Iranian students heckle the Iranian President

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Mani, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Mani

    Mani BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 1, 2004
    Club:
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    http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=633842
    An angry student shouts during a speech made by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami ,unseen, at a ceremony to mark Student Day at Tehran university.​
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    Meanwhile, protests outside the Tehran university hall.​
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    For more pictures go here: http://www.isna.ir/news/NewsCont.asp?id=465347
     
  2. Mani

    Mani BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 1, 2004
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4072887.stm
     
  3. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    I feel sorry for Khatami, as well as those students.

    Khatami was a man elected on a ground swell of hope and expectations, some of it unreasonable given political realities in Iran. Even that which was reasonable, soon became harder to accomplish, as the small maneuver room for Khatami was taken away from him. Taken away from radical demands by some groups, which only threatened the hardliners enough to have them unite and wield their considerable powers to snuff the inroads that had already been made. Taken away, on the other hand, by hardliners who proved tactically more astute than the reformers, while of course wielding considerable powers to win the battles behind the scenes often using unsavory methods to accomplish their ends. And taken away by foreign threats which made it even harder for Khatami to stand up to the hardliners without endangering Iranian security.

    In this equation, Khatami had little real power beyond the (largely unorganized) support he had once enjoyed among the electorate. Of course, once he lost even that support after the reform movement was left fully battered on all side, Khatami became what he is today: a total lame duck, practically irrelevant, his once famous smile no longer having the same charm.

    As for the students, I feel sorry because they deserve a more enlightened society than they have. However, I do wish they understood the political dynamics better and were better able to pick their tactics. They have fallen deep into a trap without knowing it, finding a misfocused target for their anger.
     
  4. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was just about to mention this.

    The question I ask is, what should the US and the West do.

    For a long time, it has been western policy to negotiate with Iranian "moderates" in an effort to improve relations. But should the policy be one of assisting the Iranian opposition?

    One the one hand, the Iranian opposition seems to be liberal and moderizing. One the other, it is lead by a bunch of students.

    How mnuch support does the opposition really have? How popular are the mullahs? Is Katmani a serious possibility for liberalizing teh country, or is he under too much pressure?
     
  5. michael greene

    Oct 31, 2002
    One successful nuke test and he'll be clocking 97% approval ratings. :)
     
  6. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
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    If there's a silver lining here, it's that Khatami was still speaking out against the hard-liners. It's really too bad it's come to this, but I can't help but think that he's a spent force. I hope that the Iranian people don't give up.
     
  7. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    There was a small window when the US specifically could have been very helpful, but unfortunately American policy took the wrong U-Turn.

    Between 2000 and 2002, the US could have focused on how to allow the reformers to win the battle against the hardliners? If that was the real focus, the answers would be easy to follow. But that was not the American focus. In fact, the neocons began seeing Khatami and the reform movement as an obstacle that needed to be cleared from their path.

    At that time, reformers controlled the presidency, the parliament, and the city councils. The hardliners had the judiciary, the Guardians Council, as well as the vigilante "pressure" groups along with the appointed leadership (not the members) of Iran's armed forces and revolutionary guards. At that time, 70%+ of the electorate had voted for the reformers in the Majlis elections in 2000, and 90% had cast their votes to releect Khatami.

    The bargain that needed to be arrived at the time was simple: as carrots, the hardliners would be assured that their lives and property would not be taken from them; they would be allowed free participation in the democratic process, while the system would retain some (mostly) symbolic role and position for the clerics. As sticks, they would be told (privately) that the US-EU would join the Iranian people in making sure the hardliners lose, even if it meant lending aerial military support to a "coup d'etat" by the reformers led by Khatami and the elected leadership in the government.

    But once you take away the only movement for change, leave Iranian opposition divided and leaderless, without any institutional power for any pretenders to such leadership to find legitimacy, all you have worked to create is a situation where a "regime change" (even if it does come about) leaves a vaccum that brings about civil war, seeing the country ruined, torn from different sides in the center and apart from the periphery.

    But that is okay with the neocons. As long as Iran doesn't become a nuclear power, it doesn't matter if their slogans for "democracy" produce destruction, civil war, and anarchy or despoticism.
     
  8. Mani

    Mani BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 1, 2004
    Club:
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    There is no scientific polling available. But it's safe to say that the regime's support is less than 20% in the urban areas and less than 40% in the rural areas.

    That said, any military intervention in Iran would increase the regime's support to unimaginable heights mainly because Iran is no Iraq. Iranian people are culture-proud and intensely nationalistic. Even the majority of non-Persian groups in Iran such as the Azeris and Kurds see themselves as nationalistic Iranians to some extent because they are all Indo-Aryan (Indo-Iranian) ethnicities to begin with and not alien to Iran.

    P.S: Bush and co. have only hurt the democratic opposition inside Iran...
     
  9. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Iranian Monitor

    Thanks for the discussion. However, I think you fall into the trap of using the term "neocon" as soe sort of catch all. I for one do not believe there really is any such thing, but in any event, those described as neocons are usuallly the ones pushing tfor support of the Iranian opposition. As opposed to realists (such as the US State Departmnent) or in the EU, wwho seem quoite content to "work" with Khatmani over the nuclear issue.

    For one, I think the US (and teh West) should be giving more support to the opposition. But I wonder what that support should entail.
     
  10. dreamer

    dreamer Member

    Aug 4, 2004
    You mean Wolfowitz is only a make-believe character?
     
  11. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    IMO, dissatisfaction with the regime runs very high, but real opposition to it is softer than some assume.

    Undoutedly, by my estimate, fully one-third of the electorate are still very committed to "their revolution" -- including to this "regime". There is also a sizable chunck that sits on the fence and will vote with the wind. Consider the following:

    1- In 1997, one third of the electorate voted for the "regime candidate", Nategh Nouri, even as Khatami won the election with roughly 2/3 of the vote.

    2- In the 2000 Majlis elections, which was very open and hotly contested, again one third voted for hardliners even though the reformers won a landslide with two thirds of the votes.

    3- In the 2001 elections, Khatami received 90% of the vote, but by then, he was seen as "part of the regime" among some of the 1/3 who were open to reform but certainly not revolution.

    4- After the foreign threats became more visible, in the completely free (but not widely particpated) city council elections which included no Guardian Council vetting of candidates, and after Khatami had lost his support among his base, the hardliners won the city coucil elections in 2003 in decisive fashion.

    True, participation in Tehran was abysmally low (less than 20%), but overall numbers showed that the hardliners still could count on more than even 1/3 of the populace when push came to shove. They swept the city council elections, with decent to moderate participation in rural areas and smaller towns, but with mostly the hardline candidates winning!

    5- I will leave the last, obviously rigged, Majlis elections aside, although even if those elections were not rigged, the hardliners were expected to win. In fact, even discounting the inflated numbers, the opposition calls for a boycott of the elections has to be judged a failure. Enough voted.

    More importantly, even forgetting about the "regime supporters", the truth is that the "regime opponents" are too desperately divided and unorganized, pulling that opposition in inconsisent directions. In this environment, the sad truth is that none of them on their own have even as much support as the hardliners!

    The students are Iran's most progressive element, but they need to adopt their tactics to something that can garner a larger base of support. Otherwise, its like some liberal candidate trying to guage his level of support in the US as a whole, by doing polling in San Fransisco alone! In Iran's political situation, that is made worse by the fact that they system is of course rigged to favor the hardliners to begin with.
     
  12. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Some of these "make belief people" I refer to as neocons, are ones I have spoken to personally regarding Iran policy!

    Yes. There was a division between the State Department and the neocons on Iran policy. Both had it wrong from my perspective, as each was focused on how to stop Iran's nuclear drive. The State Department folks were willing to deal with even the hardliners (as long as they delivered), despite rooting for the reformers in their hearts. While the neocons wanted to marginalize the reform movement altogether -- and push for their version of "regime change".

    But thanks for your input. Frankly, Iran's best hope for change was ruined by a combination of factors, including by these "make belief" folks who in your imagination don't exist but who are quite influential in Washington.
     
  13. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Given that he supports the Nusseibeh-Ayalon peace plan, the Wolfowitz of these boards and other web sites is laregely a fictional character.
     
  14. dreamer

    dreamer Member

    Aug 4, 2004
    Which Wolfowitz, the neocon that's out to ruin the world or the make-belief misunderstood genius? One of them is fictional I know that much.
     
  15. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Although ultimately a neocon, who peddled his extreme ideology back even in the 1980s while in the Pentagon, Wolfowitz is actually the least radical of the bunch. Among neocons, he is the most pragmatic -- and has tinges of the "realist" influence on him.

    Besides, Wolfowitz is the most diplomatic of the bunch, better at hiding some of his biases. He is also the one who has left the least paper trail when it comes to open and avowed advocacy of explicitly Israeli/Likud agendas.
     
  16. 352klr

    352klr Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    The Burgh of Edin
    So, how much of that blaim goes to Iranians, or is it mostly everyone else's fault?
     
  17. Mani

    Mani BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 1, 2004
    Club:
    Perspolis
    Nat'l Team:
    Iran
    More photos from BBCPersian:


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  18. Mani

    Mani BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 1, 2004
    Club:
    Perspolis
    Nat'l Team:
    Iran
    Some photos from ILNA:

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  19. Dr Jay

    Dr Jay BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 7, 1999
    Newton, MA USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    So if there is no "paper trail" how do you know Wolfowitz's stance ?

    Second question - in an earlier post, you noted that Israel's policies and the "neocons/Likudniks" diverged in 2002 ? If this is the case than why do you keep insisting that these individuals act with Israeli interests first ?
     
  20. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    I didn't say there is "no" paper trail; just not one that openly gets involved in Israeli/Likud discussions and policies. He takes many of the same positions, and frames the same issues to large extent, but avoids talking too much about Israeli interests and 'expanding the energies of Zionism' etc.

    Besides, even Likud is no monolith. Any party, organization, or large enough movement will have tactical and ideological differences among its ranks. Heck, even Sharon is "too moderate" for some in the Israeli Likud - as well as some in the American "Likudnik" community!

    I don't know what you are referring to?

    First, I am aware of no real differences between Israeli views on how to deal with Iran and the Likudnik position! So, on this issue, I don't understand your premise.

    Second, and more broadly speaking, these individuals -- as I have noted many times -- have their own views on "Israeli interests". They are partisans even in Israel's internal political fights, many on the side of the most extreme elements there. As I did mention in the past, once Netanyahou became Prime Minister and had to make concessions regarding Oslo in the face of international pressure and the demands of the Clinton administration, people like Douglas Feith got busy even attacking Netanyahou for going soft and refusing to ditch Oslo outright! And Netanyahou is a "hardliners" in Israeli politics!

    Finally, I think you are too sensitive on this issue. So let me be clear again: Not all neocons are Jews. Most Jews don't vote with them in American politics. Some of the biggest detractors of the neocons are American Jews.

    The "neocons", however, are IMO an odious bunch who have misappropriated some nice sounding slogans and are diverting them to obnoxious ends. They are also a powerful group in Washington these days. And, a central tenet in their ideology, does deal with Israel and a Likud like vision of its interests.
     
  21. JPhurst

    JPhurst New Member

    Jul 30, 2001
    Jersey City, NJ
    Which explains why Paul Wolflowitz supports the Geneva Intiative and Nusseibeh Ayalon.

    Which explains why Richard Perle has never met or spoken with Ariel Sharon.
     
  22. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    I have said what I have to say about Wolfowitz. Among the neocons, he would be a "moderate".

    As for Richard Perle, he doesn't hide his strong support for Israel's Likud -- and you shouldn't try to either!

    To tie this discussion, with the subject of this thread, let me post this article by Joshua Micah Marshall that appeared in the Washington Monthly in April 2003, right before the Iraqi invasion. It was precient on many points, including on the possibilities regarding Iran which I have excerpted below. The real focus of the article, however, is on the "neocons" and for those who want to get a glimpse into their thoughts, I highly recommend it.

    BTW, his predictions regarding Iraq sound more true now with the passage of time, than they did when he first wrote this article!
     
  23. dreamer

    dreamer Member

    Aug 4, 2004

    Exactly.

    And that's where I think the neocons are mistaken. Even if I grant them the best of all intentions, this strategy is still fundamentally flawed. But I question if they have the best of all intentions to begin with.
     
  24. Dr Jay

    Dr Jay BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 7, 1999
    Newton, MA USA
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    You said "Heck, after Feith and Perle charted the path they wanted for Netanyahou, and after he went "soft" on that path, Feith in particular began attacking him in newspaper columns for failing to ditch Oslo altogether. They have their own mind set and have found a way to make US and what they consider to be Israel/Likud interests sound synonymous."


    So what "they" ie the Neocons want and what the Israelis/Likud party want are not congruent.

    Why then do you still insist the tail is wagging the dog ? - The Neocons have their own agenda for the Middle East - what the Isrealis or their US lobbyists want is not the Neocons priority.
     

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