The Imam's speech to a group of students and Iranians residing abroad
Date: January 7, 1979 (AD) / Dey 17, 1357 (AHS) / Safar 8, 1399 (AH(
Place: Neauphle-le-Chateau, Paris, France
Theme: The useless recourses resorted to by the Shah and the deceitful propaganda put about by the Western press
Occasion: The upcoming anniversary of the killings carried out on January 9 (Dey 19) in Qum
I seek refuge in God from the accursed Satan
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
The issues that the people of Iran have raised during this period are issues about which there is no ambiguity. From the outset, I too have raised these same basic issues and there is nothing obscure about our demands. We do not ask that the Shah simply leaves the country for a holiday, we demand his overthrow. When we say the Shah must go, we mean he must go from power, not for a rest! Secondly, the imperial regime is one which is not accepted by the people, indeed it has been illegal since its inception. Thirdly, we want a just government based on the laws of Islam to hold sway over Iran. None of these demands are ambiguous so as to warrant someone's explanation or for someone to proclaim that it is still not clear what it is the nation is saying. Unless that person is deaf! Otherwise, for some time now, for over a year, the nation has been shouting in the streets: "We don't want this imperial regime; we don't want this Pahlavi regime; we want an Islamic government." There is nothing ambiguous about this.
Do not think something has been achieved because the Shah is now preparing to leave. Hitherto, none of the goals that we and the nation of Iran set out after have been achieved.
The Shah has been quoted as saying that if he does decide to leave the country, he will go only for three months because of the problems he has! Adding that if he goes (for good), oil will not reach the West. But he is only saying this to equip the West with ammunition to use against the movement. The same can be said to be true about his statements claiming that if he goes, the red flag will be raised over the rooftops of the houses in Iran or the red flag will fly from the heights in Iran! Or, in other words, everyone throughout the whole of Iran will thereafter become communists and Iran will incline towards Russia! He makes such remarks then later says there are only a limited number of people who oppose him! That they are inconsequential! That they haven't understood him! That if they had they would not oppose him!
Well now, we must look at these three points he has raised to see whether he is correct, and this indeed would happen, or whether this is just another one of his devilish propaganda stunts. The point he makes that there would no longer be any oil for the West were he to go is, however, perfectly true, if by this he means we would not give it abroad on the same terms he did. For he gave our oil to foreign countries, and that which he got from America supposedly in return for the oil - but which in fact was received simply to hide the fact that in reality he was not getting anything - was very advanced weaponry which no Iranian had the expertise to operate and whose sole purpose was to create bases for America in Iran. In other words, America took the oil and in return built bases for itself in the country! If a country wants to build bases for itself in another country, it first needs to pay billions of dollars, for example, to get the permission to do so. Iran, however, gave America this permission in return for the oil that we gave it! These people gave America our oil; if they had bought weapons for Iran in return, this would still have been wrong, but it would not have been as bad. However, this they did not do. Instead, they purchased arms and equipment from the Americans in exchange for the oil and built up bases for them in Iran - bases which the Americans used against Russia - under the pretext that in this way America was paying for the oil!
The Americans argue that paying for the oil is no crime, and they say they want to pay for that they have purchased. Now, however, they say the sum Iran has to pay them (for the arms) is much more because Iran means to become an advanced country! They say the eighteen billion or twenty-two billion dollars the Shah has spent on these arms has not gone to create bases for the Americans, no, they claim these arms are for Iran itself! Even if we accept their argument we still have to ask why Iran needs so many? Iran doesn't need this many. Are these arms purchased because Iran intends to become one of the superpowers, to stand up to Russia and America and step through the gates of civilisation?! Is this why the Shah has bought so many arms? We know this is not the case and we say these arms are not for Iran, they are for America! America gets both the product and the money given for it. It gets the oil and the money it paid for it. The Shah used the oil money he received from the Americans to buy weapons from them and build bases for them in the country.
Presently, in Iran, there are many places where these American bases are situated. So the Shah is correct if by saying the West will no longer get oil he means it will not get it on the same terms that he gave it to them. If the West expects us to give it our oil and in return allow it to build bases for itself in Iran, or to build something that is of no use to Iran or that is indeed detrimental to Iran, it is sadly mistaken. We will pour the oil into the desert or burn it before we will give it to the West under such conditions.
However, if the Shah is saying that we will not give the West oil even through proper, logical and fair business transactions, then this is a lie. Whatever kind of government takes over in Iran will need money to administer the affairs of the country, and the main portion of our income comes from the oil revenues. Oil will be given to any country that will pay a good price for it in cash. We will give oil to America, but we don't want to create bases for it in return as the Shah did. Instead, we will get money in exchange and use it to deliver this weak, deprived nation from its present circumstances, from this ruined agrarian economy and this assembly-plant industry which has been created for the interests of others.
If a proper, correct government comes to power, it will sell the oil for money which it will spend to the benefit of this nation. It will save these indigent people, these weak people, those who, because of the failure of the agriculture, have flooded into the cities in the middle of this cold winter and lack shelter. They are living in tents, not the kind you have put up here, no, they live in inadequate tents which they themselves have made. They have to spend the biting cold of winter either beneath these tents or in single rooms built out of mud. Those who have been there and have witnessed their living conditions know what life is like for these people. They have nothing, no piped water, no electricity, the roads are not asphalted. Some of them live in holes in the ground from which, as I have been told in letters I have received, the poor women have to climb many steps - I can't remember the exact number they wrote whether it was a hundred or a little less, certainly it was a lot - simply to get a pitcher of water from a tap installed in a nearby street. Once they have filled their pitchers, they have to return to these holes and once again climb down these numerous steps. Picture these women in the middle of a biting winter climbing up and down these slippery steps. Just look at the troubles this nation has to endure. The people want to eliminate these troubles, they want to make the country one in which the poor people are taken care of in whatever way possible. So in one sense the Shah is speaking the truth when he says oil will no longer go to the West, but in another he is not.
The other point he made was that if he went, the red flag would be raised! This is not correct either. We have repeatedly said, as have others, that such claims are not true. He asserts that it is he who is stopping the red flag from being raised!! If this nation were one whose people would raise the red flag above their heads as soon as he left, if our nation were such a nation, then how is it that throughout the whole of Iran the people are standing up to America and Russia with clenched fists and have made America back down? From the outset, the Americans have been saying they will keep the Shah in power, they have always insisted that the Shah must remain. They are still saying this! Only now they say it a little quieter! (The audience laughs). Initially, they proclaimed in such a pompous manner that they would keep the Shah in power, that he had to remain, that the stability of the region depended on him! If he went, they said, the region would lose its stability! Later they realised that with him in power there is no stability! For as you see today in Iran all these disputes and the unrest stem from the fact that he is in power. Were he to leave, leave in the sense of him being removed from power and leaving (God willing from the audience), then they would see the stability the country would enjoy. In what way does the country lack stability?
If by saying the red flag would be raised he means that Russia would interfere directly in Iran and the red army would pour in and take the country, he is lying. Russia cannot do such a thing, for another thug like itself is standing, watching and waiting, and were Russia to make such a move, war would immediately break out. Today, all the world powers know that were another world war to break out, it would mean the elimination of the human race. For with the weapons that exist today, such a war would not be confined to a region, it would not be a case of there being war in one country but not in another. All of the regions of the world, all the countries of the world would be destroyed. No one in his right mind would take steps to provoke such a war. Even if we suppose that a foreign army does indeed invade our country, we have all had enough historical experience to know that they may successfully invade and prevail over the nation, but they would not be able to remain in the country. This nation would destroy each and every one of them; it would finish them off. They cannot bring two people in for every person in this country; they would want to derive some benefit and they wouldn't be able to do so if they had to watch their backs all the time. Thus, there is no reason to fear that Russia will act irrationally and attack the country. This is just idle talk, spoken to incite America. America knows this, and if it could do something to save the Shah, it would have done so by now, it would have needed no provocation, for the Shah is to its benefit.
So these words of his that if he goes such and such will happen . . . and it is clear that it is fear of him which is stopping Russia from invading Iran!! If he is no longer around, then God only knows what will happen! (The audience laughs). We all know that such talk contains no element of truth.
As for the third point he made that there are only a few people who oppose him, a limited number of people, he has made two remarks here: one is that those who oppose him are limited in number, that in reality all the nation wants him and it is only a few, a small number of people, who do not! And the other is that those who do oppose him do not understand him, if they did they would not oppose him. So let us take a look at both points to see if this is the case or not.
If those who oppose you are only a limited number of people then why did you repent?! If the rest of the nation is with you and there are only a few people, a limited number of dissenters, then you would have simply got rid of them, there would have been no need for you to repent! So what made you say: "I stand before the nation and make a pledge"? When the nation is in agreement with you it means that your deeds have been so good that all the nation approves of you. When this is the case, there is no need for pledges, for you have fulfilled your promises, you have worked well for the people. So if the nation is with you and there are only a limited number who oppose you, then instead of saying: "I make a solemn vow"; "I have made mistakes which I won't make again"; and "I won't repeat these mistakes", you should be saying: "Oh nation, come yourselves and get rid of these few people who are opposing me". If the nation is in agreement with you, then it will be sufficient for you to make a call over the radio saying: "Oh nation of Iran that agrees with me, oh nation of Iran whom I have served and have benefited and whom I mean to take to the `gateway of civilisation', come, destroy this small number of people, these seditious elements". If you really did enjoy the people's consent, they would rise up for you and eliminate this small group of people about whom you speak.
Well now we must ask why these bazaars are presently closed down in Iran? We put this question to him. Have they closed down because they are afraid you will be deposed?! Are they in this way showing their opposition to those who oppose you?! Is this why they have closed down? When the people shout "Death to the Shah" in these demonstrations they embark on, do they really mean death to someone else, and when they say "the Shah", they don't mean you?! Iran is in a state of turmoil, strikes engulf the country and many of them are held by governmental organisations. Has this come about because the people agree with you? Have they gone on strike because they approve of you? Are they on strike because they approve of your government? Is it true then what you say about them only being a limited number of people?! Previously, you used to describe your opponents as a few people from over the border! As you put it, they came into Iran from over the border using false birth certificates and set on creating this kind of trouble. This means that those who work in all these bazaars of Iran are people who have come into the country from over the border, and are limited in number to boot! The whole of Iran has risen up against you, yet still you speak of limited numbers! Even now that you concede it is Iranians who are opposing you, you nevertheless maintain that they are only few in number!
As for the other point he made that these people do not understand him, in one sense he is right and in another he is not. He is right in the sense that as long as man is in this world, he cannot perceive the true nature of other human beings, for this is not something which is apparent, although some of it may be. As long as we are in this world, we see all faces as the faces of human beings and all deeds as commonplace. However, when this page is turned and the page showing man's inner nature is revealed "the day that all things secret will be tested", man's secrets, his inner disposition, will be revealed in a place specially for this purpose: the kingdom of heaven, the hidden world. When he enters there everything will be revealed. So at present we cannot really understand him, we do not know what his inner nature is like, just as we cannot see that of anybody else, whether those who have an abundance of good qualities or those who abound in evil. We cannot recognise them for what they truly are in this world. All of us are eating and moving around in this environment, we are all living in this environment. We are all like one another with two ears and a head and the other things we have in common. But in this world, no one can come to understand the full truth about another person. In this sense then he is correct when he says that he has not been understood. We cannot fully know him or his father, nor can we comprehend him, because the secrets have not yet been revealed.
Those who seek to divine a hidden, secret meaning in the revealed text, who speak on matters beyond the superficial understanding that we have and who have understood something of the celestial world, say that a human being's true nature, which is not apparent here, will be depicted in suitable forms on that following page which is the page revealing man's inner nature. In other words, someone whose appearance is now one of a human being but whose nature, whose natural disposition, is so bad it resembles not that of a human being but of a fierce animal will take this form when he leaves this world. For the time being he resembles a human being, but when he passes on and appearances are pushed into the background and his true nature is made manifest, he will look like a savage beast. His face will become that of a ferocious animal. But we have to wait and see which one of these savage beasts he will resemble most. Is he a leopard, so will he resemble a leopard? Is he a wolf, so will he resemble a wolf? Or is he worse than these and will consequently resemble something much worse?
The ferocity of animals has a limit. Their savagery has its limits. Wolves are a case in point. A wolf attacks another animal, feeds on it then rests. It is not the nature of a wolf to devour just any animal! One may find an exception, but generally there is a limit. Other animals too are limited in their ferociousness. Man, however, differs from other animals because he has no limits. That is to say the side of man's nature which pertains to blessedness and moral excellence knows no bounds: he can reach the stage where all his attributes are God-like. In other words, when he looks at something he will look with God-like eyes; when he stretches out his hand it will be God's hand: "When thou threwest the spear, it was not thy act, but God's." You threw it but it was God's act, not yours. Those who swear fealty to him "Do no less than plight their fealty to God." Man can attain such perfection that his hand is the hand of God, he becomes the eyes and ears of God. Man is unlimited in the perfection he can attain. At the same time that defective side of his nature, the side that pertains to nastiness, also knows no bounds.
"God is the Protector of those who have faith, from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons are the evil ones, from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness." "Into the depths of darkness," not simply into darkness, but into all the degrees of darkness. Conversely, God speaks of `light' in the singular, because light is singular and the most perfect light is the singular light. So on the one side there are different depths of darkness, and those who reject faith will be led from light into darkness, whereas those who have faith will put all the degrees of darkness behind them and will go towards the light.
As long as we are in this world, none of this is obvious to us. Neither the brilliance nor the realm of light for the believers is evident, nor is the darkness or the degrees of darkness for those who reject faith. These things will be evident when this page is turned and the following page is made manifest. You will see some people who have ten personality traits which are made manifest in ten faces. He's only one person, but his animal nature is so dominant, his carnal appetite so strong, that his face resembles that of a greedy animal like a pig. His ferociousness too predominates - as it does in animals like leopards - and devilishness and deceitfulness fill his face. In the hereafter, when this page is turned, he will be the devil of all devils. And at the same time as he has a devilish face he will also have a ferocious face, the last level of ferocity; he will have the face of a lustful animal too, the last level of sensuality. He will appear with these different faces.
So from this aspect of the matter, we have indeed not only failed to understand him, but none of us have understood ourselves either. We have not understood other people in the same way as we have not understood him. At the time when secrets become apparent and the page is turned, then he will understand himself, and the people too will understand him. We too have not understood what we really are, we won't know until we see our true inner nature. I seek refuge in God from the corrupt nature that exists in us.
You are not entirely correct when you state that we have not understood you, understood you in the sense that you mean - for you are not one of those who can comprehend understanding in the sense that I have just spoken about. We have indeed come to understand something about you, as we did your father before you, from your deeds. Today is Dey 17 (Jan. 7), I can remember, as perhaps this man (the Shah) does, indeed anyone of our age may recall what wickedness this man (Riza Khan) perpetrated around this time. Such pressure he put this nation under, such repression; what disgraceful acts were carried out against so many honourable woman because of him; so many miscarriages occurred around the time of Dey 17. Such acts of aggression this man's agents and executioners perpetrated against the men, how outrageously they violated the rights of the women and dragged them from their homes. These are the deeds your father perpetrated, they are beyond description. His true character will be evident in the next world; we could not understand him properly while he was in this world, we could not understand what kind of an animal he truly was.
As far as the deeds you have done are concerned, let's take stock to see what we have understood of you. What deeds have you carried out that the nation has not found out about? Of course, these people have done many things behind closed doors! While I have been here, I have been sent lists of the amount of money which these people have sent abroad - indeed while I was in Iraq I was sent such lists - in addition to documents from companies whose creation these people ordered. But this much that we know is still only the half of it. There is money that has been spirited out of the country about which we have no knowledge; acts of treason have been perpetrated about which we know nothing. Perhaps, at some later date, if the historians find out about them, they will be recorded in the annals of history. With the passing of time, further acts of treason that he has committed against our nation and some more of the crimes that he has perpetrated will be told. For the moment though we do not know the full extent of his crimes. We do not know everything that happened to the believers in these prisons, what they did to our youth in these prisons and the Comite. What they had to endure cannot be described, it cannot be spoken about. A few of the tortures they suffered and which have been divulged include the sawing off of feet, immersion in boiling oil and roasting prisoners by tying them to an iron frame covered with wire mesh and electrically heating it like a toaster. These are just some of the methods of torture that you and I have heard about. As for the other things they do, we have to question Nassiri about these. We have to interrogate him about these matters, for the Shah says torture no longer takes place in the prisons! This is what he asserts, that the torment that was said to take place in the prisons no longer occurs! He concedes that a little bit of psychological torture is still carried out, but he denies that the physical torture that went on previously, with people having their hands hurt a little, still occurs! He was informed of what was going on and those things that he is aware of are recorded in his brain, in his soul. If one had the ability to reach inside him and read the secrets recorded there, if one possessed the ability to read those things that the angels of God have written down and are meant for the next world, then one would realise just what deeds this man has done, what orders he has given. Those people who carried out his orders later reported to him what they had done. He knows what has happened at his command, he just won't tell the people he knows.
Such acts of treason you (the Shah) perpetrated against this nation. You spoke of wanting to take it to the gateway of a great civilisation, yet in action you whittled away the power of its youth. Come, ask these young people of ours whom you sent abroad to learn about atomic energy and so on, what they are doing here. They come and tell me how they are being treated over here. You won't let our youth progress. You have kept our universities at an inferior level not allowing them to become independent; you do not let the lecturers at the universities get on with their jobs. You have put our education in a state of backwardness. It is an imperialist educational system, one that has been dictated to us by others. We are lacking a proper educational system, and even if you were to go now and this government were overthrown, we would be left with a ruined, chaotic country . . . Its economy has been destroyed; its education has been destroyed; its army is corrupt. Such a country is this regime's legacy to us. We are the inheritors of a country in disarray. With the help of our young people, our educated people and the enlightened classes of our country and nation who are living in seclusion or are languishing in prison, it will take us many long years before we can return Iran to the level it was at thirty odd years ago before his rule began. So much time is needed to return the country's farming to its original state. So much time is needed to turn this educational system of ours into a proper system, to turn our economy into a true economy.
You say we have not understood you! This is what we have understood of you, if you are any different, then speak out. If you are other than this, then why do you say you have made a mistake!? If you acted any differently from our understanding, then why do you say you have erred?! What you would really like to say is: "I did the right thing. You are the ones who are mistaken, these few people are mistaken. The nation is with me. My actions were right, all of them, it is these few people who have come here from over the border who have made the mistake"! How nice it would be if you spoke honestly and then left. Why don't you do this? Why are you constantly saying that if you were to leave this and that would happen and "they have not understood me, there are a few people who would agree with me if they understood me"!! If these people had understood you, what events you would have witnessed then! Now that they haven't understood you, indeed now that none of us have understood you, we are opposing you to this extent, what, then, would it be like if we perceived your true nature?! Anyone who perceived your true nature would oppose you.
Now that he is getting ready to leave, he has apparently installed a few `butchers', as one of the gentlemen called them, to continue killing the people. He means to flee, but he has delegated a group of people to continue massacring the people! So we are still facing the same problems. We have repeatedly stated that as long as the monarchy exists this government is illegal, for the people have voted that this monarchy is illegal. The people have said they don't want a monarchy. All of the people have said this. If the Shah and his regime think otherwise, then they should find us one person - apart from those who are in his employ and whom he pays - who wants this regime to remain in power. Let them go through the bazaar asking people: "Which one of you wants this regime?" If they can find one person who says he does, then they can claim that all the bazaars in Iran are under their control, all the peasants are with them.
No matter how often you have told the peasants their situation would become lamentable if the akhunds came to power, they didn't listen to you. For they know the akhunds do not want to destroy their livelihood rather they want to rescue them from their adversity and deliver these poor people from the deception they have been exposed to. I have said time and again that if we gain control, those who once owned ten or a hundred villages will not be given them back. They have an account to settle, they have to settle years of accounts. This regime sends people to the farmers or peasants, as they call them, proclaiming how if the akhunds gained power such and such a thing would happen. But the peasants know you for what you are! What have you ever done for them? The only thing you have done is to plunge them into a slough of despond. Why have they come to settle around Tehran and are living in these huts? We want to take them out of these huts, we mean to change this parasitic state Iran is presently in, we mean to deliver it from its dependence on foreigners. There is nothing ambiguous about what we mean to do.
Spurious ideas are presently propagated about what will happen if an Islamic government comes to power. Amongst the army men, they propagate the notion that the army will be dismantled! We need an army, how could we then completely dismantle it? We will rid it of a few thieves, but the rest we accept. Army commanders, however, take note, we will accept only pure-hearted commanders, the impure at heart will have to go. Those who have taken the wealth of the people, those who have stored the wealth of the people in foreign banks, they will have to go, but go not in the sense of just getting up and going with the money, no, this has to be taken off them. If I were able, I would not let this wretch (the Shah) leave just like that. He has to stay and settle his account. Where do you think you are going? Don't think you can just take the money and leave.
We need the army, we respect the army. We hold the young army men, the young army officers in the highest esteem. If in the higher ranks too there are found some genuine commanders, then they also enjoy our respect. We oppose those who have stolen from this nation. We respect people in all levels of the government. If there are one or two among them who happen to be corrupt, then they have to go. There has to be a purge. Otherwise, the country needs the army, the country needs an administration, it needs ministries - it needs all of these things, but not as they are in their present form.
We are now opposing this government because it is illegal, for the Shah introduced it and he is illegal. Likewise, since it is the Shah who introduces the parliaments, we deem them too to be illegal. The parliament is not a parliament of the nation, it is the Shah's parliament, or, more precisely, America's. We deem this government to be a treacherous one, for the highest form of treason is to take a vote of confidence from a parliament it knows to be corrupt! This constitutes treason against the nation. The government gets a vote of confidence from people whose proxy the nation has no knowledge of - no one can deny this - and the command to form a cabinet from someone with reference to whom the nation has for the past year been shouting: "Death to this man" and who is treating the people in such a draconian manner. Such a government is an illegal one. Whoever co-operates in the slightest with this government, whatever his position may be, is a traitor to our nation, and according to divine law is a sinner who has committed a forbidden (haram) act, whoever that person may be.
You gentlemen who are abroad must make all people everywhere realise that this is what the whole nation of Iran is saying, it is not simply what I am saying. You are part of the nation, you too agree that this government which the Shah has imposed on us, which wants to keep the Shah in power and makes it clear that he must return to Iran, is a government which has betrayed our nation and must go. (Those present voice their agreement). God willing, may you all be successful.