TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian opposition champion Mir Hossein Mousavi has hit back at accusations by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that he was siding with Tehran’s foes, charging that it was the regime that was playing into their hands.
Mousavi, once a pillar of the regime but now one of its most bitter critics, said that the damage wrought on the economy and society by the “cult” government of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was what was helping Iran’s enemies.
“It should be asked who has presented a golden opportunity to US, Israel, the hypocrites and the monarchists with all these destructive, non-transparent and misleading policies?,” the former prime minister said in a statement posted on his Kaleme.com website late on Saturday.
“Is it those who seek freedom and justice or dubious cults which have devastated the lives of labourers, teachers and farmers?” he asked.
The new war of words between the regime and the opposition sharpened political divisions in the run-up to threatened street protests to mark the first anniversary on June 12 of Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.
Khamenei, whose intervention was decisive in giving the hardline incumbent a new four-year term, had used a keynote address marking the 21st anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to accuse the opposition of giving succour to the revolution’s foes at home and abroad.
“One cannot accept a person who claims to be a follower of Imam (Khomeini), while the US, Britain, the CIA, the Mossad, the monarchists and the hypocrites support him,” he said in Friday’s speech.
The hypocrites is the regime’s standard term of abuse for the rebel People’s Mujahedeen, which alongside supporters of the Western-backed shah overthrown in the 1979 revolution, is its most loathed domestic enemy.
Regime leaders frequently blame internal dissent on the machinations of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Israel’s Mossad spy service or agents of Britain.