Iran’s Underground Revolution

Iran’s Underground Revolution

Posted By Lisa Daftari On July 2, 2010 @ 12:17 am In FrontPage | 6 Comments

As Iranians passed the one-year mark of a tumultuous and historic year, an unimpressive and rather quiet June 12 anniversary left many wondering what happened to the disenchanted Iranians.  Regime threats, issued weeks in advance against protesters engaging in anniversary demonstrations, succeeded in deterring some. However, from its initial moments, this movement was remarkably forged by hundreds of thousands of courageous Iranians who have not let government intimidation discourage them. Journalists, analysts, and politicians questioned the movement’s strength and survival, wondering if President Ahmadinejad, the clerics, and their Revolutionary Guard had succeeded in quashing the masses.

The people of Iran tell a different story. Rather than pouring onto the streets and surrendering to the brutality of regime forces, the Iranian people say they have voluntarily taken a step back. The one-year anniversary of Iran’s fraudulent election has seen a transformation in the Iranian people and consequently, their ongoing movement.

“What’s the point of demonstrating when we are putting up our finest and most intellectual minds to go up against conscienceless guards to be shot at?,” asked Maryam, a 34-year-old radio producer for Iran’s state media in an early morning phone call to Tehran. “People have given up too much over the last year and have since changed their strategy,” she said in her native Farsi.

Maryam is politically active and socially in tune with the changing ambiance in Iran.  She wants regime change for her country. An Iran that is secular and democratic is what’s best for everyone, she said.

Among friends, Maryam is considered to be bold, courageous, and even “crazy” for speaking out openly against the regime.  Yet, she could not even use her real name in this interview.

Like many Iranians, Maryam had friends who were arrested and beaten during the protests. She quickly became upset when remembering some of these instances and changed the topic. Iranians have learned a very valuable lesson over the last 12 months, she concluded. They realized that they could be more efficient staying home.

Despite the appearance that the movement has been suppressed in the absence of demonstrations, intellectuals and politically active Iranians like Maryam and her friends are opting to sit home to think, write, publish, and discuss politics.

Welcome to Iran’s Intellectual Revolution.

The shutdown of dozens of Iranian newspapers and media platforms over the last year as a result of demonstration coverage that was unflattering to the regime, left a sizable void that the underground media is effectively filling.  The regime strategically closed official media sites hoping to thwart the spread of anti-government sentiment through traditional media outlets. They simultaneously paved the way for popular and unregulated publications to sprout up by the dozens, including underground newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, and even night letters—flyers that are circulated in local neighborhoods in the middle of the night and have become a popular method of disseminating important political messages in many Iranian cities and villages.

At the same time, the radical crackdown against protesters and their freedoms sparked a thirst for information and transparency among the Iranian people.

“This is the time to sit back and think about how we can organize and strategize against the government to make significant changes,” Maryam said. “I cannot say too much over the phone.”

She repeated that phrase many times; fearful of getting into too much detail, and almost certain her line was tapped by the government.

As election results were announced last year—significantly ahead of the time it would actually take to count the votes—the regime proved its corruption and provoked its people. Iranians filled the streets in protest not just against a rigged election but also against 30 years of tyrannical rule.

Immediately, and in the days that followed, the regime began a brutal and vengeful crackdown on protesters. The wrath of the regime’s Revolutionary Guard was not enough. Thousands of Basiji militiamen, imported Iraqis, Pakistanis, Saudis, Palestinians, and others, were paid hundreds of dollars each day, equivalent to the monthly salary of many Iranian professionals, to violently and relentlessly attack demonstrators. Tear gas, acid, batons and even guns were used against the people.

The Iranians persisted.  As the government took away their Internet connections, the Iranians found ways to bounce Internet connections through proxy servers. Journalists banned from the country resulted in an emergence of a nation of citizen journalists.  As government forces cracked down against women and murdered Neda Agha-Sultan, women quickly came to the forefront of the movement. When the clerics became more radicalized and religious in their sermons, the Iranian people became more secularized and nationalistic.  It began as a movement for reform and an election debate, but evolved into a battle to regain control of a 5,000 year-old heirloom.

 

More than half way through this year, the Iranian people gradually realized that in order to be successful in their endeavor, they must have organization and leadership. The biggest obstacle the opposition faces is that they lack both. The Iranians learned that demonstrations would not help gain either. They only put the lives of innocent Iranians at risk. This new-found awareness has given the opposition a new perspective from which to operate.  Iranians are looking to engage one another in meaningful dialogue. They are publishing valuable content, publicizing critical information, and looking for unique ways to communicate political messages to one another.

The alternative, as they witnessed, is watching their loved ones be rounded up and taken to Evin Prison.

Obama Meets Ahmadinejad A new book by Amil Imani

Obama Meets Ahmadinejad

Go to His web site to order  http://www.amilimani.com/index.php

Print
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Rave reviews greet Imani. In this work of fiction, Amil probes the minds of Obama and Ahmadinejad with the skills of a brain surgeon, and shares their exchanges with the humor of a stand-up comedian. An amazing and astonishing engagement follows, in which the two presidential prizefighters hit each other with their best shots, in a meaty and oft-comical altercation that involves tossing out virtually every real or rumored misdeed of both men, with a number of stunning propositions and shocking developments along the way. This international sparring match runs the gamut of flashy moves and shady deals. Who will win this wild and brutal battle of wits between these two political heavyweights? The destiny of the world may depend on it. “Amil Imani reveals a wickedly cutting satirist’s eye as he sketches out an acidly funny meeting between Barack Obama — imagined as a sharp-tongued but supine secret Sunni Muslim — and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is determined to remove the Great Satan as an obstacle in the way of the advance of Shi’ite Muslim world domination. As they spar verbally. Ahmadinejad runs circles around the hapless Obama, and in the course of the conversations reveals a great deal about Islamic supremacism, Iran, the Sunni/Shi’ite divide, and more. It’s a dystopian fantasy, but with Obama appearing determined to appease the Islamic world at all costs, it’s strikingly illuminating of the present-day predicament of America and the West.”–Robert Spencer, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad

“In Obama Meets Ahmadinejad, ‘democracy is so flawed that it can be imploded from within.” The president of Iran wants to make sure that the march of Islam won’t be stopped. He browbeats and bullies the naive and arrogant U.S. president in a series of secret meetings that Amil Imani vividly imagines — or transcribes — in this funny, insightful and illuminating book. Satire or accurate reportage? In today’s moral inverted world, what’s the difference?”

– Pamela Geller, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com and author of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America (Simon & Schuster)

“Charlie Chaplin was aware of the great power of ridicule. A strong opponent of racism, in 1937 Chaplin decided to make a film on the dangers of fascism. The politically correct folk in the media and the Hollywood tried to stop the film being made and Chaplin was threatened with censorship. ‘But I was determined to go ahead, for Hitler must be laughed at,’ wrote Chaplin in his Autobiography.

“In this parody, Amil Imani ridicules two dangerous zanies of our time, who also must be laughed at, who both, have deceitfully usurped their presidency, and together are bringing the world to the brink of Armageddon.

“Imani is a powerful writer. Have your dictionary handy and enjoy this exquisite literature.”

 Dr. Ali Sina is the author of Understanding Muhammad and the founder of faithfreedom.org

“Although a great work of fiction which at times resembles reality, it is a fantastic, powerful and hilarious creative writing by Amil Imani. I’ll be recommending it to all my colleagues.”

– Wafa Sultan, author of the A GOD WHO HATES: The courageous Woman who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evil of Islam.

The Revolution Within How the Iranian Freedom Institute and the Green Youth can topple the Iranian regime …

The Revolution Within

Posted By Joseph Puder On June 7, 2010 @ 12:06 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

Amir Abbas Fakhravar, 35, is a “graduate” of the infamous Evin prison in Tehran.  His friendly and youthful exterior hides a painful period of torture and isolation for five years – including 8 months in solitary confinement. When you ask Amir about his state of mind following his harrowing experience, he shrugs his shoulders saying “they broke my wrist, my knee, and few bones, but never broke my spirit.”

Fakhravar arrived in the U.S. four years ago and found no coherent voices speaking for the Iranian opposition movement.  “I thought that the Iranian opposition had an organization here, but nothing existed in 2006.” And when he gathered some of the opposition figures, he quickly learned that they had little information about the real situation in Iran.  Even more dismaying, according to Fakhravar, was the ignorance of U.S. policy makers regarding Iran.

With mentoring from Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration (1981-1987), and currently a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and critical help from Philadelphia’s Craig Snider, who has dedicated himself to fight for freedom and democracy for the Iranian people, Fakhravar established the Iranian Freedom Institute (IFI).

The Iranian Freedom Institute – a Washington DC based think tank, has set its goal to inform and educate American policy-makers, and the public in general, on the real state-of-affairs inside Iran.  Utilizing the latest technology, the IFI hopes to influence U.S. policy towards Iran, and simultaneously, educate the freedom-loving people of Iran who are living under a brutal dictatorship.

Affiliated with the IFI is the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS) – created by Fakhravar and Arzhang Davoodi, a teacher, writer and the co- founder of Confederation of Iranian Students (who also spent six years in Islamic Republic jails and still has nine more years to serve).  Earlier in 1994 while he was in medical school (he subsequently graduated from law school), Fakhravar helped in establishing the Independent Student movement in Tehran.  Fakhravar and Davoodi proceeded to form the nucleus of an independent worldwide student organization.  In 2002 they organized a student conference and three-years later, they launched CIS [1], which today has a membership of 6200 students.

The Confederation of Iranian Students should not be confused with the Islamic Republic’s student organization cautions Fakhravar, which was created by the mullah regime, paid for by them, and run by them, according to Fakhravar.

One of the CIS’s goals is to bring down the Islamic Republic dictatorship according to Fakhravar.  “We have a three step plan,” he says.  1. Show the Iranian people and the world that the ruling Iranian regime is not democratic but rather a brutal dictatorship.  “We have already succeeded on that part of the plan,” Fakhravar added.

The second goal is to “cut the lifeline of the mullahs in power” by pushing for a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil.  The $83 billion Iran earns from its oil sales is the only revenue that enables the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay for the nuclear program and provide the Revolutionary guards (RG) – the regime’s praetorian guards- with high incomes, which in turn insures their loyalty to the regime.

According to Fakhravar “if the regime fails to pay the RG salaries – which are three times the average, the RG, who have long lost their revolutionary fervor and have gotten used to the ‘good life,’ are more than likely to abandon the regime.”

Oil revenue is also used by the Islamic Republic to fund Hezbollah and Hamas operations against Israel, to subvert the Sunni-Arab Gulf regimes and, to build cells in Latin America. “Our aim is to request that the governments of the U.S. and Canada impose sanctions on North American and European companies who buy oil from the Iranian regime,” Fakhravar stated.  He added, “We also plan to present such proposals to the G-8 and the G-20 to place sanctions on their respective companies.”

The third part of the plan, as Fakhravar sees it, is to build a free, democratic, and secular Iran.  “We need in addition to our existing website to set up Internet, satellite TV, and radio stations in order to educate the Iranian people inside of Iran, and the opposition parties outside of Iran. “

According to Fakhravar, the Iranian opposition groups “are confused and they don’t know what they want.”  He quickly added, “We wrote a manifesto or call it a constitution for a new Iran.”  Fakhravar recruited lawyers from the Green movement as well as a number of judges to draft a new constitution for Iran.

The Green Movement in Iran brought 4.5 million demonstrators into the streets of Tehran last June and Fakhravar is confident that the people of Iran, especially the younger generation, want a change. He reminds those he speaks with that, “The Iranian people have been repressed for over 30 years, and they want freedom.”  Many of the young people in Iran are turned off by Islam as a result of the corruption and abuses by the Islamic regime.  In Iranian schools, Shiite-Islam is presented as superior to all other religions and they are taught that killing Jews, who are presented as sub-humans, is permitted.  Fakhravar has no doubt that the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime would test a nuclear bomb on Israel.

Iran is, however, a nation of young people.  70% of Iranians are under the age of 35 and these young people respect Israel and love America.   In recent demonstrations the young protesters used posters with a modification of the regime’s slogans – instead of “Down with Israel,” they crossed out the word Israel and replaced it with Russia.

During last year’s demonstrations in Tehran following the sham elections which gave Ahmadinejad a second term as President of Iran, the Green Youth shouted “Obama, are you with them (the regime) or with us.”  Obama’s decision to continue to negotiate with the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad Islamic regime gave this evil regime legitimacy, according to Fakhravar.

Asked about where he sees Iran in five years, Fakhravar replied, “We will have a free, democratic and secular Iran.  It will be a friend of Israel and an ally of the U.S. ”

Did Iran outmaneuver the Obama Regime?

Did Iran outmaneuver the Obama administration?

May 18th, 2010

BY ED MORRISSEY, Hot Air

This must be what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton mean by “smart power.”  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not exactly known for his erudition or deep intellect, has managed to outmaneuver the US on uranium enrichment, reaching a deal with Brazil and Turkey to exchange raw nuclear fuel for processed fuel rods.  That deal still allows Iran to enrich some of its own uranium, but even while the US objects, it allows political cover to Russia and China:

Iran backed the Obama administration into check in its ongoing nuclear chess match by announcing its own fuel swap deal after a Western-backed plan fell apart last fall.

The country, trying to avoid sanctions after it rejected a deal with the U.S., Russia, France and the International Atomic Energy Agency in October, steered around the United States in brokering a swap with Turkey and Brazil.

In a sense, Iran left the Obama administration an out by declaring it would continue producing 20 percent enrichment uranium even as it proposes shipping nuclear material to Turkey. To become official, the deal still has to be agreed to by the same group of nations that pursued the deal last fall — and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement that while the fuel swap would be a “positive step,” any move to continue enrichment internally would be a “direct violation” of Security Council resolutions.

Read More:

Interpol helping Iran to track dissidents here

Interpol helping Iran to track dissidents here

Clarice Feldman

It seems shocking but it is charged that interpol is helping the Iranian regime track and beset dissidents living here:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Iranian regime is notorious for cracking down on dissent inside Iran . Now Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and the mullahs are targeting dissidents in other countries — including those in the United States . And they are using an international organization to do it.

The Regime Never Forgets

Shahram Homayoun fled Iran for the United States 19 years ago. He was a marked man in his native country, because of his support for democracy and human rights.

Now the regime has finally caught up with Homayoun: not in Tehran , but in Los Angeles .

“They have managed to keep me here, and it seems like there is nothing the U.S. government can do,” Homayoun told CBN News in an exclusive interview.

Homayoun owns a satellite television network in L.A. called Channel One TV. He broadcasts pro-democracy programming into Iran on a daily basis.

Now Iranian officials want to silence him — permanently. A prosecutor in the Iranian city of Shiraz recently issued an arrest warrant against Homayoun on charges of terrorism.

Homayoun explained that he has never called for violence or terrorism of any kind against the Iranian government.

“Never,” he said. “Even if the Iranian regime changes, we are encouraging people not to seek revenge. We are anti-terrorism.”

Yet Homayoun is now a wanted man, unable to leave the U.S. for fear of arrest.

Marked as a Terrorist

The Iranian regime alerted INTERPOL, the global law enforcement organization, about Homayoun. The organization then issued what’s known as a “Red Notice” against him. The Red Notice alerted all 188 INTERPOL member countries that Homayoun was wanted for terrorism.

Homayoun told CBN News that the terrorist charge has made his life extremely difficult.

We contribute funds to Interpol and work closely with that organization on terrorism and other international criminal matters. Interpol cannot operate within the U.S. borders but it appears that it can take actions detrimental to US residents and citizens anyway. In this case, US banks refuse to allow the target or his wife to maintain bank accounts here. The Attorney General has the oversight responsibility for contacts with Interpol and should blow the whistle on this practice.
Clarice Feldman

Ahmadinejad Swaggers at the UN

Ahmadinejad Swaggers at the UN

Posted By Robert Spencer On May 4, 2010 @ 12:10 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was back in New York Monday, continuing his effort to intimidate and shame Barack Obama into dropping his policy of retaining first-strike capability against rogue states such as Iran. For 35 minutes at the UN, Ahmadinejad did his best impression of an anti-nuke crusader, working to eradicate these weapons for humanity’s sake. Behind his peacenik façade (which is sure to take in many on the Left), however, lurks a reality that couldn’t be more contrasting.

“The possession of nuclear bombs isn’t a source of pride,” Ahmadinejad intoned piously, sounding like a spokesman for Greenpeace. “It is disgusting and rather shameful. And even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons, which isn’t even comparable to any crime committed throughout the history.”

And of course top on the Iranian President’s list of “disgusting” and “shameful” countries was Israel: “While the Zionist regime has stockpiled hundreds of nuclear warheads…it enjoys the unconditional support of the United States government and its allies and receives, as well, the necessary assistance to develop its nuclear weapons program.”

Referring to Obama’s reservation of first-strike capability, Ahmadinejad said that signers of the Non-Proliferation Treaty should consider “any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security,” and punish the offenders accordingly.

Delegates from the U.S., Britain and France walked out of the UN General Assembly during Ahmadinejad’s speech. Perhaps they didn’t relish having to sit through the absurd charade of a ruthless despot, the president of a country that gives aid to the jihad terror groups Hamas and Hizballah and yearns to wipe Israel off the map, being allowed to enter the United States and accuse it of being a terrorist state — all the while defending his nuclear program.

This was the same Ahmadinejad, after all, who just weeks ago warned Israel not to attack the jihadists in Gaza who still shoot rockets into Israel and plot the destruction of the Jewish State: “An attack on Gaza would not make you mightier,” he said, addressing the “Zionist entity,” “and would not restore your damaged prestige. And you should know that an attack on Gaza will end your inauspicious and filthy life.”

What could end Israel’s “inauspicious and filthy life” except…a nuclear attack?

These are favorite themes of Ahmadinejad’s public utterances. In mid-March, he declared: “Today, it is clear that Israel is the most hated regime in the world… It is not useful for its masters [the West] anymore. They are in doubt now. They wonder whether to continue spending money on this regime or not. But whether they want it or not, with Allah’s grace, this regime will be annihilated and Palestinians and other regional nations will be rid of its bad omen.”

How will Israel be “annihilated,” except by…a nuclear strike?

Iranian Major General Hassan Firouzabadi declared in early April: “If America presents Iran with a serious threat and undertakes any measure against Iran, none of the American soldiers who are currently in the region would go back to America alive.”

Not one? Not even one? How could the Iranians possibly accomplish that, except with…nuclear weapons?

Ahmadinejad mocked Obama’s impotence, telling him in an April 7 address that, faced with Iran’s nuclear program, American leaders who were “bigger than you, more bullying than you, couldn’t do a damn thing, let alone you.”

And indeed, the thuggish Iranian president is probably right about that. Barack Obama’s wrongheaded and weak policy of “engagement” has put a swagger in Ahmadinejad’s step. Besides funding Hamas and Hizballah and egging on their genocidal intentions toward Israel, Iran is training the Taliban in Afghanistan in the most effective use of roadside bombs, and continuing to meddle in Iraq.

For all this we have one man to thank above all: Barack Obama. After a year of Obama’s dogged wooing of the Iranian mullahs, his scandalous refusal to support the anti-regime protestors in Iran, and his abject failure to do anything effective to counter the Iranian nuclear program, which even his own Secretary of State now acknowledges is working toward developing nuclear weapons, the only thing the president has to show for his policy is an increasingly confident, belligerent and assertive Iran.

It was good that the Americans left the General Assembly hall while Ahmadinejad was speaking Monday. Now they should back this up by changing course, and showing more spine in the face of Iran’s bullying. But there is no sign that that is going to happen.

Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland

Israel’s Right to Exist as a Jewish Homeland

By Salomon Benzimra

The U.S. regularly reiterates its support of Israel’s security, but it says nothing about Israel’s legal rights. These legal rights originated at the San Remo Conference, and the Resolution passed on April 25, 1920 is enshrined in international law. The commemoration of the ninetieth anniversary of this event will certainly open a new vista on the Middle East conflict.

Our calendars are strewn with special dates that link us to the past. In March we celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of Chopin’s birth. Every Fourth of July, we celebrate Independence Day. Remembrance days are important, whether they pay homage to greatness or they unite people in national pride.
But there have been momentous events in recent history that remain unnoticed, if not entirely forgotten. One such event redrew the map of one of the most politically contentious regions of the planet, it shook the preexisting world order, it proclaimed the rebirth of a nation, and it marked the end of the longest foreign occupation in history. Yet few people have ever heard of it.
That event took place ninety years ago in the wake of World War One at the Italian resort town of San Remo. On April 25, 1920, after two days of intense discussions, prime ministers and high ranking diplomats of the victorious Allied powers signed the San Remo Resolution and sealed the destiny of the former Turkish possessions in the Middle East.
The Middle East has been a locus of legal misrepresentations and a cauldron of violence ever since, in part because this landmark Resolution, which initiated further agreements enshrined in international law, has seldom been publicized. An uninformed public allowed often poorly informed politicians to concoct implausible — dare I say unlawful? — peace plans, the failure of which is too obvious to ignore.
So on April 25, 2010, we should commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the San Remo Conference and make the public aware of the crucial decisions that were made then and the effect these decisions should now have on the lands and peoples concerned.
In San Remo — and for the first time in 1,800 years, since Roman times — the geographical region known as “Palestine” acquired a legal identity. Even though the boundaries of Palestine were not precisely defined in San Remo, the prevailing idea was to draw them as close as possible to the historical boundaries of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In that regard, the expression “from Dan to Beersheba” was introduced by Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister at the time, and it often appeared in subsequent documents.
By referring specifically to the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 — which was essentially an expression of British foreign policy — and by reproducing its wording literally, the San Remo Resolution entrenched the provisions of the Balfour Declaration in international law. Thus, the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine received international recognition.
The legal title to Palestine was officially transferred from the League of Nations — when Turkey was dispossessed of its rights to the region at the Paris Peace Conference a year earlier — to the Jewish people, who became the national beneficiary under a mandate awarded to Britain, thereby designated as the trustee.
The transfer of title and the sovereignty of the Jewish people in Palestine remain binding in international law to this day. Similarly, equivalent national rights were conferred to the Arabs in both Syria/Lebanon and present-day Iraq under two other transitional mandates awarded to France and Britain, respectively. It should therefore be apparent that the legitimacy of the present Arab states of Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq derives from the same international law which reconstituted the Jewish nation in Palestine.
Besides fulfilling the national aspirations of the Jewish people (Zionism), the San Remo Conference also marked the end of the longest colonization in history. Whereas European powers extended their colonization in Africa, Asia, and the Americas for a period not exceeding four hundred years, Palestine has been occupied and colonized by a succession of foreign powers for about 1,900 years (Romans, Byzantines, Sassanid Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mameluks, and Ottoman Turks). This early episode of liberation, which preceded the global decolonization process by more than thirty years, should be welcome by all progressive minds.
The commemoration of the San Remo Conference on its ninetieth anniversary is a different kind of remembrance in that it primarily serves an educational purpose. In fact, the European Coalition for Israel, a non-Jewish European organization based in Brussels, is planning to do exactly that in San Remo on April 24-25, in a two-day official gathering at the very place where the event took place in 1920.
By bringing the San Remo Conference to the fore, the public will be better-informed, opinions will be more solidly founded, and decision-makers might revisit their geopolitical plans.

Tolerating Ahmadinejad’s Jew-Hate

Tolerating Ahmadinejad’s Jew-Hate

Posted By Anav Silverman On April 14, 2010 @ 12:05 am In FrontPage | 33 Comments

Four years ago, the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust’ [1]was held in Tehran on December 11, 2006. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian Foreign Minister, stated at the time that the aim of the conference was to “neither to deny nor prove the Holocaust but to provide an appropriate scientific atmosphere for scholars to offer their opinions in freedom about a historical issue.”

Those who contributed to the scientific atmosphere at the conference, included David Duke, a Ku Klux Klan leader and former US state representative, Robert Faurisson, a convicted Holocaust denier from France and a number of other academic professors and educators all engaged in Holocaust Denial research and rhetoric. One such professor, Dr. Fredrick Toben, an Australian citizen, runs an Internet site vilifying Jews while promoting that Nazis did not commit the mass murder of the Jewish people. Several right-extremist politicians from Germany’s neo-Nazi NPD party were invited as well, although the German government barred them from attending.

However, the central purpose of the conference went beyond providing a friendly environment for international Holocaust deniers to share their twisted sentiments. The Iranian Foreign Minister elaborated that “If the official version of the Holocaust is thrown into doubt, then the identity and nature of Israel will be thrown into doubt. And if, during this review, it is proved that the Holocaust was a historical reality, then what is the reason for the Palestinians having to pay the cost of the Nazis’ crimes?”

That argument has been reiterated time and time again by Ahmadinejad, notably in exclusive interviews he has granted with US television networks; NBC [2] and CBS [3]. In two major interviews with the American TV networks, Ahmadinejad smoothly skirted over the reporters’ questions about his Holocaust Denial, always deflecting his responses back to Palestinian issues and the State of Israel instead.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center [4]calls Ahmadinejad’s use of Holocaust Denial “a tool” of Iranian policy. “The Holocaust Denial campaign, as a main component of the Iranian regime’s anti-Israeli policy, is not only an expression of the hatred for Jews which is rooted in Iranian politics and society, but also a clever, well planned strategy under Ahmadinejad.” According to the IICC, Ahmedinejad uses the denial tactics to delegitimze the Zionist movement and the State of Israel as ideological and moral preparation for Israel destruction, as well as to increase Iranian influence among Palestinians while advancing Iranian aspirations for regional hegemony.

Indeed, Ahmadinjad’s repeated rhetoric in promoting the Islamic Republic’s anti-Israel agenda have been ultimately successful. Although the ‘International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust’ elicited much international condemnation in 2006, the Iranian President’s repeated hateful rhetoric cause very few to flinch in the international community today.

Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel stated back in October 2008 that Ahmedinejad’s annual appearances at the UN General Assembly demonstrates that the world has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

“Ten years ago, and less, the ruler of a country that announced its aspiration for Israel to be wiped off the map would not have dared appear and speak on the UN’s podium,” Wiesel stated in an Ha’aretz interview [5]. A few months later, at the Durban II conference, a member of Ahmadinejad’s entourage accosted Wiesel screaming at the Holocaust survivor, ‘Zio-Nazi.’ [6]

Furthermore, US President Obama’s friendly attempts to forge dialogue with Iran, while simultaneously giving Israel a cold shoulder, have scored no points with Ahmadinejad. A warm message from President Obama marking the Iranian new year was met with scorn from the Iranian leader. As reported by Reuters [7] April 3, Ahmadinejad said the note contained “three or four beautiful words” but nothing new of substance.

“What changed? Your sanctions were lifted? The adverse propaganda was stopped? The pressure was alleviated? Did you change your attitude in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine,” asked Ahmadinejad in a televised address. Iran supports Islamic insurgents targeting American troops in Iraq [8]and Afghanistan [9] both financially and militarily.

While Obama has decided to pursue new UN sanctions in response to Ahmadinejad’s continued rejections, Iran according to Ahmadinejad, could easily cope with such petroleum sanctions.

“You should know that the more hostile you are, the stronger an incentive our people will have, it will double,” he said.

Although President Obama would like to believe that he is dealing with a rational leader with whom dialogue will eventually reach, Ahmadinejad has never been one for Western rationality. After his UN speech in 2005, the Iranian president told Iran’s leading cleric Ayatollah Javadi Amoli that he sensed a light surrounding him while he was delivering his address to world leaders at the General Assembly. “For 27-28 minutes all the leaders did not blink. They were astonished as if a hand held them there and made them sit. It had opened their eyes and ears for the message of the Islamic Republic,” Ahmedinejad reportedly stated in a video made about his experience that was widely distributed across Iran, as reported by Golnaz Esfandiari in Radio Free Europe [10].

During his UN speech in 2005, Ahmadinejad called for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, who according to Muslim tradition is the final spiritual and political successor to Muhammad and savior of humankind who will return to lead an era of Islamic justice. The Iranian president has been quoted as saying that the “main mission of the revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam.”

If anything should be learned from Holocaust Memorial Day this year, it is that appeasement policies do not work with leaders like Hitler and Ahmadinjad. Seventy-two years ago, when France, Italy and  Britain’s Neville Chamberlain, agreed to the Munich Agreement with Germany, the European powers wrongly believed that the annexation of Czechoslovakia would stop the Hitler war-machine. Following this appeasement agreement, over 60 million people were killed in the Second World War, a horrific tragedy that took root when no one bothered to heed Hitler’s anti-Semitic rhetoric and tirades.

Anav Silverman is the International Correspondent for Sderot Media Center: www.SderotMedia.org.il [11].

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