Mr. Mohajerani goes to Washington

Former Minister of Islamic Guidance calls for impeachment of Ahmadinejad and Khamenei


Mr. Mohajerani goes to Washington
by Tara Mahtafar

Ataollah Mohajerani's political career began in 1980 when he entered the Islamic Republic's first Majlis as a representative from Shiraz as its youngest member. He served as the deputy for parliamentary affairs under Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and later under President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Mohajerani is best known for his tenure as Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance during Mohammad Khatami's reform-minded presidency. His official policy of "leniency" ushered in Iran's cultural renaissance in 1997, which initially saw an explosion of free press and arts in the country. His liberal policies won him many enemies; he survived an impeachment by the conservative-dominated 5th Majlis, but eventually sent a 50-page letter of resignation to Ayatollah Khamenei and stepped down in April 2000.

Mohajerani currently lives in London with his wife Dr. Jamileh Kadivar, a former parliamentarian, and maintains a personal weblog at

In Iran's 2009 presidential election, the ex-Ershad chief backed Reformist candidate Mehdi Karroubi. He is now a vocal supporter of the pro-democracy Green Movement, a cause he promoted this week at a high-profile conference at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a conservative DC-based think tank.

Dr. Ataollah Mohajerani ('Ata' to intimates), a famously polished speaker, thwarted impeachment when serving as Mohammad Khatami's Culture Minister by virtue of an eloquent defense to Majlis. His talk on "The Future of the Green Movement" to a packed audience of Iranian diaspora Monday night at Montgomery College in Virginia, true to form, was laced with philosophic references and poetry.

Yet Mohajerani did not mince words when it came to the nuts-and-bolts questions facing the opposition movement in Iran's ongoing internal crisis.

He began by cautioning against haste and expectations for fast results. "The Green Movement is an opportunity for the Iranian people to define themselves on their own terms. The process requires time -- it's not a sprint, but a marathon."

He warned that any act toward radicalization would spell "the death of the Green Movement," and stressed the need to preserve its non-violent nature. "The age of armed resistance is passé, unless you're al-Qaeda," he said. "If we answer violence with violence, we are no different from them [the government]."

The veteran Reformist named Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Mohammad Khatami as the political leaders at the helm of the movement. He said that while a multitude of demands had escalated after June's fraudulent election, the original goal of the post-election protests is the "national" banner under which the movement should unite, in order to avoid becoming divided and ineffective. "We must move together in an organized and cohesive manner, just as birds trapped in a net will be able to lift off only when they all fly in one direction."

He next expounded on this 'original goal' of the Green Movement, adding that a 'second goal' had emerged in the wake of the government's brutal response to protests.

The foremost demand, Mohajerani said, centers on the signature question "Where is my vote?" -- a phrase "coined by the country's youth" to "denounce the [Ahmadinejad] government as illegitimate."

"Those who orchestrated the vote fraud imagined that society would show no reaction if faced with a fait accompli. But in fact, they are now unable to manage the country."

The former parliament deputy went on to say that Majlis, the Iranian parliament, can help end the country's political deadlock by voting to impeach Ahmadinejad on grounds of being unfit to head an administration [adam-e kefayat] and lack of legitimacy [adam-e mashruiyat].

He added that the Iranian public must keep up efforts of staging anti-government protests on calendar occasions, as has been the trend thus far. He also encouraged artists not to attend award ceremonies, as a way of refusing to recognize the government.

But the Green Movement doesn't stop at Ahmadinejad, Mohajerani told his audience. In light of the state-sponsored violence, jailing, detainee torture, and show trials that met protesters who were exercising their "constitutional right to free assembly," the top authority in charge of the country must also be impeached.

"The Leader is responsible for these events. This word comes from "responding" to questions. He must answer to what has happened in Iran. Just as he ordered the closure of Kahrizak [detention center], he could have stopped these other terrible incidents."

"The Assembly of Experts has a duty to weigh in on the role of the Supreme Leader and hold him accountable. If it fails to do so, the Experts will have deviated from their primary function."

Although Mousavi and others opposition leaders had previously hinted in various statements at the involvement of the man at the top of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the so-termed 'electoral coup,' they had never directly called for his removal (to do so, while living in Iran, would be tantamount to suicide). Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, Iran's top Shia theologian, issued a fatwa declaring Khamenei's rule as Supreme Leader illegitimate.

Mohajerani pointed out that both these demands -- the impeachment of Ahmadinejad by Majlis and Khamenei by the Assembly of Experts -- are "within the framework of the constitution."

The former Culture Minister ended his speech by emphasizing that the Green Movement is a "national and independent" movement that does not need "support" from the United States or other external forces.

It was interesting to watch a former Islamic Republic official, who still looked and sounded like one, addressing a roomful of Iranians -- the women were hejab-less and the men in ties -- on a visit to the capital of the United States (to speak at the Washington Institute, no less).

First published in Frontline/Tehran Bureau.


Reza-Rio de Janeiro

True Iranians...

by Reza-Rio de Janeiro on

Free Iran and True Iranians by getting back to your own roots nation! Roots that takes us back to our own Iranianness.

As for all those Non-Iranians still occupying Iran and/or advertising for them abroad! Listen up, We will not Kill or Hurt you (unlike you!) We are better than that... When the day comes, those of you who killed our innocent and unarmed people will be sentenced to maximum human law in our Motherland. And those who just supported and apologized for them (from day one of I.R.) You can still join and live among and with us only if you repent for your past terrible mistakes against humanity and go through some seriousre-hab! Later, you must pass a test and prove that you are living for Iran, Iranians and true humanity once again with true good intentions, words and deeds, Otherwise, you are free to live in exile...

Love and Peace 

Mola Nasredeen

He can't be dismissed,

by Mola Nasredeen on

This is what he believes:

"The Green Movement is an opportunity for the Iranian people to define themselves on their own terms. The process requires time -- it's not a sprint, but a marathon."

Another words don't expect Americans/British or the so called "Royal Family" to come to Iranian people's rescue. It is what it is.


Dearest Ostaad

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Stick to your janitorial are a wee bit too, how do you say, unqualified to be the posting sheriff.

Happy mopping! 


Faramarz, you shouldn't talk/post with...

by Ostaad on

your mouth full, homie.


"Dearest" Ostaad

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Be ghole Irooni ha, dige poopooye mano gherghereh nakon.

Come up with your own original one liner.  If you can't do it on your own, get some help from your Malijak bretheren and sisters on here.





Faramarz Fateh

by Ostaad on

I'm sure my loved ones will be more than happy to feed you and your loved ones nutritious material once they are done eating, although I don't think characters who live under rocks have loved ones.

Happy eating!


"Dearest" Ostaad

by Faramarz_Fateh on

You have asked "may I ask which group your opinions belong to? I think I know the anwer, but had to ask just to make sure." 
The answer is NO.  You may not.

If you don't have the cognitive faculties to understand the blog, you won't understand my response either.

Then you have wished me "Bon appetit, homie!"   Thank you!  I'll be sure to share every drop with you and your loved ones.  

BTW, I am surprised you didn't make this about Israel.

Now go grab the mop and continue working or you may get fired. 


Bijan, I hope you get an answer to your valid questions from...

by Ostaad on

"the man" himself.

As far as I am concerned the very first step to "reform" MUST be abolishing the Velaayat-e Fagheeh followed by the Showraa, period.

That said, I am not sure whether you are deliberately overlooking the fact that Mr. Mohajerani, and the other personalities you mentioned,  are politicians with long careers in very high echelons of the very regime that they have "grown" to dislike. Therefore it is quite understandable, even customary, for politicians EVERYWHERE to highlight what they are against, and to avoid talking about what they are for. I really don't find the practice "deceitful", only buyer beware.

Problem solved, kinda. 


Faramarz, excuse my ignorace but...

by Ostaad on

may I ask which group your opinions belong to? I think I know the anwer, but had to ask just to make sure.

Bon appetit, homie!


هشت سال سر پیچ ایستاد - درمورد خاتمی


Mola Nasredeen

"Diagnosis Negative!"

by Mola Nasredeen on

Said Hazrate shotor.





"I got it Hajagha" said I.

Farah Rusta

"A man with a lot of wisdom ..."!!

by Farah Rusta on

"A  man with a lot of wisdom said more than 50 years ago that religion
must be seperated from the state.  He knew that if the two got mixed it
would be disastrous.  "

And yet the same "wise" man forged an ill-fated alliance with the most extremist of  the clergy and 25 years later the followers of the same wise man kissed the hand of the successor to the same clergy, the most backward of them all, and forged another ill-fated alliance with him, until the clergy kicked them out.

When do these "wise" people wise up?




Fariba Amini

I am not sure how much we

by Fariba Amini on

I am not sure how much we can trust those who said nothing and did nothing while crimes were being committed.  Mr. Mohajerani can be forgiven but a lot of others should be forgiven too, from high to low. the point is there is no more khodi va gheyr khodi, a term these aghayan created.  Iran is now at a crossroads and there is no turning back.

There can be no Islamic democracy. Period.

A  man with a lot of wisdom said more than 50 years ago that religion must be seperated from the state.  He knew that if the two got mixed it would be disastrous.  We are seeing the results today. 

it might not be a bad idea for Mohajerani and alike to sit at home and refelct on their previous actions or non-actions.  and ask for forgiveness to the gheyr khodis and to the people of Iran. 

 At least, he did admit that the killings in Evin took place...  better late than never.  though it took him 30 years!


Mola Nasredeen

He warned that

by Mola Nasredeen on

1. any act toward radicalization would spell  "the death of the Green Movement,"

2. and stressed the need to preserve its non-violent nature. "The age of armed resistance is passé, unless you're al-Qaeda," he said.

3. "If we answer violence with violence, we are no different from them [the government]."

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

منوچهر جان...


بسیار سپاسگزارم که در رابطه با ایشان،این اطلاعات را به بنده دادید.لطف فراوان کردید.


مجددا سپاسگزارم.


Manoucher Avaznia

شراب سرخ عزیز

Manoucher Avaznia

این نوشته برای روشن شدن اندکی از حقیقت است و نه دفاع از این سید.  سید عطالله مهاجرانی شیرازی فارغ التحصیل دورۀ لیسانس از دانشگاه پهلوی شیراز است.  البته شما می دانید که زبان دوران تحصیل در دانشگاه پهلوی انگلیسی بود چون  خود دانشگاه شعبه ای از دانشگاه پنسیلوانیا امریکا تلقی می شد.  کسی که از دانشگاه پهلوی لیسانس می گرفت بی هیچ مانعی می توانست در دانشگاههای امریکایی در مقاطع بالاتر ادامه تحصیل دهد.  بنابراین داستان فرنگی گویی ایشان قابل فهم هست.  ولی،


درسال 1359 چند روزی پس از کودتای فرهنگی، که در دانشکده ادبیات دانشگاه شیراز منجر به زد و خورد و دخالت پاسداران شد و دختری دانش آموز بنام نسرین رستمی تیرخورد و چند وقت پس از آن در بیمارستان درگذشت، آقای مهاجرانی که آن وقت دانشجوی فوق لیسانس تاریخ در دانشگاه اصفهان بود در سالن آل احمد دلنشگاه شیراز به همراه اعضای ستاد و سازمان دانشجویان مسلمان هواداران دولت؛ سیف الله داد یکی از اعضای این ستاد بود، جلسۀ توجیهی گذاشت. هنوز این جملۀ آقای مهاجرانی در گوشم هست که به طعنه به مخالفین گفت "خیلی ممنون که شعار دادید ساواکی ستادی پیوندتان مبارک".  در پایان هم آقای مهاجرانی با کاپشن سبز کره ای همراه سه دانشجوی پسر دیگر با در دست داشتن پلاکادرها از حیاط دانشکده به بیرون رفتند.  این تنها فرصتی بود که ایشان را از فاصله ای حدود هفتاد هشتاد متری دیدم. پس از آن هم که ایشان در مقامهای نمایندگی مجلس، سفارت، و وزارت در خدمتگزاری بوده اند.   هیچ کس ایشان را ناچار به ایفای چنین نقشهایی نکرده بود.


پرسش بنده این است که ایشان چه نقشی در درگیریهای دانشگاه و حوادث بعد از انقلاب فرهنگی داشته.  دو دیگر اینکه، اگر آزادی ایشان چنین زولبیای شیرینی است چرا آن آزادی شرنگی بود که ایشان برای نا بودی اش توجیه می آوردند.  به نظر این حقیر شراب قدرت از همۀ چیز شیرین تر است. 


با درود 


Idea of reforming an Islamic Theocracy is like eating poop

by Faramarz_Fateh on

I apologize before hand for the language of this post but I find it necessary for making the point: 

Even after you eat the best food(s), your poop is essentially the same after digestion.

The idea of "reforming" an Islamic Thoecracy is like eating your own poop.  Some things just can be reformed or changed because of their nature.  Poop is one, a political regime like IRI is another. 


Bijan A M

To the believers in reformed theocracy

by Bijan A M on

Would some of you ladies and gentlemen, help me understand the concept of a “reformed” Islamic (or any other religion) government? What is meant by reform? Does it mean:

1)      there will no longer be a velayateh Vaghih?

2)      the guardian council (shoraye negahban) will be abolished

3)      A new constitution will be drafted and voted by a referendum by every Iranian soul inside or out.

4)      Sepah and basij are dismantled and those who committed crime against their own people will be brought to justice.

5)      The laws of the land will not be decided on the basis of  an interpretation of a holy book.

6)      There will be absolutely no discrimination on the basis of someone’s religion?

7)      And many others…… 

If these are the type of issues that the opposition is fighting for then I admit to my own ignorance. I think I know (more or less) what Mr. Mousavi or Karroubi types are AGAINST and I respect them for that. But, I don’t think it is quite clear what they are FOR. I think it is entirely deceitful, to sell your platform on the basis of what you are against and concealing what you are for (one does not always define the other).  

Molla, thanks for the insult. You know, any insult coming from you I consider as a complement. Go ahead and pepper this thread with your nonsensical posts. One of these days you will learn some manners from your mentor, Hazrat-e Shotor.


Mr. Mohajerani's (Old IRI Relic) time has passed.

by mehdi2009 on

My Dear Fellow Iranian Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ata Mohajerani and Mohahammad Khatami during his presidency tried to do the impossible task of giving a humane identity to the Monstrous and Murderous Mullah's Regime, which was very much like what Alexander Dubcek tried to do in Prague Sring of 1968 in Czechoslovakia to make fascist socialism a human face. Both attempts failed due to the fact that the totalitarian regimes are not reformable, and they are ROTTEN to the CORE.

The men in IRI's case tried to do was to buy time so that their criminal friends, so that by the passing of time every one will forget their misdeeds. However, the time for compromise has long past, and the people in Iran, and the Vibrant young people have no patience with these RELICS, and they will have no place in the future of Iran. 

The regime has a huge problem with the Young men and women in Iran. The Young have two things which are very troublesome to these henchmen, they have abundance of energy and they also have very little patience.

The Day of Reckoning is coming very soon.

Salutations to the ALL TRUE Sons and Daughters of Iran.



Dogma and Superstition in the name of Religion..

by faryarm on

Dogma and Superstition in the name of Religion are the "mother of all problems.



 "... religion is in harmony with science. The fundamental principles of the Prophets are scientific, but the forms and imitations which have appeared are opposed to science." as what we see in Iran today.

If religion does not agree with science, it is superstition and ignorance; for God has endowed man with reason in order that he may perceive reality. The foundations of religion are reasonable. God has created us with intelligence to perceive them.If they are opposed to science and reason, how could they be believed and followed?

      ('Abdú'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 128)




Religion is the mother of all problems

by bahramthegreat on

Science is going so fast that soon we will be able to unwrap the mystery of universe. Yet Iranians are still talking about faith and religion, something that does not have any scientific foundation and will not help our nation a bit. Iranians are smart and accept facts if explain to them in a correct way. We are obligated to educate our people about religion and make them to understand that religion does not help us to advance and becoming independent. Iranian parents are obligate to educate their children and I blame them for the mess that we are in. I am saying this mainly because if we sit back and think about some of the stupid things that we believe and do, which are coming from our parents and their parents, were the main reason for bringing the IRI into the power some 30 years ago.



by Cost-of-Progress on

It is you who wants for this hated regime (reformist, non reformist, etc.) to stay in power. You tell me that bearded open collar douche bags like this guy are any different than other bearded open collar douche bags who do not yet have their British passport?

Yes, thousands upon thousands of Iranians poured in the streets to "demand" mousavi to be their president, but as smart as you portray youself, you should realize that they see this as opportunity to defeat the beast one bite a time.

Only to those who still believe there's something good to be had from this anti nationalist regime, this can be interpreted the way you describe it; that the people only want Ahmaghined to go and then everything will be honky dory. NOT!

Green or else, Islamists are ALL the same. Your beloved Mousavi is yet another murderer of Iranian people.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on


همانطور که گفتیم و دوستان گفتند،اینها نوکرند و مواجب بگیر آخوند‌های دربار انگلستان. وگرنه این‌ها چطور میتوانستند به آمریکا بروند و انگلیسی بلغور کنند !!

 اینها به پول دزدی و مفت عادت کرده اند. مهاجرانی هم همینطور ... به زن بیمار ایرانی ویزا نمیدهند و این مردک پاسپورت انگلیسی‌ دارد و هر کجا می‌خواهد میرود، تازه که سواد هم ندارد و اگر تحقیق شود،مثل کردان معلوم خواهد شد که دیپلم هم ندارد !

سر ایرانی‌ دیگر کلاه نمی‌رود.. این اخوندک ها، این شیخک‌ها دیگر کور خوانده اند... اسیا به نوبت !


Rat deserting a sinking ship!!

by mahmoudg on

Now we are supposed to love this character just like Moussavi and Karoubi!! He is as much at fault for what his "Islamic Guidance" ideology brought for Iran.  If he thinks for a second he is immune from prosecution once this demonic regime falls, he has another thing coming.


What were they thinking

by ghalam-doon on

Someone should ask "Ata" and other intellectuals like him who were with the regime at the beginning and now they are sort of against it, what went through their minds when they listened to Khomeini? Did they think Khomeini was for a pluralized and free society? How could they even for one minute accept a regime based on religion? Didn't they foresee where it could end? How could they be so stupid?

"Ata" and other ex-agents of the regime should apologize to the Iranian youth for putting them in such a "makhmaseh." Only then they can join the green movement with a clear conscious.

Mola Nasredeen

Bibi's advice, Take a load of his!

by Mola Nasredeen on

This is what agha Bijan writes when talking about the Reformist movement in Iran(similarities to Nataneyaho's name is on purpose):

"the reformists should take the back-seat in this movement. The secularists should (somehow) lead this movement vigilantly and leave absolutely no room for even a hint of religion in the government. It is my strongest belief that there is no such thing as reformed theocracy. As stupid as it may sound, I believe Iran will be better off suffering under the hardliners of IRI than dragged into a “reformed” islamist government."

On what planet do you live agha Bijan? The millions who demonstrated on the street of Iran wanted Mousavi to be their president and they are the ones who have awakened Iranian people not your run of the mill monarchists and rightwingers in United States.

Do you expect Hazrate "Akh Tof Saltaneh", Israeli lobby (Fred) or monarchists bring change to Iran? Where have you been sir? Had you even heard of Mohajarani before reading this article? By the way your position is exactly what warmongers and Israel want. We are dealing with a ship of fools here. What a farce! 


Islamic Republic voices vs One voice

by Abarmard on

Those who just hate the Islamic Republic, which now is acceptable even by reformist supporters, must realize that the Islamic Republic offered hope only because of the plural voices within. Many reformists and free minded Iranians were banking on the reformist corner of the regime. 

Mr. Mohajerani for example, tried to divert a closed up system and give it a democratic flavor. If the system was not hijack by backward conservatives, let the name be the Islamic Republic, Secular Republic or else, the people's demand would have been satisfied. The importance here is not the look, image or the name carried but the people, leadership and demands that takes the path to a direction. Reformists did offer and still offer a better path to gradually shape the Iranian democracy from within.

Keeping that in mind is an important note in going forward. 

Farah Rusta

Thank you Fred for the info.

by Farah Rusta on

Sadly and ironically I tend to agree with our Ata!!  Islam by its very nature cannot be locked at home and behind the closed doors of the faithful. But as I wrote in an earlier blog: we cannot change the faith but we, as the faithful, may be able to change ourselves. 




Excellent article. Full of valuable social and political points.

by Anonymouse on

Everything is sacred.

Bijan A M

Sorry FG, I beg to differ....

by Bijan A M on

I hope you take Jamshid’s suggestion and blog about your point(s). While I appreciate the jest of your comment and its logical appeal, I respectfully disagree with its conclusion. I could be totally out of line, but you are repeating (verbatim) the same logic used 31 years ago to mobilize people, organize general strikes, and shut-down the entire economy to oust a dictatorship. You say:

“If the hard liners are ousted and the regime "reformed," such change won't satisfy everyone fully but it will open the door to further evolution quickly since freer institutions and media will be part of the package.  If most people in Iran have by then have lost all confidence in the concept of an "Islamic" republic by then--as I suspect is likely--then pressure for further demoncratization will become overwhelming while the reform regime will lack means or heart for further crackdown.”

I swear to god that these are the very exact (even word for word) statements I heard 31-32 years ago. Back then, it was all garden varieties of socialists, communists, nationalists, secularists…. Who united with great intentions and ended up bringing evil to rule a nation.

I think, Oktaby is absolutely right that the reformists should take the back-seat in this movement. The secularists should (somehow) lead this movement vigilantly and leave absolutely no room for even a hint of religion in the government. It is my strongest belief that there is no such thing as reformed theocracy. As stupid as it may sound, I believe Iran will be better off suffering under the hardliners of IRI than dragged into a “reformed” islamist government. They have a much better chance of getting to a true freedom in a shorter time (IMHO).