Waiting for Iranians?

Posted in Iran | 12-Oct-07 | Author: Judith Apter Klinghoffer| Source: History News Network

Iranian students call president "dictator" This means some are willing to pay the price of defiance. Their opponents are never far behind. It is bound to be a bloody battle.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - More than 100 students scuffled with police and hardline supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday on Tehran University campus and chanted "Death to the dictator" outside a hall where the Iranian president spoke. . . .

Liberal-minded students and academics have criticised the president for clamping down on dissent on Iranian campuses, although the president and his government insist they support free speech and welcome constructive opposition.

Monday's protest was the second rowdy reception Ahmadinejad has received at a university in less than a year. In December, students tried to disrupt his speech on another campus by hurling firecrackers, chanting and burning his picture. . . .

Students on Monday shouted: "Detained students should be released". . . .

The president, who polarises opinions in Iran by berating the West and with his populist agenda, had delayed his speech from last week because he felt unwell, officials had said.

We feel like cheering them on. What could be better than letting Iranians solve their own problems. Irwin Cotler, Former Canadian Justice minister, hopes that appropriate Judicial actions sanctioned by international law may "embolden progressive forces within Iran while holding the responsible individuals accountable." Ahmadinejad should be treated as Slobodan Milosevic and Augusto Pinochet have been:

State parties to the Genocide Convention, such as Canada, have not only a right, but a responsibility, to enforce the convention, particularly as regards the prevention of genocide.

State parties should therefore refer the criminal incitement to genocide by President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders to the appropriate UN agencies. It is astonishing that this criminal incitement has yet to be addressed by the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, or any other body or agency of the United Nations, though it has found fit to give him a podium.

State parties should initiate, in the International Court of Justice, an inter-state complaint against Iran - for its "direct and public incitement to genocide" in violation of the Genocide Convention, to which Iran is party.

The crimes of President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders should be referred by the UN Security Council to the special prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecution.

State parties should prepare criminal indictments of President Ahmadinejad, former president Rafsanjani, and other Iranian leaders on the basis of the "Universal Jurisdiction" principle embodied in the Genocide Convention.

The UN Secretary General should refer President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders to the UN Security Council, on the basis of their threats to international peace and security, pursuant to Article 99 of the UN Charter.

President Ahmadinejad and other designated Iranian leaders should be placed on a "watchlist" by concerned countries, preventing their entrance as "inadmissible persons."

Economic pressure also seems to be bearing fruit: Inflation is steadily rising.

Inflation rate surged to 15.8 percent in the last 12 months leading to Sept. 22, 2007, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said here Wednesday.

The price index of consumer goods and services in urban areas had a 2.5 percent increase in Aug. 23-Sept. 22 compared to its previous 31-day period and a 17.9 percent hike from corresponding period in its preceding year.

The CBI Economic Statistics Department report shows inflation rate rose to 12.8 percent in Mar. 21-Apr. 20, to 13.6 percent in Apr. 21-May 21, and to 14.2 percent in May 22-Jun. 21.

Inflation rate advanced to 14.8 percent in Jun. 22-Jul. 22 and to 15.4 percent in Jul. 23-Aug. 22.

"No one buys beef any longer" my friend's father informs her. A few more months and everything will fall into place. Iranians will solve the Iranian problem. I wish I could believe it!

Why not?

Because the Iranian government is showing no signs of backing down. The opposite is true. They persecute minor offenses related to clothing in hairstyle in the manner Giuliani used anti graffiti campaign - to make the point that more serious offences will be treated mercilessly:

“Since the beginning of the crackdown from Ordibehesht (the Iranian month that started in April), 122,000 people have been given a warning for improper dress and 6,947 of them have taken part in guidance classes,” the daily Jomhuri-ye Islami reported.

Some women, particularly in cities during the hot summer months, test the boundaries of the dress codes requiring a woman’s hair to be covered and the shape of her body to disguised by a loose coat by wearing skimpier outfits.

The conservative newspaper, quoting a Teheran police commander, Reza Zaraei, said 2,422 people were detained. It was not immediately clear what happened to those detained, but in the past some had been held for a few hours.

Barbers have been told not to offer Western-style haircuts, including spiked hair, or plucking eyebrows. Iran’s conservative politicians regularly rail against the “immoral” influence of the West on Iran and its culture.

Zaraei said 80,000 bottles of liquor, banned in the Islamic Republic, were also seized.

He said 482 people were arrested for taking part in mixed parties. Men and women are not allowed to mix at close quarters in Iran, unless they are family members.

If anyone remains in doubt. They have their own carefully trained storm troopers ever ready to confront reform minded students.

"Revolutionary president, we support you," the hardline students shouted back, pushing and shoving those who were voicing opposition to Ahmadinejad, a Reuters witness said.

Ahmadinejad's supporters responded: "Hypocrites, leave the university" and waved religious banners.

In other words, the best that can be expected is the kind of bloody Nazi-anti Nazi confrontation which took place in Europe in the Thirties. Of course, in Iran the government does not even pretend to be neutral and the media is silenced. Given the ease with which Iranians can escape the country, I would not hold my breath not even if the price of oil would fall significantly which it is not about to do soon. Ahmadinejad is not the Shah and Putin is not Carter.

Does any of this mean that we should not do our outmost to pressure the Iranian Khameini/Ahmadinejad regime? Absolutely not. It does mean that we should work hard to prepare the less palatable military option. The more clear eyed we are, the lower the ultimate cost of ridding ourselves and Iranians of their Armageddon aspiring fanatics will be.