(The Newest Deal) | February 26

In his 17th statement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi made five specific points that he deemed necessary to start the political (and national) reconciliation process. The proposal lead to a noticeable uptick in talk about the need for national “unity”in the weeks leading up to 22 Bahman, and also garnered much attention from Iranian intellectuals and dissidents alike. Ultimately, the regime’s more radical elements reemerged and silenced the chatter before the security apparatus prevented a strong opposition showing on the revolution’s 31st anniversary. But Mousavi’s “five points,” as they have come to be called, still carry much weight. Generally, they are:

1. Government accountability for post-election violations
2. Legislation of new election laws that would safeguard reform-minded candidates from regime’s current vetting process
3. Release of all political prisoners
4. Freedom of the press and a more objective IRIB and other state-run media
5. Freedom of assembly, as guaranteed by the Islamic Republic’s constitution

Were these five conditions to be met, the Green movement would arguably have the breathing room it needs to mobilize and begin the long process of transforming Iranian society. For if anything became apparent in the weeks leading up to and after the June election, it is that Iran has undergone an awakening. The repression that the above five grievances capture has simply prevented the social movement’s aspirations from coming to fruition.

Therefore, perhaps an alternative frame can be adopted to view Mousavi’s five points. As a recent Tehran Bureau profile wonderfully captures, the reluctant leader of Iran’s opposition has matured into a rather shrewd, cautious, and patient figure since the late 1970s. Behind the caution, however, Mousavi likely recognizes that the regime has reached a point of no return, and is only prevented from fully voicing such a sentiment publicly by current circumstances. The tyranny, the executions, the outright fascism — all of it is, to quote Mousavi himself from an interview on the eve of 22 Bahman, an outgrowth of the “revolution’s failures” and the “roots of tyranny and dictatorship” that persist from the reign of the Shah. These are damning (and yet still very measured) words from one of the Islamic Republic’s own founding fathers.

Thus, seeing the regime in this light gives Mousavi’s five points new significance. The demands may not only be five steps that the regime must take in order to rescue the country from its current crisis, but moreover, five blatant and particularly egregious shortcomings that the regime will likely be unwilling to address, thus inevitably escalating the conflict between the Greens and the regime.

Read the full piece in The Newest Deal