Do you believe that France backed Imam on the course of revolution?

Answer: According to some oppositions of the Islamic revolution Shah was glad once got informed that Imam’s gone to Franc, because first he’d gone to the western block and just as he [Shah] was a dependent of west he could pretend his most serious opposition as a west’s refugee too. Second he thought that the transparent journalism of west will divulge Imam’s stance – which Shah found fanatic – clearly and so Imam will be then derided by western people and run to a margin.

Yet Shah was worried about the probability that Imam’s expressions become more inclusive and the revolution reaches more strength. So he asked the French government to make restrictions for Imam. As a consequence of that the French government made an announcement for Imam’s entourage not issue any declaration or hold interviews.  But the on-going factor that would prevent France to ever stop Imam from his activities laid in a start up from Najaf, which his late son Mr. Ahmad related it so:

“After Imam’s interview with Le Monde (in Najaf) a torrent of requests from papers and other international media from all over the world began to be received, they all asked for interviewing Imam. A flood of requests that indicated the thirst of the world for information about Iran and the Imam’s thought and stances. The interview that Imam made with Le Monde was so moving and outstanding that caused doubts and badly awakened the audience against the world’s perception from Iran as an aisle of security and stability. Everybody wanted to know that how Imam in a corner of a room as small as 2 by 3 square metres is going to cause the great quake in Iran that he was talking about and how he’s trying to spread the good news of a great Islamic revolution. On the other hand Iran and Iraq were embarrassed more than other countries, since Imam was running Iran [towards revolution] from Iraq. Iraqi government had officially messaged Imam not to make any interview, and inform them of any demand as such. In a condition like that we took the request of France national radio and television interview. Before arrival of French reporters the Iraqi intelligence that’d been informed of the story and fully prepared to prevent the interview. I informed my very good friends and we made a plan of acting in a way that the Iraqis never sense the event. The Iraqi securities were on a carful watch all around our residence as well as the street and even the little alley which brought people to our place.  Through a European friend we first informed the French convoy about the trouble, told them to move through a remote route and met them somewhere far from our place and directed them to our home through another gate of the residence which was not under Iraqi’s surveillance. They had left their heavy equipment of recording, such as T.V cameras and gadgets of the like in a street farther than our residence, and for being heavy they had to be moved in [by a truck] through the main street. Just in a moment after delivering the equipment in, we heard the door’s opening and the men of Iraqi government entered the house and tried to stop the interview. Once they got in, I locked the gate. It was then that they figured out they’d been imprisoned in our house and could not do anything. They were asking persistently to let them out but I didn’t. Interview was over, reporters left, and after a while the Iraqi men quickly left our house or better to say got out of their jail. We heard later that the reporters had been arrested in Baghdad but before getting captured they had already sent their tapes somehow away. As an aftermath of this event the Iraqis dealing with Imam became so tough and rough and soon after Imam was on his way to Kuwait and after that to France. The French government then forbade publication of Imam’s interview and did not allow anyone afterward to interview Imam. Later on one day I found the interview published on Figaro while the French T.V hadn’t yet broadcast it. And long later I heard that Figaro have bought the interview from the French Radio & T.V in a price equal to 500 thousands Toman.

The story about how interviews began is also an interesting one…beginning of interviews would have been done mostly in kind of negotiation style; in this way that no Q & A were put and the editors of Le Monde and Figaro would’ve been received by Imam and [talked to him then] published their talks and said these words were not what the French government forbade. [Things went on so] until the French people’s minds [naturally] became interested in the matter so that the government was obliged to allow Imam’s interviews to get published”.[1]      

[1] Sahifa Imam, v3, p466 – 467.

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