Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Musavi and Mehdi Karrubi and their wives are in grave danger after security forces transferred them out of their homes, where they were under house arrest, and taken them to an unknown location, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) said on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, when the leaders were still under house arrest, Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami had urged the authorities to release them.
"Why should people like Mr. Mousavi and Mr. Karroubi, and their wives, who have had a glorious past in the revolution and the Islamic republic, and who are loyal to the revolution and the Islamic republic, be placed under house arrest?" Khatami said [Khatami.ir, 27 February]. "I hope that with the start of the Iranian New Year (21 March) we will see the end of the house arrest, the end of restrictions, the release of the prisoners and the creation of a safe and free climate in which the people's vote will be decisive," he added.
As the news of the detention of the opposition leaders and their wives spread, the White House issued a statement condemning the arrests. In the statement, issued by National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, the White House called for Iranian leaders to allow active dialogue among its citizens, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly without fear.
The detentions are a serious escalation of the Iranian government’s efforts to silence the opposition amid the rising tide of the democratic movements throughout the Middle East.
Photo: BBC File Photo
I fail to see what the administration gains by silencing two ex officials who are wearing freedom lover's hats. The fact is that neither Moussavi or Karrobi are genuine leaders or for that matter have serious aspirations for democratic values.
Obviously both sides (administration and Moussavi et. al.) have considerable followers that support them. Neither side should have genuine worry about the other side. So let them speak up and say whatever they want to say. There is little point in house arresting them. The notion of democracy and religion is incompatible, full stop. Whether that is Judaism, Islam or for that matter any other religion. Iran will never be a true democratic country until democratic values (respect for individuals, differing opinions, tolerance and respect for the law and order) is synced into the society. Any reactionary religion can never be the custodian of democratic values. You cannot have a book (ideology) in one hand and a gun in another and try to dialogue with opposition.
In terms of historical precedent, this is similar to the actions of US President Lincoln during the Civil War, when political figures loyal to the southern cause, as well as political agitators, were detained without trial. For his part, Lincoln moved quickly and decisively at the onset of hostilities. Seen in the light light, the Iranian move to detain these political agitators--Mousavi and Karoubi--appears somewhat belated by comparison.
Weren't there supposed to be demonstrations Monday? If so, did they not materialize?
To anon February 28, 2011 10:23 AM.I understand where you're coming from but the chances of civil war in Iran is close to nil or very very slim.In case you didn't realize, the safety of these guys(Karoubi and Mousavi) have become paramount and knowing the opposition, which by the way has been hijacked by foreign elements, wouldn't mind assassinating these two for huge propaganda and political gains.
And who says Mousavi and Karoubi are against the system?? These are people who made their wealth and fortune out of the system and are not going to dump it just like that for some fancy ideology. Mousavi called his own bluff by challenging the election results and calling for people to go out on the streets and protest.He's now finding it hard to back down as he'll loose his support base, if he's got nay left. In essence, he's riding on a wild tiger and don't know how to climb down without being eaten alive - either by his people or the state.
To have the western style democracy in Iran, one has to change the 90%+ Iranian Muslims who believe in the system..Tough luck.
"To have the western style democracy in Iran, one has to change the 90%+ Iranian Muslims who believe in the system..Tough luck."
Agreed and as much as I like to have Mr Uskowi's optimism about democracy in Iran, as long as Iran has a considerable poulation who follow up this wreched ideology then the chance of geniune democracy in that country is zero. The whole of this ideology is incompatible with democracy and probably it is one of of the most intolerant in the World. The only relative advantage in Iran is that they are better educated compared to other countries around (including Arabs in the south and other muslims around) and had 30 years to experiment with life under this regime with sometimes with a glimmer of hope during Khatami era. So hopefully by now they know what they want and they will never be fooled again by extreme religious, leftist or rightist tendencies. Whether how long will take for Iran to be a genuine democracy, noone knows. To get there Iran needs to be fuly industrialised first and develop sound institutions.
Comparison with USA is misguided. USA may have presidents who know barely between right and left and they are little more than a joke (George W Bush is a fascinating example). However, behind these guys there are strong institutions who make US function as a fully industrialised democracy. These institutions do not exist in Iran and they will not grow overnight.
There are considerable poorer classes that live through hand outs by the current administration in Iran. These are the ones that generally support the regime. They are organised to attend Friday prayers and counter demonstration to show the support for the regime.
The regime tries very hard to portray the more affluent middle classes as stooge of West or living with western ideals. The size of the middle class in Iran is reasonably considerable. However, they have a lot to lose in confrontation with Baseej thugs who BTW themselves have nothing to lose. The middle classes want a normal life under fairer conditions and they hate the idea of religion shafted to them daily. Unlike the poorer classes, they do not see any value in the mechanical, superstitious, ahistorical and dogmatic nature of this ideology. The regime keeps misleeding the people, perpetrate ignorance, deprivation and superstition. Unable to improve the life of daily masses the regime can only offer martydom and sacrifice as means of attaining salvation. It is ironic that an ancient cicilisation like Iran in 21st Century is going through this mess!
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