Hossein Derakhshan at PostGlobal

Hossein Derakhshan

Canada/Iran

Iranian-born Hossein "Hoder" Derakhshan is a blogger, journalist, and internet activist. Since 2001, he has been based out of Toronto, Canada, running his award-winning weblog, Editor: Myself, which has been among the most influential blogs in the Persian language. Close.

Hossein Derakhshan

Canada/Iran

Iranian-born Hossein "Hoder" Derakhshan is a blogger, journalist, and internet activist. more »

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January 30, 2007 1:20 PM

Calling Hacktivists for Disrupting Ahmadinejad's Pre-emptive War Against Persian Websites And Blogs

The press deputy at the Ministry of Culture in Iran has announced that all Iranians who hold a blog or a website should register them within two month.

Based on a recently written law in Ahmadinejad's cabinet, which surprisingly has not received enough media attention, any type of online content (in Persian language, I supposed) unregistered websites or blogs are going to be filtered after the deadline.

There are many noteworthy details about this new regulations that I have to talk about later, but I think it is outrageous, unconstitutional, and impractical -- very hard to enforce. (Will elaborate later.)

The registration is to be done in a website, titled "Samandehi," which means "giving order" or "regulating" in this context and is the title of the law too. So you should fill out a form with your name, birth certificate number, address, telephone, email address and your submitted website's address. Then they send you an automatic email and give you a username and password for possible future changes.

But the funny thing is that when I did that for hoder.com they automatically sent an email to info@hoder.com which actually doesn't exist as an email address. They didn't even use my main email I'd given.

Basically, it's quite a primitive way of gathering information in a database and there is so much room for abusing the forms and filling out the forms with totally false information.

So now, since I think this is totally outrageous and unconstitutional, because it denies the basic rights of free expression, explained by the articles 23 and 24 of the Islamic Republic constitution:

Bq.. Article 23
The investigation of individuals' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.

Article 24
Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when it is detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public. The details of this exception will be specified by law.

p. You can even use the article 22 to argue that websites are private properties, like people's homes, and the government can't regulate them pre-emotively:

bq.. Article 22
The dignity, life, property, rights, residence, and occupation of the individual are inviolate, except in cases sanctioned by law.

Anyway, legal discussion aside, I think I'm not going to comply with such outrageous and blunt violation of my basic rights as an Iranian citizen and I will encourage everyone to either ignore it or disrupt it using the concept of Hacktivism.

The best way to disrupt it could be submitting valid-looking misinformation for known websites and blogs to confuse the authorities, and also to fill the database with spam.

If you've got better ideas, please share it and spread the word. We must disrupt this outrageous violation of free speech and individual rights in Iran.




January 30, 2007 1:24 PM

Conservative Leadership Unhappy With Ahmadinjead

For over a year, I've been saying that Khamanei is not very happy with Ahmadinejad's style and performance.

Now this great story by the mostly amazing Robert Tait from Tehran for The Guardian is probably the first substantial reporting on this topic. Few people have seen it, so please link to it and spread it around.

Read it:

President's future in doubt as MPs rebel and economic crisis grows (The Guardian)

My favorite paragraphs:

Continue »




January 30, 2007 1:35 PM

Beware Freedom House's Gozaar Project

If the secular women rights activists wanted to guarantee that the Islamic Republic sees their great "One Million Signatures" campaign as a covert Amercian project to destabilize Iran through organizing and mobilizing women, being promoted by Gozaar, a Freedom House project with the Dutch government's money, was exactly what they should have done.

The project (whose website is already filtered in Iran) now is definitely seen by the intelligence service as a security threat, despite the good intention of many genuine activists involved in it. What a huge mistake.

Gozaar single-handedly has put the entire group of Dutch-funded projects in jeopardy. Having any association with them, in the eyes of the Islamic Republic, means trouble. Avoid it if you believe in genuine change from within, as opposed to nonviolent regime change.




January 30, 2007 1:44 PM

When Thom Connects Tehran to Tel Aviv; After a Joint

The night before my birthday, I was in Tel Aviv. I had just discovered the coolest bar in Tel Aviv (Okay, one of the coolest) on Lilinblum, called The Gallery, a couple days before. They were so open and nice and we immediately became friends, with Bozi and Amir, the managers and even some regular costumers.

And all this was after I told them everything about my background as an Iranian and my TehrAviv project: to connect the two people of Iran and Israel through unconventional cultural exchanges and joint projects.

Let me give you an example: How about getting some Israeli DJs remising old Iranian pop-songs and start playing them in Tel Aviv clubs and making them available online for download; and some Iranian DJs remixing old Israeli popular songs and play them in Iranian parties in Tehran?

Anyone I've talked to so far, either in Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv, or even in the beautiful, sophisticated and cosmopolitan Beer Sheva, has liked the idea and shown interest in helping it somehow.

No wonder after I got a Spanish-style haircut at 10 PM by Amir at the back of The Gallery, which also is a hair styling shop, they got us all to drink a shot of Arak to my birthday. We smoked a joint together and submersed with Thom Yorke's Eraser, which we were all equally obsessed about.




January 30, 2007 1:47 PM

How Akbar Ganji Helps Buildup for Military Action Agaianst Iran

The problem I have with people like Akbar Ganji is that, while they clearly reject the military option for regime change in Iran, the alternative approach they are advocating, i.e. the human rights argument, still ultimately falls into the same agenda of regime change. It serves the same people with the same aim.

They fail to see that their human rights discourse has always been used by the Americans to press countries they don't feel comfortable with, such as Cuba, Iran, China, Syria, Venezualla, etc. -- and very recently Russia.

You can never attack a state before de-humanizing it and this is what the Americans did in before invading Iraq Iraq and it is what they are doing with Iran these days. Look how many totally false and exaggerated anti-Iranian stories are flying around by the Anglosaxon media:

  • "Iran forces Jews to wear badges": turned out to be an ugly lie spread around by a new-conservative Iranian journalist, hyped by the right-wing Canadian newspaper, National Post
  • "Iran executes teenage gay men": turned out they were not only gay, but also they had raped and murdered a few teenage boys at the the gun point.
  • "Iran arrests any blogger who criticizes the state in their blogs": turned out all the people claiming to be arrested for their blogs, were arrested for other reasons such as involvement with foreign-supported NGOs or working with American-run opposition media, but then the authorities later had found some of them had something called blogs. So they used them to add to their charges and frighten them even more. This needs an essay. It sheds light on the way the whole campaign works.
  • "Iran stones women for having sex outside marriage": turned out the judiciary has ordered a stop to the inhuman act for quite a while and the rare cases that have happened in the past decade, mostly in small cities, have been the result of a broken and inefficient hierarchy in the judiciary.
  • "Iran executes teenage girls for having pre-marital sex": turned out the girl was seen as a prostitute by the Iranian prosecutor and her execution was unusually pushed forward by a local judge in order to cover up his own involvement, using his personal connections, defying the standard procedures of appeal etc. He had also hidden the fact that the girl was not 18 years old yet, which is the legal age in Iran. The dodgy BBC documentary that made the case popular, repeatedly shown in the whole world, bluntly paints that irregular proccess as a policy of executing teenagers for pre-martial sex.
  • "Iran blocks all Western media websites such as the New York Times": turned out to be a technical mistake for 48 hours which was carelessly publicized by a press freedom watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontier, before they correct their mistake in a small note. Even Israeli news websites in English or Hebrew are all open and accessible in Iran.

What is the purpose of this nasty anti-Iranian campaign, run by watchdogs and the media, which is mostly constructed within the human rights discourse, simply because the democracy discourse doesn't really work in Iran with all these elections and high turnout and surprising results.

What Ganji et al fail to understand (or maybe they do, in which case they are total traitors) is that they are still indirectly helping the required buildup for a military attack, by pushing for more money and more resources for such nasty campaign to even have a higher impact on the public.

No matter what you feed the American human rights discourse, the output usually benefits the Americans more than the real victims.

This also has a philosophical aspect which has to do with the idea of universality of human rights or democracy that I don't want to get into now.

And also there is a business side to it, especially for the large community of exiled Iranians that I also want to get into either. Maybe later.




February 18, 2007 11:00 PM

I'd Take Khamenei Over Bush

It's the ultimate hypocrisy of the West to punish Iran for a crime Iran has not committed.

Continue »




March 17, 2007 7:11 AM

Iranian Women: Caught Between the U.S. and Islaimc Republic

Two well-known and moderate women's rights activists have been detained in Iran since last week for participating in a peaceful street protest. The incident has outraged activists in Iran and elsewhere, but there is much more to it.

On June 23, 2003, after months of heated debate, the then-reformist parliament in Iran passed a bill, in favor of signing a UN document that would abolish legal discrimination against women.

It was a big day for the 14 female MPs, who had tirelessly pushed for the bill in the hope that it would be a serious start to a series of changes in Iranian legal system - and an attempt to repair the Islamic republic's terrible international image on human rights.

But the law, to little surprise, was rejected by an ultra-conservative body (The Guardian Council) which has six top clerics and six lawyers and oversees parliament to make sure its decisions are not against the Iranian constitution or the core values of Islam. (Or their reading of those values.) They said the bill violated both Iran's sovereignty and Islamic law.

The then-77 year-old secretary of the council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, an infamous opponent of the reform movement at the time and a strong supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now, said it was his saddest day of his work on the council, according to an Iranian official.

The rejection came after months of lobbying and protests (including street protests) by ultra-conservative clerics and their supporters who opposed the bill - despite a small minority of high-ranking clerics, such as Ayatollah Sane'I, who supported the law and didn't find it un-Islamic. The unlucky bill has so far been passed between various legislative councils and bodies and its future is entirely unclear.

Four years later, women's activists in Iran have tried alternative routes to abolish the discriminative laws against women, in areas such as employment, divorce, inheritance and custody rights, among others.

Two different approaches have emerged: One approach believes that the best way to silence the conservative critics, who accuse the reform movement of being a Western import with an aim to undermine religious values, is to construct a broad and inclusive manifesto, from bottom up, by mostly Muslim Iranian women, based on the experiences of post-colonial feminists in Asia and Africa.

The other approach is focuses around a campaign that wants to create local and international pressure on the Islamic republic by collecting one million signatures from ordinary Iranian women, and use that leverage to raise awareness of and abolish the discriminatory laws.

While the former approach tries to work within the current social, political and juridical structure, the latter rejects the structure in the first place and, by using methods of organised, massive civil disobedience, tries to force the establishment to accept the changes.

Both approaches have been more or less tolerated by the Islamic Republic in the past couple of years and, as a result of various conflicting opinions within the establishment, a neutral position has emerged in regards to the women's movement.

But in the past few months, there have been some signs that the American 'pro-democracy' project has developed an appetite for Iran's women's movement. And why not? What else can potentially mobilise half the population of a country against its government and possibly foment Ukranian or Georgian-style coloured revolution?

A Dutch newspaper discovered last year that a controversial Dutch grant to promote 'pro-democracy' media projects was awarded to an American organisation, Freedom House, to launch an online Persian-language magazine (Gozaar) to promote human rights and democracy.

Immediately, Iranian authorities who were already suspicious of the Dutch government's intentions (they are the perhaps the only country other than the US that has publicly created a fund to promote democracy in Iran) started to closely watch the other projects aided by the 15 million Euro fund, which was mostly awarded to European-based Iranian exiles. They began to see the whole budget as a Dutch cover up for the American regime-change project.

One other grant was awarded to an Iranian dissident to start a web magazine on Women's issues. But it emerged that the woman in charge of the web magazine, Shahrzad News, was an active member of what was once an armed opposition group that was outlawed and dismantled in the early years after the Iranian revolution.

Shahrzad News developed close ties with some of the women's activists, mainly with those who favored the civil disobedience approach, and, in addition to having them write articles, it organised a workshop in Dubai to improve the journalistic skills of some women's activists.

At the same time, the US State Department announced that it had created a special office in Dubai to gather intelligence on Iran and establish easier contact with Iranian dissidents. New York Times reported last December that US State Department has indirectly funded workshops on organising civil disobedience, hoping to foment massive revolts in Iran and overthrow the regime.

A mix of paranoia and intelligence has, ever since, led the Iranian government to become extremely wary of the activities of the non-governmental organisations, especially those working on women's issues. Last month they prevented a group of women from attending a new workshop in India, organised by Shahrzad News, and detained three of them for a day. Based on the accounts later published by those activists, the well-behaved intelligence officers questioned them in detail about their financial ties with Shahrzad News and other possible foreign-funded organisations.

And last week they detained over thirty female activists who had gathered in front of a court to protest the prosecution of a few other activists, who were charged with disrupting national security by participating in an street protest on Women's Day in Tehran. They have now all been released, except for two - Shadi Sadr and Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh. The Islamic republic has lost much of its tolerance.

It's a sad story. On the one hand, foreign 'pro-democracy' groups try to use women for their regime-change plans. On the other hand, the ultra-conservative factions in the Iranian establishment have found new justifications for painting the entire women's movement as a threat to the national security - which alienates the moderates within the establishment - and are pushing for a total crackdown on any sort of women's activism.

The only thing that could save the women's movement from a further duress is to distance itself from foreign 'pro-democracy' funding and abandon even peaceful street protests. Going back to lower-profile types of activism, engagement with moderate conservative officials (especially in the judiciary) and attempts to enter the local and national legislature are the most effective and least-costly options at the moment.




May 30, 2007 10:30 AM

Khamenei's Assault on Rafsanjani's American Allies

One noteworthy observation about the recent arrests in Iran, including that of Haleh Esfandiari and Hossein Mousavian, and also reports about Mahmoud Sariolghalam’s brief detention, is that they all have close ties to Rafsanjani and his family.

Continue »




June 10, 2007 10:01 AM

Ali Shakeri: Member of opposition group or just a peace activist?

So according to Nasser Karimi, the Associated Press's reporter in Tehran, Ali Shakeri, is only a peace activist. BBC's Francis Harrison adds that he is also an academic.

But what is deliberately ignored by these reporters is the fact that Ali Shakeri was a founding and active member of a well-known opposition group, called Ettehade Jomhourikhahan-e Iran (EJI) that advocates a democratic and secualar republic in Iran.

This is from their platform:

Today, the theocratic system of velayat-e faghih and its related institutions are the chief obstacle to democracy, stability, and progress in our country. Continuing repression, deplorable human rights violations, poverty, and rampant corruption is driving the country deeper into social and political crises. The intransigence of the ruling clerics and ‘vali fagih’, in the face of overwhelming and unquestionable demand for fundamental change, has resulted in a total loss of legitimacy of the political order and credibility of the regime. Internationally, the Islamic Republic has not only failed to protect and secure Iran’s national interests, but has instead placed the country in perilous situation and jeopardized its territorial integrity.

The formation of a broad based movement advocating Democracy and a true Republic based on the principles of non-violence, can serve the greater movement of Iranians to attain the legitimate demands of political freedoms, fair and free elections, and constitutional change. We advocate a democratic political system and a republican form of government based on the principles of accountability, transparency, and public participation.

Political struggle alone will not bring about the success of democratic forces. Democracy requires its own political and cultural values, the strengthening of civil society and its institutions, and the involvement of diverse social groups in the political process.

I am puzzled how these reporters are ignoring such a significant part of his biography.

Of course the image of a government that arrests a peace activist is different from one that arrests an active member of a foreign-based opposition group. Am I a cynic to suggest that this has been a deliberate attempt to further demonise the Iranian government, or there is no such thing as impartial reporting anymore when it comes to Iran?




June 20, 2007 2:09 PM

Rice loses VOA Persian and Radio Farda to Pentagon

I have to congratulate to Ladan Archin and Mehdi Khalaji and the rest of the Pentagon staff, advisers and allies on wining the VOA Persian and Radio Farda over the State Department.

Mr. Richard Perle has been on VOA Persian TV this past week, talking for an hour about 'on the future of democracy inside Iran and last week's Prague meeting on democracy.'

Before him, Shahriar Ahi, the man behind Iran Solidarity, a group of Iranian exiles created as a back up for Reza Pahlavi's regime change, had another one-hour long interview. He is said to be Reza Pahlavi's mentor.

Meanwhile, Radio Farda, after the neoconservative Jeff Gedmin's take over of Radio Free Europe, has published extensive and exclusive interviews with Richard Perle, Michael Rubin, and of course Reza Pahlavi.

Seems to me that a report written by Ladan Archin et al in their Iran Steering Committee and the consequent pressure on Bush has been successful.

At least there is still some places where Perle can praise his wonderful ideas on regime change and the Iraqi model.




June 20, 2007 2:11 PM

Solidarity Iran: Toward a US-backed non-violent regime change in Iran

In case you are interested to see what Shahriar Ahi and Reza Pahlavi are really up to with the new group they have formed, I'd suggest to read this wonderful piece of journalism by The New Yorker.

Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates are Gaming the Nuclear Threat

New Yorker
By Connie Bruck

March 6, 2006

On a snowy mid-December day, Reza Pahlavi, the forty-five-year-old son of the deposed Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was seated at a table by the fire at a popular country-French restaurant in Georgetown, enjoying a bowl of cassoulet and plotting the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was accompanied by Shahriar Ahi, who in the months before the 1979 Iranian revolution had been an informal liaison between the Shah and the White House; after the Shah died, in exile, in 1980, Ahy remained close to Reza, whom many refer to as "the young shah." By early 2004, Ahy, who had been running a multinational media company from Saudi Arabia, had left his job to work full time on unseating the Iranian regime. Although Ahi says that he has no factional affiliations, he has become, in essence, Pahlavi's political strategist, mentor, speechwriter, monitor. He is also attempting, on Pahlavi's behalf, to unite the atomized Iranian opposition. Ahy, an M.I.T. graduate-school alumnus, is often compared to his fellow alumnus Ahmad Chalabi, who, before the American invasion of Iraq, was the head of the Iraqi National Congress. An Iranian-American political activist with ties to Ahy and Pahlavi commented recently, "If Reza is ever returned to power, it will be because of Shahriar."


Read the rest of the article on National Iran Solidarity




June 20, 2007 2:11 PM

Zainab Al-Suwaij endorsed by Amnesty International defends Haleh Esfandiari

Recently I've become quite suspicions of the human rights non-government organisations when it comes to their campaigns related to Iran.

Now it's quite revealing and equally disturbing to see a faithful supporter of Iraq occupation, involved in an Amnesty International event in New York.

First look at the announcement I received from a mailing list (See a copy on the Free Haleh campaign website):

Amnesty International

RALLY TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN AND TO CALL FOR JUSTICE FOR DETAINED IRANIAN-AMERICAN SCHOLARS AND ACTIVISTS

THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT HAS RECENTLY BEEN ENGAGED IN A WIDESPREAD CRACKDOWN ON ALL FORMS OF DISSENT IN IRAN

In May the government of Iran arrested four Iranian-Americans: prominent U.S. scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, journalist Parnaz Azima and activist Ali Shakeri. Esfandiari, Tajbakhsh and Shakeri remain in detention where they are subject to torture and ill-treatment. All four face serious charges stemming from their peaceful activism and scholarly work and could be sentenced to long prison terms.

JOIN AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, THE AMERICAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH AS WE CALL FOR JUSTICE AND FOR THE RELEASE OF DETAINED PEACEFUL ACTIVISTS

SPEAKERS TO INCLUDE SHAUL BAKHASH, HUSBAND OF HALEH ESFANDIARI, AND ZAINAB AL-SUWAIJ OF THE AMERICAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS

WHERE: Ralph Bunche Park Isaiah Wall at 1st Avenue and 42nd Street across from the United Nations Plaza

WHEN: Wednesday June 27, 12 noon to 1 pm

Feel free to bring signs calling for freedom for the detained activists

For more information contact Sharon McCarter 202-691-4016 or Amnesty International USA 202-675-8755

Now let's see who Zainab Al-Suwaij is (Source: Harvard Gazzette):


"Now 33, Al-Suwaij grew up under the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein, took up arms against the Iraqi ruler, and today is working to bring democracy - and especially women's rights - to a country that is struggling both with Hussein's legacy and an age-old authoritarian tradition."

She has met with President George W. Bush at the White House and spoken to the Republican National Convention.

"Before becoming a peace-wager, Al-Suwaij was a warrior - and has the bullet scar on her cheek to prove it. When her classmates were forced to march holding pictures of Hussein, Al-Suwaij often sneaked away. At 20, during the 1991 Gulf War, she heeded the words of the first President Bush, who broadcast messages on Voice of America urging the Iraqi people to rebel against Hussein, promising that U.S. forces would support them. As an armed fighter, she helped to liberate provinces and to open the gates of a prison where there was a human meat grinder for those who didn't confess. The promised support from the United States never arrived, and the battle-scarred veteran went into exile in the United States.


President George W. Bush talks with Zainab Al-Suwaij during a meeting with Iraqi-Americans and free Iraqis who are living in the United States in the Roosevelt Room Friday, April 4, 2003. White House photo by Eric Draper. (Source: White House)

"Following the tragedies of Sept. 11 Al-Suwaij created the American Islamic Congress with the goal of promoting moderation and tolerance within and outside the Islamic community. After the American occupation of Iraq she has also spent 14 months there working to develop projects focused on improving the educational system - her schools for dropouts have a 97 percent rate of success - and empowering Iraqi women.

"Al-Suwaij credits her drive to organize for democracy to lessons learned from her grandfather, a Shiite ayatollah. 'My family is shocked. I am the first woman in my family who doesn't just stay home,' she said. 'My grandmother didn't believe it when she saw my photo with Bush in the Iraqi papers.'"

p. This is from her speech at the Republican National Convention after the occupation of Iraq, where she also personally endorsed by George W. Bush:
Living under Saddam Hussein, we could not gather as we do now to discuss things like democracy and freedom. We could only dream of a day when we could speak freely, and worship God in ways of our own choosing.

Instead, we lived under a murderer who used every weapon in his arsenal against us-- from tanks to torture chambers to poison gas.

[...]

But today, I come to tell you that Iraq enjoys a new day.

Yes, there is still bloodshed and uncertainty -- but America, under the strong, compassionate leadership of President Bush, has given Iraqis the most precious gift any nation has ever given another --- the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine its own future.

Already, the seeds of democracy are bearing fruit --- with popular elections recently held for local officials. And we know our children face a brighter future.

So as I grieve for the courageous Americans and Iraqis who were killed and injured during Iraq's liberation, I tell you proudly that their noble sacrifice was not in vain.

As Iraqis assume full sovereignty, they embrace the American people in friendship and gratitude.

I promise you: we will never forget what your sons and daughters did for us.

Thank you.

Interestingly enough, she has also founded Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA) that was behind a nasty campaign against Mohammad Khatami's speech at Harward, along with Boroumand Foundation. Luckily,

By a bit of more googling, I'm sure I'd find much more to thicken her impressive profile in supporting and facilitating US-backed regime change in the Middle East.

So I wonder how Zainab Al-Suwaij has ended up being endorsed by Amnesty International, with its impressive history to oppose the US invasion of Iraq and its condemnation of the occupation.

Call me a cynic or a paranoid agent of the Islamic Republic, but I can't just see all these connections and endorsements as an accident.

There is something fishy here, don't you think?




July 19, 2007 3:22 AM

TV confessions undermine the reality of American plans to destabilise Iran

Esfandiari, Jahanbegloo and Tajbakhsh's tv 'confessions' is only targeted at the ordinary Iranians inside Iran and the fact that they're broadcasting it on the Channel 1 confirms that.

But there is also another delicate detail no one has paid attention to yet that explains what exactly Iranian intelligence system is trying to achieve:

The above mentioned people, at least in the TV spots shown so far, are characterised as experts, not as prisoners.

The average man or woman in Iran who doesn't read newspapers or watch satellite television or simply doesn't follow politics has no idea about the conditions in which these individuals have said these things and would only be introduced to them as international relations experts. (The set where they are interviewed and their cloths also want to portray them as if they are in their offices or their homes.)

Personally I think it's a mistake by the Iranian government to assume such distinction or gap between the internal public opinion and external one.

Simply because of the widely popular foreign-based Persian-language satellite televisions such as the VOA and the forthcoming BBC are covering a considerable portion of the same people Iranian government try to target.

So in a few days the news that these statements were taken under pressure would be everywhere, mostly thanks to the popular VOA, and it would lose its value and effect.

I personally agree with legitimate and effective methods to expose the real intentions behind the American human rights and democracy project in countries such as Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and many eastern European states.

But I believe these televised confessions are neither legally or ethically justified, nor are effective once people realise the story behind them. They even have an opposite effect since the average Iranians would think that there is no truth to anything anyone says along the same lines.

The Americans have repeated and publicly expressed their interest in using the civil society, especially student, women and labour movement, in Iran to destabilise the government and these are exposed by the US' own mainstream media.

But what Iran does with these televised confessions undermine all these realities and help the opposition to paint them as propaganda or conspiracy theories.




February 18, 2008 11:10 AM

Ahmadinejad's Old-School Appeal

At the height of the Iranian revolution in the winter of 1979, French
Philosopher, Michel
Foucault, described
what he was seeing in Tehran as "perhaps the first
great insurrection against global systems, the form of revolt that is the
most novel and the most insane."

"Islam," he wrote, "which is not simply a religion, but an entire way of
life, an adherence to a history and a civilization, has a good chance to
become a gigantic powder keg, at the level of hundreds of millions of men."

Such praising words about the Iranian uprising are probably the very reason
few have even heard of Foucault's dispatches from Tehran for the Italian
newspaper, Corriere Dela Sera, in 1978-79.

Twenty-nine winters later, the Islamic Republic of Iran is more
independent, stable, confident and technologically advanced than ever,
while it has remained as the most serious and continuous challenge to the
U.S. hegemony in the world.

Continue »


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