Greening Iran

by: Shaun Appleby

Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 10:46:58 AM EDT

The pending election in Iran, far more than just a personality quest between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, is a sign of potentially serious ructions in the ruling oligarchy:

Mr Ahmadinejad suddenly looks vulnerable. He is being widely criticised, even ridiculed in public, in a manner the regime would normally not tolerate. Yesterday he even accused his opponents of behaving like Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels -- quite an allegation from a man who denies that the Holocaust happened.

Opposition to him is growing among the ruling clergy after he publicly maligned Hojatoleslam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful head of the Expediency Council. Hojatoleslam Rafsanjani has demanded an apology. His case has received support in an open letter from 50 clerics in the holy city of Qom.

Richard Beeston - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad goes from favourite to shaky contender The Times 11 Jun 09

Things started to go wrong for Ahmadinejad in his debate with Moussavi recently when he stepped all over his privates by accusing the past two presidents, and their cliques, of corruption.  Interestingly these included current and powerful members of Iran's ruling oligarchy.  It would seem that there is more going on than meets the eye in an otherwise largely ceremonial election for Iran's presidency.

Shaun Appleby :: Greening Iran

The mainstream media is getting wind of Ahmadinejad's changing fortunes and rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of his defeat, but it seems the events of the last few days, exposing slightly the internal tectonics, may be an indication the theocracy is in tension or transition:

Powerful reformists and conservatives within Iran's elite have joined forces to wage an unprecedented behind-the-scenes campaign to unseat President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, worried that he is driving the country to the brink of collapse with populist economic policies and a confrontational stance toward the West.

The prominent figures have put their considerable efforts behind the candidacy of reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who they believe has the best chance of defeating the hard-line Ahmadinejad in the presidential election Friday and charting a new course for the country.

They have used the levers of government to foil attempts by Ahmadinejad to secure funds for populist giveaways and to permit freewheeling campaigning that has benefited Mousavi. State-controlled television agreed to an unheard-of series of live debates, and the powerful Council of Guardians, which thwarted the reformist wave of the late 1990s, rejected a ballot box maneuver by the president that some saw as a prelude to attempted fraud.

Some called it a realignment of Iranian domestic politics from its longtime rift between reformists and conservatives to one that pits pragmatists on both sides against radicals such as Ahmadinejad.

Borzou Daragahi - In Iran, disparate, powerful forces ally against Ahmadinejad LA Times 7 Jun 09

This realignment of pragmatists vs radicals apparently creates new divisions, with Rafsanjani's surprising public letter to Supreme Leader Ayotallah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday:

In an unprecedented complaint letter to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Hashemi Rafsanjani references the accusations that Ahmadinejad made during his televised presidential debate earlier this month with the reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi in which he attacked a number of senior leaders of the Islamic regime, and said, "It is expected that you will take any effective measures that you deem appropriate to solve this problem and to remove dangerous ploys and prevent the inflammation of the fire that has been ignited in the process of the elections."

Rafsanjani complained to the state-run national television organization for not being given the opportunity to respond to the accusations raised by Ahmadinejad. In another part of his letter, he compared the president to the administration of Bani-Sadr (the first president of the Islamic Republic who was removed from office because of his differences with ruling clerics and forced to flee the country) and wrote, "I do not intend to equate the current administration with that of Bani-Sadr's, or call for a similar outcome for it, but the goal is to prevent the country from being dragged into the same quagmire as then."

Omid Memarian - Rafsanjani Complains to Leader against Ahmadinejad 11 Jun 09

Rafsanjani is chairman of both the powerful Expediency Discernment Council that mediates differences between the various political institutions of the Islamic state and the Assembly of Experts.  Rafsanjani's letter is highly unusual and would not have been well received:

In his letter, Mr. Rafsanjani noted that Ayatollah Khamenei had "deemed it best to remain silent" instead of censuring the president for his vitriolic attacks during the debate. Mr. Rafsanjani said he wrote the letter only after the rejection of his demands for an apology and for an opportunity to rebut the charges against him on state television.

Ayatollah Khamenei is unlikely to respond because "he is not pleased with correspondence like this from anyone," Mr. Abtahi said. Although Mr. Khamenei has the final say on affairs of state, he prefers to rule by consensus, steering clear of divisive issues.

Mr. Rafsanjani's letter is especially significant because he leads the Assembly of Experts, an 86-member body of senior clerics that has the power to remove the supreme leader, Mr. Abtahi said. It included a veiled threat: Mr. Rafsanjani implicitly compared Mr. Ahmadinejad to a former president whom Mr. Rafsanjani helped depose in 1981.

Robert F Worth In Iran Race, Ex-Leader Works to Oust President NYT 10 Jun 09

There are other signs of fault lines appearing among 'fundamentalist' non-reformers who would normally be assumed to be backing Ahmadinejad:

Hamid-Reza Katoozian, a member of the conservative faction in the Majlis told ILNA labor news agency, "The group of individuals known as the Principalists that I know of are fed up with Mr. Ahmadinejad's posture. It is predicted that a large group of Ahmadinejad supporters will switch sides to Mir-Hossein Mousavi, while another group will go to Mohsen Rezaei," another presidential hopeful."

The group Followers of the Imam and the Leadership's Path, a coalition of a number of right-wing groups who had announced their support of Ahmadinejad in the past also took a critical stance at the issues that were raised at the televised presidential debate and while stressing the candidacy of Ahmadinejad said, "The Front for the Followers of the Imam and the Leadership Path views the unfortunate campaign propaganda in this elections by disloyally attacking the record of officials belonging to earlier and current administrations."

Maryam Kashani - Split among Ahmadinejad's Supporters 10 Jun 09

There have even been dueling fatwas from clerics on the Islamic principles of election fraud:

In an open letter, a group of employees of Iran's Interior Ministry (which supervises the elections) warned the nation that a hard-line ayatollah, who supports President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has issued a Fatwa authorizing changing votes in the incumbent's favor.

They warned that the same thing happened in the elections for the 8th Majles (parliament), in March 2008, in order to change the vote in favor of the principlists (fundamentalists) allied with the president; but, fearing for their jobs, they had kept silent then.

Open Letter: Fatwa Issued for Changing the Vote in Favor of Ahmadinejad 7 Jun 09

This was met with a quartet of fatwas from Qom, Iran's clerical heartland:

In related news, 50 prominent clerics from the Qom Theological Center (Hoze Elmie Qom) issued a statement protesting the campaign activities of Mahmud Ahmadinejad. This news was widely quoted in domestic websites. The statement comes soon after four senior ayatollahs in Qom issued fatwas last week that any violations in elections were haram [i.e. a religious sin]. Ayatollahs Makarem Shirazi, Mousavi Ardebili, Javadi Amoli, and Sanei issued these fatwas which were published on websites affiliated to them.

Omid Memarian - Rafsanjani Complains to Leader against Ahmadinejad 11 Jun 09

The respective candidates have also been dueling over state run television time, with Ahmadinejad winning the final round and gaining an extra twenty minute spot.  Just today it was reported that Rafsanjani met recently with Khamenei for three hours:

One day after Rafsanjani's open letter was published in the media, the Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Wednesday afternoon, the reformist Etemad-e-Melli daily reported on Thursday.

In his letter Rafsanjani, who -- along with a number of other senior officials -- was accused by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of serious financial corruption, asked the Leader to take the necessary measures to promote national unity ahead of the elections.

Once news of Rafsanjani's three-hour meeting with the Leader was released, sources close to him described the outcome of the meeting as 'positive', according to Etemad-e-Melli.

Rafsanjani meets Leader ahead of polls PressTV (Iran) 11 Jun 09

Three hours is a long time.  It would seem that the division of 'fundamentalist' and reformer is now not so clear, insofar as we have any visibility into the insider politics of Iranian leadership.  Rafsanjani, whom Ahmadinejad defeated in 2005, is indeed wealthy and dynastic and is likely benefiting from 'influence' of one kind or another.  Perhaps the monied classes have had enough of Ahmadinejad's isolation, economic mismanagement and profligate generosity with the nation's oil revenues.  Ahmadinejad's surprise victory in 2005 has always been considered suspect in some quarters on grounds of vote-rigging and electoral fraud.  Whether Mousavi's 'green revolution' votes will be counted fairly is a matter of some conjecture but has been the most discussed topic as electioneering ends prior to Friday's poll.

As much as one enjoys this spectacle one wonders what possibly could have motivated Ahmadinejad's accusation, which basically challenges the first generation of post-revolutionary leadership, unless he thought he had a plurality of support among the ruling clerics.  He has always pitched his appeal to the rural and pious constituencies and the 'hard-liners' within the oligarchy but he's seemingly dragged Khamenei unwillingly into this brawl.  Not to be underestimated for cunning he must suppose that a spill against his enemies within the leadership is likely or possible.  Perhaps it was just a self-destructive blunder.  In any case it makes for a very interesting election.

And Obama's Cairo speech was certainly timely.  It's hard to say what impact it has had or whether it has affected Mousavi's late change in fortune but it is looking like it might have been an intermediate range ballistic oration.

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Greening Iran | 79 comments
Will certainly be interesting to watch.... (2.00 / 8)
Is heartening to see both women and younger generations lending their voices to the political process.


Welcome to the Moose...hope to see more of ya!  


Thanks (2.00 / 8)

One hand helping another.  Beats me how this ended up on the front page, sorry about that.

[ Parent ]
How DARE you! (2.00 / 4)
(it was promoted...the Moose is silly like that)



[ Parent ]
I didn't promote it, (2.00 / 7)
but I would have if I'd seen it sooner.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
We're an anarco-sydicalist commune, (2.00 / 6)
Dennis is executive officer for the week and must have bumped you.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
You must enter a subject for your comment (2.00 / 5)
I love anarcho-syndacalist communes!  I'm just rereading Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War.  So sad.

[ Parent ]
Great book... (2.00 / 3)
Though Thomas, of my alma mater, became a bit reactionary in later years. So I prefer Orwell in retrospect.

But welcome to the Moose. I was wondering how long it would take you. Great to see you.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 3)
Thanks.  Yeah, I wondered about Thomas but he's pretty even-handed and very thorough, it's one of those vast, thick histories that do the subject justice.  It's pretty clear he has little sympathy for the Carlists and the Falange.  I haven't read Homage to Catalonia but the history of the anarchists in Catalonia and Andalusia is the most rivetting part of Thomas' work for me.  I've often thought that progressives of all stripes should read the history of arguably the most progressive revolution in 20th century history, at least on that scale.  We make the same mistakes again and again.

But when did anarchists ever fail to quibble among themselves except in the face of the facist enemy?  And even then!

[ Parent ]
I must read it again... (2.00 / 3)
I love Spain, and Lorca - one the first victims of the Falangists - is still my favourite poet. There was a brief era of popular front passion and outflowing of creativity in the arts and politics. And then half a million killed with the aid of German airpower, and the stifling repressed world of women in widows black I remember from my first visit there in 1969.

As I said, you're like my older brother: I've always had a soft spot for anarcho syndicalists, and would be on their side against the Tankies.

And anarchic certainly doesn't mean chaotic. Now I've had a chance to read it can I just say what a beautifully presented,  well researched, lucid and informative diary that is. I feel I've got some of the best Op Ed around (as I often do at the Moose) with the added benefit of having a conversation with the author later.

More please Shaun.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
Thanks Heaps (2.00 / 1)
That's welcome praise coming from an established writer.  This obsessive 'hobby' of mine is starting to interfere with my other work.  Sigh.  The coincidence of crucial challenges in international affairs with the fulfillment of my aspirations for the Obama presidency is relentlessly addictive.  Hope the diaries reflect, and relieve, a bit of that intensity; I'm driving everyone around me crazy except the dog who accepts my cryptic asides with typical Border Collie equanimity.

The story of Barcelona during the Civil War inspires and saddens me greatly.  The anarchist faith in and allegience to 'the idea' seems so innocent, bravely championed and tragically extinguished.  It is one of the great stories of human solidarity, courage and ideological aspiration I've ever encountered.  I wish we memorialised the ideological heroes of the Republic as much as we did some of our other brave warriors.  When I was sixteen I can remember the Lincoln Brigade veterans marching in the 1971 May Day protest in DC, alongside the SDS and the Black Panthers, among others.  Something seems to have been lost of our progressive 'militancy' over the decades.

[ Parent ]
A Border Collie... (2.00 / 3) favourite dog. When my Polish partner finally moves to England we've promised to get a dog, and my boyhood memories of my best friends border collie has always inclined me that way.

Meanwhile, my blogging bugs her sometimes, even when she's in Warsaw. She says she can hear the tetchiness in my voice. This has been acute in recent days as I've been taking on the right wingers who say the BNP's rise is all Labour's fault, and that the far right is not to blame, but the left. I got involved in a long flame war with one such Tory apologist, which left me simmering for hours.

I notice the same meme on some crazy Atlas Shrugged blog linked on MYDD. The right in the US also points to the 'socialist' in National Socialist, and claim that it's all a a phenomenon of the left.

God. This galls me. To think of the millions on the left who were beaten, shot or killed for defying the Nazis. In my own lifetime, it was the left, centre and centre right who opposed the National Front and their skinhead thugs when the Powellite Monday club silently cheered the far right for beating us up. It happened to me as a ten year old, three skinheads who noticed I looked a bit dark in North London. But more than anything, I'm amazed at the bravery of many (particularly on the left it must be said) who infiltrated their ranks to expose them, who demonstrated outside their meetings, although they would often get death threats and beaten up.

Yes, that militancy sometimes has a reason. It's not all about smashing up starbucks. Sometimes it's different. Sometimes it's a popular front trying to stop jackboots and intimidation. No Pasaran

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'

[ Parent ]
¡No pasarán! (2.00 / 3)
My take is that the fascist right, while always requiring eternal vigilance, is so far in the minority as to render excusable the argument, notable in the recent BNP case, that opposing them validates an otherwise anachronistic and bankrupt political philosophy unworthy of our attention.  I'm not so sanguine in my reading of history and it's sudden ebbs and flows.  If the BNP presents us with an opportunity to revisit the principles of leftist ideology and solidarity, the spirit of 1848, the Paris Commune and Barcelona, not to mention the Battle of Cable Street, then a purpose is served.  Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.  The most poignant lefty comment on the egg-throwing incident I encountered was that it was fine so long as they were free-range eggs.  Ya' gotta' laugh sometimes, we are an odd but cheerful bunch.

Funny my Border Collie has the leftist, bohemian affection for warmth, restless playfulness and free love but the heart of a lion when any of her tribe are threatened or the harmony of her hearth disturbed.  They are truly fine dogs.

[ Parent ]
Well finally..nice to see you here... (2.00 / 6)

Crikey (2.00 / 6)
You're here too?  All my favourite folks from the Blue Satan.

[ Parent ]
I'm here, there and everywhere ;) (2.00 / 3)
I like cyber-traveling, it is extremely fast, cheap and a smooth ride...

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 7)
They seek him here, they seek him there, those Freepers seek him everywhere...  

[ Parent ]
It's an Appleby Diary! (2.00 / 6)
Always an intermediate range ballistic oration.

Ahmadinnerjacket's days are numbered, imho, and it is shocking to picture what that means.  It has seemed obvious that the shape of the curve of Iran's trajectory would crowd him out in favor of someone more sane and capable of having serious conversations with non-fire hydrant counterparts.  Iran may be reentering the global conversation.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

You must enter a subject for your comment (2.00 / 6)
They may have a bit of trouble putting the green genie back in the bottle at this point.

[ Parent ]
As Mousavi's supporters say "Ahmadi, Ahmadi Buh-bye!" (2.00 / 5)

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 4)
Well, still an open question, really.  Assuming there is a fair counting of ballots, which seems more likely with each passing day, Mousavi should get it.  Ahmadenijad has lots of rural support, though.  In 2005 the reformers basically boycotted the election, they won't do that again!

[ Parent ]
well there's also a possibility Ahmadi's followers might rig the (2.00 / 5) you noted Rafsanjani's son is actively managing an effective Mousavi campaign..

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 4)
Yes, and no doubt financed with laundered money.  I think we have to be careful of identifying any 'good guys' in the current leadership.

[ Parent ]
It is interesting to watch the inner struggles of the conservative (2.00 / 3)
part of the Iran's Islamic Supreme Guardian leadership showing up...after all that piety, it's all about who controls the flow of oil money amongst the clerics..

Don't we seriously wish we can take back our policy of
opposing of secular parties in Middle East!

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 4)
And the rest of the economy, such as it is.  Ahmadinejad has been throwing the money out of the back of pick-up trucks to buy the allegiance of rural and working class voters instead of investing in infrastructure.  Rafsanjani apparently owns most of the universities.

[ Parent ]
The other day, Mousavi's supporters (2.00 / 6)
formed a human chain that ran all the way across Tehran. I've been following this closely and thought about suggesting that the Moose 'go green' for the last week of the election. It wouldn't have been too hard to change our color scheme to show support for the reformers. It's a little too late now since the election is tomorrow.

There was some speculation about the timing of Obama's Cairo speech and this election. It would be foolish to think it wasn't part of the thinking on the part of O's team.  

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

Re: (2.00 / 4)
Yeah, I didn't really address the 'green revolution' aspects in the diary 'cuz the backstory is getting so interesting.  Khamenei likes to sit in the shadows and Rafsanjani called his bluff.  I still don't know what Ahmadenijad was thinking with his debate accusations, he's a fiesty little piece of work, I'll give him that.

[ Parent ]
The 'Green Revolution' (0.00 / 0)
Ooops, it's official:

In the final hours of the fierce contest, Mousavi got a sharp warning from the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard that authorities would crush any attempt at a popular "revolution" inspired by the huge rallies and street parties calling for more freedoms.

The threat Wednesday reflected the increasingly tense atmosphere surrounding the up-for-grabs election. It also marked a sharp escalation by the ruling clerics against Mousavi's youth-driven campaign and its hopes of an underdog victory.

The Revolutionary Guard is one of the pillars of the Islamic establishment and controls large military forces as well as a nationwide network of militia volunteers.

The message from the Guards' political chief, Yadollah Javani, appeared aimed at rattling Mousavi's backers just before the polls open Friday and to warn that it would not tolerate the formation of a post-election political force under the banner of Mousavi's "green movement" - the signature color of his campaign.

In a statement on the Guards' Web site, Javani drew parallels between Mousavi's campaign and the "velvet revolution" that led to the 1989 ouster of the communist government in then-Czechoslovakia, saying "some extremist (reformist) groups, have designed a colorful revolution ... using a specific color for the first time in an election."

Nasser Karimi - Iranians Set To Vote After Week Of Intense Campaign Activity Huffington Post (AP) 12 Jun 09

Looks like the 'colour revolution' concept is taking hold among it's potential opponents.  They don't realise that they are creating a potential reality with their threats, I guess.

[ Parent ]
yay! shaun! (2.00 / 6)
welcome to the moos! timely and indeed interesting.  

i still chuckle about the reservedly iranian smackdown that mousavi gave ahmadinejad during the debates.  as i said - from the limited bits that i know about mousavi - he is stylistically from a different planet than ahmadinejad - and that's progress in of itself.

"I spend my days and nights pondering the meaning of life, the state of the universe, and the Home Shopping Network." -- Donald Roller Wilson

Re: (2.00 / 5)
Curiously they're not much different from our point of view on policy.  Mousavi was a bit hard core in the past but seems to have mellowed.  I would expect a different rhetorical style but much the same basic positions.  To my mind it is more interesting seeing the wind blowing through Khamenei's rigging as I hinted in the diary.

Ironically most of the supporters don't seem to know much about either candidates 'policies,' it's just 'Bye-bye-Ahmed' and a pretty colour.  Having said that the underlying ethos of Mousavi's campaign, in terms of the demographics and aspirations of his constituency, is worlds apart.  If there are some shifts in the oligarchic fault lines the worst fear of the clerics, a 'green revolution' could well emerge.  In time.

That would be interesting.

[ Parent ]
Based on the color, Korean Air is obviously on their side, (2.00 / 2)
and with service like that they can't lose.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 3)
Well, it's the colour of Islam, too.  Very clever.

[ Parent ]
The whole country? (2.00 / 2)
Pretty, but they must go through a lot of paint.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Typed too fast, thought you said the color or "Iran". (2.00 / 2)
Didn't know Islam had a color, shows how much I know.  Does it have a flavor, too? (Baklava?)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
And given the Lebanese flag... (2.00 / 6)
I'm thinking it might smell pine fresh?

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 5)
I think you are on to something.  The imagery of nature in the context of 'paradise' is central to Islam, as you might imagine for 'desert-dwelling Bedouin tribes when they gathered at an oasis.'

[ Parent ]
Some tidbits via Wikipedia (for the history dorks among us): (2.00 / 5)
Some bits seem contradictory to others, but interesting all the same (I, too, am a bonafide history dork).

Although the flag has existed only for half a century, the tree at the center of the flag- the Cedar of Lebanon- has been an emblem of the country since the time of King Solomon, almost 2,000 years ago. Specifically, the cedar is the symbol of the country's Maronite Christian community. It first appeared on a flag in 1861 when Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon after its collapse, the country became mandated to France and its flag was a French Tricolore, with the Cedar of Lebanon in the white band of the Tricolore. The cedar symbolizes happiness and prosperity for the country.

It is a common mistake to draw the branches of the cedar and the tree trunk in brown or black. Nevertheless the mistake could be seen as unconstitutional. The cedar should be fully green regarding the provisions in the Constitution.

Cedar of Lebanon was important to various civilizations. The trees were used by the ancient Phoenicians for building trade and military ships, as well as houses and temples. The Egyptians used its resin for mummification, and its sawdust was found in pharaohs' tombs. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh designates the cedar groves of Lebanon as the dwelling of the gods to where Gilgamesh ventured. They once burned cedar in their ceremonies. Jewish priests were ordered by Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon Cedar in circumcision and treatment of leprosy. Isaiah used the Lebanon Cedar as a metaphor for the pride of the world. According to the Talmud, Jews once burned Lebanese cedar wood on the Mount of Olives to announce the new year. Kings far and near requested the wood for religious and civil constructs, the most famous of which are King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem and David's and Solomon's Palaces. It was also used by Romans, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians

The Lebanon Cedar has always been the national emblem of Lebanon, and it is seen on the Lebanese Flag. It is also the main symbol of the Cedar Revolution, along with many political parties in Lebanon such as the Kataeb, the National Liberal Party and the Lebanese Forces.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 5)
The cedars of Lebanon come up constantly in ancient history, from the temple construction of the pharoahs and Solomon to the naval construction of the Ionian Greeks.  The green of Islam comes much later:

Green is considered the traditional color of Islam.

The color in this form is the shade of green used in the Flag of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Islam used/uses this shade of green symbolically because the tribe of the prophet Muhammad had a green banner and because to them green represented paradise (the Persian word for garden) to desert-dwelling Bedouin tribes when they gathered at an oasis.

Islam venerates the color, and it expects paradise to be full of lush greenery.

Many flags of the Islamic world are green, as the color is considered sacred in Islam.

Green in Islam Wikipedia

That's why the choice of colour by the Mousavi campaign seems so clever to me, it shares the notion of a 'colour revolution' with the piety of Islamic tradition.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm...was thinking more along the lines of.... (2.00 / 4)
a fresh woodsy/floral scent with top notes of bergamot and juniper, middle notes of almond and jasmine, and a sweet woody vanilla base note....

on second thought, perhaps you are correct...more like this


[ Parent ]
wanted to point out Roxana Saberi's OP-Ed column (2.00 / 6)
Re: (2.00 / 6)
That was brilliant, thanks.  It serves to demonstrate the importance of this election to the aspirations of the Iranian people irrespective of the heirarchy of power in Iran.  The more I learn about it the more it seems that Iran needs an external threat to justify it's own internal security and suppression of dissent.  Just goes to show the futility of the policy we have adopted in past administrations.

[ Parent ]
Halle-fricking-lujah! (2.00 / 5)
Appleby is finally at the Moose.  Huge welcome to you! I've long been a fan of your thorough and thoughtful diaries and remain to this day grateful for your support and encouragement when I began testing the "diary writing" waters at the deep blue D.  Were it not for for folks like you, Brit, Blasky, Sricki, and a handful of others, I may have given up on the prospect entirely.  Awfully glad I didn't, as this place has become a bit of a second home to me.

Now, as I'm just in from a very long walk in a very hot desert, I'll save my content related comments on your piece until after I've polished today's field notes, recalibrated my deeply troubled GPS unit, and given this a proper read.  Oh, and a shower -- ya'll can probably smell me through the intertubez.  Sorry 'bout that.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

I'll have to apologize to my dog. (2.00 / 6)
I was blaming him for that smell.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Give the pooch a treat. (2.00 / 4)
There's no way it smells like sweat, beef jerky, dirt, and suncreen.  If it does, wow, your vet bills must be astounding.

Sadly, even the water at my hotel smells like sulfur, and has a reddish-brown tinge.  This really isn't a very pleasant place.

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
The pooch gets too many treats as it is (2.00 / 1)
My son and d-i-law have discovered the joy of couponing. They have been getting treats for little or nothing and have stocked up at least a year's worth of them. They've also got enough pre-sweetened Kool-aid to make about 50 pitchers worth. Not to mention all of the boxes of Kraft deluxe mac-n-cheese they got for free, enough air fresheners to stock a dog kennel, and lots and lots of other stuff. It's become their latest hobby.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Sounds like they're ready for the end of times that I keep (2.00 / 1)
hearing Obama is ushering in.  Me, my coupons expire perched on the refrigerator door.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Re: (2.00 / 6)
Thanks for the warm welcome.  And looking forward to more of the same from you.  Where the heck are you?  Very hot desert sounds pretty inviting at the moment my fingers are freezing this morning, it's mid-winter here.

[ Parent ]
Colorado Desert. (2.00 / 7)
...very near the California / Arizona / Mexico border.  I've covered about 12 miles of proposed transmission line right-of-way today (for a large as yet unconstructed solar energy facility)plotting lithic debitage, groundstone implements, and pottery sherds along the way.

As usual, I failed to apply sun block to the back of my neck as often as I should have.  It's rather ouchy, and renders me a true "red-neck".

Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey

[ Parent ]
The odd thing is the reaction from the Rabid Right here (2.00 / 4)
Re: (2.00 / 4)
Well I'm certainly not calling the election.  It seems an imminent upset but as your article cites the extent of electoral fraud is anybody's guess:

Reformists have warned that the number of difficult-to-monitor mobile stations has increased by 10 percent and that while 59.6 million ballots were printed for the vote, the Interior Ministry has announced the number of printed ballots as 57 million.

Golnaz Esfandiari - Iran's Presidential Vote Is Free, Fair Only On The Surface Radio Free Europe 12 Jun 09

Having said that the unprecedented attention given to electoral probity, such as it is in Iran, suggests that manipulation will be harder to execute in this case than in 2005.  The open question, and the point of my diary, really, is it is no longer clear whom the oligarchy actually favours or where the real power to make this particular decision now rests in the heirarchy.

[ Parent ]
proves (2.00 / 2)
nutty people are nutty lots of places.  The iranians want freedom, that they once had more of under the shah.  They want jeans and tom cruise.  That's why it's dumb to bomb them, that's the only thing that would unite them behind the mullahs, nationalism trumps differences in times of war.  

What, me worry?

Re: proves (2.00 / 2)
I agree in principle that aggression against Iran will unite them but the 'freedoms' under the Shah, while arguable, did not extend to dissent.  Check out Savak:

SAVAK (Sazeman-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar, National Intelligence and Security Organization) was the domestic security and intelligence service of Iran from 1957 to 1979. It has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979, for its association with the foreign intelligence organizations such as the CIA and its torture and execution of regime opponents. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks. It has been estimated that by the time the agency was finally dismantled in 1979 by the Iranian Revolution, as many as one third of all Iranian men had some sort of connection to SAVAK by way of being informants or actual agents.

SAVAK Wikipedia

Sounds pretty much the equivalent of the contemporary Stasi, let's not guild the lily here.

[ Parent ]
Crimes and Cruelty of Savak was the paramount reason why Iranians (0.00 / 0)
rebelled against him.

[ Parent ]
To be honest (2.00 / 4)
that's why I think our embargo and cordoning off Cuba has been a goofy strategy.

If folks really wanted to topple Castro, we'd keep open relations. We'd trade with them. We'd dangle the fruits of our decadent Western ways, and markets, right there. Just for the taking. Just for the investing.

We'd trade them into asking for a more open society.

All that our strategy has done, is unite the Cuban people behind Castro, and his regime.

Mind you, Iran has really needed an apology from the US. Our government helped mastermind the installation of the Shah, and helped trained his secret police, and pretty much the very Fundamentalist mullahs got power, because they had been the voices that the Shah tried to silence. SAVAK was the means for the Shah to stay in power, and that was very much on our hands.

The mullahs had a convenient enemy with the US--and the revolutionary voices gave them a powerful voice. We handed the country over to the most reactionary of forces--and the sad thing is that before the Shah booted Dr. Mohammed Mosaddeq, he was leading them to be the most democratic of Middle Eastern countries. Even odder, in 1951 Mosaddeq was Time's Man of the Year. All well and good until the whole messy affair of nationalizing the oil fields...

Odder? The same mullahs who hated the Shah, weren't real happy with Mosaddeq either, and worried about his betraying them the West. If anything, while Khomeni, who was a great fan of Plato, was nearly the good Dr.'s opposite with breaking tradition--since before him, mullahs taking part in politics was unseemly. I blame the Plato and Philosopher King schtick...

[ Parent ]
Re: To be honest (2.00 / 3)
Good points about Mosaddeq, and the ambivalence of the mullahs at the time.  We excuse the expediency of the Cold War for a lot of post-colonial meddling we have engaged in, though Russia was no stranger to invading Iran themselves.  Perhaps we need to moderate these tendencies now that we can see the long-term insecurity they create for ourselves and the local population and the ultimate failure of our strategic aims.  We haven't controlled Iranian oil for quite awhile.

As for Plato, as anyone who has actually read The Republic would know, he is a fascist of the first rank.  His vision of an ideal state, based on Sparta, was nothing if not the model for the Third Reich.  Aristotle was not much better, his Constitution was no more egalitarian than the half-hearted efforts of European monarchies in the wake of the revolutions of 1848 and in many ways more deficient.

Sadly our cultural inheritence from the classical Greeks includes some of our darker chapters as well as the seeds of the Enlightenment.

[ Parent ]
I've always thought (2.00 / 2)
that the picture of Mosaddeq with the Liberty Bell was perhaps the most poignant of the pictures from that visit. Especially in light of his ousting and arrest.


[ Parent ]
Re: I've always thought (2.00 / 1)
Ironically he seems to be checking the depth of the crack.

[ Parent ]
I don't know how much the Cold War had to do (2.00 / 1)
with bringing Reza Pahlavi back to power. The official history claims the reason for the coup was because of a fear that the Iranian communists would seize control of the country. That seems very unlikely in a Muslim country.

I believe it was all about the oil. The U.S. didn't have a stake in Iranian oil, but the British did and we decided to get involved when the British asked our CIA for help. Too bad we double-crossed them and ended up with American companies controlling most of the oil while the Shah was in power.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Re: I don't know how much the Cold War had to do (2.00 / 2)
I'm agreeing.  That's what I meant by 'excuse the expediency of the Cold War for a lot of post-colonial meddling we have engaged in.'  It was the oil, the Cold War was the context and the excuse.  There's a grey area where oil and the Cold War intersect, to be sure, in terms of strategic reserves of resources, but this was a case where the Seven Sisters were clearly leading the charge.

[ Parent ]
The official history also downplays the intervention of the CIA (2.00 / 1)
in quite literally urging and paying "protesters" for both sides to engineer the unrest to begin the "evidence" of a "populist" uprising to put the Shah in full power.

While US interests were met, British investors did just fine.  

[ Parent ]
i think the big problem (2.00 / 1)
is that the only groups that can organize are the religious ones, and with the vast majority illiterate and thus subject to the religious leaders for 'what is written' the popular uprisings are always religious and based on the impiety of the current leaders.

Iran needs trade unions, and gilds, and work oriented gatherings of people who practice a kind of democracy, the kind that rewards the best and not the well-born.  The Shah was terrible, but there were personal, secular, freedoms and the place may have been moving toward democracy in a democratic uprising, except that's impossible, the only way to congregate is in places of worship.

This is why i'm first in favor of education, literacy, ideas getting talked about rather than religious text being taught.  That needs to happen to prepare the people for demanding universal human rights.  

What, me worry?

[ Parent ]
Re: i think the big problem (0.00 / 0)
It seems no accident that this movement has begun among the educated, urban middle-class.

[ Parent ]
"vast majority illiterate"??? (2.00 / 1)
Are we still talking about Iran? The literacy rate in Iran is well over 80% and rising.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
then (0.00 / 0)
go trade unions.  

What, me worry?

[ Parent ]
Thanks Very Much Everyone (2.00 / 4)
For a gracious and warm welcome.

Dude! (2.00 / 4)

I'm a fan.


Hope to see you around a lot more. I've been in lurk mode for a hot minute now but I lurk when I have the time.


Just because they are posting on a progressive site doesn't make them progressives. - John Allen

[ Parent ]
Looks like Ahmadi, Ahmadi, bye, bye becoming a reality... (2.00 / 2)

Iranian elections live coverage at the Guardian

Mousavi aide claiming win...

What's This? (2.00 / 2)
From Iranian PressTV:

Official preliminary results show that Iran's incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is leading the polls with 69.04 percent of the ballots counted.

In a surprise press briefing, Iran's Election Commission Chief, Kamran Daneshjoo, announced that 19.42 percent of the votes were counted until 23:54 local time (20:24 GMT).

According to Daneshjoo, Ahmadinejad is leading in the polls, followed by Mir-Hossein Mousavi who has 28.42 percent of the votes.

Ahmadinejad leads Mousavi in preliminary results PressTV (Iran) 12 Jun 09

This after Mousavi's victory claim.  

[ Parent ]
I know...I wrote too soon! I bet vote rigging is on... (2.00 / 1)
I expect things would be crazy for sometime if Mousavi loses that badly.

[ Parent ]
Ya' Gotta' Wonder (2.00 / 1)

Election Day draws to a close in Iran with the Guardian Council printing more ballot papers in the heat of a seemingly unprecedented voter turnout.

The Guardian Council, an influential body tasked with overseeing the election process, announced that a new amount of ballot papers have been printed in the final hours of the presidential polls.

More ballot papers printed over high turnout PressTV (Iran) 12 Jun 09

Fancy that.

[ Parent ]
The election is kind of joke...out of couple of hundreds who wanted to (0.00 / 0)
run, the Supreme Council only allowed 4 to run in the presidential elections.

[ Parent ]
Still... (2.00 / 1)
They created unprecedented interest among their future leadership, young urban educated people.  This chicken may come home to roost yet.

[ Parent ]
This sucks. (2.00 / 2)
I thought we had a solid chance at some progress here.  It's hard to imagine that if the clerics have chosen to keep the little weasel.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
You can't expect the clerics to handover power and call (0.00 / 0)
it a day...

[ Parent ]
It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over (2.00 / 1)

Electoral commission officials said that, with nearly half the ballots counted, Mr Ahmadinejad had gained around two-thirds of the votes.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran says most of the early votes counted came from rural areas, where Mr Ahmadinejad is considered to be stronger.

The early rival declarations of victory could be a case of the two candidates attempting to stake their claims before the real arguments begin, he says.

Iran election rivals both declare victory BBC 12 Jun 09

Busy, busy little bees will be counting ballots, cast or otherwise, at the moment, methinks.

[ Parent ]
Interesting Developments (2.00 / 2)
For what it's worth Stratfor is having a 'red alert' moment:

Iranian Election Commission chief Kamran Danesho held a press conference at 11:45 p.m. local time and announced that with some 20 percent of the votes counted, the president was leading with 3,462,548 votes (69.04 percent), while his main challenger, Mousavi, had 1, 425,678 (28.42 percent). Sources tell STRATFOR that these preliminary numbers pertain to the votes from the smaller towns and villages, where the president has considerable influence, as he has distributed a lot of cash to the poor.

However, Iran's state-run Press TV is saying that only 10 million of 24 million votes, or around 42 percent of the vote, have been counted. At the same time, they are also claiming that 69 percent of the vote has been counted. Obviously the numbers are not adding up, and the agencies themselves appear to be in chaos.

Prior to the announcement of the results, Mousavi held a press conference in which he said he was the winner of the election. The opposition camp is greatly concerned about fraud, and STRATFOR has been told that Mousavi has vowed to resist any fraud, even if it entails taking to the streets. This means there is considerable risk of unrest should Ahmadinejad emerge as the winner. But so far there is no evidence that the government is mobilizing security forces to deal with any such eventuality.

Red Alert: Iran's Election Results Stratfor 12 Jun 09

I just read a Twitter on the Huffington Post site comments suggesting a protest was gathering at the Interior Ministry in Tehran.  What's up?

This might be more exciting than our own elections. (2.00 / 1)
The only time I ever showed up to work on time in 2000 was the Wednesday after the GE; I never went to bed.

There's a whole lot potentially riding on this election.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I'm Wondering About This Myself (0.00 / 0)
Such a massive percentage for Ahmadinejad seems hard to credit.  If you are going to lie it should be convincingly.  Mousavi supporters are claiming 50,000 'poll watchers' confirm his victory.  SMS is down in Iran so no Tweets.  We'll see what tomorrow brings, I suppose.

[ Parent ]
CNN has a little more than 74% of the vote in (2.00 / 1)
and a 30 point spread.  All depends on where that remaining 25% of the vote is from.  Even if Ahmadinejad wins I'd at least like for it to be close; give him something to think about.  Maybe.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Well... (0.00 / 0)
It ain't gonna' be.  PressTV is predicting a landslide and apparently, according to Stratfor, police in Tehran cleared out Mousavi's campaign headquarters and arrested two of his reformist political allies.

[ Parent ]
Greening Iran | 79 comments

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