The important statement of Mehdi Karroubi approaching the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s passing:
*Full english translation below videos(provided by Khordaad 88)
Approaching the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s passing, Mehdi Karroubi made a statement regarding Imam Khomeini’s governmental conduct. In his statement Mehdi Karroubi says: “They have damaged and weakened the Republic in the name of Islam and I bluntly say that we are now seriously concerned about the Islamic part of the regime.” Regarding Imam Khomeini’s view of spiritual leaders, he added: “Imam paid particular attention so that the spiritual leadership remains protected and does not get harmed.” Regarding Imam Khomeini’s conduct in abiding to the law, he added: “Both in his will and in his actions and conducts, Imam was strongly opposed to armed forces entering in political groups. [The armed forces] can protect the revolution but at the same time should not interfere so that one can get the vote or someone else.”
* We are approaching the anniversary of Imam [Khomeini.] As usual we wanted to hold speeches, organize rallies and travel to the provinces. Unfortunately, last year’s election and the unseen cases fraud had series of unfortunate incidents for our country. I believe, like many others, that the mood that those events had set are going to continue and disrupt the usual ceremonies for the anniversary of departure of Imam. Of course, presence of people on that magnificent day is great and very important, but events that followed after the election has definitely left their stain on these ceremonies. For example, there were three nights of programs every year. This year, there’s only one day limited to a Friday prayer. We see that the rest of the programs are organized by the forces in Basij and Revolutionary guards, and it is people within the military who give the most interviews. The organizers of course commit to what they do, and it’s their duty too, but in their interviews they don’t content to speeches on the day, instead they decide ways to go ahead for others, namely the siblings of the great Imam Khomeini. Well, the grandchild of Imam spoke, and he knows what to say and how to say it. We usually get a chance for interviews, but this year they either didn’t interview, or when they did they did not reflect it in the news. They seem to be afraid. It comes down to the fact this year we didn’t get an opportunity for interview and as such we thought about organizing this session so that we can do our duty and have a discussion about Imam Khomeini.
That is why I was thinking that I should talk about Imam, about his resistance and tolerance, about his firm decision making, about his proactive thinking and vision for the future. I wanted to talk about the decisions that opened up blockades that seemed like a dead-end to all else. These require long discussions that deserve more extensive time. Accordingly, I was thinking that this year, I talk about what we are facing in the country.
Some talk as though Imam belongs to them. They talk as though they are the only followers and the rest are not. They accuse whoever is critical of the election results. They accuse them of being agents of Mosad and CIA. They don’t stop at any insults. They say things like these people should not have objected to the election results, or that they were traitors from the beginning and the election is just a reason for us to see the true treacherous faces of dissidents. They believe that even if the dissidents were good people they failed to prove themselves during the crisis that unfolded after the elections. They are very active in attaching these allegations to us, and they have all the media outlets, and the continue what they do.
We try to be patient, and sometimes we reply back. but today I was thinking because of the anniversary of Imam, I must add some new points. We deny their allegations. We have not deviated from the path that Imam laid out. We are resisting based on the goals of that very path. If you see a problem in that. Let’s sit down and debate and our dear people will judge. We ask them to find whoever they want and we’ll sit down and debate. But they haven’t responded, and probably won’t in the future. Because, they know very well how they are unravelling all the roots of this revolution. They know very well how they are undermining all the goals that Imam had in mind. They know how they are creating a deviation from Imam’s path and imposing their own frameworks on Imam’s path. Now I have to allude to some very important and key points that Imam had in mind for the revolution which these people [in power now] have tried to undermine. Maybe in the end we would know who has really gone astray from the path that Imam laid out. Maybe which groups have become captive to the sweet taste of power, and have forgotten all about the goal and aims of Imam.
Imam said one word: “Islamic Republic.” Regarding the ’republic’ Imam said that ‘vote of the people is the main criteria.’ He said all the entities in the government should be directly or indirectly result of the vote of people. Criteria for all power should be the vote of people.
Let me point out what happened in the Third Parliament, 1 year after the departure of Imam. They created the ‘expdient monitoring’ program that allowed barring the people from entering the parliament election process. They filtered out many who had been in the Parliament for 4, 8 or even 12 years. They filtered out many other outside the parliament. They tried to create a parliament that they wanted. When the Parliament was created it hosted people of all thought and views. It was a Parliament that contributed two presidents to the establishment. When those two were martyred. It contributed more. It contributed ministers of Labor, of Education, of Internal Affairs and of Culture. That Parliament is now turned into this new [useless] Parliament. A new Parliament that legislates a bill to quicken the process of executions. I respect the great members of the Parliament, but we must understand what costs we had to pay to have this Parliament. So, I am saying that the selective ‘expeident monitoring’ process that created a filter for the vote of people through the Guardian Council. They hold the right to approve or disapprove eligibility of people to enter the parliamentary election process. They denied people who served as representatives of people for more than 20 years with the tiniest excuses. They removed many people who were of great value to the establishment.
Although in 1369, a year after Imam Khomeini’s passing, during the second Assembly of Experts election, instead of the faculty members of Scholarly Islamic Institutes, they decided to make the Guardian Council (appointed by the supreme leader) responsible for checking candidates’ eligibility. Some wanted to take part in choosing the supreme leader and monitor his role, which is the constitutional responsibility of Assembly of Experts. I want to add that members of the assembly also have some oversight on supreme leader’s appointments into different committees. Many innocent and devoted individuals such as Ayatollah Ehsanbakhsh and Mr. Najmy where disqualified from the second round elections for Assembly of Experts.
The first issue that arose was seemingly random qualification process. I can never forget Mr. Abasifard. His candidacy was tested once, was approved but he was not elected. He joined the Judiciary as an officer which put him in a better position to run for office. Two years later, when he decided to run for office again, his candidacy was tested once more. I was in Qom when I heard about this and told one of my friends there that they probably want to get rid of him. I couldn’t explain why a person would have to be tested twice in two years any other way. I was right. He was tested once more and disqualified. Then he went to Khoozestan to run for office from there. This time, his candidacy was approved and he was elected. Two or three years ago, they once again disqualified him. This means that the Guardian Council must first approve the election. How is this following Imam’s teachings that asked us all to put people’s votes first and depended on elections?
They have justified weakening the republic by pretending to make the country more Islamic. But let me assure you that the Islamic nature of this government is seriously in jeopardy.
Imam Khomeini used to create a balance between different parties. He protected the parties within the regime but he also warned them if they stepped out of line. He dealt with the issues that arose from this.
For instance, we had a meeting with the clergymen about the second election in which Mr. Fakhr Al Din Hejazi was disqualified. Imam Khomeini sent a message and ask why Mr. Hejazi, an outspoken veteran, who had previously been elected with the most number of votes was sacked. Or in another meeting when Ayatollah Yasrabi was disqualified from running in the first Assembly of Experts I don’t want to talk about why he was disqualified. Imam called one of the attendants. He asked why Ayatollah Yasrabi was sacked and asked the council to qualify his candidacy.
Or in the third parliamentary elections after Mr Sheikh Mohamaad Yazdi did not get elected Imam Khomeini immediately made him a member of guardian council , or another example is Ayatollah Tabasi who was from city of Mashhad and was the head of the Imam Reza holy shrine trusteeship . Some of our friends had organized a meeting at Gohar Shad mosque which although was part of the holy shrine complex was directed separately. Few speakers in the meeting were not on good terms with Mr.Tabasi and they showed that in their speeches. Ahmad Khomeini with request of Imam Khomeini called the organizers to object and said Mr Tabasi is Imam Khomeini’s representative and head of the trusteeship, your conduct there is not advisable. In other words Imam always tried to keep a balance between various sides; there are more stories than what I recounted. Now this is not the case. The approach [by supreme leader] is one sided and partial. And this has led to many problems for the country. Take the example of parliament which was formed by means of disqualifying thousands of legitimate candidate and installing current members , yet they still have serious issues with the government and the parliament is incapable of performing its responsibilities.
Another important point I want to discuss with you is regarding the issue of Marjaa [Grand Ayatollah]. The most important [religious and social] capital of Shia during the absence of 12 Shiite Imam are the Marjas [Grand Ayatollahs]. They have been support and refuge for Shia Islam in difficult moments of its meandering history.
I would like to refer you to the story of Grand Ayatollah Mizary Shirazi and his fatwa banning usage of tobacco during Iran’s constitutional revolution of 1906. Or stories related to Ayatollah Haj Kazem Yazdi who lived in Najaf during the British siege of Baghdad. Despite warning from British that the city of Najaf will come under attack and he should leave, he refrained and said the people Najaf are all my family ,I cannot take them all with me or leave them behind. Or the stories related to martyrdom of Ayatollahs in the same war. In the story of Iranian constitutional revolution , Shia Marjas played an important role due to series of events which consequently gave them a unique and distinguished position in the affairs of the time. More important than these is the story of Imam Khomeini himself. The fact that Imam Khomeini was a Marjaa was certainly the most important factor in overthrowing the previous regime.
Imam Khomeini was a great Marjaa and he had numerous students. The head of Savak unit in holy city of Qum was a man named Sergeant Ghalghaseh. This was at the time that Ayatollah Broujerdi was Marjaa. He would prepare reports on the Qum seminary and Ayatollahs and send them to Central Savak office in Tehran. These documents are available today. Savak knew the person in charge of operation in Qum should have religious, popular appeal, someone who would socialize with everyone and attend all prayers. In one of his reports he mentioned that among the scholars in Qum, Ayatollah Khomeini has the largest number of students. Between 500-600 students participate in his classes. At that time having 50-100 pupils was a large number , the average was around 10, 20 or even 30. So he reported about Imam Khomeini’s popularity among students. Savak [later] tried to strip Imam Khomeini from title of Marjaa. Even in interrogating other prisoners they would ask them which Marjaa they followed. They wanted to establish the fact that Imam Khomeini is not a Marjaa and he is simply a dissident like some other Ayatollahs. But because of Imam Khomeini’s influence they did not succeed. Imam Khomeini considered it very important that the status and position of Marjaas should be revered and respected. I was speaking in Friday prayers once and in my speech I attacked one the Marjaas of the time whom had been visited by Farah [former queen of Iran under Shah’s regime] and the Marjaa has given a ring to the Shah as a gift. It was a turbulent time in Iran then , I scolded him in my speech refereeing to a Marjaa who sends a ring to the Shah. Imam who was listening to the speech immediately called his associated and asked them to tell radio to remove those words from the speech that was going to be broadcasted. I realized later on that Imam Khomeini has ordered that part of speech to be censored on radio and I thought he would also question me.
Another story in this regard was when Ayatollha Taheri Khoraam Abadi was going to Pakistan. And the Shiite population there requested a representative on behalf of Imam Khomeini as their Marajaa. Imam Khomeini told him to let people themselves decide which Marjaa to follow and make donation to. Do not interfere with that issue and only focus on discussing the Islamic Revolution.
The late Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini’s] vigor along with his victory [in the revolution] would return some who would have otherwise wandered away. Before I became the Imam’s representative in [the] Hajj [institute], some of the officials there had told the clergymen of the caravans to answer people’s religious queries based on Imam [Khomeini’s] fatwas, when he heard of this, he was very disappointed and told them that this is not correct as people follow different grand Ayatollahs. Anyhow, the Imam completely respected the rights of the clergy and other grand Ayatollahs. But look at how the grand Ayatollahs are treated today and what has become of them and the religious seminaries. We know what role the Intelligence Ministry, the armed forces and some of the clergy are playing in this, and what they and some of these organizations have done. They gather in front of the houses [of some of the grand ayatollahs] in front of the Jame’e Modaressin’s [Society of the teachers of the Qom Islamic Seminary] office and trigger various events.
Are they following the example of the late Imam? Has this been our fault or the groups who now have the government in their control?
Three issues were very important for the Imam, one of them was abiding by the law. In the Imam’s example of governance, he insisted on following the law except for very urgent matters for example matters that came up during the war.
I want to relate a very interesting story in this regard for the dear listeners and readers:
During the first parliament [after the revolution] we had to write the legal statutes for the Revolutionary Guards and Intelligence Ministry. It was stated that the head of the Intelligence Ministry must be a mojtahed  and it was passed in the parliament. Now, the Imam had heard about this and was against it, however he had thought that it will not be passed in the parliament [due to lack of votes], so he did not notify the parliament of his disapproval and that he though it is not appropriate to use the word “mojtahed” when dealing with issues of intelligence and security. I myself heard from Ayatollah Soltani Tabatabaei, the late Haj Ahmad Khomeini’s [Ayatollah Khomeini’s son] that he related that he was with the Imam when the parliament speaker visited him and he [the Imam] expressed his disappointment at the head of the intelligence being a mojtahed. The main issue I want to emphasize here is that the parliament speaker then said that we can take the law back and modify it if it displeases you, but the Imam replied that now that it has been passed and is part of the law, I will not interfere. We have many and many of these examples from the Imam.
Mr. Tabatabaei -may he rest in peace- said that after the parliament speaker left, I asked him why he was so disappointed about this, and the Imam replied: “In such an organization that deals with security and intelligence, they have a very professional approach and atmosphere, and the presence of a mojtahed there would even result in more problems”. And nowadays we are witnessing the kind of problems that this has caused.
Now I’m not going to emphasize on this, as this was the Imam’s manner and personal taste, and whoever does not agree with it is not against “velayat faqih”. What I want to say is that the Imam abided by the law and insisted on it being implemented. He also was, both according to his life example and his will, against the armed forces interfering in politics. He believed that they should defend the revolution, but not back any particular political group or party or interfere in elections.
Is this in the interest of the establishment? The armed forces, the Basij and Revolutionary
Guards, taking the fate of the elections into their armed hands? We know that this is happening and I’m clearly stating it without shying away. We see that representatives get into the parliament with their support. I don’t mean to say that there are no honorable MP’s with people’s real vote behind them, but some members have entered the parliament backed by the Basij and Revolutionary Guards and have violated the rights of other candidates by doing so. And today their strings are pulled by the same forces, and they make speeches given to them and do nothing but what they are ordered.
The Imam emphasized that military force should not interfere with politics. Today everyone claims they attack people because they are against the military and Basiji, unfortunately by doing so they tarnish the image of so many institutions. I do not mean to sound disagreeable however, the truth is that their sense of morality has been destroyed in the eyes of the people. If not, then let’s ask the people openly what they really think of these institutions. Are the Basiji today the same as the Basiji of the past? What about the Imam’s teachings to live a simple life and not abuse the country’s assets or use them to create problems for the ruling government?
I have briefly presented some of the Imam’s strong points of view and ask these gentlemen to respond to them. We were protectors. We sought to have free elections. We sought for justice to prevail. We fought to make sure that military force is not used in elections. We worked hard to preserve the spiritual authority of the Marjaas. In response, they attacked the homes of the Marjaas. During Friday prayer, they verbally attacked a well known grand Ayatollah who was abroad. One gentleman came and verbally attacked another Marjaa for political reasons – he verbally attacked him when I had heard the grand Ayatollah speak only fondly of this gentleman. What I am trying to say is that the Imam tried hard to make sure everyone is included and that we all work towards the Imam’s ideals. We are resilient. We will continue to speak our mind and we won’t pay attention to all this blabber. They need to answer to the people. There are many open questions. The Imam would be disheartened with today’s events. He was very sensitive to the handling of the country’s assets. What would his response be if he knew the extent to which these assets are being destroyed?
The Imam was a leader who paid attention to the lives of our people. He was kind and compassionate. He believed in their rights. He was against willfulness and never allowed one person to infringe upon the privacy of another. If I had more time, I would tell you more about the way the Imam dealt with willfulness, even when it came to those close to him.
Peace to all,