Whatever you think about Iran, a country based on an Islamic constitution and with an Islamic leadership, one thing is sure the current leaders are no fools. They know, what “divide and conquer” means. And they are not about to allow a 1953 rerun.
Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei appears to be quite a good strategist. His position in the country seems to have rather been strengthened than weakened by the troubles of last week. And while the opposition clearly gives the impression of extremely sore losers, Khamenei makes a gracious winner.
The transcript of Khamenei´s Friday sermon, published in full on Press TV, is a pretty fascinating read. He tries to depolarize the fractions and emphasizes on national unity. He also tries to create a common ground between the followers of all the candidates. He emphasizes the high turn-out of voters as being more important than the outcome.
Click to view image: 'Ayatollah Khamenei'
"Of course, there are differences of taste and of opinion among our people. Some people support a certain candidate; others back another person and his words and ideas. This is natural, but you can see a collective commitment amid all this and amongst people of all walks of life."
He stresses that if people hadn´t trusted in the system they would never have shown up to vote.
Then he puts more blame on foreign (western) countries than on the opposition candidates for planting doubt about the vote counts, while emphasizing repeatedly that there are no fundamental differences between the candidates.
" The four candidates who entered the presidential race all belonged and still belong to the Islamic establishment. One of these four is the president of our country – a hardworking and trustworthy president. One of them is the two-term prime minister, he served the country when I myself was president. He was my prime minister for eight years. One of them was the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps and one of the wartime commanders. One them was two-time head of parliament and Majlis speaker. They are all members of our Islamic establishment.
Of course, they have differences of opinion and plans that differ from one another. But, they all belong to this Islamic establishment. This race was defined within the framework of the system. It was not a competition between insiders and outsiders as the Zionist and the US were trying to portray. No, this was a competition within the framework of the system between members of the system.
I know them all personally, I know their system of thought and their tastes very well. I am familiar with their personalities. I have worked with all of them closely. I know them all. But of course, I do not share all their views. I believe some of their views and executive records are subject to criticism.
I see some more suitable to serve the country than others. But, this is up to the people to decide, and this is exactly what happened, they chose who they wanted."
He goes on to talk about the heated election campaign and the TV debates as acts of a living democracy.
" Well, these campaigns and debates were an important and interesting initiative. They were very clear, to the point and serious. The televised debates proved wrong those who were trying to say from the outside that these competitions are formalities.
They saw that these rivalries are real and serious. They saw that they are really battling it out and exchanging viewpoints. From this perspective, these debates were positive. But, they also had some negative points which I will touch upon.
The positive aspect was that in these televised discussions and debates everyone spoke their mind clearly and casually. A flood of criticism followed. Everyone was forced to respond. Everyone was criticized and they defended themselves. The stances that these individuals and groups had were unveiled before the eyes of the nation. They talked about their plans, commitments and projects.
All this was publicized for the people so that they could judge for themselves. People felt that in the Islamic system they are not the outsiders. Everything was clearly laid out before the people.
They were shown that the nature of their vote is not ceremonial. The right to vote truly does belong to the people. People want to have the right to choose. This is what the televised debates indicated.
One of the main reasons that ten million additional voters participated in this election was because the people’s minds had been engaged, therefore they came and voted for the candidate of their choice. "
But then he criticizes Ahmadinejad and his opponents equally for heating up the atmosphere.
" But, there have also been some negative aspects to the debates that need to be dealt with. In some cases, we saw that logical points were undermined and emotional and destructive responses dominated the debate.
There were efforts to portray the last four years as a dark era. There were also attempts to portray previous administrations in a similar light. Allegations were made that have not been proven in any court, rumors were used as a reference, and unjust remarks were made.
This administration, despite the excellent services it had rendered came under unjust attacks. Similarly, the performance of previous governments in the past 30 years came under attack. The candidates gave in to their emotions.
They made some positive points. They also raised some unpleasant negative issues. Like the rest of the nation, I sat and watched these TV debates. I took pride in the freedom of speech I witnessed. I enjoyed the fact that the Islamic Republic has been able to aid the people in deciding their future, but the shortcomings saddened me.
For supporters of the candidates the shortcomings and negative aspects were also a cause for concern; both sides were a party to this… both sides had their problems."
Then Khameni reaches out to Rafsanjani, who many see as his personal rival, in a consolatory gesture praising Rafsanjani´s many years of service to the Islamic revolution and state. (We have to remember that many of Mousavi´s supporters and post-election-protesters were students from Rafsanjani´s private universities.)
Khameni goes on to say:
" Of course, my opinion and Mr. Rafsanjani’s differs on numerous issues, which is natural. However, we should not create any misunderstandings for the people.
The president and Mr. Rafsanjani have had differences of opinion since the president took office in 2005. They have differences of opinion in foreign policy, in the manner of spreading social justice as well as on some cultural issues. However, the president’s ideas are closer to mine...
The live televised debates are a positive step, but these shortcomings (emotional accusations) should be removed. After the debates, I had a talk with the president because I knew he would listen to me. The stance of the Islamic establishment is clear-cut regarding corruption and social justice. Corruption should be fought anywhere it is traced.
There is a point I want to make here. We do not claim that our establishment is free of all economic and financial corruption. Yes, there is corruption. If there was no corruption, I would not have written the eight-point letter to the heads of the legislative, judiciary, and executive branches of the country.
We have corruption, but the Islamic establishment is one of the healthiest establishments in the world today. However, it is not right to accuse the country of corruption based on some Zionist reports and sources.
Moreover, questioning the credibility of statesmen goes beyond the bounds of decency. Financial corruption is an important issue in the Islamic establishment. The judiciary, executive and legislative branches of the country must do everything within their power to fight against it.
Everyone is duty-bound to fight corruption. If corruption is not contained, it will spread in the same manner as you see occurring in many countries…. They are struggling with an alarming level of corruption as you have heard about in the UK. This is only a fraction of the scandal as it goes way beyond what has been publicized."
Now this is a smart move, Khamenei admits, that there is corruption in the system, commits to fighting corruption and tells his own people and the West, that look, Iran isn´t the only country with that kind of a problem.
He once again calls for national unity against western attempts to destabilize the country. The sermon seems to indicate that there will be no crack-down against the opposition inside the country, except against those individuals identified as having started the violence and being seen as “foreign agents”. However, the position towards the western world has hardened, at least for the moment.
In the end Khamenei tells western leaders regarding human rights to look at the corpses in their own closets. And again the examples he uses are well chosen, because even here, he does seek common ground, not with western leaders but with the libertarian opposition to the leaders war-agenda.
"The US President said that we were waiting for the day when people would take to the streets. At the same time they write letters saying that they want to have ties and that they respect the Islamic Republic. Which are we to believe?
Inside the country, their elements [foreign countries] began street protests and vandalism, they set fire to public property, they made shops and businesses insecure, and they are trying to rob the people of their security.
This has nothing to do with the people and their preferred candidates. This kind of behavior stems from ill-wishers, mercenaries and elements working for Western and Zionist secret services.
The incidents occurring inside the country have misled some of those outside our borders, who imagine Iran to be the same as Georgia. A Zionist American capitalist a few years ago, had been quoted in the media saying that he had spent 10 million dollars in Georgia to start a velvet revolution.
Our nation cannot be compared to any another nation. Their problem is they have not come to know this revolution and its people.
American officials say they are worried about the Iranian nation, how can you be worried? Can you even speak about human rights when you are responsible for the blood shed in Afghanistan and Iraq? In Palestine who has and is supporting and funding the Zionist regime?
During the term of a previous US government, eighty people affiliated with the Davidian sect were burnt alive in their compound in Waco, Texas. For some reason these people were disliked by the then US administration. Eighty people were burnt in that building, how dare you talk of human rights?
In my opinion, these western officials should at least feel a little embarrassment!"
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