What Really Happened in Iran? Wave of Protests in 100 Cities

A fuel tax hike set the country ablaze and triggered a social backlash

Global Research, December 09, 2019

On November 15, a wave of protests engulfed over 100 Iranian cities as the government resorted to an extremely unpopular measure: a fuel tax hike of as much as 300%, without a semblance of a PR campaign to explain the reasons.

Iranians, after all, have reflexively condemned subsidy removals for years now – especially related to cheap gasoline. If you are unemployed or underemployed in Iran, especially in big cities and towns, Plan A is always to pursue a second career as a taxi driver.

Protests started as overwhelmingly peaceful. But in some cases, especially in Tehran, Shiraz, Sirjan and Shahriar, a suburb of Tehran, they quickly degenerated into weaponized riots – complete with vandalizing public property, attacks on the police and torching of at least 700 bank outlets. Much like the confrontations in Hong Kong since June.

President Rouhani, aware of the social backlash, tactfully insisted that unarmed and innocent civilians arrested during the protests should be released. There are no conclusive figures, but Iranian diplomats admit, off the record, that as many as 7,000 people may have been arrested. Tehran’s judiciary system denies it.

According to Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, as many as 200,000 people took part in the protests nationwide. According to the Intelligence Ministry, 79 people were arrested in connection with the riots only in Khuzestan province – including three teams, supported by “a Persian Gulf state,” which supposedly coordinated attacks on government centers and security/police forces.

The Intelligence Ministry said it had arrested eight “CIA operatives,” accused of being instrumental in inciting the riots.

Now compare it with the official position by the IRGC. The chief commander of the IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami, stressed riots were conducted by “thugs” linked to the US-supported Mujahedin-e Khalq (MKO), which has less than zero support inside Iran, and with added interference by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Salami also framed the riots as directly linked to “psychological pressure” from the Trump administration’s relentless “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. He directly connected the protests degenerating into riots in Iran with foreign interference in protests in Lebanon and Iraq.

Elijah Magnier has shown how Moqtada al-Sadr denied responsibility for the burning down of the Iranian consulate in Najaf – which was set on fire three times in November during protests in southern Iraq.

Tehran, via government spokesman Ali Rabiei, is adamant:

“According to our information, the attack on the consulate was not perpetrated by the Iraqi people, it was an organized attack.”

Predictably, the American narrative framed Lebanon and Iraq – where protests were overwhelmingly against local government corruption and incompetence, high unemployment, and abysmal living standards – as a region-wide insurgency against Iranian power.

Soleimani for President?

Analyst Sharmine Narwani, based on the latest serious polls in Iran, completely debunked the American narrative.

It’s a complex picture. Fifty-five percent of Iranians do blame government corruption and mismanagement for the dire state of the economy, while 38% blame the illegal US sanctions. At the same time, 70% of Iranians favor national self-sufficiency – which is what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been emphasizing – instead of more foreign trade.

On sanctions, no less than 83% agree they exerted a serious impact on their lives. Mostly because of sanctions, according to World Bank figures, Iranian GDP per capita has shrunk to roughly $6,000.

The bad news for the Rouhani administration is that 58% of Iranians blame his team for corruption and mismanagement – and they are essentially correct. Team Rouhani’s promises of a better life after the JCPOA obviously did not materialize. In the short term, the political winners are bound to be the principlists – which insist there’s no possible entente cordiale with Washington at any level.

The polls also reveal, significantly, massive popular support for Tehran’s foreign and military policy – especially on Syria and Iraq. The most popular leaders in Iran are legendary Quds Force commander Gen. Soleimani (a whopping 82%), followed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (67%) and the head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi (64%).

The key takeaway is that at least half and on some issues two-thirds of Iran’s popular opinion essentially support the government in Tehran – not as much economically but certainly in political terms. As Narwani summarizes it, “so far Iranians have chosen security and stability over upheaval every time.”

‘Counter-pressure’

What’s certain is that Tehran won’t deviate from a strategy that may be defined as  “maximum counter-pressure” – on multiple fronts. Iranian banks have been cut off from SWIFT by the US since 2018. So efforts are intensifying to link Iran’s SEPAM system with the Russian SPFS and the Chinese CIPS – alternative interbank paying systems.

Tehran continues to sell oil – as Persian Gulf traders have repeatedly confirmed to me since last summer. Digital tracking agency Tankertrackers.com concurs. The top two destinations are China and Syria. Volumes hover around 700,000 barrels a day. Beijing has solemnly ignored every sanction threat from Washington regarding oil trading with Iran.

Khamenei, earlier this month, was adamant:

“The US policy of maximum pressure has failed. The Americans presumed that they can force Iran to make concessions and bring it to its knees by focusing on maximum pressure, especially in the area of economy, but they have troubled themselves.”

In fact “maximum counter-pressure” is reaching a whole new level.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed that Iran will hold joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean in late December.

That came out of quite a significant meeting in Tehran, between Khanzadi and the deputy chief of the Chinese Joint Staff Department, Major General Shao Yuanming.

So welcome to Maritime Security Belt. In effect from December 27th. Smack on the Indian Ocean – the alleged privileged territory of Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy. And uniting the three key nodes of Eurasia integration: Russia, China and Iran.

Khanzadi said that, “strategic goals have been defined at the level administrations, and at the level of armed forces, issues have been defined in the form of joint efforts.” General Yuanming praised Iran’s Navy as “an international and strategic force.”

But geopolitically, this packs a way more significant game-changing punch. Russia may have conducted naval joint drills with Iran on the Caspian Sea. But a complex drill, including China, in the Indian Ocean, is a whole new ball game.

Yuanming put it in a way that every student of Mahan, Spykman and Brzezinski easily understands: “Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers.”  So start paying attention to Russia, China and Iran being quite active not only across the Heartland but also across the Rimland.

*

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protests

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protestsBy Ramin Mazaheri

Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:18AM [Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:24AM ]

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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

 

A simple question for you: are there, for lack of a better word, “counter-revolutionaries” in Ukraine, Hong Kong, or Syria? By that I mean: do those nations have people on the far extremes of the political spectrum who will provoke, take advantage of, and even relish in violence against their governments?

Obviously, only a liar or somebody foolishly playing devil’s advocate would not respond that, yes, in these nations there are many such persons — the proof is overwhelming.

So why would it be so hard to believe that there are such persons — counter-revolutionaries — in Iran, and that they hijacked recent protests over gas price hikes to provoke, take advantage of, and devilishly relish in death and violence against the government? Iran, unlike the nations I listed — and unlike almost every nation, period — actually had a popular revolution for extremists to counter in the first place.

Iranians are reminded of their exceptionalism when, for example and for certain, such far-right groups drove on a motorcycle to a gas hike protest, fired on the crowd, and fled.

Such vicious, armed people — the allies of the governments of many of those reading this article — are obviously the worst, most anti-democratic type of criminal. Their goal is just as obvious: to foment a counter-revolution in Iran.

What is unfortunate regarding the West’s coverage of the national tragedy which was the violence at the Iranian gas hike protests is that there isn’t the barest mention of this very real, very life-and-death, very accurate reality.

The term “counter-revolutionary” staggers the Western mind in its tracks — they seem to think it has been consigned to history? Or because there are no revolutionary countries in the West, and many ones filled with neo-imperial propaganda, perhaps they cannot even conceive of the existence of counter-revolutionaries?

The impact of such naivety is profoundly deadly.

Iranian counter-revolutionaries are aware of this yawning Western blind spot, and so they know that every single Iranian death — when reported by Amnesty International or Western journalists — will be blamed on the government and national security forces even though every Iranian knows that this is false and impossible.

The sweet, good-hearted innocents at Amnesty and the desk-only journalists in London, Paris, and New York City simply do not have the experience, or maybe even the editorial approval, to write this truthful question asked by every Iranian: how many innocent deaths were caused by counter-revolutionaries, and how many counter-revolutionaries pushed their far-right views all the way to their own demise?

We don’t know, as an official government report of the deaths has not yet been released. But everyone in Iran has an idea of the answer — a lot of them.

And there were many innocent deaths of protesters, too. This is why the gas hike protests are a tragedy.

And we know, because no one denies the right to self-defense, that the government simply had to fire back: when somebody drives by on a motorcycle and opens fire… what is the alternative for any civil servant working in security?

What needs to be impressed on non-Iranians is that there are regular protests in Iran and that they are not violent. Iran is not Cuba, which has no protests besides the “Ladies in White.” Iran is also not China, which has almost too many protests to keep track of. Iran is also not the US, which seemingly forgot how to protest in between the end of their Vietnam invasion and the election of Donald Trump. So if Iran has many protests which do not get violent, why did these?

The gas price hikes were launched without warning, and I assume it is because the government knew that they would be very unpopular… but they didn’t want them to be explosive.

And by “explosive” I mean that they didn’t want the old-money monarchists, the insane MKO who are even less popular than the criminal monarchists, ISIL (an attack of theirs caused 70 innocent casualties in Tehran in 2017), the cynical mercenaries bought by Western nations and their Arab monarch puppets, the secret service agencies of such nations which of course target Iran (is this is not a great number of people, already?) to have time to plan their drive-by shootings, building bombings and arsons at a  moment of heightened social unrest. I would say it’s not that the government wanted to catch the Iranian people by surprise, but to catch these illegitimate, undemocratic, far-right, definitely “counter-revolutionary” forces by surprise.

Were there legitimate protests against the gas hikes? As I mentioned, of course, and nor were they unusual or unexpected.

But attacking a police station, probably to get weapons — it is a normal journalistic question to ask if these are the works of counter-revolutionaries or “normal protesters,” regardless of the passport such attackers hold? Take a moment to imagine what the Western mainstream response would be be if French Yellow Vests did that — the idea that any of them would receive the barest sliver of public support is preposterous.

Just like with the Yellow Vests, the West lies about the true authors of protest violence

This should be stating the obvious to anyone with a rudimentary political awareness, but in the Iranian context, a “far-rightist” is synonymous with a “counter-revolutionary.” This is the case of every society which had a revolution since 1917, and Iran is no different. There is no “far-right” party in China, Cuba, Iran, or in any revolutionary nation because revolutionary nations all banish/declare war on far-right forces, after all.

It is difficult for Westerners to understand the recent Iran protests because they are denied this historical-political honesty and context about Iran. Their difficulty is further compounded by the fact that the top NGOs and the Western mainstream media cannot or will not admit that in Western nations the far-right is firmly a part of their establishments, unlike in Iran.

Look at the Yellow Vests in France: across the West, they have been portrayed as violent, far-right thugs masquerading as protesters. The reality is — and I have been there nearly every Saturday and can testify — the scenes of extreme violence always come from Black Bloc members who infiltrate the protests. Black Bloc is totally detrimental to the legitimate pro-democracy and socioeconomic demands of the Yellow Vest protesters; their ultra-left anarchism is totally unwanted; they are easily infiltrated by rogue cops, who merely have to wear black; French riot cops don’t lift a finger to stop Black Bloc’s vandalism — they are either colluding or, certainly, told to allow violence to occur in order to discredit the Yellow Vests.

The Yellow Vests are innocent protesters, just like the Iranian gas hike protesters — they are unarmed and cannot possibly stop people from committing unreasonable violence. Therefore, how can the West blame the Yellow Vests for violence they disavow and have no part in? I don’t know… but that is certainly what they have done for a calendar year.

The real violence comes not from Iranian gas price hike protesters nor Yellow Vests (who started following a gas price hike) in either of their situations, but from outside, unwanted, self-interested forces with incredibly dubious democratic intentions.

It is crystal clear: just as the West doesn’t report that it is Black Bloc committing violence and not the Yellow Vests protesters, the West also doesn’t report that it is far-right/counter-revolutionaries who are the authors of violence in Iran.

The Iranian government must absolutely punish police wrongdoings whenever proven. They must not be like France, which last week finally opened their first trial for police brutality despite the full calendar year of incredibly calculating repression. Iran has had a short-lived paroxysm of violence — the French government cold-bloodedly wages police brutality with sadistic regularity and precision.

However, comparing France and Iran is to compare apples and bowling balls. France’s government doesn’t have to spend one second thinking about catching “anti-France” forces “by surprise.” France is not beset by many rich, far-right groups / nations / monarchs / ex-monarchs / terrorists who get out of bed in the morning with the sole goal of destabilizing their national system.

Iranians, unlike the French, know this article is full of truths.

They know that because they know what propaganda is: France just had its bloodiest day since being kicked out of Beirut some 40 years ago, as 13 French soldiers died while fighting in Mali. President Emmanuel Macron immediately tweeted, “These 13 heroes had just one goal: To protect us.” Now that is laughable propaganda about France’s “one goal!”

Nobody can believe that, but many in France and the West do — all part of the “war on terrorism,” right? But Malians know better: a January 2018 poll in the capital of Bamako revealed that 80% of respondents believe that France’s army is in Mali only to defend its own interests. Which is, of course, obviously the case. Macron immediately and robotically made his phony “war on terror” claim because he knows such scaremongering propaganda is desperately needed to stop honest discussion.

Just as many Westerners will believe Macron’s false propaganda, many Westerners will believe 100% that the Iranian government is responsible for every recent death. The emphatic, self-righteous certainty with which Western propaganda insists this falsehood and inaccuracy is appalling.

Iranians believe otherwise — some told me the majority of the dead were ardent counter-revolutionaries. This is a common perception, but it cannot be verified yet — what’s certain is that innocents did die, and that is a tragedy.

US clarifies its ‘diplomacy:’ allow a counter-revolution or starve to death

The real economic problem in Iran is the Western sanctions blockade. Such sanctions are made to create instability to the point of civil war. The West also funds groups which are designed expressly to create the most sparks precisely at times of heightened dissatisfaction and difficulty.

Those are all facts, and why would they not have been on full display at the gas price hike protests?

They were, but honest analysis of Iranian politics has few forums available. This article has discussed and analyzed these rarely-discussed realities which Iranians know well and will not deny.

In Iran, the violence comes from an ultra-violent right but the West naively acts as if such a political sector in Iran does not exist. The West also naively acts as if within their own nations there is not establishment support of far-right, conservative, certainly “counter-revolutionary” ideas and groups. It should thus be clear why the West is so unwilling to support revolutionary Iran in maintaining its revolution.

The West allies with the far-right across the world. Iranians know this, and they also pay the price. They pay the price at the gas pump, as the West’s blockade has undoubtedly forced the recent price increase, and they pay the price in so very many liters of blood, just as they have done ever since the beginning of the Western-forced invasion by Iraq in 1980.

Why can such realities not be even be broached in Western media or by Western NGOs? To this, I have no satisfactory answer.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just said, essentially, that Iran has to have a counter-revolution if “they want their people to eat.” As Yemen proves (in case North Korea did not do this already), the US is fine with starvation as a “legitimate” political tactic.

What is certain, sadly, is that no Western journalist called Pompeo a “far-rightist,” a “fascist” or a “counter-revolutionary” — they all simply nodded and reported what he said without question, contestation, or a hint of shame.

The counter-revolutionaries lost in Iran recently, again; Iran mourns that they still keep trying. The nation mourns most of all because of the West’s never-ending blockade against Iranian self-determination.

The terroristic inhumanity of their starvation-strangulation-sanction policy is something which cannot be broached in Western media, NGOs, governments or among many Western citizens, as well.

 

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

 

Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran’s IRGC

Image result for Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran's IRGC

Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a statement on the recent riots in some cities, which followed peaceful protests over government’s decision to raise fuel prices, warning that it will firmly deal with any measure aimed at sowing insecurity in the country.

Commending the insight and smartness of the Iranian people, who draw a clear line between their peaceful protests and acts of rioting, the IRGC’s statement, which was released on Monday, said, “Continuation of any measure, which would foment insecurity, and all actions targeting the calm and tranquility in the society will be dealt with decisively.”

On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.

Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the recent government decision to ration gasoline and increase its price.

Ayatollah Khamenei said while he is not an expert in the field, he still supports the decision which has been made by the three branches of power — namely, executive, legislative and judicial.

Read more:

Noting that the acts of rioting in some Iranian cities were stoked by counterrevolutionary elements, the anti-Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) and the remnants of the past monarchical regime of Iran, the IRGC said in its statement that the vigilance of the Iranian people, who distanced themselves from saboteurs, turned the table against those elements and thwarted their plans to spread insecurity across the country.

It hailed the brave and dedicated Iranian people who have always subdued the deceitful enemy through their power and greatness and guaranteed stability and calm in most of the Iranian cities and provinces during the recent days in a way that there was not even one report of insecurity, destruction and plunder of public property in most parts of the country.

The statement also stressed the importance of protecting people’s civil rights and dignity against any violation and preventing increases in prices of other goods and commodities by relevant state bodies while calling on the Iranian people to disregard hostile propaganda of satellite and online networks of the enemy as the best way to put an end to rioting and establish sustainable and inclusive security in all parts of the country.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration recognizes people’s right to hold protests against a recent government decision to ration gasoline, emphasizing, however, that nobody will be allowed to spread insecurity in the society.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.

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War Gaming the Persian Gulf Conflict

August 02, 2019

War Gaming the Persian Gulf Conflict

By Blake Archer Williams for The Saker Blog

Greetings from Tehran, the “Capital of the free world” (E. Michael Jones).

A few days ago, Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst, had a brief post on Colonel Patrick Lang’s weblog, Sic Semper Tyrannis. Here’s the link:

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/07/will-donald-trump-kill-his-presidency-over-iran-by-larry-c-johnson.html#comments

He gave four possible options, and invited the commenters to add others of their own. The whole post and the comments which followed were absolutely pathetic in terms of the depth of analysis, including this mind-blowing comment by the Turcopolier himself:

“The strait would not stay closed long, but there would be considerable economic damage while it is.”

I mean, are these people nuts?? Let me put it this way:

The [sand] niggers have burned down the plantation, OK? The plantation is no more. It is an ex-Plantation.

And the niggers have built their own supersonic Noor ground to sea and ground to ground missiles; we have built ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 2000 km and winged cruise missiles with a range of 2500, all with high precision (low CEP) impacts. Our latest generation of drones are on the leading edge of the technology. Trust me. (We are always in the 90+ percentile if not actually winning the medals in the Olympics for mathematics, physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, information technology, etc.)

Image result for abraham lincoln ship

If the first ballistic missile or Noor cruise missile fails to take out the control tower of the Abraham Lincoln (and fail they won’t), we will use the multiple warhead option on the ballistic missiles, and “carpet bomb” the runway so that it will be useless. Just a rubber duck sitting in our pond, with its 5,000+ sailors constantly under fire until they raise the white flag of surrender and wait to be taken hostage.

The niggers have exercised strategic patience for a very long time (four decades). It would be nice to have a few more years just to be sure, but we are ready. We are thirsting for relief from the false new worldly order (novus ordo seclorum falsus) as declared in the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican in 1965 and in the Centesimus Annus encyclical issued by Pope John Paul II in 1991, which emphasized the surrender to usury (“capitalism, properly understood”).

Let us game this. Trumpf is talking about the use of nuclear weapons. He is itching for it. But only after he gets re-elected. What are Iran’s options? The Iranian “Samson Option” is simple: Fire a few Noor missiles at the deep-water supertanker docking ports of Ra’s Tanura (Saudi Arabia), Fujairah, and Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, “the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world that is also the U.S. Navy’s busiest port of call outside of America.” It would take at least six months to rebuild the ruins, IF the sand-niggers allow the reconstruction to take place, during which time no supertankers will be able to dock anywhere in the Persian Gulf to fill their huge bellies with that yummy crude. What that would do to the world economy, you would have to ask my friend, Pepe Escobar, who knows a thing or two about derivatives and over-extension more generally. What is Trumpf going to do now that he has crashed Wall Street worse than 1929? I.e. the final crash which Pax Americana (as wagged by the Pax Judaica tail, of course) will not recover from. I.e. finally putting the Crash of September 2008 precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy out of its misery. Take a dive from the top of Trumpf Tower, that’s what. The American equivalent of Seppuku, not having the “guts” for the real thing, or not being able to “make the cut” – you decide.

The pathetic talk on Sic Semper Tyrannis is that we would be able to hit some of the Saudi oil and tank infrastructure. For example, one of the commenters (Jack) says,

“The real question is how badly could they damage Gulf oil production infrastructure and how long would it take to rebuild?”

Why would we want to destroy what is [ultimately] ours??

Why not provide machine guns to the 2 million oppressed Shi’a in Qatif; you know, the niggers who run the Ra’s Tanura refinery and port… Roll in a couple of armored Divisions, given them the Uzi and Kalashnikov high copies (and maybe some magic Houthi sandals with which to wage war), and leave the tanks there for them to defend Qatīf with. (We would have their backs on the Persian Gulf side).

Why not take as many of the 10,000 soldiers at the un-defendable Bagram base in Afghanistan hostage, as well as the 5,000 or so sailors of the Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain? (With the fall of Qatīf, Bahrain would also fall back into Iranian suzerainty.)

Why not bomb the control centers and runways of all the airfields the US would want to use to take out our radar installations out in the first few weeks (so that they can then send in their Depends™ -wearing pilots to take out our nuclear sites). And for what? Like that is going to achieve anything other than bring about further national unity and cohesion. But like I said, there would be no “few weeks” once Iran implements the first three days of its gameplan.

Why not take out Dimona and the Haifa Port Chemical Terminal and the Ben-Gurion Airport control tower?

Why not make Israel a no-fly zone, so that the dual passport holders can make their way back to Europe and New York, which is where they came from in the first place? Not for the military aircraft, but for commercial aircraft: Anything taking off or landing in Ben-Gurion will be shot down by domestic analogues of the S-300’s; you know, the same good fireworks brought to you by the same folk who destroyed the so-called “stealth” Triton drone at four o’clock in the morning. (Help me out here… we’re just gaming this, ok?). And as for the Persian Gulf (not “the Gulf”, stupid); someone rightly characterized it as the Hotel California for whatever martial vessel which dares enter it. And for those who are not old enough to know: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

So these are the options as we see them.

First the Emirates (half of whose keffiyeh wearing “sheiks” are ethnically Iranian and Persian speaking anyway), and Qatīf (and of course Jīzān and the southern parts of Asīr back to the Yemenese, where they have always belonged historically). And then on to the Hejaz and the haramayn: Mecca and Medina, driving the Wahhabeast heretics back under the rocks of Najrān, from under which they crawled with the aid of British arms and financing back in the middle of the 18th century.

Yes, Russia isn’t too happy about the possibility of Iranian control over such a large geopolitical jugular vein, but hey, it’s geographical determinism; they’ll get used to it. They will be getting Germany and France and the European sub-continent’s integration into the Eurasia “world continent” (McKinder?). And better the oil in the hands of the rational Shi’a than the crazy-as-a-loon American cowboys. And the ‘Sea Power’ pirates, Perfidious Albion and Uncle $cam will have to scamper back home with their rat-tails between their rat legs, followed by all their takfiri scum “rats” (Ghaddāfī), who will be deported to London and New York, God grant!

The phase of strategic patience is over.

We are now in the phase of Eye for an Eye Escalation. But do not think that this phase will have the longevity of the last one. It is on a high-sprung spring-loaded trigger, after which all bets are off.

This is the way we see it. How do you see it, Pray tell? Do you see it as we see it? As Colonel Lang sees it? Or somewhere in between? I eagerly await to see your perspectives in your comments.

Blake Archer Williams has asked me to add this article under his analysis because it illustrates the points he just made.  He also added the following important caveat to this translation:

The translation of the subtitles is not the best. Particularly, General Soleimani’s very first sentence, which is very important, has not been rendered well. Where it says, “There is no need for armed forces, I am your foe, the Qods Force is your foe.” It should read as follows:
“There is no need for the [regular] Iranian Armed Forces [to get involved in order to resolve the conflict between us]; I am [a sufficient] adversary for you; the Qods Force is [sufficient enough] of a foe for [the likes of] you.”

Also, at 1:37, where the good general says, “You start this war, but the end of it, we will decide.” Should read:

“You [may] start this war, but [know that in such an event], it is we who will draw (tarsīm) [the political map] of how it will end [literally: “of its end”)].

And as you know, my friend, General Soleimani is not given to hyperbole and lies, as is the unfortunate habit of US politicians and now generals too.

——-
Here is the article in question:

PressTV reports

Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani has sharply reacted to the recent “cabaret owner-style” military threat by US President Donald Trump against the Islamic Republic, saying he takes the position to respond “as a soldier” since it is beneath the dignity of Iran’s president to do so.

Addressing Trump, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said, “You threaten us with an action that is ‘unprecedented’ in the world. This is cabaret-style rhetoric. Only a cabaret owner talks to the world this way.”

He was reacting to Trump’s all-caps tweet addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in which he threatened the Islamic Republic with actions “the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

The tweet came after President Rouhani warned the US against its hostile approach against Iran, saying Washington should know that peace with Iran will be the mother of all peace while war with the country will be the mother of all wars.

“It is beneath the dignity of our president to respond to you. I, as a soldier, respond to you,” Soleimani further said.

You already did all you could!

The senior general further reminded the United States of its failures in its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“What was it that you could do over the past 20 years but you didn’t? You came to Afghanistan with scores of tanks and personnel carriers and hundreds of advanced helicopters and committed crimes there. What the hell could you do between 2001 and 2018 with 110,000 troops? You are today begging Taliban for talks,” Major General Soleimani said.

The Iranian commander added, “Afghanistan was a poor country, what the hell could you do in this country that you are currently threatening us?”

“You arrogantly attacked Iraq with 160,000 troops and multiple times [military equipment] compared to what you used in Afghanistan, but what happened? Ask your then commander who was the person that he sent to me and asked ‘Is is possible for you to give us time [and] use your influence so that our soldiers would not be attacked by the Iraqi fighters in these few months  until we exit this country?’ Have you forgotten that you provided adult diapers for your soldiers in tanks? Despite that you are currently threatening the great country of Iran? With what background do you threaten [us]?”

“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine. We are the nation of martyrdom, we are the nation of Imam Hossein, you better ask. Come; we are ready. We are the man of this arena. You know that this war would mean annihilation of all your means. You may begin the war, but it is us who will end it,” he said.

In Yemen, Soleimani said, the US-backed coalition of Saudi Arabia and its allies has been incapable of making any gains against the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is both running state affairs and defending the nation against the Riyadh-led aggression.

“A mere organization is standing against you in Yemen, but it has emerged victorious in the face of the most advanced of your military equipment. What have you achieved over the past four years? You stripped the Red Sea – which used to be a safe sea – of security. You brought under fire Saudi Arabia and [its capital] Riyadh – which had not seen a single rocket fired at them for 100 years.”

The senior general further warned Trump against insulting the Iranian nation and president.

“Trump! You must not threaten our nation and must not insult our president… You must know what you are talking about; ask your predecessors and take advantage of their experiences,” General Soleimani emphasized.

The senior military official also censured the US for supporting the most hated anti-Iran terror group, called the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), saying Washington failed to achieve anything by doing so.

The commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force said,

“the US had some grandeur in the past [and] when its fleet moved out, a nation fell apart. Have you now become attached to the Monafeqeen, who have been thrown in the trash bin of Iran’s history? You have become attached to a vagrant woman, and show her in all [your news] networks; is your hope pinned on this? Is this all your power? You are aware of our power in the region and capability for [launching] asymmetrical war?”

 

No, Israel Did Not Attack Iranian Targets In Iraq

 

By Moon Of Alabama

August 01, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Israeli newspaper repeat a report which claims that Israeli planes hit Iranian targets in Iraq.

From the last one:

The IAF used its F-35i stealth fighter jets to hit two Iraqi bases that were used by Iranian forces and proxies and for storing ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

Asharq Al-Awsat is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi ruling clan. It is – like other Arab papers – often used to launder Israeli disinformation and propaganda that is then repeated in the Israeli press.

The original Asharq Al-Aswat report reads:

Israel has expanded the scope of its Iranian targets in Iraq and Syria, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat amid reports that Tel Aviv carried out an airstrike earlier this month against an Iranian rockets depot northeast of Baghdad.

The July 19 attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, they added.

On Sunday, the Ashraf base in Iraq, a former base used by the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin of Iran, was targeted by an air raid, said sources.

The base lies 80 kilometers from the border with Iran and 40 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

The sources revealed that the strikes targeted Iranian “advisors” and a ballistic missile shipment that had recently arrived from Iran to Iraq.

Last week, Syria’s Tal al-Hara was struck by Israeli jets.

The diplomatic sources said the attack targeted Iran’s attempt to seize control of the strategic hill, located in Daraa countryside in southern Syria.

The above F-35 promotion then goes on to laud the Israeli Arrows-3 air defense missile the U.S. paid for.

Of the three incidents Asharq Al-Awsat mentions only one, in Syria, really happened.

On July 19 a fire broke out at a camp of the 16th Brigade of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). It set off some ammunition. The 16th is a light infantry brigade. It does not have ballistic missiles. While the incident was first reported as a missile attack, an investigation later said (Arabic) that the fire was caused by a defect of some equipment (machine translation)

The Central Commission of Inquiry sent by the People’s Assembly on Sunday announced the results of the investigation into the bombing of the Martyrs’ Camp of the Commission, which is located near the city of Ameri.

The report of the specialized committee confirmed that the investigations conducted have proved that the explosion was not a military target as a result of a plane or a guided missile, but was a fire of solid fuel due to an internal defect.

No one was killed in the incident.

The alleged attack on Sunday never happened:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 17:29 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

The Camp Ashraf incident was nothing more than a rumor that started on Facebook. It’s not even called Ashraf anymore, the base is named after the Brigade 27 commander who was Martyred in Diyala battles.

Saudis hard at work creating Fake News.

It is not the Saudis that created this fake news but the “western diplomatic sources”, aka the Israeli ambassador in London, who briefed the Asharq Al-Awsat writer.

The third incident, in Syria, did happen:

Syria’s state media said on Wednesday an Israeli missile attack had targeted the country’s southern province of Daraa, but did not report any casualties.

State news agency SANA and state TV added that the “Israeli aggression” struck Tal al-Hara hill that is home to Syrian army posts adding that it only caused material damage.

The Tal al-Hara hill, a strategic area overlooking the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year.

Israel did not hit any Iranian targets or anything else in Iraq. The Asharq Al-Awsat story is pure propaganda.

If the Israeli air force were stupid enough to bomb targets in Iraq, it would likely see consequences that it would not like:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat – 18:08 UTC · Jul 30, 2019

And besides

If Israel really wants to waste their time and resources striking sites in Iraq, by all means.

They’ll only accelerate the decision as to whether or not to purchase the S-400 system.

There are plenty of Air Defense Officers who are already fluent in Russian.

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama” – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Israel to conduct new offensives in Iraq soon: “Israel has expanded its area of ??control against the Iranian presence in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” while indicated that it will conduct further strikes soon on Iranian sites in Iraq.

Iran’s Qods Force And Modern Proxy Wars

South Front

25.07.2019

Iran’s Qods Force And Modern Proxy Wars

Based on the analysis prepared by Dennis M. Nilsen, PhD exclusively for SouthFront

The Qods Force is the irregular warfare unit of Iran’s Corps of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami).  Created during the Holy Defense to augment the capabilities of the Sepah to include irregular warfare, it has since become one of the chief means of expanding Iranian ‘soft power’ within the Middle East and throughout the world.  Carrying the Persian name for Jerusalem, it is emblematic of the eschatological significance of the Islamic Republic’s regional military strategy.  More has come to light about this secretive organization since its inception, but precious little of its organization, personnel, weaponry and operations is known, and comes to light only in the wake of its suspected activities.

The close of the Holy Defense in 1988 saw the completion of the first chapter of the history of the Islamic Republic – conventional war.  The peace which followed left the new government intact but the population war-weary; the government needed to turn its attention to rebuilding the infrastructure and bringing orderliness to the disrupted lives of its people. The armed forces – both the Artesh and the Sepah – though rich with battle experience, had been worn down and desperately need this peace.

If this war taught the Iranian leadership anything, the lesson was: prevent another conventional attack by pushing the frontier for possible conflict as far as possible from the border.  To safeguard the home of the Revolution – which Khomeini and his followers viewed, and still view, as the only legitimate Islamic government, and the one which is meant to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi – a sizeable buffer had to be constructed to allow for its endurance.  While Iran had not been defeated in the Holy Defense, it had been severely wounded by Saddam’s army with Western backing. At end of the war, Iran was in shortage in key resources and finance. The war clearly exposed the weaknesses of both the Iranian economy and the armed forces. The mujtahid rulers needed to create and perfect a national defense based upon self-reliance in order to turn Iran into a fortress for Islam from which calls for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist and Western imperialist influence could issue.  Having survived this baptism of fire intact, and with geopolitics still centered around the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the time for such a reconstruction appeared optimal.

The Sepah was created immediately after the Revolution in order to counter threats from armed opposition groups inside Iran such as the MKO (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and to protect the ideological integrity of the new political system. Originally a paramilitary formation, during the Holy Defense it necessarily took on a military character while shouldering with the Artesh the burden of fighting.  During the war, in addition to the many conventional battles fought against the Iraqis, the Iranians also deployed special forces to the front line in the mountainous terrain of the north, and behind the lines to support the Kurdish struggle in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein regime. To mirror this unit within the Artesh, the Sepah created the Qods Force to engage in all aspects of irregular warfare. Thus, the role of Quds force in the establishment of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War was inevitable; following this it was used to support the operations of the Hezbe Wahdat Shia mujahedin in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

By supporting Hezbollah and the Hezbe Wahdat, Iran was able to counter, respectively, the American/Zionist coalition and the Soviets, thereby keeping these two groups from threatening the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.  When Khomeini died in 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, who oversaw the transition from a war to a peace economy, Qods was able, along with its parent Sepah, to maintain its level of funding and even to increase its relative importance within the military strategy of Iran.

Having discussed the ideological and strategic origins and purposes of the Qods Force, let us look at its structure and methods of warfare.  Apart from its three senior commanders, no names can be attributed to either its leadership or the remainder of the force.  Major General Pasdar Qassem Soleimani, presently the most well-known Iranian soldier, has commanded the Qods Force since 1997, and his two deputies are Brigadier General Pasdar Ismail Qaani and Brigadier General Pasdar Ahmad Sabouri.  Because all members of Qods are taken from the larger Sepah, one can presume that it retains the same rank structure as its parent, although it is impossible to verify or deny this.  Similarly, although the size of the Qods Force can be approximated, its small-level tactical organization can only be guessed at based upon the arrangement of other comparable military units.  As indicated previously, Qods has two missions: advising and training of foreign military and police, and clandestine operations.  Teams of men for either type of mission may be formed ad hoc out of the service pools of each of the eight directorates suspected to exist.  According to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Qods is divided into the following eight directorates:

  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen (Persian Gulf)
  • Israel, Lebanon, Jordan (Middle East)
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
  • Turkey
  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (former-Soviet Union)
  • Central and Western Europe and the United States and Canada
  • North Africa

Further, US military intelligence suggests that Qods is divided into several branches of specialization:

  • Intelligence
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Sabotage
  • Special operations

Because however its operations are unconventional, there is no reason to think that the Qods Force has an organization remarkably different from other secret services.  For its clandestine operations, something approaching a commando team of varying size (anywhere from 5 to 15 men led by one or two officers) seems reasonable.  Also, there could be organic, permanent units of Qods assigned to each directorate, each with a different operational specialty, and these would invariably be combined-arms units but with the component men varying depending upon what needs to be accomplished.  For the advisory and training missions, arguably what constitutes the greatest percentage of Qods assignments, one can imagine an officer/NCO structure corresponding to the level of the ranks needing training; e.g. so many officers of such a rank to train their peers or lower ranking officers, and likewise so many NCOs to train their peers or enlisted men.  As a side note, it has been suggested that Qods trains most of its clients in either the Sudan or in Iran itself.

For all of these missions, the officer/NCO ratio is necessarily higher than in the rest of the Sepah.  For this reason, it can be argued that officers and NCOs comprise a large majority of the Qods Force personnel, seeing that enlisted men would not be used to train or advise their superiors.

Where does the Qods Force carry out its clandestine operations?  From reasonable conjecture regarding the structure, the reach of Qods is world-wide.  It has been suspected of involvement in South America (e.g. in supporting the government of Venezuela), of continuing to intervene in Afghanistan against the American presence, of constituting a permanent training and advisory role to the Islamic Resistance of Hezbollah, of supporting the Syrian government since the conflict of 2011, and most of all of involvement in Iraq since 2003. Since 2008, the Qods Force has been given control of all military operations in Iraq, and it formed and currently oversees the three primary Shi’ite paramilitary organizations which work in conjunction with the Iraqi military: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) with 10,000 members, Kata’ib Hizb Allah (“Brigades of the Party of God”) with 30,000+ members, and the Saraya al-Salam (“Peace Companies”) with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members.  This theatre of operations, provided indirectly to Qods by the Americans, gives the most continual experience to its members through the training and directing of these militias.  In the theatre of the Persian Gulf, the recent attacks against oil tankers bear the mark of what Qods is capable of, but the Iranian Government has consistently denied responsibility.  Conversely, American and Israeli special forces possess the capability to carry out such false-flag attacks and their histories give plenty of examples.  Currently, the most important missions which Qods directly or in which it participates are:

  • Missile shipments to Hezbollah
  • Arming and directing of Shi’ite militias in Iraq
  • Support of Syrian Government
  • Support of Houthis

As to types of weapons, the Qods Force probably uses the same species as other special forces (e.g. United States Green Berets, Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS), that is:

  • Handguns (e.g. PC-9 ZOAF)
  • submachine guns (e.g. MPT-9, KL-7.62mm)
  • heavy machine guns (e.g. MGA3)
  • portable MANPADs (e.g. Soheil)
  • rocket-propelled grenade launcher (e.g. Raad, RPG-29)
  • anti-tank weapons (e.g. Saeghe 1/2)
  • portable mortars (e.g. 37mm Marsh mortar)
  • plastic explosives (e.g. C4, Semtex)

The use of heavy equipment does not correspond to its missions.

In terms of size, the active personnel of Qods has been estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000, although the most common number given is 15,000.  Globalsecurity.org asserts that in 2008, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council authorized an increase in the size of the group to 15,000, but this cannot be presently confirmed.  By comparison, the Russian Spetsnaz has a strength of roughly 5,000, the United States Green Berets 7,000, the British SAS 400 to 600.

Moving to consider its place in the Iranian political ideology of Twelve Shiism, Qods Force bears great eschatological significance.  A fact which receives barely any coverage in the Western press, the founding of the Islamic Republic was clearly stated by Ayatollah Khomeini to coincide with the approach of the end of the world.  As Twelver Shias, Khomeini and his successors are convinced that the maintenance of velayat-e faqih is critical to the return of the Twelfth Imam, Mohammad al-Mahdi.  The eschatology of the Jafari School of Jurisprudence (the official legal teaching in Iran, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world; i.e. the golden age of Islamic rule as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised of mostly people from the region of Iran with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Thus, the naming of the special operations subset of the Sepah after the Persian name for the Holy City of Jerusalem should show the rest of the world just how important to the Iranians is the maintenance of their system of government by all means possible.  Currently, the use of Qods to engage in asymmetrical warfare against the American-Israeli alliance is the best means to ensure this end.  Presently, Qods can be seen as forming a ‘shield-forward’ for the Islamic Republic from a strategic point of view; this gives eschatological importance to their continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and to their great commitment in men and material to ensure the continuance of the Syrian government. They believe that when Imam Mahdi returns, Zionism, which Shia regard as one of the main tools in the struggle between Good and Evil, will be defeated in the final great battle for Jerusalem. Therefore they are approaching as close as possible to Israel, serving at the front line. They have succeeded in giving Iran a reasonable amount of protection, if at the expense of their allies who are physically closer to Israel.  The American Navy remains a threat in the Persian Gulf, but the wider Sepah, to whose vigilance this theatre is committed, are confident they can close the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.  The strategic balance is currently in favor of Iran and they have thus fulfilled what they believe to be their role in preparing for the Mahdi’s return.

Of those who believe in the eschatological purpose of the Islamic Republic, the Qods Force is unquestionably the vanguard of the coming march on Jerusalem, and the Western press ignores this to their own peril and the continued ignorance of their audiences.

From military and political standpoints, Qods has been very effective.  Iranian strategy has, since the 1979 Revolution, been to keep the American-Israeli alliance and its proxies at bay.  As stated previously, due to Iran’s inability to wage a full-scale war against both countries, the use of unconventional warfare has made the Qods Force come into prominence within Iran’s national defensive strategy.  Through both its advisory/training roles and its clandestine operations, Qods is used to prevent Iran’s two chief enemies from realizing strategic objectives in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and to make their continued presence within Iran’s immediate zone of security as costly and unpleasant as possible.

Reza Pahlavi sells himself at a 98% discount to MBS’ propaganda channel

July 15, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV by permission)

Reza Pahlavi sells himself at a 98% discount to MBS’ propaganda channel

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV 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. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.)

Reza Pahlavi, the son of deposed Iranian king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is reportedly set to star in a TV program for UK-based media Iran International.

The Farsi-language channel is reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, and exists to produce propaganda against modern Iran. It also exists as a mouthpiece for terrorists: Iran International gained infamy in Iran – but no condemnation nor penalty from UK media authorities – for broadcasting a gloating interview with the perpetrators of the 2018 Ahvaz terror attack, which killed 25 people and wounded 70 others.

Mohammad bin Salman reportedly conceived the idea that the camera just loves Reza Pahlavi – MBS likely believes the camera loves all monarchs, even “never were” monarchs like Pahlavi.

MBS and Iran International may have a tough time attracting an audience, mainly because the Iranian people are not at all interested in the obvious goal of the program: whitewashing the crimes and multiple treasons of the Pahlavi household. Pahlavi will find it very hard to reverse the widespread opinion in Iran that the Pahlavi family is a hollow puppet of foreign powers which have only ill-will towards the average Iranian person.

Pahlavi, showcasing the negotiation skills he proposes to return to Iran’s top office, agreed to do the show at just 2% of his original salary demand. Perhaps Pahlavi cut his rates because he finally realised that he was not only not an actual king, but simply the son of a king, and a long-deposed king at that.

Unfortunately for those who value truth in journalism, this royal-sized discount leaves more money in the budget of Iran International – anti-Iran terrorists surely appreciate Pahlavi’s agreement to take a pay cut.

However, the same report said that he put aside his royal pride after getting pressured by the intelligence services of an unnamed European country. That European country is, of course, Poland. I realise that I am unusual in this assertion – every other Iranian surely assumes that the unnamed country can only be the UK, because bribing Iranian (ex-) elite to work for the detriment of the Iranian democratic will is what they have done since the early 1800s.

The only other European country with the neo-imperialist inclination to get involved in this type of a situation is France. However, they have long-hosted the MKO terrorist group, proving that they back the other losing horse in this pathetic race to history’s glue factory.

The MKO took time out of planning their next assassination attempt and their friendly chats with John Bolton to let it be known to their supporters inside Saudi Arabia that giving Pahlavi a program would result in the MKO leaking damaging information in retaliation. The MKO does not want Pahlavi viewed as a possible leader of the opposition to Iran’s popularly-supported democracy.

Sometimes people have fallen so far behind in a race that they actually convince themselves they are winning, and this is the case here. Watching the MKO argue with Reza Pahlavi while the Saudis try to hold the two back reminds all of Iran of Moe trying to restrain Larry and Curly in the “Three Stooges” film shorts.

The reality-show car crash which is the Pahlavi family, the “more horrifying than any movie” MKO – Iranians view both with tabloid interest combined with the relief that our national nightmares with them are completely finished. No matter how much support the US, Israel, the UK, the Arab monarchs and the French give, and no matter how much whitewashing they can get from mainstream Western media like The New York Times and Politico, neither of these groups have any political support inside Iran.

Pahlavi’s program will treat us to him traveling around the world and meeting with “dissident movements”. It boggles the mind as to whom would welcome an association with the Son of the Deposed King of Kings? Any movement which supports the restoration of royalty is automatically a reactionary group. The liberal democracy supporters (either of the republican or constitutional monarchy variety) who would go on Pahlavi’s show are obviously pathetic, aristocratic opportunists. Certainly no supporters of socialist democracy nor Islamic democracy would appear at any price.

I assume then that Pahlavi will be confined to taking his viewers to the only two areas of the world where overpaid, under-democratic monarchs predominate – the autocratic monarchies in the Muslim world and the liberal democratic monarchies of Europe.

The incredibly amusing joke which is forever ready in the bush whenever one debates with one of the “restore the shah” rich Iranian exiles is this: In their mind and in their discourse they are picturing that Darius the Great will take over, but the reality is… it’s just Reza Pahlavi!

Pahlavi is not considered by Iranians to be an especially smart guy – his only “job” has been to make well-paid speeches against Iran. Nobody, apart from the Arab monarchies, believes that “living off your inheritance” is an actual job qualification you can put on your CV. Nobody, apart from the US, imagines that “TV show star” qualifies one to lead a country.

Who will watch Reza’s new show?

We can say this for certain – absolutely nobody under the age of 40: this is a show whose appeal is based entirely around the concept of nostalgia, and Iranian youth obviously have zero experience with the Pahlavi era. And because they have been schooled in modern political concepts, they also have as little tolerance for royalism as do youth in the republics of France, Algeria or the US.

Among the middle-aged, no Reformist or Principlist party supporter could possibly take the show seriously either. The elderly who could possibly tune in once aren’t shah restorationists either – they are simply old and curious to see how the figures of their younger days turned out.

And how has Reza Pahlavi turned out? He is not someone Iranians respect, and this is for very obvious reasons: Any non-Iranian could easily grasp why he is considered to be a shameless opportunist, and the fact that he would work with the Saudi monarchy is just the latest example of this character trait.

This perception was sealed in Iran long, long ago: we must remember that Reza Pahlavi works with the Americans, who ejected his very sick father out of a hospital and into Panama, and that is something which will earn him eternal disapproval in family-loving Iran. What kind of a son works with those whom effectively killed his own father?

I’m sure non-Iranians are a bit confused and wondering: “But didn’t Iranians dislike and democratically depose his father?”

Yes, they did.. but even if your father is as bad as Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, you still shouldn’t treat your father like that! Family comes first in Iran, and please trust me that I am not joking about this Iranian cultural trait.

So, it is true – Reza Pahlavi just can’t win with Iranians, no matter what he does. Not unless he can go back in time….

Western imperialists and Zionists obviously have their own selfish reasons to ignore the reality of his total political irrelevance, but it is unfortunate for his own redemption that Pahlavi himself does not appear to grasp this fact either.

The only way Reza Pahlavi could be half the patriot, leader and sincerely religious Shia he claims to be would be to follow the example someone like the last emperor of China, Pu Yi.

Revolutionary China reformed Pu Yi from a self-centred autocrat who considered himself divine into someone who tried to be a genuinely good person. He was not executed in 1949 – he served 10 years in jail, and then was given a regular job as a street sweeper and gardener. He regularly spoke out in support of the democratic choice of the Chinese people, and he sincerely seemed to realise that monarchy is antiquated, immoral and unwanted. What Pu Yi absolutely did not do was collaborate with the enemies of the Chinese people, and at a 98% discount.

But two percent of a phony job is better than 100% of socially-productive work to some people; some people work with the worst elements of society in vain attempts to steal glory, power and ease.

Such people are not wanted around, and especially not to lead. As long as Reza Pahlavi cannot reform himself, he will never allowed to reform even a post office in Iran’s most remote mountain village, and that is the implacable and universally-known will of the Iranian people.

The only thing you can say in favor of Reza Pahlavi is that he is probably more popular inside Iran than the MKO, who – in something which can obviously never be forgiven by the average Iranian – fought alongside Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.

However, as a journalist I am compelled to point out that both of them combined truly do not have 2% support in Iran. When Politico’s reasonably-trained journalists address this issue of obvious journalistic interest, they can only pen obscuring lies like, “it’s impossible to gauge how widespread support for the royals truly is inside Iran”. Nonsense: 2% is a totally-accurate estimation and I doubt any Iranian would seriously dispute that figure – Politico just doesn’t want non-Iranians to know or believe the truth.

And what is 2%? If you examine the number of US write-in votes in their elections we truly find that the combined votes of Disney characters and American football head coaches equals this same figure. As a serious democratic option, Pahlavi and the MKO are as serious as Mickey Mouse to the average Iranian, and if a non-Iranian wants to take one thing from this column – that should be it.

The only type of people getting their popcorn ready to watch MBS’ and Iran International’s new “Reza Pahlavi Comedy Hour” are the rich Iranian exiles in the wealthy areas of Los Angeles and Washington DC. Or rather, they are telling their servants to get the popcorn ready.

The Pahlavi show is thus designed to allow this group to continue to live in their bubble, unburdened by the facts that they often fled their own country with ill-gotten gains, that they failed to support a popular democratic revolution which took decades of sacrifices to realise, that they are nostalgic for an era which is not anywhere as beloved as they would like it to be because the mass majority was oppressed, that they are not qualified to be the leaders of modern Iran, and that they viciously and treacherously support even more hot war, cold war, sanctions and death on their own compatriots, culture and likely members of their own extended families.

This ratings group I have just described may be incredibly wealthy and able to produce any type of nonsense they want on television, but they are very small. They are also old and will soon pass into history, along with the King of Kings, his son and all their monarchical allies who – those of us living in the modern world agree – are not divine in the slightest.

As it should be, royalty is cheap in 2019 – the Saudis got Pahlavi at a 98% discount.

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