A call for sanity and tolerance in Iran at a time of national emergency

I am sending you this letter at a time when, in addition to all the numerous problems which have for years plagued the lives of ordinary Iranian people in an unprecedented way, we and the international community are now confronted with the prospects of a deadly pandemic that has already taken so many lives while continuing to pose an on-going serious threat on a daily basis to the well-being of every Iranian.

I am, hopeful that all the people in the world may soon, in good health and full security, be able to put this disaster behind them. I wish all the doors of political and social relations in our country had been kept widely open so as to have allowed all patriotic Iranians to help with efforts to contain the crisis in our homeland.

This threat, nonetheless, provides a unique opportunity, which may never recur, to improve the fortunes of our nation’s citizens.

I am hopeful that your correct interpretation of underlying motives that prompted the writing of this letter will react positively and show all Iranians that you are also in search of a comprehensive national solution for ending the crisis that has placed the peace of mind, security, as well as the present and future health of our nation in such jeopardy.

I recall that in his ‘New Year’ (Nowrooz) speech to the nation four years ago when various socio-economic and international pressures on our people and country were a lot less than they are today, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic acknowledged that “true art is when opportunities are utilised in their literal sense by turning threats into new openings such that at the end of the year tangible differences are felt in the country.”

In my opinion, the “tangible differences” referred to by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic could have been that he wanted to provide reasonable and conducive conditions for the creation of an environment permitting coexistence, tolerance, rule of law, non-monopolisation of power and empathy between our government and the people of our country.

It was based on such a belief that I undertook to write a letter to the Supreme Leader in which I stressed the need for the implementation of a policy of ‘national reconciliation’ to save our country.

It is an undeniable fact that I have been a long-time critic of policies carried out by the Islamic Republic. However, I have at no time advocated policies that would destabilise our nation through internal chaos, civil war or an external conflict that, God forbid, risked the dismemberment of our country.

I am addressing this letter to you because of the solemn and important vow you made at the outset of your new assignment to combat the widespread corruption that has exacerbated the despair and mistrust of our citizens.

Everyone today is well aware of the serious problems threatening the national interest, the cohesion of our society and the territorial integrity of our nation.

From the inability to manage the devastating floods at the beginning of the year, to the chaos and fragmentation of managing the Coronavirus crisis at the end of the year, there has been a chain of inefficiencies witnessed not just by our people but by many in the international community. The lack of judgement and the ineptitude that was displayed in handling the Ukrainian passenger plane crash; events that led the country to the brink of war with the United States; violent suppression of protesters in November; the wholesale disqualification of numerous outspoken candidates from within the ruling establishment in the course of the recent Majlis elections, and the lowest voter turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic, are examples of this continuous chain of calamities that has seriously eroded and questioned the credibility of everyone not just in government but throughout the entire system.

While various files pertaining to each of these incidents have been put on hold, not one of them has been resolved and, more importantly, the regime has failed to influence or convince public opinion on any of these matters. Therefore, if the system has so far prevented various popular demonstrations across the country from getting out of hand, such as last November’s protests against hikes in the price of gasoline, nonetheless, public dissatisfaction with these events, and general unhappiness at mounting economic difficulties for citizens living below the poverty line and facing injustice and corruption – an issue that you, yourself, have placed at the top of your own agenda – has given new impetus to public opposition.

openDemocracy


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