Iran’s former Deputy Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri criticized on a number of occasions the practices of the Iranian regime’s officials and the decrees by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini which had led to the massacre of political prisoners in Iran. He described the massacre as being contrary to the Islamic Shari’at that the leaders of the regime had professed to uphold.
Khomeini reacted sharply and in a letter dismissed Mr. Montazeri as his designated successor.
Khomeini openly accused Montazeri of paving the way for the main opposition PMOI (MEK) to take over the country. The letter is yet another proof of the fact that Khomeini was behind all the suppressive measures and justified them under the name of Islam and God.
The following is the full translation of his letter dismissing Montazeri:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
To Mr. Montazeri.
My heart is broken and filled with blood now that I am writing a few words to you. Perhaps one day the people will realize the facts by reading this letter.
In your recent letter to me, you said that, in accordance with the Shari’ah, you give priority to my views over your own. I consider God my witness when I point out the following issues:
Since it has become clear that after me you are going to hand over this country, our dear Islamic revolution, and the Muslim people of Iran to the liberals, and through that channel to the Hypocrites [Mojahedin-e Khalq], you are no longer eligible to succeed me as the legitimate leader of the state. You, in most of your letters, speeches and stances, have shown that you believe the liberals and Hypocrites should rule this country. It is so clear that your remarks have been dictated by the Hypocrites that I did not see any point in sending a reply. For instance, thanks to your speeches and written work, the Hypocrites took advantage of your stance in defense of their ilk to promote a number of their comrades—who had been condemned to death on charges of waging an armed struggle against Islam and the revolution—to positions of authority. Can you see what valuable services you have offered to arrogance? On the issue of the murderer Mahdi Hashemi [a supporter and relative of Ayatollah Montazeri, who was later executed], you considered him to be the most religious person on earth. Despite the fact that it was proved to you that he was a murderer, you kept sending messages to me to spare his life. There are so many other examples, similar to that of Mahdi Hashemi, that I cannot be bothered to mention them all.
You no longer have the power of attorney on my behalf. Tell the people who bring you gold and money to take them to Mr. Pasandideh’s [Khomeini’s elder brother] residence in Qom or to me in Jamaran. Praise be to God, you yourself will not have any financial commitments from this date.
If, in accordance with the Shari’ah, you do consider my views to be superior to yours (which certainly the Hypocrites will advise you that it is against your interests to do so; and no doubt you will become busy writing things which will further deteriorate your future), then you should listen to the following words of advice I am giving you. It breaks my heart and my chest is full of agonizing pain when I see that you, the fruit of my life’s labor, are so ungrateful. However, by relying on Almighty God, I give you the following words of advice, and it will be up to you whether you take note of them or not:
One: Try to change the members of your cabinet so as to avoid feeding the hypocrites, Mahdi Hashemi’s clique, and the liberals from the sacred charity funds donated to the Imam.
Two: Since you are a gullible [sadeh lowh] person and are provoked easily, do not interfere in political matters, and maybe then God will forgive you for your sins.
Three: Do not write to me ever again, and do not allow the hypocrites to pass state secrets to foreign radio stations.
Four: Since you became a mouthpiece of the Hypocrites and your speeches have conveyed their wishes to the people via the mass media, you have inflicted heavy blows on Islam and the revolution. This is a great act of treason against the unknown soldiers of the Lord of the Age, may our souls be sacrificed for him, and against the sacrifices made by the illustrious martyrs of Islam and the revolution. If you wish to save yourself from hell fire, you had better confess to all your sins and mistakes and maybe then God will help you.
I swear to God that from the start I was against choosing you as my successor, but at the time I did not realize you were so gullible. To me you were not a resourceful manager but an educated person who could benefit the religious seminaries. If you continue your deeds I will definitely be obliged to do something about you. And you know me, I never neglect my obligation. I swear to God that I was against appointing Mahdi Bazargan as the first prime minister, too, but I considered him to be a decent person. I also swear to God that I did not vote for Bani-Sadr as the president either. On all these occasions I submitted to the advice of my friends. In the midst of my pain and suffering, I wish to address our dear people from the bottom of my broken heart:
I have made a pledge to my God not to forgive evil individuals ever, if I am not obliged to do so. I have made a pledge to my God that pleasing Him [God] is a much greater priority than pleasing my friends and other people. If the entire world were to rise against me, I would never abandon justice and the truth. I do not care about history and current developments. I am only interested in performing my religious duties. In addition to my pledge to God, I have promised the decent, noble, and honest people to inform them of the facts when the time is appropriate. Islam’s history is full of instances of treason by its prominent figures against Islam. Try to make sure that you are not influenced by the lies broadcast by foreign radio stations. These radio stations dictate their lies with so much joy and enthusiasm these days. I beseech Almighty God to grant patience and tolerance to this old father of the dear Iranian people. I beseech God to forgive me and to take me away from this world so that I no longer have to experience the bitter taste of my friend’s treachery. We all submit to God’s will. We have no power without God’s will. Everything comes from Him.
Wishing you peace: Ruhollah al-Musavi al-Khomeini; dated: Sunday 6 Farvardin 1368. (26 March 1989)