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Letters of Anti-War Advocates to Iran's Supreme Leader: Do Not Take the Country to War

By Mahnaz Malekuti, Rooz Online

Even before the recent comments by some senior Iranian commanders about the inevitability of war, some of the close associates or former friends of the current supreme leader of the Islamic republic of Iran had issued direct or implied warnings against a war with Israel or the United states. Such warnings have been particularly present since Ahmadinejad came to the presidency in 2005.

The last week of summer is a particularly meaningful period for Iranians. It is commemorated as the day when Iraq attacked Iran in 1981. Therefore, every year on the last day of summer Iranian officials go to military bases and participate in military parades to remind the public of the beginning of the eight-year war. They do this for a week and call it the Week of the War.

But this year, the week had a different feel. Unlike previous years, Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders and military officials and representatives of the supreme leader are talking of the inevitability of another war through their aggressive remarks. Mohammad Ali Jaafari, the top IRGC commander last week said, “There will be a war. What is not clear is where and when.” He continued, “It will eventually take place; because as the revolution moves towards its goals, they cannot tolerate it and will one day create the conditions for war. Even if reason is used, this event [war] will take place.”

The talk of the inevitability of war by some commanders, who believe this will result in World War III, comes years and months after some political activists and personalities, even some former friends and co-ideologues of ayatollah Khamenei had warned the supreme leader to be weary of the country falling into the conditions of war through private and public letters.

For example, in a piece that Hossein Alai, a war commander and the first commander of the IRGC Navy wrote on the lessons of the Iran-Iraq war in which he points on the results of the war and the fate that befell on Saddam Hossein and his children. It reminds the reader that, “when we look at the results of that war, we see that not only did Saddam Hossein not achieve his goals, but he lost his life as well, as did his sons in the course of his war mongering. Saddam’s aggressive and dictatorial nature resulted in that he spent all his political life in war with Iran, Kuwait and the United States, and eventually lost his regime, ended the long political life of the Baath party, and stopped Iraq’s march towards progress. He also opened the door to aggressive powers in the Persian Gulf and threw the people of the region into the politics of the United States.”

These comments were disliked by supporters of the supreme leader who reacted harshly and some sites denounced them, as Basiji militiamen gathered outside his house in protest.

But Alai had written similar warnings during the last year of the Shah’s regime in 1976 as well. Prompted by the massive demonstrations of the time, he had written, “The continuation of violent and oppressive behavior by the regime and the harsh crackdown of protestors by the Shah, resulted in that people pointed their opposition to the person of the Shah.”

Another person who has counseled ayatollah Khamenei to be careful about the country slipping into a state of war is Dr. Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyed Javadi, the minister of justice of the first post-revolution government of Mehdi Bazargan. Now 95, Haj Seyed Javadi was an attorney in the Shah’s regime. At one time, one of his clients was no other than seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, the current supreme leader of Iran. In a letter to Khamenei in the summer of 2011 he points to the wrong foreign policies of the country and to Iran’s international position and wrote, “Drawing a graph on the activities and goals of Mr. Ahmadinejad and his allies and supporters in the domestic and international sphere, and also noting the volume of wealth and financial benefits that have directly gone into his pockets through the sale of oil and uncontrolled imports into the country in recent years which have witnessed absolutely no monitoring or controls by such agencies as those exercised by the Plan, Budget Organization and Management Organization, indicate that his goals go beyond the stated goals of launching a peaceful nuclear program and the provision of electricity for people. They are in fact in the direction of rapidly creating an international terrorist movement similar to al-Qaeda but of course with a Shiite ideology. If this unleashed course is not stopped in time, there are fears that the people of the world will witness in the not too distant future a repeat of the threats and atrocities of a world war.”

Abolfazl Ghadiani, a member of the ruling circle of the Mojahedin Enghelab Esalmi political group (Organization of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution of Iran) who was arrested after the disputed 2009 presidential elections and remains in prison today, also wrote an open letter to ayatollah Khamenei in which while criticizing the policies of the supreme leader, called him a “dictator” and called on him to relinquish his power. “Today, the extensive sanctions and war hover over the country and a destruction of its economy, as the hard-headed behavior of the leaders of the IRGC does not leave any room for free and independent economic activity for the public. What is the result of all this? Is it anything but the despotism of the person of the supreme leader in all aspects of the political, economic and social life of Iran?”

Other open letters to ayatollah Khamenei also normally warn of war because of war-mongering policies.

The letter of Ruhollah Zam, the son of Mohammad Ali Zam who is a prominent cleric in the Islamic republic is another example. In his letter he writes, “During his rule, ayatollah Khamenei has created so many enemies that even countries that had no issues with the Iranian people in the past and even rolled out the red carpet for someone like President Mohammad Khatami, are today determined to murder the Iranian nation. These are the fruits of the rule of seyed Ali Khamenei. There is no doubt that [with the continuation of these policies] the specter of war and horrific inflation hover over the Iranian nation as another regime more deserving for the name of Iran should replace you and your regime.”

Prior to this, a commander of the IRGC also had written an anonymous letter to the supreme leader of the Islamic regime warning about the possibility of a NATO and an American strike at Iran. “Do you believe that NATO’s military establishment or American warplanes are run by” impotents? “Who do you trust in the IRGC when you make such threats? What about the military? All the generals in the army have turned into cab-drivers who spend their evenings and nights driving a Peykan car to avoid starvation. You trust the IRGC? There is nothing there. Those who are supposed to plan and manage the war are busy exchanging shares at the stock exchange or are in the business of buying and selling underwear and cosmetics. The body [of the IRGC] too has realized that it should not be duped,” a reference to the ordinary members of the force.

Last week, a group comprising 9 political and social activists wrote a letter addressing the Iranian nation and warned of the possibility of war. Babak Ahmadi, Ahmad Sadr Haj Seyed Javadi, Peyman Aref, Mohammad-Ali Amooi, Mohammad Maleki and Mohammad Nourizadeh signed the letter and have called on the rulers of the Islamic republic to stop acts that provide justifications for war, pressure and economic sanctions.

Even some current officials of the Islamic republic have implicitly warned against war. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who continues to head the influential State Expediency Council had earlier said, “If one day this issue (Iran’s nuclear program) is discussed, it must be held between us, the supreme leader and rational minds so that the regime can make a decision.” In another remark, Rafsanjani has said, “If Saddam did not have his domestic issues with the Shiites and the Kurds, he would not have heeded to attack us. But with the victory of the Islamic revolution and the heightening of his fears of its spread in Iraq, the only way he saw to free himself from his internal issues was to attack Iran.”

Mohammad Nourizadeh, a regular critic of ayatollah Khamenei who used to be his close friend, has talked with Rooz Online about the reasons for the possibility of war. “We are concerned that as a way to get out of its current crisis, the rulers of the country may resort to war and the military option. When the country is in the hands of such a group, opponents are imprisoned and thieves are put in places of power even as they talk of reason. War therefore is the closest course of action under the current critical conditions.”

... Payvand News - 09/26/12 ... --

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