Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iran. Show all posts

February 10, 2017

In Iran Thousands March Against USA but Others Are Thankful


Its very interesting that in Iran an enemy of the US and being  a control society, still you find people that are listening not just to Washington nowadays but to Americans and to what americans are saying about immigration and racism. There are some crazy anti US *Mulas in Iran but so in the US. 

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians heeded the call of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to demonstrate Friday against U.S. "threats" — but some had words of support for Americans.

There was a notable absence of burning U.S. flags during the march along Revolutionary Road that leads to Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square - particularly given the fact that Friday marked the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

At similar rallies in years past, it would be typical to see a U.S. flag burning every 10-15 yards, but none were seen Friday. And only one effigy of President Donald Trump was witnessed, as opposed to dozens of former President Barack Obama at the same event last year.

Despite Trump threatening Iran on Twitter last week that it was "on notice," and calls by Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani to rally, a social media movement to tone down the protests appeared to have had some impact in cosmopolitan Tehran. In addition, very few placards handed out by official state organizers mentioned Trump or had anti-American slogans.

Iranians used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to urge an end to the U.S. flag-burning typically seen at the annual anniversary rally.

During the rally in Tehran, some people carried placards in support of the U.S. and thanked ordinary Americans for opposing Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States to travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran.

 

Image: Iranians mark the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Tehran, Friday.


Iranians mark the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Tehran, Friday. Abedin Taherkenareh / EPA
*In the smapnish language a *mula is a jack ass or donkey.

August 5, 2016

Iran Hangs Teenager Over Anal Sex






[The following report was published on Amnesty International on Aug. 2, 2016]

Amnesty International has revealed that a teenager was executed in Iran after being convicted of the rape of another boy, the first confirmed execution of a juvenile offender in the country this year.

The organization, which has been carrying out extensive research into the situation of juvenile offenders on death row in Iran, found that Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak’s Prison in Markazi Province on 18 July, after being convicted of “lavat-e be onf” (forced male to male anal intercourse) in early 2015. The execution went ahead even though the Office of the Head of the Judiciary had promised his family that they would review the case on 15 September 2016.

Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds 

“Iran has proved that its sickening enthusiasm for putting juveniles to death, in contravention of international law, knows no bounds. Hassan Afshar was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested. He had no access to a lawyer and the judiciary rushed through the investigation and prosecution, convicting and sentencing him to death within two months of his arrest as though they could not execute him quickly enough,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International

“In a cruel stroke of irony, officials did not inform Hassan Afshar of his death sentence for around seven months while he was held in a juvenile detention facility because they did not want to cause him distress – and yet astonishingly were still prepared to execute him. With this execution, Iranian authorities have demonstrated once again their callous disregard for human rights.”

Just days after Hassan Afshar was executed, the authorities scheduled Alireza Tajiki, another youth who was under 18 at the time of his alleged offence, for execution. The implementation of his death sentence, which had been scheduled to take place on 3 August was, however, postponed yesterday following public pressure.

“While we welcome the stay of execution for Alireza Tajiki, his life has been saved for the moment because of public pressure and not because the Iranian authorities are seriously considering stopping the horrendous practice of executing juveniles. This is illustrated by the fact that just two weeks ago Hassan Afshar was hanged in anonymity – publicity should not make the difference between life and death,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

For the 160 individuals who remain on death row in prisons across Iran for crimes allegedly committed when they were under 18, the news of yet another juvenile execution will come as a terrifying blow.

“Any one of these youths could be next in line for execution. The torment that Iran’s flawed juvenile justice system has inflicted on them will not end until the Iranian authorities commute their death sentences and amend Iran’s Penal Code to abolish the use of death penalty for all crimes committed under 18 years of age, as immediate first steps towards full abolition of this punishment,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

Hassan Afshar was arrested in December 2014 after the authorities received a complaint accusing him and two other youths of forcing a teenage boy to have sexual intercourse with them. Hassan Afshar maintained that the sexual acts were consensual and that the complainant’s son had willingly engaged in same-sex sexual activities before.

While authorities must always investigate allegations of rape and, where sufficient admissible evidence is found, prosecute those responsible in fair trials, rape does not fall into the category of offences for which the death penalty can be imposed under international law. Furthermore, the existence of laws in Iran that criminalize consensual male to male sexual intercourse with the death penalty means that if the intercourse in this case had been deemed consensual, the teenager who accused Hassan Afshar of rape would himself have been sentenced to death. The criminalization of same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults violates international human rights law.

The Supreme Court initially overturned the sentence due to incomplete investigations but ultimately upheld it in March 2016.

Background

Male individuals who engage in same-sex anal intercourse face different punishments under Iranian criminal law depending on whether they are the “active” or “passive” partners and whether their conduct is characterized as consensual or non-consensual. If the conduct is deemed consensual, the “passive” partner of same-sex anal conduct shall be sentenced to the death penalty. The “active” partner, however, is sentenced to death only if he is married, or if he is not a Muslim and the “passive” partner is a Muslim.

If the intercourse is deemed non-consensual, the “active” partner receives the death penalty but the “passive” partner is exempted from punishment and treated as a victim. This legal framework risks creating a situation where willing “recipients” of anal intercourse may feel compelled, when targeted by the authorities, to characterize their consensual sexual activity as rape in order to avoid the death penalty.

International law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Iran is a state party, absolutely prohibits the use of death penalty for crimes committed when the defendant was below 18 years of age.

International law restricts the application of the death penalty to the “most serious crimes”, which refers to intentional killing.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally, for all cases and under any circumstances.

March 16, 2015

Tom Cotton’s Unpatriotic Forefathers, Does it run in the family? “Treason on Iran"



The ideology of movement conservatives is not simply partisanship. It is an attack on American democracy itself 

Cotton backing Romney

Anti Gay Tom Cotton on Bebo



  The Republican senators who warned Iranian officials that any agreement they made with President Obama would not outlive the present administration appear to have been blindsided by the backlash against their letter. Republicans as well as Democrats have responded to the move with such fury that unnamed sources clumsily suggested the letter was only a “cheeky” reminder that Congress should have a voice in negotiations. Sen. John McCain downplayed the extraordinary letter as business as usual: “I sign lots of letters,” he told Politico.
But the firestorm continues to rage. Newspaper editorials slam the senators who signed the bill; more than a quarter of a million people have signed a petition calling for the senators to be tried for treason; #47Traitors has been trending on Twitter.  Why has this letter garnered such a visceral reaction when attacks on the president and his policies are the everyday currency of the modern Republican Party?
It has created a backlash because it shows, with crystal clarity, that the ideology of Movement Conservatives is not simply partisanship. It is an attack on American democracy itself.
The senators who signed the letter are trying to impose their will on a president they hate. This maneuvering is unusual but not novel. It has been central to most of the nation’s internal crises. Whenever adherents of an ideological faction recognize that they do not have the popular support to control the president, they try to game the system. This happens on a grand scale, as when Southern whites so hated the outcome of the 1860 election that made Abraham Lincoln president, they picked up guns to get their way. It happens on smaller scales, as when Republicans in Congress today threaten to shut down the government to make President Obama do what they want. It’s often hard to distinguish smaller-scale machinations from regular partisan politics.
But when a faction tries to gain the upper hand at home by interfering with our international relations, Americans are able to see their attack on our fundamental system for what it is. Crossing the water to find support for a domestic faction puts into stark relief that its adherents have no faith in voters’ choice of leaders; rather, they feel justified in doing whatever it takes to override an elected president, even undercutting the nation’s standing in the world.
  On three dramatic occasions, factions have tried to use foreign affairs to wrest control from a president they hated. In the earliest days of the republic, when Americans were painfully aware the country might not survive, men split into two political camps. The Federalists supported President Washington and his efforts to show international powers that the American government was strong enough to last. The Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, insisted that the administration’s establishment of a national bank proved that Washington was turning the fledgling democracy into a European-style monarchy. But while the Republicans’ protests irritated the notoriously thin-skinned Washington, they gained little traction against the father of the country.
When French revolutionaries overthrew the French monarchy in 1793, the Republicans saw a wedge issue that might swing voters against the administration. France was an important American ally, but the Federalists looked askance at the country’s instability after the revolutionaries took power. When Washington’s foreign minister signed a treaty of “amity” with England in 1795, Republicans made common cause with the French revolutionaries to strengthen their own hand against the Federalists.
Republicans hoped their support for the democratic French Revolution would help them take power in America, but the French government seemed determined to undermine the cause. It seized American ships, refused to receive an American minister, and finally, in the notorious XYZ affair of 1798, demanded bribes before beginning negotiations to redress American grievances (a common practice in Europe at the time but anathema to cash-strapped Americans building a republic). Eager to promote his party’s fortunes in America, prominent Pennsylvania Republican politician George Logan set off for France in 1798 to urge French officials to court American public opinion. There, he hobnobbed with French diplomats and offered advice on how to swing popular favor their way.
Federalists in Congress were outraged that a private citizen was deliberately working to undercut the administration by negotiating with a foreign power. Free-for-all diplomacy had threatened to shatter the nation under the Articles of Confederation; it had been a driving force in the creation of a stronger government under the Constitution. With the infant country barely recognized by other nations, it was starkly obvious that trying to control internal politics by weakening the nation internationally was suicidal. When Logan came back home, he discovered that Congress had passed what we know as the Logan Act, making his actions a crime. Americans could argue among themselves, but disagreements must stop at the water’s edge. For a faction to use foreign negotiations to trump elected politicians attacked the very existence of American democracy.
The precedent established by the Logan Act held firm from 1799 until the 1950s, when members of a radical faction within the Republican Party tried to take control of foreign policy away from their own president in order to impose their ideology on the country. Movement Conservatives within the Republican Party were horrified by President Eisenhower’s domestic initiatives. These men hated the New Deal consensus, believing that regulation of business, protection of labor, and establishment of a social safety net had imported communism into America. It was bad enough when Democrats FDR and Harry Truman pushed New Deal activism, but when Eisenhower promoted his own version of the New Deal, Movement Conservatives set out to kill activist government once and for all. Still, voters loved Eisenhower and his Middle Way. So Movement Conservatives tried to get the upper hand on the president by attacking his foreign policy.
They launched a public brawl with Eisenhower, arguing that his support for the United Nations opened the way for communism to conquer America. It was only a question of time until the UN dictated all U.S. laws (it would start, they warned white Southerners, by ending racial segregation). To undercut the popular president, Ohio Sen. John Bricker proposed a constitutional amendment that limited the president’s power to negotiate treaties, shifted treaty-making power to Congress, and guaranteed that no treaty could impose policy on America. Movement Conservatives whipped up support for the bill by barnstorming the country, filling meetings, radio shows and newsletters with the warning that a diabolical cabal in government was angling to drag America into a communist world order. Only the Bricker Amendment, and its Movement Conservative sponsors, could save America.
Eisenhower was shocked that his opponents were willing to weaken the nation internationally to score domestic points. He pointed out that Americans had let Congress control foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation, and the resulting disaster had inspired the authors of the Constitution to centralize international negotiations in the president. But Movement Conservatives ignored the historical record and continued to whip up opposition to Eisenhower’s foreign policy in order to weaken his support and kill his domestic Middle Way.
Their efforts backfired. Determined to prevent the passage of the measure, Eisenhower had to build a coalition with Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson. The Bricker Amendment failed in the Senate in late February 1954 by a single vote. Democrats took control of Congress that November, and for the rest of his presidency Eisenhower would work with Democrats, rather than Movement Conservatives, to make policy.
Sixty years after the Bricker Amendment failed, 47 senators have tried, once again, to undercut a president they abhor by attacking his foreign policy. The letter was addressed to Iranian officials, but it was aimed at strengthening Movement Conservatives at home. Radical senators signed the letter, and Republican presidential hopefuls and right-wing pundits have rushed to support it, adding it to the wide-ranging anti-Obama campaign they have waged since 2008. But while they may have seen it as business-as-usual, most Americans did not. The letter put into stark relief that Movement Conservatives value their ideology more than the nation’s founding principles. If members of a faction can override the president so long as they are willing to sacrifice the country to their cause, elections don’t matter. Only ideology and commitment do.
In 1799 and 1954, this was not what most Americans understood to be American democracy. In 2015, while sending a letter to the leaders of Iran was probably not illegal, Americans across the political spectrum are echoing their predecessors when they condemn the senators who signed it as #47Traitors.
Heather Cox Richardson teaches nineteenth-century American history at Boston College

November 7, 2014

The Gays in Iran, Admit to Sex Reassignment or Hanging

They show how easy it can be... They promise to give you a loan to pay for the surgery”
ShabnamPsychologist
                                                                     

Iran is one of a handful of countries where homosexual acts are punishable by death. Clerics do, however accept the idea that a person may be trapped in a body of the wrong sex. So homosexuals can be pushed into having gender reassignment surgery - and to avoid it many flee the country.
Growing up in Iran, Donya kept her hair shaved or short, and wore caps instead of headscarves. She went to a doctor for help to stop her period.
"I was so young and I didn't really understand myself," she says. "I thought if I could stop getting my periods, I would be more masculine."
If police officers asked for her ID and noticed she was a girl, she says, they would reproach her: "Why are you like this? Go and change your gender."
This became her ambition. "I was under so much pressure that I wanted to change my gender as soon as possible," she says. 
For seven years Donya had hormone treatment. Her voice became deeper, and she grew facial hair. But when doctors proposed surgery, she spoke to friends who had been through it and experienced "lots of problems". She began to question whether it was right for her.
"I didn't have easy access to the internet - lots of websites are blocked. I started to research with the help of some friends who were in Sweden and Norway," she says.
"I got to know myself better... I accepted that I was a lesbian and I was happy with that."
But living in Iran as an openly gay man or woman is impossible. Donya, now 33, fled to Turkey with her son from a brief marriage, and then to Canada, where they were granted asylum.
Donya and her son Daniel in Turkey
It's not official government policy to force gay men or women to undergo gender reassignment but the pressure can be intense. In the 1980’s the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa allowing gender reassignment surgery - apparently after being moved by a meeting with a woman who said she was trapped in a man's body.
Shabnam - not her real name - who is a psychologist at a state-run clinic in Iran says some gay people now end up being pushed towards surgery. Doctors are told to tell gay men and women that they are "sick" and need treatment, she says. They usually refer them to clerics who tell them to strengthen their faith by saying their daily prayers properly.
But medical treatments are also offered. And because the authorities "do not know the difference between identity and sexuality", as Shabnam puts it, doctors tell the patients they need to undergo gender reassignment.
In many countries this procedure involves psychotherapy, hormone treatment and sometimes major life-changing operations - a complex process that takes many years.
That's not always the case in Iran.
"They show how easy it can be," Shabnam says. "They promise to give you legal documents and, even before the surgery, permission to walk in the street wearing whatever you like. They promise to give you a loan to pay for the surgery."
Supporters of the government's policy argue that transgender Iranians are given help to lead fulfilling lives, and have more freedom than in many other countries. But the concern is that gender reassignment surgery is being offered to people who are not transgender, but homosexual, and may lack the information to know the difference.
"I think a human rights violation is taking place," says Shabnam. "What makes me sad is that organisations that are supposed to have a humanitarian and therapeutic purpose can take the side of the government, instead of taking care of people."
Psychologists suggested gender reassignment to Soheil, a gay Iranian 21-year-old. 
Soheil in Istanbul
Then his family put him under immense pressure to go through with it.
"My father came to visit me in Tehran with two relatives," he says. "They'd had a meeting to decide what to do about me... They told me: 'You need to either have your gender changed or we will kill you and will not let you live in this family.'"
His family kept him at home in the port city of Bandar Abbas and watched him. The day before he was due to have the operation, he managed to escape with the help of some friends. They bought him a plane ticket and he flew to Turkey.
His family kept him at home in the port city of Bandar Abbas and watched him. The day before he was due to have the operation, he managed to escape with the help of some friends. They bought him a plane ticket and he flew to Turkey.
"If I'd gone to the police and told them that I was a homosexual, my life would have been in even more danger than it was from my family," he says.
There is no reliable information on the number of gender reassignment operations carried out in Iran.
Khabaronline, a pro-government news agency, reports the numbers rising from 170 in 2006 to 370 in 2010. But one doctor from an Iranian hospital told the BBC that he alone carries out more than 200 such operations every year. 
Many, like Donya and Soheil, have fled. Usually they go to Turkey, where Iranians don't need visas. From there they often apply for asylum in a third country in Europe or North America. While they wait - sometimes for years - they may be settled in socially conservative provincial cities, where prejudice and discrimination are commonplace.
Arsham Parsi, who crossed from Iran to Turkey by train in 2005, says that while living in the city of Kayseri, in central Turkey, he was beaten up, and then refused hospital treatment for a dislocated shoulder, simply because he was gay. After that he didn't leave his house for two months.
Arsham Parsi on train tracks in TurkeyArsham Parsi on the train track that brought him to Turkey
Later he moved to Canada and set up a support group, the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. He says he receives hundreds of inquiries every week, and has helped nearly 1,000 people leave Iran over the past 10 years.
Some are fleeing to avoid gender reassignment surgery, but others have had treatment and find they still face prejudice. Parsi estimates that 45% of those who have had surgery are not transgender but gay.
"You know when you are 16 and they say you're in the wrong body, and it's very sweet... you think. 'Oh I finally worked out what's wrong with me,'" he says.
When one woman called him from Iran recently with questions about surgery, he asked her if she was transsexual or lesbian. She couldn't immediately answer - because no-one had ever told her what a "lesbian" was.
Marie, aged 37, is now staying in Kayseri after leaving Iran five months ago. She grew up as a boy, Iman, but was confused about her sexuality and was declared by an Iranian doctor to be 98% female. 
After that, she thought she needed to change her gender.
Hormone therapy seemed to bring positive changes. She grew breasts, and her body hair thinned. "It made me feel good," she says. "I felt beautiful. I felt more attractive to the kinds of partners I used to have."
But then she had the operation - and came away feeling "physically damaged".
She had a brief marriage to a man but it broke down, and any hope she had that life would be better as a woman was short-lived. 
"Before the surgery people who saw me would say, 'He's so girly, he's so feminine,'" Marie says.
"After the operation whenever I wanted to feel like a woman, or behave like a woman, everybody would say, 'She looks like a man, she's manly.' It did not help reduce my problems. On the contrary, it increased my problems...
"I think now if I were in a free society, I wonder if I would have been like I am now and if I would have changed my gender," she says. "I am not sure."
Marie starts to cry.
"I am tired," she says. "I am tired of my whole life. Tired of everything."
Watch Ali Hamedani's report on Our World at 16:10 and 22:10 GMT on Saturday 8 November and 22:10 GMT on Sunday 9 November on BBC World News. Assignment is on BBC World Service from Thursday.

September 28, 2014

Iran Now asks for Faster Nuclear Talks!



Iranian President Hassan Rohani has expressed dissatisfaction with progress in talks with major world powers on Tehran's nuclear program.
Rohani said on September 26 that progress at the negotiating table in the last few days had been "extremely slow."
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Rohani issued a reminder that the November deadline for reaching an agreement was approaching.
Rohani also said "courageous decisions" needed to be made and he warned there would never be any deal unless international sanctions on his country were lifted completely.
The Iranian president said, "We want a win-win agreement that is for the benefit of everyone."
This latest round of talks between Iran and representatives of the so-called 5+1 group -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany -- started in New York on September 18.
Reports from negotiations on September 26 confirmed that there had been little progress on convincing Iran to curb its nuclear development program in return for a gradual easing of sanctions.
The talks stretched on into September 27.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said when addressing a meeting at the UN on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that it "remains our fervent hope that Iran and the P5+1 can in the next weeks come to an agreement that would benefit the world."
Kerry made those comments shortly after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the EU's chief negotiator Catherine Ashton in New York.
However, the Reuters and AFP news agencies reported that a "senior U.S. State Department official," speaking under condition of anonymity, said, "We do not have an understanding on all major issues... we have an enormous number of details still to work through." 
The official said all the negotiators "are going back to our capitals" and will "absorb: what happened, before deciding when they would conduct their next round of negotiations.
The group has a deadline of November 24 to reach a deal,
With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters

By RFE/RL
 

September 15, 2014

US Can Destroy Islamic ISIL and Syria without Help from Iran but it Will Get Help from Some Allies


Contrary to this weekends American News channels there is a lot of support for the US to wipe out ISIL. Not only that, thanks to ISIL American and Iran’s interests are on the same side of the courtyard.
                                                                          

Is America at war with the Islamic State? On Friday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said as much. “In the same way that we are at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe, we are at war with ISIL,” he said, using the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. The remark set a thousand Washington keyboards aflutter, as Secretary of State John Kerry had said pretty much the opposite only a day earlier—and President Obama never used the word “war” in his primetime speech on Wednesday.

Washington loves nothing more than to oversimplify the complex. But the fight against the radical jihadist movement that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq is not simply a war. In a conventional war, you are fighting a massed army seeking to gain or hold territory; such an army can be destroyed by superior force and skilled tactics. In a civil war, you are fighting guerrillas or militias seeking to free themselves from the central government, or to take it over. They can be defeated by giving the central government military and financial support to defend itself, building up secure zones to protect civilians and killing or capturing rebel leaders. ISIL, by contrast, is conducting a revolutionary war, in which civilians are recruited to support an ideological cause and rallied to overturn and replace regimes that are widely seen as unjust and illegitimate.

The distinction matters. To destroy the threat embodied in ISIL requires approaching the task as one of counter-revolution. ISIL, after all, is at its core only about 30,000 fighters, tops; what has made them the group force that could take over much of two countries with a total population of more than 50 million people is that they are supported by millions as the vanguard of a revolutionary movement for justice. That support ranges from military recruits from former supporters of other rebel groups who are joining ISIL to financial support from conservative co-religionists in Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states to the quiet support of tens of millions of Syrian and Iraqi Sunnis.

How could such a barbarous and brutal group as ISIL, as Obama described it Wednesday, earn the support of those millions? By promising to protect and avenge them against the Assad regime in Syria, which has slaughtered their children and gassed their relatives and fellow townspeople and tribesmen; and against the Shiite regime in Iraq, which has stolen their jobs and destroyed their livelihoods, contemptuously dashing the hopes and careers of Sunni Arabs in that country.

The history of revolutions shows that such ideologically extremist groups typically emerge from periods of chaos in the wake of weak or disrupted regimes. ISIL is, within its Islamic framework, the heir of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, and the Bolsheviks of the Russian Revolution, who engaged in terror tactics and the killing of tens of thousands to reinforce their power in the wake of regime collapse and civil war. We know from this history that if the extremist vanguard is able to win the support of the masses, and turn them against the elites and moderate leaders left over from the old regime, they will carry the day and create an expansionist revolutionary state. Only if the radicals can be separated from the broader population, and the latter brought within the framework of other institutions that can provide order, security and start to respond to the population’s legitimate goals, can the radicals be effectively hunted down and destroyed.
Now we start to grasp the size of the task. 

In the case of the French Revolution, it took the combination of Britain, Prussia and Russia cooperating to destroy Napoleon’s forces at Waterloo to finally end the threat of a revolutionary conquest of Europe. In the case of the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution, it took the combination of all NATO countries, with support from Australia and New Zealand and Japan, to contain the Soviet Union’s plans for global communist expansion and eventually produce its implosion and fall. Both of these cases show that revolutionary ideological states, once established, are robust; it took more than two decades of conflict on three continents to turn back Napoleon, and more than seven decades of global Cold War to turn back Soviet communism. To turn back ISIL and separate it from its supporters will likewise take a broad coalition and years of arduous effort, but failure to succeed now will likely mean many decades of further conflict ahead.
 




The difficulty lies in the dual nature of counter-revolution. It is necessary to do two things: First, isolate and weaken the revolutionary forces by attacking their military force and limiting their access to funding and to external allies. Second, and even more essential, displace their ideological appeal to the masses by providing an alternative regime that can offer security, opportunity and inclusion to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the people. Only then can military actions to destroy the radical forces be effective.
That is why the success of President Obama’s strategy to destroy ISIL depends on political solutions in both Iraq and Syria that provide inclusive and resilient civilian regimes. Yet so far unspoken is an essential fact of life in the Middle East: There can be no political solution in either Iraq or Syria without Iran’s assent.

Fortunately, events in both Iran and the Middle East have moved in a direction favorable to improved U.S.-Iranian relations. The new regime of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appears sincerely interested in negotiating limits on its nuclear program in order to obtain relief from international sanctions. Iran is now also deeply reliant on U.S. help to sustain a stable and friendly Iraq next door. And ISIL is a mortal threat to both U.S. interests and to Iran. Rarely have U.S. and Iranian interests aligned so cleanly.


Jack A. Goldstone is a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Hazel professor of public policy at George Mason University. He is the author of Revolutions: A Very Short Introduction.The views expressed in this article are those solely of the author.


 http://www.politico.com 
adamfoxie blog Int


"I think Iran now realises they cannot win the Syrian conflict whilst Assad is in power," said one. Another diplomat, who has recently held talks with Iranian leaders, said the rise of Isil had injected a new dynamic into the conflict, which Iran was no longer sure Mr Assad could win. He said he thought the Iranian government would now be prepared to "burn" Mr Assad, especially if it eased a broader deal on Tehran's nuclear programme. Western diplomats, who have supported the opposition to Mr Assad from the start, have a vested interest in hoping that Iran may ultimately drop its support for him.
But his defeats in recent weeks were the most humiliating since rebels swept into Aleppo two years ago.
Isil seized Tabqa military air base in the province of Raqqa last month, removing the last major government-held post in a province the extremists claim as part of their new "Islamic State". The jihadis tortured and summarily executed Syrian soldiers, publishing videos of a long line of men being led at a jog into the desert in their underwear, some still weeping and begging to be rescued. Meanwhile another band of extremists in Syria - a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe - poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.
At the centre is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qa'ida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.
But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of Assad. Instead, they were sent by al-Qa'ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a US-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)
Irish Independent 

September 1, 2014

To Live in Tehran is to live a Lie



To live in Tehran, writes British-Iranian journalist Ramita Navai in this collection of true stories, requires one essential skill: lying.
 
“Morals don’t come into it,” Navai writes. “Lying in Tehran is about survival . . . when the truth is shared in Tehran, it is an act of extreme trust or absolute desperation.”
“City of Lies” features eight sprawling tales (all names have been changed, as have certain details, and several characters are composites). Each focuses on an individual, but Navai uses these personal stories to observe how people live, love and survive in a society ruled by fundamentalists.
Iranian youth read “Harry Potter,” watch Hollywood films like “The Bling Ring,” smoke joints and listen to Metallica and Radiohead — all the while knowing that one misstep can ruin their reputations and lives, including the possibility of prison or death. For women, sex outside marriage could mean “up to 100 lashes.” If convicted of adultery, a woman could be executed.

Crystal meth, ‘dog sweat’ and divorce

 A young woman smokes marijuana on the hidden side of a park in Tehran in February, 2014.
Photo: Barcroft

“Somayeh” (each story is named after its central character) concerns a 17-year-old girl, her father, Haj Agha, and her mother, Fatemeh.
Somayeh and her classmates were virgins, but “a handful had experienced illicit encounters, mostly with their cousins, who were the only males they were allowed to be in contact with,” Navai writes.
When the conservative Somayeh met her 26-year-old cousin Amir-Ali, a well-built young man with a surgically perfected nose (according to Navai, plastic surgery is remarkably common in Tehran), the attraction was instant and mutual.
 
Expensive clothes, fancy cars and mood-altering substances are surprisingly common in Iran.Photo: Getty Images
For the most part, Amir-Ali and his friends hung out with prostitutes and spent their weekends smoking pot and “sheesheh” — or crystal meth, the country’s most popular illegal drug after opium.
There were attempts at sex with regular girls as well, with varying degrees of success.
“Sometimes they would have ‘la-paee,’ ‘between the legs’ thigh sex, [where] he would pump vigorously between a girl’s clenched thighs,” writs Navai. “La-paee sex was the most popular form of sex among teenagers and girls in their early 20s from religious families.”
Occasionally, the boys would “get lucky,” but it was “nearly always anal sex so the girl’s hymen would remain untouched and she would still be a virgin for her wedding night.”
Navai says that marriage between cousins is “considered lucky and heaven-sent, a strengthening of families that brought unity.” Amir-Ali’s mother caught him looking at his cousin, pulled him aside, and warned him not to mess around with family unless he was serious. He said that he was, and a wedding was planned.
But Somayeh’s mother, Fatemeh, was dubious and sought the guidance of her favorite mullah for “Koranic divination.” Navai’s description of the business of professional advice-givers is reminiscent of our own psychic-hotline industry.
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Iranian women often risk their lives in the highly profitable sex trade.Photo: Getty Images
“There were cowboys out there, as there were in any business — turbaned charlatans riding on the wings of people’s misery and pain,” Navai writes. “These were the clerics who charged a fortune for their divination services. Some even offered magic spells at premium rates.”
But Fatemeh had a mullah she trusted — one who would actually spend time with her and didn’t charge, although he did accept gifts — and he neither blessed or trashed the union, saying only, “It depends on the purity of their hearts.”
In arranging the marriage, Somayeh made Amir-Ali promise to allow her to attend university. Soon after they married, Amir-Ali changed his mind.
After the first year of marriage, Amir-Ali “got bored.” He spent more time with his friends smoking sheesheh and drinking “dog sweat” — home-brewed vodka made of raisins. He suddenly had hot new Facebook friends, spent time at a gambling den and stopped coming home.
Along the way, Somayeh noticed that Amir-Ali, when he did return, had a combination-lock briefcase that seemed important to him. Eventually opening it, she found love letters from Amir-Ali to a mystery woman expressing sentiments of love and lust he’d never expressed to her, along with a box of condoms, photos of a chesty blonde and “half a dozen scratched DVDs in a Bambi sleeve.”
She played one of the DVDs and was repulsed when she saw “a woman on her knees being f—ed from behind.” This was her first exposure to porn, and it left her “sobbing and praying.”


Photo: Getty Images
She told her mother everything, and Fatemeh listened intently, as she had also had a recent experience with heartbreak.
While looking for some old paperwork, Fatemeh found Haj Agha’s passport and discovered that all of his supposed pilgrimage travels had actually been to Thailand. As she knew nothing about the country, she asked her favorite mullah, who informed her that, “Thailand is a country of prostitutes. All the women there are for sale.”
Fatemeh eventually forgave Haj Agha — the truth could have destroyed both of their reputations. Her daughter, however, was still young, and had a chance at a better future. While divorce had long been considered shameful, and even just recently would have been considered unthinkable by Fatemeh, several couples they knew had recently divorced.
“You must get a divorce,” she told Somayeh, telling her it was “the only way you can be happy.”
Fearing the ramifications of his own proclivities going public, Amir-Ali granted the divorce, and Somayeh received the sort of second chance many Iranian women never get.
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Iranian models in outfits bearing the national flag’s colors, the logo of the national football team and the design of the official ball of the 2014 World Cup 2014.llPhoto: Getty Images

‘I’d rather be stoned to death’

After leaving her cheating husband, “Leyla” sold her jewelry so she could rent a studio apartment. Her new neighbors, seeing this beautiful young woman living alone, whispered that she was “a whore and a husband-stealer.”
She moved in with her friend Parisa, who worked at a beauty salon that “offered sheesheh as a slimming aid,” and who soon revealed to Leyla that she also earned lots of money as a private dancer. She told Leyla she could get her similar work, lap-dancing for men at a birthday party.
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An Iranian man pours kerosene on a pile of drugs seized by authorities in June.Photo: Getty Images
There, they danced for middle-aged men, and Leyla watched as Parisa disappeared with one of them.
Soon after, Parisa was schooling Leyla on how to build a clientele as a prostitute.
None of this was as shocking as one might think.
“It is impossible to escape sex in Tehran. Everybody knows that the streets are full of working girls,” Navai writes. “Prostitutes are part of the landscape, blending in with everything else. Pornographic photos are Bluetoothed across the city.”
The Iranian regime tries to fight it all, with little success. In their desperation, Navai writes, “the Interior Ministry has suggested rounding the women up and taking them to a specially designated camp where they can be ‘reformed.’”
Leyla found herself working alongside students, blue-collar women with families and girls who just wanted money for designer clothes. She quickly learned the rules of the streets, including that you “do not get in a car with more than two men,” and that oral sex usually got you out of trouble with the police.
Sometimes, police tried to demand full sex in exchange for freedom. One girl told an officer who demanded such, “I’d rather be stoned to death than have to f– you, your wife must be a blind cripple.” She was sentenced to three months, and received ninety-two lashes.
Leyla’s good looks worked to her advantage. She was off the streets quickly, landing a high-level cleric who bought her “bright red crotchless knickers.”
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An Iranian woman gestures the victory sign during the World Cup in June.Photo: Getty Images)
In time, a software designer client begged her to make a sex tape. She agreed on several conditions, including that her face not be shown.
The film, shot in her house, turned out better than the client expected. He titled it “Tehran Nights” and gave copies to practically everyone he knew, including the man who sold him his porn.
The film became a hit, selling many copies for twice the price of DVDs of popular US hits like “Desperate Housewives” or “Lost.”
After seeing the DVD, her client’s friends wanted Leyla tapes of their own, and she happily obliged, charging $1,000 and up. While her face was never shown, “most connoisseurs of local porn soon recognized the round bottom, the soft girlie voice and the big full lips” as the star of “Tehran Nights” and later “Housewife from Shiraz.”
“Tehran Nights” also wound up in the possession of the Iranian cyber-police, who, in the face of the administration’s deep anti-porn feelings, were hungry for a high-profile conviction.
One night, after a relationship with a big money client went sour, Leyla decided to leave Iran, work for a time in Dubai — where Iranian girls made far more money — and save enough to move to America.
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An Iranian woman walks through Tehran in July.Photo: Getty Images
Sadly, she never put her plan into play.
The morning after making this fateful decision, the authorities came for her at 6 a.m.
The cyber-police unit, while watching the tape, noticed Leyla’s electricity meter in the corner of the screen, its serial number in full view. Leyla was identified within hours.
“The lies [people tell in Tehran] are, above all, a consequence of surviving in an oppressive regime,” Navai writes, “[and] of being ruled by a government that believes it should be able to interfere in even the most intimate affairs of its citizens.”

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