Khamenei’s thugs murdered Khomeini’s son, so why not Mousavi now?
March 17th, 1995.
If the opposition really wants to question the regime’s legitimacy, remember that date–a perfect one for a demonstration. As you read this article, you will see why.
Remember this date as you read this post, especially for demonstration purpose: March 17, 1995.
An Tehran Bureau article entitled The Regime’s Mousavi Problem,” Mea Cyrus opens with this note: “the Islamic Republic is so fed up with post-election protests that it is willing to adopt extreme measures to bring them to an end.”
Exactly what extreme measures Khamenei is capable of becomes all too clear in another Tehran Bureau article, “The Chain Letter” by Mohammed Sahimi, which reviews the history of political assassinations going back well before the Shah. For present day Iranians the most relevant parts are those dealing with the crimes of extreme Islamists just prior to the regime’s downfall (the Abadan fire) and especially under Khamenei.
The story of how Khamenei’s regime murdered so many intellectuals, journalists and critics between 1988 and 1998 is essential reading in today’s context if only to remind Iranians of what tactics might be employed. For example, if you read only one thing it should be this paragraph because it strikes at the very heart of the regime’s legitimacy and its claim to represent Khomeini’s heritage:
“Even the family of the revolution’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, did not escape the Chain Murders unscathed. Ahmad Khomeini (1945-1995), the Ayatollah’s younger son and the link between him and the political establishment, died of an apparent heart attack on March 17, 1995, a month after giving a speech in which he strongly criticized regime hardliners. It is said that Saeed Emami, the notorious agent of the Ministry of Intelligence, had killed him by cyanide poisoning because he considered him a liability for the Islamic Republic. Mohammad Niazi, the military prosecutor who handled Saeed Emami’s case in 1999, reportedly told Hassan Khomeini, Ahmad’s son, that Emami had killed his father.”
Like so many “heart attack” victims Khomeini’s son was relatively young in a family known for long lifer spans. Mainly that explains why so many of his descendants feel such animosity toward Khamenei and his thugs.
As the regime prepares to do all it can to exploit the recent burning of a Khomeini poster, it has begun rounding up show trial candidates. Their forced “confessions” will be used much as the Nazis made use of the same after setting fire to the Reichstag. Afte arresting an alleged perp, they cited threats to the nation and demanded emergency measures.
SUGGESTION FOR THE ULTIMATE GREEN COUNTERATTACK:
The people are confronted with a regime that bases its core of legitimacy on Khomeini’s heritage and now claims its new campaign is designed to protect that heritage against alleged attackers. What could be better than to remind the Iranian people of the above incident at this time? May I suggest the next rooftop chant and protest demand: “Who killed Khomeini’s son?” You may even want to toss in the date and use his name. Maybe the opposition should honor March 17th with a demonstration.
RAFSANJANI ALSO IN DANGER: As Enduring America reports today, what seems to have frightened the regime into into this tactic even more than the recent student day tactic were Rafsanjani’s recent remarks in which he said perhaps it is time for leaders to step aside when the regime no longer has the support of the people. According to Enduring America, “the threats against Rafsanjani have reached a point just short of arresting his family members.” One reform member of Parliament charged that the regime is setting up large camps designed to hold millions. It already has several secret prisons similar to the one recently closed.
In this context there are other excellent reasons–even for those who are well aware of the 1988-1999 assasinations to read the “Chain Murders” article. The devil is in the details which deserve close inspection because they reveal tactics we may likely see repeated in the near future. Many will sound familiar–the large number of critics who simply disappeared, a woman who was found strangled to death and her burned body dumped alongside a road, the number of critics who suffered “cardiac arrests” or who “committed suicide.” Some of those heart attacks were real but there was a catch. In one case it was discovered years later that the victim had been killed through injection of an air bubble that had caused the heart attack.
Today we get poisoned salads and meningitis. When Iran’s press used its newfound freedoms under President Khatami to expose many of these crimes, instead of investigating them, instead of punishing those responsible, Khamenei protected them, introduced new laws punishing the media for revealing such crimes, brutalized students who protested, and blamed foreign assassins for the murder. That surely sounds familiar too.
WHY THE REGIME MAY PREFER TO KILL MOUSAVI RATHER THAN JAIL HIM
As Mea Cyrus observes in the second article, the regime has two options for dealing with its Mousavi problem; jail him or kill him. Recently Jafar Shajooni, a member of the conservative Society of Militant Clergy (Jame-e- Rohaniat, rejected the usefulness the first option on the grounds that “If jailed, Mousavi will become an icon….The moment we get the green light to deal with them, I will personally chew their throats.”
Cyrus observes: “ The number of threatening remarks aimed at one individual is particularly indicative of the government’s fear of backlash should they decide to make their move against him. Yet assassination options are not off the table. The history of the Islamic Republic has shown that eliminating a threat has always been a good option for them.” Just as Mesbah Yadzi issued a pre-election fatwa ordering vote rigging, some ayatollahs gave a green light to kill then President Khatami, as they believed there was enough religious justification for a “true Muslim” to carry out such an order.
“…Such figures — Hajjarian and Mousavi–if they don’t back off, are usually dealt with like the snake’s head, after which the regime can play out old scenarios: depicting the killer(s) as hired by foreigners to sow division among the nation, and then venerating the victim after his death.
“While some may think that the death of a protest leader might escalate the situation to a dangerous and unpredictable level, the regime is well versed at the blame game, calling for unity while shedding crocodile tears. Rioting is likely to be short-lived due to a lack of leadership along with the fear of a security apparatus that is so well adept at striking back.
“…Dangerous movements of militias around Mousavi’s office and a lack of adequate security protection are all ample grounds for concern. It is a matter of time for those pushing the two options to get them onto the agenda. While it is not unusual for the intelligence community and IRGC decision makers to be divided into two camps in how to deal with Mousavi, neither has been able to convince Ayatollah Khamenei to put Mousavi behind bars or to kill him. And although the Supreme Leader has never been merciful towards those who publicly disobey him, he has so far held to his belief that the arrest or death of Mousavi would provide yet more incentive to opponents eager to plot against the government.
When Cyrus describes how Khamenei’s media might deal with Moussavi’s assassination, his comment recalls the regime’s recent “reenactment” of Neda’s death. Cyrus writres: “Then, befitting of that Mafioso screenplay, “Martyr Mousavi” can be praised by the government who did him in.”
As Moharram approaches, Cyrus offers some advice for Mousavi: “Moving from sermon to sermon, mourning the death of the Shia’s third Imam, Mousavi should guard against being an easy target. In the event of “an accident” or suicide attack, disingenuous clerics can use the occasion to call people to calm and unity around the Shia banner.
For full details on the regime’s 1988-1998 assassination campaign:
For Cyrus’ complete article on the regime’s mousavi problem:
On the regime’s stepped-up campaign against Rafsanjani and how the latter’s remarks create panic: