Dear Ayatollah Khamenei,
I listened with great interest to your speech regarding the recent elections given last Friday. You certainly had a point when you indicated that America’s tragic treatment of the dissidents at Waco and its violent intervention into Iraq and Afghanistan detracts from the credibility of any advice it may offer Iran. Perhaps, however, you could take advice from we who have been critics of that violence and who are your Muslim brothers here in America. We, who have spoken truth to power in America about the oppression of the Palestinians and who stuck our necks out to blow the whistle on disinformation about Iran feel that we have a right — indeed an obligation — to offer you sincere advice about the difficulties now facing your country.
You have advised Mr. Moussavi and his followers to work within the system and follow the procedures prescribed by law in order to call for proper investigation of such cases of fraud as they may believe have taken place. That is sound and prudent advice. We hope that they do so, and we hope that the Iranian government is diligent and objective in seeking out any cases of fraud and punishing those who are guilty of it. Any fraud, even if it does not affect the outcome of an election, must be treated as a grave matter. This is not only our advice, it is also the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who said, “Those who deal in fraud are not of us,” and of Allah (the Glorified and Exalted) who says in his holy book: “Woe to those who deal in fraud” (83:1).
It is also the advice of Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, who wrote in his famous letter to the Governor of Egypt: “You should never overlook the fact that around the rulers there usually are certain privileged persons. They may often try to take advantage of their status and may resort to selfishness, intrigues, fraud, corruption and oppression. If you find such people around you then do away with them (however closely connected they may be with you), immediately bring an end to the scandal and clear your surroundings of all such moral and spiritual filth.”
As to your order that Moussavi and his followers cease from peaceful demonstrations, that is an unjust demand. It is an obligation upon Muslims that we should speak truth to power and that demand justice even if against our next of kin. You are within your rights and duties as the supreme leader to take action against those who would disturb the public peace through violence in their demonstrations, but not against those who peacefully petition that you diligently pursue your duties to seek out and eliminate fraud.
For the same reasons you must not silence those who report on the complaints of those who profess to be oppressed. Again the wisdom of Ali must be remembered when he urged the Governor of Egypt to cherish “those who can always speak out the bitter truth to you and unreservedly and without fear of your status, can refuse to assist you or associate with you in the deeds which Allah does not like His good creatures to commit.”
In giving this advice we ask no more of you than what Imam Ali himself has asked. Our motives are constructive and if you would heed this advice you would only benefit the ummah and your own nation, both of which have been smeared with false allegations about which there should be no need to remind you. If you do not heed this advice to investigate, repudiate, and exterminate fraud in your midst, the people of Iran may come to doubt your own motives and objectives. They proved their willingness and ability to resist oppression when they overthrew the Shah. If they come to believe that the current regime is neither Islamic nor a republic, they may overthrow it as well and install one that is.
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute