Last week it was Rafsanjani, who had to pledge allegiance to Khamenei in front of the powerful Expediency Council and repudiate “law breakers.” This week it’s Hajjarian, arguably the closest thing Iran has ever had to a genuine reformist, brought out to denounce everything he’s ever stood for. Pure Orwell:
Saeed Hajjarian was a die-hard hero of Iran’s reform movement, campaigning to reduce the power of the Islamic clerics even after being shot in the head in an assassination attempt that left him partially paralyzed. On Tuesday, he was brought into a courtroom propped up by men who put him in the front row of defendants in Iran’s biggest political trial in decades, where he proceeded to renounce his entire career as a reformist.
His speech slurred and nearly unintelligible from the 2000 attack, Hajjarian had a statement read proclaiming that Iran’s supreme leader represents the rule of God on Earth and asking for forgiveness for his “incorrect” ideas… A procession of the biggest names in the reform movement has taken the stand during the past month, some looking thin and tired, all dressed in blue pajama-like prison uniforms and slippers. They have confessed to taking part in what the government says was a plot backed by foreign enemies to overthrow Iran’s clerical leadership in a “velvet revolution.”
“Thin and tired” is an understatement. Unremitting solitary confinement, imprisonment in literal tombs, regular beatings, and ritualized rape have left some of Iran’s top reformers looking like this. Even TIME – one of the outlets more rather than less prone to publishing pro-engagement talking points as news – is considering the possibility that maybe possibly the IRG is in charge.
The drip drip drip of coerced confessions is developing into something of a pattern:
Iranian authorities put on trial Sunday a group of demonstrators who said they were directed by campaign officials of defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi to destroy public property in the chaotic aftermath of the June 12 election. The arrested demonstrators made their statements, which could become part of a case against Mousavi if he is arrested, in the third session of a mass trial of politicians, journalists and academics. There has been widespread criticism of the confessions, which many government opponents say are coerced.
Actual Associated Press headline from the middle of this month: “Waiting on Iran: West seeking signs of Tehran’s global direction after turmoil.” Seriously. Because they could go either way!
References and previously after the jump…
* Iran’s Rafsanjani urges factions to end turmoil [AFP]
* Top reformist confesses in Iran political trial
* Iran: Prisoners Voluntarily Starving Themselves Because They “Understand Their Fatness Harmed Body And Spirit” [MR]
* Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Gain Power [TIME]
* Testimony in Iran Trial Ties Mousavi to Unrest [WaPo]
* Waiting on Iran: West seeking signs of Tehran’s global direction after turmoil [AP]
* Clinton: Just A Head’s Up, But Engagement With Iran Probably Won’t Work
* Iran: No, Of Course We’re Not Willing To Negotiate About Nukes
* Syria And Iran Pretty Psyched About Renewed Alliance, “Resistance Front” Against US And Israel