Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reformist Council Leader in Charge

I have served as councillor for Tehran City Council for 6 years 4 months and 2 days. The third round of Councils in Iran was exceptional in many respects. First, was the duration of this term which was extended after the disputed presidential elections of 2009. After that year, the reformists faced excessive pressures and as the few remaining active elements in the power construct, we had to make all efforts to reverse the negative trends and to speak out on behalf of the people. The diverse political factions in the council and the meaningful collaboration among them despite pressures against reformists, was also unique in many respects.
In addition, along with a capable and experienced  team of  experts, we established and conducted up to 1000 sessions, meetings ,working groups and visits in the Environment Committee. We endeavoured to promote a model of sustainable and democratic governance in the city . We enacted more than 40 bills for the council on environmental issues and amended more than 50 others to reflect environmental concerns. The committee also visited the 22 districts and environment related activities in Tehran each at least 3 times. 

We conducted the large meetings on the basis of a dynamic model of intersectoral and integrated urban management. Municipal authorities, government officials, NGOs ,professionals as well as private sector representatives were invited in each field of expertise to debate the terms of a new bill ,to seek intersectoral approaches or to oversee and regulate the functions of the executive agents. Once a year we also invited council members from across the country to exchange views and experiences and so they could also follow our model in their respective cities.

In the open sessions of the City Council,  I was one of those who criticised and spoke up against the shortcomings of the government and municipal authorities. Even though I was disqualified to run for the next round , I joined the reformist election campaigns for reformist council candidates as well as support for President Rouhani. Following the open invitation of former President Khatami and president Rafsanjani, people came to the polls and elected reformists candidates. In Tehran,we now have at least 16 reformists out of 31. Yesterday, in the first day of the new council members elected Ahmad Masjed Jamei as the new Head . Masjed Jamei was Minister of Culture during President Khatami . I have written about him and made several interviews about him in todays newspapers and sites. This is a great transformation.

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