PARIS, 4 Nov. (IPS) As the wave of international indignations, led by Italy, continues against recent declaration of Iranian President calling for the destruction of the Jewish State, the damaging statement shattered the Iranian regime’s most sacred totem and driving principles.
President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, a hard line, fanatic Shi’a Muslim stated last Wednesday that Israel is a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the face of the world", prompting international condemnation, including both the United Nations Secretary General and the Security Council.
“A world without the Zionist (Israel) regime and America is both feasible and possible”.
“We have no mandate. Don’t think that we have come to transform the world’s other regimes according to our methods and usher statements that creates political and economic problems for us in the world. Who has said that we are mandated to turn the world into Islam?” observed former president Mohammad Khatami, remarks that were immediately interpreted by Iranian political analysts as the proof of the existence of a bitter clash between hard liners, who have the upper hand and the more moderate wing of the ruling establishment over some of the late Grand Ayatollah’s major pronunciamentos that are enshrined as guiding principles of the Islamic Republic.
“It is also a requiem for the Islamic Revolution, which when it triumphed 26 years ago, had wowed to plant the flag of Islam over all the capitals of the world”, one analyst noted, speaking about Mr. Khatami’s unprecedented remarks, showing his frustration at seeing how in less than four months, a regime and a country that he helped to take it’s seat among the concert of nations, found its dignity, reconciled millions of Iranians who had fled outside with their homeland while normalizing Iran’s relations with outside world, forced the United States, dubbed by Ayatollah Khomeini as “The Great Satan” to admit its “mistake” of the 1953 “coup” against the popular Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq and proposing the project of “Dialogue Among Civilisations” and giving more social, cultural and political freedom to the Iranians at home now again sitting on the bench of the world’s most pariah nations.
Iranians inside, but mostly outside the country joined the chorus, saying it both harmed the country's international standing and also humiliated all Iranians.
“We have lived thousands of years side by side with the Jews in peace and harmony. Destroying the Jewish State, as proposed Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad is tantamount of another Final Solution, his version”, said one Iranian commentator who asked for not being identified.
This point was indirectly confirmed by Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani when, during a recent Friday prayers, he spoke about “the great respect that Islam in general and Iran in particular feel for Jews and for Judaism”, adding that, "We have a problem only with Zionist circles in Israel, which we see as being responsible for the repression of the Palestinian nation”.
"Ahmadi Nezhad's remarks harmed Iran. It was irresponsible and illogical", the American news agency Associated Press (AP) quoted Mr. Morad Veisi, a leading political analyst as having said.
"We can't be more extremists than Palestinians themselves", Mr. Rajabali Mazrou’i, a prominent reformer and former deputy told the same international news network in a clear reference to the “Palestinisation” of Iran’s foreign policy.
"Apparently, Ahmadi Nezhad has not realized that Mr. Khomeini was a spiritual leader, not head of government. This alone shows how inexperienced he is with the world of politics", one Iranian journalist pointed out, adding that though the destruction of Israel remains an objective of the Islamic Republic, but nevertheless this is the first time that an Iranian president has publicly made such an open and public call.
But for many Iranians, the indecent provocation is not incidental, nor due to the President’s inexperience, but a deliberate move aimed at diverting public’s opinion from the worsening political, economic and social problems he face since his coming to power, as shown by the quasi crash of Tehran stock exchange and the flight of millions of US Dollars to outside destinations in the one hand and the President’s inability to present the four ministers the Majles rejected their nominations, including key posts such as the Oil and the National Education.
“The atmosphere is heavy and suffocating, public dissatisfaction is on the rise and contrary to the voter’s expectations, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad and his lamed Government that were supposed to make miracles are absent”, said Javid Shahidi, a young student, angry that many internet providers are shut down and reception of foreign televisions is terribly jammed.
“Instead of facing problems and try to find out solutions, the government prefers to escape them, maybe leaving it to the Almighty or the Hidden imam to whom Ahmadi Nezhad strongly believes
“Instead of facing problems and try to find out solutions, the government prefers to escape them, maybe leaving it to the Almighty or the Hidden imam to whom Ahmadi Nezhad strongly believes, to solve them”, he added ironically.
Standing behind the populist Ahmadi Nezhad, Iranian officials, seeking at the same time to rectify the damaging statement, reminded that his comments were not new, as they represented Iran's long-standing policy toward the Jewish state enunciated by the leader of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and founding father of the Islamic Republic who, immediately after taking power in Tehran, cut all relations with Tel Aviv and installed the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s office in the very building that under the former Monarchy was known as Israeli “Delegation”.
The Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministry immediately rejected as “unacceptable” a UN Security Council message reminding the Islamic Republic that the United Nations Charter required member-states to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said “Iran adheres to its commitments on the basis of the UN Charter and has never used force against any other country and never threatened any country”, but at the same time criticised the 15-members Council for having remained silent about Israel’s public menaces against Iran, “a total of eleven times in the past months”, the communiqué pointed out.
At the same, pushed by the President, the Ministry recalled four top ambassadors in London, Paris, Berlin and the European Headquarters of the United Nations believed to be close to former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the man who was surprisingly defeated by Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad at the last presidential race but placed by Ayatollah Khameneh’i above his head, in charge of examination of all macro projects of the Government.
Adopting an “eye for eye, teeth for teeth” policy and linking the unprecedented wave of condemnation to Iran’s controversial nuclear program, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad explained that what he said was “the same thing stated by the late Imam (Khomeini), with the difference that he “only added one sentence about the powers of arrogance", that in the jargon of Iranian officials means the United States.
“A world without the Zionist (Israel) regime and America is both feasible and possible”, Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad had prognosticated, adding that “whoever recognize the Zionist Entity would burn in the flame of the wrath of the Muslim umma (nation), a reference to Muslim countries, mostly the few who have established relations with Israel.
Speaking to members of the Basij Islamic militia on Sunday, Mr Ahmadi Nejad said the Europeans’ aim was to deprive Iran of the nuclear fuel cycle.
“This government has concluded the confidence-building claimed by some countries is a lie”, he said, referring to requests by both the IAEA and the EU3 for guarantees over the peaceful nature of Tehran’s atomic program.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to meet at the end of this month to consider its next steps after its Board of Directors in October passed a resolution sponsored by Britain, France and Germany condemning Tehran for “non-compliance” with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty.
Iran rejected the resolution, saying it was politically motivated” and reiterated that it would push for the full nuclear cycle, a project the Americans, the Israelis and some other nations insists that is to build a nuclear weapon aimed at Israel.
“Nuclear weapons cannot be employed to destroy regimes, rather, the Palestinian people’s resistance will lead to the Israeli regime being overthrown” explained Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.
"Today, under the pretext of the Gaza pullout, they want to force a few countries to recognise this country. The ones who do that must know that they are standing in front of Islamic nations and that it is an unforgivable crime."
"Nobody in the Islamic world is allowed to recognise a fake regime which is killing everyday," Ahmadi Nezhad said, complaining that "they have equipped the fake occupying regime with warheads and they are quiet about it."
Condemning the international reaction to Ahmadi-Nejad’s outburst against Israel, the leader of the Islamic Republic said the “leaders of the west and Europe should be ashamed of being so much under the influence of Zionists”.
But at the same time he stated on Friday 4 November that the "great people of Iran, while standing to force and aggressions, would aggress no other nation and violates no other people´s right" and warned officials against “negligence vis-à-vis the enemy”, stressing on his concern that the furor sparked by the remarks could badly harm his regime.
For Qolamali Haddad-Adel, the Speaker of the Majles, the “Zionists” had provoked “press uproar” with the president’s remarks as a “pretext” and Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer appointed by Mr. Khameneh’i as Executive Editor of the radical daily “Keyhan” wrote that Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad had “not said anything new … about Israel to justify such a huge political tumult”.
Mobilised by the Government, some 300 men and women turned up Sunday at the offices of the so-called Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement to volunteer for suicide bomb attacks against Israel.
"More than 1000 of them have already been trained. Many of them don't need training since they are already members of the elite Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary Basij forces", the spokesman for the martyr seekers Mohammad Ali Samadi said, adding that since the start of the campaign last year, more than 45,000 volunteers had signed up to undergo training for suicide attacks.
Several senior officials, including presidential adviser Mojtaba Rahmandoust and Mr. Haddad Adel, who is also teaching literature at Tehran University were at the gathering.
"The Iranian nation wants this regime removed from the world map", Rahmandoust told the gathering held at a building owned by the semiofficial Martyr Foundation.
But the policy of “confrontation” adopted by Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad and his hard line clerical supporters does not stop with the “West’s arrogance”, but also looks at “punishing” those who opposed him, and above all the Expediency Council’s powerful Chairman Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom the President renewed menaces of “presenting to the public” how the former president put obstacles on the road of the new Government.
“The challenge is serious. Ahmadi Nezhad, probably knowingly, has broken a 26 years old consensus of the ruling clerics. The same as he introduced new figures, he intends at changing the old path of governance, giving prominence to revolutionary civilians instead of bourgeois clerics”, explained on insider. ENDS AHMADI 41105