Sun, July 18, 2010 | Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Opposition leaders step up criticism of government policy following resolution on sanctions against Iran
Mehdi Karoubi, one of the leaders of the reformist opposition, has strongly criticized last week the government’s stance on the nuclear crisis. Speaking at a meeting with families of political prisoners, Karoubi said that the reckless foreign policy and lack of sanity in President Ahmadinejad’s words and actions have caused considerable damage to Iran in recent years. That policy, coupled with the violent suppression of citizens over the past year, has created a particularly worrisome situation for Iran. He said that Iran must avoid making shallow statements or displaying lack of ability, which could give others a pretext to easily impose sanctions on it.
Karoubi further claimed that some elements in the Iranian regime, including the Revolutionary Guards, support the sanctions because they make “exorbitant profits” from them, while the public pays the price (Kalemeh, July 11).
Karoubi’s statement came days after opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi lashed out against the government’s policy, claiming that the president ignores the impact of the international sanctions. Describing the resolution on sanctions as a “piece of used paper” will not solve the problems plaguing the people and the country, and will not alleviate the damage caused as a result of the government’s demagogic policy, Mousavi said, referring to a statement made by President Ahmadinejad. He claimed that the UN Security Council resolution would have severe consequences for Iran’s national security and economy. There is no denying that Iran is now more isolated than it has ever been since the Islamic revolution, Mousavi said. Iran must learn from the fate of other peoples in the region that had fallen into the trap of their governments’ hollow words of pride. Under current circumstances, he added, it is necessary to consider solutions that would diminish the threats to Iran’s independence and territorial integrity and guarantee its legitimate rights while maintaining the rights of liberties of the Iranian people, since maintaining national security is impossible without supporting free, informed citizens.
Meanwhile, Mousavi condemned the UN resolution, saying that it hurt the Iranian people. He stressed that one cannot condemn Iran and rob it of its legitimate right for peaceful nuclear technology while crimes are committed in “occupied Palestine” and while nuclear weapons held by other countries are being ignored. He added, however, that there is no denying the consequences of the adventurous policy of Iran’s government.
Mousavi also called on the government to inform the Iranian public about the consequences of the sanctions, saying they are likely to cause an increase in unemployment and decrease in economic growth, making the lives of Iranians more difficult and widening the gap between Iran and developing countries, mostly its neighbors. He noted that the Iranian people have the right to know what impact the sanctions will likely have and how they will influence their lives as well as the progress and security of their country. The public cannot be expected to oppose the sanctions if the government does not tell Iranians the truth about their consequences. Many Iranians are unaware of the dangers inherent in the path Iran follows due to lack of ability and bragging. If the government cannot do it, Mousavi said, the least it should do is allow non-government media to provide Iranians with information and assessments regarding the sanctions in a clear, non-exaggerated manner.
Mousavi stressed the need to expand the circle of advisors on the nuclear issue, claiming that the issue is currently handled by a small group of inexperienced advisors. The Green Movement must continue expressing opposition in view of the external threats facing Iran, showing that the way to end the crisis and the threats is to return to the principles and solutions it proposes. The movement must enlist all of its international capabilities to let foreign powers know that it will not let them exploit the weakness and illegitimacy of the current government to compromise Iran’s independence, territorial integrity, or national interests (Kalemeh, July 7).
The conservative daily Keyhan strongly lashed out against Mousavi for his statements this week, claiming they reflected the analyses published by “Zionist media” about the sanctions and their effects. The admission of Western leaders that the sanctions would not result in the cessation of Iran’s nuclear program left Western intelligence services no other choice but to launch the second phase of their plan, designed to influence Iran’s domestic public opinion. That phase is supposed to be implemented by their agents in Iran. Mousavi and his supporters are now acting on behalf of the US and Israel, after those two countries’ efforts to enforce effective sanctions against Iran had failed. However, Keyhan claims, the West ignores the fact that Mousavi no longer enjoys any status or influence in Iran (Keyhan, July 13).