IRDC.IR: Following the firm and coordinated reaction of the clerics, especially Imam Khomeini (RA), towards the tragic incident of the Qom Seminary School, the regime decided to arrest young seminary students and dispatch them to military services under the conscription law in order to exert greater pressures on the clerical institution. This policy, which was adopted in mid-April 1963, created great constraints for seminary schools as a result of which all leading religious authorities in seminary schools were forced to adopt a passive stance.
When the arrest of young clerics for being dispatched to military service was started by the regime, Imam Khomeini (RA) took a welcoming approach towards this measure. As Imam Khomeini (RA) had predicted this measure was associated with detrimental consequences for the regime. Since early days of their presence in barracks and military centers, the young clerics played important roles in exposing the military forces to revolutionary ideas.
Meanwhile, the regime started a psychological war against the clerics in Qom after the tragic incident of the Qom Seminary School. For instance, several loudspeakers had been installed in various squares of the city which broadcasted nonreligious songs. The number of these loudspeakers was increasingly growing. In addition, the police had threatened taxi drivers to refrain from picking up clerics in streets.
Another intriguing plot that the regime used in its psychological war against the movement was the publication of statements on behalf of the National Front or intellectuals. These statements glued on the walls in Qom by police at nights used abusive terminologies against Imam Khomeini (RA). Nevertheless, these measures did not reduce Imam Khomeini (RA)’s popularity. As the SAVAK had acknowledged, despite such a psychological war, Imam Khomeini (RA)’s popularity was on the rise.
On the occasion of the 40th day of the tragic incident of the Qom Seminary School, mourning ceremonies were held in Najaf, Mashhad, Qom, Tehran, and other cities. The ceremony in Tehran organized on behalf of Ayatollah Hakim in the Ark Mosque was the scene of clashes between people and security forces as a result of which several people were arrested. The 40th day of the tragic incident of the Qom Seminary School provided a good opportunity for the Marjaeyat, Olama, clerics, and Imam Khomeini (RA) to expose criminal acts of the Shah’s regime and clarify the real objectives of his government. As a result of these mourning ceremonies, massive hatred towards the regime greatly intensified.
Upon approaching the lunar month of Muharram, the leadership of the movement was trying to further associate the uprising of the Iranian nation with Imam Hussein (PBUH)’s historical movement. Imam Khomeini (RA) tried to take the best advantage of Muharram mourning ceremonies for enhancing the Islamic movement in Iran and prepared young clerics and seminary students for an unremitting political campaign. He invited the Olama and preachers throughout the country to get mobilized in a firm confrontation with the regime.
A few weeks before the start of the lunar month of Muharram (final days of May 1963), Imam Khomeini (RA) had an intensified working schedule. He realized that people’s sympathy with the movement, which had been enhanced during the mourning ceremonies on the occasion of the 40th day of the tragic incident of the Qom Seminary School, would subside gradually and a passive atmosphere would be prevalent over seminary schools and the clerical establishment. Therefore, Imam Khomeini (RA) endeavored to enliven the movement during the month of Muharram.
He issued a message on the occasion of the 40th day of the tragic event of the Qom Seminary School in May 2nd, 1963. During the next ten days, too, he issued several regional or national messages. During this period, Imam Khomeini (RA) made several speeches the most important of which was delivered in may 23rd, 1963. In this speech, he expressed his dissatisfaction with the pace of the movement and invited all the people and seminary students in Qom and Najaf to participate in a divine uprising. Raising a harsh criticism against the Shah, Imam Khomeini (RA) introduced the monarch as the real perpetrator of these tragic incidents.
Upon approaching the lunar month of Muharram, the SAVAK sketched a plan in order to thwart possible provocative acts of clerics during this month and circulated this plan among various SAVAK provincial headquarters. In the executive section of this plan, the SAVAK had urged its provincial headquarters to "contact with boards of trustees of mosques and managers of mourning ceremonies to concentrate on mere religious issues and warn their preachers against anti-regime and provocative preaching.
It is, therefore, necessary to adopt appropriate measures to prevent trouble-making and belligerent elements from preaching during the mourning period of Muharram.”
The SAVAK’s prediction was true. The clerical institution intended to challenge the Shah’s authoritarianism and his foreign supporters. However, Imam Khomeini (RA) issued a statement just a week before the start of Muharram (May 24th, 1963) which frustrated the SAVAK officials. In a statement addressed to religious preachers and organizers of mourning ceremonies, Imam Khomeini (RA) pointed out that the regime intends to have preachers and organizers of mourning ceremonies pledged not to provoke people. "These pledges have no legal justification and those who urge such pledges are guilty and subject to legal prosecution.”
In that year, the Muharram mourning ceremonies were observed by an unprecedented massive and sympathetic participation of the people. During these few days, following preachers delivered their sermons in various mourning ceremonies in Tehran and turned these ceremonies into centers of political campaign against the regime: Hojjatoleslam Falsafi, Hajj Sheikh Abbassali Eslami, Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatollah Morteza Mottahari, Hajj Sheikh Fazlollah Mahalati, Hajj Seyed Gholamhussein Shirazi, Hojjatoleslam Etemadzadeh, Hajj Sheikh Jafar Khandaqabadi, Hajj Sheikh Bagher Nahavandi, Seyed Abdolreza Hejazi, Hajj Ashraf Kashani, Mousavi Shirazi, Hojjatoleslam Moghadasian, Hajj Seyed Ahmad Husseini Hamadani, …
Upon approaching the tenth of Muharram (Ashura), the followers of Imam Khomeini (RA) became more and more determined to demonstrate their protest against the regime. The Islamic Allied Association and its extended network of powerful organization decided to concentrate on supporting the clerical institution during the mourning ceremonies of Ashura in Tehran. The day after Ashura, a massive demonstration took place in front of the Tehran University.
Intelligence sources of the regime had predicted such a massive demonstration and, therefore, refrained from further provocative acts. For this reason, General Pakravan, the chief of SAVAK, issued a circulation and ordered SAVAK headquarters in various cities "to maintain their full preparedness” during mourning ceremonies of Ashura and Tasoua (9th and 10th of Muharram) and "refrain from any friction with mourners, preachers, and clerics to the utmost possible extent in these two days.”
Referring to firebrand clerics in his circulation, General Pakravan added "The names and identities of such clerics will be listed and necessary decisions will be made about them after the termination of mourning ceremonies.” After Ashura, the regime issued necessary orders to arrest provocative preachers and clerics in Tehran as a result of which 57 preachers and clerics were arrested.
During the Muharram of 1963, an explosive political atmosphere was prevalent over the city of Qom. Qom was the center of Shiite protests against the Shah’s regime and thousands of Moslems were following the developments in this city with great concern. Hundreds of mourning groups from all over the country had arrived to Qom in order to express their allegiance to the leadership of the Islamic movement.
Refrence: An Introduction to Islamic Revolution in Iran. Rouhollah Husseinian