Saturday, February 23, 2008

Azizollah Esnaashari Died this Morning

Azizollah Esnaashari, the man who introduced me to Dr. Bakhtiar, died this morning in Ealing hospital. He was my political mentor in many ways and one of the few of the old generation who stood up to the Ayatollahs' take over of Iran.

Esnaashari lost his father at the age of 10, being the eldest son and in order to support his family, he started working in Isfahan's tea houses. Years later by hard work, he managed to save enough money to buy the tea house he worked in. During the oil nationalisation years, his tea house became a debating place for different political groups and he took an active part in the protests that led to the nationalisation of Iranian oil industry.

After the events of 1953, Esnaashari became a successful businessman, and because he was trusted in Isfahan's business community, he was forced the unwanted task of courier for the religious levies paid to the Shiite Ayatollahs by the Bazaari merchants in Isfahan. This also meant he had to travel to Iraq several times and hand over the payments to the likes of Ayatollah Khoeii and also Ayatollah Khomeini.

Here he saw at first hand the hypocrisy of the Ayatollahs and despite his religious upringing, became totally disenchanted with organised religion.

During the mass frenzy of 1979, Esnaashari opposed the religious leadership of the revolution and stood by his long time friends and secular dissidents to the Shah, Dr. Bakhtiar and Dr. Boroumand, and joined them in the National Movement of Iranian Resistance led by Dr. Bakhtiar.

Esnaashari, is the only one ever reported to have stood up and opposed Ayatollah Khomeini to his face.

Both Dr. Boroumand and shortly afterwards, Dr. Bakhtiar were assassinated in 1991 in Paris by the agents of Hashemi Rafsanjani and with the collusion of the Miterand government.

Esnaashari however remained loyal to his friends and to his principles and opposed the Islamic Republic until the last day of his life.

I will remember many of his qualities, his courage, his loyalty in friendship, his honesty, his dislike of ideologies, his tolerance of different opinions and his sharp Isfahani humour.

My fondest memories of him will be when I used to go to his house in Ealing. Often his house would be full with different people and passionate political debates would take place. I will remember how he waited and listened until the other side finished their arguments and he would then start with
"I am not an intellectual like you lot, I am just a tea boy, I had to leave school and work from the age of 10, but..." and with that 'but' he would continue to demolish the shaky arguments of the academics and the intellectuals and those who know politics only through reading books.

I am proud to say that my political mentor was a tea boy who never finished school but he knew his country and his people better than the Iranian intellectuals of the previous generation.

Farewell Aziz, thanks for all you taught me. Sorry you couldn't be buried in Iran.

13 comments:

City boy said...

Sounds like a courageous man, may he rest in peace.

Aryamehr said...

Correction : 1999 should be 1979.

May he rest in peace and may he one day be buried in the soil of his motherland.

Winston said...

Sounds like a very big loss. Sorry to hear it

Azarmehr said...

Thanks Aryamehr. Corrected now.

I trusted his judgement and his street instincts more than any so called Iran expert or scholar.

Akbar Nemati said...

God Bless Him

Bahramerad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Potkin jan. What a patriot to have stood up to that monster, Khomeini.

"Grief is the price we pay for love"--HIM of England

He will be remebered and someday recognized for his contributions to his country when Iran is free of Islamic Slavery imposed by the immoral leadership.

Serendip

Siavash said...

Name mardane nik kheshthaye farhange mast na emarathaye kheshi sakhte. roohesh shad

saggezard said...

Bless his soul. Only memories of men like this are worth remembering, those who stand firm in principles and beliefs in face of all adversities and oppositions, to the last breath. Not those who have a weak roots.

bbrz said...

May he rest in peace. Men and women like him are the foundations upon which a future Iran will be built.

Bahramerad said...

I extend my commiseration's to you, his friend and his dear family.
May God rest his soul.
I too knew him.He was a very generous and kind man with a natural common sense that came from deep within his soul. His wonderful sense of humour was legendary too.
He used to make an excellent and lovely Ab_Gooshet for us and I really did enjoyed his company.
I will always remember him coming to all the demonstrations against the hated regime and in all kinds of weather and in good health and bad (specially lately) shout out his heartfelt "Sho_arrs" against the mullahs and sing with a loud voice" EY IRAN."
It is amazing — but I found this video early today and although I have never been to Isfahan -I watched it three or four times with tears in my eye. Now I know why.
As the saying goes- Del BeH Del Raah dareeh.
Isfahan (Esfahan) song by Saadi Nikoo & Misagh Yeganeh -:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=crV-qQp9ohc
What a fitting tribute to a true son of Isfahan.

Anonymous said...

May he rest in peace. This is the type of Mullah corruption that Aziz tried to fight against. It is this corruption that is eating at the soul of Iran.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/24/wiran124.xml

barmakid said...

I send my condolences. May he rest in peace.