Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Will of the Ayatollah and his Ruling Class!

If I was a citizen of Iran the likelihood is that, I would probably be in big trouble with the Imams and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for the title that I've given this piece in regard to the presidential elections in Iran. As I write Muhmoud Ahmadinejad is said to be heading towards a landslide victory in the country's presidential election, whilst his challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi has alleged irregularities, at one point he even claimed victory himself.
I've not paid any real detailed interest towards this election, only glancing at the headlines over last few weeks during the campaign run. However I've taken an interest because the results are said to lay claim to a turnout of 84% of Iran's 46 million eligible to vote, this being a high percentage of the voting population, requires further investigation and consideration.

All four candidates—Ahmadinejad, former commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) Mohsen Rezaei, ex-prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karroubi—have longstanding ties to the Iranian political establishment and were vetted by the unelected Guardian Council. The Guardian Council or Guardian Council and also Council of Guardians is an appointed and constitutionally-mandated 12-member council that wields considerable power and influence in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Iranian constitution calls for the council to be composed of six Islamic jurists, "conscious of the present needs and the issues of the day to be selected" by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and six jurists, "specializing in different areas of law, to be elected by the Majlis from among the Muslim jurists nominated by the Head of the Judicial Power," (who, in turn, is also appointed by the supreme leader). It is charged with interpreting the Constitution of Iran, supervising elections of, and approving of candidates to, the Assembly of Experts, the President and the Majlis (Parliament), and "ensuring ... the compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly [i.e. Majlis] ... with the criteria of Islam and the Constitution", i.e. deciding whether to veto laws passed by the parliament

The Council has played a central role in keeping only one interpretation of Islamic values from influencing Iranian law, as it consistently disqualifies reform-minded candidates—including the most well-known candidates—from running for office and scraps laws passed by the popularly elected Majlis (parliament). When the 2009 Presidential election was announced, the popular former president, Mohammad Khatami, would not discuss his plans to run against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the Council may disqualify the Muslim cleric as it has other reformist candidates on the grounds that they were not dedicated enough to Islamic values. It has also increased the influence the Islamic Revolutionary Guard (an ideological fighting force separate from the Iranian army) has on the economic and cultural life of the country.

The post of Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) was created in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the highest ranking political and religious authority of the nation, in accordance with the concept of Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists.
More powerful than the president of Iran, the Leader appoints the heads of many powerful posts - the commanders of the armed forces, the director of the national radio and television network, the heads of the major religious foundations, the prayer leaders in city mosques, and the members of national security councils dealing with defence and foreign affairs. He also appoints the chief judge, the chief prosecutor, special tribunals and, with the help of the chief judge, the 12 jurists of the Guardian Council – the powerful body that decides both what bills may become law and who may run for president or parliament.

So today Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims a landslide victory in Iran, but his opponents protest,the electoral authorities declared the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the victor in a fiercely fought contest for Iran’s presidency. His claim to a 65% landslide appeared to bury the hopes of the main challenger, Mousavi, a liberal whose campaign gained rapid momentum in its last days, inspiring huge, boisterous street demonstrations. The two other contenders trailed far behind in the official count, with barely 3% of the vote between them. All three challengers disputed the still-inconclusive result, which came as a crushing disappointment to the many Iranians dismayed by Mr Ahmadinejad’s religious conservatism, populist economics and combative foreign policy. Mr Mousavi’s camp, citing private opinion polls, had placed their candidate well in the lead as polls opened on Friday morning. Voting was extended into evening hours to accommodate a record turnout among the 46.2m registered voters, and shortly after polls closed Mr Mousavi called a press conference both to confirm his advantage “by a wide margin” and to protest alleged irregularities in the voting.

The Tory (usual crap) shadow foreign secretary William Hague has already voiced his concern over allegations of vote-rigging in the Iranian elections, after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared winner and there have been clashes between demonstrators and riot police in Tehran today.

Extracts From the Guardian Website:

"Riot police on motorbikes used batons to disperse Mousavi supporters who staged a sit-in near the interior ministry, where the results were announced. Up to 2,000 Mousavi supporters erected barricades of burning tyres and chanted "Mousavi take back our vote! What happened to our vote?"

Reporters saw police attacking the demonstrators, and several protesters were carried away. The BBC showed footage of police attacking protesters, some of whom threw stones at the officers.

In another main street of Tehran, about 300 young people blocked the avenue by forming a human chain and chanted "Ahmadi, shame on you. Leave the government alone."

Mobile phone text messages were jammed, and news and social networking websites – including the Guardian, the BBC and Facebook – as well as pro-Mousavi websites were blocked or difficult to access.

"The election was a game and full of lies," shouted one protester. "We can not do anything here," said another. "We can not believe the results and they are unacceptable."

Mousavi appealed directly to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei but the country's supreme leader today threw his weight behind Ahmadinejad, urging the other candidates to support the president."

In an ominous sign, the political chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Yadollah Javani, warned this week that there would be no colour revolutions in Iran—referring to the US-backed political movements in countries like Lebanon and the Ukraine. “There are many indications that some extremist [reformist] groups, have designed a colourful revolution ... using a specific colour for the first time in an election.... Any movement for a velvet revolution in Iran will be nipped in the bud.”

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