This time, we spoke to
Dr Abdulkarim Soroush about the separation of religion and the
state, the disputes between the secularists and the religious
modernizers, and the Green Movement’s prospects. Dr Soroush said
that “with the political secularism of a non-theocratic state,
pious individuals, too, will be reassured that their religion
and their faith will be safeguarded, and that the state will not
attack their beliefs and their deeds”. He said that “you can’t
extract democracy from Islam”. He also said: “Believers must
recognize that, nowadays, the implementation of justice, which
religion also demands, is only possible through democracy; not
through individual rule, not through guardianship.”
versus philosophical secularism
Q. Dr Soroush, you’ve said
that, politically speaking, you’re a secularist. And the crux of
the dispute seems to be over the separation of religion and the
state. So, what are our intellectuals quarrelling about?
A. In all truth, there is
no quarrel. Maybe some people want to stir up a quarrel. In
fact, this is why I raised the issue of ‘political secularism
versus philosophical secularism’, so that, even if there seems
to be a dispute, it can be resolved and clarified. This way,
people can see clearly in what sense we are secularists and in
what sense we are not secularists.
The problem that has
arisen, especially among expatriate Iranians, is that many of
the people who say they are secularists are also secularists in
their beliefs. In other words, they don’t believe in
spirituality and religion. Of course, they’re free to be this
way. But when they speak in defence of secularism, secularism
takes on a terrifying sense for Iranians back home. That is to
say, they think that calling for secularism means abandoning
their beliefs and religiosity. This mistake and illusion must be
Q. So you want to rectify
A. Yes. This is what I
did. I said, We have two types of secularism. Of course, I
should add by way of a parenthesis that secularism is a very
subtle and complicated issue. No matter how much we talk about
it, we will not have said all that there is to say. I have
worked on secularism as a specialist subject. I have discussed
it with some of the big experts in this field. This is why I
really find it difficult to talk about secularism and I believe
that some of the simplistic things that some people say are very
It was in the light of all
these problems and ambiguities that I said that we can at least
agree on one thing; namely, the division between political
secularism and secularism in terms of beliefs. We don’t have any
quarrel with anyone over secularism in terms of beliefs,
although we disagree with them. Everyone is free to have their
own beliefs. But what we can agree on is political secularism
or, to use the term I coined for this purpose, ‘a
post-theocratic state’ or ‘a non-theocratic state’, meaning a
state that transcends the religious or, effectively, a state
that transcends fiqh. This would be a moral state that
regards all religions impartially. A state that would not give
the followers of any religion any special privileges. A state
that would officially recognize religious and political
pluralism. A state that would apply the law equally to everyone
and operate on the basis that everyone has equal rights. This is
what political secularism means and I think we can all agree on
As I explained in the
previous interview [entitled “We Must have a Referendum in
Iran”], with the political secularism of a non-theocratic state,
pious individuals, too, will be reassured that their religion
and their faith will be safeguarded, and that the state will not
attack their beliefs and their deeds.
Q. Why? Do democratic
countries have a particular clause to this effect? In these
countries, religion is separate from the state and, in keeping
with the law, people’s faith hasn’t been harmed either. Why is
there a need for such a reassurance?
A. The reassurance is
needed because religious people in Iran may flee democracy and
secularism on the assumption that they contravene and negate
religiosity. So, it has to be explained to them that the
establishment of political secularism and a religious democracy
will not harm anyone’s religion or beliefs; it will not detract
from anyone’s faith. I think this is a very important and
In fact, I used the
previous interview to convey a message to two groups of people.
It was a good message that seems not to have been received. On
the one hand, I conveyed the message to religious people that
democracy and political secularism will not harm your religion
and your religious deeds. On the other hand, I conveyed the
message to non-religious people that, with the advent of
democratic believers, your political creed will not be harmed
either. In other words, we can have peaceful coexistence under a
“Advent of democratic
Q. How will this ‘advent
of democratic believers’ occur and display itself in the new
A. The advent of
democratic believers will occur via elections. If you establish
a democracy and if religious people are in the majority—
Q. You mean like a
Christian democratic party?
A. Yes, but you mustn’t
judge Islam by Christianity.
Q. I was talking about the
A. Yes. Let’s imagine
that, as a result of the revolution—which was not, in fact, a
democratic development—democratic believers had come to power;
say, Mr Mehdi Bazargan and the Freedom Movement. Then, the
situation would have been different. Now, too, if this happens
or if pious democrats win the majority of votes in a sound
electoral system, then, non-religious people mustn’t fear that
their rights will be trampled by the democratic believers or
that they will approve laws that will turn non-religious people
into a second-class minority.
We must, at the same time,
give the same assurance to religious people. We have to tell
them that if democratic secularists—because there are also
despotic secularists—come to power, they will respect a
democratic system and religious people can rest assured that
their religion, their beliefs and their values will not be
Q. Look, what usually
happens is that, after this sort of change, a constitution is
drawn up. This constitution must enshrine principles that,
whilst being in keeping with our culture, comply with the rules
of democracy. Is it the constitution that you’re talking about?
A. Let’s take the
constitution. If democratic believers draw it up, it will turn
out one way and if believers who abide by the velayat-e faqih
[current Iranian system of rule by a cleric] draw it up, it will
turn out another way.
Mr Khomeini was the leader
of the revolution and the people were his followers. If he had
had a different way of thinking, the revolution would inevitably
have taken a different course. If he had had the slightest
affinity and familiarity with the democratic ideas of the time,
he would, of course, have acted differently.
Of course we don’t expect
a revolutionary change to take a democratic course from day one.
All revolutions generate some disorder at first and the emerging
states do some inexcusable things. But they should gradually
move in the direction of rationality. But Ayatollah Khomeini’s
fiqh-based thinking basically did not allow the
revolution to take a different course. It did not allow the
constitution to be drawn up differently. Now, if democratic
believers come to be in a position where they can draw up a new
constitution, it will obviously be different from the current
constitution and human rights, equality, tolerance, decency, a
non-theocratic form of government, etc. will undoubtedly be
respected within it.
Q. Where do the points
that you say they’ll respect come from? From religion or from
the general rules of democracy?
A. I’ve explained
repeatedly in my writings that you can’t extract democracy from
Q. So, what will these
democratic believers write in the constitution that is not part
of the principles of democracy? What’s the source of the things
A. Look, democracy is a
way of governing ‘rights-oriented people’ using a ‘low-error
system of management’. These two principles are present and
fixed in any democratic system; i.e., an orientation towards
rights and a system of management that is designed to minimize
errors. Despotic systems have a ‘high-error system of
management’, because a single individual makes all the decisions
and because the people are deemed to have duties, not rights.
Now, when you say, Where
do these principles come from, what we’re saying is that these
principles are not extracted from the tenets of religion, but
they don’t contravene the tenets of religion either.
Q. For example, in
France’s constitution, where do the democratic foundations come
from? What do you find in it that contravenes religion?
A. First, France is not a
good example because its secularism has more or less turned into
a militant secularism, which isn’t very admirable. Secondly,
some years ago, someone criticized me, saying: “Your religious
government is very similar to the governments of other
countries.” I said: “Yes, that’s true. If everyone is walking on
their legs, should we be walking on our heads?”
If some people have
discovered correct methods for managing a country and exercising
power, what could be better than for us to learn from them and
benefit from their experience, whilst recognizing that none of
these things is cast in stone. This brings us to fiqh.
There are a series of laws in fiqh which, as long as they
do not explicitly contravene human rights, we, as Muslims, are
bound to abide by. This is what eminent people, such as Iqbal of
Lahore, have said.
has always safeguarded the identity of
Muslims. For example, we have particular laws in fiqh for
buying and selling, for renting, for hunting and slaughtering
animals, for food and clothing, etc.
There are different laws in France in these respects.
There are different laws in Britain. But there is no reason why
we should change our fiqh-based laws as long as they do
not contravene human rights. There’s no reason why we should,
for example, model ourselves on France. There’s no need for it.
But you may find other rulings, such as the rulings relating to
apostasy, that contravene human rights. Here, we must exercise
ijtihad [reasoned formulation of new rulings based on the
circumstances of time and place] and bring them into line with
Islamic morality. Islam is not just fiqh; it is also a
philosophy and a morality. We must also bear them in mind. In
this way, an Islamic system, which Muslim people approve of, can
be established, with rulers who are committed to a just and
Justice can only be
achieved through democracy
Q. Look, in our historical
experience, whenever anything has been qualified with ‘but’ and
‘unless’—for example, when it’s been said that the people are
free unless… —this has led to problems. So, we have to have
defined rules. Of course, different officials may implement
these rules slightly differently, but they are rules
nevertheless. This is why the people on this side are, for their
part, afraid of political believers. Why must we use these
arguments to qualify democracy—which can muddy the waters?
A. No, there’s no muddying
of waters. As it happens, the currently existing democracies
have these kinds of ambiguities and it is, in fact, in the light
of this that I want to propose something for our country that is
free of these ambiguities.
Look, schoolgirls have
been banned from wearing the hijab in state schools in France.
Building mosque minarets has been questioned in Switzerland.
Elsewhere, in the United States, for example, pharmacies that
don’t believe in abortion refuse to sell medicines that are
related to abortion, although the law tells them they’re not
allowed to do this. So, you see, democracy is not as
straightforward as you might think; there are many subtleties.
Taken as a whole, it might seem straightforward, but when it
comes to details, it’s not at all straightforward. It depends on
a society’s sensitivities. It may be that in the United States
people aren’t sensitive to alcoholic drinks but they are
sensitive to abortion. And the religious Americans who have this
sensitivity may disobey the law or protest, etc.
Q. Do you think you can
make provisions for these details through legislation and
prevent these things from happening? You should also bear in
mind that the hijab was not an issue in France in the past and
what you see happening today is a reaction to a particular
situation. It’s the same in Switzerland or the Netherlands or
Q. Be that as it may, you
think that provisions can be made in the law for all these
A. No, you can’t make
provisions for everything because you don’t know what might
happen in the future. I just want to show how complicated
democracy is. When a democratic system is established somewhere,
it’s not as if everyone gets what they want in absolute freedom.
There is give and take. In a democracy of believers, these
things have to be clear at least. Here, too, there must be give
and take. When I said in that interview that we will establish a
democracy based on our religious duty, I was making an important
point and I did it advisedly. Believers must recognize that,
nowadays, the implementation of justice, which religion also
demands, is only possible through democracy; not through
individual rule, not through guardianship.
versus political leadership
Q. I agree with you that
Iran has a religious society, but there are different religions
there. So, its constitution should be drawn up by a group of
people who represent its different strands.
A. Yes, of course.
Q. If our society wants to
move in a direction in which it wants to look further into the
future, shouldn’t we go towards establishing think-tanks that
include all the different strands of thinking?
A. Absolutely. In fact,
intellectual leadership and political leadership are two
separate things. This is something that has become confused in
our society. Even the theory of the velayat-e faqih has
been misinterpreted. I mean, even if we accept the theory of the
velayat-e faqih and assume that there’s nothing wrong
with it politically, religiously and morally—
Q. Assuming the
A. Nevertheless, if we
assume that this is the case, still, being a political leader is
different from being an intellectual leader. In other words, the
theory of the velayat-e faqih is at most a validation of
a particular type of political leadership. It does not give Mr
Khamenei, or whoever else is in the post, the right to make
pronouncements on the social sciences or philosophy or medical
science. It only gives him the right to make pronouncements on
political matters. I mean, this is what the theory of the
velayat-e faqih authorizes him to do; only this and nothing
more. This is a very big mistake that has occurred in our
society. In fact, it’s sophistry, not a mistake. They’ve
resorted to sophistry to confuse and combine two things that
Now, what I’m saying is
that society should be guided by truthful people from the realm
of thought and culture. And this entails a very grave
responsibility. You can think of it as think-tanks if you want.
Q. Sometimes it’s as if
we’re all saying the same thing, but each in a different
language. It’s as if one of us is speaking French; one, English;
one, Persian. But everyone is saying the same thing. What can we
do to minimize the quarrels?
A. This is one of the bad
side-effects of despotism. It prevents people from hearing and
understanding each other properly. Once, Mr Hashemi[-Rafsanjani]
said that Iran is the freest country—
Q. Ahmadinejad said it—
said it too, a few years ago. Ahmadinejad said it too. When you
hear them say this, you can assume either that they’re lying
knowingly or that they basically have a different understanding
of what freedom is and, so, they think Iran is free; not just
free, but the freest country in the world. In fact, I think the
second one is the tragedy. If they’re lying knowingly, that’s
good, because they realize that Iran isn’t free. But if they
really misunderstand freedom and have a twisted conception of
it, then, they’ll lead us to ruin and call it progress.
Who has to make them
realize that they have an incorrect understanding of freedom? A
free people and a free press. But when there is no press
freedom, pronouncements like this are not criticized, they’re
not analysed, and the rulers remain ignorant of their ignorance,
and ignorance of ignorance ultimately leads to—
Q. It’s the old problem of
which comes first, the chicken or the egg. As long as they think
like this, there won’t be a free press—
A. Yes, but reality
sometimes has a way of opening people’s eyes by force.
Q. You spoke of twisted
thinking. Does Mr Khamenei fall into the first category or the
second? I mean, does he know that it’s not true or does he think
that it’s true?
A. It’s hard to judge, but
it seems to me that the things he says about the social
sciences, for example, point to a lack of knowledge. But on
political matters, he doesn’t approve of freedom. That is to
say, he thinks that the freedoms that people want are inimical
to human decency and that an Islamic system cannot and should
not grant people these freedoms.
“Freedom as method”
Q. You mean Mr Khamenei is
opposed to freedom?
A. Yes, he’s opposed to
freedom. He is truly opposed to freedom. He believes that
freedom means depravity, sexual permissiveness, Westoxication,
and so on and so forth. So, he thinks he has the right to oppose
these freedoms and to suppress anyone who opposes him. As simple
Q. So, if someone is
opposed to freedom in this way, he gets to the point where, in
order to preserve the situation he’s created, he pretends not to
notice even when the principles of religion are being
A. Like what?
Q. Like everything that
has happened during this time—which Mr Khamenei has not spoken
out against. The lies. The raping of detained teenagers. The
blatant looting of public assets. I mean, has he been pushed
into this situation because he opposes freedom? Does he have a
religious justification for these actions?
A. I’m not in Mr
Khamenei’s mind. But even if we assume that Mr Khamenei doesn’t
know about some of these things, his lack of knowledge, too, is
a product of the system that he’s created—a system that gives
him wrong and twisted information, and has trapped him in a
circle of spies and sycophants. This is one of the
characteristics of dictatorial systems. All dictators are
uninformed about how things stand.
In the early days of Mr
Khatami’s presidency, I wrote an article entitled “Freedom as
Method”. There, I said for Mr Khamenei’s benefit: In order to
have a correct picture of things, give people freedom. This
freedom is a correct method for obtaining information. The
people themselves will tell you in a hundred and one ways what
they want and what they don’t want. You don’t need to marshal
spies to bring you information, which will undoubtedly be
On this basis, we can
assume that the information that Mr Khamenei receives is twisted
and incomplete. But, in all truth, what difference does it make
whether he knows all the details of what’s happening in the
country’s prisons or not? He is fully and absolutely responsible
Q. Yes, Mohsen
Ruholamini’s father spoke to Mr Khamenei and appealed for
Other people spoke to Mr Khamenei and said what needed to
A. Look, Mr Khamenei sees
this sort of thing as the system’s accidentals, not as its
essentials. This is where we disagree with him. I believe that
torturing and mistreating prisoners, cheating in elections and
systematically abusing human rights have become essential and
necessary to this system, and people like Mesbah-Yazdi have
provided the underlying theories for this kind of behaviour.
Moreover, clerics and statesmen have, unfortunately, lost their
sensitivity to injustice. Dreams of serving the leader and
paranoia about various enemies have become so entrenched in
their minds that they’ve forgotten the people and, consequently,
At the same time, Mr
Khamenei has chosen bad teachers and associates. The more I
think about it the more I can see that Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s
approach is closer to that of Mr Khomeini than Khamenei’s.
Hashemi[-Rafsanjani] is more rational than Khamenei and less
superstitious. Ayatollah Khomeini would never have allowed
individuals like Nuri-Hamadani, who is mentally disturbed, or
Mesbah-Yazdi, who is deranged, to come out of the woodwork and
stir up trouble. This is all a product of Mr Khamenei’s lack of
Human rights versus
Q. Of course, someone who
had great influence on Mr Khamenei or served as his political
guide was Navvab-Safavi. Also, Mr
Khamenei has translated Sayyid Qutb’s book. In other words, he
follows Sayyid Qutb’s line of thinking.
A. Yes, Mr Khamenei has
translated Sayyid Qutb’s book. And he met Navvab-Safavi. Mr
Khamenei likes to tell a story about Navvab-Safavi. When Yasir
Arafat was a student at Cairo University, Navvab-Safavi told
him: “What are you Palestinians doing in Egypt? Go to your land
and raise the banner of struggle.”
Yes, Mr Khamenei was very
much influenced by Sayyid Qutb in particular. And I’m assuming
that he is acting on his beliefs. Of course, I’m suggesting this
as an optimistic analysis; otherwise, if we assume that he is
wicked, we will arrive at a different analysis. I’m not bringing
in that kind of factor for the moment. I’m saying: Let’s assume
that he has good intentions and is acting on his beliefs.
Q. Now, if we assume that
he’s wicked, what would your analysis be then?
A. The answer to that is
clear. But we’re assuming that that is not the case. Be that as
it may, Mr Khamenei’s beliefs and twisted ideas are dangerous
and can destroy Iran. Moreover, the boundary between wickedness
and normality is not all that definite and clear. Do you think a
dictator considers himself to be a dictator or a wicked person?
Things can become so entangled and human beings have such a
capacity for self-deception that they can see injustice as
justice and hell as heaven.
I remember Mr Khamenei
used to say: “These foreigners that you see—with their seemingly
kind and smiling faces, clean, scented hands and well-groomed
hair—can kill people without batting an eyelid.” Now, I’m sad to
say that our clerics, too—except for a small minority—have shown
that they’re not very different. They’re prepared to commit any
injustice in the name of religion without losing any sleep over
But, at the outset, you
asked me what the quarrel is about. I spoke about the quarrel
between intellectuals. Now, let me say that the quarrel between
the nation and the government is over tyranny. Our problem for
the past 105 years, since the constitutional revolution, has
been tyranny. We removed the monarchical tyranny and we replaced
it with religious tyranny. Unfortunately, our people are still
grappling with this problem and struggling against tyranny. Of
course, the gentlemen use sophistry to accuse people of being
opposed to religion. No, we’re not opposed to religion; we’re
opposed to religious tyranny. And we believe that political
secularism and a non-theocratic state will benefit religion.
Q. Opposed to any kind of
A. Any kind, whether
religious or monarchical. But the one that we’re experiencing
now is very novel indeed. People are saying: “Release us from
the evil grip of tyranny. Don’t try to drag us to heaven by
force. Let us go to hell of our own free will.” Of course, the
gentlemen must relinquish many things before they can take off
the garb of tyranny and start behaving justly and
Q. But they’ve done so
many wrong things—
A. Yes, they’ve done so
many wrong things that repenting has become impossible. As
Popper put it, people repent after small wrongdoings; but after
big wrongdoings, far from repenting, they rationalize them and,
therefore, persist in committing them. This is because big
wrongdoings crush the conscience so badly as to rob people of
the courage to repent. This is one reason. The second reason is
their thinking-system. The gentlemen who are at the helm of
power, Mr Khamenei, even Mr Hashemi[-Rafsanjani]—all our clerics
in fact—are unfamiliar with the idea of human rights. They
haven’t come across it in their studies. What do you expect from
them? They’re like barren clouds. You can’t expect rain from a
In all their studies on
fiqh, you won’t find a single sentence about human rights.
So, what do you expect from them? Mr Khamenei said in his most
recent speech: “Our system is based on the verse in the Koran
that says: ‘O believers, obey God, and obey the Messenger and
those in authority among you.’” (Al-Nisa, 59) In other words,
obey God. Obey the Prophet. And obey the rulers. Mr Khamenei
believes that the current Iranian system is based on obedience,
not a social contract, not human rights. He said it plainly.
Could he have said it more plainly than this? At the moment,
neither God nor the Prophet is among us. So, who are we meant to
obey? The ruler. And the ruler and guardian has been instated by
God. And Khamenei is the ruler. So, the basis of the state is
obedience to the supreme ruler.
Of course, another person
might have cited another verse from the Koran. There is a verse
in which God says: “[We sent the prophets] so that mankind might
have no argument against God after the Messengers.” (Al-Nisa,
165) In other words, God acknowledges that people can argue with
him. If you can argue with God, you can argue all the more with
the ruler, with the ruling cleric.
These are two different
verses from the Koran, but—
Q. But it’s interesting
that it contains both these verses.
A. Yes, it’s very
interesting. But, as Foucault put it, power and knowledge are
enmeshed. Political powers highlighted one of these verses and
said that the state is based on obedience. But if democrats come
to power, they will highlight the other verse and say: “If you
can argue with God, you can argue all the more with our humble
selves.” This is a very important point. But Mr Khamenei and his
circle don’t mention this verse. And you saw how the Assembly of
Experts conducted itself. Everyone sat quietly and no one dared
say a word. They all just listened to Khamenei and nodded their
heads. Why? Because they’re all from the same school of thought
as Mr Khamenei.
Q. Of course, there are
also cases against some of them. Mr Yazdi, for example.
A. Yes. It was only Mr
Montazeri who, towards the end of his life, became interested in
human rights and the fact that people have rights, that there is
something called a citizen, that there is something called
pluralism. We mustn’t tar them all with the same brush. But the
rest of the gentlemen—
Q. So, it’s impossible to
negotiate with these gentlemen?
A. How do you negotiate?
Mr Khamenei isn’t saying that the system is based on a contract.
He isn’t saying that the system is based on dialogue. He isn’t
saying that the system is based on rights. He’s saying that the
system is based on obedience. This is a very telling assertion.
This is what Mesbah-Yazdi has taught them to say. They will
carry on like this until they hit a rock.
Q. So, who are the leaders
of the Green Movement supposed to negotiate with eventually?
A. The underlying tenets
are nonnegotiable. But the leaders of the Green Movement must
first eliminate some of the problems that are practical
impediments, in order to be able to take the bigger, subsequent
steps. They have to resolve the problem of elections. They have
to resolve the problem of the prisoners. In my view, they have
to solve the problem of the judiciary. At present, I think that
the Green Movement should be trying to bring about an
Q. But the power of Mr
Khamenei’s clique is based on exactly these things—on the
judiciary in its present form, on the present electoral system,
on the currently existing prisons. You can’t expect anything
else from them. So, negotiations are effectively impossible?
A. Look, everything
depends on the Green Movement’s power. In fact, politics is the
dialogue of powers, the confrontation of powers. If the Green
Movement achieves more power, which I think it will—you can’t by
any means say that the Green Movement has caved in—then, it can
take the negotiations forward based on its power.
Q. You mean the rulers
will be forced to negotiate?
Q. But when the other side
finally agrees to sit at the negotiating table it will mean
A. It will mean that it is
acknowledging that the Green Movement has power and that it has
to be taken seriously. They will hold talks with this power and,
based on their weight, they will or will not accept what the
other side says.
Q. And you think this is
A. Yes. I’ve said it
before, this is the only way. After all, we don’t want to bring
about bloodshed. So, things have to reach a point where
negotiations can take place. And in these negotiations, the
force of the people must truly come onto the stage and be
determining, so that the people can achieve their demands. Then,
it’ll be time for the next round of the negotiations. I mean, in
the first instance, it is enough for the state to agree to
negotiations. Then, the next stages will naturally follow.
Q. Do you see the
prospects for this?
A. Yes, I think it’s
possible and very likely. I hope I’m not wrong. I’ve also
conveyed this hope to others in the Green Movement and will
continue to do so. I forbid them to lose hope, because hope is
our entire asset.
Q. And it’s not idle hope?
It’s real hope?
A. Yes, we’re talking
about hope based on reality. I think that these demands, which
are dispersed throughout society—although voices have been
silenced—are determining and, God willing, they will bear fruit.
As Forough Farrokhzad wrote in one of her poems, “I’ll plant my
hands in the garden and green shoots will grow.”
Ten years ago, I gave two
talks in London. They’ve now been published in Iran. There, I
raised the idea of a green discourse. I said that, alongside the
red discourse, which was the discourse of the left, and the
black discourse, we also have a green discourse, which will rise
up and make its presence felt. A discourse that is based on
civil society and many other things. Today, I’m glad to see the
green shoots of the green discourse growing. My hope was not
misplaced. Now, too, I hope that my hopes are not misplaced.
Q. It stands to reason
that they are not misplaced.
A. We will continue along
this path and we will all turn green.
Sing, sweet nightingale,
keeping singing and you’ll see
One day, green shoots will
grow and the flowers bloom
Patience and victory have
ever been friends
It is through patience
that you’ll meet victory
Translated from the
Persian by Nilou Mobasser
Mohsen Ruholamini was one of several young people who
died as a result of injuries sustained at Kahrizak
detention centre. They had been detained in the course
of the protests that followed the disputed presidential
election of June 2009. Mohsen Ruholamini’s father is an
adviser to Mohsen Rezaie, who is the secretary of the
Expediency Council and was a conservative presidential
candidate in June 2009.
As a young, radical cleric, Mojtaba Navvab-Safavi
founded the Fada’ian-e Eslam in 1945. He
advocated combating secularization and foreign influence
in Iran. Members of the Fada’ian-e Eslam carried
out several assassinations, including that of Ahmad
Kasravi, a writer, and General Ali Razmara, the then
prime minister. Navvab-Safavi was executed in 1956.