منا نیستانی / Mana Neyestani
Television debate details for the 2013 Iran election
12 hours ago
In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad. Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations.
So let me be clear. America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. And make no mistake, a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race in the region, and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That’s why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that’s why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Referring to the elimination of the post of prime minister in the last months of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's life, Khamenei said, "Our political system is based on a presidency, and the president is elected by the direct vote of the people, which is a good and effective system. But if in the near or distant future it seems that a parliamentary system is better for selecting the officials of the executive branch, there will be no problem in changing the present system."This comes two weeks after Majlis deputy Hamid Reza Katouzian hinted of eliminating the presidency and replacing it with a prime minister elected from the parliamentary body. With Ahmadinejad's wings all but clipped, all eyes are shifting to the 2012 Majlis elections. Memories of Iran's last election are surely still fresh in the Iranian public's mind, and it remains to be seen how the perceived futility (and fear) of going out to the polls will affect turnout (assuming that reformists are even able to field candidates and avoid a boycott). The ruling class, for its part, has remained coy about how it is going resolve its current crisis of leadership, i.e. the Old Guard versus the New Right.
"Do not think that just because you can't find people demonstrating in the streets, that nothing is happening," insisted Sohrab, a retired engineer and former political prisoner in his 60s, when I told him I thought the opposition was clearly on its back foot. "Iran is going through a period of fermentation now. Ideas and values are evolving rapidly, and the regime is rotting. We can see it all around us."The piece is an excellent, first-hand glimpse of what life has become in the sprawling metropolis -- no longer an "enormous garden, [but more of an] overgrown prison yard" -- and worth reading in its entirety.
One diplomat, who asked not to be identified, said intelligence reports showed that Iran had reduced funding for Hamas.
Other diplomatic sources, also relying on intelligence assessments, said the payments had stopped over the past two months.
The diplomats cited Iran's displeasure over Hamas' refusal to hold rallies in support of Tehran's ally, Assad, in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria after an uprising against his rule. Hamas' leadership outside the Gaza Strip is headquartered in Damascus.With Gaddafi's four-decade reign of Libya now apparently having come to an end, attention shifts back to Syria, where Bashar al-Assad continues to remain defiant in the face of resilient streets protests calling for his ouster. For the Islamic Republic, the Alawai regime's survival is crucial. Were Assad to fall, Iran would not only lose its chief regional ally, but would also find it increasing difficult to prop up Hezbollah, its Shiaa proxy based in neighboring Lebanon.
Q: Do you think what we've seen elsewhere in the Middle East might happen in Iran too? Or are you confident everything is stable here?An excerpt of the interview is embedded below, and a transcript of the entire interview is available here.
A: What happened in Iran is not the same as what is going on in certain other countries. A totally free election was held in Iran.
The victim, Dariush Rezai, 45, was described by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency as a professional associated with the country's Atomic Energy Organization, which oversees the country's complex of nuclear installations, including uranium enrichment facilities that produce fuel for energy reactors. [...]
In January of 2010, physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed in bombing carried out by remote control. Later in 2010, a similar motorcycle attack was carried out that killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriar and injured Fereidoun Abbasi, one of the nuclear program's most renown figures.
Rezai, who reportedly held a doctorate in physics, was reportedly shot by gunmen on a motorcycle outside his home in the southeast of the capital, Tehran, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.