More Dispatches from Tehran

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iran+protest1.jpgThis is a guest note written by an anonymous student in Tehran. Sent to The Washington Note at 3:50 am on 17 June 2009.
So long as the “process” is underway with the Guardian Council I don’t foresee things spinning way out of control. What happened in Azadi, the shootings, wasn’t systematic. I’m holding my breath to see what will happen in 8-10 days, when the decision comes down
…I’m afraid for that day. Again, I cannot emphasize enough, that they’ve overstepped and this time the foot didn’t land just on the necks of university kids. Mothers and daughters are being shot and beat, thankfully not a lot, but these are the same people who were out the
week before the election. Soccer game today at 3 pm against North Korea (go figure), a positive outcome means that Iran is going to the World Cup.
Personally, I’m holding out for a ’68 Olympics, Mexico City, “black power” moment…Wouldn’t it be something if the players said something?
******************************************
Roughly-Hewn Debate — Sent 4:47 am, 15 June 2009
Again, there are two levels of action right now, the unstructured protest on the streets beginning in the late afternoon and escalating at night. In my own apartment complex this morning (2 am) we were woken up to screams and shouts. Kids from the building and elsewhere had been engaging in rock fights in the adjoining street and had run \into the complex (a typical “tower” found in almost all of the developing world). Families went out to the fire escape to look down to see what had happened. Turns out that special police had rushed into the complex, followed by “basijis” or paramilitary forces, basically thugs on motorbikes with helmets and batons. It was reported that they had electric rods and, to the shock of many, machetes. Several people were wounded and taken away and much of the first floor and entrance of the complex was destroyed.
A dramatic exchange ensued after two hours…the gate locked, the elders of the complex in heated discussion with representatives of the basiji forces…”Why if you’re chasing after someone have you come into our homes and beat women and children, broken all of our glass and busted the windshields on the cars in the underground parking.” The basijis left with the situation unresolved.
iran streets.jpgWhat is remarkable about this scene is the role of elders trying to mediate, to speak rationally in order to resolve the problem. This is unlikely to last as the situation becomes more and more about force. On buses and in taxes you hear voices saying what’s the point, they’re all the same, why fight it, etc.., but then every night and even during the day clashes are occurring. This week will be critical…if the conflict can be sustained—Tehran is steadily coming to a standstill—then it is possible that the situation will enter a new phase. Either way, have no doubt, the IRI is over. A leading cleric has already announced, it’s no longer the Islamic Republic (jomhuri e Islami) but the Islamic government (hookoomat e Islami). Whether now or in a few months or years, the
game is over.
I attended the Vali Asr demonstration for Dr. A yesterday afternoon and the turnout was impressive, mostly families and obviously religious types (momen in Farsi). Many asked that I take their pictures and the mood was festive, defiant. It is critical that you know that the chants were minimally against Mousavi. Almost all were directed against Rafsanjani. He is seen as the big threat, and this election is turning out to be an outstanding feud between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad in alliance with the Supreme Leader. What will be
interesting is to see what Rafsanjani does next, particularly as he is regularly described as the “power behind the power,” the man with real pull in Iran, etc.. What will he do?
Mousavi, while known to be a man who does not back down (I know this directly from a man who worked with him directly on the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution), is also likely, like Khatami, to (at least at first) to try to calm the situation down, which is what
we have already seen him do. This means that the movement and action out in the streets thus far lacks clear leadership.
Notably, Ahmadinejad in his victory address broadcast on live television announced that it no longer matters who was with the “Imam” (in Iran the usual honorific given to the late Ruhollah Khomeini). What matters is what you’ve done now.
We are hearing word that Karrobi has announced that he will no longer wear his clerical garb. Karrobi, who famously and loudly claimed that Dr. A stole the election from him four years ago, feels that he has been humiliated again. There is simply no way that he received around 400,000 votes — his known supporters were more than this. Focus on this stat for proof of how bogus this election has been.
Goebbels may have said that only the Big Lie will do, but that was good for 1930s Germany not Iran today.
In Tehran information is being passed around by phone and word of mouth, SMS is still down, facebook is blocked though easily accessed with a filter-buster.
Finally, and this may be the most important piece of news, I personally heard “Marq bar Khamanei” (death or down with Khamanei) said quickly and once last night. A neighborhood reported that it was more than once…if true, and I don’t know if it is, this marks a significant turning point. Up until now the chants had been “Marq bar dictator” meaning Ahmadinejad. To chant against the Supreme Leader is an incredible taboo…please see Charles Kurzmann’s book “The Unthinkable Revolution” for context as to why this is important…In 1979 everyone wanted the Shah to fall but no one believed that is was thinkable. Then, for some reason, it became so, the movement reached
a moment of viability. While this did not guarantee the revolution’s success, it was a necessary condition for events to move forward. Has the same happened now in Iran?
The 1979 Revolution, once in motion, took months to play out but inside of it no knew what was exactly happening, how long it would take, or whether there would be a successful conclusion. The same applies to the situation now.
— Anonymous Student in Tehran

Comments

26 comments on “More Dispatches from Tehran

  1. David says:

    No reason to think the Commission would give us a comprehensive, truly transparent report. It was designed not to.
    But I had no trouble realizing those buildings would accordian. I was watching CNBC that morning with my Sweetie, saw the second hit in real time, and at first thought the speck was a helicopter circling to lend some kind of assistance. I told my Sweetie both of the buildings were going to accordian, and wondered why they delayed getting everyone they could the hell out of the first one asap, rather than telling them to stay put. I also knew the firemen were walking into their deaths. You can’t ram buildings like that with jets loaded with kerosene fuel at anything below maybe the very top floor and not have the support system fail (all it had to do is be significantly compromised, esspecially since the metal facades were part of the structural support), with the resulting accelerating collapse of each floor below. Jesus, people.
    As for reputable authorities and their various theories, egos are at play, evidence is subject to alternate interpretations, and I can see where the Bush administration had an interest in conspiracy theories as a distraction, especially one that would lump everyone challenging the standard line and wanting a fuller investigation into the tin hat crowd. Have no idea who could or would have called on assets to lend credibility to conspiracy theories, nor what facts would prove problematic for the administration, but the buildings collapsed because they were struck by jet airliners, loaded with fuel, at opportune heights, buildings vulnerable to such collapses after such traumatic compromises of their support systems. All the metals had to do was lose full strenght because of the heat, concrete explodes from heat, and breaches in support systems cause failure in other parts of the system.
    Besides, this is a conspiracy it really would be damned near impossible to cover up – no, make that impossible. It didn’t get stopped because the Bush administration was gazing at Star Wars, and the most important story is the sheer incompetence of Cheney/Bush.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yeah, well, I guess it “makes sense” that some Israeli spammers could have caused the unrest in Iran. You must pass over the straw and go straight for the horse shit. But keep pushing it: There appears to be a endless market for your type of “thinking” on TWN”
    Hey, fuck you. Heres what Franklin said….
    “Clearly there are some people who think that a 64 percent vote is within the realm of the possible for Ahamdinejad on a first ballot (e.g. Chavez and Kim Jung Il included — as well as some 9/11 Truthers here in the states)”
    Now, tell me, do you consider Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty “9/11 truthers”? What about Scott Ritter? Is he a “9/11 truther” too?
    Truth is, you jackasses resort to any despicable tactic known to man in your efforts to discredit people that don’t quote from your script.
    “9/11 truthers”, my ass.
    No one here has claimed the “Israeli spammers caused the unrest in Iran”, nor have I ever seen anyone at TWN claim that “the towers were knocked down by Israeli commandos setting charges”.
    So who’s peddlin’ horseshit, you dissingenuous jackass?

    Reply

  3. Outraged American says:

    Check out some of the “9/11 Truthers” credentials before you
    mock everyone who wants a real 9/11 investigation. There are
    many very accomplished people who have backgrounds in the
    military and in diplomatic circles who want a new investigation.
    Questioners of the official 9/11 narrative include Lt. Colonel
    Karen Kwiatowski, who witnessed firsthand Israeli agents coming
    out of Feith’s Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon in the run-
    up to our second invasion of Iraq.
    There are prominent diplomats, military personnel, engineers,
    pilots, architects and academics questioning the official 9/11
    narrative, and a simple web search would find them.
    All the general public hears about are the 9/11 kooks, because
    that’s all the powers-that-be want us to hear about. The last
    thing the government wants is any credibility lent to the 9/11
    truth movement because 9/11 allowed a massive power grab by
    the government, especially the executive branch, and endless
    war under the guise of fighting “terror.”
    We owe it to ourselves and to every American who has died
    supposedly fighting for our freedom, and every Iraqi, Pakistani
    and Afghan who has died, and every person we’ve tortured or
    imprisoned without charges, and everyone whose phone has
    been tapped or email read, or who is on some kind of list, as a
    result of our “war on terror,” to have a real investigation of what
    happened.
    Here’s an essay Kwiatowski wrote about the 9/11 Commission
    report:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/kwiatkowski/kwiatkowski88.html

    Reply

  4. Outraged American says:

    I was at an antiwar/ anti-Bush rally in L.A. just after Bush was
    not elected the second time. We were all hanging-out with our
    cardboard peace signs, singing Kumbaya and picking nits out of
    each others’ dreadlocks when suddenly, what to our wondering
    eyes should appear, but tanks.
    Or rather, somethings that looked like tanks, replete with men
    who looked like soldiers, carrying things that looked like guns.
    Could it be that we were having our own Tianenmen Square in
    The Entertainment Capitol of the World? Sure seemed like it,
    especially after the tanks went around the block and then came
    back and stopped in front of us.
    It was then that I realized that the pen, or at least the Sharpie I’d
    used to scrawl “US out of Iraq, no attack on Iran” or some such
    rubbish, on my sign, (which was made out of cardboard from a
    Coke carton and a big twig — a lethal weapon to be sure) was
    not mightier than the sword.
    A few brave souls stepped in front of the tanks, but most of us
    just stood around with a “WTF?” look on our faces. I mean, this
    was Wilshire Blvd. not Red Square. Surely the U.S. military
    wouldn’t fire on peaceniks, if only because we were surrounded
    by incredibly wealthy UCLA coeds? They might hit a Spielberg or
    a Howard and then there’d be hell to pay.
    The official version of the cover-up was that the tanks had
    taken a wrong turn off the 405. They were supposed to go left
    (west) towards the National Guard armory, and instead had gone
    right to land up in front of the Federal Building in Westwood,
    where conveniently enough, an antiwar/ anti-Bush
    demonstration was taking place.
    So, the tanks showing up at a peace rally wasn’t about
    intimidating the antiwar movement, or rather, the few Angelenos
    stupid enough to think that they could stop the military/
    industrial complex/ Israel Lobbies from further carnage. It was
    about PURE STUPIDITY.
    State-of-the-art GPS systems weren’t enough to guide our
    valiant troops off of one of the busiest and best known
    intersections in the world and tell them to make a left turn not a
    right one.
    Nor was the gi-normous flag flying over the armory a couple
    hundred yards away in the other direction, clearly visible from
    the freeway.
    Instead, the tanks lost their way TWICE, coming around the
    block a second time, missing the clearly marked signs on
    Sepulveda the second time and purportedly making the same
    mistake.
    Or maybe the second time the tanks showed-up at the peace/
    anti-Bush rally it was intimidation. I mean seriously, very few
    antiwar activists are pretty enough to ogle, even the ones who
    have teeth, so there was no real reason for the tanks to park in
    front of us.
    I’ve never touched a gun before or since, but that night put me
    in the Amen Corner of Second Amendment supporters, because
    a twig is about as ineffective at holding up a peace sign as it is
    in stopping a tank.

    Reply

  5. Michael says:

    Yeah, well, I guess it “makes sense” that some Israeli spammers
    could have caused the unrest in Iran. You must pass over the
    straw and go straight for the horse shit. But keep pushing it: There
    appears to be a endless market for your type of “thinking” on TWN.

    Reply

  6. Franklin says:

    Michael,
    Well-said.
    Outraged American,
    Effectively Afghanistan fits your model — and no, the proliferation of firearms hasn’t guaranteed people a civil society or security. The opposite has happened.
    The hardliners may have the guns, but the opposition has the numbers and the brains. The more violence the hardliners need to maintain their authority; the more they erode their legitimacy with the people.
    If people ultimately need arms to protect themselves, I would guess that there are probably plenty of arms in country. If some need to be brought in, odds are they can get them in via smugglers routes the same way that opium is brought into the country.
    A civil war though would bring about an even greater tragedy than the loss of 50-100 lives (if 50-100 give their lives in the name of peace — and that’s all the blood that is shed — those few are rightfully viewed as martyrs for peace).

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yeah, well I guess not everyone believes the towers were knocked down by Israeli commandos setting charges”
    You exist totally on straw, or do you vary your diet? I would suggest some alfalfa occassionally, because its the rare jackass that can stay healthy on such a limited diet.

    Reply

  8. Outraged American says:

    Maybe if Iran had a Second Amendment the people wouldn’t be
    helpless against machetes…and “dictators.”

    Reply

  9. Michael says:

    Yeah, well I guess not everyone believes the towers were knocked
    down by Israeli commandos setting charges.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The issue of election fraud is separate. Clearly there are some people who think that a 64 percent vote is within the realm of the possible for Ahamdinejad on a first ballot (e.g. Chavez and Kim Jung Il included — as well as some 9/11 Truthers here in the states)”
    Gotta love the way you weaseled in that “9/11 truther” bit. Predictable. Gads, some of you are despicable.

    Reply

  11. MIchael says:

    Franklin: “Some of the Twitter information is legit — these are
    people who were Tweeting during the campaign in the run up to
    the election. Some of the photos and images check out too.”
    Franklin, what is the assertion here at bottom?
    That Israelis spammed Twitter heading into the election?
    That Israelis are responsible for inciting the unrest post-
    election?
    That the demonstrations are somehow the creation of Israeli
    activists?
    It’s not hard to believe that Israelis wanted to defeat Ahmad, but
    equally, it’s not hard to believe that millions of Iranians wanted
    him defeated, too, and are pissed off by what appears to be
    “some” election fraud, if not in the end result then in the
    numbers.

    Reply

  12. Franklin says:

    erichwwk,
    Some of the Twitter information is legit — these are people who were Tweeting during the campaign in the run up to the election. Some of the photos and images check out too.
    The items that appear in the NY Times Lede blog, Huffington Post, and Andrew Sullivan appear to be multi-sourced.
    The bit about Hezbollah involvement was a StopAhmadi post, I believe, so I would take it with a grain of salt. Andrew Sullivan posted it without comment, Nico at HuffingtonPost didn’t because he couldn’t source the information.
    At this point I would view much of the Twitter info with a degree of skepticism.
    The issue of election fraud is separate. Clearly there are some people who think that a 64 percent vote is within the realm of the possible for Ahamdinejad on a first ballot (e.g. Chavez and Kim Jung Il included — as well as some 9/11 Truthers here in the states).
    It’s pretty clear that the election numbers were invented out of thin air. It’s an open question whether Ahmadinejad would have won if there was a legitimate vote count. The numbers that were tabulated and publicized though were pure b.s.

    Reply

  13. erichwwk says:

    Via moonofalabama.org, comments on an article appearing in the Jerusalem Post from an investment blog, “charting stocks.net:
    http://tiny.cc/F0VNi
    “In response to our recent post, which traced the bulk of the #IranElection twitter spam back to an article in JPost rather than “Iranian Students”, the Jerusalem newspaper has removed the evidence by altering their June 14th article (luckily, we kept the screenshot). JPost has also written a response to our allegations.”
    Don’t understand enough to do other than report raw data, but hope some reader here can comment on the validity of the twitter information we are hearing in the U.S.

    Reply

  14. JamesL says:

    US weakness toward Israel is not just Obama and Clinton, it’s all of Congress that votes to renew funding of Israel. POA is right: giving money to Israel without placing limits on its barbaric behavior is like placing a bounty on Palestinians. This bears repeating: US taxpayer investment of dollars in Israel is a toxic investment.

    Reply

  15. Mr.Murder says:

    Paging Mr.Chalabi, another western bankrolled coup at your hands, preceding another financial meltdown….

    Reply

  16. Franklin says:

    Hopefully, the big players can find an accommodation within the existing order.
    If the Supreme Leader is jettisoned, it is likely that there will be a long, and probably very violent sorting out period.
    Bill R. from some of the accounts coming out of Iran it sounds like the regular army is taking a neutral stance. The same is true of the police — at least in Tehran.
    The Basiji militias are responsible for most of the violence so far.
    There are also rumors of Arab fighters coming from Lebanon (Hezbollah). Although on its face this strikes me as dubious. If Ahmadinejad is relying on outside support it seems just as likely (or implausible) that he would pull on support from Iraqi forces like the Badr Corp.

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And the Israelis, equally as elated, tell Hillary and Obama to go screw themselves.
    And what will Hillary and Obama do about it? Nothing. Zip. Nada.
    And why does Israel know they can bend Obama over a stump and have their way with him?? Because we place NO conditions on them that we enforce, and we send them billions of dollars annually, no matter what they do. We might as well agree to pay them a bounty on every Palestinian they fry, skewer, bulldoze, poison, bomb, or steal land from…..
    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/06/17/feinstein-nsa-not-violating-law/
    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday reiterated the Jewish state’s refusal to freeze settlements, after his first talks with US counterpart Hillary Clinton exposed gaps on Middle East peace.
    Lieberman, standing next to Secretary of State Clinton after the pair had more than one hour of talks, told reporters that Israel did not have “any intention to change the demographic balance” of the West Bank.
    continues….
    And, uh, why does Lieberman feel so empowered to stand right next to Hillary and declare that he cares not one whit what the hell we want, Israel will do as it damn well pleases?
    Well, I imagine you woulda needed to be a fly on the wall, but Hillary musta infused Lieberman with a bit of confidence that he could assume such a defiant posture right on the heels of a meeting with her, eh? I wonder what kinda deal these two ghouls struck with each other?

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, the Obama administration, elated by the distraction, continues to screw us. Change you can shove where the sun don’t shine.
    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/06/17/feinstein-nsa-not-violating-law/
    Feinstein denies NSA abuses; Holder refuses to call them ‘illegal’
    By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
    Published: June 17, 2009
    The chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee came to the defense of the National Security Agency today, saying that the federal agency didn’t commit flagrant abuses in its program to intercept American’s phone calls and emails — but stopped short of denying that the agency had overstepped its bounds or broken the law.
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) responded to comments made by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), chair of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, in a New York Times story, that he was ”increasingly troubled by the agency’s handling of domestic communication.”
    The Times reported that the NSA’s “recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged,” and that that there are “legal and logistical difficulties” with the Agency’s monitoring of domestic communications.
    The NSA has the “ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis,” the Times said — even though the agency’s mandate is to monitor communications between the U.S. and foreign points.
    “Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental,” Holt told the newspaper.
    In a hearing today, Sen. Feinstein said: “Everything that I know so far indicates that the thrust of this story — that there are flagrant actions to collect content of this collection [sic] — just simply is not true to the best of my knowledge.”
    According to the Associated Press, Holt is standing by his remarks to the Times. His spokesperson, Zach Goldberg, confirmed today that the House Representative had “nothing to add or retract.”
    Meanwhile, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized Attorney General Eric Holder, for refusing to declare that the warrantless wiretapping program started under the Bush administration is against the law. Holder testified before the committee today.
    “I was disappointed by Attorney General Holder’s unwillingness to repeat what both he and President Obama had stated in the past – that President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was illegal,” Feingold said in a statement. “For an administration that has repeatedly stated its intention to restore the rule of law, this episode was a step backward.
    continues….

    Reply

  19. Bill R. says:

    Thank you for the reports from Iran. It occurs to me that in these situations the decision to use force, or not, is a critical factor. I’m wondering where the Revolutionary Guard and the regular Army stand in participating in the wholesale slaughter of civilians that will be necessary to put down this massive uprising, barring a political settlement? It appears to this point the violence has served to further inflame the Iranian citizenry and convince them of the injustice perpetrated in the fraudulent election returns. Massive killing is another matter. Are the Iranian soldiers and generals ready to commit mass murder against their own citizens? Is anyone prepared to give a knowledgeable answer.

    Reply

  20. jerseycityjoan says:

    Thanks for passing these reports on.
    Anonymous Student, I hope you’ll be able to able keep up the great work. Good luck and stay safe.

    Reply

  21. Sand says:

    re: different perspective…
    yeah I saw that on Weiss’s page — however it seems to have disappeared on talkingpointsmemo?
    From the post — I don’t understand why the guy is talking about voter fraud? I thought the problem is with the counting not with the physical voting?
    Ibrahim Yazdi: “…The minister of the interior announced that he would oversee the final count in his office, at the ministry, with only two aides present…”
    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/443348
    Points 2, 3, even 4 — Q. Would you trust Ahmadinejad to carry out a fair election if unchecked?
    Point 5. I thought the media was just parading him like any new celebrity — with that valuable scent of ‘hope’
    Point 6. Would it have been ‘appropriate’ for the “United States” to publish the survey before a sensitive Iranian election?
    Ahmadinejad certainly had enough enemies domestically. So many questions.

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    The Saudis already know they’re sitting on a powder keg. This only reinforces it.
    Morals of the story
    1) no disputed successions!!!
    2) no elections!!! (Which is dumb, since massively corrupted elections wouldn’t attract anyone’s attention. Egypt has been doing it forever.)

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ve been wondering about that myself, Sand. Millions of people defending the principles of free and fail elections and republican government? Scary for monarchists.
    Maybe they will have to take out more insurance by doubling down on junkets and vacations for Defense Department officials:
    http://washingtonindependent.com/46242/conflicts-of-interest-abound-in-military-travel-funding
    Meanwhile, here is a different perspective:
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/06/17/tehran_is_burning_widening_the_debate_about_electi/#more

    Reply

  24. Sand says:

    Wonder what the Saudi’s are thinking about all this?

    Reply

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