Iranian neocons go after Obama

Responding to an Open Letter to Senator Obama on Iran


Iranian neocons go after Obama
by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

It deeply saddens me that two women from my native country of Iran have chosen to degrade feminism. Under the misconception that their gender will shield their hatred and deception, Manda Zand-Ervin & Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi hope that even with flawed logic they can dissuade you from seeking dialogue with Iran. Sir, I reach out to you not as a woman, but as one humanitarian to another with a common goal: the imperative for peace.

I have to wonder if these hyphenated women and others like them who so loosely use the term ‘appeasement’ are sufficiently familiar with history, or is this a mindless repetition of a word ill-understood? Perhaps these two ought to seek education and reject propaganda.

More importantly, they should realize that as citizens of the United States they should remain hyphenated in name only and not in loyalty. President Wilson had much foresight when he proposed “ an “infallible test” for the hyphenated American so that in spite of maintaining affections for the old country, when voting or fighting, the heart and mind are centered around America.” These hyphenated women have the audacity not only to insult you, Mr. Senator, for they imply that you are proposing policies to win the election, but they have the impudence to suggest that even though they think these policies are what Americans want, should be changed to please Iranians and Iranians in exile.

Obviously there are several issues amiss here. They are not loyal to their adopted country, America; they believe that you should give priority to Iranians and not Americans, yet in an accusatory tone, they have used the world “appeasement”, probably unaware of history; and they misinform you about the true sentiments of Iranians.

While they like to grossly exaggerate the crimes against the Iranians by the regime, they neglect to mention that the 8-year Iran-Iraq war was provoked, and Iran was the victim. No doubt there is oppression in Iran, but given that the country is under constant threat and it is facing treachery so blatant as witnessed by the letter addressed to you by these two, is it any wonder that those who truly seek to reform the system fall victim to suspicion?

Senator Obama, I am truly amazed that these two hyphenated women insult you incessantly. My respect for your intelligence and dignity will not allow me to do likewise. I think that with the exception of a very a few Iranians who have sold their soul along with their country, given Mr. Bush’ policies, no other Iranian would think that America has much moral authority left. Far more importantly, Iranians would never concede that America “mirrors the true character of the once great Persian Empire” as these ladies falsely state.

The regime, regardless of its shortcomings, has negotiated in good faith with various American administrations. While Mrs. Albright made a half-hearted apology to the proud people of Iran for aborting their democracy in 1953 with the CIA-backed coup and installing the oppressive Shah, in return for which she allowed pistachios to be exported, Iran was making every effort to negotiate with the United State in good faith. Iran has even indirectly approached the Bush Administration to negotiate, and it has been the administration, according to recent revelations, which solely and single-handedly has squandered at least four excellent opportunities to make peace with Iran.

The first three have been well chronicled by Flynt L. Leverett (New York Times) of the Brookings Institute who was in the administration until 2003. The last one was a letter addressed to Mr. Bush by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that proposed direct negotiations with Washington on the nuclear program. As the former US secretary of state, Dr. Henry Kissinger opined (Washington Post) the Iranian letter was significant since it was “the first direct approach by an Iranian to a US. President in more than 25 years may also have intentions beyond the tactical and propagandistic.”

In addition, at no time did Iran violate its international obligations under the NPT – and it has not done so to this date. As signatory to the NPT, the Safeguard Agreements do not demand that Iran notify the IAEA of construction sites, however, 180 days prior to the introduction of uranium processing equipment, Iran is obligated to notify the IAEA of the installation of such equipment. Those who claim that Iran was pursuing nuclear technology in secret are grossly uninformed propagandists. Iran sought several bids from various countries seeking assistance with its nuclear plant.

These women would also have you believe that it was Iran that violated treaties, attempting to hide from you, a lawyer and a senator, that in spite of the 1955 Treaty of Amity signed between the United States and Iran, which due to its 2/3 majority approval was signed into the constitution, sanctions have been imposed in Iran. That the Algiers Accord, a bi-lateral treaty signed in 1981 between the United States and Iran has been violated and continues to be violated to this day by the U.S.

These two hyphenated women allege that Iran has ‘openly admitted to exporting its kind of rule’ outside its borders, giving Syria and Lebanon as examples. It is hard to imagine how theocratic Shia Iran has fashioned secular Syria with 74% Sunni Muslim after itself. Nor is it apprehensible to fathom how Lebanon, the country that America is so proud of having achieved a ‘young democracy’ can be under the influence of the regime the two women seek to destroy at the expense of the rest of the nation.

These propagandists even defy what was captured on television by claiming that those who held a candle light vigil for the victims of September 11 were punished. One must surely wonder where these women were at the time, or more pertinently, who is their informant given that although they have claim to stand for ‘Alliance for Women of Iran’, they regularly participate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a neoconservative think-tank given to warmongering. A panel in which Mandana Zand-Ervin participated was destroying the integrity of Iran by dividing it into minority groups. [See AEI event: The Unknown Iran, Another Case for Federalism?]

Senator Obama, the hyphenated ladies propose that you “declare Iran a Gender Apartheid country”. This is most peculiar given that prior to the 1979 revolution Iranians were effectively living in a caste system; hidden from the world, and denied many opportunities they have today. While there are indeed many discriminatory laws against women, they have been changing gradually. The significant advantage is that all the accomplishments have been made as a result of feminist movement in the broader coalition of the democracy movement. This means that not only are women, shoulder to shoulder with men, full participants in the movement, but that the changes are irreversible due to them being the result of a struggle, not bestowed by the Shah.

While during the Shah’s regime the chador was a hindrance to a woman’s progress, in today’s Iran those same women enter universities. In fact, 63% of all university students are women. A full 45% of the work force is women. Moreover, the leadership board of the largest university students union, Office for Consolidation of Unity, has women members. Both the reformist and conservative political groups have women in leadership posts. Women vote and sit in parliament. They choose their own husbands and those who do not are victims of their social status, not the Islamic rule. It took decades for the women in America to earn the right to vote, yet Iran boasts of 13 members of parliament. It sent a female vice president to the world economic forum – Davos.

According to the United Nations figures, the illiteracy rate has been reduced from 52.5 per cent in 1976 to just 6.2 per cent, at the last count in 2002. Indeed, it would be odd for Iran to be declared gender apartheid, as these women wish it. They say that life is a self-reflection. How these two women hate.

Dear Senator Obama, these contrary women who are bent on propagating misinformation without the aptitude to convince are appealing to a leader by saying: “A nation is made up of people, not its leaders.” Sir, I like to believe what is said about a leader: ‘a good leader is not the person who does things right, but the person who finds the right things to do.’ Senator Obama, it is not just America that is looking to you to find the right thing to do, but the world. This is why contrary to what these hyphenated women allege, your comments have been welcomed world-over by those who have a heart and an appetite for peace. Peace can only come about if we talk and we listen.

It is my firm belief that the majority of Iranians wish to renew their relationship with the Americans and have a dialogue established between the two countries. It is only normal to seek out and heal old wounds and renew friendships – to be otherwise is not normal. I ask that you not be swayed by those who seek to betray their roots and the country which has so generously adopted them. I do not appeal to you as a woman for I know that under your leadership there will be no partiality. Partiality is generally supplemented by prejudice, and I know that has no place in leadership.

I was born in Iran and raised in many countries, but I have chosen to settle here. I believe that together we can make a difference. Yes, We Can!


Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich
Public Diplomacy Program
USC Annenberg for Communication/USC School of International Relations
Los Angeles, California


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Rosie T.

TO ADF and all others, epecially those who replied to me

by Rosie T. on

ADF (and everyone), Soraya's articles do NOT contain ad hominem attacks, rather they touch a central nerve which ALWAYS generates SERIOUS discussion by GOOD SERIOUS people of ALL political persuaions. As such, they should be CHERISHED by everyone regardless of anyone's ideology. Here perhaps wounds can be healed and possible pragmatic solutions for the future of Iran be arrived at, which will render the expat community RELEVANT and RESPECTED by the people of Iran.  Otherwise the expat community will become increaingly IRRELEVANT as its participation will only generate more bloodshed, and the people of Iran are SICK and TIRED and AFRAID of more bloodshed.  Disgusting posts of ill-will which sabotage legitimate discussion won't be tolerated anymore, and that is why ALL of Soraya's threads are VERY closely monitored. I WARNED the writer of the disgusting post to which you refer that if he didn't edit it, it would be deleted, and I did NOT draw it to the attention of the adminstration, and guess what?  It's already gone.

Furthermore this website generates almost a half million hits from INDIVIDUAL computers from people ALL OVER THE WORLD and ranks VERY VERY highly on google hits. Most of these so-called "kharejis" are silent, but believe you me, THEY ARE HERE and if they see that Iranians seem to be incapable of governing themselves (because they DON'T know this site is filtered in Iran), they will throw up their hands in despair and give up on Iran and turn elsewhere to make a contribution to the future of this planet, perhaps Latin America or South Africa, etc., etc.

TO EVERYONE ELSE  AFARIN!  Keep the ball rolling.  We're off the homepage now so most of the idiots won't find us and bother us. TO THOSE WHO REPLIED TO ME; Thanks..  I'm trying to digest as much as I can.




by Q on

I was referring to in my post was UNSC meeting on the issue of giving up war-aquired territory.

The UNSC met 4 days after the start of the war in 1980, a crime in itself. But it refused to call for returning to internationally recognized borders.

That call came only in July 1982 after Iran was winning.


Q: Some have amnesia

by Mammad on

Your points about the West and Israel wanting to continue the war are so well-documented that they leave no room to dispute it.

Your point about the US not allowing Iraq to be declared the aggressor is excellently documented. The US did accept Iraq as the aggressor, but only after it went to war with Iraq itself.

The US was reluctant to even accept that Iraq had used chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and its own citizens. We have tens of thousands of veterans of the war in Iran that are afflicted with all sorts of diseases as a result of being exposed to the chemical weapons.

Soraya's point about the Security Council not convening for 4 days after the start of the war is well-documented. But, as soon as a US advesary does something, you can IMMEDIATELY hear the screams of the US reprsentative at the US at UNSC.

Some monarchists are such sold-outs that even when the entire world has accepted many facts about Iran/Iraq war, they refuse to do so.



by Mammad on

First, about the support that the West supposedly gave Ayatollah Khomeini: Here is another version of the events, not complete, but accurate (everything in it can be checked, and I'll correct myself if any mistake is found):

When Jimmy Carter was elected President, he made respect for human rights a pillar of his foreign policy. Optimistically, this was done with good intentions, because, in my view, Carter is a good man. His work after he left office indicates that. Pessimistically, that was another way of picking on the Soviets and their allies, because the Vietnam war that had ended only 2 years earlier taught the US that military force won't solve problems (a lesson that Bush forgot).

The Shah always had excellent relations with Republicans, but strained ones with the Democrats. Roosevelt refused to see the Shah in Tehran during the famous Tehran conference with Stalin and Churchill. Truman was sympathetic toward DR. Mohammad Mosaddegh, one of my heroes. Eisenhower overthrew Mosaddegh. Kennedy pressured the Shah very strongly to carry out the so-called White Revolution, and hand-picked Ali Amini as his Prime Minister. Nixon (and Kissinger) gave the Shah everything he wanted and more, and closed their eyes on his atrocities.

So, the Shah thought that he would be pressured by Carter, and took supposedly pre-emptive actions. He sacked his long time PM, Amir Abbas Hoveyda. He ordered the formation of two supposedly different factions within the fascist Rstakhiz Party - the only legal political Party of the time. But, he released no political prisoners (about 3000 at that time); he did not legalize formation of other political Parties, and he did not lift draculian restrictions on the Press. He also did not dissolve the parliament to call for new and more democratic elections.

At the same time, the opposition, sensing that it might have better protection with Carter being the president, started some limited actions. A couple of open letters were written to the Shah, calling for freedom, and a few small gatherings were held, which were however broken up by the security forces.

But the Shah was actually wrong about Carter. Jimmy Carter spent the new year eve of 1978 in Tehran. During a state dinner, he proclaimed, "Iran, under Shah's leadership, has become an island of stability in the Persian Gulf area..." During the same trip Carter signed agreements with the Shah to sell him more weapons, as well as EIGHT nuclear reactors.

10 days after Carter left Tehran, the Shah committed an error that cost him his reign. He falsely had thought that the clerics were a spent political force. He had told Amir Asadollah Alam, his long time confidante and Imperial Court Minister, that, "the mullahs are finished" (see Alam's Memoir). This false belief, coupled with the correct thinking that Carter supports him, made him order writing of a letter in which Ayatollah Khomeini was savagely attacked. Typical of the Shah's propaganda, the Ayatollah was accused of being in alliance with the communists (the Shah called that "union of the black and red reactionary groups"). Most importantly, however, he was accused of not even being Iranian, but being of Indian origin!

The letter was published under the name Ahmad Radshidi Motlagh. No one existed with that name. Very few people know who was the real writer. I happen to be one of them, and learned it only last year. He lives his old age in Tehran, safe and sound, as far as I know (if he has not died since).

The letter sparked violent demonstrations in Qum, the center of power for the clerics. Scores were killed, and many more arrested. The riots spreads to other towns. On the 40th day of the riots (a Shi'ite tradition of mourning), another huge riot broke out in Tabriz, and so on.

By Fall 1978 the foundation of the Shah's power had been shaken badly. At the urging of the West, which was totally supportive of the Shah, he changed his PM, first Jafar Sharif Emami and then General Azhari and marshall law. Nothing worked. Brzezinsky, Carter's national security advisor, was a strong supporter of the Shah and kept urging him to use strong force to quell the riots. The Shah was hesistent, and the rank and file of the army was waivering.

Even the shah realized what was happening. In a nationally broadcast speech to the nation, he said, "I heard your revolutionary voice," and promised changes.But nothing worked. On Ashoura day of that year (a Shi'ite mourning day), huge crowds were demonstrating against the Shah.

The West also realized the depth of the opposition. They recognized that, if the Revolution was dragged on, the leadership would be further radicalized. The West was afraid that under such conditions, the communists would take over, which was not acceptable to the West. This was a peak of the Cold War, and Iran had a long border with the Soviet Union. 

Therefore, in the Guadolope conference, the Western leaders agreed on asking the Shah to appoint a PM from the opposition, form a regency council, and leave Iran for an extended period of time. This was only 3 months before the Revolution. After many offers were made by the Shah and many rejections (the likes of Dr. Gholam Hossein Sedighi of the opposition National Front, turned down the premiership offer), finally Shahpour Bakhtiar, from the NF, accepted the offer. The Shah then left.

Bakhtiar was immediately expelled from the NF. He wanted to meet the Ayatollah in Paris, but was told to resign first. He also had difficulty to line up a cabinet. Brzezinsky sent General Robert Huyser, deputy NATO commander, to Tehran to line up the support of the Army high command behind Bakhtiar (read Huyser's Memoir). The high command was restless after the Shah had left, and wanted to kill the opposition leaders. On the eve of the Revolution, Brzezinsky called Huyser to see whether it was possible to stage a coup to prevent toppling of Bakhtiar's government; it was too late.

So, judge for yourself how the West secretly "helped" Ayatollah Khomeini.

Now About myself:

In the 1940s and 1950s there was a political group in Iran called "Socialist Worshipers of God," under leadership of Ahmad Nakhshab (not his true name) and Reza Ashtiani. They were socialists, but believed in God and rejected Marxism. When Nakhshab left Iran in the 1950s and came to the US, the group was dissolved. Repression of the regime after the 1953 coup had made it impossible to continue. Nakhshab worked for the UN, and passed away in 1975.

Then in late 1970s and early 1980s another group emerged called "Movement of Muslim Militants," under leadership of Dr. Habibollah Payman, a dentist. They resembled to a large extent Nakhshab's group - Islamic leftists. The group was very active until 1981, when assassination by Mojahedin and execution of political prisoners by the IRI, started. Payman, wisely, dissolved the group. It has now re-emerged as part of the opposition Nationalist-Religious coaltion, in which Payman is very active.

Intellectually, I consider myself part of Nakhshab-Ashtiani-Payman line of thinking. I grew up in Iran in the 1960s and 1970s, and attended Engineering School of Tehran University in the 1970s before the Revolution, which was the center of anti-Shah activities. I am a practicing muslim and a leftist. Has been a leftist, and will be a leftist until death. I believe in elimination of exploitation, limits on wealth to prevent exploitation, free, or at least affordable, education for all, and universal health care, and am strongly anti-imperialist, and anti-colonialism. I am a critic of the US foreign policy - has always been. I have not seen much positive things in the US foreign policy since WW II. 

I believe in legitimacy of the Iranian Revolution. It had economic, social, political, and cultural basis. In my view, what happened after the Revolution does not deligitimze the Revolution itself. Like millions of other people, I supported the Revolution. Like millions of other people, I am greatly disappointed that we still do not have a democratic political establishment in Iran.


Mammad, excellent points

by Q on

The examples are numerous: you can add the East Asian nations to your list: Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillipines, etc. All of them used to be one-party dictatorships much less democratic than IRI. Singapore can still be considered such. And really the only reason they didn't reform earlier was that US wouldn't let them thinking they may go toward USSR.

Rosie: Welcome back again. One of the better guides to Iran Iraq war is that by Stephen R. Shalom. To pin the war's length on Khomeini is indeed rediculous, in the face of the existing policies of the west and Israel to "keep both countries busy" and "let them bleed each other" and "too bad they both can't lose" (quote from Kissinger).

Khomeini publically said that he wanted Saddam's regime to change. But to the UNSC he made only one demand which was very reasonable: declare Iraq as the aggressor.

The US refused to allow such a resolution at UNSC, and continued to fan the flames of war. In hindsight, it may be easy to say Iran should have stopped the war, dispite considerable risk that Iraq was just going to buy more tanks and planes and attack the next year. But no western nation, nor the Shah's regime, nor Israel would have accepted those terms had they been in Iran's position, Doesn't matter if there was an "offer" of a bribe from Saudi Arabia, the fundemental threat to Iranian existence which was Saddam Hussein's Army would have been in place and no one was going to do anything about it.

Knowing Saddam Hussein, his suppliers US, USSR, Britain, France and his subsequent aggressions, it is more than reasonable to assume that he would have just used this opportunity to regroup and attack later, in effect Iran was supposed to give up it's hard-earned advantage for nothing.

All Tehrangelesi's now have decided that this was a big mistake, just because they hate Khomeini. But this is only (typical) BS on their part. As proof you can consider the following:

- Why was there no offer of cease fire when Iraq was occupying Iranian territory for 2 years?

- Why was there no Saudi offer (I stress, it was only words, but still) to pay for damages before Iran had turned the tide?

- Why didn't UNSC even meet to discuss this subject until AFTER IRAN had pushed Saddam out of its territory?

- Forget Khomeini, how could any Iranian trust these people that now - all of a sudden - were promising peace if "only" Iran would give up its advantage?

These are things that some simpler minds would rather forget while doing "sine zani" about how Khomeini "single handedly" prolonged the war, as usuall absolving Saddam Hussein and Ronald Reagan for their considerable parts in killing Iranians. Shame on all of you!



by Gilda (not verified) on

it takes someone with courage to admit the truth - Iranian women are strong. They need to fight not as weak women, but as 'sheer-zan". They dont need pity or charity, they will win their way to victory under any regime.


Iranians will change IRI .... (to eroonman ...)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

eroonman says: "The IRI really wants nukes to negotiate with. To hold their power over Iranians. having learned how with the Americans in 1979, they now hold an entire nation hostage. And they like it. That's why they always smile about it."

Mr. er, many Iranians leave Iran in daily basis and many others go back in daily basis, they are also very outspoken and express their feelings against corruption, inflation, Mullas, ... etc. And they replace or change IRI according to their schedule ... not yours or Mr. Bush' schedule.
... And yes IRI and Iranians have to be very careful and prepare themselves to the maximum extent possible, because of loose canons like you and those who have created the Iraqi disaster.
As for your rants against the writer, go take an anger management class, first take care of your own issues then worry about the "hostaged" Iranians.


Rosie: Listen UP! Following

by adf (not verified) on

Rosie: Listen UP!

Following your logic on ad hominems, Mrs. Ulrich's entire blog should be deleted too!

Rosie T.


by Rosie T. on

You have serious and  important thiings to say in a post filled with vicious ad hominem attacks.  Suggest you EDIT^ your post IMMEDIATELY as I can ASSURE you you are GOING TO BE DELETED. And although I'm interested in what you have to say, that deletion would be fine by me.  Say it, don't spray it.


on women education in

by onwomeniniran (not verified) on

on women education in Iran:

Prior to the 1979 revolution, many religious families in Iran withheld their daughters from further education, fearing the secular universities, where boys and girls were mixed in the same lecture room. After the Islamic revolution however, the universities and other institutes were deemed Islamic and the number of Iranian female students entering higher education saw a steady increase.

The percentage of female to male students for the university entrance exam is now 60/40 in favour of girls. This demographic change is now being blamed by the mullahs for much of the country's social catastrophes, to the extent that a bill is being passed in the parliament to make sure the number of female students does not exceed the number of male students.

Fatemeh Ajorloo, one of the few female MPs, is one of the supporters of the bill. "If we allocate the university places according to the nature of the course and the physical ability required, then it is better for society as a whole. We should not refer to this bill as gender allocation, but gender limitation. We should give consideration to the sanctity of gender in educational courses" Ajorloo stated in an interview with ILNA.

Also another reason we see more females:

دختران شایسته ایرانی اگر در دانشگاهها و ادارات بیشتر از پسران نمایان شده اند دلیل بر بی کفایتی دولت است چرا که جنگ تمام شده با عراق را شش سال کش دادند و پسران را به خاک سپردند پس تعداد دختران چند برابر پسران شد. از طرفی این دختران بدلیل کاهش ازدواج از سوی پسران خانه نشین شدند و برای رسیدن به زندگی معمول بشری مجبور شدند حتی تا کوره دهات دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی بروند و تمامی محدودیتها و سختیها را به جان بخرند تا شاید آینده خود را خویش در دست گیرند جاییکه دولت اسلامی پشیزی برایشان ارزش نداد. ما مردان ایرانی همیشه زیر سایه زنان ایرانی و مدیون آنها هستیم



by Mammad on


You ask an excellent and legitimate question.

I never said it is easy. I never said it will be a cakewalk, the way neocons promised Iraq would be. Of course, there will be resistance, which is why it has to be done in steps.

But, I believe that a mass movement will be able to do this. Iran's present situation is not more difficult than the Chile of 1970s, Czech situation of 1967-68, Greece of 1967-74, and certainly not Poland of 1980s and South Africa of 1980s. But, with patience and hard work, and with people's participation I can be done and will be done, but not overnight.

Most importantly, I believe that this must be, and will be, done from within Iran. In fact, I believe that, as much noise as it makes, the exiled opposition cannot and will not play any important role. That is, of course, aside from all the provocations that some monarchists do in order to induce the US/Israel attack Iran.


Rosie: This is the only

by Marmarr (not verified) on

Rosie: This is the only English site that I could find describing the Iran-Iraq war from Iraqi's perspective. If you read Arabic, there are many others sources as well. Let me know, if you do read Arabic.



to zion: Don't you think

by Haddasa (not verified) on

to zion: Don't you think Zionism has failed the Jewish people??? Don't you think it's time to have a different approach. Have you heard of Hatikva movement??


Mammad What makes you think

by bedakshi (not verified) on


What makes you think that the Islamic Republic is going to sit idly by and allow these embryonic movements to become full fledged fetuses? Do you really think the Islmaic republic leadership is that naive to not see the writings on the wall???All the oppositions have been easily and ruthlessly supressed in the last 29 years. How is the regime going to change this behavior?

When Khatami was elected, the US was actually ready to attack Iran, over the allegations, never proven, that Iran had a role in Khobar explosions.

Please substantiate your assertion by giving us some of kind of reference. You seem to be privy to informations that others are not aware of.


Rosie: Saddam Himself made

by Marmarr (not verified) on

Rosie: Saddam Himself made numerous attempts to end the war but Khomeini refused. Also, there are documents that before the start of the war, khomeinis' operatives in Iraq had attempted to bomb one of the universities in Iraq. I have to look for the source and it might take me a while.

Soraya: You need to read the book by William Engdhal, "A century of war" to understand how the US and Europeans covertly manufactured the soft revolution in 1979.


I first ran across this book referenced in a footnote about three years ago and tried to track it down. First I tried to purchase it, but found that it was out of print and used copies were going for $100.00+ on the internet. I found this curious since it was relatively recent (1993) and, given its topic, was certainly of tremendous interest to US readers, even before the events of 9/11 and the subsequent Gulf War II. I was fortunate to find it in my university library and have since read it several times.
I am tempted to go 'on and on' about this book, especially since it is not easily available for people to read. Nor does anyone seem to feel that they can (or are able to?) republish what should be a 'best seller' in the current geopolitical climate and circumstances. Engdahl, whose personal background includes engineering and law (Princeton), working in Texas oil industry, and international economics (University of Stockholm), does a penetrating and eloquent job of sorting out the complex web that connects the controlling interests of international politics with the goals and objectives of global oil and financial interests, these having merged in the last century into the powerful and dominant hegemony of an Anglo-American consortium.

There are so many revelations that are so well documented that one has to slow down and completely reorientate his or her conception of and attitude toward recent history. His tone is neither particularly vindictive nor is it conspiratorial. It looks at people and events and provides plausible motives and methods that are not part of the conventional awareness. For example, (fact) the British navy decided in the late 19th century to change their primary fuel source from coal to oil, thereby (objective) needing to secure access to oil reserves, basically in perpetuity. (result) British agreements for oil resources with the Sheikh of Kuwait date from 1899. (fact) Oil then comes to supplant coal as the primary energy source for all of the industrializing world, and a decade later Germany threatens to become the leading industrialized nation in Europe and (objective) needs a secure source of oil, so they begin construction on the Berlin to Baghdad railway intending to capitalize on agreements to import Iraqi oil. (question) How does Britain meet this emerging geopolitical threat. (objective) Block Germany's access to Middle East oil. (result) Curiously WWI begins with an out-of-the-way assassination in Croatia that just happens to occur near the route of that railway. War ensues and not only is the B-to-B railway cut off, but Germany loses all colonial power in the Middle East.

Mr. Engdhal's official website:


Counter Currents (your original essay was published on this site) on Mr. Engdahl:


Some Excerpts from the book in regards to Iran:



go tell them (to Zion ..)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Zion says, "Clarity of who we are dealing with is always welcome, 007 and 008 ! ... :)"

my friend Zion, good to see a smiley { :) } in your comment, I hope that wasn't a typo! Blogging with us has for sure had some good impact on you in that regard.
Now that you are in good mood go tell those extremists in charge of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to stop creating more wars and annoying Iranians. Tell them to use their strong influence on both parties (Democratic and Republican) for good. Tell them to read Georeg Soros' articles, tell then to learn decency from the Jewish liberals.
If you do that I wish you success, and maybe one day I will personally give you a tour of beautiful synagogues of my hometown Isfahan/Iran.

Rosie T.

Iraq/Iran War/Shah Soraya, Mammad, amshid

by Rosie T. on


Well for starters I guess I WAS wrong in saying the UN offered to broker a peace but while Saddam accepted it, Khomeini refused, resulting in the death of, okay, Mammad, a QUARTER of a million Iranians, because both of you deny it (implicitly or explicitly) and I have NOT been able to find a single shred of evidence for it in an pretty tiring websearch. If ANYONE ANYONE here has ANY evidence that it HAPPENED PLEASE TELL ME!

I am very disturbed about this because I have used this (apparent) disinfomration myself to attack Khomeini and now it seems the source I got it from may at best have been confusing things with a Saudi offer to broker a peace (which it now seems wasn't true either), and at worst cynically disseminating false propagana.

Now for individual questions:


Soraya: You seem to strongly imply that the Shah was backed by the US til the end and I have read SO SO much claiming that it was the US (in conjunction with European powers, especially France) which deposed the Shah by covertly backing Khomeini within and without Iran. It SURPRISES me that you don't seem to believe this since typically the belief is upheld by people on the "left" who (IMHO in many ways but by no means completely accurately) hold the US accountable for virtually all political activity in the Middle East since WW II. And you of course seem to be one of those people, as witnessed by the almost exclusive focus on the US in your reply to me below. So could you please say a few words on this? (Doesn't have to be a doctoral dissertation though). LOL


Mammad, after reading your long post to me which discloses some information on your background, I would like to ask you to BRIEFLY charactize e your political background, ideology, affiliations and evolution over time. It would help me understand this discussion a lot better.

For example, I would consider myself something like an old-style UK Social Democrat/Labor along with of course good ol' Green . And have been so since I was educated at a Columbia of the late 70's under the strong sway of Edward Said and also its legacy of the 60's. But most of my activities have been in the arts and teaching so my political focus has been primarily single-issue in alliance with the Anarchists and Socialists on the downtown New York "Underground" scene in which I lived and participated since 1985 and which, due to gentrification, has almost completely disappeared.. Before college, I was a strongly pro-Zionist but strongly humitarian Liberal (Liberal in the American sense  following in the footsteps of my middle-class Ashkenaz Jewish parents. (I am now a non-Zionist advocate of a one-state solution as was Said).  If I knew something like that about you, Mammad, it would help me very much to understand the current discussions here.

As another example, I understand Jamshid better because I know he was an ardent revolutionary in 1979 who feels deeply (and in my opinion justifiably) betrayed by IRANIAN leaders of the Revolution (as opposed to exclusively betrayed by foreign powers; e.g.  Khomeini's book on Velayate Fahi was well-known by some of those IRANIAN leaders and purposefully hidden from their often youthful followers like Jamshid. He believes Iran is MUCH worse off than it was in the days of the Shah whom he fought to depose, as many, many people on this website believe, and he holds those IRANIAN leaders accountable,as well as, to some degree, himself, which I personally  find to be a breath of fresh air. 

Knowledge of this backgound helps me understand how he swung SO strongly 180 degrees, from being fervently pro-Islamacist to virulently anti-Islam. And although I've been away from here for a while, I know that until I left, I'd seen his evolution from seeming to reject all Muslims to praising those Ayatollahs held under house arrest and strongly advocating alliances with ALL anti-Islamacist Muslims to achieve his current politcal goals.

So. as you imply, Mammad, he may seem rigid and unreasonably argumentative in many of his individual posts, but he actually DOES listen carefully and his perspective changes over time.   So, Mammad a similar brief history of your political background would help me to understand your perspective better, and your analysis below which I find highly informative but would like to know where it's coming from.

Soraya if you would like to do the same of course it would be very welcome but it isn't really necessary at least for me  because I kind of already understand where you're coming from . And of course Jamshid if I've mischaracterized you in any way, please say so immediately.

Best regards to all of you and eagerly awaiting your replies.



Answers for AnonymousHaha

by Mammad on

1. The best example is south Africa. Although South Africans struggled to get rid of apartheid for a long time, but it was only in late 1970s that the political organizations and other necessities that I described were ready to take on the regime. By 1990 the regime was gone.

2. Why does the Soviet Union not count? The movement for change was born in 1983. It existed before, but when Mikhail Suslov became the leader, it became strong. By 1988-1989 it had changed the system.

3. Czechoslovakia in 1967-1968. In less than a year we had the Prague Spring, full of freedom. It was only the Soviets' tanks that crushed it.

4. The Solidarity movement in Poland: In less than a decade not only the communist dictatorship was gone, it also triggered changes in the rest of Eastern Europe.

5. Argentina: The Generals overthrew the democratic government in 1976 (with the US blessing), and started a campaign of terror. By 1983 the regime was gone. Argentina has been a democracy ever since. It happened mainly through the efforts of political groups, and in particular mothers of those killed or disappeared.

6. Chile: In this case it took 17 years, but that was only because General Agusto Pinoche, with the US blessing, continued to use a campaign of intimidation, and the democratic movement did not want violence, just the way I described.

How many more do you want? I can give you a long list.

You also mis-stated the Khatami era, because,

1.  Full sanctions against Iran were imposed in 1995, announced by Bill Clinton at a meeting of AIPAC.

2. When Khatami was elected, the US was actually ready to attack Iran, over the allegations, never proven, that Iran had a role in Khobar explosions. 

 3. The Khatami era was the embryonic stage. Yes, political "parties" did exist, but only superficially, since they did not, and still do not, have large membership, there was, and there still is, no party discipline, and NGOs only started to form. In fact, the reformists did not even have a program of change; they were not ready to lead.

4. There was not, and there still is not, the type of extensive people-to-people exchanges that I am talking about. The best evidence for it is the admission by Robert Gates, the US Defense Secretary, who said just three weeks ago that a lot of Americans should go to Iran to become more familiar with Iran.

People like me, who are at major research universities in the US, accept excellent Iranian students to come here to do Ph.D. every year, but they often do not get visa, purely because they are Iranian. This year, I have accepted three new students to join my research group, all outstanding students. Let's see how many of them get visa. Last year, I accepted four, only one of them got visa, AFTER A ONE YEAR DELAY FOR SECURITY CHECKS! ONE YEAR! 

Now that I have responded to you, and have also described the way I believe people should organize, why don't you enlighten us with your way of doing things. Why don't you describe your way. I like to read it.

Rosie T.


by Rosie T. on

Jimzbund is NOT James Bond and he made that clear on his blog on the homepage!  (I think he must be half-Czech or Polish or somethng like that        LOL).



To: aaj sr - Thank you, I am not denying it has not taken place

by Ari (not verified) on

Dear aaj sr:

Please don't mistake my comment with the point that such atrocities have not taken place. I am fully aware of this event. I also did raise my disgust to this action directly with high level Iranian officials. In fact a group of us did!

My intention as you will note in my response to Mr. Rahmanian was that writers, activists have a moral responsibility to tell the truth and not fabricate information. Falsification of information creates a doubt in our minds, or at least in mine about the validity of the information being provided.

If we want change, true change, that change starts with ourselves. Truth, honesty and integrity are the basic pillars.


THe issue is the truth and not misleading the public

by Ari (not verified) on

Mr. Rahmanian with all due respect there is a significant difference between a movie depicting a historical event or a painting, vs. a photograph which is given detailed identity only to find out that it is all fabricated.

The individual was not trying to convey that stonning took place, the individuals in this case both Mr. David Horowitz and Ms. Banafsheh Zand-Bonnazi took a photograph and fabricated an entire story around it. Giving that Photo a real name, age, place where the stonning took place, the year that the event took place, and how this photograph was smuggled out of Iran and fell into the hands of Ms. Zand-Bonnazi's partner.

The entire story was fabricated and false in its entirety. The word is an out right lie in my vocabulary. It is a a mockery to our intelligence, misinfoming the public only to serve the opportunitst goals of Mr. David Horowitz and his co-conspirator Ms. Zand-Bonnazi.

What kind of credibility do such individuals have? ZERO? At least for me.

When one lies and distorts information, it is irreparable damage and I wouldn't trust anything that such individuals write, or speak about.

Furthermore, what individuals like Ms. Zand-Bonnazi and others like her do is harmful to individuals who are attempting to provide correct and valid information to us. This is a total disservice to all of us.

We are sitting outside of Iran, and relying on information and statistics from various sources, including writers on this web-site if I start noticing that what I am reading is false, and baseless; then why should I trust anything I read about the IRI from any writer?

I already know the U.S. media continues to propagate misinformation. There is no moral responsibility for deformation. What sort of responsibility does a writer or a journalist have to his readers if they have misled public opinion by innacurate information?

How many innacurate, superficial and misleading judgements are exposed every day confusing readers without any verification?

Hastiness, misinformation, and superficiality have become the psychic disease of the 21st Century and more than any where else this desire is reflected in the press. Such as it is however, the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislative power, the executive and the judiciary. And one would then like to ask by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?

The same goes for our Iranian compatriots
you have a moral responsibility to provide us with accurate, and valid informtion, else you lose all credibility.

Just for your informtion the reason that I have written this rather lengthy response is because every day I am provided with similar photos or various news reports from various opposition groups, which takes alot of my time to verify their validity - only to find out they are false!

This is why I always ask individuals unless they put their sources so that their validity can be verified, I don't trust anything I read or see.

As Winston Churchill said:

“Truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.”





Good to know

by Zion on

Clarity of who we are dealing with is always welcome, 007 and 008 !
The only problem is we already have a Jimz Bund, and he is on our side, one of the good guys with a lot of intelligent comments. So you better choose something else to address your ranks. :-)


I wish them success too

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

thank U a7, for saying this so simply. we should not be ashamed of defending our country. iri problems are for iranians to solve. those who live in iran have to lead, not those who live in hollywood.

anyone who supports attacking iran, asking usa to fund a revolution or even "mohasereye eghtesadi" has to understand that he is hurting iranian people. it is treason to side with the enemy.


I wish them success (to Zion....)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Zion says, "Jamshid, It could not have been said better:
While raping, a rapist cannot claim he is defending his victim from another rapist."

Zion, I don't like to use this kind of terminology but IRI despite all its wrongdoings fits that description much less than the oil junkies, and land grabbers regarding the people of Middle East. Again I can't possibly discredit you better than Alan Greenspan who said about Iraq war:
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
So my friend Zion, anyone who wants the land and the oil of Middle Easterners has to pay for it!
Despite my disagreement with many of IRI policies and not being a Muslim, I wish IRI continued success in defending Iran in any way they see fit.


Question For Mammad

by AnonymousHaha on


I have a fews questions.

1) Can you name an instance in history where a governments grip on society such as the IRI's was removed by all the steps you proposed? I am talking about a governments that we could classify as dictatorships,semi fascist or totaleterian.

Please exclude the soviet union as it does not count for various reasons.

2) If you do find such an instance in history, did it take 10 to 15 years as you indicate below? If not 10-15 years, how long did it take?

3) During the Khatami years, there were no sanctions and the so called "conservatives", with amazing ease, silenced the so called "reformist" in no time. Assuming sanctions are lifted, what mechanism will gaurantee your second step below i.e " Civil society groups, NGO, political parties, etc. should be built in
Iran" to insure we have a viable "democratic movement" as you propose. Specifically, how will the Basijis, revolutionary gaurds and the Bonyads who rely so much on the system as it is now will be persuaded, peacfully, to give up their power and influence and control of Iran's resources?

Please explain.




Peaceful changes in Iran

by Mammad on


I had decided that I would not respond to you, because, in my view, you are only interested in "winning" an argument, rather than debating, learning, and teaching. A person who is interested in winning only would be willing to say anything to win. However, I decided to respond to this comment of yours, because, aside from your usual slogans, misrepresentation, etc., you asked a good question: How do I think change must come to Iran. 

Over the past two weeks I have published two articles about Iran on the internet and in print. In these article I have discussed my thoughts about how to make changes in Iran.

1. So long as there is an external threat to Iran's national security, the hardliners will use it to suppress all the groups that want deep changes for the better in Iran. This is what happens in any country under similar conditions. After the 9/11 events the Bush administration shoved down our throats the Patriotic Act, started eavesdropping on US citizens, checking mails and internet. Most critics of invasion of Iraq were silenced by attacks as unpatriots, etc. This is too well-known to ignore. Only when all the lies and deceptions became clear, the antiwar movement recovered. The same is true about Iran. 

Therefore, the first step is removal of the threat. That is, preventing US military attacks on Iran.

2. Once the threat is diminished, the real work starts. Civil society groups, NGO, political parties, etc. should be built in Iran. They already exist, but only in embryonic state. We have labor movement, university student movement, feminist movement, reinterpretation of secondary Islamic teachings movement, etc. These are the backbone and pillars for building a democratic movement.

3. Political discipline should emerge. Political parties should accept members, and party discipline should be developed, which means a person who is a member of political party A would vote for the candidates of political party A. Again, these exist but in embryonic state. 

4. The West should lift all sanctions on Iran. It is clear that they won't sell Iran weapons, but there is no reason for 95% of the present sanctions. A thriving economy that helps build up Iran's middle class will be a great help. Sanctions only hurt ordinary people. Sanctions can also lead to war, as in the case of Iraq.

5. People-to-people exchanges, NGO-to-NGO exchanges, should increase between Iran and the West. This would help preventing development of lies and exaggerations about Iran, which would contribute to peace.

6. As these are established,  the democratic movement gets stronger. Then,

(a) The first goal should  be the illegal aspects of what is done in Iran, within the present constitution. Vetting of the candidates for elections by the Guardian Council must be abolished. Revolutionary courts and the special courts for the clergy must be abolished. The Cultural Revolution Council must be abolished. The press law should go back to what it was 10 years ago, which was much better than today's. etc.

(b) Once these goals are achieved, then demands for deeper changes come to the surface. The authority of the Rahbar should become limited. The commander-in-chief of the armed forces must be the elected president. The Ministry of Intelligence must be controlled by the president. The military must become depoliticized. Rahbar should be elected by popular vote for a fixed period of time.

(c) Once these are achieved, the demands for the next and final changes come up: There is no need for Rahbar and it must be abolished.

(d) Demanding for any of these changes does exclude demands for the others, but a movement must have realistic achievable goals, not idealistic positions.

7. So, unlike many, I do not expect deep changes to come over night. It has to be done step-by-step. Development of democracy is a process, not a project that starts on a specific date and ends on a specific date. We have struggled for democracy since the 19th century. We can wait another 5-10 years.

8. Unlike you, I do not believe in superficial alliances or coalitions of various groups in exile. Alliance or colation, whether tactical or strategic, should be based on a minimum set of mutually acceptable principles. Just opposing the IRI is not enough. In exile, most are opposed to the IRI; it is a given. Therefore, there has to be more ground than that for alliance or coalition. For a republican like me, it is impossible to be in a coalition with monarchists.

9. I am not naive about the process. Clearly a price must be paid. When Akbar Gangi goes to jail for six years, he has demonstated that he is willing to pay the price. When Shirin Ebadi is constantly threatened, but continues her work, she indicates that she is willing to pay the price. The issue is not having any loss, or jail, or not getting hurt.. The question is MINIMISING the loss.

Now, you can view me any way you want. I absolutely do not care, and respect your opinion. But, if you want to respond, it has to be in a respectful way, without accusation, labeling, sarcasm, wisecracking, etc. It also must be without "gotchyu". People can make honest mistake. People can honestly forget something that they might have said or done in the past. That should not be an excuse to jump on them. It has to be without slogans. This is supposed to be a serious debate.

If you can do it, I'll respond. If not, I won't respond.


Rosie T.

Thanks for all the replies on the I-I War

by Rosie T. on

Thanks to all especially Soraya. It will take me some time to think about them carefully and digest them (and of course while I'm doing so more will appear) but it's a wealth of information and well-thought out opinion from different perspectives. And in a "civilized" dialog" too, which that goddamn f-ing  four-eyed Neo-con Hezbolaahi  publisher insists on. What does he have, a stick up his ass? (Just kidding. Don't flag me   :o)       ).

Thanks again.



Ahmed from Bahrain

Obama/US change of polciy towards Iran??

by Ahmed from Bahrain on

Am surprised at some posters, with seemingly Persian names, advocating change through use of force?

How can you change persecution and killing through advocating more of the same. Do bombs and another Shock&Awe going to bring the change you desire? Sure you do not want foreign powers to create the desired change in Iran? Any foreign intervention will set that country back to early civilisation, dare say the whole of the Gulf will follow likewise. Think of lives lost, country descimated and DU contmination. Leave Iran to Iranians living in Iran. They know whats best for them and they will eventually come to terms with it. Think evolution, not revolution. Iran boasts high percentage of youthand youth mean an avalanche of oncoming change.

I for one will talk to the Devil himself if it means saving a life, be it even that of my own enemy. The problem is that I have no enemies and I have never felt the need to make enemies for myslef. The word enemy has been expunged from my phsyche. I wish that for all humanity.

Ahmed from Bahrain - an old Persian horse with some considerable milage still left.



by Zion on

Jamshid, It could not have been said better:
While raping, a rapist cannot claim he is defending his victim from another rapist.


Re: Anonym7

by jamshid on

Your half incomplete sentence is misleading. Here is your complete sentence. I added the completion in boldface:

"... but I wish them (IRI) success in continuing to defend Iran in any way they can while they are brutalizing, murdering, looting the very people they (masalan) are defending..."

See the difference between a half truth and a whole truth? Makes a big difference does it not?

Nobody buys your argument. While raping, a rapist cannot claim he is defending his victim from another rapist. But that's exactly what IRI supporters claim they are doing.