November 08, 2005

Ahmadinejad will have to become more moderated‎

An interview with Vanna Vannuccini published in la Republic, ‎‏7‏‎ November ‎‏2005‏

He is still courageous in the year 2004. Emadeddin Baghi received civil courage prize (from parkinson foundation) and when decided to make a trip to Newyork gettin the prize, he was banned to leave iran at the airport thus without any explanation his passport was confiscated. Emadeddin Baghi has spent 3 years in pirson. He has worked at 7 newspapers and had been the editor of some of them. He iS still reformist after the reformist movement have defeated. He believes that we should pay more attention to basic nacessities of people (such as food, clothing) than debate over freedom.

There has been some fears that Ahmadinejad's recent remarks would take Iran back to ‎the time when it was internationally isolated. Was this something accidental or was ‎it somehow intentional?‎
Ahmadinejad's comment is in inconsistent with the formal policy of Islamic Republic ‎of Iran in the past. At the time of his presidency Hashemi Rafsanjani stated in a news ‎conference that we are against Israel and consider it illegitimate but will not ‎participate in any attempts to annihilate it. In addition to this IRI is officially ‎committed to Security Council's Resolution ‎‏242‏‎, in which the existence of two states in ‎Palestine is acknowledged. This has been the official position of IRI as a state after the ‎revolution; meanwhile everybody knows that the founder of IRI, Ayatollah Khomeini, ‎stated that Israel should be wiped out of existence. Nevertheless IRI as a state has ‎explicated this point that this sort of expression of views as revocable and not ‎unquestionable. For instance about the Iran-Iraq war Ayatollah Khomeini repeatedly ‎made this point clear that "the war should go on up to the overthrow of Sadam ‎Hossein", he also called him "infidel and criminal", but before his death he actually ‎accept the ceasefire and peace and not long after his death there were meetings and ‎correspondences between the heads of both states, in a way the Iranian president at ‎the time, Hashemi Rafsanjani, addressed the Iraqi president as "brother Sadam ‎Hossein". Another example is Ayatollah Khomeini's statement after the repression ‎and killing of Iranian demonstrators during the pilgrimage in Mecca, this happened ‎when iran was involved in war with Iraq, "If we stopped feeling resentful towards ‎Sadam, we would feel no resentment towards (King) Fahd". However few years later ‎Iran- Suadi began their sincere relations again. ‎
I am giving all these examples to say that referring to a single sentence of Ayatollah ‎Khomeini stated ‎‏25‏‎ years ago is contrary to the practical policy of IRI and it is in ‎opposition with the policies carried out by the Iranian authorities at the time of ‎Rafsangani and Khatami's presidencies. Furthermore Ayatollah Khomeini suggested ‎‎"the impact of time and space on individual religious reasoning" as one of his major ‎theological theories, and by accepting Security Council resolution on Iran-Iraq war, ‎despite his previous opposition to its theme, confirmed that he was a pragmatist ‎rather than a fundamentalist.‎
I assume that Ahmadinejad's remarks were not preconceived; he might still think that ‎he is political activist giving a speech to a crowd of ansār hezbollah (radical Islamists) ‎and not realizing that he is now the president of a country. ‎
Don't you think that his subsequent action in calling Iranian moderate ambassadors ‎was a sign that he would not retreat from his position?‎
I believe the West is taking advantage of Ahmadinejad's irrational statement to put ‎pressure on Iran on the nuclear issue because the same thing was said by the late ‎leader of the revolution many years ago and there was no such reaction to it then. the ‎I think the West should not forget that reformists are still a significant power in Iran ‎and they do not agree with such remarks. The state itself did not follow his line as one ‎might have expected, so the West should not take his statement too seriously and ‎come back down to earth, especially after the leader's speech in the prayers on Eid al-‎Fitr (Feast of Fast-Breaking) last week in which he used much more moderate words. ‎We'd rather not have negation position; instead of attacking Israel we should support ‎Palestinians. If they accepted two-state solution, why should we oppose this, why ‎should we be more Catholic than the Pope? Let us just not forget that Israel has been ‎having an aggressive conducts towards Iran, an example of which is its constant ‎threat of attacking Iranian nuclear sites, this kind of conducts would not be productive ‎and would inspire such remarks as Ahmadinejad's.‎
Today Iran claimed that it is ready to come back to the negotiation table with the ‎EU. Are you at all optimistic?‎As a human rights activist, the political aspects are not of that much importance to me ‎and from this standpoint I do not agree with these remarks. I consider human rights ‎as not being merely political but these rights do encompass social, cultural and ‎economic aspects as well. The problems we have here on human rights issues are not ‎only political "poverty, corruption and discrimination", which president Ahmadinejad ‎wanted to fight against in his presidential election campaign, are the issues that are ‎country is involved in. political human rights and the problems related to it can be ‎resolved through negotiations and talks but other social and economic human rights ‎the only way to stop their violation is through creating jobs and encouraging ‎investments.‎
So when Ahmadinejad won the election with a week majority, promising that he ‎would restore social justice and eradicate, we were some how satisfied that he might ‎as well do something about these aspects of human rights. But surprisingly the sort of ‎policies and conducts he has been pursuing in the past three months have shown the ‎contrary. With these policies we cannot enjoy foreign and domestic investments, we ‎cannot gain trust and reliability needed for economic contracts, and we cannot create ‎cooperative feelings in the public. Ahmadinejad's policies and ways of conduct so far ‎not only has not resulted in capital intensity but contrary to what was promised these ‎policies have caused capital flight. I see no way for the new government but to expand ‎tension-easing and trust-building otherwise it would lead the country and itself to ‎intense crisis and by this there would be more violations of human rights.‎
You have established an association for defending prisoners' rights, so I might as well ‎ask you about the current condition of prisons in Iran?‎
Currently there are ‎‏130,000‏‎ ordinary prisoners in our country with the population of ‎‏68,000,000‏‎. The number of political prisoners fluctuates between ‎‏40‏‎ and ‎‏50‏‎, at the ‎same time the numbers of people associated with or accused of being part of armed ‎opposition groups to the best of our knowledge is about ‎‏200‏‎ to ‎‏300‏‎, of whom few ‎have been charged with murder. The general condition of many prisoners is much ‎more ineligible and inappropriate than said and reflected in the media and in Western ‎human rights organizations. From our point of view the prisoners of the second ‎group, the political prisoners, are to be treated in accordance with their rights, which ‎have to be observed fully. The first group of prisoners, the ordinary prisoners, consists ‎of people, most of whom do not deserve imprisonment. There are more chances for ‎their release through negotiations of reputable and highly regarded individuals and ‎domestic groups rather than foreign governments and institutes. We believe that any ‎attempts by the latter would cause undesirable reactions. Of course we believe that ‎international human rights groups should investigate the cases through independent ‎individuals and groups and civil institutes and make any initiatives and if necessary ‎protest by presenting solid and clear evidences. Likewise the human rights groups ‎inside the country should gather evidences from both sides and protest against any ‎violations based on reliable data.‎

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