Politics

Iranian Officials Face Tens of Thousands of Protesters, Blame "The West"

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The massive demonstrations against the theocratic, repressive Iranian government is finally getting the MSM attention it deserves. The long-brewing grassroots pushback against the very center of radical Islamic revolution is this season's story that will have major impact for years to come.

Naturally, Iranian officials are blaming the demonstrations on outside agitators, a claim that even Al Jazeera doesn't take seriously.

The Iranian foreign ministry has accused Western countries of fomenting the violence that left at least eight people dead.

Ramin Mehmanparast, the foreign ministry's spokesman, said on Tuesday that countries such as the US and UK had "miscalculated" by siding with the opposition.

Clashes broke out after police used teargas, batons, and eventually live rounds to try to disperse thousand of protesters.

Muhammad Sahimi, an Iran expert at the University of Southern California in the US, said the government's crackdown was unlikely to stop the opposition.

"If they were going to be cowed, they should have been by now," he told Al Jazeera.

"Over the past six months, violence has been used, a lot of people have been arrested, tens of people have been killed, but yet you don't see any decrease in the level of demonstrations," he said.

Sahimi said that as the government sought to suppress the movement by force, support for the opposition instead grew, expanding across the country.

"The demands have gone way beyond cancellation of elections, and now people are demanding fundamental change in the system" of government, he told Al Jazeera.

"The goal right now, is at the minimum, to weaken the position of [Iran's ] supreme leader, to make him sort of a figure head … if not outright elimination of the supreme leader, and the writing of a new constitution."

You got that? The West is twisting the arm of the Islamic Republic's goons to kill people. It all makes so much sense. More here.

Among the many miscalculations involved in invading Iraq was that it put a temporary halt to similar demonstrations and movements in Iran that were gathering momentum in the early part of the decade. But you can only keep people down for so long and the Iranian people seem to be back in force against a government that has offered nothing but ashes since taking power in the late 1970s.

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  1. Super! Another day of shaadi.com ads with Muslim hotties in my right margin.

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      1. If you are looking at the same one as me the top one is bubbly, the middle one is humorous, and the bottom one is smart. All the same cutie in slightly different outfits and hair a little different.

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    5. $45 for a Reason hoodie isn’t normal.

      BUT ON METH IT IS.

    6. Does anybody besides me get Diva swimsuit girl as their ad?

    7. Ugh I just get pale, blonde fatties in black bikinis.

    8. google “noscript firefox”.

  2. Among the many miscalculations involved in invading Iraq was that it put a temporary halt to similar demonstrations and movements in Iran that were gathering momentum in the early part of the decade.

    The miscalculators in question seem, based on what they were saying back then, to have been calculating with a much longer time-horizon. That introduces a lot of errors, but pausing the ruckus in Iran wouldn’t be one of them.

    Their securing-the-region-for-democracy talk may well have been bullshit, but the same statements that are used to “prove” they were conspiring to steal all of Mesopotamia for their Jewish Masters (or whatever) equally “prove” that they were setting up right outside Iran to make its popular overthrow more likely, later, when the regime’s nearest likely ally-in-the-breach wasn’t there anymore.

    I’m not for it, and I don’t think it’ll work, but they did say it.

    1. Yes, Iraq would have been a great ally of Iran had we invaded Iran instead of Iraq.

  3. Come on, Obama, God damnit. Issue a statement of support for these brave freedom seekers. The hardliners haven’t done anything to deserve your silence.

    1. Issuing a statement would be really dumb. If Tipper Gore had endorsed Marilyn Manson as a really cool guy who made bitchin’ music, the goths would have fled like rats from a sinking ship. An endorsement by the US president is not something that would be useful, since it directly plays into the Iranians claims that the unrest is a Western conspiracy.

      1. I disagree. It is getting about the time to fully support them. The Iranians in the street aren’t stupid, and they’re definitely not anti-American.

        1. I’m no expert on the Middle East, but I should think Iranian political discourse runs a little deeper than the basis for Marilyn Manson fandom.

          1. Screw it. I’m an American, and my family has been here for over two hundred years, so I will speak for my country: Rock on, rebels! Your government sucks ass.

    2. He did.

      http://www.cnn.com/video/data/…..s.cnn.html

      Of course the regime’s propaganda machine will try to spin this as a “the West is out to get us” conspiracy. But they were going to do that no matter what, and Obama didn’t say anything they can use to make their propaganda more convincing.

  4. You got that? The West is twisting the arm of the Islamic Republic’s goons to kill people.

    By continuing to treat with the Iranian regime despite getting nothing in return, and by rushing to accept Ahmedinafraud’s election, we are giving, at a minimum, tacit support to the regime. Does that encourage repression of demonstrators? Probably not, but still, there it is.

    1. Isolationist Libertarianism always gets a bit squishy on this subject. When is it OK for our government to support a revolution? And by what means?

      1. The government?
        Never. None.
        Easy.

      2. It’s never okay for the government.

        Our government also lacks the legal authority to do so. (I understand that this will not stop them, but I take your question to be addressing what is right, not what the politicians can get away with.)

      3. The only time I could see it being appropriate would be during a war, when the revolution is against one of our enemies. For instance, support for the French Resistance and Norwegian insurgents during WW2 was legit. I don’t see the current Iran situation coming under that heading, though.

      4. We don’t have to support the revolution to stop supporting the current government by treating it as a legitimate government and negotiating partner.

    2. There’s nothing wrong with keeping our national mouth shut — even about something we feel strongly about — when saying something is only going to make things worse. We of course know this in our personal lives, but forget about it when there are partisan political points to be scored.

  5. The long-brewing grassroots pushback against the very center of radical Islamic revolution is this season’s story that will have major impact for years to come

    I saw this show twenty years ago when it was called Tiananmen Square. Just sayin’.

    1. Tienanmen Square was a centralized protest. China brought troops in from the countryside who had no idea what was going on to crush it, and news of the event simply did not spread much beyond Beijing.

    2. I saw this show 30 years ago in Tehran.

      1. I remember this show 41 years ago in Prague.

  6. I think it’s important to note that when the current Chinese regime was faced with protests on this scale, they ran people over with tanks. And we kept right on doing business with them happily.

    I hope the current Iranian regime falls, because it certainly isn’t a libertarian one, but it seems to me that if these guys were half the monsters we say they are they would be machine-gunning thousands of people down in the street by now.

    Also, the official policy of our government, openly voted on in the Congress, is to use covert operatives to topple the Iranian regime. That means that by definition when the Iranians say “The West is using covert operatives to try to destabilize our state,” they are by definition making reasonable and not paranoid or absurd statements. If we don’t like the fact that the Iranians get to label every one of their freedom-desiring citizens a US spy, we should have thought about that before loudly announcing that we were going to fill their country with spies posing as freedom-desiring citizens.

    1. I agree with most of this, but I don’t think serial murders/torture by a regime is more humane than mass murder by a regime. Instead of gunning them down en masse, they drag ’em into a corrupt criminal justice system individually and ruin their lives that way. The only reason that sounds better than gunning them down en masse is because we’re used to it at home. In the end, the same number of lives are ruined.

    2. That means that by definition when the Iranians say “The West is using covert operatives to try to destabilize our state,” they are by definition making reasonable and not paranoid or absurd statements.

      If this is so, then McCarthyism was “reasonable” too. The USSR’s stated (if not actually put into practice) policy was to bring about worldwide communist revolution by any means necessary, was it not?

      1. Actually, it was perfectly reasonable for McCarthy to fear that there were Soviet spies operating in our government.

        The unreasonable part of McCarthyism was the misuse of the subpoena power of the Congress to investigate the legal political activities of American citizens with the goal of exposing those citizens to retaliation by private actors. The other unreasonable part of McCarthyism was the jailing of the people who saw through this transparent device and refused to cooperate with it.

      2. If not actually put in to practice?

        You mean, not sucessfully right? Because they did actually back all sorts of subversion, all over the world. Through both overt and covert means.

    3. You don’t think the U.S. should be helping freedom lovers overthrow despots? What?

      1. No, I think it’s absurd to announce that you intend to flood a country with spies to try to destabilize it, and then tut-tut about “paranoia” when that country declares that the people demonstrating against it are under the influence of foreign provocateurs.

        This statement would be true regardless of the merits of the regime in question.

        The fact that we are, by our own admission, attempting to covertly destabilize the Iranian regime means that the Iranian regime is entitled without reservation to assert that we are trying to covertly destabilize it. This is so true, so absolutely true, that it approaches the level of a tautology.

        1. They’re not just saying that there are spies hired by the US to destabilize Iran. They are saying that anyone who is participating in these demonstrations is under the influence of the US, which is ludicrous.

          That would be like accusing anyone who criticized the US government of being a communist spy, an even more extreme variant of McCarthyism that would (deservedly) be subject to ridicule had it happened here.

          1. They did not say that all the demonstrators were under the influence of the US. I see references to “outside agitators” who are “fomenting” unrest.

            Our press and government are obviously mocking the entire notion that Iran would accuse the west of engaging in “outside agitation”. And that’s just silly, given our direct policy statements on the matter.

            To mine the McCarthyism metaphor a bit more: if you or I had been around then, and had denounced McCarthy’s claims as ludicrous, that would have been reasonable. But it would not have been reasonable for the Soviet Union to denounce them. The country actually sending in spies and provocateurs has no grounds for denouncing claims regarding spies and provocateurs, even the false ones.

            1. I don’t think anyone is claiming there is NO outside agitation.

              However, it IS ludicrous to claim that the demonstrations wouldn’t be happening were it not for “the West”, and it’s evil agitators. Which is what is being ridiculued.

              Look back at the history here. The election was between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, which was a highly respected former president of Iran. His support is indigenous, and nobody can claim he’s a tool of Western influence. The protests originate from Mousavi and his popular domestic power center, it’s discontent with the election results, and the response from the regime. None of that is externally influenced.

              1. Wait a minute here. You mean “the West” isn’t the source of global notions of liberty and open govt? Enlighten me – where ELSE does this arise?

                Personally, I don’t see a problem with being ‘blamed’ for that. Every tinpot tyrant should fear “the West” for that continuing influence!

        2. Obviously we won’t the Iranian people to overthrow the despotic oligarchs. We’re for liberty in Iran’s case and we support the people, and of course Iranian-Americans are doing their best to help their people out.

          Yay! Yay! Yay!

  7. Sorry about the redundancy redundancy in the paragraph above.

  8. ROTFL, yeah buddy blame the west LOL

    RT
    http://www.privacy-resources.es.tc

    1. I for one blame your annoying ads for the protets in Iran, the holocaust and the Armenian genocide.

  9. Slightly OT, but I get the impression that a lot of the folks who think we should “support” (whatever that means) an overthrow of the Iranian regime are assuming that the replacement will be pro-Western, and will no doubt eschew nuclear power. I wonder if that is truly the case.

    I will laugh out loud if the new regime comes out and says, “…well, yes we’ll continue developing nuclear power as is our right.” I wonder what the neocons will say then, since they will have lost the “mad mullahs” meme.

  10. I will laugh out loud if the new regime comes out and says, “…well, yes we’ll continue developing nuclear power as is our right.” I wonder what the neocons will say then, since they will have lost the “mad mullahs” meme.

    It depends on who does the overthrowing. I strongly suspect that the Republican Guard will not allow the protesters to replace the government.

    The fate of Iran may well reside with what the regular army does. Until they get involved, I think any transfer of power will be limited and foreign policy is unlikely to change much.

  11. I bwame the Wabbit.

    1. Kill the Wabbit

      In an abandoned warehouse with no lights. Just shadows, and soon no rabbits. The purpose of the event is to pass the torch from one generation of heavy metal to the next. And there lie… in his black leather hunting outfit with a shotgun guitar with spikes coming out of it, Ozzy Fudd the Rabbit Slayer!

      In the dead of night
      A shimmewing wight
      Gweem of a bwade
      And the devil was paid
      When the axe comes down
      A chewing sound
      Steel against the head
      Another wabbit’s dead
      I’m a wabbit swayer
      A guitar pwayer
      With a nasty habbit
      Kill the wabbit!
      (Hah hah hah)
      AhhhaahooOhhh

      I’m a mean mistweater
      A wabbit feaster
      And I pwedict
      A bwoody Easter
      A scuwwowing shadow
      And the shadow wants to stab it
      In the night of echoes
      Kill the wabbit!

      KILL THE WABBIT! (x8)

      Ohhhh…
      And there won’t be any more wabbits awound!
      No more Wodger Wabbit
      No more Peter Wabbit
      And no more Pwayboy Bunny Wabbits!
      Ah ha ha ha ha!
      Be vewy vewy careful. Oooh…
      Cwazy wabbits…

      1. You should give credit where it’s due for this piece – Mark B. McCallum.

        1. Oh, right. Didn’t mean to imply that I wrote it. Wasn’t this on a Dr. Demento album?

  12. Invading Iraq didn’t prevent demonstrations in Iran, it has helped them. Just ask Christopher Hitchens.

  13. Well obviously they blame the west. They probably blame the west for earthquakes and rain as well.

    1. Wait, are you talking about Ahminejad or Al Gore?

      1. The dopey looking one.

        1. They’re both dopey-looking, juris…

  14. Shut up, teabaggers, and bend over and take whatever your government gives you!

    Wait… which protesters for freedom are we talking about?

  15. Iranian Officials Face Tens of Thousands of Protesters, Blame “The West”

    I plan on using a similar excuse someday.

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