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Do Iran’s hard-liners really believe ‘velvet revolution’ plot?

The indictment of more than 100 Iranians being tried en masse for opposing the regime opens a window onto the world view of those who fear change most.

By Staff writer / August 14, 2009



Amid the Iran’s brutal post-election crackdown and mounting evidence that dissidents have been tortured into recanting their political views, Iranian hard-liners’ consistent and vitriolic use of the phrase “velvet revolution” to describe the dissidents’ activities is puzzling.

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Though many in the West have written it off as propaganda to distract attention from the discontent of a wide spectrum of Iranians, it appears that a core group of hard-liners is truly paranoid that the West has been orchestrating the overthrow of governments for decades and Iran is the latest target.

Exhibit A: The indictment against roughly 100 journalists, politicians, academics, and clerics accused of treason who are undergoing a mass show trial. The three-page document, recently translated by Evan Siegel on his blog Iran Rises, opens a window onto the world view of the Iranian hard-liners who fear change most.

“The most important point which must be noted concerning a velvet coup is that the theoreticians bought by the West’s spy and intelligence services have developed this method at the orders of their commanders to get World Arrogance out of its practical dead end by overthrowing independent systems or systems which are not in alignment with the West’s hegemony and lust for domination,” explains Iranian prosecutor Abdor-Reza Mojtaba in the indictment.

Dr. Siegel, a fluent Farsi speaker and experienced translator, says that to his mind, the paranoia and conspiracy theorizing on display in the three-page document are in fact the prism through which these men see the world.

“You’re dealing with an extreme wing of the clergy and political leadership. These are the people who invite [former Ku Klux Klan head] David Duke to be keynote speakers at conferences that deny the holocaust happened – it’s a bizzaro faction of the regime,” he says.

Velvet underground

In the original Velvet Revolution – in Czechoslovakia in 1989 – masses of peaceful protesters faced down a communist regime that was not only corrupt and unjust but denied the existence of God. That was just 10 years after Iran’s revolution to peacefully get rid of its own corrupt and unjust ruler, the Shah, and make God the centerpiece of a new republic.

Since then, “velvet revolution” has come to mean more generally a nonviolent pro-democracy uprising.
According to Iranian prosecutor Abdor-Reza Mojtaba, a host of parties including the CIA, Israeli intelligence assets, the philanthropist George Soros, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the German Council on Foreign Relations have been scheming for decades to overthrow “independent systems or systems which are not in alignment with the West’s hegemony and lust for domination.”

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