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Iranian Dissent Veiled as Labor Unrest

Regime Change Iran points back today at a 6May06 article by Amir Taheri in Arab News titled The System Created by Khomeini Facing New Challenges. We both seem to have missed it, but you should not.

These new challenges come from several sources.

The first, and possibly the most important, is the urban working class that has just started to flex its muscles. Last week, it showed its force with the biggest May Day demonstration ever seen in the Middle East.

Shouting anti-regime slogans and specifically calling for the resignation of the new Labor Minister Ali Jahromi, tens of thousands of the demonstrators were careful to stick to work-related demands. But, talking to journalists, especially foreign reporters, the participants made no secret of the fact that they were unhappy with the Khomeinist system as a whole.

At one point, Ali Rabi’ee, a labor adviser to former President Muhammad Khatami, addressed a crowd of workers in unmistakably political terms. He charged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new administration with trying to destroy the workers’ movement in Iran.

What was remarkable about this year’s May Day parade was that it included delegations of workers from all of Iran’s 30 provinces.

Also be sure to consider Taheri's OpEd in today's New York Post, Iran's (Costly) War on America.

Apart from a brief moment in which the Reagan administration tried to wage a low-intensity war against the Islamic Republic, successive administrations in Washington adopted President Jimmy Carter's policy of "patience and forbearance" vis-à-vis Tehran.

The Islamic Republic, however, consistently maintained its war posture vis-à-vis the United States all along. In 1984, Muhammad Khatami, then minister of Islamic Orientation, wrote that the Islamic Republic was waging war "against Global Arrogance led by the United States" on behalf of mankind as a whole. In 1986, Hashemi Rafsanjani, then speaker of the parliament, went further: "We are at war with the United States - a war which must end with the victory of Islam over the Infidel led by America."

Though it does not (yet) look like the version peddled by Seymore Hersch, there indeed is a war on. It is prosecuted primarily via the IAEA, the UN, the world's oil markets and through proxies in Iraq.