US embassy cable - 79TEHRAN12130

PM BAZARGAN CRITICIZED

Identifier: 79TEHRAN12130
Wikileaks: View 79TEHRAN12130 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tehran
Created: 1979-09-17 11:40:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINT IR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 171140Z SEP 79
FM AMEMBASSY TEHRAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
INFO SECDEF WASH DC
JCS WASH DC
AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
AMEMBASSY ANKARA
USINT BAGHDAD
AMEMBASSY DOHA
AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
AMEMBASSY JIDDA
AMEMBASSY KABUL
AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
AMEMBASSY MANAMA
AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
AMEMBASSY MUSCAT
AMEMBASSY PARIS
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 01 TEHRAN 12130 
 
Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic 
Review 30 JUN 2006 
 
E.O. 12065: GES 9/17/95 (LIMBERT, JOHN) OR-P 
TAGS: PGOV, PINT, IR 
SUBJECT: PM BAZARGAN CRITICIZED 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: DURING THE PAST FEW DAYS, PM MEHDI BAZARGAN 
HAS BEEN THE TARGET OF CRITICISMS FROM VARIOUS SIDES. HE HAS 
BEEN ACCUSED OF ANTI-CLERICALISM, OF INEFFECTIVENESS, AND OF 
GENERAL BUNGLING. BAZARGAN HAS ANSWERED THESE ATTACKS BY 
CLAIMING THAT THE SAME PERSONS WHO WERE CRITICIZING HIM ARE 
NOT ALLOWING HIS GOVERNMENT TO FUNCTION. DEPSITE THESE 
ATTACKS, IT APPEARS THAT BAZARGAN STILL ENJOYS THE SUPPORT 
OF KHOMEINI AND WILL NOT BE REPLACED IN THE NEAR FUTURE. 
END SUMMARY 
 
2. (C) THE FIRST ATTACK ON BAZARGAN CAME FROM AYATOLLAH DR. 
MOHAMMAD BEHESHTI, VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF EXPERTS, 
MEMBER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL, AND CHAIRMAN OF THE 
CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLICAN PARTY. IN AN 
INTERVIEW WITH PARS NEW AGENCY IN QOM ON SEPTEMBER 14, DR. 
BEHESHTI BLAMED THE GOVERNMENT AND PM BAZARGAN FOR FAILING 
TO IMPLEMENT A BILL ON THE FORMATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS. 
ACCORDING TO BEHESHTI, THE REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL TWO MONTHS 
BEFORE HAD APPROVED A BILL CALLING FOR THE FORMATION OF 
COUNCILS AT PROVINCE, CITY, DISTRICT, AND VILLAGE LEVELS. 
BEHESHTI SAID DR. BAZARGAN'S GOVERNMENT FAILED TO IMPLEMENT 
THIS BILL, EITHER BECAUSE OF DELIBERATE PROCRASTINATION OR 
BECAUSE OF GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE WEAKNESS. (DEPUTY PRIME 
MINISTER BANI-ASSADI TOLD CHARGE SEPT 17 THAT BAZARGAN'S 
OFFICE, IMMEDIATELY AFTER RECEIVING THE REVOLUTIONARY 
COUNCIL'S BILL, HAD SENT A LETTER TO THE COUNCIL TELLING 
THEM THAT THE BILL AS DRAFTED WAS UNREALISTIC BUT THAT THE 
GOVERNMENT WOULD WORK OUT A FEASIBLE BILL ALONG THOSE LINES. 
 
3. (C) LATER THE SAME DAY, THE MONOTHEISM PARY (HEZB-E- 
TOWHIDI) ISSUED A SEVEN-POINT STATEMENT CRITICIZING THE 
BAZARGAN GOVERNMENT FOR NEGLECT AND INDIFFERENCE. LITTLE IS 
KNOWN ABOUT THE HEZB-E-TOWHIDI EXCEPT THAT IT IS AN ISLAMIC 
POLITICAL GROUPING WITH POSSIBLE TIES TO AYATOLLAH SADEQ 
ROWHANI. THE CRITICISMS DIRECTED AT BAZARGAN INCLUDED: 
 
-  (A) GOVERNMENT INDIFFERENCE TO CRITICISMS OF IRAN IN THE 
FOREIGN PRESS, BOTH WESTERN AND NON-ALIGNED. 
 
-  (B) SEEKING POPULARITY BY PLAYING WITH WORDS AND BY 
OPPOSING THE ADVICE OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS. "PERHAPS YOU 
HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT THE IRANIAN ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IS LED BY 
THE CLERGY." 
 
-  (C) DELAY IN IMPLEMENTING THE REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL'S BILL 
ON FORMATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS. 
 
-  (D) NEGLECTING TO FOLLOW AYATOLLAH ROWHANI'S ADVICE ABOUT 
THE NECESSITY OF PURGING THE GOVERNMENT OF ANTI-REVOLUTIONARY 
ELEMENTS. 
 
4. (U) THESE ATTACKS WERE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ATTACK ON 
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 BY REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL AND COUNCIL 
OF EXPERTS MEMBER ABU-AL-HASAN BANI-SADR. SPEAKING TO AN 
AUDIENCE IN YAZD, BANI-SADR ATTACKED BAZARGAN'S ECONOMIC 
POLICIES AND ACCUSED HIM OF HINDERING THE WORK OF THE 
REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL. BANI-SADR ALSO ACCUSED BAZARGAN OF: 
 
-  (A) REFUSING TO ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. 
 
-  (B) BUNGLING IN KURDESTAN AND THEN TRYING TO CLAIM CREDIT 
FOR GOVERNMENT ACTION THERE. 
 
-  (C) OPPOSING THE NATIONALIZATION OF THE BANKS, A FAVORITE 
PROGRAM OF BANI-SADR. 
 
-  (D) BURYING HIMSELF IN TRIVIA AND NOT ORGANIZING HIS WORK 
PROGRAM. 
 
5. (U) IN AN ATTACK APPEARING IN THE ENGLISH AND PERSIAN- 
LANGUAGE PRESS OF SEPTEMBER 16, TEHRAN REVOLUTIONARY 
PROSECUTOR AYATOLLAH AHMAD AZARI-QOMI CRITICIZED BAZARGAN 
FOR ALLEGEDLY ANTI-CLERICAL STATEMENTS IN THE PRIME MINISTER'S 
EULOGY FOR AYATOLLAH TALEGHANI AT TEHRAN UNIVERSITY ON 
SEPTEMBER 11. AZARI-QOMI (WHO ANNOUNCED HIS RESIGNATION FOR 
HEALTH REASONS) SAID THAT BAZARGAN HAD SAID THAT TALEGHANI, 
UNLIKE THE MAJORITY OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS, WAS NOT OPPOSED TO 
THE MANIFESTATIONS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION. ACCUSING BAZARGAN 
 OF WEAKENING REVOLUTIONARY UNITY, AZARI-QOMI SAID, "IT IS 
VERY STRANGE THAT A DISTINGUISHED FIGURE AS MR. BAZARGAN WOULD 
MAKE AN UNFAIR ACCUSATION AGAINST THE CLERGY. WAS IT NOT 
TALEGHANI'S GOAL TO UNITE ALL GROUPS, THE FOREMOST OF WHICH 
WAS A COMMITTED AND ACTIVE CLERGY? HOW CAN HE (BAZARGAN) PRAISE 
TALEGHANI BY STIRRING UP THE PEOPLE AGAINST THE CLERGY AND BY 
CONDEMNING THIS PROGRESSIVE AND ACTIVE GROUP AS REACTIONARY?" 
 
6. (C) LOCAL PRESS ACCOUNTS OF BAZARGAN'S SPEECH DID NOT 
INCLUDE THE STATEMENTS WHICH OFFENDED AZARI-QOMI. EMBASSY WILL 
CHECK FULL TEXT OF SPEECH (WHEN AVAILABLE) TO ESTABLISH EXACTLY 
WHAT PRIME MINISTER SAID. 
 
7. ALTHOUGH THE PRESS HAS BEEN GIVING WIDE PUBLICITY TO THESE 
ATTACKS, BAZARGAN'S REACTION HAS SO FAR BEEN LIMITED TO A 
STATEMENT AT AN ECONOMIC SEMINAR (REPORTED BY ETTELAAT OF 
SEPTEMBER 16) THAT THE SAME (UNNAMED PERSONS WHO WERE 
CRITICIZING HIS GOVERNMENT FOR ITS INEFFECTIVENESS WERE THE 
SAME ONES WHO WERE INTERFERING IN GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND 
PREVENTING HIS CABINET FROM OPERATING.) 
 
8. (C) THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME (NOR WILL IT BE THE LAST 
TIME) THAT BAZARGAN HAS BEEN UNDER ATTACK FROM MEMBERS OF THE 
REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL RELIGIOUS LEADERS, AND THEIR SUPPORTERS. 
ALTHOUGH THE ATTACKS COMING FROM VARIOUS DIRECTIONS AND FROM 
VARIOUS PERSONALITIES, ARE NOT NECESSARILY PART OF ANY CONCERTED 
ANTI-BAZARGAN CAMPAIGN, THERE ARE ENOUGH COMMON THEMESE IN THE 
CRITICISMS TO INDICATE THE COMMON INTERESTS OF HIS OPPONENTS. 
THESE THEMES INCLUDE: 
 
-  (A) IGNORING THE ADVICE OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS. 
 
-  (B) IGNORING THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL. 
 
-  (C) GENERAL INEFFECTIVENESS AND BUNGLING. 
 
9. (C) IT IS WORTH NOTING, HOWEVER, THAT NONE OF THESE ATTACKS 
MENTION AYYATOLLAH KHOMEINI BY NAME AND THAT NONE OF THE 
ATTACKERS NOTE ANY CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR HIM. IN PREVIOUS 
DISAGREEMENTS OF THIS KIND, BAZARGAN HAS HAD ENOUGH SUPPORT 
FROM THE IMAM TO OVERCOME CALLS FOR HIS DISMISSAL. IT IS LIKELY 
THAT AS LONG AS BAZARGAN CONTINUES TO HAVE KHOMEINI'S SUPPORT 
(AND THERE IS NO SIGN OF HIS LOSING IT) HE WILL BE ABLE TO 
SURVIVE SUCH ATTACKS. BAZARGAN'S SURVIVAL, HOWEVER, IS UNLIKELY 
TO MAKE HIS GOVERNMENT ANY MORE EFFECTIVE IN DEALING WITH THOSE 
WHO HAVE ALREADY TAKEN OVER MOST OF HIS FUNCTIONS. 
 
LAINGEN 

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