Intellectual poverty and ineptness of Iran's "reformists"
Don't be fooled by naive and politically correct reporting on Iran from the West. The so called "moderates" include murderers and paedophiles. The media should be ashamed of itself
The statement below was made by Sadeq Ziba-Kalam, an English educated Iranian academic and prominent “reformist” political analyst in Iran, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, published on 26th February, 2016.
“I agree Reyshahri has killed a lot of people. He has no democratic background, but he is also not against democracy and freedom. And also, what other options do we have?”
Perhaps just quoting that above statement is enough for the penny to drop for the more astute followers of Iranian current affairs to comprehend the intellectual poverty and ineptness of Iran's so-called reformists. But, allow me to shed some more light in this article.
The cleric, Reyshahri, whom Ziba-kalam is referring to in the above statement, was on the reformists' recommended list of candidates for the Assembly of Experts elections in Iran, which were held last Friday.
Reyshahri has the revolutionary credentials of being a former chief judge of the Military Revolutionary Tribunal, which tried political dissidents and sentenced thousands to death in the 1980s, but there is a lot more to this so-called neo-reformist candidate that's worth knowing.
Reyshahri married a 9 year old girl while in his twenties. This vile act is no state secret. He proudly writes about his marriage to the 9 year old daughter of a fellow Shia cleric and a former head of the Assembly of Experts, Ayatollah Meshkini, in his own memoires.
“I asked my mother and my aunt to go to Qom and ask her parents to marry their daughter to me. They went and saw her and liked her and wrote back to me 'she is very nice but very young' – she was 9 yeas old at the time”. (From Reyshahri's memoires, published by Islamic Revolution Documentation Centre, 2004.)
If a political party or movement anywhere else in the world, chose to have a paedophile executioner as one of their election candidates, would any sane person refer to them as “moderates” or “reformists”?
Another person on the list of the so-called reformist candidates in Iran's recent 'elections' was Dori-Najaf Abadi. A former minister of intelligence in the Islamic Republic of Iran, who was implicated in the extra judicial murder of dissidents, intellectuals and true reformists in the late 90s.
Iran's present day "reformists", however, have an incredible talent for reinventing and regurgitating former criminals and paedophiles as "reformist candidates". The foreign media, never researches the track records of these "moderate" or "reformist" candidates. Iranians often refer to the image of preserving these characters in a pickle jar.
They are preserved in a pickle jar and lie dormant until memories fade and they are needed again to be re-packaged into whatever is required and fashionable at the time. This re-invention is usually followed by claims that "the reformists have won the elections", but in reality their only victory worth mentioning is hijacking the word “reformist”.
To most readers in the West, the word reformist, may conjure up an image of political reform movements in the past like the women's suffragates, the US civil rights movement, or Poland's Solidarity, but unlike these examples Iran's reformists are not engaged in organising any campaigns of civil disobedience, strikes or protests in order to bring about change or gain concessions.
Instead, their main hub of activity is to show up during the elections in Iran and somehow find a way to justify and encourage massive participation in elections that give the regime its legitimacy. They are, if anything, a force for maintaining the status quo, not a force to bring about change in Iran.
There are two other fronts however that the Iranian reformists actively pursue: infiltration into the media, both the Persian speaking media, like the BBC Persian service and also the English speaking media; as well as grabbing all the funding and grants that the Western governments and institutions are providing for the creation of civil society in Iran.
Usually, the funds end up being spent on nothing other than a few pretty websites and sustained campaigns against Iranians who expose the facts about Iran's fake opposition.
This time round, despite massive disqualification of candidates by the Guardian Council, unprecedented even by the Islamic Republic's own standards, which included the disqualification of Hasan Khomeini, the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, once again the reformists scraped the bottom of the barrel to find a way of justifying participation in these most un-democratic elections.
The justification was as Ziba-Kalam told the Guardian, “what other options do we have?”. The flip side of not taking part in the elections was presented to the people in Iran as, “Do you want Iran to become another Syria or Libya?”.
If understanding the charade of Islamic Republic elections and democracy is difficult for Westerners to grasp, perhaps the concise and simple way in which Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi Hashemi, described it to Bijan Farhoodi, an Iranian reporter in London, will make it easier:
“It is these very factional infightings that has upheld the regime, because others see this factional infighting as democracy! They are not superficial disputes, they are real. Within our own circles we do have a democracy. It's only a dictatorship outside our own elite circles. Khamenei even encourages these disputes.
"But the elite know how far they can go. In other words, the establishment's elite have all accepted the rules of the game”.
(The off the record conversation was recorded in London on 20th August, 2014, before Mehdi Hashemi returned to Iran and was arrested for financial embezzlement i.e. not sharing his gains with the other members of the elite.)
Last Friday, we experienced yet another "election" in the Islamic Republic. Once again, the master craftsman of politics, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, orchestrated another masquerade, to give the regime its legitimacy, and with the help of Iran's so-called reformists and their media platforms, he managed to induce around 60 percent of the eligible voters to participitate in the process.
As usual, the Iranian reformists have claimed victory and the media have mostly re-duplicated their claim, and also as usual nothing will really change in Iran.
The Islamic Republic will triumphantly go from strength to strength until one day enough people wake up, if they ever do.
Potkin Azarmehr left Iran for the UK after the “Cultural Revolution”. He is currently a contributor to several newspapers and Television stations on Iran related news and also writes and produces a number of TV programs
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