Islamist bloggers divided on an Ahmadinejad-Khamenei rift one year ago. Today, several pro-Ahmadinejad bloggers found themselves in the same situation that reformist bloggers did years ago: prison, filtering and court.
According to Reporters Without Borders, since the start of the Iranian year (on 21 March), a number of bloggers who support President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been hounded by the Tehran prosecutor’s office for criticizing associates of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current supreme leader.
One such blogger is Ahmad Shariat, the supervisor of a blog called Nedai az Daron (Internal Way). He was arrested on 22 July after responding to a summons to report to the Tehran prosecutor’s office. He was detained because he was unable to arrange a bond of 100 million tomans (75,000 euros).
Several Islamist bloggers have published posts to support him. In most of them, Ahmad Shariat's photo appeared with an Imad Mughniyeh figure on his t-shirt. These bloggers mainly criticized the Iranian judiciary and wrote about a conspiracy to turn back Iranian society to before Ahmadinejad's victory in 2005.
Ahmad Shariat supported Ahmadinejad in his posts and attacked ultra conservatives (Oosoolgaras). He writes in a post that Oosoolgaras tried to eliminate Ahmadinejad and revert the country's situation to seven years ago (before Ahmadinejad's presidential victory)…but they failed, as people understood their accusations against Ahmadinejad are just nonsense…Ahmadinejad [‘s supporters] after announcing their independence regarding conservatives, lost their media presence.
Seyast Nevesht says [fa]:
Our brother Ahmad Shariat was arrested. We do not know why? but as Bakeri (an Iran-Iraq war martyr) said if only one survived from a 300 battalion, he should continue to resist. This battalion is the one from 2005 (Ahmadinejad's victory in presidential election) and Ahmad is like steel.
Ummat Hezbollah writes [fa]:
What a world and judiciary we have, Ahmad was arrested just for writing and supporting his country's president. They [the ones who arrest Sharyat] say your small blog is a threat to national security, why you do not understand? …I do not defend the content of a his posts or a person but a blogger.
Zamirkhodagah writes [fa]:
Mr.Sharyat our hearts and pens are with you. The blogger says what creats such situation for Shariat and Shariats is defending the oppressed. The so called revolutionary media attacked Ahmadinejad and Mashai with lies for a year and judiciary was silent.Will future forgive such silence?
Mohammad Fatemipour, a cleric in his own site writes [fa]:
Ahmad Shariat is a thinker and an extraordinary analyst. His arrest has a clear message: increasing pressure for Ahamdinejad's supporters and the ones who believe Masahi [Ahmadinejad's controversial Chief of Staff] can win the next presidential election.But with the help of God, revolutionary youth will change this situation in this year. The bond of 100 million tomans meant that seeking justice discourse is like committing a murder without premeditation.
For years, these bloggers were at best silent when pro-democracy bloggers faced jail and courts. Maybe nothing can explain the situation of pro-Ahmadinejad's bloggers better than this statement often attributed to Martin Niemöller:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.