A lot to be said
Crucial days of the revolution
February 20, 2002
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
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.