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Viewing cable 09RPODUBAI379, IRAN: KHAMENEI SAYS SYSTEM WILL "ACT DECISIVELY" AGAINST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09RPODUBAI379 2009-09-14 13:01 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Iran RPO Dubai
VZCZCXRO4969
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDIR #0379/01 2571344
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 141344Z SEP 09
FM RPO DUBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0531
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHDIR/RPO DUBAI 0532
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 RPO DUBAI 000379 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  9/14/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV IR
SUBJECT: IRAN: KHAMENEI SAYS SYSTEM WILL "ACT DECISIVELY" AGAINST 
OPPONENTS 
 
REF: DUBAI RPO 378 
 
DUBAI 00000379  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Alan Eyre, Director, Iran Regional Presence 
Office, Department of State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
1. (C) SUMMARY: On September 11 Supreme Leader Khamenei gave the 
main Tehran Friday Prayer sermon.  In his comments Khamenei 
sought to characterize his treatment of opposition in line with 
the practices of both the first Shia Imam Ali and also with that 
of his predecessor Ayatollah Khomeini.   He said while criticism 
within the framework of the existing political system was 
acceptable, those fundamentally opposing the system and seeking 
to harm the nation's security will be dealt with decisively.  In 
keeping with previous warnings about the "soft overthrow" of the 
existing order, he cautioned against dissolution from within, 
saying that the only way to prevent this was to remain true to 
religion, revolutionary principles, and to Khomeini's teachings. 
  The recent Presidential election with its massive turnout 
proved to the world that "regardless of whom the people voted 
for" they still believed in the system.  Referring to Iran's 
position on the international stage, Khamenei said Iran took 
pride in standing against the oppressive nature of its enemies 
and that Iran wouldn't be cowed into relinquishing its rights, 
"nuclear or non-nuclear."  He called for a large turnout on the 
September 18 Qods Day march in support of the Palestinian 
people, although warning that this event should not be used to 
"sow dissension," an implied reference to the fact that "Green 
Path" oppositionists are reportedly seeking a massive turn-out 
on this day as a show of strength. 
 
 
 
2. (C) SUMMMARY (CONT): Although Supreme Leader Khamenei 's tone 
was consistently mild, Iranian press and IRPO contacts have 
interpreted this speech as a clear warning to the "Green Path" 
oppositionist leaders to cease and desist, an interpretation 
reinforced by the contemporaneous release of a Judiciary panel 
report stating that Mehdi Karrubi's allegations of prisoner 
abuse were both baseless and also politically motivated, and the 
forwarding of this case to judicial authorities for possible 
prosecution (reftel). END SUMMARY. 
 
 
 
3. (U) On September 11, Supreme Leader Khamenei gave both Tehran 
Friday Prayer Sermons (normally there are two, the first 
covering ostensibly religious topics, the second focusing more 
on issues of the day).  As the date fell on the anniversary of 
the martyrdom of Imam Ali, the first Shia Imam, the topic of his 
first sermon was the government of Imam Ali.  Although 
putatively non-political in nature, Khamenei used this sermon to 
set the stage for themes to which he would refer back in his 
second, political, sermon.  He pointed out the moral nature of 
Imam Ali's government, adding that "when religion is separated 
from politics, politics becomes immoral and secular."  In an 
implicit comparison with current times, he also stressed that 
Imam Ali consistently preferred to be lenient in dealing with 
those who opposed him, until and unless there was a threat to 
the system, at which point he would act decisively. 
 
 
 
TYPES OF CONFLICT 
 
 
 
4. (U) In the start of his second, political speech, Supreme 
Leader Khamenei said he wished to address his remarks to those 
in Iran's political sphere.  Dissension had been a feature of 
the Islamic Republic since its founding.  These conflicts have 
had different causes, to include theoretical differences of 
opinion, conflicts of interest and clashing personalities. 
Referring implicitly to his comments on the management style of 
Imam Ali, Khamenei said that Khomeini's normal method for 
dealing with dissension and conflict was to use moderation and 
leniency.  In an implicit reference to Mir Hossein Mousavi and 
Mehdi Karrubi, each of whom has referred back to his own 
revolutionary credentials, Khamenei said that at times Khomeini 
had to deal with conflicts even with those who had solid 
revolutionary backgrounds, at the level of the Prime Minister 
(i.e. Mousavi himself), President (Khamenei himself) and even at 
levels above the President (a reference to Khomeini's dismissal 
of Supreme Leader-designate Ayatollah Montazeri). 
 
 
 
5. (U) Khamenei said the system didn't seek to stifle those who 
"think differently" (note: 'digar andishan," a term used to 
refer to the intellectual current associated, inter alia, with 
the Khatami-ist 'Second of Khordad' movement).  It was good for 
Iran's officials to have critics point out weaknesses if those 
 
DUBAI 00000379  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
doing so act within and accept the basic principles of the 
system, and the government will not move against such criticism. 
 
 
 
6. (U) However, again drawing the link to Imam Ali, Khamenei 
said that during Khomeini's time if there were danger of 
infiltration of "harmful principles" into the system, and if 
this conflict were in some way a threat to core principles, 
Khomeini would then "act decisively." The regime, much like any 
human being, had to defend itself against such an attack. 
Linking his actions to those of Imam Ali and Khomeini, Khamenei 
said that today also the regime will act if it senses that 
someone is acting against its principles and security. 
 
 
 
AVOIDING CORRUPTION FROM WITHIN 
 
 
 
7. (U) In keeping with recent dominant public warnings about 
"soft overthrow" and "soft wars," Khamenei turned to the theme 
of corruption from within, both at an individual and societal 
level.  At an individual level, deviation from principles and 
susceptibility to corruption were to be avoided at all costs, as 
small slips and mistakes could lead to larger ones in a slow and 
gradual process.  The cure for such threats is self-awareness, 
piety and the ongoing moral policing of friends and family.  If 
such impiety is happening to a government official the problem 
is worse, as it affects society. 
 
 
 
8. (U) At a societal and governmental level, deviation from 
principles and susceptibility to corruption can happen in much 
the same manner.  The decay comes from within, and although on 
the outside the society can still appear like an  "Islamic 
Republic," on the inside it could suffer degradation and decay. 
 In this regard, societal dynamics can either be positive or 
negative.  Positive dynamics means moving ever closer towards 
justice and religion, which improves social, political and 
economic conditions and also improves society's abilities to 
stand up to one's enemies.  But a society with negative dynamics 
will have growing class and social differences and worsening 
political and economic conditions.  Instead of using freedom for 
growth, such a decaying society will abuse freedom to pursue 
corruption, sin and dissension.  Such negative dynamics also 
cause the society to "feel weak and retreat" in the face of 
one's enemy, unilateral disarmament and relinquishing one's 
rights, nuclear and non-nuclear, which is another sign of 
societal decline. 
 
 
 
ELECTION 
 
 
 
9. (U) Supreme Leader Khamenei said the June 12 Presidential 
election with its massive turnout was a glorious triumph for the 
Islamic Revolution.  The turnout demonstrated to the world that 
the Iranian people believed in their system of government now 
more than ever, "regardless of who voted for whom.  After the 
election, the enemy sought to create disturbances in order to 
diminish Iran's achievement and weaken the peoples' confidence 
in the system, but to no effect.  There will be similarly large 
turnout in future elections, Khamenei predicted, showing the 
ongoing support of the people. 
 
 
 
IRAN'S ENEMIES 
 
 
 
10. (U) Supreme Leader Khamenei said all governments have 
enemies, but what is important to note is the nature of one's 
friends and enemies.  Iran's friends are Muslim nations and 
peoples throughout the world, and the oppressed of the world. 
Its enemies are the thieves and oppressors of the world, and 
Iran should not be scared to be the enemies of the U.S. and the 
U.K.  It was important for Iran to show strength in the face of 
such enemies. 
 
 
 
 
DUBAI 00000379  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
QODS DAY 
 
 
 
11. (U) Supreme Leader Khamenei said that many on the global 
stage have tried to bury the issue of Palestine, but Iran has 
prevented that, a fact which has upset "the U.S. and the 
Zionists."  He called for a massive turnout of support on the 
September 18 Qods Day Rally in Tehran, and cautioned all that no 
one should use this event to sow dissension, an implicit 
reference to "Green Path" opposition plans to use this 
authorized march as a show of its own strength. 
 
 
 
12. (C) COMMENT: Although his tone was mild, Iran oppositionist 
press in addition to IRPO interlocutors with ties to the "Green 
Path" opposition have said that, in the words of one source, 
"Khameni's speech was being viewed ominously in Iran," 
especially when viewed in conjunction with the contemporaneous 
release of a Judiciary panel report stating that Mehdi Karrubi's 
allegations of prisoner abuse were both baseless and also 
politically motivated, and forwarding the case to judicial 
authorities for possible prosecution (reftel).  According to one 
executive branch official, Khamenei's speech has made "the 
specter of the arrest of Karrubi - and possibly even Mousavi at 
a later stage" all the more probable. 
 
 
 
13. (C) COMMENT (CONT): Contrary to Khamenei's assertions and as 
evidenced by recent comments by IRGC Commander Jaafari, the 
regime's interpretation of legitimate dissent has constricted 
dramatically, with Jaffari equating "soft overthrow" with those 
seeking to change Iran's behavior in any way.   Certainly, 
Khamenei seems to be trying to regain the high ground he 
forfeited by descending so openly into the political fray, as 
shown by his attempts to draw comparisons among himself, 
Khomeini, and Imam Ali.  Separately, the Supreme Leader's 
formulation of "relinquishing ones rights, nuclear or 
non-nuclear" as a sign of societal dissolution and immorality 
indicates that Iran will continue to adhere to its hard public 
line in advance of any future negotiations.  Finally, it is also 
worth noting that Supreme Leader Khamenei made no endorsement, 
either explicit or implicit, of President Ahmadinejad, saying 
only that the recent Presidential election was good due to the 
turnout, "regardless of who voted for whom."   END COMMENT. 
EYRE