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We, the undersigned, are calling for Free Elections in Iran. We strongly object to the Guardian Council's screening role in the election process in Iran. We find this role undemocratic, and against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states: "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures". "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives". [Artilce 21].
Furthermore, we believe that the Election laws are discriminatory and flawed. We strongly believe that revision of these laws such as article 115 is a strong pre-requisite for Free Elections in Iran. Artilce 115 of the Islamic Republic constitution states: "The President must be elected from among religious and political personalities [rijal], possessing the following qualifications: Iranian origin; Iranian nationality; administrative capacity and resourcefulness; a good past-record; trustworthiness and piety; convinced belief in the fundamental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the official madhhab of the country." A Free Election will require revision of this law which is discriminatory against: non-religious Moslems [secular], Women, non-Moslems, athiests, non-belivers in the fundemental principles of the Islamic Republic of Iran [clerical rule and Velayate Faghih] and non-Shia' Moslems. IRI is a signatory to UDHR which states: "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status" [Article 2]. Removal of [May 8, 1997] Azam Taleghani, a woman candidate, Sahabi, Dr. Yazdi, Dr. Payman, non-governmental religious-political and "liberal" Personalities and other religious non-governmental candidates such as Rajaee Khorassanee and H. Tabarzadi from the upcoming Presidential Elections by the Guardian Council is evidence of such discriminatory behaviour. It is the removal of 234 out of 238 Presidential candidates that amplifies and highlights the severity of the undemocractic nature of Guardian Council's role in the election process.
Last but not least, most of the existing [banned or tolerated] secular Opposition parties have boycotted the elections on the grounds that pre-requisites for Free and Fair Elections are not satisfied. National Front of Iran, The Union of National Forces [Nation's Party, People's Party, Movement for Freedom in Iran, Nation's Toilers Party of Iran] which operate inside of Iran have boycotted the elections. The Exile Opposition forces have also boycotted the elections. The secular groups are barred by the constitution [article 115] to compete for the Presidential Office.
We, as Iranian professionals and intellectuals in exile
are deeply concerned about contineous violation of
Human Rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran and
specially non-conformances with Artilces 2 and 21 which
are related to free and genuine Elections. We have identified
the following steps as pre-requisites for Free Elections
in Iran and would like to bring it to the Iranian people
and international human rights organization's attention: