Iran News ...


07/23/09

We left, but they can't

By Dr. Zorabi Honargohar

 

For a moment imagine Adam never died, and had the role of guiding us and approving our daily actions. Just how much progress would we have made by now? That is only one of the problems with the notion of Supreme Leader. Apart from the fact that a Supreme Leader remains in power for life, his successor will generally be someone who will hardly differ from him by much. The fundamental idea underlying the notion of democracy is to allow the future generations to choose their destiny as they wish.

 

The Supreme Leader has the final say to any change to the constitution. Like any human, divinely inspired or not, he will only allow changes to the constitution that at the very least will not affect his authority in any way. On the other hand, he can alter the constitution in ways that suits him. All those who will have to approve the changes are under his authority.

 

The above observation is an answer to all those who think someday someone from inside the system will bring about the change towards real democracy. This group constantly cautions everyone to submit to the ruling of the Supreme Leader until some such fictitious figure saves the lives of future children or else Israel will break down Iran. I hope the reader can see the fallacy of this argument. However, standing up for justice should not be confused with unnecessarily damaging riots and creating chaos.

 

Let us assume the regime truly believes that our internal unrest may result in a military operation by Israel. In that case, should we not resolve our internal issues peacefully? The Iranians killed and arrested could be helpful in confronting Israel, unless as the regime claims, they are Israeli agents. I find it amusing how some folks make a connection between Israel's naval maneuvering and election disputes, as if Israel needs excuse to do what it intends to.

 

Another camp argues that activities of organizations such as Human Rights are being used against Iran in preparation for operations against her, including economic sanctions. Perhaps I do not need to remind them that the regime is vividly violating human rights. So, should these organizations shut up because in this case a Supreme Leader has given the orders? Furthermore, each country in the world will do whatever is to its advantage and will not base its decision on what Israel or some organizations may say.

 

Going back to the constitution, clearly a constitution is not meant for frequent change, if any. In particular, our understanding has sufficiently matured allowing us crafting a constitution that would require minimal amendments. That is what was achieved in 1979 when the constitution was approved by 95% of the population. That constitution was the product of almost a century of bloody struggles.

 

Yet, a few months later Khomeini chose to amend the constitution by inserting Supreme Leader into it. Overwhelmed by the resistance of ayatollahs of his time, he improved on it by increasing the number of members in the Assembly of Experts and finally pushed it through. The very moment that the Supreme Leader was added to the constitution we went back to the time before revolution. Thus, the hero of the revolution took the outcome of the entire bloodshed for himself, simply as a trophy. Basically, he crowned himself.

 

Many, including myself left the country after seeing new waves of repressions and daily executions all over the country. We simply took the advice of the new dictator who said the same thing as the Shah did, "Don't like it, leave". What a shock, particularly for those who had lost their beloved ones in the course of the revolution, and now had to hear about the execution of whoever was left in the family.

 

Yes, many of us left Iran, but we left our hearts behind. It is that common love that suddenly brought us all together when we saw the repetition of the brutality of the early days of revolution. What on earth will we gain in return for helping Israel or America create chaos in Iran? Raising our voices in support of those in Iran is all we can do, and we must.

 

We all know about some folks who are still hoping to regain what they materially lost to Khomaini. But the great majority of us are genuinely angry for the loss of lives and lack of freedom of speech. We want to show our support simply because we feel for the younger generation. Somehow we were able to leave everything behind, but these kids have nowhere to go. A regime that requires every generation to export millions of its children for its survival is fundamentally unhealthy.

 

While serving as dean in 1981, the head of political and ideological office constantly advised me to encourage my professors to find ways of including Islamic teachings into our lectures. Do not confuse Islam with what this mullah was asking, nor assume I was making fun of Islam in what I asked him. Tired of his persistence, I decided to give him a challenge. I told him, now that Islam has been victorious, it would be of great help to my scientists if he could give us some references from Islam for an important project. Basically, I told him, we should soon be able to land on mars. I was interested in locating "qebleh" on mars so one could continue to pray once we set foot on the planet. In about a year that I was still there, several times he reminded me that he was researching the matter!

 

With the above example in mind, let us see what mullah Yazdi is claiming. He claims that, the Supreme Leader is appointed by god himself. Given that god makes no mistakes, it follows that, once a Supreme Leader is appointed, he cannot be removed. Otherwise we must accept that even god is capable of making mistakes, which is not possible.

 

Now the question becomes how is it that the Assembly of Experts can remove the Supreme Leader? Is this assembly more knowledgeable than god? Can god make mistakes in his appointments?

 

Like any system, being mathematical or not, the constitution must be free of inconsistencies. The Assembly of Experts was forced precisely because the ayatollahs of Khomeini's time did not agree with the notion of Supreme Leader. That was a compromise to ensure that the Supreme Leader does not turn into a dictator. And now we see that it actually can, even in the presence of the Assembly of Experts.

 

About the author:  Dr. Zorabi Honargohar is a mathematician. He was dean of Navy University in Noshahr during 1981-1982. He returned to USA and taught as professor of mathematics in Iowa and Kansas. He is currently retired.

 

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