Paris, 16 June (IPS) “Under present conditions and circumstances, Iran goes the same way the USSR went, to collapse from inside. This is the conclusion most of Iranians officials, from left or right, except the leader, have reached”, says a former Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister who suggest to change, or reform the present Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In an exclusive interview with the independent, pro-reforms newspaper “RoozOnLine” based in Paris and London, Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi, the General Secretary of the outlawed Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), insists that “the main problem the present Iranian theocratic regime faces is in the system of velayate motlaq faqih, or the absolute rule of the leader”, a system that in his view, “does not respond to the needs of the present times”.
“In our view, the principal problem of Iran is in the system of velayate faqieh, a system that has no efficiency in the present time. It seems that most of the senior officials have reached the same conclusion, that the continuation of the present trend is dangerous, that it must be changed. But so far, the leader (Mr. Khameneh’i) has not accepted that view”, Mr. Yazdi observed.
“In our view, the principal problem of Iran is in the system of velayate faqieh, a system that has no efficiency in the present time".
In the interview, unprecedented in its warnings and conclusions, particularly the remarks about the almost dictatorial rule of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, Mr. Yazdi also accuses the fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of “gross violations of the Constitution”, and asks: “can the President make illegal decisions, act in total lawlessness and ignore the Constitution without the full support of the leader?”.
Reminding that in the first Constitution of the Islamic Republic, one that he had a hand in its blue-print, there was no mention of velayate faqih, Mr. Yazdi, who has the dual Iranian and American citizenship, said “Don’t say Islamic Republic minus velayate faqih is meaningless. The first Constitution was without velayate faqih. Constitution is not God’s Voice. It can be changed, amended, reformed”, he stressed.
To many Iranian political analysts, the interview, alongside other events in Iran, like the revelations made by a middle-rank official about the huge corruption of several senior ayatollahs and their families, (see IPS article entitled “Is Khameneh’i cleaning his house on 10 June 2008) the cut throat infighting between the radical and the more pragmatist wings of the ruling conservatives, the emergence of Mr. Ali Larijani, the new Speaker of the Majles as the future president etc… translates a situation of “fin de regne”.
“The general trends and undertakings of the system go slowly slowly towards a complete blocking. The more they (present leadership) try to improve the situation, the worse they make it and Ahmadinejad, in total contradiction with the Constitution, is ruining country’s economy”, said Mr. Yazdi, who was a close aide to Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i is Iran's ansolute leader
In his analysis, most senior decision-makers have reached the conclusion that Ahmadinejad become dangerous for the regime and must be changed. “But he is supported by the leader. However, his rule is over. The victory of Mr. Larijani in the Majles is one of the signs indicating the end of Ahmadinejad. Everyone has realized that his policy, his outbursts against Israel or the United States, his insisting on enriching uranium and other illogical undertakings are isolating Iran”, he said.
Mr. Yazdi considers the last Iranian presidential elections that ended in the surprise victory of Mr. Ahmadinejad, then an obscure Mayor of Tehran, as a “completely farcical selection“.
Explaining further his views about similarities between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the defunct Soviet Union, Mr. Yazdi said: “Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan to be attacked, or North Korean or Libya to surrender, or Ukraine or Georgia where regimes changes with Velvet or Orange revolutions. Therefore, the path Iran is taking is that of the Soviet Union, where the system collapsed not by a revolution or military coup, but because the incompetence and corruption of the leaders, the paralysis of the economic situation. In my view, the Iranian leaders, from left or right, are moving in that direction”.
“Iran is not an empire to explode, but is facing a geographic explosion. In the Soviet Union, the end of the system was also the end of Marxism-Leninism. But in Iran, even if these events take place, it would not mean the end of Islam, but it could bring new interpretations”, he said.
In his view, Iran must accept the proposals made by the 5+1 group (namely the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, Germany and France) and renounce to enriching uranium, an activity that he considers to be “against the interests of Iran under present circumstances”.
“If we do not accept the proposals put forward by the 5+1 and continue the present path, I’m afraid that we might be forced to accept something much worse than the resolution 598”
“If we do not accept the proposals put forward by the 5+1 and continue the present path, I’m afraid that we might be forced to accept something much worse than the resolution 598”, he said, referring to a resolution United Nations Security Council adopted in 1988 imposing cease-fire in the devastating eight years war with Iraq, a resolution that Mr. Khomeini described as “a poison” he was drinking.
This “package” was delivered to the Iranians on 13 June by the European Union’s Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Security, Xavier Solana, when he came to Tehran, hoping that the Iranians would consider the proposals “positively”, as it is “full of new potentials for Iran to modernize it nuclear industry and recognizes the right of the Iranians to nuclear energy for peaceful uses”.
[In an interview with the Persian service of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Mr. Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Affairs minister said the “the present nature of Iranian nuclear activities tends to show that they are for military purposes, otherwise, why should the Iranians refuse the very interesting proposal of the 5+1 offering modern nuclear power stations?”]
“The moment we stop enriching uranium the group’s unity would break. Europe would no more follow the United States, even if Iran stop enriching uranium, America’s problems with Iran would not be solved”, Mr. Yazdi stressed.
But declarations by the Government’s official spokesman and particularly an article in the radical daily Keyhan, considered as the mouthpiece of Mr. Khameneh’i, who has the last word on every major domestic and international issue, suggest that Iran has indirectly rejected the proposals.
Most Iranian present leaders consider that Ahmadinejad is becoming a danger for the regime.
In a deliberate effort to provoke both the European Union and the 5+1 group represented by the Spanish Solana, the paper, considered as the mouthpiece of Mr. Kameneh’i said on 15 June 2008 that the aim of the package was to “threaten Iranian officials to accept the “illegal demands and blackmailing by American and its European allies, a mission that both parties had anticipated its failure”.
Signed by Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, an Intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of political and intellectual dissidents and an advisor to the leader whom named him as Editor of the newspaper, the article has been describe by Iranian analysts as signifying the rejection of the West’s latest offer by Iran.
After insisting that the final aim of Washington and its European major allies is to “prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear know-how – exactly the words of Mr. Khameneh’i – the article urges the authorities to “continue with enriching uranium, relentlessly, unabated and in total attention to American and European menaces”.
This is what exactly the policy on which Mr. Ahmadinejad has built his popularity.
Iranian authorities must “continue with enriching uranium, relentlessly, unabated and in total attention to American and European menaces”.
Mr. Yazdi accuses Amadinejad and his group to be “more concerned with harming America’s and Israel’s interests than defending Iranian interests”, a policy that has led to the isolation of Iran and collapse of its economy. On the other hand, thanks to Ahmadinejad’s wrong policies, America has been able to mount and mobilize the Arabs against Iran.
“Never, ever the Arabs dared to be so aggressive against Iran. The Iranian Foreign Affairs minister sits in an Arab forum where Iran is insulted and humiliated and he keeps silence. The United Arab Emirates takes bold position against Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf and Iranian official present at the meeting do not leave the place. Syria, which gets large benefits from Iran, signs anti-Iranian resolutions by the Arabs and the Iranian Government close its eyes. Is it not unfortunate?”, he laments.
Mr. Yazdi criticizes the Ahmadinejad Government for its “leniency” towards the Arabs, particularly Syria, saying: “Syria is first after its own interests. It is first with the Arabs then with Iran. When it get gratis oil from Iran, when it has (the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah at the service of Syrian interests, Damascus is with Iran, but is it ready to save its mutual interests with Iran or defending Iran at the expense of confronting Israel or the United States?”
Although Ayatollah Khomeini had named Mr. Mehdi Bazargan, the founder of the IFM as his first Prime Minister, nevertheless, he himself had warned against the dangers that political party cold present for the new regime. Since then, the Movement had been banned, but tolerated. ENDS YAZDI WITH ROOZ 16608