Would Martin Luther King Back Iran's Protesters?
Foreign Policy in Focus / Rostam Pourzal
04-Aug-2009 (16 comments)

Combine Iran's post-election turmoil with the controversy over the nation's nuclear advances, and few Americans are likely to be unsympathetic toward the opposition movement there. Some bloggers have even suggested that the reformist-led protests are inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Several commentators have referred to the... » read this article

[ Visit Website ]

recommended by Arman


ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

THE SANCTIONS pushed by US and the West were genocidal for the simple reason that they killed hundreds of thousands.

Your little shell game won't change that.

The only person playing a shell game here is you, Q. Food and medicines were not sanctioned. Iraqis died because Saddam didn't provide them with food or medicine, even though he could have. It doesn't matter how much you want it to be otherwise, your words don't change the facts.




by Q on

You make some good points about the economic arguments not holding any real water, although I would hardly call Ebrahamian a "lobbyist". These name calling tactics have and will not work.

What you need to understand is that there is a huge part of the left which champions third world leaders that speak truth to power such as Chavez, Castro, etc. The reason for this is existence of real injustices that galvinize millions of people to support these third world figures, even if they are incompetent administrators which some are. This is exactly why the Arab street practically worships Ahmadinejad and Nasrullah.

It does no good to pretend that injustice simply doesn't exist and all this supporters are idiots. That's how you get nowhere. The real solution is to show that truth to power can be spoken by someone even better and smarter than the current demagogue. That's why it's important that Mousavi and the Green leaders are not sellouts (unlike say Fred who parrots US/Israel hawks), and maintain real credibility. This is also why such leaders are a real problem for the said sellouts.

Lastly anyone who has defended Iran against the threats of war by the crazy Bush cabal is infinitely worth more than people who only paid lip service to the cause while secretly pushing for "regime change by force", back when the line was "Iranians can't do it by themselves". Now that the line has changed to "Iranians are doing it by themselves," they have shamelessly rearranged their tactics to achieve the same dirty goals.



by Q on

THE SANCTIONS pushed by US and the West were genocidal for the simple reason that they killed hundreds of thousands.

Your little shell game won't change that. UN is only as good as who controls the security council with bribes and hubris (as US tends to do frequently).

Unfortunately, you don't know what you're talking about regarding Iraq sanctions. The rules were arbitrarily changed because everything including graphite for school pencils and chlorine for water purifications were unilaterally considered "dual use" material. Sure the Western nations on paper pretended to be "generous" but in reality they killed innocent Iraqis. That's just an example.

In Iran's case, we're talking not about food and medicine but the means to transport them which will have the same result as not having them.



by Asghar_Massombagi on

This is what I have noticed from skimming the articles, statements and interviews of some of the pro-Ahamdinejad academics and activists. They all argue the same points when presenting the opposition (Rafsanjani, Mousavi, etc) as neoliberal and AN as a champion of the poor and god forbid working class: Land grants for affordable housing, the so-called equality shares in state industries, and AN's support in the rural areas as opposed to the cities where by the way close to 70% Iranians live.  Factually these claimes have been challenged by a host of economists and analysts. We can talk about 25% inflation that is killing the working people, etc and how the privitziing public lands in the past 25 years have really benefitted the state insiders and the family of the martyrs therefore creating  a layer of population whose interests are tightly coupled with the state (Basij etc).  Point is these pro-AN activists repeat these same talking points with the cohesiveness of party faithful while at the same time refrain from mentioning human rights abuses in Iran, or in case of Pourzal's rather shameful report on demo by women in Tehran a few years ago they whitewash them. Now why should these guys have such level of committment to the IRI and in such a concerted way? 

Ali Akbar

Rostam Pourzal/ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Apologist

by Ali Akbar on

When you read the argument the onlybasis he uses for criticism is an old leftist tactic of blaming the problems onthe educated and the middle class….


Don’t they ever get tired of usingoutdated and outmoded communist and socialist tactics of blaming the problemson others rather that taking responsibility for ones actions…. 


Now don’t get me wrong I do notnecessarily support any return to the other extreme where you had an ISOLATEDruler who could care less about the agony and suffering of the poor and curryfavor to a selected few because that is why the Shah lost his power to beginwith….


Today in Iran there is major disagreementwith the present theocratic leadership and it would be great if there could besome sort of secularization of the government of Iran but for that to happensome fear that it could turn into a bloody civil war that could lead to WWIII if certain western powers get their hands into the mix….


My only hope is that the CHANGE NEEDEDIN IRAN is made PEACFULLY  


We don’t need another war…  we’ve had enough…and was not not the way that MLK used was PEACEFUL CHANGE....  and BTW it was MOHATMA GHANDI that started the civil rights movement not MLK



CASMII lobbyist convention

by Fred on

It is high time for total transparency, the regime lobbies do have the right to operate but they have to be transparent.


Pourzal (along with two other CASMII activitsts)”

    Actually at least ten of the signatories are CASMII lobbyist and few others have not yet come out of the closet.

Quite number of them are members of other pro-regime lobbies as well. There are number of others including Mojtaba Aghamohamadi, aka Mojiagha, who was an official polling station manager for the IRI in Arizona. The original article in Guardian can be found here:



Also see this:




by Asghar_Massombagi on

See the statement titled "Truth and Reconcilliation for IRan" which was also linked to on this site. Pourzal (along with two other CASMII activitsts) was a signatory to that statement and even though the statement is a bit on the lukwarm side vis a vis the Greens, it at least acknowledges the genuineness of the Green Movement's demands and the state violence the demonstrators have been subjected to. This crude, factually very selective analysis reads more like talking points of a lobbyist.

ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

Note that medical supplies and food were never part of the sanctions:


20. Decides, effective immediately, that the prohibitions against the
sale or supply to Iraq of commodities or products, other than medicine and
health supplies, and prohibitions against financial transactions related
thereto contained in resolution 661 (1990) shall not apply to foodstuffs
notified to the Security Council Committee established by resolution 661 (1990)
concerning the situation between Iraq and Kuwait or, with the approval of that
Committee, under the simplified and accelerated "no-objection" procedure, to
materials and supplies for essential civilian needs as identified in the report
of the Secretary-General dated 20 March 1991, and in any further findings of
humanitarian need by the Committee; 

Saddam didn't buy medicine and food for his subjects, because he said he couldn't afford it. So the "oil for food" program was started, so that he could afford it. And he still didn't buy medicine and food for his subjects.

If you are worried that your friends in the Islamic Republic would behave as Saddam did, then why not just spit it out?


ex programmer craig


by ex programmer craig on

your genocidal call for total sanctions is the same that destroyed the entire Iraqi middle class for generations, including the literal murder of 500,000 children.

You realize you just accused the United Nations of genocide, right? 

You just accused the organization that created the definition of genocide, and which is the sole entity with the authority to investigate and prosecute charges of genocide, of committing genocide. Are people supposed to laugh at that?

David ET

MLK was real

by David ET on

and not a sell out



Q: Damet garm

by Bavafa on

Fred's posting have been irrelevant to me and most others for a long time precisely for the very reason you have mentioned. He offers nothing worth reading, just a one-sided propaganda that you will only expect to hear from the AIPAC agents. I wonder if Israel pays them per word or posting,… hummm



Scrub harder!

by Fred on

Aged Islamist wedding photographers do not have to announce their allegiances to the Islamist cutthroats’ lobbies and agents, it is a known fact.

What the aged Islamists need to do is work even harder on their whitewashing Islamist crimes that as of late have really gotten out of hand.

Wherever one looks there are ample undisputable evidence of their Islamist brethrens doing that which they know best, murdering the defenseless. 

Start scrubbing harder! 


Oh of course, that's exactly why AIPAC agents don't matter...

by Q on

Fred jan,

As someone who openly backs AIPAC, claims the lobby group "cares for Iranians" and has repeatedly called for "total sanctions", your word in this debate is less than worthless.

I take a Pourzal and a NIAC and a CASMII over AIPAC parrot mouthpieces any day. Just like you genocidal backing of Israeli bombing of innocent civilians, your genocidal call for total sanctions is the same that destroyed the entire Iraqi middle class for generations, including the literal murder of 500,000 children. This makes you nothing more than joke in this debate. Deal with that!


Deal with it !

by Fred on

Islamists/Anti-Semites and their likeminded lefty allies including CASMII lobby and aged Haji-Islamist wedding Photographers should know by now that, truth hurts and they all need to learn to deal with it.


Pourzal disappoints majorly,

by Q on

I'm sick of the "hard left" trying to claim the moral high ground but being just as much as the slave of shallow oversimplification as anybody they criticize. Broad brushes painting all the protesters as rich spoiled college kids is a woefully inadequate explanation.

Pourzal cites Abrahamian to argue that the IRI has done great things to build a large viable middle class. Yet Pourzal (not Abrahamian) still pretends Iran is a country where most people are on the edge of starvation. He attacks Mousavi for working for the "middle class," exactly what any progressive US politician would be PRAISED for by the left in this country.

This was one of the most naive statements I've seen to date: "The election of a person of color as president of the United States suggests that Americans have a renewed distaste for trickle-down economics and imperial conquests. "

It's wrong on so many levels, it's not even funny.

Fred: I'll tell you the reason. Some people are interested in genuine exchanges of information, not character assassination and guilt-by-association which is the only thing your propagandist mind spews -- while at the same time getting cartoonishly angry when people point out your own highly questionable associations. This is also why no one takes you seriously. If you really want this piece to get some real scrutiny, you would hold your badly overgrown tongue.


Person of color & CASMII lobby

by Fred on

If FPIF had added the most pertinent info in the brief bio of Mr. Purzal, his rather odd rosy reading of the Islamist cutthroats republic would have made better sense. Mr. Purzal is the U.S. branch president of CASMII lobby which is a known pro IRI entity.  

Judging from what I hear during frequent trips in Iran, citizens of nearly all backgrounds, including the president's supporters, want more social freedoms and political choices. But a great many are not willing to live without the services they have come to expect from their government or abandon the current leadership's foreign policy. The election of a person of color as president of the United States suggests that Americans have a renewed distaste for trickle-down economics and imperial conquests. It shouldn't be difficult to understand that a sizeable segment, perhaps a majority, of Iran's population shares those concerns and may vote accordingly to keep the reformists out of power. Reverend King would understand.

"Iran's protest movement should be considered unenlightened because it affirms, more than it contradicts, the worst aspects of globalization and global domination.

Those of us who struggled unsuccessfully throughout the Bush years to draw Iranian   Americans to antiwar protests are shocked to suddenly see thousands of them,"