PARIS-TEHERAN 16 NOV. (IPS)
The climate of bitter violence and hate which is dangerously darkening the skies of the Islamic Republic has prompted some Iranian analysts and politicians to express for the first time their "genuine fear" of a possible military coup or the start of a civil war "unless the defeated clan stops its seditious movement against the new president and his government".
"Let’s never see that dark night when we go to bed, dreaming better days and wake up with military music and tanks rolling in the streets, having ended the job in a blood bath" Mrs Shirin Ebadi, a lawyer in Teheran, told the Los Angeles-based "Sedaye Iran" (Voice of Iran) Radio.
Mr Ebrahim Yazdi, the leader of the illegal but tolerated Iran Free Movement agreed, though in different words. "Because of the forthcoming Islamic Conference, the defeated wing and the victors in the elections have declared a kind of cease fire. But once that event is over, one may witness a darker situation, with possibility of outright fight between them".
Talking to the Persian service of the Radio France Internationale, Mr Yazdi noted that the conservatives have lost the elections but keep their control of the power and is adamant to make any concessions. On the other hand, Khatami has won the elections, but does not control anything".
Attack by thugs on the offices and employees of the "Payam e Daneshjou" (The Message of the Students), including its Editor, Mr Heshmatollah Tabarzadi; renewed verbal assault launched on Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri by a radical newspaper, demonstrations against the ayatollah Ahmad Azari Qomi by so-called students in theology in the city of Qom; new but bold move by the Ansar Hezbollah thugs to prevent Dr Abdol Karim Soroush to speak at the Teheran Technical University, all happening the same day, is interpreted by Iranian observer as a prove that the conservative wing which was badly defeated in the last presidential election is determined to bring down the new present before he can implement his promised reforms.
The attack by unknown thugs on the office of Mr Tabarzadi, who is also the leader of the Union of the Islamic Students Associations took place in the early afternoon of Saturday. "We were sitting and working when a group of thug entered the office, started to shout and destroy everything in the office, particularly the equipment, and beating up our colleagues. Then they came on me, beating with broken bottles, knives, chains, electrical cable and knuckles. I had rarely seen such a violent thugs and such a savagery" Mr Tabarzadi told the Persian service of the BBC.
More then three weeks ago, Mr Tabarzadi organised a meeting in Tehran where, speaking to a crowd of over 3000 students, he called publicly for "clarification of the role of the Leader, limitation of his powers and definition of his mandate". He also suggested that the Leader must also be elected and his role and powers should not exceed the eleven points stipulated by the constitution. More
That was too much for the ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, a man who is enshrined by yes men as the Greatest Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the Muslim’s Nation, but lacks religious legitimacy and is ignored and belittled by other religious leaders while politically, he is considered a dwarf sitting in a very large sofa.
"The struggle is between the republicans, those who supports the government of law and order, the civil society and those who stick to a strictly religious sate and society, with the latter being in the looser end", commented Mr Abolhasan Banisadre, Islamic Iran’s first president.
As in the time of the revolution 18 years ago, the "revolt" against the present system in which everything, "from birth to death" is firmly controlled by a bunch of conservative mullahs led by the ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i is conducted by an odd alliance between students and some of the leading religious authorities having the Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri as their symbol.
Heir apparent of the regime, Mr Montazeri had abruptly been dismissed by his mentor, the Grand ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny after sharp differences over the "mass slaughter" of political prisoners began in Iranian prisons shortly before the death of the latter in 1989.
But contrary to the time of the revolution, this time the Bazaar, the main nerve centre of the nation’s economy is on the side of the conservatives while the bulk of the population supports the new president, ayatollah Mohammad Khatami who, with a staggering 20 millions of the vote, virtually wiped out the candidate of the all powerful conservatives, the ayatollah Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri who was given by all estimates as the forgone winner.
"The message could not be clearer. More than 20 millions out of 30 millions of Iranian voters are telling you that you are no more wanted. That your system is not working. That you are not the right man to lead the country nor the Muslims. That you have to leave the place to new faces", the ayatollah Azari Qomi, one of the "pillars" of the Islamic revolution is reported to have written to the ayatollah Khameneh’i, according to well informed sources.
"One faces a real, organised plot. Leaflets distributed by liberals, letters written by a disturbed and presumptuous man, sermons by a man who our great leader the late ayatollah Khomeiny wrote off and ordered to oblivion, another discredited liberal who takes part in conferences attended by CIA thinkers and other provocation all speak of a well planned plot which must be crushed at once" hinted "Jomhuri Eslami" newspaper, in a clear reference to the ayatollahs Montazeri and Azari Qomi, as well as Dr Soroush or Mr Tabarzadietc..
Considering the prestige, influence and the important number of Iranians Shi’a who have the ayatollah Montazeri as their marja’, or source of emulation, the attack on him by newspapers such as "Keyhan" controlled by the Information (Intelligence) Ministry, "Resalat" which speaks for the conservatives and the "Jomhuri Eslami" which reflects the views of the ayatollah Khameneh’i, sets the stage for an open clash between his supporters and the ruling clerical establishment.
"A confrontation between the winners and the losers of the elections was expected, but not that soon nor that violent and open. The conservatives are on the defensive. They do their best to keep their privileges, most of it unconstitutional. But whatever they do to undermine Khatami will backfire against themselves" said Dr Shahin Fatemi, a leading Iranian analyst in Paris.
He also thinks that one of the reasons for the conservatives to increasing
their attacks on Khatami may be their "fear" to see the forthcoming Islamic
Summit which is to take place in Tehran in December comfort the position
of the new president, reminding that his victory had been welcomed almost
unanimously by both the Arab and the Western worlds.