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Mousavi: This is a Cult not a Political System

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

28 Feb 2010 03:5820 Comments

The latest from Karroubi and Mousavi.

A few days ago, Mehdi Karroubi declared that the people have not backed down and that they continue to stand firm for their legitimate demands. He ridiculed the claim of the hardliners that on February 11, the 31st anniversary of the Revolution, 50 million people had demonstrated in support of the political establishment. He demanded that, in accordance with article 27 of the Constitution, which permits peaceful gathering by the people, the Green Movement be allowed to stage its own demonstrations, in order to show which side has more support. He also demanded a national referendum in accordance with article 54 of the Constitution to decide whether the Guardian Council should be allowed to control and supervise elections and vet the candidates.

In his interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Karroubi also stated that he does not recognize the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as legitimate or Islamic. The courageous Karroubi thus demonstrated once again that he personally will not back down.

Kalameh, the website of Mir Hossein Mousavi, has just posted an interview with him in which he too has emphasized that the Green Movement is standing firm and repeated the demands that had been made in his previous statements, in particular those in Statements 13 and 17. He also echoed Karroubi's demand that the Green Movement be allowed to stage its own demonstration, in order to show which political side has more support in Iran. What follows is a translation of almost the entire interview.

Q: Three weeks have passed since the rally on 22 Bahman [February 11, the anniversary of the Revolution], and much has been said about it. What is your view of the rally?

This is not the first time that we have had such a rally. Every year since 1979, we have had rallies in which millions of people have taken part. Every year those who support the Revolution take part in the rallies. Typically, the annual rallies are influenced by important events in the nation and its political condition. This year, it was influenced by the tenth presidential election and its aftermath, and the government spent a huge sum, organized buses and trains from all over the country [to bring people to Tehran], and utilized the bureaucracy [to order people to attend the rally], in order to neutralize the presence of the Green Movement.

Q: What were the differences between this year's rallies and those in the past?

The differences result from the aftermath of the elections. Due to the formation of the grand social-political Green Movement, the rallies were strongly influenced by the presence of the Movement's supporters. Never before have the security and police forces been such a presence in the streets. The violent crackdown, especially the one around Sadeghiyeh Square [in west Tehran], had never taken place in the past. In previous years, people were free to take part in the rallies in any shape or form. This year, however, the police could not tolerate the presence of even one person with green clothes. I do not believe that the people will easily forget such treatment.

Q: In your opinion how extensive was the participation of the Green Movement supporters?

We cannot present precise statistics, but based on some evidence we can estimate. One piece of evidence is a comparison between the rally on June 15 [three days after the rigged election, in which 3 million people took part] and the rally on February 11. The other evidence is the empty Azadi Square [when Ahmadinejad spoke on February 11] and the comparison with the Square in the past. There still has not been any explanation as to why the Square was empty, and why the cameras [of the national television] were showing
only a small area. To claim that the Square was empty because people were careful about the lawn and the environment is ridiculous. If it had been important to the political establishment to find out how widespread the Green Movement is, this would have been a historic opportunity to find it out.

It is clear that hiding the truth does not eliminate it. I deeply believe that, due to the treatment that people received, it [the Movement] will become even deeper and more widespread. When Mr. Karroubi and I consulted [a few days ago], we thought that we should again repeat our request--that we should be allowed, in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution, to have our own rally, and then the degree of participation will end all speculation. We also believe that, had we not invited the people to take part in this year's rally, there would have been a weak showing and the big majority [of those taking part] would have been the security and police forces.

Q: It is said that bribes and threats played a role in the rally, and that some people participated to make financial gains.

I like to call it an engineered rally. I am opposed to insulting those who do not support the Green Movement. Everyone is not supposed to agree with everyone else. If someone does not think similarly to us, it does not mean that he or she is a bad person. They are all our compatriots and, except for some hooligans and murderers, they are all our brothers and sisters. Even the security and police forces are our brothers, as we know that they are forced into using violence.

Of course, [illegal] use of public funds and the bureaucracy [to force people to take part in the rally] must be condemned. I remember that even during the war [with Iraq in the 1980s, when Mousavi was prime minister] the use of [privately owned] trucks by the defense establishment had to overcome many legal and religious hurdles, even at times of deep crises during the war, and the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] permitted use of private sector [equipment] only if the government covered the expenses and guaranteed reimbursement. But, for this rally, all the buses and trains from all over the country were used. Staging such engineered rallies is not an achievement, but resembles the dictatorship of the pre-Revolution era. During the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty, too, if someone who was working for the government did not want to take part in its rallies, he or she would have encountered a lot of problems...

Q: Are there consultations between you and Karroubi and Khatami regarding your positions and decision making?

We are always in contact. Due to the large number of people who have been arrested, it is even more necessary than before to maintain contact, and I thank God that there is good harmony between us. It would have been in the country's interest, of course, if instead of a violent crackdown and filling up the prisons, there was support within the present political framework for strong organizations of those who do not accept the current destructive policies. I believe that this is the only way of preventing the transfer of the leadership of the social and political groups to outside the country. But because the Voice and Visage [the national television and radio network controlled by the hardliners] has been acting totally one-sidedly, because of the closure of the [reformist] newspapers and imprisonment of journalists, it currently seems impossible to set up organizations that can openly bring together influential figures [of the opposition] to be active within the framework of the Constitution.

Therefore, I still believe that the best way to address the problem is by having every citizen acting as a journalist and reporter, and to expand the social networks with the aim of elevating the level of social and political knowledge of the people. While this has some negatives, it also has some positives, and I believe that the Internet has created a miracle [by keeping people connected and informed]...

Q: Street actions [by the Green Movement] have always been confronted with violence. We saw an example of this in Sadeghiyeh Square. Are there other ways of pursuing the legal and legitimate goals of the Green Movement?

This question is asked frequently. The answer is that the Green Movement must not forget its goals. It should also not give up and forget its strategy. Right from the beginning there was a clear framework for the goals of the Green Movement. We should consider what binds the Green Movement together. The minimum and certain goal that can create a large coalition is putting into action all articles of the Constitution. There have, of course, been people and groups that have wanted to cross this line, but the Green Movement has never deviated from its fundamental goal of complete execution of all articles of the Constitution and, God willing, will continue on this path to the end. I have always emphasized the important of this key demand of the Green Movement, and as a supporter of the Movement I have also emphasized maintaining the integrity of the demand. What has happened in the streets was to tell the world about this key demand.

But using the streets is not the only way of accomplishing this. Tens of millions of Iranians are protesting censorship, oppression, violent crackdowns, an unstable and adventurous foreign policy, destructive economic policies, and the spread of bribery and lying. They want to change the situation, and by deciding their own fate change the fate that has been imposed on them by an incompetent government. Our nation does not want to lose the tough worldwide and regional competition [for progress]; our nation wants to live in peace with the rest of the world, not to confront it, and wants the country to follow a foreign policy that promotes development; our nation does not want to watch domestic production buried and destroyed by cheap imports; our nation does not want artificial privatization, whereby under the guise of privatization all the important projects are brought under the control of quasi-governmental companies and the Sepah [the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]; as its national and Islamic duty, our nation wants to end unemployment and poverty as the accepted norms, and prevent their concealment via intense propaganda. Our nation does not want our teachers beaten up because they demand better salaries and benefits, or our labor force attacked because it demands its legal rights...

Our nation does not like its letters, phone conversations and messages, and text messages eavesdropped on; our nation is courageous and well-informed and does not want a small group that limits its freedoms, suspends its fundamental and constitutional rights, bans the newspapers, and issues new orders on a daily basis for how to write, listen, and talk. Thus, the Green Movement must spread the message that such demands of the nation are also those of the Green Movement. These demands are Islamic and in accordance with the Constitution and our religious democracy. These demands are not anti-religious in any way that could justify orders for murder and imprisonment, and they are not anti-patriotic or anti-political establishment, and that is exactly why they are supported by the people. Demanding freedom, human rights, elimination of discrimination, toleration of various opinions and thinking, and confronting corruption and lawlessness are not offenses if one pursues them [peacefully] in the streets or through means of mass communication.

To the contrary, preventing the pursuit of such demands is a sign of dictatorship and defies the goals of the Revolution...

...But, we should also be humble. It is not necessary that all change must be controlled and brought about by the Greens. Being a Green means not being selfish and arrogant. To achieve our goals, we will use every possible way. I emphasize again that the most important means of victory is to increase people's knowledge.

Q: What is the role of the political establishment and other groups in the changes [that the Movement is pursuing]?

The Green Movement has stood firm, insisting on its demands. The more the nation becomes aware of its rights, the more powerful will be the force that supports the demands. More knowledge will changes the lives of the people, and this change is the nation's capital that will yield social and political changes. The point that I, as a minor supporter of the Green path, would like to emphasize is that our goal is to make the changes within the political system, and that the changes need not necessarily be made by this or that person. We should always remind ourselves of a beautiful moral principle, which is that we should acknowledge honesty, goodness, and beauty, even if they are not achieved by us. That is why I believe that we must stand firm for our demands, though the price would be lower if the political establishment itself begins to implement the changes. I would like to declare it as explicitly as possible that any action taken by the political establishment to restore people's rights within the framework of the Constitution will not be considered by us as a sign of weakness, but rather as a sign of the strength of the Islamic Republic...

I declare explicitly that publishing Etemaad-e Melli and Kalameh Sabz [the daily papers of, respectively, Karroubi's National Trust Party and Mousavi, both of which were banned after the rigged election], even if it does some harm, will do much less than the harm done by other internal [hardline] and external publications. I know that it will not be accepted, or at least it will not be accepted under the current conditions, but I declare that allowing radio and television channels for the Green Movement will strengthen the political establishment, and help national unity...

In any case, if the political establishment and various [conservative and hardline] political groups were wise enough, they would know that a good future for our country requires national unity among people from all walks of life, not descriptions of the people [who support the Green movement] as "dust," "calf and kid," and a "small and narrow group." The lives of the prophets and imams indicate that they never insulted even the enemies of religion, but respected their human rights and by being kind to them tried to attract them to their faith... Our people know well the difference between true religiosity and greed for power in religion's clothes--this is not the definition of a nation. This political establishment is a cult. It is destroying the concept of being Iranian, and this is the most dangerous issue that we are confronting. Our weapon for confronting the danger is a move toward national and religious reconciliation, and relying on the ideals that will lead to a peaceful and advanced Iran at the national and international levels.....

Q: In Statement 17 [issued on January 1], ways of resolving the crisis were mentioned. Are there other solutions for the problem?

There is an important point in Statement 17, and that is an admission [by the hardliners of] the existence of a crisis is part of the solution. On the other hand, I do not believe that there is an instantaneous and sudden solution for the crisis. For example, one cannot organize and engineer a rally and then pretend that the problem has been solved. The most important thing is to take actions that would improve the situation. For example, if it was announced today that all the political prisoners have been released, I am sure that the entire people would welcome it, just as they would if violence were not used against people who demand only their rights.

We have seen the effect of insulting people. So, let's try to treat them for once with respect. On some occasions, avoiding inappropriate behavior will improve the national mood. An example of such behavior was the violence in Sadeghiyeh Square on February
11 -- the attacks on the people, the families of the martyrs, and their children. Who can claim that such a disgrace can help our political system? Would Karroubi and Khatami joining the people during the rally not help national unity, or [does it help to] send some hooligans to implement the strategy of "victory through terror?" Does the political establishment consider terrorizing the people a solution? If that is the case, then why did we condemn Saddam Hussein's attack on Halabja [when the Iraqi army used chemical weapons against Iranian troops and Kurdish citizens of Iraq in March 1988]. The recent film that shows the attacks on the [Tehran University] Dormitory and the students [five of them were killed after the rigged election] only goes to show a cultist and violent culture.

In the eyes of those who were beating the students, the children of the nation are worse than even animals, and it is a real catastrophe that the officials say they do not know who was responsible for the attacks. This is an even worse insult to the people and students. It
is interesting that among the police [at the Dormitory] there were people who were telling others not to beat the students. I wish the police would see there is strength and power not in violent crackdowns, but in creating a secure environment for all the citizens regardless of their thinking. Why was it necessary to use pepper and chemical spray in Sadeghiyeh Square? All such actions take from us any rational solution to the problem. Guaranteeing free, competitive, and fair elections is the key solution... The Green Movement must always emphasize this.

Q: Much has been said about [the relation between] some important social groups and the Green Movement. What do you think?

The Green Movement was born within the important groups and strata of the society, and has grown with them. For example, I can point to the letter by 116 professors of Tarbiyat Modarres University. This university is a child of the Revolution [it was set up after the
so-called Cultural Revolution in the early 1980s, to train replacements for those professors
who had been expelled] and I, as a faculty member, have had a role in its formation. Everyone knows that this university does not have an undergraduate program, and the age pyramid is higher than those of other universities. There are many among its students and staff that served the Revolution in its early years. The letter by 116 professors of this institution indicates how seriously widespread the Movement is in the universities. What I want to say is that you can find the same among medical doctors, teachers, engineers, laborers, feminist movement, athletes, artists, and other important social groups. Just a glance at the festivals during the ten days of Fajr indicates where our artists stand with regard to the Movement [most have boycotted the festivals this year]. It is said that after the election nearly 1000 clips and songs have been made about the Green Movement and the [election's] aftermath, and a large number of
cartoons, posters, paintings, and other artistic works have been created. I consider the link between the Green Movement and the various social groups and strata as the best way of achieving our goals for the future of our country. Why should we not be hopeful, when millions of university students support the Green Movement?

Q: What about the clerics?

There are many informed, committed, and combatant clerics in the Movement. The Greens must know that the views of a few biased and extremist clerics do not represent those of all the clerics. Our true clerics never use profanity against people, or defend murder, the spilling of blood, and the jailing of innocents. The true clerics know how Islam views making [baseless] accusations, torture, and defamation. The true clerics distinguish the true national and Islamic interests from those of cults and groups, and such clerics are allies of our academics and recognize the significance of this alliance. We view our active true clerics as highly important to the Movement. Their presence in the Movement, while it is accused of being infidel and the agents of foreign powers, is vital.

It is for this reason that I say to all those who have joined the Movement with hopes for a better future that we should be careful not to fall in a propaganda trap that aims to make our clerics distrust the Movement. We should always remember the Ashura festival of 1997 [when the hardliners produced a fake movie showing putative supporters of former president Mohammad Khatami dancing during the solemn day of mourning] and similar shows. Those who oppose the Movement, not all of them but at least some, have no moral qualm about [making such accusations].

Q: What is your suggestion for Chehar Shanbeh Souri [an ancient ritual on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar]?

The ritual on this day reminds us of the defeat of darkness by light. But the supporters of the Green Movement, while respecting such national and religious occasions, do not want them to be used to harass and hurt the people, especially since those who oppose the Green Movement may have planned to use the occasion to bring the Movement into disrepute. I am certain that the Greens will not take part in anything that can be exploited to harass people. Creating [small] explosions and making fires [customary elements of the ritual] are not in keeping with the deeply peaceful nature of the Green Movement. If we keep this important principle in mind, and suggest the same to other supporters of the Movement, I am certain that they will not be hurt by those who want to use this occasion as an excuse to attack them.

Q: And the last point?

I hope that the country will be in a condition that we can have an exhibition of the posters, clips, and other artistic work that have been created over the last year, without any censorship. I am certain that, God willing, with the hope and actions of the Green Movement we will someday have such an exhibition that will demonstrate our national excitement and concerns.

Once again, Mir Hossein Mousavi has demonstrated that he is a man of deeply held principles, and that he will not back down from expressing the legitimate demands of the people and the Green Movement that he is leading. He recognizes that the hope of much of the nation rests on his shoulders and thus on his words and actions.

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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20 Comments

Nice try on an exit strategy....calling the kettle black.

This guy is the butcher of Tehran, with a brooks brothers shirt.

He was aPrime Minister '81-'89 during the most bloody internal purges: including prison massacres of 4,000+, exiles '88 prison raping/murder of boys/girls.

He is a walking dead man and he knows it.

The gallows of the green revolution tribunal await him.

Googles members list of the Guardian Council, Expediency Cuuncil, IRGC High Command, and All Ministers is the best future funeral prediction list completed in modern times.

Trading in their Life Insurance policies is going to soon be quoted in structured life setlements trading worldwide.

Shah / March 1, 2010 12:14 AM

Dear Shah,


You must be smoking some good, strong stuff. Let us have some of it.

Ali from Tehran / March 1, 2010 12:45 AM

Is there no way to end the IRI's reign without the bloodbath some are calling for, no equivalent to S. Africa's truth commission, with its offer of amnesty to those who come forward to admit their crimes, and by making that offer, avoid the IRGC commanders, for example, acting like cornered rats with nowhere to go and trying to shoot / bomb their way to pyrrhic stalemate, as former Baathists and members of Saddam's army in Iraq have done?

Homayoun / March 1, 2010 1:47 AM

"Gallows of the Green Revolution await Mouavi?" My friend, you have a lot to learn about the Green Movement (not revolution). These people have put their lives on the line for the movement, and we have for them.

The killings during the Cultural Revolution were above and beyond Mr. Mousavi, and ordered by Khomeini himself. No one could say anything at that time, as we saw the fate of those who did.

Jason Shams / March 1, 2010 2:02 AM

Mousavi and alike are all opportunist wolves in sheep clothing, with due apologies to wolves who never kill aimlessly, not even for islam. They should all be brought to the same justice that they brought others. See the following documented murder of a five-month pregnant young lady by Khalkhali on the order of Khomeini under the murderous PM Mousavi. Mousavi and alike are most dangerous since their commitment is to IRI and Vali Faghih and know nothing about Iran and Iranians; their aim is nothing but to divert attention, cheat iranians, and maintain IRI, not to free iranians of the despicable political islam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUB-md9GlAo&feature=related

Samira / March 1, 2010 2:07 AM

Positive and balanced discourse and I am glad that he is clear in his commitment to the IR. This will disappoint both secular and religious extremists.

rezvan / March 1, 2010 5:24 AM


This are simply tricks of US to destablize Iran all the funding that has been going on for the last so many years has finally paid some dividends.
Let it be clear to all that we will give our lives to save The Islamic Revolutions.
All others who are against will be thrown out to America or Isreal where ever they wanna go but not here.
Iran belongs to us muslims the majority as per democracy standards and we will decide not you exiled wanderars keep on wandering in different countries you countryless leach till you die.

Steve Austin / March 1, 2010 2:09 PM

He might be a cult leader himself, after all he believes in some sort of Islam and forgets Iran completely, as he probably does not even know of The Zend-Avesta that stated the merits of Free Will and Life for the first time in human history.

Ali Mostofi / March 1, 2010 5:30 PM

Dear "Steve Austin"
Your remarks and opinions are really disturbing! Feel free to give your live for the sake of The Islamic Revolution, but please do not harm other people who have also their own opinion and this well in within Iran ! Or, do you enocurage a dictatorship in the name of Islam ?

Bruno Betschart / March 1, 2010 11:05 PM


There's always in any society and any country a certain - inexorably existing - framework to observe and respect :

reality

expressed in the potentiality of a current legal, administrative, cultural system.

People who don't want to take account of that when formulating
strategy (long-term aims) and
tactics (the different steps to be taken with a view to the long-term target),
might be in the best keeping with some expert who undertakes teaching them "Yogic Flying"

Link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogic_Flying

Publicola / March 2, 2010 1:01 AM

To Basiji "steve austin":

Nice try, using the american TV show "6 Million Dollar Man" hero's name, but anyone can tell you aren't a native English speaker. I peg your age at 14-25; it sure is easy getting access to a good, Islamic education now that you've joined the goon squad, isn't it? After all, Allah knows you haven't been taught any skill to do anything valuable and productive, just to bully, injure and kill "defective" Muslims and ethnic minorities within the IRI.

You're just the Iranian equivalent of a neo-Nazi skinhead - equally ignorant, bellicose and full of yourself, perhaps because you've been repeatedly told since birth that you're "better than" those Jews you hate, a sentiment which comes through clearly despite your garbled writing.

You and your Basij ilk are pathetic. You wouldn't last a month in a truly free society, because in the absence of a mullah or military commander telling you what to think, when to eat, urinate and defecate, your obvious lack of worldliness and ability to think for yourself, rather than just spout ignorant nonsense, as well as a lack of employable skills, would leave you homeless on the streets, hungry, unemployed and filthy.

Good luck with a country full of nothing but Islamic zealots like yourself. It seems there would be the constant threat of envy driven violence ("I'm a more pious Muslim than you are, so I deserve your job/apartment/car more than you do, and you'd better give them to me or else") if the military security apparatus were to relax even a tiny bit from running your glorious Islamic Republic like a maximum security prison. You need only take a long look at North Korea, Cuba or, if you can find a copy of the book "1984", examine what that fictional future was like, to get a revealing glimpse of your envisioned paradise on Earth.

Don't labor under the delusion that once you've rid Iran of the Greens, the secular and non-Islamic people, you and your Basij friends will personally be receiving a much bigger share of oil money - in fact, with no political opposition demanding a full and transparent accounting of the IRI's wealth and oil income, the Supreme Leader and the IRGC would feel emboldened to embezzle even more of it than they do now, and tell you and the other "defenders of the revolution" that the middle class and poor have to make more "sacrifices for the glory of the revolution" because oil revenue was down, or "external enemies" had sabotaged the oil fields, or that in their accounting of oil revenues, 100 - 0 = 20, and because you think they're divinely appointed, you'll believe whatever they tell you and continue living like an alleycat while your glorious leaders continue to stash billions of dollars into their overseas bank accounts.

Shortly after you allow the unrestricted emigration of people with practical talents and intelligence, you'll have to import Chinese, N. Korean, Asian or Venezuelan fellow ideological travelers to do the mental tasks and dirty work of keeping Iran's oil flowing. I give you 2 years before it collapses, and your beloved regime with it, once you "cleanse" the IRI of the Greens, religious minorities and the productive classes with skills valued outside Iran who aren't ideologues.

farzad / March 2, 2010 1:48 AM

@Steve Austin

Re "Iran belongs to us muslims"

Iran belongs to Iranians you.... You are looking for Islamistan.


Re " we will give our lives to save The Islamic Revolutions."

I doubt it! You will run with your tail between your legs (like in Ashura).
REAL Bassij died in the war. You do this for the money.

Ahvaz / March 2, 2010 5:04 AM

Dear Samira,

"Mousavi and alike are all opportunist wolves in sheep clothing"

I have shared some of your mistrust for Moussavi and karoubi in the past. But would an "opportunist" risk his life, family and freedom as these two have for 8 months?

Moussavi has been threatened numerous times, his nephew murdered, his wife assaulted, his brother in law thrown in jail. Karoubi has been personally assaulted, his car attacked, and his son tortured.

Unlike opportunist Khomeini who sat safely under an apple tree in France, these two live in Iran under the hammer of the IRCG. And still they have held their ground by issuing such strong statements.

The risk benefit ratio is too high to be called "opportunistic." Whatever your opinion of them (because of their past), you can not deny the fact that they are extremely brave. And that Greens Love them.

Ahvaz / March 2, 2010 5:23 AM

Dear Ahvaz,

Logically you are correct, but this bunch is not logical and would sacrifice anything and everything for their cause, and their cause is NOT iran or iranians. Has Mousavi condemned the Khomeini for his atrocities against Iranians, or has he condoned Khomeini (see one of his later videos where he does the latter)? Has Karrubi condemned Islamic republic which has looted the country or has he condoned it (again, his videos would answer that). Please look at the past of any one of these gangsters, they turn into victims when it suits them. Rafsanjani was in Shah's prison three times and was considered a victim then, but once he gained power he turned into the architect of hanging by cranes. These people are colorful turkeys "filming" and fooling people. Where was Mousavi when thousands were being executed? He was Prime Ministering the executions; that cannot be denied. These people are F students of history, promising to be an A student in the future. We already took that route with Khomeini, and we know where these same people brought us: here and today.

If we want iran changed, fundamental changes are needed to redirect resources of the country. A Khatami would not do it, only prolonging the suffering. If we are so desperate to choose between Mousavi and Karrubi in a population of 70 million, some very intelligent and very honest, then we are not ready for a fundamental change. Khomeini was also very brave, and we know where his bravery brought us.

Samira / March 2, 2010 7:01 AM

Samira:

First of all, your statement about Mousavi "Prime Ministering the executions" is totally wrong. Read my profile of him; if you do not believe it, read Abbas Milani's profile of him. Milani is as anti IRI as they come.

Secondly, if Mousavi condemned Khomeini he will be immediately thrown in jail and possibly killed. Is that what you want? If so, at least say so honestly.

Third, hot rhetoric and slogans are great, but won't get us far. What is your solution? More specifically:

1. Do you even believe that the Movement needs leadership?

2. If you do, who is qualified to be the leader? Do not give me the absurd answer some give: "our youth." Our youth cannot lead a nationwide Movement and, unlike you, most of them in Iran recognize Mousavi as the leader.

So, if you want to respond, just respond to the two questions.

Muhammad Sahimi / March 2, 2010 7:10 PM

Dear Samira,

agreed 100%: "fundamental changes are needed".

Fundamental change needs to happen at grassroots level, not at the personalities at the top.

We need a cultural shift in Iran: From personality-based politics (Pahlavi, Rajavi, Khomeini, Moussavi, etc) and personality-based religion (Muhammad, Moses, Jesus, etc) to principle-based thinking: respect for human rights, respect of other opinion, and respect for minority rights.
It appears to me that the Greens are in the process of making such paradigm shift. They need to do a better job spreading it in the society.

We say in Persian, "Khalayegh har che Layegh".
In a green fertile Iran the likes of Khomeini would not have had the chance to take us for a 31 year ride.

Ahvaz / March 2, 2010 7:41 PM

Prof. Sahimi: you deserve an answer even though we may not agree on. The question is: Why these people turn into saints only when they are outside the system? The answer is: opportunistic convenience.

1. Yes, but the "right leader" at the "right time". IRI is a mix of fanatic islamists and everyday thugs motivated by financial gain and preying on foolish and religious people. That is a very tough nut to crack. Mousavi/Karrubi/Khatami neither have the backbone nor intelligence nor good intentions to be leaders. Have you seen the video of Khatami preaching that "iranians do not want a secular government"? These people are all alike: hypocrites and traitors. Do you want a khatami-like era: one step forward, two steps backward? If so, then Mousavi/Karrubi/Katami are your men.

2. That leader has yet to emerge. These people are hard to beat. One cannot beat them by arms (they are too powerful) or by peaceful means (they are too violent). Massive protests like 1979 is also unlikely since people are tired and hungry (unlike 1979). They need to make a living and losing a family member can be devastating to a family.

You will not like my answer, but then if you are willing to wait for another 50 to 100 years, maybe GM with baby steps can lead us out of this mess. Comparing all the soft revolutions from Romania to Soviet Union can only lead us to believe that these changes come in a variety and from an angle least expected: Thus one (leader) has be ingenious and unconventional, emerging from the blind spot of the system. Unfortunately, he "may have" to also have an element of Nader Shah/Reza Shah in him to be decisive with these gangs. Do you really believe likes of Mesbah Yazdi/Jannati/Khamenei/Mortazavi/Larijanis/.... would step aside without a fight to the end on two fronts: violence backed up by religious fatwas? Mousavi/Karrubi is not such a leader and will cave when it suits them (they have almost done it already).

I actually have no problem with Mousavi/Karrubi being a stepping stone and I have no sympathy with them if they are "used" in the same way that they/khomeini used MKO/intelligentsia/shahis in 1979 and then turned against them, but with justice replacing blind violence this time; but I do not want likes of these guys to write future of iran: they are neither qualified nor deserve it. I want an incorruptible nationalist. Frankly, it saddens me when people scream "Ya Hussein Mir Hussein" just like when they were screaming "Khatami doostet darim" when that bozo was the president. And we know where khatami's presidency (and Karrubi's Speakership) took us.

I also disagree with you that "if Mousavi condemned Khomeini he will be immediately thrown in jail and possibly killed." Are you saying that Mousavi is tactically "dishonest" like Khomeini was? Well we know where that dishonesty took us! At a minimum, he does not have to be praising Khomeini at every video of his. He can keep silence, but (in my view) praising Khomeini is either a sign of thuggery and total lack of sympathy with victims of Khomeini (iranians AND iran) or a sign of his dishonesty. Neither is trait of a leader.

JMHO.

Samira / March 2, 2010 9:40 PM

Prof Sahimi says: "Secondly, if Mousavi condemned Khomeini he will be immediately thrown in jail and possibly killed. Is that what you want?
If so, at least say so honestly." The true reformer and advocates of non-violence (e.g. Gandhi, Martin Luther King)did not advocate this method because they were afraid being thrown into Jail or be killed. They were couragous people. Of course they were fighting a system that was reformable (British Empire & US segregationalists). Iranian people are fighting against a backward regime with no sense of decency and no capacity for reform. All the so-called "reformists" know this. They are not couragouse. They are worried to be thrown into jail! You must be kidding me. After Moussavi's sister in law was executed, he could have turned this into a massive social forces against the regime. Instead, he did not say anything. This guy doesn't have the backbone for anything. "Reformers" have to answer a simple question:
Can we have a simple democracy with the institution of "Velayat Faghih"?

How difficult the answer to this question is? What does it take to utter the truth. It looks that the most radical thing to say is the "truth".

I am sorry professor, Mr. Mousavi needs to take the step. I hope he does. I have not seen traits of a Leader in him.

shahin / March 4, 2010 6:18 AM

Mousavi and Karubi do not want an end to the Barbaric Republic. Their desire is a Barbaric Republic under their own leadership. They refrain from going all the way since such moves will jeopardize their own existence.

On Chahar Shanbeh Soori, “…But the supporters of the Green Movement, while respecting such national and (religious ??) occasions, do not want them to be used to harass and hurt the people…” Are you kidding me? This regime is shaking in its boots thinking about Chahar Shanbeh Soori and its repercussions. This suggestion is nothing short of idiocy.

If you have not figured out this guy by now and who is his official mouth piece in the United States, I suggest you go back to elementary school and start all over again.

The Barbaric Republic is doomed to failure and no hollow scare tactic will prevent Iranians from reaching their ultimate goal of FREEDOM.

The Barbaric Republic is nothing but a house of cards and its leadership, past and present, must stand trial before the world for their atrocities against humanity at large. It shall be done.
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God Bless America, my home. God Bless Persia, the country these Barbarians took away from me.

Sohrab / March 5, 2010 11:35 PM

There is still a raging debate as to whether Mousavi really is serious in wanting to go back to Khomeini's ideas about the Revolution, and if so exactly what that would mean--or whether Mousavi mentioning Khomeini, and using his photo, are just tactics...

jigsawnovich / March 24, 2010 3:44 PM