What Iran Did Not Want You to See

In the wake of an internet shutdown, one human rights researcher sifts through video evidence of atrocities.


Comments: 177

  1. "If the world does not take a stand..." What stand is the world supposed to take? Iran has already been strictly sanctioned for other bad behaviors-sanctions that may have contributed to the rise in fuel prices-to no avail. Human rights activists are very courageous in bringing atrocities to light, often risking and losing their lives, but they may be deluding themselves if they think foreigners are going to rush to the rescue as a result.

  2. @wobbly If the past is prologue to the present, it will take an event more horrific and targeted at another country, to get the world to pay attention and intervene.

  3. @wobbly to no avail? They are living the results of sanctions. The people pay. We lost completely what leverage we may have had because of sanctions and no diplomacy. This should have been diplomacy geared to bringing Iran into the world of responsible nations. We have lost vestiges our own (relative) credibility about responsibility and adherence to international law. On the other hand, and for instance, our relations with China vis a vis their bad behaviors are "somehow" different. China has economic leverage on us.

  4. @wobbly- perhaps civil unrest is the US Policy goal. A protesting population can succeed in installing a new governmental system that has a lot more credibility than one installed by a foreign military. That said: I don’t think Trump is that smart, or even concerned. And please don’t believe that Putin is only sowing the seeds of unrest here in the US.

  5. The people of Persian heritage, we in America call Iranians have a rich history and culture. From ancient Zoroastrian traditions that still prevail to a modern culture with a history of great medical and technical advances, they are a lovely people. Sadly, the people have been mistreated by a religious sectarian group, and the nation has never fulfilled it's modern potential. The vast majority of Iranians simply want peace, prosperity and freedom of choice in their lives. The youth see past mixing politics with religion. Sadly the radical militaristic group has gained more and more power, and they are not "citizens" to protect, they are a group that controls by power, force, intimidation, torture and even murder. Instead of responding to the people's frustration with a terrible economy, the government allows these thugs with gun, to shoot and kill the repressed poor and hungry people on the streets who are calling for change. It is painful to watch the film and videos coming out of Iran. Such a beautiful and wonderful people, being treated with brutality and violence. It is a clear example of the result of "right wing legalism" vs compassionate and enlightened leadership. Sadly thousands who could lead a "new Iran" have been killed, tortured, imprisoned and had their property seized. The religious leaders and military radicals get rid of opposition that way. They have seized billions from the people of Iran. So sad for our Iranian friends in stress.

  6. @Ben Boothe Sr. As someone who visited Iran several years ago, I could not have summed up the situation better. I've never traveled to any other country where I, as an American, was made to feel so welcome by the people I met. When I tell people about my travels there, they are always amazed and surprised at how misled or poorly informed Americans have been about the country. I'm heartbroken at what is transpiring, and hope the best for the Iranian people.

  7. “They are a lovely people” is no more acceptable a characterization than “They are an awful people.” You can’t broadly characterize like that. Prejudice in either direction is simply prejudice and should be guarded against.

  8. @Tom In Oakland Yes. As Trump pointed out, even some neo-nazis are lovely people too. Now you can add war criminals to that list.

  9. "The protests began peacefully over the government’s abrupt announcement on Nov. 15 that it was raising gasoline prices by as much as 200 percent and imposing a rationing system, with the proceeds from the higher prices going, it said, to needy Iranians in the form of cash subsidies." The excerpt from the linked story is not unlike what is happening here in the US. Subsidies for farmers that are under pressure from tariffs and using taxpayer dollars to fund the subsidies. Both countries are under financial and economic pressure by the US administration. In our case the subsidies are going to wealthy farmers rather than the needy family farmers.

  10. The digital darkness imposed on Iranians is only a brief glimmer of what the corporate state will impose on the entire world if the people of the globe don't wake up. The imposition of mass surveillance, that is, mass spying and collection of all manner of once-private data and the turning of entire countries into jails like North Korea and China is the future that awaits us all. I salute the courage of those Iranians who dare to film evidence of the Iranian government's abuses and upload it to the Internet. This is a desperate cry for help. Americans ignore it at their peril.

  11. As much as I detest trump, these demonstrations are directly linked to them, as other articles in the Times point out; the inability to sell oil is causing shortfalls in income to the Iranian regime resulting in a raise in gas prices to increase revenue. The heavy handed reaction in Iran, Iraq and soon Lebanon? Shoes that the revolutionary guards grip is not only being challenged but will crumble sooner without our treaty to let Iran off of sanctions. A broken clock can indeed be correct twice a day.

  12. As i'm watching this, a recurrent thought keeps popping up: could this happen here? Don't be so unsure. The answer is a resounding yes.

  13. @Catnogood And there is a segment of the US population here that would welcome such draconian measures with glee.

  14. We are reaping what we sowed for decades. But the cost is to a remarkable culture and its people. When I went back to Iran in December 2016, knowing the window to the Persians was closing because Trump would be a disaster, the immigration agent gave me grief for 45 minutes, until I mentioned that I was a teacher. "You are a teacher?" In wo minutes, I was in. The respect for learning, the profound cultural history, the basic decency of the Iranian people, remain. It is what fuels such protests against a twisted government that Western imperialism made inevitable. Somehow, the Iranian people will persevere.

  15. President Dwight D. Eisenhower overthrew Mohammed Mossadegh, the legally elected Prime Minister of Iran, and installed the Shah in his place. He ended a parliamentary system and replaced it with a monarchy, which, like all monarchies, ignored the views of the public. A revolution later overthrew the Shah and created a theocracy with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at its head. Iran is now attempting to become a nuclear power. We can't turn the clock back to see what would have happened had a different decision been made. But could anything have been worse than Khomeini? The whole world is suffering as a result of the money and inspiration that Khomeini gave to international terrorism. Khomeini is dead, but Iran has become the most active and influential force supporting radical Islam.

  16. Now we began to see the intended or unintended consequences of our embargo on trade with Iran. Trump's plan is working in that it is putting pressure on the Iranians making almost everyone suffer. The ideais that if the people suffer enough; then they will overthrow their government, and do what we want them to do. Cuba is our longest running test case for this form of diplomacy,and how has that worked out? I do not think that it was in our national interest to withdraw from the J.C.P.A. It was preliminary agreement with a gradual reduction of sanctions. Iran was in compliance,and it provided a framework to begin to negotiate. Now we will see if the deaths and suffering work to get Trump the best deal ever in the history of the world.

  17. Apparently the United States cannot be counted on to do the right thing anymore — whether it's helping innocent protestors, or making a move to talk to the Chinese about their gulags full of Uyghurs. How could we with an reality show "president"? The man knows nothing. The Republicans are happily tearing the country apart, destroying our standing in the world, and lying through their teeth all the while. All for tax cuts.

  18. Isn't one party rule usually base on violence? Whether its China, Russia, Iran, North Korea or wherever the bottom line is state sponsored violence against the citizens when push comes to shove. America needs at least two trustworthy, successful parties. We need each other.

  19. Welcome to a vision of the future of America under Trumpism. Do you think for one second that the SEAL, Eddie Gallagher, whom Trump just pardoned, wouldn't be happy to shoot down protesters on Trump's orders? I don't.

  20. The people of Iran need to take a stand first. That means fighting your government. That means families telling their sons and daughters who are in the military to stand down. That means shooting your own family, if need be. As for the world taking a stand, for that we need a true world order, an effective world force. There is no such force.

  21. What are the chances the billions $$ in cash and gold sent to Iran by the previous Administration w/o Congressional approval are being funneled to their government forces to kill and incarcerate Iranian citizens who are protesting?

  22. @Dr. John Although I have nothing but tremendous dislike for the Iranian molahs, but the money they got was the Iranian $ that Shah's government had paid for the US weapons that was never delivered. This issue is a talking point of misinformation of Fox news.

  23. The Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign to choke off the Iranian economy is causing the civil unrest. The Saudis are our new friends in this, along with Israel and Egypt. Would anyone want to live in any of these countries?

  24. "A small hike in fuel prices sparked protests across Iran" states the article. Uh, no. Fuel prices increased from 50 to 100 percent. And it does matter what happens in Iran. It matters very much because it will further destablize the entire Middle East. We have no leadership in America today. The Trump administration is an international disgrace.

  25. Good to know we gave this group $1.8 billion.

  26. Those who wish to see a drastic change in Iran, may want to keep in mind V. I. Lenin, when seeking to topple the Czarist regime, has coined the saying: "The worst it is - the better it is".

  27. “If the world does not take a stand...” A stand against what? You mean a stand against the outrageous economic sanctions imposed on Iran by Pompeo and Trump, which were designed precisely to bring about the violent unrest which has now occurred? The supposed justification for the sanctions is to curb Iran’s “malignant” behavior. The actual intention is to generate social unrest leading to regime change, on the ridiculous notion that the Iranian people will topple their own government in order to please the US. Why? Iran has had the impudence of building defensive weapons (ballistic missiles) which curb Israeli and US malignant behavior. It supports the Palestinians and Hezbollah. Israel doesn’t like that. Iran has justifiably come to the aid of its Shiite neighbor Syria where plans for regime change have failed miserably, humiliating for the US. Iran goes its own way. A proud nation, one which has its own issues to be sure, but one which Trump’s malignant bullying will never bring to its knees.

  28. What a pity. Not much hope for the human race. If unmanageable aggression and greed doesn’t get you, climate change will. We had our chance. The pity is the earth will no longer provide a safe place for human evolution. Because, well, evolution just didn’t happen Fast enough. The super rich will only catch on when the oxygen in their midwestern marble fireplaced end of the world safety silos run out or...when they get bored Which they so often do. Or, when all they have to look at is the designer clothes on one another and realize there’s no one left to admire or read about any of them. What a pity. What a pity. What a waste and what a pity. Ending with a whimper...what a pity. I bought a huge book once on the French Revolution. In the intro it said at the end of it all, the people in power were the same people in power as before, when the revolution started. Everything and nothing changes. Humans; a whimpering somewhat talented but undisciplined immoral lot.

  29. @Chuck French 'Sad and tragic' but no longer our concern? Because we no longer need their oil? This is Why They Hate Us in a nutshell. Our national interest is not just what American corporations can gobble up from the resources and markets of other countries. A peaceful, stable and democratic world order is in our national interest. The US's bipartisan endless-war-making, regime-changing, dictator- and kleptocrat-supporting, union-busting foreign policy, is not. The media dutifully report Iranian misbehavior but not how Iran got that way. It was not in the interest of the American people for the CIA to overthrow Iranian democracy in 1953 and stick them with the Shah's secret police, crushing of dissent and greed. After Iran deposed him the US took him in. Trump mindlessly quit a multilateral agreement that ended Iran's nuclear weapons program, and re-imposed sanctions, without regard for the Iranian suffering and turmoil it would bring, leaving the US with no way to influence it except by attacking them. And by backing out of the Iran deal and the Paris agreement and betraying the Kurds, Trump has made the US's promises worthless, worldwide. The Middle East is a volatile and unstable tinderbox that puts all the world in danger. That's why Iran is our concern and why our own national interest includes Iran's government not murdering its citizens.

  30. The world needs a United States that is actively serious about democracy instead of a government lead by someone who prefers dictators.

  31. Squandering it's treasure on ill advised foreign adventures. While ignoring it's own domestic needs. All under a theocracy. Retaining power thru tainted elections. Where have we seen that behavior?

  32. This country needs to improve her educational system; reduce her divorce rate and strengthen her families; teach gardening and crafts again to give young people something to focus on instead of drugs and guns; repair her bridges and welcome refugees and immigrants into the national weave, besides addressing her EPA superfund sites, and her awful cultural life with its long production of violent substandard films. Also, the US literacy rate is falling sharply because parents no longer care about placing good literature and acoustic musical instruments and lessons into the hands of the young, to say nothing of falling Sunday School attendance. Focusing on what is wrong in Persia simply prevents the US from looking squarely at her own problems. When this country has established good bicycle paths and improved public transportation, we may not need to focus on Persia at all. That land is far, far away.

  33. Every tyranny finally ends. Iran has become corrupt and the IRGC once a serious defender of the revolution has become utterly corrupt. Today the country is run by old men how have looted the place for years. The Soviet Union started as a genuine belief but within 40 years was a paranoid gangster state. Chine has become corrupt and the criminals think the surveillance state will protect them, it won't. Human beings will suffer for a time but eventually get fed up. Just as the Shah tried to rule by bullets the clerics are doing the same. Revolution will come because a new generation lives by social media and the internet. The IRGC can start shooting for a while, but you can't kill everyone and sure enough IRGC soldiers will one day tear off their uniforms and flee. All of this is a tragedy it will not end well.

  34. @David Fairbanks And they would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for them pesky kids...

  35. Trump's policies are causing the implosion of this brutal Islamic dictatorship. A second revolution is fomenting in Iran courtesy of the Red White and Blue. Stay tuned.

  36. Let’s see if this engenders the same outrage that Israel’s defense of its border fence did. I suspect not....

  37. The brutality of the Iranian regime is of course not a secret. The Iranian people generally want nothing more than peace and to live in a free society.. I’m wondering when the united nations will vote to condemn these murders. Let me answer that question. Probably Never. For there to be a condemnation in the UN involving the middle east Israel has to be involved.

  38. Good to see US promoted sanctions are working and the nation of Iran is falling apart. Doing a heck of a job, Uncle Sam!

  39. 15 years ago, Mrs Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian journalist was arrested and beaten to death in jail. The doctor that examined her body took notes. Later, granted asylum in Canada, he read his notes at a press conference. The translator cried. She was extremely brutally raped to death. 15 years ago.

  40. And the Obama administration gave them pallets of money because of what?

  41. Oil is Iran's #1 export. Without the money that Iran earns off its oil exports they are done. We should reach out to Iran's oil customers and offer them oil at a discount. If Iran cannot sell its oil they're finished. Say "goodbye" to the illegitimate, unelected, Twelver, religious-fanatic dictators who rule over Iran.

  42. @MIKEinNYC If the goal is to assist the Iranian people and discourage the current government, do you really believe starving the people of Iran is a good policy? Do you really think the Iranian people will not know it was the US that took food off their plate?

  43. Iran is, and would be, a world asset if we would stop sanctioning and attacking it.

  44. @John Who is attacking?

  45. Looks like the sanctions are working.

  46. The Bible tells us that a tree is known by its fruits. What we see in Iran are the fruits of Islamic theocracy. The Iranian people rose up against Islamic theocracy under Obama but he refused to support the Iranian protesters. Instead Obama saved the Shiite theocracy by sending them pallets of cash and gold that kept this corrupt regime from being overthrown.

  47. @JJackson Hogwash. The international agreement that among other things unfroze Iranian cash assets abroad had one aim, and that was to freeze Iranian nuclear development. It was a success until Trump abandoned it. It was not "Obama's cash." It was Iran's cash, unfrozen by a coalition of nations, in exchange for Iran's cooperation.

  48. @JJackson This is the second time you said this, so my thought is you are a bot...but for anyone reading and doesn't know, Obama released Iranian Funds that were seized years prior....He did not give them piles of cash....this is a right wing talking point that is false.

  49. The Iranian people have been squeezed badly by the US and the sanctions, and it is a publicly stated goal of our government for the Iranian regime to fail regardless of the cost to the people. And who knows what covert operations are again adding to the Iranians' misery. I suppose Israeli and US leadership are rejoicing at Iran's pain. One by one the US acts to destroy Muslim nations' growth and prosperity. Bush 2 was telling the truth when he said our war on Iraq was a crusade.

  50. 300 % increase in fuel price over night is considered a small hike ?!!!!!

  51. Great to see the people of Iran fighting for freedom. Makes you see how privileged we are here in the States where people are fighting for free stuff.

  52. Just an experiment on dual standards and political correctness: let's see how many leftist student groups, US leftist college professors, "civil rights" groups, UN agencies, etc. come out and unequivocally condemn the brutality of the Iranian regime. My guess their focus will continue to be on the incomparably better situation in Palestine. Just a thought

  53. @Dr. Svetistephen You really think the situation in Palestine is better than Iran? Do you have any facts to support that? I think the better comparison is with the repression by Israel against the Palestinians. As soon as the right wing starts criticizing Israel for its brutal treatment of the Palestinians, then it would be appropriate for the right to criticize the left for the support of Iran - (And I am not even sure if the left supports Iran)

  54. @Dr. Svetistephen Where, exactly, are you finding American 'leftists' who support the Iranian regime? Anecdotes aren't data, but I've never met one.

  55. @Syed ‘Repression by Israel’ is the result of 70+ years of Arab-perpetrated war and terrorism waged against Israel in their ongoing efforts to destroy that sovereign state. There’s not a country on earth that would tolerate for even one week what Israel has had to put up with for over 70 years. Israel’s restraint is, in fact, remarkable.

  56. "If the world does not take a stand, Ms. Bahreini fears, Iran’s internet blackout may foreshadow the nation’s darkest days." The world will not take a stand because they are too busy seeking ways to bypass sanctions: https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/voa-news-iran/more-european-nations-join-effort-bypass-us-sanctions-iran https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/system-circumvent-sanctions-iran-ready-german-fm-190610070011253.html When there is money to be made, the world, and especially Europe looks the other way. Ms. Bahreini is wasting her time.

  57. @Joshua Schwartz This was also the dirty little secret about the European support for the Iranian deal.

  58. Would the Iranian murderous Mullahs have crumbled if Obama had not given the Iranians pallets of cash and gold that was used to fund terrorism and not to aid the Iranian people? Obama's policies in the middle east with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were a disaster that created ISIS and destabilized the middle east and emboldened Islamic terrorism.

  59. @JJackson I didn't realize Obama was in office when the President knowingly lied to Congress and the International Community to legitimize the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  60. @JJackson What hogwash. The international agreement that among other things unfroze Iranian cash assets abroad had one aim, and that was to freeze Iranian nuclear development. It was a success until Trump abandoned it. ISIS was formed during the Bush administration, in Iraq, a country we had no legal reason to invade and destroy. That invasion was what emboldened Islamic terrorism. The defeat of ISIS was initiated during the Obama administration, and completed during the Trump administration, by a highly effective strategy of support for local loyal groups like the Kurds, a strategy which Trump has also abandoned.

  61. @JJackson What created ISIS was the invasion and de-stabilization of Iraq by president Bush. It was one of the greatest foreign policy failures of the US, and one which also emboldened and empowered Iran.

  62. Too little too late.

  63. Now, everybody can witness the Obama’s cash at work in Iran.

  64. @Greg Hogwash. The international agreement that among other things unfroze Iranian cash assets abroad had one aim, and that was to freeze Iranian nuclear development. It was a success until Trump abandoned it. It was not "Obama's cash." It was Iran's cash, unfrozen by a coalition of nations, in exchange for Iran's cooperation. Inform yourself.

  65. @Greg There cash you speak of was not Obamas, it was Iran’s cash we hijacked. Obama only returned it

  66. More video will surface shortly. Inside the Persian tent. Any sympathy among the perpetually moralistic for those Iranian functionaries now receiving "Islamic justice" in the torture centers of the government ministries? No Khashoggi outrage? Didn't think so.

  67. You mean expose this for what it is and have Americans become appalled by it? It is so out of the ordinary that America cannot ignore it, right? I mean it doesn't happen anywhere else in the world. Not in China, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia? We can live with it in those places, but not in Iran? C'mon....you are talking about the values centered, morally driven American foreign policy. Americans sat back and ho hummed when the Saudis bombed buses filled with children using American made bombs. This interests the average American about as much as a passing rain shower. The outrage isn't whats going on in Tehran. The outrage is what is going on in America.

  68. This story would be better if it included the dates of the events she is talking about up front and in the text. Just simple journalism.

  69. The point of the Internet shutdown was never to hide the protests from the world. They knew that they videos would pour out the moment they reconnected the internet again. The actual aim was simple, to prevent protesters from using the internet to organize their protests and to cut access to foreign anti regime advertisement.

  70. If Iran becomes a failed state like Syria, Iraq, Libya this would make Netanyahu, Trump and the GOP very happy. But they should consider what happens in failed states. The rise of terrorism. And since Iran is capable of nuke development, who knows what the terrorists will build.

  71. @wyatt Iran’s ruling ayatollahs have been perpetrating terrorism across the globe since they gained the power and authority to do so decades ago. Consequently, Iran is already a terrorist state...their moderate and pro-democracy factions suppressed and held prisoner.

  72. @wyatt True, the terrorists could construct nuclear weapons like the ones the U.S. and Israel have aimed at Tehran right this moment.

  73. @wyatt On the other hand Iran could thrive without the Ayatollah's and Republican guard henchmen. The Ayatollah's are creating the seeds of failure by neglecting the home economy (consider the failing neglected water infrastructure as an example) and spending on weapons programs and foreign adventurism. A second point, I am not a fan of Netanyahu, but can you blame him, and Israelis, for being concerned about a regime that repeatedly calls for its destruction and arms Hezbollah and Hamas with increasingly more advanced missiles? Moreover, if you are concerned about proliferation of nukes, keeping the current regime in place in Iran is not in the interests of global disarmament.

  74. Absolutely horrific, but it could never happen in Europe, right? I wouldn't be so sure. Last week the Spanish congress passed into law a 'royal decree' giving the executive branch the unchecked power to shut down any website, or indeed the whole Spanish internet, should they see a problem of 'public order'. Of course the reason for such a law is the organized Catalan struggle for human rights, including self-determination. Please, Europe, pay attention to recent condemnations of Spanish policy from Amnesty International and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Dentention, among many others. We must stop this madness.

  75. Iran is no longer our concern. It was once in our national interest to protect oil shipments that America needed to keep our economy running. Now we no longer need Mideast oil, but others do, like the Europeans. Let them deal with Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is sad and tragic that other nations terrorize their own people. But when we choose to police the world we only garner resentment by sticking our noses into matters whose historical and social frictions we can never fully understand. And it usually ends up in a lot of young Americans returning home in body bags.

  76. Normally there are ways to at least attempt to intervene without sending troops. When Trump contemptuously pulled the US out of the treaty, he slammed the door shut. Now the US is reduced to bystander status. The tragic reality is - that is what Trump and his followers want. America is no longer it’s brother’s keeper.

  77. @MJM I think most people would deem the sanctions the US has imposed as intervention without troops; hardly bystander status.

  78. @Chuck French Of course the tension is with the Golden Rule, so convenient to dismiss with non-imaginative extremist “thinking.”

  79. I thought that the Iranian revolution was a popular one, and that the people wanted an Islamic theocracy. This is consistent with the fact that Iran, along with 44 other "Muslim" countries, signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam in 1990. This document states that all human rights derive from sharia. The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights was considered a western concept. So maybe we should view some of the current protests as a wish to return to a more principled Shi'ite theocracy rather than a desire for a western democracy.

  80. For a long time I had been able to rationalize the regime, many warts and all. In the last century, Iran has -- without question -- been mistreated and manipulated by the US (and Britain). Their natural resources were taken. Their goverment and ability to self rule compromised, to the point where a puppet regime acting in the interest of the US was put in place. The 1979 revolution was a legitimate grassroots movement that eventually rid itself of more moderate factions. The reaction, in my opinion, fit the decades of foreign interference. Despite all the sad things that happen there it was not a stretch to see in this regime some credibility. I think they have finally squandered any credibilty they had.

  81. @Joe Blow The events that happen in Iran could not be judged in isolation from the occurences in Lebanon, even more, in Iraq. We knew --and it was once again confirmed -- that the opposition to the regime is deep-rooted and deeply entrenched but now the opinion in what was once known as the Shiite arch, has morphed into a sense of repulsion against anything that has to do with theocracy and intrusion of religion in the socio-political life of the people. In all these countries desperate youth is in search of fundamental change. Alas for Iran the ruling elite is prepared to go to whatever length needed to preserve the regime....

  82. @Joe Blow , writes "The 1979 revolution was a legitimate grassroots movement that eventually rid itself of more moderate factions." It is true< "grass root revolution", then it was hijacked by Islamists led by their leader, the late khomeini, who was groomed in France to take over after the late Shah.

  83. @wrock76t Having lived and worked in Iran from '75-'79, I can to attest to the fact that without Khomeini's followers the "grass root revolution" would probably have been crushed. For better or worse Khomeini was their George Washington.

  84. No international intervention is going to happen. The mis steps post 9/11 like Iraq war and the continued support of authoritarian regimes like Saudi Arabia and the complacency in Yemen wars and the "collateral damage" from drone and other interventions has damaged the credibility, resolve and standing of the "international community". Burma, one million Rohingya were ousted, Srilanka the tamil population was devastated, Yemen the native population is being slaughtered, Russia is targeting hospitals and civilians in Syria. Many other examples. Its a free run for authoritarian regimes and leaders. Local populations will have to find solutions to these populations. The western democracies have lost political resolve in intervening in these issues. In my humble opinion many societies have to go through social evolution to find better means of resolving differences as opposed to use of violence. Dogmatic regimes will find it all the more difficult, they will have to reinvent he separation of state and religion. Hopeful the west will continue to remember the first and the second wold wars and continue to be guided by lessons learnt. Or is it like Betrand Russel once said, the only hope that humanity need have is the possibility of an alien civilization learning from our mistakes. Soon climate change might make that a reality.

  85. @Justin Joseph This is why people shouldn't watch too much NetFlix.

  86. The massive sanctions regime imposed by the United States is mainly to blame for the economic conditions that triggered the rise in fuel prices and the subsequent explosion of popular discontent. The U.S. strategy, quite explicit, is to break the Iranian economy wholly dependent upon the export of oil and natural gas, to bring down the theocratic regime. The theocrats have been spreading their Shia Islamic revolution across the arch of Shia adherents from the Persian Gulf to Lebanon directly challenging U.S. and Sunni rule. They are actively engaged in supporting asymmetric warfare against Israel and the brutal suppression of anti Assad Syrians who are predominately Sunni Arabs. They are also involved for the past forty years in the brutal suppression of the Iranian population, in particular, Iranians who reject their Islamic Sharia defined culture. The question moving forward is whether the hard rejectionist strategy of the United States will result in the overthrow of the Islamic Republic or its mere hardening against foreign enemies. Remember, Iranian nationalism is every bit as powerful a force as found in other countries around the world. The Iranian hardliners may not bend at all to the native Iranian resistance, anymore than Donald Trump supporters will bow to the people who oppose them in the U.S.. The likely result of all of this is continued stalemate in Iran and throughout the region afflicted with civil war and fierce national rivalries.

  87. I lived in Iran during the revolution of 1979-81. While things weren't great before then under the Shah, we at least had certain freedoms one would expect to see in a westernized country who had open relations with the US. Then the revolution happened, and in the blink of an eye, everything changed. Iran immediately cut itself off from the western world. Thanks to Ayatollah Khomeini, a narcissistic zealot with a fanatical following (sound familiar?), the freedoms we took for granted were stripped away, and Iran turned into the country that it is today -- an oppressed society ruled by a religious theocracy and brutal regime. It's disturbing to see parallels between Iran and what's occurring now in the US with trump and his Republican lackeys in power. (See, for example, William Barr's recent speech at Notre Dame about the evils of a securalism). The younger generation of Iranians resent my generation for allowing the revolution to happen, and I can't say I blame them. But those who opposed it could do very little to stop the country from falling into the hands of authoritarian, religious extremists. Elections weren't yet a thing in Iran, so we couldn't even vote. But we can still vote here in the US. And it's imperative that we vote trump out in 2020, along with the Republican lackeys who protect and enable him at all costs to the country.

  88. @Roberta Very apt parallel you draw to what’s happening in the US. Scary.

  89. @Roberta The parallels you mention exist only in the mind of the very paranoid. Iran and the US have nothing in common. The very idea is quite irrational. We should re-elect Trump if for no other reason than he's the first president who isn't getting us involved in stupid things in the Middle East.

  90. @AACNY I don't know Roberta, but I take most seriously her warnings about what happened in Iran and could happen here: we are not immune: one part of the price of freedom is eternal vigilance lest we fall into the trap of autocracy.

  91. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I get a good feeling about the Iranian people based on their portrayal in Iranian cinema. Although we can't effect regime change, I'd look forward to a rapprochement with you if only the old men will just die already. I'm rooting for you.

  92. Sorry for what Iran's atrocities did not want us to see but also sorry that the USA is no longer in the regime change business. Keep looking elsewhere.

  93. @Girish Kotwal They can look elsewhere, it's the mess created by the US. Remember Mossadegh? And it wasn't for democracy, but for oil. It's always for oil.

  94. @Girish Kotwal The US is still very much in the regime change business, they are just taking a break, their plate is full.

  95. Raha, my heart breaks. I spent 5 months in Iran in 1973, near the end of the Shah's time. The people of Iran are a grand, friendly people. What has happened and what is happening today is a tragedy. I am so sorry. I wish to say something hopeful, but it seems vacant to do so. Still, it is important to not lose sight of the wonderful people of Iran, to support them in their desire for peace and freedom. The current U.S. Govt is not helping, and that shames me.

  96. @Ric both the current and the Obama administrations’ lack of concern for the Iranians shame me.

  97. @Ric right wingers are the only person spoke that judge by color and accent

  98. We should be trading with Iran instead of all this animosity towards them. Think of how well our companies could do in that untapped market. Trying to collapse their economy that hurts their people will not turn out well. If iran didn’t have to constantly try to defend against outside aggression, things might be different.

  99. @e.s. From where I'm sitting it doesn't seem like Iran is "trying to defend against outside aggression". I have tens of thousands of Iranian missiles aimed at my house when my country never had any issues with Iran, they are 1000 miles and 3 countries away.

  100. I agree. Communism was brought down with the aid of Mickey Mouse and the promise democracy, not by penalizing eastern block citizens.

  101. @Yonatan It is Iran's Islamist hard line government's obsession with Israel which is your problem. But they are only in power because of Iran's implacable - and far more justified - hatred and fear of the US. For the US to reduce its unnecessary pressure and threats upon Iran, the mullahs power recedes inside Iran, and there is a much better outcome for Israel.

  102. There are many pressures we can apply. The Times is doing the most, exposing the atrocities. Iran wanted this material hidden for good reason. It will be very hard for the world to oppose sanctions now. Yes, capitalism has little problem with oppression and brutality when its purpose is being served and people are making money. But there is a limit. Capitalism must be able to maintain a veneer of integrity and respectability. When atrocities are revealed, and they go on long enough, the money pulls out. The eyes of the world are watching now, as Peter Gabriel said of South Africa in response to the murder of Stephen Biko.

  103. Regardless of US foreign policy changes the Mid-East is still a powder keg. We should just wait and see how this develops further. Think of it this way: A lot of people have said, it will be OK. A lot of very smart people have said it. It's what they are saying! And we have some very tough people. They are warfighters, very tough. We have a lot of them, too.

  104. Nothing will happen until the security forces refuse to fire at protesters. When they refused in 1979, the Shah fell. When they do it again, whoever is in power will fall. But don't hold your breath waiting.

  105. The US/UK have still not recovered from the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran has two things they covet: 1) Energy- large reserves of oil and natural gas, 2) Geo-strategic position in the Middle East—between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Indian subcontinent and abuts the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic “choke point” through which circa 25% of the world's energy transits. As summarized by Dan Glazebrook- “The reason for this obsession with destroying Iran – shared by all factions of the Western ruling class, despite their differences over means – is obvious: Iran's very existence as an independent state threatens imperial control of the region – which in turns underpins both US military power and the global role of the dollar.” See- Trump's delusional Iran oil gambit is decades too late by Dan Glazebrook RT July 9, 2018; Link: www.rt.com/op-ed/432418-iran-trump-china-tariffs/

  106. There’s a reason that President Obama misunderstood Islamist dynamics in the Middle East. He grew up sympathetic to Islam and could not reconcile his pleasant childhood experience in Indonesia with the realities of resurgent Islamism today. The fallout of his epic miscalculation will be felt globally for decades to come, and may actually lead to a devastating world war...with Iran as the chief nemesis, joined by their terrorist sidekicks...first attempting to “wipe out” Israel.

  107. The United States concerns/INTERVENTION should be OUR security and national interests - not ISRAELS.

  108. The regime in Iran is bad but the American regime is worst. It’s US which toppled the first democratically elected president of Iran. Neither the US regime nor the NYT any shame what was done to Iran.

  109. @Naser Dear Naser, If the US is so evil why are so many people from other countries (including Iran) clambering to emigrate to the US? I lived in Iran in 1972 - 1973 and the Shah was brutal, but he was a piker compared to the current regime.

  110. sounds very simple, but nothing will change till the people decide to just fight back. Our draft dodger is going to be impeached and his Russian enablers aren't doing anything to make advances in the world that are centered on humanity. The people of Hong Kong stood up and fought for months. The people of Iran need to stand up, protest, and fight. fight the way we fought in the Civil Rights. fight because you know everything is on the line. Fight for freedom because you have lived so long under old dictators, fight for your tomorrow's, under Trump we cant help you but we will be able to soon

  111. Iran is effectively a police state in the tradition of East Germany at this point, and a corrupt one at that. The fact that oppression is done in the name of Islam rather than in the name of raw power only serves to further discredit Islam in the average Iranian's eyes. This is not likely to end well.

  112. So where is the screaming of the international community?I have looked for Twitter comments from Ilahan Omar,none to be found so far.Where are all those anti Zionist college students protesting Iran.The hypocrisy of the far left.With that said my prayers go out to all those Iranian families who have lost loved ones.

  113. In the name of religion the greatest evils can be perpetrated, because if the religious leader who speaks in the name of God supports the evil then God wills it and God is never wrong. From the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy , holding the embassy and 62 captives for 444 days against international law to the current protests against gas price increases where many of the unemployed youth were murdered and imprisoned--always the Supreme Leader has given permission --whether Khomeini or Khamenei. In the current episode the Supreme Leader called the unarmed protesters "thugs"and supported the crackdown. Too much power in the hands of one or a few is always dangerous and we in the U.S.A. should also be wary of an executive department which can do whatever it wants without being taken to account.

  114. Wasn't Iran once moving toward democracy in the early 1950s before the US/CIA installed the shah with his attendant brutality? The resulting theocracy wasn't too hard to predict after that. Orthodox theocracies are generally awful messes, especially for minorities and those who rebel.

  115. I predict we will see in the coming weeks a massive popular revolt that topples the clerical regime in Teheran. The revolutionary guards are no match for million of aggrieved Iranian citizens.

  116. Of course that would be an unbiased report. I find it hard to to understand why anybody would not understand the connection between the inhumane and brutal sanctions placed on Iran, and the backlash. No wonder America is becoming a despised and hated country, with the exception of their cohorts, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and several others of the same ilk.

  117. Iran is the largest sponsor of terrorism on the planet. The sanctions are one measure of deterrence. Would you rather we do nothing to stop their terrorism? Or go in with boots on the ground?

  118. Wave of citizen unrest is spreading across the world Chile,Columbia ,Bolivia,Hong Kong,Egypt,Algeria Iraq irrespective of the ideology.Common to all these unrests is failure of state to meet expectations of its citizens. in Iran case it is compounded by sanctions imposed causing its oil export economy collapsing. No one will , especially Iran citizens ,will shed years if it's extremist theocratic ,misogynist authoritarian government collapses. Do not expect liberal democratic government will emerge .It will encourage its estranged similar twin sister Saudi Arabia to be empowered and indulge in adventurism.Finally US has found the means to conduct war by means other than sending the feet on ground

  119. The use of lethal force against unarmed civilians is a violation of human rights that keeps being perpetrated. We have seen reports of the NYT on the targeting of civilians by Russian planes in Syria. And we have also seen, the use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians by the IDF in Gaza. One such report documented what appeared to be the deliberate killing of a young woman health worker near the border with Israel. Of these days is the intervention by Trump to shelter from military justice a US soldier killing a wounded and incapacitated prisoner. So, it seems that the savagery of war and repression is now on the rise with the blessing and encouragement of the so-called civilized world.

  120. Seems as if Orban in Turkey, Ping in China, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Modi in India, al Sisi in Egypt, and perhaps even Trump in the US - not to mention others elsewhere - share a great deal with Khamenei, and this story could easily be superimposed upon their countries. Indeed, in many cases it already has.

  121. Until now, i have considered the government of Iran to be sem-legitimate and somewhat picked on by "western" countries. No more innocence such as this is possible now: this crystal-clear evidence of a "government" very much out of control and illigitimate [sic] in nearly every way possible, is a clarion call for ACTION - and by that i mean EFFECTIVE action, to the international community. One might imagine that the "average citizen" in countries like Canada, the USA, Germany etc., can't do much to foster change - but i submit that this cynical attitude would be wrong. Write to your elected representatives (emails won't do: an old-fashiioned hand-written letter is worth a thousand online messages: it shows that you care enough to go the extra mile!!). Go on social media and organize resistance. Do whatever it takes!! The lives of ALL people on our planet matter, as do their freedoms and rights as members of the human race.

  122. There is a reality here: The US is an International Power. If we do not exercise our power, even the Bully Pulpit, then Russia, China, even India WILL. By doing nothing, we cede our preeminence without comment. It costs money to be first in the world.

  123. The Tehran regime has wound itself into the fabric of Iranian life and will not go away easily. It's a cancer and could well kill the patient. Trump saw a weak opponent and pounced, he is good at sensing weakness, but the Mullahs are only weak in economics and politics but know all about oppression. There is no money left so living conditions will get even worse, but bullets are cheap and hired thugs even cheaper. The regime will retreat where it has to regionally but inside prisons begin to fill.

  124. Who are the state police shooting into the protesters? The brothers of the protesters? In general, individuals who seek to legitimize their violent prone, controlling nature gravitate to membership in policing organizations. On the other hand, pick a cause, have a rally. Wait for the right timing and the combustible potentials of opposing sides erupt. A protester throws a rock, a policeman shoots a protester and, voila, you have a story to feed into the media and social media of both sides. Exists in every society. Reminds me of Kent State.

  125. What keeps these regimes in power across the world is money. Denying Iran money from all outside sources (such as through sanctions) will help create terror and unrest in the short-term, but you cannot keep a population down forever. North Korea, China, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, Turkey...all of these autocratic regimes are vulnerable to revolution, and they know it. Rather than put in the hard work to solve the problems at home, they cast America and her allies as villains in the effort to maintain a common enemy for a common unity. It gets old. When you cannot feed yourselves and see the leadership as fat, heartless and lazy, you get revolution. Denying people basic human rights makes for a desperate populace willing to try anything to escape it or end it. The violence may have paused, but it is not over. Escape as refugees is becoming harder all over the world, so the only option for many is violence. Death stops becoming something to fear, and is either ignored or embraced. History has plenty of examples of this, and these government ignore those lessons at their peril. Social media being barred in a territory won't stop people from publishing atrocities once the data leaves the country. Being exposed is only a matter of time, and these governments only need to fail once.

  126. @Daniel H America under Eisenhower destroyed the democratic government of Iran at the behest of England in 1953 in order to continue stealing Iran's oil. But just because Eisenhower made the wrong choice then doesn't mean we can't make the right choice now. Sanctions make ordinary people suffer and let the autocracy blame the U.S. instead of their own thievery for the country's economic ills. We Americans have an opportunity once Khamenei dies, however. The Iranian government is two key reforms away from being a real democracy: The office of Supreme Leader needs to be abolished (obviously), as well as the governing junta's ability to control who runs for office. Eventually the Revolutionary Guard will also need to be absorbed into the Army and put under civilian control, but baby steps. We can help the Iranian people do this by protecting their activists and amplifying their voices. Heck, if we keep their names in the news and use sanctions as a threat against retaliation against them, we could even help shield them. Just a thought. Iran's young people are secular and largely want good relations with the West. We can make an ally of them, but only if we act in good faith, and not to "destroy Iran."

  127. The best thing for Iran, the US and the Middle East, would be for us to end the sanctions and offer to bring Iran into our socio-economic orbit. Make offers of trade which are contingent upon them cleaning their act up abroad and at home. Our endless and unnecessary hostility is the raison d'etre of the mullahs. The worst thing that could happen to that awful regime is for Iranians to realize that the "Great Satan" doesn't have aggressive designs on them at all, but in fact hopes for a productive future.

  128. @Livonian You are so naive. Have you never heard their death to America chants? You are an apologist for Iran.

  129. As Trump-Pence vigorously pursue their incendiary rhetoric promoting conspiratorial lies, they are priming the USA's public to accept aggressive and eventually violent police actions against those who protest the administration. Americans believing this will not happen, or cannot not happen in USA, need only look back into our history. The 1932 'Bonus Army' encampment in Washington DC, WW1 soldiers demanding their promised but not delivered bonus - broken up by horse soldiers lead by General Douglass MacAthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Fast forward to the 1950s 'Anti-American' hearing by Sen. McCarthy (R) who labeled Gen George Marshall a "communist" and more recently the riots of the mid-late 1960s regarding racial injustice. Not only such "could happen here" it has "happened here' and often.

  130. @Jim So true I would just like to add the torch procession in SC. Remember the chant " jews will not divide us". People just keep poo pooing these actions of the far right. trump is becoming a cult following or should I say he has already become a cult following. We are just in denial of that fact

  131. We lost any moral high ground a long time ago and we have our own problems. If you don't think the Republicans and Trump would not try the same thing in this country you have not been paying attention. Don't look to the U.S. for any help. Plus, realistically there is nothing we can do militarily given we cannot even handle the Taliban. Just another very bad situation. Appears to be the human condition.

  132. Iran massacre of people by government. This government wants nuclear weapons. Imagine what they will do with them of allowed to obtain them.

  133. Probably they will use their nukes as a deterrent against US aggression.

  134. This latest tragedy reminds me of Mao's "all political power comes from the barrel of a gun." It still seems largely true. The unarmed protesters must either abandon their protests or arm themselves and fight back. It seems we just can't resolve our political problems rationally and peacefully after millennia of trying. Often, history reveals that after years of battle fatigue and much blood has flowed, partisans might realize: "Hmmm, maybe we could settle this some other way." We've seen this movie before, but rarely learn from its message: Violence begets violence.

  135. “connectivity may be blocked forever.” On the internet! But not between people. The few. The many over time. At huge personal costs. To life. Limbs. Aspirations. Traumas. The demagogue, dictators, the myriad of opportunistic personally unaccountable- flawed BEings; who became whatever THEY BEcame in our WE-THEY violating cultures and worlds- which WE- many ordinary folk- enabled, may outlast some of US. Not ALL of US. BEcause reality’s dimensions operate with/ through uncertainties. Unpredictabilities. Randomness. Outliers. Non-linearity. Lack of TOTAL control notwithstanding one’s efforts. By ANY of US. THEM.

  136. As long as the mullahs have oil to sell, nobody is doin' nuthin'.

  137. Looks like we took out the wrong leader in 2004. Now, with our government condoning torture, extra-judicial killings, extortion, racism, etc, we have lost our moral authority to respond to this kind of governmental atrocities. Get the US back on a humane, moral course. Vote Democrat in 2020.

  138. Very sad.

  139. The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters. Antonio Gramsci

  140. By putting economic sanctions on Iran, the U.S. is the main cause of the rioting and killings in Iran.

  141. @Diogenes "The devil made me do it!" Flip Wilson

  142. Trump is the atrocity. The Nuclear Arms Deal gave everyone a window of opportunity to reset their priorities. They weren't perfect but they were a start. Trump blew it. He and people who believe in him have the emotional maturity of an infant. If you don't get what you want, throw a tantrum. Inflamed passions and now we have even greater threat in the region. It did not work in North Korea or China or anywhere. We had TPP to deal with trade with the east. It intentionally excluded and isolated China. Was it perfect? Was NAFTA perfect? They are beginnings. But beginnings in an adult world. This is not Trumps world.

  143. The surfacing of the brutality of the Iranian regime provides yet another example of how Trump has poisoned our national dignity and international credibility. The Iranian government asserts that the protesters are terrorists and thugs who work at the behest of the United States, Israel, etc. From the outset, Iran has insisted (unsuccessfully) that any reports about killing of unarmed protesters were 'fake news.' The same is true in China where reports about the legitimacy of the Hong Kong protests were all labeled as 'fake news.' We have a President who labels legitimate criticism of his Administration as 'fake news.' How can a Fake News President credibly denounce vicious propaganda and/or violence as it occurs in Iran and China? The voice of the United States is now reduced to an impotent whisper.

  144. You can't stop the rising tide. Both China's and Iran's governments are learning this. When you have nothing to lose; bullets, tear gas, or water cannons mean nothing.

  145. Why is United States one of the most hated countries in the world according to the BBC polls in 2017, that is even hated amongst it's NATO fellow members? Why do Americans have problem with China's flourishment and copying of patents which China did from a highly successful and developed country of 300 million and used that to lift over 1 billion people out of poverty?

  146. I have a question. Why was it, that when I grew up (1960's/70/s/80/s)- having an accent was a sign of some defect? Why did it take so long to realize that those capable of speaking more than one language are smarter than me? I hope things have changed. Have they?

  147. Sometimes I wake up at night and worry that 2020 will be the year that the world convulses.

  148. Well, maybe Trump might send Ambassador Sonland to Teheran with a basketful of goodwill and a willingness to mediate between poor people and the government. Oops, American has no standing anywhere and time marches on.

  149. In other words, Trump's policies on Iran are working, and Obama's appeasement was a disaster for the people of Iran.

  150. @G Umm...no. But thanks for playing.

  151. @G Bingo! It's awe inspiring how clueless most of the Times writers and leaders are. Obama gave these folks millions of dollars on pallets. Never investigated or looked into. Fast forward and now have the nerve to try to impeach Trump for investigating a $50K/month sweet heart job for the Biden's that reeks of corruption.

  152. @G So Trump now has a policy aimed at causing death and suffering to the people of Iran. When Obama was president, the people of Iran were doing quite nicely. I thought Trump wanted regime change. We haven't seen any sign of that happening, so it's a bit premature to suggest that Trump's policies are working. Also, Trump wanted Iran to halt its nuclear program. The opposite has happened. I just see more Trump fails.

  153. Trump is jealous of the Iran leadership: he wishes he could do what it did.

  154. Given our current administration, whether or not they win in 2020, we can expect internet blackouts as well.

  155. The neocon State department is not really that trustworthy either. They had no problem with the Shah and his brutality. Our government is not kind to protesters either, HK could not have happened here.

  156. The economic sanctions that were in place before the Nuclear Treaty, and now again since BLOTUS left the Treaty agreement, are the backbone of this unrest. The people of Iran are bringing their day to day suffering onto the streets.

  157. Those who sow the wind inherit the whirlwind. Iran, beware of what you wished for.

  158. I have Trump-supporting acquaintances who hate the NYT and call it the "New York Slimes." I thank heaven for the NYT, even when I disagree with it. I don't see coverage like this, or coverage of Chinese persecution of the Uighurs, such as the Times provided, in other media.

  159. Thanks to the bungling of the current US administration, we have no leverage, and there's nothing we can do to help in an official capacity. We were on the road toward more open relations with Iran, based on mutual overtures. Now that we have closed the door, there is nothing we can say to the Iranian government. International policy does matter. Iran is as much our concern as any other nation on this earth. With good relations we can work together to improve conditions and social justice for everyone involved, ourselves included. With zero relations, we can only stand idly by. MAGA.

  160. @cud wrong. Iran was never going to respond to US warming gestures. That was a dream they banked on. The only way things can change there is this way...... Massive internal protest and overthrow.

  161. @cud Absolute ignorance about how the Iranian government works. It's stunning how Americans (libs and cons, even NYT readership) see everything through the lens of US politics. They think they are the center of the universe. For once, just sit, read, and try to learn. And forget about your domestic politics.

  162. @cud I'm sorry but that sentiment is naive though well-meaning. Iran is and has been an oppressive regime for decades. As the 1979 revolution changed the country from bad to worse...it will take another rebellion to restore the nation to some semblance of human rights and peace. All of the Iranians I have ever met are incredible people...it is so sad to see a country and people with such promise be destroyed by a theocracy wielding Islam for a truncheon.

  163. The Ayatollah came into power with the blessing of the Iranian people because of the atrocities committed by the Shah and his secret police. And now the Supreme Leader is becoming even more oppressive. The people of Iran have the right to choose their own path. They have the right to choose leadership that works for them, not against them. Iranian leaders can rightly blame U.S. sanctions for some of the economic hardships. But much of the blame falls to Iranian leadership for its involvement in foreign wars, and its meddling in other governments. The Iranian public deserve better.

  164. Among the many stupid and flagrantly irresponsible moves of the Trump administration has been their handling of Iran . During the Cold War when Russia and the United States wanted to theoretically to wipe each other off the face of the earth, they communicated almost incessantly with one another. “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer”, as Michael Corleone said in Godfather II. Even though Trump acts like a mafia boss he hasn’t learned any of the inherent wisdom in playing that part... and when he leaves office he will leave us with a mess that will take 20 years to clean up.

  165. The situation in Iran is truly puzzling. The Iranians I have encountered in the West over the last forty years have been uniformly secular, modern, attractive. How can they countenance medieval theocratic governance for four decades? The Shah was bad enough. The ayatollahs are far worse. In Hong Kong it is tear gas and water cannons. In Iran and Iraq--well, need we say more? The people of Iran are not the West's enemies. They are our allies.

  166. @Andrew Shin The ones shouting death to America?

  167. @Andrew Shin The mullahs in Tehran have the support of the rural masses. You have met Iranians that are from urban areas who gather in private, drop their head coverings and trash talk the theocratic government. It is to the government's self-interest to keep the populace poor and uneducated so as to use Islam to oppress them.

  168. @Jackson Small fry. Watch Anthony Bourdain's segment in Iran.

  169. Excellent reporting on a Country most Americans don’t realize is violently oppressive to its people. Iran has been a sponsor of terrorist for decades; funding Hezbollah and accelerating unrest in the Middle East. The current sanctions recently imposed, which had been lifted by the Obama administration, are having extremely detrimental effects. The leaders of Iran are under pressure to curb the terror and stop the nuclear buildout. We finally are beginning to understand Iran is a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the World. Sanctions must stay in place.

  170. @JMS Wait a second! Let's get the story straight. The US, not Iran, destabilized the Middle East with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, its support of illegal Israeli apartheit, and its cosy relations with the Saudis who bankrolled the most extreme Islamists. Hezbollah grew as a reaction to an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Iran, under Mossadegh, might have evolved into a democratic state in the 1950's, had not the US organized a coup and reinstated a repressive Shah. Moderates in Iran might have assumed more power, had the US honored its nuclear agreement. All this does not justify the present cruelty and oppression, but it does put it in perspective.

  171. @JMS True. Using the stick, even if it is a small stick, would get the Mullah system to be more compliant with human rights principles and non interference in neighbors affairs..

  172. @Nachum - Your hatred of America let's you excuse a lot of very bad deeds by very bad people!

  173. This is hard to watch - the gruesome violence against unarmed protestors. Iran has already repressed half its population, women - when they can't step out of the house without a scarf over their heads. Therefore the country doesn't consider it a big deal to tighten its grip, and that's been going on since the Islamic revolution. Now it's much more evident thanks to smart phones. When people take to the streets in millions and millions, maybe then, some small shifts may happen.

  174. The Iranian people have to decide for themselves that they are no longer willing to live under an oppressive Autocracy, whatever the cost. In 1861 America went to war to decide if slavery would be our future or not. That war cost 750,000 American lives, but out of it came the abolition of slavery. One could make the argument that this was the cost of our "social evolution" If the Iranian people want to free themselves from the oppression they are under, I fear the violence will become much uglier before it gets better.

  175. @Art This seems like an unfair comparison to me for a lot of reasons, but most simply the coordinated weaponry available to those in power in 2019 vs 1861.

  176. @Christy Sorry if the analogy missed the mark for you, I wanted a comparison with some long standing history in order to illustrate just how great the cost is when countries are forced to change. I also wanted something that was relatable and had established facts and figures with a defined outcome. Syria's civil war would be a closer comparison without question, I just felt like more people would relate to the scale of devastation of the Civil War and that's ultimately why I chose it.

  177. @Art When will the people in the US decide the same thing? Neither Bush nor Trump won the election.