Heads of National Front Meet Imam

Selected by Faezeh Sasanikhah
Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


On ninth of Aban, 1357 (October 31, 1978), misters Dr. Karim Sanjabi, Haj Manian and Mahdian came to Paris from Tehran to meet the Imam. Dr. Banisadr, Mr. Salamatian and Haj Ahmad [Imam's son] was also present in their first meeting with the Imam. After greetings, Mr. Sanjabi who had been sitting next to the imam, started talking quietly - almost whispering; suddenly, the imam pulled their heads back and said: "Here, we do not talk to anyone quietly and secretly, nothing is hidden from us. You can express what you want freely. Say whatever you have. I have nothing to hide from my friends..."

(Imam's interpretation was that basically I don't talk to anyone in secret.)

Mr. Sanjabi explained briefly about his position and that of National Front and then gave a brief history of the coup d'état on August 19.

Imam listened to all the words. I could see that many words were repetitive for him. Mr. Sanjabi's insistence was to flaunt the National Front. (Later it turned out that basically, contrary to the big advertisements, their number was not more than twenty-seven people.) After Mr. Sanjabi's speaking, the Imam did not speak. They agreed to meet again and come to visit the Imam again and the negotiations continue. In addition, it was agreed with the imam that the meeting to be continued tomorrow afternoon.

On the evening of the same day and before noon the next day, western and non-western mainstream media created a strange controversy about this and considered the Imam's meeting with Dr. Karim Sanjabi as a kind of alliance and reconciliation between the Imam and the National Front. Newspapers made that meeting very important and wrote on the front page with a big headline: "Two great leaders of Iran meet". They had considered Sanjabi as leader!

On the other hand, Mr. Sanjabi was supposed to go to America to visit his children after traveling to Paris - such people, all their family members usually lived in America; and then after that, he would leave for Canada to participate in a meeting called "International Socialist".

When we took the newspapers to the imam at noon, we informed him the controversies and worries that had arisen. The Imam acknowledged these concerns and said: "Inform Mr. Sanjabi through Mr. Eshraqi and Mr. Banisadr that today's meeting will be postponed to after his return from Canada and America."

Immediately, Mr. Eshraghi contacted Mr. Banisadr and it was agreed that Mr. Banisadr, who had a close relation with him, should inform him.

Currently, based on the documents we have, we can make a good judgment about Karim Sanjabi and the past of the National Front. In the plan of Truman, one of the founders of the seven-year planning organization, which is the same Planning and Budget Organization, when he was informed not to come in the afternoon, we suddenly saw that Mr. Sanjabi canceled his trip to America and Canada the next day. At that time, the truth was not fully revealed to us. We guessed that maybe because the military rule was supposed to come to work in Iran and the National Reconciliation Government was no longer in place, or because the issue of Iran and the military rule had been raised in the American National Security Council, Mr. Sanjabi canceled his trip to the United States.

The next day, they informed the Imam that Mr. Sanjabi had given up traveling to America and Canada and wanted to meet the Imam as soon as possible. The Imam said: "Meeting between him and me will be postponed until he clearly declares his position regarding the imperial government and the current state of the government. Whenever I see and read the declaration of his explicit position, then I can meet him."

Mr. Sinjabi also accepted. Imam sensitivity regarding Mr. Sanjabi's clear position regarding the Pahlavi monarchy and the imperial government was due to the fact that before Mr. Sanjabi came to France, he gave an interview in Tehran and said: "What is important to me is democracy and freedom. The type of the regime is not important for me; whether it want to be a monarchy or a republic." This slogan was a progressive slogan in the cases of Iran's national struggles led by Dr. Mossadegh and they said, "Let the Shah reign, not the government." But in the years 1356 and 1357 (1977 and 1978), this slogan was considered false and deviant; because the discussion was about the basis of the monarchy and against that was the Islamic government, not the Pahlavi government or any other government except the Islamic government.

Mr. Sanjabi prepared a statement[1] in three articles and gave it to the Imam through Mr. Manian. The imam read the statement and in one or two places of the statement he mentioned a few things one of which was the word "independence" which the imam added to the text in the third article of the statement. One or two other words were corrected and returned to Mr. Sanjabi to sign. Mr. Sanjabi signed and handed it over to Imam. After looking at it, Imam said: "There is no problem, Mr. Sanjabi can come."

Then it was decided that a meeting would be held with the presence of Mr. Eshraghi, Mahdian, Ahmed Salamatian, Dr. Yazdi, Haj Manian and the Imam. As soon as Mr. Sanjabi started to speak, the imam practically took control of the speech and said: "You who know history, you who know the past, now the Shah is in a situation where he is doing his best to stay in power. If we act weakly and if we fail or procrastinate, another August 19 will happen and it will ruin everyone's life. Therefore, you must complete the work and the monarchy system must collapse and the monarchy, which was illegal from the very beginning, must be destroyed."

When the imam finished speaking, Mr. Sanjabi had nothing else to say. When he was about to leave, he said to the Imam: "Sir, am I allowed to announce these positions in Tehran?"
The Imam said, "You can announce from here."

Thus, the text of the statement was given to the reporters and they wrote noisily, "The coalition of two great leaders".

They considered the National Front as Iran's most powerful and biggest political current.[2]


[1] I wrote the text prepared by Mr. Sanjabi. The text was as follows:

In the Name of God

Sunday, 14th of Aban 1357 (November 5, 1978)

1. The current monarchy of Iran has no legal and Sharia base by violating the constitution and practicing oppression and promoting corruption and surrendering to foreign policies.

21. The National-Islamic movement of Iran will not agree with any government combination despite the existence of the illegal monarchy.

3. Iran's national government system should be determined based on the standards of Islam, democracy and independence, by referring to public votes.

Dr. Karim Sanjabi

[2] Source: Memoirs of Hojjat al-Eslam Valmoslemin Hadi Ghaffari, The Office of Islamic Revolution Literature, V. 1, Tehran, Art Center, 1373(1994), p. 329.

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