Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan, in a bleak account of Iran's moral and financial straits, tonight told his fellow citizens they were "allowing the revolution to be destroyed."
In a major television speech, Bazargan more openly than ever before criticized the summary justice being meted out by revolutionary courts, indirectly criticized Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and said, "The treasury is empty."
Khomeini came in for criticism for recent off-the-cuff remarks -- some of which had to be rectified later by government ministers -- on matters ranging from his announced ban on frozen meat imports to free public utilities for the poor and proper clothing for women.
"Where do we get all the money?" the 71-year-old prime minister asked. "We've had a revolution."
No oil or tax receipts were in hand, he said.
Despite the resumed export 10 days ago of Iranian oil -- at spot prices as high as 50 percent above world rates -- the last oil remittances to Iran were received in mid-February.
Government officials recently estimated that because of the series of oil strikes -- which completely stopped exports from Dec. 26 to early March -- the government has lost $8 billion in revenues. Another $6 billion were lost through unpaid customs duties and other taxes.
Discussing revolutionary courts, which have executed 64 Iranians in the past month and today claimed four more victims Bazargan was visibly upset.
He said he had recently received an unnamed Western ambassador who told him, "The revolution is beautiful and spiritual, but it is losing these values." Bazargan, who until last year was chairman of the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, said the ambassador was right.
"What a comedown, what loss of face for us Iranians," he added.
Bazargan recalled that international human rights groups have criticized Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for his brand of justice. "Now they are saying that we are doing the same thing," he said. "What are we to tell them?"
Renewing his attack on both right and left for failing to support his Cabinet, he said, "The government is more needy and penniless than anyone else."
"The meat has been taken away," he said, "and only the bones are left."
Bazargan critized Iranians for "expecting miracles" and failing to "cooperate" with the government.
He was particularly annoyed by the public's selfishness in thinking only about what he termed their personal interests.
Despite his broadside, at no point did Bazargan threaten to resign.
Recurring rumors of Bazargan's resignation were officially scotched last week by Khomeini who was obliged to issue a strong statement of support only days after all but disavowing his hand-picked prime minister.
Meanwhile, official sources denied rumors that Foreign Minister Karim Sanjabi had resigned. Foreign Ministry sources said Sanjabi, 74, had been absent from the ministry because of poor health.
The day's only relatively optimistic note was struck by Abdol Karim Lahidji, who succeeded Bazargan as chairman of the Iranian human rights group.
For the first time since the revolution a month ago -- and for that matter for the first time ever -- he was allowed to visit prisoners at Qasr jail. He said he found hygiene, heating and food conditions satisfactory.
In the area he was allowed to visit -- housing former prime minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda and other former ministers and generals -- he said that some 300 prisoners were concerned about their legal status.
He said they all hoped the civilian judges investigating their cases would speed up their work. Hoveyda was palticularly pleased with his examining magistrate, whom he found "capable and honest," Lahidji said.