An Altar of Roses is a collection of the memoirs of a young lady’s marriage and life with a Commander and Martyr of the Revolutionary Guards of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Commander Ali Chītsāzīān. This heart touching memoir is a reflection of true faith and true love in the path of the Almighty and a rare glimpse into the mindset and moral sanctum of a Revolutionary Guards’ family that is in stark contrast with the image that is commonly portrayed in the West.

My wedding ring had Ali Agha’s aura about it. I kissed it. All of a sudden, I saw him appear before me. He was standing in front of me and was smiling. The sight of him made me forget my pain. I couldn’t believe it! Ali Agha was there, right in front of me! I said to him, “Ali Agha, my love. Help me. Help me to be strong and not to yell out in pain. I don’t want anyone to hear my voice. Please help me!”


A Sneek Peek

Chapeter 1- My memories get played like a movie reel

We were passing by Bū-Alī Hospital and I said, “Ali, a few months from now, our child will be born here.”

“Here?” He asked, surprised.

“Well,” I said, “because this is a private hospital. It’s the best hospital in Hamedān.”

Ali slowed the car down and said, “No. We will be going to a hospital that is frequented by the poor; this is where rich people go. Not everyone can afford to come here.”


I was in my eighth month of pregnancy and I was not feeling at all well. It was a Thursday evening; December 24th, 1987. The pain would come and go and there was no telling when it would be back again. I had told everyone about Ali Agha’s situation. In those days, my mother-in-law’s house was full of guests and there was always someone coming or going. Mother was there too. As soon as I told her I was not feeling well, she called a cab and took me to the Fātemīeh Hospital, which was a public hospital. As soon as we stepped foot into the hospital, the news sounded everywhere as if a bomb had gone off: “Shahīd Chītsāzīān’s child is about to be born!”

The hospital workers were all excited, and suddenly I found myself surrounded by doctors and nurses. The news had spread in town like lightning. People would call the hospital and inquire about my health and that of the baby’s. Mother, who was always by my side, would have to go and respond to these inquiries every once in a while. And although the doctors had said there were no signs of birth pangs, the head of the hospital had given instructions that I be admitted anyway.