Revolution in Iran

Thoughts on and about the Iranian Revolution

Posts Tagged ‘Khomeini’

What did Rafsanjani say at this Friday’s prayer?

Posted by iranrevolution on July 17, 2009

The Friday prayer is barely over. As I listen to live radio from the US, people calling in and furiously pouring their anger at Rafsanjani, I am thinking that the critic is unbalanced.

Let me be clear, on a personal level, I utterly despise this person. However, let us see what the man actually did say on this sermon. I am using my twitter messages to write this post, so it might be fragmental.

First of all he opened his sermon by saying “God will judge you, don’t be proud” and further “God swears on the pen and what men write. Writing and humanity are the same.” He went on to talk of peoples’ rights. On this he orated for a very long time, telling stories from the time of Muhammad. Then he mentioned the 7th imam and the fact that he was jailed and tortured and finally was martyred in jail.

I read in this in the current context a reference to all the people who are currently jailed, tortured and martyred in Evin and other prisons. This is surely no coincidence.

Now he gets to the election itself saying that it started well with the debates on the state media and that people were hopeful that there would be a free election and therefore the turnout was higher than ever. He said that people should be thanked for their participation. He continued to say that regretfully this situation did not last till after the election.

Then he gets to the point when he is crediting himself for being close to Khomeini and insisting that Khomeini, just like the prophet always insisted that it is the will of the people that is important. That it is the people who should govern. That if we have the people, then we have everything and that is why he was so quick to appoint Bazargan as prime minister. He continues to tell how people defeated the regime of shah on the streets.

At this point I wondered if he is telling Khamenei that if his government is not by people then he too will be defeated by the people on the streets. Then he tells a story about the prophet Muhammad. The prophet had told the first Imam, Imam Ali, that if people don’t want you to be their leader, even though you are chosen by God, then let them do as they please. This has a pivotal message. He is in other words saying that a government that is not liked by people should resign. Am I reading too much in this? I think not, because he continues to say that according to the constitution everything is from the people – even the supreme leader who is chosen by the assembly of experts who in turn is chosen by the people. Observe that Rafsanjani is in fact the head of this assembly.

Rafsanjani goes on to talk about Iran being both a republic and Islamic. If not Islamic then we go astray and if not republic then it is not practical and it is not Islamic. Then he criticizes the state media for siding with one candidate. He says that today everyone is bitter, that everyone is a loser and that we need unity today and that he finally has some suggestions to resolve the situation.

Rafsanjani’s suggestions are as follows:

  1. We must all abide by the law
  2. We must create an atmosphere where all parties are allowed to express themselves, here are the state media of great importance
  3. Prisoners must be freed [my note: Did he say political prisoners? I am not sure I heard that. However he is of course refereeing to recently imprisoned protesters, writers, journalist, bloggers and political figures]
  4. We must console the injured and the families who have suffered losses.
  5. We must not limit media that work within the framework of law

He finishes by talking about the armed forces and basically asking them to cool down.

By now I am hearing that there are demonstrations all over the town. I only hope noone gets hurt. Someone calls in and says that people don’t really care about what Rafsanjani had to say. They are just using this opportunity to come out and protest. Perhaps, this was a good enough reason to go and listen to this old man of revolution.

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The case against Moussavi

Posted by iranrevolution on June 24, 2009

The Iranian regime has been hopeful that the protests against the rigged presidential elections would have died out by now. This has after all been a carefully planned ballot box Coup d’état the likes of which has rarely, if ever, been seen before. Little did Khamenei expect or foresee the wrath that this last nail in the coffin of the republic would unleash. Khamenei has certainly at no point during his twenty years as supreme leader been publicly as humiliated as he is now. It is not just the crowds on the streets or on the rooftops that demand his removal, it is also the defiant attitude of Moussavi, Karroubi and even Rafsanjani that is making life miserable for this old man.

But the Islamic republic of Iran is a shrewd and ruthless player. It has succeeded in putting an end to 25 centuries of monarchical rule in Iran. In its early years, it survived assassinations, Khamenei himself is paralysed in his right arm due to a bomb planted in his microphone and Rafsanjani escaped another one, it managed to fight off eight years of Iraqi aggression, interestingly enough with Khamenei as president and Moussavi as its premier, but most importantly, it managed to kill or imprison or else silence every opposition to its dogmatic policies. In fact, quite a few of those men who accompanied Khomeini to Tehran from Paris were amongst those who were later executed. Even the first president of the republic, Banisadr, was impeached and later managed to flee the country allegedly dressed as a woman. So this regime has no qualms about getting rid of its former allies, Moussavi is certainly not going to be an exception and he should know, a lot of the atrocities happened during his tenor as premier. I am not suggesting that he was directly responsible for any of it, but he sure must have been aware of them. Of course, people can change.

To his credit, Moussavi has shown some backbone. Rezai, the former Revolutionary Guards’ head has already faltered and withdrawn his objection to the poll result – God knows how much pressure was exerted on him, but Moussavi is still defiant even though he must very much be aware of that a case against him is being prepared at this very moment. I can already see his broken image in court, much like Mossadegh, being remembered as the man who tried to challenge the 2009 ballot box Coup d’état. This is not an unlikely scenario. The hard line Keyhan newspaper (all links in Persian) has already accused Moussavi of being directly responsible for all the deaths and mayhem (his supporters, Kayhan accuses amongst other infinitely unbelievable stuff, were armed and martyred a mother and her child who had taken cover in a kindergarten), the intelligence minister (nothing intelligent about this man) suggests that Moussavi’s stab was heavily infiltrated by terrorist elements and Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi in a letter to Khamenei compares Moussavi to Banisadr, we all can see where that is heading.

There is however other possibilities. Khamenei is apparently buying time by agreeing to a five days postponement of the Guardian Council’s final report on the election. Perhaps, the protests ebb out, hardly likely, or Moussavi buckles. Perhaps Rafsanjani manages to get enough of the members of the Assembly of Experts on his side and challenges Khamenei’s position. Perhaps divisions within the revolutionary guards surface and throw in a new factor in the game. And perhaps the popular uprising brings down this regime once and for all.

The outcome is uncertain, watch this space.

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Coup d’état vs Revolution in Iran

Posted by iranrevolution on June 16, 2009

For the past few days I have been unable to write anything at all. I have been pinned in front of my computer, reading news, looking at images and clips, twitting and retwitting. Iran, its election, the attempted coup d’état and the popular reaction has preoccupied me completely.

I was only a young boy when the last great revolution happened. I can clearly remember the charged atmosphere, the demonstrations, the slogans, the fear and the excitement. I even partook in one of those huge demonstrations against the Shah; a sea of people chanting death to the Shah. I am not quite sure what I thought of it all back then. It must have felt exciting, exhilarating and at the same time, from my point of view, lacking meaning and purpose, the implications of what we were doing unknown. Back then, the Shah was not just a king, he was almost a God. I remember kids speculating if he ever went to the loo and if he did, did he wipe his own ass? Shah responded by different means, he declared marshal law and at times his soldiers would fire indiscriminately into the crowd, he apologised to the people and said that he understood their legitimate calls for democratic reforms, he even appointed a former opposition figure as prime minister but that too was too late. He fled the country; Khomeini returned to Iran from exile and 10 days after that, the regime of Shah was gone for ever.

Thirty years on, one revolution, an eight year war with almost a million casualties, thousands of political activist jailed and executed, personal freedoms curtailed, millions of Iranians exiled or self exiled, the revolution now finally seems to have come a full circle.

As each night people are shouting God is great on their rooftops, reminiscent of the nights before the first revolution, and as they gather in their million to protest against the regime in precisely the same street as I once did in my youth, I wonder how this one will end. Seven people died yesterday by the hand of the basij, the conservative paramilitary group close to current president Ahmadinejad, I hope that they are the last to be killed by this regime. I hope one day very soon, the people of Iran can proudly declare that they live in a true democracy, that the revolution they started thirty years ago, the last great revolution, has finally succeeded.

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