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IRAN: Iranian cleric sees a long-planned conspiracy in protests

July 19, 2009 |  8:38 am


What's behind the recent weeks of unrest in Iran, in which hundreds of thousands of mostly peaceful demonstrators have taken to the streets  to dispute the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? 

One of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's representatives to the elite Revolutionary Guard seems to have an answer, alleging that some Iranians conspired to overthrow the system and then had the nerve to mourn those who died in the unrest.

Mid-ranking cleric Mojtaba Zonouri gave the following narrative of events to Iran's Mehr news agency:

The silence of certain political figures after the election helped spread chaos across the country. A certain group decided four years ago to overthrow this government, and they embarked on widespread activities to that effect.

The Islamic Republic is not unfamiliar with such cases of sedition. Before the recent post-election riots, we experienced eight years of reforms. 

One of the defeated candidates has crossed the red lines. He gathered university professors and some lawmakers, and they discussed 52 principles regarding the continuation of post-election movement. One of these cases is enough to put this losing candidate on trial at a revolutionary tribunal. 

These people were determined to overthrow the regime through a velvet revolution, and they had established a 300,000-vote pyramid-style organization. This organization had ordered its members to take orders from the BBC in case of text-message, Internet and Facebook disruptions. 

One of our largely circulated newspapers, owned by one of the losing candidates [presumably reformist Mehdi Karroubi], had dispatched 10 individuals under guise of journalists to an Arab country to cover a soccer match. There, these individuals underwent special training for making explosives and spreading the concept of velvet revolution in the press.

All the preparations for riots had been made two days before the election and the rioters had been equipped with electric batons, Thuraya satellite phones and tear-gas canisters. 

When Basiji militiamen or police fired one tear-gas canister to disperse illegal demonstrators, five canisters were fired by the rioters in response. 

In a single anti-riot operation, the Basiji had shot only 1,000 rubber bullets into the air in an hour, but they had to fire live rounds on the rioters who were about to seize 300 assault rifles from a military post. Two rioters were shot dead. 

The defeated candidates even held mourning ceremonies for these two and insisted on the persistence of commemorations.

Photo: Iranian opposition supporters protest in Tehran after Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani ended his Friday prayers sermon on July 17. Credit: POYA PORHEDARI/AFP/Getty Images