* “Moderate” Abbas to name convicted murderer Barghouti as his successor
* A new “Salman Rushdie” in Italy?
* Iranian intelligence recruiting Hebrew speakers
* Iran has just carried out the largest wave of executions since 1984
* Hamas kidnaps Palestinian Christian professor, forces her to become Muslim
1. A summer’s day in Teheran
2. Harry Potter is a Zionist agent
3. Former senior United Nations official: Bush’s goal is genocide
4. Iranian intelligence recruiting Hebrew speakers
5. Abbas to name jailed Barghouti his successor
6. A new “Salman Rushdie” in Italy?
7. “To this day I remain under the suspicion of my country’s security services”
8. Christopher Hitchens: Why are we so scared of offending Muslims?
9. Hamas kidnaps Palestinian Christian professor, forces her to become Muslim
10. “What use were all the wars?” (By Mona Eltahawy, Wash. Post, July 28, 2007)
11. “Hamas forced professor to convert” (By Khaled Abu Toameh, Jer. Post, Aug. 5, 2007)
12. “Domestic terror in Iran” (By Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 6, 2007)
The first four short items relate to Iran, and the remainder to fundamentalist Islam and Arab despair at the “terrorist methods” of the “Palestinian cause”.
A SUMMER’S DAY IN TEHERAN
These pictures, from the official Iranian Fars news agency, are not pleasant, but are a reminder of what kind of regime runs Iran.
Public hangings in downtown Teheran, August 2, 2007:
In other photos I have seen of Iranian executions this past week, parents have taken young girls, aged about 7 or 8, to watch the bodies as they hang.
Also today, leading Middle East commentator Amir Taheri writes in the Wall Street Journal about the wave of public hangings sweeping Iran. (See last article below.)
It is the largest wave of executions since 1984.
Over the past six weeks, at least 118 people have been executed (many live on television), and four have been stoned to death. According to Saeed Mortazavi, the chief Islamic prosecutor, at least 150 more people, including five women, are scheduled to be hanged or stoned to death in the coming weeks.
The campaign of terror also includes targeted “disappearances” designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. In addition, to intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.
By last week, 40,000 were still in prison. Of these, 20,363 men and women are held on charges related to violating the Islamic Dress Code. According to the Deputy Chief of Police Gen. Hussein Zulfiqari, an additional 6,204 men and women are in prison on charges of “sexual proximity” without being married.
Why isn’t the New York Times, BBC and CNN covering this?
HARRY POTTER IS A ZIONIST AGENT
In an editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which takes orders from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, criticized Iran’s Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry for approving the distribution of the new book in the “Harry Potter” series.
The paper said that “Harry Potter” was a “Zionist project” aimed at undermining young Muslims.
(For more on the new Harry Potter book, see the second note on the dispatch Building the biggest bridge in the world: A Bin Laden project (& Iran’s American hostages) and for more, see Fans flock to Harry Potter’s grave in Israel & Coming soon: Arafat-Park.)
FORMER SENIOR UN OFFICIAL: BUSH’S GOAL IS GENOCIDE
Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Denis Halliday tells the propagandist Iranian government radio that President George W. Bush’s “goal” is for “millions of Iraqis to die”:
This interview tells us much about the political extremes of UN officials under the past corrupt regime of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Halliday, who is Irish, was appointed by Annan in 1997, and went on to personally oversee the highly corrupt “Oil for Food” Program in Iraq.
Halliday originally joined the UN in 1964 and went on to serve as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management of the United Nations, based in its New York Headquarters and was in charge of 15,000 UN staff world-wide.
In his interview with Iranian government radio, he also says patronizingly: “Many Americans are not literate. They don’t have access to good media, they don’t hear the truth from Al Jazeera or BBC.”
IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE RECRUITING HEBREW SPEAKERS
Israeli intelligence sources warn that Iranian intelligence is increasing its efforts to recruit Hebrew speakers to its ranks.
The Iranian regime needs Hebrew speakers to work as translators, intelligence agents and as part of its propaganda machine against Israel. The main source of Hebrew speakers they are recruiting are Israeli Arab students studying abroad or Palestinian terrorists sent for military training in Iran and Lebanon.
One of the most prominent centers for Hebrew studies is located at Iran’s embassy in Beirut, where Hizbullah members learn Hebrew at the Islamic Culture and Education Center. The embassy owns a vast library of Hebrew newspapers and books, including even children’s books. It was there that Hizbullah had trained, with the aid of Palestinians, a large group of fighters who were placed in charge of tapping Israeli communication systems, in a bid to collect intelligence on the “Zionist enemy” before and during the war with Israel last summer.
Last month, a young Israeli Arab woman who was studying dentistry in Jordan was arrested at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on suspicion of collaborating with Hizbullah. The woman admitted she was contacted by the group’s agents in Amman and offered to serve as its agent in Israel.
ABBAS TO NAME JAILED BARGHOUTI HIS SUCCESSOR
In a move likely to despair all those who think terrorism and murder is a bad thing, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (wrongly repeatedly described as a moderate by papers like The New York Times) has announced he will not run for re-election and will name jailed Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti to succeed him.
Barghouti is serving five consecutive life sentences for participating and organizing terrorist murders, including the Bat Mitzvah massacre aimed at kiling 12-year-old Israeli girls.
The Bat Mitzvah of Nina Kardashova, age 12, held in the events hall in the Israeli town of Hadera in January 2002, was attacked by a Fatah gunman with an M16, who shot into the crowd.
Six people were shot dead before the gunman, sent (by his own admission) on Barghouti’s orders, was shot by a nearby security guard. Nina Kardashova’s life was saved by the photographer at her Bat Mitzvah who threw himself on top of the dancing girl, in order to shield her.
A NEW “SALMAN RUSHDIE” IN ITALY?
Magdi Allam, 55, the Egyptian-born deputy chief editor of Italy’s most influential newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, has received a wave of death threats following the publication of his book, Viva Israele (Long Live Israel).
The Jordanian-based pan-Arab publication Al-Bawaba reports:
“Viva Israele is the tale of his life ever since his youth under the republican regime of late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. According to Allam, Nasser is responsible for having turned Egypt – and the rest of the Arab world – into the cradle of the ‘ideology of death’. Allam claims Nasser brought about an aggressive pan-Arabic dream based on the denial of Israel’s right to exist. The need for the destruction of Israel is the dominant theme that, Allam states, made death and destruction the core values of a once liberal Islamic culture.
“Thus, the new book defends the existence of Israel and terms armed Palestinian groups as ‘dangerous terrorist threats.’” In addition, Allam wrote that during their operations in the Palestinian territories, Israeli forces have been trying to avoid hitting Palestinian civilians and only aim to defend Israeli citizens…
“Allam added that the main cause for the Israeli – Palestinian dispute stems from the Palestinian terror… Allam also slams the Arab calls for the killing of Jews.”
Allam, who was raised as a Muslim and attended the Italian school of Cairo, was previously an enthusiastic activist for the Palestinian cause, but changed his mind following a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat:
“Arafat was responsible for Palestinian terrorism,” he wrote, and that “the predication of the ideology of death eventually hit and harmed the Palestinians themselves.”
Al-Bawaba says that Saudi media reported that following threats to Allam’s life, and Italian Muslims denouncing him as the new “Salman Rushdie,” the Italian police have intensified his round-the-clock security escort.
“TO THIS DAY I REMAIN UNDER THE SUSPICION OF MY COUNTRY’S SECURITY SERVICES”
Below, I attach a piece from another Egyptian Muslim, Mona Eltahawy, who is a longtime subscriber to this email list. She is also a former staff member at Reuters’ Jerusalem bureau.
Writing in The Washington Post, Eltahawy says: “occupation doesn’t explain the reckless and often corrupt leadership that seems to be the curse of the Palestinians… The Palestinians are led by the dangerously impotent combination of a weak president and a prime minister who is a religious zealot.”
“My country, Egypt, fought four wars against Israel between 1948, when the Jewish state was created, and 1979, when Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Two of my uncles were rocket engineers during the 1973 war, the last conflict between the two countries.
“Has Egypt or Jordan logged better records on human rights or political freedoms because of those treaties [with Israel]? Has development or progress taken the place of war? Ask the thousands of political prisoners and the silenced dissidents of both countries.
“Egypt has been at peace with Israel for 28 years. For the past 25 years, we have had the same president, who has never visited Israel – just the tip of the iceberg known as the ‘cold peace’ between the two countries, which Egyptian officials usually blame on negative public opinion of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
“… I visited Israel for the first time in September 1997. Soon after, I moved to Jerusalem as a correspondent for Reuters. I wanted to see things for myself and not have to rely on the ‘official’ narrative given by our media. To this day I remain under the suspicion of my country’s security services.
“… Why has time stood still for the Arab world? The Syrian town of Quneitra is exactly as it was when it was destroyed after the 1967 war with Israel, untouched so that we never forget. Yet how many German cities, almost leveled during World War II, have been rebuilt and are thriving again? … Looking around the Arab world today, we must ask: What were they all for? It’s time to move on.”
WHY ARE WE SO SCARED OF OFFENDING MUSLIMS?
Christopher Hitchens spells it out in Slate:
“As one who has occasionally challenged Islamic propaganda in public and been told that I have thereby ‘insulted 1.5 billion Muslims,’ I can say what I suspect – which is that there is an unmistakable note of menace behind that claim. No, I do not think for a moment that Mohammed took a ‘night journey’ to Jerusalem on a winged horse. And I do not care if 10 billion people intone the contrary. Nor should I have to. But the plain fact is that the believable threat of violence undergirds the Muslim demand for ‘respect.’
“... Islamists are the current leaders in the global book-burning competition. After the rumor of a Quran down the toilet in Guantanamo was irresponsibly spread, a mob in Afghanistan burned down an ancient library that (as President Hamid Karzai pointed out dryly) contained several ancient copies of the same book.
“Not content with igniting copies of The Satanic Verses, Islamist lynch parties demanded the burning of its author as well. Many distinguished authors, Muslim and non-Muslim, are dead or in hiding because of the words they have put on pages concerning the unbelievable claims of Islam. And it is to appease such a spirit of persecution and intolerance that a student in New York City has been arrested for an expression, however vulgar, of an opinion. This has to stop.
“... The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.”
HAMAS KIDNAPS PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR, FORCES HER TO BECOME MUSLIM
The second article attached below, Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post, reports that “Professor Sana al-Sayegh, who teaches at Palestine University in Gaza City, was kidnapped by Hamas militiamen who forced her to convert to Islam against her will. The officials said the president of the university, Dr. Zaher Khail, had assisted Hamas in kidnapping the professor.”
The authors of these three pieces below, Khaled Abu Toameh (a Palestinian journalist), Mona Eltahawy (an Egyptian journalist) and Amir Taheri (an Iranian journalist), are all long time subscribers to this email list.
-- Tom Gross
WHY HAS TIME STOOD STILL FOR THE ARAB WORLD?
What use were all the wars?
By Mona Eltahawy
The Washington Post
July 28, 2007
If turning 40 isn’t challenging enough, try preparing for this milestone when you’re as old as one of the worst defeats Arab armies ever suffered at Israeli hands. Wars mark time and generations in the Middle East, so it’s difficult not to take the humiliation personally.
My birth at the end of July 1967 makes me a child of the naksa, or setback, as the Arab defeat during the June 1967 war is euphemistically known in Arabic. There was no Summer of Love for us in 1967. We Children of the Naksa were born not only on the cusp of loss but also of the kind of disillusionment that whets the appetite of religious zealots.
My parents’ generation grew up high on the Arab nationalism that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser brandished in the 1950s. By 1967, humiliation was decisively stepping into pride’s large, empty shoes.
As the region marks the 40th anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war, it’s been a relief to be watching from another country, one where the stain of wars and defeat have marked several generations. But no relief or distance can silence this question: Is this what we fought all those wars with Israel for?
My country, Egypt, fought four wars against Israel between 1948, when the Jewish state was created, and 1979, when Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Two of my uncles were rocket engineers during the 1973 war, the last conflict between the two countries.
Watching the Palestinians’ whiplash descent into civil war in Gaza this summer, it is difficult not to question the past. Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land has caused no end of misery, poverty and frustration for the Palestinians. It has even scarred the Israeli people’s conscience. But occupation doesn’t explain the reckless and often corrupt leadership that seems to be the curse of the Palestinians.
You might think society would have evolved differently in the two countries that have peace treaties with Israel – Egypt and Jordan – or that their treaties have rendered conflict out of the question. Think again.
Has Egypt or Jordan logged better records on human rights or political freedoms because of those treaties? Has development or progress taken the place of war? Ask the thousands of political prisoners and the silenced dissidents of both countries.
Egypt has been at peace with Israel for 28 years. For the past 25 years, we have had the same president, who has never visited Israel – just the tip of the iceberg known as the “cold peace” between the two countries, which Egyptian officials usually blame on negative public opinion of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
We have subsumed so much into the Palestinian cause, channeling efforts that should have gone into development into a near obsession with Palestine, for little apparent good. Egypt boasts that it can talk to both the Israelis and the Palestinians, but even that has done little for its influence in halting intra-Palestinian fighting in Gaza.
I visited Israel for the first time in September 1997. Soon after, I moved to Jerusalem as a correspondent for Reuters. I wanted to see things for myself and not have to rely on the “official” narrative given by our media.
To this day I remain under the suspicion of my country’s security services. When I returned to Egypt after my year in Israel, a state security officer – whose nom de guerre was Omar Sharif – held up a thick file that he said was full of orders to have me followed and my phone tapped.
My generation, sadly, might be lost to defeat and humiliation. If so, the best gift we can offer those coming behind us is clear advice: Don’t walk in our footsteps, and know that the best way you can help Palestinians is to help your own countries.
The Arab leaders of the 1967 era are gone, replaced in Jordan and Syria by their sons; preparations for a similar handover are underway in Egypt. The Palestinians are led by the dangerously impotent combination of a weak president and a prime minister who is a religious zealot.
And still there is no Palestine.
Why has time stood still for the Arab world? The Syrian town of Quneitra is exactly as it was when it was destroyed after the 1967 war with Israel, untouched so that we never forget. Yet how many German cities, almost leveled during World War II, have been rebuilt and are thriving again?
The 1967 war was one of the many conflicts with Israel that bookend our ages. Looking around the Arab world today, we must ask: What were they all for? It’s time to move on.
“SHE WAS FORCED TO CONVERT TO ISLAM AGAINST HER WILL”
‘Hamas forced professor to convert’
By Khaled Abu Toameh
The Jerusalem Post
August 5, 2007
Fatah officials in Ramallah claimed over the weekend that Professor Sana al-Sayegh, who teaches at Palestine University in Gaza City, was kidnapped by Hamas militiamen who forced her to convert to Islam against her will.
The officials said the president of the university, Dr. Zaher Khail, had assisted Hamas in kidnapping the professor.
They added that senior officials in the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh played a major role in forcing her to convert to Islam.
“She was forced to convert to Islam against her will,” the Fatah officials said. “She was kidnapped and held for two weeks during which time she was not allowed to contact her family.” Sayegh is the dean of the Science and Technology Faculty at Palestine University. She has represented the university at numerous conferences around the world over the past few years and is considered one of the most prominent experts in her field.
According to the Fatah officials, she went missing in late June. When her family’s attempts to find her failed, they sought the help of Haniyeh’s office.
Two weeks later the family was summoned to a meeting with some of Haniyeh’s aides, who were accompanied by the professor.
At the meeting, which was held at the home of Hamas official Rafik Makki, the family was told that the professor had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.
When the professor’s stunned mother asked her if this was true, she nodded her head, murmuring: “Yes, God has guided me through the right path.” The mother later claimed that her daughter made the statement under threats from Hamas gunmen who were in the room.
The Hamas officials are also reported to have shown the family a document signed by the professor indicating that she had converted to Islam and married a man named Izz al-Arab Awur.
But the family claims that the man told them that he never married the professor.
Several attempts by the family to arrange a meeting with Haniyeh to find out the truth failed. At one point, said a relative, they found the professor’s car parked outside Haniyeh’s office.
“When we told them that we wanted to see her, we were ordered to leave immediately,” he recounted. “We were told that we could take her car and go away. But we told them that we didn’t come to get the car, but Professor al-Sayegh.” Leaders of the tiny Christian minority in Gaza City who requested a meeting with Haniyeh to solve the problem were also turned down.
Some 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip. Following the Hamas takeover of the Strip, many of them have expressed their desire to leave.
The board of directors of Palestine University confirmed Sunday that Sayegh had converted to Islam, but denied that the university was linked to the case in any way.
“We won’t allow anyone to exploit our name in political disputes,” it said in a statement, referring to the Hamas-Fatah power struggle. “The case of Professor al-Sayegh is a personal one and does not reflect the policy of the university.”
Hamas officials strongly denied that they had forced the professor to convert to Islam and accused Fatah of spreading lies designed to undermine Hamas’s credibility. The officials said that Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar met with Sayegh, who told him that she had converted out of her own will to marry her colleague, Awur.
Ala Aklouk, a senior Muslim cleric in Gaza City who was entrusted by the Haniyeh government to look into the case, said the professor converted to Islam of her free will. “She was too afraid to inform her family that she had converted to Islam,” he said. “So she asked me and other officials to inform her family. She also made it clear that she had no intention to return home unless all her family members converted to Islam.”
Aklouk claimed that the professor did not convert because she wanted to marry a Muslim man, but because she “really believed in Islam.”
“If you sit with her, you will feel as if you are sitting with a devout Muslim woman and not a Christian,” he said. “She abandoned a good and easy life for the sake of Islam. She challenged everyone and did what she was supposed to do – become a devout Muslim.”
Hanan Matar, a female activist working for the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said she met with the professor over the weekend and heard from her that her decision to convert to Islam was not related to her marriage to a Muslim man. She said the professor was wearing the hijab and “behaved like any religious Muslim woman would.”
IRAN HAS JUST CARRIED OUT ITS LARGEST WAVE OF EXECUTIONS SINCE 1984
Domestic terror in Iran
Iran has just carried out the largest wave of executions since 1984
By Amir Taheri
The Wall Street Journal
August 6, 2007
It is early dawn as seven young men are led to the gallows amid shouts of “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the greatest) from a crowd of bearded men as a handful of women, all in hijab, ululate to a high pitch. A few minutes later, the seven are hanged as a mullah shouts: “Alhamd li-Allah” (Praise be to Allah).
The scene was Wednesday in Mashad, Iran’s second most populous city, where a crackdown against “anti-Islam hooligans” has been under way for weeks.
The Mashad hangings, broadcast live on local television, are among a series of public executions ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month as part of a campaign to terrorize an increasingly restive population. Over the past six weeks, at least 118 people have been executed, including four who were stoned to death. According to Saeed Mortazavi, the chief Islamic prosecutor, at least 150 more people, including five women, are scheduled to be hanged or stoned to death in the coming weeks.
The latest wave of executions is the biggest Iran has suffered in the same time span since 1984, when thousands of opposition prisoners were shot on orders from Ayatollah Khomeini.
Not all executions take place in public. In the provinces of Kurdistan and Khuzestan, where ethnic Kurdish and Arab minorities are demanding greater rights, several activists have been put to death in secret, their families informed only days after the event.
The campaign of terror also includes targeted “disappearances” designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. According to the latest tally, more than 30 people have “disappeared” since the start of the new Iranian year on March 21. To intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.
According to Gen. Ismail Muqaddam, commander of the Islamic Police, a total of 430,000 men and women have been arrested on charges related to drug use since April. A further 4,209 men and women, mostly aged between 15 and 30, have been arrested for “hooliganism” in Tehran alone. The largest number of arrests, totaling almost a million men and women according to Mr. Muqaddam, were related to the enforcement of the new Islamic Dress Code, passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) in May 2006.
Most of those arrested, he says, spent a few hours, or at most a few days, in custody as “a warning.” By last week, 40,000 were still in prison. Of these, 20,363 men and women are held on charges related to violating the Islamic Dress Code. According to the Deputy Chief of Police Gen. Hussein Zulfiqari, an additional 6,204 men and women are in prison on charges of “sexual proximity” without being married.
The wave of arrests has increased pressure on the nation’s inadequate prison facilities. At a recent press conference in Tehran, the head of the National Prisons Service, Ali-Akbar Yassaqi, appealed for a moratorium on arrests. He said Iran’s official prisons could not house more than 50,000 prisoners simultaneously while the actual number of prisoners at any given time was above 150,000. Mr. Yassaqi also revealed that each year on average some 600,000 Iranians spend some time in one of the 130 official prisons.
Since Mr. Ahmadinejad ordered the crackdown, work on converting 41 official buildings to prisons has started, with contracts for 33 other prisons already signed. Nevertheless, Mr. Yassaqi believes that, with the annual prison population likely to top the million mark this year, even the new capacities created might prove insufficient.
There are, however, an unknown number of unofficial prisons as well, often controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or militias working for various powerful mullahs. Last week, human rights activists in Iran published details of a new prison in Souleh, northwest of Tehran, staffed by militants from the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah. According to the revelations, the Souleh prison is under the control of the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi, and used for holding the regime’s most “dangerous” political foes.
The regime especially fears the growing free trade union movement. In the past four months, free trade unionists have organized 12 major strikes and 47 demonstrations in various parts of the country. They showed their muscle on International Labor Day on May 1 when tens of thousands of workers marched in Tehran and 18 provincial capitals. The regime retaliated by arresting scores of trade unionists and expelling many others.
According to Rajab-Ali Shahsavari, leader of the Union of Contractual Workers, 25,795 unionists have been fired since April. He estimates that now over 1,000 workers are losing their jobs each day, as the regime intensifies its crackdown.
Worse still, the number of suspicious deaths among workers has risen to an all-time high. According to Deputy Labor Minister Ibrahim Nazari-Jalali, 1,047 workers have died in “work-related accidents” since April. Labor sources, however, point out that none of the accidents have been investigated and, in at least 13 cases, the workers who died may have been killed by goons hired by the regime.
The biggest purge of universities since Khomeini launched his “Islamic Cultural Revolution” in 1980 is also under way. Scores of student leaders have been arrested and more than 3,000 others expelled. Labeling the crackdown the “corrective movement,” Mr. Ahmadinejad wants university textbooks rewritten to “cleanse them of Infidel trash,” and to include “a rebuttal of Zionist-Crusader claims” about the Holocaust. Dozens of lecturers and faculty deans have been fired.
The nationwide crackdown is accompanied with efforts to cut Iranians off from sources of information outside the Islamic Republic. More than 4,000 Internet sites have been blocked, and more are added each day. The Ministry of Islamic Orientation has established a new blacklist of authors and book titles twice longer than what it was a year ago. Since April, some 30 newspapers and magazines have been shut and their offices raided. At least 17 journalists are in prison, two already sentenced to death by hanging.
The regime is trying to mobilize its shrinking base by claiming that the Islamic Republic is under threat from internal and external foes. It was in that context that the four Iranian-American hostages held in Tehran were forced to make televised “confessions” last month about alleged plots to foment a “velvet revolution.”
Over 40 people have been arrested on charges of espionage since April, 20 in the southern city of Shiraz. Khomeinist paranoia reached a new peak last week when the authorities announced, through the Islamic Republic News Agency, the capture of four squirrels in the Western city of Kermanshah and claimed that the furry creatures had been fitted with “espionage devices” by the Americans in Iraq and smuggled into the Islamic Republic.
Mr. Ahmadinejad likes to pretend that he has no worries except “Infidel plots” related to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. The truth is that, faced with growing popular discontent, the Khomeinist clique is vulnerable and worried, extremely worried. The outside world would do well to carefully monitor and, whenever possible, support the Iranian people’s fight against the fascist regime in Tehran.
Iran today is not only about atomic bombs and Iranian-American hostages. It is also about a growing popular movement that may help bring the nation out of the dangerous impasse created by the mullahs.