Keep Your Eyes On the Prize: Protest US Aggression

Should the US antiwar movement be attending rallies sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) claiming to support the opposition movement in Iran? According to the group Stop War on Iran, this is exactly what United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and other antiwar groups are doing. If so, are they really supporting the leftist and progressive elements of that opposition or are they naively providing cover for those in the United States power elites who would love to see a regime friendly to Washington ruling in Tehran? Recently, UFPJ urged its members to attend rallies called by a group that goes by the name of United for Iran on July 25, 2009. While I believe the intentions of the antiwar organizations calling on folks to join these protests come from a genuine desire to see an end to the Tehran government’s repression, the fact that some of the Iranian dissident groups in Iran and in exile take their money and guidance from the NED and other US-propaganda operations compromises the antiwar groups’ position.

An even closer connection to the NED funds is that of the apparent US organizer of the United for Iran rallies, Hadi Ghaemi. Mr. Ghaemi is is the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. This group is a project of the Dutch Foundation for Human Security in the Middle East. More important as regards his NED connection is Ghaemi’s role as a former board member of the National Iranian American Council, which has received over a quarter million dollars in NED grants. While this is not an indictment of the desire for greater freedoms in Iran expressed by Ghaemi and his organization, one would think these connections would give pause to a US antiwar group whose leadership knows only too well the role groups funded by the NED and other US special funds played in the period leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The last time I wrote a piece regarding the NED, some readers wrote me asking what was wrong with this organization. To answer them, I quoted former CIA agent Philip Agee, who certainly knew a good deal about the true nature of Washington’s concern for democracy in nations it considers enemies. “In November 1983,” said Agee. “Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy and gave it an initial $18.8 million for building civil society abroad during the fiscal year ending September 30, 1984…Whereas the CIA had previously funneled money through a complex network of `conduits,’ the NED would now become a `mega-conduit’ for getting U.S. government money to the same array of non-governmental organizations that the CIA had been funding secretly…. There is really nothing private about it, and all its money comes from the Congress. ” NED and similar organizations are not interested in democracy as much as they are interested in maintaining and expanding US imperialism.

In addition to the NED funds are $20 million in USAID funds provided under George Bush to fund Iranian dissidents that meet Washington’s criteria. Despite the belief by many US citizens that USAID is a government organization designed to help locals in other countries, it has served as a front for CIA activities from Laos to Venezuela and is part of the effort to rebuild Fallujah into a tightly-controlled hamlet after the US military destroyed the Iraqi city in 2004. Now, United for Iran may be free of any NED or CIA taint. There may be no connection between any of its members and the Congressionally-approved funds that Mr. Obama talked about a few weeks ago. However, given the long term desire of the US government to destroy the Iranian revolution and insure the installment of a regime friendly to Washington back in Tehran should be more than enough to give US antiwar groups pause.

The recent protests in Iran were a hopeful sign. Indeed, many groups across the political spectrum considered them to be monumental in their impact. While their actual impact is yet to be determined, the fact that the original protests seemed to have been mostly spontaneous and without the taint of foreign meddling proved that the Iranian people continue to believe in their political power. As most readers know, later protests were blocked and attacked by the police and other groups. However, if one reads some commentators, they might come away assuming that this repression was unusual and specific to the theocrats in Iran. Such an assumption is naturally untrue. In fact, while I watched the coverage on CNN and the internet, I was reminded me of the police response to the protests in Seattle in 1999 against the WTO. Pictures from those protests certainly rivaled those coming out of Iran in terms of police violence. For a more recent example, one need only look at the total repression of the antiwar protests in Minneapolis during the Republican Party convention in 2008. Participants in those protests came back telling stories of police beatings of protesters, preventive detention, and a police presence so intimidating that many protesters decided to stay home. The only thing missing were the shootings.

It is appropriate that the US antiwar movement should be concerned about the repression of protests in Iran. However, the bottom line is that the antiwar movement in the United States should be focusing on demanding that the government in Washington end the wars it is currently waging. Equally important is opposing threats of war against Iran from Washington and Tel Aviv. By helping to organize protests against the repressive actions of the Iranian government instead of focusing on ending the wars of Washington, UFPJ and other antiwar supporters of the United for Iran rallies are not only minimizing the aggression of Washington, they are tacitly providing cover for that aggression.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator's Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013. Read other articles by Ron.

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  1. Martha said on July 14th, 2009 at 9:20am #

    I can’t figure out UPFJ and honestly no longer care about them. Glad Ron Jacobs is bird dogging them. It appears to me they got on the Democratic Party bandwagon some time ago and all they care about is providing cover to that political party.

  2. dan e said on July 14th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    I’m with you, Martha:) re snakes in sheep’s clothing: never forget Father Gapon. If you want to catch a fish, you have to use sthg for bait, so you will see ZioImperialist agents or/and Dupes doing very praiseworthy things from time to time.

  3. Shabnam said on July 14th, 2009 at 11:00am #

    [By helping to organize protests against the repressive actions of the Iranian government instead of focusing on ending the wars of Washington, UFPJ and other antiwar supporters of the United for Iran rallies are not only minimizing the aggression of Washington, they are tacitly providing cover for that aggression.]

    Excellent Ron. Thanks. Please add to your list the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (CPD) Joanne Landy and HOPI, Jasmine Mather, who are actually helping Washington and Tel Aviv’s plan of ‘regime change’. Ms. Mather has posted an article titled “DEATH TO KHAMENAIE” but we never see her to treat the main war criminals like Bush, Cheney, Olmert, Blair and now Obama who are responsible for the killing of millions of innocent Muslims by their WMD and in secret prisons around the world and displacement of millions more with the same death wish.
    The ‘left’ from HOPI, like Azar Sheibani, has become so arrogant where she was demanding from the organizer of a recent conference in Germany organized by the Foundation of Iranian Women’s studies in June 2009 not to invite ‘religious feminists’ to the conference organizer which is an act of discrimination by all standards, knowing that religion plays an important role in Iranian society as well as other countries in the region. This act of arrogance is manifestation of HOPI’s lack of understanding of the issues involved and is aligned with the aims of Zionism and imperialism more than anything else. Azar Sheibani, a clown, bought Iranians’ anger and laugh for herself and HOPI. HOPI’s concern is not Zionism at all, not even Imperialism that is a cover, but ISLAM, identical to Zionism and imperialism agenda in the region. Jasmine Mather and Azar Sheibani and other Iranian clowns have signed a petition to support the protestors who are screaming the phony slogan “where is my votes” knowing that Ahmadinejad genuinely won the election which was predicted by an independent poll, the New American Foundation, by two to one margin.
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/iran-protest/signatures-1.html

  4. Shabnam said on July 14th, 2009 at 11:41am #

    Please change organizer [to the conference organizer ] to anymore.
    The tile of Ms. Mather’s artile title is “Death to Islamic Republic” which is shown in the following link. We never seen “Death to Zionism” or “Death to Imperialism” from Jasmine Mather and her close associates like Ardeshir Mehrdad or Moshé Machover. Have we?

    http://hopidisc.blogspot.com/2009/06/death-to-islamic-republic.html

  5. dan e said on July 14th, 2009 at 12:43pm #

    thanks, Shabnam. BTW you’re posting a lot of good stuff & I appreciate it, esp. since I have v. limited time to read now.

  6. Martha said on July 14th, 2009 at 1:26pm #

    Let me echo Dan with a thank you to Shabnam. I seem to remember — and I wrong on this? — Joanne Landy being part of the ‘peace through attack on Afghanistan’ right after 9-11. Isn’t she also the ‘I joined the Council of Foreign Relations but only because my gal pal Katrina vanden Heuvel made me’? Dan, wolf in sheep’s clothing says it all. Exactly.

  7. Shabnam said on July 14th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    Thank you Martha and dane e very much.

    The irony is that Cyrus Bina a professor of Economics and Management and has signed an open letter with Ms. Mather, shown at the following link -Against Mr. Rustam Pourzal an Iranian activits who cooperates with CASMII- one of the HOPI’s supporters, is coming from ‘leftist’ Fadaeeyan Khalq organization where are moving away from socialism towards market economy, DOES NOT believe in “NO Blood For Oil” slogan. Bina has written an article to explain his reasons behind his belief. On the other hand, many supporters of HOPI have introduced division among anti war movement supporters by repeating this slogan. Anti imperialism or anti Zionism is not HOPI’s concern rather HOPI uses ‘anti imperialism’ to cover its true face meaning ‘anti Islam’ and against Islamic liberation movements such as Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and of course Islamic Republic of Iran like Israel, US, Britain and the EU.
    Saeed Rahnama, son of the former minister of Science and Education under the Shah, has signed this letter is not ‘anti imperialism’ by any stretch of imagination. He is in fact deeply embedded with imperial institutions and political organizations close to imperialism including Chathamhouse. His main research is on “political Islam” and how to ‘deal’ with it. Therefore, one thing is shared between all is anti ‘Islam’ not Imperialism or Zionism.

    Martha, you are right about Joanne Landy saying that she has a seat at the council of foreign relations. She, in my opinion, is an enabler to US government’s policy in the Middle East and beyond but from the ‘Third Camp’ point of view which means ‘ neither to US Aggression, Nor to Saddam Hussein regime’ meant WAR.
    Both Campaigns, Peace and Democracy and HOPI, have identical slogans on Iran where reads ‘Neither to US aggression, Nor to theocratic repression’ where made many Iranians to send an objection letter to critic their petition but they were dropped on deaf ears because Joanne Landy is interested in implementation of US policy smoothly not to introduce impediments to slow it down. This slogan beats on the war drum where cost HOPI’s membership at the CASMII since CASMII refused to cooperate with HOPI based on their hidden agenda, meaning, regime change, where they felt it was not CASMII’s (Campaign against Sanction and Military Intervention in Iran) goal.

    By the way, a person who left a comment under ‘Open Letter …” by Mather and others, has this to say about Mr. Pourzal:
    Some here have questioned Pourzal’s qualifications.

    He grew up in Iran, so unlike many pontificators about Iranian affairs, he speaks fluent Farsi. He got his higher education in the U.S. but in recent years has been spending half his time in Iran.

    I heard him talk recently and was very impressed with his thoughtful analysis. It appears to me that there is an unfortunate tendency of many of the readers here to want to cram everything into black & white categories.

    John
    John M. Morgan | 07.13.09 – 8:08 pm |

    http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/letter070706.html

  8. Deadbeat said on July 14th, 2009 at 6:35pm #

    This is Yoshie response to the letter. I think her response is important not only because it addresses the agenda of these proponents of the Iranian demostration but it also get to the heart identity politics that has split and weaken the Left here in the U.S.

    Let me say that I, as editor of MRZine, stand by Rostam Pourzal. I published this “open letter” in the interest of promoting free, open, and public debates on Iran. Would the political current that produced this letter reciprocate and allow those who think like Pourzal and me to write for their journals?

    Yassamine Mather was and probably still is a member of the coordinating committee of an outfit called Workers Left Unity Iran. The outfit’s Web site is http://www.etehadchap.org/. It espouses the type of politics that Workers’ Liberty in the UK and the like champion. Mather is also a deputy editor of Critique, Journal of Socialist Theory, on whose advisory board Torab Saleth sits. Critique’s editor is Hillel Ticktin. It’s a tiny political current from which this “open letter” comes. I wish Mather had made her political affiliation clear from the outset, instead of simply listing her academic institution, which is irrelevant to understanding the letter.

    What Pourzal does in his article is not to deny the police’s power to violate the freedom of assembly in Iran but to criticize exaggeration of police action, based on bloggers’ accounts, for exaggeration diminishes credibility, and to ask whether friends of the West aren’t using worse repression than the Iranian state employs without getting as much criticism. Valid points if you ask me.

    The letter fails to address Pourzal’s main question: “What is the Iranian public seeing in Ahmadinejad that it doesn’t see in us?” That’s a question reformists in Iran, as well as most liberals and leftists in the Iranian diaspora or the West in general, don’t want to ask, let alone attempt to answer. The open letter spells out “[t]he principle demands” of the June 12 demonstration:

    * Abolition of polygamy
    * The right of divorce by women
    * Joint custody of children for mothers and fathers
    * Equal rights in family law
    * Increasing the minimum legal age for girls to 18 (currently it is 15)
    * Equal rights for women as witnesses in courts of law

    Now, those are valid demands for equal rights that I support. But one notices those who are making the demands aren’t making them in the context of fighting for economic justice, which is the reason why they don’t move the masses of Iranians. Pourzal is saying that women’s rights might be better advanced — especially in countries like Iran — if they were embedded in class demands on the economic front. Otherwise, women’s rights supporters will remain confined in small urban circles of relatively well-educated, better off people, their demonstrations will remain small, and they will be no match for the ruling clerics.
    Yoshie | Homepage | 07.07.06 – 6:41 pm | #

  9. Shabnam said on July 15th, 2009 at 1:52am #

    Ron
    Thank you for bringing this issue to our attentions. We can trust nothing now since everything and everyone have been bought by the CIA. Hadi Ghaemi has close relations with the CIA for a long time now. According to sourcewatch, Hadi Ghaemi is the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which is a project of the Dutch Foundation for Human Security in the Middle East. This is registered by Nederlands Helsinki Committee and by Jan ter Laak.. Aaron Rhodes is another executive of the campaign. He received his PhD in Physics from Boston University in 1994 and thought Physics at New York University until 2000. In 2003, he received a research grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He is former board member of the National Iranian American Council.

    Before going to Iran, he lent his services to George Soros and the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. He worked as a member of the Human Rights Watch in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Apparently, the intelligent agencies pay much better salary.

    In 2004, with pretext of the earthquake in Bam, Hade Ghaemi (a NIAC’s founding member and now a Human Rights Watch senior officer) and Dokhi Fassihian (a then NIAC executive) held a two-day workshop in Tehran for a group of Iranian NGOs ‘aimed at strengthening the ability of NGO’s to DOCUMENT and present their work to funders.’NIAC’s press release names HAMYARAN, a capacity-building NGO.

    One of the duties of all NGOs connected to NED and other intelligent services of the West is that majority function under phony cover as ‘Human Rights.’ Their important duty is to ‘document’ and lead ignorant or opportunists into cooperation against the targeted government.
    They reward their agents and enablers with ‘rewards’, in form of training either inside the country or abroad usually in Dubai, India, Germany and France. Please look at the following link to view CIA enabler Hadi Ghaemi who is giving ‘instructions’ to opportunists in Iran.
    http://www.niacouncil.org/index.php?Itemid=2&id=598&option=com_content&task=view
    I have done a little bit of research on NED and similar Human rights organizations of the West and I have noticed their close cooperation with each other.
    This concept appeared in the 90s, but its roots lie in the American public debate of the 70s-80s.
    During Reagan NED with the help of the neocons, mainly Trotskyist, often linked to Commentary established the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1982 and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) in 1984. Both of these institutions are organically intertwined: NED administrators sit on the USIP board of directors and vice versa.

    Legally the NED is a not-for-profit organization under US law, financed by an annual grant voted by Congress as part of the State Department budget. In order to operate, this organization is co-financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), which is part of the State Department. This legal structure is used jointly as a cover by the CIA, the British MI6 and the Australian ASIS (and occasionally by Canadian and New Zealand secret services).

    Shireen Ebadi, the Nobel peace prize winner, has close relations with the ‘Human Rights’ manipulators of the West and so with Mr. Hadi Ghaemi. They have organized coming rally of July 25, 2009. Shireen Ebadi has close relations with Payam Akhavan, a Bahai, who teaches law at MacGill University in Canada. He is very active in Bahai community and also among zionofascists pro Israel. He has been criticized by Canadian for his lies on Iran. A Canadian had this to say:
    [Mr. Akhavan did not respond to my email.

    Dear Mr. Akhavan;
    Certainly Iran is doing some bad things, but the presentation you were a part of this morning smells of propaganda. The Iran Holocaust conference was not the Holocaust Denial conference (as you stated), and yes Mr Duke was a member of the KKK a long time ago, but there were no KKK members as you stated.
    Meanwhile Israel is given a pass by the CBC for it’s ongoing atrocities. What do you think of this discrepancy? The former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress is the appointed head of the CBC, and we now have a heavily Zionist slant to the reporting of Israel vs. Palestine and the demonization of Iran.]

    On the other hand, Akhavan is working closely with both NED and ‘rights and democracy’ Canadian NED to ‘document’ human rights violation in Iran. He has received US grant more than 1.5 million dollars from NED to establish “Human Right Documentation Center” to accumulate charges against Iranian leaders who have dared not to accept the world religion, Holocaust, and have not abandoned their LEGAL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM to please Israel, a terrorist and racist entity. Akhavan is working with two other Iranian sell out, Hakakian, Jewish born in Iran, and her husband Ramin Ahmadi, where both are involved in propaganda campaign against Iranian government like Shireen Ebadi and other agents of the West.
    The Baha’i faith was founded in 19th-century Persia (Iran) by the professed prophet Baha’u’ llah. About 300,000 are still in Iran, where they constitute the largest religious minority. The Shrine of the Bab, the prophet is located in Haifa, Israel.
    Please inform other people not to support NED arranged rally to form public opinion against Iran.
    Down with Iranian sell out and their masters.

  10. brian said on July 15th, 2009 at 5:26am #

    the involvement on the NED in anti-iran rallise only confirms the recent elections were not frauuklent and Ahmadinejda really won!
    But tell that to the Louis Proyect and other dismally miguided leftists.

    see my comments near bottom to his article:

    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/07/10/mrzine-and-sex-change-operations-in-iran/

  11. ron said on July 15th, 2009 at 6:53am #

    Actually, any involvement by the NED or other US intelligence fronts does not prove that the elctions were not fraudulent. It only proves that some elements among the protesters against the elections are not interested in Iranian democracy and social justice, but in the defeat of one of Washington’s enemies. Istill believe that the impetus behind the protests is correct and that the Iranian people should be supported in those protests, albeit with a critical eye to those in DC and elsewhere that would like to manipulate them to their own ends. The Iranian left is much more vibrant and alive than the US Left and Iranian politics are considerably more complex than most westerners seem to understand. Personally, I support the protests inasmuch as they are the true representation of the Iranian revolution of 1979. May they move forward and serve to move the Iranian revolution forward.

  12. Parvin said on July 15th, 2009 at 7:49am #

    I can’t believe the comments posted here. There are actually people who still defend the Islamic Republic of Iran after what they have seen what’s been happening on the streets of Tehran? Please read the constitution of IRI to understand how this regime looks at women and people of other faiths. Shabnam, as a woman you can not divorce your husband, get custody of your children if you were divorced, you can not object to your husband marrying other women (3) while married to you, and legally having unlimited relationships outside of marriage (sigheh) under IRI’s constitution. What kind of liberty are you defending here? Additionally you are upset that someone has posted a petition for holding Khamenei responsible for the crimes he has committed in the last 20 years? WHY? You are justifying such crimes and repression against innocent Iranian people because you don’t think NED holds up to your ethical standards? I am not defending NED, CIA, and particularly NIAC but what ever their shortcomings, it does not measure up to 1/100 of what IRI has been doing to its own people for the past 30 years.

  13. brian said on July 15th, 2009 at 9:33am #

    ‘Actually, any involvement by the NED or other US intelligence fronts does not prove that the elections were not fraudulent’

    they were not..if they were, wed know by now…The US would have ferrett out real evidence, Repeating a lie does not not make it so…its amazing how Hitlers ideas have had so much influence on those who attack him!

  14. Danny Ray said on July 15th, 2009 at 10:14am #

    Pavin,
    Thank you for sayig that so well, I have tried to get this very point across for several years. Now get ready for the shit storm.

  15. bozhidar balkas vancouver said on July 15th, 2009 at 12:11pm #

    danny ray, respectfully
    i know that muslims mistreat their women.
    but i also know that the christo-judean alliance treats muslim women much, much worse than mullahs, and muftis.

    the alliance is killing children, women, and civ’ns in palestine for 80 yrs; in afgh’n since ’01; iraq since ’03, and pak’n since a year ago.
    and yet not single amer lost even one hair by a muslim hand.
    go figure!
    that’s why we ‘ignore’ muslim ‘crimes’ and dwell much more on christo-judean.
    but, still, we will start to criticize muslims for their malevolence as soon you and parvin begin to point out western crimes against muslims! Is it a deal?
    i knew u’d agree, danny danilovich.

  16. Martha said on July 15th, 2009 at 12:17pm #

    “I can’t believe the comments posted here. There are actually people who still defend the Islamic Republic of Iran after what they have seen what’s been happening on the streets of Tehran?”

    No one’s written any such thing.

    My belief is that we’re not the Cops of the World. Others can speak for themselves. It’s always cute to see someone get all worked up over a dead woman . . . in a country far, far away. Especially one with no US involvement. Pavin, I don’t recall your lamenting what US forces did to Abeer in Iraq nor have I read your calling out of the assault on the LGBT community in Iraq currently.

    Since you haven’t, by your logic, I can now accuse you of what? Any number of things.

    Don’t put words in our mouths.

  17. Suthiano said on July 16th, 2009 at 11:49am #

    “the alliance is killing children, women, and civ’ns in palestine for 80 yrs; in afgh’n since ‘01; iraq since ‘03, and pak’n since a year ago.”

    Bozh, I agree completely except the alliance has been killing children, women, etc, in Iraq since 1991.

  18. Shabnam said on July 16th, 2009 at 12:21pm #

    Ron:
    I am sorry that I was naïve to believe you have stopped supporting Mujahedeen Kalq (MEK) but I found that I was wrong and you still believe in your position, the ‘third way’, meaning neither Washington nor Tehran but yes to Mujahedeen where you called it ‘resistance’ organization in Iran, in fact a terrorist organization helping US and Israel with their destabilization plan in Iran.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/jacobs04102004.html

    Parvin:
    We are talking about election 88 where Ahmadinejad won by 2 to 1 margin. You cannot come here and lecture us about constitution of Islamic Republic to justify NED’s destabilization plan for ‘regime change.’
    Iranian people have watched ‘color revolution’ around the world so they know exactly how it works and who are involved. All these ‘color revolution’ started with a phony charge of elections ‘fraud’ using the NED’s agents like Ghaemi, who has extensive connection with NED, ‘Open Society’ , ‘Freedom House’ and other ‘Human Rights’ organizations and/or a military wing of the ‘opposition’ group such as Mujahedin (MEK), a terrorist organization, to bring ‘regime change’ through chaos.

    It was obvious that Rafsanjani and his puppet Mousavi had an instruction to follow ‘WHAT SHOULD BE DONE.’ Zahra Rahnavard, however, as Brzezinski said on national TV, came as a true ‘leader’ of the ‘movement’ not her husband Mousavi who could not even talk effectively when he was debating Ahmadinejad during the elections. Brzezinski discarded Mousavi as a leader because he found Mousavi’s wife, Zahra, far more THOUGHER and therefore better fit to rule.

    Although, the election process has been greatly improved to eliminate fraud, yet in an election where more than 82 percent of the population participating in the process, unique in the history of Iran and the ‘democratic’ West, there might have been minimum irregularities beyond anyone’s control but overall the process was fair. This election was not a CLOSE election where few votes or thousands of votes or even million votes could have made a difference in the outcome. Ahmadinejad clearly had 10 to 11 million votes more than his opponent Mousavi. If you and people like you do not believe in the legal process then I am not going to listen to opportunists who are using any means to bring about ‘regime change.’ Hadi Ghaemi and his GANG, including Shireen Ebadi, a stooge of the west, think they can introduce a division in the Iranian society to create a situation like Hamas/Palestinian authority, for their superiors in Washington and
    Tel Aviv.
    Everyone knows that ‘Human Rights’ organizations funded by NED and other Western governments are CIA cover for illegal activities. If you are not familiar with these phony organizations’ mission then you should read Michael James Barker’s articles to get information you need to understand the mission of these phony “Human Rights” activities including role of Shireen Ebadi made ‘leader’ by giving her a Nobel Peace Prize and other clowns active in Iran and abroad on behalf of the Western intelligent agencies against Iran.
    On the other issues status of women in Iran comparing the constitution of the Islamic republic with the constitution of 1905 -1906 where was passed on December 30, 1906 and was the first piece of legislation that was ratified by the assembly and was partly influenced by the BELGIAN constitution of 1831 each has their shortcomings. Instead, it is better to look at the facts on the ground to see how Iranian women are doing compare to more than 30 years ago. For example, the Average age at first marriage is influence far more by factors such as economic and education rather legal age of 15 given in the constitution. The Average age at first marriage of Iranians is 28 men, 25 women compare to the United States: 27.7 for men, 25.6 for women.

    So, how was the status of women under the Shah compare to the present? Do you think we were much better off then? The facts on the ground show that Iranian women are much better off in some areas and have more work to do in the other areas. I do not deny that we have more work to do to improve our constitution affecting both men and women. People are fighting for better law all the time including American in the United States. I am not going to destroy what I have for something that NED’s agents are promising to bring ‘regime change.’ چرا باید نقد را ول کنم و نسیه را بچسبم؟ It is true that women have difficulties to obtain divorce but at the same time under the Islamic Republic women can ask their future partner to grant them the right to divorce which legally bounding under IR. It is true that this kind of opportunity is used more by better educated women than others but this is something that all of us should be fighting for to improve life for all regardless of gender.
    You write:
    [you can not object to your husband marrying other women (3) while married to you, and legally having unlimited relationships outside of marriage (sigheh) under IRI’s constitution.]

    How many people do you think can afford to have more than one wife? How many wives did Khomeini has during his LONG life? at the same time do you know how many women your politicians are involved with in the States? Or how many wives does Mohajerani, supporter of Mousavi have?
    Frankly, I am not against sigheh. Why don’t you see that in the west 70 percent of married couples have relationships outside the marriage? I think it is hypocrisy to see sigheh which exist in Shi’a branch of Islam is viewed by you and people who are against Islam, because it is chic, as ‘deformity’ but accept wide practice of ‘ adultery’ in the West.

    Iranian women in many areas are much better off than before the revolution. Iranian women are well educated, working in many professional fields in the labor force and are active in both political and intellectual life in greater number compare to 30 years ago. The West greatest ‘democracy, India, has literacy rate of less than 55%, Pakistan where has been under influence of the United States since its inception
    has less than 29 percent literacy rate while Iran enjoys a literacy rate of more than 85 percent.

    We as Iranian people have an impressive intellectual heritage unique in the history of the region which is shared by all Iranians regardless of ethnic or religious divide can change our destiny if we work together not against each other. We will continue, however, our struggle regardless of NED’s agents who are working on behalf of the West, for better life but will not allow agents of US imperialism/Zionism divide us and put one against the other similar to what they have done in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and many more countries. People should notify others that the rally on July 25, 2009 is organized by the CIA and its agents in Iran and abroad thus should be avoided to deny Iran’s enemy an opportunity to prevent chaos.

  19. ron said on July 16th, 2009 at 3:11pm #

    Actually, Shabnam, I no longer support PMOI(MEK). The continued collaboration of its leadership with the neoconservative wing of the US political system made it impossible for me to continue that support. I support no particular grouping in Iran. I just know that I am skeptical of the claims made by the rightist elements in the current protest movement and also believe that the theocracy diverted the Iranian revolution of 1979. Therefore, I am also skeptical of the claims made by those who support the current government in Tehran with little or no reservation. As my piece emphasized, the role of westerners is to oppose any moves toward war on Iran and to oppose the current imperial wars in the region.

  20. ron said on July 16th, 2009 at 3:13pm #

    One more thing, it is truly up to the Iranian people to decide their own future. Their history of political acuity and activism proves that they will.

  21. Danny Ray said on July 16th, 2009 at 6:19pm #

    وكانت والدة Shabnam عاهرة وfater هو خنزير

  22. Shabnam said on July 16th, 2009 at 6:59pm #

    Danny:

    Your mother was a whore and your father a pig not mine!! idiot

  23. Shabnam said on July 16th, 2009 at 7:06pm #

    Sorry, I meant Danny Ray….

  24. joed said on July 16th, 2009 at 7:56pm #

    get in a pissin’ contest with a skunk and the skunk will win every time.

  25. joed said on July 16th, 2009 at 8:02pm #

    what’s going on in iran now can only end with the regular iranian getting hurt in some way. there may have been some fraud with the election but for an amerikan to comment on that fraud is hubris and hypocracy and ignorance at best.
    this is a fine article and should be circulated widely.

  26. Shabnam said on July 17th, 2009 at 2:01pm #

    Mousavi and his top aides, too, are not on record criticizing U.S. and British aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan or the West’s illegal threats against Iran. “Provocation is for the extremists,” one of Mousavi’s lieutenants explained to me, referring to the Ahmadinejad faction. By contrast, reformist publications regularly feature tirades against Iran’s alignment with left-leaning governments in Latin America. If Erlich could read Farsi and speak directly to Iranians who cannot communicate in English, he might not have been so quick to criticize Hugo Chavez for siding with Ahmadinejad.

    http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/6270