Ahmadinejad Reminded of Fate of Exiled First President

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A documentary about the first president of the Islamic Republic made by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is said to have a “lesson” for the current president, according to prominent political figure from the traditional right.

Habibollah Asgarowladi made the comment at a parliament session yesterday regarding the film “An Inauspicious End,” about Abulhassan Banisadr, the first president of Iran after the 1979 revolution. The film, which used archival footage and interviews of prominent political figures today in the Islamic Republic, aired on Iran’s Channel One (shabeke yek) on Sunday night.

Banisadr became the first president after the revolution on Feb. 4, 1980. Although he had close relations with Ayatollah Khomeini when both were active in France organizing  against the Shah of Iran, they had a falling out over the division of power once Khomeini became Supreme Leader and Banisadr became president. On June 4, 1981 Banisadr was impeached and he fled a month later to Paris, where he still lives.

In response to the film, Asgarowladi said that watching “the entanglements between Banisadr and Imam Khomeini it was a translation of today and for the political figures, especially the executive branch, it should serve as a cautionary lesson.” His obvious reference was to President Ahmadinejad who has repeatedly challenged Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in his second term as president.

Asgarowladi’s comments received extensive coverage on Iranian websites.

Mehr News Agency also ran an extensive piece on Banisadr titled “The End of an Ungrateful President” in which they accused Banisadr of “hiding” his true positions from Ayatollah Khomeini while the two were in France. The piece calls Banisadr a “deviated symbol from inside the revolution.” Ahmadinejad and his inner circle have had similar accusations of “deviation” levied against them. It should be noted that Banisadr was not unique in his disagreements with Khomeini and that many of Khomeini’s companions in France were later either exiled or sidelined.

In Other News

Mohsen Rezaei, Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander during the Iran-Iraq war and current Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran, announced his candidacy for the presidential elections while in Iran’s Kurdistan region of Divandareh. He said, “I was asked many times to announce my candidacy in Tehran and to use the full reach of the media, but my approach is to focus on the growth and development of the entire county and focus on solving the people’s problems.”

As Iran’s economy has struggled in the last several years, Rezaei has been one of the more outspoken political figures to stress solely on economic issues. Iran’s Kurdistan region historically, and particularly under the Islamic Republic, has been financially deprived.

According to Enthekhab, Rezaei recounted how he came to the decision to announce his presidency. Rezaei was in a mosque Iran’s Kurdistan’s capital of Sanandaj where after the evening prayer the cleric of the mosque gifted a Koran to him. When Rezaei opened the Koran in the direction of Divandareh, he believes that he “received permission from the Koran to participate in the elections.”

Iran’s Minister of Intelligence announced yesterday at a press conference in Esfahan that a group of 600 journalists have been identified and have been “dealt a blow.” Hojat al-Islam Haydar Moslehi said that of the 600 journalists, 150 are within Iran and “due to the relations some internal media have with anti-revolutionary networks, identifying them has allowed us to once again break the plans of the enemy.”

Moslehi also said that their plan for the presidential elections is to “prevent the sedition before the elections.” The uprising after the 2009 contested elections was called “sedition” by Iranian state media and political figures. Starting Jan. 27 of this year, the ministry of intelligence began a series of raids targeting mostly Reformist papers and journalists. The journalists have been accused of having ties to Western media; however, some analysts believe the arrests could be related to the upcoming elections.

Revolutionary Guards’ political deputy accuses Ahmadinejad of narcissism and delusion

The political deputy of the Revolutionary Guards, Rasul Sanai Rad, without mentioning the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, by name, has criticized the latter’s failure to write a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, clearly apologizing for his recent conduct.

In a meeting of Revolutionary Guard commanders in Semnan province, Sanai Rad stated that someone who claims to have “esteem” for the Supreme Leader, but in a “narcissistic” atmosphere, is not prepared to write a letter apologizing, cannot account for such inconsistency in his behavior.

The reference to sentiments of “esteem” or “regard” for the Supreme Leader is a clear reference to the president’s most recent letter to the Supreme Leader in the aftermath of the controversial exchange of insults and threats that took place between Majles speaker, Ali Larijani, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in the course of the impeachment hearing of the government’s labor minister. Since the incident, both Majles speaker, Ali Larijani, and judiciary chief, Sadeq Larijani, have sent letters of contrition to Khamenei.

Sanai Rad added that a number of individuals who entered the political fray with “the slogan for unfurling the flag of justice and fighting corruption” are “after the preservation of power at any price” and are “involved in manifest deviance.”

The Revolutionary Guard commander stressed that “in political psychology, an individual who finds himself engrossed in political narcissism and who thinks himself superior to others, is not able to accept criticism, doesn’t accept the word of others and becomes susceptible to delusion.”

Sanai Rad’s appointment late last year as political deputy to the IRGC was regarded as a political decision by Ahmadinejad government supporters, as he has proven to be a regular and stinging critic of the administration.

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Intelligence Ministry Claims Arrested Journalists Linked to British Government

The Ministry of Intelligence has released a statement in connection with the recent arrests of in excess of ten journalists from a number of different Iranian newspapers and news outlets, claiming to have arrested “agents of a media network dependent on England”.

“This network was managed by means of the Organization for Psychological Operations of the Government of England, known as the BBC and benefiting from the experience of the events of the sedition of 2009 [i.e. the unrest which followed the 2009 presidential election] and the cooperation of a number of western governments. Because of the number of layers, breadth, use of special communication tools and methods for sending news and receiving directives from foreign agents, they were under the watch and pursued by the nameless soldiers of the 12th Imam [namely agents of the Intelligence Ministry], until ultimately with the completion of the process of uncovering the domestic agents, agents established outside the country, the gathering of information and preparation of necessary judicial documentation, they were made subject to legal action. In this respect a number of items will be noted:

1)      For the reason of the special sensitivity of the case and numerous considerations relating to [issues of] information, security, and the law, the information gathered regarding the relations of the arrested individuals with the network of psychological-governmental operations of England, were completely documented and sound. Apart from the confessions of the accused, [the aforementioned] indicates [the network] is the kind and nature of media organization of the foreigners.

2)      Because of the number of elements connected with this network (inside and outside the country) and with a view to the extant differences in the type and level of contact of the elements under watch with the said network and presented information and probable unawareness of a number of those linked to the foreign source of the network, during the ongoing research in the days ahead, it is possible a number of those connected to the network will be summoned and arrested and a number of the previously arrested will be released. Because it can be assured this process will continue until the last individual attached to this network is found and the controversies of the psychological war machine of the media of arrogance and so-called human rights organizations attached to that base, and the abundance of fabricated and ad hoc organizations, will not have the least effect on the will of the nameless soldiers of the 12th Imam and the current process of measures [being taken].”

In other news

Asadollah Badamchian, a central member of the Front of Disciples for the Line of the Imam and Leadership, has told Tasnim news agency, that it is preparing to introduce a team of nine persons into the electoral race, and that amongst this nine, one will be chosen to run as the presidential candidate on behalf of the Front.

Masoud Alavian, the Deputy for Cultural Heritage has announced that the location of an attempted assassination against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will become a recorded national heritage site. Khamenei had been the object of a failed assassination attempt in June 1981, and while he survived, he lost the function of right hand.

The sites of the assassinations of a number of Iran’s nuclear scientists are also under review as possible national heritage sites.

As covered by Laura Rozen on Al-Monitor’s The Back Channel, the website Baztab-e emruz posted an article (which has since been removed) addressing inter-elite disagreements over the handling of Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. The article is entitled, “Brothers, the nuclear negotiations hold the fate of 75 million people, they’re not work experience”.

Below are some translated excerpts:

“[T]he direct criticisms of Manuchehr Motakki with respect to the actions of the nuclear negotiating team, shows the points of consensus amongst experts, and also touches on the thoughts of some of the politicians in the official sphere”.

“The criticism of Motakki regards some of the recommendations of the nuclear negotiating team, about the direct broadcast of negotiations and the emphasis on obtaining new locations for the negotiations. But it seems the problems of the negotiating team far surpasses these two problems”.

“At a time when one of the young writers of Keyhan newspaper who doesn’t have minimal experience and expertise in diplomacy and international relations, has been transformed into the theoretician of the nuclear negotiations and moreover strives to be a continuous presence as the face of the Islamic Republic and “the key member of the negotiating team” in interviews with foreign publications and putting forward strange preconditions, what expectation can be had from the negotiations?”

“The successive changes in the location of the negotiations and their transfer from Geneva, to Istanbul, Baghdad, Moscow and now the plan for Cairo, which is itself the centre of internal crisis and entanglement, takes place with what logic?”

“Is the principle of obtaining results and solving the problem of 75 million Iranians or globe trotting and entering third party countries under discussion?”

“It seems with respect to the will of the regime for controlling the effects of sanctions on the economy of the country and the reduction of economic damage, those responsible for negotiating must improve their methods, so that the benefit of these successive negotiations accrue to the country and perhaps choose a fixed location for negotiations in a non-partisan country, like Switzerland or by rotation in several countries and permanently solve the marginal issue of the negotiations’ location and prepare the way for addressing the core of the issue and solving the country’s problem”.