“Hypocrites” and forced confessions in Iran

04 September 2009

Forced confessions are a particularly perfidious method of oppressing dissent. The power monopolists in Iran are now even calling those loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution "monafeqin" or "hypocrites". The regime's ideologists decide on who is a "true" Moslem and who is not.


According to the newspaper Kayhan, a "velvet revolution" is not possible in the Islamic Republic. Such an idea can only be dead at birth, said a leading article on 3 September 2009 in the publication that serves as a mouthpiece to the Iranian Revolutionary Leader Ali Khamenei.

The article emphasises that those imprisoned and those who have made "statements" should be punished "justly" or released. Contacts with foreign countries can prove fatal. The imprisoned Reformist intellectual Said Hajjarian is accused of contacts to the Soros Foundation.

Denunciation of Political Delegations

Another article that appeared in Farsnews on 25 August 2009quotes Mohammad Ali Abtahi.He is said to have made a "statement" saying that he encountered "genuine difficulties" when writing the protocol for an Iranian parliamentarian group visiting Germany. The then Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Asisi is said to have reported that some of the Iranian parliamentarians "spoke in a very degrading way about the state's rulers and about the Leader" during the trip. Some members of the Iranian delegation led by Mohssen Mirdamadi had made very negative remarks about the electoral and nomination systems in Iran.Mirdamadi has been in prison since 13 June 2009.

The forced statements in Iran are taking on dimensions that Stalin could only have dreamed of. Abtahi and Atrianfar were interviewed wearing prison uniforms by Iranian IRIB state television,evidently in the prison compound.Both attested that they had not fared badly in prison. Abtahi insisted that he was even able to talk to his very understanding prison warder and that the other prisoners did not dare to speak openly. Atrianfar said that, since Abtahi and he both belonged to the Islamic state's political sphere, they were similar to the security officers in the prison, which meant that they understood each other.

Atrianfar insists that he has changed. Abtahi maintains that he has gained new insight while in prison. Before the camera Atrianfar and Abtahi regret having made mistakes in the past. During the interview Atrianfar directly addresses Mr Mohajerani, the former Minister for Culture and Islamic Guidance under Khatami's government, now in exile in the USA. Atrianfar says that Mr Mohajerani would surely understand him if he were in his chair before the camera in prison. Abtahi was asked politely by the interviewer whether he had been given intoxicating drugs while in prison. Abtahi denied having taken such medication. Due to the beginning of the Moslem fasting period Abtahi was permitted to return home for one evening in order to break the fasting with his family. Abtahi and Atrianfar are still in prison. The regime both punishes and rewards prisoners who give forced statements in the name of Islam.

General Jafari Sees Prospects of Abtahi's Release

General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Supreme Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, continues to see a danger of a "velvet revolution" in the fourth decade after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The events following the presidential elections cannot merely be mistaken for "political rivalry", the general says. Today there is no longer any question of the kind of regime change once anticipated by the USA. The Western enemy now wants to see a "change in the behaviour of the Islamic Republic". Some prisoners are said to have admitted during their confessions that the "main aim of the protests was to weaken the Leader's position. The general then quotes from the "confessions" made by Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who will probably be released soon. The Reformists are "antireligious", he said. Furthermore, there was a clear intention to lead young people astray and make them indifferent towards religious values, to "abolish religious and revolutionary perspectives". The general also claims that Abtahi freely admitted that the "Reformists" intended to put up fewer pictures of Khomeini and Khamenei at their rallies. He repeatedly quotes Abtahi, who he claims stated that "especially with regard to foreign policy the Reformists lacked identity" and were spreading "Western beliefs". The Reformists are prepared to a "implement the West's oppressive demands", he added.

General Jafari, who is also a member of the Superior National Security Council, referred to a speech by the Revolutionary Leader Ali Khamenei, who is said to have referred to the protests as a "deep conspiracy." General Jafari warns that the "shape of threats has changed". The threats are "no longer military" but should still "be taken very seriously."

The Western threats that the general is talking about can be understood as a synonym for the demands for freedom made by many of the Iranians who took part in the peaceful demonstrations.

Who Is a "hypocrite"?

Reza Sarraj is now in charge of the Iranian Student Bassiji Organisation. Some former students now living in the USA, such as Ali Afshari, remember him from the time they spent in Iranian prisons. Sarraj is said to have borne the codename "Alawi" and distinguished himself through his violent interrogation methods. He now writes political analyses for various Iranian newspapers and warns of "monafeqins", or "hypocrites." He is not only referring to the militant People's Mujahedin but to anyone opposing the Khomeinist power monopolists.

In a notable article that appeared on 11 August 2009 in Farsnews, Sarraj used speeches made by Ayatollah Khamenei as a basis to declarewho is among the "hypocrites", whose ultimate goal is to overthrow the Islamic state in Iran.

In order to lend some religious legitimacy to his account, Sarraj goes far back in Islam's history, identifying from the offset the existence of "hypocrites" who have fought against Islam. He backs up his arguments with official published speeches by Revolutionary Leader Ali Khamenei, who separated the "monafeqin" into three categories. Khamenei also used the history of Islam to endorse his claims.

"Hypocrites" Influenced by Jews

The first category of "heretics" lived in Medina when Mohammad was alive, Khamenei points out. Iran's Revolutionary Leader is of the opinion that there were people living in Medina when the Prophet of Islam was alive who either did not become Moslems or who only accepted Islam "emotionally" and were ultimately not true Moslems. Ayatollah Khamenei attributes the "weak faith" of some Moslems living in Medina to their "deep links to Jews, which did not allow them to consolidate their faith". This group of people never actually accepted their belief in Islam but were too "fearful to admit this", he says, adding that no one in Medina had the "courage to express their lack of faith."

Currently, people who can be ascribed to this category "are secretly forging contacts to Americans and spying for them." They are waiting for a regime change, the theory goes. Back in Medina Moslems of this nature were defined just the Islamic Republic defines them today: as the "fifth pillar of the enemy."

"Hypocrites" Who Lie to Themselves

Ayatollah Khamenei sees the second category of "heretics" as consisting of people who might well be Moslem and sometimes even appear as "friends", Sarraj writes. Yet they constantly lie to themselves and disobey God. According to Iran's state ideology, this category includes Moslems who institute a "religious front" within Islam. Even the Koran warns of this "very dangerous appearance" and distinguishes between "genuine and false devout Moslems". The "false devout" Moslems are influenced by power, politics and wealth. They are "cunning" and "greedy", constantly doubt their faith and do not want to submit to the rule of Islam.

People of this category oppose the "Welayate Faqih", he continues; they describe absolute rule by the clergy as "rule by the Taliban", as "fascist", as "dictatorial." Yes, Moslems of this nature would rank among the enemies. The utmost of all enemies of the Islamic Republic is the USA. The "Leader" Ali Khamenei has left the "door of scrutiny" open to these people. Those who have merely become "neglectful" will have the opportunity to better themselves, but those who are "hostile" would be considered "monafeqin", as "hypocrites". Moslems should therefore be given the opportunity in "calm and serenity" to make their choice.

"Warlike hypocrites"

The third category of "monafeqins" comprises a type of Moslem that also existed in Mohammad's lifetime. They are designated as "warlike" or "militant hypocrites." In Mohammad's day some Moslems are said to have lost their faith and declared war upon the Prophet. Today the People's Mujahedin of Iran is considered to be among this group of "warlike hypocrites".

Crimes against Humanity

Payam Akhavan, Canadian Professor of International Law who teaches at McGill University, describes the crushing of the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran and the torture, rape and murder that takes place in Iran's prisons as crimes against humanity. In an article that appeared on 2 September 2009 in the National Post he asks how Canada and the international community should respond to gross human rights violations committed by such a regime. He calls on governments of Western democracies to ban officials of the Iranian regime from entering their countries. Akhavan speaks of a "moral imperative" that calls for solidarity with Iranian civil society. While the United Nations Security Council has placed travel restrictions upon circles of people working for the Iranian nuclear programme, people responsible for gross human rights violations are still able to travel unrestricted. Akhavan says that human rights must become the "fundamental basis" for any improved relations between Western democracies and Iran.