Various media outlets and Iran regime elements have commented recently over the candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi, an influential cleric described as the protégé of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, pumping new life into Iran’s so-called presidential election (read selection).
Of course, this perspective in some way is considered correct. Raisi’s candidacy has caused quite a stir in the entire poll, but not as Khamenei and his apparatus initially intended.
The role Raisi played in the “Death Commission” presiding over the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), has come into the spotlight like never before. The 1988 dossier was once considered a highly controversial matter and no senior Iranian official would raise the issue, all knowing their involvement would eventually unearth and play against their ultimate interests.
People from all walks of life in Iran are now becoming more informed about the matter and questioning both Raisi and incumbent President Hassan Rouhani about the entire ordeal. Such a phenomenon is even reflected in Iran’s state-run media, including Keyhan daily, considered Khamenei’s mouthpiece.
The British state network says the positions adopted by Hassan Rouhani up to this day have been similar to others inside the apparatus. However, the ‘reformists’, seeking their own interests, only target their rivals in their remarks, leaving [Rouhani] out of the picture… There are considerable accounts in Rouhani’s report card. For example, at a time when Rouhani’s government in recent years supported efforts to revoke capital punishment, he himself in 1980 had suggested, ‘Bring traitors to Friday prayers and have them hanged for people to see. It would have more impact…’
Following the 1999 student uprising crackdown, Rouhani described the protesters as devious, foreign agents, affiliated and corrupt, adding they are ‘far more despicable for us to label them an overthrowing movement… if senior officials had not prevented us our people, our Muslim, brave and revolutionary youth would have resorted to the harshest of measures against these hoodlums.’ Back in December 2013, he described a march staged by regime supporters against those protesting the election results as clear insight. In 2015 he described that rally as the day ‘the Iranian nation defended the mullahs’ establishment.’
In other words, from 1980 to this day [Rouhani] has constantly supported crackdown measures against protesters and those opposing the government. In yet another move, Rouhani’s selected Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi as his minister of justice, saying he is delighted of Raisi’s presence in his cabinet.
(Pour-Mohammadi is another member of the abovementioned “Death Commission”.)
In yet another example, Rouhani praised his measures in imposing ‘mandatory hijab regulations in army administrative offices’. In his memoir Rouhani has written, ‘I went to Fort Dushan Tapeh and all the women employees, many in numbers, gathered in a large room where I spoke about hijab. Many of the women made a big fuss, but I stood firm and said: This is an order and no disobedience is tolerated… I ordered the guard that from the next morning women without proper hijab should no longer be allowed onto the premises.
As a result, it is crystal clear how the 1988 massacre dossier has become a trending topic amongst the Iranian people, especially college students who have been seen recently bravely questioning senior Iranian regime officials. A student in Tabriz University, northwest Iran, dared to state strong remarks and questions about this grave and horrific crime against humanity against Hassan Abbasi, a known theoretician of Khamenei’s faction.
As a result, it is natural to raise a question about the possibility of Khamenei being forced to set Raisi aside – due to his role in the 1988 massacre – and place his faction’s weight behind Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, one of the six candidates approved by the Guardian Council?
The truth is both Raisi, and Khamenei’s faction who currently support him, and Rouhani, and his so-called “moderate” faction, know the Iranian people have for decades had nothing but hatred for this regime. However, one cannot deny the fact that the possibility of Raisi stepping aside in favor of Ghalibaf has been raised in Iran’s state media outlets.
In such an outcome, this will deliver a highly unprecedented blow to Khamenei’s own image, and thus the entire Iranian regime establishment. This will ultimately play into the interest of the Iranian people and their organized resistance, resembled in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).