close button
Switch to Iranwire Light?
It looks like you’re having trouble loading the content on this page. Switch to Iranwire Light instead.

Heshmat Tabarzadi: Message to My Interrogator

May 6, 2016
Message the Torturers and the Murderers
2 min read

Each of us have perhaps found ourselves in a situation where we have been bullied by somebody in a powerful position, and remained silent out of expediency or fear. He or she may have been a friend, the neighborhood bully, an interrogator, or even a murderer.

Now imagine that years after the distressing event you have the chance to talk to that person and tell him how you felt, what you think and whatever else is on your mind.

IranWire asked a number of political and civil activists and artists who have been the victims of interrogators, or have been forced to be separated from their families, to imagine they are in the interrogation room and are able to talk to their bully, send him a message, or speak to those responsible for victimizing their family members.

In this part of the series, Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour asked journalist and political activist Heshmat Tabarzadi, Secretary-General of Iran Democratic Front, to send a message to his interrogator. Tabarzadi was also an early member of the Office for Consolidating Unity, a major student organization that was formed at the time of 1979 Islamic Revolution. He has been arrested and imprisoned many times. He was released from prison in June 2015.

“Under the Shah, when you told a government agent that what he was doing was wrong, he would give a clichéd answer,” Tabarzadi tells his interrogators. “‘I am just obeying orders,’ they would say. ‘You are doing the same thing. So what is the difference? What was the revolution for? You and people like you throw hundreds of journalists, bloggers, students, lawyers and civil rights and human rights activists into jail. You blindfold them and keep them in  solitary confinement under inhuman conditions. You torture them mentally and physically for month. You want to reshape their characters.”

Tabarzadi goes on to describe the interrogator’s obsession with control. “You want to make us into what you want and control us by repeated interrogations, by tiresome ideological arguments, by keeping us disconnected from the outside world.”

But Tabarzadi, long heralded as one of Iran’s most tireless activists, insists on the dignity of those, like him, who have been subjected to interrogations. “People like me are not criminals. But you see us as deviants who must be set straight. You see us as the opponents of the state whose path to paradise is very narrow. So you must crush us. But suppose you did crush us. It is an inhuman thing to do and it goes against all religions.”

Like others in this series, Tabarzadi concludes that in the end, these methods can never succeed, and that those who carry out such crimes will repent. “Eventually you will repent as others did before you,” he says.

IranWire has recorded a number of messages from victims. And perhaps you have had similar experiences as well. If you have, we ask you to participate in this project. For more information — technical or otherwise — email us at [email protected].