Is Mesbah Challenging Khamenei?
June 3, 2010
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, the leader of the ultraconservative and fundamentalist faction in the Assembly of Experts, known as “Mesbahieh”, has been delivering major political speeches lately in which he seems to be challenging Ayatollah Khamenei’s position as the country’s supreme leader.
On 24 May, in a speech at Qum’s influential Faizieh Madressa, Iran’s premier Islamic theological seminary, Mesbah said if there were two people equally qualified to be the supreme leader (“Vali Faghih”), the Assembly of Expert must draw a coin to choose the country’s supreme leader [ILNA]. This blogger at first thought he was showing a humorous side, but Mesbah at the end of the speech said the following:
“A person who himself and whose family have stolen from the public treasury, loses his right to be the leader. A person governing on behalf of the [Hidden Imam] must be as innocent as the [Hidden Imam] himself.”
The use of such language, in a formal speech, delivered at Qum’s fabled Faizieh, cannot be underestimated. Islamic Republic’s supreme leader (“Vali Faghih”) is believed to be ruling the country on behalf of Shia’s twelfth imam, Hazrat Mahdi, the Lord of Time, hidden at present only surfacing to lead the global Resurrection.
A week later, Mesbah delivered another speech in the holy city of Mashhad criticizing the inability of the Islamic Republic to fight the growing secularism inside Iran and to demonstrate the necessity for having a supreme leader (“Vali Faghih”) governing the country.
“The reason our society, after thirty years under the Islamic Republic, has not accepted the necessity of Vali Faghih, is the dominant culture, the secularism dominating our society. Our leaders believe that the position of Vali Faghih is a payback given by the public to the clergy for their role during the Islamic revolution.”
More interestingly was a reference to Mesbah as “Imam Mesbah Yazdi” in Wednesday’s online edition of Ansawr News, a site close to the country’s ultraconservative faction. So far, only the late Ayatollah Khomeini has been given the title of an “Imam”, as in Imam Khomeini. Calling Mesbah an Imam could not have been a typo. Ansar News actually explained its use in its article.
“The use of the title of “Imam” for Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi has precedence. We have used the title in our history to designate the special position in society by scholars such as Fakhr Razi or Mohammad Qazali.”
Razi was a renowned Islamic legal scholar of the 12th century who was born in Ray, Iran, and is buried in Herat, Afghanistan. Qazali was as renowned Islamic theologian, living in Tus, near Mashhad, in the 11th century. Calling Mesbah an Imam and comparing him to Razi and Qazali have profound implications.
Today, Ansawr News site was taken offline, and when it reappeared later it did not have the article on “Imam Mesbah Yazdi.” Ayatollah Khamenei is reportedly very angry at Mesbah’s recent speeches and the references to him as an imam.
Making matters more complicated, is the public knowledge that Mesbah is the spiritual guide of the sitting president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
By Nader Uskowi
Should Ayatollah Boroujerdi become the symbolic leader of Irans opposition
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.
Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi is a Shi’a cleric who is currently imprisoned in Evin. He advocates the separation of religion and government. He opposes the concept of Velayat-e faqih ( rule by islamic jurists ) by which the Islamic Republic of Iran is based. He first expressed his opposition to the Islamic government of Iran in 1994. He said Iranians are “tired of the religion of politics and political slogans.” The Iranians “believe that they are loyal to the fundamentals of the true religion and the Prophet’s mission, but they are opposed to the politicization of religion and its exploitation by a group that has nothing to do with true Islam. Islam is the religion of tolerance, forbearance, and mercy, to the point where [the Qur’an] emphasized to us that ‘there is no compulsion in religion.” For more than a decade, Boroujerdi defied the regime and was summoned several times before the special court for the clergy. Over the years, he has been arrested, imprisoned and tortured on numerous occasions and his mosque has been expropriated. Still, he continued to lead prayers in his home, and as the crowds grew, he then moved the services to his fathers mosque, Masjed-e Nour. By July 2006, the mosque could no longer accomodate the masses who were coming to hear his sermons, so he started to hold services in stadiums. The regime was beginning to feel threatened, so they turned up the heat. Many of his followers started to camp outside his home in order to protect him. For more than two months the regimes threats escalated, and on more than one occasion they tried to arrest him, but his followers prevented this. The regime finally issued a warrant for Boroujerdi and the many supporters of the Ayatollah who had been living at his home in order to protect him. On October 7, 2006 a crowd of 1,000 or more supporters, including many women, gathered around his house, clashed with, and prevented his arrest by security forces. Many were injured, but they also captured several security agents, although they eventually released them. The security forces returned the following day, October 8, 2006, and after heated battles with Boroujerdi’s supporters, finally arrested him and several hundred of his followers ( reported to be 172 women and 225 men).
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 is currently in Evin. 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.
It is clear as day that Ayatollah Boroujerdi is the “only true religious leader” in Iran who represents all that is good in Islam and defends to the death, the human rights, dignity and the true will of the Iranian people. At least three generations of right minded religious leaders whom all supported the separation of religion and politics. With all due respect for the current opposition leaders, they have horrible human rights records while they were in positions of power, they still support Khamenei, whom is ultimately responsible for, and could stop with but one order; the arrests, beatings, rapes and murders of our brothers and sisters, and lastly, they still believe with all their heart, in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the greatness of its founder, Ayatollah Khomeini.
July 13, 2009
From the inception of the Velayat-e faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists), the firebrand founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini deceived the Iranian people with false promises of democracy, freedom and liberty, albeit, couched under the guidance of Islam. He brought them in, then he closed and locked the gates. He created a facade of a republic by allowing people to elect officials, but if they were not subserviant to him and his ideals, they were promptly removed or worse. He crashed down the mighty fist of repression and turned the clock back on womans rights more than a thousand years. He shut down all freedoms of speech and press. He ordered the arrest, torture and murder of thousands whom he deemed enemies. He created a brutal morality policing force, accountable to no one, whose mission is to force the citizenry into compliance. He created a Revolutionary force, answerable only to the Supreme Leader himself, whose mission is to crush any dissent or opposition by any and all means necessary. And then, he threw away the keys to the gates.
In light of thirty years of this grand deception, it has become “PAINFULLY” clear that the system of Velayat-e faqih has woefully failed the Iranian people and greater Islam itself. Even for the reformists in the system, it has proven to be unreformable and will never compromise with the very people it wishes to rule. Eight years under President Khatami, the most popularly elected President since the “Grand Deception” yielded at most minimal advances. During his Pesidency, the arrests, torture, murder and rape still continued, and he was powerless in the face of these travesties. Even for the legitimate winner of the current Presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, could he have advanced any real reform under this current system. Does anyone really believe that he would be more successful with reform than former President Khatami? Furthermore, while the clerical establishment continually battles over the theological principles of the revolution and the direction it should take, they continue to marginalize, brutalize and murder the citizenry.
We believe that the only way forward for the REAL REFORM needed is the total dismantling of the current system along with all rogue forces directly associated with it, and for the clergy to return to their mosques. In its place, a system of governance OF, BY and FOR the PEOPLE shall be formed. OPEN, FAIR and FREE elections shall be held. A Constitutional Convention shall be convened and a NEW CONSTITUTION shall be written.
Complete Documentary of what really happened in iran after election
Regime intelligence official admits to fabricating opposition figures
August 13, 2007
During the mid 1990s, veteran political activists, journalists and university students in Iran began encountering a seemingly strange behavior by the previously one tracked minded Islamic intelligence ministry. The intelligence ministry would summon people known to be in disagreement with the regime and encourage them to say or write certain things against regime policies cautioning them not to go beyond certain boundaries called “red lines”. A new policy towards social and political dissidents had begun to be implemented. As one aging dissident within the nationalist opposition who used to be summoned once week, put it quite frankly in 1998: ” we only oppose the government within the boundaries permitted by the intelligence ministry”!
In 2007, a major pro regime web site, posted the voice recording of a complete three hour speech by the deputy intelligence minister of the mid 1990s, the infamous Said Emami, later implemented in the serial assassinations of dissidents during the Khatami administration and subsequently killed in jail, presumably silencing him forever. The voice recording, previously only published in parts, was a detailed analysis of the socio-political situation in Iran and the new policy of the intelligence ministry towards dissidents. The 2007 posting, on the other hand was meant to say that the “reformist” movement in Iran to save the regime, did not begin with president Khatami but was initiated and organized by the intelligence ministry, several years before Khatami. In one segment of the recording, Said Emami said that even though the regime shall ruthlessly eliminate armed or dangerous opponents, but they should easily “direct our opposition to act within the interests of the regime…”.
Recently, another well known analyst connected to intelligence agencies in Iran has touched upon the policy of fake or controlled opposition. Abbas Salimi Namin, an extremist right wing Islamic analyst in Iran, together with a few extremist publications who publish his articles, seem to be among the few who are allowed to criticize or analyze strategic or security policies of the regime. Salimi Namin is the director of the “Research Bureau of Contemporary Iranian History”, one of the intelligence ministry connected institutions in charge of re-writing history in Iran and a previous editor of the hardline Kayhan news paper for Iranians abroad.
The article below is a translation from Farsi of an interview by Pars news agency with Abbas Salimi Namin published in early August, 2007.
Abbas Salimi Namin an expert in political affairs, responding to a question in an interview with Fars News Agency regarding a note in one of the newspapers in which he wrote ” Today the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran has such a power that it can even have a decisive effect on the structure of its opposition forces. A look at the new structure of the opposition outside the country which consists mainly of personalities who have recently left Iran seriously confirms this assertion” and asking him what did you mean by this? said: ” In my opinion, some of the forces for whom publicity was provided in order for them to become famous opposition figures, (were acting) within the framework of a plan.”
Salimi Namin, by stating that politically it is not possible to accept that certain abnormal activities in this regard happened along a natural course, added: ” certain confrontations and publicity for a series of very regular persons, seriously demands attention. For example, what happened in the case of Mr. (Akbar) Ganji and his photographs in jail under bitter conditions being taken outside the prison could not have taken place without coordination”.
He said:”These points cause one to think that these people have been groomed only for acquiring positions in a different environment, particularly under today’s conditions in the political world, such activities are commonplace where governments and even political parties are trying to organize their political opponents and find footholds within their opposition forces”.
This political activist (Salimi Namin), clarified that :” When we look closely, we observe that a person who wasn’t effective at all and was of no concern to the Iranian regime, develops into a fashionable political personality due to (the actions of) Judge Mortazavi”. Salimi Namin in explaining this issue, added :” I mean that probably actions have taken place so that these people were focused upon by the media. I don’t consider this as a normal event and I do believe that this was a movement which has borne fruit as we can observe today that within the structure of the opposition outside the country the decisive figures are mainly those who have been dispatched abroad according to what I think has been planned”.
He (Salimi Namin) emphasized that:” if these irregular activities are according to plans, it will be a decisive issue outside the country and will seriously help those who want to influence opposing forces and will direct them (the opponents) towards the direction which we want”.
The follow-up by Fars News Agency, for discovering Judge Mortazavi’s opinion (the Prosecutor of Tehran Province) have not succeeded in spite of his repeated promises on this issue.
Source: Free Iran Project