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Viewing cable 09LONDON1423, IRAN ELECTION: XXXXXXXXXXXX CLAIMS MOJTABA IS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09LONDON1423 2009-06-16 15:03 2011-02-15 12:12 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy London
O 161555Z JUN 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2632
INFO IRAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T LONDON 001423 
 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2019 
TAGS: IR PGOV PHUM PREL PTER ECON UK
SUBJECT: IRAN ELECTION: XXXXXXXXXXXX CLAIMS MOJTABA IS 
BEHIND VOTE FRAUD 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Rick Mills for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

1. (S/NF) Summary: XXXXXXXXXXXX and former XXXXXXXXXXXX claims that Mojtaba Khamenei, acting in concert with IRGC Jafari and other officials in the Supreme Leader's office, has been a major force behind vote manipulation, and current measures to repress pro-Moussavi demonstrations in the street, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX.  XXXXXXXXXXXX further reported that Moussavi and Rafsanjani, are beginning to fear being caught in a situation where they must because of the democratic logic and principles espoused by their supporters, make maximalist demands on the regime, but in so doing may undermine the legitimacy of a form of government of which they themselves are founders and major beneficiaries.  End Summary.  

XXXXXXXXXXXX the Key Source ------------------------- 

2. (S/NF) Prior to Iran's June 12 election, XXXXXXXXXXXX told London Iran Watcher (Poloff) of two lengthy one-on-one meetings XXXXXXXXXXXX reportedly held with Khamenei, on June 4 and9. Media widely reported the second meeting, at the conclusion of which Rafsanjani had declared a positive outcome to his discussions with the Supreme Leader on election transparency and non-interference.  XXXXXXXXXXXX told Poloff his source, ahead of the press reports, for details of these meetings had been "senior advisors" to Rafsanjani and the Moussavi and Karroubi campaigns.  In conversations June 14-16 XXXXXXXXXXXX elaborated to Poloff that his sources included candidate XXXXXXXXXXXX, XXXXXXXXXXXX, and former XXXXXXXXXXXX, with whom XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed to have met in XXXXXXXXXXXX in person in XXXXXXXXXXXX and with whom he claims to speak by phone "more than ten" times per day.  

Alleged Backroom Discussions Between XXXXXXXXXXXX and Khamenei's Office ----------------------------- 

3. (S/NF)  XXXXXXXXXXXX's incremental verbal reports to Poloff cite XXXXXXXXXXXX as his principal source on efforts by Rafsanjani and XXXXXXXXXXXX to enlist the support of senior clergy in Qom in opposing the election results and on complex, behind the scenes talks the Moussavi camp is allegedly holding with the Supreme Leader's office. Karroubi, though apparently not Rezai, is a party to such talks.  

Logic of Election Protests Dictates Maximalist Demands by Moussavi ----------------------------------- 

4. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX claims that on June 14 and again on June 15 (unspecified) Supreme Leader representatives had offered the XXXXXXXXXXXX, in which XXXXXXXXXXXX says Rafsanjani is "of course" included, the right to pick "half the cabinet" (ministries unspecified), an offer XXXXXXXXXXXX said XXXXXXXXXXXX  had rejected out of hand as inadequate and politically untenable in any case.  XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that anything short of a complete change of the election result would cause both XXXXXXXXXXXX to lose all credibility with their currently impassioned supporters.  XXXXXXXXXXXX argued that a maximalist demand, for nullification of Ahmedinejad's victory and a two-candidate runoff between Moussavi and Ahmedinejad, is the only politically viable position or goal the Moussavi camp can espouse.  

"Debates Were a Mistake" ------------------------ 

5. (S/NF) Early on June 16 XXXXXXXXXXXX said the Moussavi opposition leaders were distressed by the fatalities of the evening before but were determined to press their case through expanded street demonstrations today.  The Moussavi camp reportedly was nervous, for the first time, telling XXXXXXXXXXXX it is concerned over what it may have started, and that holding the TV debates "may have been a mistake" given the alienation produced within Iran.  

Moussavi Advisors' Claims about Mojtaba -------------------- 

6. (S/NF) Asked by Poloff to reconstruct what personalities and forces lay behind the apparent regime attempt to grossly manipulate the election -- XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed that XXXXXXXXXXXX believe the entire affair represents a power grab by Mojtaba Khamenei, with tactical and logistical planning for the move going back six months or more.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said he had no direct proof himself of Mojtaba's role but that XXXXXXXXXXXX believes Mojtaba's principal allies to be IRGC commander Jafari and Basij commander Hossain Taeb.  XXXXXXXXXXXX commented that Qalibaf had long been a focus of Mojtaba's support and aspirations but that Qalibaf had, by his own repeated comparisons of his own potential to the late strongman Reza Khan (Reza Pahlavi's father), irretrievably alienated Supreme Leader Khamenei. 

7. (S/NF) XXXXXXXXXXXX further alleged that, according to XXXXXXXXXXXX, Supreme Leader Khamenei had begun personally to weaken under the tremendous pressure of events in recent months, and that his general medical condition XXXXXXXXXXXX have contributed to a stronger behind-the-throne position for Mojtaba and his IRGC allies.  XXXXXXXXXXXX claimed the publicly released photos of Khamenei and Mojtaba's recent  visit to Sanandoj were the first public photos of the two  together and for that reason quite significant.  XXXXXXXXXXXX said his interlocutors indicate that Mojtaba is far less risk-averse than his father.  He also opined it is highly unlikely the Supreme Leader on his own would have risked alienating so many other major figures among regime founders, but that Ahmedinejad is attractive to Mojtaba as an executive whom Mojtaba reportedly believes he and his key allies can control much more easily than elder statesmen such as Rafsanjani or Moussavi.  

Energy Levels High As Expats Sweat for Moussavi ------------------------- 

8. (SBU) The feverish atmosphere in XXXXXXXXXXXX's London office XXXXXXXXXXXX was that of a political campaign office late on election night.  The lightly-orchestrated chaos included XXXXXXXXXXXX rushing between simultaneous meetings in different rooms and on different phone lines with callers and delegations from Arabic, Farsi, and U.S. media and activists while his small staff monitored Iran video and websites and fielded a deluge of phone calls from Iran and elsewhere.  Poloff was able for the most part to stay out of sight.  By way of flagging his own role in shaping public opinion in Iran and various Arab countries, XXXXXXXXXXXX listed for Poloff the Arab, French, UK and U.S. media for whom XXXXXXXXXXXX said he has been doing XXXXXXXXXXXX daily for the past week in addition to his usual XXXXXXXXXXXX-- XXXXXXXXXXXX. 

Comment ------- 

9. (S/NF) The backroom charges against Mojtaba, while not implausible in themselves, and though they do echo claims made by Karroubi about Mojtaba after the 2005 elections, provide exactly the narrative that an aggrieved candidate, protesting his own loyalty but seeking major redress, would want to have available if needed.   It is also noteworthy that XXXXXXXXXXXX in his report and analysis of current behind the scenes discussions makes no clear distinction between Moussavi and Rafsanjani as actors or parties of interest. 10. (S/NF) Additionally, XXXXXXXXXXXX reports to Poloff, on the Moussavi/Rafsanjani response to events, emphasized efforts to generate support from the Qom clergy, efforts which appear partially but not dramatically successful to date.   The main focus among XXXXXXXXXXXX's interlocutors has shifted noticeably since the weekend, away from XXXXXXXXXXXX and to the street, where  new "facts on the ground" may soon be established either by the collective action by urban Iranians, or by the brutality of the regime's response. 

11. (S/NF) In the same vein, XXXXXXXXXXXX noted to Poloff the Moussavi camp is beginning to fear that popular feeling against electoral fraud and the abuses that spawned it may have grown beyond their own limited electoral aims, to the point where popular support for the Islamic Republic itself may be at risk; this would be a development well beyond the aims of these leading 1979 revolutionaries, and founders of that republic.  It is at the same time not at all implausible that XXXXXXXXXXXX, an anti-Shah activist in his youth but now no friend to the Islamic Republic, may be exaggerating or distorting the apprehensions of Moussavi's advisors for Poloff's benefit, whether due to cynical manipulation or his own wishful thinking.   

Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX LeBaron