Do You Believe In Iranian Magic?

It looks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on his way out as Iran’s president. You know you’re in real trouble when they start arresting your staff for witchcraft.

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery

Close allies of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

See also:
Ahmadinejad Staffers Accused of Sorcery
Ahmadinejad’s Advisers Jailed for Practicing Witchcraft
Close aide to Ahmadinejad arrested
Ahmadinejad supporters arrested
In Iran, do they burn witches too?
Internal strife emerges as Tehran looks westward
Trouble at the top
Ahmadinejad in the Crosshairs
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resign as Iranian president?
Breaking: Ahmadinejad to resign

The bizarre arrests seem to have something to do with the production and distribution of the Iranian end times documentary The Coming. Is Ahmadinejad being sacked for his fervent belief that the return of the 12th Imam is near? Will his ouster be a positive development for the West’s relations with Iran? Who knows?

/although, as long as Iran’s theocracy is still in power, I doubt it

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Add Hornet’s Nest, Stir

So, do you think it’s a coincidence that all these Muslim countries suddenly descended into open street unrest all at once? Guess again, it’s a coordinated transnational effort by dedicated, hardcore Islamists to press for the Caliphate, destroy Israel, and defeat the West. As much as the West tries to downplay or ignore these recent developments, rest assured, Muslims worldwide are sitting up, paying attention, and drawing inspiration.

Iran: Riots sign of Islamic awakening

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says recent anti-government riots in Tunisia and Egypt are “a sign of the awakening of Islam inspired by the Islamic Revolution’s victory in Iran.”

In a sermon delivered Friday morning at a Tehran mosque, Khamenei said that “the Americans and Zionists are more concerned than anyone else about the situation in Egypt, but they are helpless and will not succeed in finding a remedy for the situation.”

He accused Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of “cooperating with the Zionists” and helping Israel impose its siege on the Gaza Strip.

. . .

The Iranian supreme leader said the events in Egypt would have far-reaching implication on the entire Middle East. “This is an earthquake, and if the Egyptian people carry on they will defeat the American policy in the region. The Zionist enemies are more concerned than anyone else, as they are aware of what might happen if Egypt cut off the alliance with them.”

See also:
Islamic Awakening has been Aroused among Muslims
Egyptians rising up against servitude to U.S.: Leader
Iran’s Khamenei praises Egyptian protesters, declares ‘Islamic awakening’
IRAN: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Egyptian uprising is an Islamic ‘awakening’
Waves of Islamic Awakening Sweep Across the Region
Arab uprisings sign of ‘Islamic awakening’: Khamenei
Tehran supports ‘justice-seeking’ Egypt protesters
Larijani Calls Tunisia, Egypt Uprisings an “Islamic Awakening”

Will Islam sweep the globe and establish a Caliphate in the next two weeks? No, but they’re off to a pretty good start in the last month, don’t you think? Remember, they have a much longer time horizon than we do, they live by incremental steps towards their goals.

You don’t think they’re serious or capable of achieving their goals? Remember, they’re already seriously affecting our transportation regime, have you tried to fly recently? Remember the 1979 Iran revolution, the Islamic regime on the brink of becoming a nuclear power today? We’re still paying in blood and national treasure for that one.

Islam has always had a long term plan for world domination and the establishment of a Caliphate and it’s as old as time, well at least as far back as the 7th century. Dar al-Harb (House of war) and Dar al-Islam (House of Islam).

You’ve been warned.

/continue to whistle past the graveyard or prepare to defend yourself and your way of life, your pick

Intifada At Isfahan

Iran protests intensify, prompting state of emergency in Isfahan

Iran security forces and opposition protesters stepped up clashes on Wednesday in the city of Isfahan, the birthplace of Iran’s top dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. Montazeri’s death this past weekend, and the rituals marking his passing, coincide with a new push by regime opponents during a 10-day religious commemoration.

The government has responded by harassing two reformist clerics who could replace Montazeri, as well as stripping the opposition’s top political figure – Mir Hossein Mousavi – of his sole official post.

In Isfahan, pro-regime basiji militiamen used batons, chains, and stones to beat mourners who gathered at the city’s main mosque to remember Montazeri, the spiritual mentor of the Iranian opposition, whose websites reported the clashes.

“While people were reciting the Quran [in the mosque], plainclothed forces attacked them and threw tear gas into the mosque yard and sprayed those inside with pepper spray after they closed the doors,” reported the reformist Parlemannews. “They severely beat the people inside,” then doused the clerical speaker with pepper spray and arrested him.

“Tens of thousands gathered outside for the memorial but were savagely attacked by security forces and the basijis,” witness Farid Salavati told the Associated Press. He said that dozens were injured as riot police and vigilantes clubbed and kicked men and women alike – some in the face – and arrested 50 people who had gathered to mourn the grand ayatollah.

Montazeri – the chosen successor of Iran’s first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until a falling out in 1989 – had been unrelenting in his criticism of the officially declared reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June, as well as of Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Khamenei is a murderer, his rule is invalid,” protesters shouted on Wednesday, referring to violence since June, in which severe force has been used against Iranians who marched to reverse the official result. They wanted to see the “Green Movement” presidential candidate, Mr. Mousavi, elected. Scores died in June and thousands were arrested; protests have flared repeatedly around the nation since then.

In Isfahan, the clashes on Wednesday portend more violence, as protesters and pro-government forces alike prepare for the religious peak of the Shiite calendar, Ashura, which falls on Sunday. By the end of the day on Wednesday, it was reported that the governor had announced a state of emergency and reportedly called in the military for help.

“The regime has no alternative but to try to block the commemorations of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, because it has been state policy to demote him,” says Mehrdad Khonsari of the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London. “But given the events of the last six months, this only aggravates the situation [and] becomes a catalyst for more protests and is counter-productive.

“Every demonstration is a dress rehearsal for the next demonstration. Once Ashura is over next week, there will be more demonstrations,” says Mr. Khonsari. “The fact is there is no likelihood that these protests are going to come to an end anytime soon.”

See also:
Police, protesters clash in southern Iran
Iran forces clash with cleric’s mourners: websites
Iran: unrest reported in Isfahan
Iran warns that it will deal ‘fiercely’ with protesters
Iran security forces clash with protesters in Isfahan
Iranian security forces suppress new wave of opposition protests in Isfahan
Isfahan beset by violence
Iran behaves increasingly like a ‘police state’: US
Iran Beats Mourners, Signaling Harder Line
Esfahan / Isfahan Nuclear Technology Center N32°40′ E51°40′
Esfahan (Isfahan) Nuclear Technology Center
Could This Be A Tipping Point?

It looks like this coming weekend might be shaping up as the largest nationwide Iranian opposition protest yet and, judging by recent events, it could also be the bloodiest. I can only hope, especially after reading this, that all the Green Movement pain won’t be in vain and these protests eventually reach the point of no return, critical mass, the overthow of the Iranian mullahs, regime change.

/Go Green!

Could This Be A Tipping Point?

Clashes Erupt at Reformist Cleric’s Funeral

Hundreds of thousands of Iranian mourners, including opposition leaders and influential senior clerics, attended the funeral of the country’s top dissident cleric in the holy city of Qom on Monday, turning the event into one of the largest antiregime protests the city has seen in three decades.

The funeral procession of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, one of the regime’s harshest critics, began peacefully. But opposition protesters used the charged event to chant against Iran’s leaders, and security forces and riot police responded by attacking mourners with shoes, stones and tear gas, according to news reports and videos circulating on the Internet.

On Sunday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a condolence message for the deceased cleric, a founding architect of the Islamic Republic, who fell out with the regime in the late 1980s. Mr. Khamenei offered his regrets but pointed out that Mr. Montazeri had strayed from the ideals of the 1979 revolution.

When the message was read to mourners in Qom on Monday, many jumped up and down, booing and screaming “Khamenei is a murderer. His leadership is finished,” according to videos posted to opposition Web sites and to YouTube.

By nightfall, Mr. Montazeri’s house was under siege by security services, his son Ahmad told the BBC’s Farsi-language service. Mr. Montazeri’s family canceled a memorial service planned that evening at a mosque in Qom, according to a statement issued by his son and posted on opposition Web sites.

“We received word that Basij and Revolutionary Guards have entered the mosque and are waiting for us with batons,” Ahmad Montazeri wrote.

Authorities have banned press coverage of the event. Iranian Web sites that posted accounts have reported reliably on protests in the past, and videos posted on YouTube match their accounts.

The BBC’s Persian service, a source of news for many Iranians, was jammed Sunday, knocking it off air inside Iran, the British Broadcasting Corp. said.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as Mr. Khamenei’s brother, Hadi, who is also a critic of the regime, attended the funeral.

Mr. Mousavi’s Web site, Kalameh, reported that his car came under attack on his return trip to Tehran, and a bodyguard was injured, but Mr. Mousavi was unharmed.

The opposition called for the grand ayatollahs of Qom, Iran’s highest clerical officials, to call for a national day of mourning Tuesday to protest what the opposition called the insulting way the government security forces treated mourners in Qom.

Qom serves as the spiritual capital of Iran’s ruling clerics. A dusty city in the desert plains south of Tehran, it is dotted with turquoise minarets and golden domes, and has been instrumental in shaping Iran’s politics for the past century.

Analysts said Monday’s massive protests in Qom and the presence of high-profile grand ayatollahs in the funeral ceremonies elevated the opposition’s profile, further denting the credibility of Mr. Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Mr. Khamenei’s legitimacy was questioned in Qom today, and that is a significant blow to the regime. It will be extremely hard to recover from this,” said Mohamad Javad Akbarein, a former cleric from Qom and a Shiite scholar now living in Beirut.

Mr. Montazeri was once in line to succeed the founder of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as supreme leader. But he fell out with the regime and became one of its highest-profile critics. In recent months, a protest movement ignited by contested June 12 elections adopted the frail cleric as its spiritual leader.

Opposition leaders, including Messrs. Mousavi and Karroubi and their supporters, accused Mr. Ahmadinejad of stealing the June vote, which the government denies. Over months of protests since, demonstrations have veered from protesting the elections and its results to denouncing the regime itself.

See also:
Iranian Mourners Swarm Qom for Montazeri’s Funeral
Report: Large turnout for Iran cleric’s funeral
Protests mark funeral of Hossein Ali Montazeri
Iran’s Ayatollah Montazeri buried in Qom amid protests
Iran: ‘clashes’ at Montazeri funeral
Iran funeral ends with anti-govt slogans -website
Popular dissident Hossein Ali Montazeri mourned in Iran
Iran’s Mousavi In Qom For Cleric’s Funeral – Website
Mousavi Motorcade Attacked Amid Iran Clashes
Some Iranians Arrested on Way to Funeral – Website
YouTube Offers Glimpse of Funeral Scene in Qom
IRAN: Video of dissident cleric’s funeral ceremony
Filling Montazeri’s shoes in Iran
The Conservative Dissident: Hosein-Ali Montazeri
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, R.I.P.
Death of a cleric, but not of a movement
Iran: What the death of dissident cleric Montazeri means for opposition
Iran opposition energized by Montazeri funeral in Qom, say eyewitnesses
The Difference One Ayatollah Might Make
The Peoples’ Revolt in Iran

/let’s hope someone in the Obama administration is paying attention, we should be actively supporting the Iranian opposition, it’s a much better option than a military strike

It Was 30 Years Ago Today, The Ayatollah Took Our Embassy Away

And to this day, we still haven’t properly thanked Iran for this act of war.

Every year on the anniversary of the Iranian seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, the Iranian regime sponsors mass rallies to mark the event, with bused in pro-regime crowds burning U.S. flags and chanting “death to America” for the cameras. This year, something different happened, anti-regime protesters risked their lives to take to the streets and shout “death to the dictators’, while trying to stay one step ahead of the regime police, military, and paramilitary security forces using everything up to and including reports of live ammunition to try and stop them.

Iran protesters take to streets as regime marks 30th anniversary of US Embassy seizure

Iranian security forces used clubs, teargas and paintball guns to disperse thousands of antigovernment protesters in Tehran on Wednesday who took to the streets as thousands of regime loyalists marked the 30th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in 1979.

While a pro-government crowd chanted anti-American slogans and burned US flags at the walls of the former embassy compound — still often called the “den of spies” – antigovernment demonstrators were caught in sometimes vicious confrontations at other locations in central Tehran in the first mass protests for six weeks.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the embassy takeover anniversary has been an important event for rallying regime support, so the scale and boldness of the opposition turnout – after weeks of warnings from security officials that any attempt to gather would be harshly confronted—was seen as a test of opposition strength.

“Greens [won] by far. They proved that no longer can the government assemble people without any incident, and [the regime] has based everything since the beginning on [large] public assemblies,” said one witness who, like others quoted in this story, asked not be named for security reasons. “Also, if you bring out [security] guards in such numbers, you know you are in deep trouble. The government as expected was scared.”

And while the Islamic Republic revitalizes the anti-American pillar of its revolution with a celebration, many of the radical students who took control of the embassy have since become reformist critics.

And the pro-democracy protesters had a message for Obama.

Opposition demonstrators, meanwhile, chanted “Obama, Obama, are you with us, or against us?” Many opposition activists have been critical of Mr. Obama for negotiating with the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom they say was re-elected in June as a result of fraud and vote-rigging.

So, it’s the 30th anniversary of one of the most humiliating episodes in American history, an act of war that Iran still hasn’t paid any price for, and Obama decides to issue a statement to mark the event. Does he lend U.S. support to the brave pro-democracy factions, risking their lives to bring freedom to the Iranian people? Hell no, he “reaches out” again to the belligerent Iranian regime that consistently spurns U.S. diplomatic overtures on a weekly basis.

Obama calls for new relationship with Iran on anniversay of embassy takeover

President Obama today called for a new relationship with Iran in a statement that marked the 30th anniversary of the takeover by Iranian militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The seizure of the embassy by radical students marked the beginning of Iran’s turn to hard-line policies. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

“This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation,” Obama said in his statement. “I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”

Of course, Obama’s endless all carrot, no stick apologies have become something of a running joke in international circles, his weakness is palpable. Like clockwork, the Iranians rebuked Obama’s groveling with the same response they’ve used ever since Obama took office.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Rejects Engagement With U.S.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday rejected any direct engagement with the United States, stressing that the Islamic Republic will not be deceived by Washington’s “apparent re-conciliatory behavior.”

“We do not want any negotiations whose results are predefined by the U.S.,” Khamenei said Tuesday. “Iran will not be deceived by Washington’s apparent re-conciliatory behavior.”

Oh, and if Obama somehow thinks the Iranian regime is kidding when they keep telling him in no uncertain words that they have no intention of cooperating with the United States or the West, all he has to do is take a look at what Israel found today.

Israel: Commandos seize huge Iranian arms shipment

Open crates from a cargo ship seized Wednesday by Israel revealed dark green missiles inside. Containers from the vessel bore writing in English that said “I.R. Iranian Shipping Lines Group.”

Israel alleged that the shipment of hundreds of tons of rockets, missiles, mortars, grenades and anti-tank weapons — the largest it ever seized — was headed for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Israel stopped the ship, named the Francop, off the coast of Cyprus and towed it to the port of Ashdod. It carried orange, red, white and blue containers piled three deep on its deck.

Rows of crates from the vessel were displayed on the dock, and inside were rockets, hand grenades, mortars and ammunition. At least 3,000 missiles were on board, the Israeli military said.

The seizure spotlighted the dangerous tensions between Israel and Iran. Israel considers Iran a strategic threat because of its nuclear program and long-range missile development, dismissing Iranian denials that it is building nuclear weapons.

Among the weaponry displayed were Katyusha rockets. One of the long skinny missiles sat atop a pile of storage boxes the military had labeled in Hebrew “rocket 122 mm.” The 122 mm Katyusha was the main weapon used against Israel by Hezbollah in a monthlong war in 2006. During that war, about 1,200 people were killed in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and about 160 people were killed in Israel.

See also:
Iran Protests Against U.S. and Regime on Hostage Anniversary
Iran protesters hijack 30th anniversary of US embassy seizure
Protests erupt on 30th anniversary of U.S. embassy seizure
Iranian opposition and police in fresh clashes
Iranians hold anti-U.S. rallies to mark 30th anniversary of embassy takeover
Iranians Mark 30th Anniversary Of U.S. Embassy Siege, Anti-Government Protesters Dispersed
Clashes in Iran on Embassy Takeover Anniversary
Relationship With Iran Should Be Based On Mutual Interests: Obama
Obama calls for new relationship with Iran
Obama: Iran must decide what its focus is
The President Snubs Iran’s Democrats
Iran’s Courageous Dissidents Need Our Support
‘Obama Are You with Iran or with Us?’
Dialogue with Obama a trick, says Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ridicules Obama, Condemns U.S.
Iran warns US against influencing talks
Strong oil prices give confidence to Iran amid sea of troubles
Iran Boosts Output of Uranium Mine, Satellite Images Show
Israel says seized ship contained Iranian arms
Analysis: Seized arms evidence of Iran’s investment of Israel’s borders
Israel Seizes Ship Loaded With Weapons
Former Embassy Hostages Recall Anniversary of Iran Takeover
Iran hostage crisis
The Hostage Crisis in Iran
Iran Hostage Crisis
30 Years Later: Iran Hostage Crisis

/how many time does the Iranian regime have to kick Obama in the nuts before he feels the pain and humiliation, man’s up to the in your face hostility, and fights back in defense of the United States’ honor and national security?

Election Day, Axis Of Evil Style

In a few hours, Iranians will go to the polls to elect their next president. Who will it be?

Will Ahmadinejad Lose Iran’s Election?

In the free-for-all of this election, Iran’s Opposition supporters have been shouting slogans they’d normally only whisper, like “death to the government.”

They are emboldened by their man, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who looks like he could actually win, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer.

A 67-year-old architect and painter, Mousavi has promised to liberalize the economy, negotiate with the West over Iran’s nuclear program and give young people – especially women – more freedom.

“If Mousavi wins the election, things would change in a better way for Iran,” said one girl at a rally.

Mousavi is going into this election knowing he can count on the youth vote. Most of the people who come to his rallies are under 30 – young people who want him to deliver on the freedoms they crave.

But the real star of this campaign is Mousavi’s unofficial running mate, his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, who has shattered taboos by sharing the stage with him as an equal, calling to mind another high profile political wife.

“I was active in politics long before people discovered Michelle Obama, a woman I respect,” Rahnavard said through a translator.

Her wild popularity has got the competition rattled. During Iran’s first ever Presidential debates, Mousavi accused President Ahmadinejad of leading the country to dictatorship.

Ahmadinejad countered by attacking Mousavi’s wife, holding up her resume – he said she was an academic cheat, alleging she got a PhD without taking a university entrance exam.

Even if untrue – it went down well with Ahmadinejad’s supporters – who think the President can do no wrong. They love his non-negotiable stance on Iran’s nuclear program, and pork barrel spending that benefits the working class.

He’s a hero in rural towns like Pulur high in the mountains. In the local diner, it’s unanimous – everyone’s voting for Ahmadinjad for the local improvements he’s made.

But for every fan – there’s a critic, and Ahmadinejad and his backers are clearly shaken by the ferocity of opposition.

What looks like democracy to some, looks to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard like a potential uprising.

A notice appeared last night on the Guard’s website, warning that any sign of a popular revolution would be crushed.

Iran election race tightens

The day before polls open in Iran’s presidential election, the streets are suddenly quiet again as official campaigning comes to an end, and voters prepare for what is expected to be a record turnout.

Whereas President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a sure bet just 10 days ago, the race has closed this past week, in what is clearly turning into a referendum on his four years in office.

Rivers of green have flowed through the streets, those decked out in the colors of his main challenger, former Prime Minster Mir Hossein Moussavi.

The week started with tens of thousands of his supporters forming a human chain along 17 kilometers of the main Tehran artery Vali-Asr Street.

Called out by text message and email the numbers exceeded all expectations, their ranks swelled by thousands more who joined the chain spontaneously or just lined the route to watch.

“Ahmadi bye bye, Ahmadi bye bye,” they sang. Others held up posters that said ‘NO LIARS.’ It has become the opposition slogan.

They accuse the president of lying about the shape of the economy, overseeing higher prices, higher unemployment and higher inflation over the last four years.

One woman said she came out “because we want a change, because we want freedom.”

By the end of the week Moussavi’s supporters stretched as far as the eye could see from one end of Tehran to another, in scenes not witnessed here since the Islamic Revolution swept this country back in 1979.

Wednesday night a deputy leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard posted a warning on their Web site, vowing to “crush” any attempts at a “velvet revolution” in Iran.

President Ahmadinejad also drew large crowds, but even his most fervent supporters conceded, they didn’t come close to Moussavi’s. His staunchest supporters are among the traditional, the poor and the religious faithful.

See also:
Iran’s election system
SCENARIOS: How U.S.-Iran ties might develop after election
Former US diplomat hopeful for change after Iran election
Iran’s Election Brings Desire for Women’s Rights Into Focus
Iran’s Young Women Use Their Polling Power
Commentary: Iran’s nuclear work will go on

The election on Friday should be worth watching, considering that one-third of the electorate is under 30-years-old and was therefore not born at the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. In any case, I’m not sure this election will make a whole lot of difference, since the real power in Iran is wielded by the ruling mullahs, led by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran. It’s also doubtful this election will change anything regarding what Israel and the United States are most concerned about, Iran’s nuclear program.

IAEA: Ahmadinejad election rival launched Iran nuclear program

International Atomic Energy Agency documents revealed that Iran began a secret nuclear program during the tenure of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader running against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The documents, which Iran transferred to the IAEA several years ago, show that Tehran decided in 1987 to purchase the centrifuges it is using to enrich uranium.

Mousavi, who is seen as a moderate candidate in the West, served as Iran’s prime minister between 1981 and 1989, and while that position has since been eliminated from Iranian politics, it was an executive position that was similar in nature to the current presidential role.

One of the documents revealed that the then-head of Iran’s atomic energy organization requested Mousavi’s approval for purchasing the centrifuges on the black market. Iran subsequently acquired the centrifuges through the smuggling ring of Pakistani scientist Abd al-Qadir Khan.

Anyway, this election ought to be interesting and I hope Ahmadinejad loses, just so we don’t have to see or hear the malignant dwarf anymore.

/stay tuned and pray there’s no violence