Iran: Pressure Mounts to Arrest Mousavi, SMS Texting Unblocked, Kadivar, Iran Easier to Bomb? & more

1. Iran ‘lifts block on SMS texting’: Reports from Iran say that SMS text messaging services have been unblocked for the first time since disputed presidential elections. However, Iranian news agencies say there are still technical problems. Text messaging and social networks were widely used by protesters in mass rallies following the election. 

2. Hardline Pressure Mounts to Arrest Mousavi: “A group of hardline Iranian members of parliament want the judiciary to prosecute defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi over post-election unrest that rocked the Islamic Republic last month. “Those who hold illegal rallies and gatherings should be legally pursued,” MP Mohammad Taghi Rahbar was quoted as saying by the hardline Javan newspaper on Thursday. It said Rahbar was among several MPs preparing to write to the judiciary complaining about Mousavi’s activities after the disputed June 12 election. It did not say how many lawmakers backed the petition. In another sign of mounting hardline pressure, state television said a student branch of the pro-government Basij militia, which helped police suppress pro-Mousavi street protests, had urged the attorney-general to take him to court.”

3. Iran Now Harder To Bomb: “This is not a minor issue for Israel, nor for American military planners who might have harbored hopes of reviving the idea of a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear sites. A former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, Meir Dagan, let slip the dilemma facing anti-Iranian hawks when he told journalists recently: ‘If the reformist candidate Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element.’ In effect, Dagan said, Ahmadinijad was Israel’s choice because it would have been a lot easier to send a wave or two of F-15s to bomb Iran if the world knew that Iranians had, indeed, overwhelmingly reelected such a cretin. Now, images of street protests vastly complicate that calculus. Imagine the revulsion if such air strikes, as they regularly do in Afghanistan, led to the unintended deaths of dozens or more of the very Iranians who are being cheered in the streets today?” [I think you can also make the argument that it is now easier to bomb Iran. The disputed election results and the post-election crackdown has seriously discredited the regime in the eyes of the international community, so much so that an Israeli attack on its nuclear facility will not be condemned the way it would have been if Israel attacked before the post-election fall out.]

4. Ayatollah Mohsen Kadivar on Post-Election Iran: “This Iranian form of theocracy has failed. The rights of the Iranian peoples are trampled upon and my homeland is heading towards a military dictatorship. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad behaves like an Iranian Taliban. The supreme leader, Mr. Ali Khamenei, has tied his fate to that of Ahmadinejad, a great moral, but also political mistake.”  

“When he [Khamenei], together with Ahmadinejad, speaks about foreign countries being behind the protests in Iran, he very much reminds me of the king (the Shah). He used the same arguments and could not recognize that he was witnessing a national and democratic protest movement of his own people. Towards the end, the shah only thought of holding up his regime. Today, Mr. Khamenei does not think any differently.”

5. Selling Iran: Ahmadinejad, Privatization and a Bus Driver Who Said No: Since his election in 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, has overseen a regime dedicated to the privatization of state-controlled industries. The intention of the regime, as stated by the newly appointed Governor of the Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Seyyed Shams Al-din Hosseini, is to privatize 80% of state-owned industries by 2010. This mandate was made real just prior to the disputed elections as a state-owned bank, Saderat, announced it would offer 6% of its shares to private investors (Press TV, 6/8/09). Other significant privatizations during Ahmadinejad’s reign include the postal service, two other state-run banks, Tejerat and Mellat, and, in February 2008, a 5% bloc of shares in the publicly owned steel maker, Foulad-e Mobarakeh, was sold out in eight minutes (Iran Daily, 2/14/08). In total, since 2005, 247 enterprises have been processed by the Iran Privatization Organization, the state-ministry specifically charged with overseeing privatizations (Iranian Privatization Organization website).

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