Soliciting views: was Ahamadi's "khas o khashaak" speech stupid?


Ari Siletz
by Ari Siletz

For the moment setting aside theories regarding Khamenei’s quarrel with Ahmadinejad being a distraction tactic, it is getting harder to distinguish the goals of the immediate post revolution Green protesters from the Ahmadinejad/Mashaei position. If Ahamadinejad had not exacerbated his alienation from Mousavi voters with his khas o khashaak speech, would he now be attracting some of that crowd to his side? Here are two positive (from a liberal view)  points of apparent agreement between the opposing parties:

1.    Civil liberties. In the past Ahmadinejad has made statements suggesting a liberal position regarding the degree to which the government can interfere with the private affairs of people. For example, he was in favor of women attending soccer games. Other examples are interviews in which he seems to express disapproval of extra-judicial “partying” arrests where due process procedures are available.

2.    Iranian identity vs. Islamic identity. Ahmadinejad’s close relationship with Mashaei who promotes a stronger Iranian identity suggests there will be greater freedom for Iranians-artists, filmmakers, or scholars-- who wish present our unity in nationalistic terms as compared to religious terms.

3. Both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are now in open opposition to Khamenei.

Here are some negative parallels:

1.    Ahamadinjead cooperated-at least with silence-- in the post election arrests, rapes and killings of protesters. Mousavi cooperated--at least with silence-- in the post revolution executions.  Yet the post election protesters seem not to be concerned with past complicit behavior, otherwise they would not have supported Mousavi. They could extend the same amnesty to Ahmadinejad had he not explicitly called them his enemy with his khas o khasaak speech.

2.    Ahmadinejad stands by the Khoemini “doctorine.” Mousavi stands by the Khomeini “doctrine.”

3.    Ahmadinejad continues to use anti-Zionism as a substitute for foreign policy. Mousavi and his influential supporters seem to fear letting go of this approach, as evidenced by Dr. Mohsen Kadivar’s initial denial that some protesters chanted “na ghazeh, na lobnan…

So much for obvious parallels. However, there may be less obvious but  more important differences. I am soliciting views as to what those differences are?


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Re: Thanks

by aynak on

You are welcome Ari Jan actually since you only were interested in Mousavi of 80's and Ahmadi of 2009 that's what I provided.   Mousavi did mention economic crisis, not in the debate but at his campaigns, but you are correct that it was not the major theme, alghough high unemployment was routinely mentioned.

As for your question on the impact of economic down turn on oppositions channeling its effort only on economics,here's my 2 cents:  I wish it were true, beause that is where the most serious challnge can be posed.

If we divide the areas where the regime can be challenged into




 Mousavi's position (opposition) has been mainly on 1 (political ground).   One could even go as far as saying Ahmadi was more concrete than Mousavi on item 2 when he talked about enforcement of Hejab not as his priority, and not even mandating such enforcement of the executive branch.

 Obviously with Mousavi cut off from the world, I don't know what  refinment if any he is making to his agenda.   But I think an opposition focused on economic conditions like joblessness, income gap etc, can resonate a lot better than stritctly a political challenge with the people (as we have witnessed so far).  The social aspect of this movement really doesn't have much to do with Mousavi, and does not appear to be the make or break issue any way for the majority.  But the chance of economic demand morphing to broader demands is much more probable and real.



May we all have good dreams.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on


Ari Siletz

Thanks Aynak

by Ari Siletz on

The election discussions did not emphasize the looming economic crisis, specifically income distribution issues. There was talk of inflation and corruption but not in the context of a serious crisis. How do you see the platforms or rhetoric of the opposition adapting to the now explicit challenge of income distribution and organized labor opposition? Will civil liberties issues such as women's rights and freedom of the press take a back seat?  


Fundamental differences

by aynak on

1:Economic policies-   Ahmadi Nejad manages a close to 100 billion dollar budget of oil based economy.   He is using the most   extererme of austerity measures likes of which we only witnessed in Central and South America in 90's and early 2000's and failed them miserably.

Mousavi on the other hand was behind some of the most progressive economic plans to distribute the income, given the harsh realities of Iran Iraq war and a $18~20 billion budget that had to pay for the war in addition to feeding people

2:Ahmadi Nejad's government is accused of lack of financial  accountability and "missing" billions of dollars and systemically dismantling "Devaneh Mohsabat" a very important monitoring agency for oil and other incomes.

Mousavi has a very good reputation and impeccable record  as far as his handling of finances and economy.   Not only no  accusation of financial wrong doing was ever brought against him, he has always been viewed as a very comptent manager.

3:Ahmadi Nejad, stole 2 elections, Mousavi was not elected but appointed.  Still, Mousavi was ready to resign, when he had to compromise his position,  Ahmadi Nejad, will let Rahbar piss on him at will.

4:Ahmadi Nejad has on number of occasions called for destruction of Israel, and is very confrontational.

Mousavi is on record wanting to end the war and doing all he could to show it will not be a winable war for Iran. I do not have any record of him saying anything about destruction of Israel during his tenure.  Does he love Israel?  NO, not many people do.   But hope you see the difference.

5:Ahmadi Nejad sees himself with halo of light, Mousavi has always been a humble person

6:Ahmadi Nejad came to power because of Khamaneh-ee,  Mousavi was appointed, inspite of Khamaneh ee,   Khamanaeh ee even in 1981 was very much opposed to Mousavi. (see no 3)

7: Mousavi has been a man of substance and not much rhetorics, Ahmadi Nejad just the opposite.

8: Mousavi comes from a well known family in Khamaneh, that has very good reputation, tracing it several  generations.   Ahmadi Nejads lineage is shady at best.

9:Mousavi is a real enginner, Ahmadi Nejad is a fake doctor.

10:Mousavi fundamentally showed belief in structure imposed by law (regardless of if we agree with the law), Ahmadi Nejad, does not hesitate to use or work around those.  (Principled vs Unprincipled).

All of this are for comparison of Ahmadi Nejad of now, with Mousavi of 1980's.  

I think even from a Israeli' Centeric view, there is still a lot that separates the two.

May we all have good dreams.

Ari Siletz


by Ari Siletz on

It would be interesting to see the new alliances that form vis a vis Green supporters. As far as the initial voter concerns  go, I am having a tough time seeing much difference between AN/Mashaei now and Mousavi/Karoubi then.This may lead the Greens to try to differentiate themselves from AN if they are to continue to hang on to their fading identity (though not fading energy). What will they cook up?


Unlike Anahid,

by Bavafa on

I do see some people gravitate towards "enemy of my enemy" phenomena

The idea of enemy of my enemy is my friend, despites its lack of rational can be seen all too often among many of us both inside and outside of Iran. Case in point, we see people cheer for a Bahrainis/Saudis since they are at odds with Iran, even though they are perhaps far worse of a dictatorial and terrorist state then Iran.

So in my opinion, it would not be inconceivable that some Iranians, Green camp folks and/or his own base to gravitate towards AN, if he does prove to be of an formidable opposition to the Velyate Faghih. Since this system (i.e Velyate Faghih) is so hated by the Iranians, any thing to oppose it, will garner some support and he has played both side enough so masterfully that he could swing the other way and claim he was always for a strong and nationalistic Iran.

As for Kas o khashaak speech, obviously that along with his cooperation with the system even if it was some what with silence, will be a hurtle but he has proven to be masterful in turning the situation around to his advantage and make up as he goes… so no reason to doubt he will not attempt the same thing again here.


P.S. I am only expressing what is possible and not what I would desire or wish for

Anahid Hojjati

I think AN could not have pacified people

by Anahid Hojjati on

Ari, remember that in summer of 2009, some of us were in a reading in San Francisco for group of writers. There were couple people who gave speeches and they had been present in Iran during "elections". They made it clear that to their knowledge, what happened in Iran was a sham election and there were cheating in counting the votes.  Right after elections in 2009, Iranian people were rightfully upset about stealing of their votes. I don't think AN could have pacified them by talking about unity.

Ari Siletz

Anahid, question is...

by Ari Siletz on

...will some of the original Green protesters side with Ahmadinejad in this new fight with Khamenei? Would his odds have been better if he had made an Obama style call for unity in his post election speech instead of drawing a friend/enemy line between the voters?

Anahid Hojjati

Ari jan, my enemy' s enemy

by Anahid Hojjati on

is not my friend. My views on AN did not soften upon hearing that AN and Khamenei are becoming worse with each other. Also, "sage zard baradare shoghal ast."

 Also, use liberally "sage zard" and "shoghal" to stand for AN, Khamenei and Moussavi. But now I have forgotten your exact question. Are you asking readers to compare AN and Moussavi? why does it matter now? This question is old.

Ari, upon reading your blog, I see that you have specific question about whether AN's khas and Khashak comment alienated poeple. I think what has alienated peole are all the jail sentences, rapes and executions.  Khas and khashak speech made noise on those immediate days after "election" but now it is not that important. People are more concerned with actual harms like political and economical pressures that they are under. At least, this is my opinion.