Sunday, March 26, 2006

Khatami Accused of Treason

Hossein Bastani, Rooz Online:
According to our sources in Tehran, in his recent meeting with senior officials from the ministry of Intelligence, President Ahmadinejad accused former president Khatami of treason. Do the frequent travels of these people to Europe with public funds, and their provision of information to them not constitute spying,” he asked his audience. READ MORE

Observers say that Ahmadinejad’s reference is to Khatami’s most recent trip to Germany. On that trip, Khatami met with a senior member of the newly-ellected German chancellor Merkel who asked him about the change in Iran’s nuclear policy. Khatami is reported to have told Merkel that Iran’s strategic and long term policies had not changed, and that Iran continued to pursue the acquisition of peaceful nuclear energy technology. What is strange is that Ahmadinejad views Khatami’s description of Iran’s long term policy to be treason and providing foreigners with information.

It is instructive that Ahmadinejad interprets such events in these lights. Soon after he announced his security sensitivities and concerns at the intelligence ministry, the chairman of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani announced the agreement of the regime to talk to the US over Iraq. An agreement that immediately led to US “conditions” for the talks, which was none other than Iran’s non-interference in Iraq’s affairs. The only meaning this brings to the talks is that Iran help the US in its efforts to calm things in Iraq. In other words, sooner than later, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s security apparatus would be expected to cooperate with the US security and military forces to control Iraq’s armed fighters.

So it appears that the “non-compromising” members of Ahmadinejad’s team will have a hard time in the coming days. It is still possible that the pressures coming from extreme hardline politicians and forces inside the regime would force the ruling conservatists to abandon their decision to hold talks with the US.

Whatever the outcome, it appears that the intelligence apparatus of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government will soon have to cooperate with US security and military officials over Iraq.

So it would be better if the president did not waste the time of his security personnel chasing allegations against the former president. Because these individuals will soon have a more important task to perform regarding “foreign enemies” of the Islamic Republic.

Hossein Bastani is the former secretary general of Iran’s Association of Journalists who now lives in exile