A Saudi newspaper has reported on and published an interview with the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iran in which he denies that his group is part of the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.” According to a summary of the interview in Asharq Alawsat:
Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Abdulrahman Mohammad Birani, secretary general of Dawa and Reform Group in Iran, has said that his group is not a part of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has its headquarters in the Egyptian capital. In an exclusive interview in the Iranian capital, Tehran [interview was conducted by E-mail from Cairo with Birani in Tehran], which is his first this year with any Arab or foreign media organ outside Iran, Birani stresses that there is no organizational link between his group and any side outside Iran, including the Muslim Brotherhood Group. Birani considers that the Dawa and Reform Group is the only organization that has activities within all the circles of the Sunni society in Iran, with all its sides and ethnic groups. He rejects the claims that the group receives any aid from any Arab or Islamic sides. With regard to the dispute between the reformists and the conservatives in Iran, Birani says: We see common aspects between us and each of the two sides, but the reformists are closest to us because of their intellectual openness, and their defense of pluralism to the extent of allowing some elite Sunnis in their reformist parties even at the level of decision making. However, Birani points out that after the declaration of the results of the last presidential elections, the group opted not to engage in protests in order to – as he says – protect the interests of the Sunnis. It is worth noting that Birani, who was born in Iran’s Kermanshah Province in 1954 and obtained a Bachelor Degree in Shariaa Science at Tehran University, is about to argue his doctorate thesis in international law at Al-Nilayn Universities. Birani also has been the secretary general of the Dawa and Reform Group since 1991.
The full text of the interview follows.
A translation of an earlier report from 2008 indicates that Mr. Birani had informed leaders of the international MB about his resentment over the support of the Egyptian MB and the international MB for Iran. Furthermore, according to the report, the leadership of the Iranian MB decided to cut their contacts with the international MB on that basis, that is because of the oppression of the MB as part of the oppression of the Sunni minority in Iran. The Sunnis in Iran, between 15-20 million, have been oppressed in Iran since 1936 and are not allowed to build mosques or maintain their institutions.
An earlier post detailed what is known about the Muslim Brotherhood “International Organization”, essentially the guidance body for the Middle Eastern Brotherhood organizations and to be distinguished from the global network referred to here as the Global Muslim Brotherhood.