Iran: Basiji call on state to investigate defiant Mousavi

Iran’s Basij militia has asked prosecutors to investigate the role of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the protests that rocked the Islamic Republic after last month’s contested elections. The government-backed militia that enforced much of the crackdown against protesters accused Mousavi of several crimes including undermining national security—which could see him imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The Fars news agency said the Basij sent the country’s chief prosecutor a letter accusing Mousavi of “disturbing the nation’s security” and eight other offences against the state. “Whether he wanted to or not, Mr. Mousavi in many areas supervised or assisted in punishable acts,” said the Basij letter, which also accused Mousavi of bringing “pessimism” to the public sphere.

Mousavi intransigent
In a statement on his website July 1, Mousavi remained intransigent: “From now on, we will have a government the legitimacy of which the majority of the people, including me, will not acknowledge. Our historic duty is to continue the protests to defend the rights of the people… and prevent the blood spilled by hundreds of thousands of martyrs from leading to a police state.”

Mehdi Karoubi, a cleric and fellow losing candidate, echoed Mousavi’s charges and called for the election to be annulled. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami issued his own statement accusing Iran’s leadership of a “velvet coup against the people and democracy.”

Authorities say 17 protesters and eight Basiji were killed in two weeks of unrest that followed the election. More than 1,000 were arrested, by the official toll.

EU to recall ambassadors?
European diplomatic sources said July 1 that EU members were considering a proposal from the UK to recall all their ambassadors from Iran in protest at the detention of Britain’s Tehran embassy employees. The threat was made as Britain said that two more employees from its embassy had been released. Iran’s Press TV said just one of the nine local staff members detained is still in custody. (AlJazeera, July 2; AP, July 1)

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  1. Show trials next in Iran?

    The ayatollahs seem to have been studying the Stalinist playbook. From the New York Times, July 3 via Iran Focus:

    Top reformers admitted plot, Iran declares
    CAIRO — Iranian leaders say they have obtained confessions from top reformist officials that they plotted to bring down the government with a "velvet" revolution. Such confessions, almost always extracted under duress, are part of an effort to recast the civil unrest set off by Iran’s disputed presidential election as a conspiracy orchestrated by foreign nations, human rights groups say.

    Reports on Iranian Web sites associated with prominent conservatives said that leading reformers have confessed to taking velvet revolution “training courses” outside the country. Alef, a Web site of a conservative member of Parliament, referred to a video of Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice president in the reform government of former President Mohammed Khatami, as showing that he tearfully "welcomed being defrocked and has confessed to provoking people, causing tension and creating media chaos."

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards, Mojtaba Zolnour, said in a speech Thursday that almost everyone now detained had confessed — raising the prospect that more confessions will be made public. Ayatollah Khamenei is supreme religious leader.

    The government has made it a practice to publicize confessions from political prisoners held without charge or legal representation, often subjected to pressure tactics like sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and torture, according to human rights groups and former political prisoners. Human rights groups estimate that hundreds of people have been detained.

    They fear the confessions are part of a concerted effort to lay the groundwork for banning existing reformist political parties and preventing any organized reform movement in the future. "They hope with this scenario they can expunge them completely from the political process," said Hadi Ghaemi, coordinator of International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group. "They don't want them to come back as part of a political party."

    And isn't it interesting how "velvet" has suddenly become a bad word among the Sorosphobia crowd? Perhaps they would prefer a violent revolution…