Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heated Debates on Presidential Elections

Debates for the upcoming Presidential elections have now been underway for some time. The tenth Presidential elections in Iran will be held in June 2009. Different political tendencies are now engaged in internal debates on how to proceed for the sensitive election campaign and who to consider as the most appropriate candidate. The Principalists now have serious doubts about supporting Mr. Ahmadinejad for the second round. Many feel that he has not been able to deliver considering the promises and commitments he made during the election campaign. Inflation, soaring commodity prices, rising unemployment and general discontent have lowered the popularity of the current President. This has has been a reason for concern among Principalists who cannot reach consensus on their next candidate. In addition, more moderate among them and those who consider themselves as Principalist Reformists, are highly critical of government policies. The current Mayor of Tehran is among those criticizing the economic and political decisions taken by the administration.

On the other hand the Reformists are in difficult circumstances. They cannot remain indifferent to the future of the Islamic Revolution and the devious version of thought and practice being made in the name of the Religion. They believe that reform is the only alternative. Mehdi Karroubi has been nominated by his party , however those in the reformist camp believe that he will not be able to compete with the rival candidates. Taking all calculations into consideration ,Seyed Mohammad Khatami is the ideal candidate; he still wields vast popularity , particularly among the young and educated Iranians. In comparison with what they see today, the era of Khatami was an era of sustained growth, hope and prosperity. The problem is that Khatami has serious reservations and has not yet announced his nomination. His reservations are not personal, he has doubts on other matters.
While national elections are engaged with heated debates, we convened local elections on Friday for the Friends of the Council in Tehran . In 370 districts of Tehran elections were held among local candidates for local 7-person councils who will serve as advisers to the City Council. The turnout was higher than expected and we had to print more ballots to keep up with the demands . The elections were held peacefully while more than 500, 000 inhabitants of Tehran took part. I visited ten polling stations in different regions of the city and the general atmosphere was positive.


Anonymous said...

actually, post this one please!

i believe everybody on the left, should get together over the course of this presidential election next year, and UNIFY for one purpose:

to show their influence on the public, by getting the majority of votes, and proving their popularity to their fundamentalist rivals who claim otherwise!

if you (Dr. Ebtekar) run for presidency, if Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi runs for presidency, if Kamal Kharrazi runs for presidency, if Dr. Aref runs for presidency, and if a couple of progressive clerics like Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Rowhani run for presidency, BUT then, after some of you have been disqualified by the fundamentalist Council of Guardians, every one of you comes out and in a show of support for ONE candidate, all of you actually make public statements of your endorsements, not to mention, if Mr. Khatami endorses that ONE candidate as well, then your rivals can do whatever they want, changing the ballots, miscounting some, discarding some, and misrepresenting the TRUTH, but at least THEY will know where the public is!

please tell the people on the far left (Dr. Yazdi, Shirin Ebadi, and other secularists) that next year is waaaaaaay toooooo crucial for them to call a boycott of the elections AGAIN and ask people to sit in their homes!!!!! that would be a disservice to their own people!!!!!
the very security and sovereignty of Iran is at stake!

bringing REAL CHANGE and ACTUAL REFORM to your system of IRI is much more important than protesting the system!!!! it is also more important than being too worried about winning the powerless position of a president! real change happens by UNIFYING the voices of PEOPLE!!!!!

btw, have you read this report?

if only Iran could do something similar, by inviting its past Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the same way that American former Secretaries of States were gathered at Washington University for this round-table talk, and have them ALL discuss the dangers facing Iran!!!!

how wonderful it would be if they all got together and told the Iranian public what it is that the next president will need to do in order to fix the problems in the country!!!!! imagine the impact!!!!

if only there was a round-table of Iran's past Foreign Ministers since the revolution (which are all men) + you (Dr. Ebtekar) as Iran's ONLY woman Vice-President, can you imagine what that would do not only to the presidential elections in Iran, but also to the way the world will look at Iran????

just imagine a round-table at Tehran University (to be broadcast on PressTV) with the following politicians:

Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi
Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi
Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati
Dr. Kamal Kharrazi
Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar

and wouldn't that be wonderful if these 5 were to also sit down with the American 5 (Albright, Powell, Christopher, Baker, Kissinger) and have a round-table of 10 someday?????
if only! ....

Black Chador said...

From what I read yesterday about how this so called Democratic Regime is trying to rig the next election by disqualifying applicants at the first steps of applying, I can see where the next election is going.
Iran is facing the Perfect Storm of politics. Facing an unsatisfied population, unemployed young and the high rate of poverty and addiction could cause the political storm of Century for these unelected Mullahs.
Kathy is correct, Iranian men or women should not fall into previous year’s trap of boycotting the elections.
Iranian Election 2009 is a very important one. This is the time for Iranian women to flex their political muscle and make deals with the candidates. Iranian women can make or break any candidate in next year election.
I am sure there are many Iranian women with much more insight and intelligent than me or any other person outside Iran who could analyze Iranian politics and set agenda for their mothers, sisters and daughters.
At this time the conservatives are in trouble because of Ahmadinejad, he is their candidate and unless quickly they arrange his “KIDNAPPING”, they have to rally around him. He has been trying to buy votes in villages with cash money and it is not working well for him. Then, he tried to go against few corrupt Conservative and present them as “Meat” to Iranian people but that Backfired on him and resulted in alienating him from his base (he must be sharing political adviser with McExxonBush)
The reformists are not in a certain winning spot either. They cannot come up with one candidate that they all can agree on. Some candidates are doubtful of themselves; Khatami is a perfect example of that. He showed weakness when Iranian people needed him years earlier to lead them to a true Democracy and I don’t know if he has reinforced his spine with steal yet. Yes, he might get assassinated by Radical followers of unelected Mullahs well, so did Benazir. He should decide once and for all if he can handle the Political kitchen Heat or not. If he can’t handle his fear of these unelected Mullahs then he should say so, and stop wasting his follower’s time.
A list of demands should be presented to the top candidates publicly so people like Ahmadinejad who changed 180 degrees after election could not go against their promises.
This is when Iranian women Power come in. There are so many injustices have been done to Iranian women that most of them are ready to shed their blood than being suppress by some half brain men again and again. The most important Rights to me as an Iranian American woman are my personal Freedoms and Freedom to Choose. From what I have read in Iranian Female Blogs, that is what Iranian women also want.
Unfortunately Iranian population will not allow a woman to become president. Even though there are many capable, intelligent and, brave Iranian women who are willing and able to serve their country.
So, their best bet is to make deals with the strongest candidate and then keep his feet to the fire after election.
Although Separation of State and Religion should be an accomplishment of a real election I think going toward that dream is a little too early.
Also, a change to the Divorce law in Iran has to be on the table in 2009 election. If Brave Iranian Women achieve two objectives which are, obtaining Personal Freedom and, changing the Divorce Law we could call that a big achievement.

Anonymous said...

this news sounds frustrating and quite gloomy at first glance,

but my question to Dr. Ebtekar is:

is Khamenei REALLY a fundamentalist like Ahmadinejad's #1 backer Jannati???
I know he's the one who appointed all those fundamentalists to the Council of Guardians, but is that b/c he's REALLY one of them and thinks like them, or b/c he's not all that respected among the fundamentalist mullahs so he had to suck up to them by appointing them to high places???
who's really more powerful there among the clerical class (in that clerical system)? is it the fundamentalist mullahs or the revolutionary "combatant" clerics?

it seems at first glance, that the rivalries are between the fundamentalist right-wing (presumably headed by Khamenei) and the progressive left-wing (symbolized by Khatami and his friends), but is it as simple as that???

of course i don't know much about the make-up of that system ("nezam"), but to me, looking from a "10,000 feet view", and given the fact that i'm eternally inseparable from my rose-colored optimistic glasses and hate to ever replace them with dark, gloomy, grey-colored cynical glasses, it appears that there's much more wisdom and rationality in the decision-making process that exists behind the scenes (i.e., in the Expediency Council) than people in different opposition groups half-way across the world (such as the out-of-touch son of the Shah, or the traitor MKO, or ...) would like to think!!!!

as sure as i am about Obama's victory on November 4th, i think if that happens (i.e., if my certainty about that is justified), then Khamenei will change his tunes and will support another Principalist in next year's elections instead of Ahmadinejad, someone smarter and more pragmatic!

i think right now, he feels like he has to support the president of Iran (no matter how unpopular or incompetent he is) b/c Iran can't afford to seem weak or divided or in a battle with itself, especially since it is still being threatened on a daily basis by the neoconservatives of the world, who STILL have not quite given up on their big "plan" for the middle east!
as long as there are people in the West (like McCain and his supporters) looking at Iran with the same eyes that they looked at Iraq 5 years ago, the Iranian regime needs to stand firm and defend its sovereignty! but once the voice of reason, and the world-view of the rational, pragmatic, SMART liberals in the West (such as Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Madelaine Albright and Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy and ...) proves to have been heard by the masses, once that voice prevails in the face of blatant dogmatism and ideology of the neocons, then i personally think those "mullahs" that everybody is so afraid of, are smart and self-serving enough to soften their positions and move in the direction that the wind blows!

i think Khamenei will either support his son's father-in-law Dr. Haddad-Adel (if he runs for presidency next year), or his long-time foreign policy advisor Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, or even his friend and admirer Dr. Ali Larijani (if he resigns from his current post and runs for presidency again next year)!

but in any case, let's remember what happened in 1997! Khamenei backed another guy, but women of Iran came out in droves and voted for Khatami! so Holly is right! it's all up to the women! that's why you Dr. Ebtekar can play a very important role by first running, then getting disqualified and hence gaining a high profile in the public, and then advocating for the ONE Reformist candidate that you see fit to one day sit down with Barack Obama (a few years down the road) and represent 70 million Iranians in that important "grand-bargain" deal with the West!
that's what you should all start thinking about the day after November 4th! (ensha-allah)
God Bless Obama!

p.s. please post this comment, i don't have time to clean it up and write it in a way that is acceptable!!!!! if there are parts of it that are too controversial, i don't care! i'm not afraid of saying what i think! i have Freedom of Speech here!

Anonymous said...

... ey baba!!!!! :-)

i read it in English and it scares me, and then i read it in Farsi and it's totally different!!!!!

this supposedly fiery sermon by Khamenei today, which i just wrote about after reading LA Time's translations of it, is not at all what they've made it sound like!!!!! this is again the classical example of:
"Lost in Translation"!!!!!!

come on!!!!! he's not a suicidal maniac asking for a war with Israel and you know it LA Times!!!!! you're just spreading propaganda with your inaccurate translation!

all's good! my rose-colored glasses go back on! :-)
nothing to worry about!

Anonymous said...

i hope the center-left (i.e., Mr. Khatami's friends and Reformists) will be accepting and welcoming to this apparent desire by the far-left (i.e., Dr. Yazdi's Freedom Movement) to get involved in the betterment and reform of the system:

Viva National Unity!

Anonymous said...

just one person's humble advice to Iran's political elites, who are trying to finally bring the concept of political organization and parties into the psyche of Iranians, trying to finally make it legitimate and acceptable by people to think in terms of political parties and left or right wings, rather than blindly following ONE "leader" the way they were used to doing so - serving ONE "King of Kings" (shahanshah) - for the past 2567 years of their history!!!

1) start coining the term "Founding Fathers" when referring to these 3 theoreticians of the 1979 revolution:
Dr. Shariati
Dr. Beheshti
Ostad Motahhari

2) then take all of Ostad Motahhari's teachings and come up with a manifesto for the "Islamic Republican Party" (hezbe jomhoorikhahe eslami), take all of Dr. Shariati's teachings and come up with a manifesto for the "Liberty Party" (hezbe azadi), and take some of Dr. Shariati's teachings, some of Ostad Motahhari's teachings and all of Dr. Beheshti's teachings, combine them, and come up with a manifesto for the "Freedom and Independence Party" (hezbe esteghlal va azadi)

3) get the Expediency Council and the Cultural Revolution Council to agree with these CLEAR definitions, and then for them to mandate the state media (IRIB) to start talking about them ALL, and clearly educate the public about them, and fairly present their views as legitimate and legal and according to the "Principles" of the revolution


4) of course, push the Supreme Leader to intervene in the unfair practices of the Guardian Council, and to MANDATE that anybody under these 3 legitimate parties should be allowed to run for office, no matter what label has been put on them in the past!

after 30 years of fundamentalist hijacking of the revolution, it's time that EVERY voice is heard!
it's time the blood of Dr. Ali Shariati and Dr. Mostafa Chamran and Ayatollah Taleghani, which was shed for this revolution, be HONORED!
it's time the dignity ("aberoo") of Prime Minister Bazargan and Dr. Yadollah Sahabi and Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi and ... who spent their entire lives working to revive the "principles" of this revolution, finally be restored and get the RESPECT they deserve!!!!
it's also time that those who pretend to be the followers of "the principles of the revolution", actually start to understand the TRUE teachings of Ostad Motahhari (apparently even his own son needs to learn a bit more), and those (in the Reform camp) who look at Mr. Khatami as their ONE and ONLY leader, start to understand why this man is as inclusive and open-minded as he is: he was a student of Dr. Beheshti, and Dr. Beheshti was the link between Dr. Shariati and Ostad Motahhari!!!!!

let's clearly define the "ideals" and "principles" of the revolution for different students of Iranian revolution's 3 main Founding Fathers!

Viva Islamic Democracy for Iran!

Anonymous said...

there it was tonight, finally we got to watch that round-table discussion with the former Secretaries of State on CNN tonight!

i'm sure you (Dr. Ebtekar), as well as my most favorite Iranian diplomat Dr. Zarif, and all those 4 former Foreign Ministers of Iran that I named before (Yazdi, Mousavi, Velayati, Kharrazi) have watched it already, and are calling each other up right now to arrange a similar round-table of their own at Tehran University soon! (although most probably, they won't call our dear Dr. Yazdi, since unfortunately they have forgotten 1979!)
but if anybody has missed it, i have put the link here:

enjoy it!
Long Live Rationality!

Anonymous said...


in my earlier comment when i was giving advice to Iran's political elites (as if they would listen to an expatriate like me!!!!), why did i use the term "Liberty Party" as opposed to "Liberal Party"?

b/c unfortunately in Iran too, just like it has been in the United States of America, for the past 3 decades, the term "liberal" has become a taboo word, it's become a derogatory sort of an insult to label someone as a "liberal", and people like (Bazargan and Yazdi and ...) memebers of the Freedom Movement, have been dismissed and excluded from the political arena due to the "charge" of being "West-struck liberals"!!!!!

that NEEDS to change! but until it does, let's not use the term "Liberal Party" ("Azadikhah"), but maybe instead, "Liberty Party" (just "Azadi") to refer to the party that will be organized by the followers of Dr. Shariati!!!

so, ... with my humble scenario, Iran will one day have:

1) "Hezbe Azadi" (Liberty Party) = far left

2) "Hezbe Esteghlal va Azadi" (Freedom and Independence Party) = center left

3) "Hezbe Jomhoorikhahe Esslami" (Islamic Republican Party) = center right


4) a bunch of people with no political party = far right
b/c they would say: "astaghforellah!!!!! hezb-bazi gonaheh!!!!!" we're all just followers of Imam's line!!!! no political organization, no need for a manifesto, no theoreticians clearly definig what we stand for, we stand for traditional values and "Mafatih" is our manifesto!

but of course, you should call the 4th group the "Sharia Party", b/c people should still be clear about exactly what these people stand for, even if they refuse to define themselves!!!!

Anonymous said...

dear Dr. Ebtekar, i know you might think this comment is rather trivial and shallow, and then you might decide to not post it b/c your weblog should stay above these little trivial issues, but believe me, whether you like it or not, in today's superficial world, appearance is important, and people do care about these things, even if subconsciously!

so, please take this next little advice of your humble admirer, and convey it to your fellow political elites in Iran (on either side):

when trying to come up with a consensus-candidate from your party or coalition group for next year's presidential elections in Iran, consider this:

who would you like to see coming out of that "grand-bargain" meeting with President Obama in Geneva in a few years time?!

who do you think would make ALL 70 million Iranians feel proud, when he stands next to President Obama at that press conference afterwards?!

of course Iranians would want someone smart, pragmatic, open-minded, moderate, highly educated, soft-spoken, charming, and .... to represent them there, but also, think of a few superficial attributes, like: height, looks, sense of style, and easy name to pronounce!

remember what has been said about Ahmadinejad's face, height, name, and fashion over the past 3 years!!!! however unfairly and as trivial and shallow and superficial as it may have been, but it was there!!!!!! it was a fact of life!!!!! do we want the same thing at that "grand-bargain" meeting with President Obama????

i know you can't select your viable presidential nominees based on how tall or how good-looking or how fashionable they are, and i know that Iranian men are not all as gorgeous and beautiful as IRIMFA's former spokesman Mr. Mohammad Ali Hosseini, or as charming and fashionable and suave as your Mr. Mottaki and Dr. Zarif, or as tall and commanding as President Bashar Assad of Syria and Mr. Sergey Larvov of Russia, but still, please take that picture (of the "grand-bargain meeting" with President Obama) into your considerations!

that meeting and the press conference following it, should make all 70 Million Iranians feel proud! even those shallow, superficial, (so called "West-struck") expatriates like me, who'd like to be able to say with PRIDE:
"hey, that's the president of my fatherland"!

Anonymous said...

if ahmadinejad is told by his boss NOT to run next year, and if your rivals have a good, smart, moderate, and pragmatic guy running, then i think mr. khatami should endorse you dr. ebtekar, because
1) he shouldn't alienate the reformists by endorsing the same man who will be endorsed by mr. khamenei, since some of the most ardent reformists started to doubt mr. khatami's true commitment to reform after his 8 years of virtually no real reforms, and therefore if he comes out and lets say endorses an independent candidate (like dr. velayati) who wil undoubtedly be also endorsed by mr. khamenei, then those reformists will completely lose faith in mr. khatami's legitimacy as a true alternative to the status quo,
2) on the other hand, he should also not endorse a divisive figure from the reformist camp if the other guy (endorsed by mr. khamenei) is rational and pragmatic and acceptable enough! remember what mr. khatami said a few months ago? "i will only run if the field is empty of a rational figure, but if there are smart people running for presidency, i won't have to run", ... so, if he comes out and endorses a hard-core reformist who will be viewed by your rivals as too far left, then he won't be able to expand his support-base across parties and in a non-partisan way, which is what he's going to need for when he's ascending to a higher position one day!
if he endorses you, and uses his political clout and his influence on mr. rafsanjani who can bring up the question of "women for presidency" in the assembly of experts and in the expediency council, then effectively he has not endorsed a very "viable" candidate for this term, but in fact, he's solidified the reform camp by exciting the whole country behind a cause, the posibility of a woman president!
honestly, if not now (9 months before the elections in a year that most people are taking the elections very seriously), then when else can he introduce this concept (of amending the constitution so that it includes the right of women being allowed to run)?
this way, the entire leftist camp (from center left to far left) will have a cause to get behind and get organized for, and even if in the end you don't win, but still, a good thing comes out of the elections, and that is the solidification of the left, in a way that will not be devisive! the only people who can say awful things about mr. khatami for endorsing you, are those fundamentalist anti-woman chauvinists who are on the fringes of the society!

Black Chador said...

Anonyms said:"khatami should endorse you dr. ebtekar,”
Iranian people especially Iranian women should not and would not support any candidate that does not believe in their right to Personal Freedoms. Nothing against you Dr. Ebtekar but I don't think you believe in a woman right to exercise Personal Freedom. If you did believe in Women Freedom and Choice, then you would come strongly against these Mullahs and their suppression of Iranian women just as Dr. Ebadi does. Why don't you introduce a Bill to allow Personal Freedom for women? The first step for you is to support the women Right to practice Hejab or not. I know I keep going back on that issue but to many Iranian women that piece of fabric is a sign of suppression by Weak Iranian men.
You choose to practice Hejab? good for you and others like you but if you are really for True Democracy then please extend the same Right to other Iranian women. You as a public figure have that responsibility toward Iranian women. Until you start giving Iranian Women their Rights you will not have the right to run for presidency, think about it. Would these Mullahs who believe a woman’s brain is weak allow you or any other woman be president of ISLAMIC RTEPUBLIC OF IRAN?