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What Happens When Islamists Take Power?

The Case of Iran


Elmer Swenson

Last Updated: 6-27-2005

Promises Before and Results After Khomeini's Islamists Took Over

In the course of human history it's doubtful the politician has been born who didn't make promises he (she) couldn't keep, and that streak didn't end with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Still, anyone who witnessed the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran and replaced him with the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamist Republic, has to be struck by how little it has to show for itself. This was the first Islamist takeover, the most promising (in an old civilization and a resource-rich state), and the most successful (the only Islamist regime still in power). [0.5] Yet 25 years after the massive, joyous, hope-filled crowds filled the streets, not only have bedrock principles and sacred promises (e.g. strictly Islamic government, an end to dictatorship) fallen by the wayside, some conditions that led to the Shah's downfall (e.g. corruption, political repression) have actually gotten worse under the mullahs.

What makes the Islamic Revolution in Iran worth a second look is the possibility that its history will repeat itself elsewhere. The Middle East has more than a few regimes resembling the Shah's government (corrupt, undemocratic and repressive), and plenty of Islamic opposition groups similar to the Islamist network that overthrew the Shah (well-organized, determined, and prone to making big promises with vague specifics).

What did Khomeini say life would be like for Iranians under his Islamic government after the revolution? How did it compare with what he and his followers said and did after? Some highlights: (Click on the hyperlink titles below for more detailed explanations and references.)

  • Islamic Clerics will help lead the revolution but then step aside to let others rule - The religious dignitaries do not want to rule. (Khomeini in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau France, October 25, 1978).
    Those who pretend that religious dignitaries should not rule, poison the atmosphere and combat against Iran's interests. (Khomeini on August 18, 1979, less than a year later and about 6 months after his triumphal return to Iran.) [1]

  • Criticism of Islamic government will be tolerated - The Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic. (Khomeini in exile, November 9, 1978.)
    I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth. (Threat issued to opponents of clerical rule by Khomeini in Iran October 22, 1979.) [2]

  • An Islamic cleric will rule Iran, but he'll be the most learned cleric - Since Islamic government is a government of [Islamic] law, knowledge of the law is necessary for the ruler, ... The ruler must surpass all others in knowledge ... (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970).
    Since from the very beginning I was of the opinion and I insisted that the condition of marja'iyat (the rank of Shi'a jurists who surpass all others in knowledge) was not necessary. A righteous or just mojtahed (one of the hundreds of Islamic jurists) who is confirmed by the honourable experts of the whole country will be sufficient.` (Khomeini in power, June 4, 1989) [3] (Khomeini denied ever having said what was he was published saying because none of top clerics (grand ayatollahs) of Iran supported his policies. The man he wanted to succeed him as ruler, Hojjat al-Islam Ali Khamenei, though president and a longtime supporter, was nowhere near the most learned cleric in Iran.)

  • Laws in Iran will strictly adhere to God's perfect and unchanging divine law, (i.e. the Islamic Shari'ah). - ... in Islam the legislative power and competence to establish laws belongs exclusively to God Almighty. ... No one has the right to legislate and no law may be executed except the law of the Divine Legislator ... The law of Islam, divine command, has absolute authority over all individuals and the Islamic government.` (Khomeini in exile January-February 1970.)
    After the revolution, eight years of bickering over what was and what was not Islamic between Khomeini supporters in the upper (Council of Guardians) and lower (Majlis) houses of parliament changed Khomeini's mind - someone else did have the right to legislate. He issued a fatwa declaring that Islamic government (his government) has precedence over all secondary ordinances such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage, (three of the five pillars of Islam!) (June 1988.) [4]

    We will put an end to:

  • Political oppression and killing - We must establish a government that will enjoy the trust of the people - God know that your capacity and courage are not less than those of others - unless, of course, the meaning of courage is oppressing and slaughtering the people; that kind of courage we certainly don’t have. (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970.)
    * at least 4400 persons, ranging from cabinet ministers to prostitutes from coup plotters to street protestors, were executed by the Islamic regime in the first few years of the revolution.
    * Another 3000 and perhaps as many as 6000-10,000 political prisoners were executed in September and October 1989. Most of these were Mojahedin guerillas, but many were nonviolent demonstrators.
    Accompanying these executions was a systematic political elimination of the Khomeini's erstwhile revolutionary allies turned opposition. The government banned their periodicals and arrested their leaders. Pro-government Islamist thugs beat their protestors, and smashed and looted their news stands, bookstores, and offices. [5]

  • ... Unjustly harsh punishment - The Shah's judges kill people for possessing ten grams of heroin and say, `That is the law.` ... Inhuman laws like this are ... not the appropriate punishment ... the punishment must be in proportion to the crime (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970).
    The revolutionary government developed a drug problem of its own with the breakup of the old government's security apparatus. A Revolutionary Court was appointed to try alleged drug smugglers, peddlers, and users, and sentence the convicted. Hundreds were sent to their death, often on the flimsiest of evidence. Supreme Leader Khomeini neither voiced any objection nor made any move to stop these `inhuman` executions. [6]

  • ... Corruption and Humiliating Debt to Western Powers - Most forms of corruption originate with the ruling class, the tyrannical ruling family and the libertines that associate with them. ... If it were not for profligate royal ceremonies, this reckless spending, this constant embezzlement, there would never be any deficit in the national budget forcing us to bow in submission before America and Britain and request aid or a loan from them. (In exile, January-February 1970.)
    After the revolution some ruling mullahs wondered what all the corruption fuss was about.
    `Graft has always existed. There are always people who are corrupt....` (Former President of the Islamic Republic (Hojat al-Islam) Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani speaking in 1998).
    .... others were so alarmed they publicly apologized to visiting to foreigners for it.
    `I am really sorry to see such a huge rate of corruption in the country.` (Speaker of the parliament Gholamali Haddadadel in July 2004). [7]

    And the debt of $7.4 billion left behind by the Shah that forced Iran "to bow in submission before America and Britain" ballooned to $30 billion (in 1993). How much "bowing in submission" resulted is unclear, but inability to make repayments did bring plenty of economic dislocations - unemployment from import shortages, massive devaluation, inflation, and lowered standards of living. [8]

  • ... Bureaucratic Waste - superfluous bureaucracies and the system of file-keeping and paper-shuffling that is enforce in them, ... are totally alien to Islam, [and] impose further expenditures on our national budget ... (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970)
    In the first few years of the revolution the state bureaucracy grew to three times the size of the Shah's old government. Government expanded to provide new social services for the poor, ration goods and control prices, staff nationalized enterprises, suppress the opposition, and fight a war with Iraq. [9]

  • ... Class Division and Poverty - The imperialists have also imposed on us an unjust economic order, and thereby divided our people into two groups: oppressors and oppressed. Hundreds of millions of Muslims are hungry and deprived of all form of health care and education, while minorities comprised of the wealthy and powerful live a life of indulgence, licentiousness, and corruption. (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970.)
    After he came to power Khomeini seemed to lose interest in the worldly economic issues that make up poverty like soaring food prices, exclaiming in exasperation, I cannot believe that the purpose of all these sacrifices was to have less expensive melons. (Khomeini July 1979)
    But his successors had to deal with low oil prices, double digit unemployment, and living standards only a quarter of what they'd been before the revolution. The government rolled back its original populist agenda for typical neoliberal "economic order": cutting spending on subsidies for many basic needs to keep inflation down, eliminating rationing and price controls to end shortages, widening wage and salary differentials, and bulldozing of shantytowns. Poor Iranians rose up protesting and rioting in 1992, 93, and 95. [10]

  • ... exploitation of foreign imperialists - our country is being turned into a market for expensive, unnecessary goods by the representatives of foreign companies, which makes it possible for foreign capitalists and their local agents to pocket the people’s money... The plan of imperialists is to keep us backward, to keep us in our present miserable state so they can exploit our riches, our underground wealth, our lands and our human resources. They want us to remain afflicted and wretched, and our poor to be trapped in their misery [while] they and their agents wish to go on living in huge palaces and enjoying lives of abominable luxury. (Khomeini in exile January-February 1970.)
    After the revolution foreign trade was nationalized, foreign concessions were forbidden. But as Iran's economic crisis became more serious the Islamic Republic decided `our most pressing goal is to convince the world that the country is ripe for foreign investments and loans` (President Rafsanjani, April 1992). So pressing in fact the mullahs outdid the pro-foreign investment policy of their hated predecessors (the alleged `agents` of the imperialists). The pre-revolutionary constitutional limit of 49% on foreign ownership of business assets was removed and in some cases foreigners were allowed both 100% ownership and export of 100% of all their profits. [11]

  • ... cultural pollution of foreign imperialists - the poisonous culture of imperialism [is] penetrating to the depths of towns and villages throughout the Muslim world, displacing the culture of the Qur'an, recruiting our youth en masse to the service of foreigners and imperialists... (Khomeini in exile February 6, 1971)
    A decade and a half into the revolution there were a quarter million satellite dishes in the capital of Iran. Since almost everyone used them to bring in "poisonous" foreign (usually American) culture, the antennas were officially forbidden by the protectors of Islam ... but they would look the other way for a price of the equivalent of "up to $900." (1996) [12]

    Some less dramatic (and less disappointing!) failures were promises to ban ...

  • ... music - Music stupefies persons listening to it and makes their brain inactive and frivolous .... If you want independence for your country, you must suppress music and not fear to be called old-fashioned. (Khomeini freshly in power, July 24, 1979.)
    It is permissible to listen to music produced by instruments that can be used for licit as well as illicit music. (Khomeini with a restive population, 1988) [14]

  • .... women's right to divorce - a law giving women the right to petition a court for divorce, was (according to Khomeini) passed ... by order of agents of foreign powers for the purpose of annihilating Islam, and any women who used it to divorce and remarry `adulteresses.` (In Iran, circa 1967.)
    The law was repealed in the first month of the revolution (February 26, 1979), but pressure from his women supporters brought a new Divorce Law (1992) with a return of women's right to divorce. The law made innocent all those who stood accused of adultery by Khomeini for divorcing according to the 1967 law. [15]

  • ... family planning - The shah's birth control clinics were shut down by the revolutionaries immediately after the revolution. (1979)
    10+ years later, faced with a population explosion and burgeoning youth unemployment, the revolutionaries outdid the Shah yet again. Birth control classes were made compulsory for any couple wanting to get married. Dozens of mobile teams were sent to remote parts of the country to offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations. Legislation was passed withdrawing food coupons, paid maternity leave, and social welfare subsidies for families after their third child. (1993) [16]

  • ... (alleged) Jewish conspiracies - ... from the very beginning, the historical movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present. (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970.)
    Judaism is an honorable religion that had arisen among the common folk. Islam's problem is with Zionism, a political "ism" that opposed religion and supported the exploiters. (Khomeini with a country to govern May 1979) [17]

    .... But most disastrous of all for Iran, was Khomeini promise that

    We will bring forth:

  • Victory over the armies of unbelief with the power of "true" Islam - If the form of government willed by Islam were to come into being, none of the governments now existing in the world would be able to resist it; they would all capitulate. (Khomeini in exile, January-February 1970.)
    This theory was put to the test when the Islamic Republic was attacked by neighbor Saddam Hussein's army a year and a half after the revolution started. Within two years Iran had virtually driven the Iraqi army back to Iraq, but the war did not end there. Khomeini spurned offers of a truce, insisting that the Arab nationalist regime in Baghdad must fall and must be replaced by an Islamic Republic. (1982) Despite the fact that America (and other governments determined to resist the spread of Islamic Republics) lined up to give Iraq whatever it needed, Khomeini went for `capitulation` of the Iraqi nationalist regime.
    Six years, hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives, and $100's of billions later, faced with the possible collapse of his regime, Khomeini gave up and drank what he called "poison chalice" of peace. [13]

    What Happens When Islamists Take Power?

    A Little More Detail on the Islamic Revolution of Iran

    Note: This page is a compilation of quotes and excerpts from books and articles on the revolution and its aftermath. The original idea came from the startling contrast in what Khomeini said before and after the revolution I found reading Fereydoun Hoveyda's The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003; and especially in Ervand Abrahamian's Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic. From there I expanded the page adding more "promises" and some commentary. - Elmer Swenson, June 2005

    The promises made by Khomeini for his revolution were usually implied rather than "if I take power there will be (fill-in-the-blank)" campaign promises. These broken promises or reversed positions varied in kind:

  • Some promises made by Khomeini (freely elected self-government and free speech for Iranians), he almost certainly thought of as unIslamic and knew were popular with important segments of the public at large,
  • Other policies (clerical rule, a ban on music), were the opposite - quite important to Khomeini and other strict fundamentalists [18] but very unpopular with large segments of the public. These got little if any publicity in his letters and proclamations.
  • Still other issues (eliminating poverty, indebtedness, corruption, foreign influence), were important to just about all Iranians.
  • The promise breaking itself happened sometimes under Khomeini's watch (self-government and free speech, instituting shari'ah, eliminating bureaucracy), and sometimes after his death by the Islamic government he had set up and the government officials he had helped put in place, (ending indebtedness and influence of foreign culture and business).

  • Breaking Promises That ...

    The Clergy Will Not Take Power

    The Islamic Clerics Will Lead the Revolution but Step Aside and Let Elected Civilian Representatives Rule

    The first bunch of promises to fall - that the Islamic Republic would not be run by Muslim clerics, and Iranians would have political freedom - were aimed at his moderate and secular revolutionary allies. The moderates and secularist of the educated middle classes dominated the cities. Without their help overthrow of the Shah would have been difficult, probably impossible.

    Khomeini himself had little use for government by presidents and legislators chosen by free elections. In a Muslim country the government needed only to follow Islamic law to represent the people and have their mandate, since Muslims believed in Islamic law.

    The body of Islamic laws that exist in the Qur'an and the Sunna has been accepted by the Muslims and recognized by them as worthy of obedience. This consent and acceptance facilitates the task of government and makes it truly belong to the people. In contrast, in a republic or a constitutional monarchy, most of those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people will approve anything they wish as law and then impose it on the entire population. [Islamic Government p.56]
    But few non-acolytes had read his Islamic Government and Khomeini kept these thoughts to himself when working with non-fundamentalists. The extent of the ignorance of Iranians of this new form of government is worth describing in a little detail:

    Reversal - Changing the Preliminary Constitution

    The silence was suddenly broken as the time drew near to elect a body that would approve the draft for a national referendum. Khomeini and his supporters had aggressively pushed for a small constitutional assembly (a 70-member `Assembly of Experts` rather than a broader `Constituent Assembly` with 300 or so delegates) on the grounds that `the text of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran ... has already been reworked and checked over through several phases,` and so only needed a final check before being put before a national referendum. [46]

    But it soon became apparent that
    A) the real advantage of the small assembly was that with fewer delegates from fewer electoral districts it was easier for Khomeini's disciplined supporters to successfully manipulate the elections and that the
    B) Khomeini-followers who won the overwhelming majority on the assembly had no intention of approving the constitution Khomeini had claimed was a "blueprint" and "correct" just a month or two earlier. [47]
    A campaign to popularize the need for "guardianship" by jurists commenced along with attacks on the secular and clerical opponents of clerical rule: `Those who pretend that religious dignitaries should not rule, poison the atmosphere and combat against Iran's interests.` [48] The carefully written preliminary constitution was scrapped and replaced by a new one giving preeminent power to a guardian jurist and a council of clerical "guardians" appointed for life.

    Criticism of Islamic government Will Be Tolerated

    As the democrats and moderates Khomeini had lulled into complacency realized what was happening and went to the street to protest, they were set upon by Khomeini-supporting toughs - the Hezbollah -- and found their newspapers shut down. (26 major newspapers and magazines closed from mid-to late August 1979. [49]) It can't be said Khomeini was very gracious to those he had duped, indignantly calling the demonstrators

    `wild animals. We will not tolerate them any more... After each revolution several thousand of these corrupt elements are executed in public and burnt and the story is over. They are not allowed to publish newspapers. ... We will close all parties except the one, or a few which act in a proper manner ... we all made mistakes. We thought we were dealing with human beings. It is evident we are not.` [50]

    Contradicting his earlier pledge while in exile in Paris that `the Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic.` [50b], Khomeini threatened his opponents

    I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth [51].
    The new constitution was approved by a national plebiscite Dec. 3, 1979.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    A year and a half after the constitution was approved, Khomeini had a falling out with president Bani Sadr, a Khomeini-supporter but not a cleric. Khomeini maintained he was forced to put clergy in charge because there were so few qualified civilians to run the country. He insisted the fact that

    I have said something does not mean that I should be bound by my word. I am saying that for as long as we have not implemented all Islamic rules and have not competent people to do the job, the clergy should stay in their positions. It is below the dignity of a clergyman to be a president or to occupy other posts. He does it because it is a duty. We have to implement Islam and should not fear anyone [52].

    Did Khomeini believe all along that only clergy would be "competent" to implement "all Islamic rules" in Iran's government, but keep quiet about his plans to include it into the Iranian constitution? Some Iranian authors (Moin, Schirazi, Hoveyda) suggest the evidence points to this. Others believe the problem was the willful credulity of Iranians who favored democracy but went along with Khomeini and are totally undeserving of sympathy (Arjomand, Taheri); or that Khomeini and his supporters introduced velayat-i faqih only after provocation by secular leftists and the realization it was politically feasible (Bakhash). Lending weight to the deception theory is the fact that even when he first introduced the idea of velayat-i faqih Khomeini complained of the powerful "imperialist" agents who opposed it and the need to deceive them ...

    `If someone wishes to speak about Islamic government and the establishment of the Islamic government, he must observe the principles of taqiyeh [dissimulation of the truth in defense of Islam] and count upon the opposition of those who have sold themselves to imperialism` [53].

    The Islamic Republic Will Be Run By the Most Learned Jurist

    Abandoning the Rule by the Most Learned Jurist After Abandoning Rule by Elected Civilians

    If Khomeini was dishonest with Iranians who wanted democracy, did he take power against the will of the majority in Iran? Not likely. The democracy-loving middle classes may have been crucial to the Shah's overthrow but that doesn't mean they were in a majority. Most Iranians poor, uneducated, and more pious. When it came time to stand up to Khomeini and organize a boycott of the referendum for his not-very-democratic Velayat-e Faqih-based constitution in December 1979, boycotters did succeed in lowering the vote total by almost 5 million compared to an earlier referendum in March. But this was still a fraction of the 15+ million votes cast in favor of the constitution (according to the official count). [54]

    This was in large part because Khomeini was "the Imam", the undisputed leader and symbol of the revolution, with an "overwhelming ideological, political, and organizational hegemony" over it. [55] He developed his massive following from what he preached, and while Khomeini agitating for "freedom" and against "tyranny", mostly he dwelled on socioeconomic issues. The

    widening the gap between rich and poor; favoring cronies, relatives, senior officials, and other kravatis (tie wearers); wasting oil resources on the ever-expanding army and bureaucracy; setting up assembly plants, not real manufacturing industries; ignoring the countryside in the distribution of essential services, including clinics, schools, electricity, and public baths ... creating huge shantytowns ... bankrupting the bazaars by refusing to protect them from foreign competition ... failing to combat rising crime, alcoholism, prostitution and drug addiction. [56]

    Islamic Government was to be the means to correct all these wrongs. It was what the masses of Iranians wanted and expected. So what was this `guardianship of the jurist` that the Imam said was Islamic government?

    In his 1970 lecture series/book Islamic Government (or Hokumat-e Islami in Farsi) Khomeini laid out the principle of the Guardianship of the Jurists (Velayat-e Faqih), describing who should rule:

    Since Islamic government is a government of law, knowledge of the law is necessary for the ruler, as has been laid down in tradition. Indeed such knowledge is necessary not only for the ruler, but also for anyone holding a post or exercising some government function. The ruler, however, must surpass all others in knowledge, (afzaliyat-e `elmi). In laying claim to the Imamate, our Imams also argued that the ruler must be more learned than everyone else. [57]

    Accordingly the constitution of the Islamic Republic called for the vali-ye faqih (the actual ruling guardian jurist) to be one of the highest ranked, most learned faqih in Shi'i Islam, known as marja-e taqlid (source of emulation).

    NOTE: What is this hierarchy?
    To Westerners, the Shi'a hierarchy may resemble the catholic religious hierarchy of priest, monsignor, bishop, pope - but unlike the Roman Catholic hierarchy there's no college of cardinals, no votes, no formal procedure to designate rank. "Every believer or `imitator` was to make his or her own choice of marja'-e taqlid." [58]
    At the top is the ...
  • marja-e taqlid ("source of emulation"), of which there is in theory only one but usually several, (about 12 in 1980 [58a] ) below which is
  • ayatollah ("miraculous sign of God"), a jurist distingished enough to run an independent seminary of his own (about 50 in the mid-1970s [58b] ), then
  • hojjat ol-Eslam (literally "proof of Islam"), the basic mojtahed, defined as one who have been declared qualified (by their teacher, a high level cleric), to practice ejtehad (interpretation) and derive their own rulings on Islamic law or fatwa. These numbered about 5000 in the 1970s. [58c]
  • This worked well while Khomeini reigned, as he was both the leader of the revolution and a marj-e taqlid. But as Khomeini aged a problem arose. Of the handful of grand ayatollah's in Iran, only one agreed with Khomeini's policies, including the whole concept of rule by jurists. [58d] This was a relatively young, undistinguished and charisma-challenged former student of Khomeini's, by the name of Ayatollah Hussein 'Ali Montazeri, who was none-the-less in line to fill Khomeini's shoes. But then Montazeri to fell out of that line, calling for liberalization, freedom for political parties, and telling Khomeini, `your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and his SAVAK,` when thousands of political prisoners were executed by the Islamic government [59].
    After a letter of his complaints was leaked to Europe and broadcast on the BBC a furious Khomeini ousted him. [60]

    Reversal - Lowering the Bar For Who Can Be the Ruling Jurist

    Now there was no ruling-jurist-in-waiting and Khomeini's health was beginning to fail [61] (he was 86). So he modified his concept of velayat-e faqih ...

    In March 1989, three months before his death, Khomeini made a major pronouncement categorizing the clergy into two distinct groups:
  • Those most knowledgeable about religious scholarship, including the sacred law, and ...
  • Those most knowledgeable of the contemporary world, especially economic, social, and political matters.

  • The latter, he declared, should rule because they were more in touch with the `problems of the day.` [62]

    Finding none of the several aforementioned Iranian marja-e taqlid "knowledgeable enough" about "worldly matters", Khomeini called for a special assembly to revise the Constitution. The job description of the ruling jurist (vali-ye faqih) was changed to allow for a cleric he approved of, (that cleric being Hojjat al-Islam `Ali Khamenei, who had plenty of political experience as president of the country but wasn't even an ayatollah), to succeed him.

    Following Khomeini's death [in 1989] the constitution was quickly amended and `Ali Khamene`i made ruling jurist.

    Khomeini denied ever having changed his position, claiming

    We cannot let our Islamic regime go on without a supervisor. You must elect an individual who can defend our Islamic honour in the world of politics and deceit. Since from the very beginning I was of the opinion and I insisted that the condition of marja'iyat [being a marja'-e taqlid] was not necessary, a righteous or just mojtahed who is confirmed by the honourable experts of the whole country will be sufficient. If the people vote for the experts to appoint a just mojtahed as the leader of their government and they appoint an individual to take over the leadership, he is of necessity acceptable to the people. In such a case he becomes the elected vali of the people and his edict is enforceable. [63]

    So why had the constitution (which Khomeini approved) required the ruling jurist to be a marji'?

    In the early days of the constitution I used to say so. But friends insisted on laying down the condition of the marja'iyat. Then I too agreed. But at the time I knew that in the not too distant future, it could not be implemented. [64].

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Was this change just a simple accommodation with flexibility? Surely it was better to have an experienced public official like `Ali Khamene`i in the country's top post, than some more learned but elderly, and unworldly divine?

    One problem was the constitution already had a lead executive for dealing with the temporal world -- the president (the last three of whom have also been mojtahid clerics!) And the president was directly elected -- whereas the ruling jurist guardian-for-life was chosen by the Assembly of Experts, candidates for which were vetted by the Council of Guardians, members of which were appointed by the ruling jurist guardian-for-life. The lack of democracy in this self-choosing, self-perpetuating mechanism of the Islamic government was bound to become less popular without the beloved "Imam" Khomeini as ruler.

    Then there was the issue of how to pick this jurist. Shi'a Islam has a long established criteria for determining learnedness of Islam, not so for knowledge of the contemporary world. With all that power at stake and subjectiveness of definition, would he (no woman allowed) just turn out to be the man backed by whatever group of clerics had the most muscle in the Assembly of Experts?

    Another question was why limit your pool of candidates to Islamic Jurists if knowledge of "the economic, social, and political matters," not religion, is the most important criteria to run a country. Jurists form a relatively small pool, as only a small number of students survive the 15-20 years of post-secondary schooling necessary to become a mojtahed [65], and their knowledge of anything besides Islamic studies was constrained by the fact that they aren't taught any economics, psychology, sociology, history, political science (or anything outside of the realm of Islam) in the theological centers where they spend their 15-20 years of schooling. (As of 1994 there were still no "non-Islamic sciences" taught at the centers. [66])

    But mainly the problem is that, (to quote Khomeini), "since Islamic government is a government of law, knowledge of the law is necessary for the ruler." If you were making up your own laws and policies, knowledge of the contemporary world would be vital. But if God has already done the work for you, making up perfect laws, infinitely superior to anything even the most brilliant and knowledgeable humans could create -- than what you really need is the person with the best knowledge and grasp of this body of law. Unless, of course, humans have no choice but to make up legislation, which leads us to our next policy U-turn ...


    Laws in Iran will strictly adhere to God's perfect and unchanging divine law, (i.e. the Islamic Shari'ah)

    In his lectures on Islamic Government Khomeini emphasized the perfection and completeness of the Shari'ah. [66b] For Khomeini Islamic government was/is Shari’ah government.

    The fundamental difference between Islamic government, on the one hand and constitutional monarchies and republics on the other, is this: whereas the representative of the people or the monarch in such regimes engage in legislation, in Islam the legislative power and competence to establish laws belongs exclusively to God Almighty. The Sacred Legislator of Islam is the sole legislative power. No one has the right to legislate and no law may be executed except the law of the Divine Legislator. (Italics added)[Islamic Government p.55] [67]
    ... Would the Islamic Government of Islamic jurists (fuqaha) be exempt from this prohibition on lawmaking? Khomeini specifically says no.
    Islamic government is a government of law. In this form of government, sovereignty belongs to God alone and law is His decree and command. The law of Islam, divine command, has absolute authority over all individuals and the Islamic government. Everyone, including the Most Noble Messenger [Prophet Muhammad] (peace be upon him) and his successors, is subject to law and will remain so for all eternity - the law that has been revealed by God, Almighty and Exalted ... (Italics added) [p.56] [68]

    After all, who needs any new legislation ...

    God, Exalted and Almighty, by means of the Most Noble Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him), sent laws that astound us with their magnitude. He instituted laws and practices for all human affairs ... There is not a single topic in human life for which Islam has not provided instruction and established a norm ... [p.29-30]

    If the administration of the country calls for taxes, Islam has made the necessary provision; and if laws are needed, Islam has established them all. There is no need for you, after establishing a government, to sit down and draw up laws, or, like rulers who worship foreigners and are infatuated with the west, run after others to borrow their laws. Everything is ready and waiting. [p.137-8] [69]

    Which is why there is no need for a legislative body in Islamic government. This is in contrast to the flaky nature of representative democracy where

    most of those claiming to be representatives of the majority of the people will approve anything they wish as law and then impose it on the entire population. [p.56] [70].
    (Note: The Islamic Republic does have an elected parliament -- the 270-member Majlis-e-Shura e Eslami (Islamic Consultative Assembly) -- instituted in a compromise to non-fundamentalist Iranians. All Majlis's bills ("bills," not "legislation"), however, must be approved by a Council of Guardians, which is charged with vetoing anything it considers to be outside of Divine Law.)

    In fact, one of the reasons it's so important for jurists to be "guardians" (Velayat-i faqih) is to prevent innovation in Islam and legislating of laws that go against the Shari’ah. If God were

    not to appoint an Imam [i.e. faqih] over men to maintain law and order, to serve the people faithfully as a vigilant trustee, religion would fall victim to obsolescence and decay. Its rites and institutions would vanish; the customs and ordinances of Islam would be transformed or even deformed. (italics added) [p.54] [71]

    All this is why, unlike some other leading Islamists, Khomeini never talked about developing new regulations in Shari'ah law to meet the conditions of modern life (using ijtihad, or innovative legal reasoning). While other contemporary Islamist thinkers like Muhammad Rashid Rida and Sayyeed Abdul A'la

    Maududi were willing to make room for some secular legislation by permitting ijtihad and other accommodating devices, Khomeini unyieldingly holds that the shari'ah must be the only law, and that human regulation is allowed only as a practical contrivance for the enforcement of the divine law. [Hamid Enayat] [72].

    Reversal - Making Islamic Government Supreme Over Shari’ah.

    So it came as a great shock when in a series of religious rulings (fatvas or fatwas) ten years after the start of the revolution, Khomeini proclaimed the Islamic Government could also, in effect, legislate. "Binding conditions," (specifically, labor protection regulations) could be imposed on businesses by the government though these "conditions" did not exist in traditional Islamic law. [72a]

    Such a shock, that even his number two and future successor as supreme leader, President `Ali Khamene`i, couldn't quite believe his ears and misinterpreted the fatvas, telling a Friday congregation they only applied to regulations that `fall within the framework of the ordinances accepted by Islam and not any others.` (1 January 1988) [72b] This earned him a humiliating public dressing down by Khomeini who told him

    It appears from your Excellency’s statements at the Friday prayer [Khutab jamat] that you do not regard government to be equivalent to the absolute governance [wilayat-i mutlaqa], which was bestowed on the most noble Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) by God, and which is the most important part of the divinely ordained position, and which has preponderance over all other ordinances that are dependent upon his position (as wali-yi mutlaq). Your interpretation of what I have said -- that the government is empowered to act only within the framework of the existing secondary divine ordinances [preserved in the shari’ah] -- runs entirely counter to what I have in fact said. Were the powers of government to lie only within the framework of secondary divine decrees, the designation of the divine government and absolute deputed guardianship (wilayat-i mutlaqa-yi mufawwada) to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) would have been in practice entirely without meaning and content. ... I must point out, the government which is a branch of the absolute governance of the Prophet of God is among the primary ordinances of Islam, and has precedence over all secondary ordinances such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage. (italics added) [73].

    Khomeini went on to explain that if the Faqih decided some "secondary ordinance" was not in "the interests of Islam" he was empowered to

    prevent any act performed as part of one's relationship to God (abadi) or otherwise in nature, the fulfillment of which runs counter to the interests of Islam, as long as it continues to be harmful to Islam. For example, it can temporarily forbid the performance of annual pilgrimage (hajj), one of the most important duties decreed by God, whenever a pilgrimage is contrary to the welfare of Islam [74].

    The devistating impact of the ruling is obvious -- If the Islamic government can override everything in Islam from the 3 of the 5 pillars, to the shari'ah (whose preservation was the original REASON for rule-by-jurist), what exactly does Islamic mean? How is Khomeini's government fundamentaly different from all the other Muslim rulers -- kings and presidents dubbed "agents" of imperialism by Khomeini -- who argue that their deviation from traditional law serves the the greater "interests of Islam"?

    It was the culmination of years of frustration over disputes between the radical rank and file of Khomeini's revolution and the conservative jurists (principally the Council of Guardians), given great power by Khomeini's idea of Islamic Government.

    The two groups clashed repeatedly over crucial, major legislation on agricultural land reform, a state monopoly on foreign trade, what to do about the urban housing shortage, speculation and hoarding of vital goods, and labor protection. The fight was usually over the rights of property. Radicals believed Islam subordinated it to the public good of providing housing for workers, land for peasants, protecting the country from foreign imperialists. The elderly jurists (often from well-off, provincial landowning families) believed Islam protected the rights of property not just from confiscation but even from restrictions like how many hours a week employers could tell employees to work.

    Jurists used the principle of

  • Maslahat or interest of the state.[74.1]
  • Ahkam-e hokumati or `state ordinances` (declared to be part of divine law not because of any connection with shari’ah but because they had been promulgated by an Islamic state).
  • Qa'edeh-e zarurat, or rule of emergency, to get around traditional Islamic law.
    But seldom got around to development of new shari'ah laws (ahkam) by consensus of the jurists (ejma') or reason (`aql), to deal with "new occurrences" in modern life (mostahdasat) that the old shari'ah had nothing to say about. [75].
  • Former secular judges were largely eliminated, clerics were appointed to judgeships, Islamic penal codes were written into the statute books and changes in keeping with Islamic laws were made in the procedural code. However, the Islamic penal code was applied fitfully. The long promised and thorough recasting of the civil and commercial codes did not take place, due to practical considerations. [76]

    Not only was Khomeini mistaken in his assertion that "Islam has established" all the laws Iranians would need (that claim had been abandoned years earlier told the Majles `we cannot imagine that God would not have looked at every aspect of any problem`)[76.1], but when it came to developing the new laws it turned out were needed, the scholars of Islamic law empowered by Khomeini's revolution couldn't agree over what was properly Islamic and what wasn't. The failure was (and is) so complete that according to one observer, Iran's Islamic Government actually hinders rather than helps attempts to make any new law conform to shari'ah. Legislative bills

    that have no precursor in the shari'ah or that make no attempt to establish a link with the shari'ah, as a rule pass through the legislative institutions with relatively little friction and are enacted rather quickly. By contrast, bills relevant to the shari'ah regularly become the object of debates that go on for years between the various legislative bodies and the representatives of different interpretations, political positions and interest groups within those bodies. For the most part, the debates hold up the process of legislation or even block it completely. In this sense the shari'ah has proved to be the undoing of legislation, placing obstacles in its way that can only be overcome with great difficulty. [77]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    In the rubble of this failure Islamic reformers have emerged arguing that while God's law is perfect, human understanding of it is not. [77a]


    An Islamic Government Will Not Oppress the People

    We must establish a government that will enjoy the trust of the people ... God know that your capacity and courage are not less than those of others -- unless, of course, the meaning of courage is oppressing and slaughtering the people; that kind of courage we certainly don’t have. [78]
    An Islamic government does not resemble states where the people are deprived of all security and everyone sits at home trembling for fear of a sudden raid or attack by the agents of the state. It was that way under Mu'awiya and similar rulers: the people had no security, and they were killed or banished, or imprisoned for lengthy periods on the strength of an accusation or a mere suspicion, because the government was not Islamic. [79]

    After the revolution Khomeini was given more to saying things like ...

    Criminals should not be tried. The trial of a criminal is against human rights. Human rights demand that we should have killed them in the first place when it became known that they were criminals... As soon as former Savak chief Nasiri's identity was established he had to be killed. Despite the fact that he deserved summary execution, he was kept for a few days and was tried ... Our belief is that criminals should not be tried and must be killed. [80]

    Critics of the executions complained of the "secrecy, vagueness of the charges, the absence of defense lawyers or juries, the failure to give the accused an opportunity to defend themselves." [81]

    As for people no longer sitting "at home trembling for fear of a sudden raid or attack by the agents of the state," thanks to Islamic revolution, in late 1982 Supreme Leader Khomeini felt the need to issue an "8-point declaration" banning his "Revolutionary Guards and committees from entering homes, making arrests, conducting searches and interrogations, and confiscating property without legal authorization ..." [82], following a prolonged period of rampage by the attack dogs of the Islamic state.

    Among those killed by the Islamic government between January 1980 and June 1981:

    Killing

    Political killings in the revolution came in waves. The first bunch were of high-ranking (and not so high ranking) members of the former regime -- military, SAVAK (the Shah's intelligence service) following the establishment of Revolutionary Tribunals February 15 1979.

    "At least 582 persons had been executed between February 1979 and January 1980, a period which included the extensive immediate post revolution trials of the members of the former regime" (governmental, military, SAVAK -- the Shah's intelligence service). Lesser numbers of low level officials and nonpoliticals, like "prostitutes and brothel managers", were caught up in the executions. [84]

    Then came the turn of assorted trouble makers, especially drug users. A second wave of executions began with the appointment of cleric Sadeq Khalkhali to head an antinarcotics campaign. "Between January 1980 and June 1981, when Bani-Sadr was overthrown, at least 906 executions took place, primarily after 20 May 1980. [85] Men and women were killed for everything from drug and sexual offenses to `corruption on earth,` from plotting counter-revolution and spying for Israel to membership in opposition groups. [85a]

    After president Bani-Sadr, (an Islamist but a modernist not a fundamentalist), was ejected from office by Khomeini's Islamic Republic Party, a concerted effort was made to finish off the erstwhile supporters turned opposition, primarily leftists. Bloodletting became much worse.

    "The number who lost their lives will probably never be known with certainty. Amnesty International documented 2,946 executions in the 12 months following Bani-Sadr's impeachment [on June 20, 1981]. A list compiled the following year by the Mojahedin-e Khalq cited 7,746 persons who had lost their lives through executions, in street battles, or under torture in the short period from June 1981 to Sept. 1983." [86]
    This wave ended as the thuggery got out of hand and had to be reigned in by Khomeini's aforementioned 8-point declaration of December 1982 requiring the Revolutionary Guards and committees to have legal authorization before entering and searching homes, confiscating property, etc. [87]

    The last major wave of executions came in late summer and early autumn of 1989 following a failed uprising by the Mojahedin-e Khalq guerrillas when thousand of political prisoners were dispatched. Khomeini appointed a three-man commission which he secretly charged with determining which political prisoners had sincerely recanted and which had not. The first group were released. The second were executed. Amnesty International documented 3000 killed. Other sources estimated between 6000-10,000 executed. Most of the dead were Mojahedin but many were nonviolent demonstrators. [88]

    General Political Oppression

    It has to be said in the annals of tyranny these numbers are pretty paltry compared with those of the Saddam Husseins, never mind the Hitlers and Stalins, (Khomeini himself claimed the Shah killed 100,000 Iranians) -- though the numbers of dead as a result of Khomeini's prolonging the Iran-Iraq war are not so small.

    This may be because Khomeini's forces were just more efficient in intimidating the opposition and didn't have to kill so many of them. It certainly isn't because Khomeini's forces restrained themselves from doing whatever it took to achieve a monopoly of power. Opposition groups and parties were eliminated or neutralized one by one. The first major party to be crushed was the moderate secularist National Democratic Front (its leader arrested August 1979), followed by the moderate Islamic Muslim People's Republican Party (neutralized by January 1980) and ending with the large and well-armed Islamic leftist Mojahedin-e Khalq (thousands killed following June 1981). Only the Mojahedin-e Khalq and other guerilla groups fought back.

    Annihilation of the opposition was accomplished by the Islamic government working in tandem with Islamic thugs usually dubbed hezbollah, or party of God. While the government banned dozens of periodicals, arrested political leaders, and shut down the country's universities (strongholds of the left) for two years; the hezbollah worked the streets, beating and occasionally killing protestors, smashing news kiosks, looting bookstores, ransacking student offices. [89]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    How were violent attacks on non-violent people, groups (and their publications) justified? Khomeini explained this comparing the clubs Islamist thugs used to beat protesters, and the "clubs" of the opposition press and speach:
    `The club of the pen and the club of the tongue is the worst of clubs, whose corruption is a 100 times greater than other clubs.` (February 1981) [89a]

    In other words, whether opponents used violence or not was irrelevent. It was lawful to use force against all "corrupt people," ... and unfortunately for dissidents, a true, uncorrupt Muslim, was by (Khomeini's) definition one who obeyed Khomeini's Islamic Government, i.e. "God's government."

    ... God has laid upon us the duty of obeying the Messenger [the Prophet Muhammad]. It is also our duty to follow and obey the holders of authority, who, according to our beliefs, are the Imams (upon whom be peace). Of course, obedience to their governmental decrees is also a form of obedience to God. Since God Almighty has commanded us to follow the Messenger and the holders of authority, our obeying them is actually an expression of obedience to God. [Islamic Government, p.90-1, italics added]
    And in case there's any question that the "holders of authority" include Islamic Jurists, not just the Prophet Muhammad and the twelve Imams of Shi'a Islam, ...
    ... The ruler supervises the executive power and has the duty of implementing God’s laws; it makes no difference if he is the Most Noble Messenger [the Prophet Muhammad], the Commander of the Faithful [Caliph `Ali], or the representative or judge he appoints to Basra or Kufa, or a faqih [Jurist] in the present age. [Islamic Government, p.63]

    Like Khomeini's promises the clergy would not take power, there were indications of what Khomeini's true attitude was toward dealing with opponents for those who looked carefully. In the same 1970 lecture series/book Islamic Government where Khomeini explains how Islamic Government will not oppress or slaughter or kick down doors, Khomeini makes more than one reference to the need to wack troublemakers. At one point he expressed indignation at hypocrites who object when

    Islam commands its followers to engage in warfare or defense in order to make men submit to laws that are beneficial for them and kills a few corrupt people or instigators of corruption. [Islamic Government, p.34] [90]

    Another time he explains how the elimination of (human) sources of "corruption" was just one of the sacrifices good Muslims had to be prepared to make

    Anyone who rules over the Muslims, or over human society in general must always take into consideration the public welfare and interest and ignore personal feelings and interests. For this reason, Islam is prepared to ... root out numerous groups that were a source of corruption and harm to human society. [Islamic Government p.89] [91]

    As an example of a group to be eliminated Khomeini gives the Jews of Bani Qurayza, 700-800 of whom were executed (following their surrender) and greater number of women and children sold into slavery by early Muslims. (Needless to say, most tyrants -- including the Shah -- believe the opponents they do away with are a "harm to human society".)


    An Islamic Government Will Not Have Overly Harsh Punishments

    Amongst Khomeini's complaints against the "agents of imperialism" (aka anti-fundamentalist Iranians) was their hypocrisy in claiming Islam's hudood punishments were harsh even though their patron the Shah allowed death sentences for heroin users (Iran's neighbor is Afghanistan, the world's leading opium producer, so opium has traditionally been relatively cheap and plentiful in Iran).
    The agents of imperialism sometimes write in their books and their newspapers that the legal provisions of Islam are too harsh. ... I am amazed at the way these people think. They kill people for possessing ten grams of heroin and say, `That is the Law` ... Inhuman laws like this are concocted in the name of a campaign against corruption, and they are not to be regarded as too harsh. (I am not saying it is permissible to sell heroin, but his is not the appropriate punishment. The sale of heroin must indeed be prohibited, but the punishment must be in proportion to the crime.) [Islamic Government p.33] [92]

    Reversal -- Killing Even More Druggies Than the Shah

    After the revolution drug use skyrocketed and a crackdown on narcotics made death sentences even more plentiful than under the Shah. Iran's famous `hanging judge` Sadeq Khalkhali was appointed to a Revolutionary Court to deal with the problem. On May 20, 1980, a few days after his appointment, Khalkhali

    ordered the execution of 20 persons found guilty of trafficking in drugs. Over the next several weeks, he sent scores of alleged drug smugglers, peddlers, users and others to their death, often on the flimsiest evidence. By the end of August, some 200 persons had been executed on Khalkhali's orders. This figure rose considerably
    before Khalkhali was forced out for misappropriation of funds in December.
    Khomeini had in the 1970s described as `inhuman` the execution of drug traffickers on a far more limited scale under the Shah. Yet he voiced no objection to the executions carried out by Khalkhali and made no move to stop him.[93]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    In Khalkhali and Khomeini's defense it has to be admitted heroin use is a serious problem in Iran. Under the Islamic Republic, Iran has the world's highest rate of opium or heroin use -- 2.8% of the population! [94]


    Corruption Will Not Be Tolerated

    Khomeini fulminating against corruption while out of power

    Most forms of corruption originate with the ruling class, the tyrannical ruling family and the libertines that associate with them. ... If it were not for [the] profligate royal ceremonies, this reckless spending, this constant embezzlement, there would never be any deficit in the national budget forcing us to bow in submission before America and Britain and request aid or a loan from them.

    Huge amounts of capital are being swallowed up; our public funds are being embezzled; our oil is being plundered; and our country is being turned into a market for expensive, unnecessary goods by the representatives of foreign companies, which makes it possible for foreign capitalists and their local agents to pocket the people’s money. A number of foreign states carry off our oil after drawing it out of the ground, and the negligible sum they pay to the regime they have installed returns to their pockets by other routes. [Islamic Government, p.58, 115] [95]

    And promised

    a leader ... who will treat all members of the community as equals before the law; who will refuse to countenance privilege or discrimination in any form; who will place his own family on an equal footing with the rest of the people; who will cut off the hand of his own son if he commits a theft ... [Islamic Government, p.129-30]

    After the jurisprudents and ‘ulema gained power in the Islamic revolution, a different tune was sung.

    Some of Iran's most senior clerical leaders dismiss the importance of corruption. After the arrest in 1998 of Mayor Karbaschi on corruption charges, former President Rafsanjani wondered what all the fuss was about. `Graft has always existed,` he said in a sermon. `There are always people who are corrupt ...` [96]

    Rafsanjani's astonishment might be understandable if rumors are true that he controls the pistachio market, owns Iran's Mitsubishi plant, and takes a cut on all import taxes collected at Iran's major port of Qeshem Island. Another well-connected cleric, Ali Akbar Nateq-Noori, speaker of the Majlis, "has had little success in denying that he owns four houses gifted by the government." Even the family of Imam Khomeini does not appear to be on "equal footing with the rest of the people". "Zahra Mustafvi, the ayatollah's daughter who heads the Women's Organization, travels the streets in a new Mercedes adds resonance to the whispers that before his death, her brother Ahmed, was the richest man in Iran." [96a] In the end, says journalist Sandra Mackey, "the perception" of Iranians "is that every high-ranking cleric in government is corrupt."

    Even the Revolutionary Guards, the guardians of public morality, have become corrupt. Hefty fees paid in advance keep the Pasdaran [the guards] away from parties of the rich where alcohol is served. Lesser bribes in lesser social classes smooth the departure of religious vigilantes who have burst through the door to shut off Western music and collect a payoff..." [96b].

    The hard facts of the public record do nothing to undermine the rumours. The new speaker of the parliament Gholamali Haddadadel told reporters visiting an exhibition of an anti-corruption agency, (known as the GIO) `I am really sorry to see such a huge rate of corruption in the country.` [101]

    In August 1991, Supreme Leader Ali Khamene’i fretted publicly about "functionaries who lived in the luxurious houses of ministers of the Shah’s era and indulged in expensive wedding ceremonies." A couple months later the pro-regime magazine Resalat warned that "the people would lose their trust in the state because of the tendency of government officials to live in luxury" [99].

    The powerful, Islamic foundations (bonyards) that control a sizeable fraction of Iran's economy are intended to provide help to Iran's poor are rumoured to be rife with corruption.[99a]

    The head of the Nobovvat foundation, had "twice been condemned to death by the courts" for the "criminal financial activities of this foundation" as of May 1988. Seven years later he was still alive. [100]

    Realistically, perhaps, it is not surprising that "Islamic Government" did not hold up to Khomeini's vision to abolish corruption, but at least one report indicates it may have gotten worse not better since the revolution. Bribery ...

    in Iran... was increasingly becoming the biggest part of a business deal -- and a lot of other transactions too. Iranians called it `oiling the mustache.` Bribery was commonly practiced during the monarchy too, but before the revolution, payoffs were usually a one-time thing of a known amount. Two decades after the revolution, even the smallest service called for lots of oil on lots of mustaches [101a].

    Corruption is not just an infuriating hassle to Iranians and a mockery-maker of the representatives of the government of God, it's a brake on an economy that needs to create several hundred thousand new jobs each year just to keep the unemployment rate steady at 16%. As Economist magazine says, "corruption in every sphere of business stunts growth and puts off investors." [101b]

    Iran rates 2.9 out of 10.0 in perceived honesty of government, based on surveys of foreign business people, locals, expatriates, etc. done by Transparency International
    http://www.transparency.org/pressreleases_archive/2004/2004.10.20.cpi.en.html ,
    Ranked 87th of 145 countries worldwide, it's ahead of India or Pakistan, but behind Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Mexico or Thailand. [102]


    An Islamic Government Will Not Go Into Debt To Foreigners

    Khomeini was furious with the debt the Shah had accumulated which he reckoned made Iran subservient to its Western lenders.

    Most forms of corruption originate with the ruling class, the tyrannical ruling family ... If it were not for [the] profligate royal ceremonies, this reckless spending, this constant embezzlement, there would never be any deficit in the national budget forcing us to bow in submission before America and Britain and request aid or a loan from them. [Islamic Government, p.58 [103]]
    It would not be a problem in an Islamic government
    If the administration of the country calls for taxes, Islam has made the necessary provision .. . [Islamic Government, p.137 [104]]
    And indeed the Islamic Republic paid off the $7.4 billion foreign debt accumulated by the Pahlavi Dynasty, during in the 1980s, despite economic sanctions by the Great Satan and diplomatic isolation. But while Khomeini himself never reversed himself on this principle, in the next decade his successors not only went back into debt, but built it up to almost four times the putatively shameful debt the monarchy left behind in 1979. [105]
    It is valid to say that the growth between 1989 and 1994 was mainly financed through the accumulation of some $30 billion in foreign debt. In 1993, the ratio of Iran's foreign debt to the country's GDP reached 38%. [106]
    When oil prices dropped in 1993 and the Islamic government had trouble making timely payments on its debt and was forced make a massive devaluation of the Rial [106a]. Prices of imports went through the roof. Unemployment swelled.
    The dollar, worth 70 rials before the Shah was overthrown [106b], was worth 8800 rials as of Jan. 2005.

    An Islamic Government Will Not Be Bureaucratic

    [S]uperfluous bureaucracies and the system of file-keeping and paper-shuffling ... has nothing to do with Islam. These superfluous formalities, which cause our people nothing but expense, trouble and delay, have no place in Islam. For example, the method established by Islam for enforcing people’s rights, adjudicating disputes, and executing judgments is at once simple, practical and swift.

    In the good old days,

    when the juridical methods of Islam were applied, the shari’ah judge in each town, assisted only by two bailiffs and with only a pen and an inkpot at his disposal, would swiftly resolve disputes among people and send them about their business. But now the bureaucratic organization of the Ministry of Justice has attained unimaginable proportions, and is, in addition, quite incapable of producing results. [107]

    Few will be surprised to hear that shari`ah judges "assisted only by two bailiffs" did not replaced the courts of the Shah's Ministry of Justice, but in fact the state bureaucracy did not shrink after the revolution, it grew.

    The political realities of revolutionary Iran pressed Khomeini to pay greater attention to the state. To run the country's vast array of social services, the Islamic Republic had no choice but to extend the large ministries and their regional departments. To consolidate power, it found it necessary to put in place a system of local committees (komitehs) and Revolutionary Guards (Sepah-e Pasdaran). To fight the war with Iraq, it retained the existing armed forces, drastically expanded the Revolutionary Guards, and also created the Reconstruction Crusade (Jahad-e Sazandegi) and the volunteer force known as the Mobilization Army (Sepah-e Basij)... To alleviate public discontent, it introduced food rationing and price controls and periodically launched campaigns against speculators, hoarders, and price-gougers. To administer the recently nationalized enterprises, mostly confiscated from multinational corporations, the royal family and their close associates, the new regime had to dramatically expand the bureaucratic machinery.
    The combined state ministerial bureaucracy and nationalized sector alone employed 860,000 more than under the Shah. [108a] Even the judicial system Khomeini so despised stayed.
    To curb the arbitrary behavior of local judges, it kept the conventional and cumbersome appeals system, which Khomeini had denounced for 40 years as un-Islamic and against the sacred law.
    ("A case that a shari'ah judge in earlier times settled in one or two days cannot be settled now in 20 years." [108] )
    Prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali may have been able to run the community from a mosque corner;
    ... but all totaled ...
    Khomeini had to preside over a state bureaucracy three times larger than that of Mohammad Reza Shah. (italics added) [109]

    One of the more extreme examples of bureaucratic control of the revolution was an attempt to solve the severe housing shortage in the big cities by redistributing housing. Starting mid-1980, anyone buying or selling a home was required to do it through "the Office for the Purchase and Transfer of Empty Dwellings." The office fixed rent and property prices, paid home sellers "partly in non-interest-bearing bonds" (at a time of high inflation), could "take over and rent residences whose owners were unwilling to lease them at reasonable rates, and ... confiscate homes whose owners were absent or could not be identified." Those the office deigned worthy of selling property to were to be chosen according to a "point system" based on "age, marital, and residence qualifications."
    Not surprisingly the system became "virtually unenforceable" as "owners connived with land registry officials to backdate deeds, subdivide large holdings, and sell off their properties, thus necessitating additional legislation ... " A year later the controls were eased but not abandoned. [110]


    Class Division and Poverty Will Not Be Tolerated

    Abandoning the Pro-Social Justice but Bureaucratic Line, After Abandoning the Anti-Bureaucratic Line

    Helping the poor was a repeated refrain of Khomeini's

    The imperialists have also imposed on us an unjust economic order, and thereby divided our people into two groups: oppressors and oppressed. Hundreds of millions of Muslims are hungry and deprived of all form of health care and education, while minorities comprised of the wealthy and powerful live a life of indulgence, licentiousness, and corruption. [Islamic Government p.115 [115]]

    There's some question of how interested Khomeini really was in the plight of the poor, as complaints of price inflation and the high cost of food (which hurt those with the lowest incomes worst) seemed to annoy him:

    I cannot believe that the purpose of all these sacrifices was to have less expensive melons. [Khomeini, July 5, 1979, on National Voice of Iran radio.] [115a]

    His successors could not afford to be annoyed though (by 1995 average per capita income was 1/4 of what it was under the Shah! [116]), and felt they had no choice but to reverse the revolution's populist, social welfare-orientation. Instead of talking about preventing the "encroachment by oppressive ruling classes on the rights of the weak," the Islamic Republic's president Hasemi Rafsanjani and ruler `Ali Khamene`i "now emphasized `reconstruction,` `realism,` `work discipline,` `managerial skills,` `modern technology,` `expertise and competence,` `individual self-reliance,` `entrepreneurship,` and `stability.`" [117] Iranian leftist author Ervand Abrahamian complains the

    regime now openly declares its support for open-door and laissez-faire policies. It has relaxed price controls and import restrictions, lifted rationing from many goods, decreased subsidies for a number of commodities, reduced inflation by cutting back on expenditures, increased wage and salary differences, set up a stock exchange, narrowed the gap between the official and black-market exchange rate for the dollar, encouraged the importation of consumer goods, re-established free-trade zones in the Persian Gulf, and privatized over 500 companies factories and agribusinesses that had been nationalized in 1979-80. What is more, the new Five-Year Plan calls for foreign investments totaling $27 billion. [118]
    Draft exemptions were sold for $10,000 per person per three years, and despite Khomeini's insistence that `Islam is fundamentally opposed to the whole notion of monarchy .... Islam came in order to destroy these palaces of tyranny,` [119], the Islamic government did not demolish "Persepolis, the seat of the ancient monarchy" but "hailed" it
    ... as part of the `national heritage`; placed the crown jewels, including the Peacock Throne, on public display -- at least for those who can afford the exorbitant entry fee; returned to émigrés real estate `supervised` by the state since 1979; and annulled an earlier law permitting courts to rent to the poor apartments vacated by émigrés ... [120]

    The poor showed their discontent. There were riots against the demolition of poor people's shantytowns in several major cities, (buildings were set ablaze in Arak and Mashhad) in 1992 and protests by disabled war veterans against the mismanagement of the Foundation of the Disinherited. In 1993 Mobs attacked grocery stores in protest against rise in subsidized milk prices In 1995 a shantytown on the edge of Tehran (Akbarabad) exploded in protest over bus fare increases. Shouting `Down with the Islamic Republic! Down with Khamanei!`30 people died. [120.1]

    Economically, the Islamic Republic may have it both ways. According to some, even before the inegalitarian, neoliberal austerity measures, the gap between the rich and the poor was wider, not narrower than it had been in the Shah's day. The poor were poorer thanks to a sharp drop in the standard of living for the masses of Iranians, and the well-connected and corrupt newly rich were very rich thanks to the enormous profits available on the black market. [120a]. At the same time, painful as the privatization and cuts in subsidies and spending may have been, they haven't been nearly deep enough to put a dent in the huge nationalized sector (still about 80% of the economy). The 2.3 million full-time public servants soaking up scarce revenue needed to make jobs for baby boom entering the job market. 2/3 of the population under 30, and unemployment is "rising relentlessly." [120b]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Of course the Islamic Republic is not the only regime and not the only revolutionary regime to make 180 degree turns. But its flip-flopping can be traced directly to its political origins -- the all-things-to-all-people program of its leader Khomeini. In his speeches, letters and books, Khomeini talked constantly about the plight of the poor under the Shah's non-Islamic government, but the only measures he mentioned in his lecture series/book Islamic Government that could be called solutions to poverty -- higher oil prices, ending corruption, extravagance in the imperial court, foreign exploitation, bureaucratic sloth -- called for no extra use of resources to help the poor or sacrifice by anyone other than foreign oil importers and the elite of the Shah's court.

    This was politically shrewd, as both radicals hearing plenty about ending "injustice," "oppression" and "hunger;" and bazaari businessmen hearing nothing about expropriation, controls and massive social spending -- would both see Khomeini as on their side. But when time came to run a country and Khomeini's prescriptions turned out to be not nearly enough to lift up the "dispossessed" and the satisfy rank and file revolutionaries, both wings of his revolution were left struggling with each over what "Islamic" economic policy was, all but pleading with Khomeini to find them a way out:

    In January 1983, when Hashemi-Rafsanjani took members of Parliament to meet with Khomeini, he again appealed to the Imam for guidance on this vexing matter. Khomeini, he said should assist Parliament to turn Iran's Islamic Republic into a `model for the world` and to disprove the claim that `the heavenly religions cannot serve as a basis for the social life of the people.` However, aside from urging closer cooperation between the Majlis and the Council of Guardians, Khomeini was unable to suggest an effective means of resolving this doctrinal impasse. [121]
    Brilliant tactician that he was, Khomeini knew better than to split the revolution's core base of support. In (not) doing so he provided yet another irony. A movement that promised the certainty of revealed truth ...
    The entire system of government and administration, together with necessary laws, lies ready for you. If the administration of the country calls for taxes, Islam has made the necessary provision; and if laws are needed, Islam has established them all. ... Everything is ready and waiting. [122] [Islamic Government p.137-8]
    ... ended up delivering paralysis.

    Exploitation by Foreign Imperialists Will Be Abolished

    Economic Policy More Shah-Like than the Shah!

    Khomeini describes Islamic government’s foe as evil foreigners, who along with their "agents" (treacherous Iranians like the Shah) planned

    to keep us backward, to keep us in our present miserable state so they can exploit our riches, our underground wealth, our lands and our human resources. They want us to remain afflicted and wretched, and our poor to be trapped in their misery -- they and their agents wish to go on living in huge palaces and enjoying lives of abominable luxury. [from Islamic Government, p.34]

    Huge amounts of capital are being swallowed up; our public funds are being embezzled; our oil is being plundered; and our country is being turned into a market for expensive, unnecessary goods by the representatives of foreign companies, which makes it possible for foreign capitalists and their local agents to pocket the people’s money. [123] [from Islamic Government, p.115]

    In the early days of the revolution Khomeinists talked of `national self-sufficiency,` land reform, nationalization of trade, `war profiteers,` and `capitalist bloodsuckers.` The original constitution of the Islamic Republic had `absolutely forbidden` all forms of foreign concession and loans.

    That the vanquishing of the agents of Imperialism did not free Iranians from their "miserable state" was reflected by this joke popular in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war: A shahid about to sacrifice himself clearing a minefield for the war effort asks Khomeini ....

    `Oh imam, tell me about paradise,' the martyr asked.
    `Well`, said the ayatollah, `There is no war, and the electricity always works.`
    `Oh tell me more,` begged the shahid.
    `All the foods are available, the finest meat and abundant fruits,` replied the imam. ....
    `And more!` said the shahid on his knees.
    `Well, to summarize,' the imam said, `it is like the good old days of the shah.` [125]

    That the Islamic Republic had a change of heart over "foreign companies" and their "unnecessary goods" was reflected in the signing of agreements with the foreign, non-Islamic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and most especially in a 1992 law that outdid the Shah in "drastically liberaliz[ing] the law on foreign investments." Where the Shah’s government had "stipulated that non-Iranians could own no more than 49% of any venture" a

    1992 law -- amending the constitution and the older law -- lift[ed] the 49% ceiling and permits foreigners to have total ownership of ventures and to export all their profits. In the words of Rafsanjani, `our most pressing goal is to convince the world that the country is ripe for foreign investments and loans.`" [126]
    The most recent law on foreign investment passed in 2002 (called FIPPA, or the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act) is, according to Asian Chemical News, even more liberal. The new law
    ... offers a streamlined approvals procedure, greater flexibility in repatriation of profits in foreign currency, and safeguards against takeover of projects by the government. Not only are foreign investors now treated on par with locals in many areas, but they also have the right to receive compensation if the country's laws interrupt the progress of their projects... [126a]

    Cultural Imperialism Will Be Eliminated

    Combating gharbzadegi ("weststruckness" or "westoxification"), i.e. fascination with Western civilization, was a central theme of the revolution.

    The poisonous culture of imperialism [is] penetrating to the depths of towns and villages throughout the Muslim world, displacing the culture of the Qur'an, recruiting our youth en masse to the service of foreigners and imperialists ... [Khomeini, February 6, 1971] [111]

    To purge this poison Iran not only had to cut all `economic and cultural links with foreign countries,` [111a] (13 December 1979), but to humiliate the government of the most powerful and culturally influential foreign country. The American government needed to be `slapped in the face,` and `punched in the mouth`. [112]

    But while the Islamic Republic did successfully humiliate the American government with the 1979-80 hostage crisis, it couldn't cut economic links with other countries for the very good reason it needed foreign imports to eat. Agriculture has not flourished under the Islamic Republic.[112a] Land north of Tehran to Caspian Sea,

    what was once Iran's most fertile land, the fields were largely deserted and only sparsely planted. I did not see a single tractor. Iran was then importing 65% of its food. Despite ferocious quest for independence, the Islamic Republic could no longer feed itself.

    Iran imported almost everything, from lightbulbs to matches. And it no longer exported much except pistachios, carpets, and oil -- and less oil each year as local consumption grew. Iran's trade deficit stood at about $10 billion. [1995] [112b]

    Beyond what Iranians needed to live, there was the issue of what they just plain liked and wanted. In the 1990's there was a general relaxation of restrictions of Western culture.

    The regime has aired Western and popular music and relaxed enforcement of the rules on full Islamic dress, permitting the use of cosmetics, colored chadors, and expensive Western clothes underneath. [113b]

    In 1993, scandalized Islamic conservatives reported 700 of 900 films shown on Iranian Voice and Vision broadcasting network were foreign. Even the 200 home grown films were tainted with foreign concepts. [113] An 1995 opinion poll of 300 Tehrani students found only 15% favoring Iranian revolutionary songs and music but 50% enthusiastic about Western music and 61% describing Western musicians, artists, etc. as "their role models." (Most worrisome over 80% had `a lower inclination toward religion`!)[113c]

    Celebrations of the Iranian revolution itself were not exempt from American cultural pollution. Iran Weekly Press Digest reported in 1999 that

    a carnival celebrating the Iranian revolution for the first time featured U.S. cartoon characters, dancing and music ... Actors dressed as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and a variety of animals sang and danced in a procession of more than a dozen floats that circled Enqelab (Revolution) Square, entertaining a crowd of 5000 people. Called "Carnival of Joy," celebration leading up to the 20th anniversary of the 1979 overthrow of the U.S.-backed Shah on February 11. [114]

    And every night perhaps millions of Iranians imbibed poison from the 250,000 odd satellite dishes on the roofs of Teheran. Often semi-commercial operations that sold "tickets to neighbors and friends to watch American serials," to help pay the bribe fee "of up to $900" to "protect against nighttime raids by police". [114a]


    Expansion of the Islamic Revolution and the War with Iraq

    Of course a good deal, if not most, of the aforementioned problems of shortages, inflation, unemployment can be directly attributed to Iran's eight year long war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein, not Iran, started the war hoping to take advantage of revolutionary chaos and division. Iranians united against him though, and within less than two years Iraqi invaders were pushed back virtually to the border. [127] By mid-1982 Iraq was offering a cease-fire and return to the status quo ante bellum -- a retreat that very likely would have meant the fall of the man who started the war, Saddam. [127a]

    But Khomeini turned them down. When it comes to talk of a truce he said

    There are no conditions. The only condition is that the regime in Baghdad must fall and must be replaced by an Islamic Republic. [128]

    His plan was for the Islamic Republic to grow beyond just Iran:

    If the war continues and if in the war Iran defeats Iraq, Iraq will be annexed to Iran; that is, the nation of Iraq, the oppressed people of Iraq, will free themselves from the talons of the tyrannical clique and will link themselves with the Iranian nation. They will set up their own government according to their wishes -- an Islamic one. If Iran and Iraq can merge and be amalgamated, all the diminutive nations of the region will be joined. [129]

    The Islamic Iranian government set up and bankrolled a "Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq." Headquartered in Iran it oversaw a small Islamic army and had a ruling-jurist-in-waiting for Iraqis, Abdel Bakr al-Hakim. [130] When the Iranian general who had turned the tide of the war and retaken Iranian territory from the invaders had the temerity to suggest that `normal military objectives of the war` had been achieved, Khomeini dismissed him. [130a]

    Needless to say all this raised the stakes enormously for the Ba'athist military and civilian elite in Iraq, the leaders of the "diminutive nations of the region," and anyone else in the Persian Gulf not interested in living under an Islamic Republic -- not to mention a certain oil-importing superpower Khomeini designated the "Great Satan." Why did Khomeini take this risk of arousing his enemies to unite and fight him? In part to rally Iranians around the flag (or to "awaken the people and to fight the problems that threaten the revolution"). [130b] But Khomeini's lectures on Islamic Government explain a less conventional motive:

    If the form of government willed by Islam were to come into being, none of the governments now existing in the world would be able to resist it; they would all capitulate. But unfortunately, we have failed to establish such a government. Even in the earliest age of Islam, its opponents hindered its establishment and prevented government from being entrusted to the person chosen by God and His Messenger ... [from Islamic Government p.122] [131]

    With the Islamic Republic Khomeini thought he HAD established a "government willed by Islam," and Iraq Ba'ath regime (its military aid and support from Western kuffar not withstanding), would be the first government to "capitulate."

    It was not to be. The hoped for mass desertions or switching of sides by the Shi'a who made up 60+% of Iraq's population (and had little influence in Saddam's government), never occurred. The Iraqi army fought well on its own turf. The rest of the world sold Iraq conventional weapons and even supplies to make chemical weapons to fight off the Iranians. "The Great Satan's" navy entered the gulf in force destroying most of Iran's navy. Eight years after the war started Iranian morale was collapsing. Troops were deserting from the front. Civilians resisting the military draft. Khomeini finally agreed to terms:

    Had it not been in the interests of Islam and Muslims, I would never have accepted this, and would have preferred death and martyrdom instead. But we have no choice and we should give in to what God wants us to do ... I reiterate that the acceptance of this issue is more bitter than poison for me, but I drink this chalice of poison for the Almighty and for His satisfaction. [133]
    The final toll for what Khomeini had called `God's hidden gift.` [134] was horrendous. 180,000 to 300,000 Iranians died and "Iranian officials put the damages of the war, including loss of oil revenue and agricultural output, damage to villages, towns, the cost of compensation or pensions for the dependents of nearly a million killed or maimed and of dealing with a million and a half refugees at US $300 billion." [135]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Not given to admitting mistakes, Khomeini and his supporters explained the benefits to Islam of the war:

    The war gave us an opportunity to tell the world about the power of the revolution, the power of the Imam and our cultural and ideological values in relation to Western values. For eight years our news was headline news throughout the world. Every missile we sent to Iraq carried with it the Imam's thoughts to the world. It was the Imam's line of communication to every single Muslim. It led to the creation of resistance cells among the Muslims. [136]

    And why there was no need to apologize for the war,

    ... we do not repent, nor are we sorry for even a single moment for our performance during the war. Have we forgotten that we fought to fulfill our religious duty and that the result is a marginal issue? [137]

    How "the world" was going to be impressed with the sight of Muslims fighting and killing other Muslims for years and years for an end result of 100,000s dead and neither country gaining or losing a square inch of land ... was not immediately apparent. In fact the war is generally credited with extinguishing the once euphoric enthusiasm found in the Islamic world for Khomeini and the Islamic Republic.

    But if it didn't kill the dream of the Islamic Revolution as vanguard of world Islam, the Iraq-U.S. Persian Gulf War three years later did. Then the world saw in succession:

  • "The Great Satan" of the United States moving hundreds of thousands of troops next door to Iran.
  • This powerful army marching on and defeating a large Muslim army.
  • An uprising by Iran's brother Shi'a crushed by (Iraq's) secular Arab nationalist Sunni regime, killing between 50,000-300,000 and damaging the sacred Shi'a shrines in the holy city of Kerbala in the process. [137b]
    ... All this without the Islamic revolutionaries of Iran lifting a finger.
  • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Among Iranians, it's common for even staunch foes of Khomeini to see Western conspiracy, rather than Saddam or the Ayatollah, as the war's prime cause. As one Iranian put it:

    This entire war was just a big setup to destroy both the Iranian and the Iraq armies. The former was the most powerful, in the Middle East in 1980, and the latter represented a real danger to Israel. The West sold weapons to both camps and we, we were stupid enough to enter into this cynical game ... [137a]

    But can't the selling weapons or otherwise aiding one camp to prevent the other from winning (something the Soviet "East" did as well as the West), be explained in terms of reason rather than evil? A victorious Iraq would have been rewarded for invading a sovereign state and seizing a chunk of its land with a doubling of its share of the world's proven oil reserves (to approximately 20%). A victorious Iran would have been rewarded for continuing the war with a counterinvasion and installation of puppet regime in Iraq with the same increase in oil wealth. And either victor would have been poised to continue it's war south to oil-rich, defense-poor Gulf states (UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia). The potential prize would totaled over one half of the world's proven reserves of oil! [137b]

    And aside from Khomeini's delusional belief in the military invincibility of "Islamic" rule, there is also good reason to believe that Khomeini was not just trying to save face, but truly meant it when he claimed the hundreds of thousands of Iranians killed were a `hidden gift` from God. That martyrdom was not a heroic tragedy but a heroic success because there was no real tragedy in death, was a concept Khomeini expounded on before the war, not just after the casualties mounted.

    If you have any tie or link binding you to this world in love, try to sever it. This world, despite all its apparent splendor and charm, is too worthless to be loved ... What do you possess in this world that makes you so attached to it? [1972]

    Dying does not mean nothingness: it is life. [1979] [137c]

    Perhaps after all the other promises had been stripped away -- just rule, prosperity, dignity -- this was the one thing Khomeini was actually able to provide masses of Iranians -- freedom from the "worthlessness" of life.


    Some examples of unkept promises most Iranians (and foreigners) aren't too upset over:

    Banning Music

    A common belief among strict Islamic fundamentalists is that Islam forbids music. They cite
  • a Qur’anic verse promising "humiliating torment" for those who engaged in "idle talk," (idle talk being interpreted by some scholars to include singing), and
  • a tradition (hadith) of the prophet (p) quoting him as promising those who use musical instruments would be either have a mountain fall on them or be turned into pigs or monkeys. [138]
  • Early in his career (when he was in his 40s and 50s) Khomeini indicated he thought music another vice, like pork or liquor.

    We affirm that music engenders immorality, lust, and licentiousness, and stifles courage, valor, and the chivalrous spirit; it is forbidden by Qur’anic laws and must not be taught in the schools. [138a]

    In fact he was rather strict about it.

    Performing and listening to singing (ghena') ... are forbidden. Ghena' means not only making one's voice attractive, but also includes the drawing out and varying of the voice in a way that induces merriment and which is suited to gatherings for the purpose of amusement and having fun. And it also includes musical instruments. It makes no difference whether it is used to accompany the holy word such as the Koran or prayer or as a dirge or to accompany prose or poetry...

    Although an exception was made for weddings where female singers were allowed, it was more advisable `if singing is avoided altogether.` [139]

    Unsurprisingly music was banned when he came to power, declaring it `no different from opium.` Music

    stupefies persons listening to it and makes their brain inactive and frivolous .... If you want independence for your country, you must suppress music and not fear to be called old-fashioned. Music is a betrayal of the nation and of youth [140].

    A decade later, shortly before his death, Khomeini backed off. The catastrophic war with Iraq had just ended in a draw and Iranians were not in a mood for puritanical policies. A 1988 fatva (or fatwa) by him declared "it permissible to listen to music produced by instruments that can be used for licit as well as illicit music (alat-e moshtarakeh). The same fatva gave permission to play chess if it is only done for the fun of the game." [141]

    Hardliners of Khomeini's powerbase were indignant, complaining that

    `... the un-Godly regimes ... promote corruption and prostitution to keep people busy and stop them complaining. [But] supporters of the revolution -- the faithful, the Hezbollahis, the families of martyrs and the war veterans -- are angry, disappointed and fed-up with this situation; the singers, dancers, musicians and their friends and cronies on the other hand will never be happy with this system. The more concessions you make to them, the more their `elephant feels homesick for India` [the more they want] ... Stop it before it's too late. ...`[142]
    Just to muddy the waters, two spokesmen (Ayatollah Azari Qomi and Khomeini's son Ahmad) described the reason music was no longer forbidden on the radio in Iran was so that the Islamic Republic's media could compete with foreign broadcasts for the attention of Iranian listeners,
    ... the ruler of the Muslims established that it is in the interest of society to permit music and when it is clear to him that if he does not allow it, people will turn to foreign and counter-revolutionary radio broadcasts ..." [142a]
    suggesting it would be OK to ban music again if that competition could ever be eliminated!

    Banning Women's Right to Divorce in Court

    A 1967 law by the Shah's government was one of the causes celebres of the anti-Shah fundamentalists. The law allowed women the right to petition a court for divorce on a number of grounds outside of traditional Islamic law including abandonment, felony conviction of husband, etc. [143]

    Khomeini himself considered it not just an intolerable violation of the Shari'ah, but part of a plot to destroy Islam

    The law which was passed in recent years by illegitimate parliaments that violated the shari'ah as a family protection law by order of agents of foreign powers for the purpose of annihilating Islam and destroying the family hearth of the Muslims is contradictory to the Islamic ordinances ... Whoever has approved it is, from the point of view of the shari'ah and the law, a criminal. Women who are divorced at the order of the courts have not obtained a valid divorce and shall be considered as married women. If they marry [once again], they are adulteresses. Whoever knowingly marries them is an adulterer and deserves the hadd punishments of the shari’ah. Their children are illegitimate from the point of view of the shari’ah. [144]

    This anti-Muslim plot in the form of a law was duly rescinded "within weeks of Khomeini's return" to Iran. [145] But Muslim women had been a big part of Khomeini's revolution and many of them had other ideas on what the shari’ah had to say about the divorce. They commenced applying pressure on the supreme leader and on Oct. 29 1979 Khomeini ended up promising a group of women who came to Qom to petition him that

    If women when concluding marriage set it as a condition that in matters of divorce they are the authorised representative [of their husband] in absolute terms, i.e. that they may divorce him whenever they wish, or in relative terms, i.e. if he mistreats them or, for instances, takes another wife, then there are no other obstacles for them; they may obtain a divorce. [146]

    This left the problem of women who couldn't set this "as a condition" because they were already married. A few days Khomeini dealth with this by declaring married women could turn to jurists. "The jurists had the right to issue a divorce if a husband mistreated his wife and she lodged a complaint with them against him." [147]

    Unfortunately this order was ignored in favor of the traditional shari'ah by husbands, law courts and registry offices, so eventually women and reformers went to the legislature and prevailed on the government for a legislative change.

    On Nov. 19, 1992, the Assessment Council approved a divorce bill that gave women access to divorce on most, if not all, of the grounds the Shah's 1967 law had -- non-support, marrying a 2nd wife without informing the first, impotence, etc. -- and allowed them to apply for payment of compensation "for work which she undertook during her married life but which the shari'ah does not define as obligatory." [148]

    There was some disappointment with the bill by journalists and women (even some who supported the regime), but it meant that "all those men and women who had divorced after 1967 and therefore stood accused of adultery by Khomeini, were now pronounced innocent." [149]

    Yet even after it was the law of the land, the land being run by an Islamic Government, some clerics couldn't really bring themselves to accept deviation from traditional Islamic law. They "did not understand how ... they were to define the relationship between the established shari`ah and the new laws that continually had to be passed." In parliament a cleric (Hojjat al Eslam `Abbas `Abbasi) asked rhetorically whether when a husband proclaims `I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee,` "in accordance with his rights as stipulated in the shari`ah," but hadn't gotten a court's approval for divorce, "`Is such a divorce legal or not? Is the wife divorce or isn't she?` He answered: `Yes, of course she is divorced.`" [150]

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    A women's right to divorce, once part of the "war against Islam," was now a basic right of the Islamic Republic ... but then again, so was a woman's right to vote! Fighting against the right of women to vote for (and non-Muslims to serve on) local and city councils was exactly what first provoked Khomeini to enter politics and start on his life long fight against the Shah of Iran.

    The son of Reza Khan [the Shah] has embarked on the destruction of Islam in Iran. I will oppose this as long as the blood circulates in my veins. [Khomeini in October 1962] [151]

    The Fall and Rise of Family Planning

    Traditionally Muslims have opposed birth control on the grounds it interfered with the destiny of the child who might otherwise be conceived. A hadith of the prophet Muhammad narrated by Ibn Muhairiz portrayed the prophet forbidding a group of Muslim warriors to use coitus interruptus to keep their slave women captives-of-war from getting pregnant.

    It is better for you not to do so [practice birth control] for if any soul till the day of Resurrection is predestined to exist it will exist [152]
    An example of less doctrinal opposition to birth control by Islamists can be found at "World Population Control Promotes Homosexuality" http://www.allaahuakbar.net/gay/world_population_control_promote.htm

    At the beginning of the revolution, "the regime had dismantled the shah's birth control clinics on the grounds that Islam and Iran needed a large population" [153].

    But

    by 1986, the population growth rate was 3.2% per year. Realizing by then that such a large birth rate was disastrous for the economy, Iran's Health Ministry launched a nationwide campaign and introduced contraceptives -- pills condoms, IUDs, implants, tubal ligations, and vasectomies. In 1993, Parliament passed legislation withdrawing food coupons, paid maternity leave, and social welfare subsidies after the third child. Birth control classes were required before a couple could get married. Dozens of mobile teams were sent to remote parts of the country to offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations. These days, an Iranian condom factory churns out more than 70 million a year, packaged in French or English to suggest that they are imported, available in textures and flavors like mint and banana. `Islam, said Deputy Health Minister Hussein Malek-Afzali during a birth control workshop in 1995, `is a flexible religion.` [154]

    Transformation of an Anti-Jewish Line to an Anti-Zionist Line

    In his lectures on Islamic Government Khomeini claimed that

    from the very beginning, the historical movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present. (p.27) [155]

    The contension that Jews were intent on destroying Islam and that the Shah was a "Jewish agent" was a theme Khomeini hammered away at for years leading up to the revolution. This obsessive judaeophobia could go to pretty absurd lengths -- even the first Persian Emperor, Cyrus the Great, was involved. Cyrus allegedly `prevent[ed] the natural disappearance of elements [i.e. the Jewish people] who would never be satisfied with anything less than world domination,` when he freed the ancient Israelites from Babylonian captivity. Khomeini denounced the Shah's celebration of the 2500th aniversary of the Persian Empire as part of Israel's `plot against Islam.` It seems the Jews were now repaying their historical debt to Cyrus by working behind the scenes in Iran (Khomeini claimed) to make the celebrations a success. [155a]

    This strong anti-Jewish line is in keeping with other Islamists and Islamic fundamentalists. (For example islamonline lists as "but some of the most famous traits of the Jews as described in the Qur’an":
    "fabricat[ing] things and falsely ascrib[ing] them to Allah ... loving to listen to lies, ... disobeying Almighty Allah and never observing His commands, ... disputing and quarreling, ... hiding the truth and standing for misleading, ... hypocrisy, ... wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them, ... feel[ing] pain to [sic] see others in happiness," and 11 other similar "personal qualities and characteristics".
    http://www.islamonline.com/cgi-bin/news_service/fatwah_story.asp?service_id=449 )

    Yet after the revolution these consiracy theories were replaced by a new, much milder line adopting the conventional denunciation of Zionism but not Judaism.

    He thanked the minorities, including the Jews, for producing `martyrs` in the struggle against the Shah. He distinguished Judaism, an `honorable religion that had arisen among the common folk,` from Zionism, a `political "ism" that opposed religion and supported the exploiters.` (11 May 1979) [156]
    On another occasion he argued that "Imam Ali had treated all as equal and had not distinguished between Muslim and Jew." (19 July 1979) [157]

    What happened? The detested Zionist army had secretly come to the aid of the Islamic Republic in its war against Iraq. The nearly friendless Islamic Republic needed help against the Iraqi invaders. The Israelis wanted to ensured the safety of the 80,000-strong Jewish community in Iran and confound their Arab enemies. In the words of British journalists John Bulloch and Harvey Morris:

    It was the Israelis who devised and manufactured the huge, lightweight polystyrene blocks which the Iranian assault forces carried with them to build instant makeshift causeways across the shallow Iraqi water defences in front of Basra; it was Israel which kept Iranian planes flying in spite of a lack of spares; and it was Israeli instructors who taught the new young Iranian commanders how to handle troops, how to move their forces about and how to exploit the openings made by the fanatically brave young volunteers who died in their thousands in the human-wave assaults. Above all, it was the Israelis who involved the Reagan administration in the Iran-Contra affair. For all the speeches of Iranian leaders, the diatribes against Israel, the denunciations at the Friday prayers, there were never less than about a 100 Israeli advisers and technicians in Iran at any time throughout the war, living in a carefully guarded and secluded camp just north of Tehran; they remained there even after the ceasefire. [157a]

    Epilogue

    The government has created an

    atmosphere of terror, fear, revenge and national disintegration. ... What has the ruling elite done in nearly four years, besides bringing death and destruction, packing the prisons and the cemeteries in every city, creating long queues, shortages, high prices, unemployment, poverty, homeless people, repetitious slogans and a dark future? (November 1982) [158]

    So complained Khomeini's first Prime Minister, Mehdi Bazargan, in an open letter to the powerful speaker of parliament Hasemi Rafsanjani. Four years later another disenchanted insider, closer to Khomeini (this one the brother of the Islamic Republic's President and future ruling jurist), quit his sub-committee chairmanship job, lamenting

    The old society and its Western roots is proving to be far stronger than any of us imagined ... People prefer ordinary comforts to lofty ideals ... Our mosques are emptier than ever. Islamic rule has proved incapable of removing injustice or eliminating poverty. I am deeply pessimistic. Government as Allah intended it is not for tomorrow. (July 1986) [159]

    Most recently and most astonishingly, Khomeini's own grandson, Sayyid Hussein Khomeini, saw fit to set up shop in American-ocupied Iraq and hold forth on how

    Iranians need freedom now, and if they can only achieve it with American interference I think they would welcome it. As an Iranian, I would welcome it. (August 2003) [159a]

    This disillusionment is manifest farther down the chain of power in the street-level behavior.

    In the early 1980s, clerics were generally treated with elaborate courtesy. Nowadays, clerics are sometimes insulted by schoolchildren and taxi drivers and they quite often put on normal clothes when venturing outside [159b]
    the seminary towns.

    Through the defections by regime-supporters, the landslide election of a reformist president, major sustained protests by fed-up pro-Democracy students, the Mullahcracy has soldiered on -- defiant and ruthless in politics, corrupt and hapless in economics. It has outmaneuvered the reformers, crushed their protests, shut down their newspapers, banned their candidates, imprisoned 2000-4000 dissidents (no one knows the exact number because the government doesn't give out the names of all the prisoners). Inflation and unemployment are both over 15% despite the boost to Iran's economy from the high market price for its lifeblood -- oil. [160]

    Is there anything to be learned from all this? Maybe that there doesn't have to be any connection between being utterly dedicated and being right -- and that goes even for extremely strong and shrewd sorts like Khomeini and his lieutenants. Almost everything Khomeini preached turned out to be wrong. A country of 60 million in the modern world is much too complicated for "respected religious scholars" to run. His Islamic Government did not have divine backing to overthrow "non-Islamic" governments of other countries. And if the Shah was "destroying the country," or America and Britain "devouring" Iran, what meaning do those terms have if Iranians are poorer now that their country is no longer being "destroyed" and "devoured"?

    Maybe the most important lesson is there is no connection between an Islamist Revolution's failure to do what it said it would, and a weakening of its will and ability to stay in power. As an Iranian university professor related to a New York Times reporter,

    `I told my 9-year-old daughter that other day that in a couple of years she would have to wear a veil, and she informed me that by then, at least according to her classmates, the Islamic Government wouldn't exist.`
    That was twelve years ago. [161]

    References

    [0.5] For examples of the euphoria with which the Musilm world, Shi'a and Sunni, greeted the Islamic Revolution of Iran see Rudi Matthee, "The Egyptian Opposition on the Iranian Revolution," in Juan R. I. Cole and Nikki R. Keddie, eds., Shi'ism and Social Protest (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 263. See also Emmanuel Sivan, "Sunni Radicalism in the Middle East and the Iranian Revolution," International Journal of Middle East Studies, 21 (1989), pp. 1-30.

    Even the venerable and "sober" Egyptian Muslim Brethren approached the Iranian revolution with "`unqualified enthusiasm and unconditional euphoria,` coupled with an `uncritical acceptance of both its means and goals.`" (from "Fundamentalist Islam at Large: The Drive for Power", by Martin Kramer, Middle East Quarterly, June 1996) http://www.meforum.org/article/304

    [1] Civilians will rule.
    `The religious dignitaries do not want to rule.` (Declaration from the Iranian daily Ettelaat, October 25, 1978)

    Clericals will rule.
    `Those who pretend that religious dignitaries should not rule, poison the atmosphere and combat against Iran's interests.` (Ettelaat, August 18, 1979)

    [2] Criticism of the Islamic government will be tolerated.
    `the Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic.` (Khomeini in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau France from Ettellaat November 9, 1978).

    Criticism of the Islamic government will be punished severely.
    'I repeat for the last time: abstain from holding meetings, from blathering, from publishing protests. Otherwise I will break your teeth.` (in Qom, Iran, October 22, 1979, quoted from p.88, The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution by Fereydoun Hoveyda, 2003)

    [3] An Islamic cleric will rule Iran, but he'll be the most learned cleric.
    `Since Islamic government is a government of law, knowledge of the law is necessary for the ruler, as has been laid down in tradition. Indeed such knowledge is necessary not only for the ruler, but also for anyone holding a post or exercising some government function. The ruler, however, must surpass all others in knowledge (afzaliyat-e `elmi). In laying claim to the Imamate, our Imams also argued that the ruler must be more learned than everyone else.` (Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei. p.59 of Islam and Revolution translated and annotated by Hamid Algar, 1981)

    I never said the ruling Islamic cleric had to be the most learned one.
    `We cannot let our Islamic regime go on without a supervisor. You must elect an individual who can defend our Islamic honour in the world of politics and deceit. Since from the very beginning I was of the opinion and I insisted that the condition of marja'iyat [being a marja'-e taqlid] was not necessary, a righteous or just mojtahed who is confirmed by the honourable experts of the whole country will be sufficient. If the people vote for the experts to appoint a just mojtahed as the leader of their government and they appoint an individual to take over the leadership, he is of necessity acceptable to the people. In such a case he becomes the elected vali of the people and his edict is enforceable.` (p.308 Moin, A letter to the president of the Assembly for Revising the Constitution (Ayatollah Meshkini), setting out his instructions for the future of the leadership" source: Tehran Radio, 4 June 1989, SWB, 6 June 1989)

    [4] Laws in Iran will strictly adhere to Islamic law, or Shari'ah.
    `The fundamental difference between Islamic government, on the one hand and constitutional monarchies and republics on the other, is this: whereas the representative of the people or the monarch in such regimes engage in legislation, in Islam the legislative power and competence to establish laws belongs exclusively to God Almighty. The Sacred Legislator of Islam is the sole legislative power. No one has the right to legislate and no law may be executed except the law of the Divine Legislator.` (Italics added)[Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 p.55 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    The Islamic government of Iran has precedence over other ordinances of Islam.
    `The government which is a branch of the absolute governance of the Prophet of God is among the primary ordinances of Islam, and has precedence over all secondary ordinances such as prayer, fasting, and pilgrimage.` [source: Hamid Algar, `Development of the Concept of velayat-i faqih since the Islamic Revolution in Iran,` paper presented at London Conference on wilayat al-faqih, in June, 1988][p.135-6]

    [5] Political oppression and killing are unIslamic.
    `We must establish a government that will enjoy the trust of the people ... God know that your capacity and courage are not less than those of others -- unless, of course, the meaning of courage is oppressing and slaughtering the people; that kind of courage we certainly don’t have.` [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.138-9, of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    Estimates of the number of executions during the Islamic Revolution.

    EXECUTION TALLY Time Period
    582 February 1979-January 1980
    906 January 1980-June 20, 1981
    2,946 June 20, 1981-June 20, 1982
    4400+ (total)February 1979-June 20, 1982

    "At least 582 persons had been executed between February 1979 and January 1980 ..." (p.291 Mackey)

    "The number who lost their lives will probably never be known with certainty. Amnesty International documented 2,946 executions in the 12 months following Bani-Sadr's impeachment [on June 20, 1981]. A list compiled the following year by the Mojahedin-e Khalq cited 7,746 persons who had lost their lives through executions, in street battles, or under torture in the short period from June 1981 to Sept. 1983." (The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash p.221-222)

    "... in late summer and early autumn of 1989 ... thousand of political prisoners were dispatched. ... Amnesty International documented 3000 killed. Other sources estimated between 6000-10,000 executed. Most of the dead were Mojahedin but many were nonviolent demonstrators." (p.278, Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin Thomas Dunne Books, c2000)

    The banning of periodicals arresting of opposition leaders beating of protestors, smashing and looting of their news stands, bookstores, and offices. (Bakhash, p.123)

    [6] Unjustly harsh punishment, for (for example) the possession of heroin, are unislamic.
    `The agents of imperialism ... kill people for possessing ten grams of heroin and say, "That is the Law" ... Inhuman laws like this are concocted in the name of a campaign against corruption, and they are not to be regarded as too harsh.` (Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.33, of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini)

    Executions for possession of heroin.
    Revolutionary Judge Khalkhali ordered the execution of 20 persons found guilty of trafficking in drugs. Over the next several weeks, he sent scores of alleged drug smugglers, peddlers, users and others to their death, often on the flimsiest evidence. By the end of August, some 200 persons had been executed on Khalkhali's orders. This figure rose considerably before" Khalkhali was ousted on unrelated charges. (Bakhash p.111)

    [7] Corruption is unIslamic. Most forms of corruption originate with the ruling class, the tyrannical ruling family and the libertines that associate with them. ... If it were not for [the] profligate royal ceremonies, this reckless spending, this constant embezzlement, there would never be any deficit in the national budget forcing us to bow in submission before America and Britain and request aid or a loan from them. (Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 .... on p.58 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini)

    Corruption problem in the Islamic Republic.
    `Graft has always existed,` he said in a sermon. `There are always people who are corrupt....` (Persian Mirrors : the Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times c2000, p.327)

    `I am really sorry to see such a huge rate of corruption in the country.` New speaker of the parliament Gholamali Haddadadel talking to reporters during the annual exhibition of the Government Inspection Organisation (GIO) July 2004 quoted in "Iran: Bribery and Kickbacks Persiste Despite Anti-Corruption Drive." Global Information Network, July 15, 2004 p.1

    [8] Humiliating debt to Western powers.
    And indeed the Islamic Republic paid off the $7.4 billion foreign debt accumulated by the Pahlavi Dynasty, during in the 1980s, despite economic sanctions by the Great Satan and diplomatic isolation. But while Khomeini himself never reversed himself on this principle, in the next decade his sucessors not only went back into debt, but built it up to almost four times the putatively shameful debt the monarchy left behind in 1979. It was spending ruling Islamist theocrats might think acceptable but Iranian economists could call "reckless." (The Last Revolution by Robin Wright c2000, p.279)

    It is valid to say that the growth between 1989 and 1994 was mainly financed through the accumulation of some $30 billion in foreign debt. In 1993, the ratio of Iran's foreign debt to the country's GDP reached 38%, which was alarming. [from Iran at the Crossroads, edited by John Esposito and R.K. Ramazan, "Iran’s Economy: 20 years after the Islamic Revolution" by Bijan Khajehpour p.98]

    News of unemployment from import shortages, massive devaluation, inflation, and lowered standards of living. "Iran's Currency Tumbles as Economy Falters." New York Times Dec. 19, 1993

    [9] Bureaucratic waste is unIslamic.
    [S]uperfluous bureaucracies and the system of file-keeping and paper-shuffling . . . has nothing to do with Islam. These superfluous formalities, which cause our people nothing but expense, trouble and delay, have no place in Islam. [p.33 of Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] [p. 58 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    Problem of bureaucratic waste in the Islamic Republic.
    `The political realities of revolutionary Iran pressed Khomeini to pay greater attention to the state. To run the country's vast array of social services, the Islamic Republic had no choice but to extend the large ministries and their regional departments. To consolidate power, it found it necessary to put in place a system of local committees (komitehs) and Revolutionary Guards (Sepah-e Pasdaran). To fight the war with Iraq, it retained the existing armed forces, drastically expanded the Revolutionary Guards, and also created the Reconstruction Crusade (Jahad-e Sazandegi) and the volunteer force known as the Mobilization Army (Sepah-e Basij). To curb the arbitrary behavior of local judges, it kept the conventional and cumbersome appeals system, which Khomeini had denounced for 40 years as un-Islamic and against the sacred law. ["A case that a shari'a judge in earlier times settled in one or two days cannot be settled now in 20 years."] To alleviate public discontent, it introduced food rationing and price controls and periodically launched campaigns against speculators, hoarders, and price-gougers. To administer the recently nationalized enterprises, mostly confiscated from multinational corporations, the royal family and their close associates, the new regime had to dramatically expand the bureaucratic machinery. Prophet Mohammad and Imam Ali may have been able to run the community from a mosque corner; Khomeini had to preside over a state bureaucracy three times larger than that of Mohammad Reza Shah.` (italics added) (p.55, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian]

    [10] Class division and poverty are unIslamic
    Huge amounts of capital are being swallowed up; our public funds are being embezzled; our oil is being plundered; and our country is being turned into a market for expensive, unnecessary goods by the representatives of foreign companies, which makes it possible for foreign capitalists and their local agents to pocket the people’s money. [[from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.115 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    Class division and poverty in the Islamic Republic.
    `I cannot believe that the purpose of all these sacrifices was to have less expensive melons.` (Khomeini July 1979) [quoted in The Government of God p.111. "see the FBIS for typical broadcasts, especially GBIS-MEA-79-L30, July 5, 1979 v.5 n.130, reporting broadacasts of the National Voice of Iran. This point is also made in Hannah Arendt's Origin of Totalitarianism.]
    The Iranian government's "own Planning and Budget Organization reported that from 1979 through 1985, absolute poverty rose by nearly 45%!" (source: Jahangir Amuzegar, `The Iranian Economy before and after the Revolution,` Middle East Journal 46, n.3 (summer 1992): 421), quoted in Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001 p.130)

    Living standards only a quarter of what they'd been before the revolution. In the summer of 1995 Iranian Foreign debt was $40 billion and average per capita income 25% of what it had been in 1979 (Mackey p.366)

    Rolling back the original populist agenda for a typical neoliberal "economic order.
    `The regime now openly declares its support for open-door and laissez-faire policies. It has relaxed price controls and import restrictions, lifted rationing from many goods, decreased subsidies for a number of commodities, reduced inflation by cutting back on expenditures, increased wage and salary differences, set up a stock exchange, narrowed the gap between the official and black-market exchange rate for the dollar, encouraged the importation of consumer goods, re-established free-trade zones in the Persian Gulf, and privatized over 500 companies factories and agribusinesses that had been nationalized in 1979-80. What is more, the new Five-Year Plan calls for foreign investments totaling $27 billion.` [p.138-40, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian]

    Protests by the poor in Iran.

  • 1992 March -- Protest by disabled war veterans against the mismanagement of the Foundation of the Disinherited. (Mackey p.361)
  • 1992 May 30 -- Protest by squatters against demolition of shantytowns in Mashhad. government buildings set fire, including city's main library with rare Qur'ans. (Mackey p.361)
  • 1993 January -- Mob attacks on grocery stores in protest against rise in subsidized milk prices (Mackey p.362)
  • 1995 April -- Akbarabad shantytown on the edge of Tehran explodes in protest over bus fare increases. 30 people die. (Mackey p.366)
  • [11]exploitation by foreign imperialists is unIslamic.
    `.... to keep us backward, to keep us in our present miserable state so they can exploit our riches, our underground wealth, our lands and our human resources. They want us to remain afflicted and wretched, and our poor to be trapped in their misery -- they and their agents wish to go on living in huge palaces and enjoying lives of abominable luxury.
    ... our country is being turned into a market for expensive, unnecessary goods by the representatives of foreign companies, which makes it possible for foreign capitalists and their local agents to pocket the people’s money. A number of foreign states carry off our oil after drawing it out of the ground, and the negligible sum they pay to the regime they have installed returns to their pockets by other routes. [from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.34, 115 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    100% ownership and export of 100% of all profits by (qualifying) foreign owners. By 1992 not only was the Islamic government signing agreements with the foreign non-Islamic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, it outdid the Shah and "drastically liberalized the law on foreign investments." Where the Shah’s government had "stipulated that non-Iranians could own no more than 49% of any venture" a

    1992 law -- amending the constitution and the older law -- lift[ed] the 49% ceiling and permits foreigners to have total ownership of ventures and to export all their profits. In the words of Rafsanjani, `our most pressing goal is to convince the world that the country is ripe for foreign investments and loans.`" (p.139-40, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian)
    See also "Iran Allows Foreigners to Buy Its Companies", June 29, 1992, New York Times.
    "New Foreign Investment Law" 7 September 2002
    ` .... The change in the FIPPA [Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act passed in 2002] is that there are more options for repatriation of dividends. Under the LAPFI [the old foreign investment law], a foreign investor could only repatriate dividends if it had exports, i.e., if it earning hard currency and then used what the project itself earned to pay for the dividends. Obviously the shortcoming with that approach is that it did not provide for legal means of repatriation of profits or principal for those investments focusing only on the domestic market. FIPPA allows for repatriation by purchasing hard currency from the banking system and not only from export proceeds....`
    http://www.iranmania.com/news/economy/features/fippa/default.asp

    [12] Cultural pollution of foreign imperialists is UnIslamic.
    `The poisonous culture of imperialism [is] penetrating to the the depths of towns and villages throughout the Muslim world, displacing the culture of the Qur'an, recruiting our youth en masse to the service of foreigners and imperialists... ] "Message to the Pilgrims" (from Iran on Hajj in Saudi Arabia from Khomeini in exile in Najaf) February 6, 1971 Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini p.195

    A decade and a half into the revolution there were a quarter million satellite dishes in the capital of Iran. Since almost everyone used them to bring in "poisonous" foreign (usually American) culture, the antennas were officially forbidden by the protectors of Islam ... but they would look the other way for a price of the equivalent of "up to $900." (see p.450, God Has Ninety Nine Names by Judith Miller c1996))

    [13] Khomeini on the invincibility of the Islamic state. `If the form of government willed by Islam were to come into being, none of the governments now existing in the world would be able to resist it; they would all capitulate. But unfortunately, we have failed to establish such a government. Even in the earliest age of Islam, its opponents hindered its establishment and prevented government from being entrusted to the person chosen by God and His Messenger.` [from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.122 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    Khomeini on conditions for a truce with Iraq: `There are no conditions, the only condition is that the regime in Baghdad must fall and must be replaced by an Islamic Republic`. (p.126, In the Name of God : The Khomeini Decade by Robin Wright c1989)

    The regime in Baghdad did not fall. The hoped for mass desertions or switching of sides by the Shi'a who made up 60+% of Iraq's population (unrepresented in the upper escelons of Saddam's government), never occured. The Iraqi army fought well on its own turf. The rest of the world sold Iraq conventional weapons and even supplies to make chemical weapons to fight off the Iranians. "The Great Satan's" navy entered the gulf in force destroying most of Iran's navy. Eight years after the war started Iranian morale was collapsing. Troops were deserting from the front. Civilians resisting the military draft. Khomeini finally agreed to terms:

    Khomeini backing down from his no truce position:

    Had it not been in the interests of Islam and Muslims, I would never have accepted this, and would have preferred death and martyrdom instead. But we have no choice and we should give in to what God wants us to do ... I reiterate that the acceptance of this issue is more bitter than poison for me, but I drink this chalice of poison for the Almighty and for His satisfaction. [Tehran Radio, 20 July 1988 from Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, p.267]

    [14] Music.
    Music `stupefies persons listening to it and makes their brain inactive and frivolous .... If you want independence for your country, you must suppress music and not fear to be called old-fashioned. Music is a betrayal of the nation and of youth.` ("Khomeini Bans Broadcast Music, Saying It Corrupts Iranian Youth" by John Kifner, New York Times July 24, 1979 p.A1)

    A 1988 fatva or fatwa by him declared "it permissible to listen to music produced by instruments that can be used for licit as well as illicit music (alat-e moshtarakeh). The same fatva gave permission to play chess if it is only done for the fun of the game." (p.68, The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 .... Source: See Khomeini's refutation of the objections Hojjat el-Esalam Mohammad Hasan Qadiri raised against this fatva in Howzeh, no.28 (1988), p. 2 f.)

    [15] A women's right to divorce.

    The law which was passed in recent years by illegitimate parliaments that violated the shari'ah as a family protection law by order of agents of foreign powers for the purpose of annihilating Islam and destroying the family hearth of the Muslims is contradictory to the Islamic ordinances ... Whoever has approved it is, from the point of view of the shari'a and the law, a criminal. Women who are divorced at the order of the courts have not obtained a valid divorce and shall be considered as married women. If they marry [once again], they are adulteresses. Whoever knowingly marries them is an adulterer and deserves the hadd punishments of the shari’ah. Their children are illegitimate from the point of view of the shari’ah. They cannot inherit as wives, and the other relevant regulations of the shari'a pertaining to adultery shall be applied to them. And all this is the case, whether the courts declare their divorce directly or oblige their husband to undertake the divorce. Khomeini, Towzih al-Masa'el, solution #2836

    "Naturally the annulment of this law was one of the first undertaking carried out within the framework of Islamicisation ... 26.2.79, the minister of the interior, Ahmad Sadr Hajj Seyyed Javadi, informed the press that the application of the Family Protection Law had been stopped by order of the leader.." (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997, p.219)

    "Many women regime supporters and journalists who wanted less discrimination of women were still disappointed with the divorce law, but "all those men and women who had divorced after 1967 and therefore stood accused of adultery by Khomeini, were now pronounced innocent." (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997. p.219)

    [16] Family planning.
    "The new social policies are most apparent in the [Islamic] regime's attitude to the population explosion. The regime had dismantled the shah's birth control clinics on the grounds that Islam and Iran needed a large population." Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.140.

    "Ayatollah Khomeini had encouraged his people to breed, particularly during the war with Iraq. And breed they did. By 1986, the population growth rate was 3.2% per year. Realizing by then that such a large birth rate was disastrous for the economy, Iran's Health Ministry launched a nationwide campaign and introduced contraceptives -- pills condoms, IUDs, implants, tubal ligations, and vasectomies. In 1993, Parliament passed legislation withdrawing food coupons, paid maternity leave, and social welfare subsidies after the third child. Birth control classes were required before a couple could get married. Dozens of mobile teams were sent to remote parts of the country to offer free vasectomies and tubal ligations. These day, an Iranian condom factory churns out more than 70 million a year, packaged in French or English to suggest that they are imported, available in textures and flavors like mint and banana. `Islam, said Deputy Health Minister Husein Malek-Afzali during a birth control workshop in 1995, `is a flexible religion.` (p.282, Persian Mirrors : the Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times c2000)

    [17] The Jewish menace.
    `From the very beginning, the historical movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present.` [Khomeini from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.27 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    "He thanked the minorities, including the Jews, for producing `martyrs` in the struggle against the Shah. He distinguished Judaism, an `honorable religion that had arisen among the common folk,` from Zionism, a `political "ism" that opposed religion and supported the exploiters.` [R. Khomeini `The Report Card on Jews Differs from That on the Zionists,` Ettelaat, 11 May 1979]

    "He argued that Imam Ali had treated all as equal and had not distinguished between Muslim and Jew." [R. Khomeini, `We need a Spiritual Revolution in Iran.` Ettelaat, 19 July 1979](quoted on p.51, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian)

    [18] "Islamic Fundamentalist" in this case refers to Muslims who rejected both the conservative quietism of "traditionalists" like Ayatollah Shariatmadarai, and the "Islamic modernism" of popular Iranian writer `Ali Shari'ati.

  • "Traditionalists" like Ayatollah Shariatmadarai opposed Khomeini's idea of rule by jurist (velayat-e faqih).
  • "Islamic modernists" like `Ali Shari'ati, thought traditional religious leaders like Khomeini had too much power as it was and were at least in part responsible for the weakness and backwardness of Islam compared to Western countries.

  • (See The Government of God by Cheryl Benard and Zalmay Khalizad, 1984. p.30-34)

    [19] Bakhash, Shaul The Reign of the Ayatollahs : Iran and the Islamic Revolution, 1984 p.49.

    [20]
    `the Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic.` (Khomeini in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau France quoted in Ettellaat November 9, 1978. Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda p.88.

  • ` The religious dignitaries do not want to rule` Declaration from the Iranian daily Ettelaat, October 25, 1978 Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda. p.88. ... was just one of many disclaimers that he, Khomeini, wanted to take power himself.
  • `Our intention is not that religious leaders should themselves administer the state,` Khomeini told Le Monde newspaper "in one of his last interviews before leaving Paris (October 25, 1978).(p.14 of The Last Revolution by Robin Wright c2000) (source: Benard and Khalilzad, The Government of God)
  • `The 'ulema themselves will not hold power in the government. They will exercise supervision over those who govern and give them guidance.` -- Khomeini in conversation with a journalist from Reuters (26 October 1978). (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.24)
  • Q: Will you occupy a post in the new government?
    A: `Neither my age nor my inclination and position would allow me to do something like that.` -- Khomeini in conversation with a journalist from Associate Press (7 November 1978) (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.24)
  • "A day later (8 November 1978) he gave virtually the same answer to a reporter from the United Press and added that he had already stated this many times. "In his interview, speeches, messages and fatvas during this period there is not a single reference to velayat-e faqih." There are many to the 'Islamic state,`' "but he never specified precisely what he meant by that term." (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.24)

    [21] , The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997. p.24

    [38] Khomeini in exile in Neauphle-le-Chateau France quoted in Ettellaat November 9, 1978. Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda p.88.

    [39] Declaration from the Iranian daily Ettelaat, October 25, 1978. Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda p.88.

    [40] Liberation Movement, Velayat-e Motlaqah-e Faqih (The jurist's absolute guardianship) (Tehran: Liberation Movement Press, 1988), quoted in Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.30

    [41] Personal communication from Dr. Mansur Farhang, the former Iranian representative at the United Nations to Ervand Abrahamian quoted in Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.30

    [42] [Hamid Algar, `Development of the Concept of velayat-i faqih since the Islamic Revolution in Iran,` paper presented at London Conference on wilayat al-faqih, in June, 1988, quoted in "The Rule of the Religious Jurist in Iran" by Abdulaziz Sachedina, p.133 in Iran at the Crossroads, Edited by John Esposito and R.K. Ramazani]

    [43] When the revolution started, Iranian scholar and Muslim Hamid Algar, was puzzled by the Iranian revolutionary government's continuous referrences to the `Islamic government` (hukumat-i islami), but not to "guardianship," by a head cleric (velayat-i faqih), what Algar thought was Khomeni's blueprint for Islamic government. Algar finally buttonholed an unnamed "prominent member of the Revolutionary Council" visiting America in early 1979 to ask him if there would be clerical rule in Iran. "The visitor replied with a categorical denial, saying that `Imam Khomeini had not been heard to speak about velayat-i faqih for a long time; and it was highly unlikely that he himself still believed in the necessity or the legitimacy of this principle." [Hamid Algar, `Development of the Concept of velayat-i faqih since the Islamic Revolution in Iran,` paper presented at London Conference on wilayat al-faqih, in June, 1988, quoted in "The Rule of the Religious Jurist in Iran" by Abdulaziz Sachedina, p.133 in Iran at the Crossroads, Edited by John Esposito and R.K. Ramazani]

    [44] Mackay, Sandra p.292 .

    [45]The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.22-3

    [46] The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.22-3

    [47]Moin, p.217

    [48] (Ettelaat, August 18, 1979) quoted in

    Hoveyda, Fereydoun Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda)

    [49] Moin, p.219-20

    [50](Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, Thomas Dunne Books, c2000, p.219

    [50b]`the Islamic government will answer criticism by reason and logic.` (Ettellaat November 9, 1978) Quoted in The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution, 2003 by Fereydoun Hoveyda) p.88

    [51]October 22, 1979, Qom, Iran, quoted The Shah and the Ayatollah : Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution by Fereydoun Hoveyda, 2003, p.88

    [52] Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin Thomas Dunne Books, c2000, p.247-8

    [53] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei. Islam and Revolution translated and annotated by Hamid Algar, 1981, p.34]

    [54]The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.52

    [55] Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg University of Chicago Press 2001, p.96,

    [56] Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.30,

    [57] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei. p.59 of Islam and Revolution translated and annotated by Hamid Algar, 1981]

    [58] (p.33 Moin)

    [58a] A dozen Shi'a marja'-e taqlid aka grand ayatollahs, were living in 1981. (Roy, Olivier, The Failure of Political Islam, translated by Carol Volk Harvard University Press, 1994, p.173-4)

    [58b] There were about 50 Ayatollahs in Iran in the mid-1970s. (Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, Princeton University Press, 1982, p.433)

    [58c] How many clerics in Iran?
    Abrahamian estimates there were 5000 hojjat ol-Eslam in Iran in the mid 1970s: (Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, Princeton University Press, 1982, p.433)
    Christopher de Bellaigue in the New York Review of Books estimates there were "100s"
    ("Who Rules Iran?" By Christopher de Bellaigue, The New York Review of Books, June 27, 2002) http://groups-beta.google.com/group/soc.culture.iranian/browse_frm/thread/28aacd2d49dea381/ae4920f590329132?q=Who+Rules+Iran%3F+Christopher+de+Bellaigue&rnum=1&hl=en#ae4920f590329132
    Amir Taheri claims hojjat ol-Eslam and Ayatollahs combined totaled 1200 in number in 1977
    (Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, p.190.)

    Daniel Brumberg gives a figure of 23,000 clerics in Iran in 1976
    (source: Boroujerrdi, Iranian Intellectuals, 91, quoted in Brumberg, Daniel, Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p.71
    Amir Taheri says, "In 1977 Iran was estimated to have around 85,000 mullahs and talabehs."
    (Taheri, The Spirit of Allah, p.190)

    [58d] ".... the vilayat-i faqih thesis was rejected by almost the entire dozen grand ayatollahs living in 1981:

    From The Failure of Political Islam by Olivier Roy, translated by Carol Volk Harvard University Press, 1994, p.173-4

    [59] Ahmad Khomeini’s letter, in Resalat, cited in The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution, rev. ed. by Shaul Bakhash, p.282

    [60] (Moin p.279)

    [61] (Mackey p.353-4)

    [62] [R. Khomeini, speech, Kayhan-e Hava'i, 1 March 1989] Quoted in Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.35

    [63] from A letter to the president of the Assembly for Revising the Constitution (by Ayatollah Meshkini), setting out his instructions for the future of the leadership" source: Tehran Radio, 4 June 1989, SWB, 6 June 1989] quoted in Moin p.308

    [64] Tehran Radio, 4 June 1989, SWB, 6 June 1989] quoted in Moin, p.308

    [65] (Moin p.34),

    [66] (Schirazi p.274)
    It would be incredible if the IRI had not made attempts to update its educational system, and it has. New educational centers (such as the Rizayi University of the Astan-i Quds foundation in Mashhad) combine the religious teaching of the madrasa and the modern disciplines of the university for students who are training to become either mullahs or technocrats. But these few institutes haven't replaced the old madrasa, which continue on training (most) mullahs, and they "furnish few high-level executives, ... their impact remains marginal."
    (The Failure of Political Islam, by Olivier Roy, translated by Carol Volk, Harvard University Press, 1994, p.104-5)

    [66b] Shariah is used here in the commonly understood definition of the word, (i.e. the Islamist definition) - traditional Islamic law. It includes traditional hudood penalties of whipping drunkers, dismembering thieves, stoning adulterers, etc.

    [67] Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 p.55 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    [68] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 p.56 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [69] [Islamic Government p.137-8]

    If repetition indicates commitment Khomeini demonstrates commitment to the idea that "Islam" is complete, no new laws are needed, no deviation from Divine law is tolerable.

    There is not a single topic in human life for which Islam has not provided instruction and established a norm." [p.30]

    The ordinances of Islam are not limited with respect to time or place; they are permanent and must be enacted until the end of time. [p.41]

    The laws of the shari'a embrace a diverse body of laws and regulations, which amounts to a complete social system. In this system of laws, all the needs of man have been met ... [p.43]

    The Glorious Qur'an and the Sunna contain all the laws and ordinances man needs in order to attain happiness and the perfection of his state. [p.44]

    in Islam the legislative power and competence to establish laws belongs exclusively to God Almighty. The Sacred Legislator of Islam is the sole legislative power. No one has the right to legislate and no law may be executed except the law of the Divine Legislator. [p.55]

    In Islam ... it is law alone that rules over society .... Whenever the Prophet expounded a certain matter or promulgated a certain injunction, he did so in obedience to divine law, a law that everyone without exception must obey and adhere to. [p.56-7]

    The ruling faqih

    does not have the right to levy even a shahi in excess of what the law provides [p.79]

    The entire system of government and administration, together with the necessary laws, lies ready for you. If the administration of the country calls for taxes, Islam has made the necessary provision; and if laws are needed, Islam has established them all. There is no need for you, after establishing a government, to sit down and draw up laws, or, like rulers who worship foreigners and are infatuated with the west, run after others to borrow their laws. Everything is ready and waiting. [p.137-8]

    [All page numbers from Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomeini, 1970, in Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [70] [Islamic Government p.56]

    [71] [Islamic Government p.54]

    [72] ("Iran: Khumayni's Concept of the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult`" by Hamid Enayat, from Islam in the Political Process edited by James P. Piscatori Cambridge University Press, 1982)

    [72a] The Fatvas granting legislative power to Islamic government came in December 1987 as the government was attempting to pass a labor protection bill (whether there's a meaningful difference between passing "bills" and passing legislation is another question!) regulating employers. Though the shari'ah includes little or no such regulations on things like the number of hours employees may work, the government's rationale was that since it supplied "public and state services and facilities such as water, electricity, telephone lines, fuel, foreign currency, raw materials, harbour and docking facilities, roads ...," it could "impose binding conditions on companies," such as regulations to protect workers.

    Khomeini supported labor legislation (as well as some other shari'ahinnovations such as the punishment of hoarders without going to court, and cutting off essential services from companies which didn't pay their (non-shari'ah) taxes. (source: "The Rule of the Religious Jurist in Iran" by Abdulaziz Sachedina, in Iran at the Crossroads, ). The clerics of the Council of Guardians did not. When the C of G vetoed the bill on the grounds that the government could only impose "binding conditions" of labour laws on new businesses (apparently believing that imposing it on old ones that had previously had gotten services without the conditions would have been breaking some implicit contract), Khomeini provided the government with a fatva stating `whatever the past or temporary case, binding conditions can be imposed` on businesses. (Dec. 7, 1987) The government saw this fatva as a means "to disarm" the C of Gs. `Whenever the government wishes to intervene in social issues, it can legitimate its action with the help of this great fatva of the Imam,` said the Minister of Labour. `This fatva will from now on release the government from dependence on secondary ordinances...` [source: Kayhan Dec. 12, 1987] Exasperated, the C of G wrote Khomeini a letter "for further clarification"

    There are people who hold that view that the government, on the basis of this fatva, is authorised to replace the noble and certain Islamic regulations with `any form of regulations pertaining to social, economic, commercial, municipal and agricultural matters or to matter affecting employment and the family,` and to use the services and facilities which are exclusively at its disposal, and which people are forced or virtually forced to rely on, as a means of putting through its general political measures, even if that entails prohibiting activities which the shari'a allows,
    like paying low wages, not providing unemployment insurance, etc., "or imposing prohibited activities."
    This would mean
    the Islamic regulations in matters of leasing, sharecropping, trade, the family, etc. would little by little be undermined, suppressed and finally changed .. The people referred to [in Parliament] ... wish to use this fatva in order to establish the social and economic system`
    they desire. [Letter dated Dec. 17, 1987. Source: Mehrpur (report) 1992 or Howzeh no.23 1987 p.30f.]

    Khomeini responded by coming "out even more openly in support of the government's position. `The government without any condition ... in all matters under its jurisdiction` could demand a price for its services and facilities when the population made use of them. Moreover, the areas where it could demand such a price were not restricted to those mentioned in the letter of the minister of labour. [source: Mehrpur (report) 1992 or Howzeh no.23 1987 p.30f.]

    The C of G still failed to approve the legislation, but apparently was willing to after a few corrections were made to the bill to save (the C of G's) face.

    However Khomeini had "signed several other fatvas of far more fundamental significance which, amongst other things, made it unnecessary to apply the rule of secondary contractual conditions." (quotes from Constitution of Iran, p.212)

    [72b] Kayhan 2.1.88. Quoted in The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, circa p.230

    [73] [source: Hamid Algar, `Development of the Concept of velayat-i faqih since the Islamic Revolution in Iran,` paper presented at London Conference on wilayat al-faqih, in June, 1988] [p.135-8]
    Also Ressalat, Tehran, 7 January 1988.

    [74] [source: Hamid Algar, `Development of the Concept of velayat-i faqih since the Islamic Revolution in Iran,` paper presented at London Conference on wilayat al-faqih, in June, 1988] [p.135-8]
    Also Ressalat, Tehran, 7 January 1988.

    [74.1] Ironically Maslahat itself was an innovation for Shi'a Muslims. While Sunni jurists had used the concept of maslahat, "It should be noted that maslahat is not part of Shi'ite jurisprudence. ... before the 1979 revolution most [Shi'ite jurists] rejected maslahat as a dangerous innovation (bed'at)" (from Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p.61

    [75] The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.168-170

    [76] The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.247

    [76.1] [source: `Khomeyni Adresses Majlis Deputies January 24` broadcast 24 January 1983, FIB-SAS-82-018, 26 January 1983 (from Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p.129)

    [77] The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.172

    Some examples of lack of shari'ah law in Iran from The Failure of Political Islam, by Olivier Roy, translated by Carol Volk, Harvard University Press, 1994, p.139-40:

    ....the financial system has barely been Islamized; Christians, for example, are not subject to a poll tax and pay according to the common scheme. Insurance is maintained (even though chance, the very basis for insurance should theortically be excluded from all contracts). The contracts signed with foreigners all accept the matter of interest.

    [77a] The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.278-287
    Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari and Abdolkarim Sorush are two Iranians working to square Islam with the failure of the Islamic Republic.

    [78] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.138-9, of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [79] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.79-80, of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [80] (The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997)[source Bani Sadr, Khiyanat beh Omid, p.169)

    [81] (The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash) p.61

    [82] Bakhash, p.228

    [83] The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.111

    [84] Iranians by Mackey, p.291

    [85] Between January 1980 (primarily after 20 May) and June 1981 ... at least 906 executions took place. Source: Letter from Amnesty International to the Shaul Bakhash, 6 July 1982. Quoted in The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.111

    [85a] The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.111

    [86] list compiled by the Mojahedin quoted in The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.221-222

    [87] The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.228

    [88] Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin Thomas Dunne Books, c2000 p.278,

    [89] (p.123 Bakhash)

    [89a] (p.146 Bakhash)

    [90] [Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.34 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [91][Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.89 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [92] Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970) p.33, of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [93] (Bakhash p.111) Note: "Bani-Sadr and Beheshti, working behind the scenes and for his own reasons, secured Khalkhali's resignation in December. Ironically, Khalkhali was forced to resign not for his conduct as an Islamic judge but primarily because he was unable to account in detail for the equivalent of nearly $14 million seized through drug raids, confiscations, and fines."

    [94] "The New Opium War" by Matthew Quirk, Atlantic Monthly March 2005 p.52

    [95] [Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 .... p.58, 115 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [96] [Persian Mirrors : the Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times c2000, p.327]

    [96a] The Iranians : Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation by Sandra Mackey, 1996, p.371)

    [96b] The Iranians : Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation by Sandra Mackey, 1996, p.371)

    [97] "Already in 1982, Rafsanjani demanded that the clergy maintain the life-style common amongst the students at the religious academies before the revolution." in Kayhan, 18.4.82. This was not the first occasion on which such a demand was voiced.] "Ayatollah Montazeri repeatedly expressed the same demand." see for example Kayhan, 25.1.84 and 4.8.84, as well as Resalat, 23.10.85 and 22.2.89. All quoted in The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.304)

    [99] "In August 1991, Khamene’i voiced his displeasure with those functionaries who lived in the luxurious houses of ministers of the Shah’s era and indulged in expensive wedding ceremonies." Ettela’at 15.8.91. "On 30 October of the same year, [the magazine] Resalat warned that the people would lose their trust in the state because of the tendency of government officials to live in luxury." The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.304)

    [99a] One of the more striking similarities of the post-revolutionary period with the pre, is with Iran's foundations or bonyad. The pre-revolutionary Royal foundations hid patronage, economic control, for-profit wheeling-and-dealing all in the service of "keep[ing] the Shah in Power" (Graham, Iran (1980), p.158) behind a "smokescreen of charity." (Graham, Iran (1980), p.157) -- more like a secretive conglomerate than a charitable trust. Its heavy investment in property development, for example, was "to the detriment of lower-income groups", not to provide housing to the those in need. It created housing, shopping, recreation, like the dubious Qish Island resort, for the middle- and upper- income. (Graham, Iran (1980) p.161)

    After the revolution the "bonyads" were indignantly nationalized and renamed, but if anything they seem to be bigger and even more privileged, secretive and unpopular. Olivier Roy describes them as "patronage-oriented holding companies that ensure the channeling of revenues to groups and milieus supporting the regime," but don't help the poor as a class. (Roy, The Failure of Political Islam (1994) p.139)

    Another author details the resentment they've created: unaccountable to the government (only to the Supreme Leader), "bloated," reaping "huge subsidies from government," while siphoning off production to the lucrative black market. `Because of the Mullahs, sometimes there is not an aspirin in Tehran.'" except for the black market (Mackey Iranians, (p.370) Only a portion of the foundations' profits are channeled to the `martyrs and the oppressed` who keep the clerical regime in power." How much? Nobody knows the bonyads aren't accountable to the government and don't have to reveal that information. (from http://www.payvand.com/news/07/jan/1295.html#_ednref3 1/25/07 "Ahmadinejad's Achilles Heel: The Iranian Economy" By Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar )

    [100] "To give an idea of the degree of support that the foundations receive from the government, it is sufficient to note that the head of the Nobovvat foundation is still alive, although as of 5.10.88 he has twice been condemned to death by the courts because of the criminal financial activities of this foundation." The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 p.157)

    [101]`I am really sorry to see such a huge rate of curruption in the country.` - new speaker of the parliament Gholamali Haddadadel talking to reporters during the annual exhibition of the Government Inspection Organisation (GIO) July 2004 He also wondered whether supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini was sufficiently committed to fighting corruption suggesting that, like his pre-revolutionary predecessor, the shah, he may use knowledge of corruption among `big fish` to keep them in line. Noting that the head of the judiciary's security and intelligence department recently announced that more than 400 `kar chaq kon` [farsi for brokers or middlemen who sollicit `success fees,` aka bribes, for those seeking contracts with the government] were detected in various courts last year, he asked, `How can the GIO, under the auspice of this kind of judiciary branch, successfully fight corruption`? " The GIO being a part of the judiciary. ("Iran: Bribery and Kickbacks Persiste Despite Anti-Corruption Drive." Global Information Network, July 15, 2004 p.1 )

    [101a] The Last Revolution by Robin Wright c2000 p.280, "Corruption in every sphere of business stunts growth and puts off investors."

    [101b].(Economist, Dec. 9, 2004, "Iran: Still failing, Still defiant")

    [102] Finland has the best Corruption Perception rating for 2004 from Transparency International at 9.6, the U.S. is 7.5.

    [102a] (The Iranians : Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation by Sandra Mackey, 1996, p.371)

    [102b] new speaker of the parliament Gholamali Haddadadel talking to reporters during the annual exhibition of the Government Inspection Organisation (GIO) July 2004 ("Iran: Bribery and Kickbacks Persiste Despite Anti-Corruption Drive." Global Information Network, July 15, 2004 p.1 )

    [103] Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 .... on p.58 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    [104] [Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 .... on p.137 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [105] (The Last Revolution by Robin Wright c2000, p.279)

    [106] "Iran’s Economy: 20 years after the Islamic Revolution" by Bijan Khajehpour, from Iran at the Crossroads, edited by John Esposito and R.K. Ramazan, p.98. By Summer of 1995 Foreign debt hit $40 billion (Mackey p.366)

    [106a] "The central bank ... has ... had to systematically devaluate the rial to meet the payroll for the vast state bureaucracy and other rising costs. Iran's international credit-worthiness was damaged this year because of an inability to pay back an estimated $30 billion in foriegn debt."
    "Iran's Currency Tumbles as Economy Falters." New York Times Dec. 19, 1993

    [106b] (Persian Mirrors by Elaine Sciolino, c2000 p.322)

    [107] [Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] [Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeinip. 58 ]

    [108] [Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] [Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini p.32]

    [108a]

    "The most striking and paradoxical element of continuity between pre- and post-revolutionary Iran is the continuing growth of the state. By 1984, ... the number of persons directly employed in the state bureaucracy (the ministries), excluding the armed forces, had reached 1,770,000 .... Of these over 70,000 were employed by the revolutionary organizations. [The exact figures for the year 1362 (March 1983-March 1984) are 1,768,488 and 72,319 respectively (Salnameh, 1363/1984-85: 89)]
    In addition, the industrial private sector was largely nationalized, employing over 1000 persons [misprint?] so that, by 1983, 96% of industrial enterprises were controlled by the state. If we add to the above-mentioned figure, the 68% of the industrial labor force or some 370,000 persons employed in the public sector, [Salnameh, 1362/1983-84: 416, 434] we obtain the figure of 2,140,000 which is already 863,000 larger than the number employed by the state under the Shah [which was 1,277,000 for 1976 ...].
    Furthermore, as we have seen with regard to the organization of the congregational prayer leaders, the bureaucratic structure has now been extended from the state to the hitherto amorphous hierocracy itself. The same is undoubtedly true of the bureaucratization of the seminaries in Qom and elsewhere."
    (Turban for the Crown : The Islamic Revolution in Iran by Said Amir Arjomand, Oxford University Press, 1988, p.173)

    [109] Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian] p.55,

    [110] (The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash) p.187

    [111] "Message to the Pilgrims" (Message sent to Iranian pilgrims on Hajj in Saudi Arabia from Khomeini in exile in Najaf) February 6, 1971 Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini, p.195

    [111a]
    Iran must cut all `economic and cultural links with foreign countries.` Speech by Khomeini `to the Craftsmen` broadcast on Teheran Domestic Service 13 December 1979), FBIS-MEA-79-242. Quoted in Reinventing Khomeini, p.126)

    [112] From a speech by Khomeini reported by the Federal Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Daily Report, South Asia, August 17, 1983. Quoted by Marvin Zonis and Daniel Brumberg, `Shi'ism as Interpreted by Khomeini`, in Shi'ism, Resistance and Revolution, ed. Martin Kramer (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987), p. 52-53]
    "It must be emphasised that the themes discussed in this study are repeated ni Khomeini's speeches throughout his entire tenure of power in Iran."

    [112a] One of the pre-revolutionary issues of opponents of the Shah -- both Khomeini and more moderate secular reformers -- was that he had neglected agriculture and made Iran dependent on imports

    National Front: One of the first signs of the Shah's liberalization was a June 1977 letter addressed to the shah by "the three leading personalities of the National Front - Sanjabai, Foruhar, and Bakhtiyar ... pointedly avoiding use of the royalist calendar and the title Aryamehr, and accusing the regime both of wrecking the economy through inflation and neglect of agriculture, and of violating international law, human rights and the 1905-1909 constitution. ... (Italics added) (Abrahamian, Ervand, Iran, Between Two Revolutions, 1982, p.502)

    Khomeini: Following the January 7 1978 riots in Qom over the newspaper slander of Khomeini, "Khomeini called for more demonstrations, contratulated Qom and the progressive clergy for their heroic stand against taghot and accused the shah of collaborating with America to undermine Islam, destroy Iranian agriculture, and turn the country into a dumping ground for foreign goods." (Italics added) [from: "Proclamation" 6 January 1978 in Mujahed, 6] (quoted in Abrahamian, Ervand, Iran, Between Two Revolutions, 1982, p.505-6)

    [112b] (God Has Ninety Nine Names by Judith Miller c1996, p.440, 442)

    "The area of land under cultivation [in Iran] has continuously decreased, and the country's forests and pastures are being destroyed. [source: Tehran Radio, 4 and 29 April 1992] 40% of the villages, the traditional centers of agriculture and animal husbandry, have been abandoned. [Kayhan, Tehran, 8 October 1989] Out of 51 million hectares of cultivatable land, 32 million are unusable." (quoted in Islamic Fundamentalism : The New Global Threat by Mohammad Mohaddessin, Seven Locks Press, Washington D.C., 1993, p.144)

    The Canadian government's Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reports in that "Iran is currently one of the world's largest net importers of agricultural products, importing 30-50% of its food requirements," despite the fact that the Agriculture sector constituted 25% of Iran's GDP (for the year ending March 21 2000)
    ("Market Information - Africa and the Middle East, Agriculture Sector - Market Brief - Iran January 2003" http://atn-riae.agr.ca/africa/3888_e.htm

    [113] "A scathing 50+ page report reviewed VV programming from 1988 thought 1991. The report asserted that out of 900 films broadcast on television, 700 were foreign. `A Muslim Iranian youth,` it warned, `during the most sensitive period of the formation of his personality, has been influenced by such serials which ... bring divine spiritual values into question.`"

    quotes from Nov. 1993 report by the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Majles which led to the forced resignation of "Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani and many of his colleagues" at the Voice and Vision Broadcasting company. (from Revinventing Khomeini, p.193 quoting `Majlis Investigates Activities of Voice and Vision,` Resalat, 3, 4, 5 Nov. 1993, FBIS-NES-016-S, 25 January 1994.)

    [113b] Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian, p.138-40.

    [113c] from April 1995 issue of biweekly publication `Asr-e Ma (Our Ear) quoted in Brumberg, Daniel, Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p.189-90)

    [114] Iran Weekly Press Digest, 5 February 1999. (p.232 of Reinventing Khomeini)

    [114a] God Has Ninety Nine Names by Judith Miller c1996, p.450
    Satellite Antennas first arrived in Tehran in January 1992. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi (p.170)

    [115] [[from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.49, 115 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [115a][quoted in The Government of God p.111. "see the FBIS for typical broadcasts, especially GBIS-MEA-79-L30, July 5, 1979 v.5 n.130, reporting broadcasts of the National Voice of Iran. This point is also made in Hannah Arendt's Origin of Totalitarianism.] (

    [116] Mackey p.366

    [117] (p.139, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian)

    [118] [p.138-40, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian]

    [119] [from "The Incompatability of Monarchy With Islam", (Declaration issued from Najaf October 31, 1971) by Ayatollah Khomenei; p.202 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [120] [p.138-40, Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian]

    [120.1]

  • 1992 March - Protest by disabled war veterans against the mismanagement of the Foundation of the Disinherited. (Mackey p.361)
  • 1992 May 30 - Protest by squatters against demolition of shantytowns in Mashhad. government buildings set fire, including city's main library with rare Qur'ans. (Mackey p.361)
  • 1993 January - Mob attacks on grocery stores in protest against rise in subsidized milk prices (Mackey p.362)
  • 1995 April - Akbarabad shantytown on the edge of Tehran explodes in protest over bus fare increases. 30 people die. (Mackey p.366)
    "Provoked by a sharp decline in oil prices and deteriorating economic and social conditions, in April [1995] the protests reached the outskirts of Tehran, where rioters, `armed with clubs and stones,` shouted `Down with the Islamic Republic! Down with Khamanei!` (Brumberg, Reinventing Khomeini, (2001), p.218) [source: David Menashri, Revolution at a Crossroads: Iran's Domestic Politices and Regional Ambitions (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1998) p.61)]
  • [120a] "Some of the old rich have left the country or have fallen a few rungs down the economic ladder. But the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. [source: Report by Budget and Planning Ministry, Tehran, October 1984] Unprecedented profits are being made on the black market and from the miseries of a nation hit by war and revolutionary dislocation. In the summer of 1984 Premier Mussavi exposed a swindle that had robbed the state of some $315 million in an agri-business project in East Azerbaijan ...." The Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution by Amir Taheri, Adler and Adler c1985, p.300

    see also: In the Name of God : The Khomeini Decade by Robin Wright c1989. p.133

    [120b] Private sector makes up only 1/5 of the Iranian economy. [Economist 12-9-2004]
    Iran has 2.3 million full-time public servants. Global Information Network, July 15, 2004.
    2/3 of Iranians are under 30 and unemployment is "rising relentlessly." ("Don't be too nice: Iran" Economist Feb. 14, 2004 v.370, n.8362, p.12).

    [120c] Economist Feb. 14, 2004 v.370, n.8362, p.12).

    [121] p.215 The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash

    [122] Islamic Government by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 p.137-8 in Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini.

    [123] Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.34, 115 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    [124] quoted in The Government of God p.111. "see the FBIS for typical broadcasts, especially GBIS-MEA-79-L30, July 5, 1979 v.5 n.130, reporting broadcasts of the National Voice of Iran. This point is also made in Hannah Arendt's Origin of Totalitarianism.

    [125] In the Name of God : The Khomeini Decade by Robin Wright c1989] p.177,

    [126] Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian p.139-40.
    See also: "Iran Allows Foreigners to Buy Its Companies", June 29, 1992, New York Times. [126a]Asian Chemical News, 4/26/2004, Vol. 10 Issue 443, special Section p4, 5p, 2c

    Iranian foreign investment law is complicated and doesn't give carte blanc for foreign ownership and export of profits. Different kinds of foreign investment are treated differently, but many of its latest changes make it even more liberal. For example:
    IranMania.com "New Foreign Investment Law" 7 September 2002
    ` .... The change in the FIPPA [the foreign investment law passed in 2002 (Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act)] is that there are more options for repatriation of dividends. Under the LAPFI [the old foreign investment law], a foreign investor could only repatriate dividends if it had exports, i.e., if it earning hard currency and then used what the project itself earned to pay for the dividends. Obviously the shortcoming with that approach is that it did not provide for legal means of repatriation of profits or principal for those investments focusing only on the domestic market. FIPPA allows for repatriation by purchasing hard currency from the banking system and not only from export proceeds....`
    http://www.iranmania.com/news/economy/features/fippa/default.asp

    [127] The Gulf War by John Bullock and Harvey Morris, 1989 p.114

    [127a], History of Iraq by Charles Tripp: p.236
    After the Iran counter offensive of 1982

    an extraordinary joint meeting was held in June 1982 of the RCC [Revolutionary Command Council], the Iraqi Military Command and the Regional and National Commands of the Ba'th, in the absence of Saddam Husain. A cease-fire proposal was worked out that offered a return to the status quo ante, abandoning all the claims made by Saddam Husain in 1980. Had this offer been accepted by Iran, Saddam Husain could hardly have survived with his authority intact and might not have survived at all since it was endorsed by the entire leadership, including some of Saddam Husain's most intimate followers. In the event, the offer was rejected out of hand by Khomaini and the Iranian government, now confident that Iran could carry the war into Iraq and achieve its goal of sweeping away the entire Iraqi leadership.
    See also The Gulf War : It's Origins, History and Consequences by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, 1989, (p.146-7)

    [128] In the Name of God : The Khomeini Decade by Robin Wright c1989, p.126

    [129] Khomeini, 21 June 1982, in FBIS VIII, I 1-3, 22 June 1982. Quoted in Shahram Chubin and Charles Tripp, Iran and Iraq at War, Westview Press, 1988 p.164.

    see also: Kayhan, 22 June 1982: Iran Times, 25 June 1982. Quoted in The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.232
    `if Iran and Iraq unite and link up with one another, the other, smaller nations of the region will join them as well.` (22 June 1982)

    [130] The Gulf War : It's Origins, History and Consequences by John Bullock and Harvey Morris, Methuen London, 1989. p.148
    See also: The Reign of the Ayatollahs by Shaul Bakhash, p.233

    The Iranian government arranged for the formation in Tehran of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, under the leadership of Mohammad-Baqer Hakim. Hakim, living in exile in Iran, was the son of Ayatollah Mohsen-Hakim and a member of one of the leading Shi'a clerical families in Iraq. He declared the primary aim of the council to be the overthrow of the Ba'ath and the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq Iranian officials referred to Hakim as the leader of Iraq's future Islamic state ...

    [130a]

    "The Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution by Amir Taheri, Adler and Adler c1985, p.280) In 1984 Khomeini relieved Zahir-Nehad, "the popular army Chief of Staff, of his position, because of a remark by the general that the `normal military objectives of the war` had been achieved." [source: remark made in an interview with the magazine Saf, Tehran, August 1984.] (The Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution by Amir Taheri, Adler and Adler c1985, p.289)

    [130b] The Longest War : Iran-Iraq Military Conflict by Dilip Hiro, 1991 p.257 ]

    [131] from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970 p.122 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini

    In another passage he looks back wistfully on the military religious fervor of the golden age of Islam, i.e. the first couple of decade where ...

    The Friday sermon was more than a sura from the Qur'an and a prayer followed by a few brief words. Entire armies used to be mobilized by the Friday sermon and proceed directly from the mosque to the battlefield - and a man who sets out from the mosque to go into battle will fear only God, not poverty or hardship, and his army will be victorious and triumphant. [from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.131 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]
    And explains that eliminating non-Islamic regimes will not just be feasible but vitally important.
    ...all non-Islamic systems of government are the systems of kufr (unbelief),... it is our duty to remove from the life fo Muslim society all traces fo kufr and destroy them .... We have in reality ... no choice but to destroy those systems of government that are corrupt in themselves ... to overthrow all treacherous, corrupt, oppressive and criminal regimes. [from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.48 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

    [133] Tehran Radio, 20 July 1988 quoted in Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, p.267]

    It should be noted that Iranian war goals were not uniform throughout the war.

    "Starting with the basic defensive objective of expelling the invading Iraqis, it went on to demand the removal of President Saddam Hussein's regime. The exact nature of this requirement varied from wholesale replacement of the Baathist state with an Islamic one to the mere resignation of Saddam Hussein from the presidency." (The Longest War : Iran-Iraq Military Conflict by Dilip Hiro, 1991, p.254)

    And that the Islamic Republic had other motives besides conquest in its pursuit of the war into Iraq, namely punishment of the person responsable for the invasion of their country (Saddam), the initial momentum of victory in late 1981 and early 1982 and the consolidation of the revolution: `We have been able to use the war to awaken the people and to fight the problems that threaten the revolution,` - Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Feb. 1985 (The Longest War : Iran-Iraq Military Conflict by Dilip Hiro, 1991, p.257)
    But could these reasons sustain another 6 years of war?

    [134] Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, p.249, 251

    [135] Iran - a Country Study, 1989 quoted in Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, p.252

    [136] (Khomeini's son Ahmed speaking.) Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, Thomas Dunne Books, c2000, p.251

    [137] (`Letter to Clergy,` 1989 February 22. Quoted in of Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, Thomas Dunne Books, c2000. p.285

    [137a] from: Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi, p.99 (Note: Author Marjane Satrapi's father Ebi describing the war to her after her return to Iran. The Satrapi family were educated, securlar leftists with deep distain for theocratic oppression. Marjane's beloved uncle had died at the hands of the regime.)

    The principle conspiracy theory of Western (i.e. American) "setup" of the war comes from the deposed Leftist president of Iran Bani-Sadr. (The Longest War : Iran-Iraq Military Conflict by Dilip Hiro, 1991, p.71)

    According to the Iranian president, Bani-Sadr, in early August 1980 his government had purchased secret documents containing a detailed account of the conversations in France between several deposed Iranian generals and politicians, Iraqi representatives and American and Israeli military experts. ... By supplying secret information, which exaggerated Iran's military weakness, to Saudi Arabia for onward transmission to Baghdad, Washington encouraged Iraq to attack Iran- seeing in the move the making of a solution to the hostage crisis on the eve of the presidential poll. .
    The US would then take advantage of Iran's shortage of military spare parts and swap "American spares for hostages" held by militant Shias in Lebanon.

    But even if this theory is correct (and no one on the American side has come through to confrim any of it in the last 25 years), that still leaves seven years of the war when Iran, not Iraq, had the military momentum and most of the casualties took place.

    [137b]

    The following table lists the top ten nations by proven oil reserves
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/reserves.html in 2005:

    Rank Country 109 Barrels
    1 Saudi Arabia 261.9
    2 Canada 178.8
    3 Iran 125.8
    4 Iraq 115.0
    5 Kuwait 101.5
    6 United Arab Emirates 97.8
    7 Venezuela 77.2
    8 Russia 60.0
    9 Libya 39.0
    10 Nigeria 35.3
    -- World Total 1188.5-
    1227.2

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves
    (source: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/reserves.html )

    [137c] "If you have any tie or link binding you to this world in love, try to sever it ... " (from: Lectures on the Supreme Jihad by Khomeini, in Islam and Revolution translated by Hamid Algar, p.357)

    `Dying does not mean nothingness: it is life.` (from: speech broadcast on Teheran Domestic Service 4 May 1979. Source: `Khomeini Delivers Oration,` FBIS-MEA-79-089, 7 May 1979
    quoted in Reinventing Khomeini : The Struggle for Reform in Iran, by Daniel Brumberg, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p.125)

    [137b] http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat5.htm#Iraq
    see also "Rafsanjani Sketches Vision of a Moderate, Modern Iran" by Elaine Sciolino, New York Times April 19, 1992

    [138] Verse from the Quran:

    "And of mankind he who purchases idle talks to mislead (people) from the Path of Allaah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allaah) by way of mockery, For such there will be a humiliating torment." [Quran 31:6].

    Tradition or hadith quoting the prophet:

    The Prophet said (which means), "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allaah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection." [Al-Bukhari Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v].
    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Flats/1716/music.html

    [138a] Kashf al-Asrar (Secrets Unveiled) by Khomeini, published in 1943), Quoted in Les Principles Politiques, Philosphiques, Sociaux et Religieux de L'Ayatollah Khomeiny, 1979 p.12,)

    [139] Tahrir al-Vasila by Khomeini, vol.II p.351. Quoted in Constitution of Iran by Scharazi (p.240)
    Tahrir al-Wasilah was written in 1965 and was "a commentary on a traditional theological text which also covered socio-political issues abandoned by his contemporaries, such as holy war and `ordering the good and forbidding the evil.` (Khomeini by Moin p.137-8)

    Although Khomeini does not qualify the word "music" in his prohibition, it seems pretty clear he is not talking about Islamic religious music, such as described in this 2002 news group post on "Islamic religious music in Iran":
    http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.iranian/browse_frm/thread/640f7f8f4158b191/ef2001e7b000a985?lnk=st&q=%3A%22islamic+religious+music+in+iran%22&rnum=1&hl=en#ef2001e7b000a985

    And presumable the ban did not apply to songs by Khomeini supporters "written about the people's will to die for their leader." "The Government of God" - Iran's Islamic Republic by Cheryl Benard and Zalmay Khalilzad, Columbia University Press, 1984, p.121

    A long-time observer of Iranian also contradicts the idea that there was a total music ban:

    In the first years of the revolution many cinemas were burned or closed, Iranian and Western pop music was forbidden (though not Iranian or Western classical music or Iranian folk music), the sexes were rigidly separated in all public places ..." [Keddie, Nikki, Modern Iran : Roots and Results of Revolution, Yale University Press, 2003 p.290]

    [140] ("Khomeini Bans Broadcast Music, Saying It Corrupts Iranian Youth" by John Kifner, New York Times July 24, 1979 p.A1)

    [141] Khomeini's refutation of the objections Hojjat el-Esalam Mohammad Hasan Qadiri raised against this fatva in Howzeh, no.28 (1988), p. 2 f.) quoted in The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997 .... p.68,

    [142] Hardliner journal Pasdar-e Islam January February 1989 issue. Quoted in Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin, Thomas Dunne Books, c2000 p.?

    [142a] The book The Constitution of Iran, by Asghar Schirazi, gives two examples of the rational given by the Islamic Revolutionaries for the un-banning of music:

  • "Ayatollah Azari Qomi wrote that committing a forbidden act in the form of listening to music is permissible:
    when the ruler of the Muslims established that it is in the interest of society to permit music and when it is clear to him that if he does not allow it, people will turn to foreign and counter-revolutionary radio broadcasts and be alienated from the radio of the Islamic Republic, with the result that they could be influence by the poisonous propaganda of the enemy. Music is permissible `when` it is established that if music is permitted by the ruler, the people will be influenced by the correct Islamic propaganda and their inclination for the Islamic laws and regulations will increase. [source: Resalat 13.1.88]

    (This is from the man who "a year and a half earlier" had told "advocates of music broadcasts on radio and television" to accept the fact "that the Imam had forbidden music in his book and laid down the relevant guidelines on this issue." [source: Resalat 26.6.86])

  • So this suggests that listening to broadcast of music from FOREIGN source is still not allowed, right? Right. According to Khomeini's son Ahmad in a meeting between Khomeini and "the presidents of the three branches of government ... Rafsanjani put the following question to Khomeini:

    Q. Rafsanjani: `Previously you declared that music was forbidden. Why do you no longer object to it?`

    A. Khomeini: `Let us assume that the music in question was broadcast by the radio of Saudi Arabia. Then I would forbid it, because wherever Taghut is in power, opposition to what he undertakes is allowed and such opposition conforms to maslahat. But here where the Islamic state is in power, a different form of regulation is valid.` [from a speech given by Khomeini's son Ahmad reported in Kayhan 27.6.90.] (circa The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, p.241)

  • [143] The Shah's 1967 Divorce law called for

  • Husband could only divorce their wives with approval of a law court;
  • wives were given the right to petition a court for divorce;
  • the court was to grant a divorce if both spouses agreed, or if it was established by the court that the marriage was ruined;
  • in addition to the grounds recognised by the shari`ah, the wife could petition for divorce if her husband had been sentenced to five years or more imprisonment for a criminal act, if he suffered from a disease which impaired family life, or if without her permission he took a second wife, abandoned family life or was prosecuted for a crime which damaged the dignity of the family and the wife;
  • the court could only allow a man to take a second wife if it had established the fact that he was financially capable of doing so and could fulfill the rule of impartiality in his treatment of both wives.
      So that these innovations would not be in violation of the shari’ah, the law declared that they were to be written into the marriage document in the form of secondary contractual conditions, and that the wife's right in matters of divorce was to be indicated as having been conferred on her though irrevocable authorisation by her husband. Accordingly, the husband had to accept as a secondary contractual condition of the marriage that his wife, as his authorised representative, acquired the right to divorce him through the courts." (Constitution of Iran by Schirazi, p.216)

      [144]Khomeini, Towzih al-Masa'el, solution #2836

      [145]"Naturally the annulment of [the Shah's divorce] law was one of the first undertaking carried out within the framework of Islamicisation ... 26.2.79, the minister of the interior, Ahmad Sadr Hajj Seyyed Javadi, informed the press that the application of the Family Protection Law had been stopped by order of the leader.." Constitution of IranConstitution of Iran by Schirazi, p.219

      [146] Kayhan 30.10.79 Quoted in Schirazi, (circa) p.219

      [147] Kayhan 30.11.79 Quoted in Schirazi, (circa) p.219

      [148] "under Civil Code, recission of marriage [in Iran is] permitted on following grounds: proven insanity of either spouse; husband's castration or inability to consummate marriage; defect of the wife interfering with conjugal relations or her total blindness, contracting leprosy or becoming seriously crippled if they existed at time of contract; husband's inability or unwillingness to pay maintenance, after failure to comply with maintenance order; and in final instance, where continuation of marriage constitutes proven difficulty or hardship for wife, judge may compel husband to divorce wife or grant her a judicial divorce. 1992 amendments extend wife's access to divorce by addition of following grounds: husband's non-maintenance for up to six months for any reason; husband's bad behaviour, keeping bad company, etc. making continuation of married life impossible for wife; husband's incurable disease constituting danger to wife; husband's madness in cases where annulment would not be possible according to shari`a; husband's non-compliance with court order to avoid demeaning or dishonourable employment; husband's conviction to sentence of five or more years; husband's addiction constituting a danger to family and marriage (determined by court); husband's desertion or leaving marital home for six months without legitimate cause (determined by court); husband's conviction for crime bringing dishonour to family (determined by court); husband's infertility for five years of marriage or his contracting sexually transmitted disease; husband's disappearance for six months; and husband's polygamous marriage without first wife's consent, if court considers co-wives are not being treated equally. http://www.law.emory.edu/IFL/legal/iran.htm see also: LB (decrees by Council of Ministers): 1992-93, p.490 ff. Quoted in Schirazi, (circa p.219)

      [149] ( The Constitution of Iran by Asghar Schirazi, Tauris, 1997) p.219,

      [150] [source: MM19.11.89 p.22] Quoted in Schirazi, (circa) p.229)

      [151] Khomeini in October 1962, quoted in Nehzat by Ruhani vol.1 p.195.] (Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah by Baqer Moin p.75

      [152] The hadith goes:
      I entered the Mosque and saw Abu Said Al- Khudri and sat beside him and asked about Al-Azi (i.e. Coitus interruptus). Abu Said said ,"We went out with Allah's Apostle for the Ghazwas of Banu Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arabs and we desired women. Celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interuptus. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said, `How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah's Apostle who is present among us?' We asked (him) about it and he said, `It is better for you not to do so for if any soul till the day of Resurrection is predestined to exist it will exist'" Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad Al-Bukhari (Book 59, Chapter 31, tradition number 459)

      [153] Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian p.140,

      [154] Persian Mirrors : the Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino of the New York Times c2000. p.282

      [155] [from Islamic Government, Guardianship of the Jurists by Ayatollah Khomenei, 1970] p.27 of Islam and Revolution : Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini]

      [155a] from E'lamieh Hay Imam Khomeini (Imam Khomeini's Declarations), vol. VII, p.68.) "The Ayatollah's declaration` was circulated as photocopies in October 1970) It was implied that the Jews were now helping make the celebrations a success as a means of repaying their historical debt to Cyrus the Great." (Quoted in The Spirit of Allah : Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution - by Amir Taheri, Adler and Adler c1985, p.167)

      [156] [R. Khomeini `The Report Card on Jews Differs from That on the Zionists,` Ettelaat, 11 May 1979]

      [157] Ettelaat, 19 July 1979]. Quoted in Khomeinism : Essays on the Islamic Republic by Ervand Abrahamian) p.51

      [157a] (The Gulf War : It's Origins, History and Consequences by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, 1989, p.17)

      [158] "Khomenin's grip appears at its tightest." by R.W. Apple Jr. New York Times 21 November 1982

      [159] Ayatollah Muhammad Hassan Khamenah'i quit his Chairmanship of the Islamic Parliament's justice sub-committee the published open letter (Quoted in Holy Terror, by Amir Taheri, p.216)

      [159a] from: "Make Iran Next, Says Ayatollah's Grandson" by Jamie Wilson; August 10, 2003 The Observer ]

      [159b] from "Who Rules Iran?" By Christopher de Bellaigue, The New York Review of Books, June 27, 2002

      [160] Economist, Dec. 9, 2004, "Iran: Still failing, Still defiant"

      see also: "The nuclear fat is in the fire" by James Buchan New Statesman 14th February 2005.
      "... Official figures put unemployment at 15 per cent of the workforce, but in reality about one person in four in Iran works anything remotely like a full day. Many, perhaps most, young men want to leave the country..."

      Reporters sans Frontieres Iran - Annual Report 2004
      Iran "is the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East, with harsh censorship ... The regime stepped up its campaign against the press in 2003 with the arrest of 43 journalists. A Canadian-Iranian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, was also murdered and the investigation of her death became part of the power struggle between reformists and hardliners in the regime."
      http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=9940

      [161] "Isolation and Internal Unrest Trouble Iran" by Chris Hedges New York Times June 22, 1993

      [162] "Winner in Iran Calls for Unity Reformist Reel" by Michael Slackman New York Times June 26, 2005

      [163] "All Things Considered" radio program, National Public Radio, June 27, 2005

      "the mayor Tehran emphazized his piety and his independece, insisting that he did not represent any political party but was a man of the people. .... with modest social successes already achieved, many voters said they turned their attention to more immediate concerns - jobs, food prices, health insurance and, perhaps most of all, a perception of honesty." "Mr. Ahmadinejad's candidacy reached beyond a class divide, attracting million of voters who saw him as an honest oficial, a technocrat who will work to straighten out his coutnry's Byzantine bureacracy..."


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