We must be Awake while You Are Asleep

Compiled by: Iranian Islamic Revolution Website
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


We wanted to set an exhibition, and I got a mission to come to Nasser Khosro Street, Haj Naib alley, where most of the publications and religious bookstores were located in there. At that time, the market for these types of books was extremely busy, unlike now, that it is not. Books encouraging struggle were at the top of books read by young people and students. I decided to go to Haj Naib alley with one of my friends named Mr. Mohammad Safaei, who was a classmate. Because of my background and experience with the people around me, I was always careful not to get caught in the tours of SAVAK. I told this friend that we were going to meet at the phone booths under Shams-ul-Amara, which was a busy place for people in the market. I said that we will wait there, but we should not wait more than two minutes, because if we wait in one place, we will be caught by SAVAK patrols. On the other hand, I also had a bag in my hand that I was carrying with me in order to buy books. This dear friend apparently did not come at all. We waited by this phone booth as if we were waiting for someone to come out and then we waited inside the phone booth. After a short time, the people who were in the phone line finished their work, and I was left alone. Of course, I went inside the counter a couple of times and took the phone and came back out to see that our friend did not come. Maybe five minutes. Here, I guessed that I might be under surveillance and planned to go to the other side of the street where the Shams-ul-Amara garage was at that time and where cars and buses were located. The main bus center of Tehran was in Shams-ul-Amara. People there bought tickets and traveled to cities by bus. Shams-ul-Amara garage had very high model buses and they took passengers to all parts of the country. There was a newsstand in front of the Shams-ul-Amara garage. I said that I will go there to look at these magazines and newspapers and at the same time look across the street to call my friend if he comes. Believe me, it wasn't even a minute that we were looking and my hand was in my pocket. Then a person with a gun in his hand facing us and facing the people dispersed the crowd. A quick body inspection was done at the corner of the wall and I was quickly transferred to the car. SAVAK's forces had Volvo cars and French Peugeot. At that time, I had a pick-up car with a cargo roof, and I came with it. Seven thousand toman (Iranian currency) was the total amount, there was also zero, and I used to pay two or three hundred toman a month, I worked with him, and paid for the car with his money As soon as we got into SAVAk's car, all the stories we had heard appeared in front of our eyes. They put me behind the car and blindfolded me. Usually it was like this that one person was the driver, one was next to him, and two people were behind, and whoever they caught, they would sit in the middle and put their head down and start asking questions. Inside my bag was a book called "Islam in Iran" written by Petroshevsky, which I had taken from the library of the faculty of literature, and it had a library seal. Because of having this book, they were very sensitive that you apparently also read communist books and labeled me as a "communist". I completely rejected this claim. And one of them said, what is this Petroshevsky book inside the bag? I said that my major is history and my professor introduced this book as a textbook. This was while the professors in the university had not introduced the book, but I had studies outside the class and had taken the book from the library myself. You should have pretended that you didn't know them at all. I tried to control my nerves and not show any fear on my face. Then the patrol car took us near the Ministry of Justice in front of Park, between Nasser Khosro and the Park. Because the officers had not blindfolded me well, I knew where we were going all along the way, and the moment they stopped next to the courthouse and talked to their colleagues on the wireless, I happily and confidently said that if you do not have anything to say and do not have any orders. Here are the cars of Naziabad and please drop them off so that I can go to our house. Their leader, who was sitting in front, said in a very bad and ugly tone: "Is this your aunt's house where we can walk you?" wait. In short, they called them and they said what is wrong? And they informed the contents of the bag and book. They said bring him here so we can see what the situation is. From here on, my calculation was that if it took more time to reach our destination, it would be clear that I would be transferred to Evin prison in the north of Tehran. On the contrary, if the route was too short, it is clear that they would take me to the Joint Anti-Sabotage Committee, which was located nearby the city park. During the transfer, I prayed a lot that the destination would be Evin Prison rather than the Joint Committee; because the joint committee in the fifties was more famous than any other place as the torture place of the regime. We ourselves had heard from different people about the terrible tortures there, and what we had heard indicated that whoever passed through the committee, it was not known whether he would return safely. Ironically, we saw that they dropped us off in a very short time. The officers took us by the arm and led us into the yard. We played a movie here and I was pulling my hand away from the officers as if a car was coming to run me over. Again, with high confidence, I said that I am very happy that you are awake and taking care of the country so much! They also said that we should be awake while you are asleep! The joint committee has one of these iron doors, the bottom of which is in the form of a plate. Later I heard that the Germans had built this prison.[1]


[1]Mohsen, Beheshti-Saresht, From Naziabad to Qasr prison: oral memoirs of Dr. Mohsen Beheshti-Saresht (1978-1956 A.H.), interviewed and edited by Yaghob Khazaei, Tehran, Andishe Nagaristan, 2021, pp. 59-62.


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