Memoirs of Abolqassem Eqbalian

I am Kashani

Faezeh Sassanikhah
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2021-10-19


It was one of the nights of the month of Ordibehhesht 1358 (April-May 1979). I had put my head on the desk of my office in Varamin Committee, and was in a state between sleeping and waking. My whole childhood was walking in front of my eyes; a sweet childhood which had passed in the backstreets of Jamalabad. I came to my senses as the phone rang. It was on behalf of Haj Agha Baqeri Kani[1], the Deputy Head of the Central Committee. We were informed that eight members of the former regime had fled from Tehran tonight and were coming to Varamin; they were coming by two cars, asking us to arrest them alive as much as possible.

I immediately alerted my forces and asked them to let me know if they saw anything suspicious. Less than half an hour later, it was reported that two Land Rover vehicles had killed three members of the committee at the Varamin crossroad. A quarter of an hour later, the wireless radio rang again and the message was that the two cars had started firing on Taghiabad crossroad when they came across a closed road, killing another member of our forces. Every time they arrived at a checkpoint, they started firing. When they had been informed that the Mashhad road was crowded, they shifted their way toward Varamin.

I ordered that two checkpoints were deployed, one before Sugar Factory road to Ahmad Abad, and the other at the beginning of Amrabad road. And I waited in the second checkpoint. It was at one AM when I saw two cars entering the road from a distance while shooting. They passed the first checkpoint. The guys had placed a wooden pole on the ground so that the car could pass easily and no one could stop them. The sound of guns had filled the whole road. Three people from each car had come out of the windows’ cars and were shooting. At the second checkpoint, we had put a few tree stumps and a tractor in front of them. As they approached, we started firing. They also fired at us with Uzi guns and the bullets that did not seem to be about to run out. I told the forces to just shoot at the tires. I had taken refuge in the back of one of the cars with a radio in my hands and was monitoring the situation.

Finally, we fired so much that their wheels went flat. When they saw that there was an obstacle in front of them, and if they continue on this path, they would be arrested, they diverted to the soft shoulder of the road. Their cars were jinking. They accelerated more and more. At the same time, the guys started shooting at them aggain. They were driving so fast that they were about to collide with each other. If they passed the obstacle, they would enter the Pishwa road and we no longer could arrest them. Finally, the shootings resulted. Both cars stopped and all of the passengers got off and started running. All eight hid in wheat fields. The darkness of the night helped them, and they were shooting at us through the tall stalks of wheat.

We brought all the forces we had from Amrabad and other places on that night to deliver the four women and four men, some of whom were relatives of the Shah and some the relatives of the Farah, to Tehran safe and sound.

In that darkness, a floodlight was needed to light the wheat field. I sent Hadi Ahmadi to the head of the Electricity Department to provide us with a floodlight. He had gone to Mr. Tabatabai's house and woke him up in the middle of the night. We had no choice. We had to arrest the custom guests sooner. After half an hour, they brought the floodlight and lit up the darkness. I told the forces to shoot. They, too, started shooting at us. We were shooting for ten minutes. When our gunfire stopped, they started shooting. When they refreshed, it was our turn to shoot. We wondered where all these bullets had come from. As the shooting was continuing, two of them suddenly moaned. We were finally able to injure them. By my pointing, the shootings stopped. I took the speaker and said: "I am Kashani[2], the head of the Varamin committee; you are surrounded by three circles of forces. You can shoot enough to run out of ammunition, but we have a lot of ammunition with us. If you surrender, it will be in your interest; but if you do not, we will have to deliver your bodies to Tehran."

“Don’t you betray?” one of them shouted.

“I promise that it will be in your interest if you surrender”, I said.

Finally, after half an hour, they surrendered with their hands on their heads, each holding about ten kilos of gold and jewelry with straps on their bodies, and we handed them over to the forces that had come from Tehran. We also sent the two injured people by ambulance.

The next day, someone from the office of Mr. Mahdavi Kani[3] called and said that he was willing to see you to thank for the successful mission carried out last night. I immediately reached myself to the committee in 25th of Shahrivar square[4]. Mr. Mahdavi Kani hugged me as soon as he saw me. He thanked me and said, "You made us very happy. May God make you happy".

Although I didn’t know much about the details of the event, I found out that the detention of those eight people had been of great importance for the committee. When I wanted to say goodbye to Mr. Mahdavi Kani, he gave me a holy book of Quran and a pistol as a gift; it was an Afghan revolver. Mr. Mahdavi Kani emphasized a lot on protecting myself.[5]

 


[1] Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Baqeri known as Baqeri Kani, the brother of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani and a revolutionary clergy and the former member of the Assembly of Experts

[2] Since I was known as “Kashani” before the Revolution, I also introduced myself with the same name after the Revolution.

[3] Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani was a revolutionary clergy and the third chairman of the Assembly of Experts. He was also the Secretary General of the Combatant Clergy Association, as well as the Dean of Imam Sadeq (AS) University and the professor of Islamic Ethics at this university. He passed away in 1393 (2014) 

[4] Haft-e Tir Square

[5] Yazdani, Reza, Hojreh or chamber no. two; Memoirs of Abolqassem Eqbalian, Sooreh Mehr Publciations, 1399 (2020), p. 163.



 
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