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Media Watch | Former Regime Supporter: 'We Have Murdered People'

by MUHAMMAD SAHIMI

08 May 2012 01:39Comments

"To preserve power, we have committed so many crimes and we have lost so much."

[ close-up ] Mohammad Noorizad is a well-known Iranian journalist and documentary filmmaker. Born on December 10, 1953, in a village near Tehran, he received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Iran University of Science and Technology. He also has an art degree that is said to be equivalent to a Ph.D. In 1980, he started making documentary films for Jahaad-e Saazandegi (Reconstruction Jihad). During the administration of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), Noorizad, then writing for the hardline newspaper Kayhan, was one of the reformist president's harshest critics and an ardent supporter of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. After the presidential election of June 2009, however, Noorizad joined the opposition. After writing several strongly critical public letters to the Supreme Leader, Noorizad was arrested on December 20, 2009. At the end of a show trial, he was sentenced to one year of prison for "propaganda against the political system and destroying its thirty-year image," two years for insulting Khamenei, 91 days each for insulting judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and 50 lashes for insulting Mashhad Friday Prayer Imam Ahmad Alamolhoda. His family was told that he would be punished until "his thoughts are controlled." Noorizad said that he was informed that he would be given a pardon if he wrote a letter to Khamenei pleading for one, which he refused to do.

While in Evin Prison, on April 17, 2010, Noorizad was taken outside "to have some fresh air" and beaten savagely, resulting in a concussion and damage to his eyesight. He was held in solitary confinement for 70 days. After 190 days of incarceration, he was allowed to post bail and released. Noorizad called Evin a "second Kahrizak," a reference to the notorious detention center on the southern edge of Tehran in which at least five young demonstrators were tortured to death in the aftermath of the 2009 election.

Noorizad has recently produced a short film, We Have Murdered People. The movie begins with him saying,

We must believe that we have failed the 33-year test of the Islamic Revolution and the implementation of the promises that we made to the people. This is a fact, albeit bitter. Our bankruptcy began quite sometime ago, as has the time for saying goodbye, goodbye to the Islamic justice that the Revolution promised. So long, human rights that the Revolution promised to the people of Iran and the world. So long, the fallen ideals of the Revolution. We have demonstrated that the religious people and the clerics can lie if they come to power, that they can turn their backs on all the promises that they made, that they can embrace the world['s materialism], despite once speaking against it in the past, that they can oppress, they can loot, they can murder people.

Then Noorizad sings:

We, in the name of love for the political system, murdered people and looted.

He continues,

We are the failed people in this 33-year-long test. When, in our Islamic system of government, girls become prostitutes at 12 or 13, I am embarrassed. Speaking about enriching uranium is not only not a [point of] national pride, it is idiotic. We lied, we lied, we deceived, we looted, we committed murder, we murdered people, murdered people, murdered people. We must accept our defeat. And to preserve the residual belief that the people may have in Islam we must accept that we [the ruling system] represent only one choice among other choices. We must believe in the people and recognize their various [ways of] thinking. We cannot just insist on our own beliefs and not see [recognize] the Sunnis, the Baha'is, our own communists. We have failed this test. If we still have the zeal to safeguard our religion, we must put ourselves alongside other schools of thought and political tendencies and become merely one among them. We cannot make decisions for others. We are not allowed to restrict other thoughts in the name of being Muslim. Just as we want open [political and social] space for ourselves, we must, according to the same religious teachings, provide the same for other teachings.

He sings again:

To preserve power, we have committed so many crimes and we have lost so much. To keep people uninformed, we have set up so many impediments, we have become tired breath. For our own survival, we have mixed ourselves with corruption, have spilled people's blood. In the name of preserving Islam, we have committed murder and looting, and dishonored many.

Staring into the camera, Noorizad then ends the movie by declaring,

We lied, we lied, we lied, we looted, we murdered people, murdered people. We murdered people.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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