Category Archives: Politics

Iranian Society, Its Neighbors & Enemies

This Blog Post was originally posted on Iran Watching. It is posted here with permission from the Translator.
Iranian Society, Its Neighbors & Enemies by Ardeshir Zahedi, Iran’s Foreign Minister (1966-1973) in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveida published 7 July, 2012 on BBC Persian website in Farsi

جامعه ایرانی‌، همسایگان و دشمنانش

اردشیر زاهدی

وزیر امور خارجه ایران در کابینه امیرعباس هویدا 

(بی‌ بی‌ سی‌ فارسی)

[Translator’s Note] I have translated this article from Farsi to English — I hope BBC Persian would not object to my humble translation. If there is any objection please comment, and I will correct it.

An important op-ed published in the website of BBC Persian by one of the most powerful figures of Pahlavi era, who among many things, served as Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ambassador to Britain, and USA. His lavish parties in Washington were legendary, and many American politicians did try to be his friend. Henry Kissinger is still among his friends. For all I know, he lives in U.S.A. Ardeshir Zahedi was Iran’s Ambassador to United States from 1973 till the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979.

This commentary is inspiring, and thoughtful. It basically expresses the worries and anxieties of an eighty-three-year-old man,a Middle Easterner who is too familiar with the ways of West, and is too anxious that the fate of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan befalls his beloved Iran.I sense that this article is specially impressive for Farsi-speaking readers who are  familiar with the narrative of the post-Islamic Revolution in reference with the powerful figures of the Pahlavi era: “Corrupt Humans” “Lackeys of the Great Satan” “Traitors of Iran” “Alcohol-Drinking Infidels”. However, it is important to observe and recognize how increasing threats toward Iran has united almost all considerable factions of Opposition to Ayatollah to express their strong opposition to any military action against Iran by West, specially USA.   

All the hyper-links, all the brackets, [ ], and anything included in them, are all my doing, except when  [Ayatollah] is before Khomeini’s name, that’s when BBC Persian adds [Ayatollah], in Farsi of course. BBC Persian is very sensitive about calling Khomeini by his theological credentials.The bold texts are my doing as well. 

Read the English Translation:

Many times in recent decades, Iran and Iranians have demonstrated their desire for peace to the international community, and have toiled to maintain peace.

We proceeded to help our brother nations. When there were clashes between India and Pakistan, Iran worked very hard to solve it. Times and times again, Iran tried to end the contentions between Pakistan and Afghanistan or during the clashes between Pakistan and Malaysia, Iran intervened between prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Tunku Abdul Rahman. We allowed people of Bahrain which was part of Iran [to declare] independence. 

Bahrain has now become an American Military base and Bahraini police fired shots at its own people because of friendship with US. The Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy is situated in the waters of this very small country, a country which brutally oppresses any democratic movement. A Sunni family rules the country, while majority of the population is Shi’ite. 

When Arab nations imposed an Oil Embargo [in 1973 to protest support of Israel by USA and Europe in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War], with just a phone call from the American President, Iran aided USA and supplied the needed oil for 7 U.S. Bases without demanding any special favor.

When South Yemen was a close ally of USSR, and threatened Saudi Arabia with a military attack at any moment, for two days and nights Iran sent various military equipment using C-130 planes [military transport aircraft] to prevent the fall of [the Kingdom of ] Saudi Arabia.

Iran has never sought to take revenge. Wasn’t it France which claimed to be a friend of Iran, but hosted [Ayatollah] Khomeini and gave him refuge on French soil? During the reign of Napoléon [Bonaparte], Iran had friendly relations with France. But, France betrayed Iran after [Napoléon’s] meeting with Tsar of Russia in 1807 in Tilsit. A story [of betrayal] that resulted in the 10-year war of Iran with Russia, and Iran lost Georgia and The Caucasus to Russia.

Don’t forget that Iran included Tajikistan during the reign of Nader Shah [1736–1747], and lost huge portions of its lands gradually due to domestic weakness. 

But, Iran’s misfortunes were not ended. After Iran’s attack to Herat [in Afghanistan which was part of Iran] to establish law and order, British Navy violated  our southern borders, and France’s meddling resulted in Naser al-Din Shah’s giving up parts of Afghanistan by signing the Treaty of Paris[1857]. Many similar incidents has been repeated in the history.During the reign of Tsars in Russia, France which claimed to be Iran’s ally, did not accept Iran’s ambassador until after Fat′h-Ali Shah [king of Iran, 1797- 1834] was defeated by Russian army. A result of this betrayal, was Russia imposing [the infamous] Turkamanchai Treaty[1828] on Iran.

In 1881, another agreement resulted in Iran losing some other land in Middle Asia, and Britain could gain control of important parts of Baluchistan in the same year.The reason was another agreement in 1907 [Anglo-Russian Entente] was imposed on Iran– this agreement was all brokered by France and its Foreign Minister at the time, The Oil Kings [1852-1923].

I repeat these [facts], so our youth know of [the extent of] the foreign intrusions in Iran affairs and the consequences of these [foreign] interferences for us.These [intrusions] do not date back to the time of Darius [the Great, 522-486 BCE], Anushirvan [Khusrau I, the most celebrated Emperor of Sasanid Dynasty, ruled 531-579 CE], Shah Abbas [the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty, ruled 1571–1629] and Nader [Shah]; these events happened in the nineteenth century and less than 150 years has past.

 Iranians must preserve their patriotic feelings. Any regime rules Iran, Iran is our mihan[homeland].  Iranians must decide their fate without any foreign intrusion and solve their current problems.

Some say Iran must be prevented from gaining nuclear energy. In a region where nuclear arms are part of the nations’ arsenals, countries such as Israel and India have not even signed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

There is an old enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is either intensified because of the good relations between Saudi Arabia and U.S., or is escalated due to religious differences of Shia Iran and Sunni Arabia.To see roots of some of these disputes, I suggest reading “The Oil Kings” written by Andrew Scott Cooper, because answers to many question about the issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be found in this book. Since Iran has been accused of a plot to endanger the life of Saudi Ambassador in Washington, these enmities have intensified.

According to an agreement between US and Saudi Arabia, 84 F-15SA fighting jets are to be sold to Saudi Arabia and 70 existing F-15 fighting jets of Saudi Arabia get modernized and a cache of munitions, and spare parts be provided to Saudi Arabia. 

Reports imply that this Arms Sales Agreement will lessen tensions between US and Saudi Arabia, tensions which were heightened due to supporting role of United States in the recent unrests in Arab countries. Although United States has withdrawn its army from Iraq, this agreement shows US is still determined to continue its presence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Should we still be waiting to learn what motivations US has in selling arms to Saudi Arabia? Are these arms to be used for defending Saudi Arabia or attacking one of the region’s countries?
According to an American knowledgeable source, it is very likely that the arms sales will decrease the high employment rate in US, and will help Obama appeal to voters in the coming presidential election. 

United States has many times interfered in domestic affairs of other countries and each time for a single reason: to appeal to voters. In the past we witnessed such affairs in countries like Pakistan or Iraq. US attacked Iraq and invaded this country for ten years on the pretext that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and chemicals. But, no nuclear weapon was found in Iraq. US interfering in domestic affairs of Afghanistan and Pakistan has happened due to similar reasons. 

I highly oppose that the fate of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan befalls my country. 

Wars have no victors. The victor of a war, and the loser of a war, are both losers. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Iran has not attacked any country in the recent years. The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq only occurred after Iraq had gained permission from United States to attack Iran. 

It is reported my friend Henry Kissinger has said Iran and Iraq must war till one of them or both of them are totally destroyed. If Iraq had not attacked Iran, neither millions lost their lives, nor [Ayatollah] Khomeini could hold on [to power]. 

Sale of thirty billion dollars’ worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia to create jobs in the US is one matter, inciting enmity between two countries is a totally different matter. Don’t forget, Iran is not Libya. Iran has thousands of years of history. Each time that this country has been assaulted, its peace-loving and courageous people have defended the borders and never forgot their identity [and heritage]. 

According to a book by Lieutenant General Abdullah Azarbarzin, one of the  commanders of Iran Air Force [deputy commander in chief of operations for the Imperial Iranian Air Force in 1976], many Iranian pilots who were jailed as per [Ayatollah] Khomeini’s orders, [did not hesitate and] participated in that war to defend their country against the [foreign] occupiers. 

When Iraq attacked our country, all of us did put aside our political disagreements,united and defended our country for eight years. 

There was a time that all of us in the Middle East lived like sisters and brothers, which in my opinion was very rational. Religious disagreements did exist, but at no time were they as deep [and polarizing] as today. 

At these times, and with the religious conflicts and foreign intrusions, it is not clear what will happen in the future. 

Iran possesses 3 thousand years of history, and history testifies that Iran has been attacked many times in years, and has lost parts of its soil. Forms of these threats change in each era, but their nature has never changed in the course of history.


Consequences of the Open-Letter of Mousavi and Karroubi’ families to the World

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two days after the open-letter of families of the three jailed leader of the Iranian Green Movement–Mr.Mir-Hossein Mousavi,Mr.Mehdi Karroubi, and Mrs.Zahra Rahnavard- was published by Sahamnews, and Kaleme, which are affiliated with, repectively, Karroubi, and Mousavi, new pressures on the families have been reported by Kaleme news site.

The English version of the Mousavi & Karroubi families is posted on this blog, but I would like to draw your attention to the following excerpts of the aforementioned letter:

We demand the rulers of lives, property, and dignity of [Iranian] people to return to the rational path of law, common sense, and [choose] the benefit of the people and the country, instead of choosing anti-religious, unpatriotic, and inhuman ways to oppress all the critics, and opposition [, a practice] that has taken [our] country to the edge of destruction and war.


“Free our abused and renitent prisoners, all the political prisoners, and all the prisoner of conscience who are all over Iran. A nation and a country with such dignity and pride does not deserve to suffer from all these political and economical hurdles, and, God forbid, a war.”

As expected, such harsh criticism of the Islamic government by the families of the most prominent political prisoners in Iran will not go unpunished.Today, according to Kaleme, security agents threatened to arrest daughters of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, and banned one of the daughters from work. She is an art lecturer  in Alzahra University,Tehran.Her mother, Zahra Rahnavard, was the president of Alzahra University before being fired in the first term of the Mahmoud Ahmadineajd’s presidency in 2004.

According to Kaleme, no reason has been presented as to why daughter of Mousavi & Rahnavard is banned from teaching.

Kaleme reports agents threatened the daughters that they will be arrested and will be taken to a place where nobody will know their whereabouts.

According to the Farsi WIKIPEDIA page of Zahra Rahnavard, she and Mir-Hossein Mousavi have three daughters:  Kowkab, Zahra, and Narges.

This is not the first time that security forces of Iran have threatened, arrested, or tortured the families of the political prisoners.

Families of Mousavi and Karroubi issue a joint open-letter to the World (English Translation)

(L)Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi(R)

Today,facebook page of Sahamnews posted the joint open-letter of families of Zahra Rahnavard, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi–  imprisoned leaders of the Green movement of Iran and the symbol of Iranians’ protest to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran,  and Grand Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran.

This open-letter is issued, interestingly, just a few days to the anniversary of the last protest in Iran Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi asked Iranians to participate in.

Families of  Mousavi and Karroubi ask Iranians and the World to demand freedom of all the political prisoners of Iran. The letter is addressed to the “oppressed,harmed,& selfless compatriots”  and “Those who seek justice & freedom in the World.”

The letter reads:

It’s been nearly a year since our dears have been under a so-called house arrest, that is a legal irregularity,but, it has turned into a mysterious and eerie  form of imprisonment, all because our dears asked [the government] for a march permit for Feb 14.Surely, you remember the march was intended to support the anti-authoritarian movements [i.e., Arab Spring] of the region. A deed that is a not only  a crime for you, or your jailed comrades, at any time, but it is a sign of  social progress and a growing sense of responsibility [in our country].

The letter goes on to mention the the honorable services of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, as the Prime Minister during the eight-year war with Iraq, and  Mehdi Karroubi’s role as the speaker of Iran’s Parliament for eight years. After pointing out the vetting process that both Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi went through, and were finally admitted to run in the 2009 Presidential Election by the  Guardian Council, the letter mentions the unfair and illegal campaigning methods of the rival [incumbent President Ahmadinejad].

The  results of the election, which was totally unexpected, and against all the evidence and documentations, caused millions of people to protest, as it is legal according to the Constitution. They [Mousavi and Karroubi] voiced their protests [as well] and stood with the people.  They were beaten and sacrificed, and had to endure numerous conspiracies and the vicious harassment of  thugs who attacked their homes.

The letter states that after all the troubles that Zahra Rahnavard, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi had to face, they are now under a so-called house arrest, which has no legal justification, nor anybody has taken responsibility for this “inhuman act.”

We, the family members [of these three], would like to clearly state that our dears are in prison against their will , and [it is] in clear violation of the law.Except for a few phone calls, and a few short and controlled visits, our dears have been held incommunicado for a year.They have been deprived of their rights. So far, no official has taken responsibility for the current state. No neutral monitoring body is observing the condition of the food, drugs,and  health of our dears.And, there are growing concerns about their security and whereabouts, and these worries are increasing daily for us.

The letter points to the talking point of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran which is to claim  Zahra Rahnavard, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi are under house “protection” because their lives are in danger. The letter considers this claim an outright lie.  The letter goes on:

Now, we, the families of Zahra Rahnavard, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, announce, on their behalf,that we and our [imprisoned] dears protest this arrest whether it is house arrest or not, and we demand an end to this inhuman and illegal action. The perpetrators of these actions are well aware that no subsidence will occur in the will and determination of our dears to demand their rights, to defend and support the ideals of millions of our compatriots  who expressed themselves on the streets [of Iran], those who gave their blood, and gave tens of martyrs, those who were arrested, tortured, and were stricken by other problems , and thousands of political prisoners who are standing their ground.

We demand the rulers of lives, property, and dignity of [Iranian] people to return to the rational path of law, common sense, and [choose] the benefit of the people and the country, instead of choosing anti-religious, unpatriotic, and inhuman ways to oppress all the critics, and opposition [, a practice] that has taken [our] country to the edge of destruction and war.

For the rights deprived from our dears,as they can be symbols of the deprived rights of the Iranian people,especially the righteous martyrs, and the innocent prisoners, we, the families of Messrs.Mousavi and Karroubi, who have unabatedly kept their promises to the [Iranian] people on defending their rights, ask all the oppressed, suffering, and selfless compatriots, and all the justice-seeking,and freedom-loving humans, those who seek a real democracy along with the Iranians inside Iran, those who could be anywhere in the World,to reflect our justice-seeking voice.And, send our message to the World:

“Free our abused and renitent prisoners, all the political prisoners, and all the prisoner of conscience who are all over Iran. A nation and a country with such dignity and pride does not deserve to suffer from all these political and economical hurdles, and, God forbid, a war. ”

Families of Mehdi Karroubi and  Mir-Hossein Mousavi

18 Bahman 1390

[February 7, 2012]

درخواست فرزندان موسوی و کروبی از مردم در آستانه ۲۵ بهمن: پژواک صدای حق خواهی ما باشید

این نامه امروز توسط سحام نیوز و کلمه منتشر شد. اینجا باز‌نشر میشود، چونکه فکر می‌کنم این بلاگ هنوز فیلتر نشده در ایران.

به نام خدا
هم وطنان مظلوم ، رنجدیده و فداکار

انسان های حق طلب ، آزادی خواه عدالت جو در جای جای جهان

نزدیک یک سال است که عزیزان ما برخلاف نص صریح قوانین داخلی و تمامی کنوانسیون های بین المللی و به دنبال درخواست مجوز سال گذشته برای راهپیمایی ۲۵ بهمن در آنچه به صورت یک بدعت حقوقی حبس خانگی و درعمل زندانی بی نام ونشان است ، قرار دارند .حتما بیاد دارید که این راهپیمایی برای حمایت از جنبش های ضد استبدادی منطقه بود . کاری که نه برای شما و نه همراهان به بندکشیده شده شما حال در هر زمان ، نه تنها جرمی نیست بلکه نشانی از رشد اجتماعی و مسئولیت پذیریست .

آقایان موسوی و کروبی سالها در مسئولیتهای طراز اول کشور به مردم خدمت کرده اند. هشت سال ریاست مجلس و هشت سال نخست وزیری کشور تحت سخت ترین شرایط جنگی داخلی و محاصره اقتصادی ، کم ترین سابقه عزیزان ماست. آیا جز این است که در تمامی این سالها دلسوز یار و امین هموطنان خود بوده اند؟
این دو بزرگوار در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری سال ۸۸ حتی از همه فیلترهای شورای نگهبان که با بدعتی به نام نظارت استصوابی و برخلاف شعارها و آرمان های بنیانگذار انقلاب در رابطه با «آزادی» برای همگان به گزینش اولیه نامزدهای انتخاباتی می پردازد، عبور کردند و طبق همان قوانین به فعالیت انتخاباتی پرداختند .آنها در حالی که شاهد تخلف های فراوان از سوی نامزد رقیب بودند، که همه امکانات کشور و همه نوع حمایت سیاسی را در پشت خود داشت ، به رقابتی سالم و عادلانه پرداختند و در مناظره هایشان نیز در کمال ادب و با بصیرت کامل و دلسوزی و با رعایت تمام مصالح ملی نظراتی را در نقد شرایط موجود مطرح کردند که تماما امروز سخنی است که دیگر همگی بدان معترفند و خود نیز تکرار می کنند.

ایشان، پس از اعلام نتایجی که کاملا غیر منتظره و خلاف همه مشهودات و مستندات بود و اعتراضات میلیونی مردم که براساس قانون اساسی کشور صورت گرفت؛ نظر اعتراضی خود را ابراز داشتند و پا به پای مردم معترض ایستادگی کردند. خود کتک خوردند و شهید دادند و با انبوه توطئه ها ، افترا و سرکوب ها و لشگرکشی اراذل به خانه و کاشانه خود مواجه شدند.

آخرین حربه ای که علیه این عزیزان به کار گرفته شد برخورد غیرانسانی و غیر قانونی مبنی بر به اصطلاح حبس خانگی آنهاست. اینک یک سال از این عمل ضد انسانی می‌گذرد . در این مدت مقامات و نهادهای حاکم که دست شان از هر محمل قانونی خالی است، جز این دروغ که آنها خودشان خواهان مراقبت از خویش بوده‌اند و ما‌‌ برای حفظ جان آنها چنین کرده ایم ، حرفی برای گفتن و منطقی برای ارائه به افکار عمومی داخلی و جهانی ندارند . آیا این که هر از گاهی دروغهای آشکاری از زبان بعضی افراد مسئول در داخل و خارج از کشور به گوش می رسد ، با حقایق در تعارض نیست؟

ما اعضای خانواده این عزیزان با صراحت و قطعیت می گوییم که آنها برخلاف خواست خود و برخلاف قانون یک سال است که در بازداشت به سر می برند و جز تعدادی تماس تلفنی و دیدار محدود ،کوتاه و کنترل شده حق هرگونه ارتباطی با بیرون از آنها سلب شده است . آنها از حقوق قانونی خود محروم مانده اند . تا کنون هیچ شخص مسئولی حتی همین اقدام غیر قانونی راهم بنا بر جایگاه حقوقی خود نپذیرفته است . آنها از نظارت نهادهای بی طرف بر خوراک و سلامتی و دارو بی بهره اند . و در مورد امنیت و کجایی مکان نگهداری آنان ابهامات زیادی وجود دارد و این نگرانی‌ها روز به روز برای ما شدیدتر شده است .

اینک ما خانواده آقایان کروبی و موسوی و خانم رهنورد از طرف آنان اعلام می کنیم که ما و عزیزان مان به این زندان هرچه که باشد خانگی یا غیر خانگی ، معترضیم و خواهان پایان دادن به این اقدام ضد انسانی و ضد قانونی هستیم. مسببین اینگونه رفتارها به خوبی می دانند که با اقداماتی چنین، در اراده عزیزان ما در حق خواهی خویش و دفاع از آرمان هایی که میلیون ها هم وطن مان در خیابان ها ابراز کردند و خون خود را نثار نمودند و دهها شهید دادند و دچار حبس وشکنجه و انواع مسایل دیگر شدند و نیزهزاران زندانی که همچنان مقاوم و استوار در حبس اند؛ خللی ایجاد نخواهد کرد.

ما از حاکمانِ بر جان و مال و ناموس مردم می خواهیم از راه ضد ملی و ضد دینی و ضد انسانی که در سرکوب هر منتقد و مخالف خود در پیش گرفته اند و کشور را درلبه پرتگاه جنگ و ویرانی قرار داده اند به راه منطق وقانون و مصلحت مردم و میهن برگردند.

ما خانواده آقایان موسوی و کروبی، که برعهد خود با مردم در دفاع از حقوق شان وفادار واستوار مانده اند؛ اینک به خاطر حقوق از دست رفته آنها ، به عنوان نمادی از حقوق از دست رفته مردم ایران و مخصوصا شهدای مظلوم و زندانیان بی گناه ، از همه هموطنان مظلوم و رنج دیده و فداکار و از همه انسان های حق طلب و آزادی خواه و عدالت جوی، هم گام با هموطنان داخل کشور که خواهان تسلط مردمسالاری واقعیند ، در جای جای جهان میخواهیم پژواک صدای حق خواهی ما باشند . و صدای مارا به گوش جهانیان برسانند که: “زندانیان مظلوم و مقاوم ما وهمه زندانیان سیاسی و عقیدتی را در سراسر ایران آزاد کنید . کشور وملتی با اینهمه سرفرازی و بزرگی شایسته این حد رنج تنگناهای اقتصادی و سیاسی وخدای‌ناکرده جنگ نیست .”

خانواده مهدی کروبی و میرحسین موسوی
۱۸ بهمن ماه ۱۳۹۰

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