– How did you become the president of Islamic Republic?
– As well as Mr. Khomeini, I was exiled in France. In that period, I composed a document which became the official speech of the revolution: in that document, I believed in reconciliating the principal tendencies of that time; the islamists, Marxists and liberals.
– What do you mean by liberals?
– I mean the ones who believe in the liberty of economy based on the independence. I arrived in Iran by the time Mr. Khomeini arrived, on February first, 1979. He introduced me as a fighter and defendant against Marxists and Mujahedin and Masud Rajavi. Now I had been changed too much through Iran evolutions, to expand my ideas of liberty. While electing constitutional council, in August, I was elected for the second position, after Mr. Taleqani. In January 1980, the Iranians elected me as the president of Islamic republic of Iran, by 75 percent of the votes.
( I was surprised of the title “Mr.”before the names of religious leaders of Iran. Besides if most of Iranian politicmen enjoy good electoral diaries and Bani Sadr is not an exception, it is due to Mr. Khomeini’s support and Bani Sadr forget to mention that his permanence in regime of Iran, was indebted to Mr. Khomeini’s confirmation. During that period of revolution, most Iranians supported everybody who was exiled by former regime and its rivals. Nobody could being elected by people and receive a high position unless he enjoyed this option. But I don’t want to reconstruct the Iran revolution here.
Since I and all my colleagues , in our profession, enjoy a sort of “journalistic license” to search for the truth and have an advantage of being rude to the highest officials, I questioned the former president of Iran on his personal consideration about his legitimacy and popularity. )
– Did you have relations with Mujahedin previously?
– No. it was a long later ,that Masud Rajavi contacted with me. When I arrived in Iran, I suggested him to dispute ideologically but he didn’t accept.
– I guess he didn’t consider himself enough powerful to defend his ideas or to present a satisfactory dispute.
– Once, you were the president of Iran, your relation with Imam Khomeini became strained very soon. You also objected with Rajaee the prime minister elected by the parliament. Did you have contacts with MEK before the manifestation of Khordad 30th (June 20th, 1981) and your discharge by the parliament on June 21st?
– After coup d’etat against the president, I fled to some friend of Mr. Darush Forouhar, the director of the party of Iranian people. There, Masud Rajavi’s messengers came to visit me
(I couldn’t restrain myself from thinking about Darush Forouhar. In 1995 while my trip to Iran, I had visited him. He was an ardent man, with pointed moustache, who, energetically, defended the national inheritance of his country. In November 1998, he and his wife Parvaneh were assassinated in their house. I missed my mind presence for a few seconds, but Bani Sadr was going on:
– “A day after the June 28th bombing at Islamic Republic Party, Masud Rajavi’s men returned to me. I told them that I wanted to write a statement to reveal this terrorist action. They assured me that they had no interference in this one.
– Who talked to you?
– Maryam Rajavi’s brother, Mahmoud Azdanloo and Abbas Davali, they suggested to take me to one of their secret houses to provide my security. I accepted
(I didn’t say anything. Dispute was useless. But Samad Nazari [one of the defectors of MEK], in Sari, talked about some relation between MEK and Bani Sadr before his dismissal.)
Bani Sadr continued:
– I found myself in a one- storey building with four bedrooms and a bathroom. When needed, we used a secret exit to escape. I found out that Ashraf, Rajavi’s wife, was also hiding in that house.
– You mean his first wife who was killed later?
– Yes. One day, Rajavi came talked to me. He suggested to leave Iran with him. Firstly, I told him:”I’m the president of Iran and I have duties. If people participate in the next presidential election, I will stay. Otherwise I will leave my country with you.” On 24th of July, 2.5 million people of the 40 million population, all over Iran voted. Therefore I said to Rajavi :” Now, we can go”. In Paris, after landing at the airport, I told a BBC reporter:” I left Iran to reveal the organized relation between Khomeini and militarism…”
– Did you ask Rajavi for a guaranty?
– Before leaving Iran, we signed a contract. It was based on three principals: political pluralism, individuals’ liberty and national independence. I had presented detailed explanation for each of these principals
(While saying these words, the phone range, BaniSadr went out of my sight for a few seconds.
The images of their flee, were parading in front of my eyes. Regarding to his connection with Rajavi, on July 28th, they were presented in disguise at Tehran military airport. They took refuge in a fuel transport plane which was used for preparation of F14 in Iran Air Force. Clonelle Behzad Moezi was the commander of this section. He was Shah’s private pilot who was degraded by the revolution and he found it despising. The airplane changes its official direction in sky and crossed Iranian border and flew toward France.
As soon as they arrived, they were granted political refugee status. During those days, Francois Mitterand was ruling French fate. With no doubt, his wife, Danielle has played a part to make this decision. She was famous for her support of anybody who claimed Marxism. The fleeing ones, under protection of French authorities were settled in ” Auver sur d’Oise”. Rajavi had played his role well. Two days later, he established NCR (National Council of Resistance) of which one of the columns was BaniSadr due to his situation as the former president of Iran. Among the members of the council, there were also some independent personalities who opposed to Khomeini’s regime including Doctor Mansour Farhang, Bahman Niroumand, Mehdi Khan Baba , Doctor Naser Pakdaman. )
I had a question in my mind. when Bani Sadr came back, I asked him: “wasn’t it a risk to leave your country without knowing what is waiting for you and to fall yourself in trouble ?”
(His eyes hesitated behind his glasses. )
– I had to accept the risk, just like a religious duty. You hope to success but you know the possibility of defeat. I said to Rajavi:”I didn’t sign any contract with Khomeini, because he was a religious leader. He should have undertaken his commitment but he didn’t. About you, I know your ideology is based on achieving power and establishing an absolute system. If you change this ideology for a better direction, freedom is the best direction. Therefore your organization is useful for the democracy in Iran. Otherwise, I will denounce everything.
– However, you cooperated with him for three years
– Actually, two years and a few months
– On March 24, 1973, you separated from him officially. Although your daughter had married Masud. Here, we see the influence of a contract, the same as what was a custom among Feudal masters about their children’s marriage. What was the concept of this marriage?
– My daughter, Firouzeh, decided to sign this contract. I was against due to many reasons. Besides, I donâ€™t believe in mixing politics with personal relationship. I know how Rajavi acts. He talks so much, until he sees his listener, dispensed with his own idea, and tired of challenge, and finally he gets her agreement. At last I explained to my daughter that we would test Masud and we don’t know if he would engage his commitments. My daughter told that she wanted to renew this agreement with Masud. So I had to draw in her horn and respect her independence.
– When did they get married?
– I’m a little confused about the dates. It must be a month before our separation. A few months after his first wife, Ashraf’s death.
I remember that I mentioned this to him, but he said:” Imam Ali got married immediately after his wife, Fatemeh’s death”. There were a few days left to Nowrouz. Therefore it was a short time before March 21st, 1982.
(To find out the dates, Bani Sadr talked to his assistant for a few words . I called the event to my mind. Masud Rajavi left his wife Ashraf Rabiee behind and fled from Iran. She was killed in an armed struggle against Iran security forces, with Musa Khiabani on February 8th , 1982. Musa Khiabani was the chief of Mujahedin in Iran. Masud had recently missed his wife and were planning for a new marriage.)
Bani Sadr resumed talking: You can write the date of the marriage March 1982.
– When did they divorce?
– In the late 1984.
– One night, Firouzeh called me while crying and said :”Masud wants to take me to Iraq with himself. If I don’t go, he will divorce me. What shall I do?” I answered her:” you can decide yourself but if you want to undertake your engagement, you should divorce “. And so she did.
– So their contacts with Iraq were started a little before their divorce.
– Not at all. These contacts were much older. Every thing started in the early 1983. The same issue was the reason of our separation.
Extrated from the book: Burned Alive