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Payvand Iran News ...
2/24/06 Bookmark and Share
Perseverance and honor: Interview with Abbas Amir-Entezam
Interview and photos by Fariba Amini

The Iranian Revolution was the revolution of the century against the century -- A French journalist

IRAN, 2006 -- He opened the door courteously and led me into his living room, a far cry from his usual dwelling in the most infamous prison of Iran, Evin; a place where he has spent twenty-six years of life; a place where he has lived for almost three decades; a place where many have gone, never to return. He is now on a leave of absence, a brief interlude in his lengthy and trying sentence.


Abbas Amir-Entezam

He spoke of his ideas, of deep conviction, and of values in a gentle and kind voice, which often made me realize in awe of whom I was speaking with: the most famous prisoner of Iran; the incredible man who has never accepted his guilt, a testament that there are some in this world who remind us that truth and honor are above everything. 

Why was he arrested in the first place? What crime was he punished for? What was his real guilt?

Mr. Abbas Amir- Entezam, the longest political prisoner in Iran, at times called the Mandela of Iran, was taken into custody on 28th of Azar 1358 (December 1979) on groundless charges, which ranged from espionage for the United States, working against Iran's national security, and other fabricated accusations. From the beginning of the show trials, he sat through proceedings facing his accusers and courageously defied all charges. He has always maintained his innocence.

In prison, Amir- Entezam wrote letters and declarations of his innocence as well as his ideas and thoughts. He spent time with other famous prisoners, walking in the prison yard and giving them moral support through thoughtful conversation. He has had the courage and conviction to stand by his words and has asked for an international tribunal to hear the claims against him. Islamic authorities are at a loss of what to do with this man who won't give up, who won't let go, and who remains more resolute than ever.

Most Iranians have heard of Abbas Amir- Entezam who was educated at Tehran Univesity, Acetef, in France and UC Berkeley. He was an engineer by profession, a successful businessman before the revolution, and a member of the National Resistance Movement. He is highly respected in Iran, by those who have met him and his courage has stunned and won the grudging admiration of even his enemies. One of the few times he was let out of prison to attend a meeting at Tehran University, the students, after learning of his presence amongst them, gave a standing ovation in his honor. I was truly touched by his honesty, integrity and courage. Mr. Amir- Entezam and his wife, Elaheh,  were present at Milad Hospital this past summer at the demonstration in support of Akbar Ganji, another famous prisoner. Here, they joined others to pronounce to the world that human rights violations still continue under a regime which has broken every law to manipulate the truth. Elaheh, who was also imprisoned for a short period with her husband, has stood beside him in good times and bad. Together, they are an extraordinary couple who have not only endured the regular strife and hardship of marriage, but have also remained strong through the unimaginable suffering of arrest, imprisonment, torture and illness. 

I posed a few questions to Mr.Amir- Entezam through a video interview. He kindly granted me the honor of being the first to interview him since his conditional release. He spoke on many issues, which will be elaborated on in his new book, In Search of Truth. As he told me, it will be published when the time is right.

As we sat in his apartment facing the Alborz mountain range, he showed his willingness to tell me and all Iranians of his tale of courage, an ongoing struggle for the truth, and a past which led him to prison and months of solitary confinement, where he underwent physical and mental torture. From his living room, one can see the outskirts of Evin prison, which was built during the reign of Mohammed Reza Shah and has been in use ever since the revolution by the Islamic regime.

Mr. Amir-Entezam is now seventy-three years old and suffers from diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and the loss of hearing in one his ears, all as a result of spending time in prison under harsh conditions.

What I was most astonished with was the frankness in which he spoke. He was utterly fearless of the consequences, knowing full well that his apartment was most probably bugged. He spoke candidly without fear of retribution. 

"What has a man to lose," he said, "except his honor?"

*****


Fariba Amini, Abbas Amir Entezam and his wife Elaheh Amir Entezam

 

FA: Dear Mr. Amir- Entezam, many thanks for giving me this opportunity. You have been in jail for 17 years and in and out of jail for the last ten years, altogether for 27 years. Why have you stood firmly by your words?

AAE: First of all, let me say that I am happy to finally meet you and I hope you will have the chance to return to Iran again. You are the daughter of a man whom I have great respect for and I pray for his good health.

To answer your question, I must give you a short introduction:

I read a book when I was in prison written by a European philosopher who spent time in German prisons during World War II. He said that if we know the reason for life, then we know what we must do in this life. Without having read the book or known about this wise statement, I was already asking myself the same question. .

It is important to know why we have come to this world, to know our place, and what we will leave behind. Thus, after my arrest, which was done under the pretext of audacious lies, and filthy accusations against me and my melliyoun (Nationalist) friends, I started to ask, why me, and why the provisional government?

For two and a half years, I was in solitary, where my health drastically deteriorated. Then, I was taken to a prison cell which was meant to accommodate one person, but was in actuality crammed with twenty-seven of us. It was in these awful conditions that I began to think hard and look for answers. As you know I was Mehdi Bazargan's student at the School of Engineering at Tehran University. He was my mentor in many facets, not just engineering. He taught me of the significance of ethics in both social and political matters. Additionally, I had been a follower of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and although I was much younger than Mr. Bazargan, I followed in his footsteps. We shared the same views and I had always been very close to him. Thus, for many years I was consumed with the questions why the Bazargan government and I specifically targeted?

One thing I knew for certain was that nothing could be more ludicrous than the accusation of me being an agent for a foreign power - the United States, according to my accusers. It was totally outrageous.

After years of imprisonment, with no access to television, radio, or newspaper, thus with no news or contact with the outside world, I came to the conclusion that the events of 1979 (1357) were a conspiracy against the Iranian people by certain powers. But I did not yet understand the motivation or the goals behind that conspiracy. These certain unnamed powers took their ally, the Shah, out and supported Mr. Khomeini to gain power, which in turn gradually created the prevailing conditions in our nation.

After seventeen years in prison, I was temporarily let out. It was during this time that I met and married my wife, a woman whose sacrifice is most admirable. We speak of political matters often. Sometimes she asks me, "How long will you continue? When will this all end?" I always respond with the same words: "Not until the moment when I am exonerated of all charges."

At some point, there was a meeting with the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts. My attorney, the late Mr. Safari (who passed away after defending many prisoners) was present at this meeting. He asked me why I would not just let go of the whole matter and leave. This is what I said to Mr. Mobasheri: until the day when there is a public trial under all international norms and laws, with the presence of mass media, and television broadcasts which will show all Iranians the falsity and fabrication of my so-called crimes and which will pose the unanswerable question of why I was arrested in the first place - until these absolutely necessary events come to fruition, I will not relent, I will not give up on my demands. During my discourse, Mr. Mobasheri remained completely silent. I addressed him again and said: I would rather die than leave my country. I think they were just fed up with me! I have been like a thorn in their side. The sooner they got rid of that thorn, the better. They have sent direct and indirect messages to me, beseeching me to leave. Every time, my answer has been a resounding "no."


Entrance to Evin prison


Tell us about your time in prison.

In the summer of 1370 (1992), Mr. Galindo Pohl , the Head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, visited Iran for the third time and specifically asked to see me. The first two times, the Islamic regime told him I was not in Evin and that I was not available. This time though, I assume under international pressure, he was allowed to visit me in prison. He was part of a delegation of four.

We met each other in the office of the head of the prison. His encounter with me was very warm and friendly. I told him I rather write down what I have to say.

There was a guard being present at all times, I am certain that other officials were watching or listening from another room. Even still, I had no reservations. This was a rare moment which needed to be taken advantage of, especially since other political prisoners were not allowed to meet the delegation for more than five minutes. There was such an atmosphere of fear prevalent in those days that if you spoke for more than a few minutes, you would be executed. But I wrote and wrote for two and a half hours about all topics, which included my accusations against the Islamic Republic, what I had witnessed in regards to other prisoners, as well as what I had personally experienced. The other members of the delegation were recording it in Spanish, French and German while Mr. Galindo Pohl would take every finished sheet of writing from me and put it in his open briefcase. In the adjacent room they had put out fruits and sweets, as a way to show that we were treated well in prison. It was all deception and lies. After the UN Commission had left, I was put on the open bed of a truck and paraded around from one prison area to another. It was very cold and the wind was blowing very hard (Evin is located outside of Tehran, close to the mountains, thus at night, it becomes very cold). As a result of this grave insult and humiliation, I got a very bad cold and I had an ear infection for months. We often left a note, which indicated what we needed, for the Pasdar (revolutionary guard) behind the door of our locked cell. The Pasdar looked at my note and came back to tell me that Mr. Hossein Pishva, the head of prisons, had specifically ordered that I would not have any access to the hospital ward or to any medication.

As a result, I had an infection in my left ear for three months. The inner ear had ruptured and I lost hearing in my left ear. This was my punishment for having talked to Mr. Galindo Pohl. Eventually, I was taken to the prison doctor who told me that I had to go to go to the emergency room of a hospital outside the prison and be operated on. But this emergency took six months! Unfortunately, the damage was already done.

How did you survive all these years?

In my twenty-six years of confinement, no one ever saw me in a bad mood. I always smiled and kept up my optimistic outlook. I knew I had done nothing wrong except to defend my own rights and the rights of my compatriots. I knew I had struggled for my homeland. Everyday I saw the distressed faces of my poor cell mates and although at times it was difficult, I had to smile in order to give them moral support. Despite the fact that I had no idea how long I would be kept in prison, whether I would ever be released, or whether I would eventually face death, I still maintained a cheerful disposition. In this respect I was doing what that aforementioned philosopher had said: I had found the reason for living and did my best under the conditions I was faced with.


Entrance to Evin prison


What were the worst and the best times in prison all these years?

The worst time was when I was with other prisoners and witnessed many of my cell mates being taken and executed one-by-one, without any trials or jury. In the year 1367(1989), we were 350 people in our ward (bandeh zendan), 342 of them were executed; their ages ranged between 20 - 70 years.

Those were the worst days of my life. I will never forget a single moment of that pain. The best time was when after five years, I was allowed to have books and was given both books and newspapers to read and paper to write my notes on. I was finally able to have some contact with the outside world.

The reason for your arrest and subsequent imprisonment was said to have been your meetings with the U.S. ambassador to Sweden and other U.S. officials? Explain the circumstances which led to your arrest. Since we know that was just a pretense, what exactly was the real reason?

At times in history  while important events take place, as during the Vietnam war, negotiations between different parties of a conflict occurs behind the scene.

In Iran, at that time, while many people believed that they were struggling against the Shah's army or for the downfall of the monarchy, there were politicians who were doing their own negotiations with U.S. officials and some European governments. Mr. Bazargan, as the head of the NMM was also involved in such negotiations and had appointed me to conduct diplomatic talks with certain foreign embassies in Iran; this had been approved by Mr. Bazargan himself and the Revolutionary Council. In fact I would report to the council which was held at the house of Ayatollah Moussavi Ardebili. To my dismay, this open and candid negotiation was later used to discredit me as a spy and accuse me of working against Iran's national security. We were only trying to prevent further chaos and instability.

Again going back to your third question I must emphasize on the following point: In accordance with diplomatic protocol, as Iran's ambassador to Sweden, I had several meetings with the US ambassador.

These very candid meetings were dismissed by those who took over the US embassy as a sign that I am an agent. In the documents from the "Nest of Spies" which were a basis for the accusations against me and miswritten it is stated that: "I have always repeated that any relations between Iran and other countries should be based upon mutual respect and non-interference in Iran's affairs and respect for Iran's total sovereignty." Whereas it states and underlined in a different form saying that " Entezam from his days as a student in Berkeley always pointed out to America's 25 year influence in Iran and always reiterated that all relations between Iran and other countries (US-China and Russia) should be in accordance with mutual understanding and in acceptance of the Islamic regime and its national sovereignty (from page 88 of the Documents seized at the American Embassy No. 10). You can clearly see that even from their own account, these are the words of someone who is a patriot and not a spy!"

In the early fall of 1978, just before the beginning of the revolutionary Islamic movement, Mr. Bazargan, who was the head of Nehzat Azadi (Freedom Movement), got in touch, through Mr. Mohammad Tavassoli Janati, with the U.S. embassy, Mr. Stample, an American diplomat in Iran, and the U.S. ambassador, Mr. Sullivan. I saw Mr. Bazargan in the summer of that year; he was walking in Shemiran near Zaaferanieh (in the northern part of Tehran). We sat near a creek (jouyeh Abe) for three hours. I asked him what was going on and he responded that he did not know. My question was not whether or not there was a movement against the Shah. Instead, my real question was who was behind it? He did not know. He somewhat understood the big picture. When I asked him what was to be done, he responded that if I really wanted to know, I should close down my office and go to see him at his office. I had three companies, located in the AF building.  I also had an American secretary, a wonderful woman. On the advice of Mr. Bazargan, I closed down the office for the next few days. But my secretaries started translating news about Iran from the foreign press, which we made copies of.

Around the 29 of Azar (December 1978), Mr. Bazargan asked me to take over the political office of the organization which Mr. Tavassoli had been in charge of. At around the same time, a human rights delegation comprised of Mr. Stample, Richard Cottam, Ramsey Clarke (now representing Saddam Hussein), and a minister, whose name I don't recall, came to Iran. Mr. Bazargan, who was also the head of the human rights committee in Iran, asked me to go meet with them.

Accompanied by Dr. Asghar Haj Seyed Javadi, Ahmad Haj seyed Javadi, and Mr. Abdol Karim Lahidgi, I went to meet with the human rights delegation. When the meeting was over, Richard Cottam asked me if I was the same person who had handed a letter to Richard Nixon (vice president at the time) in 1953 (shortly after the coup) when he was in Iran. Indeed it had been me. The letter had been written as a response to the U.S. government for their involvement in the coup and the toppling of the Mossadegh government. On behalf of the National resistance movement, I had volunteered, to present the letter through Richard Cottam. After the meeting he told me to meet with Mr. Stample regularly and tell him of human rights abuses under the Shah. I informed Mr. Bazargan and members of the Revolutionary Council about Mr. Cottam's request. They all agreed and approved the matter. We met five or six times which continued until Richard Cottam left Iran. Unfortunately, I found out later that he was an official at the CIA. This was what occurred at our meeting with Cottam in 1978 shortly before the revolution. 

I was on call three nights a week. It was during one of these late nights that Mr. Sullivan, came to see the prime minister's office to see Mr. Bazargan who was not present. I was given a letter informing me that an office of theirs (operating under the Khalidj company) had apparently been taken over by some revolutionaries. American embassy personnel had been taken into custody, some passports had been confiscated, and the premise had been ransacked. It was midnight when I called Mr. Bazargan and woke him up. I asked him what we were to do. He replied: "Do whatever you can." Unfortunately, we did not have a military or security unit at that time. A few dozen incompetent militant hooligans had taken over many of the ministries so there was no viable security apparatus after the revolution. These men were essentially running the show. I called Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani and I told him who I was and asked for his help. He informed me that there was virtually no one to turn to. I then called General Imanian the head of air force. He told me that he had six people and he could spare three of them. We took care of the immediate problem and returned the passports to their rightful owners.

In the morning, Sullivan and Stample came to see me and again gave me a letter which addressed me warmly as "Dear Mr. A. E." They thanked me for my assistance in the matter. This letter was in fact the basis for my arrest, with the most incriminating aspect being that the U.S. ambassador had addressed me as "Dear"! They claimed that the use of this specific word implied that the U.S. officials had close ties to me and considered me one of their own!


A view of Evin prison


In the charges against you, that is only one of the reasons stated. But in your opinion, what was the real reason?

Another case was when in the fall of 1979 Mr. Bazargan called me to Tehran; I had been in Sweden doing some consultation on certain issues. I went to Tehran for a few days. During the evenings, my friends would invite me to their house. At one of these gatherings, there were about forty or fifty people. The room was abuzz with discussion of events taking place in the country. Everybody was anxious. Mr. Ahmad Madani* was there, I pray for his health, and many other prominent men, along with several women and children. It was an informal gathering that quickly turned into an evening of political dialogue. Everyone began to harshly condemn the actions of the provisional government. They thought that whatever was happening were our decision, as well as Mr. Bazargan's. All I could do was listen as I did not feel that it was appropriate to speak in front of people I did not know. At night when I came back home, I thought to myself, how can we resolve this situation? They were troubling times and we needed a resolution. I thought that I would invite the main core of the Nehzat Moghavemat Melli(National Resistance Movement) and ask for their advice to see how we could get out of this standstill. Consequently, about twenty people came to Mr. Anvari's house. I did not tell Mr. Bazargan about this meeting, nor did I inform anyone else. I simply consulted with them about what I had heard and seen at different gatherings. Every person in the meeting made a suggestion which was not accepted by the majority. At the end I proposed the idea of abolishing the Majlis Khebregan(Assembly of Experts) which was put to vote and accepted by the majority. In early spring of 1979, Iranian people had authorized the provisional government to do three things:

1) To write a new constitution

2) To form a constituent assembly as opposed to an assembly of experts, and

3) To have this new constitution ratified within one month through a referendum. What the assembly of experts had done was to change the people's mandate for the provisional government. This meant that they had thrown away our proposals and written their own for the draft of the Constitution. Members of the assembly of experts wrote the Islamic constitution. What was supposed to happen however, was that under the existing law the Majlis Moassesan (constituent assembly) ought to have been formed consisting of three hundred representatives. Yet since there was not enough time and a great amount of mistrust, we we all agreed unanimously that we would present this idea in a public referendum. The assembly of experts should be dissolved. Most of those present at this meeting were ministers in the Bazargan government. I told them that I was not a lawyer by profession so those who were familiar with the law should write this amendment to the constitution and present it. They sat through the evening until morning and constructed the amendment which stated that the Assembly of Experts should be dissolved, while our proposal is presented to the Iranian people for final approval. This was completed when in the morning it was presented to Mr. Bazargan.

This proposal was given to the provisional government and 18 of the 22 ministers accepted it. When the amendment was presented to Mr. Khomeini, he dismissed it and called it a conspiratorial act. When I returned to Sweden, I had a copy of it with me which I left at the embassy. After the US Embassy takeover, when I was recalled to Tehran, the students, followers of Imam's line who attacked the Iranian Embassy in Sweden, found the document and brought it to Tehran. They realized that it was I who had originally submitted the proposal. And this was the basis for all the rest of the accusations against me. In essence, this was the Islamic Republic and Mr. Khomeini's revenge against me, because of my suggestion for dissolving the Assembly of Experts.

Are you suggesting that everything was planned beforehand? 

There comes a time when conditions are ripe for change. In prison, you have all the time to read and reflect. I tried to examine all the events in world history as compared to our own. Up until 1979, the Shah had consolidated all of the power within himself. But if the time had not been right, and all the events had not been properly aligned, Mr. Khomeini would not have been brought from Najaf, taken to Neauphle-le-Chateau in France, given full access to international media, and then brought to Iran. So, in more ways than one, this was the exact right moment for the subsequent events to occur. Savak burned buildings and created the chaos and internal strife necessary to take the Shah down. Consequently, our people became innocent victims of this well planned out charade.

There were three Texas Commerce Instrument employees in Ghassr prison. They invited a bunch of hooligans to create chaos and incited people to come to the streets, open the prisons, thus letting criminals out. What began with a few hundred people quickly turned into massive and wide scale demonstrations.

My own father, Nosratollah Amini, was in the provisional government and I always ask him this same question that I will now pose to you: as you know, he was the first governor who resigned and he believes that if the entire Bazargan cabinet had resigned at the beginning, if Mehdi Bazargan had shown more power and not listened to Ayatollah Khomeini or taken his advice in matters of the government, the Islamic Republic would not have been established and strengthened. After all, the men around Khomeini had no knowledge or ability to run a country like Iran. Do you take any responsibility for your own decisions and do you think Bazargan made any mistakes?

A lot of events at that time, much like what is happening today, were taking place covertly. Thus, people only saw what was occurring on the surface. There was no security, there was a lot of tension, people lived in constant anxiety, and there was no stability. They did not know what the future would bring. The only see thing people saw was the poor face of Bazargan and the rest of us and naturally, they would blame us and perhaps they still do. But Bazargan, like any other politician, was not unaccountable for some of the mistakes that were made.

You know that I am a follower of Dr. Mossadegh's path, but to believe in his, or any other politicians, infallibility would be na´ve. When they took me from Evin to Ghesel Hessar {another prison in Tehran}, I was put in the same cell block as some of the former officials of the Shah. They were angry at me, and spoke to me in the corridor as we walked from place to place. They would say, "Bekehsh cheshmet koor" ("You deserve what you got"). They thought both Bazargan and I were responsible. They thought Bazargan was instrumental in facilitating the establishment of the Islamic Republic - but this is not true. Both Mossadegh and Bazargan were very honorable men who loved their country; they believed in democracy and the rule of law, and they struggled for a better life for their people.

The only difference between them was that one was secular, but not religious while the other was secular, but still very religious. Similarly, I also try to fight against injustice and intolerance. It is my belief that if Prophet Mohammad and the Koran have any significance, then they would incite us to live this way as opposed to speaking dogmatically while living hypocritically. We should do what we can to fight for justice. I have enormous respect for these men of politics and for the tenet which they tried to uphold. For all of us, Mr. Bazargan and his entire government it was a very trying time. We were facing all kinds of pressures from all sides. Nevertheless, He was a brave man who understood the delicate nature of politics.

When Mr. Bazargan went to see Mr. Khomeini in Neupleauchateau he had no illusions of power for himself and for governing Iran. For Mr. Bazargan and many others, the events in Iran were unfolding so fast that it was difficult to predict what would happen. I am convinced that even for the Shah himself, who had reigned for 37 years, there was a total state of confusion. In short and in reply to your question, for the process of change which took place in 1979 in Iran, other conditions and elements had to be set in place. Similarly, in today's world, nothing really happens if those conditions are not ripe

How did you come to the conclusion that others, specifically foreign components, were involved in the downfall of Mehdi Bazargan's government?

With ample time in prison, I had the opportunity to review many history books. Thus, I came to the conclusion that many decisions were made more than fifty years ago.

The Truman administration had concluded that in order to destroy the Soviet Union without going into war, seeing that both nations had the bomb, and avoiding a global nuclear catastrophe, they would use other plans. They had a 50 year plan to get rid of the Soviet Union without actually engaging in war. I am convinced, just like

Zbigniew Brzezinski and Noam Chomsky, that what took place in 1979 in Iran, the rest of the events in the Middle East- the Iran-Iraq war, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait were part of this plan which eventually led to the destruction of the Soviet Union. The result was the re-distribution of the world and the Middle East. The rest of my thoughts and analyses, which are elaborated on, are in my book.

Are you saying that in the end, people have no say in shaping their own destiny? And that thereby, people's fight throughout history is futile? That everything is pre-determined?

I am not saying this at all. If I didn't believe in the struggle for the truth, I would not have spent twenty-six years of my life in prison, nor would I bother to fight for justice. I believe people have a great say in their future, but we must be careful, we must not be deceived by Zaher (appearance) and we must take a more active role in shaping our future. We must open our eyes and ears and work very hard towards the goal of bringing real prosperity and democracy for all Iranians.

Regretfully I must say that most people in the world just watch the events that go on as a sort of theatrical performance in which they are the audience - they are unaware of what occurs backstage. They only see the events as they are portrayed to them. They don't question the motives - they don't become active players in the stage of their own lives. Mr. Gladstone, the former British Minister once said, "People of the globe think that they are making all the decisions, but in fact it is others behind the scenes who are the real architects; we are only witness to these events."

There is a good chance that when people listen to me or read what I say, they think that I am exaggerating or that I am convinced of certain unfounded and baseless theories. I have tried to write my thoughts and substantiate them with truthful and relevant facts and reasons. By grace of God, I was able to survive, thinking all the while that I might be executed any day. But here I am, still alive and I will tell my story to the Iranian people and the whole world. As I said, I have documented all the above in my book "In search of Truth", which will be published in appropriate timing.

We should not believe that we are the only country that lost in this power game and therefore should not surrender to these unfair games. We should raise the world consciousness and that of our own people, in understanding the global decisions and understand the meaning of globalization. Also we must make our own decisions in shaping our democracy. We must use non-violent means, by calling for a public referendum under the auspices of the UN. It is only then that we can establish a true democracy in Iran.

What is your view on the Iranian revolution as opposed to other revolutions around the globe?

I am in the opinion that in other revolutions it was the disenchanted people who overthrew the dictators but in Iran it was General Huyser who took the Shah out. Mr. Khomeini said himself, the Iranian revolution happened in a short time with very little expense and it succeeded by invisible hands.

***

I left Mr. Amir-Entezam's apartment with a feeling of gratitude and sadness. I wished

Him well and hoped that I could return to see him and Iran under more favorable conditions. 

Mr. Amir-Entezam's opinion or views on the events that led to the revolution, its aftermath, and the fall of the Bazargan government, are not shared by all. Many historians believe that what took place between 1978-1979 was in fact a mass revolutionary movement, one which was influenced by outside forces with numerous factors contributing to the downfall of the Shah - a movement that brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power, marking February 1979 as the beginning of what was to be known as the Iranian or the Islamic revolution, establishing a clerical rule in Iran which has lasted twenty-seven years. 

Our nation has endured great pain and suffering at the hands of those who have made life difficult for the Iranian people, be they external or internal forces. Iranians in general are skeptical, unable to trust anyone. We are a nation of doubts, and the modern history of Iran reminds us that life hasn't been an easy one. Yet, we are a nation of optimism. We always look at the bright side and still live the best way we can, despite all of the tribulations.

With the current situation unfolding and with great uncertainty on the horizon, we make our jokes, live fully, and hope that our leaders will come to their senses - that at the end, people's fate should not be determined by those who don't have the general best interest in mind. The truth is that we have to pull our forces together, to help create a free and open society for the future of Iran's children. A nation that has withstood aggressions throughout history - from the Arab invasion, the Mongols, Alexander the Great, Russian occupation, repeated British and American interference, and Saddam's eight year war - can not afford another invasion or even a military strike.

The consequences will be dangerous and unspeakable for all involved but especially for the Iranian nation. We all have too much at stake to lose this final battle.

Mr. Amir-Entezam and many of the other political prisoners as well as all those who have struggled for democracy in Iran, have put their lives on the line and put their nation's well-being above and beyond their own. These men and women are not only to be admired and cherished, but supported as well.

In the words of a very wise man, the father of the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, "The man who loves his country on his own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it; can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off."

 


Notes

* As a result of the seizure of the American embassy and the hostage ordeal, all of Iran's assets were frozen by the US government and the Carter administration put sanctions against Iran which continue to this day.

* Dr. Mehdi Haeri Yazdi, a renowned Islamic scholar, son of Ayatollah Abdolkarim Haeri Yazdi, the founder of Hozeh Elmieh Ghom who was Khomeini's teacher, wrote in his memoirs. "I went to see Khomeini in Ghom and presented to him the idea of doing away with the assembly of experts; I pointed out that in fact we do not need either of these assemblies. The Monarchy has been overthrown and we can very well use what is left of the constitution which goes back to 1906. It is an excellent document except the part about monarchy. Let there be a public referendum on this matter and people can chose their real representatives. He hesitated, looked at me and said nothing. To me that was a terrible insult. I concluded after that meeting that Khomeini had made up his mind and his decision." Mehdi Haeri Yazdi, who was the first scholar to refute the idea of Velayat Faghigh, in his book, Hekmat va Hokumat, and whose niece was Khomeini's daughter in law cut all his ties with Ayatollah Khomeini until his death in 2000.

* On November 15, 1979, only 11 days after the seizure of the US embassy, the assembly of experts ratified the Islamic Constitution.

* Daryadar (Navy commander) Ahmad Madani, the governor of Khuzistan in the provisional Government of Mehdi Bazargan, a true Iranian patriot and a member of the National Front passed away on Feb 12, 2006 after a long battle with stomach cancer.


Note: This interview was originally published on Iranian.com

 

... Payvand News - 2/24/06 ... --


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