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January 28, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2175

Iranian Student Group: Hamas Is a Terrorist Group and Its Use of Civilians is Inhumane; Those Who Arm Hamas Have Innocent Blood on Their Hands; Ahmadinejad's Government Is Using Gaza Crisis to Settle Political Scores

January 28, 2009
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 2175

2175In a December 30, 2008 communiqué, the Iranian student group Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat – Taif-e 'Alameh (the Office for Strengthening Unity – Clerics Circle, hereafter referred to as "Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat") condemned Hamas, calling it a "terrorist group." It said that Hamas's use of civilians to protect it from Israel's attacks was inhumane, and criticized the Iranian regime for arming Hamas, claiming that as a result Iran "has the blood of innocents on its hands."

Following are excerpts from the communiqué, from statements by the secretary of Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat – Taif-e 'Alameh, and from a reaction by an Iranian government daily.[1]

Those Who Have Armed and Encouraged... Hamas Have Innocent Blood on Their Hands

The communiqué stated: "Those who have armed and encouraged groups like Hamas – which only yesterday did not hide its sympathy for the criminal Saddam Hussein, and which declared three days of mourning after his death – have innocent blood on their hands: [the blood of those killed] in the [recent] hostilities [in Gaza]. Now it is they who must be accountable to humanity, and it is they who must explain this tragic situation.

"Israel's current crimes in Gaza are strongly condemned – but it is equally [important] to condemn the terror organizations that use kindergartens and hospitals as a shield against the [Israeli] attacks. [Hamas's use of human shields] prepares the ground for intensified bombardment [by Israel] and for the killing of children and civilians, and [therefore] it is an inhuman act.

"Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat strongly condemns the current situation in the Gaza Strip and the killing of civilians and innocents. It believes that the sacrifice of defenseless people – especially children – [in Gaza] is the result of other conflicts in the regional and international arena.

"It had been expected that peace and human rights organizations would have done more to stop this inhuman slaughter before the disaster reached such [devastating] proportions – despite the difficulties thrown up by certain leaders..."[2]

Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat Secretary: Ahmadinejad's Government Is Using the Gaza Crisis to Settle Political Scores

Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat secretary, Mehdi Arabshahi, accused circles close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of taking advantage of the situation in Gaza to crack down on human rights organizations in Iran, and to silence his opponents. Arabshahi said: "Unfortunately, we see that in Iran itself, a faction that outwardly pretends to be sympathetic to the Palestinians [actually] regards the [Gaza] tragedy as an opportunity to stifle the voices of the [Iranian] human rights [organizations]. [This faction] has launched harsh attacks against human rights activists and against political factions critical [of the regime]. [Since the beginning of the Israeli offensive], the offices of [Shirin Ebadi's] human rights organization have been illegally closed; [union official] [Ibrahim] Madadi has been arrested;[3] 11 [more] teachers were arrested today, and numerous students were expelled from the universities of Shiraz and Lorestan..."

Arabshahi then referred to the daily newspaper Kargozaran, which was closed down by the regime for publishing the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat communiqué (see below). He explained that the publication of the communiqué was only an excuse to close the paper: "Sadly, those who have long been waiting for an chance to silence the media [outlets] critical of Ahmadinejad, in advance of the presidential elections, have found that this moment – when the [Iranians] are emotionally preoccupied with the Gaza disaster – is a golden opportunity to realize this aspiration...

"This group, which now raises a great outcry against any view different [from its own], has already shown that it does not believe its own proclamations in the slightest, and that its only goal is to settle political scores. To wit, [this group did not protest when] Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii, Ahmadinejad's deputy and a member of his government, made declarations in favor of friendship with Israel, which were [completely] at odds with the slogans and claims of this faction... "[4]

The Regime Reacts: Closes Kargozaran, Bashes Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat

On December 31, 2008, one day after it published excerpts from the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat communiqué, the daily Kargozaran was closed down by Ahmadinejad's government.[5] In a December 31, 2008 article, the daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, lambasted the group, calling it illegal and saying that its "declarations are completely identical to official proclamations of Zionist officials," and attacked Kargozaran for publishing the group's "insolent communiqué." Kayhan stated that Kargozaran was serving as a mouthpiece for Zionist propaganda, just like the Israeli Persian-language radio station. It added: "The Hamas fighters are an integral part of the people of Gaza, and there is not a single report that they are taking refuge in kindergartens, [especially since they are familiar with] Israel's record, and know full well that the occupiers of Jerusalem never spare hospitals and kindergartens."[6]

In its January 1, 2009 editorial, the official Iranian news agency IRNA stated that the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat communiqué was identical to statements by Israel's ambassador to London in a CNN interview that aired on December 30, 2008, the day the communiqué was published. It added that the similarity between the Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat's positions and those of the Zionist regime officials proved that there were strategic relations between them.[7]

Endnotes:

[1] The Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat – Taif-e 'Alameh is a local branch of the umbrella group Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat – the Office for Strengthening Unity – which has branches at universities across Iran. It is important to note that this group's opinions do not reflect the opinions of most of the other branches.

[2] Bu-Ali Sina University students' newspaper (Hamedan, Iran), December 30, 2008.

[3] Madadi, who is deputy secretary of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Workers Union, was arrested on December 27, 2008.

[4] Amir Kabir University students' newspaper (Tehran, Iran), December 31, 2008.

[5] Fars, December 31, 2008.

[6] Kayhan (Iran), December 31, 2008.

[7] IRNA (Iran), January 1, 2009.

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