Mousavi's Defying Statement to the Iranian Nation
21 Jun 2009 14:19
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 20 June 2009
In his Friday June 19 speech, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei came down firmly on the side of the hard-liners, declaring that the presidential elections of June 12 are valid and legitimate, and that there should be no more demonstrations. He also warned that any such demonstration will be dealt with forcefully, and claimed that the responsibility for any casualties will be firmly upon the reformist candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, and other reformist leaders.
Although the large demonstrations that had been scheduled for today -- June 20 -- did not materialize on the scale of last week's huge demonstrations, due in part to the police's use of water cannons, tear gas canisters, batons, and other means to prevent people from gathering in large numbers. At the time of writing this article, the demonstrations are continuing.
Today, Mr. Mousavi issued a strongly worded statement that, while not naming Ayatollah Khamenei explicitly, was completely in his defiance.
Dear dignified and intelligent people of Iran,
A turning point in the history of our nation is emerging these days and nights. People are asking themselves and, in their rallies, me about what should be done [about the present situation], and which direction should be taken [to continue the protests]. I consider it my duty to explain to you what I think, and to tell you and be taught by you, so that we will not forget our historic mission, and take the responsibility for the future and fate of many [future] generation and eras.
The Statement then goes on to provide a brief background to the current events:
30 years ago a revolution under the banner of Islam was victorious; a revolution to revive freedom and human rights; a revolution for honesty. During this period, particularly when our enlightened Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] was still living, the nation invested heavily in terms of human lives, wealth, and credibility, in order to consolidate this achievement, which brought us further achievements. The light that we had never experienced before filled our society, and people gained new lives that, although very difficult [a reference to the Iran-Iraq war], were sweet and rewarding. What our people had gained were human rights and freedom, and uncorrupted lives. I am certain that those who experienced this life will never settle for anything less.
The Statement then asks rhetorically what has happened that such values and achievements are no longer respected:
Do we no longer deserve to experience that kind of life? I decided to run [for president] because I wanted to declare that the claim [that we no longer deserve that kind of life] is not true; that it is not late; that the path to the life full of enlightenment is not too long. I decided to run to show that it is possible to live a life of morality, but also live in this era [of immoralities]. I decided to run to tell you what our Imam had said about reactionary interpretations [of Islam]; to declare that lawlessness leads to dictatorship; to remind everyone that respect for human rights does not weaken the [political] system, but strengthens it. I decided to run to declare that people expect of their servants [government officials] honesty and truthfulness, and that many of our problems have been created by lies [that the servants have said]. I decided to run to declare that backwardness, poverty, corruption, and injustice are not our fate. I decided to run to invite people to once again join the [true] Islamic Revolution, the way it was meant to be, and the [true] Islamic Republic, the way it is supposed to be. I was not very articulate in this, but even my awkward talk of it was so sweet to the young generation - the generation that has not experienced that era [at the beginning of the Revolution], and was feeling a huge gap between itself and this great heritage [the Revolution] - that it got so excited and recreated an era the likes of which we had seen only during the Revolution and the holy defense [against Iraq]. The people-created movement selected the color of green as its symbol. I confess that I followed them in this regard. The same generation that is accused of distancing itself from the religious values arrived at the chants of "Allah-o Akbar" (God is great), and relied on "victory belongs to God and the defeat [of the enemy] is close," Hossein [the third Imam of the Shiites] and [Ayatollah] Khomeini, in order to prove that whenever this pure generation [the youth] bears fruits, the fruits are similar [to the old pure ones of the Revolution era]. They learned this from none other than God. How unfair are those who, due to the pity interest that they have, are forced to claim that this miracle of the Islamic Revolution [the youth movement during the campaign] is a creature of the foreigners and represents a "velvet revolution."
The Statement then declares once again the Mousavi campaign's belief that the elections were rigged, and that there were vast fraud and cheatings:
But, as you know, in our efforts to revive the national life and achieving our ideals that have deep roots in the hearts of our old and young, we have encountered lies and cheating, and the consequences of lawlessness that we were predicting were materialized in the most explicit and rapid manner. The huge rate of participation in the recent election was, first and foremost, due to the efforts that were made to create hope and trust [in the government] among the people, in order to develop a solution for the present crisis of the leadership and the social dissatisfaction that, if continue to increase, could threaten the Revolution and the entire [political] system. If the good intentions of the people and their trust [in the government] are responded to positively by protecting their votes, or if they cannot defend their rights by reacting through the civil society and demonstrating peacefully, the nation will be on a dangerous path the responsibility for which will be that of those who cannot tolerate people's peaceful reaction.
If the vast scale of cheating and fraud that has set fire on people's trust is interpreted as the reason for the absence of cheating [a response to Ayatollah Khamenei's contention that the difference of 11 million votes between Mr. Mousavi and Ahmadinejad is so large that cannot be a fraud], the republican side of the political system [the Islamic Republic] will be destroyed, which will then prove the claim that Islam and democracy are incompatible. This fate will make two groups happy: One consists of those who, right from the beginning of the Revolution, were arrayed against Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] and claim that the Islamic government is the dictatorship of the honest clergy [a reference to the ultra-reactionaries led by Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi], and believe that they can take people to heaven by force, while the second group is made of those who, by claiming that they want to defend people's rights, believe that Islam is against republicanism. The Imam's [Ayatollah Khomeini's] great skill was to demonstrate the fallacy of what both groups say. I had decided to run because I wanted, based on the Imam's path, to neutralize the efforts of those who advocate both thinking.
The Statement then repeats the Mousavi's camp belief that the legal process for appealing the election result is tainted, and that the only real remedy is to cancel the election, and hold new one:
And now, the officials of the nation [a reference to Ayatollah Khamenei after his speech on Friday] have declared the legitimacy of what happened in the elections and, therefore, have taken the responsibility for the consequences in its aftermath, and have set limits for the results of any investigation into the fraud, so as it would not nullify the declared results of the election, even if in more than 170 areas the number of votes cast is larger than the number of eligible votes.
They [the leadership] demand that we take our legitimate complains to the Guardian Council [a constitutional body the vets the candidate and certifies the legitimacy of the elections], whereas the Council has demonstrated, both before and after the elections, that it is not neutral, while the first principle for being an adjudicator is neutrality.
The Statement repeats once again that the election be cancelled:
I [Mr. Mousavi] believe firmly that the demand for nullifying the election and repeating it is a fundamental right that must be considered by a neutral and nationally-trusted committee, instead of speaking in advance about uselessness of such a process or, by threatening bloodshed, attempting to prevent people from demonstrating and rallying, or have the National Security Council, instead of investigating the role of plainclothes people in attacking people and their property and creating anxiety in the society, try to blame others for what has happened.
The reference to the National Security Council is about the letter that it had sent to Mr. Mousavi, threatening him with repercussions if demonstration or violence occurs. The Statement then continues to analyze why the election was rigged in the first place:
As I [Mr. Mousavi] review the situation, I find that what has happened is a prelude for the higher goal of imposing an illegitimate government on the people which would impose a new kind of political life on the nation. As someone who rode the beautiful green wave of your presence [in the campaign], I will never allow my actions to be used for threatening someone's life. At the same time, I insist on the [completed] election being illegitimate and in my effort to recover people's right, and although I am severely limited, I believe that your motivation and creativity can still help you regain you civil rights with new civil figures. I assure you that I will always be with you and support you. What this brother of yours [Mr. Mousavi] suggests to you is that, in your endeavor for finding new ways [of gaining your rights], do not let liars and cheaters to steal from you the valuable mantle of defending the Islamic Revolution, and take away the valuable heritage of the Islamic Revolution that has been piled up by the blood of your honest fathers. By relying on God, hope for a better future, and your capabilities plan for your social movement based on the freedom that the Constitution has granted, and avoid violence. We are not up against the Basij [the paramilitary group controlled by the government], they are our brothers. We are not up against the Sepaah [the Revolutionary Guards], they protect our revolution and our political system. We are not up against the army, the army protects the security of our borders. We are not up against our holy political system and its legal structure, it protects our freedom, independence and the Islamic Revolution. We are up against lies and deviations [from our revolutionary principles], and we wish to reform it [the system] by returning to the pure principles of the Islamic Revolution. We advise the officials that, in order to calm the streets, they should allow peaceful demonstration and gatherings that are not only allowed by Article 27 of the Constitution, but are also encouraged by it, and free the Voice and Visage [the National Iranian Radio and Television Network] from badmouthing and one-sided criticism. It should let the voices be heard, before they become shouts, and to moderate such voices through reasoning and debates. They should let the press to criticize [the government], provide the people with accurate news, and open up a free space for people to express their satisfaction or opposition to the various issues. Let us let those who want to say Takbir [Allah-o Akbar] to do so without counting them as our enemies. It is clear that, under such conditions, there would no need for the security and police forces on streets, and there will not be images and scenes that seeing them and listening to them pains anyone who loves this country and the Revolution.
It is reported widely today that Mr. Mousavi has said that, he is ready to be a martyr for his cause. It was also reported that he has called on his supporters to go on strike, if he is arrested.
In related news, a bomb went off in the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, killing three people. The mausoleum was then closed off. Mr. Mousavi had threatened that, if the government does not allow his supporters to peacefully demonstrate, he will stage a sit-in at the mausoleum.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau