Undisclosed Location

Where is the Secretary of State?
Nile Gardiner at the Daily Telegraph writes: “The White House should send a search party to track down Hillary Clinton. America’s foreign policy chief has been missing from the world stage for several days, and has become as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel at the height of the French Revolution.”

Come to think of it, we haven’t seen or heard from her since the Flight 253 bombing attack. ...


Barry Rubin on Obama and Iran

Barry Rubin at GLORIA Center: Obama's 2010 Policy
A friend of mine is angry, saying I'm too tough on President Barack Obama and that nothing he does pleases me. Well, I wish he'd do more that pleases me, and disconcerts America's enemies.

True, he has done three good things lately: his Nobel speech, which sounded like it was actually given by a U.S. president; his remarks on the demonstrations in Iran (better six months late than never), and his tough verbal stance about investigating the mistakes that led to the near disaster (though I worry they're less about dramatic change and more just a show to reassure the public that something will be done). I also pointed out that the administration's relationship with Israel was pretty good overall.

Yet on the single most important Middle East issue, Iran's nuclear program and its aggressive ambitions, hints about his policy are getting worrisome both because of what this administration isn't doing and what it's obviously thinking. The year has now ended with no major public move toward imposing serious sanctions. True, there are a few statements you can dig out indicating a turn in that direction. Yet what should have happened was a major public speech by December 31 about the administration's sanction plans. After all, it set that date as a deadline for action ten months ago yet let it pass with no visible action.

There are other bad signs that the administration still doesn't comprehend the problems it faces. ...

Full post at the link.


Iran's Khamenei Planning to Escape to Russia?

According to this report, Iran's Supreme Leader and his family and henchmen may be planning to escape to Russia in the event that their criminal regime falls. Zand-Bon at Planet Iran:
December 29, 2009

Iran Global website has exposed a document that discloses information on Khamenei and various authorities of the regime’s possible escape to Russia.

The document is on the National Security Agency of the Islamic regime’s letterhead addressed from the office of the High Assembly of the Islamic Republic’s National Security official [name is redacted] to an individual [name redacted] in the revolutionary guards. The letter is dated 6th of Dey (December 27th).

It reads:

Re: Response to a letter number [redacted] written on the 5th of Dey (December 26th).

Salam Aleykom

With respect, we would like to inform you of the inspection, check up and preparation of the aircraft, destination Russia, for the purpose of transporting the Supreme Leader ....

Star: Saleh 2009 = Saddam 1990 ?

Again via Jane, here's Lebanon's Daily Star:
Like Saddam Hussein, Ali Abdullah Saleh is an autocrat with a fair amount of blood on his hands, perched atop a decades-old security-oriented regime.

This regime does some things well, such as managing a personality cult, but it’s much less proficient at other tasks, such as running the country’s tribal and regional politics and generating stability.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have stood with Saleh and the US is now getting heavily involved, providing the regime with missiles, sending unmanned drones to bomb areas affected by the Houthi rebellion, and dispatching covert military teams to join Yemen’s Army in pursuing threats to stability, under the rubric of the “war on terror” policy.

And like Saddam, Saleh deals with a large part of his country as if it’s the enemy. Iraq’s Kurds suffered atrocities in the weapons during the Saddam era, while the southerners of Yemen have also been treated horribly by the Saleh regime, and we’ve heard calls for secession from the central government in both countries. ...

UPDATE: Bill Roggio at Long War Journal has this on Yemen and Al-Qaeda:
As the US has stepped up cooperation with Yemen in targeting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known terrorists wanted by the US government continue to operate in the open while the Yemeni government looks the other way.

The US has stepped up military and intelligence support with the weak Yemeni government and President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past several months as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has grown more bold. The terror group has been plotting to target the Yemeni state as well as US and other foreign targets inside and outside Yemen, according to US intelligence officials.

The US deployed special operations forces to Yemen in the fall to work with the country's army and security serves to root out al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The terror group has opened large training camps in Sana'a, Abyan, and Shabwa provinces over the past year.

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/12/yemen_permits_wanted.php#ixzz0b8CtxvPx

UPDATE: CNN reports
The U.S. and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets in Yemen for a potential retaliation strike, two senior U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday, in the aftermath of the botched Christmas Day attack on an airliner that al Qaeda in Yemen claims it organized.

The officials asked not to be not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information. ...

David Savage at the L.A. Times:
Yemen's emergence as a center for Al Qaeda activity has added another complication to the Obama administration's plan to close the U.S. military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Yemenis make up the largest bloc of the remaining detainees. This month, six men from that country were sent home, and their lawyers expected that up to 40 more could soon be released from Guantanamo.

Now that an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen has claimed to be behind the attempted bombing of an airline flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day, however, the lawyers fear the administration will block further releases. ...

Dreams Into Lightning notes that that would just break our heart.


Noel, Noel (Christmas 1940)

... I wanted to tell you about us, how wicked we are.
And yet also to say that the Star—you know the star I mean—
Is for some of us clearly visible still in the east at midnight rising, and all the night long burns serene—
And that on such nights on unaccustomed knees we kneel and in sweet discomfort
Pray for hours, and mean it, to be better than we are.
I am not one of these, I fear;
I loved you always for the things I read
About you in a book we had.
I did not meet you for the first time through the incense and stale smell
Of a room seldom aired, where people purred of heaven and howled of hell.
I used to read all day, when I was ten:
—You and Don Quijote were my heroes then.

Perhaps because of him I have been kind
Often with my heart, before consulting my mind.
I might have been wiser, had I learned direct from you—
Learned to make curlicues in the sand or on a scratch-pad while deciding what to say or do ...
Such as, "Sin—the waves come in—all pushing pebbles—each alone ...
I have it!—Let him among them who is without sin!—cast the first stone!"

I learned so young to know you, I could never see
Why we should not be playmates; you were wonderful,—
Oh, you were shiny!—and for some strange reason, fond of me.
But nothing will be done. I can do nothing. Nothing at all.
Only remember what you said, your voice, the way you said it,—
For it never was like something read, it was something heard, even while I read it—
And try to be wiser and kinder, in a world where Pity from place to place
Flees under cover of darkness, hiding her face;
Give Pity breathing-space.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay
from Make Bright the Arrows


One more for the holiday, couldn't resist; it's Leonard Cohen with 'Suzanne'. Dutch subtitles at no extra charge.


O Light Divine

Oh, all right. Here's something for the holiday. It's Celine Dion with an utterly breathtaking version of "O Holy Night". Enjoy.

Wieseltier on the Uses of Hatred

"As all hatred will ever be wrong." Leon Wieseltier begs to differ:
To be sure, hatred is not quite an analysis; but still a word must be said on its behalf. Hatred may be a sign that something has been properly understood. If you do not hate racism, then you do not understand what it is. If you do not hate Ahmadinejad, then you do not understand who he is. ...

Via Michael Totten.

Iraq's Mithal al-Alusi: Iran Nuclear Sooner than You Think

Via Planet Iran, here's JPost:
Dec. 25, 2009

Iraqi parliamentarian Mithal al-Alusi is warning that Iran is much closer to attaining nuclear capability than most sources, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US State Department, believe. In fact, he predicts the Iranians could have a nuclear capability - and may announce that they have it - as soon as next month.

"We are receiving information which says Iran is so close to producing an atom bomb," Alusi said in an interview earlier this month, the latest in a series of interviews conducted since September. "All the international community, they don't realize how close [the Iranians] are to the goal... The Iranians will surprise us one day [soon] and say, 'We have it.'"

Alusi said he cannot reveal his sources of this information, because that would place in grave and imminent danger individuals within the Iranian "establishment" who risked their lives to share it with him.

"I am talking about Iranian insider information. Very clear, from inside Iran," he said. "There are people within Iran who want to be normal... They know this is a dangerous regime. You see how they treat their own people... Iran is terrorizing the world already. What will they do once they have the bomb and they are stronger?" ...

Go to the link for the rest. Now if that's not enough, Muslims Against Sharia links John Noonan at The Weekly Standard, who says that Iran could be working on not just a fission bomb (A-bomb), but a thermonuclear fusion device (H-bomb):
Iran's nuclear program is spread throughout a variety of experimental laboratories, hardened enrichment facilities, heavy water manufacturing plants, and two plutonium reactors currently under development (Bushehr could come online within a few months). That far exceeds what's needed to turn on the lights, but it's also beyond what's needed for a basic nuclear weapons program.

Consider North Korea, which manufactured two limited yield nuclear weapons using only a plutonium reactor, a plutonium reprocessing facility, and -- presumably -- some sort of weapons laboratory. Why is Iran pumping billions more into building and protecting triple the number of facilities required to build a basic nuclear weapon, akin to the Fat Man or Little Boy bombs detonated in 1945?

The answer could be that Tehran is skipping basic weapons construction and moving towards an advanced thermonuclear design. Consider that they've already experimented with advanced weapons designs like two-point implosion, nuclear triggers, and have built their own facility at Arak that could be used to produce both tritium, which is a suspected boosting agent in hydrogen bomb designs, as well as weapons-grade plutonium. They've spent billions building, hardening, and protecting uranium enrichment, which could be used along with plutonium in a staged nuclear device. All this at an astronomical cost and effort compared to the similar North Korean nuclear program.

And what of Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to South America, where he showed keen interest in Bolivia's massive lithium reserves? ...

Merry Christmas.


Funny, there doesn't seem to be a problem with Western-style Communism.

You can bet that if there's someone saying that some particular culture isn't receptive to the idea of human rights, they'll be hoping to foist on you a view that identifies that culture with the power-holders within it. I happen to have an example to hand. It's a man telling us that 'The Chinese have a powerful sense of their identity and worth. They have never behaved toward the West in a supplicant manner'. He goes on as follows:

The issue... is much deeper than Western-style democracy, a free media or human rights. China is simply not like the West and never will be. There has been an underlying assumption that the process of modernization would inevitably lead to Westernization; yet modernization is not just shaped by markets, competition and technology but by history and culture. And Chinese history and culture are very different from that of any Western nation-state.

So no need to worry about democracy and rights for them, they being so different and all?

Go read the rest at the link. Original source of that quote is here; Norm also quotes a different view, from two writers who are actually, like, Chinese and stuff.


Feds to Seize New York Properties Linked to IRI

Via Cyrus at Facebook, here's The Daily News:
Putting the squeeze on Tehran, the feds moved Thursday to seize a mosque in Queens and a Fifth Avenue skyscraper from a nonprofit organization suspected of secretly funneling money to Iran.

"The Alavi Foundation has effectively been a front for the government of Iran," said Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara, who sued to grab more than $500 million in assets.

Read it all at the link.


El Día

When describing my father to people, I used to like to say, "Picture a cross between Albert Einstein and Captain Kangaroo." The soft-spoken, bookish Ken McLintock was, for most of the years I knew him, on the editorial staff of Choice Magazine. But in another lifetime, he had been a machine gunner in the Second World War. In a memoir written years later (and left unfinished), he recalled his experiences up until (but not including) his unit's arrival at New Georgia.

Dad's career as an editor seems to have begun during the war years; at any rate, he assembled a collection of original writings by his fellow soldiers of the 146th Field Artillery Battalion.
It was pure curiosity which led me to investigate a Japanese who had been killed about eight hours before, during the night. Before I saw the body itself, I saw a heap of clothing - or rather, rags - and I thought to myself: Is it possible that that shapeless object is a man? As I got closer, however, I saw the fallen enemy. After the first brief shock at the sight, I went ahead, dispassionately, coldly looking at him.

He was lying on his back, resembling a piece of wax statuary, with one hand flung across his waist, holding a bloodstained handkerchief (he had been machine-gunned in the stomach), and the other arm was crooked up with the hand resting near his head. His age was certainly under eighteen, and his youthful flesh was firm though colored a strange, waxy, yellow-white hue. His head was turned to one side, revealing a clean, bloodless hole in the neck where he had been shot by one not knowing he was already dead. His eyes were slightly open, and his lips parted. His boyish, beardless face was not entirely expressionless. On it I fancied I could see an expression revealing a boy trying to solve one of the great mysteries of life, a mystery that was beyond his grasp. ...

Dad also left a body of original writing. His remembrance of his mother recounts his memories of her singing career:
Mother's training, though, was not for the opera stage. Instead she sang with New York's Oratorio Society for years, and was soloist in a number of churches in the New York area. She also was a member of at least one church choir and even one synagogue choir (that of the famed Temple Emanu-El). Among the members of one of the choirs was Harry T. Burleigh, composer and arranger of Negro spirituals (as they were then called), including "Deep River". Burleigh was already well on in years when Mother knew him, and as the years went by, he would announce solemnly each year that this would be the last year he would sing "The Palms" at the Palm Sunday service.

In the one extant piece of writing that could be called a diary - dated New Year's Day 1968 - he speaks of feeling a quiet but invincible optimism:
despite having been uprooted a week before Christmas and kept until a week after Christmas in a warm house, somehow it will survive the shock of having been replanted (in a new location) this 15-degree day. And I know that, despite the cold, I will get the tree planted today. This is what I mean by invincible optimism. In other years I should have left the tree in the garage for a day or so -- letting the tree get accustomed to the cold, I would tell the world -- before planting it. Today I don't feel the need for any such evasion: I shall go out there within the hour, not joyfully, perhaps, but but at least without hesitation.

On pondering his qualifications for a certain job, he mused:
The job that I must do some day --
Fill an excavation or fule a flame --
I hope will not be asked of me too soon.
Were it tonight, or, say, tomorrow noon,
The fire would sputter, to my shame,
Or else the hole that's dug would be
So unexpectedly full of space
They'd think they'd buried in that place
Someone already more than half a ghost. ...

I do not know whether he ever got over the feeling of having lived "a life spent on the perimeter". In his later years, he embraced Judaism and became affiliated with a couple of local synagogues. For a too-short period of time, he was able to fulfill his own love of singing (and of Jewish music) in the choir of one of those synagogues.

Alzheimer's robbed him of his faculties quickly and ruthlessly. You know that scene in '2001: A Space Odyssey' where Dave has to disconnect HAL? Kind of like that.


My mother survived my father by about two and a half years. Her mother was the only grandparent living when Stephanie and I were growing up; we'd travel from our home in South Windsor, Connecticut to visit her in Bath, Maine every Thanksgiving.

I remember my mother as fiercely idealistic and intellectual, mistrustful of the world but relentless in her efforts to improve the world in spite of itself. She left no written works, but played a critical role in helping several friends - children and adults - to achieve literacy.

Her relationship with her mother was deep and deeply troubled. Long after the old woman was buried, Mom's voice would quiver with hurt and rage over things her mother had said or done to her as a child.


Stephanie was with us for twenty-eight years. She was preoccupied with mortality; one of her earliest poems observes:
Man is a fragile being,
Within himself and by himself,
Man is a dream,
An impossible dream,
And thinking he knows everything
Knows nothing
And is lost in the dream.
Imprisoned in him is a heart
That beats and stops, and all is lost.
Man fears death, though it must come ...

And then there is this:
The rain is water
from the sea
to the sky.
These rocks will be fossils,
my heart, thistles.
Only the sun consuming itself
will die.

Stephanie never felt at home in this world, as if she were migrating
through this country and out again
towards a greater desolation
than that from which I came.
Some days I am a gypsy
lying on sweet green grass or yellow fields
under a sky wide and full of sun;
some days I am a ragged dog
barking in alleys
among trash and empty bottles;
and some days I nearly forget -
but I can feel this body planning,
gathering forces,
signing documents;
all my time is borrowed time.

Even now, I find myself reading her poems and stories over and over again, always discovering something new.

Where the Night Water Runs
Once I chased a dream, a bird song,
a peacock feather,
through midnight down to the lapping water
silver crickets like ear-stars singing
all along the fields where fieldmice hide.
There is no place to go
but down to where the night water runs,
and runs black and slow,
slow like feet running in a dream.
Kind water, sweet and black
whispering, "I take nothing back.
I only go on."
The dream was really a beast
covered by night; I did not know,
and I followed the rank smell far,
too far away,
to find it, large
and turning, white clawed and snorting
too awful for fear,
too awful for running,
the song of my living too awful for fear -
and now to go on,
dawn is near.

Even now, she still visits me from time to time in my dreams.
Stephanie again, for a short time. I think we must have been teens or young adults. We were visiting the home of another family, perhaps relatives. It was getting late at night. I don't know if our parents were there or not. She was ready to drive home. Oh good, I thought, this will give us a chance to catch up; I haven't spoken with her in a long time. Even after I woke up, it was several minutes before I realized just how long it had been, and why.


Israel, Iran, Russia

Debka says that CNN says that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says that the Israelis said that they're not going to attack Iran.

In a CNN interview Sunday, Sept. 20, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said "Israeli colleagues" had told him they are not planning to attack Iran. He confirmed Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had visited Moscow two weeks ago and had also met with him, but asked to keep the visit secret.

When Israeli President [Shimon] Peres was visiting me in Sochi recently, he said something very important for all of us: 'Israel does not plan any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country and we will not do this'," according to Medvedev.

DEBKAfile adds: Unless Medvedev's assertion is denied by Jerusalem, the Israel government has abandoned its military option to pre-empt a nuclear-armed Iran, but neglected to inform the Israeli public of this radical change of policy. For nine months, Prime minister Netanyahu has insisted that halting Iran's attainment of a nuclear weapon, even by military means, was his highest mission as prime minister. ...

Remarks. Well, the Israelis may or may not have said such a thing to Medvedev; I wasn't there. My guess would be that the Russians are making the claim publicly to see if they can goad Jerusalem into issuing a denial or non-denial. But what do I know? Anyway, Debka adds:
According to the Kremlin transcript, the Russian president said: My Israeli colleagues told me they are not planning to act in this way and I trust them." he said. Although Russia has no defense agreement with Iran, "this does not mean we would be indifferent to such an occurrence…"

These words indicate that the Kremlin is not absolutely sure that Israel has indeed abandoned a possible strike against Iran and is holding an implicit threat of Russian military intervention over Israel's head - just in Regarding the contract Russia signed two years ago to sell Iran S-300 air defense missile systems Medvedev said that "any supplies of any weapons, especially defensive weapons, cannot increase tension; on the contrary, they should ease it." Israel has repeatedly protested this sale as a boost to the defense of Iran's nuclear sites. His words indicate that Moscow intends to go through with the sale to Iran and possibly Syria too. ...

So we'll just have to wait and see what happens.


Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Date: 2009-09-01.

I'm rarely at a loss for words, but I don't have any way to describe my feelings when I read this story:
Iuliano, now a lieutenant colonel and commander of the 84th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron and air liaison officer for Multi-National Division - South, said he was upset when he didn't get to see Iraqi planes shot down that night. It was a feeling that would stay with him for 18 years.

"I arrived in Iraq about four months ago," said Iuliano, a native of Boise, Idaho. "I took an interest in helping strengthen the Iraqi Air Force any way I could, and it was through that effort that I met Col. Sami [Saeed]."

Saeed, who commands the 70th Iraqi Air Force Squadron stationed at Contingency Operating Base Basrah, made fast friends with Iuliano. They have worked together and enjoyed each other's company for three months now, but only knew each other about a month when Saeed told Iuliano a story that shook him.

"He told me about being on a mission back during Desert Storm," Iuliano said. "When he told me the moon was full on the night he was talking about, I put two and two together and realized he was talking about that same night. He was piloting one of the planes we engaged that night."

Read the rest of this amazing story at the link. My own missile story is here.

I thought of Saeed and Iuliano, and of my own experiences, when I read Michael Totten's observation:
When our wars are over, they’re over whether we win or lose.

No one in the United States wants to reignite conflicts with Germany, Japan, Vietnam, or any other country we’re no longer at war with. While we argue among ourselves about whether it’s a good idea to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, no one in the U.S. prefers war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else if peace and normal relations are viable options.

Americans from one end of the political spectrum to the other would be thrilled to see Iraq and Afghanistan as stable, prosperous countries at peace with themselves, their neighbors, and us. We don’t even have a marginalized fringe group unhappy with the fact that Germany and Japan emerged as they did from World War II. The U.S. lost the war in Vietnam in the 1970s, as Egypt lost its last war with Israel in the 1970s, but no one among us wants to fight it all over again or wishes that we were still slugging it out.

We Westerners aren’t unique in our ability to forgive, forget, and move on. I have never visited Vietnam, but everyone I know who has says even Vietnamese who supported the Communist side seem to hold no grudges against Americans.

Totten is telling this in the context of a post on Egyptian playwright Ali Salim, who visited Israel and wrote a book about his experiences. Michael's post (you can read the rest at Commentary) goes on to raise questions about that side of the human psyche which, in the words of Rebecca West,
is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set life back to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.

I believe that it is the rule, and not the exception, for people to behave as Saeed and Iuliano did in the Iraq story. Humanity could not have survived this long if it were otherwise. To bring forward the side that thrives on hate and suffering, and to live (and induce others to live) according to its atavistic dictates, takes conscious effort. What was thus done, can be undone.


Iran Report: 2009-08-05

14 Mordad 1388. Latest Iran news: a citizen is freed, an opposition leader is arrested, a US flak double-talks, and a hero dies.

Protester rescued from regime thugs. Azarmehr has new footage of a protester rescued from the basijis.

Mousavi campaigner detained. Raye Man Kojast reports: 'In the late hours of Tuesday night, Mir-Hamid Hassanzadeh was detained at the office of Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), where he is advisor, the local Tabnak website reported.'

Enemies. The Spirit of Man has a few choice words for the mullahs and their enablers in the United States. 'If I had any doubt about pro-Mullah nature of the Obama regime, those doubts are now turned into certainty and solid belief. Today NPR reports that the White House has called Ahmadinejad the 'elected leader' of Iran. At a time when world leaders like British PM Brown and German Chancellor Merkel have refused to recognize the Iranian government, this dangerous move is highly insulting and offensive, especially to thousands of Iranians who were killed or are now in jail.'

Gibbs says he misspoke. Arutz Sheva: 'On Wednesday, [White House Spokesman Robert] Gibbs told journalists, "Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday... I would say that's not for me to pass judgment on."

Alireza Davoudi remembered. Women's rights activist Alireza Davoudi died at the age of 26 from injuries he suffered during his imprisonment and torture. Rahai Zan TV has video (Farsi) here and here.


Iranian Queer Railroad

Iranian Queer Railroad:

The IRanian Queer Railroad (IRQR) is our new organization’s name since October 9, 2008. For IRQR, we are working to create a simple structure and focus upon supporting Iranian queers to be safe on their journey and to arrive in a new country to live and be free.

The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th century Black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and mainly to Canada with the aid of abolitionists who were sympathetic to their cause. In Canada they had their freedom. In the past few years one of our major activities was about asylum seekers who must escape Iran due to their sexual orientation and we will continue this work under IRQR. Iranian queer refugees are resettling in Canada, and also in United States and in parts of Europe. ...

Via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi at Facebook.


Iran Update - 1 Tir 1388

Latest from Revolutionary Road:

180 journalists issued an statement re government pressure stopping them from reporting
Laleh Park and Shiroudi Stadium have become the command center to organize anti-riot police and plain clothes
"Frightening reports coming from Tabriz (Mousavi’s hometown); they resemble Saturday’s massacre in Tehran"
England restricts travels to Iran, withdraws embassy families stationed in Tehran
Police Using Gunfire, Tear gas,Electric Bat. Clashes at Enghelab SQ
people:Regime of Coup d'état, abdicate, abdicate!
Maziyar Bahari arrested in Tehran. he was Newsweek reporter
In Enghelab sq. police shooting the air, using tear gas & electric batons
People are gathering near Mellat Park (North Tehran) Near State TV, Trafic Jamm & Lights and Horn
At least 47 killed and 1206 injured from this days!

Kudos and many thanks to Saeed for this difficult and dangerous work.

Statement from Ayatollah Boroujerdi:

In the name of God the beneficent the merciful

We in addition to honoring the brave people of the oppressed and under religious despotism country, His Excellency Mr. Mir Hosein Mousavi and the zealous clergy Mr. Mehdi Karoubi also praising the right protests of the people against inattention to the sacred votes of the nation that has shouted the slogan of justice, announce our multilateral support on the divine and national insurrection of the mass of the oppressed people of Iran moreover we point out that the world concern on the gravity of the Human Rights situation in Iran is an usual matter and based on the aware conscience and no body can call it interfering in Iran affairs because Iran government is interfering in the affairs of Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan in an unjustified way by abusing this subject(concern on Human Rights ) with all its equipments.

Today, noble nations have been annoyed for the lack of equality and freedom and the oppression and injustice applied on Iranian nation by the government and are planning to reflect the voice and the groan of millions of the injured people who are tired of this condition.

The followers and devotees of the liberal clergy, Ayatollah Seyed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi who supports the separation of the religion from government

Go to the link for Persian and Arabic text.

Via Howard Baskerville posting at Michael J. Totten, here's an incredible Flickr gallery for the Iran protests. The pseudonymous Baskerville also writes:

If you are worried by the conduct of the Iranian regime, you have understood the country better than many commentators. What Americans now see is that Iranians are a people with spirit who are not easily broken. For all the claims that Americans are an unsophisticated bunch, they know that a regime and its people are not one and the same. What has happened in recent weeks has confirmed that instinct.

Are those protesting true believers in democracy? We do not know, because they have never been given the chance. What we do know is that they reject the dishonesty of a repressive theocracy. For that reason alone, we should stand with them.

At Rahai Zan (Emaincipation of Women), Mino Hemati interviews Soraya Shahabi. In Persian.

Azarmehr pokes lots of holes in the fantasy of "elite" Iranian protesters and a "working class" islamist regime.

For latest updates in Persian and English, don't forget to bookmark Raye Man Kojast?

Via Muslims Against Sharia, here's Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed at al-Sharq al-Awsat:

The anxiety that is being felt by pro-Iranian Arab groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and others, is clearly articulated in their overstated defense of Ahmadinejad and their denial of the uprisings seen in Iran. It is only natural for such groups to be overcome by fear as Iran represents the backbone of their existence, and whatever affects the regime in Tehran will undoubtedly affect them twofold.

On the Arab scene, Iran's defenders rushed to desperately defend it in the media, denying what the rest of the world has clearly seen in terms of hundreds of thousands of protestors being led by members of the [Iranian] regime itself [and therefore not influenced by foreign powers]. These Arabs insisted that the images that we are seeing, and the interpretation of what is happening, is nothing more than conspiracies, exaggeration, and lies. However in reality the excuses mentioned above is closer to [describing] their interpretation of what is happening [in Iran]. These Arabs are either in a state of self-denial, refusing to believe what is happening in Iran, or they are aware of the truth but want to paint a different picture for the Arab world, and especially for their own followers, who must be in a state of shock.

Hezbollah supporters - and I am not talking about its leaders or theorists - believed as late as yesterday that Iran was unified, and that the leaders of the Islamic Revolution saw eye to eye. However all of a sudden they began to hear accusations of treason, treachery, and corruption being leveled [from one side at another in Iran], and they witnessed a large-scale rebellion [in Tehran]. ...

Go read the rest at the link.

Gateway Pundit has some of the best Iran coverage anywhere. First go listen to Gateway Pundit's exclusive audio interview with Ahmad Batebi (with Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi translating). Excerpt:

The regime has dwindled the internet speed down to a minimum right now. They've disconnected all the phones. All the SMS and text messaging has been disconnected. They've thrown out Western and foreign journalists. They've closed down all Iranian newspapers. They've put filters on all of their opposition websites. They've arrested dozen of activists, human rights and civil activists. They are arresting and beating dozens of people on the streets every day. And, people need to know that if they do not stand by the Iranian people shoulder to shoulder right now, that they themselves will come face to face with this very regime. And if this regime is allowed to have a nuclear weapon it will do the exact same thing with the entire world. This regime does not represent the people of Iran. And, morally the people of the world need to support the people of Iran and not what the regime wants."

Go to the link to listen. Gateway Pundit's latest post shows that the protests continue despite threats from the regime.

Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch has analysis:

This is a huge development. One of the biggest questions I and others have had since the Iranian protests/revolt/revolution began was whether Mousavi would be any different in tangible effect (Hizballah & Hamas support, etc.) than Ahmadinejad and whether Rafsanjani was seeking to sack 'Supreme' Leader Khamenei simply to acquire the powerful position for himself. That question perhaps may have been answered today.

My ears first perked up when word made it through the grapevines over the weekend that Rafsanjani had been meeting with other Ayatollahs and clerics in Qom, and had among them a representative of Iraq's Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

Why? Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2007 made two very critical statements: that "I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian," and that Islam can exist within a democracy without theological conflict. You will never hear such words slip past the lips of Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. Ever.

Sistani's presence at the Rafsanjani talks in Qom, Iran, through a representative brings therefore added significance. And the al-Arabiya report above seems to suggest that Rafsanjani is not seeking Sistani's support for superficial reasons. ...

Iran's Date with Destiny

As you surely know by now, March 20 marked the major confrontation between Iran's regime and its people. Gateway Pundit has updates. Michael Ledeen has analysis. The Spirit of Man writes:
Updated @ 9:35 am ET: There seems to be a bad case of news black out from inside of

Iran. I can't access any of my contacts. I have heard confirmed reports of explosion/blast in Khomeini's grave. I'm hearing that the govt has shut down public transit system, possibly to prevent people from commuting to the assembly sites.

Via TSOM, Revolutionary Road is updating continuously:

In Khosh Street police is attacking people with batons and pepper spray trying to disperse people, shots can be heard around Azadi
They are throwing Teargas constantly people: down with khamene'i
Heavy clashes on azadi street, chants of death to khamene'i,The street is full of rocks and fire!
Voice of shooting in Azadi street...
police using tear gas, water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters in Tehran,They are beating "people" in Enghelab St., not only the protesters!
people are trapped between Behboodi and Enghelaab
people are trapped between Behboodi & Enghelaab. gunshots being fired into the air...
2,000 to 3,000 protesters at Tehran University!
Enghelab street is fulll of people between ghods st. and Enghelab square
So Hard conflict in Azadi ST
Intense clash in Enghelab
Houses in alleys opening doors to injured protestors,hallway is full of beaten people!
Police have closed off Tehran University
Two bomb blasts in Tehran
Many of people arrested
An explosion near the shrine of Khomeini,killing one person and minimum 2 people are injured
metro/subway is closed...
Shooting directly to the people in Azadi ST
Vanak Square reportedly full of civilian-dressed forces
Fars news agency: the blast occurred near the shrine of Iran's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Amirabad was closed of my plain clothes basij, tear gas was used
50-60 basij bikers were present . the amount of people were 2000 in that area due to blockages of roads

And finally, this from TSOM:

This is a brief letter written by an Iranian woman who is going to attend the anti-regime rally tomorrow:

I'll participate in the rally tomorrow in Tehran. It might be violent. I may be one of those who will die tomorrow. I want to listen to all beautiful tunes that I have heard in my life, again. I want to listen to some cheap Los Angeles made Iranian music. I always wanted to have much narrower eyebrows too. Yeah, I'll check in with my hair-dresser tomorrow before I go to the rally. Oh, there are some excellent scenes in the famous Iranian movie Hamoon I want to see before I leave. And I gotta re-visit my own bookshelf. Iran's poets Shamloo's and Farrokhzad's poems are worth re-reading. I've to see the family photo albums once again.

I'll have to call my friends and say good-bye to them. In this big world, my possession is only two bookshelves. I've already told mom and dad whom to give these books to in case I never come back. There are only two more courses left for me to get my BA degree but to hell with the degree. I'm anxious and excited.

I wrote these scattered words for the future generations so that they know we were not sentimental or uselessly emotional. I'm writing this so they know we did every thing in our power to make this work for them and so that they realize if our forefathers surrendered to the Arab and Mongolian invaders physically, but they didn't give in to their tyranny with their spirits. They resisted it. And I wrote this for tomorrow's children...



People have been trying to reach Azadi Sq in groups of 100-200 but at every crossroad there is heavy riot guard presence. Gun shots can be heard throughout Tehran constantly. Riot guards have used high pressure water canons with boiling water to disperse the crowds. Never before has so much tear gas been used. [video at link]


Tension rose in the Iranian capital Saturday afternoon, June 20, when supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi set fire to the campaign headquarters of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Heavy police forces fired in the air to break up a clash between the two groups.

Earlier, demonstrators making their way to Tehran's Enghelab Square and Tehran University on the eighth day after Iran's disputed presidential election were prevented from forming into a procession by military police, anti-riot police and Basijj militia wielding water cannon, night sticks and tear gas. This was reported by witnesses using e-mail and other means of communication.

Two Iranian news agencies reported that a suicide bomber blew himself up near the tomb of the Islamic Revolution's founder Khomeni, injuring two people. This was not confirmed as independent news organizations are strictly controlled.

The crowds turned out in defiance of warnings of tough action against any attempts to demonstrate from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Friday and later the police. Their numbers could not be independently confirmed but the huge security presence appears to have outnumbered protesters.


Shiro-Khorshid Forever (Sayeh Hassan):

According to one of my contacts who was present during today’s protest in Tehran security forces have opened fire on protestors. My contact witnessed the shooting of three (3)protestors. Right now as we speak security forces have attacked protestors in the Amir Abad Area.

There are also Regime helicopters circling the area, they are mostly Sepah helicopters and to a lesser degree police helicopters.

Another eyewitness has seen a young girl shot to death in Jalalzadeh street.

People are also shouting "death to dictator" "Seyed Ali Pinochet, Iran Chili Nemishe" meaning Ali khameni Pinochet, Iran won't be another Chili"

Roger Cohen at New York Times:

TEHRAN — The Iranian police commander, in green uniform, walked up Komak Hospital Alley with arms raised and his small unit at his side. “I swear to God,” he shouted at the protesters facing him, “I have children, I have a wife, I don’t want to beat people. Please go home.”

A man at my side threw a rock at him. ...

Richard Fernandez:

The President’s actions suggest that he has finally torn up the draft agreements he had hoped to conclude with the Iranian regime simply because there is no one any longer to send them to. ...

TSOM has an appeal, in Farsi, to the Iranian regular army from a veteran:

به عنوان افسر وظیفه سابق ارتش و کسی که از خانواده ارتشی هستم از کسانی که این مطلب رو در داخل سازمان ارتش مردمی ایران مطالعه میکنند تقاضای عاجزانه میکنم که برادران و خواهران خود در خیابانهای تهران و شهرستانها را در مقابل بسیج نامردمی مسلح تنها نگذارید. از همه افسران و درجه داران و سربازان عزیز ایران بعنوان یک هموطن عاجزانه در خواست میکنم پناه مردم ایران عزیز باشید. مردم ایران همگی برای ارتش جان برکف ایران احترام و ارزش فوق العاده ای قائل بوده و هستند. اجازه ندهید مردم کشته و زخمی شوند. از شما عاجزانه تقاضا دارم به فکر مردم عزیز باشید. مردم بیگناه ایران به ارتش بعنوان پناهگاه خود مینگرند. لطفا مردم رو در این ساعت دشوار تنها و بی دفاع نگذارید. مردم همیشه و هر لحظه به سازمان مقدس ارتش اعتماد داشته و خواهند داشت. بعنوان یک ایرانی از همگی شما میخواهم به یاری مردم بیگناه ایران بشتابید. مطمئن باشید مردم ایران هیچگاه جانفشانی ارتش در طول جنگ تحمیلی و سالهای بعد از انرا فراموش نکرده و نمیکنند. مردم ایران و خانواده های ارتشی همگی شاهد تبعیض علیه ارتش و پرسنل معزز ان بوده اند. اجازه ندهید جماعتی بیگانه مردم ایران را در خیابانها قتل عام کنند. از دوستانی که در ایران این مطلب رو ملاحظه میکنند خواهشمندم از برادران ارتشی خود کمک و راهنمایی بخواهند


What you are watching is a vast classroom in action. This is what used to be called a “radicalizing experience”. All the people you see on the video, for however long they live, will remember where they were this day. Whatever happens outwardly the old Iranian regime can never put things back together in quite the same way again because the interior landscape of the country has changed. It has been said that “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” This date has marked itself; and the calendar has singled out the day as a landmark not of a passage to a place, but of a transition between one idea and another. They are on the other side.



A week ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of the so-called elections in Iran. Supporters of his rival - and opponents of the regime - staged massive protests. Due to personal obligations and the pace of events, I haven't been keeping up with the Iran situation here, but I'm going to try to catch up a little now.

Azarmehr, June 12:

Pro-Ahmadinejad news websites are already announcing Ahmadinejad as the outright winner. Rajanews says 69% have voted for Ahamdienjad and 28% for Moussavi. Islamic Republic News Agency IRNA, has also announced Ahmadienjad as the certain winner.

The picture shows, club wielding pro-Ahmadinejad supporters are already in the streets intimidating the people. [photo at link]

Via Gateway Pundit, the Globe and Mail, June 13:

Thousands of protesters clashed with police after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won an election which his reformist challenger called a “dangerous charade“.

The protests were a rare direct challenge to Iranian authorities. The result and its violent aftermath raised fresh questions about the direction of Iranian policies at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama wants to improve relations with Iran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranians to respect Ahmadinejad’s victory, which upset expectations that reformist candidate Mirhossein Mousavi might win the race.

Michael Ledeen, June 15:

To start with, the BBC, long considered a shill for the regime by most Iranian dissidents, estimates between one and two million Tehranis demonstrated against the regime on Monday. That’s a big number. So we can say that, at least for the moment, there is a revolutionary mass in the streets of Tehran. There are similar reports from places like Tabriz and Isfahan, so it’s nationwide.

For its part, the regime ordered its (Basij and imported Hezbollah) thugs to open fire on the demonstrators. The Guardian, whose reporting from Iran has always been very good (three correspondents expelled in the last ten years, they tell me), thinks that a dozen or so were killed on Monday. And the reports of brutal assaults against student dormitories in several cities are horrifying, even by the mullahs’ low standards.

Western governments have expressed dismay at the violence, and Obama, in his eternally narcissistic way, said that he was deeply disturbed by it ...

Before I go on, I want to make a few observations about Mousavi. As some of the more cynical commenters on my Facebook page have correctly observed, Mousavi is not, himself, what we would call a "good guy". That is to say, he is not running on a "freedom, democracy, and secularism" platform and he is no less a part of the establishment than Ahmadinejad. He is simply a rival thug. So, what are we to make of the demonstrations?

Here's Ledeen, June 17:

I think that many pundits insist on thinking about the Iran-that-was-five-days-ago, instead of the bubbling cauldron that it is today. The same mistake is repeated when people say that Mousavi, after all, is “one of them,” a member of the founding generation of the Islamic Republic, and so you can’t expect real change from him. The president made that mistake when he said that he didn’t expect any real difference in Iran’s behavior, no matter how this drama plays out.

I think that is wrong; at this point, Mousavi either brings down the Islamic Republic or he hangs. If he wins, and the Islamic Republic comes down, we may well see the whole world change, from an end of the theocratic fascist system, to a cutoff of money, arms, technology, training camps and intelligence to the world’s leading terrorist organizations, and yes, even to a termination of the nuclear weapons program.

I think that, whatever or whoever Mir Hossein Mousavi was five days ago, he is now the leader of a mass movement that demands the creation of a free Iran that will rejoin the Western world. And yes, the wheel could turn again, this revolution could one day be betrayed, all kinds of surprises no doubt await the Iranian people. Yes, but. But today, there is a dramatic chance of a very good thing happening in Iran, and thus in the Middle East, and therefore in the whole world.

And Michael Totten at Commentary, June 18:
I do not trust Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. He is part of the Khomeinist establishment, although a crudely sidelined one at the moment. His record as former prime minister isn’t much more attractive than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s record as president.

The democracy movement is rallying around him, but the activists should be careful. Ruhollah Khomeini managed to convince Iranian liberals and leftists to forge an alliance with him to topple the Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, but he brutally smashed them once the revolution swept the old regime out of power. Alliances between liberals and Islamists is extraordinarily dangerous – for liberals.

At the same time, though, it’s possible that Mousavi has changed. Michael Ledeen seems to think so. “He is not a revolutionary leader,” he wrote, “he is a leader who has been made into a revolutionary by a movement that grew up around him…Whatever plans Mousavi had for a gradual transformation of the Islamic Republic, they have been overtaken by events.” ...

Please go to the link for the rest, including Totten's commentary on an article by Robert F. Worth in the New York Times.

Now covering the rallies, here's Azarmehr:

Massive crowds, mourning the martyrs of the protests so far, sing the true national anthem of Iran ["Ey Iran"] and not the official Islamic Republic one [video]...
Protests in Rasht. Young girl is caught badly beaten up, God knows what happened to her afterwards at the hands of those savages. [video]

The Spirit of Man posts running updates:

5:34 am ET: Now calling protesters 'terrorists'? Khamenei wants an END TO STREET RALLIES & threatened the protesters with more consequences.

5:37 am: Khamenei said budging under pressure is dictatorship. He is again threatening the heads of the opposition. He says people should try the 'kinder' way and saying if people go another way, then I'll be more blunt. 5:41 am: He's now taking a jab at the US and EU governments. I think he's trying to link the protests to the foreign governments now.

5:50 am et: Khamenei is saying Iran is no Georgia and there'll be no velvet revolution in this country. Now giving food to the stupid leftists in the western world... saying Iraq war is against human rights. Now criticizing Hillary Clinton and her husband for Waco incident. Khamenei says the Iranian govt is the defender of 'human rights' around the world. 5:51 am ET: He is now basically saying that he is willing to give his life to defend the revolution & Islamic state.
My gut feelings: I predict Tiananmen Square in Iran

Stay tuned for more.


Prejudice, Real and Invented

First, the news item, from B. Daniel Blatt aka GayPatriotWest:

The news division of another broadcast network has been staging “news” in an attempt to show the prejudices of the American people. Only this time, it didn’t work out as planned. After planting a gay couple and an actor portraying a loud-mouthed anti-gay bigot at a New Jersey sports bar, ABC News learned that the bar’s patrons are, on the whole, a remarkably tolerant lot.

Surprise, surprise. You might be reminded, as Dan was, of this incident from three years ago:

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 13:05:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Looking for Muslim Males to participate in NBC Dateline Segment
I hope everyone is doing well.
I have been talking with a producer of the NBC Dateline show and he is in the process of filming a piece on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination in the USA. They are looking for some Muslim male candidates for their show who would be willing to go to non-Muslim gatherings and see if they attract any discriminatory comments or actions while being filmed. ...

That said, I’m urgently looking for someone who can be filmed this April 1st weekend at a Nascar event (and other smaller events) in Virginia. NBC is willing to fly in someone and cover their weekend expenses. The filming would take place all day on Saturday and Sunday.

I'll let the good folks at NASCAR have the last word on that one:

The inference is that NASCAR fans are bigots, and NBC News was hoping to bait fans into making insensitive remarks to the Muslim / Arab people it had planted at the track.

Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's managing director of corporate communications, said Wednesday that no instances of unrest were reported. "No one bothered them," Poston said.

It's hard to imagine that NBC News would try to entrap fans in a ploy to make its Dateline segment juicier. But apparently the network did just that; NBC did not deny its actions when confronted by NASCAR.

So, back to ABC's stunt:

When, however, they dispatched an actor to verbally harass a gay couple they had sent to a New Jersey sports bar, they found more tolerance than bigotry. While a handful of patrons expressed disapproval of the couple’s presence in the bar, the patrons who spoke out the loudest called the actor on his bigotry, in the process challenging the prejudices the ABC News producers apparently harbored against the patrons of a suburban sports bar.

They had the gay couple come into the bar at two different times — first during the mid-day lunch hour, then later in the evening.

In the mid-day visit, no one took much notice of the two men until the aforementioned actor, at the network’s behest, started “stirring the pot,” pretending “to be bothered” by the couple. A few guys seemed to share his sentiments but didn’t act out their animosity.

Yet when the actor pestered a “new arrival” about the gay guys, the new guy did express some animus, though not against the gay couple. He told the ostensibly bigoted actor to shut up, saying that if he had to choose between that irritated individual and the gay couple, he’d probably be asking him, not them, to leave. Indeed, he told the gay men, “I’d rather have twelve of you them than four of him.”

In the evening, the couple turned up the heat by increasing their public displays of affection. At the same time, the producers raised the stakes by having a straight couple, also actors, “appear to be bothered too.” The actor remained obnoxious. A few people grumbled, with one man saying the gay men’s display “disgusts” him. But the most agitated person was a woman who objected not to the their affection, but to the basher’s antics.

Go to the article to read the rest, but this comment from Dan caught my eye: "The only gay bashing that took place at this sports bar was a verbal one staged by ABC."

And that put me in mind of an incident (or series of incidents) in Canada mentioned by Ezra Levant (and cited by Five Feet of Fury):

Who is Canada's largest "hate group", as measured by the number of anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-black and pro-Nazi comments published on the Internet?

As I've pointed out before, it's none other than the taxpayers' own Canadian Human Rights Commission.

It is official CHRC policy for their employees to join neo-Nazi groups, and go online in full neo-Nazi drag, spewing filthy venom that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. ...

It's as if liberals have found they haven't got enough real bigots to keep them busy these days, and must invent them, or else lose their own relevance.

Because it's either that, or else be forced to take on the real bigots. And that's dangerous work.

Ledeen on Victory

Michael Ledeen has an excellent piece on President Obama's AfPak strategy. I'll just excerpt this snippet on the Israel/Egypt war and peace:

A few days before his Afpak speech, the president celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Israel/Egypt peace agreement. “As we commemorate this historic event, we recall that peace is always possible even in the face of seemingly intractable conflicts,” he said. And then, referring to his own intentions, he continued:

The success…demonstrated that progress results from sustained efforts at communication and cooperation…we honor the courage and foresight of these leaders…as we seek to expand the circle of peace among Arabs and Israelis, we take inspiration from what Israel and Egypt achieved three decades ago, knowing that the destination is worthy of the struggle.

But that’s not how it happened. Not at all.

First, Egypt was decisively defeated by Israel on the battlefield, convincing Anwar Sadat that there was no possibility of wiping out Israel, and that any attempt to do it would be disastrous for his country. Second, both the United States and the Soviet Union started designing a “peace” deal, and Sadat didn’t like the prospect of a renewed Soviet role in the region. He was even prepared to talk directly to the Israelis. So he went to Jerusalem.

Thus, contrary to Obama’s reconstruction of events in the 1970s, the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was the result of an Israeli victory on the battlefield. ...

Go read the whole thing.

Stop Iran

The Spirit of Man:

I doubt Obamble would stop the crazy Mullahs from acquiring the atomic weapon but apparently some tough guy in Israel will go the extra mile to stop these crazies in Tehran:

“You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

Of course the Obama administration lacks the balls to stop anything, let alone the determined Iranian regime.

Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran, or I will.

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. ...

Arutz Sheva: Israeli covert ops draw Washington disapproval.

Israel plans to continue a covert operation to delay Iran's nuclear program by assassinating key Iranian scientists despite growing opposition from the United States, U.S. officials said. Active for almost a decade, the program involves targeted killings of key Iranian assets as well as disrupting and sabotaging Iran's nuclear technology purchasing network abroad, the sources said.

U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at relieving tensions between the two countries, partly due to the U.S.'s desire to use Iran's road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there. ...


Iranians Defy Regime, Celebrate Chaharshenbe Souri

While President Obama was mouthing his vapid drivel about Iran, Iranian youths were celebrating in defiance of the islamist regime. CRIME Report:

Held on the last Tuesday before the spring equinox - when the Persian new year holiday of Noruz is celebrated - Chaharshanbe Suri marks an ancient tradition where people jump over the bonfires to wish each other a healthy year.

Iran's ruling theocrats do not particularly like these ancient "pagan" feasts, which barely survived the Islamic Revolution. Over the years, the regime has taken steps to co-opt the holidays by inserting new religious elements. For example, a special prayer for Noruz has been introduced. The minute the new year begins all channels in the state-run TV and radio broadcast live Supreme Leader Khamenei's new year speech, where he bestows a thematic name on the year - for instance, "Imam Khomeini Year" or "Responsibility of the Officials to the People."

Yet it is hard to slip ideological symbols into Chaharshanbe Suri. Given the normally harsh legal restrictions on social and civic life, the holiday offers a unique moment where the regime's pressure is largely gone and rowdy behavior is tolerated. This gives youth an opportunity to go "wild" with impunity. Young Iranians have learned to enjoy this night to full by setting off fireworks, mixing in large numbers with the opposite sex, and playing pranks. These outbursts of pent-up energies have turned this ancient feast into a nightmare for the authorities, prompting the security officials go on high alert every year.

Amnesty International is using the Noruz holiday to launch an alert of its own - a call to stand in solidarity with several leading Iranian activist currently behind bars. These include Mansour Ossanloo, previously profiled in The CRIME Report for leading a strike by Tehran's bus drivers and currently sentenced to five years in jail for his activism. The call is to send Noruz greetings to Ossanloo and two Iranian Kurds, one a journalist and the other an artist, who have to celebrate the approach of the spring and the new year in their cold cells. One sad coda: during the holiday last week blogger Omid Reza Mir-Sayafi, who had been jailed for allegedly "insulting" the Supreme Leader committed suicide in Evin Prison.


Iran: Boroujerdi Dispatch


Zahra Abdollahvand and Maryam Ghasemi were released after 27 days detention and torture by giving heavy security.

It is necessary to say that each one of the ladies has children and had been detained only because of advocacy of Ayatollah Boroujerdi and protest against continuing the illegal detention of him by the Special court of clergy.

Mrs.Zohreh Sharifi, another follower of Ayatollah Boroujerdi, is still in prison and there is no exact information on her condition.

Background. From an interview with Ayatollah Sayed Hosein Kazemeini Boroujerdi:

This interview was done in the beginning of 1387 [on the Persian calendar; spring of 2008 CE] and in clergy section of Evin prison by a political prisoner from Karaj called Ahmad Najafi Mojtahedi who had been condemned on the charge of publishing a book against Khamenei. This interview has been brought to your ears :
1- Do you call this government ( Iran regime ) legal ?
No, because it was established base on cheating Iran nation and formed by false and unreal promises, then was continued by the obvious breach of its establisher's commitments. Its majors such as: independence, freedom, republication and Islam were never fulfilled and about its minors which were giving national properties to nation ,were fulfilled contrary to their promises and now Iranian people while have the most national and natural wealth, are the most helpless and poorest nation in the world .Economic calculations in governmental incomes and expenses are completely secret and if it is said the majority of people were asking for Islamic regime in 30 years ago ,but now the majority of them are asking for irreligious regime and this world will be proved by a referendum under inspection of the United Nations or by a public and open gathering formed by watch and support of legal and human societies of the world .

2- Do you expect the great governments to help?
The power must be balance between Iran nation and government to people of this country who are owners and inheritors of this country get their legal and incontrovertible rights. Now there is unjust and unequal domination of political regime of Iran on oppressed and miserable people of this country which freedom negation, independence annihilation, lacking of calm and finishing of the finance, credit and life ability of these noble people are its results.

3- please explain the rights and limits of women:
Woman is the partner of man in administrating the life affairs .women have the same position in creation that men has reached and each law violates their personality and credit integrity is worthless .All judgments which lead to humiliating and regressing women are the Human Rights violators. Every kind of limit and restriction which cause reduction in their success and enjoyment of life is unrespectable and unenforceable. Scientific and social fields must not cause limitation and strait for them.

4- How do you analyze the conflict between Palestine and Israel?
Bani Israel is one of the most ancient tribe in Middle East which its evidences and documents are in holy books. Since a long time ago, Arab and Hebrew races which have one root, lived together peacefully in all regions of Shamat that contains: Palestine, Jordan, Hejaz, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, they traded, exchanged and treated friendly together. It must not be forgotten that all the inhabitants of these states are holy Abraham's children so, every kind of flight and conflict, causes to damage to their origin and separation from their root. Friendship, understanding and unity must be established among all humans in the world as each nation can progress and improve by its method and way. Every kind of war and bloodshed under any title and reason damages human spirit.

5- what's your opinion about other religions in the world? ...

Go to the link to read the rest.