No Minister

An important election in Iran

In this case the recent election of a new President of Iran, where whoever is chosen by the Council of Guardians and who has the approval of the Ayatollah Kahmenei – the person actually running Iran – goes on to win the general election.

There have been “surprises” in these elections over the years, but that’s usually been when the Ayatollah has not expressed any favouritism for any one of the permitted candidates. This time he did.

The product of this joke of an election system turns out to be probably the biggest piece of shit that has ever crawled into that position., and that’s saying something considering his predecessors.

Ebrahim Raisi

Both of the following articles should be read.

———————–

First, a concise piece by historian Dominic Green, who has a biting wit, Iran’s president, a schreibtischtäter:

Raisi is what Hannah Arendt would have called a schreibtischtäter, a ‘desk murderer’: a functionary who orders dirty work while keeping his own hands clean.

In the 1980s, Raisi was a young regional prosecutor. He was part of a four-man ‘death committee’ which ordered the disappearance and killing of thousands of the Islamic revolution’s enemies. You may be shocked to hear human rights’ groups claiming that due process was frequently ignored during this judicial massacre.

He also has not changed over the decades:

… when protests against the clerical dictatorship broke out in 2019, Raisi, as head of the Iranian judiciary, granted blanket impunity to government officials and security forces responsible for unlawfully killing hundreds of men, women and children, and subjecting thousands of protesters to mass arrests and at least a hundred to enforced disappearance, and torture and other ill-treatment’.

Is it any wonder that Raisi won the presidency with the lowest turnout in Iran’s post-1979 history: 48 percent nationally, down from over 70 percent in 2017, with only 28 percent bothering to vote in Tehran. 

Green argues that with this election the JCPOA nuclear deal is more dead than when Trump withdrew the USA from it. Not that that will stop the Biden Administration from trying to re-enter it:

Raisi has already said he won’t meet Biden. He has issued a ‘non-negotiable’ rejection of the American goal of adding Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for terrorism to follow-on negotiations. The Iranian negotiators will use the prospect of Raisi taking office in August to lever more concessions from the desperate Americans. But the election of Raisi in the first place has already confirmed the futility of returning to the Iran Deal.

It is the Supreme Leader, 82-year-old Ayatollah Khameini, who heads the Iranian regime, and the military-industrial complex controlled by the IRGC that is its arms and legs. Raisi is a product of their interdependence and corruption. He may yet inherit Khameini’s throne. This is one reason why the pro-Democratic ‘echo chamber’ is spinning his merits in sequence with the centrifuges.

That last crack is referring to Obama’s point man on the JCPOA, Ben Rhodes, who boasted in an interview with the New York Times Magazine in 2016 about how he had created a media “echo chamber” to help get the deal passed. An article in the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine, A stunning profile of Ben Rhodes, the asshole who is the president’s foreign policy guru, noted the famous description by Rhodes of the MSM he manipulated:

Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

———————–

The second article, Ebrahim Raisi, the clerics ruthless enforcer, is longer and goes into more historic detail about his ugly past, including the political games that were going on behind the scenes of the 1988 executions:

The 1988 executions sparked a debate within the regime, just as Khomeini had intended. The supreme leader wanted to separate the true believers from the skeptics. His heir-apparent, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, objected to the killings, and in a secret recording released in 2016, he can be heard chastising Raisi and his fellow executioners.

Shades of Mao and his Cultural Revolution designed to purge the CCP of reactionary elements and purify it. All this history leads to this moment:

By 2016, there were unmistakable public signs that Khamenei was grooming Raisi to succeed him. When it comes to personnel, Khamenei has always displayed a keen eye for talent and loyalty. And Raisi’s promotions all required the personal approval of the supreme leader.

Which helps explain why, this year, the Guardian Council disqualified a high number of presidential candidates — not only did “moderates” get axed, but even the hard-line former speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani, was removed from the ballot. As a result, Raisi ran nearly uncontested, with no real competitors. 

So he’s the next Ayatollah. He’s even been given “management” positions that enabled him to build a legacy beyond that of executioner, being placed in charge of huge sums of money via the Astan-e Qods Foundation in Mashhad, which runs the Imam Reza Shrine, visited by millions of pilgrims a year and with $15 billion in assets. 

The article draws the appropriate conclusions that the US will have to confront:

Raisi’s win in a fully rigged election strips the system of its off-ramps. The once-popular reformist notion that the theocracy could liberalize itself through its own constitutional provisions has died — except perhaps abroad among Western leftists. The Republic of Virtue is drowning in corruption and class divisions that are as pronounced as those in the last days of the shah.

The regime has no answers to the myriad problems the nation faces. Even hooking up with China will not save them in the long run as they continue to disconnect further from the Iranian people, whose protests are answered only by brutality because the Ayatollah’s know it also:

A nation that saw massive protests once a decade now sees them more frequently. In the latest nationwide revolts of 2019 and 2020, sparked by a drop in fuel subsidies, even the working classes joined the protests. Iran’s ethnic minorities, who probably make up 50 percent of the country’s population, have also become increasingly vocal in expressing their grievances.

They have the same conclusion on the nuclear deal as well:

These two clerics, who will likely reinforce each other’s hardest impulses, both understand what Washington appears to have missed: The era of arms-control diplomacy has ended. The Islamic republic’s nuclear trajectory will not be impacted by further negotiated restraints.

The US may succeed in getting JCPOA back, but it will make no difference and ultimately what happens to the Iranian nuclear weapons programme is down to the Israelis.

Written by Tom Hunter

June 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Biden’s win in a fully rigged election strips the system of its off-ramps. The once-popular reformist notion that the republic could liberalize itself through its own constitutional provisions has died — except perhaps abroad among Western journalists . The Republic of Freedom and Democracy™ is drowning in corruption and class divisions that are as pronounced as those in the last days of colonialism.

    Andrei

    June 29, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    • Heh. You should read the first article and it’s opening para.

      Tom Hunter

      June 29, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    • Oh, and I wouldn’t be too cocky about your beloved Mother Russia, even in the age of Putin…

      Tom Hunter

      June 29, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    • Lol Tom,
      Eurovision is known for cheezy pop music – that is a satire

      As was this from 2012


      .

      Andrei

      June 29, 2021 at 9:35 pm

  2. I expect that Biden will succeed in reviving the JCPOA. In that case I would not expect any particular action by Israel. The JCPOA has extensive inspection protocols, the results of which will clearly be shared with Israel. Provided the agreement is adhered to, Israel won’t take any military action.

    Israel’s concerns will arise at the end of the agreement when Iran is no longer bound by the JCPOA. The western nations will expect an extension of the JCPOA, since it is predicated on Iran remaining bound by the NPT. It is an obligation of the NPT that Iran can not legally acquire nuclear weapons.

    In my view Trump’s action of unilaterally withdrawing from JCPOA simply made the whole business of dealing with Iran more difficult. Trump may have thought he could effectively overthrow the Iranian regime, in the same way the USSR collapsed. I doubt he would have succeeded even if had won in 2020 and got 4 more years to run his strategy.

    Recent Middle Eastern politics are no particular guide in that regard. Look at the resurgence of the Taliban. It seems surprising to us in the West that these corrupt Middle Eastern regimes last as long as they do. But somehow they do. Look at Syria.

    I did my PhD on the Iran United States Claims Tribunal. I thought the process of that litigation may have modified the hardline stance of the Iranians. By bringing them more into the world of modern business, and loosening the grip of the theocracy. It did not, at least not in the way we would have envisaged.

    Wayne

    June 29, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    • What do you think Iran should look like Wayne?

      Chicago where people get gunned down in the street on a daily basis?

      San Francisco perhaps where people live in tents on the street and grown walk about in naked public with dildos shoved in their anuses?

      You don’t think the Government taxing the fuck out of my cigarettes isn’t a petty tyranny?

      Or the mass murder of infants in the name of a woman’s right to choose isn’t a gruesome horror?

      You have got your 21st century Western middle class values and think they are the epitome of civilization but that is just an article of Faith on your part,

      You subscribe to the Global Warming religion for example and think it is good force us all to pay tithes to your nonsensical Church and because you are a member of the ruling clique we do

      Its hubris to assume your values are “right” and that those who want to organize their societies under a different set of axioms are in someway inferior

      Andrei

      June 29, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    • @Wayne

      The JCPOA has extensive inspection protocols, the results of which will clearly be shared with Israel.

      The inspection protocols have been stuffed from the start by the simple fact that the Iranians declared some facilities to be off-limits, and those just happened to be military facilities. Without the IAEA having the ability to inspect anytime and anywhere it chooses JCPOA is toothless, and given Iran’s history of covering up and even blatantly lying about its past nuclear work, there is no reason to think they would not and could not hide stuff from the IAEA.

      Moreover, the Iranian excuse for these site exclusions, which is that their nuclear program is not military, is not credible given their ongoing ballistic missile program, which is the “tell”, as I pointed out here in Fun and Truth:

      With their inherent inaccuracies – in an age when combatants want to be precise enough to drop a bomb through a window from 10,000m up in the sky, and when the technology for this is easily obtainable – ballistic missiles nowadays are useful for only one thing: carrying nuclear warheads.

      … the results of which will clearly be shared with Israel.

      Given the apparent degree to which Mossad has penetrated the Iranian nuclear program I don’t think they care about what the IAEA tells them. In fact it should probably be the other way around. It is they who extracted something like a 100,000 documents from Tehran that proved Iran had been lying all along about its nuclear program, to add to earlier revelations like one hidden nuclear facility revealed by an Iranian dissident group in the early 2000’s.

      Provided the agreement is adhered to, Israel won’t take any military action.

      Even without the agreement Israel is not taking military action – at least not of the overt sort. But they have engaged in repeated assassinations and sabotage over the years and will continue to do so whether the US re-joins the JCPOA or not. As President Obama once said, “limited kinetic action”.

      In my view Trump’s action of unilaterally withdrawing from JCPOA simply made the whole business of dealing with Iran more difficult.

      Meh, the fact that they’ve just “elected” the most hardline President ever, suggests that this quid pro quo approach is doomed to failure. Again there are echoes from history, as In pointed out here in looking at Paul Buchanan’s arguments on the subject:

      I heard precisely that reasoning about the USSR in the 1980’s. US actions would strengthen the power of the hardliners – whereas it actually led to the rise of Gorbachev and his policies of Perestroika and Glasnost that, together with unaffordable military spending and a sheer loss of faith in Communism, eventually broke the USSR, which has improved our world greatly.

      Whether Trump thought he could overthrow the Iranian regime in four years or eight, the fact is that a Cold War approach to Iran certainly cannot work when the Democrat half of the US refuses to buy into it. Reagan succeeded with the USSR as much because of the pressure applied by every previous US President, as because of the additional force he applied in the 1980’s. Which brings me to this comment of yours:

      I thought the process of that litigation may have modified the hardline stance of the Iranians. By bringing them more into the world of modern business, and loosening the grip of the theocracy. It did not, at least not in the way we would have envisaged.

      It must be something about people with PhD’s; Buchanan thought much the same and in the previous article I had the same response to him that I have to you:

      … such complex and sophisticated analysis, while necessary, often obfuscates the simple differences between good societies and bad societies and leads to detente with the bad in the hope that it will become less bad over time.

      I’m reminded that the same sort of analysis was applied to the Cold War, the decades-long struggle between the USA and the USSR, and was held to be the only way forward in living in a world with the USSR.

      Reagan’s quote on the USSR (only said in private given the implications) applies here also:

      “I’d like to tell you of my theory of the Cold War. Some people think that I am simplistic, but there is a fundamental difference between being simplistic and having simple answers to complex questions. So here’s my strategy on the Cold War:

      We win, they lose.

      My take is also simplistic in that the Iranian people will be much better off once the current theocratic regime is destroyed and that the US and other nations should enable that to happen via sanctions and other non-military methods. I do not accept in the least Andrei’s claim that the Mullahs “represent” the people of Iran anymore than I accepted that the Soviet Communists “represented” the Russian people. Certainly I’d accept a democracy with Iranian characteristics, even if it might not be my cup of tea WRT Islam, gays and so forth.

      But it sure as hell would be vastly more legitimate than what they have now, and I think we should bend every non-war effort to obtain it.

      Tom Hunter

      June 30, 2021 at 4:23 pm


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