Omid Memarian

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rabbits Can Still Turn into Bears

Iranian Minister of Intelligence recently said that Ramin Jahanbegloo has been arrested because he has collaborated with US efforts to initiate a soft and velvet revolution in Iran. His statements were not new but intensified concerns for him.

All Iranian dissidents have faced similar accusations in the past. The Islamic Republic’s intelligence officials are true examples of the belief that "if one is not with us, he is with the enemy." While all states do have friends and enemies within the international community of states which is the result of conflicting national interests around the world, it is the weakness of Iran’s intelligence and security apparatus not be able to differentiate true enemies with those who simply have a different point of view regarding political and other issues.

It is the weakness of the security system when it imprisons and confines the best and brightest of Iranians in its notorious prisons under different pretexts: an act that transforms the optimism of its victims into pessimism in a way that even its enemies could not accomplish.

Instead of adjusting its views and perspectives on domestic political and social forces, and international players, thus benefiting from the opportunities that are available to it because of different views around the world, the intelligence apparatus of the Islamic regime is so lame that is pushes its mere critics to the point of hopelessness. The intelligence system only displays its weakness when it denies prisoners the right to be represented by defense lawyers simply because it wants to gather information, which turns out to be absolutely useless because of the methods it uses to obtain it.

It is now many years that the security apparatus has confused reality with imagination and fears. And because of this, its officials misunderstand their own position and strengths, as they do that of other international players. The unplanned arrests that they make in the hope of finding some leads, is a sign of their ineffectiveness.

It wasn't long ago when Ukraine and Georgia's political structure went through velvet revolutions. Iran's dissidents however have been accused of having relations with foreigners to overthrow the Islamic regime. Some have been forced to spend years in prisons without even being charged with anything. Many of these victims were eventually but quietly released, but nobody seems to ask who is going to pay the high price of hard-liner's security delusions that have accused the most innocent individuals of the society.

Three years ago, Iran's powerful intelligence agents arrested an Iranian American who taught at UCLA at Berkley. No one knows how Mesbah Yazdi gained access to information in his file but he did claim that the person came to Iran with a suitcase containing $5 million in cash which he planned to distribute among reformers and dissidents. After four months in solitary confinement and interrogations, the Berkley professor was released on bail without any hue and cry.
Why do intelligence and prison officials so vehemently insist to the point of threats that after their release, prisoners should not talk about their detentions?

It would be useful if the minister of intelligence reviewed the files of other prisoners whose cases look similar to that of Jahanbegloo’s. If he read their complete files he would perhaps learn how security agents actually create enemies for the country. Perhaps he may then allow Iranians to be the judge of his ministry's performance. Mr. Minister, you hold the responsibility for a system that reminds one of the story of a rabbit that confessed to being a bear under pressures of confessions. A story that doesn't seem to have an end.

(Publisheh on Rooz online daily)


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