Iran Smoke and mirrors May 29th 2008From The Economist print edition Iran makes it hard even for benevolent outsiders to understand it THROUGHOUT its 29 years, the Islamic Republic has puzzled, even baffled, observers. Its leaders proclaim peace and war in the same breath, and pretend to practise both democracy and theocracy. But lately the symptoms of schizophrenia have grown more pronounced.
Geography • Most is mountain or desert so uneven demographic distribution (70% of Iranians live in 30% of land in north and nw and in major cities); • Climate: scarce precipitation and extreme temperature differences 10% of world total oil reserves; 2ndlargest exporter of oil in OPEC and 4th largest producer in the world; oil reserves concentrated along Persian gulf in south and Caspian Sea in north
We have a long history with Iran • Iran took an American embassy hostage. It may have had a hand in the bombing of the American marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and it stands accused of helping to kill American soldiers in Iraq. It is not surprising that many Americans consider Iran a bitter foe. The Axis of Evil in a succinct package (Kim Jong Il, Khamenei, Saddam and George W.). • Nor is it surprising that Iranians return the favour. America organised the coup against Mossadegh, supported the shah, helped Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war, invaded two of Iran's neighbours and impose sanctions on Iran. The Iranian regime considers America an implacable foe and routinely denounces it, in political speeches and organised rituals such as those fiery Friday prayers, as the Great Satan or “the Global Arrogance”.
Historical traditions • Authoritarianism • Persian • Shiite • No direct colonization HEAR OUR PRAYER: Iranian Shiites pray outside the Jamkaran Mosque near Iran's holy city of Qom, where the Mahdi - the Shiite equivalent of the Christian Messiah - is supposed to answer prayers until his return.
Persian New Year NPR: In every home, the haftseen table is decorated with seven items – since seven is considered a lucky number. Each item begins with the letter sin (s) in Persian, and each item is a symbol of spring and renewal. Watch: Norwuz: Simply explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsuAoZ5IYiU
An Iranian woman in Tehran lights a candle on the ceremonial Nowruz table on the first day of the Iranian new year, March 2004. Some families add goldfish to the table to represent life.
Mar 20, 2004 • Persian New Year • Jump over a bonfire for “Chahr-ShanbehSouri” on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at Persian Center, 2029 Durant Avenue in Berkeley from 6-10pm to shake off the darkness of winter and welcome the lightness of spring. This is a free, family-friendly, non-alcoholic event held outdoors on Durant Avenue. • Inside the Persian Center, a traditional altar holds green grass, live goldfish, food and other items representative of spring called the “haftseen” or seven ‘s’s as each item on the table begins with the letter ‘s’ • A Persian ritual passed down since ancient Zoroastrian times, the Persian New Year Festival, called Chahar-ShanbehSouri, literally means ‘Eve of Wednesday” because the festival is always held on the last Tuesday of winter, just before the Vernal Equinox or first moment of spring
An Iranian woman jumps over a bonfire in southern Tehran on March 19, 2013 during the Wednesday Fire feast, or ChaharshanbehSoori, held annually on the last Wednesday eve before the Spring holiday of Noruz.
Ayatollahs Aside, Iranians Jump for Joy at Spring NYT 3/20/06 After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the ruling ayatollahs sought to stamp out many traditions, like Nowruz, a celebration with some Zoroastrian links that stretches back thousands of years to the pre-Islamic era, to mark the arrival of spring. The celebration is considered by many here the most Iranian of holidays.The ayatollahs tried, and failed. . . . . While Iran's religious leaders have followed a policy of confrontation with the West over their nation's nuclear program, they have, however grudgingly, ceded to the public's insistence on retaining, even bolstering, traditions not founded in Shiism. While it was the reformist government of former President Mohammad Khatamithat decided to establish parks to hold the fire-jumping festivities, for example, the practice was continued this year after the election of the ideologically conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That Iran's religious leaders have accepted Nowruz, and other prerevolution traditions like ChaharShanbehSuri, also demonstrates a growing degree of stability, as the country's leadership has tried to reconcile the bookends of Iranian national identity — faith and culture, experts here said Revelers in Tehran gathering around a small bonfire in a holiday ritual that leads up to the Iranian New Year
Shi’a SunniSplit • Split soon after Islam begins over question of who should be caliph—Shiites think only heirs of prophet. • messianic belief that a “hidden Imam” will return at the end of time and restore a just order (makes world politics in some ways irrelevant or even . . . anathema. . . To the faith) • Means they extend only provisional legitimacy to rulers who will let Islamic institutions flourish
RELIGIOUS FERVOR: An Iranian Shiite prays for the return of the Mahdi in Jamkaran Mosque. • Clergy play a more central role in Shiism • Clergy stand in collectively for the hidden Imam • Over centuries play a role like that of the Christian priesthood in pre-modern Europe or the Confucian mandarins in China; but, compared to Confucian mandarins, Shiite clerics are much more hostile to power holders and held more independence
Shiite tradition shapes Iranian state • Central principle is:velayat-e faqih, or rule by Islamic jurists developed by __________ • Justified revolution: Whereas a monarchy was a usurpation of God’s rule on earth, a system of government by cle______ trained in Islamic jurisprudence would be a continuation of the political system first established by the Prophet Mohammed. • Since such a form of government was the only regime consistent with the will of god, s_________forms, such as that of the Shah, should be overthrown. • As such, the Iranian constitution and political institutions are an attempt to express G_____’s will rather than instruments of human will –the point of the republic in to guide the people toward God, not to serve the individual or mediate between diverse interests • The idea: Shiite Clergy have a d_________ right to rule since they interpret god’s will
Importance of the 1979 Revolution first to create a th______—and combine it with de______ most revolutions are directed against church and state-the Iranian rev was directed only against the ___________
Institutions GO here to click on the links and find out about each institution http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/middle_east/03/iran_power/html/default.stm
What does “vet” mean? Broadly, vetting is a process of examination and evaluation. Specifically, vetting often refers to performing a background check on someone before offering them employment. In addition, in intelligence gathering, assets are vetted to determine their usefulness. Origin To vet was originally a horse-racing term, referring to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Thus, it has taken the general meaning "to check". Vetting in AP Gov: advisors to a presidential candidate vet potential VP candidates; subject matter committees in the ______ vet nominees, advisors to POTUS vet potential Supreme Court nominees, and the Guardian council vets candidates for office March 8, 2013 REI head vetted by Senate committee Jewell is nominated to be interior secretary Interior Secretary nominee Sally Jewell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Iran Govbbc need to know http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22524617 System of Government http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W4-0w_Hzjs
BBC Iranian parliamentary elections 2012 • The elections are crucial in that they will reveal the balance of power between factions in the ruling political establishment and the strength of the incumbent president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Nearly three years after the pro-reform opposition led huge public protests, the elections should also show how much the general public is willing to support the ruling groups. • One of the most controversial aspects of these elections is the "vetting procedure". The Guardian Council, which supervises the elections, actively vets the candidates so that, in the words of one leading jurist, it "prevents corruption and deviation". Critics see this as a way of ensuring that only loyalists enter the race. • Iran is not a totalitarian state and since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 there has been some openness in which political debate and action has taken shape. Elections are free in the sense that there is some choice of candidates who are elected by universal suffrage. But critics, including the opposition and the European Union, have expressed doubt that the elections are free and fair.
2012 Parliamentary Elections • The parliamentary elections for the 9th Islamic Consultative Assembly, or Majlis, were held in Iran on Friday, 2 March 2012 with a second round on 4 May 2012 in those 65 districts where no candidate received 25% or more of the votes cast. More than 5,000 candidates registered but more than a third were disqualified by the Guardian Council leaving about 3,400 candidates to run for the 290 seat representing the 31 provinces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_legislative_election,_2012 http://www.ipu.org/parline/Modlist.asp
2013 Presidential Elections Iranian women hold their documents as they queue to vote in the first round of the presidential election at a polling station in Tehran on 14 June 2013. (Photo: AFP - Atta Kenare) Published Friday, June 14, 2013
Hundreds of voters waited outside one of the biggest polling stations in uptown Tehran, an indication of a high voter turnout in the early hours of the presidential election.
Women voting at a Tehran mosque. Iranians went to the polls Friday after an unusually intense presidential campaign.
Iran election: How the vote happens By KasraNaji BBC Persian Voters write the name of their preferred candidate in the white box at the bottom of the ballot paper See the rest of the story at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-22903218 \
It was a surprise: listen http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/15/world/meast/iran-elections/ Note voter turnout
Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with black turban, gives his official seal of approval to president-elect Hassan Rouhani. Photograph: AP http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/03/iran-president-hasan-rouhani-ayatollah-khamenei
Compare 2013 to 2009: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/15/world/meast/iran-elections/
Green Movement The Green Movement, as a social and political movement which emerged and was active between April 2009 until February 2011 and had the support of the majority of Reformists, no longer exists. The Green Movement in Iran today consists of more radical Reformists, led by the imprisoned Mir HosseinMousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, many of whom are in exile. While there is no doubt much sympathy in Iranian society toward this current, there is no organized support for them, as much of their organized social base was crushed in the aftermath of the controversial 2009 election. The Green Movement as a current is well outside the regime’s political establishment and is unlikely to be a significant factor in the 2013 election. There also appears to be little chance that it could re-emerge as a social and political movement during the election campaign or voting, although there may very well be limited pro-Green demonstrations.
Iran's tenth presidential election was held on 12 June 2009,with incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad running against three challengers. The next morning the Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official news agency, announced that with two-thirds of the votes counted, Ahmadinejad had won the election with 62% of the votes cast, and that Mir-Hossein Mousavi had received 34% of the votes cast. The European Union,the United Kingdom, the United States, and several western countries expressed concern over alleged irregularities during the vote, and many analysts and journalists from the United States, Europe and other western based media voiced doubts about the authenticity of the results.Meanwhile many OIC member states, as well as Russia, China, India, and Brazil, have congratulated Ahmadinejad on his victory.
Many Try to Run for President in Iran, but Few Will Be Allowed May 11, 2009 Clockwise from top left: Iranians carry posters of Mir Hussein Moussavi, a reform candidate, with former President Mohammad Khatami; men wait to register; President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shows his identification; a woman registers to run for president.
In a fourth day of mass protests, hundreds of thousands of Iranians flooded Imam Khomeini Square in Tehran. Many wore black to honor those protesters killed in the unrest since the Iranian authorities announced a landslide victory for the incumbent just hours after the polls closed on Friday. When the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, appeared, cheers tore through the crowds. He stood on top of his car to be seen by the throngs.
As the political tumult in the streets grew, the Iranian government imposed tough restrictions on foreign journalists, formally shutting down their ability to report on the unrest on the streets. Press credentials of journalists temporarily in the country to cover the election were revoked; journalists stationed in Iran were required to get explicit permission to report beyond the confines of their offices.
Shadowy Iranian Vigilantes Vow Bolder Action Iranian vigilantes known as Basijis entered Tehran University on Sunday where students were protesting the election
The scale of the protests have forced a few concessions, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's call for an inquiry into accusations of vote-tampering and the Guardian Council's offer to meet with opposition candidates. But many in Iran viewed the moves as the government's effort to buy time in the hopes of dampening the momentum of the opposition.
June 17, 2009 • Iran Agrees to Partial Recount of Disputed Ballots By NAZILA FATHI and Alan Cowell TEHRAN — Lessthan 24 hours after the largest demonstrations here since the 1979 revolution and the reported deaths of seven protesters, Iran’s Guardian Council said Tuesday it was prepared to order a recount of disputed ballots in Friday’s deeply divisive elections, but ruled out an annulment of the vote, according to state television and news reports. The announcement seemed to represent a further reluctant concession from the authorities following Monday’s decision by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to conduct a formal review of the electoral process, which the opposition says was rigged. But it fell short of demands by the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, and other opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the vote to be annulled so that a new election can be held. Mr. Moussavi has also said he does not trust the Guardian Council. The election results, announced Saturday, showed an overwhelming victory for Mr. Ahmadinejad, who was visiting Russia on Tuesday as the drama in Iran continued to unfold.
Authorities Rule Iran Election ‘Healthy’ TEHRAN — As Iran’s leaders push back threats to their authority after the disputed presidential election, crushing street protests and pressing challengers to withdraw or to limit their objections, the country’s main electoral oversight group ruled Friday that the ballot had been the “healthiest” since the Islamic revolution in 1979. The statement by the 12-member Guardian Council, which is charged with overseeing and vetting elections, fell short of formal certification of the ballot. But it offered further evidence that, despite mass demonstrations and violent confrontation with those who call the election a fraud, the authorities are intent on enforcing their writ and denying their adversaries a voice.
Recount Offer Fails to Quell Political Tumult in Iran Recount Offer Fails to Quell Political Tumult in Iran Supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a rally in Valiasr Square in Tehran on Tuesday
Photo: Getty Images The pledge from Iran's Guardian Council to recount some of the votes in Friday's election failed to calm protests. Thousands of Mr. Moussavi's supporters marched in Tehran.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns Protesters Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivering his address Friday • http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/20/world/middleeast/20iran.html?_r=1&ref=world
Khamenei Vows Iran Will Not Yield ‘at Any Cost’ 6/25 The government announced on Tuesday its intention to certify the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center
December 28, 2009 • Police Are Said to Have Killed 10 in Iran Protests • By ROBERT F. WORTH and NAZILA FATHI • BEIRUT, Lebanon — Police officers in Iran opened fire into crowds of protesters on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, witnesses and opposition Web sites said, in a day of chaotic street battles that threatened to deepen the country’s civil unrest. • The protests, during the holiday commemorating the death of Imam Hussein, Shiite Islam’s holiest martyr, were the bloodiest and among the largest since the uprisings that followed the disputed presidential election last June, witnesses said. Hundreds of people were reported wounded in cities across the country, and the Tehran police said they had made 300 arrests.