Today, Mousavi -- a stalwart of Khomeini's revolution and prime minister through the Iran_Iaq War -- has developed this "faithful reformer" stance into a coherent strategy of resistance, almost Gandhiesque in its (misplaced?) faith that he and his followers are dealing with an adversary capable of being shamed into doing the right thing, and somewhat Obamaesque in calling for restraint from both sides of a conflict.
In a June 14 letter to compatriots, Mousavi first of all refers to the Islamic Republic in the past tense, clearly defining the election's theft as the end of the Republic and the beginning of a new dictorial regime:
Dear compatriots, I have received numerous reports of unrest and clashes from all over the country. I’m confident these (protests) are not because of my person but due to a growing concern for a new way of political hegemony which is being forced upon us. The events that we all have witnessed in the past days were unprecedented in the Islamic Republic. The reason for the fearful concern of the people is due to the extreme sense of danger for the great achievements of the (Islamic) Revolution. Those who after massive cheatings have declared these unbelievable results for the presidential elections are now out to establish these results as undisputed facts and start a new chapter in the history of our country.Next, more remarkably, Mousavi serially warns those currently in power that the people will not accept a new dictatorship, takes for himself and his supporters the mantle of protectors of the rule of law as established by the Islamic Republic, pledges to work himself within legal channels to have the election results nullified, and calls on his supporters to find peaceful means of resistance:
We respect and abide by the constitution and the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran and regard our supreme leader as one of the important bases of our regime and (thus) will peruse our political struggle within the structure of the law. We hope that the future events prove the falsehood of our fears (of dictatorship and tyranny), but never the less, we warn that no one who cares and supports the Islamic Revolution (of 1979) will tolerate this (rigging the election), this is after all our national responsibility and patriotic duty that we owe to the thousands who sacrificed their lives for this country. Dear people, Today, I officially asked the guardian council (who oversees the elections in IR) in a letter to nullify the outcome of this election and I regard this (the nullification) as the only possible way for regaining the people’s trust and cooperation with the government. I strongly urge you again to peacefully protest and defend your legal rights civilly and without confrontation and violence all over the country. We have officially asked the authorities to give us the permission for large scale demonstrations in every major city throughout the country for tomorrow, so that people can demonstrate their protest against the way the election was conducted and its results peacefully. I believe that the authority’s compliance with this request is the best way to manage the current outbursts of anxieties.Finally, having urged his supporters to avoid violence, Mousavi appeals directly to law enforcement not to turn on demonstrators, not to forfeit their own legitimacy:
Out of care and respect for our police (law enforcement), I urge them not to use violence against the spontaneous protests so not to let that the people lose their trust in them. These people are your brothers and sisters and have come to the streets in protest to defend theirs and your own rights. The might of our armed forces and the police has been and will always be only due to its unity* with The People. In hope of better days Mir Hossein Mousavi - 24 Khordaad 1388 (14 June 2009) TehranWhat a bold attempt to ride the tiger. Mousavi's letter includes a profession of loyalty to Supreme Leader Khamenei as a "basis of our regime" but also a veiled warning to Khamenei not to abrogate that regime; a call to followers not to accept the election results but also not use violence; and an appeal to the police not to give Iran its Tiananmen Square moment. This is leadership. Mousavi is moving with calm, confidence and courage.