A Critique of Marandi’s Article "IRI Under the Threat of War."
I was very disappointed reading this piece by Dr. Marandi. I was expecting and hoping to get the inside information and/or analysis by an influential hard-line fundamentalist insider. Instead, this is a terrible propaganda similar to those of Mr. Mohammad Said Al-Sahaf (Saddam Hussein’s Minister of Information) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s27Oq5ot0ZI and Dr. Moussa Ibrahim (Moamar Qadzafi’s spokesman) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsmGYKzq8uQ&feature=related .
Instead of presenting a meaningful analysis of the recent "pseudo-election" for the Majles, Marandi gives the readers a simplistic and childish rehash of fundamentalist regime propaganda about the legitimacy of the fundamentalist regime.
The reason why Marandi needs to use fake arguments is the simple FACT that the fundamentalist regime suffers from acute crisis of legitimacy. The Iranian people know this fact, the world knows this fact, and I suspect that even Marandi knows this fact (unless he is really delusional). Like the Iraqi and Libyan propagandists, Marandi goes on and repeats the nonsense.
As long as Mr. Marandi continues to parrot the same things that Saddam’s Minister of Information and Qadzafi’s spokesman used to say, he will cause the naive and useful idiots in the West who follow him to be make miscalculations, and then are left wondering, again and again, why they always get things wrong.
After the fall of tyrannies in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, (and hopefully soon in Syria and Iran), I doubt that serious scholars, government officials, and thoughtful people would fall for Marandi’s propaganda. People might be amused by Marandi as they were with Al-Sahaf and Ibrahim. People have seen such bogus claims of popular support by propagandists of tyrannies. I do not think that people are THAT dumb to fall for such vacuous claims.
Lets review some of Marandi’s bizarre assertions and claims:
Marandi: "There was a broad choice of candidates and the counting process is trusted and reliable. ... Despite sanctions and other forms of international pressure, the Islamic Republic has the strong support of the public. In contrast to many countries allied to the West, it has meaningful elections that include candidates with very different political views."
Kazemzadeh: This are bold face lies. ALL the candidates are from the very narrow band of supporters of the fundamentalist regime. Not a single Iranian democrat is allowed to participate in the election. Not only the Council of Guardians bans democrats (e.g., members and supporters of the National Front), semi-democrats (Nehzat Azadi, Melli Mazhabis), but also other supporters of the vf regime such as the Reformists (e.g., Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Karrubi are still under house arrest and many of their supporters were sent to prison, or exile) are banned. In Iran those who protested have been executed, tortured, raped, sodomized by the Velayat Faqih regime.
If the fundamentalists had the support of 65% of the population, they could have allowed free and democratic elections looooooooooooooooong time ago. In my opinion, the support base of the velayat faqih regime (about 10-20 percent of the population) is less or about the same as the support base of Saddam’s regime (about 15-20 percent of the population). That is why neither allowed free and democratic elections. On the distributions of various groups in Iran see my blog:
Now lets compare IRI’s pseudo-elections to free and democratic elections in the world. ONLY a liar and a charlatan would deny the FACT that the Iranian people who oppose the fundamentalist dictatorship are banned from elections. EVEN reformist fundamentalist have been banned!!!!!!!! In fact, the elections in Turkey, Egypt have been faaaaaaaaaaaar more democratic and with candidates from opposed political ideologies. Even under the American occupation, the elections in Iraq and Afghanistan (despite all their flaws and cheating) were far more democratic and included candidates with divergent ideologies.
Marandi wants to fool his Western readers to think that the Islamic Republic does not suffer from crisis of legitimacy and that the vast majority of the Iranian people support the reactionary fundamentalists. First and foremost, ALL propagandists of tyrannies make such claims. The only way to know the support base of any group is through FREE and DEMOCRATIC elections where all other groups can participate and the people can vote for whomever they want. Under the fundamentalist regime’s dictatorial system, the Iranian democrats (e.g., Iran National Front) are banned, the semi-democrats (e.g., Nehzat Azadi, Melli Mazhabis) are banned, the socialists are banned, the monarchists are banned, the ethnic parties are banned (e.g., Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdestan, Komeleh). The fundamentalist regime’s is sooooooooooooooooooooo repressive that even majority of Reformist fundamentalists are banned!!!!!!!!!
Now lets discuss Marandi’s 5 points:
1. There are reports about the UK freezing about $1.6 BILLION bank account reportedly belonging to Mojtaba Khamenei:
Turkey confiscated about $18.5 BILLION in gold and dollar bills in 2009.
Could Dr. Marandi tell us whether this belonged to Khamenei, Mojtaba, or the IRGC?
2. Marandi’s assertion is misleading. If I am not mistaken, his father was among a handful that was allowed to go to Majles from Tehran in the pseudo-election in the first round.
This election is significant for the intra-elite competition among the hard-line elements. If there is a change from presidency to parliamentary it has 2 main advantages for Khamenei.
(1) The current fundamentalist constitution states that the President is the SECOND most powerful person in the country (after the Supreme Leader). There is an pseudo-election for the President. This makes the person who becomes President to have a "claim" of legitimacy rivaling that of the Supreme Leader. The SL is not even elected via a pseudo-election. The dude is chosen by the members of the Assembly of Experts. The AE itself is chosen via a most narrow pseudo-election. So, the SL could not even claim that the people have voted for him. Khamenei was selected by fundamentalist CLERICS in the Assembly of Experts. This is an assembly open solely to CLERICS who are fundamentalist and pass the Council of Guardians filter!!!!!
So, getting rid of the position of Presidency and changing it wit the position of prime minister, INCREASES the power of the Supreme Leader. Then, neither the Supreme Leader nor the Prime Minister has been directly voted by the people.
(2) In the current presidential system, getting rid of the President is a "constitutional crisis." The President has to be impeached and removed by the Majles and the Supreme Leader. Then, the regime has to organize another election (or pseudo-election to be accurate). In a parliamentary system under IRI, however, any time the Supreme Leader so desired, he could tell the Majles to get rid of the Prime Minster and choose another one. This could be done in a few hours. No impeachment process. No new "popular elections" to be organized. All it would take is one vote by the Majles to get rid of the current PM, and another vote to select a new PM.
In sum, the combination of (1) and (2) would dramatically INCREASE the power of the Supreme Leader (which is already a terribly dictatorial and powerful position to begin with). The experience with Bani Sadr (the ONLY president elected in what amounted to semi-democratic election) showed that a person so elected can stand up to the Supreme Leader if he is brave and willing to risk paying the price. The fake election/selections of Rafsanjani occurred when Rafsanjani held more power than the Supreme Leader although according to the Constitution, the SL was supposed to have more power. The experience with Khatami showed that by echoing the demands of the people, a Reformist fundamentalist could gain the votes of the people and corner the hard-liners and the SL. The experience of Ahmadinejad showed that even a NOBODY who owed his rise and power to the behind-the-scenes actions of the Supreme Leader, may not always follow the orders and wishes of the Supreme Leader. Khamenei wants someone even more sycophantic and subservient than Ahmadinejad. Basically, Khamenei wants a Hoveyda for his Eminence.
3. It is ridiculous to compare turn out in a terribly tyrannical regime such as the one imposed in Iran with those in democracies such as the American democratic system. Dr. Marandi should compare his regime with those like it such as the regime under Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the regime under the Assad dynasty in Syria, or the regime in Libya. The turn outs in Iraq under Saddam, and Libya under Qadzafi were HIGHER than the turn out under Khamenei. Therefore, under Dr. Marandi’s logic, the regimes of Saddam and Qadzafi enjoyed larger support from their people.
4. An election is meaningful if it is democratic, free, and fair. There is NO freedom of political parties in Iran. There is NO freedom of the press in Iran. There are NO free and democratic elections in Iran (well, since 1980).
Holding "demonstration elections" are meaningless. Reza Shah Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held such elections as did Saddam Hussein and Qadzafi.
5. Perhaps the ONLY part of this propaganda piece that had any value was in this section. Yes, BOTH Haddad-Adel and Ali Larijani are sycophants of the Supreme Leader. The assertion of both Marandi and those he critiques are equally banal.
In conclusion, I still like to read one good analytical article on the recent Majles pseudo-election and what it says about the intra-elite competition in IRI. Marandi is one of those who could, perhaps, write one such article. Unfortunately, Marandi wasted our time with a propaganda instead. Very sad. Very very sad.
My 2 rial,
(Sorry for the typos, I only had about 20 minutes to read Marandi’s article and write this review).
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