Two faces of the same coin

Iran needs a constitutional revolution


Two faces of the same coin
by Sohrab_Ferdows

Story of democracy in Iran had a disastrous turn in the year 1979 after Islamic revolution and, the elections under Islamic Republic which are supposed to be the means to enforce people’s will in democratic societies, are in fact nothing but another ridiculous game of deception and dishonesty by rulers of this tyrannical and extremely corrupt regime. Over ten years ago Iranian people showed their deep dissatisfaction with policies of terror and suppression in Islamic Republic by voting for a clergy who was campaigning with promises of change, justice, fairness and economic prosperity after so called moderate President Rafsanjani had completed his 2nd presidential term.

The landslide victory for Mohammad Khatami in that election which was result of unusually truly high turnout by the people at polling stations surprised leadership of Islamic regime that had predicted victory for their own candidate, Ayatollah Nateq-Noori. Islamic Republic did not have to resort to any cheating and use of under age or dead people’s ID cards to achieve this high number of voters like in their previous elections. This was an indication for new hopes about democracy among Iranians while many continued to hold on to their pessimistic positions.

The high hopes for transforming of tyrannical rule of clergies into a true democracy which were raised after presidential election did not last very long but Islamic regime managed to harvest the enthusiasm of people for a couple of years and give a democratic appearance to their deeply corrupted and extremely suppressive system.

During the same years, mafia style killing and disappearing of some journalists and opposition activists and leaders by Islamic Republic information ministry took place while elected President was busy with signing of all kind of unfair economic and military contracts with other governments and international corporations. These multi billion dollar contracts in fact did not accomplish anything for betterment of Iranian people, from which a big portion were living below poverty, but poured hefty commissions into the pockets of middle men like Mehdi Hashemi. 

Creation of so called “reformist movement” of a group of hopefuls who had been encouraged by people’s participation in presidential election around Mohammad Khatami, was in fact a byproduct of the election in 1997.  Swift reaction by ayatollah Khamenei and promise of investigating about source of wealth of “some people” right after this election and in a gathering of Islamic judges and prosecutors was sign of a new show in politics of Iran. Whether Mohammad Khatami was genuinely interested in enforcing any change in the system or not at that time, has been debated many times but the fact is that even if he was, the subsequent events proved that he was aiming for impossible.

First term of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency coincided with commitment of most heinous crimes against Iranian intellectual community and nationalist political figures inside the country by Islamic regime’s secret police. These horrifying crimes in fact had started in earlier years and fell out of secret with the help of two political activists and journalists who had sympathy for President Khatami and his so called “reform” movement.

Not much later, Mr. Akbar Ganji and Mr. Saeed Hajarian were both targeted by the part of the system that was implicated because of their disclosure of the secret criminal activities in ministry of information. These events and many others during presidency of Mr. Khatami were indicating that the real policy maker for Iranian government is not the elected president but someone else who has all the power tools in his possession and under his control.

Disappointment about possibility of change in Islamic government resulted in a considerable drop in number of voters in next presidential election and forced Islamic regime to invoke the old methods of election fraud to bring number of voters up and create a false impression about voter’s confidence and system’s legitimacy.

From that point on, all efforts of Islamic Republic rulers in Iran in order to revive the atmosphere of 1997 election failed to produce any result and almost all opposition groups boycotted the last presidential election in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was named President of Islamic Republic. Despite the absence of voters at polling stations, Islamic regime declared a high turnout in election while nothing of the sort was visible during the period which poll was open.

Coming of Mr. Ahmadinejad to office of presidency in Islamic Republic with a lot of hoopla did not bring any true change in the nature of Islamic regime and all the superficial social changes like the size of women head scarves, use of musical devices and media, and limited freedom of expression without guaranty of freedom after expression, which had been achieved under presidency of Mohammad Khatami, quickly vanished and true face of Islamic regime one more time became evident.

Throughout the whole life of Islamic regime, there has never been any time that policies and priorities of Islamic Republic government was set to benefit the national interest of Iranians and this matter continued through presidency of Khatami and Ahmadinejad the same.  

Poverty continued to get worse all the time while Islamic regime continued to magnify the importance of issues like nuclear fuel enrichment as a major national agenda and achievement after wasting billions of dollars on obsolete and dangerous technologies for doing that.

Iranian women continued to be targeted and violated by Islamic regime’s moral police under guise of enforcing Islamic moral code. Policies of Islamic government regarding issues like Middle East and international terrorism remained the same and the level of suppression of liberties changed just on the surface once in a while to create illusion of open society.

Efforts by different groups of Iranian people like university students, workers, teachers and journalists, to expand the limits of civil liberties and push for reform in suppressive policies, were always confronted with brutality by Islamic government to show that there is no budging when a government is acting on behalf of god on the earth and the word of clergy is above all others.

Policies of Islamic Republic regime have brought nothing but misery and corruption for Iranians inside the country and humiliation in outside world. Islamic rulers deliberately push the nation towards confrontations so they can have better excuse to enforce their hold on the country through suppression of people and continue the looting of national wealth and resources under the guise of nuclear or military projects.

In simple words, coming and going of so called “reformist” or “hardliner” president or parliament have no real effect on how the country is run as all important decisions are made by un-elected supreme leader and according to a rigid constitution which is full of flaws in favor of rule of clergy. Almost 30 years of rule of Islamic regime has proven that there is no possibility of real change in this system.

Iran needs a constitutional revolution and Islamic regime must go entirely along with its constitution to pave the way for a true democracy in which civil liberties and Human Rights are guaranteed and all people’s religions are respected while kept private.


Recently by Sohrab_FerdowsCommentsDate
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Re: Mehdi

by jamshid on

Your post is obviously targeting the proponents of war.


 I found you saying this: "These hot-headed gentlemen/ladies (proponents of war) claim it will take forever - 100 years - if we try the evolution route"


Obviously you were refering to me, since I am the only one in this thread who said that evolution within IRI will take more than 100 years to have any results. You have therefore included me in the pro-war category. This can mean only two things:


1. You are using sophsitry and clever play with words to create the resemblence that I am pro-war, or,


2. More likely, you feel free to quickly label someone as pro-this and pro-that if they don't agree with you.


For the Nth time, most of us who oppose the IRI also oppose any war against Iran. GET THIS THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULLS. Being against the IRI and believing that IRI is unreformable is not the same as believing in war.


Your pitiful attempts to discredit "opposition to the IRI", by labeling it to "being pro-war" is not only futile, it is pathetic, as it demonstrates you are on defensive and have nothing intellectual to offer in the defense of the IRI. You are left only with false accusations.


The IRI is a brutal and un-reformable regime. If there is to be reform from within the IRI, it will take more than a 100 years for those "reforms" to have any true meanings and results. 


This regime must be overthrown as quickly as possible,

AND it can and will be done without any war,

AND despite of IRI's followers attempts of sabotage.

AND despite of IRI's brutal prosecution of its citizens.


IRI is headed for its demise. It's just a matter of time.



Arezu Is Right

by Mehdi on

After listening to a few of the proponents of violent change, I have started to become convinced that most of these individuals are talking out of some personal hatred, as opposed to having a noble cause. They seem to only want to destroy. They seem to be in a rush for it. They typically exagerate beyond reality. They try to convince us that conditions in Iran requires immediate violent intervention and they misrepresent or even fabricate statistics to "prove" their point.



This is the same mentality that helped pave the way for a revolution against Shah - exagerated claims. They claimed there were so many political prisoners and so many people were being tortured daily in prisons such as Evin, etc, etc. Well, the next regime made Shah look like a weak or an extremely democratic ruler! According to what these same people claim now, the IRI has been so much worse that there isn't even any comparison! And do these hot-headed gentlemen take any responsibility for such a disaster? No, they always have their excuses. Now, everything is mullahs' fault! Nobody else has any responsibility! And if we make a very violent attempt at "changing the regime" somehow magically a euphoric democracy will come about, the likes of which has never been seen on Earth! One cannot but consider the strong possibility that these people can't see the reality anymore. They are so engulfed in their personal hatred that they just can't see anything else. Their "enemy" must be anhilated and there is no arguing! This is insanity.



Of course, what Arezu suggests requires hard work. And who wants hard work? Not these gentlemen. People usually prefer to die (martyr) than do hard work! Heck it is a lot better to be a dead "hero" than do hard work! Boring! These hot-headed gentlemen/ladies claim it will take forever - 100 years - if we try the evolution route. Well, it will take that long if we keep refusing to evolve! But if we put shoulder to shoulder and work towards that goal, it can be accomplished very fast - faster than you could imagine. And if we can't put our shoulders together like that, then why are we trying to risk the destruction of the whole country by resorting to extreme force? Who says that after the "mullahs are gone" we will then magically be bale to put our shoulders together?



I think we need to get a grip on reality. And I believe what arezu suggests is far closer to reality than the euphoric dream that a violent revolution will somehow magically provide us with a new civilization out of thin air.



With Regards


Re: Arezu

by jamshid on

Your 4 point recommendation is fine. It has only one problem. If you want this to happen within the current regime, it will take 100 years. That's easy to say when you live in a western country and those in Iran are the ones paying the price.


Iranians did not know in 1978, but they do know today that many of those who "baraye melate iran sineh chaak mikardand va hanooz ham chaak mikonand" are the very same people who ended up hurting Iranians the most.


You Arezu are one of them.



To: Evolution and Pouyan

by Arezu (not verified) on

Both of you gentlemen or women just proved my point.

We have along way to go before we attain the utopia of "democracy". One can't even have a civil discussion among supposed compatriots who aim at achieving the same end objective via two different routes. If you can't abstain yourself from name calling and labeling individuals because of their differences of opinion in achieving a goal, then what do you think will be the result of a revolution with 75,000,000 people having different views and opinions about a complicated subject such as Constitutional Reform, democracy, form of government etc!!

If you so called western educated (I am making an assumption) can't have a descent dialogue then I wonder how you expect 75MM people to bring about the right reform benefiting an entire nation without the country breaking into anarchy and chaos. When anarchy breaks out it will leave the door wide open for foreign countries, (i.e. U.S.A.) to come in and write the Constitution for the Iranian people and determine their form of government, just like they did for Iraq.

Maybe you should take a look at the definition of "democracy and freedom of speech" and learn what it means before you preach it to others. It is always easy to advise others how to do something, but very difficult to look inward and find problems with oneself.

You both were a good test case. Thank you very much.


Pouyan and Evolution enough.........

by Sasha on

 Enough with the conspiracy theories. Arezu has some good ideas on what might need to be done to attain a better new form of government and stability for Iran whether it is done through evolutionary or revolutionary change.  I am not sure at the moment what will be best for Iran to bring about the necessary governmental change: Evolution or Revolution.


Evolution would be nice as it would be less drastic approach but perhaps it may not be based on reality. I still need to learn more about this approach to get a better understanding of it.

At the moment it may take both Evolution in the thought process of Iranians in Iran and an actual revolution to set themselves physically free.

Arezu:  "The first and most crucial need for Iran, again this is my opinion, you may believe otherwise are: (1) Iran’s sovereignty must be protected; (2) economic reform to bring stability and improve the lives of the Iranian people; directing Iran’s resources towards reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure; improving employment and attending to domestic needs of the country. You can talk about freedom of the press, speech, vote all you want, but if the citizens of a country have dire economic needs, such freedoms are not going to solve their immediate needs; (3) total reform and change of the Judiciary system; (4) parliamentary reform; and (5) once steps 1 through 4 are completed then the Iranian people are on a right path for selecting a regime that is for and of the people. I am sure there are many other requirements that are not included here."







R. Evolution

by Pouyan (not verified) on

This individual called, on this site, "Arezu" must belong to a IRI's propaganda network in the US. They work, among others, to neutrelize IRI's opposition networks. The IRI spends $200 millions per year alone inr south California for its anti opposition networks. His / her pro-IRI propaganda on this site are orchestraded by Mr. Hossein Shari'atmadari, who is both the advisor of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the chiet editor of Kayhan.


Arezu: You sound like

by Evolution (not verified) on

Arezu: You sound like Ghasemian character. What are your connections to the IRI? What do you stand to lose if there is a revolution?

Your self-rightousness makes me puke and you go around spewing your inane official line of the barberous regime on every thread. You're a sick mozdoor and I can't even bring myself to respond to you. You sound like a Islamofascist torturer or an interrogator in Evin prison. You're an Islamist through and through and if you live in the US, you should be watched by HDS.

Don't bother make me sick...


To: Evolution

by Arezu (not verified) on

Let's not get too dramatic that the "house is on fire" and we are speaking about "evolution". Iran has problems, but the house is not on fire unless the U.S. and the rest want to push it in that direction.

This is totally prejudicial thinking if you believe Iran is being pushed back to the Stone Age, therefore a "Revolutionary" change must take place before it is too late.

You speak like Bush and the neocons who say we need to take out Iran before it develops nuclear weapons and creates a “nuclear holocaust”. This must be done through whatever means, even if it requires bombing the country or forced regime change. This is their way of thinking, which if done will definitely put Iran in the same position as Iraq.

Such radical thinking didn’t bring democracy and freedom to Iraq did it? They led to destruction, anarchy, divide and conquer, pillaging of a country’s resources, and leaving millions of Iraqis dead and displaced. The Iraqis are suffering far more now than they were under the ex-dictator Saddam, and their country/house is burning like never before.

Revolutionary change in my humble opinion will result in exactly what you are against; it will destroy any progressive movement that currently exists within Iran.

In order to have a viable and sustainable reform, the foundations for democratic change must be built on strong pillars; otherwise it will collapse with a blow. On top of strong pillars then you build the layers that can be supported.

As an example, you can either construct a house quickly through cheap material and labor, a quick fix; or you can build a solid house by using good architects, engineers, contractors and solid material, which will not be destroyed by a hurricane or an earthquake.

Iran cannot afford another mistake. We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes; which takes us two steps forward and five steps back.

A thorough analysis of the weakness of Iranian socio-economic and political system must be studied from every aspect. Furthermore, we cannot look at Iran in isolation of its geopolitical position and the dynamics and interplay of outside forces which will have a significant, or I should say crucial impact on the outcome of any political reform in Iran.

This is why I am a proponent of evolutionary and progressive transformation based on sound pillars.

The first and most crucial need for Iran, again this is my opinion, you may believe otherwise are: (1) Iran’s sovereignty must be protected; (2) economic reform to bring stability and improve the lives of the Iranian people; directing Iran’s resources towards reconstruction of the country’s infrastructure; improving employment and attending to domestic needs of the country. You can talk about freedom of the press, speech, vote all you want, but if the citizens of a country have dire economic needs, such freedoms are not going to solve their immediate needs; (3) total reform and change of the Judiciary system; (4) parliamentary reform; and (5) once steps 1 through 4 are completed then the Iranian people are on a right path for selecting a regime that is for and of the people. I am sure there are many other requirements that are not included here.

None of the above mentioned steps can be done over night, they are extremely difficult, will be faced with resistance, but each step forward with thorough analysis, and execution will lead to progress and development leading to the ultimate desires that I believe we are all proponents of.

If anyone believes that this can only be accomplished by a revolutionary change, I think we are being short sighted.


The house is on fire and

by evolution??? (not verified) on

The house is on fire and people are trying to decorate the house through "evolution". By the time mullahs are done depleting, looting, mismanging Iran's limited natural resources into dust and sand again, there will be nothing left of Iran to "evolve". Yes, Iran will evolve into a stone age era of medieval barberism a la taliban....


Jamshid jan, don't get upset

by iraninan3 (not verified) on

Jamshid jan,
don't get upset with me. I am sorry if I said something wrong. I am a total monarchist or Pahlavist and I love to see Reza Pahlavi come back to power. OK? So we have no ground for disagreement.
I apoligize hardly if I talked nonsense in the past. You are bassavad and extremely educated. Sorry!
Javid Shah! I used to cry that loud and I still do it even at work, that's why I have got fired of 2 my jobs and I do not want that to happen again, but here I say it sincerely and very seriously for the last time: JAVID SHAH, ZENDEH BAD IRAN, ZENDEH BAD AMRICA, DOROUD BAR JAMSHID. OK?


Re: Iranian3 and History Buff

by jamshid on

There is no need to degrade yourself by calling me "bisavad" just because I have a different view than yours. If you are a true proponent of democracy, then you should know that already, but it seems you are a pro-democracy only in words. 


It is true that the constitutional revolution changed so many things. However only for a short while. In a country with 2500 years of history where we had a democracy for only such a short time, (and even during that time, it was not a true democracy), one cannot conclude that we already had an established democracy where someone, anyone, could have "completely destroy" it in the future. This just sounded so deceiving to me.


Reza shah inhertied a true dictatorship from the Ghajars and he DID not help the cause of democracy, I DO agree. My conclusions are that he considered the weak state of Iran, with the spearatists rising everywhere against the central government, and with foreigners having a great deal of control and influence which was made possible by the many sellout citizens of Iran itself, and with the mullahs in control of every aspect of the country, with a 99% illiteracy rate, with people not even knowing what democracy is or what to do with it, with no infrasturture, no money, no industry, nothing


He realized that other urgent priorities are at stake and decided to use a strong hand to make some of the fundemental and required changes. Iran was breaking up and we did need a strong hand.


If you disagree, then show me a blue print of what YOU would have done instead, to both save Iran AND not to step on the principles of democracy. I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO THIS. And don't do it in a world of fantasy where everything you "wish" would happen. Do think of what the many forces opposing you could do against you to get rid of you and your good intentions.


I have no family relations whatsoever with the Pahlavis. How could you know my background when you don't even know me? If your intention was to be funny, then again remember that it is at the cost of degrading your own self.


You say this: "gradually the British embassy and agents convinced him to establish his own 'dynasty' and become 'the emperor"....


Stop this "consipracy" dayee jan napelon thing. It was the British, It was the US, it was Israel, it was the feramasson, the zionists, .... All foreign powers had and still have influence on weaker countries, but ultimately, it is the citizens of those countries that make the difference. Compare Iran and Spain or South Korea.


It was the mullahs who convinced Reza to abandon a repulican from of government. The mullahs did so because they feared modernization and were more comfortable with a monarchy. Reza went along because he was not "all powerful" in Iran yet and at the time he needed those mullahs support.


Lastly, you ask me if I have read any book. Yes I had read many. I'll be glad to give you a list, if you are interested to further your knowledge.



"No one can claim that Iran

by xyz (not verified) on

"No one can claim that Iran was a perfect democracy (where is?) prior to 1979 but it was definitely a "democracy in progress"." Sohrab, I think you too were one of the students who left the country when you were a teenager, and didn't know what was going on inside Iran. Your insistence is amazing. Aziz-e man, which democracy in progress? did you read this in a book also? this is all in the past and only of much value for lessons to be learned for the present and future, and my comment isn't based on trying to directly or indirectly credit or dicredit any specific government. I too appreciated those miniskirts which were as short (if not shorter) than the ones in Europe at the time (during M.R. shah's times , but "democracy in progresss" it was not, by any stretch of imagination. The only very short period of democracy was crushed by overthrowing it from outside and of course with the usual demonization tactics (in the case of the event of the '50s it was branded to the world that they are all communists, that was the major seed of democracy that was crushed in Iran's recent history).


Sohrab_Ferdows .......motashakkeram

by Sasha on

 Thank you for the list of resources of historical information on Iran.



Natalia Nadia


Concluding the discussion

by Sohrab_Ferdows on

Dear friend,



Thank you for your enthusiasm and contribution but as I mentioned earlier, I have no intention of getting into endless exchange of unfounded stories in the name of history.



For those readers who may have interest about the historical backgrounds and facts on the subject of discussion I would like to mention name of a few sources which can provide some good information on the issue. Safarnameh Ebrahimbeyk or "Travel Diaries of Ebrahimbeyk" by Zeinol Abedin Maragheyee, from the days before Constitutional Revolution in Iran, is one of the books which can provide useful information about social conditions in Iran of Kadjar era. Another great source of information is the book written by Mr. Kasravi about Constitutional Revolution or "Tarikhe Mashrooteh Iran" in which Mr. Kasravi has provided detailed information about the events prior, during and after the Constitutional Revolution as an impartil historian whose views are respected almost by every researcher in the field. M. Kasravi also has another book on "500 years history of Khuzestan" or "tarikhe pansad saleh Khuzestan" which covers a good portion of the time from when the infamous Sheikh Khaz-al became a trouble maker in last few years of Ahmad Shah of Kadjar dynasty and provides good information about general condition of Iran and personality of Reza Shah as a growing figure in the modern history of Iran. From more recent sources, a former member of Jebhe Melli of Iran Mr. M ahmoud Toloui has also authored a book about history of Pahlavi era named "Pedar va Pesar" or "Father and Son" in which he has provided some good information about some historical events even though his work is tainted by injecting his personal agenda and political prejudice towards some issues, it still can provide reader with an overall understanding of Reza Shah era and status of democracy in those days.



To conclude our discussion I like to add this:


No one can claim that Iran was a perfect democracy (where is?) prior to 1979 but it was definitely a "democracy in progress". Islamic Revolution put a complete halt on the progress of democracy in Iran and dragged the nation towards absolute dictatorship of mullahs in the name of Allah. A relatively good democracy requires some conditions to be laid out in the society before anything else. Iranian society was getting ready to enter a new era of democracy through openness during late 1970's but that openness was abused by blind followers of ideology of hate and the clueless leaders of political opposition and the result was Islamic Revolution that our nation has to deal with today.



by History buff (not verified) on

Interesting that you talk about the Ghajar era looting the country but when I proved to you with reference that Reza Khan was much worse, you keep silent.
Education is important of course as is a free press that you mention. Do tell us how free the press was under Reza Shah. Was the press freer under Reza Shah than under Ahmad Shah? I haven't seen a single claim in all my readings to that effect. Reza Khan closed down every single paper that opposed him. Ghajar did not.
You still haven't shown us how the judiciary was independent under Reza Khan, regardless of how it was under Ahmad Shah. Yes it was not based on Sharia but on western methods. But so what? Reza Khan dictated the outcome of the judiciary, not exactly democratic is it? The key here is not what the judiciary was based on but whether it was independent and it was more so under Ahmad Shah than under Reza Shah. Both were pretty screwed up as judiciaries go.
I don't dispute that Reza Shah was good for the country and far better than the incompetent Ghajar kings. However, that has nothing to do with the level of democracy in the country during their respective rule. The country was much more screwed up under the Ghajar than under Reza Shah but Ahmad Shah was a far more democratic king that Reza Shah.
Stalin did a lot of good things for Russia as well. The greatest economic expansion of Russia ever took place under Stalin. That does not mean he was democratic and we all know he was not.


history buff

by Sohrab_Ferdows on

Dear history buff,




I do not intend to get involved with you in exchanging baseless arguments and labels as it will be nothing but counterproductive and irrelevant to the point. Public education is not "tenet" of democracy but it is a pillar to complement others like free press in a democratic society. The justice system during Kadjar was based on Sharia law and that's why Capitulation was in place to protect foreigners against Iranian justice system. Training of judges and prosecutors and establishment of new judiciary helped Iran to get out of the unjust Capitulation and enforce its own laws on foreigners equally. Apart from this, speaking about independence of judiciary during Kadjars is very naive and maybe an indication of misinformation or lack of information on the basics of the subject. During late Ahmad Shah Kadjar, British were in charge of making all decisions including "pocket money" of Ahmad Shah himself and whether he should've been allowed to travel to another part of the country or not.



It is good that you are impressed with your own level of "savad" or education to cal others "bisavad" but as I mentioned earlier, unfortunately I have no such luxury of being able to spend much time in exchanging unfounded and meaningless arguments.





to sohrab

by history buff (not verified) on

"Kadjar democracy was in fact for aristocrats and mullahs who wanted a share from looting of the resources and power with Kadjar rulers. Those in parliament during Kadjars were either mullahs or powerful khans and other aristocrats who were linked with ruling dynasty in one way or another. "
And Reza Khan's "democracy" was different in what way?
He took over when he had nothing, not a penny to his name. By the time he was booted out of the country by the Brits, his personal wealth was more than all of the government's Khazaneh. He was wealthier than an entire country's government(see the book: gozashteh cheraghe rahe ayandeh). When he was stepping into that ship to go into exile, his last words were to the effect: What is going to happen to the Amvale Saltanati. The country was under occupation and all hell is breaking loose and his main worry was his illegally obtained wealth!
Majles MP candidates were hand picked by his army goons around the country and as I said earlier, he used to refer to the Majles as "taveeleh". This is how democratic this guy was.
Yes he did create an Adliyeh but was it independent of him? No. Not even close. Even during Ahmad Shah's era, the judiciary, though not perfect and in the grip of the clergy, was independent of the King's Court. Now you understand the idea of separation of powers in a democracy don't you?
Public education system is not a tenet of democracy bissavad. To suggest otherwise is absurd.


Democracy and constitutional revolution

by Sohrab_Ferdows on

Dear Arezu, 

your noble intention is appreciated but I have to remind you of a couple of issues here.

- The laws under Islamic Republic (including their constitution) are just a collection of vague statements which are open to arbitrary interpretations by so called Islamic judiciary and law enforcement entities. A limited number of "laws" which have clear definitions and are designed to give a democratic appearance to the system are always ignored and laughed at by those entities in the system which are supposed to enforce them. The most important issue with the current system is mixing of religious belief of a portion of people and its divine rules with governance of the nation. There is no room for evolution when your constitution is based on untouchable divine rules because otherwise you are questioning the people's belief. this is what you read in part of the Islamic Republic constitution (I used boldface characters in some parts): 

Article 2

The Islamic Republic is a system based on belief in:

1.the One God (as stated in the phrase "There is no god except Allah"), His exclusive sovereignty and the right to legislate, and the necessity of submission to His commands;

2.Divine revelation and its fundamental role in setting forth the laws;

3.the return to God in the Hereafter, and the constructive role of this belief in the course of man's ascent towards God;

4.the justice of God in creation and legislation;

5.continuous leadership (imamah) and perpetual guidance, and its fundamental role in ensuring the uninterrupted process of the revolution of Islam;

6.the exalted dignity and value of man, and his freedom coupled with responsibility before God; in which equity, justice, political, economic, social, and cultural independence, and national solidarity are secured by recourse to:

1.continuous ijtihad of the fuqaha' possessing necessary qualifications, exercised on the basis off the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Ma'sumun, upon all of whom be peace;

2.sciences and arts and the most advanced results of human experience, together with the effort to advance them further;

3.negation of all forms of oppression, both the infliction of and the submission to it, and of dominance, both its imposition and its acceptance.

Article 3

In order to attain the objectives specified in Article 2, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of directing all its resources to the following goals:

1.the creation of a favorable environment for the growth of moral virtues based on faith and piety and the struggle against all forms of vice and corruption;

2.raising the level of public awareness in all areas, through the proper use of the press, mass media, and other means; education and physical training for everyone at all levels, and the facilitation and expansion of higher education;

4.strengthening the spirit of inquiry, investigation, and innovation in all areas of science, technology, and culture, as well as Islamic studies, by establishing research centers and encouraging researchers;

5.the complete elimination of imperialism and the prevention of foreign influence;

6.the elimination of all forms of despotism and autocracy and all attempts to monopolize power;

7.ensuring political and social freedoms within the framework of the law;

8.the participation of the entire people in determining their political, economic, social, and cultural destiny;

9.the abolition of all forms of undesirable discrimination and the provision of equitable opportunities for all, in both the material and intellectual spheres;

10.the creation of a correct administrative system and elimination of superfluous government organizations;

11.all round strengthening of the foundations of national defense to the utmost degree by means of universal military training for the sake of safeguarding the independence, territorial integrity, and the Islamic order of the country;

12.the planning of a correct and just economic system, in accordance with Islamic criteria in order to create welfare, eliminate poverty, an(i abolish all forms of deprivation with respect to food, housing, work, health care, and the provision of social insurance for all;

13.the attainment of self-sufficiency in scientific, technological, industrial, agricultural, and military domains, and other similar spheres;

14.securing the multifarious rights of all citizens, both women and men, and providing legal protection for all, as well as the equality of-all before the law;

15.the expansion and strengthening of Islamic brotherhood and public cooperation among all the people;

16.framing the foreign policy of the country on the basis of Islamic criteria, fraternal commitment to all Muslims, and unsparing support to the mustad'afiin of the world.

Article 4

All civil, penal financial, economic, administrative, cultural, military, political, and other laws and regulations must be based on Islamic criteria. This principle applies absolutely and generally to all articles of the Constitution as well as to all other laws and regulations, and the fuqaha' of the Guardian Council are judges in this matter.

Article 5

During the Occultation of the Wali al-Asr (may God hasten his reappearance), the wilayah and leadership of the Ummah devolve upon the just ('adil] and pious [muttaqi] faqih, who is fully aware of the circumstances of his age; courageous, resourceful, and possessed of administrative ability, will assume the responsibilities of this office in accordance with Article 107.


Article 6

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the affairs of the country must be administered on the basis of public opinion expressed by the means of elections, including the election of the President, the representatives of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and the members of councils, or by means of referenda in matters specified in other articles of this Constitution.  


Just take a look at art5icles 4,5 and 6 see the contradiction. This constitution is full of contradicory and vague statements and has no real value as a tool to govern a nation. It emphasises on continuity of "Islamic revolution" which means the nation will never have a break out of leadership of mullahs who will be claiming or appointed for "emamah" one after another. Evolution is not an option in the rule of god and those who represent god. 


Dear Jamshid, 

You are right about "democracy under Kadjar" which was nothing but an empty name. Democracy has no meaning when you do not have the basic elements and ingredients in place. Up to the time that Reza Shah took over, there was no real judiciary and no public education systems. Knowing that the main request in Constitutional Revolution was to create a fair justice system, no Kadjar ruler and their prime ministers took any action to implement this important task in establishment of real democracy. Reza Shah was behind establishment of this important job by creating a justice system based on western models thorough dispatching Iranians to study in that field and freed judiciary from influence of clergy. Remember that one of the most important elements to have democracy is "security" which had no meaning before Reza Shah. Kadjar democracy was in fact for aristocrats and mullahs who wanted a share from looting of the resources and power with Kadjar rulers. Those in parliament during Kadjars were either mullahs or powerful khans and other aristocrats who were linked with ruling dynasty in one way or another. 




Very good article -

by Arezu (not verified) on

Very good article.

However, we know for a fact that you cannot bring 180 degree change over night. It has never worked in the past and if so has led Iran down the wrong path, which people have regretted later.

A better way towards the end goal would be an evolutionary process even within the Islamic Republic which by the way in my opinion and the experts (which I am not) of Islamic Jurisprudence is for IR to start following the rule of law which paves the way towards the ultimate goal of Constitutional Reform acceptable to the will of the masses.

1. Islam does not have proxy in any shape or form, including mediator, intervener, solicitor, or vali. The existence of judge in Islamic jurisprudence invalidates any claim to the position of “Supreme Leader”. – So the entire concept of Supreme Leader has to be removed.
2. In Islam, the law itself is the supreme leader, and ALL are subject to the law, equally.
3. Quran says so, and Hazrat –e Ali practiced Islamic law, as such. Hence, NO MUSLIM, particularly NO SHIA, can alter it. It is one of those rare topics that is not subject to interpretation, and the current international law is in complete agreement with it; and
4. All clerics know it and some prefer deceit due to self interest.

As such, if the IRI starts practicing the LAW which is what the people should be demanding of their government and get away from the hypocrisy, deceit and self-interest of those in power this will be a major step forward. There are many clerics sitting in Qom who do not believe that the Mullahs should be heads of state rather they should be sitting in Qom and practicing and teaching religion. In fact they are condemning IRI for not following Islamic Jurisprudence and damaging the religion.

This was what Khomeini said he was going to do, and that is why the outcome was the Revolution of 1979. If he had not made such a promise I doubt the people would have agreed to such a system that currently exists in Iran. And if they did simply to remove the Shah, then my point why drastic change is not necessarily going to lead to the outcome people are seeking.

Many of you may disagree but I believe a positive evolution is far better and long lasting than a revolutionary change. Revolutionary change will create anarchy, many people (and I am speaking about the masses) don’t know exactly what they want. Furthermore, just because we are sitting here in the west and some of the bourgeoisie in Iran want a western looking government does not mean it is going to work in the immediate for the masses.

Positive change must be in line with respect and acceptance for the customs, traditions, and economic needs of the majority of the people and definitely should not be imposed by outside forces and foreign governments.


to jamshid

by History buff (not verified) on

"Did I miss any pages in my history book?"
Sounds like you missed the whole book an not just a few pages.


Yes He did completely destroy democracy in Iran.

by iraninan3 (not verified) on

bissavad, he means the nascent democracy ('true' constitutional monarchy which was a product of the constitutinal revolution in Iran and continued in a decade or so with 'true' Parliamentary elections by people. Mozafaredin Shah's rule became truly 'limited' for a decade but then came the absolutist dictator: Mohammad Ali Shah who bombed the Majlis with Russian support and then closed it.) The Majlis was then again revived but when Reza Mirpanj(your grandfather)came to power he first used the Majlis to ascend to throne under the influence of Great Britain and his agents and then he promised to eradicate the Qajar 'dictatorship'.

Howeever, gradually the British embassy and agents convinced him to establish his own 'dynasty' and become 'the emperor'.
He did so and the rest is history: he started to make fun of Majlis and after a while all 'delegates' were selected beforehand from darbar (the court)!

Then he started to eradicate all intellectuals and opposition leaders by poisoning them and closed all free and independent newspapers(pillars of democracy).

The next step was to confiscate the dozdi lands from the Qajar feudals like Mirza hassan Farmanfarma and the like and to add them to his family's assets. And the rest is history,... bissavad, have you ever read a book in your life?


Well said Sohrab

by jamshid on

Very nicely put.


Re: history buff

by jamshid on

history buff says this: "Reza shah completely destroyed democracy in Iran..."


What democracy? Please everyone enlighten me about this "democracy" that we had before reza shah which he destroyed after coming to power. Did I miss any pages in my history book?


Ghajari's democracy? Ahamad shah's democracy? When did we have this democracy that was "destroyed"?


Biggest disaster to Iran's democracy was...

by history buff (not verified) on

Ask any historian and they will tell you that the biggest disaster that happened to the Iranian democracy was Reza Shah. Sure he did a lot of good things for the country's infrastructure but he completely destroyed democracy in Iran. Things got better with his son up to 1953 and then went down the shitter after that and has remained there since.
Reza Shah use to refer to the "majlis" as "taveeleh" and had no time for any democratic ideas.
There are only two people in Iran who kept their rule somewhat within democratic norms outlined by the constitution: Mozaffaredin Shah and Ahmad Shah.



by Faribors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

It takes a lot of wounder. the true Iranians - those are the ones who live in IRI - do not know what thier Islamic Republic needs but the westerns and thier unpaid servants. But one needs only to go out of a neutral point of view and just think ogical. so one can first realise the reality which is given in modern IRI. For example just read the following attentively:
Following is an exclusive interview with the head of the Iranian Parliament's Committee for Women and Family Affairs, Mrs. Fatemeh Alia, who is also an active member of the Majlis Cultural Commission.

Q. Islam encourages women to be active members of the society while considering them important pillars of families. Islam also places the central responsibility for the upbringing of children upon women. How can women in today's world balance family matters against social responsibilities?

A. Women can have social responsibilities without necessarily being employed. The society can greatly benefit from women who voluntarily take part in social activities and influence the culture, politics and economics of their country. What is important is that the position of the family as the main building block of the society should always be cherished.

When employed, women can benefit from features such as flextime and maternity leaves. They can also use technologies like the Internet to continue to work at home while caring for their families.

The main issue here is that the family, which is an abode where love and friendship rule, should never be transformed to a mere dwelling deficient in the spirit of companionship.

Q. Does such balance exist in the world today?

A. In most parts of the world, in the West in particular, women are merely objects of collective materialistic values. The notion of complete equality between men and women with no consideration for their biological and emotional differences has distanced women from their inborn nature.

Many women have traded in family values to be able to work. In the West, people are changing the laws of nature such that family values have been forgotten and even same-sex relationships are emerging.

The modern world seems to be greatly concerned about women and makes favorable promises to them. It promises them freedom from slavery, male-domination, and even the established institution of marriage, but what does it actually have in store? Nothing but exploitation, injustice, oppression, aggression, harassment, neurosis and indignity.

Q. What measures have been taken in Iran for women to be able to have an active role in the society while fulfilling their duties at home?

A. The Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has approved a series of rules to allow women to fulfill both their social and familial responsibilities and facilitate their active participation in Iran's social arena. We have passed an act increasing maternity leave from 4 months to 6 months. We have also reduced compulsory working hours for women, and working mothers have been entitled to compensation for working environments which don't provide kindergartens.

However, meager laws are not enough and the main factor lies within the assistance and encouragement that a woman receives from her family.

Q. One of the indices of sustainable development is the rate of employed women. What is Iran's viewpoint in this regard?

A. The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the employment of women from the viewpoint of Islam, which puts great importance on the family, as the main building block of the society and the major institution that can pass on a county's culture and ideology to the next generation.

In addition to women who have opted to work outside the home, many have chosen to continue professions as writers, translators or artists who, besides managing the household, pursue their dreams and passions professionally. This sort of work is not considered in the data pertaining to employment.

Another issue which is also a major index in the economy and development of every society is the domestic work that every woman engages in. Unpaid productive work such as domestic work and child care ought to be included in satellite national accounts and economic statistics.

Q. Can you please give us your viewpoint on the notion of equality between men and women that is propagated in today's world?

A. One cannot assume that equality always results in justice. We believe in justice, but justice is not always the same as equality.

Although men and women have been created equal in the eyes of God, they are not created alike and their differences require a different approach to their roles and responsibilities within the society. Men and women in Islam are not antagonists but separate entities created to complement and complete one another. Islam considers each sex unique in its own sphere of activity and allots significant roles best suited to each according to its own nature and needs.

According to Iranian law, therefore, the two sexes enjoy equal rights and the Qur'an differentiates among human beings only based on the quality of their deeds in this world.

Q. In a meeting with Iranian women, leader of the Islamic revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that Iran objects to the West's record on women's rights. In your opinion what does his comment mean?

A. The West has oppressed women and has not recognized their real rights according to their intrinsic nature and creation. We consider the manipulative treatment of women in the West as oppression against humanity and betrayal of women rights.

The West should be held accountable for degrading woman to mere means of promoting consumer goods and perpetual sexual slavery.

The Islamic culture challenges the West and demands that the status of women be restored to its rightful and dignified position.

Q. Can you please explain some of the shortcomings of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)?

A. Iran is concerned about various issues of the mentioned convention. CEDAW undermines the traditional family structure which is much respected in our society. The preamble states, "A change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women." This requires states to "Modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices based on stereotyped roles for men and women."

This convention denies any distinctions between men and women. It defines discrimination in its own words as "any distinction on the basis of sex," in "any field". This is to say, it ignores differences between the roles, rights and obligations of men and women in the natural world.

The convention also states that governments should "ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning". This sort of rhetoric also includes open access to abortion services.

Abortion, of course, is only one of the contradictions between Islamic law and the Convention. Countries that have ratified CEDAW will also be obliged to welcome sexual relations out of wedlock, which Islam prohibits because of the harm it does to the society.

The Islamic tradition of hijab frees women from being perceived primarily as sexual instruments and helps cleanse the society of promiscuity. A healthy and vigorous society is considered essential in Islam for individuals to be able to nurture and develop their abilities.

Societies which promote women as sexual objects also have a horrendous rate of violence toward women. The wisdom behind this dress code is to minimize sexual enticement and degradation in society as much as possible for both men and women.

Regarding Islamic laws relating to inheritance, women have been granted the benefit of being completely entitled to their own property.

A woman receives a dowry at marriage and can choose to keep all of her inheritance for herself. She does receive less inheritance than her male sibling but this is due to the difference which derives from the obligation men have to support their wives financially, while the woman's share would be entirely at her own disposal.

Islam allows polygamy for men whereas there is no such law for women. Certain circumstances require such remedial laws to be introduced in the society. Due to conditions like war, the total number of women sometimes exceeds the number of men. At such times, the society must resolve the dilemma of caring for women who have the right of marriage, emotional support and welfare. In these circumstances polygamy is the only just solution.
The one who is in amental situation to be able to judge neutraly sees that the best kind of democracy is allready given in IRI and the true Iranians - i mean the ones who live in IRI - do not see what is good for them? Buit a handfull undesirables such as me do see and know what IRI needs? and do nothing to take the things IRI needs there? And please no unlogicak and uncorrect words about polygamy! It is not supposed to cure sexmonsters. Greeting


Excellent Article! you

by irooni23 (not verified) on

Excellent Article! you really did a great job.


Mr. Ferdows, Great article !

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Mr. Ferdows, Great article ! Voice of reason! Keep up the good work. These facist, terroist inspiring and supporting, medieval cancer like thugs must be removed from our country, in every aspect of existance.


Corner Islam

by Kamangir on

Iran needs to corner Islam as much as possible. Iran is learning this the very hard way. Secularism is the ONLY way out.



I could not agree with you

by Javid (not verified) on

I could not agree with you more. Thank you for your concise and clear write up.


Thank you for your concise

by Rastin (not verified) on

Thank you for your concise and clear write up. I could not agree with you more.