Iran Vote ... or not.

There is more to a democracy than a vote.
'May God Be Our Guide!'
June 16, 2005

Muslims must understand that participation in Friday's presidential election in Iran is haram, that is, it is unclean according to religious principles and reasonable logic. Therefore it is forbidden to participate.

Whoever would participate in this process would be a full partner in the destruction of Iran by the current regime, a partner in its criminal behavior in the past, in the present and in the future. I am speaking not only on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the thousands of Muslim clerics who are imprisoned for defying the assertion that the state and religion should be under the control of a single Supreme Leader.

What I am saying is exactly what many other ayatollahs and grand ayatollahs are saying.

May God be our guide!

* * *

The coming election is nothing but a show for cheating the people of Iran, and for making propaganda with other Muslim nations. I am asking the people not to go out of their houses on election day, and to boycott the polls. In the U.S., any candidate is given the chance to go before the people and tell them what he proposes to do in office. But in Iran, such debate does not seem to be necessary, since, long before the election, the government already knows who would win.

The Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khamanei and the Guardian Council -- composed of 12 of his cronies -- have already rejected most candidates that they don't consider acceptable, and have designated their favorites. If by chance someone not designated a favorite should win, the Guardians can set aside the election of the unfortunate winner.

There are three reasons why this process is contrary to Islamic principles.

The first is this: If the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council declare that the people are not capable of deciding which candidates are good for the country, why should the people be allowed to vote at all? If they are not capable of distinguishing between good and bad, they should not be allowed to put a ballot in the box. Voting itself is not important to the regime, since the result is predetermined, but the presence of large numbers of people in the voting places is important to convince the world that democracy is functioning.

The second reason not to go to the polls is that the regime has no respect for the opinion of the people. What the regime is saying is that the more people in line to vote, the more successful the election will appear to be. They think that the public will interpret a big turnout as support for the regime, without reflecting on the years of intimidation and terror.

Third, the people are being treated like children. In the law of Islam, the actions of a minor, that is, a person under 18, are not recognized as valid until they are authorized by a father or guardian. But persons of voting age are treated the same way. When the public votes, it is true that they cast a ballot; but the results are of no significance unless they are validated by the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council after the election. If they see that someone has been elected who was not approved beforehand then their votes are not counted. Therefore, it is the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council that elects the members of the legislature, not the people.

If people go out and vote, they are ratifying a criminal process carried out by a so-called Islamic Republic, which does not follow the principles of Islam at all. There is nothing in the Quran that allows the clergy to be involved in government. By voting, the people would legitimize the slaughter of our youth, the destruction of our culture and economy, the murders of innocent citizens, and the tragedy of Iran today. This kind of election is a betrayal of Islam -- for Islam has to do with truth and honesty, not deceit. If the people accept the process which this regime has enacted, it is the same as saying that they are going along with a system that smells of the devil rather than of the will of God.

We human beings are made in the image of God, so we do know the difference between right and wrong without being guided by clerics who have usurped power. The right thing is not to become a participant in elections that are an insult to all the principles of the Quran and to all humanity.

Ayatollah Haeri is the son of Ayatollah Abdollah Ali Haeri and grandson of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saleh. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he became a critic of the Khomeini regime. Arrested, beaten and tortured, he was jailed for three years, then sent into internal exile. He escaped to Germany, where he now lives. He is currently visiting the U.S.

Readers may have noticed my link in support of "Real Democracy in Iran"

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