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Home > English > “Open Letter” to the President of Islamic Republic of Iran

“Open Letter” to the President of Islamic Republic of Iran

Wednesday 12 August 2015

I am somewhat hopeful that your recent speech at the Interior Ministry to provincial and county governors on the upcoming parliamentary elections of next March , you are truly intending toconduct a free election process, independent of the claws of certain military, security and political hard liners. Presumably, the “elections” that you are referring to could not be the classic and commonly accepted norm of elections that we all know about, but something to be interpreted within the Islamic regime’s political vocabulary! Therefore, I too make my points within the same limitations, i.e. IRI Constitution. Elections during the governance of the Islamic Republic in Iran have always been in blatant violation of its own Constitution, meaning that elections have never been “free” and legal.

The only free post-revolution parliamentary election that took place in 1980, in which the current process of screening was notpracticed by the Interior Ministry and the hand-picking selection of the Council of Guardians did not exist. Everyone was free to become candidate or be nominated by his party; however, not allindividuals were allowed to be elected. The candidates of independent and national democratic parties, such as Iran National Front, were threatened, attacked by the mob, or incarcerated, thusbarred from participating in the election. Luckily, I as a candidate nominated by the INF, foresaw what was coming to me and announced my withdrawal from the race to the press. A fewcandidates who were extremely popular in their own districts hadwon in the election; but, unfortunately, were disqualified summarilyin the parliament itself.

Up until then, the parliament was referred to as “National Parliament”; subsequently after the so called “elections” it was renamed “Islamic Parliament” and we realized why the Islamic regime did not want any nationalist or non-theocratic participant in the parliament. To nail the coffin of democracy, all nationalist and independent parties were banned and declared illegal, and many of their prominent members were jailed in 1982. I was also one of the members to have had the privilege! The Islamic Republic made it official that it no longer recognizes the “nation” representing the people of Iran, but only “believers” who are “followers” of the regime. Some influential clergies even declared that people have no right to vote or get involved in the policies of the ruling religious elite.

As we are approaching the tenth post-revolutionary elections forparliamentary assembly, which is still not “national”, the election process seems not much different from the past. Our experience is evidence to the fact that even during the presidential elections of 2005 and 2009 the people had no say, and had no right to protest the outcome of election results.

Today, we still expect the Interior Ministry to abide by its lawful responsibility, and not get involved in screening and preselecting process of candidates. We anticipate that the Guardian Council, in violation of its duties as specified in the Constitution, which is mandated as an oversight body, will conduct screening and hand-picking of the candidates. Ballot boxes and vote counting willcontinue to be under strict supervision and control of officials, whohad served under previous administration, thus preventing oversight by independent political organizations and candidates. Although, I hope this time they will not forget to untie the batches of votesbefore they are dropped in the ballot boxes, or count the votes of the dead!

In any case, despite the fact that the current Constitution, due to some undemocratic and segregationist Articles, cannot guarantee a bright future for the country and freedom of choice and pursuit of happiness for our citizens, there are still some Articles such as# 23, 24, 26 and 27, which can be used by the regime to improve its image. I have little doubt that before the upcoming elections, certain efforts will be made by the administration to rescue the position ofthe regime. I also presume that a select “intelligent pillars of the regime” will try hard to display somewhat “opening of the political atmosphere” in Iran. I am sure they have not forgotten the political environment of 1990s, which forced a pretense for reforms. If theregime had truly enacted the promises of reform, we would not have been in such back-breaking crisis today, and our society could have moved toward democracy and economic growth, avoiding such extreme corruption and incompetence in the country. Today, the Islamic regime no longer possesses the energy and competency that it enjoyed during the 90s. The wielding weapons and violent tactics in suppressing the nation no longer can hide the inner weaknesses of the regime.

Although not much time is left for the regime to come to support the will of people, your government has a God-sent overtime chance to plan a prudent and farsighted program for rescuing the country from total collapse. Failing the desire of people for a brighter political future of the country, will take the decision-making into the streets, which will be extremely dangerous for our country. Social unrest will lead into either a devastating military takeover, or uncontrollable domestic violence and civil warthat some foreign enemies of Iran are so fervently trying to ignite.

A prudent program must include an election process that could sendcompetent and knowledgeable people to the parliament, not the incompetent and the ignorant individuals. We ask you to show political bravery and wisdom in paving the way for a free election campaign for the best men and women who are willing to serve the country to participate, and not the individuals with financial interests and personal agendas. We do not need puppets of anycenter of power or authority to represent the nation. In the meantime, you can use your presidential powers to edict or persuadethe authorities to implement the following steps in preparation for a free election:

1. Free all prisoners of conscience, political persuasion or religious belief by a presidential edict. Keeping them in prison will lose the trust of people in your government. Article 23 of Constitution will support you.

2. Enforce Articles 26 and 27 into effect, which declares freedom of political parties, civil NGOs, meetings and gatherings.

3. All media shall be declared free per Article 24 of Constitution.

4. The Guardian Council must announce that it will not get involved in candidate screening.

5. Military and security commanders and Imams of Friday prayersin mosques must be barred from promoting their own favorite candidates, and not defame those they do not approve of.

6. Ministry of Interior must only provide a simple identification questionnaire to be filled by candidates and must not inquire about their religious beliefs (per Article 23), and not to require blind subservience to all Articles of the Constitution.

7. Election oversight committee must include representatives of all political parties participating in the elections in addition to government observers.

8. All candidates who are going to hold governmental or elected offices must declare their wealth before entering public service.Refusal to do so or not disclosing the truth shall automatically disqualify the individual. They must also declare the sources of funds and the amount of their campaign budget.

9. Election campaign must be allowed for all candidates six months before the voting day. Candidates must be given equal free time on government mass media on national basis and in their own election districts.

10. The election must be conducted under the oversight of United Nations observers.

A parliament formed as such will lead our society to a just andpeaceful endeavor towards legislating laws for a democratic society in which all citizens can participate in building a new prosperous Iran, without any discrimination or favoritism.

By the time you receive or be able to read this letter, I may be in prison for the nth time; but my message is very clear: You are the executive head of the state, and you don’t need to talk about the elections in innuendos to please anybody; you must issue edicts. Let the regime’s corrupt elements and subordinates to foreign enemies disgrace themselves by opposing your moves. Whether they consider you successful or defeated in nuclear talks, and whether you be successful or not in this brave move toward free elections, your historical place in the history of Iran will be registered much better than the Islamic regime’s officials who have not brought anything to this nation but devastation and misery. Use the power of your office without fear for our national interest and saving the nation, because this is the last chance for IslamicRepublic.

Sincerely,

Kourosh Zaïm, Member

Iran National Front Central Council

July 12, 2015

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