La Herradura (south of Spain), 3 Dec. (IPS) The situation of the fanatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, after taking on board one of Iran’s most hated men to salvage him in the crucial case of Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, a former nuclear negotiator accused of espionage, is like a man who is drowning and try to hang on anything in order to save his life, even to a shark.
Even if the former ambassador to Germany is recognized guilty of having passed classified nuclear information to foreigners and sentenced to death and executed, as wished by Ahmadinejad and his gang of ultras, yet, in the cut throat political battle they have waged against the so-called “pragmatists” wing of the Iranian ruling establishment, they have already signed their own death sentence, according to most Iranian political analysts and journalists
Mr. Moussavian was acquitted of charges of espionage and keeping secret documents, and suspended on accusations of propaganda against the regime.
Mr. Moussavian, a former deputy to Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rohani, the former Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) in charge of the Iranian nuclear negotiations was detained few months after the surprise victory of Mr. Ahmadinejad in the presidential elections of August 2005 and charged with espionage, keeping secret documents and propaganda against the regime.
In a paranoid regime like that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, anyone in possession of a photographic or filming camera, a radio with short waves receivers, a computer, or seen with a foreigner, or taking part in a seminar or workshop etc.. can be arrested and accused of gathering secret information and espionage, let alone a man like Mr. Moussavian, a carrier diplomat and a respected negotiator who, because of the nature of his jobs, has been in frequent contacts with foreigners, including British, French and German diplomats and nuclear negotiators.
However, on 27 November 2007, Mr. Alireza Jamshidi, the official spokesman for the Judiciary announced that Mr. Moussavian, who had been freed from prison on a 200 billion Rials bail, was acquitted of charges of espionage and keeping secret documents, and suspended on accusations of propaganda against the regime. But, he added, Mr. Moussavian may face criminal sentences if the Public Prosecutor objects to the judge’s decision”.
This is exactly what happened. Less than 2 hours after the announcement of the decision, the office of Mr. Sa’id Mortazavi, better known as “the Butcher of the press” for having shut more than a hundred of Iranian publications, most of them independent or pro-reforms, on orders of the Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehei, who, as a reward, promoted him as the Public Prosecutor for both Tehran and the Islamic Revolution Tribunal, sent a short communiqué to the press, stating that he is objecting to the acquittal of Mr. Moussavian and would continue to press with the charges against him.
“The court cannot acquit Mr. Moussavian and suspension is against the process of criminal charges, therefore, the decision of the Judge in this case is void and the Public Prosecutor has ordered the continuation of the arrest process and trial of the accused person”, the communiqué said.
Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, a former Speaker of the Majles, is in charge of the Investigations Office of the Leader.
In a carefully orchestrated and coordinated campaign, media that back the President, led by the hard line daily Keyhan and other news agencies and internet sites published articles on the same line, accusing Mr. Moussavian of all the previous charges, stating that not only the judiciary had not the right to acquit him, but in his case, the word “acquittal” is not a proper expression to use, for the simple reason that the case had not been closed.
Talking to reporters, Ahmadinejad had suggested that all information concerning the case of Mr. Moussavian be published. “I strongly insist that all the information passed to foreigners be published for the people to be informed”, he said, stressing that the Government had arrested an individual for espionage, but they (pragmatists, led by former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) put so much pressures on the judge that he was forced to acquit him. But I promise to our dear people that this Government will not allow individuals or groups to use their political and economic influence and power to save criminals”.
Taking cue from the President, the Intelligence Minister, on the same day, told the press that for his administration, “there is no doubt that Mr. Moussavian is guilty of having passed classified information to foreigners and kept secret documents at his disposal”.
"The Intelligence Ministry had done a professional job. If the Judiciary allows, we can publish documents we have compiled on Mr. Moussavian”, Hojatoleslam Qolamhoseyn Mohseni Ezheh’I added. But, in its communiqué, the office of the Prosecutor had barred the publication or revelation of any information and document concerning the case of Mr. Moussavian before the final decision.
For his part, Mr. Qolamhoseyn Elham, the Government’s official spokesman and Justice Minister had said “now that foreigners are aware and informed of secret documents about our nuclear activities, why not made these documents known to our public?”. He was referring to the Intelligence Minister charges against Mr. Moussavian.
If the Judiciary allows, we can publish documents we have compiled on Mr. Moussavian, said the Information Minister.
Actually, what is interesting is that all the persons who are supporting Mr. Mousssavian are demanding exactly the same think, asking the Government to make public the accusations it is formulating against the diplomat.
Mr. Ahmadinejad decided to call on Mr. Mortazavi for help after Mr. Rohani, now the Personal Representative of the Leader at the SCNS and some strong voices close to the Leader, like Mr. Masih Mohajer, the Editor of the daily Jomhouri Eslami (Islamic Republic), which used to belong to Mr. Khamenehehi, had called on the Judiciary to bring Mr. Ahmadinejad to court for spreading unconfirmed slander and criminal charges against senior officials.
Under the title of “What Guilt People Have Committed?”, the Mr. Mohajer recently, referring indirectly to the accusations of Mr. Ahmadinejad and his supporters against Mr. Moussavian, called on the Judiciary to defend the honnour of people against slanders, writing: “It is the duty of the Judiciary to defend people against accusations, slanders, calumnies by taking the accusators, regardless of their ranks or position or responsibilities, to court, offering them the chance of proving their slanders or being sentenced for unfounded accusations, disturbing public order, confusing public opinion and endangering the security of the nation. This is what the people are expecting from their Judiciary”.
The decision of Mr. Mortazavi to push with the prosecution of Mr. Moussavian has triggered an unprecedented wave of strong condemnation of the Government and Mr. Ahmadinejad by senior clerics, officials and lawmakers, including some of his supporters.
Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri, in charge of the Leader’s Investigations Office, known to be closed to the hard liners than reformists, had confirmed that the charges against Mr. Moussavian are not founded”.
“It is wrong and contrary to regime’s interests to prejudge and insist on accusing people, especially prominent national figures such as Mr. Moussavian, who is one of the revolution’s oldest managers who has performed his sensitive and diverses duties very well. Even if there are some questions about some of his actions, such questions must be answered by a fair and legal process abd no one other than the Judiciary is qualified to convict people of their guilt, if committed”, he said, according to the independent, pro-reform internet newspaper “Rooz”, based in London and Paris.
For his part, Mr. Haddad Adel, the Speaker of the Majles, after having expressed his pleasure at the verdict of innocence concerning Mr. Moussavian, demanded that the independence of the Judiciary be kept intact, saying: “The decision of the judge must be respected”, he said, adding, in a direct reference to the accusations of Mr. Ahmadinejad: “If anyone has any proof that the judge in charge of Mr. Moussavian’s case had been under pressure, he must inform the Judiciary in order for the general public to be informed”.
But probably what is most devastating for the President is the strong disapproval of the attitude of Mr. Ahmadinejad in the case of Mr. Moussavian expressed by Mr. Mohammad Nabi Habibi, the secretary of the hard line Islamic Coalition Party, telling the press that “no one, regardless of his position and power, has the right to accuse people before and unless proved and announced by the Judiciary”.
The fight between Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is determined to give the so-called “pragmatists” the last shot, has also reached the press. While the media that backs the President is publishing articles “proving” that Mr. Moussavian has passed secret documents to foreigners, Mehr news agency, close to the SCNS, strongly condemned the campaign orchestrated against Mr. Moussavian. “Mr. Elham, the spokesman of the Government, against reiterated that the trial of the nuclear spy be held in public. His declaration plainly shows that for the Government, there is a nuclear spy. If this is the case, why not name him?”, wrote Mr. Parviz Esma’ili, the executive Director of the Agency. ENDS MOUSSAVIAN 31207