Iranian elections:Facing the challenge [Archives:2004/714/Opinion]

February 23 2004

Hassan Al-Haifi
If there is anything that is clear about the recent Iranian Elections is that the Iranian people have on the whole expressed their intent on never compromising the basic fundamentals on which their Islamic Revolution rests.
Oh sure, there are political difficulties facing the relatively young democratic regime, especially one that insists on the sound principles of Islam as the basis for all its activities and policies.
This makes it all the more difficult when realizing that the United States goaded by the Zionist Likud Right Wing Establishment and their evangelical right wing establishment, led by the Crusading George W. Bush is simply uncompromising in accepting even an Islamic democracy as a fact of life.
Yes, there was a serious political crisis in the brewing, prior to the Elections and the democracy was “put to the test”, as many not so objective critics of the Iranian scene would like to phrase it.
But what was obvious from the significantly large turnout in the last Elections, was that the Iranian people had faith in their rulers' political decisions.
Mind you, this does not mean that the Iranian people are just naive masses that are driven by remote control by the conservative leadership in Iran.
One might be surprised to learn that the Iranian people are well nurtured in political activity and seem to have a clear understanding that their voices (and votes) count.
Thus, they will not be easily convinced that any significant movements towards radically changing the platform, by which the Islamic Republic came into being, would represent an improvement on the overall strides that the Revolution has made.
This is more apparent especially as this improvement did indeed translate into more accountability and transparency in Government, greater liberties and significant economic advances (as the trends of the and human development indicators, published by the World Bank and the United Nations show).
Even President Ayatollah Ali Khatemi, a pronounced reformist himself, clearly understood that reformists cannot be expected to take the helms in Iran, not so much because the reform agenda was not acceptable to the ruling establishment.
It was really because the main backers of the Revolution in Iran – the grass roots citizenry – strongly believe that their ruling establishment should never compromise their basic Islamic Revolutionary tenets, even if the proponents of radical changes take advantage of the democratic process, which Iran enjoys.
When a friend returned from Iran, sometime ago, this observer recalls that another friend asked him, believing what western journalists, who do not hide their general dislike for the Iranian Revolution no matter what achievements it has brought to the Iranian people, are saying:
“Aren't 90% of the people of Iran against the regime in Iran, while the regime can only count on the support of only 10%?”
The person returning from Iran (who incidentally follows a more secular philosophy on life) said:
“Quite the opposite is true!
90% of the Iranian people have full confidence in the Iranian Government with its Islamic Revolutionary Platform, while there may be 10% who may be against the regime or its policies.
Make no mistake about it, the Iranian regime enjoys the unfaltering support of the overall population in Iran.”
Thus, if the overall seers of the political process in Iran detect any danger lurking about, the Iranian people have faith in the soundness of the action that the ruling establishment might take in countering this eminent danger, even if it appears as part of the political process.
Moreover, the Iranian people have an inkling of how the United States is working diligently to make life as difficult as possible for the Iranian Revolution, especially since Israel works so hard to feed American hatred towards Iran.
This involves seeking ways of aggravating the political difficulties of the Iranian regime, by expensive propaganda campaigns and incitement through “opposition forces”, made up of former elements of the unholy and repressive regime of Shah Mohammed Pahlavi (which was one of the products of the CIA).
In the last elections, the “opponents”, supposedly fighting for democracy and supported by the defender of democracy, were urged to boycott the elections Anyone who has had an in-depth look at the operations of the Mujahidi Khalq opposition group, will be able to see that even Ahmed Chalabi, by comparison – notwithstanding his criminal record and obvious dubious clandestine role – is tame.
Oh sure, there is talk of how undemocratic the paternal overseers of the Revolution appear to be by refusing the participation of certain “reformist” candidates, but if the Islamic Revolution is to be assured any stable continuity, while safeguarding the rights of the grass roots constituency, then certain valves must be activated to prevent any possible threats posed by disguised “reformists”.
These valves are constitutionally instituted and apparently accepted by the Iranian people, as manifested by the significantly large turnout to the polls last week.
In other words, we have an operating institutional framework in Iran that speaks the minds of the people and knows how to rally the real popular support it needs to reflect the real desires of the people of Iran.
After all, it was the grass – roots citizenry that brought the regime to power and is the primary source for its sustainability.
Iran will simply never be any easy game for any of the likes of Ahmed Chalabi or the Rajawi family, for many years to come.