Paris, 14 Dec. (IPS) Some Iran watchers think that the four coming years are “instrumental” for Iran. In their view, the regime faces two opposite ways that leads to the same point: A more breathing space for Iranians.
In their view, in case the fanatic Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad keeps his job thanks to a firm support of the leader and some manipulations of the votes and continues his hawkish policy, he might cause a national uprising against the Mullahrchy or, under combined national and international pressures; the regime adopts a more pragmatic line to save its skin.
In either way, the opening of the political life of the nation would benefit to independent politicians like Qassem Sho’leh Sa’di.
The other way is that former moderate president Mohammad Khatami finally decides to runs in the elections and wins. If he is not allowed to apply the reforms he seeks (same that he had promised 12 years ago and was not able to realize them because of the obstacle created by Mr. Khameneh’i), there will be a national uprising, or he is allowed to go ahead with his reform and save the regime from disaster.
In either way, they point out, the opening of the political life of the nation would benefit to independent politicians like Qassem Sho’leh Sa’di who wants to “save” the Iranians “squeezed between impotent and useless reformists” and trouble-maker, crisis seeking fundamentalists”.
Mr. Sho’leh Sa’di, a former MM (Member of the Majles, or the Iranian Parliament) and a prominent lawyer, thinks he can do that with the Movement for Democratic Changes (MDC) he launched some four years ago.
He came to fame four years ago because of an unprecedented open letter in which he addressed Mr. Ali Khameneh’i as “Hojjatoleslam” and not “Ayatollah”, as the megalomaniac leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran is referred to.
In that letter, written in Farsi, translated and published in English by Iran Press Service, not only he challenged the religious rank of Mr. Khameneh’i by explaining that he did not became Ayatollah but by study, but the rank was given to him by the Assembly of Expert after the death of Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini.
He also courageously criticized the domestic and foreign policies of the leader, specially his “stubborn” opposition to any dialogue with the United States, his financial, military and propaganda support for the Lebanese Hezbollah and radical Palestinian groups.
Because of this letter, he was arrested on his return to Tehran from Paris -- where he was undergoing medical checkup – and taken to an undisclosed prison where he was badly tortured both physically and psychologically for 40 consecutive days and nights.
In an interview with IPS, Mr. Sho’leh Sa’di, a professor of international law at Tehran and Shiraz universities believes “now that the Iranian people is prisoner of a vicious circle of bearing the burden of an incapable Khatami and an inadequate and threatening Ahmadi Nezhad, we have the best situations for organizing and expanding the MDC”.
“At a time that even in Zimbabwe, a democratic movement for changes forced a dictator like Robert Mugabe to share the power, same event can also happen in Iran”, he said.
However, aware of the “impossibility” of changing the present system “at this time and conjectures”, Mr. Sho’leh Sa’di stresses that the aim of his movement is to help “suppress” organs that are “not legal”.
“If I have announced that I might run for the presidency, it is to profit from the occasion presidential campaigning offer to promote the MDC, to organize it and to unite the opposition around that idea”, he said, adding that in case he decides to run, he “certainly” would be rejected by the Council of the Guardians, the body in charge of vetting all candidates in all elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Actually, this 12 men institution created by Mr. Khomeini, the founding father of the Islamic Republic before his death, to supervise the religious and moral credential of candidates to elections, is in the centre of all criticism and attacks from political dissidents who argue that under the present leader, the Council has surpassed its legal duties by rejecting or approving candidates without providing explanations.
Here are excerpts from IPS interview with Mr. Sho’leh Sa’di realized by telephone.
Iran Press Service (IPS) – What is your objective in running in the next presidential elections. In case you decide so?
“At a time that even in Zimbabwe a dictator like Robert Mugabe accepts to share the power with forces of change, same event can also happen in Iran”.
Qassem Sho’leh Sa’di (Q Sh) In the international ground, the regime is in the zenith of isolation: The proof is that in support of its demand for a seat at the (United Nations) Security Council, only 32 nations out of more than 190 countries voted in favour of Iran. Inflation runs at 27 percent, while some experts put it at more than 50 per cent. Because of sanctions and threats, the constant reduction in oil prices, a good to which the Iranian economy is dependent for more than 80 per cent, more than half of the Iranian population lives under the poverty line. The moral, cultural, social, political and judicial situations are worsening – the judiciary says there are more than 8 million cases that have not been attended –
I’m for changes. If I decide to run definitely, my campaign slogan would be “Change”. I know, some would says that in taking that slogan, I emulate Mr. (Barack) Obama, but I must remind them that I used that slogan four years ago, when few people had heard the name of Mr. Obama, during a press conference in Paris, where I was speaking as the spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Changes in Iran.
IPS – OK, what do you want to change in Iran?
Q Sh – Basic, radical changes are not possible at this conjecture, but the present political system and Constitution allows from certain changes that if applied, the people can live in certain comparative tranquility.
IPS – Can you be more explicit?
Q Sh – For instance, change the foreign present diplomacy that is based on antagonizing of other nations and peoples, on hawkish policies, on helping radical groups, an aggressive policy that place a heavy burden on the Iranian people. The foreign policy must be changed into a friendly, non violent policy placed at the service of Iranian interests, not others. Why expending huge sums of Iranian people money to prevent peace.
On the domestic front, all Iranians, al the administrations, all organs, civilian, religious or militaries, must be accountable, must have their books of accounts. For instance, in the past years, we had more than 200 billion US Dollars in oil revenues. What happened to this money? Why 46 per cent of this money has not been placed in the national reserve? All people, every one, every institution must be accountable.
In the Constitution, we don’t have a thing like the Special Rights of the Council of the Guardians in approving or rejecting the eligibility of the candidates. These so-called Rights are the biggest obstacle to the development of political life and activities in Iran. This Special Rights is an interpretation made by the Guardians themselves. It has no legal ground. The assembly that has approved the Special rights can also annul it.
Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, by helping many high-ranking officers to come to the political arena, has militarized the political atmosphere of the nation. Why impose such an unhealthy situation to the people? Why not letting them to go back to their garrisons, to their military responsibilities?
In my opinion, these are some of the changes one can bring in Iran. ENDS SHO’LEH SA’DI MDC 141208