While we respect the opposition leaders in Iran; Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami, we believe that they can’t lead to ultimate victory. The triad of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (including son, Mojtaba), Leadership of the Revolutionary Guard and the Ahmadinejad bloc (Hojjatieh) are firmly in control and are completely unwilling to compromise or negotiate. The triad is well aware that giving in to any of the demands by the oppositon will not only weaken their individual positions of power, but will, over the long term weaken the Islamic Republic, and probably lead to its eventual demise. The experience during reformist President Khatami’s two terms (1997-2005), in which his policies of reform led to repeated clashes with the hardline and conservative elements within the government, of which almost all Khatami lost, sealed the fate of the reform movement in Iran. A reform movement that the regime at the time allowed (many believe they helped to create) in order to be a release valve for the steam of growing public discontent, so as not to allow a boiling over into the streets. The reform movement was never going to be permitted to flourish into a major political bloc. This became very clear in the Parliamentary elections of 2004, when the Guardian Council ( which applys the will of Supreme Leader) banned most of the reformist members of the parliament and all the candidates of the Islamic Iran Participation Front party from running. This led to the conservatives winning at least 70% of the seats. The triad has been and will continue to purge the reform movement until their voice is but a faint whisper.
But, the movement does owe much to the oppositon leaders, as without them, it would probably have perished long ago. Although, since the Ashura protests, it has become clearer that the movement and the current leaders are on ever diverging paths. While it should continue to support these individuals, a singular figure that the majority of the movement could identify with and galvanize around (just as Khomeini was during the Islamic Revolution), someone who clearly symbolizes the desires of the movement, and has sacrificed everything for people’s freedom could be a powerful symbol and deliver the movements message to the regime “loud and clear.” If it is separation of mosque and state, individual freedoms along with, open, fair and free elections that are the movements ultimate goals, we can only find one man who can fit the bill, Ayatollah Boroujerdi.
He and 17 followers were initially sentenced to death, but the death sentences were later dropped. On 13 August 2007 he was sentenced to serve one year in prison in Tehran, followed by ten years in prison in Yazd, although he currently is in Evin prison. In addition to his sentence of 11 years’ imprisonment, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was also defrocked (banned from wearing his clerical robes and thereby from practicing his clerical duties), and his house and all his belongings were confiscated. One of the charges against him was “mohareb” (warring against God), sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
His grandfather was one of the leading religious leaders for five decades in pre-revolution Iran. He also believed in the separation of mosque and state. He eventually became the leading religious figure in Iran and was highly respected by Iranians. To this day, many of the elder Iranians have his picture hanging on their walls, as does my father. In the mid 50’s, Ayatollah Khomeini tried to recruit Boroujerdi in the campaign that was raised against the Bahai’s, but he refused. His death in 1961, left a leadership vacumn, in which gave rise to Khomeini. His son, the current Boroujerdi’s father, was also widely respected and he refused to support Ayatollah Khomeini’s’s efforts to establish the Islamic regime in 1979. As a result of his refusal of support he was persecuted and imprisoned where he eventually died in 2002 under suspicious circumstances. His followers and his son secretly buried his body in Masjed-e Nour, which then became a focal point for prayer among his many followers. Shortly thereafter, the regime ordered the desecration of his grave and the Masjed-e Nour mosque was taken over by the state.
On 1 May 2009, Ayatollah Boroujerdi wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, requesting that international observers be sent to Iran in order to assist the Iranian people in an open referendum on the system of government. Apparently in retaliation for this letter, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was subjected to beatings on 5 May. He went on a hunger strike to protest the beatings and the suspension of his rights to make phone calls to his family and lawyer.