(Khordaad88) | March 15, 2010
(Thanks Khordaad88 for providing the full translation of Mousavi’s Speech to the IIPF)

A note from INN: In a bold move, Mousavi names this year the year of fortitude and resistance. In years past the regime’s so-called supreme leader, Khamenei, has named the year. Mousavi is clearly making a witty play on this, while addressing a serious issue and inspiring the green movement to patiently keep up the struggle.

In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful.

I would like to thank you for being present here. We are currently facing an extraordinary situation. It would have made me happy to see our other friends among you as well – friends who are currently in prison, such as Mr. Mirdamadi.

As a political party, you are better informed of the situation that we are currently in. You are [also well] aware of the restrictions and limitations that the Islamic Participation Front faces. In many countries, the activities of [opposition] parties and other groups are welcomed and encouraged since they provides a means for diagnosing national problems and solving them based on collective reasoning.

Political parties and NGOs are the link between the government and the public and they help to alleviate the image of the state as a fearful entity. Additionally, a large number of economic and social activities occur through these units. NGOs and other associations are a benchmark of development and progress in many countries. Even in countries where the rule of law is prevalent, these [social] entities are necessary to carry out various social, political and economic activities and educate the public. [An uneducated], populist society will not experience proper growth.
Similar institutions have existed in our society and they have traceable historical roots. We have a municipal council, which has played an important role in social preservation. For example, one can refer to the texture and structure of a city like Kashan, which consists of diverse districts with similar institutions. These organizations, funded by donation, helped preserve the city and encourage growth. Another example is the existence of various [religious] groups. In a modern society, these institutions have become particularly important and lead to the formation of political organizations.

Our Constitution evidently stresses and concentrates on the right to organize social gatherings and form [social/political] parties and organizations. Some people mistakenly assume that such organizations are gifts awarded to the people by the government. We mistakenly believe that these organizations should be shaped by the government and delivered to the people while this, [in fact], is a social demand and its prevalence results in a healthy society. The government should not ban these activities. If the government did not place such severe pressure on people and allowed them to be politically active and form organizations—without fear of prosecution—then there would be no need to have demonstrations in the streets. Furthermore, if the government did not use such severe violence and trample on people’s rights, then everyone would remain calm and peaceful during those demonstrations. Unfortunately, over the past nine months, the authorities have been extremely violent towards the protesters and have ignored their rights—this has cost the people dearly. They have truly paid a great price in the violence that we have witnessed.

The situation that we face today, along with that of the Islamic Participation Front, are reason enough for an uprising. If the government had attended to the rights and demands of the people, then there would be no need for them to come to the streets and shout hostile slogans. The people are only demanding that their rights be respected and all the aggression of the past nine months has been the result of violence instigated by the government—violence which has caused the people to suffer greatly.

In the demonstrations of June 15, 2009, people were mindful of their slogans as well as their compatriots’ safety. Nonetheless, tragedy happened despite the caution. What must constantly be reiterated is the sheer number of people who showed up to participate that day—that is something we must not forget. On that day, the atmosphere was joyful, organized, and peaceful and none of the slogans were hostile.

Unfortunately, the tragic incident that occurred towards the end, changed what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration into a violent one. However, more attention needs to be paid to the style of that demonstration so that people today (as well as future generations) can learn about the very essence of the Green Movement. What needs to be highlighted is the nature and the source of the Green Movement and perpetually writing articles about June 15th can help us do that. Fortunately, the people have kept the underlying idea and the spirit alive and over the course of the past nine months have given it considerable attention. Despite the bitter events of the last nine months, people have maintained their spirits as they were on day one, and developed the peaceful and civil aspects of the movement. It is true that we have had our ups and downs, but these are necessary features [as they are for any movement] and they should be treated with vigilance. Opponents of the movement have attempted to accuse its leaders and thinkers, like members of the ‘The Islamic Participation Front,’ of collusion with places [and groups] that people dislike. There have been different levels of accusative intensity at different times, but there was [always] pressure. The Islamic of Participation Front has been the target of some of the most extreme pressure, and its members have been falsely charged with immorality, which is an accusation that a nation should not accept. We must not act passively in the face of such insults. We must maintain our balance at every moment that we [are forced to] endure such pressure. I mentioned before, in one of my interviews, that a group used to say that the ‘Constitutional Revolution’ [1] was to the benefit of the British. In that interview, I responded by quoting Akhond Khorasani, who said: “Whatever we do, it will either benefit the British or the Russians. If that is the case, are we just to sit down and do nothing?” The answer is obviously ‘no.’ We must strategize in a way that is right [and to our benefit] and stop getting distracted by such accusations. We must not act as if we are benefiting one, or harming another. We must look to our own [problems] and design our own agendas. We must do what we have to do for ourselves. One function of these allegations is to make us passive and indifferent; the other is to distance us from the people in a way that ruins the trust and optimism they have [placed] in us. We must not be indifferent and passive towards such issues, insults and analysis. Recently, a magazine linked Mr. Khatami and the Participation Front to a [recently-apprehended] terrorist from the south of Iran and to [the president of the United States, Barak] Obama. They have made absurd conclusions, obviously with the purpose of trying to prove that people like Mr. Khatami and members of the Participation Front are rooted to foreign powers.

We must stick with our values and avoid falling into their traps while stressing our core principles and our independence. We should not lose our equilibrium or resort to extremes. We want to shape our foreign relations based on our people’s welfare rather than creating thousands of enemies and losing all of our friends with every single speech. We should not be so adventurous. One of the blessings that the Islamic revolution has brought us is our independence and we must not lose it. Of course, we have issues with the outside world, with the United States and Europe, but our foreign relations should be shaped in a way to ensure our nation’s interests and our national security and to preserve our territorial integrity and to ensure our country’s growth and development. Our foreign policy should not be stressful and risky so that we lose the chance of having trusted friends and companions in hard conditions. We should not lose our state of balance because we are under pressure. The truth is that in the past few years the accusation of being in related to foreigners has been constantly used as a weapon for repressing and back lashing ( withdrawing) people and intellectual forces from social spheres in our country and this should become clear.

We have been informed that those challenging the Green Movement have grossly distorted the truth about post-election events. They have conjured up a fictional tale—one that they themselves are starting to believe in—and perpetuate this tale incessantly. In it, the government constructs a role for each party and public figure in order to put a spin on the truth and present events in a way that they benefit the government, not in the way that they actually occurred.

But, let us [now] explore and expose each dimension of this fictional tale. They have created a false picture of the Green Movement and, of course, they want to use this artificial representation to justify their position as well as the violence directed at the clergy and the pious. In their fictional tale, they claim that reformist parties and groups are affiliated with foreign powers. Propaganda based on this fictional tale was printed on flyers that were distributed during the 22nd of Bahman demonstration on February 11, 2010.

These so-called strategies are conjured up behind closed doors. What we need to do is demonstrate that this movement is in no way affiliated with foreign powers and is completely self-serving. We need to constantly emphasize that this movement has no qualms with religion, is aligned with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, and is trying to rekindle the kind, generous, and just rule of Islam. I will stress that the same aspirations that characterize the Green Movement today were very much present during the fight for the Islamic Revolution (1979) and even earlier than that, during the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1911).

This movement is not against Islam, but arises from the people’s religious views as well as their aversion towards oppression. This movement was born from the Constitution—that grand legacy, which many of our countrymen have sacrificed their lives for.

The Constitution is a interconnected collection of articles that provide a [coherent] meaning if understood together. People have voted for all of these articles. Therefore we should implement all of it together. We should not take advantage of certain section and ignore others. Doing this is against the will of people who voted for the Constitution as whole and will incur significant damage. To keep a official party from holding a convention is against the constitution and is harmful. In this situation , we should not confine ourselves strictly to [the opinions] of the elite. We should move beyond this and pay attention to other leading and influential groups. We should reach out to teachers, laborers, and all others; we should discuss the current issues with them. If we desire the expansion of this righteous movement, we should reach out to all [social] classes. Another important point is paying attention to the religious feelings of people. We are all religious, but being religious is not enough. The strong propaganda they’ve been promoting in society has made some doubtful. Sometimes when I interact with religious clerical figures who know me very well, they assume that behind the scenes, something has greatly changed and that I’ve greatly changed. So I have to talk to them and calmly explain. We must open people’s eyes to the to the lies and propaganda.

Relationship with the clergymen must be expanded and strengthened, at least with those who are ready for this relationship. We must familiarize them with the goals of the movement. Some of the clergymen have come in contact with the movement through the street demonstrations, but nevertheless, they must become more familiar with it. This can nullify the fictional tales told of the Green Movement by the administration. These tales might be believed by those who don’t have access to different sources of information. If the movement is to go on, it must publicize its goals in all sects and groups in the society and in different cities. Economic issues must be explained for the people. It must be elucidated that in order to address economic issues and social problems such as the high divorce rate, we must return to the constitution and uphold its principles. People must feel this. They should not think that the Green Movement is only an angry reaction towards a cheated election. We must marry the Green Movement goals with the aspirations of an advanced and prosperous Iran.

In the coming year we must be patient and show endurance. Though absence of friends such as Mr. Mirdamadi is taxing, their presence in the administration’s prison has had a noteworthy consequence. I believe that imprisonment is no longer an effective tool to fight the Green Movement. I have prayed on many occasions in the past eight to nine months for the administration to free the political prisoners and remove the restrictions on the press, but my preyers went unanswered. Surely people would not refer to the foreign media nearly as much if we didn’t have so many restrictions on our press and media.

If they [the country’s officials] are wise, they will know that the solution to the country’s problems is not through turning society into a military camp, the solution is in lawful freedom. If they hadn’t shut down the newspapers, if they hadn’t created such limitations, if they had left the environment just the smallest bit open for criticism, people would have left the streets empty. If they had given these minimum freedoms, the government and parliament and the overall ruling establishment would have been stronger. Of course, these freedoms create limitations for those in power, but this benefits the country and the ruling establishment, the ruling system will be stronger both in national and international spheres. It is very sad that the judiciary which was supposed to be independent, and free of outside influence, is now in a condition where the ministry of intelligence and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards] dictate who to arrest, who to let go, what verdicts to give … In the early days of the revolution, the High Judicial Council was formed so that no one could order the judiciary around, and unfortunately, this situation changed. It’s not that we don’t have compassionate judges, and in fact, those very compassionate and noble judges feel this oppression more, and suffer as a result. There are many compassionate, noble judges in the judiciary, but that’s not how it looks from the outside. I just hope that there is a turn in the direction the current ruling elite are taking the Islamic Republic. And I hope that in the system, there is a turn towards honoring the constitution in running the country’s affairs, and a free environment is created so that in its shadow, the country’s problems and crises can be resolved.

In regards to the future, I feel that the movement that has begun is irreversible. We will never again return to the conditions that were a year ago. We have to value these change in ideas. I am very hopeful for the future, we must persuade people towards hope and patience, patience meaning faith. This movement wants nothing for itself, it wants freedom and prosperity and progress and better days for people and it will surely achieve these aims. The move after the election, and the election itself made the people aware of their rights, we must invite people to patience and perseverance. We must name and know the coming year as the year of patience and perseverance. A year of perseverance for the green movement to reach its aims.

[1] Took place between 1905 and 1911 and lead to the establishment of a parliament