A declaration by the secular supporters of the Iranian Green Movement
1. Prologue and Invitation
We, who have put our signatures under this declaration as a section of secular supporters of the Iranian Green Movement, have come to the conclusion that we are living in a critical moment when our inevitable historical duty is to introduce our great nation and those who participate in the Iranian Green Movement, a political alternative that we think would be beneficial for the future of our country.
We believe that a 31-year long period of lawlessness, suppression, annihilation of all freedoms, imprisonment of political thinkers, practicing torture and having no regard for the provisions of the Human Rights Declaration and International Conventions, has rendered the present regime of Iran, with all its institutions totally illegitimate.
Without denying the probable necessity of going through a gradual and non-violent period of change towards the realization of our demands, we believe that any kind of transition should have a bundle of clear-cut goals. Our declaration is based on such targets and is based on our firm belief that the present regime should be dismantled and the ingredients of a new one, including the form of the future Iranian state, the Constitutional Assembly, other assemblies and the forming of the new government should be determined through a series of free elections, supervised by relevant international institutions.
We have listed our beliefs and goals in the second section of this declaration and, have established an administrative office and an Internet site that would merely function as a hub to create a network through which all secular forces of Iran could communicate and exchange their thoughts and ideas. We invite all those Iranians who share these goals to sign this declaration by their real names and join us in good faith.
We say to our compatriots that we are not few and disabled. Nevertheless, our scattered composure diminishes our efficiency. To enter this path, no one needs to put aside her/his opinions, religion, and schools of thought. All Muslims, whether Shiites or Sunni, all Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, Baha’is, atheists, and non-believers who endeavor to create an atmosphere of tolerance and coexistence could consider themselves as “secular” and join us for the realization of the ideas put forward in this declaration.
We also invite all those owners of different media who consider themselves as “secular” to join this effort and participate in the creation of a powerful secular network that would endeavor to reflect the true voice of the Iranian nation all over the world.
Dear compatriots, our destination will not be far away if we walk on the road to the future by friendship and having in our hearts a deep belief in the necessity of tolerance and coexistence.
2. Our Objectives and Why We Have Chosen Them
1. We have recognized that the main historical problem of the Iranian people has been a perpetual suffering caused by different kinds of discrimination which have manifested themselves with regard to beliefs, opinions, religions, ethnicities, languages, sexuality, cultural values, and social opportunities. By declaring an official religion in the past, and due to 31-year-long governance by the clergies of the Imami Shiite sect, the number and depth of these discriminations have become threefold.
2. We find the key to resolve this historic problem in building a society that is governed by mundane laws created by the will of all Iranians, for all of them and in their service, regardless of any consideration for religious orientations, ethic and sexual identities or cultural and lingual preferences. Such laws will not divide the nation into different categories of citizenship but will bestow law, order, resources and opportunities to every member of the society without any discrimination.
3. We regard all Iranians as the true owners of their country, deserving all the provisions of the Declaration of Human Rights with no religious and ideological considerations and pre-conditions. The future government of Iran should adhere to all international conventions that guarantee sexual equality, together with annihilation of discrimination, torture, political incarceration, death penalty and deprivation of education and health services, without any condition or exception.
4. We believe that having an “Iranian Nation” entails the existence of a unified country. We also think that imposing different discriminations is the main threat against this unification by creating an urge for separation and disintegration. We believe that the cure resides in the annihilation of all sorts of ethnic and cultural discrimination.
5. Apart from its legal aspects, we believe that feeling to be an “Iranian” comes from a national and historical identity that discrimination can render it meaningless and useless. Therefore, we believe that preserving the variegated heritage of “all Iranians”, coming down from all stages of our history, is the best guarantor of our relationship with this identity. At the same time, we consider having a critical awareness of this history, without denying one moment of it, is the main guaranteeing condition for the preservation of national integrity of all variances within said identity.
6. If we want Iran to belong to all Iranians, we should be aware and watchful so that no individual or group could claim priority in benefiting from opportunities over others. No special merit and advantage should be plausible without reason. All vocational and political offices should be opened to all Iranians regardless of their religion, differing opinion, language or ethnic background.
7. We believe that the key to this goal is to adhere to the principals of merit, suitability and competence. Any other “criteria” could lead to discrimination.
8. All of the national resources and opportunities should belong to all Iranians. At the same time, relying on the sanctity of human individuality and one’s right to harness the results of one’s life endeavors, we regard private ownership as a principal. But, at the same time and upon the principal of non-discrimination, no material gain should give individuals any social privileges. The same principals dictate to us that all social policies should be tuned to the prerequisites of social justice.
9. It is obvious to us that eliminating discrimination in an ethnically and culturally colorful and variegated society entails that no social group or strata should be able to impose its values upon others, or segregate the people into different classes of citizenships, or distribute national resources on a discriminatory scale. It is upon such observation that we believe in a state separated from all religious and ideological inclinations and natures. Such a state would be a translator of all national aspirations of Iranians and would act upon the decision and under supervision of a national assembly with its deputies elected through free elections.
10. We believe that a manifestation of peaceful coexistence would be the inability of any social group to impose its values and celebrations as well as mournful occasions on other group that do not share those values.
11. We know that the diverse nature of Iranian society asks for simultaneous integrity through non-discrimination and the observance of the special needs of different social groups. Accepting plurality and differences entails the recognition of the ability of smaller groups in running their own internal affairs. Thus, imposition of the values of any group on others, together with unnecessary centralization of affairs, could result in social dissatisfaction and should be banned.
12. The non-discrimination principal entails that no person of authority should be non-responsible and unanswerable to the people’s delegates, considering himself/herself different from others. Attaining authority should be coupled with answerable responsibility.
13. We believe in the important role of political parties and encourage everyone to establish or become member of such institutions. At the same time, we think that the function of a political party should not include the imposition of ideological and religious inclinations. Every party should render an executable program for running the government based on their beliefs and values but within the frame work of democracy and secularism. Any party that obtains the seat of authority and political power should know that it is to render its services to all Iranians and cannot discriminate between members and non-members. And, in order to prevent the despotism of any political party, their presence in power should be temporal and periodic. No official should consider herself/himself above others and should remember that he/she is employed by the rest to serve their interests.
14. In an Iran void of any discrimination, everyone should have the right of investigation, criticizing, protesting and gathering in non-violent demonstrations based on the laws sanctioned by the elected deputies of the national assembly. Parallel to that, the freedom of all media should be guarded by the government. All complaints against the media should be investigated by an independent judiciary and government should not be a deciding party to this investigation. Apart from unity of the country and freedom of its people, creating and guarding the freedom of speech on a national scale entails that nothing should be considered sacred. Nevertheless, the mundane and secular nature of this sacredness should not prevent any criticism.
15. We believe that members of the armed forces of the country should not be allowed to participate in political and economic activities unless they act within their civilian rights and by means of their personal abilities, without using any governmental means and influences. They should attend to their legal duties under the supervision of the freely elected government of Iran.
Signature list: http://www.seculargreens.com/signature.htm
To add your signature: http://www.seculargreens.com/payvastan.htm