Saturday, September 17, 2011

Khamenei Warns Arab Revolutionaries of Establishing Secular Government

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei today warned the Arab revolutionaries not to rely on Western secular systems to manage their countries after gaining victory. He pleaded with them to choose Islam as the political solution to their countries’ needs.

“Never ever trust the United States, NATO or criminal regimes such as Britain, France and Italy, which have once mugged your countries,” Ayatollah said. “What is hidden behind their smiles and promises now is only conspiracy and betrayal,” he added.

“The solution is sticking to the generous teachings of Islam rather than allowing the enemies to dictate the principles of your new political system,” the ayatollah said.

The Iranian leadership is worried that Egypt, Libya and Tunisia would move toward the West rather than an “Islamic system” in the mold of the Iranian experience in their post-revolution era. Even a preference of Turkey’s more secular Islamic system would not be acceptable to Tehran, preferring instead the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state.


Anonymous said...

The last sentence is wrong. Since when has Iran said it wants an Iranian system for those countries?

It has said it wants whatever the populations want, which is an Islamic system.

It doesn't want secular systems being forced on those nations.

Nader Uskowi said...


The Supreme Leader was very forceful and direct in his remarks: No secular governments for the newly liberated Arab countries, establish Islamic governance! He left no doubts as to what he wants to happen in those countries. It couldn't get more direct (or undiplomatic).

Anonymous said...

I agree with 2:29 PM, that was a typical Fox news hit job method !

Anonymous said...

"Even a preference of Turkey’s more secular Islamic system would not be acceptable to Tehran, preferring instead the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state."--Nader

Please cite specifically where an Iranian leader has specified preference for a "supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state" in another country.

Furthermore, in the case of the IRI, please cite an instance where an Iranian leader has publicly advocated the Assembly of Experts stop monitoring the Leader or take away its power to vote him out of office.

I'm not asking for a personal opinion, here, Nader. Nor am I asking for an "effective rendering." I'm asking you to cite specific instances of advocacy to back up your claim. You won't be able to.

Where do you get the notion of Khamenei making a "plea"? This gives the connotation of weakness on his part. Obviously Islamic political elements in Egypt and Libya (where they are publicly stating Sharia will be elemental to their upcoming form of government) will be far more powerful and influential than ever before. So it would be more accurate to state that Khamenei was exhorting a sense of advocacy, rather than merely making a "plea."

Nader Uskowi said...

The proof of Iranian leadership’s preference of a political system can be summed up in few words: The Islamic Republic of Iran. And not a “plea,” because a plea connotes weakness, as you state. Didn’t you just proved my point that it was a forceful and direct (if undiplomatic) advocacy.

BTW, are you suggesting that the Assembly of Experts would remove Khamenei from office (or could have removed Khomeini) based on his performance or lack of? Are we kidding ourselves?

Anonymous said...

"The solution is sticking to the generous teachings of Islam"

Yes Mr Khamenei we have clearly witnessed your generous teachings of Islam for over 32 years and the solution is for people like you and your cronies to get lost and never return again.

No one in the Arab world wants a theocratic system like Iran.
Iran is a lesson to others and shows what could happen to a country run by religious fanatics.

Anonymous said...

That's not a serious reply. Nader.

All you've attempted to do is dismiss a request for specific citations by means of reduction to the absurd.

And you merely reduced the second citation to that of an "effective rendering," which I had already preempted in specifying my request.

You can't produce specific citations.

Perhaps a re-wording would work better for you, that includes a qualifier that such is your personal opinion, and not specifically stated positions of Iranian leaders in positions of authority.

Anonymous said...

America and the west can't feed their own right now. You think they're going to do something for another country?

Mohammad said...


Khamenei has made clear several times that he does not advocate a strictly Iranian-style government, all he's saying is that the state and the law be consistent with "Islam". That has happened in many countries where Iran supports their government, like Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is advocating for an "Islamic Democracy" over a Turkey-style "Secular Democracy". Here you are:

"The enemy's propaganda outlets will continue shouting that Iran wants to interfere, that Iran wants to convert the Egyptians to Shia Islam, that Iran wants to export Vilayat-e Faqih to Egypt and other such accusations..."
(In his Arabic-language address to the Egyptian people)

And just yesterday he said:
"First, one of the most important demands of the people who have revolted and who have been liberated is to have a decisive participation in the management of their countries. And since they believe in Islam, their desire is to have a system of Islamic democracy, i.e. the rulers being elected through the vote of the people and the dominant principles and values of the society being based on the Islamic knowledge and sharia. This can crystallize in various countries, depending on their conditions, through various methods and forms. However, utmost care must be taken not to confuse this with the western liberal democracy. The secular, and at times anti-religious, western democracy is in no way related to the Islamic democracy which is committed to the values and main principles of Islam in its system of government."

(I remember other cases as well, but I did not find them)

How would you really interpret this, Nader? Honestly? What he says is supported by opinion polls, too.
"Most Egyptians (62%) believe laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Quran, a view that is shared by majorities across demographic groups."

The last claim of your post was clearly not Khamenei's intention. Did you actually read/listen to the whole speech?

Anonymous said...

Iran wants whatever the populations want AS LONG AS it's an islamic system.

Iran has done quite a bit to subvert the govt of Lebanon without a bit of regard for the wishes of the majority of the population.

Iran's govt and the less-than-honest Khamenei are interested in their sleazy and sclerotic system and they find rigging elections preferable to heeding the wishes of their own population.

Anyone thinking that they care about the wishes of other populations is a fool.

Anonymous said...

----"....And since they believe in Islam, their desire is to have a system of Islamic democracy, i.e. the rulers being elected through the vote of the people ...."----

might be nice if Iran instituted such a system rather than one that offers the people no choice other than to vote for people allowed to run only after being approved by the small group of people holding the real power and even those people running don't hold other than second-tier and third-tier positions.

the people don't have a hand in choosing the head of government and it's nothing more than a sprinkling of pretend democracy on a system of authoritarian theocratic governance.

Mohammad said...

Anonymous 10:16 PM said
"they find rigging elections preferable to heeding the wishes of their own population."

The election's result was genuine as numerous Western-conducted opinion polls show, and no conclusive evidence on the alleged vote rigging was ever presented by Mousavi's supporters (even though it should have been easy since the per-polling station numbers were publicly released for the first time in Iranian history). As to what the Iranian population's wishes really are, I refer you to the opinion polls. These are what I found by a Google search (in reverse chronological order):

Anonymous said...

Khamenei knows full well that Iranian people want secular system that's why he sends his thugs out to confront the Iranian people.
Khamenei and his chums want all the power to themselves and like true deranged hypocrites dictate their twisted views which is bankrupt in Iran to other Muslim nations.

Unfortunately for Khamenei his time for his regime is coming to an end and very soon Iran will lead the middle east in the art of secular democracy for the next hundred years.

So we say dream on Khamenei and good riddance!

Nader Uskowi said...

I have a hard time understanding that I have made some of our readers upset by saying that the Iranian leadership advocates the Islamic Republic as the model of governance for the Muslim world.
Yes, of course they qualify their advocacy by saying that the majorities in these countries should agree with such system, but this is not a legalistic argument, it is political. Khamenei’s advocacy against secularism as the organizing principle of the new Arab governments is crystal clear. He prefers a non-secular system that would relies on Islamic teachings at its core, and he is not shy about it: “The solution is sticking to the generous teachings of Islam rather than allowing the enemies to dictate the principles of your new political system,” Khamenei said. The Iranian leaders would not object to my characterization of their politics and ideology.

Anonymous said...

Mr Uskowi,

I totally agree with you and unlike the regime aplogists do not buy the idea that Khameini as a leader of a theocratic and non tolerant regime will advocate an islamic government remotely bent towards freedom. The notion of democracy and Islam are opposite things. There is no such concept in Islam. Simply put either you are with us or we will chop your head. That is it. The rest of what other readers are fantasizing is sort of intellectual masterbation.

Going back to the subject of these Arab states and an idea of democracy, that is never going to be materalize. First Islamic ideology is based on Arabic culture which isd very actionary and intolerant. Secondally none of these countries have institutions that are sound and democratic. Case in point Iraq or Turkey. Are they democratic? You and I know the answer. In short these countries will have to be patient. If (and that is abig if) they want to embrace democracy, they will have no other choice except de-program, decouple themselves from Islam (whatever form and shape). That is a start.

The same applies to Iran. It will never be a democractic society until they get rid of this twisted ideology and re-adjust themselves to democratic values.

In fariness compared to arabs Iran is more progressive and at least does a form of simulation of democracy at times. However, the country has suffered from a backward culture that has go worse in the past 30 years due to the existing government. I would say it will take 2-0 to 30 years before Iran can progressively move towards democracy. The foundation for democracy is tolerance and respect for law and order and others. None of these exists in current Iran to a mass volume in order to sustain a democratic path.

Anonymous said...

---"The election's result was genuine as numerous Western-conducted opinion polls show.'---

not at all. public opinion surveys can't possibly show the election or the results to have been genuine. all they can show is that the results were approximately what the surveys predicted.

surveys would have predicted that Saddam Hussein would win elections in iran with approximately 100% of the vote and the results would have been consistent with the surveys prediction...and there would have been "no conclusive evidence" that the elections were rigged.

and the Iranian government can also claim that there's no conclusive evidence that they rig elections.

Mohammad said...

Here's another quotation I was looking for:
"Of course Sunni religious scholars - including Shafi'i scholars in Egypt, Maliki scholars in other countries of that region and Hanafi scholars of certain other countries - might not believe in Vilayat-e Faqih. It is alright. We do not insist that they should accept our fiqhi principles. Religious democracy might take on different forms."
(I changed the English translation a bit, since it had an error when compared to the Farsi speech)


Our objection was to this specific part of your post:
"... preferring instead the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state" which is clearly not what Khamenei intended to convey.

Anonymous said...

Yes, how does this:

“The solution is sticking to the generous teachings of Islam rather than allowing the enemies to dictate the principles of your new political system,”

equate to this:

"Even a preference of Turkey’s more secular Islamic system would not be acceptable to Tehran, preferring instead the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state."

That second statement contradicts the Iranian constitution. So you're saying Khamenei's advocacy goes beyond Iran's constitution? That's absurd. You can provide no citation for this. You're conflating your own personal opinion into this interpretation, which is a faulty form of reporting.

Mohammad said...

Anonymous 11:00 AM

First, you're ignoring the context of the subject, pretending that there's no other evidence that Ahmadinejad won other than opinion polls, and that all other evidence points to the other way round. That is, you ignored the fact that while all evidence brought by the supporters of Mousavi have been refuted by sound rebuttals, there are at least equal (in my opinion, much stronger) evidence that Ahmadinejad actually won. For example, in TFT's pre-election poll twice as many Iranians professed their intention to vote for Ahmadinejad, than for Mousavi (even in the Azeri areas). This poll was conducted before the election when there was absolutely no fear of revealing voting intentions. IMHO, this fear was not as high as Greens claim after the election as well. For substantiation of this claim, see my comment here:

Second, not basing your reasoning on the existence of actual evidence makes it actually baseless. That way, everyone can claim anything, and refrain from bringing on enough evidence for his/her claim.

Third, have you actually seen any Saddam-era Western-conducted opinion poll which concluded that the people of Iraq would elect him?

Fourth, I'm ready to delve into the details here. But if you're not, I urge you to take an honest look at both the evidence for and against the validity of the election. In the first days of the election, I was very suspicious of the results, and I preferred Mousavi over Ahmadinejad anyway, but after months of looking at the both sides claims in detail, I concluded that almost certainly Ahmadinejad really won (unfortunately). I'm open to any more suggestions otherwise. There are many discussions on the topic on the web if you search. (I guess also this blog as well)

Unknown Unknowns said...


Is there a problem with my post? Why has it not been posted yet (whereas another pne I posted after it was posted right away)?

If there is a problem with it, please let me know so that I can edit and re-post. Please send your issue, together with the entire post to my email address at

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

There was never any free elections in Iran full stop.
You can't have free elections under the supervision of ignorant fanatics!!

Answer to Mohammad you may believe your government propaganda but we don't so pull the other one.

We will only have true democracy when this murderous theocracy is overthrown.

Anonymous said...

---"That second statement contradicts the Iranian constitution. So you're saying Khamenei's advocacy goes beyond Iran's constitution? "---

why not. Khamenei and the regime he's a part of haven't respected of followed the Iranian constitution when it hasn't suited them.

see Articles 23 and 27...just for strters.

Nader Uskowi said...


This is what I said: “[Khamenei] preferring instead the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state.” Why are you objecting to this statement? I am saying Khamenei prefers the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state. This is precisely what he has been doing for more than 20 years, and Khomeini before him. In fact we never had any model of governance put forward by the Islamic Republic that is not based on supreme leadership of an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state. And the way the Assembly of Experts is set up, this supreme leadership is for all practical purposes for life. Khamenei is already ruling the country for over 20 years and is one of the Middle East’s longest lasting rulers. So the concept of supreme leadership for life by an Islamic cleric over the affairs of the state is not something I pulled out of the hat; it’s based on 30 years of experience with the Islamic Republic. With all due respect, I have an eerie feeling that you and I are living in two parallel universes.

Anonymous said...

''Never trust the United States, NATO, or criminal regimes such as Britain, France, and Italy, who have once mugged your countries''

I agree

''The solution is to stick to the generous teachings of Islam rather than allowing the enemies to dictate the principles of your new political system''

Generous? To whom?

Not to secularists. Not to Athiests. Not to gays. Not to Pagans. Not to Christians, Jews, or Zoroastrians, who worship in secret in damp basements. Certanly not to Women.

Generous to whom?

Mohammad said...


Strictly speaking, what you said is not "wrong" (preferring leadership of an Islamic scholar over Turkey-style secularism). But it is misleading to the causal reader, since it does not make clear that Khamenei has already dismissed imposing Velayat-e Faqih on these Arab countries if their own Islamic scholars do not approve of it. That is, the causal reader might understand Khamenei's speech as presented by you, as him strictly advocating an Iranian-style government for the Arab world, which is not so.

So I don't think that the mentioned part of the post can be called a piece of responsible journalism, although it might not be strictly "wrong".

Nader Uskowi said...


I reject the notion that Khamenei and the Iranian clerical leadership have “dismissed imposing Velayat-e Faqih on these Arab countries,” for ideological reasons. Khamenei’s power and influence does not allow him to impose such system on any Muslim country, except Iran. If he and his cohorts had the choice or the power and influence, they would have imposed their system of governance on other Muslim countries in a heartbeat. This is what they believe in. But it's probably too much for you to imagine or to admit that the political system you idealize is based on supreme leadership for life of a cleric over the affairs of the state.

Anonymous said...

Mohammad lets get something straight here there is no such thing as an Islamic Democracy period.

Islam demands unquestionable obedience while Democracy needs objective questioning and equality.

Religion should never mix with politics and should stay out of legislature.

The Realist.

Mohammad said...


This is not a discussion on which political system is superior, or whether someone would do something if had the option to. This is a discussion on the accuracy of reporting on a public speech delivered by a politician, regardless of that politician being honest in his remarks or not.

First I thought you were just trying to report on the remarks of Khamenei. Now what you are claiming is just your opinion, which should be distinguished from well-sourced facts (i.e. Khamenei's public remarks). Good journalistic practice requires that the reporter clearly separates between news and commentary, even if s/he does not agree with the politician cited in the news. The post does not do this.

It's fine to deliver your own analysis (e.g. claiming that Khamenei does not believe in what he says), but it should not be presented in a way that verifiable facts (e.g. public remarks by Khamenei) are presented. The position of people, regardless of whether they are good or evil, should be presented fairly - just as they intended to convey - and be clearly separated from the commentator's analysis of their positions.

This is the same misstep we criticize IRIB, Fox News, etc. for. They sometimes mix news and analysis and misrepresent people in a way that is intended to discredit them, by attributing opinions to them which they did not publicly and directly express.

I hope I have conveyed my objection successfully this time. I do not intend to offend, just trying to improve the quality and objectivity of reporting here.

Nader Uskowi said...


A reader with a degree of fairness can read the original post and see that the first paragraph is the headline, followed by two quotation marks from the ayatollah, followed by a paragraph offering an analysis of the topic.

You have written hundreds of words criticizing the last paragraph of this post. But your own views on the subject remains unclear. Do you agree with my analysis that the organizing principle of the Islamic Republic is based on the supreme leadership for life of a cleric over the affairs of the state? Do you personally agree with such governing principle in Iran? Elsewhere in the Arab world?

Mohammad said...


That distinction in this post between news and analysis is not evident to me (and at least one other commenter) as a reader. You have not even clearly presented Khamenei's view on the type of the government as expressed by himself (see the "Islamic Democracy" endorsement by Khamenei I quoted before). A fairer way may have been to first quote his directly expressed opinion and then present your analysis that he was not honest and what you think he actually meant.
You can ask others about their impression as readers of this post as well. I will not continue this discussion.

On your questions, well I disagree with the notion that the organizing principle of the Islamic Republic is the supreme leadership for life of an Islamic jurist. I don't see any evidence that being supreme leader for life has any inherent, conscious meaning for the backers of the IR. I think that at least in theory, the Assembly of Experts could remove the leader if he is not in line with their interpretation of a good follower of Khomeini's values. The Islamic Republic has not been exactly shy about turning yesterday's highly respected people (e.g. Montazeri, Rafsanjani, etc) to pariahs. This has not happened for the Supreme Leader so far, but I interpret this as being a result of Khamenei's firm belief in Khomeini-instituted values, which makes AoE happy. But I do agree that there should be more guarantees in the constitution to make sure AoE does in fact supervise the Supreme Leader, including more checks on his power and taking away his indirect control of AoE through the Guardian Council. Term-limiting Supreme Leadership would also be a good idea.

On which style of government I prefer, well in general I prefer a constitution which respects Islam, but defers specific decisions to democratic means. The constitutional watchdog should only make sure that laws which limit or interfere with personal practice of Islam by practicing Muslims don't get passed (e.g. hijab bans or de-islamization of marriage rules between practicing Muslims) but other decisions regarding for example applying Sharia punishments, etc. should be the responsibility of the people or their parliamentary (nation-wide or local) representatives. There should also be a mechanism to limit passage of controversial laws (e.g. compulsory hijab) to local parliaments where applicable. This makes sure that a minority is not irritated by laws imposed by the majority, when possible. The ideal form would be when everyone is bound by the law s/he believes in. It's not trivial to design dispute-resolving measures for such a system, but I think it's viable, as well as being better for Islam itself than the alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Mr Nader Uskowi

Mohammad has a clear agenda of propagating his fanatical Islamist beliefs and justifying his leader Khamenei's twisted views and actions and passing it as Islamic democracy.

With such persons there can't be any debate.He has decided earlier on in his life to Obey and follow charlatans like Khomeini and Khamenei these persons are known as Islamist and have an unreasonable and unhealthy fanatical view on life in general.