Iranian student leader: Bomb Iran

Or, just hook him up with some iPhones. Either way.

Fakhr-Avar believes the revolution can be accomplished within ten months to a year. He does not ask for much from the Americans: “What we really need is the tools,” he says. “Cell phones, computers, cameras, publication ability. This is the funding we need for our (revolutionary) activities, to coordinate within Iran and outside.”…

This is the opportune moment for us to have the population realize that the regime has taken them to neverland basically, they’re heading to annihilation, destruction. People are growing more informed. Khatami never said ‘we must wipe Israel off the face of the earth‘ – while he had that in mind, he never stated it. Now the Iranians know it.

He’s not fond of our friend Mahdi, either.

Ahmadinejad is stupid. We’ve known him for the past 6-7 years from the political arena in Iran. When he was the mayor Tehran his plans were so stupid that people laughed at him. One of them was to pave the roadway that the 12th imam traveled on. He took all the intersections and removed the traffic signals so everyone can go where they want. A few months later they decided it was stupid and put them all back. It cost something like 2 billion dollars.

The Telegraph has the latest in the media’s sudden preoccupation with what a miserable failure Ahmadinejad’s presidency has been. Honest interest in an important story or agenda journalism designed to downplay the Iranian threat before Bush does something crazy? Whichever it is, the regime’s facing an economic crisis that’s going to get even more dire in a few weeks.

Ahmadinejad is planning to introduce petrol rationing at the start of the new Iranian year, in late March. Motorists will be allowed just 100 litres per car, per month, at the existing price of 800 rials (4p), but anything above that will be charged at 5000 rials (27p) a litre. Petrol pumps have had to be changed, at huge expense, to read the new petrol cards which will be used to enforce the rationing, but which few people have yet received.

The fuel price rises are the result of the president’s attempt to cut dependency on foreign imports. Although Iran is OPEC’s second largest producer of oil, it is forced to import 40 per cent of its refined petroleum needs because its own refining facilities were devastated during the war with Iraq.

Businessmen interviewed by The Sunday Telegraph in Tehran, last week, were already wincing at the knock-on effects of the price rise. “This will multiply all other costs, such as taxi fares, transportation and food, because it is a chain reaction,” one warned.

One Middle East expert told Reuters that Iran, for all its terrorist menace, is a paper tiger.

Middle East expert Kenneth Katzman argued “Iran’s ascendancy is not only manageable but reversible” if one understands the Islamic republic’s many vulnerabilities.

Tehran’s leaders have convinced many experts Iran is a great nation verging on “superpower” status, but the country is “very weak … (and) meets almost no known criteria to be considered a great nation,” said Katzman of the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service.

The economy is mismanaged and “quite primitive,” exporting almost nothing except oil, he said.

Also, Iran’s oil production capacity is fast declining and in terms of conventional military power, “Iran is a virtual non-entity,” Katzman added.

The administration, therefore, should not go out of its way to accommodate Iran because the country is in no position to hurt the United States, and at some point “it might be useful to call that bluff,” he said.

Exit question: Who said this about Bush?

“I don’t think he understands the world… I don’t think he’s particularly curious about the world. I don’t think he reads like he says he does.”

He added, “Every time he’s read something he tells you about it, I think.”

Hint: It’s not Ahmadinejad. He wouldn’t be that insulting.