Top Secret Announcements

Translated by Ruhollah Golmoradi

2023-02-28


I was still in contact with Mr. Asadi and helped him in moving the leaflets. Once he told me, “We have some leaflets that get wet when they were moved. We are looking for a quiet place where we can dry them. Don't you have a place for this?”

“No problem, bring them to our house,” I said.

At night, they brought the leaflets by a car. There were three sugar sacks of fifty to sixty kilos full of leaflets. In addition to the leaflet, there were tapes in the sacks that had been brought from Lebanon. I was allowed to read some of the leaflets, but I was not allowed to read some of the leaflets which were wrapped and tied with a red thread. They said these announcements are top secret. I had to spread them out on the floor to dry and repack them in the original way. I spread the leaflets on the floor, turned on the heater, and closed the door and window so that they would dry faster. It took two or three days they became dry completely. Mr. Asadi suggested I keep the leaflets at my house. He said: “Because your house is a remote place, maybe it's better to keep the leaflets here.”

I said, “There is no problem. I will make a special place with bricks in the basement for the leaflets.”

At night, I heard someone knocked on the door. I opened the door. Mr. Asadi came for the announcements. I said, “weren’t they supposed to be here?”

He said, “A safer place has been found. It's better to bring them there.”

The next morning, my mother and my brother stayed at home, and my wife and children and I went to Sarakhs. My uncle had moved to Sarakhs. I could not stay in Sarakhs. Because there was a lot of construction works. It was decided that my wife and children would stay with her parents for a few days. I had lunch in Sarakhs and then came back. I fell asleep due to fatigue. It was around 5 p.m. when the doorbell rang. I woke up. I had a premonition that a strange is at the door. I was looking through the window, my mother opened the door. Several gendarmerie forces rushed the house. I kept my cool and went out. When I went to the balcony, I saw around thirty soldiers stationed on our house roof and on the neighbor's roof in the alley. As if they want to capture a guerrilla. They said, “We want to inspect your house.”

I said, “Come to inspect.”

They were the gendarmerie’s task force that had brought forces from Qaleh Khiaban Checkpoint. The head of the police station, who was familiar with me and lived in the same street, also presented.

When they entered the house, the head of the police station said, “I know him, he is a mason, don't you think you have been given a wrong address?”

The officer of the guard who came from the district regiment, said to me: “Are you Mohammad Ali Pardel?”

-Yes!

-Is there anyone else named Pardel in this street?

-No! It's just me.

-Were you a seminary student?

-Yes! I was in Birjand as a seminary student for a while.

-What are you doing now?

-Masonry.

-How many years did you study?

- I didn't study much, the same degree of my education was because my father insisted, I didn't like it myself; that's why I got angry, came to Mashhad, and started laboring.

-He pointed to my brother, who was disabled, and my mother, asked me about their relationship with me, and got an answer. Then he asked: “Where is your family?”

-Sarakhs.

The ready answers and lack of fear and hesitation in me, and absence of anything suspicious at first glance, reduced their sensitivity. They were beginning to believe that there was nothing at the home. When they took the first steps outside, the guard officer turned back and said, “Now that we have passed all this path, it is better to make an inspection and write minutes so that our report would be well-founded.”

In the room, there was a colt in the dresser drawer. One of the guys of Torbat-e Heydarieh provided it for me a month ago. In order to test the gun whether it works well or not, we once went to “Khalaj” mountain with Hossein Zeinali and shot a bullet.

When they started inspecting, I said quietly to my mother, “Mom, go and take the gun. They will not inspect you.” When my mother reached the door of the room, the traitor Kadkhoda (chieftain) of Qaleh Sakhteman, who came with the agents, pushed himself forward and said to my mother, “You have not to enter the room.” I understood that the gun could no longer be hidden and would undoubtedly fall into the hands of the agents. I was upset and told my mother, “Let them go and inspect. Let them go and see what they want to give to a boot-licker.”

The guard officer was looking at the well in the backyard with a flashlight, when suddenly the voice of the officer the officer the soldier was raised, and he happily brought the gun with 21 cartridges and presented it to his head. They asked, “Why are you keeping this gun? What is this for?”

I said, “You see yourself that here is desert. If thugs and mobs attack us, we must be able to defend ourselves. When we were in Zirkuh, because it was near the border, we had weapons.”

When they caught the rifle, they became wild. They rolled all the carpets, hammered the walls so much that the plasters fell, thinking there might be something hidden in them. They gathered all the books, papers, and tapes, and piled them in the middle of the hall and examined them one by one. Among them was an informal contract which was between me and two other people; One of those two people was Mr. Ziyaee and the other was one of my colleagues who had jointly bought a piece of land and wanted to build and sell it. This contract had several clauses and conditions. The guard officer took the contract, looked at it, and said, “What is this?” Whatever I explained to him, he couldn't believe it. He said this is all a code. When any way checking the contract was finished, they turned to the tapes. There were all kinds of tapes; from the words of Dr. Mossadegh during the nationalization of the oil industry, the speeches of Mohammad Taghi Falsafi and Mr. Kafi, to the songs that I had put among them for red herring. I had marked them and only I could understand what they were. “What are these tapes?” the guard officer asked me.

-These are of all kinds; religious and non-religious.

- Play one of the religious.

I put one tape from Mr. Kafi in the recorder and turned it on. He said: “Now put a non-religious one.” I gave them a tape of one of the female singers. They liked this one very much and listened to the end of the song. They didn't get anything from inspecting the tapes, and finally said: “What do you do?” Are you a sheikh or not? If you are a Sheikh, then what are these songs here? If you are not a sheikh, then what are these religious tapes?

I had many books. Books of Ma Che Migoeem?[1] (What Do We Say?) and Fi Zilal al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an) by Sayyid Qutb, Partovi az Quran (A Shining Ray from the Qur'an) by Ayatollah Taleghani, Pajouheshi Darbareye Quran va Payambar (A research on the Qur'an and the Prophet) written by Fakhreddin Hijazi, and several books by Dr. Ali Shariati, which fortunately were published under pseudonyms such as “Sheikh Ali Eslamdoost” and “Sheikh Ali Mazinani”. They looked at the books and asked, “What are these books?”

-These are all interpretations of the Qur'an. Because of my interest in Quran, I was looking for books of interpretation and these were introduced to me. I also bought and read them, and I found that they didn't help me and I didn't understand anything. I would go again and buy another book. In the end, I did understand nothing of these.

A stack of A4 paper was the text of Mr. Khamenei's speeches in Imam Hassan Mosque during the month of Ramadan, which I had collected it for all the days one by one. Among the speech sheets, there was an announcement from Ayatollah Khomeini who had been sent from Najaf. It was a blistering announcement in rejection of Rastakhiz Party and in which the Shah had been called a traitor and he and his henchmen had been denounced with the phrase “Omal-e Ajaneb Khadhalahum Allah Taala (foreign agents, may Allah forsake them).” Rest of the papers didn't seem very important to them, but I knew if they got this announcement, along with the rifle they had caught, it would be complicated and God would know what happened to me. The announcement preoccupied me. Everyone was sitting and searching, only the head of the police station, who was too fat and could not sit comfortably, was standing. He bent down, picked up a stack of papers, and looked at them one by one. The announcement was in the middle of the same sheets and he found it. When he read a few lines, I saw his face color changed, and his hand trembled. I was waiting to see what would happen. He looked at the others and saw everyone was busy with his own work, then slowly crumpled the paper in his hand, and cautiously put it in his pocket. Then my trapped breath was released.

Finally, the guard officer told the soldier, “pack these books to take with us for further investigation.” Taking the books made it very difficult, because all those books were banned by the government and punishment of having each one was imprisonment for several months, but only SAVAK knew the name of the banned books and the gendarmerie forces were unaware of it. The head of the police station mediated and said, “What is the need for us to take these, mister?" These are all Qurans, we are all Muslims, I don't think there is any problem with the Quran.”

-Then they said to me, “Where did you get these?”

-I said, “I got them from a bookstore.”

The guard officer looked at the head of the police station and said, “Okay. Because you say don't take them, we won't take them.”

As far as I understood, none of them was willinghearted to take the commentary books, and they were afraid of themselves. They did not want their names to be propagated among the people as those who are against the religion and the Quran, even their leaders, when they issued an arrest warrant or a trial, their excuse was that the person was working against the security of the country, and that we are against such people. They never expressed their opposition to Islam, even to their subordinates.

When they take me with themselves, I wanted to tell my mother to take the books out of the house and cleanse the house. Because it is possible another group will come to inspect. When I turned to say, one of the agents noticed me, rushed to stand behind me to listen what I was saying. I also told my mother, “When my brother came, tell him to collect these books, be careful not to lose them because I paid for them much money. I want to sell them when I will come back.”

 

Source: Zangoei, Majid (2020) Memories of Mohammad Ali Pardel; Osta Ali. Tehran, Sooreh Mehr, pp. 128-135.

 


[1] The original name of the book is Dirasat Islamiyya (Islamic Studies); Ma Che Migoeem is its translation in Persian.



 
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