A video clip that widely circulated in Iran this month shows a Basiji militiaman, Saeed Tajik, insulting Hashemi Rafsanjani’s family members, particularly his daughter Faezeh, whom he called a whore. The response was wide and many condemned the perpetrators, and the attorney general even claimed to have arrested Tajik.
Saeed Tajik harassing Faezeh Rafsanjani
But the pronouncement of the attorney general was not true. Speaking with Rooz, Saeed Tajik who the attorney general said had been arrested from his office (he heads the Basij militia force at Tehran’s oil refinery) because he had insulted Faezeh Hashemi (Rafsanjani’s daughter), denied his arrest. “I told the attorney general that we have had unrest for 20 months now. You know that every time you arrested this slut she said she was eating a sandwich. What kind of a sandwich is this? They have crossed all the red lines. They have insulted God, the Prophet, the Imam our imam (ayatollah Khomeini), and the current leader. None of you were moved or did anything. Most officials, particularly those in the religious seminaries, have become silent. Who is more senior, Rafsanjani or the hidden imam? Rafsanjani or the supreme leader? They have insulted all our sacred values. But when I called this bitch an ass, everybody felt insulted,” Tajik said.
I spoke with Tajik about the incident and his views. He addressed me with “sister” and “haj khanoom”, a respected religious title, and I reciprocated with “haj agha”, a respectful religious term for men who had performed their religiously required pilgrimage of Islam’s holy sites. Otherwise, the language that Mr. Tajik used in this interview was extremely disrespectful and insulting of the Hashemi family, and others. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Rooz: I am calling from Rooz and wanted to talk about your arrest. Is it true that you were arrested?
Saeed Tajik: No. I deny it. Of course I know who is being mischievous here.
Tajik: I can’t say it over the phone. It is bugged. We will respond to them ourselves.
Rooz: So you were not arrested?
Tajik: I am in my office right now.
Rooz: We were surprised to hear it too, but that is what the attorney general said and all news sites reported it.
Tajik: No. I was arrested before March 21st and spent 8 days in Evin Prison, and began a hunger strike for three days.
Tajik: The authorities thought nothing would happen (if they did). But before all this, I was contacted by all universities and told that if I was arrested, they would flood to the judiciary. The officials were listening to all of this. Now too this conversation is being listened to. But that’s ok, let a third person hear all of this and feel better. So I was kept in Evin for seven or eight days and after that they treated me well.
Rooz: They treated you well?
Tajik: Yes, there was no beating.
Rooz: Did you really say what we heard you say on the video (sexual insults that you threw at Hashemi’s daughter)?
Tajik: I did say that I would tear her apart, would hurt her, yes. I said it because the judiciary did not do anything and did not confront them. This volcano inside me erupted. They should expect worse things. But since the leader has said that insults should not be used, we will respect it.
Rooz: But who posted the video clip on the Internet? It looks suspicious.
Tajik: I believe that confronting these people is part of my life, it is a must. I even told the prosecutor that I would destroy Hashemi’s reputation after leaving the prison. I said that she they had not confront them, people had to do it violently. Even the leader had said that if authorities did not respond to your calls, then you can take things into your own hands. So, we want to take things into our own hands.
Rooz: But the head of the judiciary is an appointee of Mr. Khamenei, so what’s the problem? Why is he not doing it?
Tajik: The judiciary has messed things up. All our complaints are against the judiciary. They have not acted properly. I have no doubt that Larijani is one of them too.
Tajik: These people all belong to Hashemi’s camp. I cannot tell you over the phone because they are listening. I am not afraid of anyone except God.
Rooz: How so?
Tajik: I have already given up my life. My friends were blown up in front of my eyes. I picked their pieces myself (a reference to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s). I will not remain silent, that is I and others like me. We will stand against the infidels. Imam Khomeini had said that war has no geographic boundaries. We will exist so long as infidels exist, And so is our struggle.
Rooz: But your charge was that you were breaking the law in the Islamic country.
Tajik: They are wrong. They are stereotyping. I am confronting a slut. They have burnt the Quran, the mosque, etc.
Rooz: I see. You feel hurt because of what they are doing to the religion. But then why do you remain silent when Mashai or Ahmadinejad do those things?
Tajik: Mashai is all dirt and filth. Don’t believe that I am not protesting other things.
Rooz: But Ahmadinejad approves of him.
Tajik: Ahmadinejad is wrong. I will serve anyone who is in line with the leader and anyone who crosses him will be my bloody enemy. This is what the Quran says and what the Prophet said.
Rooz: Do you think these two will clash?
Tajik: They know how the Hezbollah kids will respond. If they want to do it (i.e., confront the supreme leader), let them try. When they took us to prison the last time they did not tell anyone. Hezbollah kids and the plain-clothes agents were supposed to pour in. They are ready for this. I gave them telephone number and told them what to do if I was arrested. Hezbollah kids are not orphans!
Rooz: But the Hezbollah kids act on orders. Otherwise they will all be arrested. What would they do then? How many are they?
Tajik: Let them arrest me to see how many they are!
Rooz: It is not difficult to round them up.
Tajik: No?! How can they round up all of them? When they attacked the demonstrators and created hell, were there any orders? These are spontaneous actions.
Tajik: Yes. For example a Friday prayer when they said somebody had been arrested, these kids would respond by going there. Wherever a Basiji sees that the imam (Khomeini’s) path is in danger, wherever he sees that the blood of the martyrs or that a corrupt group plans to do launch a dirty and a politicized event these kids spontaneously block it.
Rooz: On their own?
Tajik: Yes, on their own.
Rooz: How do you feel about the violent attacks on the public in the last twenty months?
Tajik: Look. When someone stands in the way of religion, then, as the imam (Khomeini) said, it must be confronted. I will tear the mouth of a person who comes to a Friday prayer holding his girl-friend’s hand, licking an ice-cream and wants to perform prayers with his shoes on. They are not the people and must be executed. Read the Quran. It says that whoever stands in the way of God’s Prophet, religion and God, his hands and foot must be cut off. This is God’s order. Anyone who stands in the way of the Islamic regime and wants to stamp on its values must be torn to pieces.
Ahmadinejad is not divine. He will remain Ahmadinejad so long as he remains on the path of velayat (i.e., the religious leader). If he leaves the path, then Basiji kids will curse him. He will be cursed by the nation. But if he remains on the path, then I will serve him.
Rooz: Do you think they may arrest you?
Tajik: I am not afraid.
Rooz: I know, but is that a possibility?
Tajik: Look sister, I have not committed any crime. I confront Hashemi’s daughter, and his son. If my crime is proven, then at the most I will get a sentence of one year in prison. If Mr. Khamenei asks me to die, I will.
Basij militia attacking University of Tehran - June 2009. Basij militia, which is part of the Revolutionary Guards, had the leading role in suppressing the protests after the 2009 presidential elections.
Rooz: There are web sites that show plain clothes agents and Basijis holding knives in demonstrations, with names and identifiers. Have you seen these?
Tajik: I have. Let me say that the imam has said that any time foreign radio stations say something against you, you should be confident that what you are doing is right. But if they start praising, then you have a problem.
Rooz: Look, these photographs have been published and they show that they are beating up people, and have knives in their hands.
Tajik: How do you know they are Basijis? Is anyone who has a beard and buttons up his shirt a Basiji? One can create a thousand tricks on the Internet and on computers. Even here they catch fake policemen who go and blackmail and engage in extortion. Can we say that they are genuinely policemen?
Rooz: But they were in the demonstrations. They were beating up people. And you say they were fake?
Tajik: Our own television shows many of these every day. These images have been manipulated .
Rooz: You mean those who beat up people in the demonstrations did not carry knives. So what did they have?
Tajik: If you went to Azadi avenue ...
Rooz: I did not. I was afraid. Everyone was beaten up.
Tajik: We saw a group of thugs on Azadi, about three to four thousand of them. Do you know how many of us were there?
Rooz: How many?
Tajik: God knows, just a hundred.
Rooz: Those were the motor-bikers?
Tajik: They attacked us with swords and beat us up. But the kids (i.e., Basijis) came and saved us.
Rooz: Then you beat them up.
Tajik: Yes. You see? We gave eight or nine martyrs and the prominent one was Hossein Gholam Kabiri in the town of Rey.
Rooz: Was Sane Jhaleh also a Basiji?
Tajik: [silence] I do not know. They say he carried a Basiji membership card. But I do not know. I do not know him.
A poster by the green opposition depicting Basij
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