Monday, April 26, 2010

Iran blocked Blogger


Islamic republic of Iran blocked access to Blogger, google blogging system. Many Iranian bloggers have blog in bloggers. Some of them moved to bloggers during election crisis because they found out Iranian blogging systems removed their content when it didn't comply with Iranian censorship limitation. In some cases even whole blog got deleted fr the same reason.

One of my Persian blogs deleted by Iranian blogging system administrators cause they thought my posts are against the law. There are many examples.

I should mention that Blogger has been blocked couple of times, later on their reversed their decision and just censored specific blogs in Iran.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iran blocked Google Images


Iranian authorities blocked access to google image search section (http://images.google.com/). It was just couple of days ago I wrote that Islamic republic of Iran blocked access to Google Groups. How much further will they push?

Will they push further? Once they had plan for national Internet. A totally isolated network that feeds from censored contents, and every activity monitored. I do not know what is the fate of that project. Whether it is going to be up and running in near future or not, I am not sure. But I am certain that Iranian authorities are desperately trying to contain Internet. Specially in the aftermath of election crisis and uprising of Iranian netizens, it became quite obvious that authorities can not really stop the stream of media taken by young tech-savvy Iranians spreading over Internet, in which authorities restriction on foreign media to a greater degree became useless.

I do not know how far authorities will push but there will always be another way to get around it.


Update: Google image search is accessible again. 1


Basij student protesting the UN and the US


In a protest to US nulcear policy and Obama's remarks on Iranian nuclear program, a group of pro-government Basij students rallied in front of the UN office in Tehran.


I just can not grasp this fanatic love affair between Basij militia and throwing stone towards embassies and the UN office. On every occasion they throw stone at embassies.



The UN office in Tehran



Placard reads: "Down with USA"


Basij students were carrying other placards, printed: "Shame on the UN that became a tool to protect American interests", "Obama don't play with lion's tail", "America, Israel this is the last message, Muslim students are ready to rise!" and so on.

I don't give link to farsnews but you can find the rest of photos on their website.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Iran S-300 air defense system


Islamic republic claims this is anti-aircraft, anti-missile air defense system, something like Russian S-300. Russians made it clear they are not going to deliver S-300 to Iran, so where is this coming from? That's the question everyone asks today.



There are some speculations in Iranian cyberspace around this new air defense system, some say it might be photoshoped. Others believe it might be Chinese made defense system painted to look like made it in Iran. Who knows it might be empty cylinders, I wait to see its result in a maneuver.

Ahmadinejad floats in Germany


There are so many carnivals that I have never heard of them. Rose Monday Parade in Cologne, Germany is one them. It appears they got pretty nice political floats over there. Though this story goes back to mid-April but I couldn't let it go.


Though Islamic republic of Iran insists on developing only civilian nuclear technology but world fears there is a military program behind it. Even among Iranians there is some sort of unspoken concession that Islamic republic eventually will develop nuclear warheads or bombs. Is Trojan Horse epic gonna prevail this time too?!



We do not have satire in Islam. Care to make joke now?! so prepare for punishment in advance. But beheading with a sword is an honor :) that only belongs to Saudi Arabia, Islamic republic of Iran doesn't do that, come now, be fair, we first torture you then hang you.


Photos courtesy of Daylife

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mousavi vs. Lady Gaga


Sounds funny?! Not so much for bunch of frustrated young reformists that fanatically want to see Mousavi on top, by all means.

Here is the story, on April 1, Time Magazine put up a poll to nominate "World's most influential people in 2010". Lady Gaga was the first one in a row and she had the highest vote in early week and Kim Yu-Na from South Korea was second.




Green Internet movement find it insulting if Lady Gaga and Kim Yu-Na would be nominated more influential than Mousavi. So they spread the message in social networks to hire volunteers among Iranians to click for Mousavi.

Everyone could vote multiple times, so you can imagine that some Iranian reformists living abroad didn't sleep properly in past week to click more for Mousavi. At the end, Mousavi won the honor with more than 850,000 votes. After all it seems that green Internet movement had greater passion in this polling.



Back then during height of protests and violence, we asked Iranian people to vote for petition to stop the crackdown, it is interesting to know only about 167,000 people voted up to day and of course a good chunk of this number voted by non-Iranians. Now I guess you can have pretty good idea that how shallow this Internet movement is getting at.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Iranian journalists jailed and displaced


At least 52 journalists and some bloggers are in Jail now and some others on the run in nearby countries, displaced and in poor conditions, waiting to find a new land, somewhere safe and call it home.

In a society that journalists would get arrested only for reporting news, well it basically silences whole society at once.

Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American freelance journalist tells her story about being jailed in Iran:



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Iran blocked Google Groups


Iranian authorities blocked users to access Google Groups, one of Google services since today morning. Recently government blocked Google Reader, another google service.

In the new filtering/blocking approach, if gives a message meaning that "according to computing law the website is inaccessible" and gives user option to select from the government preapproved selected sites. Basically it leaves people with no choice but the government sanctioned sites.

This is the page that you see when you reach to a blocked website:
 
 



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Islamic Iran enemy of Internet


This banner gives warning about Internet email and chat. It reads: "Warning! chat is enemy trap and email is a bullet fired by enemy in dark!" It is porduced by Intelligence department of Military Service unit of National Police force.




Ayatollah Khamenei's warned about undermining Islamic republic through Internet, he said: "American authorities say they have approved a 45 million dollar budget to defeat the Islamic Republic through the Internet." Iranian government agencies took it seriously and they are working measures to fight on Internet environment. To me, it sounds like a cyber battleground.

Iranian Internet is so damn slow that nothing passes through whether it would be soft war or hard war, the only thing that scares Islamic republic is flow of information. Exposure to information can make a huge difference in someones life, thought and indeed expectations from society and government.

Photo courtesy of Pool News

Monday, April 12, 2010

kitchen style interview on Iran, Israel, the US and future!


Well, Sara asked my opinion about Iran, Israel and etc for their political kitchen! I thought I should share it here.


What do Iranians think of Israel?

Iranians are divided on Israel, some of them think Israel as a potential friend and they love Israel, some others believe Palestinians are oppressed by Israel and Jewish people conquered Palestine. The former belief is strong among majority liberal, pro-western and nationalist groups who put Iran first so they see strong potential opportunities for Iran and Israel's friendship but the latter belief is strong among Muslim radicals and more religious people which mostly associate Israeli Jews with Zionism. Also anti-Semitists hold key positions in regime.

Jews?

It depends on how religious one person is. Anti-Semitic behaviour is widespread among radical Muslims e.g. they believe Jews are unclean so they avoid to shake hands and they don't eat Jews' food. Fortunately many people don't carry this shameful stigma.

U.S.?

Majority of Iranians are pro-U.S. but still there are some scars from the past that still irritates people e.g. 1953 Iranian coup d'état by CIA and MI6 against Mosaddegh's government and 1988 shooting down a civilian airline by U.S. Navy missile, killing all 290 people on board.

What was the Iranian revolution?

This is really a broad question because different parties and groups of people with different agendas involved in the revolution but probably in a nutshell I can only say people gone crazy and at the end, put all their trust on a theocratic fascist regime based on Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists. I can definitely say Iranian Revolution was a reactionary step backward in our history.

What was the U.S.'s role?

I do not know and I did not find any hard evidence and/or official document to support U.S. involvement in Islamic Iran revolution.

What is the current green revolution/movement? Who are the leaders? What are they trying to achieve?

Green movement is a conflict and power infighting among old revolutionaries. Their leaders are Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi and both are loyal to Islamic revolutionary values.

On the other side, average people that fed up with theocracy and oppressions during past 31 years of Islamic regime are fighting alongside of green movement but different goal and it's democracy. Under conflict climate, people could come out and show their anger and discontent to regime and all theocracy followers, including green movement leaders. People chanted their own slogans and shook pillars of Islamic regime. Soon afterwards green leaders came to rescue the regime, asked people to chant slogans within Islamic revolution boundaries!

How is it possible that 70% of Iranians are under 30?

In 1979, the time around revolution, Iran had a population of 35 millions. Before revolution there was birth control programs in practice that ayatollahs were opposed to it. After Islamic revolution, Khomeini and other ayatollahs insisted to have large families because revolution needed fresh men and women (as they suggested to serve and continue the revolution) and Iran-Iraq war needed more martyrs, army men and women. By mid-1980s our population almost doubled to 60 million. These young baby-boomers are by-product of Islamic revolution!

Now Iran has a population of almost 70 million.

How does this affect the culture?

First and foremost, we should take into account that a lot happened to the Iranian culture in aftermath of Islamic revolution. Following Islamic revolution, they started the cultural revolution. They shutdown universities for couple of years, banned books, purged universities of students and professors who deemed to be un-Islamic! They changed text books and history, contrary to the truth, just to appease Ayatollahs and Islam history to institutionalize people within their cultural confinement. Definitely I can say, Islamic revolution destroyed Iranian culture to the great extent.

But young generation are defying what government wants them to believe. In fact they are going to opposite way of the regime wants them to go. In their basement they play Persian and Western musics banned in public. They read banned books once again and pass them on. Defying regime's propaganda is an honour for Iranian baby-boomers. They do not want government to dictate them what to do, what to listen, what to wear, they are only fighting for freedom of choice.

What's the structure of Iran's government?

It is quite a complex political structure that combines unelected Islamic theocratic political institutions with modern day political entities elected by direct popular vote like president, members of parliaments and assembly of experts. Some claimed there is a combination of theocracy and democracy in Islamic Republic but it seems they forget that even elected candidates for aforementioned institutions have to be vetted by the Guardian Council. Islamic republic rejected electoral rivals and banned all independent parties. so it is naive to say Islamic Iran has any democratic institution. Irans' complex political power structure

How do people in Iran feel about their government?

Some people see this government and establishment as a theocratic fascist regime. Some other do not like Ahmadinejad's government but they like establishment. Some people like Ahmadinejad's government and establishment altogether. There are really different opinions about this in Iran.

What does being Persian mean?

I guess being Persian comes with poetry, history, oil, turmoil, emperors, kingdoms, religions, mullahs, science, art.

How is it different from being Arab?

I have not been an Arab so I do not know.

What's illegal in Iran that is not illegal in the U.S.?

Freedom of speech, Freedom of Press, Freedom of religion and from religion, Independent Political parties, Music, Books, Salman Rushdie, My Weblogs, Guns, Girls, Alcohol, and this list goes on.

Are all laws enforced?

No they are not but with corrupted law enforcement and judiciary does not make any difference. Also our laws are rotten too because they are based on Islamic Sharia law.

What is the role of women in Iran, and how does the daily life of an Iranian woman compare to women in America?

They are mothers, wives, colleagues, doctors, engineers, students, against-the-law friends and pretty much they are everywhere. I should leave second part to women.

What do Iranians think about Americans? What do Americans think of Iranians?

Iranians like Americans but they hate American government. So far what I have experienced suggests that Americans like Iranians too but they dislike Islamic republic establishment.

Does Iran really have the capability for nuclear weapons? Why would a nuclear-capable Iran be a threat to the United States? Is Iran developing nuclear power for energy or for weapons?

Capability to what? to buy or to develop nuclear weapons?
Well, nuclear-capable Iran might be threat to United States' interest in the region. They say they are developing for energy but I am not sure that's the only reason. Islamic republic knows they need to have nuclear weapon to reinstate it's position in the region and world politics.

Will the U.S. go to war with Iran in the near future?

I do not know.

What do Iranians eat on a daily basis? What differentiates Iranian cuisine from that of other countries in the region?

They eat everything that they can buy. Prices are skyrocketting so their options gets limited day by day. Our famous food is Kubideh, Barg, Ghormeh Sabzi, just to name a few.

How does the rich history of Persian poetry play a role in the everyday life of an Iranian?

Most Iranians are at least familiar with one or two poets and you can find their books at their home, under their desk at work and some even carry them in their bags. Some even make decisions based on poems but we have some poem nights. Poetry is a hobby for most.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Protest in Iranian Embassy in Hague


On April 06, 2010 A group of Iranians and non-Iranians jumped over the fence of Iranian Embassy in the Hague, protested there for awhile until Dutch police arrested them.






There is a flag of Neda, and some banners that read "Freedom in Iran", "Free all political prisoners" and "End to Executions and Torture". I like the idea of displaying flags on Iranian Embassy.

In their weblog, I can see some signs of far left Muslim groups who believe that the Islamic republic establishment is not really Islamic republic! There are some political groups and people that still believe Islam is not like this, Islam is all justice, fairness and all goodness. In their mindset, a real Islamic republic sounds like Utopia, a Never Never Land that Islam promised to them! It seems some people never study history.

Update: I got a reply for my comment, so now I know that they are not in favour of some sort of "Islamic republic" government. They wrote "we are not at all advocating a better 'Islamic Republic' to replace this one". It is cool and I totally commend them.

Photos courtesy of IranLives

Saturday, April 10, 2010

An observation from election crisis


On late July 2009, when we were in the midst of election crisis in Iran, Adrian Novac, an editor of the Romanian online newspaper HotNews.ro asked my opinion about events that were taking place in Iran. I got busy back then, I forgot to put it here. So here you are with the English version of that interview and my observations of the crisis.


Current events, crisis in Iran:

You might have seen some videos and photos of protests in Iran in aftermath of Iran election on June 12, whatever you seen is just tip of an iceberg that shows up again in defiance of Supreme Leader, Ahmadinejad and security forces which seized any opportunity to repress and humiliate people during 30 years of Islamic revolution.

Power infighting among revolutionaries or people’s uprising for their rights:

There are two sides in this story; there are fractions among political elite and at the same time struggle for democracy from average Iranians. Mousavi and Karroubi didn’t have much of a control over people even from the beginning, this movement pushed them to ask for strikes or even come to Friday prayers. We have seen leaders lead people but in these protests, people are pushing leaders. I should remind that Mousavi and Karroubi both are loyal to Islamic revolutionary values and they wanted people to protest in Islamic revolution limited spectrum but people even defied them by chanting for “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” it was a very clear message to them that people are asking for secular Iran. They removed “Islamic” word out of traditional infamous chant of past 30 years in Islamic republic of Iran and that’s quite an accomplishment although Mousavi once again asked for protesting within boundaries of Islamic revolutionary values.

Ahmadinejad:

Ahmadinejad is figurehead of revolutionary guards in political standpoint.
Ahmadinejad is known among most Iranians as someone who exhibits idiocy in local and international scene, there is a strong sense that he brought great shame to Iranians during his first term presidency. His speeches inside Iran and in international scene enraged many Iranians even conservative parties. I have to add that people exaggerate though because as I know of during past 30 years, mullahs disgraced Iranians enough, adding to that Ahmadinejad made us universal joke.

Some praise Ahmadinejad for taking on old clerical establishment. It is true that he took on old clergies but unfortunately Ahmadinejad has his own clergy clan. Also I should note that revolutionary guards coach their own mullahs (clerics) so they want to take over old clergies in establishment and replace them with their own clerical puppets wherever it is needed.

Ahmadinejad or Mousavi:

None really.

Mousavi have strong ties with old clerical establishment, I hate to see them in power again. They have been in power for almost 30 years and have damaged Iran since 1979 revolution. On the other hand Ahmadinejad coming from revolutionary guards, knowing revolutionary guards fascist system too well, I don’t want to see them in political standpoint either.

Is Mousavi the man for Iran?

Sometime ago before election I thought Mousavi among these pre-screened candidates could make better progress to achieve peaceful arrangements with other countries, something that could benefit Iranian people largely and get people out of sanctions and perhaps open doors of this country to world then we could work on human rights issues and elevate it to next level. At the moment Mousavi and Karroubi can’t keep up with the crowd and people are ahead of supposedly leaders.

Iran needs an open minded and forward thinker that Mousavi hasn’t showed these qualities yet. So-called reformists saying he is a reformist and he believes in change but he, himself says something else. I would call him moderate conservative, someone in the middle of political battleground but certainly he lacks many features that a leader should have, some blame totalitarian atmosphere for that too. I don’t know about that I guess it remains to be seen.

Who is running Iran?

According to constitution Khamenei enjoys absolute power in Islamic republic (yet he is not accountable) but seems Ahmadinejad backed by some revolutionary guards’ elite threatening his power to some degree. There is no doubt that revolutionary guards is the most powerful institution in Iran, even supreme leader gets his absolute authority due to support of revolutionary guards, without revolutionary guards Khamenei wouldn’t stand a chance to become supreme leader at the first place.

I am not sure Iran is running! I would say it is dying. Exporting natural resources to the max and spending money won’t make any nation prosperous especially in the case of Iran, lacking appropriate management will eventually bring the nation on the verge of collapse. Iran needs a real reform not a façade to survive.

Iranian officials blame Americans and foreign powers for protests:

They always blame others for internal problems. It is quite common method among totalitarian regimes. Protesters were very peaceful, armed forces made violence and they ought to be hold accountable. There are videos and photos on the net that proves violence and damage to properties by armed forces.

Behind Iran violence:

Armed forces including basiji militia, revolutionary guards, police forces and intelligence and security services (we have many parallel intelligence and security services).

Resistance slowly stops:

So far it doesn’t appear to be true. Given the fact that armed forces arrested many people (authorities admit to 4000 people) and putting Mousavi and Karroubi’s cadres on trial, it basically slows opposition (infighting within establishment) but doesn’t mean it stops there. On the contrary, there are some discussions going on among clerics who threatened by Ahmadinejad; I guess we will see its result very soon.

People’s opposition is getting stronger underground at the same time, even slogans gets more realistic and people realize that they can’t deal with theocracy anymore. At the meantime there is a huge gap between what people ask and what Mousavi offers.

Muslim countries and opposition:

Given the fact that there has been historical hostility from Arab neighborhoods towards Iranian hegemony in the region, I would say they are quite happy to see Iran in crisis. At least Iran in crisis doesn’t dominate in the region anymore and perhaps they wouldn’t consider it threat to pan-Arabism. At the same time Arab dictators in the region have their own democracy and human rights issues. Certainly they don’t want to face youth uprising in their own country. They still prefer a Muslim country, even hated Shiite in their neighborhood than a secular country side by side.

Muslim countries still consider Islamic Iran as a key power in the region and certainly they are trying to be on the safe side. Even some of them banned rallies of Iranian expats in their country, to keep their policy consistent with Islamic republic of Iran i.e. Malaysia. I should mention that Egyptians supported Iranian people in their struggle for freedom. (Correction: There is a minor correction in this section cause I found the sentence with writing error.)

Reporting of crisis in Iran:

International media barred from Iran, most of foreign reporters deported and couple of them arrested. 40-50 Iranian journalists, reporters, editors and bloggers arrested since 12 June election unrests. What you get is just tips of iceberg; no one exactly knows what is going on in political elite circle. Once in a while Mousavi and Karroubi publish a letter on their campaign site to communicate with people and really doesn’t do much of a communication.

Foreign media rely on their journalistic sources, bloggers and internet. Even local newspapers banned to report on protesters and opposition members. State-own broadcasting stations are busy airing propaganda against protesters and opposition. There is a real news blackout in Iran. This is extreme censorship state.

Iranian bloggers paid by foreign powers to blog:

No one offered me anything for blogging and I know some Iranian bloggers, none of them approached by “Foreign powers” to blog. I can’t speak for whole Iranian blogosphere though. One the other hand we know that at the late 2008, revolutionary guards announced about lunching 10,000 blogs for basij militia to protect and support of Islamic revolutionary values in blogosphere. On one hand we have government founded blogs besides Islamic conservative blogs and on the other hand, we have people who take great risk to blog and discuss issues online that outlawed in real life.

World response to Iranian struggle:

I am thankful for peaceful loving people that came on streets around the world and shout for democracy and human rights in Iran. I shake their hands and thank all of them. But I think western political institutions that were always ready to take on human rights issues turned blind and deaf to Iranian outcry for their vote to be counted and brutal reaction of regime for killing peaceful protesters and imprisoning thousands of them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Naked legs endanger Islam


Islamic republic of Iran's state-own TV usually does not show international sport ceremonies, openings and closings because of it is un-Islamic scenes. Sometimes after removing of all un-Islamic scenes, which turns it to something totally different, then there is possibility that they may show it on TV. But because it is next to impossible to remove all scenes in a major international tournament then they basically avoid it, and for the same reason, Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games and ceremonies classified in that category and was not aired on TV.

But I have something here for you. Following photo shows Islamic republic team in Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games opening ceremony which was on the net.




Here is the same photo but photoshoped and covered the un-Islamic part by Tabnak, an Iranian News website.



During past 31 years of Islamic republic, it slowly became quite bitter commonsense that "These scenes endanger Islam, so mullahs to protect their interest (Islam) have no choice but to censor them"!

After Iranian presidential election crisis in 2009, these so-called reformists were persuading Iranian people and outsiders to make them believe that Ahmadinejad government has a terrible record on censorship! These hypocrites seems they forget that during their time and their governance, we had the very same problem. Bear in mind that I am not defending Ahmadinejad, but I can not sit back and listen to the usual reformists' double standard.