Mir Hosein Mousavi’s latest statement — called a “charter” for the Green Movement — is the clearest sign yet that the Iranian opposition is transforming from a purely reformist movement to one demanding more fundamental change to the political system.
Mousavi made a strong case for the separation of church and state in Iran — a direct challenge to the Supreme Leader’s religious and political authority — asserting that that “Laws of the land including the constitution are not eternal and unchangeable.”
“The constitution is not engraved in stone,” He said.
This proclamation can be interpreted as a warning to the ruling elites — that the opposition will not stand idle in the face of political persecution, and will be compelled to take more forceful measures against the government if their demands for the rule of law continue to be rebuffed.
Another leading figure, Sayed Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was jailed during the post-election turmoil, has written an important analysis of the current state of affairs in Iran, apologizing for the “mistakes of the first decade of the Revolution,” which included violence and repression on the part of many leading opposition figures today.
We all made many mistakes at that time but, today, instead of continuing the positive aspects of what we did, [the rulers] are continuing the same mistakes…Let me state it as clearly as possible, that our consenting silence regarding the [the actions of the] revolutionary courts [in the 1980s] was our mistake; but mass arrests of law-abiding critics, rendering the protesting citizens “Kahrizaki” and shooting at them directly are so repugnant that they can no longer be referred to as “mistakes.”
Tajzadeh echoed the Ayatollah Khomeini’s declaration that “every generation must decide its own fate,” continuing:
We cannot claim to be adherents of the Paris declaration [by Ayatollah Khomeini in the fall of 1978] about democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, the press, political parties and the Voice and Visage, women’s and ethnic rights, free elections, and republicanism and its link with Islam, but not speak out against the root cause, reasons, impediments, and mistakes that prevent these from materializing.
Some may argue that the opposition is no longer viable, and that the hard-liners have solidified their hold on power since last year. But the tactics they have used to remain in power have in fact created more and more opposition. By ruling through fear; by outlawing normal political activity; by employing cruel methods to silence dissent, Iran’s hardliners are only swelling the ranks of opposition and increasing popular disaffection.Back to top