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A lot to be said
Crucial days of the revolution

February 20, 2002
The Iranian

Excerpts from an interview with a top Nehzat Azadi (Freedom Movement) and Jibe Melli (National Front) member who for security reasons wishes to remain anonymous .

Mehdi Bazargan became the Provisional Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic reluctantly.   The13-member council of Nehzat Azadi voted for him to accept the candidacy and he was sent to see Khomeini in Paris.

On his flight from Paris to Tehran, when asked by a reporter how he felt about returning to Iran, Khomeini said he didn't feel anything! Those were history-making days. Khomeini had neither specific plans nor many people around him. Bazargan was appointed, as he was a man of honor, respected among opposition forces, including the National Front and Nehzat Azadi, and many Iranians.

We were invited to his house for lunch. Thirty-three members, including Ayatollah Taleghani, and myself were there.  Hashem Sabaghian came to his house saying Ayatollah Khomeini is waiting for you to publicly announce your appointment.  I said in a low voice to Bazargan that accepting this appointment would be wrong at the moment and would tarnish his credibility.  It was a way to use him to deviate from the real goals of the revolution and to fool the people.  You should not accept this and keep yourself intact for the future, I told Bazargan. 

Bazargan became very agitated. He said: "But your friends in the council decided on this and sent me off to Paris to meet with Khomeini and accept the appointment.  And upon my return I gave details of my talk to the council and they all agreed (Rad-Nia, Ahmad Haj-Seyed Javadi, and Amir Hossein Pouladi). Only Taleghani and I opposed this designation. And the late Taleghani said loudly: God only hear of my cries, let us sit together and find a solution."  After he became prime minister I lost all contact with him. 

Bazargan was adamantly against the formation of the Assembly of Experts (Majlis Khobregan)  He was in favor of a  Constituent Assembly (Majlis Moassessan). He was even against the name Islamic Republic.  But while he opposed these ideas, Khomeini pronounced that even if 35 million vote Yes to the Constituent Assembly,  he would say No! That is how this man forced his opinion upon our nation.

I remember Mr. Amir-Entezam, the then deputy prime minister -- now the longest-held political prisoner in Iran -- was told by Bazargan at a cabinet meeting that time had passed for the legal formation of the Assembly of Experts. Bazargan told Amir-Entezam to prepare the minutes to have the idea voided.  The announcement was to be made officially on state radio and television. 

That same night Mohammad Ali Rajaie, who later became prime minister and then president (killed later in a bomb explosion) went to Khomeini's residence and asked to see him. He informed him of the Bazargan government decision. Khomeini called the officials at the radio and television not to broadcast the government's decision. Rajaie was a doorman at the Narmak School. Bazargan had helped him become a teacher and he joined Nehzat Azadi. But he was to betray him.

There is a lot to be said of those crucial days.  It was obvious that Khomeini himself was making all decisions.  And many of the killings were ordered directly by him.  And as he totally trusted Sadegh Khalkhali, for both belonged to the same Qom seminary faction in the Fedayeen Islam (Moslem Brotherhood) and were disciples of Ayatollah Kashani who is well known in our history for his betrayal to the national movement led by Mohammad Mossadegh. 

Khalkhali only listened to Khomeini and he went on with his execution orders.  Khomeini also ordered the 1988 mass killings in Evin prison.  And we all remember poor Sadegh Ghotbzadeh who was only a tool in Khomeini's hands. When told to ask for forgiveness, Ghotbzadeh refused and Khomeini ordered his execution.  He had no mercy, not even upon those who had helped him come to power!

But let's talk about today. What wasÜKhatami's role? The Islamic regime was doomed. It was a matter of time before its fall.  And Khatami saved it. 

After the Mikonos affair, when for the first time in the history of a European Court, an entire government and its high-ranking officials were implicated; the Islamic regime sought a solution to save itself.  This was a huge embarrassment especially in lieu of their dealings with European governments. So they found refuge in Khatami.

In fact,  Khatami went to see Khameneie to find a solution and Khameneie told him he was going to ask him [to become president]. So Khatami was introduced to the people as an alternative.  He was to save the Islamic regime.  Mr. Khatami, as a previous minister and a key functionary of the regime, was aware of events taking place: the disappearance of opponents, their killings and the many other illegal activities committed during these years. 

Khatami is not a separate from the rest. He believes in Velayat Faghih. He is in total accordance with the idea of an Islamic Republic. He believes in the laws formulated under this system of government. He has said this so many a times.

In the Islamic regime's high school textbooks there is a great praise for Kashani and much distortion about Mossadegh.  They have made a great revolutionary symbol out of him. It is crystal clear why.  Among the youth and intellectuals, Mossadegh is the symbol for democracy and secular form of government.

And the late Dariush Forouhar was the only remnant of that symbolic figure in our country.  Forouahr, and his wife Parvaneh, were not murdered necessarily because they themselves were a threat to the regime. Dariush Forouhar had diabetes and was very ill.  He and his wife were murdered because they represented Mossadegh's ideals and thoughts among the youth and the university students. It was a way to stop their influence so the big explosion would not occur.

I also don't believe that the arrest of a few of the Islamic regime's officials has any special meaning. Ganji and others, for example. Their hands are tainted with the blood of many innocent people.  Hajjarian was the ideologue of Khatami's reform. And he was at the highest echelon of the Ministry of Intelligence.  We know what this ministry has done in the last decade. They were all aware of the killings.  Then how can these same people working and planning in the Ministry of Intelligence change overnight? I don't believe it for a minute. It is all a mockery to deceive the people.

This is how the mollas operate. Like the tribunals they created. Where are the victims and where are their accusers? Khatami is responsible, so are all those around him.  He is the head of the government and the security forces are under his thumb, the same ones that created the bloodshed at the universities. Who attacked our students at Tehran University? And where are they today? Where are the students?  In prisons as we know, under torture.  And under which government did the security forces recently attack the recent teachers rally? and arrested them? If he isn't accountable then who is?

I believe there are forces within Iran -- students, and our intellectuals, secular forces -- who are mobilizing. There are others as well. I cannot go into details. I believe the only right path for Iran is for politics and religion remain separate. Religion should be practiced in the confines of our home.  I have always believed in it and so have many of my colleagues.  I know the late Bazargan even acknowledged it.

Now it is time for planning for the future.  But I should advise everyone that we should avoid branding and bashing ourselves. When Iranians are truly united, then that will be the doomsday for the Islamic Republic.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Fariba Amini

By Fariba Amini

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