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Arrests, Interrogations, Confessions: "We shall Clip the Wings of the Deviant Group"

By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online

In Iranian internal circles, the term “Deviant Movement” is the code word that has emerged for the elimination of Ahmadinejad. On one hand the arrests and interrogations of associates of the president’s office, Esfandiar Mashai continue, while on the other there are reports about confessions by the detainees.

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei with Mahmud Ahmadinejad
Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei (L) with Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Cleric Mojtaba Zolnoor has said, “The regime has clipped the wings of the deviant movement and is extracting confessions from them.” At the same time, rumors about the arrest of Baghai have made their way into the media as his deputy, Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh too is going through tough interrogation days.

In this atmosphere Majlis speaker deputy Mohammad-Reza Bahonar spoke of the infiltration of the so called deviant movement up to the highest administration levels of the regime. It is thus no surprise that cleric Zolnoor, the former deputy representative of the supreme leader in the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) demonstrates his determination to eliminate this movement or group.

We Will Control the Deviant Movement

Speaking in Qom, Zolnoor spoke about what has come to be labeled as the deviant movement. “People should not accuse of the regime of being indecisive or that authorities are not aware of this issue and then question why nothing is being done about it. You are witness to daily measures by the regime regarding the various levels of this deviant movement. Hopefully the groundwork for reforming the key root will be established. In response to the question that some ask regarding why the regime is not confronting these individuals, it must be said that ordinary people are not aware of the thoughts and views of this group. Time is needed to make them aware and so a hasty confrontation with them will not solve the problem. This movement has attached itself to the senior members of the regime and so if we embark on creating distance between them the political costs for the regime will rise. The regime is dealing with this wisely.“

Zolnoor’s characterization that the issue is being dealt wisely should be viewed in the context of the remarks that another cleric, Alam-ol-Hoda made earlier that the issue was being handled directly by ayatollah Khamenei.

But pressure is mounting on the president’s aides and onto himself as more arrests have come which invariably result in more interrogations and confessions. In recent days at least found close associates of Mashai have been arrested and some media have published excerpts of their “confessions.”

Speaking about Mashai, Zolnoor has said, “He was a person from the security apparatus who has been on that track from the first days of the [1979] revolution and connected himself to Ahmadinejad when they were in Kurdistan province. What appears on the surface is that he is the leader of this movement but the possibility that foreigners are taking advantage of him has not been ruled out. There are two views on this: One that Mr. Mashai is the leader of this movement. The president’s attachment to him is so deep that he cannot see his faults. The second pessimistic view is that when the leader of the revolution takes a position regarding this and other senior clerics express their concerns, and other revolutionary authorities express its dissatisfaction, why must he still remain in office? So some say that despite this displeasure, something is not normal.”

Bahonar takes a different line and has said, “We must prevent the growth of the deviant movement with full force because it has infiltrated all the institutions of the regime, and unfortunately even the highest regime positions.”

Alam-ol-Hoda had said in the past that he did not believe that this was a movement. “This is an event that is led by a single person who has stuck with the president like a virus and who through money and power that is available to him is working to attract those elements who are soft on getting gratifications. By promising them jobs, they quickly come into the service of political events.”

The Arrest of Ahmadinejad’s Executive Deputy

Soon after the arrest of four of Mashai’s associates, some principlists media (former ideologically driven presidential supporters) reported that Hamid Baghai, the former head of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran and the Ahmadinejad’s deputy for executive affairs, had been arrested. Entekhab website quoted an “informed source” that, “The charges against Mashai are financial, political and other issues. His appointment as the executive deputy to the president was done with the purpose of making his arrest a very costly step.”

The principlists media views Baghai among the closest individuals to Rahim Mashai. Amid the publication of confessions made by the detainees close to Mashai, there were reports of a fake plan by Baghai to indicate that he had uncovered some documents belonging to the Shah.

Some news sites have reported that Malekzadeh’s deputy in the organization for Iranians abroad, Meysam Taheri, had also been interrogated recently, although no details were provided.

Sarat news website published a report recently accusing the deviant group of attempting to create and boos the boy scouts organization to parallel the Basij militia with the purpose of using it in the upcoming elections. The boy scouts organization is in fact the youth organization of the Red Crescent of Iran, the equivalent of the Red Cross in other countries. This website had reported that an intense propaganda campaign had been launched to mobilize school students now that the school year was over for the purpose of the elections. A report on the site also said that a cyber social network called Mahe No (new moon) had been established in the Red Crescent with a 2 million membership capacity to for the purpose of the upcoming elections.

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