La Herradura (Spain), 25 Oct. (IPS) A president that wanted to be popular and at the service of the poor, a man who had reached the office on promises of justice, equality for all, love, fighting corruption, price rise, aiming at poor people’s basic needs, fighting nepotism, almost one year after reaching office, have become synonymous of brutality, ruthless crackdown on the limited freedoms that existed in the country, gross lies, repeated threats and belligerency in foreign relations.
In less than 14 months, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, the son of a poor ironsmith who took pride saying he is the “street sweeper” of the Iranian people has become the living symbol of one of the most famous Iranian proverbs taken from a poem of the great poet and teacher Sa’di; a sheep telling a man who had saved it from a wolf and who is about to slaughter the animal: “that at the end you became my wolf”.
Freedom, and its flag bearer, the press, was the first victim of the new Iranian government’s policy. The patience of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad with the very few publications that were not in the line of the Government did not last long. After several months of indirect pressures over “Sharq” (Orient), the only independent newspaper left from the ruins that the Judiciary had brought to the Iranian press under the presidency of the reformist Mohammad Khatami, for changing its managing director, the daily was finally shut down, cynically on orders from the Government-controlled Press Supervisory Board.
In his weekly press briefing, the government’s official spokesman,blamed the press for the climbing prices.
It is an irony that in his first editorial, Mr. Mohammad Qouchani, the newspaper’s young and talented editor has signaled that in order to “stay”, he was ready to accept what is unacceptable for any journalist: self censorship. “Sharq is here to stay and I would do my best to keep it going a long way”, Mr. Qouchani had pledged. Faithful to his promise, he deliberately ignored accusations from friends and foes of compromising with some wing of the clerical leadership or being under the protection of another clerical power etc.
The charges brought against Sharq made people laughing, so delirious they were: Projecting a positive image of a British diplomat, printing articles encouraging liberalism, atheism, feminism and materialism. Above all, it was that cartoon which the authorities decided that a donkey looking to a horse on a chess board represents the.... President!
In the meantime, the government had done all it could to curb internet communications, above all personal blogs that had flourished in Iran. At the same time, many talented newsmen were jailed or silenced or forced to exile.
Satellite dishes and antennas were tearing down from rooftops. Moral patrols were back in the streets as well as the basijis, the fearful militia made of voluntary youngsters, mostly uneducated people recruited in remote villages with the task of breaking down any meeting, any gathering, any demonstration with a hint of criticism against the government.
Beside Sharq, other publications have also been shut down, cultural monthlies, provincials newspapers. Acclaimed scholars, former lawmakers, unions and student’s leaders have been arrested.
Yet, during all these months prices of basic foodstuff continued to increase, corruption had changed hands and visage, as well as nepotism. As Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad had placed his friends and their families in lucrative places or giving them important administrative positions, all former officials, including 40 ambassadors, some of them competent, were replaced by new ones, most of them incompetent, but among the entourage of the President. Same with the universities, where more than 50 professors, tagged as pro reformists, have been pushed to retreat.
In his weekly press briefing, the government’s official spokesman, Mr. Qolamhoseyn Elham blamed the press for the climbing prices, saying while the government had been able to get prices stable, the press talks about life being to expensive for the poor.
But in the absence of any independent press, one wonders which press Mr. Elham blames?
That was also the case of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad himself when he lamented recently that the press sees not one single “positive” action in his government’s undertakings. “Would you say that in more than 380 days we haven’t had one single good decision?” he asked journalists during one last fast breaking he offered Muslim envoys just few days before the end of Ramazan, Muslim’s month of fasting.
But in fact, when asking people if they can figure out any positive actions from the government in their favour, the answer is “so far, we haven’t seen but repeated same old empty promises”.
Big projects, including construction of pipe lines worth billions of US Dollars have gone to the Revolutionary Guards without any adjudication, projects that have been divided in smaller schemes and awarded to members of families and people close to the president, -- himself a former Revolutionary Guard officer -- in one case reported to Iran Press Service, portion of a 1.000 kilometers pipe line passing through difficult landscape was attributed to a 23 years-old young man with no diplomas nor even a company.
Meanwhile, because of a belligerent foreign policy, billions of dollars have left Iran for better economic and financial climates of Persian Gulf Sheykhdoms, mostly to the emirates of Dubai.
Yes, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad is making Iran a unitarian society by making every one poor.
“The Government’s political and economic plans have all failed and the international atmosphere is also against the present administration. The best solution in the view of the officials is to restrict as much as possible the limited space for debating major issues like the controversial nuclear problem. At the beginning, they (government) started with telling the papers what not to write about and ended by telling them what to write, as seen by the latest decision of the Supreme Council on National Security telling the papers not to quote any source except some Iranian news agencies all close or sponsored or controlled by the Government”, he observed.
“Yes, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad is making Iran a unitarian society by making every one poor”, said one scholar
Palabres, palabres, siempre palabres.
Repetition is Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad’s motto. In the 400 days since he was swept to power, he had repeated endlessly same things, an exercise also cherished by the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.
“Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad has repeated more than 1000 times exactly same things in the past 14 months”, says an Iranian journalist who claims he has recorded most of the President’s speeches, interviews, lectures and conferences.
“The Government is here to serve people. We shall not admit any abuse of power. Iran is a great country and nation. Iranians are a proud Muslim people. Westerners, with America at the helm, do all they can to prevent Islamic Iran becoming world’s leading power and a model for Muslim nations. Western leaders are all liars, corrupt, arrogant, and deviated from God’s path and they want to inject the virus of liberalism, corruption and materialism into Iranian society. The Enemy, controlled by international Zionism, is afraid of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic and has mobilized all it’s forces; via a puppet press it controls, to prevent the victory of Islam. But we shall win since we are the most admired Islamic nation in the world. The leadership of America over the world is ending. Maybe there was Holocaust, we are not sure, but why the Palestinians to pay the price? Why talk only about the Jews and not other people who were also killed in the War? Why not taking the Jews somewhere in Germany, Austria, or America and giving them a homeland there? The Zionist Entity (Israel) is an artificial State doomed to disappear. What the Jews are doing to the Palestinians is nothing less than a Holocaust. Nuclear energy is our righteous national right, the right of our people. We have never lied about our nuclear programmes. It is the Europeans who lie. We shall never surrender to pressures, but we remain open to unconditional negotiations on condition that our legitimate right to nuclear energy is recognized and accepted”, etc… etc…
If there is a visible sign of international will to change the Islamic Republic, something like the meeting of American, French, British and German leaders in Guadaloupe then, we might see an opposition strong enough to topple the theocratic system”
For the time being, thanks to divergences between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the soaring oil prices, the fear of Iran’s neighbours as well as most of Arab nations to see Iranian firm position facing the United States, its humiliation of western leaders, its negation of Israel and its unabated defence of the Palestinians to spread among their populations, the desperate situation of Washington in Iraq etc… Tehran had been able to surf over waves.
But what when the wind stops? But what when the patience of the so-called international community with Iran is saturated?
Viewed from outside, the regime appears quite solid, with no force to challenge it. This is the view of many foreign Iran watchers as well as some Iranian analysts outside.
But informed Iranian intelligence sources and political analysts says though the system looks strong from outside, it is not the same seen from inside the country, where the clerical regime is immensely unpopular.
“If there is a visible sign of international will to change the Islamic Republic, something like the meeting of American, French, British and German leaders in Guadaloupe that, an event that signaled their dissociation from the Shah and encouraged Iranians opposed to the Monarch, then, we might see not another revolution, but an opposition strong enough to topple the theocratic system”, said one Iranian intelligence officer, speaking on conditions of anonymity. ENDS AHMADI 251006