Green Movement leader Mahdi Karroubi has hosted the families of a number of political prisoners at his home. During the meeting, Karroubi contacted prisoners such as Abdollah Momeni, Ahmad Zeidabadi and Ali Malihi via phone.
According to the Saham News website, the families of the political prisoners expressed their gratitude for the former parliament speaker’s steadfastness and resistance during the aftermath of the fraudulent presidential election in June 2009 as well his courage in defending the rights of citizens, especially with respect to prisoner abuse scandals such as Kahrizak prison.
The families also expressed dismay over the handling of their love-ones’ judicial cases and said the authorities were refusing to provide answers about the fate of the prisoners. “They put more pressure on us every day. Since very recently, they do not allow for the face-to-face visit of family members unless there is authorisation from the court and only one immediate family member is able to visit, despite the fact that a while ago family members were able to meet with their dear-ones once per month.”
Karroubi, who heads the reformist National Trust Party, expressed his unhappiness over the post-election events and the clear violation of the constitution as well as the disregard for the rights of citizens. He also said that the people would not forget the prisoners and their families and that they would stand by them untill the very end.
The vocal reformist also criticised the assault on the republican side of the Islamic Republic. “Unfortunately, today the establishment is neither a republic nor Islamic. And this is an alarm bell for those who care about the country, the establishment and this land. As always, we are seeking to revive the true definition of the Islamic Republic which was approved by Imam [Khomeini] and the wise people of Iran in April 1979.”
Once more, the 2009 presidential candidate emphasised the importance of the country’s constitution while maintaining that “the constitution is not like a revelation, and at time it needs to change”. “However, it also has many capacities and it defines the state’s responsibilities towards the people and vice versa, it clearly states the people’s legitimate and legal rights.”
“Despotism has brought us to the point where the country’s highest executive power has not regard for the parliament and its laws … this, is disrespecting the Iranian people”, said Karroubi, while calling the position of parliament “unfortunate” and calling for a return to the constitution. “We seek a republic that is based on the people’s vote and on engineering the people’s votes.”
Speaking about the Green Movement in Iran, Karroubi described the current period as “very difficult and tiresome.” “One the one hand, they [the authorities] claim they want to manage the world and on the other, they run the country with club-holders and by creating terror and fear.”
“They are even afraid of the shadow of the dead … They claim to have overcome the people’s protests and to have regained control. But I tell them to wake up and realise. What kind of a control is this, when you are even afraid of the shadow of the martyrs and the dead?”
At the same time, Karroubi described the current period as that of “hopefulness” as the people’s demand was to return to both the true republic and Islamic aspects of the Islamic Republic. “Wisely and rationally, they have moved from the streets to the houses, schools, universities and among the different layers and generations in society and have expanded. With the aid of social networks, the people’s awareness will increase every day.”
In addition, Karroubi criticised the treatments against the country’s intellectuals which had led to a massive brain drain among academia.
Karroubi also spoke against the latest round of UN sanctions against Iran saying that despite the “mismanagement and absurd remarks” by Ahmadinejad, “we must not give alibis and permission to others in order to place sanction on Iran with ease.”
“Nevertheless, I believe that a portion of the regime and the Revolutionary Guards do favour sanctions because they gain massive benefits under sanctions, and it is the people who suffer,” he said. Karroubi added that in the past year, the mishandling of foreign policy, a lack of rationality on the part of the country’s officials and the violent post-election crackdowns had brought heavy costs for the country. He predicted a “very worrying condition” for the country’s future.
The outspoken cleric also criticised the government’s economic and cultural policies and argued that they were not in accordance with the people’s needs and the country’s current capacities. “The decisions are not based on expertise and are made behind closed doors and do not correspond to the country’s infrastructure and its capacities” he said. “This causes the public’s reaction and its rejection [of the decisions]”. He also referred to the recent sudden increase in tariffs and taxes as one such policy which the government had to retreat from in the end. With regards to the cultural policies of the government, he mockingly added, “On the cultural front, we see that the gentlemen [the authorities] have solved all the country’s issues and now they must resolve the people’s hair styles. Bringing up such issues is a sign of the officials’ lack of awareness about the realities of their own society and it is an attempt to dictate certain things which they want to force on the people without having any regard for their opinion.”
“Instead of trying to deceive public opinion with false statistics and deceit, it would be better if they [the authorities] return to the people and to take away any excuses from the nation’s enemies by solving internal problems and restoring unity and cohesion.”
“We seek to resolve the issues, but the condition is to restore the honour and dignity of the great Iranian people” he said. “Releasing political prisoners, freedom of the press, lifting the ban on parties and allowing for their activity, holding fair and free elections, supporting the scarred families [of the post-election violence] and compensating them both physically and morally for the effects and impacts of the events forced upon them, and in one word, returning to the constitution. For this, we will continue to stand by the great and intelligent people of Iran.”
It should be noted that the families of Alireza Tajernia, Ahmad Zeidabadi, Nourizad, Hengameh Shahidi, Abdollah Momeni, Ali Malihi and a number of mothers of imprisoned Iranian students were present at this friendly gathering.
English Translation by Green Voice of Freedom