Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saeed Hajjarian

We visited Dr.Saeed Hajjarian last week, with some friends. Dr. Hajjarian was freed 10 days ago after over 100 days of detainment. I knew Hajjarian from the days he was a student in 1979. At that time he was known as a young analyst with remarkable insight who provided political analysis for students particularly the Muslim Students Following the Line of Imam Khomeini ( the students who took the American embassy three decades ago). Hajjarian played an important role in later stages and in the making of the institutions of the Islamic Republic as well. He was a founder of the Islamic Participation Front(IPF) in 1997, and an influencial reformist politician who was also well recieved by progressive Islamic student associations. He was appointed as political advisor to President Khatami at that time.

He also founded a newspaper and headed the Center for Strategic Studies for a short period. Hajjarian was elected as Tehran Councillor in 1998. In 1999,an assasination attempt on his life, from a radical religious group, left him partially handicapped. He served on the Central Committee of the IPF until the recent Presidential elections after which he was arrested and detained for over 100 days. Hajjarian was brought on national TV to confess and repent, allegedly under pressure, last month.

His wife, Dr. Vajihe Marsoosi protested against his unlawful detainment and the unacceptable prison circumstances during that time. His conditions improved later and he was actually quite well when we met him last week. He had been accused of promoting the Humanities in Iranian universities, with a Western perspective. According to the charges filed against him and other reformist leaders they had formented a velvet revolution through the dissemination of their thought and ideas.

He told us that he thought it was quite amusing that dealing with Western scholars on issues like democracy and civil society, would be considered as a offense against national security. He said that during his detainment he had no information about the outside world and therefore his statements had been made totally in the dark. I gave him a copy of The Grapes of Shahrivar with my autograph; the published book of my memoirs as Vice President during President Khatami.

Hajjarian is now free but his other reformist friends are still in detainment, we all pray for them.


Shahab Mahdavi said...

The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive. - Albert Einstein

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