Iran turns to barter for food as sanctions cripple imports
Reuthers / Valerie Parent and Parisa Hafezi
09-Feb-2012 (6 comments)

Iran is turning to barter - offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil - in return for food as new financial sanctions have hurt its ability to import basic staples for its 74 million people, commodities traders said Thursday....Difficulty paying for urgent import needs has contributed to sharp rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs, causing hardship for Iranians with just weeks to go before an election seen as a referendum on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies....Deals revealed Thursday appear to be among the first in which Iran has had to result to offering cashless barter to avoid sanctions, a sign of new urgency as it seeks to buy food and get around the financial restrictions.

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by vildemose on

 Tripoli, Lebanon

 The Syrian conflict has arrived into Lebanon. Fierce clashes are reported in Tripoli. Lebanon may become the bloodiest scene of the Syrian conflict.

A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


Death Squads kill another general.

by FG on


1. Sometimes a whole year may go by
without a general suffering a heart attack or accident.   It could be a
few years in the case of generals in their fifities.   So how improbable
is this pattern?

2. Will any surviving suspect generals wake up and act to preserve their own lives?

Khamenei may be able to target supspect generals but what can he do
about tens of thousans of troops who have no use for him or his ugly
Islamic Republic?


Again the vicim is in the early fifities. (51 in fact)  Again he suffers an improbable heart attack, just like a young doctor who began talking too much about crimes at an infamous prison and Mohmammed Taeb's direct role, or just like Khoumeini's own son, a politically inconvenient critic who couldn't be disposed of any other way.   Khoumeini's familly KNOWS he was a victim of earlier death squads which is why they hate Khamenei and the system.

Yes, it's easy enough to simulate a heart attack that leaves no traces by injection.  All you need are the right chemicals, which the regime certainly has, and the necessary lack of moral restraint, which Khamenei and Taeb certainly has.  The latter works in the IRCG and has access to the generals.   Earlier he worked in Khoumeini's household.

I picked this item up at Enduring America:

"Being a Revolutionary Guards commander appears to be a very unhealthy
job these days. Fars reports that Ahmad Soudagar (51), head of the Holy
Defence Research Center, died from a heart stroke today. He conducted
also the security intelligence of Khatam al-Anbia and the 27th
Rasoul-ollah Brigade //

is already the fifth IRGC commander in his fifties dying from heart
diseases within the past three weeks. Apparently Khamenei is eliminating
all dissidents within the Sepah for fear of a putsch."

What the writer forgot to remind the people of Iran and surviving generals is that the previous four, all in their fifties, died within four days of each others.




My thoughts on Iran's internet censorship scheme

by FG on

(This post is a revised personal reaction to Thomas Erdbrink's report on Khamenei's campaign against the internet.  See a link to that story in another subpost here.)

Nowadays the Iranian public resembles the victim in a well-known Edgar Allen Poe story.   Playing the bricklayer, Khamenei would wall them up alive.  Earlier he taped their mouths, rigged their elections and emptied their pantries.

Somehow Khamenei imagines that if only this stunt works, the people of Iran will be less pissed at him.  Any leader can "do" tactics, but strategy is cerebral and imaginative--the source of Khamenei's incredible failures as a leader.  The man (more often referred to as a lady these days) cannot grasp long run effects before taking action.  This explains why he makes one stupid move after another in pursuit of one impossible goal, an unchanged Islamic Republic.   Readers can cite numerous examples.

A secondary goal of the "Wall 'Em Up" Campaign--increased Saudization--obviously will never happen, not even at gunpoint.  Because Iranians are now way to sophisticated for such medieval nonsense the sole effect is to stir up resentment.  Yet Khamenei once again insists square pegs will fit in round holes if only you keep pushing.  

Politically Khamenei thinks the road to ending popular content lies in hiding internet news likely to tick folks off, especially criticism of the regime or of the Supreme Thug.   That news will out regardless because too many other means (DVDs, graffiti, etc.) are available.   Also, he hopes, correctly, that control over the internet will hamper the public in plotting liberation.   Note the key word, however: "hamper" not "stop."  So long as grievance exist and are not satisfied, or especially if they mount, people will improvise and find ways because they must.

Make no mistake: those grievances are mounting and internet censorship itself is a key aggravator--and not just because it confirms what Iran's people already perceived: that they are oppressed by a "Big Brother Is Watching You" regime that increasing resembles the regime in George Orwell's 1984.

Is it possible that internet censorship may enrage people more than the exposure to news Khamenei seeks to conceal?   I'd say yes because news is remote while this is a deeply personal assault, almost like a home invasion.  In that sense it is twin to so many other "personal" outrages--stealling people's satellite antennas and other electronics, jamming broadcasts, social policiing, basil-ization of universities and using plainclothes thugs to trash people's homes, mosques and funerals.   You bet this is personal.

I predict the move will drive remaining non-political types into radical politics out of sheer self-protection.  Having no future, cut off rom online social contacts and limited to "wholesome" diversions approved by authorities they have come to hate, what else can they do?

Khamenei is fighting human nature.  No Islamic facebook can substitute for the "real" thing.   No plastic bearded thug and his hajib-wearing companion can take the place of Ken and Barbie.   No controlled state media can replace the legitimate independent press.  Meanwhile smugglers will satisfy public demand and, as always, what is most forbidden will become the most attractive. 

Predictable Khamenei's "Iranian internet" scheme will have unfavorable economic and financial repercussions but that's beyond the scope of this analysis.  The important thing to note is Khamenei could care less about that, or the resources wasted on this project.  All Khamenei has ever cared about is increasing wealth and power for the parasitic mullahs--especially for himself and family.  Hence, the Islamic Republic has become a device whose entire purpose is to allow hard line mullahs to sit on the backs of the people like gigantic leeches.

To accomplish that, Khamenei has done so much to make Iranians miserable--his death squads, the murder and imprison tens of thousands, the intellectual destruction of Iran's universities, handing vitually the whole economy over to the security services and their incompetent management as a giant bribe/reward for bodyguarding duties.  Normally a nation's armies exist to defend a nation against foreign threats.  In the IRI, the military exists to defend thieving mullahs against their own discontented people. 


Speaking of Khamenei's foreign allies....check this out.

by FG on

This one from is from Putin's Russia without whose support Assad would be gone in a month and Iran not much longer.  The NY Times heading is:

In Area Embodying Putin Base, Dispirited City Voices Tepid Support


What a dismal city! -This place even more hopeless than Iran under the mullahs where at least the privileged class of insiders can live fine and the environment wouldn't suck so badly if not for the security servies and social police. 

Even a millionaire or a big shot cleric CANNOT enjoy life much in Nizhny Tagil.  The lousy industrial environment and always dismal weather are the two main differences.  Otherwise both places appear equally hopeless except in one respect.

In Iran, one can hope for a better life once the mullahs are gone, though undoing the damage they've inflicted will take decades.  Rebuilding won't get started until the economicaly empowered generals have been ousted. 

In Russia in a place like Nizny Tagil, it won't matter if the regime falls.  A place like that is incurable, a permanent blight.   The problem is Russia has dozens of cities just like it.



Nice news: A third Khamenei ally may go down first

by FG on

It's not Assad or Putin.  Not only is bad news a comin' these days but it's coming in a deluge from so many places it could produce a state of shock.  So who and where is it this time? 


will post this little box of chocolates to the Supreme Leader.  I
constantly bombard his site with "depressing news" and biting analysis.  
Maybe I'll give him or some guy who works for him an ulcer.


Thomas Erdbrink has been doing a fine job of reporting on Iran.  This time he goes into scary detail on how effective the regime is becoming in shutting off the internet.  Iran looks closer to the Big Brother is Watching You" regime in George Orwell's 1984.  I think that book would be hugely popular in Iran today.


EXCERPT: Having seen social media help power uprisings across the Middle East,
Iran’s leaders are trying to get control over what is uploaded, posted
and discussed on the Internet. And after a slow start, authorities are
becoming more and more successful, Iranian Internet users say.



ITEM: The regime hopes to complete its "closed internet" scheme within three years.  

ITEM: Meanwhile, it is also working on drone technology for use against protestors.   Drones are ideal for counterrevolutionary tactics.  They beat tanks and even helicopters by a mile.  


"Yo Khamenei! I'll give you five quail eggs for 15 figs."

by FG on

Taking Iran back to the 7th
century does not go far enough for this regime.  Now the whole economy is being dragged back a thousand addiitonal years to roughly 550 BC.   That is when Croesus of Lydia introduced the first gold coins.  If you can believe Herodotus, Croesus is the same man who lost his empire to Cyrus the Great after misinterpreting a prediction from the always ambigous Delphic Oracle.

Historians consider the coming of currency a huge advance over
barter as a method of trade.  Currency is a defined as a "universal
means of exchange" which it is how it functions except when trust is it
is undermined.

The latter happens when an individual shaves coins or when  a nation prints off too much money to pay its debts or passes "fixed rate" laws that insist the rial,
for example, has more value than it does.  Of course such rates can
only be "enforced" at home but never successfully (A black market always
develops).  Abroad, no one will take it at the fixed rate and everyone
is wary of taking it at any rate, fearing its value might go down
quickly in the near future.    

We are so used to currency as a universal means of exchange we have
a hard time imagining how complicated trade would be if it did not
exist.  For one thing, imagine trying to give change.  Secondly, how to you determine an item's value except by haggling?  However, the worst effect when barter replaces trade are the expensive storage
complications involved and the three-or-more way deals necessary to get
anything done.

A trader had to store (or bring along) an endless number of things to make a deal.  Haggling was endless.   Suppose you had something another trader needed, but he had nothing you wanted.   After haggling, you could make the deal, then look for someone else to take the unwanted items you acquired in exchange.    

Imagine the complicated storage problems that creates.  You had to stock lots of unrelated items because
you never knew exactly which one the next trader would want or need.