Iran’s Only Female Olympian Defects, Calls Out Government “Hypocrisy”


Kimia Alizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympian
who won a bronze medal in Taekwondo in 2016, has announced she is defecting from the Country. Her announcement comes a day after Iran admitted
shooting down a Ukranian plane that had 176 civilians on it. U.S. State Department official Morgan Ortagus
reacted to the news on Twitter, writing: #KimiaAlizadeh, Iran’s only female Olympic
medalist, has rejected the regime’s oppression of women. She has defected for a life of security, happiness,
and freedom. #Iran will continue to lose more strong women
unless it learns to empower and support them. — Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January
12, 2020 FoxNews reports Iran’s only female Olympic
medalist has reportedly defected, posting a goodbye letter to Iran on Saturday, calling
out the government’s “hypocrisy” as she announced she had permanently left the
country. “Should I start with hello, goodbye, or
condolences?” Taekwondo athlete, Kimia Alizadeh, 21, posted
on her Instagram in Farsi, Agence France-Presse reported. Alizadeh did not disclose where she was going,
but Iran’s ISNA news agency reported she had gone to the Netherlands, according to
AFP. The Iranian report quoted Alizadeh’s coach
as saying the athlete was injured and did not show up for trials ahead of the 2020 Summer
Olympics in Tokyo. The Olympian’s announcement came just a
day after Iranian officials admitted to downing a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing 176 people
minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s international airport early Wednesday due to “human error,”
thinking it was a military aircraft. She accused the Iranian government of “lying”
and “injustice” toward Iranian athletes, adding all she wants is “Taekwondo, security
and a happy and healthy life,” according to AFP. Alizadeh won a bronze medal in Taekwondo at
the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She said she wore everything the government
asked her to wear, referring to the head covering all Iranian female athletes must wear, and
wrote she “repeated everything they told me to say…None of us matter to them.”

Iranian Diplomat Says IAEA Undermined Recent Talks to Satisfy Israel and West


PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Washington. In the war of words between Iran and the United
States and Israel over what U.S. and Israel claim is a weapons program in Iran, nuclear
weapons program, much of this hinges on the assessment of the IAEA, the International
Atomic Energy Agency, which under its leader ElBaradei consistently said there was no objective,
scientifically verifiable evidence that there was a nuclear weapons program in Iran. But
there’s a new leader at the IAEA, and under this new leadership the words and language
and reports coming out of the IAEA have set another tone. Now joining us to talk about that and a recent
visit of the IAEA to Iran is Gareth Porter. Gareth’s an investigative journalist and historian,
often contributor to The Real News, and he now joins us from Doha, where he is in the
midst of a trip around the region. Thanks for joining us, Gareth. GARETH PORTER: Thanks very much, Paul. JAY: So talk about this recent trip of the
IAEA to Iran, what happened, because much was made of it. It was supposed to have been
a trip that would be sort of the test for the Iranians: are they really going to cooperate
or not? And then the IAEA comes back and says they’re not being cooperative. And this of
course added fuel to the fire being built by those who would like to see more pressure
or even a military attack on Iran. So what did you find? PORTER: Well, you’re absolutely right that
the February trip by a delegation from the IAEA led by the head of the surveillance part
of the IAEA, the safeguards division of the organization, Herman Nackaerts of Belgium,
the world’s press was basically told immediately after the delegation had left Tehran that
the Iranians had been uncooperative and that this was a huge disappointment. And then you
had various other people, anonymous sources, being quoted in the media saying the same
thing, that Iran had had the opportunity to show that they would be cooperative with the
IAEA, and particularly cooperative on the question of allowing them to visit Parchin,
and that the Iranians had failed in that test and had shown that they were still on a track
that was refusing cooperation with the IAEA. That was the overwhelming–in fact, I would
say, the universal message that came from the world’s news media after that [crosstalk] JAY: Yeah, the head of the IAEA said that–essentially,
that they wanted to get to Parchin quickly because there had been some evidence that
they were trying to clean something up and they wanted to know what that something was. PORTER: That’s right. That’s what Yukiya Amano,
the present director general of the IAEA, was saying after the board of governors meeting
had begun in early March. March 5 was when it began. And that, of course, added more
fuel to the fires with regard to this whole theme that Iran was hiding something at this
military site in Parchin. And you’re right that there were, of course,
news stories based on a single story from Associated Press in Vienna by George Jahn,
who’s been the source of a number of leaks by Israel and its friends in Vienna against
Iran, that there was reason to believe, from photographic evidence, from satellite photographs,
that Iran was more active in Parchin and that this might mean that there was an intention
to clean up this site that the IAEA was asking to visit. JAY: You spoke to the Iranian representative. PORTER: That’s right. It’s the permanent representative
of Iran to the IAEA in Vienna, Ali Asghar Soltanieh. He’s been there for several years,
certainly one of the most experienced diplomats in Vienna with regard to the International
Atomic Energy Agency. And I did have a couple of hours’ interview with Soltanieh. It was
very revealing, because he had made a decision, for the first time, I think, in the days before
I had arrived, to reveal the details of those negotiations, those talks that he had had,
because he led the Iranian delegation to that meeting in Tehran, February 20-21, with the
IAEA delegation, and he was able to give chapter and verse about exactly what happened. And what I learned was that in fact the two
sides had met before the February 20-21 set of meetings in Tehran. There had been meetings
between a January session in Tehran and the February session in Vienna. In fact, there
were several meetings between Soltanieh and two high officials of the IAEA, which he called
intersessional meetings, at which they had made substantial progress toward a negotiating
draft, which was to be the basis for this set of negotiations in February. And in that
set of intersessional meetings, that series of intersessional meetings, what Soltanieh
told me was that they had agreed, the two sides had agreed that the request for visit
to Parchin, which the IAEA delegation had made in Tehran in January, they agreed to
put it off until after the board of governors meeting in March. And he didn’t go into detail
about that, but I think that it was implicit that from the Iranian side it was not a good
time for the IAEA to visit, to ask to visit Parchin, because the parliamentary elections
were being held, the election for the majlis in Iran was being held in March, and this
issue of bowing to international pressure to visit a military base in Iran (which had
already been visited twice in 2005, and they had found nothing) was an issue that the hardliners
would be able to exploit against the government of President Ahmadinejad, so there was some
anxiety about bowing to the IAEA on this issue before the parliamentary elections in Iran.
And I have a feeling that that was explained to the IAEA, and they said, okay, we understand;
we will wait until after the board of governors meeting in March. JAY: So there’s a matter of waiting a few
weeks. PORTER: That’s right, just a few weeks. But
what happens then, as Soltanieh explained it to me, was that when the delegation showed
up in Tehran on February 20, he was surprised to learn that they were demanding immediately
that there would be a visit to Parchin to see this site which the IAEA had written about
in its November 2011 report as where there was supposed to have been a containment vessel
built a decade ago, supposedly for experiments on nuclear weapons–to experiment to see if
a nuclear weapons design would work, using hydrodynamic weapon testing, which means no
use of fissile material. Now, what happened was that, of course, the
Iranians said no, you had agreed in the intersessional meetings that you’d put this off; so we can’t
do this on such short notice; that’s impossible. And then, of course, what the IAEA delegation
did was, after it left Tehran, it raised this issue as though this was a shock to the IAEA
that it couldn’t visit Parchin and evidence that Iran was not being cooperative. So that
was the first point that was really quite important in terms of setting the record straight
about what actually happened. JAY: Now, has there been any response from
the IAEA, since this became public, about their side of what happened at these meetings
in Tehran? PORTER: No. I specifically requested a comment
from the IAEA when I was writing my story. I sent them a draft of the story and said,
would you comment on the accuracy of the account being given by Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the Iranian
ambassador? They simply referred me to very brief remarks by Yukiya Amano at the board
of governors meeting, in which he said–he challenged, without being specific, the accuracy
of Soltanieh’s comments to the board of governors meeting. And that’s all they told me. [crosstalk] JAY: Now, there’s been some critique of Amano
for politicizing the IAEA. He was, apparently, the–when there was the elections for the
new director of the IAEA, he was, apparently, backed by the United States. And there’s been
a lot of critique that he’s been saying things that the U.S. and Israel want to hear. People
like even Hans Blix have said this is not evidence-based reporting that’s coming from
the IAEA. There seems to be some spin being added. PORTER: Well, I would say it’s even worse
than that, Paul, because what happened was that Yukiya Amano was elected with a very
concerted diplomatic effort by the United States after having specifically assured the
U.S. delegation to the IAEA in Vienna that he was on the U.S. side on the key issues
that the agency was going to be dealing with, and particularly on the issue of Iran. JAY: And some of this came out in WikiLeaks
to some extent, did it? PORTER: That’s right. That was revealed in
WikiLeaks documents that were released last year. JAY: So–yeah, go ahead. PORTER: So no question that Amano was in fact
carrying the water of the United States, as well as the other coalition members supporting
the United States-Israeli position on the issue of Iran. And I think it’s important
to understand here that what the IAEA’s supposed to be doing on behalf of the coalition, the
anti-Iran coalition, is to keep Iran in the dock, as it were, in the court of world opinion
as represented by the IAEA, accused of being uncooperative, accused of hiding things, so
that the United States and its allies can pass the harshest possible sanctions and continue
to keep now a diplomatic pressure on Iran as they prepare for a set of talks which are
apparently to come in April. JAY: I think one thing that’s–if I understand
all of this correctly, that’s being lost in the public discussion of this is that Iran
actually had essentially agreed to a plan put forward by, I think, Brazil and Turkey
to stop enriching its own uranium and be supplied with 20 percent enriched uranium. I mean,
where is that all at? Because if there’s going to be a diplomatic solution, it seems to be
that’s where it’s going to be found. PORTER: Well, there’s no doubt that that is
going to be the first step. I think both sides understand that there has to be a deal on
the 20 percent enriched uranium and how to dispose of that issue, because it’s been regarded,
it’s been treated in the West as new evidence of Iran’s intention to go for nuclear weapons,
even though I think it’s quite clear and I think it’s understood by, certainly, the experts
on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program that this is not at all dispositive evidence of
Iran’s intentions. But, nevertheless, there has to be a deal under which the 20 percent
enriched uranium that’s already been enriched is shipped out of the country, that 20 percent
enriched–that the enrichment of 20 percent stops, and that Iran then is clear of that
issue. It will then continue to get–under some sort of deal here it would continue to
get 20 percent enriched uranium for its Tehran research reactor for a considerable period
of time. JAY: So there seems to be a pretty clear path
to what a deal would look like. But one thing that comes out of this interview that you
did with the Iranian representative to the IAEA is the political character of the Iranian
side is that they cannot make a deal that looks like a capitulation. But when you listen
to the rhetoric from both United States and Iran–I mean, particularly–I’m sorry–Israel,
particularly Israel, but also most of the rhetoric coming from the United States, there
is no face-saving way to make that deal, ’cause it’s being done under such barrage of threats
of everything has to be on the table that any deal’s going to look like a capitulation. PORTER: Well, I mean, that depends, of course,
on whether the United States is going to continue to try to insist that Iran has to stop enrichment.
I mean, I think that is the absolute epicenter of this possible deal. In addition to sort
of dealing with this 20 percent enrichment issue, there has to be some kind of understanding
that will allow Iran to continue enrichment in some form, but with much more intrusive
inspection regime. And the Iranians have already said that they’re willing to agree to that
kind of rough sketch of a deal under which they would have the right to enrich, but that
there would be–they would agree to what they call the advanced program for surveillance
of the additional–excuse me–the additional surveillance program. JAY: Well, then, so why isn’t there a deal?
If they’re ready to agree to that, then why not a deal? PORTER: Well, up to now the United States,
Israel, and the European allies have been unwilling to say that they are ready to allow
Iran to enrich uranium. That has been a red line that they’ve not been willing to cross.
They been willing to say only that you are–you know, we are not going to say that you don’t
have legal right to enrich, but you’re going to have to stop enrichment for as long as
we say it has to be stopped, and we’ll tell you when we’re ready to say that we are accepting
your bona fides. And, of course, that is not the same as a deal under which Iran can continue
enrichment. JAY: Thanks for joining us, Gareth. PORTER: Alright. Thank you. JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

Breaking News: Israel attacks Iranian army base!


Growing up in Israel we are all too familiar with the sights and sounds of war. I personally recall as a child sitting on the cold floor inside the bomb shelter listening to the radio talking about the war raging outside our walls. I didn’t understand much of what was said but I knew that my father couldn’t be there with us because he was drafted to reserve duty defending our lives. A few years later, when I was serving during the first Gulf war I remember my heartbeat getting faster and faster as I put on my gas mask. We’ve just had a very intense 24 hours here in Israel. President Trump announced that the US is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal which in his words is ‘defective at its core’. Minutes later, Israel destroyed an Iranian army base outside of Damascus which in turn led to Iran threatening to attack Israel. It is no secret that Iran is funding and arming Hezbollah who are north of Israel, as well as Hamas, in the east and south trying to ambush Israel while clearly stating that their “calling” is to destroy Israel. To wipe us off the face of the earth. We shouldn’t be surprised about this. Scripture tells us that in the last days Iran (Persia) will be in the coalition coming against Jerusalem. It might not yet be that specific war but perhaps this is the sight of the first cloud before a massive storm. But it’s not just the physical bodies that we are worried about during these tough times. It is the urgency of sharing the only message of hope with our people and calling them to return to our God by accepting Yeshua. He’s the only eternal refuge that no missile can ever destroy. Following the Assyrian exile of Israel’s 10 tribes king Hezekiah called upon the people of Israel to return to our God: “Children of Israel!” “Turn again unto the Lord God” “of Abraham, Isaac and Israel” “and He will return the remnant” “of you that escaped out of the” “hands of the kings of Assyria.” How can you pray for Israel at this time? As Jewish Israeli believers in Yeshua (Jesus) we urge you to please pray with us for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers to His field. The peace we are hoping for is first and foremost the peace that surpasses understanding that can only come from the Prince of Peace Yeshua, our Messiah.

Iraq suspends consulate operations in Iranian city following diplomat arrests


iraq is suspending consulate operations
in Iran following the arrest and torture of Iraqi diplomats Iraq’s a foreign
ministry said Tuesday that the suspension will be lifted if Iran
apologizes for the attack iranian security forces arrested two iraqi
diplomats during their trip to the iraqi consulate and mashra last Saturday the
diplomats were later released without bail but Iran has yet to provide an
explanation for the arrests the arrest of diplomats is unusual as the two
countries have established stronger diplomatic and economic ties in recent
years

Iranian In L.A.: More Than Just A Stereotype [Becoming Iranian-American, Pt. 2] | AJ+


“First off, I want to know how you guys identify yourselves.” “How do you identify?” “Depends if we’re at TSA or not.” Hi, I’m Yara. In episode 1 of this series, I explored a slice of Iran in Los Angeles, also known as “Tehrangeles.” But now, I want to see how young Iranian-Americans are breaking down the stereotypes and assumptions a lot of other people might have about us. There’s a certain stereotype about Iranian-Americans, especially those in Los Angeles. “White BMW.” That they’re rich, shallow and made for reality TV. “Ohhhhh, like a Persian.” But I personally don’t relate to those depictions at all. I’m definitely not flashy. I mean, I wear the same pair of black pants every single day. But I do change my socks. And many young Iranian-Americans don’t relate to these stereotypes, either. Like Alex Shams, who grew up in L.A. He showed me a side of the Iranian-American community here that you don’t see on TV. And, surprise, he doesn’t have any gold chains or drive a white BMW. “We are in downtown Los Angeles, in the jewelry district. So there’s a lot of gold shops everywhere around us, and jewelry shops of all kinds, with a lot of Iranians working around here.” Alex showed me how Tehrangeles extends far beyond its symbolic center in Westwood, and into downtown L.A.’s jewelry and garment districts. “Many Iranian merchants here, in the valley and many other places, they end up learning Spanish because most of their clients, for example, are Spanish-speaking.” “Oh my god.” “I just want to hear a mixture of both: “I found two Iranians who speak Spanish!” “What do people misunderstand about the Iranian community in L.A.?” “I think there’s a certain image that many people outside of Los Angeles have of Iranians, particularly because of shows like Shahs of Sunset which show this kind of really particular Westwood, rich Beverly Hills, L.A. Iranian that I think is definitely a part of the community, it’s definitely a part of what’s happening, but it’s so much more diverse than that. Both in terms of the neighborhoods that Iranians live in across the city, and the kinds of jobs they’re doing, the kind of lifestyles they have, socio-economically.” Alex is right. There are wealthy and working-class Iranians. Secular and religious Iranians. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian and Baha’i Iranians. Just about every kind of Iranian you can think of lives in L.A. Including some incredible artists and musicians. “Sometimes I’ll hear a melody, and it’ll be a melody that needs voice, but it won’t sound good in English. So it needs to have Farsi words on it. Because the Persian language is so sweet and melodic.” This is Chloe Pourmorady. She’s an Iranian-American Jewish musician who’s never been to Iran, but she’s fully in touch with her Iranian – or Persian – identity. “I feel so, so blessed to have been brought up here, because I think this is the closest place outside of Iran that you can get to Iran. If you want to really immerse yourself in Persian culture, you can do that very easily in Los Angeles. People call me American, but it’s still something in my heart that doesn’t resonate so much. I feel in my heart the Persian is first.” “Does your Jewish faith incorporate itself into your music?” “Spiritually it does. I sometimes use text from the Torah. Very beautiful, very poetic texts, much like you would find in poetry of Rumi or Hafez or something like this.” Chloe’s music is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It’s part Persian, Jewish, Turkish, Greek and Balkan. “I remember I had a composition professor. He found out I was both Iranian and Jewish, he was very startled. He said, ‘You’re Jewish? I thought you were Iranian,’ not thinking that it’s possible to be both. Which it totally is.” The Iranian Jewish community is a huge part of the Tehrangeles story. They’ve opened restaurants, …supermarkets… …and even pharmacies. And that’s just a small taste of how they’ve shaped L.A. It was obvious to me the “Shahs of Sunset” stereotype is really blown out of proportion. But there’s also another stereotype that young Iranian-Americans also have to grapple with. That of the dangerous, scary Middle Easterner. [screaming] “Our biggest threat is now Iran.” To talk about this, I caught up with Justin and Fatemeh Mashouf, an Iranian-American couple who are also practicing Muslims. “Oh yeah, by the way, so Justin breakdances.” Justin is half-Iranian, and in 2007 he traveled to Iran to make a documentary about breakdancing. It was his way of trying to bridge the gap between Iran and the United States. “Coming back to the U.S., I was interrogated at Homeland Security, and all of the footage that I had shot in Iran was confiscated from me. And I had to do multiple, extensive interviews with the FBI in order to regain the footage. It was a huge kind of blow, I think, to my own sense of feeling, being an American because, all of a sudden, it was like, ‘What the hell are you doing? You’re treating me like a terrorist.’” Iranian-Americans and other Middle Easterners are marked as “white” by the U.S. government. But a lot of us don’t agree with being labeled that way. Many like Justin have grown up with constant reminders that they are not white, especially after 9/11 and the “War on Terror.” “College applications, job applications, Iranian-Americans are confronted with this question, ‘What race are you?’” “Even though I know I’m technically supposed to check ‘white,’ no, I’m not going to.” “My whole life, I’ve always just put ‘other,’ and then put, you know, ‘Iranian-American.’ Even though people would see me as, like, ‘Whatever, you’re white, just put the Caucasian box.’ I would just, I would always say I’m biracial.” “In the Iranian-American community, what is it like being, kind of, I guess I can say a devout or a practicing Muslim?” “I grew up in a Muslim household where, amidst all my cousins and aunts and uncles, we were the most Muslim of them. So I constantly had this struggle to figure out, like, well, how Muslim do I want to be?” While most Iranians have a Muslim background, those in L.A. are predominantly secular. So life as a practicing Muslim here can sometimes be difficult. “If I’m going to wear hijab, it really creates a bind for me to be able to connect with Iranians. For the first time, with the travel ban, I feel like Iranians are kind of coming together and saying no – as a people, we stand up and say that this is wrong.” “We named him after he was born. We decided for Sajjad Ali. And it became very important for us that just because he can pass off as white, because he is three-quarters Persian, and because we want him to identify as Muslim, that his name precedes all of that.” There was one more thing I had to do while I was in L.A.: get some amazing Iranian food. Alex recommended a place called It’s All Good House of Kabob, a restaurant you’d only find in Tehrangeles. Just look at the walls. This is the only place in America I’ve seen serve Isfahani biryani. It’s kind of like a really flavorful Iranian lamb burger with lots of herbs and spices. “This is what happens when you try to eat for a camera.” “Was there ever a moment in your life when you became more aware of your, sort of, Iranian identity?” “When the U.S. invaded Iraq, I was at a school where there were actually no Iranians. People would call me ‘Saddam Hussein’ and ‘Osama bin Laden’ in the halls.” “Oh my god.” “The difference between an Iraqi, an Afghan, an Iranian or anything else didn’t really matter. There was a kind of hatred towards Muslims, towards people who look Muslim.” “I very much wanted to blend in, I didn’t want to look different. I mean, obviously I had these eyebrows and these facial features. Interestingly enough, yeah, the mustache just came out very quickly, I should say.” “Hair developing quickly is a big theme with Iranians, I think. It’s the moment when you realize there’s something different about you. That’s when your whiteness suddenly falls apart.” “Here’s the big question. Persian or Iranian or Iranian-American or something else?” “I prefer to identify myself as Iranian, and often I specify Iranian from Los Angeles because I really do feel like the fact that I’m from Los Angeles adds a certain dimension to my Iranian-ness that for me is like powerful. This combination of people, this diversity that exists in Los Angeles, I think, has really shaped how I think about being Iranian.” Talking to young Iranian-Americans in L.A., I’ve realized something: Despite all the stereotypes and discrimination, a lot of us are actually embracing our Iranian-ness. It made me think about my own dual identity, as someone who didn’t grow up in Tehrangeles. I wanted to talk to my family about what they went through. And how that’s helped me become my own version of Iranian-American. So we’ve given you a little taste of L.A.’s Iranian community in the past two episodes, but the truth is, there’s little pockets of Tehrangeles all over southern California — in Glendale, Irvine, Palos Verdes — everywhere. In the next episode, though, we’re heading back to northern California to interview my own parents. Don’t forget to subscribe for more stories from Untold America.

The 110-Year Story of the Iranian Revolution


Iran is a country that gets a lot of attention. Whether its nuclear ambitions are the target
of a broad multilateral deal… or at least it was… or as a significant player in middle-eastern
politics. To many, Iran is one of the chief bad guy
countries in the world right now. Heck, they were even part of the Axis of Evil. However, you and I both know that when powerful
nations portray another country as irredeemably evil, that way more is going on. Let’s look at the origin story for the Iran
of today. Hi, I’m Tristan Johnson, and this is Step
Back History, where we see history sideways. Iran today is one of the big players in the
middle-east. People have been living there for an absurd
amount of time. A scale set in the multiples of thousands
of years. It has gone through many different religions,
cultural upheavals, and dynasties. The Iran of today has no king, however. It’s an Islamic Republic, a sort of mix of
theocracy and democratic republic. The origins of Iran in its modern form traces
its roots to the late 1970s, but the story of how we got to the Iran of today is a bit
older. Our story starts during a game, well the great
game. The Russian empire in the north, and the British
from India in the south treated this region as a massive game of Settlers of Catan in
the 19th century. In a series of wars of conquests, Iran, called
Persia lost much of their autonomy to foreign influence. Local merchants struggled to compete with
the colonial advantages of Europeans bringing in goods. This manifested in a wave of anger towards
the ruling Qajar dynasty. They believed he was a leader who cared little
about his citizens. Probably because he did things like give British
entrepreneur Julius de Reuter the right to control all of Persia’s factories, mills,
resources, roads, telegraphs, and many other public works in exchange for a cut of the
profits. However, the anger erupted when the leader
Nasir al-din Shah, who you might remember from my Baha’i video, allowed for the British
to hold a monopoly on tobacco in Persia. The angry hundreds of thousands who would
lose their livelihood from this deal pounded the streets to protest this monopoly. But what’s important is that the merchants
got help from a group called the ulema, the Islamic scholar class. These were the people who ran the schools,
charities and judged court cases. The ulema declared an 1891 fatwa or Islamic
legal decision outlawing the use of tobacco. The fatwa functioned as a successful tobacco
boycott. The Shah cancelled the deal, and another fatwa
allowed for smoking again. This action was vital because it was when
the Marja al-Taqlid, the highest religious and legal authorities in Twelver Shia Islam,
flexed their power against the Shah. Something which would lead Iran down the path
to revolution. Iranians call this period of protest the Tobacco
Rebellion. The victory was short. The financial situation of Persia led to the
next ruler Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar to make more concessions to foreign, but especially
Russian influence. His own lifestyle costs resulted in the Shah
seeking out loans from the British and the Russians. To pay back that loan, Iran levied tariffs. These taxes led to another uprising similar
to the Tobacco Rebellion. To receive sanctuary from the Persian government
protestors took refuge in an important mosque. However, the government violated the sanctity
of the mosque to disperse the crowd. This incident made the demonstrators explode
in number, and tons of people agitated to oppose the Shah. Protestors clashed with Russian elite Cossack
troops. A descendant of Muhammad himself died in the
fray, and the protests never ceased. The demonstrators eventually forced the Shah
to dismiss his Prime-minister and give power over to a House of Justice, which would ultimately
become a parliament. The Persians made a constitution for the first
time. Figuring out how to make a new parliament
work is a fairly unstable process. After the Constitutional Revolution, a Persian
Cossack general took power in a coup in 1921. The general deposed the last Qajar Shah and
paved the way to make a constitutional monarchy. He went by the name Reza Shah. He reformed the relationship with Russia with
a treaty of friendship with the USSR. This new Shah tried to implement many pro-western
reforms, including the replacement of the Islamic legal code. This included brutal crackdowns on Islamic
clothing like the hijab. Police would tear them off women in the streets
who wore the veil in protest of the reforms. As you can imagine, this made this new Shah
less than popular. Remember all those concessions of Iran’s resources
to European powers? Well, one resource becoming more and more
relevant was oil. The monopoly company was called the Anglo-Persian
or Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The company grew very profitable, as in THE
MOST PROFITABLE COMPANY ON EARTH. And guess how much of that immense wealth
was moving to anyone but the Shah? Come on, guess, It’s a number between one
and negative one. Iranians lived in poverty while the British
oil barons pumped the most essential resource on earth from under their territory. Those oil barons would later go on to become
British Petroleum or BP today! Luckily, Persia was now a democracy! The protestors listened to all the nice liberals,
and instead of just being angry on the streets they made their voices known with their ballots. In 1951, the Iranians exercised their freedoms
and elected a new Prime Minister who vowed to bring the resource wealth of Iran back
to Iranians. His name was Mohammad Mosaddegh. Hey! Success! Iran’s wealth was going to belong to its people
again! Score for the good guys. Well… The British didn’t take this rebuff so well
and used their navy to impose an embargo on the Persian Gulf against Iran. Mosaddegh didn’t budge. He told the newspapers that he’d rather be
fried in Iranian oil than give any of it to the British. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill tried
to organise an armed invasion of Iran to force the Mosaddegh to surrender Iran’s sovereignty,
but American President Harry Truman put the kybosh on that. Churchill tried to form a coup, but Mosaddegh
ordered all British ambassadors to leave and shuttered their embassy before he could do
it. So what’s a racist imperial warmonger like
Churchill to do when the Iranians won’t turn over their resources to you, and the Americans
won’t help out? Leisurely, just wait for the Republicans to
get elected. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower was elected president. And we cant let those nonwhite countries control
their own oil, can we? In January 1953, the CIA and the state department
let the British know that the US had their backs. It was time to remove Mossadegh. To destroy the only democratic government
in Iran’s multimillennial long history. Now, this event should be its own video so
I will go over the next events very quickly. The CIA orchestrated a coup of Mossadegh in
something called Operation Ajax. The CIA installed a brief military dictatorship
to impose the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to rule as a more powerful monarch. Just one more event in a long chain of the
US stomping out inconvenient democracies to install pro-American dictators. I’m sure there will be many many MANY more
videos in my future on these types of events. Hey doesn’t that explain why the Iranians
don’t like the US? Nah, couldn’t be. What’s a little toppling your elected government
to put in a repressive dictator between friends? Anyways, without that inconvenient democracy
to slow him down, the Shah set forth on a series of significant reforms in Iran collectively
called the White Revolution. Some of these reforms were pretty good things. Some of them were kinda terrible things. All of them garnered a mounting traditionalist
backlash that now associated stuff like the enfranchisement of women and literacy corps
with the fist of US imperialism. Interventionism just always works out well,
doesn’t it? The White Revolution was another stab at westernisation,
as well as an attempt to dismantle the major institutions in the country that opposed the
Shah’s rule like the merchants or those pesky Islamic scholars. His efforts to limit the powers of landlords
and the aristocracy (except himself of course) led to the Shah making new enemies. Land reforms and education produced lots of
urban workers and intellectuals, none big fans of the monarchy. Especially since the government outlawed unions,
political parties, and independent media. Oh, and the Shah believed in the nonsense
of trickle-down economics. The inequality gap grew massive, and that
doesn’t make you friends. The Shah appeared despotic and disinterested
with the welfare of the people. Probably because the Shah was despotic and
disinterested in the welfare of the people. Do you know who did seem to have the interests
of the massive numbers of unlanded labourers at heart? Those Islamic scholars and clergy from earlier
in this video. One particular cleric important to this story
was the Ayatolla, an important title in the Twelver Shia faith. His name was Ruhollah Khomeini. During these changes, Knomeini emerged on
the scene as a prominent enemy of the Shah. He declared the Shah’s actions as setting
Iran on an inevitable path towards ruin. After leading a series of significant agitations,
the Shah exiled Khomeini from Iran, where he lived for fifteen years in Iraq and later
in France. Khomeini’s influence was not gone, and the
pieces he set in motion did not go away. He developed ideas through his writing formalising
the opposition to the Shah’s reforms in the context of an international movement against
western imperialism. He combined these ideas with an Islamic legal
code that opponents of the Shah saw as the way to liberate the colonised world from westerners. Those opposing the Shah began to espouse this
ideology which included the concept of a nation ruled by an Islamic scholar class. The opponents to the Shah were not only religious
authorities. Those who wanted to see a return of Iran’s
democracy agitated against the Shah’s actions as well. These included Marxist groups and liberals
who wanted to bring back the constitutional monarchy. Khomeini, despite being against these actions
managed to sway these groups under his leadership by focusing on the common issues they held
together. Things were unsteady but hadn’t yet boiled
over into straight-up revolution. It would take a few events over the 70s to
bring things to a breaking point. Some extravagant spending here, inflation
and growing inequality there, oh, and of course a new tax. Finally, the secret police of Iran, the SAVAK
were put to blame for the death of a prominent Islamist scholar, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s
own son. The funeral for his son brought the Ayatollah
back into Iran’s attention. Mourning events happened in major cities around
the country for the Ayatollah’s son. Soon after, an anonymous article denouncing
Khomeini sparked a protest by seminary students in the city of Qom. The clash with the police resulted in the
death of as many as seventy protestors and as many as 500 injuries. The death of the students pressured the more
moderate clergy members to get involved in the protests against the Shah. The alliance between merchants and clergy
dating all the way back to the Tobacco Rebellion allowed for a movement to quickly develop
around the country. These turned into significant protests, which
escalated into full riots. The government deployed the army to suppress
the uprising, with death tolls varying wildly by as many as hundreds and as few as six. The government was not ready to handle protests
on such a scale. Police didn’t even have riot gear, and often
they needed the military to intervene, and despite orders to not use deadly force did
anyway. This response led to various acts of escalation,
such as the burning down of a movie theatre with over 400 people inside with the doors
barred. Both sides blamed each other for the fire. By August of 1977, the number of protestors
numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Rampant inflation led to austerity, which
put lots of young men out of work. Woe to anybody who makes an enemy of a lot
of unemployed young men. It’s the universal symbol some severe stuff’s
going to go down. The government declared martial law after
the bombing of a bus full of American workers. The Prime Minister resigned. The Shah responded by trying to appoint a
prime minister he thought the protestors might like and attempting to appease their every
demand. The martial law involved a curfew, which the
government stayed for an event called Eid-e-Fitr, the big celebration at the end of the Islamic
holy month of Ramadan. What was intended for an open prayer ceremony
quickly became a march of between 200 and 500,000 people. The protestors demanded the Shah let Khomeini
return, and make Iran into the Islamic Republic he had written about. Four days later, 5,000 protestors took to
the streets in violation of the curfew and clashed with Iranian troops. The soldiers fired into the mob, murdering
64 protestors in an event now known as Black Friday. By the end of the day, Iranian soldiers killed
89 people. This shocked and appalled the Shah, but the
responsibility rested upon him. Workers began to strike, starting the day
after Black Friday and bubbling into a general strike by late October. Most workers in Iran had walked off the job. The Shah tried to increase wages and appease
the strikers, hoping to ease the strike down. The Ayatollah moved from Iraq to France, which
with a better telephone and postage system allowed him to exercise a more direct role
in the organisation of the resistance to the Shah. While in Europe, Khomeini took interviews
with western media, portraying himself to the world as a man fighting for the liberation
of the Iranian people. Journalists ate it up, and Khomeini became
a media darling. He forgot to mention that he intended to impose
a theocratic government. In November, the leader of the secular resistance
and Khomeini met to draft a new Iranian constitution; one that would turn Iran into a democracy,
and follow Islamic legal authority. It was the solidifying of an alliance between
those that opposed the Shah on constitutional and on religious grounds. In Iran, protestors destroyed symbols of the
west and the government. Demonstrators clashed with the military in
a massive riot in Tehran. Those young unemployed boys trashed Tehran
in an event called the day Tehran burned. Eventually, the army and the police gave up. In response, the Shah fired the Prime Minister
and appointed a military government. That day he made a fateful speech on state
television, claiming he was necessary to see the changes they want, and admitting wrongdoing
in the corruption and excesses of his regime. Khomeini responded saying that there would
be no reconciliation and that the only solution was to depose the Shah. The revolutionaries didn’t see anything but
weakness and were ready to close in with victory in sight. The protestors scheduled massive protests
for Shia holidays venerating early martyrs, bringing out crowds in the millions. They demanded the return of Khomeini and the
resignation of the Shah. Roughly ten percent of Iranians came out for
these demonstrations. Later that month, the Shah did indeed step
down. Khomeini returned to become both the religious
and political ruler for life. Now, the leadership of the revolution was
traditionalist, especially when it came to the role of women in society. At least in theory. In reality, many women voted, marched, and
chanted alongside the men. Khomeini returned to a shell government propped
up by the Shah before he left led by Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar. People cheered the departure of the Shah and
tore down every symbol of the royal rule. Bakhtiar promised an end to authoritarian
rule and the return of a democratic government. He even offered to make a city-state in Qom
like a Shia Vatican City for Khomeini to rule as a spiritual leader. This wouldn’t do to the newly returned Ayatollah. As he needed to take a helicopter to get past
the millions of admirers who came to watch him arrive, he promised to overthrow this
shell government and install a new one based on his Islamic Republican principles. He made a provisional government in direct
opposition to Bakhtiar. Khomeini ordered demonstrations to show how
popular he was and told the Americans to withdraw support for Bakhtiar’s regime. Bakhtiar’s government began to defect, and
the military, unsure of who to support, was paralysed. The rebels got their hands on a weapons depot,
and the military officially announced it was not going to intervene against the revolution. Iran now belonged to Khomeini. Bakhtiar fled the country, living in exile
until his assassination in 1991. Iranians celebrate this period every year
as a national holiday. Hey folks, intermission Tristan here to give
you this week’s CALL TO ACTION. This video was a result of a stretch goal
on Patreon. I save my juicy controversial, likely to get
demonetised videos for these goals. Next up is a history of Al-Qaeda. There are a bunch of great perks, including
early access to Step Back Videos. If you can, it would really help to pledge
even as little as a dollar a month over at Patreon.com/StepBackHistory. Now Back to the shoooow. The revolution was over. Ayatollah Khomeini now ruled a country with
a collapsed economy, disorganised military and police, and several rival factions within
the revolution. Khomeini spent the next several years crushing
local rebellions, defeating political rivals, fending off an invasion by Saddam Hussein’s
Iraq, and consolidating his power. The fight was now not against the Shah, but
a clash between those for and against turning Iran into an Islamic fundamentalist state. This consolidation of power rings true of
a lot of revolutions. Angry committees, kangaroo courts, arbitrary
arrests, a lot of executions, and of course a new secret police. Marxists tried to resist the theocratic forces,
but could only hold out for a few months at best. Part of this period of turmoil involved arresting
52 American diplomats, accused of propping up the Shah’s shell government. Iranians surprisingly didn’t forget that coup
in 1953. Iranians kept the hostages for 444 days, resisting
an attempt to free them. Iran quickly emerged as a part of the growing
third world movement. An attempt to deny influence from either the
Americans or the Soviets and forge their own independent path during the Cold War. They supported movements as far abroad as
the Irish Republican Army, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the fight against apartheid
in South Africa, and even the communists of Afghanistan. At home, the revolution went the way Khomeini
wanted. Iran is now the Islamic republic he wrote
about. Women’s rights have massively backslid, and
the Iranian government routinely comes under fire for its brutal executions. Human rights abuses run rampant, and no one
seems more angry about it these days than the Iranians themselves. In the last several years, massive protests
have picked up against the rule of Khomeini’s successor Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei. Inequality is increasing, and the pinch of
sustained sanctions is causing unrest. Iran’s revolution is in a critical phase. Coming up on 40 years later, a whole generation
without any experience of the revolution has come of age, and they want the same things
everyone wants, and it seems this regime has been having trouble providing it. Today, because of this act of rebellion, Iran
is an international pariah state. Attempts to bring them into the international
community are often torpedoed by the British or the United States. They are a country today embattled on all
sides by growing US imperialism in their neighbours such as the early 2000s American conquest
of Iraq. Their attempt to develop nuclear power in
this context was met with a few thinking face emojis. Several international attempts to stop it
included a surprisingly sophisticated cyber attack from the Israeli secret service and
the Obama administration offered to bring them back into the international community
in return for a stay on their nuclear development. That is until someone pulled the US out, killing
the agreement. Iran’s revolution is a modern example of a
familiar story. Colonisation, intervention, and revolution
created this both modern and traditionalist state. Where it goes next is anyone’s guess. Please deposit said guesses down in the comments. Thanks to 12 tone for the theme, and Patreon
patrons Don and Kerry Johnson, Kolbeinn Mani, Garrick Kwan, and Scott Smith. Be sure to subscribe and hit the notification
for more history. Come back next week for more Step Back.

The President's Message to the Iranian People



today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world this holiday is both an ancient ritual and a moment of renewal and I hope that you enjoy this special time of year with friends and family in particular I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran no ruse is just one part of your great and celebrated culture over many centuries your art your music literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans we know that you our great civilization and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world for nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained but at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together indeed you will be celebrating your new year in much the same way that we Americans mark our holidays by gathering with friends and family exchanging gifts and stories and looking to the future with a renewed sense of hope within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day the promise of opportunity for our children security for our families progress for our communities and peace between nations those are shared hopes those are common dreams so in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran's leaders we have serious differences that have grown over time my administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States Iran and the international community this process will not be advanced by threats we seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect you too have a choice the United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations you have that right but it comes with real responsibilities and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms but rather than through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true great of the Iranian people and civilization and the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy it is your demonstrated ability to build and create so on the occasion of your new year I want you the people and leaders of Iran to understand the future that we seek it's a future with renewed exchanges among our people and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce it's a future where the old divisions are overcome where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace I know that this won't be reached easily there are those who insist that we be defined by our differences but let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi so many years ago the children of Adam are limbs to each other having been created of one essence with the coming of a new season were reminded of this precious humanity that we all share and we can once again call upon this spirit as we seek the promise of a new beginning thank you and end a show mama batta you

How Powerful Is Iran's Supreme Leader? | NowThis World



it's no secret that the Islamic Republic of Iran has a complicated and let's call it volatile relationship with the US but this isn't anything new after escalating tensions with Iran and BAE 2018 by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal President Trump did express a willingness to meet with Iran's president Hassan rouhani I believe in meeting I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet and offer rouhani seemed to be open to saying well if the US government is willing let's start right now if there are sincerity Iran has always welcomed dialogue and negotiations but Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was not interested at all and in Iran the supreme leader has the final word which got us thinking just how much power does a Supreme Leader of Iran actually have the Islamic Republic of Iran is a key player in the Middle East and whether it's the wars in Syria and Yemen or its nuclear deal with Western powers the Persian country always seems to be right in the center of controversy and while the country has elected political offices like the presidency and legislative body a lot of power belongs to one man the country's supreme leader and his powers are far-reaching when it comes to politics the supreme leader has direct or indirect power over the executive and legislative bodies of the government through unelected councils that he controls essentially he is the most influential political authority and serves as the head of state so while the country does have a president that position does not wield as much influence as say an American president for example and the same goes for Iran's legislative body for every elected position in the government whether it's the position of presidents or members of Parliament's the body they call the Majlis there are unelected or supervisory positions that kind of actually have the final say when it comes to matters of law and key matters of the state for example the Guardian Council which is an independent unelected body has the power to veto legislation Parliament if it deems the laws unconstitutional or against their interpretation of Islamic law the Guardian Council consists of six theologians appointed by the supreme leader in six jurists who are appointed by the judiciary and approved by Parliament it can also bar candidates from running for political office the Supreme Leader also wields the most influence over the country's military he not only serves as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces but also as a head of the country's intelligence services meaning he alone has the authority to declare war or indent he also controls the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard course which is tasked with preserving and defending the principles of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution Chiefs of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Court can report directly to the Supreme Leader the Supreme Leader can directly bypass the Ministry of Defense directly bypass the president and in fact task heads of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with missions the IRGC is divided into two parks a domestic wing and a foreign wing called the Kurds forces the IRGC codes force takes both revolutionary ideology and hard power and projects it abroad and the IRGC is really one of the chief sources of mischief in the region and is the one that is really the connective glue between Iran and terrorist groups the US State Department classifies Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism in part due to the IRGC seized actions when it comes to the country's economy the Supreme Leader's influence is more indirect than direct according to Talib a meaning his speeches and statements are interpreted by legislators in the President to implement policies but of course the Guardian Council is always there to strike down policies that might be are too far from the Supreme Leader's vision but Iran wasn't always run like this Iran was ruled by monarchs for thousands of years known as Shahs the most recent monarch was Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi who seized power in 1921 after the Pilate dynasty was largely secular pro-western and backed by the United States the rulers were also extremely authoritarian and became increasingly unpopular among some Iranians so in 1979 Islamists leftist students and guerrilla groups came together to protest the Shahs rule over Iran that dissatisfaction culminated in a revolution that out stood the monarchy one person who was instrumental in the Revolution was whoo-hoo-ho meny a shear religious leader who spent 15 years in exile for his opposition to the shops you saw millions of Iranians begin to look to home ad as kind of this umbrella-like figure who would lead the revolutionary charge against the monarchy against the fat levy monarchy and after the monarchy fell in 1979 Khomeini returned to Iran then in December of that year the Islamic Republic of Iran was born and home aney was the first person to become the country Supreme Leader Khomeini died 10 years after leading the revolution and Ali Khamenei took his place he still serves in that role today and the title of supreme leader continues to be the most powerful position in Iran 40 years after the Revolution it's been about 40 years since the position of Supreme Leader was first created in Iran what do you think the future holds for this position will it continue to hold all the power there or will it have to be evolved and change over time let me know what you think in the comments below and don't forget to Like and subscribe