Two months after the house arrest of the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, along with their wives, ayatollah Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) spoke of the futility of confronting the leaders of the Green Movement.
Speaking at a seminar on the IRGC in Mashhad, ayatollah Khamenei’s representative Ali Saeedi mentioned the condolence messages that were sent by individuals and groups to Mousavi for the death of his father and confirmed the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders. “The manner in which the leaders of the sedition have been confronted and their house arrests are the best ways of dealing with them. Unfortunately Messrs. Saneie and Mousavi Ardebili, and others sent (condolence) messages (to Mousavi),” he said. Sedition is the term Iran’s ruling regime uses for the massive protests that erupted following the announcement of the 2009 presidential election in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Saeedi also criticized Hashemi Rafsanjani by name for sending a condolence message to Mousavi. “This is a very troublesome. Even though the leader had tried hard to separate Mr. Hashemi (Rafsanjani) from that event (the Green Movement protests), we still see that Mr. Hashemi sent a message to the head of the sedition, i.e., Mr. Mousavi and used such words as serving (the people). So it is not clear what thoughts Mr. Hashemi has,” he said.
Saeedi had some cautionary words for those devising the policy towards the Green Movement. “Today, conditions are not right for confronting the leaders of the sedition. The problem is that some individuals continue to support them and issue statements. The leaders of the sedition must be dealt with thoughtfully as a way to avoid more complicated problems, while also paying attention to the conditions in society,” he said.
Speaking to Revolutionary Guards, Saeedi also spoke the problems the current administration faced and said, “In view of the direction the government was moving, it was best not to challenge or oppose it as other groups will take advantage of this.”
Saeedi also criticized Mohammad Khatami’s administration and said that at that time the supreme leader spent all his time preventing the “derailment” of policies that were taking place.
Leaders of the “Sedition” have a public base
Saeedi’s remarks about the absence of the right conditions for the trial of Mousavi and Karoubi are not new. Earlier in March 2010 when a number of hardline individuals inside the regime had called for the prosecution of Mousavi and Karoubi, while others had called for a tougher approach towards them, Saeedi opposed this and said that the leaders enjoyed public support.
Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative in the IRGC further said, “Two obstacles have existed for confronting the seditionists: first, people have not understood the nature of the seditionists. In any case, before and after the 2009 election there were people who supported them. Time is needed to make them aware of the situation, and today public opinion is completely befitting.” The second reason that Saeedi had mentioned was that some groups and individuals, whom he called discreet individuals, would launch actions in support of the Green Movement leaders after they would have been arrested. He said the media would then focus world attention on this, something that he said they did not want to happen.
Prior to Saeedi, Mojtaba Zolghadr, his deputy at the IRGC had a different view of the leaders of the Green Movement. Speaking at a seminar in Qom, he said that Mousavi and Karoubi were so unpopular that they do not dare leave their houses.
Support of the Green Movement Through Condolence Messages
The death of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s father brought forth condolence messages from groups and individuals across the country at a time when Mousavi and Karoubi were both under house arrest. These condolence messages have been widely interpreted to be messages of support for the two leaders. A good number of senior ayatollahs such as Mousavi Ardebili, Bayat Zanjani, Dastgheib, the household of ayatollah Montazeri’, Taleghani, Beheshti, and a number of senior former administration officials such as Mohammad Khatami, Hashemi Rafsanjani, Abdollah Nouri, seyed Hadi Khamenei (the brother of the current leader of the Islamic regime), seyed Hassan Khomeini (grandson of the founder of the Islamic republic), seyed Hossein Marashi, a number of former cabinet ministers, former Majlis deputies, a number of groups such as Majmae Rohaniyun Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics), Islamic Iran Participation Party, Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, Teachers and Scholars of the Qom Theological Seminary, the largest student alumni organization (Advare Tahkim Vahdat), and others sent condolence messages to Mousavi.
But the message that made headlines and was attacked the most was that of Rafsanjani. In his message, Rafsanjani called Mir-Hossein Mousavi a “serving” son of the late Mousavi, and wrote that the former prime minister had done great service to Islam, the revolution and Iran, words that had brought sharp criticism from pro government personalities. One of them was Yadollah Javani, the head of the political bureau of the IRGC who directly criticized Rafsanjani for praising Mousavi, who he said was in line with the enemies of the Islamic revolution.