We Refuse to Die

This is a new kind of Revolution


We Refuse to Die
by Setareh Sabety

These are both tense and exciting times in Iran and amongst the opposition abroad. In the build-up to 22 Bahman[1] which is yet another chance for the Green movement to use the cover of official demonstrations to come out en-mass to protest, the regime is showing signs of uncharacteristic and newfound anxiety.

In what is believed by many to be an attempt to deter a repeat of the widespread and vociferous Ashura demonstrations, two young men who were defendants in the regime’s post-election Stalinist trails have been executed and eleven more have been charged, five for being a Mohareb, a warrior against God, which is punishable by death.

As though the execution of the two innocent young men was not enough, Jannati, last Friday’s prayer leader, asked the judiciary to hasten the execution of more Moharebs. This hard-line Ayatollah, cursed with the illogic of the petrified, used verses from the Koran in order to justify the hangings. Jannati, in this way, sealed the sure repulsion-from-Islam of those urbanites that still may have held a soft spot in their heart for their ancestral religion.

The gun-toting Hojjat-al-Islam of Ouroomieh, Hassani, who has a fetish for exposing his weapons in public, revived the medieval notion of punishment by suggesting the parading of the bodies of the executed on the streets of Tehran to put fear into the hearts of all the other Moharebs and dissenters.

On the international front, the more “secular and educated” foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaki announced on Farid Zakaria’s show that the protesters were a violent minority who had not been targeted by the basij and the security forces but who had themselves fired guns, burned buildings and killed people.[2] Mottaki’s performance was so lame compared to his firm and fair interlocutor that Farid Zakaria would win a majority of Iranian votes if free elections were to be held today. Regime mouth piece Professor Marandi of Tehran University in his perfect mid-western accented English blamed the executed nineteen and twenty-some year olds for their own execution.

The Senate passed sanctions against Iran which would have provoked much hatred a year ago but instead sparked a rapprochement between Iranian opposition groups and Senator McCain. The Senator whose video showing him holding Neda Aghasoltan’s picture and eloquently pleading the cause of Iranian Greens made it to all opposition sites and made us forget, for a moment, his ‘bomb’ Iran image.

Many still oppose sanctions, especially Iranian-Americans and those on the left who have rightfully come to hate AIPAC and the neo-cons and cannot fathom that maybe, this once we share common interest with those much hated monsters on the Hill![3] Some find this hatred greater than their desire for a quicker resolution to the internal crises facing the people of Iran.

The opposition disagrees with each other on many issues yet the disagreements should not be seen as sources of division but as signs of democratic maturity. It is almost as if the opposition has come to see that they can unite under the love of the right to disagree!

The troika of Reform (Khatami, Mousavi and Karoubi) disappointed us once again with a too little and too guarded response. This time even the popular Karoubi minced words regarding whether or not he accepted the Supreme Leader as the leader. But Zahra Rahnavard stepped in to save the day, declaring that the reformist opposition had no intention of backing down showing us once again that women in this traditional society have more guts.[4] Once again the movement hijacked the reformist leaders and corrected their lackluster performance. A declaration by Karoubi and Mousavi expressing ‘regret’ towards the executions was widely disseminated as “condemning” the executions.[5] “Hush, let us put up with them until we get there then will impose our true wishes,” seemed to be the unspoken refrain of a movement that was from the start much more radical than its hesitant leaders!

In times of tension and disappointment people pump hope into the Green movement. The mourning mothers joined the family of the imprisoned outside of Evin gates last Saturday. A crowd of two thousand demonstrated and cheered the prisoners that were being released.[6] The pressure from the crowd was such that reportedly much more than the promised twenty-three prisoners were released. In Rome, Rotterdam and Geneva Greens interrupted IR sponsored concerts and events.[7] In most cities candle-light vigils were held for the executed.

Online, the activity of cyber warriors has doubled, everyone feeling the urgency to act-- to give one last push to this unwanted and feared regime. The cherry on top of the icing of recent protests were reports yesterday of the Iranian Ambassador being roughly handled by the French gendarmes after he had tried to attack some demonstrators. This was cheered by the opposition who saw in this minor incident much symbolism and justice.[8] In Neuphle le Chateau, where Khomeini held his last court in exile thirty-one years ago, his ambassador was humiliated by the French police. The same police who had protected the opposition in ‘78 now protected the Greens who had come to this quiet little town, where a commemorative event was planned by the embassy, to protest against the Iranian regime. The Islamic Revolution, it seemed, had come full circle to where it first gained stature in order to lose it.

Despite numerous warnings of the Green’s demise due to lack of leadership or working class following, the chaotic, multifaceted opposition movement keeps surprising everyone, ourselves included. It reminds one of an Iranian picnic where no one really organizes anything but everyone brings food and good will to make, in the end and despite much pandemonium, a great feast. In fact the resilience of the movement is such that it has made experts try to revise theories of revolutions and uprisings. In many ways it is a first: it is a first movement of a middle-class Muslim society against its Islamist leaders; it is a first counter revolutionary uprising coming a good thirty years after the revolution; it is the first YouTube uprising, the first Twitter revolution and the first Facebook struggle. What makes this movement so inspiring is its refusal to die even when faced with the increasing brutality of a formidable and heartless enemy.

The first great Islamic revolution is now facing the first great anti-Islamist uprising. It is the first leaderless revolution which also lacks ideology or even a clear-cut agenda. It is the first revolution that does not need leadership nor ideology because it is fueled by a basic, unrelenting need for freedom and justice that is so strong it is self-correcting and self-propelling! This is not just a civil rights movement; this is not merely a reform movement. This is a new kind of Revolution. It is a mature Revolution one that mistrusts leaders and isms one that knows what it wants but refuses to make a religion out of it. It is a struggle that wants freedom in its purest most individual sense. It is a reform movement that wants to replace lies with candor; corruption with accountability and state monopoly and mafia economics with a free and fair market. It is a revolution that demands a democracy that does not translate into the tyranny of the masses. It is a revolution of those who recently tasted the bitterness of a revolution that did not answer their needs or fulfill their dreams.


[1] Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of ‘79

[2] YouTube.com. Last viewed Jan 31, 2010.

[3] InsideIran.org: Iran: Sanction, or Not? Hossien Askari’s gives the most thorough defense of the need for economic sanctions. Mahmood Delkhasteh argues against any ‘intervention’. I agree with the former. I think that Iran is not Iraq so sanctions can work at this point I also think that we are in a post imperialist world were Iran is no longer threatened with imperialist aspirations of superpowers and we have reached a maturity as a nation were we will not mistake aid for intervention.

[4] Fereshteh Ghazi very vocal Green activist/journalist interviewed Rahnavard for Roozonline.

[5] Facebook: Mousavi and Karoubi Condemned Recent Executions. Last viewed Jan. 30, 2010.

[6] Persian2English.com: More than 2000 people gather outside Evin tonight

[7] Iranian.com: Greens interrupt concert. Last viewed Jan. 31, 2010.

[8] Iranian.com: Mehdi Mir Abu Talebi


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Setareh Sabety

green akhoonds

by Setareh Sabety on

thank you mm, monda and harpe-eagle.

Harpe-eagle I think that the clerics who are green especially Karoubi are very much loved. As was Montazeri. The people see "the us and them" not so strictly along secular/cleric divide.
There is such a thing as the good kind of cleric, an "akhoond khodi", if you will. While there exists much anti-clericalism in Iranian society most would not want to get rid of clerics altogether and the support of those who have stood by the people will not be forgotten.
As for strikes, well,the more economic pressure on the regime, of course the type that works, the more likely they will happen.

thanks again for reading and commenting. Ma bishomareem! V


Seeds of Islamic Renaissance ...

by Harpi-Eagle on

First off, thank you Ms. Sabety for a great article.  I would like to add a couple of comments:

Regarding your Note 3, a meaningfull economic sanction may not be possible for this time frame.  I will clarify what I mean.  A meaningful economical sanction would have to border on complete embargo, and a Naval blockade of Iranian Oil Exports.  I don't believe the West is willing to go to these lengths for several reasons.  United States whose large oil companies have not much to lose due to such a blockade at least not in any direct and legitimate dealings with National Iranian Oil Company, may not be willing to take such drastic measures because it would strain their relations with the Chinese and Russians.  Europeans, especially the French and Britsih stand to lose a lot of money in the huge dealings of British Petroleum and Total Oil companies with the National Iranian Oil Company, they therefore would not be willing to go to such measures.  Furthermore, the Russians, in their massive trade of Natural Gas for funds and and Natural Gas for weapons and technology would keep the IRI economic foundation intact at least for several months even in the presence of such an embargo.

In my humble opinion, the real economic blow to the rotting body of this evil regime has to be dealt by massive internal strikes especially by National Iranian Oil Company employees.

I find the rest of your analysis of the nature of this revolution very accurate.  I hope that Mr. Mousavi will continue riding the waves of this beautiful movement, as we really do need a central figure and ultimately a leader for these historical times in our nation's history.  I also wish the 2 clergy, Mr Khatami and Mr Karoubi to eventually drop out, because they will become a liability to this revolution in the near future if not already.  This is not because they are insincere or bad people, but because of the nature of Shiate Clergy that is not a suitable fit for the future of Iran. 

We need to prepare as a nation for our historical role of agents of change in these historical times.  We need to prepare to Sow the Seeds of Islamic Renaissance in the near future soon after successfully ridding our beloved country of the Islamic Republic.

Payandeh Iran, our Ahuraie Fatherland


nicely done

by MM on

to the point.


Nice reading you on Huffpost too

by Monda on

Very well-written as usual. V to us all.

Setareh Sabety


by Setareh Sabety on

thank you for kind comments and encouraging words,
bavafa, paykar, vildemose, hovakhshatare and mehdi 2009! ma bishomareem! V


The end is not a matter of if but when

by Bavafa on

12 months or 24 months, it will largely depend on the brutality of the regime and how many they are willing to kill/imprison but one thing that is for sure is that the end is nearing.

I held no respect or love for Shah, far from it, but at least once he realized that his was doomed and left without resorting to any large mass killings. I hope that this regime does the same thing…. It is time

Thanks Setareh jaan for the excellent write up. 





by Paykar on

Great article as many readers have acknowledged as well.

Sargourd, whom I can only refer to as vatan foroush, I think you have
chosen a wise approach. I, on the other hand, am more emotional and
have to just pile on this mozdoor. Although I know  that he has skin thicker
than most pre-historic reptiles, nonetheless, I keep on insulting this agent whenever I feel like it. It will eventually get to him.

This Nokar has the words of Iranian Anthem placed in his bio, and
presumably has taken the oath to defend Iran. How can he side
with a regime which kills and rapes children of the country he
swore to defend? It can only be for the money, because his ilk has no idealogy or dignity for that matter.

For those of us who admire and bow before the courage
of brave officers who stood with the people in 53 and paid the
ultimate price, there is this paramount urge to defecate all over
Sargourd's uniform.

Sargourd, dry clean your uniform and be ready for millions who will get the chance...

We are countless!




Mrs. Sabety's accurate

by vildemose on

Mrs. Sabety's accurate conclusions are well done and precisely what we need to focus on at this time before giving  into despair and frustration .The only hope, however forlorn,  for Iran is a democratic change for and by the people,without being bombed into having one.

Thirty two  years ag there were those that said the Shah was too powerful, that he had the army and the dreaded SAVAK  on his side and as such how could a revolution be successful?

""the regime cannot deceive the opposition, who are now in the majority. It exists, it knows it exists and it understands that its grievances are real — not a seed planted in its head by the West. What’s more, the opposition is only gaining support — Ahmadinejad is losing backing among his conservative base and his former allies are turning against him in disgust over the abuse of protestors. The protests themselves are no longer exclusively ‘Green’ but are being frequented by religious and conservative Iranians who have become disillusioned with Ahmadinejad and by extension, the Supreme Leader and the regime. The protests are also no longer exclusive to Tehran but are spreading across the country, to the less secular and affluent cities…..

The opposition may lack leadership and structure, but the fact that it has not only survived but has also gained momentum, is its biggest achievement. In the 30 years since the revolution, the Islamic Republic has never endured such schisms or been more vulnerable than it is today and the regime’s desperate attempt to silence the reformists and to paint them as stooges is indicative of its distress over its unprecedented weakness.""




Well articulated and to the point

by Hovakhshatare on

Doroud bar to


Ms. Sabety, Simply Exceptional Article

by mehdi2009 on

Dear Ms. Sabety,

Your Article and the subsequent analysis are simply exceptional, and especially your comments with regards to the so called (more like Alleged) Reformist was right on the money. As someone who has currently been to Iran I will say that LADY you are on top of your game, and have a clear understanding of the situation in our imprisoned land as I witnessed it first hand.

The Murderous Regime has come to a very difficult cross road. It is literally broke, and the remaining capital is scarce. If they back down, they will lose face, and if they continue with the status quo unleashing their remaining 5 - 10% fast shrinking base unto the restless population the end game will come much faster. They are using every trick of the trade to buy time and reverse this irreversible Tidal Wave, but the Iranian people of today are way too sophisticated for that to happen.

I spoke with many young men and women in Iran, and to my great joy and hope found them to be among the most thoughtful, savvy and intelligent of any generation produced in Iran. Their zeal for freedom, and UTTER Hatred of the Murderous Regime was clear for every one to see, and they come from every socio-economic, religious or secular part of our nation.

Please in the future just ignore apologist buffoons of the Murderous Regime, and you don't have to apologize to any one for that disastrous revolution that befell Iran some 31 years ago when you were just a teen ager.

Salutations to ALL the TRUE Sons and Daughters of Iran.


Setareh Sabety

thank you

by Setareh Sabety on

anahid and niloufar many thanks.

Niloufar Parsi

setareh jan

by Niloufar Parsi on

i hope you are right. very nice read, and loved your description of the revolution. i really hope you are right. :)

Anahid Hojjati

Setareh jan, An excellent article.Simply best I have read on IC.

by Anahid Hojjati on


Setareh jan,what an excellent article. Simply best I have read on IC in some time.  Dear Setareh, in your article, you summarize important events of past few days plus reminding everyone about what we have in Iran is a revolution not a civil rights movement.thanks.


Setareh jaan: follow-up to my previous post

by AMIR1973 on

You say: "why are some people so bikar that they spend so much time commenting on threads? I mean for no real apparent reason. very strange."

It's possible that "Sargord" (who is almost certainly not a Sargord and very possibly not a Persian-speaker) is merely "bikar". However, I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that he has some sort of connection to an organ of the IRI and is acting as a web propagandist in that capacity. Clearly, his web persona is a fraud, but he has a definite purpose: i.e. to put out the official propaganda of the Murderer's Republic (aka IRI). He is the online equivalent of the knife-wielding goons attacking people in Iran and needs to be treated accordingly.

Anyway, good luck in all your endeavors, Setareh. 

Setareh Sabety

farah jan

by Setareh Sabety on

You don't have to have witnessed the revolution to have tasted it. If you live in Iran you would see that this islamic revolution is shoved down the young people's throat all the time. In fact if you take a look at the text book you will see that. so the young people are turned off by even the term 'revolution.' my kids actually turned atheists after a year of schooling in Iran! So what I say is not wrong. people are fed-up with the legacy of the revolution. the regime has coopted the term revolution.
as for the selfishness of my generation I was 18 when the revolution happened and since my family was under a hokm from khalkhali I could not go back until I was thirty years old so I don't know how personally responsible I was. Unfortunately I cannot boast of having done much in the revolution of '79. I wrote 'marg bar shah' with a magic marker on the walls of palo alto high school! and that was the extend of it. Oh and I did have champagne with my dad when the Shah left. If you want me to feel guilty about that then ok. God knows I have more to feel guilty about than that!
but let me tell you that it is really childish to blame a whole generation for anything especially 'selfishness.' my generation was looking for the same thing we are looking for now in Iran: liberty and justice, both of which have eluded us over the centuries.
If you are a monarchist you have so many more ways to say it and defend it than to blame a whole generation for not wanting it.

Farah Rusta


by Farah Rusta on

"It is a revolution of those who recently tasted the bitterness of a revolution that did not answer their needs or fulfill their dreams. "

This generation did not exist when their foolish parents fell for a false prophet who was an anti thesis to all their needs and dreams. This generation is paying a heavy price for the foolish parents who hailed the false prophet as a savior and betrayed all the principles they claimed they stood for. This generation of young men and women who have lost the best years of their lives are the victims of the selfishness of your generation Ms Sabety. You and your generation owe them a big apology. 


Setareh Sabety

thanks amir '73

by Setareh Sabety on

why are some people so bikar that they spend so much time commenting on threads? I mean for no real apparent reason. very strange.


Setareh jaan

by AMIR1973 on

You can find "Sargord Pirouz" posting under the name Pirouz at a number of different websites, including the NIAC blog. On that blog, he doesn't claim to be a "Sargord"; rather, he claims to be a half-Iranian, half-American man who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've read enough of both SP and "Pirouz" comments to know that they read from identical scripts. In other words, anything coming out of SP/Pirouz's mouth is  a lie until proven otherwise (much like the murderous regime for whom he propagandizes).

Sargord Pirouz

Deja Vu

by Sargord Pirouz on

You know something, Setareh, I've had basically the same argument given to me in the past, only it was from a pro-Zionist. No lie.

No, you can't have my ID and address. (You'd be a fool to give yours out this way, to someone you have no idea with whom you're corresponding with on the other side.)

But hey, let's call it a "gentlemen's bet."

Be forewarned- you'll be hearing from me in a year's time. Feb. 2, 2011 (13 Bahman 1389).

I'll be sayin': "I told you so!" 

Setareh Sabety

sargord you do not exist

by Setareh Sabety on

if you have no name and address then you are not worth my time. I gave you conditions for a bet you refused and gave me new conditions. Kind of like the way IR negotiates. I stay firm on my condition: do you care enough about your opinions to put a name and address to them? if not then get, how shall I say politely, lost?

Sargord Pirouz

Setareh, you disappoint

by Sargord Pirouz on

So you don't want to take me up on that bet. Well, how about this: loser of the bet has to completely change his iranian.com username.

That means no part of the original user name can be used in the new name (should the loser wish to continue at IC). For example, no use of Sargord Pirouz 2, or Sargord, or anything like that... Get the idea?

I'm sorry, Setareh, you can't have my full ID and address. If that makes me a sock puppet in your book, so be it. 

Anyway, how about it? Is the bet on? :)

Setareh Sabety

sargord, so it is true what they say regarding you

by Setareh Sabety on

I will make a bet with someone who is real. send me your name, address and email and I will make a bet. Also, I would never bet my right to write for iranian.com just like I would never bet my children for even the surest of bets! but that is irrelevant since your sincerity is what I was questioning and that answer I got. you would never put your money on anything you say you are the type that gets paid for it.

Sargord Pirouz

Setareh Sabety

by Sargord Pirouz on

A bet? Honestly, Setareh, it would be unkind to take your money.

I've a better bet. If the Islamic Republic of Iran government ceases to be, within 12 months, I will leave iranian.com for good.

But if the Islamic Republic of Iran government remains through the duration of the next 12 months, you will have to leave iranian.com for good.

How does that sound?

And by the way, spammers don't put anywhere near the effort I've put forward in the last 7-8 weeks here at IC. I'm here to learn and to express myself. Insults and accusations bounce off of me; I simply ignore them.

So what do you say, Setareh? 

Setareh Sabety

sargord, lets make a bet?

by Setareh Sabety on

thank you Princess, Nader, Iran Writes and amir '73, for the kind comments. Sargord you were not around '79 to see that movements that may seem small compared to the regime's forces have a way of showing their real strength if they persist. No one thought the Shah would fall. He seemed an even more formidable a foe with his army, savak, and US backing. He even seemed to enjoy huge popularity amongst the largely, at the time, illiterate masses. but he fell and so will the IR. u choose to ignore the millions in june and the tens of thousands in winter I wont play that quantative game.
Revolutions are not about numbers that brave the demonstration but about the impossibility to rule a population once it has voiced its outrage and lost its fear. If you send me your name and email I will make a bet with you and send you an amazon.com gift certificate of $50 if this regime is still here in exactly one year's time! please put your money where your mouth is and lets have a little fun.
Unless it is true what they say, that you are a spammer, there is no reason to not accept since you are so sure. If I win you can donate to iranian.com the same amount. Seems fair to me? what do you think?


Pirouz, a non-Iranian, calls Iranians "anti-Iran"

by AMIR1973 on

Since Sargord Pirouz aka Pirouz aka Mark Pyruz (depending on what website he's posting on) does not speak Persian and is not an Iranian, isn't it a little rich for this propagandist and supporter of the most murderous, repressive, and medieval regime in Iran's recent history to call Iranians "anti-Iran"?


We refuse to die

by IranWrites on

Setareh Jan once again you did a great job. It seems finally someone put her nerve together and labeled it as a "Revolution"! You did it. Bravo! I agree with every word of your conclusion indeed.

But, as to Rahnavard, I won't go that far. Why should she be the one to deny the compromises?  Who is she anyhow? She is not an official running mate, she does not have any active, formal role in this process; and truly that is exactly why she is the one who comes forth to say so, beacuse she is nobody and has no official responsibilities. ? Believe me, if Mousavi, Karoubi, or Khatamee meant it that way, they would have said it so themselves.   

Sargord Pirouz

Let's be a little more

by Sargord Pirouz on

Let's be a little more realistic- shall we Setareh?

You can't have a revolution with the means of only being capable of mixing into national events. Your demos will only consist of a half-dozen per year, for which the security forces will always see you coming.

Call it what it really is: an undercurrent of dissent. Will it ever be more? Not if its constrained to attempted hijacking and disruption of foreign venues. 

This may fill the bill- for a time- amongst the foreign based anti-Iran cheerleaders, but it's hardly the makeup of a full-fledged revolution.

(sorry for the continued "rain on the parade")


Long live the revolution...

by Nader on

Setareh jan, you aced it again.

There is no way back. Only forward from here on...

You are one of my favorite writers now:-)



I take it this should do

by Princess on

... for a rebuttal to Siamack Baniameri's recent piece. 

I still can't figure out if Siamack is a pessimist or a realist, but I really enjoyed reading this and hope very much that this movement will soon yield into a true and long overdue democracy despite - or should I say because of- its many firsts. The people of Iran deserve it.