Mehdi Mousavi: Iran could be one of the world’s best countries. But not with this regime

Other governments are only concerned with their own economic interests and seek a good relationship with the Iranian government. And the Iranian people are lonely and feel that things are getting worse and worse, says poet Mehdi Mousavi.
Mehdi Mousavi. Poet bosatt i Lillehammer. Foto: Tine Poppe/Aschehoug

Dette innlegget er en del av en serie der vi har spurt fire iranske fribyforfattere om å fortelle om situasjonen i Iran i ukene etter USAs drap på den iranske generalen Qassem Soleimani. De andre innleggene kan du lese her.

By: Mehdi Mousavi. Poet. Lillehammer, Norway.

These days, many people around the world are following the Iranian news in the media. The Iranian regime struck a passenger plane with a missile and accepted responsibility after days of lying to the people. The Iranian government initially claimed that this was just a simple technical flaw and that all journalists and people who rejected the claim were arrested or threatened. But following the Canadian government, with a number of its citizens aboard the aircraft, Iran was forced to accept responsibility for its big mistake. The Iranian people protested the tragedy on social media, and some of them, many of whom were university students, took to the streets to mourn. But unfortunately, they were attacked by police and many were arrested or injured.

Two months ago, after gas prices rose, people in different cities took to the streets and chanted slogans against dictatorship and economic pressures. But the regime isolated the Iranian people by shutting down the Internet and then in less than three days killed more than 1,500 people in different cities and arrested or injured thousands. Two years ago, ten years ago, and twenty years ago, there were nationwide protests in Iran, although each had a different pretext, all of which were a common slogan against the dictatorship and the Islamic Republic regime. But every time the regime fired shots at the people and mass arrests, it ended the protests, and countries around the world did nothing. They condemn these crimes but continue their trade relations with the Iranian regime.

Some of my European friends ask why some Iranians are in favour of war and military attack on Iran, and “have they not seen the situation in Iraq or Afghanistan in recent years?!” I tell them that when you go out into the street with an empty hand against the dictator, and in front of your eyes, your friends are shot or killed in prison under torture, you get more and more frustrated every day. When you see restrictions and harassment increasing daily and economic sanctions have led to unemployment and extreme poverty, you would rather bear the brunt of war, if that could lead to food on the table, a home and most importantly freedom of expression.

The Iranian people know that war is bad, but when they see that those who talk about the evil of war have no practical way to save them from the Iranian regime, they are suspicious of the peace advocates. They think that if a war starts, in less than three days, 1500 civilians will be killed? They have seen with their own eyes that no one is doing anything for them and feel that they are stuck in a dead-end alley and have nowhere to escape. They are deeply disappointed and welcome any event that may lead to their salvation. I strongly disagree with the war, but I can’t say to the girl who has set herself on fire for the smallest wish – to watch a football match in Azadi Stadium – War is worse than burning you!

Iran is in a good state of technology and culture. Iranian women work alongside men and strive to achieve equal rights despite discriminatory laws. Iranian universities have a high level and in many international scientific Olympiads Iranian students receive medals. In addition to oil, Iran has exports such as caviar, rugs, pistachios, etc. Iran could be one of the strongest tourist countries in the world, with many historical regions and diverse climates. The Iranian people have a particular interest in art, and Iranian filmmakers such as Asghar Farhadi and Abbas Kiarostami and others have won prestigious awards such as Oscar and Cannes. The Iranian people love literature, and although books are heavily censored in Iran and many poets and writers are in prison, people’s interest in literature has not diminished. Most people favor the overthrow of the regime and a secular republic. Of course, in recent years the constitutional monarchy has also gained popularity, and it cannot be denied that some people love the Islamic regime and are even happy to kill protesters.

Perhaps – if it was not for the pressure of the regime and the absence of social and political freedoms, Iran would have been one of the world’s best countries to live in. But economic sanctions, rather than pressure on the government, have left many people in trouble and struggling.

The slightest protest or opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran or criticizing the leader’s behaviour may lead to arrest and years in prison. Human rights organisations can do nothing but inform and protest. Other governments are only concerned with their own economic interests and seek a good relationship with the Iranian government. And the Iranian people are lonely and feel that things are getting worse and worse. The Iranian people sacrifice their lives so that the regime will listen to their words, but to no avail and nothing has improved in these forty years of struggle. Iranian people have longed for a miracle, although miracles have not happened in this messy world for a long time.

Les flere innlegg i serien:

Sahar Bayati: Iran er i ferd med å kollapse. Men vil det bli bedre?

Elahe Rahroniya: Regimet er som kreft. Svulsten må bort

Benyamin Farnam: 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran

En oppsummering av innleggene finnes på norsk her.

Elahe Rahroniya: Regimet er som kreft. Svulsten må bort

Jeg var en av dem som feiret hans død. Ikke fordi Soleimani som menneske er død, men fordi det handler om å spare andres liv gjennom å stanse det han tror på.
Elahe Rahroniya. Skribent og filmskaper bosatt i Bærum. Foto: Privat

Dette innlegget er en del av en serie der vi har spurt fire iranske fribyforfattere om å fortelle om situasjonen i Iran i ukene etter USAs drap på den iranske generalen Qassem Soleimani. De andre innleggene kan du lese her.

Av: Elahe Rahronyia, skribent og filmskaper

Du har sikkert lest mange nyheter fra Iran i det siste. Det er dessverre ikke det beste utvalget å velge blant, både i og utenfor landet er det mye «fake news». Man kan ikke tro på nyhetene, slik som det man så etter begravelsen til Qassem Soleimani. På videoer så man at det var fullt av folk i gatene, men hva gjorde de egentlig der? Det kommer ikke fram på bilder at mange ikke deltok av egen vilje: Offentlig ansatte får beskjed om at de mister jobben om de ikke deltar, studenter og til og med elever tvinges ut i gatene. Noen ble betalt for å være der.

Enkelte var der selvsagt fordi de anså ham som en helt. Regimet i Iran har brukt penger i årevis på å vise propaganda om Soleimani der han framstilles som en helt. En del folk tror dessverre på dette. Men general Soleimani var en terrorist, en av de største. I Syria fikk han tilnavnet «barnemorderen». De som vet dette, er takknemlig for at USA gjorde det han gjorde. Jeg var en av dem som feiret hans død. Ikke fordi han som menneske er død, men fordi det handler om å spare andres liv gjennom å stanse det han tror på.

Mange feiret med meg.

En video som gikk viralt etter demonstrasjonene viste en stor folkemengde rundt to store, tegnede flagg på bakken: Et av USAs striper og stjerner, det andre av Israels hvite og blå. De ble malt på bakken så demonstranter skulle trå på dem. Fiendene heter USA og Israel, og bilder av demonstranter som tramper på deres flagg vil være verdifull propaganda. Men det slo helt feil, fordi folk ikke er dumme. Demonstrantene gikk heller rundt flaggene.

Internett har gjort at flere får øynene opp for regimets brutalitet. Alt som skjer dokumenteres og legges åpent ut på sosiale medier. Det har gjort at informasjonsflyten i dag er helt annerledes enn den var da jeg var ung aktivist i Iran. Da slet vi med å få ut sannheten, fordi regjeringen kontrollerer mediene og kan bruke disse til å spre sin propaganda til folket. Med sosiale medier har folk fått muligheten til å danne seg et eget bilde i større grad. Det er bra, og er også grunnen til at regimet frykter internett så mye at de stengte tilgangen i fjor høst.

All progresjon i Iran er på grunn av sosiale medier. Der får man tilgang til ekte nyheter om hva som skjer i landet.

Etter at det først ble løyet om hva som hadde skjedd med flyet som ble skutt ned av det iranske luftvåpenet, har mange som tidligere tok regjeringens budskap for god fisk begynt å våkne opp og ta til gatene. Mange kunne ikke tidligere tro på at regimet var så ondskapsfullt at det ville ta uskyldige liv. Nå vet de bedre. Støtten fra resten av verden bidro til dette, denne gangen var det ikke bare iranere som sto alene.

Dette er en ny situasjon for den iranske regjeringen. Luftvåpenet, militæret og regimet har tidligere også prøvd å dekke over hva de egentlig gjør, og klart det. Denne gangen har det slått feil. De har ikke lenger støtte i befolkningen. Dessverre har vi mistet mange unge, vakre mennesker i demonstrasjonene den siste tiden.

Sanksjonene president Donald Trump innførte var et stort steg. Dette er en ideologisk krig, den kan ikke kriges med våpen. Det beste man kunne gjøre var å innføre sanksjoner slik at regimet har mindre penger å bruke på å støtte terrorisme og narkotikasmugling, og mange i mektige posisjoner tjener penger på dette. Trump gjorde det riktige – og dette handler heller ikke om å like eller ikke like et menneske, men om en handling som var riktig. Sanksjonene har spart liv, langt mer enn enda en krig i Midtøsten ville gjort.

Nå går det riktig vei. Det er hardt for folk, men det er som å ha kreft. Du kan ikke vente på at svulsten skal gå bort av seg selv, den må opereres vekk. Jeg tror det vil komme sterkere sanksjoner fra Trump, og jeg synes det er riktig. Regimet kan ikke lengre fortsette slik de har gjort før. De prøver å holde seg på beina, men det er umulig.

De er ferdige.

Les flere innlegg i serien:

Mehdi Mousavi: Iran could be one of the world’s best countries. But not with this regime

Sahar Bayati: Iran er i ferd med å kollapse. Men vil det bli bedre?

Benyamin Farnam: 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran

En oppsummering av innleggene finnes på norsk her.

Benyamin Farnam: 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran

The current Iranian society, like any other society, is socially dynamic and has different social forces. Social movements are active in it, but on the other hand, they face the problem of repression, censorship, and political enclosure, says Benyamin Farnam.
Benyamin Farnam. Filmskaper bosatt i Oslo. Foto: Tine Poppe/Aschehoug

Dette innlegget er en del av en serie der vi har spurt fire iranske fribyforfattere om å fortelle om situasjonen i Iran i ukene etter USAs drap på den iranske generalen Qassem Soleimani. De andre innleggene kan du lese her.

By: Benyamin Farnam. Filmmaker. Oslo, Norway

For geopolitical reasons, Iran is one of the most important countries in the Middle East. This situation has always influenced Iran’s domestic and foreign policies. Economically, Iran is also dependent on oil and gas. Governments in Iran adjust budgets based on oil sales. Demographics of Iran have also grown dramatically over the last 40 years. So much of the Iranian population is young people. On the other side, both in the current government and in the previous one, government administration has had significant structural problems so that the government, parliament, the judiciary, and the Justice have less power than the leader or the supreme leader. The current Iranian society, like any other society, is socially dynamic and has different social forces. Social movements are active in it, but on the other hand, they face the problem of repression, censorship, and political enclosure.

1979 Revolution

After the 1979 Iranian revolution, Islamic ideological forces gradually established an Islamic neo-fundamentalist regime by eliminating opposition forces. A government that liquidated all its opponents in various military and civilian institutions, such as offices, universities, schools, and so on. In the first decade of the revolution, they were able to suppress most of the armed and unarmed political opposition parties. One of the institutions that emerged after the revolution and grew stronger as the National Army weakened was the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (IRGC/Sepaah Pasdaran).

As the military body of the new government, the IRGC played a very colorful role in suppressing the opposition and Islamizing society. The role of the Revolutionary Guards and Basij in suppressing the reform movement during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami was crucial. Also, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, which was marred by electoral fraud in the second round and backed by the Iranian leader, Iran’s adventurous policies came to power. This election fraud resulted in a large part of Iranian society confronting the government, which the Basij forces and the Revolutionary Guards cracked down on the Green Movement and the leaders condemned it to house arrest.

Following the Ahmadinejad era, the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of a nuclear program expanded the economic sanctions previously imposed by the United States. The imposition of these sanctions and pressure on the Iranian market and industry caused the Revolutionary Guards to enter the economic arena in addition to the military arena for what was known as a bypass project to protect the Islamic Republic. This means that the IRGC and the quasi-governmental sector in Iran were able to seize a significant portion of industries and economic centers. This made the IRGC more powerful and made the Islamic Republic’s affiliation with the IRGC even stronger.

Iran opposes imperialism

The Islamic Republic of Iran has always described itself as a government opposed to world imperialism, especially the United States. This policy has existed since the beginning of the revolution with events such as the capture of the US Embassy. The Islamic Republic of Iran has also supported Islamic militant forces in the Middle East. As we know, the issue of Palestine and Israel is one of the most complex issues in the world at the time. This historical issue and uneven geopolitical relations in contemporary times have led some Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Turkey to try to infiltrate the region and find allies for themselves.

Islamization Iran 

The Islamization of society and the establishment of an ideal Shiite Islamic community was a problem that has always been pursued by the hardline section of the Iranian government from the beginning of the revolution to the present day. Although this ideal has faced significant defeats and disagreements in practice, it still exists in this part of the government.

One of the goals of this radical section of Iranian rule was the issue of “exporting the Islamic Revolution”. The Quds Force branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as a political-military wing, sought to spread these policies in the Middle East. Their presence in countries such as Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in recent years in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, show the developments and expansion of its influence.

Qassim Suleimani was the commander of the Quds Force. Many of the commanders and major forces of the Quds Force are combatants who have gained military experience during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq and other operations in the Middle East.

The link between the IRGC commanders and the core of Iran’s sovereignty has been greatly strengthened over the last two decades. The troops interfered in many foreign and economic policy decisions and put pressure on the government, parliament, and judiciary. For example, Qassem Soleimani has had a direct impact on the removal and installation of Iranian ambassadors, especially in neighboring countries. The Revolutionary Guards and the Basij forces are also the most important forces in suppressing internal protests.

Movements

From the beginning of the revolution to the present day, Iran has witnessed a variety of social movements that have shaped various historical experiences for the Iranian people. From the Kurdistan war, the turmoil of Torkaman Sahra, the armed struggle with the left forces and MKO in the first decade of the revolution to the suppression of student movements, workers movements, women movements and Green movement for many years.‌ Each of these movements has its own class origins, projects, and actors. Because Iranian society is as dynamic as any society and has evolved throughout history, social movements have emerged in different forms.

With the escalation of the Islamic Republic’s crises after adventurous reforms and policies and the intensification of economic sanctions, economic and livelihood crises in Iran have expanded. Iran’s inability to address these problems has fueled more recent crises such as the environmental crisis, the health crisis as well as the financial and economic crisis. Similarly, the protests in Iran in the last two years have been largely driven by the demand for livelihoods and the economy, especially in the lower middle classes. Especially the widespread protests of December 2017 and November 2019 had a more livelihood and more radical economic smell.

The Iranian government is now facing not only the civil and political movement of the middle classes but also popular protests that are in dire straits for their basic livelihoods. The Iranian government has structural and management problems that require major structural reforms. Unless the Iranian government succeeds in instituting structural reforms and revising its foreign policy, it will be impossible to resolve the escalating crises except by suppressing the protesting people.

What is needed to push the Iranian government to accept radical changes is not to impose more sanctions, as more sanctions or military interventions in the Middle East and the threat of a military strike would weaken social and civil protests and movements against the government. Instead of implementing these failed policies, it seems better to help Iran’s social movements and civil society. The pressure of human rights and international law can increase the cost of suppressing the protesters by the Iranian government.

Les flere innlegg i serien:

Elahe Rahroniya: Regimet er som kreft. Svulsten må bort

Mehdi Mousavi: Iran could be one of the world’s best countries. But not with this regime

Sahar Bayati: Iran er i ferd med å kollapse. Men vil det bli bedre?

En oppsummering av innleggene finnes på norsk her.

Sahar Bayati: Iran er i ferd med å kollapse. Men vil det bli bedre?

Etter 41 år med propaganda fra Den islamske republikken Iran begynte de å bli tomme, og drapet på Soleimani var den beste anledningen for regimet til å markere seg, skriver Sahar Bayati.
Sahar Bayati. Journalist bosatt i Haugesund. Foto: ICORN/Privat

Dette innlegget er en del av en serie der vi har spurt fire iranske fribyforfattere om å fortelle om situasjonen i Iran i ukene etter USAs drap på den iranske generalen Qassem Soleimani. De andre innleggene kan du lese her.

Av: Sahar Bayati, journalist. Bor i Haugesund.

Etter 41 år med propaganda fra Den islamske republikken Iran begynte de å bli tomme, og drapet på Soleimani var den beste anledningen for regimet til å markere seg. De organiserte mange demonstrasjoner mot USA og hevdet de ville ta hevn. Deretter fulgte dager hvor en amerikansk militærbase ble bombet, men ingen ble drept og president Trump ga en advarsel. Så kom løgnen om hva som hadde skjedd med det ukrainske flyet, før regimet i Iran endelig innrømmet at de faktisk hadde skutt ned flyet.

Reaksjonene i sosiale medier endret seg etter hvert som situasjonen endret seg. Før Iran aksepterte skylden for flyet trodde mange iranere at myndighetene ikke kunne ha gjort noe slikt. Da de innrømmet det, ble mange sjokkert. Jeg oppfatter stemningen i sosiale medier som ekstremt anspent. Det forekommer mye nettmobbing mellom begge sider, både de som støtter regimet og de på andre siden. Alle er sinte og nervøse.

De siste månedene har 1500 personer blitt drept av regimet under demonstrasjoner. Internett ble stengt i høst, men ingen internasjonale medier tok dette ordentlig på alvor. Denne gangen ble jeg optimistisk og sa at nå må verden ta hensyn til saken. De kan ikke drepe flere. Men av erfaring lar jeg ikke optimismen bestå.

De siste ukene har jeg ikke hatt det bra. Det gjelder mange andre iranere jeg kjenner også. Selv om mange nordmenn viser empati føler man seg ensom og sint. Vi opplever depresjonssymptomer, søvnløshet, tretthet og mangel på motivasjon. De dårlige nyhetene treffer oss og, og mange av oss skulle ønske vi kunne være i Iran nå.

For første gang på om lag åtte år kommer Ayatolla Khamenei til offentlig fredagsbønn i dag. Hva enn han vil si der, blir ekstremt viktig for hva som skjer videre i Iran. Sist gang han gjorde det samme, ble en rekke demonstranter drept på åpen gate av det iranske prestestyret. Erfaring viser at det er slik de håndterer det: Med å stenge dørene enda mer.

Iran er i ferd med å kollapse. Regimet klarer ikke styre landet, og de klarer heller ikke å skape gode relasjoner med resten av verden. Krisen i økonomien er på sitt verste. Folk har mistet tilliten til regjeringen fordi de lyver for mye! Vi nærmer oss slutten på denne situasjonen, men vil det bli bedre? Får Iran demokrati? Eller vil vi bli et Nord-Korea?

Jeg aner ikke hva som kommer til å skje videre, det kan ikke spås. Men det er definitivt et viktig tidspunkt i vår historie.

Les flere innlegg i serien:

Mehdi Mousavi: Iran could be one of the world’s best countries. But not with this regime

Elahe Rahroniya: Regimet er som kreft. Svulsten må bort

Benyamin Farnam: 40 years of the Islamic Republic of Iran

En oppsummering av innleggene finnes på norsk her.