Mansoor Hekmat 2001

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Next Moderate Mullah Emerges

Translated: by Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya;
First published: in Persian in “International Weekly” No. 42 dated February 23, 2001

Regrettably, some of us are old enough to remember the theatricals of the so-called opposition currents in support of Khomeini and the Pasdaran by the Tudeh Party and the Fedaian Majority as well as the clamouring over ‘President Banisadr’ by the likes of Ranjbaran Party and nationalist-Maoist currents. As factional fighting within the government intensified and with Banisadr’s exit, some were reluctantly forced into the opposition, whilst others, despite their allegiance and service, were flung into the opposition from the fringes of government. Thus began a painful period for the regime’s collaborators. It was a period in which they were ostracised for cooperating with the Islamic regime, of ‘self-criticism’, ‘revisionism and censure’ and efforts to revamp their oppositional track record. Most importantly, it was a period of anticipation for their re-emergence as a significant force within the state and for the discovery of a ‘moderate Mullah’ in the Islamic regime.

‘President Rafsanjani’s’ appearance changed the scene once again. By this time, we were faced with the fall of the Eastern bloc and the victory of Reaganism; thus, from the organisational ruins of the pro-government opposition, currents of newly turned ‘democrats’ and ‘independent’ ‘writers’, ‘journalists’, ‘analysts’ and ‘intellectuals’ crept out of the woodworks. They buried their ideologies, slogans, and party and group affiliations and registered at universities abroad. Once again, they headed the move to assist and collaborate with the regime under the guise of the opposition. ‘President Rafsanjani’ became their Mecca overnight. The BBC, Radio France and various media and associations began their propaganda. Anti-communism, especially in the right-wing atmosphere of those days, heightened. They congregated around Rafsanjani in the same reprehensible manner in which they have attacked communism and progressives under Khatami’s portrait these past few years. At the time, they were meant to return to Iran shortly. They said Islam had modernised. Society had become ‘civil’. Regrettably, some of us are old enough to remember those days.

However, Rafsanjani did not take anyone back to Iran. Numerous assassinations abroad and finally Mykonos closed Rafsanjani’s file. Despair took hold of this lot; they quietly left the scene.

Then Khatami emerged. Memories jolted. Once again, the farce began; the actors included Farsi radio commentators in the West, nationalist-Islamic intellectuals and 2nd Khordad associations. The stench remaining from this period is still fresh. Then, at the height of victory, came defeat. With Khamenei’s verdict and parliament’s acquiescence, the Khatami project was terminated. Once again, their movement was crushed. No one knows where the scores of 2nd Khordad experts disappeared. Despair has taken hold of their camp again.

For once, let us be the ones who give hope to this miserable lot. Rise up! There are still a few months left for your buffoonery. Look at Tehran. The religious new-thinkers’ and Taha Hashemi’s backing are more solid than Khatami’s; their turbans’ are placed as far back as his. Rise! Call each other on the phone: call them: arrange a conference: form an association. Attack us; show contempt for the people; support Islam and set up shop.