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Who Is Mir Hossein Mousavi Khameneh?

5:44 PM, Jun 11, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Andrew Sullivan describes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's opponent in the upcoming Iranian presidential "election" as a "reformist candidate," who represents a "Pawlenty-style conservatism," but Mousavi's record suggests he's slightly more sinister than the Mullet from Minnesota.

In 1981, when Mousavi first appeared, UPI explained that "Appearances aside, Mousavi heralds a more vigorous propagation of the radical Islamic foreign policy of exporting Iran's revolution." In 1987, Reuters quoted Mousavi at a demonstration in Tehran saying "Tomorrow will be the day we step on the Great Satan. Tomorrow is the time for America to see our iron fists." And in 1989, after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Washington Post described Mousavi as "a leading radical who in the past has competed with Khamenei for primacy in setting government policy pledged subservience, along with his entire cabinet, to the new leader."

In 1988, Reuters reported on a radio address by Mousavi to the Iranian people:

In a Foreign Ministry statement read on Tehran radio today, Iran said that Israel should be annihilated and that implicit recognition of it by the Palestine Liberation Organisation ignored the inalienable rights of the Muslim Palestinan people.

The statement said that the only way to achieve Palestinian rights was continuation of all-out popular struggles against Israel.

Iranian Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Mousavi yesterday called Israel a"cancerous tumour" and said the Palestinian move to accept UN Resolution 242 would anger Muslim revolutionaries.

In 1989, Mousavi called for Salman Rushdie to be killed. The Times (London) reported that "Mr Mir-Hossein Mousavi, the Prime Minister, said the Ayatollah Khomeini's order that Mr Rushdie should be killed 'will undoubtedly be carried out and the person who has become a tool of Zionists against Islam and brazenly attacked it and the Prophet will be punished', according to Tehran Radio." And in that same year, the Washington Post described Mousavi as a "leading hardliner," with links to regime attempts to assassinate political opponents in exile.

It's a little bit of a contrast with Tim Pawlenty's "Sam's Club Conservatism," and it's not a record most Americans would associate with reform. But then again Sullivan's politics have always been based more in emotion than facts.