Iran: Corruption, repression, fightback (1 Viewer)

Psycho Punk

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Confusion reigns in Iran. The Iranian people have suffered from Imperialist sanctions but corruption and incompetence is rife amongst the ruling elite. The governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Mahmoud Bahman has been sacked for making improper withdrawals from client accounts. Yassamine Mather analyses the situation. Full text at link.

In Iran, presidential elections are looming, the economy is in freefall, the public hanging of small-time criminals is creating an atmosphere of terror, repression is worsening and workers are protesting throughout the country. There are unconfirmed reports of an explosion at the Fordo uranium enrichment plant and the infighting between factions of the regime is shown live on state-owned TV. Meanwhile, Israel has bombed a military facility in Syria, claiming it is used by Iranian Islamic guards, and civil war is breaking out in Iraq, Iran’s main Shia ally. Finally, the country’s aerospace agency has sent a monkey into space! All in all, as far as Iranians are concerned, it has been an eventful start to 2013. ...

Meanwhile, another working class prisoner, Shahrokh Zamani, a member of the Council of Representatives of Labour Organisations, has sent an optimistic letter from Gohardasht prison, entitled ‘It is now our turn - the turn of democratic governance and workers councils’. The letter explains how, in the face of a major economic crisis, capitalism has launched an attack on workers throughout the world, and Iran is no exception to this rule. Zamani points out that the Iranian working class should have no illusions about ‘reformists’ within the Islamic regime, nor should it seek alliances with ‘liberals’ outside it. Instead workers should rely on their own strength. He ends his letter with the clarion call: “Workers have no alternative but to unite and organise. Long live the political general strike. Long live the revolution.” ...
http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/iran-...ssamine-mather-reports-chaos-islamic-republic
 

Psycho Punk

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There is no doubt that sanctions are hitting hard and a recent poll showed 70% of Iranians blamed the US, Israel, the European Union and the United Nations. This could be misleading, of course - perhaps Iranians are too scared of their government to express their true feelings, even when they respond to anonymous polls. But, whatever the case, the results have certainly given Khamenei a boost. In a defiant response to the latest US offer of ‘negotiations’ the supreme leader said: “The Americans point the gun at Iran and say, either negotiations or we pull the trigger! You should know that pressure and negotiations don’t go together, and the Iranian nation will not be intimidated by such things.” Borrowing a phrase from the left, Khamenei also commented on the USA’s decline as a world power.4

Of course, there are those on the left who still defend the first ‘anti-imperialist’ Islamic state and even encourage voting for similar forces in the Arab world. However, for millions of Iranians who have to suffer in the hell on earth created by Shia clerics, Islamic capitalism has nothing to commend it. ...
http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/iran-towards-barbarism
 

Psycho Punk

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Iran: Need our support. Yassamine Mather reports on the developing social catastrophe

The Iranian new year is only two weeks away, but most Iranians do not feel like celebrating. As hundreds of workers protested in Tehran on March 4 against non-payment of wages, one placard summarised the mood: “99% are facing death”.

Non-payment of wages is only part of the problem: food prices have rocketed and even rents are beyond the means of the overwhelming majority. This week, Vahed busworkers took to the streets demanding better wages - and similar protests have taken place throughout the country. In Arak, angry workers set fire to tyres outside the factory gates. Last week farmworkers clashed with security forces near Isfahan in southern Iran, protesting against government proposals to divert water from the city. Peasants blew up the main pump taking water from Isfahan province to Yazd, before closing the main highway road near Khorasgan and setting fire to a number of buses. ...
http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/iran-yassamine-mather-reports-developing-social-catastrophe
 

Psycho Punk

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Repression and resistance in Iran: interview with Yassamine Mather

PF: What sort of social base and popular support does the regime still have?

YM: The regime has a base mainly amongst those whose survival depends on payment from the regime, a vast religious militia (the Bassij) and the Islamic guards. Probably 3-5 million, including families of members of these forces. They have no social base amongst the poor, shanty town dwellers, peasants and they never had a social base amongst workers.

PF: Can you also tell us about what different strands there are in the opposition, especially in the democratic movement itself? Also, the democratic movement of several years ago seemed to run into the problem that the regime was prepared to unleash violence on it and the movement had no means of dealing with that. How do you think a mass progressive democratic movement can deal with this?

YM: It is true that the regime unleashed repression on the democratic opposition, however the mass movement was betrayed by the leadership of the Green movement who were more interested in negotiations with the leaders of the regime and kept calling for restraint and retreat. They called on demonstrators to “remain silent” during some of the largest protests and they refused to address workers’ demands for better wages. They distanced themselves from the more radical demands put forward on the demonstrations, yet that did not save them from house arrest. A mass movement can defeat this if it is a truly revolutionary movement with no illusions about sections of the regime and if it addresses workers’ demands.

...

PF: Some people on the left in the West argue that defence of Iran against threats and various measures by the US and other Western powers means defence of the existing regime in the Iran. Some even argue that the regime is a product of a revolution and so is at least partly progressive. What is your view of these things?

YM: The coming to power of the Islamic government signalled the defeat of the Iranian revolution, there was nothing progressive about it in 1979 and there is nothing progressive about it now. It is a ruthless, religious dictatorship with misogynist ideology, it tried to impose Islamic behaviour in the private and public life of a population who refused to accept this. Hence the duplicity and the reality of Iranians living two separate lives: one pretending to be religious outside the house with increasing disillusionment with religion in private. All this was before the corruption scandals and accusations of the involvement of senior clerics in prostitution and drug rackets made a mockery of the “pious, moral” Shia Ayatollahs. ...

PF: What do you think progressive people in the West can do that would be of most assistance to the working class and oppressed of Iran?

YM: They should show solidarity with the Iranian working class by promoting their demands, while campaigning against war and sanctions. Sanctions have caused mass unemployment, spiralling cost of living. The current conditions of poverty and destitution make it difficult for workers to mobilise and organise against the regime.
http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/repression-and-resistance-iran-interview-yassamine-mather
 

Psycho Punk

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All this is happening in the middle of an election farce in Tehran. A day before the Senate resolutions, Iran’s religious supervisory body, the Guardian Council, announced the final list of eight candidates it deemed acceptable to contest the presidential elections on June 14. It did not include either the former president and main hope of the ‘reformists’, Hashemi Rafsanjani, or the outgoing president’s chosen successor, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

Although the remaining candidates all promise to ‘resolve the nuclear issue’, the US administration has made up its mind: bar a miracle, conflict with Iran, most likely in the form of Israeli air attacks, is now inevitable. Even if one of the remaining centrist or ‘reformist’ candidates gets elected, Washington does not believe such an individual will be strong enough to convince the country’s supreme leader of the need to compromise. By all accounts, Rafsanjani was the only candidate capable of arguing the case for ayatollah Ali Khamenei to ‘drink the poison’ and make a U-turn either on the nuclear programme or on Syria.

Whoever gets elected on June 14, Iranians are resigning themselves to the fact that confrontation with the west will continue, and so crippling sanctions and devastating economic hardship will persist. The supreme leader had promised an ‘epic year’, when massive participation in the elections would prove the nation’s tenacity in confronting the foreign enemy. But the final list of mediocre candidates will make it difficult for even the most hard-line supporters of the regime to muster any enthusiasm.

No-one should underestimate the severity of the current situation. Iran is completely isolated internationally and regionally, while its support for the Syrian government has brought it into direct conflict with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to the usual suspects. Economically the country is bankru ...

http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/iran-boycott-sham-elections
 

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Iran election: Not a victory for progressives

A massive protest vote humiliated the conservative candidates. But paradoxically the election of a centrist can boost the regime, argues Yassamine Mather

On Friday June 14, Iranians voted in large numbers for ayatollah Hassan Rowhani, a regime insider who was elected as Iran’s president with 50.71% of the vote. A centrist, not a ‘reformist’, he became the candidate of an unofficial coalition between ‘reformists’ and ‘centrists’ forged three days before the vote, after green leader and former president Mohammad Khatami asked the ‘reformist’ candidate, Mohammad Reza Aref, to withdraw from the elections.
Rowhani won not because of who he is, but as a result of a massive protest vote against the candidates associated with various ‘principlist’ factions of Iran’s Islamic regime. Iranians opted once more to use the electoral system to show their hatred for the conservatives and principlists who have been in power for the last eight years. These groups promised ‘social justice’ and a clampdown on corruption in 2005 and 2009, yet the gap between the rich and the poor is far wider than when they took office and corruption now engulfs every institution of the state. Nor is it surprising that the people blame them for the sanctions and Iran’s disastrous economic position.

This was a vote for the least worst candidate. And in desperation the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is now ready to compromise with the centrist factions of the Islamic regime. Last week former ‘reformist’ president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was not accepted as a candidate this time round, warned that Khamenei must wake up to the realities of Iran’s current situation. Whether because of this, or out of a concern that after a lacklustre electoral campaign turnout would be low, Khamenei intervened forcefully to encourage people to vote. Even those who “do not support the Islamic system” should come out and vote for the sake of the country, he said. That was an historic first - Iran’s top religious leader has never previously addressed opponents of the Islamic Republic in this manner. ...

http://www.hopi-ireland.org/c/iran-election-not-victory-progressives
 

Psycho Punk

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Full text at link.

Iran executions: Brutal signal to opponents

Iran’s Islamic government might be taking a more ‘moderate’ approach regarding nuclear negotiations, but as far as internal repression is concerned its stance is as bad as ever before - as bad as the worst periods of the rule of the last president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the last week of October alone, Iran’s judicial system ordered the execution by hanging of at least 20 political opponents, all from national minorities (16 Baluchis and four Kurds), and the regime banned the ‘reformist’ daily, Bahar, for publishing an article questioning the historical veracity of events involving the first Shia imam.

The Baluchi separatists were executed in retaliation for an attack by a group of armed men on a border post that took the lives of 14 government soldiers in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. Meanwhile, in West Azerbaijan province two Kurds who had been sentenced to death following brief trials were executed. But two other Kurdish political prisoners, both serving 30-year prison sentences for opposition to the regime and membership of an illegal organisation, suffered the same fate. The family of one, summoned to collect his body, were told he was executed in the prison’s visitors area.

The brutal hanging of those prisoners carried a deliberate message for all the regime’s opponents. Supreme leader Ali Khamenei might have ‘drunk the poison’ when he made his U-turn as far as international negotiations on Iran’s nuclear facilities are concerned, but he has no intention of tolerating any opposition or dissent. On the contrary, it appears that political prisoners and the opposition in general will be made to pay the price for the failure of the regime’s foreign policy.
Iran executions: Brutal signal to opponents | Hands off the People of Iran (Ireland)
 

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Political Prisoners Embark on Hunger Strike on Behalf of Sick Prisoners
NOVEMBER 6, 2013
soltani1.jpg

“I think the authorities knowingly and deliberately want to condemn the prisoners to a gradual death,” Maedeh Soltani, the daughter of imprisoned hunger-striker Abdolfattah Soltani (pictured), told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Abdolfattah Soltani, an imprisoned lawyer and human rights activist, embarked on a hunger strike together with three other political prisoners on November 2, his sixtieth birthday, to protest the conditions of sick prisoners who need medical treatment and have been refused transfers to a hospital, his daughter told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Maedeh Soltani told the Campaign that despite being sick and in need of treatment himself, Abdolfattah Soltani is risking his own life to perhaps get the officials to pay attention to the medical situation of less well-known political prisoners inside Evin Prison.

“I have reliable information that right now prisoners including Yashar Darolshafa, Hamid Reza Moradi, Esmaeel Barzegar, Mohammad Hossein Yousefpour Seifi, Alireza Ahmadi, Ali Alaee, Saeed Matinpour, Reza Shahabi, Hamid Naghibi, Davood Asadi, Nader Jani, and Ali Maghzi are in critical condition. The prison authorities have told them ‘We don’t have funding to send you to a hospital,’ but when their families said, ‘We will pay the treatment costs ourselves,’ they still didn’t agree with their treatment outside the prison. I think the authorities knowingly and deliberately want to condemn the prisoners to a gradual death,” Maedeh Soltani told the Campaign. ...
Political Prisoners Embark on Hunger Strike on Behalf of Sick Prisoners | Hands off the People of Iran (Ireland)
 

JohnnyRaz

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caveat emptor on the source, but a good summary of the scale of this....

 

Denny Oubidoux

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I see a lot of re-posting of this video apparently showing military joining in the protest march last night


You can see them marching with the protestors for sure but are they "with" them or is it just a moment where there's no shooting or stone throwing.
Now I see this guy, who seems well tuned-in, has moved slightly from believing that the protests will be brutally put down to talking about a transitional government (pay-walled article, didn't read it).

They still haven't blacked out the whole country from the internet like they did the last time they put down trouble a couple of years ago. Interesting/scary times
 

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