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Who is helping the bad guys?

Eli Lake at _The Washington Times_ had this article in “April “:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/13/europe39s-telecoms-aid-with-spy-tech/about how some European companies have been helping the Iranian regime. He also reports the same companies do a lot of business with the United States government (i.e. your taxes). Maybe they should choose between the dollars of a democracy and the blood money of a dictatorship?

Confused in Tehran

Press TV, one of the Iranian regime’s slimey organs, is confused. The headline on a report about President Obama’s comments today is:

bq. US supports street rallies in Iran

The report “states”:http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=98873&sectionid=351020101:

bq. US President Barack Obama has criticized the Iranian government’s response to street rallies but rejected that US was instigating the protests.

Obama dismissed accusations that the US was instigating massive protests as ‘patently false and absurd’.

So which is it?

How much do taxpayers spend on them?

There is an organization out there that competes with the Iranian regime for the clueless gold medal. Not clueless in the treatment of its citizens/democracy sense, but in its understanding of the world beyond its shores. It is called the U.S. government. Billions of dollars on intelligence later and they still “don’t know”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/world/middleeast/23diplo.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all.

Are we worried?

Iran’s Guardian Council has asked for an “extra five days”:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran24-2009jun24,0,4945198.story to review the election (full text “here”:http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2009/06/23/breaking-five-more-days-of-assessment.aspx). The Guardian Council had previously said the election was just “fine”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/5608671/Irans-Guardian-Council-rules-out-annulment-of-election.html, there having been “no major polling irregularities.”

So what’s happening? Maybe, they are cooking up an explanation. Maybe there is behind the scenes quarreling. Or maybe, there is some sad guy sitting there filling in the extra ballots to justify Ahmadinejad’s supposed victory. Here’s what the conversation was probably like:

bq. Scene: a smoke filled room, loads of empty candy packets and empty coffee cups.

bq. Boss: How are the ballot papers coming along?

bq. Sad dude: Fine.

bq. Boss: When will those 20 million papers be ready?

bq. Sad dude: Soon

bq. Boss: How soon is “soon”?

bq. Sad dude: Next week

bq. Boss: Are you nuts? What am I gonna tell the Ayatollah?

bq. Sad dude: Five more days?

bq. Boss: Let me see what I can do. By the way, no need to put “Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” just put “Ahmadinejad”

bq. Sad dude: Now you tell me

Rounding up the usual suspects

Here is a list of some of the journalists under arrest “in Iran”:http://cpj.org/2009/06/iranian-newspaper-raided-25-employees-detained.php. As we now know (and that for the comment on this), all Iranians are now journalists. Still, there is somebody in the Iranian secret police methodically working his way down the list of journalists: “40 arrested, 70 million to go.”

What is the problem with this picture?

Thumbnail image for 23iran2-600.jpg

The gentleman has omitted the definite article: “Down with the British” not “Down with British.”

The lights are on, but is anybody in?

Iran will not attend the upcoming G-8 summit in Italy. Not because Iran refused to. Because Iran simply has not answered. Here is what the Italian foreign minister “said”:http://www.reuters.com/article/gc08/idUSTRE55L5GQ20090622:

bq. “With three days to go, I still do not have a reply: I must consider that Iran has declined the invitation,” Frattini, who will host the summit, told Italian television. “Iran has lost an opportunity by not participating in the conference.”

This was Iran’s first opportunity to respond to President Obama’s offer of engagement, an opportunity to demonstrate that Iran might be able to play a positive role in Afghanistan. Clearly the Iranian regime has another engagement that is more pressing.

Musavi’s latest message

From Raye “Man Kojast?”:http://raymankojast.blogspot.com/ (Where Is My Vote?) who pulled it off his “twitter”:http://twitter.com/mousavi1388/status/2284258029 page:

bq. be persistent in defending your rights also don’t adhere to violence

You cannot be serious–now with update!

A commenter suggested this was a more appropriate video for the post “You cannot be serious!” Enjoy.

Welcome Daily Dish readers

Andrew Sullivan kindly linked to this blog. Thank you and thank you for visiting. More soon.

Electoral fraud for dummies

Here is a “youtube”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw5qJa4NJ-8&eurl= video that explains why the Iranian election result is problematic–even the interior ministry’s own figures do not add up. Also, “Josh Muravchik”:http://www.nypost.com/seven/06192009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/junk_poll_boosted_tehran_tyrants_175090.htm?page=0 takes apart a “Washington Post”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061401757.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 article that tried to claim that the June 12, 2009 election reflected the will of the Iranian people. One of the authors of that article, who organized the so-called opinion poll, Ken Ballen, will be speaking at the “New America Foundation”:http://www.newamerica.net/events/2009/irans_election tomorrow. With him will be “Flynt Leverett”:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/23745.html, a leading light in what should be called the American Friends of Ahmadinejad.

You cannot be serious!

How else can you react to Reza Aslan’s notion that the Iranian regime’s electoral system allows for “greater diversity of religious and political thought” (thanks to “Michael Goldfarb”:http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/06/reza_aslan_in_praise_of_irania_1.asp at TWS)?

The Iranian constitution’s “article 115″:http://www.servat.unibe.ch/icl/ir00000_.html contains many discriminatory elements.

The president must be from a defined group of “religious and political personalities.” The word for “personalities” is _regal_. It has until recently been interpreted to mean a man. Certainly no woman has ever been allowed to run. That means 50% of Iran’s population is excluded from running for the presidency.

Article 115 also states specifically that only members of the official _madhab_ (school of Islamic jurisprudence) can run for the presidency. That is a religious test which excludes the 20% of Iranians who are not Shia Muslims. Such a religious test is illegal in the U.S.A. according to article VI of the constitution.

You cannot be serious!

Europeans behaving well

Yesterday embassies of EU countries “opened”:http://raymankojast.blogspot.com/2009/06/list-of-embassies-accepting-injured.html their doors to casualties. They were near the clashes and there were rumors that the Basij vigilantes were waiting at the hospitals. EU countries have also been vociferous in their criticism of Iranian regime violence.

It is about Iran, not about America!

There is a silly debate starting about the impact of President Obama on the Iranian election. It is worth noting that President Obama is making no such claims. Here are some examples:

bq. “’Whereas the Bush administration united Iran’s disparate political factions against a common threat, Obama’s overtures have accentuated the deep divisions and incongruities among Iran’s political elites,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (from the “BBC”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8111290.stm).

bq. Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?

And in his Cairo address June 4, he accepted responsibility for America’s part in the enmity between the United States and Iran.

“In the middle of the cold war, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government,” Mr. Obama said — a reference to the 1953 coup in which an Iranian prime minister, under whom Iran had nationalized its oil industry, was overthrown and the now-despised Shah was restored to power. (from “The New York Times”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/weekinreview/21cooper.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all).

So is there “an Obama effect” in Iran?

Short answer: No

Long answer: No

Why? Because the Clinton Administration made the same overtures. “Here”:http://www.fas.org/news/iran/2000/000321-iran1.htm and “here”:http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=coldwar-imperialism/iran53/gesture-to-iran.txt are links to stories from 2000 in which Madeleine Albright acknowledged the U.S. role in the 1953 coup in Iran. President Obama is saying little different from his last Democratic predecessor.

What has changed is Iran. Back in 2000 Iran was run by a so-called reformist who was running into opposition from the same forces that have recently showed just how dishonest Iran’s system is. Today Iranians are on the streets in protest against that act of massive electoral fraud and the regime’s violent response.

It is about them. It is not about us.

What they are chanting in Iran

Here is a video from yesterday’s protests in Tehran with a translation of the chants.

“Death to the Dictator” (see earlier “post”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/06/pictures-from-t.php)

“As long as Ahmadinejad is in power, the situation will be the same”

“Allahu Akbar” (God is Great)

“People why are you sitting…Iran is becoming Palestine” (The Iranian regime never tires of talking about the Palestinians)

“Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein” (A reference to “Hossein”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Husayn_ibn_Ali and then to Musavi, whose first names are “Mir Hossein”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir-Hossein_Mousavi)

“Do not fear…we are all together”

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