If true, this is ridiculous, an attempt by the Islamic regime to find a fall guy. Ahmadinejad was always a true believer, an Islamic hardliner, whose blood bled for Khomeini and Khamenei. It hasn’t been Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inciting the Iranian people to chant that they don’t want an Islamic Republic and to praise Reza Shah. But it is a certain kind of poetic justice that the regime that this man served so indefatigably and ruthlessly has now turned its fury upon one of its fiercest defenders.
“Report: Ex-Iranian president Ahmadinejad arrested for inciting unrest,” Times of Israel, January 6, 2018:
Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested by authorities for allegedly inciting unrest against the government, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday, citing “reliable sources in Tehran.”
The newspaper said that Ahmadinejad, during a visit to the western city of Bushehr on December 28, said, “Some of the current leaders live detached from the problems and concerns of the people, and do not know anything about the reality of society.”
He supposedly added that Iran was suffering from “mismanagement” and that the government of President Hassan Rouhani “believes that they own the land and that the people are an ignorant society.”
According to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Ahmadinejad’s comments, which came as anti-government protests over the economy were heating up, led to his arrest.
The newspaper said authorities now seek to impose house arrest on the former president….
Nineteen seventy-nine was a momentous year. In my little world, college graduation was celebrated with enthusiasm and zeal. In the world at large, the Iranian revolution occurred – and wreaked havoc and destruction in ways neither the Iranians nor the rest of the world could have ever imagined.
At the time, being an educated and low-information voter, as we know they are synonymous, I paid little attention to these circumstances except to understand that the Shah and his secret police, the Savak, were deposed; a medieval-looking, menacing ayatollah took over the country; and Americans were held hostage, eventually being released.
Fast-forward several years. Glimpses of this backward country were revealed through various media. The movie Not Without My Daughter revealed the riveting account of an American woman married to an Iranian and her attempts and eventual success in escaping the hellhole where she found herself. Geraldine Brooks’s fabulous book, Nine Parts of Desire, about women of the Middle East, also offered a picture of life for women in Iran. The fatwa declared by Ayatollah Khomeini on Salman Rushdie, forcing him into hiding, became worldwide news. The Iranian film festival was brought to the United States on an annual basis exposing many of us to the inner workings of Iranian society and their yearning for a freer way of life. We came to discover that the Iranians, including women, next to the Israelis, were some of the most educated people in the Middle East.
Like many of the readers of these pages who have become more informed – call it a true education – I learned the truth about the repercussions of the Iranian revolution. Jimmy Carter’s naïve and dangerous proclamations against the Shah, a U.S. ally, were the fuel that ignited the Shah’s overthrow. Investors Business Daily had a wonderful piece in the mid-2000s summarizing the hideous consequences. The Shah’s executions over twenty-five years were less than those under Ayatollah Khomeini’s in one year. The ayatollah, purported religious man that he was, supported Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization, and promised to fund families of suicide bombers attacking Israel. Hezb’allah (Party of God), a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization, originated because of a radical Iran. People suffered gravely under this regime. In the book Children of Paradise by Laura Secor, there is a section that chronicles the events surrounding the mass executions of political prisoners during the early and later 1980s.
Along the way, I became sympathetic to the plight of the Iranian people. I used to donate to Freedom House and asked that the funds be directed to Gozaar, an Iranian web portal that provided information to the Iranian people. Shortly after Mr. Obama was elected, the State Department stopped funding this organization. Excuses were made for this action. Some people, especially on the left, believed that Gozaar endangered Iranian NGOs fighting for reform and supported Mr. Obama’s decision to engage rather than fund.
Well, it goes without saying how effective that has been to promote freedom for the Iranian people. Those of us who see Mr. Obama for who he is were disturbed but not surprised about the events surrounding the 2009 Iranian uprising. The Green Revolution took hold, and all they asked from our globalist president was rhetorical support. The response from our commander-in-chief was a deafening silence. The Iranian people understood the message loud and clear: not “no can do,” but “no will do.” Soon their spirits deflated, their will withered, and their oppressors crushed what was left. Would it have made a difference if Mr. Obama had used his silver tongue and given some support? We will never know, but being the interloper he has been with so many other countries, it is ironic – or maybe not – that the most powerful leader of the free world could not wish the same for others.
We learned more about Mr. Obama’s motives when he circumvented Congress with a so-called executive treaty by returning billions to the Iranian government in exchange for a promise of nuclear disarmament. Hasn’t Mr. Obama ever heard of “taqiyya”? Perhaps he knows it better than we think. Most important, how did this or any of his actions help the Iranian people? If anything, it emboldened the tyrannical mullahs. As of late we heard about Project Cassandra, an investigation into Hezb’allah-linked drug-dealings within our borders, having been stymied by the Obama administration to prevent the nuclear deal from being aborted. Who knows what else will be uncovered about Mr. Obama’s dealings with the Iranians or those of his Rasputin, Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett? We may never get the full truth.
Now we have a new sheriff in town. Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump does not deliver his message with such mellifluousness, and unlike the elitists of left and right, we “deplorables” are most thankful for that. He is bold, honest, and direct. Perhaps, with the help of social media and the internet, his message of freedom through strength is permeating the walls of censorship and reaching the Iranian people. Their rumblings and discontent are heard loud and clear by this president. Already, he is tweeting his message of support to the people.
Could the Iranians risk another uprising? Time will tell. If they have the will and strength to do so, they should know that freedom-loving Americans support their cause. Could 2018 be the year? If so, we could eventually see the beginnings of a new Middle Eastern landscape. Now, that might seem like a dream, but who would have dreamt that a daring businessman could take on every other GOP candidate; a queen in waiting; and a corrupt, biased press to win the office of president of the United States?
Yes, dreams can and do come true. Here is to the Iranian people.
The political nature of the protests has been made clear from the outset and the regime is experiencing a political earthquake. The regime’s gunmen have been out in full force. Despite the brutal power being deployed to crush these peaceful demonstrators — four protestors have already been reported killed — more people are flooding the streets in defiance of the regime.
The scale of these sudden protests is unprecedented during the last four decades of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s rule.
These demonstrations, however, are different from other protests in Iran since 1979, when the theocratic regime was established. In 2009, during the popular uprising in the name of the “Green Movement,” people were protesting against rigged elections and the presidency of the anti-Semitic politician Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Chants echoed through the streets, “Where is my vote?” while the government ratcheted up its power to silence the protestors.
Now, people are demanding not just limited reforms but regime change. After almost four decades of living under a theocracy — with Islamist mullahs controlling them, rampant corruption, and the regime’s persistent dissemination of propaganda — the people have reached the boiling point. The government has been doing all it can to stoke the flames of hatred, but has been trying to deflect it to “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.
Protesters, risking their lives, have been chanting, “Death to Khamenei” — a serious crime according to the clergy, and punishable, according to the Sharia law of the regime, with death.
People are also chanting, “Death to Rouhani”, “Shame on you Khamenei, step down from power”, “Death to the Dictator” and “Death to the Islamic Republic”. Protesters are tearing down the banners of Iran’s Supreme leaders, Khomeini and Khamenei.
Chants being heard all over the nation are, “Forget about Palestine, forget about Gaza, think about us”, “Death to Hezbollah”, “The people live like beggars / [Khamenei] lives like a God,” and “Leave Syria alone, think about us instead”.
The outcry leaves no question about the needs of the people, and the real voice of Iran. Demonstrators are making a clear distinction between the Iranian people’s desired policies and those being carried out by the regime. All political and economic indications are that protests in Iran will continue to grow.
The Trump administration in the United States is taking the right side by supporting the Iranian people; they are the principal victims of the Iranian regime and its Islamist agenda.
US President Donald Trump tweeted:
“Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests”
In another statement, the U.S. State Department said:
“On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson accurately testified to Congress that he supports ‘those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.’ The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.”
Let us be clear. The fault lines are completely visible. If you are on the side of justice, freedom, and basic human rights, and if you respect humanity, you will not be able to remain silent. Let us at least give moral support, if not more, to the Iranian people. Justice and truth need to prevail. This is what history has repeatedly shown us. Let us not be on the side of history that would remain silent in the face of such crimes against humanity, let us not join the ranks of other dictators, terrorists, and criminals, that turned a blind eye to violence, and the will of brave, innocent people.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He is the author of “Peaceful Reformation in Iran’s Islam“. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu.
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