Summoned to SAVAK

Translated by M. B. Khoshnevisan


My campaign against the program of praying for the Shah led to a letter reaching the school one day. In that letter, I had been asked to introduce myself to the office of the security organization - located on Helal-e Ahmar Street in Shahr-e Rey -at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. As soon as I saw the letter, anxiety overwhelmed my whole being. If I go there, because I have a bad conduct, they will check and find out that I am the same Seyed Taqi Mousavi Dorcheh’ei, then it will be difficult. Suddenly, for a moment, the bitter memories of prison and various arrests passed through my mind.

Inevitably, I informed the school’s board of directors of the news that night, and they held an urgent meeting about the letter that had been sent. The exchange of views started: Should I go to the security office tomorrow or not? The meeting was held at Mr. Khalili's house, the late Mr. Kavousi, Mr. Ghayuri and Haja Agha Zahiri were present in this meeting. That is, there were about ten people there. Some gentlemen commented that I would travel for example to Mashhad for ten or twenty days tomorrow morning. This opinion was rejected, because if I stayed in Mashhad for twenty days, I would have to return, if I wanted to stay there, it was actually considered a kind of escape. In fact, by doing so, I had confirmed my wrongdoings - in their views. If I came back, they would send the officers after me again, I would be questioned, on the other hand, why have I not gone to the security office the first time their letter arrived? Maybe someone knew that I was here and received the letter, and at the same time I have refused to go to the security organization. In any case, this comment and offer was rejected.

Other friends said: I should malinger and go home and be hospitalized, when some friends come to see me, I should say that I have a certain disease and I must stay at home.

Some people said, "Let’s go to the security organization and say: If you have an order, tell us so that we hold accountable”. These friends thought that I should not go to the security department at all. At any rate, various ways were proposed. After much discussion, we came to the conclusion that I should go to the security organization according to the subpoena that has been sent. I was restless all night, I could not sleep, I was constantly thinking, what do they want to ask? What are they aware of, what happens in the end?

The next morning, relying on God, I moved towards the SAVAK office in the city of Rey. I arrived at the security building; there was a room next to the front door, because the building was facing north, its office rooms were facing south. I entered and knocked on the door of the guard room. The guard immediately opened the door and said, “Come in”. I showed the subpoena. He read the letter and said, “Come inside”. With the guidance of the guard, I entered the office building and sat in a room; in the room with a window facing the courtyard, there was only one bench. I sat on the bench. Overwhelmed with anxiety, I was weighing up different options, what would they ask? And what answer should I give?

I sat in the room alone for an hour and a half which was a kind of torture. I knew that they wanted to keep me in awe and anxiety and torment me in uncertainty.

After an hour and a half, they came to me and said: Come up. In the upstairs room, there was a bench and a heater. Since it was so cold, I preferred not to sit on the bench, so I went and stood in front of the heater, warming myself while wrapping my cloak around the heater, while being careful not to burn my cloak. I sat in that room for an hour, or walked around the heater, and again no one came to me to say or bring up anything, or even to take a look, thus creating a kind of humiliation and apprehension.

Time was passing with difficulty, another half hour passed, until finally a man came for interrogation and handed me a piece of paper and said, “Fill in this questionnaire, he then left the room”.

I took a look at the questionnaire, in some places the real name and nickname had been asked. Now I had been stuck what to do? If I say my real name – Dorcheh’ei - it will be clear who I am and they will contact the SAVAK in Tehran immediately. If I do not write the truth, they may be aware and it may become clear to them that I do not want to give them the facts. Elsewhere in the questionnaire, it had been written: If you have a history of imprisonment, detention, and conviction, write it down. What should I do here? If I were writing yes, I would have been asked what kind of conviction you have. I had to answer that too. I mean, I had to say that I had been imprisoned several times in Qom, Shiraz, Tehran, Fasa, Isfahan and other places.

At any rate, I was helpless what to do, I constantly asked God for help, I filled in the questionnaire incompletely, which showed the empty and full places, I filled, then I decided to state the matter in a two-sided way, twenty minutes passed, until the man returned to the room and took the questionnaire from me, he looked at it and asked something that eased my mind to some extent. From then on, I realized why I was brought there.

He asked, “Why don’t you pray in line?” Until that moment, I was thinking, O God, for what crime did they bring me? Did I leave Tehran? Have the greeting cards been leaked? And other cases. Of course, there were lots of cases. Once I got angry with one of the teachers about posting a picture of the Shah above the classroom, and finally I tore the picture of the Shah. Another thing was that a person had come to be hired; he said a sentence from Reza Shah. I made fun of the Reza Shah. And then I did not accept that man. Or sometimes, when the students asked about the Shah, I would reply with disgust. Sometimes, it also happened that a teacher did not come to school. I went to the classroom so that the students would not make noise. Sometimes in a lesson we would reach where the Shah's name was mentioned, I would say his name in special words. However, after praying at the school line, I was relieved and knew why I was asked.

In response to the man’s question, I said, "We are praying." "What are you praying?" He asked. In the meeting we had the night before, I had pre-determined the answers to possible questions from SAVAK. I replied: Are we praying? But we say a prayer every day, one day “Azomal bala””, one day “Allahomma Kon levaliek”, one day a Farsi prayer and another day, an education prayer. Then I continued, “We are not bound to say one prayer every day, in fact, we pray one of these prayers every night by turn”.

It should be mentioned that I had written the four mentioned prayers and put them in my pocket. Then I showed them to the interrogator and said, “These are the prayers we say. In fact, your officer came on a day, which was the turn of that prayer. If he came to our school regularly, he would realize that the prayer of education is also said, and it even happens that one day we do not say any prayer at all”. Then I continued, “On the other hand, I have to come sooner than everybody and ring the school bell and line up the children and send them to the classroom. But unfortunately, because I live alone at home, sometimes I fall asleep and oversleep after the Morning Prayer. I have no car; sometimes I get to school late, so when I reach the school, there is no enough time for the children to line up at all, you just have to send them to the classroom quickly. Some days we do not even line them up and ask them to go to class regularly and slowly, in such situations we do not have the opportunity to pray at all.

After hearing my words, the man left and came back after an hour and said, “Give a guarantee”. I took the issue to the sidelines and said: I do not intend to stay in this school, because its salary is low, I raised the issue as if I had a salary problem.

I said, “Come and help us, our salary is low, please make an effort in this regard.”

The interrogator said, “You go now, we will inform you”. In this way, I left the office like victorious and happy people who have won and been able to escape this perilous situation.


Source: In the Real of Love, Memoirs of Hojjat al-Eslam Valmoslemin Seyed Taqi Mousavi Dorcheh’ei, compiled by Abdolrahim Abazari, Tehran, The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, Orooj Publications, 1389 (2010), pp. 308-312.


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