Democratic Republic of Iran جمهوری دموکراتیک ایران

The Only Way Forward

Should Ayatollah Boroujerdi become the symbolic leader of Iran’s opposition

While we respect the opposition leaders in Iran;  Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami, we believe that they can’t lead to ultimate victory.  The triad of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (including son, Mojtaba), Leadership of the Revolutionary Guard and the Ahmadinejad bloc (Hojjatieh) are firmly in control and are completely unwilling to compromise or negotiate.  The triad  is well aware that giving in to any of the demands by the oppositon will not only weaken their individual positions of power, but will, over the long term weaken the Islamic Republic, and probably lead to its eventual demise.  The experience during reformist President Khatami’s two terms (1997-2005), in which his policies of reform led to repeated clashes with the hardline and conservative elements within the government, of which almost all Khatami lost, sealed the fate of the reform movement in Iran.  A  reform movement that the regime at the time allowed (many believe they helped to create) in order to be a release valve for the steam of growing public discontent, so as not to allow a boiling over into the streets.  The reform movement was never going to be permitted to flourish into a major political bloc. This became very clear in the Parliamentary elections of 2004, when the Guardian Council ( which applys the will of Supreme Leader) banned  most of the reformist members of the parliament and all the candidates of the Islamic Iran Participation Front  party from running.  This led to the conservatives winning at least 70% of the seats.   The triad has been and will continue to purge the reform movement until their voice is but a faint whisper. 

But, the movement does owe much to the oppositon leaders, as without them, it would probably have perished long ago.   Although, since the Ashura protests, it has become clearer that the movement and the current leaders are on ever diverging paths.   While it should continue to support these individuals, a singular figure that the majority of  the movement could identify with and galvanize around (just as Khomeini was during the Islamic Revolution), someone who clearly symbolizes the desires of the movement, and has sacrificed everything for people’s freedom could be a powerful symbol and deliver the movements message to the regime “loud and clear.”  If  it is separation of mosque and state, individual freedoms along with, open, fair and free elections that are the movements ultimate goals, we can only find one man who can fit the bill, Ayatollah Boroujerdi.

 Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi is a Shi’a cleric who is currently imprisoned in Evin.  He advocates the separation of religion and government.  He opposes the concept of Velayat-e faqih ( rule by islamic jurists ) by which the Islamic Republic of Iran is based.  He first expressed his opposition to the Islamic government of Iran in 1994.  He said Iranians are “tired of the religion of politics and political slogans.” The Iranians “believe that they are loyal to the fundamentals of the true religion and the Prophet’s mission, but they are opposed to the politicization of religion and its exploitation by a group that has nothing to do with true Islam. Islam is the religion of tolerance, forbearance, and mercy, to the point where [the Qur’an] emphasized to us that ‘there is no compulsion in religion.”  For more than a decade, Boroujerdi defied the regime and was summoned several times before the special court for the clergy.  Over the years, he has been arrested, imprisoned and tortured on numerous occasions and his mosque has been expropriated.  Still, he continued to lead prayers in his home, and as the crowds grew, he then moved the services to his fathers mosque, Masjed-e Nour.  By July 2006, the mosque could no longer accomodate the masses who were coming to hear his sermons, so he started to hold services in stadiums.  The regime was beginning to feel threatened, so they turned up the heat.  Many of his followers started to camp outside his home in order to protect him.  For more than two months the regimes threats escalated, and on more than one occasion they tried to arrest him, but his followers prevented this.  The regime finally issued a warrant for Boroujerdi and the many supporters of the Ayatollah who had been living at his home in order to protect him. On October 7, 2006 a crowd of 1,000 or more supporters, including many women, gathered around his house, clashed with, and prevented his arrest by security forces.  Many were injured, but they also captured several security agents, although they eventually released them.  The security forces returned the following day,  October 8, 2006, and after  heated battles with  Boroujerdi’s supporters, finally arrested him and several hundred of his followers ( reported to be 172 women and 225 men).

 He and 17 followers were initially sentenced to death, but the death sentences were later dropped. On 13 August 2007 he was sentenced to serve one year in prison in Tehran, followed by ten years in prison in Yazd, although he currently is in Evin prison.  In addition to his sentence of 11 years’ imprisonment, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was also defrocked (banned from wearing his clerical robes and thereby from practicing his clerical duties), and his house and all his belongings were confiscated.  One of the charges against him was “mohareb” (warring against God), sounds familiar, doesn’t it? 

His grandfather was one of the leading religious leaders for five decades in pre-revolution Iran.  He also believed in the separation of mosque and state.  He eventually became the leading religious figure in Iran and was highly respected by Iranians.  To this day, many of the elder Iranians have his picture hanging on their walls, as does my father.  In the mid 50’s, Ayatollah Khomeini tried to recruit Boroujerdi in the campaign that was raised against the Bahai’s, but he refused.   His death in 1961, left a leadership vacumn, in which gave rise to Khomeini.  His son, the current Boroujerdi’s father, was also widely respected and he refused to support Ayatollah Khomeini’s’s efforts to establish the Islamic regime in 1979.  As a result of his refusal of support he was persecuted and imprisoned where he eventually died in 2002 under suspicious circumstances.  His followers and his son secretly buried his body in Masjed-e Nour, which then  became a focal point for prayer among his many followers.  Shortly thereafter, the regime ordered the desecration of his grave and the Masjed-e Nour mosque was taken over by the state.

 On 1 May 2009, Ayatollah Boroujerdi wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, requesting that international observers be sent to Iran in order to assist the Iranian people in an open referendum on the system of government. Apparently in retaliation for this letter, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was subjected to beatings on 5 May. He went on a hunger strike to protest the beatings and the suspension of his rights to make phone calls to his family and lawyer.

It is clear as day that Ayatollah Boroujerdi is the “only true religious leader” in Iran who represents all that is good in Islam and  defends to the death, the human rights, dignity and the true will of the Iranian people.  At least three generations of right minded religious leaders whom all supported the separation of religion and politics.  With all due respect for the current opposition leaders, they have horrible human rights records while they were in positions of power, they still support Khamenei, whom is ultimately responsible for, and could stop with but one order;  the arrests, beatings, rapes and murders of our brothers and sisters, and lastly, they still believe with all their heart, in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the greatness of its founder, Ayatollah Khomeini.

Petition to free Ayatollah Boroujerdi

 More info on Boroujerdi


Filed under: Ayatollahs, iran election, Iran News, Iranian protests, mohareb, revolution, ایران iran, ,

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A special note we would like to share with the brave and beautiful women of Iran; You have shown extraordinary courage, passion, pride, humility and humanity in the face of great injustice. The world has taken notice and we are all humbled by your strength and determination. If you are the future, then we all are comforted by how bright it will shine.

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