The past month in Iran has been harrowing for anyone who believes that human beings deserve freedom from tyranny.

We have witnessed an election stolen by an old guard of conservative elements headed by the regime’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei (I call this group KhamCo for short), followed by a popular uprising unparalleled since the 1979 revolution.

This old guard trampled roughshod over the will and aspirations of the people of Iran with impunity, thinking that they could use the fact that there was an 85% turnout of the electorate in the June 12th presidential to legitimize the regime without actually respecting the outcome of the vote. And when the people refused to accept this, KhamCo unleashed a medieval horde of goons to violently crush any opposition. Many have been killed, and many more have been imprisoned and tortured.

Robin Wright of the Washinton Post wrote the following (link to the article):

How much has changed for Iran in one occasionally breathtaking month. The erratic uprising is becoming as important as the Islamic revolution 30 years ago — and not only for Iran. Both redefined political action throughout the Middle East.

The costs are steadily mounting for the regime. Just one day before the June 12 presidential election, the Islamic republic had never been so powerful. Tehran had not only survived three decades of diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions but had emerged a regional superpower, rivaled only by Israel. Its influence shaped conflicts and politics from Afghanistan to Lebanon.

But the day after the election, the Islamic republic had never appeared so vulnerable. The virtual militarization of the state has failed to contain the uprising, and its tactics have further alienated and polarized society. It has also shifted the focus from the election to Iran’s leadership.

Just a day before the election, Iran also had the best opportunity in 30 years to end its pariah status. Since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy, Tehran has sparred with five U.S. administrations. President Obama’s offer of direct engagement is the most generous to date. He had the world’s major powers and a growing number of Americans on board.

The tide has turned.

The tide has turned. These words could not be more adequate.

I wrote an op-ed piece titled, Iranian government has identified its enemy: The Iranian People, in which I described in a fair bit of detail how the government is solely responsible for the situation that Iran finds itself in now:

They used the enormous power and wealth of the Iranian nation and instead of focusing on improving the lives of its citizens thereby proving that it was possible to have the word “Islamic” next to “Republic” in the name they had bestowed upon Iran, they focused this immense energy at their disposal on crushing the concept of Islamic Republic. They obliterated it.

How? By not compromising with Mousavi, and the reformist movement. By killing and imprisoning people solely for wanting to have their voices respected. By not even respecting their own sham election process in which they themselves vetted and selected the candidates which were allowed to run. All of whom were stalwart supporters of the regime from its founding. By disrespecting the very clergy on which they rely upon for their legitimacy. By sending their brainwashed minions out to kill and thereby betraying even them!

By naming the people of Iran as the enemy!

We should be thankful that at least in this one point, they have been honest, and revealed what they think of their own people.

By leaving no middle ground the regime has decided to play a game of chicken with the people. By spilling the blood of peaceful protestors merely for expressing their opinion and refusing to accept the coup foisted upon them, the regime has declared under no uncertain terms that the people are slaves to the will of a select few within the ruling elite. I have called this cabal KhamCo because Khamenei represents the head of this clique.

The people have not sat idly by, and in the past month a clear distinction has been made between the people on one-side, and the regime on the other. The world has seen the people’s aspirations for freedom, and their bravery in the face of terror and the tyranny of a false theocracy. The world has also seen the last shred of legitimacy that the government of Iran may have held disappear to reveal what can be safely described as a government structured like a mafia that sees itself as God’s representative on earth with the right to butcher its own people. It can’t be more clear than that.

The price has been paid in blood by the Iranian people. And blood has been spilled across every facet of Iranian society.

Abbas Milani wrote in The New Republic (link to the article):

And the largest Shia sect is called the Ithna Ashari–or the Twelvers. Dominant in Iran, they believe in twelve imams and posit that the last imam went into hiding some 1,100 years ago. His return, bloody and vengeful, will mark the redemptive dawn of the age of justice.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad are stalwart Twelvers. A extraordinary video that has apparently leaked from a closed door meeting between Ahmadinejad and a group of clerics surfaced shortly after the election in June. In this video Ahmadinejad addresses the mullahs in the room. The video is chilling. Ahmadinejad reveals a sinister, megalomaniacal intent that has to be seen and heard to be believed. Here is the video, served on YouTube, split into two parts, with translation:

Part 1:

[youtube: 285 234]

Part 2:

[youtube: 285 234]

These guys have plans to export the nightmare vision of governance that they have created in Iran to the rest of the world. It is shocking how brazen they are. They believe that the time of the twelfth Imam is near, if not right now.

In 1979, a group of students took employees of the American Embassy in Tehran hostage, and held them for 444 days, releasing them on the day of the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. The group of students called themselves Followers of the Imam’s Line. At that time that the hostages were first taken, the foreign minister of Iran was a man by the name of Sadegh Ghotbzadeh. He had escorted Ayatollah Khomenei upon his return to Iran from exile. A revolutionary, he believed that a fusion of Islam and Republicanism was possible, but shortly after Khomeini’s return to Iran, he started to see signs of trouble brewing.

When the so-called “students” took over the American embassy, he saw the writing on the wall. In the book written by Carole Jerome, called, “Man in the Mirror,” (a must read for anyone interested in what is happening in Iran today) she tells of how Khomeini allied himself with a group of clerics linked to the students who took control of the U.S. embassy. Some of the students were terrorists linked to Arab resistance movements with a hatred for Israel. Ghobtzadeh, realizing that the revolution had been hijacked by these people, tried desparately to secure the release of the hostages, knowing that the longer they were kept, the more Iran was viewed as a pariah state in the world, and the more this benefited those around Khomenei who wanted to use the revolution for purposes utterly alien to the wishes of the Iranian people.

Ghotbzadeh vainly tried to organize a coup against Khomeini, but through the treacherous manipulations of the regime in power, he ended up being tried and executed for treason by the revolutionary court.

Ghotbzadeh had discovered to his horror something that many have suspected in the past 30 years, but that now is so obvious one would have to be blind to not to see it: the people in power today are not representatives of the Iranian people. They do not care in the least about Iran or its people. They are messianic tyrants that want to use Iran to pave the way for the return of the twelfth Imam. Democracy to them, in the form of the republicanism in the constitution of the Islamic Republic, is a facade, a mask, a veil whose sole purpose is to hide from view their true intent, as revealed in the recently leaked Ahmadinejad video (see above):

They believe that the return of the twelfth Imam is imminent. As Abbas Milani said in his article:

His return, bloody and vengeful, will mark the redemptive dawn of the age of justice.

This is their belief, their prophecy. And the past month is proof of this. When Khamenei, one week after the election, during his Friday prayer sermon, threatened that blood will be spilled if the protests continued, he meant it. And blood was spilled.

The redemptive Dawn of the Age of Justice has, for all intents and purposes, begun.

And because of the starkness of the reality before the Iranian people when he declared them to be the enemy, the Iranian people have only two choices. Either they have to accept the regimes version of the Dawn of the Age of Justice, or they have to write their own version.

The current big story in the news on the buzz on the Internet social networks is that Ayatollah Hojatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani will head the next Friday prayer sermon in Iran, on July 17. If he does speak, this will be the next flash point in the people’s struggle for dignity, respect and freedom. Apparently Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi, the defacto heads of the Reformist movement may also attend. On Twitter, people are already encouraging a massive turnout of the Green Wave, the millions of people who have made their voices heard against the regime’s brazen theft of the election.

It should be noted that Rafsanjani, nicknamed ‘Kouseh’ or ‘Shark’ in Farsi, has time and again proven to be somewhat of a maverick in the political realm of the Islamic Republic. As head of the Assembly of Experts, he theoretically has some leverage over the Supreme Leader, Khamenei, since it is this body that appoints the Supreme Leader and has the power to remove him. He is also head of the Expediency Council, whose role is to mediate between the “elected” branches of the Iranian government, such as the Majles or Parliament, and the unelected bodies, such as the office of the Supreme Leader. It is rumored that Rafsanjani has accumulated a tremendous amount of wealth over the years.

During the presidential election, Ahmadinejad accused Rafsanjani of corruption and promised that he would reveal such corruption upon being re-elected. This outraged Rafsanjani, and he wrote an open letter to the Supreme Leader expressing his outrage and requesting that Khamenei take action to repair the damage done to his reputation by the accusation from the incumbent president. Khamenei remained silent and basically ignored Rafsanjani’s plea.

When the protests broke out after the election was stolen, Rafsanjani’s daughter was involved in the protests and was summarily arrested by the regime and released shortly afterwards. But it was obvious that this was a warning to Rafsanjani from KhamCo: beware, if you challenge us, there will be repercussions for you.

Rafsanjani has remained largely silent over the past month, and when he has spoken it has been with extreme caution, and it has been difficult to gauge his intent (although the fact that he is unhappy by the actions taken by KhamCo is obvious).

The political party to which Rafsanjani belongs, called Kargozaran Sazandegi, or Executives of the Construction Party, recently released a statement rejecting the election results. Although Rafsanjani himself didn’t comment, this is a clue to his view.

Also, Mousavi has announced that he will form a new political party that will continue to contest the results of the election. Albeit this party will not be able to use demonstrations to press its case.

So let’s get this straight, the regime in power stole the election, declared the people of Iran as its enemy, beat, imprisoned, tortured and killed protestors that supported Mousavi, and now he wants to form a political party that won’t use the one source of power at its disposal, the power of the people? And we are supposed to believe that this regime will be more flexible? Please…

They will not budge one inch. If anything, if the people stop peacefully resisting and expressing themselves when the opportunity arises, the regime will become more confident and we can rest assured that a lot of people will disappear.

Rafsanjani is not someone who will put the Islamic Republic at risk. If he thinks that the entire regime itself, of which he is a founding member, is at risk of being swept away, he will work to close ranks and preserve it. That doesn’t mean he won’t continue to fight against the KhamCo cabal, but he will do so within the confines of the rules of the game as defined by the elites of the regime in the clerical establishment. Mousavi, and the reformists have, in all likelihood, decided to throw in their lot with Rafsanjani.

So long as they are fighting amongst themselves there is a chance that Rafsanjani and the reformists may get some small wins, but probably nothing of substance for the people. It is doubtful that such an outcome will depose of Khamenei or Ahmadinejad and the rest of the KhamCo cabal. It is doubtful that even the election results will be overturned and a new election held, which is the absolute bare minimum that the people should accept for the blood that has been spilled. It is also doubtful that this will stop the wave of repression against protesters, journalists, reformers, or regime opponents.

So where does that leave the people. In the dust.

There is curse in Farsi, “Khak bar saretoon!” This means, “Dirt on your heads!” This about sums up what is in it for the Iranian people if they give up on the protests.

Because of the “either you are with us, or we will kill you” mentality of this regime, the people’s choices are limited.

They have shown tremendous power in the past month via peaceful protests. At first they just asked for their votes to be counted. But the situation has moved beyond this now. On July 9th, or the 18th of Tir, the protests took on an organic nature. Unlike the protests that immediately followed the election, which had masses of people converge in concentrated areas, culminating in the massacres that occurred on the 20th and 21st of July when the regime brutality suppressed them, the protests on July 9th were scattered throughout the streets of Tehran (and other cities). People would coalesce in small groups of about 100 to at most 500 or so, and begin to chant against the regime. They took multiple paths and routes, baffling the regime goons that tried to suppress them. The protests have metastasized into a more fractal nature. The genie is out of the bottle. The people, without being asked to do so by Mousavi or the reformists, organized on their own accord and went out into the streets, demanding a change in the regime itself.

When Ahmadinejad spoke recently, the people plugged in their appliances en mass and caused electrical outages during his speech.

People power is the only thing the regime fears. I wrote the following poem, which metaphorically captures what they are, and how the people of Iran are awakening to them and fearlessly facing them: Today I Faced a Monster.

KhamCo believes in prophecy, that this is the Dawn of the Age of Justice.

They are probably right.

Only, they probably misread the prophecy, because by unveiling their intent, by removing their masks and exposing their fangs and stingers to the Iranian people and the world, the only justice the people will likely accept is freedom for the Iranian people.

If Rafsanjani and Mousavi ask the people to refrain from protesting (and they may NOT do this, but if they do) something tells me the people will ignore this. The deaths of Neda and Sohrab and countless other martyrs will be not in vain.