Blood in Iran

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On June 24, the Iranian regime learned a, to them ominous, lesson.  The protests continued in the face of savage brutality from the ruling mullahs.  Atlas Shrugs has first rate coverage here. Gateway Pundit here has been on top of this story from day one.  Ed Morrissey has coverage here of what happened when protesters march on the Parliament building in Tehran today:

“Security forces wielding clubs and firing weapons beat back demonstrators who flocked to a Tehran square Wednesday to continue protests, with one witness saying security forces beat people like “animals.”

At least two sources described wild and violent conditions at a part of Tehran where protesters had planned to demonstrate. “They were waiting for us,” the source said. “They all have guns and riot uniforms. It was like a mouse trap.”  “I see many people with broken arms, legs, heads — blood everywhere — pepper gas like war,” the source said.About “500 thugs” with clubs came out of a mosque and attacked people in the square, another source said.  The security forces were “beating women madly” and “killing people like hell,” the source said.”

A good report on today’s developments here at Pajamas TV.

The Iranian regime, unbelievably tone deaf, is attempting to distract the population with a Lord of the Rings Marathon.

Dale Price at Dyspeptic Mutterings has some practical suggestions here as to how we can help the Iranian resistance.

 

So the protesters are continuing to have the courage to go out in the streets and the regime is now in stop-them-and-we-don’t-care-how-mode.  What does it mean? 

1.  This is taking too long for the Iranian regime.   A regime that rules by force needs to stop any revolutionary movement immediately once that movement hits the streets.  You take too long and a lot of people begin to wonder if maybe the impossible might happen and the regime falls.  

2.  The Shia, the predominant Islamic faction in Iran, have a long tradition of honoring martyrs.  The Iranian regime is handing the people of Iran daily new martyrs to venerate.

3.  The Iranian regime is trying its best to blame the unrest on foreigners.  Reports indicate that most Iranians are not buying this for a second.

4.  Friday could be key.  As the Iranians go off to their mosques on that day, it would take little for mass riots to begin, especially if a lot of ordinary Iranians have reached the point where they are simply more fed up than they are scared.

5.  Women are playing an important up front role in the Iranian resistance.  Scenes of regime thugs beating these women and murdering them will be certain to stir a pot of hatred that has been simmering for years as the Iranian regime has treated the women of Iran as fifth class citizens.

6.  Every day that this goes on is a bad day for the Iranian regime.  Right now their only idea of how to stop the protesters is to drown them in blood.  If the Iranian dissidents have the courage to keep coming out on the streets, and I can only marvel at that degree of courage, they are going to win this.

Update:   Ahmadinejad snubbed by a majority of the Iranian parliament per Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.  This could be very significant.  My guess is that they are very unwilling to associate themselves with a regime that may be in its death throes.

54 Responses to Blood in Iran

  • Tito Edwards says:

    President Obama has failed in condemning the vote. He even offered invitations to Iranian officials to attend the 4th of July festivities in DC. Ironically none of the Iranians accepted and President Obama has withdrawn the invitations.

    It seems that Obama may have missed a golden opportunity to offer moral support to the protesters that are demanding change in Iran. The very same mantra that Obama campaigned on.

  • Phillip says:

    “The White House announced yesterday that it had withdrawn invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend Fourth of July festivities at U.S. embassies around the world. The move is the first tangible penalty the United States has imposed against the Iranian government in the wake of the brutal crackdown of demonstrations over the disputed presidential elections.”

    No Ballpark Franks! Tough penalty.

  • Christopher says:

    The Iranian government is doing everything it can to suppress the image and symbol of Nedan Soltan – this from The Guardian:

    The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.

    Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said. …

  • What do you people think Obama should do that he hasn’t done already? Give a blustering speech about the “axis of evil”? Threaten the regime? Give the green light for Netanyahu to bomb them? Talk about the need for western-style democracy and freedom? Tell the people to rise up, just to be massacred, just as Bush the Elder did with the Iraqi Shia?

    Anything else? More generally, should he follow the advice of the same descredited neocons who promised a bed or roses in Iraq or the people who actually know something about Iranian history and politics? Just curious…

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    He should immediately announce Tony that there will never be negotiations on any questions with the regime in power in Iran, and lead a call for economic sanctions against the regime in Iran. He should also call for the freezing of Iranian assets in Western banks. He should make clear that business as usual with Ahmadinejad and his mullah puppet masters is over forever. In short, he should act like a President of the US rather than a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

  • More generally, should he follow the advice of the same descredited neocons who promised a bed or roses in Iraq or the people who actually know something about Iranian history and politics? Just curious…

    Here you go with these false dichotomies again…

    That said: I think it was a good example of the Obama administration’s blind spots that it took them so long to catch on to what was really going on in Iran. However, I don’t have any serious quibbles with what they’re doing now, and there’s not at this moment in time more that I think they should be doing.

    The fact of the matter is, the US has had sanctions against Iran for so long anyway that we don’t really have a hole lot of stick to threaten them with at this point even if it was the appropriate action. At this point, the appropriate action would be continuing to put a spotlight (which the regime is clearly very eager to avoid) on the violent oppression that’s going on there.

  • Another “expert” speaks out:

    Question: Obama aides told reporters there is little to nothing the U.S. can do. Is it demonstrating a weakness?

    SCOWCROFT: No I don’t think so. I don’t think so. How can we be more influential? We don’t control Iran. We don’t control the government obviously. There is little we can do to change the situation domestically in Iran right now and I think an attempt to change it is more likely to be turned against us and against the people who are demonstrating for more freedom and therefore I think we need to look at what we can do best, which is to try to influence Iranian behavior in the region, and with nuclear weapons.

  • Congratulations, Donald, you have just delivered a huge propaganda coup to the Iranian regime and undermined the very legitimacy of the protestors who seek to support. For now, Khamenei can rally the nation against the US aggressor, given the explicit threats against the regime.

    And anyway, haven’t we had 8 years of this approach? Did it even remotely work? No, it did not.

  • Foxfier says:

    A huge propaganda coup…by reporting the information that their folks risk death to get out.

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    It *doesn’t matter* to the liars if we do nothing– in case you didn’t notice, they already claimed we’re interfering. Obama could put on a cheerleader outfit, fly in and do a 30 minute “Yay, Iranian Dictator!” routine, and they’d *still* claim we were interfering to help the revolutionaries.

    God forbid we let it be known what the murderous thugs are doing, and say “this is wrong, you are wrong”.

    Me, I’m disgusted that the shooting on video of a lady wasn’t enough to get the Independence Day invites revoked, it took axe-attacks and a dead nine year old.

  • Blackadder says:

    I think Obama’s handling of the situation has been decent, though not great. He could have been more forceful earlier in condemning regime abuses, but the last thing we want is to make the protests about us rather than the fraud and repression in Iran.

  • I wish more people got this outraged when US cops execute unarmed black men.

    Last I checked, incidents in which police accidentally shoot an unarmed man (of any skin color — though it gets talked about more if he’s a minority) get pretty wide attention.

    Though the distinction is, that’s almost invariably a case of the police mistaking (perhaps wrongly) someone for being a threat — while the Iranian militias and police are intentionally killing or beating large numbers of protesters.

  • Art Deco says:

    I wish more people got this outraged when US cops execute unarmed black men.

    How often does it happen in this country that an unarmed man is dispatched by police after the fashion of Nguyen Ngoc Loan?

  • Rick Lugari says:

    I don’t know that anyone here is particularly outraged anyway. I mean, I’m interested in the story and pulling for the common man in Iran just as I would any other place, and I think what the government in Iran is doing is awful (even if not surprising). Maybe I’m alone it that, but I just can’t see others around here having the whole Iranian thing effect them at a deeply emotional level.

    However, I would suspect there would be a number of people who would rightly outraged if the story was about a cop executing a person, black, white or otherwise. Thing is, not that it couldn’t happen or hasn’t happened at some time here, but US cops executing someone is a very rare occurrence, and odds are it wouldn’t be something he was doing on behest of the government but through his own initiative.

  • A great interview with Hooman Majd:http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/06/25/hooman_majd/index.html

    Highlights:

    On the role of America:

    “People in the West, especially in America, tend to think we have more influence than we do. Iranians are more concerned with their own issues than whether the U.S. is with them or against them.”

    On American interference:

    “For the U.S. to get involved in any way is a huge mistake in my opinion. It makes Iranians very suspicious. One reason they were able to get 3 million people out on the streets from a broad socioeconomic spectrum across all political lines — you don’t get 3 million people on the streets of Tehran if they’re all students like in 2003 — is because the lower class, the middle class, the upper class, students, old people, families, religious families, women in chadors, men in beards, they all came out. These people also voted against Ahmadinejad or felt the vote wasn’t fair.

    At first, none of them would have believed that the U.S. had a hand in this. But the government is now trying to say that’s what’s happening. The story could start to stick if Obama or Western governments start coming out strongly on one side. Nationalism starts to come into play. The government’s own propaganda machine, which is pretty strong, will be able to label a lot of people in the opposition as being stooges of the CIA.”

    “I don’t know what the U.S. could even do, short of invading the country, which would be a disaster because you turn everybody against the United States and for the government. Other than to say it’s unacceptable for a government to kill its own people who are peacefully protesting, and to make that point strongly, I don’t know what else the U.S. should do.”

    On media stereotypes:

    “That the people who want change in Iran all want liberal democracy and reject the Islamic Republic. Many do reject it, but when the New York Times puts a big photo on Page One of tens of thousands of protesters and in the center of the photo is a woman with her scarf pushed to the back of her head with Chanel sunglasses and blond streaked hair I think it gives the wrong impression of who these protesters are. Yes, there are people like that but they would not have gotten 3 million people in the streets if that’s all who came. Those people are still a minority.”

    On the idiotic neocons (the best bit):

    “The neocons know nothing about Iran, nothing about the culture of Iran. They have no interest in understanding Iran, in speaking to any Iranian other than Iranian exiles who support the idea of invasions — I’ll call them Iranian Chalabis. It’s offensive, even to an Iranian American like me. These are people who would have actually preferred to have Ahmadinejad as president so they could continue to demonize him and were worried, as some wrote in Op-Eds, that Mousavi would be a distraction and would make it easier for Iranians to build a nuclear weapon and now all of a sudden they want to be on his side? Go away.

    I’m not saying Obama is the most knowledgeable person on Iran, but he’s obviously getting good advice right now. He understands way more about the culture of the Middle East than any of the neocons. For them to be lecturing President Obama is a joke. I have criticized Obama; for instance, I criticized him for having a patronizing tone in his Persian New Year message. But right now I think he’s doing a good job. The John McCains of the world, they’re Ahmadinejad’s useful idiots. They’re doing a great job for him.”

    Bottom line” McCain and the neocons are “Ahmadinejad’s useful idiots”. Indeed.

  • Mike Petrik says:

    Economic sanctions are just a fancy way of saying don’t trade with oppressive regimes. I have no strong view on this one way or another, but is doing business with repressive regimes obviously morally preferable? Is it cooperation with evil? Can we just evaluate by consequences? Which consequences should guide us? North Korea? South Africa?

  • Tito Edwards says:

    Christopher,

    The invitations were extended on June 2nd, before, and not in response to, Iran’s crackdown on protesters.

    I never said it was in response.

    It shows how naivette the Obama administration is.

  • Blackadder says:

    Economic sanctions are just a fancy way of saying don’t trade with oppressive regimes.

    Economic sanctions are a fancy way of saying don’t trade with the Iranian people, i.e. the people protesting the regime, among others. It’s not clear to me why this should be seen as a good thing.

  • MM,

    You seem rather unclear on the basic fact: Most “neo-cons” are supportive of what Obama is doing and saying now, they just think he should have caught on to it a few days sooner.

    The fact that you found an Iranian journalist who shares your view that neo-cons are all stupid doesn’t really mean anything. Plural of anecdote and all that. If it was simply a matter of posting, “An Iranian said this” anecdotes, I could provide you with several interviews with people inside Iran suggesting that the US take actions such as sanctions (a suggestion I don’t happen to agree with), but I wouldn’t insult your intelligence by going that route, and I’d thank you not to insult ours.

  • paul zummo says:

    Just to piggyback a bit off of Darwin’s last comment, just yesterday I heard a phone interview with an Iranian woman who was begging for us “to do something.” She was obviously distraught, and I’m sure she’s not the only one to feel that way.

    To be sure that doesn’t mean that I think the US, specifically the President, ought to do more than what he has already done. But it’s just silly to cherrypick soundbites in at attempt to convey the general sentiments of all Iranian people towards the US and what they think we should be doing.

  • That said, the interview with Mr. Majd is interesting. He makes a good point about how the Iranian desire for a free and fairly functioning democracy is not necessarily at all in contradiction with their desire for a specifically Islamic state.

    Of course, that sort of situation is hardly news to the neo-cons you scorn, since they were involved in helping to set up two Islamic democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan — neither one of which is a secular country, and yet both of which have more freedoms and democratic process than most countries in the region.

  • Blackadder says:

    If you can think of a way to trade with the Iranian people without supporting their gov’t, I’m sure folks would be delighted to hear it.

    It’s not clear to me that allowing trade with the Iranian people would involve supporting the regime. Sanctions allow the government to escape accountability for their economic blunders by blaming it on a foreign power. Castro has become a master of this tactic, and while I don’t know how much the mullahs rely on it in Iran, 30 years of sanctions hasn’t had much of an appreciable effect in hurting the regime. Trade tends to promote increased understanding between nations, and I imagine that the more trade there was between Iran and the U.S., the less likely people there would be to buy into the “Death to America” propaganda (certainly the use of western services like Twitter seems to have had a positive effect on events there).

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Trade tends to promote increased understanding between nations”

    England and Germany were trading quite a bit Blackadder before WWI, as were France and Germany actually. I see little historical evidence that trade does much to deter war. In regard to trade and oppressive regimes, the regime, Cuba is a notable example, uses the trade to prop itself up. One would have thought that China in 1989 would have put paid to the pleasant myth that increasing trade would lead to increasing civil liberties and political liberalization.

  • Darwin,

    Majd’s point is that the necons are as clueless about Iran as they were about Iraq, and are thus playing right into Ahmadi’s hands. For the same reason, I’ve always thought that George Bush and Osama Bin Laden helped each other in so many ways.

    As regards Iraq and Afghanistan, are you somehow hinting that the neocons were right?? And go tell the Iraqi Christians that they have more “freedom” now than under Saddam Hussein and see what they say.

    Another interesting comparison made by Majd relates to the 2000 US election — how would Americans have reacted if the Iranian leadership had taken sides during the Florida recount, or threatened not to recognize Bush if he was chosen? I think most Americans, on all sides, would have told them to butt out.

  • Blackadder says:

    how would Americans have reacted if the Iranian leadership had taken sides during the Florida recount, or threatened not to recognize Bush if he was chosen?

    With laughter, presumably. But it takes a rather tin ear to think that this is an apt comparison.

  • As regards Iraq and Afghanistan, are you somehow hinting that the neocons were right??

    Right in what regard?

    They removed a pair of pretty despicable governments in those two countries, and eventually (after some mismanagement and failure to plan for the post-war period that in both cases were irresponsible and inexcusable) established moderately stable democracies given the difficulties of the region.

    And go tell the Iraqi Christians that they have more “freedom” now than under Saddam Hussein and see what they say.

    Of course they have more freedom. The problem is, that political freedom when a certain percentage of your neighbors think you should convert of die is a mixed blessing.

    That said, you need to keep in mind that it was primarily the insurgents who were giving the Christians trouble. As that’s died down (due to the counter-insurgency tactics that your idol was so sure would not work, and McCain stuck his neck out to help get in place) the problem’s for Iraq’s Christians have reduced, though not vanished.

    In the end, you can place about as much blame on the neo-cons for the plight of the Christians in Iraq as you can on Mr. Majd, who says he supports the ideals of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, for the depressingly frequent human rights abuses (stonings, hangings, cutting off of hands, torture, etc.) in Iran.

  • Darwin, you seem to believe in the transformative power of bombs and guns, which is both dangerous and unChristian. You are hailing “moderately stable democracies”. What does that even mean? And was it worth the cost — the million or so deaths, the uprooting of a quarter of the population? of course, it’s easy to talk about “democracy” when the war is reduced to one great “support our troop” video game for the 24 hour news cycle. No, Iraqi Christians were better protected, and enjoy greater security, under Saddam Hussein. Bishop Warduni of Baghdad said as much. I have no idea whether its future will be more or less secure, and neither do you, but I can say with certainly that the cost was too great.

  • Really, the thing that strikes me more than anything else about your reaction to this, MM, is that it’s kind of sad that for so many progressives, opposition to the Iraq War has metastasized into an instinctive reaction against any kind of movements towards political reform or freedom in any Muslim country. Because neo-cons talked (at times with foolish idealism) about a “universal urge towards freedom” and talked about spreading “freedom and democracy” in the Islamic world, a great many progressives now seem to be instinctively against any move towards democracy and freedom in the Islamic world, since that would cut against the “freedom and democracy aren’t in their culture and they don’t want us” argument which so many accepted in their efforts to oppose the war.

    You’re very much right that the protests in Iran are not “about the US”. But the thing that you don’t quite seem able to get is that conservatives don’t see them as “about the US” either. However, a lot of Americans instinctively root for democracy and freedom for other people even when it has nothing to do with us. That’s really what you’re seeing here, and forgive me for saying so, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. It’s a virtuous instinct to wish the good for others — and since many Americans see democracy and freedom from oppression as good things, they wish that for other people.

  • Rick Lugari says:

    how would Americans have reacted if the Iranian leadership had taken sides during the Florida recount, or threatened not to recognize Bush if he was chosen?

    Probably the same way we reacted to all American loones who claimed Bush stole the election or said they would leave the country, yet never did. That was a sad state of of affairs and quite an embarrassment for our country, but I doubt the Iranians joining in with the likes of Alec Baldwin would have added much more to our shame.

  • You are hailing “moderately stable democracies”. What does that even mean? And was it worth the cost — the million or so deaths, the uprooting of a quarter of the population? of course, it’s easy to talk about “democracy” when the war is reduced to one great “support our troop” video game for the 24 hour news cycle.

    I’ve never talked in a fashion that suggests I think war is a video game, and in your honest moments I’m sure you know that. War is a horrible tragedy — but it is at times necessary as our pope has observed in the past. You and I disagree on whether ridding Iraq of the Baathist dictatorship was worth a war, but that doesn’t mean that I take war itself lightly.

    We both know the stats you cite are almost certainly bogus, but that’s beside the point.

    No, Iraqi Christians were better protected, and enjoy greater security, under Saddam Hussein. Bishop Warduni of Baghdad said as much. I have no idea whether its future will be more or less secure, and neither do you, but I can say with certainly that the cost was too great.

    We both also know that just because a murderous regime happens to favor (or at least ignore) Catholics and inflict suffering on other groups instead does not necessarily mean that it’s a good thing. There were, sadly, Catholic clergy who thought the Ustashi was just swell. I assume you don’t agree…?

  • Art Deco says:

    Another interesting comparison made by Majd relates to the 2000 US election — how would Americans have reacted if the Iranian leadership had taken sides during the Florida recount, or threatened not to recognize Bush if he was chosen? I think most Americans, on all sides, would have told them to butt out.

    I think most Americans would have neither noticed nor cared.

  • e. says:

    how would Americans have reacted if the Iranian leadership had taken sides during the Florida recount, or threatened not to recognize Bush if he was chosen? I think most Americans, on all sides, would have told them to butt out.

    How can anybody draw such a false and even risible comparison as this one?

    You hardly see (at least, these days) the cruel slaughtering of innocent Americans as the result of some sham election.

    It is that very detail that most in the world are wont to pay attention to (indeed, even quite understandably given the heinous circumstances) as regarding the whole bloody Iran murder spree currently taking place in that horrible country.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    I don’t think anyone questions the brutality and horror of what is going on in Iran, and only the most obtuse person would think for a moment that Obama or the administration or the American people are wholly indifferent to it.

    However, the question of whether or not official, explicit statements denouncing the Iranian government and supporting the demonstrators are the right thing to do, or whether they would simply make us feel good about “speaking out” while worsening the situation for the actual people putting their lives on the line over there, is a legitimate question of prudence, about which reasonable and moral people can disagree.

    If I understand correctly, in some ways, the dilemma facing the Obama administration now somewhat resembles the dilemma Pope Pius XII faced during World War II — he believed (with good reason) that loudly denouncing the Nazis for persecuting Jews would do nothing to stop them from persecuting Jews, and would only make them start attacking Catholics as well. That is where the false and distorted notion of him being “Hitler’s Pope” got started.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “If I understand correctly, in some ways, the dilemma facing the Obama administration now somewhat resembles the dilemma Pope Pius XII faced during World War II — he believed (with good reason) that loudly denouncing the Nazis for persecuting Jews would do nothing to stop them from persecuting Jews, and would only make them start attacking Catholics as well. That is where the false and distorted notion of him being “Hitler’s Pope” got started.”

    With the crucial difference Elaine that there was no chance that a popular revolt would topple Hitler. There is a chance that the mullahs may be toppled. Additionally, considering the fact that the Iranian regime is killing the protesters anyway in order to hold on to power, I think their level of ferocity will not be increased by condemnation from the West.

  • e. says:

    Well, there is also another key distinction in that by engaging in such ostensibly diplomatic efforts, Pius XII sought (and did quite successfully on that occasion) to help persecuted Jews on the sidelines.

    Unfortunately, I see none of that (as far as I can tell) from the Obaman administration.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    e., I am certain that Elaine’s comment had absolutely nothing to do with you.

    As to Tony’s pet expert on Iran, Hooman Madj, this is the same fellow who in January 2008 accused the Pentagon of manufacturing an incident between the US Navy and the Revolutionary Guards in the Gulf.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/01/a_new_disgrace_at_huffpo.asp

    His background also seems to be in the entertainment industry:

    “Hooman Majd has had a long career as an executive in the music and film businesses. He was Executive VP of Island Records, where he worked with a diverse group of artists including U2, The Cranberries, Tricky and Melissa Etheridge; and Head of Film and Music at Palm Pictures, where he executive-produced James Toback’s “Black and White” and Khyentse Norbu’s “The Cup” (Cannes 1999).”

    His family fled from Iran in 1979, unwilling to live under the rule of the mullahs. He has had a fairly benign view of Ahmadinejad, serving as his interpreter during Ahmadinejad’s rant at the UN last year. Take anything this guy says about the current situation in Iran with a boulder of salt.

  • Elaine Krewer says:

    No, e., that comment had nothing to do with you. I should have emphasized, in case anyone misunderstood, that I was NOT in any way attempting to compare Obama to Pope Pius XII in character or wisdom, but simply pointing out a possible parallel between political situations they were up against.

    As for potential behind-the-scenes diplomatic or other efforts to aid the Iranian dissidents, it might simply be too soon to tell what, if anything, the administration or other countries might be doing or planning in that regard. We may not find out about such efforts until months or even years from now.

  • e. says:

    Actually, I was referring to this remark: “…only the most obtuse person would think for a moment that Obama or the administration or the American people are wholly indifferent to it.”

    No biggee though; there are greater concerns in the world (such as the blatant injustices occurring in Iran and the atrocious murderering of innocent people) than a mere overly sensitive ego.

    God bless all. The Weekend is finally upon us!

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