Monday, October 26, 2009

Mehdi Karroubi's video message following attack at the press fair

Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi visited the Tehran Press Fair on Friday afternoon. After being loudly acclaimed by a large group of supporters, he was attacked as he left the exhibition hall. For footage and a report on the attack, please go here. Karroubi released this video message concerning those events yesterday. He appears unfazed and, despite reports that he was injured by a projectile on Friday, his forehead bears no marks. A translation of the message follows the footage.

Mehdi Karroubi:

In the name of God, most gracious, most merciful.

Three points must be stressed concerning the events that took place at the press fair last Friday: One has to do with the circumstances, another with the motives, and the last with myself.

As for the circumstances... I have always gone to exhibitions and continue to do so. This time when I visited, on the one hand the people generously expressed their kindness and I would even turn around and ask them not to chant slogans, and on the other, a few individuals began - and they're the ones who started it - saying 'Death to the hypocrite,' trying to provoke the people. The great mass of the people was standing and chanting, and the other individuals chanted too, and then we left the exhibition after a while. But on the way out, and this is the scheme that certain individuals had planned, they guided us in a direction through which the people behind us could not freely follow us, and in this manner they became a bit more radical.

The second point is about the motives. This is not the first time. During my visit to Masoumeh's shrine on the occasion of Imam Sadegh's martyrdom... Wherever I go, such actions are becoming commonplace. Fortunately, the people are responding spontaneously. Their intention is to prevent me from attending gatherings and to isolate me, in the same way that They closed the offices of the party and [inaudible]. (NB The offices of Karroubi's political party, the Etemad Melli Party, and his newspaper, Etemad Melli, were shut down in early September. For a report, please go here.) They want me to sit at home and not venture outside. So they're taking these steps to prevent me from going outside.

The third point that I want to mention is that I'm amazed that they're carrying out these measures with respect to me. I'm not new to these actions and I haven't started making these types of comments recently. In 1989, after the death of Imam Khomeini, I clashed with the 3rd Majlis, I denounced the deviation of the Assembly of Experts... In all those cases, I maintained a clear position, I constantly spoke out, and I went through difficult situations. Even back then, many of my friends were summoned daily to the Special Clergy Court or normal courts. I stood strong and endured those hardships. (NB Karroubi is cutting to the heart of the Islamic regime's identity and the notion of velayateh faghih - guardianship of the jurisprudent - from which the Supreme Leader derives power. As Karroubi mentions, this philosophical point has bedeviled the regime since the death of Khomeini: What is the exact role of the Assembly of Experts and, consequently, how much unquestioned power does the supreme leader wield? Hardliners believe that the Assembly of Experts should not exercise any oversight over the supreme leader and that it does not so much elect as reveal the person who becomes the supreme leader.)

On top of which, in those days, I was isolated and the people were not aware of the issue of oversight and the Assembly of Experts... But today, the people are standing as one, or at least a majority of the people are and they have a position and are standing firm.

In such circumstances, I shall be present on any stage... Be it a demonstration, the commemoration of the 22nd of Bahman (NB Date of the victory of the revolution, February 11, 1979), or Ashura (NB Religious holiday marking the martyrdom of Hossein). Whatever the day, whatever the place, we shall be present. But we're going to take an additional step. Previously, we wouldn't tell our friends where we'd be going and other details. Now we announce it, though we may be the object of our friends' criticisms. We will not retreat. Keeping in mind our pact with the Imam and the people, we remain loyal to the Islamic Republic and the constitution. We are standing firm on this path, with God's blessing, and we fear nothing.

God willing, we shall see who has remained true and who has not. In appropriate conditions, when either both factions are in power or neither one is, we shall see who has to repent and who does not need to. When you have one faction in power and the other faction has nothing at all, they can talk about repentance as much as they want. Those who need to repent are the traitors to the Islamic Republic who have deviated it, who have emptied it of its Islamic nature and destroyed its republican identity, and left nothing but its name.

(All articles on this blog may be reproduced for non-commercial use. Proper credit would be appreciated.)