A Narrative of Public Movement of June 5 1963

Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi


There is a story about Grand Mosque of Shiraz, in which most of June 5 events happened, that I like to note before addressing memories of June 5, 1963. The current director of bureau of Education who had intended to restore the mosque, started it in 1944. But when he evaluated impairment of the mosque, he concluded it would be better destroy the mosque totally and take its bricks to Kazeroon in order to build schools.

At that time, Ayatollah Dastgheib prayed in “Talebion Mosque.” He mobilized the people to prevent the destruction of Grand Mosque, and stated: “Everyone who afford help to build the mosque, and whoever has no money work one day a week to build the mosque for free.” I [Samad Rajaa] was among those who came to the mosque with my teacher to work for free and started our activity. Martyr Ayatollah Dastgheib kept an eye on everyone and wanted to know who was working well, and who was interested and working with sincerity. One day, he came to the mosque, turned to me, and said: “I want you to continue your work in the mosque.” I, who wished for such a situation, stayed in the mosque and started carving flagstones of the mosque and continued my work seriously; the lintel of the mosque, which was carved, is my work. Now, after 48 years, it is still remained. I started to undertake the task of directing repairs and construction of the mosque.

On the night of June 5, {1963} (15th Khordad, {1342}), I arrived late at the Grand Mosque because of the construction affairs which I was doing; I noticed there was no one inside the mosque. I asked the mosque’s caretaker, “Where is Agha?” He said, “I don't know.” Thinking that Agha had gone to the new mosque, I visited the new mosque and saw there was no news either; then I went home and in the morning, I went to my workplace without knowing anything. One of the workers, whose house was near Ayatollah Dastgheib's house, burst into tears, and said, “Last night, they broke into Mr. Dastgheib's house, caught and hit him, and today everyone is supposed to gather in the new mosque.” I immediately got into the car with the workers and went to the new mosque. I parked the car in Kailimis neighborhood. When I arrived at Ahmadi Street, I saw that there was a battle going on. People were mourning and I immediately got into the car with the workers and came to the new mosque. I parked the car in the Jewish quarter. When I arrived at Ahmadi Street, I saw there was a turmoil. People were mourning, I was worried about condition of sir Dastgheib, suddenly my eye fell on Mr. Mihandoost; I immediately asked: “What happened to Agha?” He said, “nothing bad happened, thanks to God, we saved Agha last night and they couldn't arrest him.” I immediately fell on the ground and prostrated in gratitude.

When I entered the new mosque, I saw people gathered all over the mosque and some of them had gone on the roofs. The police had gathered around the Mosque and Ahmadi Square, and it was the first time I saw something like an animal's face on their faces, which was very terrifying. I later learned it was the mask of tear gas.

They had placed tear gas bullets on the barrel of the gun and were shooting at the people. Some fell on the ground and I was looking for the killed and wounded when I felt I had severe eye irritation; I realized they had fired tear gas. My eye was reddened and dilated to the extent that I could not see anywhere and I did not know what to do. Meanwhile, an army car came and the soldiers got out of it and started shooting with G3 and Uzi rifles. I went into the alley and took shelter. Thirst on the one hand and eye irritation on the other hand led me toward Moshir Mosque. There was a Ab Anbar[1]; I drank some water and put a little on my face, thinking that the eye irritation would get better, but it got worse! In short, I returned to the crowd and saw some people had set fire to the car of Colonel Ozlati and were beating him.

A very interesting and unforgettable scene that I remember from that day was the courage of women. They shouted in the street and said, “The king should go dead.” Indeed, these few women were exemplary of courage and they influenced men. Behind them, one to two thousand men were going towards Ahmadi Square and chanting slogans.

Around 1:00 p.m., some people came and reported some people are setting liquor shops on fire, and some people are breaking traffic lights. Of course, it turned out who these people were; These were people of the regime itself. Despite all the turmoil and many people who died a martyr and were injured, the army should have done something to justify the people that so many people were killed and injured because these rebels destroyed the city and if we did not stop them, they would set the city on fire. One of those who broke the traffic lights and I recognized him in the crowd was a sergeant major named Manouchehr (Mansour) Kavousi, he had a short height and worked in the traffic department which was under Shahrbani.

Sometime after that police forces left the scene, the army forces took over the city. Because martial law had been declared, a large number of army’s Rios and tanks poured into the streets and started shooting here and there. I remember there was a porter who was sitting nearby, his leg was shot, and people took him to the hospital; later, when some comrades realized he was a porter and a person in need, they gave him a lot of financial aid.

The martial law controlled all of Shiraz, and people did not dare to leave their homes, and news was generally spread among the people over the telephone. For example, they said this event happened there; Khalil Dastgheib was shot at the Moshir Crossroad, or, for example, two people were killed at the petrol station, etc. In Ghasabkhaneh Gate, Kazaroon Gate, Kal-e Moshir, Zand Crossroad, Isfahan Gate, and so on, some people were killed or injured in every neighborhood.

At that time, what was important to us was that we tried to keep alive the memory of June 5 in any possible way. For example, when Hujjat-al-Islam Zekavat, the prayer leader of the mosque of Sardozak neighborhood, died, we held the first to the seventh ceremony for him, and, in a sense, made a scene. The day Imam was arrested, everyone I saw on the street was crying. I was also crying, we hadn’t a significant official position, so we expressed our sympathy by crying and praying; Of course, if a pulpit was set up somewhere, we would try to politicize it.


Source: Erfanmanesh, Jalil (1996) Memories of June 5 in Shiraz [Khaterat-e 15 Khordad-e Shiraz]. the second book, Tehran: Hozeh Honari, the Office for Islamic Revolution Literature, pp. 89-92.


[1] A traditional reservoir or cistern of drinking water in Greater Iran in antiquity.

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