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Pro-Khamenei Camp’s Counterattack against Ahmadinejad: A Reminder about Abolhassan Banisadr Back

Muhammad Sahimi


As previously reported exclusively by the IME News, after a speech by Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei in which he rebuked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s public revelations about the corruption of the Larijani brothers, pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers began criticizing Khamenei explicitly. On Sunday March 3 the pro-Khamenei camp staged a counterattack by broadcasting a documentary on the state-run national television about what happened to Abolhassan Banisadr, The first president of the Islamic Republic, as if to remind the current president of the fate that may be awaiting him. The documentary, entitled “The Unblessed Fate,” was about the confrontation between Banisadr and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his supporters that led to the impeachment of Banisadr by the Majles, the Iranian parliament, in June 1981 at the height of Iran-Iraq war.

The reaction to the documentary by both sides was swift. Shoma, the weekly mouthpiece of the Islamic Coalition Party (ICP), the main political group of the traditional conservatives that support Khamenei, accused Ahmadinejad of staging a “social coup.” Without naming him, Shoma said, “In a social coup no one must confront an ally of Saddam Hussein, the United States, or a foreigner [as the leader of the coup], rather the coup leader is someone who claims to run an government of kindness [to the people], the re-emergence [of Imam Mahdi, Shiites’ 12th Imam who is supposed to return someday], and justice, and who [claims he] is more popular than the Supreme Leader,” all of which is a reference to what Ahmadinejad has said in the past. Shoma listed four characteristics of the “social coup.” It accused the Ahmadinejad administration of trying to be the main butter and bread supplier of the people, hence making them indebted to the government and making the president more popular, attacking their foes to reduce their popularity; increasing pressure on the people to show that others meddle in the affairs of the government, and raising people expectations. ICP’s fotmer Secretary-General and influential conservative politician Habibollah asgar Oladi, told the newspaper Tehran-e Emrooz that the documentary is a “description of the current era,” meaning that Ahmadinejad is moving toward the same fate as Banisadr’s, adding, “The document tary must be a good lesson for the present officials.”

Gholam-Ali Naeimabadi, Khamenei’s representative to the province of Hormozgan [of the shores of the Persian Gulf] accused Ahmadinejad of being a conspirator [against the state] and demagogue. Kazem Sedighi, one of Tehran’s five Friday prayer imam said, “If the current officials support the Velaayat-e Faghih [the supremacy of Khamenei as the Islamic jurist and the Supreme Leader], are pious, and their piety is demonstrated through their obedience toward the Supreme Leader, the country will advance calmly and rapidly, but if they are not, they would be hurt themselves, hurt the society as well, and increase the cost to the nation.”

And, in a speech to the families of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC], Reza Saraj, the former commander of the Basij militia in the universities, declared that Ahmadinejad and his team are negotiating with the United States behind the scenes, using “track-2 diplomacy.” He also said that when Ahmadinejad speaks about “free elections,” what he really means is elections that can be won by his supporters. Otherwise, he does not care about free elections. Without naming the blooger, Saraj also accused a pro-Ahmadinejad blogger of writing in his blog that, “Justice is a principle of our religion, but believing in the Velaayat-e Faghih is not and, therefore, in order to build a just society we can pass the Supreme Leader.”

Ahmadinejad’s supporters reacted angrily. One said, “This was a ridiculous analogy [between the two presidents] that made people laugh. When the people, particularly the youth that has no memory of Banisadr, see the unprecedented attacks on Ahmadinejad, they begin thinking that perhaps the same type of attacks had also been made against Banisadr.” Vahid Baminpoor, the host of a popular TV program who is known to be a supporter of the President, said, “When we say someone will be like Banisadr [will have the same fate as his], we are not predicting anything; we are designing things in a way that the person becomes Banisadr [force him to have the same fate].”

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