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July 24, 2006

Know Thy Enemy Iran

Topics: Iran

In a number of comments on my various posts, Mahathir Fan has argued that Iran is a democracy, and unsuccessfully, Ronald Rutherford has tried to dissuade him.

No political scientists would classify Iran as democratic. However, Mahathir Fan represents a group of people that are misled by the appearance of democratic elections, and apparent constitutional restrictions on the leaders' use of power. This is just as misleading as was the Soviet constitution and its legislative elections.

Freedom House rates Iran on civil liberties as 6 and similarly for its political rights, where 1 is the best and 7 the worst. The U.S. is 1 and 1, and North Korea is 7 and 7. But, this is abstract. To give meaning to these figures, I quote from the Freedom House book, Freedom in the World 2005:

Iranians cannot change their government democratically. The most powerful figure in the Iranian government is the Supreme Leader..., currently Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei; he is chosen for life by the Assembly of Experts, a clerics-only body whose members are elected to eight-year terms by popular vote from a government-screened list of candidates. The Supreme Leader is commander in chief of the armed forces and appoints the leaders of the judiciary, the heads of state broadcast media, the commander of the IRGC, the Expediency Council, and half the members of the Council of Guardians. Although the president and parliament are responsible for designating cabinet ministers, the Supreme Leader exercises de facto control over appointments to the ministries of Defense, the Interior, and Intelligence.

(Continued here)

Posted by Rudy at July 24, 2006 2:07 AM

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