Saturday, August 20, 2005

Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online

Michael Ledeen on Iran on National Review Online

Iranian President Ahmadi Nezhad has been busy putting together a cabinet for the Islamic republic, and while all real power remains firmly in the clammy hands of Supreme Leader Khamenei, it's worth taking a look at some of the new ministers, if only because it tells us two important things: (1) The face the regime wishes to show to the world at large, and (2) the policies the regime intends to unleash on the long-suffering Iranian people.

Who's Who
Let's start with the interior minister, Hojatoll-Islam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi. He was formerly the number-two man in the ministry of intelligence and security — where he was directly in charge of the foreign section (and thus the sorts of foreign operations now running full bore in Iraq and Afghanistan) — and, even more significantly, the man in charge of those matters in the office of the supreme leader.

Pour-Mohammadi comes from a sartorially celebrated family; his father and brother are tailors for leading clergy. Indeed, they prepared the raiments for both bin Laden and Zawahiri in their recent videos, in which their clothing was distinctively Iranian.

The minister for intelligence and security is Hojjatol-Islam Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ezhei, from Isfahan, where he acquired a reputation as a particularly vicious and barbaric head of the Islamic tribunals which regularly issued brutal sentences. He has been special prosecutor in the intelligence ministry, where he was also in charge of key personnel decisions, and at present he is judge and prosecutor for the special tribunal of the clergy.[...]

The foreign minister is Manoucher Mottaki, whose long diplomatic career (he has been ambassador to both Japan and Turkey, and deputy foreign minister) has included the sensitive role as liaison between the foreign ministry and the revolutionary guards. While he was ambassador to Ankara, numerous Iranian dissidents were murdered and others kidnapped.

And then there is the defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, another brigadier general in the revolutionary Guards, where he has been since its official formation in 1979. As several commentators have pointed out, he was the commander of the RG forces in Lebanon in 1983, when the Marine barracks were blown up by the Guards and Hezbollah. So we owe him one.

The mullahs have torn off their conciliatory mask in order to bare their fangs to us, the Europeans, and the Iranian people. If we had an Iran strategy worthy of the name, our confused leaders would have pointed out the remarkable interview with the chief nuclear affairs negotiator, Hossein Musavian. It was broadcast on Iranian television August 4th, and made it quite clear that the Iranians deliberately tricked the Europeans into giving the mullahs an extra year to complete a vital part of their nuclear program in Isfahan.

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