SABAH (15)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami
Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

2020-06-23


SABAH (15)

Memoirs of Sabah Vatankhah

Interviewed and Compiled by Fatemeh Doustkami

Translated by Natalie Haghverdian

Published by Soore Mehr Publishing Co.

Persian Version 2019


 

There were daily tensions and conflicts between the members of the center and the Arabs Public. After one of these conflicts, there were shootings from both sides. The members of the center had distributed a declaration signed and approved by some shop owners of the city in which the activities of Sheikh Shobeyr were questioned. After the Sheikh learned about this declaration, he asked the shop owners to deny it but nobody took action. Thus he made a speech on twenty third of Ordibehesht (12 May) in Imam Sadeq mosque and among the members of the Arabs Public and said that the members of the center are affiliated to foreign forces. His words triggered the crowd and they started shouting “the center should be destroyed”. When Sheikh’s speech was over, they started walking towards the center[1].

On the same day, Shahnaz and I had gone to Bazar for shopping. We wanted to buy textile for our clothes. After looking around and upon return, we heard that the forces of the Arabs Public have attacked the center and have set it on fire. I cursed myself for not staying and watching what the Arabs Public had intended to do! If I had stayed, I could do something. The people said that the forces of the Arabs Public have arrested some members. Some of them were happing in the streets shooting in the air and laughing.

The next morning, the members of Cultural Center were released. Mohammad Jahan Ara was among them. He had been arrested as the head of Anti-The Arabs Public group.

After this event, the tensions increased. The Arabs Public started throwing grenades in the homes of some of the revolutionary followers in order to create chaos and insecurity in the city. Bazar was closed as a protest against such actions and attack on the center. One day, people started marching towards the governor’s office voluntarily and then went on a strike in Jameh mosque. I and some of the followers also joined the strike. Our goal was to convince the governmental authorities to shut down the Arabs Public Center.

There were different kinds of individuals in our group; from devoted Fadayi to Public guerillas. MKO followers were also among us but had yet to reveal their true identity. One of them was a petite and pretty girl named Marjan. Marjan was also my classmate, had blond hair and hazel eyes. It was impossible to forget her face.

During the strike, I noticed that Marjan has a few photos in her hand. She voluntarily showed me the photos. The photos were taken from the oil pipes of Abadan to Mahshar. I was surprised to see these photos. When I asked her about the significance of those photos, she said: “one of the authorities in our organization asked me to take them. I told her: “didn’t you think about the reason why they requested you to do it?” she answered: “maybe they deemed appropriate.”

I could not justify Marjan’s act. It was a while ago that the Arabs Public had exploded the oil pipes of Darkhovin refinery and that was the reason I doubted them when I saw the photos. I was confused. I was thinking to myself that maybe they took the photos to arrange an explosion. I told Marjan; “if an authority from Abadan refinery had asked you to do this, there was no problem. But photographing the pipes and oil facilities with such details is not the right thing to do. Please be careful. God forbid you might do something wrong which is not compensable later. “

Marjan did not like what I said. Maybe she was thinking that I consider myself a mature person and assume her a child. I was sure that there is something wrong in this act and she has been set up to do a task and compile information[2]. From that day on, Marjan did not interact with me. It was obvious that she was upset with me.

Some individuals from governor’s office came and read a statement. Some solutions were proposed in the statement; solutions such as dissolution of centers and other unofficial organizations in Khorramshahr as Khorramshahr was considered a critical region, evacuation of governmental places which had been confiscated by other forces during the revolution and public disarmament. Humming started among the public. These were not all our requests. Around one hour later, based on public request, some items were also added to the statement; such as arresting and punishing all those involved in attaching the center and establishment of non-resident soldiers in Khorramshahr to control the situation.

The representative of governor’s office and head of province accepted these requests and it was decided that that until thirty first of Ordibehesht, centers such as “The Arabs Public Political Organization” and “The Arabs Public Cultural Center” be evacuated and all their weapons be returned to the governor’s office until fourth of Khordad.

Although the governor’s and provincial government’s office were involved, but there was a possibility that the Arabs Public and other anti-revolutionary forces rake action. Therefore, Mohammad Jahan Ara said that if these requests are not finalized until the deadline, the public will gather in mosque again and go on hunger strike as well[3].

On the morning of the deadline, The Arabs Public Political Organization rejected the evacuation of the building through a statement and announced that this act is devious! The Arabs Public Cultural Center also published a similar statement. Members of both buildings went on sited strike in their buildings and announced that they are not ready to evacuate. There were long meetings between the governmental authorities and the representatives of The Arabs Public but without any result. They said that if all the Iranian population handed over their weapons, we will do as well! The governor warned them a few times but nothing happened.

To be continued…

 


[1] Shobair Khaleghi, addressed the Governor of Khuzestan harshly in his speech including the commander of the air base and the Khorramshahr Islamic Youth Cultural-Military center and added: “Despite my efforts to end any tension and establishment of unity, a number of people under the flag of the Cultural-Military Center, provoked by some local authorities have designed a declaration and threatened me and my children.” After his speech, a group of people, attacked the center while shouting “the center should be destroyed” discharging their weapons. In this attack the building was set on fire and the disciplinary headquarters which was a three-store building, collapsed. The invaders took nineteen brothers including Mohammad Jahan Ara and three others accused of collaborating with SAVAK and bring them to the Arabs Public Political Headquarters. Iran-Iraq calendar- fostering the first war declaration: establishment of a new regime, volume two, Chaos in Khuzestan, pages 137 and 138.

[2] The next year, Marjan escaped to Tehran and hid there but was later arrested and convicted of treason in the Islamic Revolution Court and sentenced to death by execution.

[3] Khorramshahr in prolonged war, Mehdi Ansari, Mohammad Doroodian and Hadi Nakhai, Holy Defense Document Center, Page 66.



 
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