Tag Archives: Iran reformers

Open Defiance Toward Ayatollah Khamenei

For the first time in the history of the Iranian cleric government a prominent cleric called for the ouster of Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.A group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to the Assembly of Experts to investigate the qualifications of Khamenei as to whether he still remains qualified to be in charge of Iran. The letter breaks a taboo among Iran’s political leaders of avoiding any criticism or challenge to the rule of Khamenei. The letter terms current trials a “Stalinesque court” and claims those arrested were tortured and abused by jailers. The former lawmakers “demand a legal probe on the basis of Article 111 of the Constitution which is a responsibility of the Experts Assembly. It noted that if the supreme leader “becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties” he should be dismissed.

Reports from reformer members of parliament charge while young men and women were in jail they were raped and forced to crawl while naked on the floor while being ridden by jailers. Naturally, those in power are gathering together to deny charges and there are rumblings of new arrests of clerics who oppose Khamenei and election results. All signs indicate the current leadership will win a first round and refuse to allow any investigations, but the entire episode has created a huge gap between educated youth and rulers of the nation.

Ahmadinejad Supporters Win Parliamentary Elections

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supporters apparently have gained an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections. Reformist parties opposed to the president stood scant chance of winnng sinc the Guardian Council, which approves all candidates, wiped off the ballot at least 200 reformists. Reform opponents of Ahmadenijad were only able to run candidates in about 60 of the 290 electoral districts. The Interior Minister, Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, said 71% of votes went to conservative factions and 29% went to “other groups,” and we all know who that means. Abot 60% of voters turned out which conservatives hailed as a dramatic challenge to America which has been attacking Ahmadinejad.

The cnservatives are split, one faction is upset at the inept economic performance of Ahmadinejad whose handling of the nation’s economy has resulted in an 18% inflation rate and high unemployment. Ahmadinejad has been able to use Western rhetoric, particularly statements by President Bush, to cast himself as a defender of Iran against foreign elements which seek to overthrow the government.

The best way for the United States to help reform groups in Iran is to lower the threat rhetoric and emphasize the need for disscusions and peace with Iran.