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Iranian Exile Satirizes Opposition 'Confessions'


Iran’s prominent exiled satirist Ebrahim Nabavi has produced a spoof video of Iran’s former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi confessing to organizing a velvet revolution.

Abtahi was arrested in the postelection crackdown and is still in jail.

In the video, Nabavi dresses as a prisoner, introduces himself as Abtahi, and says that the revolution was green because green is the only kind of velvet available on the Iranian market.

There is growing concern over the fate of Abtahi and the several hundred jailed reformists, journalists, and rights activists who have reportedly been under pressure to make false confessions. Some of the detainees have been released, while others remain in jail.

Last week several websites close to the government reported that leading reformists had confessed to attending "velvet revolution courses" outside the country. The conservative website Alef reported that Abtahi had appeared in a video and confessed to creating tensions and chaos in the media.

Videotaped “confessions” by political prisoners have become a tradition in the Islamic Republic.

Critics, student activists, bloggers, and journalists have been forced into giving “interviews” to Iran’s state media and confessing to crimes including working for foreign powers and destabilizing Iran’s establishment. Many of those who were forced into making the confession have later said that they made the comments under physical and psychological torture.

In Nabavi’s version of "Abtahi’s confessions," the former vice president and blogger says that during a trip to Mecca a CIA agent who introduced himself as “Hassan agha” offered to help him organize a velvet revolution.

He also says that he wrote articles against “Islam, the revolution, and the respected president” on his blog and that during his foreign trips he had affairs with several actresses including Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansen.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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