Archiv für den Tag 15. Februar 2015

Mixed signals from Tehran

mixed signals2

Negotiating with Tehran is never an easy job due to the deluge of mixed signals of good will, promises, threats, evasions, insults etc… from all the leader/players (moderates and hardliners) as well as from each leader.

This is crucial and best exemplified in the person of Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – not only is he the final decision maker for life, he is also a master at sending mixed messages regarding his intentions on, well, pretty much everything.

Does Khamenei Want a Nuclear Deal?


Take the most burning issue concerning Iran right now, the nuclear talks: earlier this week, Reuters published a news piece saying that“Khamenei hints he’s ready to accept fair nuclear deal”, while on the same day, the BBC ran its own interpretation to the supreme leader’s  speech, choosing to headline their article with “Ayatollah Khamenei says ‘no deal better than bad deal‘. Same speech, different meanings.

Here’s a snippet of his speech that shows just how hard it is to read Khamenei:

  • “I would go along with any agreement that could be made” – YES.
  • “Of course, I am not for a bad deal” – MAYBE.
  • “No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation’s interests” – MAYBE NOT.
  • “The Iranian nation will not accept any excessive demands and illogical behavior” –NO.

Khamenei’s “nuclear fatwa” is a great example of his communicated ambivalence: The nuclear fatwa categorally denies the development and use of a nuclear arsenal (YES) but the fatwa is not written nor is it approved by parliament (MAYBE NOT).

Khamenei promises the world that Iran is peaceful by nature (YES) while at the same time he takes care to mention in nearly every speech his hatred for Israel and his plans to destroy it (NO).

So, he supports a nuclear deal (YES) but is ready to blow up negotiations (NO). He supports Rouhani (YES) but supports hardliners (no) as well. He can be optimistic (YES) and pessimistic  (NO) in the same sentence.


Freestyle Interpretations of Khamenei


Not only are the P5+1 leaders and negotiators baffled by Khamenei’s double talk: his leaders at home scramble constantly to interpret his intentions. Following his last speech on the issue of a nuclear deal, the Kayhan newspapers, which is traditionally viewed as Khamenei’s mouth piece supported by hardliners, ran an article that highlighted Khamenei’s comment regarding the wish for a “one-time comprehensive deal” while omitting his further comments regarding Iran’s current concessions following the interim deal. Khamenei did not shed any light on the newspapers’ interpretation.

The Iran newspaper, run by Rouhani’s administration ran  an article that not only focused on Khamenei’s support for a nuclear deal but also criticized the articles backed by the hardliner media stating “their economic and political interests are not [aligned] with the negotiations and an agreement” – and once again, Khamenei remains silent.

In the end of the day, despite the fact that he will retain his position for life, Khamenei is the ultimate politician who is acutely aware of his base of power. Every word is calculated so he can retain his political power with hardliners (his traditional base of power) as well as with the people of Iran by backing Rouhani’s (his ever-changing base of power) plans for change.

Source: Iran2407

Who is Spreading Islamophobia?


Does Islamophobia exist? Definitely yes – Islamophobia exists just like any other racist prejudice. It’s a fact as long as enough people believe that Islam is a religion which can fan the flames of hatred within the hearts of its believers up to a point that they will kill in the name of Allah, the prophet or the Islamic states.

So, who is to blame for Islamophobia – those who fear Islamist extremists or the Islamist extremists themselves? Actually, both. Without the horrific acts carried out by Islamist extremists and the people inciting them to do so, Islamophobia would implode on itself and exist only within the minds of radical bigots and fanatic haters of Islam.

So who is to blame? Just ask Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.

Khamenei Blames the West for Islamophobia


Two weeks ago, Khamenei issued a “Letter to the Youth in Europe and North America”. In it, he requested the Western youth “study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam” and to “try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion”. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Even a hardened Islamophobe should accept Khamenei’s request and question herself as to the legitimacy of such a fear.

Khamenei’s letter places the blame of Islamophobia squarely on the shoulders of the Western leaders and Western media who promote “hatred and illusionary fears” and portrays Islam as a “humane” and “ethical religion” of peace as well as “the greatest scientific and intellectual civilization of the world”.

Maybe…all religions, including Islam, create a bond between their believers and their deities while at the same time create barriers between “us” and “them” depending on the interpretation of the deities at the base of each religion.

As in all prejudices, most of the time, they are far from factual: most Muslims are not blood thirsty terrorists, nor do they condone terrorism. But Islam, like any other religion can be interpreted to incite violence or peace depending on the believers mind-set and too many terrorist acts are carried out by extremist Islamists who believe that their acts make them exemplary Muslims.

Khamenei Creates Islamophobia in the West


One week after issuing his “letter”, an article was published in the daily newspaper Kayhan (a mouth piece of Khamenei) which seemed to justify all the fears of Islamophobes because it called for the “suppression” and “annihilation” of anyone who “threatens the Islamic system” without restrictions to “any time, place and border”.

The message was targeted to Iranian dissenters who “corrupt the earth” and who should be “harshly, severely and humiliatingly punished and killed…even if they have escaped the country”. Oh, and “all people should join in to arrest them”. This is an open call to kill any Iranians who oppose the regime in Tehran, regardless of the fact that they may live on Western soil. It’s an open call for global terrorism in the name of Islam.

And just in case you are not an Iranian dissident and feel safe, you might tune in to another speech of Khamenei himself from just six months ago: “Jihad is endless because evil and its front continue to exist… this battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought“. Oh yeah, that really helps soothe the phobias of Islamophobes all over the world.

Islamophobia exists and if Khamenei wants it to cease to exist, he had better learn to keep his own racist views to himself and stop selling a vision of a “Global Islamic Awakening“, a “battle of wills” against the “arrogant powers” which will lead to a “century of Islam”- an Islam based on “rationality”, “spirituality” and “jihad” – that is sure to feed the fearful minds of Islamophobes around the world.

So, Khamenei, if you want to get rid of Islamophobia, you might consider shutting up a little…or a lot.

Source: Iran2407

End the House Arrests and Free Them Now

Anlässlich des vierten Jahrestages des Hausarrests der iranischen Oppositionsführer Karroubi und Moussavi erklärte der Menschenrechtsbeauftragte der Bundesregierung im Auswärtigen Amt, Christoph Strässer, heute (13.02.):

Seit dem 14.02.11 stehen die iranischen Oppositionsführer Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Moussavi sowie dessen Ehefrau Zahra Rahnavard unter Hausarrest. Ein Gerichtsverfahren wurde bis heute nicht eröffnet. Der Hausarrest entbehrt somit jeglicher rechtsstaatlichen Grundlage.

Ich fordere die iranische Führung auf, den Hausarrest nach nunmehr vier Jahren endlich aufzuheben.

Iran hat den Internationalen Pakt über bürgerliche und politische Rechte ratifiziert und sich damit verpflichtet, die Rechte all seiner Bürger zu achten und zu schützen. Fortgesetzter willkürlicher Freiheitsentzug ist ein eindeutiger Verstoß hiergegen!

Die beiden iranischen Oppositionspolitiker Mir Hossein Moussavi und Mehdi Karroubi waren 2009 im Präsidentschaftswahlkampf gegen den damaligen Amtsinhaber Ahmadinejad angetreten. Im Zuge der sich nach der Verkündung des Wahlergebnisses formierenden Protestbewegung (“Grüne Bewegung”) wurden sie zu deren Repräsentanten stilisiert. Nachdem ihre Bewegungsfreiheit bereits zuvor erheblich eingeschränkt worden war, wurden sie sowie Moussavis Ehefrau Zahra Rahnavard am 14.02.11 unter Hausarrest gestellt. Bis heute wurde keine formale Anklage durch die iranischen Justizbehörden erhoben, der Hausarrest jedoch aufrechterhalten.

Quelle: Auswärtige Amt

#FremThemNow #Iran


tagesschau: Goldener Bär für „Taxi“ aus Iran – 2015

Die Jury der 65. Berlinale hat ein politisches Zeichen gesetzt: Der regimekritische Iraner Jafar Panahi erhielt für seinen Film „Taxi“ den Goldenen Bären. Er selbst durfte nicht anreisen. Einen Silbernen Bären erhielt der deutsche Regisseur Sebastian Schipper.

Taxi (Persian: تاکسی‎) is a 2015 Iranian drama film starring and directed by Jafar Panahi. It premiered in competition at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.[1] Similar as Abbas Kiarostami’s Ten and A Taste of Cherry,[2] it has been described as “a portrait of the Iranian capital Tehran”[3] and as a “documentary-like film is set in a Tehran taxi that is driven by Panahi”[4] with passengers who “candidly confide[e]” to Panahi.[5] According to Jean-Michel Frodon, the passengers include “Men and women, young and old, rich and poor, traditionalists and modernists, video pirates vendors and advocate of human rights, [who sit] in the passenger seat of the inexperienced driver [who they refer to as] Harayé Panahi, ‘Mr. Panahi.’” The passengers are played by non-professional actors, whose identities remain anonymous.[2]
Like his previous two films This Is Not a Film and Closed Curtain, it was made despite Panahi’s 20-year ban from making films.[6]His previous two films had been shot in extreme secrecy in Panahi’s apartment and in a private house. In this film Panahi filmed out in the open on the streets of Tehran.[2]

Shortly after the film’s premiere at Berlin was announced, Panahi released an official statement in which he promised to continue making films despite the ban and said ““Nothing can prevent me from making films since when being pushed to the ultimate corners I connect with my inner-self and, in such private spaces, despite all limitations, the necessity to create becomes even more of an urge.”[5] At the Berlin Film Festival, the film won the FIPRESCI Prize.[7]

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