Revolution is like Our Child

Hossein Rouhani Sadr*
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad

2020-12-22


Note: Previously, I was not very familiar with the position of marketers, especially guilds active in local markets; until 2004-2010, while preparing and compiling the memoirs of Hajj Mohammad Arab, one of the pre-revolutionary fighters and officials and ambassadors after the revolution, I became acquainted with Hajj Hossein Soleimani, a militant marketer and an intermediary between Qom marketer and other militant groups. Although in those days I was able to complete the book by conducting numerous interviews with about 50 persons; I could not meet him, until when I went to a program for the unveiling of Sheikh al-Ma'avenin's book at the House of Penmen in Book House, I met his son, Mohammad Mehdi, and talked briefly about his father's activities, and I expressed my regret for the lack of his narrations in completing the missing links of the early years of the victory of the revolution.

Mohammad Mehdi provides an opportunity for my meeting with Hajj Hossein Soleimani on August 5, 2012, after visiting the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH). During this short visit, which took place in his small office on the second floor of an old commercial building in front of Sarshur market, next to the Mullah Haidar Mosque, near the holy shrine "Bab al-Jawad", I did not know much about the nature and importance of his memories. After my next trip to the holy city Mashhad, we started recording in October and November 2012. I realized that this character is the narrator of decades of the oral history of the country and the city of Qom and has had an active and effective presence in it.

The process of recording and completing his memoirs lasted until the early spring of 2020, and during these seven years, I found him to be an honest and truthful person.

Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi, one of the prominent

Seminary teachers of Qom since seven decades ago gradually became acquainted with them through the influence of his masters among the marketers of this city. Hajj Hossein Soleimani, one of these militant marketers and one of the exiles in the incident of the 19th of Dey (8th January) in Qom, has narrated his memoirs about him in his unpublished collection of memoirs entitled "Capital in the Mirage", an excerpt of which is as follows.

It should be noted that the interview and compilation of this book have been done by the author and is ready for publication, but so far it has not been delivered to any publications.

 

From the beginning of 1972, the pressure and control of SAVAK on the students of Qom increased, so that some younger

Seminary teachers such as Mehdi Rabbani ‌ Amleshi, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Gerami, Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi, and Ahmad Jannati were arrested on May 9 and spent two months in Tehran prisons.

One day, Hajj Mohammad Reza Etemadian invited some of Tehran's marketers to the tea factory near Shah Abdolazim. Mr. Yazdi was the speaker of that meeting. Before the Morning Prayer, he performed ablution and we came to Tehran together and went to his factory. We prayed the Morning Prayer in the congregation and he talked and answered the questions until the noon prayer. With the same ablution of the Morning Prayer, we performed the noon prayer and had lunch. They continued to ask and answer questions until the evening prayer, and with the same ablution, we performed the evening prayer, continued talking, had dinner, and continued talking again. On the way back, we performed the Morning Prayer with the same ablution. Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi arranged weekly meetings called monotheism or Theology for the marketers, including Mohammad and Ahmad Shoja Fard, Ali Mohammadi, Hossein Moeini, Seyyed Ibrahim Hosseini, and Ahmad Sanjideh. Through these meetings, we became acquainted with political Islam in the form of following the infallible Imams (PBUH) and the Islamic government. Gradually, we began cohesive activities to accompany the clergy.

We wanted the rest of the decades to be performed by revolutionary scholars such as Mr. Momen, Mr. Yazdi, Mr. Sanei, etc .; Unfortunately, SAVAK banned all of them from the pulpit. Gradually, the climate of the pulpits became revolutionary, and the people of the city filled the entire courtyard and hall of the mosque. After evening and night prayers, Mr. Seyyed Ibrahim Hosseini, Hajj Qasem Dakhili, Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi, Seyyed Hassan Taheri, Sheikh Mohammad Momen, and Sheikh Yousef Sanei and I went to visit Hajj Sheikh Morteza Haeri. A respected and unknown scholar from one of the cities was sitting next to him and talking. We all greeted and sat down. Mr. Momen said, "You know that recently we have also been banned from the pulpit and SAVAK and intelligence agency do not allow us to go to the pulpit; as all the people have come to the scene; someone must go to the pulpit so that this warmth for straggle against Pahlavi regime should be reduced. Among the clergymen, we chose a well-thought and eloquent pulpit from Mr. Sheikh Hassan Rouhani. If you allow him, he will go to the pulpit of Imam Khomeini mosque in this decade." He thought for a while and said, "What are you doing to me? Go and act whatever you see prefer. My wife is sick and bored." One of the men became suspicious and said, "We are in the situation that the pulpit should not be closed." Hajj Sheikh Morteza Haeri said again," Sir, do you know that my sister, the wife of the late Mr. Mohaghegh Damad, is sick and I have been wanting to go to Chahardunga village to visit her for a long time? You are self-aware and great; do whatever you prefer. Once Mr. Yazdi got up and sat on his knees and said angrily, "My wife is sick, my sister is sick, these words not suitable for now. As soon as he said these words, everyone became silent. Mr. Haeri lowered his head. A few minutes later, he raised his head and turned to Mr. Sanei, who was sitting on his right hand, and said, "Sir, have you heard the speech of the man on the pulpit? He shouldn't say any word on the pulpit that cause chaos." Mr. Sanei said, "Yes, he is a good and nice person. Mr. Haeri turned to Sheikh Taheri and the Momen and said, "Sir, have you heard the speech of the man on the pulpit? He shouldn't say any word on the pulpit that causes any struggle? They also confirmed. He undertook a promise through two people and repeat it three times. Then he said, "Tell him to talk about monotheism. Lest he says anything else that causes chaos and struggle." We came out after his words. After the incident on January 10, the officers took me to the Gendarmerie at the beginning of Tehran Road. I thanked God that I got rid of SAVAK and the police. I regained my courage and saw the time to talk to the gendarmerie forces about the revolution, the Imam and the Shah's betrayals of land reform, and the White Revolution. I was talking when Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi was brought after the incident on January 10, the officers took me to the First Gendarmerie on Tehran Road. I thanked God that I got rid of SAVAK and the police. I regained my courage and saw the time to talk to the gendarmerie about the revolution, the Imam and the Shah's betrayals of land reform, and the White Revolution. I was talking when Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi was brought there. I immediately asked him to continue talking. Gradually, some were also brought there such as Sheikh Morteza Fahim Kermani, Nasser Makarem Shirazi, Hassan Nouri Hamedani, Abolghasem Khazali, Hassan Sanei, Haj Qasem Dakhili, Mohammad Ali Gerami, and Gholam Hossein Kheradmand. I did not know what would be happened.

Mr. Yazdi was still talking in the room when they brought three cars "Jeep" full of officers and put me in the front seat. Armed officers were also sitting next to me. The lieutenant, Abdul Hussein, and the sergeant, Dehshidi, introduced themselves to me and showed me the announcement of my three-year exile to Torbat. They said, "We have a mission to hand you over to the Torbat police and return the receipt to Qom. On the same day, Ayatollah Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi and Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani returned to Qom after three years of forced residence in Shadabad and Khalkhal. After evening and night prayers, a demonstration started with the participation of a group of clerics from the courtyard of the holy shrine of Fatimah al-Masumah (PBUH), and its slope was stretched to Eram Street and Ark Alley. During the demonstrations, the doors of the holy shrine of Fatimah al-Masumah  (PBUH) leading to Eram Street were closed. During the demonstrations in front of Ark Alley and shrine Alley, police tried to disperse the demonstrators with continuous shooting.

We returned from exile after 9 months. Mr. Ayatollah Yazdi and the Society of seminary teachers led the street struggle in the last days of the Pahlavi regime in Qom. To defend ourselves against armed armored commandos, we filled the water pipe with gunpowder and covered both sides, and threw it towards commandos to defend ourselves. Unfortunately, one of the assemblers, Ashikh Hossein Nami, with whom Mr. Hossein Eslami worked, was martyred in an explosion on one of these pipes. Mr. Eslami was upset and affected by this accident and shared the problem with Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi and asked him to pay a ransom to his family. He calculated and Mr. Eslami paid. At midnight, one of the comrades was arrested with a pipe in hand by the officers. I was immediately informed. I woke up Mr. Yazdi, who was asleep, and said him, "the officers arrested one of the comrades under our care; what do we do now? He asked me to call the military commander. I called and said that this person did not interfere with these events, but he did not accept. Mr. Yazdi got on the phone and called the governor and said, "This is one of our friends, liberate him soon!" The commander said that he was captured with a weapon and intended to sabotage. Anyway, he was released. We, the marketers and members of the community of teachers such as Ayatollah Montazeri, Meshkini, Yazdi, and Azari Qomiyeh, organized and handled gatherings inside the city of Qom and other parts of the country during the meetings that were held in the houses of Ayatollah Montazeri and Yazdi. The military officials and the governor gradually began to cooperate with us revolutionaries. Conflict and violence decreased dramatically. We also took care of the public affairs of the city under the supervision of the seminary teachers, especially Ayatollah Yazdi. To prevent the violation of citizens' rights and to prevent any chaos, the teachers issued a statement after holding detailed meetings.

Gradually, the government in Qom became weaker and weaker. The martial rule remained there, but there is no trace of the military forces in the city anymore. We entrusted the administration of city affairs to the Society of Seminary Teachers, especially Ayatollah Yazdi, and the people became the responsible for the city; for this reason, we appointed officers from the revolutionary comrades as police guides, police officers, and so on. Mr. Nasser Kheradmand was the Chief of Police, and Mr. Fazlullah Khalili worked with Mr. Kheradmand. At Ayatollah Yazdi's house, I used to answer the phone calls from all over Iran for about 15 hours a day. I used to do works at night and go home at one o'clock in the morning. Many times, when Mr. Yazdi woke up, he would see that the lamp of the room was on and I was sitting, saying, "Do you have a wife and children?"Don't you need to rest?" I would say, "Sir, I always prefer to leave whenever my work is over. If I want to put this work aside, a new job will come tomorrow morning. I can't do it."

When the soldiers handed over their weapons to us while fleeing the barracks, I was instructed by the community of teachers to collect them in the Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi's house basement. His house was full of various weapons. I also chose a small machine gun and a revolver for myself. Keeping so many guns in one house posed serious dangers to us: one was the lack of space to store them; second if the saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries attacked and looted, a great catastrophe would have occurred. I informed the teachers' community about the problem and Ashikh Mohammad Yazdi ordered the transfer of this collection to Hajj Ahmad Sanjideh's house in Salarieh, at the beginning of Isfahan Road. Hajj Ahmad took a number of people to the rifle range and trained them to shoot. Sometimes, when the number of prisoners increased, we would take them home. Seyyed Ahmad Kalantar had formed an armed group and made the area of Azar Street the territory of his forces. They took our comrades and disarmed them, and in the meantime, there were several clashes. I told Mr. Yazdi one night:" we could not have two governments and that this man should be armed; what should I do? At his command, I sent a group to disarm them, and by God's grace, they were disarmed without a fight, and we took all their weapons. Then, we published and distributed the statements of Ayatollah Golpayegani and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Vahidi, the tutelary of one of the religious schools on Railway Street, in protest of the closure of the country's airports in a duplicate in the city.

After the victory of the revolution, Mr. Yazdi left for Tehran to visit Imam Khomeini. Eager to see him, I asked Mr. Yazdi to allow me to accompany him on this trip. Mr. Yazdi objected to my many responsibilities and said, "What will happen if you come?" I insisted and then he agreed. We went to Tehran Welfare School together. Imam was sitting in the room; I cried involuntarily until I looked at him. Suddenly, the burden of years of struggle and hardship was lifted from my shoulders.

The Imam settled in Mr. Yazdi's house, near the river and the holy shrine of Fatimah al-Masumah  (PBUH). Later, Mr. Montazeri joined us; It was originally the headquarters of the revolution. Mr. Alireza Khodkar, one of the former students of Mirza Ali Eslami, gave his house to the Imam's family, and the former Imam's house was given to Mr. Pasandideh. Ahmad's house was independent of all organizations and programs. His meeting was held in person at his home. I never saw any intervention from Ahmad in the administration. After a while, the Imam started working and traveling. Sheikh Mohammad Yazdi became the head of the office, and I was issued several orders to attend the Imam's house.

One night on the way home, the Mojahedin group took me hostage and took me to their headquarters in front of the Safaieh Bridge. Local officers witnessed this event and immediately informed Mr. Yazdi. Half an hour later, Mr. Yazdi arrived with 40-50 armed men and talked to them for my release, and obtained their consent. Immediately afterward, Mr. Yazdi, in order not to take the city out of control and security, ordered Mr. Seyyed Mohammad Jadai, the head of the police, who was a brave and fearless man, to gather this collection, in which several boys and girls were living together in a pitiful situation.  Fortunately, they surrendered without bloodshed, and we confiscated items such as condoms, guns, bullets, and a few grenades; but the detainees escaped after two or three days.

When people saw the regime's officers in the streets, especially SAVAK torturers like Afazli and Javadi, beat them. One day, Mr. Capt. Mohammadi was taken in disguise and brought to me. I arrested him in the basement of Mr. Yazdi's house. I went to Ayatollah Montazeri's house to deliver the news. Members of the seminary teacher's society held a meeting at their home to run the city. When I arrived, as usual, the meeting was stopped to see what had happened and to make the necessary decisions accordingly. I told Mr. Montazeri: "We took Captain Mohammadi; someone who insulted us all so much." Mr. Montazeri said, Soleimani! If a dog barked at you, now what should you do?! Take it easy! Time will judge. Mr. Yazdi said, "his obscenity, beatings, and harassment were great; but since he did not commit murder, so liberate him!

Later, the war victims did not spend money to meet their needs; they either did not have it or were saving for their harder days. So Mr. Pasandideh, Mr. Yazdi, and Mr. Sheikh Mohammad Sadegh Tehrani (Karbaschi), the former head of the Imam's office in Qom, gave me a bag of money to spend for the war victims. Because of the responsibility I had for these properties and assets, I even separated my pen from the headquarters pen and did not spend a penny on my affairs; Thank God I have a satisfied conscience.

When I became the head of Office for the staff of Astan Quds Razavi by order of Mr. Tabasi, Ayatollah Yazdi, who had also become the deputy of the first parliament, called me to come to Mashhad informally for a pilgrimage. I said that he could to my house, and he accepted. To ensure the security and coordination of his security team, I raised the issue with Mr. Vaez Tabasi, the head of the Khorasan Committees, and Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Khansari, the son-in-law of the Ayatollah Falsafi and the second member of the committees; Unfortunately, Mr. Khansari delayed to do the issue and then ignored it. After eight days, I got an assignment from Mr. Khansari, and he said sadly: "His arrival has nothing to do with us. I said angrily: "Why didn't you say that on the first day?" I immediately discussed the problem with the Khorasan Corps. They also very quickly sent a team to check the house and from behind the roof to the street and the surrounding neighbors and monitored and asked me when they arrived and said, "Are you coming to the airport?" I replied, "Yes." They came as scheduled and we went to the airport together to meet Mr. Yazdi. Mr. Taheri Khorramabadi, the then representative of the Imam in the IRGC, had the same flight. After greetings and compliments, I realized that he also has no place to stay. They all came to our house. Their wives and children were upstairs and the men themselves were stationed on the first floor. After dinner, we went to the shrine. I met Mr. Azari Qomi, the then prosecutor. I complimented him on coming to our house, he came. Their guards were stationed in the yard and at the entrance of the house. When we went to the shrine again, I met Mr. Seyyed Jafar Shobiri Zanjani, the head of the Tehran Criminal Court, and I invited him to my house; and he accepted. A week later, Mr. Seyed Mehdi Rouhani joined us. On the last day, when we were sitting in the bulletproof car, one of the guards of Mashhad asked Mr. Yazdi: "Has the Imam introduced Mr. Shirazi as the Friday Imam or has he become the Friday Imam himself?" He replied, "No. Such an important position should be usually introduced by the Imam. He asked again: "Has the representative of the Imam himself been elected or has the Imam been chosen?" He said, "It is known from his position that the representative of Imam Khomeini has introduced by the Imam. The Revolutionary Guards asked: "Shouldn't this representative of the Imam follow this person who is chosen by Imam at once in prayer? That is, why should not Tabasi follow the Friday prayer imam once? Mr. Yazdi avoided giving an answer. When we returned home, I said, "Sir, you were a very clever clergyman because you avoided answering my question. He laughed and said, "Soleimani, did you understand too? I said, " yes, sure!" I asked him to visit Ayatollah Seyyed Abdullah Shirazi. As soon as Mr. Yazdi and a group of his entourage entered his house near Chaharbagh, Seyyed Abdullah immediately began to criticize the country's administrative issues, the state of justice, the dismissal, and installation of judges. In addition to his career, he had many complaints about the non-broadcasting of his audio and video from the national media. When we came out, Mr. Yazdi thanked me and said, "You are right; we had to go to this meeting and console Mr. Shirazi. When Mr. Yazdi decided to return, Mr. Vaez Tabasi invited him and his companions and friends to the Mirror Hall for lunch. I went to the hall with him for lunch both for the official post and for a mutual friendship. When we entered the hall, Mr. Tabasi got up from the bottom of the hall, came and hugged Mr. Yazdi, and after greeting, asked him:" When did you come? Why didn't you tell me?" Mr.Tabasi had forgotten that I had informed both him and Mr. Khansari about his arrival 10 days earlier. We sat down at the table with the other two guests for dinner. As I was familiar with Mr. Yazdi, I monitored the situation. Mr. Yazdi also returned to Tehran. On the morning of the fourth of Esfand, I received a statement from Mr. Shalforoshan. When I opened it, I saw that Mr. Tabasi had dismissed me, and introduced me to the Astan Quds’s Secretariat. I was very upset to see this statement. I cried involuntarily. Some of the crew and staff wondered why I was crying. I sent a copy of the dismissal to Mr. Yazdi and said in a phone call: "I wanted to thank you for coming to my house, and at the same time this is a gift of Mr. Tabasi to me. " He was very surprised and said, "What do you say? Soleimani is it right? Mr. Yazdi sent Mr. Seyyed Mehdi Rouhani's son to Mashhad for investigation. Colleagues at the secretariat provided me a desk and facilities, and I was only in charge of overseeing the work of the secretariat staff. After receiving this news, Mr. Momen and Mr. Jannati asked me to cooperate with them in the Guardian Council; But I did not accept.

In the midterm elections of leadership experts, Ayatollah Yazdi became the candidate of the people of Mashhad on behalf of the Society of Seminary Teachers and asked me and Mr. Shojaefard to work with him to monitor the elections.

Due to the differences I found, I wrote about the situation in a letter to Ayatollah Yazdi, the Head of the judiciary. After talking, he said, "Come to Tehran to see you. I went to Tehran early in the morning and entered through the door of the Palace of Justice. I sat in front of the public door until 5 minutes after o'clock. All the judges who entered the courtroom through this door were anonymous. Mr. Yazdi and other familiar judges had entered through another door. The heads of the city offices visited him with the prior appointment and coordination of the clerk. The doorman kept telling me: "Your name is on the list of unregistered visitors, please come out." I came out, stood in front of the door and looked inside the room, maybe I knew someone. The doorman got up from behind the chair, sat on the glass of his desk, and suddenly the glass broke. He got up and called the employees to come and collect the shards of glass. There was no news until 10 o'clock. I said softly to one of the people who had a prior appointment: I do not know who you are and what you do; whenever you went upstairs, tell Hamid that Soleimani had come from Mashhad and was waiting outside. This man did not say a word after hearing my words. After 10 minutes, the doorman's phone rang. He got up and called me. I said, "Yes." He wrote a pass and said, "Come on." When I wanted to go to his office, I said to the clerk: "You do not deserve to be here; I waited here for three hours and you kicked me out of the room three times." I entered the room. After greetings and compliments, I said, "Thank you very much. Thank you. You are the judge of the country; I do not want anything against the law or the religious; why are you bothering me so much?" Then I talked to him about my letter. He brought tea. He said, "Mr. Soleimani, we hear a counter-revolutionary statement from you, which is not in your honor; I do not know how true it is." I said, I do not know what you heard, but the revolution is like our child. I may hit my children, but I do not drive them out of the house. I gave my whole life for the revolution and did not take a penny from anyone. I'm here from 6 a.m., it means, one hour and else before your office time. You do not know about the forces deployed here! I said, "Send, and see if the glass is broken or not? Why not all the judges working here enter through the main door; when we were working together in Qom at the house of Mr. Montazeri and Meshkini, not even one of them entered through the main door that I can come inside with him. Before the revolution, you taught us in weekly meetings and described the conditions of management in such a way that if you became the head of a center or department, your washroom should not be separate from other employees; Even once in a while, go to the public toilet of the office and visit to see what they have written against you." I became angry and got up and we parted violently. Later, he sent a letter to Mr. Alizadeh, the Chief Justice of Mashhad, and sent me a copy.


*Master of Art in History of Iran of the Islamic Period, Expert of the Department of Studies on Iran and Islam of the National Archives and Library of Iran



 
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