Revolution in Iran

Thoughts on and about the Iranian Revolution

Posts Tagged ‘Supreme leader’

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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Pasdar* State

Posted by iranrevolution on June 29, 2009

Who controls whom? Is Khamenei in control of the Revolutionary Guards or are the Guards dictating policy and Khamenei is simply their front man? Who is the puppeteer and who is the puppet? As the 2009 Coup d’état enters its third week, this question is becoming of ever greater importance.

If Khamenei is still at the helm, then one have to ask why he has chosen to keep Ahmadinejad as president and why he has blatantly alienated half of the inner circle? What are his gains and what are his losses? Indeed, putting the pros and cons from his perspective on a scale, one begins to wonder.

Pros may be:

  1. Having a president who truly believes in an Islamic jurisprudence embodied by Khamenei.
  2. Preparing the way for his son, Mojtaba (and there is so much rumours doing the rounds that there has to be some truth there) to succeed him.

Cons have proved to be far more numerous

  1. Regime has lost its legitimacy both in and outside of Iran (and I am not getting into the debate if it ever has been legitimate)
  2. The tension and infighting within the ruling establishment has got to unprecedented levels, threatening the very existence of the regime from inside.
  3. The ensuing street protests on a level never seen since the Islamic revolution of 1979. Khamenei have managed singlehandedly to morph the election results protests into a genuine call for a complete overhaul of the regime. Effectively demanding its demise, a revolution has landed on Khamenei’s doorstep.
  4. The infallibility of Khamenei and the office he holds is seriously in question. Even if it would survive the current turmoil, the genie is out of the bottle and Khamenei is never going to be taken seriously nor is it likely that there is going to be a singular supreme leader in the future.

It should have been apparent even to Khamenei; that the stakes are truly high and I am frankly not convinced that he actually is grooming his son to succeed him. Iran is not North Korea. It remains then to believe that Khamenei chose to risk everything only to retain a president who is ideologically close to him instead of accepting a president who opposes his views on some major issues but that instead would probably guarantee, at least for the near future, the survival of the Islamic republic.

Hence, in comes the second scenario. The Revolutionary Guards, once an undisciplined group of volunteers with political views as broad as there are Iranians and with not much more weaponry than Kalashnikovs, have steadily gained power in Iran during the past thirty years. The young revolutionaries, who survived the internal cleansings of the corps, have climbed the proverbial ladder; spread their influence in every imaginable institution, governmental, economical or else in Iran. This has happened with not so little help from Khamenei himself who, specially at the beginning of his rein was a weak figure, a compromise to fill the void of shunned Ayatollah Montazeri; and who needed all the help he could get to establish himself as the supreme leader. So he bought the support of the Revolutionary Guards by simply agreeing to all their demands. Four years ago he went one step further, fiddled strongly with the election results back then, ousted the reformist Karroubi from the race and humiliated his former ally Rafsanjani, who because he embodied all that was wrong with the regime never stood a chance anyways, and handed the presidency to Ahmadinejad. With Ahmadinejad as president, the revolutionary corps was effectively running the country.

Four years on and the commanders of this mighty military, economic and political force were not too happy to lose their privileges by the hands of a former prime minister. One they helped to get rid of some 20 odd years earlier by simply abolishing his office all together. This time around Khamenei, as argued above, had much to lose if he would decide to meddle with the result just as he did last time. So the revolutionary guards staged a sort of a palace coup d’état, effectively forcing Khamenei to follow their lead. The pros and cons for the guards?

Pros:

  1. They maintain their power.
  2. Khamenei becomes a weak figure with not much authority, letting the Guards to expand their influence by directly dictating the state policies
  3. They can continue to do all this in the background with little direct attention to their affairs.
  4. There would be internal disputes in the highest echelons of power in Iran. But that suits the Revolutionary Guards just fine, offering them a golden opportunity to eliminate dissent within the ruling elite.

Cons:

  1. They would risk a revolution. The Revolutionary Guards expected that and unleashed the Basij militia on the people. Force, they assumed, will solve this problem

I conclude therefore by asserting that what we have witnessed so far is a coup d’état by the Revolutionary Guards. Unless the new Iranian revolution manages to keep up its momentum, we’ll witness much bloodshed inside and outside of the inner circles. This would indeed be the worst possible outcome for the Iranian nation, one that certainly this most sophisticated people do not deserve.

United we stand, divided we’ll be ruled by the Revolutionary Guards.

*Pasdar = guard, a member of the Revolutionary Guards

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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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What is going on?

Posted by iranrevolution on June 18, 2009

How secure is Khamenei? There are good reasons to believe that Khamenei is struggling not just for HIS president, he is also struggling to keep himself in the office of supreme leader.

Unconfirmed reports are coming in that the Assembly of Experts has converged. Remember that the Assembly of Experts is the sole organ in the country that has the power to dismiss the supreme leader. Remember also that the head of the Assembly of experts is Rafsanjani whose rift with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad is obvious even to the novice observer. If this report is true, the obvious question is WHY have they converged now? Should Khamenei worry?

Update – The Assembly of Experts welcomed the election turnout but made no mention of the result (Source) which clearly shows that Rafsanjani opposes Ahmadinejad and is therefore in collision course with Khamenei.

Then we have the case with Mousavi who after getting the cold hand from Khamenei, turned to the clergies of Qom. If there is anywhere that Khamenei is vunerable, even with his most ardent followers, it is his religious credentials. He was elevated from Hojatoleslam, a mid ranking clergy to Ayatollah over night just for the sake of taking the office of supreme leader. Mousavi, cleverly, questioned the wisdom and the religious authority of the supreme leader by turning to Qom clergy. And he has indeed reason to be satisfied with the outcome.

First out was the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, whose rift with Khomeini himself some 20 years ago has always put him in collision course with Khamenei. And now the latest, Grand Ayatollah Saanei and Grand Ayatollah Ardebili, both issuing statements to the effect that the security forces should operate within the framework of law and furthermore

وی ازنهادهای مسئول انتخابات خواسته است تا به شکایت مردم در زمینه نتیجه انتخابات ریاست جمهوری با دقت و سرعت و به نحوی رسیدگی کنند که موجب رضایت مردم را فراهم آورد و آنان را قانع کند.

He (Ardebili) has asked the relevant organs to pay attention to people’s complaints regarding the result of the presidential election with accuracy and haste and in a manner that satisfies and convinces the people.

So how secure is Khamenei?

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