PART IV: Lie if you want to survive

We had two months of military training before being assigned to our posts. A few of my classmates and I and were sent to the Montazeri Military Centre, located in a field 20 kilometres outside the city of Kermanshah in West Iran.

We arrived in Kermanshah at 6 a.m. We were going to spend the next two years in the Revolutionary Guard, the most fearsome and powerful entity in Iran. None of us was religious; although we knew how to play the hypocrite well enough to convince the authorities of our loyalty, we knew it was going to be very different in the army. In the latest parliamentary election, the more liberal Kargozaran Party had been defeated and the hardliners had taken over parliament. There were rumours that the Revolutionary Guard had rigged the results. The Guard believed itself to be the real owners of the country. It had defended the Revolution in its early days, it had defended the country for eight years during the war against Iraq and it was in charge of the huge Basij militia. It controlled the borders— customs, airports, exports and imports—and had infiltrated most economic activity, from arms manufacture to the oil industry. There was no way we could fool its men.