Karroubi's Letter to Rouhani

April 11, 2016

On April 9, former presidential candidate and opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi published an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani asking for a court hearing. Karroubi, along with former candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been under house arrest since 2011 for leading Green Movement protests after the disputed 2009 elections. But he has not been formally charged with any crimes. The following is the full text of the letter. 

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Esteemed Brother Hojatoleslam Mr. Rouhani
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
 
Greetings.
 
First, I must thank your honorable colleagues and especially thank the attention of Dr. Ghazizadeh Hashemi, the Minister of Health, and also your esteemed brother.
 

As you know, after four terms as a representative of the people in the parliament and serving as the speaker in the third and the sixth parliaments, after founding and managing institutions such as the [Imam Khomeini] Relief Foundation and the Martyr’s Foundation, after acting as the plenipotentiary lawyer for the whole estate of the founder of the Islamic Republic, and after supervising Iranian Haj pilgrims, membership in the Constitutional Supervisory Council and representing the Supreme Leader in Lorestan, in 1384 and 1388 [2005 and 2009], I was a candidate for presidency on the suggestion of a group of reformist friends and my own choice. Unfortunately, both times the rights of the honorable people of Iran and myself were trampled on by the interference of certain sections of the Revolutionary Guards, the [paramilitary] Basij and the Intelligence Ministry. Instead, a liar and a dishonest individual who distorted the sacred and Shia beliefs were imposed on the country and on the people, and he was the cause of the most corrupt government since the Constitutional Revolution [of 1906] in the name of Islamic Revolution.

 
During this disastrous period, the country and the people suffered heavy losses. In the next few decades we might be able to compensate for the material losses — the plundering of the people’s assets, the squandering of $700 billion of oil and tax income, giving away or selling off resort and free-trade zone lands from Pardisan Park [northwest of Tehran] to Qeshm and Kish islands, the transfer of $22 billion to Dubai and Turkey, losing oil rigs and ships without registration —but there can be no doubt that moral damages, divisions, the distrust of the people toward the government and religious authorities and more importantly, damages were done to Shi’ism and the Hidden Imam (may he return soon) cannot be repaired as easily.
 
By being self-centered, ambitious and in love with power, a number of individuals — who fancy that they have the power to decide the destinies of other Muslim nations and countries— intentionally ensnared the country in sanctions. On one hand they destroyed national assets by plundering and squandering. On the other hand, they robbed the people and pushed the country to the edge of a precipice while the people were impoverished and helpless. Only the grace of god and the awareness of various segments of the society and the statesmen saved the country from disaster. Unfortunately, they are so overcome by ambition and greed for power that they recognize no boundaries for their base desires and have sacrificed the wealth and the children of this country to their high-flying ambitions in the region.
 
Fortunately the steadfast resistance of various segments of the people — especially the students and political and human rights activists involved in the events of 1388 [2009] — and also the role played by the free media in informing people taught a big lesson to those who, contrary to the wishes of the martyrs and the [aims of the] war [with Iraq] and the thinking of Imam [Khomeini], consider people’s votes as mere ornaments and wanted to change the role of the elections. I thank God that that in the 1392 and 1394 [2013 and 2014] elections, people gave a crushing answer to these totalitarians and drove out some regime favorites out of the arena. They intelligently protested the transformation of the Guardian Council to a mere tool under the auspices of its secretary-general, whose intelligence and wisdom is an interesting story by itself. The people still believe in the ballot box as the way to reform the structure of the regime.
 
Unfortunately, by shirking its inherent duties and taking actions that none of the people behind the constitution could have imagined, the Guardian Council has become a tool in the hands of the regime. That is why we witnessed in the elections that this council defames respectable people and violates people’s rights to ensure that one [political] tendency wins and others are eliminated. One day (in the elections of [2005]) it qualifies candidates for the presidency, which, according to Article 115 of the constitution requires different qualifications than other positions, in order to sow discord among the reformists. And another day (parliamentary elections in [February 2016]), it disqualifies the same people from running for parliament. The Guardian Council has gone so far that it has prevented the elected representative of the people of Isfahan from going to parliament by resorting to a strange and ridiculous innovation that ignores people’s votes. After the candidates are qualified and the elections have taken place properly, it is a dangerous innovation to revise their qualifications. The government and the parliament must definitely not yield to this illegal act because it is the members of parliament who must approve the credentials of an elected representative, not the Guardian Council.
 
Honorable President:
 
In [2009] when I entered the arena, I was aware of the problems inside the regime. In a debate, I talked about the problems and the obstacles and stated that facing them was equal to jihad in the way of god. After the ridiculous results of the [2009] election were announced, I stood against this dangerous movement, which had its roots in the [2005] election. Its only goal was the destruction of the republic and Islam. I said “this is only the beginning of the story” because I considered silence in the face of a power grab by the potentates the same as cooperating with the project to destroy the republic and the Islamic system. I stood by the people, aware of the heavy price that must be paid. With the help of God, I will continue to stand by them. For disclosing secrets and for defending people’s rights and liberties, my home has been repeatedly destroyed, I have been beaten, people close to me have been put under pressure and even one of my children was arrested and was beaten to near death. But I willingly accepted all these disrespects and said: “I am the son of Ahmad and I will not remain silent.”
 
If the corrupt previous regime [of the Shah] used thugs [in the coup d’état of August 19, 1953]  and [on June 5, 1963 when supporters of Khomeini rose up], these days, the regime uses thugs every day across the country to attack the homes of religious authorities, religious and political figures who have been critical of the regime, embassies and artistic and cultural centers in the name of “values”. They violate the sanctuary of mosques for their political ambitions and know no boundaries in their desperate behavior. They imposed self-censorship on eminent people, so much so that a prominent religious authority in Qom said when asked about the refusal to publish his views: “I don’t want to deal with them breaking my windows.”
 
Your Excellency Mr. Rouhani:
 
From [February 2011 to February 2014] I was moved from place to place and suffered many deprivations. Since [February 2011], I have been the subject of a house arrest without any rules, surrounded by security agents. In these years, I have been denied the right to defend myself in the face of charges against me and against the slurs of domestic media and other tribunes of the regime. The irony is that those who wasted the material and moral assets of the country, and the consequences of their vision, have become clear to everybody. They are now seen as insightful and honorable, and those who gave warnings and predicted these days — those who in the past few years have suffered illegal imprisonment and house arrest for their reformist activities — are now called dishonorable. How pitiful is this illusion of the potentate, who imagine that they can decide which among the God’s servants are high and which ones are low.
 
Today is the day for speaking out and standing up to law-breakers. The culture of sacrifice and martyrdom has taught the great nation of Iran to fight against injustice. Nobody should cooperate with injustice or stay silent in the face of oppression in the name of expediency. We must not present our own interests as the interests of the country. We must stand up against the idea of a regime with one single voice, made so through monopolizing an unaccountable power. We must not doubt that if today our elites procrastinate and fail to act, then tomorrow the country and the people will pay a heavy price.
 
I am not asking you to lift my house arrest, nor do I believe that it is in your power to do so. But according to the responsibility assigned to you by the people and the constitution, I want you to ask the despotic regime to grant me a public trial based on Article 168 of the constitution, even if the court is constructed the way that the potentates want. With the help of God and working with my lawyer, we will hear the indictment and we will present our evidence to the public about the fraudulent [2005] presidential election, the rigging of the [2009] presidential election and what happened to the children of this country in legal and illegal detention centers. The outcome of this trial will show which side in the [2009] election dispute has turned its back on the revolution and which side is dishonorable. It will show which side continues in the path of the revolution and is honorable. “Allah is sufficient witness between me and you,” I emphasize that I will accept the verdict of this court without reserve and welcome it without asking for the right to appeal because the world is god’s court and his deputies on this Earth are the people. And there are no better judges than  God and the people.
 
And Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Mehdi Karroubi
Jamarn [Tehran]
April 9, 2016
 
Translation via Iran Wire. Karroubi’s letter was originally published by Saham News.

Click here to learn more about the Green Movement.
 
Photo credit: Karroubi by Mardetanha via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0]