Resources for Iranian Threat

Canada Stands Up to Iran

 

The theocrats do not succeed in intimidating our neighbor to the north.
By CLIFFORD D. MAY
National Review Online
JANUARY 27, 2011
Last week, Canada’s Free Thinking Film Society — love that name — was scheduled to screen Iranium, a new documentary about the regime that has ruled Iran since 1979, its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and the dangers that poses to the West. But then the Iranian embassy complained and — coincidently — threats and “suspicious letters” were received at the National Archives in Ottawa, where the event was to take place. The Archives cancelled the screening and shut the building. Archives spokeswoman Pauline Portelance explained: “We deemed the risk associated with the event was a little too high.”
Apparently, however, officials above her pay grade recognized that allowing Iranian theocrats to set the limits of free speech in Canada’s capital would run an even higher risk. It was given to Minister of Heritage James Moore to deliver a Churchillian response.“This movie will be shown, the agreement will be kept,” he said. “We will not be moving it to a different facility, we’re not bending to any pressure. People need to be kept safe, but we don’t back down to people who try to censor people by threats of violence. Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will and will not be shown in Canada.”
The Canadian screening of Iranium has now been rescheduled for early February. Will Iran’s rulers and supporters accept that decision? Or will they escalate the conflict? While we’re waiting for the answer, it’s worth recalling that the Islamic Republic has a long history of attempting to enforce its will extraterritorially. As early as 1989, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had led Iran’s revolution ten years earlier, issued a fatwa against a British subject, Salman Rushdie, because Khomeini considered Rushie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, blasphemous. The fatwa called for Rushdie to be executed by any Muslim who could manage the task.
That might have been expected: As Iranium makes clear, Khomeini’s revolution was not just against the Shah of Iran. It was intended for export — and not only to countries in which Muslims are in the majority.
Khomeini’s ambitious goal then, and his successors’ goal now, is “world revolution,” the creation of a universal and “holy” government and the downfall of all others. “Islam is good for you,” Khomeini said. “It is good for the world.” He said this even as — in Stalinist fashion — he was executing at home and assassinating abroad not just those who opposed him but also those who might one day oppose him.
I am among those interviewed in Iranium, along with several other Foundation for Defense of Democracies experts. Also providing analysis and insight: scholar Bernard Lewis, former CIA director Jim Woolsey, Sen. Jon Kyl, and former ambassador John Bolton. But it is really Iran’s despots who tell the story.
For example, in 1980, war broke out between Iran and Iraq. Khomeini sent Iranian children on foot to clear minefields so that regular troops and tanks could pass after. How could a man of faith justify that? He was guaranteeing their entry into Paradise. Iran’s current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, finds poetry in such carnage. “No art is more beautiful,” he is seen in the film telling a group of his acolytes, “more divine and more everlasting” than “the art of martyrdom.”
Khomeini’s successor, the Supreme Leader — an audacious title — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is candid: America is not just Iran’s enemy; America is the “enemy of Allah” and “the Great Satan.”
It is difficult for us, for Westerners, children of the Enlightenment, to believe that there are rulers of great nations who take such ideas seriously. But if you watch and listen to them — not least in this documentary — it becomes clear that they do. What does that mean for policy? It means that diplomacy, outreach, engagement, and carefully crafted speeches showing respect and apologizing for “grievances” will have limited utility.
Truth be told, Americans have been reaching out to Iran’s theocrats for more than 30 years. Khomeini came to power on Jimmy Carter’s watch. Carter was by no means hostile to him and his revolution. On the contrary, Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” William Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador in Tehran, compared Khomeini to Gandhi. A State Department spokesman at that time worried about the possibility of a military coup against Khomeini, saying that would be “most dangerous for U.S. interests. It would blow away the moderates and invite the majority to unite behind a radical faction.”
In response, Khomeini and his followers, as seen in the film, chanted not only “Death to America!” but also “Death to Carter!” And, of course, less than a year after Khomeini came to power, his followers took over the U.S. embassy, which Khomeini called a “center for corruption,” holding its occupants hostage for 444 days — not exactly the kind of action Gandhi would have endorsed.
Seizing an embassy is an act of war.  Carter’s response was, as Bernard Lewis characterized it, “feeble.” Khomeini was gratified to discover that “Americans cannot do a damn thing.”
Three years later, Khomeini tested that proposition again. He dispatched the Lebanese-based Hezbollah to suicide-bomb the barracks of U.S. peacekeepers in Beirut. Not since Iwo Jima had so many U.S. Marines been killed in a single attack. In response, President Reagan committed a grave error: He did not retaliate against Hezbollah or Iran. That taught a lesson: Hit Americans and Americans will retreat. They really “cannot do a damn thing.” (And, as I write this, Hezbollah is on the verge of taking over Lebanon. The American response? So far, it would be fair to characterize it as “feeble.”)
Islamic militants throughout the world were inspired by what happened in Tehran and Beirut. What Steve Simon and Daniel Benjamin, advisers to President Clinton, would call The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America had begun.
Iran has since collaborated with al-Qaeda and a long list of other terrorists groups — the evidence is overwhelming — while also training and equipping those fighting Americans in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The regime continues to repress its own people — dissidents, of course, but also ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals, and women. As noted in the film, virgins sentenced to capital punishment are routinely raped prior to execution. This practice also is based on theology: Virgins go to Paradise, a reward enemies of the regime do not deserve.
And now Ahmadinejad and Khameini are in hot pursuit of nuclear weapons. To what end? The destruction of Israel, which Khameini has called “a cancerous tumor.” The treatment he prescribes: “remove it.” But it is not Israel alone to which scalpels are to be applied. Ahmadinejad tells a crowd: “The arrogant powers of the world must be annihilated. . . . The countdown of America’s sinister power has begun. . . . Have no doubt: Islam will conquer . . . all the mountaintops of the world.”
Iran’s Arab neighbors have at least as much to fear as Israel and America. As cables recently released by WikiLeaks make clear, they know that. They are looking to the U.S., and they are not reassured.
No sensible, rational person can watch this film, hear this evidence, and fail to come to the conclusion that the fanatics who rule Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.
That is the message Iranium — I like that title, too, by the way — conveys. That’s why the theocrats and their apologists don’t want you to see it. That’s why you really should.
— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism. 

By CLIFFORD D. MAY

JANUARY 27, 2011

Last week, Canada’s Free Thinking Film Society — love that name — was scheduled to screen Iranium, a new documentary about the regime that has ruled Iran since 1979, its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, and the dangers that poses to the West. But then the Iranian embassy complained and — coincidently — threats and “suspicious letters” were received at the National Archives in Ottawa, where the event was to take place. The Archives cancelled the screening and shut the building. Archives spokeswoman Pauline Portelance explained: “We deemed the risk associated with the event was a little too high.”

Apparently, however, officials above her pay grade recognized that allowing Iranian theocrats to set the limits of free speech in Canada’s capital would run an even higher risk. It was given to Minister of Heritage James Moore to deliver a Churchillian response.“This movie will be shown, the agreement will be kept,” he said. “We will not be moving it to a different facility, we’re not bending to any pressure. People need to be kept safe, but we don’t back down to people who try to censor people by threats of violence. Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will and will not be shown in Canada.”

The Canadian screening of Iranium has now been rescheduled for early February. Will Iran’s rulers and supporters accept that decision? Or will they escalate the conflict? While we’re waiting for the answer, it’s worth recalling that the Islamic Republic has a long history of attempting to enforce its will extraterritorially. As early as 1989, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had led Iran’s revolution ten years earlier, issued a fatwa against a British subject, Salman Rushdie, because Khomeini considered Rushie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, blasphemous. The fatwa called for Rushdie to be executed by any Muslim who could manage the task.

That might have been expected: As Iranium makes clear, Khomeini’s revolution was not just against the Shah of Iran. It was intended for export — and not only to countries in which Muslims are in the majority.

Khomeini’s ambitious goal then, and his successors’ goal now, is “world revolution,” the creation of a universal and “holy” government and the downfall of all others. “Islam is good for you,” Khomeini said. “It is good for the world.” He said this even as — in Stalinist fashion — he was executing at home and assassinating abroad not just those who opposed him but also those who might one day oppose him.

I am among those interviewed in Iranium, along with several other Foundation for Defense of Democracies experts. Also providing analysis and insight: scholar Bernard Lewis, former CIA director Jim Woolsey, Sen. Jon Kyl, and former ambassador John Bolton. But it is really Iran’s despots who tell the story.

For example, in 1980, war broke out between Iran and Iraq. Khomeini sent Iranian children on foot to clear minefields so that regular troops and tanks could pass after. How could a man of faith justify that? He was guaranteeing their entry into Paradise. Iran’s current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, finds poetry in such carnage. “No art is more beautiful,” he is seen in the film telling a group of his acolytes, “more divine and more everlasting” than “the art of martyrdom.”

Khomeini’s successor, the Supreme Leader — an audacious title — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is candid: America is not just Iran’s enemy; America is the “enemy of Allah” and “the Great Satan.”

It is difficult for us, for Westerners, children of the Enlightenment, to believe that there are rulers of great nations who take such ideas seriously. But if you watch and listen to them — not least in this documentary — it becomes clear that they do. What does that mean for policy? It means that diplomacy, outreach, engagement, and carefully crafted speeches showing respect and apologizing for “grievances” will have limited utility.

Truth be told, Americans have been reaching out to Iran’s theocrats for more than 30 years. Khomeini came to power on Jimmy Carter’s watch. Carter was by no means hostile to him and his revolution. On the contrary, Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, called Khomeini “some kind of saint.” William Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador in Tehran, compared Khomeini to Gandhi. A State Department spokesman at that time worried about the possibility of a military coup against Khomeini, saying that would be “most dangerous for U.S. interests. It would blow away the moderates and invite the majority to unite behind a radical faction.”

In response, Khomeini and his followers, as seen in the film, chanted not only “Death to America!” but also “Death to Carter!” And, of course, less than a year after Khomeini came to power, his followers took over the U.S. embassy, which Khomeini called a “center for corruption,” holding its occupants hostage for 444 days — not exactly the kind of action Gandhi would have endorsed.

Seizing an embassy is an act of war.  Carter’s response was, as Bernard Lewis characterized it, “feeble.” Khomeini was gratified to discover that “Americans cannot do a damn thing.”

Three years later, Khomeini tested that proposition again. He dispatched the Lebanese-based Hezbollah to suicide-bomb the barracks of U.S. peacekeepers in Beirut. Not since Iwo Jima had so many U.S. Marines been killed in a single attack. In response, President Reagan committed a grave error: He did not retaliate against Hezbollah or Iran. That taught a lesson: Hit Americans and Americans will retreat. They really “cannot do a damn thing.” (And, as I write this, Hezbollah is on the verge of taking over Lebanon. The American response? So far, it would be fair to characterize it as “feeble.”)

Islamic militants throughout the world were inspired by what happened in Tehran and Beirut. What Steve Simon and Daniel Benjamin, advisers to President Clinton, would call The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America had begun.

Iran has since collaborated with al-Qaeda and a long list of other terrorists groups — the evidence is overwhelming — while also training and equipping those fighting Americans in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The regime continues to repress its own people — dissidents, of course, but also ethnic and religious minorities, homosexuals, and women. As noted in the film, virgins sentenced to capital punishment are routinely raped prior to execution. This practice also is based on theology: Virgins go to Paradise, a reward enemies of the regime do not deserve.

And now Ahmadinejad and Khameini are in hot pursuit of nuclear weapons. To what end? The destruction of Israel, which Khameini has called “a cancerous tumor.” The treatment he prescribes: “remove it.” But it is not Israel alone to which scalpels are to be applied. Ahmadinejad tells a crowd: “The arrogant powers of the world must be annihilated. . . . The countdown of America’s sinister power has begun. . . . Have no doubt: Islam will conquer . . . all the mountaintops of the world.”

Iran’s Arab neighbors have at least as much to fear as Israel and America. As cables recently released by WikiLeaks make clear, they know that. They are looking to the U.S., and they are not reassured.

No sensible, rational person can watch this film, hear this evidence, and fail to come to the conclusion that the fanatics who rule Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

That is the message Iranium — I like that title, too, by the way — conveys. That’s why the theocrats and their apologists don’t want you to see it. That’s why you really should.

This article was originally published here

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism. 

 

Iran's Execution Binge

 

By Jonathan Spyer
GLORIA Center
January 22, 2011
In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 15 in the isolated and overcrowded Urumiya prison in western Iran, the authorities hanged one of their opponents.
Hossein Khazri, an alleged activist with the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), was 29. He had been in custody since early 2009. His crime, of which he was convicted on July 11, 2009, was that of being an "enemy of God" in the eyes of the Islamic Republic.
 
Khazri's specific activities against the deity worshiped by the rulers of Iran appear to have consisted of political agitation for democracy and federalism in the country of his birth.
In the course of his incarceration, in prisons administered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Intelligence Ministry, Khazri had been severely tortured, according to human rights organizations. His hanging was the latest in a wave of executions of Kurdish activists and other opponents of the regime carried out in recent weeks. Fourteen other Kurdish activists are currently on death row, condemned for their political activities.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran this week described the authorities as on an "execution binge," orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies.
The hanging of Khazri brings the number of people executed by Iran since the beginning of the year to 47.
A spokesman for ICHRI said that the "execution of Kurdish activists, without fair trials and following torture, increasingly appears as a systematic, politically motivated process." The roundups and executions of Kurdish activists are part of an ongoing, brutal and little-reported war waged by the Revolutionary Guards against a separatist insurgency in the predominantly Kurdish areas of western Iran. Urumiya jail, which was built to house 150, is currently teeming with 300 inmates, as a result of recent crackdowns on independent political activity.
PJAK HAS been fighting the Iranian authorities since 2004. It defines its fight not in ethnic nationalist terms.
Rather, it claims to be fighting for "federalism and secular democracy" in Iran.
Based in the Qandil mountain range on the Iraqi border, the movement engages in periodic raids into Iran. Since February 2009, it has been designated a terrorist organization by the US. PJAK is an offshoot of the Turkish-Kurdish PKK, and belongs to the same umbrella organization.
It lacks the deep roots among the Kurds of Iran which the PKK possesses among the Turkish Kurds, however.
Unverified media reports have suggested that despite the terrorist designation, the group has received US support, as part of a larger effort to foment unrest and instability in Iran. There have also been rumors of Israeli contacts with the organization. These supposed Western links feature prominently in the propaganda of the Iranian authorities against PJAK.
But whatever the particular provenance of PJAK, it is clear that the people in whose name it wishes to speak, the Kurds of Iran, currently endure something much less than a free life. The movement's potential for growth is thus considerable.
The repression of it by the regime is correspondingly harsh.
THE IRANIAN system is dominated by ethnic Persians, but the Islamic Republic does not define itself officially according to ethnic identity. Rather, it rules in the name of religion. As such, the regime constitutionally recognizes the Kurdish language. In practice, however, discrimination against Kurds and other minority ethnic and religious communities is widespread and of long standing.
Around 5 million Kurds live in Iran, concentrated in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kurdistan. Separatist sentiment is particularly strong among Sunni Muslim Kurds, who constitute just over half the total. In the earliest days of the regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared a jihad against Kurdish separatism, and 10,000 Kurds were killed as the Revolutionary Guards fought to establish regime control in these areas.
After the unrest following the rigged presidential elections of July 2009, the Islamist authorities' repression in Kurdish areas of the country has once more sharply increased. Last May, the authorities began a crackdown as the anniversary of the elections approached. Four Kurdish activists, one a woman, were convicted of membership in PJAK and executed following severe torture.
None was given access to lawyers. PJAK denied any links with the four. All were convicted, like Hossein Khazri, of the crime of war against God.
The incidents led to widespread demonstrations and further bloody suppression.
And this is where things remain. The period since the successful repression of the countrywide dissent that followed the elections of July 2009 has seen the consolidation of an Islamist counterreaction within the regime.
The power of the intelligence and security apparatuses has grown. This is reflecting itself in the brutal repression of dissent taking place in the Kurdishspeaking areas along the border with Iraq. Khazri was the latest victim of this repression. He was almost certainly not the last.
*  Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

By Jonathan Spyer

GLORIA Center

January 22, 2011

In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 15 in the isolated and overcrowded Urumiya prison in western Iran, the authorities hanged one of their opponents.

Hossein Khazri, an alleged activist with the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), was 29. He had been in custody since early 2009. His crime, of which he was convicted on July 11, 2009, was that of being an "enemy of God" in the eyes of the Islamic Republic.

Khazri's specific activities against the deity worshiped by the rulers of Iran appear to have consisted of political agitation for democracy and federalism in the country of his birth.

In the course of his incarceration, in prisons administered by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Intelligence Ministry, Khazri had been severely tortured, according to human rights organizations. His hanging was the latest in a wave of executions of Kurdish activists and other opponents of the regime carried out in recent weeks. Fourteen other Kurdish activists are currently on death row, condemned for their political activities.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran this week described the authorities as on an "execution binge," orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies.

The hanging of Khazri brings the number of people executed by Iran since the beginning of the year to 47.

A spokesman for ICHRI said that the "execution of Kurdish activists, without fair trials and following torture, increasingly appears as a systematic, politically motivated process." The roundups and executions of Kurdish activists are part of an ongoing, brutal and little-reported war waged by the Revolutionary Guards against a separatist insurgency in the predominantly Kurdish areas of western Iran. Urumiya jail, which was built to house 150, is currently teeming with 300 inmates, as a result of recent crackdowns on independent political activity.

PJAK has been fighting the Iranian authorities since 2004. It defines its fight not in ethnic nationalist terms.

Rather, it claims to be fighting for "federalism and secular democracy" in Iran.

Based in the Qandil mountain range on the Iraqi border, the movement engages in periodic raids into Iran. Since February 2009, it has been designated a terrorist organization by the US. PJAK is an offshoot of the Turkish-Kurdish PKK, and belongs to the same umbrella organization.

It lacks the deep roots among the Kurds of Iran which the PKK possesses among the Turkish Kurds, however.

Unverified media reports have suggested that despite the terrorist designation, the group has received US support, as part of a larger effort to foment unrest and instability in Iran. There have also been rumors of Israeli contacts with the organization. These supposed Western links feature prominently in the propaganda of the Iranian authorities against PJAK.

But whatever the particular provenance of PJAK, it is clear that the people in whose name it wishes to speak, the Kurds of Iran, currently endure something much less than a free life. The movement's potential for growth is thus considerable.

The repression of it by the regime is correspondingly harsh.

The Iranian system is dominated by ethnic Persians, but the Islamic Republic does not define itself officially according to ethnic identity. Rather, it rules in the name of religion. As such, the regime constitutionally recognizes the Kurdish language. In practice, however, discrimination against Kurds and other minority ethnic and religious communities is widespread and of long standing.

Around 5 million Kurds live in Iran, concentrated in the provinces of West Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kurdistan. Separatist sentiment is particularly strong among Sunni Muslim Kurds, who constitute just over half the total. In the earliest days of the regime, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini declared a jihad against Kurdish separatism, and 10,000 Kurds were killed as the Revolutionary Guards fought to establish regime control in these areas.

After the unrest following the rigged presidential elections of July 2009, the Islamist authorities' repression in Kurdish areas of the country has once more sharply increased. Last May, the authorities began a crackdown as the anniversary of the elections approached. Four Kurdish activists, one a woman, were convicted of membership in PJAK and executed following severe torture.

None was given access to lawyers. PJAK denied any links with the four. All were convicted, like Hossein Khazri, of the crime of war against God.

The incidents led to widespread demonstrations and further bloody suppression.

And this is where things remain. The period since the successful repression of the countrywide dissent that followed the elections of July 2009 has seen the consolidation of an Islamist counterreaction within the regime.

The power of the intelligence and security apparatuses has grown. This is reflecting itself in the brutal repression of dissent taking place in the Kurdishspeaking areas along the border with Iraq. Khazri was the latest victim of this repression. He was almost certainly not the last.

This article was originally published here

Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

 

CTV - Iranium, the movie Iran's leaders don't want you to see

Iranium on CTV news

A screening of 'Iranium' in Ottawa was cancelled following complaints by the Iranian Embassy in Canada. Iran's leaders, who restrict free speech in Tehran, are now trying to limit free speech in Canada as well.

Iran Escalates Repression Against Sufis

 

By Stephen Schwartz
Center for Islamic Pluralism 
Originally Published at: The Weekly Standard Blog
January 5, 2011
Like other tyrannies before it, the Iranian clerical dictatorship, headed by "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the venomous demagogue Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeks to frighten and intimidate its subjects by identifying a wide range of alleged internal and external enemies. But the Iranian authorities cannot definitively defeat their main domestic adversaries, because there are, by now, just too many of them.
Thus, the Iranian oppressors find it easier to marginalize and persecute dissenting elements that already appear meager and disadvantaged, than to take on the whole mass of angry citizens, or the array of its authentic external critics. While trumpeting a militant menace against a variety of internal foes and the world's democracies, Tehran's despots have increased their specific, real measures of repression against Iran's Sufis.
Late last summer, Iranian judicial chief Sadegh Larijani marked the first anniversary of his appointment by Khamenei to purge the country of post-election resistance. The prosecutor is a brother of Ali Larijani (public head of the Iranian nuclear program) and a well-known hardliner. On August 10, Sadegh Larijani departed from standard Tehran propaganda, which blames the disaffection of the people, especially among the young, on foreign intrigues, and declared that the motivation of those standing up against the autocracy included something else: Islam without clerical guidance, epitomized by the Sufis. In Larijani's view—which is backed by the power of extra-judicial thugs, as well as police, prisons, gallows, and stonings—"false mysticism and Sufism" are corrupting young Iranians with "tricks."
Sadegh Larijani was particularly strident in his denunciation of Hindu traditions, which have a long history of mutual influence over Sufism, in Iran no less than in the Indian subcontinent. Larijani equated the peril of mystical Islam and the risks of studying Indian philosophy with the danger presented by the "so-called think tanks" in Iran that he accused of importing Western conceptions of human rights.
Before, during, and after the 2009 election Tehran had already concentrated fire on the Nimatullahi-Gonabadi Sufis, whose main spokesman abroad, Seyed Mustafa Azmayesh, has advocated and preached extensively and eloquently for separation of religion from the state. On January 2, 2011, in the major Iranian city of Isfahan, according to sources in the country, Gonabadi Sufi sheikh Morteza Majoubi was arrested when about 20 plainclothes and uniformed police broke down the door of a house he was visiting. The agents did not offer any charges or explanations, but detained and jailed Mahjoubi and four companions in the town of Dastgerd. Within two hours, 5,000 Sufis and their supporters had gathered at the lockup to demand the men be freed. Although the demonstrators were terrorized by armed guards, their numbers kept growing, and after two hours Sheikh Mahjoubi and his son were released. As he returned to Isfahan, where the clerical state has carried out other provocations against the Sufis, Mahjoubi said, "We must remain upright in the face of injustice."
On November 17, 2010, thousands of Iranians gathered at the tomb of the charismatic musician and Sufi, Seyed Khalil Alinejad, who was murdered in exile in Sweden nine years earlier, on November 18, 2001. At the tomb in the western Iranian town of Sahne, Iranian security officials confiscated banners, audio equipment, and other items intended for the memorial. Two adherents of the mystical movement to which Alinejad belonged, Kheirollah Haqjooyan and Hojat Zeorian, were arrested. Haqjooyan had been warned by the regime's agents not to deliver a speech at the observance. Both men vanished into the darkness of the Iranian state's apparatus of oppression.
At the beginning of December, six more Sufis aligned with Alinejad were arrested in the cities of Kermanshah and Shirin, as well as in Tehran. Their names are Seyyed Nasreddin Heidari, Seyyed Hijabuddin Elhami, Hormoz and Firoz Timurian, Syavosh Hayati, and Seyyed Farhad Zonnorian. They were subjected to extensive interrogation as well as detention.
Iranian fear of Sufis puts the country's clerical oligarchs in the same camp with other Islamist radicals from the Balkans to Pakistan, where attacks against the mystics have proliferated along with anti-Western jihadism. Belying Ahmadinejad's bluster, the aggressive stance of the Iranian clerical apparatus against Sufis is a sign of official weakness, not strength, and of fear rather than self-confidence. The incarcerated Sufis of Iran lack powerful advocates abroad. But their deep imprint on Iranian culture and society can make them a significant factor in curbing the adventurism and brutality of a reckless regime. Hence the regime's offensive against them.
By Stephen Schwartz

Originally Published at: The Weekly Standard Blog

January 5, 2011

Like other tyrannies before it, the Iranian clerical dictatorship, headed by "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the venomous demagogue Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeks to frighten and intimidate its subjects by identifying a wide range of alleged internal and external enemies. But the Iranian authorities cannot definitively defeat their main domestic adversaries, because there are, by now, just too many of them.

Thus, the Iranian oppressors find it easier to marginalize and persecute dissenting elements that already appear meager and disadvantaged, than to take on the whole mass of angry citizens, or the array of its authentic external critics. While trumpeting a militant menace against a variety of internal foes and the world's democracies, Tehran's despots have increased their specific, real measures of repression against Iran's Sufis.

Late last summer, Iranian judicial chief Sadegh Larijani marked the first anniversary of his appointment by Khamenei to purge the country of post-election resistance. The prosecutor is a brother of Ali Larijani (public head of the Iranian nuclear program) and a well-known hardliner. On August 10, Sadegh Larijani departed from standard Tehran propaganda, which blames the disaffection of the people, especially among the young, on foreign intrigues, and declared that the motivation of those standing up against the autocracy included something else: Islam without clerical guidance, epitomized by the Sufis. In Larijani's view—which is backed by the power of extra-judicial thugs, as well as police, prisons, gallows, and stonings—"false mysticism and Sufism" are corrupting young Iranians with "tricks."

Sadegh Larijani was particularly strident in his denunciation of Hindu traditions, which have a long history of mutual influence over Sufism, in Iran no less than in the Indian subcontinent. Larijani equated the peril of mystical Islam and the risks of studying Indian philosophy with the danger presented by the "so-called think tanks" in Iran that he accused of importing Western conceptions of human rights.

Before, during, and after the 2009 election Tehran had already concentrated fire on the Nimatullahi-Gonabadi Sufis, whose main spokesman abroad, Seyed Mustafa Azmayesh, has advocated and preached extensively and eloquently for separation of religion from the state. On January 2, 2011, in the major Iranian city of Isfahan, according to sources in the country, Gonabadi Sufi sheikh Morteza Majoubi was arrested when about 20 plainclothes and uniformed police broke down the door of a house he was visiting. The agents did not offer any charges or explanations, but detained and jailed Mahjoubi and four companions in the town of Dastgerd. Within two hours, 5,000 Sufis and their supporters had gathered at the lockup to demand the men be freed. Although the demonstrators were terrorized by armed guards, their numbers kept growing, and after two hours Sheikh Mahjoubi and his son were released. As he returned to Isfahan, where the clerical state has carried out other provocations against the Sufis, Mahjoubi said, "We must remain upright in the face of injustice."

On November 17, 2010, thousands of Iranians gathered at the tomb of the charismatic musician and Sufi, Seyed Khalil Alinejad, who was murdered in exile in Sweden nine years earlier, on November 18, 2001. At the tomb in the western Iranian town of Sahne, Iranian security officials confiscated banners, audio equipment, and other items intended for the memorial. Two adherents of the mystical movement to which Alinejad belonged, Kheirollah Haqjooyan and Hojat Zeorian, were arrested. Haqjooyan had been warned by the regime's agents not to deliver a speech at the observance. Both men vanished into the darkness of the Iranian state's apparatus of oppression.

At the beginning of December, six more Sufis aligned with Alinejad were arrested in the cities of Kermanshah and Shirin, as well as in Tehran. Their names are Seyyed Nasreddin Heidari, Seyyed Hijabuddin Elhami, Hormoz and Firoz Timurian, Syavosh Hayati, and Seyyed Farhad Zonnorian. They were subjected to extensive interrogation as well as detention.

Iranian fear of Sufis puts the country's clerical oligarchs in the same camp with other Islamist radicals from the Balkans to Pakistan, where attacks against the mystics have proliferated along with anti-Western jihadism. Belying Ahmadinejad's bluster, the aggressive stance of the Iranian clerical apparatus against Sufis is a sign of official weakness, not strength, and of fear rather than self-confidence. The incarcerated Sufis of Iran lack powerful advocates abroad. But their deep imprint on Iranian culture and society can make them a significant factor in curbing the adventurism and brutality of a reckless regime. Hence the regime's offensive against them.

 

Ahmadinejad Presses His Luck

 

By Ryan Mauro
FRONTPAGEMAG.COM
Jan 14th, 2011 
Last month, Iranian President Ahmadinejad began phasing out subsidies of fuel and other essential commodities, despite popular outrage from inside and outside the government. Iranians of all social classes are now suffering and workers are going on strike, causing the country’s most intense turmoil since 2009.
Over the next five years, massive government subsidies to the Iranian people will be eliminated. The subsidies accounted for nearly 30 percent of the budget, with a household making $3,600 receiving $4,000 on average in subsidies each year. The Iranian economy is in steep decline and is now suffering extraordinary stress because of international sanctions. In addition, one study found that the regime would have to end exports of oil by 2015 if domestic consumption was not curbed. Luckily for Ahmadinejad, consumption of gasoline has dropped 20 percent since the subsidies were cut.
The economic necessity of cutting the subsidies carries massive risks for the regime. When gasoline rationing was tried in 2007, it resulted in riots that included gas stations and supermarkets being set ablaze. That also happened this time, as reports have come in of gas stations and a mall in Tehran being torched. The regime deployed heavy security and gave over 60 million people about $80 each to help them with the price increases. The government also issued price fixes to prevent inflation, but this is causing even more trouble as the industries try to cope with massively increased expenses, especially in the transportation sector.
The price of gasoline jumped over 60 percent in an instant and the cost of diesel fuel skyrocketed from six cents per gallon to $1.32 per gallon. Thousands of workers have gone on strike because they are forbidden from raising prices above a certain level so they can afford fuel and other necessities. As a result, many trucking and taxi services simply cannot open for business. The number of buses available for public transportation has decreased in places like Qazvin by three-fourths. Taxi drivers taking part in sit-ins and other workers on strike have been arrested to prevent any type of organized strike from taking place. A union of truckers had its officials threatened when they talked of launching a strike.
At the port of Bandar Abbas, hundreds of small vessels and trucks transporting goods have been abandoned. Ferry services have shut down. The case is the same at a truck terminal in Tehran, which now goes mostly unused. Government employees are also hurting as contract workers are laid off. The Education Ministry had to let go 400 workers. A story has come out of Varamin that a school has told students to dress warmer because it is too early in the year to take on the added expense of using its heating system.
The bazaar markets are also suffering with only 50 to 70 percent of shops open. The travel industry is warning of bankruptcy. The director for the Union for Hotel Owners of Mashhad says that the number of flights to Mashhad has dropped from an average of 200 per day to four. Airline officials are also talking of being forced out of business. The agricultural sector is being ravaged, as the price increase for gasoline for tractors and water pumps takes its toll.
The anger has resulted in some student protests and minor clashes with security forces and demonstrations. Reports from inside the country claim that the banks are swarmed with customers taking their money out in case the regime tries to seize it. In one act of discontent, residents in Tabriz rode donkeys to show their frustration over gas prices. In Ardabil in northwest Iran, some residents made necklaces with pictures of Ahmadinejad and put them around wild dogs, forcing the security forces to try to chase them down or kill them, according to one report.
This move is especially harmful for Iranians with lower incomes, which is where Ahmadinejad draws his support from. This controversy has the ability to unite Iranians of all political and economic stripes against the regime. It is also significant that the regime has lost the support of the top religious authorities in the country. A story that deserves much more attention is the ruling by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani, who publicly said no one can be convicted based on a confession while in prison.
“Confessions of prisoners have no validity and if a judge uses confessions for issuing verdicts, that judge is no longer qualified,” Khorasani said.
This is especially important because it is a direct public rebuttal to the regime and implies that that the government is forcing false confessions. Interestingly, Khorasani’s son-in-law leads the judiciary, which could signal another major division inside the government.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is aware of the danger that the loss of the clergy in Qom poses to him and recently traveled there to try to win them over. Khorasani refused to meet with him and instead met with the families of political prisoners.
The turmoil increases the security of the West because it reduces the resources available to the Iranian government for its nuclear program and support for terrorism. Israeli intelligence believes that the sanctions on Iran have forced the regime to reduce its budget for Hezbollah by a stunning 40 percent. This cutback came before the subsidies were cut, so the regime and the terrorists that rely upon it for funding are in an even more precarious position now.
Don’t let the inability of the Iranian opposition to mobilize tens of thousands of people in one spot fool you. The regime is on an unmistakably and probably irreversibly downward trajectory. In the fight against the Iranian regime, one of our best assets is its own leadership.
Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com, the National Security Adviser for the Christian Action Network and an analyst with Wikistrat. He can be contacted at [email protected]

By Ryan Mauro

FRONTPAGEMAG.COM

Jan 14th, 2011 

Last month, Iranian President Ahmadinejad began phasing out subsidies of fuel and other essential commodities, despite popular outrage from inside and outside the government. Iranians of all social classes are now suffering and workers are going on strike, causing the country’s most intense turmoil since 2009.

Over the next five years, massive government subsidies to the Iranian people will be eliminated. The subsidies accounted for nearly 30 percent of the budget, with a household making $3,600 receiving $4,000 on average in subsidies each year. The Iranian economy is in steep decline and is now suffering extraordinary stress because of international sanctions. In addition, one study found that the regime would have to end exports of oil by 2015 if domestic consumption was not curbed. Luckily for Ahmadinejad, consumption of gasoline has dropped 20 percent since the subsidies were cut.

The economic necessity of cutting the subsidies carries massive risks for the regime. When gasoline rationing was tried in 2007, it resulted in riots that included gas stations and supermarkets being set ablaze. That also happened this time, as reports have come in of gas stations and a mall in Tehran being torched. The regime deployed heavy security and gave over 60 million people about $80 each to help them with the price increases. The government also issued price fixes to prevent inflation, but this is causing even more trouble as the industries try to cope with massively increased expenses, especially in the transportation sector.

The price of gasoline jumped over 60 percent in an instant and the cost of diesel fuel skyrocketed from six cents per gallon to $1.32 per gallon. Thousands of workers have gone on strike because they are forbidden from raising prices above a certain level so they can afford fuel and other necessities. As a result, many trucking and taxi services simply cannot open for business. The number of buses available for public transportation has decreased in places like Qazvin by three-fourths. Taxi drivers taking part in sit-ins and other workers on strike have been arrested to prevent any type of organized strike from taking place. A union of truckers had its officials threatened when they talked of launching a strike.

At the port of Bandar Abbas, hundreds of small vessels and trucks transporting goods have been abandoned. Ferry services have shut down. The case is the same at a truck terminal in Tehran, which now goes mostly unused. Government employees are also hurting as contract workers are laid off. The Education Ministry had to let go 400 workers. A story has come out of Varamin that a school has told students to dress warmer because it is too early in the year to take on the added expense of using its heating system.

The bazaar markets are also suffering with only 50 to 70 percent of shops open. The travel industry is warning of bankruptcy. The director for the Union for Hotel Owners of Mashhad says that the number of flights to Mashhad has dropped from an average of 200 per day to four. Airline officials are also talking of being forced out of business. The agricultural sector is being ravaged, as the price increase for gasoline for tractors and water pumps takes its toll.

The anger has resulted in some student protests and minor clashes with security forces and demonstrations. Reports from inside the country claim that the banks are swarmed with customers taking their money out in case the regime tries to seize it. In one act of discontent, residents in Tabriz rode donkeys to show their frustration over gas prices. In Ardabil in northwest Iran, some residents made necklaces with pictures of Ahmadinejad and put them around wild dogs, forcing the security forces to try to chase them down or kill them, according to one report.

This move is especially harmful for Iranians with lower incomes, which is where Ahmadinejad draws his support from. This controversy has the ability to unite Iranians of all political and economic stripes against the regime. It is also significant that the regime has lost the support of the top religious authorities in the country. A story that deserves much more attention is the ruling by Grand Ayatollah Hossein Vahid Khorasani, who publicly said no one can be convicted based on a confession while in prison.

“Confessions of prisoners have no validity and if a judge uses confessions for issuing verdicts, that judge is no longer qualified,” Khorasani said.

This is especially important because it is a direct public rebuttal to the regime and implies that that the government is forcing false confessions. Interestingly, Khorasani’s son-in-law leads the judiciary, which could signal another major division inside the government.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is aware of the danger that the loss of the clergy in Qom poses to him and recently traveled there to try to win them over. Khorasani refused to meet with him and instead met with the families of political prisoners.

The turmoil increases the security of the West because it reduces the resources available to the Iranian government for its nuclear program and support for terrorism. Israeli intelligence believes that the sanctions on Iran have forced the regime to reduce its budget for Hezbollah by a stunning 40 percent. This cutback came before the subsidies were cut, so the regime and the terrorists that rely upon it for funding are in an even more precarious position now.

Don’t let the inability of the Iranian opposition to mobilize tens of thousands of people in one spot fool you. The regime is on an unmistakably and probably irreversibly downward trajectory. In the fight against the Iranian regime, one of our best assets is its own leadership.

Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com, the National Security Adviser for the Christian Action Network and an analyst with Wikistrat. He can be contacted at [email protected]

This article was originally published here

 

Iran Goes All In

By Rich Trzupek

FrontPageMag.com

Dec 6th, 2010

While Iran has a huge amount of crude oil reserves in its rich fields, its ability to tap those reserves is steadily declining. According to CSIS, Iran is losing between 400,000 barrels per day to 700,000 barrels per day in crude production as its oil fields mature. There’s still plenty of oil down there, but Iran lacks the technology to engage in the sort of enhanced oil recovery practices that more advanced nations use to coax stubborn crude out of the ground. Absent the assistance of the West, Russia or China, oil export revenues could soon disappear. According to the CSIS report:

A 2007 National Academy of Sciences study reports that if decline rates are allowed to continue, Iran’s exports, which in 2007 averaged 2.4 million bbl/d could decrease to zero by 2015. To offset natural decline rates, Iran’s oil fields require structural upgrades including enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts such as natural gas injection.

Gasoline is Iran’s other Achilles’ heel. The Islamic Republic is desperately trying to increase its internal refining capacity, with good reason: Iran is much too heavily dependent on outside sources to supply the gas needed to keep its economy stumbling along. From the CSIS report:

Iran’s oil consumption was approximately 1.7 million bbl/d in 2007. Iran has limited refinery capacity for the production of light fuels, and consequently imports much of its gasoline supply. Iranian domestic oil demand is mainly for gasoline and diesel. Tehran imports about 40 percent of its gasoline.

Thus, if the civilized powers – and especially Europe – were to cut off Iran’s access to Western technology and to refined products, the regime in Tehran would be in real trouble. The combination of a loss in oil revenues and a transportation crisis would throw the already troubled Iranian economy into chaos. It might be enough to tip the balance in favor of the millions of Iranians who are already unhappy with the theocratic, reactionary regime ruling their nation. Sanctions could make a real difference in Iran, if the West somehow could find the will and the self-discipline to impose them in earnest.

If it all comes down to the military option, and it seems that the Iranian problem inevitably must come down to that, then there are only two nations in the world with the power and the will to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Israel could do it, but the political price it would have to pay to do so would be tremendously expensive. An Israeli strike would anger its neighbors, depending on the route it choose, potentially including erstwhile friends – or at least political acquaintances – like Jordan and Turkey. Iran would certainly unleash Hezbollah and Hamas into full insurrection mode and – at best – the stability of the Middle East would continue to erode for many years to come.

That leaves the United States. The United States alone has the capability to penetrate Iranian airspace at will at minimal political cost to deliver wave upon wave of precision-guided bunker-busting munitions that would reduce critical elements of Iran’s nuclear program to smoking holes in the ground. B-2 bombers staged out of Diego Garcia need not violate the airspace of any sovereign nation other than Iran, thus avoiding the public-relations quagmire that Israel would face if it staged the raids. Our erstwhile allies in the region, nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, wouldn’t have to lift a finger to cooperate with us, nor would they have to express outrage, because we would not need to trample their lawns. They could instead quietly breathe a sigh of relief because Uncle Sam would have once again eliminated a grave threat infesting their portion of the globe.

The mission of the P5+1 nations in Geneva is clear: to convince Iran in no uncertain terms the that mullahs will face economic hell if they refuse to comply with the West’s demands. And, as important, it must be made abundantly clear that even if sanctions should fail, the United States has the ability and the will to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions once and for all. It is unfortunately doubtful whether the current dithering president of the United States has the backbone to draw such a line in the stand. Still, there is hope. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron appear to be made of sterner stuff. Perhaps they can fill the vacuum and provide the kind of leadership that Barack Obama is unwilling or unable to supply.

This article was originally published here.

Sanctions Hurting, But Not Yet Changing Iran

By IPT News (The Investigative Project on Terrorism)

Dec 2, 2010

Widespread banking and economic sanctions against Iran are drying up investments and fomenting internal discord, two top government officials testified before a congressional committee Wednesday. But they acknowledge that, so far, the restrictions have not had the desired effect of persuading the Islamic Republic to back off its ambitions for a nuclear weapon.

A new round of talks between Iran and ambassadors from the U.S. and other nations is scheduled for next week in Geneva. "The international community is unified in its belief that a nuclear-armed Iran would have grave implications for the stability of the Gulf region, the broader Middle East, and the global economy," said State Department Under Secretary for Political Affairs William F. Burns."

Read the rest of this article here.

Successive Administrations Misreading the Regime: The Common Bond of Six Presidents

For over thirty years, American presidents have faltered in their policy dealings with the revolutionary regime.

From before Khomeini arrived in Tehran, the administration of Jimmy Carter believed that a friendship between the two nations would continue as it had under the Shah.  And while the hostage crisis proved the opposite, Khomeini was still met with gestures of peace and accommodation.

Yet Carter was not the only President to offer peace to the revolutionary regime and receive continued aggression in return.

Presidents both Democrat and Republican following Carter have fared no better in reaching understandings with Iran, and failed to take retaliatory actions in the wake of deadly terror attacks directly linked to the top levels of the Iranian regime.

Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and President Obama have accomplished little in their attempts to reach critical dialogue with Iran,

For years, U.S. administrations have mislabeled some of Iran’s harshest politicians as moderates, and have been deceived by the intentions of the regime.

George W. Bush took a different approach on Iran, labeling them a member of the “Axis of Evil” along with North Korea and Iraq; but he failed to take constructive action to prevent Iran from masterminding terrorist attacks, attacking U.S. soldiers in Iraq, or furthering the development of its nuclear program.

In the early part of President Obama’s tenure, he has expressed a willingness to reestablish diplomatic ties with Iran, in an attempt to negotiate the continued development of Iran’s nuclear program, but with nothing to show for it.

Why Negotiations Will Never Work

To understand the Iranian leadership’s commitment to carrying out its revolutionary goals, is to understand why reaching common ground with such a regime can never work.  A regime founded on the principle of opposing an “American conspiracy”, and a leadership that openly discusses a “world without the United States,” has little to talk about with any American administration.

And thirty plus years of direct terror sponsorship, against American and Western interests, should serve as proof that this regime means what it says about fighting its enemies.

Silence in the Wake of Bloody 2009 Election Protests

Obama remained silent during the 2009 protests of the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  

It is widely believed that severe election fraud led to Ahmadinejad’s re-appointment.  Not long after the election, rumors of electioneering started to become more prevalent. Protestors hit the streets in Tehran, and riot police were well prepared.  

Reports have surfaced that the IRGC had calculated in advance that 200 protesters needed to be killed and at least 2,000 arrested for the demonstrations to die down.

Those estimates came painfully true, as nearly 200 were killed by IRGC forces, and well over 5,000 arrested.

Many view the electioneering that took place, and the brutality inflicted on protestors, as a form of military coup that made a mockery of democratic processes.

Through his silence during the brutality, Obama refused to throw moral support behind the non-violent protest rights of civilians who were accusing the Iranian government of making a mockery of their most basic democratic rights.

The surprising message that this silence can send to opponents of the regime in Iran, is that the United States actually supports the Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the government of Iran, and the principles of its more than 30-year-old revolution.

Cracks in the Foundation: Will there be another Iranian Revolution?

While Iranian regime has been able to achieve many of its totalitarian and radical goals both inside Iran and around the world, the election protests of June 2009 demonstrated that there are noticeable cracks in the foundation of the Islamic revolution.

Those previously supportive of the regime have come to realize that the current government does not represent them, and will do anything from beating its own people to building an illegal nuclear arsenal, to ensure that it continues to remain in power.

The election results and the protests that followed have become a unifying force amongst dissenters forming a new, “green revolution” within Iran.  Iranian dissidents inside Iran and those in exile abroad—including in the United States are beginning to see the potential of a new Iran that can join the nations of the world as contributing society.

Iran is a revolutionary society.  Depending on who you ask, three to four major revolutions have swept through Iran in the past hundred years.  As waves of influence swing from side to side over time in Iran like a pendulum, vastly different regimes can come to power.

Many experts suggest that the reign of the Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guards may soon find itself out of power.  The same way that a revolution swept Iran in 1979 to fight the aggressive policies of the Shah, yet another revolutionary wave may be forming to fight the oppressive Islamic regime currently in power.

The so-called green revolution has continued to gain steam, particularly through improved internet and cellphone access, and the advent of social media.  

In a country where objective media coverage is severely censored, social media has played a tremendous role in telling the story of a brutally oppressed people to those inside as well as outside of Iran.  YouTube and Facebook have become storehouses for never before seen video reports from Iran as well as for the posting of Iranian criticism of the regime.

More than half of the entire Iranian population today is under 30 years old.  They were not around during the revolution, and do not remember Khomeini.  Yet they know all too well the ideals he sought to instill.  Many youngsters are angry that their parents joined the wave to overthrow the Shah, a leader who embraced secularism and Westernization.

Young Iranians crave technology, and freedom of expression.  Parties amongst young adults prove just how progressive and expressive Iranians can be.  And this next generation of Iranians wants to establish a government that will represent their democratic aspirations.

While some predicted the fall of the Shah, and many predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, the timing and catalysts of those events still came as surprise.

The same holds true for the leadership today in Iran.  The events and timing that could eventually tip the new revolutionary scales remain unknown.  It is certainly possible that a revolution in Iran could take place in a matter of years or months.

We don’t know, when or how it might occur, but many suggest that the countdown to the end of the regime may be underway.

Questionable Elections and an Innocent Sacrifice

June 20, 2009.  Protestors took to the streets of Iran for seven straight days.  More than a million Iranians displayed their public displeasure with the recent election results.

Just one week earlier, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection was confirmed, in a landslide with over 62 percent of the popular vote.  Runner-up in the four man election, Mir-Hossein Mousavi received 33 percent of the vote in the four-man race.

Despite the overwhelming results, failed candidate Mousavi publicly declared himself the true winner, urging Iranians to resist a government based on "lies and dictatorship."

Massive public unrest ensues.  Those that took to the streets assert that the elections were a fraud.  According to objectors, not only did Ahmadinejad fail in his bid for another presidential term; he didn’t even finish second.

As protests gained steam, the regime becomes more and more restless with the growing disloyalty.

Members of the Basij, Iran’s loyal internal police force, have already taken aim at protestors.  In the past week, hundreds were arrested, including former members of Iran’s government.  Dozens were killed.  The protests will not subside.

A shot is fired.

Neda Soltan, a music student who had just arrived at the edge of the protests took a single bullet to the chest.  She bled to death as onlookers tried hopelessly to save her life.  The episode was caught on video, as an onlooker captured the scene on a camera phone, broadcasting to the world an episode that otherwise would never have been publicized by state-controlled media.

Her death became a symbol of a peaceful revolutionary movement that gains momentum in Iran to this day.

The election results—they contend—and the brutal response by the loyal internal police force were planned in advance.  Allegations were made of a military coup by a regime that protesters claim does not represent its people; and lead many to question a government’s legitimacy; a government that hastens the development of an illegal nuclear program.

For days, President Obama remained silent as murder and brutality were used to suppress a nation’s right to peaceful demonstration.  Yet, he would not be the first American President to tiptoe around Iranian aggression.

Today many around the world question the legitimacy of the elections and the use of excessive force by an internal police force that sought to protect its leaders from embarrassment.

The bloody protest scenes of June 2009 represent a stark contrast to those of overwhelming public support 30 years earlier, when a mysterious figure touched down in Tehran to lead another sweeping revolution in Iran:  A revolution, with a radical anti-Western, Shariah-based ideology that took Iran and the Western world by surprise.