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Mohammad Nourizad’s dissidence to the Iranian government comes in the form of admonishing, public letters.

In his letters, Mohammad Nourizad accused the “father” – Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – of being surrounded by corruption, and dared him to cease military rule to see what happens [EPA]

Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Iranians around the globe these days are mesmerised in anticipation of the next public letter that Mohammad Nourizad will write to Ali Khamenei.

Much is happening in Iran these days, all under the radar of the Arab Spring and its cataclysmic consequences, whilst the US and its regional allies’ counter-revolutionary designs to halt and derail the Arab Spring laser-beams on the Iranian nuclear project. These events, exemplified by Nourizad’s letters and the public reaction to them, can only be understood in dialectical reciprocity with the world-historic events turning the region upside down, with the tsunami of the Arab revolts in particular, and with full recognition of the US-Israeli-Saudi attempts to alter their course to their respective benefits. The import of these events will remain entirely bewildering if left to the limited means of the nativist Iranian expat “opposition”, with their “Iran über alles” motto, or to those non-Iranians habitually severing the Arab uprisings from the democratic landscape of the region.

The letters of Mohammad Nourizad are now known and counted by their numbers – now only five, then 10, and by the end of 2011 they had amounted to no less than 15. These letters are written and published publicly to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei. The reaction of Iranians to these letters all comes together to mark a critical passage in contemporary Iranian political culture with ramifications for the region at large.

Nourizad publishes his letters initially in his website, and from there they go viral – millions of Iranians around the globe read them, jaws dropping in admiration of his courage, his diction, his tenacity. He pulls no punches.

These letters are punctiliously polite, written in an exceedingly genteel diction, never crossing the boundaries of propriety – and then quickly they cut to the chase and expose the horrors of the Islamic Republic.– Hamid Dabashi

These letters are punctiliously polite, written in an exceedingly genteel diction, never crossing the boundaries of propriety – and then quickly, they cut to the chase and expose the horrors of the Islamic Republic, its military and intelligence establishments, chapter and verse. For Mohammad Nourizad was, once, an insider.

Change of heart

Mohammad Nourizad (born on December 10, 1952) is an Iranian filmmaker and journalist. He studied engineering, but turned quickly to journalism and filmmaking, and put his talents at the service of the Islamic Republic. His journalistic career is tied with the arch-conservative daily Keyhan, where he was a columnist, making a name and reputation for himself as quite a prominent conservative supporter of Ayatollah Khamenei and a severe opponent of the Reform Movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s, as led by the two-term President Mohammad Khatami. But something happened to Nourizad in the aftermath of June 2009 presidential election – something that must have been brewing in him for a much longer time. When it emerged, it morphed into a principled critical judgment against the status quo – with a moral clarity impossible to ignore.

In three successive letters, written soon after the disputed presidential election of June 2009, Nourizad politely admonished Khamenei for taking sides with Ahmadinejad and not recognising presidential candidates Mir Hossein Musavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and the former president Mohammad Khatami as true friends and the true supporter of the Islamic Republic. He denounced the brutal crackdown of the people, and asked Khamenei to apologise to Iranians and call for a national reconciliation.

Soon after he published these letters to Khamenei, Nourizad was arrested in April 2010, sentenced and jailed. But from his jail, he continued to write letters, his tone even more adamant, his revelations even more damaging, but still polite, warning Khamenei that he had lost the confidence of the people, that Iranians were kept from revolting only by vicious and brutal military suppression and intimidation. He dared the Supreme Leader to cease the military rule and see what will happen.

While he was in jail, suffering in solitary confinement, Nourizad’s wife appealed for his release, as did scores of prominent Iranian filmmakers – all to no avail. Meanwhile, Nourizad was severely beaten in prison, in response to which he went on a hunger strike. His jailers asked him to repent and write to Khamenei for clemency. He did no such thing. He continued to write, until his pregnant daughter asked him to stop for her sake, which he did; his next public letter was to his daughter instead, continuing to expose

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درباره محمد نوری زاد

با کمی فاصله از تهران، در روستای یوسف آباد صیرفی شهریار به دنیا آمدم. در تهران به تحصیل ادامه دادم. ابتدایی، دبیرستان، دانشگاه. انقلاب فرهنگی که دانشگاهها را به تعطیلی کشاند، ابتدا به آموزش و پرورش رفتم و سپس در سال 1359 به جهاد سازندگی پیوستم. آشنایی من با شهید آوینی از همین سال شروع شد. علاوه بر فعالیت های اصلی ام در جهاد وزارت نیرو، شدم مجری برنامه های تلویزیونی جهاد سازندگی. که به مناطق محروم کشور سفر می کردم و برنامه های تلویزیونی تهیه می کردم. طوری که شدم متخصص استانهای سیستان و بلوچستان و هرمزگان. در تابستان سال 1361 تهران را رها کردم و با خانواده ی کوچکم کوچیدم به منطقه ی محروم بشاگرد. به کوهستانی درهم فشرده و داغ و بی آب و علف در آنسوی بندرعباس و میناب. سال 1364 به تهران بازآمدم. درحالی که مجری برنامه های روایت فتح بودم به مناطق جنگی می رفتم و از مناطق عملیاتی گزارش تهیه می کردم. بعد از جنگ به مستند سازی روی بردم. و بعد به داستانی و سینمایی. از میان مستندهای متنوع آن سالهای دور، مجموعه ی “روی خط مرز” و از سریالهای داستانی: پروانه ها می نویسند، چهل سرباز، و از فیلمهای سینمایی: انتظار، شاهزاده ی ایرانی، پرچم های قلعه ی کاوه را می شود نام برد. پانزده جلدی نیز کتاب نوشته ام. عمدتاً داستان و نقد و مقاله های سیاسی و اجتماعی و فرهنگی. حوادث خونین سال 88 بساط فکری مرا درهم کوفت. در آذرماه همان سال بخاطر سه نامه ی انتقادی به رهبر و یک نامه ی انتقادی به رییس قوه ی قضاییه زندانی شدم. یک سال و نیم بعد از زندان آزاد شدم. اکنون ممنوع الخروجم. و نانوشته: برکنار از فعالیت حرفه ای ام.

امکان درج نظر میسر نمیباشد.

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