By Dr. Ali chegeni
As we get closer to Iran’s 13th presidential elections, once again Iranians with great passion and enthusiasm are going through another democratic process to determine their future after carefully assessing initiatives, pledges and programs of the seven presidential candidates who have deemed qualified to run in this substantial elections.
Elections in Iran are the highest manifestation of the public will in the socio-economic and political spheres and it is the most effective instrument to realize the sovereignty of Iranian people through a peaceful and participatory process. Therefore, every four years, Iranians elect a new President, and Members of the Parliament (Majlis), the Assembly of Experts, and Local Councils to show their responsibility and to enforce their legal rights for a better future.
Now, after 42 years since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, on average, one election in a year has been held which indicates the relevance of democracy in the country. This is of crucial importance, because Iran’s history, prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, had never witnessed any landmark juncture at which the Iranian people played a leading role in determining their destiny. Moreover, Iran is the only country in the region which has successfully and consistently held such elections on time and without delays even during extraordinary situations such as natural disasters, pandemics and the 8-year imposed war during the past 4 decades.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, in order to fulfill the aspirations of its people and hedging against despotism and foreign interventions, has developed a unique political system which consists of two major pillars of “Islamic identity “and “republic values”. In such a system which is rooted in Islamic teachings, lessons learned in the course of history and from the resistance against notorious regimes and foreign occupation, the people could freely express their views on governance and to change the incumbent leadership in line with the Islamic values and democratic merits highly recognized and endorsed by its constitutional system.
The important point, in terms of domestic political stability in the country is that the rotation in the Government administrations and other decision making bodies has always been through the polls and direct involvement of the Iranian citizens and interestingly, the result has always shocked the foreign observers. This shows how the will of the people is relevant in Iran’s political system.
With Iran’s 13th presidential elections just around the corner, there are heated debates about good governance between candidates from different factions and affiliations which have been reflected during several televised debates. This time, the mainstream call of candidates is focusing on the imperative of an inward looking economy to ensure its sustained growth and development. Accordingly, there are much heated debate among Iranians on how the next president would and should tackle the problems facing the country, especially at a time when the nation has been the target of economic terrorism and the toughest unjust and inhumane sanctions imposed by the United States on the Iranian people to punish them for their steadfastness on independence and the non-aligned path carved by the Islamic Revolution.
Contrary to the biased narrative on Iran’s domestic dynamics and regardless of any poll results, the ongoing debate on the best direction of economy and other internal and foreign policy related issues indicates that thanks to the large degree of democracy existing in the country, the debates are not restricted and the candidates freely question and discuss every aspect.
Now, as a result of a vibrant political system in Iran which is a source of strength and sustainability, it has been more than four decades that, the Iranian people have been standing firm in safeguarding the values and achieving the aspirations of the Islamic Revolution in the face of all the hostilities and the conspiracies orchestrated against them by those who have been bent on breaking the people’s will and bringing down the Islamic establishment.
In summary, Iran has exercised a dynamic and unique political system in more than four decades after its establishment, manifested in regular and frequent elections at an inclusive participation of its people. No matter what the result would be the day after the elections, the significant outcome would be the evolving dynamism of the political system in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
(Dr.Ali chegeni is Iran’s Ambassador to India)