The following are excerpts from a report about the movement of “martyrdom seekers” in Iran. Al-Arabiya TV aired this report on July 2, 2005.
Martyrdom-seeking movement member Vesaly: My name is Vesaly… We are first and foremost Muslims and it is our duty to defend our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We don’t need permission from anybody. This has to do with our religious duty and responsibilities. This is our choice, and we have no fear. We adhere to the legacy of our late leader, Imam Khomeini.
Crowd: There is no God but Allah. There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.
Reporter: These young women have forsaken the temptations of life, and have taken the hard way. Indeed, they have chosen martyrdom as a way of liberating the Islamic lands. This is what they say.
40,000 time bombs in Iran — this is the number of volunteers so far, and the registration is still open. There is no distinction between men and women, Sunnis or Shiites. “We all sacrifice for the sake of Islam,” they chant. This is the movement of martyrdom seekers, whose goals and organizational structure are still unclear. They refused to give further details, but did not conceal their determination to sacrifice their lives. The reason — what America has done in the holy places of Najaf and Karbala.
Firooz Rajai, a movement leader: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The movement of martyrdom seekers began after the American campaign against Najaf and Karbala in Iraq over a year ago. The religious scholars decided that such a movement should be established in this country, whose majority are Shiites, in order to support their brothers, especially following the experience of the war that was forced on Iran by the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
Reporter: This is a symbolic grave of the first man who tried to get rid of Salman Rushdi. Here, there are also symbolic graves commemorating the people who killed hundreds of American and French soldiers in Lebanon, in 1983.
This young mother from Palestine, who sacrificed her life and blew herself up at an Israeli checkpost, is a role model for the movement’s members, who believe this is the only way to liberate the Palestinian lands, and especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Firooz Rajai: In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. We will not allow the Zionists to build their Solomon Temple in the place where the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands. They have not succeeded so far, and they never will. We are willing to sacrifice our bodies and souls to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Our goal is to achieve martyrdom by way of true Jihad. This is the true path to which we strive. We don’t need a fatwa on this, since we get our fatwas from the Koran and from all the authorities on Islamic law. We vow to turn into bombs that will explode at anyone who wishes to desecrate our holy places.
Reporter: The movement denies any connection to the Iranian government, and considers itself an independent organization. Although the government occasionally expresses reservations about the movement of martyrdom seekers and its operations, the movement has used government buildings for its training, and some Revolutionary Guards members have publicly defended them.
Iranian MP Hamid-Reza Haji-Babai: Martyrdom seekers may exist in every country, and in Iran, they have beliefs that they hold sacred. This is a popular movement, which cannot take the form of an organization. Iran has so far managed, in a democratic and diplomatic way, to maintain relations with all countries, and preserve its status, despite the American hostility. The American oppressive, inhuman, and undemocratic behavior in recent years has led to the creation of martyrdom-seeking movements everywhere.
Reporter: After receiving theory lessons, the volunteers undergo secret training, far from the media. Even though the movement’s leaders refrain from disclosing what kind of activities are included in this training, they emphasize that this is not a military organization, and that no special or complex training is required A few days are enough to train the volunteers.
Firooz Rajai: So far, we have not sent any brigade out of the country, and have not clashed with government opposition to us. We law and order, and our activity is clear and serves Islam. This does not mean that we are not prepared to report for duty anywhere, any time. We believe in combining ideology and action. Our movement is not a symbolic one. Our goal is well known. When the time comes, martyrdom will be inevitable. There are many NGO’s in Iran that support the Palestinian cause, and we maintain relations and cooperate with them, as well as with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. We meet with the representatives of the two movements in Tehran, and we hope this will be successful.
Reporter: Whether in Iraq, Palestine, or any Islamic country, the movement of martyrdom seekers is ready for action, but the Iranian government still does not know whether the movement has already sent volunteers to Iraq or even to Israel.
Ali Samadi, a movement leader: As everyone can see, the Zionists attribute no significance to the Arab and Islamic governments. They continue their aggressive policies to fulfill their goals. The world considers the Israeli military to be the fifth most powerful force and its security apparatus to be the second most powerful in the world. Since they only understand the language of force, our new weapon of martyrdom operations is bound to change the balance of power. Even the separation wall they are building won’t prevent the martyrdom operations and the changing of the balance.
The Iranian youth takes pride in the foundation of this movement after the Islamic revolution in order to create a core of resistance against the occupiers in a way that is not marred by flaws, as was the case with the Al-Qaeda organization, for example. We are not afraid of the American fleets or the British weapons in Iraq. We vow to become time bombs in the event of every aggression on our land.
Reporter: Thus, they await death with happiness and joy. In their view, martyrdom for the sake of Allah is the sweetest thing.