نقاط على الحروف من طهران: ماذا يجري في إيران؟ ناصر قنديل

 

نقاط على الحروف من طهران: ماذا يجري في إيران؟ ناصر قنديل

يناير 9, 2018

– تسنّى لي خلال زيارتي لطهران مشاركاً في مؤتمر مخصّص لاستراتيجيات الأمن الإقليمي في غرب آسيا تنظمه الرئاسة الإيرانية، أن أتلمّس الكثير من المعطيات والوقائع والتحليلات التي ترتبط بالأحداث الأخيرة التي عاشتها إيران، والتي وضعها الغرب وجماعته من العرب تحت عنوان بدء تداعي نظام الجمهورية الإسلامية، وأيام ولاية الفقيه باتت معدودة، ونموذج سورية يتكرّر في إيران. ولعلّ الجامع المشترك مما تسنّى لي مشاهدة وسماعاً وتحققاً، هو أنّ الإيرانيين ليسوا في هذا الوادي، فهم في وادٍ آخر، هم يفكرون بما تعلّموه من هذه الأحداث، وكيف سيواجهون استحقاقاتهم المقبلة، بضجيج أقلّ ومن دون السماح لخصومهم بالدخول على خط استخفافهم بمشاكلهم أو بخلافاتهم. وهم لا يشعرون بالحرج بالقول إنهم ليسوا دولة من دون مشاكل وليسوا مجتمعاً من دون خلافات، لكنهم دولة ومجتمع مجمعون على عدم الوقوع ضحايا تجارب شبيهة بتجربة «الربيع العربي»، واثقون من أنّ خياراتهم الإقليمية والدولية النابعة من التمسّك بدولة الاستقلال الوطني، وبالمسؤولية تجاه مقتضيات الأمن الإقليمي. هي الخيارات التي تصون مصالح الشعب الإيراني، وهي الخيارات التي صنعت وتصنع لبلدهم هذه المكانة وتلك المهابة، ولا يصدّق عاقل بينهم أنّ تعارضاً ما يوجد بين مصالح الشعب الإيراني ومقتضيات ما صنع لهم المهابة، في عالم تحكمه شرعة الأقوياء كان سيتناتش لحمهم لو لم تكن لديهم هذه المهابة وتلك القوة.

– في إيران بعد الأحداث يفكّرون أكثر بمسؤولياتهم الإقليمية وفي طليعتها خيار المقاومة، والالتزام بفلسطين. بفضل هذه وتلك بَنَتْ إيران قوّتها ومهابتها، وصانت بالتالي استقرارها، وصارت كلمتها مسموعة ومهابة، وحمت وحدتها. لذلك فالنقاش في مكان آخر، مكان حيث للاقتصاد ضرورات أبعد من حدود الرهان على الانفراج في العلاقات الدولية، ومقتضيات تأخذ بالاعتبار أنّ اقتصاد الحرب وحدَه يتناسب مع واقع إيران التي لا تريد أن تخضع وتستسلم لمشيئة راعي البقر الأميركي الذي يشاهد الإيرانيون كيف يفرض الأتاوات على الذين يُسلسون له التبعية، كما يشاهدون كيف ترتعد فرائصه عند ذكر اسم بلدهم، وكيف يتلعثم عندما يكون أمام قرار يتصل بهم. والنقاش في إيران بمثل ما هو حول الخيارات الاقتصادية، هو حول كيفية جعلها استراتيجية تحظى بالإجماع كما تحظى الخيارات الكبرى، فتكون خارج التنافس الانتخابي ولعبة تسجيل النقاط التي تفتح اللعبة لآخرين أوّلهم المتربّصون الذين دخلوا هذه المرة على الخط كما يدخلون في كلّ نقاش داخلي إيراني يتحوّل ضجيجاً أو يستسهل الإيرانيون خوضه في الشارع. وفي إيران نقاش حول مستقبل المواقع القيادية من الرئاسة المقبلة إلى منصب المرشد وما يدور حول شروط الترشح له، وإبعاد لعبة الشارع عن المرشحين لمنصب على هذه الدرجة من الجدية والحساسية.

– يعترف الإيرانيون أنهم فعلوا عكس ذلك خلال الشهور الماضية، فتفجّرت قضية المؤسسات المصرفية المتعثرة، ومعها مشاريع زيادة أسعار المحروقات. وصارت في الشارع المستعدّ أصلاً لتلقي الإشارات المتصلة بالتنافسات السياسية والفقهية وسواها، ليفاجئهم جماعة بقايا نظام الشاه بأنهم قد نظّموا صفوفهم بالمئات، ليكونوا قادرين على تنفيذ أعمال تخريب وشغب في عدد من المدن والبلدات والقرى، بعيداً عن طهران التي شهدت ليومين فقط تجمّعات بالعشرات. لكن التي فاجأ الإيرانيين أكثر هي ثلاثة أشياء: الأوّل أنّ التغطية والإحاطة الإعلاميين تجاوزا أضعاف الحقيقة بالمبالغات، والثاني أنّ الشعب على درجة من النضج أنه بمجرد استشعار محاولات الاستغلال والسير بالشارع إلى المجهول، تراجع المحتجّون، رغم أنّ قضايا الاحتجاج لم تكن قد سلكت طريق الحلّ، والشيء الثالث هو سرعة تماسك القيادات السياسية والفقهية فوق الانقسامات والتنافس لمواجهة موحّدة تقطع طريق العبث وتعالج المشكلات وتستخلص العبر والدروس وتستعدّ بهدوء لملاقاة المسؤوليات والاستحقاقات.

– يقول مسؤول إيراني كبير إنّ الرسالة التي أراد الأميركي والسعودي و«الإسرائيلي» توجيهها عبر الأحداث الأخيرة تستهدف الفلسطينيين لتقول لهم: لقد قُصم ظهركم، فعلامَ تستندون وتواصلون الحراك، ويضيف، أراد الإيرانيون بسرعة خروجهم من المحنة أن يوجّهوا رسالة للفلسطينيين تقول: لأجل فلسطين سيطرنا على الأزمة، لنقول للفلسطينيين، إيران بخير وملتزمة معكم قلباً وقالباً شكلاً ومضموناً فلا تجزعوا ولا تَهِنوا ولا تضعفوا، ونحن على العهد باقون.

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Saudi: 11 Princes Arrested over Demonstrating in Riyadh Royal Palace

January 6, 2018

Saudi Arabia Royal Guards

 

Saudi authorities arrested 11 princes who demonstrated in the presidential palace in Riyadh, Saudi media reported on Saturday.

Saudi online newspaper, Sabq, reported that 11 princes had gathered in the presidential palace in Riyadh after authorities banned them from some privileges related to electricity and water services.

Royal guards arrested the princes after they refused to do leave the palace, according to Sabq.

They were taken to Al-Hayer prison, the electronic newspaper said, adding that they will be prosecuted for refusing to obey the orders.

Saudi Arabia has been witnessing a massive purge since November 2017. Dozens of prominent princes, government ministers, and business people were arrested under the pretext of countering corruption. The move, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, is seen as an attempt by the 32-year-old prince to tighten his control over the kingdom.

SourceNewspapers

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Iran Protests…CIA Fingerprints?

RonPaulLibertyReport

Is it just a coincidence that the biggest protests since 2009 have hit Iran shortly after a secret agreement was revealed between Washington, Tel Aviv, and Riyadh to destabilize Iran? And shortly after a new Executive Order was issued by President Trump allowing him to seize US assets of anyone he deems a “human rights abuser” …or anyone who aids a designated “human rights abuser”?

Iran Reformists Condemn Violence, US Support for Protests

January 2, 2018

khatami1

Iran’s reformist politicians on Tuesday condemned violence that has rocked the country in recent days, accusing the US of stirring unrest.

“Without doubt the Iranian people are confronted with difficulties in their daily lives… and have the right to peacefully demand and protest,” said a statement from the Association of Religious Combattants, headed by reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami.

“But the events of recent days have shown that opportunists and trouble-makers have exploited the demonstrations to create problems, insecurity and destroy public buildings, while insulting sacred religious and national values.”

The group said the violence seen through five days of protests across the country would help Iran’s “enemies”. “The enemies of Iran, headed by the United States and their agents… have encouraged the trouble-makers and the violent actions.”

Some cities of Iran have witnessed rallies in the past few days in protest at price hikes and economic woes, but some rioters have taken the protest so far by damaging public property and attacking police forces.

According to Article 27 of the Iranian Constitution, “public gatherings and marches are allowed so long as the participants do not carry arms and are not in violation of the fundamental principles of Islam.”

In the recent demonstrations in Iran, 10 people have been pronounced dead, while unconfirmed reports suggest that the death toll has risen to 21 on Tuesday morning.

In Najafabad, a city in the central province of Isfahan, a rioter opened fire to police forces on Monday night, killing one and injuring three others with a hunting rifle.

President Hassan Rouhani has stressed that the united Iranian nation will stand firm against a small group of foreign-induced rioters that have tried to hijack recent peaceful protests in the country, saying any protest should be organized in compliance with the regulations.

SourceAFP

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Rouhani: Iranians Free to Protest, Trump Has No Right to Sympathize with Our Nation

 December 31, 2017

As he said that Iranians are completely free to stage protests, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani stressed the actions of the protesters should not lead to violence or damage public property.

Meanwhile, the Iranian president hit back at Donald Trump noting that the US President has no right to sympathize with the Iranian nation after the latter described the Iranians as “terrorists.”

Rouhani made the remarks while addressing a Cabinet session on Sunday as he pointed to recent gatherings in protest against economic conditions in a number of Iranian cities.

“We are a free nation and based on the Constitution and citizenship rights, people are completely free to express their criticism and even their protest,” he said, according to Iranian media.

He emphasized that the settlement of some problems in the country was “not easy and takes time,” calling for cooperation between the Iranian government and nation to solve those problems.

The Iranian people have the right to voice their criticism with regard to all affairs, Rouhani said, adding: “We believe that the government and the country belong to the people and the people must properly express what they want.”

Meanwhile, Rouhani condemned Trump’s comments about the protests in Iran.

“This man who today in America wants to sympathize with our people has forgotten that a few months ago he called the Iranian nation terrorist,” the Iranian president said, adding, “This person who is against the Iranian nation from head to toe has no right to feel sorry for the people of Iran.”

“Anyone who calls the Iranian people terrorists do not have the right to sympathize for the people,” Rouhani stated.

SourceIranian media

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Iranian People Will Deal with Rioters, Lawbreakers: President Rouhani

January 1, 2018

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian people will deal with a “small and minority group” of rioters and lawbreakers exploiting the protests against economic conditions in a number of Iranian cities in recent days.

Speaking in a meeting with a number of Iranian lawmakers on Monday, Rouhani said the nation would counter the small group that has used protests as an excuse to chant slogans in violation of the law and people’s demands, insult the sanctities and values of the Islamic Revolution, and damage public property.

“The enemy will not remain silent vis-à-vis the nation’s progress and greatness, but there are also deceived people among the protesters who have rightful demands,” he added.

The Iranian chief executive emphasized that the enemies of Iran could not tolerate the country’s achievements in the diplomatic arena, particularly in the confrontation with the US and the Israeli regime, and some of them had explicitly threatened that they would take regional problems into Tehran.

Rouhani stressed the importance of reinforcing national unity, particularly among the three branches of the government, as the best way to tackle such issues and the people’s problems.

“I believe that what happened in recent days was apparently a type of threat, which should be turned into an opportunity,” the Iranian chief executive said.

He noted that not all of those partaking in the protests were taking orders from foreigners and there was in fact a group of people who poured into the streets because of their “sentiments and problems.”

Since Thursday, groups of Iranian protesters have staged protests in several cities to voice their anger over rising prices and economic conditions. Sporadic violence has erupted during the protests, causing a number of deaths.

Addressing a Cabinet session on Sunday, Rouhani said the Iranian people were completely free to express their criticism of the government or stage protests according to the Constitution and citizenship rights, and in a way that would lead to the improvement of the country’s conditions.

“We are a free nation and based on the Constitution and citizenship rights, people are completely free to express their criticism and even their protest,” he said, reiterating that the manner of expressing criticism and protest must lead to the improvement of the country’s conditions and people’s lives.

SourcePress TV

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Iran protests: Western salivation, agitation & desperation

December 31, 2017

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker blog

Iran protests: Western salivation, agitation & desperation

I am on vacation and trying to stay away from politics to recharge my batteries, but a sane voice on Iranian politics in English is almost impossible to find, so….

Despite the Western media’s slobbering at the minor protests in Iran, there is no need to fear that Iranian democracy is about to “fall”. Allow me to get right to the heart of the matter and prove why:

What did the 2009 protests prove?

Firstly, that opposition to the Iranian system is obviously a minority, which was immediately indicated back then by the fact that the pro-Ahmadinejad counter-protests were larger – a rarely reported fact. Today there are major pro-government counter-protests now planned all over Iran, but good luck hearing much about that either.

Secondly, and more importantly – and this cannot be disputed whatsoever:

Exactly like in Venezuela this year – there is a hardcore, GRASSROOTS system of citizen supporters who will defend the Iranian Revolution with their lives…because they feel the Iranian Revolution (like Chavismo) has benefited the average citizen so very much. That’s why Venezuelan democracy didn’t fall – it was due to the common person attending a counter-protest, maybe even wielding a garden tool. This is what preserved Venezuelan democracy – not state military action – and this is also what happened in Iran in 2009.

So Iran 2009 and Venezuela 2017 proved that Mao was wrong when he said “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” – if you have enough of the People, all you really need is a makeshift club.

Because true politics – which is far different from pathetically snarky discussions on TV – is ultimately about People Power, and Iran’s government has the People clearly on their side. 2009 proved that if you push the Iranian People to the brink, you will be confronted with their power. (Iran is NOWHERE near the brink right now, of course.)

Iran’s Basij Resistance Bases – or volunteer militias, in Western terms – are far more deeply embedded in all levels of society than Chavismo colectivos. They are more more akin to the Chinese Communist Party (minus the formalised and incredibly rigorous testing and selection policy) as they compose perhaps 11 million people in an 80-million person country. Strikes are basically the only way to get any revolution going, but good luck getting an unjust strike past the Basij branches which are set up among unions, professional organizations, civil servants groups, student groups, industrial workplaces, etc.

And most of these members are unpaid. And they have families who likely feel similarly. And they have friends who clearly aren’t opposed to them…because they are still friends, after all.

So, you see…we are not talking about a “group” – we are basically talking about half of Iran.

Now you can ignore the ironclad reality of such grassroots (i.e. popular democratic) support all you like, but you will never defeat them internally. Never.

For that, as Libya proved, you need NATO bombs. There was huge internal support for the Libyan system: I was there when it started, and I witnessed pro-Ghadaffi protesters, and I was awed by their intensity – but they were overwhelmed by US and French bombs, 40 tons of illegal arms drops by France, a naval and air blockade spearheaded by the UK, Canada and all of Western Europe, etc.

So the analysis above should answer the question on every idiot Western commentator’s lips regarding a possible “fall” of Iran. I simply say: How do you account for the already-proven massive number of people willing to forget about political niceties/compromises and fight FOR Iran’s government?

This is not “tough talk” or “nationalistic talk” on my part – this is reality, and it must be accounted for in any discussion which claims to be serious (or worth having).

Foreign interventions and false flags – also not a worry for Iran

What must also be remembered is that Iran already had their “NATO intervention” – it was called the Iran-Iraq War. For 8 horrible years the West foisted Iraq on Iran, supplied Iraq with weapons, turned a blind eye to the worst chemical weapons atrocities since World War One, and did all they could to create, prolong and influence the deadliest war in the last quarter of the 20th century.

And it was still not enough.

A 2nd phony Western war would also totally backfire in 2018 – have no doubt about that. The Iran-Iraq War created a nationalist unity which Libya did not have; Libya’s revolution did create the highest standard of living in Africa and fewer poor people than the imperialist Netherlands (and free loans, education, health care, etc.), but it was never really tested. Syrians, on the other hand, will soon enjoy a nationalist unity also forged in the crucible of a horribly unjust war.

So there are simply not the type of divisions in Iranian society which the West was able to exploit in Libya. A 2nd phony Western war would undoubtedly be met with a largely-unified response to expel the invaders and Iran would never be fooled by their phony promises; this is evidenced by massive popular support for our right to nuclear energy, even though it is (allegedly) the main source of inhumane sanctions. The Iran-Iraq War not only “made the bones” of the Iranian system, but it is remembered and feared – a return to that will be wildly, massively opposed.

Iran is, in this sense, like Cuba and China: a revolutionary country full of many revolutionaries. There is no irony in their politics, nor any going back.

Iran is definitely one step ahead of Venezuela in another way: their government is not revolutionary, after all, but based on a democratic support for Chavismo that is fundamentally bourgeois (West European democracy). I am not denigrating Venezuela, but they have never instituted the fundamental, wholesale changes which countries like Cuba, China, Vietnam, Eritrea and others have implemented. This commitment to “playing by the rules” of a bourgeois democratic system leaves them very vulnerable and almost welcoming of the very forces which want to destroy the gains democratically won by Chavismo.

And it was not enough in Venezuela, too – Chavismo is still standing. It’s bruised, bloodied and shaky, but it’s still there despite the vast US-led effort against it. The source of the reactionary-foreign capitalist pact against Venezuelan socialism was because Chavistas are, correctly, starting to implement Cuban-style changes to their governmental structure in order to become less bourgeois and more poplar democratic.

What’s a more realistic fear? A Ukraine-style false flag operation.

recently re-broadcast a totally-ignored Italian report on 3 snipers who admitted they were paid to shoot at both sides at Ukraine’s Maidan. That caused the killing of 100 people, massive chaos, the subsequent discrediting of the government and then what still reigns today – horrible civil war.

However, Ukraine is no revolutionary society. The Iranian government would not, and should not, permit an encampment like at Ukraine’s Maidan. Iran is a country which has been besieged by foreign forces for decades, and is no position to allow an “Occupy” type of protest at Zuccotti Park in New York City (razed at night after less than 2 months, with more repression to prevent their return; that’s a slightly better democratic score than other Occupy protests in the US which were stopped much sooner; and a far better score than France, who rousted out their Nuit Debout protesters in Paris every single night, forcing them to rebuild the following day.) because we all know that it would be filled with 10 times more foreign operatives than in Ukraine, i.e., it cannot possibly be as democratic is it would claim to be. There would be Mossad, CIA, MKO, Al-Qaeda, ISIL, Mi5, DGSE and truly the worst of the worst in the world. You cannot compare the US and Iran; Iran is fighting for its life and its sovereignty, while the US government fights to preserve its capitalist inequality.

However, all those foreign, murderous groups will have no problem creating a sort of false-flag which kills hundreds and hundreds of innocent Iranians if it means installing a compliant billionaire puppet like in Ukraine – Iran is far, far richer than Ukraine, after all. And Iran is also the only thorn in the side of Western imperialist capitalism in the Muslim world.

With great power comes great responsibility, and thus Iran’s government is not about to allow a Ukraine-style Maidan to occur. Staggeringly, Iran has seen 17,000 people killed by terrorists since 1979; during this year’s ISIL attacks there was no overreaction such as installing a 2-year state of emergency like in France. Iran both does not mess around with risks and does not needlessly antagonise their own people (which actually means to make another risk).

Two people have died in the protests, and the government declared that security forces fired no bullets, and attributed the death to foreign agents. Given what has happened in Ukraine (and hundreds of other places over the years), and given the massive democratic support the government has…it would be insane and illogical to rush to judgment against the government.

Of course, this is exactly what the Western media is doing. They will desperately blow this out of proportion. They will salivate at the protests, dissimulate regarding their own hypocrisies, agitate for war, and all because they are so desperate to push their anti-Iranian agenda. This is textbook, and the historical modus operandi, and it will not change when the Western calendar turns to 2018 in around 12 hours.

It will likely work to great effect outside of Iran, but inside? No way. Iran is too busy trying to repair our issues – which every society has because humans are not perfect – to be fooled by tabloid journalism.

Are Iranians not permitted to have normal protests?

These protests are economic. Have you not noticed that these have swept much of the world for the past decade?

You might have an insane MKO cult member willing to burn a poster of Khamenei – giving the Western media the chance to blow that out of proportion – but this is an economic protest. But these are not a fruit-seller setting himself on fire, like in Tunisia, to desperately protest corruption, harassment and everyday brutality.

Protests are not unknown in Iran society: Has your country pulled off a silent march larger than Iran in 2009? Remember the silent marches of 2009? 1979 saw more than a small bit of protesting too, let’s remember. These protests are akin to the 3-500 protests per day in supposedly-undemocratic China: more effective government policies are being called for, not a whole new government!

Because these protests are economic, I will insist that the West give the Iranian government as much leeway as they take for themselves when confronted with similar demonstrations.

Waitaminut…I sure hope Iran is not THAT bad!

Because during the age of austerity I have been tear gassed too many times to count while covering economic protests in France. Only because I am a foreign journalist, I have not been among the thousands of arrested pro-democracy protesters; there have been hundreds of banned protests (how many more chilled into silence and thus strangled in the cradle?); plenty of harsh jail sentences of leading activists; countless people hurt by batons and water cannons amid total Western media silence; countless protesters cowed by invasive searches by riot police and the guarantee of rough treatment.

But where were the Western calls for “regime change” in France, like which are pouring from the mouths of Western commentators?

When Hollande and Macron forced through by executive order the widely-opposed capitalist laws which sparked the anti-government protests, where are their accusations of “authoritarianism”?

Of course there were none.

Ugh. I just remembered I’m on vacation…I shouldn’t be wasting me time trying to point out that Iran’s government doesn’t needs to defend their actions to Westerners….

But the crimes of capitalism do not take a vacation

The truth is that Iran’s economic policies – like China, Cuba and everyone else – have been negatively tainted by the anti-socialist and neoliberal ideas which swept the world after the fall of the USSR.

While Iran has implemented an army of pro-socialist ideas which have undeniably redistributed wealth in an amazingly effective fashion, they have also pursued some pro-capitalist and pro-neoliberal ideas – this trend has spared no nation since 1991. The recent economic choices of Cuba and China are no different, but even though Marx said we must use the tools of capitalism in order to create socialism…that necessarily creates economic problems.

Now without a doubt, the main problem with Iran’s economy is simple: international blockade. It is deranged to believe otherwise.

However, the protests can be interpreted as evidence that experimentations with capitalism have not worked – indeed, they never have and never will. Neoliberalism has led to what it always does – inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

These protests are the same as in France: against decreased purchasing power and unemployment. Can’t we have a “normal” protest, LOL? It is sad, but many have been led to believe that Iranians are aliens, but our problems are actually the same as yours!

But Iran does have much better alternatives, however: Khamenei’s pushing of a “resistance economy” – meaning a nationalist economy which rejects capitalism – is in direct opposition to neoliberalism. But – NEWS FLASH – Iran is a democracy; Khamenei is not anything close to an absolute ruler (the translated title of “supreme leader” is quite misleading, LOL); there are supporters of capitalism in Iran.

Thankfully, supporters of capitalism are a minority, as Iran follows what I have termed “Iranian Islamic Socialism”. These protests will lead to economic changes which implement more Islamic and socialist economic principles.

As we all know, these are two things which the Western media hates.

And thus, the Western media wants to ignore these complaints – which reflect near-universal economic hardship amid the Great Recession (even in non-blockaded countries) – and portray all protesters as pushing for the downfall of the Iranian system.

That’s nonsense, and it won’t happen. The reason why is simple: there is widespread democratic support for Iran and the popular, democratic revolution which set up the current system. Again, I am on vacation and I won’t waste more time telling people that the sky is blue – stick your head out the window and if you still disagree: it must be nighttime, you blockhead.

A minor point: a common Western trope is that these protests are in response to the “wasted resources” caused by lending support and solidarity to places like Palestine, Syria and Iraq. However, polls of Iranians show there is massive support for giving material and military support to these countries. (“In general, to what degree do you support or oppose Iran providing help to”: Hezbollah (71% approve), government of Assad (66% approve), Hamas (70% approve) Shiites and Kurds in Iraq fighting ISIL (88% approve), Iran should send military personnel to Syria(63% approve)) Clearly, the naysayers are in the minority: therefore, changing these policies would be undemocratic. Of course, the West would be ecstatic if Iran was no longer around to thwart their imperial projects. However, Iran’s politicians work in a democracy: if they want to win re-election, they will continue with these popular policies.

A final point: Why are democratic protests for policy reform a “sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy” when they occur in the West…but “an indicator people want to bring down the system” whenever they occur in non-Western countries? Ultimately, these protests will be heeded and, like all genuine protests, will make Iranian democracy stronger and the country better.

But as far as believing the Western media’s coverage of Iran’s protests – which is both uninformed and not remotely objective (and capitalist-imperialist, of course) — I suggest following my lead: enjoy your vacation instead.

Happy Western New Year to all!

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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