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US Transcom

Sehaty Foreign Exchange


    May 28, 1999

    People are maturing

Dear Ms. Khalili,

I read your letter and wish to draw your attention to the following points:

1- I do not believe that revolution is "similar to a living organism." Revolution is like a painkiller that is effective temporarily and is not a cure of any sort. Revolution has always been blended with chaos, unrest, injustice, war, killings, immorality, looting,....and the Iranian revolution was no exception to the rule. Just remember that revolutionary forces (mainly Islamic and Leftist elements) did not hesitate to commit any wrongdoing in order to get to power. Now, why should they hesitate in doing the same in order to hold on to power?

Do you remember Abadan's Cinema Rex? setting fire on Cinema Rex and burning about 700 innocent people was one of the revolutionary acts before taking power. By the way Mr. Khomeini was aware of the fact that his followers set Cinema Rex on fire, yet accused the Shah's regime of doing so. All documents about that "revolutionary act" were published after the revolution in Islamic Republic newspapers and I wrote an article about it, published in Par Monthly Journal, No. 105 (October 1994) and No. 197 (December 1994)

2- Revolution, by its nature, which is nothing more than war, chaos,terror, etc., never "matures", what you refer to as maturity is in fact the maturity of the Iranian people, who are not looking for another revolution and want to have peaceful change. Credit for a peaceful movement goes to the Iranian people and not to the revolution.

3- I don't believe that Iran was a "mythical land of peace, harmony, and justice" at all, and I never claimed such a thing. But, remember, when you are talking about thousands of years of injustice and crime, do not limit it to Iran; everywhere was like that. "Democracy", "Human Rights", "equality" and these sort of slogans are very new to mankind.

Just a few hundred years ago Pope Innocent the 3rd, ordered the killing of more that 100,000 people in Europe during one week of clashes between the Catholic forces and the people who were seeking religious freedom. Ironically, when he was asked about the innocent people who got killed in that war, he said "if they were innocent, they are going to Heaven!" just like what Ayattolah Khalkhali said about his victims!

Iran was not - and is not - an exception to the rule, but Marxist-Leninist propaganda, which was - and still is - very strong among Iranians - suggests and implies that Iranian governments during the course of history were worse than governments, kings and rulers in other countries.

4- If not all, most of Khomeini's attacks were against the Idea of Iranian nationalism. If you are interested in learning more about his feelings about Iran as a nation, read his book "Kashf-e Asrar". In that book he suggests abandoning all Iranian traditions - like Noruz, Char-shanbeh soori, Sizdeh bedar, Sadeh, Mehregan. After he took power, he truly tried to dismiss Noruz and other Iranian traditions. Fortunately people don't listen to this sort of nonsense. I draw your attention to the fact that he did not send a message for Noruz of 1358 and said nothing positive about this great tradition of ours.

5- Mr. Khomeini until about the start of the Iran-Iraq war, used to only use the Arabic (lunar) calendar. Only after the war he started to use the Iranian calendar as well.

6- Where did you get the idea that Khomeini was fluent in Arabic? When Arafat went to Iran, right after the revolution, Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi was translating between the two leaders from English to Persian and vice versa. Moreover, Khomeini's grandson (Hossein, son of Mostafa) said in an interview few months after the revolution that his grandfather was not able to ask for a cup of tea in Arabic. He was living in Najaf (Iraq) for about 13 years, but he was not sharp enough to learn how to speak Arabic!

I personally heard from Mr. Alibabai (who passed away a few years ago in the Washington DC area, and who was very close to revolutionary leaders such as Bazargan,Taleghani, Beheshti, Rafsanjani, Khamenie, and others, that Khomeini was not able to carry a very simple conversation in Arabic. It is true that Arabic is taught at the Islamic seminaries, but their knowledge of that language is just like any high school student in Qum or Abarghoo who studies English or French!

7- This is a Marxist notion that the Iranian identity goes back to the Pahlavi regime. I would never give that credit to the Pahlavi dynasty. What goes back to the Pahlavi era, is modernity, not national identity. People who say that Iranian identity goes back to the Pahlavi era, must answer a very simple question: were Hafez, Saadi, Jami, Nezami, Ferdowsi, Naser Khosrow, Khayyam, Ibn Sina, Biruni, and hundreds of other Iranian scholars under the Pahlavi regime? They clearly talk about their Iranian identity. Was Ferdowsi under Pahlavi influence when he said "cho Iran nabashad tan-e man mabad"? Or when Hafez mentions many Iranian kings from the ancient era to his time, was he under Pahlavi influence?

8- I believe that this recent movement (labeled as Dovvom-e Khordad Movment) is very important and I am excited about it. But the motivation of most of people around Mr. Khatami is not liberty and/or justice; they just want power. Do you know how many of Mr. Khatami's advisors and ministers were hostage takers and/or served as prosecutors in Evin prison and elsewhere?

I hope you agree with me that taking hostages was most damaging to Iran. Its consequences were enormous. I hope you can find Mr. Khatami's interview with Kayhan (Tehran, Tuesday, Bahman 21, 1359) and learn about his points about the revolution and other issues and compare it with what he says today. I am afraid that he is only after power, because he never admits that he was wrong about the hostage taking. And I wonder how someone can be right about two completely contradictory positions on the same issue!

9- One more thing about Mr. Khatami. I don't know if you remember or not, but right after the revolution, a committee was formed in Iran to support Arabic language as an International language and then suggested that all non-Arabic speaking Moslem nations adopt Arabic as the official language of their land. Mr. Khatami was a very active member of that committee. I , personally, never forgive him for his role in that committee. For more information about that, look at Jebheh, a publication printed in London, on May 5th, 1984. I strongly believe that Mr. Khatami owes an apology to the Iranian people for what he was trying to do. I believe that all Iranians around the world hope to see their homeland free, safe, independent, and respected by other nations.

Ali Sajjadi
Editor, Par magazine

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