Press TV has interviewed Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University, to share his thoughts on Iran’s upcoming presidential election and the democratic process in the country.
What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mohammad Marandi, first I would like to start off by the criticism that has been leveled against Iran by some of the Western media outlets and politicians, criticizing the democratic voting process and in particular we can look at what the US has said, a couple of officials there, criticizing Iran’s vetting body, the Guardian Council.
Are they even in a position to criticize Iran’s democratic election process?
Marandi: Well, in my opinion no. First of all the democratic process in the United States is deeply flawed, there is no democracy of information.
For example in the recent presidential elections we saw that Ron Paul, who was the most progressive candidate in the eyes of many, was ignored by the media and relentlessly ridiculed and the United States’ alternative voices, people like Chomsky, have no voice in the mainstream media.
So there is no democracy of information, there is no democracy and then of course the same is true with the EU.
If you look at southern European countries, I doubt that they feel that the system is very democratic in Greece and in Spain and in Italy.
The way in which Brussels has dictated terms upon them and as well as what happened more recently with the banking sector and so on and how they have imposed themselves.
And in addition to that you have the fact that the closest US and Europeans’ ally in the region is the apartheid state of Israel.
When Palestinians vote for Hamas they come under siege with the support of the West and of course key US allies in the region like Saudi Arabia and Qatar not only do not have democracies or elections, they do not even have a constitution. They spread extremism both at the religious level as well as terrorism as we are now seeing in North Africa and in Syria.
So I do not think that, really, the Western countries have much to say.
Press TV: Professor Marandi, article 115 in the constitution does have prerequisites for the candidates but we had our guest Fredrick Peterson talking about the process in Iran not being democratic, I believe was the words that you used there Fredrick Peterson.
Mohammad Marandi go ahead.
Marandi: Well, again he [makes] mistakes [about] the law in Iran and I think that when he speaks about the Inter-Parliamentary Council, he is speaking about local elections, which we have in the next three weeks and that law is effective and the candidates are vetted by parliamentarians but with regards to the Guardian Council, it is in the constitution.
The constitution was voted for by the public and approved and the Guardian Council and its role, it is a very complex system of checks and balances in Iran, the [supreme] leader himself is under supervision of the Khobregan Council (Assembly of Experts), he can be removed at any time.
There is a very complicated process there and the president has to have certain qualifications. I will just leave it at this.
The fact that the turnout in Iranian elections is significantly higher than that of the United States, both parliamentary, local as well as the presidential elections shows that in fact the candidates in Iran are more diverse and the choice that people make is of greater significance to them otherwise they would not be so motivated to participate.
The sheer differences, for example, between Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Rezaei and Mr. Mosavi four years ago or eight years [ago] between Mr. Qalibaf, Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mr. Larijani were so great that they led to such an extraordinary high turnout in both cases. So I think that it is beyond the point.
And the United States, regardless of the fact that it is not very democratic and as I said critics of the political order really have no voice in the country. You would never see…, the greatest intellectual of the United States is probably Noam Chomsky, you would never see him, an article of his, in the New York Times or you would not see him on CNN or Fox News.
But beyond that, the point that I want to really get to is that the United States does not criticize Israel for being an apartheid regime; it does not criticize Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and the other dictatorships; Morocco.
And it has not, with regards to Egypt or Tunisia before the revolution, they actually supported these dictators to almost the very end.
So there is no reason to think that the United States really cares at all about the will of the Iranian people.
Press TV: Professor Marandi, you know, I get a sense when Fredrick Peterson was talking there of the words that Iran has stated time and again.
I do not want this to be about Iran and the US but the word mutual respect comes in; Fredrick Peterson the impression that I got was not speaking on the same level that exudes this mutual respect when he talks about keepers, etc.
Your reaction to some of the statements there by Fredrick Peterson in particular when he also talked about how some Iranian leaders have been indicted on terrorism-related charges, which was not even part of the question that I asked and I do not know how that came into the picture.
Marandi: Well, a number of things. I mean the United States really has no respect for human rights. It is a country that helped Saddam Hussein to use chemical weapons against his own people as well as, at that time, the EEC countries, the EU countries now; killing many thousands of people in this region.
Right now the United States is imposing sanctions to make ordinary Iranians suffer. Even preventing, effectively, the import of medicine into the country, people have died as a result. You know; the drone attacks and we can go on about the American’s immoral behavior across the board.
So respect is really not something that comes from Washington or the US president.
But with regards to indictments, if he is referring to the attack in Argentina and Mr. Rafsanjani and others being accused, in fact just recently the Iranians and the Argentinean government came to an agreement to have a joint team go through this case thoroughly because the Iranians know that there is no evidence.
I fact the first judge who was involved…, there was a film of him bribing a witness to speak out against Iran and, you know, the case was deeply flawed and this agreement between Iran and Argentina made the United States and Israel very angry for obvious reasons because they do not want a real investigation into what happened.
So if…, there is no comparison between the American drone attacks, American cyber attacks, the assassination of the Iranian scientists, the use of chemical weapons, supporting Saddam Hussein the monster in Baghdad against the Iranian people and against his own people and the Iranian behavior at the international level and there have been no disturbing statements from any of the candidates…, of the leaders, about anything linked to the nuclear program. It has always been said that it is a peaceful program.
But again I would like to stress the point, when he raised the issue of the previous presidential elections, the turnout in those elections were 85 percent and that is something beyond the wildest dreams of the American political leaders. Something we would never witness in the United States and that is because the elections were meaningful.
True, there were riots; the suppression of protesters, the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who were not very nice, and the killing of the six or seven people during the London riots or the riots in England do not make the British regime legitimate or illegitimate and the same is true with the United States, when during the riots in Los Angeles 50 some people were killed.
That does not necessarily make the American regime legitimate or illegitimate but the point is that elections in Iran are meaningful and in the United States the fact that the turnout is so much lower shows that for many people in the United States it does not have a great deal of meaning.
The final point that I like to raise here is that, again, I am repeating myself, the United States supports the most undemocratic and racist regimes in this region and the fact that it does this, shows that under no circumstances it does care for the rights of the people of Bahrain, if Saudi Arabia, of Yemen and Jordan.
And the United States ironically is funding the same, through Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the same terrorists and the same al-Qaeda-like people that because of them they began this whole war on terrorism. Because of al-Qaeda they invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and caused misery for millions of people in this region, killing endless numbers of people and then now, you know, with the Turkish regime and the Saudis and the Qataris they are promoting extremism in Syria, where you have these monstrous extremists eating hearts and doing the most extraordinary things.
These are result of the American policies in this region. So the United States really has no leg to stand on.
Press TV: Mohammad Marandi, your statements?
Marandi: Yes, I think that these disturbing remarks that he is alluding to, the remarks that many politicians in Iran [are] saying, is that Israel as, an apartheid regime, should cease to exist just like apartheid South Africa should cease to exist.
The United States is a regime that is deeply racist when it comes to the Palestinian people and it is utterly disturbing but with regards to the nuclear program, obviously the international community supports Iran because as we know the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which constitutes three fifth of the countries of the world, supports Iran’s program, it has always supported Iran’s program and it will continue to support Iran’s program and even countries like Russia and China have moved away from the position of the Western countries.
By Press TV
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