by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog
The list of candidates for the 1400 Islamic Republic of Iran Presidential Election has shocked and surprised only those analysts and reporters whose investigative skills have been rendered dull perhaps by covidus lifeosis (abnormal life caused by covid) or by sourcepenia crediblerrhexis (ruptured credibility due to an abnormal reduction in the number of informed sources) or by some other malady of unknown etiology. Had the baffled and the bewildered had their fingers on the right non-digitized social and political pulses inside Iran, especially those of the past twelve years, it is likely they would not have found the list shocking.
As a general personal rule, I do not get into peripheral details of political factions, personalities, and transient political lather, froth, and intrigues peculiar to election times and their aftermaths with audiences either inside or outside Iran. I often use the opportunity, however, to remind people of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, relevant bodies and laws with respect to a specific election, and the degree to which given organs, oversight bodies, hopefuls, and candidates follow or deviate from those laws based on proven and credible public sources and records. When the Saker kindly asked me to write about the rationale behind the most recent finalized list of presidential candidates, I thought I could do something similar for this blog.
I am going to briefly discuss with you what I would, more or less, present inside Iran when I am invited to talk and hope the discussion proves useful in making sense of what is happening right now and what to expect in the future. I will focus this essay on three key areas: 1) The role and conduct of the Guardian Council as a review & decision-making body with respect to elections and candidates based on the constitution of the Islamic Republic; 2) Overview of “Who is Who” in the Iranian political scene as various political groups, factions, and personalities emerge and how these personalities and groups treating the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran with their words and deeds; and 3) The importance of the outcome of this year’s election for the Iranians, the people of the region, and the Resistance using an important official document released by the Leader, Ayatullah Khamenei, on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Republic in 1397 , titled “Gaam_e Dovvom_e Enghlaab,” or The 2nd Phase of the Revolution.
1. The Guardian Council and the Final List of Candidates for Presidential Election 1400
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran entrusts the Guardian Council with three major responsibilities: a) Oversight of all laws, legislations, and rules to make sure they are in accordance with the constitution AND fiqh according to Shi’a Islam; b) Interpretation of the Constitution where and when such interpretation is needed; and c) Oversight over all elections and their components including the qualifications and records of the applicants and their approval as candidates. In a nutshell, the Council is obligated to use the tools and the authority given to it by law to guard and protect the Constitution and when an interpretation is needed, to make sure that interpretation is in accordance with Shi’a Islam fiqh.
As far as the presidential candidates are concerned, if someone openly and publicly expresses his rejection of the Constitution or its key components, for example, and there is solid proof of that, or if he acts in violation of key components of the Constitution and there is solid proof of that, or if he breaks the law and has a file in the legal system, then he should not expect to be approved as a candidate to run for the position of the president, which is the 2nd most important position in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is regardless of how popular that person may imagine himself to be. Should the person of that caliber be approved, then the Guardian Council must be held accountable for breach of duties. This is not some revolutionary idea or practice. It is a wise and reasonable expectation of a body with responsibilities of that nature in any system of governance anywhere in the world.
Related to the approved list, a key question we must ask is this: Does the Guardian Council apply its evaluation and assessment of the applicants in a fair and unbiased manner, or does it appear that some applicants are being treated as more equal than others?
To answer the above question, I explain the structure of the Council and we could take a look at a few records of their past decisions.
The Guardian Council consists of 12 members. Six members must be “faqih adil wa jame’ushumul,” or well-rounded, just and pious religious jurist with proven records in fiqh and in justice. These members are selected and appointed by Wali Faqih, or the Supreme Leader, in consultation with Majlis Khobregan Rahbari, or the Assembly of the Experts in Leadership which is an 88- member assembly directly elected by the people. The other six members must be just, pious, and knowledgeable legal experts with proven records in their expertise. These members are nominated by the head of the judiciary and approved by a majority vote by the members of Majlis Shoraye Islami, or the Iranian Parliament. So, six legal experts and six religious experts are responsible for safeguarding the laws of the Constitution and the laws of the Religion (Shi’a Islam).
Perhaps the nearest similar body to the Guardian Council in terms of function is the United States Supreme Court. Of course, I am using the term “similar function” extremely loosely here since the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Guardian Council is in charge of guarding and protecting a constitution that has defense of the oppressed in the world as one of its important principles and the US Supreme Court is in charge of guarding and protecting whatever it is guarding and protecting to ensure the Global Arrogance can continue to arrogate, aggress, and wreak havoc upon the defenseless.
At least 7 out of 12 votes are required for an applicant to be approved as a presidential candidate. Once the list is submitted and published by the Ministry of Interior, it is considered final. According to the law, however, the Supreme Leader can use what is called “Hokm_e Rahbari,” or the Leader’s Decree, to make a change to that list. In the past 40+ years, only once did this happen. During the 1384  presidential election, when the list was published, Ayatullah Khamenei sent a letter the Council and asked them to add two additional names to the list of candidates for that year’s election. The text of that letter is as follows:
“Ayatullay Jannati, the Secretary General of the Guardian Council,
With salaam and greetings. Thank you for the great efforts of the esteemed Council and the important task of determining the competencies of the presidential candidates for the 9th presidential election. With due observance of the law in this order, it is desirable for people with diverse political preferences to have the occasion as well as the opportunity for their great test in the election. Therefore, you should consider the announcement of the gentlemen, Dr. Mostafa Mueen and Engineer Mehralizadeh as candidates.
Sayyed Ali Khamenei,
The phrase “great test” in the Leader’s statement carries with it a significant message. From the perspective of our responsibilities before God, these positions of power, regardless of the position and level, are tests through which the strength of our characters and purity of our beliefs get authenticated.
The two candidates added to the list by the Leader belonged to the reformist camp. The augmented list now reflected a more representative list of the most notable political factions of that time. Some analysts later speculated that this addition led to a split in votes for Hashemi Rafsanjani and an ultimate victory for Mahmoud Ahamadinejad who was supported by the principlist camp during that election. Their speculation was based on an assumption that those who voted for Mueen and Mehralizadeh (the reformist camp) would have voted for Rafsanjani (the technocrat liberal economy camp).
Perhaps a parallel to this phenomenon could be drawn with the 1992 US presidential election when Ross Perot entered the race as an independent candidate and that led to a split in votes for Bush Sr. and handed a victory to Bill Clinton.
I find the claims regarding a split in Rafsanjani’s vote unsubstantiated though. I think a widespread sense of “anyone but Rafsanjani” at that time was much stronger than what some of those analysts are willing to admit.
At any rate, in subsequent elections and since then, every time the Guardian Council released the final list, given personalities sent letters to the Leader and asked him to add specific people to the list. However, the Leader never intervened again. Those who sent letters to the Leader, I think, do not really “get” why the Leader used his Hokm_e Rahbari authority that once and why he is unlikely to use it unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Despite what foreign media and their echo chambers inside Iran propagate, I think the Guardian Council’s decision-making calculus has been ameliorated in favor of a more diversified and less conservative list in reviewing applications by the Council. I also think that one-time mandate by the Leader had something to do with this change. There has been a few names in the 1388 (2009), 1392 (2013), and 1396 (2017) list of candidates that should not have been there had the Council’s vetting been more by the letter of the law.
2. “Who is Who” in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Current Political Scene
If we use the Pareto principle and apply the general 80-20 rule to the socio-political scene in Iran and assume that 80% of the general voting population is influenced by the 20% political elites, then we could divvy up the 20% so-called elites into six somewhat loose categories based on what we see of the present political currents. I constructed the table below to give an overall sense of various groups and notable personalities in three areas of social, economic, and foreign policy stance. I based this categorization on what each group’s actual records show and not what they theoretically claim. The candidacy of the names in green was approved by the Guardian Council. The names that are crossed are known personalities that did not make it to the final list.
Each member of the Guardian Council casts its vote in writing and it is “Gheyre Alani”. That means, the Council members discuss each candidate’s application among themselves but cast a secret vote. So, none of the members knows who exactly voted “yes” or who voted “no” for a given application. In cases when an applicant did not make it to the list and he wants to know why, the Council reveals the content of the discussion to him and him only. However, if the applicant wishes for the discussion to be made public, then he must submit a written request to the Council and the specific discussions will be revealed. So far, I could not find any records of any candidates having submitted any such written request.
Since we do not have any credible report from the Council’s discussions, I will briefly review some of the publicly available records on two of the notable personalities who did not make the list. We examine potential reasons for why these two candidates did not earn at least 7 out of 12 votes. I would like to reiterate that these are my assessments and I have absolutely no access nor am I privy to the records of undisclosed discussions by the Guardian Council. The two applicants are Ali Larijani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ali Larijani. He is a well-known figure in the Principlist camp and most recently served as the head of the Majlis Shoraye Islami, or the Parliament. His brother, Ayatullah Amoli Larijani, who was the head of the Judiciary is also one of the 12 members of the Guardian Council. It appears Ayatullah Larijani was not able to persuade enough other members of the Council in favor of his brother. After the final list had been released, Ayatullah Larijani made the following public statement:
“Since the beginning of my participation in the Guardian Council in 1380  nearly 20 years has passed. In all this time, I have defended the Guardian Council even during the years I was in the Judiciary. But I had never found the decision of the Council so much indefensible whether in approval or in lack of approval for qualifications. This chaos is to a large degree related to the interference by security organs through false reports that exert undue influence on the decision of the members of the Guardian Council.”
Ugh. I find the fact that Ayatullah Larijani participated in the discussion and did not recuse himself due to conflict of interest disturbing. But let us assume he has reached a level of Taqwa that he can keep his bias on a tight leash and explore if his displeasure with fellow council members is warranted.
One factual, publicly available, and verifiable information is this: Fatemeh Ardeshir Larijani is Ali Larijani’s daughter, (Ayatullah Amoli Larijani’s niece). In 2010, she relocated to the United States and has been living and working there for the past 10 years. Whether she is a citizen, permanent resident, or on an H1 visa or what not is not an issue. It is also a fact that Ali Larijani, her father, the rejected candidate, has served as a key member of the Supreme Council on National Security, the head of the parliament, and in many other important high profile positions for decades. The relation between Fatemeh Larijani and her family and relatives is intact, quite close, and ongoing.
Here is another fact: Many times, Iran’s nuclear programs, generals, and scientists have been openly, publicly, and shamelessly sabotaged, threatened, and assassinated respectively under direct order from top officials in the United States of America. The role the United States played in bringing the Iranian society to a brink of collapse in 2009 is quite public and azharu mina-Shams (more evident than the sun).
This is where things get even worse: In certain instances, security breaches led to significant damages to critical infrastructures as well as to the assassination of key scientists and top commanders in Iran. Disturbingly, some of the intelligence leaks (let us suppose inadvertently) were traced to close family members of top ranking officials with access to classified information as discovered by members of the Intelligence Ministry.
Here is one of the core concerns: should the Guardian Council wait until leaks linked to this particular person and this particular candidate actually occur and another disaster to happen in order to take a stance and say enough is enough? If Larijanies and the likes of them want to be free to do as they wish as private citizens, then so be it. They must relinquish their sensitive positions and do as they wish according to the law. But if they aim to occupy extremely critical positions of authority and responsibility in the country, then they must know there are constraints for themselves and their family members. It is not just about them. It has something to do with life, death, security, and the fate of a nation. Why should a whole nation pay the price for the self-indulgences of a few families?
In 2018, some families of Americans who had been detained in Iran on espionage charges, wrote letters to Trump administration to deny US visas to the children of top-ranking officials in the Iranian government. An excerpt from an NBC report at the time reads:
“The families have provided the administration and several lawmakers with a list of Iranian nationals living in the U.S. alleged to be the children or relatives of senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani himself… The daughter of the powerful speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, is also on the list. She is a resident in internal medicine at an Ohio hospital, according to medical directories. The nephew of President Hassan Rouhani attended college in New York City and now works there, according to LinkedIn. The nephew’s father was the former top adviser to Rouhani, who stepped down after coming under fire from hardline opponents of the Iranian president.” 
Double ugh. It is not surprising that the Guardian Council did not place Ali Larijani on the final approved list for presidential candidates. It is surprising that the Council members grew a spine.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among all post-war presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, from the construction era to present, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be viewed, without a doubt, as the most active and the most productive president in terms of construction, social justice programs, and public service during his 1st term of as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His excellent record of public service continued well into the 2nd year of his 2nd term. I do not believe any fair and unbiased person would deny this.
With respect to Iran’s foreign policy and anti-imperial and anti-Zionist stance as well, one can name very few politicians that demonstrated the same level of boldness and courage as him. For sure, he pulled no punches.
Half way through his second term and beyond his time as president, however, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s priorities, statements, and conduct changed. The areas in which he was the strongest dimmed and areas in which he had weaknesses became more prominent. I do not wish to go into details of the political games into which he was drawn and questionable conducts of some of his closest associates from whom he failed to distance himself and a combination of factors that resulted in his political fall. Whatever the condition of his environment and associates, ultimately, he was the one who made the choice and he was the one who presented his application for the position of president.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had an excellent team of hardworking and honest ministers working with him. Many of those excellent workers and ministers, however, have long distanced themselves from him and have expressed unwillingness to work with him again for various reasons. A domineering and overbearing quality to his relationship with those who worked with him seem to be among those reasons. An attitude of “either my way exactly as I say or highway,” with various ministers and organs in the executive branch, with members of Majlis, with the Judiciary, with the Leader, and with many others and of a clear disregard for the law is not exactly an appropriate attitude for a wise chief executive officer of a country, an Islamic Republic at that.
Muhammad Vahdati, the former head of the Center for Studies of the Ministry of Interior, has spoken at length about what may have happened. I would like to quote for you here excerpts from his statements that I found illuminating:
“Of course, those public service works were the product of a team work that was done by a system consisting of the administration, the ministers, the governors who themselves now, those very same hardworking ministers and governors, more than 90 percent of them have distanced themselves from Mr. Ahmadinejad’s current position. Now, here is the question, a person who was once an eyesore for the arrogant powers such as the US and Israel, why is he marked and regarded today as a prey and a beacon of hope for those very arrogant powers? And why do the enemies sense that they must invest in him and that he could deal such hard blows to the system that the US Americans themselves are incapable of doing?”
What Dr. Vahdati is alluding to is a series of interviews with Ahmadinejad conducted by Western/Saudi-financed media outlets and aired by their lie factories regarding the war in Syria. About three months ago, in a televised interview with the Lebanese TV Channel, Al-Jadid, Ahmadinejad lumped together the Resistance fighters and Russia in Syria with the ISIS, Jubhatu-Nusrah, and other West-Zionist backed fighters. He said they must all leave Syria as none of them are helping the Syrian people. He also made other noteworthy remarks of similar nature that one could usually hear from Zionist-controlled media.
I seek refuge in God Himself when He seeks to test us.
Here, I would like to bring a bit more of Dr. Vahdati’s interview from the archive of the Ministry of Interior since it sheds some light not only regarding Ahmadinejad’s attitude and conduct but also on social and historical context that ushered him into the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran about 15 years ago. He states:
“But the reasons for his [Ahmadinejad’s] fall: the first one is his pride. Pride knocks down a human being. It is one of those types of sins that God will punish in this very world. Even if he is a believer, even if he is a warrior of God fighting in the warfront. If one becomes afflicted with pride, God will very quickly pinch his ear. Who do you think Satan was? An angel very high up in God’s Presence. Who had worshiped God as much as Satan?! Several thousand years of worship. But its pride and arrogance caused it to be rejected and become Satan, the Outcast.”
“The 2nd reason, I think, is Mr. Ahmadinejad’s inaccurate analysis of the reasons for his victory during his first presidential term. This incorrect analysis of his own situation caused his pride to be further inflated. He had this thinking that he and he alone had made this wave. So, you do know that main Principlists and other conservative camps at that time sought after more famous people. Even the Isargaran camp that Mr. Ahmadinejad was part of its main council, that council, too, went after another candidate. Well, at that time, Mr. Ahmadinejad was not very well known. He had just recently become the Mayor of Tehran. Even that opportunity was provided to him by the Principlists. He claimed that the Principlist factions did not support him. He even claimed that the Leader’s office had suggested to him to remain in Tehran’s Mayoral Office since he had just become the Mayor of Tehran. He, therefore, claimed, “I myself created this wave therefore I do not need any support from the Priciplists.” But the truth is this: Mr. Ahmadinejad did not create that wave. He rode it. Even the Leader and the Revolutionary forces had done a lot to raise awareness in those years and unravel the enemy’s complex plot. In those days, there were even talks of silent dismantling of the government. Many people did a lot to reveal the true essence and aim of the so-called Reformist movement that was being superintended by the [US] Americans.”
“It was the efforts of all these people that once again brought to the fore the revolutionary dialogue and a need for skillful management of the society. In the very first achievement of that wave, you saw in the victory of Chamran’s Team in Tehran City Council elections. But before that, a very different dialogue had dominated the scene. The atmosphere at that time was such that whoever was the most extremist and the most bellicose against the system, he would get the most attention.”
“For example, someone would say the religion and power must be separated. Another would say we must run bullets through Imam’s thoughts. Another would say religion is not only the opium of the masses but it is also the opium of rulers. Yet another would say ‘are our people monkeys to emulate?’ Mr. Abbas Abdi, for instance, was saying, ‘we could do street demonstration against God.’ And things like this.”
“Okay then, it took a lot to change those sorts of dialogues. Mr. Ahmadinejad relied on this new wave of reviving the revolutionary dialogue and began riding that wave and claimed he was more revolutionary than others. It was because now that dialogue had gained currency. On the other side, the Principlists who had gained an opportunity, they provided that opportunity to Mr. Ahmadinejad in Tehran Mayoral Office. It was under these circumstances that Ahmadinejad was able to beat his rivals in that particular arena and use the opportunity as a springboard.”
“The third factor was his grab onto power and an emergence of a serious power-seeking spirit from within him. That means, Mr. Ahmadinejad was gradually afflicted with the very same problem against which he had gone to war. His main reason to oppose Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] was Mr. Hashemi’s [Rafsanjani’s] affliction with power grab and exclusivism. For instance, those around Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] during his second term had been saying they should do something so that Mr. Hashemi’s [Rafsanjani’s] presidency becomes a life-long position but the Leader vigorously opposed this and said it is against the constitution. Mr. Mohajerani who was at the time the president’s [Rafsanjani’s] legal advisor was saying, ‘We need to change the constitution, to reform it, so that he could become a president for at least one more term.’”
“So, what they did to remain in power was the establishment of the Kargozaran Sazandegi and the formation of a coalition with the Leftists who had by then become isolated. Eventually, we saw those with whom the public was dissatisfied because of hardships and widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. So, those people returned with a new slogan and kept their grip on power.”
“Mr. Khatami’s administration in fact revolved around the Kargozaran as its main axis. This was a left-over administration from Mr. Hashimi’s [Rafsanjani’s] presidency. Similarly, Mr. Ahmadinejad, in the final days of his first term and the beginning of his 2nd term, had reached the conclusion that in fact the only one who can save the country is him. He believed the reformers had no religion and the Principlists did not have what it takes. Consequently, his main preoccupation was what would happen after his 2nd term was up.”
“So, we remember that the first appointment he made in his second term, he made Mashaei as his first assistant secretary. The Leader privately wrote to him that that decision is neither a prudent decision for the country nor a wise decision for himself. But in order for him to push this decision on the system, he brought forth all he had. In doing so, he set fire on his entire political capital. From 11-day Sulking to abandoning his office to picking fights with Majlis.”
“It is not necessarily a bad thing for a political current to try to bring its most powerful people to the scene in order to remain in power but Mr. Ahamadinejad’s idea was not this. He had very capable ministers in his team like Mr. Lankarani, Mr. Nikzad, Mr. Babaee, and Mr. Fattah. However, he told them if they came forward for candidacy, he would publically announce that they were not with him and he would not support them. He viewed them as the ‘system’s people.’ He wanted to bring someone to power who was his person.”
“The other factor was that ideological deviation with which Mr. Ahmadinejad became afflicted. Or, we could say his presence in power caused that disease to manifest itself. And the role the ring around him played to worsen his situation cannot be denied. Gradually, this mentality was formed in Mr. Ahamadinejad that ‘following a Wali Faqih is for the time that we have no direct access to an Infallible Imam (AS). Today, we are directly connected to the Imam (AS) and we no longer need to accept the wilayat of this faqih.’”
“So, you see we are facing two Ahmadinejads: One is the Ahmadinejad belonging to the beginning of the 9th Administration and with those worldviews and the other is the Ahmadinejad in the 10th Administration fully deviating from the frame of mind he had started his first term and, in many places, he even became defiantly oppositional with the first one.”
If I were to summarize Ahmadinejad’s situation, I must say that had he been on the approved list of the 1400 presidential candidates released by the Guardian Council, it would have been quite shocking. It would have demonstrated the Council was not living up to the responsibility of guarding the Constitution.
Just to close the file on the 20% political elites and all their protests and grievances, I would like to re-post a segment of Imam Ali’s (AS) letter to Malik Ashtar about the elites in the society that I had quoted in one of my previous articles regarding Imamat and Wilayat:
“O, Malik! Your most favored tasks must consist of the ones that are the most balanced with the truth, the most encompassing in justice, and the most comprehensive in gaining the public’s gratitude. That is because the public’s anger makes the satisfaction of a few elites useless and the anger of a few elites become null and void when countered with the satisfaction of the public. At the time of great abundance and comfort, no one is more wasteful for a governor than the elites. At the time of hardship and challenges, no one is more useless than the elites. At the time of fairness, no one is less pleased than the elites. At the time of asking and wanting, no one is more persistent than the elites. At the time of generosity, no one is more ungrateful than the elites. At the time of refusing to cater, no one is more unforgiving than the elites. At the time of calamities, no one less patient than the elites. So, the pillar of religion, the crowd of Muslims, and the most ready to fight with the enemies are in fact the public. So, your attentions and your desires must be devoted to them.”
3. Election 1400 and the 2nd Phase of the Revolution
As stated in the introduction, on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1397 , the Wali Faqih Ayatullah Khamenei released a declaration titled “Gaam_e Dovvom_e Enghlaab,” or The 2nd Phase of the Revolution directly addressing the Iranian Nation. The document is important in that it gives a concise and significant overview of the past 40 years and notable lessons, a general assessment of the present, and a clear map and direction for the future.
When the document was released two years ago, many people, organizations, and movements at all levels from local mosques to academic centers of higher education took it and said “Labbayk” (i.e. “we heard your call and we will do what we must”). Several of the candidates that submitted their application for the presidency actually stated they were doing so in order to have responded to the Leader’s call. Those interested could find the link to the entire document here. I would like to highlight segments that I think provide important cues to what is ahead in terms of the upcoming election, the qualities of the next president, and the areas where both the nation and the officials must focus.
The Ideals of the Revolution: In the introduction segment, the Leader states,
“From among all oppressed nations, very few nations undertake a revolution. And among those who rise up and have a revolution, even fewer are able to carry the work to its final phase. Except for changing the ruling system, few have been able to preserve their revolutionary ideals. With the great revolution of the Iranian nation, however, which is the most significant people-based revolution in modern era, it is the only revolution that went through a forty-year honorable period without betraying its ideals. It protected and preserved the authenticity and dignity of its slogans despite all sorts of seemingly irresistible temptations. Now, it has entered into the 2nd phase of building self, the society, and the civilization. Salutations from the bottom of my heart to this nation, to the generation that began the revolution, and to the generation that is ushering it into the grand global process of its 2nd Forty-Year.”
Therefore, the next president must not only believe in the Revolution’s ideals but help realize them for the nation inside and for the oppressed outside.
Balance and Justice in Foreign Policy: In another segment of the document, the Leader clarifies:
“The Islamic Revolution of the Iranian nation has been strong but kind and tolerant even when unjustly treated. It has never committed the excesses and deviations that brought dishonor to many other uprisings and movements in the world. In no challenge, not even with the [US] America and Sadam, did it ever fire the first shot but always and in all cases, after the enemy had attacked, it defended itself and of course executed the counter attack with force. This Revolution, from the start until today, has neither been ruthless and bloodthirsty nor cowardly and hesitant. It has stood up unambiguously and courageously against arrogant bullies and transgressors and has defended the unjustly treated and the oppressed. This revolutionary valor and affability, this truthfulness, transparency, and strength, and this global and regional domain of action on the side of the oppressed of the world, is an honor for Iran and the Iranians. May it always remain so.”
In addition, the next president must be wise and courageous at the same time. Neither should he be bellicose to pick fights nor fearful to face a challenge with strength. Being on the side of the oppressed of the world is given. Ayatullah Khamenei highlights 7 specific areas that require great attention and defines each area in a way they serve as a roadmap for those who are willing to take action. I will close the essay with a particularly uplifting segment for the region.
“Strong Iran of today, just like the beginning of the Revolution, is facing many challenges from the Arrogant Powers but with a meaningful difference. If the challenge [for Iran] in those days was to cut off the [US] America’s and foreign hands from the nation or to close the Zionist regime’s embassy in Tehran or to expose the Den of Spies [the term that refers to US embassy in Tehran], today, the challenge for the US with Iran’s presence at the borders surrounding the Zionist regime and dismantling the illegitimate influence and presence of the [US] America from West Asia, Islamic Republic’s defense of Palestinian fighters at the heart of the occupied territories, and defense of holy flag of Hizbullah and the Resistance in the entire region. If in those days, the West’s problem was preventing Iran from buying even the most primitive forms of arms for its defense, today, its challenge is to prevent the Iranian arms, military equipment, and drones reaching Hizbullah and the Resistance everywhere in the region. If in those days, the [US] America imagined it can overcome the Islamic System and the Iranian nation with the help of a few self-selling Iranian traitors, today, it is finding itself in need of a large coalition of tens of hostile yet impotent governments to fight Iran. Yet, it fails.”
 Sayyed Ali Khamenei, “Gaam_e Dovvom_e Enghlaab” [The 2nd Phase of the Revolution]. 1397/11/22 [Feb. 11, 2019]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/message-content?id=41673
 The Islamic Republic of Iran Guardian Council. “The Responsibilities and the Authority of the Council.” Accessed online at: https://www.shora-gc.ir/fa/guardian-council
 IRI Guardian Council News Site. “The 9th Election: Participation and Competition in Two Rounds.” News Code: 3152; Published on line on Khordad 21, 1392 [June 11, 2013]. Accessed online at: Shora-GC.ir
 Mehr News Agency, “Amoli Larijani’s Criticism of the results regarding approved candidates list.” Khordad 4th, 1400, @ 17:31. News Code: 5220521. Accessed online at: mehrnews.com/xVpkg
 Dan De Luce, NBC News. “Families of Americans held in Iran ask Trump to pull visas for kids of top Iran officials.” Dec. 3, 2018, @1:22pm. Accessed online at: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/families-americans-held-iran-ask-trump-pull-visas-kids-top-n942781
 The reasons for Ahmadinejad’s fall: Sedaye Enghelab, Number 237; Muhammad Vahdati
 Al-Jadid TV Channel, Lebanon. https://www.aparat.com/v/rUAwg
 Ahdnameh Malik Ashtar (Letter #53), Nahjul-Balaqhah. Edit Sayyed Razi. Trans. Hussain Ansarian. Page 292. Darul-Irfan Publishing.
For me the decisive ingredient here is that Iranian Shia Islam holds to a core constitutional imperative to uphold the struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations. This is absolutely key and definitive. It appears to me to be authentic Islam. I recently had the pleasure of watching an American TV documentary about the life of Mohammed and his founding of Islam. What particularly struck me was that whenever Mohammed was in a position to determine social policy he chose to emphasize the struggle to liberate the oppressed. Specifically women and the poor in contrast to wealthy merchants etc. I could only conclude that communists would have no difficulty aligning themselves with such a policy. I am sure the Chinese get the picture very well.
Now I see all of this as profoundly in harmony with the real teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus and Mohammed are so in step with each other here. It is no wonder Islam honors Jesus as a great prophet. This all leads me to the conclusion that these two seminal prophets, and the communists, are onto something very important. That being that the liberation and well being of humanity is intimately tied in with the struggle of the oppressed. I sense that the struggle of the oppressed contains as yet unexplored evolutionary potentialities which are now being released, and that evolutionary potentiality was well understood by both Jesus and Mohammed.
It was Christianity that brought me to Marxism and as a consequence I have always tended to judge the quality of a religion by the degree of its fealty with the oppressed.
So that leaves Talmudic Zionism locked in a head on collision with Christ, Mohammed, Iranian Shia, and Chinese Communism. All aided by Russian military technology. Who do you think has the best hand here?
Thank You to the author for clarifying the structure of Shia revolutionary politics
“Shia is a bird that flies much higher than our arrows. It is a bird that has two wings: A green wing and a red wing. The green wing of this bird is Mahdism, justice-seeking and its red wing is martyrdom-seeking that has roots in Karbala and has made Shia immortal.”
Francis Fukuyama, Japanese Philosopher
Can you breakdown the “green revolution” from your point of view?
Just so you know where I am coming from: I view the New Religion that evolved out of liberal democracy to the greatest existential threat humanity has faced. Iran has lead the resistance. But it will not be 1979 forever, and for a regime to survive war, coups, assassinations, and embargoes only to destroy itself via nepotism, corruption and narrowing the base beyond sustainability is incredibly sad. We are just counting down the days till the fall at this point.
You are way off the mark. Iran is currently more powerful than it has been in over a thousand years.
What you are witnessing is the birth of yet another New Persian Empire.
Third time’s a charm eh? Let’s see if we can get it perfect this time.
So far so good.
Corruption and nepotism and whatever else, will be dealt with. We’ve got a few guys on the job.
ad hominem removed … mod
A likely, very informative essay by Mansoureh Tajik. So things are looking up. That’s good because Iran is in many ways the leader of the Free World. I had already read “Iran: The Victory Of The Incorruptible?” http://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2059
Thank you for this informative article Mansoureh. It’s helped to clarify a few things for me.
I’ve always been interested in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political regime (I use ‘regime’ in a good way, meaning ‘political system’ or ‘system of governance’) since it was introduced post-Revolution — an interesting hybrid of theocracy and democracy, unique in the world and most certainly in the Islamic world.
Ayatollah Khomeini was a remarkable man who succeeded in establishing his conception of what an Islamic government or state should be. He did not borrow from the (Arab) Shia Fatimid Caliphate nor from the (Iranian) Safavid Empire which established Shi’ism as the state religion of Iran even if there were so few Iranian Shias at the time that they had to import Arab Shias from eastern Arabia and elsewhere to teach and spread the religion within the empire. Or, it may be argued, even from the example of the caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib who led the Muslims as commander of the faithful rather than leader of a state — leader of the ummah rather than ‘citizens’. Like I’ve said, it was unique. Many have noticed similarities between Khomeini’s idea of a state and that of Plato’s “Republic”, or al-Farabi’s (who was influenced by Plato) “Virtuous City”, both of which advocated a sort of philosopher-king as the best suited to become leader.
The bedrock of Khomeini’s system is of course the Shia concept of Velayat-e-Faqih or Governance by the Jurist. Traditionally this meant the responsibility of the Jurist on non-litigious matters such as the welfare of orphans, widows, etc. This was expanded by Khomeini — not without protests by several prominent clerics including Grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari — to mean jurisdiction over all persons, in other words, political overlordship. Many more, no doubt recalling the Shah’s excesses, were anxious that much power, too much, lay in the hands of one man, the Vali e Faqih. And even in the first decade of IRI, Khomeini’s designated successor, Ayatollah Montazeri — who stoutly expounded the concept of the Velayat e Faqih but who was later made to resign and subsequently placed under house arrest — began to give voice to concerns about abuse of power, not by the Faqih, but those close to, and protected by, him.
The rejections of Ali Larijani’s and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s candidature for president certainly came as a surprise. Both men came from an IRGC background and Ahmadinejad certainly was for returning, at least in spirit, to the days of Khomeini’s rule as Faqih, even if when he was president he did imply that the Velayat e Faqih system needed to be revisited.
Well, Pepe Escobar did suggest in his article on the Iranian elections and the role of the Guardian Council in vetting candidates that the head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raeisi, would be a shoe-in candidate. Pepe may be correct; we will see.
In the meantime the question arises:
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ‘Who will guard the guardians?’
As you mentioned, a member of the Guardian Council, Ali Larijani’s cleric brother, failed to recuse himself from the Council’s deliberations on presidential aspirants. As it turned out Ali Larijani did not get enough votes — by your account Ali’s brother didn’t leave the meeting, so did his brother vote or abstain? Either way it is still not very reassuring for Iranian voters, especially the younger ones who did not experience the Revolution.
Hr Mansoureh Tajik, i hereby ask you to write a “follow up” to this article with more details and links.
I found this article very interesting and would like to know more.
Just you know Mr Per, Mansoureh ( means Defended, protected by God) is a lady name.
Thank You for the very detailed and informative essay.
“…on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1397 , the Wali Faqih Ayatullah Khamenei released a declaration titled “Gaam_e Dovvom_e Enghlaab,” or The 2nd Phase of the Revolution directly addressing the Iranian Nation. The document is important in that it gives a concise and significant overview of the past 40 years and notable lessons, a general assessment of the present, and a clear map and direction for the future.”
Taking a look at this document per afforded link to it we find this statement in its English translation:
“The decades ahead are your decades, and it is you who should protect your revolution while you are qualified and full of motivation, and move it closer to its great ideal: that is, the emergence of a new Islamic civilization and the preparation for the rising of the great sun of wilayat (may our souls be sacrificed for him) [Imam Mahdi (a.s.)].”—From a Christian perspective, and quibbles about translation into English aside,
the good “Leader” may have stumbled and inadvertently admitted something,—because the only personage
who would require a “sacrifice” of “human souls” would be Satan. So this Mahdi becomes admittedly a satanic personage.—That is not a good outcome! But granted, this is from an English translation, and translations
have their drawbacks.