The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


February 1, 2001

Misunderstanding the facts

This is the first time I am writing to your publication. I am very fond of articles appearing on your site, particularly of those personalities' whose expertise on Iran, political issues and international relations are well know to most Iranians and non­Iranians.

However, tonight I read an interesting article, "Citizen Pahlavi", which, if I may would like to comment on few points mentioned.

I have copied those lines and have replied to them one at a time.

1 ­ "What Mohammad Mossadegh stood for is far more appealing to the public than the monarchy."

Can the writer explain his/her understanding of what Dr. Mossaddegh stood for? Because those Iranians who have read the history or even remember those days would never call Dr. Mossadegh a republican!

All Dr. Mossaddegh was insisting was respecting the constitution which stated the system of constitutional monarchy. Let's not forget that he himself was related to the Qajar royal family. Thus what you have understood or been told about him, I have no idea!

To give you an example of Mossaddegh's respect for monarchy, please refer to his own writings where he states, " Though I was not feeling well and I was told that on my audience with His Majesty I can drive up to the palace, I replied: 'No matter what I shall walk from the gate to the entrance'."

2 ­ "But why even call for a referendum when you already know the clear majority just want a secular democracy? Why even suggest the monarchy as a possible future form of government when most people have no desire for it?"

I believe the writer has misunderstood the fact that a secular democracy is not a type of government! One can see today many examples of progressive, secular and democratic republics as well as monarchies. Germany, France or Sweden and Spain. I thought the writer is pro-democracy. In a democracy you don't decide for others and you don't take the options away either. Instead you leave all options open and let the nation to choose.

Again a secular democracy is the wish I believe of many of our countrymen, but a secular democracy does not specify the form of the political establishment. I don't think anyone is in any position to say that most people have no desire for monarchy. Has the writer spoken or taken a survey of over 35 million Iranians who are eligible to vote?

4 - "The monarchy and velayat-e faqih have one very important thing in common. And that is the notion that one man, or one family, or one social class, has the God-given right to rule over a nation. Even under the best circumstances when the monarch or the vali-e faqih does not interfere in the government's affairs, the concept of a royal or holy figure head goes against the principles of modern politics. It does not matter if you are the Queen of England or a modern, free-thinking molla -- neither should have special titles or exclusive privileges beyond ordinary citizens."

We are talking of constitutional monarchy where no one is above the law, be it the Shah or a peasant. Therefore, the constitutional monarchs such as; the Queen of England (as you've mentioned) or that of Denmark or Holland do not rule over their nations. You talk of modern politics and claim that monarchy is outdated.

Would you then consider countries such as; Sweden, Britain, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, the backward nations on earth? These are some of the finest examples of monarchies.

5 - "We had monarchies because we had no other choice. Now we do. The people of Iran are more than familiar with the concept of secular democracy and you are going to have a hell of a time convincing them to aim for anything less."

"We had no choice"?! - Why is that? ­ Wasn't the revolution of 1979 a good opportunity to establish your desire ­ a secular democracy? Again this "Secular Democracy"! ­ I suppose you mean a democratic republic?

6 - "As long as he represents an outdated and undesirable form of government that never had a popular base to begin with, he will be, for the most part, ignored."

Like many other issues mentioned on your article, this too is debatable. "Never had a popular base"?!

I would be very grateful if you could possibly redirect my reply to my dear countryman. I would also like to take this opportunity and thank you for all efforts on for enabling us to communicate with other Iranians and therefore, promote this forum of free discussions.

Ahmad Kashani


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