Iran's leader says Western agents not to blame, after all
Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's most powerful man, says he's not convinced by show trials that June election protesters are tools of foreign powers.
(Page 3 of 3)
A number of political prisoners have died while in government custody in recent months, and not all of them in the "reformist" camp. In late July, Mohsen Ruholamini, the son of a staunch conservative and former commander of the Revolutionary Guard, was reported beaten to death while in regime custody.Skip to next paragraph
2011 Reflections: Suddenly, a new era in the Middle East
2011 Reflections: the end of a landmark year for Latin America
2011 Reflections: Africa rises, taking charge of its affairs
How the 'Year of the Protester' played out in Europe
In Prague, a tale of communism past
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
For many Iranians, as ever, a picture has been worth a thousand words. These twin images of former vice president and reformist Shiite cleric Mohamed Ali Abtahi, the first showing him plump and smiling in crisp clerical garb in the middle of June, the second showing him gaunt, haggard and swollen-faced during his show trial on Aug. 1, have gone viral on the Internet.
Mr. Abtahi testified that he no longer believed the country's June presidential vote, which returned hard-line President Ahmadinejad to power, was rigged and said his and others claims to the contrary "was a lie brought up to create riots so Iran would become like Afghanistan and Iraq and suffer damage."
The show trial this week also included testimony from Saeed Hajjarian, a leading proponent of a more open Iranian political system and greater engagement with Western governments and Iran's neighbors. He was a key adviser to former President Mohammad Khatami when he implemented democratic reforms and today is partially paralyzed due to an assassin's bullet in 2000. Reformists say that crime, which was never solved, was carried out by a militiaman acting on orders from Iranian hardliners. Mr. Hajjarian's "confession" was read on his behalf, since he has trouble speaking since the assault.
Two people carried Hajjarian into the courtroom by the arms, the state news agency IRNA said. A prosecutor read out a long list of charges against him — among them, acting against national security, fomenting unrest, propagating against the ruling system, having contacts with British intelligence and insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei...
"I've committed grave mistakes by offering incorrect analysis during the election ... I apologize to the dear Iranian nation because of my incorrect analyses that was the basis for many wrong actions," Hajjarian's text said, according to IRNA. Hajjarian, a leftist thinker, renounced his own writings from the past 10 years and said his ideas "contradict the path of the Imam" — referring to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic.