Unbeneficial for Iranian government to arrest opposition leaders: experts
Azerbaijan, Baku, December 8 / Trend , T.Konyayeva /
It is not beneficial for the current Iranian government to arrest leaders of the reformist camp during the difficult situation in the country, experts say, bringing various reasons.
"The regime [in Iran] does not dare arrest opposition leaders because it is afraid of the inevitable public back lash, which could potentially get out of hand," Shahram Akbarzadeh, Deputy Director of National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, wrote to Trend in an e-mail.
Last Monday, thousands of opposition supporters and students gathered in Tehran and in cities across the country to hold a mass protest timed to disperse anti-US march in 1953, when security forces killed three students. Over recent years, this date was the reason for the demonstrations of the students calling for reforms and respect for human rights.
Since presidential elections in June, it is not the first protest of the opposition, which resulted in the arrest of a large number of supporters of the reformists. However, the leaders of the reformist movement - former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former Speaker of the Parliament Mehdi Karrubi - have not been detained yet.
For the fear of the public back lash, the security forces are putting all sorts of restrictions on Mousavi and Karrubi to curtail their access to the public, but have shied away from putting them under arrest, said Professor Akbarzadeh.
Former presidential candidates Mousavi and Karrubi lost the presidential elections six months ago, but refused to recognize the results. The oppositionists are most popular in the capital, particularly amongst students.
According to Professor Barry Rubin, Director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, it doesn't pay for the authorities to arrest the opposition leaders because they [authorities] would perceive that as making them martyrs and stirring up more upheaval.
"They don't have to arrest them as they can isolate them and persecute their followers," Rubin told Trend via e-mail.
He also added that the confrontation between the government and opposition will continue for many long months, and the regime will stay in power.
"It is ruthless enough to use any amount of force necessary and foreign countries won't help the opposition," said Rubin.
During demonstrations held on Monday, the representatives of the security forces, including the volunteers of Basij Resistance Force, used batons and tear gas to disperse opposition supporters. Earlier they warned that all demonstrations will be considered illegal and will be suppressed by force. According to recent data, the number of arrested demonstrators was more than 200 people.
Akbarzadeh considers that the tension between the opposition and the government is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
"The Green movement is adamant not to succumb to government repression, he said. - But their ability to mobilize mass rallies has been seriously diminished as a result of extensive security measures and the presence of religious militia in potential areas of congregation."
As a result, tensions will continue to simmer, waiting for an opening to erupt again, said Akbarzadeh.
However, the spokesman of the Iranian regime believes that sooner or later relevant measures will be taken with regards to the reformist leaders.
"The judicial authorities of Iran will take measures with regards to the opposition leaders, the vice president of the parliamentary commission for security of Iran Ismail Kosari told Trend by telephone from Tehran. - We believe that they will answer for everything in accordance with the law, because the responsibility for the events falls exactly on them."
According to him, currently there is not such a serious confrontation between the government and opposition that would cause concern, because "after the recent Iranian presidential elections, most people become acquainted with the opposition, began to distance from them."
"However, part of the population still did not recognize the essence of these people, and maliciously or coercionly creates disorder, said Kosari. - Their time shall also pass and the problem will be resolved.
T.Jafarov contributed to the article