Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi says Iranian protests are rooted in 20 years of monopolizing power and omission of effective intellectual movements in the Islamic Republic. Karroubi critiqued the Iranian political situation in an interview published on Saham news website.
People cheering for Mehdi Karroubi during post-election protests in 2009
He challenged the establishment's description of the election
protests of the past year as "a 20-year sedition" saying: "They should explain
what obstacles stopped them from stopping this so called sedition throughout
these 20 years. They merely say it started 20 years ago without presenting any
evidence. Perhaps it was the government, the judiciary, the parliament or the
various subsidiary organizations of the leadership?"
Karroubi added that these forces must explain what kind of oversight in the past 20 years has led to these events.
H claimed that after the death of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, the system went through several changes including altering the constitution in order to increase the power of the supreme leader, the merging of the president and the prime minister into one role, election of the Assembly of Experts and the power of the Guardian Council to determine eligibility of the members of this assembly and side-stepping of Imam's Path forces which all led to the a cumulative monopolization of power.
Since the Assembly of Experts is supposed to monitor the actions of the Supreme Leader, it is not appropriate for the Guardian Council whose members are chosen by the leader to determine the eligibility of the Assembly's members, the opposition leader argued.
Mehdi Karroubi specifically addressed the statements of the Chairman of the Guardian Council, hardliner Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who said recently that reformists need not participate in the elections anymore.
Karroubi maintained that the head of the Guardian Council acts as if he is in charge of all decisions. He added that his statements reveal that he disregards the rights of a large section of the society who support the reformists.
Karroubi argued that the people tried to change the unfavorable situation of the country by their widespread participation in the 1998 elections when the reformists took power under President Mohammad Khatami.
In 2009, however, when they realized that the government will not consider their votes, they took to the streets which lead to the great spontaneous movement which was observed following the elections, he added.
The former speaker of the parliament criticized the government tendency to escape accountability in the matters of national mismanagement and maintained that in the old days the old monarchical regime was blamed for all problems and now Israel and the US conspiracies are used as excuses to explain all the "violations, errors and incompetence of the government with the use of words such as soft war, enemy of God (mohareb), fifth column, seditious, failure, corrupt and traitor in their speeches."
He warned the establishment that they cannot run the country through increased security confrontations, banning newspapers, incarcerating students, journalists and activists and involving the military in determining the outcome of elections.
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