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A PhD student in Britain, who traveled to Iran prior to the western-backed street riots, is Moussavi’s “aide”

So I guess Moussavi has a dearth of people who live in Iran and are qualified to be his aides and has chosen as his aide a student living in the UK? I can only imagine Obama’s campaign aide living in Sweden or something like that, and traveling to the U.S just before or during elections. Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

Mousavi aide banned from leaving Iran

The head of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s information committee, Abolfazl Fateh, has not been allowed to leave the country for Britain.

Following the recent incidents and a move by some Mousavi supporters to provoke people to hold “illegal gatherings”, Fateh – who is a PhD student in Britain – has been banned from leaving Iran, Fars news agency reported.

Fateh has been banned from leaving the country so that some issues behind the gatherings can be clarified, the news agency reported.

Following the announcement of the results of Iran’s 10th presidential elections, supporters of some candidates took to the streets to protest against alleged irregularities in the election process.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Interior Ministry has repeatedly declared that it has not issued any permit for the rallies and has stressed that such protests are illegal.

Iranian authorities have urged the defeated presidential candidates and their supporters to lodge their complaints through legal channels, rather than staging street protests.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=99065&sectionid=351020101

Obama: Bush redux

U.S. grants support Iranian “dissidents”

Caption: the product of U.S-funded “dissidents’ ” “peaceful protests”?

Caption: has this “dissident” received U.S government funding?

.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President Bush.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to “promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran,” according to documents on the agency’s website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30.

U.S. efforts to support Iranian opposition groups have been criticized in recent years as veiled attempts to promote “regime change,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American advocacy group. The grants enable Iran’s rulers to paint opponents as tools of the United States, he said.

Although the Obama administration has not sought to continue the Iran-specific grants in its 2010 budget, it wants a $15 million boost for the Near Eastern Regional Democracy Initiative, which has similar aims but does not specify the nations involved. Some of that money will be targeted at Iran, said David Carle, a spokesman for the appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign affairs.

“Part of it is to expand access to information and communications through the Internet for Iranians,” Carle said in an e-mail.

President Obama said this week the United States “is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs,” rejecting charges of meddling that were renewed Thursday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Asked how the democracy promotion initiatives square with the president’s statement, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “Let’s be clear: The United States does not fund any movement, faction or political party in Iran. We support … universal principles of human rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law.”

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, “Respecting Iran’s sovereignty does not mean our silence on issues of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as the right to peacefully protest.”

The Bush program “was a horrible idea,” Parsi said. “It made human rights activists and non-governmental organizations targets.”

Not so, said David Denehy, the former Republican political consultant and State Department official who used to oversee the spending. “To say that we were the cause of repression in Iran is laughable … Our programs sent a message to the people of Iran that we supported their requests for personal freedom,” he said.

The State Department and USAID decline to name Iran-related grant recipients for security reasons.

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a major expansion of the program in 2006 — Congress eventually approved $66 million — the Iranian government arrested activists and closed down their organizations. Several Iranian dissidents, including former political prisoner Akbar Ganji, denounced the U.S. funding as counterproductive.

Some in Congress are happy the program is continuing.

“As the Iranian regime cracks down on its people, I strongly believe that we should be prepared to extend our hand in help and support to any Iranian civil society group that reaches out for it,” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY.

Most of the money likely hasn’t reached Iran but went instead to Washington-based groups, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran expert who reviewed applications for the democracy program before leaving the State Department for the Brookings Institution. The United States lacks the insight to influence Iran’s internal politics, she said.

“We have such limited penetration of Iranian politics,” she said. “We are so poorly positioned to add any value.”

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-06-25-iran-money_N.htm

Obama: USA and entire world “appalled and outraged by Iran’s violent efforts to crush dissent”

Associated Press on June 24, 2009: President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the United States and the entire world “appalled and outraged” by Iran’s violent efforts to crush dissent and for the first time expressed significant doubt about the legitimacy of the national election at the root of the upheaval.

U.S ‘has agents working inside Iran’


The US has intelligence agents in Iran but it is not clear if they are providing help to the protest movement there, a former US national security adviser has told Al Jazeera.

Brent Scowcroft said on Wednesday that “of course” the US had agents in Iran amid the ongoing pressure against the Iranian government by protesters opposed to the official result of its presidential election.

But he added that he had no idea whether US agents had provided help to the opposition movement in Iran, which claims that the authorities rigged the June 12 election in favour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the incumbent president.

“They might do. Who knows?” Scowcroft told Josh Rushing for Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines programme.

“But that’s a far cry from helping protesters against the combined might of the Revolutionary Guard, the militias and so on – and the [Iranian] police, who are so far completely unified.”

Limited options

Scowcroft’s admission that Washington has agents stationed in Iran comes a day after the US president issued tougher rhetoric against the government in Iran.

Barack Obama’s sterner tone came after days of deadly clashes between the opposition and Iranian security forces and militias.Obama has been criticised by US conservative politicians for not taking a stronger line against Tehran amid the government crackdown, but Scowcroft, a former adviser to presidents Gerald Ford and the senior George Bush, said the US could only do so much.

“We don’t control Iran. We don’t control the government, obviously,” he said.

“There is little we can do to change the situation domestically in Iran right now and I think an attempt to change it is more likely to be turned against us and against the people who are demonstrating for more freedom.

“Therefore, I think we need to look at what we can do best, which is to try to influence Iranian behaviour in the region.”

At least 19 people have been killed in post-election violence in Iran, which broke out at the scene of protests questioning the veracity of the poll results.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main challenger to Ahmadinejad, has rejected the official results of the vote and has called for a fresh election to be held, while Mehdi Karoubi, another defeated candidate in the election, has called the new government “illegitimate”.

But the Guardian Council, Iran’s highest legislative body, has said that there were no incidences of major fraud in the vote and has declared that the official results will stand.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/06/2009624225744811593.html

2 Pictures are worth all the words one can utter about the recent events in Iran

000610xCaption: A bus set ablaze by northern Tehrani hooligans on June 20, 2009

Caption: Terrorist Maryam Rajavi, head of MKO (Mujahideen e-Khalq) a terrorist organization, cheers for the disturbances in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Backgrounder on the west’s treatment of the terrorist group MKO: Active in Germany, Denmark and other countries of the EU.  Maintained offices in Washington DC until 2002.  Legalized in the UK on 24 June 2008, six months after winning a court battle over its legality.  Protected by U.S occupation forces in Iraq, which even escorted weapons supply convoys from Baghdad to Camp Ashraf where the MKO has its headquarters (CNN). Removed from the EU’s list of terrorist organizations in January 2009 (al-Jazeera) and its assets (estimated in the tens of millions of dollars) unfrozen (contrast with the UK’s freezing of Iranian government assets in the UK, worth $1.6 billion).

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

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