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Old June 15, 2009, 07:38 PM   #1
mickeyhinesss
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Iranian gun rights

Tried to research it a bit and couldn't really find anything, but what is the gun ownership situation in Iran? It's easy to say the public can't have guns but you see in so many of these Middle East countries people with guns in militias and the like. I sort of infer that there is gun ownership rights for the ruling class but don't know. It's a good case study. The government appears to run rough shod over everyone including the foreign press booting them out of the country. The Iranian government can now impose its will in the worst way against the people. This couldn't happen in an armed society.
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Old June 16, 2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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It would make little difference if the people in Iran were armed. They would be little more than a nuisance to the Iranian military.

In fact it might give the Iranian government cover to just start killing people en masse. "Well we had to put down the armed resistance"

It really boils down to the number of people that turn out to protest not the number of guns they have.
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Old June 16, 2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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...but you see in so many of these Middle East countries people with guns in militias and the like.
Be careful applying generalizations to Iran based on the rest of the Middle East. Iran is Persian, not Arab. This may seem like splitting hairs to many Americans, but the two cultures are very different, and Iran is very different than most Arab countries.

Iran has traditionally had a well-established civil society and a strong central government. On the other hand, most areas throughout the Arabian peninsula, the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, and the Hindu Kush have historically been ruled by loose-knit networks of feudal warlords and tribal leaders who may have paid tribute to a distant monarch but who really didn't answer to anyone on a practical day-to-day basis. The modern-day Islamic militias are an extension of this culture and only exist because the central governments in some of these countries have historically been weak and impotent.

The Persians nee Iranians have historically viewed these people and this system as a dire threat. They may support militias in other countries for political reasons, but they would never allow them to exist within Iran.
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Old June 16, 2009, 02:15 PM   #4
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Interesting question as it speaks to the idea that the armed populace is a bulwark against tyranny. Or is it that if the level of discontent rises to such a level and infiltrates the government's instruments of force (military and police) such that they won't take action against the public?

There are examples of that. In the first Iranian revolution - the armed forces didn't back the Shah. In the overthrow of the Soviet Union - the same happened.

It is not uncommon when using armed force against political demonstrators to get units not associated with the protestors - from another region or social class. In Ohio, at the time of Kent State - some of the National Guard units made up of college kids told their officers that if they were told to fire on other college kids, it might not go well for the officers. Remember a fair number of them were in the Guard to beat the draft.
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Old June 16, 2009, 03:24 PM   #5
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The modern-day Islamic militias are an extension of this culture and only exist because the central governments in some of these countries have historically been weak and impotent.
You will notice there is only one militia mentioned in Iran and it is very closely tied to the government. I would guess it is more closely related to some sort of extremist cross between the VFW and national guard than what we would consider a militia.

A five mile stretch of protesters reported today.
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Old June 16, 2009, 04:17 PM   #6
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Rights under a dictatorship? Sounds like an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms. I suspect the politically reliable-the police, Komiteh, Revolutionary Guards, etc., all have access to firearms but not the masses.
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Old June 16, 2009, 05:33 PM   #7
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You will notice there is only one militia mentioned in Iran and it is very closely tied to the government. I would guess it is more closely related to some sort of extremist cross between the VFW and national guard than what we would consider a militia.
Just to clarify, I was talking about militias that exist outside government control and may even act as a parallel government, along the lines of Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Mahdi Army. The Iranian militia- name of which I have forgotten- is more of a government-sponsored paramilitary than these organizations.
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Rights under a dictatorship? Sounds like an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms.
Iran is not a classic dictatorship. It has a constitution, an elected legislature, and an elected president; after all, the past week's problems are due to a disputed presidential election. It also has a tradition of rule of law and a basic framework of human rights, although those rights are generally not compatible with Western ideas of civil rights. In fact, the main impetus behind the Islamic Revolution was to reestablish civil rights and the rule of law, since the Shah, who was a classic dictator, had thrown both out the window.

Although the Supreme Leader can overrule or even remove the President and the Guardian Council (which is appointed by the Supreme Leader) can overrule the legislature, the President and the legislature seem to have more independence than this system would initially suggest. In fact, the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council have indicated that they are going to intervene in the dispute about the election, and have hinted that President Ahmadinejad may have overstepped his authority.
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Old June 16, 2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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I heard an Iranian in Denver interviewed on the radio who had twice today talked with his family in Iran.

When asked why there was not more resistance, he replied private ownership of any firearms in strictly prohibited in Iran.

Only security guards, police and military can have them. He went on to say this happened many years ago....and to be sure and not let it happen in the USA !

He said the Iranian Military was on the peoples side and had agreed to remain neutral. The Other Army is under the control of the Iatollas...who need to go.
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Old June 16, 2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote: It would make little difference if the people in Iran were armed. They would be little more than a nuisance to the Iranian military.

In fact it might give the Iranian government cover to just start killing people en masse. "Well we had to put down the armed resistance"

It really boils down to the number of people that turn out to protest not the number of guns they have.

I don't know about that. Surely the Iranian military is made up of at least some folks with the same mores and values as the populace. I would bet it is one heck of a lot harder to be sent to "deal with" folks who you may deep down agree with especially if there is a chance you could die for a cause you aren't all the way on board with. After they initially shoot up a crowd, going house to house to route out trouble makers is much tougher if they are armed.

I've heard this argument before that the military will just run rough shod over an armed populace. People automatically assume that the military members will stay in lock step with their command. Taking on an unarmed people makes it much easier to stay in lock step.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mickeyhinesss
Surely the Iranian military is made up of at least some folks with the same mores and values as the populace.
Are you sure?

Western culture is radically different from that of the Persians. Or most any other middle eastern culture, if you really want to make comparisons. The entire western concept of "rights" and "individuality" is foreign to their thinking.

See here for a list rights contained in Chapter III of the Iranian Constitution. Read it closely, to see what I mean.
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Old June 17, 2009, 05:43 AM   #11
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He said the Iranian Military was on the peoples side and had agreed to remain neutral.
How chicken**** of them. They'll remain safely neutral while the foreign Hamas thugs kill and brutalize the people whose side they claim they're on.

Hopefully the citizens will come to realize that now is their moment, and that they may never have another chance in this generation or the next to stand together with a dozen other freedom-loving people to yank a baton-wielding jackbooted totalitarian thug off of his motorcycle and snap his f---ing neck.
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Old June 17, 2009, 04:58 PM   #12
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Second, even if defeated electorally, the Islamists and their regimes have a trump card: guns. Guns trump cellphones. Bang-bang beats tweet-tweet. The Sunni Awakening in Iraq succeeded because the moderates there were armed. I doubt Ahmadinejad will go peacefully.
This from Thomas Friedman of the NY Times. Does it sound like an endorsement of the 2nd Amend.'s purpose? I wanted to comment but comments were closed.

The Times is usually horrified at the idea of the 2nd, so I find this statement so sweet.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/op...ml?ref=opinion
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Old June 17, 2009, 09:47 PM   #13
mickeyhinesss
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I don't read the Times much but Friedman seems a little more main stream than Rich, Dowd and Krugman. Even so it is strange to see a columnist from the NYT follow that line of thinking. That's a funny line "bang bang beats tweet tweet".
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Old June 17, 2009, 09:51 PM   #14
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Surely the Iranian military is made up of at least some folks with the same mores and values as the populace.
True. Here's the thing that many commentators seem to be forgetting to mention: Ahmadinejad controls the police, but the military is controlled by the Guardian Council. From what I can tell, this structure was written into the Iranian Constitution as a check on the power of both agencies. It probably also explains why Ahmadinejad seems to be showing some degree of restraint in breaking up the protests. There has been no sign of an all-out Tianamen Square-style crackdown as yet.

It's going to be really interesting to see how this shakes out.
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Old June 17, 2009, 10:17 PM   #15
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An armed populace uprising and a military coup are different and independant things.

An armed populace is not necessary for the military to revolt.
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Old June 21, 2009, 11:24 PM   #16
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The question asked was:
Quote:
what is the gun ownership situation in Iran?
The best recent data I know of on that is from a recent paper by David Kopel et al published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics.*

For Iran, the number is 0.053 firearms per citizen, about the same as the UK. Israel is only 0.081, Switzerland and Finland approximately 0.5 while the US tops the list of 59 nations at 0.90 firearms per citizen.

Download the paper at the link below if you are interested in more data from this very useful journal article.

* Is There a Relationship between Guns and Freedom? Comparative Results from 59 Nations, David B. Kopel, Carlisle E. Moody, and Howard Nemerov; December 23, 2008, Texas Review of Law and Politics, Vol. 13.
Abstract: There are 59 nations for which data about per capita gun ownership are available. This Article examines the relationship between gun density and several measures of freedom and prosperity...
http://ssrn.com/abstract=1090441

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Old June 22, 2009, 11:02 AM   #17
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Arms Caches In Iran

In a weak moment, I suppose, an Iranian-Canadian friend of mine disclosed that (some? most? all? He didn't elaborate.) mosques have arms caches buried on the property just waiting for the right moment.
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Old June 22, 2009, 11:21 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
Interesting question as it speaks to the idea that the armed populace is a bulwark against tyranny. Or is it that if the level of discontent rises to such a level and infiltrates the government's instruments of force (military and police) such that they won't take action against the public?
Good question Glenn. I am inclined to believe the former rather than the latter of that question. Somalia has an armed populace and certainly a lot of tryanny too. In many ofthe revolutions I have read about (like the Russian Revolution of 1917) when the military refuses to fire on the demonstrators the game is up pretty much.

Some believe that an armed unorganized untrained populace can defeat a well-trained army but I don't think history shows that. The one thing that I haven't read a lot about is whether there is truly a majority who is dissatisfied or is it just the middle class? Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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Old June 22, 2009, 11:47 AM   #19
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How chicken**** of them. They'll remain safely neutral while the foreign Hamas thugs kill and brutalize the people whose side they claim they're on.
Of all the nonsense and misinformation that has come out of the whole Iranian debacle, the Hamas story is by far dumbest. If you believe that then you have a very bleak understanding of the situation in Gaza....

As for private gun ownership in the Middle East, in most countries in requires allot of money or knowing the right people. These are countries with governments who control the entire country. There are allot of places (Yemen) that have strict gun laws but open air gun markets. In Egypt, it is very hard to get a permit for a pistol but in the desert, among the Sinai Bedouin, is a heavily armed population. The government knows but really cant do anything about it.

As for the Iranian situation, I believe the arms would do nothing to further their cause at this point. Like another poster said, it would just give the government the excuse they are looking for. Their is an armed Militia operational within Iran, actually two. There is the MEK or Peoples Mujahidin and another Kurdish group. Neither of which have any interest in supporting Hossein Mousavi, who answers to the same guy as Ahmadinjad. Other than those too, its pretty much the army and the revolutionary guard.

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Old June 22, 2009, 01:08 PM   #20
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How chicken**** of them. They'll remain safely neutral while the foreign Hamas thugs kill and brutalize the people whose side they claim they're on.
Be careful. If you don't let a group remain neutral, don't be surprised if they side with your opposition. The army says it is on the side of the people, but if push comes to shove, that is not 100% certain.

Hamas involvement is unlikely and largely rumor. There appears to be some Lebanese Hizbullah involvement though.
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Old June 22, 2009, 01:37 PM   #21
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Just a warning - don't try to avoid the language filter. No %_#)# stuff.

Also, I've been reading the 'experts' and my conclusion (which some experts have) is we have no idea how this will play out. Esp. the American based experts and politicians who are trying to score points with their brillant analyses on various cable shows.

I'm sure before the French Revolution - no one would have predicted the King and Queen would end up without their heads and a few years latter France would try to conquer Europe.
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Old June 22, 2009, 01:48 PM   #22
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There appears to be some Lebanese Hizbullah involvement though.
While very unnecessary it is far more likely than a bunch of Hamas members getting on a plane and flying out of the country. Egypt is just as if not more so intolerant of Hamas than Israel. Hamas members can go to Cairo for Israel sanction talks with Egyptian and PA official but thats it.

I think that this uprising will fizzle out or just be repressed. Any military action from outside countries will wash away any "progress". I think its best third party countries not meddle to much and let this play out. As for rights, I'm sure once this is over, the Iranians will lose allot of them.
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Old June 22, 2009, 02:09 PM   #23
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I think it is interesting how our media is hyping it as an oncoming massive revolution. Both the left and right wing cable types see it this way, but I think the fizzle is probably the best bet. But what do I know.
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Old June 22, 2009, 02:17 PM   #24
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I think it is interesting how our media is hyping it as an oncoming massive revolution. Both the left and right wing cable types see it this way, but I think the fizzle is probably the best bet. But what do I know.
Seems you know about as much as the Mossad because that is their assesment.

But those are the same people who said Iraq had the bomb so what do they know.
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Old June 22, 2009, 03:35 PM   #25
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Well, I'm currently listening to Daniel Silva's Israeli Secret agent books on CD when I drive, so I am probably a spy master of international scope.
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