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The Mullahs' Draconian Agenda By: Reza Bayegan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Mohsen Mirdamadi, Chairman of the Majlis' National Security and Foreign Affairs Commission, has described the massive disqualification of parliamentary candidates in Iran as a civilian coup d'état. A more accurate assessment of the situation is that, faced with the growing force of national discontent, the regime has been forced to employ new strategies. The reformist card has been played out and President Khatami and his cohorts have outlived their political usefulness as procrastinators of liberty. In the face of multiple challenges to its survival, the ruling establishment cannot afford any loose canons in the parliament and other organs of the state dividing its invaluable energy.

Mohammad Khatami, who once upon a time enjoyed massive people power enabling him to encounter any ruthless display of force by the hardliners within the regime, has lost his hold on the minds and hearts of the population. Time and again, he has proven to Iranians that the elements that unite him with the totalitarian mafia of the Islamic Republic are more numerous than those binding him to the electorate. For the regime, Khatami's lost credibility has turned him into an ineffective force for foiling the drive for political transformation.

Nevertheless, far from being a thorn in the side of the regime (as he is portrayed by the Western media) Khatami has a proven record of commitment to the preservation of the country's dictatorial system. He himself is a full member, as it were, of the theocratic ruling club. This ruling club is now panic-stricken about losing its grip on the country. Getting jittery over the American wholehearted commitment to uproot terrorism in the region and its own increasing unpopularity amongst the Iranian population, the regime is desperately trying to put together a new game plan. This new agenda in the coming days and months will move the political situation in Iran towards further radicalizion and will make the lines of demarcation between the totalitarian establishment and the alienated population even sharper and more salient.

The auguries of what is in store for the Iranian nation by its ruthless rulers was given last week when the former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, in his address to the Friday worshippers in Tehran, called on the Iranian government officials to "adopt staunch measures to prevent the enemies of the Republic intervening in internal affairs of Iran". This Machiavellian mullah, who is the kingpin of the Iranian political mafia, reminded his audience that: "the chief of all these enemies has surrounded Iran on its Western and Eastern borders." Rafsanjani's rhetoric is redolent of a rough draft for a declaration of a state of emergency. Mohammad Khatami's democratic pretence will melt away as the regime's true draconian face will fully appear from behind the tattered mask of reform and so called 'religious democracy'. The decrees being cranked out by the supreme leader in recent days are meant to demonstrate that any resistance will be dealt with in the harshest of manners: "Evading responsibility by resigning or any other method is illegal and religiously forbidden" (February 4) "un-Islamic protests will not be tolerated (February 4) Some complaints need to be ignored”. “Stop moaning” (February 7).

As the prospect for a user-friendlier parliament (i.e. more amenable to tyrannical manipulation) is becoming well nigh certain and the faint pretence of democracy is disappearing from Iran's political landscape, the responsible response of the international community towards this new draconian agenda cannot be overemphasized. If international help in reconstructing the ruins of the historical city of Bam is crucial, thinking of the right approach in assisting the cause of democracy and rebuilding the shattered dream of Iranians for political freedom is of far greater importance.

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