As the various political factions and established figures begin contemplating their moves ahead of next year’s presidential elections in Iran, let us heed the words of Mir Hossein Mousavi , now under illegal house arrest for over 570 days. Let us be reminded of his now famous declaration: “I will not surrender to this dangerous charade.”
I believe the solution lies in allowing springs and streams of clear and sweet water to flow into this river bed; a steady and gradual flow that will slowly lead to the transformation of the water quality and the conditions of the river itself. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that it is still not too late; that our ruling establishment [regime] has the power to bring about this change, provided that they adopt respectful and compassionate policies towards all segments within our society.
The following are a number of suggestions that in my opinion are analogous to the streams of fresh water required to positively influence our country on a national level, shifting the current conditions and allowing us to escape the existing crisis and challenges facing our nation:
1) Direct accountability of the government towards the nation, the parliament and the judiciary. In other words, there should be no extraordinary support of the government’s deficiencies and weaknesses and the government should be held directly responsible for any difficulties and hardship it has caused the nation. It goes without saying that a competent and just government will be in a position to answer the concerns and question of the people and members of the parliament. In the event of an incompetent and dishonest government, the parliament and the judiciary should be allowed to react accordingly and within the scope of their constitutional powers.
2) Implementation of a transparent and credible electoral regulations and procedures designed to reassure and convince the nation of free and fair elections, without any form of fraud or interference. The electoral regulations must be designed to ensure the participation of citizens despite their differences of opinion or affiliations, with the goal to eliminate arbitrary interference by government officials based on their political affiliation or personal preferences. The initial meetings and administrative procedures of the governments serving at the onset of the revolution may be used as a model.
3) The release and exoneration of all political prisoners. I am confident that such an act will not be viewed as a sign of weakness but rather will demonstrate the visionary nature of the ruling establishment. We are fully cognizant of the fact that the decadent political forces oppose such an approach.
4) Freedom of the press and media including the redistribution of those newspapers that have been banned from publication is key to the resolution of the current challenges. We must eliminate all fear associated with freedom of the press and build upon the international experience in this area. The advent and expansion of satellite networks and their clear impact has clearly demonstrated the deficiencies and limitations associated with older broadcasting mechanisms including the state run National Broadcasting Television Station (IRIB. Restricting internet access and jamming satellite signals will only result in short term gains. The only effective solution is the establishment of a variety of independent media outlets allowed to operate freely within our nation. Is it not time for a bold and brave move? Is it not time for us to turn our attention away from outside our borders and instead rely on the intellectuals and creative elements within our society and in doing so establish the level of trust that will unite our creative, political, cultural and social capital?
5) Recognizing the people’s right to peaceful gatherings and the establishment of political parties as stipulated under articles 26 and 27 of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, particularly if done tactfully and with the cooperation of all interested parties within our country can undoubtedly transform the current atmosphere of conflict between the Basiji forces and the public, leading to improved conditions and national reconciliation.
Mir Hossein Mousavi
Excerpts from Statement Number 17, dated January 1st, 2010
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Full Content of Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Statement No 17 in Farsi: