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  Iran USA Comment

Destiny of Iran`s Reform Movement

Posted: 2010-02-16
From: Mathaba
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Mathaba`s Iran Analyst takes a look a closer look at the situation of the opposition in Iran

by Ardeshir Ommani

When on February 11, 2010, millions of Iranians from 818 large and small cities across the country and from all walks of life, young and old, men and women, workers and professionals, turned out to celebrate the thirty-first anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, it was despite the threats and demagogueries of the Western leaders and corporate mass media.

For weeks prior to the anniversary day, all news agencies, the mainstream broadcasting media, and spokesmen of the offices of the U.S. president as well as the Congress and the European Parliament were all tirelessly engaged in demonizing the Iranian leaders, painting the country as undemocratic and furiously attempting to convince ‘world public opinion’ that people's participation was being choreographed by the Islamic Republic's dictates and that freedom of expression was severely restricted inside Iran.

These pillars of the western propaganda industry also desperately longed to see that a minority of upper-middle class opponents in Tehran would seriously challenge the authority of the government and inflict damages on Iran's social order and harm its reputation and credibility among nations around the world, but especially, within those of the Middle East. Over and over, these biased newscasters predicted that the reform movement would once again demonstrate en masse and challenge the social system.

But what actually took place gave rise to great disappointment and consternation, apparent on the gloomy expressions of the talking heads and news anchors covering Iran's celebration. The resolute and militant participation of more than fifteen million Iranians in Tehran, Esfahan, Kerman, Ardabil, Ahwaz, Shiraz, Qom, and many more cities deeply disappointed the American and Western European conservative forces who witnessed the nation's determination in upholding national unity and furthering the realization of economic, political, national defense and social developments, especially in actualization of Iran's civilian nuclear industry.

Some layers of the opposition forces such as the groups of monarchists, followers of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the old Shah, along with the terrorist organization of the Mojahedin Khalgh and some liberal-left groups with imaginations far greater than their actual force, were financially and technologically assisted by such agencies as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a visible extension of the CIA, and had planned, just as on previous occasions, to highjack the National Day of Celebration, using the electronic gadgets and networking programs as Twitter, Facebook, My Space, and others, to falsify their own strength and beam images into the newsrooms of the western media, that would be used as propaganda against the Islamic Republic...

But these naïve youths, so dependent on taking their cues from their managers sitting comfortably in the warm studios of the West found themselves in an ocean of patriotic Iranian humanity, isolated and helpless. When they could not serve the objectives of their paymasters in New York, Washington, California, London, Paris and Berlin, their twitter-and-facebook power suddenly vanished into thin air. The opposition found out that as in China, the Iranian government, under the deft leadership of President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had shut down their magical tools of communication with opinion-makers who habitually ignore reporting the depth and breadth of poverty in the West, the angry American citizens who are losing confidence in their own government agencies and media, and play down the daily crimes committed by the U.S. and Nato armies shooting the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen.

Aside from its technological and tactical misfortune, where did the opposition, dubbed "Green Movement" go wrong that it failed so poorly in its infantile attempts at toppling President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei and capturing State Power?

Essentially, the social groupings within the Green Movement are heterogeneous in their class character, philosophical outlook, their views of the future mode of production and social relations, the nature of the foreign policy and the strategy of attaining state power. The amorphous "movement" consists of reactionary monarchist groups, the pro-U.S. terrorist organization of Mojahedin Khalgh, along with the conservative segment of Iran's national bourgeoisie and even some misguided left leaning individuals and organizations, connected to a small but vociferous section of the upper-middle class secular Iranians in various cities. This "movement" lacks a written set of philosophical and socio-economic objectives that the future members of this bloc can examine and express their consent and commitment to. The "movement" lacks a rational organizational form with an elementary chain of command.

Tellingly, even the spokesmen and political analysts in the West admitted to this fact on the Sunday Feb. 14th talk show GPS with Fareed Zaccharia, when Wall Street Journal's Deputy Editor, Bret Stephens and Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, together lamented that the Green Movement failed to come out because it had no agenda and no established leadership.

As the President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Trita Parsi along with his relative, Rouzbeh Parsi, in an article entitled "Iran's unhappy Anniversary" wrote in the Daily Beast, "There are elements around Mr. Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader who want to reclaim the revolution through a non-violent campaign within the framework of the current constitution." Then he continues, "There are also people within the movement who see an opportunity to do away with Iran's Islamic system as a whole." If we take Parsi's assertion seriously, there must have been leaders among the "reformists" who were ready to use armed struggle to seize power.

The organizers of NIAC have more than once admitted that their organization has been a recipient of financial aid from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a non-governmental face of the CIA. A major shortcoming of the "movement" has been that it had no roots in the major toiling classes and among the Basij (militia) forces, which overwhelmingly come from working class background. During the entire eight-month period following the Presidential election in June 2008, not even one major work stoppage was declared in sympathy with the movement by the vast merchant class (bazaris) that is influential in the economic and political spheres the country so much depends on. The farmers, one third of the work force, were the solid supporters of Ahmadinejad and felt a great alienation between themselves and the well-to-do residents of northern Tehran, with their pricey real estate and foreign-made cars, whereas in the 1979 Revolution that overthrew the Shah, the shopkeepers, the merchants, and the landless farmers all played significant roles. Furthermore, no significant number of senior clerics joined the reform movement.

The "Green Movement" has remained an off-shoot of the petty-bourgeoisie, an upper-middle class urban population that by the nature of its work within the workforce is separated from the working class and farmers working on small plots of land throughout the country. Among a few factors, the final and finishing silver bullet that killed the reform movement in its infancy was the close financial and organizational connections and dependency on liaisons of the "movement" with U.S.-European counter-revolutionary planners and strategists who were aligned with infamous agents of "regime change".

--Ardeshir Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war movement. During the past seven years, he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-spurred war on Iran. Please visit AIFC's website to learn more about Iran and Global issues at:
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