Son of a Martyr turned against the regime of Iran
Mino Hemati Interviews Iraj Shahalidost
Transcript of Interview with Iraj
Son of a Martyr turned against the regime of Iran
Since its birth, Islamic Regime of Iran has manipulated peoples' religious believe towards its recruiting of Islamic foot soldiers. Then after the death of these Islamic foot soldiers, the regime takes total control of their families, specially the children of the martyrs (the terminology that the regime uses to ensure these children continue in their father's path and become loyal soldiers of the Islamic regime). Thus by establishing an organization call 'Bonyade Shahid' (Martyr Foundation), the regime controls the family of the martyrs throughout their life cycle. This organization has the short and long term task of making sure the Islamic Empire is built on the efforts of these foot soldiers.
We have the opportunity to interview the son of such a war martyr, who grow up under the guidelines of the Bonyade Shahid (The Martyr Foundation), he was taken advantage by the regime, and ordered to suppress the protesters of election fraud. When he refused, he was persecuted by the secret service and had to flee Iran with his wife and the new born child to take refugee in Sweden.
Mr. Iraj Shahalidost welcome to the TV program Rahai Zan, I would like you to introduce yourself before we go further in the interview.
Hello to you and all your viewers, whish you a wonderful life.
My name is Iraj Shaalidost, son of a war martyr and a political asylum seeker living in Sweden. Unfortunately I lost my father in Iran / Iraq war when I was four years old. Ever since I have lived without a father.
Mr Iraj Shahalidost would you explain to our viewers the internal functions of Bonyade Shahid and what was their expectations from you?
Yes, Bonyade Shahid as an organization was established by Imam Khomeyni's order at the end of Iran / Iraq war to protect and care for children and family of the war martyrs. But did not take long to realize this organization's activities does not limit to the original goal. Bonyad created special conditions for all families whose family member is declared martyr, such as veterans children or Isargar (wounded Islamic Volunteers). These children are forced to attend special schools separated from general population.
We were housed in special neighborhoods designated for Martyr families. There was certain quota for Martyrs family to attend universities without entrance exam, exempt from military service and entitlement for large amount of loans, free housing and other free service.
The Islamic Regime look into Martyrs Family as their propaganda instrument for the system, millions of Martyrs families are under the control and policies of Bonyad.
Bonyad forces Martyrs families to participate in pro regime rallies and events, such as religious events or Army Day march in front of the Islamic Regime leader Ayattolah Khamenei, or president and to show our respect and to protect them from enemies. We were supposed to promote Islamic culture for the nation and obey and promote the rules and laws of Islamic regime.
In peoples' eyes we were Hezbollah tugs and disrespectful. So we were under pressure from Bonyade Shahid to give back to the system for all favors we got from them. In this process they called us "unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman" (12th Imam unknown soldiers are tugs organization of the Regime to do dirty works of eliminated opposition figures and suppress mass protests.)
Why and when you decided to oppose policies of Islamic Regime of Iran?
Since my adulthood I was in defiant of the religious indoctrination the system was imposing on us. I was forced to obey their orders because my family belonged to Bonyade Shahid by default. It was frustrating to tolerate their pressure. I feel all my child and adulthood was wasted by the regime.
Suddenly because of protests , after the election, regime was short of security forces, Bonyade Shahid asked us to report ourselves as members of the Basij of Bonyad (Martyr Foundation Militias). They called us to gather in the training centers in designated locations in Tehran. I attended the training facility with a friend of mine. There they gave us training in attacking the crowed of protesters, also they kept us well fed with room and board. They equipped us with helmet and weapons. I was deployed to one of Tehran's main squares and ordered to attack the unarmed protestors. When I saw our deprived people being attacked by regime's forces and the cruelty they demonstrated . I could not take it any more and refused to cooperate with commanders and had verbal argument with Bonyad's officers and I left the force.
Within days joined the people and was protesting in the streets. This is the story of origin of my opposition to the regime, which continues till now
What is the attitude of the regime towards the people who are members of its governmental or affiliate organization and decent and join the opposition?
They have different approach towards every situation. For us as children's of martyrs, they propagandized us that the Islamic Regime's leader Mr. Khamenei is our father and we must obey him. If you go along with their directives they will be very kind and friendly to you. But as soon as you disobey them, they say you have crossed the red line, and should be punished. They are afraid of us, because we know a lot about their behind the seen activities, if the stories are told, it will harm their image and activities.
To them it is not acceptable, to see a member walk away after all the money they spent on him. That is why if they get their hands on us, they will show more brutality than against ordinary people, a cruelty beyond imagination.
Why did you have to leave Iran and what would happen to you if deported back to Iran?
Because after participating in demonstrations of 2009 in University and Engheleb street, they arrested me along with others and took us to special detention facility. When I saw their cruel behavior towards the detainees, I was scared a lot. So I told them I am martyr's son, then I lied and said I was just a passing and by mistake was detained. They interrogated me for hours until they called my mother to come and identify me. Also they asked me to sign a memo, stating that I no longer participate in protests against the regime. I denied my participation in the past protests, but they insisted on their demand.
After I was released, they wanted to control my life even more, by calling me to government sponsored demonstrations such ghods Day and 22 Bahman in support of the Islamic Regime.
I could not tolerated the pressure, insult and abuse and was thinking about struggle for freedom.
Next year, 2010 I participated in the anniversary of the protests, I was arrested again but could run away when the people attacked agents, unfortunately I dropped my ID card at the seen. Few days later a childhood and family friend of mine a high ranking officer in the Martyr Foundation warned me that they have found my ID and issued a warrant for my arrest. He suggested since your name is in the list, it is better to take off immediately go any where but here. I took his advise and ran away with my baby and wife from Iran to take refuge in Sweden.
Final question, what is your expectation from Swedish authorities and human rights organizations?
My expectation is that Swedish authorities believe us ,we are human ,a person. We just want to breath in freedom. I was in harsh and difficult conditions for 30 years. How much a person can tolerate. One will become tired, and will hate himself ,one cannot be indifferent , one cannot see many problems and things and close his eyes. Well, we have put our lives on our hands for this things and have been forced to migrate to the country of Sweden.
I ask and beg Sweden authorities to look at me and all Iranian that have this kind of problems and grant us refugee status in this country ,help us.
At least give us the right to breath and be alive in Sweden.
I would like to ask all the Human Rights organizations capable of helping us please help.
To all the people who are looking for freedom ,we promise, we fight for freedom until the last drop of our blood.
Thanks for sharing your life story with our viewers.