LAST REFORMIST PAPERS CLOSED, LAST ALLEGED KILLERS FREED
By Safa Haeri, IPS Editor
PARIS-TEHRAN 27TH APR. (IPS) Completing the blows against the reformists and nationalists, the Islamic Judiciary shut down Thursday the last remaining moderate publications in the one hand and confirmed the release from jail of all the suspects alleged to have been involved in the November 1998 murder of prominent politicians and intellectuals on the other.
The closure of outspoken "Sobhe Emrouz" published by Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian, the adviser of President Mohammad Khatami who escaped an assassination attempt and "Mosharekat", the organ of pro-Khatami Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) dailies in Tehran and the weekly "Ava" that in Esfahan defends the ideas of dissident Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri followed the last address of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and brought to sixteen the number of the Second Khordad publications shut down so far.
In a meeting with some leaders of the Second Khordad Movement, including Dr Mohammad Reza Khatami, the younger brother of the president and leader of the IIPF and Hojjatoleslam Hadi Khameneh'i, his own younger brother who is against him, the lamed leader of the Islamic Republic reiterated his rage with the independent press he again accused to undermine the Islamic revolution as well as the position of the leader".
He urged the revolutionaries "not keep silence "in the face of a press that aims at "misleading public opinion against Islam, revolution and the Islamic system, prevents (the government) dealing with people's major problems and launches ballyhoo on minor issues instead'', according to the official news agency IRNA.
Since the closure of the two influential dailies followed this meeting, observers wondered whether Ayatollah Khameneh'i fooled his visitors of the Judiciary acted on it's own, bypassing the leader?
The remaining reformist publications were banned amid reports confirming that the Pasdaran, the Mullahrchy's Praetorian Guards, were in fact devising a coup against the government of President Khatami.
According to the report published Thursday by the Sobhe Emrouz, some senior Revolutionary Guards commanders, the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) and high ranking from the Voice and Visage of the Islamic Republic (VVIR, or the Radio and Television) had formed a "Crisis Committee" to stage a coup after having provoked social, political and religious disturbances.
Notes of the meeting of the "Crisis Committee" have been made available to the foreign press, including Reuters news agency and "The Guardian".
Three senior officials of the Revolutionary Guards and their allies at the LEF and the VVIR outlined a three-stage plan to be carried out by a "Crisis Committee", according to notes taken from a tape of the meeting two weeks ago.
Like all key and strategic civilian and clerical institutions, the Revolutionary Guards, the VVIR and the LEF are directly controlled by the leader of the Iranian theological-dominated system.
The first stage was to close 18 newspapers. On Monday, and following a stern warning from Mr. Khameneh'i against the reformist publications, the Judiciary shut down 13 publications, including nine newspapers, three weeklies and one monthly.
The other stages include tapping leading reformers' telephones, disrupting the Tehran bazaar and seminaries to incite senior clerics, and deploying forces in the countryside to terrorise citizens and force the supporters of reform to "stay silent or pull aside", The Guardian reported from Tehran.
If these steps were successful, the final stage would be to force a coup, according to the notes from the tape. "A coup on what pretext?" asked one participant. "A coup on the grounds that some [reformers] could be foreign agents or spies," replied another.
In his last Thursday address to the Basij, Mr. Khameneh'i accused the reformist press of "becoming a base for foreigners and doing the job of foreign agents in Iran".
The unidentified participants at the Crisis Committee also discussed ways to postpone the convening of a new parliament, in which reformist candidates have sweept the great majority of the 290 seats.
One man at the meeting recommended that Ayatollah Khameneh'i assign duties to "representatives" in the provinces so "that a sense of terror could be created".
Analysts and journalists were warning about a coup being masterminded by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered as Ayatollah Khameneh'is' "mentor" and the "Grey Eminency" of the hard liners he joined after his historic defeat at the February polls.
Ever since, the Expediency Council Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani presides over has passed a decree forbidding to the Majles to investigate all the bodies that are under the control of the leader, meaning the Guards, the foundations, the VVIR, the Judiciary, the Council of Guardians etc;
++ The Council of Guardians has annulled the elections results in many districts or has changes them in favour of conservatives candidates, the Judiciary has taken from the Intelligence Ministry the case of the assassination attempt against the life of Mr. Sa'id Hajjarian, the Publisher of Sobhe Emrouz and started the trial of his alleged killers;
++ The Revolutionary Guards issued a statement on April 16, warning the reformists that "when deemed necessary, they will feel the noise of the Islamic revolution in their skull, that they will forever be stopped from hatching plots and committing crimes";
++ Ayatollah Khameneh'i blasted out the reformist press one day latter, gave the green light for their closure by the Islamic Judiciary;
++ The Television screened footage of the Berlin Conference showing scenes where an Iranian model was taking off her clothes except an Islamic scarf, a man climbing over chairs completely nude, a woman dancing sexy Iranian dances etc as participants invited from Iran to attend the meeting were looking on;
The show triggered off a wave of nation-wide protests against the reformists, orchestrated and co-ordinated by the conservatives, including failed efforts to shut down the bazaar and theological seminaries.
++ MP and hard line personalities like Mr. Habibollah Asgar Owladi of the Islamic Coalition League, an offshoot of the notorious Fada'iyan Eslam believed to be controlling the conservatives, including Mr. Khatami himself openly attacked the president and called on him to take his distances from the moderates;
++ All the 17 reformist, nationalist-religious and secular personalities who attended the Berlin meeting were summoned by the Islamic Revolution Tribunal;
++ Three leading journalists, Masha'allah Shamsolva'ezin, Akbar Ganji and Latif Safari were arrested and finally the guillotine came down on 14 independent and pro-reform publications.
Mr. Khameneh'i told his visitors though he did not oppose viewpoints of the opposition or publication of their analyses "within framework of the law as was the case since the beginning of the revolution" but one should not use such pretexts to entrust the affairs of the nation to the counter-revolutionaries and exert pressure on the revolutionaries.
"Hence, all personalities, groups and wings loyal to Islam and the revolution should adopt concrete positions against those who, under the guise of reforms inside and outside the country, are against the revolution, the path of the late imam Khomeini, the velayat-e faqih and constitution", Mr. Khameneh'i observed, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.
Mr. Khameneh'i described the Berlin conference as an "ugly" happening and a conspiracy to bring the Iranian system and revolution under question. "The foundations organising such conferences are usually supported by the enemies' security, political and intelligence organs", Mr. Khameneh'i said.
Organised by the Heinrich-Boll Institute and aimed at paving the visit that the Iranian president is scheduled to make to Germany, it seems now that the initiative has backfired.
The Berlin conference was held after several months of planning and careful selection of the guests as well as the c outer-revolutionary groups abroad opposed to the Islamic system in order to turn the conference into a court to put the revolution and Islamic regime on trial and prove that fundamental reforms are possible only through elimination of Islam and velayat-e faqih from the constitution or by changing the constitutional law. But god thwarted the conspiracy and the disgrace of the Berlin conference remained on German statesmen", he said.
Profiting from the absence of reformist press and the investigative journalists, the Judiciary confirmed at the same go that all the persons who have been suspected of involvement in the "chain murder" case were released from jail as investigations carried on them proved their "total innocence".
The Judiciary said however that it has found new evidences and arrested new suspects in relation with the case.
Meanwhile, Iranian students continued Thursday for the third straight day their peaceful and organised protest movement throughout Iran denouncing the closure of reformist publications, the action of the Council of Guardians in eliminating the Second Khordad candidates and the Television for the screening of the provocative seances of the Berlin Conference.
Describing the situation as "explosive", a student leader told Iran Press Service that they have "very sound information" that the Pasdaran were on guard, "ready to strike against the government and proclaim state of emergency.
Newspaper vendors and journalists confirmed that as a result of the closure of independent publications, the public has boycotted the conservative press and the Television. ENDS PASDARAN COUP 27400