Let’s ask you the first question. The Iranian society, the youth and students first of all, are disappointed with the reforms carried out by the incumbent regime. Thus, the civil society of Iran has entered a new stage: it no longer identifies itself with any political movement of the regime. The society openly demonstrates its radical discrepancies with the regime. What is your role on this new stage?
- Mission of such people as me is first of all to bring the voice of Iran’s freedom-loving people to the world community. People must understand what is actually going on in Iran and what the Iranian people want. In this sense, my role didn’t change at all; I even plan to be more persistent in it.
I must say that Iran cannot be compared with any other countries of the region; from the historic and cultural points of view, Iran cannot be considered as inferior to other civilized states of the world. Consequently, there are no reasons for scornful relations with the civilized world. Within the whole its history, Iran supported friendly relations with almost all countries of the world. Incumbent authorities of Iran are experiencing a period resembling the period of revision of values in Europe. Western European and other countries gained victory over religious form of authority, and religion was successfully separated from the state; which became an open way to freedom. People themselves define all laws under the democratic form of government. Under the religious form of government, divinity is considered the basis; power remains inaccessible for ordinary people. There are no conditions for democratic transformation in a religious state. How is it possible to reach democracy if government bodies elected by the people haven’t necessary authorities? People cannot put forward their representatives because candidates are thoroughly screened at the elections. They also cannot enjoy their right for freedom of party activity. There is no freedom of press in such societies. Even parliamentary deputies can be put to jail if they dare to declared protests, the same way as it can be done to journalists, university professors and lawyers. In this connection, my objective is to demonstrate the community in Iran and all over the world that the despotic character of Iran’s ruling regime cannot be changed.
As is seen from experience of other countries within the past 20 years, representatives of intellectual circles were at head of the opposition movement. Gradually, the opposition movement involved all layers of the society. With the help of civil disobedience, the opposition exerted pressure on despotic rulers and made them get confirmations of the legality of staying at power from the people. A half of the Iranian population are young people under 30 and people understand it perfectly well. I am trying to convince the world community of the fact that this understanding spreads over all Iranian people.
Some reformers in Iran repeat your key slogans. In particular, they speak about the necessity to hold a referendum, about civil disobedience and inadmissibility of cruelty. Do you consider this fact as just a mere borrowing of your ideas, or the attitudes similar to yours are widely spread all over Iran?
The slogans voiced by the youth and the opposition fortunately coincide with what I was speaking about. Don’t forget that the slogan about unity is constantly repeated in Iran. My slogans outline objectives and define methods for achievement of these objectives.
Today leaders of the Islamic republic take much effort to demonstrate separation of religion from the state as an action that contradicts the religious laws; or they try to describe reforms as an anti-Islam policy. This is done with the only objective to protect their illegal authority, not religion itself. Sometimes they are rather successful with propagation of their ideas; however, the improving education of the Iranian people will gradually bring these efforts to nothing.
If I’m not mistaken, you mentioned several times already that “at crucial moments” you would be together with the Iranian people. What is the “crucial moment”?
This will be people’s resistance against cruelty. They will develop into demonstrations and strikes. As a result of it, the government will be deprived of material resources which it uses to maintain itself. Day after day, the authority is getting weaker and weaker. Such a regime as Islamic republic is unlikely to give power to somebody else easily. Nevertheless, even the extreme measures don’t guarantee longer staying at power for such despotic regimes. We witnessed such examples in Romania, Yugoslavia and Latin America countries. After all, despotic regimes were always overthrown under the pressure of the people.
In many cases despotic authorities were defeated. We saw that in many cases law enforcement structures stepped aside, or even protested against their commanders together with the people.
When will you be together with the people: before the regime is overthrown or after?
I cannot make any forecasts as concerning further development of the situation. I would like to stay in my country and make my contribution into the present-day situation. In some cases, leaders rule their countries from abroad, and then they get back to the native land to complete the started doings. Majority of the opposition powers operate inside the country. But we should also keep it in mind that opposition inside the country still remains with its hands bound, and it has to do underground work. Forces remaining outside the country enjoy a wider freedom of action and they must supplement the forces remaining inside the country. It is not ruled out that these forces will manage to get united even before the regime is overthrown. In any case, if my presence in the country is required, it’s very likely that I may get back to my native land. It depends upon the situation. I myself would like to get there as quicker as possible and stay together with the Iranian people.
On the one hand, you are persuading the incumbent regime that you are not planning to revenge. However, at the same time, several foreign mass media report quite different opinions and threats of revenge. People remaining in Iran and those who are connected with the regime want to know your opinion on the problem.
I emphasized several times already that we don’t plan to revenge ourselves upon anyone. We won’t deprive people of the property they legally obtained. We don’t want to revenge upon people with epaulets serving under the present-day regime. We must do away with cruelty and revenge one and for all. I say sincerely, any statements of a different character contradict my position.
The interview was prepared by Hushang Waziri Kaihan newspaper
Translated by Maria Gousseva