A former senior Islamic theologian and prominent advocate of democracy in Iran and one of the leaders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, who died in 2009, gave an informative interview before his demise speaking about a proposal put forward to help the Iranian regime build goodwill between regional countries, which was unfortunately never adopted.
In the interview, which was only shown in December 2014 five years after his death, the distinguished cleric, Hussein-Ali Montazeri, talked about the principal reasons behind about the outbreak of the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq from 1980-88, recalling a conversation that took place in the period shortly after the 1979 revolution before the war began: “The issue of the war actually began when the Islamic revolution broke out in 1979 in the country”.
He added, “We were creating and chanting bombastic slogans about exporting the revolution, like ‘Today Iran, tomorrow it will be Iraq’s turn, and after Iraq other countries’. This strident rhetoric caused neighbouring countries to be fearful. I went to visit the late Ayatollah Khomeini, whose home was opposite my own, and Ayatollah Yazdi was also there. I said to Khomeini that when revolution breaks out in countries, those nations often establish boards called ‘goodwill boards’, which send envoys to neighbouring countries to reassure them that we don’t have a problem with them and this is nothing to do with them, and our records and ties will continue as they were before. Unfortunately, however, we hadn’t gone through with this, and [I said] it would be better to do it as soon as possible because now Saddam Hussein is whispering about war.”