Iran’s Theocracy Is on the Brink 

Every decade the Islamist regime has been in power, an uprising has cost it an element of its legitimacy.

Mark Dubowitz and Ray Takeyh report: Iran has a peculiar habit of surprising Americans. It has done so again with the protests engulfing its major cities. The demonstrations began over economic grievances and quickly transformed into a rejection of theocracy.

“As with the Soviet Union in its last days, the Islamic Republic can no longer appeal to its ideals; it relies only on its security services for survival.”

The slogans must have unsettled the mullahs: “Death to Khamenei!” “Death to Rouhani!” “We will die to get our Iran back!” Imperialism has not revived the regime’s legitimacy, as the protesting Persians pointedly reject expending their meager resources on Arab wars: “Death to Hezbollah!” “No to Gaza, not Lebanon! Our life only for Iran!”

A protester at the University of Tehran, Dec. 30. Photo: STR/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

A protester at the University of Tehran, Dec. 30. Photo: STR/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

However the events on the streets unfold, their most immediate casualty will be the presidency of Hassan Rouhani and its false claim of pragmatic governance. In the aftermath of the Green Revolution of 2009, which rocked the foundations of the Islamic Republic, a sinister argument gradually pervaded Western salons and chancelleries. The convulsions of that summer, the claim went, were over no more than electoral irregularity. With the election of the so-called moderate Mr. Rouhani in 2013, the system rebalanced itself. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his allies supposedly learned some hard lessons on the need to yield to popular mandates. Iranians want gradual change, we have been told, and believe that the system’s own constitutional provisions and plebiscites can be used to nudge it toward moderation.

Then, last week, Iranians took to the streets.

Every decade of the Islamist regime’s rule has seen one of its political factions lose its legitimacy through national uprisings. In the 1980s, the Islamic Republic waged a determined civil war against liberals and secularists who sought to redeem the revolution’s pledge of a democratic order. The student riots of 1999 ended the reformist interlude and Mohammad Khatami’s presidency, which had promised that the expansion of civil society and elections would harmonize faith and freedom. The reformists lingered as discredited enablers of a repressive regime, but no one believed in their promises of change from within. The hard-liners offered their own national compact, one that privileged economic justice over political emancipation. But the tumultuous presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad produced only corruption and bellicosity.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Then came Mr. Rouhani and his centrist disciples with their pledge to revive the economy, primarily through foreign investment. Mr. Rouhani needed a nuclear agreement to lift debilitating sanctions and stimulate commerce. The Obama administration was happy to deliver, and Iran received tens of billions of dollars in financial dividends, including $1.7 billion in paper currency. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Iran’s Anti-Government Protests Spread to Major Cities, ‘The World is Watching’ says U.S.

The US says “the world is watching” how Iranian authorities respond to anti-government protests that have broken out in several cities.

Thousands of people have joined the protests, with scores arrested.

A White House statement said Iranians were fed up with “the regime’s corruption and its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism”.

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,”

— White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Twitter

Meanwhile, authorities urged supporters to turn out for nationwide demonstrations on Saturday.

The rallies are commemorating the 2009 demonstrations held in support of the then conservative government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Those demonstrations were in response to protests by reformists over a disputed election which returned him to power.

The BBC’s Persian Service says thousands of people were likely to have been bussed into a rally in the capital Tehran.

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

What was the US response?

“The Iranian government should respect their people’s rights, including their right to express themselves. The world is watching,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter.

The tweet later appeared on President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

The US State Department urged all nations “to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption”.

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

Footage posted on social media showed street protests in Kermanshah

What is Iran saying about the protests?

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has suggested that government opponents are behind the protests, according to comments reported by state broadcaster IRIB.

He said: “Some incidents in the country these days are on the pretext of economic problems, but it seems there is something else behind them. They think by doing this they harm the government, but it will be others who ride the wave.” Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Dinesh D’Souza and Bill Ayers Debate

Not since Christopher Hitchens was alive, engaging intellectual opponents in debates, on stage, anywhere, at the drop of a hat, or when Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy did speaking engagements as a duet, on tour, do we have an unlikely pair like Ayers and D’Souza sharing a stage…

Roger Simon has some good analysis–including a candid comment about a genuine nightmare he experienced after seeing Ayers speak at length for the first time, and the dizzy depression that followed– jump over to his site to read the whole thing. Here’s a money quote:

“Bill Ayers is Saul Alinsky on steroids”

Roger L. Simon writes:

 It’s a testament to Dinesh D’Souza’s mettle that he even showed up for his scheduled debate at Dartmouth (his alma mater and mine) with Bill Ayers last Thursday.  D’Souza is only recently under what is apparently selective prosecution by the federal government for campaign law violations (see “Amnesty, but Not for D’Souza” by Andy McCarthy) and that was probably some of the reason the pundit/filmmaker seemed off his game.


He fared much better debating the existence of God with the late Christopher Hitchens.  But that was in part because Hitchens played fair, enjoying the intellectual jousting and search for truth between two exceptionally bright people.  D’Souza’s Thursday adversary, Mr. Ayers — former Weatherman revolutionary and retired professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he held the titles of Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar — did everything but.

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Yes They Can! Hassan Rouhani Music Video: Iran’s answer to Obama Personality-Cult Presidency

An MTV-style video shows Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, riding high after 100 days in office

, and Naeim Karimi report: With its gentle acoustic guitar and message of tolerance and world peace, the MTV-style video has the feel of a celebrity charity song. But as a succession of young men and women sing in front of the microphones, the presence of a sombre, white-turbaned cleric shows that this is no routine pop production.

Still triumphant from his recent nuclear deal with the West, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, got a new starring role last week – this time in a music video marking his 100th day in office. Given that musical instruments are banned on state television, its depiction of a male guitarist an d female drummer would itself be enough to annoy the Islamic Republic’s hardliners. But the lyrics, too, could not be further from the “Death to America” rhetoric associated with Iran during the last 30 years.

“Let our hearts be cleaned of resentment, let conciliation and friendship substitute animosity,” the song goes. “The road ahead is long and I am a new traveller.” Shot by the team that did Mr Rouhani’s summer election campaign, the video, entitled “New Traveler”, attracted nearly half a millions viewers in its first day online, many of them noting its clear similarities to Barack Obama’s 2008 “Yes We Can” film.

And much though Iran’s hardliners may resent it, right now the comparison seems justified.

For 100 days in, Mr Rouhani is riding high on the same kind of popularity that Mr Obama enjoyed at the start of his first term, with reform-minded Iranians finally hopeful that the country is heading for better times.

Read the rest of this entry »

Former translator for Ahmadinejad called WSJ editor ‘Iranian House Negro’

Pro-Iranian Regime Journalist Defends Controversial Tweet

The New Civility, as practiced by NBC

The New Civility, as practiced by NBC’s Hooman Majid

 reports: An NBC News contributor who once worked for former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he stands by his decision to label a conservative Wall Street Journal editor an “Iranian House Negro”.

NBC News contributor Hooman Majd, a vocal critic of Iran sanctions, referred toWall Street Journal assistant books editor Sohrab Ahmari as “WSJ’s (Iranian) ‘House Negro.’” Majd and Ahmari are both Iranian-Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

Ahmadinejads cameraman defects, seeks asylum in US

A lawyer for a cameraman who was accompanying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the US for the United Nations General Assembly in New York says his client has defected.

Paul O’Dwyer, a New York City-based lawyer who is representing Hassan Gol Khanban, confirmed Sunday that his client is seeking asylum in the US He provided no other details.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the Iranian defected or his current whereabouts.

A message left with Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the UN, was not immediately returned.

Ahmadinejad addressed the assembly on Wednesday, his last as president of Iran…

via  The Times of Israel


Video: Rice skipped Netanyahu speech at the UN

First, the US delegation decides to stick around for one of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the UN, and then the highest-ranking US diplomat at Turtle Bay takes a powder when Israel’s Prime Minister gets up to speak.  Instead, UN Ambassador Susan Rice chose to attend a luncheon in which she wasn’t even the highest-ranking American diplomat.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there’s a message being sent by the Obama administration, and both Greta Van Susteren and John Bolton agree:

Katie Pavlich puts this in perspective:

At a time when Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon, it seems our U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. doesn’t really care about the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel. Just like this administration doesn’t seem to care about using the word terrorism to describe the war we are in. This move by Rice came just days after President Obama blew Netanyahu off so he could go party with Jay-Z, Beyonce, the ladies from The View and David Letterman.

I must say that if I’d been told three years ago that the Obama administration’s UN delegation would attend an Ahmadinejad speech and snub Benjamin Netanyahu, I’d have scoffed at the notion.  Not even this administration could be that tone-deaf and arrogant, I’d have said.  And I’d have been wrong.

via Video: Rice skipped Netanyahu speech at the UN « Hot Air.

Israel Must Be ‘Eliminated’

Netanyahu has to take Iran’s words seriously. Why doesn’t Obama?

“To see what is in front of ones nose needs a constant struggle.”—George Orwell

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations today, which also happens to be Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The timing is apt because when it comes to Iran and Israel, the hardest thing for some people to see or hear is what Iranian leaders say in front of the worlds nose.

“Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They [the Israelis] have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters and editors in New York on Monday.

“We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs. We dont even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they [the Israelis] represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated.”

Note that word—”eliminated.” When Iranians talk about Israel, this intention of a final solution keeps coming up. In October 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad, quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini, said Israel “must be wiped off the map.” Lest anyone miss the point, the Iranian President said in June 2008 that Israel “has reached the end of its function and will soon disappear off the geographical domain.”

He has company among Iranian leaders. In a televised speech in February, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called Israel a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut,” adding that “from now on, in any place, if any nation or any group that confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear of expressing this.

“Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the armed forces, added in May that “the Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel.”

This pledge of erasing an entire state goes back to the earliest days of the Iranian revolution. “One of our major points is that Israel must be destroyed,” Ayatollah Khomeini said in the 1980s.

Former Iranian President Akbar Rafsanjani—often described as a moderate in Western media accounts—had this to say in 2001: “If one day, the Islamic world is also equipped with weapons like those that Israel possesses now, then the imperialists strategy will reach a standstill because the use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel will destroy everything. However, it will only harm the Islamic world. It is not irrational to contemplate such an eventuality.”

So for Iran it is “not irrational” to contemplate the deaths of millions of Muslims in exchange for the end of Israel because millions of other Muslims will survive, but the Jewish state will not.The worlds civilized nations typically denounce such statements, as the U.S. State Department denounced Mr. Ahamadinejads on Monday. But denouncing them is not the same as taking them seriously…

via Review & Outlook–

Photo of the Day

Photo of the Day

New York police officers look at a man dressed as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a protest against Ahmadinejad outside the Warwick Hotel in New York September 25, 2012. Ahmadinejad is staying at the hotel during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly