(From an interview with F.G.)
QUESTION: Can you please tell people how the salute works?
You hold your right arm upward directly in front of you at a 45-degree angle. It should be aimed in the direction of the person or object being saluted. Your palm must face upward. The middle finger should be extended. All other fingers must remain closed.
QUESTION: Is the salute really mandatory?
Absolutely when in the presence of the Supreme Moral Exemplar, his appointed president and all Major Worthies (Jannatti, Taeb, Ahmad Khatami and Mohammed and Mesbah Yadzi, etc). It is also required should one meet a Dispenser of Impartial Justice (the Larinjanis for example).
If you encounter a Blessed One as he is about to speak publicly, please withhold your salute until the first word is spoken. An alternative means of expression is equally acceptable at that time: Place index fingers in both ears simultaneously. Your tribute will assist the speaker’s concentration.
What should you do if you are walking down the street and notice a car transporting one of the Virtuous? In this case, the correct procedure is to turn and offer a two-handed salute which must be retained until the vehicle is no longer in sight.
Finally, the official salute is also mandatory whenever you stroll past any mosque closely associated with the Worthies, or whenever you encounter a photo or mural of such popular figures. During your workday--assuming you even have one--it’s possible you may encounter clerical “rogues” upon occasion. Don’t forget to salute.
Cauition: Those with nerves of steel may wish to do the same should you encounter known basilj. The latter can be a bit touchy however.
QUESTION: Why did the regime invent this salute? What purpose does it serve?
We wanted a way for people to show their gratitude and respect to their public servants.
Secondly, we felt that in the absence of a free press, defense attorneys and legitimate and open elections we needed a psychological outlet for self-expression. When you look at existing conditions and the likely future under this regime, what could be more satisfying than this official salute?
Finally, to work hard for the people’s good can wear anyone down. The chance to receive the people’s reassurance a dozen times a day can be psychologically invigorating even for the lowest mullah--a form of compensation for having been forced to share the street with commoners. Picture the smile on clerical faces at day’s end as they rejoin their families at home.
Holy Men and basilj are human like everyone else. You need to let them know constantly that they are doing the right thing. It would be tragic were they begin to suffer doubts or lose faith.
QUESTION: Students and workers have been especially restive. Do you have any advice for them?
Yes, talk it over. Then practice, practice, practice until you get the salute down pat. Circulating a copy of this interview around every regime in Iran would be a nice place to start.
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