Iran's mullahs becoming desperate to rid themselves of opponents

Ayatollah Khomeini's regime is beginning to show signs of desperation in its bid to crush its oppoents. the government passed a new law Aug. 25 listing new crimes, including the "use of pen and speech," against the government.

some of the crimes are much the same as those for which Iranians were convicted under the Shah's rule. Others have been described so vaguely by the state-run Tehran Radio that they appear to be tools for the regime to use to round up dissidents -- or at least frighten them into silence.

Earlier, Khomeini urged Iranians to turn in their own family members who are "counterrevolutionaries."

"[People] must counsel their offspring and siblings; if they do not accept such advice, then they must be identified," Khomeini said Aug. 24.

More than 3,000 people have been arrested so far and 561 executed on political charges since Abolhassan Bani-Sadr was ousted from the presidency June 22, according to reports from Tehran Radio and the official news agency Pars.

However, dissidents in France say the actual figures are higher.

For instance, a Tehran newspaper Aug. 25 reported 41 people were shot for political crimes. But neigher Tehran Radio nor Pars reported this. And with very few foreign correspondents allowed in the country, and those that have remained strictly monitored, accurate information of the turmoil is hard to come by.

Moreover, recent accounts even from the official news media indicate that purging the Islamic republic of dissidents is not that easy.

An example was the Aug. 20 raid by the Revolutionary Guards on what was called a main center for the Mujahideen in Tehran. The battle lasted several hours, killing three on each side according to Tehran Radio.

A Mujahideen spokesman in Paris called it the "worst clash ever" between government forces and the rebels.

Both the radio and Pars have noted that not only are caches of weapons confiscatd in such battles, but also "mechanical instruments" and paraphernalia for printing.

Tehran Radio said Aug. 25 that revolutionary guards arrested "more than 100" Mujahideen and discovered "a major network" of their guerrilla bases.

Khomeini made an offer of forgiveness Aug. 24 to those criminals who repent. "The way of repentance is open before they will [his opponents] are caught." It was not the first time the religious leader has offered amnesty, but only 31 people were reported to have taken advantage of the offer.

Neither arrests nor the executions have stopped attacks against the clergy-dominated government. As recently as Aug. 23 a clergyman was killed, and assassins tried to kill Iran's prosecutor general, Ayatollah Rabbani Amlashi early Aug. 24. Assassination attempts are virtually a daily happening.

Exiled in France, Bani-Sadr and Mujahideen leader Massoud Rajavi have predicted that Ayatollah Khomeini's regime will soon fall.

The authoritive Beirut weekly An-Nahar said that 7,000 to 10,000 Shiite clergymen in Iran now disagree with the way Khomeini is running the nation -- although they believe in the notion of an "Iranian Islamic republic."

In an interview with Rajavi in France, An-Nahar quoted the Mujahideen leader as saying that it was not only the executions and arrests that were bolstering the resistance.

"We have more than 5 million unemployed and more than 2 million refugees from the war. . . . Industries do not work at more than 30 percent of capacity, inflation is more than 100 percent," Rajavi said. He contended that if Khomeini had iron-clad control over the Army, he would have used it by now to suppress his enemies.

"All this proves that Khomeini's regime is relying basically on the general mentality of the people and not no the physical factors that could improve the condition of the country."

"He [Khomeini] is definitely falling down. Of course, I cannot set the exact date, but I can assure you that it is not a matter of years."

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