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04 March 2016


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raksh wah

from My read - Iran Iraq war has left the clerics with some lasting power, people feel that they defended the Country sucesfully, it will require the memories of that War to fade before the "revolution" is completely over.


There are, as far as I can tell, no official lists that would designate "moderates", "reformers" or "hardliners". There are no political parties in Iran.

There are endorsements and unofficial lists by some highly visible people and their position is then attributed to the whole list. So when Rouhani endorses someone, that someone is seen to be on the "moderate" list.

This way some "hardliners" turn into "reformers" over night and vice versa.

Some U.S. neocons have pointed that out in this Eli Lake piece:

In general the move this election has been somewhat to the "moderate" and "reformer" site. But seen in a "western" context the "reformers" are cultural more liberals but economically on the "right" in "western" nomenclature while some of the cultural conservative "hardliners" are actually socialists.


Iranian population is relatively youthful and more pro-American than what the PTB would have us believe.

Iran is not as closed a Muslim society as Saudi Arabia is.

I believe Obama's opening up with the Iranians was helpful.

"Hardliners" in both the US and Iran need to go away.


Russia and India have most at stake in Iran's return to normalcy in international relations. No wonder you see some meaningful coverage in the media there. Iran was among the few countries propping up the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Even China may see Iran as a stabilizing player, but they have placed more bets on Pakistan due to regional power balancing.

For the Saud/Gulfie/NeoCon alliance the writing is on the wall. No amount of lobbyist money can buy enough lipstick to cover up what they are. Public opinion here has turned too much against the uncivilized desert rats. We are in a timeframe where all defense majors will drain Saudi/GCC coffers with the threat of a rising Iran. And after that they will become a liability.

Obama's opening to Cuba and Iran places us on more solid footing. Far too long, we have divided the world into vertebrates and non-vertebrates(allies) willing to overlook any and all perfidies of the latter and ready to poke and prod the former. Unsurprising since submission is the most valued trait of the Borg. A trait it shares with those it claims to fight and exterminate.


Iranians do politics as it fits the universe as it matters to the Iranians, of which relations with the West is just a small piece. I find it laughable when outsiders try to offer "analysis" of a country's political by the yardstick built entirely of their concerns. Even more laughable when they don't understand their own country's political situation--as seen in the mess that is the Republican Party today (and to a lesser degree, the Democrats). Trump may or may not be the Republican nominee, but he is definite popular and that has nothing to do with the international situation and who knows if he is a "moderate" or a "hardliner."


"Iran is not as closed a Muslim society as Saudi Arabia is."

Iran is Shiite and has a magnificent pre-Islamic culture. It also has experience with de facto secularism. It is a complex country but term "pro-American" is completely misplaced here. Some, fairly narrow, strata of Tehran's well-off and westernized youth is not an evidence of any "pro-Americanism" (whatever that means). Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is cultural and economic midget when compared to Iran. Forestalling this ever pervasive "GDP argument", Iran has on the order of magnitude more scientists and engineers than KSA will ever have.


I'd also think that the Iranian population is also more patriotic than Saudis--the latter don't really have a country, as much as personal fiefdom of a single clan. While I don't doubt that Iranian youth like Western culture, I don't know if they are "pro-Western." I've seen enough superpatriotic Chinese youths who really love the Western culture to think that they don't overlap much.

Babak Makkinejad


Rouhani has made it to the Assembly of Experts (The College of Cardinals of the Shia) and likely will be the next Supreme Leader.

In the meantime, here is the latest from Fisk @ the Independent, which, I think is an fair assessment.



The process currently underway was best described in an article written by Iran Analyst Mr. Hooman Majd. He referred to it as " Wash, rise & repeat" cycle of gradual change. meaning with each election the country has relied more and more on the younger more liberal voter to push out more and more hard liners enamored of absolute control and isolationism , replacing them in as much as possible with "less hardliner" officials and deputies (an uphill stroll given the guardian council's hitherto rejection of most things moderate including candidates).

The under 40 generation , a very fast growing voter block is much more amiable to opening up to the west and liberalizing suffocating social and moral shackles placed on them by the religious hardliners.

Here is the link to the above referred to Hooman Majd article - "HOW MUCH CHANGE DO IRANIANS REALLY WANT" :

Babak Makkinejad

India has ruined her stakes in Iran and there really is not much left of her Iran policy except a transactional one.

Likewise for the European Union which waged a vicious economic war against Iran.

Both are losers in so far as their positions in Iran cannot be recovered; US diplomats have made sure of that; US having made herself the indispensable country to both EU and India when it comes to Iran.

Babak Makkinejad

Iran is not a Western country and will never be so. Please see below:


The tradition of covering oneself with mud pre-dates Islam but has been adopted to Shia Islam in this case.

The Shia Doctors were vanguards of the politics of Iran for at least two centuries; from the Tobacco Boycott in the 19-th Century to the Constitution Revolution, to the Oil Nationalization, to Islamic Revolution - they cannot be separated from the rest of Iranians.

Furthermore, the Iranian people, love their religion.

They were lining up in their thousands at the Iran-Iraq border in 2003, almost immediately after the Saddam Hussein government was destroyed, to go to pilgrimage to Karbala and Najaf - in the middle of a war.

Tehran is not Iran - it is one-eight of Iran - politically; in my opinion.

Babak Makkinejad

Since the United States has finally accepted Iranian nuclear programs within the NPT, I think now that US strategic negotiations with Iran are possible.

The basis of such negotiations would be the mutual desire to be able to have safe export of oil out of Persian Gulf, opposition to the Jihadists across Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan now and elsewhere later, and safety of Israel for US and that of Lebanon for Iran.

In regards to absence of political parties in Iran - I think Turkey is more advanced than Iran in this respect as well as in toleration for political opposition. May be Iranians could, in the fullness of time, learn from Turkey - which is Muslim.


Sorry to be off topic but I cannot contain myself . I just read about the mass of Syrian refugees in Greece and I cannot help but wonder how European political leaders can support US and Saudi in turkey foreign policy against Asad which is the direct cause of the refugee problem . Is the European political leadership so weak that they cannot go against USA ever?



I was unaware that Rouhani was elected to the Assembly of Experts. Can you tell us more about this event and its implications? pl


Although I have no claim to special knowledge, I would have thought that the results speak for support of Rouhani's policies. If I were Iranian, I would do so too. He has successfully negotiated a deal with the US, which will potentially help many Iranians.

Evidently, the deletion of candidates doesn't help the democratic decision, but it seems to me that things would have gone that way anyway. Rouhani has achieved something, and therefore he is supported.

I don't suppose that our local Iranians will agree, but their vision is built on the model of the Iranian aristocracy, who detest Islam as linked to the lower classes.

The Beaver


India: "we will refine your oil but at a 20% surcharge" and now they believe that they will get first dip :-)

Same as some in France that believe that Peugeot will corner 20% of the car market - may be that's what Fabius had let them believe


"Is the European political leadership so weak that they cannot go against USA ever?"

Look at the current "Western" political (and media) "elites" and all becomes very clear--not a single statesman (or stateswoman), mostly political prostitutes with degrees in law and "humanities". A lot of that applies also to the "academe". It is not weakness, it is worse than that.


Good comment.

The Beaver


This can sometimes be the Pravda of Iran but sometimes there are some good info:



Agree that a transactional relationship without the cloud of sanctions is the most that is possible now for E.U. and India with respect to Iran.

For India, more will have to wait for U.S. draw down from Afghanistan and the threat of AfPak implosion.

For the E.U. they'll be happy to take the immediate windfall from the Iranian spending spree.


"Russia and India have most at stake in Iran's return to normalcy in international relations."

Russia doesn't care one way or another about Iranian "normalcy"--depends how one defines it. Soviet and Russian relations with Iran were always fairly pragmatic and are based today primarily around Caspian stability, including energy sphere, and the fact that Iran potentially (with emphasis on potentially)could be a great market for Russian technology. What Russia never had about Iran, however, were illusions. Which the fate of TUDEH party's survivors living in Baku in 1980s was a good reminder of why so. As long as Iran plays along in Caspian (geo)politics and at least considers Russia's interests--things should be OK.


IMO Iran will change, she always has that's how and why, she has survived for three miliniums, but to put it simple the change and changes younger modern Iranian generation will make still would not be to the Borg' liking, since IMO Iranian will not give up sovereignty and independence due to a cultured nationalism. With regard to recent elections like b says, after all, all politics are local, there are too many crossovers and changes on many issues in what one may call as a one man party system.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not know the details - he and Rafsanjani are in, Khatami is out (too liberal, I suppose).

Formally, it means he could have a say in the selection of the next Supreme Leader.

Ex-PFC Chuck

The Democrats are in just as much trouble as the GOP, but most of the party's nomenklatura don't realize it. Which suggests they are in even worse trouble. If. Bernie is perceived to be denied the nomination because of a tilted playing field turnout, among the under 35s especially, will crash. The party poobahs will then blame the grass roots for being lazy.



"I look forward to a collection of knowledgeable comments on this subject."

From what I hear regarding the Experts' Assembly - which will be charged with electing a new supreme leader when Ali Khamenei dies - before the last election most of the members were close confidents of Ali Khamenei and after this election most members are close confidents of Ali Khamenei. There are some new faces on board, and I'ld expect some changes in style, but the strong person is Ali Khamenei, and with this election it was ensured, that his successor follows Ali Khamenei's politics, if it would come to this. President Rouhani is a close confident of Ali Khameni - and he has been one for many decades, too. Political opposition against Ali Khamanei comes from the Rafsanjani wing of Iranian politics, but that wing was not significantly strengthened by the last elections.

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