… and splendidly. I’m sorry that I can’t capture the rye humor and the sharp criticisms in any English translation, but he spoke magnificently. So sharp and witty.
Also, note that some of it may sound weird or just plain nonsense. I’ve tried to stick to the original as much as possible, and in general, Iranian clerics speak differently than regular orators, this is “clergy-peak”.
Here are some snippets:
- Go study the life of the Imam [Khomeini]. Don’t believe what comes out of the mouth of deceivers and those who spread lies.
- Look at what happened to the friends of the Imam. Most were martyred. The few who remain are now in prison for wanting to change this regime. Is this believable? Can you believe this? These dear people are devoutly religious and dedicated. How could such a thing be possible? I have known Mr. Mousavi for 25 years, I know his family, his father, I know every detail about his life. He wanted to bring chaos to the regime? He planned to condemn people to dying in the streets soaked in blood? He planned to raid people’s homes? He planned to destroy stores and banks? He planned for them to stand up on rooftops and target people’s hearts?
- I must tell you that in this system, Mir Hossein Mousavi is either unparalleled or almost unparalleled in terms of his dedication to religion and his country. I didn’t want to say this, but because I am very emotional, I must. Mir Hossein Mousavi, when he was in involved in high politics, and later when he wasn’t, would always make sure to send his religious donations [khoms and zakat, by religious law, every Muslim is responsible for giving a certain fraction of their income to charity through the grand ayatollah they follow.] And this was not about tricking people, or deceit. And anyways, he can’t trick me. I come from a long lineage of akhunds [mullahs- it is famous that you can never trick a cleric.] He would always come and give me the amount, and then leave in his Peykan [Iranian made Hillman Hunter] and each time he wold come, he would give me a lesson in politics.
- Dear clerics, you know Arabic, go read our texts. No one is allowed to torture prisoners. Even if by law, a criminal is condemned to a certain punishment, we are not allowed to punish him if he is sick. Read the words of Imam Ali. Imam Ali said that any prisoner who is being held captive, is tortured or hurt, and who has no access to the outside world, can not be forced into confession. Torture is not allowed. Confession under tajrid is not permissible, [meaning] a prisoner who has no access to his family, to newspapers, to TV, to the outside world, according to the Imam Ali we keep speaking of, and usually use to our benefits, he says this confession is illegitimate and unacceptable.
- Today I am here to warn you of dangers, and to propose solutions for them. […]
- I told one of the officials who came to see me, who was there on behalf of a very high official, I told him: annul the election result. Hold a new election. The sky isn’t going to fall. This is a knot that is easily undone. A knot that can be undone with the hands, we don’t undo with our teeth. He said no, there’s been no fraud. I told him, there’s been no fraud, o.k. This sounds like the story of the man who told another man, I’ll give you 70 reasons why there’s no water in the pool. The other said, I’ll give you only one reason that there is, and he picked up the first man and threw him in the pool. They’ve acted so horrifically that now, even an election annulment will not do them any good.
- I’m left wondering what happened, I’m baffled and speechless.
- Work to raise your knowledge, your awareness, and the knowledge of others. That is why the tyrants are afraid of the tiniest hint of awareness that people have. They are afraid of two people talking to one another. They are even scared of the graveyards. Men, why are you afraid of the graveyard too? Are there banks in graveyards, or stores that you’re afraid will burn down? This is not going to be resolved by fear. They want to visit their dead, let them. What are they supposed to do? All they say is: “thanks so much for piercing my son’s heart, for shooting a bullet into it, now at least let me say a prayer on my martyr’s grave.” It used to be in the old days that they used the dead to add to their own popularity. If they wanted to prove how great and popular their tribe was, they counted the dead among them. I remember in the old days, when the government would give coupons, the families would take the birth certificate of their dead to get extras. But this we had never seen before: for them to be so terrified of the dead and of graveyards. What are you afraid of?
- Remind people of their rights, advise them, and know that what has happened today is unprecedented in terms of the hate it is creating among people towards some of their officials. Of course, those men, these officials, they say that it is not so. I say it is, they say it isn’t. We all say what we believe. I say that these protesters are at least 13 million, according to your own estimates. Of course, they say 13 is an unlucky number. That’s why they chose this number [referring to the vote rigging]. But that is not true, 13 is not unlucky, that is just superstition.
- Remember this: go anywhere that helps achieve your goals. Don’t go anywhere that does not help you achieve your goals, sit at home. Go anywhere when you can achieve your goals. I remember going to Tehran from Qom when I was a student, to protest. The friends of the Imam were careful to see where they could go that would be in the benefit of the Imam. Now you must do the same. You must see where you can be present that can help you achieve your aims. Go there, participate. [this is a very, very important statement. It means that the marja, the grand ayatollah is advising his followers to be present anywhere they feel they can protest.]
- The most important thing is knowledge and finding the roots of our problems. You must sit down and read, find the roots of these dilemmas. Know that this is only a game. All of this is a game. So that they can increase the power and authority of certain individuals. This news you hear, of asking them to dismiss somebody, to appoint somebody else, these are just games, these are just for amusement.
- Vaay beh haleh mellati keh sokhaneh roozeshoon gheyreh dardeshoon bashe: Pity the nation whose daily news is not that of their pain and suffering. [meaning, news like that of Mashaei’s, about one official going and the other coming, those are just distractions that keep people from focusing on their suffering.] The pain today is the suffering of the prisoner who is held hostage by the tyrants. The pain is that confessions are forced. Pain is not letting them sit at the grave of their loved ones to say a prayer. Pain is attempting to free these prisoners. That is what we must focus on.
- Thank God, Praise the almighty that now, we have no part in the sins they are committing [he is no longer involved in government]. Torture, captivity, murder, … one of them is enough to burn you eternally in hell.
- [he recites a scripture and then translates it] Killing a person is much different than killing a movement. You are killing one movement, and honoring another. This is going to send you to hell.
- That clergy who is going against the people, how could he do that when it is the people who have always supported the clergy? Those who do not follow the people, they will see the result. Who has managed the clergy throughout history? The people. They have taken from the mouths of their wives and children, and they’ve given it to me to eat.
- They say, why have you broken our unity? Why have you created conflict? Well, the oppressed and the oppressors always have conflicts.
- [He tells a story about when Ayatollah Boroujerdi wrote some scriptures related to Sunni Muslims and was forced to take them out of his book because the “extremists” pressured him and told him that Shi’a Islam would suffer as a result.] That’s not how Shi’a Islam is going to be destroyed. Shia Islam will be destroyed by certain people saying the clery are thieves [Ahmadinejad]. This is how Shia Islam will be abolished. When the people believe that the clergy are thieves, their children are thieves they have been stealing for thirty years. And of course now that the dollars have gone to Turkey and they have denied it. I don’t know. No one has the right to accuse any one of theft in front of 200 million people, as you know, that night of the debates, 200 million people across the world were watching. What right do they have to accuse anyone of theft without evidence? Yes, certain people in this system have stolen, go and investigate. But [religiously] this has extreme punishment, for you to accuse someone of something [when they are not there to defend themselves.]
- We are responsible for not depending on any media outlet that lies. Whether it’s a newspaper that lies, the radio that lies, the TV that lies, a clergy like me sitting on this seat that lies, we should not listen to what they say. Listening to media outlets that lie is against the Koran. It’s not only so when the media belong to the West. No one said that if a media, if a newspaper claims to be Islamic, or claims to support Islam, it can go on lying.