Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Coincidence of Interests" and the 1953 Coup in Iran

Fifty seven years ago at this day, the legally elected government of Iran was overthrown by a coup and the Shah who had fled the country, returned triumphantly. Dr Mossadeq- the deposed Prime Minister were put on a show trial and jailed for three years. For the rest of his life, he was effectively under house arrest in a village near Tehran, Ahmadabad and died in 1966. It is true that the idea of a coup was a brain child of the UK- who had lost to Mossadeq in the International Tribunal in the Hague- but the USA, especially the notorious CIA played a very important role in the operation. While it is true the non-Iranians played a very important role in the coup against the PM, I argue that my compatriates, namely some of the elites who did not like Mossadeq's approach to politics were and still are the main culprits. You may ask why I say this? These are my reasons:
- Any one familiar with Iran's modern history knows that politicians in Iran, almost all of them, see a position in the government as a cash cow, i.e. as a means of enriching themselves. There is one exception, though, Dr Mossadeq and his close friends. In the past 57 years, the monarchists- during 1953-1979 and the Islamic Republic's officials, from 1979 up to present, left no stone unturned but could not find a single evidence showing financial corruption by Mossadeq or his close friends in his government. Just compare Mossadeq with those who came after him to see the difference.
- His respect for law was exemplary whether during his tenure as the PM or at any other time. It is well known that when under Reza Shah a law was passed obliging the Iranian males to wear a special hat, called " Pahlavi 's Hat", Mossadeq " imprisoned" himself for 8 or 9 months in his house. When asked why, he replied, this stupid imposition has become a "law", and I do not wish to break it, and at the same time, I have no desire to give in to this super stupid idea!
- His belief in freedom of expression was total. One of the first decree, issued to the chief of the police was " that in Iranian press, whatever people write about me, no matter what or by who, no one should interfere with their freedom". During his term, he maintained this simple rule to the full. It is said that during that two years and 8 months that Mossadeq remained in power, there were at least 70 opposition newspapers, none closed or banned. Again make a comparison with the Shah's time, or with the more recent time in Iran.
-Mossadeq was a real and true patriot who loved Iran and was aware of its desparate needs and did his best to serve them.
Alas! not only the US and UK government did not like them, there were many Iranians who could not live with them either. It is this " coincidence of interests" between these reactionary forces of different descriptions in Iran and their imperialist masters that produced this disgraceful coup. Among my compatriots, those who still support that coup, should face up to the fact that apart from a despotic govenrment that ruled over Iran between 1953-1979, it also paved the way for the emerfence of a new despotism, that calls itself " the Islamic Republic of Iran".

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ahmadinejad: The Gambler

During recent expensive party that the government has thrown for expatriate Iranians, Mosha-ee who is Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff made a highly controversial speech in which he said " some people criticise me for saying " maktab-e Iran"- School of Iran, instead of " School of Islam". There are different intrepretations of the School of Islam, but our understanding of the truth of Iran and Islam is what I call the School of Iran. From now on we must try to introduce the School of Iran to the rest of the world". Following this, Mosha-ee has been severely attcked by many influencial characters on the top of the pyramid of power in the IRI. Firoozabadi- the Commandar in chief- called it a " treason", as did Tavakkoli- the inlfuencial Terhan MP and most important of all, Mesbah-e Yazdi, the powerful Ayattolah in Qom who has been a stunch supporter of Ahmadinejad and his government. Less fundamentalist politicians, such as Mottaheri, another Tehran MP has also joined the band wagon by attacking Mosha-ee. It seemed that at last, Mosha-ee's days were numbered. But, unwisely in my view, Ahmadinejad has thrown his hat in the ring by defending his speech and suggesting that he agrees with him too and he has full confidence in him. While his government is not practicing it, Ahmadinejad offered a serious defence of " freedom of speech" and suggested that those who diagree with him, could and should criticise and discuss his views rather than using labels and trying to shut him up. It is disgraceful that in the 2010, the basic principle of freedom of speech is so openly challenged by top politicians who are supposed to be defenders of these rights. However, it is ironic too that almost everything in Iran these days assumed a satirical dimension. If this is the right course of action, which it is and I agree with you, Mr Ahmadinejad why you do not practice it yourself? If you are honest in what you say, then, release all these political prisoners who are in jail, because you and your government disagree with their views. This said, it seems to me that Ahamdinejad has gambled here, but it may be a gamble too much!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Reporting on Iran-1

Tehran Stock Exchange [ TSE] is going crazy. It has broken all records and in the past 4 months, gone up by nearly 5000 points, from around 12000 it is now- on the 8th August- 16606. On the face of it, this is fine. If you have a flourishing economy, then this growth would be reflected in your SE index and pushes it up. In Iran, though, the Governor General of the Central Bank said in a press conference today that in the past 12 months, varioud sectors of the economy experienced different growth rates. Industry, according to the Governor General, grew by 7% while agriculture declined by 12%. The growth rate of Services was 2-3% and Oil sector has fallen by 2%. At the same time, the Statistical Office reported that during the first quater of 1389- i.e. during April, May and June- unemployment rate increased by 3.5% and now stands at 14.6% which is the highest rate since 2005. One reason for this impressive increase in unemployment rate- according to this latest official report, is that responding to poor market conditions, some industries had to lay off workers. If that is true, then the claims made by the Governor General need a pinch of salt to be believed. From other sources we know that textiles industries suffer from a very severe recession, and the same is true on sugar industries. To return to my initial point about the TSE index, if its impressive growth can not be explained by good economic fundamentals, then, there is a very well known name for it, BUBBLE. And bubble, by definition, will burst and it is not so much a question of 'if' but rather 'when'! Tehran Stock Exchange is no exception.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Reporting on Iran-0

What is going on in Iran? More than a year ago, there was a highly questionable Presidential election the fall out of which is still to be seen in the internal politics of Iran. The economic situation leaves a lot to be desired. The Central Bank claims that inflation is falling, but prices, especially prices of meat and chicken, are going through the roof. Other prices show a similar trends too. The forth resolutions are passed by the UN and the EU and Canada and others pass extra sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In such a situation, one expects that local politicians would be more cautious as not to add to these problems. But this is Islamic Republic of Iran. A few days ago, Jannati- the Secretary General of the Guardian Council accused Saudi Arabia to have acted as a medium for the transfer of $1 billion from the American government to the opposition leaders in Iran, promising another $50 billion if they succeed in bringing down the government! At the same time, a former editor of a Tehran daily who is now living in exile in an open letter to Khamene-ee compares Jannati’s action to “suicide bombing” which could only lead to deeper isolation of the ISR in the Middle East and a wider world. Ahmadinejad on the other hand, once again claimed that Israel hired assassins to kill him and repeated his call to President Obama for an open debate during his visit to New York in September. Mashaai has also claimed that the Arab nations owe the Iranians a historical debt, as if it was not for the Iranians, Islam would have been buried under tons of illusions originating from Arab nationalism