IRGC: Arrest Mousavi, Khatami, and others
10 Aug 2009 11:07
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 10 Aug 2009
Comment Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, head of the political directorate of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the backbone of Iran's military, has called for the arrest, trial and punishment of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, the two reformist candidates in Iran's June 12 presidential election, Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, a leading leftist cleric and leader of the leftist Association of Combatant Clerics (ACC).
Writing in Sobh-e Sadegh (True Dawn), a weekly that is the mouthpiece of the IRGC, Javani, a leading hardline IRGC commander said,
The Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] believed that the preservation of our Islamic system is our most important duty, and, so far, a heavy price for the protection of this Godly system has been paid by the Muslim and revolutionary nation of Iran. Therefore, any group or person, regardless of their track record and position in the past, who, along with the United States, the Great Satan, wants to change this system and install a non-Islamic system in its place, must be considered to be committing treason and, therefore, must be punished.
In the indictment by the prosecutor [read in the show trials] it is explicitly stated that, based on credible documents, as well as the confessions of the accused and those arrested in the riots after the 10th [presidential] election, a faction with the support of the United States attempted to use the presidential election to state a velvet coup in Iran.
General Javani and other hardliners refer to the peaceful protests after the rigged election, which turned bloody after security forces killed several demonstrators, as "riots." He then added,
The indictment states that,"according to the recovered documents and confessions of the accused, the recent events and riots had been planned in advance, and had been carried out according to a timetable." The question is, who are the main people responsible for the coup, and what is their main goal in carrying out the coup?
Based on the present documents and the undeniable evidence, should we not arrest the main people [Khatami, Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khoeiniha] who were responsible for the coup, put them on trial, and punish them? Ignoring [what has happened] under the guise of the interest of the system will result in irreparable harm [to the system], and putting out the fire [that has been set by the people responsible for the coup] will require the trial of the main people responsible for it, and revealing their true identities to the Muslim and revolutionary people of Iran. It is time for the judiciary, and the intelligence and security officials to be alert.
General Javani then added,
After the arrest of some of the rioters and active agents in the headquarters and offices of the coup agents [meaning the campaigns of Mousavi and Karroubi], some people tried to get them released and prevent clarification of the problems [what had happened]. Because the Second Khordad Front was concerned that the confessions of the arrested people will be broadcast, they tried, with the help of some of the clerics and the political and legal elites, to claim that the confessions before the trials have no legal value or validity, and also tried to prevent broadcasting the confessions. Now that the first public session of the court has been held and, in addition to accepting their charges in the indictment, [Mohammad Ali] Abtahi and [Mohammad] Atrianfar have made important confessions [in the court], the main people responsible for the failed project [the "coup"] and their allies are making absurd statements in order to explain away the confessions.
Khordad 2 (May 23) is the day in 1997 that Mohammad Khatami was elected president by a landslide. The coalition of the reformist parties that support him throughout his presidency is known in Iran as the Second Khordad Front. General Javani is referring to the "confessions" that Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former vice president to Mr. Khatami, and Mohammad Atrianfar, a leading reformist journalist who was active in the campaign of Mir hossein Mousavi, made in court on Saturday July 25. General Javani then continued,
The initial goal of the velvet coup was to gain political power, while the final goal was the transformation of the Islamic system into a secular one, which, with God's help, people's alertness, wisdom of the Supreme Leader, and the efforts and sacrifices of the police and military, [the coup] was defeated.
Those who, during the Second Khordad period [1997-2005], failed to destroy the Islamic basis of the political system and secularize the country re-emerged with a new plan using Mir Hossein [Mousavi] as a person who is a follower of the Imam's line and defender of the Islamic values. In his initial campaign Mousavi tried to introduce himself [to the public] as someone who is independent of the [reformist] extremists and the Second Khordad Coalition, but with the passage of time it became clear that Mousavi is the main candidate of the Second Khordad groups.
Together with Major General Mohammad Ali (Aziz) Jafari, the top commander of the IRGC, General Javani has taken a tough line toward the reformists and their allies. Ever since General Jafari was appointed the top commander of the IRGC in 2006, he and General Javani have been warning about the possibility of a "velvet coup" akin to what happened in Georgia and Ukraine in 2003 and 2004. General Javani regularly writes in Sobh-e Sadegh, and his articles usually reflect the thinking of the hardline supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the IRGC.
Generals Javani and Jafari have had a regular presence in the political developments of Iran. They regularly issue warnings about supposed foreign intervention in Iran's internal affairs. In another article in the Sobh-e Sadegh on June 10, two days before the presidential election, General Javani had warned about the possibility of a velvet revolution (which has now been renamed the velvet coup, after Khatami accused the IRGC of staging a velvet coup against the will of the people), and accused the reformers of being the operatives.
While Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami are currently recognized as the leaders of the resistance against the rigged election, and are being constantly attacked by the hardliners, General Javani has also included Ayatollah Mousavi Khoeiniha as a culprit. The ACC led by Khoeiniha has issued several extremely tough-worded statements, accusing the IRGC and their supporters of vast fraud, in order to be able to declare Ahmadinejad the winner of the election. The ACC has also harshly criticized the violent crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators, the murder of scores of those arrested, and the show trials of the reformists, and has also declared the second term of Ahmadinejad as illegitimate and illegal. It is against this background that General Javani has demanded the arrest of Khoeiniha, along with Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami.
An interesting twist to this is that, a day before General Javani's article was published, the same accusations and demands made by him were also attributed to General Jafari. But, the IRGC issued a statement quickly, denying that General Jafari had made the same accusations and demands. Whether General Javani has published the article with it being approved by General Jafari, or whether the contradiction between General Jafari's denial and General Javani's article reflects some divisions among the IRGC top commanders, or whether it is simply part of an intriguing good-cop bad-cop game by the IRGC, is unclear at this point.
The threat to arrest the main leaders of the reformists appears, at least at this stage, to be simply a scare tactic, in order to force them into silence. They have been outspoken about the show trials, which has made the hardliners uncomfortable. The hardliners are well aware of the respect and prestige that Khatami enjoys at the international level, and the outcry that his arrest will generate. In addition, any attempt to arrest any one of them is sure to spark large-scale demonstrations that may well be very bloody.
Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau