[During a talk by Hassan Abbasi, IRGC officer and head of its think-tank ‘Center for Borderless Security Doctrinal Analysis’, he is criticized by a university student for his hypocrisy: he wants to freely criticize whoever he wants, but calls everyone else who criticizes the establishment ‘spy’ and seditionist’, not saying a word the injustice to them.]
Hassan Abbasi accuses Rouhani of being supporter of the British: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, until we get to 1995, 1996, and 1997. Why did you write ‘Dr. Rouhani’ when it was in 1998 that you went to England to get your PhD from the British? What happened, Mr. Rouhani, that you became staunch supporter of the Britain?
Abbasi predicts Rouhani’s cabinet members’ escape from Iran: I promise you that when this government’s term is over, many of these people will escape from the country, just as did Mr.[Attaollah] Mohajerani, some of the ministers, theoreticians, journalists, etc.
A student says: If they don’t put them in handcuffs, they won’s escape. If they don’t put them in handcuffs, they won’s escape.
Hassan Abbasi replies: If they dare, they will stay!
A student insists on his own position: Don’t put them in handcuffs, they will stay!
Hassan Abbasi denies prosecution of the critics of the government: Who has put them in handcuffs? Are they in handcuffs now? If they are telling the truth, they will come and respond. Don’t waste your energy, dear friend. Don’t say such things. Pay close attention…. What disqualification? He is a spy. What disqualification? Do you believe in people? Do you believe in the country? You don’t believe in them. I was hit by shrapnel, how about you. In this country, who is put in handcuffs?
A student asks about a reformist figure who has been in jail for many years: Where is [Mostafa] Tajzadeh?
Hassan Abbasi replies: Tajzadeh deserved it. He deserved it. They should have executed Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, and Karroubi.
A student starts his attack on Abbasi: Please. Let me ask my question. Unlike you, who are naturally supported by the organizers of this session, I don’t want to shout loudly so that I might be applauded by the crowd. And that’s not important for me. I just want to say my words. I was going to ask you about economic issues, conspiracy theories, and strategies that you talked about.
The student continues: But then 60%, 70% of your talk was about going to court, and the fact that the government does not let you talk. That is exactly my question. I thank God that Mr. Hassan Abbasi has gone to court so many times for criticizing Dr. Rouhani’s government. He went to court, but returned. And today he can talk to students in a state university…Please do not applaud. Please don’t applaud…. And he is allowed to compare Dr. Rouhani with Bani Sadr [first president after the revolution, who escaped Iran], ask for execution, and imprisoning the cabinet ministers
The student continues his criticism by asking why Abbasi has not used his position to defend the students who were imprisoned during Ahmadinejad’s government: That is all very good. But Mr. Abbasi I just want to know—well you defend Mr. Ahmadinejad everywhere—during 8 years of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government, we the students criticized, and our place and our friends’ place was in prison for 5, 6 years. During those 8 years, you had access to IRIB, the universities, and the Center. Did you even once protest the fact that students are in prison for making criticism?
The student jokingly says he is afraid something might happen to Abbasi for zealously shouting: I am afraid because you are soaked in sweat [something might happen to you]. You have gone to war front. And we owe you. I owe everyone who had gone to war front. But I am scared something might happen to you for all the rage that you show against Rouhani and Hashemi Rafsanjani….
The student mentions the example of a university instructor and many students in prison: Today there is a teacher called Mahmoud Beheshti who is in prison, just for making criticism. And due to hunger strike, his stomach is bleeding. Many students—Bahareh Hedayat, Seyed Zia Nabavi, Majid Noori, Majid Tavakoli—all these students were in prison. And 60%, 70% of your talk was that ‘as soon as I talk, they summon me to court.’ ‘Rouhani’s government does not let me talk. Hashemi Rafsanjani’s government did not let me talk.’ Well I say that you should thank God that you go to court and return.
The student points out to the double standard: After the court, your share is university, but the share of students, teachers, and workers is prison! As a person who think of himself as believing in Islam and values, you always use your tribune to promote and defend your own factional and partisan interests. And you use the worst language and words that is all prosecutable, but you never say a word about those who were treated unjustly in past 20 or 30 years, or even in the past 8 years.The student concludes: If you paid close attention, you could see that I was not after anyone’s applause. And even if 80% of the people here are from Basij and are against my words, I think that if they are human beings, we can all agree that nobody likes it when people are in prison for adverse criticism, and are in hospital for hunger strike. And whoever has conscience disagrees with sentences such as ‘all are spies’, ‘all are seditionists’, and ‘whoever is in prison has taken money from Americas.’