Unite Under Ten Demands

A call to unity


Unite Under Ten Demands
by Setareh Sabety

The best statement that has come out of this uprising that is slowly but surely turning into a revolution is the ‘ten demands’ (original Persian text), released by five expatriate intellectuals (Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Abdolali Bazargan, and Ataollah Mohajerani). Since the imposition of Hejab on women shortly after the Revolution of 1979, I have supported and hoped for a regime change in Iran. I reluctantly supported Mousavi just before the elections because I was impressed by the way his campaign seemed to be hi-jacked by his mostly female and young constituents. I told myself that anyone who can bring so many people out on the streets chanting the desires of my heart, such as “Hejab entekhabi hagheh zani Irani” (choice in hejab/ every woman’s right), deserved my support.

I remember discussing the possibility of fraud (which was so likely that people were chanting about it prior to Election Day on June 12th), coming to the conclusion that if it did happen then people would take to the streets and we could finally get my wished for but abandoned desire for regime change in Iran. I later saw a clip of Rafsanjani’s wife on Election Day, leaving the polls near her house where she answers the question, “what if there is fraud in the elections?” with a firm, “mardom berizan too khaiboonaa!” (People should take to the streets). People did take to the streets by the millions soon after the audaciously distorted in favor of Ahmadinejad results were announced.

Since then, us Iranians living abroad have all been following the events unfolding in Iran with different degrees of interest and activism. Many of us felt that we have a moral responsibility to disseminate news and broadcast the cause of what came to be known as the Green movement and took to it with the same determination from afar as those in Iran who kept returning to the streets risking beatings, arrest or death. From the first killings at the hands of government forces this movement that began as a protest against election results turned radical.

Those of us who wanted bloodless, gradual change realized as time passed that it would become more and more a lost ideal. Many abhorred this regime but hoped that perhaps Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, had seen the light and wanted to allow some normalization and openness in Iranian society. Even though we had seen that under Khatami, the reformist president that won in a landslide in 1997, promising a more open society and a more tolerant Islam, change was slow and stifled, we still hoped that this time around Khamenei would see the need to change and allow it to happen. Well that did not ensue. Khamenei promised to crack down on protestors and blamed the west for inciting the demonstrations. The protest movement went from asking, “Where is my vote” to chanting “death to dictator.”

The enthusiasm of those of us active in the movement from abroad was fueled by the protesters that seemed to keep coming back in the streets despite killings, tortures, arrests and threats. There did not seem to be much leadership. Mousavi issued statements that were much more tepid than his constituents on the streets; Karoubi became the beloved mentor of the struggle with his presence in rallies and his championing of the prisoners who came out of jail reporting rape, torture and gross abuses. The international reaction to the struggle too left much to be desired. Obama was hell-bent on pushing his doctrine of ‘negotiating with the enemy’ and seemed hesitant to passionately support the people’s struggle in Iran. He did make statements and had his reasons but the people in Iran expected more from the US who had for thirty years unabashedly supported regime change. To many of us it seemed that our struggle had fallen in the cracks of a change in administrations. There was a cultural change in Washington from one administration to the next that was probably more blatant than any in recent history and the obsession of the new administration to avoid the mistakes of the former administration seemed to sacrifice any inclination to help or even show real concern for the protesters in Iran.

Negotiations of US and 5 +1 with Iran failed miserably as those of us who knew this government better had predicted. On Student Day, 16th Azay/Dec.7th, we saw the protests take a more radical turn first in the Universities. It seemed like after months of frustrations marked by continued arrests and abuses the anti-regime sentiment of the protesters had come out of the closet. We heard protesters chant ‘marg bar khamenei’ (death to Khamenei) and “marg bar Jomhourieh Islami” (death to Islamic Republic) loud and clear and on a large scale for the first time. Many were left wondering where this movement would go. The death of Ayatollah Montazeri, the dissident Grand Ayatollah who had opposed Khamenei and who had claimed that Iran was neither Islamic nor a Republic gave the protesters a new cover to demonstrate. The seventh day of his death (a very important landmark in the elaborate Shiite mourning ceremonies) miraculously coincided with Ashura, that most important day in the Shiite calendar where we still mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. Hussein who holds the highest place in Shiite hagiography was killed at the hands of the brutal usurper and tyrant Yazid. Khamenei became the new Yazid and Mousavi whose first name Hussein was already chanted in the streets of Tehran or rather the movement that had made him leader, became the new Hussein.

According to the government eight people died on Ashura. We saw video clips of protesters attacking security forces and for the first time we saw the government thugs scared. It seemed like the protesters who had been mostly peaceful up till then acted with a new anger: they had shed their fear. Where as before they chanted, “na tarsin, na tarsin, ma hameh ba ham hastim,” (have no fear, have no fear, we are all together now they chanted, “betarsin, betarsin, ma hameh baham hastim.” (be afraid, be afraid we are all together). The regime seemed scared and out of control. They had spilled blood on Ashura a day or ‘the’ day of mourning and it seemed that this time they did it out of fear not calculated terrorism.

Now we have reached a place in the struggle where some people are calling for a toning down so as to avoid violence which the regime seems to possess in abundance. Some, on the other hand, are accusing those putting on the breaks as collaborators who have always stood in the way of regime change. They cite with some justification, the failure of Khatami to side with the students on 18th Tir 1998, University uprising, as proof that ‘reformist’ coming from the bosom of the theocratic establishment act as an obstacle to the regime change that the people really want. Just to complicate matters fringe groups such as the monarchists or the MKO or a whole myriad of leftists groups all want to push their own schemes some going as far as doctoring the news coming out of Iran to further their personal or ideological agendas.

So what is to be done? How do we move forward to help bring about democracy, which everyone seems to want, in Iran. We have to come up with a set of demands that are broad enough to include all the disgruntled factions who want to help the popular yet still largely middle class struggle in Iran. We have to unite or we will not be strong enough against a regime which all agree will not hesitate to have a blood bath to save itself. We have to agree to one set of demands that can unite us in asking the international community for help.

Many believe what the student leader, Majid Tavakoli, said in his speech on Student Day right before his arrest, “a simple resignation is no longer enough.” Many want an end to clerical rule and Velayateh faghih (Supreme Leadership with holy mandate). Many are afraid of another revolution that is bloody and fails to bring about democracy. Many are mothers like me who feel unjustified in calling for a revolution when they would not let their own children out in those streets.

That is why whether we want a revolution and regime change or are still holding on to the idea of gradual reform we have to agree on a set of demands that unite us so that with one voice we can achieve at least the minimum: an end to tyrannical rule!

The ten demands of the five intellectuals should be embraced because they provide the democratic framework within which we can debate the future of our beloved Iran. They ask for re-election with independent oversight, they ask for freedom of the press and assembly, they ask for justice for the victims of the uprising. If these demands are met then I am convinced that we will realize our thirty year old dream of democracy. The demands are largely rhetorical no one believes that they will be granted however their power does not lie in their practicality but rather in the fact that they can unite us under a wish list! Give us those demands and surely we will change the regime I say! This is why I want to make a call for unity, not that I possess any political weight but as an Iranian mother who has never belonged to any political organization or party and who is desperately thirsty for her children to see a free Iran. Everyone whether Monarchist, MKO, left, center or right, reformist or revolutionary should unite under the lucid democratic demands set forth by the five expatriate intellectuals!

(Ten demands in original Persian text)


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by Setareh Sabety on

I just revisited the comments and am amazed at how I have not even gotten two who agree with me really! If iranian.com is indicative of the level of disunity amongst Iranians then we are in real trouble. No wonder we have always had to have a charismatic leader to inspire us and this movement seems to lack that. What it has though it is unity at least amongst the University students or so it seems. I am also amazed at the level of hostility towards these five intellectuals! I am a jebhe melli supporter at heart but I am curious as to why even prof. Kazemzadeh cannot agree to these ten demands. Why does the jebhe meli not attempt some form of unity. If every one just hold tight to their old positions then unity will be an unreachable goal.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Omid & Co

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


These guus are from: //www.iranmilitaryforum.net

It looks like a site run by  IRI or at least very supportive of IRI. They are probably trying to bait us to register there. Or at least make enough noise as to muddy the water.

See post by AsteroidX:



Na Omid, you are the terrorist, lier and IRR agent that come in

by Hovakhshatare on

with a different name everyday and comment to collect your blood money. So go spread your manure with your basiji friends as they are the only ones that'll eat your belief system of shi't.

Omid Talebi


by Omid Talebi on

Representatives of terrorist MKO no doubt. Because no real Iranian is taking part in the riots. You have the real terrorists and you have the group mentally backward. I suggest people visit Iran to see the truth. Making these claims and being commander in your computer chair will get you no where. People in Iran are tired of these rioters and want to get on with their lives.

Niloufar Parsi

the comments reveal

by Niloufar Parsi on

the chasm between what some consider possible and what others want to see happen. the central dilemma, in my view, is related to the question of who has the right to resort to violence and coercion. the defining character of the state is its monopoly over violence. any other group that challenges this will be portrayed as a 'violent traitor' opposed to the 'nation'. the same is done by secular states that for example kill hundreds of thousands of innocents in the name of fighting 'terror'. one side of this conflict is the 'terrorist' and the other is 'seeking justice'. which is which in any conflict depends on who you ask. we have to ask ourselves: is a violent revolution justified for the overthrow of the regime in iran or do we work with what we have in order to ensure that we move forward? a violent overthrow requires an armed movement. is this really viable/desirable in the near future? i doubt it. an alternative would be for the people of iran to mobilise en masse Gandhian style. this would then require some clear objectives with a fairly unified leadership. this path would be wise as it is the least costly while the most effective in that the end result is clearer, at least compared to the violent alternative. Setareh's thinking appears to be along these lines. whether these demands and these leaders are the right ones is another big question. would it be possible to include 'secularism' and the removal of the 'supreme leader' in such 'peaceful' demands? again, i doubt it. the inclusion of such demands may be justified, but the price of success would be much higher. but then again, as the saying goes, 'no pain no gain'. problem is, it really is not up to us to decide such life and death decisions on behalf of the people inside iran. more positively: the soviet union fell without violence. it collapsed on itself. the same thing is likely to happen in iran.


Another "AASH" In The Making For The Melat

by darius on

Nooshe Jan.

The Melate Iran can wait another 30 yrs to find out who gave them the entry visas to start making the AASH .

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Dear Fair

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Fair,

You are most welcomed.  No, we do not coordinate with the 5.




Bingo Jeesh Daram

by seannewyork on

On point, well said.

We are not here to play games after 30 years of torture.  These khatamichi antics of reform will not work and if reformers somehow gain power we will rise up again until a secular democracy.

They think they can put a suit on shave and have us fall for them.

Jeesh Daram

Ten demands are null and void

by Jeesh Daram on

There is one major demand:

A new Constitution, that clearly dictates to the "executive branch" that do what you are elected to do or get out, a constitution that clearly outlines the right of all citizens to rise against tyranny.The limited power to be given to the executive branch and broad range of power among people. 

If any group in particular those who were servants of the regime and all of a sudden got visa to USA or Europe and became consultants to BBC and VOA want to give us a declaration, on the very top of it shall say:

The abolishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran Constitution. If does not say so, then I assure you, that we are again dealing with representatives of Imams in different attire.

Let them speak their mind, so we know who we should not trust in this movement.

Stop the one-man-shows in Iran.


Thank you Masoud

by Fair on

Are you in touch and coordinating with these 5 individuals then?




Mehraban jaan we have a quorum; the regime is finished!

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.


Anonymouse jaan

by Mehrban on

I do understand your point.  



by Mehrban on

The paragraph "...cancelation of the pre-approving screening by the guardian council, and formation of an independent commission consistent of the representatives of the protesters to the election results for legislating new criteria to enable fair and free elections."      does not constitute the abolition of the position of the Velayat e faghih.

Furthermore, in the event of the election of a secular candidate, he or she would have to operate under the Islamic constitution as the proposal is silent on the constitution.  

The result is in effect a velayate Faghih with (possibly) more limited authority and the same Islamic constitution. 

Masoud Kazemzadeh

INF-Abroad Demands

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Fair,

INF-Abroad has actually published its demands.  We published it on August 18.


اهداف جنبش

بنظر ما مبارزات گسترده و روز افزون مردم که آغاز جنبش آزادیخواهی مردم ایرانست، تنها با رعایت اهداف همیشگی نهضت ملی یعنی استقلال، آزادی، دموکراسی، عدالت اجتماعی و جدائی دین از حکومت، تفکیک قوای سه گانه و استقرار حکومت قانون پیروزخواهد گردید. ما دلائل شکست اینگونه جنبش ها در گذشته را دوری گرفتن از این اصول میدانیم. طرفداران نهضت ملی ایران علاوه بر این خواهان استقرار "جمهوری ایرانی" هستند زیرا تجربه نشان میدهد که یک مقام غیر انتخابی و یا ارثی (مانند ولی فقیه یا پادشاه) در راس حکومت میتواند دیر یا زود به پایگاهی دائمی و قدرتمند علیه دموکراسی تبدیل گردد.





Mort Gilani

Question for David ET

by Mort Gilani on


Would you please name the countries that do not mind Iran entangled in an internal bloodshed?


Darius is right- it is sad

by Fair on

that so many Iranians with so much education and money sit back and let 5 Islamists as they are called here, make such demands. Even though I have my problems with these people, at least I give them credit for taking this action. Whenever secular Iranian intellectuals wherever they may be also get their act together and get minimally organized to at least issue a joint statement, then we are talking. But for now this is all we have.

Bear in mind, today is 57 years after the anti nationalist coup in Iran which everyone complains about (including myself), and there are millions of Iranians abroad living in freedom with hundreds of billions of wealth. No one outside of Iran is stopping any Iranian from organizing political parties and issuing statements and manifestos, yet I see no sign whatsoever of national front or any other such platform in any significant way.

Once again, our people are ahead of any leaders they have, and it is this failure to produce visionary positive leaders like Mandela and Gandhi and Tutu and so on that has created the vacuum filled today by less than ideal candidates. We have had a serious crisis of leadership now for decades.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Religious != Theocracy

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

We don't need to separate Iranians; it is a very bad idea.. What do we do then make a different country for each type of Iranian:  Shiate; Sunni; Sufi; Armenian; Zartoshti;  Jew; Baha'i; and so on? What then forcible relocation? I know you don't mean it but it is the inevitable result.

People may be as religious as they want to be. That does not mean theocracy. One united nation; separation of religions and state; freedom for all.

Chai Khor

Make Qom an Islamic Republic

by Chai Khor on

Make Qom an Islamic Republic or something Vatican-like and leave Iran to the Iranians.


How about 2 countries separating religious & non-relig Iranians?

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

David ET

HS: My post was informational and complimentary to blog

by David ET on

I do not approve of Ganji or any of the above people's views and in fact it was the same views that lead us to the Islamic Republic ...

and I did write earlier: Fool me once, shame on you..fool me twice shame on me.

However I do agree with some of the points of Ganji's commentary:It is unwise to resort to violence during protests or make the protests the end instead of the mean, which is sought by some specific elements within the movement as well as some in the regime which only leads to more killing .. 

Also his indirect advise to likes of Mousavi, Karoubi et al not to refer to Khomeini and connect the movement to "Imam" is also accurate as it simply divides and plays in to the hands of regime.

I also agree that there is still a large number of population with deep religious views who can be turned against the movement in reaction to some of the extremists acts that are being instigated by few (on left and right) such as encouragement to burn Quran, disrespect Muhammad etc.

If cornered , regime will even resort to creating a civil war atmosphere. Opposition must put aside emotion and act wisely ... Some foreign countries also do not mind Iran entangled in internal bloodshed. 

Having said all that, the seculars MUST organize and provide a clear alternative  instead of whining  

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Who cares what Ganji says? He is a nobody. Neither a part of the IRI nor revolution.  Az inja mondeh az anja rondeh. 

He and his group are desperately trying to save their legacies from utter infamy. It won't work. As I said before: they tried and lost. They have nothing more to give. Let them go and lick their wounds and fade into nothingness. We don't want them and Iran does not need them. 

They should move to France or somewhere where old dinosaurs and old Marxists go!


best reply to the 5 "intellectuals"

by Kaveh Parsa on


Dear David, I hope your post does not imply endorsement of AG

by Hovakhshatare on

This statement seems to achieve the following:

1-Avoid separation of church and state issue, or VF for that matter

2- Frame the conversation in IRR/Khomeini/Montazeri as though the solution was always there from Montazeri

3-Create a matarsak (scarecrow) that suggests the only option is a smooth transition, as though IRR will allow that.

4-Suggest that we need to do this now or movement will subside (..put the fire out...), so we better agree that Montazeri/Human rights is the focus not islamic regime's totality

It sounds like Akbar Ganji style islamism, and the molla sefat garbage that got us here in the first place.

David ET

Ganji's Commentary today :

by David ET on



"or some, the idea of rallying on the streets has become the end rather than the means. "

"Among some segments of the population, aversion to religion has been the result of three decades of the religious establishment, but it should not be forgotten that most of Iran's people are still religious. The supreme leader's propaganda and ideological machine (high-ranking clerics, Friday Prayers, mosques, the media) try to portray the Green Movement as anti-religious in character...Activists from the Green Movement should be very careful not to say anything that would result in a deeper divide based on religion. "

"Aligning the movement with Ayatollah Khomeini has consequences that cannot be ignored. When prominent figures of the Green Movement present themselves as true followers of Khomeini and describe the current leaders as being opposed to Khomeini, they enter the Green Movement into a discourse from which it is difficult to escape. The major divide (dictatorship or democracy) is reduced to a dispute between those who follow and those who oppose Ayatollah Khomeini. Perhaps the prominent figures of the Green Movement, operating under repressive conditions and knowing that the regime is looking for any excuse to destroy them, have no choice other than to rely on Khomeini's legacy. But the recent images of demonstrators tearing down Khomeini's picture broadcast on state television and the resulting uproar across the country, show the limitations of this approach. The late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri never limited himself to the parameters of Khomeini's thoughts. Not only didn't he present Khomeini as a model of freedom, but he also stood against his imperfect human rights rulings.  "

"Radical methods, be they revolutionary or violent, will not lead to a democratic order that is committed to human rights. One of the achievements of the Green Movement has been achieving a moral victory over the regime. The Green Movement needs a clear strategy, as the consequences of its actions, both wanted and unwanted, can affect everyone. Violent methods are not the solution to our problems. 

Our problem is that authoritarianism has been institutionalized in every aspect of our lives. Our history is the history of authoritarianism and despotism. The main challenge is the peaceful transition toward a democratic order that is committed to human rights. We have to think about it. And we have to find a solution. Otherwise, all the current momentum will end with a destructive slap. " 

 "All of us would be morally responsible if we end up in a dangerous and unwanted scenario. Instead of throwing gasoline onto the fire, we should put the fire out."


I wonder if we the 'outside' are as progressive as those inside

by oktaby on

My comments, respectfully, are not for readers who do not see Iranian uprising as a revolution or don't want it to be

It seems people inside Iran are very clear about the Secular nature of whatever is next, while respecting people's religious beliefs. It is hard to believe if anyone still pragmatically believes IRR will reform or compromise. It cannot for a slew of reasons. So suggesting that VF & whatever else must be removed is not a call to revolution but acknowledgement that this is a revolution and proceed to building its civic and civil foundations. Lets call it WHLOL-2010 (we have learned our lessons), or R79V2

It is also clear that the leadership must come from the university students & labor/professional activists (Osanloo, Tavakoli,...). We also know that IRR won't give in or compromise and we won't get there in one swoop so the path must be cleared for transitionary steps to get to a transitionary coalition that will work off of key *principles* to unite & derive a 'draft or preamble constitution' and referenda as the populus gets familiar with and educated on its details for a pre-determined but no less than 3 month or so period to ensure nothing slides under the table, before a final Referendum to approve that constitution.

With a new constitution at hand the elections can take place and once the new government is in place, the legislators can approve amendments for appropriate fine tuning based on further referendum or large majority congressional approvals. None of above is re-inventing the wheels and there is plenty of room for fine tuning and process adjustments.

Principles are actually the easiest part of this whole process and a great filter or a litmus test for all including the suspicious characters in Picture of this blog. They will unify. They will also identify. these are not intended to address all issues including differences of opinion or politics, but the basics without which the risks are as great or greater than rewards. If you don't buy these then you are not part of this Revolution:

Separation of religion & state (no ands, ifs or buts), Freedoms of speech, expression, religion,.... , please add yours, or copy/paste one from several progressive countries from around the world to fine tune for Iranian needs.



Akhoondeh Be-Ammameh ...

by Harpi-Eagle on

Dr. Mossadegh used to call Mehdi Bazargan, the only Akhhondeh Be-Ammameh in Iran, meaning "The only Turban-less Rozeh-Khoon in Iran".  In the case of Abdolali, "Like Father, Like Son".

Payandeh Iran, our Ahuraie Fatherland.


Let's Check the numbers!

by darius on

A country of 80 million Iranian with  at least 10 t0 20 million with a higher education can produce only 5 future leaders and 3 out of 5 , meaning 60% of these intellectuals are the IRI babies.

If you do not see the problem then my question is , who are 

promoting this people and trying to make them a public figure?

This is  really sad.


Choobeh Dosar Khala ...

by Harpi-Eagle on

"Choobeh Dosar Khala" That's what all the guys in the picture are, meaning they are not accepted by the the current muderous traitor regime in Iran, and they sure as hell are not accepted by the red blooded nationalist Vatan Parast Iranians.  As for Mohammad Khatami, he should be called "Kachal Hamzeh" as in "Koor Oghlo & Kachal Hamzeh" of Samad Behrangi.  He was the "Uber-Traitor" and the ace in the "Abaa" of Seyed Ali back in 1992-2000 who pasified and fooled our nation for 8 years.  This same traitor called that monster "Lajevardi" an honorable soldier of Iran.  We shall always say to these revisionists and apologists; "We shan't forget, and Never Again".  Shad zee.

Payandeh Iran, our Ahuraie Fatherland.

Ari Siletz

Mehrban, your main issue is addressed in the proposal

by Ari Siletz on

"...cancelation of the pre-approving screening by the guardian council, and formation of an independent commission consistent of the representatives of the protesters to the election results for legislating new criteria to enable fair and free elections."


This says the re-election will not be playing by the old rules of Velayat e Faghih. Naturally the regime won't accept, but the demand still serves as an adequate issue of focus for the Greens. We can't reasonbaly reject the proposal until we have gone through the challenge and bargaining process regarding regime change candidates in the election--which is equivalent to the referendum you suggest. 


Mehraban and Sima jaans this movement is just taking shape

by Anonymouse on

With every new day/protest in Iran this movement takes more shape and the regime thugs are making their positions more clear.  Their latest position is to kill them all. I believe you understand the magnitude of such an action.

I don't know if it'll happen but hope that it doesn't.  If it happens the chance that it'll galvanize more people against the regime is likely.  While such a reaction was not available in late 80s and Khavaran massacre, I believe it it exists now, like it existed during the 1979 revolution.  Because people have matured in this struggle.

Now I believe the goal is to collect as much as we can.  It is easy to dismiss anything and anyone.  But at some point we need to have more direction and seek tangible results.  I hope you don't underestimate the value of "Green Movement's" public announcements.  They want "wholesale" change too.  In my opinion they don't want another Khatami style reforms, while they understand its historic value.  Everyone except Khamanei & Ahmadi and their cronies want wholesale change.  So we should help them. Lets join forces.  

Everything is sacred.