Mehdi Karoubi’s Second Letter to Hashemi Rafsanjani: What Is Your Answer to People Who Are Questioning the Duties of the Assembly [of Experts] Presided over by You under Such Circumstances?
Source: Islamic Republican News Agency (IRNA) http://www2.irna.ir/fa/news/view/menu-234/8807046059143439.htm
Date: 5 Mehr 1388 (September 27, 2009)
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Honorable President of the Assembly of Experts
This is the second letter which I have written to you following the recent pseudo-elections to the presidency. I wrote the first because I had heard some very unpleasant and disturbing news from among the arrestees and I saw it as my duty to look into these events in accordance with your legal position and not allow transgressions against the life and property and honor of the people to become an ordinary occurrence. Unfortunately, this letter had no effect among the officials and you saw how negligence and contempt for the people’s rights has incinerated the trust we had harvested and ruined our system’s regard. Of course, the officials know the interest of their government. And so, if that letter accomplished nothing, I said to myself that perhaps it was beyond you to look into this letter.
But now I write this second letter to you because I saw that a session of the Assembly of Experts held and what needed to have been raised in it was not and what ought to have been investigated by members of this Assembly was not investigated. In a word, the Assembly of Experts, which much be the most distinguished supervisory institution in the Islamic Republic, has been turned into an ineffective institution. The result of this session was simply a few speeches and a statement which could have been issued without convening the session and gathering the esteemed members of this Assembly and exerting so much effort.
And so I decided to write this letter to you and remind you of the courage of His Eminence Imam Khomeini and the revolutionary forces of that age of monarchist oppression and remind you of the emphasis that the Imam and his disciples, such as you and myself, put on standing up to oppression and tyranny, and remind you that the Assembly of Expert’s current philosophy and its members’ responsibilities so that you yourself can judge what your responsibilities were and are in these current dangerous circumstances, and to what degree you have protected the prestige of the seat in which you sit and to what extent you have defended the revolution in the post of presidency of the Assembly of Experts, the most important aim of which is to confront injustice and the violation of the people’s rights.
Honorable Mr. Hashemi,
Imam Khomeini during difficult and dangerous conditions fought hand to hand the system which was the embodiment of foreign support, armed to the teeth, which had spilled the youth’s valuable blood, in the darkness of Pahlavi absolutism, to defend Islam and the people’s freedom from absolutism and imperialism. You, who were one of the Imam’s disciples and went into battle at his side know that if it were not for his divine belief and firm will, confronting the Shah’s absolutist power and royal tyranny and that heroism and self-sacrifice would not have been a simple matter. You surely remember there were very few comrades who were of like mind in the ranks of the clergy about struggling against tyranny and absolutism under those terrifying conditions. It was a dangerous time, a time of prison and torture and arrest and exile and moving from house to house and homelessness. There was neither a great likelihood of victory nor a plan for the division of the spoils. Faith and a heart-felt belief in Islam and justice and the people ruled our hearts, and the urge to march in the desert to the Kaaba. That courage and self-sacrifice led by His Eminence the Imam of the Islamic and anti-absolutist revolution resulted in our now being its inheritors, and its thirst for justice is not limited to the borders of Iran, but has a world goal, including the land of Palestine and Noble Qods [Jerusalem].
Honorable Mr. Hashemi.
I, as one of the disciples of the Imam’s school, consider myself indebted to him and his courageous leadership, and have promised myself to go into battle at the side of his thought and protecting that enormously valuable Islamic and anti-absolutist inheritance until the end of my life. What concern is it that my office and that of Mehdi Karoubi’s party is sealed and his newspaper is closed and even his comrades are in prison for the sake of the Islamic Republican system? What concern is it that vicious newspapers called Iran or Vatan or ”Zamin” or Keyhan attack me and the public treasure is spent on their abuse and they are paid for this and the national media is turned into a partisan and political armory against me and even the sacred Friday prayers are used for their political ends, turned into a center to attack the late Imam’s comrades. But I consider suffering all these catastrophes sweet, recalling what fateful and consuming and terrible storms arose during those hard times before and after the revolution and how the unparalleled will of the Imam and the iron firmness of his comrades turned the cruelty of SAVAK and Pahlavi’s henchmen into the delight of blood triumphing over the sword and the victory of truth over falsehood. My lot is so sweet because of this victory that the bitterness of certain passing disasters has not and will not have an effect on me. I well know that you, too, experienced all those disasters and hardships riding into battle at the side of His Eminence the Imam [Khomeini] and, as opposed to certain others, you know that the Islamic Republican system is based on extremely valuable capital and much courage. You served this system for thirty years and know what disasters and stages full of danger this system passed in the struggle with eclecticist and apostate groups and what a price was paid to uphold the Islamic system and establish a republican government. Alas, though, what have we accomplished with all this courage and thirst for justice and confrontation with absolutism? Where have we come? I see that [Assembly of] Experts convened and you not only did not bring yourself to utter a word of criticism of the conditions governing the country or make any criticisms in accordance with your duties, but more curiously yet, you were absent at the closing of the session despite the importance that it had in such perilous times. I asked myself, is this the same Akbar Hashemi with that spirit which we saw in him before and after the revolution? I recall how you … courageously raised issues even in the Imam’s presence whenever you saw it as necessary, even if they went counter to the Imam’s perspective. I recall a meeting in which we were in His Eminence the Imam’s presence and he related his will and testament to us and asked our opinions and all spoke in favor of it, but you had something to say and did not hide it, but spoke out, and the Imam, too, agreed with the grandeur of your speech and acted in accord.
Honorable Mr. Hashemi.
You have been placed by the vote of the people and their representatives in the Assembly of Experts at the head of an institution which is the most sensitive and most important institution in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution. It is an institution which, according to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Islamic_Republic_of_Iran | Article 108]] of the Constitution, is the architect and supervisor over the heights of power over the Iranian governmental structure and is responsible for the election and appointment of the Supreme Leader and supervising his actions and the organizations under him. No one gave this right and power to this Assembly who wants to take it back from it, nor is it a deposit which can be taken from this Assembly at will. The right of that Assembly to elect and supervise and investigate the Supreme Leadership is derived from the Constitution and embodies the Iranian nation’s will. This Assembly enjoys such prestige that no institution has the right to legislate with respect to it and its members have the right to determine for themselves the conditions under which it will work and supervise. A meeting of the [Assembly of] Experts with such a position monopolized by an individual has been convened under such current circumstances and my question to you as president of this Assembly is, has this Assembly acted in accordance with its duties during this session? Do these introductory speeches and the report and declaration which was issued truly answer to today’s Iran’s questions and doubts? If even the honorable Ayatollah Dastgheib, for all his shining past and profound popular position, had spoken out of concern for the people during that session, they would have treated him in such a fashion and there would have been talk about the need to expel and remove and punish him so that, as it were, he could say nothing in that session but flattery and exaltation, and no expert has the right to criticize the current situation in the country, and the mouth of that expert who has passed the Seven Trials of the Guardian Council and could find his way into the Assembly of Experts had to be filled with dust lest he speak with anything but flattery and praise of the existing conditions! Truly, where are we headed? And if it has been decided that the sacred goal we all treasured in the struggle against absolutism and imperialism was to arrive at such a point, where was there need for the Assembly of Experts? If it were decided that in the Assembly of Experts, no expert was to speak except in support, would it not have been better for its annual session not to be held? Truly, where was the need for spending from the public treasury and having a building and an office and staff and all these expenses? Would it not have been better to such an Assembly to have been convened if, God forbid, something were to happen to the Supreme Leader?
This session of the Assembly of Experts was held and it was hoped that the people’s representatives in that Assembly would closely examine what happened on the day of the June 12 elections and the crises which arose both before and after them. But I never expected that during this session the people’s experts would have called the crisis plaguing the country a fitna and in order to clean the problem’s appearances, hide their head in the snow. Truly Your Eminence, who saw the volcano of the people’s rage ignite before the elections and stated this publicly, went along with calling this volcano waves of fitna and so quietly overlooked the country’s perilous conditions. I am amazed about how the Constitution, that valuable heritage of the Imam, bought by the martyrs’ blood and fruit of the efforts and firmness of the revolution’s allies, and one of its most genuine bases, that very Assembly of Experts, are being treated! The grandeur of this Assembly and its position which it could have had in the protection and well-being of the Islamic Republican system and winning the people’s rights have suffered such a fate as this!
Honorable President of the Assembly of Experts.
If the Imam had thought that this Assembly would have been a means to strengthen the Supreme Leader’s position, he did not think it was only expressions of appreciation and support for the good which had been done, but criticisms and objections about acts through acting on and performing its duty to supervise. Unfortunately, though, the position of this Assembly has reached such state during these last years that its representatives in past times such as the Grand Ayatollahs (God’s mercy be upon them!) [Ayatollah Hajj Sadeq] Ehsanbakhsh,1 [Ayatollah Gholam-Hosein] Jami,2 Abayi-Khorasani,3 [Hojjat ol-Eslam Sadeq] Khalkhali, and Ayatollah Abbasifar,4 have been trampled and the blade of supervision has been put to their necks and no one utters a word about what sort of disaster this is which has befallen the nation’s experts of this system or what crime they have committed to deserve being ignored. It is a result of this silence that today, some dare to raise an outcry about expelling and removing any representative from whom a word which displeases them is spoken. They do not realize that such repression and harshness, and this concerning a representative of the Assembly of Experts, is inexcusable for any sensible person. How can one excuse before the people the stifling of a member of the Assembly of Experts, upon whom a serious duty has been placed, simply because he had said something which displeased some? This rooster’s tail5 is not something which one can easily hide. The Supreme Leader must also go into action and stand up against this disrespect shown to a representative of the Assembly of Experts and prevent it. Truly, how can an Assembly, a member of which can be so commonly and easily humiliated, make the appropriate and necessary decisions for this country and nation in such difficult times and days which may we never see?
Honorable Mr. Hashemi.
What is your answer to people who are asking about the duties of the Assembly presided over by you under such circumstances? If the Assembly of Experts had given so much as a passing glance during its meeting to what has befallen this country these past four years, could it not have found much better grounds for the origins of the crisis which afflicts the country—what you have called a fitna. You in your speeches both before and after the elections have repeatedly referred to the economic crises and the collapse of the plan in the country and the deviation from it. But should not the discussion of these crises have been raised somewhere in the Assembly of Experts? Is it not your duty in the Assembly of Experts to examine what is called privatization and the execution of Article 44 of the Constitution and the institutions under the Supreme Leader’s supervision such as the Revolutionary Guards and the Staff for the Implementation of the Imam’s Command (which was given, according to the Imam’s command, to Your Servant and Ayatollah Hasan Sane’i, and in which it was decided that in at most two years, all properties’ seizure or release or, upon careful consideration, in the event that it was illegitimate, expropriation be determined and that this Staff should complete its task; a Staff of which even the dear grandson of the Imam repeatedly complained and requested that if it not be closed down, or at least that the word “Imam” should be removed from its title) would do in a half hour in its own name the work of a ministry and create yet another epic in the name of privatization to continue and complete the epic of the recent presidential elections? Truly, how much has the unplanned foreign policy, which has led to our systems enfeeblement in the international community, been discussed in this session? Are the social problems which plague the country and the securitizing of society’s political atmosphere in society, the universities, and different centers of the country of absolutely no importance, since the members of this Assembly paid no attention to them? Truly, how much have you investigated the activity of some of the organizations under the Supreme Leader’s purview, whose higher supervision over them is your responsibility, in the Assembly of Experts? Are you unaware of what is happening in our so-called national media and the catastrophe which this media’s pundits have wrought? Was there any discussion about why three of the candidates who allegedly lost in the recent pseudo-elections were put on the shelf and their supporters were thrown into solitary confinement and that they could only contact this national media from their solitary confinement cells, and even this to broadcast confessions, and that the gates to the media are only open, therefore, for the allegedly victorious candidate and the honorable Prosecutor General for them to come and make their biased speeches against the other candidates and go? Were you not aware of this issue? You were, and if there was nothing said about it in this session, does this not mean that the spirit of the thirst for justice and revolutionary courage has vanished from our midst and evaporated? And now, truly, what is your answer to those who claim that this Assembly has forgotten its supervisory mission and has been turned into an ineffectual and propagandistic institution? Would it not have been fitting for the members of this Assembly to have invited the three candidates who protested against the results of the elections, all of whom were of the wealth and service to this system, and heard them out and after this hasten to issue their statement?
Honorable Mr. Hashemi.
I consider it my duty to recall to you and others some of His Eminence the Imam’s explanations about the Assembly of Experts’ position, when he declared, “Now you, oh religious jurists [faqihs] of the Assembly of Experts, the elect of that nation oppressed throughout the history of the monarchy and its tyranny, kindly accept your responsibility, which is above all other responsibilities, and set to work, for the fate of Islam and the toiling and martyr-providing and suffering nation is at stake. Let history and future generations judge you and the nation and God’s great Household of the Prophet observe your votes and deeds. “May God be at your back and your aid.” [In Arabic] The slightest carelessness or lapse or the slightest selfish act or, God forbid, pursuit of ones lusts which could pervert a noble deed, will cause a catastrophe of historical proportions.” And truly, what relation is there between the current work of this Assembly and what the Imam said about its position and the control which the Constitution and its authors bestowed upon it and its representatives in accordance with the people’s will? How can it be denied that such an important Assembly has been turned into an ineffectual institution in such a perilous time. I, Mehdi Karoubi, have written this letter to you and have raised these issues with you as a reminder, acting in accordance with my conscience before the late Imam, the revolution, and the noble people of Iran and so that I might show that what has befallen this Assembly is neither in the interests of the system nor in the interests of the people, neither does it secure the republicanism and Islam for which 98% of the people voted in Farvardin 1358 [April 1980].
Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings
6 Mehr 1388 (September 28, 2009)
1 A student of two of the most prominent religious families, Alam ol-Hoda and Bahr ol-Olum, he also studied psychology and secular jurisprudence. During the revolution, he was arrested and sent to Tehran for his agitation. After the revolution, he became the head of the Imam’s Committee (a vigilante force which attacked the leftist and rightist opponents of the Islamic regime), but was forced to leave Gilan in early 1980 for Tehran after his home was subject to frequent attacks by the left. He was dispatched to South Asia to purge the Iranian embassies and consulates there. He then became the Imam’s representative and Friday Imam in Rasht. In the spring of 1983, he was subject to an assassination attempt, after which he needed to undergo surgery fourteen times. He was elected to the Assembly of Experts in 1989. He passed away in June 2001. http://r-dehgani.blogfa.com/post-8.aspx
2 Best known for his courage in staying in Abadan as Friday Imam when it was cut off and under intense bombardment by the Iraqis, where he kept up the people’s morale by continuing to carry on his functions as Friday Imam. In the eulogy for his recent death (January 2009), he was said to have been active in the Islamic opposition to the Shah since the 1963 revolt in Qom. http://www.magiran.com/npview.asp?ID=1777514
3 A student of Ayatollah Khomeini, a representative on the Assembly of Experts during its first period from Khorasan, a representative of the Imam in the Qom Missionary Office, temporary Friday Imam of Mashhad, elected to the Majlis during its sixth session, arrested and exiled repeatedly under the Shah. http://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF_%D8%B9%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C_%D8%AE%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C and http://www.tebyan.net/social/sevencontinents/touringiran/undergroundwatertanks_bathes/2007/3/4/37699.html
4 Participated in the elections to the Assembly of Experts elections in 2008 with the encouragement of Rafsanjani, Khatami, and Karoubi. http://mosharekateilam.blogfa.com/post-102.aspx
5 From a Persian folk-saying about a chicken thief who steals a rooster and is discovered when its tail protrudes from under his coat.