By Bahram Rafiei, Rooz Online
Even though some senior officials of the Islamic republic of Iran had previously implicitly acknowledged that the massive arrests of political and civil activists and street protestors in Tehran after the massively disputed 2009 elections were on orders of the country's supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei and that he had been involved in most detail aspects of the crackdown, now the advisor to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander more expressly confirmed that the arrests and the crackdown of the protestors were carried out from the very first hours after the elections on direct orders of the supreme leader.
Millions participated in peaceful rallies in Tehran and other cities in June 2009. However, on June 19, the Supreme Leader Khamenei ordered crackdown on further protests. Tens of protesters died in subsequent protests when they were confronted violently by the security forces and the Basij militia. Hundreds of protesters were also detained and subjected to harsh treatment in prisons.
Speaking to a group of student Basij militiamen, Mohammad Hossein Safar Herandi spoke about the reason why leaders of what is now known as the Green Movement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were not arrested then. "Right in the beginning of the sedition (sedition is the term Iranian officials use for the massive protests against the rigged elections of 2009) some believed that the protests would die with the arrest of a few individuals, which was naive because it was clear that the events were not largely driven by the statements of these two (Mousavi and Karoubi) and were in fact beyond their control," he said.
By confirming that the arrests of political and civil activists were on orders of ayatollah Khamenei, Herandi, who at one time was the chief editor of the right-wing Kayhan newspaper and is now the advisor to the IRGC commander, said, "The wise view of the leader was that the leadership of the sedition was outside the country. He believed that the channel that connected the seditionists to the outside world had to be discovered. This led to the arrest of a group of individuals 90 percent of whom were subsequently released with warnings and only 10 percent were interrogated and prosecuted."
Poster by Iranian opposition depicting the Supreme Leader as the new King
Last year too Herandi had said to members of the Basij that some of the seditionists had been used by foreigners as more than 3000 individuals had been identified whose cases were closed after they were told of their charges.
Herandi who has also been the head of the IRGC's political office also made a reference to the sham trials of political and civil activists that have been held since 2009 and said that some "100 individuals who were the key organizers of the sedition and criminals had been found and sentenced guilty, thus drying up the roots of the problem."
Among others who had in the past made references to Khamenei's role in the arrests is the attorney general and spokesperson of the judiciary cleric Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei. He had said that the leader had played the highest role in identifying what he called "the correct source of the problem" and said that ayatollah Khamenei had been involved in the issue even before the 2009 elections till today.
This former intelligence minister had also revealed earlier that Khamenei continuously gave instructions and detailed advice to intelligence officials about the street protestors since the demonstrations began. "He stressed to the intelligence folks to be attentive to those they arrested, those in the streets, and to those that were being tried. If you go to people's houses, your behavior with family members of the violators has to be different. In other words, he (supreme leader) repeatedly gave instructions to officials not to cross the divine limits. Such talks were also made in the public but privately they were much more transparent, clear and with greater emphasis," he said.
Three Prisoners killed at the Kahrizak detention center:
Amir Javadifar (left), Mohsen Ruholamin (center) and Mohammed Kamran
Herandi also said that Khamenei knew the details of what had been going on in the Kahrizak prison, which was subsequently ordered to be shut because of criminal activities in it. "Reports had reached the leader that conditions were not right in Kahrizak and he ordered it shut. But this was not the whole issue. Before the leader was informed that conditions there were not right, he had ordered that no more prisoners be sent there. In other words he was the first person to order that nobody should be sent to Karizak."
In October/November of 2009 a senior intelligence official from the IRGC had also revealed similar involvement by Khamenei. Speaking at clerical seminar in Mashhad, a General Moshafagh accused "Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mohammad Khatami, Mohammad Mousavi Khoeniha, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and reformist groups such as the Association of Combatant Clerics (Majmae Rohaniyoone Mobarez), the Iran Participation Front (Jebhe Mosharekat), the Association of Groups for the Imam's Path (Majmae Niroohaye Khate Imam), the Organization of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution (Sazemane Mojahedin Enghelab Eslami), the Executives of Construction (Kargozaran Sazandeghi) and others of plotting to overthrow the Islamic republic and to topple ayatollah Khamenei's leadership." "We discovered this issue and destroyed their (reformists) efforts and prevented them from continuing them," he added. And like Herandi, he too at the time had said that the protestors were driven and guided by foreigners from outside the country.
But more significantly was the fact that Moshafagh also said in his talk that a group had been formed to identify the seditionists a few months before the actual presidential elections of 2009, indicating that there had been talks and most likely a plan to engineer the elections and then engage in damage control. The Iran Participation Front later used Moshafagh's remarks in its letter to the head of the judiciary and pointed to it as proof that the elections had been pre-engineered and that an "electoral coup" had taken place by military institutions under the command of the supreme leader.
Following the arrests of members of the Participation Front, among others, in the aftermath of the 2009 elections and protests, the group wrote in its letter that the remarks by the IRGC official made it very clear that the whole crackdown and arrests had been pre-planned well before the June 2009 elections, thus negating the legitimacy of the trials in which the leaders of various groups were sentenced to prison terms. The letter also expressly said that Ahmadinejad had not only rigged the elections but had orchestrated a coup to remain in power.
This letter was not only ignored by the judiciary but soon after its publication, seven leaders of the Front who had at the time been released from prison on bail - which allowed them to write the letter - were summoned back to serve their terms.
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