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News | Tajzadeh to Foreign Sec'y Salehi: Tell Ayatollah Khamenei the Reality

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI

11 Aug 2012 21:50Comments

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MostafaTajzadehISNA.jpg 9:50 p.m. IRDT, 21 Mordad/August 11 Mostafa Tajzadeh, one of Iran's most outspoken reformists, has written a letter from prison to Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, asking him to tell Ayatollah Ali Khamenei the truth about the multiple crises the nation faces. The letter was apparently prompted by a recent speech of Khamenei's in which he warned senior officials that the "enemy" was spreading falsehoods about Iran and claimed that the Islamic Republic was on the verge of "victory."

As deputy interior minister during Mohammad Khatami's first term as president, Tajzadeh supervised two of the freest elections in Iran's history, the voting in fall 1998 for city councils around the country and the elections for the Sixth Majles in March 2000. Tajzadeh was arrested following the disputed election of 2009; he has been incarcerated ever since, most of the time in solitary confinement. In a letter he wrote from prison in June 2010, he declared that the reformists should ask the nation for forgiveness.

In the letter made public this week, Tajzadeh explains that he chose to write to Salehi because the foreign minister has always tried to present a moderate and moral image. He invites Salehi to carefully examine what is happening in the country:

When, unlike the past, the military and security forces no longer issue statements about "engineering the elections," it is clear that they have been told behind the scenes to stop issuing the statements because they are clear indications of the superficial nature of the superficial show of "Sultan's elections" [a reference to Khamenei]. When, at the top of the news program, they claim with superficial and laughable excitement that a large number of oil tankers are sailing toward Iranian ports to pick up Iran's oil for international markets, I can see clearly that those resolutions [by the United Nations Security Council] that were not worth the paper on which they were printed [as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared] have unfortunately been effective.

Or, when a reporter for the Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic [the state-controlled television and radio network] is more enthusiastic than the Ba'athist Syrian reporters to find some "happy" Syrian citizens in Damascus to interview to show how calm Damascus is, it is clear that the stubborn and revengeful rule of Bashar al-Assad and his violent crackdown on the opposition and critics have pushed Syria toward a civil war, and Iran's current rulers are also being too stubborn to acknowledge their strategic mistake in supporting the Syrian regime against its people.

Or, when pragmatism and idealism are both emphasized [a reference to Khamenei's speech], I can see what the slogan of loyalty to the ideals of the Revolution has done to the nation and how the oceans' storms have shown the reality to Xerxes [likening Khamenei to an absolute monarch] in such a way that even the loyal followers are terrified and concerned, and thus the base must be energized and reassured that "we are aware of the facts" and told that the high cost of living, inflation, unemployment, zero rate of economic growth, poverty, corruption, discrimination, and isolation in the world are all illusions of the "enemy" that it tries to present to the nation as fact, but that the truth is that the "enemy" is trapped in a snow avalanche and we are reaching the summit.

Tajzadeh reminds Salehi of the contradictions in what the Islamic Republic preaches:

The Islamic Republic clearly wishes to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program through diplomacy. Iran's chief nuclear negotiator [Saeed Jalili] has stated clearly that Iran has accepted the step-by-step approach, and has asked that for every step that Iran takes in giving up Iran's rights or addressing the other side's demands, the Europeans and Americans also take a minimum step toward addressing Iran's demands. Thus, I ask,

Why is it that negotiations with foreign powers and accepting step-by-step agreements are acceptable, but the same [type of] negotiations with Iranian citizens that would strengthen the nation against foreign powers are impossible? Should we use the language of dialogue with the Europeans and Americans, but the language of prison with our own citizen critics?

Is it possible to condemn the discriminations of Bahrain's ruling group against its Shiites, but at the same time crack down violently on the critics and protestors [in Iran], incarcerate them, and deny them even the most elementary rights, such as the right to work? Is the blood of Bahrain's Shiites redder than the Iranian Shiites'?

How can a regime that does not allow its Sunni citizens to have their own mosque in the capital to worship, or does not allow citizens to hold Friday prayers at home [a reference to the arrest of nationalist-religious figures in Isfahan two years ago], condemn the Saudi Arabia regime's discrimination against its Shia citizens? [...]

Is extracting a confession from a prisoner under physical and psychological pressure illegal everywhere, or does it depend on the country where it is done?... I ask, can a regime use repression, violent crackdowns, and the extraction of confessions by torture against a reformist group that was able to compel, using rational language, the American officials to confess to their mistakes regarding Iran [a reference to the speech by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in April 2000 in which she admitted the U.S. role in the CIA-engineered coup of 1953 and in supporting Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War], but also speak of having a dialogue and discourse with the same American officials?

Tajzadeh then discusses the Khatami administration's other foreign policy achievements, in particular the détente that was established with Europe, which effectively prevented President George W. Bush from taking aggressive action against Iran. Describing the damage done by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rhetoric, he points out that President Barack Obama does not need to invoke Bush's "axis of evil" nor even the defense of "U.S. national security," but can instead present himself as the defender of worldwide peace against the Iranian "threat." Tajzadeh concludes,

Instead of ignoring such contradictions, winking at foreign powers, and holding a fire sale of Iran's interests and resources with the baseless hope of convincing the foreign powers to end their pressure, threats, and sanctions, it is better for you to devote part of your efforts to presenting the international realities to the [Supreme] Leader and convincing him to reconsider his rule, because as long as there is no change internally, neither the nightly nightmares nor the rapacity of foreigners will end.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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