The Problem With Iran

The problem with Iran is not something that can be summed up in a few words. It doesn’t fit into an age of sound bites and instant gratification. This is not going to be a heavy analysis that you’d submit for academic acclaim. 

No, this is just a little window inside my head where I air out the dust and share a few thoughts with you.
I live in Los Angeles. It is a city that has a substantial population of Persian Jews as well as many Iranians who identify as Muslim or members of Bahai. And they have been here for a long time now. I remember the heavy influx of Persian Jews who fled Iran after the fall of the Shah, roughly 30 years ago.
My family has had many Persian friends for years and so I have had time to hear many stories about what life in Iran was like and much about what it is like now. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not claiming to be an expert, just trying to provide some foundation for my thoughts.
For years now I have heard about the influence of the mullahs and the ideology that they are pressing. I have Persian friends who remember school in Iran, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
Clearly not all Iranians have bought into the line of thought that the government is passing. Clearly there are many who long for a different path. But the reality is that this is not two hundred years ago. It is not a time of log cabins and muskets. It is not a time when you could hire a world power as a mercenary force (some will argue that point) so you can’t fight for revolution in the same way as was once done.
Now you have the quandary of dealing with an oppressive government who is far better armed and organized than the populace, at least that is the appearance. More importantly, the government is not there to protect the people. They are there to maintain their positions of power.
And they are willing to do so by using disproportionate force and extreme violence. The reports that are getting out make it clear that they are not slapping people on the wrist.
So what do you do about this. How does the world respond to such a thing. Ahmedinajad and company are not going to step down without being forced out. And it is highly unlikely that any sort of military operation is going to be launched with the intent of ousting them.
It is one of those moments where you wonder if perhaps there are senior members of the Iranian armed forces who would be willing to lead a coup d’etat, assuming that they had the support of the troops. But this seems rather unlikely.
So we come back to the question of what do we do. What sort of support can be provided to help support a real revolution and an overthrow of the existing government.
And again we have to note that a government that treats its citizenry like this would be exceptionally dangerous as a nuclear power. Can that still be stopped, or have we reached a point of no return.
Many questions, no good answers.

Who Is Mir Hossein Mousavi?

CBS News offers the following information about Mousavi.

(CBS) His supporters may have taken to the streets – even died for his cause. But Mir Hossein Mousavi is neither a champion of democracy as we know it, nor an advocate of great change within Iran’s Mullah-dominated government.

“He’s not a secular intellectual in the molds of Western intellectuals,” said Baqer Moin, an Iranian commentator. “No, he’s coming from within the revolution.”

In fact he was part of the revolution, a supporter of the Ayatollah Khomeini when he came to power in 1979 – a government minister during the Revolution’s turbulent early years.

“Then he became prime minister and was prime minister for nearly eight years,” Moin said.

“Very much an establishment figure,” asked CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

“Absolutely,” Moin said.

Even if Mousavi came to power, the change he represents is more of tone than policy.

He may not deny the Holocaust, but he has made no promise to end Iran’s support for the militants in Hezbollah or Hamas on Israel’s borders.

And while he might be prepared to talk about it, he too is committed to Iran’s nuclear program.

“He’s a moderate, he’s a pragmatist moderate,” Moin said.

I don’t know. Is he really any better than Ahmadinejad . I am not convinced and not sure what to think. You’ll forgive me for being a skeptic, but history has taught that sometimes caution is warranted.

Ahmadinejad is the devil we know. We know where he stands and what he wants. There is something to be said for that. That is not to say that it is impossible that Mousavi is better or that real reform isn’t on the horizon, but I wonder.

Iranian Jews slam ’emigrant stunt’

Those wacky mullahs are behind this story. I don’t believe for a moment that the Iranian Jews are serious.

(CNN) — — The well-publicized landing of 40 Iranian Jews in Israel on Tuesday spurred glee among some Israelis and the immigrants themselves and drew public scorn from a surprising quarter in Iran — two officials from its centuries-old Jewish community.

One of them described the emigration as a “misinformation” campaign and defended their lives under the government of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The arrival in Israel was publicized as the largest single group to arrive in Israel from Iran since Iran’s Islamic Revolution, and the immigrants traveled via an undisclosed third country. Other Iranian Jews have immigrated to Israel over the years.

Blogger Karmel Melamed responded here.

“You may wonder why the Jewish community leaders in Iran are so willing to praise the regime that is holding them hostage. The answer is simple…duress! They say whatever their captors tell them to say or else all Jews in Iran will suffer unknown persecution. For this reason, comments made by Motamed and other Jews in Iran lack all credibility.

If we are to believe the Jewish leaders in Iran and accept their words that Iran is a paradise for Jews to live in, then why has the once 100,000 strong Jewish community dwindled down to 20,000? Why have thousands of Jews fled Iran since 1979 and been forced to leave billions of dollars in assets behind if the regime is so fair and gives rights to Jews? If Iran is such a just and fair country to the Jews, then why do Iranian Islamic laws, have separate punishments for the same crimes depending on whether the victim is Muslim or not, or whether the offender is Muslim or non-Muslim? For example, in the case of rape…if the man is a Muslim and the woman a Jew (or any non-Muslim) the man will face no penalty, except pay the woman compensation if it was a very violent rape. But if a non-Muslim rapes a Muslim woman, the only punishment he will face is execution!

Iran ‘seizes’ 15 British sailors

Things continue to stay heated with Iran. There may be some confusion about whose waters they were in, but on the other hand I still think that Iran is testing. It is a dangerous game they play.

Iran ‘seizes’ 15 British sailors

LONDON, England (CNN) — An Iranian naval patrol seized 15 British marines and sailors who had boarded a vessel suspected of smuggling cars off the coast of Iraq, military officials said.

The British government immediately demanded the safe return of its troops and summoned Tehran’s London ambassador to explain the incident.

The Royal Marines and ordinary naval officers were believed to have been apprehended by up to six ships from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy who claimed they had violated Iranian waters.

British naval officials said the sailors, using small boarding craft, had completed an inspection of a merchant vessel in Iraqi waters when the Iranians arrived.

Commodore Nick Lambert, commander of the HMS Cornwall — the frigate from which the British patrol had been deployed — said the incident did not involve fighting or use of weapons.

“We’ve been assured from the scant communications that we’ve had from the Iranians at the tactical level that the 15 people are safely in their hands,” he said.

The British defense ministry said that it was pursuing the incident “at the highest level.”

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Lambert said the British sailors had been on a “normal, routine boarding” of a vessel that had aroused suspicions as it navigated the Shatt al-Arab, a disputed waterway that marks the border between Iraq and Iran on the shores of the Persian Gulf.

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