Iran – Statements from Haddi Ghaffari, Khatami, Karroubi & Mousavi
Several important statements have been released by several important people in Iran and they merit some looking into.
Khatami referred to the alleged election rigging as a Velvet Revolution by the Government, which is somewhat ironic considering Khamenei’s references to the protests as the very same, using the comparison to associate it with Western backing:
“I have to say that a velvet revolution has been used against the people and the Republic nature of the regime”.
“The voice of the people has been suffocated, those who should protect the rights of the people are instead degrading the people and this is all done under a poisonous atmosphere of state controlled media ”.
Karroubi also responded to Khamenei’s Velvet Revolution comments:
What kind of velvet revolution is this; that two of its leaders (Mousavi and Karroubi) were the most experienced friends of the Ayatollah [Khomeini] and were recognized by the office of the Leader and the Guardian Council as legitimate candidates and had 15 millions supporters.
The velvet revolution was in the minds of those who dreamed about beating and killing people, clubbing young and old, men and women, and cars and stores.
Meanwhile, Mousavi’s 9th statement includes my thoughts exactly:
People’s trust [in the government] has been lost and denying this fact will not be beneficial. “…” A regime that relied on people’s trust for 30 year cannot replace that trust with military force overnight. “…” How can people trust a government that imprisons their friends, colleagues and children based on its own illusions? A military environment only hurts people’s feelings towards the regime. Free media are the respiratory channels of a healthy society; to regain people’s trust do not clog these channels…We alienate everyone from ourselves with smallest excuses…until we are all alone. This is not the way of the Islamic Revolution or Islam, which opens its arms to everyone.
Translations from the above Persian sources in excerpts can be found on niacINsight.
Meanwhile, niacINsight also reports that the conservative cleric Haddi Ghaffari has now turned on Khamenei, which is a fairly important event in the incredibly important political goings-on in the Iranian clerical establishment. Could this be another sign that the tide is turning?
Khamenei, your recent actions and behavior has brought shame to us clerics. Our image in the streets and bazaars has been tarnished as everyone is placing us in the same category as Ahmadinejad.”
“Khamenei, you are wrong, your actions are wrong. I believe in the velayat e fagih more than you.”
“Young people are not praying anymore, whose fault is that? It is your fault Mr. Khamenei, it’s your fault for placing us in the same line as that lunatic Ahmadinejad.”
“Ahmadinejad is nobody, you should congregate with us instead of him.”
This, to me, seems like a fairly strong attack. Particularly the line highlighted in bold, seems to show that Ghaffari is disassociating Khamenei from the vilayat-e-faqih system, proclaiming support for the system but opposition to Khamenei opens the path to his deposition as Supreme Leader. To see if this will happen we shall have to see what happens in Qom.
Tehran Bureau also reports on the deepening rifts in the clerical establishment:
The clerics in Qom and Mashhad recognize that there is much more at stake than a disputed election. They see an existential threat to the entire Islamic Republic as they mull their decision whether to support the official result, protest it or continue to remain silent.
The clerics who support the unification of church and state — those who support the concept of Velaayat-e Faghih [the governance of the Islamic jurist, the Supreme Leader or the Faghih], the backbone of Iran’s power structure — see that by coming down most definitively on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s side, Ayatollah Khamenei may no longer be considered to be above the fray, or even feign impartiality. He has now become just another politician subject to criticism. This is damaging, not only to the concept of Velaayat-e Faghih, but also to the whole concept of Mahdi, the hidden 12th Imam, who is supposed to come back some day to save the world from injustice, corruption and chaos. How can the “deputy” of the hidden Imam be as fallible as the next politician?
I strongly recommend you click that TehranBureau link above because it has a fairly detailed run-down of the political implications and clerical reactions within Qom/Mashhad
As Tehran Bureau says, these protests seem to have deeply weakened the authority of Khamenei as supreme leader. Almost everyone is still reverent of Ayatollah Khomeini and his leadership immediately after the revolution, particularly his construction of the Iranian political system, but as this rift grows, more and more people are disassociating Khamenei from Khomeini’s legacy, the legacy of the father of the Revolution. This may prove to be deeply damaging to Khamenei. I have heard rumours tossed around that Rafsanjani is mooting a previously considered but abandoned change to the villayat-e-faqih system, to vest the power of being the Mahdi’s deputy in a group of clerics, rather than one Supreme Leader. I’m not sure if this is what’s going to go down or if we’re simply going to see Khamenei deposed and replaced. I think the latter is unlikely, Rafsanjani and the reformists have some power, especially with the support of some conservative clerics who have crossed sides, but the army, basij and IRGC appears to be behind Khamenei and Ahmadinejad all the way. Rafsanjani’s proposed changes would ostensibly ensure that Khamenei remains on the panel of clerics, thereby saving him face and preventing civil conflict borne of reactions from his equally fervent and committed supporters. Still, it may be that nothing will change, or it may be that sporadic protests will continue until something flares up again. We shall have to wait and see.