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Iran: "Conservative Opposition" Offer to Mousavi "Back Khamenei, We Sack Ahmadinejad"

At the end of an intriguing political day, another twist: the high-profile member of Parliament, Ali Motahhari, an ally of Ali Larijani and a critic of the Ahmadinejad Government, has written an open letter to Mir Hossein Mousavi. (Note "open", which raises this to a very public signal of the position of the "conservative opposition".)

The summary of the letter, published in The Tehran Times, deserves to be quoted in full. At one level, the reason for publication is obvious: Motahhari is asking Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to make clear their allegiance to the Supreme Leader and the system of velayat-e-faqih (ultimate clerical supremacy). There is another level of significance, however, Motahhari's unsubtle implication is that, if Mousavi and Karroubi come "within the system", then the abusers in the Government can be dealt with --- and "dealt with" may include the President himself

It is left up to readers to consider whether this move is linked to our analysis last month of a post-Ashura plan, involving Speaker of Parliament Larijani, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Secretary of the Expediency Council and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei, to isolate and possibly remove Ahmadinejad:
I have read your interview in the Kalemeh website and saw positive and negative points in your remarks. I believe that you have stated the pains well, but you have not suggested remedies appropriately. The gist of your remarks is that you have entered the scene for making reforms not for seeking power, taking revenge, or devastating (the country). This approach can be the pivot of unity and the common cause to deal with the current political crisis, especially when one of the bases of the Islamic teachings is continuous social reform.

You in your statements have talked about the administration’s tendencies for breaking law and an inclination towards totalitarianism. You have said that the administration does not account for his actions to the Majlis (Parliament) and the judiciary. You have also mentioned explicitly and implicitly the violent treatments towards the protestors and a negligence by those who been managing the crisis.

Don’t you think that those who are blamed for such offences are seeking to make the current situation continue? Don’t you think that unity and calm are a deadly poison for them? Don’t you think the current situation makes it hard for the Majlis and the judiciary to deal with lawbreakers? For example in the current situation, it is possible to ask the president questions about some lawbreaking and cultural liberalism, but currently such legal actions are regarded as joining the leaders of protesters and attempting to intensify the crisis.

So you and Mehdi Karroubi have become obstacles in the path of making reforms that you and other considerate revolutionary figures call for. I am pretty sure that the grand Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution will deal with the offenses of the respected President, the totalitarians, and some extremists who claim to uphold principlism, if he has peace of mind about the actions of you two respected (figures). At least try (my advice) for several months, if it was not the case, then you can continue your path; the path that I believe is futile and damaging.

Some positive points and unifying steps are seen in your interview such as denouncing the foreign-based media outlets, distancing yourself from anti-Islamic slogans, and emphasizing to be committed to the Constitution. But according to the Constitution, the Leader says the last word on the political and social issues, even if some people are not convinced (about the decision). You have not heeded this principle in your interview duly. Some sections of your interview reveal that you are not willing that the crisis end and you think you are defending people’s rights.

However, by preparing the ground for lawbreaking, people’s rights are violated. The foreign enemies will take advantage (of the current situation) and our system and national interests are undermined. Our gracious Leader in his recent speech has mildly described the actions of you and Karroubi as “negligence.” These are signals for you to change your position with the aim of strengthening national unity. Even if you are right about the recent events, you should take Imam Ali (AS) as a model and give up your rights for Islamic unity and the preservation of Islam, and the public’s rights will be pursued somewhere else. This expectation from you who has a good revolutionary record is not a remote possibility.

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    EA WorldView - Archives: February 2010 - Iran: "Conservative Opposition" Offer to Mousavi "Back Khamenei, We Sack Ahmadinejad"

Reader Comments (17)

["At least try (my advice) for several months, if it was not the case, then you can continue your path; the path that I believe is futile and damaging."
"...take Imam Ali (AS) as a model and give up your rights..."]

    Mousavi would be a fool to agree to any of this. The open letter shows their fear and weakness. There is no need to surrender now when the people are winning. He's not an actual green movement leader anymore. Let him do a few rhetorical flourishes or posturing, but just stay as a passive obstacle in the rotting regime while the real bottom up green movement continues from the outside.
    What a give away that it's a nonsense deal: "resistance is futile", and "give up your rights"

February 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

Re. “Iran: “Conservative Opposition” Offer to Mousavi “Back Khamenei, We Sack Ahmadinejad””

What guarantee is there that after Mousavi and Karoubi back down Khamenei would do anything other than mildly rebuke Ahmadinejad?

Khamenei stood by the massive election fraud and even implied that he was behind it, when on 19 June he said that Ahmadinejad is very close to him (closer than Rafsanjani).

Also hack in June while Khamenei was telling Mousavi, etc to wait for the Guardian Council verdict on the election he was saying that the election is valid, while it had not still been ratified by the Council. I fact SL approved the election and set Ahmadinejad’s “vote count” at 24 million even before the Interior Ministry had given to vote count. So Khamenei was all the way behind Ahmadinejad. Also on 19 June Khamenei gave the order to crush the people’s peaceful protests. And when the story about the rapes , tortures and murders in prisons came out, Khamenei said (rather dismissively) that some minor misconduct has taken place, but the big sin is tarnishing the IR (he was basically saying that raping people in IR is not bad, but telling people about it is very bad).

So one can conclude that all the election fraud, the murders, torture, rapes, etc have been and are being carried out at least with Khamenei’s full knowledge and he is not doing anything about it.

As for Ahmadinejad. Khamenei has been supporting him all the way until now. He even wrote to Majles to ensure that the cabinet was approved (although a few of the misters were not approved at the time).

Khamenei has tied himself firmly to Ahmadinejad, and the post-election brutality. He can therefore not be trusted when it comes to these issues.

Also the main issue in Iran is no longer Ahmadinejad. It is Khamenei and his immoral and illegal conduct (to the point that Mousavi says that IR is now a tyrannical dictatorship). SO even if Khamenei was to slap Ahmadinejad on the writ, it would only be in order to try to buy to to consolidate his weaken position (weaken because of the people’s steadfast protests and his own brutality and lying). Khamenei’s record over the past two decades has consistently shown that when in trouble he will resort to any lie in order to get out of trouble. And once out of trouble he will ignore any promises he has given and will act against the people who had helped him at the time (this is in the fear that these people might be becoming influential and popular).

So Khamenei cannot be trusted at all.

I think Motahari is trying to blame Mousavi and Karoubi (and the protestors) for the serious problems that the policies and action of his faction, Khamenei and Ahmaniejad & co have caused. He is saying to Mousavi that your protest are not allowing the SL to try to right things that are wrong.

Firstly, Khamenei has been SL for two decades now and AHmadinejad is his president (one that he prefers and for whom he has done so much). So SL himself has caused all these problems and is not in a position to fix them.

Secondly, by saying that Mousavi’s protests are not allow SL to do his job, Motahari is admitted that there is serious crisis in IR. SL has consistently said that there is no crisis.

I think this is a tactical move to:

- Blame the protestor for things that SL & co have done wrong (this is the same as SL blaming the elusive “enemy” for everything)

- Try to say that SL is not really behind Ahmadinejad, which is not true. The aim might be to improve SL’s reputation.

- Since Mousavi and the other reformists are taking direct aim at SL (for example, Mousavi-Ardebili goes to SL to get Alireza Beheshti freed; SL refuses to help; Mousavi mentions Beheshti being in prison in his latest statement). SL might be getting scared that he himself may be coming under question and his position may be weakening to the point that he could be severely limited or even removed.

- This Motahari letter is s direct response to Mousavi’s recent statement. Since Mousavi said that IR is a dictatorship, this may be the establishment’s rebuttal, saying well it is your fault that it is so.

Even if they wanted to respond favourably, I don’t think Mousavi and Karoubi have much room for manoeuvre in this case. If they agree to stand behind SL, they would have gone against their own statements. That would cause them to lose legitimacy and public support. That would allow SL to get rid of them. In a way this is a trap for Mousavi and IR reformists.

In any case Mousavi and Karoubi will not be able to deliver what is being asked of them, even if they wanted to. No one has enough control over the protestors in order to give in like this to SL.

Over the past few months we have had brutal beating and killing of protestors, torture, rape and murder in prisons, public show trial, secret trial, executions, treat after treat, assassinations, “terrorist” bomb attacks, trying to somehow get close to the West, mass arrests (even of family members), heavy censorship, sending worms to space, threatening dissident overseas with assassination, etc. None of them has worked. This looks like another desperate like all the rest.

P.S. There is a slight shift in the establishment’s strategy: they seem to be actually engaging with Mousavi rather than just speaking in general terms or calling for his trial. I think this may be more significant that the actual stay behind SL and he’ll fix things offer.

February 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGreeny

Agreeing mostly with Doug and Greeny, I just like to add that twisting the truth and twisting realities seem to be the most appropriate approaches of hardliners like Ali Mottahari to react to the ongoing crisis. He is obviously speaking on behalf of the SL, though I cannot confirm the authority of his claims.
As Greeny already remarked, the SL has tied himself firmly to AN, and he certainly will be judged on his unconditional support for the putschist president.
Mottahari is obviously trying to put the blame on Moussavi and Karroubi, which can be read as a statement for the "khodi", i.e. 'moderate' hardliners angry about AN's arbitrary acts and especially about Rahim Mashaie as well as his pasdar and bassiji supporters.

"You have also mentioned explicitly and implicitly the violent treatments towards the protestors and a negligence by those who been managing the crisis."

The second half of this sentence is pivotal to his twisted account on the events, replacing the SL and the judiciary who did not manage the crisis or did it only by violent measures with Moussavi and Karroubi.
After the first reading I got furious, but now I believe that Mottahari and his kind are utterly incapable to understand what is going on in Iran. Instead of talking TO the people, he continues to talk ABOUT them, proposing a bargain to Moussavi and Karroubi from his lofty heights. As for the insignificant rest, "the public’s rights will be pursued somewhere else."

Mottahari's letter reveals his (and perhaps also the SL's) deep fear of 22 Bahman, and even if Moussavi would accept this horse trade (which I seriously doubt), Karroubi would never do so. His statement and that of his party clearly emphasize people's wish and command on all future decisions for the country.

16 Bahman (6 February) marks the regime's losses on all fronts: the nuclear distraction has failed, and Mottahari's open letter is a pitiful essay to pick up the pieces.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

To little to late. You think that if Mousavi and Karroubi sit down, your fat lady in a chador will get a chance to sing? No way; this one is going into extra innings.

The blame for subverting peoples' rights goes all the way to the top. When one man has the final say he is a king or rahbar. It doesn't matter what monkey is President so long as the ultimate authority rests with an unelected king.

Mr Motahari: Green doubles down, NO deal.

The Basher.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Basher

with correction

Larijani and his gang are consolidating their power by killing two birds with one stone; taking down both Ahmadinejad and reformist leaders and consequently neutralizing the greatest challenge, Green Democracy Movement, the regime has faced in 30 years.

Ali Motahhari, Larijani, and other conservatives believe by separating Mousavi and Karroubi from people of Green Democracy Movement they can weaken and eventually dissolve the Movement. After all it is not either Mousavi nor Karroubi that has been the regime worst nightmare, it is the people who have stood up to them and shouted death to Islamic Republic. They, therefore, believe by bringing these two rebels home and have them kiss Khamenei’s behind they can discredit them and consequently demoralizes people in Green Movement. Regime believes by breaking the Green coalition to smaller group of dissidents it will be much easier to label them as outlaws. This is a strategy that has worked for thirty years.

Khamenei and his gang are desperate to stay in power. They are not afraid of Mousavi or Karroubi but they do not want to eliminate Mousavi and Karroubi by assassination or arrest (like Mousavi’s nephew and score of other people they have assassinated or jailed). They know elimination through assassination or arrest will make these two men into a legend overnight and unrest may get out of control. But if you discredit them by making them look like traitors then you may be able to create a crack in the Movement that you exploit. Short of mass murdering people this is regime’s last card to play.

Ali Mothahari very cleverly reminded Mousavi of his declaration of commitment to the Islamic Republic constitution. Motahhari says “according to the Constitution, the Leader says the last word on the political and social issues, even if some people are not convinced (about the decision).” In other word Motahhari is reminding Mousavi that SL according to the constitution has veto power and can nullify election results if he chooses whether you like it or not. And if you do not like it you are outside the law and a hypocrite.

So Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi, I believe in every turn you dig yourselves deeper in the mud. My advice is listen to the people and join them and say death to Islamic Republic and the its constitution- the constitution that gives so much veto power to one person, the one person who is not elected by people. Please wake up and smell the coffee; Islamic Republic was never meant be a democracy. It was meant to be a theocracy with a mullah king. The sooner you people who have propelled yourself to the front line as leaders wake up the better chance Iranians have to taste freedom and democracy. Please stop beating the IR constitutional drum.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


Is there anyway to put the edit function back? Thanks

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I agree with all of you, Doug, Greeny, Arshama,Megane and the Basher; well said .

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterange paris

Mousavi still has a response to the challenge imposed on him by Motahari, without disregarding the IRI constitution: OK, the SL has the final say but not on whether the election has been rigged or not; he has the final say on whether the president who conducted the fraud election has the right to assume power. I am wondering how he would articulate such a response!!!

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMajid


Khamenei was the one who ordered the election to be rigged not Ahmadi.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan


I will pass this to Mike Dunn to see what can be done.


February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterScott Lucas


Thanks, in the meantime you may want to delete my post at 3:13. I posted a corrected copy at 9:10. Thanks a million.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Excellent points made by everyone here. I wonder why Motahari would ever think that Mousavi would take his proposal to support the SL seriously after Mousavi's last statement, which characterises the current situation (and by extension the leader in charge) as dictatorship and despotism? He must know that there's no way Mousavi or Karroubi can (or would even want to) reverse themselves at this stage, so there has to be an ulterior motive. I suspect it lies somewhere in the neighbourhood of self-positioning (I tried my best, but he turned me down) and as an opportunity to "innocently" repeat accusations that the AN administration is authoritarian, incompetent and obstructionist by necessarily having to refer to the same points made by Mousavi when Motahari writes, "In your statements you have talked about the inclinations of the government towards despotism, unaccountability and irresponsibility of the government towards the parliament and the judiciary". Criticism which Motahari then confirms as true by basically saying, "And when we ask the president about these abuses he treats us as if we were you!".

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


Whether the SL ordered rigging the election or not has nothing to do with the response Mousavi has as a choice to get rid of the challenge he faces these days. You know that we need him out of jail.

I have no illusion about the SL's supportive role in the recent fraud election. However, I prefer to make a distinction between facts and results of analyzes. Therefore, I cannot say that "he ordered the election to be rigged".

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMajid

The edit comments plugin sadly became unreliable- it would work for some people and not for others, or it would allow you to edit but then not save the changes- so we had to remove it.

When it worked properly I know it was really useful but it got to the point where it created more difficulties than it solved so for the foreseeable we'll have to stick with posting corrections in a later comment.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Dunn


"Khamenei and his gang ... are not afraid of Mousavi or Karroubi but they do not want to eliminate Mousavi and Karroubi by assassination or arrest...They know elimination through assassination or arrest will make these two men into a legend overnight and unrest may get out of control"
" Islamic Republic was never meant be a democracy. "
100% agreed.


"He must know that there’s no way Mousavi or Karroubi can (or would even want to) reverse themselves at this stage"

I'm not so sure. If they could do it safely, maybe they would- but they can't, as Greenie has pointed ("Even if they wanted to respond favourably, I don’t think Mousavi and Karoubi have much room for manoeuvre in this case. If they agree to stand behind SL, they would have gone against their own statements. That would cause them to lose legitimacy and public support. That would allow SL to get rid of them. In a way this is a trap for Mousavi and IR reformists.")

They must be more and more aware that for an increasing number of Iranians, it's not even Khamenei as a person only who is the problem, but it's the IR itself and its velayat e fagih principle, which is the negation of democracy.
Up to now, M and K have never said (clearly) that reform must necessarily deal with that.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterflorence achard

[...] America am 6. Februar Quelle (Persisch): Rahe Sabz Referenziert von Tehran Times Quelle (Englisch): Deutsche Übersetzung: Julia, bei Weiterveröffentlichung bitte Link [...]

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngebot der “Konservativ


You may want to look into EA archive and find the video of Basiji who defected. This man described who ordered to rig the election and how the order came to their level and what they did to fix the election.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

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