Posted tagged ‘Iran – homan rights’

Would Iranians really bring back the Shah?

January 3, 2018

Would Iranians really bring back the Shah? American ThinkerMonica Showalter, January 3, 2017

[T]here once was another Iran, one where women had freedoms; living standards were rising; human rights were improving (he learned that the Shah’s much vilified SAVAK secret police, for instance, committed far fewer crimes than Soviet-linked propagandists had claimed); and the country was integrated with, not isolated from the world community.  The Shah, Cooper argued, really did want to see his country advance in the world, and he enacted many democratic reforms.

Is it really that far-fetched that the [deceased] Shah[‘s son, Reza Pahlavi] might be seen as a legitimate alternative for Iran?  Not with these current things going on.  Right now, U.S. policymakers should be ignoring the Stanford establishmentarian elites on Iran and reading Cooper’s book as fast as they can.

He appears to have no ulterior motive other than doing what he can to help his countrymen in Iran and his willingness to become the necessary catalyst to dislodge the current brutal regime.  Reza Pahlavi wants the Iranian people to rise up against the regime and establish a parliamentary democracy based on democratic values, freedom, and human rights.

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Pundits have marveled at what a big surprise it is that ordinary Iranians have revolted against the mullahs.  It’s a surprise to them, but no surprise to American Thinker’s readers, whose Iranian contributors have kept us posted for years about what is really going on in Iran.

Just look at these pieces by Hamid BahramiReza ShafieeHassan MahmoudiAmil Imani, and Shahriar Kia.  Over and over again, these writers warned there is a problem, and now Iranians’ protests against corruption, soaring prices, environmental ruin, Revolutionary Guards thuggery, poverty, and bank collapses have become the “surprise” story of the day.

One writer at Politico correctly noted that the “surprise” stems from reporters covering only Tehran’s elites, not the doings in the hinterlands.  The hinterlands, of course, are where the trouble started, beginning in Mashhad, and these are the parts of the country American Thinker’s writers have been bringing us information on.  These writers showed long ago that what we are seeing now isn’t your garden-variety protests of city elites seeking “reform” or “fair elections.”  These protests are smaller, but they’re the real kind, revolutionary ones, actual calls for the overthrow of the regime and the initiation of a new government.  Protests now aren’t coming from the comfortable elites who just want a little bit of tweaking.

Now with eyes on Iran, one essay, published six months ago at American Thinker, stands out: Amil Imani’s piece titled “Is Reza Pahlavi the Only Hope to Overthrow the Mullahs?

On the surface, it sounds ridiculous that anyone would want to bring back a king, even as a constitutional monarch in a democracy.  But it’s real.  Here is an account by Voice of America about the rise of the late Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, a smart, photogenic, democracy-oriented leader, waiting in the wings as an alternative to the corrupt, sneering mullahs.

 As Imani noted:

Reza Pahlavi is the son of the late Shah of Iran.  I have never had the honor of meeting or speaking with him, although I judge any man based on what he says and what he does.

As I watched this man grow and become a seasoned politician, my admiration for him grew stronger.  In my opinion, Mr. Pahlavi has become the very asset that the opposition has needed for many years.

He appears to have no ulterior motive other than doing what he can to help his countrymen in Iran and his willingness to become the necessary catalyst to dislodge the current brutal regime.  Reza Pahlavi wants the Iranian people to rise up against the regime and establish a parliamentary democracy based on democratic values, freedom, and human rights.

American Thinker’s writers, most recently Hassan Mahmoudi, have noted that in the shouted slogans in the crowds, many were calling for the return of the Shah.  Russian propaganda organ Sputnik has noted the phenomenon in the streets, too.

It’s worth noting that kings are easily understood by average people and for that reason have appeal, especially in light of the failure of the current regime.

I have one story of my own that suggests that a return to the Shah may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

An old friend, Andrew Scott Cooper, spent years of research to write a fascinating scholarly book about the last days of the shah of Iran, titled The Fall of Heaven, published by Henry Holt & Co. last year.  He actually managed to reach and interview the former shabanu, or, queen, of Iran, Farah Diba, who was living in exile in Europe.  From that, he wrote a fascinating, unique account of the Shah’s last days, largely told through her eyes.

It was a sympathetic analytic history, intended, as he told an audience at the Nixon Library last year, to show that there once was another Iran, one where women had freedoms; living standards were rising; human rights were improving (he learned that the Shah’s much vilified SAVAK secret police, for instance, committed far fewer crimes than Soviet-linked propagandists had claimed); and the country was integrated with, not isolated from the world community.  The Shah, Cooper argued, really did want to see his country advance in the world, and he enacted many democratic reforms.

Naturally, saying something out of the ordinary, or contradicting the conventional wisdom, is a good way to get panned, and so publication of the book was followed by several critical book reviews – in the top papers, often by Iranian-Americans affiliated with the elite establishment centers of Iran research, such as Stanford.  These were scholars who had an interest in maintaining the conventional wisdom and who may have had interests getting contracts from the mullahs.  These are the same people whom policymakers and newspaper editors tend to consult as experts and were the people who said all was well; just stay out of Iranian affairs and let them handle it.  In addition, there was a creepy campaign on Amazon to drive down the ratings of the book by similar people who had never even read it – and Amazon put a stop to it.  What this all showed is that there existed a large entrenched establishment with an interest in maintaining the status quo, and its operators were aghast at the idea – now being shouted in the streets of Iran – that maybe bringing back the Shah could be good.  Of course, they hated this louche idea.

But this came against another subplot of the publishing of this book, which was that a hell of a lot of those books, thousands of them (showing Iranians their own history and teaching them that Iran was once a very different place), somehow got smuggled into Iran, and the locals lapped them up.

As a result of this, within a few days, a full Farsi translation of the book will be coming out, which should stoke conversation about this in Iran even further, given the interest shown.  Publishers don’t publish books in non-Western languages if they don’t think they will sell.  Obviously, the publishers knew that something big is going on and published the costly translation.  Iranians, starved of information about their own history, are likely to lap this up just as they lapped up the English-language version.

Given what is going on in Iran now, call it fat on the fire.

Don’t think there hasn’t been wild interest on this side of the hemisphere, too.  Iranian-Americans on the West Coast flooded an author’s event held at the Nixon Library last year in September, shortly after the publication of Cooper’s book.  It was standing room only, and it’s important to note that the Nixon Library is not all that close to where most Iranian-Americans live in the Los Angeles area, which is Beverly Hills and its outskirts.  The Nixon Library is about an hour’s drive away from that in Yorba Linda, Calif., and it’s an arduous drive, through a truck-convoy-route highway.  Here is a photo I took of how the audience that night looked:

Here is Andrew Cooper signing copies of his book – which sold out with a line waiting.

Is it really that far-fetched that the Shah might be seen as a legitimate alternative for Iran?  Not with these current things going on.  Right now, U.S. policymakers should be ignoring the Stanford establishmentarian elites on Iran and reading Cooper’s book as fast as they can.

The Moral Cost of Appeasing Iran

February 24, 2016

The Moral Cost of Appeasing Iran, Gatestone InstituteMohshin Habib, February 24, 2016

♦ The leaders of both France and Italy set aside their values to appease the president of Iran.

♦ In France, protesters demanded that President François Hollande challenge the Iranian president about his country’s human rights abuses. France’s leadership, however, raised no questions of that sort. Instead, Mr. Rouhani was welcomed as a superstar.

♦ According to a 659-page report by Human Rights Watch, Iran’s human rights violations under Mr. Rouhani’s governance have been increasing. Social media users, artists and journalists face harsh sentences on dubious security charges.

♦ In November, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to death for Facebook posts “insulting the Prophet” and “corruption on earth.”

Right after signing the Iran nuclear deal with itself — Iran still has not signed it, and even if it did, the deal would not be legally binding — members of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have been showing their eagerness to establish improved relations with their imaginary partner.

Last month, after the lifting of international sanctions, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, went on a five-day trip to Italy and France.

Officials from the host countries were so enthusiastic to welcome the Iranian president, it was as if they were unaware of Iran’s multiple violations of The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — which Iran did sign in 1968. They also seemed unaware of Iran’s expansion into Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as Iran’s continuing role in sponsoring global terrorism.

Although both the leaders of France and Italy seemed eager to appease the president of Iran, in Paris, thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets to protest Mr. Rouhani’s visit, and staged mock executions to highlight Iran’s dire human rights violations. In 2014, for instance, at least nine people were executed on the charge of moharebeh (“enmity against God”).

Even today, dozens of child offenders remain on death row in Iran. According to Iranian law, girls who reach the age of 9 and boys who reach the age of 15 can be sentenced to capital punishment. A recent report by Amnesty International called Iran one of the world’s leading offenders in executing juveniles. Despite the country’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child — which abolishes the use of the death penalty against offenders under the age of 18 — the UN estimates that 160 minors remain on death row.

The Iranian delegation, according to The New York Times, had asked Italian officials to hide all statues leading to the grand hall of the Capitoline Museums — where a news conference between Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Iranian president took place — to avoid any “embarrassment” for Rouhani, who casts himself as a moderate and reform-seeker. So on the first stop of Mr. Rouhani’s European visit, statues were encased in tall white boxes. In addition, “The lectern, was placed to the side — not the front — of an equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, apparently to avoid having images of the horse’s genitals appear in news photographs.”

As any kind of image is haram (forbidden) in Islam, any form of statue is considered idolatry.

Many Italians expressed their outrage over the decision to censor the statues. They accused the government of betraying Italian history and culture for the sake of economic interests.

An Iranian women’s rights organization, My Stealthy Freedom, condemned the Italian government’s decision. In a post on their Facebook page, the group wrote:

“Italian female politicians, you are not statues, speak out. Rome covers nude statues out of respect for Iran’s president in Italy and Islamic Republic of Iran covers Italian female politicians in Iran. Dear Italy. Apparently, you respect the values of the Islamic Republic, but the problem is the Islamic Republic of Iran does not respect our values or our freedom of choice. They even force non-Muslim women to cover up in Iran…”

In France, protesters demanded that President François Hollande challenge the Iranian president about his country’s human rights abuses. France’s leadership, however, raised no questions of that sort. Instead, Mr. Rouhani was welcomed as a superstar.

Big business deals were signed. France’s car-maker Peugeot and Iran’s leading vehicle manufacturer, Khodro, are engaged in a €400 million partnership. France’s energy giant, Total, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy crude oil from Iran. Total will reportedly begin importing 160,000 barrels of oil per day starting on February 16. Twelve days after the West lifted economic sanctions, Airbus announced that Iran Air had agreed to purchase 118 new planes. The deal is estimated at $25 billion.

Prime Minister of France Manual Valls hailed his country’s trade agreements with Iran. “France is available for Iran,” he said.

During a recent visit to Tehran, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier, asked the Iranian president to keep Germany in mind as a future stop on his next trip to Europe.

Meanwhile, according to a US State Department report, Iran has pledged to continue its assistance to Shiite militias in Iraq. Many of these militias have poured into Syria and are now fighting alongside the Assad regime. Rouhani’s government also continues to support its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

For many years, the Iranian president has kept up close ties with leaders of Hezbollah, including Abbas Moussavi (the former leader of Hezbollah who was killed in 1992) and Hassan Nasrallah. In March 2014, Mr. Rouhani publicly pledged support for Hezbollah.

Rouhani’s Defense Minister is a former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan. He commanded IRGC forces in Lebanon is Syria during Hezbollah’s founding years from 1982-1984.

Last September, Dehghan said that Tehran will continue arming Hezbollah, Hamas and any group that is part of the “resistance” against the U.S. and Israel. Iran, he explained, considers America to be the Great Satan.

“Hizbullah,” Dehghan stated, “does not need us to supply them with rockets and arms. Israel and the U.S. need to know this. Today, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah have the capability of producing their own resources and weapons themselves. Nevertheless, we shall not refrain from supporting them.”

As well as Dehghan, almost all of Rouhani’s appointments are either former members of the IRGC or other revolutionary institutions, such as Iran’s Judiciary and Intelligence Ministries.

Iran’s human rights violations under Rouhani’s governance have been increasing. A 659-page report published by Human Rights Watch concludes that Iranian authorities have repeatedly clamped down on free speech and dissent. “In a sharp increase from previous years, Iran also executed more than 830 prisoners.”

806Since Hassan Rouhani (right) became the president of Iran, the surge in executions has given Iran the world’s highest death penalty rate per capita.

Social media users, artists and journalists face harsh sentences on dubious “security” charges. In May 2014, four young men and three unveiled women were arrested after a video showing them dancing to the popular song “Happy” went viral on YouTube. They were sentenced to up to a year in prison and 91 lashes on several charges, including “illicit relations.”

In November, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to death for Facebook posts “insulting the Prophet” and “corruption on earth.”