1147 GMT September 22, 2020
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, he also touched upon a number of other issues, including the importance of rebuilding the public trust in the Iranian government and officials, and predicted a huge turnout in Friday’s vote.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: What would be the favorable outcome of a strong turnout in Iran’s forthcoming parliamentary elections?
MAHMOUD VAEZI: Since in our country, people’s political participation forms the basis for Iran’s Islamic establishment, and its being a republic, it has always been of great importance since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and has been emphasized by the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Imam Khomeini, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and other top Iranian officials. As repeatedly stressed by President Rouhani, people are the ones who directly or indirectly give legitimacy to all officials and organizations in our country and thus their participation in all elections has been of pivotal and fundamental importance. Due to a number of reasons, the people’s participation in the upcoming elections has grown in importance. The message that the turnout would transmit to other countries is of great importance, particularly now that Iran is under critical circumstances on the international scene.
The US “maximum pressure” policy and its economic terrorism against Iran have reached a decisive and crucial stage. Iran has managed to overcome and survive the crisis in the country thanks to the people’s resistance, sacrifices and consciousness and, of course, the round-the-clock efforts by government officials, and almost all economic indices are rising, showing signs of improvement. Under the present circumstances, a strong turnout will be the final nail in the coffin of the US “maximum pressure” campaign and will compel the White House leaders to realize that their policies against Tehran have been doomed to failure. In fact, the Iranian people’s increased participation in the forthcoming parliamentary elections can shatter US hopes of achieving its goals against Iran and lead to a breakthrough for Iran’s economy.
How should the country’s parties, even those who don’t have a candidate, react to the event? Is refraining from participation a good option?
A political action is based on a cost-benefit analysis and is focused on the outcome. Over the past 41 years since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, 36 elections have been held in Iran. If the country’s political parties have reaped any significant gain from not participating in an election, they should do the same again. However, the fact is that such a decision will not only yield any positive result, but may cause irreparable losses. The importance of a huge turnout lies in the fact that it safeguards our national interests and ensures the country’s security. The issue is beyond the interests of a faction or a party. I believe that all political groups, politicians and influential figures and practically anybody whose heart beats for the country should encourage the people to participate in the elections and oppose those who try to do otherwise.
Some parties have complained about the president’s remarks on the competiveness of the elections. What is your view?
For a correct analysis, first, we are required to carefully understand President Rouhani’s remarks. He said the atmosphere of the elections has become more competitive compared to what it was at the beginning of the process. The changes that were made over the past few days to the process of assessing candidate hopefuls’ qualifications for taking part in the contest indicates the effectiveness of Rouhani’s measures. Although the final outcome may be different from what is envisaged by the people, political activists and the president himself, what Rouhani did was a positive move toward boosting competitiveness in the upcoming elections.
In his recent speeches, President Rouhani directly pointed to the importance of continuing Imam Khomeini’s path and achieving the Islamic Revolution’s aspirations as well as the fact that Iran’s Islamic establishment is also a republic and stressed the people’s right to choose. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution and prior to Imam Khomeini’s passing, the public trust in the government and officials helped significantly facilitate the country’s political and economic affairs. However, some experts maintain that the level of the public trust in Iran has declined, which is making the process of decision-making more difficult. Where does this problem stem from, and what should be done to resolve it?
This is a phenomenon which must be viewed as a process. The phenomenon has not emerged suddenly; it requires deep analysis.
If we abide by the rules of the game in political races, we would definitely be able to take an important step toward regaining the public trust.
What is your prediction about the people’s participation in the forthcoming elections?
I am very hopeful that we will witness the same huge number of people that took part in the funeral ceremony of the top Iranian commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and the nationwide march to mark the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, conveying a message of unity, solidarity and strength to the region and the world.