Observing Iran – inside out

Were are the residents of the poor areas of southern Tehran?

Recently several analysts have highlighted the issue of lack of mass involvement from the working class segments of Iran in the green movement protests. I wanted to share this article from Time Magazine which describes one of the weaknesses of the movement that needs to be addressed.

Iran certainly has its share of unruly worker unrest. Over the past year, strikes and walkouts have broken out in the automobile, tire, sugar, textile, metals and transportation industries. Many of these protests were concerned with bread-and-butter issues: wages not paid, unexpected layoffs, deteriorating benefits and rising unemployment. Yet an organized alliance between Iranian workers and students has still not materialized as it has elsewhere

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2045328_2045333_2053157,00.html

In a speech following the 2009 protests, a veteran Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, Saeed Ghasemi, said the time to be afraid would come if the poor of south Tehran ever “went crazy” and withdrew their support for the supreme leader.

‘Middle Class Revolutions’
February 17, 2011, 7:06 pm
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Watching CNN, BBC or any major international news source there is much talks about the twitter or Facebook revolutions and generations. Yes, these social medias have been a tool to initiate protests but they are not a decisive tool to bring about change in Middle Eastern nations. First of all, only a few percentage of the Iranian population has Facebook or twitter accounts. It’s more within the young middle class generation who have access to these tools. If relying on the social medias, the movements will ultimately fail and will be used against its organisers.

The workers of Iran will be the final cause of change

The Iranian middle class are the most active group and the main people on the streets of Iran. The Iranian regime is aware of this, they are not building their power base on them. They are aiming for the Mostazafin  (the outcasts, the oppressed masses or poor working class) segments of Iranian population.

To archive a powerful movement that would shake the grounds of the rulers these things need to be addressed:

  • Involve and mobilise the working class of urban Iran
  • Mobilise the state employees, teachers, bus drivers, oil workers, truck drivers etc.
  • Get the bazaars merchants to participate in the protests by shutting down during the days of protests.
  • Unemployed youth of southern Tehran

Social Medias are for the Middle Class, they now how to communicate their message to the other segments of the Iranian society. The down with slogans on the streets should not be directed towards the nations leaders, but more towards economical and social failures.

  • The middle class wants: political freedom, free elections, freedom of press etc.
  • The working class wants: job opportunities, purchasing power, workers rights, unions etc.

The slogans and messages need to include the needs of the working class for them to join in. When ordinary Iranian working class joins in, then nobody is running from basijis. They are the real hard men and women of Iran, that would die to archive their demands.

A “revolution” can never triumph if it’s a “middle class revolution”. The only chance a revolution can have is if the poor masses join the protests, and the working class launches a general strike. 20th of february will be the next date that Iranians defy their rulers, if the poor in the cities join in…then they are up for yet another great suprise.


When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right
February 16, 2011, 7:56 am
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Recent days that lead to 14th of Februari or 25 Bahman was noticeable tense, the frustration level among ordinary Iranians have raised as the repressive environment created after the Iranian election in 2009 with combination of price increases has agitated the Iranian Middle Class. The vast segments of the urban Iranian middle class are feeling pressured by the closed political atmosphere and the economical hardship that is felt throughout the society.

As the news of the arab uprisings have reached Iranians, the feeling of being the most miserable in the region and now Iranians feel it’s time that change reached Iran as well.

Envy, anger and humiliation is the few feelings that have been felt among the middle class. They showed their resentment towards the supreme leader on Monday in great numbers. Still noticeable is the lack of support among the lower class urban Iranians, as the Mostasafin in Iran has still not risen yet. Urban middle class in Isfahan, Tehran, Rasht, Shiraz, Kermanshah and many other Iranian cities poured out to the streets and defied the threats of the Revolutionary guard and basijis. The Green Movement is alive and strong as ever, no matter how many arrests, executions and terror being forced on the movements members.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.  –  John F. Kennedy

The slogan was hard and radical, no reform slogans was shouted. It was slogans against the system and the leaders of it. To really take off and make this movement an ocean of protesters defying tyranny, the working class Iranians need to come out into the streets.

For the winds of change to sweep Iran, it needs to reach out to the poor districts in Iran and get the working class who are feeling squeezed due to price increases and inflation with combination of high unemployment into the streets.

They would break the backbone of the basijis and send them running out of the squares of the cities. Freedom is near and Iranians are realising it more and more for each day. The regime is shaken as well as the ranks of the security forces, they are feeling that they used all options at their disposal and still masses comes out. Only thing left is massive crackdown on people and trial of Mousavi and Karroubi, but they don’t dare to go that far as the cracks within are to big. It could be the final blow. Winds of change are on it’s way…

Winds of Change
February 14, 2011, 10:42 am
Filed under: Iran

Iran is awakening, as people in Tehran felt terrible injustice as Egypt got freedom and Iran had 22 Bahman ‘celebrations’.

I believe that Iranians will come out to the streets today in masses.  Will post more, in a few hours

The end of an Iranian-Lebanese romance
October 17, 2010, 4:58 pm
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The world watched how Mahmoud Ahmadinejad toured Lebanon as a long awaited national hero. Few world leaders would get a reception that the Iranian leader received by a large segment of the Lebanese population. Most Iranians initially reacted with pride, that at last they are celebrated upon their arrival or welcomed, as the Iranian nation have gotten used to be perceived as the black sheep of the world community. The days when Iranian flags were raised in pride at state visits, are part of history and nostalgic memories from the Shah Era of pre 1979.

In the Iranian mind

The thought of once again being recognized as a great power and world leaders standing in line to shake the hands of an Iranian representative is fuel for their nationalistic hearts. But the reception for Ahmadinejad took a different twist. It angered the Iranians more than anything, how dare they blindly support the oppressor of Iran. It was a unique PR show for the Ahmadinejad/Khamenei axis, founded by Iranian oil money and managed by Hezbollah’s PR group.

Iranians have for long time seen Lebanon and Lebanese differently than their Arab neighbors. Lebanon has been a nation of educated open minded people, a liberal spot surrounded by conservative Arab nations. Iranians don’t even see Lebanon as an Arab state; the majority of Iranians see Lebanon as a melt pot of ethnic groups and religious sects.

The Real friends of Lebanon are in prison

Therefore when southern Lebanon was occupied by repressive Israeli forces in early 1980’s, there was a massive support for the Lebanese resistance. At a time that Iran was invaded and engaged in a devastating war with its Arab neighbor Iraq, they still sent soldiers, weapons and money for Lebanese resistance.

The prime minister at the time in Iran was Mir-Hossein Mousavi and the person in charge for the Lebanon relations was Hashemi Rafsanjani. When Lebanon managed to throw out Israel in 2001, the president in Iran was Mohammad Khatami. All the people who were initiators of support for Lebanon at that time are the arch enemies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his extremist government and some of them are even in Evin prison. During the two days he spent in Lebanon, an arrest order came for Rafsanjani’s son, the son of a leading ayatollah was arrested and another aid of Mousavi was arrested.

“Iranians supported Lebanon against its oppressors

And the Lebanese supported the oppressor of Iran”

All those men in Iran who for decades sided with Lebanon are either in Ahmadinejads prisons today or in bitter fights against the dictator of Iran. The Iranian blogs were full with questions such: Haven’t the Lebanese people seen the blood that Iranians shed in the streets of Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz or Shiraz. Haven’t they heard the cries of millions of Iranians on their rooftops at night, yelling “Allah o Akbar! Or Death to Dictator”??

Everywhere Ahmadinejad has set his foot internationally; he has been met with massive protestors of human right and pro-democracy Iranians.

Ahmadinejad stole the Iranian people’s votes in 2009 and has tried, however unsuccessfully to quash the Green Movement of the people of Iran. Through his proxies in Lebanon he is trying to bribe and steal the trust of the Lebanese people and quash the heart of the Cedar Revolution.

At the moment when Iranians are fighting an oppressive dictator, the Lebanese came in masses to receive Ahmadinejads handout. The price was $450 million….But Ahmadinejad will at his peak bee in power for additional 3 years, the future belongs to the Iranian people. As Iranians will never forget the support Lebanon showed for the person that cheated an election and cracked down on its youth and women.  How would future Iranian Green leaders be able to justify support for Lebanon after this? Already were the ordinary Iranian people blaming the elite forces of Ahmadinejad to be of Lebanese origin, and this display of support only confirmed the thoughts of millions of Iranians.

A stupid deal

The Palestinians betrayed the Kuwaiti’s when Saddam invaded their country, and still today you don’t see a Kuwaiti dinar in support of the Palestinians. The leader of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, recently replied to Ahmadinejad by saying, mind your own business and don’t interfere in Palestinian affairs.

“The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority, has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives”

How could any other leader in Iran gather support for a Lebanese cause in the future? If the Lebanese were true business men and skilled politicians, they would understand the price they have to pay for Ahmadinejad’s blood money donations. That money is cursed money, as everything that Ahmadinejad has previously touched has proven to crumble to pieces.

To sell to the highest bidder is not what makes a great business man; it’s a business man who can find a long term sustainable profitable business relation. They should have tried to find a long-term business partner, which are the people of Iran.

Dariush – The voice of a nation
October 17, 2010, 4:30 pm
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Iran Inc. – not a sustainable business

Let’s for once drop the political perspective and ideological viewpoint when we do an analysis on Iran. Let’s look at it through a business perspective and do a due diligence on whether the Iran Inc. stock will drop or rise.

Iran Inc. has been a conglomerate which has been highlighted in media for its controversial business. Global authorities have had objections for the way they have done business, sometimes because of its unethical business methods and partially because it’s business model is a threat to the well established multinational enterprises.

Iran Inc. has a controversial president M.A who likes to get media attention for his challenging business forecasts. M.A believes that all publicity is good publicity and have tried to play the role as a company president that wants’ to create a much more equal business world. He is often criticized for his harsh treatment of his employees, who get’s penalized for objecting his management style. While he tries to be the champion of the blue-collar workers world-wide. The mismanagement of his company have led to much of the work force lost belief in him and is often in conflict with other executives in the company for his statements which they believe is hurting their interests and the company mission. M.A. got elected as president again after strong support from the chairman and has been charged for fraud during the election process.

Iran Inc. has a senior board of directors made by very conservative personalities. The Chairman of the company Mr. A.K is partial owner of the company and elected as chairman for life. He was elected after the founder Mr. R.K passed away 9 years after it was created. The chairman lacks the charisma of the founder but has managed with Machiavellian methods keep himself in control of the  main strategically decisions. He has managed to create divisions of mistrust with other senior members of the board, like the wealthy business tycoon Mr. H.R.

“Though the general principles of statecraft have survived the rise and fall of empires, every increase in knowledge has brought about changes in the political, economic, and social structure” – John Boyd Orr

The chairman strongly supports the president M.A, as he shows great loyalty towards the chairman as well. While the cracks and divisions in the company is increasing, mainly because most loyal staff and stakeholders believe that the president of the company is jeopardizing their future interests. They are now also getting further support by labor unions and few members of the board and former executives which resigned from the company. Still Iran Inc. is surviving as a company due to its precious core commodity (black gold), they supply almost 10% of the global energy demand. So no matter how rotten their code of conduct has been, the demand and supply equilibrium forces most company deal with them, after all…money doesn’t smell.

Due to the recent treatment of its employees and controversial statements as well as its disputed research program, most of the global businesses are now cutting its business relations with Iran Inc. Legal authorities have put restrictions in dealing with Iran Inc. and most banks refuse to expose themselves in payment transactions with them.

Some of their main partners have now limited their purchases and are refusing to supply them with new technologies and products.

Main shareholders and other stakeholders are not profiting as they used to. Pressure is mounting for a change of president, and some believe that the only way to turn around the business,  is too also have the lifetime elected chairman to step down from power.

Iran Inc. is today due to bad press and public discontent over its management, having problems in purchasing necessary components for their production and has been force to downsize its staff. Some senior members have also been fired and other have quit.

When the company won’t be able to purchase necessary goods for its production and will lose customers due to its negative reputation, it’s losing the stock value. Their highly valued commodity is facing difficulties to reach the global market and is not being sold for market prices.

“Good design can’t fix broken business models”

Fortunately the management has a long experience of crisis management, as they have been able to survive so far. But the daily crisis and the mounting pressure from within the company and by its strong competitors, analysts are skeptical that the business model is sustainable.

 So how does the future look for Iran Inc?

  • Customers are looking for other business partners and only shady business men are willing to deal with Iran Inc today, mainly Asian companies
  • Management conflict is paralyzing the company, which is only allowing them working on crisis solutions and short-term survival. Long term strategies are lost.
  • Employees have stopped working with heart and productivity is decreasing, many are working against the management objectives.
  • Media is publicly chasing their record and will take every chance they get to destroy the company image.
  • Banks will no longer issue Letter of Credits or handle business transactions with them
  • Stakeholders & Investors are losing confidence in the management as they are not receiving the returns they had hoped for

All these factors are proving that Iran Inc. does not have a sustainable business. If no radical changes happens very soon the whole company could go into bankruptcy. When Iran Inc. stops to be a profitable business, stakeholders will lose faith and start to support change. As the most influential and powerful people in a company is the institutions that hold the capital and are the main shareholders. When the cash flow stops and profits are gone, change will come no matter what. No military organisation, religious institutions or any mobilized group can prevent that change.

Money talks and bullshit walks…!

With unity the Green movement will prevail
September 1, 2010, 1:09 am
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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

Some might think they have the representation right for The Green Movement, but it’s an alliance of fractions compromised of different dissatisfied Iranians. Following up from the 2009 disputed presidential election in Iran, we had the biggest street protests since the 1979 Revolution. Among protesters, we could recognise three different categories of people who commonly challenge the rigged election by taking to the streets:

  1. The first category belongs to a Muslim population who voted for Mousavi or Karoubi by conviction; they still capitalise their hope on reforms within the Islamic Republic of Iran. As outlined in their behavioural protests, they form a rainbow from Islamists to secular Muslims. They show dissatisfaction toward Hardliners, but not the whole regime.
  2. The second category belongs to those who voted for one of the “reformists” as a “catalyst” in a hope that the elected President will ease the way for a transformation of secular and democratic regime in future. They voted for them as the lesser evils, hoping to have one of them as president to listen to aspirations of the nation. This category is highly frustrated with the whole regime, but still capitalise hope on a peaceful transformation.
  3. The third category belongs to those who boycotted the presidential election because do not see any compromise working within the regime. They want an immediate regime change, a new regime on the ruins of the actual one.

For them, hoping reforms within the Islamic regime, without bringing up the 31-year-permanent violation of human rights and trampling the very basic democratic rights of citizens, is a utopia. This utopia, mostly sowed by regime’s supporters of the first category, is to prolong the regime’s decadent life. For the third category, reforms within the regime seem rather a hollow bubble which disappears facing the factual background and genuine nature of this regime.

According to the ongoing anti-regime protests in and out the country, the second category is gradually approaching the third one, to the point that a regime change is now the predominant aspiration of most Iranian people. The Iranian protesters are still a lot to stand in front of regime’s thugs and get beaten, detained, tortured, and raped, but there is a trend among most people that they do not want to risk their lives for the survival of such a regime under any leadership and colour. They start casting doubt on the legitimacy of the whole regime, no matter who is the puppet President. Even if they still consider different pending perspectives, they have one common solution to the problem; they conclude a regime change as the only solution.

The regime is highly prudent; while reinforcing its troops on the streets, tries to separate “reformists” from the “agents of foreign enemies”: in other words the second and third categories who are rapidly increasing despite deadly threats. What concerns all secular and democratic intellectuals, we should avoid any mistrust and confusion which may result in an unnecessary rupture of grassroots among all these three different categories. It will be vital to focus on the unity of our people in their fair struggles against the plague of the Islamic regime.

Another advantage of our unity will serve to better detach military dissidents from the atrocious regime. Only thanks to the unity among people, a possible desertion of state troops and their solidarity with their oppressed people can be expected. It would not matter to which category these militaries belong, the point is to encourage them to join to their people’s open arms.

The war within the ruling hardline fraction of the government is ongoing as Iran’s Conservative Factions Turn On Each Other and the pressure for a solution of the current crisis is increasing. The race for Iran’s future has always been a marathon, the greens might be bruised and injured. But Iran’s defiant Green movement vows to fight on and are proving to be the main force for the future of Iran. Keep the unity and the cracks in the regime will make their bastillion to rumble and open for the last decisive battle.

“Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.”
Sun Tzu

Psychological battle over Iran

In recent weeks I had the opportunity to travel outside of Tehran into small towns and villages in the countryside. The rural areas of Iran has and is until today a conservative society, with focus on the daily life struggle rather than ideological and social liberty that characterizes the main cities of Iran. Until the aftermath of the election in Iran, the rural population focused mostly on economical promises from Tehran that would benefit their life’s.

Most rural citizens tends to vote for conservative candidates that delivered sack of potatoes to farmers or promises of oil wealth. But after the harsh crackdown on the protesters in the aftermath of the election, sympathy grew for the green opposition. Today the support for the regimes top leaders have decreased dramatically. Human values and respect for fellow compatriots are highly valued and cherished, and when stories today through pictures and word by mouth reaches the villagers about the abuses of political prisoners that once upon time was celebrated as heroes of the Islamic Revolution. The support and belief for the leaders of the current regime has dropped.

No longer is it tabu to criticize the religious leaders or doubt the sincerity of the speeches from the government’s top leaders. They have not joined the opposition in masses but they dropped their support for the leaders of the crackdown on the green movement. The rural population live life with patience, and have after 31 years lost most of their patience and belief in the radical islamic government. Time passes in a different pace in the rural countryside than in the urban areas, as the countryside Iranians are shifting rapidly towards the green movement another problem now comes to surface.

The patience and hope of the urban and exiled Iranians….In Tehran and major international cities with large Iranian population now many are casting doubt about democratic change in Iran. Many believed that change was a few months away and once again Iran was facing major uprising. Why the urban educated classes of Iran loose their hope quickly is a psychological debate for itself.

“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

But the main battle today is not fought in the streets of the cities, it’s in the corridors of the main power centers of Iran. It’s been fought harshly among the industrialists and investors who are loosing faith on the political decision makers for a weak economy. It’s been fought in the religious institutions that more than ever feels that religion has been abused as a tool for reaching political purposes. It’s been fought among uniformed military personnel that feel their current leaders are betraying the interests of the nation.

The mass demonstrations after the elections started the fire and today it’s burning inside every influential Iranian, so why all these doubt about the future possibility for better change in Iran?

The strong will always win over the weak and the regimes ambition is to weaken the hearts and the  minds of people who stood up against injustice. 

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. Now more than ever should we show that we are strong and we will carry the torch of fire that martyrs of the Green Movement lit. This is a battle for the future of Iran and there is no room for showing weakness in the face of the dictators of Iran.

We are fighting a psychological battle which is now reached all segments of Iran, remember that no champion ever doubts their goals. Think like a champion and act like a victorious freedom fighter. Neda va shahidan e azadi zende hastan agar to bidar bemani.

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!”

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison but never cast doubt on his struggle to liberate the people of South Africa, why go so far…prisioners in Evin like Issa Saharkhiz, after spending one year in Evin prison tells the court room and the judges of Islamic Republic that it’s the supreme leader that should be charged for crime. Iran has been blessed with thousands of fighters that until their last breath have stood up for what they believe in, but in the same time we have a young generation that show weak psyche in the face of their oppressors.  For better or worse, our future will be determined in large part by our dreams and by the struggle to make them real. The ultimate fight will be between our thirst for freedom and the oppressors belief in their leaders.

The last struggle for our rights, the battle for our civilization, is entirely with ourselves…

Hey Ayatollah, leave those kids alone!
July 30, 2010, 2:28 pm
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