Rafsanjani's ouster completes an evolutionary trend in Iran


by FG


…The crimes of the first decade of the revolution were ignored by many because of 1) the Iran-Iraq War, 2) Khomeini's popularity allowing him to garner mass support for any stance he approved of and 3) a desire to give the new regime a chance to establish itself.

The second decade witnessed the proliferation of dissent and led to the election of Khatami and the reformers. As riddled with obstacles as the reform era was, there was an active effort by the elected government to limit the power of the extra-judicial players in the country. Secret prison cells were revealed by a parliamentary committee headed by Mousavi Khoeini. The chain killings of intellectuals led to actual arrests of high-level people in the judiciary (though the "suicide" of Saeed Emami prevented the full story from getting out). And the press experienced an opening up that led to the publication of countless new newspapers. Now, most of the most impactful of the reformist's efforts were successfully defeated by the hardliners, but those who were concerned about the state of affairs could at the least point to an administration that was committed to changing things.

…The reformists had been thoroughly defeated, both by the Guardian Council, and most recently by a highly controversial presidential election. The administration in power not only refuses to facilitate oversight, but gets its strongest support from precisely those extra-judicial actors who reformists had tried to suppress. These are the likes of Mesbah Yazdi and Ruhollah Hosseinian --figures associated with the chain killings; the Revolutionary Guard, whose control Khatami tried to transfer to the office of the Presidency; Saeed Mortazavi, who was famous for shutting down newspapers; and, of course, the Guardian Council, who wiped away thousands of reformist candidates from running for election, including 80-some odd who had been serving as elected members of parliament.

This being the case, those like Ali Mottahari, who are culturally very conservative, but who nonetheless respect the constitution of the country, have been left at a crossroad,,,

I remember reading earlier today an article posted about Ali Karroubi's torture at the hand of security forces. Apparently, Karroubi related how Rafsanjani and his wife stood and watched him in tears as he told about how he was bloodied so bad that he only wished that he could die so as to avoid more pain. Rafsanjani has rightfully been criticized a lot throughout the years, but if not he himself, there are countless others like him who have sacrificed a lot for the revolution, who must be wistfully thinking in old age about how there are no excuses not to see how badly it has betrayed even its own ideals (as they are framed in the constitution).


more from FG
Soosan Khanoom

I truly enjoyed reading this

by Soosan Khanoom on

I truly enjoyed reading this as well the MG reply...... here I see honest tries towards the solution of the problem rather than adding to it ......




by mullah-kosh on

Just wanted to say that all your analysis in the past few days have been sharp, and right on the money. I specially like the historical parallel you draw to Roman Republic, and the Soviet Union. This government is eating at itself, and sonner or later will find its mouth eating its own arms. That is a sign of a degenerate, and decandent system that is collapsing onto itself.


Yes, the revolution is as Islamic as it has ever been

by Cost-of-Progress on

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I once again submit that we Iranians [should] know that this is the result of the ever exisitng desire of this entity, Islam, to dominate and rule by the sword. It is too bad that now after all these centuries, Iranians are doing to themselves what Arabs did a long time ago. Iranains are doing it on behalf of an alien culture and religion.





The Greens must forgive moral conservatives (essential allies)

by FG on

In a revolutionary context, “moral conservatives” are those who at least have a private moraityl even if they allow ideology to overrule it until reality sets in.  By serving a pipe dream they unwittingly assist the rise of a Monster without intending to do so. Now that the full extent of Khamenei’s crimes is impossible to miss, such men ask: “? How did the revolution go so badly off course? Is it even Islamic anymore or moral in any sense?”

Too many in the opposition harp on past crimes of early regime supporters while ignoring the fact that ninety percent of the populace was equallly deluded.  Virtually an entire population kept silent and gave the regime the benefit of the doubt so long as they believed the revolution was headed toward decency in some far off future.  No one believes that anymore.

In responding to a NY Times article on how some dictators surrendered power gracefully, South Africa’s DeKlerk gave some advice that the opposition must take seriously. See:


Cynical men (Stalin/Khameini)--opportunists with no ethnical restraints whatsover--often rise to power after a revolution’s ideological founders (Lenin/Khoumeini) pass away. In Russia, most true believers in the original Politburo--having served their purpose--were sooner or later arrested, forced to “confess“ counterrevolutionary activities and executed. Today Moussavi, Karoubbi and Rafsanjani enjoy what their counterparts (Bukharin, Zinoviev) experienced. If not for the Green problem, Khamenei could discard most moral conservatives right now.

The Roman Republic twice managed to put off conflict by creating triumvirates in which two rivals (Julius Caesar/Pompey and Octavian (later Augustus)/Mark Anthony) governed along with a wealthy third man who lacked any military base but served as a balance wheel. When that man died, tempoorary allies went after one another.

Dictators are jealous gods. Conflict between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad will increase with Rafsanjani out of the picture. The only thing holding the alliance together now is the “green problem.” 

Nevertheless too much is at stake in the next presidential election for self-restaint to continue.  Don't be surprised at nasty and open criticism by both sides to grow as the election nears.  The Greens, having lost all faith in elections and with no dog in this race--may be courted by both sides. Ahmadinejad's candidate, socially liberal, might capture a small portion of those votes but Khamenei has virtually no appeal.


1. No elections.  The Islamic Republic no longer exists.

2. The Guardian Council blocks Ahmadinejad’s candidate.  Ahmadinejad ignores its decision.  His man wins.

3. The Guardian Council allows Ahmadinejad’s candidate who wins.

4. The Guardian Coucil blocks Ahmadinejad’s candidate and Ahmadinejad accepts that decision. Khamenei's man wins.

5. Khamenei dies before the election.  Ahmadinejad’s man wins easily.

6. To take away votes from Ahmadinejad’s candidate and split the Greens, Khamenei allows several popular reform candidates to get past the Guardian Council, pledging free elections and keeping his promise out of self-interest. 

The problem would be in persuading Greens to run and especially in attractiong the rank-and-file who have no doubts about past election rigging.  Greens also know that any large turnout will be interpreted as "support for the regime."  In scenaior six, the winner is anyone’s guess even if the Greens can be conned a second time. 

NOTE: Under all scenarios except 4 and the perhaps 6 Khamenei is defanged and becomes a mere figurehead.  Ahmadinejad won't need Khamenei anymore when it comes to rigging the next election. Another advantage is that people despise Khamenei and his ultraconservative clerics even more than they hate Ahmadinejad.