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News | Mousavi's Daughters Threatened; Israel's Role in Assassinations

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

10 Feb 2012 02:00Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

MousaviWindowRain.jpg2 a.m., 21 Bahman/February 10 Kaleme reports that after the release of the public letter written by the three daughters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Dr. Zahra Rahnavard, together with the children of Mehdi Karroubi, in which they asked Iranians to echo their call to free their parents from house arrest, the Ministry of Intelligence has threatened the Green Movement leader's daughters. According to Kaleme, the website closely linked to Mousavi, the ministry said that they will be arrested and "taken to an unknown location where nobody will know what is happening to them." One of the three daughters, who is a lecturer at the Al-Zahra University in Tehran, has already been prevented from teaching her arts course, and her name has been eliminated from the school's Internet system. This is not the first time that the children of the two leaders have been threatened and harassed. At least two sons of Karroubi have been physically attacked and detained.

Meanwhile Fatemeh Karroubi, wife of Mehdi Karroubi, said in an interview that her husband is optimistic about Iran's future. By her account, he stated that, concerning the struggle for democracy and the rule of law, "Although the path has been difficult, the people's rightful demands have developed deep roots [in the society] and, given the political maturity of the nation, the future of the nation is bright.... The era of dictatorial governments has expired, and [such] government have no way other than reconciling with the people and undertaking deep reforms that will transfer power to the people." According to her, Karroubi is barred from having any visitors, and his medical doctors are "trusted by the Ministry of Intelligence."

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has issued a statement declaring that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei is directly to blame for the extralegal detention of Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard. "Khamenei bears the ultimate responsibility for these house arrests, which indeed are nothing short of a kidnapping," said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign's spokesperson. "Khamenei is operating above the law of the land, and the intelligence and judicial apparatus are tools of repression in his hands, operating with impunity and without any regard for the law or the Constitution," he added. "These continued illegal detentions demonstrate the epic hypocrisy of Iranian leaders. On the one hand, they want to claim the mantle of Arab uprisings against dictatorships, and on the other hand they are kidnapping opposition leaders and keeping them under house arrest without any due process whatsoever."

Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, the popular cleric and Green Movement supporter, has written a letter to three members of the Assembly of Experts, the constitutional body that can theoretically sack the Supreme Leader, in which he reminds them of the illegal actions taken by the ruling elite in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential election. The three are Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, assembly chairman and supposed spiritual leader of the principlists; Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council; and Ayatollah Mohammad Momen. In his letter, Dastgheib, himself a member of the Assembly, says, "I am asked why I do not attend the meetings of the assembly to warn against such illegal and anti-religious acts. But the question is, Is there security in this country for someone who talks about the truth and tries to correct the wrongdoings? They have attacked my home and mosque, and the mob insults [me and the people] during Friday Prayers. Can we still claim that this nation is secure and can we still call this an Islamic Republic?"

Addressing the numerous cases in which the Constitution has been violated, Dastgheib writes, "Should the Guardian Council, whose existence is allowed by the Constitution, not protect the articles of the Constitution and correct implementation of them? What are the answers to such questions? Are the arrests made by vigilante groups in accordance with Islamic teachings and the laws of the Islamic Republic? Can one issue verdicts against people without putting them on trial? Are extracting confessions in jail while the accused has been blindfolded and threatened, and getting his fingerprint on an already prepared 'confession' form to submit it to the court in accordance with Islam?" Regarding the Green Movement leaders, Ayatollah Dastegheyb writes in his letter, "Is the house arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi without proving their offense in accordance with Islam?" He asks, "Is the judiciary not supposed to be independent? Why, then, do the security forces intervene in its work and build [fake] cases against people? Is the Majles not supposed to be 'at the helm of affairs' [a reference to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's famous statement about the legislature] and oversee everything? If it really had independence, all those election violations would not have occurred on June 12, 2009 [the presidential election]."

Israel's role in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists

NBC News reports that Israel has teamed up with Iranian terrorists to assassinate nuclear scientists inside the Islamic Republic. According to the report,

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel's secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran's leaders.

The group, the People's Mujahedin of Iran [Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization or MKO, also referred to as the MEK], has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims' cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The report also mentions a connection between the MKO and other terrorist groups:

Law enforcement officials have told NBC News that in 1994, the MEK made a pact with terrorist Ramzi Yousef a year after he masterminded the first attack on the World Trade Center in New York City. According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Yousef built an 11-pound bomb that MEK agents placed inside one of Shia Islam's greatest shrines in Mashad, Iran, on June 20, 1994. At least 26 people, mostly women and children, were killed and 200 wounded in the attack. [Iranian authorities arrested several people at the time, accusing them of being MKO members and charging them with having caused the explosion. They were later executed later.]

That connection between Yousef, nephew of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and the MEK was first reported in a book, The New Jackals, by Simon Reeve. NBC News confirmed that Yousef told U.S. law enforcement that he had worked with the MEK on the bombing.

The report adds further support to widely held belief that Israel and the MKO are responsible for the assassinations of the Iranian nuclear scientists.

Confrontation between Rahimi and Tavakoli

For the past two years, First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has served under a cloud, accused of involvement in a large insurance fraud known as the "Fatemi Street Case," a reference to the headquarters location of the Tehran insurance company at its center. (He has also been accused of involvement in the more recent embezzlement of close to $3 billion that has roiled the regime and the country's leading banks.) A while ago, Majles deputy and Ahmadinejad adversary Ahmad Tavakoli criticized the way the judiciary has handled the Rahimi case, claiming that justice is not served when the interrogator meets the accused in the office of the Minister of Justice, and that "such interrogations make it clear what the final verdict will be." Khamenei reportedly intervened and did not allow the case against Rahimi to move forward, after Ahmadinejad warned him that pursuing the case would bring the entire 2009 presidential election into question.

In response, Rahimi's office issued a statement on the vice president's behalf that accused Tavakoli of improper use of the country's resources and other violations of the law. Rahimi accused Tavakoli of lying in the forms that he had filled out for receiving a scholarship from the Ministry of Sciences, Research and Technology, saying that he wants the scholarship to study for a M.S. degree in Britain, whereas he had already received the degree from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. He also accused Tavakoli of using his connections to receive the approval for the scholarship "in five days and without taking the exams" that the potential recipients of such governmental scholarship must take. He cast doubt on the Ph.D. degree that Tavakoli supposedly received in Britain, saying that his scholarship had been approved for 15 months, and so, "How was it that you received a doctorate degree in 'national economy' with high ranking?" He accused Tavakoli of receiving financial aid for his wife and family, supposedly because they had accompanied him to Britain, whereas they lived in Tehran during the entire time, and, "How was it that you received scholarship for 38 months, whereas it had been approved only for 11 months?" Finally, he accused Tavakoli of "buying" land in northwest Tehran for about one-eighth of its true value, and not even paying that amount. Tavakoli has responded to Rahimi, rejecting the accusations and denying any wrongdoing.

Ahmadinejad supporter accuses principlists of backing Green Movement

Majles deputy and extremist cleric Hamis Rasaei, a staunch ally of the president and prominent member of the pro-Ahmadinejad group Jebheh Paaydaari Enghelab-e Eslami (Durable Front of the Islamic Revolution), accused some of the principlists who oppose the president of supporting the Green Movement. He said that he saw several principlist Majles deputies put on green clothes and participate in the large demonstrations in the aftermath of the June 2009 presidential election. It is a fact that Majles Speaker Ali Larijani called Mousavi on the evening of June 12, after voting had ended, and congratulated him on his election as president. Larijani's deputy, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, also revealed recently that he had written a letter to Khamenei right before the election in which he had predicted that Mousavi will win. It was also recently revealed that Ahmadinejad's own minister of intelligence at the time, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, told the president that his ministry had concluded that Mousavi would win, "because his supporters had taken over everywhere."

Ahmadinejad administration harshly criticized

Mohsen Rafighdoost, minister of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the 1980s, said in an interview, "We have never witnessed such repeated violations of the laws by any administration since the Revolution as we have witnessed being done by this government [Ahmadinejad's]." Discussing the Majles elections to be held March 2, he said, "The people must elect firm representatives in the upcoming elections so that they can resist the violation of the laws by this administration." Implicitly criticizing Ahmadinejad, Rafighdoost said, "That some people think that they are popular among people by standing up to the Supreme Leader is wrong."

At the same time, cleric Hamid Rouhani, head of the Foundation for Historical Research, staged an unprecedented attack on Ahmadinejad, calling his government "the Hojjatiyeh Association," which intends to hasten the return of Imam Mahdi through "corruption, thievery, embezzlement, and bribery." The Hojjatiyeh Association, a conservative Islamic group that preaches the imminent return of Imam Mahdi from his centuries-long occultation, was rejected by Khomeini after the 1979 Revolution. Calling Ahmadinejad and his supporters, "ambitious, power-hungry, arrogant, and self-righteous," Rouhani said that "if Imam Mahdi returns someday and issues orders against what they want, they will oppose him also."

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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