Statement on 11th Iranian presidential elections and 14th session for local councils

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Statement on 11th Iranian presidential elections and 14th session for local councils

Elections are a civil mechanism aimed at effecting a positive change in societies through the resulting transfer of power and renewal of its holders, its methods and its tools, and is in this light one of the valuable achievements of the modern era. Thus, participation in elections is a citizen right that gives voters the opportunity to select the candidates they believe to be keener in their plans and electoral programs that address people’s concerns, and set logical solutions for the achievement of their demands whether on the level of internal or foreign politics, economy, culture or other levels.

Aside from the details of electoral claim, and how far it meets the needs of the current stage in Iran, and despite some problems and observations, we at the Iranian Dawah and Reform Group reaffirm our unaltered view of the necessity of effective participation in elections, whether municipal or presidential elections, to enable citizens to delegate those whom they view as honest and capable of improving the quality of life and building an infrastructure that reflects the ambitions and hopes of the citizens of our beloved country.

In this context, the group would like to assert the following:

1. Thirty five years after the victory of the revolution of the great Iranian people, some of the main articles of the constitution remain in partial application, especially those principles mentioned under the "Chapter on Rights and Freedoms”, and are not applied in a manner adequate to Iran and its noble people, like the freedom to establish political parties (article 26), the freedom of press (article 24), freedom of assembly (article 27), freedom of expression and speech (article 175), and the protection of cultures and ethnicities (articles 12-12-14-19-20-23).

2. Welfare, economic security, and market stability are priorities for all citizens under all the present circumstances as economic stability and security face serious threats due to turbulent economic phenomena including: a continuing decrease in the value of the Iranian national currency, the deteriorated economic situation, inflation, failure to employ a large sector of the productive energy, high unemployment rates, and finally the recession that dominates the job market.

3. The position of Iran today in its regional surroundings seems deteriorated and is greatly harmed due to the absence of the needed balance in political and diplomatic decisions, due to acting on some unstudied ideologies and views, imprudence in taking some measures and issuing harmful statement, in addition to the lack of harmony and sufficient coordination between the different sections of foreign relations.

4. Despite countless efforts, the official discourse of Islamic unity did not succeed in pacifying relations and improving dealings among the followers of Islamic traditions. While we stress the importance of unity and proximity between Muslims with their different traditions, we stress the necessity of developing this concept to "accepting the other”, a concept that regrettably no steps have been taken to spread or establish. We have a deep conviction that instituting the culture of "accepting the other” and avoiding sectarian and tradition-based fanaticism is the most effective path to prevent the current tensions and challenges that are leading the region toward a sectarian war and since any fragmentation and conflict among Muslims directly contradicts the teachings of the Islamic religion and the aspired interests of the Muslim nation.

5. Regarding the social and political status of Sunni citizens, obvious, irrefutable discrimination has been practiced against them. Among its signs and examples: heedlessness to the equality stated in article 19 of the constitution, failure to distribute senior positions and responsibilities on a basis of qualifications and professionalism, imposing restrictions on the freedoms stated in the sequel of article 12 of the constitution that guarantees the freedom to practice the religious rites of each tradition, depriving Sunni people from the potentials of national media, and failing to show adequate sensitivity regarding insults addressed to the sanctities of Sunni people on different pulpits.

In the conclusion:

The Iranian Dawah and Reform Group views that achieving these demands, fully applying the constitution, and granting people their citizenship rights increase the feelings of belonging to the Iranian national identity, and enhance cohesion and solidarity among the sections of the Iranian people.

The Iranian Dawah and Reform Group, as it expresses its regret and objection to disqualifying the majority of its members or supporting election candidates for the municipal elections in cities and villages, asserts the necessity of making use of their citizenship right to participate in the elections, and expects the noble Iranian people, particularly the Sunni citizens to show effective participation in the presidential and municipal elections to delegate the power of ruling and administrating these councils to those who are more qualified and deserving.

In this context, the group declares its support to the program of presidential candidate Hassan Rohani, while at the same time appreciating the views and stances of the remaining respected candidates. The group aspires that Professor Rohani will remain faithful to his vows to the Iranian people of adopting wise, promising policies, of delegating the affairs of the state to honest and sincere agents, and fully applying the contents of his personal statement concerning the rights of ethnicities and other religious traditions.

The Iranian Dawah and Reform Group

June 11th,