Yes it is true, not exactly as any one source has been reporting, but the two top leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were kidnapped on Thursday night — when the streets of Tehran were full of armed men. It was a typical Mafia-style snatch. The two men — already under house arrest — were beaten and bloodied, and then were led out of their homes in blindfolds and handcuffs, stuffed in the trunks of the cars of their captors from the Revolutionary Guards and, along with their wives, taken to a location in Tehran, then, on Friday, to another in Parchin, and finally to a third location, a heavily protected private residence.
So far only a few voices, most notably that of Ayatollah Dastgheib (sorry for the link in Persian, but I can’t find a translation online yet), have been raised to denounce the action and call for the release of the hostages. Needless to say, no Western leader has done anything yet, and nobody should expect any tough talk from Western capitals. After all, Mousavi and Karroubi were never contacted by any Western leader after the electoral hoax of June, 2009, although at least some of those Westerners sent intermediaries to negotiate with representatives of the Iranian regime.
Terror works, you see.
I do not know if we will see Mousavi or Karroubi alive. For the moment, I imagine they are being interrogated and tortured in an effort to extract “confessions” of their obedience to foreigners. Indeed, the very evening of the kidnapping, Intelligence Minister Moslehi — whose name is on a list of Iranians under EU consideration for being sanctioned for their role in grave human rights violations — gave a late evening interview on national television in which he spoke extensively of the “foreign hand” behind Iranian protests, and the next day he was quoted in a national news service as identifying yours truly as the inspiration behind at least some of the dissidents (again, it’s in Farsi, but in compensation there’s a flattering picture of me). He claimed that an Iranian arrested as a CIA agent was somehow inspired by my writings to work against the regime.
Actually it’s the other way around. It’s the courage of the Iranian opposition, and the hope that one day this evil regime will be removed, that inspires these blogs. And to judge by Moslehi’s rant, it’s doomed, because he has real trouble with information. For all the attention and vitriol these fanatic buffoons direct at me, their Intel Minister does not even know where I work. He and his vaunted network can’t manage to find out that I have been at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies for two and a half years, which is pretty amazing when you consider that they have obviously been reading Pajamas Media.
So what’s next for the Greens? They were well prepared for the move against Mousavi and Karroubi. How could they have failed to prepare, when for many months the two leaders were provoking the regime to arrest them and put them on public trial? Just a few days ago, Karroubi said he would stand with the people all the way:
We are standing firm in defending people’s rights and we will honor our promise we gave to the people. The government should be be from and for the people. We always have said that it is the people and the people’s vote which should determine their destiny not whatever the rulers say. Government must be based on people’s choice and vote. And in this path that we have chosen we will overcome all hardships and sufferings as they are sweet rather than bitter.
And Mrs. Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, added her own voice, and is sharing the same destiny as her husband. Ironically, Iranian women have been awarded equal rights in the matter of regime brutality.
The Green Movement was never a top-down organization, and there are several groups of leaders prepared to step forward, as we will see in the next few days. The new leaders have already been acting for some time, especially after Mousavi and Karroubi were put under house arrest, and they are now preparing for the next demonstrations this coming Tuesday, and successive Tuesdays.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei long resisted calls to move forcefully against Mousavi and Karroubi, because he feared it would inflame the Iranian masses. Those who urged him to do it are the same people who told him that the Greens had been crushed, and they lied to him in the past ten days, insisting that there really hadn’t been any significant protest (when in reality the country saw the biggest anti-regime demonstrations in a year). He was furious when he discovered they were either totally misinformed, or were deliberately misleading him, and he approved the kidnappings out of a mixture of rage and fear. His passions were undoubtedly further jangled by the hugely embarrassing failure of the country’s vaunted nuclear project at Bushehr, where the whole thing has to be shut down, and the nuclear rods removed.
As everyone else in the Middle East, Khamenei is watching the global insurrection with the full knowledge that the revolt against his regime is a model for the others, and we can expect to see another huge mobilization of his thugs on Tuesday.
We can also expect new tactics from the Greens, including stepped-up sabotage of pipelines, refineries and petrochemical plants, and more strikes (remember that five hundred workers have announced a strike at the Abadan oil refinery).
The attacks on Mousavi and Karroubi prove the gravity of the Iranian crisis and the panic at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic, and we’ll soon know if Khamenei was right to dread the consequences.