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Rigi’s arrest helped the Iranian regime reconsolidate itself

by Reza Hossein Borr

Mar 9, 2010

Abdul Malik Rigi was arrested and delivered to Iran on 23 Feb 10, at a time when the Islamic Republic was extremely vulnerable and even some people thought that it could have collapsed in the early days of Feb, at the anniversary day of Iranian Islamic Revolution.  A leaked letter indicates that the Iranian National Security Council wrote a letter and ordered the Air Force to prepare several airplanes to fly the supreme leader and several of his top officials and their families to Russia in case the government collapsed under the pressure by the protesters.


Another confidential report about the mass demonstrations of Iranian people in Ashura showed that there were huge demonstrations in four sides of Tehran and if they were able to join each other, there was the risk of the collapse of the regime.  Those who watch the current affairs in Iran understand that the Islamic Republic of Iran   was near threshold of fall at least twice. In such circumstances, the Islamic Republic needed the highest level of help and assistance from its supporters to survive. It was in these dire conditions that those who were interested in sustaining the Islamic Republic of Iran had to support the shaky regime to regain its balance and re-establish itself. 


Iranian regime considered Rigi as its most important enemy who had become strong enough to endanger the government.  The Iranian analysts, who appeared on different Iranian channels, assessed Rigi's capability as a real threat, particularly when they realised that he has become a source of inspiration for the Iranian young men and women.  Rigi began his struggle against the Iranian regime when he was a teenager.  His courage to attack the security forces in their safe places caused immense concern for the Iranian government and immense hope for the Iranian people that the Islamic Republic of Iran was vulnerable. The Iranian regime had succeeded to portray an image of invincibility about itself and therefore, a lot of Iranians had lost hope of being able of overthrowing it.  For this reason, many young people joined the lines of reformists and hoped that one day they can reform this government into a more tolerant regime.


Abdul Malik was able to challenge the invincibility of the regime, defeat the security forces in the urban guerrilla wars, in the mountains of Baluchistan and even in their own headquarters, and break the myth of its invincibility.  When the young Iranian people realised that a teenager could defeat the most ruthless security forces of Iran in all fronts, they become more resourceful and confident in their approach towards the Islamic regime.  The most important message that Abdul Malik was able to pass to the Iranian people was the ideas of courage and unity.  As we witnessed in the demonstrations, the protesters used the slogan, "We are all united; we will not be intimidated."  The Iranian regime ruled through intimidation and once the people were able to create sufficient self-confidence in themselves, they knew that they could challenge the government on the streets of Tehran and that was exactly what happened in the last nine months after the fraudulent presidential elections.


Rigi was able to formulate a very fascinating vision of the future of Iran.  He was also able to cascade his vision very effectively to the people.  Consequently, he attracted a large number of followers all over Iran.  In an interview with the Radio and TV presenter, Saeedi Ghaem Maghami, he expressed his views and said that he was striving for a democratic, secular and federal Iran in which all walks of life, all religious and ethnic groups, all different political parties with various ideologies will be free to enjoy the equality of opportunity and complete freedom.  The presenter opened the lines for the viewers to ask their questions.  One of the viewers accused the presenter of having an interview with a terrorist.  To test the views of the Iranian public, the broadcaster asked the viewers to express their opinions about Abdul Malik and whether they considered him as a terrorist or no.  Twenty people called and 18 of them supported Rigi, admiring him for his courage, intelligence, strategy and successful campaigns.


The public opinions nearly shocked me. I thought that the Iranian people, like me, do not like violence, yet, they not only approved of him but admired him and advised him to make sure that he would not be captured.


This event indicated that public opinions in Iran are in contrast with the official policies of many countries who consider Abdul Malik Rigi as a terrorist.  When Abdul Malik was arrested, different Iranian Internet sites broadcast the news of his arrest and extradition to Iran.  Amazingly 80 percent of the people, who commented on the news, supported Abdul Malik and condemned the Islamic Republic for creating a culture of violence and suppressing the Iranian people and especially religious and ethnic minorities.


Now Abdul Malik Rigi is in prison.  The supporters of Iranian government consider him as a terrorist and the majority of Baluch people, the religious and ethnic minorities and the mainstream society in Iran consider him as a person who rose against a ruthless regime at a time that the Iranian people were forced into submission and a large number of foreign countries were trying to give lip service and conduct business as usual with it.


Those who were involved in the conspiracy of arresting and extraditing Rigi to Iran are interested in helping the Islamic Republic of Iran to reconsolidate its position and authority even though it has ruthlessly crushed the demonstrations of millions of people, raped and executed hundreds of young men and organised the biggest fraudulent election in the history of the world.  The Iranian government is consolidating its authority in Iran and re-asserting itself in international scenes.  Its media claim regularly that the policies and attitudes of many countries towards Iranian regime have changed positively after the arrest of Rigi.

The arrest and extradition of Rigi was against international law and human rights conventions as it was clear that he would be tortured and executed in Iran.  All United Nations conventions declare that a person whose life may be endangered in his native country must not be arrested in a foreign country and extradited to his own country.  Regardless of what Abdul Malik Rigi has done, he should have been treated according to international law.

His arrest will not save the Iranian regime from the Iranian people but increases their will for change and enhances their reliance on themselves. The Iranian people now know their friends and foes and will bear that in their minds for the aftermath of Islamic regime whose end is in sight now.


Reza Hossein Borr is a leadership consultant and a human rights activist.