Reformists call for elimination of 'Coup Government'
30 Jul 2009 05:23
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 30 July 2009
Iranian hardliners and the political establishment were the target of a strongly-worded statement issued by the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Iran's largest political party and the leading reformist organization. The statement said that the only way for the nation to get out of this deep crisis and for the political establishment to regain the trust of its people, the coup government -- the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- would have to fall. The statement begins,
The horrible crimes done against Iran's children and the young people of our Islamic nation, a small part of which was revealed by the announcement that Mohsen Ruhol-Amini has been martyred, have hurt the good heart of every free person; [the crimes have been so horrible] that all the responsible officials have declared that they have had no role in it.
Mohsen Ruhol-Amini was a graduate student in computer engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tehran. He belonged to a prominent conservative family. His father, a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Health, was an adviser to Mohsen Rezaee, the conservative candidate in the June 12 presidential election -- and also a long-time member of the Basij militia. Ruhol-Amini's murder demonstrated that no one is safe in Iran except perhas diehard loyalists.
The statement continues,
With the start of the velvet coup against the people and [the assault against] the republican side of the political system, and the extensive and harsh social and political repression, many important national figures, political groups and social activists, and the families of the dear children who have been jailed, protested the criminal process, and through writing letters [to the officials], [issuing] statements, and meetings [with national figures] warned against the unbearable consequences of this dirty scenario [of eliminating the opposition].
The hard-liners have accused the reformist-democratic groups of attempting to start a velvet revolution. In response, former president and reformist icon Mohammad Khatami said two weeks ago that, "if anything, there has been a velvet coup against the nation and the people," which the IIPF's statement refers to. The statement continues,
It was clear from the first day that there is a specific plan under the leadership of certain people for treating people in the worst possible way and using terrible torture methods in every detention center, as well as creating fear, so as to prevent the continuation of people's resistance against the coup.
When the first detainees were freed, they returned to their families with bruised bodies and many signs of injuries that, in many cases, have resulted in such physical harm to them that they can never be completely treated. They had been tortured [psychologically] in the worst possible way through the use of the ugliest profanities, had been beaten and forced to use profanities against themselves and their sisters and mothers, or they [the security forces] had poured gasoline on their [the detainees'] bodies and had kept them outside for hours under the [sun in this] hot summer weather, and had been forced to lick the toilet [in order to find liquids to drink], and when released, they had been told that if they take any legal actions against them [the security forces], they will be dealt with even more harshly.
One of the worst offenses in the Islamic world, and particularly in Iran, is using profanities against female members of a family, which the statement alludes to. The detention center in which these crimes had taken place was the Kahrizak center on the southern edge of Tehran, which is normally used for temporary detention of narcotic traffickers and common criminals, but had been used by the Intelligence Ministry and the security forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) holding political prisoners arrested since the election.
On Monday July 27, after revelations about torture at the detention center became too embarrassing even for the hardliners, it was ordered closed by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The statement continues,
When it became clear that the dear young people, such as Sohrab Arabi, Mohammad Kamrani, and Amir Javadi, had been arrested while alive and well, and then their broken and tortured dead bodies were returned to their families, the screams of "Oh, Muslims" of the families and the political activists was not heeded [was not responded to by any official], and the response of the principal officials of the nation was that, "we are not responsible," whereas such a meaningless response does not decrease the degree of their responsibility towards the crimes that have happened.
The three young people mentioned in the statement had disappeared for many days. Officials did not respond to pleas from their families to help locate their children. Though Sohran Arabi, 19, was killed the first day he went missing, Tehran's Revolutionary Court, which deals with political prisoners, and Evin prison officials, pretended that the young man had only been detained. They had promised his mother, Ms. Parvin Fahimi, that he would soon be released. In one of the cruelest acts against any human being, the mother was summoned to the morgue 25 days after the disappearance of her son and shown a collection of photos of the demonstrators who had been killed. It was then that Ms. Fahimi identified her son among the dead.
The statement continues,
The late and incomplete reaction of the judiciary chief [Ayatollah Sayyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi] and other senior officials [to the crimes that have occurred], and, in fact, the one-week period [that Ayatollah Shahroudi has given to either release the prisoners, or formally charge them] are only for continuing the crimes and cleaning up the evidence for them, which continue to deeply worry the Iranian people.
What the statement alludes to is the order by the outgoing judiciary chief, Ayatollah Shahroudi, that the political prisoners should either be released within a week, or to be formally charged and released temporarily. The order was issued only after the crimes at the Kahrizak detention center and other jails had been revealed, and the reformist leaders had written a letter to Ayatollah Shahroudi, protesting his inaction and urging him to take strong action. The statement continues,
The 1 1/2 month-long silence of the nation's [leading] officials about the crimes means that, practically, the coup scenario has been defeated. They [the hard-liners and the IRGC] were after carrying out their old plans for eliminating all the political forces [that oppose them] and settling personal grudges against those who, over the past 12 years [since Mohammad Khatami won the presidential election in a landslide in 1997], had not allowed them to have a good night's sleep. Under the guise of [making bogus accusations about] velvet revolution linked [supposedly] to foreign government and riots [supposedly started by the reformist groups and their supporters], the plan was to be completed but, because they [the hard-liners] did not have any credible evidence, their only hope was detaining a large number of people and exerting horrible physical and psychological pressure in order to extract bogus confessions and complete the scenario [of eliminating the opposition], and then, using propaganda shows on the Voice and Visage [Iran's national network of radio and television, controlled by the hardliners] and through bombarding the public opinion, imposing the coup's [bogus] victory. But, after 45 days, the fake victory has endangered those who are thirsty for power, and has forced them to confront an extraordinary volume of crimes, regardless of whether or not they wanted them [to have happened], or whether or not they were aware of them, and is drowning the planners and executors of the velvet coup, which has become the bloodiest coup in Iran's history, in the coup's quagmire.
The statement then outlines a seven-point plan for the nation:
- Firing and putting on trial all those who issued orders, [including] the commanders and the executors [of the orders], and the person who, by killing [Dr.] Zahra Kazemi in jail, was the founder of murders in jail and is, unfortunately, today one of the main forces behind these crimes.
- Releasing all the innocent prisoners [demonstrators], including political prisoners, the general conditions of some of whom, such as [Dr.] Saeed Hajjarian [member of the central committee of the IIPF, and a leading reformist strategist], Behzad Nabavi [member of the central committee of Islamic Revolution Mojahedin Organization (IRMO), the second most important reformist group, and deputy Speaker of the 6th Majles (parliament)], Mostafa Tajzadeh [member of the central committees of both the IIPF and IRMO, and deputy Interior Minister in the Khatami administration], and Feyzollah Arabsorkhi [member of the central committee of the IRMO], are, according to the information that has been received, are unknown and worrisome.
- Calling on those who have been detained to file lawsuits [against the perpetrators of crimes against them], and guaranteeing their security and well-being.
- Lifting of censorship on mass communication [the press, etc.], so that they can report on the crimes, interview those who have been harmed, as well as the political and social leaders, their attorneys, and legal scholars.
- Investigating systematically the reasons, the process, and planning for carrying out the crimes, and the roles of those who conceived the idea [for what has happened], and the principal executors of such methods [arresting, torturing and murdering people] who, at some point, were working in the Intelligence Ministry and organized the [infamous] Chain Murders, and were the agents for the idea of "victory based on fear," and appear now to be working in other organizations.
- Accepting the responsibility [for the crimes that have happened] by the senior judiciary officials, the police, IRGC, and Basij commanders, and, at the minimum, [sincerely] apologizing to the people for what has happened.
- Committing to making the political system transparent, respecting the law, confronting all those who violate people's rights, regardless of their positions and levels, at any time and any place, and guaranteeing that such crimes will never happen again.
The Islamic Iran Participation front believes that the extent of the catastrophe is so large that that one cannot do much in the short term to repair [improve] the damaged feelings of the nation. The most fundamental and preliminary action for regaining the trust of the people is nothing short of the fall of the coup government, and going back to lawful means [of running the country].
Item (1) refers to Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran's notorious Prosecutor General, who is widely believed to be responsible for the death of Dr. Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, in 2003. While taking photos of Evin prison in Tehran, Dr. Kazemi was arrested. She died in detention. According to Shirin Ebadi, the attorney for her family and the 2003 Nobel Laureate for Peace, there were three fractures in Dr. Kazemi's skull, and she had died of a hemorrhage.
Article (5) refers to the perpetrators of the infamous Chain Murders in the fall of 1998, when six dissidents and intellectuals were murdered by the agents of the Ministry of Intelligence. Many of the agents are now free and apparently working for the intelligence unit of the IRGC.
The IIPF was formed in 1997 by 100 of Iran's leading leftist reformers. Many of them were part of the group of university students who took over the United States embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. They were young revolutionaries who fought in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and helped the Islamic Republic to eliminate the secular opposition, but recognized after the war that the political repression in Iran was untenable, and that the country needed a political opening.
Many of the leading members of the IIPF, including its Secretary-General, Dr. Mohsen Mirdamadi, have been detained since the election. It is not even clear where they are being held. Only today [Wednesday, July 29], some, including Drs. Hajjarian and Mirdamadi, and Mr. Tajzadeh, were allowed to contact their families by phone for 3-5 minutes. But, Saeed Shariati, a member of the central committee of the IIPF, was also arrested.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau