I was fascinated by Sadegh Ghotbzadeh. He was all over US television in the late 70's, urbane, witty, perfect English and the Iranian face seen by most Americans.
He was spokesman for everything.
He was also consumed by the revolution, tortured, forced to give false testimony, tried and shot. He has no grave and precious little video to recall who he was.
Once again Iranian Revolution stands.
No wishful thinking will make it go away. There is no internal actor tall enough, broad enough and bulletproof enough to make it go away. Obama may be as surprised as was poor old Sadegh at the enduring power of the mullacracy in Iran. He shouldn't be, but once again in his short rookie presidency he will have to backtrack on his new hopeful and changed way of doing business.
A Little history on Sadegh Ghotbzadeh
Around the World; Iran Legislator Accuses Ghotbzadeh of a Plot
Published: April 16, 1982
Teheran newspapers quoted a member of the Iranian Parliament today as having said that former Foreign Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh had planned to blow up Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's house with rockets.
The legislator, Movahed Savoji, was quoted as having told a rally in the city of Qum on Wednesday that the former minister had rented a house 150 yards from the Ayatollah's residence for that purpose.
Mr. Ghotbzadeh was arrested in Teheran last week and Iranian judicial authorities have accused him of leading a monarchist group plotting to kill Ayatollah Khomeini. According to the newspapers, Mr. Savoji said the monarchist group under Mr. Ghotbzadeh's direction had placed explosives in the house that were meant to go off before the rocket attack.
Mohsen Rezai, commander of Revolutionary Guards who arrested Mr. Ghotbzadeh in his house, said the former Foreign Minister had been arrested while smoking opium, the newspapers said. Mr. Ghotbzadeh faces a firing squad if convicted in the plot.
As a student Ghotbzadeh was active in the Student Confederation of Iran. He attended Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service 1959-1963, but was dismissed before graduating due to his skipping studies and exams to lead protests against the government of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, including storming a posh party put on by the Iranian Ambassador to the United States, the son-in-law of the Shah.
He was a supporter of the National Front of Iran and the Freedom Movement of Iran and was a close aide of Ayatollah Khomeini when Khomeini was in exile in France. He accompanied Khomeini on his travel back to Iran on February 1, 1979. After the Islamic Revolutionaries took power, Ghotbzadeh was appointed as managing director of National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT) and tried to overhaul it to be in line with Islamic teachings, purging royalist, women, and leftists. This was criticised by a group of Iranian intellectuals and also the Interim Government. He was appointed as Foreign Minister after Abolhassan Banisadr resigned as acting Foreign Minister amid heated disputes on the fate of the American hostages. He was "quoted by Agence France Presse saying that he had information that presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was `trying to block a solution` to the hostage crisis. ... Two friends of Ghotbzadeh who spoke to him frequently during this period said that he insisted repeatedly that the Republicans were in contact with elements in Iran to try to block a hostage release." He later resigned when his diplomatic approach to resolve the crisis ended in a deadlock.
 Arrest and execution
In April 1982, he was arrested along with a group of army officers and clerics (including son-in-law of religious leader Ayatollah Kazem Shariatmadari), all accused of plotting the assassination of Khomeini and the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. He denied the accusations but confirmed the existence of a plot to change the government, then led by Ali Khamenei as President. Ghotbzadeh's confessions came only after severe torture on the part of the Iranian government.
Further rumors include the story that Ayatollah Khomeini initially did not want to execute Ghotbzadeh; he was persuaded to do so after hearing a tape of Ghotbzadeh in prison agreeing to pay money and provide contact information of his allies in France in exchange for his freedom. Ghotbzadeh supposedly told this to a fellow prisoner specifically hired to entrap him. The veracity of these rumors is unknown.
At an April 1982 "press conference", hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Reyshahri, the chief judge of the newly created Military Revolutionary Tribunal, explained the plot with "an elaborate chart full of boxes and arrows linking Qotbzadeh and the royalist officers, on one side, to `the feudalists, the leftist mini-groups, and the phony clerics` and other side, to the `National Front, Israel, the Pahlavis and the Socialist International.` The last four were linked to the CIA."
Ghotbzadeh was shot by a firing squad after a 26-day trial before the Military Revolutionary Tribunal found him guilty and sentenced him to death
June 14, 2009
The West fooled itself Iran would allow reform
Amir Taheri Times on line
Barack Obama found it “exciting” and Hillary Clinton saw it as “a positive sign”. Others, like Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US national security adviser, went further and praised it as a “vibrant democracy”. A variety of useful idiots at home and abroad expressed similar illusions about the Iranian presidential election on Friday.
Many had hoped the exercise would dislodge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the maverick who has vowed to chase the United States out of the Middle East, wipe Israel off the map and prepare the ground for the hidden imam, Shi’ite Islam’s “end of times” figure of retribution. In the event, the election turned out to be a choreographed affair designed to reinforce Ahmadinejad’s position as the leader of “resurgent Islam”.
Officially put at 85%, voter turnout was the highest in Iran’s history. Ahmadinejad won with 63%, collecting more votes than any of his predecessors. The results were arranged to give him a two-thirds majority among all categories of voters – men, women, young and old, poor and middle class, and in all of Iran’s 30 provinces. Whoever wrote the script also made sure that his three rivals, all veterans of the Khomeinist revolution, were roundly defeated even in their respective home towns.
Only one candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, the former prime minister, has tried to contest the results. Some analysts had tipped Mousavi, a cousin of the “supreme guide” Ali Khamenei, as the likely winner and the ideal partner for President Obama in his quest for unconditional talks with Iran. By midday Saturday it was clear that Mousavi would not try to rock the boat. Rather than calling his supporters into the streets, he wrote a letter to his cousin, pleading for “action to avoid injustice”. Ahmadinejad’s camp responded by announcing a rally in Tehran today to celebrate his victory.
Ahmadinejad’s narrative was simple. He presented himself as a man of the people with a mission to restore the purity of a revolution sullied by corruption and hypocrisy. He portrayed a ruling elite that spoke of the “downtrodden” but lived in palaces, of mullahs who spoke more of contracts and deals than of faith and doctrine.
Branded “a dangerous masquerade” by Mousavi, Friday’s election should end illusions about the possibility of changing the regime’s strategy through internal evolution and peaceful action. Ever since the mullahs seized power in 1979, Iran has suffered a crisis of identity, torn between its ambitions as a force for messianic revolution on the one hand and its interests as a nation-state on the other. Mousavi had incarnated the hope of Iran reaffirming its identity as a nation-state. Ahmadinejad’s victory symbolises the determination to emphasise the revolutionary aspect of Iran’s identity, even if that means sacrificing some of its interests as a nation-state. Iran may continue behaving like a cause rather than a country.
Ahmadinejad will have to cope with the deep divisions in the ruling establishment that he has brought to the surface. During his campaign he portrayed the terms of his two predecessors, Mohammad Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani, as “murky periods” when some mullahs and their associates “plundered” the nation’s wealth and kowtowed to “imperialist powers”.
The president has a mandate to purge the regime of its allegedly corrupt elements who tried to form a united front to defeat him. By focusing on an internal purge, Ahmadinejad may want to ease tension on the foreign policy front.
The United States under Obama is bending over backwards to open a dialogue with the Islamic republic. In his Cairo “address to the Muslim world”, Obama implicitly accepted Iran’s right to seek a nuclear capability. “No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons,” he said. Since then Obama and Hillary Clinton, his secretary of state, have tried to repackage the Iranian nuclear issue not as a problem in itself but because it might trigger “a nuclear arms race in the Middle East”.
It is possible that Ahmadinejad, radical rhetoric notwithstanding, may try to ease tension with Washington provided he is allowed to pursue his nuclear ambitions. Days before the election he dispatched Manouchehr Mottaki, his foreign minister, to Paris to ask President Sarkozy to broker a telephone conversation between Obama and the Iranian leader. Paris and Washington dismissed it as “electoral opportunism”.
Ahmadinejad has won a massive victory over his rivals in the Establishment. But the Khomeinist regime remains deeply unpopular, especially among young Iranians, who account for two-thirds of the population. Yesterday Tehran and other cities witnessed antiregime demonstrations, mostly young people shouting, “Shame on you Ahmadinejad! Quit the government!” Although small and isolated, these protests could in time grow into a mass movement. Iran is also heading for economic meltdown, with a daily loss of 1,000 jobs and inflation of more than 20%. Ahmadinejad’s election slogan is “Ma mitavanim” (We can), like Obama’s “Yes we can”. Iran’s leader has been true to his slogan by showing he can fix the election results to the last detail. But can he cope with a restive population, a divided establishment and an economy heading for deep recession?
Amir Taheri is an Iranian journalist and author