[ In the meeting between Imam and Kathum, he first explained about his previous works about Iran and his books and said that in order to complete his studies about the Islamic Revolution, he was going to Tehran and was interested to be informed about Imam's viewpoints before going to Tehran. He said that in his book" Nationalism in Iran", he had demonstrated the significance of the historical role of
ulama' during the popular movement of Tobacco and the Constitutional Revolution. He added that neither theulama' were aware of such a power, nor the Qajar court nor the British, but after the Tobacco uprising, the abrogation of the tobacco concession, and the withdrawal of Nasirouddin Shah, they all realized this great power and capability. Kathum also gave some explanations about his previous trips to Iran and his studies about Iran. After Kathum's explanations, the Imam, addressing him, made the following statement. ]
Imam: Iran's situation has changed tremendously during the past fifteen years, particularly during the current year. As you have also realized that the
ulama' and the governments were unaware of the national power, likewise, we, the contemporaryulama', the Shah and his government have been totally unaware of the national-Islamic power and did not know that such a power is capable of creating a movement which permeates all the strata, that is, encompassing the farthest villages to the center, influencing human forces from young to old and even the children, women and girls; we could not even imagine it. We probably imagined that the Shah's power, which is based on military and backed by the superpowers- the United States, Soviet Union and China- is[ unshakable ]. We could not imagine that this power could be shaken. We have observed that during the past one year, such a shock has been created that all the pillars of his power are collapsing one after another; he has lost everything. And despite the supports extended to him, particularly by Carter, these supports have not left the slightest effect on the nation; they heed neither the martial law, nor the Shah's martial government, nor are they afraid of the threats of Carter and other people like him.
Such an uprising and movement has been unprecedented in Iranian history and it seems to us that it is guided by a divine blessing and a supernatural power. It is good to go and visit Iran now to primarily see the result of the treacheries; there are daily massacres in every spot of Tehran and Iran without any excuse. Just today in a funeral procession, permitted by the regime, «1» an officer ... ordered attack, while there was no demonstration. Massacre began in a city square and a number of people were killed and injured; again another funeral procession may follow another. It is very good that you have studied and know the history. Just investigate if a person, who claims to be the sultan of Iran or somewhere else, encourages the marauders to plunder the people. Or does he pay and hire mercenaries to attack the defenseless people so that the Shah continues his life under the protection of club-wielders? Or do the very centers that should maintain law and order, pay the marauders, hire them and direct them to attack the people's shops or mosques and plunder them? Can you find a situation similar to what is going on in Iran, to those who control power in Iran? Likewise, you cannot find a nation who resist against the tanks and cannons empty-handedly; they kill and these people demonstrate against the Shah.
You should go and observe; like you, we are too observing from a far distance. Anyway, your study is valuable; after your study, a voluminous book should be written. The tragedy is lengthy. In your studies, you should write about the stance of the president of the United States and his support for a person who does not observe the human rights at all and behaves against human rights, while no citizen wants him; neither the clerics, nor the bazaar traders; no strata of the people want him. But Carter supports him; it is to the detriment of the American nation. Carter will go, but what matters is the American nation. We want humanity to live in peace and have goodwill for the people. Carter's measures cause the pessimism of our nation toward the American nation. You should find a remedy; should somehow warn the government. A person, who does not have any base, has plundered Iran; its documents are available in the US State Department; but they support him in such a manner.
[ Kathum: The points and issues are that, there is a general belief that if the Shah goes, there will be intermittent coups. There are two major theories: one is the Brzezinski's theory which enjoys the support and affirmation of General Brown- US Defense Secretary- and Senator Jackson. These people think that the Soviet Union is behind all these issues; it does not mean that the Soviets have relations with you, no, but it means that the Soviets too want the Islamic movement to achieve victory in Iran, for the military coup will not be more tolerable than the victory of the Islamic movement for the Soviets. A coup with the backing of the Soviets similar to that of Afghanistan is likely. The second theory belongs to other American government officials, including the CIA, who due to two reasons know Iran well and understand the situation. The idea of General Turner, the Director of the CIA, is opposed to that of Brzezinski. They believe that the movement[ in Iran ]is genuine; it is not dependent on the Soviets; but they believe that the movement lacks integration and will not continue; it does not have the bolstering institutions; hence, it will disappear and if it succeeds, there will be a coup before it comes to power. This perception, that is the lack of integrity of the movement, is wrong and the Soviets will not win. There is a third group- which is very important- who believe that the US must allow the consolidation and success of the movement so that[ the system ]will be changed. The advocates of this theory are in the minority. ]
Imam: The last theory is correct. We have information about Iran, throughout Iran, and when you go to Iran, study about the entire country. The slogans and demands, expressed in the demonstrations, which have become national slogans and demands across Iran, are all similar in all parts of the country; they want the Islamic Republic. Therefore if there are a few or a group among the people who are supporters of the Soviet Union, they constitute a percentage of the nation which will be dissolved in them. A nation, who wants Islam, is not logical to be a supporter of the Soviet Union or communism; neither is it rational that the Soviets have a role in this regard. The Soviet Union is afraid of the voice of Islam in Caucasus and is afraid of the strengthening of this voice. You know that any coup or any anti-Islamic move against this Islamic voice will not bear fruit and will remain futile. Therefore, the theory of a Soviet hand is baseless, wrong and without any foundation.
As for the second theory that says the movement is superficial and formal and will evaporate like bubbles, it stems from the fact that it does not
pay attention to the origin of the problem. They imagine that the issue is a political fasting or is like a politics that every day takes a different form. They do not know that its base is Islam and the depth of Islam is too clear to be explained by us. It is a belief and the nature of belief is as such. Islam is a religion that cannot be compared to a bubble that shatters. What they have said is baseless.
What is well-founded is the third theory. The movement is profound, well-established and without the interference of any power; it relies on the nation. It is necessary for the US to pay attention to this issue and give up its supports; it should realize that its supports wouldn't work and will be harmful. I guess that if you go to Iran and study the situation closely, your viewpoint will be that of the third group, who are in the minority.
[ Kathum: Are you aware of your power and popularity? In my book, I have analyzed that Musaddiq was not aware of his power and his popularity; and since he was not aware of these, he undervalued himself and thought that the US is very strong which led to the coup. But through studying your interviews, I have realized that you believe that the US is not that much powerful to influence every development in the world; but in Iran, many think that the US has got a great power. Knowing this will strengthen you to a great extent. ]
Imam: The difference between the era of Dr. Musaddiq and the current time is that that movement was a political one and the people were concerned with its political aspects, but there was some mistakes which led its failure. But the current movement is a religious-political movement. And we think that the power of Islam is greater than any other materialistic power of the superpowers. You observe that this is such a power that enables the fists to stand against the tanks and machineguns, encourages the old women to rush to the streets and activates the little children. This is the power of religion and spirituality. We rely on God and spirituality and no power in the world can resist it. As a nation who depends on such a power, we stand against all these powers. But about the myth of powers, we should say that in fact, myths are created among the people who have been tortured for a long time. What exists in reality is projected many-folds. We intend to break these superpowers through the divine power, and to save a nation who has been under the tortures of the Shah and his father. We want to show the superpowers that if a nation does not want something, no one can impose it through force. This is no more a bayonet of an army officer to be broken by them; this is the spiritual power and the military power cannot stand against it.
[ Kathum: My last question is about the personality of Sayyid Jamaluddin Asadabadi. Do you consider him a great and distinguished personality? ]
Imam: Jamaluddin was a competent person, but had some weak points also, and since he did not have any national-religious base among the people, despite having made many efforts, his labor did not bear fruit. He did not have any religious base among the people, because when the king of the time exiled him in a tragic manner, the people did not protest and his efforts failed to yield any result.[ At the end of the discussions, Imam Khomeini encouraged Kathum once again to continue his studies on Iran's Islamic movement and to disseminate the truth. ]
['( 1 )Richard Kathum has written a number of books about Iran. On the way of his trip to Iran, he stopped in Paris to meet the Imam. The present discussion is the text of his Dialogue( Twenty-Five-Year History of Iran, vol. 2, pp. 330- 335 ).', '( 1 )It refers to the funeral procession held for Kamran Nijatullahi, during which the Army attacked the people.']