My observations from Tehran

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Jul 22, 2009, 2:07:55 AM7/22/09

From: Esfandiar Bakhtiar
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 3:24 PM
Subject: My observations from Tehran


I just returned from Iran. I spent close to four weeks in the midst of the protests and participated in lots of the events. Here are some facts (my observations):

*- Majority of protestors is from the privileged northern part of Tehran.

*- almost 40 – 50% students, 30 -40%those who did not vote, but were against the regime; (out of non-voters, 50 – 60% Saltanat Talaban, some 30% no political affiliation or ideology, some 10% Mojahedeen,  and the rest were the opportunists “Obash and Arazel, drug addicts, etc.” who did not care about anything except what they could take home that night.

*- Most of the protests were confined to few streets in the northern part of the town in the afternoon.

*- All along, life was as normal as it could be. Except people would avoid certain streets in the afternoon for the fear of being mugged or get entangled in the traffic.

*- The biggest crowd that I could estimate (based on the crowd intensity per Square meter) was 300,000, out of approximately 12 million populations living in Tehran.

 *- I made an insane point to ask those who were using their cell phone to take pictures and/or record the events, who long they had had their phones. Out of those who were honest (perhaps stupid enough) to answer my question, 90% had purchased their cell phones almost a month before the election. This was a significant question in my research.  

*- Literary there was no comparison between what I witnessed that day with what I could see on CNN on internet,. The western media portrayed the event like a civil war, while the life was very normal.

*- I asked the following questions from almost everyone I spoke with:

A- Who is your alternative regime, if there is going to be any regime change?

B- What was the difference between AN and Mosavi, in their leadership style; economic, political and social.

C- What would you do if tomorrow the regime chose you as the leader?

D- What do you think is the three most important responsibilities of the government against its people.

To my great surprise, Over 90% could not answer the questions;

However, there was one common denominator among all whom I spoke with; whether a cab driver, student, businessman, housewife, anti or pro regime, university professor, construction worker, etc. This commonality related to the fact that how much they literary hated the opposition groups out of the country.

Here are some almost, I want to emphasize the word ALMOST, direct quotes about the opposition groups outside Iran:

“They are a bunch of idiots sitting in the comfort of their secured and air-conditioned houses, engage in parting, drinking and having fun, and every once in a while stick their heads out of their…….. and give us direction: Go ahead, get on the streets, protest, destroy the regime, prepare the country for our return, we will come and take you to your dream land”. Their anger from these groups is as much as their anger against the regime. IN fact some said “If I have to choose between the current regime, and those opposition groups outside of Iran, I prefer to serve this regime by all means”.





Soraya Ulrich

Jul 23, 2009, 7:42:21 PM7/23/09
to Javad Fakharzadeh, IA Mossadegh

Dear Javad,


This was passed on to me.  Pls. feel  free to share  although I am grateful to Esfandiar, Dr. Shakibi, and our own dear Dr. Ala. 


Below, a compilation of rumors and falsehoods—cross-checked as exhaustively as time and resources allowed—that expanded the cloud of disinformation during the post-election protests in Iran.



From: [] On Behalf Of Javad Fakharzadeh
Sent: Thursday, July 23, 2009 2:11 PM
To: Iran-Heritage Organization; IA Mossadegh;
Subject: Fwd: [disc] My observations from Tehran


Thank you Dr. Bakhtiar and Shakibi for your thoughtful reports.

While most of us in the West rely our information from CNN, Facebook, Tweeter, u-tube, and other mis-news networks, we really don't get the true picture of what's happening in our motherland. Your observations is priceless because you were there seeing with your own eyes. I'd like to ask both of you to include your fact findings to all cities covering wide spectrum in every city so that the coverage and statistics is closer to reality.

I am certain change will come for better to Iran. But this change takes time longer than most of us can tolerate. I personally hope that reforms and freedom will emerge as a result of this uprising. I look forward reading your final book/reports.

Best wishes,

Javad Fakharzadeh

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sid Badakhsh <>
Date: Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM
Subject: RE: [disc] My observations from Tehran
To: PGG Persian Gulf Group <>

The following observation by Dr. Shakibi is extremely valid and I strongly believe in what he has stated since it is also supported historically in every country's case:

"I think the Islamic Republic, unlike the Pahlavi system, will in the end prove able to respond to these changes and evolve with the society over which it rules." 

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 09:34:17 -0400


Subject: Re: [disc] My observations from Tehran

Dear Shakibi,
Excellent points. Our research paper is fairly focused and examines several variables in a distinct time table. I am certainly interested in reading your book. I will be happy to share my data, once it is completed. I believe your research brings a significant perspective to this issue.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Z P Shakibi" <>
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 12:48:15 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: RE: [disc] My observations from Tehran

One last point. For the past year I have been working on a new book on popular politics in Iran. Before, during, and after the elections I and my team have been conducting interviews not only here in Tehran, but in Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz (I could not get greater coverage due to research costs). We are still compiling the results of the post-elections ones (these interviews were taken between the 2shanbe demo after the elections results and the shanbe after Hashemi's speech.) Up to what I have seen, I have to say in many ways our political culture has made advances, it is these advances which are making life difficult for the regime. Societal discontent and revolution (I don't say we are in a revolutionary situation here) emerge because a system does not change with the evolutionary processes in society, such as in higher levels of education, urbanisation, demography, and in country's economic and social structure. I think the Islamic Republic, unlike the Pahlavi system, will in the end prove able to respond to these changes and evolve with the society over which it rules.


From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: 22 July 2009 05:14
Cc: Soraya Ulrich
Subject: Re: [disc] My observations from Tehran

Some clarifications and answer to Dr. Ala’s points:

In collaboration with two professors (economics and political science) in Tehran, we are publishing a research paper examining any possible correlation between the out-of-country based media (VOA, BBC Persian, Radio Israel, etc,) and the demonstrations.

Our hypothesis is that these media played a significant role in organizing, intensifying and leading the demonstrations. We have other variables such as, government legitimacy, level of dissatisfaction, election, etc. which we are considering.

I had 1073 interviews (very short and unofficial). Due to the circumstances, I had to rely on my personal notes, whihc might bne an aissue in data validation. We are working on a sample of 5000 official interviews.

Dr. Ala’s reference to “ordinary people” vs. “educated” vs. “westernized” is quite vague. A westernized person is not necessarily an educated person or an educated individual is not necessarily a westernized one. I could not find any relevancy.

Second point was that I was in 16 houses where people would call “Alaho Akbar”, In the evening and at night.  IN almost every occasions, one or few individual would get together, go to the window yell “Alaho Akbar” and come back immediately inside and continued with their activities (playing cards, watching TV, etc.). I could not sense any significant intention, motive, impact or even discussion for this act. It seemed more of having fun than expressing a political statement/view.



----- Original Message -----
From: "Reza Vatandoust" <>
To:, "Soraya Ulrich" <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 9:57:11 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [disc] My observations from Tehran

Thank you Mr Bakhtiar

Thank you for the excellent report on the ground. The reason I too have been very cautious about jumping to any conclusions regarding this "green" movement is because I have several family and friends who are constantly feeding us information regarding the situation on the ground in Tehran and other cities. I have just had an uncle leave Sydney for Tehran 3 weeks ago and who is currently based in North Tehran. He has been stating pretty much the same thing as you have.

There is an over-privileged class that is getting the spot light.

Before anything else, we have to have the nation's security in mind and the fact that Iran is in-fact surrounded by those who will do to it what they did to Iraq in a heartbeat if given the chance. Do not think that Red Neck Americans raping Iraqi and Afghani men, women and children care or know the difference between Iranians and Iraqi's and Afghans. To them we are all middle-eastern terrorists who must bend over to the will of the Anglo-Judaic crusades in the middle east.

On a different but relevant front, I am sorry that the Jewish community has decided to back the Anglo-Saxons since the beginning of the last century. To my mind, and my understanding has been to date, the Iranians/Persians have been the Jew's best friends since beginning of their recorded history. But alas, now they have decided to use their resources against Iran and Iranians everywhere. This move did not simply begin when the IRI came about. It started around the time of the formation of the State of Israel from the ruins and the blood and the wailing of Palestinian men, women and children.

There is a famous interview just before the Shah was asked to leave Iran by the Zionists, that AIPAC was a very detrimental entity for a number of reasons.

So the question of the power politics and what is really going on is a lot more complicated than what CNN and the BBC try to feed us as their headline news.

Best Regards

Reza Vatandoust

On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 11:36 AM, M Ala <> wrote:


Javad Fakharzadeh

Jul 23, 2009, 5:11:21 PM7/23/09
to Iran-Heritage Organization, IA Mossadegh,
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