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Opposition Leader In House Arrest Demands Khamenei Release Old Tape

Supporters of Iran's presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi standing by a burning vehicle during protests in Tehran, 19Jun2009

The leader of Iran's pro-reform "Green Movement" has challenged the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by calling for the release of the uncensored video of their last meeting in 2009.

Former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi (1981-1989), who has been under house arrest since 2011, was responding to footage recently published by Khamenei's official website. The two-minute footage shows Khamenei speaking to a limited number of clergy whose faces, for an unknown reason, are deliberately blurred.

Mousavi was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s main challenger in the 2009 presidential election. Ahmadinejad was endorsed by Khamenei and officially declared the winner right after polls closed, angering many voters. Nevertheless, Mousavi, in tandem with another challenger, former speaker of Majles (parliament) Mehdi Karroubi, refused to accept the official outcome calling it an “engineered result”.

Their protest led to more than five months of anti-Khamenei demonstrations that left dozens killed and hundreds imprisoned. The uprising was immediately branded as "sedition" by hardliners close to Khamenei.

Later in 2011, Mehdi Karroubi, Mousavi and his wife were extrajudicially confined to their houses after they called for street demonstrations in solidarity with the so-called Arab Spring.

To celebrate the publication of a new book about the 2009 controversial presidential election, Khamenei's office circulated a two-minute footage on its website showing him in a gathering with a few clergymen, on July 20, 2009, in the midst of protests against Ahmadinejad's re-election.

Mir Hossein Musavi (C) raises his arms as he appears at an opposition protest in Tehran, 15Jun2009
Mir Hossein Musavi (C) raises his arms as he appears at an opposition protest in Tehran, 15Jun2009

Addressing the clergy Khamenei lambastes Mousavi by referring to quotations allegedly made by two former Presidents, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Mohammad Khatami, against the former PM.

In the same footage, armed with the citations, Khamenei harshly criticizes Mousavi's position regarding the election result and dismisses his ideas. He also accuses him of inciting people to revolt.

A website promoting Iran's "Green Movement", Kalemeh, reports that after Mousavi was informed about the two-minute "doctored" and "edited" footage, he called for the release of the uncensored footage of his negotiation with Khamenei, in full, for the sake of informing the people.

However, Kalemeh has not elaborated on the "information" that, according to Mousavi, the people of Iran deserve to have.

In the meantime, Kalemeh reports, "The Islamic Republic's propaganda machine once again spent huge sums…to disseminate false information and fake news regarding the 2009 presidential election and events related to it.”

December 30 was the anniversary of a state-sponsored march to counter the Green Movement protests and state organization came out in full force to spread the official version of the 2009 events.

Dozens of speeches were organized, thousands of banners and posters were produced across the country, TV documentaries were aired and books were published on December 30, 2018 to smear the character of Mousavi, his wife, and Karroubi who are still under house arrest, Kalemeh reports.

In recent days, Ayatollah Khamenei's allies, in an orchestrated manner, have repeatedly warned against the recurrence of a "sedition" similar to the one in 2009.

The head of the Islamic Republic's judiciary, who was recently appointed by Khamenei as the chairman of the influential Expediency Discernment Council, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, explicitly warned against the "repetition" of the 2009 "sedition".

One of the advisors of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' chief commander, Ali Mohammad Naeini also warned that, since the parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held later in 2019, and there are labor and civil rights protests across the country, the establishment should be vigilant against flare-ups in coming year.

These warnings echo remarks earlier made by Khamenei, calling upon the authorities to be vigilant against the "enemy" and the repetition of the 2009 "sedition" in the next Iranian year.

Questioning the warnings, Tehran's outspoken representative to Majles and its deputy speaker, Ali Motahari has lambasted Khamenei's allies, including Friday Prayer Leaders who have vehemently warned about the possibility of "sedition".

"I do not know the basis for their warnings. Yet, it might be better to ask them to tell us what sort of sedition they are going create, again?" Motahari has retorted.