Ausgabe 18/2009

Iranian Elections The Answer To Ahmadinejad

Part 2: 'The Abolition of the Religious Police Is Possible'

SPIEGEL: Your president has repeatedly denied that the Holocaust happened, and that the Germans killed 6 million Jews. Do you, too?

Mousavi: It is not a question of the number of people killed. Nor is it a question of who committed the crimes. No matter who was responsible, we condemn them for it. But the issue is this: Why should the Palestinians have to pay for what happened back then in Europe?

SPIEGEL: President Ahmadinejad does not believe that there is historic evidence of the mass murder of the Jews. Do you also feel that more clarification is needed?

Mousavi: We have a cemetery in Tehran where Polish immigrants are buried. They fled to Iran to escape the injustices at the time. Something must have happened.

SPIEGEL: Do you recognize Israel?

Mousavi: No, I do not recognize it. For the past 20 years, we have called for a solution to the problem by taking a poll of all Palestinians. This referendum should also include Jewish and Christian Palestinians living in the region. They should decide whether they wish to live in one state or two states.

SPIEGEL: Many Iranians criticize your president for paying more attention to the Palestinians than his own people. What will be your emphasis?

Mousavi: With the change in government, there will also be a change of political policy. I will advocate, in particular, an improvement of our economic situation. I will fight inflation, create jobs and improve the business climate. We also need the private sector to achieve this.

SPIEGEL: Is the hope for political liberalization associated with your candidacy?

Mousavi: I am the co-founder of a cultural foundation. An unfettered atmosphere for artists and intellectuals prevails in our gallery. I also believe that the abolition of the religious police is possible.

SPIEGEL: How do you see your chances of winning the election?

Mousavi: We try to look at things optimistically. We must wait and see how the mood will develop in the coming weeks. It changes quickly in Iran. I will try to address the people directly and will give it my all during my campaign trips throughout the country.

SPIEGEL: Do you believe that you can succeed in the face of the president's enormous propaganda machine? After all, even religious leader Ali Khamenei is believed to support the president.

Mousavi: I recently had an extensive personal conversation with our religious leader. As he said before during an appearance in Mashhad in March, he reassured me that he is neutral and will support any elected government. The more united we are on the central questions of policy, the better it will be for the future of our country.

Interview conducted by Dieter Bednarz and Erich Follath. Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan.


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