السيد نصرالله… انتصارات ووقفات عزّ

فبراير 9, 2019

سعيد معلاوي

مساء الأربعاء الماضي تسمّر الملايين في لبنان والعالم العربي أمام شاشات التلفاز لمتابعة خطاب أمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله بمناسبة الذكرى الأربعين لانتصار الثورة الاسلامية في إيران. وذلك للوقوف على آخر المستجدات في المنطقة وكلّ ما له علاقة بالمسألة الفلسطينية.

في خطابه أشار السيد نصرالله إلى أنّ إيران دولة عظمى بكلّ ما للكلمة من معنى، وينبغي على الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وكيان العدو الصهيوني أن يتهيّبا قدراتها التي لا حدود لها، عسكرياً، وعلى كلّ المستويات. وهذه رسالة لأميركا وحلفائها مفادها أنّ إيران تمتلك كلّ عناصر القوة التي تمكنها من إلحاق الهزيمة بأعدائها، ومن يقف في صفهم.

لبنانياً كان لكلام السيد نصرالله وقع كبير، فهو أبدى استعداداً للمساهمة والمساعدة من أجل حصول لبنان على منظومة دفاع جوي من إيران، ولتسليح الجيش اللبناني بكلّ ما يحتاجه للدفاع عن أرضه وسيادته بمواجهة العدو الصهيوني وكلّ قوى الإرهاب. ولم يغفل الحديث عن تأمين التيار الكهربائي لكلّ لبنان في خلال أقلّ من سنة وبكلفة زهيدة جداً وإضاءة الطرقات والأنفاق.

مواقف السيد نصرالله هذه، والتي تؤيدها الغالبية العظمى من اللبنانيين المتمسكة بمعادلة الجيش والشعب والمقاومة، نزلت كالصاعقة على أصحاب نظريات الضعف والنأي والحياد، المسكونين بالعقد. وما ضاعف من قوة الصعق، الاهتمام والمتابعة الدولية للخطاب وتحليل أبعاده واستهدافاته في هذا التوقيت بالتحديد. ولكونه عزّز الروح المعنوية لدى جميع المؤمنين بنهج المقاومة والممانعة انْ كان على الساحة المحلية والقومية، أو الإقليمية أو الدولية، وأكد ثابتة أننا نعيش زمن الانتصارات ووقفات العز.

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The Islamic Revolution In The Service Of The Palestinian Cause

By Staff

Gaza – ““Israel” is an invader. It must leave as soon as possible. The only solution is for the Palestinian brothers to destroy this corrupt entity as soon as possible.”

The above is an objective laid out by Imam Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. While the Shah’s Iran was the most prominent supporter of the “Israeli” occupation entity in the region, the Imam’s revolution constituted an actual uprising against this reality. The Islamic Revolution, which closed the door to relations with the US and closed Washington’s embassy, opened its doors at that time to the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. It opened the Palestinian Embassy in the Islamic Republic by removing the flag of the usurper entity and jointly raised the Palestinian flag with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“In order to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem), it is necessary to take advantage of the machine guns that depend on faith and the ability of Islam, leave the game of politics that reeks of surrender and abandon the idea of appeasing the great powers,” Imam Khomeini said.

From here and since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has been an essential supporter of the various resistance factions in occupied Palestine.

According to the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, Khader Habib, the Islamic Revolution has placed Iran squarely among those with a bias towards the cause of the Palestinian nation.

“Imam Khomeini’s statements and terminologies such as when he said that “Israel” is a cancerous gland that must be eradicated so that the health of the region and the Arab and Islamic nation is restored overlapped with what the Islamic Jihad movement believed in the era of the start of the Islamic revolution in Iran. It is still holding on to these beliefs,” Habib told the Al-Ahed news website in an exclusive interview.

“After the revolution, Iran became a major supporter of the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist enemy,” Habib added. “Iran realized under the leadership of Imam Khomeini and still does that the existence of the Zionist entity in the Arab and Islamic region poses a major regional threat and that efforts should be made to eradicate this cancerous tumor from the body of the nation.”

He pointed out that Iran has maintained its biased policies for the Palestinian cause and is the main supporter of the Islamic and non-Islamic resistance in Palestine.

The Islamic Jihad leader said that “Iran moved from the square of spiritual, political and intellectual theft to the square of having a biased towards the nation, its culture and to the great [religion of] Islam. Early on, Imam Khomeini declared his support for the Palestinian resistance. This was translated when the “Israeli” flag was lowered from the embassy and the Palestinian flag was raised instead. This confirmed a new phase titled the full support for the Palestinian cause.”

Habib also stressed that the Islamic Republic is a fundamental and unwavering supporter of the Palestinian cause.

“We never felt that this support was aimed at asserting dominance over the resistance factions or that it is conditional. Iran supports Palestine because it believes that Palestine must be returned to its people who should live in security before the existence of the Zionist project,” he explained.

Regarding the deal of the century, Habib stated that “the positions of the Islamic Jihad completely overlap with the position of the Islamic Republic regarding the deal.”

He explains that the deal of the century is part of the bid to  impose US, “Israeli” and Western dominance over the region.

“Everyone is targeted by the deal, including Iran and the Arab and Islamic nation. We are working to ensure its failure. It will fail due to the stability and resistance embodied by the Lebanese resistance, and all the resistance movements rejecting the “Israeli” and American hegemony as well as the Palestinian people who are spearheading the confrontation against the Zionist project,” Habib concluded.

Al-Ghoul: The Islamic Revolution marked a shift in Iran’s pivotal role

For his part, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Kayed Al-Ghoul, applauded the Islamic Revolution for transforming “the region and Iran’s pivotal role in it.”

“The Shah’s regime was hostile to the Palestinian people and the people of the Ummah. It allied itself with the Zionist enemy. The Islamic Republic is its opposite. Its policy supports the Palestinian people and the Ummah. It provides support for the resistances forces. By doing so, it is supporting the Palestinian people in their fight against the Zionist occupation,” Al-Ghoul said.

Speaking to Al-Ahed, Al-Ghoul congratulated the Islamic Republic’s leadership, government and people on the 40th anniversary for the Islamic Revolution.

“One of the main features of the Iranian Revolution is the strict position not to recognize the Zionist enemy and to consider it an enemy not only of the Arab nation but also of Iran and the Islamic people. From this position, Iran defined its dealings and support for the Palestinian people in their struggle and quest to attain their full rights,” he added.

Al-Ghoul explained that “Iran supported the Palestinians, not just politically or through the media, but in a material sense too. It supported the resistance forces facing the occupation with weapons and greatly strengthened the ability of our people and the resistance in the face of the enemy.”

“We did not feel that there was pressure, especially on the popular front in the direction of adopting certain policies. Iran confirmed that its support stems from its standing alongside the Palestinian people and the forces of resistance,” Al-Ghoul said.

According to the PFLP leader,

“a common political position among the axis of resistance is the recognition of the seriousness of the deal of the century, which is aimed at liquidating the Palestinian people’s cause and its national rights. It is also aimed at paving the way towards a formal normalization of ties between [Arab] countries and the Zionist enemy. Thus, there are common political positions and coordination, but we have not reached a unified plan on how to address the deal [of the century].”

“We recognize the need to organize the efforts of the different forces in each of the Arab countries to face the risks of the deal at the level of the country itself, at the level of the interests of the nation and then the Palestinian cause,” Al-Ghoul pointed out.

He concluded by stressing the “need to form a framework that includes the various forces in the Arab countries to create a front that confronts the deal of the century and is dependent on all our allies and friends, both in the axis of resistance or other forces at the regional or international level.”

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Mir-Salim: Iran’s Defense System One of Best Achievements

By Nour Rida

Tehran – Commemorating the 40th victory of the Islamic Revolution, al-Ahed news interviewed Vice-president of the Islamic Coalition Party Council Seyed Mostafa Mir-Salim, who was active during the revolution and had served as police chief following the revolution. He was proposed by then president Abulhassan Banisadr in July 1980 as a candidate for prime minister. He filled different posts during his career years and was also former minister of culture and guidance. Mir-Salim was also named as Islamic Coalition Party’s nominee for Iranian presidential election, 2017 in December 2016. He launched his campaign in April 2017.

Mr. Mir-Salim told al-Ahed news

“The Islamic revolution passed through several stages before arriving to its victory. We can say that the inception point came with the movement of Ayatollah Khomeini, especially in the year 1963 when he stood up to the oppressive Shah regime which led eventually to the events of 15 Khordad.”

The demonstrations of June 5, 1963, known as 15th of Khordad Uprising, were the public protest against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his strong remarks on Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ‘Israel’ and the United States. The protestors were harshly suppressed but the event marked the vitality and power of the opposition against Pahlavi dynasty and the support Iranian nation had for their religious and political figure, Ayatollah Khomeini, who 15 years later led the Islamic Revolution to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“The uprising in 1963, during which many Iranians lost their lives, was one of the main events that culminated in the Islamic Revolution some 15 years later,” he noted.

The politician continued

“Then, the period of intense repression and suppression of the struggle continued until 1974. During that year, the nature of dissension of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization MEK was revealed, and the fighters of the Islamic revolution eliminated themselves from the existence of these hypocrites. The Shah regime’s humiliation of the people and their beliefs and its neglect to their needs and principles prompted the people to continue their popular uprising.”

As Mir-Salim pointed out, the negligence of the regime and its offenses towards Imam Khomeini flared the sparks of anger across the different cities such as Qom, Tabriz, Yazd and other cities.

“The leadership of Imam Khomeini who was in exile at that time brought the people together, and on as the events continued and many were martyred, the victory saw light on the 22 of Bahman (February) 1979. It was a soon and unexpected popular victory owing to the strong faith, popular will and the wise leadership of Imam Khomeini.”

During that time, Mir-Salim was already member of the Islamic Coalition Party. However, he emphasized that

“during the early days of the revolution, no political party was officially active due to the violence and suppression of the regime Shah. However, after the Islamic revolution, political parties started to take shape, one of which is the Islamic coalition party.”

The party is a pivotal organization within Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader and is considered a lay ally of the influential Combatant Clergy Association.

Asking him about what memories he holds from those days he said “I have bitter and sweet memories of that time. One of the shortest sweet memories that is still alive in my mind and heart is once when I was taking part in the rallies on the way to Azadi square. Suddenly, someone pats my shoulder from the back and says from behind “Sir, the speeches you gave were not futile, the revolution did triumph!” He was one of my committed students.”

As for progress and development that was realized since the days of the Islamic revolution, the vice-president says these are abundant.

“However I will mention what I believe was one of those achievements of which we should be very appreciative. I believe that Iran’s capability to defend itself since the very beginning of the birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran is an important attainment that helped all Iranians achieve independence and liberty in face of arrogance and oppression. It also helped establish an independent and religious democratic system, thanks to the guidance of Imam Khomeini and help of God. We must be thankful to see Iran’s successful defense system which allowed Iran to stand in the face of aggression during the imposed war, and this has made the US very furious to an extent it has used different methods and means to prevent the Islamic Republic from being self-sufficient and ready to confront any attack.”

Reminiscing the Islamic Revolution: Hezbollah Deputy SG Remembers Imam Khomeini

By Staff

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Kassem recounts memories during the victory of the Islamic Revolution and of late Imam Khomeini.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: Resistance Axis Stronger than Ever, Iran Not Alone in Any Coming War

Zeinab Essa

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Wednesday a televised speech in which he focused on the Islamic Revolution and Iran’s position after 40 years on the revolution.

From A Man to Revolution

Addressing thousands of people commemorating the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Sayyed Nasrallah hailed the Islamic Revolution that started with a man and spread after 40 years to make Iran in the top of the world countries.

“Iran is the most influential country in the region,” he said, noting that “the Shah Mohammad Rida Pahlavi has made Iran a state that belongs to America and is run by Washington. He was its servant.”

Back to the mid of the last century, Hezbollah Secretary General recalled that “this was the case until a courageous man came out of Qom after years and years of observation, and stood against the Pahlavi regime’s dictatorship and its complete submission to the US.”

“Before the sixties, Imam Khomeini prepared for the revolution and settled the environment against the Shah,” he said, underscoring that “the Iranian people have endured all the tortures and massacres committed by the Shah.”

According to His Eminence, Sayyed Nasrallah stated that “this revolution was patriotic par excellence. It was a revolution of hungry, deprived and oppressed people.”

“The divine nature and essence of the 1979 Islamic Revolution distinguishes from other uprisings [in the world]. Late Imam Khomeini led the revolution against the poverty created by the Pahlavi regime. People from all strata of the society participated in it as it was an uprising of the oppressed against injustice,” he said.

Achievements

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah viewed that “one of the main achievements of the Islamic revolution is toppling the Shah Regime and bringing America and “Israel” out of Iran.”

“Iran today is one of the first independent countries in the region and among the few truly independent countries in the world,” he mentioned, highlighting that “another achievement scored is maintaining national unity and steadfastness in face of all internal conspiracies.”

He further said that “among other political achievements is the establishment of a new regime on basis of popular sovereignty and referendum. Iran in 40 years turned to become the state of institutions, constitution, law and popular sovereignty under the mandate of the Supreme Leader.”

“Elections have never been suspended in Iran, even when it was being bombed by Saddam. They did not extend the terms of the president or the parliament. They held elections on time and committed to “sovereignty of the people,” Sayyed Nasrallah elaborated, noting that “Iran today is a neither an Oriental state nor a Western nation. Unlike others, it is not submitted to the American will.”

The Hezbollah leader said Iran has made great achievements under the rule of the Islamic Jurisprudence, and is now leading in the region concerning the number of university students, international researchers and scholars, share of science production besides activities in the fields of nanotechnology, space technology and sports.

Listing some aspects of the victories scored by the Islamic Revolution, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Iran does not need to import medicine, but Iran makes 97% of its pharmaceutical needs. Iran ranks 1st in the region in Mathematics and 13 in the world in Math and Physics. Iran produces 90% of its defense needs and exports $ 5 billion to the world. Today, the gas reaches 20 million Iranian families through pipes that reach homes.”

On the current situation, Sayyed Nasrallah praised the fact that “one of the major achievements of the Iranian revolution is the revival of religion, not just the Islamic religion.”

Iran and The Region

He went on to say: “Despite the eight-year war on it, Iran did not abandon its responsibility towards the region, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Afghanistan,” noting that “Iran stood in face of the Zionist entity, where the victory of the revolution restored the balance and placed a large wall in the face of the “Israeli” scheme.”

“One of the greatest achievements of the Iranian revolution is its serious resistance to the American hegemony and to say no to humiliation. In this context, Iran stood by the Iraqi people and had a quick intervention with its officers and cadres, headed by Haj Qassem Soleimani.”

In addition, Sayyed Nasrallah confirmed that “At a time when the whole world has abandoned Palestine and Al-Quds, Iran will never do this, because Iran honors the holy places – because of this, the US imposes sanctions on it.”

Iran Ready to Arm LA

On the Lebanese front, His Eminence “announced that as a “friend of Iran and I’m willing to bring the Lebanese Army air defense systems from Iran to confront “Israel”.”

“In the military field, wouldn’t people make an uproar and accuse Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into war should the party shoot down an “Israeli” aircraft attacking Lebanon?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered, noting that he is also ready to talk to Tehran on supplying the army with any arms and equipment it needs.

“Lebanon does not lack expertise and yet we are confused about the electricity file.” He mentioned, denouncing the US logic stating that there should be no Lebanese cooperation with Iran.

Saudis A US Tool

Turning to the region, His Eminence stressed that “As acknowledged by Trump, the US administration created Daesh in Iraq in order to return to the region.”

“MBS admitted that America had asked Saudi Arabia to spread Wahhabism in the world,” he said, adding that “Saudi Arabia was asked to promote the culture of Daesh.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also assured that “claims that there are “Israeli”-Iranian or Saudi-Iranian wars or conflicts in the region are untrue.”

“There is an American war on the Islamic Republic of Iran that has been running since 1979 and Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries are tools in this war.”

Iran Not Alone

In parallel, the Resistance Leader vowed that In case a war was waged against Iran, it will certainly not be left alone in it.”

Stating that “We were affected by the US sanctions on Iran,” Sayyed Nasrallah vowed that Hezbollah would “overcome the difficulties” through its “firmness, will and resolve.”

Once again, he reiterated that “The resistance axis is stronger than ever and the US will further withdraw from the region and Israel is heading towards more fear and panic.”

“We see the struggle in the region may escalate and may take different forms but in all cases, today the Islamic Republic is the strongest state in the region … and America is headed for more withdrawals and retreats from the region,” Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.

Source: Al-Ahed

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Memories Of The Days Of Struggle & Revolution

By Mokhtar Haddad

Iranian journalist Seyed Ismail Alawi Yakana is a revolutionary who lived through the days of the Islamic Revolution. Because of his participation in the struggle against the Shah’s regime, he spent nearly three years in the SAVAK prisons.

He was also an activist during the revolution and educated a number of its men.

During the period of the sacred defense, he was present as a journalist and a fighter along the frontlines. He was responsible for reporting on the sacred defense for an Iranian newspaper during those days. Today, he still works in the same field, seeking to spread the values of the Islamic Revolution and the sacred defense among the new generation.

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Al-Ahed website met with Seyed Ismail Alawi to ask him about the days of struggle and victory.

Q: How would you describe the Islamic Revolution, which you lived through?

A: I must talk about the start of this revolutionary movement and its peak. There are things that led the people to resent and oppose the former regime.

The incident involving the publication of an article that was offensive to Imam Khomeini in late 1977 in a regime-run newspaper was the spark that ignited this popular resentment and anger toward the Shah’s regime.

It is true that Imam Khomeini’s uprising began in 1963, after which he was exiled. But the peak of the popular movement and the start of the final drive that eventually led to the overthrow of the tyrannical regime began after the publication of the offensive article. But before that, there was revolutionary activity by activists, which was suppressed by the Shah and his police system.

Following the publication of the article, the residents of the holy city of Qom rose against this abusive measure. The Iranian people regard the holy city of Qom as a religious symbol. The revolutionaries were religious and the revolution was of religious nature. All the people had religious tendencies.

The demands of the religious revolutionaries represented the demands of all the Iranian people and even the rest of the elites and sects in society.

The former regime had such an experience. On June 4, 1963, when Imam Khomeini was arrested and the scholars were insulted, the next day they carried out a major uprising in Tehran and across various cities. The struggle was ongoing, but the regime was suppressing it.

It is true that the regime suppressed the June 5, 1963 uprising. But the revolutionaries formed a revolutionary nucleus for the political or armed struggle. In the early 1970s, we witnessed the regime’s crackdown on the revolutionaries. But the revolutionaries did not retreat.

Then, in the mid 1970s, the political struggle escalated in universities and mosques.

In late 1977, after the publication of that offensive article, the Shah’s regime was surprised by the reaction of the people.

I remember even some of the revolutionaries believed that revolutionary action needed extensive work. But when the people rose up, everyone was surprised with the speed.  Some did not expect the people to overthrew the Shah that quickly.

Q: Why did the Islamic Revolution accelerate?

A: First, the Shah’s regime did not pay attention to the demands of the people. But there is another important point which is the love for Imam Khomeini. The Iranian people loved Imam Khomeini. This was thanks to God Almighty.

Q: The Shah’s regime was dependent on America and the West. Even Carter, who visited Iran during the regime’s final last months, described the country as the island of stability. Why did the monarchy collapse?

A: The former regime was the front line, countering the influence of the former Soviet Union with the support of the West. During the Cold War, they considered Iran an important state for them. And the Westerners were supporting the Shah.

When the West wanted the help of its allied countries, including the countries in the NATO alliance, it was done through the Shah’s regime since it was trusted by the West and was regarded as the region’s policeman.

The Shah relied on this support and thought that in case of any popular movement he would be fully supported.

Q: In this context, we see that in the final days of the Shah’s regime, Washington sent its special envoy, General Robert Huyzer. What was this man’s mission in Tehran?

A: America sent General Robert Huyzer to maintain the Shah’s regime and carry out a military coup as it did in the fifties. This is all documented, even in the memoirs of this American general.

Huyzer was tasked with supporting the Shah and maintaining his regime. Before that the American spies who used to work in the US Embassy in Tehran had prepared for him all the polls and statistics for him to carry out the mission.

But he saw that the armed forces were not prepared to carry out this mission and massacre the people, so his mission failed.

Many members of the armed forces, including Air Force officers, joined the people.

Q: But America came up with new plans to target the revolution.

A: Using several schemes, Washington wanted to deter the Islamic Revolution because the victory of the revolution had damaged the interests of Washington in the region.

The Islamic Revolution was inspiring to the people. The Zionist enemy was occupying Islamic countries. During that stage, we saw an Islamic awakening that was confronting the Zionist plan. Therefore, we see that the Islamic Revolution has become the inspiration for the resistance, revolutionaries and the people in the region.

This led to growing concerns by the Zionists and the Americans. Washington became concerned about the future and the fate of the Zionist entity.

I remember that in the first months of the revolution’s victory there were rallies in which they were asked to go to Palestine to support the Palestinian people.

We saw the “Israeli” Embassy in Tehran transformed into the Palestinian Embassy in the first week of the Islamic Revolution.

Therefore, we saw that the Americans and the Zionists carried out many plans in the first months of the revolution’s victory in order to limit the revolution to slogans and internal issues. Therefore, they activated the separatist movements such as the events in Kurdistan province in which Saddam’s regime and other regional regimes played a large role. But these projects failed.

After the failure of this project and the revolutionary forces overcoming the internal problems, they came up with another plan, which is to impose Saddam’s war on Iran.

Q: Why did Imam Khomeini from the start of his uprising raise slogans greater than Iran, like supporting the Palestinian people against the Zionist enemy?

A: This is due to the cultural and religious nature of the Islamic Revolution. It was not only focused on internal issues or economic issues. This revolution had wide and comprehensive goals and visions. Imam Khomeini’s first speech during the sixties in the holy city of Qom and the beginning of the uprising is the most evident proof of this. He raised issues such as the Muslim awakening and confronting the colonial and Zionist schemes, etc.

Q: How did you enter the revolutionary work and why did the Shah’s regime arrest you?

A: Religious circles were directly related to the revolution and the revolutionaries. When a person participates in the activities in the mosque, Hussainiya or places where the Holy Quran was taught, his sense of fighting the corrupt regime of the Shah strengthens since Islam and the Quran both stress the importance of standing up to the oppressor. We saw that the policies of the Shah’s regime were contrary to the teachings and objectives of Islam.

When I started the revolutionary work I was 15 years old during which I experienced this atmosphere. I met the leaders of the revolution during those days, including Ayatollah Khamenei, martyr Ayatollah Beheshti and engineer Mahdi Bazarkan. We learned and were inspired by them. So, I entered the revolutionary work. We worked in the mosques and Hussainiyas, spreading the ideas of Imam Khomeini and distributing His Eminense’s statements and messages.

Then we founded a revolutionary student group. We were, then, arrested by the SAVAK and spent about three years in prison.

In prisons, revolutionaries were subjected to the most severe forms of torture. There were people in the SAVAK who specialized in the implementation of systematic torture.

In 1971, the Shah established a joint committee between the SAVAK and the police to counter sabotage as he claimed. The committee had a very scary prison that housed the revolutionaries who were arrested. They were also tortured.

I was detained for a while in that prison.

Q: What sort of relationship did the SAVAK have with the Mossad and the CIA in confronting the revolutionaries?

A: It is natural that there be a relationship between the SAVAK and the Mossad and the CIA because the Shah had a close relationship with the United States and the Zionist entity. So, both the Mossad and the CIA used to transfer their security experiences to the SAVAK.

As you know, some of our revolutionaries used to go to Palestine and Lebanon for training. So the Mossad sent these people’s information to the SAVAK.

Q: Do you have some memories of the last days before the victory of the revolution and the day Imam Khomeini returned to the country?

A: I was one of the members of Imam Khomeini’s reception committee. I was in the third circle to safeguard the security of the Imam. We were positioned in the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH) cemetery where Imam Khomeini was supposed to deliver a speech honoring the revolution’s martyrs. We were there for 10 nights and days. We had concerns of acts of vandalism that might be carried out by the regime during the Imam’s reception ceremony.

And I remember one of the brothers, a Lebanese revolutionary. His name was Shaher. He trained our group, which was made up of 100 people, in order to maintain the security of the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH).

Imam Khomeini’s reception was historic. Millions of people lined up from Maharabad Airport to Freedom Square and Revolution Street until the Paradise of Zahra (PBUH). It was the final victory of the revolution. I still remember the happiness and joy on the faces of the people that day.

For The Sake Of the People, For The Sake Of the Revolution

 

By Nour Rida

Former Minister Dr. Marandi:  40 years after revolution, Iran enjoys high status 

Forty years after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran stands in a very different position on the domestic and international levels, and is considered to be a major player in today’s world order. The unexpected revolution at that time took the world by surprise, and it had occurred while the Shah’s power was at its peak with the US backing. However, Iranian people on the different levels and from different social classes, those residing in the country and some abroad rose to support the revolution and the ideals of the founder of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini whose main philosophy was to support the oppressed.

To narrate one story of those times when the Shah fled and Imam Khomeini came back from exile to lead the revolution, and of the ongoing and gradual progress of the revolution Al-Ahed news interviewed Dr. Seyed AliReza Marandi to recall some aspects of his life which he dedicated to the revolution while inside Iran and in the US where he was a practicing physician.

For those who do not know him, he is an Iranian physician and Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Shahid Beheshti University. He was also an associate professor at Wright State University before returning to Iran, during the Revolutionary days. During his nine years in office as Minister of Health and Medical Education, medical education was integrated with health care delivery. In each of the 29 provinces, one University of Medical Sciences was established, thus making the country self-sufficient in health human resources. Of his major contributions, was a highly successful national vaccination program (which also included a program for terminating polio in Iran), the significant reduction of infant and child mortality rates, as well as organizing one of the most successful national birth control programs in the World.

He is Chairman of the Iranian Society of Neonatologists; member of the Board of Directors of the Islamic Republic of Iran Breastfeeding Promotion Society; and the National Committee for the Reduction of Perinatal Mortality and Morbidity. He is also Chairman of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the laureate recipient of the United Nations Population Award (1999).

Before the revolution broke…

Sitting at his office in the Academy of Medical Sciences in Tehran, former Minister Dr. Marandi spoke calmly recalling the events of his life as member of Iranian society, a physician dedicated to serve the people, a minister who before and after being in office felt great responsibility towards the revolution.

The story starts years before the revolution, in 1963 when Alireza Marandi was arrested during the 15th of Khordad uprising (June 5 and 6). These were protests in Iran against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his denouncement of Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Israel. At that time, Dr. Marandi was a medical student. He was different because he was among the few students who would frankly stand against the Shah and were not afraid to take action at the time.

Dr. Marandi describes this phase saying “I think all the students were against the Shah’s regime but they were scared, so not many were active. We had some demonstrations at the University of Tehran where I was a student, however at that time, the army did not have the authority to enter the University. Demonstrations were not huge but some students participated, including myself. There was a number of us who decided to have a small organization at the campus of university. We invited figures like Mohandes Bazargan, Ayatollah Motahhari, Ayatollah Rashed to give speeches on campus. Our activities were more or less focused on the same area of interest.”

However, this was not the only way he expressed objection to the Shah’s regime. “I had some other activities like carrying and distributing Imam Khomeini’s speeches in hard copies or in voice tapes. One night the army came to the campus and they had a list of people who should be arrested and I was among them. At the time jails were full with prisoners, therefore they took us to an army base, Jamshidieh, where we were imprisoned for three months. Some of us were beaten on a daily basis and interrogated. We had no access to the world outside, with no radio, newspapers or anything. However, for unknown reasons we were released suddenly one day. I had finished my sixth year of medical school and I was about to become an intern in my seventh year.”

This phase, which must have been difficult for Dr. Marandi and his peers, did not stop them from adopting their values, and they still resisted in one way or another. “As soon as I finished medical school, I went to the Health Corps, and I travelled to different villages for health purposes. I would give some speeches to people regarding health issues. The Shah regime would send us frequently to participate in celebrations such as the Shah’s birthday or his son’s birthday, or the so called White Revolution, they would offer us money and ask us to take part in the celebrations. I would never use this money for personal needs, but would rather buy medicine and such things to help people. However, in one of the villages, there were several members of the gendarmerie, who had their own celebrations and occasions. They would invite me to give speeches to the people. They would specifically ask me to talk about Shah’s White Revolution for instance. I always started my speeches with discussing medical and health issues and would never get to talk about anything in that regard. So, they would frequently send reports to the Shah’s office about what is happening. Eventually I was accused of being political and I am acting against the Shah, so during the last few days in the Health Corps, they had a military court and they asked me some questions which was only two or three days before the end of my work. To be able to have my specialty and training, I had arranged to go to the US and had booked my ticket which was exactly two days after the termination of my tenure at the Health Corps. Exactly one day after I had left the country with my wife, a verdict was issued to put me in jail. They took my father and put him under pressure and thought I was hiding, and when they figured out I had traveled they tried to put pressure on him to bring me back so that I would go to jail, but that was nonsense!”

Support overseas; a physician in the US

Dr. Marandi went to the US where he earned his specialty of pediatrics and subspecialty in neonatology, and had his American board of subspecialty in neonatology as well. Then he became an assistant professor at Wright State University and then associate professor at the same University. After that, he then became the chairman of the department of pediatrics at Wright State University, and also director of the neonatology intensive care over there, and that was at the time when the revolution materialized and the professor came back to Iran.

Asking him on how he continued his support to the revolution, Dr. Marandi elaborated “The city in which we lived did not have that many Iranians. They were physicians and they became members of the medical community. However, we had our own discussions on the situation. My wife and I tried to purchase books and tapes from Iran, not directly, but through the Students’ Islamic Organization who had their own means of bringing these into the country. I would purchase books and tapes from them; we practically had a small library at our home. So whoever needed these books or tapes, whether students or others we would lend them the material. This was more or less what we were doing because we were not students but physicians and had our own community. The last year or two before the revolution, we established an organization for physicians who were residing in the United States and Canada. I was the director of the organization. We had a small newspaper that we would distribute among the members. We also would get together and have some discussions whether in our state, or in Chicago or somewhere else.”

Dr. Marandi said he and his wife were “fortunately very interested in the revolution”.

However, he said “all what I could do was send some money to Iran, lower wage earning people were on strike and were facing a financially difficult situation. We had three TVs to follow up on news coming from Iran. Short wave radios did not exist practically, and few people in the US, practically speaking, even knew where Iran was on the map. With great effort, we were able to purchase a radio from New York and tried to listen to the radio to follow up on the news. When we heard on the radio that the revolution was realized, at that very same moment my wife and I decided to go back to Iran. Right on the second day after my children finished the school year they returned to Iran with my wife and I stayed on a little longer to sell my office, our house, and our properties which took a bit of time. When I arrived in Iran it was the 4th of November, the day when the embassy was occupied.”

Dr. Marandi was making a great deal of money in the US, however his personal interest did not stop him from returning to Iran to play his role in the revolution.

Duty calls…

For quite some time, Dr. Marandi did not have a job after returning from the US even though he had received numerous letters and messages telling him that all kinds of subspecialties are needed in Iran.

Dr. Marandi explained he was interested in academic research and work, and was not willing to take up any administrative job.

“One night, a friend, who has passed away now, told me: “I am having some guests over tonight, you do not know any of them but since you have nothing to do why don’t you come to our house and get to know these people.” When I went I discovered he was right, I didn’t know any of them except for the host. While we were sitting someone called and one of them picked up the phone. He said Ayatollah Beheshti is on the line and says that they are sitting in the revolution council now and are trying to find a Minister of Health. Ayatollah Beheshti said they wanted to pick Dr. Abbas Sheybani as a minister but soon figured out that since they didn’t have a suitable Minister of Agriculture they picked him for that. Dr Zargar, was the one who picked up the phone, and was himself assigned to be the Minister of Health. I did not know him at that time. He came and asked “friends I am assigned as the Minister of Health, who is ready to help me?”

“One of the men answered “I am ready to help you, I’ll be the undersecretary for curative medicine,” later on I found out that he was Dr. Velayati. The other one said “I am ready to help you as undersecretary for welfare” and I found out later that he was Martyr Lavasani and so on. When it was my turn, I said I am not interested in an executive job, I said I was an associate professor in the US and I am only interested in teaching and nothing else.”

At that time, Dr. Marandi was trying to find his own path of contributing to the Revolution. “I went to the organization of Construction Jihad which existed at that time to see a friend there. I said I want to go to the different villages and immunize children. I said I have my own car and I do not need money, so I asked if they can provide some vaccines so that I could go and immunize the children. But he said they had been doing this until three weeks earlier when they stopped it and that they referred the matter to the Ministry of Health. So I couldn’t do that either.”

One day when he came back home, his wife said that the Minister of Health had called a few times and said that he needs to go to the ministry immediately. The minister told Dr. Marandi he must go immediately to the Children’s Support Organization (Anjomane Hemayate Koudakan), which he figured out later belonged to the overthrown Shah’s wife Farah.

“I was quite uninterested in anything linked to the Shah and I said no. A few of the minister’s deputies tried to talk me into it and convince me but I said no.”

After sleeping on the matter and discussing it with his wife, Dr. Marandi was still not interested. “I went back to see the minister and rejected the job. Before I left his office he said, “Well, one last word I have to say, if anybody ever asked you why you came back to Iran just say because of my own interest in education and not because of the Revolution! The Revolution does not need you to teach but rather do this sort of job.”

Dr. Marandi explained “It took me by surprise and I had no answer to that argument. He was right, I had claimed that I came back for the sake of the Revolution but I was not willing to accept an executive job that I did not like and I wanted to do something else. So I eventually accepted the job.”

Whether during the time when he headed that organization, or when he was deputy of Minister of Health, deputy to curative medicine, or Minister of Health, his concern was always to support the oppressed and the deprived.

When Saddam imposed the war on Iran, he was deputy to curative medicine. The situation was not stable and his responsibilities were very heavy. A few months after that and due to the tremendous pressure he had a heart attack, and was hospitalized. After a month his physician forced him to resign from the Ministry of Health. A couple of years later after returning to the ministry, Dr. Marandi was assigned as Minister of health, which he did not want saying, “I did not think I had enough piety to take up such a huge responsibility and I told then I am not a suitable manager for this job. I was always short of time despite working day and night just as a deputy minister.” However, despite his reservations he was introduced to the parliament as Minister of Health.

A Health sector for the people

Asked about the accomplishments of the health sector and the situation before and after the revolution, Dr. Marandi said that a “Primary health care system did not exist in Iran. Imam Khomeni was demanding that all of us should be working for the deprived and the oppressed. And I thought about what my duty as a deputy minister was back then, so I thought planning the establishment of a nationwide primary health care system would be the best idea. We could start with the 60-70 thousand small deprived villages across the country. It was very difficult because it was during the war time and there was not enough money for anything.”

However, Dr. Marandi said the parliament did not initially accept his suggestion, until they accepted to allocate a very small budget which was not near enough.

“It was enough money to carry out work in one city in every province which was a chance to prove how successful the project would be. It soon proved how effective it was and the parliament decided to give us funding for two cities in each province.”

The former Minister explained “Soon we were able to cover the whole country with this primary health care system. Our health industry improved drastically; for example the maternal mortality rate which was 278 or so before the Revolution soon decreased to 51 at that time, and now it is 18 per 100 thousand life births. Another example is the infant mortality rate which was 120 before the Revolution and came down dramatically, at the present it is only 14. Back then we had all kinds of children dying from diphtheria, Copen cough, tetanus, measles and tuberculosis. Rooms of hospitals would be filled with sick children and many of them would quickly die. For example, tetanus killed 11 thousand new born every year because mothers did not receive tetanus injections.”

The medical achievements of that period was driven by the beliefs and values of the revolution which Dr. Marandi and others had. Dr. Marandi told al-Ahed news “Through this project, we were able to immunize mothers and their children. From the first year of immunizing mothers, the numbers came down from 11 thousand to 7 or 8 cases and there were also Afghan refugees who came into the country illegally and did not know how to receive immunization. The health sector became much more active in the rural areas rather than big cities like Tehran and Esfahan because it focused on deprived areas and we did not have enough physicians and could not cover all cities.”

Self-sufficient Islamic Republic

On another note, Dr. Marandi noted that before the Revolution, the regime had brought physicians from India, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines. These would come without even knowing the local languages and most of them were not physicians and had not even passed their internship.

“Because of these issues, most were not able to be very helpful and they were paid more than a hundred million dollars per year at a time that our budget was very low because of the war situation and because Saddam Hussein was bombarding the country every day, half of the country was under missile strikes. Our oil which was the only major source of income for the country was limited to one million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia with the help of the US and other Western countries brought the price of oil down from over 40 dollars to 8 dollars per barrel. This income was mainly used for defense and to cover warzones, and I would use the little left over money for healthcare.”

This was the biggest achievement of the health sector after the Revolution.

There was a huge lack in medical students, and this prompted the former Minister to take action. As soon as a draft law was passed in parliament, the ministry immediately started to establish a school of medical science in every province.

“For example in the Kurdistan province, the only gynecologist who was there had left the province and therefore they had no specialist. The situation was terrible. But by establishing a medical school in every province the problem would be solved, however we had a problem of a lack of professors who would teach. I asked professors of medical schools that existed at that time like Tehran, Beheshti, Esfahan, and Mashhad to travel and teach at those universities as well. So, the professors were taking care of casualties and covering the war zone, teaching their own students and were also teaching at these newly established universities across the country.”

This way Iran could increase its medical school graduates and become self-sufficient.

“We did not need foreign physicians anymore.”

Dr. Marandi also introduced the establishment of subspecialties in Iran.  “At that time, people would travel abroad to get the medical care required, like kidney transplants for instance, however when we became self-sufficient people were able to get treatment inside the country and we saved a lot of money.”

Before the revolution, the number of medics was some 7 thousand. It rapidly went up to 14 thousand and today there are more than 150 thousand medics across the Islamic Republic.

Not easy, but I am proud

You cannot mention the Revolution of Iran without touching upon Saddam Hossein’s war on Iran. Dr. Marandi, despite being a minister had a son who was injured during the Karbala 5 operations at the warfronts. Asked about how he allowed his son to join the fighters he recalled “The first time my son mentioned he wanted to go to war he was 16, only three years after we had come back from the US. He could not even speak Farsi perfectly. I asked him why do you want to go to the warzone? If you think you will come back as a national hero and a martyr celebrated by the people and praised for what you have done then it is of no good. But imagine that you will be going to the fronts and that you will be killed in a field and nobody would bring your body back, and within days your body will be destroyed by the animals and no one would know your name anymore. If you accept this and this is how you see it then that is for God and you can go.”

It was important for the father that his son go for the right reason.

“My son waited for moments and said maybe I am not ready for that. My wife was very upset and said why did you stop him from going to the war fronts? It did not take him too long though, two weeks later he came and said he had thought about what I have said and he thinks he is ready for any condition. My wife and I were very happy.”

It is not easy for any father or mother to see their kid become a martyr, however what makes it tolerable and even desired is its value and meaning.

“He is your child, you do whatever you can for your children, every father and mother would devote their own lives for their children. It was obviously not very easy to let him go. But the ideology, the just aim and goal of his choice was important and it is the highest degree of our religious beliefs so we were proud of that.”

Revolution and divine support 

Addressing people who did not live the Revolution or the war, Dr. Marandi explained, “The revolution today enjoys a very high status. I was lived in Iran before the Revolution and after the Revolution. Because of my job I had to travel to all the deprived villages and small cities and I would see how the situation is. I understood how miserable the life of people was. I saw there were no roads, no electricity or water and as deputy minister of health I became involved in transferring water to these villages and we were able to teach the workers how to add chloride and make it safe. There was nothing at all. I witnessed how back then we were not even able to produce anything for the country, not even a needle and thread for sowing a wound.”

He went on to say “Today, despite the 8 year war and the sanctions and all the tough circumstances, we have achieved a lot. What makes me extremely hopeful is that I see that God the Almighty really helped the people as well as Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. There were many examples of divine support, and as a result we became more hopeful. The spiritual aspect is very important and if you see it you will not become disappointed. As long as we stay on the right track we will see victory.”

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