'There were two days a couple of weeks ago when the call-ins stopped," says Menashe Amir, Israel Radio's Farsi broadcaster, whose shows have attracted millions of listeners in Iran for the past 50 years. "But then they resumed."
The going-on-70-year-old, who officially retired five years ago, yet continues to transmit on a daily basis, attributes this to the courage of his former countrymen (Amir made aliya in 1959).
In a September 2006 interview..., Amir asserted that a majority of Iranians opposed their regime, yet were helpless in the face of the repression under which they were living. Amir quoted Iranians who told him that if they had someone to lead them in their struggle, "it would be possible to topple the regime very quickly."
This week, in light of the popular uprising that began in the streets of Teheran after the results of the June 12 election were falsely called in favor of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - when the real victor was reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi - I asked Amir for his latest assessment.
Amir says opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi "is certain he won the election - and I can confirm that he did. According to all the information I have received, he garnered twice the amount of votes as Ahmadinejad....
The elections are a perfect example of how Ahmadinejad manipulated the system in order to declare himself the winner....Those who determine policy in Iran decided a year ago that Ahmadinejad was going to win the election."
As election day approached, they pulled a trick to raise voter turnout. Why? Because there is a new president in the White House, and he has to be shown that the Iranian regime enjoys the support of the people. So they set up a televised debate, in which each candidate freely raised issues and expressed criticism, thus creating the illusion that this time the elections in Iran would be free ones - something they have never been in Iran. This raised the expectations of the people, and brought a whopping 85 percent of the public to the polls. Well, the level of disappointment was as great as the level of expectation. This 85% of the public turned out to vote, and afterward felt the victory had been stolen from them. This is what caused the people to protest, en masse. And these people today have a leader in Mousavi.
The protests have been extremely sophisticated as a whole. Half a million people who took to the streets and didn't even chant slogans, so as not to give the security forces an excuse to kill them. This has made it necessary for the regime to create a justification to suppress the demonstrators, so it sends in its Basij militia, as well as plainclothes police, to destroy homes and go after protesters, some of whom have been killed. Of course, we know all this, thanks to the technology that has been enabling the citizens to document the goings on there with the cameras on their cellphones.
But then came Khamenei's Friday sermon, in which he declared his complete support for Ahmadinejad. At that moment, the people understood they had no chance - that change cannot come about through demonstrations, because when the supreme leader rules, his ruling cannot be appealed. What Khamenei said was, "If you people have complaints, submit them through the legal channels."
But what are the "legal channels" in Iran? The legislative council that is Khamenei's puppet, which itself was complicit in the election fraud. This is why Mousavi said that this body wasn't acceptable to him, and that he would only trust a neutral committee.
Over the past two weeks, I have been asked by every reporter from every TV and radio station and every newspaper whether the protest is petering out. And my answer is always a decided no. And it won't peter out as long as Mousavi remains steadfast.
...It won't die out... Because something else has happened, as well. The people have seen that with this regime, nothing is possible. It won't make the slightest compromise. Thus, since that speech of Khamenei's, the slogan has become, "Death to the dictator," and the demand has become to change the regime.
Khamenei climbed a tree from which he can't come down, by saying that everything was OK in Iran; Mousavi did the same, by saying that nothing in Iran was OK; and in between them is [Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani, who is very worried about his own personal fate, the fate of his family and fortune, on the one hand, and on the other, he is worried about the future of the regime, that might collapse. So, he's saying, "Come and let's find a solution involving a compromise that will satisfy everyone."
That's impossible, because if Khamenei makes even the slightest concession, it will harm his status. A supreme leader can never make a mistake, and if he admits to one, it will bring about the end of his reign. Then there's Ahmadinejad, who is a merciless fanatic. One of his past jobs was as a final executioner. He would fire the last bullet into the heads of people put to death. His nickname is "the man of a thousand bullets," since he used to boast that he had shot bullets into the heads of 1,000 executed people. He will not concede on anything. Nor will he ever forgive Mousavi or his family.
Already, they are holding Mousavi responsible for the deaths of innocent citizens, killed during the protests. It's a case of turning the victim into the aggressor. And Mousavi knows that if he gives in on anything, his life will be in danger.
This is why I keep saying that the events in Iran have not begun to die down; they've only just begun. This is because the Iranian people have proved that they finally understand the nature of their regime, which is why their demand has become regime change, rather than reforms.
Obama worries me very much. Watching him on TV on June 12, when the election in Iran was held, I was amazed to hear him praise the welcome process going on in Iran. Here I am, a small fry with no access to classified material, who simply reads what is going on, and I have known for an entire year that these would be fraudulent elections. Since then, I have briefed the Mossad, as well as written and lectured extensively to this effect.
So, I ask myself, if I understood the situation, how is it that the leader of this superpower doesn't get it?
"On the nuclear issue...it makes no difference whether the president is Mousavi or Ahmadinejad. In any case, even Mousavi declared openly that, if elected, he would continue Iran's nuclear program, as well as its policy of supplying weapons to Hizbullah and Hamas."
What is going on in Iran has only just begun. And if the world grasps the enormity of this moment, and does what it can to help the Iranian people in their struggle, it will not be necessary to bomb the nuclear facilities, because the Iranian people will rise and do the job themselves.
But does Israel have the luxury of time to wait and see if the world truly grasps the meaning of the Iranian people's struggle? And ought Israel to help accelerate the revolutionary process in Iran through technical and other avenues as was indicated in this recent IRIS post?