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IRAN: Police chief's expanded brief includes fighting in trenches of ideological war

Iran-ahmadi-moqaddamMost police officials around the world prefer to stay aloof of politics, concentrating their attention on mundane matters of law enforcement and insisting on their integrity, in the face of pressures from City Hall or partisan interests.

Not so in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Police Chief Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam sees fit not only to take sides in the ongoing factional political fight within Iran's establishment, but to opine on matters of foreign policy and comparative social science. 

"Iran is not Europe where thousands of vehicles are set afire during their New Year festivities," he said in comments published Saturday on the official news website of Iran's police force (in Persian). "A small incident happens here and foreign media trumpet their horns, while they remain silent when 12,000 cars are torched in France."

It turns out Ahmadi-Moqaddam is an officer who's also an expert on the intricacies of international espionage. He equated giving interviews to the popular BBC Persian and Voice of America to collaborating with Western intelligence. "Certain people inside and outside the country are accustomed to contacting MI-6-led BBC and the CIA-run VOA to release statements against the Iranian nation," he said. 

"These are unjustified behaviors aimed at undermining Iran's intelligence service," he said. "Those who are cooperating with foreign news agencies by providing them with news feeds, photos and films should know that they are under control and we register everything in their files."

And like a latter-day Rousseau or Descartes in an olive-green uniform, Ahmadi-Moqaddam even waxed philosophical about the nature of society.

"Freedom is different from chaos," he said. " We are not supposed to tolerate spies in our free society and we are not supposed to allow action against national security under cover of freedom."

Analysts say Ahmadi-Moqaddam is a confidante of Mojtaba Khamenei, the mid-ranking cleric close to the Revolutionary Guard who is the hard-line son of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Many consider Ahmadi-Moqaddam's comments a reflection of the younger Khamenei's worldview.

Without naming them, Ahmadi-Moqaddam took potshots in his statement at opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who called on supporters to take to the streets on Feb. 11, the 31st anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. 

"This guy issues a statement to make an appointment [with his supporters on Feb. 11]," the police chief said. 

"He gives signal for operation against the Islamic revolution and then he distances himself from counter-revolutionaries," he said. "He utters stupid remarks and considers us to be idle here. We will put all of them back in their places. There should be no room for seditionists to maneuver in the society. As long as the sedition exists, we are obliged to impose security restrictions."

Those nasty words didn't seem to scare off Karroubi and Mousavi, who met Saturday for the second time since Wednesday to discuss future strategies for the battered but not down opposition movement born out of last year's disputed presidential elections.

And that may be the real reason behind Ahmadi-Moqaddam's harsh words. Iranian opposition supporters are gearing up for a possible round of protests on the night of March 16, the last Tuesday night of the Persian calendar year.

The Zoroastrian holiday, called Chaharshanbeh Souri, is an apocalyptic night of fireworks and bonfires during the best of times. Ahmadi-Moqaddam warned that authorities would carefully monitor proceedings. 

"We will firmly stave off any incident" on the holiday, he vowed. "Families should also take care of their children. We allow celebrations with low-risk materials before the eyes of their parents, but will confront those who may block streets and disturb people."

-- Los Angeles Times

Photo: Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam. Credit: Iranian police news website

Comments () | Archives (4)

The demands expressed and insisted upon by the democratic movement always refer to the realization and observance of the Iranian constitution, are always constitutional, for instance:

• that the state (i.e. the three powers: the judiciary, the legislative, the executive) follows and obeys painstakingly and meticulously the regulations stipulated by the constitution,

• that the republican constitutional freedoms of opinion, of the press, of assembly,

• that the constitutional separation of the three branches of power (the judiciary, the legislative, the executive),

• that constitutional “habeas corpus”,

• that the constitutional freedom of religion (Bahá'í),

• are meticulously and painstakingly observed by Iran’s citizens and in particular by the state and all state-organs.

It is highly to be doubted that in any republican system deserving that label, (e.g. the USA, the EU-states, etc. etc. etc.) standing up for these demands will lead to your incarceration, to torture, to death, to death sencentes.

Any police officer in a republican system daring to seriously and sustainably demand the arrest, the heavy punishmend or the death sentence for the supporters of these/suchlike demands would probably soon and rapidly find himself in compulsory retirement, if not even in an institution for the mentally deficient.

Thus obviously the only guardian of the Iranian constitution at the time being seems to be the democratic grass roots movement.

support or demand for a constitutional monarchy would - in countries like the USA or in Europe – be smilingly accepted and in no case be punished in any way; in particular, as in Europe quite a few countries successfully follow a system of constitutional monarchy like Great Britain, most Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands,
whereas in Iran adherents of this political tendency are certain to be sentenced to death]

By mistaking freedom for an unbridled license to which it is diametrically opposed people nearly always manage to hand themselves over to seducers,who only make their chains heavier than before.these protesters may not be better than stupid mob ,which it was necessary to control and govern with the greatest wisdom. Iranian sovereignty has been acquired and maintained for many centuries by Iranian valor and wisdom. and these shocks will serve to manifest and strengthen the courage and patriotism of Iranians. Wise Iranians are not only free but worthy to be so.

@Pirouz: If there's anything worse than the Islamic-military fascists who run Iran and crush its people's democratic aspirations under their boots, it's bootlicking, Iranian nationalists like you -- Pigooz -- who live comfortably in the Diaspora and do anything in their power to defend and excuse the Iranian regime out of some misguided sentiment to their nation, irrational affinity for the Palestinian cause or even worse -- benefits, pay and access they get to the minions of the Islamic regime.

Pigooz: We know your type. You should shut your trap and mind your words of support for a regime that is evil on multiple levels. There will be a day of reckoning when the files are opened and you better pray to God your name is not in them. Because mark my words you will pay dearly if it's there.

These comments by the police commander are not, in themselves, unusual. Similar comments could be heard from US Police Chiefs in the US, during America's anti-establishment movement and mass protests during the late 1960's/early 70's.

And there are many instances of US policemen providing opinions on the ethics and motivations of rioters, and some have even proceeded on to positions of public office. In Los Angeles, your policeman Tom Bradley became mayor and even ran for governor. And in San Francisco, a police chief became mayor. Many times, he offered opinions-both privately and publicly- on domestic politics outside the realm of pure law enforcement. The same could be said of former San Francisco Sheriff.

Judging by this LA Times blog post, perhaps Police Chief Gen. Ahmadi-Moqaddam has a point after all!


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