Detente or detonate?

Oh dear, it’s no longer exactly clear what was agreed on October 1st. Consequently the initial gush of optimism that the Islamic Republic of Iran might be entering a phase of co-operation is beginning to disperse.

Women do serious motorcross

Women do serious motorcross

“Time is on our side,” a senior Iranian official said.

Indeed it is. But haven’t we been here before? Or, as the lady said, it’s déjà vu all over again.

New rally

The harder-than-thou cockroaches, as usual, are anxious to do everyone a favour. For instance,

On Friday, a hard-line cleric sought to head off an attempt to reinvigorate the anti-government movement by warning against a planned opposition rally on Nov. 4 that would coincide with annual state-sponsored demonstrations against the United States.

So that’s a date for oppositionists’ diaries then.

The cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, also had an unusual warning for the security forces, telling them any soft treatment of those activists already in detention would be considered treason. “Nobody gives a flower to his murderer,” he said in a Friday prayer sermon.

Ah, but they do, Mr Jannati.

Martyr Neda

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashhad 03

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashhad 03

Bizarrely, Neda Sultan is being considered for status as an official martyr by the state-run Martyr Foundation:

“The pictures seem to show that Neda Agha-Soltan’s death was the result of a plot by opponents and the enemy,” ILNA news agency quoted Masoud Zaribafan, head of the state-run foundation, as saying.

Of course, everybody knows that Neda was killed by an agent of the rogue state itself. He is now a penitent fellow, especially as his name, address and photograph have been circulated. Let us hope that future martyrs include some eminent figures in the regime itself and that their martyrdom is imminent.

More imminent, I fear, is the sacrifice of the lives of further imprisoned protesters. Watch out for news that more drug traffickers have been hanged.

How to destroy WMD

Women multi-task in offices

Women multi-task in offices

A death wish has long appeared to be a prime motivation among the ruling cockroaches of Iran. But they are not alone. Worldwide, a great groan of longing has arisen in unison from the very many righteous folks who long to see the end of this extra terrestrial regime and the restoration of some sort of normality.

Technologically, these discussions usually boil down to the question of bunker busters. Naturally, US military thinking has not stood still.

The United States department of defence has confirmed that it is rushing into production the world’s largest ever bomb, one designed specifically to destroy underground targets. The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) weighs just short of fifteen tonnes, more than 80% of which is made up of a massively hardened ferro-cobalt alloy casing. When dropped from high altitude, the bomb will drive through earth and concrete before two-and-a-half tonnes of explosive are detonated to destroy the target.

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashhad 04

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashhad 04

Equally sobering is the view that Young Barack’s détente has reassured the mullahs that they are not under immediate military threat. Well and good, one might think. This can only lead to a constructive exchange of remarks as the heavy breathing subsides. Not a bit of it. With a smile of grim satisfaction, the regime has turned unchecked to terrorising and destroying its own population.

It seems the common analysis that the regime’s hysteria is a response to threat is mistaken. The threat is a response to the hysteria. The calculation is neatly summed up by the Wall Street Journal here:

To pursue engagement, President Obama needs his Iranian interlocutors to be durable leaders, not frauds on the brink. Iranian dissidents challenging the regime’s legitimacy are thus being treated as obstacles to statecraft.

Women perform intriguing open-air exercises

Women perform intriguing open-air exercises

Two more good quotes:

As Iran expert and human-rights advocate Mariam Memarsadeghi told us, the Obama team sees the democratic movement “as a wrench [spanner] in the works of nuclear negotiations.”


[S]ays Iranian democracy activist Roya Boroumand, “Ask yourself why Iranians who protest in the street write things in English. They’re not just practicing language skills.”

More on the Qom Bomb

One effect of the revelation of the second processing plant has become clear since then. It is diplomatic:

Mr Obama’s dramatic revelation last month that Iran had built a second enrichment facility in secret at Qom has resulted in the Russians rethinking their pro-Iran stance. In return for supporting Iran’s position at the UN, Moscow expected at the very least to be kept fully informed of nuclear developments, so the Russians were deeply embarrassed by the exposure of the Qom facility. As a result, they have taken a far more robust approach to the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which has increased Tehran’s international isolation and amplified the pressure on Mr Ahmadinejad to respond positively to the IAEA’s offer.

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashad 05

Breaking the Ramadan fast in Mashad 05

Raped into uniformity

There are reports of gang-rape being ‘officially’ carried out by “by four members of the Hefazat-e Etelaat-e Sepah Pasdaran, the intelligence service of the Revolutionary Guards” against two Arab women of Ahwaz. Ahwaz is the westerly oil-bearing region on the Gulf with a largely ethnically Arab population. Iran struggles with all its separate component identities. The women, one of whom had been raped before in 2006, were guilty of ‘cultural activities.’ Seems a bit steep. Eat Arab sweets or do an Arab dance, and you get raped by hairy Iranian fanatics?

But the way this is reported is illustrative of the bizarre social attitudes towards women which can be freely exploited by those who share them:

The women are aged 25 and 26 years old and were raped at a Revolutionary Guards prison in Charshir district of Ahwaz City on 1 September. They had been arrested in an ongoing campaign by the regime against Arab cultural and political activists … The rapes were filmed by the intelligence services to blackmail the women’s families into silence and to humiliate them in order to break them psychologically … In Iran, victims of rape, including children and pregnant women, are executed for adultery and ‘crimes against chastity’. But even if the women are not charged with adultery for being raped, their relatives fear being socially ostracised for the dishonour and shame that comes with extra-marital sex. In this way, families can be silenced and sometimes they carry out ‘honour killings’ if the wider community finds out.


Women restore Qajar ceilings

Women restore Qajar ceilings

At least the films can be used as damning evidence against the criminal imbeciles who committed these inexplicable acts. But wait a minute? Can people seriously think that, if you rape a child, that child is guilty of a crime against chastity? What depths of moral imbecility does this imply and is Islam solely responsible for the moral retardation of people such as these, evidently whole communities, and plausibly Sunni as well as Shi’a?

I remember a friend of mine, a diplomat in Yemen, explaining the moral reasoning to be found locally. If you passed down the street and a tile slid off a roof onto your head, injuring you, that was your fault – for walking by at that moment. (Perhaps you could be sued for causing damage to that person’s roof.)

I can understand the visceral recoil from the sullying of a woman (or man) involved, based on some primal grasp of the sacredness of life, guarded by chastity ─ but more than this seems to be going on here, a widespread ignorance of the elements of personal responsibility. I do not claim to understand such disorder at the base of human life. Perhaps some brave person would be kind enough to undertake my education?

Long live Kafka

Now a daughter of a prominent splutterer of the regime ─ President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief advisor on media and the arts, Mahdi Kalhor ─ has herself made a film which describes imprisonment and torture:

[Narges Kalhor’s] production, inspired by Franz Kafka’s short story, The Penal Colony, is a veiled critique of totalitarianism, which was screened when she appeared at the Nuremberg Human Rights Festival earlier this month … Ms Kalhor, who also works for an advertising agency in Tehran, went to the Nuremberg Film Festival for the screening of her film The Rake, in which a Turkish bath is recreated to represent the torture chamber depicted in The Penal Colony. She had not expected anyone at home to find out about her appearance, but news of her visit then found its way on to the internet in Iran, creating a furore in its lively blogosphere.

Narges Kalhor, film maker

Narges Kalhor, film maker

This did for her.

“On the last day of the film festival a friend called me from Iran and warned me that if I came back, I could well be detained at the airport in Tehran,” she said, in an interview near the drab asylum centre near Nuremberg that is now her home.” I don’t want to be put in prison and raped, or interrogated and tortured … This is a subject I have been thinking about all my 25 years of life. I am not a young girl any more.”