03 January 2010

Iran: Assassination threats against reformist leaders

In a continuation of the sinister developments within the Iranian political crackdown, on 30 December 2009 the reformist website Rooz posted a report on talk of assassination of the reformist leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and former President (1997-2005) Mohammad Khatami – see Reformist Leaders Threatened with Assassination by Bahram Rafiee.

The basis of the report is a comment by Jafar Shajouei, member of the conservative Association of Combative Clergy, who had commented, “I believe that people can treat offenses against the regime by following the model of Navab Safavi.”

Navab Safavi was the leader of the terrorist group “Fadayian of Islam,” which claimed responsibility in the 1950s for several assassinations in Iran.

This is hothead talk which may be occurring because, while it might reflect regime sentiments, it does not reflect regime thinking. The regime would have to be mad to strike against any of these three. If anything, it should be posting a security detail on each of them to make sure that nothing happens to them, because even the most outlandish accident would be regarded as having been perpetrated by the regime.

It presumably knows this because to date it has chosen to make their lives difficult by arresting their senior staff and various supporters, and in Mir-Hossein Moussavi’s case assassinating his nephew, but has hesitated to move against any of the principals directly.

Similar nasty acts of harassment are visited on those who are close to people who dare to criticise the regime. For example, Nooshin Ebadi, the sister of Peace Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, who had been threatened with arrest should she not cut off her ties with her sister, was arrested on Monday by agents from the Ministry of Intelligence – see The Arrest of My Sister is to Pressure Me by Omid Memarian, reporting an account of an interview with Shirin Ebadi.

To follow the rapidly developing events in Iran from the perspective of the reformists, consult the English language online version of Rooz here.

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