Friday, May 8, 2009
The book launch ceremony was attended by local and international media as well as two ministers from Khatami's government and my colleagues from the academic centers as well as former environment directors. The session was moderated by Amin Arefnia one of the young members of Baran. Mr. Haji former Minister and the Director of Baran ( Foundation for Progress and Freedom of Iran), spoke on the importance of collecting and formulating management experiences and how this process could enable the nation to learn from its past mistakes and move ahead. After him, Fariba Ebtehaj my dear friend, advisor and editor of the Grapes of Shahrivar spoke about the trends which led to the creation of the book. Mr. Masjed Jamei the former Minister of Culture who is also now on the Tehran City Council also elaborated on the cultural implications of biographies and memoirs and how important this is for future generations. I finally spoke , thanking the guests and inviting them to read and provide their views and critique on the book ,which I mentioned ,reflected a certain angle of events during those tumultuous 8 years.
Journalists who had attended began their questions initially on the book, but gradually shifting to the question of the possibility of my candidacy for the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I speculated that this would arise and therefore I had prepared a statement which I read in that session.
Excerpts of the statement are as follows: The right to decide for one's future and destiny and to freely elect a President for the nation is a democratic right obtained in the process of the struggles for the Islamic Revolution. Today, the Iranian nation can change the course of destiny through elections. Women have consistently played a central and influential role in this process and although a certain narrow minded and backward approach has attempted to confine women to the limits of the house, Imam Khomeini made it very clear that women must be involved with the basic processes of the country. However, a certain backward approach , rooted historically, in the jurisprudence of other religions such as those who endeavored to keep Mary, the daughter of Emran, the mother of Jesus, out of the Temple of Solomon on reasons based on her gender, are today insisting to keep women out of the sphere of political influence in Iran.
While confident that I would qualify for this high office, I believe that we should consider national interests above all and for that reason in order to prevent discord and disunity , I invite all people to take a serious role in the upcoming elections. While I highly regard the role of Mehdi Karroubi, I consider Mir Hossein Mousavi to be the most qualified candidate in this round. For the above reasons I will not stand as a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.
Posted by Massoumeh Ebtekar at 9:52 AM