No gas for Tehran

Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan

2023-7-31


On the night of 12th of Bahman 1357 (February 1, 1979), we started driving toward Tehran [amid the cold weather of the town of Abadeh] by a Paykan automobile that had no heater and had not been serviced during the recent days. We had not distanced so much from Abadeh that we got a flat tire. It was very difficult for us to fix a flat tire. Fortunately, I had a spare tire in the back of the car.  I put on gloves and a raincoat and started changing the tire. It didn't take me more than ten or twenty minutes to change the spare. When I wanted to get in the car, my fingers couldn't open from coldness. I asked Jamali to drive and I sat in the back seat of the car, next to my friends. When we moved a little, we noticed that we got another flat tire again. When we stopped, I saw that we had driven so much with the flat tire that the tire had destroyed. Now we didn't even have a spare tire anymore. We got off and said we can't drive anymore. Haji Habibollahi said: "Let's take one of the tires and go to Abadeh. There is a cleric named Haj Sheikh Abbas who is familiar with me. We will go to his house and ask him to help us, and find a shop for us and fix the flat tire."

Haji Jaberi along with Haji Habibollahi took the tire and went to Abadeh. The other three of us were also sitting in the car. The weather was very cold and we didn't have a heater; nevertheless, we endured. It didn't take long before we saw that Haji Habibollahi came with Haj Sheikh Abbas and his grandson and brought a new spare, and said: "You go with this. We will fix both tires if they can be fixed; we will put a new tire and tube on that one. When you come back, come and pick tehm up." We became happy. Haji Jaberi had not come back with them, and I asked the reason from Haji Habibollahi.

He said, " He said that I'm getting cold and can't come to Tehran with this car anymore. I want to go back to Jahrom."

Haji Taqvaee said, "I will accompany him."

Since they had friends and relatives in Tehran, they filled the trunk of the car with fruits and souvenirs that they wanted to take. There were also five of us. Therefore, the reason for the flat tries was this pressure and weight. Finally, they took all the things and put them in the car of Haj Sheikh Abbas so that they return to Jahrom.

Since there were three of us in the car and it had become lighter, we continued our way with higher speed. We expected to pass Isfahan before eleven o'clock, which was the time when the martial law began; but with the delays we had, no matter how hard we tried, we could not arrive on time. At eleven o'clock, we reached the traffic police and they did not let us enter the city. They said: "it is martial law; you have to stay here." We stayed there until five in the morning when martial law ended. Then we started driving and was going to leave the city as soon as possible before it became crowded. With the intention to leave the city soon, we did not fill the tank. We wanted to fill the tank in the first gas station outside the city. The first station had no gas. I said: "What should we do? We are running out of gas!" The gas station manager said: "Go to Shahinshahr and fill up the tank. Of course, It is a little bit far from the road". We went to Shahinshahr; they also said: "We have gas, but we don't have power." I said: "God help us!" What should we do now?!" We decided to stay there until the power comes back on and gas up; if we don't get there, there is no other way. Suddenly, A Paykan was passing there. We raised our hands; it stopped. We explained to him the situation and that we needed some gas. He said: "Do you have a container and a hose?"

We said, "No, we have nothing."

We went inside the gas station and asked the manger whether he had any container and hose, and he said no. The driver told us to drive to the main road and there you could ask the passing cars to give you gas.

We started driving. The gas hand was on zero. We arrived in Mourcheh Khort. We drove 43 kilometers more but we still were not running out of gas. Habibollahi said continually, "This is a miracle". Then, we prayed and I said, "we cannot drive anymore and have to stay here to find gas."

A tanker came and stopped next to the gas station. Its driver got off and started praying next to his vehicle. Habibollahi said, "It is clear that he is a religious man. Let me go and ask him whether he has gas or not."

I went and explained him the conditions and he said, "No, I have black oil. This is the gas station, and they have gas; he is telling a lie. Even if their pump doesn't have gasoline, they have hidden in 20-litre cans to sell it more expensive."

We said, "we will pay whatever they say."

He went and talked to the gas station manager for a while. The manager of the gas station also called us and said: "Come inside the room to warm up."

I said, "We don't need to war up; we want gas". But when we went inside, he said, "I called you because some people have stood outside and they also want gas. If I told you directly to come and gas up, they would beat me. Now go next to pump no. 1 to turn it on for you." We went and stood there. First we thought that he wanted to give us a 20-litre can but he filled the tank for us. We put a little money in front of him, asking him to take whatever he likes. He said, "no."  and he took the same 1 toman per liter which was the real price at that time.  

I said: "Sir! You do have gas, why are you making us wander so much!"

He said: "A secret circular from the security organization has been sent to all the gas stations on this route, ordering them not to fill any of the cars going to Tehran with gas." There are officers around here and we fear. Now leave here quickly so that they do not find out that we have given you gas."

 

Source: Mr. Mehraban: Memoirs of Gholam Ali Mehraban Jahromi, Compiled by Vahid Karegar, Shiraz, Asman Hashtom Publications, 1392 (2013), pp. 194-198.



 
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