IRAN: Mousavi questions his earlier support for Islamic Republic
Iranian opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi delivered a stinging indictment of the current Iranian establishment, arguing that despite a revolution 31 years ago, the nation remains mired in tyranny.
But the former prime minister also said that the Islamic Republic's constitution included the means to bring about democracy, and argued for reform rather than radical change.
Still, it appeared to be the first time Mousavi explicitly argued for fundamental change to Iran's political system. And Mousavi for the first time publicly acknowledged that perhaps he, too, had been mistaken in the past in his earlier die-hard support of the system.
"In the early years of the revolution, the majority of our people had been convinced that the revolution had erased all structures of dictatorship and autocracy, and I was one of these people," he said. "But today, I don't believe so."
Perhaps even more provocatively, Mousavi placed the current Green movement struggling for democratic change in Iran as part of country's centuries-old struggle against tyranny.
Below are some key translated excerpts from a question-and-answer interview posted to his news website Kaleme.org (in Persian).
Today, our people's resistance is a valuable legacy of the Islamic revolution and its incompatibility with lies, fraud and corruption, which we witness today, is well indicative of the existence of this legacy.
We can spot the factors and roots which could degenerate into dictatorship. The muzzling of press and media, our overcrowded prisons and the brutal killing of people in the streets in response to their peaceful demands for their rights demonstrate well the existence of roots of dictatorship and autocracy dating from the monarchical regime.
People demand freedom and justice and they know well that politically motivated arrests and executions are in total contradiction with the constitution and other existing laws. People have understood that their comrades are easily put to death without being accorded due process of law, and then a brutal Friday Prayers leader, who has always defended discrimination, violence and fraud, thanks the judiciary.
He doesn't care about rumors of illegally forced confessions. Nor does he care about the fact that the death-row suspects have nothing to do with the election riots. The important thing for him is to be an executive for intimidation. He is unaware of the power of the blood of the innocent and he has forgotten the fact that the flood of martyrs' blood led to the overthrow of the shah regime.
Even today, I see the resistance and firm determination of people in favor of their rights ... as the continuation of the struggles of the days and months leading to the 1979 revolution.
When we see today that it is a common practice for the government and its mouthpieces and state broadcaster to lie and when our nation sees the security and military forces hold a grip on judicial cases and the judiciary is reduced to a bailiff, we conclude that we had been over-optimistic in the early days of the revolution.
I don't believe that the revolution has realized its objectives, and the anniversary of the revolution, marked every year, is in fact meant for refreshing forces to confront the remnant of dictatorship.
Today, our people are showing up to establish justice, enjoy freedom and decide their own fate. Our nation has offered hundreds of thousands of martyrs in view of these objectives.
The Islamic revolution is the product of our great nation's resistance and sacrifice. A bit of negligence ... would be enough to plunge us into a dictatorship much darker than the pre-revolutionary period. Dictatorship, in the name of religion, is the worst kind. In the meantime, resistance in favor of freedom and justice heralds us a bright future and can help remove autocracy.
Only a monarchical-inspired interpretation of Islam divides people and pits them against one another. Instead of ordering the execution of several youths and juniors, the judiciary should have taken into consideration the roots of the revolution. We're totally disappointed with the judiciary because it has distanced itself from the objectives of the revolution.
Today, the most pure children of our nation have filled the prisons, while the real decadents and looters of public wealth are frolicking outside jail. Instead of looking for real spies, they accuse noble people of espionage.
All of us have come to the battlefield for reforms and seek no revenge, no power and no destruction. Those in power are today responsible for our national backwardness, soaring inflation and unemployment and economic ruin. They continue to rule by populism and demagoguery. They are responsible for sanctions and their consequences. Fumbling efforts to restrict people to packaged slogans is an insult to them. Slogans have to be voluntary and self-motivated.
The Green Movement will by no means give up its peaceful and ethical methods in its struggle for regaining the rights of the nation. I've said and I say it again: the constitution is not a divine law and it should be open to changes.
A law per se is not sufficient to resolve our problems. The more important factor is to work out mechanisms avoiding any breach of the constitution and levying heavy penalties on violators of any rank and position.
Refusing to recognize people's sovereignty will automatically nullify the constitution. Those who impose restrictions on the press are effectively helping destabilize the pillars of the Islamic Republic. People are entitled to holding peaceful rallies and gatherings. I recommend the police and Basij forces to practice kindness and flexibility with people.
I call on the supporters of the Green Movement to minimize their distance with other people. This movement is born out of people and belongs to all of them. We should be careful about our religious convictions, sanctities and social norms. But we should never forget our final goal: that is, building an advanced, independent, free and united Iran.