Recently, election organizers for the 10th 4-year term of the Majlis or the Islamic Consultative Assembly – as the national parliament is known – as well as for the 5th 8-year term of the 87-member Assembly of Experts, met with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to seek his guidelines. Elections for these two bodies are to be the held simultaneously on February 26.
Ayatollah Khamenei described the elections as a healthy competition among the eligible and qualified candidates in which the nation is always the final winner, since it is the people who determine the fate of the country. He said: When the masses enter the arena of elections with strength and resolve, and fill the ballot boxes with votes of determination, this is certainly a matter of pride for the popular system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a matter of fact, winning or losing of the honoured candidates have no meaning for the people, because either way it is the Iranian nation which is the real and final winner. This is the main point about the elections.
The Leader always encourages people to enthusiastically participate in the elections, including those who may have some problems with the Islamic Republic system. On the reason for encouraging this particular group for participation in the voting, he stated: Today this unique system of government has preserved the country’s security, has facilitated national development and progress, and given dignity to the people – facts that cannot be denied. What is, however, of prime importance, he said, is insight and carefulness while voting for any candidate, so that the people send the honest, aware, brave and faithful representatives to the parliament in order to ensure national development, as well as the independence and dignity of Iran. He elaborated on his remark on the necessity of participation of those who do not believe in the Islamic Republic, by making it clear that this does not mean a candidate who does not believe in the system is sent to the parliament.
He pointed out that nowhere in the world do decision-making centers allow someone who does not believe in the essence of the system of the national government to participate in elections. In many countries, such candidates are barred from contesting the polls on the slightest accusation.
As an example, the Leader recalled the US elections during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, when candidates suspected of leftist tendencies were barred and even imprisoned. Such restrictions in a country like the US which likes to call itself the bastion of democracy are now enforced against American Muslims.
As part of his guidelines for holding of fair and free elections, Ayatollah Khamenei turned the attention of the organizers and candidates to certain points. First and foremost is the law of the country as the most trustworthy factor and the best judge in case of differences among candidates, since it is essential to respect the legal organs responsible for holding elections, while any disrespect for them would result in chaos.
The Leader pointing to the unhealthy practice of lies, deceit, and false propaganda in the so-called democratic countries of the West during elections, said such a negative atmosphere should on no account prevail in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He advised the candidates against mudslinging and the sordid practice of insulting each other. He said: As a candidate, if you have faith in your competence and abilities, you can highlight your qualities during the campaign in order to inform the people of your plans; but you should not insult and slander your rivals, and you should not talk behind their backs. This is another vital responsibility to ensure free, fair and healthy elections.
The Leader advised the candidates against giving impractical promises to the people, when you very well know you cannot fulfill them. At the same time, no candidate should raise any illegal demand or promise by saying that if elected he/she will do such-a-such thing, when it is clear that whatever you are saying is illegal and against the country’s Constitution and laws. The candidates should be honest to the people, and this is one of the vital aspects of a fair, free and healthy election. Ayatollah Khamenei called the national elections a blessing and a big opportunity for thanksgiving.
The Leader of the Islamic Revolution then mentioned some important points about JCPOA, calling implementation of Iran’s nuclear agreement with G5+1 as a great stride, for which President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other members of Iranian nuclear negotiating team deserve thanks. He dismissed the notion that these achievements are the result of US favours, saying: We developed nuclear energy with our own capabilities, with the ideas of our own scientists and with the support of our different administrations.
On this path, four people were martyred until we reached this stage. We did something to force the enemy to agree to the existence of several thousand centrifuges in the country, when this same enemy had vowed not to leave even one single centrifuge spinning in Iran. He added that this success of ours is because of the efforts of the people of Iran and our scientists.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that contrary to the US-European plan to make Iranians discontent with the Islamic Republic of Iran through sanctions, the Iranian people have stood firm and their steadfastness became a source of support for political and diplomatic work. The enemy was forced to retreat, while the Islamic Republic of Iran showed its power and dignity, thanks to the strong bond of the system with the entire Iranian nation.
The Leader said, basically the arrogant powers in the West well know that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not after a nuclear bomb, but still they imposed sanctions on Iran? He said the issue is about something else, and part of the plan to pressure the people of Iran, stop the people from pursuing their revolutionary movement, and preventing the increasing influence of the Islamic Republic in the region and in the world.
It is obvious, he said, the West failed, while the sincere intentions of the people and government have continued to attract people from all over the world towards the credible system of the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Khamenei cautioned people and officials from the excessive optimism regarding the lifting of sanctions in resolving the economic problems of the country.
He asked: Now that sanctions have been lifted, will the economic problem of the country and the problem of the living conditions of the people be solved? He answered in the negative, saying that it is proper management and planning that ensure the progress of the country. Everyone has approved of the economy of resistance and everyone has planned for it. Fortunately, the executive organizations and our friends in the administration have certain plans to pursue this matter. They should seriously pursue it in order to make the country resistant in terms of the economy. Otherwise, if we fix our eyes on foreigners’ decisions and hands, we will not reach anywhere.
On the great capabilities for reaching self-sufficiency, the Leader said: We are a strong nation with a large population of approximately eighty-million people. There are tens of millions of educated youth in Iran, including professionals, experts, and masterminds in all areas and divisions. Plus, Iran is rich in underground resources. All these are valuable resources. All these are opportunities. We should stand on our feet and we should not be dependent on others.