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Opinion: Who is behind the assissination?

6 August 2005

Police say they are still investigating the assassination of Moghaddasi which took place last Tuesday in Tehran. While speculation is rampant and no police or security authority has yet directly linked the assassination to Ganji's case, Mobasheri, the chief of the Revolutionary Courts has told Kayhan that he does not see the two unrelated. Does this indicate a new project of oppressing dissidents is getting under way?

There is little doubt that Iran is coming to the verge of a deep domestic and international political (and social) crisis. There are reports of unrest in West and South East of the country. The political structure of the regime has changed dramatically after the recent election. Those who were previously deemed to be the insiders of the 'circle of trust' are now openly out of it. At the international level, the situation is getting worse for the regime. Its options are limited: either to surrender to foreign pressure and abandon its nuclear ambitions, or face the tough consequences that might put an end to their existence. The 'war committee' convened at the Ministy of Foreign Affairs yesterday is an indication for a grave concern.

On the other hand, the history of the Islamic regime shows that, at times of crisis, 'terror' has always been adopted as the best strategy to distract attention from the causes and centres of crisis, and, at the same time, to silence the opposition voices and international demands. A frightening fact about this strategy is that it draws no line that cannot be crossed. Saving the regime justifies every action. To give an example, in 1994, when the regime was under heavy international pressure for its human rights violations and terror aborad, and there were unrests taking place across the country, the regime's security strategists, then nested in the Ministry of Information, came to the conclustion that inciting terror and fear would be the best outlet for the crisis. The bomb explosion in the shrine of Imam Reza (Shia's eighth Imam)- the holiest place in Iran - was carried out under this strategy. Around fifty pilgrims were killed in that incident. Shortly afterwards, a "Mehdi Nahvi" was named as the prime suspect and after a few days it was in the news that Nahvi was shot dead in a shooting incident with the security officers in south of Tehran. There was no information as to who Nahvi was, what his probabale motivations were, or what background he had. But, the regime made the most out of this incident by reinforcing its oppressive measures domestically and gesturing for the international community that it is the main victim of terror and not the Iranian people persecuted by it inside and outside of the country.

It seems that the same strategy is gaining momentum once again. Reading hardliner newspapers such as Kayhan, Ressalat, and Jomhuri, one can easily draw similarities between the language used today and in the early to mid 1990s . Judge Moghadass (literally translated, his family name means sacred) was a 'holy man', a man of virtue, very religious, etc. But he was not holier than the Imam's shrine and his pilgrims. If his assassination would help saving the regime, it must be done, the strategy would say. Thus, my speculation is that soon we will hear of another poor fellow who either gets killed in a shoot out leaving behind letters in support of Ganji or some opposition groups, or gets arrested and then confesses to his empathy for Ganj's or some anti-regime cause. What will follow from that is not hard to predict.

Iran Hopes

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