Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Protests in Iran

Protesters in TabrizMichael Ledeen has repeatedly emphasized that the best way to achieve our policy objectives with respect to Iran is to support the indigenous opposition and thus undermine the regime. A spontaneous uprising against the mullahs, supported by the United States, could legitimize a new democratic government in Iran and make the issue of nuclear weapons less apocalyptic.

It may be that such an uprising is beginning right now. According to the expatriate Iranian blogger The Spirit of Man, students staged massive protest rallies in Iran today:

Protests in Tehran

There are confirmed reports from inside of Iran about students protesting in and around the University of Tehran, mainly at Kuy-e-Daneshgah where famous protests against the regime were held in July of 1999 and June & July of 2003.

This can be a very important moment. I really think these guys need massive support right now to be able to achieve some thing, at least if we expect the change to come from inside of Iran.

A blogger says there are about 2000 students clashing with the security officers in western parts of Tehran where their campus is located. Many were detained, 40 police officers injured and 200 students wounded. He says, it started by a group of 20-30 students and then more people joined the crowd.

All we can do is stand on the sidelines and witness. Since the legacy media are unlikely to pay any attention, we’ll have to spread the word in the blogosphere.

Pass it on.

8 comments:

Scott said...

I wouldn't get your hopes up. I
converse with a couple of Iranian
exiles and they offer interesting
points. They claim the current
regime is a PLO/Arab creation and
that Iranians are hostile to Arabs
and cite historical evidence of
this.

The problem is they are not Muslim.
To ignore this aspect of Iran is to
make the same mistake Ledeen and
others made in Iraq.

While I have no doubt that, left to
their own devices, there are many
in Iran who dislike strict Islam we
have to remember that Iraq was, in
Saddam's time, the most secular of
the Arab nations. Hell, Kuwaitis
used to drive up the 'highway of
death' to Basra to have a good time.

Put the US or any foreign powers on
the situation however and you can
toss Cyrus the Great, Zoroaster and
other pre Islamic figures in Iran
out the window. They are Muslim and
that is what counts today.

Adaneshju said...

I think it's worth noting as well that Iran was one of the more secular Muslim countries before 1978. The revolution against the Shah was broad and came from all cross-sections of Iranian people. Religion was an important part of the revolution--mosques for instance provided a way for messages to be exchanged, plans made, etc--but the revolution was not always a strictly religious one. Khomeini and his ilk basically did away with all their opponents.

The situation is somewhat similiar now. Broad dissatisfaction with the government, and immense numbers of youth who have known nothing but the injustice of the religious regime.

I've been hoping for something to come of this for years. Student protests in Iran are almost a tradition as in France. I've seen nothing big yet.

I remember right after 9/11 Bernard Lewis said something along the lines of--"If we were invading Tehran now, they would be cheering in the streets." Maybe true, but I think I doubt that. I do think the moderates took a hit with the Iraq action, as the miltiary of the great satan operating right next door tends to get the mullahocracy riled up.

Scott,

Not to question the the sincerity of your Iranian contacts, but one thing to keep in mind is that a sig. portion of Iranian americans were the old elite, the secular, and the rich monarchists who fled the Ayatollah. Of course they hate the current regime, and don't understand its popular support.

One of the Arabic terms for foreigner--ajami--is used specifically against the Persians. It basically means "stutterer" if I recall correct (like greek derived "barbarian").

Freedom Fighter said...

Islam trumps all. Especially when you add in the mystiqueof the Hidden Imam.

Most of the anti-Mullah Iranians are no longer living in Iran. And while some demonstartions may go on, and some dissidents exist, I don't se them as viable at this time.

In order for the regime to truly topple, we will have to humiliate the mullahs and their front man Ahmadinejad. It's important to remember the culture we're dealing with, and the fact that the whole idea of a `nation-state' is largely a Western idea.

Let alone democracy!

fluffy said...

Of course any riot would be incomplete without cartoons.

Dan M said...

I don't have any confidence in Ledeen's policy prescriptions.

I've been hearing about the imminent rise of the Iranians for over two decades.

And nothing happens.

And that's for a very simple reason, the mullahs are cold blooded killers.

Ledeen is in something of fantasy land about the eagerness of the people to overthrow the mullahs.

When was the last nationwide strike we've ever heard of from iran?

I've never heard of one.

They're scared, and because they're scared, many of them are going to die, and probably by us, for the mullahs are leaving us little option.

Cato said...

adaneshju - you may be right but EVERY emigre group in America has been despised (especially by Americans) as an unrepresentative elite. And there is plenty of democratic Iranian resistance inside and outside the country, that is not directed by the old elite, or aiming at restoration of the Shah.

Victor Davis Hansen believes that the greatest pressure on the Iranian regime is coming across the border from Iraq. Not every Iraqi shia wants to be an Iranian stooge. Our best hope for regime change in Iran is a stable, representative and increasingly powerful regime in Iraq. Which is, of course, why Iran is tryig so hard to destabilize it. It doesn't explain why the US Democrat party is trying to accomplish the same end, though.

Scott said...

Some interesting reports coming out
of Northern Iran. Seems there were
sone riots in Tabriz over an anti
Azeri 'cartoon' in the local paper.

Azeri's make up 24% of Irans people
so maybe our, or another nation's
intelligence agencies, are turning
the tables on the Ayatollahs. See
Radio Liberty's news bulletin of
today. Oh, the newspaper's editor
and cartoonist were arrested and
are now in Evin Prison.

Go CIA, MI6 or whomever is stirring
the pot in Iran.

The Mad Fiddler said...

Not many people are aware that the Nazi government executed thousands of German citizens by the guillotine during World War II, many for voicing their dissent or distributing posters, pamphlets, and leaflets criticizing Nazi policies.

Unless some Western government is prepared to give more than lip service to a couple thousand protesters, I can't be very sanguine about the chances they will sway their fearless leaders, or enjoy getting to know their grandchildren.