Hva skjedde i Iran fredag kveld? Innenriksministeriet som hadde ansvaret for opptellingen, ga først beskjed til Mir Hussein Mousavis hovedkvarter om at han hadde vunnet. Så følger et angrep på det samme valghovedkvarteret av brutale revolusjonsgardister. Mousavis tilhengere tror det er høyrefløyen som lar skuffelsen få utløp. Men så, to timer senere, kommer et brev fra Den Øverste Leder, Khamenei, der han sier at et tap for Ahmadinejad også er et tap for ham!

Hva skjedde? Noe ser ut til å ha vært planlagt, men gikk ikke helt etter planen. De første opplysningene gikk ut på at Mousavi hadde fått 70 prosent. Å reversere et slikt budskap innebærer en stor risiko.

Nettstedet rooz.online har et langt intervju med den iranske filmskaperen Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Det forteller om hvor uoversiktlig det som har skjedd er, men det forteller også at iranerne er ferdig med prestestyret. Valget har utløst krefter som ikke lar seg stanse. Ånden lar seg ikke mane tilbake i flasken.

Shout in Unison: There Has Been a Coup

Nooshabeh Amiri
nooshabehamiri(at)yahoo.com
While many Iranians were preparing themselves to hold green celebrations, events turned around in just a few hours. Mir-Hossein Mousavi who according to the official announcement of the ministry of interior which administers national elections was announced as the winner of the tenth presidential race on June 12th was unexpectedly announced to be the loser in the race while his rival who is labeled a «liar» these days was announced as the winner.

How did this change come about? Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the prominent Iranian filmmaker who was relegated the responsibility regarding communications for Mousavi’s election headquarters because all communications between Iran and the outside world were broken talked with Rooz about this «coup.»

Rooz: You had announced good news quoting Mousavi’s election headquarter on American television. Then suddenly everything changed. What happened?

Mohsen Makhmalbaf: The attack on Mr. Mousavi’s election headquarters in Qeytarieh district of Tehran coincided with the Ministry of Interior’s notification to Mr. Mousavi that he had won the election while adding that Mr. Khamenei too had been informed of this news. According to Mr. officials of the headquarters, Mr. Khamenei had said that there was no problem. The only issue was how to manage announcing the news. As a result, members of Mousavi’s campaign headquarters were happy that Mousavi had won and so viewed the attack on their offices to be the revengeful personal act of the defeated right-wing, not a plan to start a coup d’état.

For about an hour or two, international connections of Mousavi’s campaign offices were cut which is why I was given the responsibility of communications so that I would announce to the world that according to the official announcement of the Ministry of Interior and election tallies, Mr. Mousavi had emerged as the winner and the elections had not even gone to the second round. This news was even communicated to other members of the arts and entertainment industry including Fatemeh Motamed-Aria who had heard the news directly from Mr. Mousavi who in turn called different individuals informing them that the greens had won. But while Mr. Mousavi was busy writing his victory speech, Passdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders showed up at the headquarters with a letter from Mr. Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, which said that he would not let the green revolution to succeed. Ahmadinejad’s defeat is my defeat, the note said. The commanders then told Mr. Mousavi: «Don’t try to stir things up.» At this moment, Mr. Majid Majidi (a popular singer) who was involved in Mousavi’s communications and public relations activities told Kamboozia Partovi that he was disappointed and was going to leave the headquarters and go home. He also said that there would be a coup in Tehran the next day.

Rooz: So what happened from the moment the official announcement was made to Mr. Mousavi until it was rescinded?

Makhmalbaf: Initially be thought that this was a coup d’état against Mr. Khamenei himself because the confirmation and subsequent change of opinion was astounding to us. Because of this, Messer Karoubi, Khatami, Mousavi and even such personalities as Mr. Karbaschi were seeking the position of the leader. If you go to Mr. Karbaschi’s website you will see that he called for silence on the issue because they were in talks with the leader. But a coup took place nevertheless. Initially, they had planned to announce the results gradually and thus hold the final announcement for later so that it would not come as a political shock to Ahmadinejad supporters and a pleasant surprise for his opponents. The media too had been told not use the word «victory» regarding Mousavi’s win. So one view is that Mr. Khamenei’s view changed within 2 hours. Another view holds that these events were all pre-planned with the aim of pulling people to the voting polls, while the results had been pre-determined, which is why not a single vote has been cancelled. There are those who cast a void vote to test the system. But their void votes were not announced. Is it even possible to have an election without any void or cancelled votes?

Once Mr. Mousavi announced that he was the winner of the race and the future president of Iran, it was announced that there would be national celebrations on Sunday. Mousavi’s headquarters asked me to take charge of the communications and announce a couple issues to the world because their communications machinery had broken down and the officers in the headquarters had been hurt because of the military’s attack on the offices – some artists too had been physically hurt and battered – and the headquarters in Qeytarieh were cordoned off by the military. This is what Mousavi’s headquarters asked me to communicate and announce to the world: First is that Mr. Mousavi was the winner of the election with about 70 percent of the votes. Second, Mr. Mousavi has requested that the victory should be celebrated on Fatimah Zahra’s (Prophet Mohammad’s daughter) birthday on June 19, 2009, which in Iran is celebrated as mother’s day. Third, they wanted me to announce that the Mousavi’s campaign headquarters had been attacked and so they would not be able to disseminate any news.

Rooz: What do you call this event?

Makhmalbaf: This is more than just election rigging. People are shocked and resemble those of 1953 when a coup against nationalist leader Mossadegh took place. Then too people expected Mossadegh to win, but they lost him. Today people are in a state of shock, and I call this a coup d’état. This is more than just rigging. We must all say in unison: There has been a coup. This coup is of course not in favor of a dictatorship because what is important is that people have succeeded in pushing back dictatorship to the wall and so the state has been forced to forsake its legitimacy for dictatorship. Until this event, Iranian people and the world believed that in comparison with such countries as Iraq during Saddam Hussein which was a dictatorship, Iran had a relative democracy. People said that even though there are things like a clerical leadership, Guardian Council etc in Iran, the very fact that we can elect someone like Mohammad Khatami instead of an Ahmadinejad shows there is relative choice and election. Today however with this event, we have completely returned to the 1953 situation.

Rooz: In view of the news that is coming out of Iran which includes attacks on people, arrests and preparations for more arrests of leading political personalities, how do you evaluate the situation?
Makhmalbaf: Right now people are in a state of questioning and want to know what exactly happened. You know, we had a revolution and regretted it; we had reforms and then regretted them; we turned out backs and then regretted it; So now that we have returned to the polls, we do not want to regret this again. If we regret this, then there will be only one solution left: a revolution. So people ant to know what is it that they should do. I personally believe that if Mr. Mousavi does not retreat, as he has promised he will not , and makes his voice heard among people, a united action must take place; not aimless acts and not populist acts whose results benefit dictatorship. For this to happen all decision-making centers, artist groups, student groups, women and all others who are united and have similar views, should start a movement which translates into an opposition to this coup. I think we need a single loud voice. What was instructional for us in this event was the demonstration of millions of green people. At Mousavi’s headquarters they told us that they did not know of this demonstration; that they had only received text messages about it. When they went out to see what was going on in the streets, the saw millions of people wearing something green marching. In other words people united and got together through text messaging which looked like drops in an ocean which has fused together putting their wishes and civil demands on display. This march was so unusual that imagine a popular and well-known artist such as Hedieh Tehrani goes to the streets with a green flag and people start following her. The color green means that people are not after violence and that what they want is natural: they want to be able to replace an executive official whose ways they don’t like with someone from amongst themselves.

Rooz: Coups have signs such as suppression of people and pressure on social leaders. In this regard, until a few hours ago it was said that Mousavi is under house arrest, or there was talk of arrest of Mr. Tajzadeh, Aminzadeh, etc. The state-run news agency too has already begun creating the basis for this and has written that they had found non-lethal weapons in the reformists’ headquarters. So where are we going?

Makhmalbaf: I think the state is creating a state of fear. In fact, ayatollah Khamenei’s message asking people «not to mix the sweet sense of success with bitter words and thoughts» is a direct threat to those who had voted for the reformist candidates. If the majority of people had voted for Mr. Ahmadinejad, why are these people so worried and concerned about people pouring into the streets and celebrating? If that was the case, then the majority would be in the streets celebrating and the small minority [they talk about] would not dare do anything. But they are worried and so are threatening because things are different than what they pronounce. It is normal for people too to be shocked in this situation but it must be turned into faith and not a loss of energy. We have come to a place where people do not have any room left to retreat just as dictatorship too cannot retreat. If people retreat, the country must forget its history. We need a united voice to say there has been a coup. The leadership of Iranian society has been passed on to such people as Mousavi, or Mr. Khatami who is by his side, and artists and students. We must now see whether Mr. Mousavi has the courage to stay in his course. I told Mr. Khatami in my last meeting before I left Iran that he talked of civil society while what we needed was civil courage. Our people are not ignorant to desire knowledge and awareness. Each person knows exactly who to vote for. Every person must ask himself who I voted for and what was the result. A state accepts that it has lost its legitimacy and turns into a military government to control a people that it led for 30 years, must know that from the perspective of this people the greatest sin of this government is that it lies; something that can hurt even their religious beliefs. I think under these circumstances people must make their voice heard throughout the world. Now that they cannot send text messages, they should use the telephone. Any one who can, should make a short telephone call to another person, say a few short sentences. In short, civil ways to protest must be found.

Rooz: Where does Mr. Khamenei stand with the position that he has taken?

Makhmalbaf: I think the person who had created the illusion that the leader equates to the whole nation, has reduced his stature to being the leader of a minority and the main person supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad. Today, everyone has come to know that Ahmadinejad is just a spokesperson for this regime and its leading figure Mr. Khamenei. The world too should not accept these people to be true representatives of the Iranian nation. I loudly announce that the president of the Iranian people is Mr. Mousavi according to the official presidential votes and that Mr. Ahmadinejad is the illegal president of Iran and must be removed from power.

Rooz: Those who supported boycotting the elections are now saying that have actually helped created this situation.

Makhmalbaf: I am against this view. What exactly have they proved and show by not participating in the election? We are a nation of 70 million people. Seventy million cannot emigrate from their homeland. People have no choice but stay in their country. Just because ten people immigrate and end their sulk does not mean that a whole nation should do the same. Why must they sulk and end their involvement to begin with? If they are to live in their homeland, why must they not enjoy the minimum rights? We were defeated because of our last boycott. Contrary to the last election, this time we got together with hopes and aspirations that each would give his drop to the ocean. A drop can dry up in the sun. People saw how good it is to be united.

Rooz: What is the future of this drop?

Makhmalbaf: I think it is bright because people are aware. They know how to catch a government by surprise – through its vote – when it presents a fake election result as a legal one and launches a front. This is the power of people. Don’t you see the weakness of dictatorship? Do you see the fear that dictatorship has from this expose? Do you see that people have identified the dictatorship after 30 years? This was the victory of our people which in fact was accomplished with minimum cost. Today, we must maintain this unity. They still can put pressure on leaders that have emerged from people. They can push Mousavi into his house but they cannot imprison 70 million people, or kill them. One cannot ask 70 million people to forego their natural and basic rights. Especially as the international society is moving towards peace. Prior to this, there was the threat of an American attack and that was used as an excuse to militarize the country. But with a new president in the US one cannot use that argument and excuse any more, and we cannot be frightened with that. No one can militarize the country any longer. The military is not to suppress the nation. This election too was not to confirm the legitimacy of the regime but to announce the need to change the existing conditions and to reach the minimum demands and desires of the public.

Rooz: Everyone we spoke with in Iran was very disappointed. What do you tell them?

Makhmalbaf: I tell them that each one of them is a drop in the ocean. That they form one single large block and so stayed connected. At the same time to every one on this side I say that the voice that is passed on to the public must be united and coordinated so that no divisions occur.