Boroujerdi, Rafsanjani, executions, counterterrorism

A selective glance at Iran and Iranian media, November 30.

by Rasmus Christian Elling.

The dissident Ayatollah Seyyed Hosein Kazemeyni-Borujerdi has allegedly been beaten up and brought to an unknown location. Borujerdi has advocated the separation of religion and government. Here is some interesting footage from two years ago of Borujerdi, his followers and his opponents; here is an older article and here a more recent piece.

Mohammad Hashemi-Rafsanjani, younger brother of Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, has aired the possibility he might be a presidential candidate for the reformists. He has also stated that he do not know whether his older brother will be a candidate himself. Khatami’s former first vice-president, Mohammad-Reza ‘Aref, has also declared that he will run for presidency – if he receives support from the reformists.

Several media outlets have stated that Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf’s presidential campaign has started. Qalibaf is the mayor of Tehran and former chief of police. He is considered a ‘moderate conservative’ and he is known for his somewhat ‘modern image’ aimed at appealing to the young and affluent. At least Admiral Shamkhani, former Defense Minister, is ‘wise enough not to become a candidate!’.

The centrist / ‘moderate conservative’ Hasan Rowhani – a top advisor to Khamene‘i, former nuclear negotiator and currently the head of the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research – has warned against paramilitary powers taking over the process of privatization in Iran. “Up until now, it was the government that hampered privatization, now it is being hampered by supra-governmental and paramilitary sectors”.

While one man was executed on November 18 for being an ‘Israeli spy’, authorities have now announced that they have unraveled a network of Israeli spies inside Iran. The network allegedly spied on Iran’s nuclear facilities (in English). Furthermore, three men have been sentenced to death for the April bombing of a mosque in Shiraz. Allegedly, the three are members of ‘a terrorist group’. They will be hanged in public.

Meanwhile, Iran has opened a Center for Advanced Studies in Counterterrorism. It is the purpose of this center to study the history of terrorism, ‘scientific strategies of counterterrorism’ and the ‘real face of the US’ as the culprit behind international terror today.

4 responses to “Boroujerdi, Rafsanjani, executions, counterterrorism

  1. boroujerdi is one of the most interesting clerics now. He speaks like Khomeini did in Paris. Time will tell who he really is. The good news is that there are many fanatics who have started follow his understanding of Islami.

    Kourosh Shahidi

  2. Dear Mr. Shahidi,

    Thank you for your comment and for linking to your blog, which I found very interesting.

    I was wondering if ‘fanatics’ isn’t a quite strong and rather biased label for Boroujerdi’s followers? We could probably give them many different labels. For example, couldn’t we also call them secularists? This is not to suggest that they are some kind of ‘Islamists Light’, but rather to try and nuance the debate. Indeed, (as I think you stated on your own blog) opposition forces have a tendency to attack, ridicule and reduce their opponents in other parts of the opposition spectrum.

    Best, Rasmus.

  3. Hi Rasmus

    I can remember called them fanatics. They are indeed secularists. They might be fanatical in their strong Islamic belief follow Boroujerdis secular reading of the religion. So in my opinion fanatical is a very, very wide term. Secularists can be fanatical too right? What makes boroujerdi more interesting is that he presents and Islam that is as you said secular. Even the most fanatical and devout muslims can maybe follow his readings. This is far more interesting than the traditional secular opposition (for instance the left) that as we know is secular. Reforms have to start from the grassroots In my opinion not pushed upon from above. This case is such an example. Do you agree?

    Feel free to link to my blog here if you want.

  4. Hi Kurosh,

    I agree that ‘fanatic’ and ‘fanatical’ are very wide terms. Yet I think when we speak of fanatical Muslims, a very particular image comes to (“Western”) mind. I think that this image is prejudiced, two-dimensional and helping to stigmatize and demonize Muslims worldwide – whether secular or Islamist, ‘moderate’ or ‘radical’.

    I completely agree with you that Boroujerdi’s followers are interesting in the sense that this is the sort of ‘mini-movement’ that could turn into something broader.

    We will just have to see what happens. Iran is in many ways unpredictable!

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