- MB Around The World
- May 20, 2009
- 10 minutes read
MB of Iran and Political Activities Prior To Presidential Elections
In the run up to the 10th presidential elections of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Central Shura Council for the Da’wah and Reform Movement, a civil society with an Islamic reference point carrying out its activities in all areas where Sunnis are found at the national level, approved of a decision imposing concerned parties within the organization to hold meetings with presidential candidates or major trends supporting them to stress on the requests of Sunnis as they are an important part of the Iranian society.
The internal organ concerned with election affairs began its continuous activities in the close follow up of election events and developments and contacting the candidates. Also, the movement’s public relations official delivered a short speech in a group meeting with Former President Mohamed Khatimi in which he affirmed the necessity of giving special attention to the requests of Sunnis in Iran.
In this context, the movement’s Central Shura Council issued a special statement through which it affirmed the necessity of entrenching the principles of change and reform, and after briefly going over the major challenges at the local, regional, and international levels, stated the major requests of the Iranian people, in general, and requests of the Sunnis, in particular.
The following is the text of the statement:
The Statement of the Da’wah and Reform Movement in Iran On the 10th Presidential Elections
The 10th presidential elections will be held in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the first months of the fourth decade since the establishment of the government which sprung from the great revolution of the Iranian people against despotism and colonialism.
The Da’wah and Reform Movement in Iran, as a civil society with Islam as its reference point and which is widely represented across all governorates in which Sunnis are present, sees within the framework of its reform methodology that despite the present obstacles and hindrances facing the development process, the entrenchment of the principles of change and reform at the cultural, social, economic, and political levels a necessary matter.
Hence, the movement affirms the following:
First: in the modern world, the peaceful circulation of power has been practiced through the mechanism of elections as one of the factors that paves the way for the achievement of development in the process of managing state affairs. Through its strategic vision of this matter, the Dawah and Reform Movement had repeatedly stressed on the rights of voting and candidacy as a ground for the realization of the principles of people’s sovereignty and citizens’ determination of their destiny. At the same time, the movement had important reservations on the election process especially in some of the election sessions. In fact, previous experiences proved that lack of participation in elections not only didn’t lead to the fulfillment of the requests of protestors and critics, but also led to undesirable consequences.
Secondly: Our country is undergoing special circumstances. At the internal level there are issues that must be given attention such as the indicators of citizens’ living conditions and their degree of satisfaction with them; the presence of worrying social diseases; the necessity for further development of the country’s administrative system, especially after the dissolution of important and decision-making institutions; and the management of the country’s economy under the difficult and unstable conditions that resulted from the global economic crisis as well as a number of other issues.
At the regional and international levels, there are big and thought-provoking challenges facing the country’s foreign policy managers including the instability of the country’s neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent development that suddenly fell upon the peak of America’s pyramid of problems. Under such circumstances, an accurate study of the situation is significant and crucial in order to choose the most efficient and best candidates to accede to power and occupy the position of President of the Executive Branch, the second highest rank in the country.
Third: Even though the movement is aware of the sudden confusion of citizens after their requests were neglected by officials in the past and present, it sees that the correct utilization of the available capacities in the elections, and in the end, the good and indicative selection of the man who will pursue the greatest positive changes at the least cost will clearly reflect the message of the silent sectors of the society.
Fourth: despite the presence of general problems in the country, there are critical issues that may be taking place in areas of different ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups who don’t follow the official thought or speak the official language of the country. And although the country’s constitution emphasizes the necessity of respecting citizens’ religious and ethnic rights, the prevalent situation in some areas contradicts with the constitution. An example is the case where attempts are made to intervene in the management of Sunnis’ religious school affairs, a matter which could create a tensioned atmosphere between scholars and Sunni Islamic Shari’a schools.
Fifth: since the clear and transparent expression of stances and policies on the part of presidential candidates will help citizens and social forces in choosing the best candidate, the Da’wah and Reform Movement states its most important requests as follows:
No doubt that respecting citizens’ rights as well as securing individual and collective liberties have always been and will continue to be the most important request of Iranian people. At the same time, the Iranian Constitution, in its Articles 19-41 as well as in Items 6-9 of Article 3, affirms the basic guarantees for this popular request.
The practice of peaceful and systematic party activities in addition to raising the level of political awareness among citizens will provide capability to supervise the performance of rulers. Besides, it is considered one of the most salient guarantees of the principle of enjoining good and forbidding evil within the political sphere in the modern world. Based on this and Article 26 of the Constitution, the creation and development of a political atmosphere that is open to the activities of parties and civil society institutions, is an undeniable necessity.
The economy of the country is, somewhat, suffering instability and lack of planning, and the reported economic indexes all reflect part of the society’s reality, rate of inflation, and unemployment. Also, official statistics on the number of people in Iran living under the poverty line raises much concern. For this reason, we must give wide attention to the objective planning of economic policies with special consideration to the consequences of the world financial crisis.
Three decades after the victory of the Islamic revolution, there is a notable difference between the poor areas, especially those afflicted by the war, and the more developed areas. No doubt, the adoption of a justice-based developmental vision for the observance of Article 48 of the constitution should be given much attention.
National interests necessitate that serious attention be focused also on removing tension in foreign relations. And in view of the status enjoyed by Iran in the Islamic world, relations with Islamic states should be enhanced and strengthened as sectarian differences should be avoided and prevented.
Since media has special significance in the modern world and the free circulation of information is an un-arguable necessity, the current situation requires deep-rooted changes for the creation of an atmosphere that is suitable for different types of citizens to attain appropriate media representation. Hence, based on Article 24 of the Constitution, the facilitation of licensing newspapers and openness with enlightened voices, schools of thought, and different ethnicities, is significant for the achievement of cultural balance in the country. On the other hand, putting an end to monopolies on media, whether audio or visual, within the framework of developing society intellectually and culturally, will pave the way for the realization of the principle of freedom of expression more than ever before.
In execution of the last vow in Article 12 of the Constitution, action must be taken, according to the logical binding obligations, for the respect of different schools of thought, cited in this article, and the freedom of their followers to practice their religious rituals and education. In addition, action must be taken to pave the grounds for enacting local laws within the power boundaries of local councils according to the school of thought of the majority of inhabitants in a particular area, and to prevent interventions in sectarian affairs.
In pursuit of boosting the feelings of national unity and establishing the principle of democracy, we must benefit from the abilities of Sunnis in the country’s higher positions. Just because Sunnis are banned by the constitution from running for presidency, doesn’t mean they can’t run for the country’s other higher positions.
Since the security point of view on citizens’ issues in areas of different sectarian and ethnic minorities could lead to problems including the creation of unfavorable atmospheres, biases, the weakening of national unity, etc., then this point of view must be changed to a more scientific and objective one.
Iranian civilization and culture is a joint historical heritage for all the Iranian people and no doubt this heritage sprung from the ethnic and linguistic diversity present in the country. Therefore, concern should be given on maintaining this diversity as an opportunity for the cultural enrichment of the country. Based on this, we emphasize the observance of Articles 15 and 19 of the Constitution in order to protect these different identities and rights of the minorities.