Update: Mousavi, Karroubi Reportedly Moved to 'Safe House' near Capital
by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI
26 Feb 2011 10:00
[ comment ] International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reports that, according to a well-informed source, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi have been transferred to a "safe house" near Tehran. ICHRI reports that rumors that the two have been harmed physically are not true and that the safe house is not an actual jail. It reports that a close neighbor of Karroubi has told ICHRI that there are no security forces in the apartment building in which Karroubi and his wife, Fatemeh, used to live. According to this source, all of the windows are broken and no one seems to be in the building, strong evidence that Karroubi and his wife have been taken to an unknown location.
In a nationally televised program that was broadcast by three different channels, Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi declared February 14 a "great fiasco" for the Green Movement. He claimed that the demonstrations on February 14 were the work of the monarchists, hypocrites -- a standard epithet for the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO) -- and the Baha'i religious minority. He claimed that the social networks of the Green Movement could not bring people out onto the streets and that those who took part belonged to the three aforementioned groups. He claimed once again that those who were martyred during the 25 Bahman demonstrations -- Saneh Jaleh and Mohammad Mokhtari -- were murdered by the MKO, that the culprit has been arrested with his gun, and that he has provided "good information" about the plot.
Moslehi accused Dr. Ardeshir Amir Arjomand, a senior aide to Mousavi who is currently in Europe, of working with the MKO and claimed that he "escaped" Iran with their help. Moslehi also accused Mojtaba Vahedi, a senior aide to Karroubi, of working with the United States and Britain. He further charged that some of the reformist deputies in the sixth Majles were close to the MKO. The sixth Majles, which sat from 2000 to 2004, was controlled by the reformists. Moslehi went on to declare that the 2nd Khordad Coalition and the "pro-America reformists" were working with Western intelligence agencies. The 2nd Khordad (May 23) Coalition is the group that helped Mohammad Khatami win presidential elections by landslides in 1997 and 2001.
Moslehi also claimed that those Western intelligence agencies have been very active in trying to recruit children of senior figures within the political establishment. He was presumably referring to the children of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, in particular his son Mehdi who lives in London. Rafsanjani's daughter Faezeh was arrested on February 20, but released shortly thereafter.
In effect, Moslehi claimed that anyone who opposes the government is either a member of the MKO, a monarchist, or an agent of a foreign power. He did not explain how and why the MKO and Western intelligence agencies have been able to penetrate every organ of the government, if the Islamic Republic has been as successful as the ruling elite keeps claiming and if his own ministry has been doing its job properly.
In response, Amir Arjomand said, "Mr. Moslehi appeared in the Prophet's cloth, but made Goebbels proud. It has been a long time since the security forces have preoccupied themselves with political groups and the opposition, rather than working on the nation's security, and their work is developing false cases for influential people." He added that he was not surprised by Moslehi's accusations. "When a son of [Ayatollah] Dr. [Mohammad Hosseini] Beheshti is accused of collaborating with the murderers of his own father, and the people who have sacrificed everything for the Revolution are accused of working with foreigners, what would one expect about the accusations made against me?" Beheshti, a key aide to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the first judiciary chief after the Revolution, was assassinated in June 1981. His son, Dr. Alireza Hosseini Beheshti, was a key figure in the Mousavi campaign in the 2009 election and was even arrested briefly.
Among Moslehi's litany of accusations, he also claimed that Amir Arjomand was directing Mousavi and telling him what to do and say. Amir Arjomand responded, "Mr. Mousavi is a distinguished political thinker and figure who never allows anyone to tell him what to do. Of course, consulting with others, listening to them, and utilizing their collective wisdom is a strength of his.... Such people as Moslehi are committing treason against the country, and this must be made clear to everyone."
Vahedi, Karroubi's aide, also responded, saying, "The minister of intelligence is expressing the opinion of the coup government." Characterizing what Western intelligence agencies must have thought after listening to Moslehi, he said, "They were reassured that one of the [world's] worst intelligence systems is Iran's." Vahedi asked, if the February 14 demonstrations represented a fiasco for the Green Movement, why then did the ultra-reactionary Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati demand that Mousavi and Karroubi be put under house arrest in his sermon during the Tehran Friday Prayers of February 20. "This shows that the call by Mousavi and Karroubi for February 14 was effective and the people, despite the [past] violent reaction of the government, came out on the streets," Vahedi said.
In response to Moslehi's accusation that he has made many trips to the United States and Britain and is working with the two countries to undermine the Islamic Republic, Vahedi said, "This is the first time that I have come to the United States. At the same time, living in the United States should not be any problem. A man who had lived in the U.S. for 50 years is now Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's advisor." Vahedi was referring to Iranian American academic Hamid Mowlana, who since August 2008 has advised Ahmadinejad, having relocated to Tehran. Mowlana has also established a foundation in the Iranian capital, which the government has endowed with a large budget.
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