Review of Memoirs of Sardar Yousef Foroutan

Ahmad Sajedi
Translated by Zahra Husseinian


Memoirs of Sardar Yousef Foroutan is a book which was recently published by the Islamic Revolutionary Documentation Center. Foroutan is a member of the first command council of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). He was born in 1944 at the Village Ooreh, Damavand, in a religious family. He completed the primary education in his hometown and the secondary education in Masoudi High School at Damavand. In high school, with the help of a number of his friends, he formed "the Association of Scientific Exploration", in which a number of young people, including Habibaullah Asgrawladi, Tavassoli, Haj Nasser Khorami, etc., cooperated accompanied with older people. This association was formed almost after June 5, 1963 and gradually helped the political connections of the members to be expanded. Occasionally, special individuals such as Mr. Mousavi Garmaroudi, Ayatollah Shirazi, Ayatollah Emami Kashani, Hojjatoleslam Bahonar, and Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani were invited to speak.

Sardar Foroutan went abroad to continue his education after graduating from high school in 1967. He first went to Sweden and then to Germany, where he studied technical drawing. In addition to his studies, he contacted the "Islamic Center of Hamburg" and met Ayatollah Beheshti and got familiar with his activities. Activism against the Pahlavi government at the Islamic Center of Hamburg little by little prepared him to take charge of communications for student associations in the Nordic region. After 9 years staying in Germany, arrived in Iran late 1976 and continued to struggle against the Pahlavi.

Before Imam Khomeini's arrival in Iran, Foroutan, as a member of Welcome Group, he played a significant role in organizing the plans. After the victory of the Revolution, he became the educational assistant of the Islamic Revolutionary Committee, and after the formation of the IRGC, he was accepted in this organization. First, he began working in the IRGC's propaganda and public relations departments. After a while, he was appointed the commander of Lorestan Guard Corps. For one year, he struggled for the protection and security of the region.

His duties include protecting the house of the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Khamenei) for a year, warden of Evin Prison, participating in the establishment of the IRGC, advising some ministers, and being a member of the board of directors of the Etka Organization.

After the introduction and preface, the Memoirs of Sardar Yousef Foroutan have seven distinct chapters as well as indexes of documents and pictures: the first chapter narrates the period of his birth until traveling to Germany. The second chapter covers the narrator's stay in Hamburg. The third chapter deals with the height of the struggle and the return of Imam Khomeini to Iran. The fourth chapter covers the activities of the narrator in the period after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Chapter 5 includes the period of commanding the Lorestan Guard Corps, the mission in Isfahan, and the period of responsibility for protecting the presidency. Chapter 6 deals with the narrator's directing over the prisoners, and Chapter 7 is a memoir of his time in charge of the Etka Organization and the Ministry of Defense.

Memoirs of Yousef Foroutan, which was compiled and released on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, contains tens of excellent memories. One of them is related to the years when he was in charge of protecting the presidency, which narrates:

“... In a winter morning, I entered the Presidential Administration building and saw the president dressed and worriedly was walking. I hurriedly asked him what happened, and he replied: ‘Get ready to go.’ I was surprised, because we usually had to be filled in on for every mission half an hour ago due to security issues, to control the route and destination, and to prepare all the vehicles in advance. That day we were going to go to Imam Khomeini's house in Jamaran. The president looked very upset and I did not dare ask anything. But he put his hand on my head and said, ‘Just hurry.’ Meeting session with Imam lasted half an hour and in way back, the president seemed happy. ‘Praise be to God, your meeting with the Imam was gratifying.’ so, I dared to ask. He answered, ‘Did you listen to the Imam's speaking last night?’ I said, ‘Living in a palace and living in an ordinary house?" He said, “Yes. I visited Imam Khomeini to tell him that I’m not interested to live in these palaces at all, and if he allow me to live in my own house on Iran Street. God willing, the country can be run from there. I’m not interested to live in a palace. And Imam Khomeini said: ‘I know you. You don’t have spirit of living in the palace, you have spirit of living in an ordinary house. Therefore, it is necessary for you to be there as President. But be very careful.” I witnessed that the president couldn’t even bear to disobey the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, for 24 hours; and because of this reason, early in the morning and without any delay, he ordered us to go and visit Imam in order to find a way out of his dilemma…”

The 374-page Memoirs of Sardar Yousef Forootan, written by Masoumeh Samavi, was published and released by the Islamic Revolutionary Documentation Center.


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