According to Kalame, Engineer Mir Hosein Mousavi, the Prime Minister beloved of Imam Khomeini (May God be pleased with him!) continued his speech as follows:
We salute the dear students and the youth for the Ten Days of the Dawn [the days leading up to 22 Bahman]. These ten days are a commemoration of a great revolution. When we say ‘a great revolution,’ it is not in judgment of a group, either a broad one or a faction of our system. This revolution was an astonishing phenomenon of our era, which left a very profound effect throughout the world.
An extraordinarily important point is that the revolution itself was the result of twenty years of the nation’s toil, and it is not as if a small number of people in one year or in a small circle came on the scene and acted with courage and this revolution triumphed. This revolution was the result of countless efforts and vast experience. From the intellectual perspective, it was a matter of more than several decades. In the end, events in the country around the revolution’s victory occurred which hastened the revolution and broadened it and gave it breadth and we witnessed a vast revolution.
There were various reasons mentioned for the revolution’s victory in 1978—political, economic, and, above all, the brilliant leadership of His Holiness the Imam (May God be pleased with him!) who played a very fundamental role in this regard. But none of these reasons must allow us to neglect the roots. One must consider all factors together.
An analysis of the slogans which the people raised at the time the revolution triumphed and those which arose in its aftermath is important for us. “Independence, freedom, Islamic republic” is one of the key slogans of the time, one whose essence must be elucidated and the historical reasons which led the people to these slogans should be considered. But other slogans existed which have been overshadowed, and these slogans, too, complement the primary slogan.
Overshadowed Revolutionary Slogans
One of the slogans which were raised in the processions after the Islamic revolution’s victory in the period between 22 Bahman to about a year later, since there was one just about every few days, especially in the spring of 1979, was, “In the spring of freedom, we miss our martyrs.” No one taught the people this slogan, but they themselves felt that a number of people had stood up for freedom and fought, and since one of the primary goals of the Islamic revolution was the acquisition of freedom, they mourned their friends who did not see the “dawn of freedom” and did not experience its pleasure and vastness. Since in those days, the people would congratulate a family when it gave a martyr, I recall that they would put a flag on top of the houses of the families of martyrs. This began from the start of the revolution’s victory and continued until the Sacred Defense [the Iran-Iraq war]. But at the same time, this sorrow existed, that a number of their friends did not live to see those times.
What Were the Constitution’s Ratifiers Thinking?
If we examine this slogan and feel how far-reaching it is, both in drafting and interpreting the Constitution and interpreting the slogan “Independence, freedom, Islamic republic,” it could play an important role.
When we return to the Constitution, it is very important that we consider the atmosphere which led to its drafting. An examination of that atmosphere will lead us to ponder whether or not can we comprehend the inner connections of this Constitution’s articles if we do not have precise knowledge about this slogan’s meaning.
In any case, these antecedents have great importance. In particular, the slogans and the atmosphere of that time are very important. For just this reason, I must say that we are always faced with this problem, that when they distort the Koran due to the passage of time and the growing remoteness of its source and origins and out of various motivations, such as personal or party interests, it is natural that they also distort humanity’s national heritage. But in order to reach these sources, we must have a reconstruction of those conditions in hand, and yet must not forget to take a fresh and contemporary look in these interpretations.
The fact is, if one were to review the composition of the Assembly of Experts and its members’ speeches therein, there was a commotion, some of which, apparently, still exists, and it posed important principles which concerned the people’s fundamental rights, economic issues, etc. Very prolonged discussions were held over them, and not pointlessly. These discussions themselves, it seems to me, were the fruits of a broad and prolonged historical discussion among our people. It was not as if a limited few experts discussed and wrote this Constitution. These issues were under the influence of historical conditions, there were existing discourses in society and discussions among the parties and groups.
Such discussions were also current after the Constitutional Period. If you were to consider the economic principles, the people’s rights, and not snooping on private matters in the Constitution, they were in fact the result of a lifetime of bitter experiences under the former regime in which such deeds were done. Therefore, in order to have a proper understanding of the Constitution and the revolution, the conditions of those times must be completely understood.
They Distort the Revolution and the Constitution out of Enmity or Their Private Interests
This situation has come about because in the current circumstances and the special political atmosphere, so many groups and individuals, given their unhappiness with the revolution or the revolution’s problem with them, try to distort this matter and we see that the truths are not told, rather, a kind of doubt has arisen concerning the foundations of the Islamic revolution. But this is not the only problem which threatens the Islamic revolution’s true face; rather, in this matter there are those who came to control wealth, resources, and interests and present their own interpretation of the Constitution based on their own special interests.
For just this reason, we see that some principles become prominent and some have faded, while the Constitution is an integral whole and the voiding of part of it can result in other parts being voided and rendering them ineffectual and eliminate the human support for it.
There Is No Reason for Us to Neglect the Imlementation of Some Parts of the Constitution; One Must See Who Benefits from Closing Newspapers and Limiting the Media
For just this reason, in my opinion, it is very important that these issues be seen as a whole. One must see who benefits from closing newspapers and media outlets or annulling other articles of the Constitution which must be considered. When the Constitution returns to issues of ethnic groups, women, the people’s rights, I think that it has a moderating effect on difficulties which had arisen in the country resulting from the events of the Islamic revolution’s first decades, and for precisely this reason there is no cause for us to be content to overlook some of these articles.
I will cite an example in this regard. Of course, there are other discussions which must be raised, and it is appropriate to raise issues during these days which seem to be of little importance. One of the Islamic revolution’s first discussions was the establishment of a system of councils.
Everyone talked about it: councils must be used. This issue resulted in, I believe, seven articles concerning councils being written into the Constitution, but as far as these seven articles, about which there had been such extensive deliberations, aside from the deliberations of the Assembly of Experts I recall discussions in mosques, from the pulpits, in the universities, these seven articles have not yet been adequately used and their great potential, which could have solved many of the country’s difficulties and driven away the shadow of dictatorship, oppression, government by personal opinion and group interests, was squandered.
At the beginning of the revolution, there was a discussion about how our country, with its variety of ethnicities and cultures, could not succeed in the framework of a federal government, and decentralization was considered under the articles relating to councils, and indeed these councils possess such a potential.
Perhaps the time was not ripe to implement this owing to inexperience and war conditions and for other reasons. On three occasions, if my memory serves me correctly, during the revolution’s first decade, we raised issues about councils in the Majlis, but, unfortunately, their scope gradually narrowed and they ended up as these city and village councils, although even these councils are precious and, in my opinion, one of our good laws is precisely the law on councils. But why do we not devote ourselves to these articles? This is worth pondering. I believe that it must be pondered by all of us. I do not want to say that there was ill intention involved, but one of the common crises and issues which have arisen in the country is in a way the result of this idea, that many of these articles of the Constitution which have vast potential have been shunted aside.
What has happened in this country after the tenth presidential elections and has resulted in this vast movement and fresh ideas being born in it is important because from this perspective, perhaps it will help us to be able once more to rethink anew and bring something living from the Constitution, an interpretation which might be able to solve the country’s problems.
The Gap between Social Change and Governmental Change Is One of the Country’s Most Important Problems, a Problem Which Must Be Solved through Discussion and Argument and a Free Atmosphere and not with Guns and the Problems Which Have Arisen These Days in the Streets
Bear in mind that in any case, our society has undergone a momentous change and the international community and our environment, too, has changed, and it follows that, owing to the change in the international atmosphere, changes would arise in the country as well. The collapse of the Soviet Union must not be underestimated. Its impact on our country has been profound. Let us recall that events which arose to our north had an extraordinary effect inside our country and these effects were reflected in our country and its politics until the Easter Bloc collapsed.
These are the events which occurred outside our country. But this is not all. Economic and technological progress and the spread of the internet, and satellites, which in practice spread news between nations—in fact, all these factors compounded the issues which arose in out country due to the above-mentioned factors, transforming them into deep changes among the people.
One of the country’s most important difficulties is the gap which has appeared between these changes and the changes of government. In other words, the change in government has not kept up with the speed with which culture, economics, and society’s perspective has changed, in my opinion, and this is a vast problem. For just this reason, we sense a backwardness which will end in an extremely profound difficulty. The way to resolve the problems which have arisen in the streets is not to use artillery and rifles; rather, it is solvable through creating a free atmosphere, an atmosphere of dialogue, argument, and sense, through the Voice and Vision [the government-run media] and the rest of the Iranian media, for these issues are rooted in our Constitution and our faith.
In fact, the media must act like courts whose jury is the great Iranian nation. We trust in this nation and I believe that that the nation wants what is in its interests and that it will have its wits about it and show its superior sense in the field. It is precisely for this reason that the Islamic revolution arose and the Constitution, too, was written, so that the people could determine their own destiny. Let it happen in this time that discussion and dialogue among the people take a free form and the government submit to playing by these principles.
Moreover, let us turn our attention towards the international conditions, the astonishing changes in the spread of technology and utilize these connections and media to their utmost. But we see that we have had difficulties in this connection and it has resulted in their tolerating not even one or two debates and their sensing danger. They cut programs and otherwise went backwards. But if we take notice, we will see that not only would these two debates, but their increase could be of great importance.
Sometimes things go backwards. The discussion in the Majlis is now over how to intercept messages or control the news. This discussion is good in its place, but if the outlook is not reformed, it will not end in the reform of affairs.
Let Us Allow the People to Hear Everything and Choose the Best
That perspective will prove fateful and bring the country to peace which is based on our faith and allows the people to hear everything and choose the best. We are certain that the people will chose correctly.
Perhaps We Will Benefit Two Days from the Imam’s Words Taken out of Context, but…
There are other points which could help us see the Constitution more clearly. Unfortunately, words were taken out of context, words of the Imam (May God be pleased with him!) quoted on Voice and Vision and other places which were objected to by His Holiness the Imam’s dear grandson. But the fact is that if we are not able to have a living, vigorous atmosphere, full of spirit and light which existed at the beginning of the revolution and listen to interpretation of the Imam’s words, the result will be that we will present a dark and mangled image of the revolution today and this could result not only in the people becoming alienated from the revolution, but indeed from Islam itself, since our system is in the name of the faith and Islam and the most important concern for the Islamic Republic’s founders was that Islam not be damaged.
Of course, it is possible that we might get two day’s profit and proof from the words of the Imam (May God be pleased with him!) and use it against other groups, but when we look at this from our own interests and do not return to its source, it could result in the mouths of those who had been enemies of the revolution from the start and are still enemies with it being opened and all the revolution’s accomplishments being brought under question.
And this, while the Islamic Revolution is in fact the collective fruit of all these movements which sprung up since the Constitutional Revolution, like the Constitutional Revolution, the Oil Nationalization movement, 15 Khordad [the 1963 uprising against the Shah’s White Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini], and other currents and experiences which the nation had. Moreover, these issues must be put in context. In addition, on the basis of such a record, one might look at the nation alongside the Islamic revolution. Otherwise, making religion or the sanctified into a tool places religion in question and this in itself is a great danger.
Out of Our Sensitivity, the People Even Take Advantage of the Slogan “Independence”
A subsequent question is, if we exam the slogan “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic”, the subject is independence. The nation of Iran has constantly been in danger of foreign invasion since the war between Iran and Russia. Great parts of our country were even severed from it and this continued up until the time of the Shah, but in practice, all this amounts to our nation being sensitive about foreign interference and even being terrified of it, so that the roots of many of the discourses in our country concern the people’s feelings towards foreign influence, particularly that of the Russians and the British and later the Americans, etc. These issues exist in our country and for just this reason, the position of independence in the slogan “Independence, Freedom, Islamic Republic” enjoys great importance.
A Great Force Has Entered the Field with the Slogan of Returning to the Revolution’s Values and Has Been Accused
Now these emotions of the people and this slogan itself have been abused. In other words, the force which has come into the field today and whose only point was that we return to the law and the Islamic Revolution’s principle values, one of which is independence, has had the accusatory question, do you have connections with foreigners or are you under their influence or not, leveled at it. I want to say that in order to be free of foreign domination, one must advance the country and must look at the world in a new way. Considering the changes which have arisen domestically and abroad, we must change ourselves while protecting values. Then we can have our true independence. When we use these slogans as a mere tool, the result is a series of contradictions which we now see. On the one hand, we [the Iranian government] send repeated letters advising various heads of state and invite them to Islam in the name of “international administration” and try to establish relations with them. On the other hand, in the real world, we cannot even have one close and sincere friend in the region or the world.
Suppose that America as a great power in the world wanted to implement a policy towards us. Although this country is a great power and has a vast military and intelligence force and huge propaganda and financial institutions, consider the American annual budget and compare it to ours. With this comparison, we will get an appreciation for that country’s economic bulk. Yet even that country does not consider itself without the need to attract Britain, France, Germany, China, or Russia to execute a policy towards our country. For example, regarding nuclear technology, do we actually have a few countries or nations allied with us which are effective in countering this movement against us?
Neither Adventurism or Offensiveness towards Others, nor Letters of “At Your Service”
When we write letters to them [the Iranian government], they tell us, “Come, insult these countries and confront them.” We say that the issue of the elections is a domestic dispute and has nothing to do with foreigners and our nation is absolutely not prepared to work under the influence of others’ interests, but we will never accept having an adventurist policy like yours, one day insulting, one day smiling, one day writing a letter saying, “At your service.”
The Green Movement Will not Fall into Adventurism or Extremism in Either Direction
The Green Movement came into being with the slogan that we want to have constructive cooperation with the world and will not neglect this issue and fall into adventurism and will not go to extremes in either direction. We follow a sensible policy in our connection with foreigners and the nation. We must operate on the basis of our long-range interests. If we return to the slogan of “Independence” in this sense, in no way will foreign interests play a decisive role in our movement, and we have and will continue to have a firm belief in this position.
The Green Movement of Iran Is Independent; An Important Quotation from Ayatollah Khorasani
The Green Movement of the Iranian nation is independent and will in no way permit foreign intervention into its affairs, but we will not be passive and do everything to fit into such a pattern that it will please one side and upset the other; this, too, we will not do. Our nation is following its long term goals and a nation must be sensitive in this connection. We learned from Akhund Khorasani [one of the three constitutionalist mojtaheds in Najaf] that when he raised the issue of Russia and Britain and in reply to a few who asked why some of the constitutionalists were taking refuge in the British consulate, which is itself a long story, he said that if it were established that we not do such-and-such since it is in Britain’s interests and that we not do something else because it is in Russia’s interests, we would not be able to get anything accomplished, since no matter what is done, some countries will benefit or will get rid of some difficulty through it, but the strategy of an independent system and an independent movement is based on the movement’s long-term interests and is not effected by foreigners.
Their Attacks against the Green Movement and the Greens’ Calm and Balance
The reason these issues are posed so sharply is to affect the Sources of Emulation and the clergy and the pious, but I clearly declare that the Green Movement will in no way be dependent on foreigners and is opposed to this issue, nor will it come under the influence of these issues, but will act based on the national interest. Our actions have no connection with foreigners. At the same time, this attack which has been launched against the Green Movement will not lead us to fall into raising immoderate slogans. Our advice to the government is that it pursue a moderate policy and find friends in the world and have allies and use the region’s potential and spread our country’s influence through friendship and make firm connections so that no harm befall our country. I give this advice to everyone. It springs from the heart of everyone in our nation and so it is with the Green Movement itself and so it will ever be.
Under the current circumstances, that which the youth will be able to accomplish is to use the vast potential of the changes in our country in the best manner under the principles for which we have given so many martyrs.
The Green Movement Was Peaceful and Must Firmly Continue This Policy
The Green Movement is a movement of the youth in which the youth have a very lofty share. But fortunately, the movement does not have an emotional aspect, but wisdom is very powerful in it.
We must maintain wisdom alongside the enthusiasm of the youth, both of men and women, since it is a great treasure for our country, the Islamic revolution, and the Islamic Republic, Understand that the changes and developments, despite their bitterness and difficulties, should be considered a treasure for the country’s future to enter into a new atmosphere appropriate for the international changes. We should tolerate our problems with these difficulties and advance matters through wisdom.
The Interests of a Number Lies in Polarizing Society to Better Repress the People
We must not lose our position of giving counsel, compassion, and concern for the system. From its first stirring, the Green Movement was peaceful and it must firmly continue this policy. Unfortunately, the interests of a few lie in polarizing society in order to suppress the people better and so achieve their goals better.
The Green Movement Is Friends with All, Even Those Who Do not Share Our Ideas
The Green Movement is friends with all. It is friends with the workers, the teachers, and the women’s movement. It is even friends with those who do not share our ideas, since they are part of our nation and are brothers, family, to us. They are part of our nation and we are friends with all of them.
The Country’s Institutions Are Worthy of Respect, but…
There are institutions in our country which are worthy of respect, but we are opposed to violence, beating, repression, and killing. We are not opposed to the Basij, the Revolutionary Guards, or the security forces. They are institutions which a system will naturally have and we have brothers there who are part of the nation and for whom we are concerned, and so we must enter the field in that spirit. Fanaticism and bitterness must not get the better of us. 22 Bahman is ahead.
22 Bahman Is a Day of God; Participate Alongside All the People but Maintain Your Identity
Indeed, it is one of the days which must be called a day of unity and a day of the Uniter. It is one of the days of God. One could gather various special qualities about it. They all relate to this issue. I feel that we must be present in this movement in a spirit of unity while maintaining our character and try to leave an impact through our behavior so that it would leave a good effect on the national level.
An Insult to the People Is an Insult to Freedom and Has Nothing to Do with Islam
The final note is that a confrontation with the people’s peaceful movements in the name of Islam will have the effect of driving people away from Islam. Those who believe in the faith, especially the clergy, must realize that the damage done by imprisoning, beating, and seizing and arresting, since they are occurring in the name of Islam and the Islamic government, will fall back on Islam and we must all strive to not let this happen.
If we want to preserve Islam as a treasure for our country, we must not allow the interests of Islam to be effected by our interests.
What do beating and arresting have to do with Islam? What do stopping arguments and discussions have to do with Islam? What does snooping on the people’s personal affairs have to do with Islam? What does examining the people’s email have to do with Islam? These matters negate religious beliefs and the Constitution’s articles.
An insult to the people is an insult to freedom of thought and has nothing to do with Islam. God willing, they will all notice that they should not do anything in which we will witness a falling away from Islam.
Let Us not Fear Different Ethnicities and Languages
No country has progressed except by passing through periods in which these problems have arisen. I am very optimistic that God will allow the results of these efforts to bear fruit and we will have a better situation for the nation not to fear different ideas, ethnic groups, or languages.
India, with hundreds of languages and religions and a variety of ethnicities is the biggest democracy and has undergone such experiences. Will language be such a problem for this country as we have made it out to be? Wherever I went during the elections, they said, “They have confronted the language issue in this manner.”
We See No Harm in Freedom, Relying on the Nation, and the Free Circulation of Information
We see no harm in freedom, relying on the nation, and the free circulation of information. Perhaps some kind of pressure has been brought to bear against me, but in practice, it is good for society and in the interests of Islam and the country’s future.
Peace be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings.