Published in German daily “Welt” on 4 June 2010
Source (German):
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

With his disputed re-election in 2009 Iran “actually broke the world record in democracy”, says the Iranian president.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a rally (photo: dpa)

Harsh criticism and threats: The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has condemned Israel’s attack on the aid convoi to Gaza as “insane”. In a speech he delivered on occasion of the 21. anniversary of the death of Revolutionary Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, Ahmadinejad also targeted the opposition inside the country, warning them to not stage any protests on the anniversary of the disputed presidential elections. “Those who oppose the Islamic system will not survive”, he said at the Imam-Khomeini shrine in Tehran on Friday.

He referred to his last year’s re-election, that was criticized inside and outside the country, as “the most democratic election in the world”. “Actually, with this election we broke the world record in democracy”. The Iranian opposition claims Ahmadinejad won the June 12 election through massive vote fraud, and rallied against the election results for weeks. Dozens of people lost their lives in the protests.

Referring to the attack of Israeli forces on the Gaza flotilla that left nine activists dead earlier this week, the Iranian president described this act as a result of “weakness and insanity”. The attack showed that Israel has “lost the last bit of reason”, said Ahmadinejad.

He affirmed that he expects Israel to collapse soon. In the past 60 years, this country has committed “inhumane crimes” and will be “erased” by its neighbors after it collapsed, Ahmadinejad added.

At the same time, he warned the West to not support Israel further. “All countries that still support this criminal regime should stop, otherwise they will be brought to court as war criminals”. Several tens of thousands of people had gathered at the Imam-Khomeini Shrine in South Tehran on occasion of the commemoration for the Revolutionary Leader.

According to state-run television, a major demonstration against Israel was scheduled to take place after the ceremony. Ahmadinejad highlighted Khomeini’s role in the revolution, saying that Khomeini never gave in to political pressure of imperialist powers. “The Imam (Khomeini) started a new movement that will continue until it has become globalized”, said Ahmadinejad.

The atmosphere got agitated when Khomeini’s grandson Hassan entered the podium. He is close to the opposition reformists and is regarded as a critic of Ahmadinejad. Right from the beginning, his speech was interrupted several times and eventually completely stopped by regime supporters. Ayatollah Khomeini was the driving force behind the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that toppled the Shah.


Published on the website of German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” on 4 June 2010
Source (German):
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

On the 21. anniversary of the death of Khomeini, the founder of the state, Iran’s hardliners issued harsh threats against the opposition. The opposition leaders were not present at the ceremony.

by Martin Gehlen

Threats against the opposition: Revolutionary leader and hardliner Khamenei (in front of a photo of Khomeini, the founder of the state) - © /AFP/Getty Images

One week prior to the first anniversary of the controversial presidential election, Iran’s revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have delivered severe warnings to the opposition. During a commemoration ceremony on occasion of the 21. anniversary of the death of the state’s founding father Ayatollah Khomeini, Khamenei accused the green movement of trampling the ideals of the Islamic Republic. Referencing the Quran, he described the protests as “a rebellion” and for the first time threatened the opposition leaders with the death penalty.

In his speech, that was broadcast live on state television, Khamenei recalled that some of Khomeini’s associates who were on the airplane with him when he traveled from Paris to Tehran in 1979 were executed only months later for their betrayal of the Revolution. “The same standards still apply today.” He wished to point out especially to the youth that all attacks against the Islamic Republic of the past 30 years could not in the least shake the foundations of the state.

Ahmadinejad described his re-election one year ago as “hundred per cent democratic”. Those who deviate from the Imam’s path will be banished by the people, he said in the presence of the entire leadership, while the crowd chanted “We will not leave you alone”. Among the audience were former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is close to the green movement, and Ahmadinejad’s conservative opposing candidate Mohsen Rezai. Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Moussavi, and ex president Mohammad Khatami were not present. With last year’s elections “we broke the world record in democracy”, Ahmadinejad said, adding that the Iranian government is the most democratic in the world.

Shortly thereafter, however, Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, was forced to abandon his speech after a few minutes as he was heckled by chants of “Death to Moussavi” from the regime-organized crowd. The 38-year old cleric is the director of the shrine of his grandfather, that is situated on the outskirts of Tehran. He is regarded as a supporter of Mir Hossein Moussavi. Last year, he and the entire Khomeini family demonstratively stayed away from Ahmadinejad’s official inauguration.

The Iranian leadership announced that it gathered 2 million people from all over the country to attend the ceremony today. According to the head of the Tehran traffic police, about 50.000 buses and minibuses were used. Apparently, hundreds of thousands of the deployed basij militas are to remain in the capital until next week in order to thwart any attempt of the green movement to stage new protests against the rigged re-election of Ahmadinejad on 12 June.

Thursday evening, hardliners threatened opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi when he was visiting the shrine. According to Fars news agency, the attackers chanted “Death to the hypocrites”. Karroubi’s bodyguards escorted the cleric back to his car to take him to safety.

(An article taken from Tagesspiegel)