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IRGC: Arrest Mousavi, Khatami, and others

10 Aug 2009 11:0713 Comments


By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 10 Aug 2009

Comment Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, head of the political directorate of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the backbone of Iran's military, has called for the arrest, trial and punishment of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, the two reformist candidates in Iran's June 12 presidential election, Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, a leading leftist cleric and leader of the leftist Association of Combatant Clerics (ACC).

Writing in Sobh-e Sadegh (True Dawn), a weekly that is the mouthpiece of the IRGC, Javani, a leading hardline IRGC commander said,

The Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] believed that the preservation of our Islamic system is our most important duty, and, so far, a heavy price for the protection of this Godly system has been paid by the Muslim and revolutionary nation of Iran. Therefore, any group or person, regardless of their track record and position in the past, who, along with the United States, the Great Satan, wants to change this system and install a non-Islamic system in its place, must be considered to be committing treason and, therefore, must be punished.

In the indictment by the prosecutor [read in the show trials] it is explicitly stated that, based on credible documents, as well as the confessions of the accused and those arrested in the riots after the 10th [presidential] election, a faction with the support of the United States attempted to use the presidential election to state a velvet coup in Iran.

General Javani and other hardliners refer to the peaceful protests after the rigged election, which turned bloody after security forces killed several demonstrators, as "riots." He then added,

The indictment states that,"according to the recovered documents and confessions of the accused, the recent events and riots had been planned in advance, and had been carried out according to a timetable." The question is, who are the main people responsible for the coup, and what is their main goal in carrying out the coup?

Based on the present documents and the undeniable evidence, should we not arrest the main people [Khatami, Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khoeiniha] who were responsible for the coup, put them on trial, and punish them? Ignoring [what has happened] under the guise of the interest of the system will result in irreparable harm [to the system], and putting out the fire [that has been set by the people responsible for the coup] will require the trial of the main people responsible for it, and revealing their true identities to the Muslim and revolutionary people of Iran. It is time for the judiciary, and the intelligence and security officials to be alert.

General Javani then added,

After the arrest of some of the rioters and active agents in the headquarters and offices of the coup agents [meaning the campaigns of Mousavi and Karroubi], some people tried to get them released and prevent clarification of the problems [what had happened]. Because the Second Khordad Front was concerned that the confessions of the arrested people will be broadcast, they tried, with the help of some of the clerics and the political and legal elites, to claim that the confessions before the trials have no legal value or validity, and also tried to prevent broadcasting the confessions. Now that the first public session of the court has been held and, in addition to accepting their charges in the indictment, [Mohammad Ali] Abtahi and [Mohammad] Atrianfar have made important confessions [in the court], the main people responsible for the failed project [the "coup"] and their allies are making absurd statements in order to explain away the confessions.

Khordad 2 (May 23) is the day in 1997 that Mohammad Khatami was elected president by a landslide. The coalition of the reformist parties that support him throughout his presidency is known in Iran as the Second Khordad Front. General Javani is referring to the "confessions" that Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former vice president to Mr. Khatami, and Mohammad Atrianfar, a leading reformist journalist who was active in the campaign of Mir hossein Mousavi, made in court on Saturday July 25. General Javani then continued,

The initial goal of the velvet coup was to gain political power, while the final goal was the transformation of the Islamic system into a secular one, which, with God's help, people's alertness, wisdom of the Supreme Leader, and the efforts and sacrifices of the police and military, [the coup] was defeated.

Those who, during the Second Khordad period [1997-2005], failed to destroy the Islamic basis of the political system and secularize the country re-emerged with a new plan using Mir Hossein [Mousavi] as a person who is a follower of the Imam's line and defender of the Islamic values. In his initial campaign Mousavi tried to introduce himself [to the public] as someone who is independent of the [reformist] extremists and the Second Khordad Coalition, but with the passage of time it became clear that Mousavi is the main candidate of the Second Khordad groups.

Together with Major General Mohammad Ali (Aziz) Jafari, the top commander of the IRGC, General Javani has taken a tough line toward the reformists and their allies. Ever since General Jafari was appointed the top commander of the IRGC in 2006, he and General Javani have been warning about the possibility of a "velvet coup" akin to what happened in Georgia and Ukraine in 2003 and 2004. General Javani regularly writes in Sobh-e Sadegh, and his articles usually reflect the thinking of the hardline supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the IRGC.

Generals Javani and Jafari have had a regular presence in the political developments of Iran. They regularly issue warnings about supposed foreign intervention in Iran's internal affairs. In another article in the Sobh-e Sadegh on June 10, two days before the presidential election, General Javani had warned about the possibility of a velvet revolution (which has now been renamed the velvet coup, after Khatami accused the IRGC of staging a velvet coup against the will of the people), and accused the reformers of being the operatives.

While Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami are currently recognized as the leaders of the resistance against the rigged election, and are being constantly attacked by the hardliners, General Javani has also included Ayatollah Mousavi Khoeiniha as a culprit. The ACC led by Khoeiniha has issued several extremely tough-worded statements, accusing the IRGC and their supporters of vast fraud, in order to be able to declare Ahmadinejad the winner of the election. The ACC has also harshly criticized the violent crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators, the murder of scores of those arrested, and the show trials of the reformists, and has also declared the second term of Ahmadinejad as illegitimate and illegal. It is against this background that General Javani has demanded the arrest of Khoeiniha, along with Mousavi, Karroubi, and Khatami.

An interesting twist to this is that, a day before General Javani's article was published, the same accusations and demands made by him were also attributed to General Jafari. But, the IRGC issued a statement quickly, denying that General Jafari had made the same accusations and demands. Whether General Javani has published the article with it being approved by General Jafari, or whether the contradiction between General Jafari's denial and General Javani's article reflects some divisions among the IRGC top commanders, or whether it is simply part of an intriguing good-cop bad-cop game by the IRGC, is unclear at this point.

The threat to arrest the main leaders of the reformists appears, at least at this stage, to be simply a scare tactic, in order to force them into silence. They have been outspoken about the show trials, which has made the hardliners uncomfortable. The hardliners are well aware of the respect and prestige that Khatami enjoys at the international level, and the outcry that his arrest will generate. In addition, any attempt to arrest any one of them is sure to spark large-scale demonstrations that may well be very bloody.

Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau

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Isn't the military the guardian of the people and should be apolitical? They should not be leaning to the left nor to the right? However, in Iran it is exactly the opposite. Javani was merely using Mousavi et.al. as scape goats for their murderous acts.

The regime and its supporters initiated what Javani called the fire and the freedom loving people of Iran were just trying to stop this fire from spreading.

A true leader will never bend, will never be threatened, will never be coerced just like these reformist leaders, but willing to stand against the bullets and give their lives.

shetty / August 10, 2009 8:21 AM

What Mousavi and Karroubi and others did, doesn't justify, You tyrants killing Iranian people on the streets and torcher them in prisons. Where do they find these creatures.

RAY / August 10, 2009 12:15 PM

These statements by a an Iranian general in the military are truly revealing.

They fully expose the multifaceted nature of the IRGC. In American terms, the IRGC roughly incorporates the USMC, the FBI and the CIA, whichever suits the particular demand. In this instance, the general exhibits the Guard's authority as a law enforcement agency.

Another interesting aspect of these statements is the openness of the military/law figure in making a case for prosecution. Here we have an example of a law enforcement official going to the press to openly advocate a case be made against an individual, complete with list of charges and some evidence, in order to garner mass political support for a warrant and prosecution by the judicial system. Wouldn't it be far more appropriate to instead be making the case to Iran's judicial system?

The general's statements expose the unabashed political nature of the IRGC's role as law enforcement agency, which only serves to undermine the credibility of Iran's judicial system, as well.

Pirouz / August 10, 2009 1:21 PM

The IRGC, in addition to being their own Army, Navy, Air Force, Policing force and paramilitary force (through the Basij), also have a political office. In addition to this, they also operate many corporations and hold assets outside the oversight of lawmakers.

Add to this the fact that Ahmadinejad has put IRGC loyalists in many key positions.

It is obvious that they are aggressively expanding their power base and influence.

Maziar / August 10, 2009 1:51 PM

It was not a coup and you know that full well, it helps your cause by saying that you have put down coup with the hardliners. But you are fooling yourselves. The people and the political players used what at the time is your political system to express their view. What were minor riots that happen all over the world at very stages but are not called a coup, France, Greece etc.

In affect due to your own insecurity and paranoia you made a minor problem that would have died down as the Mossad stated in a week or so into an ongoing low intesity revolution. The ill will that the IRG have create in Iranian society via their tactics will never be able to be forgiven. While you blame the west for the events it was in fact the IRG that have caused this problem, a show trial is being done to convince whom exactly the hardliners, the people who wanted democracy, the west whom know they did not have anything to do with it.

I suspect that the IRG did this for two reasons to gain more power over the regime and to stall the timeline for talks with Obama in regards to the enrichment before the Israeli's decide to strike at the nuclear facilities. Which now half the country will be grateful for that the regime has been punished fiscally, thus make any economic reforms impossible and then the markets owners will be revolting again on top of the of the half of the population that hates you. You will have to take action against Israel for their attack's while their is unrest inside the country. Perhaps the IRG being cowards are hoping that they will not have to fight the Israeli's as they are required to keep the population down. If the Iranian people now have to choose between a nuclear program which they were happen to let the IRG continue with to develop nuclear weapons and democracy I think the choice is clear.

Lets be clear when the Israelis come and they will come the energy infrastructure will be targeted specifically the LNG. To fly your air force to Israel for a counter attack you have cross Iraq air space or the Kingdom of Saud in which you will be interdicted by the USAF or Saudi Air Force for violations. Now if the Israeli's decide to also target the IRG bases in a sustained air and sea attack you will be reliant on the Iranian Army whom have already show a distaste for the way the IRG, Police and Basiji conduct their affairs against the Iran people, as such the IRG are going to find themselves in a similar position to the SS during operation Valkyrie.


While the Persian culture is old your revolution is young only 30 years and this can be seen in the way you conduct your domestic and foreign affairs. You have a lot to learn.

So to the Dictator, the Ayatollah, Basiji and IRG, you my friends will know when a real coup has been implement not the fantasy you have imagined in your paranoid heads and you will know when it happens that it was your actions after the election planted the seeds of your own destruction.

You will find yourselves on trial, which is what a dictator and his henchmen fears the most, it is this that keeps the dictator up at night, it is this that the dictators doctor has to medicate for.

I say this to the Iranian people Shaul Mofaz is an Israeli yet he was born in Iran Tehran and his parents come from Isfahan, the people of Iran should remember that when they see the Star of David over Iranian air space.

nobody important / August 10, 2009 3:31 PM

There's even one more important aspect of the IRGC that this statement reveals. This general is head of the political directorate of the IRGC. This role seems somewhat analogous to a political party, combined with the duties of law enforcement.

And yes, you're right to point out the Rev Guard's role as something analogous to a business corporation.

The various roles of the IRGC overlap many other functions of Iranian government (and business). Add this dynamic to the already overly complex and tangled system of government, and you're bound to have gross inefficiencies.

It's interesting to ponder how the Islamic Republic would function without the Supreme leader branch of government and without the IRGC. It would certainly be more efficient and more representative in nature.

At this point in time, I have to say that the Experts who drew up a unique system of government for Iran did so without the necessary expertise. The resulting post election political situation exposes to the world its many flaws and irregularities.

Pirouz / August 10, 2009 5:40 PM

Arrest Khatami, Mousavi, Karroubi, show trials for usa and europe because supporters mousavi .

tahra / August 10, 2009 7:29 PM

These are such good comments! The IRGC has gotten so corrupt that they don't realize the impertinence and stupidity of publicly calling for arrest, trial and punishment for loyal Iranians who have the support of millions of their countrymen and women.

It is almost too much to believe, but, as has been said so often before, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It will be sweet to see President "Landslide" Ahmadinejad and General Javani judged.

FreeLion/Wiz / August 12, 2009 1:28 PM

I think Javani is one "Penny" loose from a "Shilling" he ought to reassemble his brain before he does any more killing. Because if he kills those he mouths about killing; then Iranians will certainly steamroll their revolution over what is left of his "Shilling"!

Jaker / August 12, 2009 10:22 PM

1- Is it Javani, or Jalili? The photo tag says "jalili". The article says Javani

2- Where is the link? I found the Persian website: http://www.sobhesadegh.ir/Sadegh.htm

There is no mention of this item.

Do you do enough research here? It is customary to link news items for verification and to avoid spreading rumors.

manesh / August 13, 2009 3:33 PM

Dear Manesh:

Sorry for responding late. I have been extremely tied up as you guess.

1. It is Javani.

2. Perhaps you had not looked at the latest issue of Sobh-e Sadegh. Not only did I receive the pdf file of the article, it was also reported widely by many sites and even newspapers inside Iran. We are not in the business of making things up.

3. Yes, clearly we do a lot of research. I personally receive about 100-150 e-mails from Iran and elsewhere every day giving us news. But, I and others write on a very small fraction of the news, because they can either not be confirmed, or by the time they are confirmed they are no longer news.

I am a scientist and have an extensive research program. When my students and I write scientific papers, we must document every statement. Therefore, I am in the habit of paying attention to plausibility and credibility of news; they must be documented and verfiable.

Finally, there is no need for you to get upset. I respond to all comments that need to be responded to, regardless of their political leanings (all you need to do to see this is looking at my articles, the comments, and my responses). Few authors on credible websites do that.

You can be sure that everything posted here is credible. The ANALYSIS of the news done by me are my personal views, obviously, but do not change facts to make a point.

Thank you for your support of the TB. Hope you continue doing so. TB needs your support.

Muhammad Sahimi / August 17, 2009 11:10 AM

Of course there is no need for me (or you) to get upset or defensive. Why not have a link to the article instead of repeating how beyond reproach you are? That's journalism.

manesh / August 18, 2009 10:19 PM

If it is helpful, manesh, I have found Prof. Sahimi's articles to be sound, cogent and accurate, based on well-supported facts and appropriately cited comments, articles and testimonies.

For what it is worth, he is not a professional journalist, so providing direct links to news items may not be second nature with him, since he has been cautious in publishing only what can be corroborated by reputable sources.

With him, I thank you for your support of TB. It is a light in the storm.

Roger / August 19, 2009 12:31 PM