Alireza Namvar Haghighi, political analyst, talks to Radio Zamaneh about Mousavi’s recommendations.
by Hassan Alavi
Source: Radio Zamaneh
Date: Monday, January 4, 2010
Radio Zamaneh: There are different assessments about Mir Hossein Mousavi’s seventeenth statement regarding where the focus of his declaration lies; a five-step proposal has been put forth in order to escape the current crisis. If the statement is considered a consensus for all factions within the government as well as a way out of the crisis, is there any possibility of it succeeding and, , if so , what are the mechanisms? Dr. Alireza Namvar Haghighi, a political analyst living in Canada, speaks to Radio Zamaneh:
Alireza Namvar Haghighi: Mr. Mousavi has attempted to offer solutions and propose a compromise to overcome the violence while considering the existing realities among political parties in power as well as the goals of the social movement created following the [June 2009] election. Mr. Mousavi has based his work in the fact that his demands are in accordance with the constitution and aim to restore its forgotten principals; that in the current situation, employing violence is worthless; that arresting the leaders [of the green movement] – Messrs Khatami, Karoubi and Mousavi – will not impede the progress of the movement. Therefore, he has raised suggestions [that are in their best interests] to accept.
From this perspective, failing to accept his suggestions indicates that his opponents are more interested in preserving their power and promoting their own political factions than acting in the interests of the country and in solving the current problems. Mr. Mousavi has made clear that his suggestions are within the framework of the constitution and the government supporters who are strongly opposed to them have not explained why this is the case. Do they oppose the constitution itself or do they feel that some of its principles in particular are contrary to those applied in society.
RZ: In order to achieve a consensus among government parties, the one in the highest position of government; the one who has the most will and power – the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran – should intervene. However, Mr. Khamenei himself is on one side. Does this mean we would need a mediator and, if so, who would that be?
ANH: The reality is that among the various parties in power, a unique comment about the statement does not exist. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government and his supporters are strongly opposed to [Mousavi’s proposal] because if this compromise happens, it would endanger their interests. They want an inflated government, the operation of which is not monitored. Their theory is that this government answers neither to the supreme leader nor to society, but only to Imam Zaman.
For this government, the problems of law and freedom mentioned in the constitution are not important. They want their destiny and that of the Islamic Republic’s to be written together. They believe that if their behavior forces the Islamic Republic to support them in order to sustain itself, they win the game.
So, they try to push the game into a violent direction and employ methods that include intimidation and threats. For them, violence is the first solution, not the last.
Within other parties, military leaders who have participated in the war, as well as others related to the intelligence community who share a strategic vision of Iran, know that the country is currently engaged in important nuclear negotiations. Two dangerous areas – Iraq and Afghanistan -, are in its neighborhood and in terms of economy, Iran faces serious problems with its foreign oil investment. Based on all this, [these people] believe that our current problems must be surpassed with compromise. Mr. Rezai embodies some part of this view and has welcomed the statement. There are other intermediaries who – though not publicly – will try to make this compromise happen. . It is obvious that a mediating group must be found. This intermediary can try to assist in getting or giving advice and resolve everything without the use of violence.
RZ: Can the conservative opposition – those who are against Mr. Ahmadinejad – along with Mr. Rafsanjani and the Council, create this mediating group expediently?
ANH: It may not happen that quickly and depends on several factors. If popular support of Mr. Mousavi’s statement shapes and spreads in social networks and media and, on the other hand, if support takes shape among the religious elite and political and academic groups, these two factors will result in a strong mediator with even more bargaining power or even shape.
Furthermore, this advocacy will cause the parties in power to look at the issue more realistically They have once underestimated the electorate and, [consequently], a social movement was founded and has continued for six months.
I think that if they do not repeat the same mistake, compromise -which has always been denounced by revolutionary parties as “collusion” – would be the most peaceful password for these events.
RZ: Some judicial authorities and government officials had threatened to increase the level of violence before Mr. Mousavi’s statement was issued, but it has continued even more intensely within the past two days, especially in light of Interior Minister Mohammad-Najjar’s announcement that demonstrators are “combative”. Can this be considered a response to Mr. Mousavi from the highest authorities, including the leader? Or is this a continuation of the threats previously announced by some extremist groups?
ANH: Government supporters and extremist groups are opposed to compromise because if one is made, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government will be the main loser. In addition, there is a mistaken belief in the Islamic Republic that compromise is equivalent to defeat.
However, the reality is that if this trend continues, political instability will lead to a serious economic, social, and international crisis, which can further jeopardize the strategic interests of the same groups [that are currently resisting compromise].
Therefore, [it is clear that] sometimes, certain “individuals” do not prioritize their short-term and long-term benefits correctly. This is the main point.