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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’épreuve de force est commencée

by Pierre Barbancey

The Trial by Force has Begun

Translated Sunday 21 June 2009, by Henry Crapo

In his sermon, the Iranian supreme guide, Ali Khamenei, reiterated his support for Ahmadinejad and threatened the demonstrators. Moussavi’s demonstration for Saturday is banned.

As was expected, the Iranian supreme guide Ali Khamenei defended, without the shadow of a doubt, the results in the presidential election of last June 12, affirming that "The president was elected with 24 million votes." Falsely playing the innocent, before a massive crowd composed of guardians of the revolution, bassidjis [1], and students of religion who had "made the trip on foot from the holy city of Qom", as the official press agency Ima informs us, but also simple citizens, he questioned himself in the following terms. "The electoral mechanisms in our country do not permit one to cheat by a margin of 11 million votes (the margin that separates Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from his principal rival Mir Hossein Moussavi). "How can one cheat with a margin of 11 million votes?" For him, "the election demonstrates the support of the people for the (Islamic) regime," thanks to an exceptional level of participation of 85%. He simply said that all doubts about the results must be examined by legal means, after the grave irregularities denounced by the defeated candidates. This is nothing surprising because "the opinions of the president are more similar to my own" than are those of the rival candidates. More enigmatically, on the other hand, he let it slip that "I see certain men more apt to serve the country than others. But the people have made their choice."

The context being defined ("there’s no problem", he said in substance), he then proceeded to warn those who, in fact, might question the words of the supreme guide. "Responsible political leaders who have an influence on the people should pay close attention to their behavior. If they act in an extremist fashion, this extremism will reach a point of non-return. ... They will be responsible for the blood, the violence and the chaos." And Khamenei added, "it is erroneous to believe in using street demonstrations as an instrument of pressure to force the authorities to accept their illicit demands. That would be the beginning of a dictatorship." He readily agreed that "differences of opinion exist among authorities, this is natural," only to add immediately, in case there were any doubts, "this doesn’t mean that there is something broken within the system."

This is a way for the guide to point to his real enemy, who does not seem to be Mir Hossein Moussavi, but rather the former president Rafsandjani, who is clearly accused of pulling the strings of contestation. "Ever since the preceding presidential election, there existed differences of opinion between Ahmadinejad and Rafsandjani." Between the two, his heart is not divided. "My point of view concerning interior and external policies is closer to that of Ahmadinejad", he emphasized. And finally, for good measure, Ali Khamenei violently denounced the attitude of western nations concerning the ballot.

With this sermon, the supreme guide has given his signal. If up until then the authorities had shown restraint, this risks not being the case in days to come.
The message was squarely received by Morteza Tamadone, governor of Teheran, who immediately let it be known that the demonstration planned for Saturday, in which Mir Hossein Moussavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammed Khatami were to participate, was banned. Khamenei wants also to test the political will (and capacity) of his opponents. If Moussavi capitulates, it is to be feared that the pasdarans [2] will savagely occupy the Iranian streets, chasing down the demonstrators. if, on the contrary, Moussavi persists, he will be accused of placing himself in opposition to the Islamic republic. This is what is at stake: is a veritable change possible within such a regime? Because now it is settled: the guide offers no open hand, but simply brandishes the club, and the testing of opposed forces has really begun.

[2Guardians of the islamic revolution.

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