Outspoken conservative Iranian MP Ali Motahari has written a controversial letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in response to the disqualification of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Rafsanani, who is one of the founding members of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was disqualified by the Guardian Council to run for Iran’s presidential elections in June. The decision stunned many and is viewed by some analysts as a sign of Khamenei’s increasing concentration of power.
Commander Yahya Rahim Safavi, advisor to the Supreme Leader and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stated, “the Americans think they must have a presence in West Asia and North Africa to ensure the survival and security of the Zionist regime and to create a strategic rival in confrontation with Iran, this rival is Turkey”.
Referring to a 2012 United States’ National Security Report approved by President Barack Obama, Safavi said, “in this document of the Americans they introduced this as the biggest economic and security threat to America and in this same document Iran is mentioned as a regional threat and they have strengthened the Fifth naval fleet in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean, so they can preserve their dominance in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans and control the global economy and energy”.
Safavi emphasized further, “in regional issues and matters, the Americans don’t want Iran to be the first power of the region, and because of this they created the issues in Syria and with the money of some Arab countries and the politicking of America and deputyship of Turkey, they pursue Syria’s destabilization”.
Commander Yadollah Javani, one of the most vocal members of the Revolutionary Guards and a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has written the lead article in the Guards’ weekly newspaper, Sobh-e Sadegh, by the name of “Is the Slogan of ‘Free Election’ the Code of Another Sedition?”
The article is alluding to statements made by a number of reformist politicians, but also moderate figures such as former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and even incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which they have called on people to be vigilant in order to ensure that a “free election” is held for the Islamic Republic’s presidency this summer.
The suggestion that the election will not be “free” was very quickly rebutted by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as numerous other conservative political figures, and deemed an effort on the part of hostile elements to instil doubt among the populace with respect to the future election’s fairness and trustworthiness.
Below I have provided a translation of some of the more noteworthy excepts of Javani’s essay.
“In 2009 the biggest and most complex conspiracy against the Islamic Revolution and the established religious regime in Iran took place. In this complicated conspiracy, alongside global arrogance under American leadership and the anti-revolutionary movement, forces with a revolutionary past and [once] possessing immense responsibilities in the Islamic regime, had active participation [in this conspiracy]. This conspiracy entered the country into the stage of sedition. The approaches of the movement claiming to be Reformist, in pursuit of political power and adopting a strategy for obtaining executive power in the 2009 election, at any price and [thought] permissible the use of any possible means, tool, and method. The adoption of the same Machiavellian and diabolical politics by some reformists, that sided with foreign enemies and total anti-revolutionaries inside and outside the country … Now that we are on the verge of the 11th presidential election, is it possible in the course of this election (before, during and after the election) another conspiracy and sedition will occur?”
“If in the 2009 election the reformists with the slogans, “the necessity for protection of votes” and the formation of “the committee for the protection of votes,” and ultimately the slogan of “fraud” and the claim of fraud in the election and the manipulation of votes, brought about that great sedition. Is it possible that the slogan of “free election” that now with the space of five months till the election, is proclaimed by some of the domestic political spectrum, accompanied by foreign anti-revolutionaries, is the beginning of a road that will result in another sedition in the 2013 election?”
Javani then explicitly cites the comments of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani preceding the 2009 presidential election in which the latter warned against the manipulation of people’s votes and frontally attacks Rafsanjani, accusing him of preparing the ground for the “great lie” and allegation of electoral fraud. If you recall one of the first and most notable slogans chanted by Mousavi and Karroubi supporters was “Where is My Vote?”
He goes on, “the repetition of the same kind of views with respect to the election and the creation of suspicion regarding its health, was the introduction for the scenario of fraud and expressing that great lie and street campaigns that damaged the security of the country and the credibility of the Islamic regime.”
“Now in the space of the remaining 5 months to the election, a wave both inside and outside the country in a calculated way has been started by the groups, and they have emphasized the word, ‘free election’ and repeat it! When the election in Iran is free in the framework of the law and is healthy, why do a number both inside and outside, repeat ‘the free nature of the election’ in the form of a slogan? Does the regime want to hold an unfree election?”
Javani then goes on to name and cite the comments of several prominent members of the Islamic Republic elite, who have expressed their fears over whether June’s electoral race will be fair. These include former president Mohammad Khatami, former Interior Minister Abdolvahab Mousavi Lari, the head of the Reformist-leaning clerical association, the Association of Combatant Clerics, Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoeiniha, and even Presdient Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The son of the deposed Shah, Reza Pahlavi, also features on the list.
It’s hard to lose sight of the irony of the fact that while Ahmadinejad insisted his own re-election in 2009 was free and fair, a claim disputed by many, he has more recently implied that the next presidential election may well fail to be such. Meanwhile, Supreme Leader Khamenei, and his allies in the Revolutionary Guards, are keen to insist that any suggestion that the election could fail to be anything other than free and fair, is preposterous and another ‘conspiracy’ in the making.
Image of Yadollah Javani via IRNA
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a meeting this morning with members of Iran’s Basij paramilitary force remarked on a number of important issues relating to his previous calls for unity and cooperation among the various branches of government that have been at odds in recent weeks. Of particular note was the fiery exchange of letters between President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani over the former’s desire to visit Evin prison. In the aftermath of that exchange, Khamenei stepped in and in unprecedented fashion said that those who aired their differences publicly before the presidential election scheduled for June 2013 were perpetrating “treason.” In the aftermath of this speech, the three heads of the respective branches, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majles, Sadeq Larijani and Ahmadinejad wrote to the Supreme Leader stating that they would abide by his order.
Nevertheless, Ahmadinejad’s critics in the Majles had petitioned for his being summoned to answer questions in the aftermath of the collapse of the Iranian currency, the rial. The requisite number of signatures were gathered and it seemed that imminently the president would become the first Iranian president to be summoned to answer questions before the Majles for the second time in a single term. As the date of the president’s appearance was to be scheduled in the coming week, Khamenei has stepped in and expressed his opposition to the proposal, again stressing it to be contrary to unity in the face of unparalleled Western pressure against the Islamic Republic.
The head of the Majles Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, has made a number of noteworthy comments in conservation with Khaneh-ye Mellat, the Majles’ news agency, regarding US President Barack Obama and the possibility of negotiations with the United States, saying “if these verbal statements aren’t political, it shows the realistic approach of Washington in the new term of Obama’s presidency.”
Boroujerdi added: “Iran is a country with mastery of nuclear knowledge and has operated persistently in the peaceful framework and seriously disagrees with any kind of tendency to the side of a nuclear bomb.”
Boroujerdi also once against emphasized the importance of sanctions relief, “the official recognition of the right of Iran for the use of peaceful nuclear energy by America can be the important starting point for solving the nuclear problem of several years and following that, in future negotiations the P5+1 must take serious steps for the removal of sanctions.”
Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of the Expedience Discernment Council, has claimed that Obama’s “silence” regarding Israel’s recent military engagement in the Gaza strip is the outcome of an “[pre]electoral agreement” with Israel.
Majles Commission blames government and Central Bank over drug shortages
Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of the Commission for Health and Medicine has criticized the government over the fact that despite the increase in its budget after subsidies reform, the health and medicine budget with the existence of high levels of inflation has decreased by 6%. Shahriari also plainly stated that “the Central Bank in recent months has not allocated any currency for the health part [of the budget].”
Shahriari added: “We are always witness to the increase in the construction budget for different parts of the country, but the government has paid no attention to the domain of health and medicine.”
Shahriari emphasized that in the last six months the Central Bank has allocated “virtually no currency” for the health and medicine budget and the import of medicines, saying “the mismanagement of the Central Bank was the primary factor of the problems for the allocation of currency.”
As an example of the considerable increase in the prices of several treatments in his public report to the Majles he stated that the price of syringe angiographies have increased by 245%, radiological film has increased in price by 249%, electroshock therapy by 289%, helium gas by 667%, and dialysis sets by 352%.
Addressing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Shahriari commented, “from the 6,000 billion tomans in the targeted subsidies reform law which should have been designated to the health [budget], no amount has been fulfilled … Unfortunately the government only proclaims slogans and must apportion credit for these slogans and the government has shirked [its duties]. Certainly individuals who need cancer drugs and [it is] imperative, today do not have appropriate access to these drugs.”
Petraeus and the perils of Gmail
Fars News has attempted to use David Petraeus’ resignation over having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell to claim Google’s Gmail service is “not safe.” The article claims that anonymity cannot be guaranteed, even under a pseudonym, and that past e-mails and chats even if deleted will be kept on a separate server and will still be able to be accessed. The article also claims that the access of the American government to the accounts of Google users is expanding. It also cites Petraeus’ and Broadwell’s use of Gmail’s draft function to message one another, without actually e-mailing one another and this too, says the article, has ultimately proven insecure as well.
Mashaei for president?
According to the Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Bashgah-e Khabarnegaran-e Javan, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office has once again rejected rumors that the president’s controversial chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, will run for president in April 2013.
This rejection has been released amidst rumors that Mashaei in a meeting with Mazandaranis (Iranians from the northern province of Mazandaran where Mashaei happens to be from) living in Tehran, said that he will enter the race and that “no one can prevent my candidacy.” He is also alleged to have said: “I am ready for martyrdom.” Asr-e Iran, which published the story also quote Mashaei as saying, “We have been constantly active for seven years and we won’t give the eleventh government that easily to [Mohammad Baqir] Qalibaf [that is, the mayor of Tehran].”
Mohammad Sadeq Kharazi, who served twice as Iran’s deputy foreign minister and as its ambassador to Paris and the UN, and who is also known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has discounted the prospect of negotiations with the United States until after the June 2013 presidential election, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves office. Kharazi was also reported to have been highly involved in Iran’s so-called offer of a “grand bargain“ to the United States via the Swiss embassy in 2003, which was dismissed by the administration of George W. Bush.
Kharazi made his comments at the 19th meeting of “Iranian Diplomacy.”
His speech reproduced on his website, Iran Diplomacy, makes interesting reading, in particular his significant praise for US President Barack Obama and his administration. Continue reading
Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s advisor on international affairs, has denied rumours which have been the object of much discussion regarding his alleged secret visit to the United States to pursue direct negotiations with the United States, calling the rumours a “baseless lie”. As the Reformist daily Etemaad states Velayati was the first to rebut President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments regarding the prospect of establishing relations with the United States on the latter’s most recent trip to address the UN General Assembly, stating that any such decision is strictly the prerogative of Iran’s Supreme Leader. In an interview with Mashreq, reprinted by Etemaad Velayati also called Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s performance in the debates “clumsy” arguing that President Obama seems “further ahead” in his approach to Iran.
The story itself seems to be a leak attempting to embarrass Velayati, possibly ‘payback’ for his forceful rebuttal of the president, by individuals close to Ahmadinejad. The rumour was also picked up by opposition website Kaleme and similarly used to decry the disparity between the Conservative establishment’s public statements and private activities. On the whole, both analysts and media outlets have come to the conclusion that the rumour and particularly many of the details do not make much sense and seem inconsistent with the Islamic Republic’s standard diplomatic modus operandi.
Amid rumours originating on the opposition website affiliated with Mir Hossein Mousavi Kaleme, about Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s trusted advisor Ali Akbar Velayati’s secret visit to the United States with Hossein Taeb, former head of the Basij militia and incumbent chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Bureau, Baztab-e emruz, close to former IRGC commander and presidential hopeful Mohsen Rezaei, comments:
“In the language of diplomacy dialogue and negotiations are different and [dialogue] is counted as an introduction for [negotiations]. The most optimistic view of that rumour [i.e. that Velayati visited the U.S. to pursue negotiations] is that Velayati wasn’t there, someone else was, it wasn’t in America, but somewhere else, Taeb wasn’t there at all, nor were there negotiations, there was dialogue and it didn’t result in agreement”.
Controversial hardline parliamentarian, Ruhollah Hosseinian, has told Mehr News that two groups are trying their utmost to ensure that President Ahmadinejad’s government comes to an end before his second term officially ends. The two groups in question, according to Hosseinian are the “seditionists”, which is a broad reference for the Green Movement and its Reformist sympathisers, but also “those inside the regime who support the seditionists”, sometimes referred to as the “silent seditionists”, which are said to include Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and his Deputy, Mohammadreza Bahonar, two Principalist politicians who were reported to have congratulated opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi for winning the 2009 presidential election. Other Conservative politicians who are deemed to not have condemned the uprising of 2009 with sufficient severity also fall into this category. He stressed that Ahmadinejad’s opponents endeavour to anger the president, so as to provoke and “abuse” his main “weakness”, his “bad temper” and “stubbornness”, which is not expedient for the country.
Hosseinian also expressed his disagreement with the President being summoned before parliament to answer questions on his government’s role in the on-going economic crisis.
Despite the Judiciary’s ‘confidential’ letter to President Ahmadinejad’s request to visit Evin prison as “inexpedient”, the president has not only published the confidential letter in question by Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani, but also gone as far as to publicly declaim via the presidential office’s news outlet that he has no need for the judiciary’s permission if he so chooses to visit the notorious jail, which currently houses most of Iran’s high profile political prisoners, including his ally and press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
Ahmadinejad has been criticized by much of the Iranian press, both hardline and Reformist, who claim rather than address the dire economic situation, he would prefer to stir up controversy by insisting on a visit to Evin jail, against the advisement of the judiciary.
Ahmadinejad’s relations with Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, and the head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, have long been fraught with tensions and have been progressively deteriorating in recent months.
Comments by Ali Larijani carried by Arman, close to former President Rafsanjani, seem to imply that Larijani sought to end the vicious circle of mutual recrimination because of the “conditions of the country” by cancelling a press conference in which Larijani intended to reply to the president’s direct attack made during the latter’s controversial press conference held on 2nd October.