Ayatullah Khomeini Returns to Haunt Iranian Politics

As students in Tehran press the latest round of protests into a second week, the late Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini is emerging to play a role in Iran's unsettled politics. Soon after the demonstrations started, on Dec. 7, a video on state television showed an unidentifiable person tearing up a poster of Iran's revolutionary father figure. The Iranian media erupted with accusations. Conservative papers called for opposition leaders' heads, while reformist papers alleged that the video was manufactured by the regime to justify its attacks on protesters. Indeed, a website affiliated with opposition leader and former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi sent out a notice that opposition leaders may be arrested in the coming days in connection with the sacrilegious abuse of Khomeini's image.

Former President Mohammed Khatami, a supporter of the opposition Green Movement, bluntly said in a recent speech, "[Khomeini] should not be used as a scapegoat." The newspaper Abrar, part of the beleaguered reformist media, wondered aloud what punishment would have befallen a newspaper like itself if it had displayed an image of revolutionary desecration like the one being repeatedly shown on state television. (Additionally, a video of pictures of Khomeini, Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being set afire is circulating outside of Iran. Unlike the torn-poster video, however, the fire video has not been shown on Iranian televisio... >>>

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