Hojatol-Islam Jaafar Shojooni, the secretary of Tehran’s Prayer Leaders organization does not reject Ahmadinejad’s claim to have seen a halo around himself, but clearly rejects Mashai being near him. This member of the conservative Hezbe Motalefe Islami (The Islamic Coalition Party) and the Jame Rohaniyat Mobarez (Association of Combatant Clerics) told me that the Majlis must put into law the supreme leader’s absolute control of the ministries of foreign affairs and intelligence. He cautioned that some individuals were trying to have “moles” in these two ministries to promote their interests. Finally, he believes that Ahmadinejad will have the same fate as that of the first president of the Islamic republic, Bani-Sadr, who was impeached and had to flee to France because of his confrontation with the supreme leader of the time, none other than ayatollah Khomeini himself. Read on for the excerpts.
Rooz: Good day sir. What is your opinion of the leader’s decree regarding Mr. Moslehi, the minister of intelligence?
Jaafar Shojooni (Shojooni): The leader must have complete control of two ministries in this country, that of foreign affairs and intelligence.
Shojooni: Because these are key posts. If this has not happened till today, it is the responsibility of the Majlis to put this into law.
Shojooni: Because some want to interfere in foreign affairs and intelligence work. Or as the saying goes, they want to have a mole in these two ministries, i.e. spies to promote their interests.
Rooz: Who are they?
Shojooni: Some are groups, others are parties. They are sick.
Rooz: Such as?
Shojooni: Whoever. An example in the current intelligence ministry case, it is said that head of the (presidential) office wanted Mr. Abdollahi to be the man (i.e., minister of intelligence).
Rooz: What office?
Shojooni: Mashai. Another example is that in my province of Gilan, I, the Friday prayer leader, all Majlis representatives and all heads of the agencies there wanted someone qualified like general Ghorbanzadeh to be the governor general of Rasht. I wrote a letter to this effect to the president and to the head of his office and told him what people wanted. At the end of the day, Mr. Mashai imposed a man from Mazandaran province onto our Gilan province, over which none of us are happy. I do not know where he sent the previous governor Mr. Ghahremani, to Kuwait or Italy.
Rooz: Why did he do this? This could create a crisis?
Shojooni: Ambition, my lady. The only person who I saw attain power and not loose himself was imam Khomeini. Others, as soon as they come to power, they lose their head and begin to practice nepotism, over exert their influence all over, etc. According to the Nahjol Balaghe, imam Ali identified four issues to have negative outcomes: being evil to people, stealing from Muslims, nepotism and bribes.
Rooz: But many do these four things.
Shojooni: Yes, and this is a weakness of the regime. Our revolution has been infected with this.
Rooz: It did?
Shojooni: Yes. Look at the influence peddling that goes on in banks where some get 400 million Toman (about USD 400,000) loans while you and I cannot even get 500,000 Tomans (about USD 500).
Rooz: Then they justify it by saying that you have land, cows, etc
Shojooni: Yes. They said that my son has exported 800 million Euros while in reality he does not even have a penny.
Rooz: 800 million Euros?
Shojooni: Yes. I am said to have 740 million Dollars in London!
Rooz: 7400 million Dollars?
Shojooni: Yes. This Mr. Nourizadeh (an opposition writer in London) who talks to some radio says that I cannot even go to Syria, let alone London to have this much money.
Rooz: I see.
Shojooni: I have since my younger days always said the truth and faced the consequences.
Rooz: But why do they say these things about you? Why are they on bad terms with you? Why did they create this other prayers’ society to parallel yours? Who did it?
Shojooni: These are because of ambitions. Money and food. These are not prayer leaders, madam. They are wearing stolen clothes. I have been doing this for years and nobody gives me a thousand Toman (a single Dollar) but these people claim to receive money. Spies give them money, traitors give them money.
Rooz: Do you mean Mashai?
Shojooni: Yes. They give them money from inside the country and from the outside. There was a time when they used to say that the British bribed the clerics so that they would recite prayers everyday and curse this life as a way to create clashes between the Shiites and the Sunnis. Madam the money from the enemies is being spent in a thousand different ways.
Rooz: Don’t you think that when some people elevate Mr. Ahmadinejad to such heights, this would be the outcome? He would then stop listening to everybody. This whole apocalyptic issue that he raises, the halo issue.
Shojooni: Yes, each of these of course needs to be discussed. For example, we cannot tell anyone that his halo is a lie. Yes, we cannot also say that it is completely correct. I do not believe that Mr. Ahmadinejad is confronting the leader.
Rooz: But he has till today not invited Mr. Moslehi to cabinet meetings. Is it right to ignore the leader’s directive?
Shojooni: Hopefully he will invite him. Just yesterday, our leader said that the government was in the service (of the people and the revolution) but that he would still issue his directives if he felt the need. But if anyone, Ahmadinejad or others, disregards the directives of the leader, then they will have the same fate as Bani-Sadr, the hypocrats (a reference to the Mojahedin Khalq Organization), Shariatmadari, Montazeri and others. We respect Mr. Ahmadinejad but reject his obstinacy and the issue is Mashai. We and senior ayatollahs, clerics etc have said this and even talked to Mr. Mashai himself. The members of the Jame’ Voaz (the society of prayer leaders) are so stupid to say that one cannot love Ahmadinejad without Mashai while at the same time claiming obedience to the leader and rejecting Mesbah Yazdi. This is because Yazdi has rejected Mashai’s words saying he is an outsider. General Firuzabadi has said the remarks that he (Mashai) makes belong to rogues. Others too say they are divisive. Take a look, we have a foreign ministry but they (i.e., the president office) go to the king of Jordan. Anyone who sits with the king of Jordan is either illiterate, stupid or a traitor.
Rooz: You have probably heard that some say that Mr. Ahmadinejad has established a communications channel with the US this way. For this he needs to take control of foreign affairs and the intelligence apparatus. This way he can face the leader. This is why they say that the next sedition will be even more important than the last one (sedition is the term Iranian ruling circles use for the Green Movement and those challenging the June 2009 presidential elections).
Shojooni: I am not saying that. What I am saying is that if anyone tries to confront the leader, the constitution etc he is standing in front of imam Khomeini and is preparing his own downfall. I will not make such accusations but people do get arrogant and when attain power make mistakes or commit murder in the name of the ministry of intelligence discrediting the regime, like what happened during Mr. Khatami’s administration. I believe in what the leader said yesterday that the administration is serving the people, but it also has some minor problems which must be resolved.
Rooz: And if not resolved?
Shojooni: It will face the same fate that other have seen.
Listesn to the full interview (in Persian)
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