Dr. Mohammad Maleki, former chancellor of the University of Tehran, is a long-time dissident. As the first post-revolution chancellor of the University of Tehran, he attempted to institute direct democratic management of the institution. Among other subjects, this letter refers to the destruction of that experiment, and his own imprisonment. While in prison during the 80s in Iran he witnessed executions and torture.
This letter to Ayatollah Khameini from Dr. Maleki warns against mismanagement and hubris. It has been translated in full from the original Persian.
In the name of god
Dedicated to Sattar Beheshti and other martyrs on the path to freedom and equality
Doubt not, tomorrow is your turn
My dear countrymen, free Iranians,
About 6 months ago (22 May 2012), I wrote in a letter to the rulers of the regime:
“I know that the story of the rulers of this land is the story of Pharaoh who claimed to be God, who was drowned in a river of ignorance and arrogance, who struggled to retain his evil power up until the last moment. But is this regime wise enough to think about the destination of its path at the final days of its life?”
Now six months have passed from the time the letter was written. Many changes and evolutions have occurred at the national, regional, and international level during this period, each of which could bring a shock to the frozen minds of this people. However, the oppressors are so entrapped in the loose network of their illusions that they cannot feel the shock until the impact is too huge for them to be able to groan.
I wrote in the letter:
“Before the sound of silence of Iranians is so loud as to shake and destroy the palace of the oppressors’, I want to announce for the last time that people have lost their patience. They cannot witness the destruction of their beloved land any more. People cannot see their country burned any more. This is the last warning to the rulers of tormented Iran.”
Now, six months after that last warning and the negligence of the rulers, their final days is close. It can be clearly felt. I want to have a word with the main player in the scene of this oppression and disorder. I want to have a word with Mr. Seyed Ali Khamenei. I want to write about the path he has passed to reach the position he holds today.
Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, I found him a man interested in literature, poetry, music, and art; a man of speech, a man capable of and talented in writing, a man interested in dialogue with youth, especially revolutionary and MKO students of whom many of those in power today were proud of in those days.
However, as we approached Shah’s final days, the gap between Seyed Ali Khamenei and his former friends and companions increased. He came closer to the people who called themselves “Hezbollahi,” [of the party of God] the people with the slogan: “The only party is Hezbollah, the only leader is Rouhollah.” After being appointed as one of the leaders of Islamic Republic party, in order to achieve power he suppressed youth, students, his own friends, and opposition groups who were not satisfied with the activities of the party. The same cleric who claimed to be anti-oppression, the man who had been imprisoned and sent into exile several times, was now the supreme leader and rightful! successor to the Imam Zaman. He was dominant over anyone and anything. Now he claims that “I’m your mighty God.”
Mr. Seyed Ali Khamenei! Now that your power spell is broken by the stone of public uprising, I want to share a word with you as someone who knows you from the old days. You may believe that death is the final destination of all of us. However, we will undoubtedly have different deaths. You and your allies have surely planned for that day, but only God knows to what extent you will be able to realize your plans. My story is different though:
I do not know my destiny,
I do not know where in this ruined land I shall die,
I do not know what I will harvest in my life,
I just wish though – After my death
Someone among my friends,
A bewildered poet,
Clamors: People! He carried the gallows on his shoulders his whole life; he died in love…
Yes Mr. Khamenei! You and I will live more or less for 80 years. But the difference is that I spent 50 years hoping Iran and Iranians would be free, while you spent 50 years loving power and office. I do not know who the winner of this gamble was; you or me? I gambled all I had on freedom and equality. I am left with nothing but a whim to have something to gamble with again. But you were seemingly the winner of this gamble. You have “power” and “office” and, I do not know what other ambitions and fantasies. Sometimes when I hear your speeches I feel that you are so distant from reality. Recently, in Northern Khorasan, you mentioned two civil movements. The first one was the demonstrations after 2009 presidential elections. You called the demonstrators a group of seditious people, while I saw them hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of people defending their votes and announcing the fraud in elections ordered by you. The second one was the demonstrations in Tehran’s bazaar. You called the demonstrators West-followers who were only capable of setting some trashcans on fire, while I saw thousands of people in the footage. The question is, how can one explain this obvious difference? Either my eyes were seeing more than the real numbers, or your eyes were seeing fewer.
Mr. Khamenei! I do not know how you are reported on concerning the situation of people and society and who does it in your office, but do not take the programs planned for your trips too seriously and believe that people are so willing to see you during these trips. Just for once give an order not to close offices and schools and forcefully bring rural people to see you. In that case, you would see clearly what it is that brings people together for your visit: force and money and dissimulation, or interest in the regime and its symbol, the Supreme Leader?
Let me write about the referendum once again. An eight-year war was seemingly over with the signing of resolution 598 of the United Nations Security Council by Mr. Khomeini, leaving behind a lot of financial loss and human casualties. After the death of Ayatollah [Khomeini], the constitution was changed in favor of Supreme Leader. The changes restricted the rights of people and a referendum was held on the new constitution. I do not want to speak about how the referendum was arranged now. But the important point is that the Supreme Leader became an absolute Supreme Leader. This increased authority of the leader and now you, as the absolute Supreme Leader, have absolute power and are not accountable to anyone. You can issue a Supreme Leader’s decree and nullify any decision made in any of three main powers of the country. The examples are your decree in the early days of the sixth parliament, regarding press law, and your recent decree that stopped interrogation of the president by the parliament.
The so-called Reform Government began its plans, focusing on rule of law, democracy and civil society. Two years passed and the disaster of attack on University Avenue [dormitory] showed that in such an authoritarian regime governed by the Supreme Leader, everyone is just a powerless service provider. Almost 10 years after the second referendum on IRR constitution (1989), I wrote in the article “What is the Reformist Movement and Who is a Reformist?” dated September 2000:
“It should be admitted that our problems after the Islamic Revolution stem from the constitution and its contradictions. This tumor needs surgery today. After two decades, those who have not voted for this version of constitution should be gathered and a free referendum should be held. If Iranians vote for the current constitution and the position of Supreme Leader in it, no one should have the right to challenge it for one decade” (Reformist Book, Strategy and Tactics, p. 223-224).
Mr. Khamenei! I discussed the referendum over and over again since then. However, you seemingly considered it as detraction from your dignity to answer a Muslim and follow the way of prophet, Ali, and the other Imams you always speak of. Indeed, actions speak louder than words! You arrange predefined elections and gather people during your trips and consider these as a kind of referendum. But why do you not arrange only one really free referendum on the guardianship of the jurist regime under the observation of international missions?
Do accept that the regime is in its final days. Do not trust in the information your allies provide you. Their only concern is their interests. At the end they will leave you on your own. Now, Iranians see you as responsible for all their problems. It was you who denied, and is still denying, the endless problems of the people. It was you who made incorrect decisions and let foreigners impose sanctions on Iranians and make their lives miserable. It was you who implemented strategies that brought the entire world against Iran. It was you who showed a green light to his men to take terrorist actions everywhere and shed the blood of Iranian intellectuals. You, as former president and current supreme leader, are responsible for mass killings of the 80s and martyrdoms of Hoda, Haleh, Neda, Saba, Sattar and many others.
Yes, it was you who called the demonstrations of people “sedition.” It was you who called demonstrators slaves of western countries. It was you who allowed his men to imprison, torture, and sometimes even kill the best children of this nation: students, teachers, workers, lawyers, journalists, and ordinary people, just for criticizing the regime. It was you who did not have mercy even on his critical allies and put them under house arrest. It was you who after the costly Iran-Iraq war allowed the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] gain absolute power to take control of all military, political, economic, cultural, and security affairs. Today the IRGC, with a creeping military coup, has taken control over the government, parliament, and high ranking posts and with its mismanagement has put the country on a steep path to collapse and destruction.
Today, Iran is totally managed by your appointed commanders of the IRGC. Was the intention of our martyrs to let a group take advantage of war and collect enormous wealth and make themselves castles like Korah? Why should we even go that far? It was you who intervened against your own way after the 2009 election and prior to the Guardian Council’s endorsement made Ahmadinejad a fire that has burned the Iranian people since 2009, recently engulfing you as well. Today, Ahmadinejad, who you preferred over your old friends like Hashemi Rafsanjani, stands against you and your appointees at the legislature and judicial powers, bullies you and if you mess with him he “will reveal secrets.” Isn’t this just the result of your incompetence and mismanagement?
I want to have a word with my friends who still try to stop you from ruining the country; those who try to correct you. If Moses could lead Pharaoh to the right direction, we can do it as well. We know that it is only people’s anger that determines the destination of oppression. History will take its path. The destination was defined long ago.
Have you read the correspondence between the president and the head of judiciary? Is your approved president who writes the following to the head of judiciary?
“In public speeches I have raised issues related to justice enforcement and careful investigation on restoring people’s rights. Especially, in the judicial session dated 24.6.2012 in Mashhad, I clearly voiced my concerns regarding in accordance with the fundamental rights mentioned in constitution, including provisions of articles 2, 3, 6, 9, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39”.
What a surprise! Did Mr. President not know that the rights have been violated for around 33 years? Where was he when thousands of men and women were imprisoned, tortured, and executed in 1980s? Ahmadinejad wrote in the same letter:
“While you easily accuse a president who executes the constitution as the representative of people, could we consider judicial immunity for our people who rely on no one but God?”
It is the masterpiece of the president that he believes there is no judicial immunity for people in a guardianship system. Courts and judges have never defended people’s rights against powerful cruel rulers.
However, the response your appointed head of the judiciary gave to the president is worth keeping in mind as well:
“Your story is the story of a king who appropriated properties and attached them to his own kingdom and still claimed that people were expropriating the king’s lands”.
He wrote in the same letter:
“I do not want to speak about the role of some executive systems and authorities in this broad corruption now. I will talk about that later”.
As you can see, they are talking about appropriating properties and the role of authorities in broad corruption. Why do you believe that informing people about this process is ‘conspiracy’? Have the people in the Islamic regime become a “stranger” who should not have the right to be informed about what is going on in their own country?
Mr. Seyed Ali Khamenei! Where have you dragged the country? These are not my words, nor those of other dissidents. These are words disclosed by your highest ranked officials whom you entrusted. When it comes to collusion and torture and execution, executive and judicial powers seem to work hand in hand. The ministry of Intelligence arrests critics, interrogates them, issues court orders for them, and finally sends the orders to courts and judges to be implemented!!! While they follow the orders everything is good between the two powers. But when it comes to violations against each other, they tear each other apart.
And about justice… let me speak about one more memory. You surely remember it. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, when Ayatollah Taleghani insisted that I accept the position of chairman of the university, I set one condition. My condition was, in accordance to his [Taleghani’s] idea of governing governmental institutes through councils to ensure the direct role of the people, that councils composed of real representatives of students, professors, and employees should manage the university. We followed this process, but you and your party did not like it and started to conspire. According to the famous recording and following the plans of the political secretary of the Islamic Republic party, Hassan Ayat, you decided to close universities. The management and supreme councils of the university opposed this decision. However, on April 23,1978 your party mobilized Hezbollahis to attack, injure, and kill a large number of students and occupy universities. When the management and supreme councils resigned in response to this aggression, you took advantage of your position as chief clergy of Friday prayers and accused my friends and me of “conspiracy” on April 25,1978, saying we needed to be held accountable to the public. The day after that (Saturday April 26,1978) we requested an open debate on television to make it clear to the public who was the conspirator. We repeated the request several times, but you ignored it and imprisoned me in Evin Prison. Who is responsible for those five years of imprisonment and torture I went through? I told you then that you have accused me of “conspiracy” and if you cannot prove it, you are no longer fair and the lacking “justice and virtue.” During your period as Supreme Lader, you accused many others, including your friends and companions. Today, after three decades, it has been proven that your incompetence as Supreme Leader is disastrous for the country. According to the fifth principle of your own constitution, you are not eligible to hold the position. The principle says:
“During absence of the 12th Imam, leadership of Muslims should be undertaken by a just, informed, brave and efficient religious jurisprudent.”
Principle 111 of your own constitution clarifies:
“Whenever a supreme leader is unable to perform his responsibilities or lacks one of the requirements mentioned in principles 5 and 109, or is revealed not to have had one of the requirements from the beginning, he will be discharged from his position.”
Therefore, you should humbly present your resignation to the great Iranian people and confess that, according to the situation, it has been proven that the guardianship system is unable to perform its duties. You should accept that the people have the right to select their type of government in an open and free referendum under supervision of international organizations, in order to avoid the destruction and killing we see in Libya, Syria, and some other countries. Mr. Khamenei! Do not doubt. Tomorrow will be your turn and this letter is my final warning to you.
We all shall return to god…
“Believers! Why do not you perform what you say? God hates that you speak of what you do not perform” – Qoran, Saf Surah, verses 2 and 3.
Dr. Mohammad Maleki
Translated for Arseh Sevom by Peyman Majidzadeh
Do your part to lift the pain of sanctions on Iranian families.
Dear Catherine Ashton:
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the effects the implementation of sanctions are having on average Iranians. We are particularly concerned that items that are not sanctioned, such as medication and humanitarian goods are not reaching the people in Iran.
This is a time of great suffering in the region. We want to ensure that we are not further contributing to the suffering because of the denial of access to a payment channel for humanitarian items. We know the intention of the sanctions is to put pressure on Iran’s ruling elite. We worry that this is not the reality.
The brunt of the suffering falls on women and children and the most vulnerable in society. They suffer the consequences in very real ways. They lose their incomes, their homes, and their access to life-saving medication. Some of this suffering can be alleviated by facilitating the seamless implementation of the existing humanitarian exemptions. These include financial transactions related to medications, basic needs, and other items that are currently not sanctioned.
We ask the European Union to create a payment channel to accept transactions from Iran. This channel should be closely scrutinized. This will allow much needed financial transactions for medications and basic needs to take place.
It is crucial at this time when the people of Iran are desperately trying to make their own voices heard that we show we are listening. They went to the polls in an attempt to show their own government that they wanted reform and better relations with the outside world. We need to show we are listening.
Please help to avert a humanitarian disaster. Allow Iranians access to the international banking system to purchase medications and humanitarian goods.