Thursday, February 07, 2008


URI: For a Free Election in Iran

United Republicans of Iran
For a Democratic and Secular Republic

February 7, 2008

For a Free Election in Iran

By embracing the all-inclusive tenets of human rights lets make the Iranian regime to observe its international obligation and pave the path to democracy and free elections.

Three decades after the revolution and establishment of Islamic Republic in Iran, it is still not possible to put in place a government that is a true representative of people although the level of civil demands have increased due to an influx of population to the cities, widespread higher education, growth of social awareness, expansion of resistance to injustice and facility of dissemination of information. Nevertheless, discrimination and inequality, censorship, and systematic and organized suppression by the government have deprived a large segment of our society of self rule. Overcoming poverty, addiction, social and financial insecurity has been made impossible because of the factors enumerated. In the international arena, political isolation, threat of a war, and disarray predominate. This is in the condition that our country from a cultural and civic standpoint and because of a wealth of natural resources and sensitivity of its geopolitics can enjoy outstanding opportunities to lay the foundation of grassroots democracy in the region.

This contrast is mainly created by a system based on unfair policies that deny the rights of the people to democratic participation in decision making.

As such is barring the political elite from going into politics by repressing political parties, forestalling free elections and precluding NGOs. The real obstacle in the way of free and democratic election exists in the laws and judicial structure of the Islamic theocracy, especially the authority given to supreme leader and the Guardian Council, members of which are all appointed by him. This has led to the political power being kept in the hands of a few in the regime’s closed circle. As a result political power is never shared with the rest of the society and it is never handed over to any group outside the circle of insiders. Such a structure is the main cause of dictatorship, inefficiency and dangerous predicament for the country.

Midst all these, the circumstances leading to the eight parliamentary election not only have reaffirmed the continuation of the same biased policies that divide the political forces into insiders and outsiders, thus eliminating the secularists altogether from the ballet sheets, they have also resulted in disqualification of the forces within the state. Therefore, keeping the political power in a very small group affiliated with the system.

Despite the structural problems of the political system, the mood calling for change is vibrant and alive. The resistance to all the prejudice going on over these years has brought about a wealth of experience at the disposal of the activists in the country. The groups striving for democracy have learnt that realization of democratic changes in the society demands spreading the culture of democracy and enforcing its methods in the daily life of the country. It also demands substantiating the conditions of free and fair elections. The objectives of any political party are assessed in dealing with this issue, in the way by which political entities embark on challenging the system. It should be established that free and fair elections are not supposed to exclude any segment of the society from power sharing. They are not to deny the civic and political rights of any group. They should rather instantiate hope in the people for a better future.

It is true that the constitution of Islamic Republic and the political structure based upon it are the main obstacles in developing a democratic system. Changing the status quo by peaceful means is only possible by challenging this structure and continuously supporting the participation of people in ways that would afford them power sharing through free elections. Those seeking a democratic system of government should not discount methods that would allow them to block the preemptory strategies of the regime step by step. Advancing the democratic values should start now in the presence of the dictators. Postponing the demand for free elections to a time when the system of government is completely overhauled may lead to movements that are not necessarily peaceful, pragmatic and civilized.
It is no doubt that the political predicaments in Iran are very complex and have many dimensions. Therefore, simplified solutions for them do not exist. Experience of June 97 showed that without a suitable plan and strategy and in the absence of political determination and lack of capable leadership to organize a coordinated movement, presence of masses in a social process can only lead to their disappointment.

The United Republicans of Iran identifies the forces within a civil movement as the principal source that can bring about democratic changes.

The constitution of Islamic Republic, in particular, the laws of state pertaining to elections ignore the tenets of free choice. These laws do not make any room for free and fair competitions. The article 28 of the election law states that candidacy is contingent upon commitment of the candidates to the doctrine of an Islamic theocracy and its constitution as well as allegiance to the supreme leader. Article 30 excludes 12 groups from candidacy.

Among these are members, sympathizers and affiliates of political parties or organizations deemed outlawed by the Islamic State. Also excluded are those individuals who have been convicted in the court of acting against the Islamic Republic. It is noteworthy that in the past 28 years all the political organizations and parties not associated with the regime have been considered outlawed, their legitimate demands have been construed as actions against the Islamic Republic and their members have been prosecuted.

The United Republicans of Iran deems the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its conventions as one of the greatest social accomplishments of mankind. After WWII all governments that have ruled over Iran have pledged commitment to it. Although Islamic Republic has conditioned its commitment to the aforesaid document to its concurrence to Islamic jurisprudence, the United Nations has never accepted imposing any clauses on it. Therefore, this document is supposed to be observed in its entirety by all governments that have signed it. Our organization also demands that Iran’s government adheres to the Universal Declaration of March 1994 of Inter-Parliamentary Union with respect to Election regulations. Iran has also committed itself to this declaration. These international documents that the Iranian regime is supposed to observe and respect, provide a platform for removing the structural and judicial obstacles in respecting the rights of citizens and holding free elections.

Articles 19 and 20 of Declaration of Human Rights and articles 21, 22, and 25 of International conventions of civil and political rights, and first article of voluntary Protocol in respect to international agreements on civil and political rights are candid guidelines for political parties, organizations and individuals who strive for free elections in a democratic society. These guidelines also address the way complaints can be filed when the civil and political rights of people are violated.

Based on the above:

The United Republicans of Iran regards enforcement of free elections based on people’s true vote as an appropriate means to effectively modify the way the country is governed in Iran. Our organization demands an end to the suppression of civic freedom, freedom of all political prisoners and attainment of conditions that would guarantee free and fair elections. We also demand international monitoring of the election process. The Islamic Republic must stop persecuting the representatives of political groups. We hold the regime responsible for the political and social crisis that may ensue as a result of rigged elections. We also hold the Islamic theocracy accountable for violations of rule of people and weakening of Iran’s position in the international arena.

The United Republicans of Iran welcomes the formation of the “committee of Defending Free, Healthy and Fair Elections” inside the country and considers it a step forward in guaranteeing the rights of all forces involved in participating in the elections. We pursue the same goals and objectives of this committee.

The United Republicans of Iran invites all political groups, organizations and parties whose participation in the election has been hampered by the Islamic Republic to start a dialog of cooperation with each other. We believe that mutual efforts can bring about a national and broad foundation for securing our goals. We will do our part in this endeavor.

The United Republicans of Iran regards all encompassing Human Rights measures and the judicial obligations attached to them as a reference to pursue freedom of political organizations and elections. Once again we remind the government of Iran of its responsibility to uphold its international commitment to these measures. We advise the government that we will seek legal actions from international institutions in order to achieve our goals.

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