Iran

After the overthrow of aging dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, seeds of revolution are emerging in other North African and Middle Eastern Arab countries. However, the country where a popular uprising could have the biggest impact, not just internally, but for the whole region and the world is Iran.

Like Egypt, Iran, formerly known as Persia, has a rich culture that pre-dates Islam by more than a thousand years. Iran has a young, well-educated population that has been ruled by brutal religious fanatics for thirty years.

In Egypt political repression was relatively moderate and it is conceivable that the Mubarak regime will ultimately be replaced by something much worse. In Iran, however, any change in regime can only be for the better. While some in the West were cautious about embracing the Egyptian revolution, there should be no such hesitation when in comes to support for the Iranian people trying to overthrow their oppressors.

Almost two years ago, the Iranian people tried to rise up against their government. The Green Movement was brutally suppressed after major initial successes. At the time the Obama administration showed no support for this amazing opportunity to change the Iranian regime. After being supportive of the Egyptian uprising, there can be no excuse for not strongly supporting the desire of the Iranian people to be free and we hope that Obama will not repeat his shameful behavior of 2009.

Demonstrations in Iran started today despite efforts by the regime’s thugs to suppress them. Since journalist cannot operate freely in Iran, the only reports come from people at these protests via the internet. Here is one amateur video of what is happening:

You can follow the events in Iran on Twitter under hash tag #iranelection.

We hope that the Green Movement from June of 2009 can revive and succeeds without massive loss of life.

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On Saturday Fidel Castro for the first time in four years addressed Cuba’s communist parliament. He almost died in 2006 from intestinal problems when he handed over power to his now 79-year-old brother Raul Castro. The almost 84-year-old gave a ten minute speech warning about a nuclear holocaust if the United States and Israel stand firm against the dictators of Iran and North Korea and their efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The Miami Herald reports:

Castro noted that after months of warning of the risks of nuclear war if the United States tries to inspect Iranian ships beginning in September, as part of U.N. sanctions, he’s now less pesimistic.

“At first I thought that the imminent danger of war had no solution possible,” he said.

“I am sure, however, that it will not happen that way and that, on the contrary, the conditions for a solution . . . are being created at this time.”

“One man alone will have to make the decision: The president of the United States,” Castro said, because Iran will not bow to U.S. and Israeli demands to halt its nuclear program.

If Obama approves an attack on Iran, he added, he will trigger a war that will spread through the Middle East and Asia and cause “the instantaneous death of hundreds of millions of people, among them an incalculable number of people in his own country.”

The “established order of the planet . . . will inevitably collapse, the reigning social order will disappear abruptly” and all currencies will be worthless, he added.

Castro noted that “as luck would have it,” Obama’s father was Muslim and his mother was Christian and added he hoped the U.S. president will become conscious of the threat to world peace.

Unfortunately, Castro is right about Obama’s unwillingness to seriously confront Iran and take out it’s nuclear capability. The real threat to the world is the opposite of Castro’s warning. Not confronting Iran and destroying its nuclear facilities creates the risk of a nuclear war in the Middle East.

If we had a president who understood the nature of the Iranian regime and of propaganda from old dictators like Castro, he would see through Castro’s rhetoric and understand that doing the opposite of what Castro recommends will ensure the world’s safety. Unfortunately, President Obama has been incapable of understanding the evil nature of Iran’s leaders and has grown up surrounded by leftist intellectuals who still idealize Castro’s murderous regime. Obama won’t admit this in public, but he is likely to find validation in the warnings of a decrepit dictator.

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I just finished watching The Stoning of Soraya M., a powerful, emotional movie about the brutal stoning of an innocent woman in an Iranian village.

Set in 1986 Iran at the start of Khomeini’s reign, director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s drama tells the true story of Soraya (Mozhan Marnò), whose husband plots to have her falsely accused of adultery so he can divorce her and marry a young girl. French journalist Freidoune (Jim Caviezel) is pulled into Soraya’s tragic story when he meets a desperate woman named Zahra (Shohreh Aghdashloo).

You can rent the DVD from Netflix or watch it online.

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The Iranian government continues the escalate its actions and rhetoric. After announcing that it will enrich uranium 20 percent, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei now threatens unspecified action on Feb. 11, the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution.

“The Iranian nation, with its unity and God’s grace, will punch the arrogance (Western powers) on the 22nd of Bahman (February 11) in a way that will leave them stunned,” Khamenei, who is also Iran’s commander-in-chief, told a gathering of air force personnel.

The opposition movement that gained strength after a fraudulent presidential election last June has called for large demonstrations on Thursday.

The race between the regimes quest for nuclear weapons and the opposition movements ability to topple the regime continues.

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The Iranian people are again rising up against the tyrannical regime that has ruled them for the past 30 years. This is happening at a time when Iran may be on the verge becoming a nuclear power posing a threat to its immediate neighbors and the world.

Protests increased after the death of Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on December 19th and have continued on the Shiite religious holiday Ashura and beyond.

Montazeri once was the designated successor to Khomeini, the founder of the current regime. He was demoted just months before Khomeini’s death in 1989 after criticizing the repressive practices of the regime and advocating a more open society.

Six months ago, after the fraudulent election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner of a second term by the Iranian Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei, demonstrations by the opposition Green Movement erupted throughout the country. While they were sparsely covered by Western media, Iranian students were able to share information, pictures and video with the world through Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

The demonstrations were followed by brutal repression from government forces. Here is a video on the rise of the Green Movement and the events of last year:

After months of sitting on the fence, the Obama administration is showing more interest in supporting the resistance movement. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Since the opposition movement’s demonstrations recently peaked after the death of reformist Islamic cleric Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a number of Iran scholars in the U.S. said they have been contacted by senior administration officials eager to understand if the Iranian unrest suggested a greater threat to Tehran’s government than originally understood.

“The tone has changed in the conversation,” said one scholar who discussed Iran with senior U.S. officials. “There’s realization now that this unrest really matters.”

Better late than never.

The Obama administration’s new interest in the Green Movement may also be motivated by the realization that Obama’s overtures to the Iranian government have been rebuffed and mocked by the regime. The threat of sanctions is not credible after the Europeans and both Bush and Obama have been threatening sanctions for years and the Iranian rulers continue working on getting a nuclear bomb.

It is clear that Obama will not initiate military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel may try to strike, but it will be difficult for Israel to orchestrate the successful destruction of multiple nuclear facilities.

Revolutions are hard to predict, but Iran and the world would be better off if the irrational, terrorist-sponsoring regime is replaced before it acquires nuclear weapons. Iran would still likely become a nuclear power, but nuclear weapons in the hands of a democratic government with friendly relations with the West and with its neighbors would be less of threat than nuclear bombs in the hands of rulers who are openly calling for the destruction of Israel and Western democracies.

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