Tales of riots and human rights

Nir Boms and Shayan Arya                                                                        

Following a week of riots across England, the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a warning to its citizens not to visit the UK. The Foreign Ministry advised Iranians to avoid troubled areas and Sardar Naghdi, the head of Basij units, even offered to send Basiji Brigades to England to help restore order. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who initiated a number of media interviews on the subject, demanded UN intervention.

It is interesting to note that a similar travel warning was not issued for Syria, where over 3000 protesters were killed in recent weeks by Syrian security forces. Perhaps the fact that Iranian weapons were used to “maintain order” in Syria is a good enough reason not to raise the issue. Just last week, Turkey informed a UN Security Council panel that it seized a second cache of weapons that Iran was attempting to deliver to Syria, in breach of the UN arms embargo. Continue reading “Tales of riots and human rights”

It’s (Iranian) Economy Stupid or Is It Us?

Caspian Weekly

Last year, following the rigged presidential election that gave president Ahmadinejad his second term, Iran was in turmoil. Millions of Iranians poured to the streets in protest. The brutal crackdown and the dramatic pictures of protests have captured the world’s imagination and sympathy. Following a few months of protests and failed hopes, the streets became quiet – but perhaps not for long.

Last Friday Hussein Sajedi-Niya, security forces chief of Greater Tehran announced a “neighborhood security plans” in where security officials will practice in more than 2000 (!) neighborhoods in greater Tehran. He too senses that this relative calm is hiding more than what meets the eye. The Islamic regime is in the midst of an economic turmoil, the likes of which has never been seen in its tumultuous 31 years of history. While the regime desperately seeks a way out of it, the Iranian people are already paying a very heavy price, perhaps more than they can afford. Unless this course is altered, masses of Iranians will soon have far less to lose. And that spells trouble to an already weakened and politically fractured Islamic regime.

Continue reading “It’s (Iranian) Economy Stupid or Is It Us?”

Sanctions Now or War Later, the choice is yours, Mr. President

Caspian Weekly

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 00:21 Nir BOMS and Shayan Arya,  Middle East

President Obama’s cautious approach to the Iranian crisis has drawn criticism from many quarters including from the ranks of the Iranian opposition and those Republicans in the House and the Senate who sought a more assertive American response. Nevertheless, the President remained consistent in his approach to the Iranian crisis.  He argued that harsh criticism of the government or endorsement of the protests could end up discrediting the protesters. He also thought that  the US should not be seen as  a player in these events  (a claim that was already raised by Iranian President Ahmadinejad). Continue reading “Sanctions Now or War Later, the choice is yours, Mr. President”

Playing Politics with Martyrs

Executive Summary:

–          The Islamic Republic of Iran will hold its next presidential election in four months time. Former president Mohammad Khatami has withdrawn from the presidential race, leaving a contest between incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former prime minister Mir Hossein Moussavi.

–          There have recently been protests at Iranian universities over a new government scheme to bury martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War in university campuses. Numerous students have been arrested, and many sent to the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, which is used to detain political prisoner.

–          Khatami, Moussavi and other ‘reformist’ politicians have remained silent, and have not given vocal support to Iranian student groups over this issue. This silence has highlighted the reformists’ main weakness: their indecisiveness.

–          The Islamic Republic’s hardliners have succeeded in leaving the reformists in an awkward position and exposing their weakness to the Iranian population. The reformist camp will have to become bolder and more willing to speak out if there is to be positive change in Iran. In the meantime, the United States should listen to and engage with the Iranian student movement, which seeks to challenge the Islamic Revolution. Continue reading “Playing Politics with Martyrs”