Here’s the latest op-ed from NIAC member Masoud Shafaee – as published in the World Politics Review.
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Last week saw the fourth round of Iran’s Stalinesque show trials, with the broadcast of yet another prominent reformist’s coerced “confession.” As with previous reformists paraded into court proceedings that are widely viewed as illegitimate, Saeed Hajjarian, one of the students involved in the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover, was charged with stirring up unrest at the bidding of Western powers.
The charge of “Western interference” has long been the centerpiece of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s propaganda machine, even before the disputed June presidential elections. In addition to the more than 100 reformists who have been put on trial for crimes against national security, the BBC, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have all also been implicated by hardliners close to his administration.
But Ahmadinejad has gone even further, openly contradicting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by calling for the prosecution of Mir Hossein Moussavi, Mehdi Karoubi, and former reformist president Mohammad Khatami. “Those masterminds who organized and instigated the riots followed the enemy line, have to be seriously confronted . . . and should by no means enjoy immunity,” he said.
The charges have fallen on deaf ears for now. Moussavi, a two-term prime minister, Khatami, a two-term president, and Karoubi, the former chair of Iran’s parliament, all have solid revolutionary credentials and were close to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic. But they serve as a reminder that U.S. and Western policy toward Iran could very well have unintended consequences in Iran.