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Old 10-03-2012, 05:52 PM  
banyon banyon is offline
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Meanwhile...Iran is falling to sh*t

Violence and Protest in Iran as Currency Drops in Value

European Pressphoto Agency
Riot police officers clashed with money changers in Tehran on Wednesday.
By THOMAS ERDBRINK and RICK GLADSTONE
Published: October 3, 2012




TEHRAN — The first outbreak of public anger over Iran’s collapsing currency and other economic maladies jolted the heart of the capital on Wednesday, with riot police violently clamping down on black-market money changers, hundreds of citizens marching to demand relief and merchants in the sprawling bazaar closing their shops in protest.
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The official news media in Iran said an unspecified number of people had been arrested, including two Europeans, in the unrest, which was documented in news photographs, at least two verifiable videos uploaded on YouTube and witness accounts. Economists and political analysts in Iran and abroad said the anger reflected both the accumulated impact of harsh Western economic sanctions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program as well as the government’s inability to manage an economic crisis that has become increasingly acute.

It came a day after Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a televised news conference that the plunge in the value of the currency, the rial — it has fallen by 40 percent against the dollar this past week — was orchestrated by ruthless currency speculators, the United States and other unspecified internal enemies of Iran. He pleaded with fellow citizens to stop selling their rials for dollars, a currency he once characterized as “a worthless piece of paper,” and warned that speculators face arrest and punishment.

But Mr. Ahmadinejad, whose stewardship of the economy has been increasingly challenged by other Iranian politicians in the last year of his term, offered no new solutions to arrest the slide in the rial, which is a major inflationary threat and has become the most visible barometer of Iran’s economic travails. Because of the sanctions, Iran is facing extreme difficulties in selling oil, its main export, and in repatriating dollars and other foreign currencies, because Iran has been largely cut off from the global banking system.

Unscripted protests in Iran are highly unusual, particularly since the political opposition in the country was crushed after Mr. Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009. Iran experts said the outbreak on Wednesday was significant because it appeared to offer an insight into the degree of public weariness.

“It may not be widespread yet, but it demonstrates not just unhappiness with the Ahmadinejad government, but also dissatisfaction with the Islamic Republic’s failure to stem the economic crisis brought about by incompetence, mismanagement and sanctions,” said Alireza Nader, a Washington-based political analyst at the RAND Corporation, a research and consulting firm. He said “the regime is going to face much greater instability in the future, especially if it loses the support of Iran’s business and merchant class.”

Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in an audio commentary on the group’s Web site that the sanctions had effectively halved Iran’s oil exports, choked its ability to import essential goods and left its currency worth a fraction of its value early this year. “These are hard times for ordinary and upper class Iranian people,” he said.

The unrest also caught the attention of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who speaking from Washington rejected Mr. Ahmadinejad’s explanation for the rial’s plunge. She suggested that conditions would improve if Iran engaged in meaningful negotiations over its nuclear program, which Western powers and Israel suspect is meant to develop nuclear weapons but Iran says is for peaceful purposes.

“I think the Iranian government deserves responsibility for what is going on inside Iran,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters. “And that is who should be held accountable. And I think they have made their own government decisions, having nothing to do with the sanctions, that have had an impact on the economic conditions inside the country.”

Mr. Ahmadinejad’s warning to currency manipulators appeared to be the reason for the riot police deployment in and around Manoucheri Street in central Tehran, where the black-market money changes had been doing a thriving business, particularly in recent days as hundreds of Iranians sought to trade their rials for other currencies, fearing even worse times ahead.

Witnesses described cat-and-mouse chases between motorized riot police officers armed with tear gas and batons, and money changers and their customers, who were forced to scatter.

Anger also spread to Tehran’s grand bazaar, where many merchants closed their stores. Some were cheered by sympathetic shoppers in denouncing the government for its financial support of Syria’s embattled government instead of investing that money at home.

“They spend billions of dollars to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, but now they say they have no money!” one garment seller screamed, according to witnesses. A team from Iran’s state television was nearly attacked when its reporter turned to the camera saying that the people behind him had been upset over a robbery.

Abdullah, a young man selling textiles, loudly complained that it has become extremely difficult to do business when the value of the rial is so unpredictable. “The checks our customers give us bounce, we don’t know what prices will be tomorrow, how can we earn a living?,” he said.

One of the videos uploaded on YouTube that witnesses verified as genuine showed hundreds of demonstrators marching peacefully and chanting “Leave Syria alone, think of us!”

But other videos, apparently uploaded by Iran’s underground and exiled opposition movement to exploit the moment for political advantage, appeared to be fake, blending clips from Wednesday with old footage from the antigovernment protests following the disputed election more than three years ago.

The secretary general of the Tehran Bazaar and Trade Union, a powerful official close to the government, accused unspecified outside instigators of pressuring bazaar merchants to close their shops. The official, Ahmad Karimi Esfahani, was quoted by the Iranian Labor News Agency as saying that most merchants had wanted to remain open for business. “Those now present are trying to show the bazaar as closed,” he was quoted as saying. “They are guided by foreigners.”

Other bazaar traders hinted that the closure of the bazaar was organized by powerful opponents of Mr. Ahmadinejad, who were trying to make him look weak by closing down Tehran’s most popular shopping center.

Members of Parliament and Shiite Muslim clerics have been calling for an end to the black-market currency trade, accusing the money changers of driving down the rial’s value. Others have called upon the government to buy rials and sell dollars and other foreign currencies, presumably from the central bank’s reserves, in order to stabilize the rial. But it is unclear exactly how large a cash reserve the Central Bank has at its disposal.

The head of Iran’s Central Bank and Mr. Ahmadinejad regularly say that Iran has more than $100 billion in cash, but government contractors, state employees and even members of the Revolutionary Guards have complained of late payments in recent months — and sometimes of none at all.

The bazaar is firmly in the hands of conservative businessmen who once supported Mr. Ahmadinejad’s rise to power but now strongly oppose him. Some analysts argued that Wednesday’s protest there may have been staged in order to embarrass the president.

With many trying to blame him for the wide range of problems plaguing Iran, Mr. Ahmadinejad seems to be gearing up for a political fight. On Tuesday he attacked the head of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, accusing him and other politicians of trying to bring him down, after Mr. Larijani told the Revolutionary Guards-affiliated Fars news agency that the government practiced “Robin Hood economics.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/wo...ewanted=2&_r=0
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:59 PM   #31
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I personally am on the side of the students, but what can we do to help them without appearing foolish in 20 years?

I think it is better to let the Egyptian people 'do it themselves' and if they CHOOSE a fascist system, let's see how long it lasts...

But for us to try and install leaders for them, would be a fail because anytime they have problems they can do as people normally do...

Blame the USA for everything.
If they're going to blame us either way, and they will with the Muslim Brotherhood running the show, wouldn't we be better off with an Egyptian govt that's going to be more favorably disposed to us? The Egyptian military hasn't been a source of enlightenment and individual rights over the years, but if the new government ends up going to war, either overt or covert, with Israel, we may look back on the former military rulers with fondness.

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Personally I would support the liberals and moderates but there's really only so much we can do...

What more can we do than we did? (serious question, because I'm willing to help)
What did we do to begin with? We could have reassured the military that we would continue to support them if they prevented the total takeover of the government by the MB. We could have supported Mubarack while convincing him to offer his people more of a say in their government or some degree of liberalization.

It's possible we couldn't have prevented what happened, but if we stood back and took a hands off approach instead of trying to subtly influence events toward the best possible outcome from the US point of view, our leadership failed us.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
If they're going to blame us either way, and they will with the Muslim Brotherhood running the show, wouldn't we be better off with an Egyptian govt that's going to be more favorably disposed to us?
IMO No, because the reality would be that THIS TIME we are correct and that we aren't propping up some asshole (A La Mubarrack). I don't care what they THINK....I care what is true...and the truth is Mubarrack was a Tyrant. So we absolutely CANNOT make that mistake again. So , no is the answer.

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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
The Egyptian military hasn't been a source of enlightenment and individual rights over the years, but if the new government ends up going to war, either overt or covert, with Israel, we may look back on the former military rulers with fondness.
Again, I will argue you are wrong. Not because I do not think that war is plausible...but simply put..because the will of the people must be heard. We will never look back on Mubarrack with fondness...but the simple truth is you can look at the Hamas Charter and see that war with Israel is inevitable as long as this charter exists. If a majority of Egyptians want war with Israel, then trying to install a puppet Tyrant is meaningless.

War sucks, but its not like a majority of the people WANT peace with Israel. A majority of the people there support Hamas and/or one of its wings (like MB). The people who want peace are the minority.

Yes this is a crappy future, but there is nothing that you or I or anyone else can really do other than try and reach out to the people with dialogue. We can't 'do' anything like military or installing our version of democracy to people who do not want it. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
What did we do to begin with? We could have reassured the military that we would continue to support them if they prevented the total takeover of the government by the MB. We could have supported Mubarack while convincing him to offer his people more of a say in their government or some degree of liberalization.

It's possible we couldn't have prevented what happened, but if we stood back and took a hands off approach instead of trying to subtly influence events toward the best possible outcome from the US point of view, our leadership failed us.
See above. I really do not think our mission is to install dictators....If they want a war, let them have it. They need to come to terms and figure out a democracy THEMSELVES.

No one can convince them that the Hamas Charter is evil and wrong, other than THEMSELVES. This must come from the inside.....of course with information and communication and dialogue.

I think a lot of what you are saying is correct , but the devil is in these details...

There really is no point to meddling very much, since no amount of meddling will change the basic facts...The Egyptian people have to reject Sharia and Hamas on their own...and their is ZERO indication they even want to do either except a minority of people who have no power.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:14 AM   #33
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:40 AM   #34
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:07 AM   #35
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The students are probably wondering why we helped Egypt turn itself over to the Muslim Brotherhood but we wouldn't help them.
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I'm kind of wondering that myself. Maybe Romney will ask Obama about that in the next debate.

What help did we give to the Muslim Brotherhood and/or those who toppled Mumbarak?
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:18 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
If they're going to blame us either way, and they will with the Muslim Brotherhood running the show, wouldn't we be better off with an Egyptian govt that's going to be more favorably disposed to us? The Egyptian military hasn't been a source of enlightenment and individual rights over the years, but if the new government ends up going to war, either overt or covert, with Israel, we may look back on the former military rulers with fondness.
I would agree that support Mumbarak was the right move, so long as it could be reasonably covert.

Overt support for relatively brutal dictators makes us look pretty damn hypocritical and can cost us support in many other areas of the world. I don't believe American ideals are quite so Machiavellian.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #37
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I would agree that support Mumbarak was the right move, so long as it could be reasonably covert.
No such thing any more, really...

It is time to be on the right side, for once. Let THEM decide...We can suggest things and try to help democracy foster, but the reality is we cannot prop up brutal dictators, or history will judge us to be on the wrong side (again).

If they fumble **** for a few decades and blow this once in a generation chance, its on THEM not us.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #38
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Some Israelis are Assholes, Some Muslims are assholes...

Pointing to one example of an asshole on either side is pointless...

The big problem? The HAMAS Charter..

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp


See Article 13 among others....and the introduction.

There can be NO PEACE with this charter.....The Muslim Brotherhood is a wing of Hamas, and Hamas is elected by the people of Palestine & Now Egypt....Most likely Syria & who knows how many others. Iran supports the Hamas charter...

These people want a war, and theyre going to get one.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:13 AM   #39
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What help did we give to the Muslim Brotherhood and/or those who toppled Mumbarak?
Barack Obama publicly demanded that Mubarack step down for starters. That's more support than the green revolution got in Iran.
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