When I left Qum you ladies and gentlemen of this city were afflicted with troubles, but you had your youth at your side. When I returned, they were gone. Their loss brought grief not only to the hearts of the mothers and fathers, but to my heart also. I saw the pictures of these brave youth on the walls of the Fayziya theological school.17 I offer my condolences to the people of Qum, to the bereaved mothers, on their loss.
When I left, the whole of our country was afflicted with such troubles; indeed the whole of our country for the past fifty odd years has been in a state of affliction, hardship, repression and dependence on foreigners. God only knows what this father and son18have done to this country of ours. Throughout its history Iran has not witnessed the likes of such acts of treason.
All the monarchs throughout the 2,500 years or more of monarchical rule in Iran were traitors; even those who were reputed to be good were traitors, yet their treachery did not reach the bounds, which that of these two did. Indeed, no one really knows to what bounds Riza Shah and his son’s treachery did in fact reach, the extent of their crimes was huge, but the extent of their treachery was even greater.
What scenes we witnessed during the reign of Riza Khan, a reign that perhaps most of you cannot remember. In Qum and indeed in all the towns and cities in accordance with the wishes of those who instructed him and in the name of kashf-i hijab, he violated that which is inviolable in Islam; he violated that which is sacrosanct to the believers and to our respected women. What his agents did to our veiled ladies! How they treated them! They tore off their chadors and scarves and confiscated them. I myself witnessed these scenes, and you witnessed what this son did to this country on the plea of creating a ‘great civilisation’.
We cannot imagine the true extent of what they did to this country. We cannot know the volume of their crimes and their treachery. We don’t know where they have bank accounts or the exact amount they have in them. We don’t know for sure that the amount, which has been revealed, is the true amount. It’s not known how much they have in Swiss, American, British or other banks. It is said that recently $3 billion has been taken, but we have no idea how much was taken previously.
At the time of the father, when he entered the war and the Allies sent him into exile, he collected together the crown jewels, filled his suitcases with them and took them with him. As I was told, once out at sea a ship used for transporting livestock drew up alongside the ship on which he was travelling, and he was told (by the British) to board it. That wicked man, who himself was worse than an animal, asked what he should do with his suitcases, he was told they would be brought for him later. But the British took them and kept them for themselves.
In the reign of this son too everything we had, all our self-respect, all our resources, has been taken. Our material strength was damaged, but not to the extent that our human resources were. The people were not allowed to develop, centres of corruption were made, gambling houses and houses of ill repute built and placed at the disposal of our youth. They were made to be unmindful of their destinies. So many of our youth became addicted to drugs during his reign, they were stupefied through addiction so they wouldn’t bother about their destinies or where their true destiny lay.
However, God, the Blessed and Exalted, wanted otherwise; He helped you and during these past two years the movement – which originated in the 15th Khurdad movement19 – blossomed. You ladies have proved that you are in the vanguard of the movement; you have proved that you lead the men; men get their inspiration from you. The men of Iran have learnt lessons from the ladies of Iran and the men of Qum have learnt lessons from you dear ladies. You are in the vanguard of the movement.
Islam holds you in higher esteem that it does men. Islam wants to save you, it wants to save you from becoming this plaything they want to turn you into. Islam wants to train you to become an integrated and virtuous human being, so that in your care suchlike human beings may be raised.
I thank you all for participating in this movement. I thank all the mothers who took part in this movement and lost their loved ones. I am deeply sorry for their loss. May God have mercy upon the souls of their martyrs. May He grant you all mercy, happiness and help you attain perfection. All of you must cast your vote, a vote for an Islamic republic, not a word less (in this designation) nor a word more.20
You too must vote, you are no different from others; indeed you lead the men. Men are raised in your care, you are the educators of men, recognise your own worth, just as Islam does. All of you take part in this upcoming referendum and vote for an Islamic republic.
I hope that an Islamic republic will be established and Islamic justice and a just government will emerge to save our country from these problems, stop the hands of foreigners from ever again having free rein in this land and ensure freedom and independence for you all. May God’s mercy be upon you all.
Peace be upon you, and also the blessings and mercy of God. (164)
8 March 1979 (17 Isfand 1357 AHS)
Adapted from: “The Position of Women from the Viewpoint of Imam Khomeini (r.a.)”