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Completing the pyramid
All branches of the IRI will soon be in conservative hands, making a showdown with the people more imminent


David Etebari
May 30, 2005

The election of the new president of the Islamic Republic in Iran is near. To understand the nature of this election one must have a comprehension of the constitution of the Islamic Republic. A constitutional system that is based on the typical power pyramid of any dictatorship and in this case the worse kind: religious.

At the top of this pyramid is the supreme religious leader "Vali Faghih", presently Ayatollah [Sign of God] Khamenei and formerly Ayatollah Khomeini. A complex religious Shiite hierarchy similar to the hierarchy in Vatican selects the Vali Faghih, the living Shiite Imam (leader) in the absence of the missing promised Muslim Messiah: Mahdi. He is the primary intermediately between Allah and the People and in charge of people's matters until the Mahdi returns to earth and personally takes responsibility.

Looking at the dictionary:

* Vali = Guardian, warden, saint, master

* Faghih= Jurisconsult, Knowledgeable

* Guardian= One who is legally responsible for the care and management of the person or property of an incompetent or a minor.

* Warden= The chief administrative official of a prison

* Saint= A person recognized as being entitled to public veneration and capable of interceding for people on earth.

* Master= One that has control over another

Therefore, Vali Faghih is the master, the guardian, the warden and the saint -- the one with supreme knowledge. Almost immediately the rest of the constitution of the Islamic republic becomes irrelevant due to the sole authority of God's representative on top of this pyramid.

Attempting to simulate the concept of a republic, the pyramid of the Islamic constitution is formed by its three sides: presidency, parliament and the judiciary. The candidates of the two elected bodies of presidency and parliament in addition to having to meet the Islamic standards are also selected among the applicants by Shorayeh Negahban (Guardian Council) half of whose members are selected by the Vali Faghih. Another qualifying factor for presidency is that only men are allowed to run for that office.

Historically the mullahs and their supporters are the ones who have been selected to be elected as president. The Guardian Council being the body who pre-selects the elected bodies of the government in reality is the second layer of the blocks on top of the pyramid. To take the control even further, any laws that are passed by the parliament or signed by the president has to be reviewed and approved by the Council. Therefore even the elected members within the selected group have no authority to legislate until the approval of the selected Guardians.

As if that is not enough, there is a third layer of blocks on top of the pyramid called: Shorayeh Maslehateh Nezam (Council for the Good of the State, or the Expediency Council), which is the intermediately between the Supreme Leader, Guardian Council, the President and the head of the Parliament, nearly all mullahs.

The Vali Faghih also selects members of this Guardian Council. The Council tends to be a legislator and enforcer of its own without having to answer to anyone but the Vali Faghih. On occasions it has exercised the same powers of the president and the parliament combined. As for the Judicial System, the Vali Faghih also selects the mullah leader and the judicial decisions are made strictly based on Islamic Laws by the mullah judges.

Soon, the Iranian people are supposed to go to the voting poles, and vote for one of the selected candidates in return for a stamp in their birth certificate which is the same birth certificates that they need to show to government authorities to get a job, to get paid, attend schools or to receive food coupons.

The most likely winner of this presidential election is a mullah who already has been the president twice prior to Khatami, the current president. (In the Islamic constitution one can run for more than two terms as long as the third term is not consecutive). A mullah who, after his presidency in the 1990s, has been the head of the Expediency Council.

This mullah prior to the Islamic republic had a pistachio garden and now him and his family have been recognized to be one of the richest families in the world. This mullah and his direct family now own shopping malls and freeways in Western countries such as Canada and even in the United States under different affiliations. This mullah is no one but Hojat-al-Islam [Hope of Islam] Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the second (and some say first) powerful man in the Islamic Republic.

Iranian opposition groups have invited Iranians to boycott the upcoming election. This time Iranian Noble prize winner Shirin Ebadi, despite some of her prior wrong tactical decisions with respect to Islamic Republic, has chosen to be on the right side of the history by also boycotting the presidential "selection" of the Islamic Republic.

The days of deceit of Islamic reformists in Iran are over. Khamenei and Rafsanjani will soon have the full control of all governmental bodies of Islamic Republic without the need of having puppets such as outgoing president Khatami and previous reformist Parliament. The new parliament is also primarily made of fundamentalists and conservative mullahs.

Khatami and his reformist followers, along with the country's high oil revenues, so far have helped the continuity of the Islamic Republic. However the tighter grip -- Khamenei (Vali), the new conservative parliament and Rafsanjani's presidency -- are making a showdown between the people and the Islamic Republic more imminent. After all the Iranian people, way at the bottom, are the ones who are carrying the weight of the pyramid of Islamic Republic.

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