IRAN’S KHRUSHCHEV CHALLENGES BOTH THE LEADER AND THE CST
TEHRAN –PARIS 2ND Nov. (IPS) For the first time, a prominent Iranian cleric openly challenged the authority of the leader of the Islamic Republic and the legality of the notorious Clergymen’s Special Tribunal (CST), denouncing it as an illegal institution since it had strayed from the original path and duties grand ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny had fixed for it.
The charges against the CST were brought up at the Tribunal’s auditorium by hojatoleslam Abdollah Nouri, 53, a two time Interior Minister impeached by the present and last Majles (parliament).
"Grand ayatollah Khomeini was the choice of the people, but those who become his successors are chosen by a committee," he said, referring to the fact that Mr. Khameneh’i had been chosen by the 72-members Experts Assembly to replace Mr. Khomeini and elevated overnight from the rank of a junior hojatoleslam to that of ayatollah.
"Every revolution is known by the name of the person who launched it, and the successor of the leader is only the director of the revolution, the Imam's successors are only the managers of the revolution," Nuri said.
Mr. Nouri reminded that the CST was established by the grand ayatollah Khomeini to function according to the Constitution and its existence was to be temporary.
As a newspaper editor, former vice-president and former president of the Tehran City Council closely associated with the founder of the Islamic Republic, Mr. Nouri also challenged the divine-like rule of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the regime.
Dubbed as Iran’s Khrushchev, after the famous Soviet Union boss who for the first time revealed and denounced atrocities committed by Stalin, Mr. Nouri was answering charges the CST has brought against him in a 40 pages indictment that contains all kinds of accusations, from insulting Islam and the grand ayatollah Khomeini to supporting normalisation with the Great US Satan and Israel.
Considering the scope and dimension of the charges, analysts say the aim of the trial, ordered by ayatollah Khameneh’i, is to prevent the popular and outspoken Nouri from entering the next parliamentary elections, for the fear to see him sitting as the next speaker of the Majles, replacing the conservative Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, a leader’s yes man.
''Even if we believe the special clerical court is legal ... yet the jury in this court is not competent to decide about my case due to its being illegal,'' he added.
"I'm not saying that I shouldn't be tried, what I'm saying is that there are no signs of the law. Why is the law being sacrificed for factional interests?" Mr. Nouri observed.
He rejected arguments by the Head of the CST, hojatoleslam Mohammad Ebrahim Nekonam, a leader appointee, that the CST had been recognised by the Council for the Discernment of the State’s Interests (CDSI), noting that what the CDSI had confirmed was the budget of the CST and not it’s existance.
He also reminded that the CST’s seven-member, all conservative clerics jury was illegal since it does not comprises various members of society, as it should be according to the law.
''Even if we believe the Clergymen’s Special Tribunal is legal ... yet the jury in this court is not competent to decide about my case due to its being illegal,'' he added.
"I have always underlined the need to act according to the law. I am equal before the law, just as all other citizens," Nuri said.
Judge Mohammad Salimi replied: "As Nouri said, the Islamic revolution has received its legitimacy through the Imam ... (but) so has the CST and we recognise this court as official and legal. You are a member of the clergy and will be tried by this Court", hojatoleslam Salimi said, adding that not only the CST was competent, but it is also entitled to deal with press matters.
"This trial is not within the framework of the law," Nouri insisted, saying that he was only repeating what the law said and did not intend to "insult anyone."
Defence lawyer Mohsen Rahami, said the charges brought against Mr. Nouri are "baseless and based on personal interpretations."
"Many of the accusations have not even been signed and sealed. Therefore they can not be regarded as lawful. Others, like complaints made by the Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic had been withdrawn, yet the Court has kept them," he said.
Though Mr. Nouri is considered as a close ally and supporter of President Mohammad Khatami, but many well informed sources in Tehran say they doubt Mr. Khatami would intervene with the trial in order the save his former Interior Minister from receiving a long jail term.
"The fact is that Khatami is afraid of Nouri’s strong personality and because of that, I doubt that Khatami would really like to see Mr. Nouri sitting as the next Majles Speaker", one Tehran analyst told IPS. ENDS NOURI TRIAL 21199
To give our reader a glimpse of the kind of article Mr. Nouri’s newspaper "Khordad" would carry, IPS produces below excerpts from an item that the daily published last October and translated by the Students Committee for the Defence of Democracy
" ...The dubious assassination attempt on Rafsanjani six years ago, the murder of two priests, the bus crash carrying Iran's writers, murder of other writers and intellectuals such as Ghafar Hosseini, Zalzadeh, Mir-Ataii, Barazandeh, Tafazoli Saneii and his wife, Mohammad Ziaii, Mamoosta Rabeii, Mamoosta Farooq, Ahmad Mirin Sayad and Kazemi, bombings of holy places, all occurring during Falahian's time in office...."
"....If the chain murders and also that of the heads of Iran's Christian minority including bishop Mikhailian and Dibaj, according to Falahian, was a plot by the Zionists and the Mujahedin to discredit the Islamic republic, now that it is a known fact that Emami was responsible for these plots, how does this reflect on Falahian who appointed him as his right hand man?.."
".. why the Information Minister should make so many references to the economic situation where as this should be the responsibility of the economics and finance officials. Was Falahian so detached and isolated from his own responsibilities or was he trying to divert public attention from what was happening in his own area of responsibility?. Either way Falahian has some serious questions to answer..."
Mr. Falahian's cousin, Mr. Manouchehr Motamed is a political refugee in the US. He has accused the former intelligence minister of having been one of the masterminds of the Jewish Center of Buenos Aires (Argentina)as well. Mr. Motamed was one of the Islamic Republic Embassy's Liaison officers in Argentina.