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Staging Mousavi's Arrest?

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles

13 Dec 2009 06:3424 Comments
21_8712131534_L600.jpg[ overview ] Over the past week, there has been increased speculation that Mir Hossein Mousavi may be arrested. This began after state television broadcast a clip from student demonstrations on 16 Azar (December 7), Iran's national student day, where a student is allegedly shown tearing up a poster of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and uttering insulting words against him.

The hardliners immediately reacted to the broadcast. Young clerics denounced the insult and announced that they would gather at Fayzieh School in Qom, where Ayatollah Khomeini used to teach, and from where many cleric-led demonstrations against the Shah commenced before the 1979 Revolution.

But the reformists and the leaders of the Green Movement appeared to know what was going on and quickly responded to the developments. First, Kalame, the official Mousavi website, warned people that "new events are planned and coming." It said that the Ayatollah Khomeini insult and the wave of propaganda that followed were all planned. They were staged to justify the subsequent actions the hardliners would take. It said people should be careful and remain alert and abreast of the latest developments.

In an interview with the daily newspaper, Jomhouri Eslami [Islamic Republic], Mousavi said that the broadcast was suspicious and that he was certain that those who support him would never insult Ayatollah Khomeini.

Norooz, the official site of the Islamic Iran Participation Front [the largest reformist group], warned that Mousavi could be arrested at any time. The popular Balatarin website cited reports from "informed sources," saying that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was very angry that the country had not calmed down six months after the election. According to Norooz, the hardliners seem to have concluded that the only way to calm the country was by arresting Mousavi. How they will achieve such a goal is unclear.

Mehdi Karroubi, another main leader of the Green Movement, wrote a strong letter to Ezzatollah Zarghami, head of the Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic (the national network of radio and television). "It appears that some people are intentionally trying to make a bad name for the legitimate protests of the people that began after the election, in order to pave the way for those who think about nothing but breaking the law and violently cracking down on the people," he said in the letter.

Mohammad Ali Khosrawi, deputy head of the organization that is in charge of preserving and publishing the teachings of Ayatollah Khomeini [the head of the organization is his grandson, Hassan Khomeini], also wrote to Zarghami and strongly protested what the Voice and Visage had done. He said that, "Even if the incident did happen, the insult was committed by the Voice and Visage, which broadcast it. People understand everything. They know that Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami are the true longtime followers of Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini], and more than anyone else are sensitive about this [the insult] and, therefore, what has happened has nothing to do with them."

The Facebook page of Mehdi Karroubi has also asked people to be alert. It has also suggested the path and places in Tehran for demonstrations, in case he and other leaders of the Green Movement are arrested.

Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, one of the most ardent supporters of the Green Movement, said that, "Those who have hit a wall [in their crackdown on the people] now draw from their investment in Imam. They burn his posters and then say that others have done it. But true students never do that. We know the history. We know about setting fire on Cinema Rex in Abadan [in southern Iran] and Jame' Mosque in Kerman [in south central Iran]."

The reference to Cinema Rex harks back to the summer of 1978, when religious hardliners set the movie theater on fire that killed 400 people. At that time, most people thought that the Shah's security forces had committed the crime, but it turned out that it was the hardliners who had done it, in order to provoke people. The fire in Jame' Mosque was also started with the same goal.

Several reformist deputies in the Majles also accused the Voice and Visage of intentionally showing the alleged insult in order to provoke people's emotions. They included the deputies from Eelam (in western Iran), Shahr-e Kord [in southwester Iran], Zanjan [in western Iran], and Marand and Jolfa in northwestern Iran. They all blamed Voice and Visage for what happened.

Interestingly, students at the University of Tehran also demonstrated against the apparent insult. But they were supporters of the Green Movement, carrying green banners, and chanting against the Voice and Visage.

On the other hand, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei, Iran's Prosecutor-General, warned that the judiciary will not have any mercy on the demonstrators and those who "break the law." He said that the judiciary was not tough at the beginning, but now that everything is velar [meaning that it has become clear who supports whom], the judiciary will get tough. He also said that he hopes that Mousavi will be persecuted.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Minister of Intelligence, Heidar Moslehi, strongly attacked former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, now head of the Expediency Council [a Constitutional body that mediates between Majles and the Guardian Council] for saying a few days ago that, "If people do not want us [the ruling elite], we would have to go." Moslehi also attacked Rafsanjani for saying that, "My position is what I expressed in the Friday Prayers [in Tehran on July 18]." "Unfortunately," Moslehi said, "he [Rafsanjani] says the same things that the leaders of the conspiracy [Green Movement] also say."

The high command of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) just issued a statement in which it demanded that the judiciary punish severely those who have insulted Ayatollah Khomeini, and attributed the incident to foreign powers.

A few days ago, Ali Saeedi, Ayatollah Khamenei's representative to the IRGC, acknowledged that the gap between Ayatollah Khamenei and the people had increased greatly, and expressed concerns about it. Mohammad Mohammadian, Ayatollah Khamenei's representative to the universities, also stated a few days ago that, "Polls indicate that more than 70% of the students voted for someone [Mousavi] who is not part of the government. This is the reality, and we have no way but accepting it." It is against such a background that people such as Mohseni Ejei have started talking about getting tough on the protesters and those who are not willing to accept the legitimacy of the June 12 election.

The incident with Ayatollah Khomeini's poster is reminiscent of what happened in May 1997, when Mohammad Khatami was running for the presidency. The hardliners distributed a video in the country that supposedly showed that the supporters of Khatami were dancing and signing on the afternoon of Ashura, the day commemorating events on October 10, 680 A.D., when the Shia's third Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, fought bravely against those who opposed him and was killed. Imam Hussein is a most revered figure in Iran, and people mourn his murder on Ashura Day every year. The video was intended to show that Khatami's supporters did not care about Islamic and Shiite traditions. It turned out, however, that the video had been produced by the hardliners themselves.

In a related development, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, a conservative cleric, did not allow the hard-line clerics to gather at Motahhari School in Qom to demonstrate against the Khomeini insult. He heads the School, and asked the clerics to leave.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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If regime arrest Mousavi,this would be their last step that they could take,thereafter this will be people of Iran who control the country.

Faraz Amiralaei / December 13, 2009 8:56 AM

I sense a new panic in coup government's ranks. Up to now they were looking at people (who they consider nothing more than children, needing their guidance) with amusement. Now it is serious! they are panicking. And they have no intention of giving up the throne. This thing will get much uglier soon.

This brutal stage was predicted, and it is now upon up. I pray for the safety of our friends in Iran.

Keivan / December 13, 2009 10:54 AM

Engineer Moussavi is an unenviable position. When it became clear that the security clique would not allow him to take up the position that was rightfully his, even had he not lifted a finger he would have been a lightening-rod for the raving, rabid apostles of force. He is like a man, upstanding, a good citizen ( leave aside the citicisms of him as no different than the power-mongers of the IRI ) who walking down a busy street near his home is approached by another and slapped in the face. Stunned and embarrassed at such an unprovoked assault.With people looking on he feels embarrassed at the situation, embarrassed for his attacker. Why did the man slap him, such an inexplicable, extreme act? He goes home the embarrassment still lingering? The people who witnessed the attack, by contrast are angered feel the slap personally.

pirooz / December 13, 2009 12:43 PM

Regardless of any incidence, the fact of the matter is we do not want the Islamic Republic. Mousavi even with good intentions which he did not have when he was prime Minister, is part of the very cruel and primitive system.You only have to go to Iran and listen to people.The ultimate solution for Iran is regime change to a democratic and secular alternative, the sooner the better.

Kaveh / December 13, 2009 8:26 PM

If anything happens to Moussavi or Karroubi(if they accidently trip over and break their neck,or if lighting hits them,or if the get arrested)The Iranian nation has to go to general public STRIKE.That would bring the government DOWN!

Andre333 / December 13, 2009 9:16 PM

Please let me try an understand this..so the Iranian gov't is going to kill or imprison anyone or everyone who they consider a threat to their(the Gov'ts) control over the innocent Iranian people. These so called leaders have no compassion, no sense of what it is to love and respect one another. Their only ambition is to gain and retain power over the people, send the peoples money to banks abroad for themselves and threaten those thruout the world who speak for human rights for all! It's disgraceful, sickening and unjust.

Teney / December 13, 2009 10:41 PM

I think arrest of Mousavi is not gonna happen. If you read Hojatoleslam Khamenehei recent comments he again accuses Mousavi and his supporters for burning Khomeini's poster (meaning he himself is behind this) but at the same time clearly asks for his supporters calmness and mentions he is inclusive. His recent message was quite clear that the complot is disclosed.

yeki / December 13, 2009 11:26 PM

As I said before these guys will make 1367 mass execution of political prisoner a walk in the park.
Khomeini picture is an excuse just like the cinema Rex. It is all a show to mobilize ignorant uneducated Muslims to kill and destroy.

gooya / December 14, 2009 1:00 AM

O.K. lets assume Mousavi is arrested tomorrow.What are you going to do?Mobolize the general public and strike nation wide? You don't have that kind of support inside Iran nor the Iranian people (Iam not talking about the students alone) are all in it for you.Do you see anyone else except students? Mousavi is a part of this government anyways.Don't tell me he is going to bring down the Islamic Republic. You are dreaming.When all said and done the Green movement can not deliver because its leadership is directly linked back to the Islamic Republic and Khamenei knows it too.Some of you guys have serious growing up to do.We only have one solution and that is to bring down the house of cards of the Islamic Republic. There is no middle ground.We are at war. It is going to get bloody, it is going to get dirty. Get used to it.There are no short cuts.The rest of the world will not lift a finger to help you. They are after their own interests. Do you want to be free? Get up (All segments of society) and make it happen and don't hide behind excuses.You can not lie to yourself.Green movement is nothing but controlled data. Get over it.

Kaveh / December 14, 2009 7:20 AM

What is there to gain in arresting Mousavi? The man is now irrelevant in direct political affairs. And in Tehran during 16 Azar, student demonstrators were chanting Mousavi was simply a means that went unsatisfied, and that he is now irrelevant.

As for the torn Khomeini picture incident, it is not at all inconceivable that certain radicalized students went so far as to commit this act. After all, one has only to watch on YouTube students vehement anti-establishment chants against Khamenei to realize that it is, for some, only a short stretch further to tear up a picture of Khomeini. The real significance of this incident is how quickly afterwards the students turned up at their universities holding up placards of Khomeini, to deny any anti-IRI intentions.

The student protests of 16 Azar in Tehran showed a radicalized face for the Green Movement. That can actually work to their disadvantage, as the Khomeini picture incident is now playing out.

Pirouz / December 14, 2009 5:09 PM


I suggest that you join the bloody war that you advocate so enthusiastically. That may help you to grow up also.

Muhammad Sahimi / December 14, 2009 6:41 PM

I don't advocate anything I don't practice or preach.Aditionally,I don't need your kind to tell me what to do either.You people are the root cause of this regime and its survival for so long.You have the audacity to misguide today's youth through false promises and diversionary moves such as the green movement.Just like the last 30 years.Promise them everything and deliver nothing.You and Mousavi are both phonies.We are tired of your theatricals.The kids have grown up Muhammad.This is a different generation to 79's.I have no desire to hear from you.Death to Islamic Republic.

Kaveh / December 14, 2009 10:51 PM

OK someone on this site ("grown-up") please tell me what the answer is to achieve a government that is for the people!

teney / December 14, 2009 11:03 PM

teney, Kaveh is right.we can not put on a green piece of cloth (make ourselves a target), get in front of the camera for couple of hours, wrap it up and go go home to Mom and Dad. Wait couple of months, wrap ourselves up in a piece of green cloth come out and put on another 2 hour show.Mean while the likes of Mousavi and this pro regime lobby in U.S. tell us to keep cool and give the regime more time, keep cool and wait for social reform, keep cool and everything is going to be rosy.Bologna.They are killing and raping our brothers and sisters and filling their pockets with our future earnings.What would you do if this was your house hold?Your country is your home too.First you have to have people before you can have a government for the people.This is why these idiots try so hard to misguide us.Kaveh,I am with you brother to the last drop of my blood.Long live free Iran.I will never give my children an Arab name.

Sohrab, Kaveh II / December 15, 2009 12:01 AM

Thankyou Sohrab for your comment..I totally agree with what you and Kaveh have said. I want you to know with much honesty that when you mentioned the pro-regime lobby in the United States...you may be talking about a certain fraction of those in Washington but the majority of the American people do know and understand what the people of Iran are dealing with every day. I know because I am an American and I read the Tehran Bureau info. every day along with news about the horrific and ungodly government. I have written (faxed) embassies in Iran begging them to try and help gain release of those innocent people imprisoned by the gov't. Read story after story about the beatings and murders of innocent men, women, the elderly, the students and have seen the videos of the beatings by the police (those horrible police on their motorcycles).I do understand what you mean by saying that "You need people before you can have a gov't". I do not profess to be as knowledgeable as those of you who were born in Iran and whose hearts are there with the people. As I said before, I am an American..just an American..no better than any other who walks this earth..I would never judge on religious beliefs, ethnic background but only the good in ones soul. And I pray for the decent Iranian people that soon they will reap what is long overdue for them..Freedom to live in a country that is for the people.

Teney / December 15, 2009 6:36 AM

to teney, how about faxing the embassies of israel, egypt, saudi arabia - all friends of US/Zionist establishment who have an equally or worse human rights record than IRI. Or what about challenging human rights abuses in your own country. Why don't you lobby your senators to stop arming and funding the Israelis who have been sitting on occupied land for 60 yrs, violated numerous UN resolutions with impunity and regularly infringe international law and your tax dollars are responsible for supporting some of the most psychotic individuals posing as 'settlers' on other people's lands. Israel possesses the only 'undeclared' arsenal of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and has engaged in a number of offensive and illegal wars against its neighbours and the inhabitants of Gaza and West Bank. Why will your politicians not spend the money that they give to Israel or the $450m odd they have allocated to destabilise Iran to support your own fellow citizens who despite living in the most advanced country in the world do not have access to free healthcare. Which is shameful in this day and age for a country like the US to be in. Read Chomsky to find out the countries that are the biggest threat to world peace, namely US and Israel. Leave Iranians alone to sort their disputes out which they will in time.

rezvan / December 15, 2009 8:47 PM

Teney, I thank you for your comments and support.
As you can see this site has its share of pro-regime supporters in the United States and that is exactly what we are talking about.They always show up right on time to prove our point and for the world to see.They are irrelevant and only a matter of time.

Centuries ago the Persian Poet Saadi in a time less piece expressed it so beautifully,

Of One Essence is the Human Race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern'd with Others' Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face.

To all those who stand up for freedom and human dignity and to my Iranian brothers and sisters across the globe and especially in our home Iran.

Kaveh II / December 15, 2009 10:23 PM

To Teney. As Persians we have no animosity towards Israel, nor do we take sides on the issue of Palestine vs. Israel. That is clearly their business and that of the Arab world. The Islamic Republic along with her supporters see their survival only possible in an atmosphere of deceit and political turmoil. Even the Palestinians admit the interference of the I.R. in their internal affairs has created nothing but problems in the last 30 years. In today's Iran, people are focused on the hardship of their daily lives. Much of propaganda in the name of support for Palestinians is orchestrated by the regime, her thugs and for self serving reasons. Do not stay away, do not allow these thugs to intimidate you. You are welcome to participate and we enjoy hearing from you. Please tell your friends and associates to contact the politicians in your country to support the freedom movement in Iran. Iranian people deserve better than having a group of barbarians ruling over them. The end of Islamic Republic is inevitable.

Siavash / December 16, 2009 1:55 AM

to siavash - your statement is self contradictory. You are asking for other people's support for human rights abuses in Iran and yet you say 'Persians' do not take sides on the issue of Palestine vs Israel. It is correct to say 'some' Persians such as yourself have no animosity to Israel but not all. By saying that 'we' do not take sides, you are therefore condoning human rights abuses and war crimes carried out by the Israeli army earlier this year in Gaza against women and children as outlined in the Goldstone report. If you are for freedom for your own people from a 'barbaric' regime, surely you should have the decency of condemning and asking others to condemn the barbaric atrocities inflicted by the Israeli army on Palestinian mothers and children in Gaza. By the way nothing but death is inevitable and the Islamic Republic will be there long after you and me have gone, that is ordained!!

rezvan / December 16, 2009 3:00 AM

Dear Resvan..I would like to thankyou for your comments also. Unfortunately we both see so many of the problems in the world with different eyes and hearts which is not to say that my country has not made mistakes and wrong choices in the past dealing with international problems. My only prayer is that someday we all as individuals will find in each other a way to go forward in this world without anger, blame or hate but with compassion, understanding and respect for each of our differences and that our children will growup knowing that for all of our differences we can grow in a world of peace and love for all. We are all one with the universe..connected..one with God. You may not want to hear this from me Resvan as an American but this is true.

Teney / December 16, 2009 4:59 AM

Dear Kaveh,
So beautiful and so absolutely true..written by Saadi! Thankyou so very much.

Teney / December 16, 2009 5:03 AM

"As Persians we have no animosity towards Israel, nor do we take sides on the issue of Palestine vs. Israel. That is clearly their business and that of the Arab world." Where is it contradictory?We must remain focused on the problems of our own country.You are confused.Why Palestine? Lets worry about planet earth. But why planet earth? Lets worry about the entire universe and beyond. I am from IRAN.That is the country that I care about. That is the government that concerns me. I must fix my own country before I can fix someone else's country.They have the whole Arab world. let them worry about their own. They killed our people in 1979 and got paid by Khomeini for their services. During the war with Iraq, they sided with Saddam and fought against us.Towards the end,their idle Yasser denounced Khomeini anyways.WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT THEM WHEN OUR OWN PEOPLE ARE DYING ON THE STREETS OF IRAN? Are you a nut? Islamic Republic ordained? You are a nut.

Siavash / December 16, 2009 9:27 AM

Dear Resvan..Noam Chomsky must thank God that he lives in the United States of America. Knowing that he is a political activist and I think a socialist and has written many negative things about the U.S. and it's political views and conflicts, he also has recieved many academic awards thruout the world. Yet it would have been impossible for him to reside in Iran with it's current leaders and deliver those negative writings against the Iranian gov't today..He would be DEAD!

Teney / December 16, 2009 11:14 PM

Teney, ain't that a fact. He wouldn't stand a chance over there. You are correct.

Arman / December 17, 2009 5:38 AM