Pahlavi, Rajavi, Commies … or reform-minded lady leader


Pahlavi, Rajavi, Commies … or reform-minded lady leader
by Shazde Asdola Mirza

Most of the “powerful” diaspora dissident groups, including the Pahlavi, Rajavi and Communists have not much appeal in Iran (each in the order of 1%). But unfortunately, they can distract people from fighting IRI; and even worse be used by IRI as the Boogeyman, to scare people from their struggle for democracy, and to label all the opposition under the unappealing titles of "Shahi, Monafegh and Commonist".

Those groups, however, have a democratic right to express their voices, and participate in the demonstrations and gatherings. But it would be better to see them carrying on more Action, and less Posturing. It will be better for them and for everyone, if they organize more and show-off less.

Have a look at how Khomeini organized his opposition and won Iran in 1979. He was very low-key, humble and even inclusive in his approach, not insisting on any point, except: "Shah Must Go"! He basically aimed for the narrow base of the Imperial Iran's inverted power pyramid, and very wisely, did not bother with much else.

Today, an equally simple approach can work too, but it must be inclusive. For example, "Death to IRI" will exclude all the reformists. Restoring monarchy, or bringing MEK to power or establishing Communism will be even less appealing.

In light of the biggest IRI weakness (Shiite ideology), I can think of the following three-prong approach:

1. Free all political prisoners;

2. Human rights for all Iranians;

3. Khamenei must go!

Those three, parallel the very successful slogans of the past revolution.

The human rights issue was first publicized by President Carter, and fully utilized by the opposition in the 1976-79 period. Women in Iran are systematically and institutionally abused, and have courageously given us the most prominent human rights fighters.

Release of all political prisoners, was a simple and strong demand, which once granted in the autumn of 1978, created a sense of strength and accomplishment. Mothers of political prisoners have been the most vocal group in fearlessly exposing the IRI abuses and brutalities in the prison system.

Very unwisely, Khamenei (like Shah) has now placed himself and his position of Velayat, right at the center of governance and oppression. Therefore, #3 can work against him too. Khamenei has become the symbol of ruthless Shiite dictatorship, and would be best replaced by a woman leader … symbol of the more tolerant and humane side of Iran.

Finally, the killing mentality and the death-worship among Iranian males, is too strong to prevent us from tearing ourselves and the whole country asunder. Hence there is a real need for a Lady Leader who can help us through the process of reform, reconciliation and renaissance.

Susan khanom and Ghamar khanom need not apply!


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Complexities of real life & simplifications of "model" building

by Zendanian on

Mirza jan, your worth is proven on these pages on a daily basis;  your readership is the proof.

As usual there are agreements on some points, and not on others.

- Competitive nature of politics in Western societies is a virtue. How any candidate for a public office in the West goes through so much scrutiny (from releasing of tax forms, to medical records,to...) should be a feature of politics for us as well. We all agree that debates in the British Parliment are very lively,... 

- Keeping these positives in mind, trying to implementing Western Liberal 'model' in Iran is a bit akin to Tudeh's attempts  in imposing  a Soviet model on Iran, or Maoists' trying to "encircling the cities from the countryside," like China. In other words the institutions of Civil Society in the West are a result of their own history, revolutions and movements against tyranny and despotism, most probably they can't be duplicated as 'models' for other countries.

- State ownwership of economy has proven to be a failure, so has "free market" (It's never as "free" as it sounds). What works the best is a combination of all three forms of economy:  an amalgamtion of Private, Public and Cooperative sectors, with the majority in Cooperative sector.

- Capitalism without regulations ends up where we find it today, in a big muddle. Slowly but surely Great Recession of 2008 is turning into Great Depression of 2008 (pretty much along the lines of Great Depressions of 1875,  and 1928). Did anyone mention structural crisis?

- Last but nor least (and I very much dislike to end on a not so positive note, but) hang on to your hats. When a writer like Paul Krugman, the conscience of the Liberal tradition, talks about a re-enactment of 1931, you know it going to be a bumpy ride,

The Great Abdication





Shazde Asdola Mirza

"A large number of QUALIFIED women who can do well in Iran!"

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Dear P_J:

Good point, except that the Iranian and other Islamist dominated women are routinely abused and oppressed.

That is too bad for the women ... even worse for the country! 

Shazde Asdola Mirza

"leadership of that Civil Society, tested and tried every day"

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Dear "Zendanian",

Thanks for your very kind compliments. Hopefully, I can be worthy.

Yes, the best Leadership should be tested and tried continueously; otherwise it falls into decay and decline. The best way, in my opinion, is the Western style liberal-democracy-capitalism.

Without Liberty of thought, speech and activity, there can be no Open Society.

Without Democracy and elected leaders, there can't be checks-and-balances.

Without free enterprise and ownership, people will be "owned" by the government, and "owned" people can't have liberty nor free vote.

That's why, I am against anything that ruins that Holy Trinity of Western civilization. 


fozolie jaan

by Reality-Bites on

Kennedy was concerned about the HR issue in Iran precisely because he was concerned that lack of HR/true democratic freedoms etc in Iran could destablise the country and drive people into hands of a leftist/Soviet supporting revolt.


Shazde, I could not agree more!

by P_J on

It is time for Iranian woman to step up to the plate and take charge, although they have been doing so for ages, by DEFACTO, now it is HIGH time to come out from the shadows and openly take charge.  Without any doubts intelligent men would be more than supportive.

Let’s face it how could they possibly do any worst!

We have seen great many women in charge all over the world, why couldn’t we?!  I am sure there are a large number of QUALIFIED women who can do well in Iran!


And there I was thinking we could make a coup

by fozolie on

By sending emails and blogging. 

Reality Bites Mr Kennedy was least concerned about HR in Iran but a Soviet/Russian communist inspired revolution (which as we know now was very close to happening after WW II and the Azarbaijan as well as the 53 fiascos). 

Mr. Fozolie


Regarding this point in the article:

by Reality-Bites on

"..The human rights issue was first publicized by President Carter, and fully utilized by the opposition in the 1976-79 period..."

I could be wrong, but I believe the HR issue was actually first publicized by Kennedy in the early 1960s, which led to the White Revolution reforms.


Structural Limitations of "Leadership" in Iran

by Zendanian on

Mirza jan, you're actually a pretty sophisticated writer, by all accounts, and don't shy away from a good fight. That's why I appreciate your writings in all your frames, and one of the main reasons I liked this site a few years back, and why I keep coming back. You didn't upset me at all, I was being frank with you since you're cultured and informed enough to be straight forward with.

As for the substance and significance of  our (virtual) conversation about Iran's "leadership" problem is concerened, as a few have already alluded to in here as well, it remains a structural one.

Structural limitation in the sense that, as long as we don't have a well established Civil Society whithin Iran; a Civil Society with all it functioning independent, autonomous institutions such as: media outlets, newspapers, judiciary, womens' organizations, students formations, labor unions,... (all that constitutes a proper Civil Society in 21 century) we'll always be short of a proper democarcy(people's rule).

The leadership of that Civil Society, tested and tried in every day protracted struggle for freedom and equality inside Iran against IR, would be our ultimate leadership. Needless to say no single group or tradition has a monopoly on any of this.

Shaad baash o shaad zy!



Works for me

by MM on

I have maintained that besides the implementation of the UN charter of the human rights, we should separate religion from politics as well as ensuring free elections happen.  I must admit that I never considered the AN crowd as allies since they also believe in the gloom and doom Mahdi, and a deep well as their salvation.  But, if just believing in the human rights units the people, that works for me.

However, I would feel a lot better if there was a way to insure the implementation of the UN charter of the human rights and prevent zombie factions from fishing in muddy waters, as an old proverb tells us. 

Shazde Asdola Mirza

فانوس جان

Shazde Asdola Mirza

I am not familiar with the comings and goings of the house of Mohammad and the "bayet" of Khomeini.

However, based on my personal experience, one has to pay extra for such naughty treatments!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

ویلدموس جان

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Yes, I am referring to all the women organizations (human rights, prisoner families and reformists) that have endured and progressed (slowly but surely) over the past decade, inside Iran.

As for the diaspora, there are women groups in US and Canada, with regular gatherings and activities too. However, my hope lies mostly with the Iran-based organizations.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

"Blind trust of a 'leader' is our problem through history."

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Dear Fozolie: you are 99% right, but please try to understand that I am not trying to solve all the Iranian political problems in a simple blog.

So when I talk about leadership and female leaders, it is more allegorical than literal.

The emphasis here is to show how the male dominated politics (full of piss and vinegar) has failed Iran (and in my view the whole Muslim world), and how it can benefit from more female and humane influences.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

"the variety and complexities of Left forces in Iran" ...

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

... has actually been their biggest problem, ever since the collapse of the Big Brother ship (Tudeh Party).

Zendanian aziz: no argument here that I'm clueless about "the variety of left", as perhaps most mere mortals are.

We all lost count of the Iranian Left, after the Tudeh party exploded into 10 pieces and each piece exploded into 10 ... and it went on so far that many Leftover groups were afraid to recruit anymore, lest the new members would "EnsheAab" and create new offshoots.

You are right, after leaving Iran 23 years ago; I have not been in touch with the Leftist activities. Sorry, if I have upset you by grouping the whole of Left beside the RP and MEK, but then again ... I'm just a simple man!

Shazde Asdola Mirza

مریم رجوی

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Dear Albaloo,

In my humble opinion, she is as qualified as Reza Pahlavi, which isn't saying much. It is very hard to shack the baggage of collaboration with Saddam.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

"the ones who have kept the voice of the opposition alive"

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Women have certainly done that, dear MM.

On the Velayat Faghih, I believe that it should be an issue for a post-victory referendum on the type of government, rather than a cornerstone slogan. Same for Democracy, as it implies a political choice rather than a political slogan.

For example, "Khamenei must go", can today be supported by a wide range: from supporters of AhmadiNejad ... all the way to the Shahollahi.

But then again, I'm just a simple man.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

"The struggle against Islamic fascism is struggle for Iran ..."

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Well said, Roozbeh dear.

However, on the "minor details" we still have our differences. For example, I don't believe in the "poor working-class kurdish" to be as much a qualification as perhaps liability.

As an unashamed elitist, I believe that the more successful, resourceful and thoughtful layers of society must rule it, in order to avoid a slip-and-fall towards anarchy and degradation.

We don't need any S-21 in Iran:



Shazdeh Jan, There is one woman

by fanoos on

Mohammad's wife, Khadeejeh! They say she grabbed him by the nuts and told him, hey, you are my &itch! Also, Khomeini's wife Battol who used to slap him around, I was told!


A charismatic leader

by مآمور on

it is a must for every revolution!! unless a strong military force like Nato would be running the show!! A revolution carried out by people and for people must have a leader with clear agenda!! just like Iran 1979 and late ayatollah Khomeni.

On the military note, that would be no available in Iran's case, since no one have enough courage to face us !!

the other option available before u find a leader that doesnt fart after having chelokabab and his or her(no problem with female as far as I m concerned) belly does not extend over the table!!is to deliver pizza while u r working on your map to regime change in Iran


I wear an Omega watch


    Vildemose dear,

by vildemose on



Vildemose dear,

Good news is that organization is already happening in Iran, by courageous women themselves. Our support can of course help.

Dear Shazdeh, I would love for you to address your comment above. Who are these "organization happening" in Iran? Are we talking about the Islamist reformist feminist groups (Ebadi et al)? Mousavi and Karoubi?? I have no idea who they are?

At any rate, I  thought your blog was about organizing Iranians outside of Iran not inside. I was mistaken.



Keeping things simple was how it all went wrong

by fozolie on

  Blind trust of a 'leader' is our problem through history.  Any just leader be it a monarch or a woman will not last till we build some lasting institutions and we are doomed to repeating history. Instead we should concentrate our effort in resolving modernism and its opponents which you allude to but shied away from.  I don't have a solution as we cannot even discuss the issues instead of carrying on the cults of personalities. 

We cannot even organise community groups.  When the Bam earthquake happened there was no way of reaching the Iranians in the UK. Even the consulate did not have a database of residents.  I see your vitriolic attacks against Niac. As well deserved as they may be, I don't see any attempt by its detractors to change it.

I cannot name one institution in the UK created by the Iranians that I can be proud of.  The only one I can say is Rostam School which you will be glad to know was created and is managed by A woman namely Mrs Taheri. 

Mr. Fozolie


Highly distortive, & still caught up in "leadership" quagmire!

by Zendanian on

All due respect, Mirza jan you still don't have a clue as to the variety and complexities of Left forces in Iran. Suffice it to say, that you reduce all of them to the unfortunate term of "Commies", a most distasteful left over of the Cold War, and thus distort the reality and history of the Left in Iran.

To begin with:

- In Iran we have many types of Left that are not communist or marxist. But for you and others this fact simply doesn't register in your cognition. Another sign of being stuck in Cold War mentality.

- While you and many others have been outside of Iran since 1979, there were many, many progressive Leftist individuals and groups that opposed both shah and khomeini and  have put up a most glorious struggle for freedom insidse Iran.

- Many of those Leftists you so easily dismiss, are actually the only ones inside Iran currently building the basic blocks of an Iranian Civil Society, through their daily struggle. Mass arrest of 60 labor activists in Karaj is only the latest example.

- These activists and the method of activities and how they go about their organizing efforts actually shows us the future of politics in Iran more than anything else. More than yet anothere "leader" getting "elected" outside of Iran, or ...

What does all this mean?

It means:

Overthrowing of IR will come about only and only through a protracted overt political struggle, through the ranks of Civil Society activists inside Iran: women's movement, students' movement, workers' movement,..

This struggle is out in the open, not clandestine. It resorts and appeals to all LEGAL means of organizing, and it aims to FORCE UNTO ISLAMIC REPUBLIC ITS LEGAL DEMANDS.

The leadership tested and tried through such protracted, legal, above the ground, mass struggle, is the leadership that will topple IR.

Ahmad ShamloMostafa Rahimi, fighters in Gonbad Kavos, Kurdestan, Leftist Feminists, and many many others from that tradition of Independent Leftists, inside Iran have had  much more substantial contributions in struggle against IR than any "diaspora" based writer or group.

Time to snap out of Cold War mentality, face the historical facts, and recognize complexities of politics in Iran. Cheers 


Shazdeh khan, who said we do not have a female leader!

by Albaloo on

Shazdeh khan, who said we do not have a female leader! 

 Massive Paris protest calls for toppling of Iranian regime



Sosan khanum, nice reply.

by Albaloo on

Sosan khanum, nice reply and I love your sense of humor! 


Democracy for Iran; NOW

by MM on

My slogan above is even shorter, SAM.

But, I would not mind a more detailed one as yours.  Although, i would  change the third one to: no  velayat-e faghih since khamenei is going to kick the bucket.  But, overal, I say: whatever works in order to find the common denominator amongst the Diaspora and the folks in Iran.

I also agree that the next leader need to be a woman since they were victimized the most and they have also been the ones who have kept the voice of the opposition alive, starting with their million signature campaign.



by onlyinamrica on

After 2500 or 3000 or 7000 years or whatever, Iranians are still fighting for their basic rights and no agreement on anything in sight. LOL :)))))))


This is not an ideological struggle...

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

The struggle against Islamic fascism is struggle for Iran, it's future, it's integrity  and all it's people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliations. 

Your "three prong approach", dear shazdeh is right on the spot. I call them three items around which all opposition should and could unite. We, as opposition abroad have indeed a duty to become the voice of Iran's political prisoners.

Having said that, in my opinion, there are certain catagories of Iranian people who by definition become the most uncompromising when it comes to dealing with islamist regime, hence their leadership would benefit the entire anti Islamist fascism Front, ensuring this revolution is not beaten by another counter revolution as in 1979. For example, take a politicaly aware poor working class, sunni, kurdish-iranian woman....

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Dear Fanoos: your signature gives me goosebumps!

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Nut cracker is a nice ballet, but not the way you use it.

Still, I challenge you to point out, one public-figure woman in Iran's history as brutal as any Iranian king.


Golshifteh for President

by religionoutofgovernment on

Here are her cabinet members:



Both Anglophile and Mousa67 could shed much light on this topic!


I miss them both. I wish they would come back!

Shlomo a friend of Anglo & Mousa!


“Lack of balls at birth”…..

by Bavafa on

Should not be a cause of concern but lack of balls (metaphorically) could and should certainly be a concern. Agha Mohammad lacked balls yet he had guts, though ruthless as noted. Other Ghajaris had balls yet lacked any guts or wisdom hence the looting of Iran. Fast forward to the present day and to my view of RP:I think his failure to excite people as a leader has more to do with his lack of balls (guts/wisdom) and less to do with the baggage the he carries.  Arguable his entire recognition/support is solely based on the name (Pahlavi) some call it baggage.  Otherwise what has he done in the past thirty years to earn the people's trust.

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory