By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online
Immediately after Iran's leader ayatollah Khamenei denounced the on-going
public calls for free elections in the country, hardline cleric ayatollah Ahmad
Janati echoed the remarks during last Friday prayer's sermon in Tehran and now
more than two hundred Majlis representatives have jumped on the bandwagon and
declared free elections to mean "following the West's" wishes. In another twist
in Iranian domestic political machinations, another senior cleric - a marjaetaghlid,
i.e., someone whose views are religiously kosher - ayatollah Sobhani called for
ending public elections of presidents in Iran, letting the Majlis make such
My Vote (A poster by Iranian opposition)
Now in support of ayatollah Khamenei's remark on denouncing free elections,
219 Majlis representatives issued a statement and called free elections to be
the codeword for a "new sedition" in the country. Sedition is the term regime
supporters in Iran use for the Green Movement, its leaders and all those who
questioned the validity of the 2009 presidential election that reinstated
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the head of the government.
Majlis' statement said, "We warn all those domestic voices and broadcasters
who call for free elections to learn from what happened to the other
seditionists and remind all parties, groups personalities etc not to remain
silent over this new sedition, to come forward and denounce this new sedition,
thus denying a revival of the seditionists."
Last week, ayatollah Khamenei denounced those who had been calling for free
elections in Iran during the last few months. He said such calls reduced
people's motivation in participating in the election and categorized all
elections that have been held in the Islamic republic as free. Following these
remarks, the secretary of the powerful Guardians Council that is mandated to vet
out the candidates for national elections echoed his words during Tehran's
weekly Friday prayer sermon. He harshly attached those who called for free
elections and said that the term was a codeword for seditionists. "Politicians
who had been defeated now talk of free elections," as a way to return to the
body politic, he said. And without naming any person, he said one of these
politicians had initially raised this idea, which was then repeated by others.
Another cleric ayatollah Momen, who also happens to be a member of the
Guardians Council joined the critics and said, "Some unqualified individuals who
get their directions from abroad to act against the Islamic republic talk of
issues that are merely dreams. People must be wise and be watchful not to be
deceived by them." He further said, "The presence of 85 percent of people at the
ballots indicates that elections are free. This is while in the very countries
that broadcast freedom and democracy only between 40 to 50 percent of people go
to the polls. The life of the people of nation of the Islamic republic is
dependent on the leader and when he says people should participate in the
elections to the maximum people respond and make a more serious effort and so
his words make a difference because the elections are free. Have you not heard
the message of the leader who said which elections in the 34 year life of the
Islamic republic were not free so that they now call for free elections."
Who was ayatollah Khamenei addressing has now turned into a new game in the
media. Some principlist media say he meant Hashemi Rafsanjani. Iran newspaper
(the government mouthpiece) wrote that Rafsanjani's website had mentioned the
term free elections more 700 times in the last three months.
Baztab website close to former Revolutionary Guards commander and the current
secretary of the State Expediency Council led by Rafsanjani said that Khamenei
was pointing the finger at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which said that he had made such
a call during his last televised interview. Ahmadinejad had in fact said that
elections must be free who added that this would alter the domestic and foreign
calculations about Iran.
Alef site belonging to Ahmad Tavakoli, a conservative hardline politician,
wrote that Khamenei's remarks were addressed to Ahmadinejad, Khoeniha, Khatami
and Rafsanjani. He said that the term free elections was now being used by
domestic groups as well whereas this had been a call by what he called
"counter-revolutionaries" residing outside Iran.
Another cleric, ayatollah Sobhani, last week announced that the president
should be elected by the Majlis. He said that electing a president through
public vote had brought about "unpleasant" consequences in the past, threatening
the "foundations" of the regime and so proposed that the mechanism be changed.
In his argument, he said this method of electing the president would also solve
the problem of the confrontations between the president and the Majlis.
... Payvand News - 01/17/13 ... --