Rooz Exclusive Interview with Mohammad-Reza Motamednia
During the first decade of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, Mohammad-Reza Motamednia was a trusted and respected loyal son of the revolution. At one time, he was the executive advisor to the high military command and entrusted with the position of a top logistics authority for the 8-year Iran-Iraq war. He was also the special envoy of
three Prime Ministers, Rajai, Bahonar and Mousavi. Today however, he is confined to a cell in Iran’s most notorious detention center in Tehran’s Evin prison after being sentenced on charges of engaging in propaganda against the Islamic republic.
Rooz spoke with Motamednia’s family members about their prisoner. They revealed that their political prisoner was on a hunger strike in protest against existing conditions and added that he had announced his determination to continue his strike until the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement were released from house arrest.
Speaking to Rooz, the prisoner’s son, Meisam Motamednia, said, “My father is fully committed to the path he has chosen and nobody can stop him. We have to respect his decision while we are deeply concerned about his health.”
Motamednia began his strike last Monday and announced that he was doing it in protest to, “all the cruelty, pressure, injustice and in defense of the blood of all martyrs of the Islamic republic and as a respect for all the national beliefs” and added that he would continue his strike until “Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karoubi were completely released from their house arrest.”
This one-time regime insider, announced his message from inside the prison and proclaimed that if his conditions were not met within 45 days, he would expand his strike to and limit his food to only water which he would not take from sunrise to sunset. His son also told Rooz that the senior Motamednia had been moved to a solitary cell in the prison’s infamous Ward 240 without any visitations.
Rooz asked about their last visit and Meisam said, “That was last Monday when he had begun his hunger strike. No news since then. He did not say anything about a hunger strike when we saw him. His personality is such that he generally does not reveal his issues openly, and so he made no direct reference to a hunger strike. We noticed that he intended to do this through his talk. We only suspected this at the time. When we came home, we read his announcement that he had begun his hunger strike on websites, confirming our fears and suspicions.”
We told him that the regime was unlikely to release the Green Movement leaders, so what did he think about the situation. “I respect my father and he is more than that to me as a freedom-loving person. We cannot stop him from his decision,” Meisam explained.
Talking about the changes in the country, we asked whether they ever suspected that their father would one day end up in prison. “Never. We could not even imagine something like this. My father was part of the revolution and would defend it even when we complained about some things. He believed in the regime and had made a commitment to serve the people’s revolution. Even in his latest letter published on the websites, he considers himself to be the son of the revolution and people. We never thought he could end up in prison, let alone a day when he would give up his life and go on a hunger strike,” Meisam said.
We asked about the charges against Motamednia, and his son said, “My father was arrested in 2009. He initially spent 2 months in solitary confinement of the Revolutionary Guards detention center. Then he was released but the 26 bench of the revolutionary court charged him with engaging in propaganda against the regime and sentenced him to a year in prison. He has been in Evin’s Ward 350 since 2011 but more recently has been transferred to the notorious Ward 240 of the same prison. The charges against my father were never true. He worked within the constitution at the headquarters of one of the presidential candidates that the regime itself had okayed and did not do anything unlawful. But apparently there were plans from the past in other quarters and so every member of Mr. Mousavi’s presidential campaign was arrested and imprisoned.”
In conclusion, Meisam said that such massive arrests, imprisonments etc would not solve problems. None of the problems have been solved during the last three years despite the harsh oppressive measures. I hope officials and authorities wake up and till then I hold them and judiciary officials responsible for my father’s fate, and those of other prisoners.