The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, Vol. 5, No. 3/4 (Summer/Fall 2009)

The pink revolution in Iran and the “Left”, Takis Fotopoulos

Chapter 1. The culmination of the campaign for regime change in Iran


The build-up of the campaign for regime change

The campaign to discredit and destabilise Iran did not start with the recent demonstrations and the supposed “stealing” of 11 million votes from the reformist opposition. This is just the culmination of a campaign which began almost as soon as the Islamist reformers lost the presidential elections in 2005, after a long period of reformist governments that followed the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The campaign began with the creation of a new ‘bogey’: the threat of a nuclear Islamist regime —not unlike the bogey of the weapons of mass destruction supposedly possessed by the Iraqi regime!— which could possibly engage in a campaign to ‘annihilate’ Israel. However, the fact that the Iranian regime will never be in a position to really threaten Israel, given that it is only the US/Israeli formidable military machine which, potentially, could annihilate a country today, is conveniently ignored. Similarly, in a kind of black propaganda, the Iranian regime was presented as calling for “Jews to be thrown to the sea,” whereas Iran not only hosts the biggest Jewish community of any country in the Middle East apart from Israel,[1] but also all its rhetoric amounted to (even taking into account some politically incorrect Ahmadinejad’s expressions) was simply stressing the need to fight a racist ideology, Zionism,[2] and a regime based on it. Yet, the fight against Zionism was a long standing goal of the antisystemic Left (Jew and non-Jew), before the Zionist and pro-Zionist Left became hegemonic within the Left at large and achieved their aim of eliminating the issue of Zionism from the Left’s agenda. Furthermore, the very fact that Zionist Israel is the only country in the area possessing nuclear weapons (whereas the Iranians are far away even from the stage of producing a single such weapon!)[3] is handily ignored, despite the fact that the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation could easily have been solved by adopting the proposal to destroy the nuclear weapons and infrastructure of every country in the area, including of course Israel—a proposal which is not even discussed by the transnational and Zionist elites!

So, in the past few years, we had a repeat performance of the campaign which led to the invasion of Iraq. The UN Security Council passed repeated resolutions condemning the Iranian regime for its nuclear activities (even though no sufficient evidence has ever been produced about these activities really aiming at anything more than nuclear energy production)[4] thanks to the insistence of the transnational elite and the pressure it could exert on China and Russia. On the former, because it is being fully integrated into the internationalised market economy and is therefore fully dependent on Western multinational corporations for its “miracle” of economic growth.[5] And, on the latter, because it is keen to be integrated into the closed “club” of the most significant world powers, whereas, at the same time, it is shrewdly offered by the US elite a package involving the withdrawal of the US anti-missile shield in Poland, Ukraine etc, in exchange for Russian support in the developing campaign for regime change in Iran.[6] Therefore, sanctions have become increasingly punitive over time, whereas the propaganda campaign against the Iranian regime for its violations of human rights against women, gay, prisoners and so on had intensified.

Then, came the presidential elections of 2009, with the bourgeois modernizers in Iran and their backers in the transnational elite doing everything they could to have Mousavi, the candidate of reformist Islamists, elected for the reasons we shall examine below. The election campaign itself went smoothly, with even heated televised debates allowed between candidates in which some very serious accusations against each other were launched. However, at the very moment the transnational elite was expecting that the “Obama effect” would influence the Iranian voters in a similar way that it did the Lebanese voters, who in the latest elections showed a trend to move somehow away from Hezbollah–which is one of the liberation movements supported by the Iranian regime–Ahmadinejad won a comfortable victory against Mousavi. This was the point at which the misinformation campaign against the regime took off.

Thus, the “progressive” president Obama, followed by the entire “democratic world community” (i.e. the transnational elite), with the critical support of the reformist Left (i.e. the Left which is not questioning the system of market economy and representative “democracy”), rose against the violations of human rights in Iran in relation to the “stolen elections”, the suppressing of the opposition demonstrations and the blood shed by the theocratic regime. It should therefore clearly be attributed to the severe colour blindness, from which it seems our leaders in the transnational elite and the mass media controlled by it suffer, that the same people :

  • can only see “stolen elections” in Iran but are blind to the results of the Palestinian elections in January 2006, which were recognised by everybody as fair, and yet, they were rejected with laughable pretexts by the transnational elite and, consequently, the people of Gaza were condemned to starvation, simply because they voted “the wrong way”;[7]

  • can only perceive the violent suppression of demonstrations in Tehran but not in London at the G20 meeting, or in Strasburg at the NATO meeting a few months ago;

  • can only see the violations of human rights in Iran but not in their own client tyrannical regimes in Egypt or Saudi Arabia –not to mention the regular Zionist massacres in Palestine– the latest one in January of this year;[8]

  • can only hear the shootings of a few civilians in Iran but not the mass killings of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan!

Yet, despite the fact that no one can deny the mass character of some of the anti-regime demonstrations (something that could be expected given the broad range of people who attended them, from reformist Islamists up to bourgeois modernizers–see below) these demonstrations were restricted mainly to the Tehran area and were never comparable in massiveness to those attended by pro-regime supporters. It was this fact which presumably led the BBC (yet again!) to be caught engaging in mass public deception by using photographs of pro-Ahmadinejad rallies in Iran and claiming they represented anti-government protests in favour of Mousavi! Thus, an image used by the L.A. Times on the front page of its website showing Ahmadinejad waving to a crowd of supporters at a public event was used by the BBC News website as a story covering the election protests, but with Ahmadinejad cut out of the frame, and the caption, supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi again defied a ban on protests.[9] Of course, as soon as the truth about the misrepresented images surfaced, the BBC changed the photo caption on their original article but, given that this is far from the first time in which the organisation was caught distorting the truth, this was clearly not an error. Anyway, its biased reporting in favour of the Zionist cause on the Palestinian issue, for instance, is notorious, forcing even an independent review commissioned by the board of governors of BBC itself to conclude a few years ago that its coverage was “misleading.”[10] In fact, BBC’s reporting on systemic causes (the wars of the transnational elite, Israel etc) is not just misleading and the corporation has been caught frequently red-handed using crude image and video framing techniques to promote the systemic view. Thus, during the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, the BBC and other systemic mass media broadcast closely framed footage of the “mass uprising” during which Iraqis, aided by U.S. troops, toppled the Saddam Hussein statue in Fardus Square. The closely framed footage was used to imply that hundreds or thousands of Iraqis were involved in a “historic” liberation, but when wide angle shots were later published on the Internet (which were never broadcast on live television), the reality of the “mass uprising” became clear: the crowd around the statue was sparse and consisted mostly of U.S. troops and journalists —with even the BBC admitting that only “dozens” of Iraqis had participated in toppling the statue!

The pattern followed by the transnational elite to achieve the regime change in Iran is not however the same with that adopted for Iraq, given that an invasion of Iran is practically inconceivable, even for the USA, apart from the fact that it could politically backfire turning bourgeois reformers and reformist Islamists against the USA. So, it seems that the tactic used now is the one successfully implemented for regime change in Serbia[11]. Thus, in Serbia, the division between West-oriented modernisers on the one hand and nationalists and socialists, on the other, were successfully exploited by the transnational elite which, with the help of mass NATO bombings to enhance the position of the former and terrorise the latter, achieved its aim of regime change. The propaganda war which preceded it and which was faithfully reproduced by NGOs for human rights and the entire reformist Left and its analysts (including the new fellow travellers of the Left, i.e. the post-modern “anarchists”), was focused, as at present, on the supposed huge violations of human rights by a tyrannical regime –an event which, according to the ideology of neoliberal globalisation, justified the limitation of its sovereignty and, implicitly, the need for regime change. Similarly, the Iranian regime today is accused of suppressing a peaceful revolution of the Iranian people in order to maintain its power by force.

The present pink revolution in Iran

What sort of revolution was the recent one in Iran? First, one would wonder why, if the movement against the present Islamic leadership was hegemonic, as its supporters in the West claim, comprising the vast majority of the population, it was so easily squashed by the regime, with no use whatsoever of any of the army’s persuasive weaponry including tanks. As an authoritative analyst described the suppression of the demonstrations:[12]

It is worth noting that most of the firing of live ammunition by the security personnel seems to have been in the air. That explains why the fatalities in the massive and repeated street protests in Tehran have remained relatively low, totalling 15, according to official sources, which also claim that eight Basij militiamen have been killed. Media reports generally have cited 17 deaths of protestors so far, though rumours of higher death tolls abound.

Second, a comparison of a genuine revolution, like the 1979 revolution which dismantled the tyrannical regime of the Shah, with the present “revolution” is very instructive. The revolutionary process against the Shah’s regime, which was heavily protected by a lavishly financed army and security services (with the massive support of its Western friends), began in January 1978. As soon as the first relatively minor demonstrations erupted with some hundreds of Islamist students and religious leaders in the city of Qom protesting over a story in the government-controlled media, the army was sent in to disperse them, killing in the process scores of students. The demonstrations continued throughout that year in each major city of Iran culminating in the December 1978 demos, when on December 10 and 11, a "total of 6 to 9 million" anti-Shah demonstrators marched throughout Iran, an event which, according to a historian of the revolution, "even discounting for exaggeration may represent the largest protest event in history."[13] If one takes into account that even the greatest revolutions in Europe, the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917, may have not involved much more than 1% of the population and that in Iran more than 10% of the country marched in anti-Shah demonstrations on these two December days[14]–which shortly afterwards led to the overthrowing of the regime–a good idea of what a real Iranian revolution means could be derived!

What about violations of human rights under Shah’s regime, which was blessed by the Western elites–the same elites and their acolytes who are so vocal in condemning the Islamic regime violations? Here is an extract from Robert Fisk’s book The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East,[15] which gives a good idea of the kind of regime supported by the West, as long as they are ready to serve their purposes –in this case, to dispose of their natural resources at a handy profit for the Western oil companies:

Reporters such as Derek Ive of the Associated Press had managed to look inside a Savak agent’s house (note: Savak was Shah’s secret police which, according to Jesse J. Leaf, a former CIA analyst on Iran, was trained in torture techniques by the CIA) just before the revolution was successful: “There was a fishpond outside,” he told me. “There were vases of flowers in the front hall. But downstairs there were cells. In each of them was a steel bed with straps and beneath it two domestic cookers. There were lowering devices on the bedframes so the people strapped to them could be brought down on the flames. In another cell, I found a machine with a contraption which held a human arm beneath a knife and next to it was a metal sheath into which a human hand could be fitted. At one end was a bacon slicer. They had been shaving off hands.” Derek Ive found a pile of human arms in a corner and, in a further cell, he discovered pieces of a corpse floating in inches of what appeared to be acid. Amid such savagery was the Iranian revolution born.

Having said this, no one could seriously deny the silly restrictions on human behaviour imposed by a theocratic regime like the Iranian one (although, of course, had the same power been given to the Christian, Jewish or any other clergy in the world the results would have been the same, if not worse, as historical experience has amply shown!) nor of course the fact that any state suppression of demonstrations would inevitably involve various degrees of brutality, as the political elites all over the world very well know! The same applies to the violations of human rights in general by the same regime, although one wonders what sort of a nerve the Zionist regime should have to raise this accusation against Iran, when its own human rights violations in Palestine, as well as the discriminations against the Arab natives within Israel itself, do not bear any comparison, quantitatively and qualitatively, with the Iranian ones! So, the point is not —as the transnational and Zionist elites’ propaganda attempts to present it the violations of human rights by the Islamic regime, but what the role played by it is with respect to the role played by the elites which control the present World Order–which is the aim of the following chapter.


[ Jump to the next Chapter: The Dual Conflict in Iran ]


[1] Robert Tait, “Iran's Jews spurn cash lure to emigrate to Israel,” The Guardian (13/7/2007).

[2] See Takis Fotopoulos, “Zionism and the transnational elite,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.2, No.4 (November 2006). See, also, “Palestine: the hour of truth,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.2, No.2 (January 2006).

[3] Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It is interesting to note that three countries besides Israel have not signed on, out of which two are client regimes (Pakistan and India), the third is North Korea.

[4] As recently as October 2007, IAEA Director General El Baradei reported that IAEA inspections had not found any evidence that Iran was making nuclear weapons, <> and Russia also confirmed in November 2007 that it had not seen any evidence of Iran trying to build a nuclear weapon: <>

[5] See Takis Fotopoulos, “Is sustainable development compatible with present globalisation? The Chinese Case,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.4, No.4 (October 2008).

[6] See Takis Fotopoulos, “Transnational elite and Russia: a new bipolar world?,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.4, No.4 (October 2008).

[7] See Takis Fotopoulos, “Democracy” in the New World Order,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol. 2, No.4 (November 2006).

[8] See Takis Fotopoulos, “The Crime of the Zionists and the Transnational Elite and the Stand of the Left”, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.5, No.2 (Spring 2009).

[9] Paul Joseph Watson, “BBC Caught In Mass Public Deception With Iran Propaganda,” Infowars (18/6/2009).

[10] Owen Gibson, “BBC’s coverage of Israeli-Palestinian conflict misleading,” The Guardian (3/5/2006).

[11] Takis Fotopoulos, “The New World Order in Action: From Kosovo to Tibet,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.4, No.3 (July 2008). See, also, “The First War of the Internationalised Market Economy,” Democracy & Nature, Vol.5, No.2 (July 1999), and “Milosevic and the distortion of the history of Yugoslavia's dismembering,” The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, Vol.2, No.4 (November 2006).

[12] Dilip Hiro, “The Clash of Islam and Democracy in Iran,” ZNET (June 30 2009). This article first appeared on, a weblog of the Nation Institute. Dilip Hiro is the author of five books on Iran, the latest being The Iranian Labyrinth: Journeys Through Theocratic Iran and its Furies (Nation Books).

[13] Charles Kurzman, The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran (Harvard University Press, 2004), p. 122.

[14] ibid. p. 121.

[15] Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East (London: Fourth Estate, 2005). The extract is reproduced in his article entitled “I saw a mesmeric Islamic uprising turn to savagery,” The Independent (10/2/2009).