Britain, do not mess with the ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

  • 27 March 2009: Kidnappers claim deal struck to free British hostages seized in Iraq

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/26/kidnap-hostage-free-iraq

  • 18 June 2009: Over $1.6 bn of Iranian assets frozen in Britain

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/98465.htm?sectionid=351020101

  • 19 June 2009: EU leaders step up Iran election criticism

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he wanted good relations with Iran as long as Tehran is “able to show to the world that its elections have been conducted fairly and that there is no unfair suppression of rights and of individuals”.

http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLJ881839

  • 20 June 2009: Fear Iraq bodies are UK hostages

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8111003.stm

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حشود مليونية

الله أكبر!!!!ا


In pictures: Worshipers attending Friday prayer led by Imam Khamene’i in Tehran.

CROWDS IN TEHRAN – IMAM KHAMENE’I SPEECH

Click to watch!!!!

Iranian patriots & Muslim Believers rally in Tehran for President-elect Ahmadinejad and for calm and end to riots

Moussavi, for every thug you field, President Ahmadinejad fields a 100 IRANIAN BELIEVERS in response!!!

Stratfor: Western Misconceptions Meet Iranian Reality

By George Friedman

In 1979, when we were still young and starry-eyed, a revolution took place in Iran. When I asked experts what would happen, they divided into two camps.

The first group of Iran experts argued that the Shah of Iran would certainly survive, that the unrest was simply a cyclical event readily manageable by his security, and that the Iranian people were united behind the Iranian monarch’s modernization program. These experts developed this view by talking to the same Iranian officials and businessmen they had been talking to for years — Iranians who had grown wealthy and powerful under the shah and who spoke English, since Iran experts frequently didn’t speak Farsi all that well.

The second group of Iran experts regarded the shah as a repressive brute, and saw the revolution as aimed at liberalizing the country. Their sources were the professionals and academics who supported the uprising — Iranians who knew what former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini believed, but didn’t think he had much popular support. They thought the revolution would result in an increase in human rights and liberty. The experts in this group spoke even less Farsi than those in the first group.

Misreading Sentiment in Iran

Limited to information on Iran from English-speaking opponents of the regime, both groups of Iran experts got a very misleading vision of where the revolution was heading — because the Iranian revolution was not brought about by the people who spoke English. It was made by merchants in city bazaars, by rural peasants, by the clergy — people Americans didn’t speak to because they couldn’t. This demographic was unsure of the virtues of modernization and not at all clear on the virtues of liberalism. From the time they were born, its members knew the virtue of Islam, and that the Iranian state must be an Islamic state.

Americans and Europeans have been misreading Iran for 30 years. Even after the shah fell, the myth has survived that a mass movement of people exists demanding liberalization — a movement that if encouraged by the West eventually would form a majority and rule the country. We call this outlook “iPod liberalism,” the idea that anyone who listens to rock ‘n’ roll on an iPod, writes blogs and knows what it means to Twitter must be an enthusiastic supporter of Western liberalism. Even more significantly, this outlook fails to recognize that iPod owners represent a small minority in Iran — a country that is poor, pious and content on the whole with the revolution forged 30 years ago.

There are undoubtedly people who want to liberalize the Iranian regime. They are to be found among the professional classes in Tehran, as well as among students. Many speak English, making them accessible to the touring journalists, diplomats and intelligence people who pass through. They are the ones who can speak to Westerners, and they are the ones willing to speak to Westerners. And these people give Westerners a wildly distorted view of Iran. They can create the impression that a fantastic liberalization is at hand — but not when you realize that iPod-owning Anglophones are not exactly the majority in Iran.

Last Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected with about two-thirds of the vote. Supporters of his opponent, both inside and outside Iran, were stunned. A poll revealed that former Iranian Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi was beating Ahmadinejad. It is, of course, interesting to meditate on how you could conduct a poll in a country where phones are not universal, and making a call once you have found a phone can be a trial. A poll therefore would probably reach people who had phones and lived in Tehran and other urban areas. Among those, Mousavi probably did win. But outside Tehran, and beyond persons easy to poll, the numbers turned out quite different.

Some still charge that Ahmadinejad cheated. That is certainly a possibility, but it is difficult to see how he could have stolen the election by such a large margin. Doing so would have required the involvement of an incredible number of people, and would have risked creating numbers that quite plainly did not jibe with sentiment in each precinct. Widespread fraud would mean that Ahmadinejad manufactured numbers in Tehran without any regard for the vote. But he has many powerful enemies who would quickly have spotted this and would have called him on it. Mousavi still insists he was robbed, and we must remain open to the possibility that he was, although it is hard to see the mechanics of this.

Ahmadinejad’s Popularity

It also misses a crucial point: Ahmadinejad enjoys widespread popularity. He doesn’t speak to the issues that matter to the urban professionals, namely, the economy and liberalization. But Ahmadinejad speaks to three fundamental issues that accord with the rest of the country.

First, Ahmadinejad speaks of piety. Among vast swathes of Iranian society, the willingness to speak unaffectedly about religion is crucial. Though it may be difficult for Americans and Europeans to believe, there are people in the world to whom economic progress is not of the essence; people who want to maintain their communities as they are and live the way their grandparents lived. These are people who see modernization — whether from the shah or Mousavi — as unattractive. They forgive Ahmadinejad his economic failures.

Second, Ahmadinejad speaks of corruption. There is a sense in the countryside that the ayatollahs — who enjoy enormous wealth and power, and often have lifestyles that reflect this — have corrupted the Islamic Revolution. Ahmadinejad is disliked by many of the religious elite precisely because he has systematically raised the corruption issue, which resonates in the countryside.

Third, Ahmadinejad is a spokesman for Iranian national security, a tremendously popular stance. It must always be remembered that Iran fought a war with Iraq in the 1980s that lasted eight years, cost untold lives and suffering, and effectively ended in its defeat. Iranians, particularly the poor, experienced this war on an intimate level. They fought in the war, and lost husbands and sons in it. As in other countries, memories of a lost war don’t necessarily delegitimize the regime. Rather, they can generate hopes for a resurgent Iran, thus validating the sacrifices made in that war — something Ahmadinejad taps into. By arguing that Iran should not back down but become a major power, he speaks to the veterans and their families, who want something positive to emerge from all their sacrifices in the war.

Perhaps the greatest factor in Ahmadinejad’s favor is that Mousavi spoke for the better districts of Tehran — something akin to running a U.S. presidential election as a spokesman for Georgetown and the Upper East Side. Such a base will get you hammered, and Mousavi got hammered. Fraud or not, Ahmadinejad won and he won significantly. That he won is not the mystery; the mystery is why others thought he wouldn’t win.

For a time on Friday, it seemed that Mousavi might be able to call for an uprising in Tehran. But the moment passed when Ahmadinejad’s security forces on motorcycles intervened. And that leaves the West with its worst-case scenario: a democratically elected anti-liberal.

Western democracies assume that publics will elect liberals who will protect their rights. In reality, it’s a more complicated world. Hitler is the classic example of someone who came to power constitutionally, and then proceeded to gut the constitution. Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s victory is a triumph of both democracy and repression.

The Road Ahead: More of the Same

The question now is what will happen next. Internally, we can expect Ahmadinejad to consolidate his position under the cover of anti-corruption. He wants to clean up the ayatollahs, many of whom are his enemies. He will need the support of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This election has made Ahmadinejad a powerful president, perhaps the most powerful in Iran since the revolution. Ahmadinejad does not want to challenge Khamenei, and we suspect that Khamenei will not want to challenge Ahmadinejad. A forced marriage is emerging, one which may place many other religious leaders in a difficult position.

Certainly, hopes that a new political leadership would cut back on Iran’s nuclear program have been dashed. The champion of that program has won, in part because he championed the program. We still see Iran as far from developing a deliverable nuclear weapon, but certainly the Obama administration’s hopes that Ahmadinejad would either be replaced — or at least weakened and forced to be more conciliatory — have been crushed. Interestingly, Ahmadinejad sent congratulations to U.S. President Barack Obama on his inauguration. We would expect Obama to reciprocate under his opening policy, which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden appears to have affirmed, assuming he was speaking for Obama. Once the vote fraud issue settles, we will have a better idea of whether Obama’s policies will continue. (We expect they will.)

What we have now are two presidents in a politically secure position, something that normally forms a basis for negotiations. The problem is that it is not clear what the Iranians are prepared to negotiate on, nor is it clear what the Americans are prepared to give the Iranians to induce them to negotiate. Iran wants greater influence in Iraq and its role as a regional leader acknowledged, something the United States doesn’t want to give them. The United States wants an end to the Iranian nuclear program, which Iran doesn’t want to give.

On the surface, this would seem to open the door for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Former U.S. President George W. Bush did not — and Obama does not — have any appetite for such an attack. Both presidents blocked the Israelis from attacking, assuming the Israelis ever actually wanted to attack.

For the moment, the election appears to have frozen the status quo in place. Neither the United States nor Iran seem prepared to move significantly, and there are no third parties that want to get involved in the issue beyond the occasional European diplomatic mission or Russian threat to sell something to Iran. In the end, this shows what we have long known: This game is locked in place, and goes on.

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090615_western_misconceptions_meet_iranian_reality

Tehran is burning, and who is fueling the fires?

Mohammad of Vancouver (a Canadian-Iranian) has relatives in the streets of Tehran, but he says that Ahmadinejad likely won the election, and the west, with its “warm ears” for Moussavi, is choosing to hear what it wants from the demonstrations. And Ayatollah Rafsanjani, the former Iranian president, has manipulated the electoral crisis in Iran for his own gain.
Based on opinion polls conducted a few weeks before the election by Terror Free Tomorrow (TFT), Ahmadinejad was expected to win with even a larger margin than announced in the official vote. The polls were reported both in the Huffington Post and the Guardian and had several interesting findings. First, even if the majority of the undecided votes went to the reformist camp, it was still highly likely that Ahmadinejad could secure the 50% + 1 vote needed to avoid a run-off.
Second, more than half of the electorate had a neutral or favorable view of the economic situation, and there was a relatively-even split between those that felt who the president’s economic policy positively contributed to the reduction of inflation and the unemployment rate and those who did not. Lastly, the vast majority of the Iranian electorate believe that religious expertise is a very important attribute of a successful president. While some may claim that bias or fear led to these results, these same Iranians were not afraid to answer extremely-controversial questions. For instance, a free press and free elections were seen as important issues that the government must address– by pluralities of the electorate sampled.
In the actual vote as announced, Ahmadinejad performed 7 points poorer than in the poll by TFT.
Based on my own conversations with people inside Iran who were acting as election monitors, Ahmadinejad did well in the poor areas of Tehran, as well as the rural areas in central Iran and the northeast region of Khorasan and Mashhad. In the Facebook sphere, I am already seeing skepticism among some Mousavi supporters who are not buying into the whole “it is very obvious that the election was rigged” statement. The idea that “the results just don’t make sense” is absurd. Mousavi did very well in Tehran, Yazd, Azarbaijan, and other ethnic-minority regions that he capitalized on while campaigning.
Nate Silver at 538.com agrees that the argument that the election was rigged is weak.  (A subsequent post at 538 finds some of the Iranian regional numbers “fishy”.)

But if the election results are not the problem, then what is?
To find the roots of the current crisis, one has to go back and look at the history of Rafsanjani’s presence in the political scene in Iran. Don’t forget that he is the second most powerful man in Iran and his family has amassed wealth beyond the borders of Iran. Rafsanjani also has a network of supporters outside of Iran that stretches from individuals, Iranian press and web sites outside of Iran all the way to the National Iranian American Council, whose positions are strikingly favorable to him.
Rafsanjani challenged Ahmadinejad in the 2005 elections and lost. Ever since then, he has been sabotaging Ahmadinejad’s plans of reforming the political and economic structures in Iran. He has been moving slowly from his moderate position to become the patron saint of the reformist camp. In this round of the election, Rafsanjani did not personally participate, but instead invited Moussavi, Karrubi and Rezaee (all three with historical ties to Rafsanjani) to throw themselves in the maelstrom of the anti-Ahmadinejad ring. The strategy was to create enough voter distractions so as to prevent Ahmadinejad from getting elected in the first round of voting.
Millions of dollars were spent on these three campaigns, most of it provided by Rafsanjani’s children and cronies who look at this kind of spending as a way of investing in the future government. The way this support was distributed among the candidates was very complicated and followed an elaborate pattern. Rezaee was asked to run in order to weaken Ahmadinejad’s support among the Revolutionary Guards, since he was the head of this force during the Iran-Iraq war. The reformist coalition were divided between Karrubi and Moussavi with the former receiving the support of reformist personalities like Karbaschi, Abtahi and Abdi and the latter receiving the support of reformist organizations and political parties (Mosharekat and Mojahedine Enghelab).
This dividing of resources by Rafsanjani was done to diversify and overlap the campaigns at the same time, while Rafsanjani and his children would remain in the background by only providing funds and logistical support to the anti Ahmadinejad camps. But things started to go wrong when opinion polls from inside Moussavi’s own campaign began to show a hardening of support for Ahmadinejad. That is when the nature of his campaign changed. The color green was picked as a protest color, and the rumors of voter fraud began circulating in the Moussavi campaign so as to continue the fight beyond election day.
The culmination of this happened days before the vote. In a letter written to the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Rafsanjani threatened to start a social volcano if Moussavi was not declared the “obvious winner”. (The letter in Farsi)  This suspicious move, together with Rafsanjani’s wife’s comments after casting her vote–encouraging people to pour into the streets if Moussavi was not declared the winner– show that the plans for social disturbances and support from the outside world was the opposition’s plan B, even before the election results were announced. The public confrontation between Rafsanjani and his family from the one side and Khamenei from the other side exposed for the first time the major role played by Rafsanjani and his family in the election.
The night of the election and only two hours after closing of the polls, Moussavi, under pressure by his campaign manager, advanced his prescheduled post-election press conference, planned for Saturday morning, and declared himself the winner in front of CNN, BBC and other foreign press reporters in Iran. There is no explanation for this move. This preemptive assumption of victory was done to sow the seeds of doubts and discontent before any results were even published.
The timing of this early press conference points to the fact that Moussavi’s camps were aware of the existence of warm ears outside of Iran waiting for any kind of news of doubts in Ahmadinejad’s victory.
Otherwise, why wouldn’t Mousavi wait for the morning after to declare himself a winner?
In my opinion, the speedy announcement of results by the Interior Ministry, something that most people quote as the evidence of tampering with the votes, only took place to counterbalance Moussavi’s early declaration of victory. Had Moussavi waited, the results would have appeared more normal and acceptable. As I have already explained, the switch from plan A to plan B required the Moussavi camp to quickly dismiss Ahmadinejad’s victory and move on to challenge the results as soon as possible.
Here are questions that I and my friend Ali Sanaee have been circulating among Iranians to widen the debate about the election results:
1-What is the real material evidence of voter fraud? Moussavi had representatives in more than 95 per cent of the polling stations. Among nearly 6000 representatives who signed off on the polling results, only 220 of them were barred from attending polls, due to lack of identification papers. What happened to the rest?

2- Why did Moussavi and his friends begin to doubt the results a few weeks before the vote? If he had serious doubts about the honesty of the electoral system, why even bother to declare your candidacy? What is Moussavi’s pre-election evidence for fraud?

3- Why Did Moussavi change the time of his post-election press conference abruptly?

4- Why did Rafsanjani and Moussavi’s wives speak out about fraud right after casting their votes?

5-Why did the Western media, who are normally against Iran and pro Israel (CNN, Fox, Voice of America, BBC, Huffington Post, Roozonline, Radio Zamaneh and Radio Farda), describe Moussavi the frontrunner as soon as Moussavi’s camp began to cast doubt on the elections, weeks before the vote? What degree of coordination was there between Moussavi’s campaign and the western media about this message?

6-Why was the Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored survey, done by a credible team of investigators (Terror Free Tomorrow), not highlighted in the coverage of the election in the West?

http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/06/tehran-is-burning-but-who-is-fuelling-the-fires—-based-on-opinion-polls-conducted-a-few-weeks-before-the-election-by-terr.html

Don’t Assume Ahmadinejad Really Lost

By Robert Baer
Time Magazine

There is no denying that the news clips from Tehran are dramatic, unprecedented in violence and size since the mullahs came to power in 1979. They’re possibly even augurs of real change. But can we trust them? Most of the demonstrations and rioting I’ve seen in the news are taking place in north Tehran, around Tehran University and in public places like Azadi Square. These are, for the most part, areas where the educated and well-off live — Iran’s liberal middle class. These are also the same neighborhoods that little doubt voted for Mir-Hossein Mousavi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rival, who now claims that the election was stolen. But I have yet to see any pictures from south Tehran, where the poor live. Or from other Iranian slums. (See TIME’s covers from the 1979 Islamic revolution.)

Some facts about Iran’s election will hopefully emerge in the coming weeks, with perhaps even credible evidence that the election was rigged. But until then, we need to add a caveat to everything we hear and see coming out of Tehran. For too many years now, the Western media have looked at Iran through the narrow prism of Iran’s liberal middle class — an intelligentsia that is addicted to the Internet and American music and is more ready to talk to the Western press, including people with money to buy tickets to Paris or Los Angeles. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a terrific book, but does it represent the real Iran? (See pictures of Iran’s presidential election and its turbulent aftermath.)

Before we settle on the narrative that there has been a hard-line takeover in Iran, an illegitimate coup d’état, we need to seriously consider the possibility that there has been a popular hard-line takeover, an electoral mandate for Ahmadinejad and his policies. One of the only reliable, Western polls conducted in the run-up to the vote gave the election to Ahmadinejad — by higher percentages than the 63% he actually received. The poll even predicted that Mousavi would lose in his hometown of Tabriz, a result that many skeptics have viewed as clear evidence of fraud. The poll was taken all across Iran, not just the well-heeled parts of Tehran. Still, the poll should be read with a caveat as well, since some 50% of the respondents were either undecided or wouldn’t answer.

No doubt, Iran will come out of last Friday’s election a different country. But it would serve us well to put aside our prism that has led us to misunderstand Iran for so many years, an anticipation that there would be a liberal counter-revolution in the country. Mousavi is far from the liberal democrat that many in the West would like to believe he is. The truth is, Ahmadinejad may be the President the Iranians want, and we may have to live with an Iran to Iranians’ liking and not to ours. (See pictures of Ahmadinejad’s supporters on LIFE.com.)

The absolute worst things we could do at this point would be to declare Iran’s election fraudulent, refuse to talk to the regime and pile on more sanctions. Hostility will only strengthen Ahmadinejad and encourage the hard-liners and secret police. We should never forget that Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatullah Khameinei, along with Ahmadinejad, have the full, if undeclared, backing of both the Revolutionary Guards and the army, and they are not afraid to use those resources to back up their mandate.

Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is TIME.com’s intelligence columnist and the author of See No Evil and, most recently, The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower.

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1904953,00.html