Archive for the ‘Iranian Americans Politics’ Category

Opposed to war or Humanity?

April 13, 2009


Opposed to war or Humanity?

Babak Zamanian

An Imprisoned Student Leader in Iran

20 July 2008

A little while ago I was informed about a meeting to commemorate the students’ protest of 9 July 1988.This was organised by some members of left wing “Anti-War” campaigners including Haleh Afshar who is a member of CASMII and was to address the meeting at a UK university, albeit in her usual derogatory manner from the truth about the events that took place on 9 July 1988. She has been making distorted and far from the truth allegations about the students’ movement in the past and this would be yet again another occasion to falsify the truth and fabricate accusations such as “Foreign agents” etc. against the active students.

The main question however, should be what has an “Anti-War” campaign got to do with students’ movement? In other words, why should any students’ movement need the scrutiny of any “Anti-War” campaigners? What gives them the authority or the competence to cast their views on such movements and now that they stick their oar in, why do they distort the truth and try to mock the students’ movement?

To answer the above questions, of course, one needs to look into the reasons behind the necessities for the formation of such campaigns in the first place.

Below, the author tries to illustrate this by making reference to allegations made by the members of such campaigns and to leave the readers to draw their own conclusions.

Nowadays, it would be hard to find anyone who would advocate war. Coping with the destruction and in many cases, the irreversible devastation would be enough food for any sensible mind in today’s world to try and avert such disaster from happening.

One needs to pause and think of the motives behind the aims and purposes for war mongering. The main reasons for this appear to be dominance, looking for means of survival and for the purposes of imposing one’s ideology upon other nations.

The present rulers of the Islamic Republic are no exception to these rules and they are jeopardising the interests of our nation by agitating and confronting the USA. It’s worth mentioning here that the Islamic Republic has been living and surviving through war situation for the past 29 years and the crises are renewed by the rulers as and when the need arises; the imposed war with Iraq, sanctions, “Velvet Revolution”, the nuclear standoff, etc. and as though these crises are renewed in an ever increasing circles.

Of course, one of the means of survival has always been resorting to repression. This is usually justified by “Protecting the national security” against foreign intervention and any individual’s critical voice or opinion is repressed in the name of “People’s enemies” or “Nation’s adversaries”, usually by resorting to the harshest methods of elimination. On the other hand, and at the same time, state sympathisers and pro activists are identified and utilised both within the national boundaries and abroad in order to mobilise and promote their objectives.

For the readers’ benefit, I shall highlight a few examples of such individuals and groups of pro state activists. It is hoped that by exposing the true nature and essence of such individuals and groups, their proper role of promoting the interests of the Islamic Republic masqueraded as “Anti-War” movement is revealed.

It must be clarified here that any genuine anti-war movement which doesn’t seek any specific political aim in favour of any specific group or tendencies, is a plausible act and should be encouraged. However, once this kind of movement is launched with the view to promote the interests of any particular beneficiary, it needs to be carefully examined and exposed to reveal the true motives behind such movements.

The first signs of so called “Anti-War” movements emerged shortly after Ahmadi Nejad was voted as President in the middle of summer of 2005. A few Iranians in England, notably “Rudabeh Shafiee” started up a movement known as “Iran Action” whose prime functions were to establish the communication channels with the British anti war movement following the invasion of Iraq.

On 1 December 2005, “Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran” (CASMII) was formed by “Abbas Edalat”. Almost a year later, on 6 November 2006, “Campaign Iran” was formed to consolidate the efforts of all the active lobbying groups and circles in Britain. This newly established organisation in the UK is affiliated to the international “CASMII” organisation.

“Rudabeh Shafiee”, “Elahe Rustami”, “Ziba Mir Hosseini”, “Haleh Afshar”, and others such as “Pirooz Mojtahed Zadeh” and “Mahan Abedin” are amongst the board of directors of the Islamic Republic’s lobbying network in United Kingdom.

“Abbas Edalat” started touring the USA a month after the establishment of “CASMII”. His aim was to spread “CASMII” into the USA and to establish the American branch of his “Anti-War” campaign. This included meeting several pro individuals and to organise speech conferences with the view to recruit sympathisers amongst the Iranian community in the USA, particularly in California. The city of Boston is the heart of the lobbying network in America whilst M.I.T. also plays a key part within this network.

On 22 February 2006 John Tirman, Executive Director & Principal Research Scientist of “M.I.T. Center for International Studies” delivered a speech at M.I.T. in support of this movement.

Gary sick and “Hadi Semati”, a professor of political science at Tehran University and an adviser to Iran’s former President Khatami, are amongst John Tirman’s closest allies and best friends.

Gary Sick is one of the most prominent lobbying individuals within the US oil trade and is the most important ally of the Islamic Republic in all manners of speech and for all the ruling factions within the Islamic Republic regime.

He was one of the original members of “Houshang Amir Ahmadi’s” “American Iranian Council” board of directors and has been one of the main beneficiaries of donations made by EXXON Mobil Corporation and “The Rockefeller Foundation since 1993.

Abbas Edalat

A computer specialist, “Abbas Edalat” is a UK resident and the founder of “CASMII”.

He has a close relationship with “Tohid (Monotheism) Foundation” in London. Representing “CASMII”, he has delivered speeches at M.I.T. by invitation. Earlier, in 2005, he addressed his audience on the subject of computerizing Iranian schools.

Prior to the formation of “CASMII” he only had one public political appearance organised by “Hooshang Amir Ahmadi” in year 2000, where he delivered a speech in a one day conference in Washington in presence of Senator Arlen Specter and most notably, Frank Kitteredge, President of the “National Foreign Trade Council” and the Vice Chairman of “USA Engage”, a coalition of over 675 businesses, agriculture groups, and trade associations seeking alternatives to unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and promoting the benefits of U.S. foreign trade engagement.

It would be interesting to note that a single person in London with a very low profile track record within the political arena could be offered a platform to deliver a speech at one of the best known universities in the world only a month after the establishment of his foundation in the UK!

“Washington Prism”, a weekly online journal, reported “Abbas Edalat’s” speech at M.I.T. and wrote: “Dr. Edalat had travelled to the USA from London to deliberate with Dr. John Tirman, on the subject of USA’s possible military invasion of Iran”.

He had a vital message for the Iranian community in the USA: “There appears to be grim signs of an American invasion of Iran and we must mobilize an opposition against a possible conflict”, he said. Making references to the formation of an “Anti-War” movement in Britain, he added: “A wide spectrum of Iranians of various allegiances ranging from pro monarchists to reformists and not have formed a coalition within this organization”. He went on to say: “We must unite against a possible military attack even if there is only a 3 or 4 percent chance of it”. He dismissed USA’s and Europe’s claims of Iran’s probable acquirement of nuclear weapons and called it “inconsistent according to CIA’s and MOSSAD’s dossiers” without explaining how he obtained this information and expressed: “According to CIA and MOSSAD, Iran is years away from acquiring even one nuclear weapon while Israel has already built its nuclear arsenal with 200 nuclear war heads and nobody expresses any concern either”.

In an interview with an American left wing on line magazine, “ZNet”, on 23 February 2006 he meticulously illustrated the mainstream policies of the Iran “Anti-War” lobby.

He pointed out three objectives. According to him, in the first instance, all the inadmissible accusations regarding Iran’s nuclear activities must be confronted by making use of all resources available.

Secondly, the anti-Iraq war movement ought to be outspread to include Iran and finally, to organise the lobbying of the American Congress and Senate.

The mobilisation and the making use of the ever treacherous so called “left wing” groups with allegiances toward the Islamic Republic’s interests as expressed by “Abbas Edalat” and other members of “CASMII” was once again emphasized and “Trita Parsi’s” NIAC which according to Bob Ney is considered as “The credible representative of the Iranian- Americans”, was well promoted.

According to Roy Coffee, a founding member of NIAC and Trita Parsi’s close ally, “the Iranian-Americans didn’t really get into this game because of their experiences”. Parsi himself along with one of his associates in Iran, i.e. “Siamak Namazi”, expressed their views in a well known document published in 1999 regarding the ways of making use of the Iranians who settled in the USA and expressed their “disappointment” about the pacifist attitudes adopted by those Iranians who fled from “Hell in Iran”.

Later in this article we will be looking at “CASMII” leaders along with the “Anti-War” lobbyists’ points of view and the reasons behind the apathetic response by the Iranians living abroad towards the Islamic Republic’s lobbying circles.

Due to the lack of interest shown by the Iranians residing in the USA towards “Iran Lobby”, Trita Parsi and his associates have resorted to American expert lobbyists in order to compose their network of backing the Islamic Republic of Iran in this country.

“National Iranian American Council” (NIAC) which claims to be representing hundreds of different organisations and groups operating under various titles, is in fact made up of approximately 100 members. To clarify this further, we shall look at some examples.

Many pamphlets released by Trita Parsi’s NIAC, reiterate the connection of hundreds of students’ associations along with other cultural and social circles with his council. One of the most regularly mentioned name of groups of sympathisers is “The Iranian Students Association” at American universities, particularly in California where most Iranians reside.

Under such circumstances, it would be obvious that when someone like “Abbas Edalat” is invited to a highly esteemed university such as Berkeley, to deliver a speech in opposition to USA’s military attack on Iran, many peace loving Iranians would naturally take part.

One brief look at “Parsi’s” list of frail networks in California, which lists tens of names of organisations, reveals that if even the representatives of these organisations took part in these meetings, they would exceed the auditorium’s capacity!

Therefore, it would be imperative to find an answer to a vital question in connection to “Anti-War” lobbies.

Earlier, we showed that according to “CASMII”, the Iranian community in the USA were reluctant to show any allegiance toward the “Anti-War” movement instigated by the network of “Iran Lobby”. So who or what is filling this disengaged position?

In order to influence the public opinion, the lobbyists are counting on two factors. One is their infiltration within the research, academic and media institutions which they have achieved since 1997.However, the latest and the most important of their leverage to turn the most attention toward their interests is the international anti-Iraq war

The international “Anti-War” movement is mainly managed by the left wing organisations throughout the world. The Islamic Republic has managed to draw the support of some of the American organisations belonging to this movement and hence has acquired some important advantages such as Internet and other media coverage. This alone, i.e. the support of some left wing organisations in the new “Anti-War” lobby in the USA has made a profound difference in comparison to those formed prior to 2005.

In an effort to engage with the American and British left wing organisations, the Islamic Republic has always been eager to find mediators or Iranian negotiators to facilitate the co-operation of the “Anti-War” or “Anti-Imperialist” movements. This is where the roles of individuals such as “Ardeshir Ommani” and “Rostam Pourzal” in the USA, or “Elahe Rostami” and “Rudabeh Shafiee” in the UK become significant.

In order to have a better understanding, one needs to study the organisational structure of “CASMII” which in general has been formed by those rubbing shoulders with Trita Parsi. In addition to these, one can also find a few so called “Left Wing” Iranians who also pose as “Anti-American extremists”.

“Rostam Pourzal”, who is on the board of directors of “CASMII”, claims to be an ex-Marxist; a useful attribute for the Iranian lobby to get friendly with the American left wing organisations. Individuals such as Pourzal are symbolic of Iranian opportunists and so called left wing elements that right now are showing off their treason to the nation in a great magnitude to the Iranian President.

It would be necessary to highlight a few important points in relation to the importance of recruiting the American left wing organisations and making use of the international “Anti-War” campaign which was formed after the invasion of Iraq by the coalition forces.

In contrast to Europe, there are no resolute left wing political parties in the American political scene as the two parties of Democrats and Republicans fully dominate the American political domain. Hence, the left wing organisations tend to be more active within smaller cultural circles and foundations and other little or large ancillary networks. The main means of propaganda and influence for these groups is the Internet.

“Rostam Pourzal” was one of the founders of “Center for Iranian Research and Analysis” (CIRA) in 1980. This centre grew to become one of the most important propaganda headquarters when “Houshang Amir Ahmadi” joined it in 1984. “Pourzal” discretely co-operated with “Trita Parsi’s” “NIAC”. In a response to an article which was published in Washington Post in 2004, with the aid of a professional lobby he and a group of “Trita Parsi’s” colleagues visited Senator George Allen. (7)

On 29 October 2006, at a New York church, “Pourzal” and “Abbas Maleki” delivered a speech about Islamic Republic’s “Peaceful nature of nuclear projects”. This event was organized by “Ardeshir Ommani”, a co-founder of American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC). “Pourzal” is truly a more passionate admirer of Ahmadi Nejad’s than even “Hussain Shariatmadari” (The managing editor of “Kayhan”, the most prominent conservative Iranian newspaper).

It would be useful to quote some examples about one of the leaders of “CASMII”; an organization which on the face of it tries to unite the Iranian community with diverse ideological allegiances.

After Ahmadi Nejad’s election as president, and the controversy over the corruption during the elections, “Pourzal” presented a unique and second to none analysis about Ahmadinejad’s victory.

With an incredible and astonishing consecration, he describes Ahmadi Nejad’s “Anti-Imperialist” and “Anti-Globalization” stance to his American “Left-Wing” allies in such manner:

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During the last 25 years, “Pourzal” has been organizing counter demonstrations against the Islamic Republic’s opposition groups abroad. For instance on 19 November 2004, while Islamic Republic’s opposition groups were holding a protest in Washington, “Pourzal” and another twenty individuals held a rally against them and later while boasting about his action, he broke the news and published it in English. Although some criticism and opposition to one or two groups of Islamic Republic’s oppositions has been encountered from time to time, but never before has any group except “Pourzal” has organized a Counter Demonstration in favour of the Islamic Republic in the past.

“Ardeshir Ommani” is also one of the most instrumental individuals within the “Iran Lobby”. In an article printed in the Communist Party (Or as some would like to call it “American Socialist Party”) publication, “Workers World”, he wrote:

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“Ommani’s” faith in Ahmadinejad undoubtedly stems from his leader’s popularity and legitimacy and his symbolic role as the leader of the world’s popular movement. He goes on to show his servitude to Ahmadinejad: “For the Arabs, the Moslems and all the oppressed masses of the world, Iran, led by Ahmadinejad, has been recognized as the trusted and admired force. A kind of force that has stood up to America’s dominating ambitions in the Middle East”.

One of the most interesting topics of discussion amongst Ahmadi Nejad’s supporters abroad is the “Unique position” of Iran’s women in comparison to other women’s position within the neighbouring countries.

“Elahe Rostami” also makes use of this well used theme of discussion and in an interview with the “Socialist Worker” magazine on 21 February 2004 she says: “Today, the Iranian women enjoy more rights than any other women in the neighbouring countries. Iranian women have the right to vote and enjoy from relatively better balanced legislations in family matters, education and employment. However, the West chooses to close its eyes on these victories which have been achieved during the last 25 years of struggle”.

“Ziba Mir Hosseini” also refers to present day Iran ruled by the Islamic Republic as a “more secular and advanced society than what used to be before the revolution”. She claims that “in Iran today, religion has lost its ideological role and religious practices such as wearing the Islamic shroud; although compulsory, but some practices aren’t as holly as they used to be before the revolution”. She considers herself as a women’s rights activist and considers Iran as a more advanced society than any other Islamic nation and claims that Iranian women have a more active role in their country than other Islamic countries.

It is obvious that she is making her comparison with some of the Arab nations dotted around the Persian Gulf region such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and not those neighbouring countries such as Turkey, India or Pakistan. She forgets that women in Iran acquired the right vote when some of these neighbouring countries didn’t even exist! She also forgets some of the other Islamic nations such as Morocco, Tunisia and Malaysia.

“Rudabeh Shafiee” is one of the founders of the “Anti-War” lobby in the UK. She also has interesting views which reminds one of the hooligans who were mobilized shortly after the revolution; some of whom with clandestine connections with the “Tudeh Party”. In an article published by “The Guardian” on 13 April 2006 she twisted the truth in such way that only publications with the reputation of being on a backhander payroll would dare to publish it. She wrote: “Iran once volunteered to suspend its enrichment programme. However, since negotiations got to the point that Iran’s case was deferred to the United Nations Security Council, Iran decided to end the suspension and restarted the enrichment programme”.

Anyone with little knowledge of Iran’s nuclear standoff knows very well that after Iran restarted the enrichment programme, and since the IAEA failed to dissuade Iran after a year, Iran’s case was deferred to the Security Council.

The main elements of the “Anti-War” lobby try to glorify Ahmadi Nejad’s so called “Anti-Imperialist” position in order to find allies amongst the American and European left wing movements. But this is not the be all and end all of these elements’ activities. These elements particularly “Abbas Edalat” and “Elahe Rustami” are also responsible for recruiting the Middle East fundamentalists and Indian/ Pakistani immigrants in the UK.

What was shown so far only highlights the treachery of a small number of Islamic Republic’s accomplices.

Although briefly shown, but the main judgement is passed onto the readers to find out for themselves who is really behind the “Anti-War” movement and how they intend to mock other social movements such as the students’ movement behind a so called legitimate venture.

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