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memri
August 18, 2009 No.
2463

Bahraini MP: Iran's Islamic Democracy is Exposed, In All Its Dictatorial Hideousness

In a June 21, 2009 article in the Bahraini daily Akhbar Al-Khalij, Bahraini Shi'ite MP and columnist Samira Rajab lambasted the Iranian regime, particularly its top officials, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Her article, which included personal attacks on Iranian leaders, such as an allegation that Ahmadinejad is from a Jewish family and insults about Khamenei's tearful June 19, 2009 speech, provoked much criticism among Iranian circles. The day after the article's publication, the Bahraini Culture and Information Ministry banned distribution of the newspaper, citing "matters related to violation of the Publications Law." However, the ban was reversed the following day.

In response to the incident, Samir Rajab said that she had received no formal complaint about her article, and that the authorities were entitled to shut down the daily "in order to protect the interests of the state." She added, however, that such decrees undermined press freedom and freedom of expression. In response to the claim that her article could cause political tension between Bahrain and Iran, she stated, "What I said about Iran and its regime is not new, and has been the subject of intensive discussion even in Tehran itself. Even my claim about Ahmadinejad's Jewish origins was made previously, by presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi in a public debate." At the same time, Rajab stressed that her articles reflected only her own opinions as a journalist, not those of the Bahraini parliament. [1]

Akhbar Al-Khalij editor Anwar 'Abd Al-Rahman expressed unqualified support for Rajab. In an interview with Radio Monte Carlo, he said: "As chief editor, I take full responsibility [for what is published in the paper]. I read every word of the article by [Samira] Rajab, whom I respect. As for Iran's role in the region these past 30 years - [the role] of the Iranian government and the Iranian Revolution - [I say] that Iran has done nothing for its people, but has managed to arouse apprehension among other nations, especially those of the Gulf... Ms. Samira [Rajab] told the truth about these [Iranian] theocrats, who have exploited their country in the most hideous manner." [2]

The Bahraini ministry's move of suspending the newspaper's distribution was denounced by the Bahraini Journalists Association, which stated in a June 23 communiqué: "The association is deeply concerned about this decision... and calls on the ministry to reconsider it, so as to enhance the spirit of democracy and freedom that Bahrain is experiencing under the leadership of King Hamad bin 'Issa Aal Khalifa." The association expressed its "complete solidarity with the daily [Akhbar Al-Khalij] and its employees, and [its belief in] their full right to express their opinion and carry out their journalistic mission in unrestrained freedom." [3] It also protested that the decision to suspend the daily's distribution had been issued by government officials rather than by a court.

It should be noted that officially, Bahrain was fully supportive of Ahmadinejad's reelection as Iran's president. Immediately following the release of the election results, Ahmadinejad received letters of congratulation from top Bahraini officials, including its king, crown prince, prime minister, and deputy chief of staff.

Following are excerpts from Samira Rajab's article, which was posted on the Akhbar Al-Khalij website. [4]

Because Iran Aims to Spread Its Ideology in the Arab World, It Is Our Duty to Alert the Public to the Nature of This Regime

"Had the [Islamic] Revolution and [Islamic] Republic confined themselves to their true dimensions and role in the world, and had they not purported to be divine and undertaken a missionary role, both religious and political, that transcends their [own] borders - then the [entire] Iranian issue would not have interested us.

"However, since they claim to have a metaphysical dimension and a missionary theocratic role of exporting [the revolution] to all the Arab and Muslim societies, it is our primary duty [as part of] the region's media and political arena to take an interest in the Iranian issue and to alert public opinion to the real scope and role of the [Iranian] mullah-run regime.

"It is from this perspective that we have followed the Iranian regime in the past and will continue to follow it in the present and future.

"[The Iranians] have tried to stifle every voice that harms their 'holy' regime that is run by 'saints.' They have presented the leaders of this 'holy' republic as infallible, and the fathers of the 'Islamic' Revolution as Allah's emissaries on earth. They have imbued their leader with the absolute authority of Allah, and they have prepared their 'holy' republic for the coming of the 'Hidden Imam,' [5] who, according to a 2006 prophecy by President [Ahmadinejad], was supposed to come within two years.

"The religious seminaries that support [the Iranian] regime have churned out thousands of robed, turbaned graduates [whose function is] to spread false concepts [such as] the 'holiness' of the republic, the infallibility of its founders and the [absolute] authority of its holy leader. [The Iranians] have raised the banner of the Islamic caliphate, and have spread their missionary propaganda throughout the world in order to disseminate their 'sacred' way and the tenets of their 'divine' revolution.

"They have distributed their 'pure' money among their allies in our [Arab] countries, in order to recruit supporters and undermine the security [of these countries]. [With their message of] infallible [leaders] who cannot be wrong, who never lie and who cannot be held to account, they [naturally managed to] recruit followers. Since money blinds people's eyes, they managed to buy supporters and propagandists, and since religion and religious creeds are unbeatable weapons, they have used them to build strongholds in their own country and in ours.

"Thirty years - that is the age of the 'holy' [Islamic] Revolution, the republic of the Hidden Imam, the 'Islamic' democracy regime [with its] 'infallible' leaders. Thought this period, our Arab region has been in a state of constant war. It has suffered from constant political crises, discord and internal division, from political militarism, from sectarian-based recruitment [of the masses], and from [the practice of] hiding behind [religious] creeds and sacred [symbols]. Behind all of this is a blatant political goal that has nothing to do with religion or Islam.

"Suddenly, after 30 years, the truth about this holiness, this infallibility, and these infallible [leaders] has come to light... Iran's Islamic democracy has been exposed in all its dictatorial hideousness. The fig leaf has fallen away, revealing the biggest political lie ever [invented] in the name of religion. The events that occurred following Iran's recent presidential elections... and the images of barbaric oppression that accompanied them, revealed the hidden [true] face of the 'Islamic' Republic. The falseness of its sanctity was exposed to all, revealing the blood-soaked truth about this republic and this regime. The 'pure' revolution uncovered its fangs of oppression, the 'holy' republic was revealed as a fraud, and the infallible [leaders] were exposed as people who lie, cheat, arrest, and torture to protect their interests."

June 12, 2009 Was the Greatest Election Fraud in History

"...[But] the fathers of Iran's 'Islamic' revolution [really] showed their true face by perpetrating the greatest election fraud in history. I say 'the greatest election fraud' because most cheaters [arrange to] beat their opponents by a small margin of votes. This was the case with George Bush Jr., who won his first term in office by a single vote [cast] in a single state, as part of a big election fraud exposed by film director Michael Moore in his movie Fahrenheit 9/11. [But] Ahmadinejad was elected to a second term in office on June 12, 2009 by a margin of millions of fake votes, which boosted him from third place to first. This was confirmed by an Iranian Interior Ministry [source] who supervised the elections and was directly responsible for them. [6] [It is also confirmed by] the millions who took to the streets in Iran after the elections...

"...Let me also mention some of the events that accompanied these elections, which were reported by all the media outlets as well as on websites and in emails... [In these elections,] for the first time, leaders of the Iranian revolution questioned the religious roots of some of their fellow leaders. In a televised debate, Mehdi Karroubi referred to Ahmadinejad's origins, [asking him]: '...What is your full name?' His interlocutor answered, 'I am Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,' declining to mention his [real] last name. The Iranians know that [Ahmadinejad] comes from a Jewish family with a Jewish name, and Mehdi Karroubi attempted to reveal this to the public. [7]

"This was also the first time that the president of the Iranian republic revealed that some of the regime officials held fake diplomas, or [diplomas] granted by colleges that [grant them] easily. One such incident was when [Ahmadinejad] made allegations and questioned [the authenticity] of the Ph.D. of the wife of [presidential] candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. In an earlier incident... [the regime] had to justify its decision to retain Interior Minister Ali Kordan... when [Kordan's] university diploma and credentials were revealed to be fake, Ahmadinejad [acknowledged] that 'the diplomas of several regime officials are fake and worthless.'

"Also for the first time, [we] discovered the depth of the financial corruption of Iran's ruling elite, and the involvement of the fathers of the revolution - including clerics, political leaders and their families - in this corruption and in stealing public funds. For the first time, Iranian presidential candidates revealed that [the leaders of] the regime are distributing [state] resources to organizations around the world, when in their own country poverty is spreading, development is failing, and eight million are unemployed - that is, unemployment is at over 30%."

Iran's Leaders Are Neither Holy Nor Infallible

"There is much to say about [the quality of] democracy in the 'Islamic' Republic. I will mention only two things. According to Article 57 of the Iranian constitution, the Supreme Leader - who is 'the absolute religious leader and the Imam of the Nation' - holds every [conceivable] authority, since he is in charge of the legislative, judicial and executive branches. Article 110 grants him every administrative and legislative authority, as well as the authority to appoint or dismiss any senior official in the state - from the president to the head of the broadcasting authority - and the right to 'declare war and peace and [order] a general draft,' and to resolve problems [that cannot be resolved by the Expediency Council in the usual manner].'

"These [constitutional] articles clarify the origin [of the problem] and explain the events that began on June 12, 2009 throughout Iran. Even if the mosque preachers of Qom try to conceal these events, and if [some of them] remain unknown in the coming time period, they will continue to seethe beneath the surface, preparing the ground for the next [outburst of] protest. After all, young people, women, and the elderly were suppressed, beaten and tortured in public; blood was spilled in the streets, and the regime provoked the youth, which constitutes two-thirds of the Iranian people.

"The most important point is the lies and falsehoods of all [the leaders] of this regime, which are meant to create a halo of sanctity around them and their regime, and which have been exposed by the [recent] events in the country. [These leaders] have turned out to be ordinary people, who, like everyone else, bear grudges, have interests, and [can be] involved in conflicts, corruption, lies, fraud, oppression, killing, and torture.

"The ayatollahs have lost their [halo of] religious immunity. The taboo [on questioning] their sanctity has been lifted, as has [the prohibition] on criticizing these religious authorities and holding them to account - [because] they are involved in politics, with all the depravity and earthly ambitions that that entails.

"This is the place to mention how saddening it was to see Supreme leader [Khamenei] in his June 19, 2009 political speech to worshippers at Tehran University, and to see him weep in the end, saying in Persian... 'My life is worthless, my body is flawed,' in a shameful attempt to move [the audience] and to arouse their religious sympathy. This was when the rest of his speech contained so many warnings and threats. The crowd responded with their own dramatic weeping.

"In sum, it can be said that on that day [June 12, 2009], the curtain came down on the penultimate episode of the clerics' hegemony over our societies."

Akhbar Al-Khalij Cartoon

On June 23, 2009, when the ban on its publication was lifted, Akhbar Al-Khalij published the following cartoon under the title "The Day the Distribution of Akhbar Al-Khalij Was Suspended." [8]



Endnotes:

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2009.

[2] Akhbar Al-Khalij (Bahrain), June 24, 2009.

[3] www.alaan.cc, June 23, 2009; Al-Raya (Qatar), June 16, 2009.

[4] http://www.akhbar-alkhaleej.com/ShowArticle.aspx

[5] The Twelfth or Hidden Imam is awaited by Shi'ites as the Messiah.

[6] This is presumably based on a June 15, 2009 report on the Saudi TV channel Al-Arabiya, which claimed, citing a source on the election board of Iran's Interior Ministry, that Mir Hossein Mousavi had won the election with 21 million votes (57%). It was further claimed that the ministry had faked the elections using a special computer program and had prepared them for publication in advance. www.alarabiya.net, June 15, 2009.

[7] To MEMRI's knowledge, no such exchange took place in any televised debate between Karroubi and Ahmadinejad.

[8] Akhbar Al-Khalij (Bahrain), June 23, 2009.