Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Iran - History Repeating Itself?

"Dictatorship in the name of religion is the worst kind. The most evident manifestation of a continued tyrannical attitude is the abuse of parliament and the judiciary. We have completely lost hope in the judiciary."

Those are the words of Mir Hossein Mousavi about the latest round of executions of dissidents opposed to the current Iranian regime. The man who was defeated in last year's controversial Presidential elections has taken a more defiant role in recent days. His nephew was shot in the last major demonstration on 27 December.

When Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, a hardline cleric at prayers last Friday twisted the usual words that are said over the dead the day after two more men were hanged saying:

"May God not have mercy on those who are lenient with the corrupt on earth. There is no room for clemency. It is time for severity."

He seems to forget the populist revolution that lead to the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, 11 February marks the 31st Anniversary of the toppling of the Shah. But the usual reshowing of the protests that lead to that revolution are not being shown this year on the orders of the regime. Mr Mousavi, who himself was prominent in that revolution, and Mehdi Karroubi (the other main opposition leader) are encouraging their supporters to protest on that Anniversary next Thursday. Mr Mousavi said:

"Stifling the media, filling the prisons and brutally killing people who peacefully demand their rights in the streets indicate that the roots of tyranny and dictatorship remain from the monarchist era. I don’t believe that the revolution achieved its goals."

He has declared that the reason that Iran rose up 31 years ago exist still in a different form. So when Ebrahim Raisi, a senior member of the judiciary, announced the death penalty on nine more yesterday saying, "They had participated in riots with the aim of toppling the system." In the eyes of one of the founders of the Republic, Mr Mousavi, that is just a continuation of the system he had fought long and painfully to overthrow once before. It is the same he suggests in all but name.

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