The reformists -- or at least a great part of them -- do not think it necessary to correct their opinions and views about Israel and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, because the debate in Iran about Israel and Palestine is a harmless debate that has no price tag in the one hand and on the other even the reformist not in the line of the Imam – like members of the Iran Freedom Movement --, because of the long presence of some of their leaders with some Arab military organizations – are seriously afraid of a non partisan debate about Middle East problems.
“The United States is under the influence of the Israelis and there is a possibility that Bush himself is a Zionist..”, (Yahya) Rahim Safavi, the Commander of the Revolutionary Guards on 30 July 2006.
“The current of non Jew Zionists established in the United States, referring to the revelations of Jehovah and based on His predictions, consider as rightful the killing of those against the Jewish faith and consider the Muslims as the first group facing them. American Christians have become more Catholic than the Pope”, Ezzatollah Sahabi, political dissident, on First of August 2006.
What help can Iranian reformists expect from singing with Ben Laden and Hasan Nasrallah?
“According to the Koran and the writings of the Tora, the people of Israel believe in a kind of supremacy and superiority and all along history, it has demonstrated that hegemony… The killing, murder and assassination of innocent people in Lebanon and in Palestine and violating all the rights that a nation can have is derived from that thinking”, Ali Hekmat, vice chairman of the Association for the Defence of Press Freedom (same date).
Analysing the discourse of Iranian political parties and personalities critical to the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran places difficult picture in front of the analyst of Iranian situation.
In the past three weeks, Iranian parties and political personalities from the so-called reformists or nationalist-religious have joined the media battle of Iranian security-intelligence apparatus – more than the traditional radical currents like the Revolutionary Guards or Ansar Hezbollah in defending the Hezbollah.
There are two hypotheses for finding out the logics of such an approach:
A) The Intelligence Ministry and other security machines of the Islamic Republic of Iran have put to work some of the submissive political activists critical of the regime by dictating to them special texts with clear destination;
B) Reformist political activists and parties, based on their own analysis and with the aim of gaining political advantages – or minimizing the price of criticism – are greatly funning the official line of the State;
An analysis of the discourse of reformist activists confirms both the above hypotheses.
This writer is informed that from months before, the Information (Intelligence) Ministry had entered wide scale dialogue with most of the reformist, nationalist-religious, Iran Freedom Movement and leftist political activists. Some convocations, some direct meetings, some telephone conversations during the week between intelligence and security experts and agents with political forces have taken place, at large scale, aimed at organizing the nation’s political space in the face of increasing international pressures. In some rare cases, some of the people contacted have revealed these contacts.
In the Lebanese conflict, what Iranian intelligence and security organizations are after?
In short, the orders of the regime’s propaganda project for inside the country, for the Lebanese crisis are as follows:
++ No mention at all to the crossing of the Israeli borders by the Hezbollah, the assassination of border guards and abductions;
++ The media is not allowed to report and print pictures and news about Hezbollah rockets fired on Israeli inhabited areas and the killing of civilians, like the pictures of a Hezbollah missile that hit Nasseriyah, killing two Palestinians children;
++ Concerning the civilian causalities in Israel, the media must use the phrase “some Zionists have been killed (a terminology used by the media under the rule of the reformists);
++ In no circumstance this question of why, which necessity or orders brought the Hezbollah to cross the borders and attack an Israeli military border post must not be raised;
++ Instead of hostage taking or abduction, use arrest of Israeli soldier;
++ No mention should be made on the attitude of Islamic countries, especially those which had described Hezbollah’s attack a “miscalculated adventure”;
++ Israeli attacks on the Hezbollah must be portrayed as the Jewish State’s war with Lebanon, Lebanese people or the whole of the Muslim world;
++ Reiterate and repeat that “Nasserite nationalism” and “militarism of Arab left” are always defeated, stress on the pupetism of Arab leaders, their prostrating to the Arrogant, the surrender of leftist organizations, Arab nationalism like Fattah – all the roads leads to Hezbollah that considers Ali Khameneh’i is it’s imam and leader;
++ Emphasize the repulsion of the Arab Umma (nation) against the attitude of Muslim leaders – the propaganda must concentrate on the world’s Muslims being all and unanimously behind Iranian leadership and President;
++ Pictures of Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallh kissing the hands of (Iranian leader) Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i are not for print by the press;
++ The same, no pictures showing former president Mohammad Khatami during a parade of Hezbollah fighters, sitting on a Jeep flanked by Nasrallah;
? What are the rapports between millions of Iranian who die under the poverty line, dictatorship, corruption, prostitution and drug addiction with Hasan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah?
++ No mention, at all, to the repeated fighting of Hezbollah and other Lebanese political forces – even the Shi’as – that have occurred in the past years and that are still going on, No mention to Hezbollah’s terrorist activities, assassination of its opponents inside and outside the organization, like the case of “Hey al Salm”;
++ No mention to the atmosphere in the majority of Arab countries where Hezbollah is considered as an espionage agency for Iran and a mercenary to the Iranian intelligence organizations – a majority of Sunni Arabs and Muslims describes the Hezbollah as the Party of Satan – No mention to the aversion and hate of the fundamentalist Sunni Arabs for the Hezbollah;
To above mentioned points one has to add exaggerations about Hezbollah’s resistance and ideological government’s old and outdated methods of psychological warfare. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Al Qa’eda and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Lebanon have made unprofessional use of photos of corpses of children. For example, out of 24 photos in a site of Iran’s official news agency IRNA dedicated to Qana, only 4 are genuinely from the village of Qana and the rest are photos from different events in the past years with no regard to Qana.
But what except pressures from security services brings Iranian reformists to support Hezbollah?
Under pressure from the international opinion, the reformists have done away from many of their inhuman political methods of the sixties: Physical fight and repression against the Baha’is, bad Islamic dress, ethnic activities, dissidence, the Centre of Writers opposed to the absolute rule of the leader, continuation of the war, liberalism and cultural issues. Because of a better evaluation of the situation, the reformists of the seventies entered a kind of conciliation.
However, the reformists, at least a majority of them, do not think it necessary to correct their views concerning Israel and terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, for the simple reason that debate about Israel and Palestine is both harmless and bears no expenses. At the same time, even the reformist not in the line of the Imam – like members of the Iran Freedom Movement --, because of the long presence of some of their leaders in some Arab military organizations – are seriously afraid of an independent, non partisan debate about Middle East problems.
While the Islamic Republic of Iran employ (former president Hojjatoleslam Mohammad) Khatami for writing letters in defence of Hezbollah to opinion makers of the world in order to foster the support of liberal Arab intellectuals for Hezbollah, the same regime activates its internal security machine to ridicule (former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar) Hashemi Rafsanjani’s letter to (Saudi Arabia King) Amir Abdallah and Khatami’s missives to intellectual elites. “Today, people can realize that letters from Khatami and Hashemi are comic gesticulations, headlines in dirty and worthless newspapers. This is nothing but fruitless efforts aimed at regaining lost political life by futile and misplaced imitation from the honest, fruitful initiatives of Ahmadi Nezhad” – (Mrs) Fatemeh Rajabi, the wife of the official spokesman of Ahmadi Nezhad’s Government.
I’ve left the last part of my article to invisible expenses of the reformists for defending Hezbollah. Not aware that by defending an organization that has been listed in the terrorist organizations by the European Parliament, the United States, Canada and Australia and its members are subject of arrest, Iranian reformists are losing what remains out of their credit. The political situation of a country like Iran leads the dissident intellectual to the following and logic deduction that “even for continuing breathing, for not being murdered, one needs international support and pressures”.
Siding hypocritically with those who defend a group that has no other virtue than blind and illogical terrorism leads to a very sharp border between Western supporters of democracy and Iranian reformist intellectuals. Both Hezbollah and Al Qa’eda are fighting the enemy with the same literature. What help can Iranian reformists expect from singing with Ben Laden and Hasan Nasrallah?
Hezbollah’s fighters, with their “lab beyk ya Khameneh’i” (Yes O Khameneh’i) are roaming in the streets of Beirut. Hezbollah’s motorcycles carry from one place to other posters of Khameneh’i, (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadi Nezhad and Hasan Nasrallah. If Iranian reformists are sincere in defending Hasrallah, why they don’t kiss the hands of Khameneh’i in front of television cameras, -- as does Nasrallah -- and do not stand firm behind the leader denouncing Israel’s crimes?
The image Iranian reformists have painted of themselves in the support of Hezbollah – an armed terrorist organization – would undoubtedly lead to their growing discredit at home and the cutting of the hope supporters of democratic movements in the Middle East have placed in the reform process in Iran and nothing else, without receiving a penny from the political gain.
And here is the saddest question of my article: By supporting Nasrallah and terrorism, what about our national interests? What are the rapports between millions of Iranian who die under the poverty line, dictatorship, corruption, prostitution and drug addiction with Hasan Nasrallah? What are the relationship between Lebanese Hezbollah, or as Khatami put it “the shining sun that warms and illuminates the lives and souls of all the world’s Muslims” with Akbar Mohammadi, with death, with torture and with repression? Where are out national interests? ENDS RASHEDAN 8806
Editor’s note: Mr. Nima Rashedan is an independent Iranian political analyst living in Switzerland.
He posted the above article in his personal blog in Farsi language on 4 August.
Free translation of the article and highlights are by Iran Press Service
The writer welcomes commentaries.