February 20, 2010
Fatemeh Karroubi in an Interview with Rooz – “The more pressure they put on us, the more we endure and with stand.”
In an interview with Rooz, Fatemeh Karroubi announced that she and her family continue to stand for the rights and aspirations of the people of Iran and the values and ideals of the revolution. She continued to say that under no circumstances will they cave in or step back from their support of the people’s rights and the ideals of the revolution.
We spoke to Mrs. Karroubi, former member of the parliament, the Secretary General of the Assembly for Islamic Women and editor of the publication “Iran Dokht” under difficult circumstances as not only had her son Ali Karroubi, been released after being tortured and psychologically and physically injured, but her older son, Hossein Karroubi, had also been asked to report to the Ministry of Intelligence in order to answer a number of questions. Albeit all these pressures, Fatemeh Karroubi remained determined and said “The more they pressure us, the more steadfast we will be in the pursuit of the people’s rights”
This is the first interview with Mrs. Karroubi, member of the 5th Reformist Parliament, General Secretary of the Assembly for Islamic Women and wife of Mehdi Karroubi, since the coup elections of the 22nd of Khordad.
Rooz: Mrs. Karroubi, except for publishing two letters, you have remained silent and refrained from making comments regarding the 22nd of Khordad and the events that ensued. Is there a particular reason for this silence?
Fatemeh Karroubi: You are very familiar with my mentality and are fully aware of my positions from the days when you were a reporter covering the 5th parliament, and we were in the minority. I am an individual who believes in the ideals of the Imam and the revolution and I have always made great efforts to ensure that my behavior and words do not harm the system/regime or revolution in any way what so ever. I did this before the revolution, when we lived a very difficult life for 15 years, spending most of our time behind prison doors, and also after the revolution, when we saw it our religious and moral duty to work effortlessly as part of the executive branch. Unfortunately, because of the recent, bitter events I have preferred to speak less.
Rooz: Is this silence due to the fact that you wish to create a more stable and secure environment so that in the event that your children and Mr. Karroubi are arrested you at least remain free to pursue their freedom? In other words, has it been a form of division of labor
Fatemeh Karroubi: Absolutely not. You have known me for longer than just two days and you are completely familiar with my mindset from the days of the 5th parliament. Even the letter I published three days ago is not just for my own child, but for all the children who are spending time behind prison doors.
Rooz: You referred to your efforts with regards to the ideals of the Imam and the revolution both before and after the revolution, however, today, your husband is referred to by the current regime as one of the leaders of the opposition. They claim that Mr. Karroubi is connected to Israel and the United States and takes his orders from them. How does it make you feel when you have given your life to the revolution and you are now faced with such issues?
Fatemeh Karroubi: These comments and claims are so meaningless and empty that I will neither respond to them nor put any emphasis on them. The gentlemen who take part in these meaningless discussions, will have to respond to God, and realize that vilification and scorning without presenting any evidence what so ever, is meaningless. I am certain that Mr. Karroubi believes in the ideals of the revolution and as such I pay no attention to these empty claims. These claims have no effect on our pursuit of people’s rights and the ideals of the revolution. My family will continue to stand for the people’s rights and the ideals of the revolution and we will not compromise. I know my husband well. I also know my children. If they have any evidence of these so called claims, I ask that they put them forward.
Rooz: Prior to publishing this letter, you spoke of the lack of security with regards to your family and stated that you will hold the regime responsible for anything that happens to them. What lead you to write such a letter and do you still feel the same level of fear for your family?
Fatemeh Karroubi: The circumstances at the time were very dire and I wanted to release a statement so that if something were to happen to me or my family, they would not come back later and say that they need to hold meetings and investigate the matter, etc. Everything was very clear. Mr. Mozafar, the former Minister of Education had commented on the IRIB’s Channel 2 that we leave the heads of the opposition in the hands of the people and Mr. Boroujerdi, a member of the parliament had made similar remarks that had been published in the newspapers. These comments insinuated that if something were to happen to us it was because the people had killed us. As such, I was forced to publish a clear statement and warn everyone so the people of Iran would be aware. Today, our security circumstances are slightly better. We are not under as much pressure and feel less threatened.
Rooz: Is it fair to say that the state of your security and welfare has shifted? One of your sons was summoned, while the other based on the letter published by yourself was threatened to be raped. Not to mention, Mr. Karroubi is also constantly threatened by the aggressive behavior of the security forces. In its essence, your second letter provides an insight into the lack of security experienced by your family. Is that true?
Fatemeh Karroubi: I wrote the letter as a mother and only for one reason because I am extremely worried about the children of our nation and the mothers whose children have been arrested and imprisoned. I wrote this letter with the hope to prevent these arrests. The night my son came back home, I was intensely disturbed by the events that occurred and could not believe how easy it was for them to tell Ali how lucky he was and that if he had stayed a few more hours, his dead body would have been delivered to his family!
Rooz: Tehran’s prosecutor, however, denied Ali’s arrest yesterday and said that after much investigation it has been concluded that he was not arrested by any government body, requesting that Ali provide proof of his arrest.
Fatemeh Karroubi: I am very sorry to hear that Tehran’s prosecutor has said such a thing, providing his opinion so hastily and without a thorough investigation into the matter. However, the prosecutor is correct when he states that Ali was arrested on the 22nd Bahman by police forces and his mobile phone is with them as we speak. They actually called this afternoon and asked that Ali come by to pick up his mobile. In addition to releasing Ali from the police station late in the evening, while he was there they made him sign a commitment letter that he would not give any interviews regarding this manner upon his release. I must say that in this regard, the prosecutor is completely right, as the judiciary never issued an official warrant for Ali’s arrest rather, they arrested Ali on the night when we were celebrating our most important national victory. You are aware of the rest of the issues related to this matter as I have spoken at length about them in my letter.
Rooz: Mrs. Karroubi, what do you think is the solution is for the current crisis our country is facing, and in your opinion what should be done to resolve it?
Fatemeh Karroubi: I am hopeful that the leaders of our country, our spiritual leader and those in charge of the government have the foresight to reflect upon their tactics and ways and that they will have a dialogue and create an exchange with those sympathetic to the revolution who have worked so hard for so many years on behalf of the revolution and the country, so that they can find a solution to end this current situation.
Rooz: But Mr. Karroubi has said that neither the leaders of the Green movement, nor the current regime are ready to negotiate and compromise.
Fatemeh Karroubi: We must see what is meant by negotiation and compromise and whether this negotiation benefits the people or not. In my opinion, the interests of our country and our people’s rights are very important. This discussion is by no means a personal one, and no matter what we do, we must put the country’s interests and the people’s rights first and foremost and move forward only with these two things in mind.
Rooz: I’m going to ask you directly, Mrs. Karroubi, is there a possibility of potential negotiation by Mr. Karroubi, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he would compromise and accept Mr. Ahmadinejad as the president of Iran?
Fatemeh Karroubi: This would not be possible in any way, shape or form. We have been living together for 47 years and I know him very well. I know that this would be impossible and would never happen. An important part of the current crisis and the country’s problems are a direct result of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s behavior, deeds and mismanagement. Many of our economic and national security challenges are also a direct result of how he has managed the country. Our constitution was designed to address exactly these type of issues and we only ask that the constitution be followed, because if it is, we have one of the most advanced constitutions in the world.
Rooz: Do you mean to say that you can imagine the impeachment of Ahmadinejad by the parliament?
Fatemeh Karroubi: Yes, our constitution takes into consideration such a possibility and I am hopeful that if our advanced constitutional laws are utilized to their fullest capacity that this issue will be addressed.
Rooz: Mrs. Karroubi, in the past eight months we have witnessed the arrests of may newspaper reporters and political activists. Can you please let us know if these arrests will resolve any of the issues facing the Islamic Republic?
Fatemeh Karroubi: These arrests will never benefit the Islamic Republic. All those arrested care deeply about their country. If they didn’t care, they would have left the country. Despite all the limitations they have decided to remain in Iran. Our constitution supports the freedom of speech and none of these individuals have said or wanted anything that is against our constitution. Arresting people will not solve any problems. The challenges facing our society and country will not be resolved by arresting individuals. If anything we must resolve these problems judiciously and with foresight. I am very saddened, particularly when female journalists and political activists are arrested and I hope that they will all be released as soon as possible. I recall when I was a member of The Committee for the Freedom of Press that we always sought to minimize the number of women arrested and sent to prison. At the time the publications had more female editors than newspapers did.
Rooz: Mrs. Karroubi, as my last question I would like to ask you to what degree and how far are you and your family willing to stand up for the people’s rights? Do the pressures on your children and Mr. Karroubi not influence this matter?
Fatemeh Karroubi: I am not a new comer to politics and these difficulties are not new to me. I was 15 years old when I entered Mr. Karroubi’s house. It was the start of our struggles for the Imam and until this day we have lived through many trials and tribulations. In the previous regime, we faced the constant stress and concerns of arrests by the Savak. Now that the children have grown up, because of the recent events I have once again been under a lot of stress. But my worries and stress are not for my husband and children but for my country, my people and the revolution. Some people might think that I say these things because I am being interviewed, but that is not true. I worry for the security of our people. If our people live in a secure environment, my family and I will have security too. I would like to reiterate that the more pressure they exert on us, the more determined me and my family will be.