Date: Sunday, April 25, 2010
Kaleme: A group of veterans from the Islamic Revolution and [Iran-Iraq] war visited the prime minister of Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini [Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi]. Mousavi made some important statements during this meeting.
Based on Kaleme’s report, Mir Hossein Mousavi began by thanking the veterans, and added: “You veterans of our struggle are committed to principles and values and care deeply about solving our country’s problems [with humility]. You don’t want any ranks and positions for yourselves. You do not pursue any personal interests [as you serve the country], and you don’t want to take advantage of the situation for you own benefits. This is why your opinions and thoughts are important, particularly since you are rooted in the revolution and you miss the enlightened and spiritual atmosphere that the revolution promised us and you are still in pursuit of such an environment.
Independency is a widely known value among Iranians:
They accuse the Green Movement of dependency to west, and yet, they are, themselves, after wiring letters and gaining attention from west:
He expressed great importance on this topic and added: “it is this subject that maintains our Islamic identity. We indeed require introducing Islam in its great form so that we can rescue our people and especially youth generation, otherwise there is no reason to, God forbid, to witness tendency to secularism across the society.”
On the topic of independency of the Green Movement, Mr. Mousavi added:” this movement is pursuing an independent action but opponents falsely accuse the movement of relation with سلطنت طلبها، منافقین , US and Israel while they are having a convoluted foreign policy, which is more destructive to the image of our foreign relations, by means of corresponding with heads of world’s superpowers. On one side, they using profanity against those regimes, and from the other, they try to get the attention of China and Russia or others. Then, they accuse us with having relation with foreigners. This is because independency is a widely known value among our nation. Our nation is very sensitive on this issue and if they relate a movement to outsiders, naturally it will suffer.
The aim of the Revolution was respecting the people’s opinions and opening up the society
Mousavi emphasized: The problem in our society today is that this spiritual atmosphere is under threats. The reason for this is clear, if the current establishment was competent, they would have understood that the aim of the Revolution was respecting the people’s opinions and opening up the atmosphere. Despite the fact that there are many different points of view and inclination – Most people from various walks of life move towards the best interest of our revolution and nation. This is just as we have seen them do during the holy defence, when everyone, from the most remote villages to Tehran and the other large cities, was in a united front and all knew where they were going.
Mr. Mousavi then recalled a personal anecdote from those times: “In the early days of the war, we had a trip to Beshagard; a place where there were still slave markets until revolution. A poverty-struck region with a very segregated and closed society. The only resources that they had, and we could see that from inside their shed, were a few chickens and goats. From this very Bashagard, there were some who made it to the war fronts. When we asked them what they needed, they asked for a place to pray and dialogue. Those memories and the atmosphere was unforgettable, I was very moved by it. This was the culture that had spread throughout the country back then and it was a magnificent asset indeed. It was such phenomena that led to the miracles [we witnessed] during the war.
We lost our connection to the people over time
Mousavi then expressed his nostalgia for those spiritual times and said: “Unfortunately we have lost touch with the people since then. We have thought we know better than them and can tell them what they should do and they must obey. We have not made use of our collective wisdom. The opportunities to gain power, political positions, and power structure that were based on personal interests and corruption for some officials resulted in less reference to the masses and the majority of the people. We gradually lost that link and unfortunately we became weak in this respect, merely holding on to an Islamic facade.”
With their incompetency all problems are attributed to Islam
Mousavi continued: “I wish all of these changes were not in the name of Islam I wish there was less damage being done. Why should every problem, every incompetency and inefficiency that takes place today, also take the name of Islam? [This question is even more important] Specially, considering that Islam is introduced in an exaggerated manner, with inflated mention of Quranic verses and hadith. Even about a possible earthquake in Tehran which we all know is probable, the government officials insist on spending from Islam. Even for something as simple as this. This is wrong. We should remember that Tehran is constantly at threat of an earthquake and have a solution for it [instead of talking excitedly about it at one moment, and forgetting it the next.]”
Connecting personal and cult-like beliefs to religion
He continued: Ibn Sina’s ‘The Law of Medicine’ is a medical book. There is a point in this book however that deeply affected me. In a section of the book, he speaks of the mentally ill, and how they should be treated. First he speaks of methods for their treatment and explains it in technical detail, then he comes to the topic of the soul and says: the soul of these people have been taken over by a Demon; and when he reaches this point he says that this does not fall in the scope of this book. He discusses the part of the topic that involves medicine and the practical treatments, and finishes his section by completing his scientific argument.
Mousavi continued: The government officials insist on associating their personal beliefs and that of their cults to Islam, when you add their incompetencies to the list of things Islam needs to explain, and then all problems start to seem as if they are originating from Islam.
When the youth turn away from us, we must seek to find the reason within ourselves
Mousavi, in reference to the massive presence of the youth and students in Iran stated: They beat university students and their friends in the name of Islam. They arrest people in the name of Islam. They restrict the activities of political parties in the name of Islam and even ban newspapers in the name of Islam. Industries are closing down and workers and entrepreneurs are discouraged and find themselves in a dire situation. All this takes place in the name of Islam and if there is any case of corruption, that too is interpreted in the name of Islam. How do you suppose this type of behaviour will affect the morale of our youth?
He added, when the youth turn from us, we must seek the cause within ourselves. How much justification and analysis do we expect from our youth? We must clearly reiterate that difficulties exist due to our mismanagement and that they have no relation to Islam.
Mousavi asked the question is Islam after corruption or destroying our industries? Those of us who believe that foreigners should not dominate or influence our thoughts are also strong advocates for free trade and international relations, but not at the expense of jeopardizing our local industries and productive units. Since when is opening our boarders to low quality foreign goods and abandoning import taxes considered Islamic? In reality it is in contradiction with Islamic principles.
In reference to the events after the election, Mousavi stated, people are affected negatively when they witness injustice, beatings and the killing of their brothers and sisters. They are angered by the closure of newspapers and the on goings in Iran’s notorious prisons. I am not a supporter of any specific publication, but ask what have they done to deserve being shut down and banned?
Instead of limiting the activities of political parties, you must create an atmosphere of fair competition.
In reference to preventing the activities of The Participation Front Party and that of the Mujahedin of Islamic Revolution Party, Mousavi stated: “If these parties are not to your liking, then create your own political party and allow fair competition between the various parties in order to eliminate those that are not favoured by the people.”
He reiterated: “we were supposed to allow the formation of a variety of political parties, enabling political competition as defined by our constitution and beneficial to our nation. A political party should only be eliminated by free political competition and the will of the people, not because it was banned by the government. Those of us who follow the Imam’s teachings and values must demonstrate in a variety of ways that this is not the Islam that we believe in, nor is it the Islam we follow.”
This is not Islam
Mousavi added: Islam does not beat people. Islam does not arrest. Islam does not insult. It does not imprison or limit people. Islam is a strong advocate of a healthy and vibrant economy and an independent nation. It is our national duty to ensure that Islam is in favour of our independence and will never compromise or damage it in any manner.
They say that we have abandoned ship….
Mousavi reiterated: Even though they claim that we have abandoned the regime, we have not abandoned our belief in Islam. As a practicing Muslim, our goal is to make sure that our youth are not discouraged. The least we can do is to insist that this is not the Islam we know or the Islam we follow. The Islam we know is merciful and compassionate. It is tolerant and opens its arms to all. Reason is the language of Islam. It is a religion that has the potential to lead and be harmonious with societal progress.
Imam Ali’s advice is very informative in today’s society
In relation to the first decade of the revolution, Mousavi stated: At that time, we did not face such difficulties. We were pioneers in the area of foreign policy, domestic policy, the economy, the war, etc. and we never felt that we were behind in such areas as technology, civilization and politics. I have always believed that we must be proud representatives of this fact to our neighbours, friends and nation. I strongly believe in Imam Ali’s last words when defending the oppressed against the oppressors. Religious and Islamic influence must always favour the oppressed and stand firm against all oppressors.
Independence is a cherished value amongst Iranians
They accuse the Green Movement of dependency to west, and yet, they themselves are corresponding with the west and trying to attract their attention
He emphasized this point and added: “This maintains our Islamic identity. We need to accurately present the great nature of Islam so that our youth and the rest our nation could find salvation. This way, we won’t, God forbid, witness anti-religious tendencies across the society.”
Mousavi talked about Green Movement’s independence: “this movement is unequivocally independent, yet our opponents falsely accuse the movement of associating with monarchists,the US, and Israel. These accusations are made by the same people who have set back our foreign policy by correspond with the superpowers in a contradictory manner: rudely offending some countries while appeasing Russia, China, and several others. Then, they accuse us of associating with foreigners. This is because independence is a widely known value in our society. They are trying to damage our movement by associating it with the foreigners.”
What sacrifices people believe
He added: “when government shuts down news papers, talks, committees, and political parties, denies us a TV station and rejects our challenge to hold a televised debate, the foreign media will find a strong following in the country. People’s beliefs and principles which are well represented in Green Movement’s framework, are being crushed by the pressure exerted by the government and the foreign media. We believe it is important to collect the good experiences of the thirty years of the Islamic Republic. We have work as a team. As I illustrated, we are confronting a problem every single day.”
People should be aware that they want them to disperse
We do not use weapons; knowledge is our only tool
Mr. Mosavi said: “today, I read one of the Revolutionary Gaurds’ newspapers which suggested the Rohaniun Mobaraz political party’s license should be revoked. Their goal is to obliterate all political associations, after Rohaniun Mobarez, they will surely go after other parties. In this situation, social networks become critically important. Also, constantly protecting ourselves, our family, community, society, and everything environment become quite important. We do not want to take out our sword and declare war. We only rely on knowledge and faith which had much greater power than any weapon. We have to strengthen these two. Faith in the religion that Imam Khomeini preached: progressive and enlightening, which can be relied on, both inside and outside of county. On the other hand, we must raise awareness about people’s constitutional rights. They must know that they have certain rights and that those rights are currently being disregarded.”
In elections, the government must not decide for the nation
This is no way of governance
He restated holding elections as an indisputable right and continued: “The government must not decide for the people. When we look at the bigger picture, and see how hideous it is when a council of four or five people, irrespective of their insightfulness, capability, or righteousness, reject the candidacy of a number of contestants and choose a few candidates for elections, essentially commanding a nation of seventy five million to pick one of the alternatives the council arrogantly thought appropriate. This is the worst thing one can do to a nation. We are not repulsed by this because we are in the midst of it all and don’t usually have a chance to step back and look at the whole picture. A treacherous candidate must be appropriately and seriously dealt with and thrown out. There were ways of dealing with this. But currently, we conduct elections abnormally, pick and choose between candidates, silence anyone who speaks out, shut down the press and media in an effort to keep people from becoming informed about our actions in the hope that our favourite candidate comes out ahead from the ballot-box. Afterwards, we modify the ballet-boxes in a thousand strange ways to destroy the evidence of the way we counted votes. The country cannot be governed like this! These are the actions and policies that have invited foreign pressures right into our country’s doorsteps, threatening our security and economy – a pressure much more dangerous than our internal conflicts.”
Mousavi went on to talk about the economy: “One of the most important economic indicators is the index investment which is currently around five to six percent while it should really be closer to the 12 to 14 percent range. This means that there is more poverty, corruption and pressure on the middle class. Equally bad is our GDP growth which is estimated at zero percent for the coming year. There is absolutely no transparency. People who make decisions also destroy or neglect to disclose the information and facts that support their decisions. The decision to restructure subsidies, or investigate corruption amongst government officials are no exceptions. Those who are after collecting accurate information in this country are treated as though they were the enemy who opposed to assets to this country. Significant effort is spend in hiding facts and perplexing information, all resulting in the desperate situation we are currently in.”
Spreading knowledge is the most important agent of change in favour of Islam
He added: “It is our duty to inform people about the current issues and help them analyze the situation. It is people’s right to be informed about the facts and people must also know their rights. This important principle can be an agent of change in favour of Islam and the Islamic Revolution and in creating a better future for this country. To make a significant change, propagation of knowledge and information must be widespread and I believe that this has been the case after last year’s rigged election.”
A measure for success of the Green Movement
He noted that Green Movement’s support could accurately be represented by the number of people in the street demonstrations in the past year: “We cannot infer the support nor the stance of the Green Movement from the showings in different street demonstrations. Instead, we must find indicators that denote people’s knowledge of social issues and their rights so that we would know how to run the country. We must gauge people’s level of knowledge and see if information has been spreading or not. If the level of knowledge has increased, then we have created the basis for significant improvements in the country.”
Reason for the administration’s agitation with the media…
Mousavi emphasized government’s fear of widespread knowledge to be the cause of government’s agitation with the media – Spreading this type of knowledge is of utter importance. If the government was not faced with a crisis, a newspaper like Bahar would not be shut down or a TV programs showing debates between representatives from both sides of the internal conflict would not become discontinued or forcibly steered to a completely different direction. This all shows the importance of spreading information and raising awareness in people . Informing people could hit the enemy where it is most vulnerable just like an arrow shot towards Achilles’ heel.”
We must raise awareness in blue-collar workers and farmers
Everyone has to have a tribune in national TV
On importance of raising awareness, Mousavi noted: “we must spread the knowledge and raise awareness in villagers, workers, farmers, artisans, and teachers. They must know that they deserve more that what they currently have. [We must tell them] that you have the right to send your [true] representative to [the parliament]. You deserve an independent industry and a prosperous economy. You have the right to freely advocate your opinion in the society and that those opinions should be heard. The National TV is operating with your money, thus “you” have to be [represented] behind those tribunes.”
While remembering a memoir from Imam Khomeini, he mentioned: “I recall Imam Khomeini used be displeased when newspapers printed his picture too often. Then, he forbade that action. In a private meeting, he imposed his complaints about excessive display of his image on TV to Mr. Mohammad Hashemi who was the head of National TV at that time. I personally was passing by National TV building in Imam Khomeini Square and saw Ministry of Telecommunication’s building covered with Imam’s portraits. It made me upset because the exaggerated display would badly influence the bureau and it was not in compliance with our beliefs. I do not remember if Mr. Nabavi or Mr. Gharazi was the chief. Anyways, I contacted the chief and requested the portraits to be removed, and they removed them. Shortly after, Haaj Ahmad Agha, Imam Khomeini’s son, contacted me and thanked me on behalf of Imam. This was during Imam Khomeini’s leadership.”
With this election and its aftermaths the idea of returning to fundamental rights was born
He noted: “we should transfer these to people and let them know that religious government and the Islamic Republic means opening all roads to express opinion and to their creativity and their existence in all arenas rather than their exclusion from using National radio and television and other common facilities. My understanding is that with this election and its aftermaths an idea was born in our country: reviving our fundamental and constitutional rights, and this idea is irreversible. We should only protect this idea like a plant and watch it grow big and strong. Quran states that God does not change the fate of nations unless they change it themselves. This knowledge can be the basis for extensive improvements in the society.
Get the spark of awareness to people of all social groups
Mousavi emphasized that: “We need a plan for our path and we need more than ever to focus on the awareness of people of all social groups and have constant communication with them by spreading awareness and tell them that the economic and the working situation will improve only once their true representatives are in the parliament and their representatives will be able to extract their remarks and people will be able to watch for corruption.”
Pointing to the beginning of the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, minister of the sacred defense era, stated that: “At the beginning of this revolution they would not tell you why you splurged? But they all watched for each other. Because of their strong ethical belief they would watch their own deeds. It was enough for a worker to slightly pass his/her limits all the employees would react and it was the dominant atmosphere in the society. Your separation from this type of supervision will certainly lead to corruption, but this requires that a charter be prepared.”
Convey information orally and creatively from through word of mouth
He also mentioned: “Another important issue in regards to media activities and stated that we need to make our approaches more up to date. Now that we don’t have a newspaper we should find new ways while we are looking for newspaper and a legal medium of our own. Meanwhile we can pass the information via word of mouth through virtual media like the board, families which are all our rights. This information should concentrate around the issues which we have consensus on and should be transferred with new ways that we learn during the work. We should constantly offer new ideas to have a creative group and to have new ways for our society. Citing an example of a theory in arts he mentioned, there exists a debate in philosophical theories of art that argues that some painters and artists start their painting after they have thought about it. After they have imagined the components, their size and their colors carefully in mind, they sit in front of the canvas and begin to paint. There are other artists however who start the work with a sense of aesthetics and color harmony but they do not define their work from the beginning. We can find the same two trends in political view points.”
“Before the revolution Marxists were very active in Iran the reason why they came apart was that they were trying to imagine a class less society and its entire dimensions and characteristics and then move towards it. It was the same among Islamic groups they also had a full imagination of their ideal government that resulted in their separation and crackdown and in the creation of an extremist view point.”
The criteria for the advance of Green Movement
Mousavi alluded to the Green Movement and said: “The Green Movement advances with the criteria and models of the second type. These are criteria that necessitate existence of justice and freedom, and enforce the basic rights of people. This will not be achieved unless we can get the entire nation together. This nation that pay taxes is composed of respectable citizens. Everyone who follows the laws inside Iran is respectable. This was how it supposed to be from the beginning. Early on in the revolution, different groups from the left, right and even the seculars would visit Imam [Khomeini] to meet with him, because our impression was that we have a system that can include everyone. This had not contradiction with Islamic Republic in an Islamic Government system that works based on Religious methods of governance.
Even today, the image and ideas that the Green Movement must put forward is that it can include the maximum number of groups within itself. The very youth who are alienated from religion because of what the government is doing in the name Islam, would return if we act in the right way. This is extremely important for us. The mass returns of people to religion is only when they see tolerance, good slogans, and aptitude. In that case we have the least alienation from religion, from Islam and from all the values and ancient cultural legacies.
…We must convey the features [of the Green Movement] to people. We must tell them how we are not looking for power, or establishing our own. Let those who have power right now, remain in power, but they must abide by the natural and Islamic series of criteria. They my must not batter our people. They must let them cast their votes with comfort and peace of mind. They must, as the Islamic laws emphasize, free the media from constrain. We do not want a media out there what desecrates religion.”
They easily sentence people as harshly as one would sentence treason
Mr. Mousavi alluded to unknown prisoners [of the Movement] and said: “Today unfortunately you can see prisoners, other than the well known ones, with strange five, or six year sentences just because they attended the rallies of the 25th of Khordaad. We believe that this unacceptable to religion. This is inconsistent with every understandings of religion that we’ve come to know. What you are doing is proving that is introducing the Islam religion in such a way that a smallest dissent gets a sentence equivalent to military action to overthrow the government, and treason. As we speak, there are prisoners who are anonymous. Some of their files are lost. Some of them don’t get a visitor for months. They attend to the more well known ones, because their names go around on sites here and there. There are people in those cells whose future is very dark and uncertain. We believe that this is inconsistent with Islam.
What we say, is that even if you enforce the maximum punishments designated by Islam, those maximums would still be inconsistent with these actions you are taking. We don’t have these sentences in Islam. [If you had set the Islamic punishments] people would have like it because it would have been consistent with people’s beliefs and daily experiences. It is the same thing with matters of politics and economics. Where in Islam would you find a maxim that tells that you must go around the globe and make enemies? There is almost no country in the world that is without an official group of allies who they can meet and discuss the common issues. Even the Americans, as a superpower with their military power, nuclear weapons, expansive media, and massive capital that turns all around the globe, when they see that they have a problem with our nuclear concerns, they treat their problem differently. In other words, a country, that is certainly much wealthier and more powerful than us, tries to create common understanding even amongst his competitors like China and Russia to convince them to reach a general consensus on the nuclear files of Iran. Now, as for us, we not only do not pay any attention to such methods, but instead we just go around trying to create new enemies.
We must not give up [defending] the fundamental rights of the nation
Mr. Mousavi said: “We must not give up our fundamental rights. At the same time, we must not relate our incapabilities and ineptitudes to Islam. Those lacks have nothing to do with Islam. We can have a Islamic country, with the best of positions, and best of allies around the world. We can defend ourselves through right politics when necessary. As our nation has proved during eight years of holy defence [during the Iran-Iraq war] we are a nation that stands by their values to the last drop of blood. Though we have definitely missed the greatest of opportunities to develop the nation with the spike in oil prices, and though we put to waste great revenues made from the last 4, 5 years, unfortunately we just led the nation to harmful use of the revenues. What I say, is that these issues should be identified by those of our friends who are experts in economics and similarly with cultural issues by our cultural experts. Our experts should identify such issues and raise awareness amongst people so that the context for change can be provided.
We must advise the authorities with the interests of nation in heart
The least costly way to save the country from the problems
We must declare our solutions while stating that we are not looking out for own interests, and we are not after power
Mr. Mousavi said: “We must be compassionate, and kindly advise the authorities. We must tell them that the path they are going leads to nowhere. We announced a key subject in the 17th statement that was not paid the attention it deserved. We told them you should not think that the Green Movement doesn’t exist anymore when you sign a contract with someone. All you [in the authorities] have to do is to commit action to the four, five items, and you will see that the country would move towards a better condition. We must continuously voice our suggestions while emphasizing that we are not after any power or interest. We must tell that the least costly way to save the country from problems is for you to change you ways.”
Whoever talks in their opposition is labelled as Zionist and Traitor
Mousavi then focused on Foreign Policy and said: “When a important event is happening in foreign policy issues of a country and those in power want to decide, they try hard to consider the opinions of the opposition. At least take a lesson from your enemy whose government cabinet sits with their opposition party and discuss an important problem. Sessions like this come up one or two times every year and it happens all around the world.
Political Corpses that the government brought back to life
Mousavi believed: “Your methods of calling whoever opposes or suggests a solution other than yours a Zionist, or traitor and your ways of labelling them as devoted to U.S, or anarchist and anti-establishment, neither benefit your country, nor you. These methods and ways are promoting the [real] traitors and anti-establishment activists. The Poeple’s Mujahedin’s group with their atrocities inside the country and with their collaborations with Saddam during the war died in hearts and minds, stigmatized [as traitors] forever. When you relate the children of this land who pour to the streets in millions to such traitors, you are only promoting them. You are only promoting treachery. Moreover, you notice the non-violent pro-establishment movement inside the country who has fought during the holy defence [against Iraqi invasion] but you decide to ignore them, you even for as far as hiding their headbands that you kept as legacy from the war era so that they wouldn’t be called proponents of Imam [Khomeini] and Basij.
We must ask the Sires where have they taken the atmosphere of the society?
Mousavi recalled a meeting with families of one of the martyrs of the Green Movement and said: “I saw something very interesting when I was there. The contrast between pictures of this martyr before and after the movement moved me. They showed a young hipster, whit his feverish youthful energy has changed so much during the discussion of the elections and the rallies that he had put on a Imam Hossein headband with a light beard, looking like the Basiji fighters during the years of the holy defence; the young basijis whose mothers kissed them and bid them sent them to the war fronts. When there is an atmosphere like this in the country, we must ask the ruling Sires, how have you changed the atmosphere of our society [from that to what we have now?]
Some of the problems we are facing are because of the constrains
Regarding the frameworks of the Green Movement Mousavi said: “I do agree that we face the problem of lacking set goals and frameworks, but considering that whatever organization we create is targeted, and that we don’t have any newspapers or media, this lack of framework can become dangerous. As such, we must set some general frameworks. Fortunately, today in the society, and especially in the universities, there is a better and more rational environment and it’s natural too. In one of the universities they have forbidden 50 honour students to continue their studies, and detained 10 of them. Students have grown more cautious. This does not mean that they have stopped. It means that they are thinking more, looking for new ways and solutions.
Never violence, our solutions are only through non-violence
Mousavi was optimistic that hopefully no one would forget to implement solutions oriented with Islam and non-violence: “Hopefully youth would never yield to violence. Because with all the detainments, clampdowns you cannot trust the future of the society. In the long run violent movements are definitely harmful to us, and our Green Movement, and our nation. We must be careful that such a thing never happens.
In the end, Mousavi remembered the days of the holy defence and the war and said: “Our nation has sacrificed much. In the end, let me return to the war zones again. I always feel nostalgic for the spiritual times, and those enlightening atmosphere during that time. I always envy that the atmosphere may grow [so much against the establishment, and the defence forces] that we wouldn’t be able to talk about those days in the society anymore. I am filled with sorrow that right now this is what is happening. It seems that our values are losing their worth, and even those days are going under questioning.
Finally, Mir Hossein Mousavi prayed: “If God is willing, this crisis would ultimately end with benefits towards our nation so that we would not feel embarrassed in front of the blood and legacy of our martyrs.”