Karroubi: “The Green Movement belongs to the people”

27 May 2010

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While Mir-Hossein Mousavi made his latest statement in a meeting with the youth and student branch of Karroubi’s Etemade Melli party, Karroubi was putting forth his views on Mousavi’s opposition website Rah-e-Sabz (or JARAS).

Following are the most important statements from the interview. Here you can read the complete interview: http://en.irangreenvoice.com/article/2010/may/27/1961

JARAS: Mr. Karroubi, what were the mistakes you believe you committed in the past year and what have been the strengths and weaknesses of the Green Movement?

I am quite satisfied with what I have done and said in the past year. If I have been radical in my conduct as they [hardliners] claim, it has only been in reaction to their own behaviour. I have never diverted from my revolutionary ideals and therefore I will not suffer from extremism or lack of action. I said in one of the presidential debates last year that I am ready for Jihad and I will pay any price. The night I decided to run for election I knew I was embarking on a long and winding road.

JARAS: How about others? You, Mousavi and Khatami have given individual statements and speeches. Can we look forward to joint statements from two or three people in the 2nd year of the Movement?

I strongly believe that each individual should focus on their own activities. Individual efforts must be continued. At the same time, in areas where there is a need for joint statements, this should also be done. Of course I have made suggestions for joint statements for specific issues in the past, which unfortunately did not come to fruition and as such I had to act on my own.

JARAS: Under these circumstances, don’t you see the need for the formation of a core leadership team for the Green Movement? What is your strategy for leadership of the Movement?

First of all, this Movement belongs to the people. The people are its leaders and as such it will move in the direction desired by the people. In fact, if there were to be any leader other than the people, those opposing the Movement would make sure that leadership is eliminated. The only leader who can continue the path of this Movement are the masses, in other words the nation of Iran.

JARAS: They have confiscated all newspapers critical of the government. Political parties have been closed. As the head of a political party in Iran, how do you see the future of this Movement? How do you think the Green Movement can show itself in a society that is under such heavy military and security presence?

I must repeat that the fact that the movement has issued statements requesting that people attend every official event and commemoration is proof that we have not stopped fighting and that we continue our path. The fact that the movement desires change means living and being present. On the other hand, we must not only stand behind what we say, but we must also act upon it and be willing to pay the necessary price to obtain our goals. The fact that we are witnessing extensive efforts on the part of the ruling government to prepare for a potential back-lash on the anniversary of Imam Khomeini’s death and that they did not allow certain anniversaries to take place illustrates that the Green Movement is alive and well. It is for this reason that they banned me from attending a ceremony commemorating the martyrdom of Hazrat Zahra. A large security force with ample knives, batons, bricks, etc. had been mobilized in order to make my presence at the ceremony impossible. All these reactions and this type of behavior on their part is evidence that we are present and that the Movement is persistent and will continue to prevail.

JARAS: One of the demands that has been published in many of your statements is holding free and fair elections. Do you think there is any hope that elections will take place one day to form a government or a parliament that includes representation from various political parties? Fundamentally, do you think that “political parties” have a future in Iran? When I say political party I mean a party that has been elected by the people and has the power to govern.

We must focus on achieving this goal. Currently there are two obstacles facing our progress in this area. The first is the ruling government that opposes such a concept and the second the political parties that are not accustomed to organized activities and efforts. I have repeatedly said that they are either fighting political parties or evading them. In Iran it is very difficult to belong to and work within the framework of a party. It will require time for us to learn how to work within a party and how to deal with political parties.

JARAS: My next question is about the protest movement created by the Iranians abroad. Do the leaders of the Green Movement have any plans to organize the forces inside and outside the country? Why not benefit from the great asset that is all the Iranians [whether inside or outside?]

The movement was created inside the country. Iranians abroad too followed this movement and supported it. The struggles that Iranians abroad made are great and we are very thankful for it. However they must look at the situation inside Iran. Here, I request all the Iranians abroad to pay attention to some of the details in creating their slogans and messages. Unfortunately, often times that the radicalization of movements outside the country only causes pressure to the forces inside the country. Unfortunately, the government too takes advantage of the situations to put more pressure to internal forces. Iranians abroad must act as the medium to convey the message of the Iranian people to the people of the world. I hope that the slogans inside and outside the country go towards a direction that would make the two messages coherent with each other. On the other side, we must be wary of agents that penetrate amongst us. These agents mix themselves among us and by radicalizing the slogans provide excuses for the forces and the government to start the clamp down. This movement is still nurturing, and hopefully the movement of people outside of Iran and the movement inside would eventually start to become coherent with another. We must notice however that this needs a lot of time.

source: The Green Voice of Freedom

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