Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Promoting tolerance and justice through knowledge and understanding
Rationale against Human Rights

The Students’ Question and Answer Session with the President Regarding Human Rights, the difficulties Experienced by Students, and Economic Issues

Resalat / translated by Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
December 7, 1988
Newspaper article

News Section: Last week, in a warm and friendly gathering with student, Hojat al Islam al Moslemin (the Proof of Islam and Muslims) Kamenei responded to the most critical questions that circulate in student environments.

In replying to the first questions that were posed about why Iran had accepted Resolution [598], the President said: “Perhaps if the war [with Iraq] had continued, we might have, in the long-run, achieved our objectives. However, some shortcomings caused us to accept such a resolution. Of course, in the Imam [Khomeini]’s letter to the responsible individuals, some of these reasons were mentioned. But because we are still in a state of war, not peace, and the enemy is still on our soil, mentioning these [reasons] here may be problematic. We shall leave this for when I can speak more freely.”

Regarding what role the students would play after the war in strengthening the country’s defenses, the President said: “In my view, in comparing the situation, since our acceptance of this Resolution, to the war period, the role of the students has not changed at all. The students’ active presence among the Baseejies must continue. Even after the peace treaty has been signed, we will continue to need a vast and armed militia-like force. In reality, the Baseej is the main axis in confronting dangerous movements [against us]. [Therefore], I ask students to continue their roles in the Baseej.”

[The President] was asked about the reasons for the Islamic Republic’s lack of attention to human rights issues, and not permitting the United Nations’ human rights specialist to carry out their investigations in [Iran]? [He was also asked] about the reasons for widespread executions in all the provinces?

The President replied: “Your tone of questioning is the same tone adopted by foreign radios. However, it is still a question and I will answer it. We are not indifferent towards human rights. Nowhere in the entire world will you find a similar situation as we have here, where the leaders of a county, like the President, Prime Minister, or others in charge of the most important [state] responsibilities, enjoy such an [excellent] relationship with their people. You will find few countries where freedom of speech and freedom to express your views are as [permitted] as in Iran. For example, if someone were to insult me right here and now, he would not be prosecuted. In fact, I will not even press charges [against him]. Those who speak against us by raising human rights issues are the same people who want the Monafegheen (Mujahedeen) and others who wish to subvert this regime to have complete freedom of action in this country. And they want the regime to show no reactions against these groups, what so ever. But, such a policy would be against the interests of the Revolution and the people. [Presently], the person who wishes to come [to Iran] as a representative of the United Nations for human rights, is from the country of El Salvador. See for yourselves how [little] human rights issues are honored there.”

He added: “When [President] Reagan goes to Russia, one of their issues [for discussion] is human rights. But there is no one to ask him: ‘Mr., do you adhere to human rights in America? Are the rights of the blacks respected? Why did you attack Granada, and why do you support the anti-revolutionary movement in Nicaragua? Why do you so unfairly pressure Iran? Why did you shoot down a passenger plan (reference to an Iran Air flight)?!’ Are these actions not against human rights? My bother, the issues of this world are only political.”

“Regarding the executions, the same [unjustified] approach that foreign radios take to them is now being adopted here. In fact, the Monafegheen’s radio says the very same things. But did we ever say we had abandoned execution? Like many countries in the world, we too have capital punishment, but only for those whose crimes are deserving of it. Whoever commits such crimes will be executed, irrespective of family ties or where they come from. In your view, must those people who plotted with the Monafegheen while in prison, and also plotted with foreigners to carry out atrocious actions on Iranian soil - such as what took place in Islam Abad - be rewarded? If a person’s connection to that traitorous organization becomes known, what are we to do with him? In our view, he is condemned to death. And without keeping it a secret, we will certainly execute him. Of course, when I say we, I am referring to our regime; I am not in charge of the judiciary system. Obviously, if a person who was undeserving of a death sentence was executed, then his executioner must be put to death. He must face Ghessas (the law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth). Our logic is a clear one; not one based on hidden oppression.”