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The Regime's Mousavi Problem

by MEA CYRUS in London

15 Dec 2009 19:4233 Comments

n00032410-r-b-004.jpg[ analysis ] Six months into a deep political crisis, a growing set of indicators is emerging that show the Islamic Republic of Iran is so fed up with post-election protests that it is willing to adopt extreme measures to bring them to an end.

As stated by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the country is, broadly speaking, now made up of two camps: "the elites" (students, academics, professionals) on one end, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij and security services, on the other. Though this characterization has been harshly criticized by conservative and radical ayatollahs such as Mohammad Yazdi, a former head of the judiciary, it is a pretty accurate depiction of the fault line dividing the Islamic Republic. Judging from the barrage of incendiary comments from Iranian officials and semi-officials on any given day, there is a growing sense that the regime is no longer going to put up with the opposition.

The opposition's escalating slogans and widening demonstrations questioning every aspect of the regime's values over the past 30 years have started to take their toll on the hardliners. The demonstrators have challenged the very name of the Islamic Republic by suggesting such alternatives as the "Iranian Republic," and even comparing the Supreme Leader to the last monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, by chanting "We said we did not want the Shah, (now) they call him Leader!"

The battle between the clerical regime and its own people has reached a crescendo, especially following the photo fiasco which broke out after Ayatollah Khomeini's picture was torn, allegedly by protesters, then broadcast for special effect on state television. Staged or not, conservatives and Ahmadinejad supporters have moved quickly to exploit it.

The clerical establishment has tried to use the incident to regain the upper hand by inflaming public opinion and turning it against the Green Movement and its leadership -- for this is payback time. From the beginning, Mir Hossein Mousavi delivered a harsh indictment against the regime by placing a photo of Khomeini on his official website without including one of the current leader, much to the consternation of this government and the Supreme Leader. Following the alleged desecration of Khomeini's image, the conservatives believe they had an opportunity to show that Mousavi supposedly had no real respect for Khomeini in the first place. This plot was designed to strip Mousavi of his revolutionary credentials and force him back into submission. But he has remained confident that his supporters will carry on regardless. Ironically, state television ignored the hundreds of pictures of the current Supreme Leader that have been torn or set alight by protesters.

Some clerics like Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam from the conservative Society of Militant Clergy (Jame-e Rohaniat) blamed Mousavi for "providing anti-revolutionary forces incentive to find a leader." By pressing for a cohesive leadership it configures all regime opposition under one umbrella and strengthens their efforts as the country becomes more polarized.

And yet another more radical cleric member of parliament went to an extreme by calling Mousavi, Mohammad Khatami, Rafsanjani and others of their ilk "cheaper and worse" than Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

This anti-opposition chorus keeps getting louder because the government fears the growth of a movement that threatens to bring down the entire regime through the devaluation of what was once held sacred. As a 49-year-old resident of southeast Tehran recently told me, it was once very unusual for people to challenge the authority of the Supreme Leader. Now "death to the dictator" is a common chant and people publicly and privately demonstrate their anger against Ayatollah Khamanei, something that this politically neutral Tehrani said was not so visible before the election. In his words, "We just complained about food prices before the election. This level of aggressiveness towards Khamenei has never been seen before."

Establishing a leadership of its own appeared key for the survival of the opposition movement. Following the June election, those behind the coup deliberately attempted to block the formation of an opposition leadership by orchestrating sweeping arrests of those with experience in organizing and leading. This strategy failed, however, as the opposition movement managed to sustain momentum even without any particular structure in place, as their support grew and anti-government activities persisted.

The central leader by default is Mousavi, who plays a symbolic and spiritual role. It was surprising, even for the regime, to see a man who had been absent from the front lines of politics for 20 years supported by such massive numbers, not just at voting polls, but on the streets, amongst batons, tear gas and bullets. The clerical regime has been resolute in its efforts to prevent an increase in serious forms of dissent. As a hunter (an apt metaphor here) once described for me, "In decapitating a dangerous snake, you either trap it into a cage (prison) or cut off its head (assassination)." Now that the clerical regime has bared its teeth and claws to its own people and shown no interest in reaching a compromise, the snake options remain in how it deals with Mousavi.

Both options carry significant consequences for the regime. Jafar Shajooni, another member of Rohaniat, rejected the usefulness of the first. As he stated, "If jailed, Mousavi will become an icon." He did not elaborate further to say what other designs the regime could have for the ex-premier -- other than to hint, "They [Mousavi supporters] should be fearful. The moment we get the green light to deal with them, I will personally chew their throats."

A quantity analysis might pinpoint just how many times the Supreme Leader, his loyal IRGC force and other politicians and clerics have warned Mousavi of the consequences of opposition. The number of threatening remarks aimed at one individual is particularly indicative of the government's fear of backlash should they decide to make their move against him. Yet assassination options are not off the table. The history of the Islamic Republic has shown that eliminating a threat has always been a good option for them. The elimination option ranges from the "physical removal" of anti-revolutionary elements, whether inside or outside Iran, as we saw in the 1980s, to assassination attempts and threats of them from the holy city of Qom, such as when some ayatollahs there gave the green light to kill then President Khatami, as they believed there was enough religious justification for a "true Muslim" to carry out such an order.

A case in point is the failed assassination of Saeed Hajariaan, an ex-agent of the Intelligence Ministry who moved to the reformist camp and rose to the respected ranks of the theoretician of reforms under President Khatami. He was gunned down by a young Basiji, Saeed Asgar, who was imprisoned for the shooting following a reluctant court prosecution, and released long before the completion of his full sentence. Just before Asgar fired a bullet into Hajjarian's face that lodged into his neck and left him paralyzed, Hajariaan received numerous calls from many clerics and right-wing politicians warning him of "consequences."

Hajjarian, now bound to a wheelchair and in need of constant medical attention, enjoyed the same status as Mousavi. Both men are popular, clean of financial corruption, have held the highest and most sensitive government posts; and both know too much. Further, they are difficult to taint by accusations of affiliation with foreign powers. But Mousavi has carried the mantle further as an influential leader able to rock the boat in Iranian politics. Such figures -- Hajjarian and Mousavi -- if they don't back off, are usually dealt with like the snake's head, after which the regime can play out old scenarios: depicting the killer(s) as hired by foreigners to sow division among the nation, and then venerating the victim after his death.

When rogue intelligence officers hatched a plot to bring down President Khatami's administration by assassinating intellectuals and former politicians such as Daryoush Forouhar, the Supreme Leader went to Friday Prayers and lashed out at those who killed him and his wife by saying though Forouhar was an opposition figure, he (Khamenei) believed he was no threat to the country. This mafia-style tactic removes the person seen as a threat while the perpetrators lay a wreath at his grave to show their respect.

While some may think that the death of a protest leader might escalate the situation to a dangerous and unpredictable level, the regime is well versed at the blame game, calling for unity while shedding crocodile tears. Rioting is likely to be short-lived due to a lack of leadership along with the fear of a security apparatus that is so well adept at striking back.

No other leader has the capacity to lead Iranians now like Mousavi, as he is accepted by a wide coalition for many contradictory reasons, but all sharing one common goal: getting rid of Ahmadinejad. Other ayatollahs, even the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, lack that appeal, simply for being a cleric, an indication of just how far men of the cloth have fallen in the eyes of the public.

Dangerous movements of militias around Mousavi's office and a lack of adequate security protection are all ample grounds for concern. It is a matter of time for those pushing the two options to get them onto the agenda. While it is not unusual for the intelligence community and IRGC decision makers to be divided into two camps in how to deal with Mousavi, neither has been able to convince Ayatollah Khamenei to put Mousavi behind bars or to kill him. And although the Supreme Leader has never been merciful towards those who publicly disobey him, he has so far held to his belief that the arrest or death of Mousavi would provide yet more incentive to opponents eager to plot against the government.

mousavi+irgc.jpgArresting Mousavi makes him a hero, which would only incite protesters even more. But removing him by the hands of a "true Muslim" or a suicide attack might create an opportunity for the government to blame terrorist groups like the MKO or the Rigi outfit in the Sistan and Baluchestan province (to wreak more havoc for the Islamic Republic, is how it will be spun), or claim an assassin was hired to take out Mousavi. Then, befitting of that Mafioso screenplay, "Martyr Mousavi" can be praised by the government who did him in.

Complicating the picture is the fast approaching religiously-potent month of Moharram. Moving from sermon to sermon, mourning the death of the Shia's third Imam, Mousavi should guard against being an easy target. In the event of "an accident" or suicide attack, disingenuous clerics can use the occasion to call people to calm and unity around the Shia banner. Moharram also carries its own hazards for the State: It will be very difficult to get protesters off the street; the only option to do so in such a case would be a curfew, whose use on a national scale has been unprecedented since the 1979 Revolution. But widespread rioting has the potential to bring the whole system down if things spiral out of control. Either way, with mounting levels of frustration at Mousavi, in the words of Mojtaba Zolnour, deputy to the chief representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC, "Grounds to deal with Mousavi should be laid out" once and for all.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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33 Comments

Death to the Islamic Republic.

Bahram D. / December 16, 2009 1:18 AM

Well written article and interesting pictures. I disagree with the author regarding Mousavi's role. He is not THE LEADER of the movement for a free and democratic Iran, which the Green movement is morphing into.

The movement is fast approaching the tipping point. The leaders will appear naturally as the movement sharpens and a point appears. At this point in time it is still too early and the movement does not have a defined shape. That shape will be that of an arrow targeting the heart of the Islamic Republic. How many and who will be at the head of the arrow is unknown.

I would argue that Mousavi, Khatami, Rafsanjani and even Karoubi stand between the Islamic Republic and a FREE Iran. Regime is well aware of this and will not allow these individuals to be harmed, unless it can make a pro Islamic Republic martyr out of them.

Maziar Irani / December 16, 2009 1:57 AM

Maziar Irani: I agree 100%... Well said

Babak / December 16, 2009 2:41 AM

Judging by the extremist secularist, anti-Islamic comments expressed by some of your commentators, I can only pray that God save the Iranian people, majority of whom are by tradition and culture 'religious', as it is quite possible that they may end up jumping from the frying pan into the fire. This could happen quite literally with Iran beginning to resemble Iraq and Pakistan with rivals groups fighting it out for supremacy. Sensibly the silent majority of the Iranian public might just decide to put up with the IRGC/security forces as long as they can keep the peace and prevent the country from breaking up in other words a de facto martial law. This would probably, despite their hypocritical stances, be preferable to Western policy makers as better an enemy you know then a country divided between warring factions. As it is Iran is difficult for them to fathom and I do not think they can afford another Iraq, now that their economies are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

rezvan / December 16, 2009 2:41 AM

Where are these people from Rezvan? Include me in. China? I think we are all from Iran. Four of us to one of you. Who is in the minority Rezvan? That is right Rezvan, YOU.What is it you don't understand Rezvan? WE DO NOT WANT THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC and its barbaric system of government.We are the people of Iran.OKEY?

Lida / December 16, 2009 3:50 AM

Mousavi may not be the leader, but each statement of his, new picture or video instills hope into Iranian Youth. They will be widely circulated on Facebook and Twitter.

I guess that means something about his role.
I would call Mousavi a brave person to stand in the face of imminent danger of Khamenei. He may be stuck in some backward ideology but I respect him for the ground he has been standing on since 8 months ago.

John Malkovich / December 16, 2009 4:08 AM

Dear Rezvan,

You are completly out of touch with the average Iranian's thinking. So much so that I seriously doubt you are even Iranian (most Islamic republic supporters online seem to be Arab or Pakistani anyway!)

Many Iranians are now "anti-Islam", because we have 30 years of living under Islamic Sharia Law. And we no longer want anything to do with it. It has been nothing short of a disaster for us.

We still shout Allah Akbar. But Allah Akbar is used more as the water used to flush the coup government down the toilet. It will end up in the same place, Enshaalah.
.
.
@Maziar
-agreed!

Ahvaz / December 16, 2009 4:54 AM

Homicide and suicide are two sides of the same coin.Moussavi is entirely unprotected except by any restraint Khamenei chooses to exercise.No one is betting against his capacity and appetite for blood.He has not embarked on this course over the last six months out of an all-embracing vision but step by step seeing where it will lead.The silent majority seem to be a lot less silent recently. Ultimately, the threats and atrocities only reinforce the sense that Moussavi has been gravely wronged and that the election was a fake.
I would say a psychogical 'Wall' has already fallen. There are a handful of countries where the population has been taken hostage by an armed bloc and kept hostage for decades. I am guessing Iran has already experienced this period the past 30 years.Generally these countries have had foreign support. Khomenei used to say that he could count Irans allies on the fingers of one hand.Despite the frantic travels of Ah'jad over the summer there is shrinking support for the IRI and Israel has claimed that the regime has done them a huge service.

pirooz / December 16, 2009 5:15 AM

"Judging by the extremist secularist, anti-Islamic comments expressed by some of your commentators"
I wonder why people are developing more and more secular views? Perhaps it's the fact that ISLAMIC Basij thugs rape innocent Iranian girls, and boys under the banner of Islam in jail. Because they believe a virgin girl cannot be killed. What has Islam brought Iran? Other then murderous mullahs who steal generations of Iranian souls.
I have no problems with Islam but the instrument of Islam in Iran makes ones stomach turn.

The majority of Iranians are fed up and at the boiling point and the economy will be the final nail in the coffin for this disgusting regime.

PB / December 16, 2009 5:56 AM

"The majority of Iranians are fed up and at the boiling point and the economy will be the final nail in the coffin for this disgusting regime."

AMEN!

Amir / December 16, 2009 7:16 AM

Right on PB, well said.

Alireza / December 16, 2009 8:19 AM

If they are stupid, they will kill Mousavi: because it will simultaneously create a martyr and not decapitate the movement, since the movement has grown far beyond Mousavi the person. It has spread across the entire spectrum of Iranian society, as far as I can tell from reading reports from here... Mousavi is only one of many leaders of the movement, and killing him will do little to nothing.

They may still make this mistake, however, just as they made the mistake of rigging the elections --- and not even in a believable way. They could have made the elections come out close, etc., but instead they went for a massive win, which made no sense at all. But rigging the elections was a huge error on their part and even killing Mousavi can't possibly stop the movement after they've done something as extreme as that.

Mitsu / December 16, 2009 8:34 AM

In real political terms, Mousavi is irrelevant. Even students in Tehran during 16 Azar chanted as much.

He is merely used at times as a lightning rod by certain members of the Iranian political establishment, in signaling disapproval of the anti-establishment cause. Nothing more.

Pirouz / December 16, 2009 6:39 PM

I completely disagree with the author's conclusions, in which he/she confidently argues that if Mousavi is jailed, he'll be turned into a hero and if assassinated, the regime's problems will soon go away (after a short-term period of protests). This analysis seems to rest on the single prediction that the regime is good at the blame game, and they'll shed "crocodile tears" while blaming external forces for Mousavi's death. This prediction, and concern, is misplaced. The regime and its propaganda machine are losing ground everyday, and it's not clear how effective they can be at selling such an obvious lie.

Plus, the author assumes that Mousavi is the spiritual and symbolic leader of the opposition. This is true, but his role must not be exaggerated. This movement is pretty much leaderless, and Mousavi's presence only helps to keep it off from becoming too radical. Without Mousavi, it's likely to go on UNLESS it is radicalized, alienating a large portion of its members.

Can we stay positive for once?

Sepand / December 16, 2009 6:39 PM

The government is obviously brutal and ruthless enough that it would want nothing more than to kill Mousavi. The fact that they have not touched Mousavi or the other top opposition figures means that they understand well that it would be extremely risky for them. Everyone can see that the situation in Iran is very volatile and something incendiary could change things very drastically. There are people who could step in as leaders if Mousavi is harmed like Kerroubi or even Mousavi's wife and they would have enormous emotional appeal.

NP / December 16, 2009 10:19 PM

In other words Sepand you want to go against these Barbarians with a box of candy in your hands? Let me know where to send the flowers. You people live in a dream world. Believe me when I tell you they knew you guys too well when they picked the color Green for you. You are the movement of the Green. Mousavi is one of the boys. He doesn't want to change the system. He is upset because the leader and his short stop put it to him. Their prior agreement didn't cover that and he cannot get over it. How can people be so gullible is beyond me. No wonder we are a third world country. Because we think third world.

Sohrab / December 16, 2009 10:44 PM

The protestors in Iran do not want Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami, or Ahamdinejad. They have targeted the heart of the regime. Last weeks protests were witness to chants of "mousavi is an excuse, our target is the whole regime." The leaders of the protests that have been continuing every days since last week are not being led by the the Mousavi or Karroubi camps. They have been left behind because they do not serve as an alternative. The entire regime will be overthrown by the people of Iran.

Cyrus / December 17, 2009 12:18 AM

Shahmenei is doomed

Gloumdalclitch / December 17, 2009 2:55 AM

Some of you, from the comfort of your homes in the West, generalize your own thinking to "the people of Iran." Some of you, who claim to be against the clerics, do exactly what they do: Issuing Fatwas; theirs is religious, yours anti-religion. Some of you, who claim to be anti-Islamic fundamentalism, are also fundamentalist, but of the anti-religion type.

How do you know what people of Iran want, and in particular, how do you know whether people do, or do not want Mousavi? Because you do not want him?

Just because a few students, provoked by monarchist, Los Angeles-based TV, chanted, "Mousavi is an excuse," does not mean that you should immediately generalize it to all.

3000 Tehran University students also asked Mousavi to give a speech there on 16 Azar, and that is 10% OF THE ENTIRE STUDENT POPULATION there. Given that in such invitations only very few brave ones, who are willing to go to jail by putting down their names on anything of this sort, sign such invitations and petitions, 3000 is a huge number. Some of you, from the comfort of your homes in the WEst, are not willing to put your names down on an open letter protesting human rights absuses in Iran, yet you ignore 3000 people and stick to a few, simply because the few say what is closer to your hearts!

Plus, why do you think that the Basij and IRG are so terrified by Mousavi, if he does not have the support of people? They are just acting - this is all theater - or doing it just for the heck of it?

Comments by anti-Muslims here are another facet of such illusions. How do you know that people are sick and tired of Islam? Because you are?

What people are sick and tired is using Islam (or any religion for that matter) to justify crimes.

A true secular person is not an anti-religion person. It is a person who considers religion a private matter that should not be used by the government to justify its actions, and a person who believes that the clerics should not have any special privileges and rights - they are equal to everyone else. By this definition, a pious Muslim can also be secular.

It is simply an illusion that all Iranians are sick and tired of Islam.

Goerge Stewart / December 18, 2009 12:41 AM

A must read for young people from Time Magazine
entitled "Don't forget Mousavi's bloody past"
We in the west view the term "reformer" much differently than Mousavi the reformer intends.
Important article-

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1905477,00.html

apranik / December 18, 2009 7:39 AM

Dear Rezvan,Funny how you look at this mafia thing in only 1 way view.Assasination can go both ways ,just look at john f kennedy.Besides that the movement is the leader they are irans future they are young they are all leaders what the regime gonna do kill them all.Besides that in 979 the constitution was changed and these people were tricked.Religeon has no place in politics thats the whole problem .they bicker all the time and when war does come to iran that goverment will be all toast.

Vettcrazz / December 18, 2009 7:48 AM

@George Stewart:
Spot on! Sadly most of these monarchists commenting on this website are as fundamentalistic as the regime in Iran. Personally I'm getting tired of discussing with people with the idea that by banning turbans and executing all mullahs, the world will be full of peace and harmony (on twitter). And NO, just because a person was/is against the old regime it does not mean that he is a communist or a mullah.

I shall do everything to support the brave protesters in Iran. How Irans future will look like is for them to decide, not me, the monarchists, MKO or anybody else!

Heidar / December 18, 2009 10:37 AM

I agree with George Stewart. People like Sohrab have no conception of modern Iran and Iranian society. They squint at things from a telescope in California far removed from reality, and see only elements they wish to see. They don't see that half the population is still religious, and at least 25% (one-fourth) were stalwart regime supporters until this summer.

Amir / December 18, 2009 5:53 PM

apranik, he has not fooled anyone in Iran either. The general public has passed him by politically. They know he cannot deliver. He has been, is and will be a part of the barbaric system.

Amir, did you say modern Iran? Does modernity mean pulling people's eyes out, beating and hanging them in public squares? Chopping their fingers off or flogging them in public? Treating women as second class citizens without any rights? Murdering, beating and raping your people after a rigged election? Would you like me to go on? Why do I have to live in California? The last I heard mullahs had managed to buy their way in and control a number of media establishments. The stolen oil money goes far. You claim half of the Iranians are religious. What is wrong with that? In America a good portion of the population is religious. Personally, I would never question a man's religion. What I question is the evil done to him in the name of religion. Based on this issue, the percentages vary and very quickly. The majority of people does not support the Barbaric Republic and does not want religion in the system of government. The last 30 years has been a miserable eye opening experience. This government is backward, corrupt and murderous. They murder people right in front of cameras. Amir the garbage of the Islamic Republic is so deep rooted you couldn't clean it up in a million mullah light years. This regime's corpse is on a life support system. No amount of propaganda, suppression of facts or put on can save it. It's over and only a question of time.I wish anyone that stands against this tyranny the best of luck.Be it Republican, Monarchist or undecided.They have all suffered a great deal.

Sohrab / December 19, 2009 12:10 AM

@Goerge Stewart,

Most young people in Iran ARE now anticleric, if not antiIslam. (thanks to the Mullahs)

many elderly and people in small villages are attached to the mosque. But Urban young Iraians, the future doctors, lawyers, enginerers and teachers are much more secular. This is admitted by Iran officials.

Iran is too dangerous to run a scientific poll on the topic. But it isn't too difficult to see the trends. There has been a huge surge in books bought on Zoroastrian, the Iranians pre-Islam religion. There are now more visits to Perian Poets' memorials like Saadi and ferdowsi or Perspolis than Islamic shrines.

BTW you are wrong to label all of us Monarchist or influenced by them. That is the kind of nonsense that comes out of a bassiji mouth and their Arab and Pakistani sympathizers.

We have no trouble with Islam. We want separation of Islam and Government.

Ahvaz / December 19, 2009 1:03 AM

Correction RE: " We want separation of Islam and Government"

separation of RELIGION and Government, and freedom of religion at home and houses of worship.

Ahvaz / December 19, 2009 1:59 AM

Wait a minute Gentleman. What is wrong with being a Monarchist? That is just a system of governance and some of the most advanced countries in the world are run by it. The problem is not having a Republic or a Monarchy, but a government of the people for the people by the people. Egypt is a Republic. What aspects of that government is democratic? None. Holland is a monarchy. What aspects of that government are democratic? Everything. The difference? We have no doubt the people of the two countries, their level of education combined with the existence of a democratic foundation in the case of Holland. A parliament of the representatives of the people. We would like to think the Iranian society has reached the level of maturity to look beyond simple name callings, to look beyonf labels to create an atmosphere where people of all political affiliations can present their thoughts, aspirations and the opportunity to make it into reality based on majority vote of approval. You as individuals make the difference. However, none of these are possible without first removing the Islamic Republic. That must remain as the focal point and the primary goal behind Iranian people's unity, the freedom of Iran.

Ardeshir / December 19, 2009 3:12 AM

The fact is 90% of Iranian voters at the time voted in a popular referendum at the time to accept Iran as an Islamic Republic. Millions of Iranians, estimates vary between 2-10m, attended the funeral of Ayatullah Khomeini. Over 80% of eligible voters participated in the recent elections for candidates approved by the Guardian Council which means acceptance of the system and voting for one of the 4 'Islamist' candidates. The opposition to Khamanei/AN alliance within IRI comes principally from other clerics such as Montazeri & Sanei and none of them despite some exaggerated rhetoric have called for the dismantlement of the IR. Diehard secularists and some of their zionist friends can dream on as they have done for 30yrs but the IR is here to stay. Change however it will for the human condition requires that as happened in Turkey where a religious party is in power but in a secular framework. It is quite possible that a more secular political culture comes into being but still remain an IR.

rezvan / December 19, 2009 3:23 AM

@Ardeshir: Sorry, but i cannot follow youre line of reasoning.

You are right, officially Egypt is a Republic and indeed not the most democratic one. But the country is effectively run as a monarchy with Hosni Mubarak being the president for over 28 years! And please, don't say he is democratically elected! (Another example of a effective monarchy is Iran!)

And yes youre are right, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway (and so on) are monarchies but yet fully democratic! But these countries are only monarchies by name and effectively republics. I live in Denmark, and believe me if the royal family say ANYTHING slightly political, there will be huge criticism against them. The monarchs has NOTHING to say about politics in democratic monarchies ---> NOT a true monarchy!

I don't have anything against people being monarchists, but I can't really see how a country run by non-elected people can be democratic.

Heidar / December 21, 2009 3:10 AM

Heidar -
"Egypt is a Republic. What aspects of that government are democratic? None." That is my direct quote. You said it beautifully, "Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway (and so on) are monarchies but yet fully democratic!". They have a democratic constitution and are run by elected representatives of their people. The king does not interfere in politics. However, in a diverse country such as ours a king is the symbol of unity. We are not advocating anything more than that. The time of absolutism is over and specially for our country.

Iranians in a free and fair referendum can elect the government of their choice.

However, today we need to stand united against tyranny. We must free our country first or these discussions are meaningless.

I thank you for your input.

Ardeshir / December 21, 2009 4:40 AM

I've seen reports saying that Mousavi is part of a "leadership quartet" that also includes Khatami, Rafsanjani and Karoubi. I know Rafsanjani has little public credibility, but I think either Khatami or Karoubi would be able to step up to fill Mousavi's role if needed. Certainly neither of them could fully replace Mousavi, but they could step in to fill a leadership void.

Khatami, certainly, has a lot of credibility in the green movement, and he would probably like another chance to play a major role after the frustrations of his presidency.

an observer / December 21, 2009 10:10 AM

@Ardeshir: I may have misunderstood you, so it's better to ask. (This question is for all monarchists).

What kind of monarchy are you imagining Iran having? A monarchy like for example Denmark were the king doesn't interfere with politics at all and is just a "symbol" and "tradition". Or do you want the king to posses political power?

If you want the last option, isn't this against the idea of democracy?

Heidar / December 21, 2009 4:02 PM

Heidar,"The time of absolutism is over and specially for our country." That is what I said.
We must have a government of the people, for the people and by the people.I can't speak for anyone else, but I would not put emphasis on the role as traditional although a good segment of Iranian society is still traditionalist.However,the intellectual Iran is beyond that feature.A king's role in our country Iran with her unique characteristics should be one of symbol of unity amongst the diversity within her.The government must be of the people for continuity.

Ardeshir / December 21, 2009 6:53 PM