A Political Prisoner’s Letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader
October 13, 2012
In a letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Kayvan Samimi, a political prisoner in Rajaishahr Prison in Tehran, has called upon Ayatollah Khamenei to implement Iran’s Constitution as the only way to save the country.
Kayvan Samini is a political activist and a journalist who has been sentenced to six years in prison and has been serving his sentence in the past three years. During the three years of his incarceration he has gone on hunger strike repeatedly.
Samimi is the publisher of the now banned “Letter” newspaper, and a member of Association for the Defense of the Freedom of the Press. He is also a member of the Committee for Investigation of Illegal Detentions. He was also a political prisoner during the Shah’s regime.
English translation of his letter follows:
In the Name of God
Mr. Ayatollah Khamenei,
Forty-seven years after my short imprisonment [during previous regime] and the issues that I have been dealing with in the past decades, I have the right to be concerned about the situation of my country and my people. I feel responsible, and the only way to express this sense of responsibility, after years of speaking and writing without seeing any results, is to criticize the country’s top leader.
The basis of my criticism, in addition to numerous secular and religious texts, is your own words when you said: “criticism, opposition and free and bold expression of views is allowed. If a person is not after the overthrow [of the government] but is opposed to our approach and political thinking, we ought not violate his security because there is a variety of opinions and views in our country…. If I say there should be no animosity, this does not mean that there should be no criticism. Even protesting the specific views of the Supreme Leader does not mean animosity towards the Leader.”
Therefore, if I am criticizing you in this letter, it is solely motivated by my concerns and the need for restoring the people’s rights.
Mr. Khamenei, what are you going to do about the external pressures and threats? You are aware that the domineering forces of the world, led by the United States, are advancing along a fully pre-planned strategy for the “containment of Iran.” This advancement can be clearly seen by comparing the current situation with that of the last year. If you, in your attempt to counter this “containment,” are relying on your military, like Syria, or are counting on political and military support from Russia or China, you are mistaken.
All it takes to verify this fact is for you to hold a private meeting with a few qualified, but frank, commanders of the Revolutionary Guards and ask them to give you a realistic report about Russia and China’s “soft resistance” abilities against the United States (even without Europe), and then have them compare the military capabilities (plus our domestic capability) for you, which, apparently, they have partially done already. Moreover, a study of the U.S. doctrine and a consistent review of its plans and tactics around the world and the region, as well as the reports by various strategic research centers in the U.S. — including the interview with the influential strategist, Henry Kissinger, by Center for Strategic and International Studies, published last year — all point to disturbing facts.
In spite of all this, logic and historical experience has proved that there is only one sure way to protect ourselves against external threats, and that is internal cohesion. Unfortunately, except for the first few months of its existence, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, like its predecessor, has moved in the opposite direction of cohesion. I am sure you are smart enough not to reduce cohesion and national unity to a mere supportive presence on the streets of only a segment of the population, most of whom are in the streets because of their job with the government or are under peer pressure, and only a few of whom are there because of their sincere beliefs.
It is therefore necessary to open our eyes to the reality, rapidly pass beyond the superficial and limited shows of aggrandizement and self-confirmation, and allow all people and their true representatives to participate in the civil and organizational process of realizing their legitimate demands, so that cohesion is achieved and people have a sense of real participation in building their own homeland. And in doing so, there should not be any fear of the emergence of a few potentially radical demands in reaction to the pressures of the past 33 years, because people, based on their previous experiences, will have a Mandela-like response as soon as they see cooperation and corrective measures on the part of the authorities.
Mr. Ayatollah Khamenei,
If you do not implement your own words, which were quoted at the beginning of this letter, and fail to allow free expression of all opinions and views, and if your security forces continue to suppress the critiques, you will not be able to create the necessary environment for a free discussion of national issues by qualified experts, and thus will not be able to ensure the public participation which is a necessary condition for national cohesion. Of course, you will have to pay a price in order to achieve the internal cohesion and national unity that cound protect us against the threats of global powers. In social affairs, even in the whole universe, every achievement has its price. The price that the ruling circle has to pay to achieve national unity and broad popular support is to restrict the power of the powerful, including that of the Supreme Leader, to the limits defined by our national contract, the Constitution.
At the end of these brief comments, as a consistent defender of the ideals of the Revolution, I consider the full implementation of the Constitution and realization of people’s rights as the only way to create a real, not superficial, national cohesion and save the country from the current pressures. I remind you, the leader of the country, that if the current excesses and lack of national participation continues, the responsibility for all atrocities imposed on the people of our country, for the disruption of current apparent order, for the external and possibly internal sabotages, for the potential disintegration of the country, and for other problems arising from the dominance of greedy foreign powers or the increasing internal tensions, will be on your shoulder personally.
As the last word, I hope that the sweetness of power, which has lulled most people of power throughout history, does not blind your eyes to the obvious but disturbing realities that many sincere people from various orientations see. I hope that you, and others in higher positions, do not underestimate these disturbing realities and thus not fail to take immediate and effective action. Such failure would prolong the sad period of trampling on people’s rights and will lead to the destruction of all the achievements of the past few decades; achievements that have been attained with much difficulty and at a very high price. What will follow is regret, a historical regret for those have been responsible, but have no answers for the people, history and God.
Let it not be so.