Iranian Opposition Leaders Call Off Protest



The Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi issued a joint statement on Thursday calling off plans for protests on Saturday, the anniversary of the disputed presidential election that they claim was rigged.

While the two men were the reformist candidates in the 2009 election and insist that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not the rightful winner of the contest, they often seemed not to be in control of many of last year’s protests, so some opposition supporters may still take to the streets on June 12.

Here is a translation, prepared for The New York Times, of the complete statement published on Thursday on Saham News, an opposition Web site:

In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful, to the informed and vigilant people of Iran:

Your informed and conscientious presence and participation at polling stations for the 10th presidential election last year, and your taking advantage of the right to vote extensively, was a great development. It was an everlasting epic that would have moved the country from the dreadful decline in which it was captive, and which today has become more obvious, to a bright future and the climax of prosperity that the great nation of Iran deserves.

But unfortunately, tainted hands falsified your pure votes, and the results were announced in such a way that shocked everyone and initiated the unified protests of you, the informed people of Iran, in order to get back your lost rights.

However, great sadness was felt that your peaceful presence and rallies, instead of being heard and paid attention to, were suppressed, and you — ever-glorious nation — paid dearly over the past year to get back your stolen right.

Your great and unforgettable rally on Khordaad 25 [June 15] of last year is the evidence of the truth that even passage of time cannot reduce its value. The justified expectations of you, dear people, prompted us to request to have a rally for the anniversary of the unforgettable day of 22 Khordaad [June 12], in order to safeguard that stolen legacy and to follow up on the justified demands of a prosperous nation. A nation that, despite attempts at suppression, did not deviate from peaceful ways and hopefully seeks a bright future for its people and their children.

So we submitted a letter of request to the governor of Tehran’s office and the Interior Ministry for a permit to hold a demonstration on the anniversary of the epic 22 Khordaad election — from Imam Hussein Square to Azadi Square. But unfortunately, with endless made-up excuses, this request has remained unanswered. We based our request on Article 27 of Islamic Republic’s Constitution, which clearly states the unconditional right of the people to hold protests and demonstrations, in order to prevent tension.

We did not give any excuses to the oppressors and provided for the safety and security of the people. Likewise, a number of reformist parties and groups — in order to eliminate excuses to use violence — handed in a similar request to the Interior Ministry. The final answer of the Interior Ministry to this request has been stated in the latest letter of the representatives of reformist parties. They have announced that they have no hope of obtaining any permit from this administration.

Now that there are only 48 hours left to the time planned for the demonstration, considering the report of the representatives of reformist parties [who were following up on the request for a permit] and also the safety of the people, we are announcing that the planned demonstrations will not be held.

It is obvious that with the dark history of the past year in repressing the protesters — whose only crime was to demand their vote in a peaceful manner — and also the reports indicating that once again hard-liners and oppressors are being organized to attack defenseless and innocent people, we ask the people and the protesters to demand and follow up on their rightful demands and requests through less costly and more effective methods.

[To the Iranian government:] It is self-deceptive and naive to believe that your assault — with all the threats, insults, and lies — you were able to repress and subjugate the people’s protest movement. Despite the deafening claims of the so-called national TV and radio stations and the pro-government press, giving the impression that the protesting force of the Iranian people’s movement has diminished, the very same individuals involved in these claims, as well as the policy makers, more than anyone realize this fact: the movement is alive.

True honor belongs to those who, despite all the threats and dangers, the insecurities, and knowing the potential life-threatening and financial consequences, still have not given up on their rightful protest. Even the simple announcement of an intention to demonstrate made the oppressors shiver from fear and prompted a wide-scale and comprehensive security and police mobilization.

This is the tradition of an illegitimate government that does not give permits to hold demonstrations to anyone but to their own supporters. But remember that the path that you, the great nation of Iran, have chosen cannot be blocked. And you will brighten your role on this path with creativity and we will be with you and will accompany you until the emergence of the bright morning of tomorrow.

– Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi




Leave a Reply