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Persian Letters

Iran's Basij Launches Website To Cover Occupy Wall Street Movement

An "Occupy Oakland" protester who as part of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement stands in front of the police line as the police block streets in downtown Oakland on October 25.
An "Occupy Oakland" protester who as part of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement stands in front of the police line as the police block streets in downtown Oakland on October 25.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement has found an unlikely fan: Iran's government Basij force, whose thuggish members are thought to have been heavily involved in the crackdown that followed the disputed reelection of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in 2008.

In their latest move in support of the movement, a number of young Basij members have launched a website that purports to cover news and developments about the movement in order to "fill in the gap by Western media."

The Wall Street Fall website -- with content in both Persian and English -- was launched over the weekend by the head of the Basij militia, Mohammad Reza Naghdi.

"This news website can notably be influential in informing the people living under the sun specially those truth enthusiasts living in the west who are captives of universal Zionist media propaganda," Naghdi was quoted as saying on October 30.

Earlier this month, Basij members from Iranian universities staged a rally to denounce what they described as policies employed by the United States and some other Western countries to prevent the people's awakening. (See pictures of the rally here.)

The rally was staged in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which has represented U.S. interests there since the U.S and Iran broke diplomatic ties following the 1979 revolution and subsequent hostage-taking.

Iranian officials have rallied behind the Occupy Wall Street protesters and condemned the "inhumane crackdown" against them. The country's state-controlled media have given extensive coverage to the protests in New York, and other cities.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has claimed that the movement will ultimately bring down capitalism in the United States.

"One problem is that the corruption of capitalism has become clear to the people. Of course this movement might be suppressed, but they cannot destroy the roots of the movement," Khamenei said in an October 12 speech.

Khamenei and other officials have likened the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Arab uprisings that have ousted dictatorships in the region. They have claimed that the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to Washington, which the U.S. believes some elements of the Iranian establishment were behind, is an excuse to divert U.S. public attention from the protests.

Tehran has sought to leverage the protests to promote its own interests and worldview. The Occupy Wall Street protests have given the Islamic Republic that is often criticized for human rights abuses, an opportunity to hit back at the U.S. and other countries that routinely condemn human rights violations in Iran.

A member of the Iranian parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, Mohammad Karim Abedi, said last week that nations should condemn the crackdown on protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Abedi also called on human rights bodies to end their "political silence" and condemn what he described as blatant human rights abuses in the U.S.

Iranian officials also appeared to be sympathetic to London rioters whose rights they said were being violated by the British police forces who confronted them. Officials had then expressed readiness to send a delegation to Britain to investigate "human rights abuses."

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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Comment Sorting
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 31, 2011 20:39
"Basij Website covers the OWS movt"? Well, I guess, those who - like the RFE/RL - have spent their lives fighting to defend the freedom of speech can only be happy when one more mass media outlet starts covering protests by civil society, right :-)?
Well, in any case, the Basijis are not the only ones who cover the OWS movt - here is a video made today on how professionally the Denver police handles the OWS protesters - enjoy :-):
In Response

by: Marie from: Paris,France
November 01, 2011 06:23
The irony is that even the youth's hairstyles are governed by the Islamic Republic. The crackdown on the opposition was one of the most brutal and barbaric in the history of humanity with tales of rape and cruelty on both male and female demonstrators followed by publicly shaming the victims of rape, and state sanctioned murder, kidnapping, public hanging are the hallmark of this barbaric regime! Now defending the freedom of speech in this context is rather hypocritical !
When the ridicule doesn't kill ... as we say in French

by: Spo101 from: South Carolina
October 31, 2011 22:18
I remember the day the Occupy protest movement started

3-30-11, Frank from ABQ call, aired on Randi Rhodes radio show (Nicole Sandler -guest host) .

“I always hear about the enemies of freedom abroad… what about the FIGHT against enemies of freedom here at home. I don’t know about you people but past experiences in my role as a political activist, community organizer and blue collar worker, it felt like a battle to me.

Funny thing... No Muslim ever called me a Liberal wacko like Rush Limbaugh. No foreign Dictator threatens my belief system on a daily basis like FOX News. No Communist ever tried to turn me into a low wage slave like the Koch Bros and the Republican Party Millionaires. I’ve been saying for years a few fanatical terrorists who perverted Islam don’t scare me near as much as those FOOLS who believe Capitalism can survive without ETHICS, RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY!"

by: irisphant from: USA
November 01, 2011 03:17
"corruption of capitalism has become clear to the people" Not really and not so.
Capitalism works fine as I can judge as an European living in the US, as long as the US government obeys established laws under the Constitution. We are aware that we are being pushed into a new kind of fascism. Our government is corrupted, yet the real monster is worse.
OWS gets a dialogue going, face to face instead of MSM lies. There is hope for all.

by: Sigh from: Benelux
November 01, 2011 10:26
If you don't want to read this article, since it is pure amateurism, and derived from another one of those 'I'm an Iranian refugee with a green card, working my way up the ladder by demonizing my country of origin, and I'm pissed as hell I can't party in Iran' here are some noteworthy elements so you can laugh and continue the day with a smile:

1) Basiji's are thugs (always necessary to note for a mouthpiece outlet)
2) Basiji's are the only ones in Iran who will support occupy Wallstreet (the rest are Westernized and want to partay like me)
3) State funded television (the irony) supports the Basij
4) Iran's leadership thinks capitalism will fall with this movement (no sources)
5) Iran is 'manipulating' this event to 'strike back' at the united states because the U.S. is so genuinely concerned with human rights in Iran.

Old, recycled propaganda never works too long.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 01, 2011 17:52
You are saying: "Iran's leadership thinks capitalism will fall with this movement". And what do you think - that capitalism is just entering into the stage of intensive florishing :-))? Do you guys have TV or newspapers in Benelux :-))?
In Response

by: Parham
November 01, 2011 20:30
For sources on the claim by Khamenei that capitalism will fall because of the #OWS protests, check that video of him that's included in the blog. Also Basijis are not the only ones who supports the movement, but others are not allowed to demonstrate. Don't pretend we're talking about a free country here. and Yes those Basijis who killed and injured innocent people are thugs.

by: maliheh from: california
November 02, 2011 03:33
odd that iranian government would support occupy wall street when the ayatollahs and khamenei supports capitalism

by: Kyle from: PubLic
November 04, 2011 20:44
in response to Occupy, there are words regarding Nuclear technologies in IRAN.. We wonder, what are the intentions of their use there-in..and if the will share their safety protocaLs, as we are aLL very concerned already with what nuclear systems we have... If we discuss intentions for Why, maybe we can offer provisions for alternatives...~OWS

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Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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