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Do Iran’s hard-liners really believe ‘velvet revolution’ plot?

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Amid the Iran’s brutal post-election crackdown and mounting evidence that dissidents have been tortured into recanting their political views, Iranian hard-liners’ consistent and vitriolic use of the phrase “velvet revolution” to describe the dissidents’ activities is puzzling.

Though many in the West have written it off as propaganda to distract attention from the discontent of a wide spectrum of Iranians, it appears that a core group of hard-liners is truly paranoid that the West has been orchestrating the overthrow of governments for decades and Iran is the latest target.

Exhibit A: The indictment against roughly 100 journalists, politicians, academics, and clerics accused of treason who are undergoing a mass show trial. The three-page document, recently translated by Evan Siegel on his blog Iran Rises, opens a window onto the world view of the Iranian hard-liners who fear change most.

“The most important point which must be noted concerning a velvet coup is that the theoreticians bought by the West’s spy and intelligence services have developed this method at the orders of their commanders to get World Arrogance out of its practical dead end by overthrowing independent systems or systems which are not in alignment with the West’s hegemony and lust for domination,” explains Iranian prosecutor Abdor-Reza Mojtaba in the indictment.

Dr. Siegel, a fluent Farsi speaker and experienced translator, says that to his mind, the paranoia and conspiracy theorizing on display in the three-page document are in fact the prism through which these men see the world.

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