Iran unrests: why I remain skeptical

By   /   January 9, 2018  /   78 Comments

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Like me, many other Iranians participated in the 1979 revolution without fully understanding the endgame or the nature of the forces that propelled it forward. The result of that blind participation was that people’s dream of a secular democracy turned into an oppressive theological nightmare.

My first awareness of political dissent in Iran came some time in mid 70s when I was still at primary school.

My father lectured at Tehran’s Aryamehr University (now Sharif University of Technology) which meant we had access to the university’s swimming pool.

The pool was our little heaven away from Tehran’s hellishly hot summer afternoons.

It was during one of our outings to the pool that I came across a slogan handwritten on the interior wall of one of the changing rooms: DEATH TO THE SHAH!

The words shocked me to my core.

Before then, I thought all Iranians revered the Shah the way children loved and worshiped their parents.

Shah’s picture was on the first page of every textbook we ever studied at school. I adored him and his third wife, Farah Diba, an educated architect and the star of the Pahlavi family.

I ran out of the changing room straight to my mother. Exacerbated and still in shock, I shared my terrifying findings with her.

My mother’s blasé reaction was a clue that this daring defiance of the Shah was not unique – that there was a secret group of others for whom the Shah was not the subject of adoration but the cause of deep-rooted resentment and hatred.

It would take many years and the1979 revolution before I understood the source of their anger.  

It is true that Shah modernized Iran and emancipated its urban women but it is also true that Shah’s rapid Westernisation program left many people in rural parts of Iran feeling alienated and left-behind.

People who spoke out against the lack of human rights, democracy and squandering of Iran’s natural oil and gas resources received the harshest of penalties in Savak’s (Shah’s secret service) torture chambers.

And no Iranian will ever forget, nor forgive the British-planned, American-orchestrated coupe of 1953 that removed from power the only democratically elected and highly popular Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who dared to nationalize Iran’s oil.

After the 1953 coup, the Americans and the Brits reinstated the dictatorial Shah to protect their interests in Iran which included 40% profit share in Iran’s oil.

It was these grievances and people’s yearning for change that united many opposition factions in Iran and led to the success of the 1979 revolution.

I was in middle school when the uprising was gathering momentum.

It is hard to describe the incredible, all-encompassing, energy and excitement of a revolution in the making.

We skipped classes and instead gathered in the schoolyard to shout: “ya marg, ya azadi” (either death or freedom).

It didn’t take long before the Shah’s soldiers turned up at our school with tear gas and water cannons.

Attacking children is never a bright idea- it angered my monarchist mother and redirected her sympathy toward the revolutionaries.

My father, who was neither on Shah nor Khomeini’s camp, disallowed us to join any protest without understanding who the real organizers were and what it was that they were demanding.  That was not an easy thing to do so we sneaked out to join the protests without telling Dad.  

Like me, many other Iranians participated in the 1979 revolution without fully understanding the endgame or the nature of the forces that propelled it forward.

The result of that blind participation was that people’s dream of a secular democracy turned into an oppressive theological nightmare.

Fast-forward to 2018 and the recent reports of widespread protests in Iran.

Who are the organisers and what are their demands? In truth, no one knows.

Reza Sayah, a freelance journalist working inside Iran, said he was “very sceptical” of reporters and analysts who were “unequivocal and certain” about what was happening in Iran.

As professor of Iranian Studies at Colombia University, Hamid Dabashi, said, there was no better way of discrediting an uprising in Iran than expressions of sympathy and support from the likes of Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Ask any ordinary Iranian if foreign meddling in Iran has ever come to any good and the universal answer will be: “No, never!”.

If Netanyahu wants to support people who are yearning for democracy and freedom maybe he should look closer at home and stop quashing the Palestinian’s struggle for justice and freedom.

22 people were reported killed in the recent Iranian uprising, less than half the numbers killed during the 1992 LA riots caused by the court decision on Rodney King. Nevertheless, the President Trump wanted to call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss Iran- the very Council that he berated for their opposition over his Jerusalem decision.  

This is also the same President that implemented the Muslim-ban in the US that has affected a huge number of Iranians.

Concerned for the human rights of Iranians? I don’t think so.  

The lessons learnt in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan are not lost on- as Netanyahu put it- “smart” and “sophisticated” Iranians.  

If the protests in Iran, although widespread, remain small in numbers, it is because Iranians know, as bad as things are in Iran, they are lucky to have a stable country that is not ravaged by civil war and foreign invasion- not yet anyway.

 

   

 

 

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About the author

Donna Miles

Donna Miles is a British-born, Iranian-bred, New Zealand citizen with a strong interest in human rights, justice and equality issues.

78 Comments

  1. Historian Pete says:

    A very interesting analysis of the present political situation, and a fascinating narrative from someone who lived through the Shah’s regime and the Islamic Republic!

  2. Thank you for you insight, Donna.

    My own parents were involved in the ’56 uprising in Hungary, so I can understand and appreciate the complexities involved.

    Your call that Netanyahu and Trump stay out of Iran’s affairs is valid. The last thing the world needs is another nation to follow down the path of Syria.

    Let’s hope justice and democracy comes to Iran. And Palestine. And Syria. And the United States.

    • Brigid says:

      Frank I don’t believe Syria followed any path. Syria was invaded by mercenaries funded by the US, NATO, Saudi and the UK. This article will give insight into what was the proxy war in Syria
      https://www.sott.net/article/354637-Sott-net-Interview-with-Father-Daniel-in-Syria-There-Never-Was-a-Popular-Uprising-in-Syria

      Incidentally The Syrian Arab Army, Russia, and Hezbollah forces have all but evicted ISIS El Nusra et al from Syrian soil .

      According to the UN 600,000 Syrians have returned to their homes.
      Syria is rebuilding.

      • Brigid, that website you link to appears to be closely allied to the Syrian regime and Russia. I refer you to this quote;

        ” To this day, there are posters and pictures up all over Syria praising Assad and Putin – that is the reality. “

        And,

        “While Western nations continue to lie, Russia tells the truth”

        On top of which “SOTT” (“Sign of The Times”) “is a research project of the non-profit Quantum Future Group” (http://quantumfuturegroup.org/reports.html) and appears to be some kind of quasi-religious cult. They have a rather “eclectic” archive of strange stuff: https://www.sott.net/signs/signs2.htm

        By the way, you’ll excuse my cynicism at any superpower “telling the truth”, regardless whether it be Russia, United States, China, et al.

      • By the way, SOTT also appears to be deniers that cigarette smoking causes cancer;

        Given what we know of the contempt in which The Powers That Be hold most of humanity, and the lack of convincing evidence that even moderate smoking really is a risk to public health, we are forced to look for another reason for the increasingly world-wide witch hunt on smoking and smokers.

        ref: https://www.sott.net/article/107043-Aliens-Dont-Like-to-Eat-People-That-Smoke

        Further down in that article, they appear to support the notion that smoking is “beneficial”;

        ” Scientists have known for some time that smoking seemed to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s but they haven’t known how”.

        The tobacco industry would be pleased to hear that, I guess. (Though one has to ask the obvious: is Big Tobacco “donating” to SOTT?)

        But the best one is where they link UFO sightings to tobacco;

        Certainly the author of the above article did NOT intentionally associate the anti-smoking laws with aliens, but it just may be that there IS an association!

        And that was with just 30 minutes or so of some basic research into who/what SOTT/Quantum Future Group is.

        When I look for the Russian view on the Syrian crisis, I prefer to use RT News.

        (edit)

        • David Stone says:

          What about attacking the narrative instead of the messenger Frank?
          Lets hope they get a free and fair election in the next 12 months , monitored so that no one can repudiate the results of the population’s appraisal of their president.
          My impression of Assad is that he is a highly intelligent decent man doing a hell of a creditable job in a terrible situation with the whole might of western power and propaganda against him. His crime has been to control the resources of Syria for the benefit of the Syrian people, and not for the benefit of Western oligarchs . Just like Mohammad Mosaddegh.
          D J S

          • A “decent man” whose forces bomb hospitals?

            When the Americans do it, we condemn it out of hand. But when Assad does it he’s “doing a hell of a creditable job in a terrible situation”?

            I fdon’t think so, David.

            (By the way, I don’t add the chemical gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April last year to Assad’s crimes. There is no evidence that Assad’s military carried out the attack.)

            • David Stone says:

              There’s been far more condemnation in western media of Assad’s and Russia’s bombing of hospitals than there has been of US and coalition doing the same thing. and the destruction of Mosul and Raqqa is far greater than any of the towns Syria and Russia have cleared. The problem has been the same for both forces. The Insergent militants have been using the population and all sensitive buildings as shields. It is an obvious ploy if you’r a totally ruthless bloodthirsty network of jihadists bent on bringing about Armageddon.
              I would say Assad’s forces exercised more patience patience and provided more escape routs for trapped residents at greater personal risk to themselves than the US did. They were dealing with trying to rescue their own people unlike those liberating the piles of rubble that remain of Mosul and Raqqa , but that’s splitting hairs , they basically had the same job to do and did it basically the same way. The original cause of the problem that had to be dealt with though was actions of the US and allies in the region.
              D J S

            • Brigid says:

              Frank if you’re going to make accusations you need to back them up with facts. Where is the evidence that Assad’s forces bombed a hospital?
              And why on earth would they?

              What I’d like you to do is read the articles that Vanessa Beeley has written about the proxy Syrian war.
              Considering she is one of the few independent journalists who has actually visited Syria and reported from there.

              I’m not going to recommend any links as it seems you are determined to believe the msm rhetoric, which I find rather sad as I considered you an astute researcher.

              Just ask yourself this question Frank “Why have 600,000 Syrians returned to Syria if the Assad regime is what you claim it to be?”

            • Brigid says:

              Frank you are now making yourself look a little silly.

              Assad supposedly bombed a hospital but

              “There’s no evidence that Assad carried out the gas attack”

              Actually there was no gas attack. It was all theatre performed by the white helmets.

              Please Frank, take off your blinkers

            • D'Esterre says:

              “A “decent man” whose forces bomb hospitals?”

              Good lord, Frank, surely you don’t just swallow uncritically bald assertions of this sort? Look at who is making these claims: White Helmets? Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (or whatever the hell it is that fellow, who’s based in the UK, calls himself)? It’s propaganda, and I’m surprised that you don’t appear to see it for what it is.

              • Samwise says:

                So why should we belive you or your sources desterre? Your fake news is no better than mms. Especially if it comes from one of the combatants in Syria.

                • D'Esterre says:

                  Samwise: “So why should we belive you or your sources desterre? Your fake news is no better than mms. Especially if it comes from one of the combatants in Syria.”

                  So: you don’t actually have a countervailing argument. It seems that you’re poorly-informed about what’s been going on in Syria. I suggest that you do some reading: there are plenty of good links posted by various commenters here on this blog and others.

          • Samwise says:

            “Decent leaders” don’t bomb their own people, David. When did the left start supporting dictators? Leave that to the Yanks, they’re better at it.

            • David Stone says:

              Do you think he does that for fun Samwise? Or do you think he does it because he can’t avoid it just like the Yanks can’t avoid it, and the alternative is to hand his country over to ISIS?
              Open your mind and look at the whole picture.
              D J S

              • Otto Mann says:

                Your support for the dictator Assad is noted, David.

                Do you also hold other dictators in high regard? Or just a select few?

                Perhaps your the one who should “open your eyes”. You might think different if you were a “guest” at one of his torture facilities.

                Just as supporters of Israel might feel differently if they were Palestinians in the Occupied Lands.

                • Andy says:

                  [Comment declined for publication. Andy, your comments are verging on ad hominem based on an individual’s ethnicity/background. This is my last warning to you cautioning not to demand personal details from, or comment on,another poster here. – Scarletmod]

                • David Stone says:

                  Otto Mann
                  Hi I understand they do have elections in Syria, just how free and fair they are I don’t know. I hope for a properly monitored election that no one can dispute the validity of the result of in the next 12 months or so. Only then when the people who live there can express their judgement can outsiders form a valid opinion me included. But what we believe looking from here depends on what sources of information we trust. My scepticism of much of the damning narrative coming out in our MSM derives from constantly posing the question;” who’s purpose does this serve if it’s true or false,? and who’s purpose does it sabotage. And in the case of most of the accusations levelled at Assad he would be sabotaging his own cause if they were true, and serving no useful purpose for him whatsoever. They do however serve his enemy’s purposes wonderfully. And he is not a fool, in fact he is likely the most intelligent leader alive.
                  D J S

                • D'Esterre says:

                  Otto Mann: “Your support for the dictator Assad is noted, David.

                  Do you also hold other dictators in high regard? Or just a select few?”

                  This is a classic example of the loaded question or statement. It’s usually a substitute for an actual argument, and that’s how you’ve used it here.

                  You’re ascribing to David Stone sentiments that he hasn’t actually expressed.

              • D'Esterre says:

                David Stone: “Do you think he does that for fun Samwise? Or do you think he does it because he can’t avoid it just like the Yanks can’t avoid it, and the alternative is to hand his country over to ISIS?”

                Exactly.

        • Brigid says:

          Oh come on Frank that really is beneath you.

          Do you have an invested interest in believing the lies about Syria?

          • Otto Mann says:

            He usually backs up his claims fairly well, Brigid. And in case you missed it, Frank rejected the claim that Assad was responsible for the gas attack last year. I read his blogpost researching Saudi Arabia’s access to sarin gas and he raised some pretty damn good questions.

            But that doesn’t absolve Assad of his crimes against his own people. Or do you think barrel bombing civilian areas is now acceptable? If Assad was an American puppet, you and David would be spitting tacks against him.

            • D'Esterre says:

              Otto Mann: “But that doesn’t absolve Assad of his crimes against his own people.”

              It’s very difficult to know how much – if anything – of what comes out of Syria can be believed. The more is revealed as propaganda, the more sceptical we should all be about everything else. Absent corroborating evidence, of course. If you’ve got any, please post it.

              “Or do you think barrel bombing civilian areas is now acceptable?”

              Oh good grief! How on earth are barrel bombs – whatever the hell they are – any worse than any other weaponry? People end up just as dead. Perhaps you’d prefer US depleted uranium weapons? This barrel bomb furphy has “propaganda” written all over it.

              Again: you know – and complain about the fact – that the msm purveys propaganda and fake news. Why on earth would you uncritically swallow any old rubbish from said msm, just because it’s anti-Assad or Russia? Or both… Gimme a break here!

              • Well, the Assad regime sure aren’t throwing bunches of flowers at populated urban areas. Practically every image coming out of Syria shows damaged/destroyed dwellings, D’Esterre. We wouldn’t accept that from Western acts of violence, I see no reason to make the distinction for Assad. Likewise, we utterly (and rightly) condemn Israel when the so-called IDF bombs heavily populated areas in Gaza, or Saudi-backed forces bomb populated areas in Yemen.

                Once again, some on the left (alt.left) veer toward becoming apologists for some regimes (usually leaning toward Russia), whilst condemning other regimes (leaning toward the West). Those artificial distinctions give ammunition to the Right who who point the finger at us, indulging in Whataboutism.

                • David Stone says:

                  Haven’t you seen any images of Mosul and Raqqa Frank?
                  In what way are we not accepting that?
                  D J S

                • D'Esterre says:

                  Frank: “..the Assad regime sure aren’t throwing bunches of flowers at populated urban areas.”

                  Those urban areas are populated and fortified by terrorists who, by the way, have zero qualms about using artillery against civilian targets.
                  That’s when they don’t have the option of slaughtering people in their villages.

                  “Practically every image coming out of Syria shows damaged/destroyed dwellings…”

                  Of course there are images of bomb damage: there’s a war been going on: the Syrians have been fighting ISIS and associated jihadists.

                  You miss the point I was making: talk of barrel bombs is propaganda, an attempt to make the Syrian army’s actions look much worse. Barrel bombs are no worse than a multiplicity of other weaponry, and certainly better than the depleted uranium weapons favoured by the US.

                  “Those artificial distinctions give ammunition to the Right who who point the finger at us, indulging in Whataboutism.”

                  Whataboutism doesn’t exist. It’s gibberish that Americans spout when you point out to them that they do the same things they’re howling about foreigners doing.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Frank: “My own parents were involved in the ’56 uprising in Hungary….”

      I don’t think that this is quite analogous to the 1979 Iran revolution, not least because the proximal and distal factors driving the Hungarian uprising were quite different.

      “Let’s hope justice and democracy comes to…..Syria.”

      Brigid has nailed it below. You may take issue with the provenance of the links she’s posted, but it by no means follows that the information regarding Syria is wrong or propaganda.

      I repeat: I’m constantly surprised at left-wingers, who are scathing about the msm and its purveying of fake news, yet swallow uncritically any old rubbish from said msm, so long as it’s anti-Russia.

      • I don’t think that this is quite analogous to the 1979 Iran revolution, not least because the proximal and distal factors driving the Hungarian uprising were quite different.

        When people resist authoritarian rule, D’Esterre, it’s not up to Westerners to determine what are the factors driving an uprising. That view shows a chauvinism based on our prejudices and ignores what a local population wants. It’s the sort of “we know best” chauvinism that drives American imperialism and Western interference in other countries.

        What drove Hungarians, Iranians, Palestinians, Syrians, et al, is discontent.

        And quite often it is Western interference (and thirst for oil) that drives that discontent.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Frank: ” It’s the sort of “we know best” chauvinism that drives American imperialism and Western interference in other countries.”

          Well, that wasn’t the case in Hungary, was it.

          “What drove Hungarians…. is discontent.”

          How much do you know about that uprising?

      • I repeat: I’m constantly surprised at left-wingers, who are scathing about the msm and its purveying of fake news, yet swallow uncritically any old rubbish from said msm, so long as it’s anti-Russia.

        No, my main ‘gripe’ about our own msm is that it is often superficial and slavish to the 24-hour news cycle. If you’ve read my critiques on msm stories, you will understand this.

        My series on the NZ Herald-Donghua Liu Affair is an example. (Which I cannot recall you ever commenting on, D’Esterre, despite the event being as close to fake news as we’ll get in this country and which destroyed a Labour-leader’;s career.)

        Another was a TV3 reporter who failed to understand the law surrounding the GCSB (at the time) prohibited from spying on New Zealanders: https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/the-gcsb-law-oh-ffs-2/

        So yes, I have some insight into the failings of the msm.

        I do not, however, dismiss (in entirety) the work of the msm in preference to dodgy “news sources” that are clearly in support of another country’s foreign policies and military adventurism.

        You would have us question and dismiss the msm and accept, without question, your sources?

        I don’t think so.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Frank: “No, my main ‘gripe’ about our own msm is that it is often superficial and slavish to the 24-hour news cycle.”

          That may be your gripe: mine is that our msm uncritically reports news, especially from the US and UK. There is no analysis, apparently no attempt to interrogate what they’re putting to air or to print, to ask themselves whether it’s accurate.

          This was especially obvious during the 2014 Ukraine putsch and the Crimean vote to secede, the 2016 US election, and at the time of the UK vote to leave the EU. We were appallingly badly-served by the msm generally, and our local outlets were cringingly awful. Including RNZ.

          I have noticed that many left-wingers here and elsewhere, while critical of the crap that comes from the msm, will just uncritically swallow any old tosh from said msm, so long as it’s anti-Russian. And I’ve noticed that you do the same thing. I speak as I find.

          “…..dodgy “news sources” that are clearly in support of another country’s foreign policies and military adventurism.”

          That sounds to me like a pretty accurate description of mainstream US news outlets. I think that you’d have to agree: we all know which polity has been the worst offender when it comes to military adventurism in the ME, along with various other unfortunate parts of the world. It’s not a secret that the US msm has for many years acted as a mouthpiece for the US military and the CIA. I’m sure I don’t need to post links: you’ll have seen them already.

          “You would have us question and dismiss the msm and accept, without question, your sources?”

          Here’s the thing: many commenters here post links to dissenting opinions from reputable journalists, who’ve given us revisionist accounts of world events. I won’t list names here: you’ve seen them.

          You’re damn right that I think you should discount the msm’s reportage; it’s crap. And it’s also crap about the ME generally, and a fortiori about Syria. When we read a bunch of convergent opinions about Syria from dissenters, then we’d be bonkers not to take notice of them, especially since we know that the msm can barely be relied on to get the time of day right.

  3. Andy says:

    So the USA should stay out of Iran’s politics, but it’s OK for NZ to finger wag at Israel

    I get it.

    • Sam Sam says:

      No you don’t get it. Just look at the death toll.

    • simonm says:

      Tell me again, how many other countries is Iran currently illegally occupying?

      Oh that’s right, none.

    • No, you don’t get it, Andy.

      New Zealand hasn’t engaged in “regime change” and toppled any governments lately.

      Nor do we have our own Guantanamo Bay or rendition agreements with tin-pot dictatorships.

      Nor do we build illegal settlement on land that doesn’t belong to us. I think our Aussie cuzzies might have something to say if we tried building illegal settlements in Sydney.

      • Andy says:

        “We don’t build illegal settlements”

        White people came to NZ about NZ years ago, seized land from the indigenous people

        At least the Jews have some historic claim to Judea and Samaria. Whites in NZ have no historic claim to land here, at all

        • Otto Mann says:

          Nice bit of “Whataboutism” there Andy.

          Jews have NO historic claims to Judea or Samaria, which by the way I can’t find on any modern maps. Jews have a claim to the 1948 United Nations mandated borders, nothing more, nothing less.

          Whites in NZ are here courtesy of the Treaty of Waitangi. (The same Treaty that Whites broke by stealing Maori land and resources.)

          Your so-called logic is faulty, to put it midly.

          • Andy says:

            “Jews have NO historic claims to Judea or Samaria,”

            Remarkable bit of historical revisionism there, Otto

            I presume that you are one of these people that thinks all Middle East history started in 1948

            All the Biblical history, archaeological remains etc etc is all false.

            I find it amusing that someone with a German sounding name has these views, but not surprising.

            [Andy, you are running very close to having your posting privileges rescinded for a month. – Scarletmod]

            • Sorry, no, Andy. The Bible is a collection of some historical events (perhaps); half-truths; and some outright fairy-tale myths.

              If you’re going to base 21st century politics on a collection of 5,000 year old stories of dubious veracity, then I put it to you that your argument is weak. We might as well resurrect the Roman Empire because, well, y’know, just because.

              • Andy says:

                “If you’re going to base 21st century politics on a collection of 5,000 year old stories of dubious veracity”

                I hate to correct here, but 2000 years ago, approximately, some dude called Jesus was born in a place called Bethlehem.

                According to tradition, jesus was “King of the Jews”

                According to the NZ government who sponsored UN 2334, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem are “occupied territory:” that Jews have no claim on whatsoever (this was a National party government sponsored ruling)

                If the NZ government denies any historical connection to the area by Jews or Christians, then surely NZ government policy should be to expunge all references to Christmas from our society.

                After all, it is indoctrinating our children with lies.

                Ban Christmas, ban all religion, and ban all references to holidays (which is derived from “Holy Day”

                After all, none of these events ever happened.

                We could rename the period “winter festival” or similar

                Even though it’s summer here.

            • “a German sounding name”?

              Jeez, Andy, you really are showing a dubious side to yourself, aren’t you?

              Considering you hide behind the shield of anonymity, you have a colossal cheek commenting on someone else’s name.

              • Andy says:

                My apologies to Otto Mann. I presume this is a pseudonym based on the Simpsons character.

                Unlike Andy, which is my real name

              • Andy says:

                If the Bible is a complete fabrication, then why was the modern state of Israel even formed?

                Is there any other justification for its existence other than a map drawn up by the UN?

                • Sam Sam says:

                  Like i said to you the other day. A 2 state solution is the last opportunity to turn this all around. We had a shot at a 2 state solution after Arafat died. Now we’ll have to wait and see if Bibi’s successor is any good.

                • Andy, who said the Bible is a “complete fabrication”? Only you, so far.

                  I was fairly clear in my statement above;

                  “The Bible is a collection of some historical events (perhaps); half-truths; and some outright fairy-tale myths.”

                  Whatever historical facts were involved determined the outcome for the United Nations to determine post World War 2 boundaries for Israel.

                  Those 1948 boundaries are legal.

                  Israel’s occupation and colonisation of the Golan Heights and West Bank is not.

                  That illegal occupation in itself is just cause for resistance by the Palestinian people. (Just as the Irgun, the Lehi, the Haganah and the Palmach considered their violent acts as justified to “liberate” Israel from British colonialism.)

      • Samwise says:

        +1 Frank

    • redbush says:

      If Obama had said it, they would be praising the comments. It’s just anti-Trump hysteria. They find it particularly hard when he says something they agree with – funny to watch our own un-elected Iranian MP get tongue tied on twitter.

  4. Lois Griffiths says:

    Thank you Donna for writing this article.
    Re : “And no Iranian will ever forget, nor forgive the British-planned, American-orchestrated coup of 1953 that removed from power the only democratically elected and highly popular Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who dared to nationalize Iran’s oil.” I wonder how many Americans have even HEARD of Mosaddegh! His unforgivable crime of course was wanting to nationalize Iran’s oil resources , to use the revenue to benefit the people.
    Fourteen years ago, my husband was treated for cancer in Melbourne . The head nurse was a lovely woman from Iran. We got to talking world politics and her face lit up when I mentioned Mosaddegh.

    By the way, Anglo-Persian Oil Co changed its name to British Petroleum in 1955.
    Oh yes! Never underestimate the political power of the ‘oil-igarchy’

  5. In 1998 I was seconded to the Jihad-e-Sazandegi, which gave me the opportunity to spend a couple of months living and working in Iran and I still maintain contact with colleagues from the Jihad, so have some understanding of the complexity of Iranian politics and the tensions that continue to exist within Iranian society. I agree that while many Iranians (particularly its highly educated middle class) want change, very few want to run the risk of civil war, and few will tolerate further western interference in Iran. The grievances and aspirations of the dissidents are also quite diverse. Some want an Islamic state purged of corruption, some want a more liberal but still nominally Islamic state, some want a western style secular state with a free market economy, and some are Marxists seeking a secular socialist state. Civil war in Iran would be a triumph for Trump and Netanyahu but for the peoples of the middle east it would be the final catastrophe in a list of catastrophes which is already too long. However to avoid such an outcome the bottom line for the regime will be to rein in corruption and assure equal opportunity for all Iranians.

    • Andy says:

      You’re not going to get equal opportunity for all Iranians if it continues to be an Islamic state

      By definition.

      • Andrea says:

        I’m in the mood for some whataboutery: when will Saudi Arabia (and friends) butt out of Yemen?

        When will the theocracies of the Middle East depart and leave those many citizens in peace to worship what they will without insult or oppression or risk of being ostracised/killed? You seem to have a spot of knowing – are you knowing on this?

        Have you any evidence that Israel’s being a state with Judaism as part of its foundation provides equal opportunity? – by definition, of course. (Obviously any exceptions will prove it is not…) Or has it been eaten from within by at least two factions happy to deny opportunities?

        And – thanks, Donna. I hope all goes very well for Iran – four seasons and many years of it.

        • Andy says:

          Andrea – I don’t understand your questions.

          Israel has Arab Muslims and Christians serving in government, the legal system and in the military

          Israel has atheists, Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze (probably others) that live within its borders, without persecution.

          Saudi Arabia, as far as I know, has no churches and no synagogues. The only permissible “religion” is Islam, which has women defined as second class citizens by law.

          Leftists prefer the latter, for obvious reasons

  6. Pepper says:

    Thank you Donna Miles for your insight as someone who “knows”. Thank you.

  7. D'Esterre says:

    Donna Miles: A very interesting post from an eye witness. Thank you so much for it.

    “The result of that blind participation was that people’s dream of a secular democracy turned into an oppressive theological nightmare.”

    Indeed. Iran under the Shah was certainly secular, but a democracy it wasn’t. I wonder if there was a segment at least of the population which associated secular democracy with the hated US and Britain, and thus turned away from it.

    “If the protests in Iran, although widespread, remain small in numbers, it is because Iranians know, as bad as things are in Iran, they are lucky to have a stable country that is not ravaged by civil war and foreign invasion…”

    I do hope that Iranians keep this in mind. A weak, divided Iran is in Israel’s interests; without a doubt, this is why the CIA is sticking its nose in, as it has done elsewhere. Its fingerprints are all over the situation as reported.

    • Samwise says:

      So, any struggle for freedom is a “CIA inspired plot”. That’s a bleak outlook for humanity, isn’t it? So only autocratic regimes are legitimate according to your cynicism? A bit tough on people outside of the West, I guess. Oh well, we’re ok Jack

      • D'Esterre says:

        Samwise:

        “So, any struggle for freedom is a “CIA inspired plot””

        Have you been paying no attention at all to what’s been going on in the ME over the past lot of years? The US has made no secret of its meddling in those polities, usually in pursuit of oil. That’s certainly true of Iran. The feebly twitching remains of the British Empire was also up to its fetlocks in the 1953 overthrow of Mosaddegh.

        You do realise, don’t you, that, in your various comments here, it’s the Israeli line on Iran and Syria that you’re pushing?

        I suggest that you go do some background reading. Many commenters here and on other posts have put up links that’ll get you started.

        Just don’t believe what you read on mainstream US and UK sites. They publish propaganda.

        • Actually, that’s a legitimate question, D’Esterre. Are there any regional liberation movements you consider to have popular support?

          I’d be curious to know that as well.

          • D'Esterre says:

            Frank:

            “Actually, that’s a legitimate question, D’Esterre. Are there any regional liberation movements you consider to have popular support?”

            What the hell are you talking about? How on earth have you read that into anything I’ve written – or, for that matter, into Samwise’s baffling response to me?

        • Just don’t believe what you read on mainstream US and UK sites. They publish propaganda.

          And your sources…? They tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…?

          • D'Esterre says:

            Frank:

            “And your sources…? They tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…?”

            Not my sources, as it happens. But yes. They do. And the msm prints propaganda at best, outright lies at worst. Sometimes their reportage of natural disasters is ok; but sometimes, not even then.

            Face it, Frank: you’re hostile to anything Russian. This perspective colours your view of what’s been happening in Syria, along with what the msm publishes about Russia. You’ll never be convinced otherwise, I suspect.

            • Samwise says:

              What? You don’t question your news sources? You believe them to “tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth”??

              That’s either incredibly naive or incredibly arrogant.
              If you don’t question then you become a mouthpiece, nothing more d,esterre.

            • Priss says:

              “Frank: “And your sources…? They tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…?”

              D’Esterre: Not my sources, as it happens. But yes. They do”

              What? Are you telling us D’Esterre that your un-named news sources are impeccable?? Please do share with us your sources. Anything that tells “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” must be revered as gospel.

      • D'Esterre says:

        Samwise: “So only autocratic regimes are legitimate according to your cynicism?”

        Oh great: the loaded question again. Just stop that already: you’re ascribing to me things I haven’t said. Go read again what I wrote: you’ll see that I said no such thing.

        Also, I recommend that you read the Fort-russ link posted up near the top of the comment thread.

        • Samwise says:

          Well that’s how you’re coming across. You suppor regimes like Assad but haven’t told us what liberation causes you think are legitimate.

  8. let me be frank says:

    This may be of some assistance Frank….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

  9. Historian Pete says:

    Otto Mann:

    “Or do you think that barrel bombing civilian areas is
    now acceptable?”

    Barrel bombs are being used by Syrian Govt. forces, though on a small scale.They are an improvised weapon made by packing conventional explosive in a beer barrel that is dropped by helicopter.They are simply an amateur version of a conventional weapon and they are far less effective- meaning devastating- than the professionally made munitions the U.S.,Israel ,and U.K. have been dropping on Syria., or supplying to the Saudis to kill tens of thousands of civilians in Yemen.They are the kind of thing that you use when you find it difficult to get professionally made weapons, much like the home made rockets and stone throwing in Gaza.They have been seized upon by the U.S. propaganda machine, and made out to be a ghastly weapon of mass destruction.
    The irony is that history teaches us that the U. S. was quite fond of dropping what it calls”barrel bombs” from helicopters
    onto Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam war!
    Also, more recently, the U.S. has sent the Saudis thousands of cluster bombs-also an indiscriminate civilian killing device-where they have been used lately against Yemini civilians.
    Smart bombs or dumb bombs,Boeing bombs or barrel bombs, or drone bombs, the victims are just dead or maimed.
    Or maybe the latest victim of a U.S. Empire drone attack may think in an expiring moment -” At least I wasn’t killed by a barrel bomb!!!

  10. David Stone says:

    Theres been a lively discussion here on an important topic. Some see it the same way as me , some don’t. I appreciate those that have supported my comments.
    But to everyone I hope my comments don’t offend anyone, and I would urge everyone to stick to their reasoned argument of the issues , and avoid attacking anyone personally. As soon as we diss someone who holds a different view for their personality failings we lose communication and the possibility of getting them to think about our view of a situation.
    The information available to us all these days is truly wonderful . It is a shame so much of it is contradictory.
    Cheers everyone
    D J S