Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Steps Against Khatami's Men

Rooz Online:
At a gathering of Basij forces (Iran’s militia) in Yazd, a senior Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps commander revealed plans to detain and extract fake confessions from reformers and even spoke of seven former employees of president Khatami’s staff who he claimed had committed espionage against the state. Mohammad Ali Zarezadeh, a hardline Passdaran commander with a known track of harsh opposition to reforms and even Hashemi Rafsanjani made these assertions during his Friday prayer talk, according to Aftab-e Yazd news agency. READ MORE

The arrest does not come as a complete surprise as a few weeks ago a newspaper close to radical president Ahmadinejad had written about the arrest of a number of former presidential staffers but the news was later denied. Pro-government publications and news services have published reports about the president's orders to review criminal activity and violations related to assertions made by newspapers or individuals none of which have been confirmed. Analysts attribute these activities to the psychological and political war that has been launched by radical circles close to the president.

In his talk, Zarezadeh claims that Ataollah Mohajerani, the former Minister of Culture during Khatami’s reformist administration, had made remarks in which he had equated Ahmadinejad with Sharon and Bush. Using very harsh and accusatory words, the Passdaran commander has accused Khatami's close allies and former aides such as Mohajerani of treason and being an escapee. He also accused the whole administration of Khatami of destroying the values of the Iranian youth during its days in power.

In the Aftab-e Yazd report, (led by former president Khatami) Zarezadeh claims that because the reformists had suffered defeats in the City Council elections, in the Majlis (Iranian parliament), and finally in the presidential race, they were now focusing on the forthcoming Experts Assembly (which select the leader of the state and oversee his performance and credentials) elections. One of their ploys, according to Zarezadeh, was to announce women candidates to the Assembly, knowing that the Guardians Council that supervises all elections in the country will disqualify them, thus giving the reformers ammunition to launch their propaganda against the established political institutions. Another initiative the reformers plan to announce, according to Zarezadeh, is their secret request from the UN to supervise elections in Iran, similar to those that have been held in Afghanistan and Iraq. The third idea of the reformers is to deliberately nominate candidates to the Assembly elections which will definitely be rejected by the Guardians Council, again enabling the reformers to use the event and point fingers of blame on those in power, the commander asserted.

Political observers believe that such comments by a military commander who is known to be the organizer of disguised gang-groups in Yazd and other cities who crackdown on protesting or opposition figures, are a clear indication of what is soon going to happen on the Iranian political terrain.
It appears the "reformists" movement leaders are headed for dangerous times in Iran.