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Iran Document: Interview with Hossein Karroubi (11 February)

Tehran Bureau spoke with Hossein Karroubi, son of Mehdi Karroubi, hours after the Karroubi entourage was attacked trying to join opposition protests in Tehran on 22 Bahman:

How is your father Haj Agha Mehdi Karroubi?

We're treating him for burns to his face and eyes. He's having trouble with his lungs too. He was badly attacked with pepper spray. Plainclothes agents (vigilantes) approached him and kept spraying it in his eyes. He's resting at home though; he's not been hospitalized.

Any news of your brother Ali?

We haven't been able to figure out where he is. Everyone we call claims to have no information on him. We believe he's in the custody of the law enforcement agency.

Government officials are touting the celebrations today as a referendum on the past few months, on the Green Movement. What do you think? Was this a defeat for the Green Movement?

Well, they bussed in as many people as they possibly could from many towns and locations -- I even saw them rounding up people myself -- and depositing them at Azadi Square, surrounded by and escorted by thousands of officers. This is while they started beating the others (opposition) starting at 8 am. Of what value is such a pro-government turnout? If they allowed this side (opposition) to gather, they would see how the masses really turn out. For example, at Sadeghi Square, where we were, folks told us they started beating up on them since they started arriving at 8 am. They kept gathering and they kept dispersing them. What value was their [the government's] turnout under these circumstances?

The Iranian blogosphere appears to be disappointed by the lack of a Green presence. Some are claiming they are no longer worthy of Mr. Karroubi?

No, that's not so. This is not the case. The people were actually very kind. There were gatherings starting at 8 in the morning there. They got beat up pretty bad. When we got there, people warmly gathered around him. But when they were violently attack -- they even pulled a dagger. When a thug pulls a dagger and attempts to attack you with it and with knives and batons.... No, we actually thank the people for their support.

Do you think this paves the way for the arrests of Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Mousavi?

Until now their [government] actions have been irrational; we hope they proceed in a more rational fashion from this point. I hope such a thing doesn't happen. I hope they don't act in such a disgraceful manner for the whole world to see.

if there are arrests, do you believe they will be followed by televised confessions of the opposition leaders?

They've already tried really hard to use such tactics and failed. For all their efforts, the many arrests and all the pressure they've put on detainees, they were only able to televise a handful of these so-called confessions.

Do you think the arrests of Mr. Karroubi's bodyguards were premeditated?

Mr. Karroubi received a letter from [NAJA intelligence] saying that Mr. Karroubi would be the target of a suicide attack and that he shouldn't participate in the march today. And at the same time, they called some of our friends, his entourage in for questioning. They got a written promise from them, agreeing they wouldn't take place in gatherings with Mr. Karroubi anymore. They did everything to dissuade Mr. Karroubi from attending. But when I saw him this morning, he was intent on going to the march.

How may Greens do you think showed up and participated today?

I really couldn't tell. I was only in the Sadeghiyeh area, which was only one of the paths of the march. The folks there said there were many of them there, but they [authorities] would beat them up and not allow them to gather.

Other areas it was the same. I asked around and they said more or less the same thing. They said police forces and vigilantes had a strong presence and they beat up on many people.

We're hearing reports that Zahra Rahnavard was beat up. Is this true?

I don't know. This is the first I've heard of it.

Reader Comments (3)

[...] Tehran Bureau am 11. Februar 2010, 8:16 Uhr EST (14:16 Uhr Ortszeit Deutschland) Referenziert von: Enduring America Übersetzung Englisch-Deutsch: Julia, bei Weiterveröffentlichung bitte Link [...]

[...] With this description in mind, consider this interview with Karroubi: [...]

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Mavens » THEY

It is possible for a leader to leave Iran, like Khomenei in 1979 and to speak more freely and gather support and coalitions and later to return. It seems possible to form coalitions and to look at how Khomenei did things. A leader outside Iran would be free to speak and increase momentum, coalitions, and have greater impact later.

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli Mohommad

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