Press TV has conducted an interview with George Labaki, professor at Notre Dame University, about the 11th presidential elections process in Iran. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: I’d like to get your opinion first of all on the way that things have progressed so far ever since the polls opened, this year is supposed to be called for political epic. What do you make of that?
Labaki: Well obviously the election process is going on very smoothly. People are forming long lines to vote and apparently everybody is relaxed.
And this is at the time where the Middle East is witnessing a lot of call for democracy, I think it is something that we could learn from and take it maybe into consideration in such further debate to come concerning Middle East democratic processes.
Press TV: Well speaking of other countries, you are right now in Beirut, we’ve seen Iranian expatriates voting, we’ve been speaking to our correspondent there as well but what about the Lebanese people themselves? How do they view in your opinion the electoral process in Iran?
Labaki: I think Lebanese people are following very closely elections in Iran for many reasons. The first one I have indicated concerns the changes in the Middle East, regime changes or political developments within countries.
Also there is another major reason. Iran is a major regional and international power. It has a say in Middle East and international politics especially in a number of key issues like the Syrian crisis mainly.
So people are following very closely and I think the outcome will have a very important impact on the coming days and negotiations to take place in the Middle East.
Press TV: Right I’ll get back to that point in a bit, but also the Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, did touch on the fact that Western, not just media outlets but also their government officials have been launching this direct campaign of trying to discredit Iran’s presidential elections. How far do you think they’ve been successful or unsuccessful in doing that?
Labaki: I think this time they are totally unsuccessful because things have changed since 2009. I think the public opinion in the Middle East knows carefully today and is aware that what was called, as mentioned as democratic process was not really what was meant to be. It disguises a lot of cover policies to interfere in the internal affairs of the Middle East.
So I believe that this is part of the economic blockade, the Western blockade on Iran that has taken economic form, political form and now doubting, or a campaign to put doubt against the legitimacy of elections in Iran.
Press TV: Right. Now other than just this vote being an exercise of democratic rights of the people, many analysts have also pointed out that this is just as important in as far as safeguarding Iran’s independence. Do you agree with that?
Labaki: Definitely. I think elections are very important. Elections provide legitimacy for a regime and legitimacy allows a government to express itself, to represent its people, to represent its country, to engage into international negotiations and to demonstrate to the world that a legitimate government representing the population, the citizens have been mandated to engage into international negotiations, into treaty negotiations and the like.
Press TV: Right. Now you did mention that Iran forms an axis of resistance within the region and it is a major player within the geopolitical constructs of the Middle East, the West is paying a very close attention to these elections, what do you think they are thinking right now as Iranians go to cast their ballots and choose between the six candidates?
Labaki: As you know the concept of sovereignty of state has been eroded since the 90’s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And there has been a lot of interferences into internal affairs of different countries all over the world under the label of humanitarian armed intervention or pressures of any kind to force countries to adopt democracies.
So from this point of view, it is very important that countries, mainly Iran in our case, shows the world that they have elections transparent and that the world could see and monitor.
So this is very important in the course of the forthcoming international trends and international politics.
By Press TV
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.