Iran's Democratic Manifesto
Wall Street Journal / Abbas Milani

Ten days before the June 12 anniversary of last year's contested presidential election, Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi called for his supporters to protest in the streets as they had one year before. Then he rescinded his own message. Many Iranian democrats derided this about-face as defeatist. Here in America, observers took Mr. Mousavi's gesture—and the fact that only 400 people were reportedly arrested in Tehran on the anniversary—as the death knell of the Green movement.

But two days later, on June 15, Mr. Mousavi issued a working draft for what he calls the "Covenant of the Green Movement." Though the document has gone largely unnoticed in the Western press, its message is remarkable both for what it articulates and leaves unsaid.

The covenant is Mr. Mousavi's most defiant critique of the status quo, calling the regime "institutionalized corruption hiding behind a pretense of piety." He laments the fact that Iran has the world's highest per capita rate of executions, and points to the fact that public coffers are plundered by government officials. The suffering and heroism of the people, he says, has torn asunder "the curtain of hypocrisies and duplicity manifest in the behavior of those wishing total domination (tamamiyatkhah)" in the regime.

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