The untold of the greenmovement (Makhmalbaf)
Q: Can the Green Movement achieve victory? 5
Q: How do you see future of the Green Movement? 7
Q: If we look the situation in cinematic aspects, how many scenarios are possible for the movement? 8
Q: Is the third scenario possible? 9
Q: Which scenario is more probable? 10
Q:What is future strategy of Green Movement? Mr. Mousavi speaks about constitution, people chant “Iranian republic” in streets, also outside of the country each Green member has a specific dream for him. 11
Q: What is the difference between Reform movement & Green movement? 12
Q: What are challenges of the green movement? 13
Q: We have a 70 million society, how many Greens are there that are ready to support the Green movement? 14
Q: Regime talks about soft (velvet) revolution; it means a violence-free revolution that looks for changing the administration. Is it really because regime thinks that western powers try to topple it by creating political organization inside and outside of the country or it is just an accusation? 16
Q: What the Green movement requirements for gaining victory? 17
Q: And the leadership, who is the real leader of the movement? 17
Q: Because of security atmosphere the movement body cannot have any connection with these symbolic leaders. People ask: “Why Mousavi issues his statement about Qods day after 10 days?” 18
Q: Is there any real danger concerning their capture? 19
Q: How can the problem of Supreme Leader’s relationship with the body of the movement be solved? 20
Q: The dictatorship is after drawing lines between the inside and outside of the country. How about the Greens themselves? Do they have a clear line with the regime inside? 21
Q: It is said that in addition to all the pressure, Khamenei continuously send messages to Mousavi, Khatami and Hashemi to come back to the arms of the regime. 21
Q: How about Hashemi? Some still have not made up their mind about him. Some include him somewhere in the Green spectrum and some consider him a hypocrite. 22
Q: Mr. Khatami? I met with him personally with a group of young people, exactly two weeks before he became a candidate. He was decisively saying that he would not nominate himself. After he did I was shocked and when he pulled out I was shocked again. I phoned you from Iran the same time and asked you about the inconsistency in the word and behavior of Mr. Khatami. Do you remember how you responded? 24
Q: Mr. Khatami is compared with Gandhi, especially for his antiviolence slogan. 24
Q: Who has the power in Iran? 25
Q: Some people say that the Iran Revolutionary Guards (IRG) are now in charge, not the clerics. Others say that the IRG is the military arm of the clerics. Does Mr. Khamenei have the same influence as Khomeini did? Or is the IRG in charge? 26
Q: So the financial resources, security services, and control of people’s beliefs are all gathered under Khamenei. How can such a powerful entity be defeated? 29
Q: What is the function of the Ministry of Intelligence now? 30
Q: Is Mr. Khamenei really committing these crimes because of his beliefs in God and his religion? 33
Q: After he (Khamenei) is gone, who is he considering for leadership? 33
Q: Starting in the afternoon of the Friday, Election Day, we heard a lot of people talking about coup-de-tat. Who are the ones who initiated the coup? 34
Q: What is the story of Kahrizak? We have heard mixed stories. 35
Q: How many people were arrested? 37
Q: Universities are open once again. Will there be unrest or they will be closed down? 38
Q: Women are active in the green uprising. What do they want? 38
Q: How does the Western block, especially Americans see us? 39
Q: How do Iranians and the Green movement define the West? 42
Q: Is the Islamic (the) Republic really looking for an atomic bomb? 43
Q: Will an atomic Iran invade Israel? 44
Q: Is the Green movement an anti-Israeli movement? 44
Q: What does the Green movement expect from the West, especially America and its people? 44
Q: What are the reasons of the pros and cons of negotiations with Iran? 45
Cons believe: 45
Q: What are the pros reasoning? 47
Q: Raid on Iran? Is it possible that USA attack Iran to change the regime as it attacked Iraq and Afghanistan and changed the regimes? Or, if there will be an attack, is it from Israel for exterminating the nuclear installation? And, what is the outcome of attacking Iran? 49
Q: What do pro-attacks say? 51
Q: Sanction? There are different views in this regard too. Even in Green Movement some agree with conditional sanction and some disagree with any sanction. 52
Q: What are the pro-sanctions arguments? 53
Q: What are conditional pro-sanctions reasons? What is the difference between them and non-conditional pro-sanctions? 56
Q: Some groups are going to bring Ahmadinejad and Khamenei on trial, do you think they will be succeed? 60
Q: What happened at Geneva Talks? 61
If you asked my father about politics 6 months ago, he would say: “I abandoned the politics 6 months after revolution and entered the art & cinema world”. But since Election Day and immediately after June 12 coup, right away he returned to politics as a result of the energy released by people. He is always thinking to the Green movement, since morning to the night. Sometimes I hear something straight from him or his speeches made with his friends, and I like others to hear some of these dialogues.
The following conversation between me and my father contains his hearings, his thoughts or what he knows. I’ve removed the words “I’ve heard” and “I think” to provide an influent text. Of course what he has heard can be considered as credible.
He usually states his ideas briefly, simply & clearly. But the following conversation is a long one in contrast to his custom. Persons who aren’t used to read more than 2 pages should not read this text at all. This text is divided to 3 chapters: an analysis about Green Movement, the situation regarding the dictatorship administration, and Iran international status. Since these chapters are related to each other, I didn’t separate the transcript.
Q: Can the Green Movement achieve victory?
Mohsen Makhmalbaf: Prediction is difficult. But generally there are two prospect about the future of Green Movement, pessimistic prospect & optimistic prospect.
Let’s start from the pessimistic one
Khamenei & IRGC oppress the people and western powers don’t perform anything (regime satisfies the western powers using a few economical contracts, so we have to wait again since June 5 to February 11).
And the optimistic view?
Reasons behind this vision are comprehensive:
- First: in aspects of number of people: 40 million people participated in the election and 3 million demonstrators who filled the streets on June 15. Silence demonstrations in Tehran streets that had millions of participators; Qods Day’s massive demonstration (predicted in order of millions) in spite of murder, prison, torture & rape.
- Second: in aspects of span: I mean both inside & outside of Iran. Even before revolution there were not situations that more than 100 cities had a massive & concurrent protest outside of Iran.
- Three: in aspects of weight: (experts, educated people, students) that was not the case in 1978 revolution.
- Four: in aspects of intensity: The Green movement is like earthquake. Everyday it performs an action. The movement has moved from a fully democratic atmosphere before the election to a radical atmosphere after the election.
- Five: in aspects of depth: The Green movement has penetrated from the surface to internal layers of the society. In comparison to reform movement that belonged to experts, Green movement is well-matched with people dialog. Members of Green movement have selected the violence-free strategy for their combat, and although they don’t know any combat technique but they are harmonizing.
- Six: It is based on several cultures: All cultures are involved in the Green Movement.
- Seven: It covers all parts of the society: previous movements belonged only to clerics, students or women. But the Green Movement consists of all parts of the society. In Qods day 30% of tented women were added to the Greens.
- Eight: It covers all organizations: No one represents the movement. Atom particles gathered and generated the core energy of movement. Green movement is a particle system in micro level but is core-based in macro level. These particles are changed to a social bomb. A non-central movement. Although it has a joint goal but it is against tyrannical system. It is against the supreme leader (Velayat Faqih). It is against Ahmadinejad. It is against the guardian council. But it combats in a versatile, initiative & robust way. It is self-motivated in a non-organizational way.
- Nine: it is moral based: Members regard morality, do not insult, do not perform violently, don’t deceive, and do not disrespect their opposition. So they are rational.
- Ten: it is inside-oriented: The movement looks inside the country, even the foreigners wait for something to happen in streets of Tehran. Gatherings made by Iranians outside the country also try to support their countrymen inside Iran.
- Eleven: it is secular: It doesn’t demand political Islam, it is not anti-religion rather it is against political power of Mullahs.
- Twelve: It is symbolic: from Green color to displaying two fingers (as Victory sign) are symbols of the movement.
- Thirteen: it looks for prestige: The movement has not still chanted in demand of economic & welfare aspects. People believe: “Ahmadinajed has humiliated us”. We are looking for the respect that matches each human.
Q: How do you see future of the Green Movement?
The movement will expand, but if it doesn’t succeed in this stage it will get separated into 4 parts:
- First. A part of the movement will try to use weapon. It mainly includes young and wounded people (blind radicalism), they’ll say Naghdi, Radan & Mortazavi (major security officials responsible for severe oppression after election) should be killed. In the following months probably someone will go to Kurdistan (a border province located in Western Iran) in order to search for weaponry. In this way an underground radicalism movement will be created. Unfortunately this is very probable.
- Second: some members of the movement will migrate. At the moment there is a great demand for migration. Scientists and experts will leave the country, this costs a lot for the country, growing each expert costs around 30 million dollar for Iran.
- Third: Some members will be silenced obligatory because of suffocation.
- Fourth: At the same time most of the members will still continue social protest. Khatami leads these members. Mousavi will lead the religion part. Karroubi will be the catalyzer. Khatami will say: “Social protest”, Mousavi will say: “We’ll resist so that finally doors of the constitution will open for us.” And Karroubi will be the catalyzer, even the leadership catalyzer.
Q: If we look the situation in cinematic aspects, how many scenarios are possible for the movement?
Six scenarios are possible.
- First scenario- Regime says to itself: We are under people pressure. We have a high inflation. We have public insurgence. We must create an international crisis. We should attack Holocaust. We won’t give up in case of atom bomb. We create crisis and oppress the insurgence in atmosphere of crisis. (All dictatorship regimes use these kinds of crisis). Saddam used to say: “foreigners”, Khameini says: “enemies & aliens”, during the last year Khameini has used the word “ENEMY” 1376 times in his speeches, Fidel Castro still says: “Imperialism”.
- Second scenario: Economic pressure & political pressure inside the country. Pressures made by Iranian forces & governments outside the country alongside substantial sanctions. Incompetence of government, decrease in popularity of Khamenei inside the country. Increase of security challenges in Kurdistan, Baluchestan & Khuzestan, in addition the Green movement has political pressure on regime. Finally regime decides to prepare collapse of Ahmadinejad to rescue itself. In other words regime performs the same with Ahmadinejad as Shah did with Hoveida (a prime minister in Shah Dictatorship).
Generals in Shah Army who had escaped to outside of the country told that: “We didn’t collapse in 1978, but rather in 1977. When our wives fastened the suitcases and sent our children to foreign countries and escaped from the country and waited for us to join them, our collapse process started since then.”
Ahmadinejad collapse is a proof of fraud. It means incompetence of administration. During the last 30 years and in all periods always it was told that: “We should extinguish between performance of leadership and government”. But now this similarity shaped for the first time during these 30 years, now a regime is equal not only to a government but to a weak president. Nevertheless in the last periods the leader always criticized the government, he always asked while never answered. But when Khamenei said: “Ahmadinejad is closer to me” it means that collapse of Ahmadinejad is collapse of regime.
- Third scenario- considerable arrest, massive bloodshed. Compromise with foreigners. Nuclear suspension. Relative welfare by spreading oil cash. They’ve decided to give money to people and in the upcoming months they’ll distribute the oil cash. The distributed money will be between 60$ to 120$, in this way there will be a relative initial satisfaction at least in villages, for instance people living in villages having a monthly salary of fewer than 50$, suddenly their salary will be three times more.
Q: Is the third scenario possible?
It is like Saudi Arabia. IRGC commanders say: “Are we less than Saudi Arabia? If today we are not legitimate, also they don’t have legitimacy. If we apply dictatorship and oppression, they apply more dictatorship & oppression, but they continue their live by spreading oil cash (of course they don’t consider the difference between people of Iran & KSA).
The third scenario is reserved for the time that they feel it would cost too much for them to give up. Let’s not forget that Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) escaped from the country. Agents of Islamic Republic can only act as Mojahedin (IKO) did, they can only travel to Syria or KSA. Of course in this case there is a chance of a deal between them. So as they don’t have an escape option they will insist on this scenario and will kill people.
- Forth scenario- An unpredictable event occurs and makes the green movement turbulent. For instance a massive massacre in one day, massive detain in one day, gossip of Khameini death or real death or terror of Khamenei or Ahmadinejad and concurrent activation of Green movement in all over the country.
An unpredictable society like Iran can even perform such a scenario. As no one could predict the day before Election (June 11) that there would be such a massive protest consisting of 3 million people the following Monday. Just in a moment Iran would get turbulent.
- Fifth scenario- a coup (in the coup) occurs with or without foreign support. Qods militarism, Iranian talibanism. A weapon that will have turban on its head instead of crown. A cleric will appear in the television and will say: “A person has freed the country.” Some IRGC commanders can free Tehran with a few brigades. Of course the coup operation must not take more than 48 hours. If it takes more than 48 hours, it will fail. This coup will have 3 requirements:
1. Killing the leaders, especially Khamenei, they will show his corpse to satisfy people, in this way dictatorship supports will surrender also.
2. Centralizing in important & security centers, especially national radio & TV.
3. Attempts to attract foreign support. Of course this coup in coup operation is possible in the opposite side, i.e. some group of army & IRGC commanders will rise in support of people and overthrow Khamenei & coup administration.
- Sixth scenario- central collapse and separation of country. When Tehran gets weak, tribes create regional governments. For instance we can name Pesian in Mashad, Khazal in Kurdistan, Khiabani in Tabriz, Mirza Kuchak Khan in Forest (Rasht).
Q: Which scenario is more probable?
2nd & 3rd scenarios are more probable but all are possible.
Q:What is future strategy of Green Movement? Mr. Mousavi speaks about constitution, people chant “Iranian republic” in streets, also outside of the country each Green member has a specific dream about it.
Up to now I’ve heard only about these 3 strategies:
- 1st, interaction strategy:
Discussing with regime in order to return to constitution. Mr. Mousavi advertises this dialog. He says: “Constitution has unreleased potential that should be released”. This is Mousavi chant: “Islamic Republic must be freed”. This means no to guardian council administration and creation of political grand jury, right of free speech, free media, respecting right of minorities and tribes. Freeing captives & end to security atmosphere in order to feel public security.
- 2nd, opposing strategy:
All necessary potentials for destroying the regime are present. Regime must be overthrown. People who chant “Iranian republic” believe into opposing strategy.
- 3rd, neutral strategy:
“This movement will demolish the dictatorship, there is no need for leadership, just sit and take a look.” Of course it is a reality that the most important challenge of movement is Strategy Challenge. Reformists insist that reform is our first priority, if reform was not possible then we will try to make a change, they justify that:
Reform: “It has a logical language, it is law based, it accepts democracy, and it is based on people and is moral. It establishes social structures for fulfilling its goals. It looks for freedom and welfare and tries to decrease international stresses. It believes into expert administration & competence-oriented management. So we only have to follow this way”.
But in contrast revolution has these features: it has emotional language and doesn’t respect the law. It looks for revenge. It doesn’t respect morality. It is excited and temporary and doesn’t establish any structure. It will apply severe political & economical measures, it will cause international stresses. It tries to bring revolutionaries to power. It is violent and causes bloodshed, and as it gains victory through violence it should keep itself through violence. So it ends to the next dictatorship and not the freedom.
Opposition & criticizers of reform believe that “this regime cannot be reformed and reform means trying the tried test.”
There are some in the Green Movement who only demand the overthrow of Ahmadinejad. There are some who want to replace him with Mousavi. Also there are some who try to remove Khameneni & there is a group that tries to change the regime. They are all motivated by the Green Movement. Green Movement that consists of other movements such as students’ movement, women movement, reform movement & some other movements has a great range of demands. Defining any goal or objective, limits this wide range and causes downfall of Green movement, also versatility of goals decreases efficiency of the movement.
Of course it seems that oppression will intensify the opposing strategy.
Q: What is the difference between Reform movement & Green movement?
The first major difference between Green movement & reform movement is the ability to bring people into streets. In first anniversary of election of Khatami, in spite of using all reformist media, a population of around 40 thousand people gathered, while at that time Khamenei could gather 300 hundred thousand. After death of Ayatalloh Khomeini, Islamic republic never could set up a demonstration like June 15.
Q: What are challenges of the green movement?
- The first challenge is the challenge of consistent and stable strategy, at the moment it is oscillating between interaction, opposing and neutral approach.
- The second challenge is delay of leaders. Regime has no problem in oppressing the movement body because leaders are in the back.
- The third challenge is the inability to raise social layers. Although the green movement is much more widespread than reform movement but because at the moment and concerning violation of human rights by government, the economical motivations are secondary motivations (this is not the movement of poor people) so we need a dialog that can bring the poor people into the movement. Now it is being said that when we approach southern parts of the city, there are fewer signs of Movement to be seen.
- The forth one, is the challenge between clerics and the Green Movement, as soon as the movement takes opposing approach, clerics feel themselves in danger and retreat. Of course indolence and fear from accepting responsibility of people blood should be added to fears of this group.
- The fifth challenge is economic dependence of 2nd order leaders of reform movement. For instance when you own Bam cathedral and Mahan tourist center (both located in Kerman, south eastern Iran) you cannot chant against the regime. Someone used the reform literature to enter into the regime and in Ahmadinejad government went to the other side. At the moment they are pondering their options about the possible winner to support it. Right now, regime is attracting some experts of the reform movement, even through economical motivation or threaten.
Q: We have a 70 million society, how many Greens are there that are ready to support the Green movement?
This capacity has three parts.
- First- capacity of general atmosphere of the movement. Reform movement plus the Green movement contain about 70% of the society. They love the green movement and hope for its victory; also they pursue the news concerning the movement worryingly.
- Second- capacity of political atmosphere of the movement that is estimated from 24 up to 30 million supporters.
- Third- capacity of security atmosphere of the movement, what showed itself on Qods day (more than a million person), those who come into the streets in spite of massacre, detain, torture and rape if they know that leaders will come also.
In addition the movement has an international atmosphere, Americans have performed a survey revealing that 72% of Iranian-Americans living in US support democracy in Iran.
Protests performed by Iranians outside of the country with such a great participation not comparable to before is a proof for such an atmosphere. They can have influence on public opinion of the world using media and affect foreign governments and change their diplomacy toward the Green movement as it has been the case up to now. They can affect on Iran society and increase the information of people using media such as VOA or BBC.
In both elections Ahmadinejad introduced himself as the winner and all said that he has made a fraud. Why Iranian people vote? By analyzing the reasons we can understand who the real winner is.
I think in Iran people vote for 5 main reasons.
- First- protest vote: They vote for Khatami because they don’t want Nategh Noori to be elected, or they vote for Mousavi because they don’t want Ahmadinejad to be elected. When Hashemi could prevent a fraud from happening in last days of his presidency, these votes made Khatami the president. If again someone could prevent the fraud, Mousavi could become president by this group of vote. (This is the dominant group of votes. Before election this was famous as electing between bad and worse)
- Second- imitate vote: For instance when a tribe chief like a Molavi (Abdolhamid) votes for someone in Baluchestan (a border province in south-eastern Iran) people will vote him also. This kind of vote is effective particularly in tribal zones.
- Third- party vote: For instance persons who elect participation front party (a reformist party) or the coalition party (a hardliner party).
- Forth- ideological vote: We can consider this group as obligatory vote, it is not important for the voter that whether Ahmadinejad is good or bad, Khamenei has declared him closer to himself than Rafsanjani so he should vote for him.
- Fifth- beneficial vote: Distributing potato is a kind of this voting. Also we can name justice stock, increase of salaries or paying postponed salaries of employees and teachers. As for the poor people, short-time benefits are the main priority (especially in villages and poor districts), and they don’t know that this kind of money distribution will cause a huge amount of inflation in the near future, they will be attracted. Charity organizations are influential here. You can keep someone hungry for a while and give him money near the election, in this way you can buy his vote. Green movement can attract them by defining suitable chants for this group of people.
Q: Regime talks about soft (velvet) revolution; it means a violence-free revolution that looks for changing the administration. Is it really because regime thinks that western powers try to topple it by creating political organization inside and outside of the country or it is just an accusation?
More than anything else it is because of a real fear. In private meetings, officials of regime speak about accumulation of 30 year dissatisfactions that is now changed into permanent total protest, in turn it is based on these 5 crisis and also ends to their expansion:
1- Crisis of legitimacy, inside and outside of the country
2- Crisis of acceptability, inside and outside of the country
3- Competence crisis. (regime cannot provide welfare, it cannot create jobs, it cannot answer the general requirements, it just controls the country but cannot govern it)
4- Distribution crisis, not distributing the wealth fairly in order to survive (half of the population are hungry), regime just can artificially satisfy them near election or make them silent or buy their vote, but it cannot satisfy them permanently in order to fade away dissatisfaction fundamentally.
5- Security crisis, a permanent feel for fall down. When you fear from being toppled you will fell insecure. Ahmadinejad is a coward in private meetings. Both in national Security Council and in government meetings he always states his fears, although he appears bullish in interviews.
Q: What the Green movement requirements for gaining victory?
- First they need a strategy. A short-term, middle-term and long term strategy. Inside the country the strategy crisis is selecting between overthrowing and reforming. It is the case between people and their leaders also.
- Second- they need social force; in this aspect the movement is rich.
- Third- they need leadership. The main problem is that no one can lead the force released by people. Of course if all leaders of the movement give up their hands, the movement will still continue. In other words the leaders cannot make the movement silent, i.e. the leaders are a source of encourage and political support and not the propellant of the movement. This is why Mousavi says I follow the people.
- Forth- the need to make risk and take decision. This is more evident in Karoubi, as he exposed the rapes and that was a fundamental stride toward decrying the dictatorship.
Q: And the leadership, who is the real leader of the movement?
This movement has three models of leadership:
- First- core leadership. In every district some people have gathered and have created a green group. And in these small groups a person leads the others. In fact this movement is core-based and in political operations & street gatherings they are leaders. They just need to be informed about the next gathering by a person like Sazgara (Iranian analyst living in US), they learn the tactics from him and go to streets.
- Second- regional charismas, a university professor, an artist, or a reporter, the list can contain more names, these persons lead several groups, a university professor leads several student groups, and a teacher can lead several school groups.
- Third- symbolic leaders: Khatami, Mousavi & Karroubi and even Montazeri & Sanei & some others. These persons and particularly the main three leaders create the identity of the movement. They are not even fully linked, and each one has a special role. But they are considered as sources of reliance and motivation. Capturing them will decrease the movement speed but it will not cause it to stop, because they are not organizational leaders. Currently the main leaders are in severe security conditions. Their capture can even accelerate the movement.
Q: Because of security atmosphere the movement body cannot have any connection with these symbolic leaders. People ask: “Why Mousavi issues his statement about Qods day after 10 days?”
Mousavi is currently confined. There is no need to send anyone to capture him, they can order his guards: “Bring him now, or control him where he is”; as his guards were told to take him into supporters of Ahmadinejad to be insulted by them on Qods Day. All phones & cell phones used in his house are microphones that will send everything to IRGC intelligence services. There are so many wiretap systems in his house that he has to increase audio volume of radio & TV when he wants to speak, they have to speak silently and understand the lip language in order to recognize each other and take any decision. Also every meeting is under severe security control.
Even Masih Mohajeri, the cleric staffer of Jomhouri Eslami newspaper who had gone to visit him was detained for 3 hours and was interrogated. In such an atmosphere that all of his communications are limited & severely controlled and 90% of their time is dedicated to security issues we cannot expect more. In addition there are psychological wars. Up to now there have been several messages about immediate capture of the leaders and they had to prepare themselves for the possible arrest.
Q: Is there any real danger concerning their capture?
There have been 3 options on the table in coup council, and Khamenei has reviewed them all.
- First- house confinement (like Montazeri was confined for several years), probably it is the main option as it has less expense for them.
- Second- exile, if confinement doesn’t lead to success this would be the next option.
- Third- capturing the leaders. Khamenei will not try to capture them. They’ve distributed gossips of Mousavi capture and broadcasted it through their news agencies & newspapers to test the society reaction, but they retreated. Of course they are still performing try & error. For instance they send someone toward Khatami to overturn his turban and attack him physically on Qods Day.
We can compare leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris while sitting under an apple tree and interviewing with foreign media with persons like Khatami, Mousavi & Karroubi who are wiretapped in their houses & offices and are attacked by private militia in the streets and their meetings is severely controlled and some of their friends or relatives are in prison, interrogated, tortured and even raped.
Aziz Jafari had suggested two lists to Mr. Khamenei. One list had 150 people and the other 300. He had said if you would let me arrest these 300 people I would have oppressed this movement. But Khamenei had panicked. His main concern has been the reaction of society to extensive arrests and specially arresting the leaders. He is worried if the consequences get out of their control. Therefore, they approved “gradual arrests” in the office of the Supreme Leader. They would arrest a few people and torture them, then they would release one or two of them, after a couple of days they would arrest a few others. These arrests and releases are a psychological game with the people so that the society would not get shocked and react in revolutionary and terminal ways.
They put the leaders and figures of the Green Movement under pressure to draw red lines between inside and outside. Mr. Hejazi from the office of the Supreme Leader has specifically asked the leaders of the movement to draw lines between people inside and out of the country and to separate themselves from people such as Makhmalbaf and Sazegara.
In a security atmosphere 90% of the time and facilities are expensed for security. The security atmosphere is the atmosphere of existence and inexistence and it negatively affects the politics. Therefore, when the political position of the leaders is affected by the security atmosphere it becomes conservative and vague. The Green Movement entered a security atmosphere right after Khamenei’s mass prayer of Friday 29 of Khordad. Despite outside of Iran where the atmosphere is still political, domestically the atmosphere has become of security and this is a new challenge for the green movement.
Q: How can the problem of Supreme Leader’s relationship with the body of the movement be solved?
With the Green national media. With a Green radio station or a TV channel. Of course the organization of the Green movement acts as a matrix and through a core.
Q: The dictatorship is after drawing lines between the inside and outside of the country. How about the Greens themselves? Do they have a clear line with the regime inside?
The line between the Greens and the regime inside the country is fuzzy. The Greens ask each other in private and public meetings if a Green would attend the mass prayer held by Khamenei? Would a Green attend the mass prayer at all? Is a Green allowed to work for the government? The violent reaction of people to those artists who meet with the supreme leader or attend the inauguration ceremony shows the need of the society for a clear territory marking from inside.
Q: It is said that in addition to all the pressure, Khamenei continuously send messages to Mousavi, Khatami and Hashemi to come back to the arms of the regime.
On the day of 26 of Khordad a meeting between Mousavi and Khamenei took place. Mousavi told Khamenei:”if I am your problem, annul the fraudulent election and I will resign in return, but do not play with the people.”
And Khamenei had responded:”your nature is different than Khatami, go after your personal life.” On the other hand he sends a messenger to Khatami saying:”your nature is different than the rest. You are not like Karroubi, do not mix with them, come and let us have a talk.”
These behaviors remind me of my interrogations during Shah time, one day they would come with a lash and the other day with a box of candies.
Q: How about Hashemi? Some still have not made up their mind about him. Some include him somewhere in the Green spectrum and some consider him a hypocrite.
Hashemi has been visiting Khamenei every Tuesday. Continuing these visits can have multiple benefits.
First- retarding systematic violence. He bridles Khamenei when he is a threat.
Second- Role of a minimum supporter for the Green Movement. Hashemi is an old lion; although he is not strong anymore but he is still a lion and everybody is afraid of him. He and Khamenei sit face to face every Tuesday like two political elements, two wolves, and evaluate each other. And every Tuesday Khamenei asks him: “leave the Green Movement. The regime is yours. When I am not here you have to manage the regime.” This is a lie that Hashemi does not believe anymore. Hashemi says: I have made Khamenei the Supreme Leader and now sees him as a betraying friend who took the power and left him.
But to understand Hashemi Rafsanjani we need to understand him in the 3-dimensional environment that he is moving in.
First- The Green Movement Environment: Hashemi is satisfied with this environment. His “Amir Kabir” dream is fulfilled here at the end of his life. He is not after wealth or power anymore. He wants to leave behind a good name in history.
Second – The regime: he thinks that he is the one who owns the regime and not Khamenei. He asks himself: “who do I fight with? He says this was I who after Khomeini’s death and before his burial, without any will left behind, convinced the Assembly of Experts to elect Khamenei individually to leadership instead of a leadership council. (Recently the NHK TV channel in Japan has revealed a video of this historic day.) One can ask himself who has released this revealing movie to the world?
Third – Traditional religious environment: his origin. Where those who are heartbroken from Khamenei and are eliminated by the regime get together and empathize.
Hashemi is entangled in these three environmental paradoxes. His alternate positions come from these three environments.
In a letter to Khamenei he wrote “my Khorasani friend”. The content was written in such a way to show that Khamenei is good and Ahmadinejad’s government is bad. He had written that they felt there is a division between the two of us….
Of course this letter was an agreement between Hashemi and Khamenei, so that Hashemi first writes this letter and in response Khamenei also writes a sympathy letter. Hashemi wrote and sent the letter and waited for Khamenei’s response. But the response got to him exactly at the moment when they had arrested his daughter in law. And Fatemeh, his daughter entered his room headfirst and told him the news. Hashemi read Khamenei’s letter in this situation and found it very rootless and refused to publish the letter.
He was contacted by the office of Supreme Leader asking why he had not published the letter yet. He replied that he has relinquished and wanted his letter back. They didn’t give it back. Hashemi called and said if they didn’t give the letter back he would go in person and get it back. (this is where a lion remembers, even at the death bed, that he used to be a powerful lion some day.) Khamenei contacted him and Hashemi said: “your letter was not what you were supposed to write and the way your system treated me was not the way it was supposed to be. They have arrested and beaten my daughter in law, why should I write a friendly letter?”
Hashemi’s children also have pivotal role in controlling him. They constantly read his letters to make sure he does not commit a strategic mistake in this critical time. They continuously remind him that they are not superior to the rest of the people. And his wife said, in an interview broadcast from TV channels, that in case of a fraud the people should come on the streets. Hashemi’s words are sometimes told through his wife and children.
Some believe that Hashemi is a historic opportunity for the Green Movement. They say: “he was the one who set up the stage from within the regime for reform, but the impact of a part of reforms to him weakened both him and the reformist movement. Mr. Khatami still complains about what the radicals did to Hashemi during the reform era. He considers that a deadly impact on the reform movement. Those who did not dare to hit Khamenei hit Hashemi instead.
Q: Mr. Khatami? I met with him personally with a group of young people, exactly two weeks before he became a candidate. He was decisively saying that he would not nominate himself. After he did I was shocked and when he pulled out I was shocked again. I phoned you from Iran the same time and asked you about the inconsistency in the word and behavior of Mr. Khatami. Do you remember how you responded?
If Khamenei knew about the possibility of Khatami coming in, he would prevent it. I think Khatami surprised them with sudden nomination in the last days. Another version is that his friends convinced him in the very last days. Khamenei, in a message sent by Hassan Khomeini (Khomeini’s grandson), had asked him to pull out and Khatami asked him in exchange not to support Ahmadinejad and this was a silent trade. Khamenei announced in Mash-had that his support of the government does not mean support of Ahmadinejad’s nomination. However, later it was revealed that this had been a superficial agreement and he did not stand by his word.
Q: Mr. Khatami is compared with Gandhi, especially for his antiviolence slogan.
We all wish Khatami would become another Gandhi. But we forget that the social culture that backed up his campaign is different than that of Khatami. Gandhi’s antiviolence slogan is a logical result of the Indian culture and specifically Hinduism. Religious Hindu’s do not eat meat and even eggs to avoid violence and this is a cultural background for nonviolent combat.
However, in a fight and Jihad culture which is more Arabic than Hindu, Mr. Khatami wants to introduce a democratic model of battle. His only supporters are the educated and scholars who are acquainted with the modern Iran.
In a relative way, Khatami is both the Gandhi of Iran and the region. The democratic thoughts that he seeded have already had an impact. Like the reformist movement, the Green Movement is also endebted by his words and his acts.
Q: Who has the power in Iran?
This is Obama’s main question from his advisers: who has the power in Iran?
I suspect that he wants to make sure if the power is owned by Ahmadinejad or Khamenei so that according to the model used in Libya and with the agreement of the West take Iran out of the crisis. However, neither Iran is Libya nor Khamenei is Ghazzafi.
The Iranian society is more educated and scholar than to surrender to dictatorship totally, like Libyan people. Where in Libya one has witnessed a student movement or women’s movement or the reform or Green movement every day? A society like Iran, that creates a movement after each election and challenges the power of the dictator constantly is not comparable with the Libyan society.
I think the power in its general sense is divided into two parts.
Regime’s power: that tries to control the situation with the power of arms, oil money and religious deception.
People’s power: thanks to the youth generation which is the majority of the society, plus the middle class and the educated and scholar class who try to change the situation and challenge this power.
Because of this, the world does not know with whom they should make an agreement. The Green Movement is the realization of the popular power which the world is beginning to realize that the future belongs to it. The Green Movement’s warning to the world’s governments is this:
Ahmadinejad’s government is temporary in Iran. The real owners are the Green people of Iran.
In the Libyan and Gazzafi model negotiation and agreement is the solution. In Saddam’s model and Iraq war and destruction is the solution. In the Iranian model influencing the public opinion and attention to human rights is the solution. In the Libyan model the cheapest, in the Iraqi model the most expensive, and in the Iranian model-conditioned on attention to human rights- the most effective model for democracy and peace in the region are going to be developed.
Q: Some people say that the Iran Revolutionary Guards (IRG) are now in charge, not the clerics. Others say that the IRG is the military arm of the clerics. Does Mr. Khamenei have the same influence as Khomeini did? Or is the IRG in charge?
Khomeini had charisma. He originally ruled over people’s hearts. But Khamenei’s rule is through power. His power comes from three things:
1. Religious: Clerics, Leaders of Friday Prayers, and the religious experts
Seventy percent (70%) of the clergy are supporting Khamenei for their own survival. They believe that his fall will bring their own fall. Khamenei uses this clerical base to give himself a holy aura.
Khamenei is surrounded by a group of clerics who sell tradition to people and call it religion. They are always telling people about the God, heaven, and hell.
He has a symbiotic relationship with this group. He has convinced them that if he goes, so do they. Some clerics see their survival in him. Some clerics like Mahdavi Kani, Mo’men, Yazdi, Mesbah Yazdi and even people like Nouri Hamedani and some of the top instructors in seminaries jump in to support Khamenei when an emergency arises.
2. Financial: Khamenei knows that without money he will lose his authority. So he has taken control of all sources (of revenue).
One of Khamenei’s financial resources is in (the city of) Mashhad. “Ostane Ghods” (one of the cartels of Mashhad, which by the way people of Mashhad hate, canned tomatoes, bread, tiles, automotive parts, and billions of dollars in real estate and other services).
“Kowsar Industrial Complex” owns five companies and is worth $20 Billion. It is not directly owned by Khamenei but no one can make any changes without his permission.
“Komite Emdad” (The Relief Committee) is the largest holding company that works with lower income people and turns anyone that it helps into an agent (for its own needs). With giving money, it controls people’s beliefs. It covers only six million people and it has $60 Billion. It owns 30% of “Persian Bank”, 30% of “Iran Khodro” (Iran Automotive), all of “Bank of Day”, “Tadbir Investments” which itself is one of the largest investment banks.
“Jame’h Al Zahra” (a cartel that owns multiple companies. One of its projects is to build 3,000 residential units with investments from a partner from Qatar).
These properties are under the control of the Velayate Faghih (Supreme Leader) and they are even registered as such. Khamenei has told the head of these operations, in front of Golpayegani and Hejazi, that no one except him can buy or sell these properties, not even those in attendance.
Khamenei knows that to wield his power and maintain his religious authority, he needs money.
Because religious authority and power by themselves do not ensure survival.
This money enables him to go to Kurdistan (region) and commit $200 Million from his own money. The Friday Prayer Leaders, (the members of) the Council of Defenders, and the seminaries receive their salaries from him. New seminary students (that go to Khamenei seminaries) receive $100 to $150 (in living stipends) from him; whereas (Ayatollah) Saneii’s new seminary students receive $15 to $20 (living stipends) from Saneii.
Khamenei has purchased (health) insurance for all (his) seminary students and is building homes for all of them. Who (do you think) is paying for all those suburbs that are being built?
Khamenei is the richest person in the world. He (of course) says that it is not his money; it is (just) available to him.
3. Military Circle
• Security Commanders:
Holy militarism. Previously they (commanders) received their authority from the Shah. Now they get it from the Supreme Leader. Their goal is to suppress people. They used to monarchists and their sign was the crown. Now they are holy and their sign is the turban (20% of them are dissatisfied but don’t dare to speak, but 80% of them are loyal).
• Military Body:
80% of these are clerks. They will work for whoever is in charge. If the Green Movement takes over tomorrow, they will work for it.
• Legitimizing Group:
Intelligence Service. Morteza Rezai and Ramezani. The commanders are fearful of these guys. Some clerics have also entered this group.
When we talk about Khamenei and his power, we are talking about the totality of these groups, not just one person.
The IRG has 150,000 formal members, and 350,000 (more) are somehow on the Basij payroll.
Q: So the financial resources, security services, and control of people’s beliefs are all gathered under Khamenei. How can such a powerful entity be defeated?
The split between the commanders and the regular soldiers will cause their demise. For examples because of the inflation and the overall high cost of living, even the seminary students who are getting $100-$150 stipends have no comfort. If you get close to them you will find out that even they are dissatisfied. On the one hand they face people who do not consider the government legitimate. So when nobody is around they show the “V” with their fingers to say that “I’m with you.”
Or consider the 80% segment of IRG’s regular soldiers. These are people who are working for IRG because they couldn’t find a better job. And don’t forget that many of these people are employees in companies that are associated with the IRG. Since IRG has taken over the entire economy, if anyone gets a job anywhere, like it or not, they will be working for the IRG.
Some of the very top people in the IRG are also struggling with their conscience because they joined IRG to defend Iran against Iraq with their lives but now they’ve become security agents for the regime that is stepping all over their values.
Above all are the families of these people. Many of their wives and children are Green supporters and they are receiving arrest warrants from their own family members. Even among Khamenei’s own children there are differences of opinion and they are not united in their support of the regime.
The same Ministry of Intelligence that perpetrated the serial killings (of opposition leaders) in the beginning of Khatami’s presidency, now has reached the point that their employees don’t even stand up during the meeting where Ahmadinejad introduced their new minister (standing up is the customary show of respect when someone important walks in).
Q: What is the function of the Ministry of Intelligence now?
I must start from the beginning. Let’s return to the question about who is really holding the power in Iran. At one point Khomeini and the clerics held the power. They used religion. The revolution succeeded under their leadership. So for the first decade after the revolution, they held the power until the war ended and Khomeini died.
When Khomeini passed and Khamenei, through Hashemi Rafsanjani, succeeded in convincing the Council of Experts to select him as the new leader, the clerics still held the power. But Khamenei’s leadership caused problems within the clerics. Some who saw themselves or others as superior to Khamenei became dissatisfied. And Khamenei during this time was not afraid of Iranian people but he was afraid of the clerics. That’s why, using the Ministry of Intelligence (MOI), he attempted to identify these unhappy clerics and limit their power.
In one front the war had ended and he was faced with a large entity named IRG which had become the heroes of the country and now wanted their share of the spoils. Khamenei decided to gradually replace the clerics’ power with the IRG and the MOI and positioned himself as the commander in chief of all armed forces.
During the second decade after the revolution the transformation of Khamenei from a cleric to a military General in turn transitioned the power from the clerics to the IRG and MOI, under leadership of Khamenei and Rafsanjani.
During the second decade Khamenei and Rafsanjani are the leaders of the IRG and MOI and not the representatives of the clerics in the government. This is the gradual coup that silently took place and until now there’s been little talk about it.
Reform Movement was a shock to the system. Khamenei’s reaction was the serial killings (of opposition leaders) by the MOI. When Khatami revealed the information and blamed the MOI, it delivered a heavy blow to the MOI.
The MOI under Khatami was overhauled and it was changed from a spy agency with control over prisons, torture, interrogations, and terror to a department responsible for (Intelligence) analysis; in other words, it actually became the Ministry of Intelligence.
Over the years hundreds of books about the MOI have been published. Since research became mandatory, employees of this department became open-minded. Khamenei who had lost one of his two levers of power tilted more toward the IRG and increased the size of the IRG’s Intelligence Department to reach the level of government ministries.
With the losses that the reformists experienced, Rafsanjani who was Khamenei’s partner in managing the security forces and had begun to lay the groundwork for the reformists was pushed to the side. Hence, the control of power shifted again and the power sharing from between Hashemi and Khamenei changed to between Reform Movement and Khamenei, also the power sharing between IRG and the Intelligence Ministry of the second decade of the revolution changed to power sharing between IRG and reformists. In summary the distribution of power in Iran is like this:
Before the revolution: Shah
First decade of revolution: Clerics as representatives of Khomeini
Second decade of revolution: IRG and MOI as representatives of Khamenei and Rafsanjani
Third decade of revolution: IRG representing Khamenei and intellectuals representing Khatami
Present: IRG and Khamenei, and the Green Movement
Meanwhile, MOI was first sidelined and then removed.
During the Presidential elections, the IRG believed that the Green Movement is a velvet revolution incited by foreign powers. The MOI was insisting that the Green Movement is a natural reaction to election fraud. The MOI insisted so much on this analysis that its minister had to resign.
In a meeting held at the supreme leader’s office with Ahmadinejad, it was decided that the only solution regarding the MOI is to cleanse it of 40% (of its employees). MOI has around 20,000 employees. In the meeting in the supreme leader’s office it was decided to buy off the remaining years of service of 6,000 to 8,000 MOI employees at a cost twice that of buying off other government employees.
Of the 200 managers, the decision was to change 180 of them. And the plan is to replace them with up to 8,000 IRG, Basij, and University of Imam Sadegh (members).
Their goal is to once again transform MOI’s resources, which had become the analysis capability of the regime, back to forces of oppression. They want to destroy Khatami’s 8-year effort which Ahmadinejad was unable to destroy during his four year with this mass replacement (of employees).
After the elections, the Revolutionary Guards felt that its reputations had been harmed. So the IRG insisted that it is the regime’s visible force and suppressions (of opposition) must be the role of regime’s invisible forces.
Regaining power by the Ministry of Intelligence and the freeing of IRG again returns the security forces to the hated forces of oppression. What the regime did not take into account was (the effects of sending) 6,000 to 8,000 unhappy MOI employees to join the Iranian opposition. The views of these people will seep into the public. These people who became the regime’s analysts will be thrown outside the system with a load of intelligence and dissatisfaction which by itself is a gift for an improved future for Iranian people.
Q: Is Mr. Khamenei really committing these crimes because of his beliefs in God and his religion?
Khamenei’s perspective is not ideological. It is from cost/benefit perspective. He is General Khamenei, the merchant. God and religion are the last things that he takes into account. He is even no longer trying to be popular among his own followers. He is afraid, more than ever, and since he is afraid, he terrorizes people. Khamenei has turned into a frightened Intelligence Officer and cannot have a good sleep. He has announced that he is the only one who can order the arrest of famous individuals.
Q: After he (Khamenei) is gone, who is he considering for leadership?
In the same way that Khomeini could not fathom his own death to write his will, he (Khamenei) also does not dare to think about his own death. If he would think of death, he would reduce his crimes. But those close to him say that at one point he was considering Shahroudi (the former head of judiciary and currently a member of the guardian council) because Mojtaba (Khamenei’s son) does not have the skills that he believes can have the deceit required for the position of being the Supreme Leader. But Mojtaba is very power-hungry and his father has put him down in this regard.
Q: Starting in the afternoon of the Friday, Election Day, we heard a lot of people talking about coup-de-tat. Who are the ones who initiated the coup?
Khamenei is the primary coup leader. The coup structure is under him. After Khamenei the top coup leader is Ta-eb, the sun-in-law of Mr. Hosseini who had a television program called Ethics in the Family. Ta-eb’s codename is Maysam. Mojtaba Khamenei (Khamenei’s son) councils him and sometimes acts as the communication conduit.
- Bezar-Pash, Ahmadinejad advisor who also heads the Youth Organization and Saipa (car manufacturer) and Manager of “Vatan-e-Emrooz” Daily
- Morteza Rezai, Revolution Guards Intelligence Security
- Aziz Jafari
- -Mr. Mortazavi
- Samare Hashemi
- Sardar Araghi (Chief Commander of IRG in Tehran)
- Sardar Javani (Speaker of IRG)
- Saeedi (Supreme Leader’s representative in IRG)
- Zolnouri (Supreme Leader’s second representative in IRG)
- Sadegh Mahsooli
- Ahmadi Moghadam (Top Commander of the Police)
- Ramezani (IRG’s Information Organization)
- Mortezaei (IRG’s Information Organization)
- Jalili (Secretary of the Security Council)
IRG had already notified Mr. Mousavi that they would not allow anyone to become the President except Mr. Ahmadinezhad or whoever was ratified by Mr. Khamenei himself.
Coup de tat’s team was organized beforehand but after the release of the initial results of the election which showed Mr. Mousavi’s resolute victory, to stop the spread of the news, in two occasions they attacked Ghitarie.
First attack- Friday 7 a.m. and in order to destroy broadcasting systems
Second attack- Saturday morning and in order to arrest the dissidents
Learning their lessons from uprisings in the universities during the Reforms period, they took new measures.
In the Reforms Period, when demonstrators started their rally from Valiasr sq. toward Pastor St. - Mr. Khamenei’s office, there was no coordination between the Police, IRG and Special Units who should have taken care of the riots. Therefore after the elections the Staff for crisis control (referred to as Sar Allah or the Army of God) in Seoul intersection took control of the situation and three scenarios where defined as follows:
Situation White: no need for intervention
Situation Amber: Police Force (Special Units) will initiate
Situation Red: IRG will take charge
On Tuesday June 16, on the Coup de tat’s meeting, Mr. Ahmadinezhad suggested a Top Command Council for Sar Allah in the Security Council so that they could decide about the proper measures in one day and execute them by Mr. Khamenei’s creed.
This Council is taking place on daily basis now and is headed by Saeed Jalili. In this Council, Mr. Ahmadinezhad informs Mr. Khamenei of the things he feels he likes. Kahrizak was one of their undertakings which was a clear sign of corruption in the system. They cover up their corruption by any means.
Q: What is the story of Kahrizak? We have heard mixed stories.
Prisons are one of the multiple challenges of the regime. They consecrated Shoor Abad for drug addicts. Two years back, they used one of the sections of that area for gangsters. After the elections and by the direct order of Mr. Radan they relocated some of the detainees who were more good-looking and as he had said sissy (!), to Kahrizak. 145 people were taken to a 75 sq/m area where the gangsters were imprisoned. They had their clothes taken off before entering the area and then the doors got closed. Out of shame, detainees were walking aimlessly and later on started banging on the doors. The doors opened and they were attacked by jets of water. At the same time some were whipping them and dragged them out one by one and forced them to curse themselves and call their female relatives prostitutes. Everyone who refused to do so got whipped. Then they paired them up and asked them to curse each other face to face and in detail. Then they were handcuffed and put back behind closed doors again.
Later in the day, 70 gangsters who had been imprisoned for months in solitary confinements and without any chance to sexually releasing themselves were thrown among the arrestees to sexually assault them. The stench was unbearable in that area. There were no toilets and hot days over 40 degrees centigrade and cold nights had created a horrifying condition.
Accidentally, Saeed Sadeghi, a war time photographer who was also Mr. Khamenei’s photographer had been shuffled among the detainees and his cries of having relationship with Mr. Khamenei were left unnoticed.
In an inspection, he was identified and released immediately. He attended a meeting with Mr. Khamenei on the following Monday and cried in front of him and told him of the story. Later on as he retells the effects of his outcry, Mr. Khamenei slapped his forehead repeatedly and left the meeting.
Later when Khamenei orders Mr. Radan and Mortazavi to close down Kahrizak detention center they grumbled and said: “Now that the dust has settled they ask to shut it down”.
The story of Mr.Radan and Mr. Khamenei is like an old tale of Yazid the Caliph and one of his commanders called Shemr. It is narrated that when Shemr brought Imam Hosein’s head, Yazid the Caliph told him: “I asked you to stop him not to behead him”.
One might say that Mr. Khamenei is innocent. But it must be said that even after 3 days of his direct order Kahrizak was operating and when the prisoners were hospitalized, they asked them to sign a document with eight articles in order not to leak the news.
If Mr. Khameni was innocent, why wouldn’t he punish Mr. Radan and Mortazavi? He fears no one else could commit heinous acts as they did if he punished them. In addition to Kahrizak, prisoners (especially female prisoners) were sexually abused in other police and Basij militia detention centers.
Mr. Khamenei had repeatedly said, “Do not smear the Islamic Republic with these accusations” However by that he meant the statements that Mr. Karobi had disclosed.
Q: How many people were arrested?
The exact figure is 4000; however 3000 people apart from that initial figure were released in the first one or two days. Of those 4000 detainees, only 400 were done by the Ministry of Information.
Were confessions important? Every one boos the show trials and those who confessed have become heroes.
Since Mr. Ghotbzade, Iranian jails have had the same story;