Speech by Ali Khamenei in the Islamic Consultative Assembly in the Meeting to Review Bani-Sadr’s Political Qualifications

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

In these sensitive times, when some of Iran’s most fateful historical pages are being written, I implore God to guide me to what pleases Him and protect me from the harshness of tongue and heart and being overcome by passion. And now, after a prolonged and painful patient silence, the opportunity and obligation to speak and expose has been granted; may He yet be our succor just as in the past and help me.

The audience for this speech is you, the people’s representatives, and then the entire Iranian nation and finally, future generations, which will keenly observe our work. With this purpose, I declare before God and in the presence of you and everyone who shall hear this speech, that this gentleman, Mr. Bani-Sadr, lacks the political qualification to occupy the sensitive post of the presidency.

Before I present my numerous arguments to confirm this claim, I consider it necessary to first define “political qualification” as referred to in Article 110 of the Constitution, i.e., that which renders one unfit for executing the duties that have been consigned to him. Lacking political qualification means one does not satisfy those character traits which have been specified in the Constitution in order to execute these responsibilities and has a deficiency or fault which negates that which has been stipulated in those conditions. Article 115 of the Constitution presents the traits required to be president, such as faith, piety, belief in the Islamic Republic’s foundations, and an aptitude for management. Whenever someone lacks one of these traits, he lacks the qualifications and suitability to rise to this position on these grounds. And now we can move on to reviewing the position of Mr. Bani-Sadr with regard to the presidency. The brothers have made statements in previous speeches regarding Mr. Bani-Sadr’s lack of qualification, i.e., his lack of some of these character traits, which have not been answered by the opponents in this case. On the contrary, instead of presenting arguments for Mr. Bani-Sadr’s qualifications or rejecting the arguments of those who agree with the case, some of the opponents have tried to hide the truth by relying on slogans or emotions.

I consider it necessary to note that I am referring to the opponents who yesterday spoke about opposition and considered it a good opportunity to speak their mind and even expressed their particular opinions in opposition to the feqh current which is today resisting Mr. Bani-Sadr’s violations and unsuitability, in the name of defending Mr. Bani-Sadr from this tribune.

This was done so hastily and improperly that even before the first word had been said in the Majlis about Ban-Sadr’s unsuitability, the first opponent declared that the arguments elucidated were regarding Mr. Bani-Sadr’s violations and not his unsuitability, and immediately declared this an intervention of the legislature into the judiciary.

There is an odd insistence in the opponents’ declarations that proving Mr. Bani-Sadr’s unsuitability turns on a personal animosity with him or some factional or political issue, while this is contrary to the truth.

It is not a matter of personal animosity or factionalism. It is a matter of religious law and divine responsibility, and an answer to a popular demand. If the people did not have concerns about defending the revolution and Islam and the need to perform one’s duty, and we were prepared to suffer Mr. Bani-Sadr for all his faults and problems, and did not consider divine duty, perhaps these same brothers would not accuse us of monopolization and being power hungry and the like.

We would have resisted Westernization and the wave of culture alienated from Islam – which has been spread by them, for God’s sake – and in response to the certainty that the Imam of the Ummah declared and because of the heavy responsibility that we have as members of the Council of the Revolution. This was intolerable for Mr. Bani-Sadr and the faction that considered him its best barricade, and it was for just reason that all these accusations and insults followed.

One of the opponents to this case declared, in defense of Mr. Bani-Sadr, that his opponents have taken advantage of his being relieved of the post of Commander in Chief and disturbed the peace, and did not allow him room to speak.

It is as if this honorable brother has forgotten that Mr. Bani-Sadr had issued a statement in response to the Imam’s relieving him of duty, which was full of lies and distortions of the truth, and which incited the people against the government and to riot and destroy public order, so that it should be read from this tribune of the Majlis and be broadcast on the radio and  mass media throughout the country and, of course, many of the radio stations tied to Zionist propaganda networks had already broadcast it.

Although Mr. Bani-Sadr is not present in the Majlis, there are gentlemen who have uttered these baseless claims and errant insults, which he has imposed for over a year by now using every means of social connection and many propaganda methods, and said and written repeatedly in speeches and interviews and articles. They have tried to feed the minds of many ignorant people, while, of course never succeeding. Let them keep repeating what they said and unfairly call others torturers, and let him make himself out to be the one who’s screaming and make others out to be the violators, and he the one defending himself.

Yes, gentlemen, Mr. Bani-Sadr’s place is not empty. Aside from those who are his loudspeakers, he has been saying and writing for a year and a half, and in response to the appropriate response to all this, you to this day still repeat some of this. They have said, “If only he were personally present. All he wants is not to hear a propaganda attack.” He has said all he had to say, while you yourselves repeat it yet again so that it can be proven that he has nothing to say which has not been said.

It is the others who have swallowed their words for the sake of the revolution and Islam who are now speaking out. We cannot object to these brothers. After all, we have agreed that that which is now always resisting the line of revolution and true Islam and which has engaged it is a faction, and even if these brothers, as they claim, are against Mr. Bani-Sadr, they cannot maintain their relationship with that rotten faction. Even the faction now centered around Mr. Ban-Sadr, which is struggling against the doctrinaire statesmen, includes such elements.

By pointing to the presence of the people in the streets and Mr. Rajai’s encouragement of those who are called Hezbollah, and saying that these brothers’ activities are not in the public interest and are an illogical policy, the oppositional brothers have declared that nothing will be solved by inciting the people. It’s as if they have forgotten that Mr. Rajai has not brought the people into the streets. The crushing and decisive presence of the people is a result of their knack for zeal and the inspiration of their own faith and the always piercing voice of the Imam of the Umma, and has always been so. In the past, too, there has been no other agent which could get the people to come on the scene. Not only today, but in the past, too, you neither correctly understand this movement nor have you had any power over it, and you have not understood the difference between the legitimate Imam of the Umma and those who lay claim to political struggle. He relied on the people. He asked them for  responsibility. He relied on them. He valued them. And those who lay claim to politics are unaware of all this and are deprived of its virtues. Even on the day the Imam came to Iran there were those who claimed that he should refrain from wasting so much time in meetings teaming with the people, and instead should meet with politicians and, as they said, with substantial people. The Hezbollah, which Mr. Rajai thanked, as he ought to have, were those same ordinary people, those same common middle class and lower class people whom the statesmen looked down on. The Mojahed [People’s Mojahedin], and Peikari [a Maoist group], and so on both beat them and drag them and accuse them, and the pseudo-intellectuals tied to East and West rain abuse and insults upon their heads. In the meantime, the revolution’s main weight lay on their shoulders, the army and the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij is composed of them, the fronts and the rear are animated by them, the enemy is worried about their presence, and the Imam of the Umma supports and defends them, and I, too, as one of these same people, advise them from this same tribune that they maintain their presence and not abandon the field to the enemy.

The final point I want to squeeze into this introduction is that love for the Islamic Republic has compelled me, as well as the brother who spoke yesterday, to protect the institution of the presidency and support the first president. Such feelings oblige me to say that, although I did not initially consider Mr. Bani-Sadr fit for occupying this office, I defended him after he was elected. Your Servant supported him repeatedly during Friday Prayers and I invited the people to support him. Despite all the propaganda pressure about the Imam’s Line, I held my peace. But the point is that when his presence, using various destructive policies, became an unquenchable flame to consume this same republic and he became the biggest enemy of the Islamic Republic, humiliating it and acting as a loudspeaker for its enemies in the post of the presidency, does continued support to him mean supporting the Islamic Republic? No, brother, judge fairly.

No support for Bani-Sadr had the true value that the Imam’s support for him had. But have you seen that, after a year of suffering in patience and silence, the Imam noticed that this same line of hypocrisy and apostasy and unbelief and arrogance had found a firm fortification in Mr. Bani-Sadr’s presence, he removed his support from him and considered this his duty. You who based yourself on the Imam’s support up to Esfand 1359; why did you not base yourself on the Imam’s removal of this support in June 1981? If the Imam’s action was decisive for us and for you and to be followed, why have you distinguished between two actions of the Imam? Come, show some care for this revolution, this people, this republic, and all this blood which has been unjustly shed. Let us not insert differences of opinion and faction in decisions which concern the nation’s fate.

Of course, such are some of these arguments. Let us now get to the heart of the matter, and I will summarize my arguments as follows:

1)      The president must confirm his suitability and capability in respecting legal institutions, since his legitimacy is based on respect for a constitution in which these institutions are its outward manifestation. Mr. Bani-Sadr has repeatedly shown disrespect for legal institutions and so has weakened the bases of his own legitimacy. For example: He did not sign bills ratified by the Majlis. He insulted the Guardian Council and the Supreme Judicial Council. He accused the Islamic Consultative Assembly. He has persistently and continuously insulted the cabinet and the person of the Prime Minister. He has openly and privately opposed the Revolutionary Guards, the Jihad for Reconstruction, and other revolutionary and legal institutions. When the president separates himself from the totality of the government of which he is a part by showing disrespect for these legal institutions, he is in fact weakening the Constitution, which is the pillar of his existence. This is the apex of disqualification.

2)      The presidency is the highest office, which is expected to protect the honor of the Islamic Republican system. To humiliate the Republic is to debase the president. In one short statement, Mr. Bani-Sadr humiliated the Islamic Republic and the institution of the presidency. “This republic is not a republic of which I am proud to be the president.” In this famous sentence, which has become a byword, he praises one thing only and that is the person of Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr. No culture can consider someone who inflates himself while humiliating the office of the presidency and the Islamic Republican system to be politically qualified and suitable [to be president].

3)      Mr. Bani-Sadr has stopped at nothing regarding those whom he considers an enemy, not even caring about his policies that damage the foundations of the republic and the independence of the country. Perhaps now the time has finally come for us to ask what the business of the public crisis, which one of his confidants and consultants raised during a so-called television debate, was all about. We have documents that expose this issue. According to the minutes of a meeting of consultants close to him, and these minutes are right here, one of their plans was to throw up obstacles and call for opposition after a government not to Mr. Bani-Sadr’s liking receives a vote of confidence, to keep it from succeeding so that it could be discredited and fall, and to seize power through a political struggle.

The behavior of President [instead of prime minister, as written] Mr. Bani-Sadr and his friends with respect to the government of Mr. Rajai follows this plan step by step. Political morality and Islamic commitment, which are the principle condition for the presidency, negate such a policy and can never be in harmony with it.

4)      In the revolution, and even in our republic, which is its fruit, there are outstanding characteristics that can distinguish it from all similar events. One is honesty instead of politics. Everything in the Imam’s policies and behavior and in our domestic and foreign political lines is informed by such policies. Mr. Bani-Sadr has violated them in his position as president and politics can be seen clearly and repeatedly as the model of his behavior instead of honesty.

An example of this is the position he took regarding groups and organizations. Before becoming president, he somewhat condemned the [People’s] Mojahedin. After he became president, when he felt the need for their organs, he drew them near to him. He issued them permits to bear arms and he utilized their elements and organizers to supervise meetings to the organization which he considered necessary to accomplish his ends. We have a document in [People’s Mojahedin leader Massoud] Rajavi’s handwriting and over his signature that denotes their agreement and cooperation with Mr. Bani-Sadr with regard to the Islamic Consultative Assembly elections and opposition to the plan for them to be held in two stages, as well as other matters. The tone of this letter, which is written in Rajavi’s handwriting, addressed to Mr. Bani-Sadr, is evidence of a continuing relationship between them. These gentlemen very sincerely and fraternally make suggestions and express themselves. They ask questions and declare their agreement.

Among his positions is his position towards the Imam. Just recently he made as if he was committed to the Imam. He called the Imam his father and his religious guide and used the name “Imam”. Aye, he held dear the name alone, but in practice protested every other aspect of the velayat-e faqih. The Imam extolled the Revolutionary Guards in that manner of his and Mr. Bani-Sadr repeatedly (for example, on 14 Esfand in a speech, and on other occasions) clearly attacked them. The Imam called the occupation of the Den of Spies a second revolution and Mr. Bani-Sadr has repeatedly repudiated it. The Imam protested the newspapers before Ashura, attacking them for devoting themselves to divisive and sensationalist issues, while in his Ashura speech, Mr. Bani-Sadr said that war should not mean that the newspapers should be limited. The Imam put a three-member committee in charge and Mr. Bani-Sadr considered it lacking in credentials. The Imam considered the Supreme Judicial Council to be credentialed and authoritative and Mr. Bani-Sadr declared them illegal. The Imam obliged the newspapers to be silent and not offend each other on Esfand 1359 and Mr. Bani-Sadr published his program brimming with lies and sensationalist articles in the first issue of his newspaper on Farvardin 1360.

One of Islam’s moral principles and prominent features is piety and faith, which is an aspect of suitability; and the conditions which are among the qualifications and stipulations for the presidency according to the Constitution are honesty and truthfulness in speech and action, which Mr. Bani-Sadr violated, founding his activities on dishonesty.

For example, there is the matter of bank profits, of which I have frequently spoken and shall not repeat. But another clear and prominent example is the example of the Presidential Guard. After objections which were witnessed throughout society following his guard’s activity on Esfand 14 [March 5, 1981. On this day, Bani-Sadr gave a speech at Tehran University on the anniversary of Dr. Mosaddeq’s death, which fell on the highly emotional Shiite holiday of Muharram. This led to clashes with the hezbollah element holding a tumultuous counter-demonstration.], he repeatedly denied its presence and distinctly wrote in his diary, “I have no guard.” Your Servant has in his possession a thick file about the Presidential Guard. This file is part of the file related to the Presidential Guard which is twice as big, and what Your Servant has in his possession indicates that it was formed in early 1359 [mid-1980] and that Korean trainers were even obtained to help train them. I will content myself with but one page of all this, and the rest is available. This is a letter which Mr. Bani-Sadr wrote on 59/3/25 [June 15, 1980]: “Colonel Sirus Parchamdar, in accordance with this command”–note the expression–“ is appointed to the post of chief of the Guard for the Protection of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the date 59/2/11 [May 1, 1981]. It is obligatory upon him to speedily organize and train and prevent any sort of disorder on all occasions.–President Dr. Abol-Hasan Bani-Sadr.” His signature is present at the bottom of the page.

Despite such a command, he clearly says in his diary, “I have no guard.” His agents, too, began paving the way to say, yes, he has no guard. Following rumors that two of his comrades were going to Europe and even America for no apparent reason, he addressed this rumor with total clarity and brazenness on Esfand 14. To confirm that this is a lie, he summoned the aforementioned two people, namely Mansour Farhang and Sanjabi, before him at the tribune to show the people and argued that the rumor about their trip was a lie because they were present at that moment.

Documents are available showing that Mr. Mansour Farhang’s trip, rumor of which was denied, was absolutely true. Document:

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Passport Department. It is requested that you provide instructions for Messrs. Dr. Mansour Farhang and Ahmad Tajik, advisors to the president, that diplomatic visas be issued for them to perform a mission so that they may travel to France, Britain, Italy, West Germany, Austria, and Sweden, and prepare the resources necessary. A check for the sum of four thousand rials for the exit permit and four photographs and a copy of their birth certificates are attached.”

Of course, later, the president’s chief of staff, Mr. Taqavi, signed it. Next to this signature, too, it is written in Mr. Taqavi’s handwriting that it be dispatched to the Financial Affairs Department to present a receipt for forty thousand rials for exit fees and that they would also prepare round trip tickets.

Regarding the rumor that he was living in a palace, he has repeatedly written and stated, “I have no residence of my own and do not live in any palace.” Your Servant and all the members of the former Council of the Revolution, among others, have no doubt that to the last day of his residence in Tehran he has lived in the palace of a member of the former regime’s family, which is in the neighborhood of the office of the prime minister, which is his office, with those same untouched decorations that remain. Even when he was residing in Dezful, he resided in the royal palace, in the Dezful air base. Your Servant has visited each of these places and testifies to them. This is the state of his piety and faith and transparency. Given this, can anyone claim that he has the necessary character and suitability? Another example is his ties with the National Front, which he has denied repeatedly. There are many other examples.

5)      Imam Khomeini’s radiant face, lofty spiritual and wise character and decisiveness are the heaviest mainstay of our revolution and republic. Another is the presence of the people on the scene, which leads the foe to despair. The Islamic Republican system is the field of battle of the Imam and the Umma. And now, is the effort to render impotent these great forces to be understood to be by accident or by design? Is it treason or incompetence? For now, we will let it go at the moment.

And now, we will turn our attention to Mr. Bani-Sadr’s masterpieces in this regard. In an interview with Le Monde, he is asked, “Isn’t Khomeini worried about this?” Bani-Sadr: “Of course. I have certainly written him a letter and spoken with him about it. The Imam only acts according to the news and information which he receives and his own ideology. From what we have observed and experienced, I conclude that the Imam does not have direct contact with reality. Perhaps he even thinks that if something is said about these issues, the people will despair.”

In an interview with Middle East, too, things are said about the limitations on the Imam’s information that are detailed and shocking. He speaks about the Imam twice and in each case he says that faulty information is given to him. In this depiction of him, the Imam is a simpleminded fellow who sits there and people come and give him news and he, in turn, gives an opinion based on these reports. It was given on 8/1/1360 [March 28, 1981]. In another part of this same interview, Mr. Bani-Sadr says this about the Islamic Republican system: “Previously, under the Shah, there was at least a vision, a vision of the Great Civilization. Today, even this does not exist.”

In another part of this same interview, he has this to say about the people’s presence on the scene: “There is a joke going around in Iran. Taleqani sends a telegram to Imam Khomeini saying, ‘I have met with the Shah in Heaven, but there is no sign of the revolution’s martyrs.’” Bani-Sadr adds, “This is terrible, but telling and full of significance.” I ask the Iranian nation, is there such a joke in your Iran, the contents of which is a lack of belief in the blood of the revolution’s martyrs while showing faith in the Shah, i.e., these martyrs’ killers? Isn’t this joke made up of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s disbelief in the revolution and the blood of the revolution’s martyrs?

6)      [Not in the archives.–source]

7)      The president must protect the revolution’s prestige outside the country. Abandoning this duty is, if not treason, surely indicative of a lack of political and moral qualification, as well as a lack of much else.

Throughout the past nine months – i.e., the beginning of the organization of the new government – and before that, Mr. Bani-Sadr was the biggest propaganda loudspeaker against the Islamic Republican regime. It was amazing how the foreign press would print and publish him. Considering the Rajai government a greater disaster than the war, calling the Islamic government a lawless government: these are all his words which he said in interviews with the foreign press and which I now have before me. Making as if freedom has been completely trampled in Iran, spreading rumors all over the world about torture, despite a Red Cross report and even an investigative commission and, in short, calling the current regime worse than the previous one, these are some of the masterpieces of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s declarations. Consider these excerpts of an interview of his with Le Monde:

Mr. Bani-Sadr: “There is no longer any law. They arrest people just as in the past. They torture. A commission was organized to investigate this and it put together a ridiculous report. No one has any rights. They arrest and get rid of people like garbage. Previously, under the Shah, there was at least a vision, a vision of the Great Civilization. Today, even this does not exist.”

Can one really imagine that this is the president of a country speaking about his own country and system? The Iranian nation must know whom Mr. Bani-Sadr is gladdening throughout the world with these declarations. How was his open letter to the Imam, in which he imputed to the Imam these accusations of rendering the Islamic Republic impotent, along with indirect charges concerning many difficulties, to the person of the Imam, spread all over the world?

We have access to a document which clarifies how it was spread around the world. One of the employees at the Herald Tribune exposed how in November 2, 1980, an Iranian came to its office and asked how much it would cost to publish an advertisement in it. He did not want it to be identified as having been printed as an advertisement, but preferred it to be printed as news. The newspaper demanded a hefty sum for this advertisement and he balked at it. On January 16, 1981, when a letter was received from its central offices in New York, he returned to the newspaper. That letter ordered that Bani-Sadr’s letter be published without the receipt of any money and so, on the instructions of its New York offices, that letter was published in full on that newspaper’s front page.

[At this point, Hojjat ol-Eslam Khamenei showed the Majlis representatives and the observers present the front page of the Herald Tribune on which Mr. Bani-Sadr’s letter was printed.]

Mr. Bani-Sadr’s effort to embarrass the Islamic Republic no doubt fit in with the interests of the international enemies and was appreciated by them. This cannot be interpreted as anything less than political unsuitability.

8)      The minimal requirement for a president being suitable is that he keep the boundaries closest advisors and aides and colleagues clear of elements with a bad record or reputation or at least dubious and under suspicion. I have not considered it necessary to give a lengthy explanation of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s circle, since there have been exposes about Mr. Taqavi in the press. There is no need to take time with Mr. Fazlinezhad and some other gentlemen, documents about whom have been brought to the ministry.

9)      Revealing the country’s economic secrets, too, is another indication of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s political unsuitability. Examples of this are his declaration of the rate at which Iran needs to export oil, or level of the country’s stock exchange, or declaring that the economy is paralyzed.

He did not notice that the stock exchange being low in the eighth month of this year (as he had then plainly declared) cannot be considered the fault of a government that had gotten into office in the midst of the sixth month, but rather was an indication of the unsuitability of the administration that had been in charge of the course of the economy and the Central Bank over nine months previous, and that it condemned him and the foundations established by his circle and not the Rajai government. In fact, he discredited the country of the Islamic Republic in the world and dealt a lethal blow to Iran’s international economic credentials.

He clearly announced the size of our currency reserves to bash Rajai and to say that the government has taken a loan out from the Central Bank, etc., and had come up short, while the regulation of money was his responsibility towards the country’s economic institutions, i.e., the Central Bank and the Ministry of the Economy and Property.

Then there is Mr. Engineer Sahabi, who said yesterday that Bani-Sadr had been Minister of the Economy and Property, although this is false. Even after Mr. Bani-Sadr became president, he appointed a substitute for himself on the Council of the Revolution. This was just when he was opposed in appointing a minister by the Council of the Revolution. In other words, we exercised opposition and said that he must be ratified by the Council of the Revolution, while he himself wanted to appoint someone by himself. The details are many. He could have easily obtained his own weak majority in the Council of the Revolution, i.e., Mr. Bani-Sadr could have obtained a weak majority, i.e., half plus one, in the Council of the Revolution of that time and in this regard, did what was in violation of the law as in so many other cases.

10)   On 30 Shahrivar 1359 [September 21, 1980] the Iraqi aggressors launched a major offensive against our country. Thirteen days before, Mr. Bani-Sadr was the source of a series of domestic hostilities among the people and created an acrimonious atmosphere by igniting the fires of internal dissention and by raising issues which were inappropriate for a responsible individual even in the least important occasions through a speech (17 Shahrivar) [September 8, 1980. A furious speech Bani-Sadr gave on the anniversary of a massacre which took place during the revolution against the Shah]. Was Bani-Sadr aware of the imminent arrival of war at that time? In either case, this could only be impiety and unsuitability.

In Your Servant’s opinion, Bani-Sadr had expected this attack. Elsewhere, he made it clear that he knew it was coming, but he is the sort of person for whom political schemes and conflicts normally take precedence over everything else, even in wartime. He could never hide examples of this spirit throughout the war. This can be seen in successive issues of his diary and in interviews and his speeches on Ashura/14 Esfand and in Qazvin and Esfahan and so on. I will now present an example in relation with the fall of the western part of dear Khorramshahr.

In a letter which I have before me and which I had written to him two days before this painful event, I wrote, “Regarding Khorramshahr and Abadan, my belief has been and remains that they must be protected with two mechanized infantry divisions or one infantry and one armored division on both sides of this city, i.e., one on the Khorramshahr-Shalamcheh axis and another on the intersection of the lines connecting Mahshahr-Abadan and Ahwaz-Abadan. Let them put tanks in barricades so they’ll be protected from the enemy’s anti-tank weapons and so that our anti-tank forces could take the opportunity to reach the enemy and strike it. You asked me in a telegram if I knew of any other forces, why I didn’t say so. I was surprised. The force of which I had information was the army, of which you are the commander. Indeed, there are infantry and armored forces stationed in Dezful which, as you yourself said, you inspect twice a day. I say that that force which has been gradually assembled for a month and has yet to be truly utilized might have part of it be dispatched with this in mind.”

Just when I sent this letter to the Imam’s office and the Islamic Consultative Assembly’s secret files, I also sent it to the archives and to the Supreme Defense Council, in order to confirm the date. The story of the letter is that I came into the Imam’s presence. He made a few points in a brief message which was sent to all the military chiefs through me. Among them was, “Regarding Abadan and Khuninshahr [City of Blood, the Islamic Revolutionary name for occupied Khorramshar, which means City of Bliss], I have the feeling that the officers are coming up short. If you cannot, tell me so that I can decide in this matter. I must answer to Islam and this people.” These were the Imam’s exact words as I noted them down, and I immediately sent a telegram to Mr. Bani-Sadr. Mr. Bani-Sadr replied to my telegram with a very angry telegram, the text of which is extant. He was so extremely angry and demanding and upset with these questions and my statement, saying, “Why did you send such a telegram?” I wrote this letter in answer to his telegram. It is very intricate and I read only part of it. In the diary he wrote those same days and which was not written in his newspaper Enqelab-e Eslami for certain reasons (If I remember correctly, an issue of Enqelab-e Eslami was published without the diary. A copy of the unpublished diary is now in my possession.), he writes concerning this event, the question of Khorramshahr and our insistence on it, “A phone call arrived from Abadan saying that Khorramshahr had fallen. Colonel Razavifar, who was in charge of defending Khorramshahr, said they have hepatitis and kept repeating, “You had promised that you would help me before today and send forces. Why haven’t you sent forces? You are responsible before God and nation.” Dr. Sheibani then took the phone to scream and cry. I snapped at him a few times and said, “As if I had forces at hand to throw at you. That day, when you should have used your head, you didn’t. You hid the truth from me and left an open field for the opportunists and they took the axe up and uprooted the tree. [Hojjat ol-Eslam Khamenei’s explanation: He was referring to the issue of uncovering the coup and arresting those involved in it who, according to him, were responsible for the fall of Khorramshar, or perhaps he was referring to the enemy’s advance of 80 km into Iranian territory.] Who remained for us to send to you? You haven’t helped me in any way. In every case and in every effort you have abandoned us until it became a matter of life and death.”

On the next page, he again writes, “Of course, we will finish the battle. It is only the beginning of the story. Bigger difficulties lie ahead of us. I issued warnings, but they were all useless. On 17 Shahrivar, I returned to the problem and again issued a warning. Unfortunately, the next day, the “Three Musketeers” started objecting so that everyone became aware. The President of the Majlis raised the issue in such a way that the Imam had a note passed to him suggesting that he not to do that. It later became known that the Imam had said, “This has nothing to do with us. You yourself know whether to do that or not. [Explanation by Hojjat ol-Eslam Khamenei: I realize that I must bear witness here: I came before the Imam. After 17 Shahrivar, he told me after chatting that Their Eminences Beheshti and Hashemi[-Rafsanjani] have said nothing. They responded with some of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s crimes. It was the Imam’s interpretation that I told these brothers and the rest of the brothers that same time, saying, “This is the Imam’s interpretation. He said such-and-such.”] Mr. Rajai went to that same meeting and became so bold that if any of his ministers were insulted, he said, “I will never sit at the same table as the president, either at his place or mine.” Indeed!! He claimed to be elected by the people. Again, pressure was brought upon me from all sides that I not follow up … [A few lines later.–source] Fine. These people who are so power-hungry, these people who wanted and want all the instruments of power to be in their hands, where are they? Why aren’t they coming to the aid of Abadan or Khorramshahr? [Let’s leave Khorramshahr out of it. Mr. Rajai went there as soon as he became Prime Minister.] They said, “They are bringing the popular forces there; five thousand, ten thousand. This then became 500, and even these never arrived. Yes, wherever there is danger, they are absent.”

I have exposed the lies in this letter and written that we dispatched a popular force of five thousand and entered there. (We dispatched them, not I myself. In this case, I told the komiteh and the Revolutionary Guards, contacted Mashhad, every place possible.) Five thousand people entered Ahvaz which we ourselves dispatched and they went to Mahshahr and Khorramshahr.

11)   The president must strive to realize the Islamic Revolution’s goals, and in this regard, attention to the principle line of the revolution and its Leader that is accepted by all of the millions of the country’s people is of great importance.

The president’s suitability is manifested in properly understanding the bases of the Leadership and the movement in the direction of its guidance. Mr. Bani-Sadr not only does not act along these lines, but is actually an obstacle to the Leadership and openly tramples on the Imam of the Umma’s guidance in preserving the peace and preventing chaos-mongering. The open difference between his policy and the Imam’s guidance can be discerned in what has happened in the past and beyond in how he behaved in the past few months, but it is better that we listen to what he himself has said  with his own mouth and his own pen. In that same entry into his diary, he says,

“We wanted to drive these groups away from us or get them out of the way with the people’s help, but it was not possible. Whatever decision on a policy he took became a disaster for him and yielded the opposite result of what was intended. The latter would be the Defense Council… On Eid Fitr, I came before the Imam. I told him about everything for fifty-five minutes in an utmost state of furious screaming. I later told him and repeated … Unfortunately, people whose job it is to make trouble had portrayed everything in a different light. The result was that now we have become an isolated people against an enemy which had prepared himself for such enmity from the start. I later spoke to him about the Majlis, saying, “Your Eminence, I do not want a weak Majlis, but this Majlis is weak. It is a Majlis which was elected under the circumstances it was elected under, to which people were elected who were elected. It is not a Majlis which speaks of a sense of responsibility or knowledge or being informed about the country’s affairs. In the course of the Majlis’ life, the fruit of its efforts has been the Rajai government. I wrote in a letter to the Imam that the disaster this government has wrought is many more times worse than the disaster wrought by the war and enemy invasion, and nothing more…”

12)   The denial of absolute power is one of our revolution’s features. Naturally, our republic refrains from accepting any other power and our constitution, too, is based on a division of powers and their apportionment between legal institutions. Mr. Bani-Sadr has had it quite the contrary. He always seeks and strives for absolute power. It was natural that there would be resistance to him and that he would call such resistance sabotage. It is regrettable that some still repeat this and lend legitimacy to a hunger for power in word and deed.

Contrary to the clear word of the Constitution, which considered power to be divided and each power independent, and contrary to the principles of popular rule, he believed that the Majlis must cooperate with the president. This is a blatant insult to the Majlis and the people’s representatives, which has been repeated by him many times. He repeatedly accused the judiciary, which was not prepared to become an instrument in his hands and to appoint those who sympathized with him to lofty posts there, of corruption and disobeying the law and the sharia and the members of the Supreme Judicial Council – who had all been appointed by the Imam and were among them most prominent clerics – of being power-hungry and corrupt. In order to protect his absolute power, he did not even refrain from incorrect interpretations of the Constitution. On Farvardin 12, 1360 [April 9, 1981], he issued a communiqué, documented with the clear text of the Constitution and Article Five of a declaration dated 25/12/59 [March 16, 1981] of the Revolution’s Leader who had said, “Issues pertaining to defense shall be raised and pursued in the Supreme Defense Council and, after ratification, the decision to execute belongs to the Commander in Chief. Without this, no decision is to be made in defense matters. He considers it necessary that all organs, ministries, and government institutions and organizations be notified that all propaganda, opinions, suggestions, and political plans about the imposed war and any sort of measure in this regard which might have any sort of reflection in the world must be raised in the Supreme Defense Council so that it might be propagated and executed after ratification through the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.” He wrote this up as a proclamation and documented it first by the Constitution and second by a commandment of the Imam.

There is absolutely no reference to the Supreme Defense Council being independent. There is a passing reference to it regarding the duties of the Leader in which it is not responsible for a single one of the duties which he mentioned. In the command dated 25/12/59 [March 16, 1981], the Imam in literally the same way, i.e., the Imam had previously issued a declaration in accordance with which the Council of the Revolution was responsible for all matters related to war and in the command of 25 Esfand [March 16, 1981], withdrew these duties from the Supreme Defense Council and had them put under the supervision of the Supreme Defense Council. Mr. Bani-Sadr included a clear and blatant lie in his declaration and bases it on it. His point was that Mr. Rajai had at the same time issued a statement on international affairs. Mr. Bani-Sadr said that this was related to the war and asked what right he had to issue this statement about foreign policy, which is related to the war in one or two ways. This was Mr. Bani-Sadr’s declaration and the way he took advantage of the Constitution.

And even in regard to the people, he declared in an interview that it is the people who must change and not me. In other words, the people must change in accordance with Mr. Bani-Sadr’s way of thinking. It seems that the negation of this characteristic with piety and faith which is the most important of the conditions for the presidency is clearer than the sun.

13)    The most important phenomenon which can be examined regarding Mr. Bani-Sadr’s unsuitability is his disturbance of order. In whomever this is imaginable, it is irrational in a president. He has repeatedly called on the people, the workers, and the military to resist the existing order. It is as if he is trying to compensate for his absence from Iran in the time of general resistance against the Pahlavi regime! It has reached the point that when he is interviewed in a foreign newspaper, he is called the head of the government’s opposition, and he accepts this. Is this appeal related to what one of his friends said in a television interval, that he is awaiting a general crisis? This rabble-rousing which has been reflected up to the latest appearance and speech of Mr. Bani-Sadr in his post as the president of necessity signifies drawing to his side groups of trouble-makers and does not simply signify provoking the simple man in the street. And now we witness street riots in Tehran for which Mr. Bani-Sadr is doubtless not without responsibility. If the president of a country throwing a country into chaos is not a sign of his being unfit and unsuitable, then what else could it mean?

14)   Although they do not individually disqualify one from the presidency, Mr. Bani-Sadr’s personal qualities, too, play a role in and  affect his position. In his arrogance, he considers himself to be a great thinker of the century and his book to be the greatest in the history of Islam, statements to which effect are, incidentally, in the same place in the Majlis’ current secretariat. Then there is his gimmick of getting the army to think that if he were to go, they would all disappear and thus try to make himself out to be an “angel of salvation” in the eyes of elements of the military so that he might use the army as a tool, though the army never needed such an intermediary between itself and the revolution after the Imam’s support and the people’s declaration of fraternity. His hunger for prestige gave influence to flatterers in his inner circle. He was so megalomaniacal that he believed that after the Imam, there was no one more suitable for the leadership. He had many other negative traits that rendered him unsuitable for the presidency of the Muslims and the leadership of a country with a Muslim population.

There are several other subjects which in my opinion are important, indeed, fundamental, and which we have not broached. There is the issue of the proposed agreement of four non-aligned countries, about which he blatantly lied in his recent declaration. This was an agreement which had previously been raised in a session of the Supreme Defense Council and was one that, had I raised it and the honorable representatives and the people of Iran gotten word of what conditions it imposed on us, they would have rejected it unanimously. Two amendments to that agreement were raised in the Majlis, one by Mr. Rajai and the other by Your Servant, and were accepted, so that it might be considered acceptable, and we have not yet given a response to that agreement. But Mr. Bani-Sadr in his declaration acted as if this agreement existed and the non-aligned countries should come and follow suit, and that his removal as commander in chief has damaged this and set back an honorable end to the war, although this was a brazen lie.

Another issue is one or two important memoirs of the time of the Council of the Revolution. One is the hostages’ being turned over from the Muslim Students following the Imam’s Line to the Council of the Revolution. This is an example of the sensational issues of those times within the Council of the Revolution. In those days, we turbaned members of the council insistently opposed this and said that we were not prepared for it and would not accept it. Mr. Bani-Sadr and some other gentlemen of the council insisted that we must take the hostages from the students and put them under the council’s control, and this was something which was requested by intermediating bodies and he insisted that it be done. The second is the issue of the appointment of the chief of radio and television; he had appointed one of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s friends. Each of these is a story unto itself. But this story indicates a tendency in Mr. Bani-Sadr’s actions, he who keeps chattering about the Constitution. Of course, we had lots of such acts in those days. I can tick them off on my fingers. One of them was this issue. Another was the issue of purges. Mr. Bani-Sadr appointed someone for the job, signed off on it, introduced him, and the Council of the Revolution gave him the authority and he performed all the country’s purges. This was that same Mr. Fazlinezhad, who is in Mr. Bani-Sadr’s office, and the ministry’s reference for bringing documents was that same man. He decided on him and put him in charge by his own signature on behalf of the Council of the Revolution for purging and the performance of the purges throughout the country – except in the field of education, which did not pertain to him – belonged to this gentleman. They created purge committees throughout the country and, in response to the people’s protests, tried to cover up how they made use of it and pretended that they were being carried out by clerics or elements to which they were opposed.

The matter of Mr. Farahi is of the same sort. He was once present in the Council of the Revolution when only a few hours previous the radio had announced that he had been appointed on behalf of the Council of the Revolution to run the radio and television network. Several hours later, when we participated in a session, we vehemently objected to his having done this. He said that he took a vote and was appointed. We said that this issue had not been raised and that he had not been appointed. He said that he had taken a vote. We asked when this happened. He said that Dr. Sheibani had agreed. We asked, “Mr. Dr. Sheibani, did you agree with him?” He said, no. He then said that Mr. Bazargan had. Mr. Bazargan came and he, too, said that he had not voted for him. It then [became clear] that he had sat by the phone and called up Mr. Bazargan and said, “Mr. Bazargan, the rest are in accord. You should agree that Mr. Farahi should be in charge of the radio and television network too. Mr. Bazargan had said, “Fine.” He then telephoned Mr. Sheibani and said, “Sir, the rest are in accord. Are you too?” In the same way, he obtained the agreement over the phone of the members of the Council of the Revolution. Of course, apparently he got this from six people which, including himself, made seven. We rejected this and said that this is not a legal vote. Of course, it had been announced by the president and announced on the radio that Mr. Farahi was in charge of the radio and television. The Council of the Revolution did not see fit to publically and clearly oppose this.

Another issue was the affair of the fatwas about popularity polls. He had conducted a poll whose result was that Mr. Bani-Sadr (and perhaps I have the numbers wrong, I don’t correctly recall, but approximately speaking) had about 80% support among the people, the Imam, 53%, and so on for the rest. They brought this into the Council of the Revolution and said, “Our poll shows that I am now more popular among the people than the Imam!” He had even said as much in a foreign interview and this was then raised in the Council of the Revolution. His Eminence Beheshti asked, “Did you say that?” He said, “No. It’s a lie.” He did not remember that he had said this to us in the Council of the Revolution and expressed complete ignorance of the matter.

Mr. Bani-Sadr began his activity with such an attitude toward the people and society and so continues it. Your Servant imagines that with all these details, only a twentieth would be enough to confirm his unsuitability. If Your Servant ought to say three times as much as I’ve said, I am ready and able. The issue of his lack of qualifications is clear. Truly, if anyone is not satisfied by all these statements and proofs and evidence that Mr. Bani-Sadr lacks the political qualifications and hasn’t the political, moral, etc. suitability to hold the presidency, it must be said that, say, he has not been in this session and listened. For if anyone listened to what has been said and not arrived at this conclusion, he is unacceptable.

As for the matter of Hoveizeh, yesterday, Miss A`zam Taleqani quoted something and it is my duty to say, gentlemen, Your Servant was himself present in that region on Dey 15. On that day, our forces attacked the Iraqi forces. Here, I consider it necessary to thank from this tribune Colonel Lotfi, the commander of that force, who on that day fought in the front ranks with courage, faith, and disregard for his own life and was always in the field of battle, rushing from this side to that, and praise his memory. I saw him as a competent and courageous officer in this affair. It was the field of battle. Our forces attacked. The enemy’s forces collapsed and one of our armies was in serious danger and moved.

Of course, the boys of the Revolutionary Guards, too, were there around two or two thirty in that same area. I saw that those same boys who became martyrs were between Hoveizeh and that area which was the front lines, and they were running towards the front lines and went to the edge of Karkheh Kur. In other words, they were heading from west to east while the enemy forces were heading in the opposite direction. In other words, they were fleeing to join up with their forces which were in Dobb-e Hardan, which is in the west of Ahvaz and in the east of this region we were talking about. I told some of my brothers that our forces are also advancing. Don’t rush. And they said, “No, we want to go.” I considered no one culpable in this escapade. I was also present on the next day, the sixteenth, till about three or three thirty and in the afternoon, when Mr. Bani-Sadr was also present and our forces were gradually beginning to take loses. What happened was that a large relief column had come for the Iraqi forces and they were firing at our forces’ flank, something we had not been counting on and which had not been considered by our forces or intelligence institution. And so our forces began a retreat. It was between three or three thirty that I rushed to the city in which there was a base for that other army and presented myself and emphasized to the commanders and officers the suggestion that they enter the fray from the other side. Some of the other military brothers came to gear up and all struggled in earnest for that whole hour. In other words, I didn’t see anyone, military or not, who did not struggle. Of course, that hour I arrived, Mr. Bani-Sadr was not present. Either he was eating or was reciting his prayers or was asleep. Whatever the case, he was not there. But an hour or two after our arrival, there he was. He was indeed there for a few hours, more or less, and he was there when our forces were destroyed and then came to relate this to us.

In any case, when our boys were getting martyred in Hoveiseh, I do not absolutely state this never happened but I never saw anyone deliberately prevaricating or being weak or any treachery (God forbid!). When I heard yesterday that a number of people said that this was all Mr. Bani-Sadr’s fault, no, we have enough problems and criticisms of Mr. Bani-Sadr which are logical that we have no need accusing him in this matter, which has no way of being confirmed. I do not consider this Bani-Sadr’s fault. In other words, according to my determination, as far as I know, it is not Bani-Sadr’s fault. If Bani-Sadr is guilty–which he certainly is–it is in other matters.

And peace be upon you and God’s mercy.