Life in Iran TodayBraving death: The last words of Arash Rahmanipour

Braving death: The last words of Arash Rahmanipour


Iran Focus: London, Jun. 08 – Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani were hanged on 28 January 2010 after being convicted of Moharebeh (waging war on God) over their alleged role in anti-government protests last summer. Iran Focus has translated into English the text of a moving letter written by Rahmanipour while in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and his final will.

Iran Focus

London, Jun. 08 – Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani were hanged on 28 January 2010 after being convicted of Moharebeh (waging war on God) over their alleged role in anti-government protests last summer. Iran Focus has translated into English the text of a moving letter written by Rahmanipour while in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and his final will. Rahmanipour, 19, was hailed as a martyr by his father.

Text of letter:

In the Name of God, the ruler of body and mind, the idea of which always reigns supreme over all things

I don’t really remember when I first felt in my head that I have a duty and responsibility about the land upon which I walk; I only know that when I now hear the name of this land, a great deal of sorrow infused with a sense of pride fills every fibre of my being. Most of us feel this sense of pride [about Iran], but the sorrow arises from the feeling that I did not even fulfil an ounce of my duties to my homeland.
I don’t know why I stand at this particular historical stage. I don’t know how much longer this homeland will be condemned to be deprived of tranquillity!

‘During these years drawn out
Pain and flames in Iran sprout
Only fire and blood the enemy spewed
 Only screams the fanatical monster issued
I was scorched by wisdom’s enemy
Robbed of my sleep, food and harmony.’

This is our homeland, our everything, our identity. My hope is that everyone would one day discover that they each have responsibilities towards this homeland.

But, truth be told, I committed a huge mistake. Perhaps this overflowing penchant covered my eyes in a way that I could not see the true path of my duties. But, I am certain that if I had more time to live on this earth, I would have figured it out. In the words of a Christian saint, “For each one of God’s people, there is a shepherd and a path to guide them to the pasture of truth.” This is the path I’m in. It is true that it is hard and arduous, and that I am alone and a bit tired, but I will endure all these hardships in order to grasp that golden truth, because I must fulfil my duty.

‘Tomorrow, the sun shall rise
In the field of battle, I shall face Afrasiab [legendary enemy of Iran] with my mace.’

My story is a strange one, which I have yet to understand myself. Perhaps one can summarise it in a few poetic lines:

‘On account of that heart-cherishing beloved, thanks with complaint are mine:
If thou be a subtlety-understander of love, list well to this tale…’

I have decided to first and foremost share my words with my own God. It is only Him who understands my heartfelt declaration that even though I must endure all the hardships of this path, but there are some complaints that I must share with Him. But, perhaps someone will read these words in the future and understand my pain, too.

‘… Rewardless was and thankless every service that I rendered:
O Lord! Void of kindness let none be the served one.’

On the account of my love, I would do everything I can for my country. But, my complaint is that, is the reward for such love deviation? I did not carry out my activities with hopes pinned on anyone or anything. But, I expected my God to help me. Perhaps He has and I failed to see it.

‘… To profligates, thirsty of lip, none giveth a little water:
Thou mayest say: ‘Those recognising holy men have departed from this land’.’

I am not claiming that I am in a position to lecture about love. I know that I only talk the talk when it comes to love. But, still, a sense of sorrow fills me when I see that even the talk of love is not welcomed among these people. Sadness grips me to no end when I witness the painful dearth of love.

‘… O heart! In His tress-like noose, twist not; For, there,
Thou seest severed heads, crimeless, guiltless.’

It is heart wrenching for me when I see that in this land being a lover is a crime, a crime for which the innocent victim has to face the noose!

‘… In this dark night, lost to me became the path of my purpose:
O Star of guidance! Come forth from the corner.’

I lost the path, and I neither had a companion nor any experience. But, I am filled with the thirst for a destination, filled with hope, filled with faith towards the goal. My only complaint is, ‘God, why are you not guiding me?’ Perhaps you are and again I am not seeing it.

‘… Although thou snatchedest my honour; I turn not my face from Thy door:
More pleasant is violence from the Beloved, than from the enemy, courtesy.’

I have lost many things and will perhaps continue to lose much more. But, I have come to gain something bigger, and that is faith in and assurance about my goal. At the same time, I know that I, who claim to be a lover, have done nothing for my country.

‘In the street of the wine-house, weeping and head cast down, I go
Because, of my (empty, vain) produce, ever cometh shame to me.’

Youths of this country fall to the ground and lose their lives on a daily basis, and both West and East should be saddened by such a loss. I don’t know how many Neda’s [Aqa Soltan] and Taraneh’s [Moussavi] must be murdered so that …
But, I agree with what Soroush said: The death of Taraneh Moussavi sounded the death knell of the ruling establishment.

‘The watcher tormented, and abandoned not the place of peace:
Perchance, moving towards the sphere, the sigh of morning-risers will not be.’

The remarks of a friend are sweeter than anything else.
I have so much to tell you, my friends, about what transpired and what happened to me, and about why I made my statements. I saw and heard things I did not expect, and a thousand other things that you may not believe. In fact, I’m still struggling to believe them myself. But, regardless,

‘The weight of the cage won’t weigh on us
This weight is lighter than a fly’s wings for us.’

First of all, I must say how much guilt I feel when I think of you all, Niloufar, Jamal, Sarah, Payam, my dear aunts, Sahar, Bahareh, and others. I hope you would forgive me for all the anguish you endured and all the moments during which you were filled with sorrow and worry. Of course, between you and me, I am not that charming anyway. But, we’ve had a lot of sweet and sour memories together. And, now, whenever I start to miss you, I try to dream of you in my sleep.

I fear most of all that those who spent their days grieving would never forgive me. I know that it must have been very difficult for you, but the thought of you being inside these four walls made my days a lot harder. I heard your worries during interrogations and later after you were released. There are many who have spewed slanders against me when talking to you. There is no truth in the things that they have told you. They can discern bad from good and malice from beauty. I am more worried about those who have levied and spread these accusations, because those who hear the allegations think that a person who has done these things does not believe in God. These people are both visible and invisible for me, but I cannot appear in front of you and reject their statements. I am left grappling with shadows and spectres, defending myself and making arguments without seeing the opponent.

So, my dear ones, know that I am facing two types of people: The first group of people are those who from a long time ago […] me, and the other are those who have recently put me on trial. You would agree with me that I must first respond to the former group, because it is their claims that you first came across. So, their words have influenced you more than those of others. Dear friends, I must try to defend myself in order to dispense with the allegations that in a short period of time have been engrained in your minds.

Of course, I hope that, as long as I am loyal to you and to myself, my efforts would bear fruit and my innocence would become apparent. I know that I am not making a mistake in this regard and I know what an arduous road lies ahead of me, and anyhow, I surrender myself to God, because as a defenceless man I am not about to surrender myself to the assailing waves. In accordance with my duty, I will endeavour to defend myself even though I know that the waves will take me away.

So, let us return to the source of these allegations and the statements that are being repeated against me, which the “plaintiff” uses as a justification for my trial.

What have the previous claimants said? When we summarise their claims, they will run somewhat like this: “Arash is guilty because through his intrusive curiosity […] he wants to destabilise everything on the Earth and the universe. He has chosen to be deceived and is calling everyone to join him and is lecturing them.” … They say that you lecture people and receive money. This is a big lie. If I had such abilities I would not sell them for any amount of money, and essentially these days I do not know anyone that is worthy of being a teacher. But, is it not the claimants themselves who are projecting their own qualities onto others, in the sense that they are deceiving youths and inviting youths to distance themselves from their own roots and join them? Dear friends, if I had such abilities, I could have been much more proud, but alas I do not have them. Now, you may ask, ‘So, Arash, what have you done and on what basis have they levied these allegations against you? Because if you were like all the other people, your name would not have become this well-known.’

This is true, and I will try to explain what is going on, so please listen. Dear friends, I admit that I have some kind of knowledge that has resulted in my fame. But, don’t think for a moment that this knowledge transcends all humanity. On the contrary, all humans must have it. But, the claimants insist that they have some sort of knowledge that transcends the realm of human beings. This, I believe, was a lie and thus the allegations began against me. What I know is that God put me on this Earth for a purpose, which was nothing other than building my country, Iran, on the basis of good thoughts, good words and good deeds. I spent a lot of time thinking and in the end started to experiment. I heard from a great figure that “it is through action that results are obtained.”

And, since this became clear to me, I put my thoughts into practice and that is what caused the claimants to start despising me. Dear friends, I am ashamed to say why this is really so, but I have no choice. Many of these people lack knowledge and even if they have knowledge they pretend to be foolish. They utter nice words but do not know what they are really saying. So, I realised that the basis of the nice words that they utter is incredibly hollow and materialistic. Dear friends, know that the source of all these dangerous enmities and baseless allegations against me is the search and knowledge that I referred to. When I realised this, in order to follow the path of God, I called on those who thought like me, but I soon lost hope about them. So, I turned to foreigners, but they were not my friends either. This duty gripped me so hard that I forgot about myself. I worshiped God, my days became more arduous and I ended up here.

Now I will talk about the recent claimants. They say that Arash is guilty because he is a corrupt young man and does not believe in the deity of this country. He is trying to replace them with other deities.
I will treat each allegation in turn. I am “a corrupt young man because I am guilty.” Dear friends, I say in response that it is the claimant who is guilty because they are treating serious matters recklessly, and having no historical conscience themselves, they are questioning us. They pretend that they are completely mindful of certain things, even though that has never been the case. They pretend that they are with us, but in fact they are befriending our enemies. They pretend to be with us, but ridicule my country’s history. Is such ridiculing not a crime worthy of punishment?

Perhaps some would ask, ‘Arash, are you not ashamed that you lived your life in such a way that endangered your wellbeing?’ In response to the objector, I will say the problem is in your idea of life and death and the values you attach to each. But, the truth is otherwise, and what a person must really be worried about is whether what they are doing is right or wrong, or if it is righteous or immoral, worthy or … Otherwise, all the brave souls who fought in defence of this land were foolish.

Dear friends, for me it is clear that if someone were to realise an honourable truth, which he/she would remain loyal to, then they will neither worry about death nor fear the dangers ahead. They will never sacrifice honour for the sake of wellbeing. If I had done anything other than this, I would have been guilty. No matter how I reach that truth, I will never abandon my method, even if I were to face death a thousand times. So, I say to the unjust judges, fear my death, because after this, God will never hide his compassion from those who seek the truth.

What is happening to me was not the result of an accident. I am certain that this is what is right for me, and I will die and become free of thoughts about this world. I know that the claimant was not well-intended, and sought to make me suffer. But I am not complaining against him, because he does not deserve it. But, addressing you, I ask the following: “Don’t forget about Iran, and think of it as more important than your own personal interests.”

I don’t know, but perhaps the time has come for us to part, for me to embrace death and for you to think of your lives. But, which one of us will benefit? No one but God will know the answer.

If this is my last arrow for defending Iran, know that Arash will attach his life to it and will release it from his bow.

Evin prison, Ward 209, Cell # 121
29 December 2009


Arash’s will written just before his execution:

In the Name of the Friend
“Mother” and “father” were beautiful words that always comforted me. But, I did not value this beauty as I should have. However, I was proud for having them as parents.
I do not have much longer.
I will leave between myself and God the religious responsibilities that I had and was recently acquainted with, such as praying and fasting.
But, with regards to Iran: I take pride in the fact that I was an Iranian and the fact that my neck felt the rigidity of the noose for the sake of Iran.
I will not talk about the ruling Islamic regime because it would be a strange story if someone were to read this note:
“A dead body and friends’ cries are better than being alive and seeing the enemy’s laughter;
I shall forever be shameful if I were to live rich but in fact be a servant”
Arash Rahmanpour
January 28, 2010

The Farsi text of the letter and the will appeared on the Harana website.

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