Returning from a five-day trip to New York for the UN General Assembly and a historic phone call with US President Barack Obama, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was greeted by his own supporters and attacked by Basiji students, who threw eggs and shoes at his motorcade.
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 Ali Khamenei told participants at an event titled “Professors of the Universities of the Islamic World and the Islamic Awakening” that, “We don’t agree with a human being’s nose being bloodied and it pains us, [but] that person who has dragged Syria into civil war and fratricide is culpable.”
Khamenei added, “In the case of Bahrain, we are faced with the silence of the Islamic world.”
Deputy Foreign Minister for Consulate Affairs Hassan Ghashghavi has denied that Iran’s consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, has been closed. The consulate had been attacked by some 200 Afghan citizens as a result of the alleged killing of 13 Afghan nationals by Iranian security forces while they were attempting to cross the border into Iran.
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.
President Ahmadinejad yesterday wrote a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying “he is sure that [the Supreme Leader] disagrees with the President’s powers being tampered with”. The letter followed those of Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, and Judiciary Chief, Sadeq Larijani, pledging to abide by Khamenei’s order to refrain from publicly airing the differences between the heads of the respective branches of government. Ahmadinejad’s letter has already been depicted as audacious, particularly when compared with the subdued and compliant tone of Ali and Sadeq Larijani’s letters to the Supreme Leader.
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 Saedi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, in an exclusive interview with the Reformist daily Etemaad has said of the President, “we didn’t have occult foreknowledge to know what is going through the mind of Mr. Ahmadinejad and in the future what he will want to do ”. The interview is fairly long, but several key comments are highlighted.
“Incidentally, I told Ahmadinejad his problem to his face. I told him you could have become an historic hero of the nation of Iran, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. It doesn’t get any worse than you turning all the people who were your supporters into your opponents”.
Fars News covers China’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Hong Lei’s comments and criticism of the lastest push by the EU to increase sanctions against Iran.
Fars News, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, claims in its headline that Hong Lei dubbed the sanctions “illegal” on the basis of a Reuters report from earlier today. However nowhere in the Reuters report does the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman call the sanctions “illegal”. He states they pose an obstacle to solving the nuclear stand off, but does not call them “illegal”.
Fars News and a number of other Iranian news sites were caught out last month plagiarising a fake poll from the U.S. based satirical news site, The Onion.
Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made an official visit to northern Khorasan and in a meeting with regional clergymen stressed the pivotal role of the clerical institution and its institutions of learning, calling them “the soldiers of the regime; nowhere can they imagine themselves separate from the regime”.
The comments were interesting insofar as the growing power of the military and Revolutionary Guards at the expense of the clergy has long been subject to speculation by Iran watchers and analysts.
The Iranian theocracy’s increasingly bold attempts to challenge the quietist clergy in Iraq and elsewhere might also be taken into consideration. Khamenei went as far as to invoke the authority of Shi’ism’s Grand Ayatollahs or Sources of Emulation, stating that “they reckon weakening of the regime absolutely religiously forbidden (haram).”
Regarding the mounting pressure on Iran as a result of punitive sanctions over its nuclear programme Khamenei stated, “Today like the war between groups in the Prophet’s time, all the enemies of the nation of Iran at the regional and international level have joined hands, to break the resistance and steadfastness of this nation. The believers [in the Prophet’s time] did not give in to fear and doubt and the nation of Iran in the struggle to increase its power and ability has also stood against pressures”.
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.”