PARIS, 7 June (IPS) The decision of the Iran Freedom Movement and the Nationalist-religious group to both back the candidacy of Mr. Mostafa Mo’in, the reformists lead candidate and also to form a new political movement named Iranian Front for Democracy and Human Rights (IFDHR) was not welcome by veteran Iranian dissidents.
On Monday 6 June, leaders of the two outlawed parties, Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi, the General Secretary of the IFM and Mr. Ezzatollah Sahhabi, of the Nationalist-religious as well as Mr. Habibollah Peyman, the leader of the Iranian Militant Muslims Party met with Mr. Mo’in and his principal supporters in the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) and the Organisation of Islamic Revolution Mojahedeens and agreed to the formation of the IFDHR.
Leaders of reformist movement inside and outside ruling establishment decided the creation of a Front for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran
“The IFM and the Nationalist-religious activists, after carefully studying statements from Mr. Mo’in after his re-qualification by the Council of the Guardians, met with Mr. Mo’in and his supporters and, making sure that regardless of the results of the elections, he would continue implementation of programs for the materialisation of reformist projects, including the creation of a front for democracy and human rights in Iran, decided to support his candidacy”, Mr. Yazdi and Sahhabi said in a joint statement.
Observers pointed out that this is the first time that reformists inside and outside the ruling establishment have joined in a large political coalition, giving new impetus to an otherwise dormant and unpopular elections.
However, the initiative was immediately denounced by personalities and groups opposed to the elections, observing that not only Mr. Mo’in would not accede to the presidency, but the front that supports him gives legitimacy to a regime that is basically anti democratic and against human rights.
“A front that Mr. Mo’in and his supporters are about to create has no other aim that increase the chances of the reformist candidates in the coming elections. However, the votes that would come would not be enough to make him a president, but meanwhile the reformists have, abusing from ideals like democracy and human rights, once again provided respect for a regime that is against democracy and freedoms and a gross violator of human rights”, said Mr. Hoseyn Baqerzadeh, a human rights activist based in England.
While officials of both wings of the leadership, including the leader himself calls on the people to come “massively” to the elections in order to “rob to earth the nose of the enemies”, more voices both at home and outside urge the voters to boycott an election that they describe as a “masquerade”.
“The issue is not about how becomes president, a job that, under the present political system, is no more than that of a manager, even not knowing that elections are free, but the regime in its entirety”, said Mr. Naser Zarafshan.
A well known and popular lawyer, Mr. Zarafshan is serving five years of jail because of his defence of the victims of the case known as “Serial murders” of leading political and intellectuals at the hands of senior agents of the Intelligence ministry in November 1998 when Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani was president.
Like Mr. Akbar Ganji, a veteran dissident also in prison for having exposed the role of the former president and Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian, his dreadful Intelligence minister in the “Serial murders” or Mr. Abbas Amir Entezam, Iran’s longest political prisoner, Mr. Zarafshan defended the project of organising a national referendum allowing Iranians to freely decide on the regime.
The Office for Consolidating Unity (OCU), Iranian student’s largest political organisation also decided to boycott the race.
“Voting in this situation would be an approval of the current system", Mr. Abdollah Mo’meni, the 28 years-old secretary of the OCU told the British news agency Reuters, adding, "With the current international situation, the Islamic Republic more than ever needs people's votes to demonstrate its legitimacy. By boycotting the vote, we want to show that there is a legitimacy problem".
Several other leading human rights activists Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and dissident university professor Hashem Aqajari who was condemned to death for criticising the Shi’ite clergy imposing its view on the people, have also said they will not vote next Friday.
The front that Mr. Mo’in and his supporters are about to create, abusing democracy and human rights would only provided legitimacy for a regime that is against democracy and a gross violator of human rights.
Outside Iran, Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Iran’s first president also joined the boycott movement.
As the elections date get closer, verbal and physical attacks of the candidates and their supporters against each other becomes more virulent, mostly from the four conservative runners and at the same time, some taboos are also broken, like relations with the United States or nuclear activities.
In a recent electoral speech, Mr. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, the former Police Commander revealed that thirty per cent of the total smugglings in the country is carried out by professional smugglers and the rest by the regime’s officials using “not only ordinary point of merchandises entering the country, but also privately owned ports in the Persian Gulf” and wowed if elected, he would make fighting the corruption a priority of his government”.
One of the novelties of the present electoral campaign is the use of internet and weblogs by all candidates in the one hand and efforts to play on nationalist strings more than religious slogans, to the point that the radical daily “Jomhouri Eslami” (Islamic Republic) that belongs to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i raised the subject, asking why “even candidates backed by the fundamentalists have forgot the principles and slogans of Islam and the revolution in their speeches”.
Iran’s “right” to nuclear technology is probably the only issue on which all candidates have the same stand, human rights has no place with conservative candidates.
“Having nuclear technologies for peaceful uses is out most legitimate rights”, stated Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani, adding that this is an issue that no Iranian is against”.
It was also the former president who broke off the ban that Mr. Khameneh’i had imposed on debating the question of relations with Washington, followed by the reformist candidate. “If the United States change its hostile attitude towards Iran and decides to talk on an equal footing, then I would be ready to talk to them”. Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani said, ruling out recognising the Jewish State which, some years ago, he urged Muslim nation to destroy with an atomic bomb. ENDS IRAN ELECTIONS 8605