A non-partisan journal of the left.

Open Letter to Mir-Hossein Mousavi

Fri 17th Jul 2009

Mr Mir-Hossein Mousavi,

Many of the youth of Iran have taken part in the tenth presidential election of the ‘Islamic Republic’ and have voted for you as their preferred candidate. But this was a forced choice. This was because the four election candidates, including yourself, were selected by the Guardian Council. There is no doubt, that if the election had been free from the beginning, and that candidates from different political stances the votes of the majority of toiling people, and the youth, would have belonged to others and not to the likes of you. Among those others who might have seen a large chunk of the vote might have been someone such as a workers’ representatives (like Mansour Osanloo who is today behind bars because of defending freedom and the right to form an independent trade union), but they could not take part

The first question that the youth, who are today being intimidated and threatened by Ahmadinejad’s government, put to you is this: why didn’t you complaint about the undemocratic nature of the election earlier? Didn’t you know that an election in which only four out of 400 people are selected by the Guardian Council and thousands of oppositionists of the capitalist government are either suppressed, intimidated or in prison, and have therefore been excluded from being a candidate, is an undemocratic election? If you were elected instead of Ahmadinejad, would you have kept quiet about this central question? It is obvious that the only reason you demand a democratic election now is because you have been subject to hostility yourself? Does the principle of democracy for all mean nothing to you?

In your statement to the people you wrote: “The actions we have witnessed in the past few days have no precedent in the Islamic Republic”.

Do you really believe that this is the first time we have witnessed such actions in the Islamic Republic? Mr Mousavi, the thirty-year history of the Islamic Republic is full of such actions. Let us not go too far back in time. Last month (on May Day) nearly 2,000 honourable workers gathered in Laleh Park so that they could celebrate the day peacefully. Before the ceremony could begin, your former friends, the plain-clothes officers, attacked them and arrested over 150 without any legal justification. Some of them are still in prison. Earlier, most of the leaders of the Vahed Trade Union were arrested and abused, seemingly because they want to form a free trade union. Do you remember last year’s attacks on students and women? Do you remember the flogging of labour activists in Kurdistan? Were you even aware of the recent events in the social movements? If you were aware (and as a presidential candidate you must have been aware) why were you silent about these undemocratic actions? And why do you call the hostility against yourself “unprecedented”? The reason for your forgetfulness is clear, because you also have had a share in these undemocratic decisions yourself, or at best, had no objection to them.

In this statement you write: “We, as people who abide by the Islamic Republic’s system and the Constitution, see the principle of the velayat-e faghih [Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists] as one of the pillars of this system and conduct [our] political activity within this framework.”

Mr Mousavi, the question the youth put to you is this: what happens if the main cause and architect of the electoral fraud and the subsequent repression is the velayat-e faghih himself? How can you resolve this contradiction between your words and your deeds? With Khamenei’s position in support of Ahmadinejad, and his premature and illegal positions on confirming Ahmadinejad’s presidency, today it is not a secret for anyone, including you, that the vali-e faghih is himself the person who is the cause of these events. How can you now write a letter of complaint to the person who has committed the crime and expect him to investigate these events? In the opinion of the youth who voted for you, this action by you is nothing but a joke. How can you, on the one hand, criticise the velayat-e faghih and, on the other, demand democracy in Iran? These two are clearly contradictory. Destroying one will lead to achieving the other.

Mr Mousavi, you applied for a legal permit to hold a demonstration on June 15 2009. This permit was not given to you and your campaign staff immediately postponed this rally. Of course, when you found out later that things had gone too far and the masses of the people would not put up with postponement the rally, you then also took part in it so as to calm them down. The question the youth put to you is: why don’t you declare yourself the president elected by the majority of the people? Didn’t you believe that you had gained the majority of the votes? And why didn’t you call on the people to hold continuous street protests until this matter was been investigated? Mr Mousavi, you can’t sit on the fence forever. You must either side with the people who voted for you or with the vali-e faghih (and the repressive apparatus of the state). Being at the service of the people would mean that you should cut your links with the whole state apparatus. That is because this government has lost its legitimacy among the youth of Iran.

You said: “I, your servant, emphatically and once again, advise you to continue your civil and legal opposition peacefully and by observing the principle of refraining from clashes.” Mr Mousavi, are you aware that in one demonstration seven of your supporters were killed and a number of others were injured with the bullets of hezbollahi motorcyclists? Do you want to pursue these criminal motorcyclists through the legal process? Is it the Ahmadinejad government or the Tehran prosecutor that is supposed to try and sentence these people? If you make such claims then most of your young supporters who were marching in the streets will laugh at you loudly! You, someone who has been a part of the ruling body for 30 years and has been a prime minister, can’t even defend your own rights. What can you do for your supporters who, on the orders of the Intelligence Ministry and the approval of the very same vali-e faghih of yours, were killed on the streets?

Mr Mousavi, it is obvious that the masses of the people, whether they support you or whether they oppose you, are taking part in the rallies. You can be sure that no one is coming to the demonstrations with the intention of wrecking, disturbing and carrying out a plot (don’t believe the Ahmadinejad government’s propaganda). The question is this: when the regime’s mercenaries were attacking the people and were hitting them with truncheons and cables, and killing them with knives and guns; what were the innocent people supposed to do? Did you give them the permission to defend themselves? Don’t our youth even have the right to defend themselves against these aggressions and have the right not to be beaten up?

You know all these points yourself; but in order to dance to the tune of the vali-e faghih and abide by the direct wishes of Khamenei in your recent meeting with him; you want to show him that you are against any kind of extreme behaviour by your supporters. Even if the resistance of the youth is aimed at defending you!

Mr Mousavi, you are at a crossroads: on the one hand, you can uphold the despotic system and all its apparatus for repression, and on the other, you can defend the democratic demands of millions of the people of Iran. You have clearly shown that despite losing the position of president, you have chosen the first path. You didn’t call on the people to struggle against injustice. You didn’t defend the people’s right to self-defence against the mercenaries of Ahmadinejad’s government. You preferred that the people stayed quiet and finally returned to their homes. You called off the demonstration and you only took part in it to calm down the anger of the masses. In other words, you have submitted yourself to Ahmadinejad’s government.

Mr youth of Iran will continue this resistance without your leadership, just as they demonstrated without it. If they are again defeated, be sure that a new generation of the masses of the people will turn towards the real revolutionary alternatives by breaking away from any type of reformism. The youth of Iran will find a response to the mercenaries. They will find their own leader, and they will confront this government, or any other repressive capitalist government, and in the future will finally build a government that gives them political and economic democracy.

You can be sure of that!

Maziar Razi
16 June 2009
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