Truck Drivers Strike Over Unacceptable Wages in Iran

Truck drivers in dozens of Iranian provinces have reportedly gone on strike in the country over low wages and analysts are speculating this could usher in a wave of new protests throughout certain parts of the Islamic Republic.
The strikes arrive weeks after President Donald Trump announced the United States’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal.The Associated Press reported that “The semi-official ILNA news agency reported on Wednesday that the strike is taking place in Qazvin, Lorestan, East Azerbaijan and Mazandaran province.”

The truck drivers began striking on Tuesday and complained that their expenses have increased since last year. According to the Voice of America’s Iran news service, the increase in expenses include the costs for tires, air filters, insurance, road tolls, commissions, repairs and spare parts.

The strikes reportedly took place in 93 cities in 25 provinces, including the provinces of West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Kermanshah, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Ilam, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, Zanjan, Sistan and Balouchestan, Semnan, Fars, Qazvin, Kerman, Gilan, Mazandaran, Markazi, Hormozgan, Hamedan, Yazd and Bushehr.

The strikes have reportedly caused fuel shortage in some parts of Iran because the trucks are instrumental in delivering gas to fueling stations.

According to the VOA, “It was not clear how long the strike would continue. There was no immediate response to the truckers’ demands from Iranian authorities on state media.”

Nationwide protest took place on December 28 over rising costs, financial mismanagement, and the Iranian regime’s decision to use billions of dollars to finance terrorism and involvement in foreign countries like Syria and Libya, instead of taking care of its ailing people at home.

The December protests, which have carried on in varying stages, were the largest since the so-called “Green Revolution” of 2009 over the fraudulent re-election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who won in a “landslide.”

Follow Adelle Malka Nazarin on Facebook and Twitter.

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Documents, Letter Reveal Dual U.S.-Turkish Citizen Allegedly Used Cash to Skirt U.S. Sanctions on Iran

A number of dual United States citizens have skirted U.S. sanctions on Iran, to the benefit of the Islamic Republic’s recently-sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). While several of these cases have been brought to light recently, there are still many others that have potentially been overlooked by the United States Treasury Department.

These individuals and companies have illegally bypassed sanctions through wholesale methods or by opening businesses in countries not listed on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list to conduct business with Iran. However, the Treasury Department’s sanctions apply to U.S. citizens and U.S. residents, all defined as “U.S. persons” under the law.

For example, in February, the Department of Justice charged multiple dual U.S. persons and a foreign airline with attempting to skirt federal anti-terror restrictions by illegally shipping aircraft parts to Syria, where Iran has a substantial presence. These parts have dual military and civilian uses.

In October, three dual U.S.-citizens pleaded guilty in a Miami, Florida federal court to conspiring to defraud the U.S. and to illegally exporting dual-use military parts to Syrian Arab Airlines; a government-run airline that the Treasury Department says is “blocked by OFAC for transporting weapons and ammunition to Syria in conjunction with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

There is also an ongoing probe and lawsuit into an Iranian-born Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab for “conspiring to use the U.S. financial system to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transactions on behalf of the government of Iran and other Iranian entities, which were barred by United States sanctions.” Also charged in the same case is Hakan Atilla who is the deputy manager of a Turkish state-owned bank named Halkbank.

However, one dual United States-Turkish citizen could potentially be in violation of U.S. sanctions law for allegedly skirting U.S. sanctions on Iran by paying the Iranian regime with cash while he was the owner of a privately-held, Turkey-based jet company.

Exclusive documents and a hand-written testimony indicate that Dr. Yalcin Ayasli, the former owner of Turkey-based Borajet, which has offices in Iran, allegedly paid cash to the Iranian regime, thus violating U.S. sanctions which prevent said transactions from taking place as a result of the Iran nuclear deal.

Ayasli was living in Massachusetts for over 25 years before moving to New Hampshire, where he has lived for the last decade. In his own words, Ayasli said he has “lived in the U.S. for over 40 years.”

U.S. law prohibits American citizens located anywhere in the world, from conducting business with or trade with Iranian companies. The Treasury Department notes that “both an Iranian citizen who is a permanent resident alien of the United States and an individual who is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen meet the definition of a U.S. person set forth in section 560.314 of the ITSR, regardless of where in the world they are located.” Treasury Department sanctions apply to both U.S. citizens and U.S. residents, all defined as “U.S. persons” under the law.

There are also questions as to whether Borajet, which also had offices in Iran, transported IRGC fighters which is a common practice for other Iranian airlines.

In 2016, a Turkish company, SBK Holding acquired Borajet for $260 million. The airline had 10 small airliners and at least two other jets for its charter business. In April, just before the opening of the new airport in Istanbul, it suspended operations

However, documents acquired exclusively indicate Dr. Ayasli’s company allegedly paid Iran in cash during the years he owned the corporation.

On the first page of a 36-page document, dated from 2013, a line reads, “$20,000 USD is delivered by Borajet aviation transportation aircraft maintenance and commerce corporation to Ali Cemal Arslan.”

There are three signatures on the page. The first is from the person giving the money (Onder OLGE), the second signature belongs to the receiving party (Ali Cemal Arslan), and the third signature is from the person approving the transaction (Kadir Peker); who was Borajet’s general manager before the sale of the company.

The document is written in both Turkish and Persian (or Farsi).

Another page from that same document includes a hand-written note that reads, “From myself, $5,000 USD is given to Mr. Ali Shams and $5,000 to Valeh Alizadeh.” Both these names are Iranian.

On the third page of said document, another handwritten note states the funds were used to pay for “Iran per diem”, meaning an allowance for a trip to Iran.

The document also lists conditions or terms of the transaction. It states, “The Representative is responsible for ensuring the smooth and uninterrupted service of Borajet Flight, including the designation of the required flight permits on the Iranian side, the designation of the hours of trial work, the designation of top travel permits, contracts for all round trips, airports.”

It also notes that, “Borajet will instantly notify the representative of any touristic transportation, passenger, cargo, ticket reservation and sales, airplane rental, etc. that will come from the Iran airport” and states that “each ticket, cargo, airplane sales, etc. that is collected from the representative shall be transferred to the Borajet account within three business days.”

The letter is signed by Kadir Peker, Borajet’s general manager. It is addressed to Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization and the Iran Ministry of Road and Transportation.

A hand-written statement letter from Peker to a Turkish court was provided to the prosecutor during the court case involving Dr. Ayasli. Peker’s letter was taken as a testimony against Dr. Ayasli.unnamed.jpg

The letter of testimony from Peker indicates Borajet was operating in cash in Iran to evade U.S. sanctions.

Part of Peker’s letter reads, “In the files against me by Borajet at the bankruptcy court, the source of the debt is shown as the money withdrawn from the company as an advanced payment to me. However, the money was really for the purpose of these expenses we listed but due to the embargo, they listed me as the payee (receiver).” Peker goes on to note, “in reality, the money is a payment for the office in Iran, and the company’s establishment [in Tehran] and the people making the connections.” He wrote, “All these payments are made by the instructions of the board member in charge of finance. Zahideh, and Yalcin Ayasli were aware of these payments.” He also stated that he does not owe money to anyone and kindly requested his testimony to be accepted as a petition in proceeding with the case.

Although Peker’s letter does not specifically mention cash, it says “in hand” which is known to mean “cash” in Turkish business transactions.

It further states that due to the American capital or money in the company, they had to pay cash, indicating their intention to conceal the transactions.

It is not uncommon for dual United States citizens to dance with the targets of U.S. sanctions, to the benefit of the Islamic Republic’s recently-sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The letter was written because Borajet declared bankruptcy in court and because of the SBK Holdings group filed a lawsuit against Borajet’s previous owners.

On page four of a 17-page document, Peker addresses a typed letter to Mr. Mohsen Goharkhah listing him as the “mandate to negotiate and collect offers for Iran Civil Aviation Organization.” The letter is dated August 14, 2012.

The Turkish-focused news outlet Turkish-American News posted a response to its article “How Did Borajet’s Previous Owner Yalcin Ayasli Bypass Iran Sanctions?” on Sept. 12The outlet also posted a letter to the editor by Dr. Ayasli on Sept. 18:

First of all, contrary to the allegations made in the article, BoraJet was not founded in the United States. It happens to be a Turkish company established in Turkey and is a part of the $400 million investment that I, as a Turkish citizen, have made in Turkey. Furthermore, the allegations in the article about BoraJet establishing a company in Iran and flying to Iran concern the years 2012-2013, when I was not on the BoraJet board, contrary to what is reported.

According to sources familiar with the case, Dr. Ayasli has not showed up to the Turkish court that summoned him, breaking both Turkish law and U.S. law in the process. 

His case is likely one of several others that will soon be brought to the Treasury Department’s attention.

Iranian Official Warns Saudi Arabia: ‘The Moment We are Provoked, We Will Obliterate’ You

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A high-ranking Iranian official issued a stern warning to Saudi Arabia, letting them know that if Iran is provoked by the Sunni Kingdom, they will “obliterate” them.

“Please realize that we are people who control our anger,” Mohsen Rezaee, the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council and a former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said in a July interview on a state-run TV network that was posted on the Internet. “It takes a lot to make us angry. But the moment we are provoked, we will obliterate Saudi Arabia. We will not allow insecurities to continue.”

Rezaee added, “Therefore, we have told all our friends and supporters, such as Hezbollah to cool down and, for the time being, not to do anything against Saudi Arabia.” He said the Iranian regime has told their “supporters from Saudi Arabia to Yemen and many other places … to keep quiet for now.”

However, Rezaee predicted that a confrontation between both nations will likely occur. “But our prediction is that the path that Saudi Arabia has begun on is a harsh and painful path which may lead to a limited conflict. For example, Saudi will probably attack somewhere that will encourage us to respond.”

Saudi-Iran relations have deteriorated significantly, with each country supporting opposite sides in the conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Both countries have accused each other of destabilizing security in the region.

“If we face Saudi Arabia and even if they beg us to leave them alone, we will not leave them alone.”

Asked by the interviewer if he has ever warned Saudi Arabia, Rezai said, “Yes. My interview is a warning to them.”

The IRGC accused Saudi Arabia of being behind the Islamic State attack on Iran’s Parliament and shrine of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7. The Islamic State officially took responsibility for the attack which left 17 dead and dozens wounded.

Syria, in particular, has been a point of contention between both countries. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is backed by the Iranian regime and the nation has no formal diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.

Last month, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Assad’s government slammed Saudi Arabia for “politicizing” the pilgrimage and blocking Syrians from visiting the holy city. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani responded by saying Saudi Arabia “should stop backing terrorists” in Yemen and Syria.

Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reportedly said Iran’s talk of a possible rapprochement with the kingdom was “laughable” after Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the Islamic Republic would soon exchange diplomatic visits with Saudi Arabia.

“The comments of the foreign minister are laughable,” al-Jubeir said, according to Reuters. “If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law.” He added, “at this time, we do not see… that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor.”

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Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi: Civil Disobedience for a Free Iran

BEVERLY HILLS — In an interview with Breitbart News on Monday, Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi called for greater American and international support for Iran’s freedom-craving people.

The crown prince is the son of Iran’s last king, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. He is the president of the National Council for Free Elections in Iran.

“We realize that the current regime is not going to voluntarily leave the scene, which is why we have put together a campaign of resistance and civil disobedience,” Pahlavi told Breitbart News. “And that’s why we’ve been in contact with a variety of secularists within Iran representing all sorts of views from workers to teachers to labor unions” to other organizations.

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Adelle Nazarian of Breitbart News interviews Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi. (Photo: Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart News)

Over half of Iran’s population is under the age of 40. The crown prince noted that the advent of social media and technology is a priceless tool in the quest for freedom. “And fortunately in this world of social media and Internet communication most of the give and take happens by means that were not available 20 years ago,” he said.

Pahlavi recently penned a letter to President Donald Trump congratulating him on his victory. Asked how he views Trump and his administration with regard to U.S.-Iran relations, he said, “I think the current president has indicated that he wants to be much more in support of strengthening the people’s hand and, at the same time, weakening the regime. And I think that’s exactly what we were hoping to hear.”

He said this rhetoric and support “should not be limited to the U.S,” adding that he’s “always advocated that the empowerment of any people is always the best solution at the end, especially when they have to fight very oppressive regimes. So, engaging with the people, helping civil society in these countries, is the quickest path to maximizing the success of such nations to overcome whatever struggle they are facing.”

Iran’s former  recently died. The businessman had a checkered political past and was considered the father of Iran’s nuclear program. While some within the regime described his as a “man of peace,” he was better remembered by many of the Iranian people as an oppressor and for having orchestrated several international terrorist atrocities.

The crown prince also commented on the recent death of Iran’s former president, Hashami Rafsanjani, who was described in the media as a “man of peace” but who was the father of Iran’s nuclear program, as well as an oppressive ruler. Pahlavi compared Rafsanjani’s death to the passing of Cuba’s late dictator Fidel Castro: “It’s not the same anymore, no matter how many more junior cadres remain. And in that sense, more of a void will be created.” He noted the importance of making sure that “the void is filled with the proper alternative. That’s something everyone should be concerned with.”

Earlier Monday evening, Pahlavi addressed a private audience and urged “civil disobedience by means of non-violence.”

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Reza Pahlavi (middle) receiving key to the city from current Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch (right) and former mayor Lili Bosse (left). (Photo: Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart News)

Although he did not mention President Barack Obama by name, the crown prince said, “When you fight extremely brutal regimes, such movements cannot succeed without having tacit support from other freedom-loving countries and governments.” His words evoked memories of the failure of the Obama administration to provide much-needed support to the ailing Iranian people during the 2009 Green Revolution and the stolen election that fueled it.

With Rafsanjani’s death, however, the crown prince noted that “the regime is pretty much beginning to show indications of fragmentation, going eventually towards their collapse.” He noted “the importance of making sure that the path to the alternative is as smooth as possible and that complete measures are taken to make sure that a dictatorship will not be replaced by another one. And that, indeed, it is the people who will triumph and nobody else.”

Asked if the crown prince would consider taking on an elected or lineal leadership role in his country of birth, and the land where his father reigned as its last king, Pahlavi said:

I’ve always said this is not about me. It’s about the Iranian people and their opportunity to finally get self-determination and freedom. That’s my only objective at this point. And the day that we have free elections will be the day I will consider my political mission in life accomplished. From that day on, I cannot tell you now what the circumstances will be. I’ve always said that I’m ready to serve my country, in whatever capacity that my constituents choose.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz

(This article was originally written published on Breitbart News)

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, Twin Sister of Iran’s Last Shah, Dies

Princess Ashraf PahlaviPrincess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Europe on Thursday. She was 96.

The announcement of her passing was posted to the Facebook page of the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi. In his post, Reza described his aunt as having a heart full of love for Iran and being devoted to improving the social life of its citizens and specifically the advancement of women’s rights and the fight against illiteracy.

هفدهم دی ماه ۱۳۹۴از درگذشت عمه عزیزم، شاهدخت اشرف پهلوی، بسیار متاثر و متالم شدم. خاطرات بسیاری از دوران کودکی تا به ا…

Posted by The Official Site of Reza Pahlavi on Thursday, 7 January 2016

Ashraf’s book Faces in a Mirror was her personal account of how the 1979 revolution destroyed the lives of her fellow countrymen and women following its takeover by the radical theocratic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. She wrote the book in exile.

In addition to being a champion for women’s rights, Ashraf was credited with establishing Iran’s relationship with China and for serving as the head of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations for more than a decade.

Robert F. Armao, who has served as a senior advisor to the princess for almost 40 years, described her to the New York Times as “a very strong personality and a very strong feminist.” Armao is in the process of writing a book about the royal Pahlavi family.

To her supporters, the princess will be celebrated as a champion of women’s rights and an accomplished diplomat. However, her critics will continue to, by some accounts falsely, press her image as a power monger who played a pivotal role in the 1953 “military coup” that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh over fears he was veering in favor of the Soviet Union and for nationalizing the nation’s oil.

The historical accuracy of the 1953 ousting of Mosaddegh having been a coup is questionable considering the Persian constitution stated that the Shah had the power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Oxford defines “coup” as “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

“Ashraf became the focal point, especially by many people on the left, of everything that was wrong and was made out to be some sort of maniacal witch,” Dr. Behzad Tabatabaei told Breitbart News. Dr. Tabatabaei, who is an Iran expert and an international business and political economist, explained that this was a far cry from the truth. “I’m not saying she was a saint by any measure. But she certainly was not the monster that people on the left or the religious zealotry have tried to portray her as. She was the sister of the Shah and had a lot of influence as a consequence of being part of the royal family.”

Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi published a piece in Al Jazeera upon hearing of Ashraf’s passing in which he provides his personal perspective on where the ultimate fate of Ashraf’s image will rest.

As a princess, that is where Ashraf Pahlavi is headed: towards the pantheon of a nation’s collective memory, right next to Rudabeh, Farangis, Tahmineh, Gordafarid, or perhaps most appropriately Sudabeh. None of those characters are flat or banal – all are bold and multidimensional.

In Princess Ashraf’s death there is also a moral lesson for the ruling clergy in Iran or for the ruling dynasties anywhere else in the world.

No royal or presidential historian, no official obituary or hostile detractor will ever match the gentle creativity of a nation’s soul that plays with the soft clay of their rulers’ memory to fit them right where they belong – where they can humbly give back to their nation the best they had in them and then take back to their maker the worst of which they were capable.

Ashraf was born on October 26, 1919 to the late monarch Reza Shah. She is survived by her son, Prince Chahram Pahlavi, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Her daughter Azadeh Shafiq Pahlavi passed away in 2011. Ashraf’s other son, Shahriar Shafiq Pahlavi, was assassinated on a Paris street in 1979 by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shahriar’s death haunted her until the final days of her life.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

[NOTE: This post was originally written for Breitbart News and has been reposted on Adelle’s personal blog.]

This Is Not the Time to ‘Put Politics Aside’ America

(This post was originally published on November 2, 2014 by Adelle Nazarian)
Tonight, Anthony Bourdain asked the world to “put politics aside” as he provided viewers with a unique look inside a nation which has one of the richest and oldest cultures in history; a country that is beholden to one of the greatest dichotomies a population can exude. Iranians are extremists alright. Extreme in their ability to open their hearts and homes to complete strangers, yet tied inevitably to a regime which holds oppression at its core; deception is no stranger to this beautiful land which keeps many secrets, including recipes to some of the most delicious food one’s palette can indulge in.

As I watched Bourdain go through the process of sampling foods in Iran that I have grown up eating in America, I didn’t necessarily feel a sense of pride. After all, I AM AN AMERICAN. Then I watched him take a bite into Iranian takeout pizza which was served with ketchup and I seemed to better understand where my love for the great American condiment comes from (“I eat my ketchup with ketchup”). That scene also reminded me of my paternal grandmother’s first few attempts at making pasta, which she fed to me and my two younger siblings with ketchup! I didn’t understand it then, nor did I detest it, but somehow tonight it all seemed to make more sense. Maman Rachel started serving pasta with marinara sauce after that, but I made sure her homemade french fries were also present on Italian night ;).

The loyalty of an Iranian is unparalleled. But their loyalty will forever lie with “Vatan” (homeland). And Iran’s general population knows not the feeling of rejection, abandonment, years of blood, sweat and tears crippling right before their very eyes. That’s the experience my parents’ families had. And it’s precisely the experience that I know will be etched onto my heart in the coming days, months, and years. Especially with midterms just two days away (Nov. 4) and the potentially pivotal presidential election of 2016 drawing near.

Amid calls of “marg bar Umreeka!” (death to America!) and “marg bar Israeel!” (death to Israel!) the civilian population knows that a “friendship with America” is a priceless asset for the land which is home to Cyrus the Great; the king who created the first Charter for Human Rights known to mankind and who is praised in the Torah for bringing an end to the Jewish exile in Babylon.

Yet, as I look at the faces of the men, women and children on the television screen in front of me, listening to their voices crying out in unison “Ay delaam” (oh my heart), my own heart is filled with gratitude to my parents for providing me with the best of both cultures and worlds (Del is one of my nicknames). Yet it hardens as I recall the history behind my own story as a first-generation American whose parents were born in Iran and were forced to flee their homeland in search of a new one. The Iran of today is not the Iran of the Shah…nor is it the Iran of Cyrus the Great.

America is now Albert and Anita’s (dad and mom’s) “vatan.” It has been for the last 40+ years.

My parents chose the United States of America as their new home. They underwent a legal process to arrive in the States and became U.S. citizens soon after.

The chelo kabbab, deezee, beryani, polo, khoresht, and so many other delectable and palatable dishes served on screen were presented in portions that could feed an army twice over; after all, the culture of hospitality is no stranger to the people of Iran. But at the end of the day, it is Iran’s interests that lie at the heart of the Iranian people from start to finish; not America, nor American interests. And at the end of the day, the only way America can carry out its innate responsibility to defend its own people before it takes on its promise to aid the other nations of the world, is through exceptionalism… AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM. What the world needs is another Reagan of our time. Fifty years later, we are faced with another “Time for Choosing.”

No matter how we’d like to paint it, we can’t simply “put politics aside.” This is not the time nor the place to do so. Come November 4, we will all be faced with a choice and must prepare again for a potentially-pivotal election in 2016. Choose America. And choose someone who has America and American exceptionalism at their core. For a strong America leads to a stronger world.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

Young Iranians Express Hope, Fear in Aftermath of Elections

Young Iranians Express Hope, Fear in Aftermath of Elections

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

By Adelle Nazarian

June 16: Iranian supporters of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi stage a protest against presidential election results in Iran. (Photo by AP)

As Iran has been gripped by protest, violence and allegations of vote fraud in the wake of a contentious national election, people around the world are watching — but perhaps none more closely than the young Iranians who helped push voter turnout to record levels.

Some of those young Iranians, in interviews with FOXNews.com, spoke openly about their hopes and fears in the wake of the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s contested victory over reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi.

“My fellow (Iranian) classmates in Turkey were crying when they found out the news,” said Amir Arman, who is a 33-year-old doctoral candidate studying social psychology in Turkey.

He said he wanted Mousavi to win badly.

“Mousavi is not necessarily the best candidate. But he is the least-worst of all four candidates,” Arman said, adding that one of his reasons for backing Mousavi was his fear that the world’s oil reserves are running out. “If Mousavi comes to the stage, he will bring nuclear power to the scene.”

Arman also is concerned about the lack of civil freedoms in Iran and poor management of the government.

Other Iranians gave different reasons for voting for Mousavi.

“If there was a 1 percent, just a 1 percent chance that I could keep Ahmadinejad’s vote from coming up, that’s the chance I took,” said a 27-year-old woman who asked to be indentified only by her first name, Samereh, for fear of retribution.

Samereh, who moved to Shomal from Tehran for work a few months ago, compared the Iranian government to the Taliban. She said people are fed up and willing to die for their country.

Mid-conversation, the Yahoo chat function on her computer started faltering. Minutes later, her connection was lost.

“The government is taking satellites down from peoples’ homes,” she said. “They’re everywhere.”

Masoud, a 27-year-old computer engineer who is fluent in both English and Farsi, also spoke on condition that his last name not be revealed.

He currently is unemployed, which is common among today’s young people in Iran, a sign of less-than-hopeful economic times. Masoud blames Ahmadinejad for this and said that while Ahmadinejad is in office Iran’s “freedom, economic situation and our relation with other countries are getting worse.”

Samereh and Masoud both expressed frustration with Ahmadinejad’s “superstitious” mentality and how he used warnings of foreign threats as a tool to boost himself to the presidency.

“A lot of people voted for him because … they were afraid of Ahmadinejad’s curse,” Samereh said. “They play with peoples’ senses.”

All three Iranians said they are tired of the Islamic republic’s current regime, in particular its mismanagement of the government and the economy.

But in an unprecedented move, Iran’s 12-member Guardian Council announced it will review ballots in a partial recount after what is believed to be the largest voter turnout in Iranian history.

Not all Iranians are optimistic that the outcome will be fair.

“In these times, you can’t trust anyone,” Samereh said.