Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mousavi labelled 'US agent' as Iran charges UK official

The stakes in Iran have just been nudged up several degrees with a powerful regime hardliner labelling Mousavi, "an American agent" and demanding that he stand trial for the "terrible crimes" which he is said to have committed.

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the influential Kayhan newspaper, said Mousavi had committed "terrible crimes", including "murdering innocent people, holding riots, co-operating with foreigners and acting as America's fifth column", in pursuing his claims that last month's re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was rigged.

The accusations - in a newspaper editorial - were the most ferocious yet from regime insiders and may serve notice that preparations are under way to arrest Mousavi and his main allies. Several hundred known reformists and pro-Mousavi supporters have already been detained since the election. The editorial also singled out the reformist former president, Mohammad Khatami, who last week compared Ahmadinejad's re-election to a coup.

"An open court, in front of the people's eyes, must deal with the all the terrible crimes and clear betrayal committed by the main elements behind the recent unrest, including Mousavi and Khatami," Shariatmadari wrote. "Documents and undeniable evidence show that this mission was directed from the outside. All they did and said was in line with the instructions announced by American officials in the past."

It's the clearest indication yet that the current regime see the democratic process as some form of coup and that, as happens when coups fail all over the world, the people who attempt the coup must be made an example of so that others know never to attempt to follow what they have done.

Shariatmadari is a known confidante of the supreme leader and has been referred to as "the aggressive public face" of Khamenei, so it's fair to say that he is not saying this off of his own back, and that the message that he is carrying has, at the very least, Khamenei's blessing.

While street protests have subsided following heavy deployment of security forces, Mousavi has continued to question the election and has urged his supporters not to lose heart. Last week he openly described Ahmadinejad's government as "illegitimate" and vowed that protests would carry on.

"A majority of the people, including me, do not accept (the government's) political legitimacy," he said on his website. "It is our historical responsibility to continue our protests and not to abandon our efforts to preserve the nation's rights. A ruling system that relied on people's trust for 30 years cannot replace this with security forces overnight."

With the street protests subdued, it sounds to me like Khamenei is about to put this matter to bed once and for all.

As I've said a million times before, his legitimacy has gone, but he will now maintain his power through the apparatus of the state. He will kill or imprison anyone who opposes him. And, by doing so, he will restore what looks like order.

To this end Khamenei has charged an Iranian employee at the British embassy:
One of the detained, Hossein Rassam, 44, the embassy's chief political analyst, has been charged with "acting against national security", a catch-all accusation often levelled against political activists. His lawyer, Abdolsamad Khorramshahi, has said he expects him to stand trial. On Friday the EU summoned all Iranian ambassadors to its 27 member states to receive formal protests over the threat to try the employees.
It's getting to the stage where Khamenei doesn't even care how ridiculous this looks, he's simply striking out at anyone who opposes him and sticking to the script that there is no protest other than the one's arranged by American and British influence.

Which, of course, creates a self fulfilling prophesy. Because Britain and the US can't ignore what Khamenei is doing and he will use any reaction they have as "proof" that they were behind the entire affair.

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