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Letter from the Revolutionary Guards commanders

Translated by George Maschke
July 27, 1999

Introduction from Kayhan newspaper (July 19, 1999): The Pained Letter of 24 Senior Commanders of the Holy Defense to the President of the Republic Twenty-four senior officers, [veterans of] the Holy Defense [against Iraq, 1980-88], revealed their views regarding the regrettable events at the Tehran University housing area and its aftermath in a letter to the President of the Republic, Hojjat ol-Eslam Sayyid Mohammad Khatami. According to our correspondent, the text of the letter, which was drafted last week, is as follows:

To His Excellency the Honorable President of the Republic,
Hojjat ol-Eslam Sayyid Mohammad Khatami

Greetings, and may you not grow weary:

In the aftermath of recent events, and in our capacity as servants since the days of the Holy Defense of the noble Iranian nation, we deem it our duty to bring certain matters before your learned and worthy excellency. We hope that in your magnanimity, and in keeping with your worthy credo, and in consonance with the path which you promote (to hear all speech and ideas though they be contrary), that you [will address] this matter which may reflect the worries of thousands who have suffered for the Revolution and who today -- without any political partisanship -- look upon the troubles of the Revolution with a nervous eye, and who are perplexed and bewildered by the silence, negligence, and naïveté of officials who have gained their positions by virtue of the blood of thousands of martyrs.

Mr. Khatami, absolutely all of us have considered and still do consider you to be an upright person, revolutionary, pious, with deep religious roots in the seminary, and sympathetic to the Revolution. But the treatment of incidents -- the celebration and dancing of enemies over which we have all seen -- and the giving of priority to investigating some mistakes and violations and magnifying them, while showing a lack of concern with and downplaying some other such examples of lawlessness, defamation, and coercion, has resulted in currents hostile to the Revolution becoming haughtier, while the defenders of the Revolution, acting guardedly and with afflicted hearts wedded to despair, have been daily humiliated. They have wept for the fruit of all this blood and bitten their fingers in grief and anguish.

Mister President, just as the exalted and oppressed [sic] Leader of this Revolution [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] stated, the attack on the university housing area was unwelcome, ugly, and bad, and despite the fact that it was dealt with in the strictest and harshest manner, on account of the unwelcomeness of what had happened, everyone accepted this response and approved of it. But the important and uncertain question is, "Was this the only tragedy?" Is this matter alone worthy of being pursued and deemed so objectionable that several ministers resign over it, the National Security Council convenes, and an investigatory panel is formed? Are not the irreverences and affronts to the foundations of this system [of government] also cause for anguish and [hence] to be pursued? Is the sanctity of the authority of the jurisprudent [velayat-e faghih -- the political theory on which the Islamic Republic is founded] less than that of the university housing area? Is the sanctity of the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] -- that rarely equalled personage -- less serious than disrespect toward a university student? Are not the disruption of national security for several days, attacks against anyone who is religious, and arson an outrage?

Your Excellency Mr. Khatami, several nights ago, when it was said that a number of people were heading toward the Shahid Mottahari complex [?], our young children looked into our eyes as if to ask us, "Where has your courage gone?" Mr. President, today, when we saw the face of the exalted Leader of the Revolution, we asked God to grant us death, for our hands are bound, there is a thorn in our eyes, and a bone stuck in our throats as we watch the wilting of the seedling which is the product of 14 centuries of Shiite and Muslim suffering.

Your Excellency Mr. Khatami, you know well that while we are strong, [our response has been] weak because friends deem it expedient. Who does not know that today, hypocrites and enemies in the guise of students are flocking to join this battle, and that affiliated hate-mongers and short-sighted opportunists are adding fuel to the fire, and that there is nothing that they will not say or write to make it burn hotter?

Your Excellency Mr. Khatami, how long shall we look on with tears in our eyes and suffer, [while] insulting the exercise of democracy [by tolerating] anarchy, and maintaining our revolutionary patience at the cost of public order?

Mr. President, the families of thousands of martyrs, war-wounded, and veterans voted for you, and their votes are a medal on your chest. They expect you to deal with these problems fairly. Today, we clearly see the hand of the enemy in these events, and we hear their drunken laughter. Know that tomorrow it will be too late, and that there will be no making amends upon tomorrow's repentance.

Esteemed Sayyid, look at the speeches of seeming friends and supporters amongst the university students. Are not all those utterances incitement to riot and lawlessness? Is this the meaning of the Year of the Imam (God's mercy be upon him)? Can his priceless legacy be thus maintained? Is the carelessness of a few acting in the name of the Party of God [Hezbollah -- the group that attacked students at the university housing area] a license to crack the skulls of believers and defame them?

Your Excellency Mr. Khatami, look at the international media and radio broadcasts. Does not the sound of their merriment reach your ears? Dear Mr. President, if you do not make a revolutionary decision today, and fail to fulfill your Islamic and national duty, tomorrow will be too late and the damage will be more irreversible than can be imagined.

In concluding, with all due respect, we inform you that our patience is at an end, and we do not think it possible to tolerate any more if [this matter is] not addressed.

This letter is signed by:

Dr. Ali AHMADIYAN (Commander, IRGC Naval Forces)
Jafar ASADI (Deputy Commander, IRGC Ground Forces)
Mohammad BAGHERI (Deputy for Intelligence, Joint Chiefs-of-Staff)
Aziz JAFARI (Commander, IRGC Ground Forces)
Gholam Reza JALALI (Deputy for Planning, IRGC Joint Staff, and former Commander of the Ali bin Abi Taleb Division)
Gholam Reza RASHID (Deputy Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff)
Abd ol-Hamid ROUFINEZHAD (Commander, 41st Sarollah Division)
Nabiollah RUDAKI (Commander, Vali Asr Division)
Ali ZAHEDI Yaghub ZOHDI (Chief of Personnel, IRGC Joint Staff)
Ghassem SOLEIMANI (Commander, IRGC Ghods Force)
Amin SHARIATI (Commander of the Corps of Engineers, IRGC Joint Staff)
Nur Ali SHUSHTARI (Commander, 25th Nasr Division)
Ahmad GHOLAMPUR (Commandant, Command and General Staff School)
Ali FADAVI (Deputy Commander, IRGC Naval Forces)
Ali FAZLI (Deputy Commander, Sarollah Barracks)
Esmail GHA-ANI (Deputy Commander, IRGC Ghods Force)
Mohammad Bagher GHALIBAF (Commander, IRGC Air Force)
Morteza GHORBANI (Commander, Imam Hossein Division and Advisor to the President of the Republic)
Ahmad KAZEMI (Commander, Hamza Sayyid ol-Shohada Barracks)
Mohammad KUSARI (Commander, 27th Mohammad Rasul Allah Division)
Gholam Reza MEHRABI (Deputy for Intelligence, IRGC Supreme Headquarters)
Asadollah NASEH (Commander, Sayyid ol-Shohada Barracks)
Hossein HAMADANI (Deputy Commander, Basij Resistance Force and former Commander of Najaf Barracks)


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