Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Front for Consolidation of Democracy Forms to Support Musavi (if he runs)

Iran News: "7 January 2005 BBC Monitoring Middle East
Iran: "Front for Consolidation of Democracy" established
Fri Jan 7, 2005 12:55

Iran: "Front for Consolidation of Democracy" established

7 January 2005 BBC Monitoring Middle East
(c) 2005 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Excerpts from report by Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) web site

The Front for Consolidation of Democracy consisting of 14 political parties and groups, was formed on Friday morning [7 January] in the presence of secretaries-general of constituent parties, ISNA reports.

Mostafa Kavakabian, secretary-general of Mardomsalari [Democracy] Party and a founder of the new front, said that the formation of the front is not tantamount to the lack of democracy in the Islamic republic and added: It means that in spite of democracy in our country, some aspects of it have been undermined and we will to some extent try to alleviate the shortcomings.

Talking about four characteristics of the front he said that none of the constituent parties are in power and added: None of them were responsible for the current situation in the country because they were not in office. Those in power in the past 25 years brought about the current situation with their positive and negative performances.

Stating that the continuation of reforms is one of the characteristics of the front, Kavakabian said: We do not consider ourselves different from reformists, but at the same time we are not like the movement that must be answerable for its performance in the last eight years. In our view, reform is crucial which should have started right at the beginning of the revolution and perpetuated up to now.

Saying that reform, as far as the front is concerned, is a process and not a project, he stated: In our view, reform should be taken as a long-term process.

The member of the Front for Consolidation of Democracy said that the front is not a political organization formed merely for the upcoming elections, but added: We are determined to continue our activities in the context of the front even after the elections and as such contribute to the consolidation of democracy in Iran.

Stressing that "the front is truly against monopoly and totalitarianism of leftist and rightist parties", he went on: The damage inflicted on the country in the past was due to the fact that one or two parties were allowed to be active and the rest were not given the opportunity.

Portraying the configuration of the political parties on the threshold of the upcoming elections and stating that from the viewpoint of the front only seven movements will be competing in the elections, Kavakabian said: There are some movements that are regarded as opposition groups abroad and legal opposition groups inside the country, but we do not include them in the configuration of political groups, because they have no chance of having their candidates endorsed [by authorities]. Therefore, we believe that one movement which is in power and six others not in office, will be competing with each other in the elections. [Passage omitted: Background information about elections]

Stating that the Front for Consolidation of Democracy does not fit in any of the six movements in the country, Kavakabian referred to four approved policies of the coordinating committee of the front and added: We shall use all of our efforts to make the elections more competitive, encourage an all-out participation of the people, and hold a free and competitive election.

Stating that removing obstacles in the way of an all-out participation of the people is one of the policies approved by the coordinating committee of the front, he added: By encouraging more people to participate in the elections, we can raise the level of security in the country and protect the territorial integrity of Iran and our national interests.

Saying that one of the agreed policies of the coordinating committee is to give priority to presidential candidates from members of the front, he said: If all of us cannot agree on a single candidate from within to represent the front, then as decided, we shall support another candidate. However, this is not tantamount to some constituents of the front not being able to support someone outside the front. They can do so in the name of their own parties or groups.

He went on: If for any reason we cannot agree on a single candidate from within to represent the front, then on the basis of democratic principles, we shall consult each other and decide on a candidate from outside to represent the front.

Stressing that so far the front has not decided on putting forward a candidate, he said: We are waiting to have a better assessment of developments that are unfolding before us.

Stating that the name of the front has not been borrowed from any organization, Kavakabian said: We ourselves decided on the name of the front and it is not affiliated to any specific group, and the front and its constituents have their own specific identity.

He went on to say that none of constituent parties have had any strong political presence on the left or right political spectrum and stated: All parties within the front were moderate and therefore anyone who is prepared to accept the manifest of the front would have no problem joining us.

Talking about likely presidential candidates, Kavakabian said: The front will, without any delay, endorse Mir Hoseyn Musavi [former PM] if he decides to become a candidate.

He added: As we are aware, Mir Hoseyn Musavi for whatever reason has refused to become a candidate and therefore at this juncture, we do not know which candidate we will support.

Continuing with the session, Sa'id Yari, secretary-general of the Organization for Defending National Interests of Iran and a founding member of the front, stating that the four elements of territory, population, government and sovereignty are the constituents of any country and government, added: We must define freedom, interaction with and behaviour towards others in the context of territory, government and sovereignty.

[Passage omitted: background information]

During his talk, Yari said: In the context of consolidating democracy, we want to consolidate freedom in the country and hope to make progress in this respect.

Elsewhere in his talk, Yari referred to the statement of Kavakabian about Mir Hoseyn Musavi and the support that will be given to him if he decides to step in as a candidate, and added: Mr Kavakabian expressed his personal view, our priority is to support someone within the front, but if we do not arrive at a conclusion then we shall support a new figure outside the power and with new policies. As Mr Musavi does not meet our requirements in this respect and he is not regarded as someone outside the power, then he cannot be considered [as the front's presidential candidate].

Continuing with the session, Hojjat ol-Eslam Qeyumi, representative of the secretary-general of the National Harmony Party explained the manifest of the front and said that the front:

Abides by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran;

Believes in democracy, freedom, human rights in the context of religious values;

Supports the strengthening of civil society, especially political parties and groups;

Underlines the need for rotation of the elite and realization of meritocracy with priority given to the young people;

Pursues the reform movement of the Iranian people in all fields and all levels of the government;

Contributes to the fulfilment of a comprehensive and viable development of the country and the realization of a progressive Iran;

Places emphasis on the rule of law in all spheres, encounters monopoly and totalitarianism of the ruling factions and prevents the appearance of dictatorship and tyranny in all level of the government;

Insists on principles of rationalism, realism, sensibility, justice, authority and honour, and the maintenance of Iran's national interests in the context of foreign policy and international relations by dtente and rational interaction with the world community.

Qeyumi added: The front has not been formed for the sake of the 9th presidential elections. It has been established for the realization of our aims and we believe that some people who propounded the idea of reforms in the last few years were not reformists at all. We want to define reforms, identify true supporters of reforms and with their help make headway. In fact, from now on we will be trying to immunize our society [as published].

During the session, Gholamreza Masudinia, secretary-general of the Graduate Association of Abu Reyhan-e Biruni Complex, also explained the way that the front intends to conduct its activities.

According to a correspondent of ISNA, members of the Front for Consolidation of Democracy are as follows: The Society of Tomorrow's Iran headed by Farah Khosrovi; the Party for Defending War Veterans and the Constitution under the leadership of Alireza Matani; the Association of Esfahan University Lecturers headed by Ali Mehranfar; the Organization for Defending Iran's National Interests with Dr Sa'id Yari as secretary-general; the Friendship and Brotherhood Party, secretary-general Engineer Mostafa Qasemi; the Graduates Association of Abu Reyhan-e Biruni, secretary general Gholamreza Masudinia; the Society for Supporting Law and Order, secretary-general Engineer Hoseyn Tajarlu; the Mardomsalari Party, secretary-general Mostafa Kavakabian; the Independent Society of Islamic Iran, secretary-general Qodrat-Ali Heshmatian; the Youth Participation Party, secretary-general Ja'far Khoda-Qolizadeh; the House of Iranian Teachers, secretary-general Rahman Shams; the Party for Harmony, secretary-general Hojjat ol-Eslam Hoseyni-Arsanjani; the Society of Lord of the Age, secretary-general Hojjat ol-Eslam Jannati-Razavi; and the Association of Teachers Solidarity, secretary-general Dr Ali Fa'ezi.

Source: ISNA web site, Tehran, in Persian 1031 gmt 7 Jan 05"