House arrest for Green Movement Leaders: When time does not beget forgetfulness

ByAhmad Jalali Farahani

Jurist Leader, Ali Khamenei is looking for the death of Mir Hussein Mousavi under house arrest but he will not. This statement is bitter and pathetic, but it is a reality and a closely held secret that threw quite a big shadow on the Iranian policy after imposing house arrest on the former prime minister of Iran Mir Hussein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mahdi Karroubi.

House arrest is not new in Iran, for Centuries kings and Sultans had imposed house arrest on opposition members, or imprisoned them in exile just to silence them such Prime Minister Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani 1807-1852, who was called Amir Kabir during the reign of Nasir Adin Shah Alghagari 1831-1896 in Fen-Kashan territory, in addition to Tahira Ghorrat Alein during the Baabist Revolution 1850 that was crushed by Nasi Adin Shah.
In modern history, Reza Shah Bahlavi, father of the last Shah of Iran , imposed house arrest on Ali Saied Hassan Modarres in Khawaf first and then in Kashmar. Moreover, Mohammad Reza Shah had exiled Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddaqh to Ahmad Abad castle until the end of his life.
House arrest continued on opposition members after the emergence of the Iranian Islamic Republic over the past 38 years. There are many examples of house arrests recently, which indicate that this practice is one of the most effective political actions of the Iranian regime such as;
» Mohammad Sadeq Rouhani, an opponent cleric of Shah. He rejected the appointment of Hussein Ali Montazeri as Khomeini’s deputy in the Council of Experts, leading to his house arrest in 1985 and then released in 1991.
» Nour Addin Kianouri, Secretary General of the Iranian Tudeh party. He was arrested in 1982. After years of torture in prison, he was released and house arrested until his death in 1999.
» Sayed Mohammad Kazem Shareatmadari; house arrested 1982-1986.
»  Sayed Mohammad Shirazi; house arrested 1980-2001.
» Sayed Hasan Tabatabai Alqummi; house arrested 1980-1996.
» Hussein Ali Montazeri; house arrested by Khamenei 1997 until 2002.
House arrest of Montazeri has prolonged Khamenei’s days in authority. Khamenei placed his master under house arrest during the reign of reformists because he could have enhanced reformists’ growing movement against Khamenei. Nevertheless, his six years under house arrest contributed to the evaporation of reforms that was going to seize all powers in Iran 1997-2005. Consequently, when Khamenei started to believe that reformists are on the way to vanishing, Montazeri was released.
When Khamenei house arrested the Green Movement leaders in 2010, he thought he could have overcome 2009’s demonstrations crisis, but this strategy seemed to be useless, especially with a figure like Mir Hussein Mousavi.

♦ Strategy of Oblivion
“Silencing Opposition” is the main function of House Arrest strategy by tyrannical regimes; time is the main factor in achieving this strategy.
Before the House Arrest of the Green Movement Leaders, time had always led to mass oblivion in Iran; as a result, the regime restores its political structure and encourages its supporters, which seem to be the same strategy followed to silence leaders of the Green Movement in 2009.
Days of placing Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest, Ahmed Jannati, Secretary of Guardian Council and a close politician to Khamenei, revealed the regime’s strategy in facing Mousavi in Jomaa speech on 18/02/2011, saying, “I expect Judiciary to isolate them, cut their connections, close their doors and limit their movement; they should not exchange letters, their phones, and web access should be disconnected; they should be placed under house arrest.”
However, house arrest did not silence them; “Time” factor did not achieve mass oblivion; on the contrary, opposition increased and demands are through the roof. The evidence for these claims is the inauguration of Rouhani in 2013 when Khamenei compelled to approve Rouhani’s presidency while excluding his major political rival, Hashemi Rafsanjani by rejecting his eligibility.
However, Rouhani, the moderate conservative, took office holding a key and raising the slogan, “breaking blockade and lifting sanctions,” while his supporters celebrating this victory, raising pictures of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
Three years later, the Nuclear Deal has been signed with the West, but House Arrest is still hanging over the country, particularly the government of Rouhani, who could not release the house arrested, but alerted public opinion that House Arrest is the responsibility of “The Jurist Leader.”
Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi have been under house arrest for 2000 days; efforts of the Green Movement opposition have achieved nothing, locally and abroad; they failed in convincing public opinion that the “Green Movement has died.” In fact, people have always remembered the Green Movement’s leaders who are still under house arrest in all political departments, events, and councils.
Another evidence for that claim is when Khamenei avoided responding to the question of Mohammed Ali Kamfeirozi, during his meeting with a group of “The Chosen” students. In fact, Khamenei seemed unwilling to make any solution for the political crisis caused by House Arrest of the Green Movement leaders.

♦ Unfulfilled Dream
The “oblivion” strategy of silencing the Green Movement leaders after 2000 days did not work. Time is now different; social media and means of communications are widely spread, which couldn’t be recognized by Khamenei and his advisors who committed a big mistake through placing opponents under House Arrest.
Although social media has several restrictions in Iran, the lives of these people have taken the lead in directing public opinion; the regime’s press can no more be dominant and sells its ideas to Iranians, leading to the failure of the silencing strategy. Today, the silence of the Green Movement leaders is heard more than any other voices; one statement released by them will be posted on social media where their pictures and memories of 2009 protests are shared and spread all over the country. This situation has become very bad to the government. Although costly, Khamenei and his regime favor imposing security and ironclad control over all events, meetings, and gatherings.

In addition to the mistake of disregarding the power of social media, designers of the House Arrest policy on the Green Movement leaders committed more strategic errors such as;
» Ignoring the untrustworthiness of Ahmadinejad and his supporters.
» The Wide politico-economic corruption of Ahmadinejad.
» The decline of the economic and social conditions during Ahmadinejad’s eight years of presidency.
» Khamenei’s support to Ahmadinejad although his vast and unprecedented financial violations, which has questioned the position and awareness of the Leader.
» The western political and economic sanctions on Iran, and the need for a strong internal frontier to confront these sanctions.
» Khamenei’s inability to confront the Western economic sanctions and the collapse of all his promises and slogans in this regard.
» The Growing struggle for power among the political elite resulted from division over House Arrest between supporters and opponents to this strategy.
» Official and governmental media inability to silence supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
» The Outside Opposition inability to understand the nature of the Green Movement, and the government’s failure to attribute this Movement to the Outside Opposition.
» All proclamations of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi about the corruption of Ahmadinejad’s government and his negative impact on the living conditions of people were true.
Sometimes, unofficial reports are released about the lives of the Green Movement leaders under House Arrest. This news indicates the failure of these policy-makers in their negotiations with prisoners, which asserts that these leaders are aware of the “strategic mistake” committed by their warden who cannot find a way to get out of this crisis.

♦ Life Imprisonment Strategy
Khamenei cannot form a court and prosecute what he called “sedition heads,” or release them in exchange for their silence. He fully understands the weight of this burden. He is aware that day by day while the Green Movement leaders are under house arrest, this load will increase and casts its shadows on the Iranian politics. Therefore, Khamenei wants Mir Hossein Mousavi and his companions to die, but they will not. House Arrest was imposed on Mir Hossein to silence him, but this did not happen. In fact, this policy might lead to repeating what happened to Dr. Mohammed Mosaddagh and the nationalization of the oil industry.
In conclusion, dictators are not the same in thinking and behavior, but they are alike in their principles and techniques. Mossadegh’s death put an end to the renaissance and nationalization of oil industry in Iran, but not the end of the Iranian liberation movements, which is considered another strategic mistake made by Khamenei and his advisors in this regard, who want to keep Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard under house arrest until death. This might bring the Green Movement to an end, but it certainly will not be the end of the Iranian liberation movements.

Source: Zamaneh Radio

Opinions in this article reflect the writer’s point of view, not necessarily the view of The Arabain GCIS

Ahmad Jalali Farahani
Ahmad Jalali Farahani
Iranian journalist