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The lost cause and the mojo thief

by HANA H. in Tehran

27 Nov 2009 23:5718 Comments
chadormousavi.jpg[ comment ] Despite the belief, held by many, that the fiery movement originating from the heart of the Iranian youth's discontent would lead to regime change, no government overthrow appears to be on the horizon.

The blaze--once presumed unstoppable--rapidly lost intensity, becoming a weak spark that has now flickered out leaving everyone in purgatory, waiting for a conclusion to the events that rocked Iran to the core.

The movement that could have led to some form of change under proper leadership has been reduced to infighting, which is easily manageable by those who have been in charge for three decades, and will be for many more years to come.

The hope hinging on Mir Hossein Mousavi was lost in vain. He had his 15 minutes, which was apparently more than he could handle, leaving room for Mehdi Karroubi to jump in and steal the show.

"Karroubi totally hijacked everyone else's mojo simply by having bigger b$&%s and a louder mouth," said one astute Iran commentator.

This drama, however, still needs a grand finale, preferably for the Leadership one that includes a big trial and a sacrificial goat. Two names have been shortlisted for this honor and both opposition figures have given authorities a million reasons to become the 'chosen one' for a long holiday behind bars.

The reluctance to ignore Karroubi, and build a case against Mousavi instead, suggests that if someone is to go down, it will likely not be the "Sheikh of Reform," as he has come to be known by those who still believe that he is fighting for their cause.

The actions of lawmaker and Ahmadinejad wannabe, Rouhollah Hosseinian, give some weight to this theory. Hosseinian, the one who started a commotion in Majlis by putting pressure on his colleagues to sign a letter demanding the arrest and trial of Mousavi, refused to point the same finger at Karroubi.

"Karroubi's case is different from Mousavi," Hosseinian was quoted as saying. "Maybe if lawmakers were [even] to sign a letter of complaint against Karroubi, I would not be signing it."

Even at the beginning of the manhunt, Karroubi was not a suspect. Had it not been for the insistence of reporters who kept asking "when" and "if" or "whether any legal or other form of action would be taken against Karroubi," who unlike Mousavi insisted on provoking everyone and breaking all the unwritten rules, officials would not have dragged his name into the matter. They would have continued to ignore the issue until it was forgotten.

But once the powers realized that members of the press had no intention of letting this one slide, they began passing the ball to one another. The Prosecutor General explained that as a cleric, the Special Clerical Court would have to hear the case against Karroubi.

"Hearing the charges raised against Mr. Karroubi is the responsibility of the Clerical Court and they must initiate action in this regard," Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told the hardline Kayhan newspaper. "The judiciary will act according to the law concerning the post-election sedition and those involved in the rioting will be dealt with when the time is right."

Meanwhile, the Clerical Court, which is independent from the Judiciary and the High Court (and directly under the supervision of the Supreme Leader), implied a lack of jurisdiction, suggesting it needed a direct order from the judiciary to start a motion against Karroubi.

Interestingly enough, the Clerical Court had no objection to having Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a man of the cloth, tried by the Revolution Court. It simply accepted the vague explanation of outgoing Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dorri Najafabadi that Abtahi was "one of the persons of interest in this case" and could therefore escape its jurisdiction.

While the word 'jurisdiction' has come to have a loose definition among Iranian authorities, resorting to 'jurisdiction' is also unacceptable because when one of their own falls from grace, they never shy away from switching to commando-style operations to get the job done, something that can be attested to by those who have borne the brunt of such arrests.

Karroubi has recently begun rewriting history to fit his personal agenda, by claiming that in the Assembly of Experts, he was one of the critics of the decision to appoint Seyyed Ali Khamenei as Iran's Leader.

What I'm saying is not a new concept and after the passing of [Imam] I spoke out against the deviation that began in the Assembly of Experts, I have always had a clear stance and talked about these matters and they would summon many of my friends and cohorts to the
clerical and non-clerical courts. Yet we withstood all the hardships. Back then it was harder because the people didn't know [what was really happening] but today it is different because the people all know where they stand," he said in a video message to the Iranian people, after being hit on the head with a shoe.

In his quest to tailor reality, Karroubi crossed the final red line by openly stating that he has never pledged allegiance to the current Leadership of the country, tacitly accusing him of being the man behind all deviations.

"I still honor the pledge I made to the Imam and the nation and I am still devoted to the Islamic Republic and the constitution.... Those who have caused a deviation in the Islamic Republic and in Islam are the ones who need to repent."

Karroubi's motives and intentions remain an unsolved mystery. Either he is a brave little old man who has no concern but to speak truth to power, or he has some good dirt on someone, a higher-up, and knows he will remain untouchable, even after taking such a swipe at the Leadership.

It is, however, more likely that he has reached an agreement behind closed doors and knows he will not be the lamb to be led to the slaughter.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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18 Comments

I do not agree with any of the premises of the article.

First of all, the Green Movement (GM) has not been extinguished. Yes, at the beginning many people thought that the hardliners will be overthrown easily, but those of us who were more realistic and experienced knew that it will not happen.

Yet, the country is in deep crisis. The evidence for it is that large number of students have been arrested just to prevent the 16 Azar demostrations. The evidence for it the fact that the hardliners are afariad of any occasion that can be used by the people to demonstrate. The evidence for that is the fact that Ayatollah Khamenei was forced to declare even doubting the election result an offense. As Mousavi said, "they frighten people because they are frightened themselves."

But, the best evidence of the crisis is the fact that the hardliners cannot make a decision on whether to accept the IAEA proposal or not. They cannot, because they are no longer sure of support behind the front line, i.e., by the people.

Finally, Karroubi has not made any deal behind the scene. They want to keep Karroubi around so that they can pretend that there is still "mardom salari." But, Karroubi has not played their game, and keeps attacking them and making revelations.

Mark my word: The GM will be victorious in pushing the hardliners to retreat deeply in about 2 years.

George Stewart / November 28, 2009 3:56 AM

agree with the author.

the green movement was and is nothing but hot air. The majority of iranians are backward people and highly religious. They will never stand up against religious tyranny since this tyranny is ISLAMIC.

arman / November 28, 2009 5:45 AM

Your assessment sounds realistic but I wonder if it includes all the facts. First of all, not all the disenchanted in Iran belong to the Green movement. The emergency election fake this summer occured precisely because Khamenei had no sense how unpopular his nominee was.Why? Insulated as he and IRGC princes are from economic realities they didn't grasp that the bulk of the people are feeling economic pain that no amount of haphazard and intermittent handouts can alleviate. People suspect theft on a massive scale. Kerroubi is actually in great danger because of his unparralled honesty. The process of destroying someone like him starts with small things, a turban knocked off, the chanting of insults and quickly becomes a great deal more serious.He seems now to see through the whole sham of Islamic democracy overseen by one individual. As I don't believe the economy will miraculously improve and theft will only increase, how can popular feeling be changed into support for the regime.China keeps Burma and North Korea viable. Who is going to do that for the IRI?

pirooz / November 28, 2009 7:03 AM

Dear Arman, You are very wrong in judging people and I am sure from afar. I was never a believer in the green movement cause I was never a believer in its leadership. Mousavi, one of founding fathers of the Islamic Republic turning democrat? You might as well believe Lenin might have turned capitalist. Have you ever wondered why the color green wore by the supporters of the movement was always the same shade of green? Because it came from the same factory outlet. The regime's factory outlet. To think a murderous, rapist and blood thirsty establishment would simply step aside for a democratic alternative is naivety on the part of the believer. I might as well claim to have a lake front condo in Sahara desert for sale. These candidates whether right, center or left of the system are still part of the establishment and would never dream of dismantling the barbaric Islamic Republic. People in Iran are not backward my friend, far from it, they are smart enough to realize the realities surrounding them and experienced enough to refrain from becoming someone else’s sacrificial lamb. Why should they die for a lost cause? In time Iran will rise and not for a foreign orchestrated Green movement, but for freedom to rid herself from the evil that has enslaved her for the last 30 years. The Islamic Republic has reached its shameful end and knows it. Never ever be a quitter in life. That is far worse than ignorance. We will be there and sooner than you think.

Amiri R. / November 28, 2009 7:28 AM

"Despite the belief, held by many, that the fiery movement originating from the heart of the Iranian youth's discontent would lead to regime change, no government overthrow appears to be on the horizon. "

I think that's where the article goes wrong all together. Who said it would lead to regime change in the first place, except for some Iranian expats sitting outside hoping that "change" would sweep Iran while they watched "the revolution" on their TV screens?

Pedestrian / November 28, 2009 9:59 AM

Both Karroubi and Mousavi have blood on their hands. No one should forget the mass execution of political prisoners. How can they lead a nation when they ruthlessly destroyed our young people?
It always amazes me the ignorance accompanied with Islam.

End of Islamic Republic is not going to solve the problem. The roots of the problem must be destroyed and that is Islam itself.

gooya / November 28, 2009 12:26 PM

amiri R.

i agree with you on the green movement not being truly democratic, or at least its leaders. i do remember very well how it was to live during mousavis presidency. iran was hell during his presidency too.


ive been to iran regularly each year.

Arman / November 28, 2009 1:11 PM

Dear Amiri - likely the amount of Iranian people being highly discontented is bigger than the green movement - maybe the difference is just only the point of view.
But your "Fairy Tale " about the external guided GM is just boring - and at least annoying. Please tell us - where are the conductors and who are they?

More important should be that the event of chasing away the evil doesn`t grow on trees. The students and the green movement are still working fore this aim and they are paying a hard price every day -
to ignore this is as worse as to be a quitter -
for sure.
Maybe your oppinion is different - but it is more succesfull to reach the aim together and to split afterwards.

gunni / November 28, 2009 5:16 PM

Dear Amiri - likely the amount of Iranian people being highly discontented is bigger than the green movement - maybe the difference is just only the point of view.
But your "Fairy Tale " about the external guided GM is just boring - and at least annoying. Please tell us - where are the conductors and who are


More important should be that the event of chasing away the evil doesn`t grow on trees. The students and the green movement are still working fore this aim and they are paying a hard price every day -
to ignore this is as worse as to be a quitter -
for sure.
Maybe your oppinion is different - but it is more succesfull to reach the aim together and to split afterwards.

gunni / November 28, 2009 5:19 PM

Thank you Arman for you comment. Gunni, I would like to thank you for your response. If I have made mistakes I stand to be corrected however, I would like a chance to present my views prior to being labeled as "Fairy Tale". That is the least one can do in any discussion. To request explanation prior to labeling. It is only civilized. A couple of months prior to the elections in Iran a handful of reporters around the world claimed that a meeting between representatives of Mousavi and Americans were held in U.A.E., Dubai to set the agenda for ever increasing possibility of Mousavi’s election and the consequent diplomatic opening between the two countries. Once again the Democrats were in power, regime change as policy was no longer and a so called democratic candidate was in the making for a new Iran. Doesn’t that remind you of Khatami era and Clintons? Gunni, foreign orchestrated does not particularly have to mean the existence of foreign conductors but parallel foreign interests. Allow me to make it clear that in my opinion any movement with an agenda short of total removal of the Barbaric Republic is false and ultimately sells our country short of our primary objectives namely, an independent, forward looking, secular democracy. The report of the meeting did not make headlines and eventually was over shadowed by the events inside Iran. President Obama along with President Peres of Israel send Nowruz greetings to the Iranian people. These messages certainly had their own political objectives, but review the message of the Israeli president in particular. In his message he mentions, "You shall soon be free". Let us assume the man is an angel and has the interest of Iranians at heart but the fact remains he is the President of Israel and his primary concern is the welfare of his own country and that is the way it should be. Any student of politics will tell you that in that last four years, no government on this planet of ours has served the objectives of Israel more than the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad. He has single handedly isolated Iran, ruined her socially, politically and economically. He has legitimized every claim that the Israeli establishment has brought against our country, be it true or false. He is a gift from the heavens. The American silence during the up rise was most telling. They were waiting for Mousavi to finish the job. No American government can be seen supporting Iranian candidates. It brings back the 1953 memories. At best they are offering us a liberal Islamic Republic. Islam and liberalism? The American or Israeli principle concerns are not our internal affairs but their own foreign policy objectives. The Green movement by nature cannot provide more than the above for our people. That is far short of our legitimate desires. Some have reminded me that is the best alternative under the circumstances and I have always felt sorry for such limited goals. My objective is not to write a book here. Please read between the lines and do read from publications around the world, sum up your information and draw conclusions based on first hand observations. Why did CNN carry the news almost a week prior to Fox? Why young characters interviewed, although dressed in fashionable western clothes, talked about 'Ya Ali' and shiat doctrine when any reasonable observer who has traveled to Iran will tell you the majority of the Iranians dream of the total removal of mullahcracy from our country. A shiat threat will unite and focus the Sunni Arab world against Iran and opens up political opportunities such as Arab Israeli understandings behind the scenes to face a common enemy. An opportunity Israel would not even dream of 30 years ago. We must remove Islam from governance or we will have no future and continuity of the beautiful Persian culture.

Amiri R. / November 28, 2009 9:08 PM

Regime change? When I voted green in the presidential election, I wasn't voting for regime change, and I seriously doubt the majority of Iranians living in Iran were doing so for such an outlandish reason. Change, yes. Subversion, no.

I think the author really expected too much from Mousavi and Karoubi. They're defeated candidates. They're marginalized. Pointing out the respective political reaction to the two is only minimally relevant, I'm afraid to say. And at this point in time, that reaction is actually more dynamic than any dream of counter-movement that's currently wished for "from the heart of [certain] Iranian youth's discontent."

Pirouz / November 28, 2009 11:03 PM

The majority of Iranians do not want regime change?What country are you from?You voted green because you knew Green is not about change to begin with.How can we expect change with Mousavi?He is one of the boys.Iranians want total change and nothing but change.REGIME CHANGE.Open your eyes.

Kouros / November 29, 2009 12:43 AM

Your take on Khatami is warped. You imply Khatami and his election victory was somehow the product of Clinton govt machinations or meetings. Instead i would say it was a mirror effect.The Americans gave Bush Sr. the boot and chose a new man.Khatami wasn't 'half-baked'.If his program had been followed to its logical conclusion the people (if they wanted)could have voted the IRI out of existence like the Russians did the Soviet Union.No movement anywhere in the world is isolated from external influences. Some people say the present IRI is under 'Arab' influence.The real issue is one of political crime.Zimbabwe and Burma are both situations where religion is not a factor in those countries degradation.It is irrelevant whether Green movement candidates or Khatami are Islamic but whether they adhere to the unstated rules of democracy. Those that don't can be seen to be criminals.

pirooz / November 29, 2009 1:37 AM

Pirooz, It appears as if you have missed the point.Clinton as in a democrat and Khatami as in a liberal candidate vs. Obama as in a democrat and Mousavi as in a liberal candidate in the making.I see no reference to machination.That is a product of your imagination.Your statement,"but whether they adhere to the unstated rules of democracy" is a no brainer, but the question is, do they? And the answer is clear.Are you telling me Khamenei’s gang would simply pack up and leave if the people would vote them out?That is insane.The people voted his boy out last summer and we saw the results first hand.Khatami is a phony.He was the other side of the same coin.His task was to reach out to the outside world and free Iran from isolation.It was a put on.How many times did Khamenei pull his leash when he got too close to the Americans?Have you forgotten the incidence at the U.N. with Clinton?The man hid in the bathroom and waited for clinton to depart who expected to greet him.Warped is the belief that this regime somehow can be reformed.It can not.It has no hope.It is too backward, criminal and out of touch and ......... We need an alternative.Man learned a long time ago that religion and state have to be separated based on functionality.Why do we insist on reinventing the wheel?Islam has nothing in common with democracy.It is like trying to teach a dog to fly like a bird.Islamic Republic has one destiny, the garbage of history.Isn't 30 years long enough to understand this simple fact?

Iraj T. / November 29, 2009 10:56 AM

Hi Guys
There shall be a day of reckoning , there shall be a movement , a day of revolution that no Basije can withstand, no one would be saved who is against the will of people.

Thou shall see.

Yves / November 30, 2009 6:30 AM

the day iran is freed from this evil regime cannot come soon enough. And these so called islamists/jihadists/terrorists need to be brought to justice for the crimes of the past 30 years

Agha Irani / December 1, 2009 12:31 PM

Dear Author
green movement IS about change, but not a bloody, violent, sudden regime change.

It is about evolution of a nation and joining the civilized world:

1. mass education of the public and slow awakening from religious ignorance.

2. learning to respect human rights and other opinion.

3. leaing to respect other nations

We are not there yet.
We still shout "Allah Akbar", beat our chests on Ashurah, and chant "death to China" or Russia. (I know of no nation that chants "death to Iran" - we would lose our marbles if any one DARED insult our GlORIOUS culture, yet we can insult them just fine!!!)

before we blame world powers for all our troubles, we should first take a long hard look in the mirror.

Ahvaz / December 5, 2009 7:50 PM

Ahvaz, I agree with you when you mention education, but I do not agree with keeping the current system of government in Iran. We do not need an Islamic Republic since it contradicts with the educational aspect.Regime Change can solve a number of problems Iran is facing today and provide a bright future for the Iranian people.It is quite obvious we have no future under the Islamic Republic.

Reza / December 5, 2009 11:37 PM