Protesters aren’t about ending the Islamic Revolution, they’re about getting back to it

on 56 Comments

Ali Gharib writes:

The regime is NOT going to collapse. And that's not the goal of any of those marching Tehran's streets.

This is not about ending the Islamic Revolution, it's about getting back to it. For all his talk of returning it to its roots, Ahmadinejad's slow crawl from a defacto dictatorship to a dejure one is a shift away from the Revolution, which was, let's not forget, first and foremost about getting rid of the dictatorial and tyrannical Shah, not about Islam and that state.

Moussavi has made clear that the people are behind him not for his sake, but for the sake of the Republic that they love. Likewise, the emerging ritual of standing at windows, balconies, and rooftops at around 10pm and shouting "Allah-o-akbar" is a call of hope for the idealism of 1979 — hardly a time an anti-IRI movement would look to. I think it's the most moving thing to come out of the whole ordeal so far:

56 Responses

  1. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 5:09 pm

    Does this mean that the opposition leadership has finally come to itsr senses and realized that what they have been doing by going to the street rather than pursuing their grievances through the proper channels first and foremost has been playing into the hands of the very same West that has been threatening the revolutionary sovereignty of Iran?

  2. LeaNder22
    June 16, 2009, 5:27 pm

    Don't forget that Amadinejad is feeding the rage concerning bomb, bomb, bomb – bomb, bomb Iran The people that are on the streets now are more aware about this. It's complicated.

  3. Nth Republic
    June 16, 2009, 5:33 pm

    Excellent choice to post that, Adam. I wish more of our (American) media would listen to political analysts who understand the Iranian psyche and the role the Islamic Revolution still plays in that country; but then, that wouldn't serve the ideological current the op-eds are pushing right now, would it? And I suppose they'd be selling less copy.

  4. Craig11
    June 16, 2009, 5:36 pm

    The people of Iran used the "proper channels" when they cast their ballots a few days ago. The government chose to ignore them and instead announce fabricated election results that according to Grand Ayatollah Montazeri are not believable by anyone in their right mind (a category which apparently does not include you). Protesting in the streets is exactly the thing to do at this time. I don't think the people of Iran want to stop being an Islamic republic, but they want their country run honestly. What they will get if they don't overthrow Khamenei and Ahmedinajad is not an Islamic republic but merely a dictatorship that claims to be Islamic, but which like all dictatorships is really just about maintaining power for its own sake.

  5. Alireaza Hekmati
    June 16, 2009, 5:37 pm

    Do not listen to Mondoweiss. I am Iranian-American and spoke to someone who lives there one day ago. Their ultimate goal is regime change and all Americans should support them in that cause. The Islamic regime tortures people under Sharia law. They stone women for adultery, execute citizens, They are shouting that from the roof-tops because they are completely against the IRI and only trust in Allah not their so called representatives on earth so torture them. They are abusing people in the name of religion. Please contact the media at: ” target=”_blank”> These are the The Seven-Point Manifesto of resistance movement in Iran that the person I spoke with in Iran told me : 1. Stripping Ayatollah Khamenei of his supreme leadership position because of his unfairness. Fairness is a requirement of a supreme leader. 2. Stripping Ahmadinejad of the presidency, due to his unlawful act of maintaining the position illegally. 3. Transferring temporary supreme leadership position to Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazery until the formation of a committee to reevaluate and adjust Iran’s constitution. 4. Recognizing Mir Hossein Mousavi as the rightfully elected president of the people. 5. Formation of a new government by President Mousavi and preparation for the implementation of new constitutional amendments. 6. Unconditional release of all political prisoners regardless of ideology or party platform. 7. Dissolution of all organizations — both secret and public — designed for the oppression of the Iranian people, such as the Gasht Ershad (Iranian morality police). Obama should state I want emphatically to state tonight that if the outrages in Iran do not cease, we cannot and will not conduct "business as usual'' with the perpetrators and those who aid and abet them. Make no mistake, their crime will cost them dearly in their future dealings with America and free peoples everywhere. I do not make this statement lightly or without serious reflection.

  6. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 5:55 pm

    Again, are all of the facts in regarding the Iranian elections Craig for you to make such a conclusion?.

  7. Ali Baba
    June 16, 2009, 5:57 pm

    Nice to see a post where you didn't blame the Jews for the world's troubles, stirring up anti-semitism, and giving a jihadi another reason to kill a Jew.

  8. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 5:57 pm

    Are you at all connected to the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) party?

  9. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 5:58 pm

    Could you furhter explain what you mean LeaNder22?

  10. Mythbuster
    June 16, 2009, 5:59 pm

    I wish one Iranian-American would admit that they supported the Shah.

  11. Mythbuster
    June 16, 2009, 6:02 pm

    Have you considered moving your eyes off of your navel? Most us only blame the Israelis for their crimes against Palestinians. Considering how many crimes the IDF commits, that's a full-time job. BTW, this whole conversation is not about the Jews. Get over yourself.

  12. Craig11
    June 16, 2009, 6:07 pm

    I've answered this question several times already from you today. It's getting old. Again, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri has issued a statement today saying (among other things) that the election results announced by the government are not believable. Why do you think he is saying this if not enough facts are in? Is he another part of the "Western media" that you think is so biased against Iran?

  13. Nth Republic
    June 16, 2009, 6:09 pm

    Heh, I was wondering if he was MEK/PMOI as well… First thought I had when I read that; although they wouldn't be calling for a replacement of the Supreme Leader, but a complete regime change.

  14. Vazken
    June 16, 2009, 6:10 pm

    Here is a link I hope all of you and the MSM visits and learns more about what the people on the ground want: ” target=”_blank”> There is an interview with an Israeli site: ” target=”_blank”>

  15. Colin_Murray
    June 16, 2009, 6:16 pm

    Opposition to political repression is never homogeneous. The correctness of your perception does not necessarily invalidate Ali Gharib's. Are your 7 points inconsistent with his notion of 'getting back' to the original vision of the Iranian revolution? My question isn't rhetorical. I know next to nothing about the values and goals of the original revolutionaries. What were they? Given SAVAK's international fame as bloodthirsty torturers, I would hope that ending torture would have been on a list of priorities after the Shah fled. Institutions change as the people within them change, and as new demands are made upon the people within them, e.g. the Iran-Iraq war. Did the new regime start torturing immediately? Were the Basiji (definitely kin of Nazi brownshirts) always thugs? Note that I am defending neither the current government nor its 1979 predecessor. I just want to point out that it is highly likely that most Iranians in 1979 thought that it was an improvement over what they had before. Obviously many do not feel that way now. Is it not possible that some of the people opposing the current regime have some desire to return to what they may perceive as the 'good old days', even if they weren't alive then? Also, I strongly disagree with your opinion about Pres. Obama's public statements. We aren't doing any business at all with "the perpetrators and those who aid and abet them". That kind of statement is exactly what will strengthen support for the regime among the undecided. Few like foreigners interfering in their affairs. That kind of rhetoric has been standard fare since 1980, and it hasn't done a whit of good. Note that that kind of statement is exactly what Likudnik extremists want. That should sound some alarm bells. It would only enhance the us-versus-them mentality that could lead to the war the Likudniks so desperately want. The objective is freedom is it not? What kind of rhetoric is most likely to make a positive influence? The President can only have essentially one public position, even if composed of several parts. He has publicly stated that he won't engage in what Uri Avnery calls 'wink' politics. The whole of his policy will speak the same message to all the different players in the ongoing turmoil, and they will not all respond the same way. I think he has tailored it so that he is expressing support for the Iranian people while trying not to excite fear among those who think that domestic disturbance will enhance the likelihood of American attack.

  16. RowanBerkeley
    June 16, 2009, 6:41 pm

    Neither Phil nor Adam knows anything about Iranian politics (I notice for instance that they have made no mention whatever of the CIA-backed series of Jundullah terrorist bombings in Iran), and their motives for running this campaign here on MondoWeiss are highly suspect. I recommend that people who visit MondoWeiss because of their interest in zionist matters boycott it until Phil and Adam cease and desist from using the site as a vehicle for this campaign.

  17. EvaSmagacz
    June 16, 2009, 7:17 pm

    Rowan, Phil and Adam know very little about Iranian politics but their site is avidly read by Iranians, with hits from Iran accounting for up to 20% of their traffic. So by covering this they are acknowledging and entering into interaction with their readers. They are also promoting the idea that Zionist desire to drag USA into pre-emptive war with Iran is not supported by all Americans. And finally, don't you think that this being Phil's site, he can exert editorial control over content?

  18. Dave
    June 16, 2009, 7:48 pm

    Ridiculous. This MIGHT have been about an election on Saturday. You don't think the people in the streets of Tehran had whatever faith they had in the Revolution shattered the moment the first truncheon came out? The shouts of Allah-o-akbar seem to me an appeal to THE highest authority, and a reminder to the supreme leader that even he must answer to God.

  19. RowanBerkeley
    June 16, 2009, 7:58 pm

    You don't think that attempting to stage a Soros-style 'velvet' revolution in Iran is warmongering? I do.

  20. dh2
    June 16, 2009, 8:00 pm

    I wish one would say how much they like bars, fast cars and discotheques.

  21. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 8:01 pm

    What facts did Grand Ayatollah present Craig?

  22. Craig11
    June 16, 2009, 8:08 pm

    What do those bombings have to do with the current crisis in Iran? It seems to me that the government created this problem all by itself by issuing fraudulent and unbelievable election results. Funny how you, a British Muslim, are all in favor of Mondoweiss as long as it sticks to criticizing what Muslim governments like to call "the Zionist entity," but the moment Phil and Adam go after a corrupt Islamic dictatorship while its police are beating and shooting protestors, you start questioning their motives and asking people to boycott the site.

  23. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 8:23 pm

    "…Even the American left-wing has endorsed the U.S. government’s propaganda. Writing in The Nation, Robert Dreyfus’s presents the hysterical views of one Iranian dissident as if they are the definitive truth about “the illegitimate election,” terming it “a coup d’etat.” What is the source of the information for the U.S. media and the American puppet states? Nothing but the assertions of the defeated candidate, the one America prefers. However, there is hard evidence to the contrary. An independent, objective poll was conducted in Iran by American pollsters prior to the election. The pollsters, Ken Ballen of the nonprofit Center for Public Opinion and Patrick Doherty of the nonprofit New America Foundation, describe their poll results in the June 15 Washington Post. The polling was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and was conducted in Farsi “by a polling company whose work in the region for ABC News and the BBC has received an Emmy award.”* …" ” target=”_blank”>

  24. Colin_Murray
    June 16, 2009, 9:04 pm

    I agree. I think any increase in opposition to the Iranian government inspired by those monumentally stupid CIA-backed bombings is noise compared to what it has aroused against it all by itself. I think politically those operations were an own-goal, not a score against the Iranian government. Just because extremist Zionists don't like it doesn't necessarily mean that leaders of the Iranian government are 'the good guys' and above reproach. They are not, and I think it's fair to say that they run one of the more internationally unpopular governments on the planet. I think a call for a boycott of the site is preposterous.

  25. Colin_Murray
    June 16, 2009, 9:10 pm

    … faith … shattered the moment the first truncheon came out Unleashing the Basiji was a serious mistake. Sending out uniformed riot police is one thing, sending out lawless ignorant rabble in civvies to enforce state authority does nothing but undermine respect for it. That sends a clear message, whether intended or not, that no redress for grievance will be permitted via legal channels.

  26. Saleema
    June 16, 2009, 9:16 pm

    If so many people are moved to mass protest and risking police batons, then maybe something is a amiss in the Irani elections. Becasue the CIA has actively supported many such velvet revolutions throughout the world that it's hard for people to believe their hands aren't in it this time acting from behind. But polling showed strong support for Moussavi in his hometown and yet he loses by such a big margin in his hometown? Absolutely makes no sense. Yet, I really haven't formed a strong opinion either way.

  27. Shafiq
    June 16, 2009, 9:18 pm

    Marion, if you felt that you'd been cheated of an election, what would you do: a) Go through the proper channels where nothing happens, or b) Go onto the streets making sure your voice is heard We all know nothing happens through option (a), just look at the Bush 2001 election. It wasn't a coup and Ahmedinejad was going to win anyway, but they did attempt to rig the election, quite brazenly may I add, which is why I give full support to the protesters.

  28. Shafiq
    June 16, 2009, 9:21 pm

    How about calling for a re-election with international observers and the Iranian people deciding the rest? I hate election cheats but I think you're living in a bubble of your own if you think Moussavi would have won the election had they not cheated.

  29. Outsider
    June 16, 2009, 9:30 pm

    I am working in an Iranian company in Germany and I realize that different Iranians differ among themselves as to how to assess the situation and the public sentiments and opinions in Iran: It all depends who just telephoned with whom: With the young niece in Tehran, with auntie in Ghom, with that old uncle in Bam and so on. At the moment you could more or less say: Three Iranians, seven opinions – in very lively discussions. Therefore I don’t give much on “I just talked with an Iranian”-analysts. Even less on know-it-all-Anti-Imperialists. But I do think highly of giving different voices a chance – as is done in this website – especially voices far away from the ready-cut mainstream opinions, voices that try to differentiate and to understand the dynamics and changes in Iranian society. And there have been a lot in the past twenty years, so I am told.

  30. carnas
    June 16, 2009, 9:34 pm

    In other words, you support the beating to death of peaceful protesters.

  31. fruit_loopz
    June 16, 2009, 9:48 pm

    Gee golly! Wouldn't you know it: the iranian people – like all people – don't think like a collective monolith! Shocking. I don't mean to be rude but come on! Of course there are different opinions. Why is that surprising?!

  32. Shafiq
    June 16, 2009, 9:49 pm

    I'm with Craig on this one

  33. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 10:11 pm

    "…It wasn't a coup and Ahmedinejad was going to win anyway, but they did attempt to rig the election, quite brazenly may I add, which is why I give full support to the protesters."–Shafiq "It wasn't a coup and Ahmedinejad was going to win anyway, but they did attempt to rig the election…"? Again, are all of the facts in to make such a decisive conclusion?

  34. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 10:13 pm

    "I hate election cheats but I think you're living in a bubble of your own if you think Moussavi would have won the election had they not cheated."??????????? What is this supposed to mean?

  35. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 10:17 pm

    Are we to consider ourselves as the good guys Colin, while we have been going around the world creating chaos, division, and helping to overthrow governments who challenge us all in the name of our interests?

  36. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 10:18 pm

    Why am I not surprised? LOL!

  37. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 10:59 pm

    I replied to this earlier but for some reason my post has disappeared…So Colin do you believe that we should consider ourselves as the good guys even though we have a record of going around the world creating chaos and division amongst people within countries in order to try and over throw governments that challenge us in the name of our interests? And if that doesn' t work than we often resort to war….Because the fact of the matter is that we have a clear record that we take any action concerning the rights of people in the Middle East region unless they belong to a country other than Israel that is challenging our interests…

  38. Joshua
    June 16, 2009, 11:01 pm

    Saleema, the "numbers" are not something to rely upon and there really is something quite amiss with this whole episode and how it erupted. Now there definitely is discontent in Iran with the regime, Ahmadinejad and the Guardian Council BUT the fact that Moussavi declared victory BEFORE the final numbers were as very suspicious as if he anticipated such a margin and wanted to capitalise on the hopes of unrest with his own (petty) followers. Moussavi's hometown also does not make an election, even a flawed one like the Iranian one. More or less, I know the rest of the world finds it an anomaly but Ahmadinejad played a good card during the campaign (corruption on Moussavi and his family) as well as a good social program that bolstered living for the poor rather than the neoliberal policies that Moussavi advocated for Iran. What it looks like is that the good folks of the Iran guard wanted a good cushion for their leader of choice (which is Ahmadinejad and not a pro-Western, privatise everything candidate like Moussavi) so they buffed up the polls for Ahmadinejad when they really didn't need to.

  39. Joshua
    June 16, 2009, 11:01 pm

    No one in Iran needed Moussavi to declare a motion that they're elections are somewhat flawed. What is entirely amiss is that this Moussavi is far from the ideal candidate and really he only varies from Ahmadinejad on few key issues and also that ALL CANDIDATES who are deemed too reformatory or so far out of bounds to express doubts on Iran they are immediately dismissed and not allowed to run altogether. What we have is a fight over two candidates who were chosen by the police. I'm sure the student voices are mixed (some want total change, others just want slight reform) and I shall wait until more can be unveiled on what this episode really means.

  40. Marion
    June 16, 2009, 11:06 pm

    "I don’t give much on “I just talked with an Iranian”-analysts. Even less on know-it-all-Anti-Imperialists. "–Outsider Does this mean you are a pro-Imperialist Outsider? What is wrong with including the “I just talked with an Iranian”-analysts" with different perspectives along with the "different voices….especially voices far away from the ready-cut mainstream opinions, voices that try to differentiate and to understand the dynamics and changes in Iranian society…."? And don't you think that the differing Iranian people perspectives can give you the best understanding into the dynamics and changes in Iranian society?

  41. Joh Domingo
    June 17, 2009, 12:15 am

    I am with Rowan Berkerley on this one. It is quite clear that Mondoweis are dilettantes when it comes to any issue outside Jewish lachrymose sentimentality. In Lockstep with Juan Cole, who has his own fundamental issues with Iran that revolve around his Bahá'í faith, Mondoweis and others have provided the basic liberal shield behind which the empire's legionaries will march. Not a smidgen of consideration for those Iranians who might be fearful of the missiles that will now surely rain down upon their heads. When that that time comes I will be here to remind you all of your culpability. You are culpable, as you always have been, and always will be. That is your role. This outcome of this obvious American operation is clear as day; Moussavi will hang for treason when the inevitable investigation of his nebulous charges reveal that they are without any real substance; and it becomes apparent that he is a foreign agent. This will be followed by more demonization of Iran, to be followed shortly thereafter by the first unofficial bombings. Ooops! How silly of me, those have already begun, some slap bang in the middle of the election campaign. By then Mondoweis will desperately be trying the clamber up the slippery slope they just slid down.

  42. Peaceful_Idiot
    June 17, 2009, 12:48 am

    Isn't it nice that the State Department urged Twitter to delay its maintenance? Gotta keep the propaganda lines going, from our new Iranian Freedom Blossom straight to Yegg Central. ” target=”_blank”>” target=”_blank”>…

    Report: State Dept. urged Twitter to reschedule maintenance by Caroline McCarthy When Twitter rescheduled some planned downtime in order to stay accessible for Iranian users in the midst of political upheaval, it was at the request of the U.S. State Department, according to CNN.

    $400 Million and all I got was this lousy pysop. ” target=”_blank”>…

  43. MRW
    June 17, 2009, 2:53 am

    Ah, the colonialist arises with his pristine criticism! I wish one would say how much they like bars, fast cars and discotheques. Only Islam fundamentalists dont permit this, just like Christian fundamentalists, and Jewish fundamentalists and Sihk fundamentalists and Jain fundamentalists and Hindu fundamentalists, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

  44. MRW
    June 17, 2009, 3:02 am

    Now, here's a cogent argument for switching loyalties if I ever heard one. Do not listen to Mondoweiss. I am Iranian-American and spoke to someone who lives there one day ago. Yeah! Not him. Me!

  45. MRW
    June 17, 2009, 3:03 am

    Put down the bag of quarters and get off the horsie.

  46. americangoy
    June 17, 2009, 3:18 am

    OK all… When hundreds of thousands come out into the streets braving police batons and possibly being shot, it is far beyond anything that a CIA can organize. The professional America haters can go take a flying leap as far as I am concerned. Iran is young, very young due to the Iran Iraq war after-effect, and young people are usually restless. When they are kept down by sanctimonious thieves, old men and their stooges who mask their kleptocracy behind their pious religion they acted. The revolutionary guard is more like the Russian Mafia these days than a religious, fanaticized force – wrote about it on my blog, as I am sick of the calls by "the real lefties!" ™ aggressively trying to paint this as a CIA psy-op, as if CIA was powerful enough to get ALL these people out into the streets. "Here, Jamina, here's $10 – go out into the street and get beat up!". Preposterous. I look forward to the thieves in power getting ousted – carve the dogs off the bone!

  47. Marion
    June 17, 2009, 3:38 am

    Criag, More counterfacts to your rash conclusion: Western Misconceptions Meet Iranian Reality ” target=”_blank”>…

  48. Marion
    June 17, 2009, 3:41 am

    The CIA can certainly help initiate it and help keep it going…..

  49. Saleema
    June 17, 2009, 3:52 am

    You have some good points, but don't underestimate the CIA. Remember, they set up the Taliban and defeated the Russian giant? I'm not saying that this is the case here but it is a possibility. I still don't know what to think. I don't know much about internal Irani politics so I will wait to form an opinion and take a stand on the issue either way until I pick up more reading material.

  50. Outsider
    June 17, 2009, 5:56 am

    Not surprising at all – for me! Because I have to live with those differences daily and get along with them. But I realize that there are lots of people (and it seems to me also in the discussion here, but I don't like to point my finger at names) who seem to expect one simple clear-cut answer to the question: What do the Iranians want? Funny, I just realize that I obviously adopted the Iranian way of saying things indirectly, rather not critizising someone directly if that's possible. At least when writing on Iranian events.

  51. bar_kochba132
    June 17, 2009, 8:55 am

    The headline of this posting reminds me of what the Trotskyites used to say: "Stalin has betrayed the Revolution, we have to get back to the ideals of the Revolution as Lenin expressed them". Not realizing that the whole thing is rotten.

  52. Shafiq
    June 17, 2009, 9:48 am

    Well, the fact that the voter turnout was so high in comparison to the previous election (the reason Ahmedinejad won last time was because the 'moderate' voters stayed away); the fact that Ahmedinejad polled more votes in this election than the previous one; and the fact that the votes were counted so quickly do a lot to raise suspicion.

  53. Shafiq
    June 17, 2009, 9:52 am

    I'm trying to be balanced and weigh up both sides of the argument. It's just that in my eyes the scale is tipped in favour of the opposition

  54. Peaceful_Idiot
    June 17, 2009, 3:27 pm

    When hundreds of thousands come out into the streets braving police batons and possibly being shot, it is far beyond anything that a CIA can organize.

    Hi. So how do you explain the color revolutions in Eastern Europe? It is more than just the CIA too, NGOs like the CIA front group The National Endowment for Democracy play important roles. Perhaps you should do some reading before you let your emotions get the best of you?

  55. Donna Trump
    June 17, 2009, 9:38 pm

    What, exactly, is "moving" about that video? Since when is 'Allah-hu Akbar' some kind of code for progressive democratization? Sounds more like desparation, fear and fanaticism to me. If a Democrat were to win a disputed election in the USA, and his (or her) opponents responded by praying loudly to Jesus from their rooftops, would you call that 'moving'? I'd call it creepy and scary.

  56. Nathanael
    June 18, 2009, 2:31 am

    Hard evidence of election theft: (1) Election results were reported before the ballots could possibly be counted. (2) Ballot boxes grabbed from precincts and removed before they could be counted locally. (3) Greater than 100% turnout is reported in several districts. (4) Identical percentages reported for Ahmadinejad across the country, including districts such as Balochistan and Kurdistan where he has little or no support. (5) Fewer voters reported for Karroubi (left-wing candidate) than the members of his *campaign machine* (6) Government refuses to show ballot lists to Rezaee (right-wing candidate) who has therefore demanded a new election as well. (7) Fatwa authorizing election officials to falsify vote counts. You can find firsthand reports of all of these independently, and they're all sourced from different people with different agendas. Really, it's absolutely 100% certain the election results were fraudulent — made up out of the whole cloth and not very competently. The "independent, objective poll" was conducted prior to the *election campaign* — widely perceived to have boosted Moussavi a lot — and it showed over 50% undecided. It doesn't provide any evidence of an Ahmedinajad landslice, which would have required a huge majority of the undecideds to support him, contrary to all evidence from the campaign.

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