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


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

In these sensitive times, when one of Iran’s most fateful historical pages is being written, I implore God to guide me to what pleases Him and protect me from being sharp-tongued and emotional and overcome by passion.  And now that the opportunity and obligation to speak and expose has been granted after a prolonged and painful patient silence, 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, the entire Iranian nation, and, finally, future generations which will keenly observe our work. With this in mind, 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 qualifications to occupy the sensitive post of the presidency.

Before I present my numerous arguments which confirm this claim, I consider it necessary to first define “political qualification” as referred to in Article 110 of the Constitution.

“Political qualification” means that someone is unfit [sic] for executing the administrative duties which they have been given. Lacking political qualification means one does not satisfy those character traits which have been specified in the Constitution in order to execute these responsibilities, but rather 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. Rather than presenting arguments for Mr. Bani-Sadr’s qualifications or answering the arguments of those who agree with the case [against Bani-Sadr], 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 spoke about opposition yesterday as soon as the issue was raised and even considered it a good opportunity to speak their minds and express their particular notions in opposition to the partisans of fiqh, who are 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 their first word had been said in the Majles about Bani-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 that this represented interference of the legislature into the judiciary.

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

This is not a matter of personal animosity or factionalism. It is a matter of religious law and divine responsibility, and an answer to popular demand. If we were not concerned about defending the revolution and Islam and fulfilling our obligation towards people, and if we could accept Mr. Bani-Sadr, for all his faults and problems, and did not reckon our divine duty, perhaps these same brothers would not accuse us of monopolizing and being power-hungry and the like.

We resisted the positions taken towards us by the West and the wave of culture alienated from Islam, which has been spread by them for God’s sake and in response to the trust that the Imam of the Muslim World bestowed upon us and because of the heavy responsibility we bear as members of the Council of the Revolution. This was intolerable for Mr. Bani-Sadr and the faction which considered him its best barricade, and it was for just this 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 a chance 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, which incited the people against the government and to riot and destroy public order. But, in spite of it all, his statement received permission to be read from this tribune of the Majles and be broadcast on the radio and the 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 Majles, there are gentlemen who have repeated the same baseless claims and errant insults which he has imposed for over a year so far, using every means of social communication and many propaganda methods and have repeatedly said and written in speeches, interviews and articles to feed the minds of many ignorant people, while, of course, never succeeding. Let them keep repeating what they have said before and unfairly call others torturers and him the one who is crying out; let them call others violators and present him as defending himself.

Yes, gentlemen, Mr. Bani-Sadr is not missed here. Aside from those who are his loudspeakers, he has been speaking and writing for a year and a half, and instead of an appropriate response to all this, you still repeat to this day some of this same talk. They have said, “If only he were present in person [and said what] he wanted. He would not have been subject to a propaganda attack.” True, had he been here, he would have said all he had to say, so that it could be proven to you 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 course of revolution and true Islam and that which has challenged it is an oppositional faction. And even if these brothers, as they claim, are against Mr. Bani-Sadr, they cannot hide their relationship with that rotten faction. The faction now centered around Mr. Bani-Sadr and struggling against the doctrinaire statesmen even includes such elements.

The brothers of the opposition, by pointing to the presence of the people in the streets and Mr. Rajai’s encouragement by calling them the Party of God [hezbollah], say that these activities are not in the public interest and are an illogical policy, declaring 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 Muslim World, 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 understood this movement, nor have you had any power over it; and you have not understood the difference between the legitimate Imam of the Muslim World and those who lay claim to political struggle. He relied on the people. He asked them for the 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 but rather should meet with politicians and, as they said, with substantial people. The Party of God, 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 the Peikari [a Maoist group], and so on, all beat them and dragged them and accused them, and the pseudo-intellectuals tied to East and West rained 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 Muslim World supports and defends them. 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 consider Mr. Bani-Sadr fit for occupying this office from the start, I defended him after he was elected. I, your Servant, supported him repeatedly during Friday Prayers and 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 in the post of the presidency has become an unquenchable flame, consuming this same republic because of his implementation of various destructive policies in the post of the presidency, he has become the biggest enemy of the Islamic Republic, acting as an agent of its humiliation and a loudspeaker for its enemies, does continued support to him mean supporting the Islamic Republic? No, brother, judge fairly.

No support for Bani-Sadr was truly as valuable as the Imam’s support for him was. But have you seen that when, 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 considered this his duty to remove his support from him and that he did? You who followed the Imam’s endorsement up to Esfand 1359 [Esfand 14, 1359; see below]; why did you trust his removal of his endorsement in Khordad 1360 [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 Majles. 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 and 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 considered an enemy, not even caring about his policies, which damage the foundations of the republic and the independence of the country. Perhaps now the time has finally come for us to ask, what was the business of the public crisis that one of his confidents and consultants raised during a so-called television debate 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 received a vote of confidence to keep it from succeeding, so that it could be discredited and fall so he could seize power through a political struggle.

The behavior of President [instead of prime minister, as written] Mr. Bani-Sadr, and his friends towards 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 as well as in our domestic and foreign policy is indicative of such a policy. Mr. Bani-Sadr has violated them in his position as president. He has replaced truthfulness with politicking. Examples of this can be seen clearly and repeatedly.

An example of this is the position he took regarding groups and grouplets. Before becoming president, he somewhat condemned the [People’s] Mojahedin. After he became president, when he felt the need for their organizing power, he drew them near to him. He issued them permits to bear arms and he utilized their elements and organization to run meetings that he considered necessary to further his ends. We have a document in [People’s Mojahedin leader Massoud] Rajavi’s handwriting and over his signature which expresses their agreement and cooperation with Mr. Bani-Sadr regarding the Islamic Consultative Assembly elections and opposition to the plan for them to take place in two stages and other matters. The tone of this letter, which is written in Rajavi’s handwriting, addressed to Mr. Bani-Sadr, bespeaks a continuing relationship between them. These gentlemen very sincerely and fraternally make suggestions, express opinions, ask questions, and declare their mutual agreements.

Among his positions on the issues, his position on the Imam is remarkable. Just recently he had been pretending to be committed to the Imam. He called the Imam his father and his religious guide, and used the title “Imam”. Yes, he cherished the name alone, but in practice protested every other aspect of the velayat-e faqih. The Imam extols the Revolutionary Guards in such tones, while Mr. Bani-Sadr repeatedly and clearly attacks them (for example, on 14 Esfand in a speech, and on other occasions). 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 installed a three-member board 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 it 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 lying and sensationalist articles in the first issue of his newspaper on Farvardin 1360.

One of Islam’s moral and ethical principles and prominent features is piety and faith, which is an aspect of suitability and a condition for the presidency, among the qualifications and stipulations according to the Constitution.  Mr. Bani-Sadr has violated honesty and truthfulness in speech and action, founding his activities instead 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.” I, your servant, have in my 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 I, your servant, have in my 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–“you are 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 you 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 riyals 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 riyals 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 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 was 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 him in 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 chief mainstay of our revolution and republic. Another is the people’s presence on the scene, which leads the foe to despair. The Islamic Republican system is the field of action and struggle of the Imam and the Muslim World. And now, how could the effort to render these great forces impotent, either by accident or by design, be understood? Is it treason or incompetence? For now, we will let it go at the second.

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, he says things about the limitations on the Imam’s information that are explicit 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, issues an opinion based on these reports. This interview 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 [Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleqani, who had recently died] sends a telegram to Imam Khomeini saying, ‘I have met with the Shah in Heaven, but there was 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 formation 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, and 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 eliminate 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, though he did not want it to be presented as paid news page, 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, he returned to the newspaper with a letter from its central offices in New York in his hand that instructed the publisher to publish Bani-Sadr’s letter without the receipt of any money. And so, on the instructions of its New York central offices, that letter was published in full on that newspaper’s front page.

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

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 help cannot be interpreted as anything less than political unsuitability.

8)      The minimal requirement for a president being suitable is that he keeps his range of close advisors, aides, and colleagues clear of elements with a bad record or reputation, or at least clear of dubious and suspect people. I have not considered it necessary to give a lengthy explanation of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s circle since there have been exposés 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 have been removed from 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 the level of the country’s reserve currency or declaring that the economy is paralyzed.

He did not notice that the low currency reserve 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 the nine previous months, 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 volume of our currency reserves to bash Rajai and to say that the government has taken out a loan from the Central Bank, etc., and had come up short, while the regulation of money is the responsibility of the country’s economic institutions, i.e., the Central Bank and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Then there is Mr. Engineer Sahabi who said yesterday that Bani-Sadr had been Minister of Economy and Finance, 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 the candidate for the position 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, but 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 had been 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 any case, this could only be impiety and unsuitability.

In the opinion of I, your servant, 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 attitude throughout the war. This can be seen in successive issues of his diary, in interviews and his speeches on Ashura/14 Esfand, 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 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 [Bloody City, the Islamic Revolutionary name for occupied Khorramshar, which means Blissful City] 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 extremely angry and offended with these questions and my statement, as if we were the one who owed him an answer and explanation, saying, “Why did you send such a telegram?” I wrote this letter in answer to his telegram. It is very intricate and I’ll read only part of it here. In a report he wrote those same days, which was not published 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 which 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 he has hepatitis and kept repeating, “You had promised that you would help me by now 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 shout. 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 everything. [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 at all. In every case and in every action 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 [September 8], I once again I raised the problem and issued a warning. Unfortunately, the next day, the “Three Musketeers” began objecting to it, as everyone is aware. The President of the Majlis raised the issue in such a way that it was as if the Imam had a note passed to him suggesting that he should do it the way he did. 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 [Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammad] Beheshti and [Hojattoleslam Ali-Akbar Hashemi[-Rafsanjani] have said nothing. He addressed some of Mr. Bani-Sadr’s violations. 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 as to say:  ‘If any of my ministers are insulted, I will never sit at the same table as the president; either he should be present or I, but we will never both sit at the same table ever again.’ 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 then, and want now 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?” [He did not help Khoramshahr, and now that Mr. Rajai has become Prime Minister, he wants to go there?] He said, “He is bringing the popular forces there; five thousand, ten thousand. This then became 500, and even these never arrived. Yes, wherever there is danger, he is 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; I contacted Mashhad and 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 millions of people throughout the country.

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 did not act along these lines, but was actually an obstacle to the Leadership and openly trampled on the Imam of the Muslim World’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 was taken turned into a disaster 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 furious state of screaming. I later spoke to him and repeated myself, etc. 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 Majles, saying, “Your Eminence, I do not want a weak Majles, but this Majles is weak. It is a Majles which was elected under the circumstances it was elected under, to which people were elected who were elected. It is not a Majles which speaks out of a sense of responsibility or knowledge or being informed about the country’s affairs. In the course of the Majles’ 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 Majles must cooperate with the president. This is a blatant insult to the Majles and the people’s representatives that 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 included 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. It is considered 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 in the Constitution to the Supreme Defense Council being independent. There is a passing reference to it, in the context of the duties of the Leader, in which the Supreme Defense Council is not responsible for a single one of the duties which he mentioned. It was just like that in the command dated 25/12/59 [March 16, 1981], in which the Imam, having previously issued a declaration in accordance with which the Council of the Revolution, was responsible for all matters related to war, withdrew these duties from the Supreme Defense Council in the command of 25 Esfand [March 16, 1981] and considered its duties to be in accordance to what was stipulated by the Constitution.   Mr. Bani-Sadr included a clear and blatant lie in his declaration and invoked it. His point was that it was Mr. Rajai who 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 him. In other words, the people must change in accordance with Mr. Bani-Sadr’s way of thinking. It seems that the contradiction 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 that can be examined regarding Mr. Bani-Sadr’s unsuitability is his disturbance of order. In whomever this is imaginable, it is unreasonable 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 interview, that he is awaiting a general crisis? This rabble-rousing, which has been reflected in the latest appearance and speech of Mr. Bani-Sadr in his post as the president, 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 nature, too, plays a role and is effective. In his arrogance, he considers himself to be a great thinker of the century and his book [Islamic Economics] to be the greatest in the history of Islam, statements to which effect are, incidentally, in the same place in the Majles’ current secretariat. Then there is his gimmick of getting the army to think that if he were to leave office or be removed, 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, even 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 than himself for the leadership. He had many other negative traits that render 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 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’ve 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 and signed off on it and introduced him, and the Council of the Revolution gave him 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, came under this gentleman’s purview. 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 purges all 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 was appointed by election. 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, “Dr. Sheibani, did you agreed 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 I, 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, Ms. A`zam Taleqani quoted something and it is my duty to say, gentlemen, I, Your Servant, was myself 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 jeopardy 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 were martyred were between Hoveizeh and that area of 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. 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 were also advancing. Don’t rush. And they said, “No, we want to go.” I considered no one culpable in this episode. 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 suffer 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 anticipated 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 and suggested 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 treacherous in any way (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 logical criticisms of Mr. Bani-Sadr that we have no need to accuse 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.


Speaker: Khamenei
Title: Speech in the Islamic Consultative Assembly in the Meeting to Review Bani-Sadr
Language: Persian
Western Date: 21/6/1981
Persian Date: 31/3/1360
Physical/Electronic Location: http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=20113

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