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June 14, 2005

Do we know who Moeen is?
Babak Seradjeh  [info|posts]

moeen.jpg I have argued so much against voting at this time that it might pass without notice that I have considered voting as a real option since the start. As I have written in a comment on this site and later elsewhere I supported, and still do, conditional participation.

One lesson that I think must be learned from the experience of the previous 8 years is that Khatami was mistaken by many to be someone he wasn't. He expressed opinions (always carefully crafted) that were taken to mean things more radical and progressive than what he himself was ready to accept or admit. His office issued numerous denials each time his words were taken to mean some hidden progressive idea or course of action in the press.

Now, who is Moeen? That question is of vital importance since that is a determining factor in deciding whether to vote for him or not for many. Not many are convinced by the general arguments for the superiority of a boycott strategy and many will base their decision on what they see in the person of Moeen. In that respect one should not make the same mistake of "subjectively projecting" his or her demands on the identity of whom he or she votes for.

Is he the steadfast, powerful upholder of the rights and achiever of demands many like to think he is? Is he going to do what Khatami did not do: not let go of the opportunities to advance the cause of freedom and democracy when they present themselves? Is he going to use his popular support if he gains it when and if he becomes the President?

I am doubtful that he is who many would like to believe he is. So far as I can tell, he did not stand on the only promise he made that was tested till now. He and his team said they won't accept a "governmental decree" from the Leader. But when he was reinstalled by the Gaurdian Council after the Leader demanded the Council to reconsider his qualification, he chose to get around the problem by announcing he did not consider it a "decree." Yet, the fact that it was not directed at him personally did not reduce anything in the nature of the Leader's letter. Not only that, Moeen chose not to set any conditions for his participation. By doing so, not only he could muster huge support for himself and the democratic movement among those who wanted to vote for him as well as the ones supporting a boycott due to the ineffectiveness of past experiences, but also he could demonstrate his seriousness in business before he is even given the chance in the office he is running for. Instead, he chose to give scattered promises of whose seriousness and possible realization no one can be sure.

The only practically positive move in his campaign has been to form a "Front for Democracy and Human Rights." But even that is too little, too late, especially as the main bodies behind it, Mr. Moeen's Islamic Participation Front and the Islamic Revolutionary Mujahideen Organization, have set participation in the elections as a precondition for other groups and organizations who may want to join it.

I hope I am mistaken, especially if a majority of the electorate are going to vote, and if Moeen is going to be elected eventually. Otherwise this election could hinder the struggle for democracy though intentions are diagonally in the opposite direction.

Niayesh at June 14, 2005 06:07 PM [permalink]:

Well, Moeen is a Politician, alright?!

I think it is alright to even betray your own principles, in order to survive (politically speaking, in Moeen's case). Had he refused to run, he would be inevitably another addition to the fringe opposition, such as Nehzate Azadi. I guess we can all agree that wouldn't really help the situation.

And also Babak, I think you should change your perception of democracy. Your democracy/politics can only exist in dreams. Real democracies are run by politicians who don't stop at lies, deceit, or even sacrifice of thousands to keep their power. Principled men belong in monasteries.

Alborz at June 14, 2005 06:35 PM [permalink]:

Vote moin in, I dont think a boycott of the vote would do anything good for Iran. keep iran stablized because with today's world, it is dangerous, with war on both sides of our border.

Parthisan at June 14, 2005 07:24 PM [permalink]:

It's not Moeen himself, it's his team. Tajzadeh, Sahabi, Koolaee,... this is the strongest pro-reform team Iran has had at least in my life time. All members of this team have proven their seriousness several times and it's very likely that they will achieve a higher percentage of their goals, comparing to Khatami's government.

This strong team may not be ideal but is good enough. I rank it above Khatami's team, therefore I vote for them.

Parthisan at June 14, 2005 07:34 PM [permalink]:

Moreover, In really don't understand why you bring forward this "decree" carry-on all the time. Have you really believed Keyhan's interpretation of Khamanei's words? Moeen ran for presidency, Khamanei's council rejected him, Khamenei himself told them to shut up and let him through. What could have he done? Did you expect him to do a lot of NAAZ o ATFAR?

Had Moeen stepped out of the presidential race, the GC would have achieved their goal. This whole story just burnt GC's credit even more and widened the gap in the conservative camp.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 14, 2005 07:39 PM [permalink]:

I agree with you. this is an important point and I am CERTAIN that Moeen is a big failure. But given the amazing capacity of some in this website to ignor any sound argument, I don't think that will help much either. Let's home the ordinary people prove themselves more intelligent than some of the self-acclamied educated intellectuals.

>All members of this team have proven their seriousness several times...

Really?! funny, I seem to remember they droped the press law once they weer in the parliament , after a "notice" by the Leader. (Karrubi droped it, by your team didn't seem to mind that much. A week past and it was all history). The same goes for basically all other important isuues on their agenda while they were in the parliament. They only resigned once they were disqualified. You see a patter here, don't you?
What about their promises to the students on 18 Tir uprising? Already forgotten, huh? Actuallu why shoudl they keep any of their promises while the likes of you will always use doublethink to justify them and vote for them. They should be idiots to do that.
Right now, Ganji, Zarafshan and others are facing DEATH. What is your strong team doing now? How come I don't see them struggleing non-stop to save the lives of their one-time companion? Is it perhaps because they are asking for a boycott that could hinder them from getting this delicious power they are dying for at the moment?
Some strong team. heh!

SG at June 14, 2005 07:54 PM [permalink]:

Who is Moeen, you ask? Well, *who* was Khatami?!

An ex-minister who said some interesting things. But his election helped reveal some of the nasty misdeeds of the Intelligence Ministry. Newspapers and magazines mushroomed. Etc. Khatami became the prime symbol of the 2nd of Khordad movement.

Nobody is "somebody" at the beginning. We have to see. I can agree that Moeen will be no Mosaddeq (just to name someone who some claim is what Iran needs today), but do you know anybody else who will?

Parthisan at June 14, 2005 08:19 PM [permalink]:

AIS, Moeen's team is not ideal, but is stronger than Khatami's. That was my point. I have not forgotten the press law and other failures you mentioned. But there's nothing wrong with trying things again. Both of us are pissed off, but I prefer to give it another try. Many taboos were broken and red lines have been over-run, it's time to try again.

The point is to push forward and not go give up. Ganji, Zarafshan and all other people who are and were in jail HAD DONE SOMETHING. Instead of nagging and becoming passive, they wrote, gave speech and helped move things one small step forward. As a result of their "ACTION", we learned a lot, we expanded our visions, and got to know about our rights.

We also made a huge mistake in the city council elections. Is there anyone who believes the result of the city council elections in Tehran was positive for Tehranis? Did it do any good?

You can sit at home, remain pissed off and passive, and nag forever. Maybe this helps you look 'intellectual' in the eyes of your buddies. Good for you.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 14, 2005 10:00 PM [permalink]:

Moeen's team is far worse than not ideal. Are you kidding? They even stand against a call for international supervision of the elections!
Here read this article by Nima Rashedan at Gooya:


BTW, all those names who your majesty were benevolant enough to concede of having accomplished some thing through their actions, THEY ARE ALL CALLING FOR A BOYCOTT!
I mean the nerves of you people...wooh

And no, no real harm was done after the municipal elections. if YOUR "butt is burning", look for some other cause.
And to end my unfruitful dialogue with you: if you are looking for some pissed off and passive guy/girl who is not willing to listen to reason , look at the mirror.

someone who is usually silent at June 14, 2005 10:03 PM [permalink]:

Alborz and Parthisan and others who are advertising voting for ayone,

I don't really understand any of you. As I am sure, you cannot understand us. That is okay, we are thinking about different issues all together. You are working towards building a better IRI and we are working to make a better IRAN, full stop. I think the reason that many people are not voting is because they are hoping for a BIG change, namely the change to the "velayat faghih", and you who are fighting for votes, want a stronger "velayat faghih". That is okay, and I understand. Our point remains the same, we want to see how many people are like you guys in Iran by the number of votes. If they are a majority, then well, they have country, and they can have it until everyone is as frustrated as we are. If not, if you are not in majority, then we want a stronger reform. May be not a reform, but a fundamental change to the structure of this government.

People who have had their fathers and their mothers in the prison as political prisoner, people who saw their parents get tortured everyday in prison, people who saw their dears die for what they said or thought, people who had to flee the country because of the threats to their lives and their family’s lives, people who are in hunger strike as we speak, people who are getting tortured for what they think, and people who understand the situation of these people, let's speak up this time. Let's not allow a few insiders to this oppressive government scare us into voting, when we do not have a real representative.

Let's wait, oppose, and see...

Parthisan at June 14, 2005 10:20 PM [permalink]:

Someone who's usually silent, I'm definitely not looking for a stronger velayate faghih, never. I believe voting is the way to improve the situation, and will ultimately weaken the VF, you believe the opposite. That's fine.

As you said, the outcome of the election determines who will take control of the country. I don't want to see the hardliners take advantage of the boycotte as an opportunity to seize control of everything. They are dreaming of low turn participation, I won't be part of their dream.

AIS you need Borat's Guide to Etiquette! :)

someone who is usually silent at June 14, 2005 11:05 PM [permalink]:


Sorry, if I have implied (I think I did) that you or anyone else in particular want the VF to get stronger. What I meant to say is as a result of "mosharekat" (participation), we are strengthening VF, "che khahi, che nakhahi". I hope I am wrong, since from the looks of it many people will vote, and I don't want to be right. But history has shown otherwise.

Sorry again for miscommunication on my part.

Ali M at June 15, 2005 04:03 AM [permalink]:

Someone who is usually silent

Unfortunately, now that the turn out has become a legitimacy issue for the regime, they will not give the real percentage of voters. Democracy activists used the 15% participation in the last city council election in Teheran to discredit the regime and it learns its lesson (the participation the last parliementary election was inflated).

When insiders like Ganji say that reform of the IRI is impossible, I tend to believe him because he knows what he is talking about.

One-liner at June 15, 2005 04:27 AM [permalink]:

Great post. Finally something sensible from a pro-boycotter. I'm not surprised that such a great post comes from the only one I know so far who has considered changing his mind. (It doesn't matter that in the end he didn't change his mind, of course)

I tried to find out more about Moeen in his website. The website is quite bad. He doesn't tell us anything about his plans for his presidency (I bet he doesn't have one). He doesn't even promise anything. With any standard, he is a terrible candidate for presidency, unless you have only 9 options: the 8 candidates that we know and the boycott option. Let me tell you a philosophical point. All I am writing or thinking about here is the practical question of what we can recommend non-thinker Iranians do, so that we end up in a better political situation. As a result I only think about what CAN be done as opposed to what we WISH to be done.

Let's now collect facts about Moeen together.

1- Emphasises allegiance to the constitution
2- Has been a minister both in Khatami and Raf's cabinets
3- Is a MD
4- Resigned after the students were attacked by vigilantees ( can someone install a spell checker here?)
5- His spokesperson is female
6- Sent his spokeswoman to join the sit-in outside Evin. (Another example that courage doesn't have anything to do with balls)
7- Visited Ganji after he was released from Evin
8- He hasn't explained what he will do when the Guardian Council continues doing what it was doing with Khatamis Gov.
9- Hasn't presented any Economical, Social, Political plans.

I apparently know very little about him. I suggest those who know him better, make a better list.

Babak S at June 15, 2005 07:05 AM [permalink]:


I am well aware of the political games that politicians need to play sometimes (and not always). But here we are talking about the way to further the cause of democracy, or at least that is what I am interested in. If Moeen will stop at nothing whatsoever to keep his power, you are basically saying he is even worse than what I am trying to say in the post. Why should one ever vote for such a sly politician, when his slyness does not even at least help the cause of democracy?

One point is in order here: The politicians (in a democracy or involved in a democratic cause) do not betray their "principles." The ones that do are mostly unsuccessful. What they do is change their "tactics" to further those "principles." To do that they need to have very good arguments in order to be able to convince others.

Babak S at June 15, 2005 07:16 AM [permalink]:


Your concern is noble, but I don't believe there is any substance to your argument: For one thing the US, i. e. the only country capable of an attack on Iran, is very much spread and scattered, and simply does not have the capability of waging another full-blown war on Iran.

The only real possibility is a targeted attack against Iran's infrastructures, especially the nuclear facilities. But how are we to defuse that? This limited attack depends a lot on what the unelected part of the government does, who have the last say in the nuclear matters and in sensitive foreign policies, such as Iran's support for Hamas and Hizbollah, etc, that could lead to such an attack. Taking part in the elections is not going to affect these policies that much.

The only plausible way to keep Iran stable and safe, is to move towards democracy not declaring solidarity with an undemocratic and problematic system. The creation of a viable social movement that could unfold a nonviolent movement seems to me the only sure way to do so. The starting point of this as I have argued before is to boycott the elections.

Parthisan at June 15, 2005 04:25 PM [permalink]:

two pro-boycotte figures have changed their minds and become Moeen supporters: Haghighatjoo and Kadivar!

Babak S at June 15, 2005 05:47 PM [permalink]:
About Kadivar, I am wondering what he is thinking. One month ago, he signed a letter with 200-some other "activists" asking for freedoms of press, expression, etc. and the resignation of the Guardian Council as preconditions for a free and fair elections. Then, when Moeen was disqualified by the GC, he said it was predictable... they didn't take the decision on their own [implying some one from above, perhaps the Leader was behind the decision] ... legal ways are blocked and we need to take to peaceful ways of proteseting, like civil disobedience. Now he has changed his mind. He still agrees that the President does not have the necessary powers, and is at most just "like the people's spy in the room of power" but he argues against his previous stance based on these: 1. "Boycott is the start of a bigger program of delegitimization. What programs are there?" 2. "Delegitimization is effective when the government owes the people. With oil money this does not happen." 3. "If someone is hoping for foreign pressure, they have just shown to compromise with the system on nuclear stand-off." 4. "Only part of our people listen to our intellectuals, so in any case there will be about a 50% turnout. It is true that this is still low in Iran's standards, but when it comes to comparisons it will be with world standards." 5. "Boycott requires paying costs. Our people are not ready for it." 6. "The Leader has put pressure on the reform camp, and not to vote would mean its death." It is amazing how absolutely incorrect all of these reasonings are. Look: 1. Yes, boycott is the start, and the rest requires planning. So what? We must start planning. Let's turn this argument around: do Moeen and his team really have any plans for what they are going to do with all the obstacles that have shown to be there on their way "through the system"? They don't. I won't say they should then stop what they are doing. They should start planning. But that is not the point. The point is whatever planning they do, they are not going to be able to pass through the system without resorting to the power of people, and that measn that they too should start planning for nonviolent protests. 2. Yes, oil money is an important factor. that only means that one of the important aims of the nonviolent movement should be to press the government on this. South Africa had the huge "gold money" but not when the miners stopped working. 3. Yes, foreign forces compromise and make deals with those who would talk to them. What other option do they have? Attack? That's not going to happen fortunately. The nonviolent movement should, and would by its mere presence when it gets going, lobby the international community and foreign forces. 4. First, this is hopeless populism. Second, why should Kadivar declare that we would compare with the world standards even before the time of comparison has arrived, and when that is the wrong thing to do in his own words. Does he always support wrong ideas? I have written before about the fallacy of this argument, when there are no meaningful ways of gauging people's minds. 5. If we accept that our people are not ready to pay costs, that means everything we do is just doomed from the outset. After all, we have heard time and again from the reformists, including President Khatami, that we must pay the price. Kadivar is not only discrediting the boycott strategy with this argument, but the whole reform movement. If he thinks what he says is corr ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
one-liner at June 15, 2005 06:19 PM [permalink]:

It seems that we are going to have a runoff in this election. I think it's fantastic. It's like a summer school of democracy for the whole country. So many opportunities for boycott, conditional participation, sit-ins, civil disobedience planning and breathing for the youth.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 16, 2005 08:00 AM [permalink]:

There was a call for demonstration in front of Evin prison, where political prisoners are facing death since they are on hunger strike. At the same time of that demosntration there was an election campaign for a candiadte that claims to be democratic. Head of Nehzat Azadi showed hi sface in the demonstrations for half an hour only and then went to Moeen's campaign. Moeen himself had promised to send his speaker, but according to many reports he didn't even do that. This is just an example of how sincere he and his team are in all the big words they keep promising about.

Young boys and girls spent hours these days in streets advertising for Moeen.
Some bloggers have been spending hours advertising for him, inside and especially outside of Iran. Hours that could have been spent to raise voices to save the prisoners.

All of these people could have protested day and night for the life of those prisoners, if they were honest in what they claim they are advocating.

They don't seem to care that much. Neither does their candiadte.

One of them asked with irony where the "people" are that should have come to demonstration for the prisoners. Part of those people were campaigning for the "reformist" candidate instead. Those who should and could have brought the people out, who could have and should have raised the banner of protest and publicsupport were instead partying with their candidate to win votes.

In the meantime the best men of our country are dieing in front of all our eyes.
Many are ignoring the call for boycott for which those men gave irrefutable reasons, a loud voice and now their very lives. They vote out by the logic of sheeps: others, more than 50% probably will vote, so will we. That is their "logic".

Although they know they will be voting for this system as a whole. Although they know there is a very big chance that despite their vote, the godfather will win the elections. Although they know even if their candidate wins, it would be with a very low turnout compared to the previous "reformists" and of very very little use.

We all tried this rout once. We saw what it reached a dead end. We saw that by boycotting the previous elections the situation got so tense for the system that Rafsanjani himself had to come in the scene again to stir up the elections.

We know all of this. Some still vote. Some who live abroad, who will not have to bear the price of their actions today. Who know that their numbers out of Iran is too low to have any significant effect on the outcome, but still will vote for this system and have been advocating voting.

Remember what you are doing now.
This time there is no excuse.
Tomorrow will indeed be an important day, but not for the reason some think.

It will show a lot of things.
Shame on us.

Bolbol at June 16, 2005 09:07 AM [permalink]:

The only way to save the life of prisoners and a million other severe problems, is to force our will to the system.

We have done it well so far, we will do even more, with voting and forcing those damn bastards to do what we want.

Just look at the way they're begging for our votes. It's amazing how people like AIS forget what PEOPLE have achieved so far. Whether they like it or not, our generation will take over the country in a decade.

Ali M at June 16, 2005 09:37 AM [permalink]:

I do agree with AIS those leaving outside Iran who call to participate are particularly irresponsable.

If our countrymen leaving in Iran wishes to extend their ordeal by participating to the election it is their choice and they are the one who will have to bear the consequences not those who leave confortably in the west like myself.

I can understand the fear of protesting when you have a terrorist regime which does not hesitate to kill his opponents but when you have the ability to protest by simply boycotting an undemocratic election and still there are people ready to vote it is beyond my understanding.

Quite frankly I don't give a damn if the IRI remains in place for the next 100 years as I am more and more disappointed with Iranians who have let a few uneducated mollahs to hijacke a nation of 70 millions and show no solidarity with those courageous enough to risk their life and their freedom.

Remember the victims of the IRI and their family when you will enter the polling stations because in their eyes you will become an accomplice of their oppressor.

Leili at June 17, 2005 03:21 AM [permalink]:

Parthisan, you wrote that Haghighatjou changed her mind and is now a Moin supporter. Can you please refer me to the source of this information? I cant find it. thank you.

Leili at June 17, 2005 03:53 AM [permalink]:

can someone please give me a link to the list of voting places in North America? I found it online a couple of days ago but can't find it now. The US government and allied Iranians are deriding the elections and making it hard for Iranians abroad to participate. Whether or not I chose to vote, I believe all Iranians have the right to chose for themselves and that access to voting stations should not be made difficult.

Parthisan at June 17, 2005 03:40 PM [permalink]:

Hi Leili, here is the link of the source of my news:

Babak S at June 22, 2005 02:19 PM [permalink]:

Moeen announced yesterday that he will be voting after all for Rafsanjani in the run-off in a U-turn from his previous position that "he would not vote just like he did not in the 7th Majlis elections" two days ago. When the would-be champion of "progressive reform" is so shaky even when he is not in any position of power, what could have been expected from him under the tremendous pressure of being the happy and civilized face of an uncivilized bunch? For those so vigorously campaigning for him, arguing that he was not going to be a Khatami all over again, there is a lesson here: "know thy friend!"

itchy_thoughts at June 22, 2005 02:36 PM [permalink]:

"When the would-be champion of "progressive reform" is so shaky even when he is not in any position of power, what could have been expected from him under the tremendous pressure of being the happy and civilized face of an uncivilized bunch?"

I was always baffled at how some Americans would spin their not voting for Kerry by saying things like he is flip-flopper, shaky, so on and so forth. See, to me Kerry despite all of his flaws, was a head and shoulder ahead of Bush. So even if he was an evil, he was a necessary evil.

But I guess this spinning thing is far too universal.

Babak S at June 22, 2005 03:41 PM [permalink]:


One recurrent problem I have with your comments is that you compare everything that happens in Iran with one situation or the other in a democratic society. Look, we are not talking about Bush vs. Kerry in a 200-some-year-old democracy. The difference is between a sitting bystander or a standing bystander in the show of those who are pulling the strings in the backstage. Unless they find a way to the stage, it doesn't matter what they do on their seats.

Once you stop thinking about Iran in terms of a democracy, you start see things for what they are.