, as now they are both in custody.    Not a single person in the youth (Schools etc) that I know who voted for Mousavi has changed his mind (or if they have they have been more radicalized against the system), where as the other way there are many cases who have detached from Ahmadi-Nejad Khamanee camp.    I think even a group of Pasdars within can change the outlook overnight.   Don't be surprised, but it won't necessarily take the shape of Egypt or 79 revolution.

May we all have good dreams.


Fariba Amini

not black and white

by Fariba Amini on

Nothing is black and white in Iran. I don't deny that many positive things have taken place and in some rural areas, people have plumbing, electricity and other amenities. The level of education is high in Iran but there is no prospect for jobs, unless you are connected to the inner circles.

But in terms of social and political freedom, Iran has deteriorated especially since A.N. took office.

I was confronted several times by women who told me that my hejab was not according to the standards and reproached me that my ankle was showing. This was addressed to someone who uses very little make-up and dresses conservatively.

Executions have quadrupled in the last year. More members of the intelligentsia and civil society are in jail than in any other country including all the Arab countries.

Drug addiction is at its highest ever. In fact, I know for a fact that there are 1200 just in the small town of Arak.

No country is perfect, but when IRI claims that they have brought morality to Iran, it is just a myth.

Velayat e- faqih has failed big time.

Just watch the verbal attack on Rafsanjani’s daughter: It is despicable. Not that I have the slightest love or respect for her or her father or her family. But there is no limit whatsoever in the way the bassij are reacting to protestors. You are either a spy or working for foreign governments. They have been brainwashed big time.

Egypt and Iran are two different countries with two different histories but the bottom line is that Egyptian will hopefully overcome the corruption and mismanagement. Iran, thus far, has not. Iran is the 4th largest oil producing nation whereas Egypt lives off of tourism and the Suez Canal. I do think that the military did not react to demonstrators ruthlessly in both cases.


ahvazi

Fariba, thank you for your article...

by ahvazi on

 

As for those who have some much good to say about the system of the IRI, while young Iranians are dying in prisons, i would ask that they go and live under their Supreme Leader instead of coming to canada and the US.

Vaghan Pooroo tar az inaa dar taarikh Iran namoobded va Nakhaahad bood.   


mahmoudg

Ms. Amini et al

by mahmoudg on

hence why the only choice left is/are surgical attacks against this regime.  Get the basij and IRGC out of the cities and towns to protect these sites/assets, while the people will rise up against the regime.  Many will die, but it still will be millions less than if we rely on the populace itself to uprise and allow the regime to murder (via the yellow rain you mentioned).  Islamic Rapist, psychologically unbalanced people, cannot be relied on, we must remove them by any means necessary, even force.


MRX1

correct

by MRX1 on

The islamic goons will not go any where because pover is the sweetest afrodisiac. where in the world these low life's can parade around, push people around and get their kicks?

On top of that these people have been stealing millions if not billions since this sewer system came to power in 1979. Just imagine  30 years of looting and you can see the clear picture of how much money have been taken out!!!

What's needed in the end is either US/Nato surgical strike on the  rev guard/basijis and blockade of oil flow from persian gulf or arming the citizen with guns to take these people on. Either way tens of thousends (if not more) will die untill the dust settles, but there is no other option.


fussygorilla

Fariba dear

by fussygorilla on

Take another trip to Iran and see the enormous changes that have taken place, if you can remove your negative glasses and put aside your agenda and look further than talking to a few students or your friends.

You will find tremendous scientific, medical, agricultural, and economic transformation of the country unparalleled in its history.  All this in light of the American and European sanctions, threats, sabotage by funding and agitating its agents to subvert the system.  Under the present circumstances of continued sanctions and threats, Iran would be foolish to let loose those who claim they want "democracy".  Democracy will come when U.S. and its domestic agents in Iran stop their efforts to undermine the country's present system, which has many faults, but it is Iran for the Iranians.


بت شکن

Not similar to Egypt

by بت شکن on

Dear Ms Amini,

 

Thanks for the article. I am afraid your analysis and analogies made in reference to the Egyptian situation do not agree with facts. Here is why: 

First, the Shah never vowed to stay in power, quite the opposite he had all the intentions to do a runner and he did. As a matter of fact Bakhtiar was appointed as his main condition suitably matched with the Shah's intention to leave the country. On the contrary, Mubarak vowed publicly to stay in power and die on the Egyptian soil until he was effectively forced to abdicate, thanks to the Egyption army. 

Second, the Egyptian army in 2011, unlike their Iranian counterparts in 1979, did not remain nuetral. The Egyptian army sided with the Egyptian people. In doing so the Egyptian army gained the respect of the protesters and more importantly remained in full control of the events thus prevented bloodshed and a total break down of the nations functional structure into chaos and oblivion. Precisely the opposite happened in Iran of 1979 with the army being eventually decapitated and dismantled.

Third, the Egyptian revolt of 2011 had no leader and was by no means of Islamic flavor. Iran's revolution of 1979 had a dictinct Islamic leader and had a powerful Islamic message.

 

In short, so far, the Egyptians of 2011 have proved to be far insightful and civilized than the Iranians of 1979.