What is Rouhani seeking to achieve with his Citizens’ Rights Charter?

Al-Monitor- The long-awaited Citizens’ Rights Charter promised by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was finally unveiled Dec. 19. After the signing ceremony of the charter, a text message from the president was sent to millions of cellphones in Iran. It read, “Noble people of Iran, let’s get more familiar with our rights and powerfully protect them.”

The charter was one of Rouhani’s key campaign promises during the 2013 presidential elections. Following his victory in the polls, Rouhani tasked Elham Aminzadeh, the current presidential adviser on citizenship rights, with drawing up the charter. Within 100 days of taking office, on Nov. 26, an initial draft of the document was made available to the public through the government’s official website. The idea, according to Rouhani, was that the public and experts would review it and contribute their ideas.

The initial draft was, however, met with much criticism, the most important of which were its lack of enforceability and the fact that it was a collection of laws already found in Iran’s legal system that related to citizens’ rights, but were too dispersed and never heeded — critiques that are still being made after the publishing of the final draft.
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