Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Khatami: They Accept Neither the Leader nor the Constitution

Omid Memarian, Rooz Online:
As the elections for the Majlese Khobregan-e Rahbari (State Experts Assembly for Leadership) approach, groups are intensifying their efforts to win over prominent political figures. Reformers who have been driven out of power over the recent years, report serious efforts by the conservatists and religious ideologues to take over this assembly and thus complete their take over all the key political institutions in the country.

In a recent talk, former reformist president Mohammad Khatami told members of the Sazemane Mojaheddin Engelab-e Eslami (Islamic Revolution Mohajeddin Organization) expressed his concern over the competition for the Experts Assembly. Without naming any person or group, he conveyed his concern for the future of the Islamic revolution and the supreme leader. The Experts Assembly may move in the direction where individuals who are not in line with the revolution will take over its control,” he said. They are absolutely out of line and this is very dangerous because this group neither believes in the supreme leader nor in the constitution.” Khatami’s reference is to those clerics and politicians who have been calling for the replacement of the Islamic Republic with an Islamic Administration. These individuals have hinted that they plan to remove or at the very least weaken the leader and control him. Observers point out to the words of fundamentalist cleric ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi who wrote in Parto weekly that there have been no Islamic governments after the revolution in Iran. This led to strong protests from many clerics. READ MORE

Ayatollah Tavassoli was the first critic. In a speech before the Shoraye Maslehat-e Nezam (State Expediency Council) led by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, he criticized Yazdi for his views and actions. Then Rafsanjani himself criticized Yazdi’s ideas and views without naming him by name.

Parto weekly, which is a mouthpiece for Yazdi, had earlier objected to Khatami’s presence at the last meeting of the Experts Assembly where he delivered a speech. The purpose of inviting him to this meeting is not clear,” he said adding that he had nothing new to say when he spoke.

Amir Mohebian, a journalist working for conservative but influential newspaper Resalat had written an article where he had coined the term “third force inside the Khobregan. He had written that this third force, under the guidance of ayatollah Yazdi, was going to play a prominent role in the next Experts Assembly elections. He listed the three groups to be: Jame-e Moddaresin (Teachers Association) and Jame-e Rohaniyat (Clerics Association) who are now united and form the main body of the clerics and comprise of many key clerics. The second group is the Majma-e Rohaniyun-e Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics) which while smaller in number intends to make a strong presence at the elections. The third group which plans to enter the race very vigorously will be under the guidance of ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Since Ahmadinejad Yazdi’s supporters have improved their organization and enjoy a stronger backing. Yazdi’s role in all of this gained further importance and credibility when he himself organized a four-day meeting of his supporters to specifically evaluate and coordinate efforts for the Expert elections. He called the meeting an organization gathering. Among the speakers at the closed-doors meeting were Yazdi himself, Hossein Kaabai and Abbasali Kadkhodayi from the Shoraye Negahban (Guardians Council for the Constitution) and Hossein Shariatmadari, managing editor of conservative Kayhan newspaper.

Yazdi is known for his vocalism. We must not be timid in our dealings with our opponents and must confront them with all our force. Relations with the enemy cannot be justified under any circumstances, he recently said on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Jaafar Sadegh about a month ago. Enemies that he refers to include even those individuals who support the Islamic Revolution and regime.

Concerns about such views and the outcome of the forthcoming Experts Assembly elections have been growing and they include everybody who is not close to Yazdi himself or supports him, both cleric and non-cleric.