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A referendum in Iran to repeal the office of the Guide of the Revolution?


The Islamic Republic of Iran has just celebrated the 39th anniversary of the Revolution. Once again, through out Iran, millions of Iranians have descended onto the streets to demonstrate their support for the anti-imperialist ideals of Imam Khomeiny.

The Iranian President, Hassan Rohani, for his part, has called for unity after a wave of protests challenging him in January. He has notably called for respect for ethnic and religious minorities some of which are fully involved in these protest movements.

The political conflicts are crystallized in the succession of the Guide of the Revolution, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; a large body of opinion is hoping for this office to be repealed (for the office was initially created in the specific context of the Revolution) and for Ayatollah Khomeiny, following the model of the Republic laid out by Plato. In his speech, President Rohani raised the issue of calling a referendum to settle this issue.

Repealing the office of the Guide would automatically place the Guardians of the Revolution (the pasdarans) under the authority of the President of the Republic with whom they are in open conflict.

As for the public debate, it has focussed more on the obligation imposed on women to wear the veil and the importance of men having a beard. A study of a presidential think tank, dating from the beginning of the Rohani’s presidency in 2014 declares that half of Iranians wish for this rule to be repealed. Let us recall that at the end of his final mandate, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had expressed himself on TV on this issue. It was because of this, that he entered into conflict with a part of his allies.

However, the true problem lies elsewhere: the poorest classes of Iranian society are suffering seriously from a drop in their level of life while the high clergy and those holding political offices flaunt their wealth. It is this question and this alone that will determine the future of the country.

President Rohani, challenging the financial resources at the disposal of the Guardians of the Revolution have, has proposed that they focus on their military function and abandon their economic and commercial activities. He has obtained the support of the Guide Ali Khamenei. To force the Guards to accept this reform, the President has proposed that the companies that they control are transferred to the people.

Anoosha Boralessa

Voltaire Network

Voltaire, international edition

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