Official Sources Continue to Downplay Earthquake Devastation
Tehran Bureau / Mohammed Sahimi
15-Aug-2012 (12 comments)

Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, minister of health, has announced that a total of 306 people died as a result of the earthquakes in East Azerbaijan province on Saturday. According to the minister, 210 women and children, and 49 men lost their lives in hospitals. The rest, she said, were already dead by the time rescuers pulled them out of the rubble.

Aftab News, a website close to Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, reports that many more probably died. According to the website, the official toll reflects a few dozen villages, whereas nearly 500 other villages have been destroyed upwards of 40 percent (including 80 which were completely leveled)....

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, first vice president of President Mahmoud Ahmainejad, visited the earthquake-stricken areas, and said that the government will rebuild everything there in two months. He also said that the government will support the families in the ravaged areas until they go back to work. Rahimi  >>>

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Today's amnesty for 88 prisoners will not calm Iran's people

by FG on

The Supreme Dictator is patently incapable of acquiring instantaneously what he never possessed: Morality and a conscience.  Are the people supposed to be grateful for this "magnanimous" and belated move from the Man Who Endorsed Every Crime Over Three Years?

The people have concluded--accurately--that Khamenei never gave a damn about them. In that respect, he is exactly like Syria's Bashir Assad. Why does this amnesty come so late and only when Khamenei faces his greatest domestic crisis ever?  Every crime committed since 2009 has irreversibly tainted the IRI and its leader. There is so much to hate about this regime and and not a single thing to love. The Syrians have shown Iranians what is possible in such an environment.

Can Khamenei bring those he murdered back to life?  Can he give back the years of suffering?  Can he untorture and unrape those he ordered tortured and raped?   Can the Defender of Death Squads undo the attacks on relatives, the plainclothes muggings, the forced confessions, the humiliations and state trials he approved?  It is no more possible than Assad can undo the destruction, the massacres, the shabiha rampages.

Evidence of Khamenei's incorrigibility is everywhere.  Even as he issues his amnesty, the Holy One luxuriates in what is indefensible: continued censorship of media and the internet, job purges for any public employee who boycotts fake elections,gender segregation and uniforms in universities, new arrests on the same high-handed charges ("crimes against God," "propaganda against the state"), further corruption and economic incompetence, the IRCG's economic monopolies, its brutality and its threats, the arrests of defense attorneys, journalists, artists and human rights spokesmen, the coddling of a private militia created to stomp all critics, the crimes against minorities and women (most recently banned from archeology), and the continued existence of a Guardian Council whose sole purpose is to render Election Days meaningless and real change impossible.


The concept of absolute monarchy, secular or otherwise, is no longer accepted in the Middle East today.  No government in which the people have a token say can survive.  Therefore the Islamic Republic must fall and not just because of years of non-stop and unforgiveable crimes.  Its central doctrine could hardly be less compatiible with an unstoppable modern tide.  

Khamenei and the hard liners around him will never grasp what they are up against.  This belated amnesty will no more calm Iranians than Assad's trivial reforms calmed Syrians in March of 2011.  


FG you are correct, and Islam IS the worst "Religion"/Cult

by IranFirst on


Youe correct in saying

"I suspect that after 33 years under mullah rule, Iranians lead the
entire Middle East in turning away from religion--especially Islam, a
religion that emphasizes control and extends its demands into personal

Islam claims to be a religion but it has political goal. It intrudes in personal lives of all living beings, not just its believers. It is a cult (no one is allowed to leave Islam openly).

But what really separates Islam from other religions and systems of belief is this:

One thing that all religions share is the Golden Rule.
Virtually all religions, no matter how diverse they are, have at their
core the belief that one should treat others as one wishes to be
treated. This Golden Rule is absent in Islam. In this sense Islam can be
compared to KKK, Nazism and other racist supremacist groups.



REPORT: Atheism is increasing worldwide & religiousity declining

by FG on

The study was conducted by the Pew Foundation. 

Atheism on the rise around the globe


According to a new poll, religiosity worldwide is declining while more people say they are atheists. In the United States, a growing number consider themselves non-believers.

Personally I think that's a good trend.   I blame the clerical corruption (as in Iran) and revelations about pederastic priests for much of the disenchantment.  In the muslim world, nothing disenchants advocates of "Islam is the Answer" that a few years of first-hand experience of it.  In practice, it sounds great.  

After all, if you can't trust the clergy, who can you trust?  But in practice, people are discovering that Lord Acton's dictum, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" applies as much to clerics and to everyone else.  Priests and mullahs haven't been the only rogues.  Check out some of those power-hungry TV evangelists.

My wife is a church goer.  I'm an atheist who was raised catholic.   I can partly thank nasty nuns in elementary school for paving my way to disbelief. One of the nicest things is that the promise of an afterlife always had its downside possibiliites (i.e., hell) but once I dumped religion I didn't have to worry about that anymore.  I found atheism liberating.  Believers can't see how that's possible but it is.

Living in Arizona temporarily (via a recreational vehicle) I can't help notice the degree to which religious people disproportionate support the Billionaires Party even when church members don't have a pot to piss in.   I hate to agree with Karl Marx on anything but he was right on the nose when he wrote, "Religion is the opiate of the people."

You can't believe the number of smiling people slicing up pies at church socials who could go home and support the Ku Klux Klan years ago.   The ranks of the Tea Party are loaded with ex-George Wallace voters.  Their clerics would tell them blacks were descended from Cain and thus deserved inferior status.  They would believe, scream and shout, and roll on the floor.

Today the same people spout hate at Obama after drooling over the mendacious neo-Nazi Russ Limbaugh on Fox News.  They would take civil rights away from gays and ignore the 14th amendment for all their talk about the Founding Fathers and "defending the Constitution."

So many churchgoers can be nice, polite and friendly (when not feuding and nitpicking in church) but the moment you say a good word about Omama their eyes light up with hate.   As for minorites, these wonderful church goers can be nice to blacks or hispanic individuals they clearly despise them as a group. 

I suspect that after 33 years under mullah rule, Iranians lead the entire Middle East in turning away from religion--especially Islam, a religion that emphasizes control and extends its demands into personal life.  That  tendency is also shared with Christian and Jewish fundamentalists but in which it goes even further.  


EA now says: If confirmed, Saudi tape is SIGNIFICANT development

by FG on

James Miller, Enduring America analyist, has just responded to my post there about Assad's brother losing both legs.  We seem to agree:

I don't think a Russian official would make up this story. The question is whether the reporter would, though the audio is a key development. I suspect someone with more familiarity with Russia and its deputy foreign minister is analyzing the audio now. If true this is very significant.

COMMENT: All that awaits is for the audiotape to be confirmed as genuine.  Of course, if it isn't why bother using it as evidence since a Saudi journalist would know as well as anyone that a fake can easily be exposed.  

Common sense forces me to ask: What is the point of putting it online where any fraud would have a short life span?  I have little doubt the interview will be confirmed.  Which brings us back to the improbability that the Russia diplomat would make up such a lie to no purpose.



Away from Aleppo, regime convoys continue to get wiped out

by FG on

Assad continues to face the death of a thousand faces in Syria.  Hopefully his identical twin, Iran's hated Supreme Dictator, will face a similar fate soon.

The  border crossing in Baba al Hawa has again fallen to the Free Syrian Army, along with some military hardware.   In a separate battle, a regime convoy got wiped out.  Celebrating FSA forces are showing videos of destroyed and captured equipment on You Tube.  


Now UAR joins Saudis warning citizens to flee Lebanon

by FG on




Triggering events: 1) Captured Iranian drones in Syria (likely supplied by Hezbollah), 2) Captured Hezbollah big shot in Syrian (one of many Hezbollah "volunteers" keeping Assad afloat and 3) Kidnapping of 15 to 20 FSA in Syria.  











The war MUST come to Lebanon if not now, later

by FG on

ITEM:Syria tensions spill over border to Lebanon


ITEM:  Saudi Arabia orders its citizens to leave Lebanon



The Islamic Republic of Iran has created three external Hezbollah as well as a domestic one:

--In Lebanon Hezbollah #1 has served as an Iranian proxy to target Americans, Iran's neighnors and civilian Israeli tourists worldwide.  has been used to target the USA and Iran's neighnors on different occasions.  

--In Iraq, Hezbollah #2 (Al Mahdi Army) was assisted by Iran and Al Quds  in attacks on Americans.  

--In Syria a new proxy militia (Hezbollah #3) is now being formed.  The latter is likely the source of Iranian drones recently caputed by the FSA.

No doubt Khamenei counts on all three and his own domesric counterparts to smash the faces of future Iranian protestors UNLESS they are eliminated after Assad's fall.   Lebanon after Assad is a fine place to start.   But the FSA can't afford to divert resources for now.  

Syrians will "owe" the three foreign elements Big Time for their masive assistance to Assaid military and strategic, in destroying the country and killing off tens of thousands of civilians.   As a first step all diplomatic relations and or trade with Russia or Iran must end so long as Putin's regime or the mullahs rule in those two countries. 

Lebanon's Hezbollah, as the closest and most vulneranle target) should be the first to pay for the destruction and murders to which it contributed.  Lebanonis the obvious choice when it comes to answering the question: "What should we do with all the Al Queda Islamists we needed as allies because no one else would help us?  

Give the jihadis something to do.  A radical Sunni preacher (Lebaon's equivalent to Al Sadr) already has a following.  Now there's a sweet boomerang for Iran as well, given Khamenei's assistance to Al Sadr!  Al Queda will bring its suicide bombers and IED skills in that event.  What a sweet treat for Hezbollah and Lebanon's Al-Meqdad clan, Assad's enablers and kidnappers of the FSA.

Speaking of boomerangs, such a move would put Hezbollah in a situation that is the exact reverse of conditions that facilitated its rise to power in Lebanon.  It has strong assistance from Iran while its rivals had no outside aid.  in which it came to power--a situation in which a foreign power helped arm and train its forces while its rivals had no such assistance.   


Assad's jets kill 4 Lebanese (Hezbollah?) prisoners

by FG on

Azaz, north of Aleppo and near the Turkish border, was heavily shelled today. Now, Al Jazeera has published a claim that this shelling may have a much larger impact on the geopolitical and regional implications for this conflict:

Four of the 11 Lebanese citizens who have been held hostage in Syria since May have been killed by shelling in Azaz, the town near Aleppo where they were held, according to members of the local FSA brigade. A number of other people were killed and wounded in the shelling, as well.

The hostages, all of them Shia Muslims, were abducted by rebels in May while traveling back from a pilgrimage to Iran. Lebanese and Turkish authorities have tried repeatedly to secure their release - at one point, a deal seemed to be finalised - but the rebels refused to release them.

Source: Enduring America 


Tunisia Islamists rant & nitpick over Olympic Gold Winners

by FG on

(Before reading this note that--however jubilant the Iranian people were about Iranian Olympic performance--Khamenei never said a word or congratulated the winners). 

Islamist extremists are calling for two female Tunisian athletes to be stripped of their Olympic medals for "un-Islamic" behaviour, AP reports.

Radicals on social media networks called on the government to strip Habiba Ghribi, the first Tunisian woman to win an Olympic medal, of her nationality because her running gear was too revealing. She won the silver in the 3,000m steeplechase.

And a Facebook campaign by extremist group Ansar al-Charia is targeting swimmer Oussama Mellouli for drinking juice before racing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Mellouli won gold in the 10km marathon and bronze in the 1,500m freestyle.

OBSERVATION: If radical Islamists run true to form (i.e., intimidation and example-setting rules as in Iran) don't be surprised if these two are executed "pour encourage les autrees).  Should that happen  I'd predict the blowback against the extremists will be substantial. 


FSA captures Syrian airbase & finds IRANIAN-MADE DRONES

by FG on

A new video, reportedly filmed by members of the Free Syrian Army, claims to show the inside of an airforce research base in Aleppo that has been captured by the insurgents. What's interesting - inside the base there appear to be two Ghods Ababil unmanned aircraft, a model of Iranian made drones that has previously been given to Hezbollah.

 Enduring America asks:  IS the video real? Many long maintained that the Assad regime was using unmanned drones in Syria.Mysterious drones that match Iranian made aircraft have been seen before, and Hezbollah is also known to have possession of several of these vehicles, given to them during the 2006 war against Israel. It's certainly possible that these drones were in the hands of the Assad regime.


IRCG plays favorites after grabbing aid program

by FG on

The opposition website Kalemeh says the Revolutionary Guards have taken over control in the affected area, grabbing aid from teams providing assistance and leaving people angry about unequal distribution.

COMMENT: The IRCG will like seize all the credit  pumping up its public relations.  No doubt communities and households that backed its thuggish crackdown in 2009 get first dibs.

Militarily, the IRCG now serves more as a People Beater for Khamenei  than a defender of the nation.  It has also become an economic monster, rich in privileges, seeizing the most lucrative areas of the economy for itself and crushing private businesses who are unable to compete.  


Re: Assad's brother's lost legs. New PROOF that Russia lied

by FG on

Yesterday, a Saudi newspaper quoted Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying that President Assad's brother Maher had been severely injured by the explosion in Damascus that killed three members of the president's inner circle last month. 

Bogdanov also reportedly said that President Assad is willing to step down and that what is needed is a peaceful mechanism for the transfer of power.

The Russian foreign ministry swiftly denied the story and also denied that Bogdanov had given any such interview.

Today, the Saudi newspaper, al-Watan, hit back by posting an audio recording of the alleged interview on its website.

The reporter who broke the story says that there is even more important news from the interview which has not been reported.  What could it be?


Our colleague Mona Mahmoud has been talking on the phone to the journalist concerned, Omar al-Zubaidi, and this is what he said:

I did the interview with Mikhail Bogdanov last Sunday. I contacted him by telephone as he was on holiday in Lebanon. I know Bogdanov in person and have quoted him before. In fact when I rang him, I was asking about a different story – it was about the statements of the Russian ambassador in Paris in which he said that Assad is ready to step down but wants to do that in a civilised way.

The Russians denied these statements afterwards and said that the ambassador was wrong. I wanted to ask Bogdanov about that. 

He said that they [the Russians] are trying to sort out the deteriorating situation in Syria cause matters there have reached a very risky level specially after the blowing up of the [security chiefs]. 

Then he said that Maher al-Assad is out of the Syrian picture after losing his two legs. He literally said it like that. 

Since the blowing up of the [security chiefs] in Damascus, I have been chasing up news about Maher al-Assad. 

I have asked many ambassadors, officers, FSA and all the sources I know if they have information about Maher but none of them say they know where he was. 

Bogdanov's piece of news on Maher was like news from heaven that had fallen to me without asking: "Maher has lost his both legs in the explosion." 

I'd prefer not to have published the news with Bogdanov's name, in order not to embarrass him or lose him as a friend, but at the end I put his name. I'm a member in the International Dialogue Gathering in Russia which is sponsored by the Russian foreign ministry.

Bogdanov represents the wise people in Russian foreign ministry. He knows Syria very well and worked there as ambassador for few years as well as in Lebanon and Yemen.

He said it spontaneously. But when the interview was published in the paper, the Russian TV and media dismissed it and that is why we decided to publish the audio copy too on our website. 

I must say that I have not published all that Bogdanov told me. There is more important information in the interview.

I record all my interviews. There was no translator between us. It was a direct conversation between me and him. Bogdanov speaks good Arabic. He did not tell me not to publish this information.

Source: The Guardian