Under the Threat of War

Iranians affirm support for the Islamic Republic


Under the Threat of War
by Seyed Mohammad Marandi

Most of the Western so-called reporting on the Islamic Republic’s recent parliamentary election displayed very limited direct knowledge about Iran and often, as its authors’ acknowledged, derived its their information primarily from Western-backed opponents of the Islamic Republic. As long as this goes on, Western countries will continue to miscalculate about the Islamic Republic’s internal politics and foreign policy—and then be left wondering, again and again, why they always get things wrong.

Five points of fact illustrate the shortcomings in this approach to “understanding” Iranian politics. First of all, contrary to unsubstantiated “green” propaganda intended to damage the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei’s son Mojtaba is not an important political figure. Claims of this sort that are recycled in the Western media have little effect inside Iran. Regardless of what they think about his policies and beliefs, Ayatollah Khamenei is recognized even by his opponents (like Ataollah Mohajerani) as super clean. Moreover, people recognize that, if Mojtaba had such an important role, he would be seen regularly involved in politics and high-level decision-making processes and institutions. He isn’t.

Second, changing the structure of government by removing the presidency would require a change in the Constitution, a process that has little to do with this year’s parliamentary elections. It would require a referendum—not a decree from Parliament. The current parliament has had somewhat poor relations with the incumbent President; if the parliament to be formed out of this year’s elections also turns out to be critical of the President, this will neither be new nor have anything to do with changing the Constitution. And, in any case, Ayatollah Khamenei never spoke about any imminent change in the Constitution. A few months ago, in a question-and-answer session with students and academics, he said in response to a question that there could be changes in the constitution in the distant future if it were concluded that a different governmental structure would work more effectively. He then gave the example of the current presidential system.

It is also inaccurate to suggest that eliminating the presidency would make the elected branches of government weaker. If Iran were to have a prime minister it would make the parliament even more powerful. Either way, it would have no effect on the combined scope of authority of the executive and legislative branches.

Third, the turnout was very high in the recent parliamentary election, around 65 percent. In fact, the turnout in Iran was much higher than in analogous off-year congressional elections in the United States (for example, turnout was just under 38 percent in the 2010 American congressional elections), and higher even than in U.S. presidential elections (turnout was just under 57 percent in the last American presidential election, in 2008).

The decisions of former Presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani to participate, along with other reformists like Majeed Ansari, Seyed Mehdi Emam Jamarani, Kazam Mousavi Bojnourdi, and Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson Hassan Khomeini, reflect this. If turnout had been low, why would they vote and increase the “legitimacy” of the voting process and of the election results? (This assumes, of course, that they are opposed to the current political order as implied by much of the Western media, for which there is no evidence and which I don’t agree.) If turnout had been low, why would they want to be seen standing apart from the majority who did not vote?

In fact, they knew that turnout was going to be high; they also recognized that such high turnout shows that the public trusts the voting process, that people feel their votes count, and that they are deeply committed to the Islamic Republic. By casting their ballots these reformist leaders have stated that they accept the accuracy, validity, and legitimacy of the voting process and that they have no link to the “greens.” If they believed the results were unreliable, why would they vote, thereby strengthening a “corrupt” system? Instead, they have effectively stated that they do not accept claims that the 2009 presidential election or any previous presidential election was fraudulent, even though the voting process has not changed. Merely through their participation, they have given the voting process a clear vote of confidence.

Other major reformists who campaigned to win seats had different calculations. People like Mostafa Kavakebian (who lost), Mohammad Reza Khabaz (who lost), Masoud Pezeshkian (who won), and Mohammad Reza Tabesh (who won) wanted a high turnout from the very start. While they are Reformists, they wanted a display of unity and strength among Iranians against what is widely seen in Iran as Western acts of war against ordinary Iranians through embargos and sanctions. Indeed, there is evidence from polls and follow-up panels that the publication on election day in Iran of President Barack Obama’s interview, in which he proclaimed “I don’t bluff” in the context of a military attack on the Islamic Republic, may have driven up turnout, at least in Tehran, among those who might otherwise have stayed home.

Fourth, the fact that Ahmadinejad’s sister participated and lost (by a small margin), that many independents won seats, that reformist candidates stood for seats, and that there were numerous “principlist” coalitions taking part in the elections (e.g., Jebheye Motahed, Jebheye Paydari, Jebheye Eestadegi, Sedaye Edalat, each with a different list of candidates) and that many independents won seats shows that the elections were meaningful. There was a broad choice of candidates and the counting process is trusted and reliable.

Fifth, I do not know who will be the next speaker of parliament. But, contrary to uninformed Western speculation, Ayatollah Khamenei never involves himself in such issues. If, as many Western analysts and reporters claim, the Leader is out to have a subordinated parliament under the speakership of Gholam Haddad-Adel, then based on this logic he would have told Ali Larijani four years ago not to stand against then-parliament speaker Haddad-Adel and, as Mr. Larijani is an ally of the Leader, he would have acceded. In fact, the reason why the majority of parliamentarians voted to make Mr. Larijani their speaker four years ago was their perception that he would be more critical of President Ahmadinejad. If, as Western pundits now commonly assert, the Leader wants to weaken Ahmadinejad, he should support Mr. Larijani’s continuation as speaker. The logic underlying such speculation is clearly flawed—in no small part because it is based on information produced in the imaginary world of Western-based and funded greens and anti-government commentators.

Despite sanctions and other forms of international pressure, the Islamic Republic has the strong support of the public. In contrast to many countries allied to the West, it has meaningful elections that include candidates with very different political views. In my view, there is no doubt that the Islamic Republic is here to stay and that it will outlast the dying dictatorial regimes on the other side of the Persian Gulf.

First published in raceforiran.com.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a graduate of Birmingham University and associate professor of English Literature at University of Tehran, is the founder and director of Institute for North American and European Studies (INAES).


Arash Kamangir

Worst kind of scum!

by Arash Kamangir on

people like harandi are opportunist scums who are filling their pockets along with mullahs with the peoples wealth. They should know that people will not show any merci once their times is up!


What about 3 millions Iranians on streets in June2009

by Siavash300 on

The author failed to address the present of 3 millions Iranians on streets of Tehran in June 2009.  Similar population existed in other cities as well.

Who were they? what did they want? What did they say? How ruling thugs in Iran deal with that crowd?

It had been broadcast around the world step by step. Seems Mr. Marandi didn't watch the videos. Please Google it and you still can wathch it. Westerners watched it. Did you?




by AryamehrNYC on

Jacka$$ is the same one that got his a$$ handed to him by Fareed Zakaria live on CNN after the 2009 fraud.  He is the mouthpiece of the Islamist regime in western media simply because he can actually speak English.  However, his intellectually challenged rants are becoming hallower by the day.  


So we are all Greek on this site I guess!

by Disenchanted on

  1.       Not many supporters on this site! There are more Israeli supporters here than Iran government supporters! One wonders where are Thou?! 
  2. JJ, did you block them? I don't think so! 
  3. Mr. Marandi, please help us figure this one as well!


What a Nightmare we are stuck in, Oh Nooooooo!!!!!

by amirparvizforsecularmonarchy on

1) They want Mojtaba to be the next Supreme Idiot.

2) They want to remove the presidency using a phoney Referendum, of the approximatel 20 to 30% of people that vote, the same people supervising vote rigging will be doing the counting and 99.99999% will vote to change the constitution.

3) Almost no one participated in voting during the recent elections. The Regime used all its opposition Sharks who support the IRI's existence to come out and vote, so it could say, the peoples opposition leaders love the IRI and support the voting system.

4)  The people have been thrown under a bridge and they know it, the fraudulent election, the mass rape (literally) of Iranians after the election never even happened, it was a dream.  No One ever trusted the IRI, now they are being bludgeoned by it even when they dd not participate in the recent voting. 

5) Whoever Khameneii chooses as the next parliamet speaker will revreal his hand and ali gheda already knows who he wants.


so stupid, it's funny

by shushtari on

this idiot reminds of the iraqi general who was on tv denying US marines were in baghdad, when american tanks were rolling right behind him on live tv!!!

this buffoon is just another paid mouthpiece of the mullahs- and an ugly one at that....

he will soon be playing in russia along with baba ali geda right next to him 


Reporters Without Borders ranks Iran 175 out of 179 countries

by asadabad on

In terms of press freedom.  Maybe that's why journalists can't get a good read on what's happening in Iran?  The author is very disingenuous to say the least.

According to Reporters w/o Borders, every "dying dictatorial" Arab monarchy in the Persian Gulf has more press freedom than Iran:

#158 Saudi Arabia

#78 Kuwait

#112 UAE

#173 Bahrain

#119 Oman

#114 Qatar

And if these arab monarchies countries are finished, then why do members of the iranian regime invest their personal money in the UAE, Qatar etc.?  Why does Marandi maintain a non-iranian passport himself?    


بابا سال نو امد


بابا سال نو امد و این چرندیات خرد دنیا میده. مرندنی مرندی ببینم تو را زلیل بشی ببینم تو چلاق بشی مثل علی چلاق ، عجب روزگاری شده بابا این اشخاص چقدر پول را دوست دارند ؟ حتمأ این مرندی نه شرف دارد ونه انسانیت . مرندی مرندی یادت رفته عزان را تیتر انشات بکنی، اخه بدون عزان میشه حرفی زد، الله اسلام تو را کور کنه مگه علی چلاق نگفته انگلیسی نوشتن حرامه، بابا به جهنم میری.


Marandi Khejalat bekesh!

by vildemose on

It is not Israel or the West that terrifies the Iranian leadership so much as the memory of 2009 and the possibility of a new "Iranian Spring" in the wake of the Arab uprisings. Many Iranians believe their leadership is deliberately provoking international armed action as just the thing to short-circuit such a transformation. As one opposition journalist puts it, "in the case of a military strike, people will gravitate toward unifying behind the government."

In other words, the Iranian government's nuclear posturing has more to do with domestic rather than foreign policy. Its aim may well be to provoke the kind of Western or Israeli response that would drive some Iranians back into the fold, and provide a national security pretext for even more arbitrary measures against the remaining democratic opposition. Israel, and some Westerners, seem to be playing right along.


A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.


I didn't even ...

by Harpi-Eagle on

Read this article, but can imagine what positions Marandi supports.  The guy is a shameless IRI supporter and insider, to the point that he even has appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera, and other news outlets to support or justify the evil deeds of the muderous regime in Iran.  So, this is not the discussion point, the main point here is that Iranian.Com and JJ by posting this guy's bulls**t have become a mouthpiece for IRI, this is either intentional or by naivette caused by that mental disorder called "Liberalism".  Congratulations on your "Promotion" JJ and IC.

Payandeh Iran, our Ahuraie Fatherland


born in virginia, schooled in England & in service of Mullahs!

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

and constantly telling US/ Israel to "bring it on", whilst holding his British and US passports safely in his backpocket for when he has to fly out in a hurry! sums up the "islamic republic" leadership. Feel very sorry for those gullibles who believe his bull crap, yet have no foreign passports and no foreign place to run to when they need to run, very fast....... ! 

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Another IR's Propaganda

by Rebecca on

I wonder how much Mr Marandi got from IR to write this rubbish.

 Hajji, if IR has "strong support of the public" then let's make a fair and free election today and see how many votes it will get. No need to have fear and imprison half of Iran's population. You will win, if you are right. LOL.



by Simorgh5555 on

Let us give the Terrorist mouthpiece and charlatan Marandi the benefit.of the doubt. Even if the entire population of Iran supported the Islamic Republic does it make regime change any essential? Hell, no. The IR must go and if hypothetically the entire Iranian.population were to support its wretched existence after 33 years and are not able to see the lies, the murders and killings then they can all go to hell. Every last one of them. This regime has to be removed by hook or by crook Whether it has domestic support or not is irrelevant.


Reality-bites, you are right!!

by ham1328 on

Just as I thought I had seen all the comical posts on this site, this guy thows me this curve ball!!


Yes I can see the supports from the comentators!

by rain bow movment on

U are not cridable as U are part of the Islamic criminal regim & on their payroll ,your days are numberd,after Asad is your leaders turn.

Down With IRI regim

There is no limit to stupidity & ignorance of sundis drinker


Hey it's norouz

by azadi5 on

And it's time for extra sandis for IRI's moftkhors living outside of Iran.

Mardom Mazloom

Akheh in Charandi-at

by Mardom Mazloom on

digeh chieh, Haji?


Mr. Marandi so called speaker of IRR/IRI who

by Azarbanoo on

is only English speaker of Islamists not with good english has been blessed by IRR/IRI and most propably with an akhoond father.  Otherwise, He would not write such a rediculous, fraudual article which even a baked hen would laugh.


One of the most laughable articles I've read in years!

by Reality-Bites on

If some people are going to write such blatant pro-IR propaganda pieces, they might as well call them that.

As it's already been mentioned, the main reason why "most of the Western reporting on the Islamic Republic’s recent parliamentary election displayed very limited direct knowledge" is because the IR does not allow the Western media full, free and unfettered access to the so-called election process and places.

More to the point is the laughable pretence that what took place in Iran was supposedly an election worthy of the name. No true opposition is allowed to take part in any elections, never mind freely campaign, advertise and use the national media to state their case/views in Iran.

Marandi goes on about groups like "Jebheye Motahed, Jebheye Paydari, Jebheye Eestadegi, Sedaye Edalat etc" and throws around names like Gholam Haddad-Adel and Ali Larijani, as if these people represent a viable opposition to the regime and the whole ruling system. These groups/people are PART of the regime. Even the so called Reformists, are nothing but IR-light. If this was a proper election why were no secular parties, no leftist/socialist groups, no monarchists, no liberals, no nationalist, no secular republican groups/parties etc allowed to take part?

The entire joke of an election process in Iran is organized, controlled, staffed and monitored entirely by the IR itself. It is the IR that issues and controls all the statistics on who takes part, how many people vote and who they supposedly vote for in any election under this regime. No truly independent group is allowed to organize or even monitor what is happening during this process up and down the country.

To use this ridiculous charade as a basis for claiming popular support for the Islamic Republic truly smacks of desperation.


The author is a long time known spokeperson of the regime

by spatima on

this is him on fareed zakaria:


mr. marandi is on I.R payroll, he is not an academic (eventhough he was provided with an academic post to somehow give some legitimacy to the none sense he spews then and again) 


In hope of a Free, Democratic, Independent and Secular Iran


Is this from the pages of Keyhan news?!

by RostamZ on

I don't know where this gentleman have been during the last few years but I am sure he is not speaking the heart and mind of many Iranians.


There are so many fallacies in this opinion page …

by Bavafa on

That it makes it hard where to begin with to point out the wild and baseless assertions made with no regards to reality in Iran or with the IRI system.

I can only attribute this to being so close to Norooz and it was a last ditch effort to make a few extra $$$$ to pay for the holiday expenses, though not sure if you celebrate Norooz at all. 


Let me only ask one question that has been brought up in the conclusion and as you believe

the Islamic Republic has the strong support of the public


Then what do you think compels IRI to kill and imprison so many of Iranians for simply expressing their opinion?


And for your assertion of


the turnout was very high in the recent parliamentary election, around 65 percent


Sure, and I can climb Everest barefoot and all in one day with my hands tied behind my back. 

So if you say so.


'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



"Limited knowledge" of foreign press!

by Arj on

If IRI enjoys popular support and is unhappy with the way the elections were covered by the foreign media and their "limited knowledge," why didn't it allow the foreign journalists to freely report the elections from the locations of their own choosing? Why were they bused to a handful of polling centres desiganted by the interior ministry and chaperoned by guidance minders?!

P.S. I have a pretty good idea as to who is going to be the next majles speaker, and his name starts with Haddad Adel!

G. Rahmanian

Iranians hate the ruling Islamists in Tehran!

by G. Rahmanian on

In June of 2009 when tens of millions of Iranians took to the streets of major cities of Iran and their general boycot of the recent parliamentary elections showed the world how much they hate the ruling Islamist criminals in Tehran.