Middle East

Iran’s Elections

A Modest Proposal

Iranian reformist legislator
Iranian reformist legislator Elaheh Koulaiee resigned from the Majlis legislative assembly after she was barred from running in the Feb. 20 elections (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP-Getty Images).

I am not a bit worried by the spectacle of the conservatives taking over every state institution, because if they do, I can clearly see them struggling in the quagmire they made for themselves. I made this point in early 1379 [2000-2001] and asked the reformists to hand over power to the conservatives altogether to appease their thirst for power. I do not know why they took this suggestion as an insult, put me in jail, and then recorded that statement in my file as proof of my subversion. Now the conservatives are doing the very thing they formerly deemed subversion. This is further proof of the theory that the conservatives consider that what they believe is criminal and unlawful for others is legal and lawful for themselves.

The intention of this brief article is not to show the contradictions and insurmountable difficulties the conservatives are going to encounter after taking over the Majlis [legislative assembly] and, subsequently, the government. I have learned by now that predicting bad news from an independent position, even as a precautionary and preventive measure, makes some people so irritated and insecure that they might use that very prediction as the basis for strange and peculiar accusations against me. One day, for instance, I warned that our increasing social problems might prove fertile ground for fascism. Later, I found this accusation in my file: “The defendant has been seeking to topple the system and replace it with fascism!” By this logic, it would not be surprising if all doctors who predict the death of their patients were brought to trial on murder charges!

As I said, I am not worried that the conservatives are taking over all the pillars of government. What upsets me is why they have chosen such a complicated method when there are far easier and simpler means to the same end. Take the upcoming elections, for instance. An election, according to democratic conventions, represents the free will of citizens by means of their going to the polls to choose whom they trust to manage society. If the people do not have the right to decide whether to go to the ballot boxes, if they don’t find their favorite person or party among the candidates, or if their elected representatives do not have the power to administer society, then what else will an election be but a costly and entertaining procedure?

Consider the upcoming election. When the most renowned political figures are banned from running and when executives are going through with it only out of fear of judicial prosecution, what kind of election is this? Why waste so much breath debating it? Instead of spending billions from the state treasury or the candidates’ pockets, instead of wasting so much time and energy on holding an election that in fact is not an election, I suggest the conservatives dispense with the polls entirely and just send their appointed representatives to the Majlis. That way, we wouldn’t have any of these arguments about the elections or whether they will be free, fair, and competitive. We wouldn’t spend any more money for no reason. And we could spare the anointed representatives and their rivals so much strain. It is certain that the people, too, would be more satisfied. If you do not believe me, just try it!