Iran : Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are two faces of the same regime
SATURDAY 13 JUNE 2009 - As both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mirhossein Mousavi claimed victory in Friday’s presidential election, Iranian journalist Kaveh Mohseni, based in France, told FRANCE 24 that the two candidates had been carefully selected by the regime.
FRANCE 24 - The Iranian population has voted massively in this presidential election. What do you think is at stake ?
Kaveh Mohseni - I don’t believe in this vote. I think the two candidates are basically the same and have roughly the same programme. It’s the programme of the Islamic Republic.
They offer to negotiate with the Americans if the US abandons its demands and sanctions. They also have the same views on Hezbollah and Israel. These cornerstones of Iran’s policies will remain unchanged.
What is really at stake in this vote is the legitimacy of the system. The mullahs who control the country want to give it a democratic face. An alleged massive turnout will grant the regime the legitimacy it is aiming for, because both of the candidates leading in opinion polls are supportive of the regime.
Ahmadinejad is the tough hardliner figure, and Mousavi is the so-called moderate one, used by the regime to demonstrate its openness.
Kaveh Mohseni - You can’t believe everything the regime wants you to see. In Iran, the population lives in extreme poverty, and it’s very easy for the authorities to set up fake rallies or to send the press to specific polling stations.
Observers I know in Tehran told me many polling stations were empty, in Lorzaedeh Mosque, for example, and in Al Ghadir. As for the youths and women dressed in green rallying in stadiums, this is a typical scene set up for the West to demonstrate a presumed colour movement, just like uprisings in other countries.
It gives the impression of a democratic Islam. But where were these ‘dissident’ crowds when dozens of young people were recently hung by the regime just because they opposed it ?
In Iran, the average salary is of $240. That’s for those lucky enough to have a job. In those conditions, it’s easy to buy off a few people, but you have to read between the lines. And people have other worries than to go vote, and they know none of the candidates will get them out of their misery.
Kaveh Mohseni - No, I don’t. Because Mousavi is not a moderate. When he was Prime Minister, 30,000 political prisoners were executed in only three months in the summer of 1988 and buried in a mass grave on the site of Khavaran. Many Iranians may be young but they have parents. No one can believe Mousavi is a moderate. They all have blood on their hands.
Furthermore he ruined the Iranian economy when he was in power by nationalizing many companies.
Kaveh Mohseni - You Western societies desperately want to believe dialogue is possible. But you just don’t understand the regime wants nuclear power and is not willing to negotiate.
However, I don’t believe that nuclear weapons are the main threat coming from Iran.
Their self-proclaimed technological progress is a pure fabrication. They say they’ve conceived military planes, but at the same time they can’t even maintain their basic passenger carriers. Furthermore, a nuclear weapon wouldn’t represent much compared to the American arsenal.
Their real strength lies in their power to destabilize the region. They have the power to block the Lebanese government, they control Hezbollah, north of Israel. They created radio stations that encourage hostility towards local governments in Morocco and Egypt, moderates in general, and hostility towards Israel.
Change in Iran can only come with support from the outside. Militants from within are just powerless.