2004 March 17 Wednesday
China To Sell Pakistan Another Nuclear Reactor

Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, reports on attempts by the US, Japan, and France to sell nuclear reactors to China even as China is going to sell another reactor to Pakistan.

Westinghouse in the U.S., Japan's Mitsubishi, and the French firm Areva are so eager to sell China nuclear-power plants that they and their governments are turning a blind eye to an even more troubling nuclear export ó a Chinese deal to sell Islamabad a large reactor. This sale, revealed in the press last week, defies the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines ó rules China says it wants to adhere to and that President Bush is anxious to bolster.

Is this a case of the Bush Administration being more interested in helping to generate sales for Westinghouse? Or does it represent an admisison that if the US doesn't sell reactors to China that our non-ally France will instead? If the US government is going to stop the spread of nuclear weapons it is going to have a play a harder game of diplomatic and economic hardball than it so far has been willing to play. The invasion of Iraq looks to me increasingly like a distraction from the goal of stopping nuclear proliferation while the Bush Administration fails to pursue that important goal with policies sufficient to achieving it.

Here are some details on the China-Pakistan nuclear reactor deal.

The reported conclusion of Pakistan's 'technical negotiations' with China for the proposed sale of a new nuclear reactor, has brought the two countries close to finalising a deal.

The proposed reactor to be known as 'Chashma-2' marks only the second time that Pakistan has bought a nuclear reactor from China following the purchase of the 'Chashma -1' reactor.

Here is a Federation of American Scientists report on Pakistan's nuclear weapons program and the role that China played in it.

In the 1990s, China designed and supplied the heavy water Khusab reactor, which plays a key role in Pakistan's production of plutonium. A subsidiary of the China National Nuclear Corporation also contributed to Pakistan's efforts to expand its uranium enrichment capabilities by providing 5,000 custom made ring magnets, which are a key component of the bearings that facilitate the high-speed rotation of centrifuges.

According to Anthony Cordesman [ParaPundit note: PDF file] of CSIS, China is also reported to have provided Pakistan with the design of one of its warheads, which is relatively sophisticated in design and lighter than U.S. and Soviet designed first generation warheads.

China also provided technical and material support in the completion of the Chasma nuclear power reactor and plutonium reprocessing facility, which was built in the mid 1990s. The project had been initiated as a cooperative program with France, but Pakistan's failure to sign the NPT and unwillingness to accept IAEA safeguards on its entire nuclear program caused France to terminate assistance.

Note that Pakistan's nuclear blackmarketeers sold a Chinese nuclear warhead design on to Libya and may also have sold it to Iran.

The warhead designs were the first hard evidence that the secret network provided its customers with far more than just the technology to turn uranium into bomb fuel. Libyan officials have told investigators that they bought the blueprints from dealers who are part of that network, apparently for more than $50 million. Those blueprints, along with the capability to make enriched uranium, could have given the Libyans all the elements they needed to make a nuclear bomb. What the Libyans purchased, in the words of an American weapons expert who has reviewed the program in detail, was both the kitchen equipment "and the recipes."

Experts familiar with the contents of the box say the designs closely resemble the warheads that China tested in the late 1960's and passed on to Pakistan decades ago.

Pakistan sold nuclear tech designs to Libya even after 9/11.

The timing of the transfer of the centrifuge design from Pakistan calls into question General Musharraf's ability to make good on his vow to President Bush that he would rein in Pakistani scientists selling their nuclear expertise around the globe. The general made that pledge shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States. Yet the main aid to Libya appears to have come since those attacks, suggesting that Pakistani scientists may have continued their trade even after the explicit warning.

While the Pakistanis deny this it is likely that Abdul Qadeer Khan, considered to be the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, probably sold designs and parts with the knowledge of rulers of Pakistan. Also note that Khan's great achievements appear to be the stealing and buying of weapons technology from elsewhere. His biggest accomplishments are not from his own scientific work but rather the acquiring of nuclear technology elsewhere.

The US nuclear reactor that Sokolski mentions as being offered to China is the new Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design which was designed with the help of a half billion dollars of US taxpayer money. (same story here)

Economic concerns may outweigh worries about China's role in the spread of nuclear weapons.

Westinghouse developed the AP1000, which can generate 1,100 megawatts, with half a billion dollars of support from the federal government, and the government would collect tens of millions of dollars in royalties from any such plant in China, a senior United States energy official said. Credit support from the Import-Export Bank may also be used to finance the plants, he said, and Chinese officials had sought assurances that China would receive an export license for the plant.

The passive safety approach to the design of the AP1000 makes it much safer.

As in AP600, the AP1000 design uses passive safety systems to enhance the safety of the plant and to satisfy the Nuclear Regulatory Commissionís (NRC) safety criteria. These systems use only natural forces, such as gravity, natural circulation, and compressed gas. No pumps, fans, diesels, chillers, or other rotating machinery are used in the passive safety sub-systems.

The passive safety systems include passive safety injection, passive residual heat removal, and passive containment cooling. All these passive systems have been designed to meet the NRC single-failure criteria and its recent criteria, including TMI (Three Mile Island) lessons-learned and unresolved/generic safety issues. Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) tools have also been used to quantify the safety of the design.

So the AP1000 is a wonder of American engineering which may be sold to China saving them the expense of developing the same technology. This may happen even as China continues to assist Pakistan's building of a larger nuclear program and even as Pakistan provides little cooperation to allow the US to discover what Pakistan sold to Iran and perhaps to other countries as well. Is this a sign of just how weak the United States is and just how little influence the United States has in the world?

Meanwhile, highly purified weapons-grade uranium traces have been discovered by IAEA inspectors in Iran.

United Nations nuclear inspectors have found traces of extremely highly enriched uranium in Iran, of a purity reserved for use in a nuclear bomb, European and American diplomats said Wednesday.

Among traces that inspectors detected last year are some refined to 90 percent of the rare 235 isotope, the diplomats said. While the International Atomic Energy Agency has previously reported finding "weapons grade" traces, it has not revealed that some reached such a high degree of enrichment.

Also, Libya is now thought to have spent at least $100 million to acquire weapons technology and equipment from Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear black market.

``The Khan network's finances were deliberately complex, and we do not have a complete picture,'' said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Bush administration's National Security Council. ``The developing picture, however, indicates that the Khan network received at least $100 million for supplying technology, equipment and know-how.''

Iraq was the least WMD-capable of the dangerous governments. Libya was second least capable. At this point the worst threats are still working on nuclear weapons. Iran and North Korea have not yet been stopped. Pakistan has many nuclear weapons and only military rule is barely preventing Islamists from seizing power. Even in Pakistan the Islamists are found in the government.

Update: China's role as a nuclear proliferation is very long standing.

Declassified papers reviewed by the National Security Archive, an institute at George Washington University, show U.S. unease over secret China-Pakistan security and military cooperation dating to the late 1960s, and examples of Chinese assistance to Pakistan's nuclear weapons-related projects in the late 1970s, the researchers said.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2004 March 17 02:38 PM  US Foreign Weapons Proliferation Control


Comments
Trent Telenko said at March 18, 2004 2:52 PM:

Randall,

The Westinghouse nuclear plant cannot be used to create nukes and given the level of corruption in major Chinese civil engineering projects, having them operate a nuclear plant where it is very hard to melt down the reactor core is a *good thing*.

Nikita said at March 18, 2004 6:13 PM:

A recent Commentary article discusses the Saudi angle of the China-Pak nuclear story:

The Sino-Saudi Connection

Nikita said at March 18, 2004 6:17 PM:

oops just noticed you had it posted below. so much for commenting before reading the whole page!!

PATRICK ADAMS said at July 12, 2004 11:47 AM:

Ithink nuclar energy is good but if it gets in to the wrong hands it is bad.

Paul Guincho said at February 25, 2005 11:05 PM:

What a great article!! Good Job, very informative. It is scary what is going on in the world. The U.S. seems to be the only country that is putting a worthwhile effort to stem the spread of the most destructive weapons known to man. It blows my mind how short sighted, irresponsible, pathetic, sadistic some of these regimes are. Take for example Russia, Americaís former foe. The U.S. was and is paying billions of dollars a year for Russia to secure their nuclear material. I mean those bozo did not even know how much material they had and where it all was. How on earth can we trust these irresponsible nations with the deadliest stuff on earth when they take no responsibility? To top it all off and add insult to injury, Russia who cannot take care of the material they have and have the U.S. paying for it, they go ahead and make more modern bombs and brag about it!!! Unreal!!

Then you have Khan, that guy should be shot and pissed on. This guy, in the name of Islam wanted and deliberately spread this stuff. How on earth is the world a better place when you have radicals (lets face it, normal, peaceful people donít want this stuff) pursuing the procurement of the bomb with a passion? Do you think we can trust they will take responsibility and do the right thing when push comes to shove? Have you seen what the half-life of Nuclear material is? Thatís just to get rid of half of it, you will have to double that amount to get down to a quarter, and so forth. It is exponential.

Then you have North Korea. What a pathetic bunch. They cannot feed their own people (the international community does that) but they want the bomb. They are a perfect example of what the world will be like if we let rouge nations get the bomb. They will take the world hostage and say, ďpay me or I will behave badlyĒ.

Iran, I donít even want to comment on Iran. With all the hate in the middle east (even toward themselves!!) and also all the elitism as they think Islam should rule the world. It is just a disaster if they get the bomb. If Shiite Iran gets the bomb, what do you think all the surrounding Sunni will feel and want?

Then you have China, possibly the worst of the bunch. They not only helped North Korea but also Pakistan, Iran, Libya, ect. Here is a regime that killed 80 million of itís own people. 80 Millions!!! They have no human rights, organized slave labor, no environmental standards, they are increasing there military every year, and have questionable motives. How many people died fighting Communism? Here we are financing their rise by sending all our jobs there and buying their crap. What on earth is going on? The U.S. is the only ones attempting to do something about it. The Europeans want to drop a ban on selling them weapons for crying out load. It all goes against logic and reasoning. God help our children and planet.

m.ROBINSON said at June 6, 2005 7:47 AM:

I find your analysis very misleading, firstly nuclear weapons are dangerous irrespective as to who has control of them. Whether its a Democratic or dictatorial regime, it makes little relevance. The only nation to use weapons of Mass destruction is the USA ( democratic ? ). the USA was willing to go to war during the cuban missile crisis, because the government could not contemplate the idea of nuclear weapons being stationed so close to the continental USA, whereas the USA had placed nuclear weapons near the then USSR, but they did not feel threatened enough to contemplate nuclear armageddon. No nation has a right to posses nuclear weapons, and it is patronising to suggest that some nations have some moral rights over others. The desire of some nations to posses nuclear weapons and at the same time deny others that exclusivety is not based on morality or justice, but is based on the premise that once a particular country acquires nuclear weapons and a delivery system, then it is more difficult to attack such a country. Nations such as China , Iran and Pakistan have a history of being attacked and humiliated, all three having to some extent been under the control of a colonial power. china and the chinese suffered badly under the Japanese imperial forces, and also under most of the european powers. Unfortunately we in the West( or our ancestors) committed a lot of crimes against humanity, and what we fear is a backlash from the third world, but in rather confronting the past we only seem to repeat it.

N.Vikram said at June 6, 2005 8:14 AM:

I am quite astounded at the amount of 'hearsay' and the 'possible links' between such and such country. the above individuals hark on about the Islamists in Pakistan gaining control of THEIR country.So much for the individuals right to choose, no wonder muslims dislike the western attitude. I am from India and there is no way I would want some westerner talking down to me and be patronising. in Pakistan it is the people who have a right to choose who their leaders are, the likes of the Pakistan poeples party ( headed by benazir bhutto) have nearly crippled the nation and only benefitted their rich friends. pakistan under these democratic parties! has nearly become bankrupt to the tune of $38 billion, from a start of approx $18 billion. It is Islamists who want transparent government. Rather than looking at other nations and their governments, the American people should look as to who runs their foreign policy, and the hypocracy surrounding it. do you know that there are powerful lobbies vying for interest, these range from Indian , Pakistani, israeli, saudi and european nations. The most interesting recent case is of AIPAC, and how two of its employee's have been caught spying for Israel, even though AIPAc has fired these individuals from its organisation, it still pays for their legal fees!. Yet the likes of Condy Rice and the President still go to and attend fuctions carried out by AIPAC. Why have lobbying groups such power over YOUR elected members. As for nuclear weapons being in the right or wrong hand is all dull. NO one has a right to have nuclear weapons. We have Americans complaining against Iran, yet Israel has nuclear weapons, so does Pakistan and India. What Iran has is OIL and certain vested interests in the USA want that, currently Iran can be attacked but when it has Nuclear weapons it cannot be attacked. Its all about money and resources, as in colonial times take over another country, bleed it dry of its resources and then give it back to the natives. Now its take over a nation(because its not democratic) change the system, put in place acceptable leader of occupiers choice and at the same time sell off state enterprises of occupied country to American conglomerates. Ahh the new colonialist power. there is no point in saying that the USA is the most democratic, if you really want an answer to that then ask the NATIVE AMERICAN.

Randall Parker said at June 6, 2005 8:24 AM:

m.Robinson and N.Vikram are posting from the same IP address. My guess is they are the same person.

As for the West's crimes against humanity: All of humanity has been killing each other for centuries. The idea that the West bears some special moral guilt is Marxist propaganda. I'm not buying it. The West has produced countless advances in agriculture, medicine, and other fields that have allowed Third World populations to multiply many times.

Many nations, including many Western nations, have been attacked and conquered and humiliated. Whining about the past is pathetic. Get over it. Grow up. Some feeling sorry for yourself. I have no sympathy for your self pity or feelings of inadequacy.

Islamists want theocratic dictatorship.

M.robinson said at July 19, 2005 5:55 AM:

Mr. vikram and I are not the same person we just happenen to work together and as such utilised the same ip address. You aserted that western nations have also been under occupation, you seem to deliberately miss the fact that the overwhelming majority of occupation was carried out by other western countries. The spectre of paternal and patronising attitude still exists in the western countries, I should know being British, on many occasions I have heard the way my fellow compatriots speak of asians and africans, and their inability to function(not far from the way the above article is written) and thus cannot be 'trusted' to run things.
I have read what the islamists want, and as such if the people of a particular muslim nation vote for a particular party, then as such its the peoples choice(Not the USA, not europe not the UN). What you will find is that if a particular party cannot live up to their promises, they will thus be kicked out by the people.
A good example of openly seen meddling was done by France(under president Mitterend and the current regime) in Algeria, when upon the FIS won the majority vote the French helped the military Junta to seize power, NO noise was made in the West for democracy and peoples choice at that time.
Those who forget their past have a tendency to repeat it( this is why the poorer nations will not forget).
Your reference to moral guilt of the West, It is our ancestors who committed horrendous crimes against jews and muslims in all the crusades, the jewish pogroms carried out in europe, The near wholesale destruction of the North and South American natives, the humiliating and barbaric treatment of black people(colonialism, slavery), The murder of 6 million in the holocaust(jews, gypsies and the mentally ill), The killing and rapes carried out in the vietnam era(not history , current), remember Mi-Lai, The lynching of blacks( The US government stood by), The Injustices to native Americans( forced to live on reservations, while non native westerners took their land), The stealing of native lands(North & South america, australia and New Zealand) by westerners, please do not insult my intelligence.
The only way forward idealistically is for no one to have nuclear weapons, unfortunately this will not occur because the current holders would never relinquish their weapons, while at the same time denying others the right to have in kind. In reality no two nations that possess nuclear weapons have gone to war.
Your whinning about Iran is pathetic to say the least. Its Iran that is currently being threatened by USA, and as such it wishes to be able to defend itself. The USA wants its hands on the Iraninan oil and any excuse shall suffice, if your goverment really wants to help a people then go for North Korea (which readily admits to having nukes), or is it the possibility that the North koreans may fight back causing massive American casualties?
There have always been empires in one form or other,the USA is no different.

Randall Parker said at July 19, 2005 11:03 AM:

M. Robinson,

You judge Western peoples by different standards than you judge the rest of the world. Muslims engaged in a bigger and longer lasting slave trade than Christians. Muslims invaded and conquered other peoples, killed many, and systematically discriminated against non-Muslims.

Algeria should serve as a lesson to those who want to bring democracy to the Middle East. The masses in the Middle East are illiberal. They do not want freedom. They want to oppress their neighbors with their religion. Yes, the elites allied with the military in Algeria to cancel the results of the election. They didn't want to live under an equivalent of the Taliban. Can't say I blame them.

If you want to sit in judgement of people you have to do it with a moral code of some sort. What's your moral code that you would support rule by democratically elected theocrats? Do you believe the masses are right simply because they are the majority and majority makes right? Is morality simply the agreement of the majority on what is right?

M.Robinson said at July 20, 2005 5:46 AM:

For the democratic process to reach a point as to where we are now has taken a considerable time, in Britain it took the civil war between monarchists and parliamentarians as to who rules, and thus the progression from monarchist(dictatorial) to parliamentarian rule (basic democracy) has taken nearly 400 years.
Those who fought the monarchists were not 'leftwing' fighting the 'rightwing' of society, it was merely as to who rules , is it the people or the dictator. The parliamentarians of the civil war were quite theocratic(Cromwell was a very devout Protestant). The democracy of Britain and other european nations is defined by our 'religious' and 'cultural' history.
What I am saying is that we are trying to impose our values onto others in a dictatorial manner, which belittles the concept of liberty and democracy.
In your analysis(Randall Parker), you have shown the arrogant thinking that prevails in our society('middle east is illeberal') that other societies non western ('non white') who do not think in our mode should not be allowed to choose their destiny, rather we should impose our ideals on the basis of 'we know better'.
the only time Jewish people lived with dignity in Europe was during the Moorish rule in Spain, after their rule ended we had the Spanish inquisition against all non christians(jewish people suffered badly), the jews had to emigrate, no european nation would accept them, it was the Sultan of the ottoman empire(muslim) who welcomed the jews of Spain. It was this Ottoman empire which had christian envoys and even a prime minister who was christian(real tolerance over 400 years ago), blacks were in the Ottoman army in north africa and had equal status. I am aghast at the way you spread misinformation.
define the concept of 'liberal'. In the USA the one who agrees with abortion is a liberal, and the one who disagrees with abortion is termed
'rightwing' or 'illeberal', yet both have a right to their views. It is nonsensical to use such terms for mere point scoring and attacking whole societies. there is no homogenous society in the middle east or muslim world, people have different views and are quite educated(primarily in the majority of arab states).
Your assertion that the military junta were correct to take power, shows once more your hatred of muslims(not much different from anti-jewish rhetoric of the early twentieth century)under the guise of 'world order' and 'security'. In a nation like Pakistan(although not perfect) which had a flirting with democracy, on every occasion the religious parties won a mere 2-3% of the vote, if you compare that with India, in which the BJP(hindu fundamentalists) formed the last government.
Even in the USA the Christian fundamentalists have a large following. This was seen in the Presidential election, when The christian coalition endorsed Mr Bush for Presidential candidate to their congregations. In Britain the TV and print media would lambast such organisations for sticking their noses in the 'secular domain' , yet in the USA it occurs without any fuss or raised eyebrow.
The minority clique do not have an automatic right to rule, it is up to the people to decide their leadership, the framework of our society is that various parties compete to get a share of the vote, and as such the one with the majority of votes(first past the post in Britain) wil end up forming the government, this is how goverments are formed in democratic setups, so the MAJORITY choose their leadership. the MORALITY of a society is based on its history( religious and cultural and philosophical ideas), if true morality existed then the lands of North and south america would be in the hands of the Native people. Thus the majority may not hold a monopoly on morality, never the less they have a right in morality to choose their own leaders, without being insulted or patronised.

Randall Parker said at July 20, 2005 9:11 AM:

M.Robinson,

You completely misunderstand my position.

As for some group being allowed to choose their destiny: If I was a secular Algerian I'd certainly favor military dictatorship over theocratic majority elected tyranny. But I don't see how a theocratic Islamic Algeria would necessarily pose a threat to the United States. The government might not support terrorists abroad. So I am not in favor of US support for the military dictatorship. I think we should be neutral.

So then you do believe the majority should decide what is moral. So then do you favor the overthrow of governments that do not allow the majority to select their dictator? Some governments in the Middle East are not supported by the United States government and are as undemocratic as the governments which have friendlier relations with Washington DC. Syria comes to mind. The US has never supported the Syrians and yet they are ruled by undemocratic government. Are you happy with that? Do you prefer undemocratic governments that are hostile to Washington over undemocratic governments that are, to varying degrees, friendly with Washington?

In Pakistan the religious parties won control of a few northern province governments in elections. The theocrats get a lot more than 2 to 3% of the vote. You are making up facts again.

Pakistan lost its democracy in the 90s while the US was not on friendly terms with Pakistan and the US government had nothing to do with Pakistan becoming undemocratic. Are you happy with Pakistan being undemocratic since Washington DC had nothing to do with making it undemocratic? Or are you now unhappy with Pakistan being undemocratic since Pakistan's relations with Washington DC have thawed? Is Pakistan's government now an evil tool of Washington for undemocratically oppressing the Pakistani people whereas before its undemocratic government was an expression of Pakistani culture?

M.Robinson said at July 21, 2005 5:19 AM:

Prior to the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions the Pakistani religious parties were only recieving 2-3% of the votes.
The religious parties in Pakistan have only done well due to the backlash over the US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as such they have gained, in saying that, both the provinces hold a small proportion of the population in relation to the whole of pakistan(160 million), and the combined total of Balochistan and North west province amounts to 20 million. Even then the religious parties have overall control of these two provincial seats, with the secularist parties in the opposition in these provinces..
I did not accuse the USA of helping the military junta in algeria to seize power, but rather it was france(ex-colonialist power) of interference, it was after this interference that certain 'islamists' turned their attention towards France.

Unortunately most of the secularist have discredited themselves before the public, having gained power on numerous occasions, they have paid only lip service to the basic needs of the Pakistani population. Which is dangerous because this will push the electorate towards the religious parties, and yet we in the west are not demanding the secularists to clean their act up, because they bring up the 'spectre' of religious parties and we start donating to these parties, maybe we should stop playing to their tune.

I am totally against the undemocratic regime of syria, but the question arises how do you get change?
is it by sanctions(hurt primarily the poor), or by invasion (again its the innocent who are killed), or do you allow internal dissatisfaction to boil over, which leads to scenarios, civil war or a 'velvet revolution'. neverthe less the change is internal.
An example is the brotherhood in Egypt, they are religiously inclined but they favour a multi party democracy, yet Hosni Mubarak keeps an iron grip on the country and deals with dissention by locking up people(with torture thrown in for good measure), but the USA aides Mubarak to the tune of approx $3billion a year, Britain is no better, because our government recognises this dictators right to rule.

Your assumption theocracies will always be tyrannical is an assumtion based on the history of european theological power. In muslim countries the theologians have had a major say until 1924(destruction of Ottoman empire), yet there lived in that setup christians, jews, different denominations of muslims. non muslims formed part of the elite in public life.

Now you may turn around and say look at the Taliban, are they not an axample of the theocratic state gone wrong.
I have studied Islam and muslim history, the taliban were not the example of a muslim theocracy, because firstly they closed down girls schools, which was wrong because in Islam its enshrined that its a muslims duty to seek knowledge, its more they were applying their customs under the banner of religion which was wrong.

If I was to ask as to which nation has the highest number degree level female engineers? surprisingly the first answer to mind would not be Iran but Iran has the highest number of female engineers,and they have female movie directors and politicians in parliament. There is debate and change within these nations but at their own inertia, not at the bidding of others. In Iran there is the right to choose their own governments, as opposed to the situation in Syria or Egypt.

What I am asking for is that the west should stop helping those dictators who don't allow the democratic process to develop. Even if a nation comes under the rule of a religious party, then that government can be held accountable by their own people and by the rest of the world community.

Randall Parker said at July 21, 2005 8:58 AM:

M.Robinson,

The theocratic regime in Iran imprisons more reporters than just about any country in the world. China might imprison more.

My assumption that Muslim theocracies will be oppressive is based on the history that they all are and have been.

The Taliban thought they were being Muslims. Just because some British smartie pants says that he studied Islam and the Taliban deviated from what he thinks is Islam does not change that they were and are fanatical about being Muslims.

In Iran the voters have a right to vote between the religious slates the government allows to run. They get a choice between religious, very religious, and extremely religious supporters of the theocracy. Iran is not moving toward greater democracy. They are moving away from it.

The most successful democracy with a Muslim majority has been Turkey. But that worked better because periodically a very secular military was willing to come out of the barracks, kick out the corrupt or the religious, rule for a while, then give up power. Now the EU is pressuring the military to not serve that role even as the military itself becomes less secular. The secular liberals in Turkey are in retreat.

M.robinson said at July 22, 2005 4:38 AM:

[In Iran the voters have a right to vote between the religious slates the government allows to run...]
Randall Parker

The system in the USA is such that only two parties hold sway, in Britain we have three parties with divergent views. The idea that the Iranian electoral should allow 1 thousand candidates is absurd(very dubious as to who is behind so many), The USA seems to think that Iranians are ripe for a counter revolution and as such they are openly interferring in the matters of a sovereign state. The people of Iran have shown what they think of US
interference, the percentage turn out (as their population smaller than US) was greater than the turn out for Bush/Kerry presidential election.

If you recall prior to the revolution in Iran , the US was supporting a dictatorial regime(SHAH). the first elected Prime minister(1950's) was overthrown by the Shah with a 'little' help from USA and Britain. The revolution in Iran was by the people and the military, as to where it goes now is up to the nation and its people. The democracy in Iran is far better than the DICTATORIAL shah (Supported, and armed by USA).


The 'Turkish' model of democracy is a sham and you know it. Religious freedom is curtailed to the extreme. How pathetic a situation that people like you are very much the hypocrites that you accuse others of being. You would support the idea of military junta's seizing power if the elctorate of a particular country chose a leader that the USA was not in favour of.

The 'Turkish' secularists are corrupt and so is the military, Prime minister Erdogan has done more to try and bring in Turkey towards Europe, than any previous self labelled ' secularist'.

The democracies in the muslim world will develop on the basis of their religion and culture as did in europe, Britains system is different to that of france, but both are democracies. The USA and presumably a person like you has no qualms about supporting the King of Jordan(another dictator), maybe its because hes made peace with Israel and so the Israeli lobby(AIPAC and others) are no longer maligning Jordan to the US legislators and in the media.

It is the USA which is a threat to world peace not the Iranians, I suspect that USA is displeased with Iran because the Iranians are following an independent policy from the USA, for the service of their own people rather than whims and wishes of US policy, and people like you are the little minnions act as the cog that is playing his duty in flag waving, and disseminating anti Iranian material.

Randall Parker said at July 22, 2005 10:50 AM:

M.Robinson,

I have repeatedly argued in several posts over the last few years that Iran is not in a pre-revolutionary state.

The candidate slates in Iran are approved by Mullahs. You can try all you want to dance around that fact. But real opponents of the Mullahs are not allowed to run. So Iran remains a theocracy with a sham democracy.

M.Robinson said at July 23, 2005 7:15 AM:

I in no way said that Iran is a 'democracy' in the model of our western models, but our models didn't get the kind of interference from other nations, as to the amount we(especially USA) interfere and try to 'force' our way as the only viable way is insulting.

The western democracies developed without interference from muslim countries(on the other hand we feel as though its our god given right to interfere in the matters of other sovereign nations), and they developed in a continent which was predominently christian, and so the process started in britain 400 years ago has evolved into the democracy that we have today.

for muslim countries to develop their own systems(which they will have to eventually) based on their religious and cultural aspects initially and move slowly from there, as in the case of Iran there is debate and there are difference of opinions.

I have spoken to many Iranians( religious and secular) who are of the sentiment that if the USA attacked Iran, then they will have to respond, because most Iranians are well educated and thus see past the USA rhetoric of 'were not against the people, but the government',. for religious and secularist Iranians an attack on their nation is that , an attack on them.

there are many in USA who do not agree with the Bush administration, but if USA was to be attacked by a foreign aggressor nation(highly unlikely) then the population as a whole would unite against the aggressor irrespective of political allegiances. This is the exact same in Iran, There are the ones who do not like the regime, but if there is a attack by Israel or USA, then you will see how resolutely they will rally around their government(as they did against Iraq).

My biggest fear is that politicians here are going down the line of US policymakers, in stifling real debate. The USA has nothing in comparison to our Prime ministers question time, and the current government of tony Blair is paying little respect to this.

Randall Parker said at July 23, 2005 9:02 AM:

M.Robinson,

Now you are side-stepping.

Why do you "quote" the word "democracy"? And what is this about "western models"? Are you trying to explain away the fact that Iran's theocrats choose their electoral slates by saying they just have a different culture?

Insulting: This is a word you use a lot. Muslim people are insulted that their civilizations are inferior to what Westerners have created. But we Westerners are not responsible for Muslim failures. They aren't smart enough on average and also they embrace beliefs that hold back their political and economic development.

We have not prevented Iran from developing democractically since the Shah was overthrown. The mullahs of Iran who are Iranians are to blame. Stop blaming the West for the failure of other nations. Colonialism has been gone for many decades now.

Real debate: Look at all the American blogs across the spectrum and look at C-Span and talk radio. Go visit all the political think tank sites. America has enormous quantities of real deabte.

M.Robinson said at July 25, 2005 4:59 AM:

The USA has sanctions against Iran, which may be considered alright as neither has diplomatic links and are distrustful of each other.

The USA is currently passing legislation, that would be vey punitive to FOREIGN companies that do business with Iran(I,m currently thinking of British interest here), now if you don't call that interference, then you truly are a propagandist who believes his own rhetoric.

We in Britain have had to suffer bombings carried out by the IRA, who received substantial amount of funding from the Irish community in the USA(as well as some notable senators ), this was going on in the open. Yet our government did not break o diplomatic relations. Our civil servants(not politicians) are considered the best in the world for nothing.

I do not consider any civilization inferior to the current western civilization, as all civilizations have a different outlook. this again shows your anti-muslim bias. Your look at the problems in the middle east stem not from a true non-partisan approach.

The think tanks that you refer to are biased, a while back the BBC(Britain) carried out some research on a highly infleuntial think tank, and in the process of the interview, the interviewer asked 'why is is that the overwhelming researchers are jewish', the interviewee was gobsmacked at the question, and was not able to give a good answer. After this incident the BBC was unable to get further into the 'non-biased' think tanks that you refer to.

The USA still owes Iran over $12billion dollars, and is unwilling to pay back the money. Ofcourse the USA must be banking on the idea that they will repay back the money once the current regime in Iran has fallen, and in that time the $12 billion (borrowed during shah's regime) will have depreciated significantly.

Every time the Iranian government try to conclude a deal with another sovereign nation, the USA feels its duty bound to scupper the deal, now is that not interference,?.

You seem to be mixing the USA to mean the western world, let me assure the USA is not representative of the western world, even though you may like to think of it as such.

Randall Parker said at July 25, 2005 10:08 AM:

You say:

I do not consider any civilization inferior to the current western civilization, as all civilizations have a different outlook. this again shows your anti-muslim bias. Your look at the problems in the middle east stem not from a true non-partisan approach.

What it shows is my willingness to compare and judge. You too are willing to compare and judge but only very selectively. You are willing to judge your own society and its past and ditto for America. But when you look abroad you are so determined to demonstrate your enlightenment that you abandon all critical faculties.

The US isn't representative of the rest of the Western World? What, you mean there are differences and those differences matter? Well, now you just have to stretch further and compare between the major civilizations of today and see how those differences matter.

Values differ between Muslims and Westerners. Value neutral government is not possible. Conflicts of values can not be eliminated by rational discussion. Just who lives in a civilization determines what values prevail. My "anti-Muslim bias" amounts to a bias for the values of my civilization.

You state:

The think tanks that you refer to are biased, a while back the BBC(Britain) carried out some research on a highly infleuntial think tank, and in the process of the interview, the interviewer asked 'why is is that the overwhelming researchers are jewish'

Jews also are a majority of Ivy League university presidents. There's a simple reason for this: Ashkenazi Jews are genetically smarter than caucasian Europeans by one standard deviation or about 15 IQ points on average. So of course they are going to dominate in many intellectual settings.

BTW, all think tanks are biased. But you ought to go reading the US think tanks and find out just how varied the biases are in reality.

Ehsan Valavi said at July 31, 2005 9:47 PM:

A Constitutional Monarchy is the best inclusive political system that Iran has ever had and will ever have since it preserves individual rights, protects minorities and women, embraces progress and secularism and makes the throne (man or woman) the symbol of Iranian unity amongst its diverse ethnic communities and projects through the throne our rich culture and history to the world.

Let's work together whether you are Republicans, Constitutionalists, progressists, rightists and advocates of all stripes. It is in our collective interest to work towards a practical solution in these dire times to free our motherland.

May be in the end a Constitutional Monarchy will be rejected but we are not in front of the ballot boxes to cast that vote yet. Let's coalesce and unite to bring the IRI down so that together we can build a better Iran.

Please read the 1906 constitution and you will find it to be a valuable text that paved, paves and will continue to pave the way for a modern Iran that we all would love to see re-emerge from its ashes.

The monarchy did a great deal to improve our lives in Iran under the Pahlavi's. That fact nobody can deny. But we all had to sacrifice our individual freedoms to reach a certain level of development and growth. The child is grown and fully understands what it has to do for itself and its future. Let's work in a productive way to see that day to come about.

In the end we are all Iranians and love our country. The danger is here and now and it is called the Islamic Republic of Iran which is another way for saying the "Second Arab invasion of Persia".

Let's defeat the Farsi speaking Arabs dressed as Mullahs, Pasdar and Basiji and reclaim our Aryan identity.

Iran will re-emerge from its ashes under the union of its People and the Throne.

Long live Iran.

M.Robinson said at August 3, 2005 4:47 AM:

Aryan identity...

Do you have an identity problem?

Shah Pahlavi was a dictator who overthrew a democtatically elected government, you want Iranians to return to despotism?
The majority of 'persians' are muslim who have an affinity with their Shia muslims in Lebanon and southern Iraq(who are arab), I don't know what your religious beliefs are, but I'm sure you will return with 'I'm a liberal muslim BUT' answer.

The Iranians are more independent as a nation, than they have been in the last 60 years( you need to read up some history). The political fighting in Iran shows there are differing views, but even you must admit that the electorate of Iran has chosen its president, or is that since you do not agree with their decision, there by it is rendered to be of no value, SO MUCH for the elctorates choice.

The Throne is outdated, no wonder the Pehlavi family live a luxurant lifestyle, they STOLE enough money from the Iranian people, and now they they tout their 'democratic' credentials.Just a few years back the daughter of Shah Pehlavi commited suicide in London, the whole family needs to see a psychiatrist rather than grand illusions of a return to the throne.

I am British subject as opposed to a british 'citizen'. I am against monarchies, they are of no use in democratic society. we the British public each pay a $1.00 for the Royal families upkeep, Who are they to deserve such treatment. I for one would vote for a republic of Great Britain.

Ehsan Valavi said at August 3, 2005 7:48 AM:

Mr. Robinson,

You cannot be Iranian. That is a fact now. You are shooting from the hip and have no logic in what you are saying (what does somebody's death in London have to do with Democracy in Iran?) no regards for democracy or tolerance. You are as far away from the Iranian reality as Earth is from Mars.

Since you need a bit of education let me enlighten you and the likes of you. Read carefuly:

Two decades and many sorry events after, some of the intricacies of the shah's personality and rule still beg scholarly probe. The majority of Iran's population has been born after the shah's demise. His image in their mind, as indeed in the minds of many casual observers abroad, has been shaped through unrelenting distortions of historical facts. The younger Iranians deserve an unbiased account of these 37 years in its baffling turns and twists and contradictions.

To be sure, a distilled account of these years would not vindicate the Shah. Yet, the surfeit of slander after his downfall, just as the panegyric excesses of the earlier years, was largely undeserving. the extent of repression was never close to claims recklessly advanced in some quarters, including by such reputable institutions as Amnesty International . No mass graves trailed the Shah when he finally quit the country on January 1979. No "death caravans" hunted his memory; Teheran produced no equivalent of Buenes Aires's "plaza de Mayo" where "grandmas" gather every Sunday to reclaim news of their missing children. To be sure the military Kangaroo courts were quick to mete out death sentences. But the practice of royal pardon was abundantly resorted to. The sentences were systematically commuted or annulled. Some viewed this practice as a gimmick to earn political capital; be it as it may, few now dispute the fact that the Shah was averse to cruelty. The overall number of executions by the military tribunals, including those occasioned by drug related offenses, were estimate at around 350 cases in 37 years of reign. Figured among them were some prisoners of conscience including some twenty five ring- leaders of the military wing of the Communist party of Iran. Their crime was to have been mesmerized by the Stalinist Russia. The rest of the six hundred communist officers arrested in nineteen fifties - as indeed the bulk of other political prisoners - were rehabilitated, many were co-opted into the Shah's administration. All in all some 3500 persons were killed in street unrests or by order of military courts during the Shah's reign, between1953 to 1979.

No democrat could condone these figures, moderate though they are in relative terms. This having been said, there is another facet of human rights in the Pahlavi era which has largely been disregarded:

This author grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Tehran of the nineteen fifties. The small alley where his house was located had taken its name after a Jewish doctor who had been the first to construct a house in that vicinage. The alley housed an Assyrian Christian family, several Baha'i families, a Zoroastrian family and of course many Moslem households. No hint of bigotry disturbed the serenity of this cultural mosaic. It would be hypocritical to claim that religious minorities were by law on the same footing as Moslems but intolerance was being discouraged and the system moved progressively towards full equality of rights among citizens.

A previously unknown historical anecdote cited by a US scholar in a recent book best illustrates the point. It concerns the protection of the Iranian Jews living in the occupied Europe during the II World War. According to the author the Iranian Government of the time managed to procure them safe conduct from the authorities of the Third Reich on the false pretence that these citizens, having lived in Iran for over two millenniums, have been assimilated in the Persians (Arian) race .

The status of women is another case in point. Under the Pahlavis the Iranian women were brought to the society's mainstream. The mushrooming institutions of higher learning opened their doors to women. Teachers, doctors, lawyers and administrators were trained and fielded in different walks of life. The right to vote (even if only nominal), to seek divorce and be protected from an abusive husband was - to the dismay of the clerics - written into the law. Today, the Iranian women remain one of the vanguards of resistance to scourges of the fundamentalist rule.

Much of the bravura exhibited by the Shah's administration in the seventies, was in the sphere of economy. The exuberance of the double-digit growth was indeed intoxicating. In 1974 - in the wake of a quantum jump in the oil price-- the Shah dismissed the counsel of prudence by experts and decreed an even faster growth. In his complex psyche, many imperatives drove him to go full blast. One factor was to firm up the throne for the Crown Prince Reza but he was equally concerned with his legacy and place in history. Should he not disproof those detractors who claimed he did not measure up to the towering figure of his father?

With the Shah's departure, Iran sank into the darkness. A reign of terror, of which The Shah had presciently warned the nation, had set in. Nobody in Iran listened. The first public act of Khomeini, when he took over the reins of power in February 1979, was to abolish women's right to sit in as a judge in a court of law. That presaged the calamities that were to follow.

Perhaps no ruler in history like the Shah has benefited from a postmortem redemption, due to the reappraisal of his balance sheet but also compounded by the misdeeds of those who succeeded him in power.

I have no particular hope for you since you are well entrenched in your fundamentalist views. Hope, however, is on its way with the establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy in the near future in Iran after the free and democratic vote of the nation.

At that point Replublicans and the rest (like you) can voice their opinion. Ultimately reason will prevail and people will cast their votes for the light and progress of the Iran and Iranians as a nation under the protective arms of the throne.


Long live Iran!

Randall Parker said at August 3, 2005 8:56 AM:

M.Robinson states weirdly,

you want Iranians to return to despotism?

What do Iranian women live in now? How much freedom do they have now as compared to what they had under the Shah? Women are half the population. Their freedom means nothing to you? Apparently.

Iran has an elected government? So then the President and legislature can decide to do anything they want? Oh, no, that's not the case. The Mullahs and Revolutionary Guard can cancel any decision they make. This happened to the decisions of the last Iranian President. The Mullahs choose who can run in elections. Then the mullahs cancel any decisions they don't like from elected representatives. That's not democracy. Stop pretending.

M.Robinson, I keep posting back to you because you represent a type of intellectual in Britain that is under the sway of a huge mythological construct about the world. I'm trying to figure out whether you are just a dupe of Leftists or a Muslim pretending to be a native non-Muslim Brit, or something else. But whatever you are your arguments and assumptions contradict each other. You can't even figure out what is real despotism or what is real democracy.

So are you a representative of the decayed remains of Western liberal thought corrupted by Marxists and all the others who have waged intellectual war against the Enlightenment? Or are you a Muslim just pretending?

M.Robinson said at August 4, 2005 6:11 AM:

The USSR was in no way less despotic than the Czarist regime it replaced, but many nations were aghast at the notion of the Czarist being replaced by the communists. The Communists were terrible( i'm no socialist) there is no doubt but during their reign the literacy rate was markedly increased(but so were the gulags) and from a nation of illiterates to a nation that sent the first satellite into orbit.

Now do you really think this would have been possible if the Czarist regime had stayed in place(the number of political prisoners would not have decreased).?


The Mullahs are no way in the same league as the communists (because the mullahs are for private ownership and enterprise), there are political prisoners and certain people are disbarred from holding office( the US does not allow affiliation to the communist party, and bars individuals who hold membership of a communist party), but the self esteem of Iran is more now than it had been during the rule of the Shah Pehlavi dictatorship(helped by US and Britain). The Iranian policy is more geared towards self reliance and independent foreign policy.

We in Britain have an UNelected second chamber, whose members are there based on privelege, yet we feel it does its job effectively and there are voices
who demand a elected second chamber, this is an internal matter for our nation, and I would find it an affront if other nations stuck their nose into our affairs.

As such the Iranians have a sense of independence. A war was thrust unto them by Iraq(again supported by the US,USSR, France and unfortunately G.Britain), chemical weapons were used against the Iranian armed forces(supplied by US, When Rumsfeld was sent by Reagan), we did not hear the 'civilised' world condemning the Iraqi regime.

I personally cannot stand any type of royalists..

just because someone is from Iran, that in no way makes him/her an expert on Iran.
The Idea that the Shah killed fewer opponents than the current regime, does not excuse him, HE overthrew an elected government. In the long run there will be political changes, but they will be aimed on the needs of the Iranian people and not for a foreign power.


Ehsan Valavi

I do not know where your abode is , but if it is the US, then why don't you try and persuade some Americans that they should accept the British queen as their constitutional monarch. i am more than sure the kind of 'nice' reply you will receive. The americans fought for Independence and a REPUBLIC.

What America connot comprehend is that a major oil producer like Iran is no longer under their infleunce.Thats the underlying fact. The Iranians who fled with the shah were his corrupt enterage, Those who stole from the state, do you really think the Iranian people want these corrupt thieves back.
Granted the current government is not perfect but its far better than the Shah, change is inevitable,at a pace with Iranian society not at the beck and call of USA.

Your anti-arab rhetoric lies on the verge of Racism. you could be a zoastorian, harking back to the days o the persiam empire, or a zionist peddling under a different name. whichever it may be, your desire seems to be to demonise Iran. Even I who disagree with by Government, I would not tolerate any attacks against britain by anyone.


Ehsan Valavi said at August 4, 2005 8:52 AM:

Mr. Robison (at least I am polite enough to mention your alias name when responding at the beginning of a letter),

I am a Persian first and foremost. I totally reject any notion that we are like other Muslim nations. We have a 2,500 years of rich history and proud to have maintained our Aryan identity to this day. We are not Arabs and will never be. Our current rulers are Arabs that speak Farsi but we simply can't admit it to ourselves yet.

But you... have a warped view of Monarchy and the benefits it has for a country like Iran.

Compared to you I am an expert on Iran and I have much more authority to talk about my homeland than a Pakistani sitting in Britain and bull crapping his way through. Call me racist or whatever you like - I have heard worse but when it comes to Iran I will not compromise about the true non-Muslim identity that Iranians have. Arabs imposed Islam on Persians 1400 years ago. However, I am a muslim by birth but cannot recognize any of the teachings that I was accustomed to when growing up in Iran as a Muslim. The Islam I came to understand and experience under the Shah was one of tolerance, respect of of others and minorities. Under his rule I learned about the Persian culture and the history of our great land. I understood that as a nation we are much more than Islam. We have a role to play as Iranians (Persians) in the world stage.

In light of that it seems clear that you don't understand the psyche of the Iranian nation. To this day we have not deviated from the notion of an absolute monarchy. An aboslute monarchy is NOT (repeat NOT)the kind of Monarchy we would like to emulate for our homeland.

We are advocating a Constitutional Monarchy where People (not the throne) have the authority and the power. The throne is the symbol of unity and strength of the nation. Democarcy is the prevailing theme and modus operandi of the next political regime in Iran.

The abolsute Monarch that you and I reject (coincidently ! - if you only paid attention to what I wrote) is what we currently have in Iran. We are simply calling it differently. The current abosulte despotic ruler is called "Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei".

Our idea is the following : Since Monarchy has its place in Iran to this day in the 21st Century it has to be reformed and must be adjusted to its original status as described in the 1906 constitution that we have and that Prince Reza Pahlavi is its custodian and its defender since 1980.

That is the best way to reform the Iranian political system while maintaining customs and traditions that have been with us for the last 2500 years and that we obviously are not parting with.

This of course has to be approved by the people of Iran in a free and fair referendum where all political views will be debated (even backward and illogical stand points like yours).

The other part you are not getting is that the name Pahlavi has a strong resonance in Iran still and reminds people of the time where they were not harassed in their daily lives by authorities, where life was much easier to lead, where making money was not just in the hands of a few, when a middle class was truly emerging and when women and minorities across the nation were respectd and celebrated and when Iran was at peace with itself and its neighbours and a respected member of the international community. This is what you don't understand, have never experienced and will never comprehend.

Why don't you try to voice your opinion about the misery that is ravaging you homeland in Pakistan and the backward steps it has taken thanks to Madrassa's filling young people skulls with hatred and xenophobia.

If you think people are better off in the Islamic Republic of Iran than the Monarchy under the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi then don't be a wuss (which you seem to be). Take a plane down to Tehran ask people (old enough to remember) if they are better off now than they were 27 years ago and see what kind of responses you will get.

Then try this. If they tell you that they are worse off (forget about the notion of MUCH more worse off!) then tell them that they are wrong and that you think they are much better off now than in the former regime and that they simply don't know what they are talking about. Let me tell you will get a good taste of the "other kind" of Iranian hospitality.

In short you are full of it and I suspect that you are a public danger since your comprehension of the world, democracy, respect of others is limited to one that a young boy in grade 6 level at the grown age of 11 would have in a recreation court.


Long live Iran and Long live Reza Shah II!


Ehsan Valavi

Randall Parker said at August 4, 2005 9:00 AM:

M.Robinson,

Think about the trade-off with the communists. If the Czar had stayed in power tens of millions wouldn't have died in the Gulag and in interrogation and from the forced collectivization of agriculture. Ah, but the Czar might not have launched satellites. Well, got to crack some eggs to make an omelette?

However, you also betray historical illiteracy. Czarist Russia was technologically advanced in many ways. They had accomplished scientists and engineers, a growing middle class, and were going through industrialization. A Russian named Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii developed a color photography technique and took thousands of pictures of Czarist Russia using it. Check out Russian transportation. Also, more Russian pictures here.

You also seem to have ideologically induced reading comprehension problems. Ehsan Valavi obviously loves Iran and hates the Mullahs.

Randall Parker said at August 4, 2005 9:14 AM:

M.Robinson or a British Pakistani Muslim who is masquerading as a native Brit,

Actually, if the Czarist government had remained in power the Russians would have achieved much more technologically and scientifically. The communists killed millions of smart people. The killings of land owners and business owners was definitely dysgenic. Under Czarist rule democracy would have developed gradually and literacy rates would have risen anyhow. As for just how much literacy did improve: The communists lied about nearly everything. They systematically painted the Czarist era as far worse than it was. People were far freer to do things under the Czar than under the communists.

Ehsan Valavi said at August 5, 2005 7:58 AM:

Randall Parker,

You said it right. There were far too many exaggerations made about the record sheet of the Czarist regime. The Czar was far more liberal and democratic in his political viewpoint than it was led to believe by the gullible historians and media of the time. The false belief unfortunately still prevails to this day somehow.

The Shah and his regime have been victims of the same treatment. Let me be clear. Nobody will deny that the secret services at that time were keeping a careful eye on the population. However their primary mission was to weed out elements of the society that were working for a foreign power (directly spying or trying to influence the government policy). That policy led at times to indefensible acts by the officers in the force. Every army and police force around the world has bad apples amongst its ranks. The Imperial Iran under the Shah was no exception to that rule.

That being said from all the readings that I have done over the years and the records I could analyse it seems to me that the balance sheet at the end of his reign (between the negatives and positives) was far more respectable than anyone would admit to this day. I will state the status of women for example - a hot topic these days - waht it was under the Shah and it became under the Islamic Republic under Khomeini. There are millions of other examples to state however.

I am not a historian and never had the time to pour over the record of the regime to issue a scholarly prepared document. This I hope some honest Iranian will have to take on as a task one day.

Monarchy is a viable option for the future of Iran since a large portion of the population still strongly believes in the benefit of that institution. If I had to wager a bet on the percentage of the population that would vote for a constitutional monarchy I would say that 30% of the people without any campaign favoring the monarchy would readily vote for it. However, if an organized campaign within the framework of a referendum were to be allowed and a real debate around the value of monarchy and the role it can play was to be held some 60-65% would vote for it. The rest of the population will form a permanent nucleus rejecting it on the basis of either ideological principals steeped in socialistic views and or backward/religious belief in the teachings of Khomeini.

God willing Iranians will see that day soon where freedom will be every where and that the age of darkness will be buried for ever.


Long live Iran and Reza Shah II !

Ehsan Valavi

M.Robinson said at August 5, 2005 8:45 AM:

M.Robinson or a British Pakistani Muslim who is masquerading as a native Brit,

call me what you like, just because I feel that things likes racism, anti-semitic or islamaphobia are a danger to society at large and as such I feel duty bound to answer in any way I can.

As for : Ehsan Valavi, he seems to be living in the past, while nations that have constitutional monarchies are debating whether they are viable in the 21 century. You seem to forget that the Revolution in Iran was by the people and the military sided with the people, Monarchists like yourself are not truly for Iran, but more for the Pehlavi as you have written.

If tomorrow the current regime is changed to a more 'democratic' government, that does not want the monarchy and also wishes to have the same policy towards the USA. do you really think that the USA will in no way stop its interference in Iran, or the likes of you will stop ranting about the monarchy and why its best for Iran.

Like in the USSR change occured, and as such change will occur, but not at the behest of the corrupt Pehlavi's and their supporters.

Randall...

The Czarist regime was inept, corrupt and was losing battles against the Imperial Japanese army. The communist had to change a peasant based society to industrial giant.Ofcourse the communists used to lie, I do not disagree with you there, but as a british commentator once said during the launch of sputnik, 'This is quite a achievement for a nation that only 60 years ago was predominently illeterate'.

In terms of dealing with opponents it was no better than the Czarist regime. In terms of achievement, they made major strides, both military and in the civilian sectors. The czarist were decaying, because in most of the european powers the system of government was parliamentarian, with some constitutional monarchy.
The chinese communist having seen what had to the USSR,and its breakup have decided to put the idea of economic liberalism first and this will lead eventually to political change(hopeully). A strong China economically and militarily. The Chinese have not forgotten the humiliation under the various colonialist powers, especially the Japanese.

Valavi.. you may not be religious, but a very large section of the 70 million iranians are, and they have voted for their candidate.
As not all Americans are religious or belong to one faith, but neverthe less a large proportion are christian and religious and they were 'advised' to vote for bush by many Pastors.
like it or not the electorate chose their candidate.
the holding of public office must be based on merit not on birth into a privileged class.

I hav eno problem with long live Iran, I am for long live every nation. In Britain we had an empire, but in no comment do I say I want to see Britain once more the Imperial power, as you say of Persia.


Randall Parker said at August 5, 2005 9:07 AM:

M. Robinson,

The revolution against the Shah was broader based but then the Mullahs took it over. The same happened with the original Sandinista coalition in Nicaragua. Lots of revolutions have some well organized faction that hijack the revolution and take it places the majority never meant for it to go. So your argument that the Iranian revolution represented the will of the people rings hollow.

Also, the US is interfering in Iran? How exactly? Bribing mullahs? Blowing up things?

As for the Czarist regime and the Japanese Army: Russia is huge. The far eastern portion is many thousands of miles away from the heartland. Yes, way out on the periphery it was militarily weak. You overinterpret the significance of this.

About the communist regime you say:

In terms of dealing with opponents it was no better than the Czarist regime.

I have to laugh. Only "no better"? Are you trying to say they were equivalent? The handfulls of people the Czarist regime jailed somehow compare to the millions jailed under the communists and the tens of millions forceably starved to death? Oh, but the literacy rate rose. Great. The kulaks were more literate before they starved to death. The political prisoners in Siberia all could read. That's progress.

I'll believe that islamophobia is a big problem when white Englishmen start blowing up dozens of Muslims at a time.

M.Robinson said at August 6, 2005 4:53 AM:

The interference that I was referring to was during the shah's regime. The current regime in Iran does not want any relations with the US, while its more comfortable with the relations it has with some european governments.

Under the Czarist dictatorship, many died not just political opponents. the peasantry were slaves to the big landowners.

the revolotion in Iran was instigated by the ayatollah's, who were against the hoarding of state finances by the shah and his supporters.The USA policy was that as long as the Shah put his money back into American banks, the status quo would remain where the US would back the shah the undemocratic.

The US supports the Saudi family because they hoard their money in the US.This is the money that belongs to the Saudi people, yet the USA has no problem with this, who gives a crap about the Saudi people as long as the petrodollar is put into America.

AND THEN YOU ASK WHY MUSLIM PEOPLE ARE ANTI-US.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

The USA still owes Iran in excess of $3-4 billion.

The propaganda attacks against Iran are not based on democracy and individual rights, because then the first casualties would have been Hosni Mubarak and the 'royalties' in the gulf( highly undemocratic, but very pro- american). In actual fact this is about control of nations and their subservience to US foreign policy. If a nation such as Iran (with parliamentary system, in its infancy) espouse a independent policy especially with the huge oil reserves they have ,then it will become the target of the US.

Another example close to home is Venezuela, Where the US backed a coup against a DEMOCRATICALLY elected leader who would not kiss up to US policy. Most of the coup leaders and plotters now live in the US, what Hypocracy. Why was the coup carried out, because the Venezuelan president wants to spend the vast oil money on the the poor in his nation. I saw a documentary on the BBC, which showed the powerful elite in venezuela using their 9 SATELLITE channels to pump out propaganda and at the same time the state department in the US was pumping the same CRAP.
I was astounded the way the the US was supporting the coup leaders.

It must be that you are not aware but a few years back we in Britain we had the 'Nailbomber', who used explosives wrapped in quite a few kilos of nails and the TARGETS WERE MUSLIM of the east end of London. There were three explosions over a period of time. The Bomber was eventually caught, he was white from a middle class family and a member of the BNP( membership no longer valid according to them).

Randall Parker said at August 6, 2005 9:37 AM:

M.Robinson,

Still trying for moral equivalency between the Czarist regime and the communists and yet you deny you are a leftist. At the same time you deny you are a British Pakistani Muslim. Well just what motivates this delusion then?

American bank deposits by the Saudis motivate US support for Saudi Arabia? Are you kidding? Now I think you must be a British South Asian Muslim. First of all, the Saudis have greatly diversified their holdings in recent decades. You are so 1970s in your information. Second, they are not as wealthy as they used to be. Their population has exploded. Their foreign holdings are just not that large. Third, bank deposits are not big profit centers for banks. Interest rates are highly competitive and profit margins are much much smaller as compared to the 1970s. Fourth, most big lumps of money are not held as bank deposits. The returns are too low. The money gets held in bonds and stocks and the banks make little to nothing off of these holdings.

But why does the US have beefs against Iran? Oh, lets see. They held our embassy workers hostage for a year. The Iranian government send agents to blow up the Jewish center in Buenos Aires. The Iranian government has sent agents abroad and killed literally hundreds of critics and opponents of the Mullahs' regime. the Iranian government has funded and directed other terrorist attacks against Americans (probably Khobar Towers for example).

Then there is your wrong argued motive for why the Ayatollahs wanted to overthrow the Shah. What upset them was modernization. They didn't like women working in a large assortment of jobs. they didn't like women walking around without veils. Many rural people were offended as well. You are trying to rationalize and assign motives to them that would appeal to moral codes of Westerners. But the motives for the religious revolutionaries were in opposition to secular Western values.

As for the $3 billion or $4 billion: We ought to hand it to the families of victims of the people around the world killed by the agents of the mullahs.

Venezuela: Well, caught us there. We favored the smarter white middle class against the Amerind working class and against Hugo Chavez who rewrote the constitution and who has gotten friendly with Fidel Castro and the Iranians. What we should do of course is support Amerind popular revolutions against the smart white ruling classes in Latin America. The result will be deterioriation of their economies and an increase in lawlessness and even more corruption. But the popular will is sacred in some cases. Okay, it is not sacred in Iran. But since the government opposes the US it gets a special moral opt-out card where it gets immunity from moral judgement from all leftists and fools in the West.

Ehsan Valavi said at August 8, 2005 12:30 PM:

Mr. Robinson,

If you have a problem with monarchy in Iran just keep it under wrap. In no way should foreigners like you be allowed to voice their opinion in internal Iranian affairs. What the Iranian people will decide when time to cast their vote will come (under UN supervision) then the world will have to accept their decision.

One outcome is for SURE! The next Iranian regime will be SECULAR. Try to put that in your tiny little twisted mind. The next regime will be catering to ALL Iranians and will be inclusive. That means all religious minorities (including Jews - Mr. Robinson) and women will benefit from government services and will be protected under the SECULAR constitution. Iran will once again, like under the Shah, have a friendly, normal and cooperative relationship with Israel. People don't say enough about the courage that the Shah had way, way, way before any other Muslim leader in the Middle East to establish a formal relationship with the state of Israel. Sadat took his queues from the Shah.

I would be foolish for me to believe that fundamentalists like you will not try to interfere in that not-so-distant referendum campaign one way or another. So much for you to stay on the sideline and watching idly the on goings of that future referendum!

It will be up to people like me to make sure that people like you are kept aside and no outside noise will interfere with the true voices of Iranian leaders vying for different political movements when engaging the nation.

You truly are our enemy! Your narrow mindedness is exactly what the current regime in Iran is thriving on. Iranian National forces (men and women) will combat you and your allies and we will make sure that a secular regime will be the outcome of that referendum.

Make no mistake Mr. Robinson the secular nature of the next regime is GUARANTEED since the world will simply not allow another fundamentalist regime to come to power in Iran.

Trying to have a logical exchange of opinion with people like you is a waste of time. George W. Bush understands it really well. Fundamentalists forces to which you belong only understand combat and confrontation. And when it comes to combat defeat MUST be the guaranteed outcome for people like you.

Here are my predictions: Iran is next, followed closely by Cuba since Fidel will die soon and shortly after Venezuela will become engulfed in a popular uprising that will simply decapitate the authoritarian regime of Chavez.

The future is oh so bright!

Long Live Iran and Reza Shah II

M.Robinson said at August 12, 2005 5:34 AM:

I do hope the future is bright, for people to air their views. you sound very much a 'right wing' individual who seems to know little on his nations history(other than the shah period) and seems to shed very narrow minded propaganda against other nations in which the majority suffered at the hands of a clique that only stole from the national exchequer.

I do not have a LOVE FOR COMMUNISM, as you seem to suggest or any authoritarian regime. Authoritarianism is a tool used by many rich nations to against many of the worlds poor nations. People like yourself seem to indulge in a fantasy world of black and white. In the real world the likes of the IMF and World bank are used to control economies of poorer nations.

What the current Iranianregime has done is given the nation a sense of self respect rather than being a 'lackey' of a powerful nation. during the Shah's regime there were still poor people, it was only the clique and their minnions who were doing very well. At that time the press were not anti-Iranian as the USA was pro-Shah. Since the downall of the dictator Shah and US antagonism (because US does not control Iran oil) against Iran has gone up. If the current regime had been as subservient as the Shah, then I can assure you there would never be this sort of hostility against Iran.

In relation to cuba, yes its time that fidel castro stepped down and create the framework for a multiparty democracy. As again one has to look to the past 60 years of cuban history. Cuba was corrupt to the extreme, and the leaders were in cahoots with organised crime figures from the US. the vast majority became disillusioned with the corrupt goverment(pre-communism) of the day. The US government fearing a communist takeover in cuba, but rather than espousing Democracy, and pushing for reform to help the disaffected poor of cuba, the US instead propped up the dictatorial government of the day, the same happened in El-Salvador.

In Venezuela President Hugo Chavez is democratically elected, or were you ignorant of that. His policies 'rightly or wrongly' are to benefit the majority of the venezuelans. With the help of the State Department of US the coup plotters, using their nine TV channels (which were never banned) to spout anti-government propaganda, and an eventual coup which failed and some of the coup plotters are living the high life in the USA.

Your comments do not espouse democracy but rather the dictatorship of the Shah. If you were a individual of democratic credentials, then you would have known that your Beloved Shah the dictator overthrew an elected Iranian government with the help of the CIA. Or like many of the Shah's cronies your interest is in hoarding money but not in Liberty and Democracy.

Again you show little knowledge, on the onehand you say 'the world won't allow a fundamentalist regime in Iran' and on the other hand you accuse the current government of Iran of being 'The rule of the mullahs' which to me seems a reference to fundamentalist form of government?

the world was against the Iraq invasion, but the USA and sadly our Government precedded with attacking Iraq on the lie of WMD's. So world opinion matters when Pro-US and doesn't matter when its NOT pro-US.

The 'Kharq' opposition ( most probably youre a member if you truly are Iranian) has carried out BOMBINGS in Iran against civilian targets in the name of Liberty, which upto recently was being helped along its mission by the USA(most probably still being helped covertly, because it would not look good by helping a Terrorist organisation in the current climate of 'war on terror'). Hypocracy knows no bounds

Ehsan Valavi.....

You may accuse me of many things, a leftist?, a fundamentalist? a muslim under disguise? a self hater?. I am more than happy when people cannot stomach the idea of some one with a different viewpoint.
As to Foreign relations with any particulat nation that Iran has, is the choice of the Iranian government and its people and not some 'Iranian'(most probably non-iranian) sat in America who thinks he/she should be deciding Iranian foreign policy.

You are very much the Armchair 'analyst' with a tinge of being a 'soothsayer'. You should be trying to predict your own way in life , rather than the outcome of the political fate of major nations.

Ehsan Valavi said at August 15, 2005 7:08 PM:

Mr. Robinson,

If I could go back to Iran and contribute to my homeland's development I would have done it many years ago. I am expressing my opinion and as I said I am for the monarchy but that wouldn't be allowed and tolerated in Iran and I would most likely have a tragic end like hundreds of thousands of others before me who stood up against this anti-Iranian regime.

So much for me! Now what are you doing sitting in the newly found confort of your British life style. You should be in Pakistan labouring in the advancement of your country instead lecturing people with your backward and despicable view of the world. If my opinions are narrow and too close to George Bush's for your comfort how come dozens of democratic nations around share that same view and are now participating in the war against terror in Iraq.

Time is on our side and we shall burry fundamentalists and extremmists and we won't take prisoners this time.

How come you didn't make any comments about the Shah's relationship with the state of Israel. No comments there Mr. Robinson? Are you too ashamed to admit that you are an anti-semite.

Read these words again. Fidel is next and the next summer Iran will be free again.

Ehsan Valavi,


Long Live Iran and Reza Shah II!

M.Robinson said at August 17, 2005 8:57 AM:

Fidel is next and the next summer Iran will be free again.......

You truly are obsessed with wanting to create turmoil, youre an armchair 'warrior'wholike bush and other leaders is more than happy to believe in the concept of liberation as long as the fighting is carried out by someone else.

In war thousands are killed, predominently civilians. Is your mind truly warped to the extent that you have started to assume that war is like the games that you have most probably played on you nintendo/console.

I am more than happy living in the country of my birth(England). I have never been anti-semitic, yours is the usual cheap shot of shouting 'anti-semite', whenever there is criticism o Israel. This merely shows lack of imagination on your part.

Iran will be free again.....

I can assure you IRAN IS FREE, from the likes of you, who are unable to fathom the idea that your mentor the shah and his clique of corrupt and inept group no longer rule. Is it possible that your family was in the circle of the Shah and were doing very well economically while the mass of Iran was being denied their share of the oil wealth.

Fidel has not got much time left, his own people will remove him if required.

In your ability as the Blog soothsayer, you seem to have forgotten the communist nations of china and N.Korea. The N.Korean leadership is highly dangerous, yet no where in your predictions have you stated as to the downfall of the regime, or is it that N.Korea possibly has Nukes, and a armed forces with the capability to defend and mount heavy casualties on the attacker.

I have seen your kind, talk tough but at the first sign of trouble you run like a dog with its tail between its legs.

Randall Parker said at August 17, 2005 9:35 AM:

M.Robinson,

You place greater importance on a government's being free of influence of another government than on the individual people in a country's being free. The Iranian people are definitely not free. Their press is not free. Their women are not free.

Ehsan Valavi said at August 18, 2005 10:48 AM:


Mr. Robinson,

I wish my family had the privilege to serve the nation under the guidance of His Imperial Majesty the late Shah of Iran. May be I will have that honour in the future with the Reza Shah II. However, the difference will be that this time the people will rule the country under their elected leaders and the monarch will simply be the symbol of our unity as a nation.

As pointed out by R. Parker Iran is not free and won't be free until this regime is gone. The next regime will be elected by the people and for the people. If the nation decides not to have a constitutional monarchy so be it and we will have a Republic instead. I will make sure I will contribute to the debate before that vote is cast by the nation. However, what Iran will be free of will be Islam as the state religion. A religion, whatever it may be, has no place in a secular society. What the next Iran will be free of in its government and its administration is people like you who are fundamentalists and have a narrow view of life. A view concentrated on self-interests, deceit, lies and bigotry.

Islam has harmed Iran and has deceived Iranians for the last 1400 years. Ayatollahs and all Islamic religious figures will be limited in numbers (just a handful for the entire nation) to take care of religious affairs and will be strictly monitored in their behaviour and sermons. No more turbans and no more disgusting beards and long gowns to make false statements and pretense. No more sitting on the floor during sermons since everybody men and women will be sitting in mixed sessions like other human beings who respect each other on chairs and will listen to pre-approved sermons.

Again religious figures will be limited in numbers and a vast campaign to de-Islamify the nation will be undertaken to combat fundamentalism and swing the pendulum back towards secularism. Large amounts coming out of the sale of oil and natural gas will be financing those campaigns. This will take time but get ready Mr. Robinson this will be the Iran that world will have to face until you and I are no longer in this world and the one beyond us.

N. Korea is a puppet regime under the influence of the Chinese who use it as a pun against the Japanese and the Americans. It will take a deal between George W. and the Chinese Chairman to get rid of the Kim Jung Il. No problems there either since N. Korean thanks to the famine that has been devastating the country will no longer be around and will also collapse under the weight of democratic revolutions taking place everywhere.

Once all this has been done we, Iranians, will leave poor old backward nations like Pakistan and its Madrassa educated population in the dust. We will re-join the concert of nations in their quest for progress, peace, science and development in all fronts. We will teach other Islam dominated nations in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere around the world how to pave their way out of a domineering Islam in their daily lives and jump on the fast moving train called Progress and Enlightment. Achieving individual freedom and joining other nations in their inter-dependance for advancement in life is the dream of all Iranians.

Indeed people like you have a bleak future ahead no doubt.

Does Tony Blair know about the things you write in this site? I would be careful if I were you but then again why should I?


Long live Iran and Reza Shah II!


M.Robinson said at August 23, 2005 6:04 AM:

[pre-approved sermons..................]

The Communists carried out such things against the Orthodox church of russia.

[Islam has harmed Iran and has deceived Iranians for the last 1400 years......]

obviously you are not a muslim, unlike the 90+ % of the Iranian population.The 60+% voter turnout was a hoax, and the Iranians did not really vote for their new president, Because Mr.Ehsan knows the inner thoughts of the Iranian people because of his Soothsaying abilities. Mr.Ehsan Valavi(if this is your real name) do not insult the Iranian people with the usual garbage of ' the Iranian's are not really happy' ( as though you have carried out a nation wide poll that is unbiased).

[strictly monitored ..................]

By whom the Shah's secret police(Ehsan Valavi, YOU truly are Undemocratic in your outlook, you accuse others, but you truly are a hypocrite)


[campaign to de-Islamify the nation .....]
Is this idea for all religions or just Islam, maybe you should put the idea of doing away with christianity and judiaism as well, or is it possible that you FEAR to tread that path. On the one hand you espouse Secular fundamentalism, focused primarily against Islam. I personally do not have a problem if you attack all religions, but to deliberately focus on Islam shows your hatred towards muslims to the extreme. You most probably are a Zionist or a sympathiser disguised as an Iranian.


[We will teach other Islam dominated nations in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere around the world how to pave their way out of a domineering Islam in their daily lives .........]

Another teaching of Karl Marx and his devoted students of communism. I find your dilly dallying quite absurd, on the one hand you espouse 'freedom' on the other hand you talk of curtailing the freedom of others under the watchful gaze of a 'gestapo' like secret police. Are you unable to make up your mind, or is it just that Iran is a convenient scapegoat for your anti-islamic rantings.

[poor old backward nations like Pakistan and its Madrassa educated population in the dust.....]

Pakistan is poor becuase its leaders have played to the tune of the USA, and the madrassahs that you refer to were funded by the US government during the Soviet-Afghan war. India on the other hand has not played to the USA tune and as such is doing quite well in relation to its economy.


I was watching a programme last night on the BBC, which showed the intensity of US involvement in Central America, and its tacit support(financially, militarily and political) for dictatorial regimes, in Nicaragua, El-Salvador and Honduras. In Honduras the CIA had one of its largest operations with 600 operatives on a base, carrying out torture, working with drug runners to supply weapons to Right wing Death squads, and as payment they could fly in DRUGS to mainland USA. The Honduran trained military death squads ran an operation known as the 'denying water to the fish', this was ineffect kill anyone 'suspected' of showing sympathy to the rebels. In one village only TWO survivors remained, The Old lady recounts the screams of her children pleading for help while they were being killed.

The EVIL regime in north korea is not going to fall that easily as you keep reminding us 'Ehsan the Soothsayer' extraordinaire. It is being propped up, by both china and russia, both with permanent seats in the security council.

As I said previously, the USA has backed off taking Iran to the security council for wanting an independent nuclear power generating capability, because the likely hood is both russia and china would veto such a plan.

Your desire to see a regime change in Iran is highly improbable in the near future.
China's need for uninterrupted energy supplies for its population and industry requires it to forge new alliances to counter USA control of mideast oil, and russia wants the USa out of its 'traditional' backyard, and as such the Uzbek president notified the USA to vacate all its hardware from Uzbek military bases.

In Iraq, the USA has killed more civilians than saddam, an age old ally of the USA, You must remember the good old days when the likes of RUMSFELD were sent to sell chemical weapons to saddam, so that he could use them against the Iranian armed forces.

You should try and learn from the best in the political game, and thats the British civil service. We the British have a good understanding of world politics and thats why our civil service has capable and well educated people running the show.

Aamir Ali said at January 2, 2006 11:29 PM:

No nation in this world has ever had or will have a total monopoly on knowledge or technology. I dont see what the problem is with the China-Pakistan deal, its to build a power plant. If anyone does have a problem, so be it, its not going to stop this project. Every piece of knowledge sooner or later spreads around the world, same with nuke technology.


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