Iranians compete for ‘Down With USA Great Award’ in nationwide essay contest

Reza Kahlili Contributor
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The backlash against the Iranian government’s push for better relations with America to achieve concessions on sanctions continued to grow Wednesday among elements of the regime.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and its affiliate organizations have set up an international festival under the title of “Down With USA Great Award” to coincide with other events marking the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy.

Participants are to submit essays in several categories, including “Why Death to America?” “America and Human Rights,” “America and Oppression,” “The False Democracy in America,” “America in the Hands of Worldwide Zionism,” “America and Iran Fear-mongering,” and “America and Dictatorship,” an Islamic regime media outlet, Tasnim, announced Wednesday.

The festival’s official website,, says participants must submit their work within 30 days with winners to be announced in early December. Tens of thousands of dollars are to be awarded to the winners.

Sponsors include Tasnim news agency, Hezbollah Cyber, Nasr Tv, Besharat and Seraj Cyberspace — all under the influence of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit.

The organizers have also arranged for a mass rally at the U.S. embassy site in Tehran on Saturday, Nov. 2, to support the effort to combat America and chant “Death to America.”

The event’s main speaker will be a former commander of the Guards, Hassan Abbasi, one of the most radical members of the regime who has publicly called for jihad on America. Abbasi has stated that regime operatives are in position in the United States and have done reconnaissance on more than 800 strategic targets to attack should America take military action against Iran over its illicit nuclear program.

Cleric Ali Saeidi, the supreme leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, in a speech reported by Fars News Agency Wednesday, clearly diminished any hope for better relations with the U.S., referring to America as a system that has established itself for 200 years of oppression and rape of other nations.

“Our problem with America is not only the nuclear issue but a series of problems exist which simply the Americans will not step back from and nor will we, meaning there will be a stalemate,” he said.

As reported on Oct. 7, the Revolutionary Guards, in an effort to emphasize the Islamic Republic’s view of the United States as the “Great Satan,” has scheduled mass rallies to be held across Iran to shout “Death to America” and assail worldwide Zionism on the anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover of Nov.. 4, 1979. That announcement was made by Brig. Gen. Seyyed Masoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of the Joint Armed Forces Headquarters.

“The crimes of leaders of America and international Zionism in their confrontation with the Iranian nation will never be erased from the public’s memory,” he said.

Revolutionary Guard commanders have voiced their resentment and anger at any meaningful effort at rapprochement with the U.S. since the brief phone conversation between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last month.

Rouhani’s government hopes to lure the Obama administration with the hopes of better relations in order to relieve sanctions without giving up much of its illicit nuclear program, according to a source within the regime’s intelligence ministry who cannot be named for security reasons. However, even a small diversion from radical views on the surface cannot be explained to the loyal forces and therefore the regime is walking on thin ice, he said.

The Obama administration is engaged in negotiations with the Rouhani government, believing there could be a political solution to the Islamic Republic’s goal of achieving nuclear weapons, although it denies any such intention.

Talks were held last week in Geneva between Iran and the world 5+1 powers with a new round of talks to take place on Nov. 7-8. Reports indicate that the Obama administration might possibly allow the Islamic regime access to billions of dollars in frozen assets — just as Iran is on the verge of an economic meltdown — if the regime scales back its nuclear program.

Despite several United Nations resolutions and sanctions by the U.N., and the United States and European Union demanding a halt to Iran’s illicit nuclear program, the Islamic regime has significantly expanded the program and currently has over 19,000 centrifuges, with enough enriched uranium for more than six nuclear bombs. At the same time, it has amassed over a thousand ballistic missiles and is working on intercontinental ballistic missiles in collaboration with North Korea.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray“ (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).

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Reza Kahlili