Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Iranian protests explained (PressTV)

According to a report on PressTV, one of the Iranian government's propaganda organs:
Marxist and monarchist groups outside Iran's boundaries have been behind last week's riots in the capital Tehran, the intelligence ministry says.

Members of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission met Sunday to examine the anti-government unrest that broke out during Ashura ceremonies marking the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH). [....]

"Baha'i and Marxist groups were also represented," he said, adding that security forces had arrested four people connected to anti-revolutionary Marxist groups. [....]
(Given that the Baha'i are a small and notoriously peaceable religious minority who have been crushingly persecuted in Iran since the creation of Khomeini's Islamic Republic, it's impressive how much political mayhem these "Baha'i groups" can still cause.)
Seven people are confirmed to have died during the Sunday unrest, which has been described as defiling the religious ceremony of Ashura. Confirming the deaths, Iran's Deputy Police Chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said forces did not use violence against the protesters, denying any police involvement in the killings.
Of course not.

Monarchists, Marxists, and Baha'i--is that all? No, another report from PressTV rounds out the picture:
Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said Sunday it has become evident for the country that the recent anti-government riots were led by foreigners.

"The rioters are encouraged and supported by Britain, the US and the Zionist regime [Israel]," Mohammad-Najjar told reporters. "The involvement of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), enemies and those who seek to take revenge on the Islamic establishment during the past 30 years is quite clear."
Obviously, real Iranians living in Iran couldn't have been mixed up in such un-Iranian activities. So it must have been conspiratorial grab-bag. (Thanks for the tip to Gene at Harry's Place.)

=> For some further elaboration on how the Iranian Intelligence Ministry sees the world, I recommend an illuminating TV broadcast they put out in February 2008, which you can find HERE. As Daniel Finkelstein of the London Times commented at the time:
This TV broadcast from the Iranian Intelligence Ministry is simultaneously absolutely hilarious and blood-chilling.
And, comedy aside, one of the scariest things about all this paranoid claptrap is that is that I suspect they actually believe a lot of it.

--Jeff Weintraub

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