Saturday, August 27, 2016


How Are The Protests In Egypt, Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution Being Viewed In Iran?

Antigovernment protesters clash with riot police at the Egyptian port city of Suez on January 27.
Antigovernment protesters clash with riot police at the Egyptian port city of Suez on January 27.
By Golnaz Esfandiari
"The Islamic world is ripe with major new developments and Khomeini's Islam is the engine of these events," Iran's hard-line daily "Kayhan" wrote in a January 27 commentary devoted to the recent wave of protests in the Arab world.

The daily, which often reflects the views of the Iranian establishment -- or more specifically, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- added that the third millennium is witnessing "the powerful [presence] of Islam under Iran's leadership."

Iranian state media has been portraying the recent upheaval in Arab countries as a struggle against Western puppets in the region, while claiming that citizens who have taken to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere are taking inspiration from Iran's Islamic Revolution.

"Kayhan" suggested that participants in Tunisia's uprising, as well in as protests in Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, and Egypt are taking inspiration from Iran's 1979 revolution, which led to the fall of the shah's U.S.-backed regime and the creation of an Islamic republic.

" 'Death to the U.S. Death to Israel. Islam is my religion. We don't want American rulers. We're not afraid of martyrdom.' Are these slogans familiar to the ears and eyes of the world? Aren't these slogans the same that Iranian people [chanted] in the run-up to the Islamic Revolution?" wrote "Kayhan."

The commentary made no mention of the calls for economic reforms and political freedom being voiced in the protests. There was also no mention of comparisons that have been made between Tunisia's uprising and the mass antigovernment demonstrations that shook the Iranian establishment in 2009.

'In The Name Of Islam'

Iran's state broadcasts have followed the same line as that seen in the print media, according to journalist Roozbeh Mirebrahimi, who monitors Iranian state television.

"After Tunisian President [Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali] fled the country, they started reporting that the protests were taking place in the name of Islam and that they were targeting the anti-Islamic government of Tunisia," Mirebrahimi says. "The same applies now to protests [elsewhere], including in Egypt."

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad: "Western meddling."
In the immediate aftermath of Tunisia's uprising, Iranian state media kept silent about the protests that led to the collapse of Ben Ali's 23-year rule.

"State television has no coverage of the unrest in Tunisia," said one man in Tehran, who spoke on condition of anonymity in the days leading up to Ben Ali's fall. "If Tunisians had protested against the U.S., it would have become a top story," he added.

He said he relied on Persian-language media based outside of Iran, including RFE/RL's Radio Farda, to follow the developments in Tunisia and other Islamic countries.

In a January 19 speech, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad warned against "Western meddling" in Tunisia and said Tunisian politicians should respect the needs and choices of the people. Ahmadinejad added that Tunisians want an Islamic government.

Spin Control

Washington-based analyst Rasool Nafisi says that Tehran has been trying to spin the unrest in the region as a religious struggle in order to promote the idea that its own ideology is spreading.

"At first, they were taken by surprise because [events in Tunisia] had certain similarities with the 2009 uprising in Iran," Nafisi says. "When Ben Ali left, they could spin it and make it look like the 1979 revolution in Iran and interpret it the way they wanted -- meaning an uprising of Muslim people against a secular tyrant backed and supported by Western powers."

Nafisi says state media broadcasts also reflect Iranian leaders' concerns over the unprecedented unrest in Arab states that fall short on economic opportunity and political freedom.

"They are [ignoring ] the facts on the ground, such as the slogans in Tunisia or in Egypt or elsewhere that people are basically fighting tyranny exactly like the one we have in Iran, and that they're calling for democracy," Nafisi says.

For many Iranians, the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt have rekindled memories of the summer of 2009, when tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets to protest what they saw as a stolen presidential election. Many have been watching Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution" and protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak with envy, as evidenced by the protest photos and videos that Iranians are sharing on blogs and social-networking sites.

'Why Have We Failed?'

The demonstrations have also prompted debate and discussion among Iranians over why the country's Green Movement failed to bring change, and how it has been silenced since 2009.

Prominent women's rights activist Parvin Ardalan said in a January 26 interview with the "Irish Times" that Tunisia's revolution has brought a sense of hope that is very important for Iranian activists, who have come under state pressure since the disputed presidential vote in June 2009.

"Some are looking to Tunisia and saying to themselves, 'We could do this in Iran, but why have we not achieved that yet?'" Ardalan was quoted as saying.

"Ben Ali is gone. When will Seyed Ali?" wrote one blogger in an apparent reference to Khamenei. Others, similarly playing with words, said: "Tunis tunest, Iran Na-tunest" ("Tunisia did it, Iran couldn't do it.")

One Green Movement supporter updated his Facebook status on January 27 with a message of support for Egyptians who were planning to join demonstrations on January 28.

"Let's pray for the Egyptians who will take to the streets in a few hours, that they remain safe from beatings, arrests, and death. Let's hope Hosni Mubarak ends like Ben Ali and that the turn of other dictators in the region, including in our country, Iran, comes too. Long live freedom."

Another activist shared on Facebook a picture of Ben Ali, Mubarak, and Khamenei that said: "Dictators must go."
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Veronika from: New York
January 28, 2011 13:32
Did you smoke something???? We did not kick ZABA for islamists!!!! Wake up man this is not a war against western! This is a war for Democracy and Freedom! Shame on you
In Response

by: malek from: Algiers,algeria
January 28, 2011 15:16
@ veronika : i totally agree.
What's happening those days in arab countries has nothing to do with religion or a fight against western, people here just want to live in a descent, democratic way, they want the right to protest and oppose, a country isn't made by it's governement but by its people, all off them, their opinion should be the only thing that matters, we arab (algerian for myself) never did choose any of our leaders the politics doesnt have any political program, even the opposition (let say it kinda exist) we're tired of living this way, we citizens have no problems with western countries, why would we ?
we're very far from the image given, being arab or muslim has nothing to do with hating US or europe, it just doesn't mmake any sense
sorry for the typo and formulation , i'm speaking my feelings and i know lot of people here see things my way.
Anyway, let's hope 2011 will be the year of the end the big mess we're livin in.

by: Naim from: chicago
January 28, 2011 14:04
The uprisings in the entire Muslim/Arab world are a result of Muslims waking up to the reality that Almighty God, Allah, Master Fard Muhammad has come to set the world on the right path. Muslims will rise up all over the world even with Black Americans who suffer within the belly of the beast. All over the earth ppl will come to know the name of Master Fard Muhammad who the American press and gov't has kept suppressed.American, British and Jewish money and power have tried to hide from the world that Almighty God, Allah, himself has come to America ( 1930 to 1934) to destroy all those who keep the Black man down. America, HNY and Israel will be wiped off the map very soon as a result of the coming of Fard Muhammad who desires the rejected and oppressed Black American to rise up.
In Response

by: Hamid from: Tunis
January 28, 2011 15:43
Excuse me but you are a dangerous, ignorant person,are you serious ?
In Response

by: Domingo Barón from: Wellington, New Zealand
January 29, 2011 07:56
Ha! Ha! Ha! A comedian... or perhaps he missed his medication!
In Response

by: d.b. from: livermore ca
January 29, 2011 13:34
you must be kidding? you need a history lesson!!!!
In Response

by: Liz from: America
January 30, 2011 01:27
You are completly clueless on what America is. Your claiming that "black America" will destroy their own country. Really guy? Religion is an extremly powerful thing, but the hearts and souls of the American people are progressively growing towards unity. We desire that the hatred between other races and cultures be diminished, and for a unified country interact with each other in a state of peace. Stop trying to disrupt my country that you obvioudly don't know too much about!
In Response

by: truthfinder from: New York
February 02, 2011 20:26
Take that homemade, watered down, stupid ass bastardization of Islam and shove it up your a---. All Black Americans have not, and will never accept some carpet bagging white, fabric salesman from another country-that is Fard- as any type of messenger. It's not even ISLAM. All it is, is some radical feel good philosophy they pawn off on prisoners.Go get yourself a real Koran and stop reading that crap!

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
January 28, 2011 14:43
New dawn in the Middle East?

by: fay from: london
January 28, 2011 16:40
Subhanallah, regardless of peoples personal reasons as to why they are protesting we as Muslim's know that democracy is not the way. Inshallah the people will realise that the problems will be solved with an Islamic shari'a state, and the West needs to be stopped interfering and claiming we want democracy that is just pure propaganda.
In Response

by: Aziz Nirani from: Iran
January 28, 2011 19:40
How interesting that you attack democracy as you live in London. Perhaps you should come to Tehran and be beaten by basiji, and then you can talk about the blessings of "Islamic" government.

In Response

by: Turgai Sangar
January 31, 2011 12:55
I understand that you are frustrated because the bulk of the Iranian people disliked and did not supported the North Tehran yuppie-driven "Green Movement".
In Response

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix AZ
January 29, 2011 21:27
The lure of affluence, good food, clean water, etc is what inspires people to work and build for the future. I certainly has worked well in the United States. There is no replacement for democracy, espacially Islamic fundamentalism :-(
In Response

by: Turgai Sangar
January 31, 2011 12:52
A large part of the world, including the Egyptians, know and paid the price for "American democracy".

by: Samson from: Norway
January 28, 2011 21:02
To me, it seems mysterous how 40 million women could want the burqa, stoning, female circumcision, hanging for adultery, forced marriages, child-brides, forced illiteracy and all the other phenomena associated with islamism. But there you go...obviously they do, then so be it. One man, (not woman), one vote, one time. If you want slavery, go under the yoke.

But don't come to Europe as "refugees" later on, please. The situation you are entering into is of your own choosing.
In Response

by: Turgai Sangar
January 31, 2011 12:58
"But don't come to Europe as "refugees" later on, please. The situation you are entering into is of your own choosing. "

OK. And please, you lot don't come with mercenary legions to impose "democracy". The quagmire you are entering into is of your own choosing.

by: Davud from: Birmingham
January 28, 2011 22:15
Why is RFE/RL echoing the nonesense of state-run media or Iranian officials peppered with comments by so-called experts on Iranian affairs ? Why are you compiling what has been said by other media days and hours ago? How important is Iranian officials' views to what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt? What is therole of Iran. The answer to most of these questions, as every Tom, Dick and Harry know is NONE ! So , why instead of focusing and analysing the events in Egypyt, Tunisia and Yemen you are paying attention to something quite periphery to the current events in Arab countries ? Where is your priority ? With respect, do you know what you are doing? I appoligise, if you are working for the Islamic republic.

by: Laura Soltani from: USA
January 29, 2011 05:07
<< Iranian state media has been portraying the recent upheaval in Arab countries as a struggle against Western puppets in the region, while claiming that citizens who have taken to the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere are taking inspiration from Iran's Islamic Revolution."Kayhan" suggested that participants in Tunisia's uprising, as well in as protests in Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, and Egypt are taking inspiration from Iran's 1979 revolution, which led to the fall of the shah's U.S.-backed regime and the creation of an Islamic republic....>>

I say this is the biggest internet joke I have heard to date from Iran's government.. Oh really? I don't think they are of Democratic basis themselves...they subdue via Islam and Religion. Dictators under the veil of faith and religious bias...They are.

Aren't they the ones that hang dissidents in public? Fear to spread?

Trying to steal the light of populations for their propaganda of how successful their revolution against the Shah. Causing the ouster of his regime only to see a new Dictatorship establishement.
To those NOT of them,
everyone else is evil...
they've got to be kidding themselves.

Still living in the shadows of another Iranian government Dictatorship in the name of Allah!!!

The Arab nations need to start separating between faith and politics.
That's when those governments and their people will ascend and evolve into greener pastures.

You can worship a cow for all I care, as long as you don't force that on me.

I will respect your faith and your llifestyle and your beliefs
when YOU respect mine.

I will vote. Not ONLY Your vote counts.

The Arabs had long been in long dark cycles of colonization, occupation, the British, the French Imperialistic occupation for centuries. Compounded by that is that in the name of their Islam-ism,they kept their people to faith and no further.
No hope and no change. Dictator after dictator, from Ben Ali of Tunisia (23 years), to the King in Jordan, to Qaddafi, to Mubarak (30) years, to the King of Morocco, of centuries in power.
Status Quo.
Relving the Dark Ages, at least poltically.

21 century generations under the guidance of a UNITARIAN religion-based government that trespasses on every one's choice for basic freedom. Freedom of Choice.

I say Humans were created before Religions,Women before came the Koran.

Iran will have the next major revolution.
Them too of Iran will HAVE to change sooner or later.
For those American Haters out there, you'd better think again. Earn the compassion of the Americans and their friendship. The are not the enemy. Your enemy is within, not without.

People are changing.
The world is, and very quickly.
Look around you.

by: madison from: Greenwich
January 29, 2011 05:45
I fear that the fundamentalist Muslims will take over and make the situation even worse than it has been. This the 21st century and it is time to move beyond 600AD. A true God ( of whatever persuasion)does not want people enslaved and imprisoned and prevented from attaining their full potential. These old religious men want nothing but power. They do not care for even their own people. To keep people in fear and poverty with no hope of a free future is criminal.
All religions have been vile to women.- Christian very much included along with Muslim and Jewish. At least the Jewish and Christian churches have had their stranghold broken and now it is time for the Muslim stranglehold to be broken.

by: Maryam
January 29, 2011 15:08
Iranian leaders are worried that's why they're executing people and torturing prisoners. Let's hope Seyed Ali's turn come soon.

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
January 30, 2011 18:04
No jobs, no prosperity, and no accurate accountability for the billions of dollars in oil revenuers that are pouring into the Islamic Republic. It is amazing how, drab, lifeless, and colorless, social, cultural, and political environment in Iran has created an exaggerated atmosphere of self absorption and self glorification. Their constant need to trumpet the righteousness of their revolutionary cause is and indicative of how completely they have isolated themselves from the real world. Their revolutionary religious fantasy is quite contrary to the compassionate gentle Islam that millions of Iranians believe. That is the only reality in Iran.
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