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Hardliners Close in on Mousavi

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

19 May 2010 00:3713 Comments
Mir-Hossein-Musavi--Ahmad-Yazdanfar.jpgArrest of longtime associate may presage move to confine Green leader before June 12.

Ahmad Yazdanfar, senior aide and advisor to Mir Hossein Mousavi and head of the team of bodyguards that protects him, has been arrested by the Islamic Republic's security forces. A former officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Yazdanfar has been Mousavi's bodyguard since 1983, and protected him at the height of the assassination campaign carried out by the Mojahedin-Khalgh Organization in the 1980s, when Mousavi was prime minister. He has been injured many times protecting Mousavi.

The arrest, apparently made at midnight on Saturday, May 15, was announced by Mousavi's website, Kalameh, on Tuesday. Mousavi has asked the entire staff of his office not to report to work. He has stated that Yazdanfar's arrest is part of a larger plan aimed either at his own arrest ahead of the June 12 anniversary of last year's rigged election, or at least his house arrest in order to prevent him from organizing peaceful demonstrations on the anniversary date.

Saleh Noghreh Kar, a nephew of Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, Mousavi's wife, recently reported a conversation he had with Yazdanfar. When he asked the bodyguard why he has stayed with Mousavi for so long, rejecting numerous offers of other positions, Yazdanfar replied, "Mousavi is one of those rare people whose words and deeds are the same. I have stayed with him because of his honesty." With the arrest of Yazdanfar, practically all of Mousavi's aides and advisors have been jailed.

The arrest continues the ratcheting up of pressure on Mousavi by the hardliners and Revolutionary Guards. After he strongly protested the recent execution of five political prisoners, including four Kurdish activists, he has been threatened numerous times. Tehran's prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi, announced that Mousavi may be arrested and tried, declaring his protest of the executions a punishable offense.

A letter signed by 175 hardline Majles (parliament) deputies was delivered to Sadegh Larijani, the judiciary chief, asking him to put Mousavi on trial. They claimed that because the executed people were mohareb (enemies of God), Mousavi's protest of their killing is a comparable offense. On Tuesday, Larijani responded, saying the letter interfered in the judiciary's work. In the interest of the political system, he announced, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei does not want Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami, the three main leaders of the Green Movement, to be arrested or put on trial.

The Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic (the national radio and television network) aired a primetime program the other night called Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. The lead participants were Sayyed Mahmoud Nabavian, a midranking cleric and head of the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Organization, which is controlled by the ultrareactionary Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi (spiritual guide of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad), and Mojtaba Shakeri, a member of the central committee of Jameiyat-e Isaargaraan-e Enghlelaab-e Eslami (Society of Islamic Revolution Devotees), which consists mainly of Basij and Guard veterans of the Iran-Iraq War. Both fiercely attacked Mousavi and other leaders of the Green Movement, as well as Reformist groups and religious intellectuals such as Dr. Abdolkarim Soroush and Dr. Mohsen Kadivar. Likening the Green Movement to a "depressed snake," Shakeri said that "although it is temporarily not active, it is waiting for the right time." Both called on the judiciary to take strong action against the Green Movement's leaders and other Reformists.

Mousavi has responded to the attacks, in particular to the statements by Jafari Dowlatabadi and the letter by the Majles deputies, via a posting on his website. He identified the prosecutor's statements as purely political and without legal basis. He suggested that, instead of asking the judiciary to put him on trial, the deputies should do the work they are paid for, namely, passing laws that protect people's interests, monitoring the performance of the executive branch, pursuing corruption, and vetting suspect agreements with foreign governments that may fail to protect Iran's national interests.

Mousavi's response ends by directly challenging the hardline leadership on its response to the actions of the Majles deputies: "If you reject these, then allow the people to stage peaceful demonstrations in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution."

Copyright © 2010 Tehran Bureau

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13 Comments

They are tightening the noose by degrees so that it becomes a garotte in an attempt to suffocate the GM. We are supposed to accept that Khamenei (formerly the Ghost in the Machine) does not want to arrest or try his political opponents and is resisting the zealots in parliament who are voicing their defiance. That makes as much sense as Ahmadinijad casting himself as a force for world peace. The dynamic duo of the IRI are inveterate but not always successful tricksters.

pirooz / May 19, 2010 3:20 AM

Not arresting Musavi is a big mistake, so much as arresting him! It seems that the system just doesnt know what exactly to do with Musavi. If they put him in jail, then they have to deal with a long erosive social confrontation and that is not all. Then they have to put the other guys behind the bars like Karobi as well, which would make the whole thing even more messier.

Poor Ahmadinejad, he wishes he had that old nice friendly and helpful guy "Saeed Emami" around.

PersianTraveler / May 19, 2010 9:02 AM

i beleive that the main reason,they have not assasinate or harmed the green movements leadership,is the pressure that they would face in the international community,regarding their crimes.therefore,iranian regime will be more threaten by human rights violation,than nukes issues.we should condem their treatment of political prisoners and the carried out executions.they are very sensative about that.

faye moghtader / May 20, 2010 7:35 AM

i hope they arrest mousavi and the rest of his cronies, our country needs to become an absolute power house, and we don't need weak links like mousavi or karoubi. additionaly iran should continue production of enriched uranium and then they should build and test several bombs. we have been pushed around long enough. there is a new world order and iran is the head of that world order.

iranian / May 20, 2010 5:10 PM

Khamanai has said several times that he does not wish to make martyr out of Moussavi by putting him in jail. For example, when he was pressed to put Moussavi in jail before last year's Ashura, he was reported to have said that if "I (Khamanai) did that, people would call him (moussavi) Hussain, which would make me Yazid."

He has clearly taken a strategy of isolation and marginalization, which was fairly effective in case of Montazeri.

I think the furthest he would go would be house arrest.

Ahvaz / May 20, 2010 10:05 PM

to the previous commenter: you should change your name to palestinian, because this "powerhouse" government that you speak of cares more for the palestinian cause than the iranian one. We don't want iran to turn into North Korea.

DC / May 20, 2010 11:32 PM

@iranian. I completely agree with you, if you want to create a new world order based on killing peoples on the basis of their free opinion,on the basis of awful lies and continuing threats! A really wonderful world order!

Bruno / May 20, 2010 11:54 PM

To the so called "Iranian": do you really mean what you said? I'm just gonna assume that you're living in Iran and just listen to the Gov't propaganda so you don't know any better. If there is an all out war Iran will be crushed financially and militarily. Those speed boats got nothing on the world's warships and carriers.
You should know that no country in the world can do everything by itself. And don't count on China's and Russia's support since they depend on US and its European allies more than Iran. The only thing Iran has is its Oil and believe me, the world can move on without it just fine. We’re producing half of what we did 30 years ago any way!!
Look at South Korea, Japan, Germany and now China; they all had close ties with the US and the Western countries and they are light years a head of us. STOP BEING SUCH A CLOSED MINDED PERSON.

NariMan / May 22, 2010 3:09 AM

Any state government that seeks to rob the individual of freedom of choice,demands conformity,and fails to insure civil liberties and natural rights is by the very definition of the word, tyranical and should be abolished by the very people that it seeks to subjugate.

Spoken like a true American / May 22, 2010 4:39 AM

Bruno - I thought we were already living under the US imposed new world order with exactly those values! It might be that the Iraaaan wants to actually be dining at the table with the big bullies led by the US and not just picking up the pieces dropped as an aftermath of US's aggressive policies.

rezvan / May 22, 2010 5:51 PM

This informative article was more like a news story than a commentary. Thank God! Sahimi's commentaries are tiresome and laden with the old cliche ideology of the left that ruined Iran in the 70s. He seems to still be living in that era. He has not evolved.

vatandoost / May 24, 2010 6:20 PM

رئیس جمهور واقعی ایران
President of Iran's real

saeedrasooli / May 24, 2010 7:12 PM

Popular Iranian people

asadi / May 24, 2010 7:21 PM