Green Catalysts


Jahanshah Rashidian
by Jahanshah Rashidian

Let us acknowledge that to form a unified Iranian opposition is not an easy job. While commitment to democratic principles or norms is an uphill task, incorporating Iranian opposition groups from the orthodox leftists to the right-wing monarchists into one single political opposition means, at least for the moment, a far-fetched utopia.   

Such a unity, "La Resistance", happened when France was occupied by Nazi Germany, but we are not yet at this point. Dictatorial regimes do not allow an effective societal commitment to civic education for political consciousness. Therefore, political opposition within such regimes does not have the same concept as in western democracies, which are inspired from Greek philosophy.

Aristotle and Plato consider politics as a concern with general issues touching the whole problems of community. This must search and satisfy the direct interests of community. This is the moral task of state to achieve ideas and action with "perfect goodness".   

This concept is unlikely to be adapted by an ideological or religious state whose tangible concern remains its ideological / religious doctrine. For a regime like the IRI and its factions, a social change is defined as a "sinful" alteration of social structures and thus not to envisage. This concept of politics is not new. It is long a part of our political unconsciousness.   

It does not mean that we are doomed to such concepts; a unity of Iranian opposition may be achieved through conscious and cooperative efforts. In long-term, there is no other solution to get rid of the plague of the IRI, otherwise new generations will not forgive our fatalistic and egoistic attitudes. We hope to achieve unity, but let us suppose that an immediate modification of our political attitudes remains for the time being an ideal, rather than a reality.   

No true Iranian can wait this ideal unity. People are now in the streets of Iran. They need solidarity and support. With or without leadership, they have chosen to struggle for survival. Their strong voices implicitly call for an end of the murderous IRI. Their political conscience has been long inhibited, but now is on the increase. They are combative and so cautious that nobody can highjack their forthcoming freedom. As seen, the end of communist and right-wing regimes has normally started with spontaneous and sporadic protest actions and finally ended up with popular movements. Leadership was gradually formed during the process when political conscience grew and claimed it. This is also true for our people. Their struggles will create their leadership.   

Nothing is wrong to use the conflicts within the factions of a dying regime. In critical conditions any totalitarian regime will be divided into many factions. Some of them join people for any reason, while the rest continue their loyalty to the establishment because their bloody hands cannot be washed out anymore. Those who join people are welcome, as catalysts, not leaders. In exchange, they will profit from a general amnesty after the fall of the IRI. We should learn from opportunistic defectors of ex-communist countries. A number of them could become new state leaders after the end of communism and some went on to set up new mafia states in their newly unchained capitalist countries.   

Normally, after a period of a revolutionary euphoria, people switch to apathy, especially new generations who are ignorant of their own political institutions and what they mean to them. This shortcoming can be used for regime's "useful" opposition or factions to divert the movement. 

In a free society, opposition performs various activities, but in a corrupted and unelected totalitarian regime like the IRI, the true opposition is uprooted. Therefore, the rule of revolution remains one of the ultimate solutions when nothing is effectively left. Obviously, the prerequisites of leadership abroad could be important, but not predetermined for the initial revolutionary acts. Furthermore all leaders are not endowed with the best qualities and experiences. People can be themselves better avant-gardes.   

In a certain level of political awareness, people show their personality of a leadership. This means that among them, the best can be transformed into leading pioneers. Such pioneers are not pre-elected by opposition groups, but directly chosen by activists and militants of the movement. They will understand the problems that their co-fighters face and will find the best solutions on the spot.  They will work with others in finding paths to practical goals. They know how to react anytime at their best interests within a framework of fixed duties.  

What really contributes to their performance is not where their siege is. This may clandestinely move from one area to another, it can be in or out of the country; the aim is that it can affect its duties. For this aim, it must survive and be safe from destabilisation or an eventual forced confession before the totalitarian regime's court.   

This precaution is necessary because contrary to a "useful" opposition like Green Movement, an opposition leadership uses power and influence primarily in the pursuit of a regime change in Iran. By contrast, a useful opposition is normally formed by ex-cohorts of regime. They are primarily an instrumental obstacle to halt a regime change and secondly an office to bargain on personal objectives. Leaders of such an opposition may call themselves "servants" of people, but in practice more considerations are given to self, to own ideology or religion, over the interests of people. Such leaders because of lacking in social commitments are tolerated or not the targets of extreme brutalities of a totalitarian regime.   

If the opposition cannot form an immediate unified opposition to lead a regime change in Iran, let's use Green Movement as a catalyst. This movement is the last organ of this dying regime. Any faction of the regime is inevitably in a process of agony before the definitive dead of the whole body. On the ruin of this petrified body, a body of democratic and secular regime will come to life. Many people in Iran know and will collectively be aware of this end. So, they know that beyond Green Movement, there is an Islamic alternative to save the whole regime from the death.   

The opposition must remind our people of this inevitable death. Then people will be on the right path to use IRI factions despite of absence of a secular and democratic leadership. People's attitudes, slogans, perseverance show their will to bring an end to the whole Islamic regime. With the beginning of universities, students will further spread these views of secular and democratic values in the society and thus will hasten the dying process.   

No matter the angle from which Green Movement opposes the regime, its leadership is not viewed as one that exerts unlimited influence on people. This is not the movement which makes protest occur that would not happen otherwise. It follows the protests to prevent them from uncontrolled radicalism. It does not intend the changes that people look for, but exercises its power to divert them. It does not look for Iran's future, but attempt to further regress to the black era of murderous Khomeini.  

In conclusion, with a black dossier on the shoulder, fanatics like Mousavi and Co. are not event-making heroes to re-deter-mines the course of our history. They are the last dying organ of the same Islamic regime and in the same time can be used as "green" catalysts.

As catalysts, the "green" leaders make chemical reaction happen without being a part of the new substance. A newborn body of democratic and secular regime in Iran substantially has no elements of the rotten IRI.  


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Jahanshah Rashidian

To MassoudA

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Thank you for your comment and nice words.



by masoudA on

Great article with great view of the realities of the current movement in Iran.    As Moussavi said himeslef; The Green movement is not following me - I am following the Green movement.   This movement was never about Moussavi. 

Thank You JR for you take of what is taking in place in Iran - and let's not forget the fact that those oprpessed in Iran can't openly say they want a regime change - all they can say is they want their vote counted.  

Jahanshah Rashidian

Mrs. Rusta

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

Once again, pure chemically, you have right. Green Movement and Co. are not neutral elements, at least in my views. 

I acknowledge that I did not notice this point. I heard " catalyst" in a German TV reportage on Iran, referring to the green people. However, the affiniyt the German TV probably meant is not what I mean in my article. 

Farah Rusta

Thank you for explanation

by Farah Rusta on

Now I know what you mean and like you I hope these "catalysts" will never be part of the next system.


Jahanshah Rashidian

Mrs. Rusta

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

The chemical definition is ok, and it is implicitly used for those elemnts who can play a role as "catalyst(s) to accelerate the process of regime change without (hopefully) being a part of the new regime.

In the article, I used the term "catalyst' right after Green Movement, as an attribute, and "catalysts" referring to Mousavi and Co--  "Karrubi..."--.  I mean by "co" those you mentioned.

Am I conceptually right? Or you mean politically ?

Farah Rusta

They can't be catalysts

by Farah Rusta on

Unless you redefine the term, catalyst means a substance that is not a part or a derivative of the components of a reaction and would simply speed up or make the reaction proceed. By leader of this movement, I assume you mean the likes of Mousavi, Karroubli, and Kahtami who were (and are) parts of the Islamic system in one way or the other and therfore by definition cannot be catalyts.  Catalyst is not the right term.