KHAMENEH'I AND RAFSANJANI LEADING THE CHARGES ON MODERATES

TEHRAN 17TH Apr. (IPS) The harrowing statement of the Islamic Revolution Guardians Corp (IRGC, or Pasdaran) threatening both President Mohammad Khatami and the reformist to descend on them like "lightening, without hesitation or discrimination" was written in the office of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and sent directly to the Radio for broadcast, according highly informed sources.

Both the Pasdaran and the State-run Radio and Television are directly controlled by Mr. Khameneh'i.

Coming 24 hours after a speech by the lame leader legalising "lawful violence" the unprecedented warning by the Guards was immediately interpreted by Iranian political analysts and observers as a stern ultimatum to the reformist, warning them with a military take over.

The statement accuses the reformists of sparing no efforts to change the Islam-based Constitution, end the export of revolution, present America as the father of democracy and tolerance while portraying the Islamic revolution as symbolising dictatorship and violence, dismantling the Pasdaran and the Basij and above all, separating the Faith from the State in order to proclaim the end of the revolution.

Very reliable sources told an Iran Press service correspondent in Tehran that the war-like declaration had been prepared under the supervision of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and read over the Radio without the knowledge of the Guards, as except some top officers, including General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, the Corp's Commander, most the middle rank officers supports the president.

They said after his humiliating defeat at the polls, Mr. Hahsemi-Rafsanjani turned resolutely his wrath against the reformists and using his influence over Mr. Khameneh'i, has persuaded him on the "necessity" to "check" the moderates before the conservatives lose all powers to the President.

"Though the Revolution is one of logic and compassion, but when the time come, the enemies, from very small to very big would feel the sound of the revolution's sledgehammer in their skull, stopping them forever from plotting and committing crimes", the statement said, adding "when the time of smiles and tolerance is over - and prey to God that it never happens - the law of legal violence and Islamic coarseness would be applied without hesitation and discrimination", a clear reference to the leader's Friday address.

The Constitution formally forbid Iranian Armed Forces from intervening in political matters and Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic has ordered the Guards against being involved in politics.

In its first reaction, the moderate press not only downplayed the statement by printing it in internal pages, but also noted that it reflects the conservative's weakness. "Words used in the IRGC's statement are those of a hard pressed current that speaks from a position of weakness", observed the reformist "Sobhe Emrouz" asking "How many the hawks are. How much force do they have. And is it not true that doves are in much bigger number than the hawks?"

Another moderate daily warned the Guards against taking the wishes of the "Mafia of power" for realities, observing that reformation is no more the monopoly of few reformists, "but a strong current supported wholeheartedly by the people, among them the 70 to 80 per cent of the Pasdaran's families who also voted for Mr. Khatami in (presidential) elections of May 1997 and for reformists candidates in the recent Legislative polls".

Like almost all other analysts, Dr Habibollah Peyman, the leader of the "Movement of Iranian Muslim People" (MIMP) think that the goal of the conservatives at this stage is to stop the next Majles from taking office and the leader's inspired declaration attributed to the IRGC falls in this framework.

"They (conservatives) ruled for the past twenty years unopposed and unchallenged. The result is an economy in shamble, a volatile political situation, generalised corruption, prostitution, misery and chaos. Now that the reormists are trying to correct the situation and salvage the nation from total collapse, the only thing they do is to threaten the reformists and dissidents who have no other arms at their hands but their pen", he told the Persian service of Radio France Internationale.

The Guard's statement accompany efforts by the leader-controlled Council of the Guardians to annul the results in as many as electoral constituencies where the reformists had the upper hand, the leader-controlled Press Court to summon and imprison as many leading reformists journalists as it can, the leader-controlled Judiciary to strike against prominent moderate personalities.

So far, the watch dog body that wets the candidates has annuled results in several constituencies and the latest reports are that it may decide on recounting again the results obtained in the Capital, where all the 30 seats but two have been swept by the moderates.

The failed assassination of the Publisher of "Sobhe Emrouz", Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian by a hit team hired by the IRGC was the first step in a project worked out by the hard line clerics to proclaim a state of emergency, impose full press censorship and close the Majles, sources pointed out.

Like in the case of November 1998 "chain murders" of political and intellectuals dissidents by the Intelligence Ministry, the conservatives are blaming supporters of Mr. Khatami for the assassination attempt on Mr. Hajjarian, who is fighting for his life in a Tehran hospital.

Up to 27th of May (the scheduled inauguration of the new reformists-dominated Majles), assaults and plots and attacks against the reformists of all walk would increase, but the monopolists should realise that reformation has penetrated every household. They also must understand that the reform front has the strength of resisting all these offensives by attracting more forces. ENDS PASDARAN COUP 17400