Begin at the beginning…

Posted October 11, 2008 by melformosa
Categories: Casual Observation


I will begin the way I feel I should, with the best definition of blog, blogged, etc. that I have found.

Blog noun
1. an acronym for Boring Loser Of Grand-design. 2. an abbreviation used by journalism drop-outs to give legitimacy to their shallow opinions and amateur photography/film-making/music-making which seem permanently stuck on the first draft.

Blogged adjective
descriptive of a trivial or largely inconsequential topic put onto a screen.

a term used to describe anyone with enough time and sufficient narcissism to document every tedious moment of their grimly uneventful lives.

Blogging verb
if minds had anuses, blogging would be what a mind would do when it had to take a dump.

That said (or rather quoted from A Dictionary of Bullshit* by Diane Law), I have to admit that so far I have spend an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out myspace and thisspace. I promise not to blog every day. I cannot promise my opinions are not shallow by someone else’s standards, my photos certainly are amateurish, I am unable to make music—only appreciate it. Narcissistic, I live in America, who isn’t? Sorry, didn’t mean to offend, but…..anyway. Trivial and inconsequential topics? Probably interesting only to friends and family…and that’s what I put up this page for. Thank you for putting up with me

9 September, 2012 06:58

Posted September 9, 2012 by melformosa
Categories: Casual Observation

23 June, 2012 16:48

Posted June 23, 2012 by melformosa
Categories: Casual Observation
Things are improving, thank you!

Its a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said. alloy wyifrid

18 October, 2010 20:50

Posted October 18, 2010 by melformosa
Categories: Casual Observation

Ayatollah Watch – Tehran Bureau

Posted July 22, 2009 by melformosa
Categories: International News & Politics


I am watching events unfold with great interest:

Ayatollah Watch – Tehran Bureau.

By BENDIX ANDERSON in New York | 21 July 2009

[TEHRAN BUREAU] Since protests erupted in Iran after its disputed Presidential election, a growing number of influential Shia clerics have made statements in favor of the protesters.

Grand Ayatollahs in Support of Protesters (in alphabetical order)

Though an exact list is hard to come by, experts agree that there are only a few dozen Grand Ayatollahs now living. Shia clerics earn the title of Grand Ayatollah through years of study, publishing papers and books on theological subjects, and gathering thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers. Literally translated, grand ayatollah, or marja taqlid, means “source of emulation.”

Grand Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardabili: “We do not have to pacify the protest by force,” said Ardabili in a meeting in late June with the Guardian Council, according to widely-quoted story from the Iranian Labour News Agency. “Let the people decide who is right and who is not.” Ardabili was a close and senior aid to Ayatollah Khomeini, and was the head of the Judicial system of Iran until Khomeini,’s death. He also established Mofid University.

Grand Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani issued a fatwa July 12 calling the elections illegitimate. On July 6 he said, “Every healthy mind casts doubt on the way the election was held… “More regrettable are post-election large-scale arrests, newspaper censorship and website filtering, and above all the martyrdom of our countrymen whom they describe as rioters,” according to a story in the Los Angeles Times. Bayat-Zanjani’s Farsi-language website has recently been filled with almost daily statements like these. Bayat-Zanjani is a former chancellor of Tehran University.

Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani called the election results announced by the government “a grand lie,” according to a June 30 story in Le Monde. Golpayegani, who was the first Secretary-General of the Guardian Council after the Revolution, met with some members of the Council and reportedly expressed regrets for what had happened.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri: A pro-Ahmadinijad website claimed July 13 that Montazeri suffers “severe memory disorders” and asks who has written statements attributed to the Grand Ayatollah. Montazeri responded by posting a photograph of a statement in his own handwriting on his website. On July 12, Montazeri wrote a fatwa calling the regime “un-Islamic.” He went on to say: “Injustice is the intentional opposition to the teachings of religion, the foundations of reasonableness, and rationality, and the national accords and consensus that have become the laws of the land. The ruler who opposes these is no longer qualified to rule.” He posted a July 8 statement to: “Protest the improper performance of official repression.” He has also called for three days of mourning for the death of Neda Agha-Soltan and other protesters. He has also said that, “No one in their right mind” could believe the election results,” in a statement issued June 16. Montazeri’s support for this June’s protesters is important but hardly surprising. Once the hand-picked successor to former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Montazeri lost favor after protesting the executions of political prisoners in the late 1980s and spent years under house arrest in the holy city of Qom after criticizing the current Supreme Leader.

Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei: “Everyone in the past days witnessed the attacks… that maimed, murdered, and caged any number of children,” said Saanei according to a translation of a July 3 statement on his website. Saanei had already expressed his “sympathy with the families of the victims of the recent disasters.” A confidante of Ayatollah Khomeini, Saanei retired as the head of the Guardian Council in 1988. More recently, he issued a fatwa in which he declared suicide bombing as haram and a ‘terrorist act.’

Grand Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri called the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “illegitimate” and “tyrannical,” according to a July 1 story from Radio Free Europe. He also said the regime’s actions are sending the Islamic Republic “to a museum.” Like Montazeri, Taheri is also a powerful cleric with a history of protest. One of Ayatollah Khomeini’s close friends and former Friday prayer leader of the city of Isfahan, he resigned his post in 2002 in protest over government corruption, the house-arrest of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, and the actions of militias he called club-wielding vigilantes.

Relatively Neutral Grand Ayatollahs (alphabetical order)

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi: “Our Islamic ceremonies and our rules and educations and Iranians do not let us to pollute the unity-making Friday prayers with disunity-making slogans,” he said in a July 19 statement on his website in response to protests the day before. Shirazi called for “national conciliation,” in a June 25 story on Iran’s state-sponsored Press TV, saying that: “Definitively, something must be done to ensure that there are no embers burning under the ashes, and that hostilities, antagonism and rivalries are transformed into amity and cooperation among all parties.” Makarem Shirazi was appointed to the first council of Representatives and helped write Iran’s constitution, according this website. He is also a member of the Qom Seminary Teachers Society, which has congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his reelection as president, according to a July 4 story in the Tehran Times.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Hussein Sistani has not commented on the election. However, he refused to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the president’s 2008 visit to Iraq, though Sistani has reportedly been willing to meet with other Iranian figures including Ayatollah Rafsanjani and Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. Though Sistani lives in Iraq and rarely comments on political issues, many commentators call him one of the most influential of living Ayatollahs.

Grand Ayatollahs Against the Protesters

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseini Khamenei: “It is a mistake to believe that a limited group of people, in Tehran only — setting fire to rubbish bins, to public property, to motorbikes, to their cars, to their banks — are people. These are not people,” said the Supreme Leader, according to a July 21 story in the New York Times. Though former President Khamenei was not a grand ayatollah before he was chosen as the Supreme Leader, he is now the nation’s highest religious authority.

Ayatollahs in Support of Protesters (alphabetical order)

It takes years of study at one of the recognized Shia seminaries to become an ayatollah. The word translates to “sign of God.” There may be more than 1,000 people who have attained the rank of ayatollah.

Ayatollah Haj Shaykh Ebrahimi Amini: “Errors had occurred” during the election, said Amini in a June 12 on KhabarOnline. He called on all four Presidential candidates to “come together and give help and cooperation.” Amini is leader of Friday prayers of Qom and a politician in the Assembly of Experts.

Ayatollah Hadi Ghaffari:“Young people are not praying anymore, whose fault is that? It is your fault Mr. Khamenei, it’s your fault for placing us in the same line as that lunatic Ahmadinejad,” said Ghaffari in video widely distributed on the internet. “Ahmadinejad is nobody, you should congregate with us instead of him.” Ghaffari is a hard-liner and a reported former leader of the Iranian Ansar-e Hezbollah.

Ayatollah Hashemzadeh Harisi: “Distrust of the people is a fact and it must be confessed ,” he said, according to a July 9 story on an opposition website. Harisi is a member of the Assembly of Experts.

Ayatollah Kharazi is reported to have said the Supreme Leader is responsible for the bloodshed that has followed the contested election, according to a July 19 on, a website affiliated with the opposition.

Ayatollah Reza Ostadi issued a sermon July 10 criticizing the Ahmadinejad government and resigning his position as leader of Friday Prayers in the holy city of Qom, according to a story on the website Ostadi is a member of the assembly of experts.

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: Leading Friday prayers at Tehran University, Rafsanjani called on the government to free detainees and ease restraints on the press. He also recently met with the family of detainees. Rafsanjani’s organization Kargozaran said in a statement that “We declare that the result is unacceptable due to the unhealthy voting process, massive electoral fraud and the siding of the majority of the Guardian Council with a specific candidate,” according to a July 6 story in the Los Angeles Times. The former President and the head of Iran Council of Experts, Rafsanjani is widely credited with putting the Supreme Leader in power two decades ago. He supported Mousavi’s run for President and has been widely speculated to be maneuvering behind to scene to support Mousavi’s opposition since the election.

Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani is rumored to have said that propaganda by state media is disallowed by the religion, according to posts on Twitter starting July 20 that also call him a grand ayatollah. Sobhani made less pointed comments in a June meeting with the Guardian Council, asking all of the candidates in the contested election to abide by the law, according to a June 23 story from state-run IRNA. Sobhani is usually a vocal conservative. He has recently issued statements in favor of separation between men and women.

Ayatollah Sayyed Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi praised Rafsanjani’s sermon according to a July 18 story on state-sponsored PressTV. He also spoke to the Associated Press saying, “People were peacefully protesting election results and the response to that should not be the bullet… The harsh crackdown was illogical. They could have handled it without any blood being shed,” according to a July 8 story. He has also said that, “Having (political) parties in any country is a prelude to establishing and strengthening democracy,” according to a June 6 story on Iran’s state-sponsored Press TV. He repeats his critique in a June 18 Farsi-language story on He has also declared that the Guardian Council was biased and that people have a right to demonstrate in an interview with, a pro-Ahmadinejad Web site. Tabrizi was chief prosecutor under Ayatollah Khomeini and the leader of the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom.

Ayatollahs Making Relatively Neutral Statements

Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli: At Friday Prayers in Qom, he said that if a person believes that he was oppressed, he must react to the oppression through legal channels, according to a story in the Tehran Times. Kayhan newspaper has cut Ayatollah Amoli’s daily column, which has been a part of the newspaper for years, according to a July 5 story on Tabnak. According to a June 22 in the Tehran Times, he said that, “No Muslim would set on fire others’ homes and these (the rioters) are surely foreigners. Amoli was the leader of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1988 mission to Russia, according to coverage in the New York Times.

Ayatollah Haeri-Shirazi wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader June 24. Some commentators call the letter careful but challenging. The letter mentions Iran’s first president Abolhassan Banisadr, who was impeached and exiled because he allegedly moved against the ruling clerics.

Ayatollahs Against the Protesters

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati: “The British Embassy had a presence and some people were arrested,” said Jannati of the protests, according to a July 4 story from the BBC. “Well, inevitably they will be put on trial. They have made confessions too.” As Secretary-General of the Guardian Council, Jannati helped approve the announced election results June 26.

Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani: “The president-elect is the president of the entire Iranian nation,” said Kani, according to a June 16 story in the Tehran Times. “The most essential issue for the country, today and every day, is maintaining unity and following the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.” Former Prime Minister Kani is head of the conservative Association of Combatant Clerics, not to be confused with the pro-reform Combatant Clergy Association.

Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani: At Friday Prayers in Tehran July 10, Kashani softened his tone against the protesters, though still effectively belittled their concerns. “The Parliament should rectify the election code of conduct in whatever way it deems necessary,” said Emami-Kashani, according to state sponsored Press TV. Earlier Emami-Kashani said that, “The enemy has focused on the election because it wants to find an excuse to downplay the Iranian nation’s participation in the election,” as leader of Tehran’s Friday prayers June 12, according to state-sponsored Press TV. “So a massive turnout in the elections is a response to the enemy and will serve Islam,” He is a member of the Assembly of Experts.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami: “I call on the officials of the judicial branch to deal severely and ruthlessly with the leaders of the agitations, whose fodder comes from America and Israel, so that everyone learns a lesson from it,” Khatami said as he led Friday prayers in Tehran, according June 26 story on CBS News. Khatami also said that a protester who engages in “destructive acts” could be considered a mohareb, or someone who wages war against God. Khatami is a member of the Assembly of Experts.

Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadaei called on the opposition to “choose silence to preserve the system,” according to a July 8 story from the Associated Press. He is deputy chairman of the Qom Seminary Teachers Society.

Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi: “Those who co-operate with such websites and television channels will face prosecution,” said Shahroudi, according to a July 5 story from the BBC. Shahroudi is the head of Iran’s judiciary. In 2002 he placed a moratorium on stoning as a form of capital punishment.

Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi: “Anybody resisting against the ruling system will be broken,” said Mesbah Yazdi according to a July 20 story from Associated Press. He also wrote July 14 that the Supreme Leader is accountable only to God. He also told a June 22 gathering of Revolutionary Guard commanders that: “Do not be worried about the events and earthquakes that have occurred. Know that God created this world as a test,” according to a story in the Associated Press. “The supreme leader holds a great many of the blessings God has given us and at a time of such uncertainties our eyes must turn to him.” Mesbah Yazdi is a member of the Guardian Council and is believed to be President Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor.

Statements by Clerical Groups

The Association of Combatant Clerics: This reformist group called for a referendum on the legitimacy of the government in a statement issued July 20 on their website. The Association should not be confused with the more conservative Combatant Clergy Association. Former President and reformist Mohammad Khatami, who also calls for a national referendum, is the chairman of the Association’s central council.

Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom: “The voice of people seeking justice was marred by violence which unfortunately left several dead and wounded and hundreds arrested,” said the clerics in a July 4 statement. “How can one accept the legitimacy of the election just because the Guardian Council says so? Can one say that the government born out of these infringements is a legitimate one?” The Association is led by reform cleric Ayatollah Tabrizi, who has made many statements in favor of the protesters.

The Guardian Council of the Constitution approved the announced election results and ruled out further elections on June 26. The Council had earlier pointed out a number of “errors” in the announced election results on June 23. The 12-member Council includes six clerics selected by the Supreme Leader including Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati; Sadegh Larijani, the brother of the politician Ali Larijani; and Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi.

The Expediency Discernment Council: This supervisory body passed a motion banning two members of the Guardian Council from serving simultaneously in both the executive branch of government as a minister and also as a member of the Guardian Council. Both council members are currently members of the cabinet of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Expediency Council is led by Ayatollah and former President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani.

Qom Seminary Teachers Society has congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his reelection as president, according to a July 4 story in the Tehran Times. However, the Teachers Society’s endorsement of the announced results has not been reported by Iran’s other state-sponsored media outlets that would normally spread the news. The powerful group approves a list of marjas, or grand ayatollahs, in Qom. Its members include Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini, who has made statements critical of the election results, in addition to clerics that have spoken in favor of the regime such as Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, and Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

On the Anniversary of the First Man on the Moon… forward into the past

Posted July 19, 2009 by melformosa
Categories: International News & Politics, Science

Tags: , ,

Full moonI, like Tom Wolfe, am disappointed. I am pretty sure that we have not advanced the space program much further because we simply lack the will, as a people, to pursue something as abstract as our future in space. We are no longer at the forefront of scientific innovation and reportedly the American public has lost faith with scientific pursuits… with a supposed majority of us rejecting belief in evolution.

We are capable of so much more. I could hardly believe it when NASA along with the European Space Agency managed to thread a unmanned craft through the rings of Saturn! I was also amazed that not one person at my work even knew what had occurred.

Op-Ed Contributor – One Giant Leap to Nowhere –

Posted using ShareThis

Ahmadinejad Criticized By Hard-Liners Over Vice President Choice

Posted July 19, 2009 by melformosa
Categories: International News & Politics

Tags: ,

The plight of the people of Iran may have faded from our headlines and our tv news, but I am still following the latest news. I am also trying to get a handle on how to post using various widgets, plugins and addons. If you happen to read this, please be patient… thanks :)

The following news story highlights some of the difficulties Ahmadinejad is presently facing post June 12 election:

Ahmadinejad Criticized By Hard-Liners Over Vice President Choice

Posted using ShareThis

Spoiler AlerT! If you don’t care about the situation in Iran, please don’t read this…

Posted June 16, 2009 by melformosa
Categories: International News & Politics

I feel compelled, at this moment, to post this article. It has been an emotional few days for many of outside of Iran. Inside of Iran,”emotional doesn’t even begin to describe the situation.  I am only rehashing what has already been said by many all over the world, and certainly with more eloquence. It bears repeating, however, that we here in the U.S. (for many generations) have seen a fair share of inner upheaval accompanied with violence; without it, I wonder if women would be voting, if we would have a black man as President, if we would have the United States to call home. And there are “battles” yet to be fought, as the passage of Prop. 8 has revealed. The gentleman who wrote the piece below will have to forgive me for copying; I left his byline, the masthead, and copyright attached. We have much to learn about the situation in Iran, and the U.S. certainly has played a part. What has happened in Iran can –and will–happen again… anywhere in the world. I hope and pray for those fighting for a life worth living in their homeland. Whether we believe it or not, they are fighting for the future. And Mousavi probably is corrupt… the people of Iran are moving forward, if with the lesser of two evils, still better than to just shut up and sit down. Our future is entwined with Iran’s, my children and my grandchildren will live with the results.



home home


The Leaders of Iran’s ‘Election Coup’


Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders chant slogans during their meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, not pictured, in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 11, 2007. (AP Photo/ISNA, Rouhollah Vahdati, File)

By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 14 June 2009

[TEHRAN BUREAU] The rigged presidential election in Iran — a coup d’etat, according to Mohsen Makhmalbaf, a spokesman for the main reformist challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi and other analysts — has prompted protests both inside and outside Iran. There is, however, little understanding about the ideology and motivation behind the operation.

The coup leaders represent the second generation of Iran’s revolutionaries. They tend to be in their early to mid-fifties, so they were young at the time of the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979. They all supported the Revolution, and most of them joined Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) almost immediately after the Revolution that toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s regime in February 1979. They fervently supported the young revolutionary government, and then fought two fierce wars in the 1980s under the command of their clerical masters — Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and Hojjatol-eslams Ali Khamenei (the present Supreme Leader) and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (the former President), and others. [Hojjatol-eslam is a clerical ranking lower than an ayatollah.]

The young revolutionaries fought against far better financed Iraqi forces for eight years, expelled them from all of the Iranian territory occupied by Saddam Hussein’s forces, and ended the war in a stalemate, which was a great achievement for Iran considering its international isolation while Iraq was supported by the West and the Soviet Union.

Domestically, the young revolutionaries fought a bloody war with the forces of Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO), an armed Islamic leftist group that had fought against the Shah’s regime. After the MKO began assassinating Iran’s revolutionary leaders in June 1981, the young revolutionaries and the IRGC waged a bloody battle with them as well, executing MKO members and sympathizers by the thousands, and forcing them into exile in Iraq, where they collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s regime in its war with Iran.

At the same time, exploiting the threats to Iran’s national security as their excuse, the young revolutionaries helped their clerical masters impose extreme political repression in Iran. All of the independent newspapers and publications were shut down, and almost all political groups were banned, save those that were subserviently loyal to the clerical establishment.

The result of the repression was the effective elimination of all secular groups from Iran’s political scene. At the time, there was no great resentment expressed by the population at large. The country was at war with a powerful external enemy supported by the West and the Soviet Union, while at the same time, the MKO was also carrying out assassinations internally. But the elimination of the secular political forces was a terrible blow to Iran’s political development.

After the war with Iraq ended in 1988, thousands of political prisoners were executed in the summer of 1988. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini passed away in June 1989, and Iran began to gradually recover from casualties, both economically and politically. The economic reconstruction was led by Mr. Rafsanjani, then president.

The young revolutionaries then broke off into two camps, generally speaking. In one camp were those who believed that the country needed a political opening and a relaxation from the extreme repression that existed in the 1980s. This group included not only those who had fought the war with Iraq, but had also carried out the fight with the MKO. Many of them were members of the intelligence apparatus, which gave them a realistic assessment of what the country’s needs politically. Members of this group were mostly Islamic leftists, and were instrumental in the birth of the reform movement in the 1990s. They are still active in the reformist camp, and include such prominent reformists as Dr. Saeed Hajjarian, Mohsen Armin, and Dr. Ali Reza Alavi Tabar, all leading reformist strategists.

The young revolutionaries in the second camp remained within the ranks of IRGC. By the early 1990s, they had risen up to command important positions within the Guard. People such as Major General Mohammad Ali (Aziz) Jafari, the top IRGC commander; Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, the head of the IRGC’s political directorate; and Brigadier General Ali Reza Afshar, the deputy Interior Minister, belonged to this group. Some of the second-generation revolutionaries of this camp joined the government, including Ezatollah Zarghami, who runs the Islamic Republic National Radio and Television, and Mr. Ahmadinejad. These were the right-wing revolutionaries.

The death of Ayatollah Khomeini had another long-term consequence whose effect is felt today. His death allowed the ultra-right reactionary clerics to gradually make a comeback in Iran’s political scene. Such clerics belonged to the Hojjatiyeh Society. Founded in 1954 by Sheikh Mahmoud Halabi as an Islamic organization opposed to the Bahai faith and the Sunni sect of Islam, the Hojjatiyeh was penetrated by SAVAK, the Shah’s dreaded security agency in the 1960s and 70s, which used it as a buffer against the spread of Communism in Iran.

Hojjatiyeh members believe, as most Shiites do, that the Mahdi, the Shiites 12th and last Imam, will come back some day to save the world from corruption. But, they also believe that they should “prepare” society for Mahdi’s return. In the early days of the Hojjatiyeh, its adherents believed that a chaotic society would provide the best conditions for the return of Mahdi, a view that is rejected by most Shiites.

The Hojjatiyeh did not participate in the 1979 Revolution. In fact, it also actively opposed it. At that time, they believed in group leadership and, therefore, they also opposed Ayatollah Khomeini’s concept of Valaayat-e Faghih (governance of the Islamic jurist), which is the backbone of Iran’s Constitution and bestows upon the Supreme Leader most of the constitutional power. Thus, Ayatollah Khomeini banned them in 1983 and said famously about them, “they cannot even run a bakery, let alone a country.” Hojjatiyeh went underground and patiently waited to make its comeback.

When the Hojjatiyeh started to make a comeback in the 1990s, its member no longer used that name. In fact, some of them even denied that they belonged to the Hojjatiyeh. Instead of believing in a chaotic society for the return of the Mahdi, they began advocating an Islamic Government led by an unelected Supreme Leader, rather than an Islamic Republic. Their present leader is Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a hard-liner who has openly opposed any elections. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi issued a Fatwa two weeks ago saying that if the achievements of Mr. Ahmadinejad in spreading Islamic values around the world, it is proper to do what it takes to re-elect him, implying that fraud and cheating are allowed (a view which has been rejected by other Ayatollahs). He once said, It does not matter what people think. They are ignorant sheep.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi believes that sovereignty does not reside with the people — it resides with God. He also believes that the Supreme Leader is selected by God and is Mahdi’s deputy in his absence. In his opinion, the task of the ayatollahs in the Assembly of Experts (AE), a constitutional body that appoints the Supreme Leader and monitors his performance (and can even dismiss him), is to discover who the selected Leader is. He believes people must never question the Supreme Leader and obey him absolutely. He is currently a member of the AE. Former reformist president Mohammad Khatami has referred to Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi’s followers as shallow-thinking traditionalists with Stone-Age backwardness.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi’s base of power is the Haghani seminary in Qom that was founded in 1964 under the name Montazeriyeh seminary; it was renamed after Mr. Haghani Zanjani, a wealthy merchant with connections to the Hojjatiyeh, endowed the seminary. His disciples include the Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehei (a graduate of the Haghani), Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh (a senior aid to Mr. Ahmadinejad), and Mr. Ahmadinejad himself. In fact, all of Iran’s Intelligence Ministers since the 1979 Revolution are graduates of the Haghani.

After Ayatollah Khomeini’s death, in order to create a political cover for himself and his followers and counter the accusations that he had opposed the Revolution and Ayatollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi also founded the Imam Khomeini Educational Institute in Qom — even though he opposed the Ayatollah and had turned down the invitation of his students to join the Revolution — and publishes a weekly, Partow-e Sokhan. He is the spiritual leader of many of the top commanders of the IRGC. The Basij militia, a paramilitary group controlled by the IRGC, has also been deeply penetrated by his disciples as well, as has been the Judiciary. Ayatollah Khomeini’s chief of staff, Ayatollah Ahmad Tavassoli, said after the election of Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2005 that, “the executive branch of the Iranian government, as well as the troops of the IRGC, have been hijacked by the Hojjatiyeh.”

Ever since he was elected the President in 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly spoken about the “Islamic Government of Iran,” rather than the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as well as the return of Mahdi, hence advocating Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi’s views. Followers of the Ayatollah make up an important segment of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s supporters. He has also repeatedly accused Mr. Rafsanjani and other first-generation revolutionaries of being corrupt, and has claimed that he knows of thousands of corruption cases, mostly pointing to first-generation leaders, although he has never ever presented any concrete evidence. Thus, he has been sending signals of what is to come (see below).

In Iran the elections are supervised by the Interior Ministry. There is no independent organization for the elections. The Interior Minister, Mr. Sadegh Mahsouli, and his principal deputy for the elections, Mr. Kamran Daneshjou, are both close aids and friends of Mr. Ahmadinejad and former commanders in the IRGC. Many of the provincial governors who also play important roles in the elections are former military men. Mr. Mahsouli had actually come out in support of his old friend.
Ever since General Jafari was appointed the top commander of the IRGC, he has been warning against internal dissent and internal “enemies,” clearly implicating the reformist/democratic groups. He even re-organized the IRGC to better respond to domestic disturbances.

In the last week of the campaign, signals started emanating from the high command of the IRGC that it was not happy with developments. General Javani warned on June 8 in Sobh-e Saadegh (True Dawn), the weekly published for the armed forces, that the high command of the IRGC considers the campaign of Messrs Mousavi and Karroubi tantamount to preparing for a “velvet revolution.” He warned that the IRGC “will kill it [the velvet revolution] at its inception.” Kayhan, the newspaper that acts as a public mouthpiece for the IRGC/security forces, also warned of a colored revolution. This was a clear signal something was being planned behind the scenes to prevent a victory by a reformist candidate. The leaders and ideologues behind the election coup were none other than second-generation revolutionaries, mostly from the IRGC, whose spiritual leader is Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi.

The goals behind the coup include the following:

The first goal is to purge first-generation revolutionary leaders (with the exception of Ayatollah Khamenei). The main target here is former president Rafsanjani, a powerful politician who heads two important Constitutional bodies, the Assembly of Experts (AE), and the Expediency Council that arbitrates the differences between the Majles (parliament) and the Guardian Council. Also included in this group are Mr. Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, a mid-ranking cleric, former Speaker of the Majles, and a strong critic of Mr. Ahmadinejad; Mr. Mahdi Karroubi, the second reformist candidate in the election and a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini; and Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main reformist candidate, and Iran’s Prime Minister in the 1980s.

Why do they want them out of the scene? For two reasons. One is that the coup leaders consider themselves — and rightly so — as the saviors of Iran. They are the ones who fought Iraq for eight years. Secondly, at least part of the IRGC high command wishes Iran to be in a perpetual revolutionary state, but believes that the first-generation of revolutionaries have sold out the ideals of the 1979 Revolution.

In his “victory” speech on Sunday, Mr. Ahmadinejad never once mentioned Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic, or even Ayatollah Khamenei, his main supporter. The significance of the intentional omissions should not be missed. Just as Joseph Stalin and Deng Xiaoping kept Vladimir Lenin’s and Mao Zedong’s pictures everywhere, they always acted in the opposite way of what they appeared to be advocating; Iran’s second-generation revolutionaries will keep Ayatollah Khomeini’s pictures everywhere, but will act against his teachings, including his most famous saying,

The scale [for people’s acceptance of a politician] is people’s vote.

The second goal of second-generation revolutionaries is moving the country closer to an “Islamic Government,” and further away from an “Islamic Republic.” This is done by making elections a meaningless process by resortign to any means available, including rigging and manipulation. This move has marginalized reformist and democratic groups in Iran.

The third goal is to start preparations for the eventual successor to Ayatollah Khamenei. He is known to be ill. By accusing Mr. Rafsanjani of corruption, the second-generation revolutionaries wish to eliminate him — the head of the Assembly of Experts appoints the Supreme Leader — as the natural successor of Ayatollah Khamenei, hence paving the way for Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi who is a member of the AE. Everything appeared to have been planned well in advance, but the coup leaders did not expect the people to stand up to them.

This is a pivotal moment in Iran’s history. If the reformists and the Iranian people cannot reverse the outcome of Iran’s rigged elections, Iran will enter a dark period of dictatorship, with no light at the end of the tunnel. The country will be controlled completely by the military/security forces, with an unelected Supreme Leader as its titular head, and no elections (or extremely meaningless ones). This would be a terrible development for the rest of the world as well.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.