My apologies for such a short post on a topic which has sent shockwaves through the press, but I believe that the following video goes a long way towards mitigating the importance of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi's alleged turnabout concerning the legitimacy of the presidential election and recognition of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president.
Yesterday, the semi-official Fars News, close to the Revolutionary Guards, rushed to release the following report:
Mehdi Karroubi in an interview with Fars:
I recognize the president elected by the Iranian people
Fars News Agency: Concerning the legality of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency, Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi said, I recognize the president
In an interview with Fars News Agency, in response to the question, Do you recognize the legal president elected by the Iranian people?, declared: I still maintain that the problems I raised apply, but with regard to your question, I must say that yes, I recognize the president.'
It is worth mentioning that Fars's supposed interview is the hasty exchange seen in the following footage which was taken at the conference of the Mardom Salari (People's Sovereignty) Party, headed by reformist Majlis representative Mostafa Kavakebian. Karroubi had just made a speech and was leaving the hall, followed by a coterie of journalists. None of the other reporters filed an article on Karroubi's alleged turnabout.
The video was released by the Bashgaheh Khabarnegaran (Journalists' Club) which is run by the political division of the Islamic Republic's radio-television. The regime therefore felt it important to distribute this video clip to support Fars's claim. To say that it is a weak endorsement is an understatement.
The Fars journalist sticks a microphone in Karroubi's face and asks, 'Do you recognize the popularly-elected president?'
Karroubi looks at the man, chuckles, and kisses him on the forehead. Then he walks away.
A column comes between Karroubi and the cameraman. At this point the ensuing conversation is inaudible. However, Karroubi can be heard uttering the word 'president.' He then turns to leave once again and the Fars journalist asks again, But do you recognize him?' Karroubi nods and continues on his way.
If Karroubi had clearly voiced his opinion on the subject during the inaudible part of the exchange, the Fars journalist would not have had to repeat the key question. In response, he got a nod.
A nod is not insignificant, but given the context, was it important enough to justify the ensuing uproar from Tehran to Berlin to Washington? You be the judge.