The Iranian Tragedy


After 33 years of living under an oppressive military-theocracy, Iranians have not been able to form a united secular-democratic opposition, either inside the country or in Diaspora. No matter what the socio-political and mass psychological reasons for this failure, this constitutes the most tragic historical fact in the contemporary Iranian politics.

12/10/2011 - 08:22


a couple of questions for Azadeh

by MM on

* Why are the chairs empty?  No one worth occupying them, or too fragmented to form a decernible / real figure(s)?

* Why is there a "pussy"-cat depicted at the bottom of the chair representing the United Secular Democratic front in the Diaspora?

I won't repeat all the points others have brought up, but very meaningful cartoon.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

I agree with Ayatoilet

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

We need to stop this self bashing which is no different than Ashura. There are some who act as it Iran has been in a static "military dictatorship" for 33 years. This is absolute nonsense I  give you what I  really happened in the past 33 years.

  • 1) In 1979: The revolution starts for the first years or so there is a transition. Relative freedom and lots of hope. People are willing to give the new regime a chance. 
  • 2) November 1979 the hostage crisis happens. That overshadows all other issues. People are taken off guard. There is lots of turmoil; governments change. All this time Khomeini is gaining power. 
  • 3) In September 1980 Iraq attacks. Again people are taken off guard; the attention goes to fighting the war not gaining "democracy". That is why Khomeini viewed it as a blessing. It allowed him to secure his power. 
  • 4)War is over in 1988; reconstruction begins which take all the focus. People are willing to accept hardship and no democracy. 
  • 5)In 1989 Khomeini dies and Khamenei takes over. 
  • 6)More turmoil until things get stable under Khamenei. 
  • 7)Then the Khatami reform period happens. With at least somewhat fair elections. Many people including me hoped for reform. That took until 2005 when it was getting clear reform was not going to happen. 
  • 8) Then AN and took a while to figure out he is a nut.
  • 9)Finally the cheated elections; people really mad.

In reality it has only been3-4 years that people realize IRI is beyond reform.Therefore this business about 33 years is junk. It has been three years that people realize we need a regime change for sure. 



by ayatoilet1 on

If Iranians go arround putting themselves down, we will never rise above the bullshit. I don't care how many political parties there are; we have to simply believe in ourselves and our greatness as a nation.

If a leader emerges, everyone will rally arround him/her. There is a crisis of leadership ...anda big part of that ithat ultimately it comes down to people believing that really can have a better life and future. It comes down to hope. It comes down to optimism. It comes down to constructive thinking.

There are countless parties in any democratic state. Just like there are multiple soccer/Football teams that vie for any trophy. That doesn't mean you don't play. That doesn't mean you won't win. It should not mean you don't train or go to practices.

Your post is tantamount to saying lets not show up to practice cause we won't win the trophy or tournament anyway. That is stupid. You have to work at it. You have to push hard - no matter what. You have to believe.

If the mullahs in Iran have accomplished anything is - they have destroyed Iranian beliefs. They had destroyed Islam. They have destroyed Iranian self-esteem (belief in ourselves). They have destroyed Iranian hostory and culture - our belief in our culture and history. They have destroyed our belief in each other (our sense of community). They have also destroyed other nation's belief in Iranian's capacity to bring positive change in Iran...

Lets stop being hard on ourselves. And for once believe in our selves. We are a great nation, lets rise up to the challenge. We have an opportunity to kick off these mullahs from power, and create a great nation again that can be a new engine of a regional economy (Central Asian Union) and of the global economy.

Let rise about the bullshit - and constantly put ourselves down. And live our lives with hope for the future.


My comment was deleted

by ahosseini on

 I presume because it was too long

A response to religionout of goverment ans Masoud >>>>>>

Believe in a democracy that leaders and representatives are controlled by members at all times.


"three Iranians, four political parties"

by پندارنیک on

How true.............and sadly funny...............or funnily sad..........


Excellent piece of work

by Rea on

Just by reading IC: three Iranians, four political  parties.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Regarding people & attitude

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


ahosseini  Obviously we can not change the attitude of individual groups.

That is where you are wrong. How did Safavids change  a Sunni and Zoroastrian Iran to Shia. By force; threat and outright murder. Therefore yes if one is willing to use those measures. Now in "civilized" world we are not supposed to do that. 

But we are not dealing with civilized people or a natural religion. Therefore anything goes. If we want to be rid of Islam it will take a lot of work and maybe some force. It is interesting how it was fine to have Islamic forced at the point of the sword. But now we are not allowed to react in kind. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Iran needs secularism; that does not mean banning Islam. It does mean Muslims need to respect others. If they don't I see no problem in using force properly.

Democracy does not give majority the right to impose their "religion" on me. It is the misconception of Islamists (not you). People have inalienable rights which no vote may take. Therefore either dear Muslims get used to it or be left behind.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: may I dare explain your fn, problem ? AND OFFER AN ANSWER !

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


We tried an Islamic approach and if failed totally and irredeemably and beyond repair. Yes there are those who go visits a burial place despite all sense. But that is not the future that will advance a nation; if you go to Iraq visit Ctesiphon not Karbala.

If between that and annihilation I take the annihilation. But it is not because many Iranian people figured out Islam is a dead end. I suggest we take whatever time necessary. Whatever risks and pains and avoid Islam.

In other words I'd be dead before I work toward another Islamic republic. I accept Muslims living in a secular state. But to me Iran is an occupited nation while under Islamic rule. So no thanks Islam had its 1400 year chance and failed miserabely.


may I dare explain your fn, problem ? AND OFFER AN ANSWER !

by bushtheliberator on

    All the ' secular-democratic ',royalist,Leftist, to

Vegetarian Iranian trends are irrelevant without Islamic leadership ! Recognize that your 'secular-democratic ' aspirations for Iran can only be realized by a struggle within Islam.

Again, ONLY the clerics have the arrows sharp enough to kill the Beast ! Do you hate Islam & all the Beards ?? Just get over it if you want a coalition that can transform Iran. Did you note how Iranian pilgrims distain the threat of bombs to visit shrines in Iraq ? Forget the Commies, those are the Iranians that you'll need.



by religionoutofgovernment on

I agree with all you said and thanks for the clarification. However, I do believe there is also a fraction of the monarchists who do believe in a reigning monarch as a "figure of unity". My point is not to argue the role of monarchy here, or whether it is democratic in nature. My point is that if they do want to adhere to a democratic system and promote their views in such a system, then they should be included. I believe that RP has said he is first pursuing democracy, within which monarchy would be one one many choices for people to choose in a referendum. I think that view is fair as long as he means a reigning monarchy. I have nothing to add on the greens.

Ari Siletz

Well observed, Azadeh

by Ari Siletz on

"No matter what the socio-political and mass psychological reasons for
this failure, this constitutes the most tragic historical fact in the
contemporary Iranian politics."

Masoud Kazemzadeh


by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

ROOG:  And to Masoud, the groups in the letter you posted are a good start but still very narrow. Most are leftist groups (majority, minority etc etc) which I am happy to see (why only JM-Germany??).

However, you cannot ignore the monarchists and the Greens, simply because of their numbers and supporters. The question is whether a significant portion of these groups will adhere to secularism and democracy. By narrowing down the common denominator to only 2 conditions: 1) secularism 2) Democratic government, more groups will be included in a coalition.




Dear ROOG,

We regard Iranian monarchists to be terribly anti-democratic. In the general way, the very institution of monarchy is an anti-democratic institution. One does not periodically elect the monarch. A country may be a democracy to the extent that the monarch has not actual power and is a remnant of the past, which had lost all its actual powers. In other words, a country may be a democracy not due to monarchy, but despite of it (and due to the fact that the monarch has no actual real power). 

In Iran, Pahlavist monarchists have a terribly tyrannical past and have not apologized or recanted their crimes against the Iranian people. To support the Pahlavists makes as much sense as to support the fundamentalists, if one wants democracy in Iran. In 1978-79, the people did not know about fundamentalists, but today we do know about the monarchists.  We have not seen RP to clearly condemn the horrible policies of his father.  He only says some minor general stuff.

Greens are many groups. There is a faction that is the reformist faction of the fundamentalist oligarchy (Mousavi, Karrubi, Khatami, Rafsanjani). The reformist factions of the fundamentalist oligarchy are neither for secularism nor for democracy. The position of INF and JM is that as long as these resist the hard-line element, we will support them. But it should be clear that our goals are very different than their goals. We do not want to reform and prolong the vf system. We want to replace the vf regime with a secular democratic republic.

There is also the secular democratic elements in the Green movement; those who shouted the slogans: "Esteghlal, Azadi, Jomhuri Irani," and "Naa Sharghi, Naa Gharbi, Jonhuri Irani." We regard JM to be among this group.

I hope this is helpful.





To All

by religionoutofgovernment on

There is no question that there are many groups with differing political views. To me it is very simple, the smaller the common denominator the bigger the number of people you get in a coalition.

Mr. Hosseini you cannot dictate your terms in a coalition. And to Masoud, the groups in the letter you posted are a good start but still very narrow. Most are leftist groups (majority, minority etc etc) which I am happy to see (why only JM-Germany??). However, you cannot ignore the monarchists and the Greens, simply because of their numbers and supporters. The question is whether a significant portion of these groups will adhere to secularism and democracy. By narrowing down the common denominator to only 2 conditions: 1) secularism 2) Democratic government, more groups will be included in a coalition.


1. Yes 2.

by JustAnIranian on

1. Yes

2. Yes

 Democracy does not mean that different people should not have different views. On the contrary, it means that different groups and organizations are allowed with different views. It means people should be tolerant enough to discuss their ideas -- without the presence of violence. A group that can not dialog, is not democratic.

All these groups should be able to TALK. Negotiation and dialog are the FIRST step towards democracy.

I am still hoping that one day, these groups will be able to TALK and hold negotations. Even though it is very clear to me that TALKING without TAAROF is not one of the strong points of the Iranian mentality.

I repeat: Saying that what Azadeh said is nonsense, is NOT constructive.

 It is the truth and I will repeat: مایه خجالت است


The truth is always better than lies. Even if it hurts...  



by religionoutofgovernment on

Would you please post a link to the articles you are referring to.

Also, please do not use bold text.




Azadeh the issue is Iranians are Anti-many things

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

but in practice this is not enough.  Very true & obvious point you highlight.



by ahosseini on

 I am not against  organisations getting united to get rid of the most backward regime in the world. Once the entire nation got united and brought Khomaini to power.

You can only unite, if we have the same aims and objectives. Do we know what the aims and objectives are? We have the whole spectrum of secular groups. There are seculars who are monarchists, and there are those who believe in democracy and seculars who belog to various communist tendencies. do they all want the same thing? can they really unite?  

This all started with Ismaeil Nouri Ala's article calling for unity of secular Iranian groups and article signed by Nouri Ala, Khoie and others. Both Khoie and Nouri Ala imply that we should rally around the US troops to bring the IRR down.  This is a non starter and is going to bring chaos to the society and perhps world.

If Nori Ala wants to unite people using this platform then he should come up with a set of proposals and ask groups and individuals to  discuss  the proposals and eventually come up with a resolution that is accepted by the majority.  Telling stories as how he met Forough or ... does not help. Forough was a great poet. She was not a  politician. What value would that bring to our cause?

Lastly, in general, majority of the Iranian political groups have been behaving very badly. It is not a bad idea to put pressure on them to clean up their acts.

No one is going to believe any of these groups promissing heaven on earth. Never mind heaven on earth, just show us how you go from step 1 to step 2 . That is all I am saying. 


Ecellent Message & Work as

by Arthimis on

Ecellent Message & Work as usual Azadeh Khanoom... Thank you.  And I also agree with many here and in particular fesenjoon2 (unfortunately).

The unfortunate fact is that with the exception of those who put their precious lives on the line against Islamic Republic in this past 32 dark years of Iran's history (on all levels....), Iranians as a nation so far have proved that they are not brave enough as a whole. They are passive , superstitious, opportunists, single minded, fearful and bi-polar. For their own personal safety, interest and advantage, so far they have sold themselves and their country...

No other nation in the whole wide world would sell their country like the way we Iranians did and still do... 

We need to change ourselves as a nation before anything else and that is unfortunately not very easy ... 1400 years of poison is deep inside Iran and so called Iranians...Be Omid Bidari va Azadi Iran & Iranian... 

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Honoring the Sacrifices of our Brave Opposition Men and Women

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

1. I agree with Roozbeh, that a lot is going on inside and outside Iran, which may not be on the public view. Our opposition leaders are a lot better today than at anytime in our history.

For example, we have great cooperation among pro-democracy forces:


and there are good cooperation among various secular forces, 9 of which just issued a joint declaration 2 days ago:



2. Considering that we are dealing with a religious fascism in Iran, our opposition is still alive inside and outside and working hard despite horrendous circumstances. Religious fascism is one of the worst and most formidable oppressing entities in the world. Moreover, it has access to:

2.1. over 90 BILLION dollars every single year;

2.2. the proclivity of so many who sell their services to anyone who is in government in Iran;

2.3. the counter-productive behaviour of many (including the cartoonist, who more often than not attacks and insults various opposition figures and groups than either pro-vf regime or groups like NIAC or CASMII). Ms. Azad has insulted Dr. Bagherzadeh. Has she also insulted Dr. Trita Parsi or Dr. Abbas Edalat? Ms. Azad has attacked PMOI, but has she also used the exact same attacks on NIAC or CASMII?

One of the problems for the lack of unity is on what basis to unify. Ms. Azad has HER OWN groups of in and out (e.g., she attacks the PMOI) . Others have THEIR own analysis on what group should be in and out (e.g., others attack Reza Pahlavi among the opposition groups, and groups like NIAC and CASMII which promote policies that provide billions and billions of dollars to the vf regime every single year). Therefore, the problem with having no unity.

It is a fact that we each have different analysis and based on OUR own analysis, we work or do not work with other opposition groups. It is easy to say why all the opposition groups do not unite. But there exists serious differences on who is secular, who is democratic, and what is the best tactic, or the best strategy, and what to do with non-democratic opposition groups. The differences are over serious issues. It is simplistic not to realize the actual differences.

Our opposition groups have done a lot more than Ms. Azad has done. They have given so many of their members and supporters for the cause of freedom and democracy in Iran, as they see it. They actually have sacrificed their own lives, liberties, jobs, wealth, and time. We should be fair and appreciate what they have done instead of belittling their great sacrifices. A lot more needs to be done. We should express our gratitude for all the brave activities and great sacrifices of our opposition figures. They are brave and wonderful men and women of integrity and honor.

My 2 cents,





by religionoutofgovernment on

The point of this blog is the lack of a united opposition. In your post, you demonstrate exactly why! You bash all groups, and you want me to argue with you point to point. I am not going to defend anybody or any group on any specific historical action. There is no person or group who has not made mistakes in the past. No one. But you are missing the whole issue here. No one and certainly the people of Iran have not appointed you as their judge for groups and people. No one really cares what you or I say. We all care about a democratic system where all these people and groups can present their political views and can operate freely under a democratic constitution. May be you don't realize, but your comments convey a view opposite to such an inclusive vision of a secular democratic Iran.



by religionoutofgovernment on

I understand. I have to say I read your first post twice before realizing it was directed to the blogger and not any of the comments. I think JustanIranian also misunderstood your post as being directed at him.

I took the blog for just what it is saying, a lack of united secular democratic opposition. Could you be reading too much into this post?


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

How many were for Jomhory Islamy in 1960s on

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I asked this before and will again; in my youth Jomhory Islami was real hip. Based on the crap spewing out of Shariati; Al Ahmad and others most supported it. I want to know how many of you were for it then and now see different.

It is really easy to jump on the bandwagon when it is hip. It is difficult to go against stupidity when all others are for it. I never forget the idiotic speech by Golesorkhi in his trial. Finding justice and whatever in Islam. What a nut.

How many of you went for it and how many opposed it. People who are too young are obviously out of the picture. But their parents condemned them to this hell jerks.


It's because Iranians are stupid, that's why

by Fesenjoon2 on

The average American may not be able to locate Afghanistan on a map. But the average Iranian is so stupid that he would rather live in a cave and be sodomized by a mullah for 32 years, than have regime change. 

I am reminded of this fact, each time I see pictures like these:


(I especially like the one in blue jeans and boots. hah! mamlekat-e akhoondi haqetooneh.)

And each one of these majzoobeen-e velaayat has a close relative in CAN/US/AUS. You can count on it. Some of them are even here on IC! 


Something to think about

by JahanKhalili on

I remember that Noam Chomsky was saying that a close examination of the history of the development of democracies shows that where there was the least outside interference, the development was the most and where there was the most outside interference, development was the least.



by ahosseini on

 You express your opinion and I express mine.

You can reject any of the points in my comments and give reason as why you think the points are not achievable or practical. Please keep calm, be reasonable and do not throw insult.

Do I ask anyone to follow my lead? Do I imply in any way that my vote should count more than anyone else.

See my slogan below.

Believe in a democracy that leaders and representatives are controlled by members at all times.


religionoutof government:

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

I like your questions and myanswer to both of them is an emphatic yes. 

But my original comment, addressed to the cartoonist- and catrtoonist only- was in response to her naive view of current struggle in Iran, where she seems to see it as a struggle between obama and mullahs over oil. This is the view currently shared or cultivated by all that fake "opposition" I mentioned. The struggle and indeed the real opposition which is missing from the cartoon is what I said. My view has nothing to do with some "romantic viwe of working classes". It is based on realistc understanding of which social classes have the means and can bring real and meaningful changes to the society.   

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


A lack of understanding

by JahanKhalili on

The automobile was introduced into Iran from the outside. Iranian drivers suck at its use.

The ideas of secularism and democracy also came from outside of Iran, and Iranians who claim to practice or believe in either, also suck at them. 

Iranians haven't been through a historical development stage where they could fully grasp or appreciate these things.

Their understanding of them is very superficial and shallow. 



by JahanKhalili on

Iranians are consumed with buzzwords they don't even understand.

Iranians are a very religious and non-democratic people.

Iranian atheists are very religious, and even Iranians who say they like democracy are very non-democratic.

You cannot produce something out of its opposite.



by religionoutofgovernment on

ما نباید تحت هیچ عنوان فریب کلمات زیبا و دهان پر کن آزادی, دموکراسی,حقوق بشر, ... را بخوریم.



What gives you the right to determine who people should belive and who they shouldn't? Your post is a divisive one, and exactly what this blog is talking about!! You are the epidemy of what is wrong with our political culture. Your post conveys a self-righteous attutude which plagues our so called opposition figures. Let me remind you that your vote should not and will not count more than any other Iranian. 


Questions for JustanIranian and Roozbeh

by religionoutofgovernment on

1) Do you believe in Iran religion should be completely separate from politics, ie secularism?

2) Do you belive that the system should be democratic, ie the government should represent the people, determined by their votes. There will be no ruling monarch and no one-party system, no appointed "representatives", no public policy in contrast to public opinion, and no force feeding public policy to people despite their wished and votes?

I agree with whoever saying yes to both questions.