Saturday, August 22, 2009

From an Old Professor, to a New Professor: Mohammad Maleki answers Ahmadinejad's Letter to Bush

You may remember Ahmadinejad's letter to George Bush in May 2006. (Before I began this blog). That letter may have captured the anti-American and anti-imperialist sentiments of some. At that time however, a brave Iranian academic, Dr. Mohammad Maleki, first post-revolution chancellor of Tehran University, and a veteran of religious-nationalist opposition to Pahlavi (and now to Velayat-e Faghih) wrote a rebuttal to Ahmadinejad and highlighted a few hypocrisies in his scorning Bush vis a vis the IRI's conduct! Below, I have translated his letter. Quotations from Ahmadinejad [in yellow] are taken from the Washington Post, and if necessary edited to match the quotations in Dr Maleki's letter.

Today, Mohammad Maleki, 78, under treatment for prostate cancer, was arrested ... Ironically, he was also highly critical of the conservatism of Mousavi and Karoubi masquerading under reformism [Persian].

In the name of Hagh [God]
In the name of liberty, Knowledge and Justice
Open Letter
Dr Mohammad Maleki
Ordibehesht 1385 (May, 2006)

Honorable Mr Ahmadinejad,

1.Like a world savior, and a divine prophet, you have drawn attention of the American President to a few issues. However, unlike what appears in the holy books of prophets like Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohamad (pbuh) and all other champions of peace, who first adopted a peaceful and inviting language to address the tyrant before resorting to violence to rescue people from tyranny, you have started your presidency with a violent discourse unbecoming of a leader, and now have adopted the soft language of diplomacy.

2. I try to hear you from your statements; although you seem to be interested in saving the world community while your students are questioning you about the Iranian society.

Mr Ahmadinejad;

You start your letter with the following sentences, that I quote directly:
Mr. George Bush, president of the United States of America

For some time now, I have been thinking, how one can justify the undeniable contradictions that exist in the international arena -- which are being constantly debated, especially in political forums and amongst university students. Many questions remain unanswered. Those have prompted me to discuss some of the contradictions and questions, in the hopes that it might bring about an opportunity to redress them. Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him), the great Messenger of God, Feel obliged to respect human rights, Present liberalism as a civilization model, Announce one's opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs, Make "War on Terror" his slogan, And finally, work towards the establishment of an unified international community -- a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, But at the same time, Have countries attacked. The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city, or convoy for example, the entire village, city or convoy set ablaze.

Mr Ahmadinejad,
As I said before, because I am a teacher, I am often asked various questions. Once a student with a touch of Azeri accent asked me: "Professor, I wish you answer a questions that has been boggling my mind for a few years, as it involves events because of which I have lost several of my closed associates and my life has turned upside down. You know that at the beginning of the revolution, the Revolutionary Guard and the militia attacked several villages like "Quarna" and "Inderquash", killing a large number of women and children, not even sparing animals; on the excuse that several anti-revolutionaries has infiltrated these villages. Tell me, what kind of a government that calls itself Muslim and representative of the prophet of mercy and kinship, and which what kind of a logic or law could have committed such despicable acts?" Interestingly, later on, the Friday-Prayer speaker of Orumiyeh (Mr Hasani) and Mr Jalayee-pour, who was the governor of Mahabad at that time, and a chamption of reform in this time, had responded to this question of a Khajeh-Nasir [a University in Tehran] student had responded angrily that: "why are you bringing up the Kurdestan issue again? This story is over; whoever in power would have done the same." But, another student had interjected: "Then why are you protesting the chain murders now?!".

Mr Ahmadinejad,
In those days you were part of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij that committed these acts; or at least was fully aware of them. You answer me. These acts correspond to which of the Islamic values to which you subscribe? To Mohammad's; to what is in Quoran; or Imams' manners?

Mr Ahmadinejad,
In continuation of your article [letter to bush] you point to mind boggling topics. You have written:
You might know that I am a teacher. My students ask me how can these actions be reconciled with the values outlined at the beginning of this letter and duty to the tradition of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him), the Messenger of peace and forgiveness?

There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals.

European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him), human rights and liberal values.
Mr Ahmadinejad,
Once in a class a student got up and asked me: "Professor, I have heard that you have been imprisoned both in the Monarchy and in the Islamic regimes. I cannot understand how they can jail a university professor; and essentially I want to know that in an Islamic Regime, what a prison looks like and what they did to you." I said "my son, in 1339 (1960) when I was a student like you, was arrested because I was distributing leaflets against the Shah's dictatorship. I am not going to talk about the crimes and horrendous tortures of the Shah's prisons because whatever they did, they didn't ascribe their actions to God and the prophet and Islam. But in the Islamic Republic, I have witnessed scenes and I have undergone perils that recounting them helps nothing but reviving the pain of suffering those cruelties. I witnessed daily executions of tends of older than 15 years of age youth; and many who couldn't withstand the pressures and died under torture. In "Gezel Hesar" [name of the prison] I saw something called "Ghiyamat" [Doomsday] which is perhaps unprecedented in the entire world. It is there that I witnessed hundreds of young girls who had gone insane because they were sexually violated. These are small parts which are not myths; you can read a small portion of these crimes in the memoir of Ayataollah Montazeri, who was the deputy of the supreme leader at that time. After I was arrested in the the 60's [i.e. 80s, AD] my family was not informed of my whereabouts for months. And when I was arrested in the 80th [i.e. 1999]; I was in a hidden prison where my family could not visit me. Now if I want to describe the prison conditions, my tale takes a ton of paper. Hopefully, one day the truth will be revealed and all will realize the harrowing crimes that have taken place in the prisons of the Islamic Republic, in the name of God and Religion.

Mr Ahmadinejad.
You speak of Guantanamo prisons. It is evident that Bush hand other Imperialists and capitalist organs don't shay away from any crime to protect their interests, and tomorrow they will be judged on how their actions matched the teachings of the Jesus, the human rights [conventions] and the freedom principles. But, you have certainly witnessed the scene of the Evin prison and you have yourself been one of the operators [/executioners] in that system. If you have conscience, how are you going to respond to God and Mohammad (PBUH) and the religious Imams in whose name you are ruling?

Mr Ahmadinejad,
in letter to Bush, you have written:
All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbors of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind.
Do you remember that in the 60s [80's] Mr Khomeini said that to watch the actions and the movements of one's neighbors is a religious duty? In those days, that in the position of a Guard or a Basiji you were responsible for execution of this order, what did you do to families? So many a citizen whose heart stopped by the slightest sound around their house; your committees knocked on any door they wished, and when asked for identity card, showed their guns. Let me tell you something that you are well aware of: On 12 of Tir, 1960 (2nd of July, 1981) when they came to arrest me, who were well known and at that age not interested in running away, they raided my house at 2 am, when my wife and children were sleeping, and arrested me savagely. These few samples were not committed by American soldiers in Iraq, but in Tehran and by the "unknown soldiers of Imam-e Zaman". You who claim a close relationship with this Imam, tell me, is he pleased with such actions in a government that considers itself Muslim and a follower of Mohammad (pbuh)?

Mr Ahmadinejad,
In your letter to Bush you have made a statement that if my students ask me about it, I will have no answer. Please you answer:
In countries around the world, citizens provide for the expenses of governments so that their governments in turn are able to serve them. The question here is "what has the hundreds of billions of dollars, spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign, produced for the citizens?" As Your Excellency is aware, in some states of your country, people are living in poverty. Many thousands are homeless and unemployment is a huge problem. Of course these problems exist -- to a larger or lesser extent -- in other countries as well. With these conditions in mind, can the gargantuan expenses of the campaign -- paid from the public treasury -- be explained and be consistent with the aforementioned principles?
Mr Ahmadinejad;
You participated in the Iran-Iraq war and after Liberation of Khoramshahr, most probably supported the continuation of the war and chanter of slogans such as "Path of Quods passes through Karbala" or "War War till end of evil in world" or "Till KArbala, remains one Allah-u Akbar". In your view as a commander in that war [Ahmadinejad was NOT in war though, he had an administrative job] you surely know that continuation of the war besides tremendous loss of human life cost this people billions of dollars; impacting the poverty line of the Iranian people, according to your own official statistics. Answer the students whether the outcome of this prolongation of the war was anything but poverty, corruption, unemployment, and eventually the "drinking of hemlock" by Mr Khomeini? If Mr Bush has to answer the Pasifict Jesus Christ, how do you justify your actions Islamically?

Mr Ahmadinejad,
You have written:
Did we intend to establish justice or just supported special interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship made a few people rich and powerful -- thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs? Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them? Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or imposed wars on them, interfered illegally in their affairs, established hellish prisons and incarcerated some of them? Did we bring the world peace and security or raised the specter of intimidation and threats? Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or presented an inverted version of it? Were we on the side of people or the occupiers and oppressors? Did our administrations set out to promote rational behavior, logic, ethics, peace, fulfilling obligations, justice, service to the people, prosperity, progress and respect for human dignity or the force of guns, Intimidation, insecurity, disregard for the people, delaying the progress and excellence of other nations, and trample on people's rights? And finally, they will judge us on whether we remained true to our oath of office -- to serve the people, which is our main task, and the traditions of the prophets -- or not?
Mr Ahmadinejad,
Some students state that they are asking the same questions of you. That you, who have been part of this regime since the onset, and participating in power in position such as Governor, Provincial premiere, Mayor of Tehran, university professor and a general of the Guard and etc, are speaking of "which" notorious prisons? Are there any prisons more notorious than Evin, Gezel-Hessar, and others across the country? Refer to your conscience. Was what you promised people in election right? Have you treated the people with justice and mercy or have your actions against the Buss driver's union and women activists and others most violent? Indeed, who is telling the truth and who is lying? Mr Ahmadinejad, you answer students in a press lrelease! Indeed, are you abiding by the Prophet's rules, especially Islam's?

The justice that is spread by the Islamic Government is where? Billion-dollar palaces, sky scraping towers, quick wealth of some of the relatives of the Regime, and next to them, tin-houses and plastic-houses [slums]; and hundreds and thousands of homeless is the sign of justice in your Regime. You are just staring outside the country. Think a little about our own conditions to feel a little ashamed of calling yourself a follower of justice-seeking Islam, Ali's governance of justice, and expectatnt of Imam-e Zaman--who comes to spread justice!

Mr Ahmadinejad,

You have written:
According to divine verses, we have all been called upon to worship one God and follow the teachings of divine Prophets.
Indeed, where in Quoran and in Imams' traditions you are told to kill, in one day, thousands of prisoners who are spending their sentences? Did you not know of the details of this order? How about the chain murders? You were not aware of the torture of students? How about Zahra Kazemi's death? Mr Ahmadinejad, for God's sake don't take people for fools. People know you and your ilk too well to be fooled by you and yoru words. Let me end my letter with words from your own letter.
Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things.
Yes the world is heading towards faith in a God that loves humans and has mercy, not your God who hangs women in hell for showing two strands of hair; cruicifies men for slightest error, burns them in hell eternally and unleashes on them the "ghashiyeh" snake [snake of hell], but is kind to despots and criminals for two penny worth of their fake prayers!


Anonymous said...

Actually before I got to the end I was going to ask you what happened to him.

These people (together with other fanatics all over) have really done much damage to Islam than the "infidel" west could ever do. They preach about just Islamic system, but practice none of it in their own backyard. They talk about immoral west but poverty, prostitution, illegal smuggling, greed etc are rampant in their own backyard.

I will advise them to put their house in order before they lecture people on Islamic justice and morality. Their days are numbered.

Naj said...


I restructured the post so it says upfront, that Mohammad MAleki is just arrested today.

Anonymous said...

Rafsanjani is sounding a different tune today.

No wonder people do not trust this man.

Naj said...


Rafsanjani said (according to your link)
""The way out of the current situation is commitment to the leader's advice on detainees of recent events and retrieving the rights of those whose rights have been violated," he said.""

What has leader advised??

The one reference leader made to prisons was to close Kahrizak?

I agree with Rafsanjani that current turmoil must end.

Anonymous said...


I also believe that the turmoil should end, but Khamenei and his group have not made any arrangement to address the concerns of the people. Khamenei himself threatened to kill them in broad day light if they take to the streets. Everyday you read about prisoners abuse and more killings. These people have not shown any inkling of giving anything to the reformers.

So, my question is; Is Rafsanjani satisfied with the way things are after Khamenei friday sermon? What advise of the SL should the people follow? The one that he said he will kill them if they defy him?

Naj said...

Anonymous: "my question is; Is Rafsanjani satisfied with the way things are after Khamenei friday sermon? What advise of the SL should the people follow? The one that he said he will kill them if they defy him?"

These are very good questions.

If you are familiar with bizarre concepts of pride and prejudice, as exercised in Iran, you know that people have a major difficulty with saying "sorry, we made a mistake". they dance around but also change in behavior.

Of course Rafsanjai wants to keep this regime; he is a pillar of it, for god's sake! And where would he go, where would any of these mullah's go with interpol after them?!

But rafsanjani's is taking the practical approach of saying: let's listen to the leader, while telling the leader: "okey now come on TV and order political prisoners released and torturers executed!" As we say in Persian, "he is putting words in SL's mouth".

Rafsanjani's not dogmatic. I give him credit for that.

I like clever and flexible people; and trust them more than those who are willing to die or cut their own arms over a belief.

Anonymous said...


Since I don't know anything about Persian culture to read the subtext in Rafsanjani's current position, I hope what you are describing is right.

I used to have a hard time saying I am sorry :), but my dad taught me a very important lesson a couple of years ago, and I realized that apologizing for your mistake makes you stronger, not weaker.

I hope the SL will take this opportunity during Ramadan to offer concrete advise to end this impasse, and also address the concerns of the people.

Naj said...


Hashemi threw a rope at SL before too; but he didn't catch it.

I doubt he will catch it this time.

Hashemi's threading the waters carefully; he perhaps shares enough secrets with Kh.R to want to save him; but this fight is just beginning. May the mullahcracy self-destroy. I wish for ordinary people to not become a victim to that. This is why I want calm!

Anonymous said...

I also hope that the people are not caught between the power struggle taking place. The people have shown tremendous courage (at a significant human costs) defying the powers that be to take to the street to demand their rights. They have put the authorities on notice that they have to seriously reform the system or else... I think they have proven that they can mobilize the people to take to the streets, and I don't think that is needed again due to safety concerns.

But at this point, I don't see the hardliners willing to concede anything to bring this to an end. I hope that by the end of Ramadan, they would have had the chance to reflect on their actions, and heed to the call of the people to reform the system.

Naj said...


yes; major taboo's are broken. It all happened BECAUSE people turned out in massive numbers to cast a vote. Without that massive turn out, there will not have been these massive protests.

If these people had not started arresting people of their own, the stories of torture will not have surfaced.

And we will not have heard "death to Khamenei" in our lifetime.

I am glad that i voted; for the first time. "This" makes me feel belong to this movement. My vote connected me to the people that I left behind during Hashemi's presidency ...

the night is young ...

Anonymous said...


After reading more from other sources, the headline is not actually correct. His support was on condition that everyone follows the constitution.

JOHN RINGO said...

John Ringo
Texas, usa

America and its western allies have been guilty of many wrongs towards many countries in the past. We always end up revieling and punishing the one's in the past who were guilty. Will iran find the ability to do the same? America has given much for freedom for the world in the past, will others remember and try to do the same? And will they say "the american people have such a heart, even if our leaders ( who we elected, sometimes by ignorance or meybe lack of paying attention) are good people. This year we elected a black man, sort of our rejection of "our version" of apartied, shows how we long to get it right. We have been hated too long for the wrong reasons. Let us raise our voices for the freedom of the Iranian people(may they soon have peace and resolve) without being accused of trying to change a regieme ,or make money, or get oil. I, as an American, who's forefathers were immigrants from oppression, live here with much appreciation for my rights.I only wish for others to have at least as much as I do.
with love to ALL oppressed,

pray to God/Allah,

The american man