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Roozbeh Farahanipour. Photo courtesy of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

New President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is Announced

Los Angeles, California: April, 2015; In March 2015, the Board of Directors elected Mr. Roozbeh Farahanipour as the new President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Farahanipour is a local businessperson and very active community leader. The West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce continues to be the hub for businesses within the region. By creating opportunities for growth and commerce, the Chamber makes every effort to revitalize and provide support to the region.


Marze Por Gohar



Roozbeh Farahanipour

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Iran: limits to rapprochement

Monday, 27 June 2011 02:12 Published in Press
1-Iran: limits to rapprochement : hearing before the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, One Hundred Sixth Congress, first session, July 22, 1999 (page 12)

In his interim report to the General Assembly, the Special Representative dealt in some detail with how torture had entered the public discourse, not least through the personal testimony of students detained in connection with the July 1999 student demonstrations. He also reported on what is believed to have been the first indictment for torture against a police officer. Since that report was written there has been other personal testimony of torture, including that of a political activist detained after the July 1999 demonstrations, Mr. Roozbeh Foraharipour, and most recently that of a detained journalist, Akbar Ganji (see para. 91 below).

Source: UNITED NATIONS page 14

Local Businessman Cheered by bin Laden's Death

Monday, 27 June 2011 02:06 Published in Press
Roozbeh Farahanipour, owner of Delphi Greek restaurant in Westwood, was visiting Turkey when the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, took place, even though he'd come to the United States a year earlier.

"I was watching the TV," he said. "I got shocked when I saw the situation. I'm just thinking why any organization, any human being could think of such a terrorist act."

But as horrified as he was by the attacks masterminded by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed Sunday by U.S. soldiers in Pakistan, Farahanipour has an even more personal reason for being glad that the Islamic fundamentalist is dead. He is actively fighting the repressive Islamic fundamentalist government in his native Iran.

Farahanipour was jailed in Iran for speaking out against the Islamic Republic government there in July 1999. He came to the United States in 2000 seeking political asylum.

Since that time, he has became a restaurant owner and is a member of the Westwood Neighborhood Council. Still, he is still tightly connected to his native land and the fight for political freedom there. In addition to his local activities, he is part of the Marze Por Gohar movement, which is in exile for its part in the 1999 student uprising in Tehran.

"I really appreciate the United States for giving me the chance to continue the fight," he said, adding that Westwood's large Iranian population (a significant portion of the 400,000 Iranians who live in Los Angeles and Orange counties are located in the area) has made the neighborhood a hotbed for anti-Islamic Republic activism. "We call Westwood the capital of Iranian opposition."

He is also grateful for the way the U.S. deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"The best day of my life was when Saddam Hussein was executed," Farahanipour said, citing the more than 1 million Iranians who died as a result of Hussein's efforts to take over Iran.

In fact, Hussein was No. 1 on his list of great enemies, with the Islamic fundamentalist government in Iran a close second.

"After them, Osama bin Laden was the biggest enemy of the world," Farahanipour said.

Source: Century City Patch

Twitter Revolution and President Obama

Monday, 27 June 2011 02:01 Published in Press
Twitter Revolution and President Obama: This time Let's Stand Up With Roozbeh and the People of Iran

I had never heard of Roozbeh Farahanipour before the Simon Wiesenthal Center's June 24th press conference at the Museum of Tolerance where we joined with Iranian expats urging UN intervention over the fraudulent re-election of President Ahmadinejad.

The press conference itself presented compelling but very diverse Iranian voices. There was the son of the mayor of Tehran when the CIA orchestrated a coup in the 1950s. There was a monarchist, an academic-- all of whom put their differences aside to plead--to a largely deaf world-- to act on behalf of their people.

The understated Mr. Farahanipour calmly spoke of his experiences on the streets of Tehran during the student uprising of July 9th, 1999 and his arrest and torture that followed.

Now comes word that he and some other members of the Marze Por Gohar (MPG) movement have, despite the obvious dangers that await them, made their way back to Tehran in preparations for what they hope will be renewed demonstrations for democracy on the streets of Iran on July 9th--the anniversary of the 1999 demos.

Which brings us to President Obama and the G8. Twitter may have succeeded in proving to the world how much the Iranian people want change, but Internet technologies cannot deliver real freedom and hope. Only a new sense of resolve and leadership from our president -- so absent in Washington last month -- along with leaders at the G8 like Gordon Brown, Nicolas Sarkozry, Stephen Harper and Angela Merkel can ensure that the courage of Roozbeh and millions of other Iranians will not be in vain.

For starters: Stronger sanctions from the G8 to thwart or slow the Iranian nukes.

But they and we can do more: World leaders can tell the man who polled over 100% in so many polling places, he's not welcome in their capitals. And if he plans to come to New york this Fall for the UN General Assembly, let their be one unified protest consisting of a massive crowd as diverse as our democracy's unique demographics.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper
در جمهوری ایرانی مورد نظر حزب مرزپرگهر همه در پیشگاه قانون برابرند.در این جمهوری همه بیگناه هستند مگر آنکه عکس آن ثابت شود.کانون های داوران،وکلا،حقوق دانان و سردفتران مرجع تایین داور هستند و داور به هیچ وجه انتخابی نخواهد بود.وزیر دادگستری زیر نظر رییس جمهور می باشد
هیات منصفه و داشتن وکیل و دادگاه عادلانه حق هر متهم می باشد

Iran’s Reign of Terror

Monday, 14 September 2009 03:27 Published in FrontPage Magazine Interviews
FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.

Kindly update us on the events in Iran since the June and July uprising: the repression of dissidents and your own activities since your return from your clandestine trip to your country in mid-July.

Farahanipour: Our activities are right now focused on the Ahmadinejad trip to New York, which is scheduled for September 23. We are also dealing with the changing characters and forms of the movement in Iran. We’re coping with the issues of some of our members and colleagues who are being indicted by the regime or who have escaped the country.

First of all, the regime has reacted to my border crossing and the border crossings of others, by sending more forces back to the border areas and claiming that borders are completely sealed and under control. Despite this, many have crossed the borders both ways and the regime has failed in implementing full control. Secondly, the wave of arrests inside the country has now expanded to second and third tiers of activists, their family members and friends, fruitlessly consuming a lot of intelligence and enforcement energy, leaving a lot of possibilities for Iranian dissidents to continue organizing and acting for the next waves of protests.

Right now, the cancellation of certain religious events in Iran during Ramadan suggests that the regime is still scared of people assembling in large numbers for any purpose. On September 18, Karoubi and Moussavi supporters are planning to participate in the infamous Ghods Day rallies in Iran (solidarity day for destruction of Israel), discouraging people from voicing “irrelevant” slogans as a sort of dubious protest and perhaps declaration of loyalty to the foundations of the 1979 revolution, among which is the call for the destruction of Israel.

Such mass invitations have been made by “green leaders” before in order to get the people back in the fold of Islamist frameworks. But in the last months, people have either ignored them or turned the events into open protests and ridicule if they felt they could do so with acceptable risks.

FP: What is the state of mind of the people and what are they doing in the wake of the huge mass rallies of two months ago?

Farahanipour: The brutal repression of the mass rallies has not extended into a nationwide massacre. This has demonstrated the limits of the regime’s political power, which is clearly focused on containment, rather than on elimination of the threat. We all witnessed the cracks appearing within the Basseej Militia and the Revolutionary Guards in the midst of the killings and attacks on people’s gatherings and even homes during the night. We were correct to have recognized that issue as a demonstration of the IRI’s political limits and the over-stretching of the regime’s actual forces.

The limited repression, therefore, has left the people in a state of rage without having affected their will in any serious manner. The internet activities of Iranians have continued in a major way, showing their continued spite for not only Ahmadinejad but for the Supreme leader as well. Smaller scale demonstrations are taking place and as we approach the opening of schools and universities on September 23, as well as religious and public scheduled events and anniversaries, calls for action are floating around all the time.

FP: Who is leading the people at this time?

Farahanipour: The initial leadership of the presidential candidates, Karoubi, Moussavi and other regime factions behind the post election rallies, has eroded in a major way. But it has not completely vanished. The reason behind this erosion is that these personalities have also been scared of the size of the participation, the out of control direction they were taking and the widespread political unity among different Iranian political persuasions, resulting in their caution, outright absence from numerous events and in taking positions which alienated large groups of people at every turn.

Moussavi, for example, trying to control “his” crowds and to assure the regime of his loyalty, issued three clear statements in July and August, ordering the protestors to physically separate their ranks from those who opposed “the holy Islamic regime” and to adopt positions which would re-introduce the traditional animosities among Iranians. Such “fatwas,” reminding many of the physical ejection of democratic forces from the street demonstrations of 1978 by Khomeini thugs, prevention of political discourse among the opposition and monopolizing the movement leadership and etc., had the reverse effect of eroding support for Moussavi, even though it did damage the opposition unity within Iran as well as activities of Iranians across the world. Mandating the “Green Only” symbols and rejecting anti-regime slogans showed the monopolizing and theocratic pro-regime nature of many Moussavi supporters.

The sectarian and monopolistic tendencies of the pro-Moussavi activists went as far as openly denouncing many of the very same political prisoners who were put on trial along with them, as if no one else had been active within the movement except those whom they approved. The Moussavi activists changed the meaning of “defending political prisoners” into defending “our” political prisoners.

There is right now a visible trend of organizing within Iran which may result in the creation of a different movement away from the factional regime issues and personalities. This may divide the people even though it will create new chances for a meaningful opposition movement deeper and stronger than the one merely asking for vote recounts, which is already antiquated and made irrelevant in the course of events.

FP: Tell us a bit about the factional issues within the regime.

Farahanipour: Besides the issue of the people facing the dictatorship (which quickly evolved into anti-theocracy issues as well) and the important issue of US and European powers versus Ahmadinejad, the other important factor in the recent movement is that of regime factions fighting for a redistribution of power and wealth.

The more extremist elements include the revolutionary guards and Militia leadership, headed by Ahmadinejad and supported by the Supreme leader. They were and are battling the older aristocracy of the theocratic regime over billions of dollars of annual revenues, over control of monopolistic foundations and centers of power, as well as issues of ideology and foreign policy (including US relations, regional dominance, methods of the destruction of Israel etc….).

The forces in power have been promising the poverty stricken masses to seriously combat the billionaire class, even naming them (Rafsanjani and sons…) and threatening their families with inquiries and expropriations. This populist approach by Ahmadinejad managed to keep the poor out of the struggle for democracy.

This infighting is still going on and has not been resolved. Internal leaks keep flowing, accusations from both sides are getting nastier all the time as the regime’s atrocities against political prisoners are being exposed by Karoubi and his faction. Their own similar actions when they held the power are being raised by Ahmadinejad’s propagandists.

I believe that the continued factional infighting should be welcomed by all, since in the end the people will win. We have already heard more things about past and present atrocities of the regime from its own people than we had been able to discover and expose in many years. The drawback in all this is that some people, including wavering opposition forces, tend to glorify one faction against the other.

Right now, as the show trials are going on, “reformist” leaders are being forced into humiliating confessions, reminiscent of the Stalinist Khomeinist trials of the 1980s which the new generation did not witness. These sham trials, nevertheless, are not only educating the youth to the nature of the regime but, perhaps more importantly, in the short run, are angering the underdog faction in ways that cannot be reversed for quite a while. The trials are assuring the continuation of the regime’s internal conflict.

FP: Many others are also being tried in the same courts, right? What effect do their confessions or accusations have on the psyche of Iranians?

Farahanipour: Several of our own MPG movement members are on trial, one for sending photos of the uprising abroad. There are people from many other anti-regime organizations on trial, for many of whom death sentences have been demanded by the prosecutors.

Our policy, as we publicly announced, has been one of discouraging resistance under torture and encouraging  ordinary activists to confess to any ridiculous thing that the interrogators can think of, and believe me, the Islamic interrogators are amazingly imaginative when it comes to dishonoring and humiliating captives. Fortunately, the Iranian people have come to the same understanding and do not expect their own friends and kin to endure gruesome torture while they can get off easier and continue their struggle.

These Khomeinist sham trials have backfired even beyond my imagination. The only effect on the people has been their emotional disassociation from the regime and the regime’s increasing loss of credibility. If they are lying about these things, what other things have they been lying about before?

FP: So is this what happened to the thousands arrested during the uprising?

Farahanipour: No, not at all. The hundred or so being humiliated in the show trials are just a selection of different organizations and factions who participated in leading the June-July uprising.  Hundreds of other activists and leaders have already died under torture and many have disappeared. They are possibly still being tortured or have been executed.

These days there are reports of dozens of unmarked graves discovered in Tehran’s main cemetery and numerous executions and assassinations have been reported in other cities. Some torture victims who have been released due to their minor roles, are coming forth with their testimonies; aided by the ongoing factional conflicts their voices are being heard. Just recently, however, one such witness disappeared after testifying in an unofficial but high ranking venue, while another jumped from a pedestrian bridge as he had been summoned to the prison again.

In the meantime, many regime opponents outside the country have received death threats. Even Moussavi supporters have resorted to death threats against certain regime opponents here in the US. It seems that under pressure, both regime factions revert to the same tactics.

FP: How do you think President Obama is handling this?

Farahanipour: I think it is clear that US policy has been confused. This confusion has helped Ahmadinejad, to say the least.

First, during the pre-elections campaign in Iran in early June, the administration went overboard in supporting Moussavi and Karoubi who later lost the elections following the fraudulent elections practices in an election which was based on fraud anyway. The administration ordered the censorship of all regime opponents from their Farsi language radio and TV channels and tolerated illegal and discriminatory Iranian elections to be held in 20 American cities ! Then it took Obama over a week to agree to condemn certain human rights abuses of the regime when the uprising took place. After all this, Obama’s only noteworthy activity has been sending a second presumably conciliatory message to the Supreme Leader and not opposing Ahmadinejad to travel to New York around September 23.

Interestingly enough, the same Voice of America which gave exclusive coverage to “reformist” candidates and their spokesmen abroad, later started censoring even the street demonstrations, leading everyone to suspect a change of policy in favor of Ahmadinejad.

The people who risked their lives during the uprising, generally expected open and strong support from Obama. Obama’s lack of resolve resulted in his loss of popularity even among crowds who would say “Oo-ba-ma -st” (“He is with us”, as his name sounds like in Farsi).

It seems that Obama’s resolve is stronger when it comes to appeasing the Iranian regime and following the China model. Iranians are worried about the implications of a new China policy: If election results did not produce a desired president, then let’s work with Ahmadinejad and to hell with human rights in Iran.

In any case, the truth about Obama’s Iran policy will be known soon enough: during or shortly after the Ahmadinejad trip to New York.

FP: What are your own personal plans in the near future?

Farahanipour: I’ll appear with California State Assemblyman Joel Anderson on September 18 for his promotion of a new Iran divestment bill, prohibiting insurance companies from insuring any shipment to or from Iran. On September 23, I will speak at the New York Tolerance Center at the invitation of Simon Wiesenthal Center on the same day Ahmadinejad is making his UN appearance.

FP: Well, good luck my friend.

Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Source: FrontPage Magazine 09/14/2009

Iran’s Show Trials

Wednesday, 05 August 2009 03:25 Published in FrontPage Magazine Interviews
An Iranian dissident sheds light on a despotism’s torture-driven confessions.
FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian journalist, democracy activist, former political prisoner in Iran and head of Marze Por Gohar movement (MPG), an Iranian opposition movement seeking the establishment of a secular republic in Iran. He was a student leader in the 1999 uprising, just one year after creating MPG.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

There was a major participation of Iranians on Neda’s 40th day memorial. To remind some readers, just in case, Neda Agha-Soltan is the young Iranian woman who was shot and killed during the Iranian election protests. The video of her death has become a rallying point for the Iranian freedom movement.

Tell us about it.

Farahanipour: Opposition groups, such as Marze Por Gohar, invited people to engage and show their opposition to the Islamic regime. The regime really tried to prevent his from happening. For example, they pressured Neda’s mother not to attend the memorial. In an internet-based interview, she revealed that due to unknown reasons (read pressure from the regime) she will not attend her own daughter’s memorial.

She also mentioned that the people of Iran should consider Neda as their own child. But she was quick to mention that she will not accept any responsibility if people attend the memorial. Again, this shows how bad the pressure is when a mother is not able to attend to her daughter’s memorial. In a joint effort of the opposition, however, inside and outside Iran, people managed to overcome the heavy pressure of the regime and spread the word of the date and the places where people could gather. 

As we predicted, this day turned out to be a nightmare for the regime. People once again took the streets and took a step further in their anti-regime protests. On this day we heard slogans like “Independence, freedom, Iranian republic”( as opposed to “Islamic republic”)  and “down with Islamic republic.”

It is important to mention that during the 1979 revolution the slogan “Independence, freedom, Islamic republic” was the main slogan of the pro-Khomeini activists.

When people replace the “Islamic republic” with “Iranian republic” it clearly shows the intention of the Iranian people. It is the proof of what we have been saying all along: the Islamic Republic is an occupying force which is undermining the Iranian identity, interest and future. To replace “Islamic” with Iranian” in the slogans shows that people want everything that the Islamic Republic is not.

FP: Describe the scene when the Islamists came to power in 1979.

Farahanipour: Sure, the first thing they did when they came to power was change the name of “Iran” to “Islamic republic of Iran” in the United Nations. The national flag of Iran was replaced with a flag with Arabic scripts and logo. Soon after, they attempted to destroy major historical remains such as “Persepolis,” since they announced that everything pre-Islamic in Iran should be considered worthless. 

In a public display of anti-Iranian hatred, Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, announced the historical name of “Persian Gulf” to be changed to “Islamic Gulf.” In another speech he declared nationalists as infidels and nationalism as a sin. He further explained that there should be no such thing as an Iranian nation but an “Islamic Ummah.” During Khatami, the regime officially applied to be a member of the Arab League and they even accepted to be an observer without a vote.

In an Islamic world conference that Khatami attended as president and head speaker in Tehran, the Iranian capital, he started his speech in Arabic and not Persian. During the past 30 years, the regime has pursued a policy where everything pre-Islamic has been undermined while the Islamic ideals have been enforced. This has even been executed in social areas where Iranians are given a hard time when they are naming their new born with Iranian names. Indeed, they are encouraged to use Islamic names. In the schools, the second language is Arabic and attending Islamic classes is mandatory in order to graduate.

In geo-politics too, the regime has applied the same system. According to international protocols, 50% of the Caspian Sea belongs to Iran but in order to keep Russia close they are discussing to reduce Iran’s share somewhere between 11.5 % to 20%. When this agreement is signed it must be known that the Iranian people do not recognize such agreements and consider them null in the future.

It is also a fact that while most Iranians live under the poverty line, the regime spends billions of dollars to support Islamic terrorist organizations outside Iran. The people of Iran are very aware of this and in the past we have witnessed slogans such as “let go of Palestine, think of us” or in the very recent events, such as the Friday sermon two weeks ago, people chanted “Down with Russia and China” while the sermon’s slogan leader said “down with America and Israel.”

To say “Iranian Republic” instead of the “Islamic republic” is a rejection of the regime’s occupying nature by the people who want it gone.

FP: Currently we are witnessing the mass trials of people arrested during the recent uprising. What is happening in this regard?

Farahanipour: This is theatrical and by the way nothing new. We have witnessed such events many times before in the past thirty years.

The regime has used such illegitimate trials to execute more than 100,000 people in such phony courts. To produce fake confessions is a trade mark of this regime and this time we have a wide spectrum of political prisoners facing the same treatment.

According to regime’s court documents, the arrested are from across the political spectrum. They are representing the Iranian people with different ideologies. There are various activists presented and three specific parties are mentioned, the so-called reformists/moderate Islamists, MKO and Marze Por Gohar (MPG).

When the regime prosecutes parties who are representing the Iranian people. it shows that it is prosecuting the Iranian nation and that the whole nation is against the regime.

FP: Tell us more about the MPG on trial.

Farahanipour: There are the regime’s theatrics and dramatic televised trials that are contrived to detract from and undermine the sweeping uprising for liberty and freedom by the very children of these glorious frontiers. The Prosecutor Mortazavi states the following in regards to Mr. Majid Saeeidi in the trial of opposition protestors:

Majid Saeedi the son of Naser, one of the arrested photojournalists has stated:

“I was present during the “illegal” demonstrations which took place at Enghelab Square, Azadi Square, Hafte Tir Square, Vali Asr Square and Baharestan Square. I took pictures during these “illegal” protests and sent the pictures to an anti-Revolutionary group Marzeporgohar in United States, Getty Agency in England and Office of Sipah in France.”

FP: Who is Majid Saeedi?

Farahanipour: Majid is a friend of mine and we used to do journalistic work together. He was born in Tehran-Iran on 28/02/1974 and has an education in Art. His work experience included heading photo departments for nine newspapers in Iran since 1998 in different periods. He was a photographer for Time Magazine in Afghanistan in 2001. He was also the founder of Fars News Agency and was the head of its photo department in 2004.

Majid was the photographer for Getty images since 2004. He was also selected seven times as the best photographer of the year in Iran in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001. In addition, he was the winner of the second prize for an international art festival in 2005. Majid received 4 gold medals from Asahi Japan in 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008.  He was the winner of the 3rd prize of Poy –USA 2007 and he was the first person in Iran who got a permit for a photo news agency.

FP: What do you think of the charges against him?

Farahanipour: According to the court, his crime was taking pictures. Majd is a known and recognized photographer and he was doing what photographers are supposed to do, take pictures.

A photographer cannot be biased in what he does. If an uprising is going on then he takes pictures and he has limited ability to change what he sees. In this case, Majid recorded history taking place.

The fact that the regime dislikes journalism does not make journalism a crime. In the eyes of Iranian people and the international community, reporting history is a duty; in the eyes of the Islamic Republic, it’s a crime.

FP: What is the Getty Center’s response to this charge?

Farahanipour: On Aug 01, 2009, Getty Images issued this statement on response to the Islamic Republic’s charges against Majid Saeedi:

Getty Images rejects the charges against freelance photographer Majid Saeedi by Iranian prosecutors. Majid is simply a diligent and committed photojournalist who documented the reality he observed. He is being charged for merely doing his job.

Getty Images, a respected and well-regarded news organization, and our editorial photographers have a long-standing tradition of adhering to a strict set of professional principles, including responsibility, independence and integrity.

FP: What would you say to arrested Iranians right now if they could hear you?

Farahanipour: The Marz-e Por Gohar movement emphatically states that the entire round of confessions, testimonies and claims made by the Islamic Republic regime of occupiers is based on lies and deceit. It is all a complete fabrication concocted from their usual conspiracies.

The Marz-e Por Gohar movement reminds the brave warriors of the uprising that the regime reigning over our nation will make a futile effort to defame them. On their phony television shows, they paint our chivalrous and noble warriors as ignoble and unworthy. But the people know the truth.

We regard these young advocates and warriors as paladins from the ranks of Shahnameh. Like the young hero Siyavash, they will triumph over the occupying regime’s scorching oppression and relentless propaganda. They will continue their battle more courageously and more powerfully than before and emerge into victory.

The gallant people of Iran, whose recent sacrifice has cleansed Iran’s image of the dark stain of   the global disrepute of the Islamic Republic, have salvaged and restored Iran’s honor. The Iranian nation knows very well how to embrace, cherish and protect her chained lions in her compassionate, loving bosom and how to utilize the mockery of torture-driven confessions as tools to humiliate and invalidate the occupying regime itself.

The Marz-e Por Gohar movement honors our chained lions and sends this message to them:

Do not imagine for a moment that the forced confessions under torture detract even an iota from your honor and credence among us.

The country needs your strength, iron will and your renewed experience. Iranian people’s battles extend beyond a given period of time.

Use every ounce of energy and every faculty within you on the streets and in prison and protect and preserve your beliefs and will for the opportune time.

Boundless salutations and tribute to the political prisoners in Iran.

FP: What do you expect from the international community?

Farahanipour: We expect that the world should support a nation in their struggle for freedom and secularism.

People arrested, tried and killed should be the conscience of the all the freedom-loving people of the world. We believe in non-violent change, like the one in India and in South Africa. The international community of nations should stop trading with this regime and should expand its divestment efforts. Those who claim that divestment and sanctions hurt the Iranian people and not the regime should listen to the people of Iran who started their sanctions on their own. 

According to the regime and the international media, the sales of Nokia and Siemens in Iran has dropped dramatically due to their role in supporting the regime with electronic spy equipments. There are even lawsuits planned against Nokia in the Unites States. The slogan “Down with Russia and Dhina” is another sign that the people of Iran are ready to support wider sanctions on the regime and its allies.

We will take advantage of every opportunity to show our opposition to the Islamic Republic and this will go on until we have a free and fair election, where we can replace the Islamic Republic with an Iranian Republic.

We have paid a heavy price in this battle and we will not rest until we honor our fallen heroes, such as Yaghub Mehrnahad and Kasra Vafadari in their struggle for an independent, free and Iranian Republic.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Source: FrontPage Magazine 08/05/2009

From Inside Iran

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 03:20 Published in FrontPage Magazine Interviews
An Iranian dissident sneaks in and out of the Islamic Republic and reports on his peoples’ struggle for freedom.

FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian journalist, democracy activist, former political prisoner in Iran and head of Marze Por Gohar movement (MPG), an Iranian opposition movement seeking the establishment of a secular republic in Iran. He was a student leader in the 1999 uprising, just one year after creating MPG.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

You recently snuck back into Iran, ten years after your escape, and then got back out. Tell us what happened and why you did this.

Farahanipour: July 9th was the tenth anniversary of the 1999 uprising in Iran in which I was one the organizers and for which I was later imprisoned and tortured.  This anniversary was being held against the background of the unstoppable momentum of the massive protests all over Iran in late June, following the presidential elections which were already challenging the legitimacy of the government. I needed to be back there at such a time and contribute to the organization of the planned events reviving the spirit of 1999 because on the eve of this anniversary the mass movement was being compromised by regime factions, back into the fold of strict and undemocratic laws of the Islamic Republic.

Several other members of Marze Por Gohar movement also decided to go back and participated along with millions of other Iranians, exercising their democratic rights in different cities and regions of the country.

FP: Can you give us some details about the 1999 uprising?

Farahanipour: The 1999 uprising began at one of Tehran University dormitories where several students were killed following their protests against the new press censorship laws enacted at the time. At least one student was thrown from an upper floor window following fanatical religious prayers by the plain-clothed intelligence agents who also injured many and ransacked the premises. This incident escalated into a march to the Tehran University campus where tens of thousands began to converge upon during the next morning, launching a large protest as the campus began to be surrounded by all sorts of regime security and intelligence forces. Soon other campuses in the country joined the protest all over Tehran, as the largest anti-dictatorial movement in a decade began to challenge the regime. During five days of anti-government uprising over 18 people were killed, hundreds were beaten and mutilated and thousands were arrested.

This event shattered the image of the Islamic Republic, who after years of eliminating its original generation of opponents and massacring tens of thousands of political prisoners in August and September of 1988, was trying to present itself as a firmly established regime with no opponents. Some of the traditional opposition parties were also drawn into this massive protest chief among them, the Mellat Party who following the assassination of their leader Dariush Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh just a few months before by Intelligence Ministry official agents, gave its full support to us young activists under their new leadership Khosrow Seif.  As we found out later the 5 day uprising had shattered the internal stability and security illusions of the regime as hard as its external image. A whole new generation of dissidents was created in July of 1999 and now in 2009, in the middle of another mass uprising, we were approaching the tenth anniversary.

FP: What was the security situation like in Iran?

Farahanipour: The situation in Tehran and several other cities was extremely tense and dangerous as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had already declared they had taken over control of the country’s security. Major cities in the whole country had been placed under a state of siege. Dozens had been killed and thousands had been arrested. Many of those arrested were simply kidnapped to prevent them from any possible leadership role they could play; therefore, people with experience in this regard were definitely needed.

On the other hand there were two interesting developments that facilitated dissident activities precisely because of the intensity of regime deployment of forces. Firstly, regime forces were so busy with intense and concentrated security actions that we knew they couldn’t even handle either the interrogations and detentions of thousands already arrested or the control of hundreds of locations where they had to maintain their presence 24/7.

The regime’s capabilities were stretched to their limits. Secondly, we knew that thousands of regime forces had divided loyalties whether across factional regime lines or due to their sympathy for the very people they were ordered to suppress.  Already some of our people arrested during previous street protests had been quietly let go (by authorities that happened to be acquaintances or sympathetic) and information was leaking (sometimes pouring) out of the most “secure” sections of security forces indicating a serious factional rivalry.  Ironically the more forces the regime deployed, the more anti-regime, neutral or pro “reform” elements would be put in charge of suppression. We also knew that even many highway security outposts were now manned by inexperienced young militia members.

Based on the information we had and historical precedence, I knew this was precisely the best opportunity for a known dissident like me and some of my colleagues to go back to my occupied country.

FP: So how did you manage to get into Iran and back out?

Farahanipour: Obviously, known dissidents would be arrested, possibly tortured and perhaps executed upon arrival at the Tehran airport. Contrary to article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the Iranian government is a signatory, the Islamic Republic routinely forces people into exile or prevents their return to their own country. So what are we to do?

Many get used to permanent exile and dream of going back or strive to practice their democratic rights from abroad. I could not continue watching the uprising on TV as long as I had a chance. I had to go back even for a week or two if I could. Moreover, I had promised my colleagues in Iran that I would return in a situation like this. Could I hear about them being arrested and about all those young people being killed without at least doing my small part in all of this?

I have to add that the 1979 Iranian revolution had forced millions of Iranians, regular folks, mothers, children, old and young to escape their country for their survival, for freedom or for their children through free borders. Iranians who experienced the revolution, its devastating aftermath and an 8 year war with Saddam, are used to these hardships. Iran not only has thousands of miles of rugged borders with other countries or on the shores of open seas but has millions of people along these borders who freely travel back and forth for the simplest of reasons (i.e. seeing their family members on the other side, marrying someone and etc.)

These people are readily available to help others cross back and forth. This is really not as big a deal as an outsider might think. Why should some people, including some lazy long time Iranian exiles think this is impossible? Why should we falsely aggrandize and advertise the “absolute” control by a regime that can hardly control its capital city and demoralize the younger expatriates, condemning them to a permanent state of mind of an old worn-out exile?

FP: Where you in real danger at any time?

Farahanipour: Of course such trips are dangerous, not only because of the situation but because of environmental problems as well; however, like millions of women and children who had passed through the free borders, such matters were manageable for me and my friends as well.

Without getting into details I just say that with the help of my fellow countrymen, and in the course of many days, I re-entered my country without regard for the dictatorial laws of the Islamic Republic, which we consider a foreign occupier, and after accomplishing part of my obligations, I got out safely again.

I could see regime patrols sometimes within hundreds of yards and we had to bypass road patrols at other times. In the cities, movement was possible but very dangerous, since even if they weren’t looking for me, one could have been routinely arrested for other reasons. Since I had announced my intentions publicly, all they could do was to surround the locations and the homes of people they thought I would visit, places which I put off limits to myself anyway and people whom I had not even contacted, for this very same reason.

During my trip to Iran, many regime agents in Iran and in Los Angeles had been trying very hard to find my location. Many people in cities where the regime thought I would be were questioned and placed under surveillance and traps were set. There were even rumors about me visiting ancient parts of Iran and I guess a lot of regime energy was diverted to those provinces.

Upon my return, one known agent who had called from Iran to my family and had asked about my location, appeared here in Los Angeles and asked: “How the hell did you get out? We were looking for you everywhere.” One of the several locations where we had stayed was raided many days later demonstrating the predicted inefficiency of the regime’s intelligence during times of turmoil. Many people, whom I did contact and worked with for the anniversary events, have remained safe and free, emphasizing the same fact one more time.

FP: How did you communicate during all this time?

Farahanipour: Again, with no details, I can say that I stayed completely away from any systems connected to Iranian communications networks. Even publicly available but expensive equipment which we acquired by maxing out our credit cards can apparently elude regime systems. Needless to say, even Iranian networks can be used for many purposes if proper techniques are used. All said, in times of turmoil, all such systems for surveillance, detection, monitoring and etc. fail. My trip showed not only that borders can be crossed but regime capabilities can easily be stretched to the breaking point.

As they warn children on TV: “Don’t try this at home”. None of these can be accomplished without preparation, practice, coordination, caution and experience. And by the way: Thank God for Google Earth.

FP: Tell us about the July 9th events in Iran. Did everything go as you had predicted?

Farahanipour: Our predictions were leaning towards smaller scale, sporadic and mobile street protests rather than huge rallies like back in June. Already we knew that the regime had deployed massive forces around major universities and in particular the Tehran University, hundreds more potential leaders had been arrested and the Moussavi faction, instead of respecting the anniversary of the uprising, had told its supporters to go and pray inside mosques.

In effect, Moussavi had boycotted the event. We found out later that the effects of a massive dust storm in Southwesters Iran was used as an excuse by the government to close down schools, offices and many services in Tehran and to exaggerate the health risks, resulting in the migration of hundreds of thousands of Tehran residents to Northern provinces. Tehran was practically shut down and placed under occupation; a bizarre scene to be sure. Other major cities were also under similar controls. I have to admit that by July 8th I was even having doubts about even those kinds of protests which we were predicting.

In spite of all said, the youth of several cities and particularly Tehran, waged a heroic hit and run campaign of civil disobedience protests against the regime. Such were their mobility and tactics that the concentrated forces around Tehran University for example (as around universities of Tabriz, Shiraz, Mashad and particularly in Esfehan) could not pursue the demonstrators too far from their deployment areas which would have risked other demonstrators moving in once they had abandoned the original location. These tactics resulted in zero deaths among the demonstrators.

It is noteworthy that tens of thousands of regular folks used the situation to wage neighborhood and local demonstrations in smaller streets and allies, far from regime concentrations. The participation of tens of thousands showed us that many of the activists within the Moussavi camp indeed ignored his calls and many whom the media characterized as Moussavi supporters were indeed of a different breed calling for an end to the Islamic Republic and the Supreme leader (in not so polite terms).

In spite of many attacks by security forces and hundreds of arrests, we could say that the scope of the July 9th tenth anniversary events was beyond our expectations but within the predicted form. Our youth and indeed our own activists learned a lot of experience for future engagements in the ongoing democratic and non-violent movement that you can still see on TV.

FP: What now? What should we expect in the future?

Farahanipour: Certainly this popular movement is deeply rooted but we shall see it evolve in lows and highs. People cannot demonstrate in the streets for weeks on end. The shapes and forms of protest will differ according to the situation. Mass rallies, mobile demonstrations, strikes, passive resistance, education and propaganda will continue because the fundamental conflicts have not been resolved.

The energy of the people has not been depleted and their humiliation has been ongoing by the Supreme Leader and his gang. The internal and factional conflict within the regime is deepening as their statements and activities gets nastier by the day, focusing on the removal of the Supreme Leader himself which is far ahead of contesting the elections fraud, just several weeks ago.

Finally the international scope of this conflict, such as major issues between the US and Iran (Nuclear, Israel-Palestine , Terrorism, Iraq …) has not changed; if anything has become more difficult to approach since even President Obama cannot approach Ahmadinejad and his Supreme Leader for quite a while, after the whole world has witnessed the protests and the crackdowns in Iran.

July 30th will be the fortieth day of the killing of the international heroine of the Iranian revolution Neda and several others that were killed on or about the same day. Neda, who according to her family, was neither a Moussavi supporter nor had she voted in the show elections of June 22nd, has by her tragic death at the hands of regime assassins, been able to rally the support of all who oppose the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei camp and her fortieth day (traditional Muslim mourning period) will be a potential mass event, as the families have called the people to rally around the grave sites at the Beheshteh Zahrah cemetery which with its millions of graves has become a gruesome symbol to the murderous and incompetent legacy of the Islamic Republic.

Early in August, Ahmadinejad, whose domestic image has been terribly destroyed by the elections fraud and whose new second term is a humiliating reminder of all the events of June and July, will be inaugurated by the Supreme Leader as the new president. Quite possibly this will be a day and more likely a week of massive uprising with unpredictable scope. Everyone is organizing and preparing for these two events which may well be fused into one.

The MPG movement is endorsing Neda’s fortieth day rally and is hoping that the July 9th seeds will bear fruit in early August in another massive strike against the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. You are truly a noble and courageous warrior for freedom.

Farahanipour: Thank you.

Source: FrontPage Magazine 07/28/2009

Candles for a Martyr

Tuesday, 23 June 2009 02:08 Published in FrontPage Magazine Interviews
The cold-blooded murder of Neda Agha Soltani unites a peoples’ cry for freedom.

FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian journalist, democracy activist, former political prisoner in Iran and head of Marze Por Gohar movement (MPG), an Iranian opposition movement seeking the establishment of a secular republic in Iran. He was a student leader in the 1999 uprising, just one year after creating MPG.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.

We have witnessed an evil and barbaric crime committed by the regime in the cold-blooded murder of Neda Agha Soltani. It represents well the regime's treatment of its own people for thirty years. Before we get to this horrible tragedy and its repercussions, tell us first where the situation in Iran now stands. Would it still be accurate to describe the movement we are witnessing as reformist-oriented?

Farahanipour: I’d argue that the movement is past the elections and reforms and is in fact now questioning the very legitimacy of the Islamic Republic.

This shift is very clearly illustrated in the various slogans people are shouting in videos that have been uploaded.  Initially what you heard were slogans against Ahmadinejad such as “Iranian are ready to die, but will not tolerate being humiliated.”  Slowly the slogans became more radicalized such as “Death to the Dictator,” which at that point was still referring to Ahmadinejad.

After Khamenei’s Friday prayer, where he essentially slammed the doors on re-holding elections, it crystallized the fact that there are only two camps - those with the regime and those against it.  The slogans now are crossing red-lines that were never crossed during the history of the Islamic Republic.  Slogans such as “Death to Khamenei” and “No to Mousavi,” “No to Ahmadi,” “Damn Khamenei supporters,” have become the norm.

This movement can’t be reformist oriented because there no such thing as “reformists” anymore.

FP: Did Khamenei make a mistake in his Friday prayer? Was it a strategic mistake for the Islamic Republic?

Farahanipour: No, Khamenei always ran things this way. For example, during the student uprising in 1999 he said all the same things and the next day all of the leaders including myself were apprehended at our homes. They entered my home with gunshots and broke the door open. Twelve members of Marze Por Gohar were taken out of our homes under great duress, they grabbed me and beat me. Then I was subjugated in their filthy jail. The only thing that is different this time is the mullahs are fighting amongst themselves. Khamenei directly attacked another ayatollah (Rafsanjani) during his speech last Friday. It seems they are losing their footing this time because they are at war with each other as well as the people. The best end result is that they kill each other and end this regime once and for all. The way this is going it looks as if at least half of them will  be eliminated.

FP: Are you surprised by the developments?

Farahanipour: We are not surprised at all. I am proud of our people for standing up against the occupied regime. They have reached their boiling point and will not be kept down any longer.

FP: So there really isn’t a clear leader for this movement is there?

Farahanipour: Previously it would have been easy to simply declare Mousavi as the leader of this movement.  After all, the first protests were littered with people wearing green.  But again, the movement has moved past Mousavi, and this is very evident when Mousavi asked people to not protest on a particular day and yet protests did take place.  Leaders will come fourth and this movement will eventually coalesce around certain individuals; this is normal.  I believe these would-be leaders will come from Iran, not abroad, who have lived under this medieval government.

FP: Why did Mousavi ask people not to protest? How come Iranians did not listen to him?

Farahanipour: Mosavi analyzed the situation and rapidly realized that people were moving much faster than he anticipated beyond his own personal agenda.

FP: Ok, let’s get to Neda and the tragic and vicious taking of her life. Who was she and what happened?

Farahanipour: Neda was a young lady that was participating in the protests with her music teacher.  She was subsequently shot in the chest and died.  The last fleeting moments of her life were caught on video, which is very difficult to watch, particularly for Iranians.  Her death has become a symbol of the brutality and injustice Iranians have experienced for the last 30 years under the Islamic Republic.  Neda is the martyr of this revolution.

FP: Who shot Neda?

Farahanipour: One of the snipers of the occupied regime shot Neda right in front of the camera.

FP: Do you think the tragedy of Neda might unite the people and the world so powerfully that it may lead to a revolution in Iran?

Farahanipour: We have been working towards a revolution for many, many years and to see this much progress in that direction in such a short amount of time gives us a lot more than hope. We can see the revolution now.

FP: Many of the protestors and freedom fighters in Iran who have been arrested are being tortured right now, yes?

Farahanipour: There are two different groups that are being captured for protesting. One group is the people inside the regime and the other is the general public. The insiders, such as Rafsanjani’s family members, are being treated with a degree of respect and not violated physically. The general public however is being tortured and murdered mercilessly.

FP: What do you think of the regime perpetrating the foreign media blackout on the uprising?

Farahanipour: Well the fact that most foreign media have been asked to leave the country means that our eyes and ears are now Iranians themselves.  The raw and sometimes difficult to watch events that transpire on the videos Iranians send or upload to the outside world provide an unparallel glimpse into how violent the Islamic Republic really is.  When we previously documented the human rights abuses, some accused us of fabricating or exaggerating the abuses – these videos put those assertions to sleep. The fact that the footage is raw makes it difficult for foreign media to spin it into their own respective viewpoints.

FP: How stable is the communication with inside Iran?

Farahanipour: SMS service is sporadic and so are mobile voice calls.  The idea behind shutting down mobile phone services is pretty simple – to stop coordination of protests and other activities.  The internet has also been heavily filtered, however since some of their infrastructure relies on the internet they have not completely shut it down.  Services likes Yahoo messenger are blocked and the closest thing you have to instant messaging is Facebook – which can only be viewed with a proxy server, since Facebook is blocked itself.  Accesses to proxy servers are also dwindling, and so we are ensuring that our members have access to proxy servers.

FP: Is the Iranian regime ready and willing to engage in a Tiananmen-style massacre?

Farahanipour: They have been ready for several days now but serious “ethical” problems still confront them: Are their forces ready to fire upon people whom the Supreme Leader has called “our own” and in a conflict he has characterized as “internal disputes”? There are reports suggesting that there are conflicts within the regime forces over this. The next issue is whether a massive crackdown planned for the streets and for demonstrations would be relevant to strikes taking place in work places while the streets are the scenes of small and highly mobile skirmishes.

FP: Are the events in Iran a devastating blow to Islamism and Islamists everywhere?

Farahanipour: The people most worried about the events in Iran are the region’s major terrorist forces who cannot function without huge cash and equipment flow from Iran. The Syrian regime’s tone is very very worried. If the regime in Iran is overthrown or drastically changed, it will have a similar devastating effect to the fall of the Soviet Union which was followed by the sudden evaporation of hundreds of movements and communist parties worldwide.

FP: Yes, a possible domino effect.

Can Iran ever return to what it was in terms of being a tyrannical theocracy?

Farahanipour: Yes it can but it would be almost impossible for it to survive for long, since the effects of this shocking new phenomenon will remain within the psyche of the society for a long time.

FP: What are your own personal hopes and fears for the situation ahead?

Farahanipour: On one hand I am glad this movement is happening towards the direction of tearing down the Islamic regime. On the other hand it is a travesty that innocent people standing up for their civil rights and opinions have to be martyrs.

Marze Por Gohar has always promoted the fall of fundamental Islam ruling Iran. Our mantra has always been and will always be “Down with the Islamic Republic.” We have this slogan on our pens, Facebook cause, and every interview that we have done and will do. Even though some of the interviews we have done censored our slogan, we continued.

We believe we have been one step ahead of the general world public putting this message out as much as we can. It just takes one big united ripple to make a tidal wave. We believe our message has been heard by not only by the people occupying Iran and the U.S. but by the world.

FP: What are your thoughts on how the Obama administration is handling the whole ordeal? What would your advice be to the U.S. administration?

Farahanipour: Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to engage the “people and leaders of the Islamic Republic in Iran” (see his Persian New Year message). If this is still the case, he must be against any event that destabilizes this regime and challenges the legitimacy of its known leaders. I hope I am wrong.  My advice is to rethink the whole Iran policy and get back to supporting democracy now that the damaging, deceiving and self serving theories about Iranian people not being ready to rise up, our people not being willing to risk anything, the era of revolutions have ended and etc… have all been swept away and their promoters have been fully discredited in one week of fully televised revolution.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Source: FrontPage Magazine 06/23/2009

Iranians’ Cry For Freedom

Thursday, 18 June 2009 01:18 Published in FrontPage Magazine Interviews
An Iranian dissident tells the inside story of what’s happening in the streets of his homeland.

FrontPage Interview’s guest today is Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian journalist, democracy activist, former political prisoner in Iran and head of Marze Por Gohar movement (MPG), an Iranian opposition movement seeking the establishment of an secular republic in Iran. He was a student leader in the 1999 uprising, just one year after creating MPG.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome to Frontpage Interview

Tell us about the latest developments in your homeland.

Farahanipour: Thank you Jamie.

The movement has grown, as the world has witnessed, beyond the capital and to other cities - Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Ahvaz, etc. - and the people's demands are more clear: freedom and changes to the current constitution.

FP: So this isn’t really a Mousavi vs. Ahmadinejad battle, or a battle over the election, as much of the media is portraying it as, right? Can you talk a bit about what the media and our literary culture is missing in what is really happening?

Farahanipour: This movement is quickly surpassing the Mousavi issue and raising various demands of the people in the streets. Mousavi is much too slow and much too reluctant to lead this forward since it will jeopardize his behind the scenes negotiations and even challenge the whole system.  Perhaps one reason that Obama is reluctant to openly support this movement is that it has gone beyond the predicted and simplistic victory of the “elections” process.

FP: So what freedom do Iranians want? What changes to the constitution do they want?

Farahanipour: Discrimination against women in the constitution and laws which institutionalize control and exclusion in all levels of Iranian elections such as  the powers of the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader have always been criticized and even openly challenged by periodical movements within Iran.

FP: What is happening, exactly, with Hossein Mousavi?
Farahanipour: The Interior Ministry denied Mousavi’s supporters their demonstration permit for Monday’s demonstration, again with the world’s eyes upon them, and Mousavi asked the people to postpone it.

When his message was publicized, people turned on him. Slogans on the street were: “Mousavi, for shame, for shame, we asked you for support, you betrayed us all the same,” and “Mousavi, we want our votes back!”

After Mousavi said he'd boycott the demonstrations, people ignored his gesture and went ahead on their own.  Other candidates - Karrubi, Karbaschi, and Rezai - said they'd participate; Mousavi, not wanting to be left behind, changed his mind and joined in.

He asked people to remain calm and not agitate the situation – not create incidents.  People ignored it and did not heed his advice and continued pushing on.

FP: So the Iranian people have made the decision here in terms of protesting, yes?
Farahanipour: Yes, the people are doing their own thing. Their line is clear. It is Mousavi who is trying to keep himself on-board and stay attached to the movement. After all, his name was in it, so he wants to remain relevant, besides, he has an obligation to his investors.

FP: Are the demonstrations peaceful?
Farahanipour: Our people have always sought to advance their cause peacefully. The violence is unleashed by the ruling regime, now and during the previous regime as well; especially the Islamic Republic and its extremely short fuse – zero tolerance for dissent and opposing opinions.

During Mousavi's term as prime-minister, we remember mass-executions. Specifically on women’s rights, after Mr. Mousavi's “mandatory hijab” bill was ratified by the Majlis in the early 1980's, the militia having just been handed a carte-blanche, regularly attacked women in the streets to “enforce” his law.

The regime dealt with the movement with their special brand of brutality during the 5-day uprising of 18 of Tir in 1999, after his term in the Parliament had ended.

The Islamic security enforcers have upped the ante this time around and opened fire on people, escalating their brutal violence against the people on public display before the world - momentarily.

Not only did they use physical violence, but they also blocked and disabled the people’s channels of communication with the outside world: they are confiscating satellite dishes and are trying to shut down email, Facebook and twitter as well; again, as the world watches in silence.

FP: So Mousavi is by no means a moderate, and very much a fanatic who has been complicit in enslaving and punishing the Iran people. Tell us some more about his complicity in torturing his own people and how he is no democrat.

Farahanipour: Mousavi has had a long history of hard line positions and murderous suppression of opposition and presiding over massacres of political prisoners in the 1980s. Even today he has constantly declared his devotion to the Supreme Leader and his religious ideology of hierarchical Islamic government. His moderation myth has developed out of his opposition to Ahmadinejad’s open and bold statements. Mousavi believes in quietly doing the same things, i.e. the nuclear development, support of Hezbollah and Hamas and etc.

FP: Can you tell us some more things you know about the regime’s violence against the protestors right now?

Farahanipour: The Revolutionary Guards and special foreign legions of terrorists being trained around Tehran have been alerted to the highest levels for an immediate intervention. So far the regular police and the small anti-riot police forces who have been mostly subdued by the protesters (even treated by the protesters of their injuries and set free) are apparently under orders not to exert too much force, pending the outcome of the ongoing negotiations above. At this time when “only” 8 people have been killed in Tehran, the regime fears that a violent crackdown will bring about a massive and energetic popular response and is therefore counting on the movement to run out of fuel.

There is a more harsh policy in smaller towns where the crowds are smaller and international and Tehran based sensitivities are lower towards them. Dozens have been killed in smaller towns and injuries and clashes have been more violent.

FP: So, what becomes of Ahmadinejad and his supporters?

Farahanipour: A large number of his supporters are government workers, i.e.: basij, IRGC, civil servants, etc., some of whom are doing it under pressure and to do their “obligation” to the government.  These groups would not openly clash with the people when it comes right down to it, but it is their duty to participate in events as they are closely watched and bussed to locations, and so, they go along with it.

Generally, Ahmadinezhad and Khamene’i are one and the same in the eyes of the people – they are cut from the same cloth.  Another part of his support comes from those who are disillusioned by Rafsanjani and his posse.  This group is looking to capitalize on the current events and use this opportunity as a tool to punish Rafsanjani and his entourage and give them their due.

FP: What exactly is the regime's position now?

Farahanipour: They are on the defensive: they have retreated out of fear and taken a step back, having just agreed to review and recount the votes.  Fortunately, people's demands have grown beyond that point and are seeking the complete abrogation of this election; they want it nullified and voided.

The opposition forces, including MPG, also demand this election nullified, the Guardian Council dissolved and a new open elections held with equal opportunity and open participation of parties - including the opposition members - under the supervision of UN to elect true and direct representatives of people and to change the constitution to eliminate the Velayate Faqih or the rule of jurisprudence, etc. 

FP: What do Iranian people expect from other countries?

Farahanipour: First, the countries who have not recognized Ahmadinejad, to not recognize these elections as legitimate and insist on holding open and free elections with the conditions mentioned above.  Next the countries like the US whose president is trying to avoid expressing solidarity with the people of Iran: the NGOs, grassroots organizations and people's representatives [congressmen and women and senators] to insist and demand that their president take a position supporting the people of Iran.

FP: The Iranian people on the streets are very brave, knowing they’re risking their lives. So much courage. Are you proud and excited for your people? Will they prevail under the pressure?

Farahanipour: We did the same thing back in 1999 during the student uprising and witnessed amazing courage by the young and unarmed activists of our time during much harsher crackdown than we are witnessing today. I believe that today’s youth will show epic resistance to the crackdown that is expected in the coming days.

FP: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome?

Farahanipour: The exact outcome cannot be predicted right now; however, we shall be witnessing a different Iran regardless of what happens. The rising momentum of this movement may well throw this level of expectations into a higher orbit and challenge the system while a massive crackdown which may succeed in the very short term will lay the grounds for a new wave of radicalized youth in their millions adopting more organized and extremely more courageous methods.

FP: Is there the potential for this to bloom into an actual revolution that will overthrow the Mullahs?

Farahanipour: This movement is surpassing Mousavi and losing patience with the guardian council and the unpopular Supreme Leader. The powers negotiating a way out are being led by extremely unpopular and corrupt “leaders” such as Rafsanjani. This clearly means that a further split within the regime and a possible momentum gain by the street will target the whole system. On the other hand, many other factors can contribute to middle of the road alternatives and a movement running out of fuel.

FP: Is there a chance that there might be a Tiananmen type outcome here, that the Iranian regime might squash this freedom movement with bloodshed? Will the Iranian army do this to its own people?

Farahanipour: The Revolutionary Guards and their little brother the Basseej Militia have been training for exactly the same Tiananmen scenario. Earlier this year there was a major nationwide maneuver by the Basseej for controlling and suppressing massive uprisings, under the pretext of a possible American invasion. Islamic fanatics have throughout the ages demonstrated their absolute hatred for Iranians and have committed massive massacres. Even after the 1979 revolution we have witnessed atrocities rarely seen anywhere else in the last 30 years. The difference here will be in the aftermath, since a massive crackdown will further radicalize the new generation who are in the majority in the country rather than subduing them into submission.

FP: You were at a demonstration yesterday. Tell us where and what happened there.

Farahanipour: There have been daily demonstrations in Los Angeles in support of the Iranian movement for freedom. In our area the majority of demonstrators are those opposing the Islamic Republic as a whole. The smaller groups supporting Mousavi are themselves split between a majority of liberals who support Mousavi as a tactic to oust Ahmadinejad and a small minority of hard core supporters of the IRI. We have coordinated our protests with the non-IRI Mousavi supporters in the spirit of unity and they have been able to push their IRI “friends” not to display their flags and raise their slogans.

Yesterday there was a scuffle when dozens of anti-IRI people tried to take down the illegal flag of the IRI; they succeeded and the LAPD separated the two groups. Fortunately, in our area the Islamic Republic agents are still operating clandestinely and hold their meetings and gatherings very secret. They are scared not only of the majority of Iranian Americans but also of US authorities who may discover much more insidious motivations and means if they are arrested or investigated.

FP: What can the West do that would be most effective in helping Iranians in their quest for freedom against the Islamic Republic?

Farahanipour: The West must openly support this street movement today and any democratic movement which will follow it in unforeseen ways and shapes. President Obama, who is trying to distance himself from the Bush Doctrine of supporting democracy, is unfortunately too immersed in his realist Foreign Relations Doctrine to understand or follow this concept and may end up siding with tyrants.

Calling for real free elections based on fairness and level fields, freedoms and possibilities without which free elections cannot take place and refusing to warm up to violent dictators and bullies will encourage our people and discourage the paper tigers in charge of Iran today.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

Source: FrontPage Magazine 06/18/2009
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