Accueil > Articles in English > Iran : The week in images n°93



Iran : The week in images n°93
29.11.2009

The Week in images is a true golden opportunity for us. It shows the Islamic Republic without its slogan pack and pompous statements and reminds us it’s getting weaker and weaker. This week for example, the regime celebrated the creation of the Bassij militia which is reputed to count at least 10 millions of members. We didn’t see them demonstrating in the streets. Modestly the regime claimed a gathering of 60,000 militiamen in a prayer room that can hold 10,000 people. Actually they were less than 5,000, mainly old people and not those young fellows who are supposed to defend the regime. This week, Tehran needed also to deploy hundreds of planes and missiles but we didn’t see them either.



10 days ago, Tehran announced extraordinary air manoeuvres called “Defence of the Guide’s Sky”, exercises that had to provide for 5 days dissuasive reasons to dissuade anybody who would plan to attack Iran. It was matter of air battles that would bring in dozens of F-4, F-5, F-14, MIG-29, Su-24 and Su-27 in “Iran’s Islamic sky”. It was also question of unseen missiles deployment so to show the quality of Iranian AA.

However it is two years now the regime makes this kind of statement but we never see images that prove such deployment. The reason is that firstly the announced equipments are not available and secondly it lacks of gasoline to make the fighters take-off because they consume 7,000 litres of kerosene per each flight hour against 3,200 for an average-sized airliner. On Monday, on the second day of those latest manoeuvres, in the absence of images -zero images, we had some misgivings about the authenticity of dozens of news items related to the successful actions that took place during those military exercises.

On Tuesday’s daytime, the regime reacted to this attack against the Guide’s sky with the announcement of TOR-M1 missiles whose performances would have been bettered so to bring down super bombers and the first images appeared on Iranian news websites. We couldn’t see those TOR-M1 whose delivery by Russians remains doubtful. But we saw guns of poor quality and Hawk ground-to-air missiles, remnants of Iranian purchases that were made by the Shah in the 70’s. However those Hawk missiles were exposed on trestles -see below- and not on launchers which raises some doubts on their mobility.
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On Wednesday -date of the publication of this second critical article, Tehran answered tit for tat with the broadcasting on its news channel Press-TV of a short report on those deployed Hawk missiles in which we could notice some launchers and as a bonus the shooting of a Hawk missile ! Russians who have currently some difficulties with Tehran picked this report again and translated it to ensure its wide broadcasting. As they are also very helpful, they also published on Ria Novosti website a Russian military expertise about the state of Tehran’s defence abilities by mentioning also the invisible TOR-M1.
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After the publication of those exercises’ so-called authenticity proofs, every press agency of the regime published on the Web photo reports on “Hawks, Tor-M1 and Sam-6 missiles shooting” But as it happens, they show solely images of the Hawk missile shooting that were already in the report of Press-TV.
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Those photos revealed that only one shooting happened -which cost 250,000 dollars- during those exercises. The regime would run on thrift ! Tehran wished to display its military capacities ; it mostly displayed its military but also economic limits. As the fact is far noticeable, the regime thought it was right to evoke its power by broadcasting in rapid succession images of other missiles it owns such as the glorious S-200, ancestors of the S-300. However, what we mostly notice on those images is the fuselages or the launchers that are eaten away with rust.
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Maybe those images raised the interest of foreign military observers but they are not the only ones that display rust traces. We observed already such rusted state inside the regime’s structure itself on the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Bassij, a militia that can’t be ignored and that provided the regime with waves of young minor soldiers during Iran-Iraq war in order to remove mines from battlefields and then it provided sneaks into ministries, companies and Iranian institutions in order to see to the respect of the rules that are in force and denounce those who diverge.

Since the regime mentions that this militia counts at least 10 millions of members, we should have assisted in a hell of a national fiesta. We didn’t see those 10 millions demonstrating in the streets. We even didn’t see the tenth or the hundredth of this figure but we noticed some thousands who gathered far from eavesdroppers in a prayer room of Khomeini’s mausoleum because relations with this militia are not into a permanently sunny mood notably when it’s question of those young volunteers who come from poor classes that are revolted with the fact that leaders withdrawn subsidies for poor people so to preserve their own privileges. This lasts since more than a year. This summer, at the time of the popular upraising, most of those young bassijis deserted, others refused to fight and if we consider images, we may suppose that some of them participated so to destroy the regime. At that time, the regime called in elder volunteers who were supervised by civil agents from the secret services because young militiamen were absent from roll call. This is confirmed by the fact that since this date we haven’t seen any young militiamen in the regime’s official demonstrations. Moreover it removed from the schedule their armed parade as well as any other exercise in which militiamen would hold weapons in their hands.

Last week, as this invisible week of commemoration of the Bassidji creation was in hand, we saw them kitted out with flower bunches instead of guns.
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This week at the gathering of Khomeini’s mausoleum, they represented less than 10% of present people. Others were old militiamen who are responsible for supporting families, i.e. much less rebel, young women and even young mullahs. Photos don’t show them a lot but when we see them at closer range, we feel they form a hermetic and compact body. (You may click and zoom on some images –mostly those with grey border- to enlarge them once or twice.)
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The regime itself is surely conscious of this group spirit that is noticeable through their posture -above- because at the end of the week, when the Bassij had to get about to applaud the Guide, this body of corrosive younger men was lost in a crowd of old militiamen who were old enough to be among the regime’s leaders. Rust is scary.
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Would those younger men be able to break the regime ? Alone, they won’t be able to do anything but if they leave those flesh prisons to meet up with the street’s youngsters and with suburbs’ poor people, our younger men would have their chance because Iran doesn’t lack of poor people.

Here in Masjed Sloyeman مسجد سلیمان, city where oil spurted out for the first time in Iran 101 years ago. A beautiful small city that used to be modern and rich under the Shah’s regime…
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