Gorbachev’s response to Imam Khomeini:

''Your message has deep concerns about the fate of mankind''

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''Your message has deep concerns about the fate of mankind''

On January 4th 1989 Imam Khomeini’s message was delivered to Gorbachev by his selected delegations who were Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Mohammad Javad Larijani and Mrs. Marzieh Hadidehchi Dabbaq. Eight weeks later Gorbachev delivered his response to Imam Khomeini by the then Soviet foreign minister, Edward Shevardnadze in Tehran. Gorbachev saw a great value to Imam’s message in his response, but it was clear that he had not understood the spiritual dimensions of Imam’s message. Because he had first tried to describe his activities for promoting political freedom in the Soviet Union and then he had described the achievements of a communist economic from 1917 till now. In the meeting between Eduard Shevardnadze, those days Soviet foreign minister, and Imam Khomeini, Ali Akbar Velayati, those days Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Larijani, deputy of the foreign minister and a member of the delegation, and Alireza Nobari, then the Iranian ambassador to the Soviet Union were also present.

In this meeting the Soviet foreign minister along with delivering Mikhail Gorbachev’s written response to Imam Khomeini informed about its contents. Shevardnadze started: “I am thankful of the great Imam for giving us this time to meet him. I have a mission to deliver the response letter of Mikhail Sergey Gorbachev to Imam. I will try to inform you about its contents briefly. At first I must say the fact of exchanging messages between the two leaders is a unique issue in our relationships. I believe that there is a condition for having a new quality of relationship between the two countries, for cooperating in all issues... Mr. Gorbachev, in his message, declares that your message to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union has rich contents… All members of the state committee of the Soviet Union have read your message. There is no doubt that we agree with many major points, but there are some points which we disagree, but this is not important…”

He continued: “In your message there are deep concerns about the destiny of mankind. Mr. Gorbachev believe that we have consensus in the most important matter, this issue that mankind should help each other so that humanity will be eternal. If the humans do not unite, there would be a tragedy and a disaster waiting for them, because the potential materials for this disaster have been made by themselves. Mr. Gorbachev believes that fighting for a non-nuclear weapon world and a world free of oppression is a duty for all nations…”

The Soviet foreign minister said: “And about the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, we seek to extend the preference of common values for all nations and to superior these values to all other interests, despite which class they belong to and rather they are national or not… Mr. Gorbachev writes you that Imam’s sayings about goodwill of the Iranian leader towards having a good relation and neighboring with the Soviet Union had a great response by the Soviet leaders. We share a long border, and also we have a great history of relations and cultural cooperation between the two nations… We have a good base for continuing our relations on new basis, which are mutual respect, equality of our rights and non-interference in internal affairs of one another… Mr. Gorbachev writes that in our international policies we follow one basic principle and that is respecting the freedom of selection for each person and nation. As a result our country and our entire nation have welcomed your great revolution. The monarchy tyranny in Iran had exploited the people and used barbaric methods and had disgraced the honor of its people for gaining the satisfaction of foreign forces. Your revolution was what your nation selected and we do and will support this selection… Mr. Gorbachev writes in his letter that our nation has done their selection too and that was in 1917. There have been major problems on our way, and also great success has been achieved and serious mistakes have been made and also the human rights has been violated which we’ll correct these problems of ours and also condemn them. Despite all of our problems we had defended our achievements, because the selection of our people was correct…”

Shevardnadze remarked: “I wanted to inform you that the issue of freedom of selection is also a daily concern of today’s world. We have a question of ourselves: “should our path be an old and dogmatic path or should it be a new and revolutionary path?” We have picked the second path, we have a revolution in our country, but a peaceful revolution without any trenches and forces, we wanted the great Imam to know that in our country the process of renewing and reconstructing is going on. The political and economic reconstructing, the renewing of our assessments and thoughts, the renewing of the ideas which we used to have… Mr. Gorbachev remarks that great developments have happened in the recent world, I think we could say that we are entering a new economic and political system era… There have been some important agreements for demolishing one type of nuclear weapons… There is a foresight for demolishing chemical weapons and also a great foresight for preventing countries from wars. But this is not a gift from the imperialists; this is the will of the nations and time…”

He continued: “There is no other way, the weapon race and bringing it to the space will cause a human disaster. In different parts of the world bloody conflicts are being finished… we completely welcome the finishing of Iran and Iraq’s war, we are ready to cooperate with you for establishing peace in the Middle East and the entire world… The large military presence in the Persian Gulf is our concern. I mean the military presence of countries from outside the region. This is a dangerous issue and it should end… We are also willing to cooperate with you for solving the Afghanistan conflict justly; we should let the Afghan people decide for their life without any foreign interference…”

Shevardnadze continued: “Another point about Mr. Gorbachev’s message, he is ready for expanding our economic relations and also the cooperation which we used to have…We are also ready for making connections between people, social union members and clergies… Your Excellency’s invitation to Qom was heard by our Muslim clergies, I have no doubt that they will use give a positive response to your invitation.”

At the end, the special envoy of the Soviet leader said: “These were the main contents of Mr. Gorbachev’s message… He sends you his best wishes and regards… He wishes a long living for your Excellency in the favor of the Iranian nation’s welfare…”

[At the end Imam said]: “May he, live in health by God’s will, but till him that I wanted to open a bigger space in front of you… I wanted to open a door to a greater world, I mean the after death world which is an eternal world for Mr. Gorbachev and my main message in that letter was this. I hope that he’ll try again in this issue…”

[Imam welcomed the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, and he also stressed on having good relations and to expand the relation between the countries against the west’s movements and he also emphasized on the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Persian Gulf, and he wished for the people of Iran and the Soviet Union to live in peace and calmness forever.]