Shortly after the June 2009 Presidential election, Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent reformist politician and former Deputy Minister of Interior, was detained. He has remained in prison for almost all of the subsequent 28 months, refusing to apologise for his views and withdraw his challenge to the legitimacy of President Ahmadinejad.
In the name of God the merciful,
To the honorable Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
With all due respect, I write you this letter not because I wish to complain about the oppression and crimes committed against my friends and I, nor do I hope or expect to change your position and perspective regarding the affairs of our country or warn you about the current path our country is on. These matters have been brought to your attention, although to no avail, both directly and indirectly over the recent years by many a great individuals whose intelligence, experience, and integrity cannot be denied. As for us, we have made a covenant with our God and we continue on this journey trusting his judgment and putting ourselves in his all knowing hands. We have no expectations of kindness whatsoever of any of God’s creations.
My intent in writing you this letter is to remind you of the ideals and principles that were once considered one of the most fundamental and sacred principles of our movement, principles that are unfortunately ignored today. Our revolution did not claim to have a message for the world regarding developments in science and technology, nor did it seek to speak of democracy or freedom of speech, for many a great nations have taken significant steps in this regard and their vast experience in this area was a great asset to us and our revolution. What set our revolution apart from revolutions that took place in other parts of the world was its spiritual and moral message to humanity, in a world that is focused on consumption and materialism. It was this message that attracted the world’s attention to a religious revolution and the leadership of a spiritual man [Ayatollah Khomeini].
Regardless of whether or not the revolution was successful in conveying this message in the first decade after its inception or the subsequent decades since --- and there is much room for discussion and criticism of how effectively this message was conveyed --- there is no doubt that this issue was very close to the heart of the late Imam Khomeini. In his letter to [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev, he did not encourage him to transition from Marxism to democracy and freedom, for that is a path that humanity is inevitably taking today. The Imam’s intentions with his letter to Gorbachev as noted in his meeting with Eduard Shevardnadze was to open the doors to the heavens above to Mr. Gorbachev. That letter had only one message, to convey that the challenge did not lie in Gorbachev’s support of Marxism and was much deeper than his support of dictatorship or denial of basic rights and liberties, but rather his denial of morality, spirituality and divine laws. The Imam was warning Gorbachev to avoid falling into the trap of the material world and becoming a slave to consumerism, avoiding the same mistakes made by capitalistic societies in the West.
Today we are witnessing the uprising of one Muslim nation after another, standing up against tyranny and humiliation, overthrowing dictatorial regimes in their quest to experience a new world and a better life. If their goal is to pursue science and technology and the further development of their country and their personal financial well-being, then without a doubt, given the current inflation, unemployment rate, zero growth in GDP and declining economic conditions, all a direct result of the mismanagement, incompetence and inefficiencies of the current ruling government, it is best if you and I recommend that they not use Iran’s current model as one to emulate!
If their goal on the other hand, is to adhere to a high standard of ethics and spirituality, qualities that were integral to the message of our revolution and distinguished it from all other revolutions, as the leader of the Islamic Republic, are you able to provide them with any tangible and practical examples of such achievements by the regime? Do you plan to point them to the lies, deception and most significant corruption in the history of our nation? Or will you speak of the generosity and humanity that government officials have shown towards our citizens?
Honourable leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
We had always read and also heard from the authorities that the regime and Islamic rulers are responsible for ensuring the security of the families of political prisoners. Although this important principle was never implemented during the years of the revolution, nevertheless in the past we could have never imagined that the Islamic Republic would accuse citizens of providing financial support to the families of political prisoners, let alone arrest them and send them behind bars to the dark and damp cells of solitary confinement for long periods of time. It would have never occurred to us in our wildest dreams that the homes of the families of political prisoners would be raided by security forces as a result of holding Eftar ceremonies, their security threatened and their wives and children arrested during the holy month of Ramadan. We never imagined that the regime would put such emphasis on premeditated reactions, systematically arresting their critics and opponents, rendering them incapable of earning a living and in doing so depriving their loved ones of food and their livelihood. Iran’s Attorney General has explicitly stated that he was unaware of Mr. Khavari’s dual citizenship and the fact that his family lives in Canada [Mahmoud Reza Khavari, Managing Director of Iran's Bank Melli, reportedly resigned and fled to Canada after the recent £2.6 billion bank fraud.]
Undoubtedly, the security agents were also in the dark regarding Mr. Khavari, even though they are aware of every single detail regarding the private lives of the families of political prisoners in Iran, even going as far as threatening our citizens and intimidating and preventing their children from getting married. We never imagined that morality and humanity in our country would digress to such a degree that children would be deprived of a right to an education in Iran and abroad as a result of the activities and efforts of their fathers, let alone fathom the idea that their personal lives and future would be put in the hands of interrogators and security agents. We never dreamed that humanity and dignity would be ignored so such a degree in our country that the children of political prisoners, fearful of being banned from leaving the country and as such deprived of an education, would not dare to travel to their mother’s country, and mothers would also be banned from leaving the country as a result of the activities of their husbands and as a result be deprived of seeing their children who live abroad.
Proponents of velayat-e-faqih in Iran [clerical supremacy] in support of this doctrine argue that in order to execute the will of God, one requires power. Is cutting off the financial means of critics and proponents, pressuring their families and depriving their children of basic human rights such as the right to an education, the divine limits upon which velayat-e-faqih was established in Iran?
You undoubtedly remember as well as I do that when Mr. Bani Sadr [former President Abolhassan Bani Sadr] went into hiding before leaving the country, his family was arrested based on the orders of one of the judicial authorities so that he would be forced to turn himself in. At the time, the late Ayatollah Beheshti was very disturbed when he heard of this news and in addition to making sure that the judicial authority in question was punished, he ordered the immediate release of Bani Sadr’s family. Mr. Bani Sadr, subsequently fled the country and his family who were also not banned from leaving the country eventually joined him, so that I would be in a position to proudly recount this story today as a beautiful example and remind your excellency of the lost humanity, morality, spirituality in our nation.
The honorable Supreme Leader (Vali Faqih),
I neither associated with Mr. Bani Sadr, nor have I participated in any uprising against the regime with the likes of the MKO [the insurgent organisation Mujahedin-e-Khalq]. Fortunately, because I was arrested immediately after the elections, it is difficult at best to attribute imaginary charges such as conducting a velvet revolution, launching protests, and encouraging people to participate in anarchy and chaos to me. I have fortunately also not fled the country, but rather remain behind bars in your prison. Explain then why my wife who has done nothing but protest my arrest and incarceration, writing letters to her husband on her web blog, should be arrested in plain daylight, accosted by security agents and transferred to solitary confinement? Explain why she has now also been put on trial because she spoke out against the injustices imposed on her husband?
Our master Imam Ali once addressed those who viewed him as an infidel, stating that the following three rights will be respected with regards to them: 1) We will not deprive you of public funds, 2) We will not prevent you from entering a mosque in order to pray and 3) We will not fight with you unless you start the fight.
But the officials following your orders have deprived Shiites and their families and children of not only the nation’s public funds, but also of their jobs and a right to an education, only because they protested against the injustices committed against them. They are arrested and put on trial only because they dared to hold prayer services, asking God for the release of their husbands and those who sought to help them financially have been sent to solitary confinement.
Honourable leader of the Islamic Republic,
I have been in prison for approximately 2 1/2 years. During this time because I published my opinions regarding the challenges facing our nation in a completely legal manner, I have been illegally held in solitary confinement. My intention in writing this letter as previously stated is not to complain, nor do I expect you to address the oppression that is inflicted on your behalf. I only ask you one question. According to what moral criteria do the judicial authorities under your Excellency have the right to arrest my wife and put her on trial in an effort to pressure me and silence me from expressing my opinions with regards to the matters that concern our nation?
I do not worry about my wife being accused or arrested. Sentencing her will not prevent me from expressing my opinions regarding the matters that concern our nation. I have no doubt that my partner in life views this oppression and injustice as the continuation of a price we both chose to pay. My daughters also have a God who is kind, compassionate and holy on their side. I keep thinking about the fate of a regime that is on such a downward spiritual and moral spiral and the heavy price that our citizens will have to pay. All I know is that what is being practiced today in the name of religion and a religious state has no relation what so ever to religion and the authorities responsible for such acts have no relation with God or religion.
Seyed Mostafa Tajzadeh