1664699714 Iran protests divide ayatollahs between those who are with government

Iran, protests divide ayatollahs: between those who are with government and those who report police abuses…

A few days ago during the Iranian protests after the death of Mahsa Aminifrom the desolate eastern region of sistan and Balochistanand from the city quick, a significant message spread when viewed in relation to the evolving context. In short, after days of silence, the local imam of Friday prayers Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar Naghshbandia public complaint to some local media rape committed against a 15-year-old. Naghshbandi names the author directly: he is the colonel Ebrahim Kouchakzaei, that is, the local police chief. “I listened carefully to the words of my oppressed little sister with pain and fear. My chest held my breath at the seriousness of this crime,” Naghshbandi told local media after speaking with the teenager. “I know it is my duty Break this harmful silence, so that the perpetrator can be punished for his shameful deeds. I ask the judiciary to investigate this tragedy as soon as possible and from different angles, by publicly executing himNaghshandi added a reference to the ability to perform one death penalty in public places, a fairly widespread practice in this region of Iran, where these sentences have been carried out for years, especially against cross-border human traffickers Pakistan who are often involved in firefights with the Guardian of the Revolution (irgc).

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Naghshbandi’s denunciation is relevant not only because it targets an exponent of Iran’s military and public security sectors, but because the cleric is appointed directly by the Supreme Leader as the imam of Friday prayers Ali Khamenei, for which he actually holds the role of local representative. This is an element that may help shed some light inner cohesion of the Iranian establishment and, consequently, the true directions of the ongoing protest.

In the same hours while some like religious Mahmoud Nabavian, Zohra Lajevardithe imam of the Friday prayer of Mashhad, Ahmad Alamohoda (who, in an anti-Rouhani capacity, had instead supported the 2017 protests of an economic nature) or the former from Tehran, Ahmad Khatami, they have disparaged, condemned or insulted the demonstrators, others have broken their respective silences. “The authorities have to Show sensitivity to people’s rightslisten to their demands and solve their problems,” the 97-year-old ayatollah wrote on his website Hossein Nuri Hamedani. Sentences similar to those uttered days before by another ayatollah, Asadollah Bayat Zanjaniwith the difference that unlike Zanjani, Hamedani is not reformist-oriented – like the Shargh and Etemad newspapers, which in recent days have been calling for the abolition of Gasht-e Ershad, the religious police – but it is placed in the field “Ultra Conservative”as well as a firm supporter of supreme leader.


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You are not alone: ​​Yesterday the ayatollah addressed local reporters Ali Akbar Massoudi Khomeini he defined “the treatment of women by the religious police contrary to the teachings of Islam‘ He added: ‘Only Islamic judges can rule on thatheadscarfand in any case not even they can tell a woman that her veil does not respect Islamic norms and punish her”.

In many ways, the protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians are targeting the country’s overall institutional and regulatory architecture Islamic Republic. However, it would be misleading to speak of a conflict between civil society and the Shi’a “clergy”, since the rifts run differently and “people” versus “the ayatollahs” can be a formula that can lead to misunderstandings. This is a protest by the Iranians against you power system with increasingly militaristic traits and partly against aspects of the ideology that governs the Iranian ethical state, namely the vilayat-e faqih, “The Lawyer’s Government” (the theory of the state developed by Khomeini during his exile from 1963 to 1979).

Religion plays a marginal role – even the obligatory veil is rejected by many religious but not very politicized people – and loyalty to some ideological principles seems crucial: If only because of the most argued and harsh criticism in the last 40 years at the vilayat- e faqih came from religious figures: from hojatoleslam (as well as former president) Mohammed Khatami to Mohsen Kadivar, Ali Mohammad Dastgheib Shirazi, Hadi Khamenei (younger brother of the leader) walking through the Ayatollah Ali Muntazeriup to the Ayatollah Yousuf Sanaeiwho was stripped of the title of “marja-e taqlid” for his grievances in 2012 by a major clergy association in the seminary Qom.

Since Khomeini’s death, in addition to the flaws wrought in Iran’s dynamic civil society, there has been a sometimes explicit and sometimes latent conflict that moves on a two-pronged track: that of the legacy of Khomeini’s vision and that of the balance between the two “Islamic” dimension and the republican and popular dimensions of the system, which are partly linked to the former. At both ends of the spectrum there are those like the Ayatollah Mesba Yazdicriticized in the vilayat-e faqih precisely the incorporation of the notion of the electoral process, deeming it superfluous or pernicious in a system “governed by the divine will” and which instead made – perhaps its greatest contribution – from the state theory of the state already mentioned Kadivar – has always promoted the gradual pre-eminence of popular democratic dimensionespecially of the death of the unrepeatable Ruhollah Khomeini.

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Compared to the not always clear legacies of the Khomeinist message, the picture is complicated by the fact that, on the one hand, the boldest supporters of the vilayat-e faqih, its sanctity and the supreme leader, today its antagonistic dimension in relation to the West and its irreformability, are precisely those “Principalists”, both religious and “lay”. On the other hand, from the fact that the people closest to Khomeini, especially in the period leading up to his death, were reformist-minded figures, the most famous of which is perhaps Mir Hossein Mousavia politician who has been under house arrest for over 10 years after protests following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who hit him with alleged fraud in the 2009 vote.

Ahmadinejad himself, a figure sui generis on the Iranian scene since it is impossible to trace him to any particular area, symbolized this dynamic well: the first “secular” president – in the sense of not belonging to the “clergy” – of the country and at the same time much more reactionary and extremist of various religious figures in the country.

It is complicated to organically synthesize and classify the positions of Iranian religious: there are those who have rigid positions on rights and freedoms and at the same time are open about the relationship with the West, often overlapping with a criticism of Iran’s military engagement in the region. Or who, on the contrary, takes non-literal positions, open to interpretation in social matters, but extremely aggressive towards the West and foreign policy in general. The possible combinations are varied in the eyes of the Western observer, who instead tends to clearly categorize and classify the field to make understanding easier.

This is not only because the birth of the Islamic Republic is far from dying it out nationalistic dimensionbut also because the perception that Iran is a Country ruled by “religious” and even more false is that for which the “religious” are the architrave of a police state. The Islamic Republic – and this is the aim of the protests – is now governed primarily by the high ranks of the Islamic Republicany – a protagonist in the region for about ten years – who also maintains his income position and his power by using organic religious who legitimize his primacy. The same ones who helped draft a 119-page document released last August by Setad (“Project Hijab and Chastity”), a semi-governmental body that responds directly to the Supreme Leader, detailing the characteristics of strengthening the oppression are announced and outlined by those who don’t respect it “dress code”. And from this, in retrospect, the germs of the ongoing repression could perhaps be derived.