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Thread: Observing Iran (catch all historical thread)

  1. #81
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    The Economist, 19 Jul 07: Iran: The Revolution Strikes Back
    ....Iran is a young country: two out of three people are below the age of 30. On the streets of affluent north Tehran, young people dress in the latest fashions—even if the jeans-clad women are obliged by law to wear the Islamic headscarf (the hijab). The audience at prayers, however, is older: shabbily dressed men well into their 40s, regime stalwarts who have trekked uphill from the poor southern suburbs.

    Which is the true Iran—the consumer-oriented young, bored by the slogans of a long-ago revolution and impatient to move on? Or the regime faithful chorusing the familiar slogans at Friday prayers?

    It is tantalisingly hard to know. With 71m people and a multitude of languages and ethnicities, Iran is a difficult place to read. Although it has elements of democracy, including an elected president and parliament, the state is not ultimately controlled by elected institutions. And even the elected bit of the system is a backstage game of personalities and factions, not a transparent process rooted in political parties. Press freedom is limited, almost no serious independent opinion polling is allowed, and many official economic statistics appear simply to be made up. All this makes the regime's inner workings elusive. Outsiders can only follow the trend and make a guess.

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    Conference report from the 21 Mar 07 RAND conference in DC on Coping with Iran: Confrontation, Containment, or Engagement?
    Discussions throughout the one-day conference broached a number of key issues, including internal leadership and societal dynamics within Iran, Iran’s relationship with other regional actors, the implications of a nuclear-armed Iran or a military strike against Iran, and the various policy options available to address key issues such as Iran’s nuclear capabilities, instability in Iraq, and terrorism. Many participants argued at the conference that some degree of both containment and engagement was the best policy approach toward Iran and that a use-of-force option was neither imminent nor desirable. There was a general sense that UN sanctions and economic pressure was working in isolating Iran (even if some desired that it work faster). Furthermore, Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns emphasized that the United States is willing to be patient to allow economic and diplomatic efforts to work and stated that there are no imminent deadlines that would cause the U.S. government to pursue a drastic course in its approach toward Iran.

    To follow are several other key themes that emerged from the discussions:

    - U.S.-Iranian cooperation is possible, especially on Iraq.

    - Iran may be interested in working with the United States and the international community to find a solution to the nuclear issue.

    - The UN sanction process and international economic pressure are working.

    - Preemption is not imminent.

    - Focus is on regime behavior, not regime change.

    - A nuclear-armed Iran can be expected to be more dangerous and aggressive than a non—nuclear-armed Iran.

    - Engagement and containment options were ultimately preferred to confrontation.

  3. #83
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Having spent a couple of years there some time

    ago, my belief is that the bullets you list are sensible and those things are achievable. We probably ought to go that route.

    Lacking backhoes in large numbers, the Iraniha, like many nations, use a three man shovel with an extremely long handle and two ropes attached for deep holes. Unlike most of those nations, in Iran they use six people per shovel. Three dig and three kibitz for a few minutes, then the second three push the first three out of the way with much shouting and take over the shovel. Rotations invariably also involve trading of handle versus rope men. These rotations within rotations get repeated until it's time for tea, a multiple times per day event...

    Iranian stores carry merchandise with no price tags. Haggling is the national pastime.

    Point of all that is that usually its hard to tell who's actually in charge and any bilateral dealings had better be led by someone from the US with a whole lot of ME time -- and patience.

    Neither attribute seems too common in the US today, Mota assa fahnay...

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    Default Economis's special report "Iran"

    On July 19, Economist issued special report "Iran"

    In this special report
    The revolution strikes back
    Men of principle
    Bombs away
    The big squeeze
    Only engage
    The verdict of Qom
    Khomeini's children
    Audio interview
    Sources and acknowledgements
    Offer to readers
    http://www.economist.com/specialrepo...ory_id=9466834

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    WINEP, Jul 07: Deterring the Ayatollahs: Complications in Applying Cold War Strategy to Iran
    Given the possibility that diplomacy might not succeed and that preventive military action might provide only a temporary fix, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy commissioned a series of essays to investigate the challenges posed by deterring a nuclear Iran. Authors were asked to compare and contrast classic Cold War deterrence with the challenges of deterring a nuclear Iran, and to examine how the idiosyncratic nature of the regime in Tehran would influence efforts to deter it.

    Consideration of deterrence should not be read as resigned acceptance that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary: a strong deterrent posture implemented now could be a useful way of demonstrating to Iran’s leaders that nuclear weapons will bring them little if any benefit, and that the nuclear program is not worth the high political and economic cost.....

  6. #86
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default Iranian shakeup a setback for hardline leader

    Iranian shakeup a setback for hardline leader - USATODAY, 5 Sep.

    Opponents of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have assumed leadership of two of Iran's top institutions, a shakeup that reflects Western economic pressure on Iran and could lead to a less confrontational foreign policy, particularly on the nuclear issue.

    On Tuesday, Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pragmatic former president who lost to Ahmadinejad in 2005 presidential elections, was elected head of the Assembly of Experts. Under Iran's political system, the 86-member body of Shiite Muslim clerics appoints Iran's supreme leader — a religious figure who outranks the president.

    On Saturday, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military organization in the country.

    Taken together, the steps are a setback for Ahmadinejad, said William Samii, an Iran analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, a think tank for the U.S. Navy.

    "The supreme leader has taken actions to sideline Ahmadinejad and the people associated with him," Samii said. "People are fed up with Ahmadinejad and his belligerence. The regime will try to pursue a less confrontational foreign policy ..."

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    There's no doubt that Rafsanjani's election to head the Assembly of Experts is a blow to Ahmadinejad (although its not clear what role Khameini played in it, since much had to do with the views of Assembly members). I don't know enough about the new IRGC commander to have a view on that.

    However, it is hard to read the Supreme Leader--I was in Tehran a few months ago, and spoke at the Center for Strategic Studies (the Expediency Council's foreign policy think tank). I didn't get the sense that the Rafsanjani people felt that they were truly in ascendency, that their position was secure, or that Khameini had come down definitively against Ahmadinejad. There's a lot of playing one-end-against-the-other.

    (A post for another time, perhaps, but it was a really fascinating visit. )

  8. #88
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    There's no doubt that Rafsanjani's election to head the Assembly of Experts is a blow to Ahmadinejad (although its not clear what role Khameini played in it, since much had to do with the views of Assembly members). I don't know enough about the new IRGC commander to have a view on that.

    However, it is hard to read the Supreme Leader--I was in Tehran a few months ago, and spoke at the Center for Strategic Studies (the Expediency Council's foreign policy think tank). I didn't get the sense that the Rafsanjani people felt that they were truly in ascendency, that their position was secure, or that Khameini had come down definitively against Ahmadinejad. There's a lot of playing one-end-against-the-other.

    (A post for another time, perhaps, but it was a really fascinating visit. )
    Make a great article for the SWJ Blog, Rex.

    Best

    Tom

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    Council Member phoenix80's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Unfortunately these guys who won another sham election are no moderate and this guy Rafsanjani is a murderer and a corrupt person.

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    Exclamation Iranian Military Photos






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    Unfortunately these guys who won another sham election are no moderate and this guy Rafsanjani is a murderer and a corrupt person.
    Are there any major players who aren't?

    It's a serious quiestion.

  12. #92
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    [/IMG]






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    IRGC special forces during an exercise




  14. #94
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    IRGC special unit

    Note the M-16 rifles and American-looking Helmets



    Last edited by phoenix80; 09-11-2007 at 06:31 AM.

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    UK built hovercrafts and also the Russian built Kilo class submarine of the regular Iranian navy

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    Are there any major players who aren't?

    It's a serious quiestion.
    Unfortunately the state run reforms are fake and can't be trusted. There is, however, secular students, teachers and labor unions who really want to see the change coming. But they also expect the US government to help them in this. They must be helped though.

    I am sure you follow the Iranian affairs and you may wonder whats going on inside that horrible regime. For one thing what the theocratic regime of Iran calls "reformists" is non-existence and those who are so-called reformers won't change the system. They may want to make some changes to it but overall they r not sincere in doing so becuz they dont care what PEOPLE want. They care about how the entire system looks and works better. In other words: they look for ways to prolong the regime for as long as possible and thru any possible way.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Here is the hard quesiton.

    How can the US government help them?

    Perhaps this should be a Thread of its own.

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    F-4E carrying AGM-65B




    Iran took delivery of more than 200 F-4s between 1969-1978. These pics taken a few months ago showing IRIAF phantoms II carrying LAU/3A rocket pods during an aerial exercise.



    Newly built Qassed air to surface missile (a copy of GBU-15)...

  19. #99
    Council Member phoenix80's Avatar
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    Iranian Navy special boat service unit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    How can the US government help them?
    Dial back the rhetoric and do as little as possible. Any overt attempt to 'assist' will provide ammunition to the opposition. Being seen as supported by the US is not going to be a bonus they will need to sway their peers on their own.

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