GVF — In a strongly worded private letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s most senior political figure Ahmad Sadr Haj-Seyed Javadi called for an end to the house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hosseib Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, as well as the impeachment of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for misconduct as president.
Despite writing the critical letter close to seven months ago, it was only published on Iranian opposition websites on Friday.
In his twentieth open letter to Khamenei, dissident author and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad urged the leader to step down “for his own good” and to avoid the fate of other regional dictators Bashar Assad and Muammar Gaddafi. “But we have little time left.” Khamenei should also apologise to the people as a means of restoring stability to the country and saving it from the current “destructive crisis.”
Nourizad’s candid scrutiny of the dire social, political and cultural problems in the country has drawn widespread attention. His pubic critiques of the ruling elite have also earned him imprisonment, beatings at the hands of security agents, as well as solitary confinement. Yet he continued to write to the leader even after his release.
Nourizad has also invited sixteen other prominent Iranian figures to bombard Khamenei with critical letters. His calls were followed by the former head of the Revolutionary Guards’ navy who, in a note in the Ettelaat newspaper, compared the leader to the Shah of Iran.
Meanwhile, in an interview published on Friday, former reformist president Mohammad Khatami said that “governance belongs to the people and no state or power can maintain legitimacy without relying on the people’s vote. People can hold their leaders accountable and replace the holders of power without resorting to force.”
“[The notion of] giving sanctity to individuals or thoughts [of individuals] who are not divine or absolute and are bounded by time and space, to the extent that even protesting against them is considered to be an offence or crime, … inflicts a heavy price [on the country].”
Ahmad Sadr Haj-Seyed Javadi’s newly released letter began with a quote striking a similar set of ideas. From Imam Ali’s famous epistle to Malik Al-Ashtar, the appointed governor of Egypt, it reads as follows: “Keep close to you the upright, and the God fearing, and make clear to them that they are never to flatter you and never to give you credit for any good that you may not have done: for, the tolerance of flattery and unhealthy praise stimulates pride in man makes him arrogant.”
The 94-year-old’s letter, signed 18 May 2011, calls on Khamenei to order the release of “all political prisoners, in particular ending the house arrest” of opposition figures Mr Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi, and “national reconciliation” in order to pave the way for “order and peace” to be restored the country. Haj-Seyed Javadi also called for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be tried in a court of law and to be impeached for political misdemeanour.
Haj-Seyed Javadi, who is also a founding member of the outlawed Freedom Movement of Iran, holds PhDs in political sciences and law. Prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he defended many opposition figures including Khamenei and the late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri in the Shah’s courts. He was also a member of the Revolutionary Council and was later elected as a lawmaker in Iran’s first post-revolution parliament (Majlis).
The ailing dissident, who has served jail terms both before and after the revolution, described the Revolutionary Courts as “illegal,” adding that it is the Supreme Court which should handle their cases. The letter also explains that following threats issued by the Intelligence Ministry against his daughter and grandchild, Haj-Seyed Javadi decided to temporarily remain silent in the face of the regime’s ongoing oppressions.
The veteran activist described the “unbearable” pressures upon the people “especially political activists and their families and said that he expected Khamenei to “make use of your position and the capabilities you still attain to resolve the hardships and concerns [of the people] by taking urgent and effective action.”
He goes on to add: “Your Excellency has repeatedly backed the head of government, Mr Ahmadinejad, while in my view, he is at the core of the crisis in Iranian society and the international stage and has made claims that have produced no achievements for the nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and even the leadership and the position of Velayate Faghih [Guardianship of the Jurisprudence]. The substandard language that presides over the executive branch is no secret in need of abundant explanations. Whether it be on the domestic front or on the international stage, the head of government, has done nothing more than to devastate the material and intellectual achievements of the Islamic Revolution and digress from the ideals and norms within the constitution, and on the international stage, it has acted as a focal point of crises.”
“Have you ever wondered what results nearly six years of Ahmadinejad’s management has produced besides casting doubt on the accomplishments of the years before his rise to power, widespread and continuing violation of human rights, defying the values of the revolution and the constitution of the Islamic Republic, eliminating allies and somewhat able government officials, destroying the infrastructure of the nation’s economy, reducing the country’s industry to ruins and commerce based upon boundless imports?” Haj-Seyed Javadi asked.
“Does his Excellency not see it as his responsibility to take effective steps to reduce the irreversible harm that’s being done?”
In his letter, Haj-Seyed Javadi also discussed the captivity of Green Movement leaders Mousavi and Karroubi, who were placed under an illegal house arrest in mid-February 2011 after they called for demonstrations in solidarity with the Arab Spring.
“How can the blatant removal of the revolution’s companions and their fictitious and insulting labelling as ‘the leaders of sedition’ be justified as strengthening the [political] establishment and the ideals of the Islamic Revolution
“Sedition” is a term commonly used by Iran’s hard-line elite to refer to the opposition Green Movement.
“Does His Excellency … not see it as his duty to seize the remaining opportunity to make a change and reform [in the country]?” he asked.
He argued that despite Ahmadinejad’s deceitful claims of commitment and devotion to the principle of Velayat Faghih, he and his followers had not only mismanaged the economy, but had also tarnished the leader’s position. “This group’s performance clearly demonstrates that their goal is nothing but to breach the constitution, and to even remove the position [of Velayat Faghih] and to establish an ideological junta based on a superstitious and bogus interpretation of Islam.”
“Have you never wondered what the outcome of the conduct of these subservient executives and advisers in the years of your leadership has been? Have you ever thought about the motive of flatterers in using labels such as ‘Imam Khamenei’ [when referring to you]? Is this not a big lie that weakens the foundations of rule? Or is it not [just] a tool at the hands of autocrats who rely on it to attain personal interests?”
The letter also criticised the Iranian judiciary’s lack of independence from the military and intelligence bodies and held Khamenei responsible for its misconduct. “Therefore you are expected to take a substantial step and to order the dismantling of the Revolutionary Court, and to facilitate the questioning and impeachment of the government,” he continued.
Haj-Seyed Javadi also criticised the hasty implementation of the Ahmadinejad administration’s controversial subsidy cut plan launched in November 2010. He maintained that the plan had been carried out without the monitoring of supervisory bodies and had actually weakened the most vulnerable sectors of Iranian society, something that would have “painful” consequences for the Islamic republic.
“The crucial question here is ‘for what purpose do Ahmadinejad, his followers and supporters seek all these financial resources?’ Based on a report by the Supreme Court of Audit, the government’s deviation from budget regulations amounts to 85 percent. In a situation where the government sees no need to conform to any of the budget regulations, can a 46 percent rise in [the Iranian new year] mean anything but the governments unrivalled control over vast national resources? Can this be categorised as anything other than ‘corruption on earth’?”
The absence of any control over the government’s conduct meant that Iran’s record-high oil revenues in the past few years “have found their way directly into the pockets” of Ahmadinejad and his allies, he insisted.
Ahmadinejead has “no fear” of presenting the public with “false and untruthful statistics” and being held accountable for it, Seyed-Javadi continued, something he said had caused outrage even among the more conservative members of parliament. “The zero rate of economic growth at a time when oil is being sold at a $100 per barrel, the halt to the activities of financial and industrial sectors, the rise in unemployment in the past two years, the lack of transparency in with regards to the [details of] the Special Reserve Fund and tens of other reasons and signs constitute strong evidence that illustrate the managerial and moral incompetence of the … government and its president in running [the country’s] affairs.”
“Really, where do Mr Ahmadinejad and his followers get their orders from?” he asked.
The politician writes that Ahmadinejad’s government has given rise to anti-Islamic sentiments amongst the youth in the country. In addition, “on the international … the firm response of the people and political leaders of Egypt and Tunisia was an insistence on the notion that they do not wish, under any condition, to establish a state government similar to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
As protesters flooded the streets of Cairo in early 2011, Khamenei quickly seized the opportunity to exploit the Egyptian uprising by saying that the wave of Arab revolts had been an “earthquake” triggered by the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood quickly rejected the comments, stating that it regarded “the revolution as the Egyptian People’s Revolution not an Islamic Revolution.”
“I’d like to remind you that a while ago, a high-ranking Hamas official stated clearly that their desired model for statehood was Turkey and not Iran,” Seyed-Javadi noted.
He suggested that the Ahmadinejad clan were aiming to escape from their share of responsibility in cracking down on protesters following the rigged presidential election of June 2009 and to present Khamenei as the sole blameworthy official for all that has taken place in the past thirty years including the consequences of Ahmadinejad’s presidency.
He warned that current trend in the country had endangered Iran’s territorial integrity and unity, while discrediting the slogans of the Islamic Revolution.
“I seriously believe that since the Mongol invasion [of Iran], no such threat has been directed against Iran and Islam,” he added, noting that the dangerous trend would only serve the interests of the Zionist enterprise and radical Jewish organisations.
In an earlier letter to Khamenei, the daughter-in-law of late Grand Ayatollah Montazeri blasted Khamenei over Mousavi’s house arrested. Zahra Rabbani Amlashi explained Mousavi’s daughters were “deeply and gravely” concerned about their mother’s state of health in captivity.
Following there last short visit to their parents, Mousavi’s daughters reportedly noticed their Zahra Rahnavard’s health seemed to have deteriorated and her weight had dropped “severely and unusually for no reason.” “For whatever reason, there are disputes between you and him [Mousavi]. Is it right for you to treat him and his family in such fashion?” Amlashi asked Khamenei.
Since the start of their arbitrary detention, the 2009 presidential candidates have not yet been granted a fair trial. Rights groups say their continued captivity and maltreatment is inconsistent not only with human rights provisions but also with Iran’s own constitution.
During a brief encounter with his daughter during the holy month of Ramadan, Mousavi reportedly told his daughters, “If you want to know about my situation in captivity, read Gabriel García Márquez’s News of a Kidnapping.” “Under status quo, one can’t be hopeful about the upcoming [parliamentary] elections and taking part in them,” Mousavi told his daughters, promising that “the future is bright.”
Iranian authorities further isolated the opposition couple from the outside world after the comments found their way onto opposition websites and queues were formed in some bookshops after the book became a rare commodity in a matter of days.