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Iran in “Antiwar.com”

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:53 pm    Post subject: Iran in “Antiwar.com” Reply with quote

Iran in “Antiwar.com”

What exactly is meant by being “anti-war”, or “pro-peace” for that matter, I confess I don’t know. I do know however that the majority of readers visiting Anti-war.com do so to read “alternative” viewpoints on the war against terrorism. This “progressive” site is linked to by the overwhelming majority of other “Leftist” websites and is quite popular among “peace activists”. Readers, particularly the more vulnerable younger readers, visit the site believing they’ll find writers genuinely concerned with the peace and welfare of people around the world. Yet, this anticipation is a good illustration of being blinded by one’s own senses for, obviously, calling an article or a writer humanistic or progressive requires a better reason than the title of the website where they can be found. Calling a writer progressive requires that one first read his or her works!

Iranians visiting websites such as Counterpunch, Antiwar and Znet can grasp that the same “Left” that endlessly vilified the government of Iran in the 1970’s---paving the way, by way of shaping public opinion, for powers that be to set in motion, and subsequently justify, the Islamic-communist revolution of 1979---continues to be either signally passive towards the genocidal crimes of the Islamic Republic against the people of Iran, or provides analyses or submits proposals that accommodate the interests of that barbaric regime. These Iranians are not puzzled for instance as to why, during the bloody 2003 student uprising, a “progressive” organ called Counterpunch would publish an article called “Keep Your Hands Off the Islamic Republic, Please!” by a Kam Zarrabi*. These Iranians are not puzzled as to why the Leftist Tompaine.com (“The best progressive insight and action…all day”) would ridicule President Bush’s proposal for regime change in Iran only to speak approvingly of the Council on Foreign Relations and Zbigniew Brzenski’s call for appeasement.

In a previous post I wrote about Stephen Kerr’s defense of the genocidal anti-Iranian Islamic Republic in Znet. Today we’ll focus on Roger Howard of Antiwar.com.

In an article titled “Dealing With Iran’s Nuclear Challenge” (June 22, 2004) he recommends a number of steps to “enhance nuclear cooperation” on the part of the Islamic Republic. Considering the likelihood of the Islamic Republic being reported to the UN Security Council in the coming months, he argues that as there is neither sufficient evidence to incriminate the Iranian Taliban in building atomic bombs, nor likely that economic sanctions would be imposed, the threat of such sanctions might instead be more effective if it stands “alongside some other measures.” What are these measures or steps that Howard recommends? He writes,

“A clear American acknowledgement that Tehran has legitimate security interests of its own would, for example, help the mullahs put aside their nuclear ambitions, even if it is an exaggeration to say that Iran wants a nuclear weapon just to deter any future aggressor: considerations of national prestige, for example, also come into play.”

Iran certainly does have legitimate security interests. These interests, however, should not be confused with the interests of the barbaric Islamist regime that has been ruling Iran since the overthrow of the Iranian government. Substituting “the Islamic Republic” with “Tehran” will not do, Mr. Howard. The interests of turbaned clerics stoning Iranians to death, and their lackeys such as Ayatullah Ebadi who sing their praises in Oslo, Paris, and Toronto, Howard should not feign ignorance, differ from the interests of their victims, who are the people of Iran. If the Islamic Republic has one “legitimate” security interest that desperately needs acknowledgment from the United States is that it be allowed to remain in power. It wants a clear American acknowledgement that leaders such as President George W. Bush discard the idea of regime change. Also, if Howard believes that the Iranian Taliban is the least concerned with Iran’s national prestige, then he knows next to nothing about Iran and Iranians. Iranian national prestige, Mr. Howard, will only be restored when this barbaric, bloodthirsty, and anti-Iranian regime is overthrown.

Howard continues that Washington could make just such an acknowledgement by withdrawing or scaling down some of its military presence in the region, and answering the Islamic Republic’s accusations of influencing IAEA, the latter for the benefit of those proclaiming that the IAEA is either under US pressure or a tool in the hands of Great Satan. “A fitting American response,” he writes, “would not only quiet demands for UN sanctions but also avoid any unnecessary criticism of [the Islamic Republic] that fosters the impression of implacable U.S. hostility.” He writes, “American administrators in Iraq could, for example, drop their frequent accusations about Iranian ‘interference,’ none of which has been backed with evidence and most of which are at odds with the views of their British counterparts…” What Howard, in effect, is proposing I’ll leave to the judgment of the reader herself. I will only point out that the article ends with the following observation:

“Economic leverage on Iran may perhaps be enough to meet the nuclear challenge. But looking at the bigger picture will much improve its chances”!

The last measure recommended by Roger Howard in the “progressive” Anti-war.com website, in my opinion, is the most eye opening of all. To further avoid any “unnecessary criticism” of [the Islamic Republic] that fosters the impression of hostility, Roger Howard concludes by recommending:

“The U.S. and the European powers will also need to tone down their rhetoric about human rights inside Iran.”

A real internationalist! A believer in the universality of human rights! Readers should now search the archives of these “progressive” websites on articles on the “crimes of the Shah and his secret police”.

Pointing out that EU's policy of "critical dialogue"--- which he claims has made Europe's diplomatic/economic talks since 1995 dependent on discussion of human rights---has achieved nothing, he infers that outsiders are powerless to influence the Islamic Republic’s domestic policies. Mr. Howard fails to point out that despite (or because of) their lip service for human rights since 1995, continued violations of human rights did not prevent the European states from dealing with, and profiting from the Islamic Republic. In short, critical dialogue achieved nothing because it was a farce: Europe's diplomatic and economic intercourse was dependent on discussion of human rights on paper only.

He writes,

“The legal ban in December 2002 upon the barbaric custom of stoning some criminals to death is trumpeted by diplomats as a triumph of the EU's approach, but it is misleading since the practice was virtually dead in any case.”

Taking the Iranian Taliban at its official word, Howard, like other supporters of the Islamic Republic, does not provide evidence that the practice was “virtually” (surly a most abominable use of this adverb) dead in any case. Had he written with less haste, had he consulted with the regime’s opponents, or had he consulted the Islamic Republic’s own newspapers**, he would have realized that stonings have naturally continued since December 2002. Furthermore, that the Islamic Republic can carry out such acts in secret is not even considered.

He concludes:

“Any such focus on Iran's dire human rights record instead fosters Iran's paranoia and allows Western criticism of the matters that we can influence – such as the nuclear issue – to be portrayed as ‘a calculated conspiracy’ against the Islamic Republic instead of legitimate concern for our own national interest.”

A conclusion also reached by Brzenski, most Democrats and the Council on Foreign Relations. An “alternative” view indeed!


By Roger Howard:

Dealing With Iran’s Nuclear Challenge

Iran's Challenge to the Bush Doctrine

How to Help the Ayatollahs

What’s Wrong With Regime Change for Iran (Note the Source!)


* http://www.counterpunch.org/zarrabi06282003.html

** Quds newspaper. November 11, 2003: Report on the sentencing to death by stoning of four men. In fact, in November 2003 the Islamist "judiciary" initiated an amendment to existing laws, detailing how to carry out stoning and crucifixion!

BUSH 2004

Last edited by Khorshid on Mon Dec 27, 2004 3:47 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Khorshid,

they are not anti-war

They are anti-human race
Referendum AFTER Regime Change

"I'm ready to die for you to be able to say your own opinions, even if i strongly disagree with you" (Voltaire)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2004 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Khorshid, it would be really good to see your excellent essay published in some leftist and progressive sites, or else all they here is the chert o pert of the likes of Howard.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“The Left”: As Anti-Iranian as Ever

I check what are called “leftist” websites regularly. I even enjoy and agree with some of the articles I read, and views with which I disagree, I still find the arguments in their support quite instructive. It was, for instance, very instructive to find “antiwar. COM” (proclaimed “Your best source for antiwar news, viewpoints and activities”) advocating a policy towards the Islamic Republic that turned out a duplicate of that advocated by the ultra-conservative Council on Foreign Relations. The truth is that I find no “leftist” views on Iran that either are not in conflict with my views as an Iranian or do not offend me personally. Certainly, the “left’s” vilification of the Shah of Iran and the Iranian government in the 70’s, praise for Iran’s enemies, celebration of Khomeini’s medieval “revolution” and subsequent support of the current regime do not encourage an Iranian following. Yet, twenty-six years after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, one would hope that at least one or two figures in the “Left” would admit, if not to mistakes in the past, to the fact that the “Left” has been blind toward the plight of the Iranian people. Wishful thinking!

One of the most popular of these websites is Znet (Zmag.org), and a few days ago they posted an article by a certain Mike Whitney, titled “Europe to Bush: ‘Hands off Iran’?”, originally posted, it seems, on Al-Jazeerah’s website, on President Bush’s recent trip to Europe. The villain of the piece, needless to say, is President Bush, who is bullying Europe into an Iran policy favored, or supposedly favored, by himself. You can read the article HERE. I’ll only make a few short comments on three passages that I’ve highlighted:

Europe to Bush: “Hands off Iran”?

Al-Jazeerah/Znet (Zmag.com)
By Mike Whitney

Europe has already done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to dissuade Iran from developing nukes, INCLUDING lavish economic incentives…

Do lavish economic incentives fall into the category of things that would dissuade the Shiite Taliban from developing nukes? I’m not asking Al-Jazeerah. I’m asking the folks in Znet, who along with their idol Noam Chomsky, can concurrently argue that dictators---and one would imagine that genocidal murderers like the Mullahs would fall in that category--- ought not be rewarded economically.

[Bush] may have hit a few high-notes with his moralizing oratory (invoking freedom and democracy ad nauseum)…

Invoking freedom and democracy “ad nauseum”. Congratulations to the “Left”!

It’s impossible to know with absolute certainty, but it’s inconceivable that [the Europeans would] allow the opportunity to pass without confronting Bush on an issue so basic to THEIR collective security. The disaster in Iraq has put enormous pressure on Europe to do whatever it can to make sure that Iran doesn’t meet a similar fate. A disruption in the flow of oil from the region would be catastrophic for Europe. Iran is essential for Europe’s continued economic vitality as well as a valued, strategic ally for Russia. An attack on Iran would be a direct assault on all the countries that depend on its resources.

Very frank. Note, however, that this posted on a “leftist” website. Not a word about the Iranian people. Not a word about how Iranians themselves feel about having their blood sucked by the EU. If the view advocated here is not a justification of European colonialism, someone tell me what the hell is! Again, congratulations to the “Left”!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:39 pm    Post subject: um Reply with quote


I think its because so few people believe it. I started a thread titled "Iran in the WTO?!?!" on one site and I got two responses. The first one slagged the WTO (which is easy enough and rather cathartic on occassion") and the second one accused me of not respecting the Mullah because they are "men of religion" and that I'm simply prejudiced. It then went on to explain that the Mullah is the government and all this rumour of dissention I hear is just a bunch of malcontents trying to get their power back.

Well, my instincts tell me not believe that. I replied that if the Mullah didn't control the courts they'd be called the mafia. It just makes sense that the general population would think enough is enough. There's just so little to go on. Again, my instincts tell me the democratic movement is for real but the few scattered sites I manage to dig up just aren't, I'm sorry to say, conclusive.

Then there's the whole "mind your own business" angle but I don't buy that one either. Human Rights is everybody's business. The understanding I get is that all the movement really needs is for the world to know its for real, that it is gathering strength and really more than anything else these days needs the rest of the world to isolate Iran and weaken the oligarchy's position by refusing to cooperate.

I wrote a ripper of a letter to a few of my elected representitives over here in Canada begging them to take a long hard look at going along with the WTO concesssion but having little else to go on but internet rumour and the Harvard Business School speech I really feel like I've stuck my neck out.

any solid resources you can hook me up with would be appreciated.

Gene Sharp rocks!

That's it for now.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here it is, from some history buff over at smirkingchimp.com and here's a link to the thread...

Iran in the WTO?!?!

The Iranian exiled opposition abroad have been trying for years to get the US to do something about Iran so that they may become the rulers of Iran under the umbrella of the Shah’s son. They will stop at nothing to make the Iranian government as evil as it can be to serve not the people of Iran but rather their own interests.

For those of you not quite up to speed on the WTO many people consider it to be a neoliberal cessepool but that's another discussion altogether. It just struck me in the gut that this sort of concession is exactly what the democratic movement doesn't need.

correct me if I'm wrong. please. and any help you can offer me proving Professor Peabody wrong would be appreciated.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The process of joining the WTO takes several years or more, even if/when the US withdraws its opposition. Hopefully the IRI regime will be long gone if/when this process completes.
The Sun Is Rising In The West!Soon It Will Shine on All of Iran!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasker wrote:
The process of joining the WTO takes several years or more, even if/when the US withdraws its opposition. Hopefully the IRI regime will be long gone if/when this process completes.

yes, but I think it puts the wrong cards on the table. the WTO is all about rich kids scratching each other's backs, which exactly the shuffle the Mullah wants to be dealt.

what the heck. here's a copy of the letter I sent my MP, PM, Foreign affairs minister and his social democrat critic. (edited only slightly because I had a stupid detail wrong)...


I am writing today to express my strident disagreement with the direction negotiations have taken between Iran and the European Union regarding its nuclear development program.

Yesterday Reuters reported the deal involves not only (oops, I thought those plane parts were for military planes) , which is in itself unsavory, but to my mind more significantly it concedes a seat at the World Trade Organization membership application table. I'm no fan of the WTO or its Washington Consensus origins but be that as it may as a member, Canada has a voice and ultimately that voice should be used wisely, with the best interests of the people of Iran at heart. Granted, as in the past, any opportunity to sit at the negotiating table with a nation-state we as Canadians have issues with is an opportunity to leverage our position on matters of humanitarian concern but I do not believe that in this case now is the time to rely on such measures.

Iran is not a Republic. It is an Autocratic Theocracy and a grossly corrupt one at that. Violations of human rights by and on behalf of the ruling class abound. Not only that but as, if I recall correctly and quite significantly, the Foreign Affairs article of November/December 2004 titled "Buying Time in Tehran" points out, the clerical oligarchy is on the verge of collapse due to not only internal discord but much more significantly its declining status as a legitimate governing body to its own people and that is exactly what the Mullah are seeking in these current negotiations.

Legitimacy. Above all else that's what they need and must be denied. Lacking popular support, indeed facing an inevitable popular uprising, the current Iranian Government is looking (desperately?) beyond its own borders for some new means of reframing its power, expanding its base of support and ultimately marginalizing its own people. Make no mistake. The record of the Iranian "government" is one of disregard for the welfare of its own people. Any interests participation in the WTO yield will be their own, not those of the common people.

I urge you to read the address of deposed prince Reza Pahlavi made at the Harvard Business School on March 9th. Reza Pahlavri has become one voice in a broadening and robust movement of non-violent resistance in Iran. They need our support. It is ironically poetic that this appeal was made at a business college in that the issue at hand is entirely about the Mullah expanding its business horizons. I quote...

"At this crucial juncture, therefore, it would be a fundamental error to “cut a deal” with Iran’s ruling clerics, thereby prolonging their unpopular tenure. Pragmatically speaking, it seems obvious that the business of the world’s free economy is to do business. Nevertheless, let us consider for a moment the exorbitant cost of establishing business ties with a leading member of the so-called axis of evil and strengthening the hand of a major sponsor of international terrorism. Let us simultaneously consider for a moment the huge peace dividend gained by investing in democratic resources of Iranian people and supporting their just struggle to join the free and democratic world"

The entire speech is available at http://www.iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2005&m=03&d=10&a=5

(be sure to include the entire URL)

I urge you to take the time to at least browse it and I hope it helps you gain some valuable perspective. As always the threat of nuclear proliferation is a matter of all seriousness and every effort must be made to curtail its advancement. However, I contend that in this particular instance the European Union and, as I understand it, all too soon the United States as well, will be agreeing to terms that in the broader scope are detrimental to the strategic purposes not just of ourselves as Canadians and the world in general but to our best allies in this situation, the people behind the democratic movement in Iran. We've seen the power of such movements, most recently in the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine and the (even more) controversial "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon. In Iran this movement is ripe for the picking and needs to be not only kept in mind during deliberations, but also taken advantage of.

The people of Iran are convinced it is only a matter of time before the current regime falls to the power of true democracy. They are not alone in this belief. By conceding legitimacy to the ruling class in Iran we grant them what they most desperately seek and deny the people of Iran our support. We, as they already are in many ways, should be refusing to cooperate with their oppressors in every way we possibly can.

Please believe in true democracy. Let the people of Iran know they are finally being heard.

I urge you to oppose the terms of the agreement being considered and let our WTO partners know we will not accept Iran as a member of the World Trade Organization until true constitutional government is achieved in the Republic of Iran.

A concerned Canadian,


I hope its catches somebody's eye. I'm getting sick of watching all the right people make all the wrong moves over there.
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