The situation in Iran is escaping Kamenei’s control. It slides towards a sui-generis kind of coup, subtle and gradual, at all levels, all! Now those close to President Ahmadinejad are being jailed. A second wave of imprisonments has just happened, and one does not know what happened with the first, or how many prisoners were taken. Everything indicates that Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie (Ahmadinejad’s second) from the President’s Bureau (a presidential cabinet) may be one of them. Parliament and the Judiciary are on the offensive. They want to move matters towards the impeachment Ahmadinejad and get rid of him. This is has gone beyond the purely political or internal class struggle. It is a coup that some State organs carry out against other State organs, because the counter-revolution cannot succeed with an outright bloody coup. It knows this would unleash the spontaneous rise of the population, the already organised militias. It knows that even a large part of the Pasdarans (Revolutionary Guards) would intervene and that a bloody coup would fail. This explains what happens now, this palace coup, with the parliament taking the government to court. The parliament has launched this kind of crude attack on the government before, making things difficult for it, accusing it of disobeying, of not applying the decisions of the legislative, or of not applying them in time.
When the parliamentary elections were held three years ago, the majority of those in today’s parliament falsely projected themselves as ‘fundamentalists’ and supporters of Khameinei. They took advantage of the absence of parties, organisations and programmes. They were, in fact, the top mafia leaders of various local powers. Once elected, they changed sides. They started collaborating with the neo-liberal minority already in the parliament, headed by Ali Larijani, the Parliamentary President. Out of the 290 MPs, more or less 80 are neo-liberals, another 80 represent private companies (or don’t bother to attend) and only 50 are the actual supporters of the present Cabinet and Executive of Ahmadinejad.
Ari Larijani and his second in command, Mohamed Reza Bahonar - along with associate Ahmad Tavakoli - are steeped in parliamentary manoeuvring, in commissions and behind closed doors. They totally emasculated the essence of the Fifth Five-Year Plan (of Ahmadinejad) and its budget. The part of this Plan that was saved by government decrees became entangled and delayed, forcing the continuation of the application of the Fourth (neo-liberal) Plan of Khatami for a further full year. This manoeuvre paralysed the Executive, although Khamenei and the Ahmadinejad government protested. The ill-effects were then hidden within a fog of anti-government attacks – like the accusation that the government had robbed billions of dollars. This Parliament has so much power. It wants the government as a simple executor of its will, although this is not constitutional [as things stand]. However, a coup is in progress, and it is no longer time to discuss what is legal or not.
Last year, the dynamic Minister of Communications Behbehani was deposed by a parliamentary majority, in his absence, and without any right of advocacy. He had been planning to denounce the leaders of illicit private companies involved in disastrous building-construction, the blame for which they shifted onto Ahmadinejad in the run-up to the Presidential elections two years ago (June 2009). True saboteurs. Today, the latter have collected enough signatures to demand that Home Secretary Najjar be sacked. Najjar is a competent man of military origins. He was Defence Minister in the first administration of Ahmadinejad. These provocations form part of the preparation for the parliamentary elections of 4 March 2012. The private corporate sector has many MPs in parliament. In spite of their wiles, they should not receive many votes, but their signatures campaigns do damage to Ahmadinejad.
In foreign policy, the Libya question has divided Iran from its usual allies, Venezuela, ALBA and Brazil. Turkey, that originally supported Syria, reversed its decision and turned against it. Then it changed again - but declared itself recently in favour of the National Transitional Council1 farce in Libya. Meanwhile, [former president] Hashemi Rafsanjani welcomes the unrest in Syria.
Ali Larijani has recently visited the Republic of Azerbaijan in his capacity of President of the Iranian Parliament. There, he proposed to set up links between Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey; but NATO has moved its territorial HQ to Turkey. And Azerbaijan is a NATO ally, used by NATO as its spearhead to penetrate the Caspian region and stoke up the Qarabakh fire. (The latter is an area of contention between Turkey and Armenia). Ahmadinejad had to abort a trip to Armenia, whilst Larijani was praising the ‘territorial integrity’ of Azerbaijan.
Armenia is quite close to Iran, and it has strategic relations with Azerbaijan. The doings of Ali Larijani’s in that part of the world are incendiary because they strengthen NATO’s ability to bully Turkey, as well as to provoke Russia and Belarus, exacerbating all the nationalisms. Larijani’s policy is a continuation of Mohammed Khatami’s - the ex-President of Iran. It is all counter revolution. Iran imports much electricity from the Republic of Armenia in exchange for gas. Ahmadinejad has always sought to be constructive in that area. But now his close collaborator in Jolfa (Iranian Azerbaijan) - who facilitated collaboration between the Southern Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and autonomous Nakhijavan - has been jailed.
The Iranian parliament wasted no time in condemning “the Libyan dictator”, using this exact phrase of the imperialist aggressors who hate “those who kill their own populations”. In Iran, all the media reports applauded the attacks on Libya. They did not even make a bid for equidistance: they simply supported NATO! For them, the rebels and mercenaries who proclaimed to the world that they were imperialist agents were “revolutionaries”. The Iranian Parliament saw the NTC - this tool of imperialist aggression - as ‘revolutionary’. Some MPs went as far as to blame NATO for not supporting enough the separatist counter-revolutionaries. Some even accused NATO of double-dealing in giving “only limited support” to “the combatants”. That was a pre-concocted imperialist media plan!
Qatar - along with Oman - used to be the closest ally of Iran in the Persian Gulf. But Qatar intervenes now directly, militarily and operatively, against Libya. It carts the petrol from the Libyan Eastern regions of Bengazi and Ciranaica off to Europe, using Egyptian ships, although this suddenly stopped - apparently due to American opposition. There are signs of Ahmadinejad having been taken by surprise in all this. There was a delay before he declared, in an official army function of the Guardians of the Revolution (Pasdaran) in Beluchistan, that “one must not play in the enemy camp”. Khameini re-took this phrase, and then they both repeated it; to little avail, for the counter-revolutionary coup goes on, under its ‘revolutionary’ pretence, falsifying news and images - silent about the 1,700 Tripoli patriots who demonstrated on the 1st of July 2011 in support of Gaddafi, as well as in support of the Libyan Revolution, of their Revolutionary State and of everything it had built in 40 years.
It can be said that, for the Iranian Revolution generally, the swell of recent events in the Arab countries arouses a crisis of identity. A reactionary, anti-communist and anti-socialist wind is blowing. You can feel rancour, selfish hatred and competition coming from the direction of the orthodox Islamist clerics. Before and during the Presidency of Rafsanjani, these people supported the war of NATO on Yugoslavia. During Khatami’s, they supported imperialism against Afghanistan2. Now they support imperialism against Libya. The way they side with NATO is unacceptable in the country, and a catastrophic crisis awaits them.
These NATO followers are the extreme right wing in Iran. They believe, or would like us to believe, that Iran had no history before the arrival of Islam and the Omayedis Arab rulers3. It is like saying that the 40 years of Mahomet before he became prophet have no importance. These people attacked the code on the Cyrus Cylinder. They attacked and destroyed the Cultural Festival of Nowruz that celebrates New Year on the Ancient Persian Solar calendar. This occasion had become used to invite the Presidents of the historic regions of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and even Khazakstan, but this year, these right-wingers attacked this ceremony, in Persepolis, as anti-Islamist. These barbarians trashed the Welcome notices and placards - following which Ahmadinejad was disappeared for 11 days.
This was an attempted coup. But it went wrong. Ahmadinejad returned, and the coup shifted or was delayed. Matters have gone too far for the counter-revolution in the sense that it can no longer retreat or postpone. Having burnt their boats, its leaders find themselves in the open. Now the new front of aggressive reaction obviously on the march, forces them to keep going. In the Pentagon, the chiefs and the generals oppose any idea of NATO withdrawing even as little as 10,000 soldiers between now and December from Afghanistan.
Let us never forget what the Islamic Republic of Iran was like, before the advent of Ahmadinejad: It was a finance paradise for dirty money, un-taxed capitals and billionaire Ayatolas. Speculation funds shifted between the Central Bank of Iran and the Banks of Dubai and those of the world. With its external petrodollars in Western banks, Iran was under their direct blackmail. These accumulated funds were a bounty from which some speculated and derived enormous interests. The neighbouring countries of the Persian Gulf, and the Emirates above all, were all involved. The owners of oil and gas corporations like ‘Crescent’ and ‘Dick Cheney’ played central roles, along with the sons of Rafsanjani and Mehdi. The populations of the rest of the country were kept in poverty, abandoned and left to fend for themselves. When Ahmadinejad came, these speculators regrouped to try and save themselves. But in the end, they could not do this without lining up with imperialism.
Two years ago, Rafsanjani visited the King of S. Arabia – and one year ago, Larijani visited Husni Mubarak (Egypt). It never occurred to these Iranian leaders to salute the historic victory of Ollanta Humala in Peru, for instance. But Humala’s victory is another triumph for the sovereign countries allied to Chavez and Venezuela – even if the likes of Larijani in Iran do not care. In Iran, the Judiciary never punishes the Iranian speculators and economic vandals. It reserves its penalties for the directors of IRNA4, an agency that advises the government5. A tribunal condemned the IRNA President even when a Jury had cleared him, and although the Jury protested, the punishment went ahead. There is a judicial and legislative-parliamentary dictatorship in Iran. Parliament alters or cancels the government’s directives.
Parliament has decided that you cannot stand for MP unless you have one of the Masters between Degree and Doctorate. A dictatorship! What percentage of the population qualifies, even amongst the graduates, of whom so many are women? These are manoeuvres for the Legislatives, to keep the present people in place. Entry to parliament is restricted even for those who used to qualify before. This has led to protests, crises and criticisms. Most likely it will be dropped. But see what this kind of mafia will do to keep control of the parliament. The more these people plot against Ahmadinejad, the closer they embrace imperialism. Rafsanjani is talking about shutting down internet sites. He has not changed much since he declared, when he was President, that “those who don’t have money in Teheran should get out of it”.
On the occasion of one of his most recent speeches, Ahmadinejad said that he would continue to work in silence. Surely this is what Khamenei asked him to do. But the latter added that if the government or the cabinet came under attack, he would declare the country and the revolution in danger, and speak to the population!
A Letter from Iran
1 NTC of Libya
2 Rafsanjani, President 1989-1993 and 1993-1997, followed by Khatami, 1997-2001 and 2001-2005. Rafsanjani ran against Ahmadinejad in 2005, in search of a third mandate. Lost in the second round.
3 The Omayedis Arab dynasty (around 630-660) had a large empire extending to Spain and Gaul.
4 Islamic Republic News Agency.
5 IRNA called on the Iranian government to take measures against Islamophobic websites.