Iran and the World Cup

Germany escaped an awkward situation thanks to Iran's World Cup tournament defeat last Saturday by Portugal, and its elimination from championship competition. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel and his open Holocaust denial prompted some Western countries and Jewish groups, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to petition German Prime Minister Angela Merkel to deny him entry to watch the Iranian national team's matches.

Ahmadinejad had vowed to go to Germany if Iran advanced to the next round. But with Iran eliminated, Germany is delivered from this threat.  Had things gone differently, the German government would have been faced with the problem of a president who speaks as vehemently as Hitler used to do back in 1938.

Many have noticed how, in second half time of the match of Iran and Mexico, the Iran team suddenly lost the concentration and strength it had shown in the first half. Dispirited play led to defeat. This may sound like the normal ebb and flow of team energies, but in the Iranian case things are more complicated. Inside Iran it was widely suspected that the team was ordered to lose.

The regime fears mass celebrations, which would draw huge crowds to the streets of all cities. Widespread discontent could readily turn into anti—government riots of uncontrollable dimensions.
An opposition group reported,

"most members of the Iranian team had refused to chant the mandatory Islamic republic anthem, which was very noticeable during the televised transmission."

For those not familiar with the real nature of the Islamic Republic regime, the Mullahs force the national team's players to "show respect" for the "revolutionary hymn." The price for not doing so may be very high. Nevertheless, some maverick players refused to chant the anthem imposed by the Khomeini regime in 1979. This was the other reason for which the team was thought ordered to lose.

Protest actions took place in and outside the actual of the stadium. Despite the presence of the Islamic Republic's vice—president, Mohammad Aliabadi, dozens of Iranian fans — including western—looking girls — waved the banned Lion and Sun flags inside the stadium, instead of the imposed Islamist ones.
Outside the stadium, dozens of members of the Iranian diaspora rallied alongside Jewish groups protesting the regime's official anti—Semitic terrorist—supporting policies.

As Ahmadinejad and his gang of thugs keep offending the human conscience by denying the tragedy of Holocaust and endangering the regional and world stability, many still wonder what the free world intends to do. The early signs are not encouraging. Instead of a strong response, the Bush administration is joining the mercantilist European powers in appeasing the Mullahs, in the hope that the latter may "join the community of nations". This reminds of Munich, circa 1938.

It seems that President Bush has abandoned his vision of helping the Iranians get rid of a regime that's an active duty member of the Axis of Evil. Worse, voices say Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worked closely with a key Democrat senator to "ditch" the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which have strengthened support for opposition groups working for regime change. The Act was voted down by the Senate, which in its place passed a weaker version.

This follows the decision not to grant funds to Los Angeles—based popular satellite TV stations, such as the National Iranian Television (NITV), focusing solely on Voice Of America and Radio Farda. NITV, which gave voice to genuine opposition movements like SMCCDI to organize and coordinate massive protests in Iran — among which the student, workers and soccer demonstrations — has now been forced to suspend its satellite broadcasting due to lack of funds. NITV has worked long to promote awareness about the real aspirations of the absolute majority of the Iranian population to secularism and total regime change through non—violent means.

The Bush administration had gained popularity among many Iranians. The sudden alliance with the forces of multilateralist appeasement in Europe and the United Nations damages that popularity in the long run and unawarely aids our enemy to kill us in the very same time we're pleasing it.

Have we forgotten the lessons of 1938? Sometimes, history repeats and it is better we realize this sooner than later.

Stefania Lapenna is an Italian political activist and blogger. She blogs at Free Thoughts. She has written for several newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post, and in Italy, L'Opinione and Il Foglio and is a contributor to Ragion Politica.

Germany escaped an awkward situation thanks to Iran's World Cup tournament defeat last Saturday by Portugal, and its elimination from championship competition. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel and his open Holocaust denial prompted some Western countries and Jewish groups, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to petition German Prime Minister Angela Merkel to deny him entry to watch the Iranian national team's matches.

Ahmadinejad had vowed to go to Germany if Iran advanced to the next round. But with Iran eliminated, Germany is delivered from this threat.  Had things gone differently, the German government would have been faced with the problem of a president who speaks as vehemently as Hitler used to do back in 1938.

Many have noticed how, in second half time of the match of Iran and Mexico, the Iran team suddenly lost the concentration and strength it had shown in the first half. Dispirited play led to defeat. This may sound like the normal ebb and flow of team energies, but in the Iranian case things are more complicated. Inside Iran it was widely suspected that the team was ordered to lose.

The regime fears mass celebrations, which would draw huge crowds to the streets of all cities. Widespread discontent could readily turn into anti—government riots of uncontrollable dimensions.
An opposition group reported,

"most members of the Iranian team had refused to chant the mandatory Islamic republic anthem, which was very noticeable during the televised transmission."

For those not familiar with the real nature of the Islamic Republic regime, the Mullahs force the national team's players to "show respect" for the "revolutionary hymn." The price for not doing so may be very high. Nevertheless, some maverick players refused to chant the anthem imposed by the Khomeini regime in 1979. This was the other reason for which the team was thought ordered to lose.

Protest actions took place in and outside the actual of the stadium. Despite the presence of the Islamic Republic's vice—president, Mohammad Aliabadi, dozens of Iranian fans — including western—looking girls — waved the banned Lion and Sun flags inside the stadium, instead of the imposed Islamist ones.
Outside the stadium, dozens of members of the Iranian diaspora rallied alongside Jewish groups protesting the regime's official anti—Semitic terrorist—supporting policies.

As Ahmadinejad and his gang of thugs keep offending the human conscience by denying the tragedy of Holocaust and endangering the regional and world stability, many still wonder what the free world intends to do. The early signs are not encouraging. Instead of a strong response, the Bush administration is joining the mercantilist European powers in appeasing the Mullahs, in the hope that the latter may "join the community of nations". This reminds of Munich, circa 1938.

It seems that President Bush has abandoned his vision of helping the Iranians get rid of a regime that's an active duty member of the Axis of Evil. Worse, voices say Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worked closely with a key Democrat senator to "ditch" the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which have strengthened support for opposition groups working for regime change. The Act was voted down by the Senate, which in its place passed a weaker version.

This follows the decision not to grant funds to Los Angeles—based popular satellite TV stations, such as the National Iranian Television (NITV), focusing solely on Voice Of America and Radio Farda. NITV, which gave voice to genuine opposition movements like SMCCDI to organize and coordinate massive protests in Iran — among which the student, workers and soccer demonstrations — has now been forced to suspend its satellite broadcasting due to lack of funds. NITV has worked long to promote awareness about the real aspirations of the absolute majority of the Iranian population to secularism and total regime change through non—violent means.

The Bush administration had gained popularity among many Iranians. The sudden alliance with the forces of multilateralist appeasement in Europe and the United Nations damages that popularity in the long run and unawarely aids our enemy to kill us in the very same time we're pleasing it.

Have we forgotten the lessons of 1938? Sometimes, history repeats and it is better we realize this sooner than later.

Stefania Lapenna is an Italian political activist and blogger. She blogs at Free Thoughts. She has written for several newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post, and in Italy, L'Opinione and Il Foglio and is a contributor to Ragion Politica.