The maverick conservative politician, Ali Motahhari, in an interview with Mashreq has made a number of important comments relating to the Iranian political scene as he sees it. First he said he accepts the idea of a “deviant current” in the Iranian political establishment and added that he sees Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff at its helm. Motahhari sees Ahmadinejad as complicit and under the sway of Mashaei. Also of note was his belief that the Ahmadinejad administration has been soft on enforcing mandatory veiling, arguing that it has given the impression that there is a disagreement within the ruling establishment over the policy of mandatory veiling.
On the 2009 post-election unrest, known in official circles as “the sedition”, Motahhari said “I believe we all caused the sedition together. I don’t believe at all in a domestic sedition. I don’t believe in a pre-planned sedition; perhaps a number of actions by both sides created the sedition…It wasn’t like a coherent group were after the regime’s overthrow. On the whole, except for groups like Pezhvak and the Hypocrites [MEK], we don’t have groups pursuing the overthrow [of the regime]…In 2009 the political scene was cloudy and many couldn’t identify which side was right…In any case, I don’t believe in domestic seditionist[s]. The Leader [i.e. Khamenei] also one time said “when we say “leaders of the sedition”, we don’t mean individuals inside [the political establishment]”. I don’t believe someone from the outset came with such an intention. I say perhaps we pushed them in the direction of enmity with the regime…In my opinion, the most dangerous threat creating discord…is that we lose our pure intent and worshipping power takes the place of God.”
Regarding Rafsanjani Motahhari stated, “Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] in any case is sympathetic to the revolution. We cannot say he doesn’t want what is good for the revolution. I believe he must be active in the future election. I don’t know what his plan is, but we must accept that our national unity has been damaged…He is someone who has the ability to fix the damage, because he has a social base amongst the different strata of society”.
In another interview with the weekly, Negah-e Panjshanbe, Motahhari has claimed that Ahmadinejad has twice requested that opposition figures, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, be released from house arrest.
Mehr News carries excerpts of an interview with former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani under the headline, “Rafsanjani says he will not run for president”. Some Iranian news outlets had previously reported a conversation between Rafsanjani and former Majles Speaker, Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri, in which the latter insisted the former president run in the upcoming presidential election. Rafsanjani said he would not be running and would prefer to support a younger and more energetic candidate, adding, “it was all talk”.
Mohammadreza Khatami, brother of former President Mohammad Khatami, has told Etemaad that “[the Reformists] will never enter a subversive phase [to overthrow the regime].”
The opposition site associated with the Green Movement, Neda-ye Sabz-e Azadi, has claimed that Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei’s office, has refused President Ahmadinejad’s request for a meeting, after the latter’s controversial press conference, in which he was seen to be attacking most of the political establishment.
Mehr News reports 93 MPs have signed a petition to question President Ahmadinejad over his comments pertaining to the currency crisis.
Commander Jamaleddin Borumand, “Deputy Coordinator of the Revolutionary Guard” has claimed in a press conference this morning, that the threat by a militant group inside Syria to execute a group of Iranians hostages, “is not real” and that “the hostages will be freed”. Members of the Revolutionary Guard are alleged to be amongst the hostages taken.
The Islamic Republic News Agency claims Hugo Chavez’s victory in the Venezuelan presidential election has “provoked the anger of America”.
Commander of Iran’s naval forces, Habibollah Sayyari, has stated that Iran’s “military naval forces are prepared to have a presence in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Southern Indian Ocean and South Pole…on the instruction of the senior authorities”.